The night is so quiet.
Stiles is rather enjoying it, taking a leisurely stroll back to his trusty, old Jeep, instead of hurrying along like some might, if they were to find themselves, such as he is: alone in a darkened parking lot.
Bad things could happen to a person in this situation.
Stiles thinks there might be one happening to him right now.
He can feel it: someone is watching him. It's like an ice-cold hand running down his spine, letting him know someone is there. Once that feeling sets in, it's like the landscape shifts. The shadows begin to crawl toward him, the empty street begins to make strange noises, the wind all but abandons him. Stiles gives in to the urge to turn over his shoulder and check behind him for someone. Naturally, there's no one there. When he faces front again, there is though.
Stiles hadn't been expecting the local serial killer to be so handsome. He is though. Tall, dark, and unnerving, a stare that could pierce armor. He's sporting stubble that matches his raven's wing hair; it lines his finely cut jawbone and frames his dazzling green-hazel eyes opposite two heavy eyebrows. The scowl he wears would likely frighten most—he certainly does look like a serial killer in this moment—but Stiles is rather delighted by the adorable downturn of his lips.
Like a good victim, Stiles startles when he's faced with an unexpected stranger. Stiles, of course, had been expecting him.
"O-oh," he breathes out. It could pass for fright, but really it's barely reined-in anticipation.
"Sorry," the man says, flashing an alarmingly convincing smile, the scowl there and gone. "I didn't mean to startle you."
"Oh, that's all right," Stiles says, marveling at how quickly the guy managed to switch his expression from threatening to charming. No wonder he has such a high body count; people probably go with him willingly. Stiles gets too excited then. He loses his calm, fails to play it cool for just a second. He blurts, "My name is Stiles."
The man looks surprised for the briefest of moments, but then that debonair smile is back in place. "Derek," he replies.
Derek, Stiles thinks and his heart thumps loudly in his chest. He knows it to be the man's real name; after all, a fake one would be wholly unnecessary since Stiles will never have the chance to tell it to anyone. Stiles can feel the goofy smile spreading across his face, but he can't do a thing to stop it.
"I seem to be having a bit of bad night," Derek says, and Stiles is enraptured by that voice, pleasant and smooth. "I was supposed to be getting a ride from a friend, but they never showed. And my cell phone died around an hour ago—of course—and since payphones are a thing of the past, I've been kind of out of luck."
"Cell phone died," Stiles mutters, starstruck, "of course."
Derek looks a little uncertain for a beat, but recovers easily.
"Do you think I could borrow yours?" he asks.
Stiles giggles. He can't help it; this is just too wonderful. He's been waiting for this for so long and it's all just too much. He can barely even pretend to play along anymore. "Borrow my cell phone?" he repeats. Of course. If Derek has his cell phone, he can't call for help even if—especially if—he runs. "Sure. Of course. Let's go over to my Jeep. We can sit."
Derek hesitates for all of second; he seems a little unbalanced by Stiles' behavior, yet unwilling to give up his mark, just because they're a little giggly. Stiles bets he just thinks he's drunk or something.
They walk around to Stiles' blue box of a car; Stiles tries to keep the spring out of his step, but he's not sure he succeeds. He's just so overwhelmed—giddy from head to toe.
He's found his murderer!
And he's sure it's his murderer. This man could just as easily be a rapist or something else equally as crude and meaningless, but no. Stiles is positive: this man—Derek—is his killer. He can see it in him, that dark desire that lurks behind a mask of normalcy. It thrills Stiles, just thinking about it.
Instead of going to the driver's side door, Stiles opens up the back, pulling the creaky rear door open. Then he hops up to sit with his legs dangling over the edge. He kicks them back and forth happily, then looks to Derek. When Derek gives him a funny look, Stiles pats the spot beside him.
Derek shakes his head once, but comes. He's agile, that much is clear as he levers himself into the back of the Jeep with ease. Stiles feels his stomach swoop in anticipation.
He stares at Derek. Derek looks back at him.
When nothing happens for another moment or more, Derek raises a cupped palm and asks, "Um? Cell phone?" He's wearing gloves. Of course, he is. His hands had been in his pockets before—hiding the fact.
Stiles grins. "Oh, no. I'm not going to give you my cell phone." He kicks his feet some more.
Derek frowns in puzzlement, all innocent and sweet. "You're not?"
"No," Stiles replies cheerfully.
There's a small crack in Derek's mask, a miniscule break in his patience. "And why's that exactly?" Derek asks.
"Because your cell phone's not really dead and you don't really need to borrow mine so you can call someone for a ride," Stiles explains matter-of-factly.
Derek's faux-smile freezes. "Sorry—come again?"
"Don't worry, Derek. I won't call the police or anything."
Derek's routine drops away completely. He's scowling again. "What did you say?"
