"Budapest." Scott's voice crackles in Stiles's ear-piece. There's a crash, a volley of gunfire, the sound of a heavy body hitting up against concrete repeatedly. "This is exactly like Budapest, Stiles."
"No it's not," Stiles says, and from his vantage point (crouched in front of a Calvin Klein underwear billboard, because it's where Lydia had dropped him off before flying away to do something brilliantly insane and incredibly stupid) watches, his arrow notched and ready, his arm quivering with a delightful, familiar burn as a group of enemies, maybe twenty of them—this week it's aliens, dark and slender, reptilian and mysterious as fuck, wearing bio-containment suits that make them look like Tron-wannabes—start to converge on the array of S.H.I.E.L.D tanks that had made it this deep into the battlefield. Or, upper Manhattan.
Just another Tuesday, Stiles thinks, and lets loose the arrow. It's slightly off course—lists to the left a little because today, of all days, is a windy one—but it hits its target. Stiles is more than a hundred yards away, but he swears he hears the slick sound it makes when it stabs into one of the alien's chests.
There's a pause of three seconds—long enough for Stiles to remember he left a burrito in the microwave back at his apartment, that yesterday Agent Hale had looked at him for more than ten seconds without doing that pursed-lip thing, that tomorrow is pizza day in the cafeteria—then the arrow explodes, and all twenty-some of them go down.
"How is this not like Budapest?" Scott asks. He's out of breath now, wheezing past his injuries because he's a dickwad who likes to be all fancy with his footwork. Idiot. "Aliens. Tron suits. Mind control!?"
"Okay," Stiles says, jumping down to the ground below. "The mind control shit is like Budapest, but the rest? Nope, not even close. Where are you? Where is everyone for that matter?"
"I don't know, man." Scott sighs, and Stiles hears the sound of someone—something, probably alien in origin—whimper, then the telltale noise of bones breaking. "I lost track of Lydia an hour ago."
"She dropped me off here," Stiles says. "In the boonies."
"Erica is doing the thing where she just flies around and flings her hammer randomly—"
"I think there's some strategy to that. There has to be," Stiles interrupts. He starts walking, stepping over the still-smoking bodies of the aliens as he does, eyes open for any of his arrows that might've survived the explosion. "She's a Norse goddess, Scott. It's not like she doesn't know what she's doing."
"Boyd is smashing up space ships," Scott continues over him. "He looks angry."
"What else would he be doing? And when is he not angry?" Stiles asks, breaking into a run. His new uniform—still purple, still black, because it's stylish okay, and he likes the color combination—is riding up his ass, and the leather is sticking to places where things shouldn't stick. But it's also made of bullet-proof material, engineered (by Lydia) to keep him cool (coolish, because he's sweating like a fucking… sweat machine), and wired to record his vital signs and current position with as little interruption in design as possible.
"Jackson is making pretty for the cameras—"
"There are cameras already!?" Stiles grumbles, starts running faster. He's never around for the fucking photo opportunities. "Cap-In-My-Ass always hogs the fucking spotlight."
"I feel like you didn't think that nickname through," Scott says, and then the comm malfunctions, starts screeching high and loud in his ear, and Stiles turns it off. Doesn't throw it away, though.
He did think that name through, he thinks petulantly.
And then there's a dull roar. The world trembles, rolls under his feet so hard that he loses his balance, falls flat on his ass and has to crawl to keep moving. Something starts humming, low and mechanical, and the sky darkens. Stiles looks up, sees a platoon of biological looking space ships headed his way, and sighs.
Deaton brings them in the next day and hands them reports on estimated damage cost and loss of life and all the other crap that Stiles never really had to deal with before the Avenger Initiative started (back then it was psychological evaluations, physical tests, mission write-ups and lots of briefing). There's silence as they read over the pages and pages of data, punctuated by Jackson's snorts of disapproval when he sees something he doesn't like and Lydia's hums of interest (or disinterest; Stiles has yet to learn the difference).
Stiles does not glance over at Agent Hale the entire meeting. Not once. Not even when Derek starts rubbing the back of his neck with a newly bandaged hand. Or when he sighs, low and long, leans back into his chair and exposes the long column of his neck. Stiles is a goddamned Avenger. Technically, he's Hale's superior. It should be Hale thinking of Stiles as the cool one. Of Stiles as the one with the pretty eyes and the tight ass and the—
"I think we did okay," Lydia says, finally. "I mean, considering."
