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Show You What All That Howl Is For

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Stiles can’t be the only one who thinks that letting the grumpy alien dude join their off-world team is a bad idea. Sure, he saved them all from the slavering dog-beast of PX-302, but all the glowering and growling is really sort of off-putting. Besides, Stiles thinks the whole saving them thing had been a total accident; he’d seemed a little too eager to hop into the puddlejumper and leave Planet Rabid Dog behind him, if you ask Stiles. Then again: Planet Rabid Dog. Stiles would probably be eager, too.

But that, and the fact that Lieutenant Danny totally wants to bone him, is no reason to trust him enough to, like, watch their backs while they explore the unexplored. Stiles is pretty sure Derek wants to eat him; he’s just waiting for the perfect opportunity. He’s ninety-six percent certain that Lydia won’t ever give him that, but really that’s only vaguely comforting – Lydia is both scary and unpredictable.

“Seriously, can’t you just slobber all over him in the gym or something?” he says to Danny, falling in step next to him as he leaves the mess, because it’s not like Sheppard would take his advice and not let one more giant humanoid alien onto Atlantis. It’s like the only requirement is to look good shirtless.

Danny glares at him, which is totally unwarranted, dude - it’s not like Stiles has reached Jackson-level douche-baggery or something, he’s just pointing out the totally obvious.

“What? Come on, he’s hot, I’ll grant you, but he’s also more feral than Ronon, I’m pretty sure he was living along with that dog-beast for years, do you want that kind of crazy holding a gun?”

Danny snorts, but doesn’t say anything. He must be under some delusion that not engaging Stiles will make him shut up, like they haven’t been traveling through the gate together for going on five months now.

Stiles shoves his hands in his pockets and says, “Oh wait, of course you want that kind of crazy, you want that kind of crazy all over your Marine-ripped, out-and-proud body, but I’m worried about, you know, not dying in the field, it’s kind of a hobby of mine.”

“Stiles—”

“I can’t help but think you’re letting your dick talk for you here, it’s disappointing—”

“Stiles—”

“I was hoping for more from our fearless leader, Lieutenant Danny, more concern for our well-being.” He’s doing it on purpose now, Danny ignoring him is annoying and disheartening, is he even listening to his totally valid concerns here? “But maybe that’s too much to ask for, maybe getting laid is, like, high up on your priority list, and hey, remember how you didn’t stop that rabid dog-beast from nearly eating off Scott’s leg?”

Danny stops dead in the hallway, finally turning to frown really hard at Stiles.

Stiles grins cheerily back at him.

Danny says, “Dr. Stilinski—”

“Oh, hey, respect, gotta love the formal address, but we’re all pals here, Dan—”

“Stiles.” Danny pinches the bridge of his nose, looking pained. “Hale saved us from that dog-beast—”

“You were listening!”

“—and it’s already been approved by Sheppard. He’s our fourth, fucking deal with it, okay?”

Ugh, fine. Stiles will deal with it, but he doesn’t have to like it. He’s gonna keep a wary eye on Derek, there’s just something off about this whole damn business.

*

“This is all your fault,” Stiles says, dropping down into the chair next to Scott’s infirmary bed.

Stiles had met Private McCall on the Daedalus six months before, both on their first trip to Pegasus, and they’d instantly bonded over junk food and Xbox and Stiles had graciously overlooked and still overlooks the fact that Scott is basically a moron – a well-intentioned nice dude, but clearly lacking in functioning brain cells – because Scott’s the first grunt he’s ever met that didn’t look like he wanted to punch Stiles in the face after five minutes of friendly conversation. Stiles is a little talkative. And occasionally missing a brain-to-mouth filter. Lydia likes to say that the only reason he survived the SGC long enough to get transferred to another galaxy is because when he isn’t flapping his gums he tends to look like a helpless baby seal.

Anyway, they only need a new team member because Scott went and got himself nearly torn apart by the alien dog-beast of PX-302. Fantastic.

“I’m fine, man, thanks for asking,” Scott says.

Stiles waves an absent hand. “Of course you’re fine, crazy-eyed Derek Hale carried you back to Atlantis like a swooning maiden, and have you noticed those crazy-eyes look kinda eerily glowy sometimes in certain lights? Like, all of them?”

Scott scrunches up his nose. “Uh, not really?”

“Whatever,” Stiles says, and tips his head back to stare up at the ceiling.

Scott pokes him in the shoulder. “Dude.”

Stiles sighs. “Yeah?”

“My leg hurts.”

“Dude, you got mauled.” Stiles hauls himself upright; Scott’s pouting like a little bitch, but Stiles figures he’s allowed to indulge. He’d almost bled out. Stiles really is thankful to Derek for saving him, he just wishes he could stop with the creepy stares and aggressive posturing, there’s only so many times Stiles will put up with being thrown into walls before—well, before he gets, you know, sore. “Maybe this’ll score you some points with Corporal Argent.”

Scott’s face goes disturbingly dreamy; his crush on Allison is epic. It’s sickeningly cute and awkward, Scott’s almost gotten taken out by her crossbow more times than Stiles can count because he’s been too busy mooning to remember not to impersonate a woodland deer while on mainland hunts.

Allison’s sort of adopted an aren’t-you-too-cute-and-dumb attitude about Scott, Stiles is sure it’ll lead to marriage and babies so long as she doesn’t accidentally kill him first.

Stiles stays with Scott until the nurses chase him out, even though all he’s talking about is Allison now, because Stiles is a good friend.

And then he steps out of the infirmary and into the solid chest of – he glances up – one Derek Hale. Stiles hastily backpedals, but Derek surprises absolutely no one by grabbing Stiles by the biceps and shoving him even further back, crowding him up against the wall.

He says, “Watch where you’re going,” in this low, gravelly voice and seriously, seriously, what’s with all this invasion of his personal space? Is please manhandle me as much as possible magic markered across his forehead? Stiles is all for up-close and personal time, don’t get him wrong, but like – what is Derek’s deal? He can’t punch him while he’s plastered up against Stiles’ chest, the most he could do is, like, bite him, or—hey, inappropriate public sniffing, awesome.

Derek has his face buried in his neck, teeth close to his jugular. Stiles holds very still.

“Um.”

“Shut up,” Derek says, slightly muffled.

“Right, shutting up,” Stiles says. “Only. What are you, uh—”

Derek abruptly peels away from him and stalks off down the corridor.

Stiles melts back into the wall. “Um.” He has no idea what just happened. Yeah.

*

Stiles has no idea what Lydia does, but it’s safe to say that she’s very good at it.

“I’m an astrophysicist, you moron,” she says without looking up from her laptop, and Stiles thinks that’s totally uncalled for.

Stiles is smart. Stiles is kind of beyond smart, because if he was only plain ordinary smart, even just graduating high school would have been iffy; he’s got the attention span of a drunken gnat. He has a PhD in anthropology, which mainly means he likes to research stuff and tell everybody who’ll listen about whatever he finds out. Or just everybody. They don’t even have to listen, Stiles has found, he’s not actually very discerning.

Lydia used to be incredibly hostile toward him, but somehow over their years together at the SGC he’s worn her down to a sort of fond disdain.

“So do you think this Derek Hale character is a good addition to our team?” Stiles says.

Lydia eyes him like he just farted or something, but that’s basically her default look around him. “What?”

“Derek’s our fourth, dude—”

“Don’t call me dude. I’m not your frat brother.”

“I wasn’t in a—wait, whatever, you realize we’re going on dangerous adventures with a possibly homicidal alien with, like, an eerily handsome, chiseled face—”

Lydia’s sneer melts into this expression where she gets highly amused eyebrows, Stiles has no idea how she does that without looking stupid. “You think he’s handsome.”

“Duh,” Stiles says. That’s not the issue here. The issue is that Derek seems incapable of smiling, he’s pretty sure that’s one of the signs of being a sociopath.

“Jackson will never let you live this down.”

Stiles is confused. “Jackson hates Derek.” Jackson agrees with him about Derek, he just has to be a douche-wad about it because he’s Jackson.

Lydia’s smile gets mean. “And you love him.”

“Who, Jackson?” Stiles thinks Jackson is the devil, only less ingenious, because Jackson occasionally has the common sense of a box of paperclips.

“No.” Lydia rolls her eyes and goes back to her work. “You’re boring me now, get out.”

Stiles feels like he’s missed something. “Oh. Wait, Derek?”

“Seriously, leave.” She makes flicking motions with her hands.

“I don’t love Derek!”

Lydia glances up at him, speculative. “This was amusing fifteen seconds ago, now I kind of want to stab you with my pen.”

Stiles makes a half bow and gets out while the getting’s still good. Lydia never exaggerates, it’s part of her charm.

He mutters, “I need new and better friends,” as he slips out the door.

*

Three weeks after Planet Rabid Dog, Team Danny gets assigned to explore a supposedly uninhabited world that will most likely inhabit dinosaurs, knowing their luck.

“I would just like to state for the record,” Stiles says, snapping on his thigh holster in the Gate room, “that I still think this is a terrible idea.”

“Noted,” Danny says absently. He’s staring at the way the black uniform shirt hugs Derek’s manly abs, Stiles is sure of it.

Lydia tugs the ends of her jacket together and makes a huffing sound, like she can’t believe she’s not the center of attention, but is too classy to make a big deal out of it. Lydia is not Danny’s type, she’s considerably lacking in boy parts, but Stiles will make up for it – Stiles sidles up next to her and tries to snake a hand around her waist. She slaps at him and steps away, but there’s totally a twinkle in her eye now, he can see it.

Derek says, “Stiles,” a ridiculous warning note in his voice, and Stiles rolls his eyes.

