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It's One Bite of a Night!

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It was ridiculous.

Simple, insanely ridiculous.

Damn Erica for dragging him into this damn pub out of the freaking city in the damn game night.

Derek only wanted to spend his Friday night at home, reading a good book, maybe drink some tea or beer, go to sleep early and then wake up early and go jogging.

Because tomorrow wouldn’t be a sunny Saturday – full of happiness and butterflies and the damn smell of sweat and stress in the streets of New York – no, the creepy weatherman in channel 13 with a messy hair that was obviously a wig said that it would be a cloudy day, and Derek was counting on that.

Those days were the best. He always loved the wet weather back in Beacon Hills, where he would be out in the woods to run barefooted with his family through the trees and branches and leafs on the ground. Feeling the ground and the pack and the wind as if they were all one.

And they were.

 

But these days were no more and right now Derek’s plans would be ruined by two pretending-to-be-drunk still-practically-teenagers wolves. Boyd was there too, but he looked as uncomfortable as Derek sometimes.

Or so he would guess, it was hard to read Boyd’s face in public, where he would wear that mask of indifference for practically everything.

It was really hard for Derek to remember that no, they weren’t children anymore, they were 22. Still, they acted as if Derek, barely 26 years-old – it was actually his birthday that night – Derek, the guy that wasn’t supposed to be an alpha but ended up like this after his older sister’s death, was some sort of legal guardian, which allowed them to be as irresponsible as they wanted, cause Derek was there look out for them.

And no matter how old they were, they knew Derek would.

He felt somewhat grateful for their concern – Isaac and Erica had this planned for a while – but, damn, maybe this moment – where he is wearing this stupid birthday hat, with lots and lots of people, many of them werewolves for his surprise, talking and being loud and annoying next to him – was the most uncomfortable he’s been in a few months, last time being when Erica had this brilliant idea of going into this shady cornered party restaurant with food from questionable sources.

That time, if werewolves could get sick, he was sure they would.

This Friday Erica “convinced” him to go to, according to her: “This new pub outside town that a friend of Isaac’s told us about, the owners bought the whole lot, it’s not a big space but it has a huge forest behind it and it’s like that hipster places that it should not be attractive but everyone likes”.

The pub itself wasn’t as bad as it could be, it was somewhat better than most of their choices and he was sure he could see himself come back a few more times for drinks, but the problem – the problem, started when he found out it was “game night”.

Apparently, this pub had been around for a short time, maybe 3 months, but already had its traditions. And the moment a young strawberry blonde woman came down from the second floor – stopping at the bottom of the stairs, but still being in a higher level than any of them – being glanced by everyone with expectations and then acclaimed when she grabbed the microphone announcing the beginning of the game night – at that moment, Derek saw Erica’s true intentions, as she was smiling wickedly at him.

“No,” he said, shortly, bluntly, before she could even open her mouth.

And then she looked so amused. So amused.

Oh.

Shit.

Not a good sign, Derek. Never a good sign.

“What? I haven’t said anything, Derek!” she defended herself, even though her smile gave her away. She didn’t seem to care a little bit at that fact, nor tried to hide the pleasant look on her face.

Erica had this history of trying to make Derek interact with other people that he found extremely annoying. He talked to the three of them, a few coworkers when necessary and the old lady at the bakery that always sell him the best loaves of bread of the batch.

That was enough, right?

Of course, sometimes it would get lonely, with Isaac in college and everyone else’s work, neither of them having time to spend and have fun and bond. Sometimes the loft felt empty, the bed felt cold and even Netflix had lost its appeal.

But only sometimes.

Mostly he had all he needed and he was fine with it.

 

Yeah.

Isaac and Boyd usually wouldn’t insist much, giving up a few minutes after no chance of succeeding.

But Erica? She would set him dates, drag him to the club nights with them even though he threatened to change the door’s lock so she would stay outside the next time she went out if she continued to insist. If Derek was being totally honest, sometimes – no, scratch that, most times – it would be the worst of the worst, but there were rare miracles when she actually got it right and he was pleased to be there with them.

Not on dates though. The dates were horrible.

Once Erica somehow convinced him on going on a date with a woman that she met at her work in the Police Station. The woman was… Peculiar. She was serious, like him, but had a strange sense of humor and she was blonde and had this look on her face of someone who could kill you and hide your body without being caught… And she smelled weird. So that went as well as you can imagine.

Still, Erica teamed up with Cora, who didn’t live with them but was there enough times so that they would become so close and use their friendship against him on things like that.

Betrayed by his own sister.

He wasn’t surprised, Cora was always the most stubborn out of the three siblings.

 

He got carried away but came back the moment the blonde started to speak again.

“So we’ve heard there’s someone special having a birthday party today?” the woman said, much to his horror. She must have seen his face, because she opened up a reassuring smile for him – which only served to confirm him that, yes, she knew exactly it was him.

Damned Erica! Of course she would give them Derek’s name.

“As you all know, it’s a special day for this establishment as well. It’s been 3 months since we opened up, and we’re proud to say that it’s been a success! No fights, no police coming to complain about the howls I know some of you been doing in the backyard -” that really catched Derek’s interest “- or any accidental bite on the humans that work here. Well done guys! A round of applause please!”

Wait.

What?

As he turned to look at his friends, his pack, all of them looked slightly amused. Even Boyd had now a small smile cracking open.

The little shits they were.

“Now, along with this gorgeous birthday guy over here and this special celebration, I’ll have you all to know that now my dear partner in crime over there will finally participate of tonight’s game!” another round of applause, this time more enthusiastic than ever. “Okay, okay, I know you are all excited about the perspective of a fun night and all that bass, but as we have newbies, it’s only fair to explain the game before for them right? Right.”

Then there was silence. Every wolf, human and whatever more Derek couldn’t identify was paying attention to the pretty woman, still in the base of the stair.

“Okay.” she started again, a little more serious, “It’s a hunting game. Each and every one of you will receive a partner and have 30 minutes to get to know them. It may be someone you know, it may be someone you’ve never seen, but the names were already sorted, so no changing partners.”

