They’re pretty far along when the report comes on.
Stiles’ breaths are coming out in needy pants, his hands fisted in Derek’s hair and snaking up beneath his shirt. Derek’s arms are caging his head, palms pressing into the mattress as his body rocks slowly against Stiles, the sweet friction of their jeans quickly becoming an inconvenience.
Derek supposes he should be grateful they aren’t naked yet, because the way Stiles twists out of the kiss, batting at his arms until he rolls away and then scrambling for the volume on the remote is humiliating enough when they’re still fully dressed.
For a second, as the news alert chimes, Derek dares to think it might be justified. Maybe Stiles had caught a glimpse of his father, the Sheriff, injured onscreen, or a meteor had been clocked heading toward earth, or a mad scientist had unleashed a deadly toxin on the city.
But no, as Derek rolls to face the screen he just catches sight of familiar, ridiculous bright costumes and rolls his eyes.
Stiles has twisted until he’s lying on his stomach staring at the screen, actually clutching his pillow to his chest like a thirteen year old girl and grinning at the bright red and the orange and green superheroes. They’re both beaming behind their masks, nodding along to some news story Derek can’t be bothered to tune in to.
He sits up and makes a halfhearted effort at recapturing Stiles’ attention, cupping his cheek and kissing at his temple.
“Seriously? This is what you’d rather be doing?”
Stiles doesn’t so much as glance from the TV, vaguely waving off Derek’s efforts as he gazes with open adoration at the ridiculous, neon-clad figures now feigning humility on screen. As if the attention isn’t exactly what the super”heroes” are after. Because really, why else would that one choose orange and neon green for his costume?
“Hey buddy, you start leaping tall buildings in a single bound and you can expect this kind of attention too.”
Stiles’ tone is teasing but Derek huffs, sinking back on the mattress and scowling at the ceiling.
“Do you have any idea how absurd that concept actually is? What’s the point of leaping over a building instead of going around it, besides showing off? What about the potential risk to pedestrians walking on the other side? Just going about their day, coming back from work or out shopping, and suddenly they have a superpowered idiot careening toward their head at 9.8 meters per second squared.”
This, finally, brings Stiles’ attention back to him. When Derek deigns to look back from the spiderweb spreading across the far corner of the ceiling, his boyfriend has twisted to stare, brows raised, over his shoulder. A quick glance at the screen shows a commercial though, so he’s probably only caught Stiles’ attention because the interview ended. At least it’s nice to know he rates above the newest artery clogging burger at the local food chain.
“Oh my god, Derek.” He stretches out every word, lips curling in an incredulous grin. “Do you have to work for that level of cynicism or does it just come naturally?”
In which Derek is Captain America
The first part of my (tentative) series for Superhero week!
Derek barely closes his door before someone pounds against the wood, demanding to be let in. Stiles scoffs in disgust when Derek opens the front door, looking exhausted and still in his dirt-crusted suit. His brown hair is falling over his forehead in pieces, probably from where he’d been pulling at it. He looks like he’d run to Derek’s apartment if Derek wasn’t already inviting him in, and when Derek steps back Stiles snorts again, but steps inside anyway.
“What?” Derek asks, scratching at his stubble guiltily. Derek has bags under his eyes but they’re already fading from a purple to blue as his body adjusts to his exhaustion and heals itself. The spandex of his bright blue suit is stained dark and muddy.
Stiles lets out another disappointed noise at the looks of him. “You know exactly what. You know.”
“I saved three hundred people from shrapnel damage?” Derek says blandly, and swears that Stiles’s eye twitches. “I’m fine.”
Stiles’s brown eyes flicker with anger. “I watched a bomb explode in your face, Derek.”
“You can’t rely on televisions anyhow. They lie all the time.”
“No,” Stiles says, crossing his arms and leaning forward, and Derek knows he’s really going to give it to him. “I can rely on the fact that you took a bomb straight on because I watched as you flew across Times Square.”
Derek doesn’t know what to say to that, because if he argues his point, he will only feed Stiles’s anger further. So he lets Stiles pace up and down the open floor of Derek’s apartment, long legs slowing as he comes to a stop. He follows the line of Derek’s ungracefully slumped body up and down and Derek can’t help himself from staring at his eyelashes.
