Stiles spends most of his free time picking over junkyards looking for spare parts he can use. It's not a strictly legal hobby but most people he knows do it, and most people who own the junk turn a blind eye as long as they don't get caught taking the higher-value items. Stiles is really good at not getting caught. He sticks to the oldest, most isolated areas in the junkyards. It takes a little longer to find what he needs, but he almost always can in the end, and without paying a cent for it.
That makes him sound like a criminal, but he isn't. Okay, he technically might be a little bit, but he doesn't consider himself one. It's just that the corporations—especially HALE Corp and Argent International—have such an iron grip on anything to do with robotics that the only way anyone else can get ahead is to skirt around the law a bit.
All he does is repairs, little things and on his own time. Today he's looking for the guts of a voxbox for the skinbird of the old lady who lives in the apartment opposite. Mrs Keiper was distraught when it stopped singing. Stiles wouldn't ask her for payment even if he thought she had the money, but he's sure she'll end up bringing him and Scott cookies or something in return for fixing the bird.
He spots the voxbox he's been looking for wedged deep in a crevice of metal and wires. Stiles sighs and rolls up his sleeve, figuring that he'll get scratched up either way and he might as well save the shirt. It's one of his better ones.
Carefully, he works his arm into the crevice, closing his eyes and probing lightly with his fingertips, brushing over springs, cogs, smooth metal, fabric, skin, toes...
"Sweet fucking dicks!" he yelps, jerking his hand back and dancing away from the leg. Something gouged into his arm in the process and he clutches at it, peering into the hole. That is definitely a leg. "You've got to be kidding me."
It's not a body. It is a body, but it's not a human body. It can't be, not in this part of the junkyard, not buried as deep as it is. A human would have rotted away by now and he'd have gotten a handful of metatarsals and phalanges, and then he'd probably have puked in the dirt. It would have been both undignified and gross.
Someone threw out a cyborg.
That's illegal too, of course. Stiles has never actually known someone who could afford a human cyborg, but he knows all the contracts of sale have a clause that if it breaks irreparably or you just don't want it any more, it has to go back to the manufacturer. Something to do with making sure no one else can steal that particular corporation's secrets.
Ignoring his arm, which is slowly seeping blood from the scrape, Stiles starts to dig the cyborg out. He just barely has the presence of mind to toss the voxbox into the back of his jeep when he gets to it, but other than that he's entirely focused on the cyborg. He's never, ever going to find anything like this again, not in a million years. He can't let someone else snatch it out from under his nose.
The cyborg is a DER3K model: one of HALE Corp's flagship cyborgs. There's probably only five of them in the whole world. That just makes it all the more confusing that somebody would dump one in a junkyard outside the city. They're so expensive that Stiles has never seen one in person before, only in pictures or video.
He gets it most of the way uncovered before he realises there's no way he's going to be able to get the cyborg into his jeep by himself. Shut down and supine, the thing's a dead weight. It's missing its right forearm, which has been severed messily at the elbow, but it'd need to be missing all four limbs for Stiles to have a hope in hell of lifting it off the ground.
Stiles calls Scott. He calls him three times, until Scott picks up and groans, "Shit, what?" into the phone.
"I need you to come down to Harris Junk," Stiles says. "I need your help. I found a DER3K."
"DER3K," he repeats. "You know, Dedicated Eidetic Robot 3000? HALE Corp? Costs more than all of both our saleable internal organs pooled?"
"I don't want to know how you know that." Scott sighs. "Look, you know I've been working nights—"
"If you come down here and help me I'll swap shifts with you the next three times you're on night shifts. No, the next five times. C'mon, man, I really need you. I wouldn't ask if it wasn't important." When Scott doesn't reply, Stiles tries again. "And I'll get out of the apartment whenever you want for the next month so Allison can come over?"
"I'll be there soon." And then he hangs up.
Stiles whoops with delight. "I'm going to fix you up," he says to the cyborg. "I don't know what then. Sell you, or make you do my laundry. Okay, yeah, I'm definitely keeping you to do my laundry. And my grocery shopping. I hope you know how to use coupons."
He sits there, occasionally talking to the broken-down cyborg, until Scott shows up about a half hour later.
"Why do you think someone threw it out?" he asks.
"I dunno; the broken arm?" Stiles replies with a shrug.
