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Stiles's Story Time

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"What can I do for you?" the guy asks, voice quick and professional as he glances briefly at Derek while he slips his cell phone back into his pocket and then continues shoving books in his satchel.

The guy looks like he has something on his mind and somewhere to be, but Scott had been so happy about the story, so excited to see a wolf portrayed as a good guy. He doesn't want to disappoint him.

"I wanted to talk to you about your story. The little red riding hood variation."

"Oh please tell me you're not going to be one of those parents," he says, groaning as he shoves his bag closed and pulls his hoodie on - a red hoodie, aptly enough.

Derek furrows his brows in question.

"The ones who sanctimoniously tell me I'm ruining their children's lives by providing a more well-rounded perspective? Sorry. But I have some pretty strong opinions on this particular subject. Did you know that wolves don't attack humans? Like ever, unless the humans are invading their territory or getting between them and pack members, or harassing them? And yet we've managed to extinct a dozen different subspecies in this continent alone."

His eyes are flashing, bright amber behind his glasses and he gestures with as much passion as his words are spoken. The guy stands firm as he lifts his chin and stares Derek down, not giving him a chance to interrupt as he continues, saying, "Well what if kids grew up feeling sympathy for wolves instead of fearing them? Maybe we wouldn't have so much trouble keeping them alive. But no, I'm sure you want your kid to grow up being a selfish worshiper of consumerism and human superiority. Well there are plenty of children's books out there that support just that, so I'm sure you can find something to read them that will satisfy your narrow perspective. And feel free to not come back, because I'm not going to change my stories."

Derek blinks at the guy, fighting the urge to smirk.

"Actually, I wanted to say thanks."

Then he feels Scott tugging on the backs of his jeans, sees the guy's face go slack in surprise, then flush in embarrassment. But Derek ignores him to kneel down to face his kid, eyebrows lifted in question. "Yes Scott?"

"I thought he was going to be nice," Scott whispers, and out of the corner of his eye Derek sees the guy freeze. But he doesn't look at him, he just keeps a steady look at Scott and smiles slightly as he listens to every word.

Scott sets his little jaw. "I liked his story and you said we could tell him but he's being mean to you. We should go."

Derek raises an eyebrow. Scott, for all that he is only waist high, is fiercely protective of Derek. Probably a side-effect of losing Laura and Melissa so recently. He puts a soothing hand on Scott's shoulders, wishing he could draw out some of the tension, some of the boy's burdens.

"Didn't you see his sweatshirt? I bet he was still pretending to be that mean little red riding hood," he says with an easy smile.

Scott's eyes go wide as he unfurls his clenched fists, then he sneaks another glance at the guy.

Derek can't resist looking at him too when he immediately strips off his sweat-shirt again with a rough motion that has half his clothes pulling up to reveal a taut span of abdomen before he tosses it over to his things and crouches down to look at the boy at his level too.

"That's right Scott, I was being very rude. It was bad of me. But I'm not really mean, I promise."

Scott eyes him suspiciously for a long moment, then, predictably, his face breaks into a wide grin. "Wolves are the best!"

The man's eyes go bright behind his glasses as he returns the smile. "They totally are!"

"They're loyal and strong and fast and they work together with other wolves when they hunt and they take care of their young," Scott says, emphasizing the points with his little fingers.

"You know a lot about wolves," the guy says and Scott nods emphatically.

"Yeah we love wolves," Scott says with a grin for Derek. "That's why we liked your story."

"I'm really glad to hear that. I'll have to see if I can find another wolf story to tell next week," he says, then pauses, glancing sheepishly at Derek. "Assuming you'll be back next week."

Derek stands up, swinging Scott up along with him to settle on his hip since he knows the boy will probably request it anyway now that his protective instincts have been primed. As the other man stands as well, Derek glances at his boy with raised eyebrows. Scott looks at them both with wide eyes, then nods his head so firmly it sends his hair cascading over his face.

Derek turns his gaze on the other man. "Well there you have it. We'll see you next week."

"Good, that's. Good. Sorry about earlier," he says as he gathers his things again. "I… sorry."

Derek shrugs. He can't fault the guy for being passionate about something - especially not when it is something he wholeheartedly agrees with. In fact, it's damnably attractive. He watches as he slings the strap of his bag over his shoulder, then hesitates, sweatshirt in hand. He doesn't put on the sweatshirt, though it's a bit chilly out for the layered tees alone. It has the corner of Derek's mouth turning up and the guy's cheek's reddening.

"I'm Stiles, by the way. Stiles Stilinski," he says, extending his hand.

"Derek Hale," he replies as he takes it.

"Great. So uh. Scott," he says, then pauses fractionally before adding, "Derek. See you next week."

Derek nods, and then pretends not to watch him walk away with the express purpose of seeing how he fills out his jeans. It's not like he's seriously looking at anyone these days anyway. Scott's the focus of his life right now, and he's more than a handful - a point which he immediately demonstrates as though he'd been listening to Derek's thoughts.

"See you later, Alligator!" Scott shouts after him, despite the library setting. Yep. No time for the troubles of romance. He has a six-year-old to handle.

Except things never exactly go to plan, and he knows he's in for some of that trouble when Stiles turns around with a grin and a wink and calls back just as loudly, "In a while, Crocodile!"