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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?”

“Fifteen.”

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.

“Nope.”

“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.

Chapter Text

Roscoe pulls into the Stilinski house just around sunset. A Cheshire moon sits on the western horizon, and Derek pauses to stare at it with longing.

“You coming?” Stiles calls back from the porch.

Derek startles, and refocuses on Stiles. “Y- yeah. I’m coming.” He responds, bounding up the steps.

“Now, you remember your cover story?”

“My name is Derek McCall, I’m Scott’s cousin, I’m visiting from San Francisco. We’re staying here because Scott came down with food poisoning.” He affirms.

Stiles nods. “Good. Let’s go meet my dad. And just call him Sheriff, it makes life easier.” He strides into the house, and Derek uneasily follows.

“Dad?” He calls. “You home?”

A voice echoes from the kitchen. “In here!”

The two teenagers walk in to find the Sheriff buried in paperwork, reading glasses propped onto his nose as he browses. He doesn’t even look up until he hears the second set of footsteps.

“Who’s this?” The Sheriff asks, even as he shows something akin to recognition.

“Derek.” Stiles says, and he sees the recognition go into full blown shock, so he hastily recovers. “McCall. Scott’s cousin, from San Francisco!” He awkward chuckles.

Derek gives an uneasy wave.

The shock recedes from the man’s face. “Where’s Scott?”

“Food poisoning.” Derek says. “He didn’t want us there.”

Stiles steps back in. “Yeah, it’s a mess. Probably won’t end anytime soon, so do you mind if he crashes here tonight? He’s sharing a room with Scott, and sleeping while the guy next to you is puking his guts up doesn’t sound easy.”

The Sheriff appraises Derek carefully, his eyes still full of recognition. “You plan on raising any Hell under my roof?”

“Uh, no, Sheriff, sir!” Derek hastily answers.

He starts laughing. “Well, that would make you different from my son. You can use the guest room as long as Scott is sick, it’s better than Melissa’s lumpy couch. And for the love of god, I’m too young for ‘sir’, just call me John.”

Derek visibly sags with relief. “Thank you, uh, John.”

As soon as they’re out of earshot, Stiles wraps an arm around Derek’s shoulder and laughs. “Jesus, Der, how’d you manage to get my dad to eat out of your hand like that?!”

Derek turns, pointing an accusatory finger at him. “Why didn’t you tell me your dad was Deputy Stilinski?! Sheriff, whatever!” He snaps when he sees Stiles move to correct him.

“You know my father?” Stiles asks, confused.

“He’s around with Sheriff Carter a lot. I guess he’s supposed to succeed him, and Mom wants to ease him into the whole ‘werewolf’ thing.”

“That never happened.” Stiles puzzles. “There was the fire, and then Sheriff Carter died a couple years after, just after my mom died. Dad became the new sheriff. Shit! That’s why he recognized you!”

Derek sinks to the floor of Stiles’ room. “Fuck. He’s probably busted me.”

“Probably.” He agrees.

“Look, you wait here, I’m gonna go puzzle out what’s up with my dad.”

“What? No.” Derek refuses. “Don’t leave me alone here.”

Stiles shakes his head, and tosses a television remote to the other teen. “Look, just… I don’t know, watch some TV or something. Programming’s gotten a lot better since 2008. Later, I’ll introduce you to Netflix.”

With that, he steps out, and walks back downstairs, into the kitchen where his father still sits.

“You think I haven’t noticed all the strange things happening?” John asks. “That Scott is suddenly asthma free, or the reports of animal attacks that so conveniently follow you and your friends? Or that a boy I knew nine years ago suddenly reappears without aging in my own kitchen?!”

Stiles holds up his hands in surrender. “I know, I know you’re not stupid.”

“The least you could’ve done is give him a different name. So what the Hell is happening around here, Stiles? Why is Derek Hale, who is twenty four, now suddenly fifteen? What is up with you and Scott and Lydia Martin?”

“Fine.” Stiles concedes. And he tells him the whole story, from start to finish. And then, just to prove his point, he calls down Derek and has him shift to drive it home, much to the shock of the Sheriff.

“And- and you’re not a…?”

“Werewolf, Dad. Saying it will make it easier. And no, I’m not. But Derek and Scott are. And we don’t exactly know what Lydia is, but she’s something.”

John stares at them. “Wow. So you accidentally made Derek a teenager again?”

“Yep.” Derek shoots a subtle glare at Stiles.

The Sheriff shakes his head. “Well, you don’t really have a place to stay, so get comfortable in that guest room. It’s yours, now. I’ll call Dr. Deaton about those papers Stiles mentioned.”

“Please don’t arrest my best friend’s boss for forging identity papers.” Stiles pleads.

Derek grins. “Thank you, Mr. Stilinski.”

“I told you, son, it’s John. Now, get out my hair.”

Back upstairs, Stiles begins to fiddle with his PlayStation until he’s got Netflix loaded. Derek sits anxiously on the bed, his knees tucked beneath his chin as he waits.

“This,” Stiles grins as he points at his Netflix queue, “Is the single most important invention of the 2010’s. It changed the way we watch.”

Derek smiles. “Is that so?”

“It is. Let us begin, young Sourwolf.” With that, he presses play.

Derek awakens the next morning wrapped in a comforter on the floor. He likes the way it smells, and unconsciously burrows deeper into the blanket. Then he realizes where he is, and whose comforter it is he’s scent marking. Then he hears Stiles softly snoring on the bed above him.

He quietly disentangles from the blanket and slips downstairs. On the counter is a few bills and a note scribbled down by the Sheriff.

‘Derek, these are for you. I expect you to pay me back when this is fixed. Don’t do anything stupid. Be safe, and control my maniac son. -John’

Beneath the note is five one hundred dollar bills. Derek gasps aloud, and tucks the money in his pocket. He sees a coffee maker set back on the counter, and begins to put a pot on. He flicks on the small flatscreen on the counter, marveling at how thin the thing is.

Idle curiosity compels him to channel hunt until he finds CNN and he sits at the table, watching as he waits for the coffee to finish brewing. He wakes up Stiles as soon as the brew is done.

“Stiles, wake up.” He orders, shaking the older teenager. All he gets is a groan that might be a reply or might be sleep gas.

He tries a different tact. “I made coffee.”

The sleeping human is instantly bolting up in bed. “I’m up, I’m up!” He says, his voice thick with sleep.

Derek rolls his eyes. “How’d I know that would work? Come on, future man, I need to know what the world is like, because, frankly, CNN was not encouraging.”

Downstairs, Stiles pulls out his iPhone and sets it on the table. He unlocks the thing, and passes it to Derek, who fiddles with it, digging into his music and social media.

“I’m not gonna find any dirty pictures, am I?” He asks, looking genuinely concerned.

Stiles snorts. “Not unless you want to.”

The werewolf levels a dull glare at him for that one. “Now, you’re telling me this thing has more processing power than my laptop back in my time?”

“Yep! I got the 128 gigabyte model, which isn’t even the largest one. And with the advent of 4G LTE back in 2012, internet speeds for phones are faster, and coverage is even wider. At this point, you have to actively try to lose reception on your phone.” Stiles says.

Derek grins as he sees an app he recognizes. “Hey, YouTube is still a thing!”

“Are you kidding? It’s the thing. People have gotten disgustingly rich off of being YouTubers. They have cults at this point. Here, head to Twitter. That’s the light blue one with the bird.”

“Wait, didn’t they say he’s the President on the news?”

Stiles makes a disgusted noise. “Yes. And yes, he tweets like that all the damn time.”

“Oh, my God…”

“Ignore it. You’ll have a damn stroke if you keep focusing on it.” He urges.

Derek opens another app. “What the Hell is Snapchat?”

“Oh!” Stiles grins, now excited. “This is gonna be fun!”

The two continue on, exploring the phone for nearly an hour, until Stiles’ stomach growls, at which point Derek asks for them to go to breakfast, flashing the money John left for him.

“Holy shit!” Stiles exclaims. “We’re going into Santa Cruz to get you some stuff with that after we head to where you were staying in the train station.” He promises. “Come on, breakfast.” He says, trailing out of the front door.

“Jeez, he only operates on one speed, doesn’t he?” Derek murmurs to himself, before swiftly following.

They stop at the McDonald’s drive thru before heading to the abandoned subway terminal the old Derek called home. The teenage Derek looks around in something akin to horror at the place his former self lived.

“You’d think I was living in exile.” He says.

Stiles levels a serious gaze on him. “In a way, you were. Losing Laura did a lot to you, and so did killing Peter. I never understood it either, but… you just went into self-imposed exile.”

“I still can’t believe Peter killed Laura. I mean, he loved her!”

“He was sick in the head. The fire probably did a lot of brain damage. Peter hurt a lot of people, he made Scott a werewolf, he tried to make Lydia and me one, too.”

Derek shudders. “God. And Kate Argent did all of this?”

“Yes.”

“Mom always knew she’d be trouble. She was fine with Chris, but the rest of them made her skin crawl.” He says, sorting through his old clothes.

“Speaking of, I feel like we should check in on the Argents. Scott’s no doubt told Allison, and she’ll tell her folks soon enough. Better we approach them on their turf.”

Derek looks back at him. “Maybe we wait until your dad gets back? He’s in on the know, maybe it’s best we have an adult present.”

Stiles raises an eyebrow at his companion. “I don’t know how comfortable I am with my dad being around werewolf hunters.”

“As opposed to your fifteen year old werewolf friend.” Derek shoots back.

He sanguinely replies. “My other werewolf friend is dating a werewolf hunter.”

“Okay, fair enough. Still, for my comfort? Sheriff Carter always had dealings with the Argents.” Derek asks.

Stiles sighs. “Fine, we’ll see if Dad will swing by.”

The trip to the subway isn’t particularly productive, except for one thing. They find no spare to key to the Camaro, and Derek’s old clothes are all far too big to fit his skinny fifteen year old frame, but they do find an envelope with $10,000 in cash in it, tucked away in a spot only Derek’s werewolf senses could find. Afterwords, Stiles’ phone begins to chirp. He sees Lydia’s photo pop up, and curses as he answers.

“Lyds! Darling dearest, how are you?”

‘Don’t you “darling dearest” me, Genim Daniel Stilinski! How could you not tell me that you accidentally made Derek a teenager again?!’

Stiles gulps. “It wasn’t anything personal, I just had to get Derek settled and sort everything out. Who told you, anyway?!”

‘Allison. Scott told her.’

Stiles makes a rude gesture at the phone when he hears that.

“Does Scott understand that this maybe isn’t the best information to be spreading? You haven’t told anyone have you?”

‘Only Jackson and Danny, but they’re sworn to secrecy.’

“Oh, they’re sworn to secrecy! That’s so reassuring! It’s not as if Jackson Whittemore has ever gone back on his word!”

‘Cut the sarcasm, Stiles. I’ll be at your house in 20, I suggest you and Derek make yourselves presentable.’ With that, the phone line goes dead.

“Fuck!” Stiles swears.

Derek stares in shock at the exchange he’s heard. “She’s coming to your house? To meet me?”

“Yes, Derek,” Stiles confirms. “She wants to meet you.”

“Well, can’t I say no? That I just want to be left alone?” He asks.

The other teen sighs, clapping a hand on his shoulder. “No, buddy, you can’t. Come on, let’s go.”

Sure enough, at 11:30 exactly, Lydia Martin’s car pulls to a stop outside of the Stilinski residence. She struts up the walkway in a floral patterned sundress, four inch wicker wedges and a pair of Gucci sunglasses. Backlit by the still-rising sun, she looks like the Goddess of the Western World.

Stiles has enough common sense in him to wait for Lydia on the porch, but has kept Derek tucked inside. He still doesn’t feel comfortable with him being out and about where anyone can see him.

“Lydia, looking lovely as ever.” He says as she approaches.

She tilts her head in acknowledgement. “Thank you, Stiles. It’s nice to see you’ve abandoned your flannels. That shirt looks good.”

“High praise coming from you.” He grins.

She looks towards the door. “He’s inside, then?”

He wordlessly leads her into the house, where Derek sits on the couch, looking very much like a deer in headlights. He stands up, but makes no move to approach her.

Lydia takes off her sunglasses and flashes her most brilliant smile at Derek. It quickly fades into a scrutinizing look as she takes stock of him. She walks over, and, in her heels, has a full two inches on him. Derek offers his hand, and she takes it, shaking firmly.

“You’re pretty short for fifteen.” She finally says.

Derek gapes, blushing as he processes what she said. Finally, he blusters an outraged, “I’m five foot six! You’re just in really tall heels!”

Lydia looks back at Stiles. “You sure this is Derek? He should’ve threatened me by now.”

Unable to help himself, Stiles bursts out laughing. Eventually, all three of them are helplessly giggling in the living room. Finally, Lydia puts on her business face.

“So, how do we fix this?”

Stiles grins, this is the Lydia he was hoping to see. “I’m not sure, but studying that book might work.”

“Book?” Lydia asks. “What book?”

“I guess Allison didn’t give you the details. Well, come on, I’ll show you.” He gestures for her to follow to his room, where he’s stored the ragged volume.

Upstairs, he opens the book to the page with the spell on it. “It belonged to Derek’s mother, I found it in her study. The room was soundproofed, and that kept the fire out. There’s a lot of books still there.”

Lydia nods, examining the faded page. “If we can’t find anything here, it might be prudent to visit the study, see if any of the other books are helpful.” She grabs a notebook and begins jotting.

“Whatever you do, don’t read anything that might be a spell out loud.” He urges.

She rolls her eyes. “Sound advice from the likes of you. Look, break out your Google skills and start researching time travel magic. Derek, I want you to set up a poster board and transcribe our notes onto the whiteboard, okay?”

The two nod, and get to work. Nearly two hours pass when they break for lunch, no closer to a solution, but they nevertheless sit down and try to sort something out of the information they’ve collected.

Lydia starts. “Okay, your mom’s journal is an absolute treasure trove and I’d like a good month with it. That said, as to our particular problem, I got nothing. Stiles?”

“I got some basic rules on time travel. There are two types, one of which is entering a separate timestream and mucking about with events there, and it does nothing to your reality. The second type is when someone is called forward or backward in time to replace themselves, and this does affect the present timestream. From what I can tell, Derek’s presence here means that, if he returns to his time, our future will change. Probably meaning the Hales will live.”

“So, what happens to us?” Lydia queries.

Derek shakes his head. “You’ll find yourselves in a new reality, and only Stiles and I will have any memory of the old one.”

She raises an eyebrow. “Why you and Stiles?”

“Well, I’m the one who cast the spell to begin with, and there’s not really an explanation as to what exactly I’ll remember from either reality. As for Derek, he’s not only here, he’s not back in his time. When I cast the spell, he vanished from his place in time, and however long he’s here, that amount of time will pass in his time. He’s been here for about a day now, so if he goes back now, a day will have passed back in 2008.” Stiles explains.

Lydia shudders as she realizes what this means. “So, I won’t remember this reality?”

Derek shakes his head. “No, you won’t. Neither will Scott, or Deaton, or Stiles’ dad, or anyone else on Earth.”

“Will I still be me?”

Stiles shrugs. “I don’t know, I really don’t.”

“So, from everything we’ve gathered, it looks like there’s no way to send him back before he’s good and ready, and, unless he lets his family die, he’ll cause an alternate reality upon his return.” Lydia concludes.

“That’s about the long and the short of it.” Stiles agrees. “The longer he’s here, the more skewed the timestream gets. He already knows about the 2008, 2012, and 2016 elections. Who knows what kind of reality will form just because of that knowledge he has?”

