By Rabid1st
Teen Wolf – Derek/Stiles

bRating:/b Humor/Romance. Mature Themes – Explicit M/M
bBeta Babes:/b Birthsister and Elsecarless
bAuthor's Note:/b My fic do have plot twists and those twists are part of the fun. But…since I am new to this fandom...and not a regular slash writer, I will say a little here in this note. I am a very new Sterek fan, having started shipping them in S3 at Motel California. My regular readers will understand how liberal my views are on gender and sex. This is gay "sex to purpose" fic featuring sex between two non-gay men, who are quite attached to one another. They could be gay, of course, if you like, but they are as they are in canon. I used a slash-fan and a non-slash fan as my beta babes...and my hope is that even non-slash fans, with open minds, might like this one. But it is very explicit.

There is no kink, no dom/sub, but there are toys and some roughness and psychological baggage. There are, also, a couple of very angsty moments that the reader and Stiles must live through. But it is meant to be fun, not painful. I suggest pushing through the heartache. It is supposed to read like the show-a little scary, and then lots of fun. I wrote it for the banter in my head, because I love Stiles and Derek so much. And everyone else on Teen Wolf, to be perfectly honest.
bSummary:/b Set a year or so in the future, Stiles is about to turn eighteen and is training to be an Emissary. He's learned that there are certain rituals he might need to perform in order to be bonded to his pack. To his surprise, he goes to Derek for help. Panic and hilarity and some sexy times ensue.
bDisclaimer: /bTeen Wolf is a world unto itself. I am only playing with the characters for my own amusement. No copyright infringement is intended.

As the unseasonable Santa Ana winds sent dust devils swirling up the center line of the street, Stiles Stilinski sat in his jeep, looking out through the smoky haze toward a glow on the horizon. Wildfires encircled Beacon Hills. Mandatory evacuations threatened on the radio. Spontaneous combustion had claimed another victim at school. If it weren't for the ash clogging his nose, Stiles was sure he would smell something supernatural in the air. Beware the Ides of March and all of that. He glanced across the street at a line of Colonial style town homes. Dr. Deaton's surgery had been damaged by one of the first localized burns. He'd gone to ground at his house and suggested Stiles meet him there for compulsory Druid training. The older emissary seemed committed to keeping Scott's friends out of trouble this year. Good luck with that, Stiles thought, exiting his jeep.

Deaton's townhouse in the Mayflower Estates was a nice address. But, the modest brick exterior of his home, identical to others on the block, didn't prepare a visitor for the palatial interior. Inside, the residence resembled a boutique museum, all gleaming marble and steel with ancient artifacts in glass cases. As he stepped across the threshold, Stiles felt his shoes sink into the plush cream-colored carpet. He bounced once or twice to better appreciate the yielding sensation. Deaton closed the door behind him. The entryway opened to a living room on the left and a study on the right. The study was lined with book shelves. And the shelves were lined with books, bones, baubles, scrolls and specimen jars. A massive oaken desk dominated the room.

"Nice lair," Stiles said, taking in the sumptuous, yet vaguely supernatural, decor. "Very arcane."

"You had questions about how you might control a rogue Alpha, bring one into the pack?" Deaton began, launching straight into business, as he sauntered by Stiles. "I thought we might discuss the most basic options, before we begin our lesson."

Stiles followed him to the study. Deaton waved a hand toward a wing-backed chair as he continued on toward a large wicker basket, containing what looked like the school library's outdated map collection. Dozens of rolled parchments, in varying states of decay, stood upright in the three foot high container. Stiles sat as Deaton searched for and found a specific roll. He drew what he'd been looking for out of the collection and returned to the desk.

"There are two types of emissary," he began.

"The Druid and the Darach?" Stiles interrupted. He sliced down with his hand, as if dividing the room in two. "The Wise Oak and the Dark Oak."

"No," Deaton corrected. "Two types of Wise Oak. The Darach could never be a true emissary. The fall cannot be undone."

