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Espionage Would Be Wasted On You

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“Drive, drive, drive!

Yelling in my ear doesn’t actually help me drive any faster, Stiles.” Derek bites out, skidding between two shipping containers, bullets grazing the edge of the box instead of imbedding themselves into the van.

The car behind them doesn’t slow down. The madman with the machine gun sitting in the passenger seat ducks into the car for a second to reload before popping back out and shooting at them again. Contrary to how this plays out in spy movies, it is actually quite difficult to aim at a moving vehicle when you yourself are also in a moving vehicle. Most of the bullets just fly past them thanks to statistics and Derek’s spectacular evasive driving, if he may say so himself, but that doesn’t change the fact that a few of them hit the rear window. The van isn’t bulletproof, but the glass hasn’t shattered yet. It won’t hold up for much longer though.

“I am seriously running out of shit to throw at these guys,” He hears Stiles mutter from the back.

Derek glances at the rearview mirror just in time to see him toss a grenade out of the van. The car behind them just swerves away from it, the explosion rattling the air around them.

“Who gave this dude a license?” Stiles says in disbelief.

That’s when the rear window shatters.

Shit,” Derek curses as Stiles ducks his head away from the window. He turns at another shipping container and he knows that driving circles around the dock isn’t smart, but he’s not bringing this car chase into the city because everybody knows how well that goes.

“Ah, fuck it.” Stiles says, ripping open the duffle bag in the back. He pulls out the time bomb he made earlier. The time bomb they’re saving for tonight.

Stiles.”

“Look, it’s not like we have any other choice do we?” Stiles tells him. Derek turns to look at him as he rips the console away from the explosives, sticking what seems to be a remote detonator into the material. “Keep your eyes on the road and trust me one this one, Derek.”

Derek, of course, since Stiles has pretty much wormed his way into the part of his brain which is probably in charge of logical thinking, does as he’s told. To be fair, Stiles has gotten them out of worse.

He steps on the gas and makes sure not to drive straight off the dock and into the ocean, when he sees Stiles in his periphery duck his head out of the window in spite of the bullets literally flying past his face. He tosses the bomb at the car and it thunks heavily against the windshield before Stiles clicks something on the remote control.

The bomb goes off and the ground shakes with its force. Smoke goes up in plumes while debris freefalls from above in various chunks around them.

Derek can actually physically feel the tension melt out of his veins.

“Whew,” Stiles leans over the gear shift, smiling. “That was a close one.”

“You’re a menace,” Derek tells him. “That bomb was for later.”

“Please, you love it.” Stiles scoffs and, yeah, he sort of does love it. “Don’t worry about the bomb, I have a plan B. In fact, I have an entire alphabet of back up plans.”

“Of course you do,” Derek rolls his eyes as he slows the car down.

“Come on,” Stiles claps his shoulder. “Let’s get back, the girls are waiting for their shitty looking, banged up getaway van.”

---

He had come in just to file in the report of he and Malia’s latest mission at the time, definitely not one he was looking forward to because he had to explain why Malia’s unnecessary use of showy heroics and public property damage was absolutely integral to getting the mission done, when the head of the department called him in.

“Agent Hale,” Deaton greeted as Derek took a seat in front of his desk. “Good job on your last mission, a bit flashy with the car chase, but good job all the same.”

Derek tried not to sigh. “That’s Malia’s doing, sir. Not me.”

“Ah, yes. I am quite familiar with Malia’s tendency for theatrics.” He smiled. “Field agents are like that sometimes. It’s why I’m assigning you with some new agents.”

“You’re replacing Malia?” Derek asked. He hoped his voice didn’t sound disrespectful, but he worked with Malia and he wasn’t going to give that up.

“I’m not separating you two, if that’s what you’re afraid of.” Deaton leveled a look at him. He worked here long enough to know their history before it was blacked out on the files. Deaton knew his mother. “I doubt either of you would work well if you didn’t have each other.”

“I’m putting together a team,” Deaton said after Derek had relaxed. “Specialized for certain jobs. Jobs of which are a bit more under the radar than the jobs you’re familiar with. I’m here to ask you if you could work with that.”

“I don’t see why not.” Derek leaned back into his chair as he feigned disinterest. He hated working with teams. The only person he could work well with was Malia, and before that, Cora. Laura.

“Be serious with me here, Derek.” Deaton raised an eyebrow. “I’ve seen the reports of your previous team missions, however few they may be, and the complaints I’ve been getting are laughably consistent. Your previous teammates were very, well, intimidated by your attitude.”

“I do my job,” Derek said easily.

“That you do. What I need to know is if you can continue to do your job effectively along with people who you aren’t related to.” Deaton slid over a folder across the desk. Derek took it and flipped through it. Two files. Two pictures. Two names. “If you think you can, those two will be your new teammates. Read those over on your own and get back to me as soon as possible with your decision. This team is going to be very important, so I need you to be sure.”

“Of course, sir.”

The pager on Deaton’s desk beeped. “Well, that’s all for now. I have somebody else coming in.”

Derek nodded then stood up from his chair before he exited the office. He looked at the folder and opened it as he started walking. The name Lydia Martin is the first file, a field agent. The second one is……that can’t possibly be a real name. Thankfully, there is a nickname scrawled next to it in blocky handwriting. Weapons specialist, ‘Stiles’ Stilinski

That’s when he walked right into somebody who was either running, or has no control of their limbs whatsoever, because Derek gets elbowed in the face. His glasses clattered to the floor and the folder gets knocked out of his hands.

“Ow,” Derek said as he grabbed his glasses from where they fell.

“Jesus fuck, watch where you’re going, asshole.” The guy he ran into said. Derek slid his glasses on and his first thought when he looks him over is geez, who brought their kid to work.

He’s got messy brown hair sticking in probably eight directions at once as if he just woke up then ran here. He’s wearing a jacket over plaid over a shirt and Derek will never know why people need so many layers. The kid was wearing Chuck Taylors for crying out loud.

