Dude, There's A Wolf On My Bed
There's a wolf on his bed....chewing on his pillow.
Stiles stared at the wolf. The wolf stared back, its jaws clamped around the pillow. The wolf is large, black and has fangs that he's sure would tear him apart....shit.
"Oh my God, there's a wolf on my bed!"
"Stiles, I told you I don't understand your sexual references and I don't want to." Scott's nose scrunched as he stared down at his phone.
Stiles rolled his eyes. "If you would unglue yourself from your phone, you would see that there is an actual, living, breathing wolf with sharp teeth and maybe rabies if I'm really unlucky, on my bed!"
Scott looked up and his eyes widened. "Oh my God, there is a wolf!"
"Thank you, Scott. Apparently your eyes can see things other than Allison.”
"...Dude, it's eating your pillow."
"Once again, thank you, Scott. Your powers of observation are truly extraordinary."
Both of them stared at the wolf. "How'd it even get up here?"
"Either it has opposable thumbs or it's a really smart wolf."
Scott frowned. "I don't think wolves have thumbs. I mean they aren't supposed to. I'm going to say really smart wolf. Where do you think it came from?"
"Scott it's a spirit wolf, plus California doesn't have wolves, hasn't had them for years."
The shaggy haired teen blinked. "Oh. So whose wolf is it?"
"You want to go check for a collar?"
Scott slowly approached the wolf. The wolf stopped chewing on the pillow and turned to look at Scott, its lips pulled back, the fangs gleaming as it growled. Scott stumbled back and tripped over the computer chair. He stared wide eyed at the wolf. The wolf went back to munching on his pillow...yeah he wasn't going to get that back. "He doesn't have a collar but it's a boy."
Stiles grinned. The things he could make Scott do. "Scott, once again, spirit wolf, of course he's not going to have a collar and if I knew whose wolf this was, I wouldn't be so freaked out, but you tripping over the chair helped. A little."
"I hate you."
"I love you too buddy."
Both of them turned to look back at the wolf. "I don't think he's going to leave," Scott muttered.
"Oh, he's going to."
The wolf let out a snort. Stiles narrowed his eyes. Oh, this wolf was going down.
Stiles rolled his eyes. "You two are sickening. I get you two love each other, but seriously, you don't need to have Snow with her 24 hours a day. I need Snow sometimes too! Like now when there is an unknown wolf on my bed!"
"Sorry." Scott shrugged sheepishly.
"Okay–plan B. Pass me the bat."
"No! You can't hit him!" Scott grabbed the bat and clutched it tightly.
"I'm not going to hit, him; I'm just going to scare him. Give me the bat, Scott." Stiles held out his hand.
The shaggy haired teen stared at his friend, doubtful. "You promise you're not going to hurt him?"
"Oh my God, yes I promise!"
Scott reached over to pass the bat. "Wait. This is my bat! Why do you have my bat?!"
Stiles quickly grabbed it. "You weren't going to miss it, you don't even play baseball."
"Neither do you!"
"You don't know what I do with my free time."
"You don't play baseball in your free time."
Stiles narrowed his eyes. "I do play baseball."
Scott blinked. "Since when?"
"Since I found myself having a lot of free time."
His friend winced and scratched the back of his head. "Okay, you can keep the bat."
Stiles smiled. "Thank you." He turned to look at the wolf. "Now, either you get off my bed or I make you." The wolf stared, his jaws still working around his pillow...was that wolf raising an eyebrow at him? Okay, that was it! This wolf was going to get off his bed!
Stiles panted and dropped down to the floor. The bat rolled out of his fingers, the wood covered in saliva and teeth prints that embedded themselves in the wood. Scott looked down at the bat. "You can definitely keep that bat. And he's not leaving anytime soon."
He let out a groan and glared at the wolf, seriously? What the Hell was up with this wolf?! "Go back to wherever you came from, which is not my bed! Not my house! Not near me! Go! Shoo! Leave!"
The wolf placed its paws over each other and settled his head down.
Scott glanced down at his phone as it vibrated and smiled brightly. "Stiles, I'm going to head on out. Allison wants to meet up."
"Are you really going to leave alone with this homicidal wolf?"
"Stiles, if he hasn't killed you yet, I don't think he's going to."
"You don't know that!"
Scott turned to look at the wolf whose tongue merely lolled out of the side of his mouth as he breathed. "So dangerous."
"Shut up, he's fooling you! It's a charade. As soon as you leave, he's going to eat my face!"
"Stiles, seriously, I don't think he's going to hurt you. I think he honestly just wants to stay with you."
Scott shrugged. "I don't know, but there must be a reason. Anyways I'm going to head on out. Bye!"
"You're a terrible best friend! I hate you!"
"I love you too!" Scott yelled out from downstairs.
"I'm revoking my friendship with you!"
"I will!" Stiles yelled back. The door downstairs slammed shut. He grumbled to himself, Scott was a shitty friend. He turned back to look at the wolf. "You're not going to leave, are you?"
The wolf grinned as he rearranged himself and closed his eyes.
He narrowed his eyes. "Fine, I'm going to call you Fluffy then."
The wolf twitched.
"That's right. Fluffy."
The wolf's eyes snapped open.
Stiles smirked. "You don't like it, the door is right there."
The wolf let out a snort and closed his eyes again.
"Ugh!" Stiles threw his hands up in the air. "Fine! You want to stay, then stay, Fluffy. Just wait until my dad gets back and then you are so out of here."
Stiles' glanced down at his phone frowning. It was already nine and his dad still wasn't back. He let out a sigh and glanced over his shoulder at Fluffy, who was peacefully sleeping. On his bed. "Stupid wolf," he muttered as he got up and went downstairs. He didn't even know where the wolf had come from or whose it was!
He opened the fridge, he'd need to make something that would still taste good by the time his dad got back, or when he got back. Turkey sandwich it was then. He quickly collected all the ingredients, piling them in his arms and turned–
"Oh my–" Stiles' head slammed against the fridge, and yeah, that was going sting. He winced and glared at the black wolf, who merely blinked and tilted his head, staring at him. "What are you doing down here?"
Fluffy leaned closer, Stiles stiffened, he was about to get chomped on, wasn't he? Why had he trusted Scott?! He nudged his nose against the meat gently and leaned back. "You're hungry? Well maybe you should go back home then, back to the person you belong to, I'm sure they'd feed you, because I'm not going to. Go on, run back home." The black wolf stared at Stiles for a few seconds before he turned and walked away from Stiles, curling up into a corner, facing away from him.
"Fine. If you want to starve, starve, see if I care!" Stiles grumbled and went to make sandwiches. Once he was done, he settled down at the table and picked up his sandwich, ready to take a giant bite. He paused and looked at the black wolf. Nope, he wasn't going to care. The wolf wasn't his responsibility he didn't need to feed him. He wasn't going to, really, he wasn't, okay. He opened his mouth wide... damn it, his shoulders dropped. Stiles sighed and placed half the sandwich on the floor and went back to eating. A few seconds later, the black wolf wandered over and slowly started to chew. Stiles ignored him and focused intently on eating. He stiffened a few seconds later as a heavy weight was placed on his knee. He quickly looked down. Fluffy pushed his head closer to his stomach and looked up, his eyes big and bright. The wolf pointedly stared at the sandwich in his hand. "No." Stiles shook his head. "Nope, you had your sandwich, this is mine." The wolf didn't move. He kept staring at Stiles. "No."
Fluffy slowly blinked. Stiles narrowed his eyes. "You're not going to get this sandwich. No."
The wolf continued to stare. "Nope, not going to happen."
"Stop staring at me."
"No." Stiles shook his head. "No." He glanced down at the wolf. "No. I mean it. You aren't getting this sandwich."
He held out the sandwich. "You're worse than Snow and he begs," he muttered as the wolf ate the remaining sandwich. The wolf's tongue darted out to lick his muzzle. Stiles glared. "Don't worry Fluffy, once my dad gets home you are out of here, so enjoy robbing me of me of my food because it'll be the last time."
The black wolf nudged his head against Stiles' leg and turned to look at the fridge. He sat back down on his hunches and waited, his tail swinging back and forth slowly.
Stiles crossed his arms over his chest. "Think you can order me around now, do you?"
The wolf yawned, and would you look at all those sharp, pointy teeth that could tear into to muscle, joints, and tendons, and embed into bone...Stiles quickly got up and went towards the fridge. "This doesn't mean you can order me around!"
The wolf let out a snort and watched the human scurry around the kitchen.
After he had eaten dinner, Stiles went back up to his room. Stiles blinked, his shoulders hunched, the blue-white glow from the computer illuminating his skin. His mouse clicked, as his eyes skimmed over the page, his fingers clacked on the keys, fast and sharp. Stiles bit his thumbnail, huh, there weren't any cases in which a spirit left its host, but there were cases in which the spirit went mad. Madness that spread, flesh rotted, teeth gleaming with blood, their bodies contorted and twisted, monstrous in form. Spirits were the reflection of your heart and soul, they were the physical manifestation of both your heart and soul–for them–for anyone's spirit to look like that...what could have happened? What would have caused the decay of human soul? Of a human heart? The cursor scrolled down.
Moral character decay.
His hand tightened around the mouse.
The loss of one's spirit half, of one's soulmate has shown to drive the remaining half into madness. Weakening of one's spirit is common, visible changes to the appearance are among the common seen changes. But–
Stiles let out a startled shriek as he was yanked back. He turned to look behind him shocked. The black wolf tugged the edge of his shirt, ah come on! Not the shirt too! He scowled. "What? You need to go outside to pee? What? Saw a squirrel?"
Fluffy let out a growl and tugged harder, pulling Stiles insistently. "Okay, okay, calm the Hell down," he muttered as he got up and let himself be lead. "Where do you want to–" he let out a squawk as he was pushed down onto the bed. "What the f–" the wolf climbed up on top and settled down on Stiles, stopping him from moving. Fluffy turned and grabbed the blanket with his mouth and tugged, moving it over them. Once he was satisfied, he tucked his head under Stiles' chin and closed his eyes.
Stiles stared at his ceiling silently. Had he just been given a bedtime? By a wolf? By a spirit wolf? By a spirit wolf he didn't know?
John let out a sigh, he was getting too old for the things that went down in Beacon Hills, supernatural included. He couldn't look at fairytales without cringing. At least he wasn't on the nightshift today. The sheriff shrugged off his jacket and placed it around the chair. He sighed again and ran a weary hand over his face. Beside him Andor lay down on the floor and closed his eyes. The sheriff leaned down and let his fingers run through the lion's mane. "Rough day?" The lion opened one of his eyes and let out a snort. The amount of idiot teenagers in this town, added to the supernatural aspect– he shook his head, thank God for the Hales. He slowly got up and glanced down at the table, his lips tugged upwards. He picked up the paper and his smile widened.
Remember Dad eat your veggies. They're in the fridge and don't you dare try to sneak in anything unhealthy! I'll know! Plus just because Andor is a lion, the king doesn't mean you need meat.
P.S. No whiskey.
I mean it.
John shook his head fondly and picked up the plate. He unwrapped it and passed some to the lion as he took a bite, his eyes looking up to the clock and he did a double take. It was midnight. Stiles never went to bed before 2:00 A.M., and that was the earliest, even with threat of punishment. What had Stiles done now? The sheriff covered his eyes. "Damn." He sighed and placed the sandwich back on the table and climbed the stairs, going up towards his son's room. Andor slowly followed after the sheriff, and shook his head. Stiles.
He stood outside for a moment, his eyes settling on the door. Did he really want to know? Did he really want to know what his son could have possible done this time? What if he'd hacked into the Beacon Hills Police Departments website with his hacker friend again? Or egged Jackson or keyed his car? What if he'd done something to Harris again? Jesus, how many times could he set the chemistry lab on fire in a year? It could be Coach again, about Stiles'...unique essay topics. Breaking into the principal's office to read files...damn it Stiles. Andor sat down on his hunches and waited, he glanced up at John and hit him light with his tail and nudged his head to the door. "Alright, alright, I'm getting to it," he muttered.
The sheriff took in a deep breath and straightened his shoulders. Okay, time to do this. He placed his hand on the knob and twisted. He glanced inside the dark room, his eyes squinting as the only source of light came from the blue/white glow from the screen. Andor's eyes gleamed, his muscles tensed and his lips pulled back, but after a moment he stopped and blinked.
Stiles let out a sigh and smiled in relief. "Thank God you two are here!"
"You see it too?"
The lion nodded.
"Huh. So..." He looked down at Andor, who glanced up at him and smiled faintly. Ah, so that was it.
John sighed and shook his head, slowly closing the door.
"Dad! Dad! Where are you going?!"
He opened the door again. "Downstairs to eat."
Stiles glared. "Do you not see the homicidal wolf on my bed? That has its teeth too close to my neck? There's a wolf on my bed!"
"I can see that."
"So why aren't you doing anything?!" His voice went up a pitch.
The sheriff shrugged and leaned against the door. "This is the first time since you've been five that you've gone to bed at a proper time."
"So, I'm not going to do anything if this means that from now on you'll go bed at a proper time."
"Oh my God, you're just going to leave this wolf here with me?!"
"Why?! Why aren't you freaking out?!"
John smiled lightly. "You're smart, you'll figure it out, kid." He turned to go back downstairs.
"Andor! Don't you abandon me!"
The large lion blinked and entered the room, stopping by the bed. The black wolf opened his eyes and looked down at the lion. The two spirits stared at each other for a moment, then the wolf nodded and turned back into his previous position. Andor turned to look at Stiles and nudged his head closer to him for a second before he stepped back and went to follow after the sheriff.
Go to sleep cub.
Stiles' mouth fell open. What? What was wrong with his dad? With Andor? Were they really going to leave this wolf with him?! "Andor no! Andor! Is this some kind of punishment?! I'm sorry! Dad please don't leave me alone with this wolf! I promise I'll go to bed at a reasonable time! Okay I probably won't but I promise not to cause any more trouble...okay that's a lie but I promise not to get caught! I'm your son, don't leave me here with him!"
The black wolf opened his eyes and met Stiles' gaze and smirked. Stiles' eyes widened. Oh shit. "Dad!"
John sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. He was getting too old for this. He rubbed a hand over his face. "So this was what he'd meant," he muttered. His mind drifted back to a time he hadn't let himself dwell on in years, when there was so much misery and pain that both Stiles and him still hadn't recovered from. The memory is faint a wisp in the back of his mind and he has to focus on it until it clears.
"My dear sister has informed me that I am to tell you that my nephew has been sleeping outside, under your son's window, for the past three days."
John ran a hand over his face tiredly. "Jesus, you're breaking and entering, Peter."
"And you're drinking." The sheriff dropped his hand and narrowed his eyes. Peter smiled. "I thought we were stating the obvious."
"If you're done, leave."
Peter tilted his head and stared at the sheriff. "A word of advice, Sheriff, not that I care I suggest you start taking care of your son because if you don't, someone else will. Someone who can't even take care of himself and that in turn will mean I will have to get involved. I don't like getting involved in things that don't concern me. So take care of your son, Sheriff. It'll be better for everyone."
"I can take care of my son, Peter."
The werewolf reached over and grabbed one of the bottles that littered the table, he glanced at it.
"Expensive." He looked back up at the sheriff. "Your son ran away, Sheriff."
"You're lucky I don't have my gun on me."
Peter let out a snort. "Normal bullets don't work."
"Who said anything about normal bullets? Do you honestly get more annoying as the years go by?"
"Does your tolerance increase as the years go by?" He looked at the littering bottles. "And that's a yes."
"Get out Peter."
"Take care of your son, Sheriff...and yourself. If you don't, Claudia is going to be very angry with you."
John quickly looked up and found himself alone. He glanced around the kitchen, at the whiskey bottles, at the plates and the mess. He looked down at the wedding band around on his finger, letting his fingers drift over his ring. His eyes burned, he roughly scrubbed his face. He had a lot to do before Stiles woke up. The chair scraped against the tile as he moved away from the table. John walked towards the sink and spilled the last of the whiskey down the drain, watched as the dark bitter liquid flowed down...he hated when Peter Hale was right.
The sheriff placed a hand over his mouth he needed a drink. He went into his office and unlocked the alcohol cabinet, he needed something strong. He grabbed a bottle from the back and took it outside. He stopped as he noticed Andor staring at him. "What, I need a drink!"
The lion stared unimpressed.
John narrowed his eyes. "One Stiles is enough."
Andor shook his head and settled back down.
The sheriff filled his glass and drank it, quickly refilling it. John stared at the liquid frowning. "I honestly thought this would happen sooner."
Andor opened his eyes. Stiles wasn't ready then and he still isn't, because of that he has stayed away, but even we have our limits, John and those two have pushed them for too long.
