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"I have bad news and bad news," said Stiles as he walked into the war room.

Lydia sighed, but it wasn't a contented sigh from Jackson's careful ministrations to her feet; it was a huffy, tired sigh, and it was entirely Stiles' fault.

"That doesn't make any sense," said Scott from over by the kitchenette. His entire face was wrinkled in confusion.

"Get me a sparkling water, Scott," Lydia waved him away vaguely and pulled her feet off of Jackson's lap, reaching for her psychotically high heels and putting on her Business Face. "Rip the bandaid off, Stilinski." Her voice turned as sharp as her manner.

Stiles made sure he had a clear line of escape before he said, "You're down four points and the Republican ticket has a candidate, finally."

Jackson looked pained. "Argent?"

"No," said Lydia before Stiles could answer. She got to her feet with a wince and took the water Scott was holding out like a sacrifice. "It's Hale."

"How did you know?" said Stiles. "You didn't break the Twitter embargo?"

She rolled her eyes. "Please. That spread was about ten to one. Argent was trying to rally Second Amendment gun nuts and there've been two mass shootings in the past month. One in California, which even a Californian can't willfully ignore." She twisted the cap off her water with an unnecessary amount of savagery and pitched it at the overflowing wastebasket in the corner, striding from the couch to the desk with an expression that meant she wasn't going to sleep tonight. Stiles bided his time trading mean looks with Jackson while Lydia finished gathering herself up, and when she slammed a suddenly half-empty water bottle down on the desk and turned around with squared shoulders, his spine straightened all by itself.

"Where do we stand?" she barked.

His response was almost instinctual. "You've got the youth vote locked if they bother to fucking show up to the polls, you're down two points on the 25-40 bracket, which is mostly young families, black people like you but Hale's got the Hispanic vote with his family values hypnotism and forget the grandmas and grandpas."

Her resolve didn't seem to falter at that, which was amazing. "My own grandparents must have been talking to them," she said dismissively, and then, "What's tomorrow?"

"Donor meetings in the morning, lunch with the Sacramento Rotary, photo op at a soup kitchen in Sacramento right after that, and then your speech at the California NAACP conference."

"Dinner?" she asked.

"I guess we can schedule dinner in there somewhere," agreed Stiles, glancing at his phone, which would not shut the fuck up with texts.

"Who's doing my speech?"

"Danny. I'm going to look at it tomorrow while you're gladhanding at the Rotary."

"Stiles."

Stiles looked up from the capslocked text he was composing to Danny about using adjectives sparingly. Lydia looked exhausted for a nanosecond before the generalissimo face came back. "Yes?" he prompted.

She hesitated. "Do we still have a shot?"

A year ago, when Lydia Martin (Fields Medal winner and Abel Prize nominee; Caltech's youngest tenured professor and one of the national faces for Women in Science and Engineering; Stiles Stilinski Dream Woman prize winner for ten straight years) had called Stiles at his PR firm and asked how he felt about a gubernatorial campaign, he'd spent ten minutes after he hung up the phone daydreaming about her victory speech. The actual campaign had been... rockier than anticipated, but she wanted this. She wanted it badly. And when she wanted things, Lydia found a way to get them.

So Stiles smiled when he said, "Fuck yes, we still have a shot."

***

Stiles would forever vaguely blame Scott for everything. This was entirely because of the afternoon two days after the Republican primary, when Scott looked over at Stiles--eyeball-deep in planning some spin for Lydia that would put her in a better place with the family contingent and starting to wonder if he could just get Jackson to knock her up, just for the election, maybe, maybe--anyway, Scott looked over at Stiles and said, "So, you know Allison Argent."

Stiles had been flipping a pen around his knuckles; it flew across the campaign bus and bounced off a window. "Allison Argent, Bambi-eyed daughter of Chris Argent, our former opponent?" Stiles asked through his teeth. He looked up at Scott with a sense of foreboding. "I'm aware of her."

