"No, no, no, no, no."
"Um, I'm pretty sure I know my own name," Kevin says, looking at his new roommate with a confused expression. Kevin knows what he looks like on the surface; small blond guy in skinny jeans and hipster glasses with an already neatly sorted side of the room, but he doesn't think the way he looks warrants this kind of denial.
He'd been a little dubious about his potential roommate's presence since he was rocking some jock asshole chic with backwards baseball cap and baggy jeans, but Kevin had been hopeful that it was just a moving-day ensemble. The guy, who'd claimed his name was Stiles, had started to say that he wasn't as Jackson as he looked, whatever that meant, when Kevin had gamely held out a hand in wary greeting and everything had come to a grinding halt.
"It's not that," Stiles huffs, dropping the last of his bags off his shoulder in a dejected way. "You were just supposed to be... normal."
Kevin feels everything inside him freeze at that. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Well, you're a werewolf," Stiles says.
Kevin has always had a pretty good poker face, but Stiles takes him completely by surprise, enough that there's a tell-tale pause that lasts a beat too long for the, "No I'm not," to be believed.
"It's fine, really," Stiles rallies. "I mean, I'm werewolf-friendly so you're in luck." He's grinning in what he probably thinks is a reassuring way, but he's also wringing his hands and Kevin knows that his initial, knee-jerk disappointment is probably closer to the truth than Stiles' now apparent false bravado.
"You're crazy is what you are," Kevin tries in a last ditch effort to sway Stiles from his thinking. Kevin's glad about one thing, Stiles definitely isn't a werewolf so he's not hearing the rabbit-quick thump of Kevin's heart.
"Seriously. Take a whiff," Stiles invites, waving a hand at himself.
Kevin immediately leans forward, nostrils flaring and Stiles smirks, overly smug, like Kevin just proved him right by the quickly entitled way Kevin had taken up his offer. Kevin, resigned, takes a deep lungful and then leans back with his nose delicately wrinkled.
"Oh my god, what were you doing before you got here?"
"There was a lot of hugging," Stiles sighs. "So much hugging. I'm a pretty affectionate guy, but even I have a point where my hug meter is well and truly full."
"You have a pack?" Kevin asks, starting to relax just the tiniest bit. Denying it is obviously now off the table.
"I'm kind of... pack adjacent, I guess?" Stiles says. He obviously isn't sure how much information he should be volunteering considering he doesn't know Kevin at all, other than the fact that he is, indeed, a werewolf. The way he smells is definitely not adjacent to anything, though. Stiles is saturated with wolf. Kevin is only used to that kind of layering of scent with family packs. It leaves Kevin wondering if maybe Stiles was born human into a pack, which can happen.
"Oh man, this is the worst," Kevin sighs, slumping down onto his bed. He's picked the one closest to the window and door with two ready exits. The other bed is tucked behind a half-section of wall and has a closet in the way of the window so if you were to lay down, you wouldn't be able to see either. It made Kevin's skin itch just to even contemplate taking that one.
"I'm sure it's not that bad," Stiles offers. His own initial reaction seems to have been pushed aside in the face of Kevin's obvious deflation.
"My brother is never going to let me live this down. I get made by a civilian in my first five minutes? That's terrible!"
"I'm not exactly a civilian," Stiles says.
"According to my brother if you're not a hunter or a werewolf then you're a civvie," Kevin says, kicking his feet. His brother makes a lot of pronouncements people are expected to live by, being their future Alpha. Kevin was getting suffocated and relished the opportunity to move halfway across the country for college just to get out from underneath him.
"Tell me you're at least an emissary. They're pretty badass. I could justify getting recognized by an emissary."
"Nope, just garden variety observant," Stiles says and Kevin slumps backwards, dropping a hand over his face.
"Why am I bad for you?" Kevin asks as Stiles upends his duffel on his own bed and starts sorting through it. There's a stack of boxes next to the wardrobe on his side of the room with Stilinski scrawled across them in glitter pen. Kevin figures with a name like that, Stiles can't be blamed for going by a nickname.
"Oh, well, the Alpha of the pack I'm adjacent to is kind of... a control freak? If he finds out about you he's probably going to be here packing my stuff and giving me angry eyebrows in no time."