The sheriff blinked, startled and turned to look at the lion in surprise. "Does that mean that he doesn't know?"
John covered his eyes. "Both of them are idiots."
One of those idiots is yours.
"Please don't remind me." Andor snorted and closed his eyes. He dropped his hand from his face. "At least Stiles will be kept busy and out of trouble."
I highly doubt that.
"Let me have hope."
Have hope, but remember your cub is not someone that can be kept out of anything. Not even case files, or crime scenes.
"Please, Andor, stop," the sheriff muttered.
The lion grinned into his paws.
Scott stopped and stared at his best friend. Although he hadn't seen Stiles in three days, his friend shouldn't look the way he did. Stiles' arms cushioned his head, his shoulders almost up to his ears, his back tense and straight. By his side sat the wolf, smug and prideful, his tail lazily swinging back and forth on the floor. Oh this wasn't going to be good. Scott turned and walked away.
Stiles clenched his eyes lightly. What was wrong with this wolf? With this dad? With Andor? He wouldn't leave him alone. Not when he slept–which was at a "reasonable" time–not when he was eating, not when he changing, he even came with him to school! To School! The only time the wolf left him alone was when he went to the bathroom! And he still didn't know whose wolf it was! He quickly looked up as something lightly hit his arm. He frowned and picked up the packet. Reese's cup? Suddenly more packets rained down on the table, he looked up. Scott smiled warmly and held out a can of Coke and plate of curly fries. "I bought out the vending machines supply of Reese's cups and look! Curly fries!"
The tension in him dissolved, his shoulders lowered and he smiled. Scott. "Thanks, Scott."
The shaggy haired teen sat down and pushed the fries and coke closer to his friend. "Bad day?"
He grabbed a handful of fries and stuffed his face. "Try bad weekend. Scott, I need this wolf gone."
"What did the sheriff say?"
"My dad's not going to do anything."
Scott's eyebrows went up. "Why not?"
"Because I go to bed on time. This wolf has given me a bed time Scott! A bed time!" Stiles viciously tore the packet in his hands open. "He thinks this is hilarious and he keeps saying 'I'll figure it out.' What am I going to figure out? What is there possibly to figure out?! It's driving me mad, Scott, mad!"
"You've always been a bit crazy Stiles." Scott stared down at the wolf. "If the sheriff doesn't have a problem, maybe you shouldn't either?"
"Stiles, maybe it's a good thing."
"How is having a bossy wolf who isn't mine, who gives me a bedtime and sleeps on top of me–which, hello, he's no lightweight by the way, who won't leave me alone, a good thing?!"
"The sheriff thinks so and if he does, there has to be a reason. Don't you trust your dad?"
Stiles gritted his teeth and leaned forward. "That isn't the problem, Scott. The problem is that this is someone's spirit. Someone's soul and it's with me. Fish die when they see me, Scott, they know, they kill themselves because they know, they know I'd kill them so they just spare themselves the trouble and commit suicide . Someone's soul, someone's heart, is with me, that's not a good thing. Things die in my care! Plastic plants die in my care!"
"Fish don't commit suicide when they see you, Stiles...and plastic plants don't die."
"They do, Scott, they do. But seriously, I need to get rid of this wolf. It belongs to someone else that isn't me. Scott, you're my best friend, you have to help me." Stiles desperately clutched his shoulders. "Help me."
Scott winced."Okay! Okay! I'll help you!"
Stiles slowly let go and dropped back into the chair. "Good."
He rubbed his shoulder. He forgot how Stiles could get when he was bothered. "So what's the plan?"
"I don't have one but I'll figure it. Soon. Very soon."
"Well while you plot, I'll be–Allison!" Scott grinned and jumped up, waving madly.
"Thanks for being here," Stiles muttered under his breath.
Quickly a blur of brown and black descended and landed on Scott's shoulder. The bird, a common kestrel (because he researched stuff like this...shut up, it was normal), gently closed her wings, and rubbed her head against his face. Scott smiled. "Hey, Auryon."
A second later something crashed into Stiles' back, pushing him forward into the desk. Stiles let out a choked breath. "Hey, Snow." The husky quickly jumped off and faced Stiles, his tail wagging fast as his tongue lolled out, shifting on his feet waiting for Stiles to turn. Once Stiles pushed himself away from the desk, Snow pounced. He totally didn't miss all the tongue baths. Snow licked every inch of his face, his tail wagging even faster. Stiles let out a laugh as Snow climbed on the chair with him and placed his paws on his shoulders, Stiles hugged him tightly. "I missed you too buddy, not the tongue baths though." Stiles stiffened as he heard a low growl. Snow paused and looked down at the ground, tilting his head to stare at the black wolf.
The wolf let out a snarl. Stiles narrowed his eyes. "Fluffy, stop, don't you dare growl at Snow."
He turned to look at his friend. "Yes, I call him Fluffy."
"Do you want to die?"
Stiles shrugged and turned to glare at the wolf. "I mean it."
Both watched as Snow jumped off and walked closer to the wolf. The black wolf's lips pulled back as he snarled, his fur bristling. "Don't." The wolf stared at Stiles for a second before his growl slowly ebbed away. Snow slowly moved closer, his tail wagging back and forth, his mouth open in a little grin. The wolf glared but otherwise made no move. Snow let out a happy bark butted and his head against the wolf's chest, his tail wagging even harder. The wolf let out snort and rolled his eyes.
"I didn't know your spirit was a wolf."
Scott and Stiles looked up, Allison smiled sweetly. "It's not."
Allison's brow burrowed. "I didn't know you were dating anyone."
Her smile faltered."...Is a friend joining us for lunch?"
Allison's smile fell entirely, she quickly glanced around and pulled the two of the forward. "Did you steal someone's spirit?" she whispered.
Stiles mouth fell open."What? No!"
"Come on, Allison, even Stiles isn't that bad."
He turned to look at his friend. "Rude, dude, I'm the sheriff's kid."
"Not like it stopped you before," Scott muttered.
"I have limits!"
Scott shook his head. "You really don't."
Stiles narrowed his eyes. "I grew up with you. I have blackmail material, so shut up, Scott." Scott promptly closed his mouth.
"Then whose wolf is that!"
"That's what I'm trying to figure out! I'm being stalked by a spirit wolf!!"
All of them glanced down at the wolf. "This could only happen to you, Stiles." Allison let out a sigh."What's the plan?"
"...I'm working on that one."
Allison hummed. "Doesn't the city have archives of each spirit? Not specifics but at least something, like species and it's connected to the Sheriff's Department and the hospital's mainframe?"
Both boys stared at the hunter. "Why do you know that?"
She shrugged. "My family hunts werewolves, this shouldn't be surprising."
"Good point. Okay, so now we need to figure out if we want to break into the hospital? Or Sheriff's Department?"
"We broke into the hospital last time," Scott said. "And why can't we use Danny?"
"Because after the last time, someone got a little touchy. I don't see what the big deal is, he has a record! He just got a warning. And they upped the security down there. My dad calls it the 'Stiles protocol'. "
"They upped the security down at the hospital...and they call it the 'Stiles protocol'."
Stiles' eyebrows went up. "I thought my dad was kidding about that."
"No, he wasn't."
"Huh, I feel kind of proud."
"You really shouldn't, Stiles, but this time can we not break into the hospital? I'm still being punished for last time."
Stiles let out a sigh. "Fine, we'll do the sheriff's office, I'll steal my dad's key tonight and make a copy. He honestly still thinks just by changing the locks I'll be kept out."
"There are public records of all the spirit animals born in Beacon Hills, along with the name of the person the spirit is attached to, down at city hall." All of them paused and looked up. Danny stared unimpressed. "There's even an online version. Do you just like to break laws?"
"How long have you been there? And I'm just curious, laws just happen to get in the way of that curiosity."
Danny shook his head. "Since the time Allison got here."
"And I'm not being touchy, Stiles, no one likes have the sheriff on his case and I don't have a record." He glared and turned to walk away.
"Wait!" Stiles stumbled and ran after him. "Danny, buddy, come on, help me!"
"Not a chance Stiles."
"It's not even illegal this time!"
"Is anyone in the Hale pack missing a wolf?"
Cora twitched, the fork in her hands bending, would they never learn? She wasn't interested and she wouldn't ever be. She scowled and turned to look up. "Okay, you know what? That's the stupidest pickup I have–Stiles?"
Stiles blinked. "Seriously, is someone in the Hale pack missing a wolf?" Scott smiled and waved to Isaac, who grinned back.
He pointed to the wolf by his feet, who looked disinterested and bored. "This wolf in particular."
Cora glanced down. "Oh."
"Sorry." She smiled. "Never seen that wolf before in my life."
Isaac frowned. "But isn't that–"
Cora slammed her foot down on Isaac's and smiled even more as he gritted his teeth. "Don't know whose wolf that is. What makes you think it's from the Hale pack?"
Stiles narrowed his eyes. "There are exactly 12 people in Beacon Hills whose spirit animal is a wolf, three of which are from the Hale pack, so it made sense to start with the larger percentage and then go door to door."
"Well, it doesn't belong to the Hale pack, sorry."
"You sure about that?"
He stared at her for a few seconds longer before he smiled and turned, walking away. Once he made it out of the cafeteria, he rolled his eyes. Please. He didn't even need to be a werewolf to know she was lying, but why? He glanced down at the wolf. "I guess we're paying the Hales a visit after class, Fluffy. I can't skip anymore apparently, which really shouldn't matter, I mean I'm doing good, better than good. I should totally be allowed to skip."
"Stilinski what are you mumbling about?"
Stiles turned and winced. "Hey, Coach."
Finstock stared. "You know what? I don't care, go to class."
"Then find a class to go!"
"Get going and learn something Stilinski!"
Stiles blinked and watched Coach walk away. That didn't even make sense! What? "How is that man even a teacher? Wait, still better than Harris, anything is better than Harris."
The sky is tinted orange and pink, the clouds heavy and dark, painted on the skyline, they look ready to burst. It's close to five by the time he even makes it to the dirt path that leads up to the Hale home. Shadows are starting to creep, and the woods look less inviting than usual, which they never actually looked inviting but it's not like that's stopped him.
Stiles' fingers drummed against the steering wheel.
He's not scared. Nervous maybe? It's not as if the Hales aren't well known in Beacon Hills, they're one of the oldest werewolf families in America, and Alpha Hale is well known and respected. His dad has worked lots of supernatural cases with the Hales and that's the thing. Everyone knows of the Hales, but no one knows anything about them. The Hales keep to themselves. They do go to the public schools, but they had pack and most people didn't try to get too involved with them, because it seemed like you couldn't, because they are so close knit. It seems impossible to cross that border, and no one tries. Well, at least they didn't until Scott and him. But it's mostly because of the fact that Scott can make friends with next to anything, and if he can't, there's something wrong, and well, him, it's really that the werewolf thing was cool, still is. If they'd let him just observe or maybe see a shift but no, he's not allowed to.
So maybe he is a little scared and nervous, but can you blame him? Cora really doesn't like him. What's to say that it doesn't extend to others in the were gene kind of way? And he doesn't know if that's true because no one lets him study things like that! He turned to glare at the seat next to him, at the reason for any of this. The wolf stared back and can we mention how much this wolf is judging him? Seriously, this wolf is judging more than any teenage girl in Beacon Hills, even Lydia Martin.
Stiles narrowed his eyes. "I'm going," he muttered as he eased his car out of neutral. "I'm going to throw a party when you're gone, going to invite everyone I know just to celebrate you leaving."
The wolf let out a snort.
"Rude! Okay, I do know people and you are leaving. I am totally not going to miss your furry ass. Ever."
As he gets out of the car, all he can hear is the laughter and screeching that pierce the air, childish, full of life and bright. The kids are rolling around on the grass, some of them are playing soccer a little far off, streaks of green and brown on their shirts and shorts as they tussle and fight, laughing and screaming as they play. The wolf is watching them, his tail sweeping the forest floor gently. There is no tension, he's peaceful, happy and calm. It's the same as when he comes home and sees his dad and Andor asleep on the couch, or in the kitchen. It's familiarity, belonging and home.
Stiles let out a snort. "Never seen this wolf in my life, my ass." He turned and walked up the remaining distance to the front entrance and rang the doorbell. A few seconds later the door opened and Laura Hale stood on the other side. Her face melted into confusion. "Does this wolf belong to anyone in the Hale pack?"
She looked down and stared for a few seconds. "Really?"
The wolf shrugged.
Laura rolled her eyes. "Mom, it's for you!" she yelled out, as she turned and walked away.
Stiles blinked. A few seconds later, Alpha Hale appeared, behind her, her brother. Peter leaned over his sister's shoulder and let out a laugh. "Oh, this is going to be amusing." The black raven on his shoulder nodded in agreement.
Talia rolled her eyes. "Peter, please."
He grinned and leaned against the doorway, he wanted to see how this was going to play out, and if he was right, it was going to be embarrassingly hilarious.
She turned and smiled at Stiles. "Hello, Stiles. What brings you up here?"
"Stiles, I have told you many times, Talia is fine."
"Yes, Alph–Talia, well this wolf, right here, yeah this one, has been stalking me for the past few days. Does he belong to anyone in your pack?"
Peter and Talia both looked down. "Oh...I see."
"So I'm going to say yes, he's yours so here you go, no need to thank me, just keep him far away from me and we are good. Well bye." He smiled and turned to go, finally he was free, no judgmental wolf that would force him to sleep. Free, blissful freedom. He struggled, come on! He was so close! He glanced over his shoulder and of course it was Fluffy and his damn teeth latched onto his shirt. Stiles tried to force himself against the pull, he gritted his teeth. "Let go!" The wolf growled and pulled harder. No, he was not going down! Stiles' hands frantically clawed at the air as he tried to get away. The wolf pulled harder and threw Stiles on ground. He winced as his head banged against the wooden floor and his elbow jarred from the impact. He hissed and cradled his elbow close to himself.
"Mom, why do I keep smelling St–" Derek muttered, a deep crease on his forehead, his eyebrows low on his face as he came down the stairs. He stopped and his eyes widened as he noticed Stiles. He quickly pushed past his mother and uncle and leaned down. He reached out to touch to Stiles, but stopped and withdrew his hand. "What are you doing here?"
Stiles cracked his eyes open and glared. "I thought that taking a nap here would be awesome, really the air is lovely, outdoors is the way to go."
Talia sighed. "Derek, help him up."
He nodded and gently eased Stiles up. Stiles heavily leaned against him. "Don't let go, give me a minute," he muttered as he tried to blink the lights away from his vision. Derek tensed but didn't move.
The alpha turned to look at Stiles. "Perhaps we should move inside to have this discussion? Derek, help Stiles inside." She turned and disappeared deeper into the home.
Peter smirked. "Be gentle now, Derek he's already had rough treatment and one really shouldn't be so cruel to their–"
Derek growled lowly. "Peter! Leave him alone!"
The older man grinned and held the door open as he waved them inside. "After you."
Derek roughly brushed past his uncle and went inside.
Peter looked down at the wolf and smiled. "Got tired of waiting I see." The wolf walked past Peter, letting his tail brush against the older man's leg gently. Peter reached down and patted his head. "Nicely done."
After he had been deposited on the couch, roughly by the way, Derek stalked away back to his dark lair to be depressing and tragic, and who knows what else. Seriously, what was his deal? Every time Derek so much as sees him, he'd make a face and leave. It was like his general face pissed Derek off, and he didn't know why, people usually didn't like him after they got to know him, not before.
"Stiles?" He looked up and blinked. In front of him Alpha Hale sat on the armchair, next to her Peter sat down on the arm, his arms crossed his chest. "Stiles, are you okay?" He nodded. "Alright, would you like anything? To eat or drink?"
"No, thank you." Stiles frowned as Derek came back, his face just a clouded as before, in his hands he held a first aid box. Derek stopped in front of him, glaring off to the side.
Stiles looked himself up and down, picking at his shirt. "Where?"
Derek gritted his teeth and grabbed his arm, twisting it until his elbow was visible. The cloth near the elbow was ripped, his elbow scraped raw, bleeding. Stiles quickly looked away, he wasn't good with blood. Derek shook his head and placed the box next to Stiles and rolled up his sleeve. He opened the box and got out gauze and rubbing alcohol. "Still not good with blood, huh."
"I was never good with blood," Stiles muttered as he kept his eyes off the side, he winced as skin burned and chilled.
Peter and Talia watched the two. "Is that not adorable, dear sister?"
Derek twitched. "Ow! Not so tight Derek!"
Talia rolled her eyes. "Peter, shut up."