“You know,” Stiles says, starts pacing again with a wave of a hand when he picks another wave of anger up. Derek stares at him patiently. “Just because it’s July Fourth, and you’re ‘Captain America,’” Stiles says with accompanying air-quotes, making Derek resist from rolling his eyes, “It doesn’t mean that you’re obligated to pull stunts like that one today.”
“I’m not letting innocent people get hurt anymore.”
“Tony’s suit would have been perfect for defending himself from that, not you.”
Derek can’t really defend himself from that. He sort of gives a shrug and braces for Stiles to smack him in the chest like he usually does, but he gets wrapped into a tight hug instead. Derek starts and his shoulders lock up before he tentatively wraps a single arm around Stiles’s waist in return. Derek breathes in Stiles’s scent subtly because he’d had a single moment where he’d thought he wouldn’t be able to do that anymore.
“I thought you might not be coming back this time.” Stiles says quietly. He lets go finally, and levels him with a glare. “Your stubborn ass has to prove me wrong every time.”
“You would think you’d have a more positive reaction to my being alive,” Derek says, letting his hand linger just a little too long against Stiles’s back. He tugs at Stiles’s shirt, lets go finally. With a small smile, Stiles tugs at his slightly torn suit and it snaps back against his chest. Derek huffs.
They eventually travel over to the couch and Derek slumps into the cushions with a tired groan. It’s almost like he can feel his muscles stitching themselves back together and the bruises fading away because he usually doesn’t get so hurt all at once, and he hasn’t even gotten the chance to wipe the fading streaks of blood from his cheeks, flaking away and fading to a soft pink rather than an angry red. Now that his ears have stopped ringing and are fully recovered from the accident a few hours ago, everything feels dulled, silent, a certain level of calm but too little stimulation at once.
Stiles’s face softens a little at the way Derek doesn’t seem to hold himself taut and he’s no longer feeling alert and strung up like he usually is for a few hours after a fight. He shifts uncomfortably because his belt is digging into the skin of his waist when he tries to stretch, tight blue spandex stretching over his muscles. Tiredly, he sighs, and they both attempt to reach and unbuckle it at the same time.
Stiles jerks away from Derek’s touch with a panicked look, but Derek, with tired eyes, keeps his touch gentle and insistent, brushing their hands together. After a few tense seconds, Stiles slumps his shoulders in a relaxed stance and keeps his hand there. Derek’s eyes are trying to convey something that Stiles can’t decipher easily, and he doesn’t want to chance trying. But Derek doesn’t know what he wants, either, and it’s been hard for him to ask ever since he’s been thrust into this new world.
Stiles looks Derek in the eyes, way too serious and his eyes are dark-brown orbs staring at him intently. His hand twitches against Derek’s and he squeezes. “Seriously, you and I both know you can heal, but you still can’t do that to me—”
Derek finds himself leaning forward as Stiles keeps talking and all at once their lips are touching. There’s a rush all the way to his toes, electrifying through his body and his hands shoot to steady Stiles’s biceps when they tremble and jerk in shock. He mouths at Stiles’s bottom lip, desperate for his touch, and his mind is buzzing with too many things at once that it all clears out and in one second all he knows is Stiles, Stiles is right, Stiles is what I want.
Stiles seems to be sharing the same wavelength because as soon as he gets over his obvious shock of Derek’s onslaught, his mouth vibrates against Derek with his low-set groan and his fingers dig into Derek’s hair, tugging.
“Wait,” Stiles tries to say, and their lips mash wetly between them and Derek’s stubble scratches at Stiles’s mouth when he turns his face to the side. This makes his breath come shakier against Derek’s face— Derek wants to hold onto him harder and bruise his skin, which is all at once unfamiliar but he wants it, so badly, and he knows he’ll never change his mind about this. “I don’t think this is a good idea,” Stiles says, like he means the exact opposite, and to accentuate this, he lets Derek lift him up with two hands on his waist. He falls with a huff and their crotches grind together harshly.
A wounded and primal sound forces its way out of Derek’s chest and he gives a tentative thrust up, keeping eye contact. He wants Stiles to know that this is important to Derek and not just something he is doing in the heat of the moment.
This seems to finally shake Stiles out of his stupor, though, and he shakes his head definitively, insistently grabbing at Derek’s shoulder and falling off of his lap into the arm of the couch.