She took a sheet of paper out of her pocket and there were eyes glowing around the place. She smiled and hid it behind her back.

“Now, now, no prying!” and then there where some laughs heard in the crowd of people “The game is simple. You will smell your way to your partner – that will be taken somewhere in the woods behind the place – and both of you will have to solve a little puzzle on the way back. If you get here first and the answer is right, drinks and food are on the house for you tonight!”

Cheers from each and every person in the place made the woman’s smile grow.

“But!” and silence. They were like a well-orchestrated audience. Or maybe they just came here very often. “There are rules,” she said slowly, her eyes traveling through the crowd. “Rule number one: No aggressive behavior. As we all know, it’s easy to lose control when you’re on a hunt and wolf, or fox, out. And we’re okay with that, it’s your nature after all, as long as you know your limit. Some of your partners will be other wolves, but many of the workers that pair up with some of you are humans. Either way, if you feel like losing control, stop.”

Derek inhaled, many scents were mixing up. Expectation, anticipation, excitement. Not a single one of fear.

It was…

Nice.

Nice to have a place that is willing to do such entertainment for all of them, that may strengthen the bonds between humans and supernatural.

Since the werewolves came out on public, then followed by many other species, it had been awkward. The humans, most of them, had accepted – thanks to this melodramatic supernatural teen content that had nothing to do with the reality – but even them were somewhat afraid now that they knew what they were capable of.

Even at his work, in the beginning, it was hard. It was like they couldn’t see past the fact that Derek, their friend, and partner, for years now, was a werewolf. Now the situation was better, for him at least, but that didn’t mean that all werewolves were accepted.

It was nice, for once, to have a group of people, supernatural and humans, working for it.

That made him relax. Maybe he could enjoy the game, even if just for the pleasure of being part of something like this.

“Stop because one, humans get hurt easily, and you all know how it is. And two, you’re all aware that violence could lead to pack fights. We’ve been okay without any in three months, let’s keep it that way. We have some paramedics here, ready to rescue and help with anything needed. Let’s just all remember that we’re here to have fun.” she ended the phrase with a quick nod, waiting for the paramedics to go to her side.

Isaac, surprisingly, passed through Derek with a pat on his shoulder, smiling at him as he walked up until the second step of the stair, standing side by side with a boy with black hair and a crooked jawline.

“Which leads us to rule number two: No recently transformed werewolves allowed. We know you’re all wanting to have fun, but as the new ones don’t have much control yet, it’s not possible to let you guys in.”

A guy, with thick brown hair, let out a quick sigh but looked resign with what she said. He peered at a girl by side and she nodded to him, then he went back to bar to grab a drink.

“If you have less than a year transformed, you’ll be invited to the bar to have some drinks and watch as the competitors arrive. We also promise good entertainment with our best singer here. She’ll enchant you like a siren, as most say” she groaned a little after the joke. “Seriously Stiles? You made me say this out loud?”

Derek then could hear a guy shouting at the back: “You’re the best Lydia!”

Then the girl, Lydia, rolled her eyes, looking unimpressed and mumbling: “Never gonna let you do the speeches again.” and most of the werewolves laughed as if they were familiar with their dynamic. “Rule number three: the ones in the woods cannot move from their spot until they’re found. Mostly, because if both of you track each other it won’t be fair with those who can’t do the same. Neither of you will be at the same spot, but if you’re human and something happens to you, or you suspect there’s no one coming for you, you can always pager us, with your number, and we’ll come to get you.”

Then, she smiled brightly.

“The last rule is simple: You can run to get to your partner, but once you’re with them, both of you have to walk, unless one of you is hurt. We will know if you didn’t obey this rule and you will be taken out of the competition.”

Now there were some voices complaining, but she paid them no mind.

“Well, we have basically everything covered. We’ll tell you the pairs now, and your number, and then, in half an hour, your partner will be taken to the woods. Everyone ready? Great. Lucia Barnes and Poluk Tray. Number 1.” Both raised their hands and Derek could see both were werewolves. Some more names were called and he realized that most of the teams were formed by a human and a supernatural creature. “Derek Hale and Stiles Stilinski. Number 8.”

He looked around the crowd, trying to find any clue of who Stiles where, when he felt a poke in his arm, turning around surprised, only to find a young man with moles, messy hair and too many smiles at him.

“So, Derek, right?”

The same voice of before came and he was wordlessly surprised for a moment. He soon regained his brain function as he said, in all his social capability: “Yeah”

He heard Erica giggle behind him and turned to stare pointedly at her. She only smiled at him, looking too innocent all of sudden.

“I’m Stiles.”, he picked up a chair and sat next to Derek at the table they were in, so close their knees were touching. Too close to Derek for him to be comfortable. “So, what can you tell me about you?”

“What?” he managed to say, his voice rough and eyebrows frowned, but not threatening. Stiles was still grinning at him.

“Well these thirty minutes are supposed to be for us to meet each other, so you can, uh, track me more easily? I mean, I don’t know how it works but I’m particularly familiar with that, you know?” he bugged out his eyes a little “Well, no, you don’t know, we just met! Wait, that’s a funny thing, my best friend, that fellow guy in white right there? Oh, he’s looking! Hi, Scotty!” he waved at Scotty, who waved back, and then turned back at Derek “As you may have noticed, he’s a werewolf, and he just kept tracking me by my smell back in high school whenever he wanted, so we started making tests, because knowledge is never too much – but we had to stop because there was this pack and they didn’t like us messing around, even if it was totally their fault Scott was bitten. They weren’t nice at all. The guy wanted to force Scott into this and when he said no he went all psycho at us.”

It was too much information all of sudden, and Stiles didn’t seem inclined to stop talking anytime soon. Derek almost had a mental whiplash with how fast and sudden the boy had started to talk.

