Title: Before We Collide
Rating: T for implied violence and course language (sort of)
Characters: Derek and Stiles, pre-pairing; mentions of Scott and Sheriff Stilinski
Spoilers: No real spoilers unless you haven't ever watched the show and don't know it's about werewolves. But the title kind of gives that away, so.
Author's Note: To be honest, I'm kind of on the fence with Sterek. I accept Sterek, and have no issues with anyone who ships Sterek, however, I find the pairing somehow... unsatisfying. A lot of the Sterek-centric fic I've read has been trite, and frankly redundant. I started writing this because I wanted to change up the dynamic between the two, and cast Stiles as the more solid and, perhaps, confident of the pair. I'm not sure I really succeeded, as it seems to me a very subtle piece. I hope you'll enjoy.
Title Credit: lyric from "Tongue Tied," by The Antlers
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, plot, etc. are the property of the creators of Teen Wolf. Any original characters, settings and plots are the property of PuffleHuff. PuffleHuff is in no way associated with Teen Wolf, and no copyright infringement is intended. This work is an amateur fan effort and no profit is being made.
The boy's heartbeat was slow and steady, thrumming louder and louder in the young werewolf's ears as he mounted the steps and approached the back door. The house was quiet of other sounds, save the whirring of appliances and the occasional sharp click of a keystroke. The young man passed a last glance across the equally quiet lawns of the neighborhood before slinking through the door. His keen eyes swept through the kitchen and noted the lights on over the sink and down the hall. The rhythmic beat echoed overhead. The werewolf shucked off his muddy boots, stalked silently through the house, and mounted the staircase.
The smell of the boy he sought mingled with the sound of the heart, sharpening his awareness of his surroundings and the urgent ache of the gash in his side. He paused just outside the bedroom door, breathing deeply and willing his human side not to succumb to the irritating pain and give over to his wolf's instinct. He nudged the door open with his shoulder and stood, listening to the perfect rhythm and waiting for the boy to notice.
Sensing a slight, sudden change in air-current the boy spun in his desk chair, heart rate increasing as his eyes met the figure standing in his doorway.
"Stiles...," the werewolf hissed the boy's name between gritted teeth.
"What are you..." Stiles began in annoyed tones, his eyes drifting to the dark spot beneath the werewolf's arm where it clasped the tall man's side. "Derek, are you bleeding on my floor?"
His voice was tinged with reproach, but Derek's attuned ears picked up the extra hitch in Stiles' breath and the increased cadence of his heartbeat.
"No." Derek attempted to glower, looking into the boy's face through furrowed brows. But he couldn't keep up the strong, angry, alpha-wolf facade. He took a further padded step into the room and his legs gave out. His glare faltered as Stiles jumped from his seat, springing towards the falling man.
Derek's eyes flashed with god only knew what as he knelt before the younger boy. He could hear Stiles' breathing change, slowing as the boy attempted to calm down. His eyes met Derek's with an anger Derek mistook for something like focused attention.
"What did you get them into this time?" Stiles accused even while he plucked a bath towel from the floor and bent to pull the wolf's arm away from whatever wound was hidden there. A low growl rumbled in the back of Derek's throat while the boy dabbed at the bloody spot. There was something more solid than the werewolf's muscled body beneath the blood soaked t-shirt, and it caught in the fibers of the towel.
Derek's growl became a clipped yelp, his eyes flashing alpha-red as his teeth reset in a grimace.
"Whatever it is, it needs to come out," Stiles spoke in matter of fact tones, his hands already going for the hem of Derek's shirt. "And this needs to come off."
Derek slapped the boys hand away, growling deep and low again. The boy looked away briefly when the cotton came up over the werewolf's head. "Who was with you?" Stiles asked while he pretended to be interested in whatever had been on his computer screen when the wolf had come in.
"Nobody," Derek managed to grunt, and Stiles returned his attention to the bloodied man bent over his floor. "I know Scott told you I was going alone."
Stiles merely nodded. His attention returned to the open wound in Derek's side. He tried not to notice the still healing bruises that peppered the werewolf's torso, but the further guttural sounds issuing from the man proved that Derek could read Stiles' surprise. Whether it was a fluctuating heartbeat or a sudden change of scent, Stiles wasn't sure, and it didn't matter. The gash that was actively leaking blood down the front of the man was his main concern.
"Here..." Stiles jumped up again, reaching for the lamp on his desk and turning the light more directly into the center of the room. He also scooped up a pair of tweezers that just happened to be sitting out with his tabletop game figures. He knelt back down beside the tall werewolf, and reached across the space between them to push against Derek's bare shoulder.
"Lean back just a little," he said, voice unnaturally steady, and eyes averted from Derek's crimson glare. Stiles swept the towel back over the bloody plain of Derek's torso, then leaned awkwardly in to examine the wound without casting a shadow in the lamplight.
Derek could still hear the accelerated sound of Stiles' heart mingling with the slight metallic clip of the tweezer in Stiles' hand as he fidgeted. He could feel his body beginning to heal at the edges of the laceration, but the sharp object shifted slightly with every inhale and exhalation, reopening the wound over and over again.