"Cool. Well." Scott got distracted for a second. "Her eyes are really nice, aren't they?" he mused, and that was it, Stiles was going to pay the bus driver to just run him over in the parking lot. He'd sign a waiver and everything.

"Scott," he started tiredly.

"She's a lawyer, you know," said Scott, his eyes starting to go big and sad. "Lawyers are really smart and like, good to have on campaigns and stuff. She has a lot of contacts and she used some with her dad."

"Look where that got him," muttered Stiles.

"She doesn't have a lot of Republican contacts," Scott insisted.

"How do you know so much about Allison Argent's contacts?" said Stiles, using the glare he only used on special occasions, the one that made Scott look ready to run for it.

"Not from dating her," Scott said with the least conviction Stiles had ever seen in a human, and he'd seen Lydia compliment peoples' babies.

"You are not allowed to date the opponents' children!" Stiles shouted. "How are we even having this discussion? You are not that much of an idiot, Scott!"

"I didn't know who she was when we started seeing each other!" Scott insisted, which made it not at all better because everyone in California knew who she was. "She wants to help, Stiles! We need help! And donations. And she said she's going to vote for Lydia, she always was."

"Oh, well, if she's going to vote for Lydia," Stiles started, but the vitriol lost its edge because Scott's entire face was committed to his sad puppy look and Stiles was not a monster. He sighed. "We'll ask the candidate," he said finally. "It's her decision."

And that was how Allison Argent and her admittedly sizable contacts list joined the Martin campaign.

***

By spring, Stiles was starting to get desperate. Lydia wasn't gaining enough ground with families, Jackson had vetoed the plan to knock her up on the grounds that he liked having his balls still attached to him because Jackson was weak and didn't want to win, and Peter Hale had cast a spell over the centrist and undecided factions.

That was why he abandoned his backstage post between Scott and Danny during Lydia's GFWC dinner speech to go out through the kitchen and find the cluster of people smoking by the back door. As a sous-chef went back inside, Stiles patted down his jacket for the cigarettes he didn't even carry and said, "Can I bum a smoke off of someone, please."

"Here." Someone handed over a pack with the lighter tucked alongside and Stiles all but snatched it away, fishing out a smoke.

"Thank you, fuck," he said, shoving it in his lips and blindly handing back the pack.

"You don't smoke enough to carry your own?"

Stiles clicked the lighter a few times before it caught, and talked around the cigarette in his lips while trying to light it, which was a stupid idea but whatever. "I only smoke when I drink," he said, and then finally succeeded in his quest; he paused to take one long, sweet drag and expel it into the night before adding, "It's just that a year ago, I started drinking constantly."

That got him a snort and Stiles looked up at the owner of the lighter as he handed it back. It belonged to an excruciatingly attractive man in a white shirt with the sleeves pushed up, his jacket thrown over his arm and his tie loose. One of the wait staff? Stiles studied his face as they smoked and hoped the next thing out of his mouth wasn't moronic.

He was saved from himself when his phone chirruped; it was a text from Scott.

dude where r u that joke allison wrote KILLED!!!

Stiles couldn't afford a new phone, and that was why he shoved it back in his pocket instead of throwing it at the brick wall.

Attractive Man followed the motions. "Not going well in there?"

"It could always be going better," said Stiles. "That's why I decided to come out here and give myself cancer in the fresh air."

"She's a strong candidate."

The nicotine rush clearly loosened Stiles' tongue, because he said, "Sure, she is, but she's not a poster chid for family values and sad martyrdom at the same time like Peter Hale. I mean, it was sad what happened to them and all, but how long can a campaign milk a dead family, really? It's worse than mudslinging. Mudslinging I could handle."

He took an angry drag off his smoke and stewed in the awkward silence. Attractive Man dropped and ground out his own cigarette with his expensive-looking dress shoe and said, "Well, I guess I should go back in."

