May 8th, 2019
The Kingsley-Hall Benefit Dinner
Rubard's Steakhouse, Beacon Hills California
“Jared fucking Keane.” Derek slams the door to the coatroom shut behind him, effectively closing Stiles in. It's the two of them, alone. The moment he's dreaded since first seeing Stiles from afar in Laura's office three weeks ago. They may be in public. They may be at a charity event, but this, this cannot stand. He stares at the omega, speaking his first words to his ex-mate for the first time in five years.
“Mason fucking Dorf,” Stiles answers back, turning to face Derek, looking up at the alpha imperiously.
“Don’t change the subject!” Derek says, his eyes flashing. “I know what this is about. I know why you’re here. I know why Laura hauled you out from wherever you came from, you don’t think I can’t see what is going?”
“And what do you think is going on?” Stiles folds his arms, looking almost bored. Infuriating Derek as only Stiles can.
“I’m not taking the fall, Stiles.” Derek snarls. “Not this time.”
“You repudiated me.” Stiles raises one eyebrow.
“And I took the loss—”
“Now you even buy your own bullshit.” Stiles says, shaking his head, “Unbelievable.”
“What did you say?” Derek can’t quite believe what he’s hearing.
“I said, I hate you,” Stiles says this louder, the familiar edge back in his voice.
“Well, I should hate you.” Derek slams his fist against the door, nearly causing the heavy oak to splinter.
“As if you don’t.” Stiles spits this.
“Jared fucking Keane.” Derek shakes his head. “I bet my sister was only too happy to deliver you like a wrapped Christmas gift to him. I bet he shit his pants when she told him she can get my ex--”
“Oh no Derek, they couldn’t possibly have hired me because I’m a decent researcher.” Stiles snarls this.
“Now who is buying his own bullshit?” Derek shouts, “They hired you because you’re a skeleton in my closet and they think they can parade the poor repudiated omega in front of the liberal media and assassinate my character.”
“Even if that was the plan, that wouldn’t work and if you have half a working brain, you’d know that already. I’m just another repudiated omega, Derek. It’s always the omega’s fault. I got myself repudiated. It’s your story over mine. Who’d believe me?” Stiles folds his arms, the tauntingly bored expression back on the omega’s face.
“My sister apparently. My mother. My little sister. All of our fucking friends.”
“Don’t give me that.”
“Your family’s beef with you has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Dorf. Don’t fucking lay this at my feet.” Stiles shakes his head in disgust. “We both know the truth.”
“And I suppose that’s what you’ve told him?”
“Keane.” Derek spits, feeling his blood racing just beneath his skin, seeing the beta’s face as he looked at Stiles in front of the press. “I’m sure you told him the truth, Stiles.”
Stiles stares at Derek for a moment, his face infuriatingly impossible to read. “Everything he knows about…” the omega pauses, obviously choosing his words, “about the past is a matter of public record.”
“You think so?” Derek snarls, leaning over, closer to the omega now, barely even realizing how close he’s getting to Stiles.
“Look,” Stiles’ face is starting to flush in anger now. “Keane isn’t going to make this election about us. I told you—it’s a losing strategy and it’s not why I’m here.”
“You can’t be this stupid,” Derek says. “In fact--I know you’re not. Deny it to my face all you want, Stiles. Fuck. Deny it to yourself, but if you don’t think he doesn’t plan on parading you in front of the media— my ex? He’s going to make it seem like he took you from me. He- a beta, took my omega from me. He’s deliberately calling my alpha-ness into question. And there are idiots out there who will believe him. As if that fucking pedestrian-ass, middle-class-suck-up beta could ever come close to a real alpha-“
Stiles’ cold, humorless laugh cuts Derek’s growling tirade off. “That’s what you’re afraid of? I told you, Derek, this is not about me. If he made it about me, he’d lose. All you’d have to do is tell your base he’s taken your leftovers and that makes him half the man you are. Those chauvinistic idiots who vote for you would eat that shit up. Jesus, what’s wrong with you?” Stiles shakes his head. “You. Repudiated. Me. Remember? That’s all they need to hear.”
Derek stares at the omega for a moment before shaking his head and growling, “You look fucking terrible. What does he have you doing? Up all night working? Does he even know how unhealthy that is for an omega?”
“He’s a beta,” Stiles scoffs. “He’s not in charge of when I sleep. Nobody is.” Stiles nods, almost reassuring himself. “And nobody should be.”
“Do you even know how you smell, right now?” Derek snarls bitterly. He leans forward, inhaling that hateful, alien new scent of Stiles’. “Iron. Lead. The barest hint of bile.” He leans in a mere breath away from the omega’s ear. “You think I don’t know what that means? You think I don’t remember.” Against his will, Derek hears his voice catch. “How could he? If he gave a fuck about you, how could he let you-“
Stiles looks up at Derek and his eyes are steely now. “It’s not his choice. I’m not his.”
“Does he know?” Derek doesn’t look away despite the hostility in the omega’s eyes. “How could he let you if he knew-“ He reaches out and cups his hand to Stiles’ neck, feeling the omega’s thread pulse under his fingers. The omega’s skin feels soft and clammy under his touch as if it’s sickening for something. He leans down and whispers, his voice suddenly thick. “You smell so tired, Stiles. I should put you on your knees right now.”
Immediately the omega jerks back as if he’s been burned. “Are we done here?” He isn’t looking at Derek, but his face is insolent and sullen all of a sudden.
“No.” Derek’s voice is solid. He reaches out and grasps the omega’s forearm.
“Let me go.” Stiles’ voice is cold and rigid as ice now.
“If you know what’s good for you, you will let me go-“ Stiles’ seethes.
“What if I don’t fucking care-“ Derek tries to pull the omega closer, all of a sudden furious again.
“Derek-“ Stiles’ voice has suddenly changed. It’s somehow infinitely softer now, almost sad, as if all of his anger has suddenly evaporated, leaving the omega exhausted. “If you know what’s good for me you will let me go.”
“This isn’t over. Not by a long shot.” Derek still isn’t letting go.
“Yes. It is.” Stiles says.
“We’re not done.” Derek insists.
“Have you let yourself go that far, Derek?” Stiles shakes his head at Derek’s uncomprehending look. “Talk about a real alpha.” Stile snorts his anger suddenly back, rolling his eyes in over-exaggerated mockery, angry and looking to wound.
“Give me one fucking reason I should let you walk out that door, Stiles.”
“Lydia is standing right outside listening to every word.” Stiles shakes his head in disgust, turning to open the coat room door. “You didn’t even notice.”
Derek is right on Stiles heels as the omega shoulders the door open and he and Stiles nearly trip into Lydia as they fall into the hallway. Lydia has obviously been standing entirely too close to the coatroom door.
Immediately the tiny alpha bares her blinding white teeth at Derek, yanking Stiles behind her protectively.
“You,” She says to Stiles, not breaking her death glare with Derek, “Jared’s car is around front. He’s waiting for you.”
The omega turns without a second look towards Derek and heads towards the door to the restaurant and the press which is doubtlessly waiting for them beyond it.
The moment the other alpha senses Stiles is out of earshot she grabs Derek by the lapels and snarls in his face, “You come near him again, and I promise you’ll regret it.”
Derek pushes the other alpha off roughly. “Finally, something we can both agree on.”