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Feel it like a fever, burning through the night

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Five years, an entire rolodex of supernatural interlopers from a to z going up against a motley crew of teenagers defending their shitty murder town: statistically their luck was bound to run out somewhere.

It’s just that Stiles never predicted it would happen here of all places.

The back parking lot of Dunkin’ Donuts at ten pm is hardly the prime location for the mother of all showdowns against a drifter pack of hunters whose code follows the shoot first, shoot second and ask no questions beyond how deep to bury the bodies later.

Dunkin’ Donuts is also not one of their usual night time haunts but after the weekly pack meeting had run late Scott had wanted food and Erica wouldn’t shut up about this bagel bacon sandwich combo she’d tried at Dunkin’s the other day. She managed to sway Isaac and Jackson to her cause whilst simultaneously succeeding in making the rest of the pack peckish with a play by play of how perfectly the ingredients had blended together in her mouth.

Plus Lydia had decided she wanted the new Hershey’s cookies ‘n’ crème latte they sold there and once Lydia Martin decided things they had an unfailing tendency of coming to be without any real resistance. Which is also how Derek, who hung out only sometimes, a sporadic, negative space of a pack member when not being brutally murdered, ended up in one of the three cars chauffeuring the pack across town, looking very much like he had no idea how he’d arrived in this position.

The unbeatable power of Lydia Martin.

But Dunkin’ Donuts (which did end up having a formidable bagel bacon sandwich actually thank you Erica Reyes) and the pack (who unanimously conceded it was worth the trip out there after having sampled it) heading back to their cars in a semi-abandoned parking lot, and the sudden, tensing of Derek Hale’s shoulders- is absolutely the combustible combination for an evening goings sideways.

Stiles doesn’t want the confirmation of a group of older men stepping out from behind several parked cars, mid to late thirties, visible weapons and nothing-more-to-lose expressions carrying the harsh lines of their faces into their unwelcome arrival. They surround the group pretty quickly in spite of the amount of muscle- only six of them together- a little overconfident and outnumbered.

Scott breaks the silence first.

“Come on,” he says morosely even as the rest of the pack start squaring up for a fight. “I just wanted the breakfast sandwich.”

Unsurprisingly, this does not present itself as a Convincing Argument to the hunters turning about face and continuing on with their evening conflict free. The scruffy looking man at the front makes a pretty unflattering remark about where Scott can stick that breakfast sandwich before he lunges forward with a knife and then it is on.

Years of experience have the pack moving together, a coordinated attack that would make Chris Argent weep with pride, as they fend off the hunters attempting to close in on them.

Stiles, who left his bat in the jeep three metres to their left, feels reasonably calm and panicked all at once, bracketed in by the werewolves as they close ranks around him and Lydia respectively: shielding the weaker, human-ish links of the group.

And Stiles is almost starting to think he doesn’t need the bat anyway when Boyd knocks out the silver fox of the group against the side of an SUV, denting it with the force of the blow before the guy drops like a stone, crossbow skittering under the car while Erica takes down the beefy guy on his left and Scott, Jackson, Isaac and Derek close in and focus on the other three.

Except Kira cries out in pain and that’s all it takes.

Scott turns away from the fight for just a second but Stiles already knows that one second is fatal. And so does Derek because he makes a move at the same time just as the scruffy hunter is drawing a ridiculously sized syringe from his belt with a determined glint in his eyes and moving in to stab Scott with it. Moving in for the kill seems more accurate because while Stiles might not be the next Deaton in the making, he sure as hell can recognise the purple liquid in that plunger isn’t grape soda.

And suddenly it’s starting to feel a lot less like a happy coincidence that they all met here in the Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot to begin with. Almost like they’ve been trailing the pack for some time, watching and observing, and figuring out who the alphas were. Selecting their main targets.

Uh oh.

Stiles dives just as Derek does, except in the moment he doesn’t really know who he’s protecting. The impulse running through him is just to get between the werewolves and that hunter. And that’s his last thought when he smashes into Derek, knocking him off course so that the hunter’s syringe plunges directly into Stiles’ neck instead.

He groans in pain as the liquid rushes into his veins, hot and burning beyond anything Stiles has ever felt before. He catches hold of the hunter mechanically as his limbs lock up and they crash together into concrete in a perverse embrace, body rigid with shock as he starts to hyperventilate.

The wolfsbane floods his body quickly, and Stiles thinks he can almost feel it spreading inside him. His entire face goes numb in the space between one breath and he’s lost complete motor control of his body when his eyes roll back into his head.

He thinks he’s unconscious. Or he’s never been more awake. He’s screaming before he even understands that the high-pitched, chilling sound echoing in the parking lot is actually coming out of his own mouth. Because it's drowned out by the way his blood rages, scorching its way out of his skin through pure, blistering heat alone, bones protruding in preparation of bursting free of flesh.

And the sensation just goes on and on and on.

He’s in agony when the overwhelming pressure inside him finally reaches a plateau and there’s a wild part of him, the animal portion of his brain that knows he’s about to die in the fucking parking lot of a Dunkin’ Donuts and then it just- stops.

All of it.

And then he breaks off screaming and becomes aware of how the others are shouting too.

Stiles rolls over, relieved and exhausted all at once as every inch of his skin tingles with the left over awareness of what just happened. At least the pain is gone though. If there was a upside to be had in any of this. Stiles exhales a heavy lungful and yanks the syringe out of his neck for good measure.

He coughs into the concrete, getting his breath back as he clutches the needle in his fist, hands shaking as it turns over in his palm in order to inspect it properly.

The syringe is completely empty. Whatever the hunter put in it, Stiles copped the full dose.

That’s definitely not good.

“Stiles! Stiles!” Scott is yelling as if it's directly in his ear. “Talk to us.”

“Don’t touch him,” comes Derek’s serious voice and Stiles can see that his dumb sneakers are the closest to Stiles at the moment, while the others have long since stepped back.

He can even spot the retreating feet of the hunters in the distance as they bolt off into the night. “Don’t touch what’s left of the hunter either. Nobody goes near Stiles until we get him to Deaton.”

Right. The wolfsbane. He must be aconite ground zero at the moment.

“And how are we supposed to do that if we can’t touch him?”

Stiles groans and manages to push himself up into a sitting position. His skin feels kind of raw, like he managed to squeeze all the blood, bone and muscle out of his pores in one sitting even if logically he knows that’s not possible and he’s somehow still intact. Well, he still looks completely intact.

What’s going on inside him is probably a different horror story. What does internal bleeding feel like exactly? Stiles would like to know ASAP.

“See this is why we should have gone to Wendy’s like I suggested,” he mutters at Derek’s feet because that’s the only place he has the energy to direct his attention to at the moment.

“Hey!” someone shouts across the parking lot, and the pack turns almost unwillingly to the door of Dunkin’s where the girl that served them earlier, whose nametag said Laurel and didn’t smile until Boyd elbowed Derek in the gut for trying to snake some of his donut while his back was turned, scowls at them. “I don’t get paid enough for this shit. You better clear outta the parking lot or I’m calling the cops.”

Stiles sees her waving the broom she was using to sweep the place earlier, now brandished at them as a makeshift weapon and laughs.

“Would you believe my dad’s the sheriff?” he shouts back, just as the rest of the pack crowds quickly around him.

As if they’re trying to shield him from view. Which, hey he’s not that hideous alright? The fact that she actually drops the broom when her gaze falls to him sprawled out on the asphalt though probably isn’t the greatest of signs.

Nor is the way she goes, “Oh mother fuck, hell no-“ and darts back inside Dunkin’s without picking the broom back up.

“I’m fine,” he assures them, insides squirming tensely at the girl’s reaction as he reaches up to place his hand at the entry point of where the needle had a brutal introduction with his neck.

It’s hot to the touch and feels like it scabbed over already. No, more like it was cauterized.

What the hell?

“Stiles,” Derek says, looming over him despite his previous command. Stiles can’t help but notice that the wary distance everyone else has put between them and him has suddenly grown. “You’re purple.”

“Yeah,” Stiles laughs. “Is this some kind of almost-dying humour because it needs some serious work, man.”

Derek’s forehead scrunches up with visible tension. “No, Stiles. Look at your- your skin. Look at your hands.”

Stiles looks. He lifts his trembling fingers up to his face, cushioned by the security of absolute doubt.

But- well Derek isn’t exactly wrong. His skin is nearly the exact same colour of a grape soda can.

Ha ha. That’s a new one. Stiles blinks a few times just to be sure but the fresh shade of deep purple to his skin doesn’t go anywhere when he closes his eyes. And from what he can see it's everywhere too.

What the hell is this?

“Okay,” he says, shaking his hands out experimentally to see if the colour is starting to fade. “Sure. I mean why not, right? This seems fine.”

It isn’t. But that might just be a delayed reaction.

“Even your hair is purple,” Erica says, half horrified, half amazed.

“Okay,” he tries again. “So we keep hold of this needle for evidence, ask the hunter what strain of wolfsbane he-“

Stiles tries to get up, stumbling and automatically reaching out towards Scott for help but Scott flinches back, out of range like he’s an explosive device that detonates upon skin contact. Which, ouch. He rights himself on his own without face-planting and doesn’t try to get up again. Stiles glances at the rest of the pack next, but they’ve all backed further away from him almost at the same time.

Everyone except Derek who’s standing at his left still peering down at him with his own annoying brand of intense deliberation. But that has less to do with kindness and sparing feelings and is probably more located in his long suffering approach to ridiculous supernatural bullshit territory.

And maybe the fact that Derek’s first instinct isn’t always to protect himself.

But it’s not like the purple would be contagious. Or would it? Maybe it could still hurt werewolves through touch.

The hunter will know, it was his creepy monster killing juice after all. But when Stiles looks around for the generous malefactor who injected him, he can’t find him anywhere. Where did he go? The others had run when shit hit the fan but scruffy guy can’t have escaped that easily. Not when the whole pack practically had him surrounded. And Stiles had a good grip on him too.

“What-?” he starts to say, confused as he reaches to touch the spot on his neck again. “Where is-?”

“When he injected you,” Kira explains, haltingly. “You grabbed onto him and he kind of-“

“Incinerated,” Scott finishes, staring at Stiles like he’s never seen him before. “You incinerated him, Stiles.”

