Stiles could not sleep. Counting the fence-jumping werewolves – Stiles stylishly had given up on lambs for some time – and some sedative-laden empty herbal tea could have helped his insomnia, but he was afraid to sleep. The nightmares caused by the Nogitsune ceased to haunt him, but there were new ones which were even worse. In the best version Stiles did nothing less than choking Lydia with insanely bright eyes. The scariest part of this was that he actually did this in reality. He did not want to see the injuries he caused. So insomnia ruled over him.
Not sleeping was an old friend to him. What could a 17-year old, sarcastic teenager do better than browsing through websites dealing with magic? He could have watched porn after the 30th Star Wars marathon but his otherwise raging hormones had been tuned down by self-abasement and lack of sleep. In exchange he started to accumulate a great amount of knowledge on magic, white and black magic, woodoo and wicca. He was not after faith, but efficiency: he wanted to know how he could put together the pieces of his shattered soul. He was looking for answers why he of all people had been chosen by the demon. And above all, he wanted to protect his loved ones, even from himself if needed.
Stiles put a lot of thought into his plan of actions and finally, months after the events he went to see Deaton. That night was vivid in his memory when – holding half a handful of mountain ash in his palms – he closed that magic circle with his own bare willpower and stopped the werewolves. Deaton told him that he was the spark that was able to make the circle whole. It was not absolutely clear to Stiles what Scott’s boss actually meant by that: for heaven’s sake, what the heck does it mean to be a spark? You most certainly cannot shoot laser with your eyes.
At least Stiles had never experienced any ability of that sort but he would have been proud to be Scott Summers, the Cyclops incarnate. Unfortunately, the vet was professional in making the most oblique statements, confusing all his audience. It may have been some druid thing and the boy hoped this characteristic is not a must at the wizard school. For he, Stiles Stilinski, 67 kg (11 stones) of bones and birthmark (rather than flesh and muscle), with his sharp tongue and his undue love of all red hoodies, he stepped on the path of druidhood as an apprentice.
However, Hogwarts days on Beacon Hills did not turn out to be as exciting as the boy imagined. Science of magic was more the studying of Latin names and qualities of different plants than chanting magic spells. No wonder that soon Stiles decided to dig deeper into the world of practical magic and started self-education.
One would think that in the 21st century when information society gives unlimited access to the freedom of speech it can be pretty hard to filter the websites that promise holistic cancer-healing and esoteric prophesies, but Stiles had a built-in sixth sense for finding the sites containing real information. What’s more, at the very beginning of his self-taught days – after failing three times to smuggle out one of Deaton’s promising codexes from the vet’s office where he kept his druid equipment – he found the address of a book shop nearby Beacon Hills which sold other than just vintage literature.
That is how Stiles collected an enourmous amount ofliterature on all the different branches of sorcery and that is why his friends started to ask his advice on furry problems.
He was a bit sulky when the two angry witches moving in the neighbourhood ended up as his problem. They were filled with love for gingerbread houses and cannibalism. And it was the mission of Stiles and Derek to politely send them to a better place. All this was Scott’s fault who messed up a peace negotiation with the neighbouring pack’s alpha at the same time when the witch-situation sorely needed a solution.
Stiles let out a sigh while reaching for his favourite red pullover and pondered some more upon whether to choose his older sneakers or the new ones. But eventually, as he was about to see Derek Hale, he decided on the new one he bought the day before.
It occured to him that Scott might be measuring up to his task as procurer, for lately, after the break-up with Malia, Stiles found himself more and more int he company of Derek and his grim eyebrow mimic thanks to their enthusiastic alpha. But it was all Malia’s fault…If they hadn’t split up, Stiles would never have ended up so drunk in the company of Scott McCall who could have mopped up the Pacific Ocean’s beer version without a single effect on his fast metabolism. Whatever the case was, Stiles – waving his bottle of whisky stolen form his father – sobbed his whole collection of cliches of the situation with Malia to Scott and then ended up giving a ten-minute monologue ont he granite profile of Derek Hale, about his crazy eyebrows, huge heart, irony, wit and of course about his rear end that attracted a good grab.
Scott proved to be a good friend. He took the bottle out of Stiles’ hand, dragged the boy home and never told anyone that he knows the young druid’s secret: he was never in love with Malia but was very much in love with someone else. Yet, despite of Scott’s silence about the events, Stiles found himself suspiciously often alone with Derek.
It was a nice gesture, but the boy thought it was useless tor un after this bus that he cannot catch. Why would Derek need him, him of all people, when the man can get anyone he sets his gaze upon. This is where his thoughts generally stopped, because school, the secret practice of magic and chasing monsters were enough of a diversion for him to not have any more energy pondering upon his miserable love life and a certain werewolf. Especially not upon the werewolf.