Derek got the folder, stood up, and dusted himself off. He extended a hand to the kid for common courtesy.

“Sorry,” He said. If it doesn’t sound sincere, it’s not his problem.

The kid looked up and Derek found bright brown eyes that stared right at him. Those same eyes travelled across his body and the kid made a soft, appreciative sound. That’s just great. At least Derek is used to getting ogled by people at this point in his life.

“Hi,” The kid said as he took Derek’s hand and hoisted himself up. “Thanks and, uh, sorry for calling you an asshole.”

“Don’t worry, I’m used to it.” Derek told him and the kid’s face broke into a small smile.

“Agent Stilinski,” Somebody said behind them. The kid—Stilinski—looked past Derek to see Deaton who stood at the side, an amused smile on his face. “I see you’ve already met one of your soon to be teammates.”

‘Stiles’ Stilinski, Derek’s teammate, looked between Derek and Deaton with comical wide eyes.

“Hale,” He said. “Oh holy shit, Derek Hale. You’re Derek Hale. I called you an asshole, oh my god. I’m going to go before I embarrass myself any more. I—I’m. Okay. Goodbye.”

And with that eloquent farewell, he ushered himself into Deaton’s office.

“Read over the files, Derek.” Deaton said before he shut the door.

Derek took his laptop with him down to a coffee shop just outside their building. He spent five minutes on his mission report before his curiosity got the best of him and he opened the folder.

Lydia Martin. One of the division’s best and brightest field agents. She came from a wealthy family in California, has a bachelor’s degree in Physics and Biochemistry, and is well versed in many types of martial arts. All her mission statuses are legitimately flawless, not a single mistake or mess up tainting her records. She’s been praised for her quiet work, never blowing her cover or getting caught. The only bad thing that seems to be in her file is a one month hospitalization due to an attack by rogue agent Peter Hale.

Well.

That’s going to be awkward.

But if Martin is as good as what’s on paper, it shouldn’t be a problem. He wondered if maybe working with her would get Malia out of her flashy techniques. Derek flipped her file over to read the next one.

Stiles Stilinski. He’s young, but not as young as Derek thought he was. He was born in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, studied Mechanical Engineering for a year before dropping out and working here as a ‘weapons specialist’. Derek knew that that either meant he was a gun maniac or an explosives maniac. Or both. His missions are good but not perfect like Martin’s. There are a lot of comments here and there about “unorthodox behavior” and “disrespectful conduct” but his credentials are still very impressive.

Derek opened up his email and thought, what the hell, maybe working with a team might work out for once.

---

They’re in an abandoned warehouse a few miles from the dock. Apparently, an anonymous message had tipped off the security, bringing them down onto anything that had looked suspicious. That meant Derek and Stiles in a shady black van parked behind a few shipping containers, and Lydia and Malia who were actually on board the ship, sneaking around.

Lydia and Malia got out in time. They’re worse for wear but not in mortal peril. Lydia sits on a table while Malia begins to stitch up the wound on her thigh.

“We weren’t able to get the key codes from the safe,” Lydia tells him, wincing slightly when Malia tugs on the thread. “And apparently, our time bomb is gone. So I guess this officially means that plan B is in order.”

“And all of you should be very thankful that one of us here is paranoid enough to think of contingency plans.” Stiles says from where he’s on the floor, taking apart what used to be their van’s engine into something Derek hopes is useful.

“If plan B is meeting up with Yukimura’s team to go after Peter and Kate, then I’m in.” Malia finishes the stitch, placing gauze on Lydia’s thigh.

“There’s a safehouse not far from here,” Derek says, checking his phone for the coordinates. “It isn’t stocked with much, but there’s guns, a printer for fake papers, and probably some stuff you can actually make a bomb out of.” He stares at Stiles and the massacred engine.

“That’s more than enough. Hell, we don’t even need that stuff, though I do like the sound of explosive material.” Stiles grins.

“The plan, Stiles?” Lydia looks at him with an unimpressed face.

“There’s this weird rich people party art exhibit thing happening tonight,” Stiles cuts to the chase. “It’s being held in the building which is also coincidentally where the servers that are hosting the Deadpool are located.”

“So we go in undercover and find the servers.” Malia says.

“Not that simple,” Derek tells her. “The security around the servers is tight. Even if you take out the guards, only some people have the access to get through the doors.”

“Anybody on the guest list with access?” Lydia asks and Derek searches through the event’s information.

“Yeah, a lot of them.” He tells her. “Once we have access, we plug this into the server.” He tosses a flash drive to Lydia. “That has a virus in it that should override all the firewalls they have up. From there, I can take down the Deadpool from the web.”

“It’s time for some old fashioned O.S.M. Operation Smooth Moves,” Stiles says. “Lydia goes in seduces some dumb bastard, gets him to show her around while Malia takes down security. Access. Virus. Bam. Deadpool gone forever.”

Lydia takes Derek’s phone, eyes scanning over the guest list, before she smiles.

“Stiles, this event has a ‘with date only’ policy.” She says.

“Oh, okay.” Stiles wipes the grease off of his hands. “Then Malia can—”

“I’m taking down the guards, remember?” Malia reminds him.

“Uh,” Stiles says, seeing where this is going. He points at Derek. “He’s hot.”

“I have to be ready to take down the Deadpool once the virus is in,” Derek tells him, relishing how Stiles is looking at all of them nervously. “I can’t do that if I’m undercover.”

There’s a beat of silence.

“Fuck,” Stiles slumps against the engine, groaning in defeat. “I’m gonna have to wear a damn suit aren’t I?”

---

“First job together,” Stiles chirped happily next to him. He sounds way too happy for somebody assembling a long range rifle.

They’re in Austria in an empty room on the 30th floor of a corporate building. Lydia and Malia are making their way through the building across them. Derek clicked on the program on his laptop, setting off the fire alarms in that building. Through the building’s surveillance system, he watched as people scrambled out of their offices while Lydia and Malia walk on amidst the chaos.

