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Shot Through The Heart

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The Sweetest Kill

Stiles knows as soon as he steps out onto the observation deck on the 70th floor that he’s fucked.

The wind has picked up. The sun is starting to disappear behind the Empire State building, and the casing he’s carrying around for his semi automatic sniper rifle weighs a freaking tonne.

He sort of wants to kiss the floor in gratitude that there is an elevator option for once- he probably would have died before his target if he’d taken to lugging the rifle case up 70 flights of steps.

But even if the elevator saved him several aching muscles and manly tears of frustration- he still thinks he’s fucked, anyway. The target has left only a three minute window of opportunity, and this job has been poorly organised and thrown together in a sudden rush effort that doesn't make him feel remotely confident.

All they’ve given him is the guy’s headshot.

And it’s terrible, because now he is ridding the world of one more ridiculously attractive, instant pants dropping- take me now, if you please- regulation hottie.

Even if he has a scowl to rival Kristen Stewart.

The photo of him isn’t even that good to begin with. It’s pretty grainy. Only capturing the side profile of his face, because they’ve had technical trouble with security cameras whenever the dude turns his eyes on them.

Stiles is basically firing in the dark, here. And he doesn’t even really need the money for this job. Although, it is a pretty banging amount to remove the man with unusually communicative eyebrows from the plane of existence.

It’s too bad, really. But he’s been doing this for years now, and there’s no point bitching about the job that needs to be done. Or crying into his pillow over the shattered dreams of actually resisting serial killer status- his profession isn’t really helping him in that regard.

So instead of getting the hell out of dodge or maybe flinging himself readily over the Top Of The Rock observation deck, he crouches down and starts assembling his weapon.

It’s because of moments like this that people doubt he has ADHD- when he’s able to hyper focus on the task, slipping so easily into concentration that the rest of the city falls away. It’s only when he opens his mouth or lets go of the rifle that they realise what they're dealing with.

The SR-25 is easy to work with, and it may or may not have become his precious since the very first time he handled it. If he were willing to make Lord of the Rifle comments which he is, much to the chagrin of his ABOM-nation colleagues.

He’s worked for ABOM-nation for two years now and his track record is perfect. Pristine. Not a single mistake, or target gone AWOL. Stiles never fails an assignment which is why ABOM-nation love him so freaking much.

He tried to ask once what the acronym stood for, but Lydia had only rolled her eyes and answered 'Attractive But Overzealous Murderers' so he figured it was safer to leave it a mystery. Another part of the whole 'mystique' thing.

It only takes him a minute of fast moving hands to put it all together into the killing machine the SR-25 is designed to be. Then he’s moving into place, adjusting the scope so that it’s in the right position.

The guy’s meant to be meeting someone, so he’s got enough time to set this up, even if he’s had a bad ju ju feeling from the beginning and probably didn’t bypass the security system properly on his way up. The cops will probably arrest him before he can even consider shooting anybody.

He takes a deep breath, and lets his mind wander along aimlessly as he scans the area below. The wind is going to throw the trajectory off, and it’s an insult to his skills if he doesn’t take the guy down in one shot. So he does the math, calculating how impossible this kill is going to be, and just how much he’s going to rub it in Jackson’s face when he succeeds.

His track record is flawless and he knows it pisses off the rest of the guys back at ABOM-nation, but only because they can’t handle that level of accuracy. And Stiles can. He’s been handling it since he took on the damn job. It’s like he was made for it.

He rolls his shoulders a bit as he waits, stiff from the flight that brought him into the Big Apple to commit this flawless murder.

The New Yorkers mostly ignored him, except for the very accommodating couple who handed him the rifle case before vanishing into the crowd of Times Square. Because ABOM-nation isn’t good enough, or stupid enough to attempt to smuggle weapons on a flight.

Stiles blinks a couple times, because the wind is battering at his eyelids and making them water, and he is not the kind of assassin that does the dramatic single-tear-sliding-down-the-cheek thing after shooting someone’s brains out.

Because his life is not a fucking melodrama.

So he wipes at his eyes distractedly, and waits for the wind to die down a little before he attempts to shoot it. He sighs, and then nearly drops the rifle when the target finally shows his face near the edge of the ice rink at the Rockefeller below.

