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The Shadow's Heart

Chapter Text

Nobody heard them coming. Nobody ever had or would. They, were the ghosts of the world. Not the ones who played hide and seek, in the old world photos taken by housewives, trying to distract themselves from their crumbling marriages or unsatisfying lives. Or the unique holo-pixel formations that might appear in a holostill, captured by the local evo-supernatural club. No, these ghosts were the ones who truly scared the masses because they hid in the fears of those who disobeyed the order. These ghosts were the ones who weren’t always there, lurking in shadows but had one day been introduced to the world on the heels of their first victims and became the shadows themselves. These ghosts celebrated their coming out party, the same night the world scrambled to sort out the supernatural/human coexistence project. These ghosts, were the unbeatable, undetectable and positively lethal, evolution of the hunter. These ghosts were the Shadow Law strike forces.

Seven figures crouched low on the glass roof like spiders, lying in wait in their webs poised to strike. They moved effortlessly as quick, as easy and as silent as the shadows they were named for. Staying in position, not one person moved a hair out of place, a testament to their extensive and grueling training. Stiles, in the middle of them all, peered through the glass, a watchful leader, alert and unrelenting in his dedication to flawless execution of a mission.

The warehouse below was cold. Derek could feel the draft filtering in from some broken window or cracked wall, and caressing his supernaturally heated skin. It didn’t bother him, his kind often ran hotter than most regular temperature drops could affect. The space was dimly lit around him, by several small overhead lights hanging from loose wires, but he saw with perfect vision. Not failing to scope out every obstacle, every idle piece of broken crate or abandoned, half built, mechanical structure erected against a wall or left in his way. Not failing to identify access points and exits, vents and overhead panels that would provide both entry and extraction in the event of unexpected dangers. He moved fluid and graceful like a dancer and all he did was walk. Power emanated from every single pore, ever so controlled, ever so unsuspecting. Yet, anyone who would lay their eyes on the man, the werewolf, would know that certainly, he was not one to trifle with and survive, if the neo-laws allowed it.

As he continued to walk through the warehouse, nearly gliding above the floor rather than actually walking, his hand came up to trace, with feather light touches, the band of genether around his neck hidden by the high collar of his black silkev shirt. The strip fit snugly about him like a choker. It sometimes appeared thick, though at a second glance, one noticed it seemed to almost adhere to the man like a second skin, any possible layers barely visible. It was black but the outer edges matched Derek’s skin tone perfectly and if you really looked closely, you would see what appeared to be hundreds of tiny veins connecting Derek’s flesh to the genether tag.

Abruptly, he stopped, his head straightening forward, his eyes narrowing so that he peered deeply into the dark shadows. It seemed like a moment ago there was nothing there and the next there was. The more he stared the more the figure seemed to take form. This looks like a… he began transmitting his thoughts over the unit link established among every member of a shadow law strike team. A special development brought to life from D.R.U.I.D.E. or Devolpment Research and Unabated Interventional Divison of Engineering, for all intents and purposes their department of research and development. D.R.U.I.D.E. was responsible for developing everything from weaponry to defense equipment utilizing intelligence on the supernatural and supernatural citizens, in order to create effective equipment. The unit link chip they had created, was injected into the brains of shadow law unit members and once connected, could allow the transmission and receipt of thoughts from one or more persons to the next.

Spacial shifter, Stiles responded. This is it people, initiate camouflage now. All the members of the unit reached to their utility belts, tapping the center piece twice, the action releasing the circular metal tab covering a small black button which they all pushed in. Instantaneously, a pulse emitted from the device there. A wave rippled from it outwardly and over their bodies. It looked like millions of tiny pixels flashing over their clothing and exposed flesh until it was at the tips of their fingers, ends of their hair and boots. Suddenly they all faded until they simply disappeared altogether.

“State your business friend.” A hoarse voice called out from the shadows where the figure had formed. The man that spoke stepped a few times toward Derek but not completely into the sparse light of the warehouse.

“Just walking around hoping to find like-minded people,” Derek responded casually.

“Like-minded people are wary of those who come unbidden. It’s hard to trust these days,” the scratchy throat answered, tentatively, reluctantly, as though he were assessing. “What’s that thing they say about the heart of darkness?”

“Stare into the abyss long enough, and the abyss starts back at you.” Derek recited the security response to the man’s question confidently. One could never be absolutely certain about intelligence obtained under duress, and with little time to verify they were running a risk. Nothing ever gained though, especially in their line of business, ever came without serious risk. When the other man continued regarding him, unmoving yet, unthreatening he took the chance, his eyes flashing a gleaming amber, his wolf’s eyes, his access card.

The man finally took the remaining steps out of the shadows and lifted a hand. Several men formed out of nothing the same way he had in the shadows. All of them walked into the light as their eyes all flashed including the one who had come first. “Frederick Groude, welcome to the rebellion.”

That’s our man, Stiles transmitted. Time to take the plunge people. The young shadow reached around to the back of his waist where a black, small hilt stuck free from a sheath fastened there. It appeared to be a design of plastanium, a hybrid, malleable metal, that could be cybernetically enhanced and programmed to shift its shape and form, through either control buttons on the hilt or by utilizing an experimental upgrade, that linked to the mind chip and thus received commands directly from the brain. There was a roping design of grooves thatspiraled out diagonally from one end of the hilt to the other. Long, slender fingers wrapped around the hilt quickly, and controlled, effortlessly and comfortable like it had a hundred thousand times before. Stiles pulled on it and a short thin blade slid free. His hand barely lifted above his head from where he crouched, before he thrust downward between his parted legs, to the right of his splayed fingers on his left hand. The metal pierced the glass as smoothly as if it had gone through water.

As soon as the blade made contact with the glass sliding in until it was half way deep, the other six persons with him followed suit. Their actions just as graceful, their strike just as neat. Is he gonna say it? A husky feminine voice asked, the words echoing in all their heads.

Please don’t, another pleaded this time a man with a high alto tone, the words affected by some rough European accent.

Avengers assemble, Stiles chimed smiling privately, his voice laced with his humor as it echoed in all their heads. As he spoke the words mentally, he along with all the other members of his unit turned their blades swift and harsh. The action sent ripples of cracks weaving a spider’s web of perfect imperfection throughout the panes they were crouching on. Suddenly they all stood to their feet and the disturbance was enough to break the glass beneath them.

As glass shattered and fell, raining down like a glittering storm of falling stars, as the pieces caught and reflected lights on their way down, the seven agents the ceiling previously held were released.Their bodies shimmered into existence. Several figures bathed in shadow appeared where there was once nothing but falling glass. They were like dark angels on their descent, their stances wide, knees slightly bent, bodies coiled and ready, braced for impact, long-coats, on those wore them, rippling out and upward in the slipstream of their bodies’ downward trajectory.

Stiles and a female agent donned the long, sleek, black coats, made of silkev, a smooth and sleek fabric which protected from extreme temperatures as well as a range of arms fire. They all wore variations of a similar bodysuits made of the same silkev fabric. Stiles, as well as most of the team, wore black combat boots with high tops which protected their ankles. They were sealed about the feet with no obvious sealing mechanism. The boots were studded in the back and front with two small silver spikes while three adorned the sides of the boots. Around his waist was a light weight belt with several attachments containing, vials, small metallic balls and hoops with tiny blades attached among other things. Strapped to his thighs were two small pistols with violet grips and barrels and several throwing knives which seemed to shimmer with blue light. There was a holster around his chest for two pistols and a single chain with a golden ring was tucked neatly under the safety of the body suit against his chest.

The others were mostly dressed as he was, some women wearing wedged heel boots with different silver adornments about them, while others were plain black or outfitted with tiny holes. The weapons and belts varied, one agent carried a large war hammer strapped to his back while another had black and chrome batons strapped to his thighs. A tall female figure seemed to be unarmed though she wore a pair of silver and black gloves that arced with blue light and had studs on the knuckles.

The men beneath them looked up in surprise, confusion, fear and a little wonder. Derek kept his gaze steadily trained on the man ahead. As seven pairs of feet touched down, landing as softly as if they’d simply jumped down off a table top, Frederick looked back at Derek and growled, “Traitor…”

“You betrayed us all when you contributed to the rebellion,” Derek retorted easily, keeping the heat in his eyes from touching his tone. His training, his very being wouldn’t allow it.

“Stop them!” Frederick yelled, causing the men who had come after him to move but the shadow unit was on them instantly. There were only six, so Stiles didn’t move from his spot in the middle of his group’s circle formation. Each of his team stepped out so quickly it took a supernatural complete focus to keep up. The men tried to fight, throwing punches and kicks, but they were disabled in no time and with minimal movement from their attackers. As each man fell to the floor, each team member pulled a small, flat and rounded projectile from their belts and slammed it to the ground just in front of where the men had fallen. The projectile upon impact, disintegrated and a black dust erupted from the minor explosion and encircled the men on the floor. Stiles’ six team members stepped back into formation and simply stood tall and at ease. One of the men, the one with batons sheathed at his thighs, fairly tall and with dark, lightly teased, curly hair raised his arms and started tapping at a small console on his wrist but Stiles took the moment to address the man in charge.

“Well well well, what have we here,” Stiles sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. One hand tugged lightly at the collar of his long coat, the material glistened. Frederick as well as any well informed rebel knew that shadow law didn’t don anything that couldn’t be used as a weapon or tool in their missions. Every last item on their person was either a tool to fight or to defend. “Frederick Groude. Director’s been quite uneasy about you. I tell him, it’s all good but he doesn’t believe me, says this one is a serious threat to progress,” Stiles went on mimicking the director’s serious intonation and airiness for effect. “I take it you know who we are.” It wasn’t a question but was left so that he could answer.

“You have no business here,” he growled out, his eyes glowing a bloody scarlet.

“You’re hosting a rebellion meeting, you launched a terrorist attack on the Shadow Law recruitment center thirteen days ago, you, are my business here.” Stiles let his hands down and tapped the blade he still held in his hand against his thigh as he began to pace back and forth in the small circle. “I’m gonna give you a choice here buddy. You can shift this room, bring all the supers in the alter-space back here and give yourselves up peacefully, or we take you in, our way. As some of your friends in the rebellion will attest, it’s not quite pleasant.”

“I would rather die!” He yelled before lunging. Derek met him, moving like a ghost, silent and deadly. He launched a tightly closed fist to the man’s stomach, ducked as his upper body curled over at one side and came up on the other end, bringing his knee up to slam into the man’s face. Frederick went from bending over front to back as he stumbled a few steps. Derek came to a halt a few inches from the circle, watching steadily as the man caught himself before he fell, groaned short and quietly and righted himself. He shook his head as though the sudden dizziness could be relieved that way before he snarled at Derek. “How could a wolf, one of us,” he emphasized with spittle spattering between his grinding teeth, “become the council’s bitch.” Derek didn’t flinch at the words. It wasn’t the first time he’d heard that one and certainly wasn’t the worst he’d ever heard period.

In fact he scoffed, feigning shock and hurt, “That one touched me, right here Freddy,” he pointed to his heart, “I thought we were developing a real swell rapport here.” His hands moved to gesturing back and forth, between himself and the irate alpha before him.

“Enough,” Stiles called, “What’s your decision Fredster?”

The man spat at the ground close to the circle and inclined his head proudly, “There it is, why don’t you lick it up fucker.”

“tsk tsk tsk no need to be such a… a sourwolf,” Derek’s quick eye twitch was the only indication of a reaction to the word, which no one could have noticed. Stiles continued, “and you should watch that mouth Freddykins or someone’s gonna wash it right out with lycagel.” Stiles sighed again as he stopped moving and faced the opposing super. “Ok, tell me where the shifter is and maybe, we might still go easy on ya..”

“Fuck. You. Hosap. Obsolete. Son. Of. A. Cunt.” Frederick stressed out each word as fangs elongated in his mouth, so it sounded like each word was a sentence. Stiles brushed off the insult including the use of the word hosap which for supernaturals had evolved from homosapian and had become their way of insulting humans. From their point of view supernaturals were special and hosaps were simply inferior.

“I guess I knew you’d say that. No worries, we already know where the shifter is. Don’t we Cypher?”

“That we do sir,” a man replied from behind him. The same one who’d lifted his wrist and started tapping at the device on it. He was cold faced but maintained a leering half smile that made him seem a positive menace to the men he considered enemies. His eyes glinted with insult and his voice held a proud humor in it as though, whatever he had been doing on his wristpad was like acing a pop quiz in high school.

“On my team there are seven members. One super, whom you’ve already met and six humans, four men, two women. All of them… extraordinary,” he explained dramatically, hands gesticulating about the circle of lethal agents. Two of them are technological geniuses. See the moment we stepped in here my friend Cypher, named for his ability to crack any code and hack any system, started hacking yours, something he is able to do in under 40 seconds it’s a new record without an internal server to work from. So approximately thirty two, seconds ago, we were golden. He’s found the shifter, obliterated your exit point and cut off outside communications. I just wanted to give you a chance to do the right thing.” The last few words were delivered in a slow melody and a smirk of sarcasm for punctuation.

As Stiles spoke, both Cypher and Derek grinned a bit as the man’s eyes filled with more than just malice but fear. “Now Eres,” Stiles called, referring to the woman who wore a long coat similar to his. Her hair was pixie cut and she had a wicked mischievous glint in her eye, like she lived for raising hell. “Wreck it,” he finished, keeping his gaze firmly on Frederick. Almost as soon as he said it, he raised a hand to stop her from pushing down on the button she was about to hit with her finger. He didn’t want it to be so informal, so impersonal, using tracker seeking ordinance technology to explode the shifter server box as she was about to, thanks to Cypher’s hack and track of the system. “Not like that. People don’t get to see us in action very often, at least not the people who make it back to society, so, let’s show Mr. Groude what he’s gotten himself into,” he turned to eye her darkly and grinned as he finished, “show him some of that training we’ve been working on.”

“With pleasure,” she said smiling even wider. Her hands dropped and for a moment Frederick thought she wasn’t going to move but then she spun around and stepped out of formation. Her hand went to her back and pulled her blade from where it was sheathed. As she pulled it out, her fingers pressured the hilt in particular points and the blade lengthened like a whip with a broad edge. She lashed out at a cluster of boxes stacked against a hidden metal structure hooked up to a thick cord. Her first strike slashed the boxes clean in half and severed the cord. Eres flicked her wrist and swung her arm around her body as she turned to face the opposite direction. The whip spiralled in the air above her head before it wrapped around the smaller of the metal boxes she had aimed for, the one that held the control system for the spacial shifter and she yanked. The box pulled free with little resistance and sailed through the air. Eres threw her weapon hilt from her hands in a direction that brought the box flying a safe distance from all those standing in the warehouse. She moved quickly, hands going to her hips to retrieve two small black orbs the size of marbles. The woman tossed both orbs at the box and it exploded in the air, leaving her whip intact and falling. Reaching for her sheath, she pushed a button and in response, the whip retracted its end until it was a small blade again and returned to its owner as though she’d commanded it with her very will. With a one handed swipe, she retrieved the weapon now small and unassuming again, slipped it into its sheath and resumed her place.

At the very moment she returned to her spot in the circle the space around the entire group and throughout the warehouse went hazy, almost like staring into a mirage in the dessert. Suddenly the room shimmered back into focus and with it came, what could be counted as nearly a hundred people. They must have all been supers who’d come in for the meeting. Derek moved closer to the group and as he did so they parted to allow him a position in their formation. The movement was so fluid, so cohesive, if one wasn’t seriously paying attention to them, no one would notice.

“Still think this is gonna end well for you, you little shit!” Groude spat with a hideous amount of amusement in his tone and a now smug look on his face. His words caused an uproar of angry voices all leering at and threatening the group that stood in their midst.

Stiles’ eyes moved quickly over the group of people, taking them in and assessing them on the spot. The man’s mind worked like a supercomputer most days and this was one of his better ones. He looked for faces, expressions, body types and telling signs for what kind of supernatural creature they might be. He identified who’d joined in on the heels of Groude’s riot inciting comment and who’d remained quiet with that damning hint of worry, anxiety, fear or concern in their faces.

His team was ready around him, their muscleslightly firmed in battle tension, poised to strike at a moment’s notice. As soon as he’d finished sweeping the room and their new friends with his gaze, Stiles cleared his throat and spoke, projecting a tone of supreme authority and control. “This is a meeting for the rebellion against the Supernatural Citizen Act. This meeting and your organization are both illegal.” The young leader projected his voice as he stood tall, legs slightly parted, knees slightly bent, just like every other member of his team, ready to strike at any time. His voice was commanding and deepened, his face grim so that those he spoke to, could truly understand the gravity of their situation. “We are shadow law unit one and you are all under arrest. You will surrender or we will take you in by force.” There was no question there but the mistake would not be made by any who heard him, that there was a definite open invitation for all those willing to surrender, to raise their hands to the sky and give up.

“You have got to be shitting me,” Groude choked out on a laugh, “there’s a lot more of us than there are of you, we,” he continued as he gesticulated with a hand to stress his point, “have you surrounded. It’s hardly a fair fight.”

“Hardly fair is right,” called the soft wispy voice of Eres, the voice doing the namesake of the ancient pagan goddess of discord justice. She sounded like something transcendent of the world but the mischief was there. Everything about her words and the way she said them screamed troublemaker. “Hey Kitty what’s the word?” She queued clearly addressing another member of their team without turning to look at them.

A gruff, husky voice answered her. It sounded like the voice of a man who spent days smoking old world stogies that would puff out the thickest smoke clouds. He was tall and solidly built his dark brown skin slick and oiled and nearly shining under the low light “Looks to me like it’s a near ten to one equivalent. Definitely ain’t no kinda good odds for em.”

“For us,” Groude grumbled incredulously, a laugh gestating in his throat, “You’re about to be slaughtered, Kitty.” He leered the name, clearly meaning to insult the man who it belonged to but Kitty, simply grinned a wide and dirty grin at him. He’d jumped to the more obvious choice of making fun of something he had yet to understand but the moment the words left his mouth, Kitty marked the man as his personal responsibility and said as much within their mind link.

“It’s all of you who are about to be exterminated, like rodents,” Another man said with a gleam in his eye. The soft, silky tone and blatant excitement about him gave many of the rebels pause.

“Houdini, don’t scare them into fighting. Last time we had numbers like this, Kitty and Sledge backlogged the inmate treatment center for a week. I’d prefer not to deal with the nasty looks from the nurses again, especially Leslie oh my gosh the attitude and flared nostrils on that one, really kills me sometimes as in put a gun to my head and pull trig, not to mention the director’s lectures on…”

“Captain,” Derek drawled all too familiar with how very easily Stiles’ mouth could run away with him. He’d swear that man was the most impressive operative he’d ever known but when he started talking sometimes…

“Right, back on problem. I’m only saying this once. All of you can either come in peacefully or we can take you down. The latter won’t be pleasant especially physically. Make your choice, you have five seconds.” He threw the words out and started counting in his head. His body was ready for the fight. Four sets of hands went up immediately and as fast as they’d shot into the air, several hands from the shadow circle threw projectiles at the ground in front of them so that upon impact the same black dust encircled them. A few rebels lunged at the defectors but were tossed back harshly by an invisible wall.

“Mountain…” Groude began to say but Stiles cut him off.

“Time up.” The captain launched himself in the air rolling three times before he landed easily in the midst of four men. They were all tall and stringy. Their fists clenched and brought veins that hadn’t already been obviously outlined to the visual surface. Their faces were mean and they all looked alike, perhaps brothers. Their eyes followed Stiles a bit slower than he’d anticipated but he didn’t give them time to catch up with his movements. He elbowed the one behind him in his gut, grabbed the man’s head over his shoulder and tossed him into the man in front. The one on the left threw a punch he ducked and caught before the man could bring his limbs in. He held the fist, twisted it with both hands until it snapped audibly. His leg shot out to kick the man’s left leg from under him bringing him to his right knee. Stiles climbed his knee and wrapped his legs around the arm he’d grabbed. He twisted his body so that he and his victim spun through air. He untangled himself mid spin and used the momentum of it to bring his leg crashing down on the man’s head.

As the captain landed in a crouch his hands moved on their own, his body reacting a hyper second before his mind. His arms crossed above his head, stopping the leg that was slamming down from impact. His hands turned and fingers curled around the ankle, twisting it, disabling it, before he pulled the leg and used his body’s ascension to toss the man into the pile of his broken brothers. As soon as he let go he reached for a mountain ash dispenser and launched it just an inch from the four men. The ash circled them, sealing them within its transparent prison as it did the others before them.

I win, Stiles exclaimed as he turned around to catch the rest of his team in action. His growing smile, halted and morphed into a scowl as he caught another watching him with glee. Houdini.

Yep I win again, sorry sir. The man sent the words to Stiles as he marked his next target and leapt off after them, seemingly fading into nothing as he did. so like a shadow drifting out of existence. He’d put down five rebels in the same time Stiles had taken down four allowing him to win the ongoing bet to see who could take down the most guys in the opening of a battle. Somehow Houdini managed to win a lot if not always. It was things like that, that earned Isaac his call sign, that and his exceptional manipulation and incorporation of stealth technology in his battles.

Stiles shifted his attention to the woman surrounded by four men of her own off to the side where Houdini had disappeared. He knew better than to think the agent would try to assist the woman. Erica, or Widow as she would be referred to on mission was capable and deadly if her opponents weren’t careful. It was because of this and the firm knowledge that his team were all beasts in the field, that he ran off for the next target, leaving widow to play.

She eyed the men about her with a cool glare. Her fists covered in those silver and black gloves were raised to her chest, a half-finished stance but one who knew her, would have expected she was only half paying attention to the morons around her. Two men rushed forward both transforming as they did so. One’s arm seemed to meld it’s fingers, hand and arm into one long leathery green whip which looked a lot like a snake. The other man gained talons and a beak with dangerous glowing silver eyes. Erica’s extensive training and experience with supers, summoned to mind the knowledge of both supernatural beings. The snake shifter was an ichchhadhari nag an ancient Indian shapeshifting snake while the other one, a hawk shapeshifter was called an avian. They attacked simultaneously, snake hand lashing out low while the hawk jumped and went for her face with his beak.

There was a shadow of a smile on widow’s face before she twisted her body horizontally, spinning herself between the attackers, suspending herself with just enough rotations to avoid the co-ordinated attack. As the avian leaped over her, she grabbed his ankle, coming out of her spin and slammed him to the ground while she planted her feet. The nag swung at her again and she rolled beneath the attack to get up close to him. Tightening her fists, her gloves arced with that same blue shimmering light. Widow kneed her victim in the stomach and backhanded his face as he buckled. The impact coupled with the amount of electricity generated by the outer-layer of the glove sent the super reverting back to his human form, as he fell to the ground a few feet away.

Widow looked over her shoulder just in time to see the two other men, transformed into two wolves rushing her. She quickly tossed a blade from her array of weapons fastened to her belt at one beast. As he preoccupied himself with dodging it, putting him out of sync with his partner, widow ducked an incoming right hook with a roll of her back. As she rose she blocked another punch with her forearm before grabbing his bicep to leverage his body to support her as she kicked him in the stomach to double him over and then roll over his back to bring her kick down on the other super who approached.

The second wolf fell beneath the impact and as she landed, she plastered three quick punches to her first victim’s abdomen causing him to grunt in matching rhythm. She then softly lifted his chin with a gentle middle and forefinger, so he could behold her smiling face before she punched him square in his jaw, his consciousness drifting with the shock of the arcing gloves impact. The man dropped in a heap. She back-flipped onto the other wolf, not forgetting he had not yet been disabled. She came down straddling him and grabbed his head firmly in her hands, then slammed it to the ground once, before lightly back handing him to deliver a healthy dose of electricity. She picked herself up fluidly and grabbed at the man’s collar, dragging him closer to his partner before she secured the two groups of men she had targeted with mountain ash.

The rest of the team was having just as much fun and just as easy a time disabling their own opponents. Sledge a tall bald man wielding a giant hammer usually kept strapped to his back was tearing through body after body of oncoming supernatural. They were being knocked down so quickly by the power of the man’s hammer they had no time to organize into parties on the attack. Sledge moved meticulously each step precise as he gripped the handle of his hammer with both hands tightly. One swing to the left and a middle aged native Indian looking wolf was sent flying back. One to his right tossed an unidentified heavily clawed and fanged creature in the same manner as the first. Sledge twisted on his own axis and brought the hammer swing around with the force of his built up momentum and smashed into another super.

While he played whack-a-mole with his victims Erys and Cypher, tag teamed a circle of supers. Cypher, almost a confusing blur of black, darted about, flipping this way and that through the air. Electrically charged batons in hand, he beat down his opponents with precision strikes, wherever they landed, announced by groans and cries of pain, shock and irritation. Erys utilized her sliptail, the blade which could shift forms to the extent of becoming a long metallic whip among other things. She had started favoring the blade when Stiles had demonstrated his prowess with it in a training session. He was the one to teach her the many different ways the weapon could be wielded to do certain damage to an enemy. She used it in conjunction with her favorite close quarters explosive charges. The bombs were not strong enough to do serious damage, but were powerful in blasting back an opponent, incapacitating him or through a localized body charge disabling limb function temporarily. It was almost mesmerizing to watch her latch her sliptail whip form around someone’s neck to reel them in, land a quick kick punch combo, while planting a charge on them and then watch that opponent be blasted back a few feet when the detonation occurred.

Stiles had rolled out of the path of destruction of a thunder kitsune, this being determined solely on the being’s ability to destroy objects in its path with a chaotic rumble of sound that sounded a lot like thunder. The agent got to his feet, twirled gracefully looking more like a dancer than a warrior, raised his right knee, extending the leg as he made a full rotation and then bringing it down hard on the long, flat and slanted surface of a plank of wood so that it lurched up in the air, off the cylinder beneath it that made a pivoting point. As the plank sailed down through the air, Stiles thrust out a palm and sent the wood hurtling toward the kitsune. While the glowing eyed, dark haired woman roared another thunderous attack that shattered the wood like glass, Stiles rolled toward the woman from her side so as to avoid the attack and land his blow up close before she’d have a chance to properly defend or take better aim.

As she opened her mouth to roar once more, Stiles round house kicked her, smashing his boot into her cheek as her mouth yawned opened. She grunted in pain, her body twisting over. Stiles pulled his sliptail from its sheath at his back before his foot reestablished ground contact and with a quick mental command, it changed its form into a whip. With a delicate conductor’s hand he manipulated the whip to twine about the woman’s wrist and then leg and with a forceful toss threw her free offher feet against a pillar holding up the roof. Before she fell to the ground a circle of mountain ash surrounded the entire pillar. Stiles looked up to see Derek had been the one to throw it. Thanks to D.R.U.I.D.E. the genether tag and the black capsule casing, the ash was contained in, made it so that despite being a supernatural creature himself, he was able to use it.

Glancing over the man’s shoulder, Stiles noticed the trail of body’s behind him all trapped in their own ash circles. The corner of Stiles’ mouth barely rose, but Derek could tell just how amused he was, how much fun he was having. The captain loved his job. Derek didn’t need personal experience to tell him that. He raised a brow and turned away just as Stiles did the same. The two of them headed over to Kitty, who was just stabbing enormous metal claws into the hand of one super Groude had sent, as an advanced guard, to protect himself, or determine his enemy’s potential. It was anyone’s guess, but the good money was on cowardice.

“I’m guessing somebody just figured out why my name is Kitty,” the dark skinned man said as he pulled his metal claw attachments free of his victim with a slosh and crunch, indicating the damage he’d left behind. His claws were long and gleaming plastanium as were most of the D.R.U.I.D.E. developed weaponry and attached to his wrist by some fingerless gloved contraption which allowed for recession with a simple flick of the wrist.

He eyed Groude with a disturbing sense of pleasure and stood to his full height. Step by step he slowly moved forward not even sizing up the opponent, simply holding his eyes in some hypnotic, binding connection that Groude couldn’t seem to shake off. “It’s because of my obsession,” he drawled the word to express its importance, “with my claws…” As if to punctuate the word, he lunged forward swatting left and then rolling right in a fake out which succeeded as Groude reacted only too quickly to the first strike, bringing himself further into Kitty’s reach and on Groude’s own blind side. Kitty struck stabbing forward the metal claws sliding like a hot knife through butter, into the super’s shoulder. Kitty kicked his legs from under him causing the blades to slice through flesh and tendons with an awful ripping sound. Groude howled in despair as he felt the onslaught of terrifying pain.

Stiles and Derek arrived behind Kitty just as three supers came running to Groude’s aid. Derek cut them off growling loudly before lunging for the one closest to him. The man threw a punch to counter but Derek simply blocked it with a raised forearm and turned into the man’s arm putting himself right against the man’s body before kneeing him in the stomach and then swatting him with claws from one side before punching him down on the other with a tightly clenched fist. The second man came jumping down in front of Derek but Stiles was there crouched low and sweeping the second man’s feet out from under him.

As the second super fell awkwardly, Derek went to his knees and punched him several times, then grabbed two fistfuls of the man’s coat, rolled over with him and used the force to pivot and toss the super onto the crumpled body of the first. As he turned about, Derek noted Stiles standing feet from the third super with his sliptail changed to whip form and severely wrapped around the third man’s neck. Stiles lifted a leg over the extension of the whip to kick the man in his face, then brought it down on the long silvery length of the whip, forcing the super to fall to his knees as to avoid choking to death. Stiles released him switching his sliptail, then sheathing it so quickly the super had no time to do anything but grab at his throat, before he realized Stiles was back-flipping bringing his boot into contact with the super’s face. The man was thrown onto his back and unconscious.

Stiles sealed the three in a ring of ash and ran over to Kitty who had been trading blows with Groude. A quick glance about told him there were only two men left standing besides Groude thatWidow and Cypher made quick work of on opposite sides of the room. There was a loud grunt of frustration as Groude swung with a wide right hook but missed only to be uppercut, leaving his mouth bloody from the unexpected, landed blow. Kitty quickly maximized on the opening and threw a hook of his own, connecting with the super’s cheek. Another hit, took the other cheek. Two swift jabs left Groude’s eyes manifesting sizzling stars. Kitty spun and kicked twice almost like a ballerina in battle. His final kick was a hard push heaving Groude roughly to the ground on his back. Kitty jumped, flicked his wrist so that his claws shot forth and he pinned the man by burying the claws into his shoulders. Groude screamed, “Enough,” Stiles called reigning in his agent before the man took it too far.

Kitty looked back for a moment, then pulled his claws free, retracted them and got to his feet. He gave Groude one final smirk of triumph before turning around and walking away. He tossed a pellet over his shoulder and a ring of ash ensnared the rebellion leader, or rather one of them in their vast network. “Are you trying to get sent to anger management or something,” Stiles asked idly as Boyd or code name Kitty, as he was called on mission, approached and halted, folding his arms against his chest heavily, eyes closed, though a brow was raised. He sighed, “He’s a wolf he’ll heal.”

“You’re impossible,” Stiles teased before turning around to do another check. “Cypher report?” the captain called as the others ensured the entire space was secure before coming over to join their teammates.

“Room’s clear captain, I’m certain the entire building is as well, did a couple scans there’s nothing out of the ordinary coming up.” Stiles nodded as the man responded. “Erys and I were gonna do a quick sweep to make certain we’re all clear here.”

“Houdini go with them, once you’re done, return quickly for in field debrief, the processing team should be here soon.”

“Sir.” They all answered in unison

“Widow hail them,” Stiles said and then he was tapping away on his wristpad.

