The peace doesn't even last until the next morning. Stiles, now sharing a spartan set of rooms with Derek at SHIELD headquarters while Lydia stays with Tony and Pepper, is woken from his movie-induced slumber on the couch by the frantic chiming of his phone.
"What the hell?" he complains. "Mmggrrr, make it stop, Sourwolf."
Derek heaves an annoyed sigh, takes the phone from the coffee table and unlocks the screen with easy swipes. "You have thirteen new chat messages."
Stiles knows that he should be offended that Derek of all people knows his complicated unlock sequence, but he is feeling too foggy to care. "From whom? Why are you so unhelpful?" he asks grumpily, already burrowing his face back into his couch cushion. "S'not my dad, is it? And please don't say it's Scott."
"Alright. I won't say it's Scott."
Stiles groans at the droll answer. "God, why." When Derek makes to hand him the phone, Stiles tucks his hands into his armpits and curls into himself like a cranky groundhog. "Nuh-uh. You went for it, you read it."
"Stiles. They're your messages. From your best friend."
"Ex. Ex-best friend. And I exercise the right to ignore them, dude," Stiles replies stubbornly. "Also, if I had to guess, I'd say Scott stalked my dad and Lydia's mom from the airport and realized that we didn't come back with them. In which case he most likely accosted them and asked what's up with that, got a clear and concise answer and chose not to believe it. Because he's a dumbass."
Derek's scowl lightens and he looks like he wants to smile as he reads through the messages. "Huh. Right on every count. It's kind of embarrassing for Scott." He plays around on the phone and then tosses it back onto the coffee table. "I put it on flight mode. Go back to sleep."
"Wasn't really asleep," Stiles mumbles. When Derek only raises an eyebrow at him, he uncurls and scrubs his face with his hands. "Fine, I was, but not anymore. You want something from the kitchen?"
Derek shakes his head. "I'm good. It's late anyway, I think I'll turn in."
"Just so you can get up bright and early for your secret superhero training," Stiles grins. "Maybe I could come watch sometime." At Derek's slight frown, he hastily backpedals, "Or not."
The frown becomes even more pronounced; Derek now looks downright forbidding. But the words that finally leave his mouth throw Stiles for a loop. "Why wouldn't you be welcome?"
Stiles gapes at him. "Uh, what? Excuse me, but why would I? Super secret ninja training and everything. For super people like Steve and you? Ring a bell?"
"This whole training thing isn't just for me," Derek says slowly, as if he can't comprehend how Stiles even got the idea in his head that he is excluded. "Your dad made it very clear that he wants you to learn something. I want you to learn something. Or did you forget the Alpha pack?"
"Yeah, no, but I'm a squishy human beginner and you and Steve are not. You'd take me down in one second flat and I can take a lot, but that'd be just not cool."
Derek scowls, clearly done with the conversation. "Go to sleep. You'll join Steve and I tomorrow, no discussion." With that he turns and stalks out of the small, shared living area, not giving Stiles a chance to protest.
True to his announcement, Derek shakes Stiles awake at an ungodly hour and orders him to use the bathroom and eat breakfast. Stiles complies with ill grace, until Phil Coulson, who has sneaked into their suite like the ninja Stiles has suspected him to be all along, announces that they'll start the day at the shooting range before continuing on to self-defence and martial arts.
The elevator trip to the basement is short and only interrupted by a lazily waving Clint, who joins them at the ground level. In his hand he holds a cardboard holder with four paper cups of coffee, the aroma teasing Stiles awake way better than Coulson's sneak attack earlier.
"Bribery?" Coulson asks as he takes one of the cups.
Clint shrugs. "I made Nat find out Lydia's phone number and called her for grovelling tips. She said caffeine is the way to go, and I'd better find a coffee shop that had vegan everything." He hands Stiles a macadamia latte and takes the last one in hand. "Not sure what coffee is doing for your people, but here you go, Hale. I went with black, but there's sugar and creamer if you like."