He takes the time to inspect his face, just to be sure he’s not killing some random civilian, but the profile is undeniable.

Yep, definite regulation hottie. Allison, Lydia and Danny will probably kick him for this. He flexes his hands so they don’t cramp up while he waits for the guy to waltz into position and an early funeral.

Stiles shifts as he crouches over the ledge, tapping his feet impatiently as he watches. He’s jittery, and that’s never a good sign. The bad feeling he’s had from the beginning feels a little worse, and his intuition is saying this entire situation is a write-off, and a general big no no.

He’s going to kill Lydia for giving him this assignment. He'd had a whole weekend of couch potatoing planned before she came along and ruined everything. And no, he does not forgive her from drawing him away from it. There's a whole arsenal of other ABOM-nations she could've selected instead, especially since she'd overheard him gloating hard about his aforementioned super chill weekend approaching. Now, she's clearly just being mean.

Finally, thank God, the guy shifts forward into his sight. And Stiles feels like he can breathe easier for a moment. He double checks the calculations are right- he doesn’t want to crush his record now, just because he’d rather be climbing the guy like a tree than killing him. Because that is not the way of the professional killer. Or any kind of professional, really.

But everything seems alright. Maybe he's just being a little overdramatic. The flight had thrown off his body clock, and it is true that he's still feeling a little jet-lagged. Maybe that's all it is.

That's probably the reason, he quickly decides, eager to put this uncertainty behind him. He shakes himself for good measure as if that would push away the bad feeling, and resigns himself to the task of removing this fine piece of male specimen from the world. God, Danny is going to hit him so hard.

His finger slides over the trigger in a light, casual caress.

“Sorry, dude,” he mutters and flicks off the safety.

And that’s when it all goes to shit.

Because suddenly the guy whips his head around, and looks directly into his scope as if Stiles had called out to him from some 260 metres above ground level.

Stiles is so surprised that his finger actually falls away from the trigger. And then suddenly the guy is gone. Confused, Stiles quickly adjusts the scope, but the man has vanished altogether.

Well, fuck.

Stiles lowers the rifle and tries to use his naked eye to glance over the ledge below instead. He looks just in time to see the guy disappear into the lobby below with purpose to his stride.

Not running away from him. Oh no. Running towards him. And this is a very bad sign. He's so screwed now.

“Oh, shit!” he gasps, tripping over the rifle case and nearly firing off a shot into the sky as he falls on his ass, suddenly thanking God he’d taken his finger off the trigger.

This is the extent of weird crap he's willing to endure for the day, and Stiles gives up.

Time to bounce.

He scurries to disassemble the weapon, heart thumping frantically in his chest, because the target somehow fucking knew where he was, and what he’d been about to do and is now coming to get him. And Stiles doesn't think it's so they can exchange cell numbers.

His hands are shaking by the time he’s stuffed everything back into its proper place, adrenaline rushing through him and making the rifle case much lighter when he lifts it and sprints off the observation deck.

He pauses at the elevator, tempted by the easy option, but goes for the emergency stairs instead using his free hand to withdraw the Glock nestled safely within a holster strapped to his leg. He huffs out a litany of profanities as he takes the descent into hell, running down the steps from the 70th floor, mind racing.

The target. How the fuck had he known? It was literally like he’d heard Stiles, and that kind of shit is impossible unless you're superman or have a bionic ear or something. And if that is the case, it would have been in manila folder he’d received for the assignment.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” he curses when he almost face plants.

His feet feel like they are moving too fast for his body. The momentum propels him downward much quicker than what might be deemed safe.

This has to be a set up. Or an inside job. Jesus, he didn’t think Jackson had it in him. His footsteps thunder along the concrete steps, his heart pounding in his ears, but that still doesn’t drown out the resounding growl that echoes up from below.

He cranes his neck over the railing, staring down into the abyss and catching sight of the man as he stares up at him. Even Stiles can see the furious expression from where he's standing. Oh, Jesus. Miguel is definitely not happy.

And Stiles is beginning to doubt that was even his real name to begin with.

“Holy shit,” he cries, and fires without stopping.

Even with a Glock his shot is still accurate, and he hears the sharp crack as the bullet embeds itself in the concrete where the target had been standing seconds before. The accompanying grunt of surprise is immensely satisfying, but what's worse is the lack of any return fire. Only the ominous sound of rumbling footsteps as the target races up to meet him.

