Stiles still wasn't sure how he'd gotten here.
And by here he meant on a street corner in the dark, wearing nothing but a tight mesh shirt, metal colored leather shorts (that were, of course, barely covering his ass) and cowboy boots.
Okay, so he knew how he'd gotten here. But what he really wasn't certain of was the why. Why did the universe use him as it's whipping boy? He was a good person. He paid his taxes, he didn't pick on that one guy at the department with a serious unibrow going on. And contrary to popular belief (thank you very much, Scott, seriously, you're going to get the Best Friend of the Year award) this was not funny. This was not awesome. And his ass cheeks were going to turn blue and fall off at any moment.
Of course, he knew that he'd sort of brought this on himself. His mouth, as his kindergarten teacher, Mrs. McGimly (God rest her grouchy, shrewish old soul) told him, would constantly get him into trouble.
The police department that he worked for was trying to get solicitors and possible pedophiles. Young, teenage looking men and women who Lydia had it out for were being assigned to hit the streets in a temporary operation.
There had originally been five male candidates to go undercover in the sting operation, and they only needed three. Williams nearly didn't make the cut—he was sort of built. But he still had the best puppy dogs ever. (Not that anyone ever said this to his face, of course.)
The other guy was Samuel, who was just—angelic. He had blonde hair that looked like it had been spun from Holy gold. Suspects had surrendered to his very disappointed face. He was usually called in for suicides because his big blue eyes reminded people of all that was bright and sunny in the world. People around the department called him Captain America.
The third guy was going to be some newbie whose name Stiles was constantly forgetting. Stiles had been considered because, as Erica said, “You're built like a teenager and you have Bambi eyes. Don't tell me that you don't fit the profile.” However, Lydia kept him on the office and investigating.
“You're totally awesome for not assigning me to this gig, dude,” Stiles had said. “I like being a cop and everything, but did you see the leather shorts that Erica was carrying around?” He'd broken out in nervous shivers at the sight.
“I decided to be merciful for once,” Lydia had said, taking a sip of her nonfat white chocolate latte, looking gorgeous and unruffled as always. Her engagement ring had gleamed proudly on her finger. Personally, Stiles thought that she was still too exuberant from the proposal to torment him. For a few days, anyway.
“Well it's a good thing,” he'd grinned conspiratorially. “Otherwise, I'd have to tell Jackson about that time when we made out while you guys were still on.”
“What,” said Jackson from where he'd just come in.
He replaced the rookie. He also got the honor of wearing the leather shorts. They were snug and itchy and he was pretty sure that he would be as red as a traffic light if he weren't so cold. It was only about 55 degrees out, but the wind chill factor had gone up. Stiles resentfully thought of Samuel and his painted on skinny jeans. Lucky bastard.
He surveyed his surroundings, looking at the tall, graffiti covered buildings and cracked sidewalks. He wasn't in a particularly bad part of town, just a little spot where people were...rougher. Across the street, a bar called The Den apparently was getting good business. Girls in too-high boots with guys hanging off their arms walked in and out, laughing loudly. There was even a bouncer, a tall black guy who had an unreadable expression.
Stiles looked at them wistfully. That could have totally been him if he hadn't suddenly grown a hero complex in freshman year of college and caught a killer, Nancy Drew style.
It had felt...good. Sure, he'd vomited and maybe even had a small panic attack in the process. But it had still been something he'd wanted to do. So, he'd switched his major from History to Criminal Justice, finished college, and became a cop.
His father had been half proud, half furious. (It was a rather comical expression. Stiles had snapped a picture and was currently using it as the photo I.D. on his phone for the man.)
“How you lookin' out there, Stilinski?” Greenberg, another officer, was his watcher. They were in an abandoned building a few doors over Stiles had a small, skin colored ear piece in his ear.
Stiles was supposed to take his “customers” into a side alley where another officer in civilian clothing was waiting to question and/or arrest them.
“I can't feel my balls,” Stiles said cheerfully, barely moving his lips. “Also, I think I've blinked eyeliner into my eye. So if you see tears, I'm not crying. My name is Red Fox by the way, Greenberg. Red Fox.”
