Title: Bluecorn Moon
Pairing/Characters: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Word Count: 2364
Warnings/Tags: Alternate Universe - Modern Setting, Werewolves Exist in Secret, Wildlife Conservation, Show Business, Hero Worship, One-Sided Attraction, at least for now
Summary: "The eastern timber wolf, also known as the Great Lakes wolf, is a canid native to the northeastern side of North America's Great Lakes region," Derek says gravely, face stern for the camera. "It's a medium-sized species, which, like the red wmmph—"
Notes: Originally posted here for yomikoda and the 2014 Teen Wolf Summer Exchange.
"The eastern timber wolf, also known as the Great Lakes wolf, is a canid native to the northeastern side of North America's Great Lakes region," Derek says gravely, face stern for the camera. "It's a medium-sized species, which, like the red wmmph—"
"Cut," Finstock groans, hand over his eyes. "Oh God, cut, cut. Christ on toast, why."
"I am so, so sorry," Stiles says, gripping his whistle hard enough for the plastic to cut into his fingers. "They're normally a lot shyer than this, I didn't think they'd…" He gestures helplessly at the wriggling mound of fur and wagging tails obscuring Derek from view. "I thought they'd calm down after a while?"
He's heard from other zoos that the host of Wolves Among Us had a way with animals that defied description, but none of them had any stories close to this. As soon as Derek got in the enclosure, the pack had been on him like he was the second coming of Timberwolf Jesus.
"What the hell did you do?" Finstock yells at his star, brandishing a clipboard. "Take a bath in bacon grease and deer piss?"
Derek, toppling slowly backwards under a crush of eager, whining wolves, gets one arm up above the fray and gestures rudely. "This is not my fault," he says, or tries to.
On the other side of the fence, the three cameramen— camerapeople, no one is going to mistake that chick in half a shirt and cherry-red lipstick for a dude— are snickering amongst themselves, already resetting for a tenth or fifteenth take. Finstock drops his head in the hands, aiming a bleak stare at the ground, and Stiles is a little afraid to look at his boss right now. He can practically feel his performance review tanking.
"C'mon, guys," he says coaxingly but without much hope to the pack, shaking a stained tray of miscellaneous ungulate parts. "Leave the nice man alone, please?"
He gets a few interested stares and licked chops, and dares to edge closer. Derek's battered boots, almost the only thing visible, kick spasmodically.
"Hey, morons," Stiles calls, and grabs a bloody steak to pitch in the opposite direction of the cameras. Two of the wolves jump after it, leaving three plus the pups. Geez, even the little guys are out of the den; Derek must have some serious mojo. "Look, flying meat! Catch it while the catching's good!"
He pleads and bribes, and eventually, only regal matriarch Miskwà and her brood are left suffocating their guest. The old wolf is being unusually persistent in her attempts to groom Derek's windswept hair into something even less flattering, but allows herself to be nudged to the side when Stiles reaches Derek's prone body. When he offers Derek a hand up, the man stares at his bloody fingers and gives him a look that singes.
"Thanks," Derek says sarcastically, levering himself up. "You think you can keep them under control from now on?"
"Yeah, we'll— we'll keep the pups here, but close the gate between the enclosures," Stiles says, stung.
"Good," Derek growls. "Now get out of the shot."
Stiles opens his mouth to tell him he doesn't have to be so rude about it, and Finstock yells, "Get out of my shot!" from the fence.
"I'm going, I'm going," Stiles mutters, and stomps away to help Scott with the gate.
They meet back at the ATV in a few minutes, Deaton sitting in the driver's seat, eyes on the daily feeding schedule and radio in hand. "I told you you'd be disappointed," he says without looking up.
"Yeah, well," Stiles says shortly. He'd lobbied long and hard with both the zoo management and producers of the show to have Derek out here, filming with their rehabilitated packs for a few days. It was good publicity, he'd argued. Derek Hale was the rockstar of conservationists, hipper than Jeff Corwin with less bugs than Bear Grylls and the cult following of Steve Irwin (God rest his khaki-clad soul). How was Stiles supposed to know that Derek— hot, chronically-shirtless Derek Hale, the guy who'd single-handedly saved the Yucatan subspecies of the Mexican wolf from extinction and one of the major reasons Stiles had gone into conservation studies— was all those things and also a raging asshole with entitlement issues? "Laugh it up, bossman."
