Title: Lost in the Woods
Characters: Stiles, Derek, Sheriff Stilinski
Stiles tripped and stumbled over a raised root, throwing out his arms to try to find purchase. His left hand met the rough bark of what must have been a pine tree. He leaned his weight against it, regaining his balance, before gingerly stepping toward it. The ground was uneven and unfamiliar. Stiles braced his arms on the tree and leaned his forehead against them.
He could feel tears pricking at his eyes and a lump building in the back of this throat. He refused to let that progress though. He was seventeen, damnit! He wasn't going to cry! Even if he was all alone in the woods, his cell phone lost, his knees and hands sore and stinging from a few falls, and no idea which way to go to get home. His dad was probably freaking out. He would be in so much trouble when he got home –if he got home! He was so screwed.
Stiles let out a small, frustrated groan that wasn't anything like a broke sob. Nope. He was not going to cry. Not him, no how. He wasn't going to cry or panic or anything else ridiculous like that. He would just stay at the nice tree he found and wait until morning. His dad would have a search party out by morning, he was sure of it. He would find him and yell at him for going into the forest on his own while hugging him so tightly that it would be hard for Stiles to breathe.
Until then, though, Stiles would just have to wait patiently.
Stiles rolled his eyes at himself. Yeah, because if he was one thing, it was patient.
The night air had crisp chill to it. Stiles shivered and slid down to sit with his back at the trunk of the tree. He pulled his knees up to his chest and hugged his arms around them. His light jacket was of little help.
Supposedly, the moon was full that night. Supposedly the sky was clear allowing the moon to shine bright enough to illuminate the thinner parts of the forest. Supposedly, that meant it was a perfect night for a bush party. Stiles wouldn't know. A, he hadn't seen the moon in five years, and B, whether or not there was an actual bush party happening that night remained to be seen. He really wanted to hate Scott for ditching him; he really wanted to hate everyone for not giving a rat's ass about him, but, whatever –what he really wanted was to get home.
He could remember looking through his bedroom window on the nights of the full moon when he was little and thinking that it looked so eerie. His mother would come into his room and sit next to him on his bed and tell him stories about mysterious lands filled with magical creatures and how special the full moon was to some of them. Stiles couldn't see the moon now, but just knowing it was full up in the sky above him made goosebump rise on his skin.
...or maybe it was the cold.
The temperature was quickly dropping and Stiles was starting to worry about hypothermia. It didn't take that much to bring it on, he had learned in science class. Usually, the term hypothermia would make one imagine the north with polar bears and snow and ice and all that, but he could get it even in California if he were exposed to the elements for long.
Stiles pressed his forehead against his kneecaps and began breathing heavily, the warm of his breath getting trapped against his body and giving him a little warmth. It was then that he heard a twig snap to his left. He tensed, raising his head and straining his ears to try to place the source.
He could hear shuffling but no footsteps, like whatever was moving nearby was large, but light on its feet.
"Scott?" called out Stiles haltingly.
Whoever or whatever it was, he knew it couldn't be Scott from the way it moved. Still... one could hope, right?
More shuffling. It sounded like low hanging branches and forest floor shrubbery was being moved.
"Who's there?" he asked, his voice coming out strained.
Stiles instinctively pushed back closer to the tree. He felt vulnerable and panicky. He took a few deep, cleansing breaths to ward off the panic attack he could feel tightening his chest.
"Will you please just say something?" he asked. The movement was coming from his other side by then. He was being circled. "Seriously, this isn't funny, dude."
Stiles strained his ears, desperately seeking more information even while trying to focus on regulating his breathing. Silence. Every muscle in his body was tightened, ready for use. He could feel adrenaline pumping through his veins and his heart hammering its way up his throat.
He barely stopped himself from screaming in a completely undignified way when a cool, wet nose touched his hand moments later. Warm breath ghosted over his fingers. Stiles held his breath, waiting. The animal was still as if thinking. Finally, the muzzle pressed into his hand and he tentatively reached with his other to touch the animal. His fingertips met coarse fur. Stiles ran his hand over the animal, wanting to confirm his guess of its identity. Its fur was so thick and, if he pushed his fingers more deeply into it, it was so soft beneath the coarse exterior. It licked his hand.
"Dog?" asked Stiles.
The animal stepped closer to him, snuffling up his arm before nosing over his face.