"I won't call the police," Stiles reiterates casually. "I won't even scream. Unless you want me to."
It's Stiles who startles Derek that time. "What," he says with a precious little pinch between his brows.
Stiles leans toward the solid mass of the other man. "I want this to be good for both of us, okay?" he says, breathy. "I want...I want you to get what you need when you kill me."
Derek jolts backwards, eyes wide and jaw set hard as he stares at Stiles, suddenly cagey. He doesn't say anything, but he doesn't have to. Stiles can see the fear that he's been caught, there behind his eyes, hiding behind a meager display of intimidation.
"It's okay, Derek," Stiles soothes. "There's nothing to be afraid of. I'm not going to turn you in. Why would I do that? I've been waiting for you for a long time."
"You've been waiting for me?" Derek demands, baring his teeth. His hackles are up and Stiles doesn't want that, doesn't want that at all.
"Derek. Derek, it's okay. You don't have to get all worked up," Stiles says. He lays a hand on Derek's arm; Derek jerks back immediately.
"Derek," Stiles appeases. "Don't you see? I know who you are and I...I've chosen you."
Derek searches Stiles' face, trying to make some sense of his words.
"You're my killer, Derek," Stiles says, voice full of derangement and joy. "I want you to be the one who kills me."
Derek stares at him. "You...want me to kill you?"
"Yes! Yes, I do, very much!" Stiles enthuses. "I've been following your case, see."
Stiles gets a manic gleam to his eye as he explains excitedly, "I—I work in the crime lab. At the police station. I—I've seen dozens of murderers' work, I've studied them and solved them and broken them down to their bare bones and, and, and I chose you! Out of all of them that I've seen, I never liked any of them enough, but you, Derek—you are worthy of taking my life. There's no one better to do it."
Stiles grabs onto Derek's arm again, both hands this time, like a child begging. Derek looks down at the hands, but doesn't shake them off, too wrapped up in what he's being told.
"It has to be you, Derek," Stiles whispers. "I want it to be you. Your work is so beautiful and you—you haven't been caught. We can't even figure out how you get away with it so cleanly! I had no idea—no idea it was you! I just put myself in your path so you would find me. This is the eighth night I've done this and here you are! Here you are, and it's finally my turn! I've been so jealous of all those other victims, you have no idea. Please, Derek. Kill me. Cut me. Rip me open. Please. I need it to be you."
Derek has nothing to say. He continues to stare into the eyes of the madman before him, completely flabbergasted.
Stiles frowns suddenly—pouts really. He looks up at Derek and says, "Damn. I got so excited, I didn't even get to see how you do it. But you'll still give me the full experience, won't you, Derek? You'll lure me in like you did all those others? There's never been any signs of a struggle, that's the really remarkable part of it all, you know. Because there's no sedatives or anything else either. How do you do it, Derek? You'll show me, won't you?"
Derek swallows; takes a calming breath; tries to get his bearings.
When he finally finds his voice again, all he can manage to get out is, "Why?"
Stiles blinks, big, whiskey eyes all perfectly beautiful, gone and back again from behind sooty lashes. "Why what?"
"Why would you...want me to kill you?"
"I already told you," Stiles says, smiling, "because you're worthy of it."
"No, why do you want to be killed in the first place? By anyone?"
"Oh. Well." Stiles shrugs. "I imagine it's because there's something very wrong with me. See, I've been obsessed with death my whole life...Ever since my mom died...and then my dad...and, and I've studied it, you know. Death. Murder. Brutality and all the other darkest and vilest aspects of human nature. The motivations and the causes and the delicate crimes of the truly insane and...And I...I just wanted that. For myself. I wanted to be the whole focus of another person in my moment of death. To die...to die like that, being all the other person is thinking about, to be the entirety of their thoughts in your final moments...how special it must be to die at the hands of someone thinking of you and only you."
Stiles sighs dreamily and Derek blinks at him.
Then Derek laughs. A low, throaty sound that is only audible because Stiles is so close to its source.
It's Stiles' turn to blink at Derek.
"What? What's so funny?"
Derek shakes his head, still chuckling to himself. When he finally raises his face to look at Stiles, he smiles, genuinely this time, and says, "I'm not going to kill you, Stiles."
Stiles' face falls, so utterly, so completely, that Derek almost feels bad about it. Almost.
"What?" Stiles whimpers, bereft.
Derek shakes his head once more. "I'm not going to kill you, Stiles."
Fury quickly lances through Stiles. "Well, why not?" he demands. "Is it—is it me? I don't—you don't have a clear type, so I thought you'd accept me, but maybe we missed something. Or is it because I'm so eager? I-I'll tone it down, Derek, I promise. I'll put up as much of a fight as much as you want me to. Come on, Derek."
