Stiles rested his head in the crook between the car seat and the window staring up at the passing streetlights. His Dad has been driving the past two hours and he was supposed to be getting a little bit of rest before he took back over but he couldn’t. He never imagined leaving Beacon Hills behind. He never thought he’d be separated from Scott. No matter how much he complained about Scott he never thought he wouldn’t get to see him again.
He never thought he would have made friends with Lydia, Jackson or Danny like he had. He didn’t think he would have the chance of actually missing them. He didn’t think that he would miss the fake pout from Lydia, the sarcasm from Jackson or the eye rolls from Danny.
But what really surprised him on the drive out of Beacon Hills was how much he missed Derek. He saw the smiles that Derek didn’t let the rest of the pack see. No matter how many times Derek pinned him to the wall in frustration he knew Derek wouldn’t ever hurt him. That was never the wolf’s intention. He looked after Stiles, the same way Stiles looked after him and the rest of the pack.
Stiles never thought he would lose any of them. It only took one night to lose everything.
“Get some sleep kid.”
Stiles shifted further away from his Dad and closer towards the window. He took a deep breath and slowly let it go hoping it would help get rid of some of the ache in his chest. It didn’t work. It wouldn’t ever work.
“I know you don’t understand why I’m doing this but you will one day. You’ll look back and realize that this is a good move. You’ll understand that I’m doing this to keep you safe.”
Stiles pressed his lips together trying to stop the words that were fighting to get free. He didn’t need his Dad knowing how involved he had been with the Hale pack. He didn’t need to be carted farther away from home than necessary.
“You could have been killed,” his Dad’s hand reached across the Jeep and lightly squeezed Stiles’ shoulder, “You were nearly killed.”
No one needed to tell Stiles that he was nearly killed. He knows that. He has the stitches and the bruises to prove that he was human, not what the rest of his friends had become.
“I have to do this,” his Dad’s voice broke, “I have to keep my son alive no matter what it costs me.”
All Stiles wanted to do was yell back to his Dad, I have to keep my friends alive no matter what. That was his job. He was the one they all went to when they had questions that Derek wasn’t sure how to answer. They asked him for strategic advice when a new pack started to enter their territory and try to claim it as their own. He and Derek working together got their territory back without bloodshed. They did that because Stiles found a law that had been buried underneath stacks and stacks of sooty books. He was a vital asset to the pack and now he was being taken away from everything he fought and breathed.
“You’re not one of them Stiles,” his Dad’s voice was soft and almost full of regret of what he was doing, “You’re human no matter how long you’ve been around them. They forget how fragile you are. How easy it is for someone else to take your life. How easy it was for someone to almost do that.”
Stiles didn’t know what to say to his Dad at that point. Anything he did say would just make things between them worse and deep down he knew that if he were in his Dad’s shoes he would probably be doing the same thing.
“If you’re not going to sleep at least recline the seat. You’re stitches have got to be killing you from being in the car all day.”
Grudgingly Stiles set the seat back so he was more comfortable in the seat and he stared out the window, still not wanting to look at his Dad.
After about thirty minutes of silence he heard his Dad sigh and shift in his seat, “It would have been different if it was one of the others who did this to you but it wasn’t. One of your pack did this. They sliced you open and nearly killed you because they couldn’t control themselves in one of the most important times. You were all fighting. Even the Argents were fighting to keep you safe. If they can’t keep you safe, and I know I can’t this is my only option.”
Stiles placed a hand over his stomach and stared at the blur of trees passing them by. He knew, god did he know, that what his Dad was doing was supposed to be better for him. He didn’t want to understand why but he did and all he wanted to do was be angry at his Dad for taking him away.
Closing his eyes, all Stiles could see were the shocked yellow eyes of his best friend standing over him with blood dripping from his claws. He remembered how fast he started to grow cold. He remembered how loud everything got, from Derek’s snarl and Scott’s howl of grief. Stiles didn’t know how badly he had been hurt at that point but he remembered Derek’s frantic yelling and Lydia’s hands pressing against his chest like her life depended on it.
In the end, it didn’t really matter that it was his best friend who ripped him apart in frenzy. Stiles had gotten between Scott and his mate at a pivotal moment. Scott was only trying to protect Allison from rogue wolves. Rogue wolves that had been picking off different packs and humans as they moved through territories across California.
They had all been fighting for their lives and it was only a matter of time before someone got caught in the crossfire.
Moving to live with his Aunt wasn’t something that Stiles ever thought he would do. She lived halfway across the country in the middle of nowhere Mississippi. From what he understood the kids there still haven’t discovered the greatness of lacrosse. So he wouldn’t even have the familiar feeling of the bench at games to keep him company.
“It won’t be as bad as you think. You’ll make new friends and you’ll see how life is supposed to be for a kid your age.”
His aunt had the light on the front porch on when they finally pulled into the packed grass, gravel and dirt that served as her drive way. There were bugs swirling and buzzing around the lights. The wooden porch creaked beneath their weight and Stiles could hear the air conditioning unit whirring at full blast, thankful that there would be some reprieve from the heat of the night.
The door opened before they could knock and Stiles starred at his Aunt Eileen for the first time in five years. She stood at almost the same height as himself and her hair was dark, curly and thrown up into a haphazard pony-tail to keep it off of her neck.
“Ellie,” Stiles’ Dad didn’t hesitate in the hug that he had scooped his sister up into. He held her tight for a few moments before he let out a deep breath, “Thank you for doing this. I just didn’t know what to do.”
“You know I’d do anything for you and Stiles,” She shrugged like it wasn’t a big deal to be taking in her brother’s sixteen year old son for an unknown amount of time. She tilted her head and took Stiles in before she grabbed one of the bags he was holding, “Come on in. I’ll show you where you’re staying.”
Stiles nodded and followed her into the house and when his dad coughed he knew this was it. He wasn’t even staying the night to get some rest. He was leaving and Stiles didn’t know the next time he would be seeing his Dad.
“I need to get going.”
Stiles turned to his Dad and wrapped his arms around him as tight as his stitches would allow. He might not like being here or understand why his dad thought that this needed to be done but he couldn’t not show his dad how much he loved him.
“You be good for your Aunt and be sure to get things set up with a new doctor here for your medicine. If you ever need me I’m just a phone call away.”
“Love you too Dad,” Stiles whispered into his Dad’s shirt.
Stiles didn’t watch as he dad hugged his aunt. He didn’t watch as his Dad walked out the house and into the Jeep. Watching would be too final. It would be like there wasn’t anything else for him to do but accept what was happening.
“Stiles,” His Aunt’s hand was cold against his arm, “You should clean up and get some rest. After you’re done, if you need help bandaging up the stitches I can help. Working with kids makes me a pro at keeping wounds clean and tidy.”
“I think I’ll have it,” Stiles halfway smiled to reassure her that everything was okay. He bent to pick up his bags and winced at how wrong it felt, “Where am I staying?”
“Oh,” his aunt jumped to her feet and guided him down a hallway before nudging a door open, “That’s your bathroom.”
The room next to the bathroom she toed open and turned the lights on. The room was a pale blue, had a bed, a desk and a couple of bookshelves loaded to the gills. It wasn’t his room but it would work.
“There’s a small dresser in the closet,” She moved to open the closet and Stiles was surprised at the space he was going to have, “I moved it in there because of my bookshelves. I can move those out of here if you want.”
“They’re fine,” Stiles yawned, “I think I’m ready for bed.”
“After that drive I bet you are,” She smiled before wrapping her arms around Stiles’ shoulders. “I know you don’t like your dad or me very much right now but we still love you.”
Stiles rubbed at his eyes and nodded, “I know. It’s just hard leaving everything behind like that.”
“It’ll get better.”
Stiles didn’t really believe her but he nodded to be polite. He watched as she padded out of his new room and then back in a few seconds later, “My room is the door all the way at the end. If you need anything, even to know where the peanut butter is, you are more than welcome to wake me up.”
The morning revealed more about the place Stiles was now calling home. There was a vegetable garden just outside the kitchen. He could see tomatoes, bright yellow blooms from squash, okra growing tall, and beans low to the ground. The land around the house was lush and green all the way up to the patch of trees growing tight and wildly together.
Further out one direction he could see horses munching on grass and throwing their head back in playful chatter with each other. He could hear birds chirping and calling. He saw dragonflies and bees all along the garden and yard.
“It’s beautiful isn’t it?”
Stiles spun around to see his Aunt Eileen dressed in a pair of jeans, a tee-shirt and her feet were still bare.
“Not what I was expecting,” Stiles answered as he moved to sit at the bar.
“In a good way right?” She challenged as she moved to the fridge and started pulling eggs, milk, butter and bacon out.
“There aren’t many people who garden like that back home,” Stiles answered.
“Well everyone does it out here,” She smiled at him as she scrambled the eggs and the bacon started to pop and sizzle on the pan. “How are the stitches?”
“A pain,” Stiles shrugged.
“You have medicine to take for that right? If you start hurting too bad?”
“That, antibiotics and my ADD medicine,” Stiles nodded.
“So,” His Aunt let the word drawl out, “I figure we’ll take you to get registered at the high school here later on today.”
“Okay,” Stiles stabbed viciously at the eggs on the plate in front of him.
After they finished eating and they scrapped the last bits of egg from their plates his Aunt broke the silence between them once again, “Am I ever going to get the story on what exactly happened to you?”
“Probably not,” Stiles stood up and brought his plate to the sink, “Because if I told you, you wouldn’t believe me.”
“Not an animal attack?”
Stiles looked over his shoulder at his Aunt and her wide brown eyes wondering if he would ever tell her what happened or if the official story would always be getting attacked by a mountain lion. “Sort of. It doesn’t matter anymore. I’m here not there.”
“You know your Dad wouldn’t do this unless it was absolutely necessary and he couldn’t come up with any better ideas.”
“I know that here,” Stiles tapped the side of his head and then touched his heart, “But here all I can think about is the people I left behind. Including my dad.”
“Oh Stiles,” She whispered with her hand over his mouth.
“Just let me take another shower and clean up my stitches and then we can head over to the school okay?”
“Sure thing kiddo.”
The school was tiny compared to what Stiles was used to and it was a junior and a high school combined together. People stopped and gawked as he followed his aunt to the school’s main office and they started the process of registration. His birth certificate, his immunization records, his transcripts from his old school.
Once the hard part was over he got his class schedule. All the same classes as before. Everything was almost the same with the exception of lacrosse. He didn’t bother asking about it when he saw how much football memorabilia they had in glass cases around campus.
“Is there anything else we should know about you Mr. Stilinsky?”
“He can’t participate in physical activities for the rest of the school year,” His aunt started digging in her bag before she procured a piece of paper with Beacon Hill’s hospital log on it.
“I was attacked by an animal and now I have stitches up and down my chest and stomach. It makes it a little hard to do PE.”
“Is there any preference for what class we could put you in?”
“What are my options?”
“Computer Basics, Spanish, home-ec, environmental science, we have a folklore class not many students seem to be too interested in.”
“Folklore,” Stiles cut her off, “I think that’ll be the best fit for me.”
“Right, I’ll have to shift your schedule around a bit but we’ll manage.”
“Good,” Stiles tapped his fingers on his knees and wished he was anywhere but here.
“Now we just need to get you an ID and you can be on your way and we’ll see you tomorrow morning.”
“Great,” Stiles stood up and followed the mass of curly gray hair to take his picture. Within a few minute he had a shiny new Pine Grove High School ID badge and maroon lanyard. Go Bulldogs.
School was just about what he expected it to be. People starred at him as he made his way down the halls and to his classes. He introduced himself at the beginning of each class and sat down in whichever seat was open for the day. People around here spoke slower, had heavy accents compared to what he was used to, and generally didn’t know what to do with a new person.
He sat by himself at lunch and munched on jambalaya, which was surprisingly good considering it was cafeteria food. He flipped through his folklore book hoping there would be something to connect him to Beacon Hills but it was more folklore of Mississippi rather than what he was looking for.