Stiles waited for more, but for the moment, Deaton seemed occupied stripping the protective plastic from his chosen parchment. Once that was done, he rolled what Stiles could see was an elaborate print out on the desktop. The image seemed to pulse on the page, too many lines intersecting. It was hard to make out any recognizable pattern. He thought it might be another tree lithograph. He could almost make out limbs whipped by a high wind, writhing in a storm.

"What is it?" Stiles asked, tilting his head this way and that as he studied the drawing. "Druid Rorschach Testing? You want to know what I see in the-Oh—My—God! Is that—werewolves?"

"And their emissary." Stiles saw her then, a woman at the center of the pack, being...well, pack banged? She didn't seem too upset by the assorted prodding and stroking. He guessed this was a consensual encounter of some kind. "Your eighteenth birthday is coming up in less than a month and…?"

"You wanted to get me some truly disturbing erotic art for my dorm room? How...thoughtful!"

"I want you to understand the choice that lies before you. A choice that will effect the rest of your life, as much as, even more so than your choices about college." Deaton swept a hand around to indicate his home. "As you can see, I live comfortably. My sister and I have chosen our path. The path of the mind. It can lead to material gain, but encourages complete detachment. We live alone. We are counselors, advisors, with a monastic devotion to our pack. We keep our distance and, to the best of our ability, avoid any emotional entanglements."

"So, that's what I have to look forward to enforced celibacy? Check. Already well on my way. How does the art fit in? Yearly Bacchanalia?"

"Historically, a path is chosen when the emissary reaches his or her majority, the eighteenth birthday in modern times."

"So...? I have a month to prepare?" Stiles tapped the parchment. "What does any of this have to do with bestial orgies?"

"The bestial aspect of the werewolf is exaggerated for artistic and religious reasons in this work," Deaton said. "Modern scholars understand that werewolves are still people and not animals."

"Right. Still...orgies and...two types of druid emissary?"

"Two paths. The path of the mind is one option," Deaton said, walking around his desk to the far side and his chair. "The other option is the path of the heart. I believe you are on this second path, Mr. Stiles. And the path of the heart is one of polyamory."

"I understood every word in that sentence. But I still don't see..."

"Those who chose the path of the heart do not remain detached." Deaton stressed the negative, as he waved a hand over the parchment between them. "They become intimately involved in pack affairs. You will recall Kali's attachment to Julia, Miss Blake?"

Kali and Jennifer Blake? That made sense to him. They were unnaturally close, more like lovers than friends. A prickling heat raised the hairs on Stiles' arms. For a brief moment, he thought he was about to burst into flame. Then, he surged out of his seat.

"You have got to be kidding me," he yelped, shocked to the core. "If you think I'm going to have group sex with...Oh, My! Lord! Scott?" He gagged, one hand up as if to ward off the idea. "Scott is like a brother to me. I can't believe you would even suggest…"

"Calm yourself." Deaton smiled warmly at him. "I wouldn't, of course, make such a suggestion. It is completely unnecessary for you to develop a sexual bond with Scott. As you say, you and he are already close."

"Like brothers," Stiles said again, wanting to make it very clear.

"You trust one another. Polyamory isn't strictly sexual," Deaton said. "It can refer to all types of love. Friendship. Deep, brotherly devotion is a powerful bond. Paternal love. Even a love of a common cause, found in soldiers at arms. But, the connections you forge as an emissary must be true and enduring."

Stiles settled back into his seat. "So? If this isn't about Scott? Then...who?" It took him less than two seconds to realize. "Derek?"

"It doesn't seem likely that you and Derek are going to bond over common interests any time soon."

"We don't have common interests," Stiles said, "unless you count mutual animosity. Derek hates me."

"I've noticed a certain aggression," Deaton said dryly. "But you know what they say? There's a thin line between love and hate."

"Between me and Derek?" Stiles scoffed. "There's a wall, like the Great Wall of China." He waved his hands, miming the size and scope of the barrier. "I dated his sister, for one thing. And, you know, killed the last woman he dated. And, even if I hadn't done any of those things, by all accounts Derek put the het in heterosexual. So if you think he's going to be down with this," he lifted the print by one corner and shook it, "you are sadly mistaken."