Derek's mouth quirks in a small, close-lipped smile. He gazes at Stiles for a long moment; the young man really is eager. But Derek can't give him what he wants.
"You don't get it, Stiles," Derek tells him. "You think you do, but you don't. You're missing the heart of the matter here. You don't understand what killing is really about at all."
"What…? But…" Stiles looks so, so lost.
Derek strokes his smooth cheek on impulse; the man is rather endearing. Stiles leans into the touch, eyes large and watery as they watch Derek, as they beg him for an answer. Derek cups his jaw, fingers curling possessively behind Stiles' ear.
"Have you ever killed anyone, Stiles?" Derek asks.
Stiles blinks, big, bright, Bambi-eyes, shining. "No."
Derek lowers his hand. "Then there's your answer."
Stiles stares at Derek mutely, pink lips parted around nothing, because he can find nothing to say.
Derek slides down from the Jeep. In spite of himself, there is a small smirk on his lips. Tonight may not have been what he had in mind—but it was fun.
He slips his hands inside his pockets. "Good night, Stiles," he tosses over his shoulder as he walks away.
"D—Derek!" Stiles calls after him in frustration. "Don't go! I can fix this! I can understand! Just tell me and I'll understand!"
Derek looks back at him, but keeps walking. "No. You won't."
Stiles' jaw quakes as he watches his murderer leave. He can barely process the fact: his murderer is walking away from him.
"No, no, no, no," Stiles chants under his breath. He feels panicky, like the opportunity of a lifetime is slipping away from him and he'll never get it back.
This isn't how this was supposed to go. This wasn't the plan. The plan was to attract the attention of the serial killer prowling Beacon Hills then die in ecstasy at his hands. Stiles was supposed to die and instead he's sitting here feeling embarrassed and hurt.
He should be hurt all right, but it should be physical, it should be because his hands have been chopped off and his abdomen split open. But all he feels is this emotional sting. He feels—jilted, of all things.
Stiles gets into the driver's seat and doesn't really remember getting home. He stumbles to his bedroom in a daze, sits and kicks off his shoes. He removes his shirt and jeans and then drifts into the bathroom. He cranks the faucet on but doesn't pull out his toothbrush or his facewash. He braces his hands on the cold edge of the sink and leans over it, staring at the water swirling down the drain.
Derek said he wouldn't understand. But Stiles doesn't understand that. He's studied everything. Everything there is to know about death and murder and torture and horrible crimes of violence, Stiles has devoured it all, like an insatiable beast. He knows the motivations of over one hundred convicted murderers and serial killers from the past several centuries and he knows why they do it. Because their victim satisfied them in some way, because their victim fulfilled some need for them, because their victim was what they liked.
Yet Derek tells him he doesn't understand. And really, if Stiles thinks about it, maybe he doesn't. Maybe there is a difference between knowing and understanding.
So Derek is right then: Stiles doesn't understand.
Stiles looks up from the sink, gazes at his reflection in the mirror. His mouth sets into a hard line and his eyes gleam back at him ferociously.
He may not understand; but he certainly knows how he might fix that.
Derek takes a deep breath before he sets the blade to flesh. The fine teeth of the saw settle into the notch above the knobby bone of her wrist. He hasn't even pressed down yet and the woman screams.
It's a woman this time, decently pretty, early thirties, dark hair and brown eyes. Derek doesn't really care. It's not about what they look like.
The duct tape over her mouth muffles her cries; no one will hear her outside of this room. No one would hear her anyway likely because of the room's location, but Derek takes the precaution anyway. Only Derek hears her. He's right there with her. But the screams are not what he's after either.
Hot tears race down her blotchy cheeks, have been for a while now. Derek reaches up to wipe them away again, before returning to the task at hand.
The task at hand happens to have a lot to do with hands.
Derek applies force and then draws back with the saw.
The woman screams even louder, but it's barely noticeable through the tape.
Derek's hand moves forward, then drags back toward him.
She's jerking now, violently, trying desperately to get away. It's stupid, but Derek supposes it's just human nature to put up a fight, even if it's a hopeless one. The straps on the table will hold her down, hold her in place. She can struggle all she wants; it's useless.
Blood spurts out, creating a crimson line across Derek's chest, his face. He's hit a vein then. He continues moving the saw: back and forth; back and forth.
The bones are the hardest to get through. Sometimes Derek wishes he had a bone saw, but the hand saw from the hardware store will have to do. The ownership of a bone saw would just be too suspicious.
Derek just works really hard at the bones.
They crack and crunch a little as they come apart and the squelching sound of blood being displaced is enough to make lesser men vomit. But it's a sound Derek has come to find almost soothing over the course of his kills.