"Yeah?" Kevin says, coming back up onto his elbows so he can watch Stiles poke warily at his boxes. "What are you doing?"
"A couple of my friends brought these up for me. They're going through a pranking phase and I'm their favorite target at the moment. I'm not opening these until I can get my hands on some gloves and safety goggles."
Kevin snorts and sits all the way back up. His earlier panic has well and truly receded. He can relate to Stiles' worry. If his brother found out he'd been discovered on his first day he'd probably be getting dragged back home by his ear as well. Callum doesn't know that Kevin's aim was to find other wolves, see if he could strike out on his own and away from Callum's oppressive presence. It's a little sooner than expected, but Stiles seems to be a link that he can't pass up, a gift horse and all that.
"These friends from your pack?"
"Yeah," Stiles answers absently. He's now opening drawers on the cheap, supplied bedroom set with a pile of bright t-shirts clutched against his chest.
"They going here too?"
Stiles glances over his shoulder at Kevin and his expression goes careful. Kevin tries to look as harmless as possible, which is pretty easy considering he mostly is. Callum is a walking meat locker, thick and brawny. Kevin definitely isn't. Callum has time and again accused Kevin of being a rogue Omega's baby since he doesn't exactly fit the same mold his brothers and sisters sprang from.
Something clears in Stiles' face and he shrugs. "Nah, just us human members. The others will probably visit alot since they tend to be helicopter werewolves. It's like they can't believe that we can go five minutes without getting into trouble. If Derek had his way, Lydia, Danny, Allison and I would all be hooked to one of those cutsie animal harnesses, forever tethered to him."
It's quite an image and Kevin finds himself laughing helplessly as Stiles watches him with an amused expression.
"Lydia and Danny, Kevin," Stiles sort-of introduces through a full mouth.
"Charmed," Lydia says to Kevin before she turns a narrowed gaze on Stiles. "Really Stilinski? You couldn't go one day without a werewolf by your side."
"The rooming assignments are random!" Stiles splutters as Kevin exclaims, "You have got to be kidding me."
"I'm sorry sweetie, was that supposed to be a secret?" Lydia asks him, a patient smile on her face that communicates her grave concerns for his intellect.
"Yes!" Kevin huffs, slumping further down in his chair and crossing his arms defensively.
Lydia seems to have dismissed him as a non-issue, her focus back on Stiles. "Is this transference? Are you seriously that co-dependent on Scott?"
"I didn't pick up a werewolf on purpose," Stiles says, then backpedals fast when Kevin raises his eyebrows at him. "I don't mean picked up in a bow-chica-bow-wow way, I meant-"
"Stiles, learn to stop with the foot-in-mouth when you hit ankle," a second girl says, sitting down. "I'm Allison," she adds, holding out her hand.
"I'm a werewolf," Kevin grumbles, exasperated.
"Yeah, I know," Allison says with a shrug and Kevin throws his hands up, defeated.
Danny doesn't say a word and Kevin's just about to decide he's his favorite when he comes out with, "If you're a werewolf, why are you wearing glasses?"
Three pairs of eyes swing his way, curious and Kevin just wants the floor to swallow him up. "They help with the eye flare since there's cameras all over campus. And... I just like them. Makes me feel normal." Kevin touches a self-conscious hand to his face.
"They suit you," Lydia proclaims and that seems to be the end of that topic because she turns back to her friends and adds, "Can we talk about the thing with...?" tilting her head in Kevin's direction.
"Are we really going to get involved in... the thing? We don't even really know if there is a thing," Danny hedges.
"I can go?" Kevin offers despite only having finished half his breakfast. Stiles had made an impressed face at him at the sheer amount of food he'd been able to stack onto one plate since there was a one-plate rule at the breakfast buffet. There are takeout containers on a side table with cups full of plastic cutlery so he doesn't actually have to go without.
"Nah, it's fine," Stiles says, waving an airy hand.
"We're just trying to figure out if the school is infested with some kind of Chaos sprite or not," Stiles says like it's a completely normal thing to discuss.
