It’s pretty ridiculous that it’s already Halloween. Stiles isn’t really sure how October passed by so quickly. One minute, the month had just started. The next, he’s about to change out of his work uniform to put on his costume for the Halloween party tonight. Maybe time’s been going so fast because his days are so full now. Since Derek’s become part of his life, he’s more excited about days off, spending them going on dates or hanging out with their packs, or just taking private time together with their doors locked and phones on vibrate. There’s also always something happening after work, and there’s less reason to take extra shifts because the alternative isn’t just being at home alone.
Preparing for the elementary school carnival for Kira’s school had taken time, too. And now that Laura and Cora were both moved into their own lofts at Derek’s new income property, and the pups were settled into their house (even if Isaac actually spend most his time at Cora’s place), Derek and his sisters have started the process of clearing the land at their Hale compound and rebuilding. So far, they’re still working with an architect and a builder to design the various houses they plan to build on the property, but the builders have started the main pack house since they knew exactly what they wanted for that. Stiles isn’t sure how much will actually get build now that November’s tomorrow, and the weather is getting a lot colder, but he figures everything will be done by the summer, if not sooner.
Of course, the rebuilding project has brought up a situation that he and Derek haven’t really been able to resolve yet. Derek wants to build them a new place on the compound, near where they had their picnic on their first date, far enough away from where the rest of his family and pack will have their houses to not be right next door, but still on the Hale compound. Stiles has a house, though, even if it’s not in the best shape (the roof is brand new, though, and there have been new windows put in plus a fresh coat of paint since Derek moved in), and it’s his pack house. There are some good memories here already, and he’s only had it for a few years.
Derek says he’s willing to just stay here, but Stiles knows he’d rather be living right by his pack. Stiles is really close to his pack, some members more than others, but the Hale pack is extremely close. The pups are all confident and strong, but they’re also insecure and cover that up with the bravado. They need Derek involved in their lives a lot more than most of Stiles’ pack needs Scott, like they’re needier than even Stiles, in some ways. He’s already talked to Scott and Aly about the dilemma, and they weren’t really much help. They said they support whatever he decides because they can still visit him if he’s living with Derek in a newly designed home just as easy as they can drop in at his current place.
The fact that Stiles’ house is Stiles’ house has him actually considering compromising with Derek to work on a design for their house, with things they both want, and he can always add on a huge cuddle room for pack get togethers at the new place, right? But he’s still not sure. It’s been over a month and a half now since the masquerade ball when he and Derek met, and they’ve reached this point in the last few weeks where they’re good. Really good. They still bicker, sometimes little things becoming big arguments, but they’re open with each other and they talk, they talk so much that it makes his heart happy, and they don’t let bad communication or stupid shit mess them up. Hell, he’s caught himself just watching Derek and grinning because that smart gorgeous man is his and what the fuck? How is that even possible?
It still seems too soon to label his feelings as love, though. He’s studied the calendar and thought about it, and he doesn’t think he’d possibly be able to say he’s in love until at least Thanksgiving because that gives him two and a half months, and that seems an appropriate amount of time for what he’s feeling to be real and sincere. Not just some repercussion from the whole mating bond slash true mate thing they’ve got going on between them. Thanksgiving is day 75, and it seems the perfect amount of days for him to know one hundred percent that what he’s feeling is totally him and Derek and not mythological bonds.
It’s nice having timelines in his head that he can use for all of this. It doesn’t make him less uncertain about how relationships work or suddenly give him all the secrets to a successful relationship, but it makes him feel better having some type of structure. Derek looks at him, too, and he’s become even more demonstrative the longer they’re together. The kisses happen a lot, and Stiles is very pro-Derek kisses, but there’s also the way Derek takes care of him that’s becoming more comfortable and welcome than bossy and intrusive. It’s nice to have someone want to take care of him, even if Stiles isn’t used to being the recipient instead of the caretaker. He isn’t likely to admit it, but he gets a rush of warmth whenever Derek brings him lunch at the station or washes his hair or does something just for Stiles because he wants to make him happy.
Okay, so yeah, Stiles did actually have a bit of a meltdown a couple of weeks ago over Derek not buying him Fruit Loops because they’re full of sugar and additives, and he might have spent a couple of hours locked in their closet. But he blames a tense day at work and his own fear over how deep he’s been getting with Derek more than the fact it was a box of cereal that started it. Anyway, in the end, they needed for it to happen because Stiles made sure that Derek understands he wants a partner, someone to share his life, someone to take care of him that he can also take care of, but that he doesn’t need a father because his lives a few miles away. The Fruit Loop Incident, as Stiles has taken to calling it in his head, has actually been another step forward for them because Derek has understood what he meant, and he’s letting Stiles take care of him more now, too, and it’s just…it’s really great.
“What are you smiling about?” Derek’s voice startles Stiles out of his thoughts. He looks up to see that Derek’s finished his shower, his dark hair still damp and water dripping down his chest.
