Stiles resolutely decides that senior year is going to be the best.
Okay, so sophomore year was a bit of a wash with the whole werewolf and kanima debacle, but they all worked through that, piece of cake. And junior year wasn't too bad -- even with having to deal with two packs getting used to sharing territory. Oh, and add to that, the couple of vampire clans that started to hang around and decided to duke it out over, who knows what, ancient hierarchy or something stupid like that. The Wolves & Co. banded together to punt their pasty vamp asses right out of their town. Easy peasy. Really.
So, whatever, Stiles has to use fingers on both hands and all his toes to count off how many near-death experiences he's had by the age of seventeen. No biggie. Senior year is going to rule. Stiles just knows it. He has plans: continue to make first string of the lacrosse team, pass all his school work with flying colours and get into an awesome university somewhere close to where Scott'll probably be going to community college, and most importantly, start dating. God, he really wants to stop fearing for his life and go on dates and have make-out and more sessions and be a normal high school student for once. This is the year it's going to happen. Really. Best year.
Which means, naturally, it begins to descend to hell in a sparkly (no, seriously, it's sparkly) handbasket before it even starts.
"Dad!" Stiles exclaims when his father stumbles into the kitchen around noon. It's the day before school starts and Stiles has wisely used his time to sleep in as much as possible. His dad had worked the night shift, and when Stiles finally emerged from his room he had assumed his dad was already in bed.
Instead, his dad startles the heck out of Stiles while he's making breakfast by coming in through the front door, still in full uniform, and covered with …
"Is that glitter?" Stiles asks, hastily setting his plate of scrambled eggs and toast on the counter. He reaches out and brushes his dad's shoulder. He pulls his hand away and looks at his palm; there is purple and gold glitter all over it. Stiles makes a face and tries to rub it back onto his dad's coat sleeve; that just spreads it all around and Stiles somehow gets some up his nose. He sneezes.
"Bless you," his dad says.
"Thanks," Stiles replies. "Purple isn't really your colour. The gold works, though. Goes with the badge."
"Very funny," his dad says, slumping down onto a chair. He's got a little smile on his face, though, kind of dopey and pleased but tired. It's all kinds of weird. "What time is it? And what did you do to me?"
"Me?" Stiles asks, incredulously. "Why do you think I did this? And, it's noon. Why?"
His dad frowns. "I know I drove home from the station at the end of my shift. Which was five am and now it's noon. I must've fallen asleep in the car when I got here."
That isn't right. His father never does that. But Stiles didn't want to say, Hey, getting up there in years, huh? Instead, he goes with, "I don't believe that. Obviously you've gone to an all-night rave. You didn't drop any E, did you? Because drugs are bad, Dad, they're bad. Just say no."
"This isn't 1999, Stiles, there're no raves around here," his father starts, and Stiles swears he hears a anymore, thank god muttered under his breath, but they both know that's not really true. He adds, "I don't appreciate the practical joke. Least you could've done was wake me up and get me in the house before you threw a glitter bomb at me."
Stiles holds his hands up defensively. "I didn't do this! Come on, how could you think that?"
"I don't know about you, but I remember the time you--"
Stiles interrupts, because he knows exactly where this is going. "I was six-years-old! It doesn't count."
"-- Glued googly eyes all over the radio scanner," his dad finishes. Stiles can see he's trying to hide his amusement at the memory. No, really, Stiles was adorable at six when trying to make his father laugh. Stiles was always adorable. He still is, just in a manly way now. "My patrol car is not for arts and crafts. Not then, not now."
"Come on, Dad, I swear it wasn't me. Must've been the Jenkins kids down the road or something."
Stiles isn't sure how likely that is -- the Jenkins kids would more likely use a BB gun to shoot at chipmunks than run around sprinkling sparkles on people to make them look pretty -- but at least it's a viable option that isn't him.
