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A Wicked Game

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Derek

“Kate escaped from prison.” Those were the first words to escape Talia’s mouth when Derek met her in her office one morning. The coffee Derek had been holding dropped from his hand and splattered by his feet, ruining his perfectly good pair of shoes. He waited for her to crack a smile and tell him she was joking. A sick, sick joke, but at least it would have been a joke.

She didn't.

“S-she escaped?” He hated the quiver in his voice. The one that always came whenever Kate was mentioned. Kate was supposed to be locked away in prison for life.

“Last night, sweetie. The entire California police force is looking for her right now, but you know how she is.” Talia’s face was grim and Derek really wished she would have just hidden the fact that she was worried. It only made him worry more.

Kate could disappear and reappear whenever she wanted, that was a known fact. The last time she had done this was right before they dragged her to prison. She had tried to burn down the Hale house with everyone in it. Luckily, she has failed and only managed to give his family a few burns, nothing fatal. It had been her attempt at separating Derek from his family for good. After her failure, she ran, but they caught her. She's been locked away ever since.

Derek was a fool to think prison was going to keep her away from him.

He felt cold and clammy, on the verge of a panic attack. It was hard to breathe and he despised how the room began to close around him. He found himself stumbling back to sit in one of Talia’s chairs so that his legs would stop shaking.

“Derek, honey, just breathe. We have our people on it already. She can't have gotten far, okay?”

Derek took a deep shuddering breath. She'd come for him. That was her promise when she last saw him in court before being dragged away to prison. She had promised she’d be back for him and that there was nowhere he could run. She'd force him to bond with her and give him no other choice. At fifteen, that was the scariest thing he had ever heard and now at twenty five, they were coming true.

Talia approached him and made him look up at her. “We have a plan, Derek. Nothing’s going to happen to you, okay? I promise, I won't let that bitch touch you ever again.”

Derek nodded and fiddled with his thumbs. “What’s the plan?”

“You remember my old friend, John? The sheriff?”

“Yeah, what about him?”

“His son, Stiles-”

“Yeah, that dorky kid Cora’s been friends with since like birth. What about them, Mom?” Derek was already anxious as it was. He really wanted his mom to just get to the point already.

“Stiles has agreed to be your protection detail until Kate is found. Just as a precaution.”

“Seriously?” Derek retorted. “Stiles? Skinny, awkward Stiles?” Given Derek hadn’t seen Stiles in years, since Cora’s high school graduation but still. Unless he joined a gym, went on steroids and actually filled out, there was no way Stiles Stilinski was going to be able to help him, alpha or not.

“He works as a personal protection detail,” Talia told him, “for people who need more protection than others.” People like Derek, omegas , is the part she left out of that sentence. Just because Derek was an omega didn’t mean he couldn’t take care of himself. He didn’t automatically need an alpha’s protection, especially an alpha such as Stiles. Derek still had no idea how that kid presented as an alpha in the first place.

“So I have to be protected now, like some pathetic, helpless omega? Just because my psycho ex girlfriend escaped from prison and is more than likely coming after me?” He knew he was being unreasonable but he hated when people pointed out his weaknesses, like being vulnerable to a forced bond.

Talia looked sympathetic, but stern. “It’s not that big of a deal, Derek. It doesn’t mean you’re helpless, but your sisters and I, hell, your Uncle Peter too, all think it’s a good idea for you to have someone with you at all times and because we can’t be there all day, Stiles will. He’s a good person and you already know him.”

Derek rolled his eyes. He hardly knew Stiles. It had been years since they last saw each other and even then, he was Cora’s friend, not his. He didn’t want to be brutally murdered by Kate or kidnapped and forced into a mating bond with her, but being helpless was something he refused to be. If his family wanted an alpha to protect him then fine, he’d let it happen to please them, but there was no way in hell, he was going to stand by and be a damsel in distress. That was what Kate wanted him to be. She wanted him to think that he couldn’t protect himself because he was an omega, but he could.

“Fine, let Stilinski protect me, but I swear to God, if he has to follow me into the bathroom at any point during this whole thing, I’m done.”

 


 

Talia set up a lunch with the Stilinski’s for that afternoon. Derek couldn't hardly get any work done in the office with the thought of Kate on his mind. That and because Laura was constantly checking up on him to make sure he didn't get kidnapped already. Once, he tried to go pee and she actually sent one of his coworkers in to check on him. Fucking Kate ruined everything.

Derek sat at lunch with Talia waiting for Stiles and John to arrive. He was dressed in a suit and tie, his formal work attire, and felt entirely too overdressed for the quaint restaurant they were sitting in. Talia had money for something much fancier, but she wanted to go somewhere less conspicuous.

John walked in first, looking like the same man Derek remembered from years ago and behind him was Stiles. Derek did a double take as Stiles walked over to the table. He was wearing dark clothes, looking as overdressed as Derek. The years had been good to him. He had filled out, growing into his skinny body, muscles well defined. He looked more than capable of protecting Derek from Kate and that made Derek want to slap himself.

“John,” Talia greeted, standing and offering the older man a hug. “It's good to see you!”

“Same to you, Talia. I assume you remember my son, Stiles?” Stiles stepped forward and held out his hand.

“Oh, of course,” she responded sweetly and Derek rolled his eyes. “You've changed over the years, all good changes.”

Derek snorted and caught everyone's attention. Talia shot him a dirty look and motioned for him to stand.

“Derek, say hello.”

“Hi,” Derek muttered. He didn't appreciate how Stiles was staring at him like he was the fucking sun. It was awkward and it was making him heat up without his consent.

John and Stiles sat down just as the waitress came over to take their order. Derek concentrated on his menu for the most part, trying to avoid glances from Stiles. He wondered what the alpha was thinking when he looked at him. Probably something about him being pathetic for needing protection.

No, that wasn't what he was thinking. That's what Kate would have thought.

Derek had been going to Dr. Morell since the fire and she always told him that whenever he had bad thoughts about himself, to remind his brain that they were put there by Kate and they weren't true. As of recently, he had cut back on his appointments, but he had a feeling that Talia was going to make him go back despite the fact that he was an adult who could make decisions on his own.

“Derek?” Talia’s voice snapped him out of his own thoughts and brought him back to the conversation. “We were just talking about arrangements.”

“Arrangements?”

“Yes, sweetie. I've talked to your team lead at the office and they are more than willing to let you take some time off.”

Derek blinked at her. “You don't want me to go to work?”

“No, no, it's not that I don't want you to go into work, I just think it's safer for you to be other places where Kate won't assume you are. That’s the whole point of this arrangement.”

“I don't want time off, Mom. I want to go to work. She already ruined my life once, okay? Just because she's out there somewhere, doesn't mean I have to stop living my life. Stiles can be there if it makes you feel better, but I'm going to work.”

“Derek's right. Kate's not going to show up at his work. There's way too many witnesses and I'll be able to watch Derek even if he's working. It's not fair to seclude him,” Stiles answered abruptly and Derek looked at him with surprised eyes.

“Thank you,” Derek said firmly, diverting eye contact as quickly as possible. “I'd like to keep my sanity during this, if you don't mind.”

Talia looked ready to fight him on it, but kept her mouth shut. She nodded sharply and that was that. Derek tried to keep the smug look off of his face. At least he had won this part of the battle.

They continued their lunch in moderate peace, talking about other things that didn't involve Kate. Derek stood to use the restroom and Stiles looked like he was about to follow. Derek shot him a warning glance that said he'd regret it if he followed. He settled back into his chair and Derek ventured into the bathroom by himself. It was his first moment alone since Talia told him about Kate.

He sighed, looking at himself in the mirror. His face looked drained, tired. It had barely been a few hours and yet Kate had already taken his energy. Such a bitch. It reminded him of the last day of her trial. How badly he had looked, how hard he had tried not to cry in front of everyone as he had to recall the things she had done.

“Mr. Hale,” his lawyer asked him, already looking sympathetic, “would you please tell the jury what happened the night of the fire?”

Derek, at the age of fifteen, trembled in his seat. His heart was beating a mile a minute and Kate sat right there. She was staring at him with vicious eyes, threatening him.

“I was with Kate,” he began, sucking in a deep breath, “the night of the fire. She had tricked me into going out that night.”

“How did she trick you?”

“She told me that if I didn’t go, she’d hurt my family.”

“Which she did, for the record.”

Derek nodded and squirmed in his seat. “I went, because I didn’t want her to do anything stupid. She always said that kind of stuff, but I never thought she’d do it. I thought that if I went, she’d calm down like she normally did. But I met her outside the house and I could tell something was different. She was more aggressive.”

Talia sat in the crowd and nodded at him to continue. Laura gave him a reassuring smile.

“She made a-advances,” he mumbled.

“What kind, Mr. Hale?”

Derek gulped. “Sexual.”

“Sexual advances on an unmated minor,” his lawyer said, mainly to the judge and the jury. “Both of which are illegal in the state of California.” He turned back toward Derek. “Had Ms. Argent made advances toward you before?”

Derek nodded. “Y-yes.”

“Were they always consensual?”

Derek’s vision blurred slightly. “No, not always.”

“So she took you out of your house and made sexual advances toward you.”

“S-she tried to bond with me,” Derek’s voice trembled, remembering how close her teeth had been to breaking the surface of his skin. It had been too close to something that was virtually irreversible.

“Bonding without consent,” his lawyer said to the jury, “also illegal in the state of California.”

“I pushed her off, but she kept trying. She told me that I didn’t have a choice. That she’d kill my family if I didn’t let her.”

“And did you want to be bonded to Ms. Argent?”

The answer would have been yes a few months ago. He would have truly begged Kate a few months ago, but that was different now. He had been stupid and blind to what she was doing to him. She had manipulated him and nearly forced a bond onto him and then tried to murder his family.

“No, no I didn’t want-” his voice cracked and he looked down at his hands.

“Just one more question, Derek,” his lawyer said, using his first name as a way to relax Derek and bring him back. “What happened after you pushed Ms. Argent away from you?”

Derek looked up, glassy eyes staring into the crowd. “She tried to kill my family.”

Derek came back to himself in the bathroom, still staring at his face in the mirror. It was strange how that moment had been ten years ago, but he could still remember every single detail, down to the way Kate’s voice sounded as she screamed at him while she was dragged away.

He shook the memory off.

They finished their meal as soon as Derek returned to the table. Talia told Derek that Stiles was going to meet him after work and spend the night at his apartment until they figure out the rest of the details. Derek agreed just for the sake of avoiding an argument. At least he'd have a few more hours before Stiles began to disrupt his life.

 


 

True to Talia’s word, Stiles did meet him outside of work after his shift ended.

“Hey,” Stiles greeted chipperly.

“Hey,” Derek replied, trying to be civil and not so much of a sour wolf. Stiles was going to be with him 24/7 now.

“So I was thinking, I'd follow you home so you can drive your car back to your apartment. We’ll drive in together tomorrow morning. Is that okay?”

Derek shrugged. “Sounds fine to me.”

“Sweet!” Stiles replied and looked hopeful. Derek motioned to his car, one of the few left in the parking lot. “Oh! You don't need my permission to go to your car.” He laughed super awkwardly. “I'm not like your keeper or something. You do you.”

Derek smirked and nodded, turning toward his car. He felt Stiles's eyes on him the entire time as he walked. It was his job, he was just doing what Talia was paying him to do. Derek ignored the feeling as best as he could all the way home.

There were few instances where Derek had people over, most of which were drunken one night stands, that made him feel less empty inside. He always hated himself in the morning when he woke up, feeling even more empty than before. Stiles would not be one of those instances.

Stiles appeared uncomfortable in Derek's space. He looked like he didn't belong, bouncing from foot to foot as he stood there in the middle of the apartment. Derek ignored him and went straight for the fridge.

“Uh,” Stiles made a noise, “do you, uh, mind if I check the perimeter?”

“Do your thing,” Derek told him, shooing his hand to give Stiles the permission he apparently needed.

Once Stiles was gone, Derek let out a heavy sigh. He wasn't sure how he was going to do this. Living with someone changed everything and despite Derek knowing Stiles, he hadn’t spoken to him in years. They didn't know each other at all. Complete opposites by societies standards, an omega and an alpha.

Stiles returned after a few minutes of walking around Derek's small apartment and looked satisfied.

“All clear, Captain?”

Stiles huffed, “Don't be an asshole, Derek. I'm just doing my job.”

Derek didn't reply, shuffling through the items in his fridge. He had to make dinner for the two of them and he wasn't exactly prepared for that. He pulled out the easiest items out of the fridge and put them in the counter.

“I know you don't like the circumstances, Derek. I get that it sucks and you think your mom came to me because I'm an alpha and you're an omega, blah, blah, but that's not the case. Your family is worried about you. Cora is the one who came to me for help. They've seen what Kate did to you. I may not know the entire everything, but I know what she did and I'm here to protect you. I won’t let anything happen to you.”  

Derek gripped the counter uneasily. He didn't want to talk about Kate or what she did to him when he was younger. There was an underlying fear in his mind that he didn't want to admit. Something Kate had forced into his mind years ago.

“I promise, Der,” Stiles whispered so softly that Derek startled, not expecting those words.