Scott kneels down to examine it. "Really? Because HALE could fix this, no problem. You and I could fix this. It's not the kind of thing someone would get rid of an expensive cyborg for. What if there's something wrong with its three laws?"
Stiles scoffs, but he hasn't actually thought about that.
"I'm serious, man, what if?"
"It probably won't boot. They put in all kinds of safeguards in case it happens, but I mean... I've never even heard of it happening. Not outside completely unprovable urban legends."
They both look down at the cyborg.
"You have to promise to let it kill you first so I have a chance to get away," Scott says.
"Yeah, that seems fair."
Scott grabs the cyborg by its ankles and Stiles loops his arms under its armpits and they half-carry, half-drag it into the back of the jeep. It sprawls there like someone at the wrong end of a party. Or a body. Stiles considers that for a moment, then drapes a blanket over it just in case someone happens to look in the back.
"What are you going to do with it?" Scott asks, looking over his shoulder at the cyborg. "You can't sell it. You'll get arrested."
There goes that idea. "I thought chores."
"Great, our illegal cyborg can vacuum the apartment. I hate doing that."
Getting it into the apartment is the next challenge. In the end, they wrap the blanket around it, support it between the two of them like it's a person who can't really stand up by himself and hope they don't meet anyone in the elevator. Unfortunately for them, Mrs Keiper is waiting for the elevator on their floor.
"Oh dear, boys, is your friend all right?" she asks.
"He had a little too much to drink," Stiles says, at the same time that Scott says, "It's a stomach flu, food poisoning kind of thing."
"He's basically having the worst day ever," Stiles adds quickly. "By the way, I'll have your skinbird fixed by tomorrow. I'll bring him over then."
"Thank you so much, Stiles," she says. She looks a bit doubtful as they hustle the cyborg away from her before she can spot the missing arm or the fact that their "friend" isn't breathing.
"This is all yours now," Scott says after they dump the DER3K in Stiles' bedroom. "And don't forget you said you'd swap shifts with me. Six night shifts."
"I'm pretty sure I said five," Stiles says, but he's distracted by poking the cyborg's abs. No human being could have abs like that.
"Yeah, but if you're always in here fixing this thing, I won't get the apartment to myself with Allison."
Stiles groans heavily. "Fine." He starts stripping the clothes off the cyborg to see if he can find any other external damage. It's all looking pretty good, and then he comes to its crotch. "Oh my god. Scott! I think I found its arm."
"What?" Scott says, coming over to look. He recoils and covers his eyes. "Dude! That's a dick!"
Stiles flails. "My entire point," he says. "Why would they build a cyborg with a dick? Do you think he's fully functional? Like Star Trek?"
"Oh my god, no. I don't know and I don't want to think about it ever again," Scott says, backing out of Stiles' room. He still has his hand over his eyes. "I'm going out with Allison, so please put that thing's pants back on before I come home because it's kind of creepy." Stiles tries to say something about beautiful engineering, but Scott's already gone.
"Looks like it's just you and me, Derek," Stiles tells the cyborg. He pauses. "And your dick."
Stiles "borrows" some growth factor from work. No one's going to miss it and his cyborg will look like the Terminator at the wrong end of the movie if he gives him a new arm without a layer of skin. He has to build the rest of the arm from scratch, so it's almost a relief when he gets to seed it with DNA and the growth factor and just wait for the magic to happen.
The magic takes about three weeks. Stiles doesn't want to power up the cyborg completely until he can put the new arm on it, but he runs diagnostic after diagnostic and can't find anything that suggests it won't work when he tries. He puts it next to the DER3K, close to the elbow, so when he sees it out of the corner of his eye, it doesn't look like a severed hand lying around in his bedroom. Although that's technically what it is.
He talks to the cyborg, too; a running commentary of what he's working on, what's happening in his life. Stiles doesn't know when he started doing it, but after a while it seems weird to not talk when he's working on it.
"There's this stupid project at work that we just started on," he says. "Scott's working on it too, so at least I've got company while I'm shut up in there for the next six months. I signed a confidentiality agreement, but who are you going to tell?"
Stiles picks up the arm and slides it into place. It fits as seamlessly as the left arm, which gives him a small thrill of pleasure. He's never worked on something like this before, so complex and intricate.
