Summary: All Stiles wants from life is to learn to control his magic, keep his grades up, and not die horribly while saving Beacon Hills from supernatural threats. It's all going pretty well until Derek Hale, werewolf extraordinaire, has to go and ask him on a date. That asshole.
Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Wolf & Co.
Warnings: Possible non-sexual humiliation/embarrassment squick. Highlight for details. Stiles makes a naked apology speech to Derek in the school cafeteria. It is of his own free will, there is no laughing/jeering, and Derek does not shame or reject him. However, it's still a scene of humiliation.
Deaton comes to collect him a while later, looking exactly as ragged as Stiles feels, though less injured and definitely still running on adrenaline whereas Stiles had crashed about an hour ago. He stands next to Mrs. Hale and surveys Stiles with a grave expression, even though he can't fully see him because Stiles is wearing the protegi again.
"The sylphs are gone," Deaton says. His voice sounds like he chain-smoked a lifetime of cigarettes in the past four hours. "There were only two, and you apparently killed the one that I didn't have trapped in the circle."
If Stiles had had the energy, his jaw would have dropped. Instead he just blinks tiredly. "I killed it?"
"Yes," Deaton says. "Additionally, you set the forest on fire."
Stiles slumps a little more. "Sorry."
"Luckily for you, I managed to put it out," Deaton says. "After I sent the other sylph home, without killing it or burning down Beacon Hills."
"Where was home?" Stiles asks curiously.
"About six hundred years ago," Deaton replies.
It takes a second for Stiles' exhausted brain to process that.
"It… time-traveled?" Stiles asks, his eyes going belatedly wide as it sinks in. "And then you un-time-traveled it?"
Deaton is such a badass. Seriously, there is no way Stiles is every going to be that awesome.
"Yes," Deaton says shortly. "I'll explain tomorrow, if you're so curious. For now, let's get you home."
Stiles nods. He sets down the mug of tea he'd been cradling and slowly uncurls himself from his blanket burrito, wincing as every muscle in his body protests and his head swims unpleasantly, and then slowly stands. He regrets the evolution of bipedalism.
"Elizabeth told me what else happened tonight," Deaton says, as Stiles creaks over to the entrance of the family room.
Stiles grimaces and comes to a stop in front of him. "I know. I—"
"Alan," Mrs. Hale says, laying a hand on Stiles' shoulder. Her voice is just as serious. "Derek identified his heartbeat from inside the house."
Deaton goes quiet, staring over Stiles' shoulder at Mrs. Hale.
"What?" Stiles asks, looking between them.
"Nothing," Deaton says, after a pause. He seems to collect himself. "Come on, let's go. It's late."
Stiles knows that it's not nothing, but he recognizes that look. That look means his answers are going to have to come from old, dusty books instead of from Deaton's mouth, and his shoulders slump in defeat.
He thanks Mrs. Hale, who squeezes his shoulder and nods before releasing him, and then follows Deaton out of the house.
Stiles is fairly certain that during the drive home Deaton is considering whether or not he should cut his losses and leave Stiles to his fate, or at the very least reconsider whether or not he should continue his training. Stiles doesn't ask him to stop at McDonald's, even though he would love an ice-cold milkshake to press against his throbbing skull.
They roll to a stop in front of Stiles' house. Stiles grabs his backpack and is about to get out of the car, when a hand on his arm makes him stop.
"Stiles," Deaton says quietly, his expression unreadable in the darkness. "You did a good job tonight."
Stiles blinks, and rapidly runs over the last twenty minutes in his head. "But I—"
"You did a good job," Deaton repeats firmly, "and I'll see you tomorrow."
Stiles is too tired to argue.
Stiles goes inside, lets his father play mother hen for a while with a hot shower, arnica rubbed into his bruises, and a cup of hot soup, and then troops up to his bedroom to quietly die. Despite Deaton's words there's still something heavy and uncomfortable in his chest, in his belly, and it makes every breath just a little too hard. Stiles wants to claw it out with his own blunt fingernails.
He thinks that sleep is the answer. He'll pass out on his bed and when he wakes up, he'll feel lighter and clearer with the dawn. Sleep is always the solution.
But when he trudges into his bedroom, he doesn't go to his bed.
He goes to his desk.
Half-dazed, Stiles watches as his hands open his top desk drawer and withdraw the worn cords of leather that started off stiff and smelly but are now butter soft between his fingers. Then he starts to braid.
He braids and weaves, fingers pulling and twisting and threading soft leather, until finally he knows it's time to make a knot. He ties the threads together in an intricate, balanced knot that leaves the cords splayed equally, and when he pulls it tight, something inside of him locks into place.
