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How was this his life? Seriously? An hour ago, Stiles was crouched in a damp alley trying to catch a glimpse of that rich guy walking into a brothel. He even had his camera to get a picture, just in case they wanted to run it with his article. But no. That was not his life apparently. Because now, he had his hands bound behind his back and a bag pulled over his head and he was stuffed in the backseat of a car, the engine chugging away, taking him and his two abductors to god knew where.

Holy shit. He was going to die.

Stiles couldn't stop thinking that as he's roughly pulled from the car by large, rough hands. His shirt catching on the car door and tearing as he's manhandled through a door and shoved up several staircases. Normally by now, he'd have said something, but he knew roughly who these people were and he could admit it. He was afraid.

Roughly shoved to his knees, Stiles groaned softly. Ow. That fucking hurt. "Boss, we found this poor little bunny at our hit," the woman said, pulling the bag from his head. Stiles blinked as soft, orange glow of lamp light illuminated the dark wood of the floor, planes of wood angling to meet in a pattern that reminded Stiles of the letter 'x'. There was a squeak and faint click of heels before a large hand grabbed his chin and forced his head up.

Stiles stared at the man. He was, okay, he was strangely beautiful. Dark hair slicked back, dark stubble emphasizing high cheek bones, and pale green eyes narrowed at him. But the most startling thing about him were the collection of long scars marring the right side of his face. Stiles swallowed as his eyes drifted down, taking in the black and white striped button down with sleeves pushed up, revealing toned forearms. The man wore a black waistcoat with clusters of grey stripes.

"How did you find us little bunny?" The man asked, his voice soft yet still holding an aspect of danger. Was it possible to be attracted to someone but also afraid that they might rip his throat out if he said the wrong thing? Stiles had no idea who these people were. Not technically. He'd gotten as far as organized crime, but he had no idea which organization specifically. "Get him in the chair."

The man released Stiles' chin and stepped away, before Stiles was yanked to his feet again. He looked at the two holding his arms. One was a big, dark-skinned man. Stiles had never been this close to a black man before. And the other was a gorgeous, blonde woman. She wore a suit, like a man would, and her lips painted bright red. An odd pair to be sure. But there wasn't time to dwell on it as the two manhandled Stiles into a stiff, wooden chair.

Stiles wrists were tied tightly to the chair's arms. The scarred man circled back, his eyes locked on Stiles. "You working for the bulls? We got a rat? Talk," the man spoke, snapping the blade on a slender knife. Stiles swallowed heavily, his eyes locked on the blade.

"I-I'm not a cop," Stiles stammered, pulling at his restrained wrists. "I don't even know who you are. I mean, not exactly. You're mob, but that's as much as I got." The cool flat of the blade was pressed against his cheek and the man glared as though he didn't believe him. "Oh my god. Please don't, I don't know anything, I swear. I really don't know who you are."

"Seems a shame to cut up a choice bit of calico like you," the man murmured, twisting the blade so the edge bit into his skin. "So why don't you just tell me what I want to know little bunny?" Stiles could only stammer, pulling at his wrists and wincing at the sting.

The man frowned at him, dark eyebrows pulling together as he looked Stiles over slowly. "What's your name little bunny?" The man questioned, pulling the knife away from Stiles' skin.

"Uh, St-Stiles," Stiles stammered, watching closely as the man brought the knife to Stiles' wrist. With a quick flick of his wrist, the man cut the rope binding Stiles to the chair before moving to the other wrist. "I don't, I'm sorry? I didn't mean to, to see anything. I, I can go home right? I promise I won't say anything. I still don't know who you are exactly, so you can trust me ab-so-lute-ly."

He heard the woman scoff at him. Stiles frowned. He was being serious. He wouldn't tell anyone. It wasn't like they'd believe his story anyway. "Erica, Boyd, leave us," the man in front of him instructed, slicing the binds of his other wrist. "I doubt he'll be any trouble. At least, nothing I can't handle."

The man waited until Stiles could hear the door click shut. He finally moved his hands, rubbing at his wrist absently. "You're not leaving," the man said, turning away to return to his desk. "You've seen far too much, and I'm afraid I can't let you leave. You'll stay here with me. We'll send someone to retrieve your things, and perhaps pick you up some nice glad rags. We'll go out tonight."

Stiles gaped at this man. This man, whose name he didn't even know, was going to keep him prisoner. And apparently that meant going out to, to party. "What?" Stiles asked, upset at his inability to find more words to describe exactly what he was feeling. "I'm sorry, I don't even know who you are big shot. You can't just order me around like, like some kind of dog."

The man raised an eyebrow at him, an amused smirk on his lips. "Oh can't I?" The man questioned, pulling his jacket on. Stiles' eyes trailed to the gold lapel pin. 'DH'. He figured he should know those initials. "Call me Derek. Come with me." Stiles froze. Derek. DH, Derek Hale, mob boss of the Hale Pack.

Art by fearful_little_thing

Holy shit. He really was going to die.

Derek moved to the door, opening it and gesturing for Stiles to go through. Stiles swallowed, wondering if he had a chance of escaping. The window was no good. He figured he was on the third floor. And if he tried to run out through the house, Derek would probably shoot him in the back. With a sigh, Stiles resigned himself to do as Derek said. Maybe he could live longer than a few hours.

Stiles stepped into a hallway, the stairs to his right and beautiful French doors to his left. Derek's hand grabbed his elbow, tight enough so Stiles knew he couldn't get free, but not so tight that it hurt. He was led to the door opposite the one they'd just come out of. Derek knocked twice before it opened, revealing a tall, curly haired man.

The man eyed Stiles closely, his face pulled together in confusion. "Who's the fella?" The curly haired man asked, his eyes narrowing in distrust. Stiles could tell his eyes were wide. He was positively terrified. These were the Wolves. They were ruthless. "We arranging a hit?"

A hit, as in Stiles? As in, oh god. "No," Derek said, his eyes raking down Stiles' frame. "I need you to go to Stiles' apartment and get his belongings. He'll be staying with us from now on. And tell Erica to take him shopping. We're going to Triskele tonight. I want him to look his best." The man's eyes narrowed further, staring at Stiles with suspicion.

"Where does he live?" The man asked after a pause, still eyeing Stiles warily. Derek looked to Stiles, gesturing at him. Swallowing, he mumbled out his address. "Are you sure about this boss? He could be a bull." Stiles couldn't stop himself from rolling his eyes. That's what Derek had thought, but apparently, he'd passed whatever test that didn't get him killed on sight.

"He's not," Derek said bluntly, turning a glare to the other man. "Isaac, go. Now." There was something rough and threatening in the way he spoke. It made Stiles think that Derek would have no trouble shooting his own man if he questioned him too much. Isaac seemed to sense this too and pushed passed Stiles, knocking into him as he moved.

"Ow," Stiles whined, as Derek pulled Stiles to the French doors. Derek pushed one of them open, gesturing for Stiles to go in. The room was amazing. Stiles couldn't believe he was looking at a room this big. It was bigger than his entire apartment. One side had a radio, a sofa, and an arm chair, while the other had one of the largest beds Stiles had ever seen. "This room is the bee's knees. It's really swell."

"Glad you like it," Derek murmured, leading Stiles to the sofa and gesturing for him to sit. Stiles complied, flopping on the plush cushion. "This is where you'll be staying from now on." Stiles just stared at him, refusing to believe he'd be staying in a place this nice. Derek sat in the armchair, and his pale green eyes locked onto Stiles'.

Now that the panic of the initial situation had faded a bit, he noticed other colors in Derek's eyes. They were easily the most beautiful eyes Stiles had ever seen. They were green with flecks of brown and blue, and seriously, could he really call this green? "D-Derek? Am, are you going, to knock me off?"

Derek shook his head. "No, not yet at least," he said casually, as if he weren't talking about Stiles' life. "I want to know why you were really out there at our hit. Besides, you've seen too much." Stiles swallowed, opening his mouth to respond when there was a knock, followed by the blonde woman stepping into the room.

Art by fearful_little_thing

"Come Stiles," she instructed, her bright red lips pulled into a smile. "We're going to get you some glad rags. You'll be the center of attention when I'm through with you." One look to Derek, and Stiles got to his feet. He scrambled after Erica, and despite the ridiculously high heels on her Mary-Janes, she made it hard for him to keep up. "You're quite the sheik," Erica said, headed down the stairs at a nearly inhuman pace. Stiles stumbled after her, unable to keep his cheeks from heating. "I can see why Derek likes you. Just wait until he sees you all dudded up. Everyone will want a piece of you."

Stiles stumbled down the last few stairs, trying to keep up with Erica. "Why are you wearing trousers?" Stiles asked suddenly, immediately regretting it when Erica looked at him with an unreadable expression. "Not that, not that they aren't the cat's meow. Just, I've never seen a woman wear trousers before."

Erica's red lips quirked into a smile. "You are an adorable regular," she cooed, leaning over to ruffle Stiles' hair. Making a noise of protest, Stiles leaned away, fussing with his hair, trying to get it to lay smooth again. He knew it was a lost cause. "I wear trousers because it's easier. And I like them. Plus, Boyd thinks my legs look good in them." Erica winked at him, making Stiles blush.

"O-oh," he stammered, following Erica into a clothing shop. "They do look nice, and you're, a real doll. Boyd is a lucky fella. He's the, um, negro right?" Erica's expression twisted into a scowl and Stiles backed away. "N-no disrespect, I just, oh god, please don't kill me."

"I'm not going to chill ya," Erica said, grabbing Stiles' wrist and dragging him towards a rack. She was deceptive strong and he stumbled after her. "Derek wants you around, so you stay. Just don't call Boyd that." Stiles just nodded quickly, giving Erica a small, slightly terrified smile. "Oh you are precious Bo. Just wait until we go to the joint later. Maybe Derek will even let us take his breezer."

Stiles stared at her, trying to gauge if she was kidding or not. "Derek has a breezer? Is it nice? I've never ridden in a breezer before." Erica laughed softly, holding a red and white tie by his face. "I don't usually wear bright colors," Stiles admitted, eyeing the tie with suspicion. "I mean, I don't go out often so it's just not practical. And deco really isn't my style."

"Oh Bo, you look good in red," Erica informed him, draping the tie over the shoulder of a simple, black suit with grey decorating the lapel. "We'll just do a splash of color since you're opposed to it. Deco is the it look, so the tie stays. Try this all on." Erica shoved the suit at him, tossing a white button down at him. "I'll find a pocket square."

Stiles rolled his eyes, taking the clothes behind the screen. He pulled on the new clothes. The suit was a thick wool, much thicker than the suits Stiles usually wore. It was clearly expensive, but he pulled it on anyway. He tied the tie and frowned at his reflection. "I don't know about this Erica," Stiles muttered as he stepped out and looked at Erica.

Her reaction was immediate. She stared at him, jaw slack. "Stiles, I don't know what you're thinking," Erica began, her eyes locked on Stiles' body. He couldn't help the blush that warmed his cheeks. He'd never had anyone as attractive as Erica look at him like this. "You were a sheik before, but now, you could be a vamp if you put in just a little effort." Erica stepped close and tucked the red pocket square into his breast pocket. "If I weren't serious about Boyd, I'd be begging you to take me to bed." Her touch lingered and Stiles face flamed under her words.

Erica laughed, red lips spread into a wide grin. She patted his cheek, turned him towards the changing area. "I-if you say so," Stiles stammered, unused to anyone complimenting his appearance. "So, is it good for tonight then?" Erica gave him an affirmative and Stiles quickly changed back to his own thin wool suit. The brown, drab material was so different than the suit he'd just had on. It didn't hug his body the same way. He looked almost like he was wearing a sack.

"Come on Bo," Erica called, and Stiles could hear her tapping her toe. "The boss wants us back before supper. You haven't eaten until you've had some of Mrs. Gorecki's cooking. That woman is a real swell cook. She and her daughter work the house. They do the cooking and cleaning. You'll get used to them." Stiles perked up. That was a Polish name. He hadn't had genuine Polish food since his mom.


 

Stiles shifted slightly, sitting in the passenger seat of Derek's Phantom 1. He had changed into the fancy new suit Erica had picked for him, and so far, nobody had told him he looked ridiculous. As a fact, Boyd hadn't seemed to pay much mind, Erica has called him a sheik again, Isaac still eyed him suspiciously, and Derek had looked him up and down and made a small noise of approval.

They'd eaten a dinner of sadly typical American food, but he'd gotten to meet Mrs. Gorecki. Ró ż a was a nice lady, and she'd seemed very impressed that Stiles spoke Polish fluently. She'd tried to convince Stiles to marry her daughter, and he'd laughed. Everyone at the dinner table just looked at them like they were crazy. It was the most normal dinner Stiles had had since he moved into his own apartment.

"Stiles," Derek's voice interrupted his thoughts of how nice the car was. "Stay close." Derek got out of the car then, walking quickly down an empty alley. Stiles had to run to keep up, falling in close to Derek's side. "The doorman won't let you pass if you aren't with me. He doesn't let strangers in." Derek bent his elbow, offering his arm like a proper gentleman.

Stiles snorted, but took the offered arm anyway. He wasn't exactly sure what the doorman was authorized to do to him if he wasn't with Derek. "I've never actually been to anything like this," Stiles admitted, smiling shyly. "Underage before everything went dry. My dad and I used to have a shot of krupnik on holidays, but we had to stop when we couldn't get more vodka to make it."

Derek gave him a look similar to one he'd gotten during dinner. His dark eyebrows pulled together slightly, his forehead wrinkling in the center. Stiles was pretty sure that was Derek's confused face. "Never had that before," Derek said, knocking a quick rhythm to a brick wall. Seriously? Who did that?

"I can make it for you someday," Stiles promised, nearly leaping out of his skin when the wall swung open. Literally. "Holy shit. The wall just opened!"

"Boss," the large man looming behind the door said, stepping aside to allow Derek and Stiles through. "New fella?" Derek's only response was to raise an eyebrow at the large man. The man was easily several inches taller than Derek, and bigger even than Boyd was, yet one simple look from Derek, and the man was stammering over himself. "N-not that it's my beeswax sir, just seems like a regular is all."

"He is," Derek stated simply, shouldering passed the man roughly. He dragged Stiles along with him, leading him through a dark, poorly lit hallway. "Don't stray too far Stiles. There are people here who aren't going to take seeing a new face well, especially a newshawk."

Stiles couldn't stop himself from gawking. "Wha- how did you, how did you know?" He stammered. He didn't mention his job. There was no way Derek could possibly know he was a journalist. "I didn't, did I say something without realizing it? I know sometimes when I'm nervous I babble, but–"

"No," Derek interrupted, pushing one of the double door open at the end of the hall. The room opened into a warmly lit speakeasy. There were tables, pool tables, a stage that was currently empty, and a few people lingering around the bar. "You had a journal in your jacket pocket, Erica gave it to me. And you had ink smudged on your fingers. It was pretty easy to figure out."

Derek led Stiles to the bar, a beautiful woman moving down to greet them. "Hello Der-Bear," she said, leaning on the counter. She was dressed in a practical, yet still revealing dress, and she looked a lot like Derek did with dark hair and impossibly colored eyes. "And this little sheik must be Stiles. Erica has told me all about you."

"Laura," Derek's voice was low, almost a growl. "This is Stiles. Stiles, this is my sister, Laura." Stiles' body froze, a sick realization settling in his stomach. Derek's sister. Stiles was never going to get to leave this alive. He'd seen too much. He knew too much. Derek would kill him before he let him go.

"Uh, nice to meet you," Stiles muttered, gravitating closer to Derek by instinct. He just had a feeling that if he were going to be killed, that Derek would do it himself. As disturbing as the thought, that made Derek safer than anyone else at the moment. And strangely that felt true when Derek moved a hand from his pocket to rest on the small of Stiles' back, warmth radiating from his broad palm.

"Erica was not kidding about him being a little lost bunny," Laura said, pouring two shots of amber liquid. She set the glasses in front of Derek and Stiles. "Leave it to you Derek to corrupt a complete regular." Derek just shrugged at her, drinking from the glass Laura had set in front of him.

Stiles glanced from Derek to the glass before taking a small, tentative sip. It tasted pretty good actually. The last time he'd had alcohol, it had been the moonshine his downstairs neighbor had fermented on his balcony. It had tasted of soap. "This is really good," Stiles said, taking another drink. "How do you get stuff this good? The stuff I've gotten recently has tasted like dishwater."

"You really are adorable," Laura said, leaning away from bar to wave someone towards them. "We have a system. A full smuggling system. You've heard of bootlegging right?" Stiles nodded quickly, looking at Laura curiously. She seemed so different from Derek. She didn't have the same intimidating aura that Derek had.

That was when a tall, broad-shouldered man with sandy blonde hair walked over to them. "Hey Laur, is this him? Stiles?" The man asked, slipping his arm around Laura's waist, playing with the sheer fabric. "Hi there. I'm Jack Harrell, Laura's husband. Erica told us all about you. He is a bit of a sheik isn't he? No wonder Derek's keeping you around."

"Jack," Derek growled lowly, a clear warning in his voice. Derek's fingers closed a bit, the new jacket pulling under Derek's strong grip. "Enough. What time is Lydia going to be in? Been awhile since I've been here for her performance." Stiles wasn't sure who Lydia was, but she was clearly some kind of singer or musician.

He zoned out of the conversation, taking in the room with more details. He somehow had missed the roulette table, and other tables for gambling. The floor in the center had a parquet design resembling a howling wolf. Everything was in rich colors, and the light fixtures hanging from the ceiling cast it all in a soft, glowing light. It was beautiful.

He wasn't sure how long he was just looking, but suddenly, smooth jazz filled the room. "Stiles," Derek's voice finally pulled Stiles entirely from his thoughts. "Dance with me." Derek's large hand closed around Stiles' arm and lead him to the center of the room.

"I don't, I don't really dance," Stiles mumbled, letting Derek drag him along anyway. "I kinda have two left feet. Last time I tried dancing, I nearly knocked my best friend out trying to do the Charleston." Derek ignored Stiles' protests, wrapping his right arm around Stiles' waist and splaying his fingers across Stiles' hip.