"It looks like something broke off in there. Some sort of blade?... There's just this one jagged corner protruding a little..." Stiles trailed off as he focused in on the minuscule glint of something silver in Derek's side. "I think I can... get it..." He brandished the tweezers and went in, still clasping Derek's shoulder with his free hand, but fell away in fear when the werewolf's suddenly much sharper teeth snapped at him.
Derek snarled, rocking forward unto his hands in a strong flash of rage, sending the boy reeling back. But the movement only increased his discomfort, his features suddenly softening like a surprised child's. A whimper escaped his lips before he could stifle it. Stiles saw the same baffling look he'd witnessed when Derek had first stumbled to the floor pass over the werewolf's face. His eyes were beseeching, and Stiles wasn't sure whether to trust his fear or his compassion for the half-wolf man in front of him.
"I'm sorry," Derek managed, backing away slowly on his knees. "I didn't mean to..." He swept Stiles' face with the same beseeching look, saddened by yet another uptempo hiccup in the young boy's heart rate. Stiles' eyes were wide with apprehension, but he gave another affirmative nod.
"Can you get it?" the werewolf asked through a grimace as he moved into a more neutral, even submissive position.
"Yeah," Stiles puffed his cheeks before blowing a slow stream of air through his lips. "Can you not bite my head off?"
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure."
"Pretty sure?" Stiles' brow shot up. "'Pretty sure' is not good enough."
"I'm sure," Derek growled, his softened facial features returning to an aggressive glower.
"Right," the boy sighed, resigning himself to the situation. He bent over the werewolf's exposed abdomen, pulling in a few deep, steadying breaths. "Actually, here." Stiles handed the man the towel. "Chew on this."
Derek looked incredulous, but when the boy didn't continue with the exhumation of the broken metal he took the proffered towel and reluctantly bit down on the blood-stained cloth.
"Good," Stiles affirmed, returning to the task at hand. "Ready?" He whispered, more to himself than anything, and delved into the gap in Derek's flesh.
His tweezers snicked the protruding corner, but found no purchase against the objects smooth sides.
Derek willed himself to remain as calm - and as human - as possible.
Stiles tried again, approaching from a slightly altered angle. He let one edge of the tool press ever so gently into the ragged flesh and slid the tines forward over the object, capturing it between the two sides.
Derek's breath hitched, his hands balling into clawed fists before extending again, flat against the carpeted floor.
Stiles ignored the werewolf's obvious squirming and guttural protestations. He pinched the instrument as tight as he dared and gently tugged the metallic piece, coaxing it out of the wound.
The pain seared through Derek's ribs and chest. He couldn't steady his breath at all, and he felt the muscles contract around the sharp weapon before Stiles had fully uncovered it.
The blade caught before much of it was revealed, and Stiles' tweezer again lost purchase on the smooth object. He sighed obviously again, even to someone without superior hearing, and dropped the tool to the floor.
"Okay...," the boy whispered encouragingly to himself once more, then set his finger tips against the sharp and exposed edges.
Stiles pulled with the ginger though strong force of his own fingers, and the silver blade came free. Derek's face contorted in agony, a low, distressed howl escaping between the towel and his throat.
The werewolf lay writhing on Stiles' floor, whimpering, and possibly crying. Stiles had never witnessed this sort of behavior from the alpha-wolf before, and did his best to pretend he wasn't noticing the pitiful sounds escaping from the werewolf's mouth as he cautiously cleaned the wound with the towel that had been his gag. Instead, Stiles focused his attention on the sleek little weapon he'd excised from Derek's side.
It was smooth and bright beneath the blood and bits of flesh that clung to it, but highly inelegant in Stiles' opinion. It seemed as though the creator had bent a dagger in on itself, forming a sort of tubular shaped stabbing device, not unlike an enlarged hypodermic needle, though not fully enclosed. It seemed it would have widened into a flatter serrated section had it not somehow broken off in Derek's side. But the curved edges remained exposed, the highly sharpened blade easily slicing Stiles' finger pads as he examined the object.
"Ow!" the boy exclaimed, dropping the blade to the floor. He shook out his stinging hand before automatically placing his damaged fingers in his mouth like a hurt child. A loud sniff from the direction of the floor recaptured his attention as Stiles realized Derek had suppressed whatever uneasiness that had caused the uncharacteristic emotional outbreak.
Derek's hand extended toward the boy, gesturing him closer again. "You've hurt yourself. Let me see."
Stiles could see Derek's body still fighting the pain and attempting to heal, but was reluctant to get much closer to the werewolf again. An injured werewolf was still a dangerous werewolf. The tang of metal in his mouth and the theory that part of a werewolf's power included assisted healing drove Stiles back across the carpet anyway.
The scent of fear that had been accumulating in the bedroom increased as Derek watched the boy approach, and the alpha in him knew it was to be expected.