Stiles goes to bed with two inches of his totem finished, and falls asleep before his head hits the pillow.
When he wakes up, he feels light and clear.
Derek identified his heartbeat from inside the house.
School the next day is a special kind of hell. His father offers to call him in sick for the day, when Stiles literally cannot get out of bed for several minutes for the pain in his back, but Stiles is insistent. Unfortunately, though, he arrives to find that Derek still isn't so much as looking at him, and that Scott is disgustingly bubbly because he and Allison have their first date on Friday.
"And I suggested Leaf, which is that really weird raw vegan place, but then she was like, 'Actually, I've really been craving a good cheeseburger'," Scott says, half-giddy, as they walk to second period. "She's, like, perfect. I think I might love her."
"Based on her desire for eating the flesh of dead animals?" Stiles asks skeptically.
"No—well, maybe—I can't stand tofu, you know that. But she's smart and funny and she cares about people so much, you know? Like, she really cares."
"Uh-huh," says Stiles. He's grinning despite himself, because Scott is actively redefining the word besotted before his eyes and has absolutely no clue that he's doing it.
"Oh, and she told me about Kate—it turns out that Kate's her aunt, and she's like the black sheep of the family or something. Everyone else is super-antiviolence and stuff. Allison's really embarrassed to be related to her. So, uh, I know you were worked up about it, but—"
Stiles waves a hand. "No worries, dude. You were totally right, I was just being a dick because of how things went with Derek."
Scott looks relieved.
"So, go on," Stiles says, gesturing. "Tell me more. What are you going to wear? What are you going to listen to in the car? On a scale of one to five, exactly how raunchy is the goodnight kiss going to be?"
"I made two inches of my totem last night," Stiles tells Deaton happily, when he comes in after school. "You were totally right—it was like an out-of-body experience. So weird. But awesome. Definitely awesome."
Deaton raises his eyebrows, looking amused. "Congratulations."
"My dad's thrilled," Stiles says. "He's really kind of tired of buying me cell phones. I didn't mention that at this rate it's probably going to be, like, years before I actually finish it and make it functional."
"I have full confidence you'll be ready to do the initiation rites by the time you turn eighteen," Deaton replies.
"You're only saying that because I haven't destroyed any of your office equipment in the last five—no, no, six! Six days. Hah. That might actually be a record."
"You'll be fine," Deaton assures him. "Start preparing a circle so we can meditate before we begin writing our reflections. It's especially important to be detailed this time, since there is so little documentation on the sylphs."
Stiles makes a face, but goes to the cupboard to fetch the circle supplies. A meditation circle, at least, is something that he can set up in his sleep—even if he sucks at the actual meditation part.
"So," he says brightly, returning with an armload of supplies, "how come Derek can identify my heartbeat from inside the house? What does that mean?"
"It means that Derek can identify your heartbeat from inside of his house," Deaton answers.
Stiles gives him a look. "That totally wasn't what I meant."
"Meditation circle, Stiles," Deaton reminds him.
Undeterred, Stiles starts setting up the circle.
He doesn't really need Deaton to tell him. He thinks he has an inkling of what it means, and the thought gives him a pleasant sort of buzz that's going to make it very difficult to calm down and meditate in five minutes.
Derek evades him for two days more before Stiles finally catches him walking out to the parking lot at the end of the day. The bruises on Stiles' face have almost completely disappeared.
"Aha!" Stiles says as he jogs up from behind and plants himself firmly beside Derek on the sidewalk.
"Go away," Derek says without looking at him.
"You knew my heartbeat," Stiles persists. "You could hear it from inside your house."
"So…" Stiles flounders for half a second, because he doesn't actually know. "Look, you get why I had to say no to you last week, right? But—I didn't actually want to. I would have said yes, dude, if it weren't for all the secrets and stuff."
Derek ignores him.
"C'mon, man," Stiles says. "I'm sorry."
"No," says Derek.
"But I had to say no, you know that!"
"Yeah, but you know what you didn't have to do? You didn't have to humiliate me in front of half the school," Derek interrupts angrily, stopping and turning on Stiles. "But you did. So, congratulations. You're a dick. I got the message."
Stiles' eyes widen. "No, I didn't—it wasn't you!"
Derek walks way. "Not interested."
"Derek! Dude, come on, I like you!" Stiles calls after him, shoulders slumped in defeat.
"You don't know a thing about me!" Derek yells back.
"I know that's from a Kelly Clarkson song, you emo-music liking dick!"
Derek keeps walking.
"So there's this boy," Stiles says.
His father pauses the episode of Dateline he's watching and turns to look at him, eyebrows raised. "Does this boy have a name?"
"Derek," Stiles says as he squirms around on the couch so that he's sitting cross-legged and facing his father, instead of the television.