At the end of the day instead of riding the bus home, he made his way to the library to send a few e-mails off to the pack. He wasn’t allowed to text or call them but it didn’t mean that he couldn’t e-mail or actually write letters. It wasn’t like his dad was patrolling that much of his life from across the country.
I don’t even know if you check this regularly but it’s me, Stiles. I’m in Mississippi with my Aunt. She’s nice, the town is okay but it’s not home. It’s not with you guys. How is everyone doing? Tell me that Scott is okay and not beating himself up over something he couldn’t control. I’m fine and healing so he hasn’t anything to worry about.
I miss you guys already. I don’t know what to do with myself here. I feel like, well that doesn’t matter right now. If you ever need me you can always e-mail me or something. Dad says if he finds any phone calls to Beacon Hills besides his numbers that I’ll really know what it’s like to be separated from society. So e-mails only. It sucks but it’s all I’ve got.
Hopefully I’ll talk to you soon,
Stiles logged off the computer and grabbed his phone to call his aunt to pick him up from school. He was sitting on the front steps when she pulled up in her beat up Camry with a smile on her face.
“How was school?”
Stiles shrugged, “It was school. Things are different here, a slower pace than what I’m used to but it’ll be fine.”
“We’re pretty laid back around here Stiles. The only thing you can do to piss off your neighbors is let your dog tear up their garden or mess with their trucks. People like to take their time around here. Mississippi is nothing at all like California if it’s anything like it was when I was a kid.”
“I guess I’ve just got to get used to it.”
“It would help if you tried to make some friends,” Aunt Ellie offered.
“Right now I’m fine on my own,” Stiles answered with a sigh.
“No one is fine on their own Stiles, no matter how hard they try to convince themselves of that.”
Stiles rested his head on the window and watched the streets turn into bumpy roads lined with barbed wire, tall grass, cows and horses. “I’m not ready for new friends.”
“When you are they are more than welcome at the house to keep you company.” Aunt Ellie offered.
He was glad she was offering that. Most people didn’t like it when others invaded their space so spectacularly but she was just going with the flow on this one. It was just the friends he wanted to have over wouldn’t ever be allowed in the house.
Dinner was a quiet affair. His aunt made spaghetti and meat sauce and they ate quietly with company of her pen scritch-scratching on student papers. It was hard for Stiles to figure out what to say or how to even begin a conversation with his Aunt Ellie. So he didn’t. He ate quietly and when he was down he put his dishes in the dishwasher and headed towards his room.
His Aunt’s voice stopped him halfway out of the kitchen, “I have wi-fi here Stiles. I know we can’t keep you completely away from who your dad wants to keep you away from but I’m not going to monitor that stuff. I figure you’re old enough to know what you should and shouldn’t do.”
Stiles nodded before he headed to his room and sat down on his bed and starred up at the ceiling before he rolled over on his side and gave in to look at his laptop bag. He gave in and got the password and was logging into his e-mail before he could stop himself.
There were several e-mails waiting to be read. All of them were along the same lines, Stiles, where are you? It broke his heart every time he read the exact same words from Danny, Lydia and even Jackson. Derek hadn’t e-mailed him back. He almost kidded himself into believing that the alpha would have read the e-mail and sent something back in response.
After a few minutes of reading the e-mails over and over again Stiles shut his laptop. He couldn’t respond now. It wasn’t something easy for him to do. To tell his friends that he was hundreds of miles away and he wasn’t sure when he would be coming back or if he ever would.
He rolled onto his stomach and pressed his face into his pillows. He heard his Aunt moving around the house and he had nearly dozed off when she came into his room and sat on the edge of his bed. She ran her fingers over Stiles’ buzzed hair and let out a gentle sigh, “I know you miss home and I know that this will never truly be your home but you have to keep moving. Don’t get stuck in a place in between here and there.”
Stiles looked up at her for a moment before pressing his face back into the pillow. He felt his chest tighten and his breath hitch. He knew what was coming as much as he didn’t like to admit it, he was about to cry. His aunt left his room quietly. The door shut with a soft click and he heard her pad to the living room and turn the television on. If no one could see him crying it didn’t mean it was actually happening. Did it?
The next day at school Stiles felt like he was being watched. In the morning before classes and at lunch he could feel someone’s eyes glued to him. It wasn’t the new kid shine that they were looking at either, it felt like he was being assessed as if he were a danger to the area. He was being sized up and Stiles was smart enough not to let it be known that he was searching those eyes out.
Stiles zeroed in on the culprit at the end of lunch. He was tall, tanned and had slightly curly hair. If he was honest, the guy reminded him of Jackson with the way he had a group of people hanging off his every word and the wide arrogant smile that adorned a laugh.
They way the kid moved and seemed attuned to every little thing going on around him made Stiles’ mind instantly scream werewolf. It didn’t help to have that kind of thought when all he was thinking about was his pack back home. He probably reeked of a foreign pack and now he was in someone else’s territory without permission. He’d be lucky if he made it until the end of the day before he was cornered and the story about why he was here was forced out of him.
Stiles was right, between sixth and seventh period the same kid who had been watching him cornered him in the bathroom and they ended up skipping the last class of the day for the encounter.
“Who are you?” Stiles did his best not to flinch as he was pushed against the wall and a nose brushed along his chest. “Why are you here?”
“I’m Stiles,” Stiles answered keeping his eyes level. This wasn’t an alpha. He wasn’t going to back down or show any weakness. “I just moved here.”
“Who’s pack were you part of?”
“Hale, in California.” Stiles answered in a clipped tone, “Who are you?”
“Julian, Julian Matthews. You smell hurt.”
“I am,” Stiles grit out from between his teeth and pointedly yanked the hands holding his shoulders back.
“Where?” The question was asked but Stiles didn’t have a chance before his shirt was wrenched up and his bandaged chest was revealed. It took a few minutes of shocked gazing before Julian let Stiles’ shirt fall back to place. “You fled?”
“My dad made me leave,” Stiles answered.
“Who did this to you?” Julian demanded.
Stiles hesitated but when a hand slammed against the wall next to his head he answered quickly, “One of my pack, I got between him and his mate during an incident. It was my fault.”
“Pack doesn’t hurt pack, especially the human part of it.” Julian’s lip curled upwards in anger.
“It was a mistake,” Stiles defended his best friend. He knew Scott would have never done something like this on purpose. There was no way that Scott would try to hurt him. It was an accident.
“Mistakes like this shouldn’t happen, not if you’re part of the pack.” Julian stepped back and ran a hand through his hair, “Should I expect any others to come for you?”
Stiles felt his eyes water and he bit the inside of his lip, “I don’t think so. They don’t know exactly where I am.”
“You’re protecting them?”
“Always.” Stiles answered without hesitation.
“I’ll need to tell the alpha you’re here. He’s probably already found your scent but I’ll let him know what happened. That you don’t mean any harm. He may want to meet you.”
Stiles waited until Julian disappeared from the bathroom before he said anything, “Great. Just great. If it’s not one thing then it’s another.”
Aunt Ellie beat Stiles home since he decided the bus was an okay mode of transportation since the rest of Pine Grove High seemed to think so except the two wolves sitting on his front porch waiting for him. He couldn’t even get a breath of fresh air even in the middle of nowhere Mississippi.
“So is this the part where you tell me I have to leave?” Stiles asked as he stopped a few steps away from the pair. “Because honestly if you tell me to leave I don’t think I have anywhere else to go.”
Julian stood up after his alpha stood. The guy was tall, almost too tall to make any sense. He was bulky, his eyes were dark brown and his hair was buzzed to his scalp. “I wouldn’t tell you to leave. I need to know who’s in my territory and how long you plan on staying.”
Stiles resisted the urge to roll his eyes because he knew that would get him in a whole different world of trouble, “Stiles and I have no idea how long I’ll be here. I hope it’s not that long because I don’t, well, it doesn’t matter.”
“My name is Marco, I’ve been the alpha around here for the last five years. Have you talked to any of your pack since you’ve been here?”
“They’ve e-mailed me wondering where I am but I haven’t answered any of them yet. There’s been a lot going on back home and I just want everything to be okay there before they start to really worry about me,” Stiles shrugged as if what he was doing was normal and made sense. In all honesty, he was dying to hear from the rest of the pack and to know what kind of trouble they were getting themselves into now. He wanted to be there to help and to make them laugh. He wanted to be near them again. He wanted to talk to them more then ever but he didn’t know how to do that now that he was so far away. He didn’t know how to be pack anymore.
Julian’s soft whine broke through Stiles’ thoughts and he looked between Marco and Julian wondering what the heck just happened. Then it dawned on him. A wolf wouldn’t be able to handle leaving his pack so far behind and that’s what Stiles had to do. He had to leave them without a promise of when he might be back.
“Keep trying,” Marco reached out and grasped Stiles’ shoulder, “You need them as much as they need you.”
“We aren’t ever going to be the same as your old pack but if you ever need someone to talk to or anything we’re here.” Julian offered and Marco nodded in agreement.
“Do you have a cell phone?” Marco asked with an outstretched hand and Stiles handed his phone over without a second thought. After a few taps and a light ping later Marco smiled at Stiles, “I mean it. We’re not your pack, some of my wolves won’t like you but Julian and I are here if you need anything.”
Stiles pocketed his phone, “Thanks.”
He watched as they ambled down the driveway to where a rusty truck was parked before he turned to head inside.
Stiles bypassed the living room and headed straight for his bedroom. He tossed his bag to the floor and flopped down on the bed face first. He let out a growl of frustration before punching his pillows. After catching his breath for two seconds Stiles jumped up and logged onto his computer hoping that there was some news from the pack. He’d settle for a quick hello. That would make his week.
There were more e-mails asking where he was and why hasn’t he been in school. The only one who really clued into what might have happened was Lydia. She was always the observant one of the group.
Stiles took his time to write a response out to each of his friends. He told them where he was and how he, and his stitches, were doing. He also let the cat out of the bag about Julian and Marco. He didn’t know how they would react to another pack picking up a stray but he felt like the only way to stay present was to tell them anything and everything that crossed his mind.
Stiles had been gone for over three weeks. Derek hadn’t thought that he would ever realize how much of an impact Stiles’ presence made on the pack and the way they live their day-to-day lives until Stiles wasn’t with them any longer.
He had watched his pack tremble and he had watched bits and pieces of what made them so strong crumble with the loss of a pack member.
The one wolf that was most affected by Stiles’ disappearance was Scott. He shut down once he realized he almost killed his best friend. He wouldn’t talk to Allison. He wouldn’t listen to anything Derek tried to tell him to make him understand that things were okay. It didn’t matter.
Allison tried to back him up and she tried to get Scott to see that it was truly an accident that no one could have predicted. She lashed out at anyone who tried to help her, including Lydia.
Poor Lydia, she didn’t know where she stood with in the pack any more. She was pulled between her loyalty to Allison, her obligation to Derek, and her love for Stiles. She was being pulled in three different directions Derek didn’t know how to fix it. He didn’t know how to help her realize that there was nothing she could have done to stop Scott from doing what he did. There was no way for any of them to stop Scott from trying to protect his mate.
Jackson and Danny huddled together whenever they were near each other. They soaked up whatever comfort that could when it was offered.
But the worst part of it all? It was the fact that Derek didn’t know what to do to help his pack. He didn’t know how to help them understand that they hadn’t completely lost Stiles. The wolf inside them didn’t understand that Stiles wasn’t gone forever. They just knew he was gone. Here and now he wasn’t by their sides. He wasn’t there for them to comfort him while he was healing. They weren’t there to protect him from any other threats. And Derek didn’t know what to do to help them.
In the end it was Stiles who reached out and broke the first barrier that was keeping them from healing. The e-mails were what they needed. They needed some life line that reminded them that Stiles was still alive and breathing. It pulled the pack out of mourning the loss of a pack member and reminded them that they still had him. So he did whatever he could to encourage them to write to Stiles. The smallest of connections would keep Stiles theirs.
Derek hadn’t realized how much he looked forward to Stiles’ e-mails until there was a lapse in them. The last word he had gotten from Stiles was about the wolves he had run into. The thought of what could happen had the hackles on the back of his neck at full attention.