Stiles stammered helplessly as Derek hauled him close, their bodies falling flush together. "We won't do the Charleston then," Derek murmured, his face mere inches from Stiles'. Stiles just nodded. Something about the way Derek's other hand encircled his wrist, pulling his arm close to his hip, made Stiles' heart race. He moved instinctively, winding his arm around Derek's neck, and letting the other man lead them in a simple dance.

Stiles was certain it was a form of fox trot, but there were elements of tango, at least, that's what he thought. But Stiles was no expert. All he knew was Derek tipped him back, and he caught sight of Erica pressed against Boyd's chest with the couple staring at him and Derek as though they were doing a lot more than dancing. Derek was a phenomenal dancer, his body leading Stiles through the various dance steps flawlessly.

It was a strange sensation. Stiles had never felt coordinated while dancing before. But the way Derek's body moved against his seemed so natural, as in pressed against Derek was where he actually belonged. "You're a, uh, a real swell dancer," Stiles mumbled, trying not to dwell on how close they really were. They were close enough that Derek could just snap his neck easily. He didn't want to think about how easy it would be for Derek to kill him, or how vulnerable of a position he had allowed himself to be put in.

He just didn't want to admit that he felt safe here. In Derek's arms. "You're not too bad yourself," Derek replied, a small smile on his lips. "Hardly seem like the hazard you told me you'd be." Derek dropped Stiles' hand, those broad fingers moving to Stiles' face. Stiles froze, the warmth from Derek's hand making Stiles' stomach flutter. "Erica did a great job with the suit. You do look spiffy."

Stiles felt his cheeks heat, Derek's arm around his waist pulling him closer. "Thanks, I guess," he mumbled, glancing away from Derek. Over Derek's shoulder, he could see nearly every set of eyes in the speakeasy trained on the two of them, expectantly. They were waiting for something, but what they were waiting for exactly he wasn't sure. "Derek? Everyone is staring at us."

"I know," Derek murmured, spinning them so Stiles faced the wall. "Better?" Stiles could only nod. "We won't stay much longer. I have work to do." Stiles was curious as to what sort of work Derek was going to be doing. He was pretty sure it would be illegal. Either way, Stiles could dance with Derek for a little longer. It did feel right, after all.


 

Stiles slipped through the door into Derek's office. "Scram Stiles," Derek all but growled, not even glancing up to see who it was. Stiles just sat in the wood chair he'd been tied to a few hours prior. "Stiles. Go away."

"No way big shot," Stiles said, kicking his feet up onto Derek's desk. "I'm bored. Plus I just saw that curly-haired fella, and he glared at me so hard I thought he was gonna blow me down." Derek snorted at that, flipping through the stack of papers at his desk. Derek had his jacket draped over the back of his chair, and the sleeves of his button down were pushed up again, straining against his forearms.

"Isaac is not going to blow you down," Derek stated, writing something down. "He's not authorized to do that. I'm the only one that can authorize a hit on you." And if that wasn't disconcerting, Stiles didn't know what was. Derek spoke so casually about how he held Stiles' life in his hands.

"You shouldn't work too late," Stiles said, smiling at Derek. Despite the mob boss' intimidating aura, Stiles did like him. He was interesting, an oddity that Stiles found completely fascinating. "And I have to ask, where am I going to sleep? The couch? I can make up a little bed I guess. It might not be good long term though."

Derek finally looked up, raising an eyebrow at Stiles. "No," was all he said, returning to his paperwork. Stiles blinked, opening his mouth to ask what Derek meant. "You'll sleep in my bed. It's big enough for both of us.  Now, close your head, and let me work." Stiles frowned, pouting at Derek as he slumped into the chair.

Maybe an hour later, of Stiles sitting restlessly, playing with the brightly colored tie, Derek finally put his pen into the simple, black holder on the desk. "Finally," Stiles muttered, standing and stretching. "I think you work too hard big shot. You should try taking some time off. Like at Triskele today, dancing was the bee's knees, and you looked real relaxed. And I- I'm overstepping. I don't, please don't kill me?"

Derek rolled his eyes and huffed before leading Stiles to his room. "Stop asking me not to kill you," he growled, unbuttoning the waistcoat and draping it over the back of the sofa before unhooking the shoulder holster. "I'm not going to bump you off just because you beat your gums all the time." Stiles made an indignant noise of protest, but all the actual words he would have said were lost as Derek began to unbutton his shirt, revealing a perfectly muscled chest.

"Whoa," Stiles exclaimed, turning quickly. He knew his cheeks were burning red. "I'm not saying I'm a bluenose, but you should warn a fella before you start undressing." Stiles fidgeted with his own waistcoat nervously. While he hadn't seen all of Derek's exposed chest, what he did see far surpassed anything Stiles had ever even imagined for himself. He was lanky and skinny, and his own chest hair was just awkwardly in the center, like it wanted to be there but then decided halfway through that it didn't.

Still carefully averting his gaze, Stiles scooped up his pajamas from the box of his clothes that Isaac must has left by the door. "Didn't think you'd be the shy type," Derek murmured, voice surprisingly near Stiles' ear.

Stiles jumped, whirling around to stare wide-eyed at Derek. He'd expected Derek to wear pajamas like his. As far as Stiles knew, most men did. His dad, and Scott, and his weird downstairs neighbor who walked around in his pajamas all the time. But no. Derek couldn't wear those. He stood mere inches away from Stiles, in nothing but a pair of black boxer shorts with grey pinstripes.

"Oh my god! You're not wearing clothes," Stiles said quickly, covering his eyes with his pajamas. "You're sleeping in that? Don't you have pajamas? Or a night shirt? Hell, I'll even suggest a robe or a smoking jacket." Stiles peaked at Derek, just as the man raised an unimpressed eyebrow and crossed his arms over his stupidly perfect chest, making the stupidly perfect muscles on his arms flex.

"No," was all Derek said before turning and getting into his bed. The man settled in before grabbing a book from the night stand and putting a pair of square framed glasses on. Stiles knew he was staring. But he couldn't help it. How was he supposed to sleep next to that?

"If you have cheaters for reading, why don't you use them in your office too?" Stiles asked, turning to face away from Derek in order to change. It wasn't a perfect solution, but Derek had just gotten nearly naked and he hasn't seemed the least bit concerned for etiquette. Stiles just didn't want to think about how much more comfortable Derek must be with his body than Stiles was with his. "Just seems like they'd help more if you wore them there too."

Derek just shrugged, the pages of his book rustling. Stiles awkwardly picked at his pajamas, deciding to pulling the pants and button down top on. He hugged himself slightly, turning to frown at Derek. "I can't sleep without my pillow," he muttered, his cheeks heating into a blush.

Derek sighed, setting his book aside and stepped outside. Stiles heard him knocking on a door, likely Isaac's door. "Go back to his place, get the pillow off his bed," Stiles heard Derek say, his voice sounding unwilling to waiver on the matter. "Now Isaac. Go."

"Fine," Stiles heard Isaac grumble. "Still think it's a bad idea to keep a regular around Derek. He's dangerous. Puts us at risk. But you're the boss." There were footsteps headed down the stairs just as Derek re-entered the room.

It struck Stiles then. Derek had given Isaac an order in only the small pair of boxer shorts. He really had no shame in his body nor any qualms about baring it to the world. Stiles hadn't even let his dad see him in a state of undress like that since he was thirteen. "You'll have your pillow soon," Derek told him, laying back down. "Lay down, and relax. You've had a busy day."

Stiles may have confused Derek for someone that cared if it weren't for the way he picked up his book again, flipping the book open. "Yeah, I'd, um, you're not going to put any more clothes are you," Stiles said. It wasn't really a question. He knew Derek wouldn't be putting any more clothes on. He seemed too comfortable like that. And he really did look incredible. Derek was like the perfect male specimen. He was all hard, defined muscles, and whorls of neatly groomed body hair.

It was unfair for Stiles to have to sleep next to that. Especially looking like he did with wiry muscles barely covering bone, sparsely placed body hair, and gangly limbs that never seemed to work quite like he wanted them too. Besides, he'd only ever shared a bed with Scott before. But they'd been friends since they were four. They were basically brothers. It wasn't the same as this. Derek wasn't a brother to him.

This wasn't the same.

With one final glance around the room, Stiles swallowed his nerves, crawling under the blanket next to Derek. He glanced over to his ridiculously gorgeous bedfellow, and the leather-bound book in his hands. "Your parents don't speak a lot of English do they," Derek said. It wasn't a question. It's like, he knew, like he really didn't have to ask, but didn't want to be rude.

Stiles just nodded. "I, I mean, my mom passed away when I was nine," he mumbled, picking at the blanket absently, his chest tightening. He didn't like talking about his mom, it still hurt. It had been fifteen years, but it still made him sick to his stomach to talk about her. He heard the bed squeak, but he felt his stomach knot. He could feel the panic attack brewing, squeezing his eyes shut tight in an attempt to stave it off.

A warm hand touched his shoulder, the heavy weight of it surprisingly grounding. Stiles curled towards it, feeling the strong fingers brush against his cheek, guiding Stiles into a warm embrace. He pressed his face into Derek's chest, focusing on his breathing. He couldn't help but think about how good Derek smelled. It wasn't strong, or overpowering, but it was spicy, maybe a bit mysterious, and smelled faintly of leather.

Somehow, Derek's presence was calming. "I'm sorry," Derek murmured, his fingers combing through Stiles' hair gently. "I know how it feels, to lose someone. It never gets better does it." Stiles just nodded, slowly coming to the realization that he had his face pressed into Derek's bare chest. Derek's perfect, gorgeous, naked chest. But it was so comfortable here. He didn't want to move, but he also wanted to shift away and maintain some decency.

He stayed close to Derek until his heart rate returned to normal, finally sitting upright and picking at the top button of his pajama shirt. He'd left it unbuttoned, not caring to sleep with fabric tight around his neck. It did reveal some of his sparse chest hair, but he figured if Derek didn't mind being all but naked in front of him, he wouldn't mind seeing a few of Stiles' chest hairs. Someone like Derek probably wouldn't even look at someone like him that way anyway.

"Um, you're right though," Stiles said eventually, glancing up at Derek with a small smile. "My dad doesn't speak English well. He knows enough to get by, but important things I have to be there to translate for him. But, um, how did you know that?"

Derek shrugged, as if it wasn't a big deal that he'd figured out a fact about Stiles' family without Stiles telling him. "Your accent says you're from New York, probably born here," Derek explained, like all of this was obvious. "But the way you spoke with Ms. Ró ż a at dinner tonight suggests you use Polish frequently. I almost wonder if maybe it's actually your first language."

Stiles gaped at him. "Yeah, that's, that's all right," he said, narrowing his eyes slightly. "My parents are from the Old Country. They came to America about a year before I was born. Mom learned English very quickly, but Dad never quite figured it out. She taught me Polish and English sort of at the same time, but technically, Polish is my first language. How'd you figure that out?"

Derek merely shrugged at him, settling back against the headboard before looking at Stiles with an unreadable expression. "It's not that hard," Derek stated, making Stiles scrunch his eyebrows in disbelief. "I just pay attention. It's nothing special. Anyone could do it."

Stiles shook his head. "No, no they can't big fella," he said with a side glance at Derek. The scarred man's eyebrows were drawn together in a look of adorable confusion and disbelief. "Trust me, most cats I know couldn't put information together like that. Paying attention is one thing big shot. Being able to interpret and comprehend what you see is a different thing in its entirety. You're really sharp aren't you?"

Derek snorted, rolling his eyes at Stiles. "I'm not a wise head," he stated, picking his book up, indicating the end of that line of conversation. Stiles sighed. How could Derek not see that he was intelligent? Stiles had never met another person whose thoughts worked that way.

Derek reminded Stiles of Professor Moriarty in a way. Brilliant deductive mind, rivaling that of Sherlock Holmes, but using his mind for evil instead of good. Committing crimes instead of solving them. No wonder there were rumors he overheard from the World's journalists about the Hale Pack being untouchable. With Derek's deductive mind, they would be nearly untouchable. Stiles was sure it would take someone like Sherlock Holmes himself to catch Derek.

Stiles settled in, laying his head on one of the pillows Derek had on his bed, his eyes drifting to the leather-bound book in Derek's hands. "Wait," Stiles said, sitting upright quickly. "Are you reading Pride and Prejudice?" Stiles looked from Derek to the book and back again.

Derek's glare was intense. Stiles shrank back, scratching at his cheek. "So? I like reading," Derek said, his voice tight and clipped. "That a problem?" Stiles' reply was lost as a knock on the door distracted Derek from the intense stare he was giving Stiles. "That's your pillow." Derek got up, keeping the book clutched in his hand. He moved over to the door, opening it to reveal Isaac standing there holding Stiles' pillow.

The curly haired man gave Stiles a venomous look over Derek's shoulder as he shoved the pillow into Derek's chest. "Any other errands I need to run for you little bunny?" Isaac asked, his voice revealing just how much he didn't want anything to do with Stiles.

"No," Stiles said from the bed. Isaac left quickly, and Derek returned to the bed. The scarred man held the pillow out to Stiles. Stiles took it quickly, holding it to his chest for a moment before laying on it. "And there's nothing wrong with the book. I've read it before. I just didn't think you'd be interested in a story like that." Stiles muffled a yawn into his hands, mostly faking it. He had a plan.

He thought it was a damn good plan honestly. He'd wait until Derek fell asleep, grab as many of his clothes as he could reasonably carry, and escape while everyone slept. Sure, his apartment was a known location, and he couldn't go there. But he could crash at Scott's for the night, and maybe go back to stay with his dad until he could find a new place.

That just meant he had to convince Derek he was tired enough to sleep. "I'm gonna, I'm gonna sleep," Stiles informed him, muffling another dramatic yawn. He turned over onto his left, facing away from Derek. All he had to do was wait for the other man to fall asleep and then, he'd be home free.


 

The bed creaked softly, the slight wiggle of the frame was enough to rouse Derek from his sleep. He'd figured Stiles would pull something like this. He knew Stiles would try to escape. That's part of why Derek insisted Stiles stay with him. He was the only one who was a light enough sleeper to catch him. The other part, well, it had to do with the fact that Stiles was gorgeous.

Derek rose from the bed silently. He started towards where Stiles was rustling through the basket of his clothing, but stopped. He changed course, leaning against the French doors. Derek crossed his arms over his chest, watching Stiles' shadow in the dim room. It wasn't light enough to make out details, but he could see the slender lines of Stiles' waist, the broad slopes of his shoulders, the messiness of his dark hair.

Derek had been taken aback when Stiles had been shoved into his office. He hadn't been expecting Erica to pull the hood off of someone like Stiles. Derek liked his women curvy, but he liked his men slender. He was immediately drawn to Stiles' wiry frame. Broad shoulders belied his lean physique. His skin was fair, appearing similar to smooth porcelain.

Derek was well aware that tanned skin was now considered to be more beautiful than alabaster skin, but Derek had always found it more beautiful. And Stiles' skin was beautiful, and covered with a spatter of dark moles. And when Stiles had looked up at him, Derek had been floored. The moles on his face emphasized the almost delicate features. His upturned nose and full lips were enticing. But perhaps the most striking thing about him were his eyes.

Bright amber irises had sparkled up at him, fear and determination in them. There was a spark there, something Derek didn't see often. He could tell then that Stiles had spunk. That he wouldn't shy away from speaking his mind. And so far, Derek had been right. From talking back to attempting to sneak out during the night, Stiles was different. He reminded Derek of his younger sister in many ways.

God did he miss her.

He missed his whole family really. His mother would have known exactly what to do with Stiles. Instead, Derek was stuck making guess work, letting the man into his home. That did require him stopping Stiles from leaving now though. Stiles was still rifling through his things, and Derek had to give him some credit, he was shockingly quiet. A lot quieter than Derek would have expected from a journalist.

Finally, Stiles gathered up an arm full of his clothes, stacked atop his precious pillow and started for the door. "You know," Derek began, his voice startling the other man into dropping his things. "If you're going to sneak out during the night, you should make sure your bedfellow isn't a light sleeper."

"How, how long have you been awake?" Stiles asked, rocking back and forth on nervous feet. "Are you, is this the part where I get blipped off?" Derek rolled his eyes, even though Stiles couldn't see him in the dark. He was getting pretty tired of Stiles thinking Derek was going to kill him. Was it that hard to believe that Derek wasn't actually the vicious predator the rumors liked to depict him and his Wolves as?

Derek put a firm hand to Stiles' shoulder, guiding the man to the couch. "Sit," Derek instructed, moving to turn on a lamp. He sat in the armchair and looked Stiles over. He looked tired, like he needed sleep. Derek figured Stiles hadn't slept at all and after a stressful day, that's probably what he really needed. "Stop asking if I'm going to bump you off. Believe me, if that's my intention, you'll know."

Derek was anything but subtle when it came to a hit. Stiles just didn't know that yet. Derek couldn't help the way his eyes rake over Stiles' covered form. He had to admit, he'd been hoping Stiles would take Derek's lead and sleep in nothing but boxer shorts. And if Derek happened to wake up with his arms around Stiles' bare waist, well, he was asleep and couldn't be blamed. Even if he woke up and purposely pulled a mostly naked Stiles into his arms.

Of course, it couldn't be that easy. Stiles had been so shy in the face of Derek's state of undress. He failed at not finding it endearing as well as encouraging as Stiles seemed to adjust quickly, despite his initial reaction. "So, um, what do, what are you going to do with me?" Stiles asked, nervously picking at the buttons of his shirt. Derek kept his eyes on Stiles as the other man fidgeted nervously, wide brown eyes occasionally meeting Derek's.

"I'm going to tell you to get back to bed," Derek said calmly, standing slowly and crossing his arms over his bare chest. He preened a little as he caught Stiles' gaze drift down to his chest before snapping back to Derek's face almost guiltily. "And I'm going to expect you to stay there and sleep. I'm not keen on you waking me up again." Stiles' nod was the only answer Derek got before Stiles hurried back to the bed crawling into the left side, where he'd been before his half-thought out escape attempt.

Derek always slept on the right side of his bed. It kept any potential bedfellows from seeing his scars. He hated them, hated what they meant, and hated the person who gave them to him. That's another thing he liked about Stiles. Stiles had been with him all evening. He'd definitely seen the scars, Derek had seen him staring when he'd first seen Stiles. But unlike everyone else, he hadn't asked, hadn't even mentioned them.