"Okay, so, Derek. Crush or bully?"
"Uh," says Stiles. "Neither? He sort of has a crush on me."
Stiles is just a little bit offended by the Look of Skepticism that his father has to wrestle off his face.
"Anyway," he says loudly, glaring pointedly to let his father know that the Look of Skepticism had not, in fact, escaped his attention, "he's also sort of Derek Hale, werewolf extraordinaire."
Understanding eclipses his father's face. "I see. Does this have anything to do with why you came home Tuesday night, looking like you lost a fight with a lawnmower?"
"Yeah—well, no. Sort of?"
Luckily, his father is well-versed in Stilese and listens patiently as Stiles fumbles through an explanation of the last week, starting with his disastrous, panicked refusal to go out with Derek, and ending with their conversation in the parking lot today. By the time Stiles finishes, his father has a rather speculative look on his face.
"So... yeah," Stiles says, flapping his hands. "That's the story."
"Okay," his father says slowly, after a pause. "So, you do like him?"
"Kinda. I mean, I didn't wake up this morning to find my heart lifted on the golden wings of love and soaring towards a radiant sun of perfect joy named Derek. But, you know, he seems cool."
"Well, if you want him to go out with you, I probably wouldn't open with that," his father advises dryly.
Stiles makes a face. "But, he's right. I was a di—er, a jerk. I'm kind of not very nice, Dad. Plus there's the whole magic thing. It would kind of suck if I got kidnapped and killed for my magic just because someone was like 'Hey, that kid Derek dates tends to visit Deaton's office a lot, that's mighty suspicious'."
"Yes, that might suck," his father agrees, looking vaguely exasperated, before he grows serious. "But, Stiles, you know that there is nothing more important than your own safety."
Stiles slumps back against the arm of the couch.
"Yeah, I know," he says glumly.
His father gives him a look. "No, I mean—you know that. You've always been a pragmatic kid. It takes a lot of strength and maturity to say to no to your first date when you're sixteen and the other guy 'seems cool.'"
Stiles doesn't know why his father puts that in air quotes. Frankly, he doesn't know where his father got the idea that it was okay for people older than twenty to use air quotes at all.
"So..." he says slowly, raising his eyebrows. "What?"
"So, I'm saying that I think you should talk to Deaton," his father says. "I'm sure you'll be able to convince him to help you do this as safely as possible. And if Derek cares about you at all, he'll be willing to take extra steps to keep you safe."
Stiles blinks. "Wait, you're telling me I can go out with him? That's, like, a thing that you are totally okay with?"
His father makes a face. "I wouldn't say I'm totally okay with it. Also, step one for all of this should be apologizing to Derek for saying—what was it?"
"He wouldn't know consent if it stood in front of him, butt naked," Stiles mumbles. "Also, a creepy asshole. Who has no friends."
"Yes. And don't be half-assed about it, either," his father says pointedly. "Show him you mean it."
A rather rousing rendition of That's How You Know from that one Disney movie pops into his head.
"Great," Stiles mutters.
"It'll work out," his father says, reaching over to pat him on knee. "The Hales are good, level-headed people, and I'm sure Derek takes after his parents."
Stiles makes a face. "Actually, he's kind of an angsty little shit."
"He's an angsty little poop. Even his notebooks are black. It's sort of cute."
"Uh-huh," says his father. "And while we're still on the subject, does this Derek have a license plate number?"
"A lic—" Stiles sits up straight in horror. "Oh my God, Dad, you are not going to pull him over and interrogate him or threaten him or—or menacingly clean your gun in front of him. Just, go back to watching your show, okay, and I'll worry about Derek."
"If you insist," his father says pleasantly.
"I insist," Stiles says.
"I'm probably going to get suspended sometime in the next few days," Stiles tells his father, backpack slung over his shoulder and a piece of toast in one hand. "Just fair warning."
His father's head whips around. "What?"
"Don't worry!" Stiles yells, turning and heading for the door. "It's in the name of love!"
"I got your back, bro," Scott says immediately.
Allison frowns, pulls Scott's head to her mouth and whispers something in his ear.
Scott grins and nods.
"Actually," he says, upon his release. There's a terrible gleam in his eye. "So, I'll help. But you've gotta put in a word about our ketchup petition in return. Deal?"
Stiles rolls his eyes. "Deal."
Stiles opens his mouth.
"Go away," Laura Hale says, opening her locker door and effectively cutting herself off from Stiles.
Stiles gamely moves to her other side. "I need your help."
"You broke my brother's heart in front of half the school," Laura replies. "No."