“Look, I don’t want to… fuck all your lives!” Derek bursts. “I mean, I can’t just sit there and have my entire family die, but… is it really gonna be that different?”

Stiles rubs a hand at the center of his back, trying to soothe him. “Der, no one expects you to allow your family to be murdered. And who knows, maybe your family living will be a good thing? Scott won’t be dragged into this life, and God knows he hates it as it is. Whatever happens, I know you’ll do the right thing.”

“Thanks, Stiles.”

Lydia smiles at the younger boy. “Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be. I’m sure I’ll be glamorous in any universe.”

“And I’ll be a mad genius. Some things are constant in any reality.”

Lydia checks the time on her phone, and stands. “Well, I could use some lunch. You boys with me? I’m thinking Mae’s.”

“I dunno,” Stiles says uneasily. “I still don’t like the idea of Derek out and about where he could be seen and recognized.”

Derek deadpans at him. “Don’t baby me, Stiles. Normal people won’t recognize me. Your dad only called you out after seeing months of this stuff.”

“Yeah, what happened to that big tough man who helped kick Peter’s ass?” Lydia says. “It’ll be fine.”

“Okay, okay. Mae’s it is, then.” He throws up his hand in surrender.

“Good! We’re taking my car.” With that, Lydia is down the stairs and out the door before they even have a chance to get out of the room.

At the diner, they sit and amicably chatter, careful to keep up a façade of normalcy for fear of prying ears. Eventually, Derek excuses himself for the restroom, and Lydia has her phone out in an instant, shooting Stiles a text message.

LM: He’s into you. That’s dangerous, and we both know it.

SS: what are u talking about?

LM: Don’t play stupid. You’ve seen the way he looks at you. Moreover, I’ve seen the way YOU look at HIM. If you fall in love, the consequences will be far reaching. Need I remind you he’s seven years your senior? If he goes back and pursues you, I’m pretty sure that’s child abuse in ANY timeline.

SS: so he’s cute it doesnt mean im falling in love with him

LM: It’s risky, Stiles. You need to be careful.

SS: Its in hand lydia.

The two see Derek returning, and quickly stow their phones. They easily resume the conversation as though nothing at all had happened in his absence. A few minutes later, they pay their bill, and Lydia drops the two off at the Stilinski house.

Chapter Text

It’s still only just passed two when Lydia drops them off, so Stiles and Derek proceed with the plan to hit the clothing stores in Santa Cruz with Derek’s lovely new fund, courtesy of his twenty four year old self. The drive down is a good time, full of top forty hits cranking through Roscoe’s ancient radio and a good supply of banter.

Stiles realizes very quickly just how likeable this Derek is. He sees a side of him that he otherwise wouldn’t have been able to see. He’s happy, a little arrogant in the most endearing way, and vivacious. The two crack dirty jokes at each other and trade playful barbs about style and species, and just enjoy each other’s company as teenagers. He can’t remember the last time he was able to do that. Scott is always either mooning over Allison or moping about being a werewolf, and Lydia is like a never-ending cocktail party.

But Derek? Derek is just himself. He’s comfortable in his skin and confident in his way. He carries himself with all the swagger a good looking fifteen year old does, and it’s strange for Stiles. He feels more confident around this younger Derek, like being at his side is just an instant “cool” bonus.

Girls smile and wave at both of them as they walk along the Santa Cruz beachfront, hunting for clothes for Derek. Eventually, they find their way to some department stores, and, by five, have loaded up their arms with bags from places as diverse as Armani to American Eagle. By the time they’re done, the setting sun is glistening on the waterfront, and Stiles suggests they put one of their new swimsuits to use. They drop their bags off at the Jeep and head for a public restroom to change. It’s a surprisingly warm day for mid-August, and the cool Pacific water is a welcome balm for them both.

The beach has a sprinkling of people, enough that the two can chatter as easily as they wish without fear of being overheard. Derek grins at Stiles as he floats on his back, relishing the waves as they rock him back and forth.

“I haven’t been swimming here in years. I forgot how nice the beach was here.” He says.

Stiles agrees. “My mom used to take me at least five days a week when I was little, I practically grew up in the ocean. After she got sick… I just stopped going. Dad was always working, and I never wanted to bother him.”

“That’s awful, I’m sorry.” Derek says. “If you don’t mind me asking, how did she die?”

“Frontotemporal dementia. Specifically, Pick’s disease. It took about eight months for her to go from forgetting little stuff like where she left her keys to fully insane. She died after about a year. Those last few months, she stayed in the hospital 24/7. She didn’t even know who I was.”

Derek sits up in the water, aghast. “That’s… that’s horrible. When?”

“She got sick in July of 2010. Died August 5, 2011.”

Without warning, Derek is swamping him in a hug. Stiles is a little shocked, but he finds it in him to reciprocate. The werewolf pulls back, and gives him a soft smile.

“I’m sure she’d be proud of you.”

“Thanks, Derek.”

He looks at the sun, which has now slipped below the horizon. “We should probably get back, huh?”

“Yeah,” Stiles nods. “We should.”

The drive back is mellow, with easy indie music rolling from Roscoe’s speakers as the first stars appear in the night sky overhead. As they roll into Beacon Hills, Derek smiles when he sees the high school lit up for a football practice match.

“I always liked going to the football games, and the lacrosse games.” He says.

“Don’t you play basketball?” Stiles asks.

Derek nods. “Yeah, center. We made the playoffs in March, but didn’t carry state.”

“I bet Harris had an aneurysm.”

“Nah,” He shakes his head. “He made it further than Finstock‘s lax team did, that’s all that matters to him.”

Stiles barks out a laugh. “They hated each other even back then?”

“They still do now?”

“Shit, yeah,” He says. “I once saw Finstock flip Harris off. I was tempted to kiss him for it.”

“I’d just as soon kiss Mrs. Lando.” Derek makes a face.

“Who the Hell is Mrs. Lando?”

“Principal’s secretary? At least 500 years old?”

Stiles shakes his head. “Nope, she must’ve retired before I got here.”

Derek pauses, and stares out the window of the car as they pass through downtown Beacon Hills. He seems a little depressed as they pull onto the street they now both call home, and it worries his companion. They pull into the driveway as the last rays of twilight give to the night, and Stiles turns to Derek.

“What are you thinking about?” He asks softly. “Is it something I said?”

Derek shakes his head, but then hesitates. “It’s… not something that hurt or offended me. It’s just that…” He trails off uncertainly.

“Hey,” Stiles rests a hand on his shoulder. “You can tell me, whatever it is. Come on, what’s rattling the inside of your wolfy brain?”

The werewolf levels a downright caustic glare at him, which softens to something that might even be vulnerability.

“With you, talking, hanging out, I can forget that I’m not in 2008 anymore, that this is 2017, and that I don’t belong here. And I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.” He says.

“Why wouldn’t it be? I know this isn’t ideal, but I don’t want you to sit there and mope for another place and time we can’t reach. Who knows how long you’ll be stuck here? You should make the most of it.” Stiles replies.

“It’s not that easy. I’m gonna miss you when I go back, and that makes me wanna stay a little, but I miss my family and my house and my friends, and that makes me wanna leave so bad, and… and even if I go back, I have to wait nine years for you to grow up, and maybe you won’t be you, and I won’t be me, and I… I don’t want us to not know each other.”

Stiles swallows thickly, carefully choosing his words. “The first time we met in this timeline, you called me out for trespassing on Hale land. After that, I got you arrested for your sister’s murder when you were innocent. I thought I saw you die more than once. You slammed my face into a steering wheel, slammed my whole body against lockers, threatened to rip my throat out with your teeth, and almost had me cut your arm off. I wasn’t much better, with the constant suspicion and sarcasm. My point is, after all that horseshit, we still were friends. I have believe that in any timeline, we will be.”

“Th- That’s a lot.” Derek sounds choked up. “I appreciate that, Stiles.”

“I meant it, Sourwolf. We’ll always find each other. Hell, at this point, we need each other to survive. Now, come on, let’s get in there. We’ll see the Argents tomorrow.”

The next morning, as promised, they venture to the Argent house. Derek and Stiles take the Jeep, and the Sheriff comes, in uniform, in his squad car. They come upon the impressive visage of the brick McMansion and stand anxiously at the steps. John steps forward, and knocks on the door.

The razor-sharp countenance of Victoria Argent appears at the door, her naturally suspicious face rapidly masking itself in a welcoming grin.

“Sheriff Stilinski, to what do we owe the pleasure?” She asks a little too brightly, especially as she notes the two teenagers behind him.

“I think you and I both know this isn’t a conversation to be had on your doorstep, Mrs. Argent.” He replies with gravity.

Immediately, the grin falls from her face and she gestures for them to enter. She blatantly glares at Stiles, and suspiciously eyes the teenage Derek, trailing behind them into the kitchen where Chris and Allison both sit, eating breakfast.

“Stiles, is that…?” Allison trails off, looking at Derek.

The Sheriff sighs. “That’s what we’re here to talk about. It seems Stiles came across a piece of arcane magic or something in the old Hale house, and accidentally made Derek fifteen again.”

Chris drops the butter knife he’s holding to the table, Victoria sucks in a breath, and Allison outright gasps. The Argent patriarch careful composes himself, standing up from his seat as he does.

“As far as we were aware,” He begins, “You were unaware of the supernatural elements of this town.”

“Well, you were mistaken. I’m simply here to inform you that Mr. Hale is staying with my son and I, and that he is my responsibility, not yours. I’ve heard about the work your sister did back in ‘08.”

“I’m sure you got quite the story. Was it mentioned that the little mutt murdered a little girl?” Victoria snipes.

“I’m here to tell you that I won’t tolerate any acts of vigilante justice in my town, and that I have no compunctions about making people disappear. There’s a lot of ways for someone to wind up missing in a rural Californian town.” The Sheriff evenly replies, looking directly at her.

“Hey, there’s no need for any of that. As long as Derek behaves, we won’t have an issue.” Chris replies.

“Yeah, no.” John flatly says. “I don’t know what kinda deal your lot had with Sheriff Carter, but I’m going to lay down a rule right now. You’re not lifting a finger, nor that incredibly well hidden knife in your belt, Victoria, yes, I saw that, unless I give the go/no go. If a werewolf turns up dead in this town without my say so, I’ll drag your asses in on murder charges.”

Chris grins wanly and approaches, his hands wide but still close to his waist. “Now, Sheriff, you must understand, our line of work is often dangerous. We can’t take the time to call you for permission if faced with a rogue wolf.”

“Find time. I’ll even give you my work phone, so you can reach me at any time of day. We all know the Hales deserved better than what they got. Talia was an upstanding member of this community, and finding out she was murdered broke my heart. As it stands, be glad your sister conveniently wound up dead, or I’d be exposing this whole operation.”

Victoria scoffs. “Ha. The Hunter’s Guild has the best lawyers in the world. We could get you thrown in prison for the fire that killed those mongrels if we wanted.”

Derek snarls, flashing his eyes and claws at her. Stiles lays a hand on his shoulder, and pulls him back.

“Vic. That’s enough.” Chris snaps at his wife. “Don’t antagonize them.”

“Have I made myself clear?” The Sheriff asks.

Chris Argent stiffly nods. “Yes. I’ll give you my number for your work phone.”

“Excellent. Come on, boys. You folks have a good day, sorry to interrupt your breakfast.” He briskly says, not looking back as he walks to the door.

Outside, Derek begins cursing. “Of all the fucking nerve! Calling my family mongrels?! Who does that ginger bitch think she is?!”

“Hey, hey, hey! None of that. Just- just ignore her. She wanted you to get riled up. She was just looking for an excuse to get under your skin.” Stiles cautions him.

“I don’t trust them. Any of them. That goes for your friend’s little girlfriend, too.”

Stiles runs a hand over his head in frustration. “Derek, let Allison be. She’s not like her parents, or her aunt. Do you think she’d be dating Scott if she were?”

“From what you’ve said of what happened to the other me, it seems like the family’s modus operandi.” He snarls.

“Derek. Enough.” John says. “They’ve agreed to back down.”

“Fine.” He bites. “I just wish they’d go away.”

“They’re here to stay, it looks.” Stiles replies. “Your family dealt with them once, we’ll do it again.”

Derek says nothing further, only glaring out of the Jeep’s window. By the time they reach the Stilinski house, he’s calmed significantly, enough so that Stiles is able to convince him to a few rounds of Call of Duty before they agree on lunch. John has a twelve to twelve shift, so they disregard the meager contents of the fridge and order out. Not even half an hour later, a bag full of Chinese food sits on the dining room table.

“It’s nice to know that Ming Wa’s is still open in 2017.” Derek says as he bites into an egg roll.

“Does it taste the same as it does in ‘08?” Stiles asks.

“Actually, yeah. The General Tso’s is a little spicier than I remember, but it’s still the same food.”

Stiles looks to his companion. “I’m glad. You know, you’re really taking this whole ‘future’ thing in stride.”

“No choice.” Derek shrugs. “I can have a mental breakdown, or just enjoy the iPhones.”

“Good way to look at it. And I know you’ve been on my laptop searching lottery numbers.” He points a fork accusingly at him.

“Guilty.”

“Your family is loaded dude, you don’t need the lottery.”

Derek smirks. “Hey, maybe I want some funds of my own.”

“Derek.” Stiles warns.

“What?! The whole timeline is gonna fall to shit anyway, why not benefit from it?”

Stiles balefully stares at him. “Just because you’re going to alter the trajectory of time as we know it doesn’t mean you have to skew it any more than it already will be.”

“Fine, fine!” Derek concedes. “Can I stop Donald Trump from becoming President?”

“I’ll kill you if you don’t.”

Chapter Text

Stiles breathes in sharply as he wakes up. The dream had been so vivid he could’ve sworn it was real. It had felt real, more real than any dream he’d ever had before, even the nightmares of his mother. He could still smell it, still feel it on his skin.

He had been there, in a kitchen he’d never seen before. The air smelled of spaghetti sauce and starch, and a dark haired woman had stood with her back turned to him, stirring the boiling pasta. Suddenly, she’d turned to face him, and Stiles had met with the smiling face of Talia Hale.

“Ah, Stiles!” She had said. “Can you hand me that colander, the spaghetti’s ready.”

He’d responded, “Yeah, sure thing.”

“Thank you, dear.”

And then he’d woken up. Now, in the darkness of his room, he sits up and stares at the far wall. Why on Earth had he had such a boring, domestic, and damn vivid dream about Derek’s mom, of all people? The clock on his nightstand reads 4:06, so he rolls over, and drifts back into a thankfully dreamless sleep.

Sometime around ten, his father drifts into the room, gently shaking him awake.

“Hey, Stiles.”

Stiles groans, pressing further into his sheets.

“Stiles, get up. I made you two breakfast.” John sighs. “Come on, kid.”

“Stiles, food!” Derek calls from around a mouthful of toast in the doorway.

He sits up, blearily staring at the two men. “Food?”

“See, John?” Derek asks, looking quite satisfied. “You just need to incentivize.”

The Sheriff snorts. “Keep talking like that and I’m gonna put you to work in our interrogation room.”

“Hey, I’m a human lie detector, it could work.”

Stiles hops out of bed, and pushes the two out of his room, quickly throwing on a pair of sweats and an oversized tee shirt. He then heads to the kitchen, where, as promised, there is a plate with egg whites, bacon, some home fries and a couple of slices of toast on the table.

“Who made home fries?” He asks.

“Me.” Derek responds. “My Aunt Ritsa taught me.”

“These are really good.” Stiles says as he shovels them into his mouth.

John sits down and takes a swig of his coffee. “I bet they’d be even better if you let them touch your tongue instead of pouring them straight into your stomach.”