"It's a new kind of artificial brain," he says. "I mean, probably not better than yours, because I don't think we're legally allowed to get that close to human brains, but different, you know? Easier to construct and easier to control. More energy efficient, too. Basically, you're old news if this works out for Argent. HALE's going to be scrambling to catch up to us. I think I'm going to try turning you on now," Stiles says, abruptly changing subjects. "So to speak."
He's not entirely sure of the best way to reactivate the cyborg. The more human the model, the less obvious the on switch, and Stiles doesn't want to damage it by mistake. He also doesn't want to run a search online because of the dubious legality of the situation. If HALE has people looking for their cyborg, it's possible a search could trip an alarm Stiles really doesn't want to set off.
He settles for giving it a small shock to the brain and heart.
The electrode configuration is a little different with a cyborg, but Stiles is confident that he's got them in the right place. Worst case scenario, he fries it beyond repair. Best case, he has a functional cyborg ready and waiting for his orders. He has so much dirty laundry piling up it's getting kind of ridiculous.
"Scott!" he calls. "The power's going down for like, a fraction of a second."
"Just in the apartment?" Scott calls back, his voice muffled.
"Uh... the building. Maybe the whole block. But seriously, you'll hardly notice it! And if anyone else does, they'll assume the power surge was just one of those things that happens sometimes."
"That's really reassuring." The walls don't entirely disguise his sarcasm.
Stiles really doesn't think he'll take out the whole block, but he still holds his breath when he flips the switch and sends the current through Derek's body. The lights in his room flicker and dim, and its muscles tense, arching it off the reclined chair before it smacks back into it with a loud thump. It all happens in less than a second.
The cyborg's unnaturally green eyes flutter open slowly and it fixes them on Stiles, its face settling into a scowl.
"Don't you ever shut up?" it asks.
Stiles learns a lot about the DER3K quickly. It prefers to be called Derek, for one thing, and it gets kind of mad when he or Scott refer to it as "it". Stiles finds it tricky to break the habit.
"You're not a person," Stiles says.
Derek digs its—his—fingernails into the surface of the kitchen table. "I'm a person. I think and I feel. I have a mind of my own."
"Someone made your mind."
"Someone made yours," Derek points out with a frown. He keeps picking at the table. "Your parents. Your teachers. A person is the sum of his experiences. Mine shouldn't be any less valid than yours because we came from different places."
"Deep," Scott says on his way to the fridge. He chugs milk from the carton and then turns back to Stiles, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "Dude, I have to go to work. Can you please get around to doing your share of the chores today? Allison doesn't want to hang out here any more because it's gross."
"Totally," Stiles says. It's about time he put Derek through his paces. "I'll see you in the lab later."
After Scott leaves, Derek looks up at him and says, "I need clothes. Yours don't fit."
"Oh my god, didn't anyone teach you to say 'please'? You must be a person. I've never met such a rude-ass robot before," Stiles tells him. "And can you stop destroying my table and wash the dishes for me?"
He stares at Stiles flatly. "Really?"
"Please?" he tries after a moment.
Derek rolls his eyes and lets out a long-suffering sigh, but he gets up and starts filling the sink with soap and water.
"You have to do what I tell you," Stiles says after a while of watching Derek work. "It's the Second Law."
The tension in Derek's body is immediate, but his reply isn't. "Yes," he says eventually. He stacks the plates neatly on the drying rack as he goes, working methodically through the dirty dishes that Stiles and Scott have left to stagnate in the sink.
"But you want me to treat you like you're a human," he guesses, then amends, "A person. Will you do what I want if I ask you—politely—instead of ordering you?"
"Maybe," Derek says. "If I feel like doing it." He turns around and bares his teeth at Stiles in something more feral than a smile.
Knowing that Derek can't hurt him isn't really comforting right now.
"That's why they trashed you, isn't it?" Stiles asks cautiously. "Not because of your arm."
Derek looks down at the arm in question, flexing the fingers. "No," he says. "I thought it was unfair, how you all treat us. Like we're less than you. They didn't like that. They thought there was something wrong with me because I wasn't happy about serving humans. Because I won't take your orders with a smile on my face, like I should be grateful for it."
"I'm sorry," Stiles says.
"No, you're not. You feel bad because you never thought about it before, not because you're sorry."
"You should consider a career as a therapist," he says, a little annoyed. The drying rack is nearly full and Derek isn't even halfway done with the dishes, so Stiles picks up a dish towel and starts helping. "I'd have left you in the junkyard if I knew you were the only cyborg in the world with a passion for activism. I only dug you out of there so you could do shit for me."
