Stiles hates the old, burned out Hale house. He understands that it’s there for sentimental value, although value is definitely pushing it. But he gets it, he does. The house stands for the same reason that his dad’s dresser is covered with Avon perfumes and a small herd of porcelain lambs.
“Trap is the first word that comes to mind,” he says, following Derek to the porch. He lets his feet shuffle in the dead leaves. If they’re walking into death and mayhem, he may as well get it started now. “Followed by murder, hunters, bleeding. Hey, maybe explosions.”
“Peter called me for a reason.”
“Yeah, well listen to yourself. Peter. Called you. For a reason. How about a killing you reason?” Stiles asks. Ever since Peter’s latest round of beard-stroking double crossing werewolf shenanigans, he’s solidly at the top of Stiles’ shitlist.
“He can’t kill me,” Derek says, pausing at the creaky front stoop to glare at Stiles.
Stiles raises his brow expectantly and crosses his arms. Just because his truce with Derek turned into a reluctant friendship which turned into a weekly Chinese take-out date which turned into a bi-weekly fuck-a-thon and a truly obscene amount of cuddling, Stiles isn’t going to back down on the attitude Derek requires to examine his life and choices.
Derek goes very still.
It’s weird. Stiles can literally see Derek having the same thought he does, the moment he has it. His panic flashes in Derek’s eyes, even as Stiles is backing away instinctively, ready to turn back to the Jeep, to drive back to the others, because Peter can’t kill Derek.
But he can sure as hell kill Stiles.
Something whistles. Stiles knows the sound, because Allison’s been making him learn how to shoot her huge, terrifying compound bows. It’s the sound of high-speed, precision violence.
Stiles breaks into a run for the Jeep.
The first arrow hits the tree next to Stiles, and the next one hits—it hits Derek. It hits Derek because Derek throws his body around Stiles and takes it, and even as they fall, Stiles knows that’s exactly what someone wanted to happen. No one with a shred of brain matter would shoot at a human member of Derek’s pack without expecting the closest wolf to take it.
“These recoil like a bitch,” Peter says, stepping out of the shadows like the goddamned cartoon character he is. He’s holding a bow and frowning at it distastefully.
“I’ve noticed,” Stiles says, flattened under Derek’s seriously heavy body. It’s hard to look remotely menacing like this, but he tries as hard as he can. He’s definitely not lacking in bone-deep distaste for Peter. Between what Peter’s done to Derek and what he’s done to Lydia, he’s earned a special place in werewolf hell. “When I practiced sniping a dummy with your ugly mug on it.”
“Did you use my profile?” Peter asks. “Because the right is a little better than the left. We’ve all got a bad side, I suppose.”
“He’s going to wake up any second now and kick your ass,” Stiles says. He nudges Derek’s ribs hopefully. Now would be an awesome time to do that. It’s not that Stiles is freaking out, but there’s only so long he can run his mouth hoping Peter will start monologuing.
“Wrong,” Peter says. His expression doesn’t change, but the sound of his voice rings out like a bark. Stiles’ ears are buzzing when Peter smiles slowly, indulgently. “He’s going to wake up any second now, and he’s going to kill you.”
“Empty threat. Trust me, I’ve heard it about a million times.”
“The wolfsbane is circulating through his body right now, accelerated by the healing process. I had to order it from Croatia. Do you have any idea what that cost me in shipping?”
“Your whole allowance?”
Peter laughs. “You should try to run, Stiles. Maybe you can buy yourself a minute or two. Make peace with your demons.”
Stiles doesn’t want to believe Peter. It’s usually a safe bet to pretend it's opposite day when Peter Hale is talking. But he can feel Derek stirring and snuffling, and a tingly sense of dread makes Stiles' skin go cold.
“You wanna give me a hand?” Stiles asks. “I’m a little stuck.”
Peter drops the bow, reaches down, and lifts Derek. Then he throws Derek into a tree. “Better?”
Stiles goes still, looking carefully between Derek’s shifted, slumped form and Peter’s outstretched hand. Other than being inexplicably wolfed out in his sleep, Derek looks okay. The bolt that hit him has already broken free, and he’s not bleeding profusely.
“I got it,” Stiles says, inching back on his elbows, away from Peter. His heels slide in the leaves.