The gluttonous teen pauses in his eating to level a positively scorching glare at his father. “Hey, I resemble that statement!”

“You define that statement.” Derek deadpans as he digs into his own plate.

The three of them continue their banter until a knocking at the door interrupts just as Stiles is gathering everyone’s plates to throw into the dishwasher.

“Anyone expecting anybody?” He asks.

The other two men shake their heads, and Stiles heads to answer the door. Derek can hear the whole exchange from across the house.

“Deaton, hi.” Stiles politely greets.

There’s a sound as Deaton steps into the foyer. “Stiles, it’s good to see you. I’m just here to check in on Derek, see if you’ve made any progress on the issue of fixing him.”

“Everything points to there being no solution until the parameters of your spell are met.” He responds. “We still don’t know quite what those parameters are. We’re running with your theory that some profound, life-changing event has to take place.”

“May I come in?” Deaton asks.

“Sure.” He says.

The two enter the room, and Deaton smiles politely to Derek and John. He carries a manilla envelope in one hand, which he passes to the Sheriff.

“Sheriff Stilinski, sorry for interrupting your morning. Here’s the papers my friend got for Derek. Social security card, birth certificate, non-driver's ID, passport, fake high school transcript, the like. I also tapped another contact and got a replacement key for the Camaro. It’s better than leaving it to rust in the Preserve.”

John gives an impressed whistle as he looks at the forged documents. “Damn, doc. Your friend does good work, I can’t tell these are fakes.”

“He wouldn’t be my friend if he didn’t.” The mysterious vet sanguinely replies.

“Thank you. I’ll take the boys over to get the car later.” He replies.

“Derek,” Deaton turns. “How are you holding up?”

The teenager shrugs. “I’m okay, I guess. I’d love to go home, but it’s not too bad here.”

“Not feeling anxious, any symptoms of post traumatic stress?”

“No, nothing like that.” He shakes his head.

“What about time slips?” Deaton asks.

Derek furrows his brow. “What’s that?”

Deaton sits down at the table as he explains. “A time slip is a- a vision. It feels like a dream, or a memory, but much more powerful, more real. It’s caused when the timeline is being changed in some way. The more vivid and powerful the slip, the more timeline has been altered. They can happen at any time, even while you’re asleep.”

Stiles’ head automatically snaps up. “Shit.” He whispers.

“Stiles?” The Sheriff queries.

“I think I’ve had one of those.” He says.

Deaton turns to look at him, his face deadly serious. “Tell me exactly what you saw.”

“It was… it was a kitchen. And there was a woman in it, cooking dinner. It was Derek’s mom, I’m pretty sure. If not, at least a relative. She asked me to pass her something to help cook the meal, and then I woke up.” He relays his “dream”.

The vet sighs. “Yes, that sounds like one. How vivid was it?”

“Very. I could smell the food, hear crickets outside. It was like I was there.” Stiles says.

Derek, for his part, looks shocked. John speaks to his son. “Go on, anything else?”

“No, that’s it. It was really quick.” He concludes.

Deaton addresses both of the teens as he speaks. “You’re on the right track. As you draw closer and closer to the new reality asserting itself over the old, you’ll experience these slips more frequently, and more vividly. Once a chain of events has culminated in this reality becoming an impossibility, the new timeline will assert itself.”

“What then?” Derek asks.

“That will be up to you. I have to go, but… whatever you’re doing, it’s working. If you don’t want it to, something will have to change.”

With that, the enigmatic emissary slips out of the side door. John looks to the two of them before he nods. “I’ll let you two discuss.” He heads upstairs.

Alone, the two of them stare at each other. Finally, Derek speaks. “This isn’t my choice to make. It’s your reality.”

“It’s your family.” Stiles retorts.

“Intentional or not, you did this. It’s your decision. Whatever you choose, I’ll honor it.” The other teen sighs.

Stiles sits at the table, his head in his hands. He sits up, his eyes hard as he finalizes his decision. He walks over, and sets a hand on Derek’s shoulder, urging him to sit.

“I’ve seen the consequences of your family dying. So much pain, so much loss. People beyond your family getting hurt and killed as a direct result of that. I can’t… I can’t even begin to sentence a whole family line to extinction. We save your family. That’s the priority, full stop.”

“Thank you.” Derek breathes, pulling Stiles into a fierce hug.

Stiles returns the hug just as intensely. “No need to thank me.”

Three days later, Derek has his first time slip.

The image lasts for only a split second as he walks into the living room. As he looks over the room, it suddenly changes form. The soft yellow walls become an artful shade of smoky grey, and the plush carpet gives way to deep brown wood. The furniture changes position and style, going from a clustered set of comfortable couches and chairs into a more spacious orientation, with much sleeker decor.

Derek sees a vision of a woman in a dusky violet dress as she strides through. Her brown hair, highlighted with blonde, is elegantly curled and styled up, and her makeup is minimal, tending towards the natural side. She has an upturned nose and a smattering of freckles across her cheeks. She carries herself with an impish aura of mischief as she speaks.

“John! Come on, we’re gonna be late!” She calls, though her voice is echoey and distorted.

Just as suddenly, the living room is returned to normal. The woman is gone, but her voice still echoes in Derek’s ears. Another sound reaches him, one that snaps him from the trance. Stiles’ heart is pounding even as he keeps a composed face trained on him from his position in one of the lounge chairs.

“You just had one, didn’t you?” Stiles asks.

Derek nods his affirmative. “I saw… I saw a woman.”

The other teen blanches, before wordlessly standing, and dragging Derek into the hallway, pointing to an image of the Sheriff with his arms wrapped around a beautiful young woman. A young boy, presumably Stiles, sits on both of their laps.

“That’s her.” He says.

Instantly, Stiles’ knees go weak, and he falls into Derek. The werewolf scrambles to catch him. The two wind up on the floor, Stiles leaning heavily into Derek. He lets loose a deep, ragged sort of croaking sound, and shakes with suppressed sobs. Pouring from his lips is an endless stream of conscience.

“Oh, my God… Mom…”

Derek swallows his own secondary emotions, overwhelmed by the confusing cocktail of scents including grief, loneliness, and pure, unadulterated joy.

“We’ll keep on the right path.” Derek assures him, his own voice thick. “We’ll save her.”

The slips continue over the days. Sometimes, it’s little things, ghosts of people dancing at the edges of the two boys’ vision, sometimes it’s whole scenes, interactions, and strange dreams of domesticity. Though they grow frustrating, the time slips never come at a dangerous time. Stiles is always fearful that he’ll see a completely different reality as he’s driving, and Derek wonders what visions the full moon will bring.

Magic is always at its most potent when the moon is at its peak, and he’s been restraining himself and avoiding shifting. In the nearly two weeks since his arrival in the future, Derek has not gone into the full beta shift once. His wolf is clawing at the carefully constructed barriers within his mind, and Derek fears he may lose control for the first time since he was eleven. The evening of the full moon, Scott arrives with a bag slung over his shoulder and a cavalier grin.

“Hey, man.” He says, raising a hand in greeting.

“Scott.” Derek nods.

Stiles rounds the corner, phone pressed to his ear even as he stuff chips into his mouth.

“Yes, Lydia,” He says, surprisingly clear for someone gorging himself. “I got them both here.”

‘And you’re sure they’re fine?’ Lydia asks from over the phone.

“Yes, my darling, they are fine.”

‘Not your darling, Stilinski.’ She sounds bemused.

Stiles shakes his head fondly. “I’ll see you soon, Lyds.”

‘Bye, Stiles.’

The human presses the end call button, and looks to his two lycanthropic friends. “I figure you two can use some wolfy companionship. Lydia, Allison, and I are having a human’s night while you two go run in the Preserve.” He says.

Derek raises an eyebrow at Scott’s bag, which reveals a change of clothes.

“Really?” He asks.

“What?! It gets messy.” Scott defensively replies.

The younger (older?) wolf chuckles. “Not if you know what the Hell you’re doing.”

“Boys, play nice. Don’t make me get the spray bottle.” Stiles says from where he’s preparing a bowl of salsa. “Anyway, Dad has cleared the Preserve of cops. You two should have free reign. No mauling each other, please.”

“Fine.” Derek shrugs. “We’re not pack, so I’m making it clear, let me take point.”

“I can handle myself, thanks.” Scott bites back.

Derek lets out a soft growl. “My land, my rules.”

“Don’t know if you’ve noticed-” Scott begins, but Stiles rushes to intercede, knowing perfectly well what the next words out of his mouth will be, and how he’ll deserve it when Derek literally kills him right in Stiles’ kitchen if he completes the statement.

“Enough!” He barks. “Both of you, cut the shit. Scott, this is Derek’s land. Honor whatever wolfy thing is attached to that. And Derek, you’re foreign to this entire reality. Let Scott have a little leeway.”

The two stare at each other, sizing their opponents up, before relaxing. Derek sticks out a grudging hand, which Scott accepts with equal hostility.

“Sorry.” Scott mumbles.

“Back at you.” Derek replies.

The sound of a car pulling into the driveway cuts the tension, as well as the muffled slams of two car doors. Lydia forgoes knocking, instead simply marching in with a plate loaded with brownies. Allison shyly follows, carrying a bag with a few two liters of soda.

“Evening, boys.” The redhead smiles as she sets the plate onto the kitchen table.

“Ally, babe.” Scott breathes, walking over to kiss his girlfriend. Upon seeing the glare on his face, Stiles promptly elbows Derek as he scowls at the wolf and the huntress embracing.

“So, this is a thing we do now. Humans night.” Lydia shakes her head. “Who knew that being part of the supernatural world equates to girl time at Stiles’ house.”

Stiles takes faux-offense, placing a hand on his heart. “I’m wounded, Lydia! You act like girl time is a bad thing!”

Allison rolls her eyes and laughs. “Drama queen, much?” She asks. “Come on, I wanna watch Modern Family, you two need to hurry up.”

“Sheesh, so eager to get rid of your own boyfriend, Allison?” Stiles asks.

Lydia rolls her eyes. “So eager to occupy your very large television, more like.”

“Good night, Stiles.” Derek says. “I’ll be back before sunrise. Have fun.”

With that, the werewolf is out the back door, shifting as he jumps into the treetops and heading off towards the Preserve.

“Bye, Ally. I’ll see you soon.” Scott follows suit, chasing after his companion.

Once they’re fairly certain the boys are out of range, Allison and Lydia both stick their fingers in their mouths and begin to fake vomit.

“‘Oooohh, good night, Stiles!’” Lydia pantomimes Derek. “God, he’s so head over heels for you.” She and Allison promptly begin cackling.

Stiles blushes furiously, muttering at them both to shut up as he drags a bag of chips into the living room, turning on the TV. They settle in, binging television as they munch on snacks and gossip. Later in the night, somewhere around two in the morning, the topic falls to the two absent wolves.

“So, Stiles, spill.” Lydia flatly demands.

The targeted teen looks up in confusion. “Spill what?”

“Don’t play dumb with me, Genim.” Lydia snaps, stressing his real name. “What’s the deal with Derek?”

“Yeah!” Allison crows, suddenly looking much more interested in him than the TV. “He’s so into you, it’s kinda awkward.”

Stiles rolls his eyes. “Like you’re one to talk, Juliet. You and Scott are so uxorious it’s almost nauseating.”

“Doesn’t answer the question.” She responds.

The beleaguered man sighs. “Nothing!” He cries. “Nothing is going on. I think he’s cute and that’s all there is. Like you said, Lyds, he’s seven years older than me. Fucking with time is dangerous, and I don’t intend to make it any worse.”

Lydia nods skeptically, raising one perfectly plucked eyebrow. “I call bullshit. You two are plainly into each other. It’s gonna happen.”

“You’re sorely mistaken.” Stiles says, standing to head back into the kitchen.

He walks back towards the fridge, intent on refilling his glass, but stops for a moment, looking at the full moon at its zenith. It seems somehow larger, more beautiful than he’s ever seen in it in that moment. He sets his glass on the counter, and refills it with iced tea, and then begins to march back into the living room.

Across town, as Derek and Scott run at full speed through the forest of the Preserve, they come into a meadow. Derek looks up and catches sight of the moon, just as Stiles does the same for a brief second in his living room.

In that moment, with both of their eyes locked on their world’s celestial companion, something happens. At the Stilinski house, Stiles goes limp, slumping against the wall and dropping his drink. Simultaneously, Derek does the same thing, going sprawling out into the dirt.

Lydia and Allison are over to Stiles in an instant, each crying out for him. When they turn him over, his whole body is limp, except for his face, which is filled with such rapturous joy that he looks as though in the midst of a godhead revelation. Stiles’ eyes, however, are what catches their attention. They burn violet, then gold, then blue, then green, running in an endless cycle of colors and patterns, all inhuman. Scott sees the same thing printed in Derek’s face.

The two are trapped in a single moment, each sharing a vision. For Stiles, he sees Derek, his Derek. He’s sprawled atop of him, shirtless and flush. He kisses Stiles sweetly, even as his hands wander across his chest and press down towards his most intimate of places.

Derek sees the same thing, replicated from his own perspective. He can feel the soft, smooth flesh of Stiles’ stomach against his hands, can smell the sugary vanilla scent of Stiles, this one free of the harsh adderall edge, with a deeper, woodsier undertone to it. The vision finally breaks as he slides home into Stiles, slotted inside of him like a puzzle piece that fills both of them.

This is it. The moment it all changes, the defining thing that will forever send his destiny into a whole new tangent. In another life, he’d found a girl named Paige, and loving her had cost some version of him everything. But not him. For Derek, this stranger dislodged in time, there will only ever be one person, a boy with smoldering whiskey eyes and a tongue apparently as adept at kissing as it sarcasm. Whatever happened to the old him is history. Stiles is all he will ever know.

Stiles feels it, too. His crush on Lydia is nothing compared to the all-consuming passion of Derek claiming him. This is what he was meant to be, who he was meant to be with. It took destroying an entire universe, a timeline that he had been only a pawn of, but he had found something worth keeping. As he’s consumed by the vision, Stiles realizes that this is lynchpin that will determine the new timeline. As his body is filled with sublime pleasure, Stiles accepts this new reality. The last thing he sees before it all goes black is Derek’s eyes staring back at his own.

There’s a bird outside. Stiles can hear its feather-soft breathing and its rapid heartbeat. From downstairs, a newscast carries. Someone is humming as she fries something. Closer to him, a warm body and steady heartbeat are pressed against his. He rolls over, blinking blearily. As he clears the sleep from his eyes, Stiles sits up straight.

This isn’t his bedroom. The deep sapphire room is larger than his own. The silky grey sheets are not his, none of this is his. This isn’t his house. He stands, marching over to a window, ignoring his nudity. There’s a towering oak tree in the yard, and a single driveway which runs towards a wall of trees. The oak strikes him as far too familiar, but he can’t place it. His last memory is the full moon, silver and brilliant. After that, it’s dark.

Finally, he turns around, and sees the figure in the bed. It’s Derek. The right Derek, twenty four year old Derek. His hair, his scruff, even the triskele on his back are all there. This is definitely his Derek.

But why are they in the same bed, and why are they naked?!

“Oh, shit!” Stiles says to himself. “Where the fuck am I?!”

As he panics, he catches sight of his hands. The hands that are currently sporting black claws. Running to the dresser mirror, Stiles nearly faints as he sees his reflection, which is just right, except for one thing: his eyes are burning sunfire gold.

“Fuck!” He curses aloud.

At that, Derek sits up, groaning as he stretches. “What’s wrong, love?” He asks, rubbing at his eyes.

“Love?!” Stiles downright shrieks.

And with that, he faints.