Then he gestures helpfully at a pile of dust that the rest of the pack has carefully circumnavigated.

Oh.

So that’s what Derek meant. What’s left. Though to be accurate if that’s all that’s meant to be the remains of a fully grown human man well- there’s really not much. Nowhere near enough to fill an urn that’s for sure.

Huh.

Well that’s definitely a new development. Stiles was pretty sure he hadn’t made the conscious decision to destroy the guy. Nor were his thoughts anywhere adjacent to an impromptu killing spree. It just happened on its own.

“I did that? But-”

“We need to get you to Deaton,” Derek interrupts, urgency clear in his voice. “Right now. Can you stand?”

Stiles moves his toes experimentally expecting the very worst but they wiggle just fine. Everything seems peachy keen actually, besides the purple skin thing. This time he manages to get his feet under him even if he’s still a little unsteady. That isn’t that unusual though. Maybe only a little worse than what’s normal.

“Yeah- yeah I can-“

He stumbles to the side and Lydia practically dives away from him to avoid being touched. Oh. Right. He cremates people now apparently. That’s definitely going to do wonders for his self-esteem.

“Uh- sorry,” Stiles says awkwardly, stomach churning with some odd kind of emotion as he shoves his hands deep into his pockets.

Rejection probably. It definitely feels like rejection.

It’s strange not being allowed to touch. Stiles didn’t realise how much he relied on being the benign, powerless human that everyone and their dog could push around. Old men included. Everyone but Derek gives him a wide berth because he’s frustratingly consistent even when he shouldn’t be as they head back out to Stiles’ jeep but he barely notices that.

He’s too focused on the pile of ashes he dodges on the way over to his car because he still can’t quite get his head around it. That pile is all that’s left of the hunter who injected him with whatever dragon’s breath version of wolfsbane he wanted to use to kill Scott.

Only that outcome went nowhere near the realm of as planned.

Because Stiles incinerated someone instead. And that’s definitely not something that’s going to bite him in the ass later.

But with the current situation who knows?

 



 

Scott and Derek take the front of the jeep after Derek tosses Boyd the Camaro’s keys without another word. Kira squeezes in the middle, mostly near Scott’s lap and the rest of the pack clamber into their own cars respectively.

Each of them shooting Stiles furtive looks every now and again like they’re expecting him to sprout wings or belch fire. Which probably wouldn’t be that far from the realm of possibility. So, fair enough.

Stiles gingerly takes a seat in the back of the jeep because they don’t know for sure if it’s just organic matter that his fingers turn to ash now. Except the needle he touched which is still intact and that Stiles put in his pocket for safekeeping. Although it had to have been designed to contain the murdery purple fire juice so that’s not really a definitive bit of evidence sorting him into the only-destroys-living-things category.

Stiles is just glad his clothes haven’t turned to dust and he’s not sitting in the back of his jeep butt naked. With Derek in the front seat and Scott at the wheel.

So-

Things could be worse.

When Scott tries the ignition and it doesn’t automatically start, Stiles just sighs. “You’ve gotta crank the shift.”

Scott follows his advice and the second time the jeep is amenable to instruction and groans to life. And then they’re on the road and off to Deaton’s.

On the way there Scott keeps glancing at him in the revision mirror like he’s expecting Stiles to blow them up any second while Kira chatters nervously to interrupt the heavy silence like she’s fighting a battle with nothing but painstaking optimism as her weapon of choice. Derek thankfully has the tact not to turn in the passenger seat every five minutes to make sure nobody else is dead.

Stiles can’t seem to stop jiggling his leg though. He keeps doing an internal check of his body to see if there are any symptoms other than the destructo touch and new composite colour he’s sporting, but everything else still feels fine.

Normal even. Thunderbirds are go. Stiles doesn’t even feel slightly nauseous. In fact, he’s kind of hungry it turns out. He’d kill for a burger actually. Or another bagel bacon sandwich combo. Except he’s pretty sure the whole purple parking lot murder thing got them banned for life.

Which it turns out is something he can do now. The murder thing. Very easily it seems.

For a human in a pack full of supernatural beings.

And hasn’t that got to be the most ironic thing in the universe?

 



 

When they get to the clinic Deaton is already standing in the parking lot waiting for them. Stiles barely gets the chance to climb out of the jeep after Scott, Kira and Derek get out first before Deaton is carefully brandishing a needle at him.

“Aw c’mon not another one,” Stiles grumbles, eyeing the needle warily.

Thankfully this time the liquid is clear as water. But Stiles isn’t holding out much hope it will make a difference.

“You’ll have to administer it yourself,” Deaton explains with a sense of urgency that Stiles isn’t really feeling. “Since Derek explained what happens if you’re touched.”

Stiles sighs and opens his palm for Deaton to delicately drop the needle into. Flat onto the open stretch of skin. It doesn’t vanish into a puff of smoke at first contact so that’s promising. But still jabbing himself with it doesn’t really feel top of the list for fun Friday night activities. Stiles clenches a fist around the needle anyway and looks up.

“When did Derek-?”

“Just make the injection. Quickly please, Stiles. In the vein is probably best. Derek said you weren’t showing symptoms of aconitine poisoning yet but this is the best method for treating-“

“Seems like Derek’s been saying a lot of things,” he mutters, shooting Derek a meaningful look that accuses him of snitching and well-meaning interference all at once.

Derek stares him down unblinkingly and confirms nothing. Stiles turns over the needle, thinks about how absolutely fine he feels, and hesitates.

Kira seems to be the first to understand why. “What’s in it exactly?” she asks, curious.

“Atropine.”

Stiles has done enough wolfsbane research to know it’s a method for treating normal aconite poisoning. But what about the irregular, magical side to the contents of what they introduced to his bloodstream? Because Stiles is pretty sure whatever they juiced him with wasn’t chemically grown. Or at least not all of it.

“I remember this. Weren’t the potential side effects along the lines of nausea, blurry vision, and delirious hallucinations or something?”

Deaton falters. And Stiles knows he’s on the money. “In some cases yes. But in this situation, we have no idea if the wolfsbane might be having a delayed effect on your body-“

“His heart rate hasn’t changed since that hunter died,” Derek interjects. “And it sounds- regular. Normal for him. He hasn’t had any other reaction since the parking lot and that was about fifteen minutes ago.”

Stiles glances over at Derek in surprise. He didn’t realise he was being so closely monitored beyond Scott’s noticeable peeks of concern in the revision mirror on the trip over here. It’s a wonder he didn’t drive them all into a ditch. Clearly Derek was just more subtle about it.

“Nevertheless this is the correct antidote to administer in the event of aconite poisoning and even if Stiles’ reactions might be delayed it’s important that we still cover all avenues of-“

Derek steps closer. “But how will it react with the magic? It can’t be normal wolfsbane they developed here. Not when the reaction was immediate. Stiles shouldn’t be taking-“

“Who are you, my doctor?” Stiles shoots back, before plunging the needle into the open crook of his arm without warning, right where he can see the rise of a vein.

Though it isn’t necessarily an easy task amongst the purple.

“Wait-“

Derek takes another step, arm outstretched like he wanted to snatch the needle out of his hand but Stiles was quicker, pushing the plunger so the clear liquid disappears through the needle.

“Oh my God, Stiles,” Kira breathes, eyes wide with dismay and maybe a little bit of morbid fascination.

Scott hovers anxiously at Deaton’s shoulder and they all watch for effect as Stiles slips the needle back out of his skin.

“Did you seriously just do that Stiles because Derek said you can’t?!” Scott demands, utterly disturbed by the prospect and looking every bit like someone who expects Stiles to spontaneously combust at any second.

“I’ve researched wolfsbane poisoning too,” Stiles counters in what he hopes is a reasonable and dignified tone. “And decided it was worth the risk. Annoying Derek didn’t factor into it.”

Derek turns sharply at the blip Stiles’ heart probably reveals.

“Okay, fine. It factored in a little. You know me- I like the simple joys in life.”

Kira giggles. Then slaps a hand over her mouth in horror. “I’m sorry. Wow that was horrible of me. This is just- stressful.”

Scott steps toward Kira in order to wrap a comforting arm around her shoulder and squeeze her gently but Stiles is barely paying attention to them.

“So I guess if you die then,” says Derek, trademark scowl now at full power. “That stupid act of juvenile bitchiness would have been worth it.”

Stiles who has never been in the habit of backing down, faces that scowl square on and without remorse.

“You bet your ass it was.”

“Stiles,” Scott protests, glancing between the two of them like he’s not sure if he wants to be involved but his alpha-ness obligates him to. So it comes out sounding more shrill than authoritative.

Kira glances nervously between him and Derek too but Stiles has the feeling it has more to do with inquisitiveness. Since she’s one of the newest additions to the pack she’s probably interested in seeing them squabble. Easiest way to get to know a person is to watch them fight.

“But looks like we’ll find out soon enough,” Stiles says with a shrug, focusing on his body and trying to feel if anything’s happening now that yet another foreign substance has been introduced to his blood stream.

This probably isn’t what his father meant when warning him of the dangers of gateway drugs.

But his heart feels like it’s still beating normally. It’s almost like he hasn’t done anything at all.

“We should have taken him to a hospital,” Derek is saying in the background, turning to face the others now, unleashing his eyebrows of disapproval and clenching his hands together. “Deaton’s not equipped to handle something like this.”

“And you think a regular hospital will be?” Scott fires back stubbornly, keen to argue logistics because there’s nothing physical for him to fight. “How would that help if half the hospital staff turned to dust trying to treat him?”

“It’s in his blood, Scott. He needs something like a charcoal hemoperfusion and Deaton clearly doesn’t have that kind of emergency medical equipment to-“

Derek spins to face Stiles almost a split second after the first spasm rushes through him.

“Whoa.”

He feels his legs tremble. Then straighten.

“What is it?” Derek demands, crowding dangerously close as he alertly scans Stiles’ face. “How do you feel?”

Deaton takes a step closer as well, watching intently. Stiles clutches at his chest, surprised, but the sensation ebbs away pretty quickly. “Nothing,” he exhales, a little relieved. “Just went crazy hot then cold for a sec. It passed.”

“You’re still purple,” Scott points out.

Stiles flips him off but concedes to reality. No quick fixes today.

Deaton sighs.

“Perhaps you’d better come inside the clinic and we might be better able to observe- your condition.”