Peter shrugs and straightens. “Hurry, Stiles.”
Stiles scrambles to his feet and runs. He’s not worried about Derek. Derek is already waking up. He’ll wake up and he’ll fight Peter and he’ll win, because he always wins when he fights Peter. Stiles just has to get the fuck out of here.
He has his keys in his hand, his shaking fingers fumbling for the door, when something hits him from behind like a freaking freight train, slamming him into the front of his Jeep. The keys drop and Stiles goes boneless, trying to drop with them. He needs his keys to drive, if he can drive he can outrun Peter. Maybe.
A strong, clawed hand keeps him pinned to the Jeep. Stiles cries out, shocked by how bad it hurts to have five triangular sharp-as-fuck claws pierce his skin. “You are so dead,” he tells Peter, as he tries to twist to at least face him. He’s not going down with his back turned.
Peter lets him turn and it’s—it’s not Peter.
Derek’s eyes are milky-red, sick and wrong. He juts his claws out again, whip-fast, and they pierce Stiles’ shoulder as he presses Stiles down against the Jeep’s hood.
They prepared for this. Maybe not well enough, but they did. They talked about it before dawn one morning, sitting at the breakfast table at Derek’s apartment, wearing nothing but sex-stained bedsheets and eating Pops.
“If you’re alone, you’re prey.” Derek said, gesturing with his spoon. If they weren’t fucking, Derek was lecturing. Most of it was interesting stuff, and way more accurate than anything Stiles found online, so Stiles listened, crunching slowly so the chewing-sounds wouldn't drown out the important things Derek had to say. “If you’re scared, you’re prey. One false step, and you’re prey. Humans only survive with weapons and numbers.”
“What about mates?” Stiles asked, snickering.
Derek's spoon clinked down against his bowl. “Mates?” he asked.
“Calm down, dude. I’m not putting a ring on it. But there’s gotta be precedent for that, right? Scott won’t hurt Allison. She’s not prey or whatever, even on the full moon.”
“In the off chance you were attacked by a werewolf you were bonded to, it's possible you’d... be mated with. Instead of killed,” Derek said, shifting in his chair. Stiles was definitely going to talk about this mates thing all the time to watch him squirm. “But keep a weapon on hand anyway. Always, Stiles. That’s the only way humans survive, do you understand?”
“Right now I understand the glory of high fructose corn syrup and the forty minutes we have before I have to leave for school,” Stiles said, licking his spoon and looking at Derek’s mouth.
Stiles looks at Derek’s mouth. It’s open, drooling, toothy. I will rip your throat out. With my teeth.
And it’s not that Stiles is giving up, or doesn’t want to fight, but he knows exactly how this ends.
He can struggle, and raise about a dozen flags emblazoned with his status as a big, trembling, pale pile of prey. Or he can try to make Derek remember that they’re—that they’re something. That he’s enough of something that Peter Hale knew exactly how to ruin Derek, how to steal every bit of ground Derek’s fought for this past year. Peter’s crazy, but he’s clever, and if he honed in on Stiles as the one person Derek wants to kill the least, well, that’ll be flattering tomorrow, if Stiles can survive the next few minutes.
Stiles really, really wants to survive. Not only because obviously, but because he’s not going to be a bloody pawn in Peter’s latest scheme. He’s not going to help anyone take Derek down. Fuck that.
Anger is bad too. Aggression and fear are bad. He has to—god his shoulder hurts. He just has to.
“Derek,” he whispers, turning his head slowly. His breathing has gone uneven with pain. “Peter poisoned you, babe. But you remember me, don’t you?” He shows Derek his throat, and fuck it, he’s still scared. There’s just no psyching himself out of the terror that comes along with exposing his jugular to a stoned, bloodthirsty werewolf. “Friend, not food. More than friends, maybe—ah!”
Stiles yelps and squeezes his eyes shut reflexively. His next breath surprises him, both because he’s actually taking it, and because it blasts out of him with a hollow sob. Derek is smelling his throat. He’s taking quick, agitated whuffs. He’s scenting him. Stiles really hopes he smells good, but not in the Thanksgiving turkey way. In the we just had sex this morning, please remember that we did, and that it was good, please remember that way.
“Please,” he’s saying. “Please, Derek. Don’t let him do this to you.”