“This is a terrible idea,” Stiles tells the room again. “You’ll all be sorry when Derek pushes me off a cliff.”

“I don’t know about that,” Danny says, just as Derek says, “I’m not going to—shut up, Stiles.”

Scott waves down at them from the balcony as the Gate whooshes open – apparently he heals super fast, considering he nearly lost his entire leg. Two and a half weeks of bed rest and he’s already out and about on crutches. It would be awesome, except Scott’s all obliviously giddy that Allison’s recruiting him for her team whenever he’s ready. Stiles is going to be stuck with Derek forever. Or until Derek decides to end him.

Danny and Lydia go through first, and then Derek, and then Stiles, and he blinks at how bright it is on the other side. The high suns nearly blind him; he raises a hand to his forehead to block the light.

And then he hears this ominous whooshing sound, like displaced air, and Derek is pulling him down to the ground right before some sort of giant stork can take his head off.

“I love you,” Stiles says, his voice a pant, with Derek sprawled all over his body, head tilted up to watch the sky.

Derek quirks him a quick look, heavy-handed eyebrows still at a broody height, flat across his eyes.

“What? I totally do!” Stiles says. “You saved my life, dude, I will love you forever.” He’s not getting enough air, but that’s totally okay.

“I will eat you,” Derek says, low.

At least, Stiles thinks that’s what he says. He vaguely registers that the sides of his vision are going black, and he says, “One day, yes, we’ll feast like kings.” He smells something metallic, like blood, and the last thing he sees is Derek’s nostrils flaring, leaning in toward him, before he can’t see anything at all.

*

“You fainted,” Scott says, grinning at him.

“Sometimes you can be an ass,” Stiles says. He’s sitting on the side of an infirmary cot, pulling on his boots.

“You fainted.”

“I had a chunk of my arm removed by a giant evil bird,” Stiles says, indignant. He might have passed out a little.

“Biro said it was just a scratch.”

“Right,” Stiles says, like just a scratch would require stitches. Fifteen of them. He hesitantly rolls his shoulder and winces at the pull.

Derek is hovering. Well, he’s hanging out by the door, talking to Dr. Biro, but Stiles is totally counting that as hovering. He keeps glancing over at Stiles and baring his teeth.

Stiles is only mildly embarrassed about the whole situation – he’s been in worse.

He’s legally married to Scott on three different planets. There was a thing with Danny and berries and mutual nakedness that they never speak of – well, Danny never speaks of it, Stiles still thinks it’s hilarious. Lydia has beaten him with sticks more than once in the guise of practicing self defense. So, like, one adrenaline fueled declaration of love is like a drop in a very large vat of Pegasus crazy.

“I need food,” Stiles says. “I need pudding, let’s see how many we can nab before Dr. McKay notices.”

Scott pales. He’s unnecessarily afraid of Dr. McKay; it’s ridiculous, since Dr. McKay basically doesn’t even know Scott exists. He’s so lucky.

Derek grabs onto his arm when he tries to sneak past—which, ow. Stiles glares at him, but it doesn’t do much damage.

Derek just looks him up and down, though, glowering – he makes this nod and huff thing before letting him go, Stiles has no idea what to do with that.

“You are so weird,” Stiles says.

Scott says, “Come on, Stiles,” giving Derek a wary eye.

Derek growls.

It makes Stiles’ spine tingle. He shivers a little and then pushes Scott out the door.

*

On the whole, Danny is an alright dude. Which is why it’s so mystifying that he’s best friends with Jackson.

Jackson is currently staring at Stiles over his noodle surprise. The surprise is that it tastes like squid. Stiles has his doubts that actual noodles are involved.

“How is it possible that McCall is already walking around without crutches?” he asks Stiles. He’s wearing his Serious Douchebag face; Stiles wants to kick him in the shins.

“Scott is amazing,” Stiles says, because what else is he supposed to say? Scott is not amazing, and also apparently a mutant?

Okay, well, Scott is not amazing. Scott can be boring as fuck, so that’s definitely not amazing. The mutant thing is still up for debate, though.

Jackson frowns at him, eyes narrowing. “Is he on something?”

Stiles gapes at him. “Yes. Yes, he’s on something that can magically heal wounds, that’s exactly it, Biro’s actually a graduate of Hogwarts - Hufflepuff, if you can believe it, because she’s loyal and fierce like a badger,” and in Stiles’ quest to mock Jackson he’s accidently outed himself as a Potterfile, although this is not the worst thing that’s happened to him this week.

The worst thing that happened was that Lydia had to come save him from his shower.

There was a thing.

Yeah.

“It’s only been three weeks,” Jackson says.

“Yep,” Stiles says.

Jackson says, “Danny said you could see his bones.”

“All true,” Stiles says. He starts looking around for anything that can get him out of this conversation and spots Derek. “Oh hey, there’s Derek, he’s looking especially murderous today. I’m just gonna go hang out by him and wait for death.”

Stiles kicks back his chair and grabs his lunch tray.

He isn’t actually planning to go sit with Derek, but then Scott sweeps in and slumps down at the table across from him and Stiles can’t not go over there now; Scott usually bristles like a cat around Derek, there has to be an awesome reason he’s choosing to talk to him now.

They both clam up when Stiles steps up next to the table. Very suspicious.

Cracking Derek seems unlikely. And painful.

Stiles turns to Scott and says, “You know you’re going to tell me eventually.”

Scott grimaces, but doesn’t say anything. Whatever. It’s physically impossible for Scott to keep secrets from him. Stiles is persistent and Scott is an easy drunk.

*

Stiles may have screamed like a little girl when he turned around to find Derek in his fucking room, but he’s never going to own to it. The hand to his heart either, but Derek just scared about five years off his life, and that’s just plain rude, what with the Wraith a constant lurking worry. “What the fuck, dude,” Stiles says.

Derek just scowls at him, like Stiles was the one breaking and entering.

“You need to stay away from McCall,” Derek says. It’s possibly the longest sentence Stiles has ever gotten from him.

“Huh.”

“I’m serious.”

“I’m sure you are,” Stiles says. He’s also out of his mind if he thinks he can a) boss him around, and b) keep him away from his best friend.

Derek takes an intimidating step forward and Stiles nearly trips over his own feet to get on the other side of the bed. Okay, so maybe Derek can boss him around a little. The other thing, though, no way.

“For the next week,” Derek says.

“That's weirdly specific.” Stiles’ curiosity temporarily overrides his fear. “Why?”

“None of your business.”

“Right.” If he thinks Stiles is going to leave it at that, he’s crazy. Though, really, that’s basically already been established.

Derek keeps glaring at him, unmoved. “Promise me.”

“I’m not promising you shit,” Stiles says.

“Promise me,” Derek repeats, and seriously, is Stiles the only one who’s noticed those flashes of electric blue, like maybe Derek’s an evil Ancient robot?

Stiles shuts down, stubborn. He’s not promising anything, it’s Derek’s fault if he decides his silence is capitulation.

Derek stares at him. Not talking is giving Stiles an itch between his shoulder blades, but he figures this is the best way to get Derek out of his room. He bites his lip and looks anywhere but Derek’s face. He can feel Derek’s eyes on him, like he’s waiting for Stiles to break.

Honestly, it’s not going to take long. Silences aren’t Stiles’ strong suit.

And then Derek chuffs; it’s almost like a laugh, Stiles turns his gaze on him in amazement.

“What was that?”

“What?”

“That! That thing on your face, what are your lips doing?”

“Funny,” Derek says, but he’s still got this tiny little quirk at the corner of his mouth, Stiles can’t stop looking at it.

Stiles can’t say it transforms his face, because Derek’s face is taking orders from his eyebrows, no matter what his mouth feels like doing – but it is fascinating. Derek looks slightly less like he wants to rip Stiles apart with his teeth.

Stiles takes a deep breath and says, “Tell me what’s going on.”

“No,” Derek says, but Stiles takes heart in the way Derek’s mouth is still upturned.

And then Stiles is suddenly pushed up against his bedroom wall and there’s some seriously heavy breathing going on, and Stiles isn’t sure whether he should be terrified or turned on. Huh.

“How’s your arm?” Derek asks.

The question throws Stiles. “Uh.” It doesn’t help that Derek smells like coffee and smoked bacon. Mmmmm. “What?”

“Your arm.” He touches his nose to Stiles’ and Stiles goes a little cross-eyed.

“Fine?” It still hurts, but it’s not like this is Stiles’ first injury here; he’s part of an interplanetary expedition, he’s not a total wimp. No matter what Lydia says.

After a long second, like Derek is trying to figure out if he’s lying, he backs up a little and nods. “Good.”

“Right.” Stiles’ shoulders are still tense, flat against the wall even though Derek no longer has his palms pressed against Stiles’ chest.

And Stiles stays there, frozen, as Derek makes his way back toward his door.

He throws over his shoulder, “I mean it. Stay away from McCall.”

“I know you mean it,” Stiles says.

Derek narrows his eyes but goes ahead and leaves Stiles’ quarters anyway, which is super great, geez.

Stiles slumps as soon as the door slides closed behind him. His legs give out a little and he ends up on the floor, knees bent. “Whoa.”

So he might be a little gay for Derek Hale. That’s totally inconvenient.

*

Scott slinks around guiltily for the next few days - avoiding Stiles, no matter how hard Stiles tries to ignore Derek’s edict and search Scott out - and then he disappears to the mainland with Derek for a mysterious “camping trip” that Stiles was specifically not invited to.