"Fifty citizens dead, Lydia?" Scott is twirling one of his daggers around in his hand. Stiles thinks he's the only one that gets it's a nervous habit, not some sort of intimidation attempt (because they're bros and all that, have been for way too long, have saved each other from imminent death way too many times). "That's not okay."
"Any loss of life is tragic, of course," Erica says, braiding her hair. God, it irks Stiles when she does that. Makes him wonder what would happen if he accidentally cut it off. He'd probably die. Painfully. By hammer. "However considering that the threat to Earth was extinguished I would agree with Dr. Martin."
"More than $3 billion in damage?" Boyd says. "You paying for it, Dr. Martin?"
"Well, I'm sure the Mayor would appreciate a donation, Dr. Boyd," Lydia says, primly. Stiles rolls his eyes, elbows Scott in the side until he starts poking at Stiles's pressure points. Then Lydia clears her throat, eyes them like she's trying to figure out the best way to throw them out of the window, and they stop.
"We stopped the aliens from taking over the world—" Jackson starts.
"—over Manhattan. We stopped the aliens from taking over Manhattan," Stiles can't help but clarify. Lydia and Jackson both give him the eyebrow (Derek looks at him… intensely, there's no other word for it).
"We stopped them from taking over the world, Stilinski, and the public is grateful," Jackson finishes. "What's the problem, Deaton?"
"While that is admirable, Captain," Deaton says. "S.H.I.E.L.D would like future conflicts to have as little loss of life and property as possible."
"I think that's impossible, Deaton," Erica speaks up. Ugh, thank god, she's done braiding her fucking hair. Stiles turns his head, looks at Agent Hale out of the side of his eye—and fuck, eye contact. Abort. Abort.
Not good. Definitely not good. Stiles clears his throat, sinks deeper into his chair, and looks steadily at the floor until everyone is done clashing egos and agrees that the meeting is adjourned.
Scott goes with Lydia so he can "discuss tactics," which is code for "see Allison." Jackson goes to sign autographs or something (Stiles doesn't care). Erica and Boyd start making eyes at each other before they even get out of the meeting room, so Stiles… Stiles doesn't think about what they're doing, because if he does he's going to say something regrettable about hammers. Deaton is about to say something to him, but is sidelined when Agent Lahey hurries in, starts gesturing at his tablet and speaking in low, worried tones.
Stiles escapes out the door before Deaton gives him something to do, and not because he can feel Agent Hale looking at him. Nope. Not at all.
Stiles is aware he's being kind of pitiful, but it's like Agent Hale—specialist, tactician, right hand to Deaton ever since the Loki incident—has these pheromones that just work on Stiles. Maybe he does. Maybe he's an alien. Doesn't talk much, so he could be. Okay, that's a lie. Stiles has spied on the dude enough to know he talks. He just doesn't talk to Stiles.
Stiles may have something to do with that, because he tends to slink back into the shadows whenever Hale so much as looks at him. It's a defense mechanism. He's working on it.
It's complicated, because Stiles knows about Hale—he's a S.H.I.E.L.D legend, had been even before Stiles had inadvertently started making a name for himself—and he's pretty sure, actually one hundred percent positive, that Derek knows about him. About how he let Loki fucking use him. How he liked it. How he had—
Yeah, shit's been weird since the Loki crap. Not weird as in "oh, it's weird that we now have to deal with alien invasions and evil scientists weekly," but weird as in Stiles doesn't feel right. A part of him thinks he shouldn't have lied his way through the psych eval, as much as he despises having heart-to-hearts with Dr. Morell.
Stiles likes the bow and arrow because it requires concentration. With a gun… guns are so unimaginative. The bow and arrow requires strength, discipline. It makes the buzzing that he usually lives with fade away, makes his heartbeat go slow and steady, makes him feel good.
They're also relatively silent. At least compared to the guns Stiles is used to.
The silence helps too.
There's no one else in the range today—located on sub-level six, physical conditioning and testing—but he can feel the stares of S.H.I.E.L.D agents working out at the gym next door. There are no walls here, just glass bullet-proof windows separating the different "physical spaces," as they're referred to, because whoever designed this fucking place didn't—doesn't—understand the concept of privacy.