*

The after action procedures carried on in the same old same fashion that Stiles was very much used to at this point. In his head he quipped about the tedium but outwardly he maintained utter professionalism and integrity while carrying out his duties and supervising the others. More than half of the time he felt like a fixture propped up against a wall when he wasn’t saying anything which was the majority of the time he spent there. A few moments Derek caught his eyes and he caught Derek’s in a silent acknowledgment of the night and the teamwork they’d shared. The last time he looked over at the man was right as his car was landing beside him with all the silence and sleek elegance of a Raspburn first class luxury transport. The compact yet intricately adorned black on black hover craft alighted gently. The four turbines beneath the chassis powered down causing the body of the vehicle to lightly buckle as it met the ground. The doors were electric sliders with guidance groves along the back and front body for them to slide over when they opened. The black tinted window in the back door shimmered and then seemingly disappeared but that was only the invisicom system making it so that one could see through them and communicate unhindered. A pale face framed by a hood of raven hair peaked out at him and smiled revealing a clipped grin of pearly white teeth with one diamond fang winking in the meager access to moonlight provided Stiles’ position to the window.

“Your father worries you might be late Master Stiles.”

“Then he shouldn’t have pushed me into the Shadow Law Charlie, we just finished mish…” Stiles retorted as the door retracted for him to enter. He sat opposite his father’s major-domo, the head steward for his family and their estate who also sometimes acted as his personal baby sitter when it suited director Noah McArgent Stilinski. “Tell me why is it you aren’t out picking up Allison or Scott hmm?”

“Because they are already at the gala and all are awaiting your arrival,” Charles responded, ignoring the impetuous tone in Stiles’ voice.

Stiles sighed, “It doesn’t start for another hour.”

“Yes but as the sons and daughter of the directors of Homeland Supernatural Security Directorate, Shadow Law Division and the Surgeon General who are the hosts of this event in conjunction, with the Director of the Supernatural Citizen Registration Initiative, it is expected that you arrive before the most important guests, to greet them among other things.” Stiles pursed his lips at the company line the major-domo was giving him.

“Whatever Charlie let’s just get on over to the party then.” The words were absently drawled as he turned his attention to the window. It had become darkly tinted again. Good job tonight avengers, I’ll see you in the office tomorrow, he addressed his team and heard their sarcastic retorts and sign offs before Derek punctuated the chatter with a, See you at the gala tonight sir. Stiles blandly agreed with a clipped mental communication before he switched off his unit link mind chip.

The transport fired up as Charles Carver directed the driver to get them to the McArgent-Stilinski estate post haste. Derek was looking at the window, and if Stiles didn’t know that x-ray vision was certainly not one of his supernatural abilities, he would have sworn the man was looking right at him. Hazel green eyes, keeping a hold on his light brown ones as he rose into the sky within the confines of his car, until the vehicle flew off into the night.

***

Stiles had been dressed and ready to go in under fifteen minutes, his clothing having been picked and steamed for him under the watchful and ever present eye of Charles. You’d think a man with the title of major-domo would have a lot more to oversee than his clothing choices but Charlie had always been an overachiever. Also, with Noah being the head of the family and estate, Charles had always paid a bit of extra attention to Stiles as he tended to be the most rebellious of the household. It had been that way since Stiles’ mother had died and Charlie went from being just a regular steward to Stiles’ guardian as well. When he had risen through the ranks of the household, the position changed nothing when it came to Stiles, whom the man had come to regard with quite a measure of affection as if the younger man was his own son.

The gala was being held at the Jade Mountain Estates, a beautiful hotel compound decorated in multiple shades of green paint, fixtures and art pieces with trims of silver that gleamed in any and all light. The place had been chosen for it’s grand ball room which spanned several feet with high ceilings to accommodate intricate and rather large crystal and diamond chandeliers woven in intricate patterns that could be reset into symbols to suit the guests and their event themes. Tonight they were set in patterns that mimicked the house crests of the honored guests attending.

The floor was golden marble and polished so well that it gleamed in the light and reflected images of those who moved across it’s surface in a dim likeness. The front doors which opened out to the top floor accessed a grand terrace and helipad which would be used to fly in the guests expected to attend. This was where Stiles’ transport had landed.

He took a deep breath and exited the vehicle ahead of Charles who wore one of his four piece power suits with a coat-tailed jacket in royal blue, the colors of the McArgent-Stilinski House. Stiles adorned a long tunic that fell to his ankles, with slits at its sides up to his waist so his skinny legged pants could be seen. Daggered sleeves, extended a few inches from his cuffs and the legs of his pants lay lightly over his polished boots. His tunic and shoes were a deep royal blue while his pants were a dark silver.

Entering the ballroom, took his breath away just a little. He was astounded by the beauty of it. Stiles found he never truly got over settings like these, no matter how often he attended the events which brought him to such places. Something about it made the world seem kinder, less segregated. He brushed the thought away as he spotted his father, stepfather and stepmother at the top of a double staircase which led to a second floor balcony. Noah caught sight of him and tilted his head to a side, giving his son a pointed look while pursing his lips.

Stiles knew without words exactly what his father was saying. You’re late. Despite the fact that no one was here yet besides the organizers of the little shindig and the staff who would work it. But as far as Noah McArgent-Stilinski was concerned, being ten minutes early only amounted to being twenty minutes late. Stiles noticed Chris follow Noah’s gaze to him and sighed in relief when the man smiled at him and then very obviously chided his husband for being so hard on Stiles even at a distance. Melissa jumped to his defense too based on their body language and past experience that allowed Stiles to read the situation, and he saw his father visually relent.

It was no strange occurrence to be in a family headed by triad parents. polyamory had become a legal relationship status recognized by every aspect of government and society long ago. But for Stiles, who had only ever known his mother and father, to be his parents, who had loved his mother more deeply than he had ever known possible, right up until she died, it was difficult to get accustomed to the new state of things. First his father began dating again, seeing new people, and Stiles had worked hard to over time, stop disabling the guidance systems in their transports which navigated them to his home. He had learned to stop calling false emergencies at their residences to get them to leave. He had even stopped adopting dangerous pets, after his lycanther, which he trained to growl and threaten callers who would stop by for dates.

He did want his father to be happy and he had finally understood after a very deep and very heartfelt talk, that it would never mean that Noah had stopped loving his mom or that he never did. But hearts weren’t meant to live alone forever and his mom would not want her husband to be sad and alone for the rest of his life, because she was gone. Stiles knew that that must be true because his mom was good and kind and loved them both too much to want them unhappy. So he relented.

Shortly after he did so, Noah Stilinski and Christopher Argent had fallen in love with each other. Chris would come for long visits and sometimes spend the night. Chris was kind and though he could be very serious, when he smiled Stiles felt a little lightening in his heart like, there might be room in there to care about someone else the way he cared about his dad, or his mom. Chris treated him very well and was actually the one who began his combat training when he noticed the raw talent that was Stiles Stilinski.

Eventually Stiles met Chris’ daughter, Allison Argent and though they did not get along so well at first, over time, things righted between them and he started to think of her as a sister. It helped that his long time friend Scott McCall had a crush on her and they always seemed to get along with each other. So Stiles had again found himself trying for the ones that he loved.

He couldn’t remember quite when it had happened, but suddenly instead of just his dad and Chris hanging out together, Melissa McCall had begun to join them. When he really thought about it, Stiles would think that his father must have been carrying on with Melissa secretly until Chris expressed affection for her as well. Or maybe Noah simply explained that he was not willing to give up one for the other and so they had decided to try to make it work as a tripod.

Somehow though, it had. Stiles could see that Melissa and Chris shared something between them that was both equal and different to the thing they shared individually with his father. So he again allowed it to happen as his father seemed to be made happy by both these people, and why should he interfere or make things difficult. He had seen triads before and those families always seemed so happy.

Not long after he resolved to be open to their relationship, the three of them got married. The house of McArgent-Stilinski was born and Stiles gained two siblings. Scott had always been something of a brother and he had eventually gotten closer to Allison and thanks to them, the whole thing was made loads easier.

So as he looked up onto the balcony at his father, glancing back at him after being lectured by his wife and husband, as he watched Noah Argent-Stilinski smile defeatedly at him and then roll his eyes, light-heartedly, something his father reserved specifically for teasing him, or sharing inside jokes with him, he said a soft prayer of thanks for his stepmother and stepfather, because the truth was, he could have done a lot worse, but they quite alright.

Two figures approached him and his eyes darted downward. It was Scott and Allison. Scott wore a royal blue double breasted military trench coat, with a silver spotted blue ascot peaking out under his neck beneath the high collar of his silver shirt. His pants were blue chinos and he wore a pair of blue-silver oxfords. Allison was stunning in an off the shoulder royal blue, mermaid gown with silver sequins running over the surface. Her shoes were pointy toed silver sandals which matched the small silver clutch in her hand adorned with stones of sapphire at it’s clasp. She wore sapphire earrings set in silver and a sapphire crossbow pendant around her neck at the end of a glittering silver chain which looped her neck leaving only a thin length of silver across her creamy skin. Her hair was coiled in an intricate pattern of loops which met their peak toward the back of her head and were held in place by two silver picks with sapphires at their tips.

“Noah was going to have a heart attack if you didn’t show up soon,” she admitted as they approached. She embraced him warmly and kissed his cheek before looking him over and approving with a nod.

“He needs to stop being so uptight or I’m afraid dear old dad won’t live as long a life as we all would like,” Stiles responded smiling to her wickedly.

“Mission ran long?” Scott asked as he hugged Stiles as well.

“A little,”

“Trouble?” Came Allison.

“Oh nothing we couldn’t handle,” Stiles flailed an arm in the air in an attempting at swatting the proposed trouble passed his head but only succeeded in performing a vigorous and failed princess wave at one of the servers getting into position.

Allison chuckled, “Don’t go changing Stiles.”

“Who me, never!” He stressed the word with a hand on his chest in faux offense at the very thought.

“We better get up there, I think it’s starting s...”

“As I live and breathe.” The words that cut Scott off, had come from behind them. A man was walking into the ballroom and had an easy view of them all as Stiles had barely gotten a few feet from the door when he had stopped to revere his surroundings. Stiles did not need to turn around to know who was speaking but he did so anyway, out of courtesy.

Peter Hale stood just passed the doorway a top hat tipped just so on his head. The light of the room seemed to be absorbed into his obsidian swallow tail coat with purple embroidery. The purple buttons of his high collared black shirt disappeared behind the larger purple buttons of his obsidian vest, carrying the same embroidery as his coat. His pants were pleated with a sharp crease down the front of the leg and his loafers were a brightly polished obsidian. There was a straight black old fashioned neck tie about his neck and collar which lay down the center of his chest. His smile was wide and a little peculiar. Stiles thought peculiar because he didn’t want to think seductive which is the only other suitable word that came to mind.

“You fine agents of Shadow Law could not look more breathtaking if you tried, or perhaps you could, I embrace the possibility of surprise.” Stiles tried not to look somewhat uneasy as the man spoke. He may have addressed them all but his eyes, as Stiles had turned to see, were fixed entirely on him. They hadn’t moved an inch, despite the words that came out of his mouth. Scott and Allison noticed it too and bless her heart she cleared her throat and then gave a courtly bow which Scott quickly followed.

“Director Hale, what a pleasure it is to see you arrived.” Stiles made a mental note to buy her a couple pounds of that imported chocolate she loved so much for her intervention. He joined in on the bowing and Peter turned reluctantly to Allison, jarred by her throat clearing and her words.

“Why thank you Captain Argent. It is a pleasure to be here, and to see you, all.” The all, Stiles thought was an afterthought. Allison smiled generously.

“Allow me to escort you to our parents, I believe they have been waiting for you.” She offered her arm, and just when he glanced at Stiles and opened his mouth to make some counter proposal which would have surely involve being alone with Stiles she added, “this way, please.” Her pearly white doll’s smile glinted in the light and her compelling gaze did not waiver. Peter looked between the three of them, smiled wider still, and then took her arm in his. Allison ventured a quick glance back, her eyes narrowing under a raised brow as if to say, you owe me big time. Stiles mouthed a heartfelt thank you and gestured for Scott to follow him in the opposite direction.

They were only able to escape for a little while as the guests began arriving shortly after Peter did. Scott and Stiles had to join their family along with Peter in standing at the base of one side of the staircases, in order to greet people as they arrived. The invited persons were a hefty list of name brand families and those with noble or honorable reputations in society or government. The list also included everyone who had an influential hand in the running of the Supernatural Citizen Registration Initiative which was head by Peter Hale.

This was something Stiles had always found curious as Peter Hale was part of the Hale family, and all the other Hales of that family, were born werewolves. All except for him. Somehow, he had not only avoided the gene but also managed to work in government on creating a system responsible for monitoring and disciplining supernatural persons, something which could sometimes become a tad gruesome. Not everyone was willing to submit themselves to the registration act. Not everyone was eager to put on a genether tag and give that much control of their life to the government. To give up their freedom to a degree.

Fortunately, the Hale pack had supported the registration act. That was why they were also among the honored guests to arrive. Talia Hale, Derek’s mother was alpha of their pack and Grand Alpha of the wolves of the United Westerlands. She was practically the queen of her people. She had decided to support the registration act and was one of the first to accept a genether tag, deciding to lead by example. She had also nominated her son Derek, to be the first supernatural member on a shadow law strike team. Sometimes Stiles couldn’t tell if it was wise or weak but then he remembered it wasn’t his place to decide for the supers. The riots of 2335, where gangs of supernaturals terrorized the nation and brought about unchecked and untold destruction, had led many to believe that they should never be left to their own devices again.

He watched the family he was just thinking about, walk in through the grand double doors and all the lines of separation between them melted away, as he regarded their grace, elegance and beauty. Their house color was purple and they all looked as royal as the color suggested in it. Talia Hale led the clan. Her raven hair was slicked back along her scalp and toward the back of her head became a weave of intricate pattern that designed a closed triskelian, the symbol of the Hale clan. Her dress was a boat neck medieval design of satin, the skirts of which pooled elegantly around her feet. The gown was embroidered with links and twining wheels of gold which rounded the padded boat neckline and danced down the body of the dress. A measure of gold chain thin and tightly woven circled her petite waistline and fell down the front of the gown, swinging pendulously as she walked forward. Her sleeves were silk daggers that matched the length of her skirts and the back of her gown was crisscrossed with purple from her waist up disappearing beneath the padded boat neck. Her lips were purple and her jewels were gold. A thick circle of gold at her ears studded with amethysts, rings on her fingers, all slivers of gold along her long digits that made her look like a fairy tale sorceress or enchantress. In her hair was a small tiara with a large square amethyst set at an angle at it’s heart. But around her neck was nothing but her genether tag. The strip was purple to match her garb as if it were a choker about her neck.

She was absolutely exquisite. If she were truly the queen of the wolves, Talia Hale certainly dressed the part. And her children all walked out like royalty behind her, princes and princesses of the blood. She had two girls one of them as statuesque as she the other, looking like a pixie but both were dressed with every bit as much detail and elegance as their mother. Their dresses were more modern and slightly less extravagant but they were still jewels among shiny stones. Her sons were all strong and proud looking in their modern suits of excellent make and exquisite adornment. But the most beautiful of all of them, Stiles thought, was Derek.

At the helm of his four brothers was Derek. His thigh length sherwani fell perfectly against his body showing off his slim powerful build and the shape of his chest. It was largely embroidered along the left side with gold ribbons and it was sleeveless. There were slits at it’s sides from his waist down and a slit down the front, beginning at his navel which allowed for a secret showing of sun kissed skin, just above the waist line as he walked. His harem pants were loose but not baggy and tapered at the ankles. They also maintained the gold ribbon embroidering down the left. His feet were sheathed in gold loafers and his arms were bound in circlets, hoops of gold which ringed the length of his biceps caging them like wild beasts in captivity. His forearms were clad in royal purple leather braces laced on the inside of his forearms. He wore one gold ring on his left index finger with an amethyst set into it. Stiles couldn’t see his eyes widen at the man’s approach but he felt how his body responded and rushed to settle it.

“Welcome Lady Talia,” Peter said taking his sister’s hand lightly in his own and giving her a reserved half bow.

“Brother,” she uttered, her voice like milk and honey, deep and soothing and subtly feminine. Stiles, in his attempt to distract himself from Derek who had started staring right back at him, turned to regard the interaction between human brother and supernatural sister. Peter had stiffened when Talia called him brother. Probably weary about reinforcing in the minds of his colleagues that he was related to a super, by blood. They could call it what they wanted, Stiles thought but there was still so much racism going on.

Peter gave his sister a stiff smile and passed her hand over to Noah. “You remember Director Noah McArgent Stilinski.”

“Director,” Talia called pleasantly and let him take her hand. The man gave a much better reception than her brother had.

“Lady Talia, you are most welcomed here. And of course you remember my husband and wife, Director Christopher and my wife Doctor Melissa McArgent Stilinski.”

“Yes indeed, it is an honor to stand in such esteemed company, thank you for having us.”

“The honor belongs to us Lady Talia,” Chris said kindly, smiling with sincerity as he took her hand, kissed it and bowed before guiding it to Melissa who shook it.

“And these are our children,” Melissa began, gesturing to the three of them, “Stiles, Scott and Allison.”

“Ah, two captains of shadow law strike teams, you look marvelous and you Scott captain you may not be, but I’ve heard tell that your abilities vast exceed the requirements to lead a team of your own.”

Scott blushed, “Thank you Lady Talia.”

“These are my own children. I don’t believe I have ever attended an event with them except my eldest son. Allow me to present, my daughters, Laura and Cora, and these are my boys, Reece, Sebastian, Trystan, Adrian and of course you know Derek.”

Derek shook the hands of the men and kissed the hand of the women but when he had come to Stiles he seemed to change. Stiles extended a hand staring him full in the eyes. Derek took it gently but instead of shaking he simply held the man’s hand and returned his gaze. “Captain Stiles,” he uttered in his deep voice.

 

Chapter Text

Hale,” Stiles responded not unkindly.

You look,” gorgeous “gallant,” Derek admitted, hazel green eyes still focused on Stiles.

“Thank you,” the younger man breathed. “You make… quite the dapper gentleman yourself.”

Derek offered him a broad, sexy smile, showing off his glinting pearly white teeth. “Thank you, perhaps we shall speak again later this evening.”

“Perhaps,” Stiles drawled. Then Derek released his hand and it was almost as if all the noise he didn’t notice dissipating around him, from the other guests, flooded back into his senses. He turned in time to see Scott giving him an amused knowing stare before turning around to welcome and shake the hands of some other persons.

When they had finally gotten to the last few guests Stiles was relieved to see the end of the line, until he noticed who was at it. His parents and siblings all greeted the Whittemore’s easily, but his stomach began knotting the moment he saw Jackson. When the man stood before him looking just as handsome as the last time they were together, all cocky stance, dirty blonde hair, coiffed into a spiky hairstyle and sharp blue green eyes, fixed on him with a sense of seduction that was almost second nature, Stiles found himself turning into a fidgety mess.

“Welcome,” Stiles muttered trying to sound casual.

Thank you,” Jackson took his hand and lowered himself to kiss it. The action made Stiles involuntarily jerk his head about, to see who might have been watching that little exchange. “You look amazing, Mieszko” he continued, calling Stiles a pet form of his actual first name Mieczyslaw. Jackson had always said it with such perfect pronunciation that Stiles had never minded when he called him that, had even liked it to some degree, the sexy way it rolled off his tongue. But that was a lifetime ago, and he was a much different person

“Thanks Jackson,” He tried to gently pull his hand away but the man kept hold of it in his. “My hand Jackson,” he muttered in a high pitched, singsong tone, that would have sounded amusing to those around them had they been paying attention.

I miss you,” Jackson whispered, leaning in to the other man’s body so his words could not be heard by those closest. Stiles’ jaw began to work nervously, his teeth clenching and unclenching at rapid intervals, indicating his internal disquiet. It was not so much that he still had feelings for the man, truth be told, he didn’t really. Sometimes he felt a twinge of nostalgia for the old pleasures between them and Jackson had been mostly good to him but no, there wasn’t much left between them except memories and the other man’s wishful thinking. What made Stiles nervous, was knowing how much Jackson still wanted him back and the extra lengths, embarrassing lengths the man might go to, to try to make that happen.

“Jackson we’ve spoken about this...”

“You’ve spoken about this, I only listened and hoped you’d change your mind.”

“Well I haven’t so...”

“Don’t you miss me too,” He stepped in closer, easily gripping Stiles forearms as he lowered his voice. “Don’t you miss the things I did to you, the things I could do with my...”

Ok, so not the time or place,” Stiles hissed and then louder, loud enough that everyone left in the entryway could hear said, “Thank you Jackson, do enjoy the evening.” Stiles stared through narrowed eyes until the man grudgingly walked away but pinned Stiles with eyes that said, this isn’t finished, not yet.

“What was that about son?” Noah asked narrowing curious eyes at Stiles.

“Nothing, Jacks just wanted to…give me a compliment,” he lied less graciously than he was capable. His father looked after the retreating unit three captain and bit his lip lightly before he realized what he was doing and smiled.

“You know I don’t like to intrude on your personal life son but, that man, I thought he was good for you.” Noah sighed and then turned around. Lifting his arms to his spouses he addressed them all. “Shall we go in and entertain our guests?”

Melissa nodded and smiled taking his arm. Chris clasped hands with him and jerking a beckoning nod at Scott and Allison said, “Let’s.”

Standing with his family atop a dais, Stiles endured the speeches delivered by Peter Hale as well as his unwanted glances, of what Stiles could only describe, as poorly concealed desire. He listened to his father discuss the plans for the Homeland Supernatural Security Directorate, including it’s goal of integrating imprisoned supers back into an evolved society, once the rebellion was quelled. Even Chris spoke a few words on the progress of Shadow Law and its operatives. He made special mention of the three most outstanding captains, Stiles, Allison and Jackson and had no qualms about joking that two of them were his own children. Stiles smiled tightly when an abundance of eyes fell upon him and his fellow captains and faked a laugh at another joke before he was able to sigh and relax the muscles of his face as the crowds turned to the next item on the speech list.

Cheers and applause filled the room before toasts were made following the last formal address of the evening. A combined effort of the hosting directors imploring those present to offer their support, monetary and otherwise, to the new projects being put in place to better deal with the rigo u rs of ‘bringing about great change’.

Finally all the talking was done and the guests in the glittering and dazzling attire, dripping with the wealth of the upper class, got to mingling. It was at this time that Stiles spent the bulk of his evening avoiding Jackson’s watchful gaze. Every time he noticed his ex heading for him, he skilfully made a new acquaintance or, insinuated himself into a new conversation. He made an art-form out of using the social setting as cover if only to avoid for a little longer, the uncomfortable talk Jackson seemed eager to have.

Unfortunately his preoccupation with avoiding Jackson made him forget almost completely about avoiding Peter Hale, as well. So when Stiles noticed Jackson dismissing a member of his unit who had apparently been invited to the gala, and began making his way through a small crowd of sea foam green attendants, Stiles turned on his heel and almost crashed head first into Peter.

“Director Hale!” Stiles exclaimed in surprise. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you th...”

“Please Stiles, call me Peter, I think we can safely desist with such formality between us.” Taking Stiles arm between his fingers in a gentle but commandeering grasp, Peter steered him away from the crowds and toward a veranda, the doors of which had been thrown open to the night. Stiles glanced back once over his shoulder to see a defeated looking Jackson making his way back into the crowd and rejoiced internally for his escape. When he looked back at Peter though, his mental cries of joy became mournful moans of dismay.

“Director, I appreciate the sentiment but as a unit captain I should set an example for my team, I should think,” he tried, pulling a healthy serving of bullshit out of his magician’s hat of lies and excuses. Truth was, he did not feel comfortable becoming less formal with the man. It was as though calling him by name would be the catalyst that initiated unwanted changes between them. It would be the thing that made Peter believe he was gaining ground in this doomed pursuit of his.

I don’t see any of your team here tonight though or am I mistaken?”

“Well yes, sir, your nephew is a member of my team.” Stiles didn’t miss the grimace at the mention of that word that acknowledged family ties and thought, he really doesn’t like being reminded of that. He filed the knowledge away for more extensive analysis later.

Yes well I would hardly count him in such a capacity. The supers after all understand their place.” Stiles could only fake a swift smile that looked more like a wolf’s snarl. Peter took a few steps closer to the banister and brought Stiles along with him, still gripping his arm. He finally let it go and splayed his hands over the ledge. “You know Stiles, your family has worked for me...with me for quite some time now.” He meant for, Stiles thought. “I am quite fond of your parents, and I have watched you for quite some time. I have to say you have grown into quite the impressive young man. A talented leader, formidable fighter, expert tactician, you are possibly the greatest agent in Shadow Law. It’s… admirable.” Peter turned to stare into his eyes and the intensity of the man’s gaze made Stiles terribly uncomfortable, though he dared not show it.

I did have hopes that perhaps we could work together.” At this the director turned to face him and placed his hands on Stiles’ arms. Just lightly touching but strong enough that Stiles could feel the warmth of his fingertips beyond the protective barrier of his sleeves. “I think you have the potential to be so much more than just a unit captain. And I want to help you get there, in any way I can.” Peter licked his lips then. His words had ended slowly, softly, suggestively. “You’ve grown in to such a…” he raised a hand to brush fingers at Stiles cheek, but before he could finish his sentiment. Derek strode through the doors.

The wind brushed against the hanging fabric of his sherwani causing the flaps to flutter lightly like loose pages on a breeze. “May I cut in?” came his clear and oh so welcome baritone.

“Excuse me,” Peter scoffed, before he was able to sensor the disdain in his tone.

“Well considering that one of the ideas behind this event was to, encourage the cooperation between supers and humans, both mother and I thought it best if we highlight such cooperation with a statement of intermingling at this party.” Turning to Stiles and lifting a hand to him Derek asked, “Captain Stiles, might I have this dance?”

Stiles looked from Peter to Derek and for a moment the dazzle of the wolf’s eyes stole his attention so completely he nearly forgot to answer. Derek cleared his throat and Stiles almost jerked. Taking the proffered hand, he turned back to Peter. “Thank you, director, for the vote of confidence and the compliment. If you’ll excuse me...” and with that he screamed for joy inside himself as Derek led him away from the balcony and the man who had cornered him there.

With the smaller hand in his, Derek lifted his arm and extended it, leading Stiles out onto the dance floor in a wide berth. The captain followed his lead and allowed himself to be pulled in and firmly against Derek’s body, his right hand clasped in Derek’s hand, high beside their heads. His other hand falling lightly on the older man’s shoulder. He felt the warmth of Derek’s hand on his waist.

They began to move with an easy grace, falling into a relaxed, classic waltz where Derek led and Stiles followed, a reversal of their normal working relationship. Their eyes, meeting when they had taken their positions did not stray from each other. Derek’s hazel, green stare was intent, and full of something Stiles tried not to acknowledge, not here at least.

What do you think you’re doing,” he uttered, with feigned indignation.

“I,” Derek began, clearly amused, “think I’m dancing with you, captain.” He spoke the word in an odd exclamation of sarcasm. Then with a glance over his partner’s shoulder to the balcony they had come from said, “I also thought I was saving you, from my uncle’s… aggressive interest.”

Stiles chuckled, a semi high musical chuffing of laughter. “That’s certainly a good phrase for it. What do you think he wants with me?”

Derek looked a t him as if to say, isn’t it obvious and then narrowed his eyes, “I think it’s less what he wants with you and more that he wants you .”

“I was afraid, you’d say that. Haven’t you ever heard if you don’t admit something it won’t become real.”

“Haven’t you ever heard, denial is for the naive.” Stiles scoffed and then took a breath as Derek twirled him out and then reeled him back in, the lower flaps of his tunic spinning out around him. When Derek pulled him in, his back was pressed against the man’s chest and their hands were locked in a crisscross connection, as they swayed from side to side and then did a repetition of five step footwork.

“Where’d you learn to dance so well?” Stiles queued vaguely aware of the inquisitive looks they were getting from some of the guests. A few looked perplexed while some seemed unappreciative of the display. The divide between supers and humans was still vast, despite the efforts to bring them together in certain areas of cooperation, like Shadow Law strike teams.

“Well let’s see, my mother is grand alpha of the wolf packs so, you could say this isn’t my first rodeo.” He spun Stiles out again and they resumed their original position. The pair danced in silence for a bit longer, only staring at each other with some unspoken thing dancing between them.

“Listen,” Stiles began, “Thanks for helping me, escape I mean. And for having my back earlier tonight on mish.”

“You are my captain, I will always have your back, Stiles.”

The song came to an end and the two of them stood there, holding their position. It wasn’t until a voice cut the silent bubble buffering them from the surrounding din of the party, that either of them were jarred from the private moment.

Stiles turned to find Jackson there smiling broadly in triumph, head held high in pride and superiority. “Hale, take a beat,”

Derek looked from Stiles to Jackson and back and Stiles could have sworn he saw a quickly hidden flash of irritation in the man’s eyes, as he hesitated. Jackson, completely oblivious of everything but his own desire and superior position, simply took Stiles’ hand from Derek and glared at him. The wolf nodded and with a final glance at his captain, excused himself from the two of them.

“May I?” Jackson finally spoke in a more polite manner as he gently reached for Stiles’ waist. And began leading him as the music to the next song began to crescendo from the musician’s box.

“Jackson what are you doing?”

“I am dancing with you.” Stiles almost thought it amusing, the way their encounter mirrored his and Derek’s if only in a completely differently light. “Do you hate me so much, are you so over me that you can’t even stand to dance with me. Used to be there was a time I was the only one you wanted to dance with or maybe you don’t remember.”

Sighing Stiles relented. The memories flashed through his mind and they were not all unpleasant. The man was right and as he thought back some of the tension that had filled him when he switched partners, left and he eased into Jackson’s hands. That though may have only served to give the man the wrong impression. “I do remember,” he admitted softly, and I don’t hate you, Jacks.”

“I knew it,” Jackson confessed gleefully, and then twirled Stiles before he could dissuade the blooming false hope he was constantly afraid of breeding in this man. When they came back together, opposite hands touching palm to palm, rounding each other in an ancient revived medieval dance, Jackson pouted in that broody, tortured, puppy dog pout he managed to pull off so effortlessly that Stiles often caved to his plights for forgiveness. This time, while it didn’t quite have the same full effect it used to, it did make Stiles feel a bit sorry for him, until he spoke again.

“So why won’t you give me a second chance?”

Second,” Stiles scoffed, “You’ve had second chances and thirds and fourths,” his head swayed from side to side as he listed in a singsong voice. “So many that I realized, we don’t work together Jackson.

“I know that I made some mistakes, a lot of them. I’m not denying it,” He raised his shoulders and made a face that said, see how I'm admitting my faults, I'm doing good aren’t I? “But I’ve changed. Losing you, it made me realize that I… had to be different... better. And I think I am. I just wanna prove that to you.”

Stiles searched his face and regretted allowing this dance to begin immensely. “Jackson,” he sighed, “I don’t want to be the reason you change. If you’re going to do that it has to be for you. Because you want to be a better man for yourself not to get me back or make me stay. Change like that isn’t lasting. And I can’t be anything other than what I am, I won’t change for anyone not even you. I’m sorry.”

The song ended and applause rang out around them but Jackson didn’t let him go. “Listen I don’t want that anymore. I love who you are. And I know you love me too.” Stiles looked tiredly into his eyes, distracted for a moment by his father, he could see over Jackson’s shoulder smiling at them. Noah had always felt they were well matched, and he liked Jackson very much. That was only because he saw one side of the man. It was this distraction that made Jackson’s next move take him completely by surprise.

His ex leaned in quickly and pressed his lips against Stiles, kissing him in a firm but gentle way as if, with that one act he could turn back everything and remind Stiles of how good they could be. For a moment, Stiles was pliant, but it ended quickly. He planted a hand against Jackson’s chest and pushed him hard until they separated. Stiles huffed in anger and his eyes blazed with frustration.

“I did love you once but I don’t anymore, not the way you want me to, not like we were!” His voice was a controlled raging storm directed entirely at the man in front of him and not spilling over in any other direction. “What’s more, you trying to force me to feel how you do is only going to push me that much further away from you until whatever friendship we might have is no longer possible.” He took a step back and brushed at his clothing, smoothing rumpled lines. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ve had enough of this party.”