His dad sighs, running a hand through his hair and causing a shower of glitter to fall to the floor. Stiles snorts, because come on, it's a little funny. His father rolls his eyes but says, "Maybe it was. I'll have a talk with their mother later. I need to go shower and get all this crap off. And get some sleep." He looks at Stiles, who has resumed shoving forkfuls of eggs into his mouth. "What're the plans for the last day of freedom?"
"Schmoppin," Stiles says around his food. At his dad's pointed look, he swallows and repeats, "Shopping. For school. Supplies and stuff? Pens and … I don't know, stuff." He gives his dad a hopefully look. "Clothes?"
"You have twenty-seven hoodies, I'm not giving you money for another one."
"Not twenty-seven," Stiles grumbles.
"I'm not giving you money for stuff, either. After twelve years, you'd think you'd know what you needed for school."
"Right? I'll just have to wing it, I guess."
"A senior," his dad says, shaking his head, as if he can't quite believe it. "And next year, college--"
"Whoa, whoa, Dad," Stiles says, holding up his fork. A large piece of egg goes flying, his dad's eyes following it to the floor. "Don't worry, I'll get that."
"Yes, you will."
"The point is not the egg, but your parental angst," Stiles says, "and not getting ahead of yourself about college and feeling down about it but you can elevate such misery by giving your only son, who is now a senior, by the way -- which is only one step away from going away to college, in case you missed that part -- some money. For school stuff."
His dad pulls out a twenty. "Dad, this isn't 1999 anymore," Stiles protests with a cheeky grin, "it's not like I'm buying a Pokémon folder for ninety-nine cents."
"You were barely starting pre-school then, right? Jesus."
"There, there, it's okay, old man," Stiles says reassuring. "Plus, think of inflation in my life time. Or, like, even the past year. That's not enough."
"That doesn't sound right, sure you passed economics?" Stiles hums in agreement, because he so did. Raising one eyebrow, his dad pulls out another twenty, which Stiles happily snatches up. "School supplies, not clothes."
"Sure thing, boss," Stiles says, giving his dad a salute. More egg goes flying. "I'll clean that up."
His dad sighs and heads up the stairs, leaving a trail of purple and gold glitter after him. At least Stiles doesn't have to worry about that mess. Probably.
The moment Stiles steps outside, he knows it wasn't the Jenkins kids. There's no way they could've done this.
First off, it looks like it rained glitter all over their yard, especially their flowers.
Second off ... they don't have flowers.
At least, they're not supposed to. Stiles remembers a time when there were flowers about the yard, little gardens that he liked to help his mom weed. But the Stilinski men didn't quite have the motivation to do it after she was gone. They keep the yard tidy, yes, but not necessarily nice. Right now it looks like a flower shop and craft store combined forces to throw up all over their lawn as retribution for not keeping it pretty these past few years.
"Holy shit," Stiles says as he walks along the sidewalk to his father's car. He doesn't know the flowers by name, but there are a variety of purple and yellowish ones, some so dark they could be gold, some very high with big blossoms that crowd over little petite petals. They've grown along the walk, and in the little garden patch on the far side of the yard, all the places there used to be flowers.
"Stiles! Your yard!"
Stiles looks up and sees Mrs. Jenkins going for her afternoon walk. Her little rug rats aren't with her, but he doesn't need to ask if they did this because he seriously doubts they did. "Hi," he greets. He waves his hands around helplessly, trying to think up an explanation. "The community's most beautiful yard contest," he says suddenly. "We thought we'd try this year."
"Oh, honey," she says as she looks around. "That's ... ambitious of you. And the glitter is a nice touch," she adds. He can hear the unnatural, but nice underlying her words. "But they announced the winner last week. I'm afraid you're a bit behind in the season."
"Oh! Right, right, silly me," he says. "I'll have to pay more attention next year. Help my dad out sooner and all."
"How is he?" she asks.
"He's great. Just great."
"He's doing a marvelous job," she gushes. "Protecting our town. All those --" her voice drops to a whisper "--crazy rumors going on a couple years ago, they're all but gone now."