"You might be surprised," Deaton said. "Polyamory is an accepted part of pack rituals. You should consider approaching him with the idea."

"Right," Stiles drawled, bobbing his head in exaggerated agreement. "I will do that. Right after I decide how to answer the resuscitation question on my living will." He rolled up the print and handed it to Deaton. "Can we talk about sleeping potions as an antidote to bursting into flames? You mentioned that, yesterday."

"Yes, of course," Deaton sighed, as he wrapped a cloth band around the drawing. "But, I don't want you to simply dismiss this. You only have a few weeks to decide on your path. However you wish to proceed, it is part of your duty as an emissary to build trust with the entire pack. You must keep order and establish cohesion in their territory."

"Couldn't we just run Derek out of town?"

"That seems drastic, if not impossible."

"Not as drastic as having sex with him."

"When you come of age, you will take up your role, no matter where we are in the training. You need to bring Derek back into pack society or he will become a lone wolf. And, a danger to Scott and to you. I'm afraid the job of securing a bond falls to you."

Stiles rubbed his temples as he consider this. Then, he shrugged. "Yeah. Well, we don't need to leap straight to the orgy. We could try bowling, first. People bond over those goofy shoes all the time."


"What do you want?" Derek growled as he opened the door.

"We have to talk."

"I'm sure we don't." Derek said. But he stepped aside anyway so Stiles could enter the apartment.

Stiles hesitated on the threshold for a moment, but given Derek was moving away from him, he decided to follow rather than shout at him. He couldn't quite bring himself to turn his back however, while sliding the door closed. Or even to move very far from that ready means of escape. Derek had that effect on him, still. Familiarity had bred a little contempt, but it hadn't muted his self-preservation instincts. He was always aware of a primal human desire to avoid being trapped in small spaces with large carnivores. Especially grumpy carnivores you were about to poke with a stick.

He appeared to have interrupted Derek's dinner. A white foam box gaped open on the coffee table. It seemed to be full of meat and cole slaw. A half-full bottle of beer and two empties sat next to it. There was a book face down on the couch. Not a thriller, if the leather binding was any indication.

"Scott's putting together a mission against the Phoenix."

"He doesn't need me."

"He might. If you would stop moping around, get out there and..." He broke off when Derek spun to face him.

For a second the old fire flared in Derek's eyes, but when he spoke he seemed more defeated then angry.

"I've had my therapy session this week, thank you."

Stiles rolled his eyes. "You go to therapy? Wow!" He stood a little straighter. "That's...uh, unexpected. And...enlightened of you."

"I'm a true renaissance man. What. Do. You. Want?"

"Fine. God. You know you aren't the easiest person to talk to. Have you discussed that with your therapist?"

"She's not taking requests," Derek said. He lifted his brows and rolled his hand in the universal gesture for 'get on with it.'"

"Uh—so, Uhm, actually, I thought you might be able to help me with...with something. Part of my Jedi training."

This caught Derek off guard. "You?"

"Uh...I'm turning eighteen."

Derek gave him a pained little smile. "Never thought you'd make it, myself. Congratulations."

"And there's this...ritual..."

That brought Derek's eyes wide open. But he shrugged it off. "Lydia is going to tear your face off. There's nothing I can do about that. You might try muscle relaxers."

"Lydia's not part of the pack. Or, maybe she is," Stiles took a moment to consider the idea. Why not Lydia? It would be a whole lot easier place to start He frowned at Derek. "For me or her? The muscle relaxers?"

"Both of you." He cocked a thumb over his shoulder. "Foods getting cold."

Stile's sighed. This whole conversation pained him so much. It was humiliating and awkward, like all of his pseudo-sexual encounters had been. The idea that Derek Hale would be his first was ludicrous.

"Unfortunately, Lydia's name didn't come up. She's causing fewer problems than-well-someone else. Someone familiar with this particular ritual." His voice trailed off into silence.

