Crimson and Clover
When Stiles Stilinski had moved to New York he had the full intention of ratting out all the seeds of fear Beacon Hills had planted in him. His life there was over, his life in the Big Apple, however, was just beginning. Though the city was muggy and smog fueled during daylight hours when navy ink bled the sky the city lit up in diamond faceted buildings and the sounds and smells of such a fearless place. Stiles had graduated cosmetology school, and worked hard at his full time job at a seedy little salon in Harlem. It was called the ‘Beauty Factory’ but had the same allure as all the other sketchy shops around. Stiles took the subway to and from work, he barely managed to pay the bills, and was just scraping by, but he was happy. He missed his dad and his friends back home in Louisiana, but he belonged in the city, he could feel it in his bones. Stiles life shifted in a new direction one night.
He was finally given a night off - the Beauty Factory had strange hours of operation - and was getting a drink for once. He had stumbled upon a little bar. The bar was all kinds of fantastical, almost a different dimension entirely. It was dark and hazy. But the decor was crimson and smooth. The bartender raised an eyebrow at Stiles when he finally found his way through throngs of people. The bartender was a lean man, with tattooed arms and dirty blonde head of hair. He had tanned skin and a bored look in his eyes.
“You sure you’re old enough to be in a place like this, sweetheart?” His eyes swept over Stiles before settling back on his face, his Italian accent held a casual indifference.
Stiles flushed. “Yeah-yeah I am, let me get my ID out-I get that a lot, y’know-young face and all?”
The bartender inspected his ID and handed it back. “What can I do you for, tesoro?”
Stiles flushed again, trying to reign in his southern accent. “A cosmopolitan, please?”
He nodded and went about making the drink. Stiles let his eyes wander over the rest of the bar. His eyes caught on a man and women, clad in expensive clothing and all over each other sitting on a plush heart shaped sofa. The woman was pale and beautiful with long strawberry blonde hair and a velvet red dress. She was in the arms of gorgeous man with chestnut hair and green, mirth filled eyes. He wore a tailored velvet suit sans the jacket which was tossed across the sofa haphazardly. The woman smirked at the man and said something and he tilted his back, barking out a laugh. He moved to kissing the column of her throat. He quickly looked away from the intimate moment as his drink was set in front of him.
“Well, what’s a small town boy like you doing in a place like this?” He turned his head and caught sight of Officer Deaculion and Officer Ennis sidling up beside him on either side.
“Hello officers,” Stiles said coolly, noticing how the bartender had tensed. “What can I help you boys with?”
“I was hoping maybe you would take me up on that offer...You’re little Sheriff father is probably all worried about his sweet little thing of a son being all alone in such a big city...I could take care of you, you know? Make sure you live and eat nicely?” Deaculion spoke in a purring tone honeyed Georgia accent lilting, eyes trailing up and down Stiles form. Stiles suppressed a shiver, hands going into his purse, clasping the revolver he had there.
“I can take good care of myself, thank you. And I would take it very kindly if you would stop stalking me.” Stiles rose his eyebrows in a challenge.
“But I quite enjoy watching you, Stilinski, you are so delightful, I could just eat you all up, maybe give Ennis a little taste.” Ennis sneered from beside him, looking smug as ever.
Stiles took a deep breath through his nose. “Leave me alone, or I swear to God-”
Stiles pulled the revolver from his purse and aimed it at Deaculion’s knee.
Ennis paled and Deaculion grimaced. “Ungrateful bitch.” Ennis spat as they walked away. Stiles sagged in relief. He carefully put the revolver back in his purse. He sipped his drink and avoided eye contact with the bartender.
“Who are they?” Stiles flicked his eyes at the woman and man who had been on the couch, they were now swaying together dirtily, moving seductively together. The bartender glanced at them and shrugged.
“You don’t know, do you? Who owns this bar?” He looked amused while Stiles shook his head.
The Triskelion was just a club he stumbled upon. “I have no idea.”
Just then Stiles heard the most glorious sound he had ever heard. A voice that was like music to his ears. He turned eyes catching on the owner of that smooth and impatient voice. A tall, muscled man, with the same piercing emerald eyes as the man from the sofa, coal black hair, a dusting of stubble, tanned and toned skin. He wore a crimson silk button up with the top two buttons unbuttoned, and the sleeves pushed up to his elbows, with black dress pants. His shoes were shiny and black, hair perfect and slicked back. Stiles’ eyes threatened to bulge out of his head, but he saw the rings on the man's fingers, the darkness in his eyes and he knew instantly where he was.