“I mean, who doesn’t look out for their new alpha? It could be dangerous! Wait, I know you know that, sorry. But we hadn’t this problem before, you see, there was this huge, ancient pack that looked out for our city and they didn’t know I knew, but I did, I actually think you guys are related? I mean, the last name and all, but...” he stopped talking, his voice decreasing in his last words.

He then seemed to realize what he said. And Derek was so astonished by the babbling that he almost couldn’t process the words once they left Stiles mouth.

But he did.

And his features hardened.

Stiles stopped breathing for a moment. 

“I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry, I didn’t mean to go there it’s just that I-”

“It’s ok.” he tried to cut Stiles mid-sentence. It wasn’t, really, but Derek has passed over it. Or at least trying. For the last 10 years.

But the boy just kept going and Derek could smell how anxious the guy was getting.

“-No, I mean it. Sometimes I have no brain-mouth filter and I end up being- saying things like this, especially since I’ve been out of Adderal tonight, ‘cuz Lydia said it would be better if I didn’t take it. Obviously she was wrong ‘cuz I’m probably making you hate me right now and I can’t keep my mouth shut. I’ll stop talking right now.”

It was disconcerting how Stiles was trying so hard, biting his lips and eyes moving around. Anywhere but Derek. He tried to make his expression lighter, wanting to get past the touchy subject the boy already apologized bringing up and the jolt of how fast the conversation progressed, and look more… friendly. He was determined to make the best out of this situation.

Which, honestly, wasn’t a very “Derek” attitude at all.

He cleared his throat and sighed.

Okay, he could do this.

“It’s fine-” Stiles was probably going for another ramble when Derek completed “-I’m a firefighter.”

That was able to shut him up. And it gave Derek a chance to properly look at the boy, and try to remember his smell all the same.

He appeared young, not a teenager of course, but younger than Derek, maybe the same age as the ones in his pack – that, just for records, weren’t in the table with him anymore. Not so amber, but also not so brown, bright eyes, that right now looked as if they were trying to scan Derek to determinate if he still had a chance on trying to be friends. The boy was lanky, but it could also be his clothes, somewhat bigger than the actual needed, hanging a little but still completed the picture that Stiles tried to pass. His lips – that were opening again, Derek noticed – were in a pleasant shade of red now that the boy had stopped biting them. He smelled weird, but not bad weird, it was sweet and salty and… Different, it was all he could say.

He was beautiful.

And, well, he wasn’t wearing plaid. That was something too.

“I’m studying law.” and well, that surprised Derek.

“You don’t look like a law student.” Derek didn’t mean that in a bad way, and Stiles seemed to get it if the once again smile on his face was anything to go by.

“I would say you don’t look like someone who could be a firefighter, but I would be lying.”

Derek felt the beginning of a smile fighting it’s way to his face. He narrowed his eyes and darted one eyebrow up, looking slightly amused. Did the boy even notice what he was doing most of the times? And Derek could see Stiles was getting upbeat again.

“Yeah?”

“I mean, my first guess would be a lumberjack because I’m sure these-” he pointed at Derek’s arms, that right now were tightly embraced by the leather of his jacket, “-could do some damage in a tree trunk, but I guess in NY we wouldn’t have much of these living here.”

“Who said I live in New York?”

Stiles looked as if Derek had underestimated him.

“Oh please, as if you could live anywhere else looking like that.” he soon regretted the words, it was visible in his face as he blushed, but Derek wouldn’t let them fall in silence again.

Not only because of the game – being honest, he was an alpha for almost 7 years now, he could smell the boy easily even if they spent the thirty minutes only looking at each other – but Derek was enjoying having someone so… Fun to talk to.

It had something to do with Stiles. The boy had this way like he could talk the right things to distract you easily, so you wouldn’t mind agreeing with whatever he proposed until it was too late, but at the same time, it was like he could get lost in the middle and give away things he shouldn’t have.

It puzzled him.

And… attracted him?

He hadn’t met many people like that, let alone willfully try and talk to them before. Derek, the one who’s always up for silence and quietness – the opposite of his career – when he’s at home, deliberately avoided anyone who didn’t know how to shut up.

Making an exception only to Erica, of course, but she did it purposely, it wasn’t like she didn’t know that annoyed him.

She knew.

She only didn’t care.

“How so?” he decided to push, daring him to go further.

Stiles snorted, placing his hand on the back of his neck, awkwardly.

“You know...” he gestured to Derek, who only raised more his inquiring eyebrow, “Oh come on, you’re worked on leather and jeans and tight shirts that fit you like they were made under measure – and I wouldn’t doubt that – and you have this look like you’re sick and tired of the people and the stress but you’re not willing to drop out because you here for a reason and ‘By God, I’m gonna do it’!” he blurted out.

Derek laughed a little at his honesty this time, dropping his head and closing his eyes briefly, before looking up again at Stiles, resting more comfortably in the chair.

Stiles, who couldn’t be redder. And gaping.

Red and gaping because ‘Jesus fuck, that’s a smile’ was all Stiles could think.

And he was adorable. In Derek’s opinion.

That was so not the point right now. He cleared his throat again, regaining his composure, but the amused look never left his face.

“Why law?” Derek tried something to make the conversation less… Uh… Well, he wasn’t sure he even wanted to change the path they were leading this conversation.

Stiles showed himself a bit more settled with the question.

“My father is the sheriff, so I always had some pretty strong base and interest in what’s right and wrong, I think. Even if the activities me and Scott were in sometimes weren’t always… Legal, for our age.” he said, his eyes gazing the ground “I know it would make more sense me becoming a cop too and all, but I’ve spent a long time on my dad’s precinct, you know? And sometimes I could see how angry he would become when a suit came to his office to tell him that the obvious culprit was innocent, and all of that because they had enough money to get away with it.”

Derek was impressed at how serious Stiles had become so suddenly. It only served to prove what he had already been guessing – the boy was going to be a hella good lawyer. Or attorney.

“It just didn’t matter that he, or his deputies, had a good case. A good lawyer could get anyone out of jail. I just decided I wanted to be the best freaking prosecutor of the place that could put anyone in jail. Rich or not.”