"Yeah, okay, it wasn't half the school," Stiles says, annoyed. "It was in the hallway, and there were only like fifty people there. And I have the right to say no to him, you know."
Laura raises her eyebrows at him. "You didn't have to be a total asshole about it."
"Yeah okay, fair," Stiles admits, because it was. "But, look, I just want the chance to apologize to him."
"And you're going to do that how?" Laura asks.
Stiles tells her.
Laura looks delighted, and asks if she can photograph it for the student newspaper.
Stiles says yes, as long as she makes sure to include a mention for Allison and Scott's petition.
"I can't believe you're going to do this," Scott says, as Stiles kicks the pile of clothing under the door of the bathroom stall.
"Yeah, and you're not even the one doing it," Stiles mutters. He wraps the towel around his waist and unlocks the stall. "Oh, God. Okay."
"You don't actually have to do this," Scott says. "You could just, like, soap his car with lots of 'I'm sorry's. Or, you know, do something really wild and talk to him. Like normal people do."
Hah. If only Scott knew.
"I'm doing this," Stiles says stubbornly. "I need to—to give him an opportunity to get even. Plus, I'm proving a theory."
Scott frowns. "What theo—"
But Scott's phone buzzes, cutting him off.
"It's Allison," he tells Stiles, after checking it. "She says Derek's in the cafeteria, and she's got the lunch crew distracted with the petition."
"Good," Stiles says. He's only shaking a little. "Good, that's good."
"Hug for good luck?" Scott asks.
The embrace is hard and fast. Scott slaps him on the back.
"Good luck," he says, clutching Stiles' clothing to his chest. "I'll see you on the other side."
Stiles watches him leave, heart hammering in his chest. He really doesn't like the idea of a public rejection, even if it is what he deserves—but if this works, it might just earn him Derek's forgiveness, and maybe even a second chance.
He counts to sixty slowly, to make sure that Scott will have enough to get to the locker room with his clothes. He makes use of the meditative breathing techniques Deaton's taught him as he's forcing himself to count out sixty slow, metered Mississippis. When he opens his eyes at the end of it he feels slightly calmer.
"Showtime," Stiles says to himself, and heads for the door in naught but a towel and his sneakers.
He doesn't run in the hallways. Running would attract the attention of teachers, and that's the last thing that Stiles wants. He walks quickly, though, because it's cold and he really just needs to go and get this over with.
The din coming from the cafeteria makes his heart ratchet up another few hundred beats per minute.
It occurs to him that Derek can probably hear his heartbeat right now.
Stiles stops, closes his eyes, inhales and exhales—
worth it, worth it, worth it
—and charges in.
Only a few people notice at first.
Then Stiles jumps on the table across from where Derek is sitting with Laura, throws his towel to the ground, and completely naked save for the sneakers on his feet, yells, "Hey Beacon Hills High!"
It's dead silent.
Cell phones start coming out immediately, videotaping and snapping pictures. Someone wolf-whistles, which confirms Stiles' theory that he's actually pretty attractive, and the school photographer is snapping away from a strategic corner, no doubt thanks to Laura. Stiles forces himself to ignore all of it and focuses on Derek, who is staring up at him in disbelief.
Stiles is glad that, unlike last time, he'd actually practiced a little the night before.
"Some of you who have nothing better to do than gossip about other peoples' love lives probably remember that last Friday Derek asked me to go on a date with him, and I turned him down. Like a dick."
There is definite whispering and some giggling going on right now.
"No one cares about your stupid love life, Stilinski!" Jackson Whittemore, douchebag extraordinaire, yells.
His girlfriend smacks him on the back of the head, which warms Stiles' heart a little.
"I'm here to apologize," Stiles continues, staring right at Derek, whose expression has not changed. "I'm sorry, Derek. I was an asshole and you didn't deserve that. I really do like you. I think you're funny and ballsy and classic horror movies at the drive-in sounds like literal perfection. And you're not a creep. You are kind of an asshole, though. In a good way. Well, in a me-way. Like, we're both assholes, and that's good. I think."
Derek quirks an eyebrow.
"Anyway," Stiles says, taking heart in Derek's response. "I'm really sorry. I was a douchebag, which isn't okay, because this school already has a resident douchebag." He shoots a meaningful look at Jackson, who flips him off. Stiles grins and turns back to Derek. "And I told you that you wouldn't recognize consent if it stood in front of you butt naked, so… here I am. Consenting."
To your public rejection.
Stiles can't actually bring himself to say that part out loud.
But just as he's steeling himself for Derek to let him have it—because Stiles was a raging douchebag and he absolutely deserves it—when Derek does the completely thing and rolls his eyes.
"Seriously?" he asks, eyes flicking up and down over Stiles. "Get down, you're going to get in trouble."