Stiles fixated on the shoe, following it up to the tailored line of the guy's pants. He wasn't wait staff. "What are you doing at the GFWC anyway?" he asked. "Not really, you know, our crowd. Being a women's group."

"My mom sat on the board," said the guy. "Either my sister or I usually comes to their dinners as honoured guests. I picked tonight."

"Was there something especially compelling about the chicken Kiev?"

"I wanted to hear the candidate talk." The guy straightened out his shirt and shrugged his dinner jacket back on. "She's a good orator, but the writing's not terrible either."

Stiles smelled a potential donor. "You doing anything later?" he asked, trying on boldness. "I have time for a drink if you want to talk about the not-terrible writing some more."

The guy hesitated, gave him a strange look, and then said, "Sure. Where are you staying?"

"The Marriott."

"I'll look you up. I'm Derek, by the way."

Stiles clasped the hand Derek offered, the barest hint of a handshake before they broke apart. The guy had a strong grip. "I'm Stiles."

"Of course you are." With that, the guy went back in and left Stiles to finish off his smoke in relative peace (his phone went off twice more).

***

Derek met him in the hotel bar late that evening (okay, it was probably only still evening from Stiles' campaign trail perspective) with remarkable timing, having left Stiles just long enough to get back to his room, change and dodge Scott before calling from the front desk. He was still in the suit, his scruff was looking more pronounced and Stiles was wondering how he could leverage this into a drink upstairs as they sat down at a table.

"So, you liked the speech?" said Stiles once he had a gin and tonic in front of him.

Derek sipped his beer thoughtfully. "Like I said, she speaks well. She had the room."

"And the writing wasn't terrible," Stiles finished. "You talk like a campaigner. You been around it before?"

"You could say that."

"I could because it's true?" Stiles fished.

Derek shrugged, which was kind of infuriating in a hot way. "So how do you think she's doing?" he asked, and Stiles frowned down into his drink before taking a large gulp of it.

"It's a tough race against the sympathy vote from the families going to Peter Hale," he said. "She'll be good in the debates, but."

"But?"

God, it was kind of nice to just sit and bitch like this. "But the more she talks, the more ruthless people think she is because that's just how she comes off. It doesn't play well with her young female image, which is awful but there you go. So we're going to try and game the debates accordingly."

"How many are you going to try and do?"

Stiles shrugged, suddenly exhausted. "We're going to try for one, two at the outside. I have a sinister plan to trick the Hale camp into giving us what we want and making them think it was their idea. I'd tell you what it is but it's actually top secret; you haven't got the clearance."

Maybe the alcohol was hitting Stiles a little bit quickly.

"I get it," said Derek.

"Vote for my candidate," said Stiles. "Give her money. You look like you have money."

"I have money but I'm not giving it to Lydia Martin's campaign," said Derek.

"I think that's a rash decision," said Stiles, pointing at Derek, "and I think it bears further discussion of its faults over the mini-bar in my room."

Derek smirked, just a little. "Maybe some other time. Thanks for the drink," he said, although he threw down enough money on the table to cover both before standing up. Stiles followed awkwardly.

"There'll be other times? The campaign trail is long and erratic and winding."

"I think we'll see each other again," Derek agreed. "Good night, Stiles."

***

Stiles woke up the next morning from his exhaustion-coma to hammering on the door of his room. It was accompanied by shouting from Scott.

"So help me god, Stiles, if he's in there with you, you are never allowed to give me shit again!"

Stiles barely managed to get out of bed without falling, and he staggered to the door to wrench it open. Scott was holding up his fist to hammer some more and stood there, blinking, before looking over Stiles' shoulder.

"There's nobody else in here," Stiles snarled. "What the fuck are you yelling about? We are in San Mateo and it is not even seven A.M. yet. If we weren't blood brothers I'd murder you where you stand."

Scott faltered slightly before his angry face came back in force. "Danny saw you last night down in the bar!" he accused.