Stiles lightly touched his bandaged elbow. "Thank you." Derek nodded and grabbed the box, quickly leaving the room. He frowned. What was his problem? Stiles shook his head, it didn't matter. He turned to look at the older werewolves. "Whose wolf is it?"
The two exchanged looks, Talia let out sigh. "Whose it is really doesn't matter, the main concern is that–"
"No it matters, I need to know whose this wolf is because I'm taking care of someone's soul and that's terrifying, alright? It's really scary and honestly, I am the worst person to take care of someone else's spirit. This is important."
Peter's raven hopped over to her shoulder. He is right, Talia, for how much longer will we allow Derek to do this? She turned to look at her brother, who shifted his gaze over to Stiles and back to her, after a minute she nodded. Peter smiled and turned to face Stiles. "It's Derek's."
A plate dropped, a second later Derek came back into the room. "No it's not! He's lying, he's not mine."
The wolf rolled his eyes and walked towards Derek and butted his head against him and turned to look at Stiles.
Stiles' eyebrow rose.
Derek glared down at the wolf. Who bared his teeth and growled.
"Wow bad Fluffy! Don't growl at him!"
"...What did you just call him?"
Stiles blinked. "Fluffy."
Peter clutched his stomach and let out laugh. "Fluffy! He calls him Fluffy!" Talia bit her lip and covered mouth.
Both the wolf and Derek scowled. "His name is Obsidian."
"Well maybe he should go home if he wants to be called Obsidian," Stiles said.
Peter laughed harder, struggling to breathe.
Talia cleared her throat. "The problem appears to be that he doesn't want to go home."
"Can't you just alpha him into staying here?"
The alpha's eyes sharpened. "Stiles, if souls could be ordered and hearts controlled this world would be a darker place and there would be no freedom. I can't order him back if he doesn't want to come back."
Stiles frowned. "Alright then why me? Why is he stuck to me?"
Everyone turned to look at Derek. Peter placed his head into his hand. "Yes Derek, why?"
Derek gritted his teeth and glared down at the wolf. "I don't know."
Stiles blinked slowly. "Excuse me?"
"I said I don't know!"
"Why the Hell not?!"
Derek clenched his hands into fists. "Because he won't talk to me!"
Stiles covered his eyes. "Oh my God."
Peter let out a snort. "Maybe it's because you're a stubborn ass," he muttered.
Derek glared at his uncle darkly.
"When did Obsidian stop talking to you Derek?" He stayed silent. "Derek?"
Derek grumbled. Talia frowned. "What was that?"
"A few weeks ago."
Both Talia and Peter narrowed their eyes. "And you didn't tell us?"
Derek sulkily shrugged.
Talia spoke up after a moment. "Since we can't figure out what is going on, or what to do, I propose that he stay with you for the time being. Until we are able to figure out what to do, Derek will visit from time to time to make sure everything this okay. I'll discuss this with the sheriff."
"What?" Both Derek and Stiles said.
Talia smiled. "Maybe in that time both of you learn things, perhaps form new bonds."
"I don't want to!"
"Neither do I!"
"I don't think you have much a choice," Peter said as he grinned.
Stiles slammed the door behind him and stomped up the upstairs. He fell head first into his bed and screamed into his pillow. The wolf trailed after him and settled down on the floor. How was this happening?!
He looked up and saw Scott standing near his door, Snow by his side. "I'm keeping him until further notice."
Scott winced. "Oh, whose is he?"
Scott blinked. "But he hates you." Obsidian's head snapped up, his ears alert and straight as he looked at the two intently.
He turned over and stared up at the ceiling. "I know, which is why none of this makes sense. As soon as Derek sees me around town, he turns around and walks away. And if he can't he scowls and frowns! Like the last thing he wants to be is within smelling distance of me!"
Scott came inside and sat down next to his friend. Snow settled down next to Stiles and placed his head on Stiles' stomach. "That is bad. But, I don't think the wolf hates you."
"The wolf's name is Obsidian."
"Oh, well I don't think Obsidian hates you, Stiles."
Stiles frowned. "What are you saying, he likes me?"
Scott shrugged. "Maybe."
"Scott, please don't joke. That wolf hates me so much that his life goal is to ruin my life. He wakes up in the morning and makes a list of all the things he going to do to me." Obsidian huffed and settled back down.
Scott rolled his eyes. "He doesn't make a list, Stiles. Okay then, if he doesn't like you or hate you, what is it?"
"Probably some glitch or something, they're talking with Deaton about it. I haven't even told you the worst part of all of this."
"You mean it gets worse?"
"Derek Hale is going to be stopping by frequently to check up on his wolf and me." Stiles covered his face and let out another groan. "My life's going to filled with glaring, scowling and murderous eyebrows. Scott buddy, do me a favour and just kill me?"
Scott patted his friend's leg. "Good luck with that."
Stiles groaned. He turned and clutched Snow closer to himself. "I hate my life so much."
"I didn't expect a call so soon, Alpha Hale."
"Your son is quite sharp, Sheriff. It only took him four days to figure out the wolf belonged to a Hale."
John grinned fondly. "That he is. Is there any particular reason you called me?"
"This might be one of the very few chances that these two will have to get to know each other. I think we should take advantage of the situation and force those two to spend time with one another.”
"Stiles isn't going to be happy about this."
”Neither is Derek, Sheriff.”
John covered his face and slouched heavily in his chair. "Those two are the most stubborn idiots in this town."
The voice on the other end sighed. ”That they are. Do you agree to the plan, Sheriff?"
"Yes, I do, Alpha Hale. I just hope it works out."
"As do I. Come to Deaton's office tonight. Goodbye, John."
"Goodbye, Talia." He ended the call and sighed wearily. "I just hope things don't get worse."
Andor looked up. Stiles is standing on an edge, John. If he is to fall, there is no coming back, but at the same time there is still a chance that someone can stop him from falling. It all depends on him.
"That's what worries me, Andor."
You are his father everything worries you.
The sheriff let out a snort. "It's Stiles. Of course everything worries me."
Derek shoved his hands into his pockets and avoided everyone's gaze.
"How did you even get him here?" John questioned as he watched Derek shift uncomfortably.
"I threatened him." Peter grinned. "Your son is excellent blackmail material."
The sheriff scowled. "Don't use my son for blackmail material."
"The other option was knocking him out and it takes a lot to knock out a werewolf. That or drugs, which I'm not allowed to use anymore," Peter muttered sullenly.
"You were never allowed to use drugs, Peter."
"You spoil all the fun."
Talia rolled her eyes.
"Can we proceed?" Deaton sighed, and turned to look at Derek, this child, really now? The owl perched on his shoulder let out weary hoot. "Derek, I need you to tell me when exactly Obsidian stopped talking to you."
Peter rolled his eyes when Derek stayed silent. Nevermore flew over to Derek's shoulder and pecked at the side of his head, annoyed. Derek twitched. "He's going to keep doing that until you answer and you know how Nevermore gets."
"Two months ago." Nevermore stopped pecking and stared at Derek.
Talia rubbed the side of her head trying to ward off a headache, Peter covered his mouth, was this boy really his nephew?
The sheriff sighed and shook his head. Idiots, both of them were idiots.
Deaton took in a deep breath. "And do you have any idea why he stopped talking to you?"
"No," the werewolf grumbled.
"Derek, Obsidian has been trying for years to make you understand why it isn't right for you not to be with your soulmate. When one does not listen to his heart, to his soul, refuses to, there are consequences. You haven't listened to Obsidian in years, his frustration and anger is understandable."
"You make it sound like it was easy for me to stay away, to ignore everything. I've accepted that Stiles doesn't want a soulmate, doesn't want me, why can't any of you?" Derek's shoulders dropped, his form defeated and exhausted. ”I'm trying to make do, I'm trying to be okay, I'm just trying to get by day by day. It's not easy, there are days I want to give up, but I'm trying, so why do you all keep blaming me?"
Talia closed her eyes, her son's heart was broken before anything had started. Peter frowned, he could feel Derek's pain and heartache, how had his nephew hidden this? She opened her eyes as the sheriff shifted, both werewolves turned to look at the sheriff.
"Derek," John said gently, "none of this is your fault. You shouldn't have to compromise, you shouldn't have to make do, accept something like that because my son is stubborn." The sheriff sighed. "Derek, my son hasn't shown anyone his spirit in over eight years. He's boarded up his heart so tightly that Scott, his best friend since they've been toddlers, can't get past. I can't either and I'm his father. Derek, this isn't the sheriff asking you, this is a father asking you, please, don't give up on my son. Help me save my son because I can't."
After a few moments, he spoke. "I need time," he said quietly as he walked towards the exit.
The sheriff sighed tiredly and scrubbed his face, Talia grabbed his shoulder and squeezed. "They'll figure it out, John."
"I hope so, Talia."
"You're both hoping for a bit much," Peter muttered. Both Talia and John glared at him, he shrugged unrepentant. "You've left them alone for eight years and how has that worked out? We have one sad, depressed little boy and another stubborn little human boy who still hasn't figured out that his soulmate is Derek. This is going to work out so well. I'll start planning the engagement. Which do you prefer, a nice simple outdoor ceremony or a classy banquet hall?"
Talia covered her eyes. "Peter, shut up.”
"What? I thought my options were tasteful."
"Don't make me use my wolfsbane bullets."
"Is that any way to treat your future in–law?"
"Peter, I'm not going to stop the sheriff from shooting you."
Peter closed his mouth. "I thought my options were lovely."
"Peter, shut up!"
Stiles glared down at his lunch tray and angrily stabbed at it with his fork. Two weeks had gone by! Two weeks! No word from Derek, which wasn't surprising, but still! He got that Derek hated his guts but seriously how could he not care that his spirit was stuck to him? To him. To Stiles Stilinski, the person he hated. Stiles gritted his teeth, you know what? He didn't care, Derek could do whatever he wanted because he didn't care. Not one bit...ugh...why wasn't Derek worried about this?!
Beside him Obsidian sat down on the floor, his eyes drifting across the sea of humans lazily. What good could possibly come from keeping the wolf? Why was everyone okay with this? His dad, Scott, Derek's mom, Hell, even Derek's uncle, was okay with this. The only two who weren't were him and Derek! He grumbled to himself and violently stabbed at his carrots. Did no one care that he didn't want to keep the wolf? Keep the wolf of someone who obviously hated him. "You're making a mess."
He looked up and frowned. "Lydia?"
Lydia smiled and sat down in front of him. Her cat elegantly hopped off her shoulder and sat down on the table, her eyes trained on Stiles. He tensed, this wasn't going to be good.
"Everyone thinks that wolf is yours but it's not."
"Really why not? Why do you think differently?"
"I'm Lydia Martin, don't include me with them. That wolf belongs to a Hale. Hales don't give their spirits to anyone, unless there's a reason, so what is it?"
Stiles let out a laugh. "This is what gets you to notice me? Gossip?"
Lydia stared at Stiles. "We both know the reason why you chose me was because I'd never say yes."
"And we both know Chanel isn't your spirit's real name. Or that you pretend to be stupid. Lydia Martin is a genius, who gets perfect scores in everything."
"Stiles Stilinski hasn't shown his spirit to anyone in eight years."
Both of them stared at each other. Stiles smiled. "You kept track. I'm flattered."
She scowled. "Don't brush this off, I'm asking you a question and I want an answer."
"I don't have to answer your question. As you pointed out, I only chose you because you'd never say yes. But tell me, how come you haven't told Jackson who your soulmate is?"
Lydia stiffened. "That's none of your business."
Stiles collected his bag and leaned closer to her, his eyes hard. "Neither is this. Stay out of this Lydia."
"It isn't healthy to keep your spirit locked up, Stiles. To keep it locked up for years isn't good."
"Why do you care? We aren't friends."
"Before you became Queen Martin." Stiles smiled. "I can't be friends with Queen Martin, because she's not Lydia. She's not real." He shouldered on his bag. "Obsidian, come on, let's go," he muttered as he left, the wolf trailing after him closely. Once they had left the lunchroom, Stiles let out a deep breath. He tried to breathe, tried to calm his heart, tried to keep the panic at bay. Of course she'd figure it out, she was Lydia Martin, but she had let him keep up his part, let him pretend to love her, she had played her part, never interested, never gave him the time of day. So what had changed? He ran his fingers through his hair. But she couldn't know why he did any of that, she couldn't. There was no way she knew why–
Stiles flinched sharply as something cold and wet pressed against his hand. Obsidian nudged his head closer to him. He buried his hands into his flank and slid down to the ground trying to calm down. Obsidian stood on guard, shielding him from prying eyes. Stiles took in shaky breaths, and after a few minutes, he picked his face up from the wolf's side. "This all your fault, you know," Stiles muttered. Obsidian licked his face and sat down in his lap. Stiles combed his fingers through the wolf's dark fur. It's different than Snow's–Obsidian's coat is longer and thicker, warmer and softer. "Seriously, this is all your fault," but it had little heat to it. Stiles slowly got up and walked towards his locker. There was no way he was going to stay here for today.
Who was ringing the doorbell? He didn't want company, not after today, he just wanted to sleep! He shoved his head under the pillow. No. He wanted to be alone damn it! Next to him Obsidian twitched. Stiles gently patted his side. "It's okay buddy, sleep." He scowled when the ringing didn't stop and let out a huff. Fine, he'd get up then. Stiles blearily walked downstairs, scrubbing his eyes as he opened the door.
.....Well, this was a surprise.
Derek Hale stood sulkily on the other side, this was the last place he wanted to be.
Stiles leaned against the doorframe and crossed his arms over his chest and stared.
"You're two weeks late."
Derek gritted his teeth. "Can I come inside?"
Stiles shrugged and walked inside, leaving the door open. He went into the living room and collapsed on the couch. A few seconds later, Derek joined him. Minutes passed in awkward silence, neither one saying anything. Obsidian came into the room and walked over to Derek. He glanced at the two of them and sighed.
He turned and grabbed Stiles' sleeve and pulled him up. Stiles let out a groan. "What now?"
Obsidian turned to look at Derek and jerked his head outside Derek followed his gaze. The werewolf frowned. "You could just talk." He breathed through his nose harshly when the wolf merely turned and dragged Stiles to the front entrance.
"Where are we going?!"
Stiles looked over his shoulder. "Why?"
”He likes to go up there."
"Then why can't he go with you?!"
Derek rolled his eyes and opened the door for them. "That's the biggest problem, isn't it?"
"Ugh, I really hate you and your stupid wolf."
Stiles pulled his key out of the ignition. When Obsidian pawed at his side, he shook his head and opened the door. Stiles let out a grunt as Obsidian stepped on top of him to get outside. He grabbed his stomach and watched the wolf bound away, deeper into the forest, and now he was left alone. With Derek. He sighed and slowly got out of the car. After a few minutes of nothing, he rubbed the back of his neck."...So now what?"
Derek shrugged and looked out at the forest.
"Of course, silence...big surprise there," Stiles muttered. He brightened. "Maybe I can run away and Fluffy won't follow me."
"His name isn't Fluffy."
"Whatever, I'm leaving, see you next Christmas at the Sheriff's Department's Annual Christmas party!" Stiles turned and quickly walked away. Maybe this time he'd actually make it! A second later, he was pushed face first into the ground...and no, he wouldn't. Stiles turned over as soon as the pressure subsided.
Derek's face appeared above him, amused. "I think you almost did it."
Derek smiled and held out his hand. "Come on."
Stiles grabbed his hand and allowed himself to be pulled up. He dusted off his clothes and glared down at the wolf. "Does he enjoy causing me physical pain?"
"I don't think that's it," Derek muttered.
"You sure? I'm starting to think he's doing this just to watch me suffer. I mean, it makes sense. You hate me so why wouldn't your spirit?"
Derek sharply looked up. "Wh–" Obsidian slammed into Derek's back and shoved him down.
Stiles grabbed his stomach and laughed. "Oh my God, that's too funny! I bet you didn't see that one coming!"
The werewolf growled, reached over and grabbed Stiles' arm, and yanked him down. Derek leaned over him and smirked. "I bet you didn't see that one coming."
Stiles let out a huff and glared. "Get off me."
Derek frowned. "I don't hate you."
"I don't hate you."
"...You don't hate me?"
He shook his head.
"Okay, either you have a bad memory, a twin, or you really don't know what your face does when it sees me. Seriously, are you not aware of what your face does when it sees me? Or the fact that you walk away when you so much as see my shadow? How do you explain that?"
"...I don't hate you."
Stiles stared. "That's not an answer."
"I don't hate you."
