Stiles is a fox. No one will ever catch Derek saying that aloud about human Stiles, but right now Stiles is quite literally a fox. Derek had been spending the summer training him during his off season because he’d been elected one of Berkeley’s cross country captain as a junior and he really wanted to be ready. They were out on one of their longer runs outside the preserve when Stiles had stumbled in a hole, and BOOM! Stiles is crouching before him all four legs and red fur. He’s adorable and Derek chuckles before realizing this is actually very bad.
He kneels down so he’s as face to face with the fox as he can be. “Stiles? Are you in there?”
Stiles cocks his head to each side as he looks up at Derek, his giant ears wagging a bit with the sharp movements, before he finally gives one emphatic nod. Derek sighs.
“Alright, good. Come on then.” Without preamble Derek reaches down and scoops Stiles’s tiny fluffy body into one arm while taking a photo of the pentagram Stiles had stepped on with the other. He couldn’t smell any herbs or chemicals, only lingering magic, so hopefully the pentagram would be enough to figure out a reversal. Stiles gnaws at his hand boredly and Derek absentmindedly pets between his ears as he heads back towards town.
Deaton walks around the metal table at the back of his clinic, carefully scrutinizing every inch of Stiles who is wiggling restlessly atop a blue blanket. Derek scratches lightly at Stiles’ paw that is nearest him and grins when his tail swats at the blanket happily. They talked a lot during Stiles’ first two years at Berkeley, over Skype, over the phone, even over letter, and they’d become much closer and comfortable with each other, but when Stiles had returned for his first summer, being in actual close proximity had been more awkward than not.
Tension crackled between them on a regular basis and while Derek desperately wished to finally make good on it, Stiles often ruined the moments with wisecracks and excuses and he’d returned to college for his sophomore year no closer to them being together. Derek wasn’t really sure if Stiles was backing out of something he didn’t want or chickening out of something he did but all he knew was that the only time they seemed to find normalcy was when they were running. It was bound to come to a head at some point if Derek didn’t find the courage to bring it up first, but for right now he was content to have a reason to just relax and physically connect with Stiles, regardless of the non-traditional means.
As Deaton wanders about looking through some old books, Derek realizes that Stiles seems rather happy this way. He wonders if perhaps the transformation hasn’t somehow calmed down some of the more intense aspects of Stiles’ mind, as full-shifting does for him. Stiles shifts in his blanket so his head is now closest to Derek and he releases a short, high yip. It’s a sound Derek is familiar with from running in the woods. Stiles wants to play.
“I don’t have anything to play with.” He teases, gesticulating haplessly in front of Stiles’ pointy face. Stiles takes to opportunity to nip at his fingers and Derek chuckles, because the teeth are so small and useless compared to those he’s faced but Stiles wields them so fiercely. “Okay, okay. My hands can be fun I suppose.”
Derek blushes before he even fully thinks about whether that was suggestive or not. Stiles blinks at him rapidly before sneezing aggressively as if to tell Derek to get a life. He would if he could but his life completely revolved around the ball of red fur currently nipping at his wiggling fingers.
After this game gets a bit old, Derek dodges Stiles’ gnashing teeth and bops him gently on his wet, black nose. Stiles sneezes in surprise, his whole body shaking at the force. Derek breaks down into a full on laugh and Stiles swivels his head toward him so quickly his giant ears wiggle again. Under Stiles’ foxy scrutiny Derek’s laugh fades away and he realizes that he hasn’t laughed that way all summer. Stiles only hears it over Skype or the phone and Derek suddenly doesn’t want to have to wait any longer.
“I like you, Stiles.” The fox sits up to attention and Derek almost falters under his gaze but he continues. “I want to be with you, like we are over Skype, all the time. I don’t want this distance that exists between us when you come home.”
Stiles only blinks rapidly, his tail swishing back and forth slowly across the blanket. Derek narrows his eyes at Stiles warily.
“Can you understand me?”
The fox stares at him for a beat or two longer before springing off the table into Derek’s chest. The werewolf laughs as the fox licks his nose and lips when suddenly it’s a fully human Stiles sitting in his lap and nuzzling his face.
“Wah?” Stiles exclaimed, pulling back to look at his hands and arms in happy confusion. “How’d that happen?”
Derek smiles up at him and let his arms circle around Stiles’s waist. “Does it matter?”
Stiles wrinkles his nose happily and leans down to press a real, human kiss to Derek’s lips. “Not so much.”
Deaton walks back into the room then, head bent into a book he’s reading.
“According to this, the spell is actually a love spell and can only be broken by true love’s-” he breaks off when he finally looks up to find Stiles sitting in Derek’s lap with a silly grin on his face.
“Thanks, Deats. I think we got it covered."