Derek went back to what he was doing, removing the chicken cutlets from the package. Stiles sighed behind him, but didn't say anything else. The room went back to the quiet that Derek had learned to love over the years.

After they finished their meal, Stiles helped clean the dishes, keeping to the silence Derek wanted. Other than the TV in the background, neither of them spoke. Derek began to wonder how long they'd be able to keep this up, especially if they couldn't find Kate.

By the time the sun had been set for a couple of hours, Derek grew tired. He stood from the couch and stood awkwardly for a moment. He didn't have an extra room for Stiles to stay in and he sure as hell wasn’t about to share a room with him.

“I, um, I don't have an extra bed.”

Stiles looked up from the screen. “Oh, no problem! The couch is fine with me. I'd like to be closer to the door anyway.”

Derek nodded and then bit his tongue as he tried to keep himself from asking what he wanted to ask. The question wasn't terribly important but part of him was still curious. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other until Stiles seemed to notice something was off.

“Hey? What's up?”

“Have you done this before?” Derek blurted out, unable to keep the words to himself.

Stiles rose an eyebrow. “Done what?”

“Been a bodyguard for someone like me?”

“I’ve protected many people, Derek. Betas, omegas, even some alphas. You don’t have anything to worry about, okay? As long as I’m here, Kate’s not getting near you. I’ve never failed to protect someone and you aren’t going to be my first.”

Derek nodded, hoping the words Stiles spoke were true.

“I'll be here all night, okay?” He pulled the gun out of his waistband and held it up non threateningly. “Nobody's going to get passed me.”

Derek took a deep breathe. “Thank you.”

Stiles smiled. “I'll see you in the morning, Derek. Have a good night.”

Chapter Text

Stiles

Stiles woke up with a start. His hand immediately went for the gun beside him, liking the familiarity of it in his hand. It took him a moment to remember where he was and only then could he calm himself down enough to release his death grip on the gun. It was quiet in Derek’s apartment, no other scents but the two of theirs were in the room and that fact helped calm Stiles down a little more. He listened closely for a moment, waiting to hear Derek’s heartbeat. It was slow and even, luckily still asleep in the early morning.

Talia had told him every detail of Derek's life as best as she could. Including what time he woke up in the mornings. He felt like he was invading Derek’s privacy, but nothing he did could be private anymore, at least not until Kate could be found. It wasn’t fair to him, but fairness wasn’t important at the moment. What was important was keeping Derek safe and out of a forced bond with Kate. Being unbonded was only the first reason Derek needed protection and the second being because Talia believed that Derek had been manipulated by Kate once and she would do it again.

Derek thought it was only because he was an omega and Stiles wished he could tell him that was the exact opposite reason, however, Talia had told him to keep his mouth shut about the second reason. He didn’t need to be putting any more fearful thoughts into Derek’s head about what Kate could do to him. Stiles was pretty damn sure Derek could knock him on his ass in a fist fight if he really tried, omega or not.

Stiles stood from the couch, stretching his stiff body out as he did. He would have much rather slept in a bed instead of the couch, but Derek only had his bed and Stiles wasn’t about to invite himself into it. Derek was only a job, nothing more. Plus, Cora would have killed him if he did anything with her brother, even though he smelled like everything Stiles wanted.

Just a job, he reminded himself.

Stiles did a quick survey of the rest of Derek’s apartment, sparing his bedroom. He at least deserved that privacy. Once everything was clear and secure, Stiles found himself wandering into the kitchen. He found Derek’s coffee machine and brewed enough for the two of them. Derek had to wake up by six thirty in order to be at work by eight. He worked an eight to five job at Talia’s firm in the city and was always on time.

Stalker, his mind supplied for him.

The thing was, Talia had told him more, like about Kate almost bonding with Derek before the fire and how now he always wore shirts that covered his collarbone where the bite would have been placed. Those were things Derek probably didn’t want him to know.

There was a groan in the floorboard behind him that caused Stiles to whip around with such speed that he almost made himself lightheaded. Pure instinct and training made him extremely responsive to any sort of noise. Derek stood behind him, looking rugged and sleepy in a hoodie and a pair of boxers. He blinked at Stiles.

“Oh fuck, I forgot you were here,” he grumbled lowly, looking like he was still half asleep.

Stiles felt the need to apologize, but ignored it. “I made coffee.”

Derek made a delightful sleepy noise and stumbled over to the machine. Stiles watched him in amusement. He poured the steaming coffee into a mug and cupped it with his hands like it was his only source of heat.

“Sleep okay?” Stiles asked, wondering if he’d be able to get Derek to talk anymore than he did yesterday.

Derek nodded and took a long sip.

“Your mom said you work at eight? We have some time before we have to go, do you want some breakfast? I saw some eggs in the fridge that I could cook up.”

Derek snorted softly. “I thought you were my bodyguard, not my personal chef.”

Stiles smirked. “I like food and I’m willing to make you some as well if you’re hungry.”

Derek shrugged. “Whatever you want. I’m going to go shower.”

Stiles nodded and let him walk away. It was progress. His stomach grumbled loudly, signalling that it wanted a proper meal, not just coffee. Stiles began to make eggs for the both of them.

 


 

Watching Derek at work was a lot harder than Stiles expected. His job was to keep Derek safe while remaining inconspicuous. Both of which were quite impossible since Derek wanted Stiles nowhere near him once they entered the building and there was only so much Stiles could do to keep himself busy enough to not be constantly checking in on him. He found himself hovering around outside of Derek’s office and it seemed to be driving him insane.

“Holy shit, Stiles, could you stop pacing outside my door?”

Stiles gave him a hard look. “What would you like me to do, Derek? I’m being paid to watch you, which unfortunately means I have to stand outside your office.”

Derek huffed. “Fine, I’ll find something for you to do. Just please stop moving around so much and for fuck sake, hide your gun a little better.”

Despite Derek yelling at him, Stiles felt proud for getting more than a few words out of him just as the day was getting started. Derek motioned for him to enter his office and then closed the door behind him. Now, Stiles just stood strangely in the middle of a large office, still unaware of what to do with himself. Looking at Derek all day wasn’t the worst thing he could be doing and getting paid for but the omega was getting noticeably annoyed with him.

“I’ll find something for you to do, but in the meantime, could you just sit on the couch over there and try not to stare at me?”

Stiles flushed a deep red and quickly turned his face away from Derek. “My job is to watch you, Derek. Take it up with your mother if you don’t like it.”

Derek rolled his eyes. “You don’t need to watch me if we’re in the same room. There’s only one door so you’d notice if I left or if someone came in. Just watch some videos on your phone until I can find something for you to entertain yourself with.”

Stiles groaned in annoyance. “Cora’s right, you’ve hardly changed. Still the same sourwolf I knew before.”

He let out a growl that almost startled Stiles. “You don’t know me, Stiles. It's been three years and you hardly even knew me back then. You don't know me. Don't act like you do.”

Stiles opened and then closed his mouth, unsure of what he wanted to say. He didn’t truly know Derek, even though Cora Hale was his best friend. He knew of the things that happened to him but anything deeper was a mystery. Despite what Talia had told him, Stiles only knew the surface details of Derek’s life, which was unfortunate.

Instead of upsetting Derek anymore, he moved to the couch and sat down. It was going to be a long day if this was how they were going to start off.

It took Derek over an hour of complete silence to get tired of it. He looked up from his paperwork and sighed at Stiles. Stiles was bored within the first ten minutes but said nothing, not wanting to risk pissing Derek off again.

“Look,” he began, “I-I, I'm-”

Stiles could see the guilt on his face immediately. He didn't want Derek to apologize. It would only make him feel worse about the whole situation. Nothing about what was happening was Derek's fault. If anything, they needed to blame Kate or the prison she had escaped from. That was the reason they were stuck in this mess.

“Don't,” Stiles said before Derek could get the rest of the words out. “Seriously, there's no reason to be sorry. You're right, I didn't know you back then.”

Derek bit his lip and it made Stiles's heart flutter. He had always been irrationally attracted to Derek, Cora’s older, hot brother but after Kate, things changed. Derek changed.

A call came through on Derek's phone a second later, interrupting the awkwardness between them. He answered it quickly and Stiles tried his best not to listen to either end of the conversation. His job was to stay as covert as possible and he was sure that Derek would appreciate it if he made himself as unnoticeable as he could. He shrunk back into the couch and watched the minutes tick by.

 


 

By the end of the work day, Stiles was ready to go home and he hadn’t even been the one working. Derek didn’t have anything for him to do, despite desperately trying to find something. Stiles wasn’t an office person or even a paperwork person. The job just didn’t fit him. What did fit him was protecting Derek, making sure Kate didn’t steal him every time he went to the bathroom and shot Stiles the death glare that mean not to follow.

They were on their way out of the office whenever they were stopped by one of the receptionists.

“Excuse me, Mr. Hale,” she said with a blush, “these flowers came in for you today.”

Stiles gave Derek a look of confusion, but the omega was already stepping forward toward the receptionist desk. She pulled the vase out from underneath her desk and placed it in front of Derek.

“Derek,” Stiles called stepping forward. “Don’t touch those.”

Derek rolled his eyes in annoyance. “They’re just flowers, Stiles.”

“Just let me make sure they’re clear first.” There could have been a number of things wrong with them. Wolfsbane, silver, poison. “Who sent them?”

The receptionist gave him a confused look. “I’m not sure, I’m sorry. They were just here whenever I got in. I didn’t want to both Mr. Hale during his work day so I put them underneath the desk.”

Stiles plucked a petal from one of the flowers and rubbed it, checking for any residue. He sniffed it, probably looking insane, but it was his job. If there was something off and he didn’t catch it, it would be his fault.

After a few moments, he put the petal down. “It’s fine.”

“See? I told you.”

“Oh!” the receptionist squeaked. “I almost forgot, it came with a card.”

Derek snatched the card before Stiles even had a chance and ripped it open. The card didn’t stay in his hand for more than a second before it was floating to the ground as Derek let go. He stood a wide step back and stared at the flowers in horror.

“Get those out of here,” he growled at the poor girl. “Get them the fuck out of my sight!”

The receptionist scurried to move the flowers somewhere that Derek could see them. He was visibly shaking underneath his suit.

Stiles knelt and lifted the card from the ground, turning it over to see the dainty handwriting on the opposite side.

See you soon, baby -K

A perfect blood red kiss imprint was pressed on the far corner of the card as well.

Stiles was stunned for a long moment before his instincts kicked into gear. The smell of a distressed omega sent his alpha into protection mode, seeking to fix it. He followed the scent to Derek's door and hovered outside.

“Derek?”

“I'm fine,” he explained, staring at the ground.

“Can you look at me?”

“I need to go home,” Derek said, again without looking at Stiles. “I just need to go home. I’m fine.” He started walking out the door before Stiles could stop him.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Hale!” the receptionist called after, still looking horrified.

Stiles turned toward her for a second and held up his finger, pointing at her. “Do not let anyone else deliver anything to Mr. Hale without telling me first, got it? I check everything and anything going to him.”

She nodded quickly and Stiles almost felt guilty for being so rough for with, but Derek was his mission, not her feelings.

With that, Stiles jogged out of the building and caught up with Derek on the way to the jeep. He was stalking more than walking, like he was more angry than scared.

“Derek,” Stiles called, “you can’t just walk away from me like that.”

Derek grumbled something under his breath and yanked the jeep door open.

“Look, Kate’s messing with you. She’s trying to work you up.”

“Well, it’s fucking working!”

“This was why your mom suggested you take some time off from work. I know you don’t want to, but it might be for the best. That’s the one place Kate knows you are on a daily basis,” Stiles explained.

“I’m not taking time off,” Derek snapped.

Stiles drove for a little bit before speaking again.

“I need to call Talia and tell her what happened.”

Derek shook his head in annoyance. “She’s going to force me to take time off if she hears. One little thing and she’s going to take it away from me. You know how she is. She’s crazy protective. She’ll probably have double the security at the office tomorrow.”

“Not necessarily a bad thing, Derek. Whoever brought the flowers in got passed security, which meant it wasn’t Kate. Your entire building knows to be on alert for that psycho bitch. She’s trying to get in your head.”

“Don’t you get it, Stiles? She’s already in my head. She’s been in my head since I met her. Don’t you wonder how it was so easy for her to manipulate me?”

“You were a kid,” Stiles tried to defend.

“I almost let her kill my family, Stiles.”

Stiles sighed and had half the mind to pull the car over to the side of the road and give Derek a lecture like he was a child. He resisted.

“None of that was your fault. She was in your head. She manipulated you into thinking certain things. She tried to force a bond on you, Der. I don’t think anyone would put you at fault for any of this.”

Derek gulped. “I have a feeling she’s just getting started.”

Stiles felt a surge of possessiveness go through him. A deep urge to protect and defend. If Kate wanted to play games, Stiles was going to win. If that bitch even thought about touching Derek, she’s never see daylight again. Stiles had never let a client down and he was not about to start with Derek.

Kate was playing a very wicked game and Derek was right, she was only getting started.

Chapter Text

Derek

After the flower incident, Derek wasn’t up for doing anything. The second they got back to his apartment, he beelined it to his room and locked the door. He didn’t care that he could smell anger radiating off of Stiles or that he was probably annoyed that he hadn’t gotten to sweep the whole place when they got back.

