Now whether the supernatural world meant that in a derogative manner, or if they were trying to warn everyone that the wolves were basically teenager girls – fully equipped with fur and teeth – Stiles wasn’t sure. Hell, he half expected that the next time they ran into their latest problem, she would inform him that his shoes didn’t match his pants or that the messy hair style really wasn’t in anymore.
Of course, if Stiles was being completely honest with himself, the look really wasn’t.
“Stiles, you are aware of what the words; treading lightly entail, correct?” Derek growled lowly, red eyes peeking over a broad shoulder.
Shrugging, Stiles purposefully stepped on a twig, smiling when the crack echoed. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you over the sound of your male pride,” he snipped, gesturing vaguely at the topless man as he pushed his thoughts to the side. “I mean come on, I was in bed – asleep – when you called and I still managed to show up fully clothed. How is it that you couldn’t find the time to slip on a shirt?”
Derek cocked a brow, his stride slowing and allowing the boy to catch up. “Stiles, you’re wearing Batman pyjamas,” he pointed out, snorting under his breath.
“And you’re not wearing a shirt,” Stiles retorted. “They’re still pants, sourwolf. Batman or not”
Grunting, Derek began to move forward again, tearing his eyes away from the teenager. “I’d rather be wearing nothing at all then whatever the hell you call those things,” he muttered, ears twitching as he listened to their surroundings.
“How is it that you’ve managed to steer the conversation from your lack of a shirt, to my lack of a fashion sense?” Stiles questioned before faltering, a quizzical expression tightening his lips. “Well, not lack of a fashion sense per say, I at least have more than one shirt and a single pair of dark jeans.”
Slowly turning, Derek lifted both brows, looking down at the plain sweats he wore. Stiles followed his gaze, his own eyes falling onto the material before he scoffed, throwing both his hands into the air for emphasis. “Oh, sorry, you have a pair of sweatpants,” Stiles rolled his eyes before smiling. “So is that why you’re not wearing a shirt? Let me guess, your only Henley didn’t match your sweats?”
Derek gnashed his teeth, eyes flashing. “Stiles,” he warned, stalking forward. The frustration from not only failing to hunt down the rogue werewolf, but also from losing the argument with the over active child was leaking through, his features shifting wolfishly. “Shut up, or I’ll make you shut up.”
Stiles held up his hands. “Yeesh, fine, sorry. You do know we’re here looking for an omega, not your lost pride, right?” he grumbled, shoving both his hands into his jacket pockets. “Just admit that the Henley doesn’t match; no need to get all eyebrowsy over it.”
Derek stopped again, ready to growl out an answer when a lone howl echoed through the dark woods. Both men stopped, their mouths open in confusion and eyes locked before they jumped into action; darting through the trees and dodging stray branches. Admittedly, Derek reached the location first, his eyes widening as the teenager stumbled through the tree behind him.
Stiles blanched at the sight, realising why the alpha had frozen. The omega was here alright and currently locked in a fierce battle with Scott, both snapping and clawing at each other like there was no tomorrow. Isaac stood off to the side, slumped against a tree and cradling his shoulder while he watched the fight fearfully. His wolfed out features and expression revealed that it he was the one who had called for help, no doubt shocked that the single wolf had managed to cause so much trouble.
Golden pools of fear locked onto the pair, widening. “Derek?” Isaac called, his good hand reaching out for them. “Help?”
The plea damn near broke Stiles heart, and judging by the growl building in the alpha’s chest; it hurt Derek as well. Stalking forward, Derek snarled at the one person who had dared to touch his pack, his eyes bleeding red.
“Scott, help Isaac and make sure the others are coming,” he demanded in a low voice, his careful steps precise and practised.
The beta in question turned at the voice, eyes widening in shock and relief at the sight. “Der—” his exclamation was cut short by a swift punch to his stomach. The omega had taken advantage of the brief distraction, lashing out with a smooth hit that sent Scott flying across the clearing.
With a roar Derek leaped forward, ready to maim and kill while Stiles scrambled across the clearing towards his fallen friend, ready to coddle and heal. “Scott? Shit, dude, are you okay?” he stammered, his hands hovering over his friend’s body.
