"You have reached technical genius, Stiles The Great Stilinski, how may I serve you?"
"I think you know how you can serve me, baby boy," Stiles leans back in his chair and smiles to himself as the deep, soothing timbre of Derek's voice fills his head.
"Hey big guy," he spins slightly on his chair. The screens in front of him are ready for anything the team throw at him and the white cursor on the black search parameter box blinks in time with his pulse.
"You ready for work kiddo?" Derek asks and there's that faint smirk in his voice that means he's alone and Stiles isn't on speaker.
"Depends on what work we're talking about," Stiles replies and Derek laughs gently.
"I could sit here and exchange double entendres with you all day Stiles but sadly we have a sicko to catch."
"Never any time for us," Stiles sighs dramatically, "what do you need?" He leans forward, fingers resting over his keyboard.
"Male, 25-35, labourer jobs, in the system probably, will have a history of violence, more than likely suffering from Schizophrenia. We think he thinks he's doing God's work so look for anyone even remotely active in the church community within 50 miles of the town.
"I hate the religious nut jobs," Stiles grumbles, fingers flying over the keyboard. Derek makes a noise in the back of his throat like he agrees. In the background Stiles hears a door open and the unmistakable sound of Isaac trying to tell someone that something is "really, very simple to understand" when actually it's probably impossible to comprehend for lay people. Isaac may be a certified genius but his people skills leave a lot to be desired.
"Got four names, one moved away a couple of months ago, now lives in California. One has a perfect bill of health according to his records, no sign of Schizophrenia. The other has a family so can we rule him out please? Ok, so, Brian McDonald, works at the local lumber yard a handful of hours a week, was an alter boy at the local Catholic church when he was a kid until being diagnosed with Schizophrenia when he was 14, mother dumped him on social services poor kid and he bounced around foster homes until he was 18."
"You got…" Derek starts and Stiles stabs a button on his keyboard with his pen.
"An address? Do you need to ask?" Isaac's phone beeps in the distance and Derek lets out a puff of air that could be a laugh.
"I love you," he croons down the phone and Stiles laughs.
"How could you not?"
Stiles is sitting at Derek's desk when the team gets back, feet crossed at the ankles on top of precarious pile of paper that's been threatening to fall for weeks now. Isaac gives him a passing smile that's as brilliant and genuine as it is quick. The kid's (although Stiles shouldn't really call him a kid, they're the same age but there's something almost innocent about Isaac that makes people want to look after him) a bonefide genius. He joined a couple of years ago and got requested by John's Team instantly. That level of genius is incredibly useful when looking into the minds of Psychos. Isaac has a way of getting right under the skin of even the most mentally disturbed killers they investigate. He's worked his way into everyone's life and has made an almost unhealthy attachment to Derek. Derek looks out for him and Isaac leans on Derek when things get too tough.
Scott, Stiles's best and oldest friend, waves enthusiastically at him across the bullpen, mouths he'll call him later and heads off probably in search of Allison. Allison joined the team when Lydia went MIA after her boyfriend Jackson was killed. Her father had been investigated by the BAU years before, and she had a unique perspective on serial killers who posed as family men. Deaton had requested her and she had tried to fit into the team that was mourning the loss of one of their own. She was sweet and smiled like she meant it and Scott had fallen instantly. She had fallen just as quickly and after Lydia came back, Allison had transferred to another team but was frequently seen hanging out at Scott's desk. Or Lydia's. Stiles doesn't know how those two became friends but there's a bond there that he doesn't want to mess with.
Lydia smacks the back of his head then leans down to kiss it when Stiles protests. Lydia is fierce and scary but crack that rock solid exterior and she's gooey, sweet and fiercely loyal. Stiles held a candle for her for years but now he just loves her as a best friend and confidante and someone to be more than a little afraid off. Jackson being killed had hit her hard but she had come back to the team after a few months, (a few months of Stiles searching for any clues as to her whereabouts) stronger and ready to work, although there had been, and still is, a world weary look to her eyes that hadn't been there before. John hadn't questioned her coming back, at least not to her face, just kept a wary eye on her from a distance and offered a shoulder whenever she needed.
John nodded in Stiles's direction. John is Stiles's dad. He had despaired at Stiles's love of all things technical and internet based for years and when Stiles had been caught trying to hack into the FBI files from his dorm room at college, the BAU had snapped him up, much to John's embarrassment, and told Stiles it was either work for them or go to prison. Stiles, funnily enough, had chosen the BAU and had loved every second of it. He was the best Technical Analysis in the department and John was begrudgingly proud of his son. John rested a strong hand on Stiles's shoulder. Even though Stiles had his own tiny shoe box apartment in the middle of town, they still got together once a week and had dinner. If only to make sure his dad ate right at least once.