This is why he’s currently on his way to the mainland in a puddlejumper with Danny, Jackson, Lydia, and Allison. He might have mentioned a kidnapping. He's not proud of it, but it got the job done - Stiles has no idea how to drive one of these things by himself.

They find Derek and Scott sitting companionably around a camp fire.

Danny groans and collapses onto a log. “Stiles,” he says. “Really?”

Derek looks equal parts angry and resigned. He had to have known Stiles would pull something like this. Had to, Stiles does not take exclusion well; it’s a pretty glaring character trait.

Scott looks tired and – really glad to see Allison, to the surprise of absolutely no one. He says, “Hey, guys,” and, “We were just, uh, bonding?” even though no one’s asked him what he thinks he’s doing, off alone with Derek in the woods. Stiles would like to ask him that, seriously, but he’s not sure he wants to know the answer.

No, fuck that, of course he wants the answer. He knows it’s not hot secret sex, Scott doesn’t have enough imagination for that.

Jackson says, “What the fuck, Stiles?” curling his hands into fists.

Derek growls.

Stiles raises his hands in surrender. “Hey, no. I swear it seemed a lot more sinister earlier.” It had, but not in the way he’d implied to everyone else.

Lydia glares at Stiles, hands on her hips and says, “I blame myself, I should know better than to listen to you.”

“Since when do you care about Scott anyway?” Stiles asks, never mind the fact that Lydia always listens to Stiles, it’s like they feed off each other’s bad ideas, it’s part of their problem as a team. He’s sure Lydia went along with it because she was bored and maybe wanted to see Scott suffer. That seems to be one of her favorite pastimes, considering how bright-eyed she gets over the occasional mission-gone-wrong resulting in Scott wet or muddy or sticky or pierced or punched or on the cusp of ritual sacrifice. Scott steps in a lot of shit by being considerably less perceptive than the rest of them, Stiles admits sometimes it’s kind of funny to him, too.

Lydia shrugs, but she still looks vaguely pissed. Whatever. Stiles has done worse things than trick them all into thinking Scott was kidnapped. He’s totally not going to remind them of that now, though.

Stiles claps his hands together and asks faux-cheerily, “So what’s going on?”

“Nothing,” Derek says.

“Of course not,” Stiles says. “No, really.”

“We’re,” Derek frowns, “—bonding.”

Stiles nods his head like he believes him. “Sure. Bonding with Scott, it’s the new thing.”

Scott says, “Hey!”

“No, I totally get it,” Stiles says. “Life-saving feats have gone on, you two are bros now, sure. Have you been hugging?”

Derek makes a sour-lemon face, it’s pretty funny. Stiles can do this all night.

“Anyway,” Danny says loudly, getting to his feet. “We’re leaving.” He glares pointedly at Stiles.

“Aw, come on,” Stiles says, but everyone pretty much ignores him, because they’re jerks. Jackson shoves him toward the path down to the puddlejumpers. “This is so unfair.”

Scott whines something about Allison leaving because he’s a horrible best friend.

Allison starts walking next to Stiles, though, and knocks their shoulders together companionably. Stiles slants her a smile and she grins back. She’s really okay, Stiles isn’t sure why she hangs out with all of them. Scott honestly can’t be that much of a draw. He loves the dude, but really.

Stiles turns back and shouts, “Have a good night,” walking backwards a few steps.

Scott waves at him weakly.

Derek looks extra-specially grumpy in the firelight. Stiles would like to say it’s a bad look for him, but apparently Stiles’ body has decided that dark and broody turns him on; it’s tragic and masochistic, Stiles doesn’t know what his body is thinking, ugh.

“I have a horrible life,” Stiles says, and Allison only laughs a little when she wraps an arm around his waist, tugging him close enough to bump hips as they make their way back.

*

Derek and Scott go camping again the next night - Stiles is totally not jealous at all - and this time nobody will fly him out there to bug them.

But that’s okay. Stiles is fine with it, with everything.

Scott is kind of ragged and raccoon-eyed when they come back, but whatever. Stiles is not worrying about it, for real.

And then Team Danny sets off on several missions one after the other, and Stiles really doesn’t have the time to think about Scott and Derek’s weird, unlikely bromance at all.

*

Stiles isn't really accident prone, giant bird attacks aside, but people tend to be, like, accident prone around him. Like the universe keeps thinking: give this one to Stiles, he can roll with it, when really Stiles is pretty sure he’s developing an ulcer.

“You have to cut it off,” Derek says through gritted teeth.

“Or we could dial the Gate and call for a medic, what the fuck?” There is no way Stiles is cutting off Derek Hale’s arm, was he raised by wolves?

“I can take it,” he growls.

“I’m sure you could.” Derek would probably bite leather until he passed out and then Stiles would have to deal with all the blood and body parts. Derek is fucking insane. “Too bad I don’t carry a bone saw around in my pants.”

“The poison’s spreading too fast, Stiles. Get your fucking gun and shoot it off.”

First of all, Stiles has his doubts that would actually work without just killing him faster. Second of all – Derek’s right. Stiles can see skeins of black inching through the veins of Derek’s arm as the poison gets deeper into his system. Fuck.

“I’m going to go dial the Gate,” Stiles says, shaky, and Derek grabs his arm before he can move, grip crushing.

He says, “Stay.”

Stiles shakes his head. “I can’t.” Neither Lydia nor Danny are responding to his increasingly frantic comm. hails; Stiles has to get back to the Stargate, it’s their only chance.

This was supposed to be an easy diplomatic mission, but the crazy natives had taken one look at Derek and flipped the fuck out. It’d been a complete fucking disaster, and in all the shouting and fleeing Stiles had lost sight of everyone but Derek, and now Derek’s rapidly being poisoned to death by an arrow to the forearm, of all things.

Derek bares his teeth and says, “If I die—”

“You’ll come back and eat my brains, understood,” Stiles says, trying unsuccessfully to shake him off.

Derek’s eyebrows go flat. “Watch out for McCall.”

“I—sure?” Derek is motherfucking weird. His dying words are about Scott. Awesome.

And then four things happen all at once: Stiles manages to twist his wrist out of Derek’s grip, Lydia says, “Stiles, Stiles, where are you guys?” out of the comm., Derek’s face gets, uh, wolfy? And some dude steps out of the bushes holding a big-ass knife.

Stiles isn’t sure what to deal with first.

Derek growls, then hisses in pain – he’s got, like, lots of really sharp, long teeth, and he’s way hairier than he was a minute ago, and Stiles is starting to suspect something truly horrible here, he really hopes he’s wrong about this.

The stranger says, “Come with me.”

“Yeah, right,” Stiles says. That is exactly what he’s going to do, sure.

“I can stop the poison,” he says impatiently, “but if we don’t do it now the wolf will die.”

“Right.” Wolf. So this guy sees it too, it’s not just Stiles hallucinating or something. Great. “And you’re going to help us why exactly?”

“I’m a healer,” he says, like it’s obvious, but they all just got attacked by a previously completely peaceful people, so forgive him for being a little suspicious here.

“Stiles,” Derek mangles around his huge scary teeth. It’s kind of gross.

“What? Like there’s some sort of Pegasus Hippocratic oath?” From all their travels, Stiles would say that was a big fat glaring no.

Derek looks at him like he’s crazy, Stiles can tell that even with all the fur. Oh god, the fur, this explains so much and yet doesn’t explain anything at all.

Stiles says, “How can we trust him?”

Derek closes his eyes and the stranger says, “You don’t have much of a choice.”

*

The man’s name is Deaton, and he doesn’t cut Derek’s arm off. So that’s a plus.

Deaton leads them to a little cottage outside the main village, and it takes just under a half hour for the poultice he spreads over Derek’s wound to suck all the poison out. He doesn’t say much, just eyes Derek warily, but Derek doesn’t so much as bare his teeth at him, even though he still must be in pain.

Stiles endures Danny yelling at him through the comm. link, because apparently going off with a random native is a no-no. He endures it quietly, because he’s too busy staring at Derek. Who is apparently some sort of werewolf. And possibly related to the rabid dog-beast that attacked Scott. And—shit, Scott.

“This is why—” Stiles cuts himself off, biting into his lower lip.

Derek cocks his head at him. His arm is bandaged and Deaton is humming tunelessly from his kitchen, and Derek no longer has fangs, but Stiles can’t help picturing them.

“You’re a wolf,” Stiles says. Derek just blinks at him, and Stiles goes on, “Scott’s a wolf, too. That’s why—all the stuff before, with the camping and the threatening me away from him, he’s a werewolf now, right?”

Derek scowls at him.

“I’m right,” Stiles says. “Why am I right?”

“Stilinski!” Lydia shouts over the radio. “If you’re not at the Gate in fifteen minutes, we’re leaving without you.” It’s a blatant lie; they would never leave without him. Probably.

Derek says, “It’s none of your business,” as he gets to his feet, and Stiles is seriously tired of hearing that, especially when it is exactly all of his business.

“Of course it’s not! Why would it be of any interest to me that someone you know attacked my best friend and made him an alien werewolf, how would that ever relate to me ever,” Stiles says, waving his arms around.

Derek looks like he wants to wrap his good hand around Stiles’ throat and squeeze, but Stiles is kind of too upset to care.

Deaton moves into the doorway and says, “You’re leaving.”

Stiles fights off a hysterical laugh and nods, “Yep, yes. Thanks for all your help.”

Deaton frowns. He says, “You won’t be welcome here again.”

“Kind of got that already,” Stiles says. Werewolves and friends of werewolves, you will be hunted down and killed – the poison-tipped arrows pretty much said it all. He elbows Derek in the stomach and throws him a meaningful look when Derek continues to be an ungrateful sour wolf.