The hand comes free. Derek sets the saw aside and lifts the appendage to look at it for a moment. He cradles it between his own two hands and presses his thumbs into the palm, stroking gently. He turns and carefully places the severed hand in a wooden box. Then he turns back to the woman and does the exact same to her other hand.
The woman has stopped screaming by the time the second hand is detached. She's exhausted herself and the tears are halfhearted at best now. Her head lolls to one side, the whole line of her body defeated.
Now that Derek's work is done, next comes the fun part.
He trades the hand saw for a knife. It's a simple kitchen knife, the kind one pulls from a cutting block, the kind everyone has. It's serrated too, because Derek finds he likes that.
He bends down and turns the crank for the table. He doesn't like to think about why this table is here, but he appreciates that it is. It's handy to not have to manually move someone just to get them upright.
The woman whimpers, looking around as the table slowly tilts until it's ninety degrees from where it was, perpendicular to the floor now. She shudders as blood rushes to her stumped wrists, slows at the pass of a tourniquet on each limb, splats onto the floor one drop at a time.
Her eyes find Derek's. Begging. Pleading. Whether it's for death or freedom, it's anyone's guess now.
Derek approaches her, knife in hand, and meets those imploring eyes with a cool, emotionless stare.
"I want to thank you," he says.
"This is the only way I can feel it," he says.
"It will be over soon," he says.
Then he sticks the knife into the base of her gut. He goes in from the bottom, shoved up into her belly, like a pike. She writhes and some skin rips, catches on the sharp peaks of the blade, and tears wide open. Derek watches for a moment, then moves the blade himself. He drags it up, up, up, toward her chin, the teeth of the knife pointing in the direction of the path it takes. The flesh parts easily, messily, the jagged edge separating it inch by inch. The line it leaves behind is crooked, and terrible to behold, like a craggy canyon that one could fall into and never see the bottom of. This canyon though, runs red. And Derek knows there is a bottom.
He stops when the knife meets with the bottom of her sternum, then withdraws.
Her head hangs. She's too weak for much else, lost too much blood to even muster up one last sob. Blood runs down her legs, past her feet, pools onto the floor.
Derek grabs a handful of dry hay from a garbage can he keeps to one side. He shoves it into the wound in her stomach, pressing in until his fist finds the back of her, knuckles caressing spine.
She jerks, twitches, spasms. She's making noises that barely escape past the tape over her mouth.
Derek removes his hand, gathers up another fistful of straw, and repeats the process. He repeats the process until she's full, stuffed like a scarecrow.
Then he snatches up a box of matches from the table, shuffles one out, and strikes it on the side of the box. He stares at her for a moment, her body seeping blood, straw sticking out of her, hands missing, as she dangles like a puppet. Then he steps forward, grips her by the hair and tilts her head back so he can see her face. He watches her face, watches her eyes, as he takes the match and sets it to the straw.
The flames leap to life and Derek watches.
Her eyes go wide in one last bout of fear. She strains for one final moment and then…
And then she's gone. The light leaves her eyes and Derek watches it go, entranced.
Then she's nothing but a hollow shell, an empty doll, lit ablaze from the inside out. Derek releases her hair and her head drops back down, limp and heavy. Smoke curls up from the opening in her belly and Derek watches it rise slowly out through the exhaust vent that sucks it all away and releases it in several locations across the forest so that one source can never be pinpointed. She'll burn out before long, the gasoline on the hay finally losing its fight with the lack of oxygen inside her. But Derek likes to watch for the minute or so that the flames peak out from her abdomen. When the flames finally die, he turns away from the corpse.
He grabs his wooden box of mementos and retreats from the room. Soon, he'll return and take care of the mess. Soon, he'll clean and sharpen his tools and remove the remains of the body and dump them in the woods somewhere. But first he has something he needs to do. Something far more important than clean-up.
It's the whole reason he kills after all.
Later as he cleans, oddly, Derek finds himself thinking of Stiles.
He wonders what it would have been like to kill Stiles. If the man could have made good on his promise not to scream or if he would have broken. He wonders if Stiles would have wanted to die at Derek's hands, once he had seen Derek's blank expression when he split him open and stuffed him full and lit him up.
Derek stops thinking about Stiles soon enough and keeps mopping.
It's as he's watching the news that night that he sees it.
A body has turned up.
Derek finds that curious since he's still got the woman's corpse down in the tunnels.
It's definitely not one of his though. As the news anchor plainly says: this is clearly the work of another killer.
The hands aren't missing. But something else is.
The report says the victim sustained massive blood loss, cut open down the middle of his sternum. That that's what killed him.
But the killer didn't stop there. Perimortem the man's ribs had been cracked open like a walnut. And then?
The man's heart had been cut out. It's reported to be missing from the scene.
Most interestingly however is the fact that flowers had been shoved inside the hole and then lit on fire, inferred as an homage to Derek's work.
