Stiles sat by him self at lunch. He chewed on a piece of apple while he read over the chapters of folklore that he missed. He was immersed in how superstitious the people of Mississippi tended to be when someone sat down next to him. He looked up to see Julian digging through his bag before he pulled out a bottle of water and started to dig into his own lunch.
It had been a few weeks since Julian and Marco had landed on his doorstep and they hadn’t initiated any contact since then. Julian had given him a few looks throughout school but he had never really spoken to Stiles. So after a few minutes Stiles couldn’t help but break the silence, “What’s up?”
Julian shrugged as he shoveled another mouthful of red beans and rice into his mouth, “Just figured I’d keep you company. That okay?”
Stiles floundered for a moment before nodding, “Cool.”
“So how’s your pack?” Julian questioned as he tore his bread roll into bite sized pieces.
“Uh,” Stiles scratched his head not sure if he should actually be talking to a werewolf from a different pack about this. Stiles figured he needed a friend here in Pine Grove so talking a little bit might be a good idea. “Good. I actually talked to Derek yesterday.”
“I bet that was a relief,” Julian smiled across the table, “I know that I couldn’t go as long as you have without hearing Marco or being with the rest of the pack.”
A wave of relief washed over Stiles, knowing that there was someone else out there that felt the same way he did about being separated from his pack. It didn’t matter he wasn’t a werewolf. They were a major part of his life and he missed them. “It felt like everything was going to be okay again, just hearing his voice.”
“Bet you never thought you’d feel that way towards another guy,” Julian’s face turned a slight shade of pink as he laughed.
“Uh,” Stiles scratched his head, “Well not towards him at least.”
Julian raised his brow for a minute before shrugging, “How did he sound when you talked to him?”
“Relaxed,” Stiles chuckled to himself for a moment before filling Julian in on why that was so funny to him. “Derek isn’t the type to just relax. Ever. He gets so uptight over the smallest of things. And he doesn’t smile or show any emotion other than frustration or anger. Now it seems like things are coming together and he’s finally letting his guard down around the pack.”
“And to you,” Julian pointed out with a slight smirk.
Stiles narrowed his eyes knowing the Julian was teasing him, “Shut up.”
“Nope,” Julian grinned wider, “You have a thing for this Derek. I can see it and smell it when you talk about him.”
Stiles leaned down to sniff his shoulders, “I do not smell!”
“Yes,” Julian nodded, “You do. But it’s okay. I won’t tell anyone you’ve got the hots for a wolf.”
“Please don’t,” Stiles rolled his eyes, “People around here might actually think you’re talking about a real wolf not a werewolf.”
“Oh gross dude,” Julian scrunched his nose up and then burst out laughing, “Oh god you’re right. People around here so would. You’re secret is safe with me though.”
“Liar,” Stiles rolled his eyes, “You’ll probably tell Marco and we both know Marco. He’s a complete gossip.”
Julian grinned, “Totally.”
The bell rang signaling the end of class and the beginning of class. Stiles tossed his trash in the nearest garbage can and wiped his hands clean on his jeans before shouldering his backpack. Julian clapped him on the shoulder, “We should do this more often you’re a riot. You doing anything tonight?”
Stiles pressed his lips together and looked up at Julian, “Hanging out with my Aunt but other than that I’m free.”
“You want to come to dinner with me, Marco and a few other people from the pack will be there? We won’t bite or anything. I just figured you might like a change of scenery and Marco is cool with you coming with us.”
“I don’t have a car to get there is the only thing,” Stiles paused outside of his classroom.
“We’ll pick you up,” Julian rested a hand on his shoulder, “If you feel like digging out early I’ll drive you home. I know how situations can get hairy and all you want to do is get the hell out and back to yourself.”
“Okay,” Stiles nodded, “Yeah.”
“I’ll be there at six and hopefully you like seafood.” Julian grinned over his shoulder as he bounded down the hallway and to his class.