“So, Derek.” Stiles started conversationally as he screwed the muzzle onto the rifle’s barrel. “How’d you get in the business?”

“Why don’t you keep an eye on the lethal weapon you’re putting together,” Derek said effortlessly.

“Oh, please.” Stiles rolled his eyes, accentuating his words with the click of the magazine being pushed into place. “I could do this with my eyes closed by now.”

“I’d really rather you don’t,” Derek told him.

“I got into the business because I was awesome,” Stiles continued on as if he were asked. “I mean, I started out with fireworks and occasionally stealing chemicals from my high school’s Chem lab, but now I get to play around with C4 if I’m bored down in the Engineering department.”

“Sounds fun,” Derek said as he locked down the entire floor once every civilian had left, leaving Lydia and Malia to do their work. He isn’t even trying. It isn’t his fault people are making all of their doors with electronic locks. They brought it on themselves.

“The division snatched me up when they found Scott. You know, Scott McCall. He’s my best friend, but he’s in Yukimura and Dunbar’s team.” Stiles attached the scope to the rifle. “I was actually supposed to be a field agent, but I’m more of a non-contact kind of guy.”

“So you thought weapons would be a good idea?” Derek glanced at him.

“Yeah. No punching or fighting. I’m not a big fan of hand to hand combat.” He said, finally angling the rifle towards the floor Lydia and Malia are on. “I mean, I can hold myself up in a fight. You look like you would too,” Stiles turned to him to do a quick once over of him, retreating only once he saw Derek’s glare. “But I prefer to be a bit farther away from the action.”

“Right,” Derek turned back to his laptop. A window popped up, alerting him of a breach in his lock command. “Shit.” When he switches to look at surveillance, he sees three armed guards making their way to Lydia and Malia from the fire escape.

“Lydia, you’ve got company. Left hallway,” He said into his earpiece. He sees Lydia nod, before she took off to take care of them. She’s able to take down two of them, but the third escaped and made his way to Malia.

“Malia—” He’s about to warn her when Stiles shoots a tranq dart into the man’s neck a building away. Malia looked at the man as he fell to the ground, unconscious, and she throws a thumbs up to the surveillance camera.

Derek turned to Stiles who smirked as he loaded another dart into the rifle.

“Impressed yet?” He asked.

“Maybe,” Derek said. “Let’s finish the mission before I jump to any conclusions.”

---

“I haven’t worn a suit in ages,” Stiles whines. No really. He whines.

He looks at the suit Mahealani dropped off (“It’s tailored to your measurements, don’t give me that look Stilinski, if you’re going undercover in an art exhibit for rich people, you’re going to have to look good.”) in absolute dismay.

“Stop being a baby,” Derek tells him. “It was your plan, anyways.”

“It was a backup plan,” He sighs. “I mean, since when do exhibits have date policies? Who does that?”

“More people, more money.”

“Stop being logical, you were supposed to be on my side.” Stiles says. “Ugh, whatever. Let’s get this show on the road.” Stiles shrugs his jacket off, then he pauses. “Uh, you maybe wanna leave? I kind of don’t want my body under the scrutiny of tech Adonis.”

Derek didn’t realize he was staring.

“I hope you remember how to tie a tie.” He says gruffly before leaving the room.

---

Their second mission together was in Switzerland. Derek is holed up in a van by the treeline of the forest. The van has heating, thank god, because that’s probably the only thing keeping him from freezing to death since the snow outside is horrendous. He will never understand why people would want to build resorts here, let alone private mansions.

“So,” Stiles said through Derek’s earpiece, his breathing heavy. He certainly has it worse, walking around the freezing forest. “You never answered my question last time. How’d you get in the business?”

“Can this actually wait until after the job?” Derek said with as much ferocity as he can, which apparently wasn't much because Stiles’ laughter rang through his earpiece. “The mark’s getting out of the elevator, you better be ready.”

“First off, learn how to multitask.” Stiles told him. “Second, I need two more minutes. Hold him back.”

“Can’t. He's already in the hallway. Learn how to multitask.” Derek smiled to himself when Stiles cursed.

Of course, the explosion went off at exactly the right time. Derek never thought explosions could sound smug until that very moment.

The mark heard the explosion and ran away from where he was originally making his way to his office. Guards left their stations in the mansion to investigate Stiles’ distraction.

“Coast is clear,” Derek tells them and Lydia and Malia descend from where they were hiding in the hall’s air vents.

“You’ve probably got ten minutes before they get back.” Stiles said.

“We’re gonna need a little bit more than ten minutes, Stiles.” Lydia said as she picked the lock on the door of the mark’s office.

“Well I’m not letting myself get caught again. Remember Moscow? Last year? ‘Lost American tourist in the woods playing with fireworks’ is not an act I’d like to rehash.” He grumbled as Lydia got the door open.

“That’s a story I’m going to need to hear,” Derek said.

“Same,” Malia added.

“Maybe later, since Stiles is going to find a way to get us some more time, isn’t he?” Lydia filed through the cabinets of the office carefully.

“Look, I can’t set off another bomb right now. It might trigger an avalanche, just hurry it up.” Stiles told them.

“There has to be other ways to distract people without blowing stuff up,” Derek glanced at the surveillance, the guards are already starting to realize that the explosion was nothing.

“Oh believe me, there are other distracting things I can do by blowing, Derek.”

“Oh my god,” Lydia muttered while Malia just cracks up. Derek felt his face get hot despite the snow. “If you two are going to flirt, keep it out of transmission.”

“Flirting? My, my, Lydia. What a brave accusation. I was being strictly professional,” Stiles told her but she doesn’t reply because Derek had muted their transmission so that they couldn’t hear anything from him and Stiles’ end.

There is a blissful moment of pure silence before Stiles spoke up again.

“You still haven’t answered my question.”

“I didn’t realize there was one,” Derek said.

“How did you get into the business, Derek? The spy business?” Stiles asked

“Why are you so curious about this?” Derek asked back. Six minutes before security makes contact with Lydia and Malia.