Derek knows immediately it's Stiles.
They're calling him the Tin Man, complement to Derek's Scarecrow Killer.
Derek smirks. Looks like the Tin Man is getting to the heart of the matter after all.
Stiles isn't an expert at this. His methods are crude, he knows. But he likes to think he's doing a pretty good job.
He's on his second victim now. This one's a girl, probably only eighteen or nineteen. Stiles had offered to give her a ride into town, when he noticed her with a broke-down vehicle out by the preserve. He still doesn't know how Derek does it, but he uses a syringe full of vecuronium bromide to get them into a compliant position. The paralytic keeps them neatly immobile, but fully awake.
Then he takes them to his apartment. He pulls into his garage and no one sees him take them up the stairs. He does it in the kitchen, not for any real reason, mainly just because that's the room the stairs let out into after the small utility closet where the washing machine and dryer sit.
Stiles isn't stupid. He helps solve crimes for a living and he knows how to not get caught. Still as much planning for disposal as he had done, he hadn't really thought about his message beforehand.
But it comes to him during his first vic, some sleazy middle-aged guy in a cheap suit that he lured in by pretending to solicit sex. When he's leaning over the guy's paralyzed body with his terrified eyes watching him, Stiles grins sheepishly and apologizes to him, says, "Sorry. You're my first," as he decides what he's going to do to him. Then he remembers Derek's words and he goes for the poultry shears in his knife block because he doesn't know what else will cut through bone. And then he's chopping through breastbone and splitting rib cage in twain.
He takes the hearts because that's what he's after. He doesn't think of the flowers until he's dumping the body in the woods and he sees some wildflowers nestled together and he goes to pluck them. He likes them. He likes the flowers and he likes that they're for Derek. He hopes Derek likes them too.
The teenage girl currently on his linoleum floor is staring up at him in fright. He's straddling her, because it's the best position to be in for what he's about to do. Stiles shushes her quietly, gently. He picks up the poultry shears.
He levers them open and then sets them to her shirt. The material parts easily under the sharp blades, as does her bra.
Then Stiles sets the tip of the shears to her flesh. Just below the sternum, right where he knows for a fact Derek's incisions end. Then he presses down.
The girl starts trying to scream.
She can't really though, because the paralytic has also affected her vocal chords. What comes out is a shrill sound, hoarse and gasping and barely above a whisper. Stiles finds himself smiling down at her. How silly of her to try.
Stiles closes the shears. The blades make their first cut; the bone crunches between them, a harsh sound, loud, louder even than the girl's rasping screams. He can tell she's trying to jerk away, but can't. The drug keeps her perfectly immobilized for Stiles.
He makes another cut and another and another, working his way up until there's no more bone to chew through. The scissors are pried free from the girl's chest cavity and set aside.
She's convulsing now. The pain is probably too much for her to process really. Stiles is surprised she hasn't blacked out.
Stiles reaches in and feels the warmth of her blood even through his gloves, feels the way it shifts the rubber until it clings to Stiles' skin, pressing in all around him.
He curls his fingers and pulls, pries apart her ribcage and watches in fascination as she squirms to the best of her limited mobility; as tears stream down her face; as she blinks against the pain because it's all she can do—
As her eyes meet his one last time.
This is downright exhilarating. She's in so much pain, yet she's stiff as a board, unable to writhe. But Stiles can see it all, right there in her eyes.
There's a resounding crack as the ribs finally peel back and break, and then she's gone. She's left lying there, mouth gaping and eyes empty. Her heart slows, beats a few more pitiful, sluggish beats before it stops completely.
Stiles breathes for a moment, just taking in the sight.
Then he lifts up his father's classic shaving razor.
There was, oddly enough, not really much of a decision when it came to the shaving razor. It was just something he did without thinking about it. The razor means something to him, his father's heirloom, so it was automatically the tool he chose for the job.
He inserts it in between the heart and the left lung, curving the blade up and around to sever the aorta. Then he continues his path all the way around the organ, until it comes free from the chest cavity. He lifts it up out of its slot and holds it up to look at it in the light. He's seen plenty of hearts before, but there's something just so captivating about one he's taken for himself.
He looks at it and thinks of Derek.
It's been three weeks.
Derek hasn't seen Stiles since their first encounter, but two more bodies have turned up and Derek must admit he's enjoying it greatly.
Derek is out hunting tonight, half hoping for a victim, half hoping for Stiles.
It's a victim he gets.
A young man walking alone to his car late at night. Not another soul in sight.
Derek finds approaching someone where they can see him usually spooks them, which is why he's perfected the art of appearing suddenly when they're not looking. The man startles, like always, but Derek has also perfected the art of the disarming smile, so his mark relaxes almost instantly.