A member of one pack being unwillingly torn from their pack and into the territory of another only meant one or two things. Either option wasn’t something Derek wanted to think about. Stiles could be shunned and forced to leave the territory. If something like that happened Derek hoped that the Sheriff would allow Stiles to come back home. He could see how much the sheriff missed his son. He saw it everyday when the sheriff would drive through town. He wasn’t the same without Stiles around.
The other possibility of what could be happening with Stiles and the new wolves was, they were taking him in. They wouldn’t just accept him as a human. They would try and turn him to make him theirs. There wouldn’t be any confusion after the bite. Stiles would forever be bound to the wolves in Mississippi and Beacon Hills would be memories.
Maybe that’s what made his wolf howl in need to see the missing member of his pack. He didn’t just miss Stiles, he was afraid that he might have lost Stiles to another pack.
Scott was lying on his bed when Derek stopped by. Scott’s mother didn’t even protest letting Derek in the house. She waved a hand and mumbled something about maybe you can get him out of his room because I’m not having any luck. Derek knocked softly on the door before entering the room.
“What do you want?” Scott’s voice was muffled by the pillow he was lying on.
“Have you heard from Stiles?”
“Not for a few days,” Scott shrugged. “I figured you guys would hear from him more than I would.”
“You know he still thinks of you as his best friend,” Derek tried to reassure Scott but he knew his words were mostly useless when it came down to Scott. Scott still didn’t trust him like the rest of the pack. He never would. “He asks about you.”
“I know,” Scott sat up and rubbed at his face, “I just, you don’t understand what it’s like to have done that to your best friend and everyone just acts like nothing happened. I nearly killed him! I remember how angry I was that he had his hands on Allison and he was only trying to pull her to safety. I could have stopped myself but I didn’t. I wanted to hurt him.”
“You couldn’t have controlled your self, Scott. Your wolf was in control and it saw Stiles as a threat. There was no way you could have stopped yourself. It wasn’t your fault.”
“It wasn’t his fault either!” Scott tugged viciously at his hair and tried to calm down.
Derek was at a loss as what else he could do for Scott. He had tried reason, he had tried anger, he had tried getting the rest of the pack to step in and offer whatever comfort he might need but nothing got results. Nothing worked. Derek did the only thing he knew how to do. He left but not without a few parting words thrown over his shoulder, “He misses you.”
Lydia had taken to hanging out with Jackson whenever Jackson was at Derek’s place. They’d sit quietly working on homework or whatever task Lydia decided Jackson needed to work on. Whenever an e-mail from Stiles binged in on her phone she would pat Jackson on the shoulder until he gave up whatever he was doing and leaned over her shoulder to read along with her.
The one good thing that came out of this was Lydia learning her place in the pack. Sure she was like Stiles in some aspects. She was immune to anything supernatural. That immunity led to lots of research, lots of learning new things about werewolves and solidifying her place in the pack. She realized she was just as important as everyone else. It helped having Jackson lean on her for some answers to questions he was too embarrassed or afraid to ask Derek about.
Jackson had flourished during Stiles’ absence. Without Stiles around he seemed to realize what made a pack function properly and what he needed to do to make sure that their pack stayed strong. He stepped up and started learning and honing his senses.
He stopped by the house every afternoon ready for whatever Derek was going to throw at him. They would run for hours some days. Others they would work on Jackson’s sense of smell, how he could track others especially those in the pack. He even tried to talk with Scott but all he would get out of him were grunts and nods as they pushed themselves harder and harder so nothing like this would ever happen to their pack again.
While Jackson worked with Scott, Allison worked side-by-side with Lydia. They both worked to understand the laws that governed over werewolves, both natural and self-imposed. When they weren’t buried in books they would be out running through the woods, Allison teaching Lydia how to use her bow.
The change in attitude was surprising. They were doing the thing that Stiles had suggested from the get go. They were working and learning together. Those simple actions had solidified their pack more than Derek ever thought would be possible.
On one of the few nights Derek was left by him self, he couldn’t help but think about Stiles and what he might be doing. The stars kept Derek company as he counted the minutes that had passed them by.
Time moved far too fast. Things were happening and it felt like Derek was leaving a member of his pack behind with every forward step the rest of the pack made. Be it by themselves or together. Stiles wasn’t here to see it, he wasn’t here to document it. He would only get a second hand account of the changes that were slowly being made. He didn’t get to share that immediate excitement and high of a job well done. There were too many things that Stiles was missing.
It was raining. It had been raining off and on the past two days and all Stiles could think about was the last time it rained in Beacon Hills. It had been during the night of a full moon. Every breath was accented with frosty fog and every howl seemed to pierce his eardrums because they were so much louder.
Their fur shined from the rain droplets gathering on their coats and every now and then someone would stop in the middle of the group and shake the moisture off causing the rest of the pack to yip and jump to wrestle in retaliation. It had been a good night despite the fact that Stiles spent most of the night freezing and running so hard his lungs hurt with every breath he took.
Here the rain was different. There were so many different sounds. Frogs croaking, crickets chirping, and mosquitoes buzzing. It was almost as if it wouldn’t stop. Just a small reminder that there wasn’t anything here that made it quiet, made the rest of the animals around afraid. It made Stiles feel sick. He had gotten used to the quiet back home. He had gotten used to knowing he was safe because as long as Derek was out there, nothing would get him. Derek and the rest of the pack would fight until they had no fight left.
It reminded him of everything he had to leave behind.
With a heavy sigh Stiles slid out of bed and to his laptop. He might have something waiting for him to read. Reading e-mails all night was better than staring at the ceiling all night.
Everything is going great for once and all I can think about is you. Where are you? What are you doing? Why did you have to leave? Why did you have to miss all that we’ve done? Why did it take that happening to change everything?
It’s the alpha in me. That’s what Lydia keeps telling me. I lost part of my pack and I haven’t mourned the loss yet. I don’t want to mourn your loss. I didn’t lose you. You’re still here. Somewhere.
The e-mail wasn’t signed but even without reading the sender address Stiles knew who it was. Derek had become more and more chatty since they had started regularly corresponding via e-mail. It was like he needed to extra time to think that writing his thoughts out provided. But this didn’t sound like the regular Derek. Stiles wasn’t sure if there was an equivalent to catnip for wolves but that’s what Derek sounded like. His inhibitions had dropped and he just let things spill. Normal Derek just updated him about what was going on in the pack.
He typed out a few e-mails to the rest of the pack making sure that Derek was actually okay. That was the first line of each e-mail. Then he had questions about what they were doing, how things have been going and please, dear lord, tell him that Scott was doing better.
Stiles got a response from Lydia before he had sent out the last of his e-mails.
Derek was injured. I’m assuming that the worry you are experiencing is because he was laid out on the couch all day while Dr. Deaton gave him some tranquilizers and he had access to his laptop for once. There isn’t much to worry about. He’s healing up quickly and we’re figuring out where to go from here.
Don’t bother asking what happened to Derek. None of us are really sure. Your Dad found him slumped over in his car and brought him to Dr. Deaton. The right move in all situations. So far all we know was he was pretty messed up and he’s healing fine for now. I’ll keep you updated but please Stiles, don’t worry. We are taking care of him.
We miss you like always,
Stiles stared at his computer screen for a few minutes, his mouth open in shock. Something had happened to Derek. His heart started to hammer in his chest as his hands and neck grew clammy. He bent over in half and stared at the floor as he tried to control his breathing. How could he not worry? All he wanted to do was grab the keys to his Aunt’s Camry and drive the entire night and most of the next day to get to Derek. He needed to see that Derek was actually okay.
It took a few minutes of debating if he should risk it or not but Stiles gave in. If his Dad had a cow about him breaking the rules and calling Beacon Hills then oh well. He’d have to get over it.
The ringing of the phone echoed in his ear as he waited. The entire time he waited for Derek to answer his phone he couldn’t help but think that maybe he should have called Lydia or someone else in the pack that wasn’t doped up on whatever magical medicine Dr. Deaton had given Derek.
Stiles felt his heart skip a beat and all the words he had been practicing in his head seemed to disappear, “Derek?”
“Stiles? That you?”
“Please tell me you’re okay. I got this crazy e-mail from you and then I got one that wasn’t the best news from Lydia and all I can think about is stealing my aunt’s car so I can find out for myself. I just, you have to be more careful. What the hell happened to you?”
“I’m fine,” Derek’s voice had grown soft. “Deaton thinks it was poison.”
“And you’re fine?” Stiles barked out. “No that’s not fine. Not fine at all, Derek.”
“They didn’t know what they were doing Stiles otherwise I wouldn’t be talking to you. I just,”
“You just need to be more careful,” Stiles filled in helpfully.
“I will.” Derek reassured Stiles. “What have you been doing?”
“Worrying about you guys,” Stiles let out a breath he forgot that he was holding. He shook his head and rubbed at his eyes before changing his answer, “Not worrying, missing.”
“We miss you too, you have no idea.” Derek muttered over the line.
“Anything else crazy happen that everyone decided not to tell me about. Like is Scott back to himself or is he still moping.”
“He’s doing better, a lot better.” Derek answered. “The things that Scott or Jackson would have never thought to do, like training, they do without a complaint. Everyone has been working hard.”
Stiles felt like something had been shoved up under his ribs and into his heart. They were all moving on. They were changing and they were doing it all with out him there.
Stiles pushed back the ache and nodded before answering out loud, “Yeah, I’m here. Just I’m tired. The time difference and all that.”
“I can let you go,” Derek offered.
“No, I haven’t talked to any of you guys in a long time. I just, I don’t know, I miss you guys.”
“Hot,” Stiles chuckled to himself, “Even if it’s October.”
“What else? How’s your new school? Those wolves aren’t trying anything are they?”
“No they leave me alone,” Stiles laid back on his bed, “School’s school. There isn’t much that I do around here. No lacrosse but these guys are big football fans. Like, the
whole town goes out on Friday nights to watch the games. My Aunt’s been pretty cool about things but there’s no telling how things are going to go after tonight.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m not really supposed to be on the phone with anyone from Beacon Hills but I have a legit reason. You were hurt and I needed to be sure you were okay. My Dad probably already figures that I called hours ago checking up on you.”
“You should call your Dad sometime,” Derek suggested, “He misses you. Everyone in town can tell that he’s not doing well without you here.”
Stiles bit down on his tongue ignoring the inner pissed off teenage who was screaming that his dad was the one who put them in this situation. “I’m still angry with him. I
don’t want to mess things up anymore than they already are.”
“You wouldn’t,” Derek promised, “You think too much about others that you wouldn’t let yourself say something hurtful to your Dad.”
“I just need time,” Stiles whispered. “He took me away from everyone. He took me away from everything I cared about. It’s hard to understand why I’m still here if things have calmed down.”
“Maybe time is for the best,” Derek took a deep breath that made Stiles think that Derek was near falling asleep.
Stiles made up excuses to cut the phone call short even though he really wanted to stay up all night talking to Derek and catching up, “I’ve got school in a few hours, so I need to get some sleep. It was really good talking to you.”
“It was good hearing you too,” Derek murmured. “I’ll tell everyone you said hi.”
“Give them all a wolf hug from me too,” Stiles’ voice cracked on the last words but he coughed to cover it up, “Bye Derek.”
“Talk to you soon Stiles.” Stiles waited until Derek hung up before he pulled the phone away from his ear and set it down on the bed. He rubbed at his eyes trying to calm the anxiety fluttering from his fingertips to his ears. It felt like he had forgotten to breathe since Derek hung up.
He missed his friends. He missed the life he had back in Beacon Hills. He missed his Dad. He didn’t realize how much he missed those things until he had heard Derek’s voice. It was like everything he had been blocking out had sneaked out from where it was hiding and tore down every wall that Stiles had created.
“Stiles?” Aunt Ellie was standing halfway in his room and halfway in the hallway unsure of whether or not she should enter the room. “You okay in here?”
Stiles nodded, rubbed a hand over his mouth before plastering a smile on his lips, “Just one of those days you know?”