Derek's hips drive forward. It's just a push. Like a nuzzle that's way too enthusiastic, and Stiles has never been so relieved to feel the hot ridge of Derek's cock in his jeans. It's not an all clear, but it's a good sign.
Stiles doesn't move at all. It's not how they usually do it. They're both pretty feisty in bed, but this isn't really Derek. This is an animal. Stiles isn't exactly proud of his search history; he has a decent if not overly graphic idea of how animals mate and it's kind of a violent foreplay thing followed by holding really still. So that's what he does.
Derek ruts slowly, as if getting a feel for it, and sniffs Stiles' face.
Stiles wants to touch Derek so bad. He wants to bring him back.
He whines softly, letting Derek see that he's giving in. Not giving up. Just giving.
"Take it, Derek," he whispers.
The claws draw out of his shoulder with a gross, wet sound, and drag down Stiles' ribs without ripping his shirt. A wave of dizzying nausea hits Stiles. He hates the sight of blood, and it's a special kind of hate when it's his own, tracked liked fingerpaint.
Derek hauls him up and buries his face in Stiles' armpit. He takes deep, snarling breaths. It would tickle if tickling was the last sensation Stiles was capable of feeling. Stiles goes limp, held like a rag doll, grateful that if anything, the claws aren't ripping him up anymore, for now. Maybe there's a short half-life on this wolfsbane shit and it'll wear off before this escalates further.
Then Derek throws him down into the dirt, and Stiles blacks out briefly.
When he comes to, his first bleary thought is that he's in one of those freakish Japanese horror movies he never should have downloaded, and Derek is literally eating his guts. Then he recognizes the wet sounds as licking, and not eating, and slowly registers the hot, slobbery sensation of Derek's tongue all over his now-bare belly and up his chest and along his ribs and back at his armpits and over the deep claw-gouges.
Stiles makes an aborted sound and Derek's eyes flash to his. They're still cloudy and weird, like he's blind, but there's a purpose to his gaze now, a dark fervor, and Stiles is no expert, but it doesn't look like hunger. At least, not the messily devour prey kind of hunger.
There's a blur at the corner of Stiles' vision. Of course. Peter wouldn't be a Hale if he wasn't lurking. Enjoy the fucking show, creeper, he'd say, if his mouth didn't feel cottony with the lingering wrongness of climbing out of a blackout. Peter doesn't make him angry now. It's galvanizing. He hasn't been eaten yet. He's surviving. Peter, of anyone, should have known better. He's the one who's always rhapsodizing about the power of human love.
Derek turns him over, and there's a moment of wooziness where Stiles isn't sure if he's actually moving or if he's just dizzy. When the chill hits him, he figures out that all the jostling was Derek ripping his jeans off. Possibly with his teeth.
Determined to participate in this whole mating thing, damn it, Stiles pushes up on his hands and knees. But his shoulder wobbles and gives out, and he cries out as he flattens back against the dirt. Derek is there immediately, all over him, licking the back of his neck, whining deeply, pawing at him.
"Dude, it's okay," Stiles groans. It's not really okay. He'd like a lot more kissing and a lot less bleeding and a bed and less twigs against his dick, but this is better than being dead and totally ruining Derek's life in the process of getting dead.
Derek feels like an animal, heavy and clumsy against Stiles. They've never been intimate with Derek like this. His breath smells different when he's a werewolf. It smells sweet and dark. His cheeks, rubbing between Stiles' shoulder blades, are rough with wiry hair instead of the warm buzz of his almost-beard.
Derek acts like a fucking animal too. Without a courtesy notice, he sinks down, broad-headed dick first, and tries to mount Stiles like Stiles isn't bone dry, terrified, and flat on his belly with his legs kind of reflexively closed because all that werewolf foreplay? Is seriously not working for him.
Stiles makes a hoarse sound. It isn't no because that might be a bad thing to say to avoid the whole prey thing, but no. He draws his arms up under himself and ducks his face down and tries to take a deep breath, as if that's gonna help this happen. Everything's getting tunnel-y.
"Derek," he says.
Derek kicks Stiles' legs apart, and Stiles whines, struggling with instinct to start fighting. He's about to snap, stretched too thin to endure this, when Derek sinks again, but not with his dick. He sinks face first and mouths at Stiles's ass. A lot.