Derek’s hands grapple in the air and he looks at Stiles, panting against the couch. His hair is in disarray and Derek’s hands must have been too rough with Stiles’s clothing because it’s ripped right where the buttons are supposed to be, and Derek wonders how he could have lost so much control.
“Is everything okay?” Stiles doesn’t answer, traces over his own slick and red lips slowly, staring Derek in the eyes. He looks troubled, which keeps Derek from kissing him again. He does scoot himself closer, though, close enough to touch but never closing the gap. “Stiles?”
“I’m okay,” Stiles says at his distressed tone. “I just— how are you okay, with doing that?”
“Kissing you?” Derek says. He knows he’s blushing stupidly at just the thought, because acting and thinking through what he is doing are two things that happened in the wrong order, but he clears his throat, determined. “I wanted to. You’re important to me.”
Stiles grimaces, and Derek knows he’s said something wrong. Stiles chews at his pink bottom lip in thought. “You know that you don’t just kiss people that are important to you, right?” he asks eventually.
“I’m not stupid,” Derek says, irritated, for no real reason at all, because he’s not mad at Stiles, not really. Maybe he’s mostly angry at being treated with kid-gloves. “Of course I know that.”
“I didn’t say you were stupid, Derek.” Stiles scowls. “We need to make sure we’re on the same page, though. Because I want to do this.”
“I do too.”
“I don’t want to…” Stiles looks like he’s struggling with the proper words to use.
Derek finally gets it. “You don’t want to take advantage of me?”
“I guess,” Stiles shrugs, a frustrated set to his mouth.
“I’m not completely innocent, Stiles, for Christ’s sake. I was in the army,” Derek says in exasperation, but there’s no heat in it because he mostly just wants Stiles to understand now. That he’s tired of over-thinking things all of the time. Stiles is easy to him, where everything else is still new and foreign. Stiles, he thinks, flexing his palms against the shirt bunched at his back, is familiar. Exhilarating and wonderful and a source of light in the engulfing darkness, and he doesn’t want to hear about how Stiles doesn’t want to do this because of him.
He’s tired of being wrong. “I’ve killed people, Stiles. I’ve seen war and sickness and destruction. I’m not ignorant of life. ”
Stiles’s eyebrows scrunch up, like that’s something completely new for him to worry over, and Derek meshes their mouths together desperately. Stiles squawks in surprise, but not quite in disagreement this time. His hands twitch where they’re still pressed against Derek’s collarbones. “If you want to stop for you,” Derek says, rough and quiet, just brushing his mouth over the skin of Stiles’s jaw, “then I will. But don’t stop for me. Because I don’t want you to.”
That seems to do it. Stiles’s breath hitches in the quiet of the apartment, and when Derek meets his gaze, he slips his eyes closed and arches his neck back.
“Full speed ahead, Captain.”
Derek can’t help it, and he snorts. Stiles’s face breaks out into a grin and even though his eyes are closed, Derek knows they would be sparkling if they were open. His head is still thrown back, an arch that Derek can’t stop touching with the pads of his fingers, gentle. “Are you kidding me.”
Stiles shifts, tosses one leg over Derek’s hips, and with a steady hand on Derek’s shoulder slowly lifts himself up onto Derek’s lap again. He sinks down slowly, settling into the crevice of Derek’s hips. The breaths in his chest seem to stop halfway out and Derek can’t keep his hips from inching up.
Stiles takes hold of Derek’s hands in a sure grip, leads them to his own hips. “Really though,” Stiles tilts his head to the side, brown eyes tracking the swell of Derek’s Adam’s apple. His gaze is hungry, in a way that Derek could have noticed before, if he had been looking hard enough.
He’s looking now.
Derek is hyper aware of Stiles’s fingers, hovering just over their stomachs like he’s itching to touch, has been wanting it like Derek has for so long. Derek’s are keeping the same distance, the both of them on the precipice of just taking, and the breath of space between them is holding them back.
“Come on then, you star-spangled bastard, touch me.” He seems to backtrack and he quickly amends that with “but take your time if you’re not sure or want to take it slow, I’m good for exploration, let’s go slow. Glacial.”
Derek’s mouth curves up against Stiles’s warm neck and he does touch him, finally running strong palms over Stiles’s abdomen and downward. He brushes against the length of heat straining against the fabric of Stiles’s jeans and sucks in the air he doesn’t have left.
