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If I Were You

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MP3 (21 MB) 00:35:37 | Podbook (17 MB) 00:35:37

“Stop screaming.”

“Stop screaming.”

“Stiles, stop screaming.”

“I’m sorry but I think this occasion calls for freaking out,” Stiles says, throwing his hands up between them. Or, more accurately, throwing Allison’s hands up, which are attached to Allison’s arms, which are attached to Allison’s everything else that he is apparently now residing in like he’s involved in some weird, person-shaped Airbnb.

“Yes, alright, but maybe we should also try figuring this out,” Allison says, as calm and patient as ever which is just annoying. She’s standing there in Stiles’ body and looking at him like he’s insane for having a little bit of a meltdown.

“Alright, fine, I’m done now anyway,” Stiles grumbles.

“Scott’s going to be so mad,” Allison sighs, like that’s the worst thing that could ever happen.

“I’m sorry, but I think the fact that Derek will murder me might be a little more pressing,” Stiles counters. “Stiles, don’t go take on the witch by yourself. Scott and I will take care of… wow, I really cannot do a good Derek impersonation with your voice.”

“Hate to break it to you, but you don’t do a good Derek impersonation normally,” Allison says, looking around them, distracted. “Well, at least we know the witch isn’t evil.”

“Not evil?” Stiles repeats, incredulous. “How do you figure?” he adds, flapping hands between them again.

“She could have killed us,” Allison points out a little too reasonably. “I mean, this just… it feels more like an annoying prank.” Allison’s nose scrunches up in that way it does when something she’s thinking about confuses her. On Allison's face it looks adorable but on Stiles' face it looks like he's a confused hamster.

Allison looks back at him and that's an expression he recognizes.

"Do we have to tell them?" Stiles whines as Allison grabs him by the elbow and starts towing him back towards the jeep.

"C'mon, it's better if we do it like we're ripping off a band-aid. Get it over with as soon as possible."

"I hate their judgey faces when they're judging us."

"Maybe they'll see the funny side?" Allison says, but by her tone, she doesn't believe it either.

"We could try and figure it out ourselves? Go see if we can find where the witch flew off to?"

"She drove away. In a nineteen-ninety-six orange Citreon. While flipping us the bird."

"It sounds better to say she flew."

"I'm telling the guys then, am I?" Allison asks, sounding resigned.

"Probably for the best, yeah."

*

The witch, it turns out, is evil.

At least, according to Stiles after he and Allison both try to explain what happened and nothing comes out. Derek and Scott just watch them as they first try telling it verbally, writing it down and then acting it out and nothing comes across. All that they actually get out of their antics is-

"You went to see the witch, by yourselves," Derek says flatly with Derek's judgiest of all judgy faces.

"You're lucky nothing happened," Scott agrees, reaching for Stiles, who bats him away automatically like he usually does when Scott tries to pat him down after a fight and then, between Scott's wounded look and Allison's glare, accepts the hug that Scott actually meant to bestow on his girlfriend which technically Stiles is right now.

Derek's looking between them like he's still dubious about that, bless his little werewolf cotton socks, but then apparently he decides not to be the most paranoid guy in the room for once and huffs, "Sure, I guess."

"This is the actual worst," Stiles moans when they retreat to Derek's kitchen to regroup as the others come in noisily for the pack meeting. Lydia comes over to give him a hug and he very nearly ninja-chops her out of surprise. She then flicks Allison on the forehead which makes her pull the most hilariously stunned face. Stiles thinks the whole thing might have actually been worth it just for that.

Almost.

"We're going to need to figure this out on our own," Allison decides with her resolute expression on, which again, not as effective as when Allison is actually wearing it on her own face.

Stiles wonders if he really looks that constipated all the time.

"Deaton?" Stiles proposes.

"We won't be able to tell him."

"We might. He's not exactly normal. Even if we can't though, he has books about this stuff. We can just ask to borrow, like, all of them."

"All of his books?"

"Well, unless he has one titled Body-Swapping For Dummies."