"Then nobody's happy," Derek mutters.
"I can put you back there," Stiles says. He points a finger threateningly at Derek and in the process drops the plate he was drying. Before he can even fumble for it, almost before he's aware of it, Derek catches the plate with his left hand and sets it gently on the counter.
Stiles didn't know he could move so fast. It makes him wonder, even though he doubts he'll get an answer. He manages to hold it in until Derek washes the last fork and turns to place it in Stiles' hand.
"What did they build you for?"
"Something I didn't want to be," he says, looking at his right hand. The one Stiles made.
Things settle into something like a routine, where each person has no real idea of what the other person does with their time but all the chores get done.
Stiles can't tell Derek any more about his work, now he has a working mouth and a chip on his shoulder about humans. It's too risky, especially with Allison around the apartment. But equally, he has no idea what Derek does with his time. When he asks, all he gets in return is one of the flat stares Derek is so good at delivering.
He can make guesses. Derek has new clothes sometimes—things that appear one by one, as if Derek thinks he's being subtle—which are invariably charged to Stiles' account. He doesn't know how Derek got hold of his card details and he doesn't really want to know. The only reason Stiles never mentions it is because he knows Derek will give him a lecture on responsibility and the consequences of his actions.
He found Derek. He reactivated him. Now it's Stiles' job to look after him and Derek won't let him forget that. The worst part is that Scott agrees with the cyborg and not his supposed best friend.
"He makes a good point," Scott says with a shrug. "You're the one who insisted on dragging him back here and fixing him up."
"I thought he was going to be helpful. I didn't think he was going to be a he."
Scott shakes his head. "If you hate having Derek around so much, why don't you just deactivate him again and put him back where you found him?"
Stiles could do that. In fact, if he'd done it as soon as he realised that Derek wasn't your average DER3K, he wouldn't have had any compunctions about it. The trouble is that he stopped thinking of Derek as an average DER3K the time he tried to cut his own hair and Stiles had to help him fix it. Now Stiles thinks of him as a grumpy, attractive, socially awkward teenager with impulse control issues.
A cyborg shouldn't be any of those things. Derek is a person, and so much of a person that sometimes Stiles forgets he isn't human after all.
"I need to go to the store," he says to Derek late one afternoon. "Are you busy? I could use some help if you're not."
Derek unfolds himself from where he sits on the couch, setting aside Stiles' aiTab. The screen immediately blanks itself out. Suspicious. "I was just plotting the downfall of humanity," he says. "It can wait a few hours more."
"The worst part is I have no idea if you're being serious right now," Stiles says.
Derek smiles his strange, inhuman smile and says, "You need to buy vegetables."
"I think the non sequiturs are the most terrifying thing about you." He tosses a handful of canvas bags at Derek. "Let's go. I mean, please can we go?"
"We can go," he says affably, tucking the bags under one arm.
They walk to the store because Stiles doesn't see any point in spending money on gas when he has a perfectly useful cyborg to carry everything home again. Not that he says that to Derek, for obvious reasons.
When they get there, Derek kind of takes over. He leads Stiles around like he has a plan, dropping things into the cart and moving on to the next aisle briskly.
"How do you even know what to get?" Stiles asks. "I might have a shopping list that you're totally disregarding here."
"Do you have a shopping list?"
"Well, no... but that's not the point."
"I've been monitoring your diet," Derek says.
"That's creepy, dude."
"Maybe, but if you don't have a shopping list, it's the most effective way to ensure you're buying what you need." He pauses in front of a display of apples, apparently torn between the red ones and the green ones. Stiles is sure there's some kind of difference other than the colour. Probably.
"What about those ones?" Stiles says, gesturing vaguely at the least expensive apples he can see.
"Those", Derek corrects.
Stiles grunts. "All right, Linguo, whatever you say."
Derek picks out a half dozen of red ones before dragging Stiles off to the next stop on his mental shopping list. He doesn't waste any time and Stiles has to stay vigilant to make sure he's not picking out the most expensive brands just to be an asshole.
"It's great how invested you are in buying groceries when you don't even eat," Stiles says. He curls his fingers around his wallet, which is feeling skinnier than normal today. It'll have to go on his card. Hopefully Derek hasn't depleted his funds too much with the painfully stylish leather jacket he's wearing today. "And you're not the one paying."