“You’re pretty good at this.” Derek palms at the curve of Stiles’s ass and lifts him again to settle him tighter against his chest. “Like, unbelievably good. Did they teach you that in the army?”
Derek proudly says, “I’ve looked up how it works, with a man, on the internet,” while still managing to look coy about it, and Stiles is silent for too long.
“Are you, are you telling me you’ve looked up gay porn online? You don’t even know how to work a computer,” Stiles moans breathily into Derek’s hair, and they both know it’s a weak protest.
If Stiles were looking closely enough, he would be able to see Derek’s blush brushing across his nose. “I mostly wanted to know about what I was feeling for you. Some of the articles were very informative. JARVIS helped me with it.”
Stiles turns a furious shade of red. “You asked— You,” he’s shaking his head furiously, jostling in Derek’s lap. “Tony will never let this go.”
Hesitantly, Derek lets go and retracts his hands back. “Was I not supposed to use the internet for that?”
Stiles shakes his head again, scooting closer and bumping their foreheads together. “No, you idiot. That’s pretty great, actually. There wasn’t anything that you still didn’t understand, though, right?”
“No,” Derek answered. “It was pretty straightforward.”
Stiles smiles. “Well, great. Hit me with that super strength, then,” Stiles requests with a hint of a mischievous smile, barely hiding his now-darkened gaze piercing into Derek’s. “We need to eventually talk about your case of self-sacrificing hero syndrome, though.”
“After. I promise.” Derek mouths at Stiles’s neck lazily slow. “We have all the time in the world.”
Stiles smiles down at him. “I sure hope so.”
For the Sterek Writers Network’s Superhero Week!
“What the fuck, Stiles?” Derek cries, lifting his hands up like he wants to protest or push something. And the dark glint in his eyes suggests that he wants to push Stiles.
Not that Stiles doesn’t deserve it; he does. He is the one who got the last of Derek’s family killed. He’ll never forget Laura’s dying words.
“Leave him out of this, Stiles,” she had told him, gasping for air. “Don’t tell him. Don’t bring him into this; it’s too dangerous for him. Just. Don’t.”
So Stiles broke up with Derek because it was the best solution to not getting him involved in Stiles’ newly dangerous life. But he couldn’t just drop Derek. He just…isn’t strong enough for that.
Now here they are, standing in front of some building that Derek was about to walk into. Derek finding out that Stiles has been following him.
“No quip? No smartass response?” Derek demands, crossing his arms over his chest like he’s trying to restrain himself.
Stiles looks down at the floor with a shake of his head. “No,” he says softly.
“Can you at least tell me why?” Derek’s voice cracks, and he sounds broken, unhappy, and Stiles would do anything to fix it.
Stiles doesn’t look up because really the ground is much safer visual focus point than Derek is. Derek will break him, break his resolve. “I just wanted to make sure you were safe,” Stiles whispers, pulling the beanie down lower on his head. “I’ll go now. I’m sorry.” He quickly turns and starts walking away as fast as his feet will take him, thinking that it might be really weird if he literally ran away from Derek like he feels like he is.
“Stiles!” Derek calls, jogging up to him. “You can’t just follow me everywhere.”
“I know,” Stiles admits softly.
“It’s called stalking.”
Derek pauses, and Stiles dares to look up at him just as the man starts softening. “Can’t we at least try to be friends?”
Everything in Stiles clenches; that’s all he wants. All he wants is to be close to Derek again in anyway possible. Even if it is just as friends. Stiles thinks he could do that.
“Okay,” Stiles whispers softly with one nod, lips twitching into a smile as Derek’s shoulder relax. He doesn’t look as tense as he did when they started this conversation.
“Now, I have an interview,” Derek tells him.
“Good luck,” Stiles says immediately before asking, “Wait. What for?”
“A scientific research group in New York.”
Stiles’ first reaction should be pride. It really should. He should be proud of Derek because that’s an amazing opportunity, but he’s way too selfish for that. “New York?” he asks, voice cracking.
Derek nods once, and maybe Stiles is projecting, but he doesn’t look thrilled with the idea of New York either. Not that there’s anything keeping him in Beacon Hills. Not after Stiles got his sister killed.
“I gotta go, Stiles,” Derek says insistently, turning around to head inside.
“Knock their socks off, Der,” Stiles calls after him.