Julian pulled up in the same beat up truck that he and Marco had showed up in the first day they stopped by the house. As soon as Stiles got in the truck and Julian started driving they were kept company by the sweet twang of a woman singing country blues. Julian was humming along with her and his eyes were sparkling with excitement of spending time with his pack.
“So,” Stiles coughed into his hand, “What should I expect?”
“The usual pack stuff, not anything heavy. Just us spending some time together.” Julian answered not taking his eyes off the road.
“Cool,” Stiles swallowed down his anxiety and focused on the direction they were going in case he needed to high tail it out of there.
“What did you and you’re pack do to spend time together?” Julian asked as they pulled onto the interstate.
Stiles thought about that for a moment. What did they do? They fought off crazy alpha uncles, got rid of rogue packs, researched the hell out of everything. There were some days they did manage to sit back and relax though. “We worked on Derek’s house. Remodeling. Once rooms got fixed up we would do movie nights. Some nights, Derek and I would cook for everyone. We just relaxed and did nothing too. I guess we’re pretty lazy.”
“We try to go out but most of the time we hang out at Marco’s place. It’s small but that doesn’t stop the puppy pile. And you’re pack isn’t lazy, it sounds close knit.”
Stiles held in his laughter at the image of what a Hale puppy pile would look like. Derek would be scowling, Lydia would pout, Scott and Allison would find some way to curl up together and Jackson would try his hardest to get away from everyone.
Julian parking the car outside a place called Charlie’s Catfish pulled Stiles from his thoughts. The interior was sparse. There was a front room with small round tables and there was a second room where Julian was leading him full of tables linked together and loud voices bouncing off the wall.
“Julian! Stiles!” Marco’s booming voice carried across the room. Julian tugged Stiles across the room and directed him towards one of the two empty chairs next to Marco. Stiles took a breath and noticed the rest of the table’s residents were starring at him. “This is Stiles, a friend to the pack. So I expect you all to treat him with respect.”
“He smells like another wolf,” A girl with blonde hair piled on top of her head snarled at him.
“For a reason,” Marco gave her a look that shut her up. “He was separated from his pack and sent to live with his aunt. He means no harm and I welcome him with open arms.”
“He’s human,” Another boy piped up from the end of the table.
“And that doesn’t mean anything here,” Marco growled, “Stiles is welcome here. So that’s enough about Stiles how about we enjoy the food that’s been prepared for us.”
Stiles got lost in the cacophony of voices at first. He watched as they ate and laughed and he tried to keep up with them but he couldn’t follow the conversations going on around him. When a hand landed on his shoulder Stiles tensed up and he looked to see who wanted his attention. It was Marco.
“You know if you need to go outside for a few minutes we won’t hold it against you.”
“It’s just,” Stiles’ eyes moved from one end of the table to the other, “There’s so many of you. Back home you could count our pack on two hands. Julian said this wasn’t the entire pack earlier.”
“He was right, this isn’t everyone. I didn’t want to through you into things and make you panic. I just thought you would like to get to know some people around here and Julian has been raving about you. How you would be a good addition to the group.”
Whoa. What? He did not hear that right. He couldn’t have.
“You’re smart.” Marco shrugged. “You’re instincts are stronger than an average human’s. You’re not afraid to put yourself out there and take what you want or need.”
“I’m just a friend,” Stiles swallowed before continuing, “A friend of the pack.”
Marco rolled his lips together and nodded, “A friend is always welcomed.”
Stiles ignored the wide smile Marco gave him before turning back to his pack. Stiles lost his appetite and the thought that another pack was trying to recruit him when he already had a pack. A pack he didn’t want to get rid of or lose his spot in. Stiles stood up and moved away from the table without a word. He moved through the gravel parking lot and sat on the tailgate of Julian’s truck.
He wanted to talk to Derek. Hell he’d even settle for Scott. Actually, he’d settle for anyone in the pack right about now. He needed to know he was still part of something because this, holy shit, how did he even begin to fathom what just happened?