"I eat," Derek says. "I don't have to eat, but I can if I want to."
Stiles drags him up to the checkout before their total gets any bigger and pays, wincing slightly at the number that comes up. "This had better be the best food in the history of the world."
"It's good for you."
They load up the bags and head for home, with Derek carrying most of the groceries because his muscles are made from science. The sun went down while they were in the store, and the neighbourhood they're in is a little low on streetlights at the moment. The hair on the back of Stiles' neck prickles uncomfortably, but he shakes the feeling off.
Two blocks from the building, someone steps out in front of them and says, "Give me everything you got in your pockets right now." Then he levels a knife at Stiles' face.
Stiles jerks away from it so fast he bumps straight into Derek, who sets down the bags he's carrying and wraps one hand around Stiles' upper arm.
"You don't want to do this," Stiles says, panicking. "Like, murder? My dad was a cop before he retired, there's all kinds of paperwork. Also, for you? Prison."
"Shut up and empty your pockets," the man says. The hand holding the blade is trembling so much that Stiles doesn't think he could stab a fish in a barrel, but somehow he doesn't want to risk it.
"No," Derek says calmly, taking a step towards him. Putting himself between Stiles and the knife. "Turn around and leave us alone."
Stiles grabs at his arm and hisses, "Dude," but Derek shakes him off.
"You should leave now. It'd be better for you."
"Just toss your wallets over here and I'll let you walk away!" The man is shaking more now, from whatever he needs another fix of. He's desperate, and that's one thing Stiles' dad always taught him. Desperate people do desperate things.
Derek doesn't get any taller. He stays the same height, for sure, but he's somehow more imposing than he was five seconds ago. And his eyes—oh, shit, his eyes aren't green any more. They're glowing red. His lips draw back into the flat smile he favours and he has fangs now too, it turns out. He extends his left arm towards the man. That's changed as well: there are claws on each fingertip, long and wickedly sharp.
Stiles can't believe his eyes. It's possible he's hallucinating this entire thing, but then he looks at their would-be mugger and judging from his expression, he's seeing this too. The man moans and a dark stain spreads across the front of his pants.
"Go," Derek says in a low, menacing voice. And then he lunges, still only using his left arm, because the right is hanging limp by his side, untransformed—holy shit.
The man runs, probably faster than he's ever moved before in his life, the knife clattering to the ground in his wake. Stiles is suddenly sure that Derek could catch up with him if he wanted to and tear him limb from limb. He might have trouble with only one working arm, but Derek is determined.
And has programming that lets him hurt human beings, apparently.
"Shit. Fuck!" Stiles exclaims. "What the—fuck, Derek!"
Derek comes at him and Stiles takes a step back without thinking about it, and he sees the hurt flash across Derek's face. He closes his eyes for a long moment and when he opens them, they're green again.
"Please," he says. "I can explain, but not here."
Scott isn't home when they get back. Stiles puts away the groceries like a sleepwalker while Derek finally tells him the truth about himself.
"The DER3K models weren't built as luxury cyborgs the way everyone thinks. We were created with a line of code that allows us to circumvent the First Law under specific circumstances," Derek says. He paces the kitchen like a caged animal. "To protect a human, we can hurt or kill another human instead of harmlessly disabling them as the Law allows. I don't understand how it works, so don't ask me to explain. It just does."
"Why would HALE do that?"
"Why else? They wanted to build soldiers."
Stiles leans his head against the door of the refrigerator, his stomach churning. "So you could kill people if they told you it would protect someone else?"
"That was the idea. But the First Law is strong; you know that. We had to see the person we were protecting and know there was a direct threat to their lives. Some of us, it went even further. But I was the only one who had to have some kind of emotional link with the person I was protecting to kill. To... transform into what you saw."
"Are you saying you like me?" Stiles asks, deliberately missing the point because he can't handle this. HALE Corp tried to construct cyborg soldiers, which is so unimaginable that there isn't even a law against it. It shouldn't be possible at all.
"You dragged me out of a pile of junk, fixed my arm and let me stay in your apartment," Derek says, staring at him like he's insane. "No human's treated me that well in a long time. But that's not the important thing here, Stiles. I was feeling things I shouldn't feel, being led by emotions I shouldn't have. I wanted to live a life where I wasn't a weapon and I wasn't quiet about it. That's why HALE deactivated me and left me for scrap. They knew I was going to talk."