Stiles frowns. "But… don't you want…"
"No, you idiot. Though it's nice to see that I was right about your muscle-IQ theory."
"Wha—no!" Stiles says, jumping down. "No, okay, there is seriously no muscle here, and you can see it all right now. That was like half the point of this."
"Proving me wrong?"
"Proving that you were wrong about me being wrong," Stiles says.
Derek looks exasperated. "Go put clothes on, Stiles."
Stiles feels a surge of tentative hope. "…Does this mean that I'm fo—"
Stiles jumps about a mile in the air as Harris' voice echoes across the cafeteria. He whips around and sees Harris storming into the lunch room, looking murderous.
"Gotta run!" Stiles yelps, bolting for the doors opposite Harris. "Call me, let me know!"
Only as he's running out does he remember.
"Oh, yeah! And you should all sign Scott McCall's petition to get some motherfucking ketchup back in this school!" he calls over his shoulder.
He thinks he hears people cheering. He's a little too busy running for his life to check.
The conversation opens like this:
"So, I said 'apologize', and you somehow got 'streak in the cafeteria' out of it. Want to explain that to me?"
Since he's suspended for two days and today is Friday, Stiles is grounded for the entirety of his impromptu four-day weekend. His father takes his phone, iPod, computer, and Xbox away, and forbids Stiles from going anywhere except to Deaton's. Visitors are not welcome.
The conversation ends like this:
"So, all that aside... did it work?"
Stiles fidgets and shrugs. "Dunno. I hope so."
His father hugs him, then hands him a canister of Pledge and tells him to get started on the dusting. And no, he may not have his iPod back so he can "just listen to some music" while he cleans.
On Saturday night, Stiles is halfway through A Clash of Kings when there's a noise like a dead bird has flown into his window, followed by a loud crash.
Instantly on alert, Stiles jumps off the bed and swipes a vial of yew ash off of his dresser, then creeps over to the window.
Someone is getting to their feet on the ground, amidst the scattered shards of the Stilinski family clay fire pit. Someone in a leather jacket and jeans, with suspiciously familiar gelled hair.
Stiles throws the window and screen open.
"Derek?" he demands, staring down at him.
"What the fuck is wrong with your window?" Derek growls, glaring up at him from the ground.
"It's—protected. Mountain ash. Dude, did you try to jump up here? Were you going to climb in my window? Oh my God, Edward Cullen much?"
"I heard you were grounded. Excuse me for trying to keep you out of trouble," Derek says, scowling.
"Yeah, and now I've got to explain how our fire pit got smashed. What'd you do, fall on it?"
"Can't you just… fix it?" Derek asks, waving a hand at the shards.
"With what, superglue? Yeah, I'm sure that'll hold up real well next time we get a bonfire going," Stiles says, rolling his eyes
"No, dumbass, with your magic," Derek snaps.
"I'm not Harry Potter, dude. Go around the side, I'll let you in."
He pulls his head back in without bothering to check if Derek follows his directions. He shuts the screen and the window, deposits the vial of yew ash back on his dresser, and then does a quick change of clothes so that he's wearing actual pants. Then he pounds down the stairs to let Derek in.
"Couldn't you hear that my dad wasn't home?" Stiles asks, as he lets him in.
Derek shrugs, wiping his shoes on the mat before coming up the stairs and into the kitchen. Stiles gets a look at his shirt, which, while black, reads #sixseasonsandamovie. It sort of surprises him. He'd thought Derek would be an ironic Supernatural fan, or an actual fan of some really terrible sitcom like Two and Half Men.
"Sorry about the fire pit," Derek mutters.
Stiles shakes his head. "Whatever. I'll tell him it was in the name of love. Of course, that was the explanation I gave him for my two-day suspension, and that clearly didn't get me very far, so—"
"Love?" Derek asks skeptically. "Seriously?"
"Hey, it sounds better than 'in the name of like', doesn't it?" Stiles challenges.
"You're such an idiot."
Unwarranted, Stiles' heart speeds up, and he stops walking in the middle of the kitchen.
He bites his lip.
"You came all the way here to tell me that?" he asks, trying not to let his nerves into his voice even though he knows Derek knows. "After I got naked for you and everything?"
"No, I came here to—" Derek cuts himself off, looking frustrated.
When nothing is forthcoming, he raises his eyebrows. "Use your words, Derek."
Derek doesn't use his words.
Derek lunges forward and captures Stiles' mouth in a kiss.
Stiles jerks back instinctively, but as soon as his brain catches up with his body, he is full systems go for this kissing business. He's kissing Derek Hale. In the kitchen. Yes, yes he is. He's not sure where his arms are supposed to go, or if he's supposed to maybe stand a little closer, and maybe he shouldn't be pushing back quite so hard—
"Relax," Derek growls, and then he pulls Stiles close and introduces him to the art of French kissing.