Chapter Text

When Stiles wakes, he’s in a different room. It’s a room he faintly recognizes, this time. The first thing he catches sight of is an elegant wooden desk, intricately carved with symbols of wolves and triskelions. Looking to the far wall, he sees Derek, now the proper age, leaning against it, staring anxiously at him. Next to him is none other than Talia Hale.

“You’re… you’re dead.” He whispers.

“No, Genim, I’m not.” She smiles. “Yours and Derek’s misadventure all those years ago saved us all.”

“Years ago? That was- that was last night.”

Talia walks over, gingerly sitting next to him on the leather couch. “For you, maybe. For us, Derek vanished for nearly three weeks nine years ago. Just popped out of existence.”

“The timeline!” Stiles cries out, sitting straight up.

“Yes, that’s right.” Derek says, still keeping his distance. “That night, when we both had that vision, the new timeline asserted itself. I went back, and, knowing what I know, I changed the timeline. A lot is different than the one you come from.”

Stiles presses a palm to his forehead as he remembers the vision. “Oh, God, Derek, I’m sorry. I didn’t even remember it, I shouldn’t have freaked out on you like that.”

The werewolf smiles wanly and shakes his head. “It’s fine. Marin warned us this could happen. You left yourself a scrapbook and everything.”

“What, me not having my memories? It’s not permanent, is it?!” He demands, suddenly panicking.

“Stiles, lean back.” Talia urges. “And please don’t tear up my sofa with your claws.” She looks pointedly at his black nails edging dangerously close to the upholstery.

“Sorry.” He says, and by instinct, the claws pull back in.

“Whoa! How’d I do that?” He asks, staring at his now-blunted nails.

“Your memories, from this timeline, are still there. The same magic that took our Derek and brought him to your future now causes you to have two competing sets of memories. You’re displaced in time, so you remember the old timeline. As you settle in, the memories will reassert themselves. Go on, think back. Try to remember something from a few years ago.”

Stiles chooses a memory of the Hale fire, the most obvious thing he can think of. It’s there, alright. He attended the funeral service for the family, saw the bitter agony painted on Derek and Laura’s faces, but there’s something beneath that, like a second, holographic layer to it.

The second memory is blurry and uncertain, but he can make out the visage of the Hale house, of a younger Derek laughing as he runs through the yard. He tosses something, and his memory self runs to catch it.

He looks at the two other wolves in awe as he realizes. “That’s the same day?” Stiles asks for confirmation.

“Yes, it is. Eventually, that memory will take over the old one. You’ll always remember what was, though. You won’t forget. It’ll just dull, according to Marin.” Talia says

The name sounds familiar to Stiles, but he can’t place a face to it. Derek senses his confusion, and answers the question before he asks it.

“After I got back, there was a… falling out with Deaton. We no longer associate with him. Now we work with his sister, Marin Morrell. She works at the school.” He supplies.

“What about Scott and Lydia and Allison?” He asks.

“I’ll leave you two alone.” Talia awkwardly says, stepping out of the room.

Stiles looks back at Derek. “What was that about?”

Derek hesitates, before going for broke. “Scott… Scott is dead.”

There’s shock, as well as the phantom pain of settled grief. He knew this, subconsciously, but the knowledge still hurts. In his state, Stiles cannot bring up the requisite memories, so he asks Derek what happened.

“Without becoming a werewolf, Scott’s asthma never went away. Deciding to be funny, Jackson Whittemore stole his inhaler and threw it in the trash. Scott came to school with a really bad cold, and he had an asthma attack.” Derek pauses to take a steadying breath.

“He went into cardiac arrest. He was dead for almost three minutes before the school’s defibrillator brought him back. After that, he was hospitalized, and the cold turned into pneumonia, and he became immunocompromised. Scott wouldn’t respond to any of the drugs, and then he became septic. Scott died of septic shock on February 6.”

Stiles swallows, and a few tears slip down his face, but he does not break. He walks over, and pulls Derek close, burying his face in the crux of his shoulder.

“I’m sorry.” He says. “I know how much he meant to you.”

Stiles looks up and weakly smiles at him. “No, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m so screwed up.”

“Hey, hey, none of that.” Derek says, wiping the tears out of his eyes. “Without you, my family would be dead, and I wouldn’t have you.”

The younger man gives a bleary chuckle. “That’s still so amazing to me.”

A knock at the door interrupts them, and Stiles pulls back, trying to compose himself. Talia peaks in, and gives a little grin to him. “There’s someone here to see you.” She says. “In the living room.”

The two follow her, and Stiles marvels at the beauty of the mansion that the Hales call home. He catches the scent of his father’s cologne, and something familiar that he just can’t place. In the living room, his father stands, talking closely with a woman, who turns, and gives a brilliant smile to him.

Stiles is caught short, he can’t even breathe. Somehow, he manages to choke out a single word.

“Mom.”

Claudia Stilinski smiles widely as she approaches, wrapping her arms tightly around her progeny. “Hi, baby.” She says.
Stiles continues to choke on his words, and, eventually, he simply breaks down into tears, crying joyfully into his mother’s shoulder.

“It’s okay, it’s alright, sweetheart.” She says, stroking through the tresses Stiles failed to notice the version of him has. She pulls back, teary-eyed herself, and gently frames his face with her hands.

“Oh, I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you, honey.” She says, pressing a kiss to his forehead. “And I’m so grateful to you. You saved my life.” 

“I-“ Stiles forces out. “How did I…?”

Derek steps forwards, tears brimming in his own eyes as he thickly speaks. “When I came back, I told my parents about your mom, how she’d get sick. I convinced Mom to give her the bite, and to bring John in on the secret.”

Stiles stares at the older wolf, speechless, before throwing his arms around him and kissing him breathless.

“Thank you.” He whispers.

There’s not a dry eye in the room as they all compose themselves. Eventually, Talia speaks.

“There’s a great deal that’s changed from your time, Stiles.” She says. “Why don’t we get into the dining room, and we can answer some questions for you.”

Stiles nods. “Yeah, yeah, that’d be great.” In the dining room, the five of them sit at one end of a long, elegant table and begin talking.

“Would you rather start big or small?” John asks.

The temporally displaced teenager considers before responding. “Big. Is Trump President?” He winces, fearing the answer.

Claudia laughs. “God, no. He lost by a landslide. Clinton picked up Georgia, Arizona, North and South Carolina, Carolina, as well as Nebraska and Indiana. Democrats have sixty two seats in the Senate and three hundred and two seats in the House. You mean, where you’re from… he won?”

“Yep. It was a shitshow. He lost the popular vote by three million, won the electoral.” Stiles bitterly responds.

“How’d you know the numbers on that, anyways?”

“I figured you’d wanna know, so I did some googling on the car ride over.” She grins. “Time traveler or not, you’re still my kid.”

“Brexit?” He asks.

“Failed.” Talia responds. “The last of the former Yugoslav states joined the EU this summer. ISIS is all but eradicated, China is beginning to lower free expression restrictions, and the US, Canada, and Mexico are in talks for a common currency. Anything else global?”

Stiles stares at the alpha wolf. “What the fuck?” He flatly asks.

Claudia and Derek snort, while John just rolls his eyes.

“What?” The Hale matriarch asks, bewildered.

“How much an impact did saving you guys have?! Literally none of that happened in the old reality.”

She shrugs. “Butterfly effect, I guess.”

“What about my friends?” Stiles queries.

Derek answers. “In this reality, you’re pretty close Isaac Lahey, Vernon Boyd, and Erica Reyes, especially after Scott died.”

Stiles still flinches when he hears that. “What about Allison and Lydia?”

“Well…” Derek trails. “Allison is a lot less… pleasant.”

“Pleasant?” He raises an eyebrow.

Talia mutters to herself, but the werewolf hearing makes it plain as day to him. “Little bitch.”

“Whoa! What happened with Allison?” Stiles demands.

“Suffice it to say she’s a lot more like her aunt. As for Lydia Martin, she had a very public fall from grace after Scott died.” Derek intercedes. “She’s pretty much in the Argents’ pockets now. People say she was the reason Jackson took his inhaler, and it cost her… well, everything. She’s a pariah.”

“Jesus.” Stiles says, putting his head in his hands. “What about Melissa?”

John speaks up then. “She moved to her sister’s in Georgia. I haven’t heard from her since.”

The teenager swallows, and carefully parses his words. “This is… a lot. And my memories are all jumbled, but there’s no going back, is there?”

“There is.” Talia says. Derek hisses at her to be silent, but she cows him with a single glare. “He deserves to know.”

“What?” He asks. “What do I deserve to know?”

The alpha composes her answer with tact. “The spell isn’t set, not yet. The bridge between this world and the old is still there, for the moment. You have to break the ties that bind you to this one in order to revert to the old ways.”

“How long?”

“A week, two, at most. Once the memories from this reality solidify, there is no going back to it.” Talia responds.
Stiles shakes his head. “How do you know this? Deaton said he never fully understood the spell.”

John clears his throat to speak. “Deaton lied. A lot. After Derek came back, and he started to talk about the experiences he had in the future, holes in Deaton’s story started appearing. It almost turned to a fight. He’s running with the Argents, now.”

“God, this is so fucked. The people I know are these twisted versions of themselves, and the people I don’t know are suddenly my friends and family.” He says, sagging in his chair.

Derek rubs uneasily at his back. “It’s a lot. Maybe we should let you have some time alone.” He suggests.

“No, I’m okay,” Stiles responds. “I’m good. I just need to process all this.”

Claudia takes her son’s hands as she gently smiles to him. “Go read the scrapbook you left yourself. It’s in your and Derek’s room, right?” She directs the question to Derek.

“Yeah, yeah.” He responds. “I’m gonna go do that. I’ll be back.”

In the dark blue bedroom he shares with Derek, Stiles sits on the bed, and lets himself fall flat on his back against the mattress. He tries to focus inward, and summon the memories from this reality, but he gets faint echoes and blurry visions, masked behind the crisp imprints of the old world. Finally, he strides over to a bookcase, and sees a humble binder resting on one of the shelves. Printed on the spine in his own handwriting is a message. ‘To whoever I am. -Stiles’

Stiles opens the first page, and sees a handwritten letter on the loose leaf paper.

‘Dear Stiles, or whoever you are,

Welcome to the new reality. Well, new for you. This is the only reality I’ve ever known. Marin says that you’re gonna take over me for a while, before I get to come back with your memories in the back of my head. Here’s hoping they’re not super messed up.

To bring this down to the super spark notes version based on what Derek told me about the alternate reality, you’re a werewolf, Scotty is gone, Mom is alive, and the Hales aren’t crispy. Most importantly, you’re disgustingly in love with Derek. That’s a direct quote from Laura. In the pages behind this are newspaper clippings, articles, letters, memes, and messages. A compendium of all you need to know about our life until everything is back to normal.

Good luck,

Genim ‘Stiles’ Daniel Stilinski-Hale.’

Swallowing a strange mix of emotions, Stiles flips to the next page and finds the front page of the New York Times, dated November 9, 2016. The cover reads ‘CLINTON DEMOLISHES TRUMP, SWINGS HISTORIC VICTORY’. Along the margins is another note from the other him.

‘Dude, he won where you’re from? I’m so sorry.’

Chuckling, he continues on.

Chapter Text

Stiles finishes the scrapbook just as the sun is starting to set. As he slides it back onto the bookshelf, Derek is there, knocking on the open door and leaning against the doorframe.

“Hey, you missed dinner.” He says. “Feel like some Chinese?”

“Ming Wa’s?” Stiles asks hopefully.

The older wolf chuckles. “Yes, we’ll go to Ming Wa’s. Come on, let’s take the Camaro.”

Beacon Hills is a beautiful place at twilight. The western sky glows gold that transitions into a deep violet, just as Venus burns like a white ember in the sky, and Stiles is breathless. This world is so alien, and yet, so familiar. He recognizes people as they mill about, some sporting different haircuts, others just as they were in the old universe. The dog days of summer seem to be brimming with hope, even as the specter of school hovers over it. He looks into the side mirror of the Camaro and catches sight of himself for the first time.

Obviously, he’s still himself, but there is a difference. He seems to carry himself differently, his shoulders more squared, his chest more puffed. Stiles’ face is clear of acne and most blemishes, and his hair, how the Hell did he fail to notice that in this reality, he wore his hair longer and spiked up?

“You’re thinking so loud that I can hear it, Stiles.” Derek remarks, not taking his eyes off of the road.

“Sorry.” He responds. “It’s just… so weird. Is this what it was like for you? Feeling just slightly off?”

The werewolf nods his head. “That’s exactly what it felt like. I wasn’t right in my skin, the rest of the world was a step to the left of where I was.”

“Did it ever fade away?” Stiles asks.

“Eventually, yeah. You’re displaced in time, obviously things are gonna be different. Just try to focus on the memories of this time and place. It might make you feel more grounded.” Derek suggests.

Stiles tries just that. The scrapbook had made a lot of the murky memories much clearer, so he draws those up. He can remember finding out about werewolves at the tender age of nine, finding out his mother was one, and what it all meant. He remembers have a pathetic puppy love crush on Derek for the longest time, and finally working up the gumption to kiss him at a Hale/Stilinski Christmas last year, chastely pressing his lips to Derek’s in the library while the fire crackled behind them and snow coated the ground in vast sheets outside.

Derek is right, bringing back the memories that the other him carried helps a lot. By the time they pull into the Chinese place parking lot, he feels grounded in the moment. There’s a fleeting sense of longing for the way things were, but he presses it down. They go in and order their takeout, waiting at a wall of chairs opposite the counter.

“Feel better?” He softly queries.

Stiles nods. “Yeah. How’d you know I was feeling so weird, anyway?”

“We’re mates, Stiles.” He chuckles. “Werewolf bond and all. Didn’t you wonder what that rather acute awareness of me was?”

“I figured it was a pack thing. I can feel your mom, too, and mine.” He responds.

Derek shakes his head. “Our bond is the strongest. Feel for the others.”

He’s right, all the bonds are there, tethering him to each of the Hales. Stiles can identify each of the people he’s bound to, their specific feeling summoning faded memories related to them. He can name them all, and it brings familiarity to the image of the Hales that he’d seen on Talia’s desk in another life.

There was Ritsa, Talia’s younger sister, and her daughter, Kita, whose father was out of the picture. Peter and his wife Gwen, as well as their now-nine year old son Alexander. Derek’s father was a man named Evan, formerly Collins, but werewolf protocol dictated that betas mating to alphas take their alpha’s last name. Then, of course, there was Laura, now 26 and working at the German embassy in San Francisco, and Cora, a fellow sophomore at BHHS.

Drawing up these vague details, a more stark memory hits Stiles. Flashes of the moon, a wide clearing that seems all too familiar, but he can’t place it. His mother holding his hand and smiling reassuringly, even as her eyes glow gold. Derek sitting right in front of him, pale in the moonlight, and an acute awareness of Talia to his right. An impossible jolt of sharp pain that travels up from his right wrist.

The night he was turned, the night he became a wolf. Stiles can remember waiting in that field the entire night, Derek holding him in his arms as the rest of the pack runs through the forest. He remembers that first impossible shift, the endless sensory input on that night of the June full moon. More than that, he remembers Derek rearing his head back and biting deep into the crux of his neck as Stiles did the same, each to claim and be claimed.

There are more vague memories of a beach house somewhere in the downstate, and of a honeymoon period, as well as a flash of mirthful clarity at his father’s discomfort with the age difference. Understandable, but irrelevant considering the mess of time travel and an alternate universe that set the backdrop to it all.