Derek talks at him with his eyebrows.

Stiles is only slightly concerned that he understands them. Still, he jerks his head at Deaton insistently. It’s not the doc’s fault that his planet’s full of speciest assholes.

“Thank you,” Derek finally says to Deaton.

Stiles resists the urge to pat him on the back and say ‘good dog.’ That’s just asking for a maiming.

*

“I’m not going to tell anyone,” Stiles says as they’re walking back to the Gate.

Derek grunts.

“I mean, you’d get thrown out of Atlantis and Scott would probably be shipped home, possibly in various dissected pieces, so how would any of that benefit me?” Stiles doesn’t honestly think Woolsey would have Scott cut apart to see how he ticked, but locked away for life in an underground bunker? No way would Stiles risk it.

Derek slants him a weird, sideways glance.

“What?”

“Nothing,” Derek says. His mouth isn’t pulled tight anymore, though, and he slows down slightly so Stiles doesn’t have to trip over his own feet to keep up.

*

Stiles doesn’t understand how Scott could have kept this from him. Not only because he’s his best friend, and they should be able to tell each other everything, but because Scott is really horrible at keeping secrets. Like, so bad. His face says everything, and his voice goes squeaky high at the end of sentences when he lies.

“How could you not tell me?” Stiles says, bursting into Scott’s quarters.

“Why are you covered in blood?”

Stiles looks down at his stained uniform pants. “Oh, uh, don’t worry, it’s not mine.” He probably should have changed before confronting Scott. Nothing to be done about it now, though. He wags a finger in Scott’s face. “You.”

“Me?” Scott looks normal and honest. He doesn’t look like he’s hiding some big bad personality disorder. He looks mild-mannered and simple-minded and kind of dopey.

“Yes, you,” Stiles says. “I know about Derek. And you. And your not-so-little furry problem.”

Scott’s eyes get huge. “Uh.”

“Seriously, how could you not tell me that?” Stiles says, and then Scott’s suddenly in his face, eyes flashing, and what is it about him that makes all manner of werewolves want to push him around?

“You can’t—”

“Hey, back off, what are you—”

“You can’t say anything, Stiles,” Scott says, breathing heavily in his face.

Stiles only minutely flinches. “I wouldn’t,” he says. He likes how Scott’s the one to threaten him about this – he doesn’t even think Derek thought of it until Stiles brought it up himself.

Scott seems to shrink five inches as he backs away. “Right. I know,” he says, slightly sheepish.

“Whatever,” Stiles mutters. He tugs down the ends of his jacket. “I need to go change.”

“Whose blood is that?” Scott asks.

Stiles sighs. “Derek’s. Apparently PX-304 is anti-werewolf.” He’d kind of like to know how they all knew, right off the bat, but it’s probably some sort of freaky Pegasus alien thing, like maybe they could see his aura or smell him or something equally weird.

“Okay.” Now Scott just sounds dejected.

Stiles points at him. “We’re getting drunk later. No excuses. You’re going to tell me everything.”

If possible, Scott slumps even further into himself, geez. “Fine,” he says, petulant.

Stiles rolls his eyes. Seriously. How is this is life? Saddled with two grumpy-ass werewolves, he totally did not sign up for this at the SGC.

*

Getting alcohol on Atlantis isn’t particularly hard, what with all the regular Daedalus supply runs. Not like it’s good alcohol, but Stiles will take what he can get, which happens to be a plastic jug of bar well vodka. It’s actually really disgusting; he should have grabbed some powdered OJ from the mess to go with it.

Still, Stiles is working on an impressive buzz when he glances over and sees Scott downing half the bottle in one go – he watches his throat, fascinated and horrified, as he gulps.

Then Scott swipes his mouth with the back of his hand and pouts down the jug’s neck. “I don’t think I can get drunk,” he says.

Stiles says, “Well, that’s just depressing.” There’s no point in drinking shit vodka if you can’t even get tipsy enough to forget the taste. “You’re still telling me all you know about Derek.”

Scott shrugs. He says, “The Wraith took his whole village except for an older sister and his uncle, and then his uncle went crazy with grief and revenge and killed his sister to become the Alpha—”

“Wait, what?”

“I don’t know, man, I think the rabid dog-beast is what an alpha actually is, because Derek and I only turn into these half-man wolf things, it’s pretty gross.” Scott makes a face.

“I was maybe focusing more on the part where his uncle killed his sister, that’s,” Stiles doesn’t even know, but it’s fucked up.

“So now I gotta go kill the Alpha—“

You do?”

“—because that’s the only way I may be, like, normal again.” Scott falls backwards and sprawls out on Stiles’ floor.

Stiles says, “But, uh, why would Derek’s uncle kill his sister?” If that’s the only family he had left, if Derek and his sister were it, why would that make any sense?

Scott says, “Duh. His sister was the Alpha. You kill the Alpha to become one. I think. It was like pulling teeth to get Derek to talk, dude.”

Stiles sits there for a while, pondering. It’s not much information, honestly. “That’s all you got?”

“You’re lucky I got that much,” Scott says.

So Derek comes from a crazy werewolf family on a planet probably once filled with crazy alien werewolves, and for some reason—huh. “So, crazy mad-with-grief Uncle Alpha probably wants another pack, right?”

Scott levers up on his elbows and stares at him blankly. “What?”

“You. You, Scott, you’re—” Stiles shakes his head. “Think about it, dude, you’re his new pack!”

“No, I’m—”

“This is a threat to Atlantis! We totally have to tell Colonel Sheppard—oof.”

Scott can move super fast, it’d be a more awesome trait if he wasn’t using it to pin Stiles to his bedroom floor.

Scott is not a scary guy. Scott is a dork, mainly, he whines a lot and rarely gets angrier than a puppy, he just doesn’t have it in him.

Stiles is a little scared of him now. Not, like, quake in his knees scared, not nearly as scared as he’d be if it was Derek on top of him – although scared would only be one of myriad reactions, Stiles is not exactly proud of that fact – but it’s unnerving, seeing that flash of electric blue in Scott’s eyes, the way his normally lazy drawl gets lower and harsher when he says, “No.”

Stiles lifts his hands up, palms flat. He’s not going to argue while Scott’s wolfed out, even though they totally should tell Sheppard. They don’t even have to tell him about Derek and Scott, just that maybe there’s a homicidal space werewolf on the hunt.

There’s a knock on Stiles’ door.

Stiles says, “You might want to put those fangs away and get off me,” to Scott.

Scott blinks, expression clearing, and scrambles back and says, “Sorry, sorry,” while Stiles gets up and rubs a hand over his scalp.

He’s not going to say it’s all right, because it obviously isn’t, but he’s not going to make a big deal out of it either.

And then there’s Derek Hale at his door, and somehow - Stiles isn’t so clear on the details, aforementioned super fastness of werewolves – he barely gets out of the way of a rumble.

*

The fight wasn’t Stiles’ fault, no matter what Derek’s broody scowl is saying.

“You broke my couch.”

“He was all over you,” Derek says, and Stiles doesn’t know what Derek’s implying there, but whatever it is it has nothing to do with anything currently relevant, like Stiles’ couch.

“You broke my couch,” Stiles says again. How is he going to explain that to facilities? Sorry, my alien teammate threw my best friend-turned-werewolf across the room and my couch just happened to get in the way?

Derek growls.

Stiles throws up his hands. “Seriously, oh my god, Scott was a little angry about the whole maybe we should tell people about the impending werewolf doom coming to Atlantis thing, okay? Okay, I’m sorry I was being sensible, I never actually said I’d slap scarlet Ws on your chests, geez.”

Derek crosses his arms and his scowl turns into a shade of petulant reminiscent of Scott at his finest. “We’re handling it.”

“From where I’m standing you’re doing a whole big fat lot of nothing and traipsing through the Gate with Team Danny—hey!” Stiles would be lying now if he said he actually hated getting backed into the wall by Derek, but seriously—“You’re all giving me bruises now, you know, both physical and mental, I’m not your werewolf chew toy.” He wriggles a little to get out of Derek’s grip, but Derek just presses further into him and lines his lips up with his ear.

“We’re handling it,” he says, jaw clenched.

Stiles would like to know, honestly, what is being handled - other than himself. He, Stiles admits, is being handled embarrassingly well. “Uh.”

Derek’s entire body is very, very warm.

“Dude. Dude, you’re not, uh, scenting me, are you?” That would be weird. And hot. And weird.

Derek pulls back, grin scary and full of teeth. “Why would I do that?”

Stiles gulps. Yeah. Why.

*

“What’s wrong with you?” Lydia says, dropping her breakfast tray down on the table across from Stiles.

Stiles hastily swallows his gulp of coffee. “Nothing. Why would anything be wrong? Why would you think something was wrong? Because nothing’s wrong, I assure you, everything is just right, totally.”

Lydia narrows her eyes at him. “Right.”

“Peachy. Everything’s just, uh,” Stiles slumps down in his seat, “peachy.”

“I’m going to pretend I believe you, because I don’t have the energy to try and care right now,” Lydia says, and she does look tired. “But if you don’t stop avoiding Derek I’m going to throw you off the north pier.”

“Understood,” Stiles says. It’s not a very creative threat, for Lydia. He says, “So what’s wrong with you?” and immediately regrets it, because apparently Jackson and Lydia have broken up again, and Stiles is vaguely certain he would have rather talked to Lydia about his deal with Derek, the deal where Stiles is suddenly having both awesome and terrible wet dreams about him, and how he can’t quite look him in the eyes anymore without blushing, and how he’s sure, absolutely sure, werewolves can smell that kind of shit on a person.