Derek throws him a smile over his shoulder and just maybe they can do this.
"You work to much on that wolf man thing, don’t you think? I think it’s better if you just leave this case."
"I know, Derek. I want to have more time with you too, but if I won’t bring something about this guy, I’ll probably lose my job. After this, I’ll have more time for you, I promise.”
Stiles works at the press of the Beacon City newspaper and is the best story writer there. But when suddenly a mysterious wolf guy appears in Beacon City, the whole public throws itself on this “amazing wolf man” and is crazy after him. Stiles finds himself frustrated about his job for the first time because this stupid wolf man will ruin his job when he doesn’t bring something incredible and unique to the readers. He will, Stiles thinks. He’ll get to publish a picture of his face which no one could take yet because every time a security camera tries to make a picture of him, it’s like a huge flash light would blind the camera. Stiles will make it somehow, he just knows. But ugh… He honestly just wants to have time with his boyfriend instead of this wolf man nonsense.
Part one of my series for Superhero Week
(At first, Stiles would claim, it’s just because he’s an enigma.)
An imposing cut of figure: all muscled and brooding with a mess of black hair, broken by a thin streak of white that looks way too punk for his personality. Impressive stubble that’s just this edge of making him look homeless. He dresses in long sleeves and a pair of leather gloves despite the Louisiana summer heat, and his expression might be set in a permanent fuck off scowl, but careful enough observation reveals his stance and movements to skew more toward the spectrum of please don’t touch me.
On first glance, he’s an obvious choice to be acting as a bouncer at the small, downtown bar that never seems to get enough customers to really warrant one. On second glance, he’s a terrible one.
He doesn’t seem to want to get into anyone’s personal space. He flinches back from physical contact, arms tightly crossed over his chest more often than not, like that would help him shrink those impressive shoulders and become less visible. …Those seriously impressive soldiers, by the way, just what the hell even? Those babies could be a mutation all on their own.
(And hell, maybe they are.)
But anyway, Brooding Bouncer Man is a completely craptastic excuse for security, which is exactly why this is the perfect place for Stiles to set up shop.
It’s just a bonus that Brooding Bouncer Man is also so damn attractive.
Welcome to the Sterek Writers’ Network’s Superhero Week!
Have you been itching to set Stiles and Derek into your favorite Marvel storyline, get them eradiated by meteor rocks, or just put them in a vigilante-style battle for justice?
Tag your superhero-themed Sterek stories, gifsets, and fan art #superherosterek over the next week, and we’ll reblog your posts and help promote your stories!
We look forward to seeing what you submit!!
Fantasy Drabble part IV
“So There is a world where whenever someone fantasizes about you, you can physically feel it, but you have no idea who is thinking it about you.”- sterekismydrugofchoice
He can’t begin to explain how this has happened. Five days since Stiles shuddered to completion alone in a bathroom stall during lunch, and his entire life seems to have spiraled into a Fantasy. Because this can’t be real. This can’t actually be real.
But whatever it is, he’s sure as hell not giving it up.
Phantom hands trail up his sides, teasing across his ribs. He bites down on a grin, lets his eyes flutter for the barest second, and then they’re gone.
But he’s in math class again, fuck. What is it about 10:30 in the morning that gets Derek all hot and bothered? Sighing, he slides his eyes closed and imagines his index finger tapping over Derek’s lips.
Five days earlier…
| Anonymous SAID:|
Sterek mafia au where alive hales are huge mafiosos and the sheriff has spent his entire life trying to take them down but after stiles starts dating derek, stiles moves in with them and the sheriff has to decide whether he wants to put the bad guys away or keep his son please??!!??????
This was way dramatic, and I do have a mafia au on my ao3, but I’m not gonna pimp it out because it’s a WIP and I’m sorryyyy. Anyway. Here’s this
Stiles knows how hard this is for his dad, but what he doesn’t understand is that the Hales aren’t bad people. They’re doing what they need to keep their family safe, and the sheriff should be able to understand that, considering he’s doing it right now.
"If you walk out the door, you can never come back!" Stiles’ dad shouts at him.
Stiles takes a deep breath and tightens his grip on his suitcase. This hurts. It really does. To go against his dad like this is taking all of his strength, but he needs to do something to show his dad that the Hales aren’t evil. “And until you stop going after them I’m not going to speak to you,” Stiles says softly, turning towards the door.