"Oh my God! Are you stuck on repeat? Okay, fine, you don't hate me, I get it, now get off!" Derek slowly got up and offered out his hand. Stiles took it and heaved himself up. He let out a breath and raked his hand through his hair. "Alright, so you don't hate me. That's clear, really clear. Okay, fine, since we're going to be spending a lot of time together, let's get to know each other then, fair? So favorite superhero?"
Stiles blinked. "Really? I was expecting a bland stare and a suffering sigh."
He waved his hand up and down. "Have you seen yourself."
Derek frowned and looked down at himself. "...What's wrong with me?"
"You're built and hot!"
He slowly smiled. "I'm hot?"
Stiles scratched the back of his neck. "Well I mean...yeah–shut up," he grumbled.
Derek's smile widened. "You think I'm hot."
"All of Beacon Hills thinks you're hot."
"I don't care about the rest of Beacon Hills."
Derek sat down on the grass and patted the ground next to him. "Come here and sit down."
Stiles plopped down and crossed his legs together. "Show me more of that geek side and make me swoon."
"Yes, make me swoon."
"I've seen every Marvel and DC movie made since the '90's, both animated and live action. And I used to have a comic book collection."
"Oh my God? Really? Are you more a Marvel kind of dude or DC? Wait, used to?"
"I pissed off Laura and Cora and well...I no longer have a comic book collection."
"Dude, that's evil."
"Those are my sisters."
Stiles cringed. "Remind me never to piss those two off." He shook his head. "Dude you are just shaking my world view, I can't believe you're a geek! Derek Hale is a Marvel/DC geek!"
Derek smiled and shook his head. "Favorite Robin?"
"Dick Grayson. But I have to admit that he made an awesome Nightwing. Favorite villain? From DC universe?"
"Loki. Favorite team? Any universe."
"Justice League. Yours?"
Stiles hummed and tapped his fingers against his thigh. "The Avengers were awesome in the recent movies, but I have to give it up to the X-Men. No contest."
"Favorite good guy gone bad?"
"Oh, nice one and it has to be–"
"Jason Todd," both of them said together.
Stiles smiled and let out a laugh. "Okay favorite female hero both from Marvel and DC?"
"Wonder Woman and Storm. Yours?"
"Black Canary and Jean Grey. Favorite back story, both heroes and villains?"
Obsidian settled down behind the two and closed his eyes, letting their voices lull him into a nap.
Stiles threw his head back and laughed, tears gathered on the edge of his eyes. He wiped his eyes. "Oh man, it's been so long since I laughed like that, I think this is the first I've ever seen you laugh or smile so much since you were kid."
Derek's smile fell. He looked down at his hands. "Things change when you grow up. It gets difficult because you start to understand things, accept realties that there are some things you can never have, that you can't help everyone, even the person that means the most to you."
"I know that better than anyone," Stiles said quietly. "I guess we've both learned that, haven't we?"
"...It's late we should get going," Derek muttered as he got up and dusted his pants.
Stiles looked around. What? When had the sun set? Huh, he hadn't even noticed the passing of time. Stiles got up and stretched, working out the kinks in his body. He glanced down as he heard rustling. Obsidian yawned, his mouth opened wide. He closed it and shook his head, trying to dispel the sleepiness. "Are you ready to go home? Derek's home?"
The wolf blandly stared at him, snorted and walked away.
"Were you really expecting anything different?"
Stiles grumbled. "No."
Stiles bit his lip and fiddled with the doorknob. "Hey," he said softly, "I um, had fun today, and it was nice, you know? It was surprising. I didn't think you and I could get along honestly, but today was fun."
Derek smiled. "I had fun today to."
He held out his hand. "So, friends?"
Derek shook his hand. "Friends."
Stiles smiled brightly. "Night, Derek."
Stiles unlocked the door and waited for Obsidian to go inside. As he bent down to untie his shoes, he let out a laugh and shook his head. "Derek Hale, comic geek." His smile didn't fall the entire night.
Stiles' fingers quickly tapped against the screen. He smiled as his phone vibrated and quickly read the message. He bit his lip and laughed as he typed something back.
He grinned as he read the message and quickly typed back.
"Stiles! Stiles!" Scott frowned and grabbed his friend's phone.
Stiles sputtered. "Dude! What are you doing?!" He tried to snatch his phone back.
"What are you doing? I've been calling you for the past ten minutes, who are you texting?" Scott looked down at the screen.
Scott blinked. "But he hates you."
"No, he was adamant on the not hating part, very adamant."
"How long has this been going on?"
"A couple of weeks. He's a pretty cool guy Scott, funny too. Now give me back my phone." Stiles held out his hand.
Scott's frown deepened he looked down at the screen, his fingers swiping at the screen.
"Hey! I don't look at your text messages from Allison! Don't look at mine."
He stared at his friend, shocked. Stiles quickly grabbed his phone. "Dude, how is that even the same thing? I'm dating Allison...wait, are you dating Derek?"
Stiles scowled and put his phone into his pocket. "No, I'm not dating Derek and it's about privacy. Don't look at my text messages."
"You mean don't look at your text messages from Derek."
"You never had a problem before."
"Scott, seriously, stop. Whatever you're thinking, it's wrong." Scott dubiously stared at his friend. Stiles narrowed his eyes. "You're still thinking. What? Dude, tell me! Wh–"
Both of them jumped at the loud noise. Jackson sneered. "McCall, Stilinski."
Stiles let out a groan. "What do you want?"
"They're rumors going around about you." His eyes drifted to the wolf.
"Whose is it?"
"Why he can't be mine?"
Jackson let out a laugh. "You're defective, there is no way that wolf is yours."
Stiles stiffened, Scott tensed. "Jackson, shut up."
”Aw, would you look at that? Your boyfriend is getting jealous." Obsidian's lips pulled back, Jackson froze. The wolf growled lowly. Jackson jerked back as Obsidian snapped his jaws. "What's wrong with him?!"
"I really don't think he likes your attitude." Stiles grinned.
"Animals are sensitive to this kind of thing, Jackson," Scott said seriously.
Obsidian stepped closer, his growling building in volume.
Jackson stumbled back and tripped over the chair behind him. "Call off your rabid wolf!"
"I can't, remember he's not mine, I'm defective." Stiles smirked. "I'd run if I were you."
Obsidian stalked closer, Jackson swallowed and quickly stood. "S–Stilinski you're going to pay for this!"
Stiles let out a laugh as he watched Jackson slam into a table as he ran away. "Oh man, that was beautiful." He pushed his chair back and held open his arms. "Come here, boy." The wolf pushed his way in between the space, his tail swaying behind him, Stiles grabbed Obsidian's face and grinned. "That was awesome! You are awesome! So awesome!"
Scott smiled. "I told you he was going to be a good thing."
"He'd be an even better if he'd go back to Derek. You'll go back to Derek right?"
Obsidian offered him a bland stare.
Stiles sighed and scratched behind Obsidian's ears. "You're lucky I like you a little bit right now so I'm not going to be mad."
"Derek! Derek!" Stiles dropped his bag by the front door and quickly tried to take off his shoes. Obsidian trailed after him, sighing as Stiles stumbled. "Derek!"
Derek looked up from the book in his hands as Stiles slid into the living room. "You're excited."
"You'll never guess what happened today!"
"Harris was transferred?"
"No, I wish." Stiles sighed, but he brightened. "Obsidian scared Jackson shitless! You should have seen it, he growled at Jackson, it was awesome! I've never seen Jackson run so fast, not even on the field."
Derek frowned. "Why would he do that?"
"It's Jackson, does he need a reason?" When Derek continued to stare Stiles cringed and looked up at the ceiling. "He may have called me..." he muttered.
"Stiles I have werewolf hearing and I can't hear you."
"He called me defective."
Derek scowled. "He what?"
"But it's okay!" Stiles said quickly. "Obsidian took care of it, he really took care of it. Never mind that, what do you want to do today?"
The beta sighed, knowing that Stiles wouldn't continue the conversation or answer any of his questions. "Baseball down at the Preserve?"
"Let me get my bat!" Derek shook his head fondly as he watched Stiles bolt past him to the stairs. He looked up as he heard a crash. "I'm okay!"
He turned to look at Obsidian and smiled softly. "Thank you for looking out for him." He looked down at his hands. "I'm sorry." He swallowed. "I'm sorry for not listening, for shutting you out. Your anger is justified, I'm sorry." Derek scrubbed his face. "I'm sorry." He looked down, Obsidian closed his eyes and rubbed his head against Derek's stomach. Derek smiled and gently caressed his head.
"Derek, you owe me a new bat!"
Derek's brow furrowed . "...Why do I owe him a new bat?"
Stiles closed the door to his jeep and turned to face Derek."Ground rules no freaky werewolf strength."
"Like I need werewolf strength to beat you."
He glared. "Not funny. Just for that, I'm going to beat your furry ass so hard you'll be tasting dirt for weeks. Weeks, Hale, weeks."
Derek smirked and shrugged off his jacket. "Bring it, Stilinski."
Stiles placed the bat over his shoulder and grinned. "Cocky. How about a bet? To make things more interesting?"
"What kind of bet?"
"If I win, you let me watch you shift."
The werewolf's eyebrow rose. "What do I get when I win?"
"If you win, whatever you want."
Derek smiled sharply. "Anything?" Stiles swallowed. Derek looked every part the predator he was, and Stiles was suddenly reminded of the fact that yes, Derek Hale was in fact a werewolf...shit. His smile widened. "Having second thoughts?"
"N–no, what makes you think that?"
"Call it a special skill."
"You're using your werewolf senses aren't you?"
Derek let out snort. "I know you, I don't need to use my werewolf senses to figure you out."
Stiles huffed. "Fine and I'm not having second thoughts, I said anything and I meant anything."
"Alright then, let's do this."
"First person to strike out loses. I'll bat first."
"Be my guest."
"Obsidian, you're the retriever and referee, let's play some ball."
They walked deeper into the forest, Derek threw the ball up in the air and smirked. "I hope you can run."
Stiles narrowed his eyes. "Why?"
"You're going to need it once I win."
He rolled his eyes. "Just throw the ball," Stiles muttered as he got into position. He shifted his stance and lifted the bat.
Stiles panted and wiped the sweat off his brow, smiling. "I won! I beat your furry ass! How's that dirt taste?"
Derek scowled. "You cheated."
"I did not."
"Stiles you told Obsidian to jump on me so I got a strike, then you fake screamed and said you saw a snake, and the last strike, okay I'll give you the last one."
"In my defense, I really did think I saw a snake and I didn't tell anyone to do anything. But seriously, did you really think I was going to play fair?"
Derek smiled darkly.
"Derek...Derek why are you smiling like that?"
"You won the bet. Fine."
"Derek, why are you coming closer?"
"You wanted me to shift right? How about I do one better? Show you some of my werewolf powers?"
Oh shit. Stiles bolted deeper into the forest. He ran, ducking under branches, jumping over roots. Colors and shades of green and brown blurred past, leaves and pinecones crushed and twigs snapped underneath his feet, branches slapped against his skin, tugging at him. His heart tapped against his chest loud in his ears, his breath coming faster and quicker as the air whipped and stung his cheeks, he pushed himself faster. Stiles let out a grunt and closed his eyes as Derek collided into his back. He braced for the impact but Derek rolled them as they fell so that he ended up on bottom to cushion Stiles' impact.
Stiles laughed into Derek's chest. He picked his head up and smiled, warm and bright, his eyes lively as he stared down. Derek smiled softly. "I won."
"Fine, you won."
"You'll show me your shift?"
Derek held up one of his hands, and slowly the nails grew out, becoming sharper. Stiles slowly reached out and touched his hand, amazed. He let his fingers drift over the nails. He tangled their hands together and looked up, amazed. Derek shifted his face next, his canines grew out, his ears becoming pointed, his sideburns lengthened, his brow scrunched together, and then his eyes shifted to a glowing gold. Stiles slowly lifted his other hand and gently ran it over the tip of Derek's ear, his fingers drifted to Derek's brow, slowly moving down the ridges on his forehead. "Does it hurt?" Stiles asked softly.
"No, it used to when we were kids, especially during growth spurts. That was bad. You get used to it, as you keep doing it. It gets easier and easier until you feel nothing."
"Who taught you to shift?"
"Shifting isn't taught, Stiles, controlling it is. The shift is natural, we're born with it, it's a part of us. The control is harder to grasp, even then only a certain amount can be taught to us, and then the larger part is left to us. We have to figure out our anchors, the thing that keeps us tied, reminds us we are human, helps to ease the transformation both backwards and forwards."
Stiles frowned. "What's your anchor?"
Derek's hand tightened around Stiles'. "I can't tell you that, Stiles."
"Why not? Wait is it supposed to be kept a secret so it doesn't lose its value? Or something?"
"No, that's not it."
"Then why can't you tell me?"
"I can't. It's late. We should get back."
"Stiles, I'm not going to tell you no matter what you say."
He stared down at Derek for a few seconds and nodded. "Fine." He quickly got up and walked away. Derek sighed and followed after him.
"Stiles, are you really going to be mad over something like this?"
"I'm not mad, who says I'm mad? I'm calm, I'm good, I'm not mad, not mad at all."
"You sure about that?"
Stiles glared. "What, am I not in touch with myself? I think I know whether I'm mad or not. Which I'm not. Mad."
"You don't smell calm, you smell angry and hurt."
He whirled around and turned to face Derek. "You know what? Keep your nose to yourself and stop smelling me."
"I can't turn it off."
"Well, ignore it then," Stiles muttered as he turned and walked away again.
"Stiles, it's not a big deal, I just don't want to share what my anchor is."
"No, you just don't want to share it with me."
Derek reached out and grabbed Stiles' arm pulling him closer to himself. "That's not it. Look, Stiles I trust you, okay, if I didn't I wouldn't have shifted, I wouldn't have told you any of the things I've told you. You're the only person I trust outside of my pack, it's not about trust. This is about me, alright? I need you to understand that I'm not sharing this because it's you, I'm not sharing it because of me, okay?"
After a minute, Stiles slowly nodded. "Okay."
"Are we good now?"
"Yeah, we are."
Derek smiled. "Good. Want to go home and watch movies?"
"Okay, but before that, stay still," Stiles muttered as came closer and lifted up his hand, he brushed the back of Derek's head and stepped back holding up a leaf and grinned. Derek reached back and ran his fingers through his hair.
Stiles shrugged and tossed the leaf, walking next to Derek. "Question."
Derek sighed. "Stiles–"
"Not about that."
"Okay," he said slowly, "then what?"
"Where do your eyebrows go when you shift? Do they like join your sideburns to become hairier or are they like absorbed into your hairline?"
Derek shook his head. "You are the only person in the world who would ask that."
"What? It's a legitimate question!"
"Can you believe that?" Stiles threw his hands up in the air.
Scott stared at his best friend. "He didn't want to tell you. So?"
"What do you mean so, Scott! This is a big deal. He'll show me his shift but won't tell me what his anchor is?"
"...Dude, you sound like Allison when she's mad at me for something I did."
"I do not sound like Allison."
"You do. I feel like I'm listening to everything I've done wrong since I've been going out with her."
Stiles let out an offended squawk. "I do not sound like a teenage girl in a relationship."
"No, you sound like a teenage boy in a relationship...are you sure you're not going out with Derek?"
"Scott I think I would know if I was going out with Derek, which I'm not by the way, we are just awesome friends."
Scott shrugged and picked up his slice of pizza, taking a huge bite. "It took me a while to figure out I was going out with Allison."
"How is that even possible?"
"The first couple of dates I thought we were just hanging out and then she kissed me and I freaked out. I asked her if we were going out and she laughed so hard she started to cry."
"...How are you able to do anything without supervision?"
Scott grinned. "You're usually around."
Stiles frowned. "Wait, you two are soulmates. How could you not know that you were going out?"
"If it was that easy to find your soulmate, Stiles there wouldn't be people looking for theirs for years. It's–"
"It doesn't automatically happen, it takes time for the bond to form, and when you've found yours, when you've reached a level where you both are able to understand each other, you'll know." Scott and Stiles looked up as Lydia set her tray down on the table and sat down next to Stiles, she fixed her skirt. She raised her eyebrow when she found the two looking at her oddly. "What?"
"Did you accidentally sit at the wrong table or something?" Stiles narrowed his eyes. "Wait, did you lose a bet or something? Or are you drugged?"
She rolled her eyes. "Please like I would ever take part in such things, I'm here to eat my lunch. Do you have a problem with that?"
Scott smiled. "No, it's nice to have more people here."
"Scott can you get me some Reese's cups?" Stiles held out some change.
"Huh? Yeah sure, you want anything else? Lydia, do you want something too?"
"No, thank you, Scott."
Stiles watched Scott walk away. He glanced at Lydia from the corner of his eyes. "Why are you here?"