"I had a drink! What!"

"You gave me so much shit about 'fraternizing with the enemy' but it's okay when you do it?"

"Explain!" Stiles snapped, leaving the door open and wandering back into his room to sag into the armchair. Scott came in and started pacing, taking pauses to point angrily.

"You were drinking G&Ts! Which you only do at gay bars usually! And you were drinking them with Derek Hale and being all smiley and flirty and whatever! Danny saw you! He just told me!"

"Yeah, so wha--" Stiles paused. He was beginning to wake up, his higher cognitive processes were coming online, and he was confused and wary. "Wait. Repeat that."

"Drinking and getting chummy with Derek Hale," Scott hissed. If Scott had paid any attention in high school English class and actually attempted to read and comprehend Julius Caesar, he would almost certainly have gone with an 'Et tu?' at this moment, but it was Scott, so he just looked angry and betrayed.

The name 'Derek Hale' went crashing around the inside of Stiles' brain for a moment, looking for something to attach itself to, and when it did he felt ready to be sick. "That was Derek Hale?"

"Peter Hale's nephew and speechwriter!" Scott agreed. "You traitor! At least Allison wasn't actually involved in her dad's campaign!"

Stiles surged out of the chair and grabbed Scott by the elbow. "It's fine, I didn't tell him anything, don't breathe a word of this to anyone, get out, come on, go," he babbled, shoving Scott into the hallway and shutting the door behind him. Then Stiles ran into the bathroom to throw up.

He should have known all along that something was up when Derek actually came around for that drink.

***

The next time Stiles saw Derek Hale, outside of hatereading articles about him in his RSS feed, was backstage at the first debate. Derek caught him glaring and came right over, the bastard.

"You knew we'd see each other again," said Stiles as an opener. "At each of the four debates we couldn't get Peter to back down from."

"We haven't been properly introduced," said Derek, sticking out his hand. "I'm Derek Hale, sad martyr with the dead family. My uncle is onstage making your candidate look like that lady Terminator from the TV show. My sister Laura's off making rich widows cry with pictures of our dead parents."

Stiles stared tiredly at the extended hand until it dropped back to Derek's side and was stuffed into a tailored pocket.

"I stick my foot in my mouth daily, you know," said Stiles after a moment. "If you're going to be offended all the time, it's going to be a lot of work for you."

"I thought about going easy on you when you didn't recognize me," said Derek conversationally. "But then I thought, fuck it, I'm an orphan, I don't have to have morals."

Stiles walked away.

***

"I googled you," said Derek from behind Stiles' left shoulder, three days later. It was the second debate and he was listening carefully to Lydia talking about education reform, hoping she was going to hit all the key points they'd coached her on. He didn't even bother turning around.

"Sure you got the right Stiles Stilinski?" Okay, he couldn't resist.

"Your mom died when you were a kid," said Derek quietly. "I'm sorry about the orphan comment."

"Don't worry about it," said Stiles after a second. "I just don't like to discuss my dead family." Lydia seemed to be doing well out there, even without him able to pull her strings like a marionette. Anything was better than the first debate had been, really.

"Do you--" Derek started, but cut himself off with a huff. When Stiles dared turn around a minute later, he was gone. Stiles barely had time to wonder what he'd almost said when Allison ran over, breathless.

"The parental eagles have landed, and Scott said you had to handle them."

"Where the hell is Jackson?" Stiles demanded, forgetting anything else. "They're his in-laws."

"Hiding," said Allison, so Stiles went off to deal with the Martins.

***

The third debate was Stiles holed up at a folding table with his laptop, surrounded by bags of Twizzlers and failing to write the speech for an award Lydia was presenting at a WISE banquet in two days. Instead he kept chewing licorice and shooting discreet glances at the far side of the backstage area, where Derek was standing with a gorgeous brunette and mostly paying attention to his Blackberry instead of her. Stiles had wi-fi and he found Laura Hale's picture on Google pretty quickly; she looked meaner in person, but in a disarming way. Maybe it was something to do with the cut of her suit, he didn't understand women's fashion.