It was a first for Derek. Typically, whenever he met someone new, that was among the first things out of their mouth. Stiles' had been sass. Derek liked that stupid bravery. Of course, had he been anyone else, Stiles probably would have been shot. Luckily for him, Derek was used to it. Laura could have that sass when she wanted it. Cora was like that all the time. Then there was Erica, who never shied away from giving Derek grief.

"Derek? You still awake?" Stiles' voice sounded from the darkness. Derek gave him a noncommittal grunt and felt Stiles turning over to face him. "Do you ever feel like people around you don't want you to do your job? I mean, I know your job is different than mine, but I always get scraps because my parents were immigrants, and I dunno. I just wondered if it's even like that for someone like you..."

Derek knew he was scowling. The idea that anyone was getting passed over for something as simple as where their parents were born made him sick. He wasn't stupid. He knew that was the common opinion of the country, but he didn't have to like it. He'd once thought that maybe Boyd wasn't as good as others because of the color of his skin, but after the man saved Derek's life on multiple occasions, well, Derek figured of damn quick that people deserved things based on their merit, not on something superficial.

"Sometimes some of the older members think I'm not capable because of my age," Derek admitted. He'd never told anyone besides Laura about that. "I wasn't supposed to be boss until my mother retired. And that probably wouldn't have been until, maybe ten years from now. But she died, three years ago. I've been boss since. Just trying to do a good job and make her proud."

Stiles nodded, a look of understanding on his face. Maybe that's why Derek didn't mind talking about his family. Normally he'd never, only with Laura, but Stiles knew what it felt like. Derek felt more comfortable mentioning his family to him. "Well, other than kidnapping random fellas and letting them sleep in your bed," the man began, his eyes sparkling with mirth. "I'd say you're doing a great job. It's so, equal. Your, uh, mob, er, family, uh, thing? Anyway, I like that. You don't care that Boyd is a colored man or that Erica is a woman. And you don't seem to care that my parents were immigrants, and I like that."

Derek nodded. He couldn't take credit for that. His mother was the one who set the stage for that. She believed that one's merits far outweigh one's birth situation. Boyd was his best friend, his most trusted associate, and the best underboss he could ask for. It wasn't Boyd's fault he'd been born black. And Derek didn't care about that. Honestly, he was pretty sure no other man could do what Boyd did. Derek was pretty sure Boyd was a better underboss than he ever was.

"One's abilities and merits is more influential than the circumstances of their birth," Derek said, echoing his mother's words when she'd explained to him how things in the world should work. "If you want, I can send someone over to your paper and get you off the tabloids." Stiles' eyebrows shot up in disbelief.

"I doubt you could change the editor's mind," Stiles mumbled, running his fingers through his hand. Very long, nimble, and unfairly distracting fingers. "Short of threatening death or something." Derek raised an eyebrow, giving Stiles a pointed look. "Oh god. Don't do that. I don't mind writing the tabloid articles. I don't, please don't threaten him. He's a jerk who hates me, and he'd sell you out in a heartbeat."

Derek felt his lips quirk at the confusion on Stiles' face. He knew Stiles was trying to figure out why Derek getting sold out was a bad thing. "I won't," Derek assured the man, resisting the urge to reach out and smooth the soft hair out of Stiles' face. "Just thought I'd offer. You should sleep. Tomorrow, we'll get Isaac to get the rest of your stuff, and I'll show you around the house."

Stiles nodded, curling up with his head against his pillow. "Good night Derek," he murmured, eyes closing as he quickly fell asleep. Derek couldn't totally hide the smile as he reached over and gently stroked Stiles' cheek with his fingers. He shifted closer, smiling wider as Stiles curled towards him, hands reaching for Derek in his sleep.

Derek moved in closer and Stiles' head moved to rest against his chest. The man mumbled softly in his sleep, the words incoherent but soothing. Derek closed his eyes, drifting off to sleep with Stiles' warm body against his and a smile on his lips.


 

Stiles awoke on the floor, a thin sheen of sweat on his skin. He sat up, glancing to the bed to see Derek with his head on Stiles' pillow, and arms extended as though they'd been wrapped around Stiles. And maybe they had. Stiles reached out tentatively, touching Derek's arm. He pulled it back quickly as Derek stirred.

"Why are you on the floor?" Derek asked, his voice softened by sleep. He sat up, scrubbing a hand over his scarred face. Derek's eyes sparkled at him. "You overheated. Now you see why I sleep in as little as possible." Stiles nodded, knowing his cheeks heated into a blush.

Derek was like a living furnace. Stiles didn't blame him for shedding his layers to sleep.

Stiles shrugged. "Something like that," he admitted softly, lifting his arms into a pleasant stretch. "You're like a furnace." Stiles dropped his arms, absently scratching at his stomach. "How do you manage?"

"Normally by sleeping completely in the nude," Derek said without missing a beat. Stiles' attention snapped to him, stammering out some unintelligible. "Relax bunny, I'll wear my undergarments if it makes you feel better." Stiles nodded quickly, knowing his cheeks were burning red. "You might want to try less tonight. Might not wake up on the floor that way."

Was Derek just, suggesting that Stiles sleep in a state of similar undress? That would hardly be proper. Then again, he had woken up on the floor, with Derek crowding his side of the bed. The likelihood of the two cuddling together in their sleep was high. And to make matters worse, it was almost palpable how much Stiles wanted that again.

He shook his head to clear it, giving Derek an apprehensive look. "I'll consider it," was all he decided to say on the matter. Derek nodded, getting out of bed and heading into the bathroom. Stiles sighed. He should probably get dressed without Derek staring at him. He rifled through his clothes, finding one of his nicer suits.

He changed into it, frowning at the way the fabric fit. The suit had been from Scott, had been Scott's, and Stiles wasn't sure why Scott had given it to him, but hey, free suit. The problem was the fit. The pants were a tad short, and the shoulders a bit snug, but it hung loose everywhere else. The suspenders were the only things keeping the trousers from slipping off his waist, and the shirt hung loosely from his chest. The tweed material was thicker than most of his clothes though, and that's why he kept it.

Art by fearful_little_thing

"Do all your rags fit like that?" Derek asked, standing behind Stiles suddenly. Stiles whipped around, staring at the immaculately dressed man. The black suit tapered down from broad shoulders, hugging his body perfectly. He wore a dark, maroon button down that made his eyes seem all the more impossibly colored. The simple, black tie brought the look together, making Derek seem like an enigma wrapped around the body of a perfect male specimen.

Stiles nodded, dragging his gaze away from Derek. "This one is one of the nicer one," he admitted. He knew the suit he'd been dragged to Derek's in was big all around. It was his father's, but when he started working construction, he'd started wearing clothes more suitable for labor. In fact, most of Stiles' suits had been his father's.

"I'll tell Erica to take you to the tailor," Derek said, eyeing Stiles' suit with an unreadable expression. "You shouldn't be wearing things that don't fit. Those trousers are too short." Stiles knew it was true, but still, he glanced down at the patterned socks peaking out from beneath the hem of the trousers. They weren't quite short enough to get played off as short pants that were just a bit too long. They were obviously just too short.

"Yeah, I, mostly wear things people give to me," Stiles admitted, fussing with the red tie he'd gotten with Erica yesterday. "It's okay. I really don't need anything new." But Derek was already walking from the room. Stiles hurried after him, stumbling a bit as Derek stopped just outside the doors, and he nearly collided with the man.

"Breakfast is downstairs in the parlor," Derek informed him, stepping aside. "Head down, eat, Erica and Boyd are likely to be down there. I have to speak with Isaac, and I'll be right down." Stiles nodded, leaving Derek to head downstairs, finding the parlor by the smell of eggs and bacon.

"Good morning Bo," Erica's chipper voice sounded, making Stiles blink at her and the black man, Boyd. "You look like you had an interesting night. Derek keep you up late?" Stiles' cheeks immediately heat at the implication, and he stammered as he sat at the small table, next to Boyd and across from Erica. "Do I get to have the dirty details?"

"N-no," Stiles stammered, his cheeks a bright red. "N-nothing like that happened. I'm not, I just, tried to escape, and apparently Derek's a super light sleeper, and he stopped me, and scared the life out of me, and he was, he was sorta nice about it?" Boyd snorted into his coffee, making Stiles frown lightly. "You don't think he can be nice?"

"Derek hasn't been 'nice' in years," Erica informed him, making Stiles frown. "Wait. Shit. You're serious. Derek really was nice? If I'd known all I had to do was drag a looker into his office to get him to be 'nice', I'd have done that awhile ago." Stiles looked from Erica to Boyd for a moment, trying to decide how to respond. He was fairly certain Derek's niceness had nothing to do with Stiles' looks. After all, a man like Derek couldn't have been that impressed with someone like Stiles.

"That wouldn't have worked doll," Boyd said, his hand catching Erica's and squeezing gently. Stiles smiled at them. As odd of a couple as they were, they seemed in love and happy, and Stiles had spent enough time following grumpy and miserable rich people to know love when he saw it. Boyd looked at Erica the way his dad used to look at his mom. "There's something, different about this fella. Whatever it is, that's what the boss is drawn to."

Stiles glanced at them again, frowning as he scooped scrambled eggs onto his plate. "You speak like I'm special," he mumbled around a bite of bacon. And holy crap, he couldn't remember the last time he'd had bacon. It was a bit out of his usual price range that he had for his food budget. "I'm nobody really. Like everyone says, I'm just a regular. There's nothing different about me."

"Yeah, sure, just a regular," Erica said, eyeing Stiles closely. "A regular who's a complete sheik and from what I saw last night, Laura likes you, and you've got spunk. Not to mention you survived the night in Derek's bed. How much did you see? That man is not shy, and with good reason–"

"Erica," Boyd cut in with a soft warning.

"Oh Boyd, you don't have to worry," Erica said, smiling broadly. "I like my men like I like my chocolate. Rich, bold, and dark." Stiles' cheeks burned in a blush. He really didn't need to be hearing this conversation, did he? "But still, Derek is a sheik, different than the way you are Stiles. Derek's got the whole Greek God thing going on, while you've got this super innocent thing going on–"

"Is there a point to this?" Stiles interrupted this time, wondering if Erica is going anywhere with the line of conversation. "Because sometimes it seems like there is, but other times, it seems like there isn't, and if there is, can you just get to the point?"

Erica snorted. "That is exactly what I'm talking about," she said, pointing her fork in his direction. "How many people do you know that would talk that way to someone with a loaded gun?" Stiles immediately paled. How could he have forgotten? Shit, shit, shit. Erica was going to shoot him, right here, at the breakfast table. "Relax Bo, I'm not gonna use it. But the point was, you're different. How many people would sass a woman packing heat? How many people would share a bed with mostly naked, if not totally nude man? You're something special."

"Only mostly," Stiles mumbled, his cheeks burning. "He wore boxer shorts. But I don't, I mean, sure, I care a little, I'm not a chippy, but I ain't a bluenose either." Erica laughed, reaching over to pat his shoulder and Boyd just looked holy unamused by everything. Yet, there was a knowing glint in his dark eyes.

"Perfect," Erica said with a bright smile. "Exactly what the boss needs. Someone who won't have a heart attack when they see his pajamas. What little of them he actually has–"

"Erica," Derek's voice sounded suddenly, interrupting the line of conversation right there. Stiles had the feeling they didn't often talk about Derek in such candid terms. "Don't let me stop you. Please. Continue."

Erica glanced from Derek to Boyd with wide eyes. "Uh, just commenting on your choice of nightwear boss," she mumbled, picking at her eggs. "Just saying Stiles here must have a strong constitution, or at least little regards for proprietary to stay the night with you."

Stiles blushed. "I just, figured I didn't really have a say in the matter," he admitted. But there was truth to that. The important parts had been covered, and Stiles couldn't have really complained. "Like I said, I'm no bluenose. And the important bits were covered."

Derek looked at Stiles with an unreadable expression before turning his attention to Erica. "I'm sure you've noticed that Stiles' rags don't fit him properly," he began, casting a quick glance at the snug shoulders of Stiles' jacket. "After I give him a tour, I want you to take him to Danny. Get him measured and fitted. And tell Danny to get him four suits and a tuxedo."

"Just have Danny charge the account?" Erica asked, perking up at the sudden idea of getting to take Stiles shopping.Derek nodded and Stiles blinked. He'd never heard of anyone getting that much without having to pay up front. He knew Derek would be good for it, judging by the splendor of his house, but that didn't mean that this Danny should assume he'd pay. Derek was a criminal, he could cheat him, right?

"Bo, you are gonna love this," Erica said, turning her attention back to Stiles. "Danny is the best in the business. All of our suits are by him. Real comfortable too. You get to pick your own fabric out too. Provided Danny says it's acceptable for your coloring." Stiles just blushed. He'd never had anything quite like this before. He wasn't sure what to make of it.

Instead of fussing, Stiles turned his attention to the simple breakfast before him. Eating the eggs and bacon slowly and purposely, letting the conversation around the table flow away from him and drone on into more business related things. It was probably for the best that he didn't know what was being said.


 

How Stiles went from crouching in a dirty alley only yesterday to standing on the stand with a strange man pulling measuring tape around his body was really beyond him. Stiles had felt and admired many different types of fabric, from soft woolen herringbone to a thicker pinstripe. Each fabric he fancied had to be approved by both Erica and Danny before he was allowed to actually choose the material for a suit.

In the end, Stiles had picked out material for four different suits, got told that he wasn't allowed to pick the material for the tuxedo, and even convinced Erica that he should get a few hats - although, how he convinced her that one of those hats should be a newsboy cap was beyond him. But now for the fun part, at least, that's what Erica had called it. Danny stood close to him, maybe a bit too close, measuring him to get the perfect fit on the new clothes.

"I do see why Mr. Hale is quite dizzy with this one," Danny said, wrapping the tape around Stiles' waist. "He's quite the looker." Stiles wasn't sure he liked the way Danny said that, standing so close to him. It made the hairs on the back of Stiles' neck stand on end, and he leaned away slightly. "Don't move fella, ain't quite finished with ya."

"He is a sheik," Erica agreed, looking at Danny with slightly narrowed eyes. "But if Mr. Hale is in fact dizzy with the fella, do you really think it's a good idea to be looking at him like that? If Mr. Hale is dizzy with him, do you really think he'd hesitate to keep what's his as his?" Stiles blinked at Erica, his eyes widening as he picked up on the thinly veiled threat. Danny must has too, because the tailor stood a little straighter, pulling the tape away from Stiles.

"I meant no harm," Danny assured her, stepping away from Stiles to jot down his measurements. "Merely stating that he's quite the dish, and that Mr. Hale has excellent tastes. I mean no disrespect." Stiles knew he was blushing. He could barely handle Erica thinking he was physically appealing. It seemed like his entire life had been a lie as nearly every person he'd met in Derek's world thought he was good looking in some way.

And most of these people seemed to have no problems commenting on it. All of them really, except for Derek. The closest he'd gotten to an actual compliment from the mob boss had been directed at Erica's success with the suit, and a small noise depicting his approval. Nothing to write home about.

"Uh, thanks Mr. D-Danny," Stiles managed, climbing off the stand when Danny gave him the okay. He scooted closer to Erica, taking solace in her familiar presence. Despite his circumstances, he'd already taken to liking her. She was unique, and Stiles liked unique. Maybe she'd let him write about her for the paper. He could change her name to protect her identity, but there was something to be said about an independent woman in this day wearing trousers like a man and taking charge of her own life like she did.

"Ah, anything to make Mr. Hale happy," Danny said, his eyes purposely averted so as not to be caught looking at Stiles again. "It should take a week, maybe two to finish this order. I'll send a messenger to the house when it's complete." Erica nodded, giving Danny a curt farewell, before directing Stiles back onto the street.

Stiles stumbled, nearly falling face first onto the street when Erica stopped abruptly. "You don't have to listen to them, you know that, right?" Erica said, reaching a hand out to steady Stiles. "When they compliment you, and look at you like that. Don't let people objectify you. Just because you're a sheik and people are interested, doesn't mean you have to let them look at you like that."

Stiles blinked slowly, looking at Erica as though, he really didn't believe she was saying this to him. But then again, she was a very beautiful woman. She had to speaking from experience. "I'm not exactly used to the attention," Stiles admitted, scuffing a shoe through the dusty sidewalk absently. "Until you dragged me into Derek's office, and everyone started calling me a sheik, nobody had ever really thought that about me before."

Erica huffed out a laugh before looking at Stiles closely. "Oh, oh you're seriously Bo," she said softly, looking at him through slightly narrowed eyes. They were nearly the same height given Erica's shoes. The ridiculous heels gave her a few extra inches, and she was very close to looking at him at eye level. "I don't know who you surrounded yourself with before, but they must have needed cheaters."

"I don't, I don't think so," Stiles muttered softly. He didn't think Heather needed them. She'd even kissed him once. Course, that didn't mean that she hadn't married a different man and only saw Stiles on rare occasions. She was pregnant last he knew. "They just, saw me grow up I guess. Plus, I was really sick when I was sixteen with a really bad fever, and my dad shaved by head, and I know it's not the best method, but it's all he could think to do, but I had short hair and I was awkward, and I don't blame people for not looking twice."

"Than they're blind," Erica told him, giving Stiles a bright smile. "You know, you can thank your pretty face for saving your life. By now, Derek's usually had us set up a hit, you know, for you. He doesn't let the people we bring to him for gumshoeing sleep in his bed. But, Boyd was right. There's something special about you."

Stiles couldn't help the snort at that, getting into the passenger side of Erica's Model-T. "I doubt that," Stiles muttered, settling in the seat. Erica's car wasn't nearly as comfortable as Derek's. But it was still impressive that she had a car. She'd explained that she and Boyd shared it, and it was technically both of their vehicle. But that didn't matter. The closest thing Stiles had to his own car was a bicycle that currently had a flat tire.

"You really don't think highly of yourself," Erica chastised, getting in the car and starting back towards the house. "Probably the ill-fitting clothes. Hides your body, which is very nice and you're fit, if a little too skinny. But trust me, you're special. Why else do you think Derek only slept with you and didn't, you know, try anything?