Derek had always been up front about how he knew what he did, but he had hidden just how deeply he’d fallen for that other Stiles, the Stiles of the 2017 he’d been taken to. Only Talia had known the full extent of what had happened, and what had brought Derek back to his place in time.

Stiles is so engrossed with the return of memories from the life he’s led in this timeline that he doesn’t even notice that Derek has gotten their food until he’s standing in front of him with an expectant grin.

“Food?” He simply asks, holding up the brown paper bag with their meals.

“Huh?” Stiles looks up, snapping back to reality. “Oh, shit, yeah. Back to the house?”

Derek shakes his head. “How about the park? It’s still light enough.”

“Sure.”

They walk across the street to a small park that’s open to the public, finding a picnic bench secluded from the more populated area where others are themselves sitting and talking and eating. Derek empties the contents of the bag, passing Stiles his food, as well as laying out a few shared dishes for them. The two heartily dig into their meals, making easy conversation as the do.

“Mom cleared out the house after your little scene this morning, but she texted me that everyone’s back now. I hope you’re ready for it.” Derek teasingly smiles at him.

“I can handle our pack.” Stiles fires back with a smirk.

The taunting grin fades into a tiny, genuine smile, and Stiles raises an eyebrow. “What are you staring at? Is there something on my face? Is it my new hair, do I look stupid?”

Derek shakes his head and laughs. “No, it’s just… I didn’t know if you’d feel comfortable calling them our pack yet.”

“Hey,” he begins. “I’m still him. I’ll be him, soon enough. His memories are all there, even if they are hazier than Beijing during rush hour.”

“You know, in whatever timeline, you never fail to surprise.”

The younger wolf bows mawkishly with a flourish. “I’ll take that as the highest praise.”

“Shut up and eat your dim sung.” Derek laughs.

They drive back to the Hale house, and from as far as a quarter mile Stiles can pick up the distinctive sounds of eleven or so people crowded in the manor, as well as snippets of loud conversation. He tunes it out, and focuses on Derek’s heartbeat.

That noise, the easy lub-dub that hardly ever changes, feels like a talisman. It keeps him grounded, and makes the memories swirling through his psyche put themselves back together in a way that makes sense. Derek informs him that tomorrow morning, Marin will be by to explain to him everything else, and he’s finally able to attach a face to the name, a beautiful, willowy woman with cocoa skin and black hair as straight as a ruler falling to her shoulders.

The Camaro pulls into the clearing the Hale house is situated in, and the house goes quiet, the din of conversation stopping as the engine cuts. Stiles can pick up a softly uttered order from Talia to the rest of them.

“Don’t overwhelm him, he’s still adjusting.” She says.

Beside him, Derek grits his teeth, the sound of bone grinding together setting Stiles on edge. The other wolf seems to sense his anxiety, and makes a concerted effort to control his own annoyance. He lays a hand on Derek’s arm, and looks at him with gratitude.

“Let’s go.” Stiles says.

In the mauve darkness of twilight, everything is softer, closer to what it looked like when Stiles was human. The world seems quiet and safe, with the windows of the brick and siding Hale house casting gold beams into the dusk. The pack of werewolves inside is uncharacteristically silent, but he can pick up their breathing, their heartbeats, and the sound of fabric scraping as people sit and stand, cross and uncross their legs, and feather light bare footsteps across hardwood. Derek steps ahead, opening the front door and letting him into the foyer. Stiles smiles at him, and then walks down the hallway into the living room.

Talia is standing in the center of the room, smiling at the two of them. “How was dinner, boys?” She asks.

“Fine.” Derek says, clipped but polite.

Stiles tries a more complex response. “It was really good, and a relief to know that Ming Wa’s is it still a thing.”

“I’m glad. How are your memories, Stiles?”

“They’re… here and there. Focusing helps, and being out did, too.”

“That’s good.” She says encouragingly. “I won’t insult you by asking if you remember your own pack, but I figured it best that you see everyone together, to get… reacquainted.”

“Mother.” Derek practically growls.

“It’s fine, Derek. Go upstairs if you need to.” Stiles says.

Derek’s nostrils flare, and he crosses his arms, settling in against the doorframe. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Laura stands up, rolling her eyes. “Come here, Stilinski.” She orders, hugging him close. “We don’t need everyone standing on ceremony to do this. So your head’s a little messed up, what else is new?”

Stiles chuckles, the teasing feeling vaguely familiar, accompanied by faded new memories of afternoons out with Laura, getting shitfaced on wolfsbane liquor in the Preserve, and taking stupid selfies all over Los Angeles.

After that, Cora, the person he can probably call his best friend with Scott gone, steps forward. She doesn’t even speak, just hugs him close and makes a point to mark her scent against his cheek.

“I’m glad you’re here, too, Cora.” He says.

Derek huffs from his position in the doorway, making his displeasure at the situation perfectly known.

“Something the matter, nephew mine?” Peter’s naturally taunting voice carries.

“You all act like he wasn’t fine yesterday, like he won’t be fine soon. He still knows you, knows us! We don’t need to sit here and pretend like he’s gone and died!” Derek objects.

“Der-” Talia goes to speak, but her son cuts her off.

“No, Mom. This isn’t your business. He’s my mate.”

“And my beta.” Talia snaps back. “And so are you. I am trying to make sure that this doesn’t completely overwhelm him, that you don’t just throw him headlong into a timeline that he may well revert!”

As mother and son prepare for a rare but doubtlessly brutal argument, Stiles marches out into the kitchen. He strips off his shoes and socks, and runs out the back door, taking off for the tree line. Once there, he feels the shift overwhelm him, and he doesn’t look back.

After fifteen or so minutes of running, he finds himself at the overlook that offers a view of the entire town. Stiles sits down, staring at Beacon Hills in the late August night. It would probably be chilly tonight if he weren’t a wolf, but he’ll never have to worry about that again, won’t he?

The memories are faded, jumbled, scrambled. He falls back into the ones from the old reality, the ones that are still clear. He thinks back to those anxious first days after Scott’s bite, when neither of them wanted to admit what it was they were dealing with. He thinks back to the other Derek, the Derek who slammed him against doors and threatened him and took him to Burger King because he wanted a whopper that one time.

Stiles thinks back on the world he’s from, and weighs it down. Who is he, a scrawny, ADHD-riddled little wisp of a teenager, to play god with time? Is it his right to determine who lives and dies, regardless of how he feels about them? Scott had his whole life before him, Lydia was going to be the queen of the damn world, and Allison was such a lovely person, in spite of the people who raised her.

How wrong was it that he should condemn them to a worse fate than the ones time intended for them, just so he could have his mother back? The full weight of the existential crisis feels like a neutron star dropped on his head that goes straight through to his heart.

Just as suddenly, Stiles is thrust into a time slip.

Chapter Text

Water. Dead weight in his arms. The overwhelming sense of danger.

These the are things Stiles is aware of. He can see something pacing at the edge of his vision, something dark and clearly not human. The dead weight is, shockingly, Derek. He’s paralyzed, it seems, from the way his limbs remain stiff and immobile against Stiles’ body.

“Go!” Derek chokes out. “Leave me to drown, save yourself, Stiles!”

The vision changes.

A little boy, bouncing on his mother’s knee. His dad is there, and so is Derek, who’s clean-shaven with his hair smoothed down. He catches sight of his own reflection, with even longer hair and a fair amount of stubble on his face.

“Papa!” The boy cries, staring back at him with Derek’s wide, kaleidoscopic eyes.

Another shift.

Carnage. Death. Shadows of smoke massacre the hospital staff around him, and it feels good. He loves the chaos, the fear, all of it. There’s a sense of purpose to the easy stride he takes down the hallway, carefully stepping over an orderly choking on his own blood. Melissa, he must find Melissa.

A fourth vision.

Lydia limps barefoot across the frozen ground. The guards behind her laugh, exchanging high fives and saying unspeakable things about her. In her arms, a few packets of rations, a blanket, some water.

Her face is paler than ever, her eyes are too big for her starved face and its sunken cheeks. Her strawberry blonde hair is brittle and streaked with grey. In the distance, a column of choking, flesh-sweet smoke rises from a building that resonates only as absolute death.

Derek is there, just as weak as they are, just as starved. His eyes are a faded grey, and his too long hair sits flat against his forehead.

“It’s enough for another few days.” Lydia says, even as a dribble of blood and unspeakable fluid runs down her leg from beneath the skirts she’s been forced into. “It bought us time.”

The horror snaps him back to the overlook, and Stiles stumbles, gagging, voiding the contents of his stomach all over the grass and choking back sobs as he can still feel the cold against his skin, the frozen ground against his feet in his shoes. The context of the vision is fading, but he doesn’t need context to understand what was happening there. History provides plenty of context.

A howl breaks across the night, a howl that sprints down into his very soul. Derek. Stiles can’t even begin to formulate a response, but he simply pleads across the bond and hopes Derek can find him. The bond sings back, and he knows Derek is on his way.

What feels like hours later, he finally reaches the overlook, and he stops short at the sight of Stiles bent over a rock, sobbing near-hysterically, and catches the scent of vomit for nearby. As quickly as he’s stopped, Derek sprints over to his distraught mate, and pulls him in close, holding Stiles to his chest and letting him cry.

“What happened?” He asks. “Talk to me, baby.”

Stiles is barely coherent, but is able to force out the words vision, horror, camp, Lydia. It takes him nearly a half an hour to bring his breathing down, and he recalls the time slips.

“It sounds like…” Derek trails.

“Like what?” Stiles demands, eyes still watering.

“Like you’re stressing time.” He says.

The younger wolf’s eyebrows shoot upward. “Stressing?”

“It sounds silly, I know. But time isn’t meant to be this flexible, and the longer you keep messing with it, the more unstable it becomes.” Derek says.

“So, what? I have to choose?”

“Pretty much.”

The older man helps Stiles to his feet, and doesn’t let go of his hand. “Look, I get that you’re stressed out, and you have all these competing memories, but we’ll deal with that tomorrow when Marin gets back, okay? For now, let’s go home.”

“Yeah. Home.” Stiles sadly responds.

They walk at a leisurely pace back towards the mansion, the waning moon still bright enough to cast long shadows behind them as the two see only the kitchen light on. Everyone else has long since gone to bed, and Stiles is grateful. He’s filled his interaction quota for the day several times over, and he just wants the warmth of a bed. Derek leads him upstairs, stopping outside of the dark blue bedroom the two of them share.

“If you want, there’s a guest room, if you can remember where it is.” He softly suggests, not looking him in the eye. “I remember what you said, back when we were in the other timeline. You were never with the other me.”

Stiles cups Derek’s cheek, and forces him to meet his eyes. “That was another life. Let’s just go to bed.” He kisses Derek chastely on the lips.

The two strip themselves down to their boxers, each easing into the side of the bed that smells most like them. Hesitantly, Stiles presses himself against Derek’s side, and is grateful when the other man wraps and arm around him and presses a kiss against his hairline.

“Good night.”

“Night, Sourwolf.”

There are no time slips that night, thank God. That said, Stiles still has vivid nightmares. He dreams that he’s standing outside of a classroom, Scott’s inhaler in hand, and he’s forced to watch as Scott chokes to death. No matter how hard he pounds against the glass, no matter how much he kicks the door and screams, no one pays attention.

He dreams of his mother, mad with dementia, thrashing in rage, fully into the beta shift even in her madness, bound to the hospital bed by chains. There are other, quicker flashes, equally hellish.

Stiles’ eyes snap open, and he remains perfectly still. The two of them have shifted in the night, with Derek now spooning him, an arm wrapped around his chest and their legs tangled together. The sun has yet to rise, but it teases at the eastern sky with splotches of blues and pinks.

He needs something to ground him, to bring him back to reality, so Stiles focuses on Derek behind him. The wolf doesn’t snore, surprisingly. His breathing is even and calm, and his heartbeat is as constant as the rising of the sun. Stiles shifts ever so slightly, and feels the press of Derek’s morning wood against him.

Had he been human, Stiles wouldn’t have been able to measure the response, but it’s there. Derek’s heartbeat kicks up ever so slightly, his breathing gets just a little heavier, and he releases pheromones that smell like receptivity and want. Experimentally, Stiles keeps shifting, pressing his rear into the clothed erection against him, and Derek takes a deep breath through his nose, and awakens.

“Wha…?” He mumbles, and Stiles is there, turning to face him and press his own hardness against Derek’s.

Stiles kisses him on the lips, along the jaw, down the curve of his long, elegant neck, even as his hands press into dangerous territory.

“Please.” He begs. “Please, I- I need…”

Derek pulls him back, locking eyes. “Stiles, are you-?”

“Shhh.” He interrupts. “Yes, yes I’m so sure. Please.”

Derek is on him, flipping Stiles onto his back and pressing him down into the mattress, kissing him fully and deeply, and Stiles could fucking weep, because this is it, this is the vision. The memories of this life become crystal clear when Derek pushes into him, and he clings to them, fearful of their loss.

In the aftermath, Stiles studies the memories, and finds himself drenched in guilt. The passing memory of Scott sends him into a spiral of shame, and then he’s whisked into another time slip.

He’s standing on the Golden Gate Bridge, looking over the vast tracts of farmland filling the drained bay. The futuristic distant skyline is dazzling, with specks of light orbiting the skyscrapers. Derek is there, his back to him, but he turns, his eyes pleading.

“There’s a convoy headed north to New York. They think if there’s a government left, it’s there. And…”

He raises an eyebrow. “And?”

“And my family is there.”

“Okay.” He says simply.

“Okay?”

“Yeah. Let’s do it. Let’s cross a lawless wasteland to find your family.”

There’s a burst of pain in both of Stiles’ forearms that snaps him out of the vision. He looks up at Derek, who stares at him with terrified eyes. Then he notices, Derek has stuck his claws into his arms, hoping the pain would bring him back.

“Ow.” Stiles grumbles.

“Sorry!” He responds, yanking his claws out. “You just… you blanked on me, and I didn’t know what else to do.”

Stiles watches as the ten knicks along his arm easily seal shut without even a dribble of blood, before looking back at Derek. “I had another slip, okay?”

“I figured. I just- I worry, okay?”

“You think I’m not worried? I’m the one with an entire timeline resting on his shoulders.” He bites back.

Derek looks away and softly speaks. “I meant what I said all those years ago. It’s your decision. And whatever you choose, it’s your right.”

“I don’t know what to do anymore.” Stiles sighs. “I just… who am I to decide who lives and who dies? What gives me the right to alter the trajectory of human history by changing one of the most important elections ever?”

The older wolf pulls him in close, scent marking against his cheek. “‘Though she be but little, she is fierce.’ That’s a favorite quote of yours. It doesn’t matter that you’re not some fantastic Druid or an esteemed Alpha. What matters is that you do decide these things. And yes, there’s always a trade off, but ask yourself, which world is the world you think we deserve?”

“None of you deserve what happened!” Stiles barks. “You didn’t earn your family being killed. This isn’t about deserve, it’s about fate. It doesn’t matter if there was a reason or not, your family died. Fate dictated that should happen, and now I’m playing with fate, and it got Scott killed and cost Lydia everything, and turned Allison into a monster. I fucked with time, and the people I care about paid for it. And yes, I care about you, so much, and your family, and my mother, but that wasn’t meant to be, and I crossed fate to make it happen.”

“Stiles, maybe it was. Have you considered the remote possibility that everyone happens for a reason, and that you stopping all that horror, you changing time, was part of that?” Derek asks.

“Of course I have! It still doesn’t change the fact that time isn’t right, and I have to fix it. Either I stay here, or I go back.” He moans, leaning back against the bed. “Look, the sun isn’t even up yet. Let’s just go back to bed. We’ll talk to Marin tomorrow.”