Derek accepts the offering and astounds everyone but Stiles by dumping four creamers and three packets of sugar into the hot brew.
"Damn, you could give Stark a run for his money," Clint mutters.
Just then, the chime of the bell announces their arrival. As the elevator stops and allows them out into the basement, Stiles can't contain an impressed whistle.
"Man, that's some shooting range," he comments, gesturing at the vast number of booths and the fully stocked weapon lockers at the far sides.
"Yup, it's almost as good as the one at Stark Tower, but don't tell Stark that. Give me the key, Phil, I'll pick out something for the probies."
Coulson hands Clint a key, types his authorization code word into a terminal and directs Clint to hand Derek and Stiles a handgun each.
"Your father mentioned in passing that you are somewhat familiar with small calibre weapons, especially the Glock 19," Coulson says. "If you don't mind, I'd like to assess your abilities before we start our training unit."
"Cool with me." Stiles goes over to a booth table and begins to dismantle his Glock. It only takes a moment for him to lay out all the pieces, pause, and then put them back together.
"Not bad. Did your father teach you?" Clint asks.
"Yeah, he had me do it as some kind of occupational therapy when he had to bring me to work." Stiles slots the magazine back and puts the finished gun down. "Done. How about you, Sourwolf? Did you pick up something along the way?"
Derek nods. "A friend taught Laura and I when he noticed that we felt hunted."
Stiles winces, because ouch. "Did he know about the hunters and stuff?" he asks as tactfully as he can.
"No. Just knowing that we were running from bad people was enough for him." Derek completes the task without too much trouble and puts the gun back down. "He was a beat cop, so this is actually the only model I've dealt with."
"We all started small," Clint says. "Come on, both of you do it once more and then we can go shoot some targets. If you're doing well, we might even be able to advance to moving targets while you're in the city."
"Yes!" Stiles crows and sets to taking the weapon apart like a fiend. "C'mon, Derek, don't be a lamewolf."
Soon they advance to the shooting lanes and listen to Clint's instructions.
"First distance is ten feet," Clint says, cocking his own weapon. "Green light means go, red light means stop. Take your time but don't hesitate. Also, wear your ear protection until the lights flash red or you'll regret it."
Stiles hastily puts on his earmuffs. He sincerely hopes that Derek will be fine with all the noise but decides not to hover. Instead he takes the ammo from Clint and fills his clip. Meanwhile four paper targets come running along the lanes.
The lights flash green and a horn blares. Clint shouts, "Go!" and off they go.
Stiles takes a minute to observe his teachers. While Clint shoots like a pro and hits his mark every time, there is something not quite fluid about him. To Stiles, it's obvious that handguns, and likely any firearm, are not his first choice. Coulson, however, is all understated elegance and efficient deadliness. He positions himself with nary a whisper of his expensive suit and puts the whole clip into his target paper's head area in less than fifteen seconds.
Feeling a little guilty for ogling him, Stiles then turns his attention to Derek. He is in the Fighting Stance with his feet slightly apart, the left minimally before the right, and the weapon raised to eye level. When the first shot goes off, he flinches slightly, clearly communicating the discomfort at the sudden noise. Suddenly it makes a lot more sense for werewolves not to use guns against hunters, even though it would solve so many problems.
As if he's listened to Stiles' thoughts, Clint calls for a stop and goes over to Derek's side.
"Your hearing bothering you?" he asks.
Derek's jaw clenches. "I'll deal."
"Sure you will, though you don't have to deal right at the beginning of our training. If our gear won't cut it, Stark might have better ear protection for you," Clint says. "Or if he doesn't, he can invent it. It's not as if he wouldn't make a shit ton of money with it later."
"Sir has a wide range of ear protection for his guests," JARVIS announces out of the blue, causing everybody, even Coulson, to jump a little. A light above a locked cabinet in the back starts to blink. "Mr. Hale should be able to find a set to meet his needs here."