He didn’t look up when he heard footsteps heading his way. There was no reason to. Julian popped up to sit next to him on the tailgate. “We’re that bad?”
Stiles shook his head no trying to figure out how to explain what was going on in his head without offending Julian. Turns out he didn’t have to say anything because Julian took the lead.
“Marco asked you to be part of the pack didn’t he?”
Stiles nodded, “Why?”
“Why?” Julian snorted. “We’ve been watching you Stiles. Any wolf would when a rival stepped into their territory and said they were neutral and part of another’s pack. You’re different than most humans and that is something that appeals to us. You’re special. You’ve got the book-smarts but you always have the loyalty and the instincts that would make you a good wolf.”
“My loyalties,” Stiles looked up at the star lit sky, “Are back at home in Beacon Hills.”
Julian nodded and spoke slowly, “I know. I told Marco that you wouldn’t go for it as much as I want you to. I see how you get when you talk about your pack. That loyalty, that excitement about pack is something that we need here.”
“I’m not going to be here the rest of my life. I’m going back home. That has always been the plan even if I don’t know exactly when I’m going back.”
“I know,” Julian looked away from Stiles.
“So what does this mean?” Stiles rubbed his eyes trying to focus on the answer that was coming.
“That you’re a friend of the pack,” Julian shrugged. “Marco will keep trying to woo you.”
“Woo me? Seriously?” Stiles questioned.
“Seriously,” Julian nodded. “He likes you and what you have to offer.”
“So I’m not going to be torn to shreds?”
“What about us? I was kind of expecting that I might have made a friend. I’m not sure how we stand now.” Stiles hated that he sounded so insecure but he was really looking forward to someone he could talk to about things he didn’t have the chance to before.
“I’m still game for hanging out and lunch if you are,” Julian grinned, “You’re a pretty cool dude.”
“Okay,” Stiles nodded. “Just don’t expect me to actually become part of your pack. It won’t happen. I plan to go home…”
“To Derek,” Julian teased as he pushed at Stiles’ shoulder knocking him a little off balance.
“Shut up,” Stiles ducked his head and blushed.
“Not going to happen,” Julian chuckled as he jumped down from the tailgate and headed around to the drivers side of the truck. “You ready to head home.”
“Yes,” Stiles nodded, “Social overload. My poor heart can’t take it.”
“Well get in then,” Julian hollered and cranked up the radio.
Derek couldn’t help the growl that emitted from deep down in his throat. He gnashed his teeth together and starred at the e-mail that Stiles had sent him. The wolf inside was fighting to get out and show Stiles who he really belonged to. His pack. Stiles belonged here with him not with those wolves in Mississippi.
He knew that the longer Stiles stayed out there the less likely he would be able to return to Beacon Hills. It wasn’t because he wouldn’t be welcomed home as a friend. He wouldn’t be welcome as a foreign wolf.
The last time Derek had heard of a wolf being courted to another pack it hadn’t ended well. The wolf, Gerry, had been a long time member of the Goldsmith pack but had been sent to work on alliance agreements. He had been gone for less than three months but it was long enough for the other pack to see his worth. He was calm, his instincts on cue and he was vital to how a pack worked by keeping everything in check.
He’d be an asset anywhere he chose to be. And the pack he had been trying to forge a bond of trust with, the Houston pack, had courted him away. They don’t make big promises of money, or a higher position in the pack. No they began by removing the scent of the Goldsmith pack. Small touches bestowed upon Gerry at every chance. Slowly his scent started to shift from Goldsmith to Houston. One wolf took the initiative to entice him even further. Usually it was someone of the opposite sex, someone that would attract Gerry further into their pack. And she did. She became everything Gerry ever wanted. She befriended him when he felt alone from being away from his home and pack.