Derek's head dropped back as he sighed heavily. He stood quite still for a few seconds. Only the slight click of his nails, as he curled them together, broke the stillness. When he lowered his chin, he locked eyes with Stiles. And Stiles knew that he understood perfectly.

"Your heart is skipping all over the place."

"I'm aware of that. I don't need your werewolf EKG to tell me I'm hyperventilating. Someone with a little more humanity might understand why."

Derek smiled, a chilling flash of teeth with no humor or humanity in it. "My name came up? For initiation?"

Stile could feel the flaming blush coloring his cheeks. He cocked his head in an appeal, but gave up on it immediately. "Look, forget it. I should just go see Lydia." He started patting beyond his hip for the door handle. Derek's smile softened and brightened into something genuine and...hungry. "Stop that?"


"Looking me up and down and salivating like Wiley Coyote looking at a steak. I don't want to use the term 'wolfish grin' here, but you leave me no choice."

"I wasn't thinking about steak," Derek said in an infuriatingly matter of fact tone. Stiles relaxed incrementally. Until Derek added, "I was thinking about bacon."

"Are you exploring your three little pigs' fantasy or is that your subtle way of calling me fat? Because let me tell you, Mr. One Armed Push-Up, I've been working out, eating better. There may still be a little roundness to my cheeks, but I'm rock hard here," he slapped his stomach, "where it counts."

"Frightening," Derek said, flatly.

"Unless, you were talking about my nose. Were you mocking my nose?"

In his indignation, Stiles pushed away from the door, only to have Derek dart sideways, blocking him with one fluid surge. Stiles reeled back, slamming into the door, again. His hand fumbled behind him, searching for the handle. He forced himself to maintain eye contact, aware of the meaning of a flinch during werewolf confrontation. Derek pushed in closer, forcing Stiles back on the offensive.

"Because that's original," he sneered. "Never heard that one before. I'll have you know my nose is only slightly upturned. Very slightly. And it adds to my charm. I've had it on good authority that it makes me look puckish."


"Like…Puck. From a Midsommer Night's Dream. That's a play..."

"I know who Puck is," Derek growled so close to the nose in question that Stiles could smell Madison's Bar-B-Que pork ribs on his breath. "And bacon is delicious."

"Oh," Stiles said on a relieved sigh. Then, because relief was the last thing he should be feeling this close to Derek Hale, he mentally replayed the last few moments. That bacon comment had sounded like a compliment. His mouth opened to ask a question. Derek cocked an eyebrow and Stiles slumped out of his rigid stance, relaxing a little as he took in the implications of their proximity. "Oh!"

He might have said more, but Derek's lips got in his way. One second Derek was glaring at him in extreme close-up, and the next they were blending together. Closer than they'd ever been. Well, closer than they'd been outside of life or death situations, like at the school pool. Time slowed down for Stiles and details came into stark relief, a rare circumstance in his ADD-plagued life. It happened sometimes playing video games. He'd click into a zone and experience life to the fullest. No spinning thoughts, just feeling. And now, he was zoning happily. Because Derek up-close was a sensory experience to be savored.

Stiles relaxed into the sensations. Derek had seized him by the scruff of the neck to facilitate the kiss. His grip intimidated. But the kiss was remarkably tender, as gentle as it was abrupt. And, as it lingered the room shrink wrapped them. Stiles thought he might pass out from the sudden rise in temperature. He burned all over. Heat flashed along his arms as adrenaline sent a rush of blood sizzling along just beneath his skin. He could hear a pounding pulse in his ears. Noticing his hands were flapping in the air, he tried to think where they could safely settle. Derek's free hand found a home at his waist. Stiles felt long fingers pushing under his tee. He squirmed to avoid them, but that was hopeless. And then there was tongue.

The tongue nearly broke Stiles, mentally. It was accompanied by so many conflicting impulses in his brain that he couldn't begin to follow every command. He would have bolted if Derek had given him an inch to move at all. As it was he jerked violently and then started shaking. Not from fear, but from the gut churning need to do something physical. He bounced in place as he clawed into Derek's shoulders for stability. Reflex almost snapped his teeth together. He came very close to biting down on the interloping tongue. But the taste of Derek's mouth stopped him.