"I feel like you could have shared some of this information before now." He runs his hand over his head, helpless. "This is a lot to take in all at once, especially when it is some serious conspiracy theory bullshit."
"Would you have believed me if you hadn't seen it for yourself?"
"Yes! No. Maybe, I don't—you're terrifying, I'd believe a lot of things about you."
Derek rolls his eyes, resting his forearm against the fridge and leaning in close to Stiles. "I couldn't hurt you even if I wanted to, Stiles. And I have wanted to." He grins quickly, human-like, but it fades just as fast. "Knowing this information puts you in danger. The kind that I can't protect you from."
"You know, I can actually take care of myself," Stiles says. "Been doing it for years before you came along."
"Not from anything like this," Derek says, and kisses him. Which isn't really what Stiles expected him to do, so he headbutts Derek out of surprise. It almost certainly hurt him more than it hurt Derek, because Derek's skull is apparently constructed from solid iron.
"What. Really?" he yelps, clutching at the bridge of his nose. "'I have weird emotions like a human and I like you! I'm the sworn nemesis of a powerful corporation! Let's make out! My head is made of fucking bricks!' How is that an appropriate thing right now?"
Derek crosses his arms and steps away. He's got that wounded look on his face again and Stiles immediately regrets his outburst. In his defence, his nose really hurts.
"Are you here?" Scott half-shouts as he bursts through the front door. "Oh my god, turn on the TV, Derek's on it."
Stiles and Derek exchange a look.
The footage is shaky and a little out of focus, not to mention dark, but the people working at HALE know what they're looking for. A rogue DER3K—illegally modified, they assure the public in the statement they released so soon after the video was uploaded that they must have had it prepared in advance, just in case something like this happened. They'll do anything they can to bring the perpetrator to justice and repair their cyborg.
Stiles' face isn't visible at all.
"That's good," Derek says. He types rapidly on Stiles' aiTab, glancing between it and the TV. "That means you can stay here."
"You say that like someone who plans to go someplace else."
"Dude, maybe he should," Scott says, frowning. "We're both going to get arrested if they find him here."
"Scott's right. That's why I need to leave." Derek looks between them both. "I should go as soon as possible. There's somewhere I can hide out for a while and they're expecting me."
"I'll give you a ride," Stiles says inanely.
"Don't be ridiculous," Derek says. "It's not safe if you know where I'm going, for you or for any of the other people who're there."
"Then I'll take you part of the way there. It's not like I'm not already involved, idiot. Half the people in this building have seen you coming in and out of our apartment."
"That's not true," he says, offended. "I've been careful."
If he was being careful, he knew something like this might happen. Stiles is starting to feel like he's been played from the beginning.
"What do you want us to do if they come here looking for you?" Scott asks. "Deny everything?"
Derek nods. "They probably won't question you too much. You work for Argent. HALE won't want to make trouble with them." He's typing again, his fingers moving in a blur across the screen. "I've got a ride from Reno," he says to Stiles, handing him the aiTab. The screen's blank again, and Stiles is pretty sure he's wiped it. "If you want to drive me there, you can. But then you're done."
"I think we still need to talk about some stuff, so yeah, I'll drive you."
"You should talk about how you're never going to bring a cyborg home again," Scott tells him drily.
"We will have that conversation when I get back," Stiles says, clapping Scott on the shoulder. "Trust me, I'm totally with you."
It's an awkward trip. Reno's over two hours away when the traffic's good and tonight it's anything but, and Derek doesn't seem to want to talk—at least not about the same things as Stiles. He fills the silence with chatter that Derek won't respond to. In the end, he just stops talking and they drive through the forested mountains and across the state line without exchanging another word.
"How long have you been planning to leave?" Stiles asks when they reach the city limits.
"Pretty much since you woke me up," Derek says, staring out of the window. "It's nothing personal; I just have things to do. You should turn left here."
The casualness hurts, for some reason. "You said you had feelings for me. You kissed me."
"I made a mistake," he says quietly. "I didn't leave when I realised you were trying to be good to me because I liked it, and then I liked you. And then I didn't want to leave. But I shouldn't have kissed you."