“Who were you talking to?” She stepped into the room and grabbed the computer chair to sit down a few feet away from Stiles. When Stiles hesitated to answer she held her hands out, “I don’t want to get you in trouble with your Dad or anything, I just, you sounded different when you were talking to them.”
“Different?” Stiles questioned.
“You sounded more,” She moved her hands trying to come up with the right word, “You sounded content.”
Stiles picked at invisible pieces of lint on his bedspread debating on whether or not he should answer her. In the end, even with the thought that she might tell his Dad that he wasn’t following the rules exactly as they were laid out he decided he needed to have someone in Mississippi to talk to. Even if that person was his Aunt.
“Derek,” Stiles answered softly, “He’s one of my friends from back home.”
After a moment of silence between the two, his aunt finally reached out and rested a hand on Stiles’ calf, “It sounds like he might mean more to you than you’re actually telling me.”
Pressing his lips together Stiles nodded, “I think so.”
“Will you really tell me why your dad brought you to stay with me and banned you from talking to your friends?”
Stiles chuckled to himself, “I tell you why I really left and you’ll be putting both Dad and me in the mental institution.”
“I live twenty minutes away from Louisiana. The first place I drive through on my way to work over there is Klan Land, and then I’m straight in redneck Cajun country. You
think I haven’t heard crazy or I don’t believe some strange things?”
“It’s crazier than the KKK and Cajuns.” Stiles shook his head.
“Try me,” His aunt rested her elbows on her knees and propped her head up on her hands waiting for Stiles to tell her what happened.
“You ever hear of the Loup Garou?”
“Werewolves?” She ran a hand through her hair and leaned back in her chair, “Okay, what happened?”
Stiles didn’t detect that she was judging him or coming up with a plan to commit him to the nearest psychiatric facility so he told her. He told her everything from when Scott was bitten and turned. He told her about how much they were learning through mistakes and troubles they find themselves getting into with hunters and other packs infringing in on their territory. He finally told her about what brought him to Mississippi.
“It was a mistake. I wasn’t thinking like I should have been. Scott, he couldn’t control himself and he was trying to protect Allison. So he took out whatever was in his way.”
“Which happened to be you,” She nodded and gestured to Stiles’ chest. “How bad was it really? I can imagine how bad it must have been but…”
“How close to dying was I?” Stiles offered, “Close enough for my Dad to decide I wasn’t safe at home any more.”
Stiles rubbed furiously at his eyes and couldn’t stop the few tears that escaped. He tensed up when his aunt wrapped her arms around him and then he sunk into the hold she had on him. He didn’t know how badly he needed someone besides Scott to tell this all to. He didn’t know if she believed him or if she thought he was crazy. He felt ten times better just being about to talk about what had been happening.
“Your Dad knows about werewolves?” She asked after a few minutes of quiet.
“That’s why he brought me here.”
“He brought you to the wrong place kid,” She shook her head in disbelief. “You were safer with your friends rather than here.”
“You know about werewolves? You’re not just humoring me with this?”
“It hard not to around these parts,” She shrugged, “Plus I dated one once. When a guy’s eyes changes eye color when he gets, emotional, well that freaks a girl out.”
“Oh god,” Stiles hide his face behind his hands. He didn’t want to know exactly what his aunt meant by emotional.
“Derek, he’s the alpha?” She asked brushing over Stiles’ mortification.
“Yeah, he wasn’t doing to well with the pack before I left. We were trying to figure out ways to unite everyone instead of having hissy fits and idiot wolves. From the way
his e-mails sounds, everyone had banded together.”
“The pack,” She repeated Stiles’ words softly to herself, “You do a lot with his pack?”
“I help out where I can. Mostly I do research. If anyone in the pack has a question that Derek doesn’t know the answer to, he sends them to me. I might be the token human of the group but I do my best to help everyone out where I can.”
“I got that from what you were telling me earlier, it’s just, in the pack that my boyfriend was in the alpha didn’t place much trust in anyone other than his top wolves.”
Stiles fumbled for some kind of explanation but there wasn’t one. He knew at first his presence wasn’t appreciated. What group of wolves would want a human infringing on what they had? None. So Stiles did the only thing he could think of to stay close to Scott and to take care of his best friend. He weaseled his way in by showing he wasn’t useless and he could be an asset. In more than one occasion he was the biggest asset the pack had.
“I don’t know.”
His aunt smiled, “Its fine Stiles. If you need to talk to your friends you can use the home phone. I know how hard it is to be separated from the people you’ve come to think of as family. I’ll try and talk some sense into your father to see if anything can be done.”
“Don’t do that,” Stiles stood up from where he had been sitting, “You say something to him about werewolves he’s only going to freak out more and I can’t have that. I can’t lose them anymore than I have.”
“Okay,” She held her hands out in gesture of surrender. “I won’t interfere but if things don’t change around here, I’m going to do what I have to do.”
“What do you mean if things don’t change around here?”
“You aren’t you Stiles. You’re a teenager. You should want to go out and have a good time even if you are new you should still want to go out and meet new people. But you just sit at home. I can’t stand seeing you like this. The Stiles living in my house is not the Stiles that your father talked nonstop about on the phone.”
Stiles wasn’t sure what to say to her about that so he stayed quiet as she started to leave his room. Before she closed the door she caught his eye, “I love you kid, so I’m going to do what I have to do. Even if it means going over my big brother’s head.”
Klan Land is not a made up term. Klan Land is a term used by people in the part of Louisiana that I live it. It's an area stretches from Washington Parish and into St. Tammany Parish which has a heavy presence of people who are or have been involved in the KKK.
I thought the term might baffle some people so I figured I'd explain.
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.
Morning times were always interesting with his aunt. Sometimes she was chatty and wanted to know what was going on in his life. Other times she wouldn’t say a word even after she had her coffee. This morning was different. She was sitting at the table with a smile on her face and tapping her fingertips on the table top.
“So,” She drawled out the word and grinned, “I heard you up late last night. Talking to a certain wolf?”
Stiles ducked his head, “Yeah.”
The sat quietly looking at each other and every other place in the house they could look at before his aunt clapped her hands together, “Well you look better and sound happier even if I only got one word out of you. Hopefully he calls more often because I like seeing this version of Stiles. That little grin of yours that you’re trying to hide, it’s just too cute.”
Stiles shook his head, “Just don’t tell my dad?”
Aunt Ellie rolled her eyes, “Between me and you. Completely.”
“Good,” Stiles nodded and grinned wide, “Now how about you head off to school. You don’t want to be late do you?”
Her eyes grew wide and she balled up a napkin tossing it at Stiles’ head, “Uh that’s my line. Get out of here kid.”
Julian was waiting for Stiles as he got to school. He kicked off the picnic bench he had been resting on and wrapped an arm around Stiles’ shoulders. “How are you doing this lovely morning?”
Stiles squirmed uncomfortably underneath Julian’s hold, “Pretty good actually.”
“Oh, pretty good? That’s a change for you.” Julian teased, “What made today so special?”
Stiles shrugged, in turn knocking Julian’s hold off, “I don’t know. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s not raining and the sun is shining. I just know that today is going to be a good day.”
The bell rang signaling the start of the school day and Julian guided Stiles along to his first class, “I was thinking, if you don’t have plans you want to hang out with me. Just me. I promise, no Marco or any other wolves. I figured it would be cool to hang out with you.”
“When?” Stiles asked as they stopped outside of the chemistry lab.
“I can’t,” Stiles tried to look apologetic but he wasn’t. “I’ve actually got something planned and I’m not cancelling.”
Julian looked bummed out by the fact that Stiles wasn’t up for hanging out with him, “Oh, that’s cool. I just thought I’d make up for that mess I brought you into the other day.”
“It’s fine, really,” Stiles said as he stepped towards the classroom, “I just, well it’s a little overwhelming. I just need a few days to figure things out.”
Julian puffed up his chest and his eyes narrowed as he back pedaled in the direction of his own class, “There’s nothing to figure out Stiles.”
The parting words were like a fist to the gut. How quickly Julian’s features had turned from friendly to dark knocked the breath from Stiles’ chest. He leaned down, resting his hands on his knees watching Julian disappear in the crowded hallway. He knew exactly what Julian was after and it wasn’t friendship. Julian was here to make Stiles part of his pack. He knew that was the purpose, ever since that dinner, but to see Julian’s face morph so quickly into something monstrous so quickly just to air from him. Julian didn’t want a friend. He wanted a new pack member. He wanted a researcher and he would do anything in his power to please his alpha.
The phone call from the pack couldn’t come soon enough. Stiles puttered around in the kitchen while he waited. He stuck frozen enchiladas in the oven and made a cheese and salsa dip to go with it to fill the time. He tried his best not to think of the possibilities of what could happen to him if he stayed in Mississippi.
His phone rang loud and rude in his room and he darted passed his Aunt whose arms were loaded down with loose-leaf papers and he slid to a stop nearly toppling over and onto his bed. He answered the phone with a breathless, “Hello?”
“Stiles!” Stiles could hear everyone’s excited voices. He could hear Lydia, Jackson, Scott, Allison, Danny and even Derek’s voice was in there too. He felt his heart sputter out in joy and he felt the sting behind his eyes telling him that yes, they were there, he was hearing the people he longed to hear for the past few months and everything was going to be okay again.
Once it got quiet enough for Stiles to jump in he did, “How the hell are you guys? Please tell me everything. Including the gross couple moments of Scott and Allison, the denied love affair between Jackson and Danny, how Lydia still rules you all and how sour our favorite alpha has been.”
Stiles had to laugh at the twin growls he got from Derek and Jackson plus the howling laugher from Scott. He never thought hearing Scott’s good awful laugh of the growling of wolves would sound so damn good.
“Well if you must know,” Lydia started, “I’ve never missed someone as annoying as you so much.”
Stiles grinned and picked a tuff of lint on his jeans, “I’ve missed you too.”
“Please tell me you can play lacrosse down there?” Scott chimed in and Stiles groaned.
“No man, al they care about around here is football. It’s like a town event on Friday nights the place is like a ghost town because everyone is down at the high school watching the game.”
“How’s school?” Allison changed topics before Stiles could mope about the loss of lacrosse. “Any cool classes?”
“I take a folklore class,” Stiles answered, “Its pretty cool. It’s mostly about legends and stuff about Mississippi. They believe in some weird stuff in the south. Other than that classes are pretty much the same as back home.”
“You find better friends or are you hanging out by yourself like a loser?” Jackson chimed in. He listened to the soft scolding Derek gave Jackson from the comment but Stiles answered anyways.
“Not really. I haven’t found people good enough to replace you idiots yet.”
Danny piped up, “Don’t pay attention to them Stiles. If you haven’t made friends yet the people at your school don’t know what they’re missing out on. I didn’t realize how good of a friend I was missing out on until I became part of the pack.”
Smiling, Stiles knew he could always count on Danny to come to his rescue after a harsh handful of words from Jackson, “Thanks Danny. How is everyone else? I heard that training has stepped up and two lovely ladies are trying to take my spot in the pack. My shoes aren’t so easy to fill are they?”
“God, you can have your shoes back Stiles,” Allison groaned, “I feel like my eyeballs are going to melt out of my head half the time. I don’t know how you do it.”
“Ditto,” Lydia added.
Stiles got lost in the conversation for a long time. He listened to Scott, Jackson and Danny go on and on about lacrosse and how awesome the team was this year. They had been winning each of their games and they claimed that it hadn’t anything to do with the fact that there are now three werewolves on the team. No, not at all.
Lydia and Allison informed him of all the stats that they had started keeping during each training session and how they figured out a way to pinpoint what areas each of the betas needed to improve on. It was all thanks to Lydia and her super-genius math mind. Lydia made a formula and Allison followed it to the t.
Stiles didn’t hear much from Derek. Just a small comment here or there but that didn’t really bother him much. They talked more to each other online and over the phone when it was just them with no one around to judge.
So when Stiles got off the phone with them his heart was soaring. Everything was starting to shift back into place and it just felt right. He knew that the pack missed him just as much as he missed them. He wasn’t alone in this. They were by his side even if they were hundreds of miles away.
