Deaton tucked Stile's results into a folder and leaned on the counter. 'You said there was a new guy working at the cafeteria yesterday, and that he wasn't there today. I agree that he's probably guy who slipped this organic chemical into your lunch. Let's only hope you can catch up to him before he gets to finish his experiment.'
'Out of everyone in the school who deserves to get mobbed,' Stiles muttered. 'Why me? There are literally four werewolves at our school. If this guy knows about them, why the hell did he drug me?'
'I'd have thought that was obvious,' Deaton said. 'He doesn't intend to kill Derek's pack, or hurt them. He just needs them out of the way. Almost all of them see you on a daily basis, so you're the perfect distraction. Try to be thankful for that at least.'
'Oh, of course. I can't go near my friends, and I'm on the radar of every werewolf within sniffing distance. I'm real thankful.'
'It'll be out of your system in a few days,' Deaton reminded him. 'You only need to avoid the pack until then.'
'How am I supposed to that when we have to go to school together?' Stiles whined. The thought of Scott or Isaac or the others jumping him in chem or, god forbid, during lacrosse … he shuddered.
'You could try covering the smell,' Deaton said with a hopeful shrug. 'Wolfsbane is a possibility, if you use small quantities, of course. Just enough so that if they get close, they'll be repelled.'
'You're saying I have to wear wolfsbane perfume?'
'It's an idea.'
Helpless, Stiles trudged out to his car. As soon as he got home, he was going to have a very long shower. And then roll in wolfsbane.
It didn't help his mood that he'd had a disagreement (read: bitchfight) with Derek the weekend before about whether or not he was pack. As far as he was concerned, he was. His best friend was in the pack. He had risked life, limb and just about everything else to help out in the past. At the very least, he deserved to be made an honorary pack member. But nooo. Derek God-Kills-Kittens-When-I-Laugh Hale didn't think so. Stiles = Human, therefore Stiles ≠ Pack.
Under any other circumstances, Stiles would be thrilled to be sitting in the same column as Lydia, but he was too sulky over Derek's adamant rejection, and how ridiculous it was to even care whether or not Derek rejected him, to fully appreciate the tentative camaraderie building between himself and his long-term crush.
So yeah. It was one thing to have what Erica had flippantly called a "domestic" with Derek over whether he had earned the right (which he had) to be a member of his furry Mile-High Club. But now he couldn't even properly sulk in solitude, because some frickin' mojo-working pagan Houdini had decided to paint a huge target on the back of Stiles' head, and every werewolf within a mile, best friend included, was voraciously drawn to it.
Stiles tried to silently count his blessings as he drove home, his Jeep doing the noise-making for him as it grumbled over asphalt and up the driveway. At least the Alpha Dickhead in question hadn't caught the scent of whatever werewolf-braining "organic chemical" had been slipped into Stiles' lunch the day before. The others, whatever Stiles said to Deaton, were in some way manageable. Isaac, the first to indicate that anything weird was happening, had only really lost it when standing close to Stiles in the change room, and Danny and Scott had been able to pull him off (despite Scott clearly coming under the same influence. Stiles was still thanking God for Scott's self-control). Jackson, who had a severe lack of self-control, fortunately had pride in spades, and that and Lydia's presence helped when he too fell victim to close proximity to Stiles out the front of the school. Boyd, by observation, learned to surreptitiously block his nose whenever he so much as walked past Stiles in the corridor, and Erica, despite trying to sniff him out of brash, silly curiosity, had been kept under adequate control by Boyd.
It's not that Stiles didn't trust Derek to keep his claws to himself. It's just that … well, Stiles didn't trust him to keep his claws to himself. But, hopefully, the others had told Derek in time about Stiles' strange condition, and if he decided to follow up, Derek would follow up with Deaton, who Scott knew Stiles was planning to visit straight after school.
His home was empty, and Stiles went straight upstairs. He contemplated googling, whatever help it would do, but somehow he couldn't find the energy. Where would he start? "How to avoid ravenous wolves when you smell like a juicy steak"?
He messed around online for a little while, but after reading the same sentence three times and attacking the refresh button when a gif wouldn't load quickly enough, he switched off the screen to save himself the frustration. He'd take a long shower, make some dinner, rub a little of the wolfsbane he totally hadn't hidden in his desk drawer for emergency purposes (totally acceptable because hey, Batman had a kryptonite ring) on his hands and pulse points, get into his pyjamas and go to bed. That was the plan.
Of course, after he got out of the shower and while he was making dinner, he heard a noise coming from upstairs. Being a semi-connoisseur of horror movies, he knew the last thing he should do was go upstairs. But, being Stiles, he went upstairs anyway.
And there he was.
Derek froze in Stiles' room by the open window, and Stiles could see his pupils dilate and his irises glow red from the doorway.
'I get that Deaton told you about school today.'
Derek nodded sharply. 'He did.'