“You.” Stiles stands up and kisses him, gripping the wet hair and pulling him down so he can deepen the kiss. When they pull apart, Derek’s smiling softly, and there’s a look in his eyes that makes Stiles’ belly flip flop. “Is all the candy gone?”
“Yes. We didn’t have too many kids come by, but I was generous with the handfuls,” Derek admits. “What time does the party start?”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t switch to an earlier shift so I could help hand it out. Halloween can be crazy at work, you know? And this Halloween falling on a Saturday is even worse for partying and tricks. I’m just glad I was able to get home by eight and didn’t get stuck with an overnight shift. The party at Luna starts at nine, so we’ve got enough time to get changed and get there without any problems.”
“Scott brought Tori by earlier, she’s the cutest Miss Marvel ever, by the way, and he said that he and Allison are hoping to stop by Luna’s but it depends on how Aly feels,” Derek tells him. “She’s due December 6, isn’t she?”
“Yeah, but Tori was early, and she’s having some issues with this one.” Stiles frowns as he remembers the labor pains that had resulted in a trip to the ED during their shift last week. “The doctor says it’s fine, just typical pregnancy scares, but I have a feeling that she’s going to have to stop working soon. She’s so stubborn about it, but she’ll do whatever is best for her and Peanut.”
“I know that scared you, but she’s healthy, and the baby’s healthy.” Derek kisses his forehead. “They’re going to be fine. She might have an early delivery, but the doctor is keeping a good watch on her.”
“I know. It’s just…she’s my Aly, you know?” Stiles shrugs. “I need to take a quick shower before I get dressed. Can you get my costume out for me?”
“Sure.” Derek nods. “By the way, check your texts. Your phone was buzzing when you were lost in thoughts of me, and I’d wager it’s photos from Erica because she sent me some, too.”
“Oh! Let me see.” Stiles feels a slight flush on his cheeks because, damn, he must have really thinking hard to miss his phone buzz. He opens his texts and grins. Both of their packs go together after the carnival to vote on an overall costume theme this year, possibly because everyone’s feeling the aftereffects of this mating bond and so it’s causing more cuddles and reaffirmation of pack loyalty between all of them. The theme chosen was Marvel, and he’s now looking at Erica dressed as female Thor, Boyd dressed as Luke Cage, Isaac dressed as Quicksilver, and Cora dressed as Jessica Jones. “They look awesome, even if it’s going to be interesting watching Thor make out with Luke Cage all night while Jessica Jones is dancing dirty with Quicksilver.”
“Probably no more disconcerting than it will be for people to see the Winter Solider making out with Wolverine,” Derek points out, listing their own costumes.
“Oh please. Like Bucky wouldn’t be all up on Wolverine?” Stiles grins. “You’re going to make a gorgeous Logan, too, even if I had been looking forward to role playing Batman versus Superman after the party. Maybe we can do DC next year.”
“You know that Jackson chose Captain America just so he can piss me off by rubbing all over you, right?” Derek arches a brow. “Since Steve and Bucky is totally canon, or at least movie canon, he’s planning to annoy me all night.”
“He hasn’t been that bad the last couple of pack meetings,” Stiles points out but, yeah, Derek’s totally right. Jackson is an asshole, but a smart one who totally knew that Stiles would choose Winter Soldier for a costume party out of the Marvel stable of superheroes. What? He likes the arm, and the whole broody thing is fun to act out for a night.
“Right. And Cora’s your new BFF,” Derek deadpans. “Go take your shower. I’ll get your costume out and also bring you up a plate of pasta since you haven’t eaten yet.”
“Food sounds amazing. Thanks, babe. You take such good care of me.” Stiles grins before stealing a kiss.
After Derek heads downstairs, totally shameless about walking around in nothing but his towel, Stiles grabs some clean underwear out of the drawer before going into the bathroom. It’s still steamy from Derek’s shower, and he can feel moisture beneath his feet as he steps into the shower. They don’t have a ton of time, so he focuses on getting clean and washing away the work day as quickly as possible. The party will go from nine to one, so it’s not like they have to get there right on the dot, but he prefers getting there earlier rather than later. He’s taken tomorrow off as a vacation day, though, so at least he isn’t going to have to worry about getting to bed by a certain time.
When he steps out of the bathroom, Derek’s got a plate of spaghetti with a side salad sitting on the dresser for him. His costume is hanging from the closet door, and the metal arm he’s paid to have made is on the bed. It looks awesome, and he’s definitely taking pictures before they leave the house so he can text everyone to show off. Derek comes back into the room when Stiles is stuffing spaghetti into his mouth.
“I don’t know why I let you convince me to go with this costume instead of just wearing jeans and a white sleeveless shirt,” Derek mutters, making a face at Stiles. “There’s too much yellow.”
“Because Wolverine’s costume in the comics is freaking awesome,” Stiles says, admiring the way the costume fits Derek. “You’ve totally got the muscles for it, and, damn, let me see your ass.”
“I feel ridiculous,” Derek tells him, shaking his head before he turns around.
Stiles whistles. “Look at that ass. Man, I might not be able to make it through the party without getting a piece of that.”