"Yes, things are under control," Stiles says. Sure, the Beacon County Sherriff's Department -- his dad and staff -- did their part, though Stiles knows he and his friends were a huge help in cleaning up that mess. That they were at least partly responsible for. Whatever. He thought everything was fine, he truly did, and that his senior year was going to be awesome and normal with nothing to worry about.
Then his father got glitter bombed by some mystery flowers. He's not so sure anymore.
"Well, I should--" he glances around and sighs "--clean up."
"Interesting choices," she says thoughtfully. Smiling, she adds, "You can probably do without the glitter next year."
"Right," Stiles replies, snapping his fingers as if it's the most brilliant piece of advice in the world. "Good idea. I'll -- do that. Won't do that. You know."
Mrs. Jenkins gives him one more look, like she's trying to keep on the sly that she finds him incredibly odd, and waves her hand as she continues on down the sidewalk.
"Oh, god," he moans as he looks around. He's already got sparkly stuff all over his jeans and hoodie and all he did was stand there for three minutes. Cleaning up this mess is going to suck, but he's determined to do it before his father wakes up and really comes to investigate the scene of the likely supernatural crime.
"I just don't think it's that big a deal," Scott says, sitting down at a double desk in the chemistry room.
Stiles slides into the seat beside him and leans in to whisper. "Not a big deal? Scott, you didn't see it. It was--" he looks around to make sure no one is listening, and as far as he can tell, the normal people aren't "--unnatural. Like, really unnatural."
"Super unnatural?" Scott says with a smirk, bobbing his head in that way that means he thinks he's being funny. "Like, supernatural but … superunnatural."
"You're lame," Stiles says flatly, then flails his arms. "I'm saying that it needs to be further investigated!"
"Um, okay," Scott says with a shrug. "Let me know what you find."
"What I find?" Stiles slumps back in his chair. "You're not going to help me?"
"Well, to be fair -- and this is all props to you, seriously -- you're the one who does the research thing. You're good at it."
"I didn't find anything," Stiles says grumpily. "Well. Nothing that was helpful. Glitter flowers is a really interesting Google search, let me tell you -- seriously, look at page 15 of the images, there are painted fingernails more deadly than yours, but look a lot nicer. Yours are really gross, huh? But that's beside the point! Come on, you're the one with …" He trails off and wiggles his nose. Or tries to, but mostly he thinks his face just scrunches up goofily.
Scott gives him a weird look. "I'm the one who what? Is this a round of charades?"
"No, shut up. You can help with your nose. And, you know," Stiles says, putting his hands up behind his ears and flapping them a bit.
"Dumbo!" Scott says loudly. "I'm Dumbo."
Stiles snorts. From the back of the room Jackson calls out, "Yeah, we know, McCall," and everyone titters.
"What's that?" Allison says as she slides into the desk next to them.
"Apparently, I'm Dumbo," Scott says glumly, and gives her the biggest puppy dog eyes ever.
"Awe, no you're not," she says, and leans in to pat his cheek. He grins a little and goes to kiss her and--
Stiles starts making loud gagging noises. They break apart, Allison grinning at him while Scott tries to shoot him the Glare of Death. Well, no, not that bad, maybe just the Glare of Harm, but it's not working. Two years of putting up with this and Stiles totally gets rights to call a cease-kissing whenever he wants.
"Come on, man," Stiles says, "come by with all your--" he waves his hand around "-- senses and check things out?"
"What's going on?" Allison asks.
"Nothing," Scott answers just as Stiles bursts out, "Oh my god, the worst thing!"
Mr. Harris stands up at the front of the room, signaling the start of their first class of the year. He's glaring at Stiles which, in the past two years, is a thing that hasn't changed at all.
"Mr. Stilinski," he says coolly. "I thought I heard your delectable tones. Are you going to keep it down so I can begin your final and torturous year?"
"Yep," Stiles says with false cheeriness, internally cursing himself for starting off like this already. "Of course. No problem." He reaches down into his backpack and pulls out his binder.
That's when a huge puff of glitter flies out and fills the air.