When Stiles realized he was staring like a creepy person and there was still a half-eaten Twizzler hanging out of his mouth, he shook himself and went back to work on the speech.

***

The day of the fourth debate, Stiles had been summarily banned from coming within Lydia's line of sight by lunchtime; by the time the debate actually started, he was sitting on the chair Scott had parked him on, head between his knees, trying to remember how breathing worked.

He recognized the shoes that entered his line of sight before their owner dropped onto the folding chair beside him, but he didn't lift his head.

"That WISE speech was one of the best things I've heard from you," said Derek after a moment.

Stiles lifted his head and blinked away the blood rush from sitting upright. "How do you know I wrote that?"

Derek shrugged one shoulder, not looking at Stiles. "You've got a distinctive style. That other guy--"

"Danny."

"Danny. He uses too many adjectives."

"Thank you," said Stiles, but his sweet vindication was sullied a minute later by the cold facts: that he was looking for validation from Derek Hale. He'd thought moral poisoning would be more dramatic than this. "You have good taste for a Republican," he added, trying to redeem himself, but it was a shitty line and this was clearly Stiles Stilinski's decline.

"Weak," said Derek, laying him bare with that one word. "If you ever want to get on with a winning campaign, you'll need to bring a little more A game than that."

"Excuse you?" said Stiles.

Derek gave him a cool look. "You're counting on the youth vote? The youth vote," he repeated, with a tone like he was saying 'serial killers' instead. "At least tell me you're only counting the pre-registered voters."

"Oh, fuck you," said Stiles, crossing his arms. Scott caught sight of them at that moment and glared at Stiles, shaking his head slowly. As if Stiles was sharing more campaign strategy with the enemy or something. He stood up abruptly, and thought he caught Derek jumping a little out of the corner of his eye. Stiles was supposed to be the twitchy one. "I have to talk to the rest of my campaign. Maybe you should go to an anti-gay rally or something, get some blood money."

Derek sputtered, "What? I'm not anti--" but Stiles didn't bother to hear the rest, he was walking over to Scott and Allison to see if he could get taken off of his time-out for calm behaviour.

***

Sacramento County was a pretty big straw poll for this election. Stiles had personally lost a solid week of sleep over it and considered the whole ordeal to be his warm-up for the election in its own way. But now it was the big day and the balloons were inflated, the t-shirts freshly printed, campaign buttons shiny and obnoxious and waiting to find their way into the lives of voting Democrats. Scott and Allison were in charge of administering their exit polls, mostly riding herd on the interns doing the actual polling. A few people--Danny and Jackson, mostly--had given Stiles strange looks for this decision but honestly Scott was some kind of wunderkind at making teenagers and college students do as they were told, and enthusiastically besides; Allison seemed to be showing similar talents, which was a relief and a bonus since she and Scott came as a package deal on any assigned task, anyway.

Stiles was sitting in a corner with his laptop, surrounded by paper and fighting with the wifi at the convention centre they were using. The numbers were looking okay, but he'd been warned that straw polls could be a crapshoot so he was trying not to take too much to heart.

A shadow loomed over his work area and he frowned at Excel. "Lydia, I told you, nothing before five, so go shake more hands and kiss more babies and try not to kill Peter Hale," he said, trying for admonishment but mostly coming out bored, because really, four times this afternoon already.

"I don't think she could take him, but honestly I wouldn't lay money on the fight either," said a gruff voice, and Stiles jumped.

"Jesus," he said, breathing in deeply and glaring up at Derek. "Warn a guy."

"I was standing right in front of you. Why does that require a warning?"

Stiles glared at his spreadsheet and compulsively saved it one more time before looking back up at Derek. "You require not only a bell but also some kind of advance warning crier. Like those trucks that drive ahead of big rigs hauling heavy loads? But a person, warning the world of your approach."

