Title: Staring into the sun
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing(s), Character(s): Stiles Stilinski/Derek Hale, Allison Argent/Scott McCall, Vernon Boyd/Erica Reyes, Alan Deaton, Peter Hale, Bobby Finstock, Lydia Martin, Isaac Lahey, Jackson Whittemore, Danny Mahealani, Laura Hale, "Hit-Girl" Mindy Macready, Sergeant Greg Parker, mentions of others
Rating: Teen and Up?
Summary: X-Men like AU
Our protagonists are attending Beacon Hills Academy, an institution for 'specials'. They've been detected early on, and some of them are showing spectacular abilities already. The Hales are a genetic mystery all together. Stiles, however, despite having being singled out as a kid, is nothing special. And he knows it.
Circumstances and people – read Peter – conspire to put Stiles and Derek together. Changes ensue.
Then all hell breaks loose.
There are two characters guest staring from other fandoms. One from KickAss, one from Flashpoint. You do not need to have seen the movie or tv show to understand this fic, and it does not contain spoilers for either of them.
Spoilers for Teen Wolf are very few, since it's an AU. Mostly characters from S2 and relationships.
Spoilers/Warnings: There are two characters guest staring from other fandoms. One from KickAss, one from Flashpoint. You do not need to have seen the movie or tv show to understand this fic, and it does not contain spoilers for either of them.
Spoilers for Teen Wolf are very few, since it's an AU. Mostly characters from S2 and relationships.
Disclaimer: I don't own them. I'm just playing. I'll give them back. Maybe. If and when I'm done.
First part | Previous part
They get an A. Peter reads the grades off a paper as he walks through the desks, making comments and appreciations. He pauses next to Stiles' desk when he announces theirs and says quietly, so as to be heard only by the teenager “I'm a little disappointed in you, Stiles.”
Stiles swallows and looks down, chastised. He knows he didn't play his part. Reading their work, and knowing Stiles' secret you can clearly see the allusions made to it as well as Derek's mixed with the general, the examples and the theory. But Derek hasn't seen anything. Because Stiles was unable to keep his end of the deal.
When he looks up, Derek is twisted around, an arm wrapped around the back of his chair, and he catches his eyes, giving a genuine, celebratory small smile. It's full of relief and shared pride. It falters when Stiles looks away, even more ashamed and unhappy. It's written all over his face. He can tell by the way Derek becomes quizzical and – jesus – looks concerned.
Stiles can't stand the look in Derek's eyes. He shakes his head, dips it, combing his fingers through his hair and joining them at the back of his neck. He stares down at his desk and hides away from Scott's attempts at getting his attention, from Derek's confused face, from Peter's judging stare. He's cowarding away from his own cowardness. That's a new low.
He too, has a blockage. But he doesn't know what it is.
He makes a bee line out off the classroom as soon as the class lets out, almost crashing into Isaac. The blond doesn't miss the way Stiles looks like he ran away from Derek, who was coming to him. The dark haired guy stands irresolutely for a minute, then his expression sours and he stalks out the way he usually does.
“I am not giving you fashion advice.” There's a line, it has to be drawn somewhere. “I'm gay. I don't have ovaries.”
“But you have eyes. And you're like... an artist.” Lydia says. Damn, he shouldn't have told him about his Stan Lee covers copy folder. “And fuck you and your gender stereotypes. Most fashion designers are men.”
Lydia glares back.
Allison pulls out the trademarked McCall puppy eyes. Which he's known never having been able to resist.
“The blue one. It brings out your eyes- Fuck me!” he blurts out and then curses because, holy hell, he has fashion opinions. Guh.
Lydia claps excitedly and Allison dimples at him. “Thank you!”
“Now go away and let me die in peace now that I've turned into Queer Eye for the Straight Girl.” Stiles drops his head in his hands and rubs at his scalp, effectively ruffling his hair completely.
“You know bed head was last summer, right?”
“No, Lyds.” he looks up and glares. “Because I don't c-...” his words die on his tongue when he looks up to see Jackson reaching them.
“We should go.” The jock says to his girlfriend. “Hey, Allison.” He looks at him. “Stiles.”