“Okay.” He says. “Okay, let’s go to bed.”

Stiles eases back into the mattress, his back pressed to Derek’s chest. He presses a kiss to his younger mate’s head, and the two of them gently drift of into a dreamless sleep in the predawn hours.

A knocking at the door another few hours later snaps them both awake. “Boys?” Talia asks through the door. “Boys, Marin is here. She wants to see you.”

Stiles turns around, sleepily blinking at Derek. “We should probably get dressed and see her.”

Derek makes a disgruntled noise, and Stiles can’t help but smile at the sleep-thick look on his face, and the way his hair sticks up in all directions. The two werewolves get up, each retrieving a pair of sweatpants and a tee shirt. Derek goes into their en suite to relieve himself as Stiles tries to fix his hair in the mirror above their dresser. After Derek is done, the two trade positions. Confident they don’t look abjectly terrible, they head downstairs, where Marin awaits in the study.

They say good morning to everyone as they scramble around the kitchen, and Stiles accepts a cup of coffee from Ritsa as she directs Cora and Kita to share the curling iron as they fight for it in the downstairs bathroom.

In the study, Marin sits on at a table to the side of the room, in an impeccable black pantsuit and sipping a cup of what Stiles can smell is hibiscus tea, with two scoops of sugar and no cream. She turns as they enter, and smiles broadly.

“Good morning, you two.” Marin says.

Derek takes the seat opposite her and gives his own greeting. “Hi, Marin.”

“Morning.” Stiles says, sipping his coffee.

The Druid turns to face him, and she barely suppresses a shudder.

“What’s wrong?” He asks.

Marin chews her lip for a moment, and speaks. “I can see it. Time is… fragmented around you.”

“What the Hell does that look like?”

“Like cracks on glass, all around you. They change and move around you, and follow you. It’s almost beautiful, in a way.” She responds.

“That’s… that’s something.” He says. “So, you have some information that your brother conveniently neglected to tell me in another timeline?”

Marin nods. “Alan was always mysterious, but he played stupid. He had a very intricate understanding of that spell, and what it did. He knew that changing the timeline would leave fractions. And he entirely left out the part where I can end this nonsense now.”

“You can what?!” Derek demands.

“I can end it. There’s a spell that will either revert the timeline or seal it, and stop all this pain.” She says. “It’s your choice.”

Stiles swallows thickly. “And that’ll be the end of it?”

“Yes. If you want, I can wipe the memories, too. If not, I can at least sort them out for you.”

He goes to respond but Talia is there, throwing the door open with a strange, almost defensive look on her face. “It’s the Argents. They want to talk.”

“Of course they do.” Marin mutters. “Shall we, Talia?”

“The boys, too.” The alpha says.

They run through the woods, down towards the edge of town, and Stiles relishes the sights and sound. No matter how fast he bolts, the world is in focus, and he can see and hear everything. The sunshine on his skin is wonderful, and he listens to the babble of brooks and streams as he runs. As they near the edge of the Preserve, he comes to a slow jog, aware he’s being tailed by the others, even Marin, who’s enhanced her speed with a spell.

As Stiles comes to a skid at the edge of the forest, he’s brought up short as a knife flies by his head and embeds itself in the tree next to him, so close he could feel the rush of air as it went by him. A familiar voice echoes to his ears.

“Come any closer and the next one doesn’t miss.”

It’s Lydia, but not as Stiles knows her. Her hair is longer, pressed straight and tied back in an efficient ponytail. She wears plain black clothes, and holds another four throwing knives in her hands. It’s her face, though, that catches him off the most. Lydia’s face is black with hate.

Allison is much the same, only her weapon of choice is a bow, the arrow nocked and pointed plainly at Stiles. Chris Argent is behind them both, looking almost bored. To his right is Deaton, who is restrained, but still hostile. Talia, Derek, and Marin arrive seconds later. Talia flashes her eyes, and speaks directly to Chris.

“You wanted to talk. Let’s talk.” She says.

Chris nods. “We know the boy has been messing with time. We just want to know what he’s done.”

Derek snarls. “That’s none of your business.”

“Actually, Mr. Hale, it’s all of our business. I can see the way time fractures around him, plain as day. That means it can change again.” Deaton says, his voice surprisingly neutral for the aggression on his face.

“It doesn’t matter.” Stiles says. “I won’t change anything else.”

“Genim, with fractures like that, you’ve done something major. You’ve set all of history on a totally different path. We have a right to know what you did.”

Lydia gives a twisted little laugh. “What if we just kill him? Would that fix it all?”

“Or damage the timeline beyond repair and possibly wipe us out of existence, take your pick.” The Druid replies.

“Nice to see you can still make a decent decision on occasion, Alan.” Marin bites.

Nonplussed, he shrugs. “I’ve always done what I felt was best.”

“Like betraying us? Lying to us? Tricking us in a bid for magical power?” Derek snarks.

“Enough!” Talia yells. “We didn’t come to exchange insults. All you need to know is that Stiles is here, and here to stay. The issue of the timeline will be fixed soon enough.”

“We’d love to take you at your word, Talia, but the word of a wolf isn’t much to a hunter.” Chris says. “Let Deaton deal with this, and we’ll be on our way.”

“Go to Hell.” Derek says.

“You forget yourself, Christopher.” Talia says, looking almost smug. “And your wife, too.”

“My wife is dead.”

“She’s very much alive, rest assured. And happy, happier by far, as a werewolf. Satomi says she’s met someone.”

Allison fires her arrow, which embeds itself into Talia’s arm. “Mongrel bitch!” She hollers.

The alpha werewolf looks at the projectile embedded in her forearm, the pointed tip sticking out of the other side. Derek and Stiles both snap into the beta shift, rushing to flank their alpha, and Marin throws up a protective barrier around all of them. With a look of almost disinterest, Talia snaps the point off of the arrow and pulls it out of her arm. The wound seals itself in an instant, and she looks to Allison with a wistful, cavalier grin.

“Normally I’d have already separated your trachea from the rest of your body and had my claws so far into your stomach they’d stick out of your back, but I’m in a good mood, and you didn’t ruin my shirt, so I’ll let it slide, Miss Argent. Next time, I won’t be so generous.”

“Next time, I won’t miss.”

Chris steps forward, making his daughter stand down. “Apologies, Talia. You know what it’s like to be young.”

“How could I forget?” She chuckles. “But be warned, I won’t tolerate another unprovoked strike against me and mine. Our families have fought before, and it’s never ended well for you. Now, feel free to scamper along. We will handle the issue of the timeline, rest assured.”

The four hunters turn to walk away, but Stiles calls out. “Oh, Lydia?”

The redhead turns, only to see her own throwing knife miss her by an inch or two, sticking into a tree a few feet behind her.

“Next time, you’ll be able to apologize to Scott for what you did in person.” He says.

Wordlessly, she takes the blade, and the wolves stay until they can no longer hear the rumbles of the vehicles that carried them here. Stiles falls to his knees, groaning into his hands.

“Jesus Christ!” He moans.

Derek crouches down. “Are you okay?”

“A girl I had a crush on for eight years and my dead best friend’s ex just tried to kill us. How do you think I am?”

“Come on, let’s get back. I don’t like being this far from the house with them anywhere near us.” Talia says.

“Yeah,” Stiles agrees. “Let’s go home.”

Chapter Text

Marin lays it out flat for him. It has to end. If they keep dragging it out, the worse it’ll be, the harder to mend the fractures in time that surround Stiles. He knows this. He hates this. Seeing that hateful version of Lydia, of Allison, and now, Scott’s grave.

Scott Andrew McCall
May 8, 2001 - February 6, 2017
Beloved Son

Staring at the smooth expanse of black granite, Stiles can’t help but wonder about Scott’s final moments. He hadn’t been there, but he had watched as they desperately tried to resuscitate him in the nurse’s office, had spent days and days by his bedside as Scott had laid in a hospital bed, dying. He’d even been there in those last agonizing seconds when Scott’s poisoned blood had finally eating its way into his brain and he’d had a final seizure before he was gone.

He remembers begging Talia to save his friend, even as he knew the bite would only kill him faster. He remembers Melissa wailing as he held her in his arms. He remembers.

Stiles is so caught in remembering that he ignores the footsteps that approach until a voice breaks out only a few feet behind him.

“Told you he’d be here, Isaac.” A willowy female voice says.

“Shut up, Erica.” Another voice, male but delicate, replies.

There’s also a third heartbeat, deeper and more sure than the other two, but that one doesn’t speak. Erica comes up from behind, laying a hand on his shoulder.

“Stiles, sweetie?” She asks. “You okay?”

He takes a few moments to respond, trying to summon the adequate memories of her to know how to respond. Even if the solid details elude him, Stiles knows she’s safe harbor. All three of the teenagers are, so he’s honest when he answers.

“No.” His voice is silvery and soft.

Erica crouches, wrapping her arms around him in a tight. “Oh, honey…” She whispers.

The third heartbeat, Boyd, steps into view. “You had us worried, Stilinski. You haven’t answered a single text or call.” He smiles.

“It’s been a tough couple of days.” He simply says. “Didn’t mean to alienate you guys.”

“It’ll take more than that to get rid of us.” Isaac says, sounding deeply sincere.

“What do you say we hit the mall? There’s a sale at AE, I know you love them. Or we can go to Santa Cruz, or just veg out at my place? Whatever you feel, sweetheart.” Erica gently suggests.

Santa Cruz. That wonderful day with Derek. Suddenly, there is nowhere in Heaven or Earth that Stiles would rather be than Santa Cruz, California. Fishing his phone from the pocket, he opens the texts, snapchats, and missed calls from Erica and Isaac, and thumbs to where Derek is saved in his contacts.

‘Stiles, what’s up?’ He answers on the first ring.

“Hey, I’m gonna go to Santa Cruz with Erica, Isaac, and Boyd, okay?”

He can hear Derek gnawing at his lip with uncertainty. ‘Okay. Have fun. I- I love you, Stiles.’

His heart quite literally skips a beat before he says it. “I love you, too. Bye.”

‘Bye.’ Derek sounds triumphant as the phone call ends.

“Have I told you how gross you and Derek are?” Erica asks, teasing at him.

Stiles raises an eyebrow. “I know what you and Boyd have been up to, don’t lecture me about gross.” Isaac bursts out laughing, and Stiles turns, smirking.

“What?” He asks.

“Two words. Danny. Mahealani.” Stiles says.

Isaac’s face turns redder than it ever has before, and they continue back to Erica’s car. The drive to Santa Cruz is punctuated by Erica and Isaac yelling along to the latest top forty nonsense and the occasional deadpan comment from Boyd, but, for the most part, Stiles stays silent, still feeling contemplative. They stop at a gas station about half way, just outside of the small town of Ben Lomond, to refuel.

“Babe, could you go grab me a water bottle, I need to take my seizure meds.” Erica asks of Boyd. “And throw fifteen on pump six!” She calls, tossing her wallet.

“So, what’s really up, Stiles?” Isaac asks from where he sits next him in backseat.

“What do you mean?”

The human levels a dull glare at him. “You’ve been acting weird as Hell these last few days, and then, all of a sudden, you’re a completely different person. Is this about the… thing?”

How could he have forgotten? Isaac knows. A vivid memory flashes back to him. He and Derek had been out walking one night through a nondescript neighborhood in the valley of the town when they’d heard Isaac’s father dragging him down the stairs of the basement, screaming vile profanities. They’d heard Isaac’s pleas, heard as his father locked him into a goddamn empty freezer and left him there, crying for mercy.

Stiles had snapped, kicking the door so hard it splintered into pieces, and hunting down the bastard. After the show Stiles had put on, Isaac’s father still hadn’t left the mental health unit at Beacon Hills Memorial. Stiles had ripped apart the freezer in a glorious showing of supernatural strength, all to get Isaac out of there.

It had taken a few days to arrange for Camden, Isaac’s older brother, to take him in, so he’d stayed at the Hales’ house in the interim. Marin tended to his wounds, both physical and mental, casting all manner of spells to soften the trauma of years of abuse, as well as to remove the literal scars of the beatings.

Another memory comes, one of a discussion one night with Talia and his mother. Erica had been having a rough few days with her epilepsy, and even her medication hadn’t helped. Stiles knew creating a teenager werewolf carried risks, so he suggested to his alpha that they wait until Erica graduated, and then offer her the bite. Boyd would have to be brought in on the secret, and perhaps he would want to join Erica in lycanthropy.

The discussion had been tenuously tabled, but Claudia, surprisingly, was the biggest advocate for it. She knew what it was like to be sick, and the freedom that the bite brought. Erica would have a far fuller life as a wolf than anything human medical science could offer.

“Earth to Stilinski?” Isaac asks.

Stiles snaps out his reverie of recollection, and nods. “Yeah. Yeah, it’s about the thing.” He swallows, pulling out his phone and beginning to text.

SS: I may have fucked w time

IL: How exactly do you fuck with time?!

SS: Magic.

IL: Like that Marin lady?

SS: Yeah. Look Ill explain it all to u later ok?

IL: This is gonna be good, isn’t it?

SS: U have no fuckin clue

Isaac shakes his head and laughs. “You really don’t half ass anything, do you?”

“Nope.” He responds, popping the ‘P’ as he does. “It’ll be okay. Dealt with soon enough.”

“If you’re sure.”

“Sure about what?” Erica asks as she gets back into the car, finished refueling. “What flavor of lube to get Derek for his birthday?”

Stiles looks aghast. “What the fuck kind of question is that, Reyes? Cherry all the way!”

She looks back at him, beaming with pride. “Man after my own heart. Vernon Boyd, get your ass in this car, or I’m leaving you here!” Erica yells the last part out to her boyfriend as he exits the gas station.

“You love me too much to leave me.” He calls back with a smile.

Erica laughs. “Test me!”

“Get in the car, Boyd. She’ll do it.” Isaac remarks.

The rest of the drive is punctuated by more raucous talk. As Stiles spends more time around his friends, the stronger the memories around them become. His spirits lift greatly, and he’s just as wild as Erica and Isaac by the time they park in a beachside lot in Santa Cruz. He shoots a quick text message to Derek affirming their arrival, and sets his phone to silent for the rest of the day.

They first wander along the beachfront stores, Isaac and Stiles throwing sundresses and all manner of tropical print to a protesting Erica, who insists on sleek and chic. All the while, Stiles walks out of some indie surf shop wearing three different kinds of florals and genuine wood-framed sunglasses.

“Christ, Batman, you look like the gayest frat boy in history.” Erica laughs as she photographs the floral disaster better known as Stiles. “The SnapBack really cements it.”

“I am glorious!” He insists.

Boyd rolls his eyes good-naturedly. “A glorious disaster.”

“You’re absolutely right, Boyd!” Stiles says as he runs up to Isaac, who’s haggling with a beachside food vendor.

They head to the beach, and Stiles and Isaac wind up lying next to each other, baking in the sun as Boyd and Erica tackle and splash each other in the water.

“So…” Isaac trails.

Stiles turns, looking at his friend through his sunglasses. “You want the explanation?”

“Please.”

He sighs. “I’m from an alternate timeline. Not, like, a body double or something, it’s more like… my memories, my consciousness, they’ve been… transplanted? Overlaid?”

Isaac gulps. “Do you remember anything from this time?”

“Yeah, they do. It’s just that my memories and his memories are all jumbled up. I can sort them to an extent, especially if I’m around the people they’re regarding, but Marin says we need to seal the rift in time or something, and that’s how everything will sort. Normally, this sort of thing closes on its own, but it won’t this time.”

“What was the other timeline like?” He asks.

“Dark.” Stiles simply says.

Isaac raises an eyebrow. “Define dark.”