No time like the present.

 



 

Deaton doesn’t say anything in the first few minutes but his eyebrows climb high at the lack of results following the atropine injection and the stubborn, newfound colour scheme of Stiles’ skin. The rest of the pack, who arrived a few minutes ago, crams into the clinic behind him.

Well out of reach. They’re all quiet and sombre like it's someone’s funeral except for Isaac who's slurping down a Frosty.

Stiles glares at him.

“What?” Isaac wonders, with a little smirking grin. “We stopped at Wendy’s on the way here.”

And Stiles has to assume that means he rode with Jackson in the Porsche. Since he’s the only one who’d do something so obnoxious when the situation was this grave. Then Stiles seriously considers killing Isaac and Jackson for a brief satisfying second.

And realises he can now. Effortlessly in fact.

“Oh dear,” Deaton says, distracting Stiles from Isaac and the urge to kill again and then the vet doesn’t say anything for five more minutes of utterly useless and wildly disobliging silence.

Stiles knows for certain because he literally watches the clock tick over in the corner to occupy him while Deaton circles around his body like some adult man-shaped bird of prey, quietly observing the situation while Scott frantically explains in detail everything that happened at his back and Isaac continues attacking his Frosty with relish.

“Stiles got between the hunter and he stabbed him in the neck with the needle and then Stiles started smouldering. This crazy purple light came out of his eyes and it was like the hunter couldn’t take the exposure because he pretty much turned to dust after that. Then Stiles dropped as if he was having a seizure and there was this kind of smoky light surrounding him like at a rave and that lasted about thirty seconds and when it was over it he- well… he looked just like this.”

Deaton’s eyes are critical and assessing but he wisely keeps his distance like everyone else.

“I hope there’s no swimsuit portion of this pageant,” Stiles mutters, shifting because he’s been standing in one place for too long and is starting to feel like he’s under a microscope.

Mostly because everyone in the room is staring at him. Stiles has literally just discovered that werewolves don’t seem to need to blink as much as humans do. The result is- highly unnerving.

Joy.

Scott snorts and then shoots Stiles an apologetic look in spite of the fact that it was his masterfully crafted joke.

“Yes, well perhaps you should remove your clothing,” Deaton suggests, tapping absently at his chin.

What?” Stiles squawks, glancing immediately at Derek who seems startled and alarmed at being the one suddenly called upon following this instruction. “I’m not getting naked here. We’re just gonna assume I’m purple everywhere.”

Isaac breaks out into a wide grin. “But are you?”

Stiles makes a face at him but steps back and tugs his jeans and briefs away from his skin by the waistband to casually inspect his junk. He ignores the laughter and groans of irritation in favour of checking out what’s going on Down There.

Stiles is no expert but that is definitely a purple dick he is now in possession of.

What a day.

Suddenly it’s a good thing that he’s single. At least he’ll be the only one worrying about purple boners. Does that mean that Stiles can’t even touch himself? If he tried to jerk it would he melt his own dick off? Because that is not an existence that he can abide right now.

And here he was thinking he’d been punished enough already.

“Uh yes,” he agrees faintly. “Purple. Purple all over.”

Boyd laughs then. Loudly. Unexpectedly. The group mostly turns to him out of sheer disbelief. He’s usually one of the quite ones.

“Sorry,” he says but doesn’t elaborate.

Stiles is willing to admit being in possession of a purple combustion dick is pretty funny. Well. Would be funnier if it wasn’t currently attached to him that is.

Deaton has folded his arms now and continues to look thoughtful without offering any vital information. Which, like basically is his permanent default setting. Stiles never has the patience for this guy.

At this point he’s willing to give WebMD a crack. Just because the results would be faster.

“But are you certain that this effect occurs upon contact with all organic material?” Deaton starts to ask just as Erica disappears out of the operating room and returns a second later helpfully carrying a potted plant.

She sets it onto the metal table with an impressive kind of flourish and then turns to Stiles expectantly.

The rest of the pack is watching him too so Stiles’ sighs and reaches out with one finger to touch the tip of a plant leaf. Maybe a little curious himself since he was blinded with pain the first time it happened.

There’s a strange hum in the air like a fly just flew into an electric bug zapper and the plant turns grey and then literally crumples into dust. In the span of a few seconds.

Stiles jerks his finger back in a mixture of horror and fascination as silence settles heavily around the table again. Somebody gasps but Stiles can’t tell who.

And Scott literally runs out of the room.

“There goes our mighty alpha,” Stiles gripes, rolling his eyes while Jackson starts laughing again.

“Stilinski, you absolute freak,” he says with undisguised glee. “Now your appearance will finally match your personality.”

“Shut up, Jackson,” Allison snaps looking very much like she wants to hit him but he's not within her reach.

But Stiles has bigger fish to fry than the familiar douchebag tune of Jackson Whittemore. Especially since he’s been given the superpower of murder. Untraceable murder at that. Nobody but the pack would know it was him that did it.

“What do you reckon will happen if put my hand on your Porsche?”

Jackson’s expression wavers and Erica smirks at him. “It wouldn’t work. You arrived here in your shitty beat up jeep and it’s still standing.”

Stiles isn’t ready to give up on putting the fear in Jackson though. “But how do you know if I actually touched it? I’m still wearing clothes. Direct skin contact might not be the only thing that triggers it.”

Jackson opens his mouth, pulls a face and then closes it again, eyeing him suspiciously. Stiles is pretty sure it’s just living things he destroys now but Jackson deserves to rethink his life choices a little.

“You wouldn’t-“

“Want to test it out?” Stiles wonders optimistically, already edging towards the door.

Jackson darts forward, real alarm in his eyes. “Don’t you fucking dare, Stilinski.”

But Stiles steps into his path to block his advance and Jackson reels back to stay out of his range. And suddenly Stiles realises the repulsive, miraculous ingenuity of it all.

“You can’t stop me,” he says, grasping the sudden shift in power.

No one can stop him from doing anything. Now the werewolves can’t use their natural gifts to push him around or make him feel breakable.

Now they’re breakable.

Stiles can’t believe how many doors have just opened for him. So many opportunities. He sees the chances for kidnapping the weak, defenceless human now plunging into the low percentages. Stiles isn’t a math guy but he’s pretty sure he gets kidnapped a lot.

Like a lot.

This definitely changes things.

“Ohhhhohohoho,” he says when Jackson freezes, and backs away when Stiles steps closer in an effort to taunt him. “I think I like this actually. I like this a lot.”

Scott returns a second later when Stiles is still crowing and flexing, stowing away his phone and looking up at the group expectantly. “What did I miss?”

“Stiles has already gone mad with power,” says Derek, blithely from his corner of the room. His arms are folded with trademark condemnation and he sounds way too casual about the turn of events.

Unfortunately, even though Stiles is no longer in fear of dying mode, the situation still hasn’t quite switched over into amusing territory for the rest of them.

Killjoys.

“Excuse me, I am savouring this moment actually, Derek. A moment that you’re ruining by the way.”

Jackson still looks scared, and the others exchange glances while Lydia mutters something that sounds a lot like ‘megalomaniac'.

“I’ll have you know I’d make a fantastic supervillain,” Stiles argues, still sifting through the shitty factors to find the positive benefits of murdery purple hands. “Solely because I-“

“Kill people’s plants?” Kira finishes, awkwardly glancing over at the remains of what used to brighten up Deaton’s office.

“That was my favourite fern,” Deaton quietly declares and Stiles glances at Scott for clarification that such a ridiculous statement just came out of his boss’ mouth.

But Scott only shrugs.

“You could have just told me not to touch it,” Stiles points out sensibly, squirming inside with something he refuses to believe might be guilt.

Not about the dumb plant, but the instant devastation he’s currently overwhelmingly and inescapably capable of.

He can destroy with one touch now.

This is going to complicate things so much.

 



 

“So how come he’s not,” Erica makes this baffling hand gesture that could literally encompass anything. “You know, dead?”

Stiles blinks. And looks at Deaton, somehow wondering why he hadn’t really thought of that himself in all the excitement of the evening.

“I’m not sure exactly,” Deaton admits which is not remotely comforting. “Perhaps it was easier to withstand because he is human?”

“But that hunter died,” Lydia argues, almost immediately cutting through Deaton’s theory with logical precision. “He was definitely human and Stiles disintegrated him.”

“Yeah but that was only after the purple goo was in his system,” Scott counters as if that’s reasonable. “Maybe it was only deadly once it had a host?”

Stiles really doesn’t want to think of the wolfsbane strain as needing a host. Too many alien movies have proven that’s not a thing a person wants to be. Not if they wish to avoid the creation of a spontaneous chest cavity for the alien to crawl out of when it decides it has had enough of said host.

Stiles is so not a host.

And he’s pretty sure the strain wasn’t exactly alive when it was injected into him.

“Or it’s just because of Stiles,” Jackson intercedes, content to blame Stiles for his own problems. “We all know he’s done weird not-human things before-“

“That was twice,” Stiles protests. “Not exactly a nebulous display of unfathomable magic.”

“Well whatever it was let’s just be glad it did work on him,” Kira says firmly, expression tightening at the thought and ending the conversation abruptly.

No one speaks as they all consider how else it could have ended for Stiles. Derek quietly shifts his weight and then unfolds his arms as if he can’t help but move through the stillness.

“I’ll see if I can analyse what strain of wolfsbane you’ve been injected with from a live sample,” Deaton says, after a moment, inspecting Stiles’ skin closely. “But it’s very likely that the colouring will start to fade as the wolfsbane slowly works itself out of your system. We should have someone monitoring you for the first 24 hours though- just to be safe.”

Interesting how he didn’t bother mentioning a ballpark for that time-wise. That’s plenty comforting. Stiles isn’t even pretending he’s not a lot nervous about that.

“And how long will I be, you know?” Stiles asks, wiggling his fingers suggestively. “Radioactive or whatever.”

Deaton leans in, and sniffs Stiles’ fingers of all things without touching them. “I’d say the colouring and the extreme reaction upon contact with your skin are related. It’s my assumption that they will fade together.”

“But nobody should touch him in the meantime?” Derek interjects all of a sudden as if he needs this information to be hammered into the others. Not like they haven’t already been scared shitless by what Stiles did to that fern. With one finger. “Right?”