“That's the spirit,” Greenberg said, a grin in his voice. “Try to look a bit more hot and willing rather than cold and miserable, and we might make a hooker out of you yet.”
“Hooray.” Stiles shut up to make eyes at a passing man. He looked to be in his mid-twenties, wearing a suit and holding a briefcase. His curly brown hair stood out under the street light.
Stiles tried to look “hooker”, but his brief lessons with Erica back at the PD evaporated from his mind. Ignoring the churning in his stomach, he tried to look seductive. “Hey, baby. Want a good time?”
He looked unsure for a minute before he looked around, his gaze darting to the bar across the street. And then he leaned forward. “What do you do?”
Oh God. He was actually doing this. This was actually happening. He didn't know whether to fist pump or upchuck. “Anything you want,” his mouth took over for him. And, to his horror, kept going. “I mean, as long as you've got the dough, I can fulfill your every fantasy right over there. Call me your personal Jesus. If you want me to be the Catwoman to your Batman I will, indeed, be the Catwoman to your Batman. And hell! Who's to say you wouldn't want to be Catwoman!? There's nothing wrong with that! I mean, sometimes I fantasize about being Batgirl to someone's Joker, and if that's not kinky--”
The voice contained a growl and just a hint of a curl of a lip. Stiles jumped and turned away from his customer (who looked kind of shell shocked) and looked at the newcomer.
The sheer attractiveness of this guy was like a sledgehammer to the stomach. He was tall and dark haired, wearing a tight black t-shirt with black jeans under a leather jacket. Stubble brushed over a jaw that was shaped enough to be the inspiration for a sculpture. Short, messy black hair barely covered luminous eyes that glared at them in the dark.
“Beat it,” the demigod told Stiles' John. The man nodded and practically ran down the street, his footsteps disappearing.
The man folded his arms, his pectorals bulging like softballs. It was a wonder that the seams in his shirt were still together.
“What,” the man growled, “Are you doing out here.”
Stiles wiped at his mouth absently, doing a drool check. “Uh. Hooking?”
“Not anymore you're not,” the man glowered spectacularly. “How old are you?”
“Seventeen,” Stiles improvised, glowering at the jerk. “Not that it's any of your business.”
“That--” the GQ model pointed to the bar across the street. “Is my building. Your pale, skinny ass is going to upset it. God, when was the last time that you even ate? Last week?”
There was a snicker over the earpiece. And then Greenberg lost it, unprofessionally, cackling and hooting. Stiles ignored him, his face burning. He knew he was rather skinny, but that was muscle damnit. Lean. Stilinski. Muscle.
“For your information,” he replied rather testily, “I ate this morning! I had a bagel. And a coffee!”
The man snorted, unconvinced. “Yeah, right.”
Stiles was so insulted that he couldn't speak. Which was not a regular thing. His lips flapped uselessly in shock while the man shook his head, his eyes softening.
“Look,” he said. “My name's Derek. Derek Hale. My sister, Laura, runs a shelter—there's food and a warm bed for free—she'll even try to help you find relatives that you can stay with. Are you living on the streets?”
“It's okay if you are,” Derek said, all concerned and hostile and absolutely gorgeous. “Nothing to be ashamed of. But you shouldn't have to do this--”
“I'm fine!” Stiles' voice got even higher, to his shame. This really hadn't been in the So You Want To Be An Undercover Prostitute handbooks. “Really!”
Derek furrowed his impressive brow, looking all tragic and grumpy. “Hm,” he grunted, and then turned away to go back across the street. Stiles watched the straight, muscular line of his shoulders as they disappeared across the street.
“Shut up,” Stiles said through his teeth.
“Are you getting lippy with your superiors, Red Fox?” Greenberg asked, sounding gleeful.
“Superiors my ass,” Stiles grumbled under his breath. “You're barely a year older than me.”
“And yet,” Greenberg replied. “And yet. Ooh look, he's coming back. And—is that a jacket?”
It was, indeed, a jacket. It was bright red and thick and tucked under Derek's huge arm like a prize. He looked both ways before crossing the street, gravel crunching under his boots.
“Here,” Derek said, shoving the jacket at him.
