Fandom/Pairing: Teen Wolf, Stiles'n'Derek with hints of Stiles/Derek
Summary: There is a three-foot-tall Jawa clinging to his leg asking for a bedtime story. Derek obliges.
Author's Note: Forhomebrewbingo. I'm not saying what space, because it's a spoiler.
“Tell me a story,” the kid asks, squirming against Derek’s leg. He hasn’t taken off the sweatshirt yet, despite the fact that it’s about twice his size and makes him look like a three-foot-high Jawa who fell in a vat of ketchup.
“I told you to go to bed,” Derek says, and keeps on thumbing through spellbooks.
“I’m not sleepy. Tell me a story.” Holy crap, but this one knows how to talk, and even though that shouldn’t be a surprise considering where he came from, it’s still surprisingly annoying.
Derek looks down at the sweatshirt full of kid. “Fine,” he says, slamming the book and making the little one jump. “If I tell you a story, will you go to bed right after?”
Bright beady eyes peer out from beneath the hood. “I promise.”
“Pinky swear.” The kid holds out his little finger as though expecting Derek to hook his own finger in. Which is physically impossible given the relative size of their hands.
“Fine.” Derek picks him up by his waist and hauls him into the next room, depositing him in bed and pulling the covers over him.
The kid squirms under the covers. “It’s hot.”
“You’re the one who wouldn’t change. Live with it. What kind of story do you want?”
“A scary one.” The kid’s eyes dart back and forth. “No, a funny one. No, a scary-funny fairy tale with a happy ending.”
“Great.” Derek rolls his eyes. “All right then, once upon a time…”
”That’s a stupid opening. When’s once-upon-a-time?”
“Three days ago,” Derek replies smartly. The kid quiets, and suddenly Derek knows exactly what story he’s going to tell.
“Once upon a time, there was a boy who liked to wear a red hooded sweatshirt. The people in town called him Little Red Riding Hood.”
“They did not, they called him Stiles.”
“Who’s telling this story?” Derek growled. The kid sank down into his covers and stayed quiet.
“Little Red Riding Hood was a good boy, but he was very, very curious, and he liked to go into the woods, no matter how many times his dad — who was a smart, smart man and the sheriff of the town — told Little Red to stay in town. ‘Stay out of the woods,’ he said, ‘a big, bad wolf lives there, and he’ll gobble you right up.’
“But Little Red Riding Hood didn’t listen, even though he knew that the big bad wolf didn’t like people poking around his property and if Little Red got too close, he might just get his lungs ripped out…”
“You’re a bad storyteller. I’m just a kid.”
“You wanted scary.”
The kid pauses and thinks about this. “Yeah, OK. Never mind. Keep going.”
Derek tries hard not to roll his eyes.
“Anyway, one day Little Red decided to go into the forest to try to visit the Big Bad Wolf.”
“That’s a stupid reason. You have to say Little Red had to go visit his sick grandmother or something.”
“Little Red,” Derek seethed, “does not have a grandmother, remember?”
“Then he went into the woods to visit his best friend, who was very sick because the Big Bad Wolf bit him.”
“I didn’t bite Scott. Peter bit Scott. You’re messing up the story.”
The kid rolls his eyes. “I’m trying to help.”
“You want the story or don’t you?”
Red-clad shoulders shrug. Derek wants to throw something out a window.
He settles back instead. “Fine. Fine. So Little Red went into the woods to visit his friend, because the Big Bad Wolf’s uncle, the even bigger and badder wolf, bit him. Happy?”
Another shrug. “Good enough.”
“Anyway, so he headed into the woods to visit his friend, and he wandered across the Big Bad Wolf’s house. And the Big Bad Wolf didn’t like that very much at all. So he tried to scare Little Red away.”
“But Little Red didn’t scare easy.”
Derek grins. “No. Little Red scared very easy.”
The kid pouts. “You’re mean.”