… it's fine. It's cool. He's good. No one is in here, is in this room specifically, so he just needs to concentrate and ignore the agents outside. Plus they think he's a badass, so he just needs to, uh, look badass.
He lets go, and the arrow imbeds itself in the bullseye 50 yards away. Easy peezie, lemon squeezie.
Stiles loads another arrow in, ignores the twinge in his shoulder—he's still beat up from yesterday, his eye puffy, black and blue, his arms scratched up, his muscles aching with each movement—because this is worth the pain.
There's a repetition to this. Load arrow, raise bow, pull arm back, aim, release, repeat. It's comforting. Makes him feel good. Makes him forget about—
"Agent Hale," Stiles says, lowers his bow, rubs at his wrists and fingers as he turns towards the voice. Maybe Deaton wants something. Who is he kidding; Deaton always wants something.
"You've been here for five hours," Derek says, and his eyebrows are furrowed in that way that means he's either confused or is going to shit his pants in the next five minutes. Okay, Stiles may be in a bad mood today.
"Huh," Stiles says, picks up his phone from the stand next to him and sees that it's past midnight. He has twenty missed calls, ten of which are from Scott. "Did you need the range?"
"No," Derek says, looking, for a second, like he's dealing with a three year old. "I'm here because you've been here for five hours."
Okay then. Agent Hale is an asshole. Stiles has a crush on an asshole. Story of his life, really.
"Good deductive skills, Agent Hale," Stiles says, because no one does asshole like Stiles does asshole.
… damn it, that didn't even sound good in his head.
"Thank you. I'm known for my deductive skills," Derek says, and Stiles sighs.
"Is Deaton kicking me out? Does he have something for me to do? Because the invasion was just yesterday, and it would be great to have a day off." Stiles is already packing up his bow, though. "Or, you know, a couple would be even better. A month would be amazing."
Maybe he should go next door to the gym, get a couple hours of fencing in. Or rock-climb. Stiles likes rock-climbing. He likes being physical. Likes the pull of his muscles and the burning in his chest and the way he can block out everything else and just concentrate on moving.
"You did good yesterday," Derek says, and Stiles looks up from where he's pulling off his gloves, flexes his fingers on instinct.
"Thanks," he says. "Everyone did good. We defeated the bad guys. Saved the world. Manhattan. Whatever."
Derek narrows his eyes at him, and Stiles feels judged. Really judged.
"Okay, okay," he says. "I did good. Proud of myself and all that. You can tell Deaton I am one proud mofo. That I single-handedly—"
"—brought down five enemy aircraft," Derek finishes for him.
"Space ships," Stiles says, and when Derek looks at him, he shrugs. "They were space ships dude, don't try to make them seem more normal by calling them aircrafts."
"Fine, space ships. You brought down five space ships and a hundred and ten enem—aliens."
This time it's Stiles who narrows his eyes, mostly to hide (from himself) the way his heartbeat is suddenly loud in his ears. Now this, this, is like Budapest. "Are you keeping tabs on me or something?"
Stiles picks up his carrying case and shoves his phone in his pocket in the time it takes for Derek to respond.
"Yeah," Derek says. "I am."
Stiles doesn't know what to say to that.
"Lydia!" Stiles yells. He dodges an explosion, gets slammed against an ATM machine by a goon in bio-mechanical armor. There's a second of confusion, a flash of panic and fear, and then training sets in. He twists, gets the dagger out of his boot sheath, stabs up at an angle approximately where there should, in theory, be a neck. There's a sick squelching sound, and then the guy—it's a dude, no aliens this time, just another rich person with an army of goons—goes slack, falls backward, loses his balance enough that when Stiles kicks out, when his foot connects with the guys head, he collapses on his back, and doesn't get up again.
"Lydia, get your beautiful ass over here!" Stiles snarls again, starts running, because somehow—somehow—he's in the thick of it again. Except this time they're in London, and he has no idea where he is. No fucking clue. "Captain Jackass!? Erica? Scott!? Boyd? Big guy? Old buddy, old pal?"
No one responds, and then—
"Position, Hawkeye?" Agent Hale asks, out of breath. Because of course the dude is here (and of course he's fighting, and of course his voice makes Stiles think of sex and the feel of hot skin against his instead of danger).