Then he took the bite. It doesn’t happen that often that a wolf will take the bite from a different alpha but when they do they either accept it immediately or they turn into something more fearsome than the most monstrous of wolves. They eat the flesh of their own kind, hunt for the innocent and devour anything that gets into their way. Packs have hunted down these abominations and told nightmarish stories to the young to teach them lessons in loyalty.
If the wolves in Mississippi succeeded in courting Stiles he would lose all connection to the Hale pack and he would take the bite. He would either become a werewolf or he would lose everything.
Derek had never thought he would regret not turning Stiles or marking him as part of the pack but everything in him does now. He should of done something once he figured out the Sheriff was going to send Stiles away but he didn’t do anything. He had messed up bigger than he had in the past. He could lose on of the most important people in his pack because he didn’t show Stiles how much he meant to him and the rest of the pack. Stiles was important. He was everything Derek needed as his right-hand man. He kept the entire group functioning and without Stiles, Derek couldn’t even imagine the possibilities of what could happen.
Taking the time to actually calm down. He didn’t need to reply to Stiles’ e-mail saying something that would push him further away and into the arms of the other pack vying for his attentions. No. Derek needed to think this through. He needed to find a way to better remind Stiles that he was appreciated, needed and cared for just as much as the rest of his wolves. Just because Stiles was a human it didn’t mean that he was any less of a pack member then the rest. He just had to figure out how to actually show Stiles this. He did either what could be considered the smartest thing or the most stupid thing in the history of his life. He went to see Sheriff Stilinski.
The Sheriff’s office was nearly empty when Derek arrived. There was the night clerk sitting at the desk, chewing on a piece of beef jerky and reading him self into a stupor. He barely looked up with Derek first entered the station but after a double-take he sat up straight in his chair and narrowed his eyes at Derek, “Can I help you with something Mr. Hale?”
Derek shoved his hands in his pockets and tried to keep his tone even as he spoke, “I was hoping to speak with Sheriff Stilinski if that was at all possible.”
“Let me check if he’s up for taking visitors,” The officer tilted his head down and picked up the phone. His voice was low but Derek could hear every whispered word. He could hear the Sheriff’s response and knew he’d be able to speak with him for a few minutes. The officer at the desk hit the button to let Derek through, “The second door on your left.”
“Thanks,” Derek nodded as he passed through the door way and into the main part of the Sheriff’s office. He took deep breaths to try and calm himself down but he only succeeded in working himself up further because the scent of Stiles still lingered in every corner of the building. Shaking his head clear of thoughts about what Stiles could have gotten up to in here he knocked gently on the door to Sheriff Stilinski’s office.
“Come in,” the sheriff didn’t raise his voice at all.
Derek entered the room slowly and waited until he was invited to sit down across the desk from the Sheriff.
“What can I do for you Derek?” the words were delivered with a grimace and Derek tried his best not to take offense to the action.
“I would like to talk to you about Stiles.”
“I’m afraid that isn’t a good idea,” The sheriff leaned back in his chair and folded his hands over the other, his knuckles slowly turning white. Derek could hear his heartbeat rising as every second ticked by. “I don’t think you and I should ever broach the topic of my son. Not after what happened to him.”
“I know,” Derek nodded. “But there are things you should know about what your son is getting himself into in Mississippi.”
“And how would you know what my son is up to in Mississippi. The last I told Stiles he wasn’t allowed to speak to any of you. No werewolves. None.”
“Stiles always has a way of attracting all sorts of trouble. You and I both know that. Just because you took him away from Beacon Hills doesn’t mean another pack wouldn’t have taken interest in him as soon as they scented his connection with the pack here.”
“So because of you, Stiles is always going to be in danger.” The Sheriff grabbed the stress ball sitting on the corner of his desk and began to squeeze the life out of it.
“They want him as part of their pack.”
“Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe they will take better care of him than you did. Isn’t that what a pack is supposed to do? Take care of the ones who are part of it?”