“Scott’s alive, but he’s a werewolf. The Hales are all dead except for Derek, I’m human, and my mom is dead.”

“Oh, God, Stiles… I’m sorry.” He says, laying on hand on the werewolf’s shoulder.

“I don’t know you, Erica, or Boyd, either.”

The human swallows thickly. “I’m probably still being beaten by my dad.”

“Yeah. Probably.” Stiles replies, looking thoroughly uncomfortable.

“Hey.” Isaac says. “That’s all in the past. You have a guy who loves you like there’s no tomorrow, and you do have your mom, and us, and everyone else.”

“But not Scott.”

“He wouldn’t want you to give all that up for him. You were his best friend, he wanted you to be happy, with or without him.”

“How did you…?”

“You wouldn’t be so agonized over this unless there was a way to set things the way they were. I know you, Stiles, alternate universe or not.”

“Thanks, Isaac.” He chuckles, pulling him into a brief hug.

Erica calls for the two of them from where she stands in the surf. “Will you two stop being so damn mopey and go swimming?! We only have a few days until school!”

Isaac turns to him. “She’s not gonna stop until we go.”

“I know.” He smirks before launching himself on Isaac’s back, easily positioning himself into a piggyback. “Onward, noble steed!”

After a few hours at the beach, they find their way onto the wharf, and grab a table at a restaurant overlooking the ocean. The four teenagers go all in on a massive sampler platter, easily demolishing it with all due gusto.

Finally, Stiles checks his phone. His heart drops into his gut when he sees it. Twenty two missed calls. Forty eight text messages. The contacts vary from Derek to his father to Ritsa. The texts all say some variation of the same thing, begging him to call. He’s bolts out of the restaurant, and presses the number to call his dad.

The Sheriff picks up on the first ring. ‘Stiles, thank God. Listen, you need to get back to Beacon Hills. It’s… it’s your mom.’

Chapter Text

Stiles drives back. Well, driving is less accurate than to say he tears his way into Beacon Hills going almost ninety in a sixty-five. A squad car has been posted at the edge of Beacon County and escorts them back to the Hale house, peeling their way through town in a show of light and sound.

He’s barely able to keep his eyes from burning gold as he hauls ass along the driveway, and when the car finally breaks into the clearing of the house, he slams on the breaks and is out before the car even stops. Stiles sprints as fast as he can, Erica and Boyd be damned, and is across the massive field in seconds, tearing into the house.

“Stiles!” Derek yells from somewhere in the house. “Library!”

He’s there almost instantly, and stops in horror as his senses are assaulted by the scene before him. Claudia Stilinski lays on a makeshift operating table, her stomach gutted wide open. The room reeks of blood and the sourbadwrongpoison scent of wolfsbane. Stiles can hear the tissues of his mother’s flesh trying to knit themselves back together, and her unsteady, poisoned heartbeat. What little flesh he can see of hers is wrapped in webs of black.

Marin orbits around his mother, muttering in Greek as she plucks tiny metallic pieces from the wounded woman’s organs.

“What happened?!” He demands.

The Sheriff is over in a second, grabbing Stiles by his shoulders and forcing him to look him in the eyes. “Don’t melt down. You can’t lose it, come on, kid.”

Too late. The memories he’s carefully pieced back together, the life he’s built in this place, it all slips away. Stripped bare, Stiles is still that fragile, ADHD-riddled kid who lost his mother far too soon. He’s is overwhelmed by the absolute worst migraine he’s ever had, and he’s had many in his day. The last thing he registers is Derek’s panic across the bond, and the dim cry of his father’s voice.

“Stiles!” Derek is there, shaking him awake.

The world is dark, and dim, and far too quiet. Even so, he can smell the scent of rotting wood and a long passed fire. Stiles opens his eyes, and finds he’s passed out in the rotted ruins of Talia’s study.

“I’m back.” He whispers to himself.

Derek scowls in confusion at him. “What are you-”

He’s ripped back into the other reality, his head feeling like it’s about two split clean down the middle. Sights and sounds overlay until he’s just surrounded by an endless stream of unsortable sensory input, like white noise in every dimension.

In the library where Claudia Stilinski is being operated on, Marin looks to where Stiles has fallen onto the ground. To her own magical vision, she watches as the fractures in time surrounding Stiles grow into cracks and shards of the fabric of spacetime. He begins to seize in Derek’s arms, his body jerking out in unnatural angles, his eyes wide open, yet unseeing.

“What’s happening?!” Derek begs, looking to her with terror in his eyes.

“He’s caught in time, I have to patch the hole before it rips both of his consciousnesses apart!” She says.

Marin strides over, laying her right hand on Stiles’ psi-points. She focuses as much as she can, drawing her magic up deep into her heart, and forces her way into the time traveler’s mind.

Just as suddenly as the white noise overwhelmed Stiles, it abates. It’s the most curious sensation. His eyes are closed, and yet, he can see Marin standing in front of him, plain as day.

“Stiles!” She begins. “Look, we don’t have much time! You need to choose, now!”

“I can’t!” He yells. “I can’t wipe out an entire timeline!”

“What?!” She asks, confused.

“If I close it, the timeline I abandon will break apart!”

She stares at him in shock, before clarity, and unending fury, reign through her mind. “My fucking brother! What did he tell you?!”

“That when the fissure is closed, whichever timeline Derek and I aren’t in goes away, it doesn’t happen!” He says.

“No! Dammit, he lied to you! Derek isn’t the key here, you are! Derek was a conduit for your mind, your consciousness, to leap across timelines! He isn’t from your past, he’s from ours!” She explains.

Stiles looks back at her through the mind meld. “So… whatever I do, everyone lives?”

“Yes! Now, quickly, your mother needs her son back in one form or another. The link can’t hold much longer, you have to choose!”

“What happens to the one I don’t become?”

“He won’t remember any of the other timeline! Stiles, please! Scott or your mother?!” She begs, the meld having revealed the root of the whole split to her.

The landscape around him shifts. He’s caught in the middle of great silver hallway that stretches to infinity in either direction. To his right, Claudia smiles at him, and Derek and Talia stand on either side, beckoning him to back. To the left, on the opposite wall, Scott, Lydia, and Allison do the same.

He turns and takes a step.

Somewhere across time and space, in the burnt out ruins of a family’s home, Genim “Stiles” Stilinski, in some form or other, comes back to himself, confused but unharmed. He and his Derek Hale leave the old mansion, and head back to his house to look over what they’ve found.

Stiles, however, finds himself back in the library of the Hale house, his head resting in Derek’s lap. He looks up to Derek, who has a look of untellable relief plastered on his face.

“Derek?” He asks, feeling along the mate bond as he does.

“I’m here. I’m here and so are you, and we’re not going anywhere.” The elder wolf responds, threading his fingers through Stiles’ hair.

Marin has already rushed back to pluck the last pieces of shrapnel from Claudia’s innards. “Got it!” She yells. “Talia, go to your garden and find me Carmichael’s Monkshood, that’s the species they used.” She briskly orders

The alpha is out the door and back in less than a minute, gloved hands carefully handling the delicate flowers. Marin plucks the petals from the plant and stacks them into a mortar. She blurts a spell in Greek that dries out the blooms, and quickly grinds them down into a powder.

“Καθαρίζω.” She whispers into the bowl, and then dumps the contents over the wounded werewolf.

The dust smolders in the air, glowing brightly as it spreads over Claudia. Wherever it lands, the black veins vanish as the poison in her blood is neutralized. In moments, her sickly complexion becomes rosy once again, and the gaping wound in her stomach begins to knit itself together.

“She’ll be out for some time, but she’ll make a full recovery.” Marin assures them.

“Thank you.” The Sheriff says, pulling the Druid into a tight hug. “Thank you, you saved my wife, and my son.”

She pulls back smiling. “It’s all in a day's work, John.”

Stiles comes over, and does the same as his father. “I owe you so big.” He simply says, even as he squeezes Marin as tight as he dares.

“You can start by not breaking my ribs.” She laughs.

Finally, he comes back down, and looks to where Derek’s father Evan is staring out the window.

“Evan, what is it?” Peter asks.

“Kita, Cora, go to Alex’s room, please.” He orders.

Cora steps forward. “Dad, what’s going on?”

Ritsa, Talia’s younger sister, appears in the doorway. “They’re here. The hunters. I’ve called Satomi, she’s sending as many as she can spare.”

Talia’s eyes are burning crimson in an instant. “How dare they?” She spits.

“Gwen, Peter, John, stay with Talia.” Evan barks. “Everyone else, with us.”

John goes over to his son, hugging him close. “I just got you back, don’t do anything stupid.”

“Protect mom.” Stiles replies. “I’ll do the rest.”

The rest of the Hale pack ventures out onto their vast front lawn. Talia and Evan take point, with Ritsa and Laura flanking them. Derek, Stiles, and Marin spread along to one side side, forming a vague line. Talia presents herself as every bit the alpha, standing authoritatively at the approaching crowd of hunters. They’re led by an old man, but Chris, Kate, Allison and Lydia flank him. To his immediate right is Deaton. Behind them, there’s a mixed bag of men and women, some holding bows and swords, others pistols and rifles. All look eager for a fight.

Talia steps ahead of her pack. “We have an agreement.” She simply says.

“Give us the Sheriff’s bitch and we’ll excuse Jim’s death at your hands, Alpha Hale.” The old man rasps.

Stiles snarls loudly at the remark, but Talia stands strong. “He violated the neutral zone and entered our land, and attacked one of us. The Preserve has been off limits for years, and he knew it, Gerard.”

“That’s all fine and dandy,” Gerard says, picking his fingernails with a knife like some Hollywood cliché, “But I don’t really give a damn. We’ve tolerated your presence for too long. Hand Claudia Stilinski over for justice, and we’ll continue that toleration.”

Talia’s voice starts to pitch deeper, and her betas visibly react, their eyes flashing, claws extending, and canines dropping. “We were here a century before your merry band of assholes even crossed the Atlantic, and we permitted you to stay after the incident with Deucalion. If anyone has tolerated anyone for too long, it’s us.”

“Again, bitch spawn, I don’t give a damn. Last chance, give us Stilinski, or it comes to blows. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you’re outgunned.” Gerard Argent spits.

The werewolves begin to snarl and growl openly. Laura and Derek both go into the beta shift. The hunters cock their weapons and nock their arrows. The air crackles with tension, just waiting for a spark to set off the powderkeg. It comes when one eager hunter lets slip an arrow directly for Talia’s face. Five feet on front of her, the arrows stops dead mid-flight, with seems to form a shatter pattern in the air.

“You always were a decent shield, Marin.” Deaton calls. “Too bad I was better at offensives.”

With that, a burst of strikes hit the shield, revealing its barriers as the shatters extend and grow, finally, Deaton’s bursts of magic shatter the field. The werewolves spring, launching into the air and coming down into the crowd of hunters. Laura lands directly on top of one, easily embedding her claws into his throat with a vicious roar.

Derek and Allison come into blows, the smaller woman expertly dodging his claws and rapidly striking at him with fierce strikes from various martial art forms. She manages to whip out a small knife, and slashes a diagonal from his shoulder to his hips, forcing him to abandon his shirt as the narrow slit seals itself up. She manages to kick his legs out from under him, and is on top of him before he can even coordinate a response. Allison rears her knife back, intent on burying the blade through Derek’s eye, but Stiles jumps, ripping her from her position straddling Derek’s chest and swinging her like a shot put. He sends Allison flying towards the house. She strikes a column on the porch, snapping it, and lands with a heavy thud against the external wall, and doesn’t stir.

Talia and Chris duel each other with scientific expertise that blurs into art. He’s far weaker, but forces her to chase him, dodging her leaps and strikes, trying to catch her exposed, but the alpha is ruthless and unforgiving. She forces him to backpedal and has the same goal and catching an exposed point. The loud echo of a gunshot breaks across the field, and Peter goes sprawling to the ground as he sprints toward a hunter. An anguished cry comes from inside the house as Gwen feels it happen across the mate bond.

Elsewhere, Laura, Evan, and Ritsa form an expert team of killers, clawing their way through the hunter ranks, leaving no survivors in their wake. The three use each other as boosters, tossing each other through the air, or feigning their moves to catch hunters off target. Kate winds up slashing at Derek with a sword, forcing him to keep his distance and unable to strike at her. She’s lethal with the thing and unrelenting.

A second gunshot echoes across the field, this one coming from the porch. John stands with a rifle in his arms, and everyone looks to see who he shot. The answer comes when Gerard collapses, a bloody stain blooming across his chest. Behind him, Claudia holds Allison in her arms, her claws pressed threateningly at the girl’s throat.

“Enough!” She roars. “Stand down, or she dies!”

Amazingly, the fighting comes to a standstill.

Chapter Text

They use the peace to collect the dead. Amazingly, Peter still clings to life. Marin tends to his wounds, carefully extracting the wolfsbane bullet and ordering Cora out to the garden to procure the right strain of the plant to treat him. Meanwhile, Chris, Kate, Evan and Talia speak, each maintaining a distance and keeping their hands exposed and unarmed.

“You want to start with an offer?” Talia imperiously raises an eyebrow.

Chris nods. “We leave town. Lydia and Allison, too. In exchange, the Guild doesn’t find out about this and we chock it up to a nasty car crash.”

Kate turns in disbelief to her brother. “You’re just gonna surrender to these mongrels?!”

“Kate,” He spits out through his teeth. “Calm down. We’re outmanned and they have my daughter.”

The blonde woman scoffs but remains silent. Evan steps forward. “That’s not enough. The Guild doesn’t come back to Beacon Hills. Ever. Leave policing the area to us, we can handle it.”

“I can’t control what the Guild Masters decide. I’ll try to recommend they minimize activity.”

Kate looks positively enraged this time. “You’re gonna sit there and take this Christopher?!”

He turns, pointing a finger at his sister. “If you can’t shut the fuck up for five minutes, then go. We have wounded, put those stitching skills of yours to use.”

“Dissent within the ranks, Chris?” Talia asks, smirking.

“My sister and I simply suffer from a difference of opinion. Luckily, she’s not in charge, I am.” He responds.

Elsewhere in the field, Stiles and Lydia stare each other down. Finally, her glare softens into something less hostile, more defiant.

“I didn’t do it.” She says.

He raises an eyebrow. Her heartbeat is steady, but when it comes to hunters, they’ve been trained to suppress their lies. “Then who did? Jackson was a dick, but he wasn’t cruel, and he sure as Hell didn’t want to go to prison. He wouldn’t have done it on his own.”

“I don’t know.” Lydia responds. Again, her heart is even. “What was it like, where you’re from?”

“He was alive, and a wolf. You got bit, but never turned. We never figured out what was up with that.” He sighs.

“I’m a banshee. Well, half. My mother is human.” She says.

“Male banshees?” He queries.

“Rare, but possible.” Lydia clinically responds. “It’s funny.” She wryly chuckles.

Stiles looks confused. “What’s funny?”

“I was so focused on the fact that you were a wolf that I forgot just how damn smart you are.”

“It’s not too late to remember.” He says earnestly. “If you really didn’t do it, prove it. Let Marin meld with you. Walk away, have a normal life again. Where I’m from, you were my friend. Maybe… maybe it can be that way again.”

In the distance, a howl breaks out across the evening air. Several more join, until a full throated chorus rings over the tree lines. Then, a group of wolves breaks through the trees at the far side of the clearing. At the front is an older-looking Asian woman, her eyes bright red and her fingers already hooked into claws.

“Was this a ploy?!” Kate screeches, reaching for her pistol. “Get us talking long enough for backup?! Fucking mongrels!” She points the pistol at the nearest werewolf. She points it at Stiles.