“Oh come on, just look at you.” Stiles said and Derek can hear the crunch of snow on twigs from his end. “One would think you’d have ended up being a field agent, what with the glowering and the muscles. Not that the glasses don’t look good on you. They do. They frame your face nicely. I tried to hack into your files though, it’s not my forte but I know enough, and it turns out that all your files are blacked out, excluding the one’s Deaton gave me during the briefing. I tried to ask Mahealani to hack past the blackout but he just stared me down with his gorgeous eyes of moral ambiguity and—”

“I used to be a field agent,” Derek told him just to shut him up. He doesn’t think he heard Stiles take a breath while he was saying all that, so this is just Derek’s small way of making sure he doesn’t pass out in the forest from exhaustion.

“Oh,” Stiles said and the transmission goes silent.

Derek was about to get worried until there’s a knock on the van. He slid the door open and Stiles came in, brushing the snow off his body.

“Aw yes, sweet, sweet warmth.” Stiles sat himself down. “So why’d you quit?”

“It’s a long story,” Derek handed him a blanket from the front seat. Stiles grabbed it and wrapped himself into a blanket cocoon.

“That’s just asking to be figured out, dude.”

“Sure,” Derek scoffed. “Try your best.”

“We’ve got it,” Malia reported as Derek unmuted the transmission. “Heading back to the van right now.”

“See? You did it under ten minutes.” Stiles said.

“Just about three minutes before security comes back,” Derek told them. “There’s a snowmobile on the east gate of the mansion. Two minutes, fifty four seconds and counting.” Derek turned away from his laptop to see Stiles staring intently at him. “What are you looking at?”

“Your eyes are a whole bunch of different colors, you know?” Stiles said.

Derek doesn’t know how to answer to that.

“You two are disgusting,” Lydia said. “Already en route.”

“Right,” Derek said. He turned away from his laptop and he climbed into the front seat to drive to the rendezvous area.

“So,” Stiles said from the backseat. “Why’d you quit?”

“Why don’t you shut up?” Derek told him.

Stiles just laughed as he buried himself deeper into his blanket. He looks nice when he laughs, Derek thought absentmindedly, and—great. Just great. Now Derek’s gone and gotten fond of him. Fucking perfect.

---

“You do know it’s mutual right?” Lydia says and she looks stunning as always. Her dress is a sleek, simple, sleeveless, light teal gown. Her hair falls gracefully onto her shoulders.

“What is?” Derek asks.

“The weird man crush you’ve got on Stiles,” Malia pipes up as she straps a handgun to her leg.

“Don’t joke,” Derek rolls his eyes at Malia. “He doesn’t like me like that.”

“But you aren’t denying that you like him like that.” Lydia looks at him.

“It’s—it’s nothing. It’s not a crush.” He tells them and he isn’t lying. It definitely isn’t a crush. It isn’t a fleeting high of adrenaline and giddiness. By now, it just feels like a bone-deep ache.

“Yeah, because you’re in love him.” Malia says jokingly but Lydia saw his reaction before he could rein it in. A calculating look settles on her face. “Oh, woah. Nevermind. You’re actually in love with him.”

“No I’m not.”

“Lie,” Malia says easily as she raises an eyebrow.

“It’s not important,” Derek says but Lydia is still looking at him as if he’s some sort of puzzle she’s trying to solve.

“Do you know how Stiles got when Kate kidnapped you?” Lydia asks him and he tries to suppress the memory of dust and aconite. “When we got your location, Kira and Scott had to talk him out of walking in there alone with a rocket launcher.”

“He’s always wanted to use that thing,” Derek tries to diffuse the situation. The tense air hanging in the room.

It works. Lydia sighs, her shoulders slumping slightly. “God, you two will figure it out when something stupid happens, like Stiles gets shot or something.” She flips her hair, walking away.

“Whoa, who’s talking about me getting shot.” Stiles walks into the room and Derek feels the air in his lungs still.

Stiles has got the slacks, shoes, and dress shirt on, already looking more than the lanky twenty-something Derek remembered seeing the first time they met. Stiles looks clean, sleek, and professional, because for once he’s actually wearing clothes that aren’t copiously layered, two sizes bigger for him, or plaid. Just the way the shirt hugs his broad shoulders is driving Derek crazy.

Malia wolf whistling brings him out of his daze. He turns his head away from where he was staring. Again.

“You clean up good.” Malia tells him.

“Thanks, but uh. Does anybody here know how to tie a tie? Because I do not know how to tie a tie.” He gestures vaguely at himself, tie in hand.

“Of course you don’t,” Lydia says, taking the tie out of his hands.

“Wow,” Malia elbows him. “You’ve got it real bad, Derek.”

He knows.

---

Job after job, Stiles inched his way under Derek’s skin. He and Malia have improved greatly working with Lydia and Stiles. Lydia complemented Malia, she brought grace into Malia’s work while Malia brought the power Lydia sometimes lacked. There are no more complaints about property damage or Derek’s attitude. Instead, their lineup of missions gets bigger and their reports longer. They accomplish mission after mission. Day after day.

Stiles never really changed though.

Derek doesn’t mind.

“I bet you did something really embarrassing on a mission,” Stiles said out of nowhere when they were on a train in Munich.

“What?” Derek turned to look at him.

“It’s why you quit being a field agent,” Stiles told him. “You did something so embarrassing, you withdrew from the division and retreated into a computer.”

Derek snorted and a smile pulled at his lips. “That’s not it.”

They’re on a speedboat off the coast of Sicily when Stiles tried again with, “You accidentally slept with your mark.”

“Try again.”

“You got your name on a country’s most wanted list?” Stiles asked when they’re in a holding cell in Rio.

“Seriously not the time right now.”

“I don’t hear a no—”

No.

“You made a really dramatic speech to the villain and you were about to shoot him but your gun was empty,” Stiles said when the both of them are stuck in a janitor’s closet together hiding from security in Hong Kong. “Nah, that just sounded like a cheesy Mission Impossible script right there.”

“How do you think of this stuff?”