Stiles eyed it. Seriously considered putting up a fight. and then, with a put upon sigh, he slid it on. It was warm and smelled slightly of cigarettes and beer. Stiles loved it.
“Thank you,” he said, putting it on, Operation be damned. He was rewarded with the glower fading from Derek's eyebrows a bit.
There was an odd moment where they stared at each other. Stiles felt his face flushing again. He fiddled with the zipper on the jacket—it actually felt fairly new.
“So,” he said slowly, half hoping that Derek wouldn't accept—because he would have to get him arrested—and half hoping he would, 'cause dude was lickable. “Did you want to step into my--”
“No,” Derek said so forcefully that it was like it was punched out of him. “Absolutely not.”
Stiles was a little hurt. “You don't want none of the Red Fox?”
Derek's glare could have made The Hulk pee his elastic-y pants a little. “The Red Fox,” he said, the name coming out with an astonishing amount of sarcasm, “is underage. Which is why Boyd over there--” he pointed to the huge black bouncer outside the bar, who waved a little-- “Is going to make sure that The Red Fox doesn't get any customers. Once you're done being an idiot, come inside the bar and eat.”
“It's what's right.” Derek looked at him, frowning again before he turned and walked away.
“You are a huge jerk!” Stiles shouted at his back, waving a fist for good measure.
“Happy to help!” Derek called back.
“I hear you've got a concerned citizen,” Lydia said a few days later.
Derek hadn't let up with the meddling. Bowls of warm, hearty soup delivered by Boyd (who was a man of few words, but actually very nice) with crackers on the side. Hot chocolate. That same red jacket. And occasionally, talk. (Which mostly consisted of “Come inside and get something to eat.” “No.” Growl. “Stiles.” “Yes, Sourbartender?”)
Stiles had gotten no customers. Derek had looked immensely, attractively, infuriatingly smug about it. He just didn't know that he was cocking up an entire police operation.
“Derek Hale,” Stiles said with less rancor than he liked. It came out more breathless and dreamy. He only kept himself from resting his chin on his hand, Ariel-Pining-After-Eric style, through sheer force of will.
Derek was...how could he even start?
It had taken a few days of poking and prodding and not-so-slyly questioning Boyd, but Stiles had managed to piece together information about Derek. He was twenty-seven years old (four years older than Stiles), lived alone. No pets, no girlfriend (or boyfriend, he'd confessed, and Stiles had used a Herculean amount of self control to not fist pump the air). His parents were wealthy (he'd said this vaguely, almost with a hint of guilt. Stiles had Googled him, later. Wealthy didn't even cover it.)
Derek used the money to help better the community. He donated to Laura's shelter, volunteered around the area and helped people who looked a bit lost. (This information was dragged out of Boyd.)
He loved his parents and wanted them happy, but he'd hated law. He'd switched his major to culinary arts.
“But you own a bar,” Stiles had said blankly.
“A bar that I cook in, idiot.”
“Wait, wait, so that soup—that was you?”
Something like a blush had risen in Derek's cheeks as he'd nodded. “'S nothing.”
“Nothing!? Derek, Gordon Ramsey would have a seizure at how good that was!”
“So I gathered,” Derek said dryly, trying to recover some of his badassery. It was too late. Stiles knew that he was nothing but a huge teddy bear. “You know, from all the shameless moaning. Laura makes a mean steak, too, for all of her residents.”
“Really? That sounds awe—oh, nice try dude.” he'd waggled a finger at Derek, who'd looked unrepentant.
“Stiles,” he said, long suffering.
They'd stared at each other, joking at first but slowly getting more intense. Stiles had felt his face heating up. His eyes had darted down to Derek's mouth, which looked so--
“Man,” Greenburg sighed over the earpiece, “if I wrote this down and turned it into a romantic comedy, I'd be rolling in it.”
And the moment was over.
“Right,” Lydia said now, eying him. She dropped a folder in front of him. “String of corner store robberies, it's yours and Jamison's. You're off the solicitation case.”