“Derek?” Stiles called from behind the door. “Derek, I should probably check your room.”

Derek stared at the ceiling. “The window was locked, the door was locked. It’s fine. Just,” Derek swallowed, wanting to be rude and put up his wall again, but stopped himself, “watch the door, please.”

Stiles sighed and sounded like he was shuffling on his feet, hesitating.

“I’m fine,” Derek croaked, trying to keep his voice even.

“Okay, just shout if you need something.”

Derek didn’t reply, instead he continued to stare at the ceiling, watching the fan spin over and over in a circle. He had been so stupid to think those flowers had been good natured with everything that had been going on. There was no secret admirer, just a stalker who wouldn’t stop haunting him.

He should have known they were from her because she had done the same thing when he was fifteen.

Kate didn’t want anyone to know about them. That’s what she told Derek. An older alpha with a younger, newly presented omega just didn’t look good. Derek didn’t want to ruin her reputation so he kept his mouth shut. If he was being honest, he liked sneaking around, like when she met him on the side of the school and made out with him. He didn’t think anything of it. She was an alpha; he was biologically attracted to her more than the rest.

Stupid, naive boy.

Kate had her ways of making sure nobody found out while still making sure Derek knew where to meet her. It was a game they played sometimes, like hide and seek, except Derek was always the one seeking. She’d leave small notes places, often with her scent on them so Derek could follow.

They were always playful, sometimes riddles which Derek had to solve. It was fun, like a hunt and Kate was his prize. It made his omega excited and it made Derek even hornier than he already was at fifteen.

One day, Derek followed Kate’s scent to a vase of flowers in the library. Beautiful, blood red roses near one of the bookshelfs. Kate’s scent was all over it and Derek yearned for it. He found a small white card tucked in between the petals and opened it.

I’m somewhere only you can find, it said.

Derek knew the place. It was theirs. The one place they could be alone without worrying about Derek’s parents or disapproving onlookers. People thought Derek was too young to have such a woman looking at him the way Kate did. He liked it, liked the attention, the way she didn’t treat him like he was just a fifteen year old kid. What they were doing was against the law, but Derek had never cared.

He remembered how hot his cheeks had gotten when Kate had made fun of him for being a virgin. It had only been a few months after he had presented as an omega and he was still getting used to his new hormones and body. Call him old school, but he wanted it to be special.

“You don’t need to be mated to fuck someone, sweetheart,” she whispered in his ear suggestively.

“It’s against the law,” Derek had whispered back. Sex wasn’t against the law, but what they were, their age difference sure as hell was. Kate would go to jail if anyone found out.

“Only if you tell someone,” she told him and ran her finger down his chest. “So don’t tell anyone.”

She took his virginity that same night.

He loved it.

He shouldn’t have loved it.

Kate whispered dirty things into his ear. She kissed him and fingered him like some omega whore. She made him beg to come. She did everything that Derek should have seen as red flags, but was so enumerated by her that he was blind. It hurt, but he wanted it more than anything.

That was the beginning of it. Derek had given into something he didn’t even know.  

The red flags began to glow bright in front of Derek’s face. Kate was enraged anytime he didn’t want to sleep with her, accused him of not loving her enough. Derek tried to explain, but she wasn’t hearing it. She stopped talking to him for weeks, completely cutting off their connection despite Derek trying to fix it.

Red flags everywhere, red like those stupid roses.

And that was how it started. Kate’s monster finally showed it’s face.

Derek came back to himself and noticed the room was dark. He sat up on the bed and debated going into the kitchen. Stiles was no doubt in the next room, probably on the couch or maybe he was making dinner. Either way, there was no way he was getting passed him. He sighed and rose to his feet.

When Stiles came into view, Derek noticed he was fresh out of the shower, hair still slightly wet. He smelled like Derek’s soap and himself, a scent that was messing with Derek’s mind.

Stiles noticed him before Derek could scurry back into his bedroom or sneak past him.

“Hey,” he greeted, eyes wide like he hadn’t expected Derek to come out.

“Hey.”

“Are you--” Stiles stopped himself. “I made dinner, if you’re hungry. It’s on the stove.”

Derek wanted to make another joke about Stiles being his personal chef, but really wasn’t feeling up to it. His stomach grumbled in hunger.

“Go eat, Derek,” Stiles instructed whenever Derek didn’t move. “Your stomach is making me feel bad.”

Derek let out a puff of air that was meant to be a chuckle, but didn’t quite make it there. He wandered over to the stove and grabbed a plate, piling it up with whatever Stiles made. He didn’t even check to see what it was first before shoving it into his mouth.

Stiles watched him as he eat.

“What?” Derek mumbled through the food.

“Your mom is coming over tomorrow morning.”

Derek’s face dropped if it even could anymore. “Why?”

“Wants to talk about what happened, go over some things with me, inform you that you’re not going to be returning to work,” Stiles grimaced, “I wasn’t supposed to tell you that part, but I want to be honest with you.”

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”

“I’ll try to talk her out of it, but she’s pretty hard set on making you take some time off. She doesn’t like that Kate got something by security so easily. They should have been checking every delivery.”

“So up the security, make me change buildings, anything. I’m going to go insane if I can’t work.”

Stiles nodded understandingly.

“She’s so protective!” Derek groaned. “It’s too much.”

“It’s not the worst thing, Der. At least you have your mom around. She’s just trying to do what’s best for you.”

Derek immediately felt guilty. Stiles had lost his mom years ago. He didn’t even get the chance to experience an over the top protective mom. Instead of apologizing, he just stuffed more food into his mouth.

“We will talk to her, alright? I’m on your side, Derek.”

“I know,” Derek said, but he had a bad feeling about everything in general lately and his mom was one of them.

 


 

Talia Hale came marching into Derek’s loft like she owned the place. Derek had half the mind to just go to work without telling her, but he knew she’d have his head if he did. So, there she was barging in with her heels clicking against the floor while Derek ate a bowl of cereal in his pajamas.

“Talia,” Stiles greeted calmly.

She stormed over to where Derek sat and yanked him up to feet. Derek expected her to start lecturing him like she did, but instead, she pulled him into a hug. He immediately sank into her touch, unknowingly craving his mother’s touch, or maybe just touch in general.

“I’m so sorry, Der.”

Derek sighed and closed his eyes. His mom’s scent was always a source of comfort to him, especially after everything with Kate. It was nice to have her close to him without a lecture being imminent.

“I should hired better security,” Talia grimaced as she stepped away.

“It’s not your fault,” Derek told her. “Kate’s just messing with my head. It’s nothing to worry about.”

“Of course it’s something to worry about. You know her, she’s not going to stop with some innocent flowers and a note. I’m worried, Derek.”

“I know,” Derek answered because he was worried too.

“I know you don’t want to stop working, but I think it might be our best option at the moment. Kate knows when you’re at work. She probably knows your entire schedule. We need to change it up, throw her off.”

Stiles perked up where he was sitting. “Do you really believe that will help? I doubt she’s working alone. She’d need help to escape and stay hidden from the cops. That’s probably how the flowers got delivered unnoticed.”

Derek hadn’t even thought of that. Kate had escaped from prison . There was no way she had done it alone. She was crazy and an alpha, but even the strongest inmates couldn’t escape prison with no assistance. But who was helping her? He had no idea. It could have been anyone, someone he knew, someone Kate knew. It didn’t matter. What mattered was that Kate was getting help.

“So I can’t go back to work?” Derek asked, sounding resigned, like he had accepted the idea already. Maybe the lack of work stress would be better for him.

“I’d rather you not.”

“What do you suggest I do in the meantime? I can’t just sit around in the apartment.”

Stiles stood up and Derek looked at him expectantly. “I’m the one in charge of protecting him, Talia. That’s my job, what you’re paying me for. If you don’t trust me enough to take care of him, even in a work environment, then please fire me. I know how to do my job.”

Talia stared at Stiles with a hard look. “I’m not doubting your ability, Stiles. I know full well that you are capable of keeping Derek safe.”

“Then let me,” Stiles said plainly. “I know Kate’s just getting started, but backing down now shows weakness and I know full well that none of the Hale’s are weak, especially Derek.” Derek’s heart fluttered at that. “Boost your security, hire better ones. I have friends in the force that would love some extra money if you want them. But do not take Derek’s life away from him because if you do, you’re no better than what Kate is doing to him.”

Derek thought about kissing him, in an entirely platonic way.

“If anything happens to him--” Talia growled quietly.

“I won’t let anything happen, Talia. I promise you. I’m good at my job, you know that or you wouldn’t have hired me. Call my friends, put them to work. Make sure Derek is safe. Whatever makes you feel better, okay? But allow me to protect Derek, allow me to do my job.”

Chapter Text

Stiles

Things were quiet the days following the flower incident, but Stiles was smart enough to know things weren’t going to stay quiet. He was on hire alert every waking moment and even while he slept, his mind was still aware of his surroundings. The promise he made to Talia was not something he was going to break.

Talia boosted security the next day. Some of her men and some of Stiles’s. His friends, Boyd and Scott, both who he had met through his training program, were instructed to find out anything they could to trace Kate. Stiles had faith that the two of them would find something. Anything would help at this point, considering the fact that none of the cops could find her.

Derek found something for him to do to pass the time while he watched him in his office. However, it required Stiles at a desk, away from the actual office. He protested at first, until Derek told him the desk was right across from his office, facing in the same direction. Derek said he’d leave the window shades open and door unlocked so that Stiles never had to worry about him.

Eventually, Stiles agreed.

Which left him at a desk, with a pile of paperwork he was supposed to meaninglessly scan and put into separate folders on the computer. It was tedious and not something Stiles liked to do, but it kept his busy and he was still able to do his real job.

“Heard you’re the office bitch boy,” Cora said as she walked over to his desk. She threw him a devilish grin and picked up a piece of paper from his pile.

Stiles rolled his eyes. “I’m getting paid more than most of these people make in a year. I highly doubt I’m the bitch boy in this situation.”

Cora chuckled and sat on the edge of his desk. “Office work does not suit you well, Stiles. You look like you’re about to launch out of your chair.”

“Yeah, well, when you’re used to being on your feet and protecting people all day, office work seems very menial.”

“That’s why I picked you.”

“Because I find office work menial?”

“Because you truly want to protect people. It’s not just about the money for you. My mom could have offered you half of what she did and you would have still taken it. You care about whoever you’re assigned to.”

Stiles nodded.

“When I came to you, after Kate escaped, I knew you were going to take it without question. You’ve always liked Derek, even when we were kids.”

Stiles snapped his head towards Derek’s office, fearful that he might have heard his sister’s words. He made no indication that he had heard anything at all, typing something on his computer with his eyes fixed on the screen.

“I care about all of you,” Stiles told her plainly, despite the fact that his cheeks were heating up.

“I know you do, but you’ve always had a soft spot for him. Maybe it’s the whole omega-alpha thing, but there’s always been something. Don’t act like you didn’t have a huge crush on his.”

Stiles groaned. “Could you keep it down?”

Cora grinned. “I’m just saying. Keep it professional, okay? You can care about him and want to give your life for his, but don’t let your relationship get all mushy with feelings and shit like that. You need your entire head in this to protect him. Kate’s a crazy bitch and if she sees a weakness, she’ll pounce.”

Stiles wanted to tell him that there was no way he was going to let his and Derek’s relationship become anything more than professional, but part of him called him a liar. He knew he needed his head in the game and all his focus on protecting Derek. No childhood crush bullshit was going to jeopardize Derek’s safety.

“Thanks for the chat, Cora.”

She rolled her eyes. “I’ll let you get back to your very important work. I see you have a large stack to finish before the end of the day.”

Stiles waved her goodbye, eyes fixed on the computer screen until she was gone. When the coast was clear, his eyes shifted up towards Derek’s office and froze. Derek was staring at him right through the shutters. Quickly, Stiles’s eyes snapped downward and pretended like he was working again. He prayed Derek hadn’t heard any of that.

The end of the day was coming quicker every day that passed. It was a cycle, a routine they had fallen into. They woke up, one of them made breakfast, they drove to work, they worked, they drove home, one of them made dinner, they slept. Stiles almost felt pointless since Kate hadn’t done anything.

But just as Derek started to let his guard down, she struck again.

It was a week after the first one, like clockwork.

It wasn’t sweet like the first one, but it wasn’t exactly threatening either. Instead, it came in the form of a white envelope containing polaroid photos inside. Derek had found it on Stiles’s windshield after their shift. Without hesitation, he handed it to Stiles, like he couldn’t care to open it. Stiles sniffed it, hoping for a scent, but just like the flowers, there was nothing.

Inside, five photos were placed. Stiles pulled them out and immediately wanted to burn them. They showed Derek at different points in his day. One as he left the house, another as he arrived at the office, the next of him at his desk. The last two were of Stiles with his face scratched off. He didn’t let Derek see those.

“These were today?” Derek questioned, looking at the first three.

“Same clothes,” Stiles commented coolly, running his finger over the scratches on his face.

“Who? Who could have taken them? Mom had security on every floor.”

Stiles examined the photos, checking for a position, a vantage point that the photographer could have been at to take them. The first two were shot from a distance, like someone was watching them, but the last one of Derek was unsettling.

