Derek had fallen asleep. It was a rare occasion, considering he mostly spent his nights pacing around the loft, worrying about whatever angry supernatural catastrophe was currently plaguing Beacon Hills. Stiles had been poring over a massive and ancient book on werewolf mating rituals when he looked up and saw him slumped over rather adorably against the side of his bed, book he had been reading falling slack on his lap.
Stiles couldn’t suppress a smile. Seeing Derek’s face utterly at peace like that tugged inexplicably at his heart. He settled back into reading the ornate, faded text of the book, flipping the fragile pages delicately as he perused the text.
Of course, it happened at the one time when Stiles had decided to leave the room. He was in the kitchen, getting a glass of water, when he heard the big steel front door slide open along it’s track, metal squeaking reverberating throughout the apartment.
The soft click of thick high heels signaled the arrival of none other than Jennifer freaking Blake. Stiles saw her from the doorway of the kitchen, eyeing her suspiciously as she cautiously approached Derek’s unconscious form.
He took a casual sip of water from the mug. It was the only cup-related thing that Derek apparently owned.
"Let him sleep." Jennifer Blake froze in her tracks. She didn’t expect anyone else to be there. Stiles’ eyebrows had a matter-of-fact look written into them as he looked at her.
The Darach immediately switched into innocent mode, a game that Stiles was very familiar with.
She gave a cute little smile, and a small laugh, like it was no matter that Stiles had seen her. But the look in her eyes betrayed her less-than-innocent intent. So yeah, Stiles wasn’t buying it for one second. Bitch was crafty. He sighed, and pointed at the door, motioning her to promptly not let it hit her on the way out.
But she was still playing the innocent. “Well, I, uh, stopped by,” she smiled, mask cracking the tiniest amount, “tell him for me, won’t you?”
Stiles half-followed as she walked back towards the still-open door. He had no intention of bringing more pain back into Derek’s life as the result of her, no matter how nicely she asked.
"Yeah, how about no? Or never. Never is good for you, right?" If looks could kill, Stiles would have been in bloody pieces on the floor, the way Jennifer was glaring at him. "And please, by all means, don’t ever come back." He slid the door shut across her face and locked it. It wasn’t like it would keep her out if she really wanted to get back in, but there were ways of solving that. Spiking the powdered mountain ash line he made with mistletoe seemed like a good place to start.
Stiles also wondered where he had put his bat.
Stiles had been in the abandoned part of the loft, checking on his mountain ash perimeter when he had heard the yelling.
"-No, you’re weak. It’s why you couldn’t bring yourself to just give up on them. Why you couldn’t just leave well enough alone." The snarling words were definitely coming from Peter. Derek seemed calm in the face of his uncle’s verbal assault.
"What was I supposed to do, let them die?"
"Yes. Then you would have been free. You would have been an alpha without the responsibility. Now look at you. You are no one."
"Why are you so upset about this? So I’m not the alpha anymore, so what? I was a terrible alpha. I had no idea what I was doing."
Peter clammed up. He had said too much already. But Derek was pressing his buttons, and Stiles didn’t expect him to keep quiet for long.
"Seriously, why are you so worked up over this? So I’m not an alpha anymore, what does it matter to you?"
Stiles could almost hear the answer forming in Peter’s head before he said it.
"Because if you don’t have it, I can’t take it from anyone." The words came out as a whisper, almost. Quiet, and deadly, affirming what Stiles already knew about Peter: that he was a psychotic, power-hungry asshole.
It was the exact reason he kept one of the Argents’ cattle prods tucked up against the the wall behind the massive hole. Luckily, Peter’s back was to him, and he hadn’t heard Stiles moving around behind him. The human grabbed the prod and flicked the power switch, sidling up behind the werewolf as quickly and as quietly as he could.
And with great satisfaction, stuck Peter with the pointy end(s).
He went down like a bag of dirt, limbs thrashing like he was having a seizure, the electricity overloading his nerves, forcing him in and out of wolf mode. Derek took a step back and looked at Stiles, questioning surprise written across his face.
Stiles put a foot on Peter’s spasming chest, and gestured at Derek victoriously, his lips curled into the closest he would ever come to a snarl.
"I knew it. I fucking knew it." Below him, Peter tried to speak through his seizure. Stiles addressed him next, cutting off the barely-formed words in their tracks. "No. You don’t get to talk anymore. You’re done."
He picked up the phone and dialed Chris Argent.
Stiles had been waiting just out of sight. He had seen Derek come running up, just before Kate had clocked him with her gun. It took everything he had not to jump from behind the tree where he was hiding and scream at her.
"Stay down, Derek." She leveled the gun at him. The look of fear and pain in his eyes made Stiles’ heart break as it beat in his chest. "Stay down and I’ll wait until after I kill you to cut you in half.”
And with that, Stiles was done playing hide-and-seek. He stepped out from the shadow of the tree, feet crunching on leaves as he approached Kate Argent.
"Oh, look, a wild Stilinski appeared." Kate gave a wicked, yet unwitting, smile. "Come to watch the show?"
Stiles let her see his bat. “I don’t fucking think so.”
Kate’s expression became confused. She looked at Stiles, then back at Derek, then back at Stiles, knowledge finally working its way into her eyes.
"So you’re the boy who runs with wolves, eh?" She kept her gun leveled at Derek, but her eyes were searching Stiles for an explanation as he continued to approach. She wouldn’t be able to hold both him and Derek off at once and she knew it. She took an involuntary step backwards.
"More like ‘the boy who is tired of everyone fucking with his mate." Stiles dragged the bat menacingly across the leaves as he walked, pausing just out of swinging distance from where Kate was standing.
