The ragged leather tome sits on the water-damaged desk that once belonged to Talia Hale. Stiles stares at the book, which is marked only with a triskele and nothing else. He’s never been in this room before, but it’s in much better shape than the rest of the house. Derek is somewhere upstairs, sorting through the old bedrooms.
Talia’s study had been soundproofed back in the day, and that soundproofing had kept the worst of the fire out. It was the abandonment of the manor that left the room in such a state, but it was still impressively preserved.
When Stiles walked in, the first thing he had noticed was a white cardigan strewn across the back of the leather chair. It was torn in some places, and yellowed by water and time, but still recognizable. There was a glass on the desk, it’s contents long evaporated, but the bottle of cognac mixed with wolfsbane sat on a shelf in the still-open liquor cabinet to the side. He hadn’t even noticed the book in favor of the picture next to it.
The image was waterlogged, but still clear. Eleven people in all crowded the image. In the center, with a confidant smirk, was who Stiles assumed to be Derek’s mother. She had his eyes. Next to her was a man who could’ve been a future Derek, no doubt his father. Another woman, perhaps Derek’s aunt, balanced a young girl on her hip as she grinned. Peter sat with his arms wrapped around a beautiful blonde woman with kind blue eyes, and in her arms was a small bundle of a baby. Front and center were the three Hale kids, Laura sat with her arms around each of her siblings. Even so young, Cora Hale looked ready to kill. Derek, however, smiled with an innocence he simply no longer had. Behind them was the Hale house, which Stiles never realized to have been so beautiful when it was standing.
Feeling overwhelmed with some unknown emotion, he looked away, and that was when his eyes fell on the unassuming book, bound in worn black leather, a triple spiral embossed into the front of it. Now, Stiles gently runs his fingers along the old volume, feeling the cracked leather give under his fingertips. With as much care as possible, he opens the front cover. The front page is yellow, like nearly everything else that had been white so long ago, and the only words upon it are scrawled in an elegant cursive hand, faded but still recognizable: ‘Talia Hale’
Seeing that the paper and the bindings have held together, Stiles more boldly skims, seeing drawings of the moon, the wolf phases, notes in the margins, and even the off reminder to pick up groceries, as well as one quickly scribbled note to ‘Remind Derek not to skip basketball.’ It feels like a gross violation of privacy, but Stiles is struck by the fact that he’s sitting on a treasure trove of information. Talia seemed to have it all puzzled out, didn’t she? This could help Scott, as well as Derek. He would definitely like something that belonged to his mother.
Eventually, he comes upon a page that’s particularly water damaged for some reason. Half the phrasing is worn out, and a sentence is written in what he suspects is Ancient Greek. Beneath it is a phonetic translation. The English translation is entirely gone, and, in bold block letters Stiles makes out the words ‘NO SPARK NEEDED… EMERGENCY… CONSEQUENCES.’
The Greek line is entirely legible. ‘Φέρτε το φάντασμα και σώστε την ψυχή, βρείτε το νέο οικοδεσπότη και το κάνετε ολόκληρο.’ Stiles reads on, and utters the translation.
“Férte to fántasma kai sóste tin psychí, vreíte to néo oikodespóti kai to kánete olókliro.” He mutters under his breath as he casts a quick look at the image and the young Derek’s smiling face. There’s a sudden wind that seems to be converging on the house from all sides, and Stiles feels something within his very soul tremble. Just as suddenly, everything passes. Then, there’s a bellowing from upstairs.
“Hello?! Mom, Dad?!” A young, uncertain voice carries.
“Derek?!” Stiles yells back.
Footsteps bang as Derek runs down the stairs and into the rotten living room. Except it’s not Derek. At least, not as Stiles knows him. He’s clean shaven, and his spiked hair is longer, and lays flat against his head, swooped to one side. The eyes, however, are 100% Derek, those same kaleidoscopes of color Stiles knows almost as well as his own. A year of being slammed into walls and door frames and some pretty intense eye sex will do that.
“Who are you?! Where am I?!” ‘Derek’ demands, his eyes flashing yellow.
Stiles raises his hands and backs against the wall. “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Slow down, buddy!”
Derek stalks over, and grabs a fistful of Stiles’ shirt, yanking him close. His canines are drawn, and he seems on the edge of shifting. “What is going on?!” He screams into his face.
“I think I, I think I fucked up!” Stiles yells. “I read something out a book and… Derek I did… something!”
Derek pulls back slightly. “How do you know my name?”
“How do I…? Derek, we’ve only been getting chased by monsters since last September! It’s me, it’s Stiles!”
“I don’t know you! And I don’t know where I am!” He snarls, releasing him to stalk about the room.