“I’m a really creative guy.”

“I’ve got it!” Stiles yelled from underneath a pillow when they’re in a hotel room in Dubai. Derek was sure Stiles had been asleep until he spoke up. “Deaton fired you because you were too smoking hot.”

Derek just glared at Stiles until he pouted.

“You’re going to have to tell me you know?” Stiles groaned as he passed Derek his cup of coffee. They’re sitting at the coffee shop outside the department because of course, Stiles found his way into this part of Derek’s life too. The part which feels sort of normal at the edges. The part where he sometimes forgets he works as a secret fucking spy.

“I thought you were going to figure it out yourself,” Derek took a sip of his coffee.

“Yeah but you’re impossible to read.” Stiles bit into his muffin. “I have to know or else I won’t be able to die in peace. You’ll have to tell me one day.”

“Sure,” Derek shrugged. “Maybe one day.”

---

“Malia, how are we doing?” Derek tunes in from where he’s setting up his equipment in a news van parked outside the building. He makes quick work of hacking into the building’s surveillance.

“I’m in.” She says, glancing at the nearest camera. She makes her way through the kitchen easily, nobody sparing her a second glance as she’s dressed as one of the waitresses. “The lovely couple?”

“Coming in and coming in hot,” Stiles replies and Derek switches cameras. Lydia and Stiles are walking into the party, arm in arm, absolutely no hassle coming from the security at the entrance. Malia passes them by and Lydia takes a champagne flute from the tray she was holding.

The event is already in full swing. People have gathered at the bar, the paintings, the sculptures, talking about whatever it is rich people talk about these days. Lydia and Stiles merge into the scene effortlessly. Well, almost. Lydia merges into the scene effortlessly, an air of confidence surrounds her form as she walks around in stilettos while Stiles acts like the awkward kid at school dances, even though he looks beautiful.

“Give us some targets, Derek.” Lydia says into her champagne flute. Derek pulls up the records of everybody on the guest list who has access to the servers. “Pick an asshole. I’m really not in the mood to drop kick a decent guy.”

“Got one. Five o’clock.” He says and Stiles does a terrible job of inconspicuously looking, whipping his head in the mark’s direction. Thank god he isn’t a field agent. “His name’s Zach Brunski. He’s the organizer of the event, one of the biggest financial contributors and supporters of The Benefactor, and he’s the head of a few illegal drug operations.”

“Now that definitely sounds like a guy in the need of a good drop kick.” Stiles mumbles.

“He’s got a keycard in his pocket,” Malia says Derek and zooms in on Brunski’s pocket. “I can steal it if I can get close enough.”

“Don’t. It’s a waste of time. The doors surrounding the server are fingerprint, eyeprint, and voiceprint activated.” Derek tells her.

“Looks like it’s time to socialize.” Lydia moves them to look at some weird minimalist painting of a chair.

“Mayday. Eye contact with asshole has been made.” Stiles whispers, his head sneaking glances at Brunski as he makes his way to Lydia and Stiles. “Okay, how do we do this? He obviously thinks I’m your boyfriend judging from how he’s looking at me with eyes of intensity.”

“Oh, Stiles.” Lydia purrs. “I think Operation Smooth Moves is on you tonight.”

“What?” Stiles says just as Brunski slides up next to them.

Derek switches his camera to the one hidden in Lydia’s necklace and, well, she’s right. Brunski is smiling and looking at Stiles, but it’s not a look of somebody jealous of somebody’s date. That is the look of somebody who wants to debauch somebody’s date. That somebody’s date happens to be Stiles. Derek grinds his teeth.

“Good evening, Mr. and Mrs.?” Brunski starts, all smiles and polite greetings.

“Clarke.” Lydia says as Stiles gapes slightly, because of course he would be one to forget his cover name when the time called for it. “Thomas and Amelia Clarke.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” Brunski shakes Lydia’s hand. Then Stiles’, his hand lingering for a few seconds. Derek clenches his jaw. “I’m sorry if this sounds rude, but I’ve never heard of you two fine, young individuals.”

“Who says ‘young individuals’?” Malia thinks out loud on transmission.

“A friend of ours told us about the exhibit, but she couldn’t come.” Lydia answers effortlessly. “She gave us the invites.”

“Ah, I see.” Brunski says. “How long have the two of you been married? Pardon, but I don’t see a ring anywhere.”

“We’re not married,” Lydia laugh quietly. By this point it seems that Stiles seems to have resigned himself to becoming a mute. “He’s my brother.”

“Oh,” Brunski rakes his eyes over Stiles as if it’s his birthday and Derek refrains from punching a hole through his laptop. The universe seems to have mercy on him because a waiter comes up to Brunski, whispering something into his ear. He nods, turning his attention back to Lydia and Stiles “Well, it seems I have business elsewhere. I hope you two enjoy the exhibit.”

Oh my god.” Stiles breathes out once Brunski is out of earshot. “That was so, so terrible. I feel deflowered. His eyes were so skeevy, I feel like I need to take a shower or something.”

“Pull it together, Stiles.” Lydia snorts. “Now let’s see you try to seduce somebody. Doesn’t feel so easy now, huh?”

“I formally apologize for every time I have ever said or insinuated that it was. I was wrong. So wrong.” Stiles says. “Fuck, how am I going to do this?”

“Derek, anything on Brunski’s interests? Hobbies?” Lydia asks him and Derek pulls up his records again.

“He’s an art collector,” He tells them. “He owns a lot of rare paintings. Most of them from the black market. The architecture of the building says he’s actually got a private gallery in there. It’s right next to the room holding the servers. We need to get him show you around the gallery.”

How? I don’t know anything about art!” Stiles says nervously.

“Relax, I’ll talk you through it.”

“Go get’em, tiger.” Malia says from where she’s on the prowl in the exhibit, subtly circling Brunski, making sure he doesn’t get far.

Lydia makes a show of flirting with another one of the guests, going off with him to look at the exhibit’s weird minimalist sculptures, leaving Stiles alone to lean sulkily against the bar, sipping at a drink petulantly.