One thought came through clearly, in the raging mind storm like a lighthouse beacon of reason. Madison's Pork Ribs. Stiles would have lived on Madison's sweet sauce pork, if his dad would have allowed it. It had a tangy after-burn, which was completely irresistible. Sweet sauced Derek Hale. Stiles had a flash thought about licking the sticky stuff off of Derek's body. Running his own tongue over those rock hard abs. And right on cue, as if he could read minds, or maybe smell arousal, Derek gave a contented little hum. Stiles prayed, but wasn't sure exactly what he wanted to happen next.

When the kiss ended, neither of them moved for a second. Both were a little breathless and cautious and slightly confused. They stared into one another's faces, gazes moving from point to point. Derek moistened his already slick lips. Stiles avoided more eye contact by knocking the back of his head into the door. But he recovered first.

"Why did you-?"


"Oh...Gah! Does this mean you are not against the know, principle?"

Derek laughed and stepped back. A coldness rushed into the space between them. Stiles didn't like it.

"When's your birthday?" Derek asked, heading for his dinner.

"Two weeks from Saturday. Why?"

"I'm a traditionalist," Derek said. "And your father's the Sheriff."

************************************************** ************************

As soon as he left Derek, Stiles sent Danny a desperate text. Need to talk. He could hardly contain himself until the second period break the next day. Spotting Danny, he dashed down the hallway, smacking into a few people while calling out apologies. When he reached Danny's locker, he stood gasping. Danny smiled a hello, but didn't seem overjoyed to see him.

"Danny, I have an important question to ask and I want you to answer me honestly, okay?"

"I don't have a lot of time," Danny said, "Why didn't you text them to me?"

"Because," Stiles exclaimed, exasperated, "this is face to face stuff."

Danny took a book from his locker, as he considered Stiles. His expression said he wasn't expecting an interesting exchange of ideas. Stiles blamed himself. He did pester Danny a lot with sexuality questions.

"Yes, I think Zac Efron is overrated," Danny said on a sigh. "No, I don't think it means you're gay if you still think he's hot. Many people find him hot-men, women, news anchors, transvestites, space aliens."

Stiles put on his best affronted look. "This isn't about Zac Efron...again."

Danny closed his locker and started walking. Stiles fell into step beside him. Danny glanced at his watch. Then, he turned a critical eye on Stiles.

"Yes, I like that color on you. A v-neck does something for your round face. No, it doesn't mean you're gay. There is no such thing as gay clothing. Clothing and pasta and music are sexually neutral. There's only one thing that makes you gay, liking guys. So don't worry about it, unless you start…"

"Kissing Derek Hale?"

Danny stopped walking but forgot to tell his feet. He stumbled forward. Then, he swallowed hard and looked up and down the hallway. As if they might be discussing state secrets, he grabbed Stiles by an elbow and hustled him toward a nearby alcove under some stairs.

"You kissed Derek Hale?" Danny hissed, trying to keep his voice down but failing. Several people turned to stare. Danny sounded impressed as well as shocked. "How? Why? What was it like?"

"He kissed me, actually. And I have no idea why?" Stiles said. "I was hoping you could tell me. Why would a straight guy kiss that?"

"You have a nice mouth," Danny said. "Feminine."

Stiles blinked at him. "All this time I've known you and you never think to mention that I have a kissable mouth?"

"I thought you might get the wrong idea," Danny said. "And I'm still waiting for details."

"It was weird. Not unpleasant. But not like I'd imagined." Seeing Danny's eyes widen, he hastily added, "Not that I imagine it all the time or anything. It's more of a passing thought. You know how it is when you are in the shower alone. And you've spent all day looking at that...spiral tattoo," Stiles cleared his throat. "Don't you occasionally think about girls? Like...imagine them in the shower?"

"When I think about girls, they are fully clothed."