"Maybe he's just having a bad day," Scott says optimistically, wiping sweat from his forehead.
"Maybe life crushes all our dreams and then we die," Stiles says moodily.
Deaton smiles at them, benevolent in his apparent omniscience. "I suspect the truth, as it often does, lies somewhere in the middle."
Stiles scowls at the film crew, at Derek, crouched next to Miskwà with a hand on her haunches. "So he's only half the jackass I think he is. Great."
Derek's voice is faint but audible over the drowsy buzz of cicadas. "The eastern timber wolf is of a reddish-brown coloration and is intermediate in size between the coyote and gray wolf. It primarily preys on white-tailed deer, but may occasionally attack moose and beaver," he says, and makes a hilariously disgusted face when Miskwà licks broadly over his neck and ear.
"Cut!" Finstock yells despairingly.
They move on from the wolf exhibit sometime midafternoon, thank God, and the rest of the day seems to go better. The camerapeople are whispering gleefully amongst themselves about gag reels and Derek has a permaglower that doesn't budge, even when the fox kits are out and fawning all over his feet. The fox kits. They're three weeks old. The man is a canid specialist, how can he not melt over that?
"I don't think he's smiled once since he got here," Stiles tells Miskwà, who's loitering by the fence while she cleans tonight's snack from her paws. It's well past sundown but still bright; the moon is bursting-full, and there's a silvery sheen to the grassy meadows of the enclosure. "I know we're not the fanciest wildlife park out there, but he could still— hey!"
Miskwà finishes her long, wide yawn and gets to her feet, ambling away from him towards the den.
"Fine," he grumbles, tugging her tray back under the fence. "Take his side. See if I bring you any more midnight snacks."
It's not quite midnight, but it's close, and the majority of the day staff left a while ago. Scott's still around, but that's because Stiles is his ride and Kira, she of the long hair and "God, her eyes, Stiles, they're like stars in the firmament—", also tends to stay late. The two of them are at the staff center, probably canoodling over grant proposals and feed catalogues, so Stiles doesn't feel the least bit guilty over playing hooky by the wolf pens.
He leaves the tray in the ATV walks down along the fence, aimless, trailing fingers over the cold chain link. He listens to the happy yelps and half-barks of the pack and smiles to himself; they've been energetic all day, and it sounds like a real party out there tonight. Maybe Jerkass Hale is good for something after all.
It's a cold twenty minutes down the hill towards the river before the tire tracks he's walking along dead-end in the mess the camera crew left this morning, complete with couple half-empty water bottles and a Snickers wrapper. Stiles makes a face and stoops to collect them, because really? Really?
He's turns in a slow circle, squinting suspiciously into the shadows under the low scrub for any more litter, when his eyes catch on an oddly rectangular shape half-hidden by a bush a few feet away. It's hard to tell in the low light, but it looks like—
"A shirt?" he mutters to himself, holding it up. One that had been neatly folded before he knelt down and grabbed it. Under it, there's a pair of boxers. On top of jeans. On top of a strangely familiar leather jacket. On top of shoes, with socks neatly rolled and stuffed into them.
Stiles turns to stare at the enclosure, where the wolves have started howling frenetically.
He grabs the clothes and shoes and shoves himself up, yanking at the strap that holds his short-range radio on his belt. "Stupid fucking— Scott!" he yells into the freed speaker. "We've got someone in the wolf pen!"
There's a couple seconds of static as Stiles beats it back up the trail to the ATV, then, "What? Uh, I mean, please repeat, over."
"We've got a Never Cry Wolf situation on our hands, over!"
"A what? Over."
"The one with the naturalist dude and he gets naked and going running around the— you know what," Stiles pants, "whatever. I found some clothes on the ground and I'm pretty sure someone's inside the enclosure, Miskwà's pack is loud as fuck—"
The howls are getting even louder, and out of the corner of his eye, Stiles see something loping towards the chainlink fence. It's too fast, too dark to be a guy in his birthday suit, but it's also way too goddamn tall to be one of the wolves. "Holy shit!"
"Can't, ah, talk, tryna run," Stiles gasps, dropping the arm with the radio so he can sprint the last couple hundred feet to the ATV.