"So, what, now?" Allison asks, looking back at their friends. Isaac and Boyd are fighting over couch-space while Lydia has settled in the large wing-back chair, obviously leaving room next to her for Allison to sit. Scott is snapping at Isaac and Boyd to cool it, while simultaneously thwarting Erica's attempts to fluff his hair. Derek is looking at Allison and Stiles, eyebrows pulled down but obviously unable to hear them over the noise Isaac and Boyd are making. "We can't exactly sneak out. We'll go after the meeting."

"Seriously, the worst," Stiles gripes and then heads back into the main room, being redirected by Allison towards Lydia when he goes to sit on the floor near Derek which is his usual spot. When he settles, Lydia leans into him and asks, "Everything okay? You seem... weird."

Stiles wants to say no, he's not okay, not while he doesn't know how to fix this. He loves Allison but he doesn't want to be trapped in her body, unable to tell anyone about it.

"Yeah, I'm good," is what his traitorous mouth says instead of all of that.

"Hmm," Lydia lets out, eyes narrowed.

*

It hits them, when the pack meeting breaks up too late for them to have a reasonable excuse to visit Deaton, that they are going to have to go home.

To each other's homes.

"Your dad is going to kill me," Stiles hisses at Allison as they watch the others saying their goodbyes. "He's going to somehow just know there's a teenage boy inside his precious daughter and he's going to find a way to yank me out by my spine and then stomp on it."

"Interesting visual," Allison muses. "You don't have anything to worry about. Dad finding out would be a good thing. He could probably help. You should hear some of the stories about curses he's gone through."

"Why don't you just go to your home then and I'll go to mine-"

"I'd say probably because you don't want your body to die while you're out of it," Allison interrupts, rolling her eyes.

"Okay, fair enough. Be nice to my dad, okay?"

Allison just looks at him. "Stiles, I'm always nice to your dad, without being involved in a wacky magical switcheroo. It won't be hard for me to pull this off. I'm more worried about you."

Stiles sighs heavily and rubs over his face. "Yeah, me too," he agrees.

*

The Argent house is pretty normal on the surface. Its layout is actually almost identical to Scott's house although at Scott's the basement is full of dusty boxes that won't fit in the attic and a small alcove for the washer and dryer whereas Allison's basement is full of bad memories and the ghost of Gerard Argent.

Stiles will definitely not be taking any jaunts into that particular space.

Chris Argent is always on alert around Stiles, back ramrod straight and eyes piercing, waiting for something to happen. It'll be more than a little weird to see the Chris Argent Allison sees, not on high alert, just her dad. Stiles uses the front door key, passes through the front hall and follows the sound of off-key singing to find Chris Argent putting together a sandwich.

"Oh, hey honey," Chris says easily, eyes crinkling. "Did you have a good day?"

"Uh, yes?" Stiles says, and winces because it sounds more like a question than a response to one. "I mean yeah, it was... cool."

"Cool, huh? What did you do?"

"Just hung out."

"With Scott?" Chris asks and the tightening in his face is a lot more familiar to Stiles and lets him relax a little. Seeing Chris any other way was too frightening.

"No, um, Stiles," he offers and Chris' expression changes, but not by much. The wary vigilance is replaced by a kind of resigned annoyance. "We went on a stakeout of a w-uh...uhn...uh."

Dammit, he thought if he'd just barreled through he might have been able to get it out.

"A what?" Chris asks, his whole attention now diverted to Stiles. He's still holding the knife he used to cut his sandwich in half and it's not doing Stiles' calm any good watching the way he flips it casually.

"A new, uh, burger place? I was being funny but then I realized it wasn't funny halfway through and I kind of bailed out of the joke."

"Uhuh," Chris says, not looking convinced. Stiles stares at him really hard, like maybe he can make Chris see right through Allison's face and into the Stiles underneath. He's a canny guy and he's been around the supernatural a lot so he must be able to-

"Are you feeling okay? You look like you might have a little... tummy trouble?"

Great, now apparently Stiles' expression of constipation has infected Allison's face.