"I don't know," Stiles said with a blush. "I mean, maybe he's not like that, you know? Maybe you just think he is, but he isn't. Maybe he likes to get to know someone before he–

"Oh, that's cute, but no," Erica interrupted, reaching over to pat Stiles' hand. "Derek has never been the type to get to know someone before he beds them. He usually goes for chippies. Less hassle and all. But you, you're not a chippy. You said that yourself. You are a hassle, and he seems willing to go through with it

Stiles blinked, taking that information in. Derek couldn't possibly be interested in him like that. Stiles didn't ooze sex appeal like Derek did. Even the scars somehow worked for him, making him one of the sexiest people probably alive. "I, he, no, that's not, just, no," Stiles stammered, fidgeting in the seat nervously

Erica gave him a pointed look, but let it drop. And for once, Stiles was grateful to ride in relative silence.


 

Derek was hunched over his desk, flipping through the paperwork from their various cover businesses. He hated this part, making sure everything lined up as it should. Thieves weren't tolerated in the Pack, but Derek didn't have time to investigate possible thieves. Sometimes the books just got done wrong, but sometimes someone thought they could take without getting caught.

That was Isaac's job. To investigate discrepancies in the cover businesses, and report to Derek. If Derek wasn't too busy, he might do it himself, and he always did it if the issue came from Triskele, but right now, he had his hands full dealing with Stiles.

The man was interesting to put it mildly. People didn't often talk to Derek the way Stiles did. Yes, it was easily masked in the nervous stammering of a man thrust into a terrifying situation, but it was there. He'd glimpsed it in the fearless way Stiles had spoken to him a few times, and it was always there in the determined glint in his warm brown eyes. Derek admired that sort of fearlessness. He just wanted Stiles to be comfortable enough to show that more.

It was incredibly attractive.

"Boss?" Isaac's voice sounded, knocking softly before pushing the door open. Derek frowned, narrowing his eyes slightly. Isaac had barely spoken to him since Stiles had been dragged into his office.

"You don't have to call me that," Derek said softly, standing and smoothing the waistcoat down. "You're family Isaac. And I've told you before not to call me 'boss'. I'm not 'boss' to family." He didn't like the idea of family thinking of him as their boss. Laura, Jack, and Isaac didn't have to call him that. He preferred them to call him by his name.

"Right," Isaac muttered, fidgeting with the end of his necktie. "Can I talk to you? About Stiles?" Derek sighed, but figured he needed to do this and get it out of the way. Isaac sat in the chair Derek was already considering Stiles' after Derek gave him an assenting nod. "Thanks Derek. I know you, want him, and all, but I don't trust him."

Derek sighed, sliding his pen into the stand to look at Isaac. "You've made that very clear Isaac," he all but growled. He was getting pretty irritated by the way Isaac was questioning his judgement about Stiles. "But Stiles is a regular, a newshawk sure, but a regular all the same. He's a good man, from what I can tell. And in no way deserves your distrust."

"All due respect Derek," Isaac began, his own eyes narrowing to return Derek's glare. "But your judgement is clouded. You aren't thinking Derek. You're blinded by big eyes that seem so innocent. He can't be that innocent if he's here."

Derek narrowed his eyes. "He's here because Erica brought him here," he informed the man. Isaac knew that. After all, it had barely been twenty-four hours since Stiles had been dragged into Derek's office and tied to the very chair Isaac now sat in. "He didn't waltz into my office and demand to stay with me. He's been forced into it. Simple as that."

"Still!" Isaac protested, looking increasingly worried. "He's dangerous Derek. How can you not see that? Maybe he's a different kind of dangerous, but he is dangerous. Wide eyed, innocent, smooth skin, and soft lips? Derek, he's a vamp, and he's playing like a bluenose."

Derek rose to his feet, glaring at Isaac. "Out," he commanded, his voice tight with barely concealed rage. There was no reason for this, for him to be so protective of Stiles. But he could see that Stiles was not what Isaac thought he was. He couldn't help but think that Stiles really was a good as he seemed. "Now."

Isaac scrambled out of Derek's office, leaving Derek alone to fume quietly. Isaac didn't like Stiles. And as much as Derek wanted to believe that Stiles was good, he needed to follow-up with that. Isaac was family, after all. There was only one person he really could talk to about this. He sat back at his desk, and called Laura.

"Hello Harrell residence," Laura's voice sounded, bringing a smile to Derek's face.

"Hi Laur," Derek said softly, shifting slightly in his office chair. "I need to talk to you about Stiles. Isaac doesn't trust him, and I need to know what you think. Isaac seems to think the fact that he's a sheik is clouding my judgement. And you're one of the only people that will actually tell me the truth."

"Well Der, there's some truth to that," Laura replied, making Derek's chest tightened. Had he just been so hard on Isaac for Isaac to be right? "Stiles is a sheik, and more than that, from what I can tell, he's very much your type. And I haven't seen you look at anyone like you look at him in a long time."

Derek sighed. She was right. He hadn't really been interested in making any kind of meaningful connections since the death of their family. "So Isaac is right," he said, frowning at the door. "Stiles is dangerous and it's in our best interested for me to have him dealt with."

He could hear Laura's exasperated sigh and he knew he wasn't quite getting the point she was trying to make. "No, Isaac is only partly right," Laura explained, her voice indicating she was mildly annoyed. But that could be because of something her daughter, Alice, was doing. Derek could hear the faint sounds of the little girl's laughter. "He's right in that your judgement is clouded by a very pretty face. But he's wrong to think that makes Stiles dangerous."

"So wait," Derek began, slowly picking through the information. He'd always been good at deductive logic and thinking, but people, well, Laura had always been better with people. "You're saying that my judgement is impaired because I would very much like to bed Stiles, but it's not a bad thing that my judgement is clouded?”

"Ab-so-lute-ly!" Laura said, her voice brightening. "No, Alice, do not draw on the walls! Jack, please, I'm on the phone. Sorry little brother. As I was saying, you wanting to have sex with Stiles isn't a bad thing. It's actually quite healthy. Besides, I met Stiles. He seems quite genuine for a newshawk, and despite his obvious good looks, he seemed rather clueless to them. To me, that says that he's not dangerous to you. Because he likely isn't using his good looks to get close to you. He's harmless, hell, maybe he's even good for you."

"So, what you're really saying is, you approve of Stiles," Derek stated. It wasn't a question. He already knew that's where Laura was going. His particular gender preferences were common knowledge among the higher Wolves. And none of them cared. It certainly made things easier. "And that your husband is failing at preventing art from being placed on your walls and that I should probably let you go in order to prevent the little artist from using your walls as her canvas."

"Exactly!" Laura cried, laughing softly. "My little brother is one sharp fella. Love you Der, good luck with your bunny." With that, Laura hung up, leaving Derek to his thoughts. Her words rang in his ears. Your bunny. He really, really liked the sound of that. Of Stiles being his.

He just had to figure out how to make that happen. Stiles was so different than anyone Derek had ever met. He wanted to do things right. And if that meant waiting until Stiles was ready for him, well, so be it.


 

Stiles wasn't sure how he'd survived a whole month with Derek. Things were easy between them though. Relaxed and calm. It was, nice. He was surprised at how nice it was. He wasn't a prisoner. At least, not like he thought he was in the beginning.

He was allowed to leave the house, provided he had someone with him. Usually he and Erica would go out and do something. They'd get lunch, buy a new tie for either Stiles, Erica, Boyd, and occasionally Derek, or they'd get to visit Stiles' dad.

He was so happy about that. It's like, Derek realized just how important it was for Stiles to see his dad. He had to avoid telling the truth to his dad, of course, his dad wouldn't leave it. He would go straight to the police and set them on Derek's trail. And maybe a month ago, that would have been alright, but now, Stiles couldn't help but shake the fact that he was starting to really, really enjoy Derek's company.

And Erica's as well. Stiles liked living in the Hale House, even if he still shared the bed with a mostly naked Derek. He was starting to learn to appreciate the view. He'd even stopped wearing proper pajamas to bed. Derek gave off so much body heat, if he wore more than boxer shorts, he'd wake up sweaty and on the floor. All in all, it wasn't a bad life. Derek kept him out of the family business, and Stiles still wrote stupid tabloid articles for the World.

The real difference there was that he never had to do his own stakeouts anymore. Derek would always put one of what he called "Pups" on them. The whole Hale Pack really took the wolf theme very, very seriously. It was oddly refreshing to be honest. All in all, Stiles had a pretty good life here. He wore nicely fitted suits, ate more food in a day than he used to eat in a week, and had company around all the time.

It was nice.

Nice even when Erica dragged him out running with her every morning. They'd run for quite sometime and then usually finish near a cafe, where they'd get coffee and sometimes a pastry. That's where they found themselves currently, sitting across each other at a table.

"You know," Erica began, the glint in her eyes making Stiles squirm slightly. She only looked like that when she was trying to embarrass him. "With legs like yours, Derek should be all over you. Is he having problems, you know performing?" Stiles spat coffee all over the table, his eyes widening and his cheeks flushing bright red. Erica wasn't always quite so direct.

"Erica!" Stiles coughed, still blushing down at his coffee. "It's not like that at all. Derek and I, we're just friends, you know? There's nothing like that between us." Erica just looked at Stiles with an expression of pure disbelief. "There's not! Oh my god, stop looking at me like that."

"I just think you both are wasting time," Erica said with a shrug, patting Stiles' hand. "See, I know Derek. He very much wants. And he actually cares, which is new for him. Notice he only ever lets you out of the house with me, Isaac, or himself?" Stiles nodded. He just figured that was normal, but now, maybe it wasn't. "He–"

"Wait," Stiles said quickly, cutting Erica off before she continued. "He's done the same thing with someone before? Taken them out of their life and slept beside them in his bed?" He frowned. He kinda thought he was the first. He maybe thought he was special. But if he was just another one? If Derek was just using him?

Erica's scoff pulled Stiles out of his self-destructive thoughts. "Don't be ridiculous Stiles," she chided. "He's never done anything like that before. You're a first. But he also doesn't trust any of the Pups to protect you. Just two of his most trusted Wolves, and himself. He'd probably trust you to Boyd, but Boyd is always busy."

"Well, fancy running into you here," a man said, suddenly appearing at their table. He was older, still handsome, and greying around the edges. There were lines around his eyes, in way that emphasized the light blue of them. His lips were quirked in an amused grin as his eyes turned to Stiles. "Who's your friend she-wolf?"

Erica flashed him a tight smile. "A friend of mine," she responded with a certain blandness Stiles had never seen before. He's used to Erica having such zeal. "What are you doing here? And why are you talking to me? You've got nothing and we both know it." Stiles just looked between the two of them with confusion.

"Can't a fella just come over and say hello?" The man said, his eyes not leaving Stiles. "You have poor taste in company little bunny. The she-wolf here is almost as bad as her Alpha." Stiles knew he was glaring. He could feel it on his face, see it in Erica's smug expression, and the man's sneer. "Oh, I see, you're one of his little bitches. Shame you have such poor taste."

"Ain't nothing wrong with my Alpha," Erica chimed in, silencing Stiles with a quick look. He got it. She wanted him to stay quiet. Whoever this man was, Erica was registering him as dangerous in some way, and Stiles wasn't going to mess with that. "Scram Argent. We got nothing to say to you."

The man – Argent? – cast an almost murderous glance at Erica. "If you ever decide you want on the other side," Argent began, turning his attention to Stiles and pulling a business card from his pocket. "Give me a call. I'll be happy to talk." He set the card on the table, smirked at Erica one last time, before he turned and left them alone.

Stiles glanced at the card quickly. Chris Argent, Police Detective. No wonder Erica reacted so negatively to him. He was dangerous to someone like her, and by association, someone like Stiles. "You know that bull?" Stiles asked, frowning at Erica. The blonde just looked at him, huffing quietly.

"We are not telling Derek about this," Erica stated, picking up the card and ripping it in two. "Derek will put everyone on lockdown, and Argent doesn't have anything on us anyway. He was just here trying drum up something."

"Right," Stiles murmured. He felt a little weird keeping this from Derek, but he knew Erica had a point. Derek could be overprotective. If he thought there was a genuine threat to Stiles, well, Stiles would get put on lockdown and that would only worry his dad.

He didn’t want that. It had been hard enough to explain to his dad that he’d moved into a town house. Of course, Stiles couldn’t tell him exactly why he’d moved, and he had to come up with a good excuse for why his dad couldn’t just visit.

"But you do know him," Stiles continued. He knew he was right. Argent had called Erica 'she-wolf'. He also referred to Derek as the 'alpha', something he’d only heard some of the Pack call Derek. That meant that Argent knew who they were, and as a cop, well, that meant he probably had investigated them at some point. "If it matters, I thought he was a boob."

Erica nodded, draining the last of her coffee. "Oh, he is," she agreed, standing and giving Stiles a pointed look. He finished off his coffee and stood. "Well, you and I are going shopping." Stiles returned her look, looking unimpressed and frankly, a bit unamused.

"Erica, I have enough rags," Stiles whined, letting the blonde drag him outside the café anyway. "My suits are only a month old. They can’t be out of fashion yet, and I’m not sure Derek will be happy with me if I come home with more."

Erica laughed, dragging Stiles into a nearby dress shop. "Not for you Bo," she told him, finally coming to a stop in front of a rack of brightly colored dresses. "For me. It’s Boyd’s birthday soon, and Laura and I are working on a huge party. But, I need a new dress. And you’re the lucky fella that gets to help me pick it out."

Stiles sighed, knowing he really didn't have much of a choice. He could only stand there, holding dresses that Erica threw into his arms, watching her shop. She picked through the dresses, finding the viable options. It was tedious, but oddly enjoyable.

It took hours. Hours of offering his opinion on dress after dress until Erica finally determined that they were all not acceptable. She dragged him from the shop with little ceremony, saying that they could go back, clean up, and then they would be shopping again.

Stiles groaned, realizing that Erica would not rest until she had the perfect dress. It was a bit annoying. After all, he'd been planning on going into Derek's office and spending the afternoon with him. They hadn't really been able to spend much time together lately. And he was man enough to admit it, Stiles really missed Derek.


 

Shopping with Erica was a chore. Stiles managed to slip outside, letting the seamstress help Erica instead of him. He breathed in the cool air and sighed. He really wanted to be back with Derek. He'd been busy the last few days. Between visiting his dad and Scott and when he wasn't busy, Derek had been. It had been a few days since they'd really spent any time together.

"Hello there Mr. Stilinski," a voice said, making Stiles turn to face Chris Argent. "Yes, I know who you are. Your father came to the station a few weeks ago, worried sick about his precious son. Not that we could really understand him."

That sneer. Stiles knew that sneer. That was the sneer he'd grown up seeing. That was the sneer from a man that thought his dad was less than him simply because he'd been born in a different country. That was the sneer that often got directed at Stiles, simply because both of his parents were immigrants and he was first language was Polish instead of English.

That was something he never saw with Derek's Pack. He'd seen everyone treat Boyd with just as much respect as they did Derek. He'd seen Derek treat Ró ż a as though she were truly family. Everyone was treated by their ability, not their birthright.

"Your point?" Stiles asked, frowning at Argent. "My dad knows I'm just fine. In fact, he and I are having lunch tomorrow. So I'm sure he told you that I am fine." Stiles looked at Argent closely, he was trying to get a read on him, figure out where he was coming from. But while Stiles was intelligent, his deductive reasoning wasn't nearly as sharp as Derek's.

What he wouldn't give to have the scarred man next to him now.

"But not exactly safe," Argent countered, voice even. He looked Stiles up and down for a moment. "Hale's bitches usually look, more akin to a chippy. You don't seem to be as easy of virtue. Seems a shame to leave a poor little bunny like you to run with those wolves."

Stiles shrugged, not wanting to give Argent too much to work with off his expression. He didn't think it was so bad. He really did like spending time with Derek and his Pack. "It's not so bad," he told the detective. "Must say it's a pretty nice place, you know. Especially for the son of a man that the police barely take seriously."

The expression on Argent's face was worth it. The cocky smile on his face slipped momentarily, flashing into a barely contained rage. "Well Mr. Stilinski, allow me to save you from that pack of rabid dogs. They will go down Mr. Stilinski. And if you help me, I'll make sure you aren't caught in the middle of it."

Stiles rolled his eyes, looking at Argent with skepticism. "You're fishing," he said, crossing his arms and trying to do his best impression of Derek. "You don't have anything on them. You want me to give you something. Well, tough. I ain't giving you shit."

"You should rethink this," Argent pressed, putting his hand on Stiles' shoulder. "Trust me. I will get the evidence I need with or without you. And let's be honest here Mr. Stilinski. Someone like you wouldn't fare well if you get mixed up in their downfall."

Stiles straightened up, fixing Argent with a cold stare. "And what's that supposed to mean?" He questioned, all but challenging the detective to say what Stiles knew he was hinting at. This was something he really, really hated about the way things were in the world outside the Pack.

"You know exactly what that means," Argent purred, moving his hand to touch Stiles' face. Stiles recoiled instantly, all but physically sickened by the touch. "And you know, I hear the pretty little sheiks like you do not do well under glass."

Stiles took a step back towards the store. Shopping with Erica, no matter how tedious, was way better than this. "Not interested," he repeated, glaring at the detective. "Leave me alone Argent."

With those words, Stiles slipped back into the store, leaving Argent outside, his eyes still locked on Stiles' back. "Whoa Bo, you look like you got hit by a bus," Erica said when she saw him. He gave her a weak smile, taking in the sight of Erica in the black dress.

"I'm alright," Stiles assured her, smiling at Erica. "And that dress is beautiful. Boyd would love you in that." Erica huffed at him, going behind the screen to change. "Don't think so? Have you thought about just ordering something custom? I mean, I know Danny does suits, but maybe he could do dresses? Or maybe we can find someone who does dresses?"

Erica looked at Stiles from behind the screen, making him avert his eyes to avoid seeing her bare shoulders, and anything else that refused to stay hidden behind the screen. "Danny does not make dresses," Erica pointed out, making a face before slipping back behind the screen again. "Trust me, that was the first place I went."