The next morning at school not even Julian’s pestering could deter his good mood. He buzzed through classes and at lunch he flipped through the upcoming chapter of folklore. He ignored Julian’s incessant humming recalling the happy laughter from last night’s phone call.
“Someone got lucky last night,” Julian teased Stiles trying to capture his attention.
Stiles looked across the table as he munched on his fries trying to figure out what exactly he wanted to say to the werewolf. It was all a dangerous game from here on out. He could let Julian in on what was actually happening and risk angering him and Marco or he could lie. Most of Stiles wanted to shove the fact that he was still bound so strongly to his pack back home and didn’t even want to join a different one in Julian’s face. He wanted so badly to do that but he didn’t really know what he was risking. He only knew what Derek had told him so far: another pack was courting him and there were only two outcomes if he wanted to remain in Mississippi. He would have to take the bite and become part of the pack or he would die.
Stiles relied on the technique that Derek had drilled into his head because it was one of the only things Derek could think to train a human in. He took a breath and blinked slowly to rein him-self in. And he lied.
“Nah, I got a call from my Dad,” Stiles smiled like he would have if he actually heard from his Dad. “I just, I didn’t realize I missed him as much as I had. It was really good hearing from him.”
Julian tilted his head for a moment and nodded, “Well it’s good that you’re talking to each other. I wouldn’t be so kind to my own father if he sent me to a place I didn’t really want to be.”
Stiles shrugged, “He’s my dad and he did what he thought was best for me. I don’t have to understand it. I just have to be here.”
“So, I know I bothered you on Friday about coming to hang out with me and I know you said you had things to do but how about tonight? We’ve got that big Trig test coming up and I figure if we work together we might come out better for it in the end.”
Seriously? Julian was trying to get closer to him under the guise of doing homework together. Stiles wanted to tell Julian to piss off. But he couldn’t do that. It would only make the wolves fight harder to make him part of their pack here in Mississippi. Plus, he wasn’t going to be on his own. His Aunt would be there and she’d have his back.
“I can always use help when it comes to numbers,” Stiles swallowed down his distaste, “You want to give me a ride after school or do you have something to do first?”
“I can drive us,” Julian smiled.
The drive back to Stiles’ aunt’s house was awkward. They didn’t really talk to each other they just listened to the sad croon of the radio. Mississippi needed to expand its tastes in music because country music was starting to really get to Stiles. As soon as they pulled up Stiles felt his heart beat dip a little. His aunt wasn’t home yet. His heart beat picked up a little when he saw a huge box waiting on the doorstep. He didn’t even bother waiting for Julian as he darted through the yard and up to the porch. He grinned when he saw it was from Allison.
He didn’t bother with picking the box up and instead he unlocked and opened the door to slide the box into the kitchen with Julian on his heels.
“What is that?” Julian looked over Stiles’ shoulder curiously.
“I left some things back home so a friend of mine sent them to me,” Stiles used his keys to open the box and grinned at all the odds and ends that were included. “And it looks like they made a care package of sorts too.”
The first thing Stiles went for was the navy hoodie that was sealed tightly in a Ziploc bag. He didn’t even bother peeling his own off and putting this one on. He knew exactly what the point Derek was trying to make with sending different pieces of clothing to him like this. Scent was a powerful thing in the world of werewolves. It showed them who you belonged to, who you’ve been with and who matters the most to you.
He didn’t pay attention to the scrunched up face Julian was making as he took a deep breath of the sweater. It smelled just like Derek. The scent was masculine, deep and heady but it also smelled how the woods around the Hale house smelled. Crisp, piney, and just like home.
He dug through the box and spotted a few more pieces of clothes. Some of which definitely looked like Scott’s and Danny’s. They might be a little big on him but sooner or later, when the scent wore off of Derek’s, Stiles would move straight towards theirs. There was also a lacrosse ball, not much he could do with it without the stick but he understood the sentiment that only Scott would have given.
There were a few sooty old books included and Stiles shoved the clothes over them not wanting Julian to see what they had up their sleeve. There were some of Stiles’ favorite candies that were not sold in Mississippi so he figured that was either Lydia’s touch or Derek’s. He had probably whined about the lack of sugar options here at some point with the alpha.
There were even a few envelopes in the bottom of the box. Probably letters that had been forgotten about and thrown in just because. The front door opened with a creak and both Julian and Stiles looked up to see Ellie making her way in the kitchen with her arms loaded with groceries. They took a cue from her grunt and bounded out the door to fetch the rest of the bags.
She was checking out Stiles’ loot when the set their bags down on the table, “What’s all this?”
“Stuff I left back home,” Stiles answered with a shrug. His aunt gave a pointed look to the Ziploc’ed clothes and Stiles knew exactly what she was thinking. This wasn’t his stuff. This was stuff Derek sent as a message to the pack here.
“Well it was nice of your friends to send it to you,” She smiled and looked at Julian, “We haven’t met. I’m Ellie, Stiles’ Aunt.”
“Julian, Julian Matthews. I hope you don’t mind finding me here but we were hoping to work together on some trigonometry homework. If that’s okay with you?”
“Sure,” She plastered a smile on her face and looked at Stiles, “Why don’t you bring this all to your room and I’ll have all this put up and out of your way so you two can
“Thanks,” Stiles nodded as he gathered everything he had taken out of the box and put it back in to slide it down the hallway and into his room. He had barely made it into the kitchen when he saw Julian helping his aunt put the groceries away. Like this was a normal everyday occurrence. It wasn’t. It shouldn’t be happening. If Julian wormed his way into his Aunt’s heart then he’d really be screwed. “So you ready for some Trig?”
“Are you ever ready for Trig?” Julian teased as they sat down at the table and pulled their books out of their backpacks. Stiles tapped nervously on the table top when Julian sat a little too close for comfort.
They didn’t really talk about much other than trigonometry while they were working. It was probably because Julian was thinking up ways to sell his pack to Stiles and he couldn’t really do that in front of someone who supposedly didn’t know about werewolves. Stiles wasn’t going to be the one to tell Julian that his Aunt knew the ins and outs of werewolves. He wasn’t that excited to be talking to Julian in the first place.
They worked until his aunt shuffled into the kitchen to start making dinner. That was Julian’s not so subtle cue to head out.
“Well,” Julian shoved his books bag in his bag and stood up, “I guess I should get going. Thanks for the help with the trig, uh, see you tomorrow.”
“Yeah,” Stiles nodded as he walked Julian to the door.
“The moon is in a week,” Julian smiled as he stopped at the top of the porch steps.
“I am aware of that,” Stiles nodded, “And I plan to spend the night locked up nice and tight, away from any wolves.”
“Not all locks can keep us out,” Julian bared his teeth for a moment too long to be considered playful. Stiles tried to keep his breathing calm and even while everything in him wanted to run back inside, lock the door and to get Derek on the phone and on his way from Beacon Hills to Pine Grove as fast as possible. He waited until Julian was in his truck and puttering away before he fled back to the safety of his Aunt’s house. He stood with his back pressed against the door and looked into the worried his of his aunt.
“Stiles,” She held her hands out and stepped forward slowly as Stiles’ breathing racketed up a notch too much. “Babe, you have got to slow it down.”
Stiles shook his hands trying to stop the tingling but when it only got worse he slid down the door and braced his head between his knees trying to stop panicking but he couldn’t. He didn’t know how to.
Small hands pulled his face so his eyes were level with his Aunt’s, “Stiles you need to breathe. Deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Just like me okay?”
Stiles tried to mimic his aunt’s exaggerated breathing and he found his heart rate slowing the tiniest but it wasn’t enough. It was getting worse. Black spots started to enter his vision and he felt like he was going to be sick.
His Aunt disappeared for a few moments before she was pressing something to his ear, “Stiles, Stiles, are you there.”
Stiles closed his eyes and took a deep breath. The black dots started to disappear and things started getting clearer, easier to hear and understand. “Yeah.”
“I need you to breath for me,” Derek’s voice was a life raft in the middle of the ocean. “A deep breath in and a deep breath out.”
Stiles listened to Derek’s voice. Slow and unhurried teaching Stiles how to breathe again.
“A slow deep breath in, and a slow deep breath out,” Derek whispered, “You feel your heart beat, slow and steady, free of worry. Slow breath in, slow breath out.”
“Slow and steady,” Stiles whispered to himself. He felt the tightness in his chest loosen and his hands, still tingling but getting better. He let his head thud back against
the door, “Thanks.”
“What’s going on that I could feel you all the way over here panicking?” Derek asked.
“Julian, he was over,” Stiles answered, “Everything was okay until he left. When he left he said something about the full moon being in a few days. I guess I pushed too far,
said I was going to be locked up tight and away from wolves. He said not all locks can keep us out. I mean, no reason to panic right? But I did. I just, I imagined them taking over my aunt’s house and biting me, no shredding me to pieces because I don’t want to be part of their pack. I already have a pack that I love so there’s no reason for another one. Not that I would want to be part of those creepers’ pack. I’d take you over them any day of the week. I just, I’m alone out here with these guys. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to stay safe without you at my back. I don’t know how to make sure my Aunt is safe.”
“Listen to me Stiles,” Derek’s tone was soft and reassuring as he spoke, “You’ve dealt with wolves like this before. You know how to handle yourself and what you need to do in order to stay safe.”
“This isn’t the same thing that we dealt with before!” Stiles pressed the heel of his left hand to his eye, “I had you there helping me. We, did you catch that? We got rid of that problem. This is completely different. I’m here alone, in the territory of a pack that wants me to be part of their pack. I’m human Derek. I don’t have super-strength or speed to get away from these guys. If they really want me as part of their pack, and I get the bite, you know what I’m going to do right?”
“Stiles, even if you were part of another pack, you’d always be welcomed here. I, I wouldn’t keep you away from Beacon Hills. You know that right?” Derek’s voice had turned into a whisper and was hard for Stiles to make out.
“I’m going to fight it,” was Stiles’ only answer to that.
“Don’t,” Derek pushed, “Don’t fight it Stiles. You know what will happen if you do.”
“I won’t be part of another pack,” Stiles replied. “I can’t be part of another pack not when it means it keeps me away from you guys. You and I both know if I’m turned that my life isn’t going to be easy here.”
“They want you,” Derek reminded, “They’ve wanted you since you showed up in their territory, they’ll cater to you for a long time.”
“You don’t know them like I do,” Stiles shook his head, “There’s something that isn’t right about them. You and I both know it.”
“Stiles,” Derek trailed off, “Just, be careful. I’ll see what I can do. Just promise you’ll look out for yourself.”
“Sure,” Stiles huffed out a laugh, “I’ll do my best.”
The next day at school it doesn’t surprise Stiles that Julian is waiting for him when he steps off the bus. He just lets Julian guide him around the school. “I want you to meet some friends of mine.”
Stiles swallowed down the urge to smack Julian’s hand off of his shoulder and he ignored the feeling of how wrong it was to be introduced to the people Julian wanted him to meet. “Why haven’t we met before now?”
“I figure this might help you make a decision,” Julian’s lips curled upwards. The look sent a chill down Stiles’ spine at the thought of what might be coming for him. “Maybe if you see there are people like you then it might help.”
“A decision?” Stiles repeated then he focused on the later part of what Julian said, “People like me?”
“I don’t see why you’re having such a hard time to realize how much better your life is going to be if you become part of our pack. Just think of it like this,” Julian began walking backwards so he could stare Stiles in the eye, “No more clumsiness, I was always glad to be rid of that one attribute people were so fond of laughing at me for. Your body acclimates to the evolution of DNA, meaning no more ADD or ADHD. You won’t have to take any pills because your body takes care of everything for you. No sickness. Your body eradicates all the viruses that you would normally get as a human. No cancer Stiles. Oh and the best part? You can’t get drunk so it doesn’t matter how much you have to drink. You will always be able to drive home safely. How about that?”
Stiles’ heart plummeted into his stomach. How did Julian know all this about him? No one here really knew he had been diagnosed with a behavioral disorder and took medication for it. He kept his life private here. He had a weaker immune system then normal people, it happens. And his mom, goodness, his mom was diagnosed with cancer before she died. How did he know these things about him? Stiles never even told Derek how his mother really died and yet here Julian was, spouting off different things that would sway the weakest of minds.