"No, I'm fine," he says, trying for breezy and probably missing by a mile. "I am a little tired though. Might head up to bed."

"Okay," Chris agrees, one eyebrow quirked and he gestures at Stiles. For a second he doesn't know what Chris wants but then it hits him.

Oh God.

"Um, right," Stiles says, bracing himself and he does the most terrifying thing he's ever done in his life.

He leans over and kisses Chris Argent on the cheek.

Stiles hopes his retreat to Allison's room after that is more dignified than it felt. As soon as he's there, he shoots off a quick text to his own phone and then hunts around until he finds Allison's laptop and boots it up. A few moments later the jingle of an incoming Skype call sounds and then he's staring at his own face which, weird.

"I don't think I can do this," Stiles says in a rush.

Allison frowns at him. "What happened?"

"I had to kiss your dad," Stiles says, throwing his hands up.

"So? I had to hug yours."

"That's nice though. Nothing beats a Stilinski hug for quality and value. Kissing Chris Argent is like, y'know that part in the second Mummy movie where the guy sticks his hand in the statue and it comes out all gross and skeletal?"

"Kissing my dad is not like getting your flesh melted off, Stiles," Allison berates him, but she's also laughing, which is good.

"Alright, then like Indiana Jones falling into a pit of snakes."

"I'm sure it was fine. You didn't do anything weird, did you?"

"Not that I know of, but do you trust my measure of weird?"

"Good point," Allison says and then Stiles sees that Scott is also trying to Skype call him, or Allison more accurately.

"Oh, god, you guys don't have, like, Skype sex before bed do you?" Stiles asks after he tells Allison who it is, pulling a face.

"No, Stiles," Allison groans, rolling her eyes. "We just like to say goodnight."

"Ugh, it's going to be gross, isn't it?"

"He's your best friend and you guys are grosser than us. I think you say I love you to each other more than he and I ever have."

"Okay, but I'm not, like, kissing the screen or holding my hand up to his or whatever."

"We just Skype goodnight. We're not visiting each other in prison," Allison says and hangs up, which, rude.

After his call with Scott, Stiles sighs, rolls over and frowns at the bathroom he can see from his position. The wolves are all pretty casual with the nudity thing but a. neither he nor Allison are wolves and b. he feels like he'd be crossing a line taking Allison's body into the shower without consent.

He shoots off another quick text, waits impatiently for about thirty seconds for the reply and then breathes a sigh of relief when Allison texts back that he's good to go and adds a little winky face and a thanks for checking. Stiles replies with similar permission, but manages to shower with no lights on and his eyes closed anyway just because he'd still feel like a jerk otherwise.

*

Despite Allison's misgivings, Stiles still just expects to be able to tell Deaton what happened, or for him to mystically just know. Instead, he looks perplexed at their presence without Scott and without imminent danger.

"Do you have any books on witch curses?" Stiles asks and does a little mental fist-bump that the witch's spell or whatever let them get out that much.

"Several," Deaton acknowledges but then just continues to stare at them.

"Can we borrow them?" Allison asks for him before Stiles can explode out of pure frustration.

"They're at my house and I would prefer they stay there. Can you tell me what your interest is?"

Stiles opens his mouth, closes it, opens it and closes it again and then settles on a direct, non-nonsense, very Deaton-like, "No."

Deaton just nods at that which, odd. "I'll be home tomorrow during the day. You can come and have a look then. You can probably imagine I'm not about to lend a few tomes on curses to two teenagers unsupervised. Especially if they can't tell me why they need them."

Allison, probably suspecting that this is about as good as it's going to get, tugs Stiles out of the vet's clinic before he can say something that will mean they don't even get that much.

"I am so frustrated," Stiles snarls as they head back to his jeep.

"I like that outfit, by the way. I forgot I had that jacket," Allison says, touching his elbow.

"Yeah, I think this was what you were wearing the first day we met you," Stiles muses. "Thought I should stick with something familiar."

"You remember what I was wearing the first day we met?" Allison asks, looking surprised.