"It's time to stop pretending." Chanel hopped down off Lydia's shoulders and settled down on the table, her eyes lazily drifting around the room.
Lydia scowled. "Do you know how annoying it is to pretend to be stupid? To pretend not to know anything? It's annoying and I'm tired." Chanel's tail swayed back and forth, agitated.
"Then why come here?"
"You were one of the few people that knew I was pretending, and Scott accepts anything with a pulse."
"Let me rephrase–what makes you think I'm going to accept you?"
"Because you stopped pretending too."
Stiles frowned. "What?"
Lydia smiled. "You haven't confessed your undying love to me in weeks."
He blinked. "I haven't?"
Stiles frowned. "What?"
"You didn't notice, did you?"
"What have you been doing with all that time?"
Derek. He'd been spending any free time he had with Derek, watching movies, talking, going up to the Preserve, playing baseball, video games, everything. He'd leave as soon as school ended because he knew Derek would be waiting and he'd rather spend time with him than do anything else..."Derek."
Lydia's eyebrow rose, even Chanel turned to look at him curiously. "You've been doing Derek Hale in your free time?"
Stiles' mouth fell open. "Not like that! I meant I've been spending time with Derek."
Obsidian let out a snort. Idiot.
"Shut up, Fluffy."
"...You can talk to him?"
"No, he–" Stiles' eyes widened. "Oh my God you can talk! Say something else!"
Obsidian blandly stared. Call me Fluffy again and I'll bite you in a place where sitting will be uncomfortable for weeks.
"Rude, but you aren't mute anymore!"
Stiles paused and turned to look at Lydia. "What?"
Stiles narrowed his eyes. "I know that look, you figured something out, what is it?"
Lydia smiled and opened her water bottle. "Nothing."
"It's not nothing, what is it Lydia?"
"Well you can talk to the wolf, you and Derek must be...close."
"Yeah so what?"
"That's the thing, it takes years, and if you're close enough perhaps six to seven months, it's odd."
"There's something more to it, what is it?"
"Well, unless there's another reason."
Obsidian's fur bristled, he growled lowly. Lydia's eyes drifted down to him. Stiles' eyes widened. "Hey, don't do that! Stop!"
"So I wasn't wrong."
Stiles grabbed the wolf around the neck and held him back. "What weren't you wrong about?"
"Figure it out, I'm not going to do all the work for you."
"You're the second person to say to me, what is there to figure out?"
"For someone who managed to figure out I was pretending, you're rather oblivious." When Stiles continued to stare at her, Lydia sighed. "Okay I'll give you a hint, it's something you need but don't want, you refuse it, deny it and close your eyes to it. What is it?"
"Who the Hell are you, The Riddler?"
Lydia offered him an impressed stare and rolled her eyes. "If you're the second smartest in the school, the educational system is a joke."
"Ow, I thought you were going to stop being so mean."
She flipped her hair over her shoulder. "I said I'd stop pretending, it doesn't mean I'm going to stop calling you out on being an idiot."
"I think I liked it better when you ignored me," Stiles muttered, "can we go back to that?"
"No," Lydia replied curtly. "Have you figured it out, yet?"
"Give me a minute." Stiles frowned. It was something that he needed, but didn't want. He closed his eyes to it and denied it. It was related to Derek...
His eyes widened. He quickly looked down at the wolf, who tensed underneath his fingers and let out another growl. Stiles let out a laugh and covered his eyes. "I'm a fucking moron. I can't believe I didn't notice this."
"Stiles," Lydia grabbed his arm. "Where are you going?"
"Where else to do think I'm going?"
"Stiles don't make a mistake."
Lydia's hand slipped, his eyes were cold and dark, full of fury and anger. Stiles leaned closer. "I've told you before Lydia, stay out of this." He stared at her for a few seconds longer before he got up and left. Lydia closed her eyes. No, she didn't want this to happen.
You shouldn't have said anything. When someone is injured they lash out. Lydia looked up at Chanel. The cat's eyes remained trained on Stiles, the green in her eyes reflecting Stiles' back, her tail swung back and forth. He has years worth of wounds and Derek is about to face the blunt of it. Chanel's eyes finally turned to Lydia. You shouldn't have said anything. Two hearts will break.
Derek frowned and turned to look at the clock, it wasn't even one, why was Stiles already home? He turned to look at the door as it rattled open. Stiles slowly came inside and went to stand in front of him. The anger radiating off of him is palpable, there is enough force behind his anger that it's static in the air around him and it's threatening to scorch him. Derek's frown deepens, his body is wound up tightly, his heart quick, faster than normal and it's putting him on edge. "Stiles, what's wrong?" There's silence and it's deafening, Derek's heart is starting to climb, starting to match Stiles'. "Stiles?" There's a pit that's started to form, his stomach is uneasy. "Stiles? Why aren't you saying anything? What's wrong? Stiles?"
Finally after minutes that weigh on him, Stiles speaks. "You're my soulmate." The words drop and sink down into the floor and he suddenly misses that silence now.
”You're my soulmate ." Stiles let out a dark laugh that rattled out of his lungs, jagged and sharp. Derek flinched at the sound as it burned his ears. "Everyone knew. My dad, your mom, your sisters, Hell even Peter knew. Did you?" Derek's hand clenched, he isn't even aware of the nails cutting into his skin, that his control is slipping. Stiles' hand shook as he ran it through his hair. "Did you know?"
Derek closed his eyes, it's over. Everything is over. It's shattering, he's watching everything shatter and his next words are going to put an end to everything. ”Yes."
Hysterical laughter bubbled out of his chest, sick and dark. "You knew. Of course you did. Everything makes so much sense, why everyone was so okay with this. Why Obsidian can even stay with me, why it's been months and there's been nothing done, nothing's been solved. You knew. All these months, you've known and you kept it from me, why? Why would you do any of this?" His stomach churned, acid climbed his throat, there's this insistent pressure behind his eyes, that's threatening to overflow. "You should know better than anyone why I don't want a soulmate, why? Was all of this a lie? You spending time with me, did it all have a reason? Everything we've done, everything we've shared, the time we've spent, it was all a lie, none of it was real."
Derek sprang to his feet and closed the distance between them. "It wasn't a lie, none of it was a lie, you know that. Don't you dare erase any of that because you're hurt. It was real. All of it was real."
Don't do this, please don't do this. Although he expected nothing, there is hope, and hates himself for that. Hates that he allowed that hope to fester, hates himself because he's still hoping. Please don't do this. The last bit of emotion seeps out of his eyes, and he can see Stiles starting to board himself back up, start to close himself back up. It's over. "Get out."
When Derek opens his eyes he can't read Stiles anymore. This Stiles isn't the one he got to know, isn't the one who laughed, isn't the one who fell asleep on him, isn't the one he spent weeks with. This Stiles isn't his. "That's your answer?"
"I didn't want a soulmate before and I don't want one now. Get out." The words are cold, full of nothing.
Derek nodded. "Alright." His hands are shaking. He shoves them inside his jacket. His footsteps are heavy, leaden with lead, his heart hurts so much.
"Take him with you." Derek stopped and turned to look back. All he can see is Stiles' back, drawn up tight and stiff, as he if was prepared for an attack, but he's already hurt. And his heart hurts even more. "Take him and make sure he never comes back. I don't ever want to see you again, I don't want to hear your voice, I don't want think about you. I want to forget you ever existed. Get out and don't come back."
The click of the door is final. Somehow Stiles manages to get upstairs and collapses on his bed. He's so tired, so drained and it hurts, it hurts so much. He sightlessly stared down at his hands, his vision blurred. There's salt on the tip on of his tongue. As thick hot tears fall, staining the wooden floor, he wants to throw up. A sob escapes his mouth, wounded and hurt. Why did it have to be Derek?
The room is dark, the sun having long set, shadows creep closer and closer, there is no light in the room. The sheriff has to squint to see anything and when he sees him, his shoulders drop and weary sigh escapes from his lungs. Stiles is perched on the edge of his bed, hunched over, his body drawn up tight, almost curling into himself. When John gets closer he can see the tiny tremors working their way up his body. "If it was going to hurt so much, why did you do it then?"
Stiles doesn't say anything.
The sheriff stared at his son. "Tell me, did you ever think how selfish your decision was? You decided that you didn't want a soulmate, but tell me, did you ever think of your soulmate? Just because you didn't want one, did you have the right to deprive Derek of his?"
"He lied to me."
"Not because he wanted to, we asked him to try. Did you know Derek accepted the fact you didn't want a soulmate. He stayed away, for you, because that's what you wanted."
Stiles looked up.
The sheriff tiredly rubbed his face. "Kid, why? Why do any of this? Stiles, I don't understand, why?"
"I–" Stiles took in a shaky sigh and raked his hand through his hair. "I saw what it did to you," he swallowed wetly, "when mom died. She got sicker and sicker, so did you. Andor got weaker and weaker, and when she died, I stopped seeing Andor and I was scared you'd die, so I ran away. I don't want that to happen to me, I don't think I could handle that, losing my soulmate. It's scary, Dad, so scary. So I decided that I didn't want one."
"Stiles that's just about the dumbest thing I've heard come from your mouth, and kid, lots of stupid things come out of your mouth." Stiles let out a weak laugh. "If you think you about it, Derek's a werewolf. He's harder to kill then the average human."
"Except a wolfsbane bullet."
"They have treatment for that one, and you seem to forget the Argents and the Hale pack have an alliance. Someone tries to take out the werewolves and the Argents are ready. The same works for them, someone tries to take out the hunters and the werewolves are ready."
Stiles looked down at his hands and bit his lip. "Dad, did you ever regret that mom was your soulmate? Did you ever regret having one?"
"No, never. Stiles, even if your mother is gone, I still have all the memories of the time we've spent together. I'm not going to lie to you. When she got sick, it was hard and it hurt, but I had you. You were the reason I knew I could make it, that everything would slowly get better. Stiles, she gave me you and if I regretted meeting her, I would regret having you and everything else she's given me and I don't. Kid, don't miss out on a chance to know that happiness because you're scared."
"I don't know if I can do it, Dad."
The sheriff reached out and placed his arm around his son's shoulder, and drew him close into a hug. "Stiles, I'm not going to force to do anything. This is your decision. I just want to ask you one thing. Did all the time you've spent with Derek mean nothing?"
Stiles buried his head into his father's chest and closed his eyes. John's eyes softened. He gently cupped the back of his son's head and ran his hand up and down Stiles' back, soothing him. "Whatever you decide, I'll be okay with. But please make sure that as the years go by you don't end up regretting your decision." Once Stiles' shoulders stopped shaking, he spoke again. "Did you know that Derek was the one that found you when you ran away?"
"And then he spent three days camped out under your window. He was confused back then, really wasn't sure what was happening. He was too young to understand what soulmates were. But he was scared, Stiles, for you." The sheriff got up and pressed a kiss to Stiles' temple. "People don't wait forever, Stiles, remember that."
As the door clicked shut, Stiles closed his eyes and dropped his head into his hands.
Stiles woke up and quickly clenched his eyes shut as his head pounded, he could count each individual throb. Once the pounding had somewhat subsided, he opened his eyes and glanced at his alarm, 2 A.M.. He turned over and faced the ceiling. Derek Hale was his soulmate. Stiles closed his eyes and roughly scrubbed his face. What the Hell was he supposed to do? He sighed, put his feet on the floor and rose from his bed. He walked across the room and opened his door. Andor slept in the hall, his head placed down on his paws. Andor's body is full of wounds that have scarred, not really visible unless you really look at him. Everyone has wounds, even Scott has them and he knows that they heal but it's scary, it's frightening. Your heart and your soul have been hurt, with wounds so deep that they appear on your spirit animal. Obsidian had them too and he's sure that he's responsible for some of them, for hurting Derek. How many new ones does he have because of yesterday? How many does he, himself have? Stiles shakily scrubbed his eyes, lowered himself beside Andor and hugged the lion, burying his head into the lion's mane.
Andor slowly opened his eyes and turned to face Stiles. Did you have a nightmare?
Your heart is unsettled.
Stiles tightened his grip on the lion. "Andor, it's scary. Having a soulmate is scary."
It's not having one that frightens you, it's losing one. Stiles clenched his eyes shut, his body trembled. Andor nosed at the side of his head.
”Andor, I don't think I could take losing him."
So not having him is better?
"Yes," Stiles muttered.
If your decision was truly resolute, you would not be here with me. The lion smiled fondly. Whenever you are troubled or at unease, you come to me. Your heart is unsettled because Derek has made some impact on you. He has come to mean something to you and if you truly meant what you had said, you would not be in so much pain.
"...I–" Had Derek really made so much on of an impact? Had he–no, that wasn't possible. No.
Cub, if you want to deny what I see then deny it, but remember this, that boy refused to listen to his heart for you. That is a difficult and painful thing to do and he did it for you, because he was aware of the fact you did not want a soulmate and he accepted that he would never have one. Tell me, do you really not feel anything for him?
"I don't know what I feel Andor."
Perhaps your father and I are not the best ones to talk to you about this. I suggest you talk to Scott, maybe he will help you figure out what you want.
"Maybe you're right...Andor?"
”Can you...can you sleep with me tonight?"
Of course. Andor slowly rose and went into Stiles' room. He climbed onto the bed and waited for Stiles to settle down as well. Stiles hugged Andor close to himself and closed his eyes. Andor watched Stiles and let out a sigh. The child was just as stubborn as his father, if not more. He hoped Derek had patience...he frowned. Maybe Derek had too much? Idiots. Both of them were idiots. Andor let out a snort and closed his eyes.
Scott sprang up as the doorbell rang. "I got it!" He rolled off the couch and opened the door. Scott blinked as he found Stiles on the other side and tensed at his friend's appearance. Stiles' clothes and hair were dishevelled, his eyes bloodshot. Although his hands were shoved inside his hoodie, Scott could see the tremors. "Stiles?"
"Scott, I need to talk to you."
"Okay, come on in." Scott gently lead Stiles upstairs into his room. As Stiles sat down on the bed, Snow jumped up and pressed himself closer to Stiles. Letting out a low whine, he curled around Stiles protectively.
Why are you hurting? How do I make it stop?
Stiles smiled and gently ran his hand down Snow's back. "I don't think you can make it stop, Snow."
I want to.
"I know you do, buddy."
Scott sat down next to Stiles and waited; his friend would talk when he was ready.
Stiles took in a deep breath and looked down at Snow's ash gray fur. "Scott, how come you haven't asked why I don't show my spirit to anyone? Did you not notice?"
"...People think I'm stupid Stiles, I know that, but I'm not blind. Do you honestly believe that I haven't noticed that you haven't showed your spirit to anyone in eight years? Since your mom died?"
Stiles swallowed. Underneath his fingers, Snow's back steadily rose, warm, the fur beneath his fingers soft. "Why didn't you say anything then?"
Scott looked down at his hands. "Because you didn't want me to. I knew that no matter what I said or did, nothing would help you. That if I said anything, you'd leave and it was more important to me that you stayed, so I could make sure you were going to be okay. You wanted one thing to stay the same and that was only thing I could do. So I stayed the same. It didn't mean I didn't care, Stiles, there were days I was scared I'd wake up one day and the sheriff would be here asking me whether I've seen you again. There were days I just called the sheriff and asked him where you were. You ran away once Stiles and I couldn't go through that again. None of us could. If the only way to make you stay was not to asking you questions, to not point things out, to just stay the way I was, then I'd do it, if it meant you'd be okay." Scott turned to look at best friend. "I'm sorry I couldn't make things better, Stiles. I'm sorry, that I couldn't help you."
"No. That wasn't your fault, you made things okay, Scott, when everything was wrong, you made them okay." Stiles' hand trembled as he reached to rub his forehead, his eyes were heavy, they burned. "There's something wrong with me, Scott." His voice cracked. "I haven't seen my spirit in eight years...there's something wrong with me, Scott."
Scott placed his arm around his best friend and hugged him. "We'll figure this out, we always do."
Snow pressed himself deeper into Stiles' stomach.
Stiles closed his eyes. "Derek Hale is my soulmate."
"You fell in love with him."
"Shit, Scott I did." Stiles covered his face. "Fuck. I fell in love with him."
"Then what's the problem?"
"He's my soulmate, Scott if I lose him–I can't, I can't."
"Talk to Derek."
"Talk to Derek and only when you have talked to him, make your decision. Whether it's going to be staying away from him or accepting him, do it only after you've talked to Derek. Stiles, you need to understand something. Being someone's soulmate doesn't give you the right to make decisions for them. It means you have to take them into consideration. At least face Derek and talk to him before you decide anything."
Stiles blinked slowly. "When did you grow up?"
"Same time you did."
"Damn, Scott that's–good advice."