"You know what," Stiles began, suddenly remembering something Scott had said last time he'd seen his best friend. "My best friend's moll is a seamstress. Picked up her aunt's business. If you do some name dropping, she can probably make you a priority."

Erica came out wearing her customary suit, a navy blue pinstripe one this time. "And for once, I'll be dropping your name instead of Derek's?" She questioned, giving Stiles a smile. "Sounds like a plan. If you agree to come with me for the fitting. I need an expert opinion. And getting that opinion from someone so obviously dizzy with my boss, well, Boyd will be happy about that."

"Oh yeah," Stiles said, rolling his eyes. "Boyd will be happy I'm ogling you objectively and without the intent of stealing his girl. Cause I'm clearly so dizzy with Derek that I couldn't possibly find you attractive. You're a doll. I'd have to blind not to notice."

"The difference Bo," Erica countered, smiling at Stiles as the two walked for the car. "The difference is that you are sharp enough to know that I am most definitely taken. And that Boyd would probably give ya lead poisoning if ya so much as tried anything."

"And then Derek would do the same to Boyd, and then you and Derek would be quite the pair," Stiles said with a laugh, sliding into the passenger seat. "You'll both be sitting there thinking about how lost your fellas 'cause–"

"'Cause you were stupid enough to flirt with me," Erica interrupted, laughing softly at Stiles. "And I thought you insisted there was nothing like that between the two of you?" She raised a perfect eyebrow at him and Stiles immediately flushed, catching his blunder. "Oh, so there is a that. Do tell me all about it."

Stiles knew he was bright red. "Oh close your head," he muttered, swatting at Erica's hand as she reached out to attempt to tickle him. "There's nothing of that sort happening. But I suppose I suspect that Derek wouldn't mind if there was a that." Erica chuckled but nodded.

"He's been dizzy with you since the first day," she informed him, driving back to Derek's house. "That would be why he's kept you around. He's so gone on you it's amusing. He almost bumped off one of the pups because he said he wished you were a chippy because he'd be all over you. Derek nearly ripped his throat out."

"With his teeth I imagine,"Stiles said, rolling his eyes. "He takes that whole wolf thing was too seriously. And I know, I know, it's a thing that's been passed down for generations. That his grandfather loved wolves and the symbol was something he came up with. But still. Derek takes it way too seriously."

"It's not like he thinks he's an actual wolf you know," Erica told him, parking her usual spot. "He just like people to think that he does. Helps with being all intimidating and scary if people think he actually will rip out their throat with his teeth."

"But really he's a giant puppy, I know," Stiles said, getting out of the car and stretching. "He's a giant softy and I should remember that whenever he gets all intense." He was echoing Erica's words back at him. She'd told him that back in the early days of all this. He'd been frustrated with Derek's intensity and Erica had assured him that deep down, Derek was a softy.

"Exactly," Erica replied, glancing up at the house and sighing. It was already getting dark, and Stiles knew he'd basically spent the whole day shopping with Erica. "You know what you have to do?" Erica pointed up, dragging Stiles' attention to the third floor. He sighed, knowing what she meant. The light to Derek's office was still on. And it was easy to picture the man hunched over his desk, fingers in his dark hair as he poured over papers.

"Yeah, get the big bad wolf to go to sleep tonight," Stiles said, giving Erica a small smile. "Won't be the first time I've made him sleep. And I'm pretty sure it won't be the last. You go to bed. I'll take care of him."

Erica gave Stiles a kiss on the cheek. "You know, you're an angel Stiles Stilinski," she said, ruffling Stiles' hair. "Derek doesn't deserve you. But he sure as hell needs you. I think tomorrow you and I are going to lunch with your dad, so I will see you then."

"Yeah, good night Erica," Stiles said with a smile. She went inside with Stiles close behind. She slipped off to her room, with Stiles heading into Derek's office. "Hi there big shot, you going to bed at all?" Derek's eyes snapped up, wide for a moment before softening as they fell on Stiles.

Derek pushed the papers aside, smiling softly at Stiles. "Hey bunny," he said, pulling the glasses from his face. Stiles smiled back, glad to see Derek actually using the glasses in the office. "I am going to bed. But it didn't make sense to go without you. You'd have just woken me anyway."

Stiles nodded, dropping into his usual chair. "That's fair," he murmured, smile still on his lips. "Oh, can I use your horn? I need to call Scott and see if he can get me and Erica in to see his moll for a dress. I'd rather not go all the way downstairs to make a call."

Derek laughed softly, gesturing at the phone to signify his approval. He slid the glasses back onto his face and returned to his papers. Stiles grabbed the phone, getting Scott on the other line after a few minutes. "Stiles!" Scott said, sounding surprisingly awake despite the hour. "It's been forever pal. How's the new house?"

"It's great Scott," Stiles responded, catching Derek's eyes as the man looked up at him. "But hey, my friend, Erica, she needs a new dress. I was hoping you could pull some strings for me, get her in to see Allison tomorrow?"

Derek raised a questioning eyebrow at him, and Stiles winked at him, grinning at the slight pink at the tips of Derek's ears. "Oh yeah!" Scott said, clearly excited. "She'll get you in, I'm sure. Especially if that means I'll take some time off work to come too. I don't get to see enough of you since you moved across town."

Stiles nodded. He felt that too. He and Scott used to be neighbors, and now they were on the opposite ends of town. Besides, Scott's work apprenticing under Dr. Deaton kept him surprisingly busy. "I know Scotty, but you should see this house I'm in now," Stiles continued, smiling at Derek as the scarred man rolled his eyes at Stiles. "I'm living the life of luxury, and I can't complain."

"I'd love to see it, when can I get a tour?" Scott asked, and Stiles wanted to kick himself. He knew Scott would ask about that. It wasn't his house to show off and he didn't think Derek would appreciate him inviting Scott over for the day. He loved his best friend dearly, but he could be dense and Stiles didn't think it was the best idea to have Scott in the position to give away Derek to the police.

"I don't know," Stiles replied honestly, fidgeting slightly under Derek's intense, impossibly green gaze. "I'll have to talk to some people. But I should head off to bed now I think. I'll see you tomorrow Scott. You think somewhere around eleven would be okay?"

Stiles could almost hear Scott's smile, beaming impossibly wide at the idea of seeing both Stiles and Allison together. "Yeah, sounds perfect. I'll call Allison as soon as I hang up. I promised I'd wish her goodnight anyway," Scott told him, his voice practically vibrating with excitement.

Stiles rolled his eyes, earning him a quiet huff of laughter from Derek. "You do that Scotty," he said, making a face at Derek. "See you tomorrow." After Scott bid him goodnight, Stiles hung up the phone and leaned back in his chair. "Thanks for that. I appreciate it and Erica will too."

"Just as long as she doesn't try to spend my money on this dress," Derek replied, pulling the glasses off again. Stiles couldn't help but wonder if that's something Erica had actually done in the past or just something she'd threatened to do.

"Wouldn't dream of letting her," Stiles assured the man, getting out of his chair. He threw his arms back in a stretch and held out his hand to Derek. "But you need to come to bed with me. Otherwise you'll be up too late, and you won't sleep enough."

Derek raised an eyebrow incredulously, but took Stiles' offered hand anyway. "Day after tomorrow, we are going to Triskele together," the scarred man informed him. "You can go ahead with Erica if you want, I have some business to attend to before we go."

Stiles could see something flash in Derek's eyes. He didn't want Stiles to go with Erica and meet him at Triskele. "I don't mind riding along," Stiles offered, knowing full well that was actually what Derek wanted. "If you don't mind having me that is."

The two went into Derek's room, beginning the long process of undressing for sleep. Stiles still turned away from Derek, still a bit shy about undressing in front of Derek. After all, Derek was a perfect male specimen, and Stiles, well, he was not. He was still skinny, despite all the food and the running. He couldn't imagine Erica had been right about Derek and his feelings.

"I don't mind," Derek whispered, lips surprisingly close to Stiles' ear. He spun around quickly, eyes wide with panic. "Sorry." But Derek was smiling and chuckling and seemed impossibly far from sorry. "I didn't mean to startle you." Stiles swatted at Derek's bare chest, pushing the man away.

"You say that every time you do that," Stiles said, rolling his eyes. He didn't believe Derek for a second. "And yet, you do it at least three times a week. I'm starting to not believe in your apologies Mr. Hale." Derek made a face akin to a grimace. He hated when anyone called him 'Mr. Hale', which was exactly why Stiles did it.

"You know, if you aren't careful Mr. Stilinski, I'll make you sleep on the sofa," Derek threatened. Well, mock threatened. Stiles knew that Derek's bark was way worse than his bite, or it was when it came to Stiles. "Let's go to bed. Sounds like you have a busy day tomorrow." Derek was already lying down, pulling the covers back for Stiles.

Stiles nodded, crawling into bed beside Derek. He closed his eyes as the other man pulled the blankets over him, shielding him from the inevitable cold of November. Stiles curled immediately into Derek's body, his head resting on the scarred man's shoulder. Derek was warm, almost impossibly so. He liked it, and the warmth emanating from Derek lulled Stiles quickly into a peaceful sleep.


 

Stiles stood in the corner of the Silver Linings dress shop with Scott, both watching as Erica and Allison talked about fabrics and played with different bolts of it. "Bet you thought this would be more exciting," Stiles said to Scott, barely earning a sliver of his friend's attention.

"I think it's exciting," was all Scott said, his eyes stuck on Allison as she moved about the shop with Erica. "She's beautiful, isn't she? Your moll isn't so bad either. But–"

"Whoa, no, no no, seriously no," Stiles said quickly, cutting off Scott. "Erica and I aren't together. She has a sweetheart already, and he sure as hell ain't me. And if he's anything to go by, I wouldn't be her type anyway."

"Big fella then?" Scott inquired and Stiles shot him a look of mock hurt. "Definitely a big guy. Could cool you with one hand?" Stiles wasn't proud of the indignant squawk he let out. "Seriously? One hand? How big is this fella?"

"Twice Stiles' size," Erica's voice saved Stiles from having to answer. "Quite a bit taller, and broader, and stronger. No offense Stiles." Stiles waved her off. He knew all that was true. Boyd was practically a behemoth, especially compared to him. "He's tall, dark, and handsome. That would be my type. And unfortunately for both of you, you're too short and not dark enough. And I won't talk about the handsome. I might hurt your feelings.

Stiles rolled his eyes. He knew she was messing with them. And he could tell that Allison knew it too, which would explain why she didn't jump to Scott's defense when he tried to protest his handsomeness. "Scotty, just leave it," Stiles said, patting Scott on the shoulder. "She's just giving us a hard time. I'm gonna go outside and get some air though. Before the onslaught of questions about fabric get directed at me."

"Sounds good," Scott said, his eyes drifting back to Allison. "I'm going to stay here, in case they need help." Like Stiles expected any less. He left Scott to drool over Allison, and headed for the door. He had just slipped outside when he saw an uncomfortably familiar face coming towards him.

"Mr. Stilinski," Chris Argent said, stopping in front of him. "What a pleasant surprise. I'm sure you've rethought my offer." Stiles snorted, crossing his arms and giving Argent the most venomous glare he could muster.

"Not likely," Stiles informed him, trying to keep up a facade of aloof disdain. He couldn't shake the feeling that Argent had followed him here, and that was sickening to say the least. "So you can leave now. I don't have anything to say to you."

Argent laughed softly, reaching over to pat Stiles' cheek. "I'm not here for you," he stated, his lips falling into a smug smile. "But I will gladly listen to whatever you really want to share. Any little bit will help take down the Hale Pack." Stiles closed his mouth, narrowing his eyes at Argent.

The detective shrugged, walking past Stiles into the shop. Stiles trailed after him, mimicking a glare he'd seen Derek give people. "Hello Allison," Argent said, hugging Allison quickly. Stiles frowned, confused. He wandered over to Scott, knowing Erica was giving Argent similar looks.

The detective just flashed Erica a smug smile, but didn't say anything as Allison took her measurements. "Scotty, who the fuck is that?" Stiles asked, keeping his voice low to not attract the detective's attention. Yes, he knew who he was. Stiles knew Chris Argent was a detective. But he was mostly asking who he was to Allison.

"That's Chris," Scott told him, looking confused as to Stiles' sudden tenseness. "He's Allison's dad. I've met him a few times. He's a detective, and he's pretty nice. But his sister was killed a few years ago. She was like a sister to Allison. Allison says that she taught her everything she knows when it comes to making dresses."

"Allison Argent," Stiles repeated, suddenly hating himself for bringing Erica here. How could he not know that Allison was the daughter of a police detective that seemed to have something against Derek and the whole Pack. "You've told me everything about this girl, how'd you miss telling me her surname?"

"I think you're overreacting Stiles," Scott soothed, patting Stiles on the shoulder. "It's just a surname. Like, her family has a French lineage. Just like your surname means you have a Polish lineage." Stiles rolled his eyes. Scott didn't get it. The origin of the name wasn't as important as how long the family had been here. Things weren't as simple as Scott must have wanted them to be.

"Remember when I told you about the roommate I was living with?" Stiles asked, watching for Scott's confirming nod. "Allison's father seems to be out to get him for whatever reason. Thinks he's a criminal or something. But he's a real nice guy, don't worry about that. I like him."

"Then, when do I get to meet him?" Scott asked, smiling and seemingly unfazed by the potential criminal thing. "He seems really important to you. Is he, you know, a sweetheart?" Stiles smacked Scott's arm.

"No, whoa no way buster," Stiles said quickly. "He just works and is busy, but I'll tell him you want to meet him. But you gotta start telling me that you're dating cops' daughters." Scott nodded, smiling at Stiles. "Looks like Allison is almost done with Erica. I'll be outside waiting alright? Let Erica know?"

Scott nodded again, smiling and blissfully unaware of Stiles' panic. Stiles hurried outside, feeling Argent's eyes on his back. "Mr. Stilinski," Argent said, following Stiles out to the street. "You should consider my offer more seriously. Everyday, I get closer to catching your precious Alpha. And when I do, if you help me, I can guarantee your safety."

"You're still fishing," Stiles told him. "You still have nothing. I know you have nothing. You wouldn't be bothering with me if you had even the slightest lead. But with nothing, you're desperate." Argent's eyes flashed briefly, and Stiles knew he was right. He may not read situations as well as Derek, but he was pretty good at it.

"This fella bothering you Bo?" Erica asked, leaning in the doorway, eyeing Argent darkly. "We under arrest Argent? Cause if not, I think you'd better leave us alone." Stiles offered his arm to Erica, letting her lead them to the car, leaving a glowering Argent behind them. "He's getting more desperate ain't he..."

Stiles nodded, shifting slightly as he got into the car. "He keeps asking me to sell out Derek," he admitted, shifting slightly. "I won't. Derek's been nothing but good to me. He just annoys me." Erica patted his hand and the two of them headed to the restaurant to meet Stiles' dad for lunch.


 

Later that evening, Erica dropped Stiles off at the house before leaving to meet Boyd at Triskele. He headed in, saying a quick hello to Ró ż a on his way up to Derek's office. "Hello Derek," he said, dropping into the chair across from the desk.

Derek was buried in his paperwork, and simply grunted a quiet acknowledgement of Stiles' presence. "Erica's dress is started, and I had a nice lunch with my dad. He asked if Erica was my sweetheart, and I had to explain that she was just a friend. He also wanted me to say hi to my roommate, and that's you, so dad says hi."

"That's nice," Derek mumbled, clearly not really paying attention to Stiles. That was pretty standard actually, at least for this time of day. When Derek was working, there was little he could get him out of it.

"I'm going to read in the alcove," Stiles said, standing slowly. "Erica said there was a few new books I might be interested in. Come and get me when it's bedtime. You know I lose track of time." Derek nodded, making eye contact briefly so Stiles knew he actually heard him before Stiles slipped off to the alcove.

Glancing at the bookshelves, Stiles pulled a new book he hadn't seen in the library before. An Antarctic Mystery. Stiles' smile widened. He loved Jules Verne, and he knew Derek had gotten this book for him. That meant that Derek had listened when Stiles had talked at length about his favorite authors.

He settled in the plush arm chair and began reading of the adventures of Jeorling, Len Guy, and Dirk Peters. He was lost in the fictional world, the story growing in his mind as he read. It was a truly captivating story, and Stiles could have read for hours.

And he very well may have. He wasn't sure how long he'd been reading when Derek's broad palm pushed the book down and smiled at him. "Come on bunny, it's time for bed," he murmured, sliding a bookmark into the book before shutting it and setting it on the table. "You like the book?"

"It's amazing Derek," Stiles said, smiling as he followed Derek up to the bedroom. "It's like a sequel to another book I read back in school. It's really cool, and I really like it. Thank you, by the way. I know you got that book for me."

Derek didn't answer, but the tips of his ears turned pink. Stiles smiled as he began chattering about the novel as the two got ready for bed. He was still talking when they crawled under the covers, curling up together for warmth. "Stiles," Derek finally spoke, combing his fingers through Stiles' hair to quiet him. "Tomorrow, we can go to that meeting."

Stiles nodded, curling up against Derek. "That sounds nice," he mumbled, tucking his head onto Derek's shoulder. "Missed you." He didn't think before he said that, or he may well have not said it at all. But it was true.

Stiles did miss Derek. Over the last few days, Stiles hadn't seen much of Derek. "I know bunny, I've missed you too," Derek murmured as Stiles drifted off to sleep. He could have sworn that just before falling asleep he felt Derek's lips pressing a kiss to the top of his head. "Sleep well."

Stiles mumbled something unintelligible before falling into a peaceful sleep.


 

Derek pulled the Phantom 1 into an alley. Stiles sat up, reaching for the door handle. "No," Derek snapped, reaching across him to grab his wrist. "You have to stay here. This fella doesn't take kindly to strangers." Derek tightened his grip on Stiles slightly, looking at him with that fond expression that he got sometimes. "Stay here where it's safe bunny."

Stiles rolled his eyes, pulling his arm free from Derek's grasp. "Hurry up then big shot," he murmured, smiling at Derek. "I get bored easily, you know that." Derek just nodded, slipping from the car. He buttoned his jacket, effectively hiding the large handgun Stiles knew he always had on him.