His mind was still reeling when they stopped in front of a group of kids, standing close enough that each person was able to brush up against another with every breath they took.
“This is Lana,” Julian gestured to a small girl. She was shorter than the rest of the group, “Lana was turned three years ago when she wrecked her car and Marco found her. Let’s just say that it was a good thing he found her.”
Stiles looked to the next person, “That’s Devon. He’s the normal one of the bunch. Nothing interesting about him if you ask me but there was something about him that Marco liked. We still haven’t quite figured out how he benefits the pack but I’m sure that one day soon we will.”
Julian pointed to a boy who had his scarred arms crossed over his chest, “That’s Jake. His Mom was a little crazy. She tried to kill him and all his siblings before the state committed her. Human scars are a hard thing to get rid of. But he’s part of the pack that makes up strength. He’s got quick reflexes and a pure survival instinct that anyone would be jealous of.”
“Kelly over there,” Julian smiled, “She’s normal too. At least I haven’t found out her story yet and she’s not one for talking to me. I don’t think she likes me very much.”
Stiles wasn’t one for talking to Julian either. From the look that Kelly was giving him Stiles knew that Julian recruited her too. She was sending some serious get the hell out before you’re stuck like I am vibes.
“Everyone, this is Stiles,” Julian grinned as he wrapped an arm around Stiles’ shoulders, “He’s being a little stubborn right now but I think he’ll see things our way. I know by Sunday night he will.”
“Why him?” Jake piped up from the group of silent wolves.
“There’s something special about him,” Julian leered, “That’s not the only thing though, he’s quiet the researcher. If I had hours to tell you how important that one attribute actually is, you would be welcoming him with open arms right this instant, even if he reeks of another pack.”
The bell rang signaling the start of class and Stiles took the chance to get away from them. He darted towards the hallway and towards the relative safety of the crowded hallway.
In the middle of Folklore a wad of crumbled up paper landed on Stiles’ desk. He turned to look to see who decided it was a good idea to play a joke on the new guy. When he saw Kelly sitting a couple of desks away from him and she gestured to open the ball of paper up he decided maybe once, even if this was a joke, he’d risk getting caught reading notes in class.
Things aren’t what they seem. A meal with laughter doesn’t always make a happy family. Second chances aren’t things to dwell on but I would go back and do it all again just to be human, to get away from this place.
Stiles stared at the words in front of him. He knew he didn’t want to be part of something where he was forcefully pursued. If that much force was used now, what would happen years down the line? It just didn’t make sense to want something like that. A pack was supposed to be something like what had been created in Beacon Hills. As crazy as things went, each and every member of the pack was there for each other. They genuinely cared about each other’s well being no matter how much they claimed to hate each other.
Scott, Jackson, Allison, Lydia, Danny, Derek, they were all learning how to function as one. They treated each other with respect and took the time to learn what made each of them unique. If one wolf complimented another, it was pure coincidence. It wasn’t predetermined or sought after. Their accidental pack was probably the strongest form of family that Stiles had seen in a long time and he wasn’t going to give that up for some twisted sense of power. It wasn’t who he was. It would never be who he was.
Stiles scribbled out a question before he balled it up and tossed it back to Kelly. Her reply was quick. The ball of paper bounced off his shoulder and he had to lean over to pick it up off the floor and he smoothed it out.
The answer to his question was simple. It was something he knew he should do since Julian had layered their friendship with threats and subtle ideas to become part of the Murray pack.
Stiles looked over his shoulder at Kelly and she had buried her face in her hands and he shoulders were hunched together as if she were afraid. Stiles understood why she
would be afraid. If anyone found out she was actively telling him to get out, she was risking herself in the process.
The last fifteen minutes of class, Stile meticulously shredded the note up. He doubted any of the other wolves of the Murray pack took Folklore but he didn’t want to think of the things that might happen to Kelly if the note got into the wrong hands.
The bell rang to go home and Stiles slid through the crowd trying his best to get away from Julian and everyone else. He needed to get away from this place and he needed to get somewhere that made it okay to breathe again.
A heavy hand gripping his bicep stopped Stiles in his tracks. He turned and looked up at Julian who was grinning down at him, “No matter how fast you run, the moon will still win. We always win.”
Stiles jerked his arm free and tore through the crowd, careless of who he bumped into or the things he knocked down. He needed to get to the relative safety of his Aunt’s house. He needed to get the heck out of Pine Grove.
As soon as he had all the doors locked and the windows sealed, Stiles sat down in the middle of his bed and dialed Derek. He waited half a ring before Derek answered.
“Is everything okay?”
“I,” Stiles scratched at his scalp trying to figure that out himself. He didn’t know if everything was okay. One minute things were fine and the next he was in a moment of panic because of the thought of what could happen when the full moon rose. “I don’t know. It’s weird. I met some of their pack. Derek, they pick weak people, people who want a family and they promise them that. They promise them a place full of people that love them and they end up with the twisted idea of what a pack should be. They all are some kind of tool to Julian and Marco. They aren’t people. They’re disposable. They don’t matter if they can’t contribute. What am I supposed to do? I got a note from one of the pack members that was all cryptic and shit but I got the message loud and clear. She thought the best thing for me to do was to leave. Seriously? What am I supposed to do here Derek? I feel like I’m being backed into a corner and there’s no one on my side here.”
“First you have got to calm down,” Derek let out a soft growl, “You’re making me anxious and we both need to be clear headed here Stiles.”
“It’s a little difficult when I keep picturing some crazed wolf-monster chowing down on me. Okay?” Stiles huffed out before he took a deep breath and counted to five. “I thought they would leave me alone after I told them I wasn’t interested but they haven’t. They’re introducing me to pack members that I go to school with. They’re getting me familiar with the people that make the Murray pack and I don’t want to be familiar with them.”
“As good as it is to hear you say that I need you to keep calm when you’re around them. They know when you’re anxious or scared. I’ve heard of packs like them before. All they’re looking for is power and they’ll do whatever it takes to get it, not matter the costs. You getting upset only fuels their need to court you since they set their sights on you. Do you understand that? You have to be calm. You have to show them that even though you are strong, you are defiant to their wants.”
“How do I do that?”
“You stay away from them. You have to use your brain and never run once they see you. You walk pass them like you can’t see them. You ignore their every word and continue on with your business.” Derek instructed.
“What if that makes them mad? What if that only makes it worse?” Stiles asked softly.
“If they are being as forceful as you’re saying they are then there are only two ways out of this.”
“I get bitten or I leave,” Stiles nodded to himself before he huffed out a cynical laugh, “Because we both know I can just pack my bags and go any time I want. I’m screwed.”
“You’re not screwed,” Derek sighed, “I’ll figure something out okay. I’m not going to leave you out there to figure this all out on your own.”
“We both know what’s going to happen,” Stiles whispered, “They aren’t going to let me stay like I am past the next full moon. They’re going to try and turn me.”
“Then you have a choice.”
“Yeah? What’s that? Run away from my Aunt’s house? How far do you actually think I’ll get before I’m found and dragged back to Pine Grove?”
“That’s one choice but there are others,” Derek offered.
“Others?” Stiles repeated.
“You take the bite from me or you do like you said you were going to do. You fight it. You’re one of the most stubborn people I have ever met. If anyone could fight off the infection it would be you.”
“I’d feel better if you guys were here with me.” Stiles whispered.
“Well I’d feel a lot better if you were here with us,” Derek replied.
“This conversation hasn’t helped one bit, you know that right?” Stiles chirped up ready to forget what they had spoken about and move on to a new topic. “It’s the worst pep talk that I have ever received.”
“I aim to please,” Derek teased before sobering, “I’m serious though. I’m going to figure something out for you Stiles. I’m not going to leave you on your own for this one. We’re pack and that means that we stick together no matter where we’re at. We’re always going to be there for each other.”
“Yeah,” Stiles let out a breath he had been holding since Derek started speaking, “I know.”
“Are you going to be okay if I hang up and start digging through some books to find a solution to our problem?”
“Yeah, my Aunt’s probably on her way home anyways. Thanks for listening to me ramble on, even if we’ve already been through this before. I just, sometimes I have to get it out of my head. You know?”
“I understand,” Derek answered, “Just take care of your-self okay?”
“You do the same.”
Stiles finally gave in and called his Dad three days before the full moon. If Julian hadn’t been giving him small, nasty reminders that the full moon was fast upon them he might not have call his dad. But he had to call his dad. If there was the smallest chance that something was going to happen to him he needed to be sure his father knew how much Stiles loved him.
Normally he didn’t think so negatively, but there was something lodged deep in his chest that was telling him that something bad was soon to happen. Stiles wasn’t the lucky sort. This feeling wasn’t just nerves or anxiety racketing up because of the veiled threats from Julian. No. The last time he had felt this way it was the days before his mom died. Then he felt it again when his Dad was shot in the tactical vest during a swat take down in the neighboring town. He felt it before Scott was bitten and he was feeling it again now. It got worse as the full moon grew closer so he knew he had to call his father.
He waited a few rings before his Dad answered, “Stiles, that you?”
“Hey Dad,” Stiles swallowed down the lump that had formed in his throat, “How have you been?”
“Uh,” the sheriff paused and Stiles could almost see his dad scratching the back of his head in thought, “I’m surviving.”
“How’s work?” Stiles asked and he could have slapped his palm against his forehead, “Not that I’m digging for info, I just, things are going okay?”
“Yeah, things have gotten surprisingly quiet without you around here.”
Stiles flexed his hands out and took a deep breath, “Oh. That’s good I guess.”
“It’s not,” The sheriff admitted, “I miss having you around.”
“Yeah, believe it or not I miss having you around too.”
“How’s Mississippi? It’s been treating you well?”
Stiles laughed, “It’s probably the hottest place I’ve ever been and it’s a few days away from November. You’d think there’d be some sort of relief but it’s still hot and humid.”
“Aside from the weather? I hear enough about that from your Aunt.” His dad chuckled.
“School’s alright I guess,” Stiles shrugged, “It’s nothing special.”
“Have you made any friends?”
Stiles pressed his lips together, “Not really.”
“Stiles,” His Dad’s voice grew soft, “You’ve been there for three months.”
“I know,” Stiles answered, “I just, its hard okay. It’s not easy putting myself out there to talk to people when they all look at me like I’m a freak and I don’t belong anywhere in the vicinity of the south. I really don’t want to talk about my lack of making friends okay. I just wanted to check up and see how you were doing because I miss you.”
“I just think things would be easier if you made some friends out there,” The sheriff offered as last minute advice before changing the subject, “You’ve gotten your stitches out I heard.”
Stiles let out a heavy breath, “Yeah, every one of them. The skin is still tight but I’ll survive.”
“Your aunt took you to see someone about your adderall?”
“Yeah,” Stiles nodded, “She’s making sure I eat my veggies too. As annoying as it is, I don’t think she wants to have to face you incase she accidentally poisons me or something. Apparently you’re scary or something. Who knew?”
The sarcasm got a laugh out of his Dad and Stiles was feeling a little better about how the conversation was going.
“Thanksgiving holidays are coming up. I think you guys get a week or so off of school down there. I was thinking of taking some vacation time to come see you. We could
do Thanksgiving me, you and Ellie.”
Stiles closed his eyes, the feeling that he wouldn’t make it to Thanksgiving down here. Anxiety curled around his stomach and made him feel sick, “That sounds like a plan. You’re not touching any of the food until after it’s cooked. You tend to burn things that don’t usually have the chance of being burned.”
“That’s why I have you kid, so you can do all the cooking.” The sheriff laughed.
“Well I need to go. I still have homework to do and junk. I just wanted to talk to you for a little bit.”
“You forgive me?” His Dad’s voice sounded hopeful.
“A little bit,” Stiles agreed, “I love you.”
“Love you too kid. Get some rest. I know it’s getting late over there. Tell your Aunt I sad hey and I love her too.”