It had to have been someone in the office.

“I’m going to give Talia a call. Wait for me in the jeep.”

Derek looked like he wanted to protest, but decided to save his energy. He retreated toward the jeep and got inside.

Talia answered on the first ring. “What happened?”

“Another threat, well kind of,” Stiles explained. “Someone left photos of Derek on my jeep. They were shot from a distance, but there’s one inside the office. Somebody had to have been on Derek’s floor to take it.”

“That’s impossible. Security didn’t allow anyone inside unless they worked-” Talia cut herself off. “Oh fuck.”

“Yeah, I agree. Somebody is working for Kate inside the building. Who knows how many people, but there’s at least one person.”

“This is why I wanted him to stop working!” Talia exclaimed. “But he doesn’t listen.”

“He’s not a coward, Talia. He’s survived Kate before and I believe he intends on doing it again. She’s betting on him being a weak fifteen year old omega. Which is a load of bullshit.”

“How are we supposed to deal with this? The company is already well aware of what’s happening. Whoever it is will see us coming a mile away. They’re not going to let themself be caught.”

“Interview everybody,” Stiles suggested.

“There’s hundreds of people that work in that building, Stiles. There’s no possible way we could interview all of them.”

“Just his floor than. We need to be absolutely sure nobody is going to try anything stupid at work. A few photos aren’t the end of the world, but the threats are only going to get worse. First it’s a note, and now it’s photos of him. She has people on her side, even if she’s too scared to show her face.”

There was silence on Talia’s side of the phone.

“I can do it, if that helps. We’ll keep it low key.”

Talia sighed. “Okay, yeah. We’ll schedule it for tomorrow.”

Stile nodded. “I’ll be as discreet as possible.”

 


 

“Do you want to watch a movie or something?” Derek asked after they had finished with their dinner. He hadn’t brought up the photos and Stiles was curious why.

“Do you not want to talk about it?” Stiles asked, not wanting to push him, but he didn’t want Derek to lock himself in his room again.

Derek shrugged. “Their just photos. It’s not a big deal. If Kate thinks that’s going to scare me, she’s an even dumber bitch than I thought.”

Stiles didn’t bring up the two pictures with his face scratched off. It was an obvious threat to him, not really to Derek so it wasn’t worth mentioning. Kate could threaten him as she wanted. It wasn’t going to scare him away.

So they watched a movie and didn’t talk about the pictures.

Midway through the movie, Derek dozed off. At first, his head was back against the cushion and then he shifted and fell against Stiles’s thigh. It made Stiles freeze and unable to process any thought. Derek flipped over, facing Stiles and unconsciously snuggled closer to Stiles’s stomach.

Stiles made a noise and kept himself still. It was like having a sleeping puppy on his lap. He could never move again.

Derek slept and Stiles watched tv.

Derek twitched and Stiles looked down.
Derek shook and Stiles got worried.

Two seconds later, Derek gasped and shot awake, frantically looking around the room. Stiles knew there was no threat, but Derek’s brain didn’t seem to process that fact yet. As he reached a hand out to calm Derek, the omega jerked away, swatting his hand as he did.

“She’s here,” he said in a panic, eyes wide and terrified.

“Derek,” Stiles said calmly, “she’s not here. Kate’s not here. I’ve been awake this whole time.”

“Oh God, she’s coming. She’s going to bond with me. I don’t want it. I don’t want her bite. Please.” Suddenly, he was fifteen again and fearful of his psycho girlfriend. “Please don’t let her.”

Stiles stood up so that he could stand in front of Derek who was there, but not really there. He was in some waking dream that he couldn’t pull himself out of.

“I’m not going to let her touch you.”

“Please, help me. She’s going to kill my family. She’s going to take me away from them. I don’t want to go with her anymore. I don’t want her to take me away,” Derek moaned pitifully and Stiles could tell he was in the mindset of his fifteen year old self. Whatever nightmarish thing that was happening was caused by a memory.

“Derek, hey, it’s Stiles. Can you come back to me?”

Derek looked around wildly.

He reached out again, which was a dumb idea. Derek shrieked, like Stiles’s touch hurt and scrambled away.

“I-I’m going to call the cops!”

“Shit,” Stiles cursed, pulling his phone out. He dialed Cora’s number.

“Stiles, it’s almost eleven, why are you calling?” Cora answered.

“Derek’s having some weird nightmare, but he’s awake. I can’t get him to calm down. He thinks Kate is coming for him. I think it’s some sort of bad memory manifested into a nightmare, but I don’t know how to help.”

Cora sighed. “Night terrors. He’s not really awake yet. You gotta get him to wake up. He had them a lot after Kate was locked up. Constantly thought she was coming for him in the middle of the night. A cold shower usually wakes him up.”

Stiles nodded even though Cora couldn’t see him.

“Just be careful with him,” Cora whispered. “He’s extremely fragile in this state, okay? His mind makes him think he’s fifteen again and if you saw anything, you know how messed up he was after that.”

“Yeah,” Stiles replied. “I’ll be careful, thanks.”

After hanging up, Stiles reached for Derek with a slow steady hand. The omega flinched away, although he had managed to corner himself and was unable to move. Stiles pulled him to his feet and despite the resistance on Derek’s part, Stiles got him into the bathroom.

“No, no, no,” Derek whined, struggling. Stiles knew he wasn’t putting his full strength into it because he was barely making Stiles work to get him into the shower.

“You gotta wake up, Der, come on.” Stiles climbed in next to Derek and turned the shower to cold. He let out a gasp as the icy water hit him, but he wasn’t about to leave Derek there by himself. “Come on. Wake up. It’s just a dream. You’re safe here.”

Derek jerked in his arms for a few more seconds until the cold water soaked through his clothes and into his body. He went still, held in Stiles’s arm and then he started to sob. Stiles wouldn’t have been able to tell if it weren’t for the body shaking convulsions that came with the cry. Derek was silent other than that, crying into Stiles’s shoulder and clinging on for dear life.

It was strange, Derek being so clingy and emotional.

“You’re okay,” Stiles told him, rubbing circles into his back.

Kate screwed Derek up way more than Stiles had ever realized.

Chapter Text

Derek

It took Derek a long time to come back to himself. He remained curled up against Stiles like his life depended on it. That was the most vulnerable he had ever been, in front of anyone except Talia, but Stiles didn’t hold it against him. Instead, he held him close and let him cling and sob as the terror of his nightmare slowly washed away.

After a while, Derek began to shiver. It took him a moment to realize he was shivering because his wet clothes were clinging to his body and so were Stiles’s. Then, it took him another moment to figure out that Stiles must have shoved him into a cold shower when he wouldn’t wake up from his night terror.

He moved to remove himself from Stiles who must have been cold too, but Stiles’s hands stopped him short.

“You back with me?” Stiles questioned, true concern plastered across his face. His hand was still running slowly up and down Derek’s back, almost absentmindedly.

Derek nodded, taking a shuddering breath.

“Okay, let’s go get changed into something warmer and then we’re going to talk,” Stiles told him, leaving no room for argument on Derek’s behalf. Ultimately, Derek knew they needed to talk about it and he knew Stiles wasn’t going to let it go.

Stiles helped him to his feet, supporting him as he was a little uneasy standing. He was like a newborn fawn, stumbling over his own feet as they climbed out of the shower. However, Stiles didn’t let go until they reached his bedroom and he placed him gently on the bed.

“Are you okay to get dressed by yourself? I’ll just be in the next room. But I won’t leave if you don’t feel okay.”

Derek didn’t trust his voice quiet yet, worried that if he opened his mouth, something miserable was going to come out. So he just nodded and tried not to look so broken and pathetic in front of Stiles.

Too late.

“Okay, just shout if you need me.”

Stiles left the room, closing the door a bit to give Derek some privacy.

Derek sat on the bed, shivering for a few moments, still scared from his nightmare. He had been fifteen again, after Kate had been put in prison. Except she had escaped, just like she had in real life and she was coming for him and his family. It was real, too real and he had been stuck in the terrible dream. Kate had found him in his dreams again and he hated her for it.

Eventually, he convinced himself to get undressed and into warmer clothing, mainly because he was shivering down to the bone. Afterwards, instead of finding Stiles, he curled up under the blanket in his bed. He couldn’t sleep again, but there was something comforting about the warmth.

Stiles knocked on the door a couple minutes later, coming in with dry clothes on. Derek could see the outline of the gun in the waistband of Stiles’s sweatpants. It gave him a little comfort, knowing Stiles would shoot Kate dead if he ever saw her.

“Ready to talk?” He approached the side of Derek’s bed that he was facing, sitting on the edge. Derek tried to look away, but there was a pull in his chest that made him look at Stiles. Derek told himself that it was only because he felt safe with Stiles, nothing else.

“I don’t-” Derek tried and cut himself off when he sounded as miserable as he thought.

“How about I ask some questions and you can answer if you want?” Stiles encouraged, not touching Derek as much as Derek wanted the comfort again.

Derek nodded, willing to go along with that.

“You had a night terror?”

Derek nodded, yes.

“Do you have those often?”

He hadn’t had one for a while. They were quite frequent during the months after Kate was locked away, but after that and a little bit of therapy, he had been fine. Until now that was. Kate escaping just sparked that terror inside of him. The dreams that fed the fear of him being bonded against his will.

“N-not in a while,” he decided to answer aloud.

It was Stiles’s turn to nod.

“They’re about Kate?”

Derek shuddered, but nodded. About Kate finding him and biting him and killing his family. About wanting Kate again and enjoying the pressure of her teeth embedding themselves into his neck.

“Want to tell me about what this one was about?”

Derek looked up at Stiles’s hazel eyes and tried to tell him how badly he didn’t want to tell him. Stiles seemed to understand, like he always did and nodded, laying a hand on Derek’s hip underneath the covers.

“You don’t have to, Derek,” Stiles said softly.

“How’d you know a shower would help?”

“Cora,” Stiles said with a gentle smile. “I called her because I wasn’t sure what to do. You scared me. Didn’t want me to touch you.”

Derek remembered Cora being the one to wake him up the most after the incident. She was still pretty young, but she understood. It was Laura who figured out the shower snapped him back into reality though. The first time it happened, just the pure shock of being wet was enough to bring him back.

“Thanks,” he mumbled halfway into the pillow.

“It’s no big deal,” Stiles replied, “trust me.”

Neither of them said anything for a bit, just sitting there in silence, but then Derek got curious.

“How much is my mom paying you?”

“Hmm?” Stiles asked, obviously not hearing Derek.

“How much is my mom paying you for this gig?”

Stiles blinked at him. “Why?”

Derek shrugged. “Just want to know what I’m worth, I guess.” How much did Stiles have to be offered to want to deal with someone like Derek? How much did Talia give him so that he would actually protect Derek?

“I’m not answering that,” Stiles told him, removing his hand which had been resting on his hip since they last spoke. It felt a cold spot on Derek’s body despite the blanket.

“Why not?”

“It’s not something you need answered. You’re just trying to make yourself feel bad and I’m not going to help you do that.”

“I’m guessing it was more than your other clients. Cora probably had to beg you, huh? Cause you remembered me. You remembered how pathetic I was after Kate and how messed up I am.”

Stiles’s eyes went hard. “Stop.”

Derek couldn’t though because he knew it was the truth. He had never been nice to Stiles in their youth mainly because he had never been nice to anyone after Kate went and ruined him. He had put up a high steel wall in his mind and never let anyone in.

“It’s true,” Derek said quietly. “I know my mom.”

Stiles shook his head. “Derek, stop.”

“Well, how much?” Derek pushed.

“You really want to know?” Stiles questioned, sounding more annoyed than Derek had heard before. He knew he was about to throw a huge number in his face and confirm what Derek thought. “Nothing. She’s paying me absolutely nothing for this job.”

Derek, who had looked away, jerked back toward Stiles with bewilderment in his eyes. “What?”

“She offered me some money, because it’s my profession, but I turned her down. I told her that I didn’t want the money. You’re a family friend, Derek. I’m not going to make money off of your unfortunate situation.”

“B-but,” Derek said in confusion.

“Everyone else thinks she’s paying me, but she’s not. I told Talia not to tell anyone else and to put the money towards a better cause like hiring people to find Kate. So me being here right now, is not because of the money. I’m not staying here and making sure you’re safe because there’s a shit ton of cash sitting at home for me, okay?”

Derek gulped.

“So stop this self loathing shit, please. I know what Kate did to you can’t be reversed. I know she messed you up, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep letting her mess you up. You’re strong, Derek. So much stronger than you give yourself credit for. Kate tried to assault you, almost succeeded and you’re still here. You’re not hiding yourself from the world.”

Derek felt stupid, stupid tears well up in his eyes again and cursed himself. He wasn’t a crier and yet he was about to cry for the second time that evening in front of Stiles. It made him feel weaker than he already felt.

“Look at me,” Stiles instructed, the slightest bit of alpha in his voice.

Derek did.

“It’s okay,” he told him. “It’s okay. Don’t be ashamed.”

Derek felt the lump in his throat growing and he wasn’t going to be able to hold back in a few moments, yet he struggled to hold on.