“Are you even listening to me, Stiles?” Lydia says, hands curled into tight fists and resting on the table in front of her, like whether or not Stiles will be able to complete his meal with a working jaw hinges on his answer.

Stiles wisely says, “Yes.”

*

Scott gets benched after a disastrous mission that leaves Allison not talking to him. No one is saying anything outside the debriefing, but Stiles suspects it has to do with stupidity and Scott’s newfound werewolf temper.

Scott is a depressive mess, and apparently it’s Stiles’ job to suffer through it with him. Which is fine, he’s the best friend and all, but he could do with less pathetic whining about Allison.

It’s almost a relief when Team Danny gets sent out to help with the harvest on PX-755, even if it means he can’t avoid Derek any more.

The best thing about harvest-helping is that they almost always have awesome feasts afterwards. Stiles is a sweaty, disgusting mess, since PX-755 has this huge, low-hanging sun, and he maybe drinks his weight in yummy, refreshing native ale. It hasn’t got enough alcohol content to set him on his ass, but he’s loose-limbed by the time Derek sits down next to him.

“You know,” Stiles says, dangling his hands between his knees and leaning down on his elbows, “you can be a little frightening.” He looks over at Derek, who is glaring at him flatly. “Yeah, see, I bet you do know that. You do it on purpose, right?”

“Stiles.”

“Growl, threaten, scowl, it’s kind of exciting,” oops, “but not, like—totally not exciting, never mind, what?”

Derek rolls his eyes, mouth softening weirdly. “Stiles, shut up.”

“Pretty sure I can’t.” Stiles is being honest here, the ale has loosened more than his limbs; not like his mouth usually needs much encouragement. “You should probably just move away. Like, off the planet maybe. Or over by Lydia, that would totally help.”

“You should slow down,” Derek says, nodding toward his cup.

Stiles says, “Right, yes,” and takes another sip.

Derek swipes the cup neatly out of his hands and sets it aside, out of Stiles’ reach, but Stiles only says, “Hey,” half-heartedly. He’s not all that thirsty anymore.

Danny looms over him out of the darkness and says, “Time to turn in,” and Stiles is relaxed and exhausted enough to agree.

He feels—content. It’s weird, because Danny makes a big show of barely tolerating him, Lydia is just mean sometimes, and Derek—well, who knows what Derek’s deal is, but he’s certainly no friend of Stiles. So, like, they don’t make a whole lot of sense, his team, but it doesn’t matter, because they all watch out for each other anyway. It’s nice.

“You’re nice,” he tells Danny.

Derek snorts and Danny just reaches down and grabs Stiles’ arm, yanking him to his feet.

Stiles says, “You’d save me if I was dying, right? Like how I saved Derek and didn’t cut off his arm?”

“You didn’t save Derek,” Danny says. He pushes him in the middle of the back and Stiles stumbles forwards.

“I totally didn’t let that guy cut off his arm, though. Derek was practically begging me, but nope, no armless wer—uh, aliens,” Stiles says, “No armless aliens here, no siree.” He gives Derek a finger gun, but Derek doesn’t seem impressed with Stiles’ save. Whatever. Stiles is awesome.

“Stiles,” Danny says, long-suffering.

“No, but really, you’d save me.”

Danny says, “Yeah, Stiles. We’d all save you.”

*

Atlantis mostly runs by the standard Earth calendar, but luckily there isn’t a full moon every month. It’d be really hard to explain Derek and Scott, otherwise. Being indisposed every thirty days would quickly become suspicious.

There are two visible moons there, but one is too far away to have an effective pull on the planet, and the other rotates at a much slower pace than the moon circling Earth. So, basically, it’s about three months after the ‘camping trip’ that Derek has to make up an excuse and let Team Danny go off on a mission without him. It’s apparently not a big deal, no one questions much of what Derek does, anyway, Stiles thinks maybe Sheppard has a crush on him.

It’d be harder for Scott to get out of a mission, but he’s still on the outs with Team Allison.

So Team Danny had set out with Jackson as a fourth, because Danny wants Stiles to suffer. Lydia is very vocally ignoring Jackson, and Jackson keeps shooting Stiles dirty looks – this is not new, this is pretty much Jackson’s default around Stiles, it just, you know, doesn’t make for a happy outing, really – and this is probably a huge factor of why they all end up prisoners in an Ancient underground bunker. It doesn’t help that the inhabitants of PX-512 saw Stiles and Lydia light up some extremely dusty consoles. It’s all very ‘yay, you can make this work, now we’ll lock you up and you can be our slaves,’ even though they haven’t exactly said that. It’s all implied in their excitement and the way they clocked Stiles in the back of the head with his own gun when he told them his magic fingers weren’t for lease or sale.

It’s not that Stiles is exactly scared. A lot has happened in the nine months they’ve been Gating through to largely unknown worlds. Stiles has been in dire straits on more than one occasion. Granted, he’s never been beaten before, and it hurts just as much as you would imagine – how they think he’d be able to function enough to work on Ancient tech afterwards, Stiles just doesn’t know. Although, Lydia seems largely untouched in her cell next to Stiles’, so it’s either reluctance on their part to inflict harm on a lady – ha! – or they just figure maybe she can be convinced to help out, just so Stiles and Danny and Jackson can retain use of all their limbs. Maybe. This is Lydia, Stiles isn’t so sure how that kind of plan would pan out.

So, anyway, Stiles isn’t scared, but he’s concerned. Concerned for their collective wellbeing; Stiles hasn’t eaten in hours and hours – he can’t tell time by the sun down that deep in the ground, but he’s betting it’s been at least a full day.

They had planned on a three day stay on PX-512, land of the not-wheat and giant, meaty rabbit-things, and by now, if Stiles is correctly judging it, they’ll have only missed one check in. It’s up in the air whether that’ll cause panic or not; the Athosians assured them these were a peaceful people, but it’s not like they were so accurate about the Genii either.

Stiles can’t help but think that this never would have happened with Derek there, and no, the irony is not lost on him at all.

“Stiles,” Lydia hisses.

Stiles is on his back in his cell, staring up at the solid metal ceiling.

“Stiles,” Lydia says again, and Stiles rolls his head to the side so he can see her through the bars.

Lydia looks dirty, but fine, and she holds up a set of keys, dangling from her fingertips, grin wide. Stiles doesn’t think he’s ever seen her grin like that – Lydia usually puts up too much of an angry front to ever look happy.

“One problem,” Stiles says, because he knows what those keys mean, and he’s super keen on sneaking out of there, or at least making a good go at attempting it, only he’s kind of incapacitated at the moment. “I don’t think I can walk.”

It doesn’t feel like anything’s broken, just an all around massive hurt – he gets dizzy when he moves, and he’s pretty sure some of his ribs are cracked.

“Don’t be a pussy, Stiles, we have to get out of here.”

“Roger that,” Stiles says. He gets it. He just doesn’t see how this can work. He levers himself up onto his elbows, rolls to the side a little in order to get into a sitting position, panting through the pain. He almost makes it, but then he feels a little like he’s going to vomit and his forehead ends up pressed against the cool, dirt ground.

Lydia curses. It’s pretty funny, because Lydia doesn’t curse, but laughing kind of makes black start to edge into Stiles’ vision.

Lydia says, “I’m going to go get Danny and Jackson.”

Stiles scrapes his cheek along the ground in a nod. He doesn’t know where Danny and Jackson are being held, he hasn’t seen them for a while.

“Stiles.”

Stiles swallows a groan.

“Stiles,” Lydia says again, urgent, and Stiles shifts a little so he can look up at her. She’s got a grim twist to her mouth, eyes hard. She says, “I’ll be back, okay? I’m going to come back for you,” and the thing is, Stiles believes her.

*

It takes Stiles longer than he’d like to admit to realize that no one is coming for him.

It’s been at least another day, possibly longer, since Lydia broke out of her cell, and he tries not to imagine Lydia hurt or dead or locked in another part of the underground fortress, but it was easier to live through this with Lydia there, next to him.

He talks to himself, because who else is he going to talk to?

“I’m fine,” he says, because he’s totally not fine, but he feels like maybe if he says it enough times it’ll become true. “Fine, fine, fine.”

They give him water, eventually, and a very nice young man helps him sip it until a pair of guards wander back to yell at him.

When the lights go out, Stiles isn’t sure what’s happening. It’s pitch black, and all Stiles can hear is his own ragged breathing. And then the screaming starts, and it’s not like he cares if everyone on this entire backwater planet gets culled or something, but Stiles is kind of a sitting duck for whatever mayhem has decided to descend on them, Wraith or Genii or – he hears a not-so-distant howl and the hairs on the back of his neck stand up – homicidal alien werewolves.

Closer, he hears a growl, inhuman and angry.

Stiles’ chest seizes up, but it’s not like he can go anywhere, even if he was capable of actual movement.

Something is breathing heavily, and then there’s harsh, grating, scraping, the sound of metal groaning, ripping apart, and Stiles’ gives in to the fear and scrambles backward awkwardly, pain blossoming out to crowd his senses, biting his lip and scrunching his eyes closed to keep from passing out. He huddles in the corner, the side of his face pressed into one of the metal bars.

When the claw – it has to be a claw – touches his face, he whimpers, heart pounding erratically.

“Stiles,” something says, low and mangled, and then suddenly the claw touching him is a finger, a full hand, and the next, “Stiles,” sounds kind of desperate, maybe, but still exactly like Derek Hale.

“Oh thank god,” Stiles says, and almost has a heart attack in sheer relief.

“Are you okay?” Derek asks, hand still cupped around the back of his skull.