“Stop slouching,” Derek tells him. “You look miserable and unapproachable.”

“Oh, that is gold coming from you.” Stiles rolls his eyes but he straightens himself out. “This isn’t easy, okay? I’m not in my element. My element is setting up plastic explosives or shooting people a hundred meters away. I’m not use to this.”

“You’ll do fine.” Derek says, already tired of Stiles’ useless self deprecating act. “You flirt with me all the time. This shouldn’t be any different.”

“It is, though.” He says quietly.

“How? Just act like how you act with me.”

“Well it’s not easy to do that,” Derek sees Stiles run a hand through his hair. “It’s not like I’m in love with this asshole.”

Derek scoffs. “It’s not like you’re in love with me.”

“Yes I am.” Stiles says, sounding confused.

What.

“What?” Derek hears himself say. He feels disconnected. “You’re in love with me?”

“Uh, yeah? I thought that was common knowledge, dude.” Stiles takes another dejected sip of his drink. “I figured you knew.”

“I didn’t.” Derek tells him simply.

“Really? I wasn’t hiding it or anything. In fact, I think I was overly obvious. Even Deaton knows.” Stiles says. “Whatever, I’m cool with it. I don’t mind the whole one-sided thing. I just like being with you, so let’s not make this awkward or—”

“Stiles, I love you too.” Derek interrupts him and Stiles goes silent. “I love you. I’m in love with you.”

“No you aren’t.” Stiles says, stubborn as always. He sets his drink down. Blinks a few times. “Holy shit, wait, back up. Are you actually not shitting me here?”

Yes.

“Scott owes me a hundred bucks,” Malia says. “I knew you guys would get your heads outta your asses on this mission.”

“Boys, save your inappropriately timed confession for later. Brunski’s coming back.” Lydia tells them.

“Stiles—” Derek starts but Brunski has already settled against the bar, martini in hand. Derek sees Stiles visibly tense up, fingers holding onto his drink just that little bit tighter.

“Thomas Clarke,” Brunski says as if he’s testing out the name on his tongue. “It seems your sister has abandoned you for one of my business partners.”

“Stiles,” Derek says. “Breathe. Relax. You can do this. I believe in you.”

Stiles takes a breath, and just like that his shoulders seem lighter, hands no longer stiff and tense. He smirks, a casual, teasing thing and says, “Yeah, it’s like high school all over again.”

Brunski laughs as Stiles takes another sip of his drink. “Keep talking,” He says quietly into his glass and it takes a second for Derek to realize that he’s talking to him.

“Not the popular kid?” Brunski asks.

“Of course you were popular.” Derek says. “I remember you telling me that you and Scott played that one sport, Lacrosse. I bet you were a jock.”

“I was a bit of an outlier.” Stiles says, smile looking genuine. “I was weird and lanky. I tried playing a sport but I just ended up as a bench warmer. Plus, a weird obsession with Chemistry and History never gets you popular.”

“Right, because you were too busy making bombs using your high school’s lab.” Derek tells him.

“You guys pick really weird times to flirt,” Malia says.

“I’m actually a bit of a History connoisseur myself,” Derek hears Brunski say.

“Stiles, the gallery. Bring up the gallery.” Derek says.

“Yeah, I heard.” Stiles puts his drink down. “Rumor has it that you’ve actually got your own gallery hidden somewhere here.”

“Somebody knows too much for their own good.” Brunski’s eyebrows go up. “Now how do I know that all you’re after aren’t my paintings?”

“Please, like you came here thinking about something other than getting into my pants.” Stiles counters easily.

“Wow,” Lydia whistles.

“I think he may have barfed a little in his mouth saying that,” Malia says.

“Straight to the point,” Brunski remarks. “I like that.”

“I’m not one to beat around the bush.” Stiles says.

“Liar,” Derek tells him. Malia giggles, Lydia sighs, and Stiles quirks another smile which Derek knows is for him and him alone. Brunski looks at Stiles and it’s done. Hook, line, and sinker. It was nice knowing you, you piece of shit.

---

He was typing up a report down at the coffee shop again. It was an absurd mission where he’s going to have to explain Malia’s use of a fire extinguisher on a man in public. He can only thank Lydia for the fact that nobody saw Stiles walking around the place with an honest to god rocket launcher. One day, their luck is going to run out on that front.

Usually, Stiles tagged along with him when he went here. He complained about how his coworkers down at the Engineering division are giving him the stink eye because they were jealous of his new top gun status. He had skipped out today though, he said he would hang out with McCall, happy that their hectic schedules finally matched up for one weekend.

It was then that it happened.

He loses consciousness.

After that, he only wakes up in small episodes. He remembers the feeling of dirt and rope against his skin. The uncanny smell of aconite and gasoline that stung his lungs. He woke up completely once and he came face to face with her smiling down at him, predatory and so full of danger. He figured it was nightmare, so he went back to sleep. Darkness found him easily.

When he woke up after that he felt the heavy weight of his bones. His mouth felt dry, his joints stiff, and his eyes burned when he tried to open them.

He blinked the sleep out of his eyes and he took in the white room, sheets, and bed. The IV drip next to him leading to his hand. The sound of a heart monitor that beeped somewhere behind him.

When he tried to sit up, he realized the weight on his legs. Malia was fast asleep on him, arms cushioning her head as she pillowed herself against his legs, back slouched over his bed. Across the room in a chair, Stiles was also asleep, neck bent at an uncomfortable angle.

“Morning.” Lydia said softly when she walked in, her heels clacked against the floor. “How are you feeling?”

“Dead,” Derek croaked out. He felt the disuse in his voice. The dryness.

“Well, you certainly came close to it.” She settled into a vacant seat.

He let the silence take over for a minute. The steady beeping of the heart monitor the only sound in the room.

“What happened?” He asked.

“Kate Argent is not dead like we all thought she was,” Lydia said. She always believed in saying the bad parts first. “She kidnapped you and took you all the way to Mexico. We were able to get you out but she escaped and she’s stirring trouble again. She’s teamed up with Peter and they’re planning something.”

