The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense is a secret government organization that fights monsters. It’s only about half as ridiculous as it sounds. They employ agents to act as the proverbial hall light, with the door cracked to the world’s boogeymen. Some of their agents are human, some, not so much. After all, not all monsters are the bad guys. They’ve got a sweet headquarters too (If you ignore the whole New Jersey sanitation plant cover).
Currently in said HQ, Stiles is less than subtly peeking from behind one of the columns at the top of the library staircase down to where Dr. Deaton, the director of the BPRD, is on the bottom floor, giving the orientation speech to the latest slab of fresh meat. Fresh and ready for the chopping block from the looks of it.
“Stiles, could you come down here?” Deaton calls, “and could you please be sure to walk, I’d like to avoid startling our guest so soon.”
Stiles rolls his eyes, but folds his wings up against his back before trotting down the stairs.
The wide stare he receives from the newbie makes his skin crawl. He smiles through it, more than used to humans giving him the sideshow treatment.
“Stiles is one of our agents.” Deaton says, blatantly ignoring the elephant in the room that is Stiles’ freckled grey-brown skin, overly large golden eyes and the set of webbed, bat-like wings on his back. It’s Stiles’ favorite thing about Deaton, he pays attention to who you are, not what you are. “Stiles, this is Isaac Lahey.”
“Yo.” Stiles gives Isaac a two fingered salute and shoves his hands in his pockets, not sure if the guy is ready to shake his hand just yet.
“Hey.” Isaac’s lips twitch into a small smile and Stiles realizes the guy might just be shy, instead of quietly freaking the hell out.
“Stiles, would you mind giving Isaac the rest of the tour? I’m afraid I have some other business to attend to.”
“Sure thing Doc.” Stiles says and beckons Isaac to follow as he heads out of library, “You wanna meet weird or scary first?”
Isaac pulls this lost little lamb face that has him growing on Stiles already. It’s the cheekbones, Stiles has always been a sucker for good cheekbones.
“Weird it is.” Stiles says, ushering him towards the elevator, pressing the button for the aquarium’s floor. “I brought a visitor,” he calls, knocking on the massive tank as they enter.
“Don’t tap the glass, Stiles.” Allison says fondly as she darts past through the water. She comes from behind one of the sleek metal doors a few moments later toweling herself off.
“Wow,” is all Isaac says.
“I know she’s a looker, but I’m afraid she’s already spoken for.”
Allison laughs like it’s a joke, but Stiles does think she’s gorgeous with her light blue skin and inky black hair. She always moves her slender body as if she’s still in the water and Stiles envies that kind of grace.
“Hi, I’m Allison,” she says brightly, waving a webbed hand, “I’m an undine.”
“Isaac,” he replies, smiling. Allison’s cheer tends to be infectious.
“Are you joining the Bureau?” she asks.
“Yeah, not a full agent though, they said I was a… handler?”
Stiles snorts, “You’re our new babysitter?”
“I don’t think—” Isaac frowns and runs a hand through his curly brown hair.
“Sorry dude, you’re a babysitter.” Stiles claps a hand on his shoulder and Allison nods in agreement.
“Are you showing him around?” Allison cocks her head, doing that sideways eyelid blinking thing Stiles finds so fascinating.
“Yeah, thought I’d introduce him to you first, don’t want Lydia to scare him off.”
“Good idea,” She gives herself a final scrub and tosses the towel aside, “I’ll come with you.”
They set off down the hall and Stiles notices Isaac is looking more nervous with each step, “Don’t worry about Lydia, she’s only like fifty percent evil, okay maybe sixty—forty on a good day, though.”
The furrowing of Isaac’s eyebrows tells Stiles he really needs to work on his reassuring shtick.
Stiles raps on Lydia’s door once they get to it, “hey sunshine, the new handler wants to meet and greet, hope you’re decent,” he says before opening the door.
Lydia is sitting in her red leather armchair that Stiles thinks is a stand in for a throne. She slams the book she was reading shut with unnecessary force and plasters on a Stepford smile, “Oh, joy.”
“Lydia, Isaac. Isaac, I’m very sorry.” Stiles says gesturing back and forth between them.
Isaac looks a bit perplexed, no doubt trying to process what exactly could be scary about the ordinary looking woman in front of him. Well, not ordinary - Lydia’s mind-blowingly beautiful by human standards. Stiles is pretty sure her constantly perfect hair is a supernatural creature in its own right.
“Lydia’s a firestarter,” Stiles explains.
“Pyrokinetic,” Lydia says, standing to give Allison a kiss on the cheek.
“The Latin makes her feel fancy,” Stiles stage whispers to Isaac who cracks a slight smile.
“It’s Greek,” Lydia corrects, turning to get up in Stiles’ grill. “I can give you a demonstration to help you remember, if you like,” she says, flames dancing across her fingers.
“I’ll pass,” Stiles says, only sort of hiding behind Isaac, he swears his wing tips are still singed from the time he accidentally spilled Coke on Lydia’s new blouse.
“So you’re all different types of… species,” Isaac settles on, “What are you?” he asks Stiles.
“Well that’s a loaded question I mean, what are any of us really? Who can say—”
“He’s a pixie.” Lydia interjects.
“One Tinkerbell, Blue Fairy or gay joke so much as thinks about passing your lips and I drop you off the balcony.” Stiles points a finger at Isaac, “And I won’t show you where they keep the Teddy Grahams either.”
Isaac holds up his hands in surrender, Teddy Grahams are always an effective bargaining chip.
Stiles flops into his chair and lays his head on the table as the rest of the crew trickles into the meeting room. Deaton has this sick habit of doling out new assignments at ass o’clock in the morning.
Isaac gives Stiles a nod as he takes a seat next to him, looking equally put out by the early hour. Lydia flounces in after him with Allison on her arm, looking for all the world like she just stepped out of a photo-shoot rather than her bed.
Stiles brightens when Scott takes the other empty seat beside him, “Dude, when’d you get back?”
“Last night, but I knew you’d kill me if I woke you up.” Scott had been their last handler before they bumped him up to a full field agent after realizing he tended to help them get into more trouble than he kept them out of.
“How was Australia?”
“Cool, bunyip nearly took off Boyd’s arm. It was awesome.”
“Glad you enjoyed it.” Boyd says, taking his seat opposite them, his massive arm in a massive sling. He’s some sort giant, or half giant, Stiles has never asked, more interested in Boyd’s ability to bench press a Jeep than his lineage.
“Let’s get started shall we?” Deaton says, closing the door behind him and moving to the head of the table. “Erica, Stiles, Lydia and Danny; you four will be headed to Connemara National Park.” He says, passing out folders to each of them.
Stiles frowns at his folder, “Ireland? Why are there never any scary beasties in more tropical locations?”
Jackson, a field agent who splits his time between looking like male model and a male model version of Godzilla, scoffs, “you really want a repeat of Tijuana?”
Stiles shudders at the memory, there will never be enough bleach or holy water in the world to get that plane clean again. “Galway? Tell me more.” He forces a grin.
Deaton hands another folder to Isaac, “You’ll be accompanying them, it’s a low level mission so it should be a fine way for you get your feet wet.” He gives Isaac a smile. “We suspect there’s a leannán sí luring artists to the area and feeding on them.”
“A what?” Stiles asks, because the letters on the page totally do not correlate with what just came out of Deaton’s mouth.
“Leannán sí, a barrow lover, think of it like a cross between a muse and a vampire. They give artists and musicians great inspiration at the cost of their lives.”
“Sounds like fun,” Erica says, ruffling her sleep mussed blonde hair. Stiles likes working with her, she comes from a long line of crazy-powerful, just plain crazy Russian witches and every time they’ve had a mission together things always turned out well. Of course, they usually go to hell first, but Stiles tries to be an optimist.
“You just need to cover its grave with stones, and that’ll stop the problem.”
“Then why do we all need to go?” Lydia asks, looking no more excited than Stiles feels.
“You have to find the grave first. I have some amulets that should help with that though.” Deaton smiles, “since you just got back, Scott, I have something more local for you.”
Stiles pillows his head on his arms and dozes off as Scott starts whining about the Jersey Devil.
“I take back all the horrible things I said about the plane.” Stiles says, “At least the plane had leg room.” After they’d landed in Ireland, they’d driven a rented van out to the park and were stuck waiting until it closed so they could go in and do their job.