"Sure. I mean, I have eyeballs and also I had to listen to Scott wax poetic about it for like, three months."

"You're exaggerating," Allison snorts, but she's also blushing which means Stiles' face is blushing which makes him look like a particularly pale person just in from a winter's night.

"I am very, very glad of all the people I could have body-swapped, I swapped with you. You're probably the least traumatic person this could have happened with."

"Thanks, I think?" Allison manages, still blushing. "You wouldn't have preferred Lydia?"

"I would have fallen off her shoes in the first three minutes and died a horrible death," Stiles says, grimacing. He holds up one of Allison's feet, clad in a very comfortable boot and gives it a thumb's up.

"I'm sure Lydia has flat shoes."

"Y'know, this probably would have been over by now if I had swapped with her, because I think her only flat shoes are a pair of trainers and if Lydia Martin were seen outdoors in a kicky skirt and trainers, everyone would have known something was afoot."

Allison groans at Stiles' bad pun and punches him in the arm.

"Ow! You're only hurting yourself y'know!"

*

Stiles had hoped for a quiet day, he and Allison hiding out and waiting to hit Deaton's later, but Derek had messaged to let them know the witch had been spotted and he wanted eyes on her that night to make sure she wasn't up to something.

Stiles and Allison meet up with him and Derek admirably restrains his surprise at seeing Allison tagging along.

It’s weird having Derek’s frowny face directed at someone other than him. He’s so used to completely absorbing Derek’s attention that having it directed at someone else, even if that someone else is still technically him, is a little off putting.

“Stakeout. Yeah, sounds like a great plan,” Stiles says after Derek lays out what he wants and Derek jerks a little when his attention switches over, like he wasn’t expecting to hear anything out of Allison, which he probably wasn’t.

“Oh, I mean, you want to come… to?” Derek asks, looking a little thrown. Allison elbows him gently in the side. He figures it’s only gentle out of deference to her own body rather than trying not to hurt him.

Stiles really means to say no. He really does. What his traitorous mouth says instead is, “Of course. Uh, Scott can come too. Double-date, woo.”

The elbow in his ribs is not gentle this time.

“Perhaps you and Scott should just go to the movies like you were planning,” Allison says through slightly gritted teeth.

“And leave all the exciting witch-watching to you and Derek? P’shaw,” Stiles snorts, waving a little and Allison catches one of his flailing wrists and tugs him away from Derek, a little too forcefully because he stumbles into her back. Derek watches them go with a perplexed expression and even goes so far as to scratch his head at their antics. Allison tugs him all the way over to the bathrooms and obviously means to keep on towing him right into the girls’ side but he stops short.

“Uh, no,” he says, indicating the shadow-woman on the door and Allison rolls her eyes and redirects, instead pulling him around the corner.

“What is wrong with you?” she hisses when they’re out of Derek’s sight line. Stiles isn’t one hundred percent sure that means they’re out of hearing range but they’ll know for certain if they start trying to talk about the swap and can’t. Stiles assumes the witch’s magic will be canny enough to allow for werewolf hearing.

“I don’t know,” Stiles whines, digging hands through his hair and one of them gets stuck because he keeps forgetting about the extra. He yanks at it and Allison pulls a face like it’s actually hurting her and reaches out to gently untangle him. “I just… he’s…”

“Yours?” she prompts gently.

“What? No!” Stiles splutters, feeling his whole face get hot and knowing he’s blushing. Allison is a particularly pretty blusher but that doesn’t make him feel any better about it right at that moment.

“We agreed to act normally until we could figure this out since we can’t tell anyone,” Allison points out reasonably.

“This is me acting normally,” Stiles argues.

“You need to act my normally, not yours.”

“Ugh, I guess I’ll go shoot a squirrel through the eye with my bow and arrow from a mile away, then.”

“I do not shoot squirrels,” Allison says, sounding horrified.

“Oh my god, I didn’t mean you actually shoot squirrels. I have no idea what’s normal for you, is my point.”

“We’ve been friends for ages. How would you not know?”