“What!?” Stiles' spine snapped straight as he lurched up from his chair. “But I--”
“Have a big man crush on Derek Hale, yes, I know.” Lydia rolled her eyes, her red mouth in an odd half-smirk, half frown. “But you're a detective, Stiles. That was just a temporary punishment.”
“I need you on this case,” she said, her tone leaving no room for argument.
Stiles was pretty sure that he looked at miserable as he felt, because Lydia softened slightly. “Sorry. The chief is clamoring for this to be solved though...”
“Fine,” Stiles sighed and picked up the case folder, starting halfheartedly flip through it.
“I have a problem,” Stiles announced, bursting in.
Scott looked up, his eyes wide and a stethoscope hanging from his ears. His hand was on the other end of a thermometer that was stuck up a poodle's butt. “Stiles,” he asked slowly, “what are you doing.”
Stiles was aware that he looked a little like hell. The robbery case had turned into a nasty murder and he'd been up for three days, running on coffee and depression. After a week of chasing, he'd cornered his bad guy. That's when he'd thought he'd seen a leather jacket out of the corner of his eye.
Derek! His mind had screamed.
Ow Hell's ballsack ow, went his eye. He now had a very impressive shiner and not one, not two, but three smacks on the back of the head for getting distracted. (Courtesy of Lydia, Greenburg, and his father, of course).
(Leather Jacket had not been Derek. Obviously.)
“Hi, Scotty,” Stiles dropped down into the chair next to the poodle's owner. The old woman pressed a hand to her chest.
“Good gracious,” she said, all old womanlyutrage and purple silk.
“Don't mind me, Barbara,” Stiles told her. “I'm an officer of the law.”
“Young man, my name is not--”
“I have developed,” Stiles spoke over her, turning to Scott, “an Allison and Scott crush on Derek Hale.” Scott had gotten the low down on the bartender on very first night of Stiles' undercover work.
“Stiles, are you serious right now?” Scott looked at him, blinking.
“Do I look serious? 'Cause if I don't, that's just a side effect of this. Yesterday, we were reading a report about a serial killer and I could not stop smiling. Someone asked me if something was wrong with me. I have fallen. He has me tripping. He has me stumbling over random things. And I did, in fact, fumble with my keys for a good twenty minutes last night.”
Both occupants of the room stared at him, wordless.
Stiles groaned. “Stop looking at me like that! I can't help it!”
“Okay, buddy,” Scott said soothingly. “Tell me: have you called him?”
“And tell him what, Scott? Oh hi, Derek, this is Stiles, that hooker that you acted completely and utterly adorable over. Except, you know, I'm not actually a hooker. I'm a detective. Who happens to want to have your fuzzy-eyebrowed, monosyllabic babies.”
“Well I have never,” Barbara said, outrage in every line of her body.
“Martha's totally healthy, Mrs. Crawford,” Scott said hurriedly. “Excellent job, as always. Have a very nice day--”
“Hrmph.” She stood, scooped her dog up off the table, and bustled out the door.
“You can get free doggie treat coupons at the front desk,” Stiles called after her.
The door slammed. Scott winced and looked momentarily put out before he turned to Stiles. “She was a regular,” he scolded.
“Yeah, yeah,” Stiles waved a hand. “Now Scott: tell me what I need to do. Tellll mmmeeee.”
“I can't just tell you what to do.” Scott wrinkled his nose at the thought. He began going around the room, pulling out the spray and wipes to clean the table.
“On the contrary: I think you can. That way, when it inevitably fails, I can blame you.”
“Ha ha,” Scott smirked. “Have you ever thought of, um.” he bit his lip. “Um. Have you tried Allison?”
“Good idea, dude.” Stiles brightened. Allison would know what to do. She always had a clear, logical mind.
Allison had lost her mind.
“Tell him the truth as gently as possible, Stiles,” the man mocked as he walked into the police department later on that day. He immediately felt bad about it. Mocking Allison was like mocking Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz. It just wasn't done. At any moment, a bunch of munchkins were going to come out of the bushes and start biting at Stiles' ankles.
Shaking the image away, Stiles walked into the air conditioned department. He waved absently at some people that he knew, heading for his office. He had three days off after that hellish case, but there was honestly nothing to do at home but play video games and fantasize about Derek Hale. And while he was super happy about doing the latter, he figured it would only be masochistic of him. It was obvious that that little fantasy was going to go absolutely nowhere.