Deaton shrugs quite casually considering the dire circumstances.

“Not unless you wish to cease to exist.”

And isn't that a wild concept? The rest of the pack shuffles awkwardly at the news, but Stiles can see the mental calculation of the current risky climate written all over their faces. He’s basically been banished to the corners of their social Siberia.

Nobody in their right mind wants to be turned to dust.

Deaton moves over to one of the cupboards and pulls out an empty sample cup, popping it open and setting it on the table so Stiles can pick it up. For a second he wonders what kind of sample Deaton is after but when he makes the appropriate gestures towards his mouth Stiles is able to fill in the blanks.

Spitting in the cup is not the most taxing event of the evening but Stiles still struggles. When he tries to get all of his saliva into the container, his hand is trembling so much that as he wipes his mouth he ends up spilling a drop on the floor as he sets it on the counter top. A second later and there’s this sharp hissing sound and everyone looks down to see that his saliva has burned a hole through the floor.

The concrete floor.

Jackson swears but Stiles isn’t able to look away from the hole in the ground as the others react around him. He has acid spit too? Does that mean his pee is going to burn away their plumbing when he tries to use the bathroom?

When he finally looks up, the rest of the pack is staring at the container somehow housing his spit without melting.

“What’s that made of?” Lydia wonders, almost unwillingly fascinated.

Deaton is staring at it thoughtfully. “Plastic.”

“Oh God,” says Allison suddenly. “They’re not kidding. It really is gonna outlast us all.”

Stiles steps forward to squeeze the lid on, careful to step back out of reach of everyone else. Not like there’s much chance of that though since everyone is standing on the opposite side of the table in order to stay as far away from him as they possibly can.

Except Deaton but that’s more professional curiosity than trying to spare his feelings. And also Derek, who Stiles has already established, possesses no self-preservation instinct.

“Hold on,” Isaac wonders, after the silence settles around them for too long. “If your saliva is purple does that mean that your-“

“Nope,” Scott says, face cringing just as Stiles shrugs and says, “Probably.”

“That is so weird,” Kira says amazed before catching Stiles’ expression. “Oh, uh sorry.”

Awkward silence doesn’t last for long around the pack. Though Scott does shoot Kira a half wounded expression like she’s the one who personally brought up the prospect of Stiles’ purple jizz to the general conversation.

“So if you knocked someone up,” Erica wonders hypothetically a second later. “Does that mean your kid would be purple?”

“Purple progeny,” Stiles speculates, considering the idea and the altogether nightmarish ramifications. “I feel like at this stage literally anything is possible.”

“Except the girl you try to knock up would probably explode first,” Scott interjects helpfully.

Stiles turns to stare at him as Boyd and Isaac erupt into snickers in the background.

“Thanks, Scott.”

 



 

The worst part is having to drive home and show his dad.

This isn’t another- look I fell into Mrs Lindell’s thornbush as I was attempting to sneak out so me and Scott could hit up an R-rated movie and now I need your help plucking thorns from my butt- or an- I heard on the police radio that there was an 11-99 and 11-41 so I drove out to check you didn't get shot but whoo guess you’re still alive can you get me out of the speeding ticket Parrish just wrote me, love you, bye- kind of level problem.

Though it is definitely in the top five.

Scott jumps into the jeep when the others peel off their separate ways to perform the mysterious and unseen acts of werewolves with newfound free personal time minus the threat of instant death on the horizon.

Although Stiles is doing his very best to pretend that he doesn’t see Derek lingering by the Camaro watching them both. As if he somehow needs visible confirmation that Stiles isn’t going to immediately descend upon the town in a touch-induced murdering spree.

Like that’s even a primary aim of the agenda right now. Stiles shoots him a glare just for that lack of faith alone.

As if out of the whole pack suddenly he’s the one with the dangerous and self-destructive tendencies. Yeah right.

Now that he’s Not Dying or Close To Death, Scott hands over the keys and his driving jeep privileges are thankfully restored. But that only seems to open up the floodgates for Scott to stare at him openly from the passenger seat for the entire drive back home instead.

Which is weird and not fun at all.

“I’m pretty sure it’s not going anywhere dude,” he says, irritably, when Scott somehow stops blinking for several minutes in his quest to truly understand the meaning of the colour purple.

He rears back a bit, contritely and starts blinking like a normal humanish person. “Sorry I just- I know this kind of craziness is what we deal with daily now but- like- this is insane, man. You’re purple.“

Way to sum it up Scott.

“Noted.”

Stiles is trying his best to ignore the consequences of everything that went down and how it will be very much impacting his life for the near and indefinite future.

They can’t expect him to go to school like this can they? Some asshole at George Washington is gonna try and touch his skin or ignore the warnings not to and then they’ll have disintegrated dumbass scattered across rolling green hills of The Vern which is not at all ideal.

And what is his dad going to say? He’s been fairly chill after the supernatural exposure event but this might be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back. And Stiles doesn’t want any part of that.

The choice is taken out of his hands when he pulls into his own driveway however.

He doesn’t turn off the ignition though, just lets the jeep sit idle, unwilling to accept his fate even now. His dad is probably still at work, there’s many hours before this confrontation will occur but it’s still something he’s not mentally prepared for.

“Maybe I just crash on your couch until this is all over and we tell my dad I’m going on an extended vacation at a summer spa in Canada for spring break.”

Scott does this thing where he doesn’t try to question Stiles’ logic and squirms instead. It is the squirm of the guilty.

And Stiles finally notices the cruiser sitting in the open garage like his father just arrived home. Which is definitely an unusual time for him. Because Stiles was pretty sure he was on a patrol shift tonight and that meant getting home at 2 am.

“You didn’t call him?” Stiles gasps, betrayed and piecing it together all at once. Scott didn’t run out of Deaton’s room to panic, he ran out to make a phone call of betrayal!

“You roasted a human man and a plant!” Scott protests woefully. “It was definitely time to call your dad! And Deaton said somebody had to monitor you for 24 hours!”

“And it didn’t occur to you that you could do the monitoring part?”

Scott drops his gaze and idly fingers the strap of his seat belt, not meeting his eyes.

“Well- you know, I have to work tomorrow.”

“I can’t believe you,” Stiles mutters irritably, switching off the engine with a angry jerk of his wrist. “You ran out of the room so you could tell on me to my dad. What’ll this do to his heart?”

Scott’s eyes go wide with absolute horror.

“You never said he was having heart problems!”

“Well he definitely will now when he sees me,” Stiles shoots back, entirely incongruously as he climbs out of the car. “Probably gonna have a coronary. Thanks a lot, Scott. You killed my dad.”

Scott scrambles out after him. “I was worried. I thought I could help!”

Storming towards the front door in a fit of anger seems like the only appropriate response. Even if Stiles ruins the effect by turning back to glare at his so called best friend. “Enjoy walking home and ruminating over that failure then.”

Scott squirms again. The effect is even more bizarre while he’s standing on the spot. Stiles’ eyes begin to narrow just as a second later Lydia’s car pulls up to the curb facing his house with Allison clearly visible in the front seat.

He can see Kira in the back too, obviously here to pick up Scott now that he’s gotten their murder machine home safely.

Goddamn it.

“Screw you man.”

“Sorry,” Scott calls, already jogging away with a jaunty, apologetic wave. “It’ll all be fine. I promise.”

Easy for him to say.

Stiles lets out an almighty groan and does his best to resist zapping the rosebush planted either side of the front steps (a previous enemy of his from another failed sneaking out attempt), keys jangling as he blazes past. His father would not appreciate the gesture considering the effort he puts into the garden on the rare weekends when he’s not at work.

He doesn’t even get to stick his key into the door before it’s swinging wide and his father is looming in the open doorway.

Uh oh.

“Explain, Stiles.”

Stiles takes two steps back for safety.

“No touching me first things first,” Stiles says, making no effort to step inside because that would be nearer to his dad and also impossible to squeeze past without turning him to ashes.

“You’re purple,” his father states, taking the sight of it in properly. “Scott said so over the phone- but I really didn’t want to believe it.”

“Believe it, daddio, cause this is my new reality until murder touch hands wear off and I can reintegrate myself back into society as a upstanding but belligerent citizen. Here’s hoping it sorts it shit out before I have to go back to DC.”

His father looks at his hands more closely while Stiles fiddles absentmindedly with his keys.

“So- you turn things to dust now then?”

Obviously Scott gave him some sort of low down over their secret phone call of treachery.

“Living things,” Stiles corrects pointedly, trying not to think too deeply about the whole acid spit through concrete thing. “And I really think you don’t want to see it.”

He remembers suddenly how the rest of the pack had backed away from him afterward. “Really.”

His father is somehow both fazed and not fazed.

“I might take your word on that,” he agrees quite readily. “But after I have a drink first.”

He steps back and starts retreating towards the kitchen, shaking his head almost in disbelief or acceptance Stiles can’t be sure. So he just follows meekly inside and shuts the door behind them. Rather not have too many people see him out on the street and call the cops on him or something.

That's the last thing they need.

“Me too,” he sighs, following after his father.

His dad turns to stare at him once he’s grabbed out the bourbon and it takes a second of almost protest before he caves and fetches another glass.

“You know what, sure,” he agrees unexpectedly. “Don’t think I could screw you up any more than this.”

He gestures at Stiles’ everything as if he’s making a fair point. It should be insulting but weirdly Stiles gets it.

“Wow, thanks,” he mutters sarcastically as his father sets down a modest nip of bourbon like he’s still under the impression Stiles has never pilfered one of his bottles and snuck out with Scott to get drunk post Allison break up.

Or on any of the multiple other occasions.

“I’m really hoping you remember that next week is the anniversary of my birth, and I will be considered a fully-fledged adult by law.”

“Don’t remind me,” his father shoots back, still pouring. “I’ll never sleep again.”

Stiles rolls his eyes but accepts the meagre amount as his father retrieves cola from the fridge and adds it to their glasses, pretending that he doesn’t drink it neat or maybe just hiding the fact that he’s sharing alcohol with his underage son.

Now it looks like they’re sharing coke.

Everything normal in the Stilinski household here. Besides the purple, destructive teenager with an unmistakeable increase beyond the human limits of power. And hormones probably knowing his luck.

Stiles takes a sip of his drink before he gets it.