Stiles knew better by now. He really did. Derek lived in a dangerous and different world. And while Stiles was starting to become apart of it, he knew that he was still far removed from the things Derek considered too dangerous for him. So while Stiles knew better, he often got too bored for his own good.

That's how he found himself wandering out of the car after Derek. Stiles followed the path he saw Derek take, moving down the alley and pulling his jacket tight around his body. It was chilly out. He should have grabbed his actual coat from the backseat. But he could survive without it. He was bored, and he wanted to go see what Derek was up to.

Stiles turned the corner and smiled. He couldn't help it. Derek was standing there, arms folded, not saying a word. He had an eyebrow raised and simply stared at the man he was meeting with. It was so Derek that it made Stiles smile. Stiles was so distracted by Derek that he missed the third man moving towards him until there was a gun pointed directly at him, with the man staring at Stiles through narrowed eyes.

"Hey boss," the man said, not taking his eyes off Stiles. "We got ourselves a peeper looking for the big sleep." Stiles glanced up, watching Derek stiffen as he locked eyes with Stiles. He froze as the man clicked the hammer, the barrel of the gun pressed near Stiles' head.

"Oh god," Stiles muttered, looking from the gun to Derek and back again. "P-please don't chill me off. You can just put that heater down, and let me walk away?" The man gave him an unimpressed look and Stiles knew moving would get him shot.

"Well Mr. Hale, we seem to have some kind of gumshoe," the man closer to Derek said. "We can handle it, don't worry." Derek's face didn't change, but his eyes flicked up to Stiles. Derek's lips parted slightly, mouthing Stiles' name silently.

"That won't be necessary," Derek began, his voice low with a vague warning. "He's with me." Stiles nodded quickly, glancing at the man with the gun again. "He's harmless."

"Oh, well, in that case, shoot him," the second man jeered, his face contorting into a disturbing sneer. "I thought we agreed to meet alone Mr. Hale. Bringing a sheik to our meeting certainly wasn't your best move. You aren't losing your edge are you?"

The man with the gun grinned at him as Stiles began to stammer out whatever words he could manage to find. The crack of a gunshot echoed through the alley, blood splattering onto his face. "I haven't lost my edge," Derek growled, the muzzle of the gun in his hands smoked faintly. "You were supposed to come alone too. Now, we finish this another time. Scram out. Now."

The second man scrambled away, leaving Derek and Stiles alone. Stiles knew he was literally covered in blood, could feel it on his face and dripping down his neck. His body was trembling and refused to move. He couldn't even find any words to say. "You hurt bunny?" Derek asked, holstering his gun as he moved towards Stiles. "C'mere."

The simple command was all it took. Stiles was unfrozen and he rushed into Derek's arms, letting Derek wipe his face with a handkerchief. He was still trembling, but Derek's large hand working through his hair gently was soothing. "N-no, I-I'm fine," Stiles stammered, the cloth gently wiping at the blood on his neck. "Y-you just sh-shot him! R-right in fr-front of me. O-oh my g-god. D-Derek? D-did I ruin your b-business d-deal?"

He knew his voice was shaking, stumbling over his words. Derek merely hushed him, tossing the bloody cloth onto the sidewalk. He pulled Stiles closer, letting Stiles bury his face into Derek's broad chest. Stiles felt the tears prick his eyes. He knew Derek killed people, he wasn't stupid. But he'd never seen anyone get shot before.

"Shh," Derek murmured, his body angling Stiles away from the one on the ground, maneuvering him out of the alley without Stiles having to see it again. "It's okay now. You're safe my little bunny. I'm here. And I'll protect you."

After a while of this awkward shuffling, with Stiles refusing to pick his head up, refusing to see what he'd made Derek do, refusing to think about how it might have been his blood spattered across the alley had Derek not killed the man, Stiles felt the cool metal of Derek's car at his back.

He pulled back slightly, looking at Derek. "I'm sorry," he mumbled, scuffing his shoe lightly and fidgeting with the hem of his jacket. "I didn't think, I didn't know that's what would happen. I just, I was bored and I wanted to see you, and I didn't think it would matter if I just stood with you. But I guess it did, and I'm stupid, and I'm–"

Art by fearful_little_thing

Derek silenced Stiles with a kiss. A soft press of warm lips to his, gentle and questioning. Stiles had thought of Derek kissing him before, but all those kisses had been rough and demanding, like Derek was with other people. He should have know it would be like this, the gentle exploration, unwilling to go further than Stiles was comfortable with. Derek was like that when they were alone. He had a softer side that he didn't show to anyone.

Anyone that is, except for Stiles.

"Der," Stiles gasped, pulling away from the kiss. He was short of breath, his chest rising and falling quickly, and surprisingly keeping pace with Derek's. The other man hummed at him, leaning down to brush his lips along Stiles' cheek and jaw. "Derek, you have, have to stop." He didn't want him to. Derek's body was warm, burning a hot line against his, and his lips left his skin tingling in their wake. "Someone could see."

"Let them," Derek murmured, combing his fingers through Stiles' hair. "I've wanted to do this since the day Erica dragged you into my office thinking you a bull. And I almost didn't get the chance." Derek's lips moved to his neck, his breath ruffling the hair at Stiles' nape. Stiles couldn't help himself. He tipped his head back, giving Derek more room to cover his skin in hot kisses.

"Derek, please," Stiles panted, his heart racing under Derek's attention. "There's b-blood on my clothes. I would really like a bath. And we have to do something about the, the, about the, the b-body." Stiles broke a little on the words, feeling his chest and stomach constrict, making him feel nauseated. "I'm gonna be sick."

Derek acted then, helping Stiles to lean over just moment before throwing up on the sidewalk. "Shh," Derek hushed as Stiles made soft noises of discomfort. "I know bunny. I know. I have to call Boyd. Get our cleaners out here to clean the body." Stiles nodded, relaxing into the feeling of Derek's hand on his back.

"I'm fine," Stiles managed, leaning back to curl into Derek's arms. The feeling of Derek's strong arms wrapping around him was more soothing than anything. Their protective weight made Stiles feel safe and secure. "We can call Boyd. Just, please don't leave me Derek. Please."

Derek nodded, helping Stiles up again and wrapping his arm around Stiles' waist. "Don't ever do that again bunny," Derek whispered, his lips pressing close to Stiles' ear. "I don't want you hurt." Stiles nodded, letting Derek lead him into a small, dingy laundromat. "Excuse me, I need to use your phone."

Stiles wasn't sure if the clerk knew who Derek was or if he'd simply read something in Derek's expression, but the phone was pushed into his hands. Stiles didn't say anything as he curled closer to Derek. He could feel the clerk's eyes drift to him, knew he was probably staring at the blood on Stiles' clothes. But he didn't say a word. Not while Derek made the phone call to the house, and not when Derek asked for the cleaners. The clerk had to know who Derek was, or at least a vague idea.

And Stiles had a sick feeling that he wouldn't be alive much longer.

Derek talked in clipped, quiet words into the receiver, giving Boyd the necessary orders. It wasn't long before Derek ushered Stiles outside. "Go to the breezer," Derek instructed, pushing Stiles towards the car. "Get in, and stay there." Stiles nodded and Derek narrowed his eyes slightly. "Stiles, I mean it. Get in the car, and stay there."

Stiles felt like he knew what would happen. This was the part where Derek took care of the clerk. He'd already seen one man shot by Derek today. He didn't look forward to seeing another. Stiles climbed into Derek's car, hugging his knees to his chest tightly. He heard the muffled sound of Derek's gun, and Stiles jumped, burying his face into his knees.

Within a few moments, Derek joined him in the car. "I'm sorry for today little bunny," the scarred man murmured, his fingers finding their way into Stiles' hair. "You shouldn't have come with me. I should have made you stay home. You know I try to keep you away from this." Stiles nodded, relaxing against Derek's touch. He liked the way Derek touched him. It was like he was something special, something to be cherished.

"It's, m-my fault," Stiles stammered, pushing into Derek's space more. "I insisted on coming, and going to see Laura after, and now, now I just want to go home... Laura will be sad though if we don't go to the joint tonight... But I, just, I don't feel very good." Derek's lips brushed against Stiles' softly, the gentle warmth of them calming Stiles even more than Derek's touch.

"I could have occupied you if necessary," Derek said, leaning his forehead against Stiles'. "I could have told Erica to take you to the tailor to get fitted for some new rags, or had Isaac take you to see your dad for a bit." Stiles couldn't help but snort a laugh at that. Isaac didn't like him, didn't from the moment Stiles got dragged into Derek's world, and the way things looked, he wasn't likely to change his opinion anytime soon. "Fine, maybe not that, but I could have dropped you off at Triskele before coming here. Laura likes you, she'd have kept you entertained."

Stiles shrugged, and Derek sighed. He left the conversation there. "We're going home," Derek told him, starting the car and backing out of the alley. "I've got to tell Boyd that the meeting was probably a doublecross. Why else would he have brought someone armed to a meeting that was only supposed to be the two of us?"

Stiles was still amazed at the way Derek's mind worked. Every time he came up with something, some idea, the idea was so founded in the world that it seemed so logical, so flawlessly sound. It was hard to argue with Derek when he did things like that. Even harder when Derek reached across the car to take Stiles' hand, twining their fingers together and squeezing gently. "What?" Derek asked, glancing at Stiles before looking back at the road.

"Just thinking," Stiles murmured, glancing at the scarred half of Derek's face. "About how beautiful your mind must be. I've never seen anyone in real life who can process information like you can. The way you put things together, like every bit of information is a puzzle. It's real swell."

Derek shrugged, like he always did when Stiles tried to explain how smart he was. It was like Derek couldn't accept it or just didn't want to. "Erica wanted to know if you had plans tomorrow," Derek said slowly, clearly choosing to ignore Stiles like he usually did when Stiles commented on Derek's intelligence. "Apparently she got a call about a second fitting for her new dress. She's taking Boyd's birthday party very seriously. I'm sure she'll take us both out to dress us in some glad rags she deems appropriate."

Stiles nodded. Two days ago, Erica had dragged him to the shop where Erica had tried on at least twenty different dresses, deeming all of them subpar, and it was just yesterday that she'd had a fitting with Allison. It seemed so long ago now. "I'm sure she will, but maybe, tomorrow, we could- never mind. It's stupid. I'll just go out with Erica," Stiles said, his cheeks heating into a blush. He looked away from Derek, away from the beautiful, yet marred skin of his face. Stiles didn't want to admit that he'd missed Derek over the last few days.

Derek frowned at him. "Stiles," he murmured softly, looking at Stiles fondly. "Nothing you say is stupid. You want to spend the day in, right? Maybe we can read down in the alcove if you'd like." Stiles nodded shyly, smiling at Derek. Derek could read people extremely well on top of his deductive reasoning.

The two rode in relative silence, occasionally making general small talk. Stiles didn't feel like saying much, and he knew that Derek understood that the night's events had shaken him more than he'd ever want to admit. Derek pulled up at the house, waiting for Stiles to get out before pulling the car around to his usual parking spot. Stiles leaned against the post, waiting for Derek. He didn't like walking in alone. He pulled his coat tighter around himself. It was a chilly night.

"Seems a strange night to be standing out here alone," a low voice murmured, making Stiles' stomach clench. Chris Argent strode out of the shadows, lit cigarette between his fingers, smoke billowing from his mouth.

"Go away Argent," Stiles groaned, looking at the police officer with irritation. Stiles pulled the coat around him even tighter, trying to mask the sight of blood in the dim light. "I'm not in the mood for your chinning. I'm no snitch, and I ain't giving you a thing on Derek."

Argent snorted at that, crushed the cigarette under his heel. "You know being associated with a man like Hale is going to get you the big sleep," the man purred, leaning close enough that Stiles could smell the lingering smoke on his breath. "I'm giving you an out here Stilinski. I'd take the deal."

"Deal? What deal?" Stiles questioned, pushing Argent away from him. "You're a bull, here late at night. You're off duty. There's no deal. You want me to rat Derek out for nothing. It's not going to happen. Beat it Argent. Like always, I don't have anything to say to you."

Argent opened his mouth as if to retort, the sound of Derek's car door closing had the policeman backing away from Stiles. He was smart enough to know that being seen anywhere near Stiles, especially with Stiles looking agitated like he was, would only serve to Argent getting a bullet between his eyes.

Derek rounded the corner as Argent disappeared into the shadows, his brows creasing when he saw Stiles. "What's wrong?" Derek asked, immediately running his hand against Stiles' cheek. "You seem upset? You go in, I'll ask Ró ż a to draw you a bath. That sound good? Then we can turn on the radio and see if there are any good shows running, and just relax."

Stiles smiled at Derek, nodding at him and letting Derek lead him into the house with a hand against his back. The hand was high enough that anyone that may have been watching wouldn't have questioned it, but Stiles knew it was more to Derek. It was more to him. "Thank you Derek," Stiles murmured, curling into Derek and pressing a kiss to his lips as soon as the door shut behind them. "I'm gonna, I'll be upstairs okay?"

He smiled at Derek, kissing him once more before disappearing upstairs. Once in his and Derek's room, Stiles pulled the blood stained suit off, holding it awkwardly in fear of staining something he shouldn't. A quiet knock on the door announced Ró ż a's presence before the older woman stepped into the room. "Oh, poor little bunny," Ró ż a cooed softly, reaching out to stroke Stiles' hair gently. Stiles felt instantly comforted by the faint Polish accent speaking words in that familiar tongue.

He felt his lip wobble. Ró ż a was amazing. She was. But she reminded him so much of his mom, and how much he needed her comfort. Especially in a moment like now. Stiles curled into her, letting the woman embrace him, stroking his hair. "It'll be okay, mój ma ł y," Ró ż a soothed, letting Stiles fight tears against her shoulder. He liked when she called him her 'little one'. He liked knowing she cared about him. "Mój Mieczys ł aw, who hurt you?"

Stiles shook his head, standing upright to wipe at his eyes. "No one hurt me Ró ż a," Stiles assured her, letting her lead him to the bathroom as she filled the tub with the hot water from downstairs. "I just saw something that I wish I hadn't." And that was exactly a summary of what had happened. He didn't want to tell Ró ż a the whole story. He didn't want to relive it.

He just wanted to relax in the bath and let all the days troubles wash down the drain.


 

Derek could not have imagined a worse day. Except maybe if that low-life had actually shot Stiles. Derek could not shake the image of Stiles with a gun to his head. His Stiles trembling behind the barrel, all but begging the man not to shoot. Stiles didn't belong with Derek. He wasn't apart of this world.

And yet, Derek kept him in it. Derek's selfish desire to have Stiles and to be with Stiles nearly cost Stiles his life today. He'd be damned if he let it happen again. It was too late for Stiles to return to a normal life. Too many people had seen him with Derek. That would only succeed in signing Stiles' death warrant.

Derek would have to teach him how to handle himself. Teach him to fight, use a knife, hell, maybe even a gun if Stiles wanted. Derek would do anything for Stiles.

He was still planning how to handle Stiles' training as he settled on the couch, listening to the sounds coming from the bathroom. He could hear water splashing, and Ró ż a singing softly in Polish. Stiles must be having a bubble bath, otherwise he'd never let Ró ż a, or anyone else, stay in the bathroom while he bathed. He was still so shy about that sort of thing.

Derek still found it extremely endearing.

It wasn't too long before Ró ż a came out, giving Derek a look he was unfortunately familiar with. It was her disapproving look. He got that look whenever he brought a pro skirt home for the night. He knew he was getting it now for bringing Stiles back in the state he was in. Ró ż a had taken to Stiles extremely quickly. She often treated him like a son, and was of course very protective of him. Derek knew she didn't approve of Derek taking Stiles to business meetings.

"He's very upset Mr. Hale," Ró ż a informed him, her accent thick despite years of being with the Hale family. "Whatever he saw, has him very shaken. And I don't know if I can get the blood out of his suit. But I will try." She had Stiles' suit in her arms, trying to keep the blood from rubbing off onto her dress.

"Thank you Ms. Gorecki," Derek said softly, giving her a sad smile. "He wasn't meant to see that. I'll take care of him." Ró ż a just nodded, giving Derek a soft smile. She was like real family to him, like Isaac. She leaned over to place a kiss on Derek's forehead, something she'd started when he was a kid. His mom wasn't around as often, always working, so Ró ż a was always the one who comforted him.

"You'd better ma ł a myszko," Ró ż a told him, stepping from the room. She always called him that. He never knew what it meant. He could always ask Stiles. But then again, it hardly mattered. She'd called him 'ma ł a myszko' for almost twenty years now, and he'd survived without knowing thus far.

When Stiles emerged, wearing only boxer shorts with a towel draped around his shoulders, Derek couldn't stop his eyes from dragging down Stiles' bare chest. Stiles wasn't as skinny as he was when he'd first met Derek. He was still lean, but before it was bordering on underfed. Here, with Derek, there was no shortage of food. And Derek was pretty sure Erica took Stiles running with her in the mornings when Derek insisted he needed alone time to make phone calls without Stiles, or anyone for that matter, overhearing.

"Come here," Derek instructed, gesturing for Stiles to sit with him. When the man sat, Derek immediately curled his fingers around Stiles' bicep, giving him a small, quirk of his lips as the younger man relaxed into him. Stiles curled into Derek's arms, laying his head against Derek's chest, long fingers stroking Derek's silk tie. "I'm sorry about today Stiles. Sorry you had to see that."

Stiles just shrugged, his hand gliding over Derek's chest. "You, you kissed me," Stiles whispered, as if he hadn't totally processed it until now. Derek's chest tightened. Yes, Stiles had kissed him twice, but what if that was just lingering adrenaline and now that he was relaxed, he regretted it? "That, that really happened right?"

Derek nodded cautiously, bringing a hand to Stiles' cheek. "Is that okay?" Derek asked, pushing his hand back into Stiles' hair, playing with the soft strands gently. "I'd like to do it again, if you'll permit me."

"You're asking me if I want cash or check?" Stiles asked, looking at Derek almost dubiously. Derek chuckled and nodded, his other hand falling to Stiles' bare thigh, thumb pressing against the smooth skin there. "Cash, definitely cash."