“Next year, I get to choose the costumes.” Derek arches a brow. “And I’m not wearing the full head mask thing. It’s suffocating. I’ll wear the black mask that I bought as a back-up.”
“Fine. It isn’t the full costume, but I wouldn’t want that gorgeous face covered up anyway.” Stiles waggles his eyebrows. “This spaghetti is delicious, by the way. I’m going to have garlic breath now, though.”
“You can brush your teeth before we leave.” Derek preens a little at the compliment to his cooking, the praise Stiles gives him always making him happy. “Not that I care much about garlic breath anyway.”
“I’m going to shovel this all in now so don’t watch me or you’ll try lecturing me. I just need to eat fast so I can get dressed.” Stiles does just that, taking forkfuls of spaghetti and chewing quickly. His plate is clean in like five minutes because he’s good at speed eating. After wiping his mouth with the napkin, he puts it on the plate.
“That was disgusting,” Derek says dryly, shaking his head. “I’ll run this downstairs while you get dressed, Bucky.”
“Thanks, Logan.” Stiles is careful with the costume, pulling on the pants then the shirt. His metal arm is flexible, he totally borrowed money from Derek to buy a really well made one for the costume, and it attaches to the vest he puts on after sliding the metal over his arm. It feels a little weird, but he’s glad he invested in something high quality because it is incredibly bendable. It’s like his real arm just with a metal sleeve, and he’d been a little worried it would be heavy or rigid.
A whistle from the door makes him look up from where he’s been playing with the arm. Derek is leaning against the doorframe giving him a rather ‘let’s get naked and fuck’ look. “Let me see that ass,” Derek drawls in a rather accurate impersonation of Stiles from earlier.
“Haha. So funny. Not.” Stiles does turn, though, and he shakes his ass because he knows the costume looks good on him. “I wish I’d just had a mask made.”
“He doesn’t wear a full mask,” Derek points out, walking into the room and grabbing the brush and black face paint off the dresser. “Here. I’ll put it on for you.”
“That would be good. I was a bit worried about getting it applied properly.” Stiles sits on the bed and shifts so he’s got on leg up on it. Derek sits down opposite him, and he starts brushing the face paint on Stiles’ face.
“You’ve got such beautiful eyes.” Derek is smiling that soft smile he’s had during quiet moments a lot in recent weeks. “I need you to close them for me now, though.”
Stiles closes his eyes, his eyelids twitching when the brush is gently moved across them. “Your eyes are gorgeous. So many colors it’s a shame to label them as hazel. Mine are just boring old brown.”
“There’s nothing boring about you, Stiles.” Derek’s knuckles rub his cheek in a tender caress before the brush is gliding across his skin. It’s an oddly intimate moment, and Stiles has to wet his lips because the whole thing is turning him on, just a little. It’s not the face paint, he’s tried on Allison’s make up before and never got off on it, but it’s the gentle brush of bristles against his skin, the warmth of Derek’s breath on his face, the feel of Derek’s hand ghosting over his face. The air between them is charged, and it’s tempting to just forget the whole party thing and stay home so they can act on what’s stirring between them. Before he can decide, Derek’s clearing his throat. “All done.”
When Stiles opens his eyes, he sees Derek staring at him with that same passionate I want to fuck you expression on his face. He leans up to kiss him, the kiss hungry and slightly desperate, and Derek returns it, just as hungry as they lick and bite and suck. The metal on his arm is what pulls him back, when he tries to reach up to grip Derek’s hair, the metal weighs on his arm, and it makes him realize they’d better stop or they won’t be going to Luna at all. “I, uh, let me see how it looks.”
“Right.” Derek’s voice is hoarse, and it does things to Stiles. He resists because he’s strong, damn it. He goes to the bathroom and checks the mirror, admiring the way Derek’s captured the face paint perfectly. He works on his hair then, making it mussed and total bed head to fit the character.
“We should probably head out,” he says when he goes back into the bedroom. Derek’s not there, and neither is his dirty dinner plate, so he knows where Derek’s gone. Stiles sits down and pulls on his socks and boots. He gets his service pistol and puts it in the thigh holster of his costume because why not use the real thing when he’s got it? The other gun he’s got is totally a toy, bought off E-Bay because it fit the comic image perfectly. He tucks his wallet into his back pocket and grabs his keys before heading downstairs. “Der, are you ready?”
“Yes. I was just rinsing your plate so I could start the dishwasher.” Derek walks into the room wearing the mask and carrying the Wolverine claws he had made by the same guy who sculpted Stiles’ metal arm. “Wow. You look…wow.”
“Me? You’re amazing.” Stiles grins as he pulls out his phone. “Picture time before we go. I want to show off to both the packs.” He sticks his tongue out at Derek when he groans and shakes his head. “Say cheese!”
They take several pictures of each other then they take some selfies, too. They look damn good, if he says so himself, and he quickly sends out the best images to Erica, Lydia, Allison, and Kira, who are the ones who keep texting him pics tonight. He makes sure the others are all saved on his SD card and uploaded to his cloud. He never takes chances anymore with things he really wants to keep when it comes to his phone. Too many destroyed or lost ones during those turbulent years taught him a lesson.