“I’m awesome,” Stiles says, “but you’re going to have to carry me.”

*

Getting carried bridal style out of hell by Derek Hale would probably be more embarrassing if Stiles wasn’t five tense exhaustive minutes away from fainting. The second he sees blue sky, Stiles relaxes into Derek’s hold, relying entirely on the big guy to get him back to the Gate. He pats Derek tiredly on the chest and says, “I’m gonna pass out now,” and does just that.

He wakes up with Lydia hovering over him, the hum of a puddlejumper under his back. She seems worried, which is a weird look for her.

And then she says, “I’m sorry,” which makes Stiles think maybe he’s dying, and he comes very close to hyperventilating before he spots Derek and Scott over her shoulder, both shirtless and covered in blood.

The howling comes back to him.

He says, “Is Jackson here?”

Derek’s lip goes up in disgust. Scott looks confused, but Lydia just rolls her eyes and says, “Yes.”

“Fuck.” They are never ever going to hear the end of this.

*

It turns out it took so long, took two extra days to rescue Stiles, because the natives had somehow managed to lock the Gate after they realized that three of them had fled, after Lydia and Jackson had managed to drag an injured Danny through to Atlantis with them. So they’d had to Gate to PX-514, the closest planet with a Stargate, and take a puddlejumper over. It had taken them too long to travel, but Stiles doesn’t care about Lydia’s excuses – and Lydia making excuses and apologies is still an unsettling novelty – because they hadn’t left him there. That’s the only thing important to Stiles.

He spends two days in the infirmary, getting rehydrated by IVs and getting his ribs taped, and it turns out he’d gotten a sprained ankle, so he’s twitchy and bored and laid up in his room for twice as many days after that.

When he’s finally allowed out on crutches, he ignores the painful pull on his ribs and slowly makes his way down to the mess.

Scott trails behind him, pretending - badly, because this is Scott - that he isn’t hovering back there just in case Stiles slips and loses his balance.

Stiles glances back over his shoulder and says, “So how annoying is Jackson being about this?”

Scott pulls a face. “He keeps asking me to bite him. It’s really inappropriate.”

“I hope he’s asking Derek that, too,” Stiles says, because just imagining Derek’s face if that happens is hilarious. “Why can’t I have a Jazzy?” A Jazzy would be awesome; Stiles’ isn’t so sure this walking to the mess thing was a good idea. He’s not even that injured, it’s just, like, the wrong kind of injured to be using crutches for, he gets that now.

Scott slips his hands over Stiles’ shoulders, like that’ll help.

“You can’t carry me,” Stiles says, and Scott gets a mutinous look in his eyes, like he totally can. Stiles stops moving, leans a little against the corridor wall. “Not an insult to your manly prowess, dude, you just—seriously, you’re not carrying me, I’m not living through that humiliation.” Stiles has lived through a lot of humiliation in the last little while, he thinks he might have cried all over Lydia at one point, on the way back home. He really doesn’t need any more.

Scott frowns and says, “We’re going back to your room.”

Stiles says, “No,” even though, yeah, at this point, he really actually wants to go back to his room, sit on his broken couch and quietly breathe for a little while.

Derek pops out of nowhere and says, “Yes.”

“What the hell, dude, are you stalking me? And also no,” because something about Derek makes him unreasonably contrary. He takes orders fine, just not from a hairy half-beast alien, thanks very much.

Derek ignores him and starts physically ushering him back down the hallway toward his quarters. Stiles would protest more, but he can’t really fight back without experiencing massive amounts of pain.

“Seriously, I’m fine,” Stiles says, jerking away from Derek’s hold when they get to his door.

“You’re not fine,” Derek says.

“I’m totally fine!” Danny’s the one with the broken arm and fingers, Stiles got out of this pretty good, considering. If you discount the psychological trauma or whatever. The nightmares are totally getting better.

Derek leans down so their noses are nearly touching. He stares into his eyes and says, “You’re not fine,” and Stiles sort of—deflates.

“I’m bored,” Stiles says.

Derek reaches behind him and palms open his door. He says, “I can help with that.”

*

It’s not that Stiles is ungrateful or anything, but he maybe could have done without being ganged up on in the game of Monopoly by Lydia and Jackson. They high five over Stiles’ prone body when he yet again lands on one of their hotel-ridden properties.

“Who plays Monopoly in teams anyway?” Stiles says sullenly.

Derek seems wholly unconcerned that they’re losing spectacularly. Scott and Allison are giggling to themselves, stuffed into the corner of the couch - and whenever they made up, Stiles has no idea. He’s not going to ask, either, that’s just going to lead to Scott waxing poetically about Allison’s hair or fingernails or archery skills.

Danny is nowhere to be seen, because he’s wise beyond his years.

When Lydia goes to roll again, Stiles says, “We have no more money, can’t we just quit?”

“Don’t be such a poor loser,” Lydia says. She points to his Baltic Ave card. “Besides, you still have property to mortgage.”

“What, for five bucks? Help me out here, Derek.” He jostles Derek with his elbow, but Derek just blinks at him lazily, and Stiles realizes he’s kinda, sorta nestled into Derek’s shoulder, and Derek’s sprawled all over the slightly less broken portion of his couch. Huh. “You were sleeping, weren’t you?” Stiles accuses.

Derek yawns wide and then scrubs a hand over Stiles’ shorn head.

“If you forfeit, we win,” Lydia says.

“I fail to see how that matters now,” Stiles says. Derek is surprisingly comfortable, and the pain pills he’d forced down Stiles’ throat about forty minutes ago are starting to really kick in.

Lydia huffs and gets to her feet. She says, “If we’re napping, I’m taking your bed.”

“I don’t know why you’re telling me all these things I already know,” Stiles says tiredly.

Jackson says, “I’m not sleeping in Stilinski’s bed,” and Lydia says, “Who asked you to?” with a curl of her lip, temporary Monopoly truce apparently over. Jackson looks like a kicked puppy, which Stiles thinks is messed up, since he’s pretty sure Jackson did the dumping this time.

“Jesus, fine,” Lydia says, stomping her foot, flapping a hand back toward the bed as Jackson scrambles to his feet.

“Does anyone else think this codependence is really unhealthy?” Stiles asks, closing his eyes and turning his head so his cheek rests on Derek’s chest. The slow up and down of his breathing is nicely soothing.

“Shut up, Stiles,” Derek says, low-voiced.

There’s careful nudge on his thigh and Stiles slits his eyes open a crack, sees Allison smiling at him, curved up into Scott, and Stiles curls a hand around her ankle before relaxing into sleep.

*

Stiles doesn’t know how Derek expects to get away with it, but six weeks after the whole imprisonment disaster, Team Danny Gates off-world with Jackson and half of Team Allison to PX-299 - just a routine planet scan assigned by Woolsey himself, since both Danny and Stiles had just barely been cleared for duty - and then they turn right around again and Gate to PX-302, Planet Rabid Dog.

“We are so fucked,” Stiles says. Not only because Planet Rabid Dog is scary beyond belief, what with all the spooky bare forest, but because if Colonel Sheppard ever gets wind of this they’ll probably all be on a one way trip back to the Milky Way.

Danny says, “I don’t think I signed up for this,” but he seems pretty resigned. They’re a team, Stiles gets it.

“You five stay by the Gate,” Derek says with a flat stare.

“Oh, hell no,” Stiles says. He’s not letting Scott and Derek go gallivanting off to get killed without them. Allison, hefting her crossbow, looks like she agrees.

“He’s here,” Derek says, “and I need you safe.”

“What, like, here here?” Stiles says, whipping his head around.

Scott sniffs the air. “He is?”

Derek says, “He hasn’t left,” and he sounds surprised himself, like he really didn’t expect his uncle to still be on the planet. It’s a fair thought, though; it’s been a while, and it’s not like he has company. Of course, he’s apparently homicidally insane; maybe he’s dressed up some dead squirrels as friends.

“Look, whatever,” Lydia says. “I didn’t get all tacked up just to hang around the Gate. If we’re going to get reamed out by Sheppard anyway, I want in on this, too.”

“You’re staying,” Derek says.

“I’m pretty sure this is the kind of stuff the Marines are trained for,” Danny says, frowning, and he has an impressive stare-down with Derek until Derek hunches his shoulders and growls under his breath.

Derek says, “Fine. But Stiles and Lydia are staying here.”

“Agreed,” Danny says, because Danny is a jerk.

“Hey,” Stiles says, disgruntled. Just because they’re the only two scientists in the group doesn’t mean all they’re good for is guarding the Gate. “Why can’t we—ow.” Stiles glares over at Lydia, rubbing where she’d punched him in the side.

Lydia gives him a look, then says, “Guarding the Gate, awesome,” and gives everybody this huge, fake, I’ll-eat-your-head smile.

Stiles has a really bad feeling about this.

*

It gets full dark quicker than Stiles expects it to. He digs out his flashlight, beam cutting across Lydia’s legs as he swings it in front of them. There’s a strange, humming buzz around them, like cicadas only bigger, and Stiles really hopes they don’t get eaten by giant bugs. He heard it almost happened to Colonel Sheppard once.

“Are we sure we shouldn’t have just stayed at the Gate?” Looking for the Alpha with a couple werewolves as company is one thing, going off by themselves with two handguns and a walking stick doesn’t sound like nearly as good a plan.

“Relax, Stilinski,” Lydia says.