"You have JARVIS at SHIELD?" Stiles asks, mouth open in astonishment. "I thought you guys and Tony weren't very tight."
"Not voluntarily, and no, we aren't," Coulson replies. His face is a mask of stoic exasperation, as if he is aware that he should have known better and is now annoyed with himself for being surprised.
JARVIS takes the moment of awkward silence to explain, "Sir has tasked me with ensuring Mr. Stilinski and Mr. Hale's safety. Protecting all their vital functions is the first point of order in my protocols, therefore I took the liberty of accessing SHIELD's mainframe to aid you in your training."
"Way cool, if a little creepy," Stiles says cheerfully, rallying quickly at this sign of Tony's overprotectiveness.
"A little?" Clint mouthes incredulously, then jumps again when the doors of the cabinet open by themselves.
"May I recommend the red pair for Mr. Hale?" JARVIS asks. "They should do for today."
"Awesome, thanks, JARVIS, my man," Stiles calls as he jogs over to the cabinet. "Try them on, sourwolf." He lobs the earmuffs at the werewolf, grinning when Derek catches them effortlessly.
Derek's next turn goes a lot better and the bullets all hit the paper target.
"It's only ten feet," he mutters when Stiles whoops. "Your turn."
Feeling like he can finally do his father proud, Stiles positions himself similarly to Derek, waits for Clint's, "Go!" and fires. There is no hesitation as he hits the head, chest and groin area of the target with five rounds each.
"Vicious," Clint smirks and fist-bumps Stiles. "I see that your father really taught you how to use the Glock. What about a Beretta or Sig?"
"I played with every weapon at his station at one point," Stiles admits, "and I know how to hit a target from a short distance."
"I'll take you through the paces before we move on, but that sounds promising." Clint claps Stiles on the shoulder. "Phil can teach Hale the basics; there's no sense in you not advancing when you're so far ahead already."
Stiles spends the rest of the morning dismantling and reassembling increasingly larger and heavier weapons. After each successful drill Clint allows him turns on the range to gauge his proficiency. Finally Stiles meets his match in a rifle that the police in Beacon Hills don't use. As he finds rifles awkward at best with his long, flailing limbs he isn't too upset about it, even though firing one is fun enough.
Not long after, Clint and Phil end the lesson and help Stiles and Derek with the clean-up.
"How was it?" Stiles wants to know as they sit and refill clips, carefully gauging Derek's facial expression. "I saw you advancing to fifty feet distance in like five minutes. That's so awesome, dude!"
"It was mostly loud," Derek replies, distractedly putting the last round into the clip. "Also, don't call me dude."
"Duuude," Stiles retorts obnoxiously, causing Clint to snicker. "Seriously, what's up? Why aren't you proud of yourself?"
"Please excuse the interruption, Mr. Stilinski, but according to your agenda, you're expected in the canteen for lunch before Agent Coulson escorts you and Mr. Hale to your martial arts lesson," JARVIS announces. "You have one hour."
Derek straightens up immediately. "We should go. I don't want to keep Steve waiting."
Though he often ignores his better manners, Stiles does know when not to prod and accepts this without complaints. He even gives Derek some space and latches onto Clint instead, ready to pester him about the second part of today's training and how they're doing keeping Steve fed and watered.
Clint, however, is quickly forgotten when the super soldier in question greets them just outside the shooting range.
"Sorry for the ambush but I wanted to be there on your first day and show you around a little." Steve quirks a smile at Derek. "And I also might have wanted to show off my new training buddy, make my usual partners feel a little bad."
"I can believe it. Great to see you," Stiles grins and only flails a little when Steve claps him on the shoulder. "So, the infamous canteen? I could eat."
"It's not that bad," Steve says rather unconvincingly, slightly edging away from Coulson's side-eye.
"The food they serve is completely adequate to nourish all of SHIELD's personnell in their various fields of expertise," Coulson retorts a little sniffily.
"Yeah, but is it good?" Clint counters, crossing his arms.
He and Coulson stare at each other for so long that Stiles gets a little uncomfortable.