"I probably shouldn't have headbutted you," Stiles says. His hand rises to his nose automatically. It feels a little tender.
"That wasn't the reaction I expected," Derek admits.
"Did you think I was just going to fall into your arms because you saved me? Because, dude, you should know me better than that by now."
Derek goes quiet again, except to give Stiles directions to the parking structure where he's meeting his contact. "Park on the fourth floor," he says. "We're early. Because I thought I was going to have to get here on foot," he adds in reply to Stiles' quizzical look.
"Yeah, sure. You were going to walk to Nevada."
"I can move fast enough when I want to," Derek says. If he was built to be a soldier, it's probably true.
He parks and gets out, shoving his hands into his pockets. There are one or two other cars on this floor but overall, it's as good as deserted. It's a great location for a covert meeting, which is probably why they're here.
"I'm not going to apologise," Derek says, getting out of the jeep and walking around to the driver's side.
"For which part? Using my apartment to organise the robot uprising against humanity or kissing me?"
"Both." He holds out one hand to Stiles. His right hand. "This part of me that you made is the only thing that doesn't change. You're the first human who helped me instead of trying to make me into their tool." There's a question in Derek's eyes.
"I actually wanted to make you into my housekeeper," Stiles says. He reaches out and takes Derek's hand firmly in his, squeezing. Answering the question, he hopes.
And Derek is on him, all hot mouth and cool fingers sliding under fabric. He pins Stiles to the side of the jeep with his hips, letting Stiles feel the hardness of his dick through his pants.
"Fully functional," Stiles mumbles into his mouth, turning a little pink.
Derek is careful, avoiding Stiles' sore nose. In spite of the care he's taking, he kisses Stiles with a kind of restrained desperation that makes him want more. Stiles cups Derek's face in both hands and rolls his hips against him, making his own erection obvious. It should be weird, should feel wrong, but it doesn't. Derek's just another guy, like he insisted all along.
And Stiles is an idiot.
He unbuckles Derek's belt and unfastens the front of his jeans, slipping his hand inside his pants but outside his underwear and palming him through it. Stiles runs his hand up along the length of his dick, from his balls to where the head peeks out through the slit of his boxers. Derek responds by biting down on Stiles' bottom lip with a muffled moan, worrying it with his teeth until Stiles curls his hand around Derek and strokes him.
Derek's fingers are warmer than before when he closes his fist over Stiles' cock, and skilled in unfair ways that make Stiles' mouth fall open and pre-come bead slowly at the tip of his dick. A thought sinks slowly into his conscious mind.
"Do you... come?"
"I can orgasm, in the sense of discharging accumulated sexual tension," Derek says, rubbing his cheek against Stiles' jaw. "I don't ejaculate, if that's what you're asking."
He's like the sexiest Wikipedia article ever.
"That's weird as hell," Stiles gasps. He rocks into the tight circle of Derek's fingers, wishing they were anywhere but a parking structure in Reno. A bed would be good.
They lean into each other and the jeep, making the best of what they've got. Derek makes amazing noises, little gasps and grunts and sighs, like this is the greatest thing that's ever happened to him. Stiles almost forgot what it's like to lose himself in someone else's pleasure, to feel the slick heat of someone else's skin against his and make them ache with his touch.
Derek's orgasm is unmistakeably that, even without the warm gush of liquid that Stiles expects to flood his hand. Derek shudders against him, his jaw set in a tense line and his breath gusting shakily over Stiles' ear.
Stiles is messier when he comes, for obvious reasons. He's a flushed, sticky, trembling wreck and he's never felt better. And then he remembers that Derek's leaving and this barely counts as a one night stand.
The car pulls up onto the fourth floor while they're still tucking themselves away and, in Stiles' case, cleaning themselves up. They're decent by the time it stops and Derek brushes his fingertips against Stiles' cheek before he turns to walk away.
"Are you going to come back?" Stiles asks, grabbing Derek's arm before he can get into the car.
"Tell me to and I will," Derek says, his face unreadable.
Stiles rolls his eyes and lets go. "Yeah, because you totally wouldn't resent me if I did that. I'm not falling for your trick questions."
"It wasn't a question."
"Whatever. Are you?"
"Yes," Derek says finally, determined. "When things have changed—and they will—I'll come back." He slips into the car and closes the door behind him.
Stiles watches it drive away and wonders what he's unleashed on the world.