"Your mate? Stilinski, don’t tell me you’re fucking him. Are you?” Stiles didn’t even dignify the question with a sarcastic look. “Well shit, now it looks like I have to kill both of you.”
Stiles laughed. Not evilly, not even for effect, he just laughed. Knee-jerk reaction-style. Kate’s words were legitimately humorous. He kind of doubled over for a second, letting the laughter work its way out of him as Kate stood there, dumbfounded. Even Derek was looking at him weird. Stiles pretended not to notice.
"Oh Kate, you are horribly outmatched. I mean, don’t you remember the last time this happened? This isn’t going to end well for you.” Kate Argent swallowed, her throat bobbing up and down with the motion. Stiles could almost smell the fear seeping from her pores.
"I could still kill him, you know."
Stiles tisked. “It would be the last thing you do before I kill you. And not nicely, I might add. Will make your first death look like a friggin’ birthday party.” Stiles brought the bat up, letting it fall against his shoulder. If he had to use it, he was ready. “So you have two options. You can do what you planned to do,” he nodded at Derek’s prone form, “and suffer the consequences, or you can back out of here slowly, get back in that ridiculous little mailbox of a car you drive, and leave forever.” Stiles paused. “Oh, and you should know that if you hurt Derek, I will kill you, it will hurt, and I will bury your body in the woods.” He shrugged. “Your move.
Kate Argent began to back away slowly. As she did, Stiles moved to position himself between her and Derek. She still had the gun pointed on him. As she cleared the darkness of the trees, she lowered her gun, and the last Stiles saw of her was the whirl of her blond hair as she ran into the forest.
He waited, even when Derek tried to stand up, Stiles motioned for him to stay down and keep quiet, shushing him quickly. Only when he heard the distant slamming of a car door and the squealing of tires, did Stiles let Derek stand up. He set down the bat and began helping Derek brush leaves from his jacket.
"So, when did you start fighting all my battles?" The question was intended to be funny, but Stiles sensed Derek’s wounded pride behind it. So logically, he made it worse.
"When I realized that you don’t actually win any of your battles.” Derek growled at him lightly.
"Uh, you don’t get to growl at me. Not after I saved your ass three times this week."
"Three times? This only makes twice."
"Jennifer Blake stopped by the apartment on monday while you were sleeping."
"She did?" Derek’s eyebrows went to their adorable questioning place on his forehead.
"Yeah. I told her to GTFO. Was not in the mood for her shit. Plus, you were asleep."
"You know any of them could totally come back, right?" Derek raised a legitimate point. Stiles flicked his gaze upward, counting on his fingers as he began to talk.
"One, your loft comes standard now with a mountain ash-and-mistletoe safety ring. Nothing is getting in there. I even rigged it to the door to create a perfect seal when it is closed." Stiles paused, watching the surprised expression grow across Derek’s face. "Two, last I checked, Peter is locked up in wolfsbane-handcuffs in Chris Argent’s basement for what he did to Kate the first time she died. I can imagine things aren’t going too well for him, and when next we see him, he will be in several small body-bags." Stiles didn’t miss the slight smile that crept into Derek’s lips at that one. "And three, Kate is gone. She knows now that coming back is not a good idea, especially not with Chris on our side, and Allison. going after you again would be suicide. Again. She won’t risk that."
"Wow, you thought of everything, didn’t you?" Derek sounded like he never would have suspected it.
Stiles turned and to walk back to where he knew the jeep was parked, out of sight behind the house. He allowed himself a small smile. “Always the tone of surprise.” He was about to walk away when Derek caught his arm.
"Stiles." His tone of voice was heavy with emotion. Stiles turned back to look at him, and found himself being held in place.
"Thank you. I- I’m glad you were there. I just- You are-" Stiles cut him off by leaning in and placing a soft kiss on his lips. The half-second of surprise faded to Derek kissing him back. His heart did a funny little flip in his chest in response, as his fingers and toes began to tingle with warmth. Stiles smiled into it as Derek sucked in a sharp breath of air through his nose, and pulled himself closer in to the werewolf, until his hands were wrapped underneath Derek’s leather jacket against his sides.
Reluctantly, he pulled back, and got to witness the moment when Derek opened his eyes, half-lidded and flickering with what looked like happiness. He chuckled slightly. Derek smiled in return, making all of Stiles’ villainous interactions totally and completely worth it.
He tried to back up and found that Derek had hemmed him in, hands wrapped surely around his waist. He wasn’t complaining.
"So, mates, huh?" Stiles laughed again and patted Derek on the chest. "You know you love it." Derek rolled his eyes. They walked back to the jeep hand-in-hand.
As they drove, Stiles wouldn’t let it go. Derek sighed in frustration.
"Say it, Sourwolf."
"C’mon, say it."
"I said no. Let it go, Stiles."
"You know I won’t until you say it."
"Derek?" No response. "Derek?" Again, no response. "Derek?" Stiles was a persistent little shit. "DerekDerekDerekDerekDerekDer-"
“WHAT?” Derek roared at Stiles.
"You know what. Say it."
The mournful, almost angry sigh that escaped Derek’s nose seemed to ask ‘why me?’
"I need you to survive. There. Happy?"
"Yes." Derek wanted to punch him in his stupid, smug face.
"How long have you been sitting on that one?" he asked, partially curious and partially knowing that Stiles was just the annoying pain in the ass to have held on to something like that.
"Oh, you know, about a year." Stiles answered matter-of-factly. Derek shook his head.
"I hate you so much."
"Love you too, Der." Stiles said through a smile, as Derek laced their fingers together. "And I’ll remember that the next time something evil tries to kick your ass." Stiles gave him a wink. Derek rolled his eyes.
Yup, they were mates alright. Derek could do a lot worse. He had, in fact.