Lydia perks up, leaning over to peck Jackson's cheek. She wriggles her fingers at her friends as a goodbye, hooks her arm around Jackson's elbow and they're gone.
Stiles meets Allison's stare. 'Stiles?' She mouths at him. So he didn't dream that, then.
Jackson has always called him 'Stilinski' at best. He's also been the one to come up with the 'Lose-inski' trend.
Stiles shrugs at Allison, at a loss. “Lydia is magic?”
She makes a noise that sounds like a close-mouthed 'huh!' and puts aside the top she'll use to for the class pictures.
“Stop fretting.” Stiles resists the urge to plant both hands on Lydia's shoulders and stop her from moving.
“My hair's wrong.” She runs her nails through it again, checking in the vanity mirror she pulled out of nowhere. Stiles meets Scott's eye in shared manly unbotheredness.
They're standing on small bleachers set up for the school pictures, and Lydia's just bellow Stiles, while Allison snuck her way in front of her boyfriend, so that they can secretly hold hands during the picture, because it's a thing. Stiles didn't get it.
“Your hair is perfect. As usual. Come on, stop it. Your elbow is getting pretty close to... parts I'd like to use someday.” Stiles says, swaying his hips away from Lydia's arm. Behind and above him, he can hear Jackson's short chuckle. He doesn't want to look over to check if it's about his current predicament.
“Just because you're alone doesn't mean it doesn't count.” Allison pipes up, giving him a cheeky smile.
Stiles gives her a scandalized face. He's about to find a smart come back – he's pretty sure – when someone – definitely not Isaac, who was there last time he checked – addresses him from his side. “Are you mad at me?”
Stiles startles and whips around, almost tripping off the small bench. Derek is staring into his face, serious as hell. A quick check tells Stiles that he's made at least five people move over so he could get to this spot. Jesus, couldn't this wait?
Oh. Unless... – Huh. Lydia could have come up with something like this. No wonder she approves of Derek. – Stiles is trapped. He can't leave, he can't get pissed or defensive because that would mean a scene. It's pretty smart.
Also, a lot more public than Stiles would have liked. Still, what Derek is asking doesn't make sense. “What?” he hisses back. “Why would I be?”
“I...” Derek frowns and blinks. He looks away, confusion twisting his features even more.
Stiles stares as he seems to try and start a sentence a couple of times but doesn't manage to find the right words. “Dude, what?!”
Scott yanks at his pinkie finger in warning. Hard.
This is how the class picture ends up looking like this: everybody looking and smiling at the camera. Scott looking constipated, Stiles' face a mixture of a wince of pain and offense, and Derek staring back at him.
Stiles is thankful when Isaac doesn't try to bring up Derek during their study session. It may be because Boyd and Erica are here, but Stiles will take what he can get.
He yawns, not so much tired as bored to hell with math. Thank fuck he's done. He closes his notebook with deep feeling of satisfaction of a chore well gotten rid of.
“So...” Erica says, setting her pen down as if he gave the cue to take a break. “Isaac tried to give Boyd the talk.” he tells him, smirking.
Isaac glares at her.
“It was cute.” Boyd qualifies.
“Shut up, I totally schooled you.”
Erica snorts. Boyd chuckles for a while, barely moving when Isaac punches him in the arm. They smile at each other, goofy and amused, like the close friends they are. Eventually, the dark skinned boy turns serious and grazes Erica's hand. “He said to treat his cousin right.” He says. “I intend to.”
She gives a good effort of trying not to beam at him. It's so sweet Stiles' teeth hurt. “Aw, you crazy kids give an old man like me a warm heart.”
“You're insane.” Isaac remarks, like it's news.
He shrugs. “Didn't you know? It's my super power.”
“Oh, no. Nu uh. No way.” Stiles shakes his head at Scott, holding up both hands as a shield for added effect.
“But-...” Scott lowers the two shirts he's holding. “You've always given me your opinion on shit.”
“Yeah, well, Stilinski Consulting is closed.”
“Why? Because Allison said you gave her great advice one time?” Damn him. “Are you having a sexual identity crisis?”
Scott laughs. “Guess not. Still want to do me.” It's a running joke between them. Scott isn't Stiles' type. Or maybe he could be, but they're so damn close, it would feel like incest.