"They are fully clothed even when they shower?" Stiles drew back a little, impressed. "Man, Danny. You are gay."

"You think about Derek taking a shower? You're so busted," Danny said, grinning like a man whose day was going so much better than expected. "Back to the kiss. Dish."

"It was a little scruffy, unshaven. You know Derek's homeless look? Not just skin deep. There are personal hygiene issues. But he had nice technique and there was tongue. It tasted like Madison's sweet barbecue sauce. Have you ever had their pork? He was eating dinner at the time, which is sort of gross now that I think about it." He shook of the thought. "I wasn't expecting his tongue in my mouth…because, I don't expect that. But, much as I hate to admit it, he's a fantastic kisser."

"Oh, I bet. But you're…"

"Not gay? I know. That's sort of what I wanted to ask you about..."

"I was going to say seventeen and he's like…"

"…a hundred and nine in dog years? I know."

"I was going to say a little out of your league."

"Thanks a lot, Danny. I thought we were friends."

"Stiles," Danny shook him gently, "Did you take your meds today? Give me context. Why were you making out with Derek Hale? What happened? Is it a supernatural thing? Has he gone crazy."

"Yeah. Sort of. Wait what?" Stiles glared. "Again I have to remind you, Danny, that we are supposed to be friends. And, the kissing was...complicated. As part of becoming an emissary, apparently, I'm supposed to create a bond with the pack. To stabilize them emotionally...make them trust me."

"So you'll be making out with Scott, too?"

"Gross. No. Scott and I are like brothers, so we're covered. There's already a deep emotional connection, or whatever. And Ethan is bonded to the Deatons, so you don't have to worry."

"I wasn't worried."

"I might have to do something about Lydia..." His gaze slid sideways after briefly meeting Danny's eye. "Uhm…yeah…never mind about that. Derek is the lone wolf, running rogue, sans druid connections. His born free attitude is bringing down the energy or something. So, I have to step up and do my duty. The question I had for you is this…what's it like?"

"So," Danny said, with a sigh, "this is the same question you always have for me?"

"Okay, then—different question: Would you sleep with a girl if she was as hot as Derek Hale?"

"I want to say, no! But I suppose it would depend on a lot of variables. Like, how much I was committed to the cause. And would she know about my usual preferences? I wouldn't be playing straight, right? Just indulging my curiosity? And when you say, as hot as Derek, do you mean she's an attractive girl or she's equally androgynous?"

"You think Derek is androgynous?"

"He's a little too pretty for my taste."

"Pretty?" Stiles scoffed. "Right! Like my mouth? You obviously haven't seen him after he's been living in the woods for a week."

"I've seen him with his shirt off," Danny said, smirking. "Thank you, by the way. And he's all male in that respect."

"Danny? Focus. Let's say this hypothetical girl is objectively attractive."


"Objectively. Yes." Stiles waved an impatient arm through the air. "Like the Mona Lisa. Or J-Lo. And you can save the world if you have sex with her, this objectively hot, slightly androgynous, sweet, yet tangy, lass? Do you take one for the team? Is it theoretically feasible?"

"Seriously? You and Derek are going to have Save the World Sex?"

"Oh, My God! Danny?"

"It could happen. I don't know about your wolf-pack priorities. I'm barely in the loop on all this. For all I know we're one wild weekend away from the apocalypse."

"Okay, maybe the world isn't ending. Exactly this weekend. But..." Stiles swallowed. "I think I have to do this. And, I'm worried."

Danny sighed again. "Fine. You know how you've been asking me if random things make you seem gay since I came out in seventh grade?" Stiles nodded. "Well, having sex with Derek would definitely be the gayest thing you've ever done. But, sure, yeah, I would do it, with a girl-if it would save the world. Girls aren't as gross as you imagine."


"As long as nobody gets hurt, why not?"

Stiles puffed out a sigh. "That's what I thought you would say." Danny started to move away from him, back into the now empty hallway. "One more question…"

"I've got History."

"I just need to know…will it hurt?"