"What are you force feeding me tomorrow?" he looks at his watch, "or later on this morning?" John asks and Stiles grins up at him. There's line of his face that weren't there a few years ago, but his face is still warm and kind.
"Vegetables," Stiles replies and John makes a face that makes him look about 5 years old.
"See you later," he says and Stiles nods.
"Just making sure D-Man's good and then I'll be over later." John raises an eyebrow and Stiles squirms under the scrutiny. John has always been able to read what Stiles is up to just by staring at him like he is right now, but Stiles isn't sure what he's looking for right now. "What?"
"Nothing." John shakes his head as the door slam open and Derek grins across the bullpen, taking off his glasses like he's some sort of Abercrombie and Fitch model. Stiles shakes his head with his dad and raises an eyebrow at Derek.
"Show off," he mutters and John snorts out a laugh as he walks away.
Derek is gorgeous. Both men and women alike seem to think so, and no matter how many times Stiles tells himself he doesn't like Derek like that, he can still appreciate a fine specimen when he sees one.
Derek's family died when he was young, a crazy ex girlfriend who is now locked away for her own safety as much as societies set his family home on fire thinking the entire family was a pack of werewolves. Derek had been 12, his older sister Laura 14. His uncle had made it out of the house, survived with burn scars down one side of his face. Peter Hale now heads up the entire department. Looking at Derek sauntering across the bullpen, aviator sunglasses clamped between his teeth, you would find it hard to believe that beneath that egotistical exterior lay a deeply insecure, guilt ridden, broken little boy. John sees it, Stiles sees it occasionally, catches glimpses of it although Derek prefers Stiles to know that part of him exists and never see it. Stiles would imagine Peter sees it sometimes, but Peter's a tricky one to read and Stiles doesn't know what kind of relationship Uncle and Nephew have outside of the office.
"You know you don't have to wait for me, baby boy," Derek's grin widens as he reaches his desk, pushes Stiles's feet off the pile of paper and perches on the edge. Stiles grins back and hooks his hands behind his head.
"Excuse me…hey you…excuse me, baby boy," Stiles stops mid step, the persistent voice behind him getting increasingly agitated until it settles with the last two words. Stiles frowns and turns, looking over the pile of paperwork in his arms to the guy the voice belongs to.
"Baby boy?" He arches an eyebrow over one eye and the guy blushes a little but shrugs and shoves his hands into his pockets.
"Thought that would get your attention," Derek grins a little lopsidedly, it's a grin that practically shouts that Derek's used to getting his own way, a grin that the owner knows is powerful and stops women in their tracks. Stiles narrows his eyes.
"Can I help you with something?" He asks, feigning boredom and Derek steps a little closer.
"You can help me by smiling." There's that grin again and Stiles rolls his eyes.
"Was not." Derek grins and Stiles cant help but smile back.
"Was too." He says and Derek lets out a bark of laughter and holds his hand out.
"Derek, Derek Hale."
"Hey…" Derek snaps his fingers in front of Stiles's face. "Welcome back."
"Just thinking," Stiles gets to his feet and stretches out the knots from his back.
"About me I hope," Derek pokes him in the stomach and Stiles lets out an indignant squeak as he glares at Derek.
"Yes actually," Stiles says and Derek's eyebrows arch over his eyes. "Not like that…pervert. You ok?" Stiles asks like he expects an answer. Like he doesn't every time the Team come back. Derek shrugs and to an outsider to could mean 'it was ok', but Stiles knows it means 'I don't want to talk about it'.
"You wanna grab dinner?" Derek deflects and Stiles rubs a hand across the back of his neck.
"It's three in the morning," he says and Derek's egotistical grin is back on his face.
"Ok so we can always do the other best thing to do at three in the morning."
"You wish. Gotta go catch up with Dad tomorrow so raincheck?" Derek nods, pats Stiles's cheek briefly like he always does.
"Sure…" Derek grabs his go bag, more than likely to shove the clothes in it through a wash and bring it back in tomorrow ready for the next case they have to run away to. "Dream of me." He leans down and presses a kiss to Stiles's forehead and Stiles curls his fingers into Derek's t-shirt briefly, just to feel him alive and well under his hands.
"Always." Stiles replies and Derek laughs. "Derek?" he calls as Derek's halfway out of the bullpen. He turns. "I love you." Derek grins and points at Stiles, then holds up two fingers. You too.