Which was why when Stiles heard Derek's voice he thought that he was hallucinating.
It wasn't that far off: once, during his brief, horribly embarrassing infatuation with Lydia, he imagined her in his favorite coffee shop. And actually started talking to her. Embarrassing? Yeah, that didn't even cover it.
But now he was absolutely sure that he wasn't imagining it. There was no way that he'd be able to visualize Derek's perfect, growly 'I-am-about-to-rip-out-your-throat' tone.
He walked slowly, stopping to tip his head just around the corner.
Derek was standing at the front desk, dressed in all of his black glory. Stiles hadn't realized that he'd been going through withdrawals until he spotted that ass in those jeans. He sucked up the sight like it was the nectar of the gods.
There was a woman standing with him, and from the same dark coloring and leather jacket, Stiles deduced that it was Laura. Derek had always talked about her with a half fond, half irritated smile. She looked severe right now, like a predator.
“So you're telling me,” Derek was saying with barely-there patience, “that you're completely unwilling to even do a little search?”
Mrs. Grace looked unruffled by his tone. The little old woman had balls of steel.
“I'm saying that you don't have to worry about him any more,” she offered a kind smile.
It seemed to have the opposite effect that it was supposed to on Derek though: all of the blood drained from the man's face. He looked haunted. “You mean he's dead?” he asked, hoarse, and Stiles could have actually died right then. He was an awful person. An awful, awful person. Really, he deserved whatever the universe threw at him right now.
That, apparently, was Brian McClaggert, who had been walking down the hallway with his head in the clouds. He collided with Stiles. Easily as clumsy as him, the man was a tangle of limbs and papers flying everywhere.
“Sorry! God—and you're Stilinski, and injured, of course you are—God I'm sorry.”
“Here, let me help you,” a voice came from behind them.
Every single nerve in Stiles' body snapped to attention, nearly making his hair stand on end. It was almost in slow motion that a hand gripped his and helped pull him up--
And then he was face to face with Laura Hale.
Her eyes went wide, the exact, painful shade as Derek's. And then she was gripping his chin, turning his face this way and that.
“Derek,” she barked, and like an apparition, he was there.
He looked like someone had shot him with an anesthetic: his spine loosened, and for a moment, his head almost hung in relief.
“Stiles,” he said, and then he spotted the black eye. His posture went from 'weak with relief' to 'homicidal' in about .03 seconds. “Who the hell did this to you?” he demanded.
“Don't worry,” McClaggert said, all innocence. He had his paper stacked haphazardly in his arms. Stiles had forgotten all about him. “Detective Stiles here is really good at catching criminals. The guy's behind bars.”
Like a train wreck, Stiles watched as realization slowly came over the siblings' faces. Laura eventually settled on outrage. And while she looked very dangerous, Stiles was looking at Derek.
He was...blank. Absolutely blank. His eyes had shuttered, and like a black hole slowly sucking away all warmth, the comfort of his body began to recede.
“Derek,” he stammered, even as the man turned to walk away. He stumbled after him, aware of spectators watching and not caring. “Derek, I--”
“Save it, Stiles.” he sounded exhausted. “Just...”
So Stiles saved it, and watched Derek walk out with his sister.
It was like someone had punched a huge, Hulk-sized hole in his chest.
Stiles did not go home and sob into his big, red jacket that smelled faintly of Derek. He didn't. He did not eat an entire carton of brownie chunk ice cream. He didn't turn on The Notebook, either, because that was Lydia's thing, damn it, and he wasn't that--
He was pathetic. He was absolutely, positively, gone.
He thought about spamming Derek with apologies (he had his number—Derek had given it to him “just in case”). However, he'd arrested stalkers before, and that didn't seem to be the right way. He sucked at writing letters, and an email seemed to be too easy to ignore. So he did nothing.
When he walked into the station on Monday, Erica dropped her coffee.
The cup, miraculously, fell right side up and stayed. That changed when Erica charged forward, knocking it over with her pumps. It waas ignored.