“What exactly did she do to me?”

“A lot of creative poisons and drugs,” Lydia answered. “What she was planning to achieve with that, we don’t know. It’s Kate, so I’ve learned not to ask.”

“Yeah, you’d just waste your time.” He sighed.

“You know, if we got to you a second later than we did, you would’ve died.” Lydia said gently. “Malia pretty much tore a hole through Kate’s men. Deaton almost had to suspend her for disobeying orders. And Stiles, well, he did get suspended. For a week. He’s also been banned from going down into the Engineering department, like that’s going to help. He could make worse things with what he’s got in his garage.”

Derek laughed a little at the thought of Stiles stealing from the Engineering department. He probably went for the rocket launcher again. Malia wriggled a bit at the motion before she woke up.

“Derek,” She said before she crushed him into a hug. “You asshole, you’re not allowed to die. You’re the only sane family member I have left. Don’t ever do that again.”

He brought his hand to her hair and he squeezed her back. “I wasn’t planning on it.”

“Whuh,” Stiles said from his chair. He blinked blearily, cracked his neck, and looked at Derek, eyes unnervingly intense. “Oh thank fuck, you’re alive.”

“Yeah, I am.” He said. Stiles stood up and he looked like he wanted to hug Derek too, but he stayed where he is. His arms and legs twitched in movement but he didn’t move from where he stood. Little aborted hand gestures and wandering eyes. Small unmade decisions. “Why are you all here anyways?”

“Busy being worried about our favorite techie, duh.” Stiles told him as Malia released Derek from her death grip.

“Visiting hours are almost up anyways, so we should get going soon. You should rest.” Lydia said. “The doctor said that if your blood comes back clean tomorrow, you’ll be discharged in a few days.”

Malia kissed him on the forehead and followed Lydia out of the room. Stiles lingered for a bit, waited for the girls to leave before he awkwardly patted Derek’s shoulder, shuffling away, standing at Derek’s side.

“This why you quit being a field agent?” Stiles tried once again and Derek closed his eyes and sighed. “Shit, sorry. That was terrible, I didn’t mean to—”

“Do you know who was the head of the division before Deaton?” He asked him.

“No,” Stiles said. “Nobody talks about that and all the files are blacked out.”

“Talia.” Derek said and the name felt heavy on his tongue. “Talia Hale. She was my mom. My sisters, Laura and Cora, they were field agents, really good ones. I was too. Malia had just been starting out then, training. It was a family a thing. Then I met Kate, I trusted her too much, and she killed them all. Locked them in a house and burned it down. Laura and Peter survived but Peter wasn’t right anymore. He killed Laura. Then he killed Kate.”

Stiles stared at him, fists clenched.

“The division marked him as a rogue agent and I was honestly worried that I’d go rogue too because I wanted to kill him,” Derek let out a laugh that felt too sharp at the edges. “I wanted to kill him because he took Laura away from me then he had the fucking balls to take the opportunity of killing Kate too. But before I could go after him, he disappeared and nobody ever saw him until now because apparently he’s working with the woman he, apparently, did not kill.”

“They took me out of the field when I started showing signs of ‘aggression’ and ‘reckless behavior’, so I transferred. I was already well versed in computer science so it wasn’t hard. After that I teamed up with Malia because a big part of me is afraid Peter will come back to take her away too.”

“That sucks,” Stiles said after a minute. “I know that’s probably the most underwhelming thing to say but it’s better than ‘I’m sorry’.”

“Don’t worry. It’s true.” Derek told him. “It sucks.”

“You didn’t have to tell me any of that,” Stiles ran a hand through his hair. “I never wanted to pressure you or to make you feel obligated to say personal shit—”

“I wanted to tell you,” Derek said. “You were going to figure it out anyways. I wanted you to hear it from me and not from some file or a rumor.”

“Alright.” Stiles’ eyes glanced at the floor, nervous. “Alright.”

“Are you okay?” Derek asked.

“I should be asking you that. You’re the one in the hospital bed.”

“I’m alive.” Derek told him. “What’s bothering you.”

“I love how you can still make questions sound like orders even after getting kidnapped and tortured,” Stiles laughed. “You just worried me a lot. Your heart stopped a few times when we found you. Almost thought you wouldn’t make it.”

Derek grabbed Stiles’ hand, tired of seeing it twitch in cancelled movements, and he held it against his wrist, his pulse point.

“I’m alive,” He said.

Stiles nodded and his body seemed to finally relax. His hand stilled. Finally sure. “Yeah, you are.”

---

Four days after that, a Deadpool is posted online with all the information of every agent working in the division. Assassins were coming left and right, taking down anybody with money on their name. Deaton sends out a task force, Agent Braeden goes after Kate, Agent Parrish goes after Peter, Yukimura’s team is in charge of holding back the onslaught of attacks, and Derek’s team is tasked to take the Deadpool down.

It’s weird, he thought. Calling them a team. It’s been a while since he’s had one.

But he can’t imagine calling them anything else.

---

“It’s all clear on my side.” Malia says, surrounded by the unconscious guards who were once doing a patrol. “Take him out, Stiles.

“Oh thank god,” Stiles sighs happily. He takes a tranquilizer disguised as a pen and stabs it deep into Brunski’s neck. “If you honestly thought that showing people weird Renaissance paintings of orgies is a good way to flirt, then I really don’t know what to even say to you, dude.”

“What the fuck,” Brunski says before he hits the ground in a heap.

“I’m glad that’s over,” Stiles mutters. “Where are the servers?”

“Straight into the hallway up ahead. There’s a door on your left.” Derek tells him. “Just plug the flash drive into any port.”

“Roger that,” Stiles starts walking.

“Stiles, about a while ago.” Derek says. “Don’t think that we’re not going to talk about it when this is—”

A loud, almost deafening shot rings out.

Stiles falls to the floor.