Stiles turned away from the man and maintaining his dignity and class, walked toward the exit. He caught Scott’s eye as he danced with Allison and shook his head when he saw his friend’s questioning stare.

Thankfully most had not noticed the final heated exchange between the two men on the dance floor but his father had. Before Stiles could make an exit, Noah stopped him, with one hand, the other pressed against the chest over his royal blue frock coat. “Son where are you going?”

“Dad, I think I’m gonna head home, I’m feeling a little drained after tonight’s mission,” he lied.

“But son, the gala, it’s not over quite yet, don’t you think you can stick it out for a little while longer?”

Stiles wasn’t sure that he was about to give in to his father or fight him, he never really knew when it came to Noah but he was saved from the lose lose situation by Chris who had overheard everything on his way over. Stiles said a silent thank you to god for sending that wonderful buffer of a man into his life.

Johnny,” he crooned, placing a possessive hand on Noah’s shoulder and squeezing gently. While Melissa would call his dad the absolutely silly and laugh inducing endearment of Noah-bear, which his dad seemed to adore coming from her lips. Chris often called his father by his middle name privately and when he wanted to get his way, it was one of those lover’s things between them and it often worked. As it did then. “let him go home and get some rest, the gala’s nearly over.” he moved his hand from the shoulder to the back of Noah’s neck and squeezed again in a constant massaging rhythm. Stiles had learned this was another private trick which soothed his father and made him that much more receptive to the words of his spouses. “I think Stiles has done an admirable duty of representing his family tonight, there’s no one left to schmooze and the debrief report of his mission tells me he could use an early night.”

Noah turned to look at his husband. Giving him a quirky smile he asked, “When did you have time to read a mission debrief report?”

“Oh my love, don’t you know I have my ways.” When Noah just continued to look at him, changing his stare to a slightly more challenging and inquisitive eye, he relented with a laugh. “I have Jesse,” his assistant, “send me audio cliff notes. That way I can listen while helping you and our beautiful wife get things ready. You know I like to stay on top of things.” Noah shook his head and then leaned in to kiss his husband sweetly on the lips.

“My how talented you are.”

“And right,” Chris added.

“That too.” Turning to his son, he reached out to pat his shoulder and then leaned down to kiss his forhead. “Off with you then. And Stiles, I’m proud of you.”

Stiles gave him a wan smile and gripped his hand lightly before his dad let go. He reached out to squeeze the hand of the stepfather who saved him before turning around. “Should I send Charles with you to see you home?” he heard his father call, stopping him once again.

The driver knows the way home dad, besides I keep telling you guys,” he looked back over his shoulder in mock incredulity, “Charlie has way better things to do than babysit me all the time.” With that he exited the ballroom before his father could think of something else to say.

“Come on, Melly’s waiting for us, she’s apparently having a compelling debate with Lady Noshiko, about nature versus nature in the kitsunes when it comes to swordplay.”

Peter Hale watched from the upper balcony at the top of the double staircase as Stiles left the party and his fathers re-entered the ballroom. He also watched with troubled interest as, his… nephew, he found himself even mentally reluctantly acknowledging the familial tie, discreetly left the party shortly after Stiles. His interruption was still on Peter’s mind and weighed heavily on the man. Just as well, their little dance was a spark for infuriation to Peter. It was the way they moved together, so easily almost practiced. That and the way they looked at each other. It bothered him tremendously to see that look shared between them. As if they were the only ones in the room at times.

Peter had become very intrigued by the young Mieczyslaw Stilinski. Intrigue had turned to infatuation over time and that had bloomed into something of an obsession. He had finally decided to make a move. He would insinuate himself into the young captain’s life. That couldn’t be hard at all. All three of the man’s parents had worked for him under the Initiative for years. He had seen the young man grow and evolve, blossom into what he was today. Something beautiful and powerful. Something Peter wanted to possess.

Then Derek got in his way, and at such a strategic point in time. He could sense Stiles’ hesitation to his advances, he wasn’t a fool. But that was nothing a little time and persistence could not fix. And persistent he was. If he hadn’t been, he would have never become the only human born to a supernatural family to become so powerful in the human world. The leader of the Initiative. The one to show his sister who was truly worth more. And he did not need the wolf gene or it’s pathetic powers to do that.

No what he needed was his drive, his unrelenting spirit. And now that drive was directed at something else, someone else. Stiles. He would have him. Peter Hale had never been denied and those who had tried to deny him, found themselves unfortunate victims of circumstance, and his vengeful wrath. No Stiles would be his in time, just as he had attained everything else he had wanted. But first, he would find out what was happening between him and Derek. He would find out and he would squash it like a disgusting fly beneath his heel. Then Stiles would be his for the taking.

Peter stepped away from the balcony railing he was leaning against and made his way back down to the party.

The Raspburn had barely touched the ground before Stiles was exiting, eager to be in his wing, and his room enjoying the peace and quiet of his solitude, except for the near silent breathing of his lycanther. He waved off the driver, who no doubt would be heading right back to the gala, to await his family once the festivities had come to a close.

Accessing the biometric scanner, he unlocked the doors and deactivated the silent alarm system before making his way to the west wing of the mansion, he called his own personal haven. The house was silent and undisturbed. Stiles thought over the events of the evening from his mission to his dismissal of Jackson, mostly cringing at all the bobbing and weaving he had to do just to be left alone.

As he got to his room, the very last door at the end of a long hall on the second floor of the west wing, he entered distracted and tugged his tunic off, while kicking free his shoes. Charles would have a heart attack at the way Stiles simply tossed them from him to gather in a fancy pile on his bedroom floor.

Haaas, give me some tunage,” Stiles requested, voice activating the estate a.i. Home Advanced Artificial Assistant System.

“What are you in the mood for today sir?” a syrupy female voice in something like a Russian accent questioned.

“Surprise me,” Stiles offered and turned as a song with a male lead singer came on to a background melody heavy in the drums and saxophone. It was very old jazz. He checked himself in the full length mirror and then froze. The window behind him was slightly ajar putting him on high alert. Stiles had total recall and knew for a certainty that the window had been closed when he left for the party.

Show yourself!” he called once his body stilled and his muscles shifted into a ready state. He thought quickly to his protective body suit and his weapons in the closet. Until he knew where the intruder was, it would be best not to move. “I know you’re there, come out and face me.” His words were a challenge and he tried to focus his senses outside the music. Suddenly he saw a shape drop from the rafters above.

D erek Hale landed, still fully dressed in his formal attire in front of him, staring stone faced at him. With astonishing speed Stiles kicked a shoe off the ground and straight at the wolf’s head. Derek swatted it away and braced for impact, knowing all too well that it was a distraction. Stiles lunged forward, fainting right and spinning left with a round house kick. Derek’s forearm blocked it and he swung a hook which Stiles ducked. Flipping backward, the captain kicked for Derek’s head but the wolf flipped back almost simultaneously avoiding the blow, so that their feet only brushed each other as they retreated.

They stood a few feet apart staring at each other. Derek jumped into the air and twisted into a spin bringing his foot out at the last moment for a downward kick. Stiles only rolled underneath him and kicked out with both legs as Derek landed so that his feet connected squarely with the man’s chest and thrust him back up into the air and backward. He landed on his feet as Stiles crouched, ready.

The captain got up into a run and kicked off the ground, his fist curling and pushin g forward powerfully aiming for his opponent's face. Derek blocked with an arm, twisted Stiles forearm with his momentum, bringing it downward before punching with his other fist. Stiles mirrored his move to block before pulling his blocked fist and aiming for a chop to the neck. Derek jerked back out of reach and grabbed the attacking arm by the wrist. He aimed a punch into Stiles’ side but the man turned his body quickly and then kicked across Derek’s stomach causing him to hunch over. Stiles twisted his body, straddling the man’s neck, forcing him to release his arm and then squeezed his thighs as he sent his own body careening over Derek’s chest before twisting around, forcing Derek to flip over and onto the floor. Stiles landed in a crouch.

Derek rolled onto his back and kick jumped onto his feet. Stiles tried to kick his legs out from under him but Derek flipped over him, grabbing his shoulders as he did so. With an iron grip he pulled the man to his feet as he landed and swiftly grabbed the wrist of Stiles’ arm as it punched back defensively. Wrapping that arm across Stiles’ chest quickly, he grabbed the man’s throat and held him tight against his chest.

“You’re holding back,” Derek whispered gruffly.

I was aiming to incapacitate, not kill, but she might,” he responded and jerked his head at the room door where Frejya, his lycanther had appeared, growling. As a lycanther, a biologically engineered hybrid between a panther and an ancient wolf species, with the wolf genes being the most dominant, it was nearly twice the size of a regular wolf and almost as large as a lion. It’s sleek white fur changed to a shadowy dark colour as it entered the room on silent paws. One of its enhancements was the ability to change it’s fur colour as a camouflaging mechanism. Frejya bared her teeth at Derek.

Suddenly, he released Stiles and walked silently over to the lycanther, dropping to his knees before it. He flashed his wolf eyes and smiled. “I’ve missed you too girl,” he admitted before plunging his hands into the fur at her head and giving it a deep ruffling. Her growls became purrs of acceptance and Derek rumbled his appreciation.

Stiles watched them amused. “I’m gonna have to separate you two, my pet is starting to like you more than she likes me.”

“You won’t get it, it’s a wolf thing,” Derek called over his shoulder before pressing a kiss to Frejya’s muzzle and then rising.

“How’d you beat me here?”

Derek cocked his head and raised a brow. “Please, my Skyspanner duocycle outpaces a Raspburn by a hundred and fifty miles per hour.” Stiles couldn’t argue. The hover cycle was a beautiful and terribly fast contraption he had enjoyed a time or two.

“So in addition to breaking and entering we can add speeding to your list of felonies tonight.” Derek stalked back toward him, a sly expression on his face, hunger in his eyes.

“Arrest me then.” He stood halted before Stiles and settled his hands on the man’s waist.

One of these days, I just might,” Stiles whispered, his arms going around the wolf’s neck. He barely finished his thought when Derek’s head descended. The feel of his soft cupids bow lips, was a much needed balm to cure the stresses of the day. He tasted like sweet wine, surely remnants of what he’d been drinking that evening.

Stiles moved with him, his head adjusting as Derek kissed him eagerly. He felt Derek’s arm curve around his waist and his hands smoothing his lower back, seeking lower until the firm weight of his ass was cupped in strong hands. Derek’s tongue moved into Stiles’ mouth, swiping the inner rim of his lips and then seeking further, deeper for Stiles’ tongue, until they played with each other like players on a twister board, twining and contorting, tracing shapes against each other.

When he pulled away, Stiles was breathless in a way their little playful sparring hadn’t made him. “I’ve been wanting to do that all day,” he admitted. Watching the amber glow of Derek’s wolf’s eyes fade back into their beautiful hazel green kaleidoscope of colour.

“So have I,” Derek agreed. “Though I thought you might have been somewhat satisfied, earlier. I saw you.”

“Saw me what?” Stiles wondered his brows furrowing in confusion.

“I saw you kissing Jackson. He may be a human and a captain but I wanted to kill him today.”

“Bite your tongue, if anyone were to hear something like that from someone like you...” he didn’t bother finishing. “Besides what you saw, was Jackson kissing me, and me not having any of it. We are in the past he just needs to deal with that.”

“I just have a hard time seeing other men all over you, their hands, their mouths...” Stiles placed a finger to his lips to shush him.

“Then put your mouth on me and make me forget what other men feel like.” His lashes lowered seductively as he spoke and his expression challenged the wolf before him. Derek lifted him then and Stiles wrapped his legs around the man’s waist. As he looked down at Derek, felt the warm power against his body, the growing firmness finding a haven at the cleft between the cheeks of his bottom, even through his tight pants, He almost purred in satisfaction.

Derek carried him to his bed and bore down on him. The man kissed at his neck and licked his earlobe. Stiles belatedly called out, “Freyja, out, shut the door Haas.” He didn’t look to see if the lycanther would obey, she always did but he was lost to the world about him then. Lost to the pleasure of Derek’s sweet kisses and teasing nips and nibbles. Lost to the delightful pressure of fingertips on his skin.

His hand tangled in the wealth of black hair behind Derek’s head and he guided the man’s face to his so he could taste his lips again. Their kisses were passionate and aggressive. Two animals vying for supremacy, battling each other with their mouths, their lips, their tongues. Insatiable creatures at a watering hole and finding they simply could not get enough.

Stiles was no stranger to sex. He had a healthy libido and had never been particularly celibate. His hunger sometimes got the better of him. In his past encounters he always seemed to push for the act wanting men inside him or to drive himself inside the women he bedded with no hindrance to that bodily connection but with Derek, it was different. With Derek the kissing was just as much the goal as was the intercourse itself. He loved the taste of the man, his lips, his tongue, his skin.

Derek pulled back and in one swift motion pulled off his sherwani, revealing tanned muscular flesh. His stomach rippled into defined quadrants of muscle. His chest was a firm well shaped mass with two dark and peaked nipples inviting Stiles to administer his expert attention. The captain wasted no time, following Derek up so he could press his mouth against that chest, swipe his tongue across the nipple there, suck and nip it with his teeth. Derek shuddered against him. He moved to the other and laved it with his tongue until it cut dully against the tip of his tongue like the worn down tip of glass.

Derek pushed him down and peppered kisses across his chest and stomach, descending until he reached the silver band of the man’s pants. Looking up at Stiles, he raised the band with a finger and swiped his tongue beneath it and then impatient to play out the game, pulled the pants down Stiles’ legs and sent them flying errant across the room. Derek licked his lips as he removed Stiles briefs slowly and sent them the same way the pants had gone. Lowering, slowly, agonizingly slowly, Derek took Stiles swelling member in his mouth and sank it deep. It filled out immediately. The sensation of warm wetness, of tightness closing around him made Stiles moan his encouragement. Derek’s head moved, bobbing up and down, twisting around, all the while his tongue swiping and undulating rhythmically.

Stiles grabbed at his head with both hands and helped guide him though he needed no assistance. The man knew how to please. And considering the number of times they’d stolen away for little trysts like this, he had become an expert in Stiles. But the captain liked the feel of control even when he wasn’t in control. It sweetened his pleasure all the more. Derek moved with his hands and against them. He swallowed deeper and tightened the slick cavern of his mouth, driving his little lover higher and higher into ecstasy. All the tension of the evening transformed into pressure building in the pit of his stomach and the sacs of his balls. Stiles felt the peculiar tugging from inside his throbbing, pulsing member and new he was about to explode.

“I’m gonna... cum,” he muttered breathlessly. Derek only increased his pace. He listened to the stuttering of Stiles’ heart and the gasps of his breathing, and just when he knew the man was about to blow, he lowered himself all the way down onto his dick. As the shaft slid like a sword into a sheath down his throat, he felt the burst of expulsion as Stiles came. Derek growled in pleasure and felt Stiles’ body shudder and shake beneath him, felt his fingers grip tightly at his hair, until they weakly let go and settled.

Derek picked up and brought his lips to Stiles’ so he could taste whatever remnant of his own seed that Derek didn’t swallow. The action and the scent was intoxicating. Stiles found himself lapping at Derek’s lips with a renewed hunger. They both looked deeply into the other’s eyes, looked in a daring stare that issued a challenge to burn as brightly and as hot as the other.

Derek finally moved back, the hair around his mouth leaving a sweet burn on Stiles’ own. He spread the man’s legs and propped each one up on its foot. Before descending to the junction there where his legs met. The place that held the hot core he most sought after in that moment. He cupped Stiles butt cheeks in his palms and pushed them higher so he could have easier access to the man’s hole.

For an agonizing expanse of time, there was nothing but the heat of Derek’s skin on his skin, the warm breath of Derek’s lungs cascading like a desert breeze on the sensitive nether regions of his body. Then the wolf’s tongue plunged. It licked a swathe of slickness along the tight ring of muscles, revealed from their hiding place between his spread cheeks. It came again and Stiles squirmed under the assault. Another slash of tongue and he made a squeak of amused pleasure. Finally Derek let him have the full force of that talented tongue.

The man stabbed into him with it, going in as far as he could then undulating it, twirling it inside the ring of muscles before pulling out and then going in again, deeper and more playfully. The sensation was staggering. Derek traced letters and drew shapes with his tongue inside Stiles until the man he held writhed at his touch and begged for him to stop, to keep going, to please, please, please. And yes, yes, yes. His thoughts had passed incoherent, somewhere after the third dive.

When the beta wolf was satisfied with the moist preparation he had painstakingly provided, he kicked his shoes off and tugged free his own pants. A fist stroked the thick, pink headed cock that came free and guided it to the little pleasure hole between Stiles’ cheeks. He rubbed the head of his manhood against the velvet slickness there up and down and then teased it by slipping inside just barely, just enough to feel the twitching grip of tightness around the crown of his penis.

Stiles bit his lip and reached for Derek urgently trying to draw him in but the man grabbed his arms and pinned them above his head with one hand. Holding his young lover’s gaze intensely, Derek eased himself into Stiles. Taking his time to descend into the man’s hot, tight, sheath inch by stretching inch. The pleasure pain was so exquisite for Stiles. He grunted and bit his lip harder, hard enough to draw a tiny dot of blood. Derek watched him find salvation at the receiving end of his member.

When he was seated deep in his lover, so deep his balls pressed firmly against Stiles’ cheeks, He released Stiles hands and braced his arms on the head board. Still looking down, he began to move. He pulled himself nearly all the way out and then drove back in a little faster. Stiles hissed in response and wrapped his arms around the base of Derek’s back. His hips rocked against the man matching his movements, matching his rhythm. Derek slid into him and out and in again sheathing himself in Stiles over and over, picking up a little speed at a time. Finally he was moving rapidly, thrusting, stabbing into the man’s heat with reckless abandon, all the while never looking away from Stiles’ face. His desperate expression. His hungry eyes. They both panted, as their bodies worked to draw pleasure out of each other.

Stiles gripped Derek’s ass and squeezed firmly, his fingers brushing the secret place between those cheeks. The slight touch of his own core made Derek buck with invigorated movement. Stiles’ legs tangled around, ankles hooking behind his calves. His hips worked, meeting Derek’s pulsing rhythm eagerly.

“Fuck, fuck yes,” Stiles grunted as Derek pounded further, pushed higher, raised him up. He felt like he was flying, like he was climbing altitude without a ship and would soon loose air. His body tingled beneath his skin as that long, thick tool of the worker who transformed his body into a masterpiece of sexual proportions stroked that little nub inside of him that made electric shocks of excitement burst through his entire being.

Derek also felt the quickening within him. It was a tightening of his sac, a buzzing in his stomach, a coiling in his shaft and a shuddering tingle beneath his flesh. He tried to hold himself back, not too long, just long enough that he could climax with Stiles. The man beneath him was so close, he could tell, he could smell it despite their mingled scents overwhelming his senses. Stiles threw his head back and panted louder, his back arching as his orgasm found him, landed on him, shattered.

Watching the madness beneath him Derek let himself go. His pounding rhythm becoming as frenzied as the body he was using. He drilled his cock into Stiles and then exploded. Ropes of hot seed spurted from his pulsing cock deep into the cavity of Stiles hole, coating it heavily with the essence of Derek, filling it to overflowing with his cum. His cry of, “Stiles!” was a talisman to ward off the dark loneliness that existed when he was absent, a prayer of thanks for the gift that was the smaller man who let him in. They both grunted as their bodies rocked and rattled against each other, jerking with the last shocks of power that left them breathless and spent.

Derek took Stiles’ mouth and kissed him fiercely, tasting the coppery sweetness of his bloody lip and breathing life into him. He pulled back and kissed the man’s cheek tiredly then let his head fall down into the crook of his neck and shoulder. Stiles wrapped his arms around Derek’s shoulders, let his hands rest upon the centre of his back and panted, trying to get his breath back.

“That was everything,” he gasped, totally satisfied.

“You are everything,” Derek retorted just as breathless.

After a long time, lying there, just getting a normal rhythm to their breathing back They finally adjusted themselves, so that Derek lay against Stiles with the man’s arms caressing his own, drawing idle shapes into his pecs. Stiles’ chin rubbed back and forth atop Derek’s head, the wavy tufts of hair there rolling back and forth beneath him.

“I wish it could be like this always,” Derek admitted.

“It is always like this,” Stiles countered.

“You know what I mean.” Derek grabbed a hand with his and brought it to his lips, kissing the knuckles, the fingertips. “I wish we didn’t have to hide, that we could really be together, like your parents. Stiles stiffened slightly. “I mean your dad and your stepdad, and stepmom. I mean being open and not a secret.”

“I know,” Stiles sighed. “But you know the rules. This is forbidden at least for now. If anyone found out we would both be arrested.”

“Correction, I would be arrested, you would probably be given leave and a corrections course in the dangers of species mingling. The fucking world is wrong.”

“Yes, it very well might be but there isn’t anything we can do about that right now.” Much as they both wished things were different, they weren’t and there was nothing to be done about it. “It’s not like we can join the rebellion and take down the act or the initiative.”

“Of course not, those guys are terrorists. I get what they’re fighting for but the way they’re doing it is causing way more harm than good.”

“One day things will be different. It may take a long time but it’s gonna happen.”

Derek turned in his arms and lay against him, staring into his eyes. A hand brushed against his cheek. “You really think so?”

Stiles nodded and then they kissed. The moment was again perfect until…

“Sir your father is on his way to see you,” Haaas’ Russian-esque voice announced.

“Shit,” Stiles sat up and Derek moved with him.

“What is he doing here?” Derek questioned hoping off the bed in a fluid leap.

“Uh he lives here.” Stiles answered sarcastically, reaching for clothes.

“You know what I mean,”

“I don’t know Derek just hurry up.” Derek thrust on his pants and shoes and then grabbed his sherwani. He ran over to the window, pulled it open and perched there for a moment.

“Give me another kiss,”

“What!”

“Come and kiss me.”

“He’s gonna fucking catch you get out of here!”

“Not until you kiss me,” Derek insisted and smiled a wicked smile.

Stiles grunted but couldn’t help the chuckle that bubbled up in his chest. “Fine!” he ran to the window and pressed his lips to Derek’s. The man grabbed his face with one hand and deepened the kiss.

“Now go!” Stiles ordered nervous and excited all at once.

“First promise you won’t let Jackson try to kiss you again.” Stiles widened his eyes so much they nearly bugged out of his head. Derek laughed.

“Son,” Stiles heard from beyond his room accompanied by a light wrapping of knuckles on the door.

“Go,” he whisper shouted.

“Promise,” Derek countered.

“I promise now leave before you get strung up.”

Derek pecked him on the cheek and then dived out the window. Stiles had time to see him flip midair and then land spryly in the gardens beneath his window on his feet before he ran for the estate wall. His door opened with a click and his father entered, watching him, appraisingly.

He had had time to put on his pants but nothing else. “I called, didn’t you hear me?” his father asked.

“Sorry dad I was a million miles away. What’s up?”

Just then Chris’ shadow fell over the door frame and he stepped in leaning his back against the wall while they chatted. “Well,” Noah started a little unsure. He never liked to get into Stiles personal life. “I was wondering what happened with you and Jackson. I mean I never really understood why you broke up with him but I always felt you two were... good together.” Stiles sighed.

“What makes you say that dad?”

“He’s a good looking guy, he’s polite, a captain like yourself, not to mention he’s from a good well respected family. You two always seemed like a match made in heaven.”

“Yes maybe that’s what you saw dad, but there are more sides to a person than what they let you see.”

“Perhaps but that man had a lot of good sides is all I’m saying.” He laughed a short tired laugh, “Sometimes I don’t understand you Stiles. Anyway I just wanted to say good night.”

“Good night dad,” Stiles offered back and watched his father leave. Chris lingered a while staring at him.

“You know we all wondered about that I guess,”

“Not you too,” Stiles complained.

“Chris!” Noah called, “you coming,”

“I’ll be right there!” he hollered back. “I just mean your father isn’t wrong Jackson is good...”

“...and polite and from a prominent family sure. But he’s also arrogant and selfish and possessive in all the wrong ways. He was always accusing me of things and keeping tabs on me, once he accessed my tracker just to find out where I had gone when I didn’t tell him...” Stiles raised his brows at Chris who made an o with his mouth and nodded solemnly, understanding. “It’s like I said, there are more sides to a person than they let certain people see. My dad sees what Jackson wants to show him. But it isn’t all he is.

“I’ll talk to your dad. I think he just worries about you Stiles and wants you to be happy. Like he was with your mom and with us now, though that’s a different happiness but just as meaningful, if you get me.”

“I know, Chris.”

“Good night buddy.”

“Good night,” Stiles called back and his stepfather left the room and pulled the door behind him, but not before letting Freyja in. Stiles jumped onto his bed and the lycanther followed, fitting its large body toward the end of the massive bed so it could lay its head over his legs.

“Haaas, play night drift playlist.”

A mellow rhythm and blues song began working it’s way through the room and Stiles let his mind relax on the waves of the melody.


Chapter Text

Large plass doors hissed apart as, Chris McArgent Stilinski strode into the first operational control room, with his assistant Jesse on his heels. The room’s metal walls were gleaming and unblemished. Monitors and holographic interfacing technology lined some of the walls, while panels and screens lined others. The room was large enough to host fifty people with workstations equipped with computerized interfaces.

At the back of the room was a smaller office. Waving a hand toward the reader on the door panel, Chris activated it to its function and it swung open to let him and his small entourage in. At the centre of this room was a large oval table with holocomputer workstations built into all of its separated seat stations so that those who gathered there could access anything they needed to from the internet, the computer systems, or the vast archives of stored intelligence and other such information kept by Shadow law.

Chris looked to those who’d raise their eyes upon his approach, serious if a bit thoughtful as he always seemed to the subordinates beneath his purview. Jesse, a tall muscular black man, with short, cropped, curly black hair and silver eyes that slashed through a man like a sharpened blade, carried in his hands, two electronic work pads. He handed one to Chris as they passed through the frame.

The strike unit that had been seated around the oval table at the head of the room, Stiles’ unit, noted him and Kali approaching just behind the shadow law director and his assistant. Stiles also held a pad of his own and as he raised it to swipe at the screen, Kali swiftly made her way to the vacant seat she often occupied. Danny eyed her with mild amusement as she passed behind him and came around his other side to sit down. She burned him with a heated look and he worked to hide a smile.

“Good afternoon people,” Chris greeted. Stiles pulled up at his right and scanned the faces of his teammates. “Listen up. You have a new mission. Our Athena satellite system, which as you know is tasked with monitoring for actionable intel on threats to the SCRI has picked up on something big. We have reason to believe that there will be an ordinance buy at twenty four hundred hours tonight. The rebellion is set to receive a new type of chip controlled explosive. We don’t have as many details as we’d like on the shipment. The last we heard about this, it was meant to be a prototype but what we do know for certain, is that it’s potential for destruction is immense. The seller is a major player we have been, as yet unable to pin down. Strike one will be intercepting.”

Jesse’s eyes seemed to go hazy and his head cocked to a side, as if he were hearing something the others weren’t and then he turned to Chris. “Director, Tamora Monroe is on the line for you,”

“Why is Main Hunting Division calling me?” he asked idly, brow furrowing. He didn’t expect a reply and Jesse was unable to give one, he simply looked on waiting for something he could respond to. Chris glanced over at Stiles, “You have this...” it was less of a question and more of a command, with a vote of confidence somewhere laced about within it. Looking back to his assistant he said, “Patch it through to my office,” and began walking back out of the room. Before he made it out though he turned back and addressed all of them, yet his eyes were on Stiles, “I want this done clean. The seller is priority, we must get him alive. The rebel leader is secondary, I’d prefer him alive but if that isn’t possible, terminate. Everyone else... use discretion.” Stiles nodded, accepting his words on behalf of his team.

The captain assumed command as the director, his stepfather exited the room. “Ok, let’s talk mission specs.”

“Do we have information on exactly who we’re targeting here?” Erica asked.

“We know who’s buying. One of the rebel leaders shadow law’s been looking at for sometime. Seito Takeshi.” Stiles held his pad forward, then swiped in an arc across his screen, that brought his hand curving in a manner that spanned the room. At once, the files he’d been reviewing on his own pad distributed to the holographic viewing panels set into the table where each of the team members sat. With a few finger flicks and gesticulations, there was a small projection of information rising from their sections of table. Each held the same knowledge, an echo of what Stiles had been provided by Chris.

“He’s a fire kitsune alpha, incredibly lethal and highly paranoid. He’s escaped our teams on several occasions. I don’t intend on letting him get away tonight.”

“What about the seller?” Derek asked and for a moment, their eyes locked and something absolutely secret passed between them. Something that, just as quickly as it had come, became locked behind their walls and screens of professionalism.

“Adrian Delecourt.”

“Adrian Delecourt?” Danny mumbled questioning.

“It’s an alias, tied to several other aliases we’ve been able to identify over the last four years. Michael Drummand, Francois Delouise, Mitch Gotye, Yosef Habib and the list goes on. What we know is that we know nothing. Except that he is a front man for the crime syndicate known as the inferno circle.”

“I thought the circle was a myth...” Ennis mused looking around with a mixture of hopeful excitement and thoughtful confusion on his face.

“No myth,” Danny chimed in. His hands were working with the rapidity of an old world machine gun, on the holo-keys of the table’s workstation that was his. “Shadow Law’s been unsuccessful in finding anything concrete on these guys since they first emerged.” Looking up at Stiles, he added, “I’m guessing that’s why his capture is top priority.”

“And the gold star goes to...” Danny rolled his eyes and went back to reviewing the information the captain had distributed to them. “Now you heard the director. Delecourt is top priority, we take him in alive. Under no circumstances is he to be taken out or left unable to communicate,” Stiles turned on Ennis as he spoke, the man also known by his call sign, Sledge, before flashing an equally intense look of accusation at Boyd.

After a moment of fielding his captain’s glare Boyd caved, “Ok ok, I get it cap, jeez.”

“Just making sure the point is well received here. I’m not about to have the director breathing down my neck on this one, because somebody, got a little hammer happy, or their claws too wet.” Stiles gave one final withering stare and then swiped the screen of his pad as he continued. “Now this is taking place in the Barren Shipyard tonight on a class SX3 series four hundred Helecarrier.” It was a cross between what looked like an enormous ship but outfitted with five turbines which allowed it to leave the water body it travelled along and take to the air like a plane.

“We’re coming in aerially. We will approach at twenty five hundred feet from a stealth mission jumper,” which was a small rectangular craft used for mission transportation through the air as well as quick extractions. “This is to avoid the ranged sensors of the carrier. When we are in position we take the plunge. Now we aren’t entirely sure of the extent of what we are walking into so we need to be careful here. It’s my understanding that the meet will be taking place in the captain’s private dining facility four levels down.” He eyed his team as he manipulated the information on his pad and in turn, in front of their faces, so they could follow along with him.

“So when we drop,” he continued activating a large holographic projection of the helecarrier they would be boarding. The image bloomed above the expanse of the table and rotated slowly, so that each member could get a good look at every aspect of the ship. “We gather here.” Stiles pointed toward the stern of the craft and the spot indicated, lit up on the holograph to better indicate their target for contact. “We need to stay sharp and quietly take down any hostiles where we land. This area provides good cover so depending on the situation we may be able to touch down in stealth and clear the deck after. Erica,” Stiles glanced at Erica and she returned his gaze intently, waiting. “I want you and Boyd clearing the deck. Again I want this done quietly, we can’t tip off the targets to our presence until after the rest of the team is in position.” Erica nodded and glanced over at Boyd, who seemed pleased with his assignment by the half smirk on his face.

“Kali, You will track down all escape crafts and disable them. Don’t take any chances. Take out their systems and plant a few explosives as well. If by some miracle they’re able to escape and to override your work, we want to ensure we can blow them out of the sky.” She nodded and began assessing her range of explosives for what would be perfect to deploy on the mission.