"Um, we've only been here a day. Why would you think that?" Kevin asks, deciding to just go with it. The semester doesn't officially start for a few days and he doesn't really have anything else going on. Kevin had assumed the first few days would be lonely ones until he could start to meet people during classes and even then, he would have to be circumspect considering his unusual circumstances. It's actually a pretty pleasant surprise to find a group of people he can be completely himself with.
"I do research before I go anywhere," Lydia explains. "There have been warning signs. It started small, stuff going missing, minor acts of vandalism but it's escalating as these things always do."
"I really don't know if we should-" Danny starts to argue again but Allison cuts him off.
"If it is Chaos sprites, and that's a big if, then it'll get much worse. They're initially content to move stuff around and break a few windows but then they start taking people out of their beds and leaving them random places and eventually, they start killing. According to the bestiary, the cycle is pretty much always the same."
"Does the rest of your pack know about what's going on?" Kevin asks. There's a small number of humans in his pack, children mostly too young to take the bite and a few that have married in and are still deciding whether they want to risk taking it. Kevin knows his pack wolves are extremely protective of the humans and would be unlikely to sit back and let them be involved in this kind of situation.
"We'll handle it," Stiles says, sounding a little defensive and Kevin offers him a fair enough face. He can understand the desire to prove yourself. He's perpetually being asked to.
"Well, apparently there's a way we can lure them out," Lydia says, digging into her overlarge purse and bringing out an ancient-looking book. It thumps onto the table in a substantial way and everyone leans towards it automatically. "They love mess and they can't resist delicious breaking noises. We paint this symbol," Lydia spins the book and taps a picture with her index finger, "On one of those junked-out cars in the empty lot a few blocks down with still intact windows, break a few of them and they'll come running."
"Do we know how to get rid of them once we're surrounded?" Danny asks dryly.
"I'm sure we can handle it," Allison says with a glint in her eye that makes Kevin quickly decide that of the group, she's the most dangerous.
"That better not be what I think it is," Kevin says, disconnecting the call quickly before Stiles can say or do anything incriminating which Kevin is fast learning is a frequent event. He hasn't told anyone yet that there are people in his college aware he's a wolf and he's not going to if he doesn't want to get dragged home by his ear.
"Just pretend it's not here," Stiles says, setting the thing gingerly down on his unmade bed. The cat carrier immediately starts bouncing about until Stiles finds the biggest book in the room and sets it down on top. The book happens to be Kevin's Biology text that he was using for his assignment and he gives Stiles an exasperated look.
"How many are there?" Kevin says, unable to resist his curiosity any longer.
"Just three, which is probably why they haven't escalated to killing yet. There might be more. We're going to go back out tonight."
"Why are they in our room?" Kevin asks, raising an eyebrow. "I thought you guys were going to-" Kevin drags his finger across his neck and then pokes his tongue out sideways.
"It turns out that if you snuff these little fellas without a proper binding circle, they release pure chaos energy and that's... bad."
"I'm going to go out onto a limb and assume you didn't figure that out until you actually killed one?"
"Allison twisted the little guy's head off and whammo," Stiles says, throwing his arms out dramatically.
"You seem okay?"
"Yeah, I was standing a little further away because I didn't really want to watch. Chaos sprites are actually kinda cute. Allison and Danny though..."
"Danny has a tail and Allison's got a second set of cat ears on top of her head. It's all very manga."
Kevin wipes a hand down his face and then gives Stiles a narrow-eyed look. "You do know how to make a binding circle, right?"
"Not exactly? I'm sure we'll be able to find it. My google-fu is unparallelled."
"This isn't new for you, is it?" Kevin asks, intrigued. "You just kind of... figure this stuff out."
"Pretty much," Stiles says, shrugging and then bounces onto his bed. The book slides off the cat carrier and there's a series of angry-sounding chitters before the carrier thumps onto the floor and the door gets knocked open. Three little blue things streak out.
"Stiles!" Kevin yells and Stiles grimaces and flails his arms.
"Uh, grab them?"
Their dorm room door and windows are closed and they don't have a lot of furniture so it only takes them about an hour to find all three of the little monsters and get them squished back into the cat carrier.
"You're buying me nachos," Kevin huffs when Stiles digs duct tape out of one of his boxes and wraps it about twenty times around the carrier.
It's making Kevin's nose itch.
