“To protect me,” Derek says after a moment in silence, lifting his gaze.
Stiles expects there to be mockery in his tone, but there is none. It’s not even a question, but even if it was: Stiles wouldn’t know what to answer. He can’t protect anyone, doesn’t stand a chance against whatever assassin who might come after Derek. If someone was to burst through the doors right now with a gun or tomahawk or some other creepy weapon of choice, he wouldn’t stand a chance.
But at the same time he knows it wouldn’t stop him from taking a step in front of Derek, trying to shield him with his own body. It’s reckless and stupid, but that’s all he can do: sacrifice himself.
And when looking back at Derek, Stiles can tell that he understands. He looks down again, to where his hand hesitantly reaches out to brush across Stiles’ knuckles, the touch sending a shiver down Stiles’ spine. He doesn’t make it a question, because he knows Stiles’ answer would be neither yes or no.
It would be “I’d try.”