“Danny and Ennis, you two take the engine room. I want the carrier under our control before the party really gets started. Danny focus on system, Ennis focus on keeping him undisturbed.” Turning then to Isaac, Stiles went on. “You’re gonna infiltrate that meeting Isaac. Before we come busting in there, I want you to glean whatever information you can from their exchange. It would be the fastest way to get something we could use before we take them in and jaws get locked. Try to plant a few surveillance devices in the room once you get in there. Derek and I will be waiting nearby. I will give the signal when we’re ready to take them in. Wait for it. Don’t start alone, we don’t know what they’re capable of and while I have no doubts you can handle yourself, this is delicate and it’s better if we handle it as a team.” The covert operations expert nodded his agreement and Stiles returned it.

Finally, Stiles looked to Derek, and the werewolf returned his gaze seriously. “Your target here is Takeshi, I’m going after Delecourt.”

“Understood.”

“Good. Now are there any questions.” A charged silence met his question and he half smiled. Stiles often thought of his team as a powerful and precise weapon. Well oiled and well maintained. All one ever had to do was point and shoot and they would get the job done. “Alright, get yourselves organized and prepared, we’re in the air by twenty two hundred hours.” He shut down the projection and powered down his pad. Turning around, his eyes flicked to Derek nonchalantly and then he was walking out of the operations room and heading for his office.

Stiles was just a few paces from his door, when he spied Jackson walking down the corridor coming toward him. Inwardly he cursed the gods of circumstance, that in a building as large as Shadow Law headquarters, with a grand total of twenty five floors, not including the underground transport ship yard, he still managed to run into one of the only people, he would give anything not to see.

He tried to scurry for his door but of course, the act itself drew Jackson’s attention out of whatever withdrawn day dream he was in, to noticing who was walking in his direction. “Mieszko!” he called eagerly, excitement blooming in his eyes, then quickly sputtering to a low flame at Stiles’ reaction.

Stiles’ eyes widened and then he sighed, slowing himself to a normal pace. His expression was that of exasperation and weariness. “Jackson, you should really stop calling me that.”

“Why,” and he really did sound very confused and a little hurt.

“Because, we’re not together anymore. That’s an intimate name, don’t you think?”

Well we have an intimate past, don’t you remember?” This time Jackson sounded irritated. He pushed a rough hand through his dirty blond hair, which brought the dark blue shirt he was wearing beneath his black leather jacket pressing tightly against his muscular chest. His green blue eyes flashed impatience. Stiles balked at his reaction, the heat in Jackson igniting a spark of ferocity in him as well. Jackson saw it and immediately cooled himself down. Somewhere inside his head he knew he was pushing things, but he also felt like Stiles wasn’t being fair. In fact, the man was being downright unreasonable.

Sighing and letting his hand drop to his side, he tried again. “I just mean, I’ve called you that for a long time. Together or not I still know you in a deeper way than a lot of people. It’s not so easy to just break a habit once it’s fully formed. Besides, its just a nickname, like Stiles.”

Stiles huffed and then flailed a hand in the air as if to say, fine do what you want. “I gotta go,” He said and began moving but Jackson touched his hand and stopped him.

“Wait,” Stiles looked at him pointedly. “I just wanted to apologize, for what happened at the gala. I was out of line.”

“Yes you were,” Stiles jibed.

I know, it’s just,” he paused. Eyes glanced down at his feet as if he were unsure of exactly what he wanted to say. He looked up again and stared into Stiles’ eyes, deeply. His green blue gaze, disarming the heat of Stiles brown ones, just so. “I may have been an asshole. A really really imperfect one. But for all my faults, Mieszko, I really really, loved you. Maybe I didn’t know how to show it the right way or express it well, but, it was true for me...” He went on staring, all soft and slightly broken like a puppy waiting for you to pick up the ball and throw it, or scratch it behind the ears because it needs the positive reinforcement.

Stiles felt himself caving. First his brow furrowed, wrinkling into a sympathetic frown. T hen his lips relaxed and he half smiled. His heart clenched and he expelled a slow breath. His eyes became understanding and the empathy that he often had to put in a box inside himself, came rushing out. All too quickly Stiles remembered the love he did feel for Jackson. T hat romantic love from once upon a time. Looking at him just then, seeing his vulnerability, seeing him apologize, something the old Jackson didn’t make t o o big a habit of doing, touched him inside.

“I know it was Jacks,” he offered and then absentmindedly, completely caught up in the moment, raised a hand to caress his cheek. “I know you did, I did too,” He felt and saw Jackson turn his face into the hand at his cheek and Stiles withdrew, seeing, really seeing, only then, what he was doing. He cleared his throat. “Listen, I might have overreacted today. Honestly I don’t mind when you call me that, I just... want to make sure you understand that our relationship, romantically anyway, that’s over. I can’t go back,” he admitted solemnly. “But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t real and it doesn’t mean I don’t wanna be your friend, I just want you to understand that too.”

Jackson sighed and nodded, defeated. Stiles relented then and leaned in, to press lips to Jackson’s cheek. It was soft and slower than he should have allowed, perhaps, but it was like saying good bye to something and he felt it was necessary.

Captain,” the low baritone of Derek’s voice, broke the enchantment of the moment for Jackson and the solemnity of it for Stiles. Before Stiles even pulled away, Jackson could feel the change beneath his skin. He glared at Derek, as the man approached.

“Hale,”

“We were supposed to go over mission details,” Derek uttered professionally, then turning to Jackson he greeted, “Captain Whittemore.”

“Hale,” Jackson said with a hint of venom and dusting of irritation.

“Right,” Stiles admitted and stepped back. “My office. Jackson, I’ll see you...”

Jackson only nodded, and watched the two men disappear through the door frame a few steps down the hall from where they had congregated. Fucking Hale, he thought, the words a roiling cloud of frustration is his mind, that made his eyes burn a n d his skin feel too tight. The guy definitely had the worst timing in the freaking world. As far as Jackson could tell, he and Stiles were having one hell of a moment. Sure his old lover had tried for, letting him down easy, but he knew the man. Jackson knew that with a few good pushes in the right places, Stiles could be coaxed right back into his arms. And he was about to make his move when fucking Hale had to show up and shatter the moment like so much broken glass.

Jackson continued recounting the last few moments in the hall as he went along his way. He was headed down to D.R.U.I.D.E. in the lower levels of the headquarters. Bright fluorescent lighting making the off white walls of the hall look like a newly unveiled hospital wing with its sterilized paint job. He rounded a corner, turning briskly, seeing nothing in particular when the figure that had been coming from the end loomed in his peripheral vision.

He stopped himself abruptly and focused on who was in front of him. Had the person even been coming round, because the more he thought about it, they seemed to have been immobile. Jackson’s face scrunched up in confusion when he realized who it was he was looking at. Confusion, quickly changed to a shade of covered embarrassment.

Peter Hale stood in the hall wearing an unexpected smile on his face that was less welcoming and more expectant, as if to say, aha you are right on time my friend. His three piece suit of black cotton was immaculate. His vest covered a skinny black tie falling over a dark purple shirt and his shoes were so shiny you could see the image of your outline reflected in it when you drew close.

True his S upernatural C itizens R egistration I nitiative placed him in oversight of Shadow Law, but his office was hardly in the building, and he rarely came by. Furthermore, for the director to simply be walking around unaccompanied, or rather standing in halls waiting to see who comes around, was rather uncharacteristic. Though if Jackson had known then how calculating Peter Hale could be, he might not have thought that at all. The action might have seemed perfectly in character for the man.

“Excuse me, Director Hale I...”

“It’s quite alright Captain Whittemore, I was actually coming down to see you in your office. How fortuitous that you have met me halfway.”

“To see me... I’m sorry did I forget a meeting of some kind?” Jackson asked, even more confused than he had been a minute ago. It wouldn’t do to forget the director of the SCRI.

“No no,” Peter set him at ease, the broad smile on his face, shrinking to something a bit more natural and appropriate, kind even. “Nothing so formal as all that. I was just,” He paused and his smile became a frown. His eyes hazed over as if he were trying to find the way to phrase his thoughts. “I was just finding myself a bit worried over something and I was hoping, you might be able to help. I’m sure you would share my concerns after all.”

“Concerns... what about sir?”

“Captain Stilinski.” Jackson’s eyes widened and his interest piqued.

“Is something wrong with...”

Perhaps not,” Peter’s voice softened and he gave another small smile, to attempt easing Jackson again. The old instinct of a lover flaring in him, at the suggestion something may be even slightly amiss, with the one he cared for deeply. “I mean to say, I have been a little concerned over some things I have been, observing with regards to the captain and I was hoping, I could speak to you about it. I don’t have very much time so perhaps you could sit in my car with me for a few minutes hmm?”

Jackson involuntarily glanced backward. Around the corner where he had just come from, was Stiles in his office. If anything was going on with him, Jackson should know, Jackson should find some way to help. Besides if there were something Jackson could do to fix whatever might be wrong, it may go a long way toward Jackson and Stiles getting back together. He nodded his head and gave a smile of his own. “Lead the way sir.”

“Please,” the director cooed, gesturing down the hall with one hand, while placing the other to the small of Jackson’s back, “call me Peter.”

*

Stiles tapped a bu t ton on the console next to the open frame and the doors slid into place. Tapping another he ensured they would remain closed, until he authorized otherwise and with a final tapping of his fingers, deactivated regular surveillance equipment in the office. The cameras and microphones were used more as a means of protection for the ones they monitored, rather than as a means of monitoring them twenty four seven, and so the power to control them was left to the occupant. He then turned to gape at Derek. The wolf only regarded him coolly, wholly unfazed.

“You’re crazy, yup, you are definitely crazy, I have no doubt about it, off your rocker, lost the plot and the marbles fucking nutso crazy, What were you thinking!” Stiles whisper yelled and then glanced around as if someone with x-ray vision stood outside the door, and with the aid of super hearing like certain superheroes of old, were listening in on the conversation.

Currently, I’m thinking you are immensely paranoid and you should do something about that.” Derek delivered the words with with a calm and collected smoothness that made Stiles want to headbutt him, just a little. “Previously I was thinking,” And the beta wolf lowered his head and narrowed his eyes at Stiles while they flashed a hot amber. His voice became a quiet storm of jealousy as he continued, “I thought he promised he wouldn’t kiss Jackson anymore.” His words ended up being ground out between teeth that were so tightly mashed together, Stiles wondered if he wouldn't find tiny filings of enamel, on the floor of his office later on.

The captain looked at his secret lover incredulously. “You’re kidding right?” he said with a single, involuntary head nod of emphasis. The man had to be making a joke because otherwise, everything about what he just said, was just crazy. A lot of crazy. Way too much crazy for the level headed Derek Hale that he knew and... well, liked a lot.

Derek raised one argumentative eyebrow on his terribly serious face. He spoke no words as his expression did more than enough to say, no Stiles no I am not joking, I am anything but in a joking mood right now.

“Wow, Derek that’s... wow.” He shook his head as he continued to stare wide eyed at the wolf before him. “First of all you, made me promise I wouldn’t let Jackson try to kiss me again, and second that was barely a kiss,” Stiles’ face scrunched up as he finished, demonstrating how far from a kiss he thought it was.

Your lips, his face,” Derek grunted out. “By definition Stiles, that is called a kiss. Should I send you a link to an online dictionary, because clearly you’re having trouble with the concept of definitions.”

Fine, my lips were on his face, yes, and yes I promised I wouldn’t kiss him but that right there, was less about being romantic and more about saying goodbye.” Stiles’ voice was heating up and steadily rising higher in his ire. “Jackson and I have a lot of history and he just apologized for being an ass at the gala. Furthermore, he just explained why he was being an ass and that it is hard for him to let go, so forgive me for feeling sorry for the man I used to love, who clearly still loves me. I felt like he deserved to know I still care even if it’s not in the same way. So I fucking pecked him on the cheek big deal. Don’t tell me you’re turning into this... this guy.”

And just what guy is that Stiles?” Derek asked, his tone a bit less angry, now that he’d heard Stiles’ breakdown of events.

“The kind of guy whose overly possessive, overly jealous and overly controlling. The kind of guy that Jackson was when I told him I had had enough, and it was over. Because that is not the kind of guy for me.” He beat his hands against his chest for emphasis while flailing the other hand around aimlessly in his anger. “And you know what, I didn’t think you were the type, but if you are let me know right now because it’s not gonna work no matter how beautiful you may be.” His face reddened as he realized how he ended the tirade. He was even more annoyed to see the smirk Derek was trying and failing to hide. “Don’t you dare...” He stared yelling, and then caught himself, cutting off and fuming with flared nostrils.

“Stiles,” Derek groaned, relenting, saddened by the way things had gone. Yes he sounded like a jealous ass but he didn’t mean to come off that badly. It was just... “I’m a werewolf Stiles...”

“What is that supposed to mean?” the other man glared at him, half confused half tired of the whole conversation and just generally the past few days. .

“It means that we are very dominant and possessive creatures. Humans can also be possessive and jealous. So the human part of me and the wolf in me that feel those things kind of overwhelmed me,” he admitted, his voice a little tense as if he didn’t really wanna come clean, but knew he had to. Stiles just continued to look at him but his gaze had lost some of it’s heat, his mind already working along the track Derek was setting up before him. He could almost see where it was headed before the man finished explaining himself.

“You don’t know this, but this isn’t just my first human relationship. It’s my first relationship period.” The man’s eyes were averted and his face ripened, as he suddenly found the inner workings of the floor beneath their feet, fascinating to behold.

“What,” Stiles breathed. He thought he’d known where Derek was going but that admission had come out of left field. “No way you’ve never been with anyone else.”

Oh I’ve been with other people. Wolves, coyotes, even a werehyena once, though she had this obnoxious laugh, she did way too much whenever she came...” he looked up then and stared off to a side with glassy eyes as he remembered, “but that’s not the point. I’ve had sexual encounters, but never anything so real, or lingering as this. You’re my first, relationship... I mean if we’re calling it that,” he scoffed, “under the circumstances.” and then he finally looked back at Stiles for some kind of assurance or confirmation.

Stiles at first just continued looking at him with equal parts shock and wonder, painted up and down his face like a used canvas. Then he quickly shook his head having defined what Derek was communicating with those vulnerable expressions and came back to himself. Stiles took a step forward and nodded to the man. “Yeah, yeah that’s... we’re calling it that, even under the circumstances,” he chuckled a bit to himself and then went silent, giving the other man the chance to finish.

I’m glad... I mean that you feel that way. Listen I’m not used to this. But I do know that for the first time, two sides of me are both having a hard time seeing you with other people. I’m trying to come to terms with it. I mean I’ve had my wolf under control for years, but he’s never had to deal with... this part of living. It’s different and weird. And with all the hiding I guess... I guess I’m...” afraid, “...worried that you’re gonna realize I’m not what you want.”

Stiles huffed out a breath as his mouth transfigured into an O of revelation. He closed the distance between himself and the other man and then took Derek’s hands in his own. He knew what it felt like to be insecure. He knew what it felt like to worry that you weren’t enough and the person you wanted, the person who claimed to want you would discover that, that wasn’t true at all. That there was someone else, someone better. Or maybe just that, they didn’t want to be with you after all. Not because there was a greater alternative, but because you, simply didn’t do it for them anymore.

Stiles caressed the back of Derek’s hands with his own and then, turned them around so he could lace their fingers together. “Listen, silly wolf. The situation may be terrible, but I don’t wanna be with anyone but you. How about this, you and I have our own little new mission. I try to appease the wolf within,” Stiles squeezed Derek’s hand, “and you, try to remember that even when we’re pretending we aren’t more to each other, I still don’t want any one else, but you.” Derek kept looking at the ground and, if it weren’t so heartbreaking to see how vulnerable he was it would be funny. Just the image of the indomitable Derek Hale, warrior, prince of the Hale clan and taker of zero shit from anyone, standing there looking so abashed and like a shy child standing before a strange family member they’ve never met.

Stiles released one hand and brought thumb and forefinger up to Derek’s chin, to lift it so he could look into his eyes and show him, how sure of his words he was. “No one else,” he repeated. And then he leaned in and took the man’s lips with his own. He had to tilt his head upward slightly as Derek was only a few inches taller. The soft, silken feel of Stiles’ mouth, pressing against his and then moving with intent to taste the slickness hidden within, was a soothing balm that helped wash all his worries away just then.

He responded with fervour, lifting a hand to frame the captain’s cheek while they continued to press palm and palm of their other hand, entwined by fingers together.

***

Jackson slid into the back of the Raspcort series four hundred luxury vehicle. It’s plush seats were made of a new hybrid fabric called sleath, a binding of leather and silk which, gave the sturdy and beautifully gleaming leather, the silky, soft and texturally appealing quality of silk. The velvet red upholstery colouring, of the inside of the vehicle was a deep and attractive contrast, to the solid obsidian black colouring of the outside. He could see his own reflection in the surface of the highly polished metal as they had approached the high-park, where vehicles belonging to personnel and visitors of Shadow Law were garaged. Now he felt like he were sitting in a blood den, the image coming to him from one of those classic old world vampire movies he used to let Stiles sucker him into watching.

Peter got in opposite him and sat there watching for a minute, appearing deep in thought. He was about to ask the director what was wrong, thinking he might have lost himself in his own train of thought when Peter finally spoke. As he did so, his eyes slid up and latched onto Jackson’s, like a pinball slipping into the groove of the score goal perfectly.

“You and Captain Stilinski... Stiles, have shared a very intimate relationship for quite some time, until a little while ago.” He didn’t phrase it as a question, but Jackson found himself nodding just the same, as if the words required confirming before they could continue. “Yes, yes,” Peter murmured almost to himself. “That is precisely why I have come to you Jackson. May I call you Jackson?” He crooned in a slowly, lowering voice that made all his words seem compelling and important. There was something about words spoken utterly quietly, that just lent that much more weight to them and forced you to listen even more intently than you were.

“Yes of course, Director.”

“Good then, please I’d have you call me Peter. I am about to confide in you Jackson. I am about to share with you my innermost thoughts, feelings, concerns and that, I think, will tie us together in a rather deep way.” The words were starting to make Jackson feel, equal parts, important and uncomfortable simultaneously, but he tried not to show any reaction, relying heavily on his covert operative training to do so.

Even still, Peter, despite being completely human, kept up his intense gaze, never moving his eyes away so that he could look deep into them for indications of Jackson’s own thoughts and feelings. Peter was a master at manipulation and considering he went over every training method used for Shadow Law operatives, he had something of a special insight into how they worked and what to look for. Like with Jackson, who did an admirable job at marshalling his facial features into a mask of calm, but they were just a little too tight, not relaxed enough, and the muscle that worked at his jaw, just to the right of his chin indicated his feelings of discomfort.

“It is because I trust you,” Peter went on, switching his tack just so as to get the man to settle into his words, and allow them to draw him in, rather than put him on alert. He could see it was working already. “It is because I know how much you have cared for Stiles Jackson. And a man like you, would want to protect those you care about, even if things between you have been... put on the back burner for a time. Am I right in believing that?”

“Yes, yes, direc... Peter.” Jackson nodded, his mind tuning into the implications of the man’s words, leaving his previous discomfort, a fluttering of smoke on a high wind which dissipated it.

“Good. Then let us get down to the crux of the matter. Let me start by saying,” he crossed his legs and settled into his seat a little more, but still maintained his eye contact. “I have admired the McArgent Stilinski family for some time now. As heads of agency, Noah, Melissa and Chris have been stellar examples of public servants. They have done everything in their power to lead the way into a bright future, under the Initiative. I respect this immensely. Their contributions to Shadow Law and the HSSD have been Incalculable, and have truly leapt us forward, far ahead of any projections we have made. Furthermore, their children, have all been ideal and shining examples themselves. Two captains of strike teams and another captain class agent, who for whatever reasons of modesty, has temporarily declined a team of his own. They have the highest close rate in the agency, beside yourself. They are dedicated and it shows. These are the reasons that I have admired this family and kept a close eye upon them as any other caring director would.” Peter sighed as if the next part of his speech was to bring him such sorrow he couldn’t bear it. His eyes fluttered as he lowered them for a moment, to add effect to his words.

“Stiles, is so full of potential and I have placed, a lot of faith in him. As well I have monitored his progress, if only out of courtesy to his parents and the friendship I share with them. It is because of this I come to you today. I fear Stiles is engaging in action, that is not just detrimental to his entire career, but also to his reputation and life. As well as the honourable reputation of his family.”

“What kind of action?” Jackson asked hurriedly, his idea of maintaining a measure of stoicism enhanced by his training, completely lost as the idea of Stiles in need of saving riled him up.

Peter looked back at him then with elusive eyes, “No I couldn’t say just yet...”

Peter please. You said yourself, you came to me because you thought you could trust me. So go ahead and trust me. I love Stiles and I would do anything to protect him. And I know first hand how self destructive he could be.” He was referring to breaking up, counting that as an action that went against what would be safe, smart and progressive, forgetting almost completely, the words he had confessed to Stiles in apology, a little while earlier. “Tell me,” he pleaded.

“Alright,” Peter relented. He uncrossed his legs and then leaned forward, conspiratorially, lacing his fingers together and resting his forearms on his thighs as he did so. “You are aware that the fraternization between humans and supers in a romantic or sexual nature remains illegal.”

“Yes of course.”

“And also of what the consequences for such intermingling would be if it were to be discovered?”

“Yes, I do... You don’t mean...” Jackson’s eyes first widened then narrowed, his brow creasing between his eyes.

“Have you not noticed a strange series of coincidental encounters between Stiles and Derek Hale? How he looks at the good captain, the way they interact when they believe others are not around or watching. How Hale seems to show up at unexpected times for private meetings with the captain. I have even noted missing surveillance footage of the captain’s office when Derek is in with him. Does that not strike you as odd?”

“I...” Jackson began but then stopped thinking. He could not really, honestly think of events like Peter had mentioned but that was not what dominated his mind. He thought of today and how Hale had interrupted the moment they were having. He thought of the gala and how he had had to cut in to Derek and Stiles’ dancing. Why were they even dancing. Peter’s words might not have drawn forth real memories, but they had not been designed to. They, were meant to put doubt in his mind and work on his own jealousies. They were meant to ignite a flame, that would steadily rise to a conflagration that Peter hoped, he could use for his own ends. And they were working.

“Yes,” Jackson admitted, however blindly, however false, though he didn’t see it that way. He only saw today, the interruption and the dance that shouldn’t have been in his eyes. Derek was still a super and Stiles was still his. “Yes I’ve seen things, that shouldn’t be. You don’t think that... Stiles’ wouldn’t...”

“I’m not saying that. I would hate to disrespect the good name of his family, by making such accusations, without the accurate proof. And even still I would like to give Stiles the opportunity to see what a foolish mistake this would be, if it is what he is doing before it is too late. But like I said. I need some kind of proof. Something to say, definitively that they are or aren’t carrying on. If we can’t save him from this folly, if it is true, his family would be devastated, his life would be ruined, and for what, a super.”

“What can we do?” Jackson asked completely led now by Peter and his manipulations.

“I don’t know, I thought perhaps if we could get some surveillance of his home, perhaps that might help. I mean if there is some kind of secret thing going on, that would be the place to catch it, but I can’t authorize that kind of thing. Not publicly. Furthermore I can hardly think of sending agents into his home and bugging it.”

“What about me?” Jackson offered not missing a single beat. Peter could almost smile at the man’s easiness. Playing him was as easy as clapping ones hands together to make sound.

“What about you?” Peter asked with false bafflement in his face and eyes.

“Well, I could do it. I could bug his wing, and his room.”

Peter shook his head slowly in denial and that was the last bit of convincing that Jackson seemed to require. His eyes blazed with righteousness as he elaborated. “I can do this. I know his wing better than anyone, including his father and definitely his stepparents. I even know his lycanther, Freyja. If there’s anyone who can get in and out undetected and bug that place its me. Then we can find out once and for all what’s going on between them. And if something is going on we could stop it, before it destroyed his life.”

Jackson looked at Peter with eager eyes and it was all the man could do not to smile and whisper the words, well done. Instead he nodded, reluctantly. “If you think you can, maybe it’s worth a try.”

“I know I can,” he said, this time with the more cocky and assertive tone that was most synonymous with Jackson Whittemore.

“The feed would have to go directly to me, can you make that happen?”

The man nodded, already thinking of who he could enlist for this little covert operation. “I have someone who can help,”

Peter flashed curious eyes at him. Curious and alarmed. “We can’t afford to let this become workplace gossip, Jackson, you understand that?”

I understand. Meredith Walker is completely discreet when I need her to be and she is entirely devoted to me. Even if she weren’t, she follows orders without question so long as she’s allowed to tinker with her toys, to her heart’s content. I tend to give her free reign to do so. I expect she should be no trouble with this. Besides, I won’t have to give her any details. All I need to do is tell her where I want the surveillance feeds routed and she’ll take care of it.” He nodded his head again and steadily, more vigorously as he spoke. The idea clearly coming to him as he went along and making more and more sense, the more he spoke it through.

Peter only watched in pleasure as the man exceeded his expectations when it came to this particular plan. He had known he could get the man to involve himself even in the capacity, that placed him intruding into his ex-lover’s home. But this... He was developing useful ideas to suit Peter’s plan, and the director couldn’t ask for more. One piece at a time, he thought, and Stiles will eventually be mine.

Jackson didn’t see the look of dark pleasure in Peter’s eyes. He didn’t see the way the man had played him like the proverbial fiddle. And he certainly didn’t see how his involvement in this or his feeding the man’s plan with fresh fire, would be the exact opposite of anything Stiles would want, and exactly the kind of thing that had split them up before. All he could think now was that Meredith, or Enchantress as she often preferred to be called, it was her code name on mission, would be the perfect addition to this. The woman was an expert hacker and engineer extraordinaire.

Her name was derived from her ability to create the most fascinating pieces of tech which gave her the ability to appear as if she wielded magick. Like her force gauntlets which applied magnetism and kinetic energy, in a refined and focused way, that mimicked telekinesis. Or her modified hacking chip implanted in her brain, which was able to hack the chips implanted in others enough that she could pick up their thought commands and transmissions, making it seem in some instances that she was psychic. Or even her pulse bracelets which emitted a projected and sustained energy field which served as a shield. She was a wizard when it came to technology or rather, an enchantress. She was also Jackson’s team engineer and hacker and thus all he would need to do is command her skills for this venture and she would provide him with what he needed.

“I’m trusting you with this Jackson, I expect a report soon, on your progress.”

“I won’t let you down Peter.”

“This is hardly about me Jackson, we can’t let Stiles down.” Jackson nodded his head and Peter returned it before hitting the switch which opened the doors to let Jackson out and onto his new mission.

Chapter Text

Stiles walked slowly forward from the back of the stealth mission jumper. His black boots marked the centre line of the ship. A stripe of dark red which cut the craft in half up to it’s centre, where the red split into two lines which surged outward, away from each other, then ran parallel before coming together in a large square. Above the large square of red on the ceiling, was a panelling of metal which formed a mirroring square at the roof of the ship.

The jumper’s white walls, enhanced by fluorescent lighting in overhead panels, were a sterile reminder of what this craft was for. Tactical and strategic field work, nothing else. As he cut a line through his eager and attentive team, Stiles regarded each of them intently. He searched their expressions for their focus, their heads. He studied their attire and the firmness of their stance. He looked for all the indications in them, that they were ready for this.

He didn’t really need to see them or have to guess at those indications at all. Stiles knew his team well. They had grown together over countless missions and operations for Shadow Law. Their strength as a unit had been forged and refined through many a life or death situation. Their teamwork had been fortified through hundreds of exercises, demonstrations and situations where relying on a teammate was the only way to make it through.

He could of course see from the way they held themselves, the way they regarded him with silent conviction and some even, with leashed excitement behind their shimmering eyes, that they were up to this. But even without the luxury of looking them in the eyes, he knew, strike team one was prepared and would succeed or fail together, but mostly succeed.

Eres loaded a few more mini explosive charges into dispensers attached to her utility belt, with a gleeful expression of anticipation for the soft but effective booms they would make once activated. Cypher fiddled with his wristpad, which was basically a miniaturized computer on his arm. He no doubt, rechecked his chosen hacking assist programs ensuring everything he needed for his assignment was in order. Kitty chatted with widow, who smiled broadly while adjusting the fit of her gloves. Sledge and Houdini talked with each other, while both checking different slots and compartments of their attire. Derek who’s code name was Lupin, an amusing choice by Stiles who had a thing for old comics and old movies about magic and superheroes, slipped two knives into the holster on his thigh as he watched Stiles move. He did a good job of concealing his attentions but Stiles could feel him staring.

“Approaching target altitude captain America,” came the often slightly too loud and sometimes, too enthused voice of the control agent, also known as the mission monitor. He was a medium height, white man, with wild black hair that often stood up in little spikes. His eyes were dark and wild and his usually misplaced and overshare kind of humour, was always more than the team bargained for. He did however lighten the mood on many occasions and he was excellent at doing his job. He was also the only one who actually called Stiles Captain America, which was the code name the man had given himself when he became the leader of their strike unit.

Stiles beamed at the use of his name and found the monitor beaming right back at him with far too much teeth than was necessary. The captain scoffed. “Thanks Agent Finstock, Let’s get into position people.” Each member of the team, following instruction moved from where they had been standing and positioned themselves comfortably within the red borders of the deployment box, toward the centre of the ship.

The deployment floor was a handy spot of phasing technology, built into the floor of the ship in a secured space. This allowed for agents to drop through the floor itself once the phase-screen, in the floor of the ship, had been engaged. D.R.U.I.D.E. had created it as a progressive alternative to opening cargo bay doors to deploy, making that particular time in a mission a lot safer in terms of the ships protection. It also safeguarded against attempts to board, by hacking the ships controls and using those to open the cargo bay.

“On my signal, engage the phase-screen.” Stiles spoke to Finstock to which the man nodded and began tapping buttons on the board in front of him in preparation. The captain turned back to his team, and stepped into the red box. On either side, his agents looked to him, waiting for his next words. He obliged them, with a smirk of satisfaction at the obedient and well-trained team he had.

“In seconds we will be in position. Stick to your assignments. Remember that Delecourt and Takeshi are priorities one and two. Everyone else on that ship is either a discretionary capture or put down. There is no middle ground here. We know the kind of crew Takeshi runs with. These are hardened shifter criminals responsible for countless deaths and untold destruction all over United Westerlands. So if you can’t take em in, take em out. Keep in mind, lower level grunts like those manning the decks and not guarding high level meetings probably have little valuable intel we don’t already know, so use that accordingly. We are shadow law strike one. Better yet we are the fucking Avengers, so let’s do this right and take down some bad guys.”

“In position sir,” Agent Finstock announced glancing up at Stiles, “And great speech. I’m not even a field combat agent and I got a hard on for the fight just listening to that.” The man turned back to his screen, not necessarily waiting for a response or desiring one for that matter, causing him to miss the curious and slightly baffled looks some of the team gave him.

“Uh thanks Bobby, I mean Watchtower.” Stiles added his voice wavering slightly in half confusion and half amusement. He did however, remember to call the man by his own chosen code name out of respect for him always using Stiles’ in its fullness. Stiles remained staring for another few seconds, before he shook his head and slipped into a mental state of mission focus.

“Avengers assemble,” Stiles called, his face a mask of serious intention. He crouched low, one hand splayed on the floor of the box, the other hovering over a streak of its red paint, where a cybernetic interface glowed dully waiting for activation of its purpose. Derek followed his lead and crouched ahead of him, both hands on the ground of the deployment box. On either side of them, the remainder of the team had grabbed the overhead handle bars on the lowered ceiling panelling above the box and within the metal square which mirrored the red outline on the floor beneath. They all then heaved themselves up with powerful arms and overturned their bodies so that they were hanging upside down from the panelling. Their hands gripping the bars tightly, their feet pressing against the panels.