Scott grunted, coughing up some blood. “Ugh, hell no,” he grumbled, wincing as red dribbled down his cheek. “But I will be in about five minutes,” he added, dropping his head back against the ground.
Rolling his eyes, Stiles turned, studying the fight happening behind him. Derek was easily gaining the upper hand, sheer strength and force of will managing to outweigh the speed the female wolf possessed. With a determined nod, Stiles shot across the cleaning, intent on the other fallen pup.
“Isaac,” Stiles soothed, smiling as one hand gingerly pressed against his shoulder. “You okay man?”
The wolf whimpered at the pressure. “It’s dislocated – she threw me against a bloody tree,” he gasped, groaning. “I need... to reset it before my body tries to heal it again.”
“Again?” Stiles questioned, one hand waving.
Ignoring the exclamation, Isaac bit his lip. “Can you...” he swallowed thickly.
“Me?” Stiles squeaked, gazing down at the awkwardly sitting limb. “Uh, well, you know...”
Thankfully, another voice cut into the conversation, saving the stammering teen from further embarrassment. “Move it Stilinski,” Jackson growled, bumping the boy out of way. “Okay, take a deep breath Isaac; I’m pulling it back in three... two...”
Realising what was about to happen, Stiles blanched and backed away, feeling slightly queasy at the thought. Having no where else to fall, his attention landed on the fight happening only a few feet away from him, watching the dangerous dance with absent minded appreciation. It was clear who was going to come out as victor; while Derek wasn’t uninjured – there was blood on his arm that indicated there had been a wound... once – he was in better shape than the omega he was battling who was currently limping and holding her skin together with her free hand.
Recognizing the victory, Stiles grinned, his fist pumping in the air as he shouted out. His celebration lasted only a few seconds before his smile slipped, face falling into a look of horror as he scrambled back. Derek’s latest kick had managed to catch the omega in the stomach, stealing her breath and sending her across the clearing and away from the pack...
... And into Stiles.
“Oof!” Stiles crumpled under the weight, hitting the ground with a satisfying crunch. He felt his ribs creak under the pressure, rocks and sticks alike digging into the soft skin of his back. “Oh my god, get off!”
He pushed at the limp woman, forcing the disorientated body away from his own as he coughed up his lungs. Derek was behind the blonde before she could regain her breath, hands tightening around the tanned column of her neck. Stiles ignored her pathetic flailing, instead focusing on the pain in his back and chest as her fighting stopped, body falling limp.
Probing around his ribs, Stiles muttered under his breath, resisting the urge to cry out. His ribs were broken, that much was clear and the cuts on his back felt deep enough for at least a few to require stitches. It was hospital trip – and therefore a disaster – waiting to happen.
Stiles couldn’t go to hospital.
“Jesus, Derek really? Can we do target practise another day?” he coughed, rubbing his chest as his bones knitted themselves back together. “And can Stiles not be the target?”
Derek threw the body to the side, his lips curling in disgust. “You’re hurt,” he answered dryly, canines still sharp and his eyes flashing as he looked over to the fallen pack member.
Stiles stiffened, mentally begging his body to heal faster. “Uh, what? No, I’m not...” he chuckled nervously. “I’m a little winded sure, but not actually damaged or anything.” He reached out wildly with one hand, leaning against the nearest tree for support as he pushed himself up. “Damn it all, she weighed more than I thought.”
“I can smell blood,” Derek grinded out, taking a step forward with the intention to help. “And you were thrown across the clearing, there’s no use trying to hide it, Stiles.”
Narrowing his eyes, Stiles took a step back, increasing the distance between the two. “Uh, you can probably smell the blood on yourself, or the blood slowly dripping from the non-healing omega at your feet...” he pointed out.
As if on cue, all eyes dropped to the lifeless body and the unseeing golden orbs still wide and frightened. “I don’t smell my blood, or hers for that matter,” Derek finally spoke. “I smell yours.”
Stiles grunted, looking away from the burning red eyes. “I’m not bleeding alright?” he growled, wrapping his arms around himself protectively. “Give it a break, would you?”
