When Chris catches Stiles’ eye as he leaves the warehouse, Stiles glances away quickly. His face is still bruised and his lip split open again and bleeding, but his eyes are downcast and he’s oddly quiet and still. Chris doesn’t know Stiles too well but he knows that that isn’t normal. He’s always moving, talking, living.
Right now he looks like, well he looks like he’s given up. It isn’t right; and Stiles is human mixed up with werewolves and Chris is a hunter so it’s more or less his job to watch out for him. Sort of.
And that’s where it starts.
He doesn’t intend to start following Stiles, just to keep an eye on him. But then he sees him one morning when he drops Allison off and then an afternoon when he picks her up and he realises that it’s the perfect reason to be at the school morning and afternoon to make sure Stiles is there and in one un-injured piece.
One of his contacts lets him know that a couple of other hunters will be passing through the town. He recognises the names and knows their reputation and heads straight over to the Stilinski house, because Stiles is a magnet for trouble and Chris wouldn’t have slept thinking about all the ways he might cross paths with the hunters and end up bloodied and broken.
Wouldn’t have been able to stop seeing his face after Gerard had bloodied and broken him.
At first Chris doesn’t know what to do when Stiles starts yelling at him, wielding a baseball bat. He’d been working under the assumption that Stiles was a kid, an innocent who needed to be protected. When he thinks about it, it was a ridiculous assumption. Stiles has been putting himself in the middle of hunters, werewolves and kanimas since the Argents had moved to Beacon Hills and Chris is sure he doesn’t even know half of the trouble Stiles and Scott have gotten into.
Stiles is brave, and selfless and smart; if a little careless with his personal safety. He’s not really a kid at all and Chris feels like an idiot for thinking that way.
Stiles knew Chris had been following him, he had probably figured out that he was being used partially as a distraction from Chris’ disaster of a life and he must know that Chris had a gun on him (several in fact) and he still came out to confront him with a baseball bat and some sharp words whilst dressed in what looked like pyjamas.
Stiles lets Chris explain and wanders back inside with a thoughtful look on his face, baseball bat swinging idly from his fingertips. He doesn’t bother trying to tell Chris to stop; he’s too smart for that.
Chris is determinedly telling himself that he doesn’t really like Stiles that much, that he doesn’t really care that much, it’s the sense of duty that keeps him there. But Stiles’ smiles and greetings, the coffee he brings him, the idle chit chat he makes when it’s ridiculous to pretend not to notice each other, his visits to the hospital after Chris’ accident, it all gradually chips away at the wall Chris had put up to try and keep this all impersonal.
Nothing involving Stiles Stilinski could ever be impersonal.
When Stiles pinches his phone and takes the number, Chris lets him with a roll of his eyes. When Stiles eyes linger sometimes and he flushes in Chris’ presence Chris pretends not to notice, he spends a lot of times pretending not to notice that actually, a lot of time pointedly not thinking about what Stiles might be thinking about.
The night Allison shoots Stiles and Chris freezes for a second, just staring unable to comprehend what has just happenened, he realises he needs to stop pretending. He needs to stop pretending he doesn’t care about Stiles as much as he does, stop telling himself he doesn’t want Stiles around, doesn’t want Stiles full stop. Because if he’s in denial then he’s not in control, it’s better to feel guilty than to feel that he can’t even predict or control his own reactions.
He has a lot of time to think whilst he waits for the Sherriff to make a run home from the hospital to collect some of Stiles’ things.
Chris’ connection with Stiles is inappropriate. Affection. Attraction. His attraction to Stiles is wildly inappropriate, illegal even in this state. Also potentially problematic as Stiles father is the town Sherriff.
It doesn’t stop Chris from sneaking into Stiles room to make sure he’s okay, it doesn’t stop him from holding Stiles’ hand or brushing a kiss to his head.
It’s too late now really. Chris is broken and he knows it. Gerard, Victoria, Allison. He was alone but then there was Stiles.
Chris isn’t ready to let go yet, he will hold on for as long as Stiles will let him.