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Is This a Wire?

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"Is this a wire?"

The only change in Derek's expression is a quirk of his left brow and a tightening around the corners of his mouth.

"Will you believe me if I say no?"

The scowl is answer enough.

"I, uh, don't suppose you'd believe it's a misplaced suspender?"

Shit. Stiles knew this undercover gig was a bad idea. There are a lot of reasons why, not the least of which is Derek’s status. He’s not some low-level family lackey. He's first in line to the Hale Family business. Businesses. Whatever. Derek is the left hand of Peter ‘the Alpha’ Hale. That's enough to make him intimidating and a terrible choice for a first time undercover agent like Stiles. Plus Derek, he's just so--he's really, well. Stiles has spent most of his life trying not to think about it, but Derek is textbook his type. Dry wit, street smarts in spades, and generally easy on the eyes. Okay, Stiles isn’t blind, the guy is extremely easy on the eyes.

Derek lets out an irritated-sounding breath through his nose, teeth grinding audibly, and loosens his hold on the wire. There’s a slight tic at the corner of his jaw when he pulls a switchblade out of his interior jacket pocket. His movements are swift and sure. Stiles doesn't have time to panic before Derek's cutting the wire and flipping the blade closed. He shoves Stiles into a chair and retracts his claws before putting his stupidly big hands on Stiles' shoulders. Stiles wonders if Derek's so used to pretending to be human that it didn't occur to him to cut the wire with his claws.

Stiles takes a long, shuddery breath, head tipped back so he can hold Derek's gaze. The sweat springing up at the back of Stiles' neck is only partly attributable to the pants-shitting fear of discovery. He's studiously ignoring the stirring below his belt. Adrenaline, he thinks frantically, as another part of his mind is happily cataloging the shades of green and blue and gray in Derek’s eyes. It's just fight or flight response, it's not because, really, it's not, he would never--

"Feds or locals, O’Hara?" Derek asks, turning his back and walking to his liquor cabinet. He removes his fedora, tossing it onto the side table before snagging two glasses and a crystal decanter from inside the cabinet.

"It’s Stilinski.” Derek glances over his shoulder. “My real name. O’Hara was my grandmother’s maiden name. I’m Stiles Stilinski. And it’s a joint task force," Stiles says. 

Hale nods and turns back to the drinks, leaving Stiles to wonder at the implicit trust in Derek's movements. The doorman of the Hale building pats him down every time he enters. Derek knows Stiles is armed. His back is turned anyway. There's no hint of tension in the line of his broad shoulders. Stiles could be armed with wolfsbane bullets. He's not. He refused the arms master when he offered. Stiles was concerned the Hales would sniff that out right away (possibly literally), plus it seemed...unsportsmanlike somehow. So Derek thinks Stiles doesn't qualify as a threat or--

Derek turns and passes Stiles one of the glasses. It's filled with something amber-colored and smoky smelling. Stiles takes it automatically, but doesn't drink. He's transfixed by the line of Hale's throat as he tosses back the liquor in one long swallow.  

"It's safe to drink," Derek says, the hint of a smirk returning to his face. "Even for humans," he adds. There's no mistaking the amused crinkle of his eyes and wow. Stiles is really gone on the guy. All of this is so very bad in so many ways.

"Right, I never thought--didn't think you would, uh. Thanks."  Stiles raises his glass in a half-toast and takes a small taste. He closes his eyes to savor the slow burn as it slides down smoothly. "Would it be okay if I borrowed a pen and some paper?"

That seems to throw Derek. He raises an inquisitive brow before setting down his glass and shrugging out of his jacket.

"And what would that be for?" Derek asks, loosening the knot on his tie. And then Stiles falls into some kind of fugue state because Derek's removing his cuff links. Stiles watches the twist and pull of muscle and tendon covered with smooth skin.  Derek proceeds to roll up his sleeves, revealing thickly muscled, hairy forearms and Jesus.  It must be like a million degrees in here.

"So I can--" Stiles mouth is so dry he chokes on his own words. He tips back his glass, stares at the ceiling and gives himself a moment to collect his thoughts. He can feel his cheeks burning and this right here--his inappropriate hard-on for Derek--would be enough to warrant death, he's pretty sure. Like being a goddamn undercover cop wasn't bad enough. "So I can leave a note for my dad.  You know, before you, uh..." Stiles makes an abortive gesture with his left hand then shrugs, letting his eyes fall from the crack in the ceiling back to Derek's face.

"Before I what?" Derek looks...amused. Damn. Stiles had been, like, 99% sure that Peter was the sociopath in the family. They’re probably going to send Stiles back to his dad in boxes, piece by piece, and this is bad. So very bad. He should've listened to Scott; undercover work with the families is a terrible idea. Not that Scott's one to talk. Getting in with the Argents was how he met Allison, after all.

"Well, you cut the wire and gave me my last drink. This is when I, ya know: cash in my chips, hand in my dinner pail, take that long dirt nap, put on my pine overcoat, shuffle off this mortal coil. And I get it. A mobster’s gotta do what a mobster’s gotta do, but--It's just, I'm the only family he's got left, so I'd at least like to write some sort of cover story like I had to disappear overseas, or something, because even that would be better than him going to another funeral and disappearing down the bottom of a bottle like when Ma died--"

"Stiles. Breathe."

"I'm—trying." Stiles can hear his own heart pounding in his ears and it feels like there's a hand in his chest, squeezing his lungs in a powerful grip.

"With me, okay?" And then warm fingers are pulling Stiles' hand and placing it on the rough cotton covering Derek's heart. "In and out.  Nice and easy."

It's a few moments or hours or years later and Stiles is blinking away the spots in his vision. Derek is kneeling on the ground in front of his chair. His hands are still clasped over Stiles' left hand and he looks--

"Your heart sounded like it was going to beat out of your chest," Derek says, voice rough and low like he's forcibly pushing the noise out of his throat.

"Panic attack," Stiles says, eyes flicking down to their joined hands. "Impending death can do that to a guy."

"I'm not," Derek looks stricken, viridian eyes widening as his fingers reflexively curl tighter around Stiles' hand. "I would never—and my people will never lay a finger on you. I'd rip out the throat of anyone who tried."

"That's incredibly considerate of you," Stiles says automatically, blanching at his complete lack of filter.  So very unsuited to field work. "I--I thought that you wouldn’t." His free hand trembles, but he still manages to cup Derek's cheek. "I didn't think you--"

"I'm getting that now," Derek says. His smile warms as he leans into the caress of Stiles long fingers against surprisingly soft facial hair. "I already knew how're not actually very subtle.” Now it’s Derek’s turn to blush and Stiles really shouldn’t find the reddening of those ears so adorable. Nothing about Derek Hale should ever be described as adorable, and yet. “And, we have more comprehensive senses, so I could, uh, let’s just say it's easier to know when guys are...anyway. Weres are, we're a bit"

"I'm getting that now," Stiles parrots, face breaking into a broad grin.

"How long before they come in, guns blazing, to save you?"

And if that isn't a hard jolt back to reality. "Shit.  Shit, not long.  Derek, listen--"

"I want to help," Derek says.

"You want--what?"

"I want to help. If your people are willing to work with me, I can help you take down Peter." Derek keeps one hand pressing Stiles' fingers to his heart. The other hand curls around the nape of Stiles’ neck, pulling him down until their foreheads are pressed together, noses brushing. "You and me.  We're going to change everything."

Stiles definitely doesn't sigh into the kiss.

He doesn't.