“It’s not our fault you can’t get out.” Danny calls from outside the van. Stiles frowns, he doesn’t need to be reminded why they always have to get tinted windows when he comes along.
Stiles sees Lydia punch him in the shoulder, “It’s not his fault either.”
“Yeah, I was born this way baby.” Stiles says, feeling a little better. Lydia’s violent tendencies are a real pick-me-up when he isn’t on the receiving end. He lays out in the very back seat on his stomach, letting his wings stretch.
“I come bearing gifts,” Erica says, sliding open the van door, plastic bag in hand. She tosses Isaac a Cadbury Flake and Stiles two packs of Reese’s cups.
“You’re a goddess.” Stiles says, stuffing one pack into a pouch on his belt and opening the other.
Erica dangles a bottle of coffee creamer in front of him, “Who’s your favorite?”
Stiles licks his lips and snatches the bottle, “Scott.”
“Liar.” Erica says, sitting next to Isaac on the middle seat.
Stiles ignores her in favor of downing the entire bottle. When he finishes, Isaac is staring at him with an expression between confusion and revulsion.
“It’s a pixie thing,” Erica says, “he’s a fanatic for cream. You get used to it.”
“How much longer do I have to wait in the hot ass van?” Stiles asks, frowning at the empty bottle.
“It’s almost three now,” Erica says looking at her unnecessarily sparkly watch, “The park closes at 5:30, and we’ll probably need to wait at least an hour before we go in.”
Stiles drops his head and buries his face in the seat. “Great.”
After too many rounds of rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock to count and several painstaking games of I-Spy where everything seemed to be brown (Stiles’ wings, Erica’s eyes, the chocolate flake Isaac left in the cup holder, Danny) it was finally time to roll.
“All right, Lydia and I will take this half of the trail,” Danny says pointing to a map of the park, “and you guys will take the other.”
“This all feels very Scooby-Doo,” Stiles says, “Hunky team leader traipsing off with the hot redhead while the rest of us get chased by monsters.”
“Shut up.” Lydia says at the same time Erica says “like hell I’m Velma.”
“Let’s just go before someone else gets eaten.” Danny says in the most mellow way anyone has ever discussed serial murders.
They split up and start surveying the land for anything that sets off the bronze amulets Deaton gave them. Stiles isn’t sure how long they’ve been wandering but the sun set a while ago and they’re still no closer to bagging and tagging the barrow lover.
“What does that even mean?” Erica asks, “does it just really dig barrows or what?”
“It’s a lover from a barrow,” Stiles explains, “Artist meets barrow lover, artist falls in love, gets mega inspired, dies tragically young, barrow lover gets a snack.”
“What’s a barrow?” Isaac pipes up from behind them.
“A mound of earth or stone placed over a burial site.” Stiles says, “Which we are no closer to finding,” He turns on his comm link, “Dust to Hot Shot, you kids getting anything?”
“Nothing,” Lydia says.
“Permission to do an aerial check, oh fearless leader?”
“Go for it.” Danny says, “try not to be too obvious.”
Erica snorts, “Yeah, good luck with that.”
“Watch it, Elphaba.” Stiles says, gripping the charm and ascending. He passes over several hills, then darts back the way he came, he feels a little thrum in his palm as he approaches a small pond. “Erica, There’s a pond about 100 yards south of you, I’m getting some mojo from that general area.”
“On our way.” Erica says.
“See you there,” Stiles is saying when something catches his eye. He can’t make it out, but it’s big and red and fast. “Hold up, I think I saw something.”
“Define something.” Lydia demands.
“Uh, it was reddish and fastish,” Stiles says, trying to catch sight of it again.
“It was a red deer you moron, they’re all over the place.”
“Except this is less Bambi more Beelzebub.” Stiles says, spotting it again. It’s distinctly man shaped and that looks like a tail. He flies in closer, “I thought the barrow lover was supposed to look like a hot chick not a linebacker.”
“It is, unless this isn’t a leannán sí, and we have no idea what we’re facing.” Lydia says, clearly vexed with the world’s inability to keep up with her superior intellect.
“I’m gonna go say hi.” Stiles says and lands near the thing despite Lydia and Danny’s blatant protests in his earpiece.
“Here beastie, beastie, beastie,” he calls, “I’m lookin’ for some sweet barrow lovin’ tonight.”
“Can I have your TV when you die?” Erica asks.
“No, I want to be buried with it,” Stiles says rounding a hill and stepping right into wet ground, “Oh great, I’m in a bog. Guys, I’m in a bog.”
He’s desperately ignoring the squelching in his boots when a glowing white form rounds on him. It’s a tall sylphe of a woman, her entire body shimmering like moonlight.
“Wow,” he says, gazing into her pupil-less white eyes.
Her shine dims and she looks more human, but still incredibly beautiful, “Looking for me?” she asks with an enchanting Celtic lilt to the words.
Stiles nods dumbly and leans into her. He feels like he could write an entire symphony blindfolded, and he’d dedicate it to her. He’s going to write ballads to her eyes, sonnets to her lips. Those lips move in closer and he can feel his blood singing in his veins.
“I’ve never tasted a fair one before. And such a pretty fae you are,” she whispers but Stiles can barely hear her over the sound of his own blood rushing.
Her lips are at his neck and gone in an instant. Stiles drops down to his knees, feeling like all the air has been sucked from his chest. His eyes dart around, searching for where she’d gone and he sees her being held by her neck by the big red thing Stiles saw earlier.
Stiles scrambles backward in the mud, he knows better than to get involved in a fight when he’s clearly outmatched by both competitors.
The red creature grabs her head with the hand not on her throat and Stiles realizes it’s going to break her neck when she suddenly disperses into fog. It lets out a low angry sound and turns toward Stiles.
“Holy God.” Stiles says, hands absently finding the rosary in his pocket. “It’s cool, dude.” Stiles feels it’s safe to assume it’s a dude considering he’s big and red and naked so Stiles is getting a serious eyeful of his junk. “My friends probably got rid of her, that’s our job, we get rid of the scary monsters. Not you of course, you’re clearly a nice monster, like me.” He licks his lips, “So, obviously there’s no reason for you to snap my neck like a twig.” His hand moves from the pocket holding to rosary to the one he put his Reese’s cups in earlier. He pulls them out and unwraps one holding it out toward the creature, “Peace offering?”
The creature crouches down in front of Stiles, staring at him with glowing electric blue eyes. Two short horns are sticking out through his shaggy and matted hair which connects to a rough beard.
“See? We’re totally bros and everything. Sharing snacks and soul gazing and shit.”
He cocks his head at Stiles but takes the candy and quickly devours it.
Stiles turns on his mic, not sure when he shut it off, probably when the barrow lover whammied him. “Uh, Lyds?”
“What the hell happened?” She demands, and Stiles can practically smell the smoke.
“Nearly got eaten by the leannán sí, but uh, I got rescued.”
“It’s a long story. Point is, I’m in a bog with a big, well-endowed demon guy and he’s eating all my peanut butter cups and I’d really appreciate it if you could come get me.”
“Was that an innuendo?” Erica asks.
“That’s very cute Erica and I’d love to respond with the appropriate pop culture reference but I’m more concerned with the fact that Mephistopheles looks like he’s going to shank me if I don’t give him more candy.”
Lydia sighs, “We’re on our way.”
“I’m assuming you got the job done considering I’m no longer pining for a certain barrow bitch?” Stiles asks to make conversation and ignore the big red monster that apparently isn’t interested in invading Stiles’ personal space if he’s out of candy.
“Of course,” Lydia says like the idea of her failing is impossible, because it is.
Erica and Isaac show up first, Lydia and Danny arriving a minute or so after.
“So what do we do?” Stiles asks.
“We’ll report it in, and keep tabs on him,” Danny says.
“And just leave him here?” Stiles asks.
“He could be dangerous.” Lydia says.
“All the more reason not to leave him in a public park.” Stiles insists.
“We’re not talking about a puppy Stiles, you can’t just put a flea collar on him and hope he doesn’t piss on the rug.” Lydia says, eyes starting to glow.
“Yeah, and he’s not some animal we should just leave in the wild.”
“Guys.” They all turn toward Isaac, who’s now standing in front of the creature, bending his tall frame in a way that makes him look less intimidating.
“Isaac?” Danny asks, looking unsure if he should step closer or go for his gun.