“I’ll drive?’ He figures Roscoe will be easier to maneuver wearing the costumes, since the Camaro is lower to the ground and the metal arm isn’t the most navigable even if it’s flexible. Derek nods and follows him outside, locking the door while Stiles goes to start the car. It’s cold tonight, but there’s no chance of snow or anything. They rarely get much snow in Beacon Hills, but Stiles always hopes they might get a good snowfall at least once during the colder months. Maybe they’ll get lucky in December or January.
Once Derek’s buckled in, Stiles takes off. They’re actually running a little later than he’d like, but they’ll definitely get there early enough to beat most the crowd. Derek turns on the radio, twisting the dial until an oldies channel is playing. “This is a good song,” he says, singing along to some dude crooning about how sweet it is to be loved by you. “Marvin Gaye was a legend.”
“Oh! I thought I recognized the voice. I couldn’t place it, though,” Stiles admits. He knows the song, too, since it’s been in movies like so many of the oldies that have endured so many years. He sings along, too, tapping his fingers against the steering wheel. When the light ahead changes to red, he slows down, idling behind an old pick-up truck that makes him frown in thought.
“Everything alright?” Derek arches a brow. “You’re not singing anymore.”
“Huh?” Stiles blinks and looks at him. “Yeah, I’m good. Something’s just off.”
“Off?” Derek looks confused. “What do you mean?”
“I’m not sure.” The light turns green, so they start driving again. The pick-up is still in front of them, and Stiles could pass it, but he’s still trying to figure out what his brain is trying to tell him. Something about that truck is nagging at him.
“Stiles, seriously, what’s wrong?” Derek turns the radio down. “You’re gripping the wheel so tight that I’m sure your knuckles must be white, and your left leg is bouncing.”
“Wha?” Stiles looks away from the truck to realize Derek’s right. He’s twitching and holding the wheel in a death grip. “I told you, Derek. I don’t know. Something about that truck is bothering me…”
“It’s an old truck.” Derek looks at it closer. “There’s a guy driving. From what I can tell, appears to be mid to late forties, maybe early fifties? My eyesight is great, but the angle isn’t the best. Doesn’t appear to be that broad shouldered, tall based on the distance from his head to the roof of the cab.”
“That’s not really ringing any bells,” Stiles admits, biting his bottom lip as they reach another light. The truck turns on its left turn signal, which indicates he’s heading out of town and up to the national forest north town because that’s about the only thing out that road. Stiles should keep driving straight to go to Luna, but he makes a split minute decision when the light changes to green and he’s almost halfway through it. He turns left, slowing down enough that the guy doesn’t get suspicious about being followed.
“So we’re following this guy now then?” Derek asks, not sounding upset or annoyed. More curious and possibly a little concerned. “Do we know why?”
“It’s right there,” Stiles says, tapping his temple. “I just can’t figure it out. I need to follow him, though, Der. I need to make sure I’m trusting my gut until my head tells me why.”
“Okay, Stiles. Whatever you need,” Derek says simply, his hand squeezing Stiles’ thigh. “Should I call the station, just in case?”
“No, not unless I figure out this is work related. It might be something stupid.” Stiles suddenly tenses, straightening up in his seat. “Fuck. Stiles, you fucking moron. What color is it? Can you tell? Like the sides, I mean. I can see the back is white, but can you see if there’s a stripe on the side?”
“You aren’t a moron.” Derek frowns. “I can’t see it from here, but if you pull over slightly, I might be able to make it out.”
“The license plate. That’s the fucking license plate! Derek, it’s the fucking license plate!” Stiles is jittery, his leg twitching even more as the pieces of the puzzle fit together, and he can feel his magic starting to thrum under his skin. He swerves slightly, needing that final confirmation.
“There’s a dark blue stripe. It looks fresh, though. Like it’s covering up a different color.” Derek has his hand on Stiles’ shoulder, squeezing it gently. “You should try to calm down, babe.”
“It’s him. I know it’s him,” Stiles says, picking up speed when the truck turns down a dirt road that leads into the forest. “Fuck. He’s probably been hiding out in the forest all this time, and the search has been happening down south near Baytown. We’re idiots. We didn’t think to search the forest for him. He knows what he did, he knows he’s being hunted, and he’s hiding out instead of leaving like everyone seems to think.”
“Him who?” Derek pulls out his phone. “Do I need to call the station now?”
“No. I’m going to handle this,” Stiles tells him, not wanting anyone at the station to know. “I’m going to take him down and make him admit what he did to that little girl.”
Derek sucks in a breath because he’s smart and he knows that the Deidre Wall case has become somewhat cold since her body was found last month. It’s been one of the ones that Stiles hasn’t been able to just let go because it’s a teenager with her life ahead of her raped and tortured before being killed. Those kinds of cases always haunt him when the perpetrator is still out there.
“Stiles, I think you should call for back-up,” Derek murmurs. “If this is really the guy who did that, you shouldn’t be following him into the woods like this. It might be a trap or something.”