"I don't know, upright!?" Stiles hisses, still running. They're behind him, chasing him, shooting their fucking lasers at him because they have no class whatsoever and can't use normal weapons like everyone else. "Check your GPS!"
"It's malfunctioning," Derek says. "Most communication systems are down. There's a jamming device."
"Right, of course there is." Stiles concentrates on running for a bit, through narrow streets, dodging military and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, motioning for them to hide as he does so. In the distance, he hears large explosions, the sound of Boyd roaring out his anger, followed by Erica's wrathful screams. They should really try sticking together more—it worked in New York with Loki…. Kind of.
"Stiles!?" Ahh, that's a new voice.
"Allison!?" Stiles says, just as Derek makes a noise of surprise.
"I'm re-working the comm system," she greets. "You two boys will be able to find each other in no time."
"What the fuck is that—" Stiles starts, and then something explodes right next to him, and he's being thrown into the window of a laundry mat.
"Ow," Stiles says. "Ow, ow, I said ow, you fuc—"
"And he's awake," Scott says. "I think you can put him down, Agent Hale. He has a—yup see, punching reflex."
Stiles's fist connects with something firm and muscled, and he's dropped, unceremoniously, on a hard surface, which doesn't feel good. Doesn't feel good at all, and he groans, clutches at his head because he has the biggest headache and he needs a doctor and ugh everything is dark and he can't seem to open his fucking eyes.
"I told you." Jackson sounds smug. Stiles hates Jackson. His hatred somehow makes him open his eyes, and he looks up, sees all of them looking down at him, scrunches his face up against the too-bright sun, and groans for good measure.
"Did I just punch Agent Ha—Derek?" he asks.
"Yes," Derek hisses from somewhere to his left.
"Sorry dude, reflex," he says. "Where are we? What happened? Am I going to have to get up anytime soon? These are important questions that need—" Scott's hand presses down on his mouth, and he sighs, flicks it away, and starts trying to sit up. It's a slow process, because every movement feels like he's tearing his muscles apart, but then there's a hand pressing at the small of his back, holding him up, and he gets there.
He doesn't have a shirt on, is the first thing he realizes when he's not breathing as hard. His chest is bloody and burnt and dirty from ash and other debris and there's a shard of glass sticking out of his shoulder.
… at least his pants are still there. Half of them. They're more like shorts now.
God he looks like a stripper or something. All he needs is a feather boa and a couple of props to make the dirt and ash and blood work for him and—and he probably has a slight concussion as well.
"We're waiting for an extraction team," Allison says. Right. Allison's here.
"What happened?" he asks.
"You were in the way of an explosion," Lydia says. "What do you think happened, Jackass?"
"That's Jackson. Jackson's the jackass, Lydia, not me." Stiles rubs at his forehead and finally looks around. They're surrounded by the hustle and bustle of military personnel. They're doing… whatever it is that they do after all the crap is over (Stiles is assuming the crap is over; his brain is fuzzy right now, so it's over).
"No medics available," Derek says, and his voice is closer than Stiles expected. Stiles turns his head, rears back when he sees Derek kneeling next to him, face close—really close, too close. It's his hand on Stiles's back, and Stiles wishes he could concentrate more on how it feels. But he hurts too much, so he can't. Derek's just as bloody as he is, although his uniform is intact, the lucky bastard. He also looks unnaturally worried.
Since the Manhattan-Alien thing two months ago they've been working out together—or, whenever Stiles is in the gym Derek is there, and they've graduated from awkward nods of acknowledgement to stilted sentences to full on conversations to seeing who can run the fastest 10k—but it's not like it's been anything that would cause someone to make that face. They're acquaintances. Friend-like. Less awkward around each other, at the very least. Or, well, Stiles is less awkward around Derek. He thinks it might be exposure therapy; the more he comes into contact with Derek, the less of an idiot Stiles makes out of himself around him (in theory, that is).
"This is all very touching," Erica says from above them, and Stiles doesn't know what she's talking about. "If we're done here?"
"Yeah, we're done," Stiles says, makes a shooing motion. Everyone except Allison, Derek, and Scott leave. Stiles doesn't know where they go… to do things, he thinks. Important things.
Fuck it's cold in London, he thinks.
