e(hk)

The Wake of War

[AO3]

So.” Stiles drops back against the side of the Jeep, elbows braced and spine sinking slow against the dusty blue metal. Derek’s hovering a few feet away, at the edge of the lot, not quite ready to vanish into the night but not prepared to join with the rest of the group, either.

He needs their voices, maybe, to block out the ones in his head.

“Looks like I saved your ass again,” Stiles is saying, flashing him a crooked grin. He looks warm and bright like the rest of them, a glow of victory dancing around him that can’t quite seep into Derek’s bones. “What’s the count, now? ‘Cause I think I’m getting pretty close to earning a victory ride in that sweet new Camaro.”

Derek’s lips twitch, a snort slipping out.

“I seem to recall saving you last time.”

“Hey, we’ve been through this. At best, that was a tie.” Stiles looks so smug Derek can’t bring himself to argue, and maybe that’s the reason Stiles’ grin falls. His eyes go soft, flitting over Derek’s frame.

“I’m glad you’re ok, man. …I mean, as nice as it would have been to have my very own, hot guy lawn ornament––”

“Why did I look at her?”

He doesn’t mean to say it; flinches at his own words. His hands are too-tight fists he stretches straight with an effort, and when he looks at Stiles again the bright expression’s gone, replaced by tension and an edge of a grimace he’s trying to fight down.

Keep reading