“I’m handling this,” Stiles snaps at him, slowing Roscoe down when they reach a pull off where the truck has been parked. “I need you to stay here, Derek. If I don’t call you in fifteen minutes, then call my dad at the station and tell them we’re at mile marker 356 in the national forest. Understand?”
“I’m not letting you just run off in the woods after this guy!” Derek shakes his head. “No fucking way, Stiles.”
“I’m a deputy. This is my job, Derek. I might not be on the clock now, but I’m here and I can handle this guy.” Stiles wants to be out there chasing this guy down, not arguing with Derek right now. “My magic will keep me safe if he tries anything. Just…I need to go. Stay here!”
“Stiles, damn it!” Derek’s voice follows him as he gets out of the car and starts running into the forest.
It’s dark as fuck, but Stiles has got a flashlight on his phone. He’d rather not use it, though, because it might alert the murdering bastard that he’s there. He pulls his gun out of his thigh holster, thanking every deity around that he’d decided to bring it, and then he reaches out with his magic, letting it whisper amongst the trees, letting it tap into the nature surrounding him. His eyes glow white as he focuses his magic in a way he hasn’t had to in years.
His magic becomes his guide, leading him through the trees and over rocks and fallen trunks as he moves deeper and deeper into the forest. He has his gun raised, safety off, ready to shoot if he feels threatened. The guy must be athletic, able to cross a good distance without much trouble, or he’s from the area, familiar with the woods. Maybe both. Finally, Stiles slows his pace, seeing a campfire not too far ahead. He closes his eyes, the color normal when he opens them again. His magic is still thrumming, a darkness coloring it as he thinks about the Deidre Wall file, as he remembers the photos and the autopsy notes.
It’s an older guy, light brown hair with just a hint of gray, and a beard that is unkempt. He’s tall and skinny, looks totally harmless, but Stiles knows better. He’s strong enough to overpower a teenager, and he’s sadistic enough to get off torturing and raping her. It would be so easy to shoot him, just a clean shot before he even realizes he’s no longer alone, but Stiles can’t shoot. If he discharges his weapon on an unarmed civilian, he’d face disciplinary and possible prison time regardless of the victim’s crime. No, he can’t shoot him, but that doesn’t mean he can’t kill him.
“It’s rather cliché, isn’t it?” he asks as he steps out of the shadows and approaches the fire.
“What the fuck?” The guy is staring at him, getting to his feet and reaching for a heavy branch nearby.
“Hiding in the woods after dumping Deidre’s body down in Baytown?” Stiles watches him closely, wishing he could hear his heartbeat so he’d know for sure the guy is guilty. Because there’s a chance he isn’t. The truck is a solid lead, the guy looks like the description given by the witnesses who last saw Deidre walking home, but Stiles has to know for sure because he gives in to the need for justice currently making his magic tremor beneath his skin.
“Who are you?” The guy is staring at him, raising the piece of wood threateningly. “Is this some Halloween prank?”
Right. He’s wearing his costume. Well, that’s definitely something he forgot once he tunnel visioned on the truck. “I’m your worst nightmare,” he says, unable to resist. “Trick or treat, asshole”
“No, I don’t think I’m going to do that,” Stiles says. “Why don’t you tell me why you did it.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re crazy, man.” The guy is looking around, trying to determine if he can make a run for it.
“No, you’res crazy. The things you did to that young girl? It’s disgusting. You don’t deserve to live, not when she’s had to be buried by her family.” Stiles slides his gun into his holster and points at the wood, smirking when he watches it heat up until the guy drops it to avoid being burned.
“I’m not crazy. She wanted it!” The guy is angry now, bragging about what he did, and he knows things only the perpetrator would know. It’s all the proof Stiles needs. He can take him in now, arrest him and charge him with Deidre’s murder, but that doesn’t mean he’ll pay. When he says how she begged for it, Stiles lashes out.
“You like begging, do you?” Stiles uses his magic to force him to his knees, curling his fingers into his palm and listening to the guy scream from the pain he’s feeling as Stiles’ magic wraps itself around his heart. “Let’s see how you enjoy being the one to beg.”
Stiles walks closer, the screams feeding the darkness in the corners of his mind, and he shifts his magic, aiming for his throat, listening to him choke and gasp for air. He focuses on his brain then, just a gentle pressure of magic, enough to make him pull at his hair and writhe on the ground at Stiles’ feet. Stiles picks up the wallet that’s fallen out of the guy’s back pocket, reading the name.
“This isn’t your lucky day, Mike. You see, I could arrest you, but I know how our justice system works. It’s a failure most the time. You’d probably accept a deal, do a few years, get out and do it to some other little girl. Deidre deserves justice!” Stiles looks down at Mike, watches him writhe, and he knows how fucking easy it would be to just stop his heart. To just squeeze his brain a little bit more. To just let him choke on air.