“I cried like a baby when my mom died,” Stiles told him. “I cried in public years after I lost her. I’m an alpha male and I cried on a bus full of people and do you know how many sideways glances I got? Like two and that’s because those people are assholes, okay? Nobody should be ashamed to cry and most people on that bus didn’t judge me.”

Derek couldn’t hold it back anymore, giving in to the tears as they fell. It wasn’t as silent as the sob in the shower. There was no falling water to cover it up now.

“I’m sorry,” Derek choked out, unsure of what he was really apologizing for. Being a dick? Crying? Whatever it was, he was sorry.

“Scoot over, Der,” Stiles told him, ignoring the apology and wiggling under the covers with Derek as soon as he moved himself. He brought his arms around Derek’s back and pulled him to his chest, allowing him, for the second time that night, to ugly sob into his chest.

“I know you’re scared, Derek. I know how much Kate terrifies you, how much being bonded terrifies you now, but I promise you that I will use everything in my power to make sure that never, ever happens to you. We’re going to find her and we’re going to lock her up in the deepest, darkest place we can find so that she’ll never be able to see the daylight again.”

Derek hiccuped and sobbed again, clutching onto Stiles harder. He smelled like safety and alpha. The way he held Derek only told him that he meant everything he said about protecting him.

Somewhere in between crying and falling asleep, Derek realize something.

Stiles was the only one who had ever made him feel that safe in his entire life.

 


 

Marin Morrell had been Derek’s therapist since he was fifteen. She was fairly young, probably in her mid thirties by now, but she was wiser than Derek first believed. She had been the only one to knock down the wall Derek had put up in his mind and to this day, she was the only one Derek talked to about everything that happened with Kate.

“So the night terrors are back?” she asked after Derek had told her about his episode. “What do you think that means?”

“That Kate is coming back,” Derek answered.

“Do you think her escape from prison is what triggered these night terrors again? Or is it because your fear of her has been awakened again? Because Kate’s been out of prison for almost two weeks now and you haven’t had a night terror until now, correct?”

Derek nodded.

“So is there something you’re not telling me?”

Derek bit his lip. The flowers, the pictures, the general stalking that was happening in his life was more than likely the reason he was experiencing the dreams again. His mind was constantly on the edge of fear despite Stiles being right there next to him.

“There’s been threats,” Derek admitted. “She’s sent things.”

“Things?”

“Flowers,” Derek elaborated, “and some pictures.”

“What kind of pictures?”

“Of me,” he answered meekly. “Some of me at home and at work, like somebody has been following me. I think a couple of them were of Stiles too, but he tried not to let me see those.”

“Stiles is your protection detail, right?”

“Yeah,” Derek told her.

“Does he make you feel safe?”

Derek nodded and gave her a weak smile. “More than I care to admit.”

Marin smiled at him. “So what is it that makes you so scared, Derek? You have Stiles with you day and night, you feel safe with him around, so why are you letting your fear get the best of you?”

Derek shrugged. “She almost stole my life away from me once. She was so close and if I hadn’t pushed her away, she would have bonded with me. I was fifteen and I would have had no choice.”

“And you fear she’s coming back to finish what she couldn’t when you were fifteen?”

“I know she’s going to. She made that promise in court before they took her away. She’s a manipulative bitch who wants me to herself and isn’t scared to kill my family to get to me.”

“What would make you feel safer?” Marin asked, jotting something down on her notepad. “What can your family or Stiles do to make sure you feel a little better until all of this can be solved?”

Derek hadn’t thought about it. Stiles was there 24/7 and after he had fallen asleep the previous night with Stiles holding him, he hadn’t woken up screaming. He wondered if the two correlated, but ended up feeling his cheeks go hot at the thought.

“Stiles is there to make you feel safe. It’s his job so if something makes you feel safer, you’re allowed to tell him.”

Derek stared at his feet. “He slept in my bed after he woke me up from the night terror. I-I don’t know if that helped or not.”

“Does being closer to him feel better? Omegas are more likely to feel more content around alphas, it’s a biological fact, but that doesn’t mean that’s true for every omega,” Marin told him.

“I felt safer,” Derek admitted, “when he held me, I felt better.”

“That’s good,” she said and smiled at him. “You should feel safer around him. That means he’s doing his job correctly. It’s up to you, but I think you should talk to him about it.”

“He’s not going to think it’s weird?”

Marin chuckled. “I’m only a therapist, Derek, but I don’t think he’s going to find it weird at all. Give it a try. If it means you’re more comfortable and have less nightmares, then you might as well go with it. It doesn’t have to mean anything more than comfort if that’s what you want.”

Derek twiddled his thumbs a little, trying to decide what he wanted to do. It didn’t have to mean anything more than comfort, that was true. But did he want it to mean more than that? Was it just the omega part of him being drawn to an alpha or was it Derek?

“Just think about it, Derek, okay? And I’ll see you in another two weeks so we can talk more.”

“Thanks,” Derek replied quietly, rising from his seat as Marin did. She pulled him into a hug as she normally did after their session ended. After ten years of therapy, they had definitely developed a relationship that grew passed the standard patient-therapist one. She was more of a friend, a confident than just a therapist.

Once Derek left the soundproof room, he found Stiles waiting in one of the chairs outside the door, flipping through a magazine. It had been hard to convince him to allow Derek to go to therapy after learning about the soundproof room. He had no way of telling if Derek needed assistance if he couldn’t hear anything. Marin, being the wonderful woman she was, let Stiles sweep the room before Derek’s session.

“All done?” Stiles asked, putting the magazine back in it’s spot. “Should we grab something for lunch before we head to the office?”

Derek nodded and wondered how he was going to ask Stiles to start sleeping in his bed.

Chapter Text

It was Stiles’s job to interview everyone on Derek’s floor the following day. That also meant not being with Derek the entire time and that shit wasn’t going to fly. After seeing how vulnerable Derek had made himself the previous night, he wasn’t about to leave him unattended. Lucky for him, he had a few friends in the same line of work as him that were more than willing to help out.

It was a tie between Boyd, who was an alpha like himself, and Isaac, who was an omega like Derek. Both had the skill set to take down anyone who dared to come at them, but Stiles needed to think about Derek’s comfort as well. Boyd was a scary looking guy, although Stiles knew he was a teddy bear, he wasn’t sure Derek would see him that way. Isaac, on the other hand, had been abused in his past as well. Not the same type of abuse that Derek had gone through, but Isaac understood.

So he assigned Isaac to protect Derek and Boyd to watch the floor while he did interviews. He was being excessive and he knew it, however, somebody on Derek’s floor was working for Kate.

“Derek, this is Isaac,” Stiles introduced as they arrived at the office after their lunch. Isaac was dressed in civilian clothes, although Stiles knew he had a gun or two hidden somewhere on his person.

Derek shook his hand and went over to his desk. “Do I need two protection details now?”

Stiles chuckled. “He’s covering for me today.”

Derek’s face shifted into something of displeasure. “What? Why?”

“Just for today. I have to do some interviews with the people that work on your floor. I wanted to make sure you were still covered while I was busy. Isaac’s not a big talker, so I’m sure you’ll end up liking him more than me anyway.”

Derek rolled his eyes. “Nice to meet you, Isaac.”

“You too, Mr. Hale.”

“Oh no,” Derek replied quickly. “No Mr. Hale stuff. Just call me Derek.”

“Sorry,” Isaac said. “Derek, it is.”

Derek’s eyes shifted from Isaac to Stiles. “Interviews for whoever took the photos?”

Stiles heard Derek’s heart skip a beat at the mention of the pictures. “Yeah, for the photos. Hopefully I can figure out who did it and get them out of the office as quickly as possible.”

Derek swallowed and shuffled some papers around at his desk. “You’re going to be at my place tonight though, right? No offense to you Isaac.”

Isaac chuckled. “None taken.”

Stiles felt a twinge in his heart at Derek’s words. He must have been warming up to him if he wanted him there at night. Maybe it was just the security of having him there or the fact that he was able to wake him up from his nightmare. Whatever it was, Stiles was glad to be there, making sure Kate didn’t do anything.

“Yeah, Der. I’ll be there tonight.”

A quick look of relief washed over Derek’s face, but disappeared quickly. Isaac shot Stiles a look questioning what was going on between the two of them. Stiles shook his head, dismissing Isaac quickly. Now was not the time to question things. Stiles was Derek’s bodyguard and that was it. Even if Stiles wanted it to be something more, that couldn’t happen now, not until the Kate threat had been stopped.

“Isaac, let me know if there’s any issues. I’ll be in one of the conference rooms down the hall. Nobody comes in or out today, keep the window shutters closed too,” Stiles ordered, feeling a little overprotective, but if it made Derek feel better, he’d do it a million more times.

“Yes, sir. He’s in good hands today.”

“Good,” Stiles said, giving Derek a reassuring smile. “I'll see you at the end of the day. Don't go anywhere alone, please.”

Derek nodded.

“Alright, see you both soon.”

Stiles walked away from Derek for the first time since he had begun the job. It was difficult, though he was positive Isaac would make sure nothing happened. The fact that he wasn't around to make sure nothing happened was what made everything more difficult.

The interviews were, to put it simply, a complete bust. Most of the employees were just innocent, trying to get by, people. They didn't have any malice in their hearts and by their heartbeats they weren't telling a lie.

Stiles tried his best not to lose hope by the end of the day. It had to have been someone, some creep with issues. But none of those people that he basically integrated fit the bill.

How long have you been working here? Answers ranged from less than a year to 10 or more. What is your relation to Derek Hale? Most coward in his presence. A few actually knew him, friends of his which didn't rule them out.

The last question he asked everyone was if they knew about what happened to Derek when he was fifteen. Most only knew the slim details, the things the news said. Hale was a big name and unfortunately a Google search provided all the info needed.

But one person stood out among the rest. He was toward the end of the day, a clean cut gentleman in an all black suit. The way he presented himself threw Stiles off to begin with, but his answers had all been perfect. Until the last one.

“Kate Argent,” he repeated back and then shrugged. “Wasn't she that bitch that caused all that trouble with the Hale family years back?”

That wasn't the part that gave him away. He was cool and calm, not sweating or looking sideways when he answered. Everything he said was trained and the small slip of his heart, barely audible unless that was all someone was focused on, was what gave him away.

“Yeah, that's the one,” Stiles said. “Now, Mr. Harris, can you tell me why you were taking photos in the office yesterday?”

The man's heart barely skipped again. “I'm sorry? I don't know what you're talking about.”

“You're aware that it's stated in the employee handbook that all photography must be first approved by Talia Hale, correct?”

“I don't know what you're trying to insinuate here, Mr. Stilinski.”

Ah, there it was.

“I never told you my last name, Harris. In fact, I haven't told anyone on this floor my last name except for Derek. So, how exactly did you come to know it?”

Now he was sweating. All the visual signs of lying were coming to the surface and Harris knew he had no way out.

“Just tell me the truth, Mr. Harris. It will save us all so much trouble. You took the pictures of Derek. Did you or did you not?”

Harris stared hard at Stiles.

“You're working for Kate Argent. You know where she is. You took the pictures as a threat. You stalked Derek Hale. You violated a company code.” Stiles could have made the list go on and on if he wanted. He liked watching Harris squirm.

“I don't-”

“You can either tell me or you can tell the police. Which will it be? Cooperation or jail time?”

“You don't know anything!” Harris whispered violently. “You have no proof.”

“I'm sure if the cops searched your home, they'd find the camera which you shot the pictures from. Am I correct? I'm sure they'd find something that has to do with Kate.”

Harris sneered. “I don't know why you're protecting him. Kate's going to find him and she's going to kill you. He will be bonded to her. Omegas don't get a fucking choice.”

If Stiles had been in any other situation, he would have reached over the table and killed Harris right there. He would have slammed his stupid face into the table and make him bleed. It would have felt wonderful, but he held himself back.

“Was she worth it?” Stiles asked. “Was helping Kate worth what’s coming for you?”

“I’m done talking to you,” Harris growled, looking ready to sprint to the door. Lucky for Stiles, he sat on the opposite side of the table and Boyd was only a few feet from the entrance. Harris would hardly make it a foot before someone grabbed him.

“That’s fine with me,” Stiles answered. “You can talk to your attorney when one is given to you. For now, just sit tight until we get you into some cuffs.”

Stiles was quite surprised when Harris didn’t make a break for it. He didn’t even try to run when Stiles called Boyd into the room or when Talia entered and slapped him across the face. It wasn't until the cops showed up that Harris started to realize Stiles wasn't messing around.

They hauled him off in cuffs after everyone in the office had gone home. Stiles would have much rather there have been an audience, but that was just the fiend in him.

Derek was waiting in his office with Isaac whenever Stiles came to find him. Isaac nodded at Stiles and stepped outside, closing the door behind him.

“You find out who it was? Isaac wouldn't let me out of the room,” Derek grumbled, eyes shifting up to Stiles.

Stiles nodded. “Harris. He was working for Kate. The cops arrested him and they're going to search his house. Probably find the camera among other things.”

Derek shook his head, standing up. “Of course it was that creepy fuck. I always hated that he worked on this floor. He constantly harassed omegas.”

“Well he's on his way to the station right now. I'm sure they'll get more information out of him there. At least we know who it is.”