Stiles lays a hand on the distraught teenage werewolf’s shoulder. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
Derek shakes his head. “We were outside, it was Mom’s birthday, and we were taking a picture. And then, it- it all went black, and I’m here! Where is here, anyway?!”
Stiles groans, crouching down and putting his head in his hands. “Oh, God. Derek, I’m… I’m so sorry. I guess I read some sort of age reversal spell from that book of your mom’s.”
“My mom’s book? Her journal? What’s that doing in this shithole?” The young Derek asks, gesturing to the ruined house around them.
Stiles looks up. “Derek, don’t you recognize this house?”
“No? Should I?”
“Yes,” He says. “You should. This is your house. Well, it was.”
Derek rolls his eyes. “Bullshit. This place looks like it’s been through a fire.”
Stiles bites his lip, before going for broke, and hoping Derek doesn’t break him for saying it. “It did.”
“What?” The other boy turns on a heel to face him.
“January 30, 2010.”
That teenager snorts. “Is that the date? Because it’s really warm for January, let me tell you.”
“No, it’s August 15, 2017. January 30, 2010 is the date of the fire. Eight people died.”
“Who? Who died here?!” Derek rushes him, eyes now terrified, no longer furious.
“Eight members of the Hale family. Three survived. You, Laura, and Peter.”
Derek blanches. “No!”
He runs outside, and Stiles follows him. Derek looks frantically around the yard. He grows increasingly overwhelmed as he looks back and sees the ruined visage of his former home. He falls to his knees, and begins to sob hysterically. Stiles cautiously approaches, not wishing to be on the receiving end of an emotionally compromised werewolf’s claws. However, he edges closer, and wraps an arm around Derek. The boy shifts, and presses his face into Stiles’ shoulder, staining his shirt with tears.
Derek clings to him as his whole body is wracked by sobs, and Stiles just lets him, gently shushing him and encouraging him that it’ll be okay. Between the sobs, Derek finds voice to ask the questions that will only further break his heart.
“Wh- where are Peter and Laura?” He looks up, and he looks like he could be four years old in that moment.
Stiles swallows around the growing lump in his throat. “They, uh… they’re gone, too, buddy. It’s just you.”
This sends Derek into a renewed round of sobs. He holds Stiles even tighter, and Stiles clings just as tightly as tears of his own roll. God knows how long they’re there, but eventually, the two break.
“Derek?” He softly asks. “Can you tell me what the date was where you were?”
“Mom’s birthday, that’s… June 8, 2008.”
He looks curiously at him. “How- how old are you?”
Stiles blinks once, a sudden realization washing over him. “Before Paige. Do you know a girl named Paige?!”
The wolf seems confused as he answers. “Paige… Krasikeva? I think her name is.”
He’s suddenly frenetic. “Whatever, I don’t care about her last name is. But you know her?!”
“Kinda! She’s in orchestra or whatever. Why?!”
“Because!” Stiles laughs joyously. “It means you didn’t kill her! That’s what this whole thing is! A time before you didn’t kill her!”
“Wait, what?!” Derek demands. “I killed some girl I’ve met like once?!”
Stiles calms down as he looks at the younger man, which, god is it weird having Derek be younger than him. “All you said to me was you killed your girlfriend and her name was Paige, and that’s what made Kate go after you.”
“You need to explain this whole thing to me, because I am so lost.”
“Deaton! We need to see Deaton!” Stiles bellows as he runs back into the study, snagging Talia’s Journal. “We’re so taking your car!”
Derek follows, and gingerly enters the Camaro. “Well?” He demands. “Gonna start the car?”
“Shit, do you have your keys? Check your pockets.” Stiles orders.
“Fuck. Wherever the other you went, he took his keys with him. We’ll have to take my Jeep.”
Derek walks over to Roscoe and raises an eyebrow at it. “I think I’ll take my chances walking. That looks like a death trap.”
“Sure it does!” Stiles grins. “That’s half the fun of it! Now, get in. We have a date with the vet. And I promise, we’re not neutering you.” Derek gives a subvocal growl at that last jab. “Maybe just a spay, then?”
He gets a swat upside the head for that one, and snarled out, “Shut up, Stiles!”
“You know, you used to slam my face into the steering wheel for something like that. Nice to know your viciousness is an acquired behavior.”
“Shut the fuck up before I rip your intestines out.” Derek quietly snipes.
Stiles laughs, but makes no further remarks as they drive to Deaton’s. Pulling up to the low brick structure, Stiles feels a sense of hesitancy. Maybe this isn’t something Deaton should be involved in. He hasn’t exactly been helpful in the past, and, given their suspicion that he was the alpha werewolf, maybe he won’t even want to help them. Nevertheless, he takes a deep breath and gets out, trailed by the younger wolf.