And it is that fact, that the man knows he has a rifle, and a Glock, and can have no doubt of his expert marksmanship, but is still fucking ascending the stairwell that scares him shitless.

Because he's pretty sure the target is completely unarmed, and Stiles is now extremely tempted to turn around and run back the way he’d come. The sound of pounding feet is distracting his thought process, but he manages to block it out to come up with a plan.

The guy probably isn’t too far from the ground floor. If Stiles reaches him, he might be able to jump from there. Realising that means he has to pick up the pace, Stiles puts on a burst of speed and ignores the strain in his wrist from the weight of the case.

He’s going to retire. This is it. He is so done with this shit right now. And he’d fucked up his flawless kill record. Screw this, he’d rather move to the Cayman Islands where his offshore bank account lives.

Maybe he should go to college, do something meaningful, and yet tame as fuck, with his life. Be a school teacher. He nearly trips again, but his other foot is moving too fast and its already on the next step before he can completely fall ass over face.

Stiles doesn't stop to comprehend how much that would've freaking hurt. He’s pretty fit for his age, but Jesus after so many levels his thighs are starting to ache, and his lungs are burning. He doesn’t even wanna know about the other guy running up the stairs.

But he’s lean and fast, whereas the target, from what he’d been able to see, is huge and broad shouldered with muscles flexing on top of his other muscles, so he has the advantage. For now, at least.

Only, the rifle case is slowing him down. And that is not going to help him when he makes contact with the target, unless it’s assembled and ready to fire. And he doesn’t have the time for that. Plus, a rifle in an emergency stairwell seems a bit like overkill. There's a increased likelihood that the bullets will ricochet in the close quarters and hit Stiles instead. It's a calculated risk he is not prepared to take.

The levels blur past him as he runs.

62nd floor.

61st floor.

Trips again on the 60th.

And the 58th.

Charlie Horse on the 46th.

Fires another warning shot on the 44th.

And on the 42nd.

It’s the 34th floor that things finally get interesting. Contact. Houston we have made contact.

But Stiles doesn't stop, and lifts the case like a protective shield in front of him, nearly dropping the Glock as he jumps the last few steps to the landing. The full weight of his body and the case slam into the target’s chest.

The man staggers backwards, stunned by the blow, and Stiles has the briefest glance of blood red eyes before he’s throwing himself straight off of the railing.

On the 34th floor.

Freefall is always a bitch. So he spreads his arms out almost instantly, reaching for the railing below and nearly wrenching his arms out of their sockets when gravity doesn’t want to let him go just yet. He drops the gun in the process, but he doubts it will help him much, anyway.

The target didn’t seem too worried about it. He pulls himself back up over the railing, scrambling quickly to get over when suddenly the guy is there.

Stiles lets out a strangled sound of shock, as the target seizes him by the front of his shirt, lifting him into the air. The muscles in his arms bunch when he twists and pushes Stiles against the opposite wall. Stiles' mouth is still open wide with shock. Where the hell had this guy come from?

“Who are you?” he snarls, getting right up into Stiles' personal space.

And would it be totally awkward if he popped a you're-trying-to-kill-me-but-I-still-find-this-hot, boner right now?

“Batman,” Stiles says, because he's nothing if not original, before kneeing Miguel in the balls and embedding a knife he’d pulled from the strap on his wrist into the guy's back when he jerks forward instinctively to cover his damaged package.

Stiles regrets that, he does.

The target twists out of range so the wound isn’t fatal, but it’s a good enough distraction, and the guy lets go of him pretty quickly after that.

Stiles scrambles away in the interim, sprinting down the staircase, taking them two at a time and not thinking about how warm the guy’s hands had felt on him. His unassembled rifle is a level up and below is his Glock, lying somewhere between him and the exit. There is no hesitation.

Stiles goes down. He can almost feel the guy’s breath on his neck, though he probably isn’t that close. Hitting someone’s balls is a sure fire way of slowing them down. Along with stabbing them.

Only, he isn’t so sure with this guy.