“Oh my god,” he gasps, ignoring his father’s sudden expression of alarm at the sound. “I’m goddamn Thanos. Gross.”

 



 

It’s midnight and Stiles is standing in front of the toilet bowl staring down at his dick.

He needs to pee first and foremost, but sudden disintegration touch has made him somewhat reluctant and wary to handle his own equipment. He managed to get his pants off without touching the area itself but considering the consequences he figures some reluctance is… only fair.

Except his bladder is really complaining at this point and he’s already touched himself earlier without somehow blowing up. But still, this is his dick. Stiles isn’t really willing to take any chances. Which is a completely reasonable stance to take in this situation, probably the most cautious one if any.

Except well- the alternatives.

When Stiles realises it comes down to calling up Deaton and asking a grown man if he can safely touch his own penis without it disintegrating, he finally makes the decision.

“Here’s hoping,” he sighs and reaches down to take a hold of himself.

Stiles barely gets the second to be relieved his dick doesn’t turn to dust before he’s already desperately emptying his bladder.

When the stream hits the toilet bowl he abruptly remembers what happened with his spit and the hole in the concrete but after a brief spark of panic, surprisingly nothing melts. Which brings about another wave of crushing relief- Stiles didn’t really want to contend with the idea of possibly leaving radioactive shits around.

He flushes and washes his hands before flicking the light switch off and is heading back to his bedroom when he spots out the window something black in the space in front of the Seberg house. The one that is directly across the street from their house and is usually empty.

And one Stiles knows for a fact is meant to be vacant because the Sebergs leave obnoxious messages taped under the windshield wipers whenever someone parks there and have been known to call the cops on occasion. Stiles’ dad is not at all a fan of their neighbours across the way.

Stiles steps closer to the window and squints narrowly through the darkness. It takes him about thirty seconds to realise what it is.

Then he walks quickly into his bedroom, snagging his hoodie off the back of the computer chair and not bothering with pants or shoes. He just throws on the jumper, which is big enough that it leaves only a small strip of his boxers visible beneath but Stiles is hardly worried about fashion when his skin now clashes with literally everything.

He heads down the staircase and passes his father asleep sitting up on the couch where he’d insisted he’d stay in order to watch over Stiles all night. Stiles had waited down there too, pretending he’d sleep on the roll out mattress his father had set up, but as soon as he started nodding off he'd retreated back upstairs to his own bed.

His father meant well but Stiles knew he couldn’t sleep in the vicinity of his dad knowing that a stray elbow in the night will take him out for good. Stiles has been known to kick in his sleep. At least his dad will be well rested in the morning, since he doesn’t stir when Stiles reaches the front door, unlocks it and slips outside.

To cross the road and reach where the Camaro is parked.

At first glance it looks like it’s empty, but Stiles isn’t stupid enough to let that deter him. Not when it might involve Derek Hale.

And unsolicited lurking.

At second glance he realises the owner of said car is currently occupying the back seat, stretched out as much as possible considering it’s not particularly roomy to begin with and Derek is by no means small.

At third glance he realises said owner is looking directly at him.

“What the hell are you doing here?”

Derek only raises an eyebrow and gestures at the rolled down window. Stiles leans his head inside in order to glare at him properly. “Got tired of prowling round the high school, did you?” he wonders nastily, put off and unsettled to be the sudden, unexpected focus of Derek Hale’s attention.

Derek doesn’t shift his position and Stiles refuses to be impressed he managed to make something look so restful when it’s more than likely the complete opposite. Werewolves do not fit comfortably in the back seat of a Camaro it seems.

“Since Scott wasn’t going to be around,” answers Derek just as bluntly as he takes a dig at Stiles in turn. “Figured a change of scenery.”

Stiles’ anger shifts. Off and away from Derek, who clearly is concerned about his well-being enough to sit outside in an uncomfortable backseat all night just to make sure Stiles doesn’t choke on his own blood or something.

Not to mention the fact that it is freezing outside and Derek seems to be wearing the same thing he wore earlier in the evening: jeans and leather jacket. Not exactly fit for cold weather. Hard to be resentful of all of that when Scott didn’t even shoot him a follow up ‘you good?’ text after dropping him off hours and hours ago.

Suddenly all of Stiles’ righteous anger feels- misplaced.

“The pack was here too,” Derek says suddenly as if Stiles needs to be informed he wasn’t the only one lurking. “For most of the night before I sent them home. They wanted to check in on you.”

The pack probably means the very few of them who actually still listen to Derek- Boyd and Erica maybe. The rest is a wash.

“You gonna come inside then?” he asks, with a sigh, already turning his face away so Derek can’t see his expression.

He doesn’t want to embarrass himself.

“Since you obviously plan to stay out here all night monitoring my vital signs.”

Stiles can’t believe that’s a sentence he has to say now to Derek Hale. And not even remotely in jest.

Derek doesn’t move.

“But I’m so comfortable here.”

Stiles snorts and drags his head out of the window, already turning and padding back barefoot towards the house, wincing a little on the uneven asphalt. A second later there’s the sound of the door closing and Derek is charging up the driveway after him, no hint of reluctance on his face.

As if he’s the one doing Stiles the favour by camping out in his house all night.

God, Stiles knows he would have certain feelings about that, certain breathless, shuddery feelings, if he wasn’t so certain Derek’s here to monitor the freakshow just as he would have done for literally anyone else in the pack being turned into a purple death ray.

Since there’s no relying on Scott to come through under the crunch.

Also, Derek’s super annoying when he decides he’s helping someone because then there’s no getting rid of him. And he’s pretty sure that Derek’s seen his sorry excuse of a contaminated existence and decided he needs all the assistance he can get.

Stiles hits the front door and leaves it ajar for Derek without turning back, as he slips into the living room and edges past his father’s sleeping form. Derek doesn’t say anything and Stiles isn’t too sure he’s even still following him until he reaches his bedroom, turns around and Derek is right there.

“You’re not actually going to watch me sleep?” he demands in disbelief, keeping his voice low so as not to wake his dad.

“What did you think I was doing outside?” Derek shoots back, voice quiet in the dim. “Playing candy crush?”

Stiles rolls his eyes and flops back onto his bed without bothering to look at him. He can only barely see Derek’s outline in the dark anyway.

“Yeah but watching me in my room is much more creepy.”

“I could go downstairs with your dad,” Derek suggests but it’s clear from his tone he’s not really suggesting it at all.

The sarcasm is strong with this one.

“Ugh shut up,” Stiles says around a yawn. “There’s extra blankets in the linen closet next to the master bedroom down the hall. Do not wake up my dad. Seriously.”

He yawns again, eyes half falling shut. “Or better yet just slink out of here in the morning before he even wakes up.”

Derek makes an exasperated sound. “And why am I hiding from your dad again?”

“Because you are a grown man and I am by law not considered a grown man. And even if Dad is slightly more chill with the supernatural these days he probably would not be chill to find out the Keyser Söze of the werewolf world slept in my bedroom-“

“First of all you are greatly over-exaggerating my notoriety. I haven’t even been arrested that many times and I am not some scary story all werewolves tell their children. Secondly, you’re purple, Stiles. And you should probably be dead twice already today so I think the circumstances are a little understandable.”

“God shut up,” Stiles groans, unwilling to argue when he could be sleeping instead. “Enough, fine, you win. But you deal with the awkward Dad convo in the morning. And you can also expect to find a firmly passive aggressive and rude post-it under your windshield from the neighbours’ house you parked in front of because the Sebergs are assholes.”

“Fine.”

And then Stiles, whose brain is only barely struggling with the contradictory presence of acid spit but not acid urine considering both are fluids of his body and should have the same result, digs himself under the covers and lets his eyelids close.

He’s asleep before he comes to any real conclusions besides Derek lurking in his bedroom somewhere like a bizarre sickness companion and the one blessed fact that he didn’t burn his dick off.

Small favours.

 



 

He dreams about floating red fish amid clouds stained with purple and Scott standing alone in an abandoned parking lot holding out a breakfast sandwich like it’s the goddamn One Ring.

When he wakes up it’s to the light pouring through the cracks of the window blinds he forgot to close last night. Any hope that yesterday was a dream is lost when he blearily raises his hand to block the sun and sees nothing but purple.

His last prayer of the whole thing being one of those 24 hour supernatural rashes goes up in a puff of disappointing smoke.

The room is empty too, the only evidence that Derek was there at all is the folded up blanket left neatly atop his computer chair. Stiles wonders when he left. When it became clear that he wasn’t going to kick the bucket in the night? Or did he wait until the sun rose and he could hear the sheriff pottering around downstairs to make his morning coffee before work?

Stiles rolls out of bed and stumbles warily into the bathroom wondering if he even wants to look into the bathroom mirror. Considering how things have been going lately that’s just setting himself up to fail.

Then again preparing for further setbacks doesn’t really seem so impossible. At this point how could he possibly sink any lower anyway?

He yawns and rubs at his eyes, struggling to wake up fully as he comprehends the verdict. Definitely still purple. Nothing new there.

Except-

Oh. That’s definitely new.

Apparently life has some strong initiative because when Stiles finally puts on his adult pants and inspects himself not only is he still entirely purple all over but his chest has freshly developed its own decoration.

Vines to be precise.

They curl across the skin of his collarbones flowing down his chest and along the happy trail climbing above his underwear.

Mouth open, Stiles manages to kick the door shut and step out of his boxers to see where else the vines have spread.

They’re dark purple, much darker than the current colour of his skin somehow. More eggplant than grape tones this time and in the light they almost pass off as tattoos. It oddly reminds him of roots from the way it’s spread on his skin. There’s a few buds unfurled in amongst them and if Stiles is hazarding a wild guess they’re absolutely wolfsbane flowers.

Honestly what the hell.

“Are these permanent?” Stiles asks the universe at large, looking skyward as if the ceiling might bring the appropriate answers raining down from above with enough prompting.

Then after a beat, he grumbles to himself, “Why was I expecting an answer to that?”

The vines aren’t even coming out his neck as Stiles originally predicted, if factoring in that that was the literal entry point of all this purple destructo bullshit and perhaps that should mean something. If anything the vines appear to emerge from his stomach and spread slowly outward. It reaches his thighs, and stops just above his knees and when Stiles turns around there are vines and flowers trailing down his spine as well, all the way down to the back of his legs.