John has his rifle up and pointed in an instant, and Claudia’s talons are pressed against the still-unconscious Allison’s throat so tightly they draw blood.

“Kate! Put the goddamn gun down, have some fucking self-control!” Chris seethes.

The approaching pack of werewolves stops when their alpha raises a hand, about twenty feet from the confrontation. The surviving hunters who’ve pulled back to their vehicles are grabbing their weapons again.

“Satomi!” Talia calls. “Please, stand down! We’re talking.”

“Talia, are you sure?” The other alpha calls, a light Japanese accent to her speaking.

“Don’t.” A voice carries. It’s familiar, but to Stiles, it’s lost its edge. Finally, the speaker emerges.

Victoria Argent steps out from the back of the group. She’s different, though, and yet so familiar, like so much else in this timeline. She still looks like she can kill, but there’s a softness to her that wasn’t there before. Her short crop of bright red hair has been replaced by dark burgundy tresses that fan out around her shoulders with a side part. Most amazingly, however, are her sunfire gold eyes, elongated canines, and the black claws on each fingertip.

“Don’t.” She repeats more emphatically. “There’s no talking with these people. I should know.”

“Vic…” Chris breathes.

“Hello, Christopher. You still haven’t signed the divorce papers.” She responds.

He curses to himself. “Is that all you can think about, goddamn divorce papers?! Your ‘friends’ are holding our daughter hostage!”

“My daughter died the second that girl tried to kill me!” She snaps back. “I didn’t raise that, Chris. You and Kate and Gerard raised that monster.”

“Chris, these bitch spawn are all the same! They don’t even give a fuck about their young!” Kate snarls.

“Fuck you, Katherine.” Victoria snaps. “Chris, walk away. All of you, just go.”

“For once, I’m agreeing with an Argent.” Ritsa chuckles to herself, cracking her knuckles.

“We’ll leave, and take Allison with us.” Chris implores.

“Make her put down the gun.” Claudia orders.

The hunter leader looks to his fuming sister. “Let it go, Kate. It’s not worth dying over.”

“They killed our father, you heartless fuck!” She shrieks.

“We fired first. We invaded their turf. We broke all the rules. He ordered that. He paid the price. They’re letting us walk, so take it. It doesn’t matter how many you kill, we all die, too.” He tries, walking towards her.

She stares at Chris with something like madness in her eyes, and then the looks softens. Kate begins to relax, lowering the gun. Just as suddenly, her eyes harden again, and she whips the pistol back up, firing directly at Stiles.

The last thing the young wolf hears is his mate’s scream of horror.

+

Consciousness comes back to Stiles in fragments. He pieces together the moments after he was shot from a jumble of memories, all of them uncertain and out of order. The peace in the yard had shattered with Kate’s bullet ripping its way through his body. There were roars, snarls, gunshots. Derek dragged him into the house, and then he fainted.

Stiles becomes acutely aware of a hand holding his. The mate bond is flooded with worry, relief, uncertainty, and pure adoration. Derek. Tenuously, he opens his eyes.

“Hey.” He rasps.

Derek blinks back tears. “Hi.” He says, smiling.

“What…?” He goes to ask, but Talia is there with a glass of water, pushing him back down as he tries to sit up.

“Drink. There will be time for that later. Everyone is okay.” She assures him.

He greedily gulps the water down, smiling gratefully at his alpha. “Thank you.” He says, his voice much clearer.

Next in is Claudia, who rushes to her son’s side, and presses a kiss to his forehead. Stiles struggles to process the words he needs to say, but manages to force them out.

“Ma, I… I’m not…” He tries.

“Shh, I know, baby. Marin told me about the timelines, and I don’t care. You still are, and always will be, my son. Alternate universe, time travel, whatever it was, you are my son. My baby boy, do you understand me, Genim Daniel Stilinski? You are my son.” She assures him. “You are my son, and I love you.”

“I love you, too, Mom.” He says blearily. “So much.”

“I know, sweetheart.” She grins, tucking a lock of her hair behind her ears. “I have to help your dad and the others deal with something, but I’ll be back, okay?”

He nods the affirmative. Finally, he and Derek are left alone. The two sit, their bond positively purring, and then Stiles sits up, pulling Derek onto the couch so he can settle on top of him. They lay together, back to chest, in companionable silence for some time, only the low hum of CNN on the television to fill the silence.

“What happened after Kate shot me?” Stiles finally asks.

“It all went to Hell in a handbasket.” Derek replies.

Stiles turns onto his stomach, looking Derek in the eye. “Specifics, Sourwolf.”

His mate swallows uneasily, but answers. “I killed Kate. Your mom sliced Allison’s throat. Lydia…” He pauses.

“Lydia what?” Stiles demands.

“She… she had a come to god moment. She turned on the hunters. And one of them killed her.”

“And Satomi’s pack?” Stiles tersely asks.

“They’re fine. Satomi is still here.” Derek replies. “None of ours got killed. Peter is still upstairs recovering, the bullet did a lot of damage.”

He nods. “And the hunters?”

“All dead. Your father, my dad, your mom, Laura, and Marin are all getting ready to set up an ‘accident’ for them.”

Stiles is up and moving across the room towards the alcove where the coats and shoes are tucked in the foyer. “I’m going with them.” He says.

“Stiles, you just took a wolfsbane bullet to the shoulder, you need to slow down!” Derek says, following after him.

Stiles looks to his mate with a fire in his eyes. “This is my mess, I need to deal with it.”

“Then I’m coming with you. I won’t let you face this alone.” Derek says.

The other wolf looks at him, and then strides across the foyer and captures his lips in a gentle kiss.

“Thank you.” He says.

Outside in the dark of the night, they see the others have finished loading the last of the bodies, nearly two dozen in total, into the three trucks the hunters took to the Hale compound.

“I told you’d he’d want to come with.” John says to his wife.

“I didn’t disagree.” She responds.

Evan throws a set of keys to Stiles. “Take the silver truck, follow my lead.” He says.

The drive to the Argent house is silent, and Stiles can smell the death just two feet behind them, even through the cover over the bed of the truck. Fifteen minutes or so later, they pull up to the Argent house, grateful that it’s more isolated than its neighbors. Marin exits another truck, and casts a field to hide their gruesome work.

“Kρύβουν.” She says, spreading her arms wide.

They peel back the covers, and Stiles gets his first look at the bodies. He can barely suppress a gag as the stench of blood and excrement fills his nostrils.

The hardest one to see is Lydia. Her face is pale and placid, eyes closed and arms folded over her stomach. Her green shirt is soaked with the brown stain of dried blood, and a bullet wound still shimmers directly over her heart.

“She went instantly.” He says.

“Yeah. Marin didn’t have a chance to save her, she was already gone.” Evan sighs. “I’m sorry.”

Next to Lydia is Allison, in much more grim shape. Five claw marks rake across her throat, chin, and a collar bones. One has slashed her ear to ear, the others not as deep but still brutal. Deaton is to her right, his neck snapped at a brutally unnatural position, and his eyes wide an unseeing.

“Who…?” He asks.

“Victoria. She caught him off guard. It was quite impressive.” Derek says.

“Come on, everyone. We need to get them inside.” Marin says. One by one they position the corpses at very points around the house, mostly in the living room. Just for insurance, Stiles throws Gerard on the toilet.

“Is that necessary?” Ritsa raises an eyebrow.

“He deserves it.” Stiles simply says, swallowing his grief.

Outside, they gather together. Marin carves a broad circle into the grass with a very large, ceremonial looking knife. “Everyone, inside.” She orders.

Once they’re secure, she starts carving runes into the grass with the knife, muttering in Greek as she does.

“Εκάτη, ξεγελάσουν τα θνητά μάτια τους, κρύβουν τον σκοτεινό μας σκοπό.”

The runes in the ground begin to glow, as does the circle surrounding the group. The outline of the circle grows brighter and brighter, casting a wall of light upward into the sky. The Druid woman steps into the circle with them, and, with eyes glowing white as the runes, she speaks.

“Ελευθέρωση.” She commands with a deep magical cadence.

The circle of light expands outwards, running through houses and into the area surrounding the Argent manor. Looking at the grass, Derek watches as both the ruins and the circle vanish, new grass growing to replace the damage done.

“Memory charm.” Marin explains. “They’ll remember that everyone in that house was there all day, gathered for a party. Now, quickly, everyone into the forest there. Hide behind the tree line.” She points.

Doing as instructed, the pack stands just far enough from the road to be hidden, but still with plain line of sight at the house.

Marin stares with concentration at the building, whispering to herself. “Κατeαπίνω.”

Instantly, the whole house in consumed in flame, exploding so violently that the roof blows apart, raining debris everywhere. Within a matter of seconds, the structure is falling in on itself, and smaller explosions follow in succession as the vehicles in the garage and driveway themselves explode.

In less than a minute, where once a house stood is now only a pile of flaming rubble. They continue to watch as the neighbors rush outside, screaming in horror. Some break out hoses to douse pieces of debris on their own properties, others frantically dial 911.

“They’re in there!” One woman shrieks. “They were all in there!”

In the distance, sirens begin to wail. With that, the group turns and walks into the forest, not a single one of them looking back.

The next morning, Stiles finds himself in Peter and Gwen’s room, sitting at a chair next to the bed, where Peter still recovers. They make polite chatter, but, eventually, the older man broaches a topic Stiles hoped to avoid.

“Stiles,” He begins, “I know something happened to me in the other time. My sister and nephew have categorically refused to tell me what for last eight years, but now that you’re here, perhaps you can illuminate.”

Stiles sighs. “It’s a moot point, Peter. You’re not him, not by a long shot. You’re a freaking English professor, for God’s sake. You are as far from the other you as is possible.”

“Please, Genim.” He stresses Stiles’ given name. “I need to know.”

“It isn’t pretty.” The wolf sighs.

Peter shakes his head. “I don’t care. Tell me, please.”

Stiles deliberates, and finally, he nods his head, standing to shut the bedroom door. He sits back down, and appraises Peter with a deadly seriousness.

“Derek didn’t like talking about you before the fire. But I do know you survived it. Only, you were burned so badly you fell into a deep coma. The brain damage was extensive.” He begins.

“Okay.” Peter nods.

“You only came out the coma for the night of the full moon. Your nurse was… shit, I don’t know who she was, you killed her when you woke up. But, she was in the know. Laura became the alpha after Talia died, and she and Derek went to New York. Your nurse killed a deer, and carved a triskele into the side of it. She sent the photo to Laura.”

Peter swallows. “And Laura would have come running. Every one of the old packs had a variation unique. Ours is one of the oldest.”

“She did. She came to investigate, and your nurse made sure she found you.”

“Don’t tell me…”

Stiles nods. “You killed her. And stole the alpha status.”

Peter looks like he’s been punched in the gut. “What then?” He whispers.

Stiles tells him everything, all the way down to the fiery death at the ruins of his home. At the end, Peter sits up in his bed, his face unreadable. The man swallows thickly, and turns to his companion.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” He says. “I’m sorry I did that to you. To all of you.”

The younger man shakes his head. “No. No, that wasn’t you, that wasn’t even the same universe. You have nothing to apologize for.”

“I do. Before the point of divergence, he and I were the same person. I could have just as easily become him had it happened here. Even so, I’m as close as you’ll get to hearing it from the other me, so I am sorry.” He says.

Stiles nods, and smiles softly. “Words I never thought I’d hear Peter Hale willingly utter.”

Peter chuckles. “It’s rare. Usually only Gwen gets the privilege of hearing it.”

The younger wolf goes to leave the room, but turns from the doorway. “Peter,” He calls back, “I believe in destiny, but I believe we can influence that destiny. I’ve seen too many things run parallel to not. We decide who we are. Don’t forget that.”

+

The first day of school is only a few days later. Stiles and Cora are juniors, and the two sit at the island in the kitchen at stools, where Talia lays each of them a plate loaded with the breakfast essentials.

“Here we go. So, excited to go back?” She asks, leaning on the counter across from them.

Cora groans into her plate. “Yes, Mother, I’m so terribly excited to head back to another year of humans being gross when they think no one can hear, see, or smell.”

Talia scowls playfully at her daughter. “You can’t blame them, they’re only human.”

“Boo!” Stiles hisses between bites of bacon. “Bad joke!”

“Says you.” Talia retorts.

There’s a knocking at the kitchen door, and, without waiting for an answer, Erica, Isaac, and Boyd are striding in.

“Good morning!” The blonde gushes. “Are we ready for our return to our regularly scheduled agony? Ooh, toast, I’m starved!” She snags a piece of a plate.

“Don’t you have food at your house, Reyes?” Cora demands.

“I didn’t bother eating. Morning, Mrs. H.” She waves.

“Good morning, Erica.” She says, swatting at Isaac’s wandering hand towards a banana. “Did any of you eat?” She asks. The three teenagers shake their heads.

“Jesus, guys.” Stiles rolls his eyes.

Talia just sighs, grabbing the frying pan once again. “I’ll make more bacon.”

As they all dig into their breakfasts, Derek slips down the stairs and into the kitchen. He grabs a cup of coffee, and presses a kiss to Stiles’ head as he passes.

“Morning, everyone.” He greets.

A general chorus of “Morning, Derek.” rings out in response. They watch the news from the small flatscreen on the kitchen counter, and make idle chatter until the clock reads 7:00. With the practiced petulance of public school students, the kids head to Erica’s car for their ride to school. Stiles stops at the doorway to say goodbye to Derek.

“How are the memories?” Derek asks.

“In place, finally. Just in time, too.” Stiles replies, hugging his mate. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.” He replies. “For all the crap, I’m so glad you read that spell.”

“Me, too, Sourwolf. Me, too.”

The car horn blares as Erica and Cora both stick their heads out of the car windows.

“Come on, Batman!” Erica calls.

Cora makes a gagging sound. “Quit macking on my older brother!”

“I’m coming, I’m coming!” Stiles responds, jogging to the car.

The drive to the school is easy, and they all head to their homeroom together, where none other that Marin Morrell herself sits at the desk.

“Good morning, class. Most of you know me, I’m a guidance counselor. For those who don’t, I’m Miss Morrell. Now, I’m sure most of you heard about the tragic events of last Friday, but, for those who didn’t, thirteen people died in an explosion, including two of our own. Allison Argent and Lydia Martin were two of our school’s best students, and had amazing futures before them.”

There’s a ripple of whispers that tear through the classroom, and Isaac looks at Stiles with mixed emotions on his face. Marin lets the discussions fizzle out, and resumes.

“Obviously, this can be hard to process, and counseling will be available to anyone who needs it.” She not-so-subtly looks to Stiles. “I’ve spoken with Sheriff Stilinski, and the BHFD has determined a gas leak caused the explosion. The school is planning a memorial service for some time next week, we can’t be certain. Mrs. Martin has taken an indefinite leave of absence, and I’ll be taking over most of her duties, including this class.”

Stiles smirks to himself. Of course Marin would be taking over. This year was going to be fun.

At the end of the day, the five teens drive back to the Hale house, each enjoying the warmth of the late summer sun. They wind up playing frisbee on the vast front lawn, as they are joined by Kita on her way back from her first day of eighth grade at the middle school, and split into teams. They play for nearly two hours, until Talia is at the porch, calling them in to help with dinner, and Roscoe is pulling into the driveway, driven by John, with Claudia in the passenger seat.

When the whole family and their guests sit at the enormous dining room table, Stiles looks to where Derek sits at his right and his mother to his left, and, for the first time in a long time, he finds himself wanting for absolutely nothing. As he passes the garlic bread, Stiles sends a silent thanks out to the universe, and then enjoys dinner with his family.