Once the space was again silent indicating everyone had hit their positions, Stiles spoke his other mission catchphrase. “Let’s take the plunge.” The monitor, familiar with this captain and team after being their monitor for many a mission, knew that that was the signal. The captain’s silly phrase stemming from his obsession with the old world comic superheroes and corny television shows of the twenty first century. He hit the keys on the console in front of him which engaged the phase screen, and sent the cybernetic strip beneath the captain’s hovering hand glowing brightly with life.

On the bottom of the red box which currently housed the team, the white square that was previously the floor, pixelated until a clear screen appeared beneath Stiles and Derek, so clearly it could have been an open window. They watched wisps of low clouds be blown by the wind. Derek’s eyes flashed a bright blue. Stiles glanced about at his team all ready and then swiped his hand across the glowing stripe of red it was hovering over. The implanted phase gradient modulator there, registered his alteration and the screen beneath him and Derek began vibrating it’s molecules at such speed, that it rendered the screen one hundred percent pervious. Derek and Stiles fell right through and the rest of the team came hurtling after them, releasing their hands on the bars and kicking off into the black of night.

*

“We’re approaching the McArgent Stilinski estate,” Meredith Walker announced in a disinterested voice. It was one of the downsides to this woman. She didn’t seem to have much of a personality, or interest in anything that was not directly related to the tinkering and building of new scientific creations, she could use or supply for use in the field.

The average height woman stood straight and attentive, despite her lack of enthusiasm for what was being done. Her attire consisted of a one piece body suit zipped up the middle, with a high and broad collar. Armoured shoulder pads, broadened her shoulders and were outfitted with computer interfacing equipment. Her boots were high heeled and black to match her suit. Straw coloured hear stood up in a strangely shaped afro that sometime made her look like frankenstein’s monster, or at least that’s what Stiles had suggested once, when he and Jackson were up late on his bed, reviewing their teams.

Jackson shook the memory away as he watched Meredith. The girl had been a rising star in D.R.U.I.D.E. but had switched to being a field strike agent, when Jackson had recognized the possibilities of adding her technical skill to field operations. She had already gained a notorious reputation for her physical combat skills, due to years of rigorous training, encouraged by her parents. Their view was that their daughter required an outlet for her focus and drive as well as a place to learn discipline and determination. What they had ended up creating was a beast of a technician and robotics engineer with more than a little capability in self defence to say the least.

“In position sir.” She addressed Jackson and looked up to give him her eyes as she did so. They stood in a jump ship of her design. It was just large enough to support eight snugly. It’s only variance from regular jump ships, was that it’s stealth technology was far superior. This was a bit of secret, she along with Jackson had not yet shared with the rest of Shadow Law, in order to utilize the tech for full profit of their team over others. Not that it was a competition or anything. Another difference was that it’s engine was a hybridized configuration of jet propulsion and graviton initiative, which combined speed and precision with more body control.

“From what I was able to gather of the HAAAS used by Captain Stilinski, it’s deep range sensor reach ends a few feet beneath our current position. You will be protected from this only minimally, by a program I have developed to trick the sensors into misidentification. At the rate you will be falling once deployed, you will have twenty seconds from the moment you engage your landing glider to shoot the emulator chip I gave you into something connected to the residence’s electrical grid. That is what will give me the access I need, to force a system reboot.” Meredith doled out the information as if she were exchanging recipes with a fellow baker. Jackson followed along, having the advantage of listening to this woman on countless missions and briefings about her analysis and what systems worked best and how to get into this and the list could go on. He’d also had the pleasure of being briefed on how this little side mission for Peter would go, before he and his enchantress had left Shadow Law Headquarters.

They had started the night quite well, managing to successfully break into Stiles’ office to duplicate the feeds planted there and make the duplicates independent of the originals, so that while one set could be turned off by Stiles the other could not. It was this success that bolstered his trust and belief in this woman to help him get the job done, with minimal incident.

“During the reboot, backup security protocols will engage. Thankfully for us those protocols activate a localized a.i. without the same extra sensory programming of the HAAAS. This should run for approximately seven minutes which means that is all the time you will have to get in, plant the feeds, and get out and back to your landing point where I shall be waiting to extract, before the HAAAS reboots and identifies you as a threat or anything else.” She looked to him pointedly with a rather blank expression, but he knew she was waiting for some acknowledgement that he understood what she had said. Jackson nodded. He’d been over this with her once before and a thousand times in his head.

He needed no convincing or reassurance that what he was doing was not only right but necessary. Stiles needed help. He needed someone to stop him from ruining his own life. Someone to prove to him that Derek Hale wasn’t the answer, the solution, but actually the problem. And Jackson would be that person. If he couldn’t see what he was doing, Jackson would open his eyes. And eventually, Stiles would thank him for it. Preferably on his knees with Jackson’s throbbing and Stiles-starved, red headed cock in his throat, to the balls, but yes, thanks would come. Jackson could see it working out no other way, as far as he was concerned.

Those were some of his final thoughts as he stepped from Meredith Walker and toward a spot in the ship, outlined by a red circle of paint on the ground. “Watch my back Enchantress,” Jackson called as he planted his feet, and loosened his muscles in anticipation of what would come next.

“Always do,” she replied, a little bored, before tapping two keys on the console in front of her. She placed her thumb and forefinger on the screen and glanced over at her captain. “Initiating phase screen, gradient one hundred.”

Her words were lost in the wind that swallowed Jackson once he dropped through the floor that disappeared beneath his feet.

*

Eight bodies dove through the skies, cutting through clouds like missiles targeting the ground. They formed a loose circle, arms tucked tight against their bodies and legs held together. fFeet pointed so that the smooth elongated frame they created with their bodies helped streamline them through the air.

Stiles felt a rush of excitement that became his resting state as he made the descent. Derek too felt the kind of jolt of power and freedom that came with making an entrance like the one they were all doing. He could remember a time when this kind of descent did not sit well with him. Wolves were made to run not fly, he used to say. That was until he’d actually done it the first time, and just like Stiles had suggested, it became one of the greatest experiences of his life.

Never mind that they were all headed directly for imminent danger, where any or all of them could very possibly die. The idea morphed into a laughing emoji in Derek’s head before he’d even finished the thought. They might be headed for danger, true, but Derek Hale knew from his experience, that the most dangerous thing on that ship, was about to be the Shadow Law Strike team one.

It was nearly twenty seconds before they began to see the helecarrier, which was their target, form up in their lines of sight. It was an enormous construction of metal which hovered almost silently thanks to their next generation turbine engines. Six large propeller rotors on opposite sides of the long ship, rotated at such a speed that it generated enough power to hold the ships position in the air, miles off the ground and over the sea where the shipyard was located.

Once they began to approach the landing vector, Stiles’ voice echoed in their mind over their unit com link, Deploy gliders. He really didn’t need to direct them at this point. The team operated so fluidly, feeding off each other’s moves and anticipating each other’s decisions, that they often acted in tandem even when their plan of action had not been unanimously decided, or discussed before hand. However, it did give Stiles a measure of control that he required on mission and it was protocol to dictate the nuances of their mission, especially one as high priority as this.

As if they were a choreographed troupe, the team all pulled in their elbows, tucking them tightly against their sides, so that their balled fists rested against their chests, and then slid their arms down their bodies. The kinetic feedback activated the glider deployment strips in their body suits. When their collective arms extended outward again from their sides, a synthetic fabric released from underneath their arms and connected with the deployment strips before drawing taut.

As soon as the gliders were deployed, the team again in unison, shifted their aerial positions so that the sudden appearance of landing gliders would not pull them back harshly, like the parachutes of old, people once used. Instead, they slightly tipped themselves horizontally in small increments. This allowed them to ride the wind in a circular pattern, while their bodies’ descent slowed significantly.

I make three targets in the landing zone , came Widow ’s voice in their heads.

Confirmed, Kitty echoed. Stiles allowed himself to zero in on their landing zone. It was a space a few feet from the guard rails of the back of the ship. Within the spot they had planned to land, was a small guard outpost. There was access to it’s roof which was sealed off by rails, creating a look out post from which armed gunmen could keep an eye on the deck from their vantage point. It was atop this point that a guard was posted. He held a semi-automatic weapon from what Derek’s enhanced eyesight could make out and the wolf quickly relayed this information to his team. The other two stood on the deck standing just outside the room, their weapons held loose and their bodies angled in a lean against the small room, where they seemed to be chatting.

With me, Stiles sen t back to them and shifted himself into a position near Boyd and Erica, where the two of them flanked him. The three agents, tucked in their arms and speared on a rush of speed, bringing the craft hurtling towards them. I’ve got the sentry , Stiles informed his team moments before he re-engaged his landing glider, did a back flip and opened his arms wide so that his descent was slowed quickly by a buffeting wind. He was a few feet above the man atop the sentry tower. When he was certain he’d reduced speed enough, he disengaged his landing glider and dropped with a soft thump onto the man.

The lookout never stood a chance. Stiles quickly pulled out his sliptail and using it as a dagger, drove it’s point into the man’s neck and buried it deep as they fell to the ground. The man fell on his face, his weapon clattering on to the floor causing only a slight disturbance. The two men had enough time to look up instinctively, but it was the last thing they ever did. Their eyes widened as two black forms fell atop them. Widow, slipped a blade in t o he back of her target’ s neck, while Kitty launched his claws into his target ’s throat. They both collapsed against each other as the agents who had taken them down landed in a crouch next to them.

As they picked up the bodies and dragged them into the room they had previously been leaning against , Stiles ho p ped down from the sentry tower, shortly followed by the rest of the team who all landed in crouches and rolls that brought them to their feet. You know what to do Stiles nodded as he transmitted his thoughts to them. His eyes pinned Boyd and Erica first, before continuing to the others.

Widow and Kitty nodded back at him before they both reached for their belts and disappeared once the stealth technology activated. Houdini also disappeared. Don’t have too much fun without me, Eres called as she hopped atop the rail and then jumped over, her hand already at the back of her belt to retrieve her sliptail which she used as a grappling whip to swing alongside the ship in order to reach the evacuation pods and jump ships in bays along the side levels.

Sledge, Cypher, Lupin and the captain, the only agents left, formed a tight formation as they waited, sticking together as they were currently heading in the same direction. Stiles peered around the corner and watched two bodies drop simultaneously, before a third, shook and stuttered on it’s way to the ground, no doubt, courtesy of one of widows electrode darts. After another body fell, effectively clearing the path for them, Stiles signalled and they all moved fluidly to a door which opened onto a staircase that led down to the first level of the ship.

Careful on the way down, came Houdini’s voice. Lot’s of men on the stairways, I counted four men per staircase and three per hall. I’m on the third sublevel, almost at target. Cypher and Sledge slinked down the stairs quickly while Lupin and Captain covered their descent before following. Stiles, acknowledged receipt of Houdini’s intel but as soon as they rounded the first corner, they caught sight of some of the men he was talking about.

Sledge immediately launched his body forward on his knees, sliding towards the first man in the way who was just noticing the new additions to the space. He pulled his hammer free and swung it in an arc as he launched himself forward on his knees. The head connected with the knee of the first man in front of them, sending an audible crack through the hall. Before he could make a sound though, Cypher, who had come running after Sledge, in anticipation of his move, jumped over him in a spinning horizontal flip , bringing his batons out so that it smashed into the man’s throat, incapacitating him in one hit. He landed on his feet, and rolled under the assaulting arm of the next man, but before he could react, a knife slammed home in the man’s throat. As Sledge and Cypher looked back they saw Lupin drop his throwing arm to his side and resume his stance just behind the captain.

Thanks , the men commented in unison over the link. Derek only nodded.

Over here, Stiles called into their minds. He indicated a door with his hand and with two fingers gestured for them to move toward it. Sledge quickly and silently made his way over, followed by Cypher. Stiles and Derek were close behind. The first two men stationed themselves on either side of the door, while Stiles stepped aside so Derek could stand in front of the door. Derek closed his eyes then and listened. His wolf senses flared out and tuned to the other side. When nothing disturbed him, he nodded to the others and grabbed the knob. Turning it open slowly, sure that another shifter may possibly deceive his enhanced senses, the man eased his way through the silently opening door. He peered through quietly and then began to move, motioning the others to follow.

On the other side was a downward spiralling, metal framework staircase which led all the way to the base of the carrier. The basement was Cypher and Sledge’s target, while Derek and Stiles were only headed down to level four. Take the short way down, Stiles suggested as he cast his eyes at first Danny and then Ennis. Initiate stealth and do not engage enemy combatants on any floor beside the engine room. We’ll sweep the first four. Kitty and Widow, when you’re done with your assignment, sweep the remaining floors down to the engine room then split up. Widow form up with me and Lupin and Kitty support Cypher and Sledge.

There were clipped responses of Sir, acknowledging their additional orders before silence settled into the connection once more. Go, Stiles added. The two men before him and Derek, in synchronized movement reached for a device on their utility belts, pulled a length of wire from it, hooked that wire to the banister of the guard rail and then using their arms to hoist themselves over, jumped from the edge. They were soundless in their movement and shortly after their legs swung over the rail, they both disappeared, with the activation of their stealth technology.

Stiles gave them a passing glance before he began moving again. “And then there were two,” Derek whispered into his ear, teasingly. Stiles only looked at him sharply in response, though Derek could easily see the embers of amusement he couldn’t quite allow to die in his eyes. Stiles put a finger to his lips and shushed the wolf shifter at his side, before resuming his walk around the stair well.

Captain did you pick up on the... Derek began in his mind, transmitting something of a warning as his own werewolf senses picked up on the unseen company that seemed to be moving with them, cloaked in some kind of stealth.

Mhmm , Stiles shot back. He didn’t have the luxury of werewolf senses. But, he did have a fantastic body suit, developed by D.R.U.I.D.E. This smart suit was fully equipped with proximity sensors which were capable of detecting when there was a camouflaged being or beings, within the nearby vicinity, as part of a warning and detection program. It was one of many neat and handy things about the Shadow Law gear that often made Stiles wonder what other agencies did when they were out in the field. The sensors on his suit had started transmitting to his link chip on a private channel that only he heard in his mind.

You know If we don’t handle these guys quickly enough, if we don’t pin them down, they’re apt to become a bunch of pretty annoying problems,” Derek mused as he slowly followed the captain. His ears had kept track of the two, no three camouflaged bodies that followed them, and closed in with every step. He had also picked up on some movement on the stairs beneath them. It was not longer before he figured that there were more men, most likely shifters by the smell of them, forming up down there. No Doubt they had heard or smelled Derek and Stiles as they went along. What about the ones...

Them too , Stiles replied. That bit of knowledge gained was thanks to his cybernetically upgraded lenses which allowed him to see with limited x-ray vision as well as thermal imaging. The latter had been how he’d known that there were more men very close by and clearly aware of him and Derek. “What do you suggest we do about our problems then?” Stiles paused his stroll but with a slight finger gesture, he indicated Derek should keep going.

The wolf moved forward without missing a step. The move was so well done it could have been choreographed, and in a way it had been. Stiles and his team had practised many things in their training sessions, including responding to hand signals and other subtle indications and body commands delivered by the captain or any other team member.

Stiles had already formulated a plan of action and Derek had known it. So when he had registered the signal he continued on seamlessly to allow whatever his captain had decided to be made known to him and also to be enacted. Returning to their audible conversation, which was a tactic used mainly to lull their unwanted companions into a false sense of security, Derek answered. “I think we’ll cover a lot more ground if we split up.”

It’s like you read my mind, Stiles offered and even his mental voice sounded overly sarcastic in it’s delivery of the words. You go high I go low. “Sounds like a sound plan. But first, I may need you to lend a hand or two with something.” The two men lined their bodies up and walked at the same pace with Derek ahead and Stiles behind. Their movements and conversation, all part of their herding the chameleons around them into just the right position for them to strike.

With what?” Derek asked and mentally he announced, I’m ready.

“A boost.” As Stiles spoke the words, Derek lifted his hands and raised them back past his head and over his shoulders. Stiles slipped his own hands into Derek’s and allowed his body to become pliant. It was enough to not resist the control Derek exerted when he used considerable werewolf strength to lift him up and over head.

As Stiles moved he kicked his foot back, moving with his body’s rotation so that it cracked against the jaw of the invisible shifter trailing them. When he was over Derek’s head, the wolf s wung him sideways and over the rail before letting him go. Stiles seemed to cartwheel over the railing and drop. He watched the floor he was on rise like he was in a fast elevator with the doors open. The next floor came hurtling up and he noticed the three men standing there looking up at the floor. As he fell, two of them looked over at him while the other, apparently focused on what was happening upstairs didn’t notice the blur of his body dropping past their sight lines. Before the bottom rail of the lower floor, flew out of reach, Stiles grabbed onto it. He felt the jerk that echoed in his body and allowed it to run it’s course before quickly changing his grip on the low rail and turning his body so that from where he hung, he looked outward and onto the opposite side of the floor.

The man closest to the rail, t he one who had been the first to turn as Stiles fell, moved cautiously over to it. He then peered down over the top bar. Stiles shot his lower body forward and upward with the speed of a striking viper. His knees framed either side of the man’s head and once he gripped it tightly, he pulled his legs down hard so that the man’s throat smashed against the bar of the top rail. The man’s body slumped against it, hanging there, held only by his neck where a dent had formed.

There was silence, calculated s ilence by the sound of it. No calls to see if their buddy was ok. No sounds of rushing to get help and no scared sounds of men who were not down for whatever had just happened to their fallen comrade. They were trained, somewhat, Stiles thought, as he began to count in his head. It was the amount of time he expected it would take the other two to step forward and investigate. When he knew their feet had finally taken the first step, he swung himself forward and then back. Moving like a pendulum in a grandfather clock. Each swing counted another second, another footfall, until he knew by instinct, training and almost a supernatural sense that they were just peering over the rail themselves.

It was then that he used every bit of strength he possessed in his arms and core to thrust himself forward all the way. The momentum he had built helped him as he turned over in the air, his hands leaving the lower rail. His feet connected with two chests, just as they had managed to draw back a few inches. He felt them fly back from his booted feet as he rotated again, using their bodies as pivoting points. He flipped back over in the air and landed on the top rail, his feet balancing on the thin line of metal with their dead comrade’s head between his legs. Stiles glanced back and smiled.

One man picked himself off the ground, his face already shifted into the snarling visage of some form of feline. His natural features were already so strange and obscure that Stiles was a moment in realizing he was looking at a weretiger. There was a rifle on a sling around his neck that he completely ignored in his rage. He barrelled forward with claws at the ready. Stiles backflipped over the man which caused him to snarl. He turned and swiped at Stiles with a clawed hand but the captain dodged effortlessly.

Wasting little time, and certainly not waiting for the man to roar and send a warning out to everyone within hearing distance, Stiles ducked under the next swipe of claws, before grabbing the wrist of the offending arm and yanking it upward. He kneed the weretiger in his groin and then quickly drew back his leg to kick the man in his face. Stiles sensed the other man behind him and split onto the ground just as he tried to swipe him with claws of his own. Stiles Slid his back leg around to meet witht he other, causing him to also kick the first man off his feet. With ease of motion he roll ed out of the way of the other man’s foot as a fast kick came at him . When he got to his feet, his arms rose almost instinctively to block a punch and then another, before successfully delivering five of his own. Two to the man’s face, two to his stomach and one to his throat. The were tiger held it and choked as he stumbled back. Stiles back- f lipped into the air, kicking him backward while bring his foot down onto the head of the first man who was finally on his feet again, though clearly not for long.

As the man shook his head on his knees, Stiles pulled free his slip tail, commanded it into whip form and wrapped the end around the kneeling man’s neck before rolling backward and wrapping it around the neck of his partner. He got to his feet quickly and ran for the other end of the platform and it’s guardrail. As he approached, Stiles used one hand to flip himself over it while holding onto the grip of his sliptail with the other as it extended. Using the men’s heads as an anchor point, he swung to the other side. T h er e was a satisfying vibration that came as their necks cracked. When Stiles climbed back over the rail, and used a command to both unravel the whip from their necks and recall it, Derek walked into view.

“Well you took your sweet time.”

“Hey to be fair, my guys were invisible, yours were, poorly trained cats in dire need of housebreaking.”

“Well I spared the house and went straight for the breaking. Problem solved, now let’s get a move on. Two more levels to go before the boss.”

Their descent wasn’t boring by any means. They encountered four extra men on top of the count Isaac had given when he’d warned them. Their opponents though, were absolutely no match for Derek and Stiles. Through a combination of individual combat and spontaneous pairings, members of the inferno circle fell before them like dead leaves off a tree.

They fought their way through every man and woman until they came to the fourth floor. Stiles’ back was plastered to a wall while Derek crouched low on the ground. His eyes glowed a bright blue and his fangs were bared in a grimace. He looked to Stiles awaiting the captain’s move.

With a deep breath, Stiles rolled out into the corridor beyond the wall he was standing up against. As he came to his feet out of the roll two knives hurtled toward two men at powerful speed. The first sailed home into the man’s neck dropping him like a fly. The other, to the target’s great fortune buried itself in his shoulder. He winced in pain and pulled the knife out just as two other men came up behind him to see what had happened. They had not quite caught an eye of Stiles until they stood at the wounded man’s back. One turned around to alert the men beyond the door, where the meeting was taking place. Stiles immediately broke into a run, his eyes set on the whistle blower. He shot off two more blades as distractions, knowing they would be easily deflected with the men’s full attention on him.

It was exactly what he counted on. Adding to his distraction, he kicked off of one wall then kicked off the other before pushing off into a rotating flip to draw their eyes. Too late they realized their mistake. As they took aim at the falling agent. Derek came in low with supernatural wolf speed and on all fours. He was on the men before they could pull their trigger fingers. With his claws he slashed the throat of one man before spinning off him to kick the face of the other.

Stiles pulled his sliptail and transitioned it into its whip form so he could wrap it around the neck of the man who went for the door. The whip had him in a stranglehold before the captain’s feet hit the floor. Lowering himself to one knee, he tugged on the sliptail causing the man to dive forward where Derek waited for him. The shifter grabbed the man’s shirt as the whip freed him, and threw himself onto his back so that his feet connected with the man’s stomach and propelled him backward away from the door he’d been trying to get to. As he sailed through the air, Stiles transitioned his sliptail into a katana and with a swipe of the blade, slashed at the man’s throat before he fell to the ground in a bleeding heap of flesh.

“Nice work,” Derek whispered, leaning close to Stiles ear as he did, so that his lips brushed against the other man’s flesh in a playful tease. Stiles bit his lip and pulled back, enticed but also irritated at the man’s antics.

“You really ought to behave yourself, agent,” he added the title to highlight his meaning. Before addressing the team on the unit link. Lupin and I are in position, report.

Starboard escape pods are disabled, on my way to port, came Eres, her voice sounding like she was flying through the air or most likely swinging using her sliptail as a grapple.

Deck is clear, Kitty and I are making our way down to you and the engine room, widow update d before going silent. Stiles nodded at the information mostly to himself and waited for another voice. He didn’t expect Isaac to send a conventional message given his circumstances, but he did expect to receive some sort of signal suggesting the man was in play. As he waited, he began to frown, expecting to hear Cypher or Sledge but neither responded.

Cypher, Sledge sitrep? Stiles tried but there was again no answer. Cypher, Sledge come in now!

Suddenly there was a quick One sec over the unit link. Stiles identified it to be C ypher. Derek looked at him half amused as the captain rolled his eyes. There was a short wait, before Cypher’s voice played through their heads, slower and more relaxed than it had been earlier. Engine room secure, infiltrating systems now.

Ran into some trouble there? Derek questioned over the link.

Assholes being assholes, Sledge got a little overwhelmed for a moment, had to take a guy off his back, literally.

I had that, you interfered, Sledge shot back in a slightly annoyed tone.

Sure you did. Control will be ours in a few Captain.

Good, lock them out of the system when you’re through and wait for instructions. Also see if you can disable, port evac pods from your location. That will free up Eres to get back to the deck and take out the independent crafts docked there. I’m sure she prioritized them last, or at least until the deck was clear.

Will do Cap, Cypher shot back and silence set in again. It remained like that for a while, before sound suddenly began feeding into their earbuds. It took Stiles little time to realize it was audio surveillance coming from within the room he and Derek stood outside of. And just like that Isaac provided his signal that he had successfully taken care of his end.

*

Jackson crouched low on the high wall of the gate that separated the interior of the McArgent-Stilinski property from the outside world. He was a small black mound in the darkness, easily unnoticed by how he moulded his body in it’s dark camouflage atop it’s perch.

On his descent he had shot the emulator chip in a fluid move, combining flexible manoeuvrability with dexterity from a hand gun as he twisted from one position to the next, in order to land cleanly atop the wall. His aim had sent the chip toward an antennae at the top of the building which was one of the main connectors of the HAAAS to a satellite that was privately owned by the family.

In Jackson’s mind, the hard part had been done. With him now undetectable to the system, he would have no trouble getting in, planting the surveillance they needed and getting out again. He assessed his plan of action as he surveyed the mansion before him. His focus drew to Stiles’ wing though he made sure to take in the entirety of the property, if only to factor in anything that could be either potentially useful to him, or dangerous on this mission.

Stiles’ wing was too far from the main gate to fire a tight rope so he decided he’d have to run through the gardens, and then scale the wall that would lead directly into the man’s room. With the system sensors offline temporarily, it would be a straight shot. The only thing he’d have to concern himself with was Freyja, the lycanther who’ s tolerance he had earned after so much time spent with Stiles.

The hybrid creature hadn’t like him at first, and to be honest with himself, he’d confess he wasn’t entirely sure that it ever liked him at all. Rather it seemed to come to a place where it could abide Jackson, for Stiles’ sake. It saw the way he had loved it’s master, and despite the issues they had had which Stiles eventually left him for , as a result, it had given Jackson a kind of grudging respect due to that love. Whoever said animals weren’t smart can suck it.

Jackson grabbed a gra p ple from his utility belt, spiked it into the top of the wall and jumped off. H alfway down the wall, his feet connected and he ran dow n then rest of the way. The applied friction release mechanism activated so that he basically pulled the rope from it’s containment as he ran. He kicked off at the last moment and landed spryly on the ground. Without missing a beat, Jackson ran swiftly toward the west wing of the building where Stiles made his personal apartments.

He cut through the gardens, jumping and rolling to avoid planters and low hanging branches from rare and beautiful old trees, that remained fixtures of the gardens. Jackson tried not to allow his mind to go to the place that remembered walking with Stiles himself, through his family’s gardens. The times they had shared here. The kisses, the love. The burst of anger he felt at the loss that burned fresh within him of what he and Stiles had, fuelled his feet.

In no time he was standing outside the wall of the west wing, and making his way over to the window he knew was his way directly into Stiles’ room. In the interest of not leaving too many questionable marks into the foundation of his ex-lover’s home, Jackson opted to use an experimental technology Enchantress had introduced him to. They were called gravity climbers, and used gravitational field generating technology to make climbing feel like crawling, by creating a personalized field of gravity along the surface of vertical structures.

Enchantress had cautioned Jackson, that the technology wasn’t quite finished and that the gravity field might give out midway through his climb, as it had been want to do in some of the later experiments. There was something wrong with the connection between the power source and stabilizer, that kept causing feedback between the two and forcing them to both shut down operation.

Jackson eager for an alternative to leaving any kind of proof that someone had been there, for a smart house to analyze and track, decided he would take the risk. The climbers were basically four bands connected to a miniature circuit system, that fit around his wrist and ankles which he activated by pushing a button on the inner band around his right wrist.

Immediately he felt the unseen force that seemed to push out in front of him. As instructed, he pushed the balls of his booted feet against the wall, then placed his palms against it. Jackson didn’t need to wait very long for results. As soon as he had done so, he felt his body give as if it were falling against the wall and had to strengthen his muscles to hold himself.

He m i ght not have been originally prepared for it but now, he moved with ease, his body hurtling up the wall effortlessly like one of Stiles’ old world comic book characters, the spider-guy. When he finally made his way to the window, he peered in. He’d known that Stiles wouldn’t be in there of course. Good old Captain America as he had dubbed himself was out on mission now, something high profile and incredibly dangerous. But what might be in there was, his lycanther. In fact it was highly likely that the creature would be lounging on the far too large bed that could double as an ocean. If it wasn’t it would certainly be patrolling the halls of the wing in some loyal attempt to protect it’s master’s house until he returned.

The room was empty when he looked and Jackson breathed a sigh of relief for it. He had believed that he could get passed the hybrid and he wasn’t doubting that now. But he also appreciated how much easier it would be to get in and out so long as he didn’t have to contend with the sometime-ish wolf panther.

Using a magnetized unlocking mechanism he quickly got the window to open and slipped inside. As he stood tall in the room his eyes giving the place a once over, he allowed the barest hint of memory to echo through his mind. And the things he thought sent a blush shining across his skin and heat coiling in the pit of his stomach. He’d spent a lot of good times in this room with Stiles.

They conspired and planned here. Made out with reckless passion and made careless love. They’d laughed at all the wrong things and reminisced on all the right ones. And just like that all Jackson’s positive memories turned sour as he composited Derek Hale’s face onto his own in his mind. In every place he had once held Stiles up against a wall, his body pressed into the other man’s while he commanded his mouth with Jackson’s own, he now saw Derek there doing just that. In the place where he had lain with his arm curved around the waist of Stiles Stilinski, stretched out on his bed, Jackson now saw Derek holding him and revelling in the feel of his skin and drowning in the depth of his kiss.

It was infuriating. He lifted his hand to a pouch on his belt and retrieved the miniature surveillance audio and video receivers. Jackson quickly planted them in places about the room that would provide decent angles of the entirety of the space, before he moved to the door. Subtly he pulled on it and inspected quietly for anyone approaching. There was nothing. The house, or at least the wing was as quiet as if it had been abandoned. With as much speed as he’d set the ones in the room, he set more receivers in the hall and in the bathroom.

By the time he got back to the room he had barely three minutes left to get out. He pushed the door and froze. Freyja was sitting in front of it on the inside of the room. She stared at him coldly where he stood, her violet eyes calculating. As her fur changed colour from the rug she’d been sitting on to it’s natural snow white, Jackson wondered if she’d been in the room when he’d come in, and simply watched him from wherever she might have sat camouflaged. He quickly dismissed the idea, which would only work by suggesting his observational skills, spacial awareness or danger sense were greatly diminished. That wouldn’t do for a Shadow Law Team captain.

As the lycanther’s eyes gleamed softly in the dim light that spilled in from the hall, Jackson imagined she was trying to determine what would be the best way to deal with him. Slowly he finished entering and raised his hands. With one hand he pulled free a glove from the other and then reached it out.

It’s Jackson, Frejya he called and waited. He hoped that she would sniff his scent, remember his voice and not consider him a threat. Otherwise he’d have to engage plan b and that wasn’t something he wanted to do. She narrowed her large violet eyes. Her teeth bared in an angry grin and she made a sound that was a cross between a hiss and a throaty growl.

Even as she did all this, her head tipped forward and Jackson could see the inhale of her nostrils as she sniffed him. She never took her eyes away from him as she did so. For a long time she simply stared and growled. Jackson tried not to tense up knowing that she would sense it and take that as a showing of aggression. Instead, he slowly moved his other hand in position to retrieve the syringe at his belt. He had brought it along in case all else failed with the lycanther as it seemed it was about to.

The eyes of the creature darted to his hand and Jackson froze. He was prepared to move then, sure that she would go for him, that she didn’t remember. But all at once, Frej y a snorted and then looked passed him before walking off as if he meant absolutely nothing. Jackson expelled a harsh breath. Idly he raised a hand to his face and glanced at the time. He had one minute and seven seconds left and he would waste no more of it. He ran for the window slid out of it and returned it to its previously closed and locked position before climbing down at speed. When he was feet off the ground he jumped and began a neck breaking run for the wall.