Mike is screaming, hoarse screams that probably don’t even compare to those Deidre made as her life was being taken from her by this monster. Stiles wants him dead. He can see it so clearly, knows it’s justified, wouldn’t feel that bad about ridding the world of another monster, even if this is a human one instead of a supernatural one. But he hesitates because he knows he can’t go down that path. It’s so tempting, but he has to resist the darkness because that’s not him. He isn’t like that. He has to stop before it’s too late.
“I could kill you and no one would even know,” Stiles tells him quietly, voice cold and dark. “Just a twist of my wrist, and your heart would stop. Natural causes. Put you out of your misery. But then I’d become no better than you. I’d be a murderer, and I’d never be able to look at my mate again because he’d know what I truly am deep inside. He’d know I’m a monster, just like you. And I can’t do that. I can’t let him see what I’m really like because I’ll lose him. And I can’t…I can’t lose him.”
Stiles sucks in several deep breaths as he realizes he definitely isn’t going to do this. Derek would know, would never forgive him, and Stiles…Stiles might not ever forgive himself, either. He drops his arms at his side, falling down to his knees and gasping as he tries to let the magic out, but it’s too late. He’s already called it, and it’s there, waiting for an outlet. He focuses on the fire, watching the flames lick high up into the sky, but it’s not enough. His skin is crawling, his veins thrumming with power, eyes flashing between white and normal, and he tilts his head back. A primal scream comes out of his mouth, sparks in the air around him as he tries to channel his magic, and he feels a lot of it rush through him and then out.
He finally gets it under control, looking back down at Mike, who is lying on the ground curled into a sobbing ball. No threat at all now. Completely oblivious to the struggle Stiles just went through and having no idea how close he’s just been to dying. “Every time you close your eyes, you’ll remember Deidre Wall’s face. You’ll never forget until you’ve atoned for your crimes,” Stiles whispers, staring directly into Mike’s eyes. “You’ll suffer every day because death would be an escape for you. Living will be hell.”
It’s not a curse or magic at all. It’s the truth, and Stiles knows that will be better justice for Deidre than simply killing her murderer. When he stands up, he reaches down to pick Mike off the ground.
“Mike Doherty, you’re under the arrest for the rape and murder of Deidre Wall. You have the right to remain silent,” Stiles recites the Miranda automatically, not worried about the guy trying to get away because he isn’t cuffed. No, he’s broken any fighting spirit sufficiently enough to get him back to Roscoe, where he keeps a spare set of cuffs in the glove box.
It’s only after he’s turned and is leading Mike away from the fire that he sees Derek standing in the trees. Stiles feels a wave of panic hit him, his hand shaking as he realizes Derek must have followed him, must have seen and heard, must know what Stiles is really like now. Derek just meets his gaze steadily. “Back-up is on the way.”
“Don’t go near the campsite,” Stiles says, slipping into his professional persona because it’s the only fucking way he’s going to be able to make it through this without having a panic attack. “I’m taking Doherty back to the Jeep so I can cuff him, then I’ll come back to secure the scene. You need to come with us.”
“Alright.” Derek nods and follows him. He doesn’t try to speak to him, doesn’t touch him, just stays quiet and lets Stiles do his job.
Stiles’ dad shows up not a minute after they arrive back at Roscoe, Miller right behind him. Miller takes Doherty and puts him in the squad car, while his Dad gives him a hug and makes sure he’s okay. Proctor and Stephens show up and start processing the truck, looking for any physical evidence linking Doherty to Deidre Wall. Doherty is talking, confessing to anyone who listens, praying to God for forgiveness, and it’s all getting recorded. Confessions are good, but they aren’t airtight, and they need more to make sure this scumbag is sent away for a long time.
Derek drives them to the station, getting Stiles coffee and sitting patiently in Allison’s chair waiting for him. Stiles has to fill out reports and make his own statement (leaving out the whole magic part, obviously), and it takes hours before he’s finally wrapping everything up. There’s a tension building inside him, the magic still thrumming, his mind all over the place, and Derek still isn’t saying anything except supportive comments and praise about his performance in the field while getting him cup of coffee after cup of coffee.
The drive home from the station is silent. Stiles is twitchy and jittery, his magic still so close to the surface, the darkness in the corners of his mind still clouding his thoughts. He wants to say something to break the quiet, but he has no idea what to say. Derek’s driving again, calm and stoic and not forcing Stiles to talk at all. Stiles almost wishes he’d just lash out, call him names, tell him he’s done with him, say he’s leaving. Something other than this silence that would feel comfortable if it weren’t for everything that’s happened tonight. He’s waiting for the other shoe to drop.
When they get home, Stiles doesn’t even wait for Derek to put Roscoe into park before he’s getting out and heading inside. It’s almost three in the morning, and he wants out of this costume because it’s making his skin crawl. Well, it’s not, but something is, and he just needs it off. He leaves a trail of his costume over the floor and up the stairs. He doesn’t care right now about picking it up, doesn’t care if he’s left it on the floor. It’s the least of his worries when Derek isn’t saying a damn word, and Stiles knows he’s probably thinking of the best way to leave him to avoid Stiles making a scene.