Derek's only response was to shove some papers into a messy pile to clear off a corner of Stiles' folding table. So that he could sit on that corner. And stare at Stiles inscrutably.

"What?" said Stiles after a moment. Was there something on his face? He hadn't eaten since lunch and Scott would have said something.

"My sister says these polls can spin either way right now," said Derek eventually.

"They're spinning leftwards," Stiles corrected.

Derek grinned. "Of course." Then he glanced up and across the room, and a really attractive blonde girl with lipstick that almost matched her red CHOOSE HALE CHOOSE VALUES t-shirt waved cheerfully before wandering off.

"Who was that?" Stiles asked without thinking.

"Erica. One of Laura's interns." Derek shrugged. "Or they might be paid. Peons, I guess."

"I can see you're super close to your campaign," said Stiles.

Derek shrugged again. "I just write the speeches and do what Laura tells me often enough so she leaves me alone sometimes. I'm not much good at these events, actually."

"Because you are a failure at human interactions?" Stiles guessed.

Derek rolled his eyes. "I was going to sneak out for a quick dinner before the polls close," he deflected.

"Enjoy," said Stiles, looking back at his computer screen.

Derek blinked at him. "Do you not eat dinner?"

"Of course I--" Stiles' brain caught up abruptly, shaking off thoughts of polling numbers. "Oh," he realized. "Oh." He glanced at his computer clock, not sure what else to do, and his stomach growled suddenly, maybe loudly enough Derek could actually hear it. "Right now?"

"While the coast is clear." Derek nodded in the direction of the exit.

Et tu, Scott's voice hissed inside his head. Stiles steeled himself. "I can't," he said. "Busy." He gestured at his screen as if to clearly indicate how super busy he was, with the card game open in the window behind his spreadsheet and everything.

A heavy, strangely judgmental silence fell, before Derek said, "Your loss," and stood up. Stiles watched him walk away, hands in his pockets, under a balloon arch and out the door.

***

The straw poll closed and Lydia won it by a hair, and Stiles stopped organizing data and intensely deconstructing the results with Lydia just long enough to eat a falafel wrap that either Scott or Danny or someone had left for him to find, and then the candidates' speeches happened and the whole thing was over but the crying and balloon popping. Scott, Danny and Allison had helped organize a thank-you party for the volunteers, which was held at a bar down the street that just put wristbands on the underage kids like a bunch of champs, and Stiles proceeded to make up for his week of no sleep by getting terribly drunk. He'd earned it. Lydia had even said so, when she bought him his first shot.

He'd graduated to nursing a beer and watching kids do that pony dance on what passed for a dance floor when Derek Fucking Hale appeared beside him again.

"Who let you in?" Stiles asked without heat, picking up his bottle. The condensation on it pooled up between his fingers and he wanted to wipe it all on Derek's shirt out of spite.

"This is a non-partisan bar," said Derek. "The gangly kid on the end of that dance line is one of ours. We have spies among you."

"More schemes to get us to divulge crucial campaign secrets!" said Stiles. "You're corrupting our youth!"

"As if they know anything we care about," said Derek. "Congratulations on barely winning the fake election."

"I am looking forward to seeing who the news cycle decides is going to be the governor, based on that crap," said Stiles.

"I'm not," said Derek, waving the bartender over. "Want another one?"

"I see what you're doing here and it's not going to work," said Stiles, nodding anyway.

***

Stiles' back hit the door of his hotel room hard.

"You're such an asshole," he said into Derek's mouth, fumbling with the key card without looking at it until he finally heard the lock click open.

"Stop fucking talking for five minutes," Derek hissed back, biting his bottom lip and tumbling them into the room.

"I've clearly hit rock bottom," Stiles went on, hands on Derek's belt buckle.

"Speak for yourself, Stiles." Derek shoved him back onto the bed and gave him a long, considering look before following him down. Stiles caught the end of his tie and used it to direct him.