Stiles is pretty sure he's not in love with Derek, despite what everyone else thinks. Derek's his…best friend? Soulmate? One in a million love of a life time? He's not really sure how to describe him but he's pretty sure he's not in love with Derek.
Their relationship, for lack of a better word, makes a lot of people raise their eyebrows, including Stiles's dad. Which is what he's doing right now, across the table from him over a vegetarian brunch that Stiles knocked up and shoved in front of them a few minutes earlier. This is their weekly get together. Stiles makes sure his father eats a little more than take away burgers and crap and John makes Stiles uncomfortable by asking when he and Derek are going to get together.
"Look," his father says around a mouthful of omelette, "I'm not saying I wouldn't mind because lets face it, it would be weird as hell," he pauses to swallow.
"Much like this conversation," Stiles mutters chasing a mushroom around his plate.
"Just saying that you two have had a hell of a lot of hurt in your life and maybe," John pauses for effect, taking a sip of his coffee, "you both deserve something good."
"Oh my God, Dad," Stiles groans, and picks his plate up off the table, drops it into the sink and leans back against the counter, "how many times do I have to tell you?"
"At least one more," John grins around another mouthful of omelette and Stiles sticks his tongue out.
"Just friends?" John finishes and Stiles sighs, rubs a hand across the back of his neck.
"It's not as simple as that," he says and John nods, shrugs like it's the end of the conversation.
"It never is."
The brunch with his father unnerves him, John has always had foresight, always knew what Stiles was getting up to in school, what troubles he and Scott had gotten themselves in to. He always knew when Stiles was pining over someone he could never get. Like Lydia Martin.
So his observations about Derek make Stiles uneasy as he climbs into his bed for a few blissful hours of sleep. It's only 4 in the afternoon but Stiles is bone tired after three cases in a row. Something John had complained to Peter about on more than one occasion. 'The best team gets the most cases' Peter always replies, like its an honour to be working so goddamn hard. Stiles pulls the covers over his head, ignores the flashing on his phone telling him there's a message from Derek and falls asleep with the noise of laughing children outside on the street.
The building is quiet when Derek wanders in, still half asleep, at 6 the following morning. Derek loves this time, just before everyone else wakes, when the office is silent except the hum of machinery and the occasion beep from phones just before the voicemails kick in. He stretches his arms over his head as he dumps his gym bag next to his desk. There's a picture of him and Stiles at the last FBI Family Picnic pinned next to his computer. Stiles is grinning, flushed with beer and the sun, his arm thrown around Derek's shoulder. Scott's in the background with his hands around Allison's face, pressing their foreheads together. Derek's got his usual photograph face on, a hint of a smile on his lips but he's leaning into Stiles, fingers curling into Stiles's t-shirt at his waist. He's always loved that picture, sure he complained when he found it pinned to his desk, but Stiles had just smiled and told him to grow up, and Derek had grumbled half-heartedly about it for weeks. It's just them, Stiles and Derek, happy and easy and Derek can almost forget the horrors they've both seen as he stares at Stiles's wide grin.
He smiles to himself, grabs his gym bag and heads for the on site gym.
He's halfway through his weights when he notices a tickle at the back of his neck. He glances up at the mirrors that line the wall and sees Stiles leaning against the door frame, arms crossed over his chest and a grin on his face.
"Morning sunshine," Stiles grins further, if that was at all possible, and shoulder pushes himself off the doorframe. Derek grunts in response and finished his set, dropping the weight to the floor with a dull thud against the pads. "I trust your dreams were pleasant and monster free," Stiles absently fiddles with one of the pins on the leg press that keeps the weights in place and Derek raises any eyebrow at him.
"You're here early baby boy, couldn't sleep?" Stiles holds up a finger like he's discovered the secrets to the universe and Derek loves that look on his face, pure and almost innocent, filled with glee.
"Deflecting," he crows and Derek snorts out a laugh, "so, I deduce you didn't sleep well yourself."
"Baby's learning," Derek mutters and Stiles curls his hand into a fist and draws it down in front of his face.
"Idiot," Derek ruffles Stiles's hair fondly and then pulls him close by the loops on his trousers. Because he can, they do this casual in each others space thing.
"Eww, Derek sweat," Stiles grimaces but his hands curl around Derek's arms and hold on, not pushing away or pulling closer, just holding. Derek ignores the spread of heat against his arms where Stiles's palms practically burn.
"Morning." Derek hums and Stiles's eyes close briefly, a slow blink before he opens them again and Derek's hot with deep brown.
"You didn't reply to my message last night…everything alright?" Stiles squirms, looks down at where their chests are pressed together and a frowns flickers across his face. "Stiles."