Stiles had heard about the Hale mob for quite some time, ever since he moved into that neighborhood of New York. Biggest crime family. You never wanted to owe or offend them. Stiles realized he was right in the middle of the lion’s den, that’s why Deaculion and Ennis had been there, dirty cops and whatnot. Stiles wasn’t a saint or anything himself, he had left plenty of chaos back in Beacon, but this was different.
Stiles sighed, just his luck to wander into a beautiful bar and find himself amidst mafia members, corruption, and alcohol. Stiles continued to sip on his Cosmo, hoping to pay and leave as quickly as he had found his way into the bar.
“Why the rush?” The smooth voice was suddenly beside him and Stiles heart thumped, a roar in his ears as he turned to face the voice- Derek Hale.
Derek Hale was the heir to the Hale family throne. He was so utterly breathtaking that Stiles didn’t know what to do or say. “T-tired, long day…”
“What do you do for a living Mr.-?”
“Stilinski, Stiles Stilinski -and I work for a salon. Over in Harlem.” Stiles cursed his brain for having no filter for what came out of his mouth.
“Hmm, I should have guessed, a pretty little thing like you would work in a pretty little salon. I’m Derek, by the way.”
“I-I know, Derek Hale, right?”
“Mhm. Well aren’t you clever?” He smirked dangerously at Stiles.
“I guess I am.” Stiles couldn’t help but lean closer to Derek and was about to say something more when a lean, curly haired man sauntered to them.
“Boss-” Derek held up his hand, effectively silencing him, never taking his eyes off Stiles as the man leaned over and whispered something in his ear. Derek nodded, taking another sip of red wine or whatever it is he was drinking.
He spoke softly, but seriously. “Take care of it, Isaac, you have the knuckles for it.” The man nodded, slipping something out of his pocket, a set of brass knuckles and ducking away from the couple, Stiles’ eyes trailed him as he left the bar.
Stiles suppressed another shiver. He averted his gaze and sipped his Cosmo, he didn’t even notice that the bartender had given him a fresh one. He was starting to realize the place was emptying, only a few people left other than he and Derek. And by the looks of it, they all knew each other. Derek’s hand on his thigh startled him. He snapped his head back to Derek. “You should probably head home now, bell’angelo.” Stiles flushed and gathered his things, slipping on his coat and reaching into his purse to pay for his drinks. Hale’s hand gripped his wrist. “No need, I’ll just put them on my tab.”
Stiles blushed but nodded, not wanting to seem rude and reject the show of good faith. “Thank you.”
“Come again soon, Stiles.” He gave Stiles a wink, before his demeanor shifted and he strode away from the bar, face hardening and composing into a mask again. Stiles moved, shakily to the entrance, feeling muggy wind scratch at his face. He shivered and pressed closer in on himself. He walked past the alley beside the club, hearing movements, he only stood for a moment, listening to the grunts and harsh breathing. The sound of bones cracking, and the groans of pain. He knew it had to be the curly haired beating whoever into submission. He moved on quickly, feet clicking on the sidewalk.
It had been a month since Stiles had met Derek Hale at his infamous club, and since then, Stiles life had been just as it had been, except that now he would bump into Derek wherever he went. A bookstore, the grocery place by his apartment, the laundromat, his favorite coffee place. Stiles would have been scared if not for the unnerving safety he felt. At least he wouldn’t worry about muggers or rapists while Hale or one of his men was trailing him, keeping an eye on him. Derek was always kind to Stiles, offering food or drink, offering to pay for said meals. He made conversation, was vague, yes, but still made an effort to learn all he could about Stiles. His favorite food, colors, clothes, teams, books, movies, etc. etc. Stiles was actually flattered by the attention and compliments, it was nice to know he was attractive to someone of Derek’s caliber. Maybe Stiles would have been more anxious or judgemental of Derek’s extracurricular activities but it didn’t really concern him, even if it did, Derek was kind and generous to Stiles, and so far all of the ‘law abiding’ citizens and officers of New York couldn’t even do that much. So maybe Stiles agreed to a proper date because maybe he was attracted to Derek and his lifestyle, his generosity, his callous indifference for human life, his brooding demeanor, his intelligence and his unwavering loyalty and devotion to his family.
Derek was still vague and casual about his life, always steering away from the subject, never divulging anything. He only revealed personal things, his favorite books and movies and music- he had a love for the Italian opera. Occasionally Derek would have to solve a work crisis or whatnot. His and Stiles relationship stayed professional for the most part. Stiles hoped his attraction was overbearingly obvious, but Derek, though he complimented Stiles, had a casual indifference, as if he was stop himself purposely from getting overly involved.