He reconnected the rope of his grapple and used the re-spool to rise to the top in seconds before he jumped off the wall on its other side . At the last possible moment for safety he saw the rope seemingly appear out of nowhere and grabbed onto it. Holding tight, he felt the pull as the craft the rope was attached to, hurtled forward, putting distance between them and the estate. The rope began to retract and soon, Jackson was rising through the deployment floor of the jump ship with Enchantress looking at him blandly.

Cutting it rather close sir,” she said almost indignantly.

Got the job done didn’t I. Did we get what we needed?” He asked the question as he got to his feet and moved closer to her, to look over her shoulder at the monitors placed in front of her.

Of course,” she admitted and with a tap of a few keys, pulled up footage of Stiles office and home. The self satisfied smile on Jackson’s face could not be outmatched by any other.

Does the director have access?”

Yes and he applauds your service.”

Excellent,” Jackson muttered as he watched the empty rooms, thinking on the possibilities and his plan to save Stiles.

*

I’m glad you’re the kind of man who appreciates the artistry in what we’ve built here.” The smooth voice, despite its sometimes high pitched tones, was of the man that Shadow Law intelligence had come to identify as Adrian Delecourt. He was seated atop a metal stool with leather cushioning, red leather. He sat with his back pushed up against a small bar that was built into the captain’s private dining quarters. When you could afford a class XS3 helecarrier – no when you could afford a hellecarrier at all, you might be expected by others and yourself to treat it with a certain elegance and style.

At least that was the stray thought that ran through Houdini’s mind as he effortlessly retained his position and provided intelligence no other had been able to uncover on these guys before. It was a point of incredible satisfaction and triumph for him, especially as a stealth and recon specialist.

Isaac cut his eyes to the man who sat on the stool, ignoring the six men beside who he had confirmed as Takeshi and his entourage, according to surveillance images. T akeshi was tall, lean and wore a permanent grimace that made him seem like he either tried too hard or he was one of those who felt that he always had something to prove and didn’t like having to do it, but would anyway because he never backed down. All that, Isaac seemed to glean from the few moments he had spent surveying the room. That was all the time he had needed to understand which one was truly dangerous.

Delecourt was opposing Takeshi’s obvious desire to put on a show of force, a way to prove he was a ‘big man on campus’ as Captain Stiles might have phrased. He had only come with two others, one of them, a man, definitely looked like a middle aged eductaor. He was tall slim and wore glasses. The other person brought by Delecourt seemed the real strange choice. It was a young woman. Probably early twenties. She had dark hair an oval face and wore an expression of subdued interest.

Delecourt had dark wavy hair he had cut short. His eyes were a powder blue made a bright beacon in his cream skinned face, by the baby blue shirt he wore underneath a black leather jacket. His pants were black cargos and his feet were covered in black boots, one of which he had perched a top the metal binding between the legs of his stool . His hands were clasped on his lap and he sat smiling. There was not a hint of stress or anxiety about him. The man was fully in the moment, and that, Isaac thought, made him dangerous. Aft e r all, Isaac, had mused in his mind, w hat kind of a badass would someone have to be to only bring, what appeared to be a science teacher and a grad student to an arms deal . Only someone who knew something the rest of the boys couldn’t, that he had a nasty trick up his sleeve should he need it, and it was a board sweeper.

Isaac had filed that little find away in his mind for the moment, and continued listening. It had taken him a little bit of time to set up the surveillance his team required but he had gotten the job done, and right under their noses. When the captain came in on the mind link. He repositioned himself with little strain and then activated the equipment.

He had recorded a good portion of the deal, having only arrived into the room, on the heels of the last man to join. t hat had been one of the six Takeshi had with him. The man had whispered into his boss’ ear, not even realizing that he had gained a new shadow, one that didn’t represent itself on the ground when light struck it’s conjurer. The man had made a way for Houdini who slipped in unnoticed, analyzed quickly and then found a spot from which to begin.

He had recorded them completing their deal. Trading the weapon for the money and then having a one sided pleasant recourse on the goods provided and services offered. One sided because Delecourt came off enthused, excited and eager while Takeshi was cold, short and rigid in his responses, when he responded at all. Like when Matt had made his complimentary remark. Takeshi only looked at the man intensely.

You know you’ve definitely got the mysterious man thing going for you, and you’ve clearly worked out all it’s angles.” Matt said this in all seriousness and then after a moment or two of silence, burst out laughing. “I’m just – ha ha – I’m just, joking man.”

I don’t like to be mocked, Mr. Delecourt,” said Takeshi in one of the few times he had spoken that evening.

And I assure you, I am not mocking you Seito, May I call you Seito?” When the other man did not respond, Matt continued talking. He had stopped laughing before he spoke and his eyes took on this presence, as if there was a light on in some particular room of his mind. An important room, even while it looked like he wasn’t taking things seriously, he definitely was. “I only try to lighten the mood. You are truly, a focused man. I respect all you have done and built for yourself. I admire what you aspire to do for your people. But Seito, you have to learn to smile sometimes.” Delecourt said this with a smile of his own and then more seriously added, “It puts people off the scent of predator and helps them underestimate you. And a man who underestimates a smart opponent, has already lost the war at the beginning of his first battle.”

T akeshi regarded him with something different now, something brought on by the words, the smile. The change in Delecourt’s own eyes. He nodded. Delecourt nodded back. “As I was saying, I'm glad you can appreciate the artistry in the work. It signifies a passion and dedication to the craft that ensures progressive creations throughout the life of the business. And this is a business. If you want to make something go boom, put holes in things or people, or simply provide a measure of force, a measure of power to match the will and reputation one wields , then we will always be around to supply that kind of need.”

He was about to go on in a voice that Isaac was starting to find irritating when his com buzzed. He tapped the earpiece on the right and spoke. “This better be important.”

Houdini couldn’t hear what was being said on the other end but he listened intently to Delecourt as he spoke and so did every other agent who was looped in to the audio feed via their communications system.

When did you notice?...Bring her to me now...Just bring her!” It was the first time Houdini had heard the man give some kind of command since he’d infiltrated the meeting.

What is going on?” Seito Takeshi asked in a tense tone. Delecourt looked up at him and stared right through him for a moment, before focusing and smiling again.

Nothing, just a visit from a colleague of mine.”

This is a closed meeting.”

You’re right this meeting is mostly closed. You have your weapons I have my money, you’re more than welcome to leave but I’d advise you stick around just a little longer. My colleague, well she’s a banshee, and let’s just say she wouldn’t be acting up if there wasn’t a reason for it. I have survived this long by understanding that.”

The re was a collective mental swearing that lit up the unit com link like lightning in a dark sky. Everyone understood what the addition of a banshee to the party would mean. Thanks to her ability to see through time as well as sense, predict and find death, their element of surprise was just about done.

Don’t worry she’s just next door, we won’t have to wait long.” Delecourt spoke the words, just as there was a clicking of the door opposite where Stiles and Derek were huddled silently waiting. Stiles looked at him sharply. With quick understanding passing between them, Derek and Stiles activated their stealth tech and vanished from sight just as the door swung open.

Two men holding a n older women a few inches shorter than them came through. They held her firmly in their hands and seemed to have to pull her along as they went. Her short cut hair was a disturbed blonde nimbus around her head and her eyes were wild and unfocused. That is until she stared at the place where Derek and Stiles were holding their breaths concealed by their tech. Stiles narrowed his eyes at her and her unflinching stare which didn’t seem to sway from them, until she and her escorts were about to enter.

Houdini get out now Stiles commanded. The door opened and they forced the woman inside but before Isaac had a chance to manoeuvre himself out the door, it closed.

Sorry Cap he called back as he turned to view the new situation before him.

Get ready to move Stiles countered, adjusting.

Lenore, my dear sweet Lenore. I hear you’ve been acting up.” Delecourt’s voice was filled with kindness even though his eyes did not reflect it. The woman said nothing, she only stood there, in the hands of the men who brought her, staring distantly at him. “Come now talk to me you know how I feel about you keeping things to yourself.”

I...” The word sounded out of her mouth like someone speaking for the first time and unsure of the words.

You what. The guys tell me you’ve been off for a while, have you been hiding visions again?”

I wasn’t hiding...”

Good because you know who suffers when you hide things from me. When you don’t comply, when I’m not happy with you.” There was real fear in her eyes now and she shook her head furiously as if by doing so she could make all the things he said untrue. “Tell me Lenore what have you seen.”

What I always see death. But not for you.” Her words came out smoother now, though she still sounded far away. “The leader of a lost superpower, leading his dark followers will lay you low. Many will die.”

Who Lenore, who will die?” Delecourt becoming steadily agitated.

The woman turned to the man at her right and left and spoke, “Them, and the others on the deck, in the halls...”

When, when will this happen.” She levelled a look at him then, filled with the full weight of her presence.

It’s too late, they’re already here.” With that she turned around and looked straight at the spot where Isaac stood invisible. “The shadows have come,” she murmured. Her lips parted slowly, and then she screamed. It was a heavy blast of energy and the stealth tech that kept Isaac invisible, shorted out. In a ripple of colour he became as visible in the room as the others he had been spying on. In a second every weapon in the room was pointed at him and so was every eye.

Shadows eh,” Adrian Delecourt muttered with a wicked smile.



Chapter Text

Adrian Delecourt stepped toward Houdini with a kind of swagger, that only belonged to those who believed wholeheartedly, that they’d gained the upper hand. His was the only gun that had not been pulled. His eyes gleamed with an excitement that was almost psychotic as he gave the shadow law agent a once over. His eyes flickered over to the kitsune he’d just done business with and then back to the agent. His grin broadened, white teeth set together like a wolf baring teeth, gleaming in the lights of the cabin.

“Allow me to conduct the introductions,” Adrian began in a self satisfied tone. “I, am Adrian Delecourt. These are my associates, Adrian Harris and Tracy Stewart. That grim looking gentleman over there is Seito Takeshi and those are his goons, no offence guys, I’m just very fond of the word,” He offered the latter, to the men who trained their guns on Houdini, despite their lack of reaction to his words.

When his eyes returned to the agent he continued. “Though, I suspect you already knew some if not all of that information. Just as I suspect you aren’t here alone are you? No, no that would be reckless and incredibly stupid, besides,” and his next words were spoken with heavy emphasis and a deep sense of triumph, “Shadow Law agents, don’t act alone. Do they?”

Adrian moved in closer. His walk, almost a strut until he was standing only a few inches from Houdini. Close enough that Isaac could feel the warm breath of the other man on his lips. Adrian raised a hand but then stopped before extending it. “One move and your brains become the new paint job in this room.” It was then that he brought his hand to Isaac’s shoulder and moved him forward, while leaning in to meet him halfway. “To this guy’s team, I know you’re there and I know you’re listening. Why don’t you come in and join the party. It’s not a request. If I don’t see you in this room in a few seconds, me and my friends are gonna put more craters in his face than the moon.” Houdini thought that the man had clearly not known as much about Shadow Law as he thought, otherwise he wouldn’t need to lean in close to him to speak into his communications device. And he most certainly didn’t realize that they used brain com implants.

Adrian released Houdini and stepped back, then turned his attention to the door and waited. When he had counted up to fifteen in his head and the door had remained unopened, he turned back to Isaac. “Either your team has a terminal case of disbelief, or they really don’t seem to give a shit about you. In either case you’re still dead. Boys-” he began but then the door finally opened. The captain walked through first, and after a second and a half, so did Lupin. Adrian smiled broadly again.

“I was beginning to think your superiors needed to do some work on their obedience training. So glad you could make it.” His words had trailed off into silence as his eyes studied the first man through the door with a closer inspection. “Wait, I know you, don’t I?” It was more asked of himself than of the captain who regarded the man with a raised brow.

“I don’t know, do you?” Stiles asked with a shrug and a half smile that reached his eyes. “I’ve been known to get around the social circles, though if I had met you, I could see why I’d forget. You’ve got one of those common faces you know, total generic white guy thing going on. I bet it’s served you well in your line of business, Mr. Delecourt, among many other names.” Houdini flicked a look at him and then back to the man he was addressing. He didn’t know that antagonizing this guy was the best way to play it, but the captain was the captain and besides, they had already come up with a plan.

“See I like this guy, sense of humour, Seito,” Adrian called, with a huge grin on his face. The Japanese rebel leader looked back at him expressionless. “You could stand to learn a thing or two from this guy. Surrounded by impossible odds and yet, he still has it in him to make a funny.” The eyes that fell back onto Stiles from Adrian Delecourt were less humorous than they had been before he turned away. Stiles guessed that he wasn’t as fond of the jokes as he had made out to be, if his addition of ‘impossible odds’ was any indication.

“Well,” Stiles replied, easing his stance. “I wouldn’t say impossible. It seems you know a thing or two about my organization, so you must know we’re not bad when it comes to a fight.”

“Yes maybe, but I also know you’re humans, mostly,” Adrian glanced curiously between the three men in the room dressed head to toe in black and still carrying their weapons which remained unconcealed. “And definitely not invulnerable. I am curious though, which one of you is the super?” His words became slow and searching as his eyes continued to rake slowly across the faces and forms of each of his proud new captures, as though he could tell which one was a supernatural by some kind of telltale sign on their bodies. Or maybe he hoped for a flash of glowing eyes brought on by the anger or discomfiture of their inconvenient position.

Derek’s genether tag remained mostly concealed by the high collar on his body suit and black jacket but the other supernaturals in the room didn’t need to identify it to pick him out as the super working with shadow law. There was a sense, a feeling or scent that all supers seemed to tune into when faced with another of their kind. It was what Takeshi and his men had tuned to now that their attention was fully settled on the intruders, and no longer distracted by the bustle of all else that had gone on before Isaac was revealed.

“It’s this one,” The Japanese rebel leader pointed out with a quick wave of his hand. Takeshi’s face took on a scowl of disdain and the other men around him, all growled as their eyes flashed, an expression of their own disgust at a super working with shadow law. Derek glanced around at them and sighed as his eyes fell back on Delecourt, “I get that alot,” he said with a shrug.

It occurred to Stiles that while Adrian Delecourt may have known a thing or two, about Shadow law operations, his knowledge was most likely not as extensive as he’d like to have them believe. For example, considering the way he carried on thus far with the revelation of only two more agents, he seemed to not know how many of them made up a strike team, though he knew that at last one of them would be a super.

“Yeah,” the outlaw said nodding, “supers working with the ones trying to enslave them, I’ll never understand it. But it is one of the many things I know about your organization. Information being power and all that. Like I also know, that it’s futile asking you to relieve yourself of your weapons, you’re probably carrying too many to risk you putting your hands on them and I wouldn’t risk any of these men’s lives putting them within reach of you for an extended period of time. So to remedy this little situation these guns you see around you are going to remain pointed at your heads, and if any of you so much as sneeze without my permission well, let’s just say, paint job.” His eyes flicked to Isaac who had already been on the receiving end of this threat.

“May I ask a question, I mean I don’t wanna appear a nosy nelly here but I’m finding something curious and I just can’t help myself?” Adrian watched Stiles talk and then was silent for a bit before responding. The agent showed no fear, not even a hint of discomfort at his present situation, which Adrian found unnerving. Without waiting for a response Stiles went on, “What’s with the college dropout and the high school teacher. Like, can you say bringing a knife to a gunfight here. I mean what if the Yakuza over there didn’t like what you were selling or something went wrong, How exactly is Polly pocket and Professor Plum supposed to help?”

“Captian..” Derek groaned.

“Is he always like this?” Adrian asked.

“Unfortunately yes,” Isaac responded.

Suddenly Adrian’s eyes lit up with recognition. His tongue clicked and his face broke out in another grin. “That’s it, Stiles Stilinski. That’s who you are, Stiles, the guy with the weird name because his real name was even weirder and down right unpronounceable.”

Stiles’ head tilted and he frowned his confusion at being outed. “Ok whether you’re psychic or-”

“You really don’t remember me.” Adrian cut him off, sounding a little hurt. “Dude we went to school together. It’s Matt, Matt Dahler.”

Stiles tilted his head to the other side and then squinted his eyes at the man’s face for a while. In truth he’d remembered but he wouldn’t be himself if he’d came right out and acknowledged that. “You mean that, stalkery psycho dude who was obsessed with Allison in school, that was you, is you. Huh, I guess once a psychopath, always right?”

The smile on the man’s face turned into a scowl of disapproval. “Now you’re just being unkind, and unnecessarily so.”

“Story of my life rape-face,” Stiles added and punctuated his words with a bright smile. He was pushing the man into a confrontation and knew it. It was all a part of his plan. He needed to keep their attention long enough for the unseen members of his team to finish positioning themselves without being caught.

In the moments between Isaac being found out, and Stiles and Derek coming in. Stiles had commanded both Widow and Kitty to come to their position in stealth. They would slip into the room with Stiles and Derek. While the three visible agents held the attention of the men, the invisible ones should have no trouble getting in unnoticed. The delicate part was to determine how to position themselves to defend adequately once the fighting began without the supers in the room sensing them.

All while the little discussion went on between rebel, inferno and Shadow Law, Stiles communicated with his team. They had decided on a plan of action by which Derek would jump in front of Stiles to take in shots that might get off as he could heal whereas Stiles couldn’t. Kitty would disable the men with their guns on Houdini as his stealth tech was down and Widow would attack the rebels from their flank.

“If I were in your position, I’d be nice to me,” Adrian or Matt said dryly.

“Yeah well I didn’t grow out of being a stalker and into my best terrorist self, so forgive me for not thinking from your point of view. Besides what position would that be?”

“The one where you could be killed at any moment and all I’d have to do is wave my hand.”

“Wave it then, somehow I’m not worried about what happens but you might wanna be.”

Matt was about to say something, and from the looks of him it was going to be heated. But then he reigned himself in and suddenly looked around suspiciously. “Seems like a really small number for your little team. A stupidly small number. I don’t think Shadow Law’s that stupid. Kill-” He was about to say, kill them now, but several things happened simultaneously, that cut off his words mid command.

At a mental signal from captain to his subordinates, Lupin with all his supernatural speed, took two running steps, and leapt for Stiles. He twisted his body so that his back moved to bar the captain’s head from the guns behind him. His arms closed around Stiles’ shoulders and they both twisted in the air as Lupin’s momentum lifted Stiles off his feet. Before they did so only three of the guns fired and all three bullets hit Lupin in the back. Only one of them pierced his armoured body suit and found a home in his shoulder.

An Invisible Kitty, twisted the arm of the nearest man aiming at Houdini so that the man’s gun now pointed at his colleague on the left. He applied pressure to the now sprained arm and the man pulled his trigger in response, gunning down his cohort. Kitty forced the man’s arm in the other direction and applied pressure again causing the man to shoot another assailant on the right. As the other inferno circle man fell, Kitty grabbed the arm of the man he’d attacked with his free hand, twisting it downward before releasing his claws and stabbing up into the man’s shoulder with it. The wounded goon let out a squeal of pain before Kitty flipped him over and onto his back, then stabbed into his chest twice.

Houdini moving fluidly in concert with Kitty, Dived into a roll when the first shot rang off and came out of it, sweeping his leg out to kick low at the man who Stiles had called the chemistry teacher. Completely contrary to his look, the man quickly jumped and dodged the sweeping kick before rolling out of the way and coming up to his feet with hands at the ready in combat stance. Houdini studied him for a moment, taking his measure and reminding himself to not underestimate the man, as he clearly had done before. Then he lunged forward and the two began to trade punches and kicks in a very high paced hand to hand battle.

Widow, who had stationed herself just behind the group of men surrounding the kitsune rebel leader, swung both her hands up and out with impressive speed. Two electrode darts launched from them and bit into the necks of two men on opposite sides of Lupin and Captain. One fell immediately as the electric charge surged through his body emitted by the dart. The other however, had time to get off a shot before he collapsed to the floor writhing.

Widow didn’t take time to watch this. She ducked low and spun under the arms of the man who turned with a rifle in his hands searching for the source of the darts. Widow grabbed one of his arms and swung her body over to enclose his head between her legs before twisting herself again bringing them spinning down to the floor. The man’s back connected harshly while she, having released him in time, landed on her feet. At an almost leisurely pace, she removed a small patch from a pocket of her utility belt and stuck it onto the man’s collar bone. He began to vibrate at intervals as the pulses of electricity that shocked him began.

Stiles and Derek rolled to their feet. Stiles fired a knife at one man on his ascension, while his other hand pulled free the sliptail at his back and began swinging it in whip form in a flurry of attacks. He hooked it around the legs of another man and pulled him off his feet. Then he used it to lash the man’s face to the right and then left and then right once more. He turned toward Delecourt who hadn’t moved much except to back away holding the banshee Lenore by the arm, and with the young girl, Tracy Stewart standing in front of him like some kind of bodyguard.

“Guess that didn’t go the way you thought it would,” Stiles stated as he slowly approached them. Tracy stood firmly in front of Matt and glared at Stiles.

“Hey life is full of surprises,” the man responded before turning to Lenore. “Fight him Lenore.”

“I..i..i..I can’t,” she sputtered exasperated.

“Really hiding behind an old woman, no offense,” Stiles said shooting a glance to Lenore. “I mean it’s one hell of a rogues gallery you’ve got yourself and they’re clearly all more than they seem,” This time he cast a quick look over at the chemistry teacher who was holding his own in combat with Houdini. “But this just seems wrong.

Matt ignored him and kept pushing the woman. “You know what happens to your son if I’m not there to protect him Lenore, now fight for me.”

“Don’t do it,” Stiles said lowering his voice to a kinder tone. “We can protect you and your son. I can tell you don’t want to work for this guy. You don’t have to do anything. Just stand aside, and we’ll take care of it.” He pleaded with her and for a moment it looked like Stiles was getting somewhere but then Matt spoke again.

“Maybe they will find your son. But if they do all they’ll find is a corpse if I’m not around to keep him safe. If I’m not there to tell the others to keep him alive.” Matt’s voice was cruel and edged with violence. Stiles didn’t have time to swear at his defeat in the war of words for this woman’s co-operation. He felt the scream before he heard it. He had just enough time to see Matt release her, already knowing what her choice would be. She pushed her hands out before her and Stiles was sailing through the air, along with everyone who was still standing or battling behind him.

The stealth equipment that kept his teammates invisible failed, and they popped into view, immediately taking away their advantage. Stiles picked himself off the ground and got to his feet quickly. Fortunately for him, it was quick enough to see the banshee preparing for another blast. He sent his sliptail whip seeking the first loose object he could find and used the whip to toss it at the banshee. The small metal stool flew toward the woman and she had to use the scream she was about to knock the captain with to divert the oncoming projectile.

If she had been battle trained, in combat tactics, or had her senses and instincts sharpened by field experience, Stiles supposed the woman might have anticipated that his tossing of the stool was only a decoy. A means to divert her attention long enough for him to be able to land a blow to disable her. To her misfortune, she didn’t have any such training. So the look of shock on her face when she turned her head back, once throwing the stool away from her was no surprise. Her body had frozen as most are forced to do by instinct or fear, or a combination of both, when faced with a terrifyingly unexpected circumstance. For Lenore, it was the Shadow Law agent spinning through the air in a barrel roll.

She never moved, only stood with a mixture of shock and awe as she watched that body twist several times in the air, hurtling toward her with a magnificent speed. And when the man’s leg extended, coming out of the roll to slam down on her head, her final thought before falling unconscious might have been ‘wow’.

“Harris it’s time to go!” Matt yelled at his cohort who was still trading blows with his opponent. The man spared one quick glance to Matt before ducking under a kick and then dropping low to sweep Houdini’s legs out from under him, before he could throw another attack. The man flipped backward and quickly drew something from his pants pocket. Harris threw the thing, a small vial of liquid and where it smashed on the ground, there was a small explosion. It was enough to disrupt everyone’s concentration as well as blast Houdini back a few feet. Harris took the opportunity to dash through the main door where Matt and Tracy had ducked out.

“I’m going after Dahler!” the captain called as he sidestepped a punch thrown by a man widow was fighting and then rolled under a barrage of gunfire right out the door.

“Don’t mind us,” Houdini said dryly as he picked himself up off the floor and joined Widow’s fight. She had tossed more electro-darts at two men but they only grinned to each other before turning back to her. Their eyes had begun glowing and crackling hairs of electricity began to dance at their finger tips and in their eyes. One had thrown a hand out and an arcing blast of energy launched itself at Widow. She had narrowly escaped but wasn’t so lucky when the next man threw his bolt of power. It hit her square in the gut and knocked her back.

It was thanks only to the insulation of her suit that she wasn’t instantly killed and she was forced to recalibrate her strategy. She noticed Houdini edging up behind them but turned her eyes quickly back to the supers she faced to avoid giving him away. She feinted to the left and spun off to the right. As the first man lunged for where he thought she was headed. Houdini swung his batons low, sweeping the man’s feet from under him. Bringing down the baton on the head of the fallen super with one hand, he tossed the other at the leg of the second lightning kitsune. The sharpened point activated by Houdini just before he let go, punctured the man’s leg. The force he’d used wasn’t enough though, so instead of it driving deep into the super’s leg it stuck out from a shallow wound with a weakness that meant, it would fall at the first quick shake of his leg.

The shock of the hit however had done it’s job. The man took his eyes off Widow who ran for him. She kicked at his injured leg and there was an audible snap as a bone broke. The man growled and got to one foot, keeping his pressure off the other one. His resilience was impressive. Widow punched out but he ducked, parried her next blow and then back handed her with so much force her face stung as she fell back from him. Her resilience though was just as impressive. He reached to hit her again but she sidestepped, turned her head to follow the extension of his arm and then grabbed it with both hands before twisting her body in the air so that the man flipped with her and fell to the floor.

He got to a knee but she still had possession of his arm. Widow scissored her legs about the man’s head, twisted her body and fell onto her side with her thighs squeezing at the man’s throat. She took a breath and on the exhale twisted her hips while tightening her grip so that the man’s neck snapped.

“Go help the captain!” she yelled to Houdini as she dispatched her man. The other agent nodded once and took off running through the door and passed the battle that was raging between Derek, Seito Takeshi and one of his goons.

When Derek had gotten to his feet from sparing Stiles the pain of three shots to the back, he had to tamp down the bite he felt in his own flesh as his skin slowly pushed the bullet out and knitted itself back together. Unfortunately there was no time to lose his focus because a swipe of claws came from his left. He ducked quickly and then had to dodge a flying shaft of flames that came from the opposite direction.

Seito Takeshi and the last of his men stood on either side of the wolf. “Traitor to your kind!” the rebel leader called. Derek remained unfazed having become used to this kind of talk. He shrugged it off and assessed the situation. In order to be effective at beating Takeshi he would have to get within the kitsune’s reach, if only to avoid the fire he was sure the man could throw with dexterity. The second opponent would make things difficult.

Derek was no stranger to fighting more than one attacker at once, however, he was sure that Takeshi was the kind of opponent one would need all their focus for. Splitting his attention between the kitsune, who in Derek’s estimation had to have been extremely well trained and skilled in hand to hand combat due to his heritage and background, would only prove to be an incredible handicap.

Before he had a chance to think any further, the rebel leader raised both hands and two glaring orbs of fire formed within his palms. He tossed one and then the other at different angles making Derek’s dodge of the globes of flame look like a dance. Before he could regain his steady footing, the henchman charged him with two kicks and a flurry of punches. Derek was able to dodge the first wave, however the last few hit their marks and sent the wolf falling backward with such force, that his back thudded heavily on the ground.

He grunted his frustration loudly, lifted his feet off the ground, and kicked out, using the strength of his core to jerk himself onto his feet. He raised his fists and took on a new fighting stance settling one eye on the kitsune and the other on his unidentified kitsune henchman. Though from the feel of the other man’s blows Derek might venture a guess that he was an earth fox spirit.

Earth kitsunes always seemed to have an ability to enhance their physical attacks with strength they absorbed from the earth and any object refined by man, the raw material of which came from the earth, like the metal that made up the helecarrier. Derek began to circle and the two men followed his lead keeping a measured distance between themselves.

Takeshi raised his hands to launch two fireballs again but this time Derek was ready. Instead of dodging away from the men, he ducked into the henchman and attacked before the man could perform his part of their two man choreography. Derek twisted into a round house kick that connected with the man’s face than dove low to swipe at his leg with extended claws. He cut the knees and then rolled behind the man to swipe at his achilles tendon, to limit his range of motion. He was almost successful, but the man lifted the leg before he could get it and turned, bringing his foot down to narrowly miss Derek’s head.

Suddenly Takeshi was behind him with burning hands. He and Derek began a dance of dodges and parries. Every time the rebel leader’s hands missed flesh, Derek could feel the increased temperature registered in the part of his suit that came close to the flames surrounding the kitsune’s hands.

Derek rolled underneath a sweeping attack and had time to see the henchman getting ready to lunge for him but Widow ran up behind him and jumped atop his shoulders, hooking her legs under the man’s arms. She brought down her gloved hands into the man’s neck and blue electricity crackled into his flesh. The man shook with the shock of it for a moment, but then his eyes glowed brightly as he insulated himself with the grounding power of his earth element, then threw Widow onto her back.

She got quickly to her feet and called, “I’ve got this one.” Derek nodded, and moved quickly for Takeshi.

Stiles chased after the three running figures of Matt Dahler and his associates Harris and Tracy. They gave excellent chase keeping a decent lead over him through the winding corridors of the sublevel. Every so often Harris would fire a gun he’d pulled from a holster, carefully hidden behind his jacket, which now flapped behind him like limp wings, as he ran down another hall.

“Take him down!” Matt screamed at the man and Harris slowed his run and turned around to await Stiles’ approach as the other two continued to veer down and out of sight around a corner. Stiles cursed softly for the obstacle as the man mounted his pistol in his other hand, aimed and began to fire.

At the speed the captain was travelling he was moving into point blank range and dodging would become difficult. Even still, Stiles twisted in the air, flipping horizontally for a second before landing on his feet, only to transition into several somersaults and then a wall run which saw him flipping backward and landing spryly. He immediately ducked into a roll and counted himself lucky until a bullet blasted into the armoured chest of his suit.

He winced to himself but allowed his body to fall back and willed himself to remain still. His ears tuned to the man who now approached cautiously to make sure his target had been taken down, truly, and finish the job if it needed doing. Stiles waited until the man was close enough to inspect him. When a foot came forward to kick the arm he’d draped over the place he was shot, he grabbed it. Rolling his body to a side he brought Harris down, effectively twisting the man’s ankle as he did, so that he cried out in pain.

The gun flew from his loosened fingers when he hit the ground but he wasn’t without whatever impressive skill he’d been taught. Harris kicked down with his other foot onto Stiles head and pushed the captain off of him, before turning over and hoisting himself up and forward to grab for his gun. His first swipe was unsuccessful but then he jumped forward, and rolled over the ground, picking up the weapon in the process. As he twisted himself and propped his body up on a knee with his arms already aiming for Stiles, the captain had gotten to his feet. With sliptail in hand he slashed out in its whip form and disarmed Harris with a flick of the wrist.

The man lurched up and forward but a baton came hurtling after him and hit the back of his head hard, knocking him down. “Go Cap,” Houdini yelled as he slipped into a fighting stance preparing for the recovering Harris. “I wasn’t done with you,” Houdini announced to the man who snarled at him, one hand curling into a fist, the other touching the back of his head and coming to his face so he could look for any evidence of blood.

Stiles ran off again, not needing any more of an invitation. Cypher I need you to find Dahler and get me to him quickly. He knew that Cypher would already be in the security system, watching the cameras to keep an eye on the team. In no time the man came back with instructions on where to go.

He’s in an access elevator headed for the deck, If you take the stairs and use sliptail grapple you can head him off. I’ll shut down the elevator on the second sublevel. Came the voice of Cypher, and he thanked whatever power of the universe that had blessed the man with his tech genius. Stiles headed for the stairs, sliptail already in hand.