S.H.I.E.L.D medics pick him up in one of those special hover planes Lydia designed last year. Derek sits next to his gurney the entire flight, and after he wakes up from surgery—it's not really surgery, just some stitches and some stem cell treatment to heal the burnt skin on his torso—Derek is sitting next to his bed.
"So then Derek goes 'what is this? A center for ants!?' and—crap." Stiles jumps back, dodges Derek's upper-cut, does it again when Derek follows it up with a kick (and god those legs are fucking distracting).
"I've watched Zoolander," Derek says. "As I keep trying to fucking say, Stiles."
"Yeah, okay." Stiles waits for Derek to attack him again, and when he does, rolls with it, grabs Derek's wrist and twists until he has Derek on his knees, arm twisted painfully behind him. He could, if he wanted to, pin Derek to the mat on the floor, wrap his legs around his neck, get him in a choke-hold until he taps out, but he worries that if he did, other things would… happen. "But you didn't enjoy it? How could you not have enjoyed Zoolander, Derek? The character is named after you."
Derek gets free somehow—Stiles is distracted by the bead of sweat rolling down the back of his neck—twists, and starts going all fucking kung-fu on him. Stiles is good at this—at fighting—so it's not too hard to defend himself. Although Derek is fast, so he has to concentrate, has to control his breathing, has to ignore the way Derek's mouth is parted, the way his shirt is sticking to his chest, the way—damn it.
He's on his back, and Derek is… Derek is sitting on him, the asshole. Right on his stomach, and every time Stiles tries to push him off, he gets heavier.
"What the fuck, dude," Stiles gasps out. "I feel like this isn't a tactic someone who wanted to kill me would use."
"I don't want to kill you," Derek says, squinting down at him, his chest heaving, voice breathless, a half-smile on his lips.
"Yeah, well…" Stiles gestures down at where Derek is sitting on him, tamps down viciously on the need to start spouting poetry about Derek's eyes. "Can't breathe."
"I don't know," Derek says. " I don't feel like moving right now."
Stiles laughs, because yeah, Derek's funny, but also because it's kind of crazy that this is something that happens now. That five months ago, Derek was just an intimidating pretty face, just another S.H.I.E.L.D agent, and now they're… this. Friends. Whatever.
And Derek has a funny side. No, not just a side. He's hilarious and snarky and Stiles is so fucking screwed it's ridiculous.
Scott is starting to give him looks, the ones that means he knows exactly what's happening, and is just waiting for Stiles to talk to him of his own volition (Scott is terrifying like that). Allison… Allison has been giving him looks even before the Loki thing. Jackson… yeah, okay, so everyone knows.
Of course everyone knows. He works with a Goddess, a green rage monster, a jackass of a superhuman, and a shitload of spies. How the fuck could they not know?
"What do you want to do to me?" Stiles asks, regrets it even as he says it, feels his face go hot. "I mean, if you don't want to kill me."
Derek looks at him for a long time. A really long time. A ridiculously long fucking time. Long enough that Stiles starts to contemplate how serious he's going to have to get, combat wise, to push Derek off him and exit the premises (run away, run far away). He brings his hand up, scratches at his nose—a tell that he's never been able to get rid of—and looks at the ceiling above them.
"We should see it," Derek says, eventually. "Zoolander."
"You—" Stiles gives himself a minute to process that as he leans up on his elbows. "You want to see Zoolander."
"Or any movie," Derek says, looks down at his hands, then at Stiles, and god his face.
Stiles clears his throat, looks down at the mat, picks at it with his fingers. Suddenly, he's in high school again, all flailing limbs and low self-esteem, his face red and his head full of bravado and shit, he should say something. Derek wants him to say something. He should—
"Yeah, yeah," Stiles says, still looking at the mat, still picking at the blue plastic with his fingernails. "That sounds cool. Although," —he grins, looks up at Derek— "that's what you want to do to me? Take me to a movie? Like… on a date?"
Another long pause, and Stiles feels Derek get tense over him, and then, just as slowly, relax. Finally, he clears his throat.
"Among other things," Derek says, and his hand, which had been in his lap, presses down on Stiles's sternum, his fingers spreading out over his chest. Stiles looks at it for a second, notices long fingers and forearms that make him want to bite, and then looks up to see that Derek is looking at him. His eyes are intense and dark, and as he glances down at where his hand is on Stiles's chest, Stiles realizes how loud and obvious his heartbeat is.