"That all depends on what you do, I guess." Danny said, with no trace of his former teasing manner. "And how much you are lying to yourself."


Two days later, Derek was dead. Another victim of the wildfires raging through the tinder pines surrounding Beacon Hills. The Phoenix had cornered them all and set Derek in a blazing circle. Stiles and Scott barely escaped with their lives. And together they endured interviews and school counseling. The irony of the last Hale dying in a fire wasn't lost on the local newspapers. Unfortunately, direct contact with Phoenix fire left nothing behind to bury. There was no body and no family to care. No memorial services to be given beyond Scott, Stiles and Lydia gathering at the Hale house to drink and remember. And if Stile's eyes were bloodshot and red-rimmed all day long in the week that followed, that made him no different than everyone else in a town plagued by wood smoke and ashes.

Scott had asthma again. And he'd turned equally listless, blaming himself for the loss. He and Stiles moped about together, avoiding any talk of battle or plans. They damned Derek and his reckless loner machismo, but there was no fire left in them. The Phoenix had taken it, turned it on them.

Stiles couldn't keep food down. He excused himself to the restroom during every class, retching even when there was nothing in his stomach. He felt too tired for revenge, almost too tired to go on breathing. He couldn't make himself care about the daily chores of life. His father ate Chinese take-out every night. And the laundry piled up until all Stiles had left to wear was a pair of faded, flannel pajama bottoms. He paired them with the over-sized t-shirt that he slept in. He wore this outfit from Friday afternoon through to Sunday night. Just before heading off to bed, his dad insisted he do a load of school clothes. Stilinski, Sr. wouldn't listen when Stiles said he didn't need clothes.

"I'm staying home tomorrow."

"No, you are going to school, Mister," his father said. "And then you are going to see Dr. Clary. I made an appointment for you at 4:30, right after class."

"I don't need a therapist. It's just the flu."

"Whatever is going on with you…and I know it has something to do with Derek Hale's death…you have to talk to somebody. If not me, then..."

"Dad...please, don't." Stiles crossed his arms on the table and rested his head on them.

"You two weren't close. Do you feel responsible, somehow? This is just like when your mother..."

Clattering back his chair, Stiles broke away from the conversation, making a beeline for the bathroom. He slammed the door closed, locking it behind him. Leaning over the sink, he felt the sobs take hold again. He didn't want to cry in front of his father. Not because he was ashamed, or because he doubted his father's genuine concern. But because he wasn't sure he would stop crying if anyone consoled him. And he was too tired to cry all night. The sobs cut through him like razors now, making him gag. He didn't have the energy to argue or explain himself. His father came to the door, rattling the knob.


"I'm okay."

"Can you come out, please?"

Stiles promised him that he would come out soon and do a load of laundry for school. Yes, he would go to the doctor. No, there was nothing his father could do to fix this. He waited until he heard his father's footsteps moving away. Then, he said down on the closed toilet and waited. Eventually, the house grew quiet. He heard his father's bedroom door shut. He took out his cellphone to check the time...10:38 pm.

At 11:10 when the Stilinski dryer rattled and groaned to a halt, minutes after he started it, Stiles lost his temper. He was sick of being sick. Sick of being sad and scared. Sick of being poor. Sick of Beacon Hills and Derek Hale and life.

"Son of a bitch" he snarled, rushing from the kitchen to the laundry room in response to an ominous grating sound. "What the fuck, now?"

He saw a curl of smoke and, for a split second he thought the house was on fire. But he quickly traced the problem to their ancient clothes dryer. The plug glowed red hot. He used a pot holder to pull it free from the wall. A quick check showed his wet jeans had no chance of line drying in time for school. Furious, he bundled the sopping mess into a basket, scrawled a note on the white board for his dad, and headed for the all-night laundry on Fifth Street. He went unwashed, unshaved, and wearing a ridiculously impractical outfit.