“It’s okay.” Isaac says, never taking his eyes of the creature, “He’s okay.”
“Are you okay?” Danny asks.
“Yeah,” Isaac tilts his head, working his jaw, “We should bring him with us.”
“Babysitter says it’s okay, see?”
Lydia looks from Stiles to where Isaac is tying his jacket around the creature’s waist. She gets that look Stiles likes to call ‘Telenav recalculating route, please wait…’ and huffs. “This is a horrible idea,” she says but doesn’t stop them from luring a demon back to the van with the rest of Isaac’s Cadbury Flake.
“Thanks,” Stiles whispers, once they’re back on the plane, “For helping with, you know.” He nods toward where demon guy is asleep under a blanket next to him.
Isaac turns in his seat and shrugs, “I don’t know why, but it seemed like something I was supposed to do.”
“It’s just,” Stiles lowers his voice, “they don’t really get it you know? Lydia and Erica are different sure, but they’re not—” he gestures to his face. “Deaton found me, I’d had some problems, left home. I was by myself up in the Adirondacks and he took me with him back to HQ, gave me a job… a family.” He looks over at the demon twitching in his sleep, “Nobody should have to be alone.”
Isaac cocks his head at Stiles, “No, we shouldn’t.”
Deaton takes it well, all things considered, it’s not the first time they’ve brought home a souvenir and it won’t be the last either.
Stiles is loitering around the medical wing when someone taps him on the shoulder. He spins around and tries desperately to pretend he wasn’t just scared shitless.
“Waiting for someone?” Laura asks. She’s the resident physician at the BPRD, her psychic abilities give her the added skill of evaluating mental as well as physical wellbeing.
“Dr. Hale, lovely to see you. Fine weather isn’t it?”
“You don’t go outside.” Laura smirks, “and no need to be so formal when you’re so casually creeping around my med wing.”
“I am not creeping.” Stiles says, creeping requires some manner of subtlety, which he is severely lacking.
“Well, if you want to see Derek, you’re going to have to wait until after his CT scan.”
“Derek?” Laura says like he’s dumb, “You know the big red Irish demon you brought home with you?”
“You named him?” Stiles asks.
“I asked him.”
“He can talk?” because clearly today is the day Stiles gapes at Laura and asks her a bunch of stupid questions.
“Yeah,” she frowns, “he didn’t talk when you met him?”
“No, he just kinda stared. Also glared. Staring and glaring.”
“I only glanced at his mind, but there was some fear around the memory of the encounter. Did you do anything to startle him?”
“Me? He was the one choke slamming vampires with his dick out.”
Laura looks supremely uncomfortable, “Maybe it was your… appearance?”
“Wait,” Stiles says, catching her drift, “are you saying the big, muscular demon in there was scared of the scrawny, frail pixie?”
“Seriously? My bones are hollow,” he shouts, because he doesn’t know what else to say.
“Be that as it may,” Laura says, switching back into professional mode, “I think you and the leannán sí were the first non-humans he’s ever seen.”
“Awesome, I even freak out the freaks. I’m just gonna go put a paper bag over my head and write a sad poem in my journal.”
Laura kisses him on the cheek, “How about you just rewatch Lilo and Stitch and pretend you aren’t crying?”
“You were sworn to secrecy.” Stiles points a scolding finger at her, but he’s smiling.
She mimes zipping her lips and heads back into one of the rooms. “Oh, and Stiles?” she says, her head peeking out the doorway.
“Get out of here, I’m working. You’ll see your new buddy later.”
He finds Scott in the cafeteria and is forced to recount his terrible bog adventure over his mac and cheese.
“Whoa,” Scott says.
“Yeah, it was a pretty intense night.”
“No,” Scott says pointing behind Stiles, “Whoa.”
Stiles turns in his chair where Big, Red and Surly is standing awkwardly with a lunch tray, following Isaac like the world’s scariest duckling. The thought reminds Stiles of Lilo and Stitch which in turns reminds him of his conversation with Isaac on the plane, “Be right back.” He gets up and heads straight for Isaac.
Isaac smiles when he sees him and waves a bag of Teddy Grahams.
“Did Boyd tell you?” Stiles asks, “Damn his loose yet voluptuous lips.”
Isaac raises his eyebrows.
Stiles waves it off, “So, newbies one and two you wanna sit with the cool kids?”
“Nah, your table’s fine.” Isaac says and traipses off toward where Scott is sitting, Derek close behind.
Scott, bless his heart, is a bit of a gawker. Stiles has to stomp on his foot at least four times to get him to stop openly gaping at Derek. At least Derek doesn’t notice because he’s too busy openly staring at Stiles. Laura must have cleaned him up, because his hair’s no longer matted and actually cut into something of a style. Stiles thinks some hair gel may have been involved and hello there cheekbones.
“What a lovely not awkward lunch with monsters.” Stiles says, poking at his macaroni.
Isaac covers a laugh with a cough.
“Okay let’s just get this out of the way please?” Stiles says, dropping his fork, “Hi, I’m Stiles, I’m a pixie, I’ve got wings and I fly and I’m big on dairy products,” he waves his bottle of chocolate milk for emphasis.
“Uh, I’m Scott, I’m a human?” Scott says, clearly not getting where Stiles is going with this, but wanting to be supportive all the same, “I like video games.”
“Thank you dear,” Stiles says patting him on the head.
“Isaac, babysitter and I prefer the chocolate ones,” he says, frowning at his bag of honey Teddy Grahams.
Derek just glares down at his sandwich.
Stiles narrows his eyes at Derek before dashing off to the vending machine. When he gets back he tosses two packs of Reese’s in front of Derek’s tray.
“If you like peanut butter, I’ll make sure Danny puts it on the snack raid list.”
Derek just shrugs.
The next time Stiles sees him, he’s actually looking for Erica (she borrowed his DS and he’s getting increasingly worried that she magically exploded it). He checks the gym because not only is it one of the places he rarely visits, but Erica’s also a fan of building up her guns to intimidating levels.
He gets two feet in the door when he’s slammed up against the wall, his wings splayed out flat behind him and he can’t help feeling like he’s in one of those creepy dead butterfly collections.
“Please don’t kill me, I know it may not look like it, but I have a lot to live for.” Stiles says, grateful that Derek’s massive hand is fisted in his shirt and not around his neck.
Derek lets go of him and heads into the farthest corner to do what Stiles feels like are completely unnecessary pushups because seriously, actual wall of muscle right there.
“Glad we had this talk,” Stiles says, easing off the wall, “by the way have you seen Erica? Blonde about yay high,” he holds a hand up near his head, “broadcasts a simultaneous super-hot and completely terrifying vibe?”
Derek stalls his pushups and looks at him like he can’t understand why Stiles is still here.
Stiles rolls his eyes, “What, is roid-rage a demon power I don’t know about?” When he doesn’t get a response he stuffs his hands in his pockets and heads off to look for Erica.
He finally finds her in the rec room sitting in a beanbag chair, playing his DS. She smiles, “What’s up?”
“Do I smell or something?” he asks, taking the beanbag opposite her.
She plops her boot clad feet in his lap, “Well, I wasn’t gonna mention it.”
“Seriously, Derek nearly put me through a wall just now.”
“What’d you do to him?” Erica asks, not looking up from her game.
“I don’t know, I existed?”
Erica shrugs, “He lived in a park his whole life, he’s bound to be kind of a weirdo.”
“Point.” Stiles concedes, “Laura said I scared him.”
Erica raises an eyebrow, “what because of the—” she flutters her fingers out next to her in a way that’s meant to imitate his wings, but just make Stiles hear a shout of “these aren’t spirit fingers…” in his head.
She snorts, “He has a fucking tail.”
“Maybe he’s prejudiced against Fae-Americans, I’ll call the National Association for the Advancement of Monster People.”
Erica nudges him with her boot, “He’s probably just adjusting to life in Freaksville, if not, and he’s really just an asshole, we’ll break into his room and pour bleach on him while he’s sleeping.”
“You scare me, but I love you.”
Erica smiles, he figures that must somehow be a compliment to her.
“Oh hell no.” Stiles says eyeing the folder in front of him.
“Stiles, we need your knowledge of the area.” Deaton says calmly, like Stiles isn’t actively objecting his assignment.
“Yeah, the area I left, with good reason.”
“It’s been racking up quite the body count.” Deaton says because he knows exactly how to get Stiles to agree to a mission.