Then they're kissing, and it's strange and hesitant, awkward at first, but then Stiles tilts to the right, grabs at Derek's head and presses up into him, lets himself breathe out the moan that feels like it's been lodged in his throat since the first time he saw Derek, and all the awkwardness flies out the proverbial fucking window.
"That was the stupidest—shit—fucking—ah—movie," Stiles hisses out between gasps, letting his head fall back against Derek's front door, trying to kick his shoes off and run his hands over Derek's flanks at the same time (doesn't work; too hard). "There was no plot."
"Fuck the movie," Derek says against the skin of his neck. "God, Stiles your hands."
"My hands? What's wrong with my—oh," Stiles grunts as Derek grabs his hand, licks a stripe from the inside of his wrist to the middle of his palm, bites at his index finger and just breathes. God, why is that hot. "For fuck's sa—can we at least get to a sofa or a bed or—"
"Right, yeah," Derek says, but then he just keeps kissing Stiles, keeps sucking hickeys on his neck and running his hands down Stiles's back, his fingers kneading and pressing and making Stiles's skin feel hot and hyper-sensitive.
Somehow, Stiles gets herded into the bedroom, too distracted by the kissing and the whole Derek package to really care where he's going. And then his back is bouncing on a bed, and he does care, he cares very much, because Derek is stripping off his jacket and shirt like they burn his skin, and it's a nice view.
A really nice view. And Stiles has seen a lot of really pretty views.
Derek's skin is scarred and imperfect, and Stiles knew this, has seen Derek shirtless before, but now, here, he suddenly just needs to touch. He needs to run his fingers over the scar running down Derek's sternum, across the criss-crossing scratches over Derek's hip. He wants to prod at the circle of scar tissue on Derek's clavicle, bite at the tattoo between Derek's shoulder blades. He just wants.
So he does the smart thing, and starts pulling his clothes off, all frenzied, jerky, flailing movements, his agency over his own limbs all but forgotten. Derek helps when Stiles gets caught in his T-shirt (the one with Legolas on it. Don't judge; Stiles loves Legolas), pulls the thing off and starts kissing a trail down his chest, pushing Stiles down into the mattress and taking his fucking time, the asshole.
By the time Stiles is actually naked, he's already hard and leaking and so close to coming it's ridiculous. He doesn't feel that self-conscious, because Derek is just as hard as him, is frotting against Stiles just as much as Stiles is frotting up against him. And then someone grabs both their dicks—Stiles doesn't know if it's him or if it's Derek, all he knows is that there's a hand around him, and he's fucking up into it, his dick sliding against Derek's as he does—and then someone comes—Stiles doesn't know who comes first, because everything is just hours and hours of sizzling pleasure up his spine, and he's finding it hard to make sense of anything except what he's feeling—and then everything is too hot and too sticky and Stiles is so fucking satisfied.
Fuck, for the first time in a long time, he feels satisfied. Happy. Content. Like he could go to sleep and not dream about blue eyes and high-pitched laughter and weirdly-decorative helmets that make no sense, protection-wise.
"First date," Stiles says eventually, out of breath, his hands gripping (squeezing) Derek's ass. It's a nice ass, firm and muscled and soft. "Not bad. The movie sucked, but this was—"
"Second date," Derek mumbles. His face is smashed in the crook of Stiles's neck, so when he talks, it's just shy of ticklish. "And yeah, movie sucked."
"Second—?" Stiles tries to think about that. "No, I'm pretty sure that was our first date. Asked me out on Wednesday. It's Friday, so…?"
"Wednesday was our first date," Derek says. "Counting it."
Stiles laughs. "Yeah okay, dude. This was a pretty good second date."
Derek hums his approval, and starts kissing Stiles's neck slow and open-mouthed.
Derek likes dark colors. He hates horror movies. When it rains he limps because of an old bullet wound to his thigh. He had his bed special-made because, as he explained to Stiles one night, he figures he deals with enough uncomfortable shit at work. He gets movie references, is supernaturally good at Monopoly, despises walnuts, and reads mythology books for fun.
He rushes into situations too quickly in the field, bursts in and saves the day and although everyone at S.H.I.E.L.D loves him for it, reveres him, Stiles can't help but not like it. Derek's smart on his feet, reacts quickly in a crisis situation. He's saved Stiles's ass more times than he can count, and does it with a smirk and enough unspoken sass to last a fucking lifetime.