"Did you guys used to date?" Kevin blurts when it becomes a scratch he can't ignore anymore.
"Ugh, intrusive werewolf nose much?" Lydia snorts, not bothering to look up.
"Sorry, I... wait, how did you know it was a scent thing?"
"We're used to it," Stiles says. "It took a while to train the others not to actually confront us when we smelled sad or bad or... anything else," he says.
"I didn't mean to overstep," Kevin says. He has to admit, he's been fairly isolated inside his pack. He's used to business never being personal. He'd been home-schooled and had jumped at the chance to go to college and actually socialize properly so he didn't make people uncomfortable. Despite his earlier misgivings, he's come to realize how lucky he was landing a roommate that's aware of his nature.
He's pretty sure he would come off as either creepy or odd if his roommate didn't know the whole werewolf thing.
"In my younger days I used to nurse a very one-sided crush," Stiles explains, even though he doesn't have to. Kevin's touched that Stiles didn't just tell him to mind his own business.
"You're better now," Lydia says.
"I'm better now," Stiles agrees. "With all the craziness we kind of just clicked into a bro-groove that really works for us."
Stiles doesn't smell of old disappointment like most people do when talking of missed opportunities and unrealized love. There's a brightness when he talks about his present relationship with Lydia and Kevin offers him a small smile.
There's a man in his room when he gets back, sitting on his bed.
Scratch that, there's an Alpha werewolf on his bed.
"I really hope you belong to Stiles," Kevin says, easing into the room but holding the door open with one arm thrust through in case he needs to make a hasty retreat.
"I belong to... yeah, I guess you could say that," the Alpha says with an amused twist to his mouth.
"If you're here to warn me off or something-"
"No, nothing like that," the Alpha says, then seems to realize that sitting on Kevin's bed isn't really what he should be doing when he's not trying to be threatening and stands, rubbing his palms over his thighs. He sidesteps until he's all the way over on Stiles' side of the room and then spreads his hands out. "Sorry, I was just... checking."
"I can understand that," Kevin acknowledges, but he doesn't move further into the room. He's not feeling like his death is imminent, but he's also not stupid. His father is the Alpha of their pack and he's seen his mood switch on a dime.
"I'm Derek," the Alpha introduces. He doesn't hold out his hand and neither does Kevin when he says his own name. It's a very human thing to shake hands and makes werewolves rankle, having to touch an unfamiliar wolf in an intimate way like that. Kevin does bob his head though and takes his arm out of the door as a sign of trust.
"Does Stiles know you're here?"
"No, and I'd prefer he didn't know. He and Allison have taken the separation to heart. They want to control when and how they see us for their own reasons and I'm trying to give them that. Lydia told me about you though and I hope you can understand that I couldn't just..." Derek makes a helpless gesture with his hands.
"If he asks me, I'm not going to lie," Kevin says. "If he asks me."
"Fair enough," Derek says, nodding.
"Is there anything you wanted to know?" Kevin asks.
"Is it too intrusive to ask what pack you're from?" Derek decides after a pause.
"I'm from the Doncaster pack up North."
"They're a big family pack, right?"
"Yeah. Big and overbearing," Kevin agrees with a wry grin.
"Is this you escaping?"
"This is me testing my boundaries," Kevin settles on. "You're a Hale?"
"How did you know that?"
"Stiles is from Beacon Hills. I know that's Hale territory. We were quizzed on boundary lines as a fun family activity." Kevin makes air quotes when he says the word fun and Derek's smirk turns a little wistful.
"Son of the Alpha?" Derek asks and Kevin nods.
"One of three sons. I'm the Jan Brady." When Derek raises his eyebrows at that Kevin says, "Y'know, too young to be useful, too old to be cute."
"I see," Derek says with a rueful twist to his mouth.
"I can take the robot oath if you like?"
"I will not harm or allow to be harmed by inaction any of your pack."
"Not directly harming would be good. I can't expect you to step in, especially with the kind of stuff Stiles and Lydia will come up with."
"I like them all. If I can help them out, I will."
"I've been thinking of approaching packs for alliances, maybe stop infighting and get ahead of the hunters for once. You think your Alpha might be interested?"
"Might be. It's probably a good idea to get in before my brother inherits. He's a bit of a hot head."