The way he moves. It’s just unnatural. Almost inhuman. Stiles stuffs his fingers into the pocket of his jacket, retrieving something he keeps there for emergencies or really flashy and ostentatious exits. And this little clusterfuck seems to call for both.

He throws the smoke grenade behind him and keeps running, feeling those blood red eyes on his back.

The guy disappears a second later in an explosion of grey smoke.

Stiles trips again on the 22nd floor.

On the 13th, he thinks he hears an animal snarling.

On the 7th, he trips over his Glock, but shoots straight to his feet again, fingers closing over the weapon and taking it with him.

He doesn’t stop until he reaches the ground floor, turning around at the last possible second and squinting through the smoke, expecting the guy to come barreling out like GI Joe.

But he doesn’t. The target is gone. And he is very much not-dead and still attractive.

And there goes Stiles’ confirmed kills record.

He pulls out the disposable phone that he's using at the moment- after stowing his gun away- and makes his way towards open traffic. He quickly hails a cab, ignoring the fact that he is covered in smoke dust and limping slightly.

“JFK international,” he spits out irritably, already dialing.

The driver nods, and pulls away from the curb, leaving the scene of Stiles' epic failure behind. She picks up on the first ring.

“ABOM-nation. How may we kill for you today?” Lydia drawls out, with her typical level of murderous enthusiasm.

Lydia, just Lydia- first names only is the first rule of ABOM-nation- has been working there much longer than he has.

And she's absolutely terrifying.

“I quit,” he says. “I’m done. This is so not how I pictured my day going. Oh, and I’m going to kill you, by the way.”

“Oh? Do tell?” Lydia encourages, and he can already see her twirling a strawberry blonde lock of hair in thoughtful response to his death threat.

At least she didn't laugh, that would have made him really feel like killing her. Or die trying. He's not entirely sure who would come out alive after that particular confrontation.

“I was made before I could, uh… file the contract,” he says.

“Stiles, you can put away the tin foil hat. The line’s secure. I’ve told you a billion times.”

He rolls his eyes, ignoring the furtive looks the taxi driver keeps shooting him as if expecting Stiles to pull a gun on him or something which has to be ironic because he actually has a gun- safely back in its holster though. For the moment.

“I’m in a taxi,” he explains. “And what can I say? I’m old school paranoid. You should have dated me when you had the chance.”

Lydia scoffs, and it does not remotely wound his man pride. Her tendency to instil horror in any who encounter her has deterred any further romantic involvement past the harmless flirting stage. That, and she's clearly not interested in him. Considering the sparseness of his dating life right now, he is all about the harmless flirting stage. It's safer that way.

“Why, because I want to wear tin foil hats too?” she wonders.

“Because my cat like reflexes and ninja instincts could save your life one day. It freaking saved mine tonight.”

“What are you…?”

He glances up at the driver and lowers his voice.

“Contact. Okay? I didn’t file the contract, because as soon as I was about to he turned around and looked right at me. Right through the scope notes, and the trigger date was unwillingly postponed.”

He can hear Lydia’s sharp intake of breath.

“Who the hell is this Miguel guy, anyway?” he demands. “And why did I end up with the last minute, papier-mâchéd effort of a contract?”

Lydia goes silent for a moment, and all he can hear is the frenzied typing of her manicured fingers across the keyboard.

“He scared me shitless, you know,” he continues. “I’m going to be looking over my shoulder for weeks and don’t even let me get started on how freaking attractive the dude was…”

“Oh my God,” she gasps, and Stiles goes still, listening intently for the penny to drop.

Because he's been trained to predict these kind of things in this line of business and there's a definite fucking penny to be dropped here.

He waits impatiently for her to continue, knowing if he presses her for details when she isn’t ready, she’ll just hang up on him. Lydia's probably not the best secretary ABOM-nation could've employed, which is probably why she's actually in charge of finances and coordinating their assignments. Hanging up on employees, and clients, is Lydia's special way of imposing conflict resolution.

At least she's still discreet.

“Stiles, I never authorised this,” she says slowly, tone already conspiratorial.

“So, it was a fuck up,” he guesses, feeling relieved that he's not to blame. “Does that mean my filing record isn’t broken?”

“Oh, it’s broken, alright,” she says sounding serious, and basically confirming how much the shit has hit the fan- metaphorically speaking.