“I just...” Stiles runs a hand through his hair, halts it and actually tugs. “This isn't me.” He flails at his best friend. “I don't want to be my friends' stylist.”
“You're not. Dude. I'm just... You know. The usual. You're my best friend. My mom says I dress like I'm color blink. I'm going to a fancy place, I thought-... Nevermind.” He shrugs, throwing both items on his bed. “You're going for a run?” He asks, gesturing at the sport getup Stiles is wearing.
“Yeah.” Stiles scratches at his chin. “Got some energy to burn.”
“Kay.” Scott flops on his bed, yelps when he lands on the shirt hangers, and pulls one out from under him. “Have a good run. Meet you down for dinner?”
“Yep.” Stiles shrugs on his jacket and heads out. He pauses at the door. “Wear the green one, it's much kinder to your skin tone. And tie and jacket are either/or, don't do both. You're having dinner with your girlfriend's parents, not a CEO.”
“I love you!” Scott calls as he's bouncing down the stairs. Stiles hates himself, but he beams anyway.
He trains alone.
He always trains alone. Hidden. Beyond the Lacrosse field and in a secluded part of school grounds. There's a field around the back, where the woods become a thin strip of trees that not many people known about. Because it's not interesting at all unless you want to have a clearing hidden from view that's got nothing exciting going on but grass and rocks.
He licks his lips, humming to himself as he mentally 'grasps' at his power. It's a phrase Deaton uses to describe the inward focus that allows you to awaken and feel out your ability. Everyone experiences it differently.
Scott says he can feel it in his whole body. Erica says it's mostly like a warm, comforting cloak over the back of her neck and her shoulders. Jackson feels it in his bones. Lydia around her head.
For Stiles, it's his extremities. If he closes his eyes and focuses enough so that it almost becomes tangible, he would describe the sensation as waddling his fingers, catching tendrils of power. Catching more and more and knowing they belong to him.
It's weird, because his hands have nothing to do with his power. Deaton says the way you grasp doesn't necessarily relate to the way you develop. Stiles guesses he's being his usual weirdo. Always has to be original.
His stomach rumbles and he estimates it probably is about time to head back if he doesn't want to stand Scott up and go to bed on an empty stomach.
He runs back, buzzing with power all the way back. It's a peaceful sensation, the afterglow of reaching for his ability and projecting it.
His high is interrupted when he almost crashes into someone as he rounds a corner without paying attention. “Sorry!” He backpedals, eyes growing wide. “Oh, Derek. Hey.”
He begins to move past, heading to the locker rooms for a well deserved shower, and intending to leave Derek to go on his broody way. His plan, however, is derailed when Derek's hand slams to the wall and his arm bars Stiles' way, an inch from his nose.
Stiles tries his best not to cower against the wall when Derek crowds him in, but it's not menacing, it's-... Is he smelling him?
“Dude!” Stiles hisses.
Derek meets his eyes with a hard stare. “You were training.” There's understanding in them. Stiles knows he knows. There's also confusion.
“You have-...” Derek squints at him, Stiles takes an instinctual step back but Derek follows. “You can-... you smell like power. Lots of it.”
Stiles' can't help the way his eyes flick over Derek, from his eyes, to his lips, to his chest. He's not used to having people invade his personal space. Scott, Erica and Lydia do but a hand or a shoulder bump isn't anything compared to someone completely stepping into your bubble. It's unsettling.
Derek's eyes track Stiles' and he seems to realize just how close they are now that he's backed Stiles against the wall. He sways back, but doesn't step away. He keeps staring into Stiles, demanding acknowledgment.
“Please don't tell anyone.” Stiles squeaks.
Stiles doesn't think he could take Derek, even if he were human. But Stiles can play dirty and he's a swift little fucker. He ducks away and hurries past Derek, almost running all the way to the locker rooms.
He can't let Derek ask him why. He doesn't know why.
Is it pride? Since he's the latest bloomer of them all, he doesn't wanna share. He's only told Deaton and from the look Peter's given him he's either told the Old Hale or he's figured him out. Through scent, possibly, like Derek just did?
Is it... he can't like being the social pariah. But maybe it'd be worse coming out with it so late.
