PART ONE --//-- PART TWO --//-- A03

The problem was what to tell his dad. It was a lot easier sneaking off to do things best not fully disclosed to his father when he had Scott to back him up. Now he was on his own and struggling a little bit. Like now, when he had told his dad he was going out and been barred from exiting the house.

"Where are you going?"

"Oh you know, just going to drive over to LA, make my fortune as a male model. Live the dream you know," he babbled.

"Stiles," his dad reprimanded.

"Just to study dad, jeez," he exclaimed. Eugh now he was going to ask for specifics, damn.

"Study? It's the holidays, Stiles."

"I am aware of that, but you know me and how I love to learn so..."

"Right," his dad seemed unconvinced. Stiles was offended, really he was. "Who with?"

Crap, crap, crap. Wait a second, aha Stiles Stilinski you genius!

"I'm going to Allison's okay?" he sighed as if his dad had earned a secret out of him. "Don't mention it to Scott I don't know if he'd be okay with it. But yeah, I'm going to study. At Allison's."

His dad was still frowning at him. And there hadn't even been a single lie in that sentence. Stiles still felt vaguely guilty, but no blatant lies had been told.

"So, am I free to go?" he asked eventually.

"Yeah sure," his dad sighed. Stiles began to head towards the door. Hang on. Son, you an Allison aren't...?" he trailed off.

"Eeew no! Dad! Studying I am going to Allison's to study, with books and my laptop and books. No me-and-Allison anything okay?" That was disturbing on so many levels. And he was never ever repeating it to Chris ever. Bleach, he needed to bleach his brain. No.

"Okay, okay. Have fun studying," his dad relented. Although there was still an odd lilt to the word studying that Stiles absolutely did not hear at all.

----

Stiles didn't know where Allison went in the evenings when he went round to the Argent's house. Sometimes he wondered if Chris knew where she was and what she was doing. If maybe he should be keeping better tabs on her considering the whole taking after her grandfather psycho episode she had going on there for a while. But mostly that thought process ended with him being grateful that things were the way they were and that Stiles got to spend his evening with Chris and boxes full of books.

Sometimes thought he'd get distracted from the task. On a few very memorable occasions he stopped what he was doing to admire the coiled strength in Chris' arms as he carried boxes of books back and forth. Or sometimes he would spend minutes watching Chris concentrating on a book, trying to parse its old English into something comprehensible. He would trace the line of Chris' frown with his eyes until Chris noticed his gaze, would look up for a split second and then quickly looks away.

More and more though Chris smiled when he caught Stiles watching, and Stiles began to wonder how Chris couldn't hear the way Stiles' heart feels like it literally tries to beat its way out of his chest when that happens. Even if Chris only had human senses where Stiles' usually social circle had super-human werewolf hearing.

One day Chris met his gaze and asked, "Do you know how to shoot?"

"Uh, what?" Stiles asked intelligently, brain still stuck somewhere around the corner of Chris' mouth which was currently quirked at him in amusement.

"A gun, can you fire a gun?" he clarified.

"That's a weird question," Stiles brain finally managed to get his mouth to say. Chris just raised an eyebrow. "Yeah I had lessons when I was a bit younger. I was curious and I think my dad thought it was better someone taught me that stuff than me trying to learn on my own."

"But you haven't used one since?" Chris asked.

"No, I kind of lost interest. What's with the twenty questions?" he asked, curious now. He got up from the desk and went and dropped down next to Chris on the small sofa.

"I was thinking maybe you should brush up on your skills?" he suggested. "Just so if we're ever in a situation I know I could hand you a gun and you would know how to use it."

"Like a werewolf situation? I'm not shooting any of my friends, Chris. Or wolf-like-acquaintances," he amended.

"No, I wouldn't ask you to."

"So for like another kanima situation maybe?" Stiles asked.

"Yeah, or something like that," Chris agreed, snapping shut the book he had been reading, which Stiles could now see was a book on shape shifters. He made a mental note of the title. "I just want you to be able to protect yourself," he said earnestly, shifting slightly so he could look Stiles in the eye. And oh my god, that just wasn't fair at all.

"Okay fine," he capitulated. "But you're gonna' teach me right?" he asked.

"You don't need teaching," Chris prevaricated.

"Okay the refresher course or whatever," Stiles shrugged.

Chris took a deep breath, "Yeah, yeah I can do that."

"Cool," Stiles smiled. And just for a moment as they held each other’s gaze Stiles thought that Chris seemed to be leaning just a fraction of an inch closer and-

The front door opened and slammed shut downstairs. Chris blinked and turned to look at the door of the study.

"Is that Allison?" Stiles asked quietly.

"Yeah, yeah," he said, stood up and walked across to the door. Stiles quickly grabbed the book and his laptop and shoved them in his bag.

Chris turned back around as they heard Allison stomp up the stairs. "You should probably-"

"Go, yeah," Stiles agreed.

They walked quietly to the front door, pausing when they got there to communicate their goodbyes silently. But it felt like there was something hanging in the air. Stiles felt like he should- wanted to- screw it. He leant up and at the last second wussed out and pressed a chaste kiss to Chris' cheek before he darted out of the door and back to his jeep. Too much of a coward, he berated himself, to wait and see Chris' reaction.



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