"You're friendly," commented Stiles feeling relieved even though he was still struggling with his breathing.
It licked the side of his face, warm breath feeling nearly scorching in the cold night air. Stiles made a face and rubbed his hand over the spot to rid himself of residual saliva.
"What are you doing out here, Fido?" he asked.
The dog(?) huffed at him before gently taking hold of his jacket sleeve in its teeth.
"Uh, what is this?" asked Stiles as the animal pulled on him, trying to get him to stand. "Is this an episode of Lassie or something?"
He chuckled to himself as he followed the animal's direction and stood up. He kept one hand on its shoulder to steady himself.
"Whoa, you're big," he said, realizing just how tall the animal was now that he was standing next to it with his hand on its back.
The dog(?) whined, nosing at his hand before turning and walking away.
"You want me to follow?" asked Stiles, reaching out with his hands to keep from walking into a tree.
He stumbled forward for a bit, trying to follow the sound of movement ahead of him. Despite his attempts at keeping a steady pace, the sounds of the dog(?)'s movement kept getting further and further away. When it got too far, Stiles just stopped. Seconds later, the animal was back at his side. It licked his hand almost as if in apology for moving too fast.
Then, it grabbed his sleeve in its teeth and began to lead him . The going was slow but the dog was actually really good at leading.
"Are you a Seeing Eye dog or something?" asked Stiles when the dog had led him around a fallen log instead of over it. "Why are you doing this? How do you even know to do this?"
They walked a bit further before Stiles started asking more questions as if the dog understood and might actually answer.
"Oh! Are you from the station?" asked Stiles, suddenly. "Dad was talking about getting a canine unit going. Does that mean they already have a search party out for me? Leave it to my dad, the freaking Sherriff, to refuse to wait the mandatory twenty four hours."
The animal (police dog?) didn't answer; not that Stiles had expected it to, but it would have been nice. The silence bothered Stiles. He hated silence. It made him nervous when it was too quiet. Silence made him feel more blind than he was with no sounds to give him any idea of what was going on or conversation to give him a feel of the other person's mood.
"You'd think you'd have a handler with you if you were a police dog, though," he thought out loud, suddenly.
It was probably a good fifteen minutes later, but Stiles couldn't be sure, that the ground began to slope like it did near the highway. The dog carefully led him down the cliff, making sure to go slow enough that Stiles could pick his way down. When Stiles could feel solid, flat pavement under his feet, the dog dropped his arm.
"Uh, thanks," said Stiles reaching out awkwardly to try to pat the dog's head. "Which way to start walking toward town, though?" he asked, gesturing up and down the road. He let out a sigh, his joints aching and his body beginning to shiver violently now that he wasn't moving. "I'm cold and tired," he complained.
The dog whined at him.
"What?" asked Stiles.
The dog pushed at his hand with its head before walking away from him back where they had come from. Stiles was quick to obey, following the dog with his hand on its back to steady him.
They walked back up the hill a little ways until they came to a mossy area. The dog laid down at the base of a tree. Stiles sat down beside it.
"So... we wait until someone finds me or I hear a car?" asked Stiles.
The dog let out a low huff almost as if confirming Stiles' question.
"Good plan," said Stiles.
He leaned back against the tree trunk and wrapped his arms around himself. He shivered. The dog got up and pushed against his side. Stiles opened his arms and it crawled over his lap, wrapping itself around him and instantly making him feel much warmer. Stiles pushed his fingers through its heavy coat of fur.
"You're not a dog, are you?" he asked, suddenly. "You're a wolf."
The dog(?), wolf(?) let out another huff and then pushed its face into the crook of Stiles' neck. Stiles smiled a little and cuddled closer to his fluffy, cuddly heat source.
He woke later, sore and tired, but warm and relaxed. He realized he had someone's arms wrapped around him and his own hands were pressed into firm, warm, masculine muscle. He hummed happily thinking it was some sort of awesome dream.
The person in his lap shifted, snuffling into his throat, their stubble rasping against the skin of his neck and jaw –definitely not a dream. Stiles was definitely, actually cuddling with a naked dude. He tried to subtly shift his one hand were it was low on the guy's back even lower. Yep. Yep, definitely... completely... actually naked. Naked like nature had intended.
"Um," spoke Stiles hesitantly.