Stiles was breathing hard after this, but he didn’t seem not even a little embarrassed at the hearty speech.

And oh, Derek was left amazed somewhere in the middle of it. And aroused at some level, truth being told.

Stiles was so, so passionate and shameless about it that Derek would feel like an intruder for hearing it if the boy wasn’t talking to him.

Derek wasn’t sure what his face was doing at the moment, but he was pretty sure they spent a solid minute looking at each other.

“So, where do you live?” he managed to let it out.

Stiles was confused for a moment, but he realized that the usual question back was also why Derek had become a firefighter. And both silently agreed that there was no need for that.

“I mean, you read me pretty well. I do live in New York City for a few years, but I already dressed like this back at Beacon Hills, so it’s not like it made any difference.” he straightened the sleeve of the jacket, “But you don’t look like anyone I’ve seen around.”

Stiles smirked. “You dressed like that in Beacon Hills?”, Derek confirmed and Stiles’ smile widened “Oh I can imagine that.”, then the boy sounded surprised “Oh, wait, you lived in Beacon Hills?!”, when he nodded again Stiles shifted in his chair, leaning on his knees, getting closer. Derek could feel his scent now. Clearly. And it was doing things to him, what the hell? “Don’t tell anyone but I live in Washington DC.” he whispered, as if no one there could hear him. Which, in fact, he knew they all did.

“Dressed like this?” Derek joked.

And he could practically see the gasp Boyd did behind him and the laugh Erica released somewhere in the room. He would remember this later when they both needed an one hour ride home in his Camaro.

“Hey now,” Stiles pretended to be offended “I’ll have you know that I look very good in a suit on important reunions!”

“Oh, I don’t doubt that”

He got Stiles mute again. The other was starting to feel hotter and Derek could hear the jump his heart suddenly did. And he fucking enjoyed.

It had been some while since Derek had flirted with someone he was interested. Not that Derek was interested, but the guy was cute – Derek wasn’t blind – and by the way Stiles was reacting, he was very much enjoying. A little fun would not kill him, and Erica said herself he needed to loose himself.

And Derek knew how to flirt when he wanted. Modesty aside, he knew he was good-looking, and he knew how to work that on someone. Especially someone who showed themselves affected by him.

He just hasn’t effectively tried in a while. But he was certainly going for it now.

“What are you?”, Derek inclined his head at the question, staring at Stiles’ eyes, watching him get uneasy. Not exactly in the bad way. “I mean, not being offensive. Just, you know, werewolf? Werecoyote? Kitsune? Something I’ve never seen before?”

Derek raised his eyebrows. The guy sure knew a lot about supernatural beings.

And how to change the subject.

“Werewolf.” he said simply and waited for the ramble he knew it was coming.

“Oh, nice. I mean, I should have imagined, you were here with Erica.”

Derek narrowed his eyes, the flirtatious mood broke before his eyes for a second.

“You know her?”

“Yeah, I mean, she came here last week with Isaac and a guy named Boyd, I think.” he gazed his eyes around, searching for something, until it stopped at the bar “Yep, there he is, just like last week. He didn’t play last time, guess he’s not playing today either.”

“She said she was here because Isaac’s friend said we should come.” Derek grumbled.

“You mean Scott?” Derek looked back up surprised, Stiles shrugged “They have been friends for a while? I was actually kinda jealous of him at first, ‘cuz I thought he wanted to ‘steal’ my best friend. It took me one proper look at him to notice that that wasn’t the case.” he grinned “He thinks I don’t know, but it’s pretty hard to miss.”

Then Derek saw Isaac and the boy was glaring at the back of Stiles’ head like he could explode it if he wished hard enough.

Something he wouldn’t be surprised if it happened regularly.

“He’s looking murderously at me pretending he’s so intimidating, isn’t he?” Stiles bit his lip to stop him from laughing. “He knows he’s as threatening as a puppy, right?” and well, this wasn’t exactly where Derek wanted this interaction.

 

Derek had a half smile on his face as he bent over in Stiles direction while he was looking at Isaac. He wasn’t going to let the other get away so easily. When Stiles turned back, he was face to face to Derek, so close he could count his eyelashes.

Not that he would try now.

Especially without his Adderal.

“I’m pretty sure he knows that”

The air was still, Stiles’ heart was beating hard, rumbling loud in Derek’s ears. He could smell what he had done to the boy, how he found Derek attractive, his face said everything.

And Stiles hasn’t felt like that in quite some time. Not since Lydia, who was now his best friend.

Derek inhaled slowly and subtly and he was smelling many different things at the same time. He was quaky, but not afraid, expectant, but not sure. And on top of that, he was horny. And well, didn’t that give Derek some satisfaction.

“You know we’re in a room full of people who can hear and see us clearly, right?” and smell me, he left implied, he had no need to talk something they both knew. Stiles cursed himself under his breath as Derek put some distance between them.

“I’m aware of that,” Derek offered, grinning smugly “didn’t think you cared tho’”

Stiles licked his lips and felt the wolf’s eyes tracing the movement avidly.

Oh my God.

Stiles felt the need to jump right into Derek and freaking have the best make-out session of his life, he was somehow sure Derek was able to deliver that.

The boy swallowed hardly, running his fingers through his hair and leaning back in the chair, glancing at his wristwatch after. Everything was well scheduled for the night, even the seconds, and Stiles was hoping it was time to leave. He wasn’t sure he could handle himself for much longer, and it would be extremely hard to face everyone next night if Stiles launched himself into his first partner in the game night.

He was hoping the next half hour would cool him down, otherwise, God have mercy on Stiles.

It wasn’t like he wasn’t flirting, but he flirted with everyone, and no one ever took him seriously – or matched it, for goodness! It was like, a Stiles thing. But he wanted this as well? This guy’s presence was doing weird things to his brain. And body, definitely he couldn’t forget what was happening to his body. But the guy was hot and interested in him. Jesus, what was wrong with him? 

Luckily for him, his thirty minutes were gone.