Scott grinned. "I know." He bumped his shoulder against Stiles'. "Want to play video games and order pizza?"
Stiles smiled back. "Yeah, I'm totally going to kick your ass hard. Again."
"Who falls still falls for 'look over there'!"
"I don't fall for that."
"Scott oh my God look over there!"
Scott's head swivelled. "Where?! Where?! What is it?!"
Stiles smirked. "Don't fall for it, huh?"
"Shut up," Scott grumbled, "I won't fall for it again."
"We'll see." Stiles got off the bed and stretched, his body felt lighter and his heart wasn't so heavy anymore. He smiled, what would he do without Scott?
"When are you going see Derek?"
Scott frowned as he tried to untangle the wires. "Would he even want to see you?"
"No, he wouldn't."
He turned to look at his friend. "Then what are you going to do?"
Stiles smiled. "I'm going to go uninvited of course."
"Dude, the Hales will kill you!"
"No, I'm not going to the Hale house, do I look suicidal? When Derek's upset he's goes up to the Preserve to brood while looking at the sky, he'll be there tomorrow for sure."
Scott stared. "...You know where he goes when he's upset?"
"Nothing." Scott shook his head. "It's nothing."
Stiles narrowed his eyes. "No, what is it?"
"It's just that you and him are really close." Scott shrugged. "He trusts you a lot."
"Then why didn't you trust him?"
"...I don't know." Stiles ran his fingers through his hair. "I don't know why I didn't. But I'm going to talk to him. Before I make any decision, I'm going to talk to him, try to understand why he didn't tell me."
Scott smiled. "Good."
Stiles breathed harshly as he climbed up the last bit of hill, wow he was seriously unfit, at least Scott had asthma as an excuse, his was just plain laziness. He bent down and grabbed his knees trying to get his breathing under control. He swallowed and panted. Once he was sure he was okay, he straightened up and turned to look at Derek. And he just had to stare for a few minutes because Derek is heartbreakingly beautiful. Derek has always had this look to him sometimes, when he thinks no one is watching, and Stiles is finally able to describe it and he wishes he didn't know, that words weren't there. But Derek's given up, he's lonely and he's given up. Stiles' heart clenches at the thought and his chest hurts because all the times Derek has ever looked like that were because of him, even if he didn't know it he's responsible for it, more so today.
"Did you ever regret I was your soulmate?"
Derek didn't move, keeping his eyes on the skyline. "How did you know I was going to be here?"
"I've learned a few things from the time we've spent together."
His eyes shifted over to Stiles. "I thought that was a lie."
Derek turned to look back up at the sky. "What do you want, Stiles?"
"I want you to answer one question. Did you ever regret that I was your soulmate?"
"That's not one question, Stiles."
The grass rustled, Stiles' worn sneakers edged into his vision. "It's me. I never ask one question, I ask multiple and then end up confusing the one I'm asking. So why not?" Stiles leaned over him and all he could see was him. The amber of his eyes, his dotted skin, and his mouth, things that would never belong to him, would never be his. Derek closed his eyes.
"You're strong, your heart is strong. You care about those you love fiercely, no matter how few they are, you love them immensely. You're brave. You're broken, but you manage, you make do with it."
"Are you in love with me?"
"Even if I was never going to say yes, would you still feel that way?"
"...Didn't you ever think about changing that?"
"Then why didn't you?"
"Because that's not what you wanted." Minutes edged by that cut into his skin finally the crunch of leaves and the scratch of fabric against fabric drifted further away and it was expected. He had accepted it a long time ago, Stiles wouldn't want him. The time they had spent together, the months they had were more than enough, he'd make do with them. He tried to tell himself that the ache in his chest was just that of losing a friend, he didn't listen to his heartbeat when he said it.
Derek opened his eyes and looked at the black wolf. "This wasn't your fault."
I made things worse.
"No, Obsidian you didn't make things worse, you ended things, you brought closure."
Derek looked up at the horizon. "I'm sorry too, Obsidian this going to hurt. But we'll be okay. We'll be okay."
The wolf placed his head on Derek's shoulder and closed his eyes. We will.
By the time he stumbles through the door it's close to midnight, but he doesn't notice, time just keeps slipping and he can't make himself really care anymore. He can barely support his own weight and everything hurts, he just wants to crawl into the bed and pretend that it doesn't hurt, that his heart wasn't crushed. He wants to pretend that tomorrow he'll wake up to a text message from Stiles asking him to come over, that he'll spend time with Stiles, be the reason why he smiles and laughs, that he'll have Stiles, again. But he can't and it hurts.
"Derek, where have you been? I've told you before if you're going to stay out to at least call–"
"It's over," he says quietly, ignoring his mother's question, but then he never really heard it in the first place.
Talia and Peter sharply looked over at him. "What's over?"
"With Stiles, everything is over. He gave me his answer." Derek's mouth twitched into a smile, dark and bitter, his eyes dimmed and his gaze unfocused. "It's the same as before, the answer is no." He turned and climbed up the stairs, Obsidian trailed after him slowly.
Talia threw her head back against the couch and covered her eyes.
"I guess I'm going to have to cancel the engagement plans, I wonder if I can get a refund. I bet you the florist and the caterers are going to be pissed, and I even got a new suit made. For nothing."
"Peter, for once, shut up."
"If you think about it, that boy's heart has been broken by our fault, he never expected anything, had accepted the fact that he would never have a soulmate. But we were the ones that gave him false hope, we were the ones that encouraged him to try and the time he spent with Stiles no matter how much he tried to tell himself not to, he hoped and look what's happened."
"Did we make a mistake?"
She let out a snort. "Why did I expect anything different from you?"
Peter got up and reached over to squeeze her shoulder. "He's going to be okay. He's going to mope and be insufferably depressing and tragic, but he's going to okay."
Talia looked up at her brother and rested her head on his arm. "I hope so, Peter. I hope so."
"He will be."
Scott watched Stiles pace around the length of his room, muttering to himself, his face animated and lively and it's relieving. Yesterday Stiles was close to breaking, shaking when he'd seen him and Stiles is more alive than he has been in awhile, has been since Derek, and he'd been afraid that he wouldn't see this Stiles again, that he'd lose this Stiles, but he hasn't it and he's thankful.
"Oh God, Scott. He's the most selfless, idiotically good hearted, prone to depression, sad pile of werewolf I have ever seen. He doesn't care about himself! He's the worst person to fall in love with! Oh my God, all he needs is sad theme music and rain clouds, he's just heartbreakingly good and I'm in love with him. Shit I love him so much and I don't think I can make it without–I don't want to."
Snow let out an excited bark and jumped on Stiles, pushing him down to the ground, licking his face. Stiles let out a laugh and closed his eyes. Scott smiled big and bright, he jumped down and tackled Stiles, hugging him tightly. "Dude, you're bruising my ribs," Stiles wheezed.
"Sorry." Scott quickly let go and sat up. "What are you going to do now?"
Stiles let out a breath. "I'm going to have to fix myself before we do anything else."
Scott blinked. "How are you going to do that?"
"...I don't know. I'm hoping the internet has answers."
"What if it doesn't?"
"Scott the internet is a magical place full of wonder and dark corners, lots and lots of dark corners, but it has the answer. It always does."
He hasn't seen Stiles since the weekend and he doesn't look good...he really doesn't look good. Scott poked him with the eraser tip of his pencil. Stiles let out a groan and huddled himself tighter. Scott poked him again. "How was research?"
"Leave me alone to wallow in depression and disgust."
Scott frowned. "That bad?"
"It's been two days and nothing, there's nothing! The internet has failed me! It has let me down!"
"So now what?"
Stiles let out another groan and picked up his head. "I don't know!"
"We'll figure it out," Scott said as he patted his friend's back gently.
"I hope so."
Both of them flinched as a book slammed down on the desk. Lydia stared down at him darkly, behind her Allison winced and offered him a strained smile, Jackson grinned as he neared. "When I said not to do anything stupid, I meant it."
"How could you know what I did?"
"I know you crushed Derek Hale's heart and then stomped on it. A word of advice and this time follow it, stay away from Cora for awhile."
Stiles' mouth fell opened, he let out a squawk. "How do you know that?"
Scott slid down on his chair.
Lydia smiled. "Are you really surprised that Scott can't keep a secret?"
"I just told Allison! I didn't know she'd tell Lydia...and Jackson."
Allison cringed. "Sorry it slipped, she was really worried about you."
Stiles glared. "Damn it, Scott."
"I didn't know!"
He ran a hand over his face and sighed. "How mad is Cora?"
"Enough to physically injury you using her werewolf strength and the pack is mad enough not to stop her, not even Boyd."
"It's not like you don't deserve it."
"I'm trying to make things better!"
"Alright." Lydia crossed her arms over her chest. "What are you going to do then?"
Stiles closed his mouth. "Working on that."
"Fine I'll help you." Lydia pulled out the chair and sat down.
Allison smiled and slid into the seat next to Lydia. "I will too."
"Okay I get that you two want to help, but why is he here?"
Jackson smirked. "Oh, don't think I care, I'm just here to watch you fail."
"You're such an asshole."
"I'm not the one who just crushed his soulmate's heart."
"Least I have one."
Jackson scowled, the scorpion on his shoulder flared, his tail standing up. "At least I'm not the one who's going to–"
"Don't.” Chanel bristled. Lydia opened her bag and began taking out books. "I've had enough of this. Either you pick up a book and help or you leave."
A few seconds later the chair scraped across the floor and Jackson sat down sulkily.
Stiles coughed. "Whipped."
Scott let out chuckle, Jackson darkly glared at him. "Next practice I'm going to use your face to clean the field."
"Good luck with that one since I'm never actually on the field."
Lydia shoved a few books in Scott and Stiles' direction. "Enough talking. Read."
Scott reached over and picked up a book. Stiles placed a hand over his chest. "I think I'm getting teary, you're actually reading, for me. That's love, man."
"You better believe it is."
"I want to stab myself in the eye with my pen just so I don't have to listen to this or see this."
"Jackson, don't interfere with our love."
The blond rolled his eyes. "Are you sure Derek Hale is your soulmate? I mean from the looks of it you and McCall make a sickening couple."
Allison shook her head and flipped a page.
"Derek is Stiles' soulmate Jackson," Scott muttered as he squinted trying to make a word out on the page. "Spirits aren't allowed to leave you unless they are with that person's soulmate." Lydia's hands tightened around her book.
Jackson frowned. "Wait what?"
Scott looked up. "Last summer Allison when went to France Snow went with her and Auryon stayed with me."
Jackson stayed silent for a few moments, but that didn't make any sense, how was that possible? He looked back up at Scott. "What about friends?"
"It doesn't work that way, no matter how close you are to someone unless that person is your soulmate your spirit can't physically stay away from you for more than few hours and that's only for really close friends. Afterwards they just vanish and reappear next to you, but if the person in question is your soulmate then your spirit can stay with them for days, months even. Which is why I'm an idiot because I couldn't figure that out," Stiles muttered.
"That doesn't–" Jackson turned to look at Lydia. "Last Christmas break when your family went skiing out of state, Chanel stayed with me and Venom went with you...you were gone for a week."
Lydia quickly collected her things. "I forgot. I have a lab I need to do." Chanel turned to look at Venom for a few seconds before she hopped off the table and followed after Lydia.
Jackson watched her leave, what? What was going on? Nothing was making any sense to him, everything sounded distant to him, nothing was fitting together.
"Has it really not clicked yet?"
"I don't understand. It doesn't make sense."
"Stiles." Allison warned.
"Come on, Allison, seriously after all this time how can he not get it? It's been years and when it's practically been spelled out from him he still doesn't get it? Even Scott figured this out, Scott!"
Scott sighed and continued to read the passage in front of him. Stiles really couldn't leave things alone could he?
"Oh my God! Lydia is your soulmate. There. Is that clear enough?"
"I–" Jackson blinked and quickly stood up.
Stiles let out a snort. "And I thought I was an idiot about soulmates."
She kept on walking. Jackson quickly ran down the hallway and grabbed her arm, spinning her until she faced him.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
Lydia stayed silent.
Jackson clenched his hands into fists. "I asked you a question!"
"Why are we together?" she questioned softly.
"What? What does that matter? What does that have anything to do with this?"
"Jackson, it matters. Are we together because we like each other? Or because we fit, that it's expected that the Queen go out with the King?" She took in a deep steadying breath. "You're planning on turning your back on your family, the people who raised you once you get your inheritance. You're planning on leaving. Tell me why being your soulmate would matter, if you were going to leave your parents?"
Lydia eyes hardened. "Relationships don't mean anything to you, Jackson, why would this?"
"It does, Lydia."
She let out a bitter laugh. "Your own parents don't mean anything to you, why would I?"
"It's not, Jackson. It's a bond and if you can so easily break that, leave Danny, leave me, why should I expect something like soulmates to make a difference? To make you stay?" Her eyes glistened and her lips trembled. "The truth is you are my soulmate, but I wish you weren't."
Jackson's heart thudded against his chest, deafening, his lips moved. "D-Don't say that Lydia. Don't." His hands shook as he reached out to touch her. "Don't say that."
She knocked his hands away. "No, don't touch me. Not anymore." She closed her eyes. "I'm not going to do this anymore." She opened her eyes. "Leave, I'm not going to stop you, I'm not going to expect anything." Lydia straightened her shoulders and pushed herself away from Jackson.
"You love me."
She paused and looked over her shoulder. "It's not enough anymore."
"Lydia, don't do this." She didn't stop, her steps determined and resolute. "Lydia! Lydia!" Jackson ran a hand through his hair, trying to stop the tremors in his hands, his world was breaking. His eyes burned. He turned and slammed his fist against the lockers and screamed. His world was unraveling. He slid down to the ground and clenched his eyes, he clutched his shirt above his heart, the pain burned in his chest, threatened to consume him, he looked down at Venom. "Why didn't you didn't tell me?"
Venom looked up at him. You need to grow up. How much longer will you pretend to be perfect? Pretend that you don't have a heart? You've become this person, that ignores the world around him, the people in that world. Only Danny and Lydia have stayed with you, but before that you were friends with many more people, with Scott and Stiles, but then you decided that you didn't want anyone and people gave up. Danny stayed because he understood, Lydia stayed because she's your soulmate but eventually even she gave up expecting anything from you. Do you understand what that means? Your own soulmate gave up on you. How much pain have you caused in all these years for her to actually give up? Don't blame her for your mistakes.
Jackson closed his eyes. "If it's my mistake, I can fix this right?"
Yes. You can but, it's not going to be easy.
He slowly got to his feet and leaned against the lockers. He looked down at his spirit and smiled. "I know it's not going to be easy, but it's Lydia, when is it ever easy? But I'm not going to let it end like this, she's my soulmate and she's not going to leave me."
Lydia climbed out of her car, unsteady on her feet. Her hands shook as she tried to open front door. The keys slipped out of her hands. She rubbed her head. It was okay, she just needed to calm down. She bent down and picked up her keys and slowly opened the door.
Once she had made it into to her room, she settled on her bed and curled into herself. Lydia closed her eyes. The pain would stop, it would get better. It would stop hurting. Chanel climbed up next to her and leaned against her heavily. She looked up as the door opened. "Jackson what–" He stared at her, his skin pale, a thin sheen of sweat coated his forehead, his hair disordered. "Do you feel like your soul is breaking?"
She looked away. "It'll pass."
"No, it won't." He shook his head. "No, it won't Lydia. It won't because I love you. You mean something to me. You're my soulmate. Please don't do this, give me a chance. Please."
"You don't love me, Jackson," she muttered as she wiped her eyes. She didn't want to cry.
"I do! Stop deciding for me! I love you, if I didn't, I wouldn't feel like this, like my world is breaking and my soul is being crushed like I'm dying. Lydia, don't tell me I don't love you when it feels like my chest is going to be crushed, don't you dare say it doesn't mean anything when Venom is in pain."
Lydia quickly looked up.
Jackson ran a hand through his hair. "If I prove to you I'm human, that Jackson Whittemore has a heart, that I'm more than just some popular team captain, will you give me a chance? If I can show you that I care, that I have a heart, will you give me one chance? Please Lydia, I deserve one chance. You love me, at least give me that, let me prove to you that it wasn't a mistake that I'm your my soulmate. Let me prove it to you."
She stared at Jackson for a few moments, she slowly nodded. "Alright."
He let out a sigh and closed his eyes, as the pain started to ebb away. He slowly approached her, but stopped once she stiffened. He stepped back. "I'm not going to touch you, I just–" he slowly cupped his hands and carefully placed a shivering ball near her. "Can I just leave Venom here, for a little bit? He's not going to stay, he'll come back, just for a little bit, okay?" He turned and left the room.