Takeshi, swiped at Derek with burning hands but the wolf dodged. He had to increase his speed as the kitsune did the same until Derek was wolfed out. His face was framed by black hair and his fangs were bared in a terrifying snarl. His eyes glowed a bright amber. Derek growled and launched into a barrage of attacks. He swiped with claws, taking care to adjust his hands when they were blocked so he didn’t burn himself too badly. Takeshi moved well, and Derek was finding it difficult to simply put the man down through combat alone. But he had come prepared for this.

Kitsunes had an inherent capability for battle and a sort of battle genius that was in their blood. Some speculated it was actually the fox spirit which bestowed knowledge collected over thousands of years of existence in different hosts. So Derek had known it would be a long shot to pit his combat training from his mother and from Shadow Law, against a centuries old fox spirit inhabiting a culturally trained vessel.

Instead he focused on plan b. First he worked to get the fox accustomed to one kind of fighting style. If he could draw Takeshi in by allowing the fox to predict his moves, he could switch styles and use his secret weapon he’d picked up from D.R.U.I.D.E. It was called ice shot, a specialized dart created to counteract extreme heat and fire wielders. All he’d have to do is inject the man and that would eliminate his fire abilities at the least and incapacitate him at the most.

Derek forced his body to slow his movements just so. This gave Takeshi the idea that he was wearing the wolf down and gaining the upper hand in battle. Derek threw a weak punch to the left and finally Takeshi made his move. He reached in to attack but Derek in a burst of speed and strategy, sidestepped, and twirled around the man, using the spin to grab the ice shot from his belt as well as grab the man by his arm on the other side of his body. Then he drew Takeshi in and drove the dart into the man’s neck as he lunged in close.

Takeshi’s hands immediately stilled, and his glowing eyes went wide before the red light in them died. He coughed , and a puff of cool mist escaped hi s lips. Derek ripped the dart out, released his hold on the man and then flipped back onto his hands to kick the man under his chin. Takeshi’s jaw slammed shut bringing his teeth together with an audible crack as he was thrown back through the air. He collapsed in a heap on the floor.

The earth kitsune momentarily distracted by the fall of his boss, missed as Widow ran for him, and slid on her knees passed his legs. She stabbed into one of his legs with a knife that was connected to a long measure of cord. Using the momentum and the anchor of the knife in the super’s leg to lever her back onto her feet, she twirled around him climbed his knee and wrapped her legs around his neck, twisting her body so that she made a full swinging rotation around his head. She released as he spun around and yanked on the cord which had wrapped around his waist and neck. As the man flipped in the air the cord lit up with a high voltage of electricity until he hit the ground. He twitched once, and then didn’t move.

Cypher direct us to the captain , Derek called to his team mate along their com link, and he took off running as instructions came. Widow sealed what bodies were still among the living in mountain ash before coming after him.

Stiles had run into the stairwell and aimed his sliptail at the railing of what he calculated to be the second sublevel. The small metallic blade shot upward, reshaping and extending until it found its target and wrapped around the rail. With a mental command to his tech utility weapon the hilt lifted him up through the stairwell as it retracted. Before too long Stiles was on the second sublevel and rounded the corner to the elevator just in time to find Tracy , hoisting Matt out of the doors.

Cypher had stopped it between floors and it seemed they had to pry the doors open before climbing out. “Go!” the woman urged him as she stared the captain down. Matt hesitated for a moment and for the first time since Stiles had come into contact with him. The others, he had no trouble offloading to save himself, but this one he wasn’t quite ready to abandon. Stiles had another thought, considering the strength it would have taken to pry open the doors and the fact that she was lifting him out of the elevator one handed, not to mention that she was now telling him to leave so she could stay behind and stop the shadow law agent. Maybe shadow law strike teams weren’t the only ones working with supers.

“Go!” she shouted and this time turned to glare at him with hard eyes.

Matt frowned at first, but then through gritted teeth commanded, “Make him suffer.”

“With pleasure,” Tracy responded turning back to Stiles. Matt got to his feet and took off running. At that Stiles drew two of his throwing knives and launched them in quick succession. They whistled through the air but before they could pass the woman and make their mark, Tracy caught them rising to her feet quickly. Except, she caught one with her hand and the other, she caught with her tail.

Stiles eyes widened as he stared at the long, green, scaled and pointy appendage which seemed to appear out of nowhere. His eyes darted back to hers and they were the yellow prismed slits of a reptile. “Fuck,” Stiles whispered, as he finally realized what she was. “Kanima.”

Tracy began to walk and as she did so her body transformed, Scales emerged all over her, covering her in a blanket of green. Her fingers grew claws long, white and sharp and her hair receded until her head was scaly and bald as was the rest of her. Her walk became a run and she threw the knives back at Stiles who had to move fast to avoid them. When he regained his footing she was only a few feet away. He drew his sidearm quickly and began shooting.

Tracy jumped from the ground to the roof of the corridor and continued on. Every time he adjusted his aim to her new position and fired, she would jump with preternatural speed to a wall, then the other, then the floor and back to the ceiling. Stiles walked himself back as he fired trying to conceive of a plan but Tracy just kept coming.

Once she closed the distance between them, she lunged for him from the roof but he rolled under her, narrowly escaping the swipe of venomous claws to his face. He quickly turned and fired but she back handed his arm so that it missed. Stiles twisted his arm around hers until he was pointing at her face again and fired but she ducked and flipped backward kicking him in the chest.

He fell on his ass and had to roll back to his knees. He came up firing but she somersaulted over his head and swiped him with her tail. It sent him back against the wall and the sharp tip came seeking his head. He grabbed the tail with both hands and held it firm away from his face but his strength couldn’t match a super for long and he knew that. Even with the enhancements added by his suit, though most of that was offline thanks to the banshee’s wail. He grunted as he lost his grip and turned his head out of the way, opting instead to direct the tip of her tail to the wall behind him.

She swirled around and kicked low but he jumped over it and into a roll but as he got to his feet, her tail swirled around and swept his legs out from under him. He cursed as he fell and rolled back onto his feet. “Fine!” he yelled, “Two can play that game.” With that he pulled his sliptail and activated it’s whip form.

Stiles swung the slipwhip from side to side, slashing against the floor so that it smacked with a resounding sound of a whip cracking. Tracy, surprised by the new tactic stepped and hissed. She tried to attack but the frequency of the swinging whip made it difficult for her to get her hands, feet or tail passed. She tried again and the whip connected with her flesh.

Tracy let out a screech of pain as the electric current Stiles had began running through the whip jolted through her body. “Didn’t like that did ya!” Stiles shouted as he advanced, whip still slashing from side to side at an increased speed. She backed up from him, trying to get away from the whip, trying to find a new way to get at him. When her head tipped back and she looked to the ceiling Stiles struck, slashing up and across just as she was about to leap for it so that the whip cut a wound into the leathery skin of her rising arm. He quickly spun and slashed low, sweeping her off her feet.

Her fall didn’t last long. She flipped over onto all fours and crawled with preternatural speed to the wall and then up it onto the ceiling. Stiles had lost the momentum on his whip and she capitalized on the moment quickly jumping down on him. Her claws grazed his suit but didn’t break it. That was the only thing to save him from paralysis but he didn’t have time to think of that. He tried to push her off but she bared down on him with all her weight, her teeth snapping in his face, saliva from her snarling mouth dripping onto his cheeks. He yelled as he pushed back.

Suddenly there was a great relief of pressure as the kanima went hurtling backward and slammed into a wall. Standing above him, was Derek, in a half transformation. He turned and roared at Tracy who crouched low, regaining her feet and hissed.

She jumped at him, but he caught her around the waist. Her hands went for his throat claws ready to rip, but Stiles jumped to his feet and used his slipwhip to lasso her arms, then threw a length of the fluid metal around her neck before tossing her with as much strength as he could muster back off Derek. There was a crack of bone and Stiles couldn’t be sure it was her neck but she howled in pain as she hit the floor. This time he didn’t hesitate to throw a n ash capsule at her, which exploded into a circle, sealing her inside.

“You keep getting into these things captain,” Derek said with a half smile.

Stiles panted for a moment, then grinned at him. “That’s because I know you’re around for back up Hale, Let’s move Matt is still out there and trying to get away.”

He won’t get far, came Erys on the com link. All escape ships and pods are out of commission, and if he manages to get any to work, well, let’s just say I love fireworks.

“Come on!” Stiles called and took off running, behind which Derek followed as Cypher directed them.

In a matter of minutes they had made their way to the deck of the helecarrier and were swiftly joined by Kitty, Houdini and Widow. On shallow exhales of breath they ran until Derek could hear the slightly slower patter of Dahler’s feet behind the obstacles that hid him from direct line of sight. After darting quickly behind a large container on the deck and being joined by Erys who had come charting a course to intercept them, they caught sight of the fleeing man.

Matt Dahler had almost made it to the ledge he was running toward, when he felt a sharp pain lance from his leg and emanate outward. The sudden shock of the hit and the force from the object that had stuck itself into his leg forced his knees to buckle sending him tumbling to the floor. He pulled himself together quickly and managed to get a quick look at his bleeding calf, with a knife sticking out of it before he heard his name yelled from across the way.

“Dahler!” Stiles shouted.

The man pulled himself to his feet and began a pathetic limp, continuing to the ledge. Stiles didn’t get it. There was nothing over that ledge but a long drop to the water the helecarrier was hovering over. Surely he couldn’t possibly hope to survive that fall. As far as Stiles could surmise the man wasn’t the type to choose death over captivity. True one never knew what someone was capable of but he seriously doubted that Matt Dahler was that man.

“Nowhere left to go Matt!” Stiles called out. He, and the others had slowed to a walk now. By his calculation, if by some stretch the man was trying to kill himself, he could make it to the ledge before they could run across the several feet of separating distance to stop him and continuing to run after him would only make him feel more directly threatened.

“Your friends are out of commission, the chemistry teacher is down for the count and your pet kanima is laying in a circle of mountain ash.”That seemed to stop the man dead in his tracks. “Yes we got her too.”

“You trapped her, in mountain ash?” Matt quoted without turning around.

“She isn’t going anywhere,” Stiles replied and then signalled with his hands to Erys to go stealth and advance while he and the others waited. “Come in and this doesn’t have to get... any more painful.”

“You might be surprised.” Matt shouted back, this time turning to look over his shoulder.

“What?” Stiles returned confused, and unhappy with the less than defeated look on the other man’s face.

“You might be surprised at what that girl is capable of!”

“What does that mean?”

“Oh just that there’s a reason she’s a well kept secret, and not for the obvious reason. You’re not taking me in. I’ll die first.”

His first words struck Stiles as odd but he didn’t allow himself the time to analyze it. Instead he responded to the last of what the man had to say. “You’re not the type, Matt. To die for the cause. You’re a coward you always have been. That’s part of what makes a good master for a kanima isn’t it, someone who needs another to do the dirty work.” Stiles could see the irritation flaring on the man’s face at his words and appreciated the distraction he was causing.

Suddenly there was a flash of a smile on Matt’s face and a blur speeding past Stiles and the others. Erys was just getting within reaching distance of Matt when a hand reached out and grabbed her invisible shoulder, then threw her back. She hurtled through the air and crashed into a wall before shimmering into visibility.

“I told you, you might be surprised,” Matt reiterated as Tracy in a half shift of her kanima form, crouched at his feet on all forms, her tail flicking from left to right as she eyed Stiles and Derek with malice.

“How...” Stiles began but then the words he’d dismissed earlier settled on his awareness and he took a guess. There was only ever really two cases in which a kanima or any other supernatural creature could not be thwarted by mountain ash. The first was a Shadow Law secret, founded by D.R.U.I.D.E. and that was the containment pods they used to seal mountain ash allowing supers who were allies on strike teams to handle the substance. The second was if that super was no super at all but a chimera. A man made shapeshifter.

The process was discovered a long time ago by a group of unsavoury characters who tried to mimic the supernatural through science. The results were creatures who developed all the shapshifting traits of supers, minus the weaknesses to supernatural elements meant to contain them.

Stiles quickly broadcast the information to the team. Derek looked at him briefly and then took off for the kanima. Tracy who had been watching them intently shot off to meet him. The two moved at such speed, Stiles feared the collision itself would be devastating. But before the kanima could reach Derek, something intercepted her and exploded. Tracy screamed as she was thrown clear off the deck and fell to the water below.

Stiles and his team turned to the direction the shot had come from and watched Erys lower her mini launcher. “I don’t like being manhandled,” she snarked and ran a hand through her pixie cut. There was a choked sound from Matt but he quickly pulled it together and limped his way to the ledge.

Cypher scan for cloaked ships where Dahler’s headed, I have a bad feeling. Stiles ordered as he took off running, followed by the others. Derek was much closer and would get there before any of them but Matt would still have enough time to jump over board. Just as Matt Dahler was swinging a leg over the ledge at the end of the deck, Cypher’s voice came back in all their minds.

You were right Captain there is a ship hovering about twenty feet below Dahler’s current position. It is cloaked and disconnected from the carriers systems which is how I believe it stayed off our radar.

Lupin!” Stiles shouted as Matt jumped off the edge. Derek threw his head back to see Stiles nod right before the man used his slipwhip, throwing the tail out toward Derek. The werewolf caught it and yanked it forward, pulling Stiles off his feet and into the air. As the captain careened over the edge, Derek jumped over as well and caught him in his arms. They were falling for a few seconds. Stiles threw a knife down below into the emptiness beneath them. When it struck something and fell onto it’s side Derek braced himself to land on the cloaked ship.

His feet planted hard but he stuck his landing and released Stiles. The two seemed to be standing on thin air. Matt was nowhere in sight and Stiles inspected the area around them for some kind of indication as to where he might have ended up. His landing could not have been easy with a knife in one leg. As he had that thought he caught sight of a small pool of red floating in the air. He motioned for Derek and they tracked it to a trail of droplets which seemed to disappear up ahead.

Where the-” Stiles began but the sudden dislodging of a small jump ship from the docking bay of what had to be a large operations class jet blew him back. Derek who had withstood the disruptive force, jumped on one of the wings as they came into view with the stealth mode being dropped by Dahler.

Derek!” Stiles yelled. Without thinking he grabbed his sliptail and threw it up to Derek who caught it one handed while using his other to maintain his hold on the turbulent ship. The last thing Stiles saw was Derek holstering the sliptail and climbing up the wing before he couldn’t make out anything anymore.

Cypher, escaping jump pod track it. Stiles sent to his team as he watched the jump pod slowly ascend. He may have had some training in flight but Matt was clearly inexperienced by how he was making his getaway.

On it. Cypher’s response was short and clipped indicating he had probably been going that route before Stiles had even asked.

I’m sorry Captain , Erys offered solemnly, I missed those ships.

It’s not your fault, we had no idea, we couldn’t have known he had such an elaborate escape plan b. I lost my tail, throw me a line. He tried to ensure that the tone of his mental voice was as sincere as possible. Many things could get lost in mental transmission but one often picked up on the intent behind communication and he knew how hard Erys could be on herself with what she considered personal failure.

She hooked a grapple to the railing and let the rope down to him which he used to get back onto the helecarrier. The ship seems to be wavering captain, going out of control-

-It’s Lupin, Stiles cut him off as he got to his feet and stood with the others in his team on the deck, watching the sky. The ship continued to rise, becoming smaller and smaller but they could all see how it seemed to move in a rough ascent.

Lupin we can’t let that ship get away, Stiles offered suggestively directing his communication to Derek. Do you have him? But there was no response, just an odd sense of disconnect coming from Derek’s end. Lupin do you copy . Still nothing came back but that sense of absence.

Captain I have a shot at the ship,” Erys announced, having picked up her mini launcher, added two extra pieces to its assembly and taken aim. Her actions had been prompted by Stiles’ assertion to Derek that they couldn’t let the ship get away.

Hold,” Stiles ordered. Lupin report, what is your status? But again nothing came back and Stiles became worried. Cypher can you find anyway of seeing what’s going on up there or communicating with Lupin through the ship, he isn’t responding.

I’m afraid the ship has some sort of communication dampening field in operation. I can’t seem to breach the system. No doubt that helped make it hard to track.

“Fuck,” Stiles swore softly.

“Sir I’m losing my shot-”

“Hold your fire!” Stiles commanded this time turning to Erys to pin her with a hot glare. “That’s a member of our team up there.”

“That’s also our first priority up there Captain,” Widow interjected. “Our orders were to bring him in or take him down but we cannot let him get away. You said it yourself.

Stiles turned his heated gaze to Erica who addressed him matter-of-factly. She didn’t mean any disrespect, he could tell that much. But she did mean to try and get him to see that in this case, they had to risk losing Lupin to take down one of the links to the inferno circle. Stiles stared at her for a moment and then nodded. Turning back to Erys he said, “Fire a warning shot near that ship, and then take it down. Hopefully he gets the message.”

“And if he doesn’t?” She asked.

“He will.”

Erys nodded and then went to work. She aimed her launcher a few feet to the side of the wavering ship and fired. She used a remote detonation explosive and triggered it near the ship so it would deliver a good message. In case Derek didn’t see the projectile shoot past he would know what they were about to do.

The second shot she aimed at the ship itself and took a deep breath. She waited and tracked for a few seconds. Once she was certain the trajectory was right, she fired. The little missile shot toward the ship and in seconds the sky was alight with a blooming of flame that made a fiery rose over their heads. Stiles stepped forward and gripped the railing as he tried to track Derek in the backdrop of the blaze and mess of falling debris.

Lupin! He called for the man, certain that with the ship destroyed he should be free of the dampening technology. But there was no answer. Fear gripped Stiles heart and he felt his chest tighten. Lupin! Lupin report now! Derek! He felt the scream in his mind like a headache.

Shit Captain I didn’t know you cared so much. The voice that came back was light and playful and infuriating in its teasing tone. But Stiles smiled even as he shuddered, shaking off the almost feeling of grief that had gripped him. Then he saw the figure of Derek shooting down from the sky. There was another figure against him that Stiles assumed was Matt. Derek’s form loomed closer and then shot passed the side of the helecarrier. He used Stiles sliptail to hook onto the rail and swung himself and his unconscious captor up onto the deck. When he landed he dropped Dahler on the floor.

You got him,” Kitty said.

Good job,” added Houdini with a pat to Derek’s shoulder.

I guess Lupin is good for something,” Widow offered with a sarcastic smile.

Never mind the part where I almost died,” Derek said in faux incredulity.

Ah but you made it don’t be such a priss.” Stiles spoke lightly and with something of a smile on his face but Derek could feel the tension coming off of him. He used an external communications device to alert Agent Finstock or Watchtower as he preferred, that they were ready for extraction and to call in the bag and tag boys to process the carrier.

T hree hours of long hard post mission processing had taken place. Teams of analysts, specialists and guards had gone through the hellecarrier. They had cuffed and transported all the enemies still among the living and bagged those who weren’t. All rooms were cleared and inspected before being sealed pending further investigation. Takeshi and Matt were placed in special prisons to await their interrogations and their men, at least the ones still alive were separated from them. A search for the area of water beneath the helecarrier and for a wide radius surrounding it was launched, but no signs of Tracy had been found as yet.

The team had all been debriefed and Chris McArgent-Stillinski who had made this top priority, was there himself to conduct the interviews of both Stiles and Derek. Derek had been the last to sit with the Director and as he got up to leave after being dismissed Chris called out to him causing him to pause.

Good work agent Hale. Your captain praises your bravery and quick action. So do I. You prove everyday that the stigma set upon the supernatural kind is an unwarranted generalization. You do your country proud. Have a good night.” Chris’ blue eyes shone softly with the kind sincerity of his words and the light of the smile he offered which reached them.

Derek smiled back and nodded once, “Thank you sir, I appreciate that. Good night.” With those parting words given, he made his way out of the debriefing room and down the hall of offices. He was headed to the locker rooms when he took the scent of Stiles. As he rounded the corner the man stepped in front of him and stood there, plain faced and silent.

Were you waiting for me captain?” Derek asked cheekily.

Maybe, where do you think you’re going?”

Well I did plan on taking a shower. I’m pretty sure I still smell like a burning jump ship but... looks to me like I’m headed wherever you are now.”

At least you didn’t loose your senses jumping from that exploding ship.” Stiles’ words were clipped and he turned on his heels and headed for his office. He made no indication for Derek to follow him nor did he check to see that the man would do so but Derek knew exactly what was required of him. So he followed along silently. His eyes trained on the tight curve of Stiles’ backside, using that as a distraction from the obvious trouble he seemed to be in. Something was wrong. Something had been wrong ever since he went after Dahler and he wasn’t sure what it was.

Stiles opened his office and pushed the usual buttons to ensure the door would lock and the surveillance would deactivate so that he could have a private conversation with his secret lover. “Are you mad at me or something?” Derek came right out and asked, not willing to give whatever Stiles was peeved about any more time to mutate and become more dangerous.

Stiles sighed in an exaggerated fashion and his eyes widened as his head tipped to a side. “Funny you should ask such a thing. I don’t know Derek, what could I possibly have cause to be upset about. I mean you only jumped onto a ship as it flew away, you tackled my target when you knew that there was no way we would let him get out alive and oh,” Stiles lifted a finger beside his face, “You almost died!”

Seriously, that’s what you’re upset about.” Derek sighed in relief and only too late realized it was the wrong thing to do.

That’s what I’m upset about,” Stiles repeated, his tone incredulous. “You scared the living fuck out of me!. Part of me thought you were about to die and it would be my fault for giving the order. I couldn’t reach you-”

Stiles!” Derek yelled but at the way Stiles expression changed when he was cut off, the way his eyes became wet and his cheeks flushed, the way his heart sped up, that made Derek soften. “Hey, I’m sorry. That’s the job though, right? We take risks, we do the things we have to to get it done, you taught me that. I was doing what I had to.”

Yeah, well that was before we started... before I... that was before.”

Before us.” Derek added it for him.

I never thought I would be this person. But... I care about you. I was scared for you. That I would... lose you.” Derek moved then, taking Stiles into his arms. He caressed the man’s cheek with his warm hand and then leaned down to kiss him passionately.

We’ve fought together before,” Derek said as he pulled back, and then he scoffed out a laugh. “We’ve done dangerous things, and we will again.”

Maybe but tonight was the first time I ever had to wonder that you wouldn’t make it,” Stiles replied, his eyes were downcast and his voice was soft and a little shaky as if he was shamed by his vulnerability.

Look at me,” Derek said and cupped the other man’s chin with his fingers and lifted his head so they could look into each other’s eyes. “I did what I did tonight so you wouldn’t have to. Our job makes me scared for you too. But I also trust you, your training, your bravery, your strength and your relentlessness. I know we can’t control everything and I know it only takes one set of bad circumstances for things to go wrong. But neither you nor I would do anything else, and we wouldn’t be the people we are if we did. You wouldn’t feel the same about me if I wasn’t exactly the kind of man to do what I did tonight. And I don’t know that I would feel the same about you if you were a teacher or a councilman or something. So I accept that sometimes I’ll be afraid, but I’ll also be there, on your team to have your back. That helps.”

Derek kissed him again, lighter this time and lingering then pulled back to watch him. “You know, I’ve had to face this very thing before with you. I just did a better job of hiding my terror.” Stiles stared at him with questioning eyes. “It was the night you took on three berserkers when you were trapped in the lower level of that factory. Me and the rest of the team were separated from you and this was before com implants. The metal of the factory was interfering with coms so I had no idea what was happening with you. I was terrified.”

That’s why you were so crotchety after,” Stiles gasped in an aha moment. “That’s what you call better at hiding. You were sullen for two days after that mission and I never knew why, you kept saying it was the full moon but I totally called bullshit on that you haven’t had issues with the moon in a long time. Why didn’t you say anything.”

Please, I was not crotchety. And I didn’t say anything because I chalked it up to possessive and protective wolf and we weren’t at that place in our... relationship yet where I could say, certain things to you about my feelings.”

Well we are now right?” Stiles framed Derek’s face with his hands and looked into his eyes.

Yes we are.” At that Stiles pulled Derek down to him for a kiss and this time didn’t let him go. Instead he reached for the man’s jacket to take it off and then reached for the zipper of his body suit. Derek followed his lead and let the younger man undress him, before he returned the favour. Once they stood naked in Stiles’ office, he picked the man up, grasping at his ass firmly with greedy hands and sat him on the edge of his desk. Stiles wrapped his legs around Derek and continued to devour his mouth in a sensual seduction.

*

P eter Hale sat before the desk of his home office and watched the monitor atop it. The screen was lit up with a sensual scene of the object of his affection and his forbidden lover. Stiles had his head thrown back and the sounds that fed into the space of Peter’s office would have been the most precious music to his ears if they weren’t inspired by another man.

Stiles’ cherry pink cock head, covered by pale cream skin was being popped in and out of Derek Hale’s mouth as the man sucked desperately and hungrily on Stiles’ member. Peter watched as Derek raised Stiles’ thighs so he could poke at the tight ring of muscles hidden in the cleft between his cheeks with an eager tongue .

Peter ignored the firming of his own member as Derek stroked himself while tonguing the man, Peter intended to bed himself. He tamped down the arousal under outrage as he watched his nephew push the head of his own engorged penis into that tiny winking hole and bury it deep as Stiles cried out, his head thrashing back and forth, his filthy mouth calling out things Peter would hope he would say to him and only him.

He watched with a dark and offended fascination, while his nephew took the man he desired in one position and then another and then a third before wrapping Stiles legs around him and thrusting into him until his body jerked with his climax and he grunted as he came, filling the one that would belong to Peter, that in his head already did, with seed. The man didn’t even notice when he’d placed a firm gripping hand on his own cock and tugged. He didn’t realize how he had stroked himself despite his rage. And he was surprised as his fingers grazed the slick trails of semen he’d spilled on his thighs in his own unrecognized climax. His breathing was low but rapid as he cursed Derek’s seduction of, his Stiles. His voice was tight as he vowed to ruin his nephew, if it was the last thing he did.

Chapter Text

Stiles laughed loudly when he noticed the irritated scowl on Isaac’s face. The man had been teased mercilessly by his teammates, following his long awaited defeat in their ongoing bet, to see who could fell the most opponents in the opening of a battle. Due to his quick reflexes, incredible flexibility and expertise in stealth take-downs, Isaac had won that bet almost exclusively for several months on every mission they’d gone on.

It had gone on for so long it became a sore point for all the rest of the team. Well, all except for Ennis, who cared little for the game so long as he had plenty of t argets for smashing with his large hammer. The others though, had begun taking their little game perhaps a little too seriously. Stiles in his competitiveness had tried to make it his mission to knock Isaac off his high pedestal.

As it would turn out, Kali was the one to final ly land the killing blow to Isaac’s long reign. Strike team one had gone on a mission to subdue a new cell of the rebellion that had popped up in downtown Beacon. It was a routine operation and they had little trouble executing the arrests. Stiles had used Derek’s obvious super status to make contact with leadership of the cell yet again . Once they had all been identified and the signal was given, the team struck.

As usual Houdini had leapt into action, his form quickly rippling into camouflage as he activated his favourite weapon, stealth mode of his suit. He had spared little attention for the team around him as he incapacitated one foe after another with practised ease and quickness. A small smile had begun to shape his mouth as he thought passively about how he would win the bet again, when a small localized explosion had rocked the room.

Once everyone had gotten their bearings, they turned in time to see Erys tossing the last of seven bodies into a small pile which she sealed with a mountain ash capsule. As if she had been expecting it, she turned to look at Houdini. A wide and wicked grin firmly in place on her face, she uttered the words, “New winner, me.” Everyone was stunned into silence for several heartbeats as they looked from her to Houdini and then back. And then they all burst out laughing, as if they weren’t in a serious mission. The captain had commented, that the sheer sass with which she had used three words to steal Houdini’s previously undefeated title, earned her the most expensive shots money could b u y once they got out of debrief.

Following that, the team had spent the rest of the evening prodding and jabbing Isaac with little jokes about how he was no longer champion. Isaac had tried to play it all cool at first, but it had obviously gotten to him a little. The scowl that fouled his uniquely handsome features was evidence of that. “ You know,” he muttered, staring at Stiles, “I don’t know why you’re laughing so much cap, you’re buying the drinks tonight.”

This time, it was Stiles’ turn to frown. “Uh, why?” he asked.

Well, you’re the captain of this team,” Isaac responded, closing up his locker and buttoning up his long sleeved red shirt. He adjusted his collar, before wrapping a thin, soft grey scarf around his neck as he continued, “and the son of the directors of both the HSSD and Shadow Law. Oh and let’s not forget about your stepmom the surgeon general. Your family income puts the rest of ours to shame and you get paid way more than we do.” He finished matter-of-factly before turning to give his captain one final glance that suggested he had triumphed in some ways today.

“I do not appreciate you using my family against me like that, besides it’s not like I get an allowance,” Stiles shot back.

“Oh please Cap, your family is one of the richest in public service. The rest of us are just humble middle class citizens by comparison,” Boyd added from where he stood with arms folded against his chest and one foot propped up against the wall of the locker room as he waited for the rest of them to finish changing.

I agree Stiles, if you bought all the drinks after every mission we ever have, it still would barely scratch the surface of your expense account.” Erica smiled suggestively, one of her well manicured eyebrows arching high in challenge.

“I don’t think it’s fair-” Derek tried to come to Stiles’ aid but Erica turned and glared at him, her eyes cutting him off before she spoke.

If you’re thinking of defending him I doubt you have a leg to stand on. Super you may be but you’re also son of the Grand Alpha of the wolf packs... You’re like royalty among your people and have the wealth to match.

“We are not that wealthy,” Derek retorted, standing up and swinging a drawstring bag over his shoulder.

“Says the guy who recently attended a gala with his mother the queen of the werewolves and the royal wolf family. I saw the jewels you guys were wearing. Your mother looked like one of those ancient queens back when England and the European kingdoms were a thing.” Kali patted her pixie cut hair as she turned to look incredulously at Derek.

“When did you see us I thought you guys weren’t-”

-invited? My point exactly. Only the bourgeoisie were in attendance of your special gala. The rest of us commoners had to watch clips from the news on holo-vid at home.

And have you seen the fucking skyspanner he rides to work. Newest model too. I’ve been saving up for one of those for a fucking year. Between paying off loans and my shitty apartment I still can’t afford it. But this motherfucker just buys one on a Tuesday afternoon because he’s a fucking thrill seeker and he was bored.” Ennis jumped in saying his peace.

“Ok I thought we were humbling Isaac over there when the hell did this become about me?” Derek queued, and as Stiles got to his feet and glanced at him, he could see the blush of red creeping over the man’s tanned chest beneath the black vest he was wearing.

“It wasn’t until you opened your mouth,” Erica offered.

“Pick your battles Lupin,” Boyd called, pushing off the wall once it looked like everyone was about ready to go.

In any case the captain is buying, and considering this conversation I think Derek should be buying too.” Isaac concluded

Whoever’s buying can we go, I need a fucking drink, yesterday!” Ennis groused as he rose to his feet and slammed his locker closed.

Ennis you kiss your mother with that mouth?” Stiles asked with a half smile. He often found himself asking that question to the man who seemed to use fuck, fucking, fucker or any and all other variations of the words, as well as several other expletives far too much in casual conversation.

Actually I do, right after she says to me, ‘What no fucking kiss for your mother?’” Kali laughed at that and the others were soon following.

Stiles shook his head. “You are incorrigible.”

“I know it’s one of my special skills,” Ennis shot back as they walked through the locker room. They really were a close knit group. Largely in part to Stiles’ brand of leadership. He had a way of bringing out the best in his team and getting them to see each other the way he saw them. When they’d first been put together it had been a bitch to get things going smoothly. But once he’d figured them out and then got them to figure out each other, everyone seemed to come together.