'Then you know that this is just about the worst place you could be right now.'
Derek's eyes flashed and Stiles shifted from foot to foot, wondering if it was possible for him to survive the short dash to the front door and get to his car in time. Then he saw his car keys on the desk, right by where Derek was standing, and emotionally wilted.
'I decided it was safe for me to check out for myself. I can manage the effect better than they can.'
'You decided,' Stiles echoed, disbelieving. Leftover anger from their other argument flared up. Trust Derek not to give him the right to be called pack, but involve him in pack business anyway. 'Yeah. You decided that it was okay for you to come here, even though you know that I've just been turned into a walking trap, because you're the alpha and you can do whatever you want. You mean, you decided that you could probably manage the effect better, and you were willing to risk my life just to do your own investigating.'
'Because you've made a hell of a lot of progress on your own, I bet,' Derek spat. His eyes were practically glowing. 'This is my pack that's under threat here. I have a responsibility to them –'
'But not to me.'
Derek's nostrils flared and he advanced, and Stiles retreated and realized that somehow he had put the doorframe between himself and the hallway. The impact of it against his back made him jump a little, deflating the rage had kept him from running, and suddenly he could feel his heartbeat and his breathing, and it was almost humiliating to know that he was so scared, and that Derek surely knew it.
Derek stopped abruptly in front of Stiles, and hesitated. Stiles couldn't tell if he was sniffing the air, but he sure as hell knew that Derek was close enough to smell it. Whatever fumes he was giving off that had had Isaac crowding him into a locker and clawing at his undershirt.
Derek seemed to become aware of himself, and took a measured step back. His eyes faded once again to green, and he cautiously looked from Stiles' eyes, to his mouth, down to his chest, and then redirected his gaze.
'Do you think you'd recognize the guy from the cafeteria, the one who served you that day, if you saw him again?'
Stiles cleared his throat. 'I don't know. Do you think you know who it might be?'
'No. But right now, that's the only lead we have. That, and if Deaton can find the origin of whatever it was he put in your lunch.'
Stiles tried to will his heartbeat to slow down. If there was a crisis, it was past. He hoped.
'Is that all?' he asked, and Derek shot him a look. There was a lengthy pause. Then Derek released the breathe Stiles' hadn't noticed he was holding.
'I thought … I thought I would recognize it. The drug. I thought it might have been used on me before by someone.'
Stiles felt his eyebrows shoot up and struggled to bring them down again. 'Someone's drugged you before? And they're still alive?'
'No, actually, she's dead,' Derek said flatly. 'But I think she might have ingested a similar thing to get my attention.'
'When was this?' Stiles asked, latching onto the interest. It helped dissolve the left-over fear.
'Before I met you. Not that it's any of your business,' Derek said. Then he drew a hand over his face, pinching his nose for a moment. 'I should go.'
Stiles nodded, relieved, and gestured to the hallway behind him. 'Feel free to use the door.'
But Derek was already climbing out the window.
Stiles waited for a minute, until he was sure Derek wouldn't hear him, to mutter 'freak.'
Half a mile away and trying not to feel the distance, Derek resisted the urge to turn and run right back. Stiles' whole room had smelt of it. His shoes in the corner, his jacket on the computer chair, his desk, and Derek's hand had brushed the strap of Stiles' schoolbag leaning against the wall when he entered the room, and even that much contact had left a lingering scent on his fingers that he kept getting the urge to press to his upper lip. Trust a magic man to take advantage of their sensitivity to smell. Fucking low cheap shot.
And better yet, Stiles didn't seem to understand what he was doing.
… you were willing to risk my life just to do your own investigating …
Surely Stiles didn't think Derek was going to kill him. Not if he knew what the smell was actually doing to him, what it had actually done to Isaac, to Scott. But if they had been the only ones directly affected, and the others hadn't explained, then it stood to reason that they may not have wanted to correct Stiles' assumption that their attacks had been brought on by bloodlust. Derek couldn't imagine that even Isaac, budding creeper extraordinaire, would want to tell Stiles exactly what he would have done to him if left uninterrupted.
What Derek could have done to him. He had crossed the room in anger, but the moment he came within a few feet of Stiles, a new desire had become almost completely overpowering. He was amazed Stiles couldn't smell it on himself. This feeling wasn't the same as the change. Derek had no words for what hit him. It was something deep, animalistic, but not the wolf. And it had felt right. Rather than being wary and suspicious, Derek instantly became downright paranoid. No chemical compound or aphrodisiac was supposed to feel that natural.
Whoever this magician was, and whatever he was doing in Beacon Hills, he had dangerously powerful magic on his side, and a whiff of it on a teenage boy had almost demolished Derek's composure in an instant.
This called for a meeting. At the very least, he could get all of his betas up to date. And they needed the reminder. Stiles was very, very officially off limits to every single pack member.