There are also vines on his fucking ass. Which seems like it should be an ancillary fact right now in wake of the whole new tattoos thing but really, his ass.

Stiles cannot believe the level of bizarreness his life has descended into. Kitsune possession sure, but getting pumped up on wolfsbane until his skin and hair turns a brilliant shade of mauve and he’s grown goddamn vines on his ass overnight has finally journeyed into the realm of Too Much.

He made fun of Scott’s tattoo in the past. And that was some ugly two lines band that went around his arm during which Stiles suffered two hours of Scott’s bitching only for it to vanish instantly from his skin afterward.

It came back but Stiles wasn’t shy with his opinion of it. This seems a lot like karmic retribution for that. Because now he’s a royal purple, vined branded freak. Alls he need is to grow a horn, lose an eye, fly around and start eating people and he’ll be the human embodiment of that annoying earworm of a novelty song.

If these are going to be permanent, and that many vines can grow overnight, does that mean more will turn up tomorrow? Is Stiles going to end up with vines permanently tattooed on his face now? Considering he got this in the line of best friend and whatever the hell Derek is protective duty, the resulting effects seem a little underserved.

That’ll teach him to try and look out for the other guys. He’s never doing the self-sacrifice thing ever again. Everyone else can get fucked. Though, better than being instantly incinerated like the hunter who stabbed him in the first place so maybe he shouldn’t really complain.

At least he’s not dead. That’s the bare minimum of a positive take he can gather from this entire situation.

And that ain’t much.

Stiles drags his boxers back on because he can’t look at himself any longer without needing another stiff drink and his dad locks up his liquor cabinet nowadays and would make substantial efforts to impede his goal.

When he walks out of the bathroom his father is approaching to check up on him, climbing up the stairs in uniform, newspaper in hand and a mug full of coffee. Once his dad catches sight of him they stop and stare at each other from opposite ends of the hall like they’re in a wild west shoot out.

His father who it seems does not approve of discovering tattoos on his underage son.

“You got tattoos?” he demands evenly in his trying-not-to-actually-combust-in-anger-voice.

Uh oh. That’s not a great one as Dad Tones go.

“I didn’t,” Stiles says rather level-headedly he thinks, with only the barest hint of panic. “I’m pretty sure I grew them.”

His dad looks down at the mug of coffee and paper in his hands first like he needs to reassess that reality is still in perfect working order before tackling this new predicament.

“You grew them?” he repeats evenly, not sounding like he wants to believe but being familiar enough with supernatural Beacon Hills now to know he has no choice.

The days of full blown scepticism has long since flown out the window in their household. “Yeah, Dad, what with being injected full of strange wolfsbane that gives me the recent power of incineration via touch,” he says patiently, gesturing at himself. “I’m no expert on this but I am purple. And I guess I can grow tattoos now.”

The freeze frame of his dad’s stiff body suddenly becomes unstuck now that he has assessed the situation and decided to stand down and disengage parent mode.

Then his mouth lifts slightly at the corner.

“Now Stiles, you know it’s never a parent’s place to comment on their child’s physical appearance.”

Stiles stares at him open mouthed when it becomes clear that his father is trying his best not to laugh. “Are you joking? Did you just make a funny about my currently horrific and possible irreversible plight?”

“Purple’s a very attractive colour,” his father says, completely straight faced. “You look very- uh striking.”

“You- you dick!” Stiles says pointing at him accusingly. “I’m literally Mystique from X-men right now and here’s my own father cracking wise about it. I swear to god I’ve never been so betrayed in my life.”

His dad takes an unconcerned sip from his mug. It’s very dissatisfying to watch.

“Oh, come on now,” he soothes, in a fruitless attempt after making Stiles wait for it. “Deaton said it would wear off within a month, right? At the very least you’ll come out with fond memories of your time as a Furby.”

“I am not fluffy,” Stiles protests, aghast. “And he said a month minimum. He was vague enough not to mention how long this might last me. Which is exactly what I wanted to hear- what any person would be delighted to hear, really, in this situation. So yeah thanks for that. I guess for now I’m the secret purple son you lock in the basement.”

His father turns on his heel with a roll of his eyes.

“We don’t have a basement, Stiles. And a little horror child jumping about that most of the town knows by name isn’t really much of a secret.”

Stiles stomps on after him, careful to keep a safe five metre radius. “Little horror child? Excuse you I am in the final stages of teen adolescence. I have man muscle. The muscle of a grown man.”

His father twist his head around to take another look at him. Then pauses and reassesses with some hint of surprise. “Huh. You do.”

The way he raises his eyebrows shows he’s generally astonished by this fact. Stiles knows he’s lean okay, and gangly, he’s not denying that, but muscle development shouldn’t be the cause of such amazement. He’s deceptively lean okay?

And he’d have to have some affects fitness-wise from running for his life half the time. That’s like science.

“You could sound less surprised. I run with literal werewolves and away from big things trying to kill me. And I played Lacrosse.”

“Yes, but you weren’t any good at it.”

It’s a no holds barred kind of morning, it seems.

Stiles tenses his lips together in an effort to avoid saying something rude. “My own father. In my time of suffering-“

“C’mon Time and Suffering,” his father says. “I made you coffee.”

Hmmm. That’s an offer he can get behind.

It’s the kind of thing Stiles needs right now and will probably be enough to buy forgiveness for the near future.

Absolutely. So he yawns again and follows his father back downstairs towards the kitchen. Still keeping that safe distance because he’s not stupid.

“Fine, but I resent all of this.”

“Duly noted.”

Well at least there’s coffee.

 



 

Lydia comes over at some stage after his father leaves for work and Stiles retreats back to bed and manages to fall asleep again.

Stiles does his best not to resent the fact that turning purple is what finally captured her interest enough to bother coming over to visit him alone when he’s invited her over like a thousand times in the past with no result. To be fair, Stiles’ longstanding crush had been in full effect then, Lydia had probably been able to sense the desperation.

“I figured Scott would have forgotten to come and check on you,” she explains, moving cautiously past Stiles and into the kitchen to make herself coffee.

“Yeah well,” grumbles Stiles, wishing even now that that overwhelmingly accurate fact about his best friend didn’t make him feel it like a kidney punch every time. “Scott is but a basic bitch.”

Lydia actually turns back toward him so he can properly see her rolling her eyes. Clearly she is in the know. She pulls out two mugs from the cupboard without asking and Stiles marvels at how incredible it is that Lydia Martin is an nearly every day fixture in his life now.

Epic romance aside, Stiles has to admit he’s glad it turned out this way. He’d rather have her friendship than no Lydia at all.

“You let him get away with way too much, you know,” she continues on, dropping a fairly serious truth bomb for so early in the day.

Stiles actually leans back in his chair with a pained groan. So it’s to be one of those mornings is it.

“Well we all know I’m the better friend so…”

Stiles means it as a joke when he says it but then something happens with his voice while he’s speaking and it falls flat and feels world-weary and then just ends up sounding too much like the truth.

“You are,” Lydia counters, matter of fact. “Not like it’s a competition but you are. So if you felt like maybe that was something you wanted to talk to Scott about-”

“It is way too early for this kind of talk.”

Lydia purses her lips and then glances at the clock hanging on the wall opposite that clearly states it’s nearly two in the afternoon. His father had long since gone to work and Stiles went back to bed in natural protest of his new circumstances. When she rang the doorbell Stiles woke up hunched over a drooling pillow, one leg hugging the side of his mattress for dear life with no idea what year it was.

Stiles ignores all of this and ploughs on. “Look I know it might sound weird for me to say this- but right now Scott really isn’t that high on the priority list.”

“Fair,” she agrees and turns back to busy herself with the coffee.

“So- uh what’s like going on with you lately?” he wonders, playing with a frayed edge on their countertop and hoping against hope for a change of topic.

Lydia pauses in her movements and slowly spins back to face him again. “Is this some weird way of asking if I’m still with Jackson?”

Stiles startles out of his focus on the counter. “What? No!”

She looks at him carefully for a second, then narrows her eyes before nodding in satisfaction. “That’s what I thought. You finally let go of that crush on me.”

She doesn’t say it arrogantly but more like stating facts about climate change or the earth being round. Stiles gets it. Who wouldn’t fall in love with Lydia Martin given the chance?

“I uh do not know what it is that you are referring to,” Stiles counters because he still has some pride left. “… but yes.”

Lydia shrugs. “I figured. You don’t stare at me as intensely as before.”

Wow. And here Stiles thought he was subtle with his affections.

“Right. Uh sorry?”

“Don’t worry about it. It wasn’t- well alright it was creepy. But compared to other guys it could’ve been worse. You just looked at me like I’d invented the cure for cancer- not like you were imagining me with my clothes off.”

Stiles immediately averts his gaze, trying very hard not to remember the times when he did in fact do the latter as well- only to be fair he was in the privacy of his own bedroom at the time and not wearing pants.

“Yeah okay I’m going to change the subject now,” Lydia decides and Stiles lets out a breath of relief. “Anyway I’m glad you’ve gotten over it.”

Gotten over me is implied.

“Yeah,” Stiles says thinking how weird this whole conversation is. “Me too.”

Lydia slides yet another cup of coffee over to Stiles who accepts it since it’s probably a work of art made with her delicate, well-manicured hands.

She takes a small sip out of her own mug and lets out a sigh of contentment.

“Okay. Want me to set you up with free streaming? Since I’m assuming it’s safer for everyone that you don’t leave the house and be seen by the public.”

She’s already on the way towards his bedroom. Stiles doesn’t even scramble to beat her to it, thinking of the pile of clothes scattered around the floor and the hastily made bed.

He’s literally in his rattiest pair of sweatpants, hastily donned a couple minutes ago and a sleep shirt that has several, non-artsy holes in it.

The time for any shame has long since passed.

He picks up his coffee and follows after her.

“I’m definitely listening.”

Lydia makes quick work of the staircase and once in his room only does a cursory sweep, and a minor wrinkling of her brow in disgust at the mess. “I’m not even going to ask,” she says, locating his laptop atop the washing basket of clean clothes he has yet to put away.

“Good of you,” he grins then obligingly tells her his password when she opens it up and tries to log in.

Then she’s pulling up the browser and google searches Disney plus, types in an email that Stiles feels like he should probably recognise and then she’s logged him in.