Everyone snickers; no, it's more on the side of full-out laughing. Only Mr. Harris doesn't look impressed.
"Stilinski, you should've left your summer at home," he says blandly. There's more laughter.
Stiles gives a weak laugh and waves his hand through the cloud and gets it everywhere. "Oh, uh, yeah, this was -- those kids down the street -- joke."
"Of course it was," he says dryly and picks up a stack of papers. "Now, if I can get everyone's attention, we'll start by going through this year's syllabus, and I can tell you about the wonderful exam that's worth half your final grade."
Everyone groans. Stiles the loudest, but he has a lot of reasons for that.
When Stiles leaves class, he's cornered at his locker by Jackson, of all the people.
Jackson is still the kanima, just not the crazy and mind-controlled homicidal one anymore. It's always nicer when that's not an issue. He doesn't have to follow the orders of a master; they got rid of that dude, and quick. And Derek stepped up and finally did the right thing, claiming Jackson like he should've. Jackson still isn't pack, he's not a werewolf. He isn't like the other three are to Derek, and not like Stiles, Scott, and Allison are with each other. He's neither here nor there, and spends most his time with Danny and Lydia, both who know everything now -- or, well, enough of it -- and the trio make up almost-but-not-quite a pack. Sort of like the links between the others, or something.
"I texted Derek about your little problem," Jackson says.
Jackson still defers to Derek though, damnit, especially when it has to do with anything that causes trouble and will create possible threats to Stiles.
"Why'd you do that?" Stiles asks. He's not even going to complain about Jackson eavesdropping on private conversations. He's long learned to get over that one, what with all the supernatural hearing that goes on around here. But it is really, really annoying.
Jackson shrugs. "'Cause McCall wasn't going to. Don't worry, I told Derek all about your fear of kittens and rainbows."
Stiles blinks. "Shut up, you did not."
Jackson holds up his phone to show Stiles the screen.
"Oh, god," Stiles says, slapping his hand to his forehead. "You did! Why did you do that?"
"He wants to know whenever anything weird is going on."
"Admittedly, that is weird," Stiles says, gesturing to the phone, "but that's not what I said! It's glitter and flowers, thank you very much. Kittens and rainbows are just fine." Until they aren't but hopefully they aren't going to go there yet.
"Whatever," Jackson says. "I did what I'm supposed to." That's a big improvement for Jackson but Stiles is still pissed. Jackson brushes past Stiles, but then turns around as he walks backwards so he can fully smirk when he says, "He didn't get back to me. Guess no one cares about your landscape problem. Call a gardener."
"Jerk," Stiles says under his breath, and hopes to hell that Jackson heard it. He may not be one of the bad guys anymore but Jackson is still a pain in the ass.
Fine, then. If no one is going to help, Stiles will just have to do it himself. As soon as possible. Right after school, in fact.
The whistle blows loudly, and right in Stiles' ear too.
Okay, so maybe not right after school. There's that whole lacrosse practice thing going on first.
"What's wrong, Coach?" Stiles asks, wondering why he had the whistle blown at him. He was actually doing good. All that running around from supernatural assholes who try to kill you, to moving injured or unconscious bodies around, and all that jazz, really has Stiles in good shape. And he's doing good this practice.
"You're reflecting at me," Coach Finstock says, and squints at Stiles. "Why are you reflecting at me? This isn't drama practice, we don't need to see your shining star or whatever you're trying to pull here."
Stiles looks down at his practice uniform and sighs. When he pulled his equipment out of his bag, he hadn't been able to get all the glitter off. He has no idea where it all came from, his school stuff wasn't near the yard until after it got cleaned up. The stuff is like an infection and spreading everywhere.
"Sorry, Coach," he says, but doesn't elaborate. "Won't happen again."
"Actually, it probably will. Everyone gather in! Now!" As everyone runs towards them, Coach leans in and asks Stiles, "I made the right call not making a sparkly vampire comment, right?"
"Yeah, Coach," Stiles says. "No one wants to hear that."