***

It was five in the morning, predawn grey coming through the curtains Stiles had never closed, and he was in that sweet lull between sobering up and getting a hangover. The ceiling of the hotel room was off-white and speckled. Derek shifted beside him.

"Well," said Stiles.

Derek grunted what seemed to be an agreement.

"I suspect that's been on its way here for a while." When he glanced over at Derek, their eyes met.

"I tried to tell you I wasn't anti-gay," said Derek, and for some reason that set Stiles off in a fit of terrible laughter, even though it wasn't actually funny. Derek smirked back and it was horrifyingly charming.

"Oh, good," Stiles managed after a few attempts. "At least I hatefucked a Log Cabin Republican. That's a relief."

"I'm not even a Republican, you know," said Derek. "You just assumed because of my uncle's campaign, but that's a family thing."

"What?" said Stiles. "You're not?"

Derek stretched out. "I'm not. I have no party affiliation. I'm a centrist."

Stiles rolled his eyes at the ceiling. "That voter I've grown to hate."

"The informed one?" Derek snarked. "What's the point of all this bipartite smoke and mirrors anyway? These guys are gonna raise taxes here, those guys are gonna cut them over there, social programs, corporate incentives, and then they get in office and wind up doing something entirely different than they promised anyway, for one reason or another. You think Lydia's gonna be president someday? Or do you think the political machine's going to chew her up and spit her out?" Derek was a fucking nihilist, apparently.

"Lydia likes to say academia already tried to chew her up and spit her out, but instead it choked on her."

Derek huffed a laugh. "All right, so maybe I'd vote for her."

"You'd like the real Lydia," Stiles mused. "But she's not to the public taste."

"No?"

"Way more intense and bloodthirsty. Principled. Smartest person I've ever met."

Derek rolled over and slid a hand up Stiles' chest, which made his spine tingle. "Really."

"Yep," Stiles managed.

"Interesting," said Derek against his skin.

Stiles swallowed hard. Once was excusable. Twice was telling. "What are you doing after the campaign?" he asked.

Derek looked up. "Going home. I'm not staying on with the administration. You?"

"Well, when my candidate wins, I'm going back to work," said Stiles. "My firm gave me basically a leave of absence so I could do this campaign as a favour, which was pretty nice of them, so."

"Where's that?"

"In LA." Stiles sighed at the way Derek's hand slid slowly down his side.

"I live in LA," said Derek.

"What do you do, then? Protest baby-killing? Kick puppies? Have a farmer's market stall where you buy and sell the souls of wannabe celebrities as the middleman with Satan?"

"I write," said Derek, but that was a laugh he'd just smothered against Stiles' ribs. "I just sold a screenplay."

"About?"

For a moment it didn't seem like Derek was going to answer. Then he finally said, "Werewolves."

Stiles took a moment to savour that answer. An awkward silence fell and he savoured that, too.

"You populist swine," he said finally, with relish. "Are there no depths you won't stoop to in the name of the almighty dollar?"

"Look who's talking," said Derek, leaning up to kiss him. "I'll get you premiere tickets, you can join me in hell."

"I might beat you there," said Stiles, "if Scott finds out I actually slept with the enemy this time and has me executed for treason."

"That's not how treason works, Stiles."

"Welcome to the Martin campaign, Derek. I'm going to wish they had just executed me." Not that Stiles was moving or doing anything that might be understood as discouraging to the way Derek was currently mapping out his upper body with his lips and hands.

"Tell you what," Derek breathed against his wet, oversensitive skin. "Why don't you go down on me and maybe I'll get distracted enough to reveal campaign secrets." His grin was probably illegal in some red states.

Stiles gave that some thought for a moment. "You know, politics runs so much more smoothly when you embrace the spirit of compromise." He rolled them over suddenly enough that Derek's eyes widened. "Three cheers for democracy," said Stiles.

 

THE END