Derek bit his tongue to keep from lashing out at the Sheriff. He knew that the man was hurting from seeing his son in so much pain and then taking him to stay hundred of miles away from him. He didn’t need to upset the man any further not matter how the words that came from the Sheriff’s mouth made him feel. “They will change him if they get the chance to do so. Do you want that for him? Do you want the choice that he has had all along here in Beacon Hills taken away from him in Mississippi?”
“He’s a smart kid. He’ll make the right decision.”
“It’s not his decision to make,” Derek rubbed the back of his neck, “If they want him, they will find a way to make him part of their pack whether he agrees to it or not. For Stiles there is only one option if he’s to become part of that pack. They will give him the bite. They won’t let him remain human. They are going to make him a wolf. Stiles is strong, so I know he’ll be able to become a wolf. Do you know what that means for your son if he actually changes?”
“He won’t ever leave Mississippi. Anytime he wants to visit you, he’ll have to ask my permission to do so and if I reject him and he still comes into Beacon Hills he may end up dead.”
“You wouldn’t reject him,” The Sheriff shook his head.
“I wouldn’t have a choice,” Derek curled his hand into a fist. “He’d be a threat to my pack. I have to think of what is best for them. I’m supposed to keep them safe.”
“Well we both know how that will work out. If you couldn’t keep Stiles safe a few months ago, I don’t think you’ll keep the rest of them safe in the future.” The sheriff ground out from between clenched teeth.
Derek stood up and headed for the door. He could feel his control slipping. He turned back and looked at the Sheriff over his shoulder, “I failed Stiles once. I won’t do it again.”
“Why did you really come here Derek? We both know that no matter what you said I wouldn’t give and bring Stiles here. So tell me the truth for once. Why did you come here?”
“I’m here to protect my pack,” Derek answered, “I won’t fail him again. I won’t let Stiles have everything he loves taken away from him because in a moment of weakness he gave in to the charm of another wolf.”
“I still don’t understand why you felt the need to involve me.”
“Stiles needs to know how much I, the entire pack, appreciates him and misses him. I thought, maybe, you might see what was happening now and be on our side and help me make sure he knows how much we care for him.”
The sheriff’s mouth dropped open for a moment before closing tightly and he let out a hum of frustration, “I can’t do that. You know I can’t.”
“I can’t lose him,” Derek admitted. “I won’t.”
“We’ll both do what we have to do then.”
Derek nodded and left the office with his hopes crushed. He thought maybe if he told the truth and let the elder Stilinski know what he knew that things might go differently. But things weren’t any different. He was still alone in trying to keep Stiles and to get him back home.
Derek stepped up in writing to Stiles. He told him everything that he could think to tell him. He even tried to get Scott and the rest of the pack to write more to Stiles. He didn’t know if it was okay to speak with Stiles over the phone but he needed to know that things were okay. That Stiles was still standing strong and felt like he belonged to the pack.
Taking a deep breath Derek looked down at his phone and hit call. He waited a few rings before Stiles actually answered his phone.
“Stiles,” Derek let out a small sigh of relief that Stiles was willing to disobey the rules his father had set up to talk to him.
“Is everything okay?”
“Everything is fine,” Derek reassured Stiles, “I just wanted to check up on you and make sure you were okay.”
“Oh,” Stiles paused, almost as if he were shocked to having Derek calling him just to check up. “I’m okay. Getting my stitches out tomorrow, so that’s good. Well hopefully I’ll get them out. The doctor thinks we might need to wait a little longer since it was such a large area of skin but I’m rambling and I’m just excited to get this mess out of my chest. I miss you guys but you know, I can’t do much to change that right now.”
“I’m glad that you are healing up, but you need to listen to your doctor. No crazy stuff. Don’t need you getting hurt again.” Derek took a deep breath and dove in, “How is school? Are you making any friends?”
Derek just about slammed his palm to his forehead. He knew exactly what that sounded like.
“Uh, well. You know how I told you that I told you there were wolves talking to me?”
“Yeah” the muscles in Derek’s jaw clenched in fear of what Stiles could say.