He gives him the spiel about the cell phone. The man easily agrees. Derek dials a number of a local business that automatically goes to voicemail at the late hour. He puts on a good show of sighing, saying, "Voicemail. His phone must be dead too."
Derek tilts his head back to stare at the sky. "Yeah. What really sucks though is getting high alone. Guess I don't got much of choice though now, do I?"
The guy shifts from foot to foot a little. He pauses, but then he says, "I get high," with a shrug.
Derek swings his head back down. Yahtzee. "Yeah?"
Another shrug. "Yeah."
Derek tilts his head a little. "You wanna get high then?"
"Sure, man. My place or yours."
"Mine," Derek says, smiling a smile with too much teeth.
Sometimes it's getting stood up on a date. Sometimes it's "my car ran out of gas, I don't live far." Sometimes it's "I just wanna forget everything for a while." Whatever it is, it always works. Derek reads a person and goes with the most likely scenario they'll fall for. Then he smiles and chats and generally acts like a perfectly normal human being. And they go with him.
They'll let Derek get in their car with them and Derek will take them to the loft, a property he's owned for some time and used to live in while the renovations on his house in the woods were finished. Once they're at the loft it's pretty easy from there. Sometimes they'll willingly pop a pill for him while Derek takes placebos and pretends. Sometimes it's a simple matter of spiking the wine. Regardless of how, they always ingest the dangerously high amount of Valium Derek needs them to; Derek had been prescribed the drug for anxiety, but had never taken it himself, choosing to deal with his issues in a different way.
Once they're high as a kite, it's easy to manhandle them into his car. Their car is left behind, on any unassuming street in the warehouse district with no indication of where they might have gone once they got out of it.
From there Derek takes them out to the woods; to the tunnels.
They always start coming around just about the time Derek's strapping them down to the table.
The guy tonight is no different.
It's another two days before Derek finally sees Stiles again. Well, he sees Stiles' unmistakable Jeep. He wonders briefly how the hell Stiles is staying under the radar with that thing.
Derek tosses aside all thoughts of a kill tonight and instead lurks by Stiles' Jeep, waiting.
Stiles returns eventually, alone, Derek is pleased to see. Derek is leaning against the driver's side door when Stiles rounds the vehicle. He looks dejected; an unsuccessful night of hunting, Derek knows the look. However, he brightens immediately when he spots Derek—after the initial spook, of course.
"Derek," he breathes, all flushed cheeks and bright eyes and perfect lips.
"Stiles," Derek intones.
Stiles bites his lip, like he can't keep the excitement at bay. Then he sidles a little closer to Derek, leaning up against the Jeep to mirror him.
"Did you get my flowers?" he asks, looking down shyly.
"I did," Derek says.
Stiles peeks up at him, nervous. "Did you like them?"
"I loved them," Derek says.
Stiles outright beams.
"I didn't," he says, shakes his head, starts again, "I didn't really think about them. Beforehand or anything. But when I was dumping the first body, there they were and I—I liked them. And I thought you might like them too."
"They were beautiful," Derek says, smiling. Stiles is pleased to see it's sincere and not part of his usual ploy.
"Thanks," Stiles says.
Derek takes a step forward, causing Stiles to look up at him from where he's still slouched against the car.
"Have you figured out the heart of the matter yet, Stiles?" Derek asks.
Stiles blinks up at him. "No," he admits.
Derek nods. "Do you still want me to kill you?"
"Yes!" Stiles replies immediately, adamantly. "And I'll figure it out, Derek, I will!"
"I know you will," Derek says, leaning in a bit, putting his face a bit closer to Stiles'.
Stiles' lips part.
"Derek?" Stiles asks, looking at Derek's mouth.
"Mhm?" Derek says, smirk dancing across his lips.
"Would, um...would you show me?"
Derek tilts his head. "Show you what?"
"How you do it," Stiles says breathily. "I...I want to see you kill."
Derek grins, all teeth. "Now that would be cheating, Stiles."
The brunette pouts. It's adorable. "Fine," he says, then insists, "but someday."
"Oh, yes. Someday, Stiles."
Derek brings up a hand and caresses Stiles' cheek. The touch draws the other man out of his pouting and his eyes land on Derek. They're like big harvest moons, those eyes. Derek wants to possess those eyes.
Huh. That's an old, forgotten emotion that hasn't been dusted off in a long time.
"I have something for you," Derek tells him, brushing a thumb under his eye.
Stiles perks up. "You do?"
"Yes. I'd been hoping to run into you for a while now."
Derek reaches into his pocket with one gloved hand. When he removes it, he turns it over and reveals a little bundle of straw with a red ribbon tied around it.
Stiles gasps hugely, eyes alight with pleasure.
"Derek! You didn't!"
Stiles snatches up the straw and brings it to his nose to smell. It smells like gasoline; he could faint.