Actually give it, like, two minutes because then I would have finished healing... Maybe three more for the ribs.
Derek growled, his brows furrowing. “If you’re not bleeding...” he began dangerously. “Then why is the stench of your blood everywhere I turn?”
“Stench?” Stiles echoed, looking offended. “Well, that was rude.”
The teenager in question jerked back in fright, whiskey eyes wide. “I-I’m fine alright?” he stammered, holding up both his hands. “Really, I’m fine, look.” Turning around, Stiles lifted his jacket and plain shirt, revealing a smooth expanse of pale skin marred only by the occasional mole.
And smearing of blood.
“There’s blood on your back,” Derek pointed out, one hand reaching closer and pressing against a red smear. He pulled his arm back, ignoring the way the boy tensed at his touch before lifting his hand to his nose. “And it smells like you...”
Stiles chuckled, opening his mouth soundlessly. “Well, as you can see... Nothing,” he argued weakly, dropping his shirt and rubbing the back of his neck.
Derek frowned but a small look from his pack members stopped him short. “Okay,” he muttered slowly, allowing the matter to slide. “You boys better head home, Erica as well. I’ll clean this up,” he allowed, waving one hand in their direction. “I’ll see you back home okay Isaac?”
The boy frowned before shaking his head. “No, I’ll stay with you...”
Stiles smiled, clapping his hands together with a sudden movement. “Cool, so our adventure is over and I can finally go back to sleep and pretend that my life’s normal!” he declared before waving his friend forward. “Come on Scott, I’m your ride remember genius?”
The wolf smiled, shooting forward to friend’s side before wincing. “Yeah, cool, let’s go dude.”
Stiles winked at the remaining wolves, pushing his best friend through the trees before hurrying forward to help him when the male whimpered. “See you later losers!”
Derek watched the pair disappear through the trees, red eyes bleeding back to green as his body relaxed further. The teenage boy wasn’t exactly normal, but his actions only minutes earlier had been suspicious, even for him.
Frowning, Derek looked down, clearing his throat and reaching for the body at his side. “So Issac, how’s the shoulder?”
Wincing, Stiles watched his best friend shift awkwardly. “Dude, are you sure you’re okay?” he questioned. “Is it really healed?”
Scott just waved off the concern, smiling instead. “Yeah, it’s alright man; it just hurts a little you know? Like an ache. Anyway, it’ll be fine by tomorrow morning,” he admitted, finally slumping against the car seat. “What about you?”
Stiles blinked. “Me? What about me?” he asked dumbly, stopping the car at a red light.
“You’re hurt, aren’t you? I mean, you have to be...” Scott reminded the boy, cocking a brow in challenge. “No offence man, but we all know what you smell like and in turn know what your blood smells like...”
Exhaling harshly, Stiles made the car shoot forward. “I’m not hurt alright? You saw my back, it was completely unharmed.”
“Blood doesn’t just pop up out of no where,” Scott chuckled. “And how do I know that it was your back that was injured? Yeah, sure, you landed on the ground and it’s not like there was a complete lack of pointy sticks but for all I know you could have torn up your thigh – or your chest, you kept rubbing it.”
Stiles spluttered, his mouth moving frantically. “Are you kidding me? I was winded! Do you know how much that woman weighed?”
Scott folded his arms. “Okay then if you weren’t injured why could we smell blood?”
“Uh, because I’m bruising?” Stiles offered.
“Bruising?” Scott parroted, his brow drawn together. “Bruises have a smell?”
Stiles shook his head. “Bruises are blood underneath the skin, idiot,” he scolded. “So, that’s why you could smell blood.”
Scott looked down in confusion. “We can smell blood when it’s underneath the skin?” he questioned, poking at his own skin experimentally.
Stiles tuttered, hitting the steering wheel lightly. “I don’t know, do I look like the resident expert on werewolves?” he demanded.
Glowering at his passenger, Stiles growled under his breath, pulling into a familiar driveway. “Look, I’m out of answers for you okay!” he argued, looking flustered. “Just get the hell out of my car and stop caring about me so much, it’s giving me a chest ache.”