Derek switches cameras until he gets a visual of Brunski on the floor, his body paralyzed but his hand is pointing a smoking revolver at Stiles. He squeezes the trigger again but before he can shoot, Malia is there kicking the gun out of his hand, then kicking him out cold.

“I may have been shot,” Stiles slurs.

“No fucking shit,” Derek says as he watches Malia run to Stiles. “Lydia, get to the gallery.”

“On it,” She nods. Derek opens every door, giving her way.

“Stiles?” Derek switches his camera back to the hallway. Malia has dragged Stiles upright, leaning against the wall.

“Has been shot,” Stiles says again. Derek can see the blood soak into his suit. “Shot in the shoulder. It has been quite a while since I’ve gotten shot. I don’t miss it, but it’s nothing bad.”

“It’s nothing bad? Stiles, you got shot.”

“All of you are so very concise,” Lydia says. “It’s like reading an essay trying to reach the word count, Christ.”

“Seriously, chillax. ‘Tis but a flesh wound.” Stiles laughs but he winces when the movement jostles his shoulder. “It’s in my right shoulder so it’s non-lethal.”

“There is no such thing as a non-lethal gunshot wound.” Derek grinds out. “Your subclavian artery is there, and so is your brachial plexus—”

“Mmm, yeah. Talk dirty to me.” He snickers. Derek is probably going to punch him in the face later.

“It really isn’t that bad,” Malia says after pulling the flash drive out of Stiles’ pocket. “It didn’t hit his artery or any nerves since his leg is moving alright. The bullet’s still in there too, so it’s plugging up most of the bleeding. Stiles, can you stand?”

“I got shot in the shoulder, not the leg.” Stiles scoffs and he stands, legs wobbling. “Although, I feel like just hanging by this wall. This is nice.”

Lydia walks into the hallway and Malia tosses the flash drive to her. She walks past them and into the server room.

“The flash drive is in, Derek.” Lydia says. “Finish it.”

Once the firewalls are down, Derek easily decrypts the commands surrounding the Deadpool, and literally in a minute, it’s gone. The names, addresses, family history, of every agent in the division are gone, deleted from the web forever.

“Done.” Derek says.

“Yay, team.” Stiles cheers dazedly. Malia slings Stiles’ good arm around her neck, taking on his weight. “I’m about ready to take a pretty long nap. So I’m thinking that we split.”

“Yeah,” Derek breathes out. “Get out of there.”

---

On one of their jobs, Derek honestly can’t remember which one, it was probably Quebec, somebody thought it would be a good idea point a gun an inch away from Stiles’ head. Give us the launch code or else your buddy gets shot in the head, they said. Or something along those lines. Derek really can’t remember.

The only thing he can remember is seeing red when he saw a gun pointed at Stiles. The unmistakable feeling of rage creeping along his vision.

So, no, Derek doesn’t remember how exactly he incapacitated an armed man using only a flower vase, but it happened.

“Uh,” Stiles said as he looked at the guy who was just pointing a gun at him. He’s unconscious and has a dislocated shoulder. Again, Derek has no idea how that happened. “Okay, if there was any doubt in my brain about you being a field agent once, then it’s all gone now because shit dude.”

Derek took a deep breath. “Go tie him up or something before he wakes up.”

“What the hell did you do to get yourself into tech, you animal.” Stiles muttered in disbelief. “I’ve seriously never seen anybody fight like that. You used a fucking flower vase.”

“Very astute.” Derek focused on his laptop.

“Derek.”

“What,” Derek turned to him.

“Thanks,” Stiles said and the word had a certain weight to it. A certain solemnity.

“Yeah,” He said. “No problem.”

---

Lydia and Malia manage to get Stiles out of the exhibit and out of the building without alerting any security or innocent guests. How they managed to make the bleeding guy look normal, Derek will never know. They get Stiles in the van and Derek vaguely sees Malia and Lydia take the front seats.

“Thank god that’s ov—” Stiles starts.

“I love you,” Derek says.

Stiles stares at him for a bit, mouth gaping slightly.

“I’m not shitting you here. I love you.” Derek says again, looking straight into Stiles’ eyes. “Did you get that? Because I can say it again if you want me too.”

“Yeah, sorry but I still can’t believe it. I mean, you’re you and I’m just,” he gestures at himself.

“You’re intelligent, stubborn, beautiful, and a fucking pain in my ass on most days.” Derek tells him and Stiles grins, wide and bright. “Believe me, I tried not to like you, but then you just started getting into my life and making things better by being in it.”

“Derek Hale is a romantic,” Stiles says dramatically. “Next thing you know, I’ll be getting bouquets, rose petals sprinkled on a bed—” Derek grabs him by his good arm and shuts him up. With his mouth.

It’s not gentle kiss. It’s months of frustration and begrudging concern, it’s every mission and every job, it’s every report he filed down at that coffee shop while Stiles chattered along his side aimlessly. Stiles tensed at first but he quickly relaxed and melted into Derek’s grip when Derek cautiously took Stiles’ bottom lip between his, coaxing a soft moan out of him with his tongue. Stiles tilts his head and Derek delves in deeper but then the van swerves violently. Stiles hits his shoulder against the seat and bites down on Derek’s tongue.

Motherfucker,” Stiles hisses, clenching his shoulder with his other hand.

“Ow,” Derek said, tasting iron.

“Sorry about that,” Malia called out but she doesn’t seem very sorry at all if the smirk on her face is anything to go by.

“This is amazing,” Stiles leans back into his seat carefully. “Our first kiss and I bite your tongue. We’re both bleeding in places. Absolutely amazing.”

“I’ll take you out to dinner after I file the mission report,” Derek says as he sits next to Stiles. “We’ll go back to that one place you really liked in Dubai.”

“Oh my god, you’re so romantic.” Stiles sighs, leaning his head against Derek’s shoulders. “If it’s going to be like this, I think we’ll be alright.”

“Yeah.” Derek says as Stiles’ hand meets his and their fingers interlock. It feels good. It feels normal. It feels like a decision well made. “We’ll be alright.”