Once he’s in his underwear, he feels better. The house is cool tonight, the heat not turned up that high, and he welcomes the cold air against his hot skin. When he hears footsteps behind him, he turns to see Derek standing there just watching him. Watching him with that thoughtful expression, not saying a word. “Why don’t you take a fucking picture? It’ll last longer,” Stiles snaps, fingers twitching and curling slightly into his palms.
“Your face paint has smeared,” Derek says calmly, acting like nothing at all has happened. “I’ll get a wet cloth so we can clean your face.”
“Fuck you!” Stiles snarls, wiping his hands against his eyes and smearing the paint even worse. “This is all your fault!”
“Is it?” Derek walks past him to the bathroom and actually gets the wet rag. “You don’t want to get any of that in your eyes, Stiles.”
“I don’t care about the paint!” Stiles is so pissed off right now that he can’t even think. “Do you know that guy will probably be back on the streets in fifteen years? If not sooner. And that’s if they even convict him. He could claim he’s crazy and get sent to a mental place for a few years for rehabilitation, and then be right back out there to do it again. To kill another girl.”
“I didn’t know the specifics, no,” Derek tells him, still so calm and collected as he actually reaches out to wipe the paint off Stiles’ face. Completely unaffected by anything. It’s infuriating.
“Well, now you know. A billion different things could go wrong, and Doherty will be back on the streets because he’s still alive and our justice system sucks ass. Sell some dope and do hard time but rape little kids and you get out in a few years.” Stiles tries to pull his face away from Derek, but he tightens his grip on Stiles’ chin and keeps wiping away the paint. “It’ll be my fault if he claims another victim. My fault, Derek.”
“How so?” Derek is staring into his eyes even as he wipes off the paint. It’s disconcerting because Stiles doesn’t see hate or disgust when he looks into them.
Stiles laughs, slightly hysterical, pulling away from Derek and backing up. “Because I let him live! I could have killed him. I wanted to kill him. But you were there. I couldn’t because of you. I didn’t take care of it, and now he might walk free, and it’s my fault if he kills someone else because I failed to protect his future victims when I had the chance.”
“You aren’t to blame for what anyone else does,” Derek says, tone still so calm and patient, almost like he’s talking to a wild animal.
“I wanted him dead so bad, I could see it in my head. I could have killed him so easy, too. Just a snap of my fingers, that’s all it takes. I could even kill you, Derek. I could just,” he snaps his fingers, “and you’d be dead because I’m a fucking monster.” He shakes his head, feeling his magic rush through his veins. “You’re going to leave me because you’ve seen what I really am. You know I’m a killer, a monster just like Doherty.”
"No, Stiles. Just because you have the capacity doesn't make you a killer. We might be predators, but we don't have to be killers." Derek drops the wet rag on the floor and walks over to Stiles, who has stopped fidgeting because he’s trying to wrap his mind around what Derek’s just said to him. Derek hugs him, arms so tight and body so warm.
Stiles struggles when Derek hugs him, knowing he can’t be serious, knowing Derek’s seen who he really is now and can’t ever unsee it. He pushes at Derek’s chest, fingers gripping the yellow and black fabric of his costume as he tries to get Derek to let him go.
“I’m not leaving you, Stiles. Not until you tell me to, which I hope is never.” Derek tightens his grip on Stiles, lips brushing against his face. “Don’t get scared. I’m not going anywhere.” He pulls back and looks into Stiles’ eyes. “I love you, Stiles. I’m not letting you go.”
Derek loves him. Even after everything he saw tonight, he means it when he says I love you because Stiles knows he’s telling the truth.
Stiles doesn’t even realize the noise he hears is coming from him, not at first. A broken sob and soft whine. Then he’s kissing Derek, rough and hard, taking control as he feels himself focusing his energy on Derek. Derek kisses him back, but he lets Stiles take, giving him what he needs right now. They end up on the bed, not that Stiles remembers the stumbling steps they take to get here. He tugs on the costume, trying to get it off Derek, needing to feel his bare skin. The fabric rips, but Stiles doesn’t care right now. He’s soon touching Derek’s flesh instead of the material, and he bites at Derek’s lips as he scratches his chest with blunt fingernails.
There’s no thinking at all. Stiles is acting on instinct, channeling his energy into sex, taking what Derek’s offering so willingly. It’s rough, rougher than they’ve ever been before, and he knows Derek would be covered in bites and bruises in the morning if he weren’t a werewolf. Stiles doesn’t let that stop him from marking Derek, from biting his collarbone and his shoulder, from sucking spots on his neck, from sucking his nipples until they’re hard, from scratching his back and his gripping his hips so tight. He sucks Derek’s dick, urging him to fuck his face, wanting to choke on it and gasp for air, and Derek does it, only a slight hesitation until Stiles whimpers because he needs this.