“Darling,” she took his face in her hands. They were cold. He didn't flinch. “Oh, Stiles,” she sighed. “When was the last time that you slept?”
“I think I dozed off a little on the drive here.” he attempted a smile. It dropped when Erica's eyes got a flinty look.
“There's no way that you're doing anything today,” she said, decisive, and started dragging Stiles to Lydia's office. Her grip on his wrist was like steel, so he had no choice but to follow.
Lydia and Jackson were making out on her desk when Erica burst in. Well, Stiles thought bitterly, they seem to have fixed things.
“Reyes!” Lydia snapped, hastily buttoning her blouse. “I specifically told you not--” she seemed to screech to a halt when she saw Stiles.
“Christ, Stilinski,” Jackson said. His voice was dangerously close to something like concern. “You look like you've just walked through Hell and back.”
Lydia quickly took charge. “Jackson, out. Erica, get a sleeping pill, an extra large coffee and one of George's cavity- inducing donuts.”
“On it.” Erica ushered Jackson out.
Stiles sat. Where it used to be comfortable, the leather under him was cold and bumpy.
“This is about Derek Hale, isn't it?” Lydia tutted, but her eyes were soft. “I heard what happened.”
Stiles groaned and leaned forward. “Who hasn't?” The department was rife with gossip. It only made him feel worse.
“Stiles,” Lydia said gently. “Have you tried talking to him?”
“He doesn't want to hear my voice ever again.” Stiles muttered.
Her voice went sharp. “He said that?”
“He may as well have. It was like a kick to the nuts with one of Erica's stilettos.”
Lydia sighed, relaxing back in her chair. She was wearing a typical lady-killer suit, the one that brought all the boys to the yard. “You have to do something.”
“I think I've done enough.”
“No.” he cut her off for the first time ever. He was too depressed to feel any of the crawling fear that he might have in any other circumstance. “Lydia, just—don't.”
She did anyway. At least, that's what Stiles figured when he opened his apartment door and saw Derek Hale standing there.
For a minute Stiles could only stare in frozen horror. His hair was a tangled mess: he was wearing a pair of Spongebob pajama bottoms and an old, oversized academy t-shirt. He was pretty sure that he stank, too, and he'd burned his popcorn so the smell drifted outside.
Derek's nose wrinkled. “Is that...?”
“My microwave doesn't have a popcorn button,” Stiles said, automatically defensive.
That was the first thing that he'd said to the man he had fallen for and hadn't seen in two weeks. God help him.
“Okay,” Derek said. “I've been told that if I don't show up at this address ready to listen, I'll be investigated for suspicion of running a secret, underground drug world."
“I'm sorry,” Stiles blurted out. And as always, continued, “I'm sorry I'm sorry I am so fucking sorry. You are one of the nicest people I know, and my best friend saves puppies, so that's big. And you're all gorgeous and stubborn and kind and I think I've fallen for you. I know I've fallen for you. And I will deal with that, and the fact that I've just told you that, with several hours of free therapy and Chunky Monkey ice cream. But please don't hate me, 'cause I love you.”
Derek stared at him like he'd been hit in the head with a sack of potatoes.
Stiles was literally shaking with mortification. “Oh God,” he said, covering his mouth. He felt like he was going to hurl. “I--”
“You are an idiot,” Derek said, and dove in for a kiss.
Stiles froze in shock before his brain caught up with his body and his mouth dropped open. Derek wasted no time in taking advantage, sweeping in with angry, frustrated strokes. Stiles moaned and fell back against the door, which, of course, wasn't shut properly. His grip around Derek's neck (when had that gotten there?) ensured that they fell to the floor.
Derek pulled back, his hair in his eyes. “You are impossible,” he said, but he was smiling. “I'm still mad at you.”
“That's great, really,” Stiles beamed back. Even though his head and butt were throbbing, he felt like he could piss rainbows. “You know what's greater?”
“What would that be?” Derek had absently started peppering kisses on Stiles neck.
“Well,” Stiles said breathlessly, “I'm twenty-three. And decidedly not a hooker.”
He waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
And when Derek laughed, Stiles decided that maybe the universe liked him a little after all.