“If you haven’t noticed, I’m pretty self-absorbed.”

“That is completely untrue,” Allison argues. “You notice things about people, things no one else does. You knew Matt was a creeper before anyone else, you called Lydia on her bullshit airhead routine and you knew Scott was way smarter than even he gave himself credit for.”

“Okay, yeah, but those things were obvious. You’re like an enigma wrapped in a mystery.”

“I’m not that complex,” Allison denies.

“You are the most complex person I know.”

“What about Derek?”

Stiles snorts indelicately. “Derek? He’s easy. He’s just a marshmallow disguised under layers of angst and bravado. Half the time he doesn’t know what he’s doing and he’s terrified we’ll see it and call him on it. The other half is worry about being left again.”

“You know all that about him but then there’s one giant, glaring, neon thing that you’re completely missing.”

“What-?” Stiles starts to ask but that’s when Derek pokes his head around the corner, pointing his just what the hell do you think you’re doing Stiles glare at both of them, which is oddly fitting considering the circumstances.

“Are we just going to wait for the witch to die of old age instead?” he asks dryly.

"Is that an option?" Stiles asks and this time Derek does actually physically jerk. Please figure out something is going on, Stiles tries his hardest to mentally beam directly into Derek's brain but it doesn't seem to work because the next thing Derek says is, "Well, okay. Pick you up at eight? Uh... both of you... and Scott?"

"Sounds like a plan," Stiles agrees, giving two hearty thumb's up and now Derek is openly gaping at him. When he leaves, Allison rounds on Stiles.

"What are you doing?"

"Maybe, hear me out," Stiles says. "Maybe, trying to act normal is not the thing we need to do right now. Maybe if I act like me, the real me, and you act like the real you, these boneheads will figure it out for themselves. If they ask us direct questions, I'm sure we'll be able to, like, nod or something."

"That... isn't the worst idea in the world," Allison acknowledges.

"So, Operation Mentally Scar Derek And Scott For The Rest Of Their Lives is a go?"

"Y'know, I thought maybe being in your head would give me some insight into how your brain works but apparently not. I'm still stunned."

"I'm going to take that as a compliment."

*

Derek always insists on driving everywhere so he ends up being car-pool dad for their little jaunt that night. Since Allison technically lives closer to Derek than anyone else, Stiles gets some bonus alone time with him to really get the old bizarro ball rolling. It helps that Stiles trips on the way down the front porch steps of the Argent house and nearly cracks Allison's head open on a short, decorative imitation lamp post that Stiles is pretty sure doubles as a proximity alarm since, y'know, Argents.

By the time Stiles makes it into the Camaro, Derek is staring. "Are you... okay?" he asks slowly.

"Sure, peachy keen, jelly bean," Stiles replies, claps his hands and says, "Onward Jeeves!"

Derek's eyebrows climb almost into his hairline and it looks like he's about to say something. Stiles wants Derek to see him underneath the Allison mask he's currently wearing, but Derek purses his lips and faces forward again. "Seat-belt," he orders gruffly.

Stiles slumps into his seat and moodily yanks his seat-belt into place.

Allison is the next pick-up and she does an admirable job of being as Allison as she can be while wearing his skin. Stiles has never seen himself being graceful and it's interesting to watch. Allison has always had something of a predator about her while Stiles is pretty sure he's got fluffy bunny written all over him so he's not sure why the wolves can't see straight through the magic.

Being in someone else does give him the unique opportunity to watch Derek watch him though and when Allison's waving at them and jogging lightly down the Stilinski steps, Derek's expression is as pinched as ever but as soon as she's distracted, pausing at the bottom of the steps to check her pockets, probably for keys, it shifts.

The change is subtle, a barely there fleeting thing but Stiles is nothing if not a close study of Derek Hale's face for reasons he will never admit to anyone and Stiles has seen the expression Derek is wearing now. It's a kind of careful affection and he only ever looks that way when talking about his family, about pack, or looking at Cora. The furrow of his eyebrows is a little different though, like the affection is being pulled from him, unwilling.