They didn’t make it far outside the locker rooms before they noticed Chris Argent walking down the hall toward them, with Peter Hale at his side. Stiles immediately tensed in discomfort at the sight of Derek’s uncle. His first thought was the last time he’d run into the man and the way he’d placed hands on him and said suggestive things that made him want to literally run screaming in the opposite direction.

The rest of the team around him quieted in anticipation of what was about to happen. The Director of Shadow Law did not generally make a habit of coming down to the locker rooms, unless he had important and urgent business with the team, or a member of it and he was coming with Director Hale as well. They were all instinctively wary they might have to go out on another mission.

“Stiles,” Chris said, and then nodding to the others. “Strike one, another successful mission tonight. Commendable,” he gave them a brief and small smile, the effect of which was interrupted by Peter’s clearing his throat.

Thank you sir, Director Hale,” Stiles said. He dared not ignore the man. He got the idea that resistance would only make him double his efforts to be the centre of attention, especially if it was Stiles’ attention.

Captain, so good we caught you,” Peter began. There was a gleam in his eye as he unmistakably sized Stiles up. The young captain could almost feel the mental groping as a physical affront. He had to fight the urge to frown and turn up his nose in distaste. “The rest of your team is dismissed but we need you captain.” The way the man lowered his voice to say the words was almost, disturbingly intimate.

Stiles’ eyes darted from Chris to Peter and back as if he were begging his stepfather for help, though the man wouldn’t know really what his stepson needed saving from. “Yes actually,” Chris added. “Director Hale has had a fantastic idea.” He turned his eyes on the rest of the team. “You’re all free to go.”

The y began to move. Kali looked back and in so doing created an excuse for Derek to linger. “I’ll catch up later, get Derek to buy the first round, he can afford it ,” he offered with a smile and nodded to her that it was alright for them to abandon him. The nod though, was really meant for Derek who he glanced at rather quickly just as he did it. The two of them took off after the rest of the team, leaving Stiles with the two Directors.

So what can I do for you?” Stiles asked, looking between the two men, trying not to seem irritated.

We want you to take point on the interview with the Daehler tonight” Chris admitted quickly. “It’s been nearly a week since you brought him in and we’ve yet to learn a thing about his operation or him besides the obvious.

And you think what? I’ll have better luck with him? I’m no expert interrogator. If I were, I wouldn’t be a strike captain would I?” Stiles didn’t realize the thread of annoyance he’d let lace his tone as he responded. Normally he was much better at separating his familial relationship with Chris from his professional relationship with, the director. But with him still wired and tired from the mission he and strike one had just wrapped up, as well as the disconcerting presence of Peter Hale, he found himself allowing the lines to blur ever so slightly. He did however, notice the raised brow Chris peered at him with and he cleared his throat.

“Sorry. I just mean, what makes you think I’ll have better luck than you’ve had?”

“That’s where Director Hale came in, I’m actually surprised at myself for not thinking of it sooner.”

Chris glanced at Peter who took over the explanation. “You went to school with this Matthew Daehler correct?”

“Yes a long time ago, but, and forgive me for being so blunt but I went to school with alot of people. We weren’t friends, or even really much of acquaintances. To be perfectly honest, the guy was a creep in school and he’s an even bigger creep now, I’m not surprised but I just don’t see how-”

Captain, Stiles,” Peter spoke up but in silky tones, as if he were trying to soothe. “You may not see it just yet, but judging by his response to you from your debrief of the helecarrier op, and your connection from your school days, we believe you may have a unique perspective on Daehler. You may see things we haven’t or work angles we couldn’t think to. Also he may give things up to you on account of your, familiarity.” Peter took a step forward and reached a hand up to squeeze Stiles’ shoulder. The younger man had to martial his body to stillness.

Any advantage, any option is worth taking right now.” Chris added the information oblivious to the deeper meanings beneath Peter’s informal behaviour. If only I could tell him the Director of the initiative is literally trying make a move on me, Stiles thought, but what purpose would that serve but to destabilize his social and professional situation more than it already had, since the man had began pursuing his interest.

“Ok I’ll give it a try,” Stiles agreed reluctantly and began walking, if only to get away from the offensive outstretched hand.

*

The team shuffled into The Root Cellar, their favourite bar. It was a pretty large business for Beacon West, which was a more grungy part of the province that had once, a very long time ago been a comparatively small town called, Beacon Hills . It’s high ceilings, spacious rooms and well lit decor set it apart as something of a hidden gem in what most would call the undeveloped ghetto of Beacon west. Ennis had actually been the one to introduce the team to it, despite being incredibly skeptical that Stiles and some of the others who had been born and raised in better parts of Beacon would appreciate it’s charm. To his surprise they had loved the place, and had made it their regular haunt since the first visit. So much so that the owner and bartender, Satomi Ito and her staff, recognized them and knew their regular drink orders by heart.

The Root Cellar was a special bar, as it catered to both supernaturals and humans, in a world where the divide between the two could often be seen, felt and heard by obvious separations in day to day living. There were some super run establishments where humans were not welcome and the opposite was also true. Though super run establishments often found a harder time of maintaining permits and passing inspections, as many discriminatory humans who held important public service positions, that supers weren’t allowed to have, tended to make things difficult due to their prejudices.

In The Root Cellar though, Satomi managed to keep things neutral. She was a kind older woman with a sometimes stern face that spoke nothing of the honourable and lighthearted quality to her character. Her dark and focused gaze often put persons off as they felt like she was peering into their very soul with her penetrating stare but she meant nothing by it. She often showed wisdom and restraint in her manner and she ran her business competently and with fairness . All were welcome, violence frowned upon and respect of every person to walk through her doors encouraged. For those who refused to be caught up in the quarrels of racism, her bar made a great place to come and simply enjoy the company of one’s choice, without feeling uncomfortable or facing unkind and aggressive troublemakers. It also made a great place for supers and humans to interact without being made to feel like race traitors by their peers.

As the team took up familiar seats in a booth toward the opposite end of the entrance to the bar, sliding in to perch atop black leather seats they breathed out sighs of relaxation. One of the servers came over. Brett Talbot, one of Satomi’s pack and part of her staff, was a tall, blond, blue eyed man with an angular yet rounded chin, sharp nose, and small mouth. His features were youthful and often got him lucky with many of those who caught his fancy.

What’s up guys?” he offered in greeting as he came to stand at their booth. His short green apron tied over the front of his black jeans and black, short sleeved, v-necked shirt. He had an an e-pad in his hand for taking their orders and a bright smile on his face, which got brighter as his roving eyes passed over Derek appreciatively.

“Not much B what’s up with you, busy night?” Isaac asked politely with a level of familiarity that showed how often they stopped at the bar for drinks.

Fairly quiet, but the night’s young. We’re having a special at midnight. Satomi thought it would help squeeze a few more dollars out of people. Wanna hear it or should I just get your usuals?” He looked over them all again but let his eyes give Derek another appreciative once over. The man was clearly showing his interest in the only one he was really allowed to be interested in by law.

Actually,” Kali butt in before Derek could speak. “Can we get a round of your most expensive shot. Doesn’t matter what it is we drink everything here-”

-uh speak for yourself,” Erica cut her off. Make mine expensive tequila.”

Kali laughed but continued, “Ok make that six of the most expensive whatevers you have and one of the most expensive tequilas and put it on Derek’s tab.”

“Wow, Kali you guys weren’t kidding.” Derek groused.

“I never kid, besides, you can afford it. Don’t pout.”

“Uh where’s Stiles?” Brett asked chuckling over the antics between his customers.

“He had to take care of something, he’ll meet up with us later.” Isaac pitched in.

“Cool, well I’ll be back with your shots-”

“Actually make it two shots for everyone and you might as well bring our usuals too, that way we don’t have to bother you too much,” Derek suggested kindly.

“Please Derek, you can bother me anytime.” With that Brett walked over to the bar to pick up their orders.

“Well fuck, he’s really putting out the signals there ain’t he Derek. I wonder, do supers go into heat because that one’s fucking hot for you,” Ennis jibed.

You’re an asshole Ennis and that was the shittiest joke I’ve ever heard you say,” Derek countered.

Hey I’m just stating the fucking facts bud. The guy clearly wants your fucking meat like he’s starving on one of those remote Nortican islands.”

“Seriously Derek, if it weren’t illegal, I’d definitely give him a taste. Why do you keep holding out. It’s not like you’re seeing anyone, or are you?” Erica asked interest in her tone and a wicked gleam in her eye.

“No I’m not. He’s just... not my type.”

“Fuck that noise, look at that sweet piece of ass, he’s everybody’s type,” Ennis joked, but then sobered when Kali looked up at him with some veiled threat shining in her eyes. To this he coughed and quickly added. “I mean, the guy is clearly a fucking looker and from what we can see, he can have whoever he wants-”

-then let him have whoever he wants. I’m not really interested. Now can we drop it he’s coming back.” The last few words, Derek spoke much lower. He knew the werewolf servers who made up Satomi’s pack and staff were prohibited from using their enhanced senses to eavesdrop on conversations, but being a wolf himself he knew how sometimes your ears tuned themselves without you trying when instinct or emotion was involved.

Brett came over, dropped off their drinks, made sweet eyes at Derek again, which went ignored by the man before he made his way to another table to see to their needs. The team raised shot glasses, to aste d Kali’s triumph of the bet and Isaac’s downfall, before down ing one shot after another. Once they were done grimacing at the harsh taste of the expensive and incredibly potent liquor known as shine, they settl ed into enjoying their regular beverages.

So what do you think they called the cap back in for?” Danny asked curiously.

“Don’t know but he’s gonna be grumpy when he gets here,” Isaac replied. “He hates last minute assignments.”

“It’s probably something at headquarters. We never run solo missions, well at least not on the heels of another one and not on short notice,” Kali added.

The talk went on for sometime like that, until they moved on to the last few successful missions they’d been on. Recounting funny moments and uncomfortable ones. They were talking about fighting techniques when Derek had found himself zoned out of the conversation, wondering how long Stiles would be. He hadn’t realized his eyes had fallen on a tall, pale skinned beauty with long dark hair who sat at the bar, facing their direction. She had a tall wine glass grasped lightly in her slender fingers and sipped a dark ruby liquid slowly, as she studied him with interest.

There was a dark strip of colour circling her neck, the only indication that she were a super. Somehow it seemed an adornment rather than a tag appearing to be a choker around her neck, complementing the knee length formfitting, black, strapless dress she wore beneath her opened black leather jacket.

Why are supers so hot and so attracted to you I really don’t get it?” Boyd questioned. He had been watching the same woman. And though he couldn’t act on his interest he still appreciated what a fine specimen she was. Derek hadn’t even heard him speaking. “Derek, shit she’s coming. Look alive Lupin.” He tapped Derek on the back of the head lightly to draw the man out of himself.

What!” Derek jumped. He had been so carried away with his thoughts that he had missed everything. He turned to scowl at Boyd, but then felt the presence that had come to stand beside him. Slowly he turned and looked around to gaze up at the woman who appeared almost angelic the way the light shining behind her from an overhead bulb cast a halo around her head.

“I’m Julia, Baccari.” She said, her voice soft but confident.

“Uh hi Julia. I’m Derek, is everything alright?” He asked, unsure of what was happening.

Oh perfect, you were just about to buy me another drink.” She smiled seductively, tipping her head off to a side, tongue darting out to moisten lips that didn’t need it. And her eyes, they glowed a light, unobtrusive blue.

*

S tiles was seated in the interrogation room, when the door opened and Matt h ew Daehler was led inside. Two agents flanked him, one waiting at the door while the other one uncuffed and sat him down opposite Stiles, at the single table in the centre of the sterile room. When he’d seen Stiles, his expression immediately changed from mild bored irritation to intrigue.

“Stilinski, isn’t this a pleasant surprise. Next we’ll be having a whole school reunion. Still friends with that whiny bitch McCall. Is Allison gonna come through that door next. I wouldn’t mind seeing her again. Tell me is she still a fox?” He grinned broadly as he watched Stiles and waited expectantly for an answer.

Stiles was quiet for a moment. Watching the man, taking his measure. He used the training that had been imparted to him when he became an agent. It wasn’t as extensive as the training given to interrogators, who chose that field specifically as their specialty, but sometimes an agent needed to do questioning in the field. And there were a few tricks they were taught to be effective. Like reading the more obvious minutiae in a suspects manner and behaviour.

Stiles allowed the knowledge that the two directors stood in the viewing room on the other side of the white walls, to slip away and focused wholly on the man before him, and the task at hand. When he finally spoke, once he’d noticed the twitch of muscles in Matt’s jaw that indicated his patience with the silence was disappearing, his voice was clear and matter-of-fact.

Humour and rudeness have two things in common-” he began and immediately he could see the confusion that filled Matt. It was a tactic Stiles was using, one that was most effective in unsettling those it was used upon. A complete swerve in topic of discussion with something seemingly unrelated, to the main conversation. The one it was used on immediately was drawn into deciphering it’s meaning and relevance with what had been previously stated, thus removing them completely from the comfort of their chosen means of handling their situation. In this case Matt‘s decision to use his brand of humour and rudeness, which he did not see as such, to feign a bravado that might help him maintain a measure of obscurity through his interrogation.

-they both serve as excellent distractors and deflectors. My colleagues tell me you haven’t been very talkative. That strikes me as odd considering I know from experience how much you like the sound of your own voice.” Stiles’ head tilted to a side as he continued to study Matt and wait for his response.

There was an involuntary spasm to the suspect’s face, as if his very body was objecting to the fact that he couldn’t find the connection between what Stiles had opened and then finished with. These obvious tells made Stiles wonder how it is the interrogators had made no progress with him when he betrayed himself so easily. But perhaps the fact that he simply refused to talk to them was the reason.

“I’m a conversationalist what can I say?” Matt spoke but he sounded a bit unsure of himself, his mind still clearly lingering on his inability to connect Stiles’ words.

“And yet you said nothing to the people who spoke to you before.”

“Strangers make me nervous.”

So I have to wonder when did Seito Takeshi stop being a stranger to you? Or is it just that lapdogs take orders without question? Meeting whoever they’re told when they’re told. I know most terrorist organizations value fear inspired obedience over loyalty.” The smile Matt was wearing lost some of it’s mirth. And the muscles around his eyes and nose tensed in a controlled effort to not flare his nostrils in annoyance. Stiles could tell by this that there was some truth to his words, that Matt objected to. He was in some form a lapdog, which meant he wasn’t the head of the inferno circle and perhaps not even in it’s governing higher ups, a fact he was irritated by. Stiles planned to play on this to ensure he was going down the right path.

You talking from experience Stiles. Tired of being a lapdog for a government that spends most of its time oppressing your friends or should I say, friend?” There was hidden meaning in the man’s response and Stiles wondered at it, even as he forced his body to remain relaxed, and seemingly only half interested in what was happening. He got the impression though the man was referring to Derek and that was a topic which would cloud his ability to remain effective as an interrogator. Best to stay off that path, he thought, though the insecurity those words bred in him would have to be reviewed later. Especially considering, there was no reasonable way the man could know anything about him and Derek, that people much closer to him couldn’t. He parried with his words in a calculated thrust, testing out a fast formulating theory.

“Bitterness and resentment can reveal itself in such interesting ways sometimes. Often setting someone on the opposite course from where they had started. There was a woman I knew once. She had loved a man, and vied for his affection. The man ended up choosing her friend instead, completely oblivious to the woman’s feelings for him. You know how we can be sometimes, men, humans. In any case, that woman became so bitter she ended up railroading her relationship with both the man and her friend, losing them both from her life.”

“Aw so sad, What does that have to do with anything?” Matt asked now visibly confused with the switch in conversation. If he only knew how that little tactic prepared him to betray himself, Stiles thought.

“Well it makes me wonder, if your Inferno Circle leaders, know what a liability they created in you, when they passed you over for someone else to fill a leadership role.” The slight look of shock on Matt’s face was primary confirmation enough for Stiles, that he was right. Not only was the inferno circle ran by a group as opposed to a solitary leader, but Matt was passed over to join the ranks of such a council for someone else. Just like that Shadow Law had learned two important things about an enemy they previously had no information on.

Matt said nothing but Stiles wanted to provoke him and perhaps plant a seed of fear in him that might prove useful in subverting the man further. “Another thing to note about terrorist organizations. They only deploy agents out of the shadows that they are comfortable being rid of. Do you know what that says about you Matt. That you’re expendable to them. Giving you some position with seeming authority. Sending you to make sales to rebels like a henchman...I’ve always loved that word. It perfectly describes the replaceable nature of every bad guy’s goon squad. Paw ns for sacrifice while the most important players, like the king and queen stay back, hidden behind a wall of their most powerful soldiers.”

“I’m not a fucking henchman!” he yelled angrily. It was that anger, Stiles noted that would be his undoing. This man was obviously emotionally unstable. An unfortunate trait which must have factored into the decision by the shadowed inferno circle, to keep him away from the power of holding a higher position. Those who were emotionally unstable could not be trusted to command men and considerable powers of destruction. The emotionally unstable made rash decisions, often incorrect choices and their inability to keep a lid on their feelings made them transparent to someone who could read the cause of such reckless passions. Someone like Stiles Stilinski, when observational powers were adequately employed.

Stiles shrugged, his head tilting slightly as his shoulders raised, open palms coming up with them as if to say. ‘sorry man just calling it like I see it’. “I’m just saying they obviously treat you like one. Despite your pet kanima. Though I’d imagine if I were running an organization where a henchman had a weapon I didn’t directly control, well,” he clicked his tongue and looked just passed Matt, using this little bout of inattentiveness to the man specifically, to underline his point, “I’d keep him at arms length too.”

“You don’t fucking know anything,” Matt muttered. Some of the anger diffusing. So something Stiles had said was a bit inaccurate. He wondered what it was. Perhaps...

“Or maybe they gave you the kanima as a means of placating you when they chose someone else to fill shoes that should have been yours,” Stiles tried. It was only a question in his mind, but he phrased it as an assured statement.

They didn’t give me anything. We bonded.” Matt’s admittance told him two more things. The first was that the Inferno Circle were definitely responsible for Matt and the Kanima Tracy, being together and it also confirmed without a shadow of a doubt that they were a they and not a he or she for that matter. Chimera kanimas, like chimera anything else were hard to come by. They were created, not born or bitten and were unaffected by mountain ash. If the Circle could give a chimera to an agent, then either they had access to chimeras or created their own. That little bit of information presented a possible line of investigation that could lead Shadow Law to tracking down the Circle. Creating chimeras required specific conditions. If they could track those conditions then...

Yes the kanima does seek a master. doesn’t it. And the psychopath seeks a friend. Just as murderous as he can be.”

“You’re flattering me,” Matt said but his voice was cold.

“Why is the Circle getting involved with the rebellion?” Stiles decided on asking a direct question if only to keep Matt from discerning how easily Stiles was reading him, using the more subtle methods of observation and deduction.

So we’re just gonna jump right into it huh?” Matt retorted. How foolish, Stiles thought. We have been in it for some time now and he doesn’t even see how much he’s given me. “We’re an equal opportunity organization bud, we go where the money is. Now let me ask you something. How secure do you think your government is?”

“What do you mean by that?” Stiles countered, allowing his brows to quirk up in curiosity of the man’s response. If he was playing some game, Stiles wouldn’t be prey to it, but this whole encounter with Matt gave Stiles a strange feeling. It was as though the man knew something he shouldn’t and Stiles didn’t. Like there was something not related to the Circle that Matt had hidden in his pocket. Stiles didn’t like the feeling and it had started with the allusion Matt made to Derek.

“Well just that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Do you really think your government is any different.”

Do you admit to the corruption of your organization?”

“All organizations are corrupt where a few hold power over a many and use that power to achieve their own ends.”

“And what ends do you try to achieve?”

Matt smiled coyly and shook his head. “I live for myself, my goals are my own just like any man’s, why should I share them with you?”

“And what of the people you work for?”

“Their goals are their own, why should I tell you that?”

“If we understood what they wanted maybe we could come to some kind of meeting place.”

At that Matt laughed. “I may not be the brightest bulb in the room but I’m definitely not that much of a fool. There will never be a meeting place, a negotiation. You do not negotiate with terrorists. Never have and I don’t see you starting now.”

Didn’t he see how his admitting they were terrorists in the general definition of the word gave away much more. “If you can’t give us anything worth while then there’s no hope for you. Do you understand that now you are in our custody you have no rights to be upheld, You will be hidden away in some cell for the rest of your natural life, never seen again, never to be acknowledged. You will become only a fading memory that will eventually dissipate into nothing.”

“That’s assuming I remain here,” He scoffed, true amusement in his eyes.

“You think they will come for you?” Stiles questioned, almost incredulously. Surely the man had to know the nature of his own position in this terrorist group. If they could let him extend himself into a place where he might be captured, that only meant they were willing to cut him loose, in the event that that happened.

Matt was a moment in answ ering. There was a shadow that ran over his face as he let a thought permeate through his psyche. He knew they wouldn’t come to retrieve him. As Stiles had pointed out, he wasn’t important enough to them. But he was to someone. And Stiles could see it in his face. It was the same look he wore when he tried to fake them out on the helecarrier. When he tried to b u y time until Tracy could come to his aid.

“I think this isn’t an end for me. I also think I’m done with this conversation for today. Maybe tomorrow we can chat again. I’d feel inclined to divulge so much more if I could get some coffee and maybe a blueberry muffin, no banana nut. Those are delicious.”

Stiles stared at him, for a moment assessing, before he got to his feet. “Like you said, we don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

“But a man’s got to eat,”

“And we have a strict meal plan for keeping prisoners alive. Prison is prison, not a day spa.” Stiles pushed back from the table and began to walk around it. “One more thing though, if you’ll indulge me on the way out. Where did you get the school teacher from?”

Matt’s eyes clouded with confusion but then cleared once he recognized the reference. “Oh you mean Harris.” He laughed, “He and I go way back. Goodnight Stiles.”

Stiles nodded, turned on his heel and headed out the door. He walked into the monitoring room. Where the two directors stood waiting for him, three staff were seated at desks operating recording and viewing equipment. Some of the viewing screens were trained on Matt, magnifying his face to hone in on his micro expressions. Others trained to pressure and heat sensitivity from the table chair and the air quality of the room, provided truth verification information.

“I’m willing to wager there’s a council running the circle. Very self explanatory of them to name themselves after their kind of governing leadership. That or they thought they were being clever. I bet they have some secret base where they meet, with all the leaders sitting at a round table like knights of C-”

“Stiles,” Chris said to get him focused again.

Right sorry. Whoever they are, they dabble in bioexperimentation. I wonder if they didn’t have a hand in creating the chimera kanima he’s bonded to. If we compile a list of what’s necessary to run a lab geared toward creating chimera we might have a good way of tracking some limb of the organization. We also need to investigate Daehler’s background, see where he and this Harris guy share a history, it might help us track down their way into the organization. That’s all I could get for now. Oh and we need to beef up security around him. We might want to ask D.R.U.I.D.E. for some kind of telepathic communication dampener to block his connection with the kanima. Odds are she’s tracking him and devising some way to get him out. The circle won’t come for him, but she will. She has no choice, they’re bonded. I guess we knew that already but she’s a chimera so regular means of defence and by that I mean ash, won’t work.”

Chris was nodding and making a mental note of what he’d said. Having received his own special training in advanced interrogation, he had identified some of Stiles’ tactics and deduced some of what the man had just reported himself. By the time Stiles was done talking ,Chris found himself smiling with pride. “Good job Stiles that was excellent work.”

“Yes superb indeed. You are everything we could hope for in a promising asset and so much more.” Peter sidestepped about Chris in his effort to move closer to Stiles and put his hand on the man’s shoulder again. “I wonder if you’ve given any thought to what we spoke about?”

Stiles only looked at him with a practiced blankness, that revealed to Chris the man’s discomfort while Peter only seemed to think it meant Stiles couldn’t remember what he was referring to.

“About working more closely together, furthering your career...” Peter added helping him along. In truth Stiles had forgotten all about the man’s offer and now that he was being reminded, he inwardly cringed at the implication and clear intention of such an offer.

“Uh...” he began unable to formulate just then a tactful way of expressing his refusal. Yet again Christopher McArgent-Stilinski came to his rescue proving just what super heroes were supposed to look like.

“Surely you aren’t trying to poach our best agent for political work Director Hale.” He said it with a smile but his tone was a demonstration in adamant refusal, to allow such a thing to happen. “I can assure you, my son is definitely not suited to the corporate side of things. A born fighting man this one. Surely I welcome you to disagree Stiles, I would hate to choose for you, make you feel pressured into something you don’t want but something tells me I’m right about this...”

“Oh no you’re definitely right about that. I am just no good on the other side of the spectrum. Give me a sliptail and a mission and I’m your guy. Put me in a suit behind a desk and we will be experiencing serious turbulence leading to some massive engine failure, I can promise you that.” He laughed at his own joke, and could almost reach out and kiss Chris for being so smooth with his rescue. Using the word son suggested ownership, his and not Peter’s to shuffle Stiles around. And then the final bit he said about not forcing Stiles into something he didn’t want was pure gold. It was meant to remind Peter that Stiles chooses for himself and neither Chris nor Peter should or could pressure him into a role he didn’t desire.

Peter pursed his lips in disapproval of his obvious defeat here. “It was only a suggestion. I think of the young man’s future, that is all. And the offer remains as long as I see potential. But of course it is your choice,” he sighed.

“Well if there’s nothing else...” Stiles said with an open ended air to the words, letting them know he was happy to help but eager to leave if they were done with him.

No nothing tonight, you’ve done well. I want you to take another crack at him tomorrow morning though, make it a priority. I’m also calling in Lydia from Allison’s team. She’s been working with Lenore but the woman is deathly afraid of what the Circle is capable of and she refuses to say anything. Maybe you and her can get something out of Daehler that helps us with Lenore. Or the other way round.” Chris gave him marching orders for the future and then squeezed his arm gently and briefly before releasing him.

“Sounds like a plan sir. If you’ll excuse me. Director,” he said formally turning to Peter and then exited the monitoring room with a casual briskness.

*

By the time Stiles had made it to The Root Cellar, it had been three hours since the team had left ahead of him and they were well and truly into the drink. He could tell just how inebriated they were by how much control they shed. Kali and Ennis were openly flirting from across the table of the booth they sat at. A vast contrast to the way they acted as if they barely knew each other in the light of day. Boyd who never really spoke very much was having a very animated discussion with Danny. He was gesticulating and clapping his hands so much it was a wonder Danny hadn’t swatted the man’s hands out of his face in annoyance. Isaac was singing into his beer bottle, along with an old love song that was crooning over the speakers in the bar, while other patrons cheered him on. The man had an unsuspectingly lovely singing voice. Erica, who seemed to be the most put together, was playing eye seduction games with a tall ,dark haired, green eyed stud, who was sitting at the end of the bar.

“Aye!” Boyd yelled as he caught sight of Stiles walking up to the booth. “The cap’s here finally.”

“Fuck Stiles what took you so fucking long?” Ennis practically shouted.

Inside voice buddy. I got roped into an interrogation. Apparently Daehler wasn’t saying much to anyone and since I seemed to have gone to school with the psycho I drew a short straw.” Stiles scanned the room subtly and then a little more openly when he noticed he couldn’t pick Derek out of the environment. He cleared his throat and sat down, waving to Brett who signalled he’d be right there. “Where’s Hale?” he asked, “bathroom?”

“Oh he’s probably getting luuucky,” Isaac sang the words, turning his attention to the conversation now that his song was coming to an end.

“Oh yeah,” Stiles said, trying to smile convincingly like he thought the idea amusing.

Oh yeah, this vixen came over and practically picked him up. Julia something or other. She was hot too, I mean I’d hit it, if she were fair game.” Erica’s input made Stiles shudder inside with a rage he refused to let them see. Instead he nodded slowly keeping that smile on his face like he was being...encouraging, supportive, and not ready to track Derek down and cut his balls off. He tried to calm himself, reminding himself he didn’t know for certain what had happened. His only sources of information were exaggeration agents nearly completely stupefied by alcohol. Consider the sources, he thought, though Erica seemed to have her wits about her.

Brett finally made it over and Stiles ordered a double whiskey. “She sounds...aggressive.”

“Aggressively agorgeous, and she looked like a good kisser too,” Danny slurred with a wide grin.

“Man I swear all the hot ones end up being supers and off limits. No fair!” Boyd said a little too loudly with a wave of his hand.

“Wow so they were making out?” Stiles pushed trying not too seem too intrusive. He only hoped he was coming off as a curious colleague.

“Oh yeah, they were just in here tying their fucking tongues together by the hall then they disappeared.” Ennis jumped in. “Fifty bucks says some hot and heavy super fucking is happening right now somewhere in this building.” The others started laughing and Stiles joined in, though the inner him was screaming and threatening severe bodily harm.

“I gotta take a leak, the ride over here’s so damn long. Make sure no one slips anything in my drink, unless they’re hot then it’s fine,” he called the instructions over his shoulder as he made his way down to the hall where the team said Derek and this Julia bitch was making out. He waved to Satomi as he passed and then quickly darted down the corridor which also led to the bathrooms.

There was no one in the corridor itself. He checked the bathroom quickly but he could tell no one was in there by the lack of sound whatsoever. It would also have been really foolish to try anything in there as Satomi would kick their asses out in a heartbeat. She was funny that way. She didn’t care about sexy shenanigans just as long as it wasn’t taking place in her bathrooms, which brought up so many other questions but Stiles wasn’t about to go down that line of thinking right now.

He closed the bathroom door behind him and leaned against it as he thought. His eyes drifted to the end of the hall and he gazed at the bright red exit sign above the door there. His head quirked as he thought about it and then pushed off the door and headed for the exit. Stiles wrapped his hand around the long old fashioned door handle and tugged it down, pushing the door outward slowly.

Once it was open he could hear muffled sounds of grunting and panting. Thanks to the hard wiring of his brain to expect violent threats, he didn’t spare a second to consider the nature of the sounds he had heard. Or to analyze how some of those sounds were strangled moans of someone trying to be quiet, yet overwhelming feelings forced the evidence of their pleasure out of them.

Instead he pushed the door wider and stepped into a dimly lit hall where a man was holding a woman’s legs in his arms while pinning her body against the wall. Her arms were wrapped around his neck, her well manicured fingers tangling in his dark hair. The man seemed to be pushing up against her. Stiles’ eyes lowered to see his bear ass peeking out from above the jeans that were pushed down just enough to release cock, balls and of course ass. It was then that he realized the man was actually pumping his member into the woman, whose short dress was hiked up enough to allow his easy access into her body.

The man began to growl as his body increased it’s speed until it bucked with short spastic movements, before he buried himself into her. He panted against her body and she pulled him into a kiss. Stiles in his anger, pushed the door against the wall so that it made a sound, disturbing the quiet of their secret encounter. He wanted one thing, for Derek to know that he was caught.

Derek turned, as did his companion and the look on his face was enough to make Stiles vomit. At first there was raw satisfaction, no hint of guilt. And it was as if he didn’t even recognize Stiles at all. Then suddenly, as though he’d only just realized what he’d done, his face became a mask of shock, guilt and regret.

“Stiles!” he called out in a gasping escape of breath. His body tried to lurch back from the woman. His hands released her legs in his effort to put distance between them, though one of her hands still around his neck kept him close. His body turned halfway toward Stiles, revealing his quickly softening penis, wet and dripping from his dirty deeds.

Stiles stared into Derek’s eyes. Every ounce of hurt, betrayal and disappointment clouding them. He felt the burning sensation of the pools of hot liquid that began to gather in his eyes, blurring the edges of his vision. He let out a soft but harsh breath, didn’t even know he’d been holding. Then he turned around, the shock freezing his expression onto his face, and headed back into the bar. He stopped only once to lean against the wall of the corridor, before his legs gave out, and to give his eyes a moment to clear. Lest those tears fall and betray the now dead relationship that never should have been and would have to be taken to the grave.