For a while, all Stiles allows himself to feel is relief. Werewolf slobber isn't his first choice in lube, but it's better than literally nothing. The sensation of being licked, all over his butt, and oh—okay—inside of it, is an afterthought. Stiles feels more or less numb and hopes it isn't shock settling in like a crazy-blanket.
Then Derek strokes his back. There's no mistaking it. It's not a scratch, or a push. Derek's thumb draws a semi-circle, back and forth, the way Stiles likes it. It's the first semi-coherent shred of communication Derek's given him since this started, and it's enough to hang some hope on.
The connection sharpens Stiles' awareness, brings him back. He's been self-conscious about getting rimmed all the times Derek's done it before. Getting rimmed by a massive, dog-feeling tongue in front of Peter Hale isn't tons better. But it doesn't feel bad, especially compared to the relentless throb of a bunch of little puncture wounds.
"Derek," he says. He moves in shivering increments, drawing one knee up to give Derek more access, and tries not to think about the picture they make—Stiles naked in the dirt and Derek in tattered, bloody clothes with the front of his jeans torn open.
Stiles flinches when Derek turns him. For a moment, he thinks he's being mauled or toyed with, but Derek is just clumsy with his hands, and it takes a few swipes to roll Stiles over. In any other circumstance, Stiles would be fascinated, eager to document the effects of this particular strain of wolfsbane. Right now he just wants to shove it down Peter's throat and then shove Peter off a cliff.
"Hey," he says softly, wishing it felt like he was talking to Derek and not a stranger. He's seen Derek wolfed out plenty of times, but he's always looked like kind of an ugly version of Derek, not this feral creature. He smiles with his mouth closed, knowing better than to show his teeth. It's probably the most pathetic smile in the history of ever, considering he's got dirt and tears on his face, but if Derek's going to remember any of this, Stiles wants him to remember that this was Stiles' bright idea. Mating, man. Mates.
Derek licks and noses Stiles' cheek and mouth, cleaning him. He makes low noises that are somewhere between concerned and horny, and rubs his hard dick against Stiles.
Stiles pulls his knees up and hooks his legs around Derek. It takes Derek several hard, clumsy ruts to line his dick up. Stiles hisses, tensing, but the werewolf slobber turns out to be surprisingly slippery. It doesn't hurt as bad as Stiles expected it to when Derek finally pushes into him.
Maybe because he feels drunk and dizzy, Stiles forgets that he's supposed to hold still and let Derek fuck him. He throws his arms up around Derek's neck and hangs onto him. He isn't urging him on, because Derek's fucking him hard enough, thank you very much, but he doesn't want to be alone. He wants Derek. He wants to do this together, because this is scary, and it sucks, but they're not going to lose.
He has a weapon. "Derek," he says, feeling like he's riding a mechanical bull, or like a mechanical bull is riding him. "I won't let you go. I won't let you go."
Fuck you, Peter. Human love is awesome.
Stiles blacks out again before Derek comes.
"Stiles. Stiles." Derek sounds like somebody died. The wet, broken terror in his voice is what pulls Stiles out of what was a really nice dream about buying a waterbed. "Stiles. Wake up. Please wake up."
"Mmph," Stiles says. "Working on it, dude."
He's still hurting all over, which is definitely a bummer. Judging by the warmth and vague aroma of smoke, they're in the relative sanctuary of the old Hale house. Stiles snuggles into the heat of Derek's body, hoping he's not expected to respond with more than mumbling and vague consciousness.
"Stiles," Derek says. His heart thuds, rabbit like, hard enough for Stiles to feel it. It's an awful feeling. Derek has never, ever felt like that before. "I hurt you."
The anguish in his voice sucks the breath out of Stiles.
"What?" Stiles lifts his head and stares. It's getting dark. Derek's been—he's been crying. "No way, man. I mean, okay, yes. But it was Peter's screwed up wolfsbane arrow bullshit, not you."
Stiles is wrapped in the threadbare blanket he keeps on the floor in his backseat. It smells like mildew. They're tangled together in a dusty corner, Stiles tucked awkwardly against Derek's chest.
Derek has blood around his mouth and Stiles' shoulder feels sticky from the thick slobber that appears to have helped all the punctures clot up.