Stiles must make a weird noise, because Derek's attention shifts back to him. Stiles quickly makes a show of looking through his purse, girl's pockets are ridiculously small so he has to carry a purse now, and keeps his head buried until he can't feel the burn of Derek's attention anymore.

The moment's broken when Allison reaches them, smiling and jovial. Derek watches them mutely as Stiles jumps out only long enough to pull the front seat forward for Allison to scoot into the back before Stiles throws himself into his original seat, as entitled as always. Derek's staring again and Stiles thinks maybe now Derek will say something because he and Allison couldn't be any more obvious than if they were waving cardboard signs.

Derek merely folds his lips together and busies himself with putting the car in gear.

Stiles makes a frustrated grimace at Allison in the rear view mirror.

*

Stiles is seriously thinking about abandoning the plan because he's never been able to resist Scott's epic puppy face and every time he deflects Scott's attempts to be affectionate Scott's eyes just get bigger and sadder.

He's about thirty seconds away from tugging Allison out of the car so they can re-think their strategy when Derek makes a guttural noise of pure frustration and flings himself out of the car. Scott, he and Allison watch Derek pace around the car, stalking stiff-legged like an out of sorts cat before he yanks the passenger side door open and yells, "Everyone out!"

"I thought the whole point of a stakeout was not to draw attention to ourselves?" Stiles says and watches with interest as Derek very obviously fights the urge to yank him bodily out of the car. Derek never voluntarily touches Allison. Their relationship is not as abrasive as it used to be, they've come a long way, but there's still a few barriers they won't cross with each other, and being physical is one of them. Stiles is sure they'll get there some day, but he's never been as conscious of it as he has since the witch curse. He'd never realized how used to Derek's casual touches he'd become, how accustomed to touching Derek he was until he'd had to physically restrain himself.

When everyone's standing in a loose semi-circle in front of Derek, Scott perplexed and Stiles and Allison probably looking guilty, Derek levels an accusing finger first at Allison and then Stiles. "Just what the hell is going on?" he demands.

Stiles wants to scream in frustration. "Please figure it out because I don't know how much longer I can take this!" he yells back instead, then says to Allison, "No offense."

"Oh no, right there with you," she agrees.

"What's happening right now?" Scott asks, rubbing his forehead.

"These two are being really weird," Derek says, at a loss how better to explain it apparently which, fair. "Allison's being super chatty and Stiles is being quiet. It's freaking me out."

"You're freaking me out," Scott says, frowning at Derek.

"Plus Allison wanted to come to the stakeout and that's the only time I get to..." Derek blinks and shuts his mouth, like he said something he really didn't mean to, or was about to. Stiles watches Derek working it through, fascinated. It becomes a hundred times more awesome when he realizes Derek is actually blushing. "C'mon Scott, surely you've noticed this isn't normal, even for them?"

"Hey!" Both Stiles and Allison protest in unison.

"I mean, yeah. I just figured maybe Allison had been having doubts about us again," Scott says into his chest.

"Oh no, baby, of course not!" Allison says and takes his hand and then Scott and Derek are really staring, because of course it's actually Stiles holding Scott's hand.

"Oh my god," Derek says and smacks a palm over his face. "The witch did do something to you."

"Of course she did," Stiles says, then thinks fuck it and stomps across the road to the witch's house, cups his hands around his mouth and yells, "Hey Broomhilda! We get it! If you lift this curse, we swear we'll leave you alone!"

There's this kind of popping sensation, a smell like ozone and burnt hair in the air and then Stiles is suddenly standing next to Scott, still holding his hand. He drops it, holds his hands in front of his face and then whoops in joy when he sees his own familiar, bony digits. He looks over at Allison who kind of stumbles a little when she turns around, but it's also Allison and he's beaming at her by the time she scampers back across the street to their little circle.

"I can't believe that worked!" she says as she and Stiles jump about each other in glee.

"Okay, now they're both kinda the same person. Is this better?" Scott asks, scrunching up his face.