“Will do,” Stiles clicked his phone off and stared at his hands. Thanksgiving wasn’t a possibility in Mississippi. If things went the way the scenarios in Stiles’ mind were
going he wasn’t going to be here around Thanksgiving.
It wasn’t an easy choice but he wasn’t going to accept the bite from Marco. Even if he did get bitten he was going to fight until his very last breath. He wouldn’t have much of a chance if he became part of the Murray pack.
He had seen what happened to each of the kids who had become part of the Murray pack. Some enjoyed it. There was no doubt about it. But Marco had preyed on the weak and offered them something they would never resist if it meant that they could hold some sort of power again. Stiles wasn’t weak. He’d never bow down to the whims of an alpha who tried to take a member from another pack away from their home.
Stiles not be many things but he knew deep down that he was a fighter. A fighter that fought for what he believed was right. Being taken from Derek’s pack, no matter how dysfunctional it was at times, wasn’t something he was willing to let happen.
Taking a deep breath Stiles twined his fingers together and tried to ignore the pounding of his heart. This was the most important decision Stiles would ever make in his life. He was giving everything up for Derek Hale and the pack.
From the moment he felt like his own heart was about to beat out of his chest, Derek knew something was going on with Stiles. So he called expecting something trivial. He wasn’t expecting that the Murray pack had become so forceful in courting Stiles to become part of their pack, if that’s what you could call what they were doing. It was more like recruiting, kidnapping, whatever it was, Derek couldn’t find the right word to describe what they were doing but he knew that it wasn’t good, especially for Stiles.
Stiles had prompted him to do something he hadn’t done in a long time. He had promised that he would find away to take care of Stiles, to keep him safe. It was going to be a hard promise to live up to because he had no idea what he could do other than driving down to Mississippi and bringing Stiles back home but the Sheriff wouldn’t like that too much and would probably use his authority to finally arrest him.
The only option for Stiles was to hole up in his Aunt’s house and hope that the strength of the full moon would keep the wolves away from him. The moon would have to be abnormally close, and eerily bright for it to bypass the human part of them and completely give control to the animal, especially if they had gained enough control over themselves.
Derek pressed his forehead against the cool glass. It was November. Three months since Stiles had been gone and things were a mess. Well not really a mess just different without him here. Derek didn’t want his bonded to become part of another pack. That would drive his wolf crazy knowing that Stiles’ wasn’t really his. He would always be under the influence of whatever the alpha of the other pack had to say or wanted him to do.
Stiles said he would fight the bite. Derek knew that he would. If Stiles felt anything for him, he wouldn’t be able to accept the bite and remain as close to the pack as he was now. He wouldn’t be able to. Stiles had added members to his family when he became part of the pack. He had grown to love and care for both the wolf and human counter-parts as if he were the one to have raised them. He took care of them without complaint and did whatever he could to help. He wouldn’t chance losing the people he loved. Stiles would fight.
That small fact sent Derek searching through the library that Stiles had cleaned up. He was searching for anything that might keep Stile safe or any information on people who had survived the bite and remained human. No matter how long he looked there was nothing there. The only thing he found, that gave him any hope about keeping Stiles as part of his pack after he got the bite from a different pack was if he was there in time, he could bite Stiles. He could bite Stiles over the site of the original bite and hope to hell that his bite was stronger.
He understood the bite from human to werewolf was almost like a virus. So if one virus was stronger than the other, strong enough to eradicate the weaker virus, he
could keep Stiles where Stiles wanted to be and where he belonged.
Derek made a decision. He had a day and a half to get his pack prepared for a full moon without their alpha and what that meant for them and to get to Mississippi in time to take care of Stiles.
It might all be pointless in the end. Nothing could happen and Stiles would be okay but Derek couldn’t risk it. If the pack was getting aggressive now, they would be focused on the one thing their alpha was. Making Stiles one of their own. Derek was going to be there.
It took the evening to get the pack together. He could smell the anxiety wafting through the room as each of his wolves sat down around the living room and waited for him to say anything.
“This full moon isn’t going to be like the others that you’ve been through,” Derek started and ignored the rush of concern that floated through the room, “I’m not going to be here for it.”
“What?” Scott stood up from where he was sitting.
“Why?” Danny asked.
“A member of our pack needs my help,” Derek swallowed, “And just because he’s hundreds of miles away from us I’m not going to let him down. I’m going to do my best to help him.”
“What’s wrong with Stiles?” Scott sat down and steepled his fingers together. Derek could smell the fear radiating off the wolf he needed to be in charge in his absence. He needed Scott to be in control and show that the rest of the pack that he was more than able to keep everyone in line during the moon. He didn’t need him to be as scared as the rest of the pack was.
“Stiles been courted by another pack since his arrival in Mississippi. We hoped that once he expressed that he didn’t want to take the bite, things would get better. It’s gotten worse though. He’s mentioned how aggressive they have become trying to get him to agree to taken the bite and becoming part of their pack the past few weeks.”
“But he doesn’t want that does he? He belongs with us,” Scott’s eyes were wide and Derek understood exactly how his Beta was feeling. He was feeling like he was going to lose his best friend all over again. But this time there would be no getting Stiles back.
“He doesn’t want to become part of their pack.”
“Of course he doesn’t,” Lydia rolled her eyes, “He’s Stiles. He wouldn’t do that.”
“That’s what he told me,” Derek nodded.
“But what if he doesn’t have a choice? What does he do then?” Isaac asked the question that Derek was dreading having to answer.
“He said he would fight it.”
“But he can’t!” Scott yelled. “If he fights it, you and I both know what’ll happen to him.”
“What’ll happen to him?” Allison asked.
Derek took a deep breath, “If he fights the bite he may still be turned. If his body decides that it’s too much, it’ll do what any person’s body would do once they can no longer fight the disease that is hurting them. His body will shut down. The change can happen because he’s not conscious to stop it from happening.”
“What if he remains aware during the bite?” Allison prompted for further explanation.
“If he remains awake and he continuously fights against the bite Stiles won’t survive.”
“We can’t let that happen,” Scott’s voice was broken and his face rested in the palms of his hands, “He’s, Stiles is important. Not just to me but to us as a pack. He’s been there for every single one of us even if we weren’t there for him. We can’t let Stiles go through this.”
“That’s why I asked you to meet me here,” Derek agreed with Scott. “I’m going to Mississippi and I need you all to understand what that means.”
“We’re listening,” Danny piped up.
“Without an alpha you’re more likely to be challenged by surrounding packs. I’m not going to advertise that I’m leaving but as soon as the moon rises, other packs will know that you are weaker. Instinct will drive them to fight for more territory. You have to stick together. You have to listen to who I’m putting in charge.”
“Who?” Jackson asked.
“Scott,” Derek looked directly at Scott. “He knows how important this is. He understands the weight of being on your own and fighting to survive against another’s influence. Out of all of you he has the most control over his wolf. Even during the moon.”
“What about us?” Allison asked gesturing towards Lydia with a nod of her head.
“You two can’t be here,” Derek pressed his lips together, “It won’t be safe. Stay with Allison, her family can protect you Lydia.”
“Okay,” Lydia nodded, for once offering no arguments to Derek’s decision.
“There is something I need to do before I go. It’ll take time but it’ll add to the safety of our territory with me not being here. I’ll need Allison and Lydia to help me.”
“Why can’t we help?” Scott asked.
“Because you’re not human,” Derek swallowed, “And you need to be strong for tomorrow night.”
“What are you going to do?” Jackson asked.
“I’m placing crushed wolfsbane along the edge of the property. That means once the circle is closed it’ll hard for any of you to leave the property. At dawn, Lydia and
Allison will break the circle to let you out.”
“It’ll keep other wolves out?” Danny clarified.
“It will,” Derek nodded before he looked at Lydia and Allison, “It’s a lot of land to cover so we need to get started.”
It was well after dawn by the time they finished laying the crushed wolfsbane. Even if he needed rest, Derek didn’t bother with getting it. Instead he tossed a bag of the powdered wolfsbane in his trunk just in case he needed it and peeled out of his driveway heading towards the interstate. He wasn’t going to let Stiles go at this on his own. He just needed to get their before the moon rose.
With his fingers curled tightly around the steering wheel, Derek pushed his car as fast as it could go. He ignored the street signs advising him of speeds and stop lights coming. He focused on getting to Stiles.
Stiles was a bundle of nerves. He couldn’t help it. It was the morning before the full moon and he felt like his stomach was doing somersaults in his belly and there wasn’t anything that could calm him down. He sat at the kitchen table eyeing the cereal boxes sitting on top of the fridge but he couldn’t find the appetite to even try to shove the food down his throat. Instead he sat with his knees bouncing and his finger tips tapping against the table top biting his lip.
His aunt sat down in the seat across from him. After a moment of watching Stiles tapping his fingers she reached across the table and rested her hands on top of Stiles’. She curled her fingers around Stiles’, “Hey, what’s going on? You’re never this amped up unless you’re afraid of something that could happen. I know it’s the full moon and that guy that’s been hanging around is a wolf so do you want to clue me in on what’s going on?”
Stiles didn’t waste anytime filling his aunt in. He told here everything that had led up to this point. He told her about the consequences of taking the bite and how much it meant to him that it didn’t happen.
“Stiles,” Ellie’s voice was raw, “You can’t fight it. You don’t really understand what that means.”
“I have to fight it,” Stiles rubbed at his eyes, “I can’t be part of that pack and I’m not turning into a monster. I have to be the person that I think I am. If I turn here in Mississippi, I
won’t be me anymore. I’ll be whatever they want me to be.”
“What about Derek? What if he bit you?”
“I don’t know,” Stiles admitted. “I just know that I’m going to fight it if I’m bitten tonight. I need you to be okay with that.”
“I can’t be okay with that. You don’t know what you’re talking about Stiles. There’s no coming back, there’s no second chances. You understand that?”
“I do,” Stiles pressed the heels of his palms to his eyes, “But it’s my decision to fight it and that’s what I’m going to do.”
“But what about,” Ellie shook her head. “Why would you give everything up like that? How could you just make a decision like that? What about your father? What about me?”
“Have you ever had a moment in your life that makes every other moment of your eniter life make total and complete sense?” Stiles asked his Aunt.
“I can’t say that I have,” Ellie answered, confusion layering her face.
“When I was talking to Derek I realized that if I can’t go back home, if I’m stuck in a pack that doesn’t really care about me and doesn’t treat me like family, then will I really be
living my life then? Is that anyway to live your life? Constantly afraid of the people surrounding you, never knowing what it really feels like to be loved by your friends? I want those things. I want the people who accept me no matter how crazy I am and they even love me for it. Family is meant to look of for each other and have their backs. There’s only one place that really fits the role. I’m not will to give that up.”
His Aunt shook her head before she took a deep breath, “If that’s what you really want, I can’t stop you but you should call your father. At least talk to him before tonight.”
Stiles stood from the table and wrapped his arms around his Aunt’s shoulders before he disappeared into his room to call his dad.
When he called he didn’t get an answer but he left a voicemail, “Dad, I just really wanted to talk to you but I guess you’re busy at work. I just wanted you to know that I love you and hopefully what I think is going to happen tonight doesn’t. Just call me back, please? I love you.”
Stiles stared down at his phone and let out a frustrated growl before he threw the phone as hard as he could against his pillows. He was so angry. He should have spoken with his
dad before now. He should have told him more. Even if he didn’t think his dad would believe him, he should have called him.
Taking a deep breath Stiles looked at his phone, willing it to ring. Nothing happened. He wasn’t going to get to talk to his father. He really messed up being so angry with his Dad.
Mid-rant his phone rang, he scrambled to find his phone. He threw pillows off of his bed before he found it and answered, “Hello?”
“Stiles,” His Dad sighed, “What’s going on? What was that last message about. You’ve got me really worried kid.”
“Uh,” Stiles cleared his throat, “I, just, I wanted to talk to you. You know how I get. Crazy and stuff.”
“Uh huh, and what was this trouble you mentioned?” The sheriff wasn’t taking Stiles’ crap.
“There have been some werewolves making overtures since I’ve been here. It just feels like something is going to go wrong. Something crazy.”