"I am your father, you can’t just walk out on me," Stiles’ dad says, and for a second, Stiles can hear the pleading in his voice and for just a second, his resolve weakens.
"I’m eighteen," Stiles tells him. "I can and I will." He opens the door and takes a step out, hating what he is doing to his father yet strong in his belief in the Hale’s innocence and that his dad is the only one who can prove it.
"Goodbye, Dad," he whispers, closing the door behind him.
The delightful and talented annabethlemorte of the Sterek Writers Network is to thank for this; she suggested a temporary magic vagina when I told her I didn’t think I could successfully write a femStiles fic. So here’s Stiles spelled by a witch with the aforementioned magic vagina.
Tile is from e.e. cumming’s “i like my body,” the full text of which you can find after the fic.
Thanks for reading, lovelies!
“Do you…do you still want me, like this?” Stiles pets nervously at Derek’s pecs, watching his unfamiliar hand tangle in his chest hair, resting his palm over his heart.
Derek’s looking at him in that way he has, the way that usually makes Stiles’ cock twitch and quiver, but now he just feels…a warmth, a tickling, a pooling between his legs, newly formed flesh starting to come alive in very interesting ways.
Eyes dark and wide, Derek still looks a little dazed; he nods, licking his lips. “Yeah,” he finally huffs, gaze trailing again down Stiles’ temporary new body. “How long did Deaton say this would last,” he asks, fingertips feather light down his curved side.
Stiles shivers at the touch, arching and bowing towards him, as usual. “About six hours,” he breathes, gasping softly at how the nipples of his sensitive breasts tighten and firm up under Derek’s exploring hand.
What they thought had been a brief, albeit tense, encounter with a witch in the Preserve turned out to be a delayed shapeshifting spell. After they chased her out of town, they had come back to the house and taken a shower together, during which Stiles had his second near-injury of the night, almost braining himself on the tile when Derek was on his knees behind him, tongue buried in his ass.
Then Stiles got Derek on all fours on their giant bed, fingered him until he was practically gaping, begging for his cock. Stiles fucked him sweet and slow, marveling at how Derek let himself be taken apart, falling over his beautiful broad back to lick and suck at his shoulders, Derek’s ass rising up to meet his rolling hips. They crashed to the bed in a heap afterwards, sticky bodies woven together, falling asleep quickly.
And then, a few hours later, just past midnight, Stiles awoke with a start from a heavy sleep to discover that he had breasts. And a vagina. His body has magically reshaped itself, transforming him temporarily into a woman from the neck down.
“How do you feel,” Derek whispers into his armpit, still furred with dark hair, but less of it, smoother and shinier too.
There are both too many and not enough words rushing through his brain to describe how he feels. “Tingly,” he decides, finally scooting closer to Derek, whose cock is starting to press against the gentle swell of his new hip, velvety and smooth. Stiles has never been with a woman, has barely even kissed a woman, having figured out pretty early on in life that he’s pretty exclusively into guys. He appreciates women’s bodies, finds them beautiful, but he’s never been up close and personal with a woman, really has no frame of reference for how he feels, other than good and hot and touch me Derek, which isn’t all that different from what he’s used to. It’s dizzying and disorientating, an uncanny blend of the familiar and not, but Derek is close, touching him, whispering that it’s going to be okay and that he’s still beautiful, and Stiles believes him, lets himself feel good.
His initial, brief freak out was followed by a lot of open-mouthed staring into the bathroom mirror. His tits were great, if he did say so himself (he did – multiple times. Derek agreed). They’re heavy and round, nipples bigger than his own, darker too. His new ass is almost as bubbly and cute as Derek’s, and he doesn’t have an hourglass figure or anything, but he definitely has decidedly feminine hips flaring out from his still-narrow waist. His slightly rounded, soft belly is hairless, falling prettily into the V of dark hair between his slender, shapely legs.
“Dude,” he had said, smirking and twisting his neck and still lightly stubbled face back to check out his ass out in the mirror again, hands – still long and narrow, but girlish now, with clipped, delicate nails – cupping his fantastic breasts. “I’m a total babe.”
Derek was still naked too, standing at the bathroom door, eyes wide as he watched him, confusion and worry and maybe even lust in his sleepy features. “You’ve always been a babe,” he had said very seriously, dialing Deaton’s number.