Actually, Stiles goes pretty much boneless in Derek's arms as their mouths connect and his brain shuts off. This is fantastic. He wants more, and marionette strings pull him closer to Derek to kiss back, touch, find skin, find something to hold onto that's even better than the last. His dick is hardening against his jeans—he should have stayed in his fucking gym shorts—and Stiles wants that to touch, too. Everything should be touching. Everything needs to be touching.
Then Derek pulls back, and Stiles reflexively gasps for air he didn't know he was missing.
"So, I'm forgiven, then?" he asks breathlessly.
"Are we dating, too, or do I need to get naked in front of the entire school for round two?"
"We're dating," Derek confirms.
"Good," says Stiles. "I really didn't want to have to do that again."
"I know—I could hear your heartbeat the entire time," Derek says, smirking. "I think you were less panicked when we almost died in the woods the other night."
"Fuck off. Not all of us can be Greek statues reincarnated," Stiles complains, knocking his forehead into Derek's.
"I didn't see anything to be ashamed of," Derek says in a low voice, eyes flashing electric blue.
Stiles shivers involuntarily. "Yeah, well, I do some running. And Deaton makes me tap dance. Tap dancers have fantastic legs."
"And asses," Derek adds.
"And asses," Stiles agrees.
Then there's a hand squeezing said ass and Stiles is jumping a mile in the air, knocking one of his hands painfully against the counter.
"Ow! Fuck, sorry," he says quickly, feeling a blush come over his face. "Sorry, I just—that was unexpected."
Derek smiles, showing teeth.
"Shut up," Stiles mutters, pressing his back against the counter. "You… know that this is my first, right? Like, my first everything?"
Derek's smirk goes soft. "I know."
"Good," Stiles says, setting his jaw. "And don't forget that I can conjure up a column of flames the size of a couch, in case you were thinking of… laughing. Or something."
"I wasn't," Derek promises.
"Good," Stiles says again. He hesitates. "Can I… Can I just ask—um. You said, in the car that day, that you thought I was a good friend and I—can I just ask why me?"
Derek shrugged a shoulder. "
Derek grins at him and takes a step forward, closing the gap between them. "You're cute."
"Shut the fuck up, I am sexy!" Stiles says indignantly, pushing off the counter a flail of his arms. "I am—hot! And badass! I'm like a spell-slinging, underage James Bond!"
"Does that make me Pussy Galore?" Derek asks, eyebrows raised.
"You can be her twin brother, Dick Galore. You probably already own a pair of leather pants," Stiles says, to the shiftiest face in Shiftyville. "Oh my God, you totally do."
"Next Saturday," Derek says, glaring at him. "They're have a part two of classic horror movies at that drive-in. Do you want to go?"
"Only if you wear your leather pants."
Derek growls, eyes flashing blue.
Stiles lifts a hand and waggles his fingers.
Five minutes later, the spice rack, and all of the spices it held, has been reduced to a smelly, smoking pile of cinders, and Derek's hand is stuck in the toaster he'd grabbed to brace himself, having accidentally super-strengthed it into a non-removable glove. Stiles is laughing hysterically.
"This is what you get for using violence," Stiles says, through peels of laughter, using the kitchen counter to hold himself up. "Oh my God, oh my God, you're like a reject X-Man."
"I am Appliance-o," Derek says gravely, trying and failing to pull the toaster apart.
"Oh, no!" Stiles cries. "I'm toast!"
"No, no, no, wait," Stiles says, inspiration striking, "your superpower should be giving toasts."
Derek lets out a bark of laughter, and gives the toaster a vicious yank.
"If you pull the toaster apart with your bare hands, I'll upgrade you to He-Man," Stiles offers, some of his laughter dying down as Derek continues to fail at freeing his hand.
"Nobody likes He-Man," Derek grunts. "Get over here and magic me free."
"Dude, I have like raw power and pretty much nothing else. Unless you want me to burn your hand off, we're going to have to do this non-magically," Stiles says. He pauses, mostly calm, and takes a look at Derek's toaster-hand. "Do you want to try butter?"
"I don't think that would help," Derek says.
"Do you... want to ask your mom for help?" Stiles asks. "She's stronger than you, right? Since she's the Alpha?"
Derek's head whips up. "We are not going to my mother about this."
Stiles rolls his eyes. "Then what do you suggest?"
Derek gives the toaster one last go, before he blows out a breath and slumps. "Do you have hedge clippers?"