"Uh, how about we check it out today and make plans for tomorrow if it's actually garbage?" he asks.
It takes another couple of seconds for Coulson to end the stare-down. "Acceptable, Mr. Stilinski. Captain, if you'd lead the way?"
"Sure." Steve begins walking but soon falls into step with Derek. "So, how did you like the shooting? Personally, I hate it, makes my ears ring like a mother, though it gets better with Stark's little ear thingies ..."
Stiles can't help but feel a little fuzzy in the chest as Steve easily talks at Derek. He's not expecting an answer, just keeps Derek company and draws him out of whatever funk the werewolf is currently in. Derek's shoulders are still a little tight, but Stiles knows that he's already relaxing.
Meanwhile, Clint tells him what horrors await them in the canteen, spinning tales of mushy, tasteless cauliflower, leathery steaks with thin gravy and mashed potatoes from a box. Coulson insists that it isn't that bad, but Stiles isn't ready to trust his word, especially when Derek actually balks at entering the hall.
"That bad, huh?" he asks with a wry smile, inwardly sniggering about Derek's involuntary mime performance.
"Too many chemicals," is all Derek has to say. To his credit, he tries hard not to wrinkle his nose.
"I told you so!" Clint crows. "And I've got Lassie here to prove it. They feed us crap, Phil, be a man and finally admit it."
"I'm sorry, but I'll have to join the mutiny," Steve says with a charming half-smile. "Perhaps Director Fury can make different arrangements for his agents?"
"Not as quickly as everybody would like, apparently," Coulson sighs, but he does take out his smartphone and taps a short message.
As the others talk and make ineffective plans, Stiles remembers that he has a fuck ton of money now and can invite his friends to lunch if he likes. And he likes, a lot. He sneaks his phone out, googles Indian places in the area and places a big rush order.
"Food arrives in twenty," he informs everyone when he's done, sliding the phone back into his pocket. "Indian, in case you're interested."
"Stiles," Derek begins, but Stiles waves him off.
"No one here is going to be eating the canteen crap and apparently I can afford it now," Stiles tells him. "At least they didn't cry foul when I gave them my credit card number, so. Let's do the tour until lunch is here, yeah?"
Steve is the first to accept gracefully, followed by Clint and Coulson. Only Derek looks conflicted and Stiles knows that he has to nip the guilty feelings in the bud.
"Don't even start," he says quietly but sternly as they trot after Steve. "It's my money and I can invite you to lunch if I want. Besides, I have to start spending it somewhere."
Derek's lips thin as he frowns. "You shouldn't have to pay for anything. You're a teenager."
"And as such I eat a lot," Stiles smirks. "My dad will be happy to not have me eat him out of house and home any longer." He bumps his shoulder against Derek's. "Seriously, it's just lunch. Channel your inner hedonist and let people spoil you for a change."
Stiles' phone chimes. It's a message from Tony and Stiles pulls a face as he reads it.
Sourpuss is right, teenagers don't get to pay for boring things, least of all food. JARVIS rerouted the payment to me. Tell Coulson to stop being so miserly.
"Aw, come on," Stiles complains loudly, knowing that Tony is probably listening in. "Why? You gave me the credit card, let me use it!"
Sure enough, his phone chimes again.
No. Except if you want to buy non-boring porn. That I can allow. I might even learn something new.
"For crying out loud," Stiles groans, mortified beyond belief. "But. Thanks. We appreciate it." A brainwave hits him and he stops walking. "By the way, buyer is always invited, so get over here or we'll be mortally offended."
Clint frantically gestures for him to abort and Coulson also doesn't look thrilled. Derek, however, seems torn between appreciation for Tony's efforts and amusement at Stiles' ability to turn the tables on the billionaire. Steve is just plain amused and shows his approval with a gentle smile.
Another fuzzy feeling spreads in Stiles' chest area when Tony simply comments with, On my way, don't eat all the samosas.
End of chapter 1