“I’m the Big Bad Wolf.” The kid has no response for that, so Derek goes on. “But even after Little Red ran away, he came back, because he really wanted to see his friend. So the next time the Big Bad Wolf tried to scare him, Little Red looked him right in the face and wouldn’t run away. No matter how much the wolf howled and threatened to hurt him, Little Red would never run away.”
Derek’s gaze lifts from the kid’s face, and he looks past him out the rickety, cracked window of the old house. “And that kind of scared the Big Bad Wolf,” he says.
The child is silent, and Derek can feel his gaze but doesn’t look down. He keeps going now on reflex. “So the Big Bad Wolf let Little Red go on and visit his friend, and every time Little Red went through the forest from then on, the Big Bad Wolf would try to scare him again. But every time, he’d be the one who ended up scared, because he’d never seen anyone besides a wolf who never, ever ran away.
“And then, three days ago, the Big Bad Wolf needed help, and none of the other wolves could help him. And even though he was scared, and he knew the other wolves would laugh at him and the people would be scared, he went to Little Red Riding Hood’s house and knocked on his door.
“And when Little Red Riding Hood invited him in, the Big Bad Wolf could tell there was something wrong.”
Derek doesn’t like to think about that moment. He has to gather his thoughts. His head drops, and his eyes close, as he tries to find a way to turn it into a tale worth telling a child.
Pressure against his side. The kid has leaned against him, head pressing into his waist. “It’s OK,” he says. “It’s a good story. Keep going.”
“And, um…” Derek reaches back into a childhood he barely remembers, tries to recall how the story goes. “The Big Bad Wolf says to Little Red, what big eyes you have.”
“The better to see you with,” the kid chimes in. “I know.”
“And Little Red, what big ears you have.” It’s almost chanting now, a singsong tale that makes it that much easier to forget the real emotions and real events that have led them to this place.
“And Little Red said, ‘Shut up about my big ears.’”
Derek breaks from his reverie enough to very nearly laugh. “Now you’re the one messing up the story.”
The kid ignores him. “And then you say, what big hands you have.”
“And Little Red says, the better to hunt you with,” Derek says, and his arms reach around the kid to hold him tight. This part of the story scares him the most. “And all of a sudden there’s an arrow heading for the Big Bad Wolf’s throat, and that’s when Little Red breaks away from the hunters who were holding him hostage and throws himself in front of the arrow.”
He’ll never forget it. The moment of shock, the fear, the way Stiles looked back at him with terrified eyes as the poison raced through his system… and the realization that Stiles had been more to him this whole time than just an annoyance tramping across his property and scaring him half to death with the things he’d made Derek feel.
“So instead of the arrow poisoning the wolf, turning him back into a human,” the child says softly, “the poison turned Little Red back instead… back in time.”
“And now Little Red’s pretty damn little,” Derek says, “and the Big Bad Wolf doesn’t know what to do.”
Stiles looks up at him, taking the hood off his head so their eyes can connect. “But it’s OK,” he says. “Because Little Red knows that even though the wolf is scared, he’s not going to run away. Because wolves don’t run away.”
“Yeah.” Derek nods. “And because how can he run away now, when Little Red never did?”
Stiles is silent for a minute. Derek squeezes him a little tighter.
“…OK,” Stiles says, “I was trying to give you an out, but if you’ve got to go the cheesy route, feel free.”
Derek sputters. “I was looking for the happy ending.”
“There isn’t one, yet,” Stiles says soberly. “But maybe we’ll find one tomorrow.”
He leans back against the pillow and closes his eyes. “G’night, Derek.”
Derek watches his breathing even out. When he’s sure Stiles is asleep, he leans forward and brushes his lips against the tiny forehead. “Yeah,” he murmurs, “we’ll find it tomorrow. Good night.” Silently, he gets up and backs out of the room, closing the door after one last peek at the slumbering, tiny kid in the red sweatshirt.
And after the door closes, Stiles dares to smile.