Derek leaves the house with a destroyed toaster, spice rack, fire pit, and a pair of hedge clippers in his wake. On the bright side, though, he also leaves without any appliances attached to his limbs.
The following morning, Stiles is awoken by his father.
"Mmprgh," says Stiles, peeking out from under the sheets long enough to see that it's freaking 7:00 a.m. and also cold, then huddling back under. "Too early."
"Stiles. You have to get up."
"Stiles, I'm serious."
"Oh my God, am I grounded from sleeping, too?"
"No," his father says patiently, "but Deaton called, and he wants you in the office immediately."
"Did he say why?" Stiles asks, not coming out from his blanket cocoon.
"No, he didn't," his father says. "You'll just have to drive over and find out. Come on, up."
Stiles groans. "I hate everything."
"Did you stay up late?"
"There was a battle, Dad. I couldn't just go to bed."
His father sighs. "Do I need to ground you from reading as well?"
"What—no!" Stiles yells, shooting out of bed. "No, you can't. That's just cruel. At least let me finish A Clash of Kings first!"
"You can keep your book," his father says, looking amused and smug in a way that means nothing good for Stiles, "if you can explain the kitchen to me."
Frick on a stick.
"Well," says Stiles, "the kitchen is a room or area of a house devoted to the preparation of food. The word 'kitchen' is actually—"
"It was... brownies?" Stiles tries. "Like the ones from last year?"
His father continues to look unimpressed.
Stiles sighs. "Okay. So I... might have tried to cook myself dinner with magic? Maybe? You know, since I got like part of my totem done and everything. I wanted to see if my control had gotten better."
His father sighs.
"Do not," his father says heavily, "do that again. You're sixteen years old, Stiles, I expect you to know better."
"Sorry," Stiles mumbles.
"Not as sorry as you're going to be when I hand you the bill," his father says. He casts a glance at the clock. "Now up. Go to Deaton's."
Stiles is so sticking Derek with half of that bill.
Stiles had been worried that the sylphs had somehow returned, or that some new terrible threat had come into Beacon Hills like an Omega or an evil coven or something, but what he finds waiting for him at Deaton's is much, much worse.
"Mrs. Hale," says Stiles, his heart sinking. "Uh. Hi?"
"Stiles," she replies, calmly standing behind the operating table.
Stiles glances at Deaton, and notices on the table behind him there are two flasks of clear liquid on the table, as well as several sticks of sandalwood incense, two pouches of herbs, and a thick leather-bound journal. In other words, all of the things Deaton had suggested to keep Stiles' and Derek's relationship as safe as possible.
"Mrs. Hale came here to talk to you about Derek," Deaton says. "As, judging by the look on your face, you seem to have figured out."
Stiles swallows and tries to look less panicked.
"Derek came home late last night, smelling very strongly of you," Mrs. Hale says, eyebrows raised expectantly.
"Oh," says Stiles, as he feels his face flush. "Uh. Yeah, he came over. I apologized to him on Friday, and—"
"Yes, I heard," Mrs. Hale interrupts, looking amused.
"Yeah. Uh, so, he came over say that we were okay. And he asked me on a date. And, uh, I said yes."
"Despite the fact that you're putting Derek in immeasurable danger by doing so?" Mrs. Hale asks.
"It's not immeasurable," Stiles protests. "Yeah, it's dangerous, but there's a bunch of things that we can do to make it less dangerous, and I'm totally going to do all of them. Like, dating is important and I really like Derek, but—you know. I'd rather us be alive. Priorities, man. Also, dating a werewolf isn't exactly a basket of roses either, you know, especially as a human. We're prime targets for hunters, enemy packs, Omegas... "
Mrs. Hale glances at Deaton, face still completely unreadable.
Stiles abruptly remembers that Mr. Hale is human.
"Plus, I'm sure you've told Derek all about the fact that I'm a walking death trap, and he's not stupid," Stiles adds, because his default reaction to saying the wrong thing is to say more things. "He knows what he's getting into."
At that, Mrs. Hale actually rolls her eyes. "He thinks he does."
"Yeah, well, I know what I'm getting into, even if he doesn't," Stiles says stubbornly.
"Do you?" Mrs. Hale asks, her eyes seeking out his.
"I will do everything I can to protect him," Stiles tells her. "And so will Deaton, and so will my dad. Who's the Sheriff, by the way."
"How much does your father know about the situation?" Mrs. Hale asks.
"Everything," Stiles says honestly.
"And what does he think?"
"He's..." Stiles pauses. "He's not thrilled. But he trusts me to be as safe as possible, and he wants me to be happy." He winces. "That sounds trite. But he does. My mopes are kind of legendary."
Mrs. Hale looks at him, her face still impassive.
