“Dude.” Stiles smacks Scott’s shoulder. “That was Derek Hale.”
Scott’s blank look gives Stiles a chance to catch his breath. “You remember, right, he’s only like, a few years older than us.”
Good God, his best friend was useless. “His entire family burned to death in a fire.”
Scott didn’t react, just muttered something about needing to go to work. But Stiles couldn’t look away from the mess of leaves that Derek left behind.
He’d heard of the Hales, of the arson. His dad was the sheriff, of course he’d heard.
He just had never seen the man behind the name. He’d never seen the thick dark hair, the menacing eyes, the sharp jaw, sculpted torso, the long, muscled legs.
He’d never actually seen Derek Hale. Now that he had, Stiles didn’t think he’d ever misplace the image.
Sure, Stiles was glad to see that Scott was okay the next morning, was glad to hear that Derek- God, Derek Hale, how even- okay, focus. He was glad to hear that Derek had saved Scott from the hunters.
Even if he was still pissed at hell at the way Scott had turned on him in his room, had slammed him painfully against the wall and slashed his desk chair.
“I’ll help you through it,” he finds himself saying. “Even if I have to chain you up myself.”
He kind of regrets that promise when the next day finds him fighting Scott off in the locker room with a fire extinguisher. Stiles has only just started this new routine of fighting for his life against his best friend, and he’s already pretty tired of it.
“He said what?” He asks Scott later, after Scott’s come back from seeking out Derek Hale, and seriously, who in their right mind would go back to that creepy ass house in the woods? “What the hell does he mean, your ‘Little buddy Stiles?’” he repeats, offended.
“Could you focus, please? Derek is trying to convince me that if I play in Saturday’s game, I’ll die!”
“Okay, okay,” Stiles says. “We’ll think of something.” He doesn’t mention that the something he’s thinking of is Derek, and for reasons -reasons, Scott, reasons- he made Scott tell him exactly what Derek had been wearing during this confrontation, and thinking of Derek in those tight dark jeans made something funny happen inside Stiles’ own.
So, the thing they were thinking of was apparently Derek getting arrested, and while Stiles didn’t quite maybe think that one through, it gave him the chance to talk to Derek with a firm cage of metal between them.
“I’m not afraid of you,” Stiles says from the front of his dad’s cop car, his legs shaking where there’s no way Derek can see.
“Okay,” Stiles swallows. “Maybe I am.” And maybe Derek can’t see, but he can probably hear the fabric of Stiles’ pants scraping rapidly against the passenger seat.
The stare Derek keeps fixed on him doesn’t answer any of his questions, and neither does the one Derek fires back at him. “Why are you so worried about me?”
Stiles licks his lips during Derek’s explanation of why he needs to keep Scott from shifting on the lacrosse field, at least he thinks that’s what Derek is lecturing him about but when Derek’s gaze slips down to Stiles’ mouth halfway through, he kind of loses focus.
“He’s mean,” Stiles informs the stray dog who follows him home. “He’s mean, and frowny, and his eyebrows are all –“ Stiles gestures wildly – “and he has a permanent scowl, and…look, there’s just a lot of brooding going on when Derek Hale is involved, okay? Stay away from him.” Scissors – Stiles figured the name suited the little black dog with white paws, because he’s so small he has to constantly run to keep up with Stiles’ spastic way of walking, so his little legs look like two pairs of scissors constantly opening and closing - has become his closest friend, because Scott is always up Alison’s butt, and…
And wow. Stiles doesn’t really have any other friends.
“I mean, there’s Danny,” Stiles tells Scissors, going off on the who can I count as my friends tangent. “But he’s more of a teammate and IT resource than a legit friend. Jackson is an asshole, even though if he smiled more and actually tried being nice he would come across as decently attractive.” Stiles is already pondering which bowl he can use to give Scissors some water when they reach home, because it may be fall, with a nice chill in the air, but the little dude has followed him ever since he left Der- ever since he left the woods on his walk. “And you know I can’t call Lydia a friend. I’m still not sure she knows I exist.”
His dad doesn’t come home that night, leaves Stiles a text about some domestic dispute he needs to keep an eye on, so Stiles carefully wipes Scissors’ paws so no dirt tracks through the house, and then takes him up to his room.
“Looks like you’re bunking with me tonight, buddy.” Stiles says as he slips beneath his sheets. “Don’t hog the blankets.”
It turns out that the girl who was killed was Derek’s sister, and that Derek didn’t do it, ergo Derek was let go, which is probably how he was able to sneak into Stiles’ room in the dead of night.
“I told you not to let him play.”
Stiles rustles his legs beneath the covers, blinking awake. “Um. Hello? Why do you know where I live, and why are you in my room?” Scissors is up on all fours, staring Derek down, though he is surprisingly silent.
“He could have shifted in front of them,” Derek hisses. “That means they find out about him, and in turn find out about me.” He pauses. “What the hell is that?”
“It’s a washing machine, what the hell does it look like? It’s a puppy. And Scott pulled it back, Derek. Everything was fine.”
“What if it hadn’t been?” Derek frowns at Scissors, and Stiles frowns at Derek.
Derek continues his tirade. “You think your friend can pull it back whenever he wants? He’s only just turned. He’s practically a puppy.”
Stiles grins, because apparently he has a death wish. “So that would make you a-“
“Shut up.” Derek paces his room. “You got lucky tonight, do you get that? Scott got lucky. But he’s too young, and too new, to have any idea what he’s doing.”
“And you’re the one to teach him?”
“You, a crazy stranger who just broke into a teenage boy’s room?”
Derek looks around, like he has no idea where he’d been standing the last few minutes.
“A teenage boy, who is the sheriff’s son’s, room, to be specific,” Stiles points out.
“His car isn’t here.”
“You are super creepy, did you know that?” Super sexy, but come on, also kind of creepy. Or at least severely lacking in boundaries and social skills. “Like maybe if you asked nicely-“
“I’m not asking anything,” Derek growls, and oh yes, it’s a growl, and Scissors backs into the vee of Stiles’ legs. “I’m telling you. You and Scott need to stop acting like you know everything, and start shutting up. And staying out of the way, so you can learn.”
“Learn what, that you’re the werewolf cap-i-tan, and the rest of us need to fall in line?”
Derek scowls at him, then looks down at where Scissors is cowering against Stiles’ right thigh. “At least he gets it,” Derek says, nodding to the puppy. As quick as he came, he’s gone.
“Traitor,” Stiles says, glaring at Scissors before pulling him close and falling back asleep.