“Here. Something for you to pass the time.”

It’s not something that they acknowledge very often. The fact that Lydia is fairly well off while Stiles’ dad is living off a public service pay check.

Stiles knows they’re not exactly poor. He owns his own car, and he doesn’t have a part time job- mostly because he’s already exhausted most avenues of interest for a kid with ADHD- and businesses willing to deal with a person of his general obnoxiousness. But it’s not like he’s paying for several streaming services every month.

Mostly he just pirates shit.

“So whose account is this?” Stiles wonders as Lydia clicks on the icon with Ariel on it and goes into Lydia’s username. Figures she would choose the little mermaid as her profile pic.

“It’s Jackson’s,” she says sweetly. “He gave me his password. Just use my profile. I doubt he’ll notice but hey you get free TV and a kick out of Jackson paying for it.”

Stiles grins and sees the true wisdom and appeal of ripping off Jackson’s money. “That is true.”

 



 

When he’s rinsing off his and Lydia’s mugs in the sink, Lydia’s car long since having reversed out of his driveway and disappeared down the street, his phone buzzes.

Scott’s name comes up on the screen.

VINES??!!?!

Stiles sighs and starts texting a long winded explanation.

Only tomorrow will tell if there are any more changes on that front.

 



 

When Stiles wakes up the next day after a The Mandalorian induced haze of late night binge watching, he staggers into the bathroom for the large mirror and an updated verdict on the vines.

“Fuck.”

They’ve grown since yesterday.

Stiles inspects himself in the bathroom mirror with a put upon sigh. The vines are wrapped around his throat now, along his arms, all the way down to his feet. They don’t look like they’ve got any mind for stopping.

He wriggles out of his boxers again and turns to study himself.

Okay definitely covered all over now. He realises that the smaller, thin branches of it connect to a singular vine along the length of his spine before it splits into two to flow down his legs. The vines stop on the back of his hands and then down the slopes of his feet.

Upon reviewing all of this intently, Stiles suddenly realises what he looks like.

“Oh my God,” he breathes out, jaw dropping entirely. “I’m the Avatar.”

Upon closer inspection though, it’s not exactly true. He has vines on the front and back of his thighs, not just one singular vine travelling down his body, and they spread along the back of his arms all the way past his wrist not from his armpit.

Plus he doesn’t have an arrow on his head. Or on his hands and feet. Nor has he possessed any new powers to bend the elements. Which somehow feels a little disappointing right now. Stiles has definitely lost all perspective at this point.

Still, he has to admit there are some small similarities. Weird ones. Freaky but also something impossible to tear his gaze away from.

Eventually when he stops looking at himself and puts his boxers back on, he hears the sound of Scott calling him from downstairs.

“Hurry up,” he yells, none too gently. “I’m making pancakes.”

“I’m the purple Avatar,” he calls back as if that’s a perfectly respectable response and then heads downstairs to eat.

Scott is standing by the stove, watching the pancakes cook but he turns at Stiles entering the room.

“You’re the Avatar now?” he wonders, brow wrinkling.

“Yeah,” Stiles says turning around slowly. One of the rare few who has ever seen Stiles shirtless. “Check it.”

“Huh,” Scott says once he’s finished looking and Stiles has scrambled into the hoodie he brought down with him. “Yeah, you do have the- except the arrows, I guess. Who does that make me then?”

Stiles dips a finger straight into the pancake batter and Scott goes to swat at him before he remembers at the last second. Stiles jumps back a step anyway, heart almost exploding out of his chest at the close call and tries to laugh it off. When he brings his finger to his mouth though it’s not at all steady.

Scott gets this pitying look on his face that Stiles pretends not to notice as he walks around the table island and takes a seat opposite. He brushes over the tension of the near death experience with a roll of his eyes.

“You’d be Sokka.”

Scott seems confused even as he starts grabbing out plates from the cupboard above the toaster. “But I’m the one with powers. Shouldn’t I be Katara then? Or Toph. I heal too much to be Zuko.”

As if that’s not bad enough Scott puts a hand over his face as if to mimic Zuko’s horrible and traumatic scarring. Dear God, and they say Stiles is insensitive.

“Hey, I’m the one with incinerator powers here,” he points out. “And tattoos. I’m absolutely the Avatar.”

Scott snorts and starts loading pancakes onto their plates. Since Stiles’ dad isn’t around, he goes straight for the ice cream strategically buried in the freezer beneath the frozen peas. Scott practically loads his up with strawberries and Stiles happily buries his pancakes under ice cream before they take the seats at the island.

Stiles sticks with the one metre range he’s been employing the past few days with his dad in the house. It appears to be a somewhat sturdy safety net to apply to all future human interaction, werewolf or no, since his father is very much not dead. And he’s yet to incinerate anyone else.

Except the plant his dad kept in the bathroom but Stiles is hoping he isn’t going to notice its passing for some time yet. Stiles didn’t mean to lose his balance and brush a stray leaf on the way down.

“Alright, it’s official,” Stiles decides around his first mouthful. “We’re watching Avatar the last Airbender today.”

Scott’s I’m-hungry-and-eating face transforms into his I’m-busy-and-have-plans face.

“Oh,” Stiles says, covering his surprise.

Somehow he didn’t expect Scott to ditch him so quickly. He’s barely even arrived at Stiles’ place. Later than their agreed time he might add.

Call him crazy but considering Stiles’ skin just transformed into a composite colour protecting Scott’s sorry wolf butt and he can now kill literally anyone if he accidentally touches them and as a result is basically confined to his house until the near future- he thought that guaranteed a little supportive friend time.

But no Scott’s busy. Of course.

“I’m sorry, Kira and I are meant to be hanging out,” Scott admits, unleashing his guilty face.

Stiles has lost out many o’ argument to that face. Maybe he might dispute the point but he is a purple vine man now and not exactly the perfect candidate for polite company. Never mind the fact that if Scott was the purple radioactive dude Stiles would be clearing out his schedule for the next year just to be there for him.

And it’s not even about the fact that Stiles is single and Scott isn’t, Stiles would still be there for Scott even if he had someone. One hundred per cent. He’s proven that when he had Malia. Before they broke up. And she took off with her real dad, the one who raised her.

Who wouldn’t flee Beacon Hills to get away from Peter Hale. Not one person in the pack was surprised at the time. Least of all Peter.

Scott’s the one who loses his head completely and seems to forget about everyone else around him whenever he’s dating a pretty girl. Stiles included. It’s like Scott’s brain vanishes within the radius of the girlfriend zone and doesn’t re-emerge until he’s single again and remembers that friends exist.

Gotta love those friendships based on mutual respect.

“Yeah, of course,” Stiles says eventually because there’s nothing else he can do about it. Scott will be unreliable Scott. The world keeps spinning madly on and all that.

“I’ll be fine. I’m just purple, tattooed and radioactive right now and can incinerate anyone I touch, but no biggie. Business as usual I say.”

Scott pushes the tub of ice cream towards Stiles in a gesture of food penance. He would be more annoyed by that attempt except well, it’s food and Stiles is hungry. So he starts scooping out more for something to focus on instead of Scott possibly looking and feeling sorry for him.

“I’ll call Derek,” Scott promises and Stiles very nearly flings his spoonful of ice cream onto the floor in a fit of incoordination. “He’s free.”

Free to babysit Stiles’ woefully purple and sorry ass? No thank you.

“Oh my God why would you do that?”

Scott gives him a strange look. “Because you dived in between him and that hunter?”

If there was any doubt that Scott is losing his grip on reality, that’s definitely being put to rest right now.

“I dived between you and that hunter,” Stiles splutters, feeling the need to correct that misconception with immediate and ruthless accuracy.

Because of reasons.

Stiles wasn’t risking his life for Derek. It’s not- that’s totally not- Scott is way off base here.

Can’t have Derek hearing Scott’s theories either. Can’t have anyone in the pack hearing what’s going on in Scott’s brain right now. Ever.

Next thing Derek will be thinking Stiles actually likes him enough to die for him or something desperately embarrassing like that. Stiles needs to shut that shit down ASAP. Though perhaps their history of coming through for each other in the clutch speaks for itself. Maybe the jury is still out on that one.

Scott is not impressed by this information which is unacceptable because it’s literally the most heroic thing that Stiles has ever done in his life and he would like the proper allocated credit for it. “But you saw Derek trying to get between us,” Scott says. “Ergo-“

Ergo?” Stiles repeats appalled. “Ergo, I dived in to protect the both of you werewolf dickbags from imminent death. Let’s not make this a thing.”

“A Derek thing,” Scott says pointedly, giving Stiles A Look weighted with unnecessary levels of understanding.

Stiles yanks at his hoodie, pulling it away from his neck because suddenly the room has gotten a lot warmer.

“I can’t believe I’m about to say this to you, Scott McCall, the most unobservant person who ever lived, but you’re reading way too much into this.”

“If you say so,” Scott says in that persistent way of his which proves he is still stubbornly Not Convinced. “But Derek’s coming over.”

“Ha ha very funny.”

Twenty minutes after Scott’s left though, and Stiles has wriggled out of the hoodie to lie aimlessly on his bed and stare morosely at the ceiling when Derek suddenly comes through the window, he realises Scott actually wasn’t messing around.

“You!” Stiles splutters, scrambling upwards into a seated position and remembering he hasn’t got a shirt on and is only clad in his boxers. His hands scramble to cover his chest but really there’s no point. He’s purple and covered in tattoos.

Stiles is bound to draw the eye anyway.

“You’re a grown ass man!” he shouts, to cover his embarrassment. “Use the front door.”

Derek communicates his opinion of this command with his eyebrows of non-verbal glory and literally turns about and disappears out the window again. Okay, maybe Stiles could have been more welcoming but if Derek wants to vanish in a huff then he’s not going to stop him.

But then the doorbell rings.

“No,” Stiles breathes, amazed at the blatant dickishness that is Derek Hale and his bitchy attitude. “Are you fucking kidding me?”

He flops back onto the mattress and refuses to get up to let Derek back into the house on principle. But that doesn’t seem to matter much since apparently Scott didn’t lock the door behind him when he left earlier because after a pause, Stiles hears the front door opening and Derek’s light tread on the floorboards.

Dammit Scott. Really?

If this were a horror movie Stiles would have been dead twenty minutes ago. Hunched over head first into the ice cream container, still in his boxers.