"Good. I'm totally hip with what's not hip," he says. "Gotta stay in touch with you young idiots. I said gather 'round!" He blows the whistle again, and Stiles is able to hide his snorting sound because of it.
After everyone is in a formation around the coach, he starts in on a rather long (but completely valid) speech about how things around the school keep getting broken and destroyed. "Especially in the locker room, for some reason. Now, I know none of you brutes would do anything to your own turf, right?" There's silence and the coach puts his hands on his hips. "Right?"
"Right, Coach!" goes up the round of voices.
"Right. But it's costing our department a big wad of cash we do not have. I still haven't been able to replace the Bowflex that was mysteriously broken last year."
Stiles notices how Jackson and Scott are studiously looking away from each other. Oh yeah, there was that incident last spring when the wolf and the kanima were a couple of territorial morons for all of five seconds before Stiles called Derek in to deal with it. Derek was there almost instantly, which is why Stiles is pretty sure that his theory of Derek spending his entire day lurking around the school like a creeper isn't actually a theory but a law of physics. Derek put both the idiot pups in time-out, which was almost amusing except for how they both pouted for days and days and Stiles had to hear all about it. But Derek hadn't been there in time to save Coach's precious gym equipment, which was irrevocably broken. None of them heard the end of it from the coach for a couple months either, not until school was finished and they just didn't have to see him. And apparently it isn't the end.
"... So that's why we're doing that. Stiles!" Coach says. "This is when your sparkly junk will become very useful."
"Um," Stiles says. The other guys laugh because … well, yeah. Thanks for that, Coach. Sparkly junk, did he really just say that? Stiles wants the earth to open up and swallow him whole.
"Make a poster about our fundraiser, take your shirt and rub it all over to spice it up, and then hang up the poster." Coach claps his hands together and looks at Stiles expectantly. "Think you could do that?"
"Good, you're in charge of advertising." Coach turns to another player to assign him some sort of task.
Stiles leans towards Scott. "What am I in charge of?"
"Yes, thanks, Sherlock," Stiles says, rolling his eyes. "Of what."
"The team's fundraising event. Weren't you listening?"
Stiles doesn't have time to answer that -- of course he wasn't -- when the coach calls for their attention again. "I'm sure you all know Ms. Morrell." He points over to the bleachers, and the guidance councilor waves at them all. "She's been very generous in agreeing to help supervise our fundraising event--"
Stiles hisses at Scott, "What event?"
"Stilinksi!" Coach yells out.
"You'll be needing to talk to her about times and venues and such. To put on your shiny posters."
"Right, will do," he says, and waves at Ms. Morrell. She smiles at him.
Stiles likes the councilor. She's nice and has left him alone about his fidgetiness in class and tendency to get sent to the principle's office because of it. She just tries to redirect it, or find him coping mechanisms, and stuff like that. It hasn't really worked, probably because he doesn't pay that much attention, but she's been good about it. He and his dad actually just saw her the week before; his dad was concerned about Stiles and his college applications, wanting to make sure Stiles wasn't slacking off on not taking the right courses to get in and such. It had been fine, of course, but his dad had looked more at ease after the meeting. Well, before the parental angst started, anyway.
They're finally dismissed, and he dutifully runs up to her.
"Hi, Ms. Morrell," Stiles greets. "I have no idea what I'm doing."
She grins at him. "I think that's why I've been recruited. Do you have a free period tomorrow?"
"After lunch," he says, nodding.
"Come by my office then."
"Sure," he says. She says goodbye and starts to walk away.
When Stiles makes a startled noise, she turns back to him. "Is everything okay, Mr. Stilinski?"
"Oh, yeah, fine," he says, and plasters on a smile. He points to her bag, which has a long strap and the purse part is settled on her hip. "That's a nice flower."
The stem is twined around the zipper pull and it hangs down a little. It looks pretty darn similar to the ones that popped up in his yard yesterday. He swears there's even some glitter on it, catching in the light of the afternoon sun.
"Thank you," she says with a smile. "I like flowers."