Something hits the fence and it bows outward, just ahead of Stiles. He doesn't have enough air to scream, so the noise he makes is more a wispy yip of surprise. The same something growls, and Stiles is jamming his hands into the backseat of the ATV and snapping open the latched case of the tranq gun, grabbing it and a handful of tags weighed for use on the wolves.
He fires before he really sees what he's aiming at, which is probably for the best. It, whatever it is, is halfway over the fence and barely seems to notice the tiny feathered needle sticking out of its shoulder. And it is a shoulder, attached to a human-looking arm, ending in clawed fingers that are also disturbingly humanlike. Its face, though, that muzzle, those teeth—
Stiles is actually, non-hypothetically starring in his own horror movie, and he's not doing as well as he thought he would.
"Stiles! What the hell, man? Are you okay?" Scott yells from the radio.
"I am not going to be the one that dies in the opening credits, you fucker!" Stiles yells at the creature, reloading the tranq gun as fast as he can and bringing it back up to his shoulder.
He gets it in the stomach this time, and it drops to the ground on his side of the fence on all fours before standing up on its haunches. It's big, holy shit, so fucking big and Stiles edges to keep the ATV between them, reloading blind while he watches it come closer.
Another tag to the stomach, and before Stiles can drop the gun again it lunges at him over the ATV with a nightmare fuel open-mouthed snarl. He tries to jump aside, knocks into the front bumper on the way down and lands on his stomach, stunned immobile for a split-second before army-crawling as far under the ATV as fast as he can.
The ATV itself gets tossed, flipping a couple times before settling crooked on its rollbar in front of him. Something with a bonecrushing grip closes around his ankle and drags him back. "Fuck—!"
He twists up and stabs the whole fistful of tranq darts he still has into the thing's thickly-furred chest, even when his field of vision is filled with bared teeth and piercingly yellow eyes. The monster now has officially enough fentanyl swimming in its bloodstream to knock out an elephant, and if Stiles could just get free, just keep it moving another few minutes—
"Stop," it hisses through fangs the length of Stiles' fingers, "running. You idiot."
"Holy fuck," Stiles says weakly.
Claws swipe clumsily at the depressed syringes still sticking out of its fur, which is… rapidly retreating? Stiles stares, a little nauseated as it sinks away, leaving a bare human chest and stomach. The monster is ripped. Stiles is distantly ashamed that he notices, considering he's probably about to die.
The creature angles its head down, shakes like a dog coming out of the water, and Stiles is suddenly being pinned to the ground by a man to looks a lot like Derek Hale. If Derek Hale liked to run naked through moonlit fields and had recently been shot full of fast-acting narcotics.
"Derek?" Stiles says cautiously. Just to be sure.
"You stupid— what th'fuck'is in th'se things?" Derek says, smearing through half the words and starting to sway. His elbows give out, and he lands face-first in Stiles' lap. Stiles sits up rather hurriedly.
"Wait, what are you— Derek!"
The man doesn't move, though he does grumble, "Idiot."
"Uh, okay?" Stiles says, hands hovering over his back. "Are you… what's going on?"
Stiles' heart is still beating so hard his pulse is a throbbing weight in his mouth, but Derek shows no signs of reverting to a ravening monster. He's a deadweight across Stiles' legs, completely human-shaped and still.
And naked. So very, very naked.
"Stiles, just hold on. You have the ATV, it's going to take me half an hour, but I'm coming, okay?" comes Scott's tinny voice from the radio, invisible in the long grass around them.
"Are you some kind of werewolf thing?" Stiles blurts out, and Derek slowly rotates his head so he can aim a stony glare past Stiles' ear.
"You're— you're fucking messing with me," Stiles says disbelievingly. "You are. I saw you! You tried to kill me!"
Derek closes his eyes. "Wasn't going to kill you. An' no one's going to believe… 'm a werewolf," he says, words coming fainter.
"You— fuck." Stiles looks up at the upside-down ATV, the bowed-out fence, the gear scattered throughout the grass. "Scott will believe me, he'll… Derek?"
No response. Stiles shifts experimentally, and Derek doesn't stir.
"Scott will believe me," Stiles says more firmly. "And personally, jackass? I'd rather people thought I was a werewolf than a guy who runs around naked on a full moon."