“You realize the last time we were here Scott almost got torn apart? Because back then we had Danny to watch our asses, and now we’re stumbling around the woods just asking to be eaten, I had sausage for breakfast, I’m all plump and tasty right now.” Stiles has a really, really bad feeling about this. Like, epically bad, it’s not even the spooky trees and giant bugs and mutant barn owls or whatever – something is definitely watching them. He’s got that prickly tingling on the back of his neck. He doesn’t understand why he keeps listening to Lydia or vice-versa. They really shouldn’t be on a team together at all; this is why they all keep getting married or nearly killed or kidnapped on every single planet.

A twig cracks off to their left.

Which is fine. Awesome even, because a homicidal alien werewolf would be totally stealthy about stalking them, so that can’t be a homicidal alien werewolf. Right.

The twig-snapping turns into rustling.

And then there’s a blur of movement, displaced air, a choked-off scream, and Stiles is eighty-percent certain Lydia is dead.

A rancid puff of air wafts over his face. Red eyes flash at him, and then he’s grabbed by a pair of abnormally strong hands, tugged forward until he’s tucked close to a face he can barely see in the dark. Everything’s in grayscale except for those scary glowing eyes.

Stiles heart is beating nearly out of his chest. “Um. Did you—did you kill Lydia?” Stiles manages to say, raspy, throat dry. “Because she’s a bitch, but I’m kind of attached to her.” He swings the beam of his flashlight up, cold metal still in the tight clasp of his fingers.

The face in front of him is pale, smudged with dirt, sharp-boned. Elongated eyeteeth push out over his bottom lip. “Probably not,” he says.

“Good, good,” Stiles says, nodding. “So, uh, it would be cool if you’d let me get her and we can—just be going. Away. Forever.”

The guy cocks his head. This is Derek’s uncle, Stiles doesn’t see the resemblance. Derek is scary on an entirely different level than this guy – this guy looks like he’d have perfectly civilized tea parties with human skeletons. Stiles has never met a psychopath before, and he would have happily lived his whole life without living this moment.

“I like you,” the dude says with a deeply creepy smile, “so I’m going to give you a choice. You can die, or you can take the bite.”

“I think we have different definitions of like,” Stiles says. “Is there an option number three?” Like maybe one where Derek Hale jumps out of the darkness and sets his uncle on fire. Or rips his throat out with his teeth, Stiles isn’t going to be picky about how it goes down.

“Don’t worry, it’ll only hurt a little.” He twists Stiles’ wrist in his grip, Stiles’ fingers spasm and he drops the flashlight, and Stiles has had enough – he draws back and knees Derek’s uncle in the balls as hard as he can.

Stiles debates running for it when the Alpha reflexively lets him go, but he’s not going to leave Lydia. He skids over to her and drops down to his knees, pressing a hand into her neck, searching for a pulse. It’s faint, but it’s there, and he breathes out a relieved huff of air just as a howl echoes through the trees, much too distant to be the Alpha. Stiles mutters, “Thank fuck,” and carefully hauls Lydia closer, hunching over her protectively.

Lightless, huddled in the dirt and leaves with Lydia’s steady heartbeat under his hand, he’s not exactly clear on what happens next.

*

In the end, it’s just as much of a disaster as anything they try to do. Lydia’s unconscious, Jackson’s in the throes of a werewolf temper tantrum every other minute – Stiles’ still isn’t exactly sure how he got Derek to bite him, Derek must’ve been high on being newly made Alpha, or maybe he just got sick of Jackson’s whining - Scott is mad at Derek, Derek seems to be mad at everyone else, and Danny’s the one who gets the mother of all dressings down from Sheppard.

They fudge the mission report, and no one finds out about PX-302, though, so Sheppard doesn’t do much more than threaten to send them all home.

Scott’s not allowed on an off-world team anymore, and Team Danny is grounded for the next however long.

For the moment, Stiles doesn’t mind. He’s had enough adventure in the past five months to last for years.

Stiles is tired. He’s so worn out he voluntarily retires to his quarters directly after dinner. He’s planning on sleeping for maybe two whole days, or at least until the next morning.

Scott follows him back, though, and when he opens the door, Derek is already sprawled on his bed. Jackson is lying on the couch, head pillowed on Danny’s thigh. Stiles groans, but crawls onto the bed and shoves Derek over, digging his knees into Derek’s ribs.

Scott stands in the doorway, scowling sullenly, and Stiles just says, “For fucks sake, just get in,” and Scott, mouth still pulled down, makes his way over and flops onto the mattress on the other side of Derek, facing the wall.

He sighs loud and put-upon to make sure they all know he’s still pissed off at Derek for killing the Alpha, dooming him to a forever life as a werewolf.

Whatever. Stiles is way over everyone being grumpy, he needs a vacation. Preferably on Earth, away from all these crazies.

He wants to say you know this isn’t normal but instead he says, “Lydia’s doing better,” into Derek’s arm. She’s not awake, but Dr. Biro says her brainwaves have normalized, and that it’s only a matter of time. Stiles wonders if she’ll wake up a wolf. That’s just what they need; Lydia is scary as a person, he can only imagine what she’ll be like with supernatural powers.

Derek grunts and shifts his arm so Stiles slumps nose first into his chest.

Stiles just sniffs tiredly and moves closer.

*

“Why does everyone have to hang out in my room?” It’s not like it’s even comfortable; Stiles’ couch is still broken, his bed is only slightly more generous than a twin – although it’s extra long, were the Ancients mutant giants? - and there’s a mysterious stain on the floor by the bathroom from a previous tenant; Stiles isn’t looking too closely at it, he doesn’t want to know.

It’s not often that Stiles wants to be alone, but when he wants to be alone, he’d kind of like to be in his quarters. Alone.

Jackson blinks up at him from the floor. He’s reading a book. Stiles pauses a moment to take that in before turning to Scott.

“Seriously?” he says.

Scott shrugs. “Derek’s here.”

“Yeah, well, of course Derek’s here,” Stiles says. Derek is always there, Stiles has no idea where his quarters are, but Derek’s basically started living on his couch, it’s totally inconvenient, Stiles has to jerk off in the shower now and he’s convinced Derek knows exactly what he’s doing anyway. There’s a seventy-five percent chance Derek hasn’t figured out he’s jerking off to thoughts of him, though, and he’s just going to ignore the other twenty-five percent that gives him knowing looks. “That doesn’t explain why I can never be alone.”

“What, you wanna—” Jackson waggles his eyebrows disturbingly, Stiles is going to have nightmares, and whether he means have alone time with his dick or have sex with Derek, Stiles is going to say that’s a resounding yes on both accounts, even though only one is likely to happen.

He kicks at Jackson’s ankle. “Okay, out,” he says. “All of you.” Scott gives him a hurt look, but Scott and Stiles can be BFFs tomorrow, Stiles wants to revel in the complete silence of his empty quarters. He points a finger at Derek, half-asleep on his bed like he owns it. “You too.”

Derek stares at him, eyes still a sleepy slit. But then he rolls to his feet and cuffs the back of Scott’s neck, pushing him toward the door.

When they’re gone, Stiles falls face first onto his mattress. It smells like Derek, like wet dog and grass and bacon, and Stiles shoves his arms up under his pillow and takes a nap.

*

Stiles gets four weeks leave, and he plans on spending all of it with his dad. On Earth. He tells Lydia this, and Lydia just continues to be pale and quiet at him. He never thought he’d actually miss all the verbal abuse she always heaps on him, it’s kind of pathetic.

He sighs, slumps down in the seat next to her bed.

He kicks at the metal leg of her bed until one of the nurses gives him a dirty look.

Other than Scott, Lydia is his best friend. They make really poor decisions together, they fight a lot, sometimes Stiles literally cannot stand Lydia’s face, but they’ve been stuck together for nearly five years - Stiles knows more about Lydia than he’s ever cared to know about another person, this friendship is not going to go away.

Unless Lydia dies or something.

Stiles swallows hard and rubs at his eyes.

He’s going to go on vacation, and when he comes back, Lydia will be fine.

*

“No,” Derek says, standing in Stiles’ doorway.

“I don’t remember asking you,” Stiles says. He’s almost done packing. It’s not like he has a lot of stuff. Stiles glances up and Derek’s making this face – this awkward, strange face, Stiles doesn’t know how to fully describe it, but it’s making him uncomfortable.

Derek shifts from foot to foot. He says, “I don’t want you to,” and seriously. Seriously?

“You don’t want me to? So, like, what? I can’t visit my dad because you don’t want me to?” Stiles wants to know what’s going on in Derek’s brain that that actually makes any kind of sense to him at all.

“No,” Derek says again.

“No what? Like, ‘no, Stiles, that’s not what I meant,’ or, ‘no, you really can’t visit your dad because I’m a crazy person’ – which is it gonna be?” Stiles is really honestly curious where Derek is going with this. He straightens up and crosses his arms over his chest.

“Please?” Derek says gruffly.

Derek looks so reluctantly hopeful and Stiles is this close to laughing in his face, because Derek Hale saying please to anybody is just surreal and hysterical. His mouth twitches up at the edges, and he says, “Please what?”

Derek is more than frowning. He’s frowning aggressively. But he still says, “Please don’t go,” like Stiles has ripped it out of his larynx with his bare hands.

Stiles nods. “Sorry, Derek, I’ve been here a year. A year, okay, and I want to see my dad and eat my weight in pizza and maybe go to a movie or ride a moped or hug my Jeep or something. I’m getting out of here.” He shoulders his bag. “Move.” He’s got a half hour until the scheduled Gate to Earth, but he figures it might take that long to get Derek out of the way.

To his everlasting surprise, it doesn’t. Derek silently steps aside.

Stiles watches him warily as he sidles past, but Derek just stands there, one hand on the door jamb, staring at him blankly.