That was all the encouragement Derek needed. He leaned in, fingers tangling into Stiles' hair, and pressing their lips together softly. He kissed Stiles slowly, lips moving together perfectly. This is what Derek wanted. This was the reason for Derek's selfishness. The feeling of Stiles' soft lips against his was intoxicating, addictive.

"Wow," Stiles whispered, pulling back slowly. He licked his lips, brown eyes searching Derek's. "You, that was amazing. Really. Can I, can we do that again? Please?" Derek chuckled and pulled Stiles in for another kiss. He squeezed Stiles' thigh and parted his lips slightly, hoping Stiles would allow him in.

He didn't want to push too far. He had a feeling he'd been with more people than Stiles. He didn't want to upset him, or make him feel unsafe with him. Derek worked hard to make sure Stiles could feel safe and comfortable with him.

Yet, his worries were unfounded. Stiles' lips were pliant and willing, parting to allow Derek to deepen the kiss. Stiles' fingers fisted into Derek's shirt, tightly pulling Derek into him, threatening to snap off the buttons. Derek pulled Stiles' hands away, smiling at Stiles' quiet noise of protest.

"Would you like me to take it off?" Derek asked, loosening his tie. He tossed the garment over the coffee table and started to undo the buttons on his shirt. Stiles bit his lip, looking unsure for a moment. "I don't have to. You're just about to rip the buttons off. This shirt is rather expensive."

Stiles blushed, his cheeks turning a red that really gave Derek some incredibly improper ideas. "Um, I, please?" Stiles mumbled, looking so shy it made Derek's heart race. He loved when Stiles got like this. He was beautiful and full of spunk and sass, but sometimes, particularly when it was the two of them, he'd act shy. And Derek could do nothing but comply.

He started unbuttoning faster, but Stiles' hands rested atop Derek's, stilling their progress. "Let me," Stiles murmured, pulling Derek's hands away from his shirt. Derek nodded, pulling Stiles in to kiss him slowly. He knew Stiles was still nervous. He could feel the other man's tremble as he fumbled with the buttons of Derek's shirt.

"It's okay," Derek soothed, brushing Stiles' cheek gently. "You decide how much or how little we do. You have that power, and I'm happy to take what you're comfortable giving me." Stiles almost visibly relaxed at that. Derek leaned in to kiss Stiles' forehead, pulling the shirt off when Stiles finally got the last button undone.

"Can I, can I touch you?" Stiles asked, his voice shy but his eyes sparkling with interest as he eyed Derek's now bare chest. Derek chuckled softly, nodding at him. He held in a gasp as Stiles' long, nimble fingers moved over Derek's chest. His fingers felt incredible, exploring Derek's body with his hands and his eyes. "You, you're a real sheik, you know that right?"

Derek shrugged, pulling Stiles into his chest and just holding him. "I used to be," he whispered, hoping his words were quiet enough that Stiles couldn't hear them. He shifted Stiles then, pulling him into his arms and carrying him to the bed. "You should get some sleep," Derek murmured, laying Stiles down and brushing his lips against Stiles' forehead. He stood up, ridding himself of his trousers, before laying next to Stiles and pulling the man into his body again.

Derek smiled, feeling Stiles relax against him. He fell asleep quickly, nose pressed against Stiles' neck.


 

Stiles couldn't sleep. The softly spoken words he was sure that Derek hadn't meant for him to hear. They kept echoing through his head. They kept him from sleeping and it made him sick.

"I used to be."

Derek was attractive. Stiles noticed that within seconds of meeting him. Impossibly colored eyes that changed in different light, sharp cheekbones, near perfect jawline emphasized with a dark beard that had felt incredible against his skin, and a perfect, well-muscled body. Derek was an extremely good looking man, and the fact he didn't seem to think so made Stiles nauseous.

It had to do with his scars. That's the only thing Stiles could think of. Something about how Derek got them. Stiles had never asked, nor would he ever. It was obvious to him that Derek didn't want to talk about them. He wouldn't ask. He didn't want to put Derek in that position. But the scars weren't ugly. Not like he seemed to think they were. Stiles found them beautiful, albeit hauntingly so.

With delicate fingers, Stiles traced the scars, fingertips tracing down the smooth lines. They looked like claw marks, but something told Stiles that they weren't from an animal. If they had been, he felt like Derek wouldn't be as sensitive about them. But he couldn't be completely sure. He moved his fingers slowly, aware of exactly how light of a sleeper Derek was. He didn't want to wake him. He just wanted him to be comfortable.

Closing his eyes, Stiles relaxed against Derek, feeling the warmth radiate from Derek's body. He loved this, laying this close to Derek. Derek was so warm. It was winter, and cold, but even without a fire in the fireplace, Stiles never got cold when he laid with Derek. It was comforting and relaxing, and soon enough, Stiles managed to still his racing thoughts and relaxed fully into sleep.

When he woke in the morning, Derek's arms were still wrapped around him, protective in their strength. Derek was already awake, staring at Stiles, fingers gently playing with his hair. "Morning bunny," the scarred man murmured, leaning in to kiss Stiles softly. Even with morning breath, Stiles melted against Derek, melting into the feeling of strong arms and a broad chest. He kissed back, parting his lips slightly, a quiet invitation that Derek took immediately, pushing his tongue between Stiles' lips.

Their kiss intensified, from exploration of each other's mouth to an exploration of their bodies. Stiles' hands moved against Derek's chest, marveling at the way the muscles contracted under his touch and the way Derek inhaled sharply when Stiles' thumb brushed against his nipple. Derek's broad palms moved down Stiles' back, pulling their bodies closer until he rolled them, pressing Stiles' down into the bed.

Stiles let out a surprised gasp at the feeling of Derek's body over his, the burning skin against his made his heart race. "Too much?" Derek murmured, breaking the kiss to sit up a bit. "I can, I'll go ask Ró ż a to bring our breakfast up here. Does breakfast in bed sound good?" Stiles nodded, still feeling a bit breathless after that kiss.

Derek got out of bed quickly, adjusting himself in his small boxer shorts, before he stepped over to the phone. Stiles listened absently to his conversation as he requested breakfast to be brought upstairs. He was too distracted by the way Derek looked. His normally neat hair was disheveled, more than likely from Stiles' fingers tangling into the dark tresses. His lips were kiss swollen and red, and Stiles wondered if his own lips looked similar.

Derek was absolutely stunning.

Suddenly, all Stiles could think about was Derek's comment the night before, not thinking himself beautiful. "Der," Stiles began quietly after Derek had hung up the phone. "Why don't you think you're a sheik? You're beautiful. Probably the most attractive man I've ever seen, and definitely running close for most attractive person ever recorded in history."

Stiles wasn't the least bit surprised when Derek's first response was to turn away from him, hiding the scarred half of his face away from Stiles. "It's a long story," is all Derek seemed willing to say on the matter. "Ró ż a is bringing breakfast up here. She said she made it special for you." Stiles smiled. He could only imagine what that meant, but he was fairly certain that meant Ró ż a had made a traditional Polish breakfast for him.

"Thank you Derek," Stiles murmured, getting out of the bed to go up to the other man. "For, you know, everything." Stiles wrapped his arms around Derek, feeling his body heat soothe any remaining nerves Stiles still had. He liked being here, in Derek's arms. He felt safe here, as implausible as it may seem from the outside. Anyone looking at the two at first glance wouldn't think of them as 'safe'.

The initial reaction would have been that it's in fact dangerous. Derek was a dangerous man. He killed with little remorse, Stiles had witnessed it now with his own eyes. He arranged hits and covered his tracks. To Stiles' knowledge, Derek was untouchable. If there was anything on him, Chris Argent wouldn't be bothering Stiles to act as a witness against Derek's crimes.

And up until yesterday, the only one Stiles had actually witnessed with his own eyes as the sale of liquor at Triskele. Now, he actually had what Chris wanted, but Stiles would rather die than give Derek up. And if he really thought about it, that's exactly what would happen. If he sold out Derek, Isaac would probably hunt him down and kill him. Not only was it good self-preservation to refuse to sell out Derek, but he just plain didn't want to. He really cared about Derek.

The two remained embraced, taking comfort in the other's presence, until a soft knock sounded at the door. "That's our breakfast," Derek whispered, his lips brushing against Stiles' ear. "Go sit. I'll bring it over." Derek's lips brushed against Stiles' cheek before he pulled away to answer the door. Derek took a tray from Ró ż a and smiled at her. "Thank you."

Instead of going to the bed like Derek had originally planned, Stiles sat on the sofa. He didn't much fancy getting crumbs all over the bed he was supposed to sleep in, nor did he really like the idea of making Ró ż a or Kassie change the bedding all because Stiles and Derek decided to eat in the bed. Didn't sit well with him.

"Don't want breakfast in bed?" Derek asked, turning towards Stiles with the tray in hand. Stiles shook his head and smiled before patting the seat next to him. It was better to eat over here anyway. They could put their plates on the coffee table, and maybe kiss a little while they ate without fear of spilling their food everywhere. "If you're sure..."

Derek seemed unsure, but the smile Stiles flashed him must have been good enough because the scarred man brought the tray over and placed it on the table. Pulling the cover off, Stiles grinned brightly. "Kasza manna!" he said with excitement. "It's been so long since I've had this." The confused tilt of Derek's dark brows made Stiles laugh softly. "It's like, a porridge, or a pudding. Looks like it has blackberries too."

"I take it it's something very Polish," Derek said with a smile, taking one of the small ramekins. Stiles waited, watching Derek get a spoonful of the porridge. He ate the bite tentatively, and immediately smiled at Stiles. "I see why you enjoy it. It's very delicious. So, you seem to know what all this is, care to enlighten me?"

Stiles nodded, looking over the tray. "Jajecznica z kie ł bas ą my ś liwska," Stiles said, pointing at the largest dish of food. "Or scrambled eggs with sausage, specifically looks like hunter's sausage, or smoked and dried sausage. And this looks like tort ziemniaczany, or a potato cake. Basically hash browns. Just eat it Der, you'll like it. It's good okay?"

Stiles had already dug in, eating happily. It tasted like when his mom used to make breakfast for him. He snuck glances at Derek, watching the way the man ate the food with curiosity and then pure enjoyment as he tasted everything. "You look, happy," Derek murmured, setting his fork down to caress Stiles' cheek. "I haven't seen you look this genuinely happy before. You're happy here."

"Not here," Stiles admitted softly. "I'm not so much happy here as I am happy with you. Even that first night, I felt safe with you Derek. You hold my life in your hands, and I trust you with it. I don't know why, but that's the truth." Derek smiled then, his eyes softening at Stiles' words. Then he was moving, pressing a kiss to Stiles' lips, tasting of the porridge and of Derek.

"You are safe with me," Derek promised, his lips brushing against Stiles' as he spoke. "I'm not going to hurt you, and I won't let anyone else hurt you either." Stiles nodded. Derek had proved that yesterday, and that cemented Stiles' feeling of safety. He had direct evidence that Derek would protect him now. "I'm glad you do feel safe with me. You've always been safe with me."

"Yeah," Stiles murmured, setting his food aside to curl up against Derek's still bare chest. "I know I have. I think that's why I've always felt it. Even when I was scared out of my mind and really the bunny everyone called me, I felt safe with you. Funny that a bunny felt safe with a wolf." That earned him a quiet chuckle from Derek, the man kissing Stiles' head softly and hold him close.

Derek hummed, combing his fingers through Stiles' hair slowly. "You never need to be afraid of me bunny," he promised. "No matter how many times the food chain says that bunnies should be afraid of wolves. Sometimes, wolves find a bunny they like and want to keep." Stiles nodded, unable to stop the smile from blossoming on his lips. As much as losing his total freedom hurt, Stiles couldn't help but be glad for this. This right here, in Derek's arms, felt like the one place Stiles would always belong.

Stiles gave Derek a bright smile. "If this wolf needs a bunny," he began, stretching up to kiss Derek softly. "I'll be his bunny. I don't care if the food chain says I should be eaten by this wolf, my wolf. I like being his bunny, your bunny." Derek's hand cupped Stiles' cheek, their lips meeting in a slow kiss.

Their lips moved together as Stiles wrapped his arms around Derek's torso, pulling him closer, feeling the bare skin of his chest burn against his. "Bunny," Derek whispered, breaking the kiss to nose and kiss along Stiles' jaw. Gasping softly, Stiles tilted his head back, giving Derek room to kiss down his neck, his beard leaving his skin tingling. "I've wanted this so long."

Stiles tensed slightly, Derek's teeth nipping at Stiles' shoulder. Derek's large palms slide down Stiles' body, making him shiver and suppress a moan. "Der, please," Stiles murmured, his own fingers sliding into Derek's hair. "Please, I want you too, please." Derek nodded slightly, lips still sucking a mark onto Stiles' shoulder.

It was that moment that ruined it. The door burst open. "Morning boss," the voice of Erica said, papers rustling in her hands. Stiles looked up at her, watching her expression when she processed what she was seeing.

The two were nearly naked on the couch, wearing only their boxer shorts. Derek still had his face pressed into Stiles' shoulder, muttering curse words too low for Erica to hear. Stiles shifted slightly, hoping to whoever would hear him that Erica didn't notice the situation barely disguised by the underwear he wore.

"Erica," Derek growled, lifting his head to glare at the blonde. "This better be fucking important." Erica's eyes widened, her eyes locked on Stiles' shoulder. He chanced a glance at it and stared too.

His shoulder had multiple purple bruises, and the skin around it red from Derek's beard. "Uh," Erica stammered, tearing her gaze from Stiles' shoulder to look at Derek. "Yeah, sorry boss, you had breakfast, I figured, you weren't, busy. But Laura sent these over. They're the invoices from Triskele. She said there were some discrepancies that she couldn't account for."

Derek's body tensed, and Stiles looked from him to Erica briefly. "Go," Stiles whispered, brushing his fingers through Derek's hair. "You need to take of this, I know it's important." Derek nuzzled against Stiles briefly, nipping at the already marked skin of Stiles' shoulder. "Go on big bad wolf, you can eat me later."

Derek huffed a laugh into Stiles' skin, his smile pressed into neck as he kissed up to his neck. "If you want to continue later, just say the word," Derek whispered, bringing his lips to Stiles' and kisses him softly. "And I'll be in my office if you want to come by in a bit."

Stiles nodded, staying on the sofa as Derek rose to his feet. Erica had left them, but Stiles could see her shadow lurking on the other side of the door. Clearly, whatever was happening was serious business. He watched Derek get dressed, hooking the socks into the garters before pulling on the black pinstripe pants and tucking the maroon button down into them and sliding the suspenders over his shoulders.

He turned his attention away as Derek pulled his holster around his shoulders, flinching at the memory of yesterday. "Bunny?" Derek's voice sounded, warm fingers turning Stiles to face him. "It's okay bunny. You don't need to be afraid of me." Stiles nodded, leaning into Derek’s hand as the man caressed his cheek softly.

"I'm not afraid," Stiles said honestly, smiling weakly as Derek's lips brushed his forehead. "I just, remembered it, that's all. And I, just, I, yeah...." Stiles trailed off, letting Derek pull him into an embrace. He relaxed into Derek's arms, his cheek pressed against Derek's stomach as the man's large hands comb through Stiles' hair soothingly.

"It's okay," Derek whispered, his voice soft and soothing. "It's okay to be shaken bunny. After I sort this situation out, we can go out for lunch if you'd like." Stiles looked up at Derek, greeted by the soft smile he'd come to know as something he only saw when it was the two of them.

Stiles returned that smile, nodding. He liked getting to go out with Derek. They didn't get much chance for that, especially for lunch. Derek usually worked through lunch, picking at food while he worked on paperwork or other business related things. "I'd like that," Stiles whispered, smiling as Derek brought their lips together softly.

He watched Derek leave, smiling as Derek simply grabbed the jacket and carried it to his office. He sat there for a moment more, just letting everything sink in. He chanced a glance at his shoulder again, blushing at the still reddened skin and the dark purple marks from Derek's lips. At least it was on his shoulder though. That would be easily covered by his shirt. Derek was at least a gentleman, despite the marks that seemed to refute that.


 

Derek sat across from Stiles, smiling at him as the other man looked over the menu. "Oh my god," Stiles muttered suddenly, making Derek frown a bit. "Der, have you seen these prices? I mean, a dollar-fifty for the lunch special? That's way too much.... We don't, let's just go back, I'm sure Ró ż a would make us food."

"Stiles," Derek said softly, placing his hand on Stiles' knee under the table. Stiles relaxed almost immediately, giving Derek a small smile. "A dollar-fifty isn't going to break the bank okay? I've got a fin for our lunch. We'll be okay. Just get what you want okay?"

Stiles nodded, looking over the menu again. Derek could see him flinch every time his eyes strayed to the prices. "I think I'll get the lunch special with the pork," Stiles announced finally, glancing up at Derek as though checking for Derek's approval. "And maybe apple pie? If you get the raspberry pie, we can share and have both kinds?"

Derek smiled. "That sounds good," he murmured, squeezing Stiles' knee before pulling his hand back. "I think I get the corned beef lunch, and you can try some if you'd like." Derek didn't mind sharing, and he even managed to smile when the waiter took their order. Stiles made him happy.

Suddenly, a throat clearing pulled Derek's attention away from the way Stiles' eyes sparkled in the light. "Mr. Hale, what a coincidence," Chris Argent said, grabbing a chair to sit on the edge of their table. "And ah, Mr. Stilinski. Can't say I've ever actually seen you with Mr. Hale here. What do I owe the pleasure?"

Derek tensed. It has been almost two years since he last saw Chris Argent. And at the time, he'd been actively trying to arrest Derek for the murder of his sister. Of course, the detective didn't have the evidence he needed, but still. It was highly irritating. Derek would have killed him then, but killing a cop was too much hassle to not have a good reason.

"Argent," Derek all but growled at the man, hand curling around his fork. "I can't say I remember inviting you to lunch. So, unless they started paying bulls more, I think this place is a bit out of your price range." Argent gave him a venomous look and Derek couldn't help but smirk back at him. Something's were worth it.

"Perhaps I've saved up enough to have a nice meal with you, Hale," Argent said, snarling slightly at Derek's surname. "Besides, there have been so many rumors about your little friend here floating around the station." The way Argent eyed Stiles made Derek's stomach turn. "They say the Alpha Wolf Derek Hale has taken a regular into the fold. The Big Bad Wolf going soft now?"