“Doesn’t make me feel any better,” Derek muttered. “Can we just go home?”

“Yeah, let’s go home,” Stiles said, motioning toward the door. “You want to grab some dinner before?”

“I’d like to cook something, if that’s alright. It might help me get my mind off of things.”

Stiles smiled. “A home cooked meal sounds real good right now. Let’s go home.”

 


 

Derek was fidgety during and after dinner. Stiles blamed it on the stress of the day, but the more the night went on, the more it began to concern him. He didn’t want to question Derek, especially since he had just started to open up. It wasn’t something he wanted to push, but he worried.

“You doing okay, big guy?” Stiles decided to ask once they finished washing the dishes and retreated to the couch. Derek sat a little closer than he had before, not that Stiles was complaining. He smelled good under the cologne. His natural scent made Stiles’s heart pound a little harder.

“What? Y-yeah, I’m doing fine,” Derek answered swallowing hard, but keeping his attention on the screen.

“You can talk to me, you know?” Stiles pushed a little harder.

“I know,” Derek told him. “But you’re not my therapist, you’re my bodyguard.”

Stiles shrugged. “I’m pretty good at listening.”

Derek’s eyes shifted over to Stiles. “Just stressed and worried.”

“We got him, Derek. Nobody is going to be taking creepy pictures of you anymore.”

“We got him, but who knows if someone else is working for Kate. What if she has other people doing her dirty work? What if it’s someone else in the office?”

“Then we’ll figure it out, Der. As long as she’s out there, I’m not leaving your side.”

Derek’s eyes lit up at that like a little kid at Christmas. It made Stiles cock his head to the side in confusion.

“You mean that?”

Stiles nodded. “Of course I mean that, Derek.”

Derek looked hesitant, like he wanted to say something and Stiles wanted him to say anything. He swallowed and looked away for a brief moment.

“Der?”

“Um, can you possibly sleep in my bed tonight?” Derek asked, eyes finding Stiles’s again. “Marin told me that if it made me feel safe, I should do it again and you made me feel safe.”

Play it cool, Stilinski.

“It made you feel safe when I slept in your bed after your night terror?”

Derek nodded. “It did.”

“Okay,” Stiles said slowly. “I can sleep in your bed again tonight. We can give it another try.”

Derek smiled softly. “Thanks. I don’t want you to think it’s weird. I think it just helped with the nightmares. Your scent maybe? Or just having someone next to me so I know I’m not alone.”

“Yeah, totally understand. It’s not weird at all.”

By the time it was around ten, Stiles and Derek were both yawning. Stiles wasn’t sure if Derek wanted to make the first move to his bedroom or if he was waiting for Stiles. Instead of drowning in the awkwardness of waiting, Stiles stood and offered his hand to Derek.

“Ready to go to bed?”

Derek blinked and then nodded, grabbing Stiles’s hand. Stiles flopped on the bed after stripping down to his boxers and a t-shirt. Normally, he slept with only the boxers on, but he wasn’t about to make Derek uncomfortable.

“Do you mind if I-” Derek began to asked and then a deep blush crossed his cheeks. “Sorry, uh do you mind if I don’t wear a shirt?”

Stiles couldn’t help but laugh. “Derek, I’ve seen you without a shirt plenty of times. I used to spend summers at your house. Just take it off and climb into bed. I’ve had a long day of interrogating people.”

Derek pulled his shirt over his head and then shucked off his pants before crawling under the covers. Stiles lied on one side, flat on his back and Derek lied on the other in the same position. It was as awkward as it could have been and Stiles wanted nothing more than for Derek to curl up against him like he had the previous night.

“Well, goodnight,” Stiles said, not willing to force Derek to do anything he didn’t want to do on his own. He closed his eyes until he felt the bed shift. Derek had turned on his side by the time Stiles opened his eyes again.

He looked like he was waiting for something.

“Come here, big guy,” Stiles whispered, rolling over onto his side to welcome Derek into his arms. “You’re like a warm teddy bear, I’m all for cuddling.”

Derek grumbled, but moved closer, straight into Stiles’s arms.

“This isn’t weird for you?”

Stiles rested his head on top of Derek, resisting the urge to smell every part of him. Whatever this was, he was oddly content with it.

“It’s not weird, I promise. You’re allowed to ask me to sleep in your bed whenever you want. If you want me all the way on the opposite side or just in the room, I can do that. My job is to protect you, but I’ve also taken it upon myself to be your friend. You seem like you might need one.”

“I’ve never been good at making friends, especially after the Kate thing.”

Stiles shifted slightly so that he was on his back again with Derek’s head resting on his chest. It made his voice less muffled and made it so Stiles’s arm didn’t fall asleep.

“Well, now you have me.”

“Bodyguard turned best friend?”

Stiles smiled against the man’s hair. Instinctively, he let his fingers brush through Derek’s hair, gently massaging his scalp. It caused a small noise to escape Derek’s mouth and had him pushing into Stiles’s hand.

“That okay?” Stiles asked, just to make sure he wasn’t crossing a line. Details about Kate were still pretty scarce. If something were to trigger him, Stiles wanted to be aware of it.

Derek simply nodded and felt heavier on Stiles’s chest.

“Don’t be afraid to tell me things, okay? I’m here for you and nobody else.”

“Okay,” Derek whispered. “Thank you.”

“Sleep tight, big guy. I’ll scare away the monsters.”

Already half asleep, Stiles wasn’t sure Derek was going to respond until he muttered three simple words, “My protective alpha.”

Stiles nearly burst into flames.

Chapter Text

Derek woke to find his limbs tangled with Stiles's. His darker skin looked even darker against Stiles's pale skin, but Derek thought it looked nice, flesh pressed against flesh. It only took a shift of his hips to realize something was gravely wrong.

He was hard and pressing up on Stiles's thigh. At first, he blamed it on morning wood. It wasn't an uncommon occurrence in the morning, however this was definitely not that. Derek took a deep breath and smelled Stiles so close next to him. It only made his cock twitch.

Stiles smelled good. That wasn't a secret. Alphas, especially ones as protective and good as Stiles, smelled amazing to omegas. But Derek had never reacted like this when it came to the other man. Then again, he hadn't exactly been this close, unless when he was sobbing counted.

He didn't like it. It reminded him of how he reacted to Kate, out of his control, without his consent. His cock had always hardened around Kate, especially since he was young and naive. She made him feel slutty, like he was an omega whore for getting turned on.

Derek made the mistake of tearing himself away from Stiles in a hurry. The alpha next to him, jerked awake from a soundless sleep, practically falling off the bed as he reached for the gun on Derek’s bedside table. Stiles was on his feet and looking for a threat before Derek could even scold himself for his stupidness.

It took Stiles a moment to realize everything was fine and when he did, his eyes found Derek, more specifically, his tented boxers.

Derek sprang off the bed and practically sprinted toward the bathroom before Stiles could do anything to stop him. He jerked the shower faucet on, making it as cold as possible. The erection needed to leave his body. It was unwelcome and unwanted. A gasp escaped Derek’s lips as he stepped under the chilly stream, but he forced himself to stay there, willing the blood to leave his lower half.

Kate’s voice started poisoning his thoughts and Derek tried desperately to get it to stop.

Such a good boy, she whispered in his right ear. “Such a good slut for me.”

Derek let out a growl and banged his hand on the wall of the shower.

“Der?” Stiles called, barely audible through the pounding water. “You okay in there? Kinda freaked me out.”

Let him know what you are, Der-bear. Let him know how you ache for him to be inside you, how you can't wait to spread your legs for him.

That wasn't what Derek wanted.

“Can you just tell me if you’re okay?” Stiles asked. Derek knew Stiles could open the door if he wanted, but he gave Derek his own space.

“I’m fine,” Derek rasped, leaning his head against the cool tile wall. At least his erection was disappearing. “I’ll be out in a few minutes.”

“Okay,” Stiles answered hesitantly. “I’ll make some breakfast.”

Derek finished his shower, shutting the water off only when his body finally chilled out. He quickly dried himself off and threw on some clothes in his bedroom. It was the weekend which meant no work, which also meant more time for Stiles to question him about what happened. He almost wanted to make a spontaneous plan so they didn’t have to sit around and talk all day.

Stiles was stirring a pan of eggs when Derek came into the kitchen.

“Officially made it two weeks,” Stiles told him as he served the eggs and potatoes he had crafted on the stove.

Derek was glad he wasn’t asking about what happened back in the bedroom, but he also didn’t know the significance of two weeks.

“What?”

“We have made it two weeks, well two weeks and two days to be exact, from when Kate escaped from prison. I hadn’t been paying attention two days ago, but the sentiment is still there. We’ve gotten through two weeks without that bitch getting near you.”

Derek wasn’t sure if that was entirely true. Kate herself hadn’t gotten close to him, but other things had. Harris had taken pictures of him, someone had delivered flowers to him as a threat.

“That's good,” Derek muttered into his eggs. He was in no mood to celebrate. Any day now, Kate was going to strike again.

“It is good,” Stiles encouraged.

“Two weeks and two days and nobody has found her yet,” Derek told Stiles, refusing to pretend like it was something to be excited about. There was something exciting about this.

Stiles went quiet and looked at Derek. “I know, but we need to look at the positive.”

“Mm, the positive? Not a whole lot of that lately.”

Derek knew he probably sounded like a complete asshole when Stiles was just trying to cheer him up, but Kate's voice wouldn't leave his head. It had only gotten worse since she escaped, like she was getting closer.

“What happened this morning?” Stiles finally asked, no longer being the happy, cheerful alpha he was a few seconds ago.

“Nothing,” Derek answered, poking at his eggs.

“Don't,” Stiles said, a little alpha in his tone. “Don't just say nothing. Talk to me. Was it weird to sleep next to me? Because we don't need to do it again.”

If only that were the reason.

“Der,” Stiles called, moving to kneel in front of Derek's chair. Derek hadn't realize he was staring down at his feet, trying to avoid all eye contact. “Talk.”

“I didn't have any nightmares last night,” Derek began and Stiles only looked confused.

“That's good.”

“I didn't have any nightmares because you were next to me. Marin, my therapist, told me to try it. Apparently my subconscious feels safe next to you.”

Stiles's eyebrows furrowed. “Is that what's upsetting you?”

Derek shook his head.

“We have all weekend, Derek. If you're not going to tell me now, I'm not going to let it go.”

Of course Stiles wasn't going to let it go. He was stubborn, always had been. Derek was positive that the more he resisted, the harder Stiles was going to try. He was all about giving space, but he was a curious creature by nature.

“I got hard,” Derek finally muttered, feeling his cheeks go hot.

“You got… oh Derek. That's seriously so not a big deal. It happens in the morning.”

“I know, it's not just that. You don't understand, you can't understand.”

“If it has something to do with Kate, you're right, I don't understand. But I can understand if you let me in. I'm excellent at the whole listening thing despite how much my mouth runs.”

Derek wasn't sure if he could open himself up. It took months before Marin got him to speak about Kate openly. Usually, it stayed bottled up inside until he exploded.

Stiles reach toward Derek cheek, cupping it with his palm to turn his eyes toward Stiles. The touch, so gentle and soft, made Derek shiver. He wanted to look away, but he couldn't.

“Let's go do something today,” Stiles suggested, veering off the topic. “We can go wherever you want, do whatever you want.”

Derek blinked. “Like I'd even be allowed.” Sounded strange coming out of a 25 year old's mouth, but Talia was crazy protective. Having almost lost her son to a psycho bitch and all.

“We don't need to tell anyone,” Stiles replied with a sly smile. “What Talia doesn't know won't hurt her.”

“I’d like to do something normal. My life hasn’t been normal for the past two weeks and I need some normalcy.”

“Something normal, okay, I can work with that. Anything specific?”

Derek felt like a child being given freedom for the first time. It was honestly pathetic, but there was no way he was giving up the chance to do something he wanted for the day.

“I want to go to the art festival downtown,” Derek decided, remembering he had seen an ad for it the other day.

“Okay, lots of people, but I can make it work.”

More people meant more blending in. If Kate was dumb enough to try and take Derek in a crowd of people, she really wasn't as smart as anyone gave her credit for. Derek almost needed the social interaction.

“You’re really going to defy my mother’s, Alpha Talia Hale’s, orders to keep me away from all things that could be potentially harmful?”

“Derek Hale, we can do whatever the fuck we want.”

So they did whatever they fuck they wanted.

 


 

Whatever the fuck they wanted incidentally meant bringing Boyd and Isaac along just in case, but Derek was more than fine with that. Neither of them tried to stop him from doing anything fun. They didn’t treat him like he was a teenage omega who couldn’t be trusted on his own like Talia did sometimes. Omega or not, Derek was independent.

Stiles stayed with Derek the entire time, not that Derek really minded. His mind, the part that Kate had infected, told him he should have cared. He should have been embarrassed about the morning or annoyed that he even felt that way, however, Derek was happy to be somewhere outside of work, outside of the watch of everyone.

Nobody knew Derek Hale, the boy who sent Kate Argent to prison. He was just a man, walking the streets of an art festival on a beautiful day. He loved everything about it, the music, the paintings, the way nobody gave him sideways glances. It was freeing.

“Thanks for doing this.” Derek commented a while after they arrived.