Stiles may or may not be in love.
Okay he is. Definitely in love. Stupidly in love. Which is a problem, because—
"Stilinski! Get your head in the fucking game!" Captain Jackass yells, and Stiles turns just in time to dodge a flying car. Not a… not a flying car, but a car that is flying through the air because someone (something) threw it at him. He sighs, flattens himself to the ground, crawls over to take cover behind a planter.
Evil army, this time. With robots.
"Hawkeye," Derek says, his voice tinny in Stiles's ear. Communications have been iffy the whole day. Something to do with… with something. Stiles doesn't care.
"Agent Hale," Stiles greets. He crouches, lifts up his bow and arrow. He breathes in, aims at one of the two robot/vehicles currently steamrolling the cars of Chicago's poor citizens, and fires. The explosion isn't large this time, but it's enough to slow them down, put a kink in their armor.
"What do you want for dinner tonight?" Derek asks, and Stiles bites the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling. Out on the street, Scott jumps over a heap of twisted, smoking hot metal, lands on the back of one of the vehicles, chucks a grenade in the open porthole, and somersaults to the ground below. Show-off.
In the air, Lydia is at the end of the block, firing repulsor beams at anything that shoots at her. Jackson is surrounded by soldiers in bright red suits of armor and he's smiling as he beats them up.
Erica is down the road, tussling with the General of army himself, who's clad in some sort of gaudy mecha-suit. Boyd is, apparently, offering moral support by throwing any soldiers who get in her way through the nearest glass window.
… Stiles is pretty sure he's the most normal of their group, which is a terrifying prospect.
"I don't know," Stiles says, notches another arrow, breathes in, aims, shoots. "What do you feel like? Is this an open channel? Is Isaac listening in right now?"
"Closed channel," Derek says. "Thai? Pizza? Shawarma?"
"Fuck you, dude," Stiles says. Notch arrow, raise bow, breathe in, aim, shoot. "You know how I feel about fucking shawarma."
"Sounds good," Stiles says, and then, after a pause, "we should go on a vacation after this."
Derek laughs, clears his throat, and Stiles hearts someone—sounds like Agent Mahealani—start listing numbers that sound like GPS coordinates and vital signs in the background. "Just us? You're not gonna bring Scott?"
"Scott's a big boy. He can handle himself," Stiles says. "It's not like we're—"
"Attached at the hip? Kinda are, Stiles," Derek says.
"Come on, we can steal—I mean borrow, of course—one of Lydia's toys, go to… I don't know, Mexico? The Bahamas? Hawaii?" Notch arrow, raise, breathe, aim, shoot. Stiles changes positions as a group of soldiers spot him, uses a pile of cars to get himself to higher ground. His lungs burn and his muscles ache and he can't wait until this is over and he gets to go home, gets to collapse onto a comfortable sofa or an even more comfortable bed and just sleep.
"I'll get permission from Deaton," Derek says, after Stiles has taken care of the soldiers, is jumping down to retrieve his arrows.
"Such a goody two shoes," Stiles says, fondly. He nudges one of the bodies with his toe, and when it doesn't twitch, bends down to pull his arrow out. The squelching noise it makes is loud even over the sounds of fighting around him.
"I'll see you tonight," Derek says after a bit.
"Yeah, see you," Stiles says. He takes a deep breath, looks around, coughs a bit when dust gets into his lungs, squints his eyes and looks up at the sky that's hazy from loose dust and debris. "I, uh, be careful," he adds, and he can practically hear Derek's smile through the line.
"Yeah," Derek says, laughing. Stiles can hear the foreboding sound of aircraft engines coming from the north. Definitely not anything on their side. He retrieves another arrow, wipes off the blood and puts it in his quiver. Up the street, Erica gets thrown into the tenth story of an office building, flies back out and hits the General in the solar plexus so hard he's thrown back twenty feet. Scott is tearing off the head of one of the robot-soldiers that are interspersed among the normal human ones. Jackson is punching things (Stiles doesn't care). Lydia is carrying Boyd somewhere, probably towards the incoming aircraft. There's lot of noise and explosions and everything is chaotic, as per usual. "Be careful," Derek says back.
"Always am," Stiles says