All indications point to Stiles having made a grave miscalculation.
“Well,” he says, philosophically, “I’ve lived a full life. I guess death is better than college.”
Derek huffs out a frustrated sigh, and forcibly pulls Stiles along by his hood. The corridor branches ahead of them, but it only takes Stiles a minute to pull up his mental map and point them towards the left hallway - “No, your other left, oh my god!” - which is awesome, because Stiles is relatively sure they’re only about three seconds ahead of the creature following them.
The further they follow the winding path of the hallway, the more the stench of rotting flesh starts to turn Stiles’ stomach. The creature’s nest is close, then.
“The blueprints - there was a room right over here somewhere. No windows,” Stiles whispers. “That thing flinched when I waved my cell at it, and I’m gonna guess it wasn’t the unlimited text plan it objected to.”
Derek doesn’t respond, but the pull on Stiles’ shoulder lessens as they draw level with the next door, and then it takes Derek only a second to tear the knob off and force the door open. The rotting flesh smell immediately floods out of the room, and Stiles quickly pulls his zipper up and dips his nose down until all he can smell is himself.
They push the door closed and drag a bookcase over from the wall to hold it.
Derek’s face is twisted up like he’s bitten into something far worse than what Stiles’ human nose can smell when he glances over a minute later. “Do you have a lighter?”
“What? No! Do I look like I smoke?”
“Shit,” Derek says. “What the hell are we supposed to -“
“I do have a flint, though!” Stiles remembers suddenly. “I stole it from the Chemistry lab at school.” He pulls it out of his cargo pocket and tests it until it sparks. Score.
“Why do you - No, I don’t want to know, shut your mouth,” Derek tells him. He’s already searching around for some spare pieces of paper in his pockets, pulling out a handful of crumpled receipts that he dumps unceremoniously in Stiles’ hand.
Stiles gets distracted for a minute, reading the total on one. “Twenty-five dollars at MickyD’s? What the hell did you buy, dude? Oh my god, this is, like, the entire dollar menu. Twice.”
“Stiles,” Derek snaps.
“Yeah, okay,” Stiles agrees quickly, and starts wrapping the ragged papers around a pen from his pocket. He keeps his eyes determinedly on what he’s doing while Derek piles up skins and fatty deposits in the center of the room, over the crude pentagram the creature’s nails must’ve scratched into the floor, and doesn’t look up until he hears Derek breathing next to his ear.
“It’ll start fast and burn hot,” Derek says, “so get ready to hustle.”
Stiles makes a face. “Okay, I guess we’re ignoring the ten foot monster on the other side of this door, then? Awesome.”
Derek gives him a speaking look. His claws extend showily. “I’ll distract it,” he says.
“Because that worked so well before, oh my god, are you insane!” Stiles hits Derek in the chest as hard as he can. “It has claws the size of my head and it floats! It has freaky anti-physics powers, Derek! The only reason it didn’t kill you last time -“
“I’ll be fine. Stiles,” Derek says, “Jesus, Stiles, calm down, I’ll be fine.”
“I am completely calm!” Stiles says hysterically. “This is my calm face, look at it! At least pretend for a second you realize how completely outclassed you are by this thing.”
Derek puts a hand on his shoulder and glares at him intently. His eyes are completely devoid of fear. “You run as soon as that door is open. Do you hear me? You don’t try to save me, you don’t stop to watch. You run until you get to your Jeep, you drive home, and you burn your clothes so it can’t find its own smell on you. Promise me.”
“You could run, too,” Stiles tells him. “As soon as the nest is gone, it’ll power down, right? Give it a good slash in the throat and come with me.”
“Promise me,” Derek says again, implacable.
Stiles scrubs a hand across his face and up through his hair, thinking furiously. “There has to be another way. There’s always another way. I sit there and yell at my TV when the main characters of a movie have moments like this, because there’s always, like, an air vent above their heads or something that they’re completely overlooking. What? What is that face?”
Derek ignores him, staring at the far wall.
“Oh,” Stiles says, “my god. Are you serious.”
Too busy ignoring the stinking pile of gore and blood at the center of the room, Stiles had completely overlooked the bare patch of wall the bookcase had previously been covering. It looks new, and it’s bubbling like plaster.
“I thought all the walls here were reinforced concrete or cinder block.”
“Maybe the creature’s been here longer than we thought,” Derek says. “Long enough to cause trouble for the day workers, too.”
Stiles crowds in close behind Derek near the wall, and watches him test it with his claws, and then his shoulder. It crumbles easy under the force of a werewolf, gets on Derek’s shirt and in his dark hair.
The tight knot in Stiles’ chest relaxes so abruptly he wants to cry.
“Yes!” He’s throwing his arms around Derek before he can think about it, hanging on as tight as he can and rocking them both side to side with elation. “No one has to die, this is the best night ever!”
Derek visibly suffers through it for a minute.
“Stiles,” he says at length. “How many times did your dad drop you on your head as a child?”
“Only three,” Stiles answers promptly, and pulls back to shoot Derek a wide smile. “He figured it out eventually, don’t judge him.”
“You.” Derek stops, looking puzzled. “Just - don’t do that again.”
“I make no promises. You’re very huggable,” Stiles says, “I might be overcome at any moment by your huggability.”
He catches the twitch of Derek’s mouth, and his stomach twists sharply with delight. No matter how gruff Derek is when he grabs the flint and paper-wrapped pen out of Stiles’ hand, that twitch says a lot.
“Ready,” Derek says, and starts sparking the flint, “set, go -“