He had tried to avoid the topic and for a while the man as well but Scott’s ardent helpfulness drove him crazy. Even more so because he grew fonder and fonder of the older werewolf minute by minutes. He set up a prohibitive list for himself about the ways he CAN think of Derek and he only allowed himself to LIKE the man.
If human beings dig deep enough to bury their feelings, they can make themselves believe the repeated lies. But Scott’s plan had one good result: Derek and Stiles got so much in sync in thoughts that it was unduly…comfy. Stiles was afraid to admit but they behaved at certain times like couples after twenty years of marriage. Minus sex. That – naturally and unfortunately – did not happen.
When the werewolf sprang to his seat int he Jeep, Stiles knew that the man had not woken up all fresh and rosy, because after greeting him, Derek only growled some kind of an answer.
"Good morning to you, Sourwolf! I hope you keep this mood on when we get to the witch-sweep. If you show them you serial killer-face, they’ll most certainly be off without a fuss.”
"Just…drive on, Stiles. Please!"
The boy got scared. Derek was usually good at sulking and being world-weary, sometimes even flashed some fangs but he never asked like that. Or when he did, it was most certain that dying was involved.
"You all right, big guy?"Stiles asked worried.
"I'm fine…I just…haven’t slept much. No big deal."
When he took a closer look at the man, the boy realized that those are really the circles of insomnia under Derek’s eyes.
"About the fire?"
There was no answer.
With Derek, it was never easy. The werewolf was scarred many times in his past, and the scars were deep, impossible to process. The young druid normally would have kept on bubbling, drumming his own rhythm on the steering wheel with his overactive fingers, gladly getting on the nerves of Derek. But recently it had been different. Stiles was originally intimidated by silence. He needed to fill in the void. But beside Derek he learnt that not all silence is bad. He put his palm on Derek’s thigh with an unintended intimacy. The werewolf was breathless for a moment than his tense muscles relaxed.
The rest of the road was spent in the silence of their shared silence.
Unfortunately, as it turned out, the hundred years old witched marked as cute old tea-ladies did not accept the ultimatum given to them, even though Stiles innocent soul trusted otherwise. Derek nearly smiled at thinking 'Stiles' and 'innocent' in the same sentence, but it was more urgent to use the time they won by Stiles’ monologue he used to divert attention and Derek turned into his beta form and attacked the two women.
As Stiles later put it, it hasn’t their day and yet it became theirs. Neverthelesskicking the doors down-technique is not the most useful when the pair is an insomniac werewolf and a newbie, self-taught druid.
All in all, one of the witches sent an angry poltergeist in a bottle onto Stiles, while Derek managed to kick the other woman down. Stiles was in haste to get rid of the restless soul was beating him up, and tried to cast a spell to set himself free, but he mixed up the words. As a result of this, the gingerbread house turned into a sea fortress, and after a couple of hours only a big slump of dough remained in its place. Just before that the spirit managed to grab Stiles and shot him through the walk like he was a ragdoll.
Derek witnessed the whole scene petrified. He saw Stiles' body smash into the pine and fall to the ground with a loud thud. Thanks to his werewolf instincts ... raging wrath.
Avoiding the ghost's next assaultthe werewolf digged his sharp nails into the witch's throat without blinking an eye and ripped it out. As soon as the hag's body fell on the floor the poltergeist also vanished.
Stiles was still lying under the tree motionless. Trembling from the tought what state he will find his friend, Derek approached him slowly. Although he heard his mate's heart beating which meant he must be alive, the view still made his heart ache, and suprisingly piercing way.
He leaned over his body, so he can place him to a much comfortable and safer position until he gains his conciousness back. For hist strenght it would be child's play, but as soon as he carefully placed his hand under the boy's head and started to gently pull him up, Stiles's beautiful whiskey-brown eyes suddenly poped open and stared directly to the werewolf.
"Hey…" he wishpered."It’s fine, Sourwolf, no major demage happened, I’m going to survive. You don’t need to carry me in bridal style, that will be just as perfect during the honemones. Or, you know what? Before that we could go out for a date? What do you say? Date sounds cool. Or… Maybe… Au… Okay, we should talk about this later. I’m sorry – Stiles smiled faintly at the man dragging him to their car. He then noticed the new shoes he put on that morning which lost their colour after they had been wallowing in dirt and sugar. "I think I should have chosen my old shoes."
Derek stared incredulosly at the boy hanging from his neck, then at the sneakers and then again at Stiles. He didn’t know what made him do what he did.
Maybe adrenalin, or the backwash of fear. But Derek Hale amongst the sugary fallen pieces of the gingerbread house kissed Stiles Stilinski.