Lydia gently cupped her hands together and cradled the shivering mass to herself. "I'm sorry Venom, I'm sorry."
By the time they get out of the school's library, the sun is touching the horizon and darkness is approaching. Soon it'll be night and he still isn't any closer to figuring out an answer and another day is gone.
"We'll figure it out Stiles, don't worry," Scott said as he gripped his friend's shoulder.
"I don't have a lot of time, Scott, that's what I'm worried about," Stiles muttered as he shoved his hands into his hoodie.
Allison frowned, she reached over and pulled Stiles back. "If Derek waited for you for this long he can wait a little bit more."
"But he shouldn't have to Allison! Shit." Stiles gritted his teeth. "He shouldn't have to keep doing this. He keeps making these compromises with his life, accepting these things. Damn it, I don't want it to be like that anymore. For him to have this look on his face like he's given up, he looks heartbroken all the time and then he'll smile, I don't ever want to see him look like that again. I can't."
Scott and Allison smiled. "That's because you love him." Allison hugged Stiles tightly. "Don't worry, Stiles, I know you're going to figure it out and we'll all help, alright?"
Stiles nodded. "Thanks Allison, both of you, thank you for helping.”
"Dude, you've helped me with Allison and so many other things, I'm just glad that you found your soulmate and it's changed you. We'll figure it out. We always do, don't we?"
"We always do." Stiles smiled. He waved goodbye to them. Once they had left, his smile fell. He combed his fingers through his hair and sighed. They still hadn't found an answer and he knows that it's been a few days but he doesn't want Derek to wait anymore, Derek shouldn't have to. But that's only assuming that Derek is still waiting...and oh my God –what if Derek really has given up? What if everything he's trying to do is for nothing and Derek is done with him being an idiot who only thinks of himself?! What if Derek packed up his bags and moved away?! Oh my God he'd have to hunt him down! How could he find Derek? Could he use his father's contacts? Could he call the F.B.I? The State Troopers? What about the–
He let out a startled scream as a weight dropped on his shoulder. He clutched his chest and turned to look behind him. Jackson? Was that Jackson? Holy shit that didn't look like Jackson. For as long as he's known Jackson (which is a pretty long time), he's always looked like he stepped the latest issue of Asshole Monthly or Douche Vogue. Now this Jackson before him is having a bad day, wait whenever they meet Jackson it is a bad day, so is today a good day for him? Wait–no he's getting off track, back to how Jackson looks, which is shitty. His normally gelled hair is dishevelled, his skin pale and clammy, and his clothes dare he say it? Have wrinkles and creases. There are people who look good when they have bad days and Jackson Whittemore is not one of those people.
"Dude you look like shit, are you sick? Wait don't puke on me."
Jackson blinked. "I'm going to help you."
Stiles narrowed his eyes. "With what?"
"With you getting your spirit back and then Derek. I'm going to help you.”
"...Yeah no thanks, I think I'm going to take my chances somewhere else which is not with you, or anywhere near you." Stiles walked backwards and held up his hands. "Thanks but no thanks, not ever, because for one you don't help people and even if you did, you wouldn't ever help me, so I don't know what you're playing at but I don't have time." Jackson reached out and grabbed Stiles' arm. "Whoa, ow! Dude, don't manhandle me!"
"I can help you."
"What's wrong with you! Let go! I told you before I don't want your help!"
Jackson grabbed Stiles' other arm and glared. "Listen, I can help and I'm going to tell you now that there is no book or webpage out there that's going to help you, I know because I've looked." Stiles stopped struggling. "I've been where you are. I can help you."
"Why?" Stiles questioned suspiciously.
"I want to do a nice thing."
Stiles let out a snort. "You do a nice thing? Please that is not happening."
Jackson gritted his teeth. "Look I know you have no reason to trust me but I'm the only chance you have. What means more to you? Derek or keeping up this stupid grudge? Think about it. I'll be here in the school's parking lot tomorrow after school. You decide what means more to you." He let go of Stiles and turned around, walking back to his car.
He turned to look over his shoulder. "What?"
"You weren't going to help me out before. What changed?"
Jackson stared. "What makes you think I wouldn't have?"
"You're Jackson Whittemore. You don't help people, you stand by and laugh at their suffering or sometimes–actually, most of the time you're the reason for it."
"Like you're any different."
"I laugh at your suffering, there's a difference, also I never said I was a saint."
"Neither am I, but I'm trying to be better."
"Because Lydia asked you to?"
"No, because she deserves that. I'll see you tomorrow," Jackson muttered as he turned and walked back to his car.
What? Can someone give him a play by play of what just happened? Or a witness? Maybe a recording he could play back...use as blackmail material? Seriously had Jackson Whittemore offered to help? Well it was more like forced, it sounded a little threatening as well...wait did that even count as wanting to help? Wait, wouldn't help imply you wanted it in the first place? So was Jackson forcefully not helping but helping at the same time? Stiles groaned and rubbed his head, he was giving himself a headache. Screw Jackson he had other things to do.
When he gets out of class the next day he's surprised that Jackson is actually outside waiting for him and he knows Jackson is waiting from him because he's leaning against his jeep. A jeep when he so much as seen has scowled and threatened to haul to the junkyard. Scott stopped beside him and stared. "Is that Jackson? Next to your car?"
"So you see it too?"
Scott frowned. "Even Jackson's not bad enough to pick on you now...right?"
"He says he wants to help."
His eyes widened. "What? Really?!"
Stiles sighed. "Yeah, I don't know what to do."
"Let him help you."
"What?" Stiles turned look at his friend.
Scott shrugged. "If he wants to help let him. Give him a chance."
"What if it's a sick joke?"
"I don't think even Jackson is that bad and if he is I'll help you key his car and stuff both his lockers with stink bombs. I'll even get the frozen mice from Deaton's practice."
"You do love me."
Scott grinned. "Of course I do." He slapped Stiles' back and pushed him down the stairs. "Go. Tell me how it goes."
"If I go missing, tell my dad that Jackson Whittemore is the main suspect."
"Get going Stiles!"
"I love you. Don't forget me Scott. Name your first kid after me if I don't make it!"
Scott shook his head and turned, veering off in the opposite direction to his bike.
"Actually, name your first kid after me anyway!"
"I'm going, I'm going," Stiles muttered as he walked towards his car.
Jackson turned to look at him. "You ready?"
"I guess." Stiles narrowed his eyes. "If this is a joke you're going to lose your car and you'll find half frozen mice everywhere. Everywhere."
"It's not a joke. Get in your car."
"Where's your car?"
"I didn't bring it."
Stiles' mouth fell open. "Did you take the bus like a commoner?"
Jackson snorted. "Of course not. I had Danny drive me. Can we move this along?"
"First tell me why didn't you bring your car?"
"Because I didn't need it. Now open your car door before I use your face to open it."
"And there's the Jackson Whittemore I know and despise."
Jackson leaned closer. "Get in your car, open the door, and start your car," he said slowly.
He should stop pushing those buttons. "But why did you think you weren't going to need it?" Damn it!
Huh, he's never seen Jackson twitch before. It's kind of funny watching Jackson restrain himself, the way his jaw keeps ticking, his face turning red...and this is actually kind of fun. Jackson breathed through his nose harshly. "Because I knew you'd come so I didn't need my car."
Jackson gritted his teeth. "I knew this was going to test my patience but we haven't even started and I already want to pound in your face. Start your car!"
"Jeez, calm down before you pop a blood vessel," Stiles muttered as he opened the driver's door and got in. He reached across and opened the passenger side. Jackson climbed in and glanced around. Stiles started his jeep and tapped his fingers against the steering wheel. "So...where are we going?"
Jackson clicked on his seatbelt. "My house."
"...You aren't planning to murder me right?"
"If I wanted to murder you, I wouldn't do it at my house, I'd do it away from Beacon Hills and your werewolf soulmate."
"Good point but don't think I didn't notice how you weren't deterred by the fact that I'm the sheriff's kid."
Stiles reversed his jeep and pulled out of the parking lot. They drove down the road, the trees passing by them on either side casting shadows over them. Jackson focused his gaze out the window, watching the yellow painted divider pass by.
Venom shifted closer and used his claw to tap Jackson's face. It'll be okay Jackson. He turned to look at the scorpion and offered him a small smile.
”So how come you were sure that I'd come?"
Jackson turned to look at Stiles. "Because Derek means more to you than anything else and the fact that you've looked and haven't found any answers. You're desperate and if there is even the slightest chance I can help you, you'll take it. Does that answer your question? Now shut up and drive."
Venom let out a sigh. At least he was helping. Even if it was a bit questionable.
Stiles blinked and turned his attention back to the road. "Even while helping you're still a dick. Is it a learned skill? Or are you naturally born with that?"
"Were you born cursed? That if you stop talking for one second, you'll die? If not, keep your mouth shut and stop talking."
"Wow, watch out, the Evil Queen is pissed."
"That's it. I'm jumping out of this car."
"Wait, let me find a cliff!"
Jackson scowled. "You want my help? Then shut up for ten minutes, ten minutes." Stiles opened his mouth. "Ten minutes starting now." He closed his mouth, he could keep silent, totally could do it. Stiles bit down on his lip. Remember he's doing this for Derek, he's doing this for Derek, his soulmate. He smiled, Derek was his soulmate. Jackson stared him oddly, Venom pinched him harshly. He flinched and looked down at the scorpion.
Do not say anything.
"I wasn't going to!"
You were thinking it.
The blond frowned and slouched down in his seat. "Fine," he muttered glumly.
Stiles closed the door to his jeep and stared at the house. He hadn't been here in years, since the time when Jackson was friends with him and Scott. He can vaguely remember smiles with missing teeth and skinned knees. Images of sticky fingers and climbing trees edge at his memory. He shakes his head. He doesn't have to dwell on a past that means nothing anymore.
"You going to keep gawking?" He turned to look at Jackson who stared back."It's not like you haven't been here before. Not much has changed."
"What, so you admit that we used to come here? I thought you'd deny that with your last dying breath. Next thing you know, you'll admit that we used to be friends." Jackson stayed silent. "Got nothing to say?" He turned and walked up the driveway, Stiles followed after him. "I thought as much," he muttered bitterly.
Jackson dropped his bag by the entrance. "You want something to eat or drink?"
"No. Let's get this over with."
He paused and looked over his shoulder. "You do understand that this isn't an easy fix, you've kept your spirit hidden, locked for eight years, it's going to be a while."
"Why does everyone know how many years it's been?!"
"Did you think you didn't matter?"
"Are you saying I did?"
Stiles closed his mouth, stunned. What?
Jackson walked through his house, down the stairs, flicking on lights as he went. Stiles stood still near the front door too astounded to do anything. Had Jackson really said that? What the Hell was going on?! "Did you die up there? If not, get down here!" Stiles flinched and quickly made his way over to where Jackson had disappeared. As he descended the stairs, he glanced around in confusion, drifting from the weights to the machines, a gym? Jackson stood in the middle of the room, setting up a sandbag to the ceiling. "Dude, what are you doing?"
"You have anger you need to work out."
"What? I don't have anger."
"Okay, you know what? I'm leaving. You've obviously had some sort of mental break. Really, everyone saw that coming, but you know what? Let's just make this better for both of us with me not being here." Stiles held up his hands and started to move back slowly.
"Do you have an alternative?"
He stopped. Jackson dusted his hands and got up. "First things first, ignore everything Mc–," he gritted his teeth. "Forget everything Scott said, he lives in a bubble, on a cloud, with noise cancelling headphones and sees only Allison. His answer isn't going to help you."
Stiles stared at him doubtfully. "And yours is?"
"Yes, because I've been there before, okay, I know what I'm talking about. We'll try it my way. So we need to work out that anger."
"I told you, I'm not angry."
"Really?" Jackson scoffed. "Everyone lied to you. Your dad, Derek's family, even Derek himself. So tell me, how are you not angry?" Stiles' hands clenched. Jackson came closer. "Oh, let's not forget. You're defective, there's something wrong with you. You're not normal, and I'm sure that if your mom was alive she'd–"
Stiles' fist collided with Jackson's jaw, his knuckles digging into his jaw, he could feel Jackson's teeth through the flesh. Stiles let out a hiss and blew on his steadily reddening skin. Jackson moved his mouth, wincing, rubbing the side of his mouth. "I honestly thought that wouldn't hurt." He looked back at Stiles. "Are you still going to tell me you aren't angry?"
Stiles frowned. "You played me."
"I've been picking on you for years. I know your buttons. You may not believe me but you have years worth of anger that you've let fester and it's got to come out. So put on some gloves and let it out." Jackson tossed him some boxing gloves. They hit his chest, he instinctively grabbed them, watching as the other teen walked back to the sandbag. Stiles looked down at the gloves, fingering the leather stitching. After a few seconds, he put the gloves on and walked towards the bag.
"For the record, I think this is complete bullshit," Stiles muttered.
Jackson let out a snort as he lightly held the bag. "Try not hit like a five year old.”
"If I miss and hit you by accident does that count as letting out my anger?"
"Try it and I'll punch you back."
"Have I told you how much of an asshole you are recently?"
"Yeah, you have."
"Oh, well, you're an asshole. Even while helping."
"Punch the bag and try to make it seem like a gust of wind didn't blow at it."
Stiles let out a laugh. "Just for that I'm going to make sure I hit the bag hard enough that you fall on your ass."
"You can try."
"Oh, I'm definitely going to."
Stiles panted and stared up at the ceiling. Ugh, his shirt was nasty and uncomfortable, he hasn't sweated this much...ever and he's on the lacrosse team. Wow. Either he spends more time on the bench than he's aware of or he's really inactive. Or Coach is just a really bad coach.
"You're not dead, right?"
"Either Coach is a bad coach or I spend a lot of time on the bench."
Jackson shook his head. "I don't even want to know what goes on in your head."
"I don't even know most of the time what goes on in my own head."
"Not surprising." Jackson tossed a bottle of water at Stiles.
"Oh my God, dude! Warning!"
Jackson sat down next to Stiles and took a swig from his own bottle. Stiles tilted his head and looked up at Jackson. The blond glanced at Stiles from the corner of his eye. "What?"
"This weird...I mean just a few days ago you were picking on Scott and now you're almost–" Stiles made a face, "nice." Ew! He shuddered. Jackson Whittemore and nice, ugh, it gave him goosebumps.
Jackson let out a snort. "If I didn't pick on Scott, someone else would have and they wouldn't have cared that he had asthma, or that if you were pushed enough, you'd have a panic attack."
Stiles' mouth fell open. "Oh my God, are you trying to tell me that in your own fucked up, twisted way, you were actually protecting us?!"
The blond scowled. "You're overreaching. I'm just saying there are worse people out there."
"Really? That's hard to believe because in case you haven't noticed, you're kind of are the biggest dick in Beacon Hills High...maybe in all of Beacon Hills."
"Oh my God, are you dying or something? Shit, are you even Jackson Whittemore? What's wrong with you?"
"I need to grow up." Jackson picked at the label, ripping it off the plastic. "You're not the only one who decided to change after finding their soulmate...do you feel better?"
Stiles frowned. "How am I supposed to feel?"
"Lighter, less weighed down is what I'm hoping for."
"I–I don't know if it feels a little different, I mean I never knew how much anger I actually had. I don't know, Jackson."
"It's alright, I told you this isn't an easy fix. It's going to take a while to tear down all the boards you've put up."
Stiles fiddled with his shirt. "Can I ask you a question?"
"Why do you know what this is like?"
”I may be helping you but it doesn't mean we're friends." Jackson got up and dusted his pants. He reached out and offered Stiles his hand.
Stiles grabbed it and pulled himself up. "Still a dick," he muttered.
Jackson rolled his eyes. "We still have a lot to do and it's going to take a while, so tomorrow we'll meet at the same place and same time."
"You want to stay for dinner?"
"I probably shouldn't, I don't want to impose on you and your parents."
"They aren't home they usually aren't. Plus I invited you. You can't impose if I invited you, come on."
Stiles shrugged and followed Jackson upstairs into the kitchen. Stiles lightly kicked his feet against the stool watching Jackson walk around the kitchen. "This is still weird. I keep expecting someone to pop out and go ha! We got you, you're on Punk'd!"
Jackson let out a snort. "If I was punking someone, it wouldn't be you, it'd be Scott."
"I think I'm offended."
"Think about it. You could make him believe almost anything, even when normal people would think it's a joke, he'd still think it was real."
"...Okay yeah I can see it."
Jackson smirked. "Not hard to imagine at all is it?"
"Even though I love Scott I can't deny that. But you have to admit it works for him, gives him this weird charm, doesn't it?"