“By none other than the expert contract killer of ALPHA, Derek Hale.”

Stiles swears so loudly the taxi driver flinches.

ALPHA, aka Adept Liquidating Professional Hire Assassins, is a rival gun for hire organisation of ABOM-nation, also known by Lydia as A Licentious Passé of Hopeless Assholes (she's got a gift for withering acronyms, and is not afraid to use it).

“What the hell happened?” she asks.

He sighs, rubbing at the back of his head tiredly.

“I told you. Contact happened. I was made as soon as I tried to file him, and then he caught me in the emergency stairwell.”

“Did you say anything to him? Like, say it was ABOM-nation who was trying to kill him?” she asks, trying to cover the company’s ass first before she does anything else.

It's clear where her loyalties are. Obviously, not with the guy who baked the cake for her birthday at the office last month. Or did the frosting. The fucking perfect frosting. Lydia has no idea what's she's missing out on.

“He asked who I was. And I said, 'Batman'.”

Lydia sighs forlornly, and he grins, leaning back into the seat in satisfaction, spreading out in a display of sudden overconfidence. As one liners go, he's pretty proud of the that one. Being a sniper doesn't give him much opportunity for banter.

“Of course, you did. My God, how are you not dead right now,” she says, huffing as if the fact disappoints her greatly.

His grin widens. “Just lucky, and you better stop with the flattery. You still suck, and I still quit. I am never filing for you, or for anyone, ever again. So you can forget it.”

“Finstock wants you in HQ as soon as you land,” she says sharply. “And I hope ALPHA guns you down on your way here.”

“Lyds you’re breaking my heart,” he promises, trying to keep the amusement out of his voice.

She snorts, and hangs up so he clearly failed at that, too.

So he relaxes further into the seat instead, drinking up the failure and general suckage that is now his life and it's all thanks to Mr Derek, I’m-a-bigshot-ALPHA-who-can-kill-people-better-than-you, fucking Hale.

Jackson is going to tear him to shreds. He’ll never live this down. For shame. But not before Finstock gets to him first. Stiles sighs, and closes his eyes, still seeing that flash of red beneath his eyelids.

He ignores the slight flush of arousal that twists through him when he pictures Derek’s face and stores that in his wank bank for later. That is after he's been reamed within an inch of his life and retreats back to the safety of his apartment.

God dammit, why hadn’t he just listened to the bad ju ju feeling he’d had from the beginning? Then they wouldn't be in this mess. And he wouldn't be stubbornly trying to figure out what the hell Derek Hale is.

And failing.

Finstock tears him to shreds as soon as he arrives at the super secret location of ABOM-nation HQ. He’s been working for Finstock’s company for two years now, and he’s never been involved in such a cock up as this. And it isn’t even his fucking fault.

Plus, there is no way Jackson hasn’t heard about it by now which totally sucks ass. Jackson's gonna be a little shit about it, Stiles can feel it in his bones.

“I don’t care,” he says when Finstock finally takes a break from yelling for over twenty minutes, to gulp air into his lungs. “I quit. Go hire some other fucking expert marksmen prodigy, if you can goddamn find one.”

Finstock’s eyes nearly bulge out of his head. “You can’t quit, you’re suspended until further notice. We don’t know how they’ll retaliate after you went after their best killer,” he barks. “So, you’re grounded until we give you the all-clear.”

Fucking A. Stiles resists the urge to shoot him, an itch he’s been wanting to scratch for years. “You’re the freaking sons of bitches who sent me on the assignment. Don’t put this shit on me. I lost my rifle, anyway,” he says. “So, if they retaliate I guess I’ll just die, see how you like that.”

“We didn’t bother with retrieval, because it was too dangerous and the area was compromised after contact was made. Lydia is ordering you a new weapon. You still have your Glock?”

He nods, tempted to withdraw it from its holster and wave it around for good measure because apparently he can’t be freaking trusted with simple tasks like that anymore. “Borrow Allison’s spare crossbow if you want extra protection. She’s out on assignment."

The last thing he wants is to start wielding someone else’s weapons. God, especially Allison’s. She’s ultimate old school; hunting bows, crossbows and the like, and all of them deadly. He still can’t believe Scott had thought it was a good idea to date her. She is almost as intense as Lydia.