“I went out to dinner with them. I didn’t think anything of it. Julian just said that we were going to hang out. I didn’t think there was anything behind it. But it wasn’t just
friends hanging out Derek.”
Derek closed his eyes and forced him self to take a deep breath, “Tell me.”
“They want me as part of their pack.” Stiles sounded broken up by the thought of another pack wanting him.
“What do you want Stiles?”
“What do you mean, what do I want? I want to come back home. I need to see you guys. I need my friends, my family and my pack! I don’t want anything to do with them
but I don’t have a choice. They’re doing everything they can to sway me to their side. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to get them to stop.”
Derek took a deep breath reveling in the relief that poured over his chest, “You remember us, Stiles. No matter how bad things got, you remember that we’re your family and we will always wait for you to come back.”
“What if that’s not enough,” Stiles whispered over the line, “What if I do give in. I don’t want to but I’m alone here. I don’t have anyone here. No one but them. What do I do? I don’t even understand it all.”
“I’m going to do everything in my power to help you Stiles. Even if I’m not there physically you can always find me. It’s the same with Scott, Allison, Lydia, Jackson and Danny. We’re all here and missing you.”
“It’s the same for me.” Stiles answered.
“There are some things I can do to make them want to stay away from you,” Derek offered, “Its only a temporary fix and in the end it might make them fight harder for you to join their pack but it could help keep them off your back for a little while.”
“Whatever it is, I’m willing to try.”
“I need your address,” Derek scribbled out the address Stiles rattled off to him.
“You’re not coming here are you?” Stiles questioned.
“I couldn’t even if I wanted Stiles,” Derek’s voice dropped, “I’d have to request permission and they wouldn’t give it to me if they’re courting you. They’ll want you all to their selves. Showing up without permission is seen as an act of war.”
“An act of war?” Stiles repeated.
“They could kill me and they would justified in doing so,” Derek clarified and he ignored the pang of pain the ricocheted in his chest when Stiles made a low whine in the back of his throat. “I’m going to tell you what it means to be courted by another pack, even as a human there are consequences for every action you make. Please listen to what I tell you.”
“Okay,” Stiles whispered and closed his eyes trying to calm down.
“When another pack courts someone from a rival pack, they’re either doing it for two reasons. The first is to provoke the pack into making aggressive moves to fight. The second is because they see something in you that could be useful to their pack. They want you as theirs because you could add to their pack.”
“And we’re too far away to even consider the first option,” Stiles murmured, almost to himself but Derek caught his words. “So, I’m useful to them. My mad research skills are known about even in Mississippi. That doesn’t sound like a bad thing but I don’t want to be part of their pack.”
“They know about you because it’s not that common to have a human remain a human within a pack as long as you have,” Derek commented, “Word gets around the werewolf community and your father placed you right in the middle of a territory that’s expanding.”
“So,” Stiles trailed off for a moment, “What happens? What will they want to happen? Like hypothetically, if I became part of their pack what would that mean for me? And remember, this is hypothetical. I don’t want to become their lapdog, I’d much rather be yours.”
“You are no one’s lapdog Stiles,” Derek bit out before he actually answered Stiles’ question, “The only way for you to fully become part of their pack and be rid of your connection to us is to take the bite. You will either become a werewolf or you won’t. The only way you wouldn’t is you would die.”
“What if they bit me and I didn’t want to be a werewolf or part of their pack? I wouldn’t have any choice would I? I would have to be part of their pack if I made it through the bite.”
Derek took a deep breath almost as if he were afraid to answer Stiles’ question, “You will always have the option to fight the bite. If you are conscious of what is going on you can try to resist. You fight as hard as you can and you don’t give in.”
“I,” Stiles coughed, “I would still die wouldn’t I? If I fought the bite?”
“You would,” Derek answered softly, “That’s why most people don’t resist.”
“What else could I do? What would stop them from trying to make me a part of their pack?”