"I'm not going to admit anything. I decided to grow up. That doesn't mean I'm going to do it all right now."
Stiles grinned. "You secretly like Scott don't you?"
"Stop being delusional."
"You want Scott to be your new best friend."
"I'll hit you with a frying pan."
"You want to have slumber parties with Scott, you want to make friendsh–" Stiles quickly ducked he turned and watched the egg slide down the wall, watching it drip into a runny slimy mess. "Did you just throw an egg at me?"
"Your instinct is to throw eggs at me?!"
Jackson shrugged. "It's usually lacrosse balls but I improvised."
"You're such a douche and I'm not cleaning that up. Your mom is going to be pissed when she sees that." Jackson scowled. "I bet you're regretting throwing that egg now."
"Don't tempt me. I still have a frying pan...and knives."
"I knew you brought me to your lair to kill me! I'm out of here!"
"My lair?" Jackson stared at Stiles. "My lair?"
"Yes, your evil lair where you bring your evil drones from the lacrosse team and Danny. Danny isn't evil but he can mean, seriously mean. Huh, no wonder you two are friends. Jackson? What's wrong? Jackson?"
Jackson picked his head up from the table and laughed. "What's wrong with you? An evil lair? Where I bring my evil drones?"
"And Danny," Stiles said as he grinned. Both looked at each other and laughed.
"You're so weird."
"Ha! Says the one who named his spirit after a comic villain."
"Venom is a cool name!"
"I knew you totally rooted for the bad guys!"
Jackson shook his head and went back to the stove. He smiled. He'd forgotten how fun hanging out with Stiles was. It wasn't bad actually. Sure he wanted to slam Stiles' face into a wall sometimes but it wasn't too bad.
"Derek," Laura gently knocked her knuckles against the door. "Derek, please talk to me? Come on, baby brother." When she heard nothing, she let out a low growl. "If you don't open this door, I'm going to break it down, and then I'm going to throw you out the window." There was silence. "If you don't open this door, I'm not going to stop Cora from going after Stiles." She smiled as the bed squeaked and the floorboards creaked.
The door flew open and she suddenly wished she'd left her brother alone. His hair, like the rest of him, hadn't been washed in at least a week, if not more. Man, she hated being a werewolf so much right now. Derek's hair is stuck up on one side, there are dark wells under his eyes and his skin is an ashy gray. He hasn't looked this bad since the time Stiles disappeared and then when they had to explain to him why he had to stay from Stiles. He's wearing his worn tank top and jeans, his usual 'depression' outfit. "Cora didn't do anything, right, Laura? She didn't do anything to him, right?"
"No. Mom has made it perfectly clear that she's not to touch Stiles." When her brother continued to stare, she rolled her eyes. "If it helps, Stiles' friends haven't let her near him or the pack, and he keeps disappearing after class so she hasn't had the time to get to him."
Derek let out a sigh. "Good."
Laura pushed past him into his room and wrinkled her nose. God it smelled. As she saw Obsidian she stopped, he faced away from her curled up into a tight wall, he looked no better than Derek and it hurt. She smiled sadly and climbed up next to him, wrapping her arms around him she hugged. "I missed you." Obsidian slowly opened his eyes and turned his head to look at her, he turned his head and closed his eyes again. Derek settled down wearily and he scrubbed his face. "Derek, you can't keep doing this. You haven't left the house in weeks, this isn't healthy. Derek talk to me, please?"
"What am I supposed to say, Laura?" Derek asked quietly.
"You said you accepted the fact that Stiles wouldn't want you, so tell me what changed?" Her eyes softened. "Even though it was stupid, you hoped, didn't you?"
Derek looked down at his hands. "It was easy to stay away from him before because I didn't know him. I may have once or twice thought about how it would be nice to have him, but it was just a thought and it would go away. But then I watched him laugh and smile, even cry. Those smiles and laughs were for me, because of me. That his favorite hero is Batman and he loves baseball, that he doesn't sleep very well, that he's afraid his dad's job will kill him. I've spent hours, days and nights with him and it became so easy to imagine my life with him that I forgot the most important thing that I wasn't supposed to hope but I did. I didn't want to Laura, I didn't want to but I hoped–" Derek swallowed. "And then everything broke and we both got hurt." He took in a shuddering breath. "It hurts so much Laura, so much."
Laura got up and hugged her brother tightly. She pressed her cheek against his hair. "I know baby brother. I know, but you're going to make it, because I know you. You're a survivor and you're going to make it through this."
He clutched her tightly. "I don't think I want to."
Stiles silently stared behind the gated fence at the immaculate lawns and trimmed hedges, the different colors and species of flowers, at the gray tombstones and crypts. Jackson took out his key from the ignition. "This is the last thing you have to do." Stiles wiped his hands against his knees and took in a deep breath. Okay he could do this. He could do this. Stiles opened the door and just stood in front of the gate. He shoved his hands into his pockets in an effort to stop them from shaking. He straightened out his shoulders and walked through the black metal archway. He's only been here twice. First during the funeral when he'd been too young to properly even fit into his suit, the sleeves touched his fingertips and the pant legs hid his shoes. The second time had been when he had run away. He'd come to say goodbye.
Those were the only times he'd ever come here. Both times had been the end of something. So is today, but at the same time, it's the beginning of something else. Her tombstone is further in the cemetery, a little bit more secluded. Past a winding path, she's buried near a big oak tree that casts shadows over her grave. Her tombstone is simple with little engravings, but it fits her, simple but beautiful. Stiles brushed away the fallen leaves, letting his fingers brush over the name. "Hey, mom."
"–And I promise I'm going to visit you from now on with your favorite flowers, and I promise I'm going to bring dad, Scott and Derek not together that would be awkward, really awkward. Maybe I'll bring Jackson one day depending on how long his 'I might be a decent person' lasts. Sorry I'm rambling–" Stiles ran his fingers through his hair, chewing on his bottom lip. "I'm–" he picked at his shirt and swallowed. "I'm sorry for not coming to visit you." He quickly blinked. "It–It hurt too much to see you and I was angry at you for leaving even though it's stupid and not justified, I was, because you left us all alone and I was scared you'd take dad with you. I'm sorry for thinking those things," his voice trembled, "but I was so scared that I'd lose everything, but it's different now." He smiled lightly. "I have Derek and he's made things better, made it easier to see you now. It's easier to do a lot of things now." Stiles took in a deep breath and looked back up at the tombstone. "I think I'm okay now. We'll never be like we were before though but I think both of us are going to be okay. I've talked for a long time now, I should get going, but I promise I'll come back, so don't worry about us, we'll be okay." He reached out and let his fingers drift over her name. "Bye, mom."
It was lighter, that weight that had settled in his heart when his mom had gotten sick, that had grown heavier as his mother got weaker. And then when she had died, it became locked into him, ingrained in his heart, became a part of him. It wasn't sudden. All the time he'd spent with Jackson, all the things they had done had helped chip the weight away and the last part that remained was gone today. Stiles touched his chest. It was gone. He blinked and slowly turned around. Stiles rubbed his eyes and smiled. "Hey," he said softly, "it's been awhile."
Jackson shifted in his seat, his brow furrowed, a frown tugged his lips. His breathing was even and deep. Venom curled up on the dashboard lazily dozing in the sun. Jackson jerked up and quickly looked down at his stomach. Stiles grinned and poked his head through the driver's side. "Hey Sleeping Beauty, wasn't your wakeup call awesome?"
"...I'm not surprised this is your spirit. It's a little shit just like you."
Stiles grinned wider. "I know right? He fits so well."
The blond reached under his seat and moved it back up. "Ready to go?"
"Are we going to go back to how we were before or are you going to stay this way?"
Jackson dropped his hand from the ignition. "Remember when you asked me why I knew what it was like? To not have a spirit?" Stiles nodded. "When I was 14, I found out I was adopted and that shook everything. I didn't know who I was anymore so I became the one person I knew that wouldn't get hurt, that wouldn't care about anyone else. I became Jackson Whittemore. And then I found out I'd be getting an inheritance. I planned to take it and leave. I planned on turning my back on everything here, my mom, my dad, Beacon Hills."
"Why'd you push us away?"
He turned to look Stiles. "You have this annoying habit of not leaving things alone even though normal people would. You wouldn't have stopped asking questions about what happened."
"What about Scott then?"
"Scott's the poster boy of happiness and friendship. You can't be angry when Scott's around, you just get frustrated and wonder how Scott has survived."
Stiles frowned. "Would you have left if you hadn't found about Lydia?"
"I don't know. But if did, I would've regretted it for the rest of my life. Does that answer your question?" Stiles nodded. "Good. Because I want to puke. That was nauseating. How the Hell does Scott do that?" Jackson muttered as he started his car. "Never mention this again, this conversation never happened, so get in and clean up the mess you made."
"Even your arrogance no longer offends me. It's grown on me. I think I'm fond of it actually."
"Your voice hasn't grown on me so shut up and get in."
Stiles frowned. "You wound me."
"I'm going to drive away." Jackson revved the engine in warning. Stiles quickly ran over to the other side and got in. Jackson shook his head and looked behind him as he backed up his car.
As they left the cemetery Stiles spoke again. "You were lying weren't you? I've grown on you, haven't I? My voice is what you hear in your dreams and you think it's the voice of God or an angel."
"More like the voice of the Devil or his spawn."
"....Dude, you dream about me? That's kind of creepy."
Jackson stared at him unimpressed. "Shut up, Stiles."
"I've grown you." Stiles smiled. "I totally have. Look, no more threats of bodily harm. I've grown on you."
He sighed and kept his eyes on the road. Even if he had, he'd never admit it. Jackson smiled to himself. And if he had his way, he was never going to.
"That's a creepy smile, Jackson. Really creepy." Stiles shuddered. "So creepy."
There was silence for miles, neither talked. Stiles frowned and scratched his neck. "What is it, Stiles?"
"Thanks for everything and we are never mentioning this again, ever!"
"You don't mention what happened before and I don't mention this. Deal?"
"Deal. Saying nice things to you makes me uncomfortable."
Jackson let out a snort. "Me too."
Jackson stood outside of his father's study. He has to do this or things wouldn't get better. But he can't because he's afraid of what he's going to destroy with his truth. He's an idiot. He planned to leave them, but he can't face them, can't tell the truth, so how could he have even thought of leaving his parents? Venom tapped his pincher against Jackson's cheek. I am proud of you. For your growth and courage. Don't be afraid to face them.
"Time to put that courage to the test." Jackson swallowed and rapped his knuckles against the door.
His hand is sweaty and clammy, making his grip on the doorknob slide he has to try a few times to open the door. Once he does he sees his parents by the desk going over paperwork. His mom is so small. It's her hands that have tucked him over the years and held him close, and they're so small now. Oh God, he would have hurt her so much. His dad is older, more tired. This is the man who taught him how to play lacrosse, taught him to drive, hugged him when he skinned his knees and elbows, and bandaged his wounds. He hasn't told him he loved him in years. He would have broken his father further. What the Hell had he been planning on doing? His stomach churned. What had he been trying to prove? How much pain he would have caused them? Did he really have that much hatred and anger bubbling inside of him?
"D–Dad, I need to talk to you, both of you, actually," Jackson spoke, his voice unsteady, quivering.
David quickly looked up. "About what?"
His mom frowned. "Is everything okay?"
"No, and it hasn't been for a long time." He swallowed audibly. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry for the pain I'm going to cause you.
Both of them tensed.
Jackson looked at his parents and took in a deep breath. He clenched his hands, trying to stop the shaking. "There are a lot of things we need to talk about it."
"I'm happy to see your starting to go out a again, Derek." Laura smiled and ruffled Derek's hair. "And that you've decided to start taking showers again. Soooooo happy and relieved. Being a werewolf is bad in some respect. Really bad."
Derek scowled and knocked his shoulder against hers as he passed by her, walking toward his room. He opened the door to his room and stared.
Laura frowned. "Is that a–"
"Fox? Yeah, it is."
"It's chewing on your pillow...and your comforter, I think it chewed on your headboard as well."
Derek let out a laugh, bright and lively. Laura looked over, startled. Her brother hadn't so as much as cracked a smile in weeks. He smiled and wiped his eyes. This was real. It was real. "Hey." The fox stopped chewing and tilted his head, his red ears twitched. "Come here." The fox jumped off the bed and walked over to him. Derek bent down and stared for a second, just looking, because the fox is beautiful. It's Stiles' spirit and it's here. Slowly he reached out and brushed his fingers against the fur, amazed by how soft it was, how warm. The fox leaned closer and flicked his tongue out, licking the underside of Derek's jaw. Derek let out another laugh.
"Yeah, Laura, it's his. It's Loki."
Obsidian moved closer and nudged his head against the fox. Loki let out an excited yip and nudged back.
Laura smiled and ruffled Derek's hair. "Everything's going to be okay, Derek."
Stiles bit his thumbnail and glanced at his phone again. No messages. He rubbed his head. Had Derek not seen Loki? Maybe Derek wasn't home? It was possible, maybe he was out being a werewolf, doing werewolf things, bonding with the pack....what if Derek had up and left? What if he left?! Taken his bags and moved away from him because he was tired?! Oh my God, what if–
He jerked his head up and stared. Was that Derek? "Dude, are you climbing in through my window?"
Derek shrugged and finished making his way in, landing on the floor with a light thud. "It was faster." Derek stood awkwardly near the window, not making any move to come closer.
Stiles bit his lip. "Did you see Loki?"
He nodded. "I did."
"Oh, good." He picked at his shirt.
"You know, Loki ate my pillow."
Stiles looked up. "He did?"
"And my comforter...my headboard and I think my bed." Derek frowned. "I'm not too sure. There was stuffing but I'm not sure from what."
"You have no idea how proud I am of that." Stiles said as he grinned.
"Is that all?"
"No," Stiles said quietly. "I–I'm sorry, I'm so sorry for what I did, for how I've hurt you." He swallowed. "But the truth is I love you and I know that might not be enough anymore so I'm going to wait. I'm going to wait, no matter how long it takes, whether it's for you to forgive me or give me a chance, I'm going to wait. I just want you to know that I love you, and I am so thankful that you are my soulmate. Even if you don't feel that way anymore. It's okay, I understand. I'm just sorry for hurting you."
Derek's eyes softened. He slowly approached and knelt down in front of Stiles, cupping his face, gently forcing Stiles to meet his gaze. "I'm sorry for hurting you too, and I have never stopped loving you, Stiles. You don't have wait for me because I never stopped. I love you."
Stiles smiled and leaned closer to Derek. He kissed him softly and leaned his forehead against Derek's, cradling his face softly between his hands. "I love you."
Derek smiled and pressed soft kisses across Stiles' face, on any surface he could reach. Stiles let out a laugh and jumped off the bed, landing on Derek. He pressed Derek to the floor and buried his head into Derek's neck and just held on. Derek hugged him tightly and pressed a kiss to Stiles' head, letting his lips linger there. Stiles was his; this Stiles was his.
Lydia flipped the page in her textbook, her eyes skimming the page. Although the chapter would be covered in two weeks, she liked to be ahead. Chanel lightly dozed next to her, her head resting on her paws.
She looked up. Jackson smiled. "Hey." Lydia stared at him. "I heard what you did for Stiles."
Jackson shoved his hands into his pockets and shrugged. "I didn't do it for any specific reason, if you're wondering. I helped because nothing else would, and nobody deserves that and especially not Stiles." He swallowed. "I talked to my parents about the inheritance." Lydia closed her book and focused on him. He cleared his throat. "They were angry and hurt but we talked about it, and it's going to take some time, but we're going to be okay. We're actually better than we have been in a long time."
"Why are you telling me any of this?"
"Because relationships do matter to me Lydia and you're the one I have to thank for helping me understand that. Realizing that I do in fact have a heart and that I am human. I know I told you'd I'd show you, but I honestly doubted I could. But then I tried and I could. You can make up your mind if I've matured enough. I'm not going to force you to be with me if it's going to cause you pain but I hope that you'll be okay and happy." Jackson offered her a smile. "Bye, Lydia."
"I still love you." Jackson paused. "I never stopped but I couldn't be with the Jackson Whittemore who loved no one but himself, who didn't care about the world around him other people in that world."
He looked at her. "What about now?"
"You're the Jackson Whittemore I knew existed all this time and I love you for it."
"Yes. This is your chance. Will you take it?"
Jackson moved towards her, a little unsteady on his feet. Once he reached her, he lightly touched her cheek, afraid that she'd pull away, afraid this wasn't real. Lydia smiled and placed her hand on top of his and kissed his palm. He couldn't say those words yet but he would one day soon and he loved her for understanding that. One day he'd tell her with words. But for now, this was enough.