Or maybe he wants this special thing being just his. For now.
Scott doesn't even know.
He's told him... he's told him he felt his ability develop. He's lied when he said he couldn't show Scott and didn't know what it was. What it did.
He stands under the hot spray of the shower, feeling like an asshole. Tonight, he tells his best friend.
Tonight, he gets the cold shoulder, the scoffing, whatever he has to. Tonight he shows someone.
Stiles is feeling broody walking to the dining hall. He's pondering ways to broach the subject of his lies by omission with Scott when he nears the threshold to the wide room. He never reaches it.
He's aware of a large hand wrapping around his arm and he's being yanked backwards. Derek appeared out of nowhere and he's pulling him back into the darkened hallway. Stiles yelps in surprise and hurries a few steps backwards so he doesn't land flat on his back. When they get to the wall opposite the entry to the dining hall, Derek lets him go and pins him with a look. His gaze is so hard he might as well be holding Stiles down.
Stiles wishes he would have pulled him further away. A few people noticed, some are staring.
-Are you and Derek into rough foreplay or should I be worried?- rings in his head. Of course, she saw.
Derek twitches in understanding when he sees Stiles recoil and wince in surprise at the voice in his head. He turns around and glares. -Lydia, butt out!-
Stiles' eyes go wider. He heard that. And by Lydia's face in a distance, so did she. Jackson is giving them strange looks. “Derek, can we-...?”
All thoughts of escape leave him as soon as Derek rounds back on him, looking conflicted and pissed. The older boy jams a finger at him. “You-...” He closes his mouth. Stiles is terribly afraid by the way his jaw works. And Christ, Derek must know it. Because he can hear it and smell it on him and oh god, he never thought he'd die like this. “The essay.” Derek accuses. “It was about you, too! Just as much!”
“I'm sorry!” Stiles yelps, lifting his hands in subconscious surrender. “I'm a coward. Ol-... Your uncle cornered me as much as he did you. I panicked. And when you took it for you only I saw an opening and I... I chickened out.” Stiles bites his lower lip and avoids Derek's gaze. “I suck. I'm sorry.”
“No, I...” The renewed softness in the voice makes Stiles look back up. Derek blinks rapidly, stepping back. “I just-... Why didn't you tell me?”
Stiles curls in on himself, head sinking into his shoulders.“Because I don't tell anyone?” Derek looks at him without understanding. “Scott doesn't even know. I was maybe going to tell him everything tonight. Because I feel so shitty about what I did with you. I just...”
Stiles' usually not one for self hatred. He thinks he's quirky and annoying but he knows he's a pretty stand up guy, a nice person and a loyal friend. He's also a pretty kick ass beach volley partner. The people that don't bother getting to know him are the losing ones. Not him. Usually, that's enough to get him through the day.
But then he goes and does something stupid like hide who he is and let people open up to him in the rawest, most intimate way and he betrays them. Today, he feels like he's an asshole.
“Why are you so afraid people will see you?” Stiles' looks up, startled by the question. Derek looks curious and attentive. “You work so hard for them to do so, it just... it doesn't make sense.”
“Great. I don't make sense.”
Derek sighs. “I guess that makes you human, then. Like the rest of us.”
Stiles snorts, unable to keep his lips from curling up a bit. “Yeah. That's us, here. Your typical, standard issue human beings.”
Derek shrugs a shoulder, a little air of smugness to him. “Meh. Pretty much. Just a little bit more complicated.”
Stiles grins a bit, then lets his eyes travel over to the room full of people feasting on – huh, tonight they have osso bucco. Derek moves out of his field of vision, and comes to lean his back against the wall beside him.
Stiles sighs. “The situation... my situation... it's not ideal.” There's a euphemism for you. He's being bullied for being normal. Which, by the way, wtf? Not that there is any good reason for bullying, but still... “I'm afraid of change. It's not ideal but, if it changes, it can always become worse.”
“You're a status quo kind of guy.”
Stiles shrugs. “I'd like to think I'm not, though. I guess I'm just a coward.”
There a silence, then Derek shifts to bump their shoulders together. “You know,” he says, as he pulls back. “Someone very smart told me about this thing called cognitive dissonance. And that I should start trusting myself to trust others.”