Stiles thumps his head on the table, “Fine, who’s coming with me?”
“Well you know the most about the lore as well as the land so you’ll be fronting this mission. Boyd and Derek will join you, their strength will come in handy, along with Isaac and Laura for back up and medical assistance.”
“Derek?” Stiles gapes, “You wanna start him out with a werewolf?”
“I believe he’s ready.”
“Super,” Stiles says.
Beacon Hills, California is pretty much a no name town just south of Sacramento. There’s nothing of import in the actual town, but the woods surrounding the place are a hotbed of supernatural activity. Plenty of faerie rings and portals to hellish dimensions all over, it’s a wonder the townsfolk haven’t noticed the high disappearance rate they have going and just packed up and moved the hell out of there.
Stiles sure did.
“Nervous flier?” Stiles asks, noticing Derek looking more rigid than usual in the seat next to him.
“I don’t like it.” Derek says in a voice much lighter than Stiles had expected.
“You get used to it.” Stiles says, “I wasn’t too big on something else flying me around at first either. But it sure beats Greyhound.”
“Greyhound?” Derek raises a scruffy eyebrow.
“Oh God,” Stiles groans, “you’re foreign and you lived in the woods all your life, you’re never going to get my hilarious topical humor.”
“If you want someone to laugh at you, I could take some time out.” Boyd says from the seat in front of them.
“Cute Boyd, very cute.” Stiles rolls his eyes.
“I didn’t spend my whole life there.” Derek says quietly.
“Where were you before, how’d you get to Ireland?”
“I’m not sure… the place I was before, it was,” Derek’s mouth twists up, “bad. Then, suddenly, it wasn’t. I was in the park.”
“You must’ve crossed over from an alternate dimension.” Stiles says like that sort of thing happens all the time, which, for him it kind of does. “At what point did you start calling yourself Derek? No offense but it’s not very demonic.”
“A boy in the park called me that.” Derek shrugs, “Said I looked big and strong like his uncle Derek.”
“That’s a pretty adorable origin story, bro.”
Derek just crosses his arms and turns to look out the tiny plane window, apparently having met his talking quota for the day, if not the month.
Laura lands them in a relatively safe part of Beacon Hills’ Forest of Doom and Stiles moves to the front of the small plane. He claps his hands together and sighs, “This place is worse than Sunnydale, so watch your backs. Stay away from any weird rings of mushrooms in the grass and avoid creepy floating lights in the distance. And please don’t get bitten. God only knows what would happen if wolf mojo tried to mix with any of our crazy genes.”
“How do we kill it?” Boyd asks.
“Shoot it, we’ve got some silver bullets packed with Nordic Blue Monkshood.” Stiles says, tapping the gun on his hip.
“Wolfsbane?” Boyd raises an eyebrow.
Stiles smirks, “Can’t beat the classics.” He checks his watch, “Moonrise is about two hours from now. We’re gonna lure it back here and shoot it in the face. Then we bring the body back to Deaton. Simple enough?” Stiles pulls out a map of the area, it’s not completely accurate, but it’ll do. “Isaac, you hang back here by the plane. Laura you’re with Derek, Boyd with me.” He trusts Laura to be able to handle Derek and call the shots if need be. She seems to be one of few people the dude actually likes.
“All right kids,” Laura says as the plane door opens, “try not to die.”
As they exit the plane, Stiles’ wings fold and tense up against his back, he seriously didn’t miss this place.
Boyd presses a big hand on Stiles’ shoulder and nods toward the half of the forest they’re covering. Stiles gives him a smile and follows, ignoring anymore weird feelings he gets from his old stomping grounds.
As glamorous as paranormal investigation sounds, there’s a hell of a lot more time spent trudging through gross woods than you’d think. Stiles kind of wishes he was in Scooby-Doo, they always found the monster in the first five minutes.
He and Boyd have been wandering around for a little over two hours when a piercing howl breaks out. Boyd turns around and starts running in the direction it came from. Stiles flies after him, no way his legs can keep up with Boyd’s long, powerful strides.
They stop about a hundred yards from the plane, where Derek is tackling the werewolf to ground. Laura is pointing her gun at the snarling mass of red and furry limbs but obviously can’t get a clear shot.
“Why do I bother giving people directions?” Stiles shouts as Derek repeatedly slams the wolf’s head against a particularly gnarly looking rock until it stops fighting back.
“Do you know why I gave you a gun Derek?” Stiles asks, marching toward him, “It’s because it’s a long range weapon, as in, you don’t have to get close to the big psycho monster to use it. God, what if it bit you? We don’t even know what would happen.”
“I broke its jaw.” Derek says and Stiles’ eyes are drawn to where the wolf’s mouth lolls open at a sickening angle.
“Oh, well that just makes up for you not shooting it like I told you to,” Stiles rolls his eyes.
Derek pulls out his gun and fires a shot between the werewolf’s dull yellow eyes, “Better?”
“Don’t be a smartass,” Stiles says, putting another bullet in the beast’s chest, “I’m better at it.”
They wrap up the body and load it into the plane’s cargo and Stiles does his best not to notice how stark the wounds are now that it’s shifted back to human again.
“I wish I could say I was getting too old for this shit but that’s not even true, look at me, I’m youthful and vibrant. I am too vibrant for this shit,” Stiles says, leaning up against the cold metal of the plane.
“I’ll say,” someone says from too deep in the woods for Stiles to make out, but he has a feeling he knows who it is.
“Just great,” Stiles thumps his head backwards.
“Who is that?” Laura asks.
“An old friend,” a curvy brown skinned woman says as she sashays out from the trees.
“Wormwood, we are not friends,” Stiles says.
“Come back for a visit?” she asks as more of her gang slip out of the forest behind her.
“Actually I came to shoot things, care to volunteer?”
One of them, Rowan, Stiles thinks, pouts, “Aw, we missed you.” She moves closer and blinks her glowing green eyes at him, “still too good to have a little fun with us?”
“Actually… I’m spoken for.” Stiles blurts out, nymphs are pushy but they’re not home wreckers. His eyes dart around until they land on Isaac looking terribly confused next to him. Stiles sidesteps closer until they’re pressed against each other.
Isaac’s eyes widen but he quickly wraps a long arm around Stiles’ shoulder.
Wormwood grimaces, “A human? You deserve someone at least half as pretty as you.”
“I dunno, I think he’s got a pretty bangin’ bod. Plus he comes so well equipped,” Stiles says, planting a hand on Isaac’s red BPRD belt buckle. “In fact, I can’t wait to get home and let him have his wicked little homosapien way with me, so we’ll just be going.”
“Come back and see us sometime if you ever get bored with that,” she winks.
“Not on your life, tree humper,” Stiles say and ushers the team back into the plane.
“What the hell was that?” Laura asks.
“Nymphs, they’re like specialists in sexual harassment,” Stiles says with a shudder. “It’s kinda their thing.”
“They were only harassing you,” she points out.
Stiles shrugs, “so?”
“This isn’t the first time some supernaturals have tried to bad touch you.” Boyd says.
“The barrow lover did say you were pretty before your mic cut off,” Isaac adds.
“Wait a minute, are you hot?” Laura asks looking almost surprised.
Stiles rubs the back of his neck, “I dunno, I figured I just attracted weirdoes.”
“No, no,” Laura says, “I can see it. You’re way cuter than those pixies we ran into in Montana.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be flying us home?” Stiles says dropping into the seat beside Derek and adamantly not blushing.
“Whatever you say hot stuff,” Laura gives him a salute and heads for the controls.
“I’m not cute, I’m a tough, rugged pixie. Right?” He turns toward Derek.
Derek just rolls his eyes and begins Window Watching 2: Grumpy Boogaloo.
“Isaac?” Stiles tries.
Isaac shrugs in his seat, “I don’t mind being the cute one in the relationship.”
Stiles catches Derek in the rec room, flipping through a book while Isaac and Boyd play Soul Calibur on the 360 Jackson had bought last year. He tosses him a bag of Reese’s pieces and gives a half smile.
Derek shrugs and takes the candy.
Stiles bounces on the balls of his feet, “Wanna watch cartoons?”
“Bugs Bunny, you’ll love him. Actually maybe you’re more of a Droopy Dog kind of a guy, you two seem equally jovial. I just figured I ought to give you a pop culture crash course if I ever want you to laugh at my jokes and witty observations.”