Stiles groans. He’d just wanted to bitch about losing his weapon, because he is Lord of the Rifle no longer and the black hole of loss inside his chest needs to be acknowledged. Oh God, he needs whiskey. This is not okay.

And it is all fucking Miguel’s fault.

“I’ll survive without it,” he retorts. “Now, I’m going home, before you send me some other contract bullshit that makes me lose my Glock, as well.”

Finstock frowns, but doesn’t protest. “We’ll call you when the heat’s off.”

Stiles is already leaving the office by then and flips him off as he goes. He nearly runs straight into Scott outside the doorway.

“Hey, buddy,” he says, catching Scott with a weapon swung over his shoulder . “You about to go out on assignment?”

Scott smiles. “Nah, I’m done. What happened to you? You look like shit. Jackson was bragging about you failing your kill record?”

“That’s a total technicality!” he protests. “The contract was a total set-up.”

Scott’s expression hardens, losing his sweet, easy going edge for a moment. “By those ALPHA douches? Jackson said it had to do with them. Anyway that sucks, man. You free now?”

He shrugs. “Yeah, but I just wanna crash on my couch, eat pizza and watch shitty TV until Finstock gives me the all-clear. You in?”

“Cheesy crust?”

“My man, it is not pizza without cheesy crust,” he states seriously.

Scott grins. “Can’t argue with that.”

Stiles knows something is up as soon as he climbs out of the Jeep.

He wants to say it's like a sixth sense; a disturbance in the force kind of feeling, but it's really the fact that it's almost two in the morning and he can see the front door of his apartment is ajar. And Stiles knows that he locked it yesterday before he left. Scott is already sampling the pizza and nearly walks straight into him, almost covering Stiles in the entire box.

He signals quietly for him to go around the back as he withdraws his gun, and then continues a heated silent discussion over whether or not Scott should take the pizza with him. Scott does, but not before Stiles slaps him over the back of the head with the butt of his gun. Scott grunts quietly at him, and flips him the bird before disappearing around the back of his house.

The front door awaits him, and Stiles creeps inside, slowly reaching for the light switch beside the door. His heart races in the silence but he takes a calming breath before flicking the switch, flooding the living room with artificial light.

He nearly shoots Scott when he spots him seated at the kitchen table, gun in one hand, pizza slice in the other. The eternal multitasker.

“What the fuck?” he demands, glancing around his trashed apartment.

It had already been kind of trashed already but there was a careful system to the mess then, now it’s just messed up. And people are going to pay for this.

It looks like a two man job. Only done a couple of hours ago. Probably as soon as he’d left New York.

They’ve broken a couple lamps, knocked the TV over and raided his fridge, the bastards. But even he can’t ignore the ALPHA logo spray painted over the main wall in the lounge room.

Jesus, did they have to tag his apartment too? He isn’t stupid, it’s not hard to figure out who the fuck he’s dealing with. That kind of shit will take ages to clean off. If it can be cleaned off at all.

“ALPHA,” Scott deduces thoughtfully, around his third slice of pizza.

Stiles doesn’t comment and leaves to inspect the rest of the house, gun ready just in case he can take his frustration out on someone. It’s pretty much the same result.

They’ve fucked around with his music collection, torn apart his bed and located his porn stash but his computer is untouched. Probably, because they were too piss stupid to figure out the password. Fucking ALPHA’s. They're like the jock version of hitmen. More like a jock strap.

He's too furious to speak and when he comes back to the living room, Scott has nearly cleaned off the rest of the pizza. Thank God, he’d thought to buy another one, though he’d better eat something before Scott works his way to that one too.

As soon as Scott had joined ABOM-nation, they’d been friends and Scott, the science wonder has always been able to eat an unreasonable amount of food without spontaneously combusting. Stiles has just learnt to restock his fridge when he visits, and to keep the food he doesn’t want eaten away from Scott’s unhingeable jaw.

But normal Scott behaviour doesn’t make him feel any better right now. It just makes everything else look out of place and more wrong.

“Fuck!” he spits, kicking the coffee table over angrily with his boot in a poor attempt to channel his anger into something constructive.

Scott seems to take that as an indication to stop eating. “What are you going to do, dude? They know where you live.”