"It's not that bad," Stiles insisted, though offering up his sliced fingers all the same. The werewolf's nostrils flared, inhaling the stench of blood along with the unique aroma that belonged to the teen-aged boy. And then, without really thinking about it, Derek instinctively stuck the boys fingers in his own mouth, surprising them both.
Stiles' face flushed, his heartbeat skyrocketing faster than anytime previously in the course of the evening, his eyes wide as a startled rabbit's. It took less than a second for the action to register in the human part of Derek's brain, the bitter taste of blood spreading on his tongue, and for the werewolf to release the digits from his mouth and his grasp. He stared blankly into Stiles' astonished face before melting back into his default mask of hostility.
"It'll be fine now," he said gruffly, turning away from the boy's gaze.
Stiles slowly shook his head, the thrum of his heart gradually decreasing as he pieced together what had just happened. A werewolf – an alpha, no less – had crept into his house, bled all over, had Stiles remove a demented weapon from his side, and sucked on his fingers. Oddly, Stiles decided, it wasn't the strangest thing that had happened to him since learning the secret of werewolves in Beacon Hills. He shook it off.
"This is one gnarly looking thing," he shifted focus to the silvery instrument lying with the blood-stained towel on his bedroom floor. "I'm not sure I want to know who engineered this thing, or how it got lodged in your, uh, wolfiness."
"Good. You don't need to know," Derek insisted.
Stiles rose to his feet, turning back to the computer on his desk. "Maybe I can find something about knife crafting online...," he half muttered.
"You don't need to do that," Derek insisted again, but was easily ignored by the boy.
Stiles sat before the computer screen, clicking away at the keyboard, rattling off information as he uncovered it, oblivious to the inattention of the werewolf still sprawled on the floor. Derek pulled himself backward to lean against the end of the bed, dragging the towel with him to dab at the remaining blood as he reclined.
Eventually, Stiles ran out of search results and spun around to address the werewolf, all memory of the awkward moments that had preceded forcibly forgotten. But Derek wasn't listening. In fact he hadn't been listening at all, as he had clearly passed out on the floor at the end of Stiles' bed.
"Great," he muttered to the room at large, stiffly getting up and gathering the assorted wreckage from the floor. It was late, and warm in the room, and Stiles too felt emotionally exhausted from playing surgeon with a werewolf. He opened a window, flicked off the desk lamp and overhead lights, and prepared for bed.
Derek awoke in the dark hours of early morning, startling at the sound of a car in the street outside. His surroundings weren't immediately familiar, but the residual smells of sweat, blood, and teen boy quickly sharpened the rest of his senses. The car had been Sheriff Stilinski's squad car pulling into the drive, and Derek easily followed the older man's sounds as he moved through the house. He winced as he heard the man pause in the kitchen, accompanied by the sound of a cabinet door and refrigerator opening. Derek's boots lay by the back door, but he didn't need them. He could spring out the window as quick as anything if he had to, and leave the explanation to Stiles.
But it wasn't necessary. The Sheriff quickly retired to his own area of the house, and his heart rate and breath soon evened into the shallow rhythm of sleep. Their hearts matched each other beat for beat as the Stilinski men slumbered, though Stiles' pulse sounded loud and close in Derek's ears.
The werewolf stood wearily, deliberating whether to expend the energy it would require to get himself home, or if he could manage a night in the woods with a half-healed hole in his side. He had heard no change in Stiles' heart rate or breathing in the several minutes since waking, which is why he startled when the teenager's low voice murmured through the darkness.
"Are you going to stand there all night." His voice was thick with sleep, and his face and body oriented away from the werewolf, yet he seemed entirely aware of Derek's presence and position in the room.
"I was just going...," Derek began, but his action was again cut off by the boy's voice.
"Just lay your furry ass down," Stiles grumbled, blindly gesturing toward the open space behind him on the bed.
Derek hesitated. Stiles shifted more of his limbs to one side of the bed and was silent. Derek couldn't detect a single cue from the boy, even with all of his heightened senses, so he took him at his word. He quietly tugged off his socks and belt, and lay carefully down on the mattress. The effort not to disturb the motionless boy tugged uncomfortably at his wound, and a hiss escaped through his clenched teeth. At the sound, Stiles rolled toward him, eyes still closed, and reached out a hand, groping for the wolf's shoulder in the dark.
"You're okay, sour wolf," the boy muttered, gingerly patting the bare shoulder. Derek involuntarily sighed at the reassurance. The cool hand went still, sliding down the plain of his arm to rest again on the bedsheets. Stiles' wakefulness was indecipherable from his slumber, but Derek quietly addressed the steady thrum nonetheless.
The boy Mmmmed and rolled away again, settling into the rhythm of the still night.
A/N: Also, I didn't realize how much innuendo could potentially be read into this until I was re-editing, so please feel free to interpret as you wish. Just be aware that it wasn't my original intention. There are so many problems with my head, and probably this fic, too. I have no idea what I was thinking getting myself involved in this fandom. Anyway, thank you for reading!