“Okay- Yeah- So, good talk!” Stiles got up abruptly as he spoke nervously “Really nice to know you, yes-” he took a step back as Derek also raised from the chair, before they could get embarrassingly close and Stiles had to deal with the results that would cause in his body. Pants, more specifically. “But, you know, time to go. Hope you find me in the woods, yes, wouldn’t want to be lost and all in a dark, dark forest. Yeah, good luck.” he took another step back and bumped in a table, almost falling. Derek had to bite the inside of his cheek to not grin at this. “I’m- I’m- Yeah, going. Bye!” he was getting faster and a little louder every word, and had an abashed flutter expression in his face when he turned back and did not look to anything except the ground as he passed stumbling through the crowd until he reached a door and hurriedly entered the other room.

Even if there were some eyes glancing at him, most of the participants were immersed in a conversation.

Derek could have stopped him, and the boy should’ve known better than run away from a wolf, but Derek was patient, he could wait until they were alone.

“As my dear friend demonstrated accurately, it is time to leave your partners here and go to the woods!” Lydia was back on the stairs.

Slowly, each said their farewell, in an alarming contrast to how Stiles had fled away.

In an instant, there were only supernatural beings in the pub, standing expectantly for the excitement of the hunt, paying deadly attention to the woman.

She silently nods to two guys in the corner and they started distributing one carefully trimmed piece of paper to everyone playing the game. Derek took his and shoved it in his back pocket. When they were all done she spoke.

“This is your part of the riddle, it won't make sense right now, and will make less sense once you find the other piece, but we wish you well”, she smiled and added “Also, every riddle is different so there’s really no way to complete this with another person.”

Lydia hopped down the stair and went to the room he knew Stiles still was. It should be soundproofed though, because he couldn’t hear anything – but now that Stiles scent was marked in his brain for tonight, it wasn’t really hard to tell.

A smiling Erica appeared in front of him.

“Having fun?”, he let his face go back to the scowling he usually had, “Aww, come on! Don’t deny it, you seem like you could eat the boy!”, she laughed and then completed “In both ways.”

Derek raised an eyebrow. “I’m very competitive. I was focused.”, he sat in the chair again and she did the same by his side.

Erica did something with her eyebrows that made him think if they weren’t spending more time together than they should. He figured it was too late already. “That’s bullshit and you know it. I haven’t seen you like this since ever. Looks like someone got the hots for Stiles.”

He definitely would take that shit-eating grin out of her face when he made her walk the way home.

But her comment also reminded him of a very important fact.

“You know him.”, it wasn’t a question and the girl only shrugged.

“Stiles is a funny guy, met him last week. Isaac knows him better, but he seems like a good guy.”, she thought for a moment. “I don’t want to break your mood, but he’s very deary around here and even I like him not really knowing him - so try not to, you know, break his heart and shit.”, she smiled “You should have fun, but remember to make everything clear if that’s just it, ok?”

He raised his eyebrows. Erica only cared about pack and friends, and most times the pack included all of her friends, so this attitude was surprising.

“You know I’m older than you right? I’m the one who should be giving advices.”

Her smile became fondly, “I’m only trying to help.”

They stayed in silence for a moment, knowing each other better than to break the moment. “Thank you.”

She sighed happily and they just waited there, watching everyone with no particular interest. Some people were talking, but most of them kept themselves quiet, as if trying to keep their heads on what really mattered.

His eye caught something in the corner of the room and he elbowed Erica to get her to look at it. She complained, but it worked. Stiles’ friend, Scott, braced on a table next to a girl with black hair and deep dimples on her cheeks. His eyes seemed to shy with admiration as they talked and when he leaned to kiss her, Erica got up.

She went to Isaac, reclined with his back in the wall, who watched the whole scene with the corner of his eyes, pretending – badly – that he wasn’t paying attention, and hugged him. He was always a cuddler when sad. And then Derek got what Stiles was trying to say.

Erica tried to comfort him, and then peered fiercely at him in the eyes and said that he was good and deserved someone who would take care of him the same way and even better than that. And he really was. But he didn’t look too convinced.

Derek was ready to go over there when she stared at him, shaking her head in a negative. “Too much attention.”, she said without letting any sound out.

And so he waited.

And watched them as she hugged him again and said that it would pass. This time Isaac nodded.

He still had this beaten look on his face, but she managed to get him to smile a little, at least. Finally, both of them made their way to the table and Isaac just lets himself fall heavily in the chair.

“He was right, you know?”, the beta started, looking at Derek “He knew the moment he knew me. But he never said anything to him, even if he’s a little shit and teases me about it.”. He sighed, “He already said that I shouldn’t be so scared. ‘Even if he doesn’t like you like that’, he said, ‘he wouldn’t be mean to you, nor make fun of you’. And then he kept helping me when he saw it was too much, like being a third wheel with me when the three of us were hanging out and we were both left behind when she called. Or listening when I needed to talk.” it looked like he was admitting defeat and it hurt Derek. “Never told you either. I figured that as it wouldn’t ever happen, what’s the point in telling anyone.”

Erica put her hand on his shoulder. “But then I figured it out.”

He snorted. “Yes, you figured it out. And that’s how I started to tell her everything about this, and of course, Stiles wasn’t out of the story. She wanted to meet him, and that’s why we were here last week.” Isaac looked back at Derek hesitantly, who was still in silence.

The alpha only placed a hand on top of where Erica’s still was. Pressing both their hands on his shoulder. “I just want you to know you can tell me anything. You thinking it’s useless or not. If it affects you, then it matters. Okay?”

Derek had the conscience that he didn’t know Stiles, hell, that he didn’t even started to know him, but passing through all the compelling attraction he felt about him, he felt incredibly grateful for him. For what he’d done.

That had earned him a few points.

Isaac looked relieved and lighter, even attempting a smile.

“Just try not to eat him when you find him there.” he teased. Yep, he was all better. No need to worry at all. “Some people really depend on him.”

Derek gave him a light slap on the side of his head and recoiled his hands.

