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right into the danger zone

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Derek strides between the rows of pilots as he’s introduced. He looks out over the group, heart skipping when he sees a familiar face in the front row. Shit. Going to that bar last night was a terrible idea.

Sure enough, Stiles is slumped down in his chair and wearing aviators. What a cliché. Derek tears his gaze away from the pilot and starts his presentation. He only gets a few points in before obnoxious whispering threatens to drown him out.

Stiles and his wingman have their heads together, clearly conspiring about something. Derek tilts his head. “Excuse me, Lieutenant. Is there something wrong?”

Straightening up, Stiles peers over the top of his aviators. “Yes sir. The data on the MiG is inaccurate.”

The other pilots dart sideways glances at him. Clearly Stiles hasn’t been making friendly with his peers.

Derek tries not to scoff at the absurdity of the statement. His contacts make sure he has the latest data on all of the planes he is contracted to study. “How’s that, Lieutenant?”

Stiles sits up slowly, sliding his sunglasses off of his face. “Well, I just happened to see a MiG 28 do a--”

“We!” his wingman cuts in and Stiles nods.

“Sorry, Scotty. We happened to see a MiG 28 do a 4-g negative dive.”

Derek really does scoff this time. “Where did you see this?” Because a dive like that should be impossible.

“Uh, that’s classified.” Stiles and Scotty exchange a look

“It’s what?” Derek can feel his eyes widening in disbelief, eyebrows climbing higher on his forehead.

“It’s classified.” Stiles repeats, meeting Derek’s gaze for the first time this morning. “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”

The other pilots stifle snorts and Derek has just about had it with this guy. He glares at the group. “I have top secret clearance. The Pentagon sees to it that I know more than you.”

Stiles smirks. “Well sir, that doesn’t seem to be so in this case, now does it?”

“So, Lieutenant,” Derek continues to stare him down. “Where exactly were you?

“Well, we--” Stiles jerks his head toward his wingman.

Scotty smiles. “Thank you.”

Stiles continues, like the two of them are one unit. Which given the display at the bar last night, Derek would say is their norm. “--started up on a 6, when he pulled from the clouds, and then I moved in above him.” Stiles is trying to map out the maneuver with his hands, but Derek isn’t getting it.

“Well, if you were directly above him, how could you see him?”

“Because I was inverted.” And there he goes with his distracting hands again. Derek is so screwed.

One of the other pilots, Whittemore, Derek thinks, coughs out a distinctive “bullshit.”

“No, he was man.” Scotty insists. “It was a really great move. He was inverted.”

Stiles just sits there, smirking, while the group whispers around him.

Derek shakes his head. “You were in a 4g inverted dive with a MiG28?” It’s just not possible.

But Stiles’ grin stays fixed on his face. “Yes, sir.”

“At what range?” Derek is trying to think of the math. Because there is no way…

“Um,” Stiles looks to Scotty for confirmation. “About two meters.”

Scotty nods, rambling. “It was actually about one and a half I think. It was one and a half. I’ve got a great Polaroid of it, and he’s right there, must be one and a half.”

Stiles just nods along with his wingman. “…was a nice picture.”

“Excuse me, lieutenant,” Derek interrupts. “What were you doing there?”

The pilot looks away from Scotty, smile wider than Derek has seen yet. He doesn’t know what he did in his past lives to deserve this.

“Communicating,” Scotty answers immediately.

“Communicating. Keeping up foreign relations.” Stiles agrees. “You know, giving him the bird?”

Derek stares blankly. Scotty must take his disbelief at their antics as misunderstanding because he clarifies, “You know. The finger.” He flips him off.

“Yes.” Derek sighs. “I know the finger, Scotty.”

Scotty pulls his finger back. “Oh. I’m sorry. I hate it when it does that. I’m sorry. Excuse me.”

Derek barely refrains from rolling his eyes, instead fixing them back on Stiles. “So, you’re the one.”

“Yes sir.” Stiles grins like an idiot until his commanding officer has to drag him away.