"Yeah, uh, great. Me too. It's … yeah." His mind is whirling a million miles a minute, but he doesn't know what to say to interrogate a guidance councilor about attacking his father's house with girly things, so he just waves and turns abruptly, going back to the locker room.
At least he has a clue what, and who, to research. Possibly.
"You really should get that problem checked out," Scott says as Stiles pulls off his shirt and there's glitter practically embedded in his skin.
"Thank you, Captain Obvious," Stiles replies. "Are you gonna come with me to do research?"
"Nah, can't," Scotts says, unsurprisingly. "I'm giving Allison a ride home."
"Sure you are," Stiles says, and as much as he doesn't want to see the two of them sucking each other's lips off, he can't hold it against them for wanting time alone. Must be kinda nice.
Internet research is rather unfruitful. There still isn't anything on flowers appearing out of thin air, nothing he can take seriously. There's no info on Ms. Morrell either, other than being listed on Beacon Hills High School webpage as part of the staff. He tries to think about her back over the last couple of years, but other than his few interactions -- and knowing that she's not nearly as good at Archaic Latin as their smart Lydia is -- he's got nothing substantial that would mean she has anything to do with anything.
Nothing other than a smelly flower, and Stiles just knows that means something.
He thinks about asking Lydia about Ms. Morrell and how her sessions went … and yeah, no. That's not going to go over well, she doesn't like to talk about it and Stiles will just get punched in the balls if he tries, so he'll have to come up with something else. A last resort, maybe, but a very much last resort because he rather likes his balls how they are.
But, it's okay. Stiles can figure this out.
After some frustration, he pushes it out of his mind long enough to do some homework because he knows how Mr. Harris will jump on him tomorrow so he needs to be prepared. It's later into the evening when his father calls out that he needs to head into the station for a bit.
"Okay, Dad!" Stiles yells back.
Just as he hears the front door slam shut -- that's when he feels it, something beckoning to him, deep and warm in his chest. The smell of flowers suddenly fills his room.
"Shit," he says, and shakes his head, trying to clear the sudden fogginess from it.
He bolts downstairs, throws open the door, and sees his dad standing by his car. Not getting in, not checking it for flat tires or anything, just standing as still as a statue. He's staring down the road, past the Jenkins' house, and into the woods that line the back of it.
"Dad!" Stiles says, and his father snaps out of it. "Aren't you going to be late for work?"
"Right," his dad says, and opens the car door.
"That way," Stiles says, pointing the opposite direction of where his father was staring. "Don't forget, it's that way."
" Yes, Stiles, I know." When the car starts to back out of the drive, Stiles worries that it'll turn the wrong way, that his dad will steer it in the direction of the flower smell. Thankfully, he doesn't. He heads to work.
Stiles? Well, he should go back into the house. Finish looking at his chemistry chapter, and prepare for tomorrow, and maybe go online one more time to see if he can come up with anything.
He doesn't, though. Instead, he follows the smell he instinctively knew to keep his father away from. Apparently, the lure is enough to get one Stilinski that night. Stiles much prefers it to be himself.
Stiles knows these woods like the back of his hand; he practically grew up right in them, and as children he and Scott explored a lot. Then, of course, in the recent years there's been all the crazy activity happening here, so they've become even more familiar. He should know better than to go into them alone, especially when he doesn't even know what he's looking for, but who ever said he played it cautious? No one, that's who.
Which is probably the problem.
He follows the smell and it overtakes him, filling his head with its sweet lure. The further he goes into the forest, the lighter it gets outside -- which is just wrong, because it's the end of the day and it's always darker the deeper you get into the thick trees. In the dim light, he can see little sparkles floating on the air -- not quite like craft glitter, maybe, but he can pick out speckles of gold and purple.
He breaks through a thicket and steps into a clearing, and that's when he sees it -- when he sees her.