Fifth was deserted. A homeless man slept sprawled along one of the Laundromat benches. Stiles yanked his basket out of the jeep. Muttering curses, he balanced his wallet on top of the load. Quarters. He'd forgotten about quarters. He glanced down the street toward the liquor store three blocks away. Neon beer signs flashed pink and green, creating an oasis of light on the mostly dark road. The city council had decided one street light every four blocks was more than enough in these hard economic times. Sighing heavily, Stiles pushed his basket back into the jeep, locked up and started walking.

He was on his way back when he saw the flicker of what might have been a candle in an alley across the street. He almost kept going. There was a fire watch. But he could let someone else be the hero, for once. He'd had enough of it. A few steps later he realized that the light was coming through a window and curiosity prodded him to action. He decided to take a quick peek. He crossed the street crouched low, running on the balls of his feet to avoid attracting attention. Slipping into darker shadows, he flattened against the building wall and crept along until he could just see in the window. He saw a shape, a person, dripping fire from long, clawed fingers. In the light of that supernatural flame, Stiles could, also, clearly see the Mayor of Beacon Hills and two members of the city council.

A break in the mystery at last. As Stiles drew in a shocked breath a hand clapped down over his mouth and something very like a steel band wrapped around his chest. He kicked out, struggling with all his might, but it was like fighting a gorilla. He was lifted from his feet and carried backward, deeper into the alley.

"Hush," a voice commanded at his ear. "They'll hear you."

The voice sent a shiver through his gut. He cut his eyes to try and see the speaker. But he didn't need to see him. His body already knew. He'd relaxed completely into the other man's arms.

"Shhhh," Derek barely whispered. His grip eased, but he didn't let go. "Don't move. Don't speak. Okay?"

Stiles nodded his assent to these rules. Derek let him find his feet, but left the silencing hand in place for a moment. When Stiles remained still, Derek slid each finger slowly over Stiles' lips and off his chin. Finally, only one finger remained, gently shushing. Derek stepped back, but before he could move out of range, Stiles brought his heel down hard on an instep. He was pleased to note that, being barefoot, Derek felt the blow. His smug expression vanished quicker than morning coffee at the Sheriff's department.

He mimed his confusion and fury. Stiles mimed back. Pointing first at Derek and then at his own temple. "You know what that is for?" he mouthed.

Derek had the grace, and good sense, to take the reprimand as his due. He mimed an apologetic shrug. And silently said, "Sorry."

"You better be," Stiles told him, also soundlessly. He circled his finger to indicate both of them, and then made a yapping mouth with one hand. "We need to talk."

Derek jerked his head sideways to indicate the bad guys and rolled his eyes a little.

"No," Stiles shook his head firmly and scowled a perfect "bad dog" admonishment.

"Yes," Derek nodded, just as firmly defiant.

"I will punch you in the face," Stiles said, forming each word carefully with his mouth. Derek smirked. And then, pointed to his ear and shook his head. Clearly indicating he couldn't hear Stiles and, equally clearly, understanding perfectly.

Derek turned to leave, but Stiles clutched at his elbow. A three stooges moment followed as they slapped quietly at one another, until Derek held up his hands in surrender. Stiles made one more playfully aggressive lunge at him, then, did the talk gesture again.

"My place. Sundown. Tomorrow. Bring Scott." Derek said.


Derek closed his eyes and tilted his head back for a second, giving in to abject exasperation. Then, he slowly acted the instructions out for Stiles. Stiles made him think of three different ways to express the concept of Scott in charadespeak, pretending he didn't understand the first two. Derek showed him a fist and a lot of teeth

"Oh, Scott," Stiles said, nodding. He beamed as he gave the thumbs up sign.

"I hate you," Derek said, shaping the word "hate" carefully, but pressing his palm down over his heart. By mistake, Stiles figured, or because it was heartfelt loathing.

Either way, he parted from Derek with a renewed zing in his blood. They were going to win this one. He was sure of it. The laundry didn't seem like a chore anymore. And it wasn't until he caught sight of his own reflection in the large windows that he realized how horrible he looked. And, also, how prominent his erect state was against the particularly soft fabric of his pajama pants.