Derek rolls his eyes, “Just put the damn thing on.”
They settle on Wile E. Coyote and Stiles give his theories on the effects violent cartoons have made on modern day adults and what this implies for future generations while Derek nods along uninterestedly, shoving handfuls of candy in his mouth.
That seems to settle a few things with them, like whatever Derek’s previous hang up with Stiles was and Stiles’ incessant need to show people that dislike him exactly how obnoxious he can be. They’re not friends but no one’s getting wall slammed or verbally bitch slapped so it’s good enough.
There’s something odd about Isaac. Hopefully not secretly-possessed-by-a-crazy-murderer odd, twice was enough, thank you.
He is odd though, case and point, he’s currently crouching next to Stiles’ bed at three in the damn morning.
Stiles rubs the sleep out of his eyes, “What are you doing?”
“I had a dream.”
“Okay,” Stiles says sitting up, “this couldn’t wait till breakfast dude?”
“It was about Derek.” Isaac says.
“Again, I can give you the ‘interspecies dating and you’ pep talk in the morning, I’m sure Derek’s down with the swirl.”
“He got hurt,” Isaac insists, “in the water, he couldn’t breathe.” Isaac rubs at his throat, his own breaths growing more rapid.
Stiles reaches out to touch Isaac but stops himself, “Isaac, Derek’s okay. Do you want to go see him?” He holds out his hand.
Isaac nods and takes it. Stiles leads them down the hall to where the classified BPRD room assignment files that Stiles totally didn’t hack into say that Derek’s staying.
Derek opens the door after two knocks, looking severely disgruntled.
“Isaac’s a little freaked out right now and he really needs to see you, so try not to say anything terrible and just let him in?” Stiles pleads.
Derek looks from Stiles to where Isaac is still hyperventilating and opens the door wider for them.
“Thanks,” Stiles says as he’s tugged inside by the hand Isaac still has wrapped tightly around his own.
Derek shrugs and switches on a desk lamp.
“Isaac you wanna sit down?”
Isaac nods pulls Stiles down with him onto Derek’s rumpled, still warm bed.
“Try and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, okay?” Stiles says softly, “Do you want to talk about it?”
Isaac nods, “You were drowning,” he says, looking at Derek. “Dark, It was so dark, I—you couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe, something kept pulling you, you couldn’t breathe.” Isaac says again before doubling over and hacking out a cough.
“Are you okay?” Stiles asks, wincing as Isaac squeezes his hand until Stiles can feel the bones grind against each other.
Isaac shoots up, staring at Stiles with wide, glowing, yellow eyes, “It will come in the night, devourer of children. Poisoning his blood until he sinks with it, all but his heart lost to the depths,” Isaac chokes out another cough that sounds a little too much like Stiles’ name and slumps forward into his lap.
Stiles looks from Isaac to Derek, “The fuck was that?”
Derek just shakes his head, “I should take him to Laura.”
“I’ll come with,” Stiles nods toward Isaac’s vice grip on his hand, “not like I have much of a choice.”
Derek nods and picks Isaac up gingerly, holding him bridal style. They wake Laura and follow her down to the med wing.
“I don’t want to look at his mind without his consent,” Laura says after Stiles tells her what happened, “We’ll just have to wait until he wakes up.”
Stiles drops into the chair beside the bed Derek deposited Isaac onto. Stiles had tried to pull his hand away earlier but it made Isaac’s breathing speed up so he’d resigned himself to sitting vigil at his bedside.
He looks out the glass door where Derek is talking quietly with Laura, Stiles is surprised when she reaches up and ruffles Derek’s hair. He’s even more surprised when Derek comes back in and takes the chair next to Stiles. They give each other a nod and settle in for the rest of the night.
When Stiles wakes, there’s something ridiculously warm pillowed under his head, he blinks his eyes open and realizes it’s Derek’s big red shoulder, it’d be a lot more embarrassing if Derek weren’t nuzzling his cheek against Stiles’ short hair in his sleep. Stiles’ feet are propped up on the bed, Isaac having switched to grabbing his ankle for dear life at some point.
He’s considering going back to sleep when he feels Derek wake up, muscles tensing. Surprisingly, the grumble that reverberates through his chest isn’t directed at Stiles.
“Laura,” He whispers tersely, probably thinking Stiles is still asleep.
Stiles doesn’t hear Laura respond, so he pulls himself away from Derek to see what she’s doing.
Laura has her phone out in a suspiciously post-photo-taking sort of way, “See? He’s already up,” she says, snapping another picture and flouncing away.
The pause that follows her exit is definitely awkward, so of course Stiles feels the need to break it, “Anyone ever tell you, you smell like dry-roasted peanuts?”
Derek looks at him like he’s a lunatic.
Stiles shrugs, “It’s nice. Aromatic.”
Derek rolls his eyes and for someone who previously divided up their time between a hell dimension and an Irish nature preserve, he sure knows a lot of derisive facial expressions.
“Anyway,” Stiles says, “what’s the word on lamb chop here?”
Derek cocks his head.
“How’s Isaac doing?”
“He hasn’t woken up, Laura thinks he might be a seer. She said visions usually take a lot out of them.”
“Oh my God,” Stiles says, “We get freaks when we’re not even trying.”
“Freaks?” Derek raises an eyebrow.
“Don’t worry, I’m taking it back. Reclaiming it for the people.”
“Are you hungry?” Derek asks, ignoring his weirdness.
Stiles blinks. “Kinda?”
Derek stands, “What do you want?”
“Milk,” Stiles says immediately, “Milk and a couple of those little tubs of creamer. Please?”
Derek nods and leaves him there, with his ankle in an adorable curly haired vice. Stiles drums his fingers on his thighs, trying not to think about how numb his wings are because that will only make it worse and he can’t stretch them because of said cuddly vice.
“Really appreciate if you woke up from your magic coma right about now dude.”
Isaac’s grip tightens and his eyes flutter open.
“I cannot believed that worked,” Stiles says, “I should try asking for stuff nicely instead of stealing it more often.”
“Stiles?” Isaac asks hoarsely.
“You mean before or after you foresaw Derek’s imminent doom?”
Isaac finally lets go of Stiles to rub his eyes, “Derek?”
“You had a nightmare about him drowning then your eyes went all glowy and you passed out.” Stiles shrugs, “word on the street is you’re probably a seer.”
“A seer, like psychic seer?”
Stiles grins, “welcome to Freaksville dude, population us.” He presses the button to call Laura back in the room and when she gets there, Derek’s close behind, a tray of fruit and dairy products in his hands.
“Isaac, how are you feeling?” Laura asks, in full doctor mode.
“Tired?” Isaac says, dragging a hand through his mop of hair.
“That’s to be expected.” Laura says, “Would it be all right if I took a peek into your mind to get a better idea of what happened last night?”
Isaac shrugs, “Sure.”
“Okay, just relax,” Laura says pressing her fingers gently against Isaac’s temple, “I won’t look at anything you don’t want me to see, I promise. Can you imagine your memories are like a series of files?”
“Like Dreamcatcher?” Isaac asks.
Laura laughs, “sure, if that helps. Now I need you to help me find last night’s file, can you do that?”
Isaac nods, “I think so.”
They go quiet for a minute and Stiles exchanges a worried look with Derek.
Laura pulls away with a heavy gasp, her eyes dart over to Derek, full of panic. “Oh my God.”
Stiles frowns, “I take it it’s as bad as it sounded last night.” He bites his lip, “Is Derek gonna be okay?”
Laura shakes her head, “I don’t know, prophecies are tricky. He didn’t see Derek die, he saw him drowning, felt the intent of whatever pulled him under. Even us hearing the prophecy could void it, the future can change once you know it,” she says reassuringly.
“And it’s not like something isn’t usually trying to kill us anyway.” Stiles says because again, his own reassuring skills need work.
Derek sighs and hands Stiles a bottle of chocolate milk.
“Don’t worry,” Stiles bumps his shoulder into Derek’s, “we got your back.”
Prophecies of doom aren’t as big a deal around the BPRD as one might think. Hell, back when Matt was around they got one every other week. Still, the thought of Derek dying is something Stiles can’t seem to shake. Which is why he’s more than a little nervous as they file in to the meeting room to get their next assignments.
Stiles frowns at the file Deaton hands him. “Back to Ireland?” Stiles scans further down the page. “For a haunting? Are you serious?”