"You shouldn't have," he says, swaying in close to Derek.
"I wanted to," Derek says. "You got me all those flowers. I wanted to give you something back."
"This is from your stash?" Stiles asks him.
"Straight from the stockpile," he replies.
"Oh, Derek," Stiles says, then looks into his face.
Derek strokes his cheek again, his jaw, his neck. Then he presses in close and seals his mouth over Stiles'. Stiles gasps, lips parting divinely, and Derek thrusts his tongue in, slow and dirty.
One of Stiles' hands curls into Derek's jacket, gripping tight.
Then Derek pulls back, gliding backwards, away. Stiles stares after him, dumbfounded.
"Good night, little Tin Man. Until next time."
"Good...night…" Stiles leans against the side of his Jeep and sighs like a schoolgirl in love.
Stiles dreams of it.
He tries hard to envision the room they're in, but always comes up lacking. He can only infer so much from the evidence of the bodies and he doesn't think he's ever quite gotten it right.
He dreams of being strapped to Derek's table. He imagines Derek leaning over him, stroking his face as he prepares his saw. His subconscious always skips over the hands part, but that's okay. He likes what comes next better anyway.
He dreams of Derek leaning in close, breath hot on his chin as he whispers to Stiles what a perfect victim he is. Derek will taste him one last time, mouth moving hard against his with intent to claim. Finally, Derek will run a gloved hand down Stiles' bare abdomen, marking the path his knife will take shortly. Then the blade will plunge into his stomach all hot pain and perfect agony.
Derek will be slow with Stiles, dragging the knife up an inch at a time and watching Stiles' face the whole while. Then Derek will grab fistfuls of straw and stuff Stiles full with kindling. Stiles doesn't imagine he'll be feeling much at all by then, but he'll still keep his eyes on Derek. He'll keep his eyes on Derek until the very last.
He'll keep them on Derek as he lights a match and waves it in front of Stiles' face. He'll watch it as Derek grins at him and tells him he loves him.
He'll keep watching as Derek sets fire to him and burns him up, mind, body, and soul.
Stiles always wakes sweaty and hard, heart thundering away, when he has these dreams. In a half-awake daze he'll fumble into his nightstand for the little bundle of straw. He'll clutch it tight as the smell of gasoline and hay fills the air mixed with the scent of his sex. He'll stroke his cock and think of Derek's cool gaze and cruel smile. Then he'll come with Derek's name on his lips and a bloodlust so strong he doesn't think anything will ever satisfy it again.
Then he goes out and hunts.
The answer comes to Stiles on his sixth victim.
It's as he's gritting his teeth and pulling with all his strength on the man's ribcage that he gets it.
He understands now.
The bones fracture and Stiles' hands slip right off them, he's not paying any attention anymore, too overcome by his epiphany. He leans over his work, hands braced on the blood-slick tile as he pants, lets the notion truly sink in.
"I get it," he says in awe.
The man's eyes roll back in his head; he's already gone. But Stiles doesn't need him to respond anyway. He's got it.
He's finally got it.
Stiles gets so excited about this that does a poor job of cutting the heart out, rather butchering it in the process. But he doesn't care.
Because he's got it.
It's dusk the next day and Derek hears a rap upon his door.
He pauses, curious as to who that could be. Deciding he'd better go see, rather than ignore it, he pulls the glove he had just put on right back off and tucks the pair away in a drawer.
When he opens the front door, it's none other than Stiles.
"Stiles," he says, happy to see him, but confused all the more by his presence.
"Derek," Stiles responds. He looks manically gleeful and Derek really begins to wonder what this is all about.
"What are you doing here?" Derek asks. "At my house…"
"I looked it up at the station. Found your picture on your driver's license. I hope you don't mind," Stiles says quickly, perfunctorily. Then a little cheekily, he adds, "Mr. Hale."
Derek shrugs. "No changing it now. But you're here because…?"
"I got it, Derek!" Stiles exclaims. "I got it! I understand now!"
Derek's eyebrows jump in surprise, mouth falling open fractionally. Then he smiles. "Oh, do you now? Well then? What's killing all about?"
"It's about me," Stiles enthuses. "It's all about me, not the victim! It's totally selfish! The victim couldn't matter less!"
Derek's smile grows. "That's right, Stiles," he says.
Stiles flails a little, doing a full body-wriggle of excitement. "I knew it! Yes!"
Derek chuckles, sharing in Stiles' joy.
"So will you show me now?" the young man says suddenly.
Derek has to blink, think about it before he remembers what Stiles means. "Oh. Me killing someone?"
Stiles nods hugely.
Derek smirks. "Sure. Let me grab my gloves, we'll go grab somebody."
"Uh, actually," Stiles says, scuffing his toe on the porch. "I, uh...I may have somebody in the back."