Derek tugs on his hair, choking him with his dick, thumb brushing away the tears that escape from Stiles’ eyes as he gags on it. His thrusts are brutal, but his fingers are gentle as they stroke Stiles’ scalp. That goes on until Stiles’ eyes are watering. Then Stiles is being pulled up the bed, being kissed with teeth and tongue as Derek squeezes his hips, bruising him in a way that won’t fade in the morning light. Derek forces his arms above his head, their hands clasped before Derek makes Stiles’ grip the headboard. No words are spoken. They don’t have to be. Stiles grips the headboard tight as Derek suddenly swallows his dick down, bucking up and trying to get more tight wet heat. He watches Derek finger his ass while he sucks Stiles’ dick, pushing down to ride at least two, maybe three, fingers as he licks and slurps and swallows.
It’s not enough, not want Stiles needs, and he rolls his hips, making broken noises as he bites his lips. When Derek straddles him, Stiles stares into his eyes, not looking away as Derek grips his wet dick and slowly begins to press down, taking it into his ass. Stiles forgets he’s not supposed to touch, letting go of the headboard and reaching out to stroke Derek’s chest, rubbing his nipples, jerking his swollen dick. Pre-come and saliva soon coat his palm, and Derek is gasping and moaning as he rides Stiles’, up and down, taking him so deep inside.
Stiles thrusts up, focusing the energy left thrumming through his veins into making Derek scream for him. Derek rides him hard, grinding down, going faster, lips parted and beautiful noises spilling from them as he takes everything Stiles gives him. They roll over at some point, Derek’s legs pushed up over Stiles’ shoulders, and he fucks him so deep it makes him cry out. Stiles fucks him with purpose, reaching between them to jerk Derek’s dick as his hips move as fast as he can move them. They come, though Stiles doesn’t know who comes first. He’s sinking deep and grunting, spilling inside Derek’s ass, and there’s sticky wet coating his fingers as Derek’s dick twitches in his hand.
After Stiles pulls out of Derek’s ass and wipes his hand on the blanket, after Derek takes off the rest of his torn costume and throws it on the floor, after Stiles is calm and the energy has been released, they end up lying under the sheets together. Derek is cradling Stiles against him, both of them on their sides, neither of them speaking at all. It should feel weird, not talking during sex, but it doesn’t. Not tonight. It feels like this is how it’s supposed to be, what he needs, what they both need.
As they’re lying there, Stiles is dozing a little, not sleeping but not quite awake. Derek has his hand on Stiles’ belly, just resting there as he holds him. Time passes, they both doze, sleep elusive tonight because Stiles can’t stop thinking about close he’d come to killing Doherty and doing something he’d regret. If he closes his eyes, he sees death and darkness, so it’s better to stay awake.
There’s too much in his head to think about Derek’s confession, to analyze it and determine how he feels. Derek means it, Stiles knows that without a doubt because Derek isn’t going to say I love you unless it’s sincere. But it’s not something that Stiles is ready to say yet. He feels it, knows it’s one of the main reasons he’d been able to keep the darkness at bay when he’d wanted Doherty dead, but it’s too soon, it hasn’t even been two months yet, and it might not be real if he says it now. When he finally says it to Derek, he wants to know without any doubts that he’s being sincere.
Stiles manages to doze again before jerking awake after seeing Doherty’s face twisted in pain and hearing the screams echoing in his head. Derek’s arm tightens around him, warm breath against his neck before Derek kisses his shoulder.
"Isaac's dad... “ Derek’s voice is husky, barely above a whisper. “You know, I used to lull myself asleep at night thinking about ripping his throat out. I had it all planned out. Knew exactly what I’d do. I could see it clearly in my head. I could feel his flesh splitting under my claws, hear his screams echoing in my head."
“Yeah?” Stiles licks his lips because that’s how he felt with Doherty at the campsite last night.
“He did terrible things to Isaac. I wanted him dead, to have to pay for what he’d done to his own son,” Derek murmurs softly, pulling Stiles even closer. “I went to his house one night, thought about doing it like I’d planned, but I chose not to. It wouldn’t have helped Isaac, would probably have made it even worse, so I just drove away.”
“What happened to him?” Stiles reaches down to rest his hand on Derek’s hand that’s covering his belly. He knows Isaac’s dad is dead, knows there had been physical and emotional abuse, but he didn’t know how he’d died.
“He ended up driving off the road and crashing into a river. Drowned before he could get out of the car. Drunk at the time. At least he didn’t take anyone else with him.” Derek kisses their mating bite. “I know it wasn’t easy, letting Doherty deal with the justice system instead of taking matters into your own hands, but you made a choice. There might be darkness in you, Stiles, but it doesn’t control you, and it never will. You have no idea just how strong you truly are.”
“I almost let it last night,” Stiles whispers. “Closer than I’ve come in years. He’s a monster, taunting about that poor girl, and I wanted…I just wanted him to suffer. I knew I couldn’t, though. I’d have been no better than he is, and I’m not like that. I could be, but I’m not.”
“No, you’re not. You’re amazing.” Derek kisses his face until Stiles rolls his head enough so he can kiss his mouth. When they pull apart, Derek looks at him with that soft smile on his lips. “I meant what I said earlier, Stiles. I love you.”
“I…” Stiles starts to say it because damn he feels it so much right now but it hasn’t been long enough. Instead, he leans up to kiss Derek. “I know.”