Only, this isn't the Ms. Morrell he knows. The woman in front of him is even more unearthly beautiful, a shimmer of gold brushed over her skin and catching in the light, purple streaks in her dark hair. Her ears are pointed -- not ridiculous-pointed like Scott or Derek's, but delicate like Arwen from Lord of the Rings. When she flashes her eyes at him, they're all golden except for purple pupils.
Clearly, she has a colour scheme going on to her supernaturalness.
He thinks about ducking out of there, because he has no idea what the hell is going on and seeing this has shaken him out of his daze, but she's already seen him. He stands on the edge of the light that's illuminating from her, at least a good twelve feet, which isn't all that reassuring. It doesn't feel far enough.
She stands in an elegant pose and she nods knowingly. "A Stilinski. I've been waiting."
"Oh, well, here I am," Stiles says, then points a thumb over his shoulder. "You know, I think I'll just--"
"Do not go yet," she says, and it feels like Stiles' feet are cemented to the forest floor. Shit, he's not going anywhere. She tilts her head as she slowly steps around him in a wide berth, but her light is still keeping him in its circle. Flowers spring up underfoot with each step she takes. And he's pretty sure that, at some angles, he can see nearly invisible but iridescent wings out behind her, but it could just be a trick of the light. He hopes to hell it is because he doesn't even know how he's going to deal with wings.
"Tell me, Stiles," she says. "Are you very lonely?"
"Of course not," he answers immediately. "No loneliness here. Very un-lonely. I have loads of friends."
"Do you, now?"
"And they'll miss me, you know. If I don't show up tomorrow? They'll know. They will all know. And come looking. Just saying. We're good like that."
"That is not what I meant. In matters of the heart, are you lonely?"
"Well, are you?" he blurts out before thinking. That … probably isn't the best tactic ever, and he's kind of defensive over it, he'll be the first to admit it. But getting over your first real and long-lasting crush and then having no one else that even comes close to filling that void really sucks.
She doesn't seem to be offended. She tilts her head to the other way and says sadly, "Very. And for a very, very long time." Her face brightens and she smiles. And, oh god, all her top teeth are pointed. Tiny, but still very pointed. Stiles knows enough to be nervous of that. She sounds incredibly pleased with herself when she says, "But I think that's over now. I don't have to be alone. I've found--"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Stiles says, and he's looking around for a way out of this mess while waving his hands defensively even though his feet won't budge. "That's very flattering and, uh, morally unethically of you, but flattering! But you're not my type. Really not. And I need to go. Now. My dad will be really worried. Did you know he's the Sheriff? Of course you did."
"You're not going anywhere, Stiles," she says calmly, not at all intimidated by him. "Not until I--"
She's interrupted again, thank fuck, but not by Stiles. There's a growl that rips through the air, one that's familiar and sends of rush of relief pulsing through his body.
Derek bursts through the trees and bounds a giant leap. Stiles is surprised when he lands neatly beside Stiles, wolfed out and on all fours, instead of slashing at the throat of the supernatural being with his sharp claws. It's his favourite move.
"A werewolf," the non-Ms. Morrell says. She looks amused rather than frightened. "How adorable are you?" She'd probably reach out and pinch Derek's cheeks like a granny if he'd let her.
Stiles' nervousness takes over. "Oh, so you haven't met him? He has big claws. Likes to use them, too. A lot. In painfully-tear-you-apart ways. Just saying."
"Not helping, Stiles," Derek says. He stands up and shuffles closer to Stiles -- hey, Derek can move, isn't frozen into spot. That's not fair. "You're a faerie."
"Oh!" Stiles says. "That … yeah, I didn't know that at all."
She gives her sharp smile, and Derek bares his teeth. Oh, fantastic, it's a supernatural dentistry showdown that could probably rival the one with the vamps last year, and Stiles is going to stand here unable to do anything. Great. Hopefully they keep it out of the way.
She says, "As you can see, we are busy. Please excuse us."
"No," Derek says, much to Stiles' relief. "You can't have him."
"I can if I want," she replies smoothly.
"Uh, have who? Me? Because, like I said, flattered but--"
Derek says, "He's mine."