Scott just smiled, laughing at his friends antics. “Yeah, yeah,” he rolled his eyes. “Hey, you’re still picking me up for school tomorrow right? You promised you’d give me a ride remember...”
Stiles nodded, remembering the promise easily. “Yeah, I’ll be here around eight?” he guessed, shrugging a shoulder. “Now get out and don’t slam the door behind you please and thank you.”
Clambering out of the car, Scott busied himself with grabbing his backpack. “Cool, see you then, oh and...” he popped his head back into the car. “If your dad asks about where you’ve been just tell him mum needed a lift back from the hospital? I can tell her to cover for you.”
“Thanks man,” Stiles nodded. “But I don’t plan on getting caught.”
“Yeah well, what you’ve planned and what actually occurs are two very different things,” Scott grinned, slamming the car door shut behind him.
Scott bounded away from the car, hefting his bag over his shoulder and moving up towards the house. “Later dude,” he called, chortling at the pissed off expression gracing the other boy’s features.
Huffing, Stiles pulled away from the house, narrowing his eyes as his best friend disappeared through the front door. His beloved jeep was back on the road within seconds, the engine wheezing dangerously as Stiles fiddled with the radio, his lips pursed.
“Oh ick, Lady Gaga,” he shuddered, quickly twirling the small dial again. His tongue crept out from the corner of his mouth, eyes flicking between the road and the radio before him. A familiar song came on and the boy grinned, relaxing back into his seat with a firm nod. “This I can listen too...”
His fingers absently tapped out a beat as he turned the final corner towards his home, eyes locking onto the police cruiser in the driveway with a small grunt.
Papa Stilinski was home.
Stiles sighed, pulling up beside the car and slumping into his seat as he stared down the vehicle. His father had been absent when he’d been called from the house in a hurry, and vaguely the teenager wondered if the older man had noticed the lack of a certain jeep through his state of exhaustion. Shrugging, the boy pulled his keys from the car, locking the older vehicle behind him.
“Oh wait, damn, I didn’t even get to finish the song,” Stiles realised, unlocking the front door warily, one hand raking through his hair. Out of habit, he locked it firmly behind him, taking a few cautious steps into the house. “Dad?”
“Dad?” Stiles called again, wandering further into the house and looking around. He headed for the stairs, hands wringing nervously together before he caught the form on the couch. “Dad?” He moved forward, smiling weakly down at the snoring man. “How the hell can you sleep on that thing?” he muttered, glaring at the couch in question.
He didn’t receive an answer; instead a small hum left the older man’s throat as a blanket was draped over his body. Stiles pursed his lips, shrugging when the silence echoed around him. “Huh, well I think it’s uncomfortable,” he grumbled, patting his father’s shoulder before backing away and cocking his head.
Stiles nodded in satisfaction at the sight, turning to head up the stairs and towards his room. The door was still slightly ajar from his sudden exit only hours before and he nudged it with his hip, yawning widely. “God, these late night excursions are losing their novelty,” he muttered.
The lamp beside his bed cast shadows over his wall, causing the boy to jump when he saw movement. Growling under his breath at his own idiocy, Stiles wandered further into his room, shrugging his shirt off as he did so. A pale hand ran over the smooth skin of his back, checking for any blemishes before he turned, allowing him to check in the mirror.
The skin was smeared red in some places, showing where the wounds had originally been, but there were no marks otherwise. Not even a scar.
“Fuck, that was close,” Stiles whispered, dropping himself onto the edge of his bed. His head was quickly cradled in his hands and absently he breathed deeply, checking for any twinges of pain from his ribs. Nothing came and he dropped back, arms spread out as he stared up at the ceiling with a pained expression.
He’d panicked tonight. When Derek had approached him, talking about his injuries, his heart had speed up and he knew the wolves had no doubt heard it. Whether they thought it was from exertion or fright, he didn’t care, he only cared that they’d been too close. If Derek had forced him to turn around, or someone had pulled his shirt up and seen the healing wounds it would’ve been the end of it.
Months of hiding would’ve been lost.
Sitting up and throwing his shirt back on, Stiles moved to wiggle under the covers. His eyes slipped closed with a wince, his body still aching slightly as he slowly fell into a restless sleep.