"Fine…everything's fine," Stiles pushes away, or at least tries to because Derek holds on tight.
"You know I'm stronger than you…don't fight…"
"We have a case," Stiles pushes him away and straightens his t-shirt, baggy at the neck from too many washes, but its shows his collarbone perfectly, the long bump of bone so Derek doesn't complain about it nearly as much as he should. "Round table in 10…go shower, stinky."
It's said in jest but there's an underlying sense of worry around Stiles that makes Derek's chest hurt. He frowns at the back of Stiles's head as it disappears around the corner.
Stiles doesn't look up at him as he walks into the round table room. He's got his head down, eyes fixed on the floor and he fiddles with the remote for the smart board as Erica hands out the case files. In fact, there's a weird vibe from everyone in the team, Lydia's trying very hard to ignore everyone, staring down at her nails. John's got the case file open in front of him already but he glances up at Derek and gives him a sympathetic smile that makes Derek's stomach clench.
"Ok…what the hell?" Derek slides into the last seat, next to Isaac who fidgets and runs a hand through his curls.
"Last night, a second family in Beacon Hills, California was locked in their home and their house set on fire," Derek stiffens at Erica's words. Stiles looks like he's going to be sick but he looks up at Derek. He points his remote at the screen and clicks a button. "The Hall family was killed two nights ago then last night the Hill family," Stiles closes his eyes and presses the button again and Derek feels like he's going to vomit, "married 15 years, two kids, active in the local community…" there's a vibration running through Derek's skin, a hum, unpleasant and uncomfortable, making his skin crawl as Erica carries on, and Stiles flicks through photos of a burnt out husk of a house that looks eerily similar to his own childhood home. Derek feels bile rising up the back of his throat and pushes himself to his feet. His chair scrapes along the back, and he barely makes it to the nearest bathroom before he vomits, burning the back of his throat as his fingers curl around the edge of the sink.
Murders of families happening in the same town Derek grew up in. Families burnt alive in the same way Derek's was. Even the family names are similar enough that it's not a coincidence. Kate's face flashes before his eyes and Derek dry heaves into the sink. Every single feeling of guilt comes crashing back and Derek grips tighter at the edge of the sink, his fingers hurting, knuckles cracking, anything to ground him and keep him here, now, in the present where Kate cant hurt him again. Where Stiles...
"Hey wolf man," he shuts off his train of thought at the softly spoken words from the doorway. Derek manages a grim smile at the nickname, his mind wandering back to then.
"Wolf man," Stiles slurs, head on Derek's shoulder, fingers playing against the skin and hair on Derek's forearm. Derek snorts and tucks Stiles closer, dropping his lips to the top of Stiles's head. Stiles is drunk, drunker than Derek's ever seen him, hurting after a break up with a guy that Derek is glad to see the back of. Stiles is clingy when he's drunk. "I like it," he mutters and Derek makes a noise in the back of his throat, leans forward enough to tell the cab driver to pull over and leans back.
"Come on baby boy, time to move," he says, lifting Stiles who groans.
"I know," Derek throws a couple of bills at the driver, and opens the door. He hauls Stiles out as gently as he can and winds one arm around Stiles's waist.
"Wanna stroke wolf man's arms again," Stiles hiccoughs, dissolves into hysterical giggles as Derek digs around in Stiles's pockets for his apartment key. "Love my wolf man…loved Paul too." He sniffs and Derek cups his hands around Stiles's face.
"Paul was a dick and you didn't love him. You're better off without him, ok?" Stiles runs his hands down Derek's arms and nods, eye glassy and pupils wide.
"Ok wolf man."
"I'm ok," Derek cups water over his face, "I'm ok," he says again, almost to himself and Stiles reaches out to touch him, thinks better of it and snatches his hand back. "I'm ok."
"Fuck it," Stiles mutters as if to himself and steps forward, bringing Derek close to him and pulling him into one of Stiles's bone crushing hugs. "We're gonna get through this ok? Not you, but you and me." Derek wraps his arms back around Stiles, drops his head to Stiles's shoulder and breathes in, just holds on, his body shaking against guilt and loss and hurt from all those years ago.
He doesn't know how long they stand there, with arms wrapped around each other and Stiles's fingers playing at the base of Derek's neck, but Stiles's skin is getting damp from Derek's breath when he eventually pulls away.
"I'm ok," he says for the fourth time and Stiles makes a face like he doesn't believe him but he's going to get it slide this once. "Let's get back in there."
"You sure? I'm sure dad will let you sit this one out, I mean…"
"I have to do this Stiles, ok?" Stiles stares at him, a long time, silent and observing until Derek almost feels uncomfortable.