All at once, though, it stopped, the pop up visits, the whisking Stiles off to dates, the casual acquaintanceship they had carried on for a few months then came to a screeching halt. Stiles had begun to fall for the man. After a week of radio silence, Stiles came to the conclusion that he just didn’t spark Derek’s fancy anymore, that stung, but Stiles knew little about the world of mafia, he probably had countless flings and many probably ended abruptly like this. Stiles was alone again, but it was fine, he still had his coworkers at the salon and he was still regularly talking to his father, who was bored with his own retirement.
As the weeks progressed, it was getting colder and colder. One night, several of his friends from the salon, Amelia, Candace, Maria, and Lacey, all invited him out on a dancing night. Stiles got all dolled up with them at the salon, closed up shop, and went out, catching a cab together. Selfishly, Stiles suggested the Triskelion, which delighted the girls. “We’ll have to be careful, lots of crime there.” Amy had reminded them. Stiles nodded.
“I’ve been there, and it’s very classy, cute, too.” The girls nodded and the cabbie pulled up to the curb outside the Triskelion. Stiles braced himself.
It was packed, as it was every Friday night. Filled with grinding bodies and heady music. Stiles split from the girls to the bar to order drinks. The bartender was the same from the first and only other time Stiles had been there. “Tesoro, I don’t know if it’s the best idea for you to be here tonight.”
Stiles ignored his statement, merley rattling off cocktails for he and his friends. The bartender, Parrish, sighed and went about making the cocktails. Stiles wondered what Parrish was talking about. But he would all too soon learn when a voice behind him hissed his name. “Stiles.”
Stiles tensed before relaxing and trying to school his facial expressions. “Derek, funny bumping into you here.”
“I own this place Stiles, and you know it. What in the hell are you doing here?”
“My friends wanted to go out tonight and we came here.”
“Stiles you have to leave. Now. Go.” He was angry, Stiles could tell, but Stiles wasn’t going to ordered around by a man who had ended things with him without a goodbye or reason.
“No. I came here to have fun Derek, and I fully intend to do that.”
Derek groaned, and slid his hand down his face in annoyance. “Stiles, get your friends and go, I won’t hesitate to get Isaac and Boyd to make you leave.”
Stiles flushed in anger. “Why?! Why do I have to leave? Is it because you have some new ‘pretty little thing’ or whatever, because I don’t care Derek. I want to have fun tonight and you have no right to ruin it.” Stiles was fuming but proud of himself.
Derek looked confused for a moment before remembering who he was and rearranging his expression. “Stiles this isn’t about that, this is about your safety and I don’t care whether or not you have fun, I care whether or not you’re safe.”
Stiles blinked for a second, but felt like a chastised toddler. He turned his head away, flushed beet read. His voice was small when he spoke. “Oh okay. I’ll go. I’ll say I feel sick or something.” Stiles moved to walk away when Derek grabbed his arm and pulled him back towards him.
“I am sorry Stiles. I hope you know under any other circumstances I would love to have you here. With me.” Derek was looking at him, eyes dark. Stiles nodded but pulled away. He just needed to fake an illness and get home, where he could cry peacefully.
His friends were understanding, and wanted to make sure he got home safe, but promptly went back out with his blessing and encouragement. Once he was safely in his apartment he crawled into bed and immediately wept.
Stiles had been sleeping peacefully until loud banging could be heard in his kitchen. He was alert, rolling off his bed, gripping his revolver and stalking quietly towards the kitchen, as he rounded the corner of his tiny apartment, he was met with the sight of Derek Hale slumped at his kitchen table. And he was bleeding. Profusely. From a wound on his shoulder. What looked like a gunshot.
“Derek! Oh my god! Oh my god ! Are you okay?! Are you okay?!”
“Stiles, tesoro, can you please get my phone out of my pocket so I can call my doctor. Sorry to spring this on you but you probably already assumed about my life of crime, or whatever you would call it.”
“Derek, I have to call your doctor so you don’t BLEED OUT IN MY KITCHEN! You got shot, oh my god, is this what I signed up for when I fell in love with you, oh my god!”
“Baby, you’re in love with me…? That’s the best news I’ve gotten all year. I’m in love with you, too, my Polish hairdresser.”
Stiles stopped fluttering around to look softly at Derek. “I can’t believe I fell in love with a mob boss.”
“You’re own fault Mieczysław.” But Derek was grinning.
The next morning Stiles and Derek kissed profusely to make up for the blood all over Stiles’ gross carpet.