Deaton sighs, “One of our prominent benefactors, Adrian Harris, believes his mansion is haunted and has requested we send a team out to deal with the matter.”
“Oh God, a vanity mission?” Stiles slumps back in his chair, “You want me and Allison to go over there and flaunt our weirdness for some rich dude’s amusement?”
“Actually, Allison’s needed elsewhere,” Deaton says, handing her a file.
She flips it open and groans, “Ogopogo again? At what point can I just shoot that thing in the face and be done with it?”
Lydia leans over Allison’s shoulder and shrugs, “It’d be economically efficient.”
Stiles is reminded why they’re the resident power couple at the Bureau.
“No,” is all Deaton says on the matter, “Stiles, I was thinking Scott, Derek and Dr. Morell could accompany you.”
“Derek? You don’t think that’s a bad idea?”
“I’m sure everything will be fine,” Deaton says.
Stiles sighs, “This is all feeling very Cassandra right about now.”
“I thought Derek would be a good addition since Harris would be delighted to know one of our agents is local to his area. Not to mention, it’s a very low risk assignment.”
“Well, maybe Isaac or Laura should come too.” Stiles tries.
“I don’t need a babysitter,” Derek finally speaks up, “It’ll be fine Stiles.”
Stiles thumps his head against the desk, “The more you say that, the more you ensure it really won’t be.”
It’s fine. A little boring sure, not to mention severely uncomfortable, what with Harris constantly looking them over like they’re some kind of science fair project and muttering “fascinating” and “remarkable” to himself like they aren’t actual people.
Okay, technically they aren’t ‘people’, but they’re close enough for it to be rude as all hell.
Stiles ducks down a hall to get away from the guy, claiming he needs to be alone in order to use his pixie magic to sense a spirit in the house. Harris nodding sagely in agreement with Stiles’ rampant bullshitting while Scott goes red in the face stifling a laugh behind him almost makes the trip worth it.
Stiles runs into Derek in the kitchen downstairs, blatantly raiding Harris’ fridge, he raises an eyebrow at Stiles.
Stiles walks up behind him and looks over his shoulder, “How’d you get away?” he asks, grabbing a soda.
“He’s the one who got away,” Derek says, pulling out half a cheesecake and setting it on the island in the middle of the kitchen, “I stared at him until he left me the hell alone.”
Stiles snorts and hands Derek a knife. When Harris walks in, sees Derek wielding a butcher knife and immediately turns tail Stiles dissolves into full on laughter.
“Oh my God, can you come on all our vanity missions, please?” Stiles leans on the island, “I wish I was scary instead of just weird looking.”
“You’re not weird looking,” Derek says, making even slices in the cake and shoving one at Stiles.
“Thanks, dude,” Stiles says, “You’re not funny looking either.”
“You just said I was scary.” Derek says, not helping the whole scary thing by licking the knife clean.
Stiles shrugs, “That’s not really the way you look though,” he says around a mouthful of cheesecake, “It’s your demeanor, majorly intimidating. If you actually smiled for once you wouldn’t look half bad.”
Derek bares his teeth in a way that’s less ‘nice to meet you’ and more ‘I eat puppies for breakfast’.
“You know, on second thought, stick with the scowling, it’s a good look for you.”
Stiles turns to the doorway when Morell clears her throat. She crosses her arms, “Technically we’re on an investigation.”
“We’re making sure the fridge isn’t haunted.” Stiles says, because it worked for Scooby and Shaggy.
Morell levels him with a look, “Well once you’re sure there are no poltergeists behind the mayonnaise, come to the front parlor, we’re doing a sweep with the EMF to prove there’s nothing here.”
Stiles rolls his eyes, “When’s this guy gonna admit he’s got some creaky beams and drafty windows in this place and just wanted a front row seat to the freak show?”
Morell sighs, “As long as he keeps donating, we have to put up with it,” she says, heading back out.
Stiles thumps Derek on the back, “Come on, big guy, time to put on a show.”
They putter around with the EMF for an hour or so until Harris is thoroughly satisfied and Stiles tries not to groan too noticeably when he insists they spend the night, setting them all up in his guest rooms.
Stiles peeks into Scott’s room and finds him aggressively texting. He looks up and smiles, “Hey dude, what’s up?”
“Nothing, you seen Derek? I wanted to watch TV and if Derek’s there I know Harris won’t come bug me.”
Scott scrunches up his nose, “I think he went for a walk outside.”
“Thanks bro,” Stiles says with a wave before heading back into his own room. He slides the window open and jumps out.
His wings catch the air and he glides lower. He dips down and back up as he laps the mansion. It’s cool out and it feels good to stretch his wings out in fresh air for once. He spots Derek about a half a mile away by a small lake, walking the length of the shoreline. Stiles dives down toward him when he sees where Derek is headed.
There’s a massive stallion standing at the shore, water lapping at its hoofs. Its coat is so black, Stiles can barely see it in the darkness. The only reason he can make it out is the shine of moonlight coming off its wet mane. Something clicks in Stiles’ brain as he heads for Derek as fast as he can.
He shouts for Derek to get the hell away from the thing but he’s too late, Derek’s already reaching a hand out to touch the horse’s flank. After his hand makes contact he stumbles and drops to the ground and the beast bites into the back of his BPRD jacket and pulls him into the lake.
Stiles doesn’t think twice before folding his wings up and plunging down after him.
The horse—kelpie Stiles realizes now—is sickeningly fast as it drags Derek deeper down and farther out. Stiles hits the water a short ways away and the thing bolts in the opposite direction, abandoning its dinner in its haste to get away. Derek starts to sink and Stiles dives under to get him, he manages to get a hold of Derek’s tail and wrestles him around until he can pull him to the surface. He argues with himself about whether or not Derek was under long enough for the voluntary apnea to quit and wonders if any of that matters under paralysis. His mind is racing and his heart is thrumming so fast he can barely hear the individual beats anymore.
Suddenly, thankfully, blessedly, Derek starts coughing, sour lake water dripping from his lips. He groans out something that sounds like ‘what’ and Stiles digs his fingers into the material of Derek’s shirt.
“You’re okay, I got you.” Stiles says, “I’m going to yell at you like a motherfucker for this later, but right now, I’m just gonna focus on the fact that you’re still alive.” Stiles reaches one hand to his hip to press his distress pager, “I can’t swim us back, but I can keep us up long enough for the team to get to us.”
“I can’t move, how are you going to keep both of us afloat?”
“If that was a jab at my physical prowess I won’t hear a word of it. It doesn’t matter anyway, I’m treading water with my wings, which are incredibly strong, thank you. Plus, I have hollow bones, I’m practically a floatation device.”
“Just don’t drop me.”
Stiles rolls his eyes, “Oh, thanks for the suggestion, I’m normally a big fan of drowning people I just rescued, but you’ve inspired me to change my ways.”
It’s over an hour before the team gets to them in one of Harris’ little motorboats and bring them back to shore.
“I should’ve known.” Stiles says after he and Scott haul Derek back inside and into a bed to wait off the paralysis. “It was so obvious.”
Morell puts a hand on his shoulder, “There’s no possible way you could have known.”
“I got handed a prediction on a silver platter and I didn’t figure out it was a kelpie until the damn thing hauled Derek off for surf and turf.”
Scott puts an arm around Stiles’ shoulders, “If Isaac had a premonition about it, it was probably inevitable dude. You saved him, that’s all that matters.”
It doesn’t feel that way to Stiles, but Scott’s puppy eyes are infectious and he feels some of the tension ease out of his shoulders.
When Stiles goes in to see him, Derek’s laying on his back, glaring up at the ceiling.
“I think it’s starting to wear off, your tail’s twitching.” Stiles says, sitting on the edge of the bed.
Derek’s brow furrows and Stiles feels something prod at his back.
“Oh, great it’s prehensile.” Stiles says when he realizes it’s Derek’s tail poking him. “You must be a riot at parties.”
“I’ve never been to a party,” Derek says.
Stiles shrugs, “you probably wouldn’t like it, it requires being around other people and acting civil.”
The corner of Derek’s mouth turns up, “Sounds awful.”
“How are you feeling?”
Stiles flops back on the bed so his head is by Derek’s feet, “No need to get sassy, I was just trying to ask after the guy whose life I saved.”
“I can beat you within an inch of your life and take you to Laura after to return the favor.”
