He’s read the stories, the myths, the folktales. He’s probably read them all, at this point. He watches the forms of his friends as they disappear into the trees, becoming only shadows and eyes in the moonlight.
He’s read about the women who don the pelts of wolves as punishment for their sins. Commanded by the spirits or by their own grief and guilt to live for years as a beast, killing their friends and children, or forced to pace night after night in locked rooms, waiting for the sun to burn away the monster, waiting for their sentence to end.
He watches the transformation; the way the wolf stretches so easily beneath Derek’s skin before rising to the surface. Derek’s been doing this his entire life, the wolf is a part of him, he knows the sensation of claws and teeth and fur. But Stiles wonders if being Alpha makes it different. This is more, now, than it was before. This transformation comes with broken bones and shifting innards and primal screams. This position that was never really meant to be his comes at a price.
Sure, sure, the bite is a gift. But the shadows in the Alpha’s eyes tell another side. This power, this gift, this freedom, the animal joy of the hunt is also a prison. His sentence will never end; his is a lifetime of donning his pelt and running wild beneath the moon towards the sun.
Derek takes this shape with the same stoic control he’s always had, but Stiles stares at the hunched shoulders. The weight of this skin is heavier. He wonders if Derek can feel his uncle there, beneath his skin, with every full moon, boiling in his blood as he shifts. If he can feel Laura.
If now the change is a reminder of things that were done to him and by him, sins manifested in fur and fangs.