in the company of wolves
Derek smells the suit before he sees him. Silk has a very particular smell, and it’s not one Derek’s been confronted with often since he returned to Beacon Hills and went into hiding. His instinct is to shrink back, to hide himself as best he can and hope for the best, but there’s something else in that scent that gives him pause and makes him reconsider.
Something spiced and sweet, like cider.
He knows this game too well. He knows the suit won’t just leave. They’re clever nowadays; they’re hunters who have learned to think like their prey. Clenching his jaw, Derek takes a step onto the porch of the dilapidated home he’s been hiding out in.
Parked in front of the house is an ostentatious sports car—foreign, which is surprising considering its owner works for the federal government—and leaning up against it is a child in a red three piece suit. It’s almost offensive, Derek thinks, that they’d send someone so freshly-badged after him. He kind of thinks he deserves better after eluding the authorities for six years.
“Derek,” the suit says, the picture of lazy familiarity as he leans against the car. Derek’s silent, his fists clenched by his side. “Agent Stilinski. I’m with FTAP—but you already know that, don’t you?”
“You assholes usually wear black,” Derek says tightly, and a smirk pulls at the corners of Stilinski’s mouth.
“Not really my color,” he says dismissively. “We can protect you, you know.”
“You want to put a collar on me and call that protection? That’s a cage.”
“It’s insurance,” Stilinski corrects sharply, coming off the side of the car. Derek tenses, his muscles coiling. He’s not sure if he’d rather fight or fly at this point, but that’s neither here nor there. “Oh, please. You’re not going to run, and you’re definitely not going to fight me.”
“Why not? Why shouldn’t I?” Derek asks viciously.
Stilinski’s hands are still in his pockets as he moves towards Derek, his gait confident and easy, his pace unhurried. “Because you and I both know you’re sick of running. And if you fight me, I’ll have to kill you.”
Derek snorts. “Better suits than you have tried, kid.”
“I seriously doubt that, Derek.”
Stilinski stops at the bottom of the porch steps and looks up at Derek, his eyes warm and bright, a glimmer of something wicked and clever lurking just beyond the surface. He’s a pale kid, but not in a sickly way—in a way that makes his dark features darker, makes him seem a little more dangerous. The red of the suit darkens the flush in his cheeks and lips, and Derek finds himself assaulted by that spiced, sweet scent that had lured him out here in the first place.
“Can I come in?” Stilinski asks, and Derek glares. “Just to talk.”
“Right,” Derek says flatly—the disbelief in his tone almost a palpable thing.
Stilinski rolls his eyes, sighs, and shrugs off his suit jacket. “Want to frisk me or something?” he asks, extending his arms dramatically. “Will that make you feel better? I just want to talk.”
Derek tells himself that he doesn’t want to frisk Stilinski. He decidedly does not want to do that. At all.
He doesn’t turn his back—turning your back on a suit is a quick way to find yourself out cold, in the back of a van, getting taken to a facility where you’re reduced to little more than a caged animal. Derek knows that. He was there the day they got Scott. So, instead, he simply steps out of the way, giving Stilinski an open path to the front door.
Whatever they taught Stilinski in their little academy, it wasn’t caution. He takes Derek’s silent invitation without so much as a batted eyelash, though a knowing little smirk pulls at his face.
“There we go,” he says appreciatively. “Let’s see what this horror mansion looks like from the inside, shall we?”
Derek gives one last look to the forest before him—the sports car so conspicuous out here in the middle of nowhere in Beacon Hills, California—before following the suit inside.
No sooner does he have Stiles inside and alone than Derek drops the act, forgets himself, and reaches for him. He finds Stiles’s shoulders, and Stiles looks up at him with a sympathetic little smile.
“It’s fun, sometimes,” he says quietly. “When I forget that people actually think this bullshit is okay.”
“Did you find them?” Derek asks, his voice just as low.
Stiles nods, once, but his expression is closed off. “Yeah. But I don’t have access—I’m not cleared yet. I can’t save them.”
“But you will,” Derek says, no question in his voice. “You’ll save them, and we’ll get out of this.”
Stiles laughs, but his voice shakes. “God, you’d better be right about that Derek. This can’t be for nothing.” He gestures at the suit, runs a hand through his styled hair like he’s still unused to it, like he’ll never get used to it even though it’s been six years.
“So… red?” Derek asks, one of his sliding up to cup Stiles’s neck, to be a distraction for them both. Stiles laughs dryly and rolls his eyes.
“Not a word,” he says. Derek snorts. Stiles shakes his head. “No, really. No more words. You never know who’s listening.”
Derek nods. Since the government found out about the existence of werewolves almost a decade ago, nothing’s been safe. The moments when he gets to see Stiles—to actually see and feel and touch and taste— have been few and far between. Derek sometimes forgets that he hasn’t simply dreamed Stiles up.
When his lips find Stiles’s now—when their teeth clash and their breaths mingle and Derek’s fingers start to make quick work of the red vest strapping Stiles in, making him someone he isn’t—it’s an affirmation that this is real. For months, Derek will remember this, until they meet again. Until it’s safe to take this risk once more. He ignores the voice in his head that says If it’s ever safe again.