Outside the Wolf enclosure there was a small courtyard which branched off into other exhibits of the Zoo. It was usually filled with tourists flitting between the Reptile house and Ice cream stand, headed for the Penguin Pen or the Wolves Den and the occasional staff member could be seen dodging into a narrow alleyway which lead off into a Staff Room.
The main attraction in the courtyard today seemed to be a woman in a green shirt with 'Reptile Exhibit' stamped on. She was almost entirely covered by an enormous snake carefully draped over her shoulders. A few onlookers began to take pictures, edging away nervously as the snake flicked out it's forked tongue. Lydia hefted the Boa Constrictor with an elegant grunt, turning to Derek and Stiles as they made their way to the staff room.
"Boyd just radioed saying he had a group of people who wanted a picture with Tina, have you seen him anywhere?"
"Any clue as to where he is?"
Stiles lazily tickled Tina's head. "Your way with words is legendary, Derek. Have you considered writing poetry?"
"Monosyllibic Grunts - The Derek Hale Collection. Featuring favourites such as 'Brooding in my Leather Jacket' and 'Shut the hell up Stiles'," he registered Derek's scowl with a bright grin. "Are we about to get a reprise of the the latter?"
Still preening for the cameras, Lydia hissed out of the corner of her mouth. "Kindly take your bitching match elsewhere," she craned her neck, still searching for Boyd amongst the buzzing crowds, "and did I seriously haul a 60 pound snake around the zoo for no reason? I will feed him to her."
Looking suitably chastised, Stiles strode off, tugging Derek along with him.
"That fact your dad has a gun is literally the only reason you're not Wolf food right now," Derek said, shrugging off the grip. Stiles clutched his chest in mock hurt.
"But, we've only just met! Believe me, I only get better the more you get to know me."
"Does that mean noisier?"
"It means conversation sparkles and my company becomes addictive." Stiles said loftily. Derek groaned and shoved the Staff Room door open.
"It means noisier, doesn't it?"
That was the thing about Stiles. Whereas Derek was happy to stay in his own mind and space, Stiles seemed to leap into everyone elses in a flash of chatter and rambling. Derek prefered to watch and observe, Stiles prefered to ... everything. Even then, as Derek leant against the kitchenette counter alongside Danny, Stiles was yammering at high speed to another trainee Derek vaguely recognised as being Jackson. Though it was eventually clear Jackson had far less patience than even Derek, as he slammed a hand on the table and bit out a rough -
"Shut up, Stilinski."
Stiles didn't even pretend look fazed or offended, "fine then. Get back to your scaly pals, Lizard King."
"Bite me, wolf boy."
Watching the two having what could only be described as a verbal pissing contest, Danny rolled his eyes, "we should keep them in a ten foot radius of each other at all times."
"Stiles can still annoy people from ten feet away, trust me."
Danny smirked into his coffee cup. "Don't be like that, he's a good guy under that layer of pure hyperactive ... thingy."
"One word. Bootylicious."
Danny's eyebrow tweaked in amusement. "That too, I suppose."
"I meant that stupid email prank. I meant 'Good guy' isn't the word."
Stiles chose that moment to demonstrate his uncanny knack of knowing when being mentioned, waving to Derek with a sheepish grin.
"You still pissed at me about that then?"
"When am I not pissed at you?"
" ... When I'm being quiet?"
"And are you ever quiet?"
Danny muttered something that sounded suspiciously like 'me-ow'. Derek glared. Danny shrugged.
"You two are turning into a ... sitcom double act or something. He's the happy go lucky comedy relief, and you are the terrifying eye candy with anger management issues and who may or may not have a criminal record. I'm just waiting for Fox to come sign you up for a series."
"How much of your day do you spend thinking about this sort of thing?"
"A lot. I have a tonne of time to kill ... My job extends to fielding calls, recording absences and generally wishing I had a better job," he pursed his lips thoughtfully, "you don't need another trainee, do you?"
Derek watched Stiles practice his howling - loudly - and seemingly oblivious to the furtive looks being cast in his direction.
"Really, really not."
Subject: POETRY, BABY
I made a start on the poetry. don't worry, I won't call it plagiarizing, since this is the honest to god crap you have said to me
Shut the hell up, Stiles
Stiles. I mean it.
I can hurt you, Stiles.
Stiles, stop it
No. Put that down.
I said, be quiet.
STILES, SHUT THE HELL UP.
So deep and profound. There are tears in my eyes.
Menial trainee and Poop Scooper, Wolf Enclosure
Laura registered the lump of meat with a feeble whine and a small lick to Derek's cheek. The first few grey droplets of Novemeber rain began to fall on them both, bringing an earthy smell to the rocks and grass of the Wolves' enclosure. Far off, a pigeon foolishly landed within the compound and met a swift demise at the paws of the Alpha, Fenton.
No sign of acknowledgement.
"Come on. Today's not a good day to try my patience."
This time, Laura growled sympathetically.
"One bite and I'll scratch your belly?"
Laura expectantly flopped onto her back, but made no attempt to devour the food. Derek sighed, lobbed a hunk over to the wolves drawn by the tempting waft of raw flesh, and made busy with the aforementioned scratching.
Stiles came strolling through the enclosure, stumbling slightly over a few rocks. When he saw Derek, he offered a jerky wave, grinning in a strangely false manner.
It wasn't until Derek noticed the tranq gun slung over Stiles' shoulder did he realise the reason for the stilted stiffness of someone who usually seemed so free in his actions. He fixed his gaze on Laura as Stiles finally clambered over the last rock, face finally stripping itself of all pretence.