Stiles snorts. “Smart ass.” He can't hide his grin, so he turns it towards Derek. “But thanks for calling me very smart.”
Derek almost smiles back. His eyes definitely do.
“It's stupid,” he admits, throwing his hands up. He can give Derek that much, he owes him some soul baring. “I'm scared! I'm scared and I don't know why... and it scares me.”
“You're fucked.” Derek remarks, half joking, half serious.
“I know, right?” This too, is bittersweet.
They stay like this for a while, pondering about the weight of the world, until Derek reaches over and presses his fingers against Stiles' shoulder. He pushes, gentle and steady, until Stiles has to catch himself to avoid falling over. “Go.” Derek tells him. “Scott's food's getting cold.”
Stiles does, and he grins as he gives the brunette one last look over his shoulder.
He gets his food quickly and hurries to his best friend, who is the most awesome of them all because he's still here, waiting, browsing his Instagram feed instead of bitching about tardy people. He still gives Stiles a weird look when he sets his tray down. “What's with you and Derek?”
I wish I knew. “I need to tell you something.” Scott opens his mouth and starts grinning. “It's not about me and Derek.”
“Oh.” Scott deflates. “Okay.”
“Later. Just you. Not here.”
Scott seems to get that it's going to be important, and yet doesn't grill him to know right now. “Okay.” He says with a companionable smile. Stiles feels a surge of love for the guy. His simplicity and unbreakable acceptance – for the people he trusts and considers friends – is one of his best qualities.
Stiles watches him poke his fork into his congealed noodles. “You should microwave that.”
“I really should.”
-I can't believe you've made me wait all day for this and we're not even face to face.-
Stiles taps his pen on his desk and huffs. He looks over at Scott's empty side of the room and sighs. He wishes he had his best friend around so he'd have an excuse to block Lydia out, but he's on his big Argent family date. -I wasn't making you wait. I was trying to avoid this all together. Can't I have personal stuff?-
-Please, personal's the best.-
The thing is, Stiles is good at keeping people's secrets. Not his own. So when Lydia started asking about him and Derek and what the fuck had happened at dinner the day before, he knew he would spill his guts in a record time. -Look, there's nothing to tell!-
-Sure there is. What was last night about? And... What's up with you two?-
-I wish people would stop asking me that.-
-Why? Because it's steamy and controversial?-
-Because I don't know! Jesus, I'm the dork, the social reject. Why does everybody assume I'm getting laid as soon as someone says two words to me?-
-Because it's Derek. And you've been writing Mrs Derek Hale on the covers of your notebooks, for like, years?-
“Jesus Christ...” Stiles takes his head in his hands. He knows he's been pathetic. He is also fairly certain that he's gotten better at dealing with this crush over the past years. Hell, he's even had other people catch his eye for a while, while Derek became constant background noise.
He can be Derek's... He can hang around, talk and interact with Derek without making a fool of himself now. He's fairly sure of that. -Look, I don't know. I guess, we're... becoming something. Friends? Not there yet, but... yeah.- To be honest, Stiles expected Derek to go back to existing on a different plane once their assignment was over, and maybe he a little less hostile. Today told him different, however. Derek didn't seem to hold a grudge about Stiles' dissimulation. Old Hale gave him a bright smile, which Stiles took to mean that Derek had slipped him a word about partial returned confessions. Stiles managed to upturn his pencil case again, but this time Derek pulled moves out of his gene pool and caught everything before it hit the ground. Scott said something in reference to Peter Parker, and Stiles warned him if he ever, ever tried to call him MJ, he would end up with a broken nose.
-Okay.- Lydia says, uncharacteristically. -I'm happy for you.-
-H-... happy for me?-
-You've been mooning over the guy for years. Now it looks like you're talking. As long as it doesn't rub it in and make you miserable, I'm all in. I'm counting it as a plus.- Stiles tries to decide if Lydia watches too much Dr Phill or just the right amount. Although, he never mooned. -Besides, I'm pretty sure he could use a friend.-
“Hm.” Stiles never understood. He knows how it feels to be alone by default because you're an outcast, but he doesn't know how it feels to be alone because you pushed everyone away and keep them at arm's length. Why would you even do that? Does the loneliness feel different if you caused it yourself? Does it make the moments when you could use a shoulder even more bitter?