“You shouldn’t even be allowed to this conversation. Or you.”, he pointed at Erica, who only grinned.

When Lydia appeared by the side of the entrance door, Isaac patted him on his back. “Good luck.”, he looked at Erica “You almost ran back last time. Have patience.”

She rolled her eyes, but nodded.

“It’s time!”, Lydia said proudly, “Let the game begin!” and as Derek heard a loud ring, he knew it was time.

He got outside along with many people, and, being honest, it wasn’t hard to catch Stiles scent at all. Even so far away. He felt the trace clearly as his eyes glowed red from the excitement of the hunt.

The earth underneath his shoes was fluffy, but stable, and he ran fast. He could feel his very bones heating up from the thrill, contrasting with the freezing wind crashing against his face relentlessly in a failed attempt to slow him down and he felt the need of more, to hunt, to run, to shift. And so he did. It was emancipating.

He had total control of who he was and where he was going. He couldn’t really recall the last time he felt so free, so wild. It just made him remember that this is what he was meant to do. Suddenly he was back at Beacon Hills. Jogging at the park was nothing compared to what he used to do, to what he used to feel. His heart stung with nostalgia and he couldn’t actually put it away.

Then Stiles scent got stronger and it was inebriating, it turned all his senses to a hundred percent and it was all he could think.

After a few minutes, having ran a good amount of space until there, he did a sharp turn to his left and saw the boy. He slowed down until he was quietly walking in the forest, stalking his unsettled prey with careful eyes.

Stiles was pacing in a tiny circle he probably made with his feet. His cheeks and nose were red and he had his arms hugging himself and muttering about being stupid enough to agree not to use a coat. The coat he brought especially for this occasion, apparently.

Seeing him, now alone, was like a cold water shower and made some things clear in Derek’s head. One, he sure wanted the boy. Badly. No buts here; Two, the boy felt the same about him, and the perspective probably scared him, taking in how he reacted; Three, he would feel… Bad, messing around with someone so caring. If it ended badly, it could do something to Stiles’ friendship with Isaac or Erica, and they already left very clearly that Stiles was important to them. Even if they… “gave him” permission to go ahead.

It probably was a no-go, unfortunately. And it would be hard now that he knew what he desired.

Ugh, the things he did for his pack.

“If it’s new it could mix your scent. It wouldn’t be fair.”

Derek let himself in his field of vision. it was too dark to the human see anything clearly, but the moonlight and his eyes gave the boy his location after he got his attention. Stiles stopped pacing and looked startled for a second, tensing up his muscles before he sighed, relaxed, and cracked a smile.

“Yeah, I’m aware of that”, he quoted, still looking slightly unsure with where he stood. He shifted his weight from one leg to the other and when Derek did no mention to do anything but glare, he spoke up. “Soo, we should get going,” he looked at Derek’s eyes. “right?”, it did sound like a question.

They started walking slowly in silence – slowly mostly because Stiles definitely didn’t have night vision and was really likely to fall even with bright lights – and Stiles was confused. Was it all teasing then? Why Derek was so… Normal now?

What? No more flirting all of sudden?

Stiles felt his stomach drop. Okay, okay, it wasn’t as if he was waiting for it, or picturing himself pinned into a tree with very sharp teeth tracing his neck for the past half hour, or wishing that the guy would take that damn cozy looking jacket and freaking give it to him because he was freezing and starting to regret leaving his own purposely in the pub.

Derek searched his back pocket – in very, very tight jeans, at least compared to what Stiles was used to wear – and then the paper with the first part of the riddle was in his hands. And Derek went back to avoid his eyes, Stiles noticed.

What the hell was wrong with this guy?!

Stiles sighed loudly, making sure there was no way in hell Derek couldn’t hear, and took his other piece of the riddle.

Putting them together, he read “What is greater than God, more evil than the devil, the poor have it, the rich need it, and if you eat it, you’ll die?”, he rolled his eyes, “Oh my God, seriously Lydia? Couldn’t give me something from Lord of the Rings?” and went on rumbling about how unfair she was.

Derek found it funny, if his smile was anything to be considered.

“The Hobbit.”

Stiles paused, shocked for a second. “What?”

“The riddles scene? They’re not Lord of the Rings, they’re from The Hobbit.”

Oh.

My.

It was too good to be true, Stiles felt himself smiling.

“Uh, yeah, you’re right, my mistake”, he knew the books. HE KNEW THE BOOKS.

Derek was smart, polite, had principles, risked his life for the others, was steaming hot, and he knew geek stuff. No way! He literally came out of Stiles’ fantasies.

Except that if he really was, Derek would be wearing fewer clothes. And there would probably have more naked skin contact involved. Which wasn’t the case.

At least he felt himself warm up a little with the thought.

“So, what do you think it is?”, he was feeling the need to fill the silence of the woods and he didn’t give Derek a chance to respond. He doubted he would receive one anyway. “Because I don’t know a lot of rich people, but I know Jackson, and I’m pretty sure that jackass could use some humility sometimes- no, scratch that, most times, all times!”, Stiles narrowed his eyes, remembering his High School years, “Yeah, he could use a punch in his face too. Just because you are helpful once it doesn’t give you the right to be an asshole for the rest of the freaking junior year.” he sighed at the memory and muttered “Even though he was more than helpful that one time”.

Derek felt something left unsaid.

“Was he your…?” he waited for Stiles to complete.

The boy seemed to think about it for a second. “Were this question made for Sophomore Stiles, he would say nemesis- Hell, even arch-enemy, I know how I can exaggerate sometimes. But Junior Stiles would say Jackson is an ally?”

Derek watched him attentively. “And Present Stiles?”

Stiles’ eyes had gone somewhat soft, “A friend”

 

-x-

 

It took them some time to start speaking again, mostly because Stiles kept stumbling in everything possible and Derek had to stop and even hold him one time By the fourth time, Derek looked at him with what Erica called “bitch-face”. He did it a lot.