“Taking you out? You’ve been stuck at the apartment and work for two weeks because of Kate. It’s no big deal. You deserve to get out once in awhile. Honestly.”

“I think my mom thinks I’m weak. I think that’s why she doesn’t want me to go anywhere or do anything while Kate is out there. Before Kate escaped, I did whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted because I’m an adult. But now that the threat of Kate is back, it’s like when I was fifteen all over again.”

Stiles nodded. “I know it’s hard. She shouldn’t treat you like that. Sure things happened when you were younger, but you’re older now. You know Kate’s tricks, how she gets into your head.”

“What if she gets into my head again? Like the first time?”

Stiles touched Derek’s hand and it sent a shock through his arm. “You won’t. You’re smart and you know what you want. You thought you loved her way back when. If anythings changed from when you were fifteen to now, it’s that you know you don’t love her anymore.”

That was true. Derek didn’t love Kate anymore, not even a little. The moment she lit his house on fire with his family still in it, all feelings of love disappeared right from his heart.

Midway through their day adventure, Stiles let Derek take control of the reins a bit more. He didn’t stand ultra close and Derek actually ended up losing sight of Isaac and Boyd in the crowd. It almost felt like he was alone and he was really enjoying it. Two weeks ago, his quiet independent life was thrown off because of Kate and he was getting a little taste of it back.

The crowd grew heavier at one point and Derek lost sight of Stiles. He tried his best not to be gleeful because he was certain that Stiles was probably freaking out. But this was the only moment he had had truly alone for two weeks. Being in the office didn't count.

“These are beautiful,” Derek commented, touching the painting the artist had displayed in her booth.

“Oh, thank you!” Derek caught the beta smiling shyly like she wasn’t used to such compliments. She looked young, maybe in her late teens or early twenties. “They’re all painted with watercolors.”

“How much?” Derek asked, admiring all of the pieces.

“For which one?”

“All of them,” Derek answered without missing a beat. “I’d like to buy all of them.”

There were at least twenty different pieces, all beautiful in their own way and Derek had the money. Why not give himself something nice to look at while he’s stuck in the house? He could even hang some in his office. At least these paintings would brighten his day a bit, bring some color into it.

“W-what? Are you sure?” the artist stuttered, looking at Derek with a shocked expression.

“More than sure.”

After paying in cash for all of the paintings, Derek was unexpectedly hugged by the young girl, her arms wrapping tight around him. She smelled sweet up close, almost like an omega.

“Thank you, really! Thank you so much.”

“I should be thanking you.”

The girl stepped back and shook her head. “No, sir. You just helped me pay for my scent blockers. So thank you for your support and purchase.”

It dawned on Derek that she was an omega, not a beta as he originally thought. The sweet scent he smelled while hugging her was the lingering pheromones not blocked by the blockers. Only up close could someone smell it. She was hiding her scent, afraid of what she was.

“Don’t be scared of what you are,” Derek told her gently. “There’s going to be people out there who don’t like you or don’t approve of you or want to take advantage of you, but you are who you are. Your presentation is yours and yours alone. Don’t be ashamed of it.”

The girls eyes got a little misty and she launched forward to hug Derek again.

Derek left her with those words, carrying his paintings away with him. He felt good for the first time since Kate escaped.

Unfortunately, it didn’t last very long.

“You need some help with that?” someone asked behind Derek.

Derek was carrying his paintings back to Stiles’s car where he was going to call him and wait. The crowds had cleared near the parking lot so aside from a few people, he and whoever spoke to him were the only ones near the car. He was surprised nobody had found him yet, but the crowd had been big and he was probably moving in the opposite direction.

“I’m good,” Derek replied, not turning around toward the voice. He felt the paintings tug in his arm a bit.

“Come on, sweetheart, let me help.”

Derek swirled around, heart thumping erratically at the word. “I said no.”

The man in front of him, a typical burly looking alpha, was smiling at him innocently like he didn’t do a thing wrong. Derek yanked the paintings from the man’s hand, not wanting a single fingerprint from his grimy hands on it.

“Just trying to help, omega,” the man said in annoyance, expression turning darker in a second. “You’d think a bitch omega like you would enjoy the attention.”

Derek’s eyes narrowed. “Yeah, because that’s the kind of attention everyone wants. Get lost, man. I don’t need your help just because I’m an omega.”

The alpha rolled his eyes. Derek was sure he hurt the man’s ego, but he really didn’t give a shit.

“Well, if you don’t need my help, maybe you can help me,” he said, taking a step closer into Derek’s space.

Red flags went off in Derek’s head all at once. His mind reminded him of how Kate always got so close, breathing down his neck, nipping at his ear and whispering filthy things in his ear.

“Back off,” Derek said in a low voice. “Seriously, if you touch me, I’ll make you regret it.”

The man laughed and reached out to caress Derek’s cheek. The paintings dropped from underneath Derek’s arms much to his dismay. It allowed him the mobility to swat the alpha’s hand away before he could fully extend his arm. The canvases hit the dirt ground and only served to further piss Derek off more.

“Do not touch me!” Derek snapped.

Everything Kate related started to flood Derek’s mind and he couldn’t shake it. It felt like his night terrors, but so much worse. He just wanted to get his paintings and walk away, but he also wanted to beat the shit out of the man in front of him for thinking he could touch him without his consent.

“Derek!”

Stiles’s voice flooded Derek’s ears and cleared the heavy fog. He saw his alpha sprinting toward them at full speed, hand on his gun. The alpha in front of Derek didn’t have any time to react before Stiles had the gun pointed at his chest.

“Wow, man! What the fuck?”

“Did he touch you?” Stiles growled at Derek, not taking his eyes off of the man. “Is he working with Kate?”

It took Derek a moment to answer, stunned by the situation.

“No, no, he didn’t touch me. He’s just some asshole.”

“What the fuck, dude! Get the gun off of my chest!”

Stiles pulled out his phone and dialed someone quickly. “Yeah, he’s with me. He’s safe, but I need you to come take care of some douchebag.”

The alpha looked at Derek, shifting slightly to the side to see his face behind Stiles’s body. “You needed your alpha to come and protect you? Such a pathetic little-”

The man didn’t get to finish his sentence because Derek had taken a step forward, created a fist and swung right at his face. His knuckles collided with the jawbone and he felt a crunch underneath the skin. The alpha yelped, stumbling backward to catch himself.

“I told you not to touch me,” Derek yelled, collecting his paintings and stalked off toward Stiles’s car. His fist ached mildly from the fact that he had just punched another man’s face for the first time. But it felt good. The asshole deserved it.

It took a minute or two before Stiles was jogging over to Derek where he waited, leaned against the car. Boyd and Isaac must have been dealing with the dickhead or else Stiles wouldn’t have left.

“Jesus, Der! Let me see your hand.”

“I’m fine,” Derek answered in a monotone voice. “I barely punched him.”

“You knocked him nearly off his feet. Don’t bullshit me. A punch like that would have hurt anyone’s hand.”

Derek obliged and held out his hand.

“You buy a whole booth or something?” Stiles asked while he examined Derek’s knuckles.

“Yeah, I did actually.”

Stiles gave Derek a curious look and laughed. “Well, I’m sure they’ll look great in your living room. Your hand is probably going to hurt, possibly bruise, but nothing’s broken. At least you had the form right.”

Derek took his hand back and flexed it.

“He didn’t touch you?”

“No, I mean, he almost did, but I got him to stop. He was just being a pig. Nothing to do with Kate, just a man being a dick and thinking being an omega means consent.”

“I’m sorry, Der.”

Derek shook his head. “Don’t be. It’s been a really good day and I’m not going to let some loser ruin it.”

Stiles smiled. “Good. Now, if you ever disappear on me again and don’t answer your phone, we’re going to have some issues.”

Derek smirked, refusing to feel guilty. “Thanks for today, Stiles.”

“Yeah, Der. Anytime.”

Chapter Text

Sorry, not a chapter update. I've kind of lost motivation for this fic lately. Is anyone still into? If so, is there anything specific you'd like to see happen? Any sort of scene you want me to write? I'm hoping something might spark creativity and motivation. If nobody is really into it anymore, that's okay, I'll just leave it as is. Let me know what you guys are thinking please:) (If you give me a prompt/idea for a scene, I'll give you credit at the start of the chapter)

 

 

ALSO: Do you feel like Derek is too weak or incapable of defending himself? 

Chapter Text

Stiles

Stiles laid in bed that night, thinking about the day they had experienced. Derek was lying with his head on Stiles’s chest, a lazy arm slung over Stiles’s abdomen. It was nice to have him close after everything that had happened. Other than helping settle his alpha a little more, Stiles just liked that Derek wasn’t too embarrassed to sleep so close even after freaking out for getting hard that morning.

Losing Derek at the festival had been the worst feeling Stiles had experienced in a while. Nothing surpassed the feeling of learning that his mom died, but somehow, it had come oddly close. He had wanted to let Derek do what he wanted without constantly being watched because he deserved it, but the fear of something happening under his watched made him paranoid.

But then Derek surprised him and punched that asshole alpha and walked away like a fucking badass. It was gratifying to see and Stiles honestly wished he had pulled his phone out and recorded it for Talia because she needed to see that her son wasn’t some weak omega. He was more than capable of defending himself.

Something about defending himself put a little more of a pep in Derek’s step the next morning. He was up before Stiles even thought about moving and the smell of breakfast wafted into the bedroom.

“Somebody is energized,” Stiles muttered, rubbing his eyes as he stumbled out of the bedroom.

Derek grinned at him. “I have an idea for today.”

Stiles slumped into the chair and quirked an eyebrow. “Oh yeah?”

“I want to go to the gym.”

Stiles looked Derek up and down with a confused look. He definitely did not need the gym looking like he already did. It was a wonder why Kate thought he was easily taken advantage of. Mentally, yeah maybe, but physically, Derek was a god.

“The gym?”

“Preferably a kickboxing gym.”

Okay?

“Okay, a kickboxing gym. Why?”

“I want to train,” Derek responded, plating the bacon and eggs on two plates and bringing one over to Stiles. “Like uh, train in a hand to hand fighting situation. I know how to handle a gun, but Kate’s a sneaky bitch, I’m not sure a gun will stop her.”

Stiles nodded, shoveling the food into his mouth. “Okay, we can sign you up for a one on one session if you want.”

“No,” Derek said quickly, “no, I’d like it to be with you.”

“With me?”

Derek smirked. “Am I speaking gibberish?”

Stiles rolled his eyes. “Whatever. I guess we could go together and get some practice in. Although after what you did yesterday, I’m not sure you need the practice.”

“Kate will try to get into my head, Stiles. I know her better than any of you. She’ll try to manipulate me like before and I need to be able to fight back and keep my mind clear.”

“I’m not sure how I will be able to help with the manipulation part.”

“I have an idea.”

It turned out Derek’s idea was Stiles literally acting like a creeper. He was so not comfortable with it, but it was Derek and he wanted to make Derek feel better so he went with it. He crept up behind Derek and whispered creepy things in his ear while Derek attempted to defend himself.

More than once, he got kicked right in the balls. Thankfully, the gym had offered Stiles padding so at least he was protected. Only a few times did Stiles manage to knock Derek off his feet and straddle him on the ground. That only made Stiles feel like more of a creep, especially because of the way Derek looked at him.

“I feel like such a creep, Der,” Stiles complained after he was done panting and sweating like crazy. He rolled off of Derek and flopped onto the floor dramatically.

“It’s helping,” Derek replied with a thin smile, tilting his head on the matted floor. “You should send my mom a video of me punching you in the face.”

Stiles winced, letting out a nervous laugh. “Ah-ha-ha, yeah maybe not.”

“Come on, it would be fun. Maybe then she’ll stop acting like I’m a fragile piece of glass that’s going to shatter.”

Talia was a bit much sometimes and Stiles wished he could just tell her to shut up, but he really didn’t want to piss someone like her off.

“How about I record you punching that heavy bag over there instead of my face?” Stiles suggested, removing the face padding to not even given Derek the option of hitting his face. That man had a mean punch. He could only hope Derek would get to punch Kate’s smug face with that fist.

Derek thought about it for a moment and then caved. “Fine, fine, but it would have been more fun to punch your face.”

“I’m going to agree to disagree.”

Stiles was really enjoying this new, happier, less sour-wolf version Derek whenever he came from.

Talia’s reply to Derek's video was Atta boy!

To which Derek promptly flipped his phone off and muttered “fuck off” at before punching the bag twice as hard.

Kate was in for a real treat if she came for Derek.

The rest of their Sunday was spent at the grocery store and back at Derek's place watching cheesy movies while gorging out on take out even though they had just bought groceries. It was nice to be completely normal and almost forget that they were anything more than bodyguard and client.

“Who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman?” Derek asked as they laid in bed, both dreading the work they had to return to the next day.

“They literally made a movie about that, Der and it was easily Batman.”

“That was an unfair fight and you know it. Batman used kryptonite on Superman. Superman would have definitely won had it been a fair fight.”

Stiles chuckled. “Okay I'll give you that, but Batman still would have won.”

Derek slapped him slightly on the chest. “I fire you as a bodyguard for that opinion.”

“Whatever, you need me, big guy!”