-Stiles? You okay?-
“Uh?” -Oh, yeah. Sorry. Just thinking.-
He expects the joke. Some teasing about how he's thinking about Derek and how few layers of clothing Derek is wearing. Maybe it's his tone that prevents her from saying it. -I can leave you alone, if you...- she trails off, sounding unsure.
-I told Scott yesterday. About my power.-
There's a beat. He wanted to say it, he's just hoping-... He's just scared of her reaction. Scared. Again. He's working on that. -How'd he take it?- The power. The hiding it from him.
-It went okay. I'm not sure either of us understand why I couldn't tell him before. But he's fine with it.- It was harder than what he'd had to do a few years prior. Coming out to his male best friend, with whom he did anything and everything and dreading the idea that Scott might turn his back to him forever. Once again, his fears had been unfounded and Scott had been as cool as a cucumber. He was the perfect friend.
Or he had been, until he started singing Some Nights and Stiles had to try and smother him with a pillow.
-Are you gonna tell me?- Lydia asks, tentative.
Stiles closes his eyes. He's been expecting this and he takes his time wording his answer. -Is it okay if I don't want to just yet?-
He doesn't know what to expect, and it's a relief when her answer comes. -Take your time.- She says, surprisingly. It goes to show he knows the difference between a big deal secret and a piece of gossip or news to know. -Hey, at least, no matter how cool what you can do is, you know I love you for you.-
He can't help the smile that spreads on his face. He says it back, all the while dizzy on the idea that, yes, those words are true, but they don't mean what he had spent years thinking they would, and yet, they feel greater.
“Dude, her dad is scary.” Stiles stares at Scott, who's shaking his head frantically.
“Oh no, believe me. He's a sunshine compared to her mom. She-...”
“She what?” Stiles prompts when it doesn't look like he's going to get more.
“She sort of... demonstrated... with a loaf of bread... um...” Scott unbuttons his shirt collar, tugs at it as if it's choking him.
“Use your words, buddy. And breathe, you're hyperventilating. Don't go and have an asthma attack on me now.”
“Haven't had those in years, Stiles.”
Stiles squints, then moves over to sit cross legged next to Scott. “And don't change the subject.”
“She pretty much implied-...”
Stiles holds up a hand. There are things he can't pass up. “Wait.... You got subtext.”
“I-... It was pretty loud. Like, almost kind of text. Flashing. Neon sign with a ticking clock.” Scott is so comically terrified that he misses the tease entirely.
Stiles twitches. “What'd she say?”
“That if I touched her daughter outside of the bonds of marriage, I would be...”
“Dead?” Stiles tries.
He hisses in sympathy. “Ouch.”
“Yeah, it's weird how that feels worse than just murdered.”
Stiles snorts. “So... Allison has probably not told her about all the sex you've been having like raving bunnies for the past year.”
“Yeah, no.” Scott sits down, and shudders. “I kinda want to take a chastity vow, now.”
Stiles ducks his eyebrow at him. He hasn't had sex, but he's pretty sure once teenagers starts having it they never want to stop.
“Yeah, okay no. Thank god they live halfway across the country.”
“At least there's that. Less chances of them dropping by unannounced.”
“Maybe I should propose.”
Stiles throws the stappler he was still holding at Scott's face.
“Ow!! What was that for?!”
“You're gonna propose just so you can keep fucking without looking over your shoulder?! Really? That doesn't sound a little wrong to you?” Scott opens his mouth. “You're going to propose to Allison, because of her mom?!”
Scott blinks and thinks for a moment. “Well, maybe I want to anyway.”
“That's a better reason, man. Like the only reason there should be.” Stiles says. “You're both young, buddy. I don't think it's a good idea.”
“But her mom-...”
“Is being over protective. How do you think my dad's gonna be if I ever bring a guy home? I mean, I'm pretty sure he would do a background check if I brought a girl. But a guy?! I'm sure he'd explain in detail how he owns guns, what forensic counter measures are and that would have no problems making a body disappear.”
“You and Allison have a good thing. Don't be an idiot and fuck it up because of perceived blackmail.”