"What?" Stiles asks just as the faerie laughs and says, "He is not."
Derek steps even closer to Stiles and slips an arm around his waist. He's still all Wolf-Man, but he's careful with his claws while still coming off as really possessive too. He smells like pine trees and freshly cut grass, and Stiles relaxes into the smell as it pushes the overpowering sweetness of flowers away.
"Um," Stiles says smartly.
"You can't have him," Derek says to her, but squeezes Stiles' waist as a signal.
"Right," Stiles says, going along with it, mostly so he doesn't have werewolf claws or faerie teeth puncturing any part of his body. He awkwardly slides his arm around Derek's shoulders -- his feet are still frozen into place, he can't shift to make the two of them fit together right, but he leans into Derek's body anyway. "See? Told you, not lonely. Not at all. All good here, perfectly all legit and stuff."
She smiles suddenly and now looks incredibly serene as opposed to rip-your-face-off angry she was getting to. "By the end of the month, I will have he who is mine." The promise fills the tense night air.
"Okay, right," Stiles says, "sure, but not me. Because, you know." He awkwardly squeezes the back of Derek's neck. "You know."
"You had better keep him safe and happy, Derek Hale," she warns.
Derek growls but says, "I will."
With a sly smile and a poof of annoying glitter, she's gone through the trees faster than anything Stiles has seen, though Derek doesn't follow, and Stiles can move again.
"So," Stiles says as he turns to Derek, "what the hell was that all about?"
"Not entirely sure," Derek says, and he's calm enough now that he's just normal Derek. Brow still furrowed and cranky look to his face, but in a human way at least. He lets go of Stiles and starts to walk out of the woods. Stiles scrambles to keep up. With the crazy lady gone, it really is dark, and Stiles isn't the one with the night vision eyesight. He sticks close to Derek's side.
"Come on," Stiles says, "you must have some sort of idea. You knew what she was!"
"Yeah, I've heard of them. They are very old. Like, antiquity old. There aren't many left, and they've had to adapt to the world, but they're surviving somehow. And … well."
"Well? Well what, Derek, seriously. I need to know what is going on here. You gotta know what almost just happened to me."
"An idea, maybe," Derek says. He stops and looks at Stiles, and the half-moon is bright enough that Stiles can make out his features. "Completely adapting to society is hard for them, so … it's possible she's here to kidnap you for a while. Or forever. It's what they do. Have always done."
"Kidnap! But, why? For what --"
Derek raises his eyebrows once and gives Stiles an Are you kidding me, here? look.
"Oh … Oh! She's my teacher. Teenaged fantasies aside, that's wrong. Plus, she's old."
"She's ancient. Literally. Their standards were different back then." He pauses for a moment. "Clearly."
"Oh, up yours."
"Their age requirement was different. She probably needs to incorporate modern day society expectations, yeah, but she's a supernatural being that doesn't care." Stiles knows Derek is just pulling this crap from their experience with the crazy vamps last year … which, actually, makes a lot of sense. Crazy old creatures need an upgrade. Derek adds thoughtfully, "To her, you should probably be married with a bunch of babies by now."
"And you'd be an old man on his death bed," Stiles shoots back. "Oh, god, I'm being stalked by a supernatural cougar!"
"Faerie, actually. Nothing to do with felines."
"Shut up, you're just trying to distract me from the almost-kidnapping," Stiles says and rolls his eyes. He swears he catches the ghost of a grin as Derek turns away. But then it hits Stiles what really just happened and he starts to go into panic mode. "Forever. She can't take me forever! Or even a little while. She can't have me at all."
"No, she can't." Derek pulls a look that could mean he wants to laugh his ass off, or else maybe he wants to shoot himself in the foot with the Jenkins kids' BB gun. "Because -- until we figure this out -- apparently, you're mine."
"We are each other's, don't be an asshole," Stiles retorts immediately. Then he stops to think about what he said and says, horrified, "Wait, what?"
When Stiles made the plan to start dating someone in senior year, this was not what he had in mind.