"Good to know," Derek nods.
"Look, you should tell the others you're here. Maybe go out to the quad and call them, tell them you wanted to surprise them. Just turning up in Stiles' dorm room might be pushing it, I agree with that."
"You think they'll want to see me?"
"I think if you play your cards right, they might even ask for your help with something," Kevin offers.
Derek ducks his face, a pleased smile blooming at the thought of that.
He revises his thinking though because everyone is looking at him pensively, right up until Stiles says, "I thought it was working out."
"What was?" Kevin asks, confused, until Stiles steps aside and Kevin can see all his belongings packed neatly back into his boxes and stacked on his stripped bed. "What the hell, you can't just move me out!"
Stiles blinks, looks at the boxes and then back at Kevin. "This wasn't us. From your expression I'm figuring it wasn't you either?"
"No way," Kevin says and that's when it hits him, muted because of the press of the other people in the room but definitely there. The scent of his brother. He spins to see Callum in the doorway, arms crossed and looking impatient.
"Get your stuff, small fry," Callum orders, jerking his chin at the piles of Kevin's belongings.
"I'm not going anywhere," Kevin says, lifting his own chin. He's really grateful Callum isn't his Alpha yet so he's not compelled to follow him without the free will to do anything about it. His dad always said that a good Alpha should never have to use his powers on his own pack but Kevin can see a great deal of forced compliance in his future under Callum.
"There's another opposing... family around," Callum says, Kevin figuring he's using the word family instead of pack because of the humans present. "We don't need you getting in their way and causing us grief."
"Um, that would be us, and we're all cool here," Stiles volunteers, holding up a hand and waggling his fingers. Callum looks past Kevin's shoulder at the four people in the room and snorts, derisive.
"You don't know what you're-" he starts to say but then his nose wrinkles and his eyes flip to gold. "What's that smell?"
"Oh, that'd be the wolfsbane I had to use in a binding circle to trap some Chaos sprites," Lydia says airily, brushing dainty hands down her skirt. When she does that, Kevin feels his eyes start to water and he has to blink fast, irritated tears back. "It always sticks to clothes."
"What the hell is going on?" Callum demands.
"We're the human contingent of a pack. There's just us here so you don't have to worry about Kevin upsetting anyone. He was pretty brilliant in sniffing out that we were a pack and making the appropriate overtures to make sure we could all live in harmony." Stiles is completely staight-faced through his words but Kevin just knows he's fighting a powerful urge to roll his eyes. He doesn't come off as exactly respectful, but he also hasn't done anything that Callum can call him on directly as anything but.
"I still don't like it. You're coming home," Callum snaps, reaching out to grab a handful of Kevin's shirt. He ducks Callum's grab and accidentally ends up behind Danny, who doesn't hesitate in moving more fully in front of him, Stiles and Lydia immediately bracketing Danny and Allison behind him.
"I think he's going to stay here, study his little wolf butt off, and make you all proud. He's also going to bring a possible alliance home with him and I'm pretty sure your Alpha would be happy with that."
When they'd moved, Stiles had pretty much been the one to stand nose to nose with Callum. Kevin knows Callum would never intentionally harm a human despite his bluster, but Stiles doesn't know that and Callum is a pretty imposing figure.
Stiles is either really brave, or really crazy.
"We'll see," Callum growls, but he backs out of the door, sparing Kevin a last, narrow-eyed look before he retreats. Kevin knows that if it had been other wolves standing up to Callum like that he never would have backed down, but the pure unadulterated tenacity of humans doing it had visibly thrown him.
"You guys really didn't have to do that," Kevin says when they've waited the minimum amount of time it would take for a werewolf to get out of earshot.
"Even when he's your Alpha, he shouldn't get to railroad your life. You should come see us if you decide to go a different direction after college," Allison offers, squeezing his shoulder and smiling gently.
"I just might do that."
"What are we doing tonight?" Kevin asks, standing. He didn't want to assume an invitation to whatever madness Stiles had in store but he's glad to be going along.
"The same thing we do every night, Pinky," Stiles says, smirking. "Try to take over the world."
"Oh good, as long as we're not going overboard," Kevin says dryly and Stiles smacks him on the back jovially as they head out.