He tilts his head toward his blue Jeep.
"Stiles…" Derek says slowly, "did you bring me a victim?"
Derek grins right back. "You shouldn't have," he echoes.
"I wanted to," Stiles parrots right back.
Derek leans in and plants a kiss on Stiles' mouth. It's chaste compared to the last one, to the ones Stiles fantasizes about, but Derek's tongue flickers out to taste before he pulls back. He smiles winsomely at Stiles.
"Well, then. Shall we?"
Derek is covered in blood, his apron and gloves stained dark with it; the man Stiles delivered to him hangs smouldering on the rack. Stiles has just witnessed Derek kill and he just can't help himself: he pounces.
The sex is filthy. Smeared in blood as they are, on the hay-strewn floor of the tunnel system, a few feet from a victim's corpse. Derek's stubble leaves all kinds of delicious scrapes across Stiles' jaw and neck and chest. Stiles' fingernails leaves admirable gashes all along Derek's shoulders and sides.
When Derek spears Stiles in half, cock thrust deep into him, it's almost like being cut open. Stiles can imagine it, can picture being split right down the middle, and he shudders. Derek holds him together, only so he can unravel him one piece at a time as he rams into him, unrelenting and unforgiving, harder than anything Stiles has ever experienced.
Stiles bleeds a little.
Afterwards, Derek has to do something with the hands. Stiles follows along, barely shuffled back into his clothes. They wander down to a different end of the tunnel system. He's surprised to see they're strung up above what appear to be crude, charred gravemarkers. Ten of them.
When Stiles asks, Derek explains, "My family. Tortured and murdered one by one right here in the tunnels by a psychopath named Kate Argent. Then she burned the house down and burned up all the evidence. I...I watched them all die. Right in front of me. Killing is the only way I can feel close to them. When I watch the light leave someone's eyes, it's just like it was then. I can relive it in a way and remember them."
"And the hands?" Stiles asks gently.
Derek smirks, rueful and bitter. "My sister Laura was right next to me. We were holding hands...She was the last one. Kate...Kate took an axe and chopped away at Laura's wrist until her hand came loose and I was still holding it. Just...holding it...Kate didn't realize she had accidentally chopped away some of my restraints too. I got free, just as she killed Laura. Kate was too blood-frenzied to notice until it was too late.
"I didn't kill Kate until many years later though. I ran. I was too scared. She stayed behind and destroyed my family's house. I...I still had Laura's hand in mine." Derek indicates the single appendage, withered and gray, with no match on the left.
"I'm sorry, Derek," Stiles says, lacing his hands with Derek's and leaning his head on the other man's shoulder. "I'll bring my hearts. They can be with your family too."
"Thank you," Derek says softly. Then, "That's why I'm insane. What about you? " Derek says, voice teasing, but the words wholly serious.
Stiles doesn't smile. "I already told you. My mother died of an illness when I was eight. Brain cancer. I was in the hospital room when she flat lined. Saw the whole thing. Then, when I was ten, my dad was shot in our own house right in front of me by some guy out for revenge and I…" Stiles huffs. "The guy. He turned around and saw me and just—he was going to shoot me so I ran. He chased me. He tripped. Somehow he shot and killed himself. It was an accident. But I watched him die too. And it was different, you know? It was different from mom and dad. It was like…like watching a scientific experiment. Not really feeling it, detached, just watching... It made me realize how important the way you die is. Mom said she loved me, and she was sad, but not afraid. Dad was trying to protect me, and he was angry but not afraid. But Donovan...He was afraid. I became obsessed with death to the point where I was no longer afraid of it, I craved it. I was such a dark little kid, always stalking crime scenes until I finally got to work at them professionally."
"You're a dark adult, too," Derek says, pressing a kiss to Stiles' temple.
A silence passes.
"Do you still want me to kill you, Stiles?" Derek asks.
Stiles shrugs. "I don't know. I kind of like killing. Makes me feel powerful. Like I'm in control. Don't feel that way too often."
Derek nods, understanding.
"Besides," Stiles says on a grin, "you sort of ruined my whole reason for wanting to be murdered by teaching me what it's really all about. Now how will I ever feel special?"
Derek smirks, runs a palm down Stiles' spine. "I have a few ideas."
Stiles smiles in turn and then tugs Derek by the hand back toward the room where the corpse lies waiting for disposal.
"Hey, Derek," Stiles says.
"Yes, Stiles?' Derek replies.
"The night is still young, you know."
Derek grins with too much teeth. "That it is."
Stiles grins right back, the smile dark and demented and real in a way it never was before. "My turn?" he asks.
"Definitely," Derek replies.
They rinse off, change clothes; slip their gloves on and step once more into the darkness.
They are both eager; they are both calm.
The night is so, so quiet.