Stiles narrowed his eyes at him, “Well, I’m sorry to bother you, sourwolf, but I don’t have glowing eyes that see in the dark, and unfortunately, I forgot my night vision glasses at home.”, if there was something he was good, that thing was called sarcasm.

Apparently Stiles answered the right thing, because now he had a warm hand holding his elbow and guiding him through the roots and branches and whatever the hell he had stumbled in earlier. Stiles was honestly more happy with the contact. It was a start.

“So, greater than God. Are you a religious person?”, he received a quick head shake as an answer “Well neither am I-” he was pulled to his right gently by Derek “Well, I guess I’m not, at least. I dunno, maybe there’s someone up there, maybe there isn’t. I mean, if he was there, then I think he wouldn’t be so good.”, Derek stopped at that, showing that he was listening. Stiles made a face, feeling a little uncomfortable, but willing to share with Derek if that would help him open up. “If there is someone so good and powerful, why let innocent people die?”

And Derek agreed.

“Own experience?”

Stiles dropped his gaze to the ground for a second before nodding.

They started walking again. In silence.

 

-x- 

 

The next time, it was Derek who started, bluntly and it surprised Stiles. The boy was biting his lips, again, and Derek seriously had to make him stop doing it. Doing things with his mouth, he meant. He was sure that had been Stiles wearing a hoodie, he would bite the tip of the hood’s string.

Thank God he wasn’t.

He noted that the boy was unquiet, hands always moving, doing something, his eyes darting everywhere and murmuring things that probably only made sense in the boy’s brain. Strangely, it seemed to be his usual state, he did mention he was out of his remedy.

“If you eat, you die. Is it something poisonous? A mythological creature?”

Stiles deliberated for a while. “What are you thinking of?”

“A Quimera, maybe. Didn’t they had a scorpion tail?”

Stiles made a frown. “I knew a Quimera once? Some of them have no tail.”, he smiled a little then “And, technically, the Quimera attacks you, so it’s not poisonous, it’s venomous.”, Derek arched an eyebrow and the boy looked amused. “You don’t know it?”, he recited as they were still walking, taking extra care to his task: “‘If you bite and you die, it’s poisonous. If it bites you and you die, it’s venomous. If it bites itself and you die, it’s voodoo. If it bites me and someone else dies, it’s correlation. And if you bite each other and no one dies, it’s kinky’” Stiles winked at him and Derek was starting to regret ever paying attention to the boy.

It looked like he wanted to make this extra difficult for Derek.

“No Quimera then.” he pulled Stiles roughly.

The boy wasn’t expecting it and – Hello? Werewolf strength? – it almost sends him straight to the ground. And it’s rare, he must say, most things weren’t straight at all in his life.

Derek caught him before he landed comfortably with his face on the soil. When Stiles got back up, he had wide eyes and mouth hanging a bit. His expression melted into the one of someone who was ready to call Derek of some very weird names.

“I’m sorry.” he tried, cutting Stiles before he could even start “I’m used to werewolves, they’re usually not this… Hm… Easy handed.”

Somehow Derek managed to make it worse. “Excuse me? I’m not easy handed. It’s just you guys, and your freaking werewolf brains, who keep forgetting that no, I’m not fragile, but I’m not as resistant as any of you.”, he huffed.

And then he went walking all by himself, refusing help from Derek and back at almost falling every two steps.

Of course Derek was keeping an eye on him while they walked, he wouldn’t let Stiles get hurt, doesn’t matter how stubborn the boy could be.

 

 -x-

 

By the time they were getting close, Stiles had almost fallen three times, had tried to start a conversation not involved in the riddle, and had given up, another three.

“Okay, I give up, Sourwolf!” Four. “What’s your problem?” Stiles stood still in front of Derek, glaring at him. He didn’t look in the least afraid of what Derek could actually do to him. He wouldn’t even have to try so hard. “You were all Calvin Klein model back there flirting like a fucking greek god that had descended from the Olympus on the mission of taking me out of my goddamn mind and now you don’t even look at my face properly!”

Stiles’ finger was pointed at him, the boy looked flustered and frustrated.

“I mean, you don’t just set someone’s expectation high and then just drop it all of sudden, that’s rude!”

Derek raised both of his eyebrows. Well, he wasn’t expecting that.

“And very not attractive of you.”, he completed.

“You were expecting?”

Stiles looked taken aback.

“Wasn’t I supposed to?”

Good point.

Derek shrugged. “You’re didn’t seem certain of it.”

That wasn’t the truth, not totally, but Derek hoped it would be enough for them to drop the subject. It would be hard to not do anything if Stiles kept doing things like that. Or smelling like that. Derek made sure he was at a safe distance for most of the way to the pub.

Stiles frowned and tilted his head, finding the worry weirdly cute. “I-I mean, that’s very considerate of you, but I would have said something?”

Derek sighed, looking up at the trees, face contorted in some variety of pain. It was taking him physical force not to give in.

“Most people don’t.”

Stiles smiled taking a step forward, “Do I look like most people?”, the wolf took a step back in synchrony, and Stiles was not amused at that. “See! You keep doing it!”

“Why did open this pub?”, Derek interrupted.

“Oh no, you’re not changing th-”

“It’s relevant. Why?”, he insisted.

Stiles sighed restively.

“Scott’s the reason.” then he looked at Derek defiantly “Enough?”, when Derek gave him a disapproving look he rolled his eyes, but started again, more patiently “I told you. Scott got bit, he didn’t want this, but it happened, and suddenly we were alone, just him and me, knowing nothing to help him with his furry problem and no longer accepted in the places we went. I mean, they’d let Scott get in, but there was always this feeling that we were unwanted?” Stiles gaze hardened, this time not rambling, but plenty aware of every word spoken “And a place where Scott isn’t welcome, neither am I. Time passed and I saw how that affected him, so I came up with this idea. A place where you could be yourself, gnaw a bone, lick your wounds or whatever non-violent impulse you have without anyone staring and judging you. Lydia liked the idea, it helps that her boyfriend is a werewolf too- So I came up with plans and my white-collar knowledge, and Lydia came with the money and persuasion.”