Stiles tries not to fidget. He fails miserably.
Finally, Mrs. Hale turns to Deaton and says, "I see what you mean," in a tone of voice that is so frustrating it almost makes Stiles flail on the spot.
He must twitch or something, though, because a tiny smirk appears on Mrs. Hale's face for a second. It's gone by the time she turns back to face him.
"I'll allow this," she says, "but I'll be keeping an eye on it. It might seem easy to be pragmatic now, but I've got two teenagers and both of them completely lose their heads when they're in love."
Stiles knows that she can hear his heart pounding, but he barely cares.
He knows also that there is a huge grin on his face, and he cares about that even less.
His eyes flick to Deaton, who gives him a nod. They've already talked about this. In addition to Deaton keeping a very close eye on them, Deaton will be stepping up Stiles' training with a focus on offensive magic—which is Deaton's weak point, but Stiles' strength. Stiles is sort of excited to finally work on the things that he's good at for once.
"Thank you," he says, returning his gaze to Mrs. Hale.
"You're welcome," she says, bestowing a small smile on him.
When Stiles wakes up on Wednesday morning, his father is already gone but there's his brick of a cell phone and a note on the counter that reads keep your clothes on at school today, please.
Thanks for the advice, Dad.
Amidst the texts and missed calls from Scott (apparently his date with Allison had gone swimmingly), there's a text from an unknown number.
Hey, it's Derek, got your number from Scott.
Right. They're on the lacrosse team together.
As he's getting in his car to drive to school, Derek texts back:
Yeah, Scott warned me you were too dumb to find the spacebar.
Was that supposed to be readable?
When Derek pulls up on Saturday night in his Camaro, Stiles is still drawing runes with oil on his forehead. When he finally finishes and steps out the front door, he can feel the slightest tingle of magic running up and down his skin, keeping him nondescript and forgettable.
"All oiled up for me?" he asks as he slides into the car.
"You know it," Derek says. "You're late."
"A wizard is never late, Derek Hale," Stiles says staunchly. "Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to."
Derek stares at him blankly.
"Oh my God, are you serious?" Stiles demands. "Kill the engine and forget the drive-in, we have far more pressing matters to attend to. How can you not have seen Lord of the Rings?"
"We can watch it some other time," Derek says, rolling his eyes. "Put your seatbelt on."
Stiles gives him a suspicious look as he clicks his seatbelt into place. "They're showing The Wolf Man tonight at the drive-in, aren't they? That's why you want to go."
Derek looks as shifty as the gearshift he's got his hand on.
(Artisan of words. Seriously. Stiles is going to win a Pulitzer one day just for existing.)
"I knew it—I knew you were an ironic fan of werewolf shit!" Stiles says gleefully. "Oh my God, did you see the last Twilight movie? Did you see it in theaters?"
"It was a bootleg, and it was for Cassie," Derek says, as they pull out of the driveway.
"Uh-huh," says Stiles, grinning. "And is 'Cassie' Team Edward, or Team Jacob?"
Stiles is about to tell Derek that actually, he and Scott had went to the midnight premier slightly drunk and it had been the funniest movie he'd seen in years, when he notes the little pouch of herbs hanging from the rearview mirror. He flicks it, making it swing back and forth.
Derek wrinkles his nose and leans away. "Don't do that, dumbass. You're spreading the smell."
Stiles smirks, and pulls his iPod out of his pocket. "So I made a playlist for you. Sadly, I didn't know to include songs from the Twilight soundtracks. They'll have to go on the next one."
Derek gives him a skeptical look.
"Don't worry, you'll like it," Stiles promises as he unplugs Derek's iPod from the auxiliary cable and switches it out for his own. The playlist is titled 'a thousand fiery suns of angst'. He spent more time cackling over it than he did actually making it.
Two seconds later, The Smiths are blaring from the speakers.
"I hate you," says Derek.
"I know I'm unloveable, you don't have to tell me," Stiles says. "Stop at that gas station so we can get Slurpees."
a thousand fiery suns of angst
Unloveable – The Smiths
Mr. Know It All – Kelly Clarkson
Adam's Song – blink-182
Soul Meets Body – Death Cab for Cutie
Boston – Augustana
Welcome to My Life – Simple Plan
Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton
I'm Not Okay – My Chemical Romance
You Oughta Know – Alanis Morissette
Pin Your Wings – Copeland
Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles
Breathe (2AM) – Ana Nalick
Why – Secondhand Serenade
The Leaving Song – AFI
Lonely Day – System of a Down
Hurt – Nine Inch Nails
Hands Down – Dashboard Confessional
Mad World – Gary Jules
Ohio is for Lovers – Hawthorn Heights
Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day
Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.