Derek waltzes back into his bedroom a second later. The fucker.

“You about done?” Stiles mutters, not bothering to throw on any clothes because this is his damn house, and he refuses to let Derek’s momentarily unseen abs shame him into covering up.

Though if he wasn’t completely purple he probably would have. Hard to feel self-conscious with that big distraction in the room.

Derek is staring at his chest and Stiles doesn’t know if it’s because of the colour scheme or the newly formed vines but it’s not entirely pleasant being ogled by someone like Derek Hale. It’s like getting a hint of something that he’ll never ever in a hundred billion years get to actually experience.

This is what his life has become.

“Turn over,” Derek says, seemingly oblivious to the significance of those words.

Stiles’ skin heats up.

“You heard how suggestive that sounds, right? This is literally the start of a gay porno. You came in through my window.”

Apparently that’s too much for Derek because his usual straight faced composure wrinkles.

“That’s not-“ he says, and he’s flustered now, oh God. Derek. Flustered. “I just want to see how far the vines have spread.”

But Stiles is having way too much fun with this new reaction to let the golden opportunity slide now. “Well they’re on my ass,” he says, half turning like he’s going to roll over and show Derek the area in question. “Do you still want me to-?“

“Stiles,” Derek snaps, but when Stiles looks up again his face is actually slightly red.

And hello looks like everything’s coming up Milhouse after all.

“Dude,” he says gleefully. “I didn’t even know you could get embarrassed.”

Derek crosses his arms and he is Not Amused. “Believe it or not I can experience the whole range of human emotion.”

“You don’t say,” he teases, but moves to sit up properly. “It’s from my neck all the way down to my feet now. Yesterday it hadn’t spread so much.”

Derek steps closer which has become a dangerous act now with Stiles involved. “Let me see your hands.”

Stiles shows him because what else is there to do? Stuff them under the duvet and pretend they don’t exist? He asks to see his feet after that. Derek inspects them closely but doesn’t say anything.

“Is this your idea of hanging out?” Stiles wonders. “Staring at my hands and feet and asking to see my butt? You got weird kinks, man.”

“I didn’t ask-“ Derek says hotly before he catches up with the conversation and scowls, wisely not rising to the bait. “I came to see the new marks that turned up.”

“Oh,” he mutters, catching on.

Gee thanks for blabbing Scott. And why did he give Stiles the impression that Derek was coming over to keep him company then? How did Stiles not question that? Outside of monster of the week attacks and recklessly saving one another, he and Derek don’t really interact.

Not that he’d be opposed to that or anything. Derek happens to be the exact brand of asshole that Stiles appreciates and aspires to bring more of into his own life. If Stiles thought his skin was capable of blushing anymore, he feels like he would be. Or maybe he still can? Would it just be a lighter colour purple or pink and red like everyone else?

Derek hesitates to say anything for a while and Stiles wonders how this is going to end up being even more humiliating than it was twenty seconds ago when Derek didn’t know Stiles thought he was coming over to hang out.

Because it will be guaranteed. Derek’s probably got plenty of better things to do today other than keeping Stiles company. He hasn’t lurked round the high school in a while. Altogether looming and intimidating. Maybe he should try that.

“You thought I was coming here to spend time with you?” Derek says quietly, with a strange expression on his face as he realises what’s going on. “You wanted to hang out- with me?”

The way he says it like it’s a foreign concept is pretty much the worst thing that Stiles has ever heard in the state of ever. Maybe the rest of the pack hasn’t really been acting like Derek’s friends as much as they should have.

It is hard to go out and do bonding activities when most of the time the dumpster fire that is the town of Beacon Hills is imploding and people’s lives are constantly in danger and there’s college midterms and bigger priorities than weaving friendship bracelets.

But still.

“Well yeah,” Stiles admits, suddenly unable to look at him. “I mean I was just gonna watch Avatar the last Airbender today but you probably don’t even-“

Surprisingly Derek sits down on the edge of the bed without a lick of hesitation like Scott possessed all morning whenever he was in Stiles’ vicinity.

“Because of the vine tattoos right?” he says. “You don’t have the arrows.”

Stiles gaps at him. “You know what show I’m talking about?”

Derek shrugs, non-committing, and turns away.

“Sure, ‘Water, Earth, Fire, Air’-“

Stiles feels as if his understanding of the universe just shifted monumentally. But- how did Derek find the time to do normal things like watch cartoons?

In Stiles’ mind he’s always been leather jacket, stubble and multiple stages of tetchiness. He refuses to accept Derek’s literal age regression moment when he was hiding out at Stiles’ place as verification that he was ever young or adolescent. The jury considers that evidence as inadmissible as it was at the behest of evil she-witch Kate Argent.

“Oh my God this is incredible,” he declares. “It’s like seeing a unicorn, the Loch Ness monster and Bela Lugosi all at once.”

“Only one of those actually exists, Stiles.”

But Stiles is too busy scrambling up towards his DVD collection so he can put the first season disk into his Xbox to respond. He flops back onto the bed, keeping the controller within reach so that he can press play and it’s nice to see that Derek doesn’t jerk away from him when he gets close. Scott kept flinching every time Stiles moved nearby like a cat jumping at loud noises.

Well it is nice until he considers that Derek likely has a death wish. Then it’s not so endearing. Stiles caves and scoops his hoodie up off the floor and starts squirming back into it. If anything he’s ensuring there’s less chance Derek might accidentally touch him and explode into dust particles so it’s win-win.

“Laura and I used to watch it together,” Derek admits once the first episode is starting and Katara has begun to narrate. “When we lived in New York.”

Stiles doesn’t say anything. Mostly because he’s never heard Derek talk about Laura. He’s mentioned her to Scott, and Stiles has heard things from Cora and Peter, but Derek doesn’t really talk about the past very much.

Obviously for good reason.

Still, Stiles doesn’t want to scare him off from doing it again so he keeps his mouth shut and budges over in surprise when Derek actually lies down on the bed and kicks his shoes off to get comfortable.

He rests his arms under his head, letting his legs dangle over the edge of the mattress except Stiles can’t handle having Derek’s head around his waistline/crotch level. Because if he turned on his side he’d get a mouthful of Stiles’ dick easy (and also insta-cremated) so Stiles scoots forward to the edge of the bed within reach of the controller and lies down on his stomach, politely ignoring Derek’s feet that are now closer to his face than before.

And hopes that the sudden arousal in the air will ping on Derek’s radar as typical Stiles arousal and not Derek- Stiles’ dick generated.

Unlikely as that may seem.

Fortunately though, Derek’s ability of not addressing things seems to extend towards to the endless Stiles boner in the room. He’ll admit that he feels a profound gratefulness towards Derek for that.

He might have lost his virginity in a less than romantically appealing environment, also known as a mental institution, but that doesn’t mean Stiles wants to be called out on the fact that he might be panting after someone wholly out of his league, and probably out of the league of humanly possible.

And he’d very much not rather experience the unfair degree of attractiveness that is Derek Hale benevolently inclining his head from the throne of supreme hotness to pityingly explain that Stiles won’t be getting within three feet of that ass because it defies the natural order of things.

Present incineration powers not included.

But hey at least they’ve got cartoons.

 



 

“D’you reckon I should just blow up Deaton’s phone until he comes up with some answers for all of this?” asks Stiles when they’re on the Warriors of Kyoshi episode and Sokka just got his butt handed to him.

Derek inclines his head a little, but Stiles waves his bare arms around in helpful demonstration at his purple everything before he can ask.

“He won’t give you the answers you want,” Derek points out sounding experienced in the matter of Deaton’s true unhelpfulness. “And you seem like you know what’s happening anyway.”

Stiles lets his arms flop back on the mattress and wonders how much he wants to punch that response in the face. At least it isn’t a vague and unhelpfully optimistic Scott answer so there is that. But Stiles doesn’t know if Derek’s unique take on things helps any better.

“Feel like elaborating on that at any point?”

Derek drags his eyes away from the screen and gives the tattoos on Stiles’ neck a considering look. “The hunters injected you with a strain of wolfsbane powerful enough to instantly kill werewolves,” he says. “Something that acts as both a neurotoxin and cardiotoxin should seriously poison a human. Only you’re completely fine. Except your skin’s purple and now vines that look similar to the wolfsbane flower are sprouting up on your skin.”

Stiles glares at him. “I’m aware of that. Thank you.”

Derek only pushes forward like Stiles’ attitude barely assembles a barrier against his argument.

“So then what does that tell you?”

Stiles really doesn’t want to think of the possible alternatives for how that evening could have ended.

“That I should be dead already?”

“No. That instead of this powerful strain shutting down your motor function and eventually leading to heart failure, when it was introduced to your system, you-“

“Absorbed it instead,” Stiles finishes, catching on to Derek’s meaning. “So what these tattoos are just a manifestation of the foreign toxin in my blood and I should just keep incinerating things until it’s completely cleared from my system? Is that what you’re saying?”

“I’m saying you’re body adapted pretty extraordinarily to a certain death situation and instead of dying it weaponised the thing that was meant to kill you.”

“So?”

“So it seems like your body has already proven it’s pretty capable of surviving on its own without interference so- just be patient.”

“Thems be fighting words, Derek. Patient isn’t really my style.”

Derek rolls his eyes and pulls a face. “Wow, really?”

Sarcasm should not look so good on a person.

 



 

When Derek leaves later, after they’ve watched the entire first season of Avatar the Last Airbender and Stiles is muttering about starting dinner since his dad will be home soon, Derek heads out the front door before Stiles can decide if he should extend an invitation with only some minor Derek awkwardness.

Which means no goodbye and some stupid command about not annoying Deaton to death before shutting the front door, drowning out Stiles’ responding protests.

It’s only when he hears the click of the door unlocking twenty minutes later, and Stiles has just finished cooking the pasta for the Bolognese in the kitchen that he realises that Derek locked the front door behind him when he left.

Huh.

 



 

And if Stiles happens to energetically jerk himself off in the shower later that night, thinking about Derek’s face being close to his dick, or the way he’d laughed when Iroh said, shit-eating grin, “The lotus tile was in my sleeve the whole time!” or how he’d been next to Stiles on the bed without flinching, not even once, or that he’d locked the front door behind him when he finally left-

Well that’s no one’s business but his own.