"Let's play I Spy!" Stiles suggested. He turned in the shotgun seat of the rented van to look over at Derek in the driver's seat then back at his friends. Jackson and Lydia were directly behind the driver and passenger seats. Scott and Allison were in the back, Stiles was pretty sure they had been making out before he said anything.
"Shut up Stiles!" Everyone in the car seemed to reply at the same time. Stiles looked at each person wondering if they somehow planned it.
"Well that was rude," he continued as though everyone hadn't shot him down coldly, "I just thought if we were going to do this bonding thing we should do it up right."
"No," Derek's answer was simple and direct.
Stiles sighed. He looked imploringly at the teens in the back. They seemed to be ignoring him. Lydia was rummaging through her purse for something. Jackson stared out the window from his position behind Derek's seat. Scott and Allison looked like they were getting ready to get back into lips all over each other territory.
"While we are at this beach are we going to do some team building exercises? Like am I going to close my eyes and fall back and everyone will catch me because they care about me and my well-being?" Stiles asked.
"I'm not falling into anyone's arms" Jackson said. He crossed his arms over his chest. "The whole idea is stupid."
"You just know that no one would bother catching you because you're a dick," Stiles told him.
Jackson glared. Stiles let it slide off. Jackson's stares were wet puppy kisses when compared to the incredibly staring powers of Derek. Stiles glanced over at the Alpha and thought that Derek's grip on the steering wheel was a little too tight. They'd probably charge him for clench marks when he returned the rental.
"You'd catch me though right Lydia?" Stiles asked.
The strawberry blonde girl had just put ear buds in. She cranked up the music playing from her phone. When she noticed him she just smiled and nodded, clearly not having heard anything that he said and not bothering to ask him to repeat himself. He gave her a thumbs-up and one of his best smiles. She rolled her eyes and looked back down. Maybe it was one of his third rung smiles; no one simply dismissed his best smiles. They were like everyone's kryptonite. He sighed again, returned to looking forward out the windshield.
The California highway leading towards the coast and the beach they were staying at stretched out before him like a giant cement incarnation of hideous boredom. He nervously snapped with his right hand before bringing it to the top of his left fist in combination. He vaguely thought he heard the creak of leather.
"Stiles…" Derek's voice was tight, like he was struggling at maintaining control for some reason.
"Yeah what's up? You want to play that game?" Stiles asked hopefully.
"Let's play the quiet game. Whoever stays quiet the longest wins, whoever loses, I rip their throat out with my teeth," Derek stated flatly. "We start right now."
Stiles glanced back at the other teenagers in the car. No one was paying attention. Jackson probably hadn't even heard Derek's classic throat tearing out with the teeth threat. He should have been writing that kind of stuff down so his threats didn't make him seem like an impotent yammering Chihuahua. Jackson locked eyes with him, almost like he sensed Stiles was emasculating him in his mind. Stiles grinned broadly. Jackson flipped him off.
An hour or two passed in Stiles mind. He looked over at Derek before opening his mouth. Derek glanced at him out of the corner of his eyes. Stiles gave him a thumbs-up like the one he'd given Lydia.
"So…" Stiles said.
"Damn it! It's only been five minutes and you can't be quiet!" Derek yelled. Leather creaked under his hands.
Stiles jumped at Derek's outburst. Someone behind him dropped something. Perhaps it hadn't really been an hour or two.
"Shut up Stiles!" Everyone called out in unison again.
Damn they were good at that. If Derek's plan was to cause everyone's anger voices to synchronize into a sort of downer chorus it was succeeding admirably. Stiles decided he wouldn't talk for the rest of the trip. He would see if they liked living in a world devoid of Stiles's rapier wit and sense of humor. He sighed just to drive the point home of course, to let them have a little parting gift to remind them of what they were missing.
Stiles glanced over at Derek. He saw veins bulging in Derek's neck. That was probably not healthy. Dude needed to relax a bit, Stiles opened his mouth to tell him the best way to chill. Derek's eyes flashed. Stiles closed his mouth. He forgot he was punishing them with the lack of his voice.
"Are we there yet?" Jackson asked petulantly.
Stiles grinned. The vein in Derek's forehead started to stand out. Stiles tilted his head to get a better look. Claws sprouted from Derek's fingers. Stiles had never made Derek so angry that the Alpha stabbed him with his dagger nails. Jackson on the other hand had gotten a taste of them on several different occasions. Stiles smirked at Jackson. The new werewolf took a swing at Stiles's head with an open palm.
Stiles leaned forward out of Jackson's reach knowing the seat belt impeded the werewolf's forward movement. He stuck his tongue out. Jackson jerked in the seat. Lydia dropped her phone. She turned a death glare on Jackson that probably made his testicles ache. Lydia was just as proficient at glaring as Derek.
"I swear to god, Stilinksi, I'm going to smash your face in," Jackson threatened.
"Derek, Jackson is talking," Stiles told the Alpha.
"If one more person says anything before we get there I will pull this car over and kill everyone in the van." Derek's voice was full of barely contained rage.
Stiles whistled softly. Derek's hand reached out and grabbed him by the ear, pain spiked out from the Alpha's grip. "Do not test me," Derek said before releasing Stiles's abused ear. Stiles rubbed it sullenly.
Derek turned his attention back to the road. He took deep calming breaths. Stiles wondered how much longer they were going to be in the van. Derek hadn't told them where they were going exactly, only that it was a beach.
A few minutes of silence passed. Stiles thought Derek wouldn't lose control after all but then Scott, who had missed pretty much everything investigating what Stiles assumed was some incredibly delicious flavor of lip balm that Allison had been wearing, leaned forward and called out to Derek, "I have to pee."
The van lurched off the road. The tires screeched as Derek hit the brakes. Stiles looked over at him and saw the Alpha's skin flex and pulse like something was about to burst out of him.
From a safe distance Stiles thought it was hilarious how there was a flurry of activity as everyone struggled to get out of their seat belts, how they had clumsily climbed over each other in a panic to get out of the van and safely away as it began to shake. He wondered how much Derek would have to pay the rental company for the damages.
"This trip is going to be awesome," he said.