“You can’t stay here while I’m gone,” Stiles says, because Derek looks like maybe he’s about to make camp and use up all Stiles’ clean sheets and towels.

Derek says, “Okay,” though.

“Right, well.” Stiles takes a deep breath. “Bye.”

*

Stiles is half expecting Derek to show up at the Gate, but he doesn’t, and Stiles is not upset about that at all. Really.

He waves at Scott, looking worriedly at him as he sees him off – at least someone came to say goodbye – and walks through the wormhole to the SGC with three other scientists and fifteen Marines that are trading out.

His footsteps seem hollow as he makes his way down the metal ramp. It smells like musty stale air down there, and Stiles has no tolerance for being underground, not anymore, so he wastes no time signing out and making his way topside.

He has a full month before he has to report back, before he has to hitch a week long ride on the Daedalus back to Atlantis.

He’s going to get his Jeep out of storage and drive to California, take the long way home, maybe, just so he can stretch his legs. Eat at Waffle Houses and see the Grand Canyon and feel normal about wearing sneakers and plaid shirts for the first time in forever.

It’s gonna be awesome.

*

Stiles’ dad is hyper observant. It’s what makes him such a good sheriff. He observes that Stiles is bored out of his mind just about two days after arriving.

Stiles doesn’t want to say he’s right, but Stiles is on his fourth hour of ABC News, and it’s not that it’s not interesting, he likes getting caught up on all the horrible things that have been going on at home, it’s just that he can’t stop thinking about everything he’s probably missing on Atlantis. Like puppy piles that better not be in his bed and Lydia maybe waking up and Jackson’s first full moon.

“It’s not that I don’t want you here, Stiles,” his dad says, snagging the remote out of Stiles’ drooping hand and turning off the TV. “But don’t you have any friends still around you could visit?”

Stiles looks up at him. “You just want me out so you can eat those burgers I saw in the freezer.” Stiles’ dad needs to watch his cholesterol, just because Stiles is in another galaxy doesn’t mean he doesn’t keep up with his dad’s health. And no, no he doesn’t have any friends still around. None that he actually wants to see, anyway.

“We’ll need tomatoes for those burgers,” his dad says. “Lettuce and onion if you’re in the mood. I’ll make a list and you can pick them up for me while you’re out there spending the afternoon doing other things.”

Stiles groans but gets to his feet. “Fine. But I’m getting carrots instead of chips.”

His dad claps his shoulder, drops his keys in his hand, and pushes him out the door.

Outside is too bright, and it hurts his eyes.

*

The days go slow, but Stiles learns to relax.

He gets burned on the beach, they barbeque every night, and Stiles memorizes his dad’s smile all over again.

“So you can’t tell me what you’ve been up to,” his dad says, propping his feet up on the coffee table.

Stiles takes a sip of his beer. “It’s not all that interesting,” he says. He doesn’t like lying to his dad, but he’s pretty sure his dad knows, and doesn’t mind.

“Right.” He gives Stiles an understanding half-smile.

Stiles is leaving in the morning to drive back to Colorado Springs. He’s sad, and he’s not, because he hasn’t spent this much time with his dad since he was seventeen, and he misses him when he’s an entire galaxy away, but Stiles life is not there anymore. Stiles life is with a caustic lady friend, a sour wolf, and Scott. Who is Scott.

“You know what I want to do?” Stiles says.

His dad arches his eyebrows at him.

“Mini golf.”

*

The Daedalus is the worst way to travel. The worst. Once you get over the novelty that you’re on an honest to god spaceship, it’s just really boring and claustrophobic. Stiles’ room is the size of a postage stamp with a fold up bunk, a fold up desk, and a small metal sink. The gray walls are just depressing.

Stiles spends most of his time on the common deck, playing cards with Private Sanchez and Corporal Jenner, or talking shop with Dr. Park, and it’s nearly intolerable. He hadn’t realized how much a difference it made, having Lydia and Scott along last time, but he vows never to go on vacation without them again.

By the time he’s beamed down onto Atlantis he’s practically vibrating with excess energy and happiness – he’s home. It’s like taking a big breath after holding it for too long. All the electric blue on the stairwell lights up around him, like he’s oozing hellos with his ATA gene.

And Lydia’s there, waiting for him; Stiles nearly swoops in for a hug before her I’ll-stab-you face comes into focus and his smile drops.

“What?” he says. Lydia’s awake, this is cause for celebration! Her hair is an even shinier red than usual, Stiles thinks she looks like an avenging angel.

“What did you think you were doing?” she hisses at him.

“Um. I didn’t actually hug you, so I don’t—”

She hits him on the arm. “You left.”

“I had leave,” Stiles says. “I went a-visiting, that’s how it’s done.”

“There was pining, Stilinski!” Lydia says stridently.

Stiles grimaces. Lydia doesn’t have enough patience to deal with pining all that well. “Who?”

Lydia rolls her eyes. “Who do you think?”

“Scott?” He’s hoping it’s Scott. He doesn’t think he can handle a pining Jackson, that just makes him queasy. Scott’s his best bud, maybe the canine in him makes him a little more sensitive to people leaving him behind.

“You’re such a moron, Stiles, I can’t even—” She breaks off, shakes her head. Then she sighs, gives him a swift peck on the cheek, and stalks off down the hall.

Stiles presses a couple fingers to his face and says, “What just happened?” to nobody in particular.

*

Stiles’ room is dark and empty, but his bed is mussed, which doesn’t bother him as much as he thinks it should.

It’s late, both in ship-time and on Atlantis, so he shucks his uniform, piling it haphazardly in a corner, and crawls into bed with a sigh, all his I’m-home! energy leaking out of him with each breath. He doesn’t even know what his pillow smells like anymore, but it doesn’t smell musty with disuse.

He’s not sure how long he lays there before he hears his door slide open, but he was definitely asleep for at least a little while – his mouth is dry, and his eyelashes feel slightly sticky. He yawns, jaw cracking.

Someone is hovering; Stiles would be more freaked out about that if it wasn’t Derek. Stiles doesn’t know how he knows it’s Derek, doesn’t know when he started being able to recognize the pattern of his breathing, the weight of his eyes on him. He pretends it doesn’t send a skein of warmth down his spine.

“If you’re going to stay, creeper, lay down,” Stiles says, voice muffled by his pillow. He’s not going to say how much he’s missed him – Derek can probably smell it on him, anyway.

Silently, the bed dips behind him, and Derek rolls up tight against his back. Stiles just wriggles into a more comfortable position, and just as he’s drifting off, the door opens again.

“What happened to knocking,” Stiles mutters, “that’s what I want to know. What happened to respecting locks and privacy?” He blinks open his eyes to see Jackson crouching down in front of him, Jesus. He twitches back and says, “What are you doing here?”

Jackson makes a face, like maybe he doesn’t want to be pressed up against Stiles either – and that’s just what he’s doing, shoving Stiles a little until he can fit his arm under Stiles’ head and share his pillow. He says, “Derek’s here.”

They’ve said that before. It’s probably important.

Derek snakes a hand over Stiles’ hip and says, “Shut up, Stiles,” into his nape, and suddenly it hits him.

“Oh my god,” Stiles says. Pining. There has been pining going on, Stiles gets it now. “You’ve been pining for me.”

Derek tenses all along his back.

“You have, you totally have,” Stiles wriggles around until he’s face to face with Derek. He doesn’t know how he missed this, except for the part where this is Stiles, and this is Derek.

Derek’s scowling. Stiles tries and totally fails not to find the frown lines around his mouth endearing. “Stiles.”

“You—are you really this crazy?” He knows Derek’s crazy, like in an alien beast man way, but who in their right mind would pine after Stiles?

Derek flinches – it’s so small Stiles only catches it because he’s staring so hard at Derek in disbelief. He grips Derek’s wrist when he tries to pull away.

“No, I meant—”

“Stiles is a loser,” Jackson says, voice gruff with sleep.

Derek growls, but Stiles is nodding and says, “No, he’s totally right.” Jackson’s a douchebag, but he’s right. Stiles is a wiry anthropologist who talks too much and has really bad aim, he’s not exactly a prize here.

Derek says, “No.”

Stiles rolls his eyes and says, “You realize I’m human, right? Not one of your werewolf minions?”

Derek’s hand palms his lower back, pulling him closer ‘til their hips are lined up, and Stiles realizes Derek’s not wearing much more than Stiles – less, even, because at least Stiles still has his undershirt on. “You’re pack,” Derek says.

“Pack, right,” Stiles says absently. Derek’s skin is really hot under his hands. He runs fingers over Derek’s collarbone and Derek shivers. It occurs to him that they’re in a bed.

“Please don’t have sex in front of me,” Jackson says, nearly inflectionless.

“You could leave,” Stiles says, but Jackson makes a distraught noise and Derek reaches over Stiles to run a hand over Jackson’s head.

God damn cock-blocking puppy piles.

“Packs are really inconvenient.”

Derek buries his face in Stiles neck and says, “Don’t say that,” and Stiles is, like, completely, embarrassingly relaxed, he should have more of a problem with this, with Jackson, he’s sure.

Stiles eventually falls asleep, though, bookended by warm bodies, and at some point he registers Lydia, and he should be worried about that, the possibility of a wolf Lydia, a Lydia dialed up to eleven, with teeth and claws and temper, but he’s kind of too content at the moment to care.

He figures it’s only a matter of time before Scott’s there, too, and he has no idea how they’re all going to fit on his bed, they’re probably going to break it, and that’s just one more thing for the requisitions department to make fun of him for.

“This is going to be so bad,” he says into Derek’s shoulder.

Lydia leans over him and says, “No, Stiles, this is going to be great.”