“You could move,” Derek offered.
“I’m sensing there is another option that I probably won’t like all that much,” Stiles prompted.
“You could take the bite from me.”
“Oh,” Stiles whispered.
“I know that you want to be who you are,” Derek back pedaled, “You don’t have to make any decisions and I’m not going to demand that you ever take the bite Stiles. You’re welcomed as part of my pack as you are right now. I just wanted you to know what was happening. I didn’t want you to be in the dark on this.”
“I don’t want to be in the dark about this either,” Stiles answered back. “It’s just a lot to take in.”
“And you need time to think,” Derek finished Stiles’ thought out and let the conversation lull to the sounds of their breathing.
Finally Stiles cleared his throat and broke the silence, “I didn’t realize it would be this hard being away from you guys. I feel like there is a piece of me missing, like nothing is ever going to be right again.”
Derek wanted to tell Stiles that he felt the same way. That everything wasn’t how it should be without Stiles in Beacon Hills. “I’m going to have something waiting for you when you get home from school in a couple of days.”
“What?” Stiles asked not missing a beat.
“Just some things that will tell the wolves to back off, that you belong to us.” Derek answered. “I’ll be sure everyone includes something.”
“Get them to call me,” Stiles asked, “I miss hearing from everyone.”
“I can do that,” Derek smiled, “We’re getting together tomorrow night and I’ll have everyone on the phone then.”
“Thank you,” Stiles voice had grown stronger, sounded more like the boy Derek had known in Beacon Hills throughout the conversation. He was glad that he could have that effect on someone. That someone had cared enough about him to feel comfortable in their own skin again by just talking to him. Taking a look at his watch Derek let out a sigh. It was far later in Mississippi than it was in California.
“I should let you go,” Derek tapped his fingers impatiently on the table in front of him, “We’ll talk to you tomorrow night. Okay?”
“Don’t forget,” Stiles teased before sobering, “Thank you.”
“Calling,” Stiles answered. “I really needed to hear your voice and to be reminded that I still have a place to call home.”
“Always, Stiles, always” Derek answered, “Sleep well.”
Derek sat on his porch starring down at his phone. There was more to things then what he was telling Stiles. He had told Stiles most of what was going on, he hadn’t told him the rest because Derek wasn’t sure if he was ready to acknowledge what had and was happening between himself and Stiles.
He had bonded with Stiles. It might have been because of all the time they had been spending working together trying to get the pack to unify. Or it might have been the way Stiles weaseled his way closer to Derek than anyone had been ever been able to. Stiles could make him smile. Stiles could even make him laugh. He didn’t think he would be able to laugh again but here he was, fighting and bickering with Stiles as if they had known each other for their entire lives.
Stiles felt the effects of the bond too. The moment Stiles said it felt like a piece of him was missing, Derek knew the exact feeling. It echoed in his chest, reminding him that a part of him self was missing. He didn’t consciously choose Stiles, no, he wouldn’t have even thought Stiles could stand his ground against an alpha wolf but apparently the wolf beneath his skin believed Stiles could.
Derek felt himself growing closer and craving Stiles’ company. Not because of the influence of the beast beneath his skin but because he truly wanted to be around Stiles more.
Pocketing his cell phone Derek stood up and looked at his house. With the help of Stiles and the pack the shell of a house had slowly morphed into a home and even without Stiles here to guide the pack, they still worked to make the place homelier. He even felt the need to change things up and make rooms better.
Stiles did this. Stiles had kicked his ass into moving from a life of watching everyone and everything pass him by into a life of actually living. Now Derek was going to do everything he could do to make sure Stiles didn’t get stuck in time. He was going to do everything he could to keep Stiles as his own. It was going to start now.
Taking a deep breath Derek pulled his shirt over his head and heading inside to tuck it away in a Ziploc bag. He needed the scent to stay. He grabbed a faded navy hoodie Stiles found for him and pulled it on over his head. He could deal with the heat for the night.