“Should I show you that video from today?” Derek retorted, looking at Stiles pointedly.

“Not for that. You can defend yourself perfectly fine. You need me to keep you sane.”

Derek scoffed. “What makes you think you keep me sane? For all you know, you annoy the shit out of me.”

Except for the fact that you got hard the other morning and want me next to you so you don't have nightmares and actually enjoy my presence, Stiles thought but refused to say.

“Come on, you love me, Derek. Admit it,” Stiles teased. “I may annoy the hell out of you, but you enjoy me company. You want me.” Stiles didn’t mean it in the way it had come out, but it was already too late.FF

Derek went quiet and Stiles worried he had said something wrong until Derek did something Stiles was so not expecting. He dove forward, crossing the small space between their bodies and crashed his lips against Stiles's. In any other situation, Stiles would have felt like a creep for keeping his eyes open, but he was in such shock that he didn't even think about it.

Derek pulled back, eyes going wide like he just realized what he had done.

Stiles didn't allow him to dwell on it for too long before he was yanking him back toward his lips and pulling his body on top to straddle his lap. Derek let out a slight yelp as his body collided with Stiles's along with his mouth.

More than once, Stiles had imagined what Derek would taste like when he kissed him and this was it and everything more. He was sweet and a little minty from toothpaste and soft under his touch. He opened his mouth without hesitation, letting Stiles in like he was meant to be there.

When Stiles pulled back to breathe, Derek let out a soft sigh, so content and beautiful to hear. His eyes were still wide and Stiles worried he was going to say something stupid.

“Don't say you're sorry,” Stiles muttered, pressing his forehead against Derek's. “I swear if you say it-”

“I'm not,” Derek whispered. “I'm so not sorry for doing that.”

Stiles grinned because good and then dove back into the kiss that made his brain a little wonky with feelings and smells and touches. He couldn't focus on anything other than how Derek felt, even when he felt his cock go hard. Now wasn't the time for that and he definitely didn’t want to pop a knot yet.

“I've been waiting for you to do that,” Stiles confessed. “Since we were kids.”

Derek pulled back slightly and looked at Stiles. “Really? Before I presented?”

“Before and after and every time in between.”

“It's so different,” Derek told him, pressing another kiss to his lips. “It's not like it was with her.”

Stiles cupped Derek's cheek and made him look right into his eyes. “If I'm ever anything like her, you better fucking tell me. I don't ever want to be anything like her to you.”

“Yeah,” Derek said with a nod. “I'll tell you. I'll always tell you.”

They continued kissing with Derek on top, occasionally grinding his hips down subconsciously. Stiles knew he wasn't ready for that yet. It had been a big leap with the kiss and the precarious position; he wasn't about to push it.

“Okay, big guy,” Stiles said pulling away. Derek was flushed with swollen lips that made Stiles want to do everything but stop. “Let’s slow it down.”

Derek let out a little whine which only made Stiles grow weaker.

“Can I stay here?” Derek asked in a soft voice.

“What? On top of me?”

Derek nodded, eyes shifting away from Stiles’s face in embarrassment.

“Sure,” he answered immediately. “Just don’t get offended when I roll over and throw you off in my sleep.”

Derek smiled. “Thank you.”

“It’s no big deal, Der. You’re keeping me warm anyway.”

“No, thank you for that,” Derek replied, gesturing to something Stiles didn’t understand right away. “For, you know, a good memory.”

It clicked in Stiles’s head after that. Derek meant the kiss. The kiss had been a good memory in an otherwise bad memory filled field. He wasn’t sure what other memories filled that area other than Kate or if there were some other good memories from other people, but he was happy to give Derek something good.

“Thank you for fulfilling a lifelong fantasy of me,” Stiles joked, trying to ease the awkwardness he saw on Derek’s face.

With a smile, Derek leaned forward and pressed his face down on Stiles’s chest, his entire body relaxing at the touch. Despite the extra weight on his body and the fact that Stiles was most definitely going to be sweating in a few minutes, he didn’t move to kick Derek off. He’d sweat the entire night if he had to.

 


 

The next morning, Derek and Stiles arrived at work before most people. Derek needed to get some extra things done before his regular morning work and Stiles wasn’t going to fight him on it, even though he needed way more coffee than usual to keep his eyes open. Of course he was on alert as always, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t still tired.

Derek’s office door was shut when they arrived like usual, the lights were shut off like usual and the blinds were closed as usual. The one unusual things was the crunch and crinkle of something under Stiles’s foot when he stepped inside, always going first just in case. His hand reached for the light switch and as soon as he turned it on, his heart dropped.

The entire room was filled, every single surface, with photos. They were tapped to the wall, spread out on the floor, covering Derek’s desk. The same exact picture everywhere Stiles looked.

It was Derek on top of Stiles kissing him.

There was only one window in Derek’s room and from the position the picture was taken, it hadn’t come from there. A shrilling feeling ran up Stiles’s spine. If the picture hadn’t been taken from the window, it had been taken from inside the room. He had checked everything, every closet, every shadowy space before bed and there had been nothing so how was it possible.

Derek was already frantically picking the pictures up, creating a huge pile in his arms before he was even close to done. He didn’t speak as he did it, but Stiles could hear his heart beating too quickly in his chest.

“Derek,” he called, pulling the man by the arm so he’d stop racing around the room. “Take a deep breath.”

“She was in the room,” he said with terrified eyes. “S-someone was in the room.”

Stiles shook his head. “No, I checked everywhere. You watch me check every spot someone could hide. Nobody was in the room, okay? It’s probably a camera or a nanny cam thing. Look,” Stiles held up the photo, “the quality is shit. Cameras like those don’t pick up images very well. They’re like security cameras.”

“There’s still a camera in my room!” Derek half shouted. “She’s watching us and I kissed you last night! What if we had gone further? What if she had seen that?”

“Derek!” Stiles shouted. “Take a deep breath, right now.”

The rage and fear in Derek’s eyes lessened.

Just as soon as it did, the phone on Derek’s desk began to ring. Both of the men jumped, turning their attention to the phone. Derek started to move toward it, but Stiles held out an arm and shook his head. Knowing Kate, the damn office was probably bugged too. She was probably watching them at that moment.

Stiles picked the phone up against his best judgement.

“Hello, Stiles,” the voice said on the other line, sultry and sickly sweet. “I was expecting Derek to answer the phone, but I guess you’ll have to do.”

“Kate,” Stiles growled, watching Derek’s reaction. His face paled.

“Is my little bitch at least listening? Actually, you don’t need to answer that. I can see you two perfectly right now.”

Stiles pushed Derek toward the door, frantically motioning for him to leave the room. Derek stumbled, tripping over his own feet and losing his grip on the pictures. They fell to the ground in a big heap.

“What do you want, Kate?”

“Well, you see, I want to know why the fuck you’re touching my omega? He used to kiss me like that, did you know that? All spread out, grinding down on me to get himself off. He was such a horny little thing when he was young.”

Stiles truly wished Kate was in the room with him just so he could choke her to death. He held the phone against his shirt to muffle the sound and tried to tell Derek what to do.

“Call Isaac or Boyd,” he ordered in a hushed tone. “Stay where I can see you, but stay out of the office.”

“Stiles? Stiles, are you still there? I hope you’re not trying to call the police or something stupid like that. You really don’t know what I’m capable of, do you? You’ve only seen a small amount of what I can do. Derek’s going to be mine whether he likes it or not. You should really just give up and hand him over. People are going to die if you don’t.”

Stiles watched as Derek hurriedly dialed one of Stiles’s friends.

“You aren’t going to touch him, Kate. Over my dead body.”

Kate laughed. “Oh sweetie, that can easily be arranged. You see, I’ve only gotten started. It’s so easy to impersonate a cleaner at Derek’s work. They don’t even check who comes in after everyone has left. It was a bit harder to get into Derek’s apartment, I’ll admit, but I think I did fine.”

How had he not smelled her? She had been in the apartment, probably touched Derek’s things and he hadn’t know.

“Don’t bust your brain too much, Stilinski. They’re called scent blockers, the illegal ones of course. They block scents completely so you wouldn’t even know I was there to begin with.”

“Why are you still hiding, Kate? Doesn’t that make you a little pathetic? Playing games but never coming forward?” Stiles was playing her game now. “If you want Derek so badly, why haven’t you come for him? All these pictures and the flowers, they’re just ploys.”

“I’m coming for Derek,” Kate answered, “don’t think for a second that I’m not. The thing is, you turned out to be a bigger problem than I thought. You won’t be for long, but still. You’ll be out of the picture soon and then I’ll come for him and when he sees me again, he’ll beg for me to bond with him.”

Derek was watching him from outside the door. He nodded briefly, pointing to the phone. At least he had reached one of the other guys.

“I’m done talking with you, Kate. If you come near him, I’ll kill you.”

Kate laughed something wicked. “Well, Stiles, you better keep an eye on that boy every single second because if you don’t, he just might not be there when you look back.”

The phone cut off and Stiles slammed it down.

Derek looked like he was about to come back into the room, but Stiles shook his head. He wasn’t sure how much of the room was bugged or if Kate could hear what they said. He stepped outside the office, slamming the door shut behind him.

“We need to go,” Stiles announced.

“What do you mean?”

“Your apartment and your office have been bugged. She’s been watching us for who knows how long and she has access to both places. We need to go somewhere else.”

“S-Stiles,” Derek trembled, not looking for tough and badass anymore.

“Hey,” Stiles said in a softer tone. “”It’s okay. We’re going to go back to your apartment after Boyd or Isaac gets here and I’m going to run up and pack some things for us.”

“Boyd,” Derek answered. “I called Boyd.”

Stiles nodded. “Okay good. We’ll wait for him and then I’ll go grab some stuff.”

“I’ll help.”

“No, I don’t want you up there anymore. I don’t know if she’s bugged any other part of the place and I’m not risking it. You’ll stay with Boyd in the car.”

“Where are we going to go?”

Boyd had a place that not even Stiles knew. It was what they considered their safe house whenever one of them was with a client and needed it. They’d go there. It was the safest place to be, especially if Kate had the apartment bugged.

“Somewhere she won’t find you.”

Boyd arrived around the back of the office. Stiles had used the time it took him to arrive to clean up the rest of the office, stuffing the pictures into the garbage and taking the bag out with them as they left.

“She bugged the place,” Stiles announced as they got into the car. “The fucking apartment too.”

“Fuck,” Boyd replied. “Do you need the place?”

Stiles nodded, knowing what he was talking about.

“Drop by the apartment first. I’m going to grab a few things and then follow you up with my car later.”

“You’re not coming with us?” Derek questioned.

“I need to stay behind to make sure she’s not going to follow you. She’ll think you’re with me and if someone follows me, I can throw them off.”

Derek gulped.

“Boyd, you don’t take your eyes off of him for a second, understood?” Stiles ordered, remembering Kate’s words. “He stays in your sight until you get to the safe house.” He turned his attention toward Derek. “Stop about halfway at a payphone and call Talia to tell her what happened. Don’t mention where you’re going or who you’re with.”

Boyd nodded, pulling into Derek’s apartment. The covered parking allowed them a small degree of privacy. It was enough to not see who got out of the car and who did. Stiles hoped that if Kate was watching them, she’d think Derek got out with Stiles.

Stiles ran upstairs, hoping to do everything as quickly and inconspicuous as possible.

When he got to the apartment door, it was opened. He pulled out his gun, holding it steadily in front of him. If Kate was in the apartment, he was going to kill her before she even got a chance to speak. He walked quietly around the place, checking all the rooms and closets. The last place he looked was at Derek’s drawers, noticing the lamp sitting on top of it. He looked back at the bed and remembered the picture.

It was the perfect angle. Instead of searching it for the bug, Stiles pushed it off the stand and watched it crash to the ground. He hoped Kate was screaming where she was, angry that she couldn’t spy anymore.

When Stiles turned around, he noticed something sitting on the bed, near the pillows with a pretty bow on top of it. He approached it slowly and picked it up. The cool metal made his skin cold to the touch. At first, Stiles had no idea what it was. It looked like something out of a torture movie, all metal with three segments that spread apart from the center. To be honest, it looked more like a evil knotting device than anything else.

The card attached to the bow was all black with white lettering. Stiles picked it up with the other hand and read it.

Pear of anguish: This wickedly fun fear shaped toy blossoms inside the wearer once inserted and becomes impossible for the wearer to remove without the key. Perfect for omegas who crave a good knotting.

Underneath that:

For you, my omega slut. I can see how much you crave a good knotting now. Maybe I’ll use this on you when I get you back and make you beg for release. - K

Stiles dropped the card and growled. Whatever the fuck that torture device was on the bed, Stiles was glad Derek hadn’t been the one to find it. He left it on the bed and began to pack. Boyd was instructed to leave the complex as soon as Stiles got out of the car so at least Stiles knew Derek was on his way to the safe house by now.

Once all the bags were packed, Stiles slung them over his shoulder, picking the torture device up from the bed and throwing it in the trash on the way out. There was no way anyone was going to be using that on Derek, ever.

He reached the door, only to be halted by the faint noise of something beeping. The sound only grew louder and more frequent and as Stiles understood what it meant, the apartment exploded around him.