"I could have killed you," Derek says. "And I—I hurt you." He's shivering.
"No," Stiles snaps. He's shaking too, like it's contagious, and wrenches the gross blanket up around his shoulders. "No. Don't you get it? You didn't kill me. We won." He grabs Derek's face in both hands, then decides that's way too goofy, and punches Derek's shoulder instead, as hard as he can. "Listen to me! We won!"
Derek stares at him, plainly uncomprehending.
Stiles really prefered being unconscious to this. "I did what I was supposed to. I wasn't prey," he says. His voice breaks. "You didn't eat me because you like me, I think. Mates, or whatever. Us! Peter didn't get it, he didn't. He thought you'd kill me, and you didn't, see?"
"He's always known," Derek says hoarsely.
"Known?" Stiles asks, strongly disliking this confusing turn of events.
Derek touches him, his soft fingers trembling at Stiles' jaw and cheek, down his neck, ghosting over the livid heat of his wounded shoulder. "That I wanted you."
"It wasn't about killing me," Stiles realizes out loud. Then what? Peter's trying to break them up? That sucks too. Not as much as killing, but even half-considering it sends a spike of loss through Stiles that hurts more than anything else has hurt today. No.
"I hurt you," Derek says. The broken record thing is getting old.
"Peter hurt me. And hurt you, you stupid asshole. He was using me to hurt you. This isn't even about me. And it kind of should be, by the way."
Derek looks at him.
"Cause yeah, I'm hurt. But it wasn't you. And really shitty afternoon aside," Stiles says, "I had kind of an epiphany, and it wasn't even totally blood loss related, and Peter can't take that away."
If Derek lets Peter win, everything was for nothing, and Stiles can't help but feel, sullenly, that it would have been better if Derek had just ripped his throat out.
Derek's still touching him like he's afraid he'll forget how to use his hands again. "No," he says. "This was a mistake. You. You're—"
"No," Stiles says. "No. I will kill him, Derek. You are not breaking up with me before we even figure out that we like each other, just because Peter Fed-Ex'd himself some fucked up werewolf roofies."
"Don't I get a choice?" Derek asks. His jaw twitches. There's a depressing smile hiding in there somewhere.
"Not today. Because that was really fucking scary. And I did a good job, I did exactly what I was supposed to do, and I am not letting you go. I didn't let go." Stiles is yelling now, and punching Derek for emphasis, but weakly now, because fuck, fuck he aches, and his head hurts. "This is all completely insane and you are not fucking leaving me alone when I didn't let go. Fuck you, Derek. You don't get a choice."
Stiles' brief spike of energy fizzles pretty quickly. He's not sure how long he can keep fighting what Peter's done. Especially when, as the adrenaline dips, he starts to think that maybe he's just being a pushy idiot, that Derek only fucked him because that's what they've been doing, that Stiles is a good lay at best and the other stuff, the liking and mating and stuff, that was just in Stiles' head.
Maybe he's being selfish, and Derek needs space, cause probably waking up with a naked, bleeding human was scary too. And Derek has alpha responsibilities and uncle problems and he's probably not even looking for a relationship or whatever Stiles thinks this is.
"Sorry," Stiles mumbles. "Sorry. Yeah, you get a choice. Of course you do. God. I'm not like Peter. I'm sorry."
"Your breath smells bad when you're sad," Derek says. "I don't like it."
"I need a bath. And probably some antibiotics. And gum, apparently. Dickhead."
Derek cups the back of Stiles' neck and presses their foreheads together. "I don't know why I want you."
"Wow. Don't pile all the compliments on at once."
Derek draws him closer. His heart is still racing, but it isn't the ugly, panicked thump that reminded Stiles of holding a small animal. He presses his lips to Stiles' ear, and for a moment, Stiles thinks it's a kiss. Then Derek whispers, "You scare me."
"But I'm basically like, a bunny compared to—"
"If you're mine, then I can lose you. Don't you understand?"
"I do," Stiles says. "That's how it works, Derek. That's how this works."
Derek sighs and pulls Stiles into an awkward, perfect embrace. "Fine," he says. His thumb strokes a slow semi-circle against Stiles' back as he stands, lifting Stiles.
Stiles allows himself to smile, shows his teeth. "Fine."