Derek glanced up, watching Stiles fidget nervously. Derek narrowed his eyes, glaring at Argent. "I'm not soft Argent," Derek said in a clipped tone. "You and I both know that you have absolutely nothing on me. You're here gumshoeing, and it'll get you nowhere. Now, leave before I ask the waiter to see you out."

Argent glared back at Derek, his jaw tightening slightly. "I can certainly see when I'm not wanted," Argent said, standing and smoothing his jacket. Derek snorted. He doubted that the detective actually had that skill. "Next time Hale, hopefully I'll have you in cuffs." Derek watched Argent walk away, narrowing his eyes slightly before turning his attention to Stiles.

"How do you know him Stiles?" Derek asked, his voice low and serious. He wasn't stupid. He knew that Stiles had met Chris Argent before now. It wasn't something he had proof of, but the dynamic between them, the way Stiles had tensed when Chris had sat down, he felt rather certain that Stiles knew the cop in some capacity. "Stiles, tell me everything."

Stiles sighed, frowning down at the table. He didn't say anything for a moment. Their food was delivered before Stiles finally looked up. "He's been bothering me for a few days now," the man admitted, picking at the mashed potatoes on his plate. "He, keeps trying to get me to snitch on you. I didn't, I, I wouldn't. Never. I just want him to leave me alone.”

"He will," Derek promised, reaching under the table to rest his hand on Stiles' knee again. "I'll tell everyone to keep an eye out for him. And if I see him again, I will make him leave you alone. You don't need to be afraid of him bunny." The small smile Stiles gave him made Derek's words worth it. He loved Stiles' smile.

"Thank you mój wilk," Stiles replied, blushing slightly. Derek raised an eyebrow in confusion at the nickname. "Uh, sorry, that's, uh, Polish for 'my wolf'. I thought, maybe you'd like it."

Derek smiled, nodding at him. "I do like it," he murmured. "I knew what it meant too. I've been learning." Derek finished that sentence in shaky Polish, smiling at Stiles when his smile brightened to nearly beaming. "I asked Ró ż a to teach me. I know it's important to you."

"You learned Polish for me?" Stiles asked, his eyes sparkling. "That's the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me. You're so sweet Derek." Derek felt his ears burn, and he dipped his head to hide the smile from the restaurant on the whole. He couldn't have it going around that the Alpha Wolf was going soft. No matter how true it may seem.

He was only soft when it came to Stiles after all.

"Anything for you bunny," Derek whispered, wishing he could have kissed Stiles. Yes, Derek was prepared to kill anyone that gave them any kind of trouble. But this was his favorite restaurant. He wasn't too keen on the idea of having to kill people at it. "After lunch, I'll send Isaac or Erica with you to get your hair cut."

Stiles' hand immediately flew to his hair, combing the long hair back. "Yeah, my hair is longer than I usually let it get," he admitted, smiling at Derek. "I think I want to keep it longer though. Kinda like yours, but not quite that long." Derek had to resist replacing Stiles' fingers with his own.

"If that's what you want," Derek murmured, turning his attention to his plate of food. "I do want you to be happy. And if having longer hair will help, then by all means, leave it as long as you want." Stiles smiled at him, both of them focusing on their meal. They ate in relative silence, enjoying the meal and enjoying each other.


 

Stiles ran his fingers through his newly cut hair, eyeing his reflection with appraisal. He liked it. It really was longer than he usually had it cut, but it wasn't as long as Derek's, or as long as he assumed Isaac's would be if his hair wasn't curled on top of his head. Stiles looked around, trying to find where Isaac was. But he didn't see the man anywhere.

With a sigh, Stiles gave the barber a dollar before heading outside to look for Isaac. He didn't think Isaac smoked, but then again, the man didn't care for Stiles and Stiles hadn't spent much time with him. He looked around for a moment before walking off in the direction of Isaac's car.

A sudden, intense pain cracked across the back of his head, and Stiles stumbled, crashing to the ground. He tried to stand, but his body felt heavy. So heavy. His vision faded to black.

When he came to, Stiles' hands were bound to a creaky chair. He blinked, groaning softly as he head throbbed. The high, narrow windows told him he was in a basement somewhere. An empty basement. "Hello?" Stiles croaked out, the light flickering in making his head throb more.

"Well, well, look who's awake," the voice responded. Stiles blinked again. He knew that voice. He knew it. But his head hurt. He couldn't think. "You should have agreed to work with me Mr. Stilinski."

Chris Argent stepped out of the shadows, fiddling with his revolver. "Fuck off," Stiles spat at him, leaning away as Argent reached out to touch his face. "Fuck off Argent. Derek will come for me, and you'll be sorry."

"That's what I'm counting on," Argent said, clammy fingers curling into Stiles' hair, yanking lightly. "He'll come to rescue his sweet little bunny, and when he does, well, I'm gonna chill him off. And you, I'll be arresting you for his murder."

Stiles paled at the thought. The idea of watching Derek, his Derek, being shot made him sick. He didn't care about himself, about prison, any of it. It wouldn't matter without Derek. He didn't want the man to die. "No," Stiles whispered, trembling as Argent's fingers traced down Stiles' cheek. Those fingers grabbed his chin, jerking his face up to meet Argent's.

"You can't stop this Mr. Stilinski," Argent all but snarled. "You wouldn't help me get the evidence to arrest him. Now, now you get to take the fall for his death." Stiles felt the sting of a slap, gasping out against the pain. He closed his eyes, fighting back the tears, thinking only of how to save Derek.


 

Derek had gotten home after dealing with the idiotic waiter at Triskele that thought he could get away with skimming some of the profits. He'd barely gotten through the front door when Isaac ran up to him, eyes wide and frantic.

Derek was immediately on edge, pulling the gun from his holster. "What's wrong Isaac?" Derek asked, looking around the room for any obvious threats. That's when he remembered. Stiles had been with Isaac today. "Stiles. Where is Stiles?"

The guilt was palpable, coming off Isaac in waves. "Gone," Isaac admitted, looking at his feet. "Chris Argent took him. I saw him lurking, and you told me to look out for him. So, I followed him." Isaac paused, glancing up at Derek nervously. "Stiles was in the barber shop still. I thought I could get back before he was done. But the bull, that bastard dry-gulched me. When I came to, he was shoving Stiles into a car, and he got away. I'm so fucking sorry Derek...."

Derek tensed, holstering his gun. "It's not your fault. I should have known," he said, his voice terse. "Find Erica, tell her what happened. She was supposed to take him to Triskele tonight." Isaac ran off, leaving Derek standing there, feeling absolutely gutted. Stiles was gone. His Stiles. His bunny had been taken from him.

And he wouldn't rest until he got him back.


 

Stiles felt dizzy, pain radiating from his cheek and clouding his thoughts. He couldn't think. He couldn't come up with a way to save Derek. All he knew was that he had to try and he had to get free. "Derek," Stiles whispered, shifting in the chair. He struggled against the binds, feeling more powerless than he had in his entire life.

"I would stop struggling Mr. Stilinski," Argent said, sliding a pair of leather gloves onto his hands. "You'll only hurt yourself more. I'd hate to see you already damaged before the inmates get their hands on you." Stiles felt sick, but he refused to listen.

He still struggled in the chair, trying to slip free. He struggled until he felt his wrists ache, chafing against the restraints. His wrists throbbed with pain, pulsing in time with the sting on his cheek. "Fuck you," Stiles snapped, trying to stay calm to the best of his ability.

"You know what, we should make a call," Argent murmured, wiping a cloth on the gun he was holding. "I think I'll go call your precious Alpha. Make sure he knows just where to find you." Stiles struggled again, trying to get free to stop Chris, or to do anything but stay here.


 

"What the hell happened?!" Erica suddenly appeared, shoving the door to Derek's office open. "Okay, Isaac told me. But what are we gonna do? We can't let that bastard have Stiles. What the hell does he want with him?"

Derek glanced up at Erica. "Nothing good, that's certain," he informed her. "And we will get Stiles back. I'd sacrifice myself if it meant saving Stiles. I'll confess to whatever murder or crime he wants me to, if he lets Stiles go. Stiles hasn't done anything against the law, except associate with me. I won't let him suffer for my selfishness."

"Come on boss," Erica said, softening momentarily. "This isn't your fault. Stiles will be fine. We'll get him back. And you know, he's been good for you. Real good. You've been actually smiling. Even Laura says you're different in a good way. And we'll get him back. You need him, and he's my friend."

Derek was about to respond when he heard his phone ring. Nobody should have that number. He answered it quickly. "This is Hale," he said, his voice gruff and annoyed. He heard a chilling laugh. He knew that laugh. Chris Argent. "Where is he? Tell me now and maybe, just maybe we can forget this ever happened."

Derek had no intention of forgetting this. But he had to say something. He'd say anything if it meant getting Stiles back. "Hello to you too Alpha Hale," Argent sneered and Derek could honestly see the smug smile on his face. "I'll tell you exactly where he is. And I'll even let you talk to him. I'm sure he misses you very much.”


 

He'd been struggling so long Stiles knew his wrists were bleeding. He could feel the wet blood drip down his hands, dripping off his fingers. Argent had left for the moment, leaving Stiles alone, and tied to the chair. He had to get free. He had to warn Derek. He had to save him. He just had to.

Rough hands grabbed the chair suddenly, dragging him closer to the wall. "Say hello to your Alpha little bitch," Argent snarled, holding the phone to Stiles' face. Stiles tried to lean away, tried not to give Derek a reason to come to him.

"Stiles, bunny," Derek's voice crackled, bringing tears to Stiles' eyes. Derek sounded so different than he was used to. Derek sounded gutted and empty. "I'll be there soon. I'll save you bunny. Erica and I, we're coming for you."

"No," Stiles managed, sounding just as punched out as Derek. "Don't. Der, don't. Please. It's, it's a–" Stiles was cut off as Argent shoved him, the chair and Stiles crashing to the ground with a loud yelp. Argent hung up the phone, smirking gleefully down at Stiles.

"He will come," Argent told him, dragging Stiles back to the center of the room. "And when he does, I will win." Argent left again, leaving Stiles to return to struggling against the restraints, whimpering at the pain.


 

"The bull just told you where he was, just like that?" Boyd asked, having joined Derek and Erica in attempts to keep the two from being too reckless. Derek thought they weren't being too reckless, but his judgement was clouded here. All he could think about was getting his Stiles home safely.

"Yes he did," Derek explained, pacing behind his desk like a caged wolf. "Basement of an abandoned townhouse on 1st, said he was tied to a chair in the middle of it, even let me talk to him before he did something to make Stiles cry out." That made Derek bristle, the idea that Argent was hurting Stiles made him want to rip the detective's head off.

"It's a trap," Boyd pointed out, being the voice of reason that Derek knew he needed. But just because he needed a voice of reason doesn't mean he wanted one. "He's gotta be setting you up boss. We gotta out think him." Derek huffed, watching Boyd draw out a rough sketch.

"I don't care how we do it," Derek snapped, resuming the pacing. "Just as long as we get Stiles back, it doesn't matter to me. Boyd, you figure out how to get him back and I'll do anything." Boyd nodded, pulling Derek and Erica's attention to the map he was drawing.


 

"Your Alpha is here," Argent sneered at Stiles, grabbing his face to force Stiles to look at him. "Let's get your fingerprints on this gun here." Argent shoved the gun into his hands, pressing Stiles' fingers into it, his own gloved fingers not leaving marks. "Enjoy your last moments with your Alpha, little wolf-bitch."

Stiles yanked his head back, freeing his face from Argent's grip. The detective merely laugh, sauntering off to a dark corner of the basement to lie in his ambush. Stiles squirmed, pulling at the restraints, trying desperately to free himself.

The footsteps on the floor above made him more frantic. Three sets of shoes. Two sounded of men's shoes, the other a sharp click of a woman's heels. Derek, Erica, and probably Boyd. Argent would kill all of them. He needed to get free. He had to warn them. He needed to save them.

He fought harder the closer the steps got to the stairs. The tears streamed down his cheeks as the stairs creaked, whimpering against the gag that Argent had tied around his mouth.


 

Slowly, Derek moved down the steps, the creaking was incredibly disconcerting. Almost as disconcerting as it was to see Stiles tied to a chair, filthy rag tied around his mouth, an angry bruise already forming on his cheek. It made Derek feel sick. The plan Boyd had drawn up was completely forgotten.

Derek rushed to Stiles, ignoring the protests from Boyd and Erica. He pulled the rag from Stiles' mouth, touching his face gently. "Der," Stiles gasped, tears staining his cheeks. Derek tried to hush him, wiping the tears away. "You, you gotta go. It's, it's a setup Der. Please. Go."

Derek merely shook his head. "I'm not leaving you," he whispered, pulling out his knife and beginning to cut Stiles' wrists free, valiantly trying to ignore the way Stiles' blood stained the ropes. "Come on, we have a plan. We'll get you out of here." He hauled Stiles into his arms, holding him close.

"Well, well, well," Argent's voice sounded out of the darkness. With one arm safely around Stiles, Derek pulled his gun, pointing it towards the darkness. "How touching. The big Alpha Wolf is soft for a worthless little bunny. Such a touching moment. Too bad I'm gonna ruin it."

Derek didn't have time to react. Argent emerged from the shadows, staring daggers at Derek. He raised a gun, and Derek figured that was it. But Stiles was moving, dragging Derek to the ground as the shot went off. He hit the ground, hands wrapped tightly around Stiles. "Derek," Stiles whispered, eyes wide and frantic. His hands were everywhere, touching Derek and examining him for injury. "You're okay. You are. Thank god."

"Don't move bull," Erica's voice interrupted Stiles' frantic worrying. Stiles and Derek got to their feet as Erica shoved Argent to his knees. Derek had his arm around Stiles' waist, pulling the man into him.

"Look away bunny," Derek whispered, his lips brushing against Stiles' ear. He was about to make an example of this detective. Nobody, cop or otherwise, would hurt his Stiles again. And he was about to show what happened if anyone did.

Derek pressed his lips into Stiles' hair, holding him close as Stiles pressed his face into Derek's shoulder. "You should have left us alone," he said, looking at Argent with an expressionless face. "Should have learned from your sister's mistakes. Nobody messes with the Hale Pack. And they sure as hell don't mess directly with me."

"You did kill Kate," Argent snarled, rate in his eyes. He made to stand, but Boyd shoved him back to his knees. "You won't get away with this."

Derek smirked at the detective, slowly pushing the hammer down on his gun. "Actually, I will," he stated, his voice even. He'd learned to control his anger since Kate had been the one where Chris Argent now was. "You should have left my pack alone."

He stared down at the man, eyes locked on his. And he pulled the trigger.


 

Stiles leaned against the wall near the false wall leading to Triskele. It has been a week since he'd been kidnapped by the now dead detective.

Derek had thought up an idea, and that's why they were here today. Well, part of the reason anyway. "Stiles?" Derek asked, appearing beside him. Stiles smiled at him. Derek has shed his jacket and waistcoat, leaving him in the light floral print shirt that Stiles had picked out.

Well, Erica had let Stiles pick between two different shirts, and she'd insisted that he wear a cream pinstriped shirt and red striped tie. "Coming back in bunny?" Derek asked, reaching out to touch Stiles' face gently. "Party isn't the same without you."

Stiles snorted softly. "Boyd is not amused by the huge party," he pointed out, referring to the face Boyd had made when they'd surprised him. Derek gave Stiles a look, leaning in to place a gentle kiss to his lips. "Don't try to distract me."

"Distract you? Me?" Derek asked, giving Stiles that sexy smirk that he really liked. "And you know, this isn't just for Boyd. We're supposed to be introducing you as the new Emissary." Stiles sighed, casting his gaze to the stars in the night sky.

"You made that up you know," Stiles groaned. And he had. Derek invented a position just for Stiles, to make him just as important to the whole Pack as he was to Derek. "Emissary is just a title. It's not like I'll be doing anything anyway."

"You're my advisor," Derek murmured, resting his hands on Stiles' hips. "Means you're as important to the Pack as Boyd. So, my little sheik of an emissary, advise me." He gave Stiles that smirk again. That stupid, sexy smirk.

It did things for Stiles.

"Okay, well, as your emissary," Stiles began, taking Derek's hand. "I say you stay here, look at the sky with me for a bit, then, we go home, and I want you–" Stiles had to pause. He was nervous. He was admitting to something he did want. Something he'd been thinking about since Derek first kissed him really, well, quite a bit before actually. However, this was the first time he felt ready for this. "I want you inside me, Derek."

Derek's lips parted at the confession, his pupils dilating with obvious desire. Stiles knew Derek wanted this. He knew this was something Derek had wanted since the day Stiles had been dragged into his life. Over the last week they'd done a lot. Kissing and touching and it had all really been amazing, but they hadn't gone there yet. Stiles wasn't ready, and Derek wasn't going to push him. Now, Stiles was ready, and he wanted Derek.

"Sure?" Derek asked, leaning back against the wall next to Stiles. Stiles' gaze drifted down Derek's body briefly, admiring the way his biceps pulled the fabric of his shirt tightly over his arms. Derek was the very definition of attractive, and he was all Stiles'. That was simply more than Stiles ever thought he could ever have.

"Very," Stiles murmured, smiling up at the sky. "Very, very sure." The two fell into a comfortable silence, eyes fixed on the sky. Stiles felt his lips quirk into a smile and he looked over at Derek to find the scarred man smiling back. "God I'm so ready."

Art by fearful_little_thing

"I love you," Derek whispered, his words loud in the quiet of the night. Derek leaned off the wall, holding out his hand for Stiles. With lips parted in surprise, Stiles reached out to take the offered hand. He was struck dumb by Derek's words, the honest shimmer in those impossibly green eyes.

"I love you too," Stiles told him, meaning every word. The smile Derek gave him was nearly blinding as the man pulled him close, arm sliding around his waist. Derek led him off towards the car, fingers shifting to push under Stiles' jacket and waistcoat to get as close to skin was he could.

Stiles knew a lot of things in that moment. He knew he was safe. He knew he was loved. And above all, Stiles knew this was exactly where he belonged.

 

End