He couldn't think of any explanation for him to be waking up in such a position.
"Shh, sleeping," spoke a deep, rumbling voice, gravely with sleep. Stiles' stomach flipped at the sound.
"Yeah, sure... uh..." stammered Stiles before taking a deep breath. "That's... great... and I'm sorry to... wake you? I just am... a little concerned? I guess? I... you're naked and I'm kind of holding you and... I'm sorry but I really don't know how or why?"
The man snuggled closer into Stiles, nuzzling his face against his throat and snuffling as if he loved his scent. It made Stiles think of the dog or wolf or wolfdog from the night before and...
"Whoa!" exclaimed Stiles, suddenly.
The man in his lap stiffened.
"This is way better than the Princess and the Frog. I just had to cuddle a fluffy dog and I get to wake up to a... are you a prince? An actual prince? Is it weird if I call you my prince? I mean, you're already naked and lying across my lap and I'm pretty sure that's not a stick poking me and... hahahaha... I'm asking you if you're a prince, I'm holding a naked man in my lap and talking about kids' Disney movies. I promise I'm not crazy. Whatever, I don't need to explain myself to you... you're freaking naked and in my lap and we're in the forest and..."
"Not a dog, a wolf," said the man.
"So, that was your pet wolf?" asked Stiles.
"Oookay," said Stiles, drawing out the word.
The man snuggled his face against Stiles' shoulder and neck again, dragging his nose over his throat and down his chest.
"What... wait... are you saying that you're... that the wolf was you?" asked Stiles, trying to piece together what he knew. "Are you... some kind of werewolf or something?"
He chuckled as he said it, thinking it was ridiculous.
"Yes," came his answer in the same monotone seriousness as every word from the naked man before it.
"Whoa," breathed out Stiles.
The man went back to rubbing his face against him. Stiles was beginning to wonder what it said about him that he wasn't more alarmed by the situation.
"You smell amazing," rumbled the naked werewolf man.
"Um... thanks," answered Stiles. "Wait, you're not going to eat me, right?"
The man huffed. It was a sound similar to the one the wolf had made a few times the night before. It sounded like a mix of amusement and annoyance.
Suddenly, the man went tense in his arms. Stiles held his breath, unsure of what was going on.
"Your father's coming," he said, then. "I can hear his cruiser. You better get down to the road."
He slid out of Stiles' arms and helped him stand.
"Wow, quite the hear you have there," said Stiles as he stretched his sore limbs.
"Right," answered Stiles.
Now that Stiles was more awake, he was having a much harder time believing what only minutes earlier seemed like a good explanation. Did this guy really think he was a werewolf? Or was he just being a dick? What was going on? Maybe Stiles hadn't wandered far from where the bush party was supposed to happen and some naked drunk had stumbled across him in the night and decided to cuddle for warmth.
The naked guy took him by his elbow and led him down the embankment toward the road just like the wolf had the night before. He let go of him once he was standing on the side of the road. It was only then that Stiles' ears picked up the sound of an approaching vehicle in the distance.
"Don't wander into the road," warned the guy as if Stiles was the idiot wandering around the forest in the nude.
"Yeah," answered Stiles. "I'll keep that in mind."
And then Stiles was alone. He kind of missed the warmth of the naked dude at his side, but he didn't have long to think about it before a vehicle pulled up beside him. The car door opened and slammed shut.
"Stiles!" exclaimed his father, frantic worry and anger apparent in his voice. "DAMNIT, STILES, WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?"
His father's arms gathered him in a tight hug, pulling him tight against his chest.
"You are in so much trouble," sobbed his father, kissing the top of his head.
Stiles hugged him back just as tightly, feeling a relief flood his system that made him suddenly weak. His father ushered him into the cruiser and buckled him into the front seat like a small child before running around the front of the car and climbing into the driver's seat.
"Don't you ever do this again, you hear me?" breathed out his father.
"I'm sorry," mumbled Stiles.
"Yeah," sighed his father. "I'm going to kill Scott."
"You haven't already?" asked Stiles, unable to hide his grin.
His father let out a wet chuckle and patted his knee heavily before putting the car in gear and starting toward home. Stiles leaned his head against the window, letting the hum of the engine and the sounds of his father radioing back and forth to inform everyone that he had found Stiles lull him to sleep.