Stiles makes his way over to the cupboard, and pulls out his bottle of Jack. “I’m gonna get drunk,” he resolves. “And then I’m driving home to check on my dad.”

Scott looks surprised. “That’s like an eleven hour drive.”

“So?” he demands, rejoining him at the table and slamming the bottle down onto it loud enough that it rattles. He snags a slice of pizza, and places his Glock on the table next to it. “They already found my apartment. It’s not gonna be hard to find my dad, he’s the fucking Sheriff.”

“You want company?”

He shakes his head, taking a swig of the Jack and enjoying the burn as it slides down his throat. “Nah, it’s cool. You still got assignments. I’ll take care of it.”

Scott shrugs and resumes eating his pizza.

“Fucking ALPHA’s,” he spits out bitterly a couple of minutes later, feet resting on the wooden chair as they watch the TV sideways. They're too bone-tired to turn it upright or clean up the rest of the apartment. Scott takes a swig of the Jack, and nods solemnly on his billionth slice of pizza.

“Fucking ALPHA’s” he agrees.

The drive the next morning is torture, made worse by the less than five hour sleep cycle under his belt and a brain splitting headache courtesy of the now empty bottle of whiskey sitting on his living room floor. Along with the several empty pizza boxes.

He’s loaded up the jeep with weapons to the point that any highway patrol will probably think he’s a terrorist if they search it. He has his own personal semi automatic sniper rifle for pleasure, not business, as well as a ridiculous amount of smoke grenades, knives and plastic explosives. He even brought a crossbow, feeling almost as old school as Allison.

And maybe a little more whiskey to ease the pain. He calls his dad on his actual cell phone to let him know he’s coming, tempted to go out and buy a new disposable one, because apparently working as a contract killer for a classified organisation doesn’t mean you have any privacy whatsoever from rival companies out for revenge.

God, they probably fucking googled him or something. It should not have been that easy to find him. Finstock should be embarrassed. ABOM-nation can’t protect identities for shit. Which is why he isn’t taking any chances. Not if his dad is involved.

He is only a couple hours into the worst drive in the history of cars when his newest disposable work cell rings just after a pit stop to refuel.

“So, here’s the deal,” Lydia begins. “Finstock explained the cock up to ALPHA, and it’s not going to turn into a turf war or anything personal.”

“They trashed my apartment,” he argues back. “That’s pretty damn personal.”

“Well, you tried to kill their best man,” she retorts. “What do you want a medal?”

Stiles raises an eyebrow. “I want to find out who gave me the assignment to begin with.”

“We’re working on it. But that’s not why I called you,” she says airily. “ALPHA may be peachy with what happened, but Derek Hale is not.”

“I only sort of stabbed him,” he offers. “I don’t get why he’s so pissed.”

“Sure, you don’t,” she laughs. “But what I’m trying to say is, they’ve decided to leave it between you two to sort out. If one of you dies, nobody can be blamed for the death because it’s wont be affiliated with ALPHA or ABOM-nation.”

“Screw that,” Stiles says. “So, you’re saying Derek Hale is coming after me? And I’ve got diplomatic immunity, so to speak, if he dies in the process?”

“If you can kill him,” Lydia counters, sagely. “Then yes. But I think you could just as easily sort it out with make up sex.”

Stiles tries to ignore how much he responds to that idea, because it sounds awesome. “I volunteer!” he cries. “I will offer myself on the Derek altar to right this terrible wrong.”

Lydia laughs. “You’re an idiot. And if he kills you… you’re still an idiot.”

‘Thanks,” he says. “And I always thought you were a sadist.”

Lydia goes silent, and Stiles violently jerks the wheel, nearly swerving into the other lane at the sudden rush of pure, unfiltered terror.

“What?” she deadpans, and he knows like he's never known anything in his life, that he will one day die at her hands, and her hands alone.

Stiles doesn’t deny that he hangs up the cell, and throws it across the car space in horror. And then his actual non-work cell starts ringing soon after. He answers it without looking at the caller ID, assuming it’s his father, because Lydia needs Danny to be able to access his private number that quickly so he's safe.

“Hey,” he says. “Don’t worry I’ll be there soon.”

“Where?” a familiar voice asks. A voice he remembers hearing very distinctly before he kneed them in the balls and stabbed them.