“That’s sweet of you. Think I’ll pass though.” Stiles rolls over onto his stomach so his wings won’t cramp up worse they already after treading water for so long. “What I don’t get is, why in the hell would you go anywhere near a lake when someone just told you were gonna drown to death.”
“I don’t even remember going to the lake,” Derek says, “I went outside and the next thing I know, you were pulling me out of the water.”
“Clearly we need to update out intel on kelpies. Lore has it that once you touch them your hand gets stuck there and then you can’t get away. I guess it actually secretes a paralytic toxin from its skin. If I weren’t so traumatized, I’d be fascinated.”
“Why didn’t it kill me?”
“I was thinking about that. It ran as soon as I showed up. Pretty sure we have Amabilis of Riom to thank for that.”
“He’s a saint, I have his pinky bone. I keep it in my belt to ward off demonic possession but he also protects against wild beasts. Plus poison, fire, snakes and mental illness, but that’s not really pertinent to the situation.”
“Yeah, Deaton left this part out of the job description.”
Stiles laughs but it turns into a yawn, exhaustion finally catching up with him, “Hey Derek,” he says as his eyelids start to droop.
“I’m glad you’re okay, dude.”
Stiles is smart enough to feel an air of dread when Erica sits across from him at breakfast. They’ve been back at HQ for a few days but Stiles has spent most of the time sleeping off his adrenaline hangover.
“We’re going out,” she says.
“Out, out?” Stiles says around his eggs, “Have fun.”
“You’re coming too.”
Stiles raises an eyebrow, “I don’t go out.”
“Well you’re going to. I know you and Derek have had kind of a shitty time lately, so I’m taking you guys out.”
Erica rolls her eyes, “I’m a witch dumbass.”
Stiles drags his fingers over the skin on the back of his hand, the very pink, distinctly humanish skin on the back of his hand.
“What do you think?” Erica asks, holding a mirror in front of him.
Stiles cocks his head at the powerful glamour Erica’s cast. He looks sort of the same, his skin is pale with considerably fewer freckles and his eyes are way too small. At least he still has the same hair. The back of his plaid shirt no longer has a hole in it and there are absolutely no wings sticking out.
“I’m kinda ugly, no offense to your species or anything.”
Erica shrugs, “So you’re a cuter pixie than a human, no skin off my back.”
“Still in his room, go get him and meet me and Isaac in the garage, I’m parked up front.”
Stiles nods and heads toward Derek’s. He knocks on the door and is met with, well.
Derek’s certainly not bad as a human.
He still has the stubble and the eyebrows but instead of glowing blue, his eyes are now a warm hazel green. He has lightly tanned skin and his lips are much more noticeable now that they’re a soft pink. Not to mention the cheekbones, the cheekbones are still killer.
“Uh,” Stiles blinks, not sure if staring Derek in the face is making the situation better or worse. Either way he can’t stop because damn.
“Let’s go,” Derek says, pushing past him out the door.
Erica takes them all to the movies in her big blue jeep that Stiles loves way too much. The sit up in the back rows near the wall and Erica puts her purse on the seat between her and Stiles so he and Derek are separated from her and Isaac. He suspects she just wanted to get Isaac out on a pseudo date and decided to kills multiple birds with single stones.
“They better not start macking on each other,” he whispers to Derek.
Stiles cocks his head, “Macking, you know, making out, getting their swerve on, going for the Stanley Cup in tonsil hockey?”
Derek’s annoyed face is less intimidating when he’s human, Stiles suspects it’s the horns that really sell it.
“Kissing, putting your mouth on someone else’s mouth, occasionally copping a feel.”
Derek nods in understanding and looks up to where the screen is asking the audience to please silence their cell phones.
“Have you never…?” Stiles trails off.
Derek shrugs, still boring a hole in the screen with his green eyes.
It make sense, couldn’t have been too many people lining up to kiss the park monster back in Connemara. Stiles frowns, realizing how sucky Derek’s life must have been before. Sure Beacon Hills was awful, but at least there were other fae around. He leans over and gives Derek a quick peck on the cheek.
“Now you have,” he says, trying not to laugh at the way Derek has tensed up like a startled deer.
When he looks over to Erica she winks at him, but the previews start before he has a chance to ask why.
After the movie they walk through the mall for a while, Erica dragging them through various stores, buying clothes and accessories to add to her fabulous wardrobe.
“This is still so weird,” Stiles says looking over his hands in the edgy lighting of whatever store Erica has them in now. “I’m pink.”
“Shut up. You look fine.” Derek says, looking annoyed, instead of happy to be out in the world like a normal person.
Stiles rolls his eyes as he smoothly slips a particularly shiny watch off the display and into his pocket. “Easy for you to say, you’re hot.”
Derek grimaces like that’s some horrible burden, though the way the chick shelving t-shirts is looking at him is pretty creepy.
“Don’t pout, you’ve got an admirer.” Stiles nods toward t-shirt girl.
Derek’s frown deepens and he yanks Stiles closer, putting an arm around his shoulders.
“Whatcha doin’ there buddy?” Stiles asks because he’s pretty sure public manhandling isn’t the next step up from a friendly kiss on the cheek.
“This is what you did in California, to get the nymphs to leave you alone.”
“Oh, yeah, okay.” Stiles says, looking to where t-shirt girl seems to be torn between disappointment and asking them to join. Maybe Stiles is hot after all.
“We’re gonna go eat,” Stiles says, leading Derek to the front of the store, “Have fun.”
Isaac raises his eyebrow at them from the mountain of bags Erica’s surrounded him with. Stiles just shrugs in reply, grabbing Derek’s hand and heading for the food court.
“Why are you staring at me?” Derek asks once they’ve gotten a table.
“I wanna see your face when you try them,” Stiles says, pushing the tray with a beautiful pile of curly fries covered in delicious, melty cheese toward him.
Derek rolls his eyes and takes one. He pops it in his mouth and frowns as he chews, “This is horrible.”
Stiles pulls the fries back toward himself protectively, “What do you know? You lived in the forest most of your life.”
Derek shrugs and goes back to his chocolate milkshake. Which apparently brings all the weirdoes to the yard, because the woman at the next table is ogling him in a way that borders on aggressive.
Seeing how it’s starting make Derek uncomfortable, Stiles reaches over and grabs his hand and gives the lady a wide smile, “Can we help you?”
She stammers and shakes her head.
“Really? Because you were staring at this young man like you wanted him for dinner. Would you like to take picture so you can masturbate to it later, while he and I get seven kinds of weird in the back of a Chevy?”
The woman’s jaw drops impressively wide and she quickly gets up from her table and marches away.
Derek stares at the seat she vacated for a beat and snorts. Stiles looks from the empty chair to Derek and bursts out laughing, surprisingly Derek joins him, albeit much softer but still, he’s laughing and that’s kind of a minor miracle.
Stiles is in a crawl space.
Stiles is lying on his stomach in a crawl space in Louisville, Kentucky of all damn places because he makes very bad career decisions.
“Of all the parts of the myths to be true it had to be the bloody axe thing?”
“Are you really surprised?” Derek asks, he’s here too. In the crawl space. Hiding from the god damned Pope Lick Monster.
“It’s about on par with our luck huh? The axe thing, totally factual, the not leaving train trestle bit, no such luck.”
“The rest of the team is on their way, we just have to wait it out.”
Stiles sighs, “It’s a good thing I’m not claustrophobic.”
After a while Derek turns his head, eyes glowing in the dim light, “Stiles?”
Stiles hums a response from where he’s contemplating how much mold is down here.
“You’re on my tail.”
“My bad,” Stiles says, trying to shift around in the tight area.
Derek’s tail starts twisting beneath him, moving from where it was pressed against Stiles’ thigh to slowly drag across the front of Stiles’ canvas pants. Dragging in a not at all unpleasant way that is seriously inconvenient, considering Stiles is busy trying to hide from monsters and not be attracted to demons.
“Okay, yeah, stop moving.” Stiles says.
Stiles huffs, “Because I asked you to, and we’re friends so you’re going to respect my wishes.”
“Shut up, it’s almost out,” Derek says and his tail continues twisting until it flicks up between Stiles’ legs.
“Holy God,” Stiles says, burying his nose in the damp smelling earth because how can Derek just rub his tail all up on Stiles’ crotch and not notice what’s happening or how wrong it is because seriously, they just ran for their lives, Stiles should not even be capable of arousal right now.
