“I can’t freaking believe we’re stuck in a tree,” Stiles muttered.
“Shut up,” Derek hushed him.
“You shut up,” Stiles snapped back.
Beneath them, he heard a low growl, and the hair on the back of his neck stood up. Shit.
Derek held a finger to his lips, and his eyes glowed bright red as he scanned the forest floor. Stiles still had no idea if that actually helped him see better; he was ninety percent sure Derek just did it because it looked cool.
Even though Stiles couldn’t see a damn thing, he could hear the rustle of leaves and the cracking of twigs from the Thing hunting them. He wasn’t entirely sure what it was; he only knew that it wasn’t a werewolf.
He tried to silently readjust his position on the branch—it wasn’t very big, and both he and Derek were up here.
His stomach swooped at the sensation of falling, and it took everything in him to keep his mouth shut so as not to attract the Thing’s attention, even though he had about a second before he would crash to the ground right on top of it.
A strong arm slid around his waist, stopping his fall.
Stiles froze when he realized he was pressed right up against Derek.
“Don’t. Move,” Derek whispered right in his ear.
His hot breath sent a shiver down Stiles’s spine that had nothing to with the fact that they were being hunted. Derek was objectively attractive, okay, and being held against him like this was not helping Stiles’s longstanding crush in the least.
If you make a sound, you’ll probably die, Stiles thought, and hoped the reminder of impending doom would squash his libido.
Then again, he’d had a habit of getting fear boners since he was fifteen, so why did he think that would help now?
The Thing circled their tree once more and then trundled off deeper into the woods, its footsteps slowly fading. Even when he couldn’t hear it anymore, Stiles still didn’t move.
Finally, Derek’s grip on him relaxed a fraction. “It’s gone.”
Stiles nearly collapsed in relief. “Thank God.”
“Think you can get down without breaking your neck?” Derek asked, his voice still right at Stiles’s ear.
Stiles could ignore it. He would not make this weird. He patted Derek’s arm. “I’ll be fine, big guy. Thanks for the save.”
He swore he could feel Derek smirking. “Any time.”
Derek let him go, and Stiles scrambled down the tree as fast as he could without breaking anything. Derek jumped straight from the branch to the ground like the show-off he was.
“Just couldn’t do it like us lousy humans, could you?” Stiles said.
Derek frowned. “It was faster.” He looked back off into the forest. “We should probably go report back to Scott and the others, let them know what we found.”
Stiles followed his gaze. “Yeah. Another day, another weird-ass thing hanging out in the preserve.”
“Well, at least we’re used to that by now,” Derek said.
Stiles cleared his throat and nodded at the tree. His heart was still pounding way too fast. “One of these days we’ll have a normal night out. One that doesn’t involve getting trapped in a tree by a supernatural creature.”
“You mean something like dinner and a movie instead?” Derek asked.
“That would be nice,” Stiles said. “I would also accept bowling and milkshakes. Or video games at the arcade.”
“Beacon Hills doesn’t have an arcade anymore.”
Stiles elbowed him in the side. “Don’t ruin my dreams.”
Derek took his hand. “I can’t do anything about the arcade,” he said, “but I can probably swing dinner and a movie, if you wanted?”
Stiles stared at their hands, his heart racing. “Dude, did you just ask me out on a date?”
“I’m trying to, yes.”
“I’m starting to reconsider,” Derek said flatly.
“No! I mean, yes!” Stiles rubbed his free hand over his face. “I mean, don’t reconsider. I’d love to go on a date with you. Like, yes please. So much yes. All of the yes.”
Derek smiled. Stiles stared at it; he could count on one hand the number of times he’d seen Derek Hale actually smile.
“Okay,” Derek said. “Then…Friday night? It’s a date?”
Stiles squeezed his hand. “Yeah, it’s a date.”