“Oh, God. How the fuck did you get this number?” he demands, tightening his grip on the wheel, because he officially has a stalker right now.

And Stiles is not a fan of conflict. He is a passive aggressive, shoot from miles away kind of guy. This direct approach is freaking him out.

He listens to Derek chuckle, and struggles to deny how much he enjoys the sound. “Batman, I assume?”

“What do you want to be called? Fucking Miguel?” he retorts, knowing his heart is pounding in his chest like Derek's sitting right next to him in the jeep.

Derek ignores the insult. “I have your knife,” he says conversationally, as if they both don’t know it was wedged in Derek’s back several hours ago.

Is he fishing for an apology or something? He's not going to get one.

“Well, I have your ALPHA logo sprayed onto my fucking apartment wall, so how 'bout you keep it?” he tells him. “Or better yet, why don't you stab yourself with it, save me the trouble.”

Derek doesn’t seem too intimidated by his death threat, but then again no one usually is, so it’s no shock. “You know, we don’t have to kill each other,” he admits slowly as if wanting to hear Stiles’ opinion on the matter. Which is a pretty interesting tactic.

Is Derek trying to lure him into a false sense of security?

The comment throws him for a second, because Lydia made it seem like that was exactly what he wanted to do. “Oh,” he responds eloquently, wondering why he’s having such a casual conversation about this. Should they make a deal? Bet on it?

“But I want to,” Derek clarifies, and his light tone takes on a dangerous edge. “You’re going to wish you hadn’t tried to kill me.”

As threats go, it's pretty damn good.

Stiles does not think that Derek sounds totally hot when he’s threatening to kill him because that would be a little weird. And potentially sick. He doesn’t scare him, either. Stiles knows he can handle him. Once he figures out what the fuck he's dealing with.

“First of all, it was a contract, okay? I was just doing my job. You can’t blame me for this assignment bullshit, though everyone else is trying to. And second of all, you can give it your best shot buddy but I don’t die easy, you got that? You’ve probably got ALPHA spies in ABOM-nation, you’re not stupid so I know you’ve heard of me and my kill record.”

Derek pauses for a moment as if he’s thinking it over. “Then why are you running?”

Stiles nearly drives the car off the road, because holy fuck this guy already knows that he’s left his apartment which must means he’s there. Right now. Or he's already been there. Jesus, this guy does not appreciate being stabbed.

“Don’t touch my porn,” he says unthinkingly.

Derek actually laughs, confirming his suspicions and his heart sinks because this sounds like a game to him. A game he seems to enjoy very much. Hunting. Or at least stalking. Definitely a predator type of guy.

“You have interesting tastes,” he says, and even Stiles can hear the edge of flirtation in the way he speaks.

God, this is not good. Is this guy for real honest to God flirting with him right now as he threatens to kill him? That has to be illegal. Or at least frowned upon in most states.

“I’m an equal opportunity kind of guy,” he explains a little hesitantly, because this guy has to be freaking crazy to want to discuss his bisexuality whilst simultaneously threatening to kill him.

He might be more terrifying than Lydia, even.

“So, that’s why you apologised.”

Stiles frowns. Everything Derek is saying is throwing him off his game because half of it doesn't make a lick of sense. “I didn’t apologise,” he protests. “And I’m not running. I’m making sure things are safe.”

“That’s the same thing,” Derek points out, ever so helpfully. “And yes you did. You said ‘sorry, dude’ before you tried to kill me.”

And sweet mother of God, how does he know this? Stiles was on the 70th floor of a building. It's impossible.

“You heard that? What kind of steroids are you on?”

Derek laughs again, and Stiles is starting to enjoy this a lot more than he should. He's even deluding himself into thinking he might have a thing for this nutjob. “None. And it doesn’t matter, anyway. I have your scent now, I’ll find you no matter how far you run.”

Stiles’ mouth falls open, but he manages to respond, summoning up a false bravado. “Bring it,” he challenges. “We’ll see who’s talking the talk and who’s dead.”

Derek growls, and it seems like a challenge as well.

“I’ll see you soon, Stiles,” he promises.

And just like that the rules are set. The game is on. And Stiles is never ever doing anything for Lydia ever again. Like ever.

“I’ll be waiting.”