“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Stiles stares down at the paper in his hand, then waves it in the air. “This is not real.”
“It’s real,” Liam grumbles. “Believe me, it’s real. It might look like some stupid cartoon thing that Mason drew, but it’s an actual living and poison breathing creature.”
“It breathes poison.” Stiles shoves the paper at Derek. “Did you hear that? It breathes poison. Does it shuffle through the grass? Does it have a long tail it whips at you?”
“I didn’t stick around to find out!” Liam snaps. “What part of we were attacked did you miss?”
“Why did I come back to Beacon Hills?” Derek asks, pinching the bridge of his nose.
“Because you love me.” Stiles nudges him in the chest. “Seriously, tell me where you’ve seen this before.” He waits, patiently, while Derek takes the paper, and when there’s no immediate answer, Stiles sighs.
“Pokémon!” Stiles yells. “Liam and Mason were attacked by a real, live Pokémon.”
Liam’s brow furrows. “Stiles. Pokémon aren’t real.”
“Really? Because tell that to the grass-burrowing poison-breathing adorable creature that attacked you.” Stiles snickers, because honestly, Liam just manages to find himself in the most ridiculous situations.
And that would be Derek’s disappointed voice. The one that means that Stiles has just pushed beyond the limits of good taste in teasing his packmate. Stiles grumbles. “Fine. I will reserve judgement until we catch one. But if I find any red and white balls on the ground—” He cuts off at Derek’s low growl, huffs and grumbles but stays silent.
Liam grabs back the piece of paper from Derek. “Okay. So now that we know what we’re looking for—”
“Pokémon,” Stiles murmurs.
Liam continues as if he hasn’t spoken, “Hayden and Mason will be coming into the Preserve from the east, and we’re coming in from the west. Mason says Cory’s already in there somewhere, but I wouldn’t know. I can never find him. Jackson,” there’s a small snort underlining the name, and Stiles can’t blame him for that one, “is with Isaac, and they’re following the river. I don’t know why—it didn’t really seem to like water.”
“Hunting Magikarp,” Stiles muses.
Derek wraps his arms around Stiles, tugs him back flat against his chest, murmurs, “Hush,” right against his ear. Which is a valid method of distraction. And works well. So well that Liam finishes speaking and Stiles missed the last half of the plan.
Liam rolls his eyes. “Stick with Derek, which you’re going to do anyway, and everything will be fine. Come on.”
Derek reaches into the back of his car and pulls out a net on a long handle. “You’re on catching duty. Think you can handle it, trainer?” Derek smirks slightly as he hands Stiles the net. “We’ll herd it toward you. You capture it. Once we figure out what it really is—” He brings up a finger against Stiles’s lips. “Which is not a Pokémon, then we’ll figure out what to do with it.”
“And if it spits poison at me or something?” Stiles asks dryly. “Because I was paying attention to the part where Liam considers it dangerous.”
“Duck.” Derek pushes the net into Stiles’s hands. “Come on.”
It’s hard to be worried, really, when they’re essentially hunting Pokémon. It’s not like it’s the young dragon who decided to lay her first clutch of eggs in the depths of the Preserve last summer. Nor is it the kelpie that moved into the river for a month, or the family of dryads that came through. It’s not angry, it’s not dangerous… it’s just cute.
Stiles is positive Liam’s over-reacting when he says it’s poisonous. Even if Mason’s drawing isn’t perfectly accurate, the thing still looks like it’s probably adorable, with big eyes and little waving tentacles.
There’s a soft shikt, and Derek grabs the neck of Stiles’s shirt, yanking him backwards. Liam goes down with a sudden thump, rolls sideways and grapples with something on his chest.
“Get it off! Get it off!” Liam shouts, and Derek rushes closer, crouching down next to Liam.
“Stop moving,” Derek orders, and when Liam keeps wriggling, Derek roars.
Liam stops, lying on his back, chest heaving. There are little green bands wrapped around his shoulders, suckers attached to his skin. And sitting on his chest is a creature no bigger than two palmfuls, something that looks remarkably like a turtle carrying a pod on its back.
While Stiles stands frozen, the pod slowly opens.
“Shit,” Liam whines.
“Stiles!” Derek yells.
Right, Stiles has a job to do. He swings the net with a shout, slamming it down over the creature—and Liam—maybe a little harder than he has to. The creature shrieks, the pod closing as it lets go of Liam and tries to escape the net. But Stiles drops the backpack he’s carrying and grabs out a plastic box with holes poked in the lid. He sets the box down and quickly empties the net into it, then slams the lid on and fastens it down.
The creature looks out at him and blinks large green eyes.
“This is ridiculously cute,” Stiles mutters.
Derek leans in, his chin resting on Stiles’s shoulder. “You’re right,” he says. “That’s a Pokémon.”
“Told you.” Stiles picks up the plastic box, hands it to Liam. “You take it back to Scott. If it decides to puff up and poison you, at least you’re immune, and I don’t want that in my Jeep.” He glances at Derek. “This is why they developed Poké Balls. It must’ve been to make sure untrained Pokémon didn’t just poison their trainers accidentally.”
Derek pulls Stiles in, kisses his nose. “Congratulations on your first catch, and on your restraint?”
“Restraint?” Stiles raises an eyebrow. “I’ve been literally talking about Pokémon since Liam brought it up.”
“But after you caught it, you didn’t say you gotta catch ‘em all,” Derek says.
Stiles shrugs. “Well, there’s always tomorrow.”