He enters through the front door, and finds Deaton’s lobby blessedly clear of any prying eyes or ears. He rings the bell, and of all people, it has to be Scott the comes around the back, all dressed in blue scrubs.
“Stiles? Who is this?” He asks, clearly confused.
Stiles gapes, trying and failing to find the words to say that he de-aged Derek. Luckily, Derek manages to.
He sticks out a hand and gives a friendly smile. “Derek Hale, how you doing?”
Stiles flails for a moment, slapping at Derek’s hand. “Dude!”
“What?!” He yells, pulling his hand back.
“You can’t just introduce yourself! You’re not… you. The right you!” He says.
Scott intercedes at that moment. “Okay, what? Since when is Derek Hale even younger than us?”
Stiles flinches as he speaks. “I may have… read a spell. In a book that belonged to Derek’s mom. And then, boom! Baby Derek!” He gestures to the teenager beside him, like he’s a presenting a prize on a gameshow, much to Derek’s chagrin.
“I’m not a baby.” He mutters, looking down and blushing.
Scott looks back and forth between the two of them for a moment before he just sighs and yells out, “Deaton!”
The enigmatic vet emerges from the back a moment later, and takes stock in the scene before him. He seems confused, but his eyes flicker with recognition and what Stiles suspects is horror as they fall upon Derek.
“Back room. Now, all of you.” He orders, turning on a heel and marching back in the office. They all follow, to find Deaton, looking downright annoyed, leaning against a table.
“Alright,” He sighs. “Who did what?”
Stiles steps forward, offering Talia’s journal. “I read something out of this. Here it is.” He flips through, finding the damaged page.
“Mr. Stilinski, please tell me you didn’t read this.” Deaton looks up with pleading eyes.
“Why, what is it?”
The doctor sighs, rubbing his face. “This is a very powerful spell of my own design. I designed it as a backup in case of anything ever went severely wrong.”
“You mean like my family getting wiped out in a fire?” Derek snaps.
“Yes. It summons someone from the past and changes them out with their present self, and they’re given a second chance to fix their mistakes. I never actually used it, Talia, I mean, your mother decided it was too dangerous. I assumed the spell was lost in the fire.”
Stiles looks up. “What’s the translation?”
“‘Bring forth the ghost and save the soul, find it new host and make it whole.’ I know, it doesn’t rhyme in Greek.” Deaton says.
“So, where is our Derek?” Scott asks.
“Removed from existence. As far as I know, until the person who was summoned has fixed whatever mistake they made, their present self is gone.”
Stiles slams a hand against a table. “Shit!”
“Language, Mr. Stilinski.” Deaton gently chides.
Derek whines in the back of his throat. “So, I won’t date that Paige girl and kill her or whatever! I just wanna go back home.”
“Well, mistake fixed, right?” Scott peers hopefully.
“Perhaps not.” Deaton looks at the young Derek thoughtfully. “Perhaps… yes. I think Derek here has to experience something that, upon his return to his time, will fundamentally alter the trajectory of his life.”
“Like what?!” Derek explosively demands, flashing his gold eyes.
“I don’t know.” Deaton snaps back. “Having a temper tantrum probably isn’t it, however.”
Derek calms slightly, but still glares. Stiles rubs a hand against his back, and looks to Deaton.
“So, until we experience this trajectory-altering thing, what do we do with Derek here?” Scott asks.
“I have a friend who specializes in getting people papers and documentation, that should be no problem. We should also prepare for the eventuality that Derek isn’t going anywhere, so I’ll have some fake high school transcripts drawn up in the event he’s still here for the school year.”
“And housing?” Scott asks.
Stiles speaks up. “He can crash at my house tonight. In case my dad asks, you’re Scott’s cousin visiting from… I don’t know. Upstate. San Fran or something.”
Derek skeptically raises an eyebrow. “San Fran or something?”
“Fine, you’re from San Francisco, happy?”
“I don’t get it, don’t I have a house or something here?” He asks. “I mean, I’m clearly still in Beacon Hills, so I must be staying somewhere.”
Scott snorts. “Yeah, the abandoned subway station. It’s not exactly fit for habitation.”
“Maybe we should head there.” Stiles says. “We might find something, like a bank account or something.”
Derek nods. “And maybe a spare key to that car.”
“You’re not even old enough to drive, Derek.”
“I still can!” He protests.
Stiles laughs and messes up the shorter teen’s hair as he walks by. “Come on, pup.”
“I’ll show you who’s a pup in a minute.”
“There’s the Sourwolf I know and tolerate!”
Scott and Deaton share an incredulous glance as the two retreat, and wordlessly return to their work, both shaking their heads.