“What is your problem?” Derek asks, annoyed.
“Problem? No problem here, I’m just hiding from a psycho, axe-wielding goat monster in a crawl space with my coworker who seems very intent on pleasuring me via the world’s first tail job.”
Derek stills next to him, “Sorry.”
Stiles doesn’t have a chance to respond because the monster chooses that moment to find them—really he should’ve seen it coming, they weren’t exactly the picture of stealth—and there’s a lot more shooting and scrambling away in terror.
The monster clips Stiles’ wing with its axe, leaving him with the slower much more awkward method of running for his escape. He doesn’t have to worry for long though because Derek comes up behind the thing and cracks it over the head with a sturdy looking branch.
“Why do we even give you guns?” Stiles asks. He reloads his shotgun and fires two shots into the back of the monster’s head. “Hey gang, Dust and Big Red checking in. We kicked Mr. Tumnus’ ass, move in for a bag and tag.” Stiles says over comms.
“You’re bleeding,” Derek says, reaching toward Stiles’ wing.
Stiles looks over his shoulder, “Oh shit, looks like I’ll be walking for a while,” The webbing is torn nearly to the bone, which feels like it might be broken. “Yeah, now that I’m no longer focused on not dying, that hurts a lot more.” Stiles blinks away the spots in his vision, “Does it look like I lost a lot of blood? It feels like I lost a lot of blood. I’m gonna sit down.”
“Close your wings,” Derek says coming up behind where Stiles is sitting. Stiles nods and forces his wings to fold against the pain. He hears something tear and feels Derek wrapping something tightly around his injured wing.
He looks behind him where Derek is shrugging off the tattered half of his shirt not currently binding up Stiles’ wounds, “You have got to be kidding me.”
“Laura taught me some first aid.”
Stiles laughs, “Did she also train you in emergency strip tease? Seriously, I feel like I’m in a bodice ripper novel, Love Amongst the Goatmen or something.” Stiles laughs some more and feels his head swim. He doesn’t faint, but it’s a near enough thing that Derek carries him back to the plane where he sleeps the entire flight back home.
He wakes up once they’re back in Jersey and someone must have done a more thorough fix on his wing because it’s wrapped in gauze and braced with a splint. When he goes in to see her, Laura tells him none of the bones are broken, but it’ll take a few weeks for the membrane to heal.
“Great, bed rest. You know how I love holing up in HQ for weeks.” Stiles sighs and hops off the clean white cot, “If you need me I’ll be in my room watching Star Wars, if I’m feeling particularly self-loathing I may even put on the prequels.”
“Don’t be such a crybaby, you’ll be back fighting horrible monsters in no time.” She gives him a kiss on the cheek, “Text me if you’re gonna watch Buffy.”
He gives her a nod and heads up to his room to spend time waiting for his membranes to heal, which is three steps below watching paint dry on Stiles’ personal boring meter.
Derek barges in as Vader’s getting his force choke on, Stiles doesn’t look up from where he’s lying on his stomach muttering about disturbing lacks of faith along with the movie.
“We watched this before,” Derek says looking at the screen.
They had, it was one of the first things Stiles had Derek watch in his pop cultural indoctrination. Stiles himself has seen it more times than he can count. It’s always been his thing, movies and television, it’s like looking in on a fish tank, getting to see what people do and how they act. It’s not quite the real thing but he figures all the basic parts are still there, just with more explosions.
“Yeah,” Stiles says, pausing the movie and getting up, “I’ll put in something else, you still haven’t finished the roaring ‘90s.” He switches the DVD and drops back onto the bed, lying on his stomach, he waves Derek over to join him.
Stiles gives Derek a serious look, “This is Will Smith, he is the greatest actor ever.” Derek rolls his eyes but sits and listens to Stiles’ explanation of how the theme song for the first three episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is longer than the version they use for the rest of the series’ run. He’s halfway through the cultural effects of this discrepancy when he realizes Derek isn’t paying attention to Stiles or the Prince.
“Dude, I am schooling you on American history right now, listen up.”
Derek frowns, eyes on Stiles’ back, “Does it hurt?”
Stiles looks over his shoulder, “What? My wing? Not really, Laura gave me some painkillers for the achey bits, the webbing kinda stings to the touch though.”
Derek’s hand hovers in the air before settling gently on Stiles’ back, careful of the bandaged wing. He starts rubbing small circles against the freckled skin and stares fixedly on the screen. Stiles lets him and watches Will cause a ruckus at Uncle Phil’s important dinner party.
Stiles starts to doze around the third episode and when he opens his eyes again the main menu’s popped back up on the screen, “I gotta change the disk,” he says through a yawn, but doesn’t get up. Derek’s still rubbing his back and Stiles is pretty sure his hands emit some kind of drug, because it feels way too awesome.
He rolls over onto his side and Derek’s hand stills at his hip, “What, exactly, is your deal?”
Derek cocks his head, “What’s yours?”
“I don’t have a deal. I just have a demon in my bed and I’m not sure what to do about it.”
“Oh,” Derek looks down at his lap for a while, when he looks up, he squares his jaw before slowly leaning over toward Stiles and planting a quick kiss on his cheek.
“Oh,” Stiles repeats, sitting up, “let’s try that again.” He beckons Derek closer with a wave of his fingers and settle his hands along Derek’s jaw so he can move him where he wants. He kisses him softly, wanting to ease him into it. At least, that’s what he’s intending to do until Derek presses back rough and hard.
“Whoa there, cowboy,” he says, pulling back slightly, “you can take your time, I’m not going anywhere.”
Derek licks his lips, “okay.” He leans back in and lets out a warm breath against Stiles’ lips that feels like steam.
Stiles tugs Derek’s bottom lip until he opens his mouth enough for Stiles to slot his own against it. The slide of Derek's tongue against his own feels like it could burn.
Stiles pulls back and shudders, "You run pretty hot, huh?"
Derek hums in agreement before kissing Stiles' jaw. He trails his mouth along it, moving closer to Stiles’ neck. He takes the skin beneath Stiles' ear in his teeth and worries at it until it's sure to leave a bruise.
"Holy God," Stiles says, "you're ridiculous."
Derek lets out a noise against his throat that's somewhere between a laugh and a groan. "Me?" His mouth latches on to the juncture of Stiles' neck so he can suck another bruise there. He pulls back and looks at Stiles, his mouth wet and his eyes glowing brighter than usual. “Do you have any idea what you look like?” His fingers slide down Stiles’ ribs until they hit the waistband of his sweats, his thumbs trace along the line of Stiles’ hips.
“Are you trying to tell me I’m cute?” Stiles grins.
Derek shakes his head, “You’re gorgeous.”
Stiles has a naturally quick heartbeat, but it manages to flutter a little faster for a second.
Derek smiles at him and it should be weird with the horns and the eyes, but it just makes Stiles want to laugh a little bit, because he can easily remember when Derek’s favorite form of communication with him was a slightly murderous scowl and now he’s smiling like Stiles is freaking Christmas come early and it’s pretty great.
Stiles rests his head against Derek's shoulder, "I'm gonna change the DVD now."
Derek makes a noise of protest and tightens his hand against Stiles' waist.
"Hey, while I am very supportive of your eager and willing attitude toward my body, I'm still injured and slightly hopped up on pain meds." He kisses Derek's forehead, "I'd like to be in peak condition for... that."
Derek sighs and lets him go.
“Not to mention,” Stiles says as he heads over to the TV to swap out the disk, “you’re pretty savvy for a dude who got his first kiss a few weeks ago.”
Derek frowns, “Laura found out I was interested in you, she showed me some things.”
Stiles blinks. “Define ‘showed’, because I was pretty sure she was giving you big sister vibes.”
“Videos,” Derek shudders. “She showed me videos, and books, and websites—it wasn’t pleasant.”
Stiles laughs as he flops down on the bed, tugging Derek to lay down with him. “You got the sex talk. You got the sex talk from your doctor big sister figure, I’m very sorry.”
Derek pulls Stiles closer, careful of his wing, and focuses on the TV. “Shut up.”
Stiles just grins and turns to watch the nest next episode. Right now, there's probably some ancient evil getting ready to wreak havoc or something else equally terrible, but Stiles has a box set of his favorite show and a demon curled up against him, so he decides to let it go and enjoy where he is.
Besides, all the best monsters are already on his side.