He took a breath.

“Why is this important?”

Derek hesitated, pondering if he should or not say anything.

Stiles wouldn’t give up and he knew it. If he talked, at least the boy would have a reason to shut up and cooperate.

“You’re this kind of person. I barely know you and I already see you’re nobler than 90% of the people I know outside of my workplace. You help Isaac, even though you have no obligation, and I’m grateful. Erica likes you and I don’t doubt Boyd will too. They need it. I don’t want to screw this for them just because I couldn’t hold myself from being a one-night stand asshole.”

Stiles holds his breath. This guy was… Unbelievable.

Derek played like a mystery back at the pub, a sexy interesting guy, who knew his game and wasn’t afraid of playing it, but now, looking at him for a longer moment, he was at the same time a guy who would take puppies out of a tree just because someone cried.

And it was somehow the most lovely thing ever. It warmed his heart.

“You’re a big softie, aren’t you?” a smile played in the corner of Stiles’ mouth. Derek huffed, but he didn’t seem really annoyed. “So, why don’t we do it like this.” Stiles stepped close again, this time taking a hand to grab the collar of Derek’s shirt, keeping him in place. “I’ll kiss you now, and you’re gonna show me if you really do justice to your big bad wolf role.” he pulled themselves together, putting his other hand on Derek’s chest, heat spreading through his whole body “Then we’ll go back to the pub and I’ll treat you a beer.” they were so close they could feel each others breathing, a small puff hit Derek’s face when Stiles giggled “And then, only then, we can see if you’re a one-night stand asshole, sounds good?”

When Derek nodded, much more frantically then he had planned, Stiles’ smile grew.

 

They collide. It’s not a slow kiss, it’s wet, hot and demanding. It’s craving and honest and it gets Stiles’ stomach full of butterflies and turns his legs into jelly. It gets Derek feeling warm and buttery and he was sure that it would be scary if not so good how much he was pleased to pin the boy against the tree and hear the weak moan that left his mouth.

Taking the opportunity, Derek pressed his own body against Stiles. The boy doesn’t even try to suppress the shiver that goes down his spine directly to his lower areas. Stiles was liking every moment of that, especially some very specifics parts of him, and he could only think HOLY SHIT in the whole process.

And about how his back was stinging slightly in pain given the friction of the skin in the tree. It wasn’t snug, but he could deal with it for the greater good.

When they break apart for air, Derek doesn’t stop working. His mouth is on Stiles’ neck, hands are on his thighs lifting him up and squeezing and, oh my God, this guy was going to be the death of him.

Stiles not-so-cold-anymore hands are everywhere. They’re in Derek’s hair, messing with the top and going to the end of his scalp, then they are in a mission of discovering every pack of Derek’s abdomen, scratching with short nails, and up again to his shoulders and broad arms.

Then Derek takes a deep breath and diverge, and the moment Stiles opens his eyes he sees Derek smiling smugly at him.

“Oh come on, don’t be such a tease!” he complained, pouting… Wasn’t one of his proudest moments, but it would do.

He tried to ignore, unsuccessfully, the hard growing in his – and Derek’s, yes he was feeling that too, thank you very much – pants and how much he felt hot and bothered. But then Derek’s head went down and his nose was tracing his jaw painfully slowly, sipping his scent, tasting it, and Stiles just wanted more. He jerked forward, trying to get a little more something, but his hips were held still firmly.

The boy groaned.

“You can’t keep teasing me if you’re gonna keep giving me nothing!” Stiles declared, his chest up and down heavily from the adrenaline.

Derek only opened more his smile and went for his mouth again. This time he made sure to suck his tongue and bite his bottom lip.

Then it hit him.

Stiles pushed Derek suddenly, a bright look on his face while Derek was utterly confused.

“Nothing!” Stiles exclaimed as if it explained everything and he didn’t sound like a complete lunatic who basically shoved a good possibility to get laid. When Derek kept the dizzy look, he saw that it didn’t work “I was thinking about how you were depriving me from my well-earned part of the deal, when I realized!” he grabbed Derek “If you eat nothing, you die!”

Derek, finally getting it, nodded his head, contemplative.

“That makes sense. What the rich needs? They’ll mostly say they need nothing, What’s greater than God and more evil than the Devil, also nothing.” he stopped for a second “It was pretty obvious.”

Stiles rolled his eyes, “Indeed. But you see, I had other worries in my mind.”

Derek raised an eyebrow.

“Well, good thing we took that out of the way. Where were we?”

He attempted to get closer but Stiles backed away, holding a hand up.

“Wait, we have the answer and we’re close to the pub again, maybe five minutes if we actually walk instead of crawling around. We can still win this if you want.”

Derek honestly could think of better things to do with the time they would be spending, and it wasn’t like Stiles actually paid for anything he consumed.

“Weren’t you the one eager for this?”

“I mean, yeah, but as much as making out in the woods is good – great, actually, 10 out of 10, good making out material you have there, very promising – it won't be very comfortable if we want to go forward.” Stiles stopped, a smirk playing on his lips. “Besides, even though I know I’m awesome, I don’t want an audience.”

 

-x- 

 

They don’t win the game.

Apparently, a werewolf named Ethan and a werecoyote named Malia got there a few minutes before with the right answer. But it was worth the shot anyway.

That wouldn’t stop Stiles from fulfilling his part of the deal, though. He was willing to know Derek, in more ways than one.

After he talked to Lydia and, discretely, asked her if she could close the pub in his place, he spotted Derek in the same table he was before.

Stiles picked up two beers in the way, pulled a chair across the table and sat down, putting them in the cover, his eyes sparkling in excitement.

“Soo, big guy!” he joked, resting his chin on his hands “I know the owner of this place and you happen to be just their type, so I think you’ll have a free beer anyway.”

A smile perked in Derek’s mouth.

“Yeah, I think I saw Lydia checking me out.”

Okay, maybe Erica got it right this time.