"I hope you meant it," the witch says. She's standing next to the Camaro, leaning a hip casually against it and Stiles sees Derek's nostrils flare and grabs his elbow before Derek can ruin everything. "I didn't have to lift the curse. It's pretty insulting when everyone assumes you're evil."

"We didn't assume you were evil," Stiles lies and then, "Okay, so maybe we did, but only a little. That's why we were checking you out the other day instead of lobbing molotovs at your house from a distance."

"I'm assuming you've had people think werewolves are all evil. How does that feel?"

"Okay, well, yeah, pretty shitty and sometimes almost lethal," Stiles admits. "To be fair, all the witches we've come up against have been evil."

"How many witches have you come up against?" the witch asks, narrowing her eyes at them.

Stiles makes a show of counting it out on his hands before he grimaces and says, "Uh, one."

"Well, that's one more than I thought considering you came at me with absolutely no protection, or any kind of plan."

Stiles shrinks away from Derek's knowing glare. He just can picture the told you so that is written all over Derek's annoying, wolfy face.

"So, not evil then? Good to know," Stiles says, giving the witch a double-thumb's up.

"Uhuh," the witch grunts with a raised eyebrow and then saunters back over to her house, gives them a little waggle of her fingers and then pointedly slams her door on them.

"We," Allison announces, "-are going to get the bus back."

"What? Why?" Scott protests, but doesn't fight it as Allison starts dragging him away.

"So, I think we can agree that this was a learning experience for everyone?" Stiles tries, not very confidently. He wants the werewolves to start treating him like he can take care of himself and not be so coddled, but getting cursed by a witch is not the way to go about it. Allison was also right the first time, it could've ended up much worse if the witch had come down on more of the murdery side of the spectrum. "I really want to know what she means by protection. Do you think she'll-"

Stiles doesn't even realize he's started towards the witch's house again until he feels Derek grab the back of his hoodie, stopping him in his tracks. "Let's leave the good witch alone while she's still a good witch, hmm?" Derek grits out through his teeth.

"Right, possibly not the best idea to bug her right now. She's probably on Facebook."

"Just get in the car. I need this day to end, like, right now," Derek says, sounding pained.

"Okay, geez," Stiles says, throwing his hands up in surrender. Before he gets in, he pauses with the passenger side door open and adds, "Hey, what were you going to say before?"

"Before what?"

"Y'know, you didn't want Allison and Scott here because it was your only opportunity to do... something? I'm assuming it's your only opportunity to make fun of me with no witnesses. It couldn't be your only opportunity for quiet time because, well, that's impossible when I'm around, right?"

"Don't do that," Derek says. Stiles, who had his hands on the Camaro, takes them off hurriedly. "No, not that. I mean, don't talk about yourself like you're some kind of annoyance."

"I am though, right? Pack third wheel, deadwood, hanger-on, spare-"

"Stiles!" Derek barks and Stiles stops talking so fast his teeth click together. "You're none of those things. You're... essential."

"Why do you always act like I bug you?" Stiles asks, narrowing his eyes.

"Because I don't..." Derek makes frustrated pin-wheels with his arms. "I didn't want you to know."

"Know what?"

"How much you don't bug me, okay?"

"That's cool. You can tolerate my presence. Nice to know."

"Ugh, you're not listening to me," Derek says and rounds the car, stalking towards Stiles in such a determined way that Stiles actually backs up a few steps. He trips over his feet, because of course he does and Derek catches him before he can fall.

Because of course he does.

Stiles still doesn't quite realize what's happening until Derek has tugged him in, holding him close and wrapping one of the strings of Stiles' hoodie around a fist. Right before Derek kisses him, because oh my god, Derek Hale is going to kiss him, Derek tilts his head and says, "That is you in there, right?"

"Grade-A Stilinski," Stiles says and when Derek rolls his eyes, adds hurriedly, "Please don't change your mind about kissing me."

"At this point, that's pretty much impossible," Derek sighs, but he's also smiling and then he's kissing Stiles and that is possibly the best and most unexpected thing to happen to Stiles in a long time, including the body swapping.