“Stiles,” his Dad sighed, “Nothing is going to happen to you tonight. Just stay inside with your aunt and everything will be okay.”
Stiles muffled his frustrated moan. He wished his Dad would just listen to him and believe what he was saying for once. More than anything Stiles wanted to just tell his Dad that yes this was happening and there was no way he was going to get out of it. He couldn’t run because they would follow him. He couldn’t though. He didn’t want that to be on his Dad. He knew exactly how his Dad would feel if something happened to him.
Stiles rubbed at his forehead, “You’re right. I’m just letting my imagination go crazy.”
“So just stay inside tonight, hang out with your aunt and things are going to be okay.”
“Yeah,” Stiles nodded, “I should go. It’s my turn to make lunch. I’ll talk to you soon.”
“Love you too Dad.”
In the middle of the afternoon, Stiles raced back to his room as his cell phone rang. He slipped on the wooden floor as he rounded the corner and grabbed his phone from the head of his bed.
“Stiles,” Derek’s voice was raspy and Stiles could hear the growl of the Camaro in the background, “How are you?”
Stiles chuckled a little, “How do you think I am? I’m this close to freaking out and I’m so antsy I figure I could out run Scott on his best day.”
“Just breathe,” Derek offered.
“I have to keep reminding myself to do that,” Stiles scratched at his head, “I feel like a wimp for admitting it, but I’m scared. No one’s here but me. I’m by myself on this one.”
“You’re not by yourself,” Derek corrected, “I’m on my way. I’m going to get there. I’m not letting you do this by yourself.”
“You’re on your way?” Stiles repeated, “You’re kidding me right?”
“You’re pack, I’m not going to let you go through this alone.”
“What is nothing happens? You just left everyone else to their first moon without you and something happens to them? I’m not worth that risk Derek. One human isn’t worth losing your pack.” Stiles’ voice rose with every spoke word. “They mean more than I do.”
“Scott can handle watching the pack for the next few days. And if you think you’re not worth being there for, you’re mistaken. You’re worth the risk Stiles. You’re important.”
At the sound of Stiles’ snort of disbelief Derek went on, “You’re not just important because you take the time to research things but because you’re part of our family. You’re the balance that everyone needs. You make them realize that in order to be strong we have to stick together as one. You make us stronger by being here.”
“Oh,” Stiles rolled his lips together not sure what to say to Derek next.
“I’m doing my best to get there in time Stiles,” Derek’s voice had grown soft, “If you need me and I’m not there with you, call me.”
“I just, I’m worried,” Stiles flopped onto his bed and stared up at the ceiling.
“I need you to do something for me Stiles,” Derek took a deep enough breath that Stiles could hear him over the phone. “Remember us, remember your pack. When you think you aren’t strong enough to keep fighting, you focus on us. Remember what makes us so important to you. We’re your family and we’re your strength when you don’t have any left. That’ll give you the drive to keep going and to fight. We are your pack for a reason Stiles and we’ll do whatever we can to help you.”
Stiles closed his eyes and replayed Derek’s words in his mind. He had never felt so cared for by anyone else besides his father and here is the crankiest of wolves making him feel like everything was going to be okay, that even if something did happen there would be someone to look out for him.
“Thank you,” Stiles whispered.
“Just remember that.”
“Okay,” Stiles nodded, “Be careful.”
“That’s my line,” Derek teased before hanging up.
The full moon was starting to rise. It wasn’t something Stiles had ever worried about in Beacon Hills or Pine Grove before, but tonight he was terrified. It was the first full moon since the Murray pack had let the wolf out of the bag. He knew he wasn’t going to be safe. Hell his aunt wasn’t going to be safe either. No matter how many times they checked that every door had been locked and every window sealed it wasn’t enough. They were two humans, hiding in a cardboard box. If the Murray pack really wanted to get to him they could. It only took enough force to break a window or even a well thought out threat to hurt his aunt and Stiles would be theirs for the taking. He wouldn’t resist if it meant that his family was safe.
A warm hand rested on Stiles’ shoulder and he looked away from the window and at his Aunt, “It’s going to be okay.”
Stiles glanced up at the roof at the sound of rain starting to fall, “You don’t know that.”
“No,” Ellie agreed, “I don’t but you know that I will do whatever is needed to protect you.”
Stiles made a decision right then. A decision Derek would kill him for but it didn’t matter. Ellie was his Aunt. She was his flesh and blood and was just as important to him as he father and his pack was.
“No you won’t,” Stiles turned so he was looking her directly in her eyes, “You won’t because Dad can’t loose you too. If they come in this house, they are coming for me. They aren’t coming for you, just me. If they get me, you let them take me. You don’t run, you don’t scream, and you don’t become prey for them. You can’t fight this for me.”
“Stiles…” She trailed off, not sure of what she could say that would actually chance her nephew’s mind. He was a Stilinski and knew once he put his mind to something he wouldn’t stop, he wouldn’t change his mind. Running her hands savagely through her hair she frowned, “I wish there was something I could do.”
“But there isn’t,” Stiles eyes were watery and his smile was forced. They both jolted at the sound of a howling wolf and the howl being echoed by several others within moments afterwards.
Stiles grabbed his Aunt’s arm, “They’re coming.”
The howling grew louder and louder and it wasn’t a mystery as to why. Stiles looked at his aunt, “Go to your room and lock your door. Please?”
“I won’t let them take you,” She almost sounded as if she were pleading with Stiles to stay.
Stiles nudged her towards the back of the house, “I won’t let them take me either.”
Those were the words that broke his Aunt. Tears trailed down her cheeks, “That’s what I’m most afraid of.”
The howling had become ear piercing and Stiles swallowed down his fear and pulled the curtains up to look out. There were so many wolves crouched and ready to charge his house. The only thing keeping them back was Marco.
Marco who stood tall, his eyes red as nightmares and his hands curled and clawed. He hadn’t changed all the way yet but Stiles knew he’d loose all control and attack once the alpha had completely taken over the human part of him.
His heart was beating faster than it should have been. It was getting harder to breathe. He was panicking at the worst possible moment. Taking a deep breath Stiles closed his eyes listened to the words Derek had given him in the past few days.
Remember your pack Stiles. When you think you aren’t strong enough to keep going focus on us. Remember what makes us so important to you. That’ll give you the drive to keep going and to fight. We are your pack for a reason Stiles. We’re your strength when you feel like you have none left.
Facing down the enemy Stiles felt serene. Despite the rain, the fear and the howling that surrounded the house his heart was calm, his nerves were soft. He would and could do what needed to be done here tonight. He’d survive.
He knew the exact moment that the barrier of protection the house served had fallen. Marco had fallen to his knees and let out a bone chilling howl of pain. Stiles was moving away from the window and towards the middle of the house before he could stop himself. The howls of the betas were becoming too much for his ears to handle. He clasped his hands over his ears and stared out the window and into the blood red eyes of the alpha.
It happened all at once. One snarling howl and every wolf was moving. One of the windows broke with a flash of lightning and Stiles stumbled back away from the noise. He felt a set of hands on his arms and yanking him backwards. Stiles didn’t fight it at first. He let them take him. Then his instincts took over. He pushed and shoved until he was free of the hands holding him
Stiles turned to look into the bright amber eyes that belonged to Julian. He stood taller and let a wild punch loose. He had just about had it with Julian interfering with his life. He wasn’t going to let any of the wolves take him away from what he wanted.
“Not the smartest of moves Stiles,” Julian warned as he lunged towards Stiles, wrapping and arm around his throat. Stiles choked and sputtered for air as Julian dragged him across the house. He reached for anything that would slow the wolf’s progress. His fingers clawed at the top of the sofa. He felt the fabric tearing as he grabbed a tight hold and knocked Julian off balance just long enough for him to slip free and grab the nearest object he could turn into a weapon. He grabbed the table lamp and swung as hard as he could. The impact of the metal lamp hitting Julian sent shocks up through Stiles’ arms as Julian crumbled to the ground.
Stiles jumped over Julian and carried the lamp with him as a wolf took off down the hallway towards his aunt’s room, “Hey Scooby! There aren’t any snacks in there.”
The blow he delivered was hard enough the break the skin. If he were human, Stiles would have been worried that he might have killed the downed wolf but he didn’t care. Not any more.
When he turned around he was face-to-face with the alpha. He gripped the lamp tighter in his hands and waited for the first move to be made. As soon as the alpha lunged, Stiles followed suit. He wasn’t going to wait and let his life be taken. He was going to fight with every breath of air he could take.
He got one solid hit in before he felt the claws tearing through the skin of his arms. He let out a shriek of pain. This was different from the time that Scott hurt him. This burned, oh god, it burned. It made him feel like his skin was on fire. Scrambling backwards Stiles left the lamp where it had fallen to the floor. He kicked at the alpha’s knees, trying to inflict some pain as he crowded against the door to his Aunt’s room.
The clawed hands gripped at the collar of Stiles’ shirt and lifted him up and off the floor. Stiles looked the wolf straight in the eyes defying every instinct in his body to submit. His words were muffled but Stiles knew the alpha would understand what he was saying, “Just because you bite me doesn’t mean I’ll be part of your pack.”
“You’ll die,” Julian’s voice was harsh behind him as he waited for the moment everything would change.
“But I won’t become you.” Stiles spat out and squared his shoulders against the look of pure fury on Marco’s face. It was jarring. The feeling of his neck being bared and
his entire life was held in those few seconds of time. He saw everything perfectly. The red iris of Marco, the sharp, unyielding teeth waiting to taste flesh. When teeth broke the skin at his shoulder Stiles couldn’t hold back. He screamed. He screamed until his voice broke and tears pricked at his eyes. He had never felt something so intense, so excruciating. Black started to enter the sides of his vision and he could hear his aunt’s voice and his body being dropped the floor. He watched as the wolves retreated from his aunt’s house.
Both Marco and Julian stopped before stepping through the door. Julian tilted his head and grinned, “Don’t fight it. You were always meant to be one of us.”
Stiles curled into him self and waited for the echoes of their footsteps and howls to fade before he let everything go. The door behind him shoved him further against the wall as his aunt slipped out and kneeled beside him.
“Oh, Stiles,” Her hands hovered over his neck and arm not sure what she should do for him, “Baby, stay with me.”
Stiles looked up and into terrified brown eyes and he gripped her arm, “Derek, call Derek.”
“He’ll know what to do?” She asked and Stiles jerkily nodded. She moved Stiles so he was lying flat on the floor, “You promise me Stiles, you promise me that you’ll be
awake when I get back with your cell phone.”
“Promise,” Stiles whispered and he nudged weakly at her knee to move.
His Aunt slipped on glass as she rounded the corner and into Stiles’ room. He could hear her throwing the sheets off his bed and throwing things from his desk trying to find his phone. It felt like hours before she was sliding to her knees and rearranging Stiles to rest his head on her thighs. She clicked on Derek’s name and she waited. She hung up and tried again before she looked desperately down at Stiles, “He’s not answering.”
Stiles closed his eyes, “Keep trying. He promised he wouldn’t shift completely. He’ll answer.”
She kept trying and let out a frustrated groan, “Stiles.”
“Keep trying,” Stiles pleaded and he fought to stay awake. He needed to stay awake or his body might give in. “Just keep trying.”
She nodded and dialed Derek’s phone over and over before she left a frantic message, “Stiles was bitten. I don’t know what to do for him. I don’t know what I can do. Please Derek, please. You have to help him.”
“Keep trying,” Stiles whispered and his aunt set the phone in his hand, the phone already dialing Derek.
“I need to get something to clean these wounds,” She wiped his forehead clean of cold sweat, “You’re, oh Stiles.”
Stiles blinked long and slow and before he knew it his aunt was gone. The bathroom door open and the sounds of her tearing through the medicine cabinet were far too loud in his ears. Things shouldn’t be this clear. He shouldn’t be able to hear her praying under her breath as she turned on the water faucet. He shouldn’t be able to hear the hot water heater click on from outside the house.
When Derek’s voice-mail picked up Stiles whispered, “I need you Derek. I can’t do this without you.”
Stiles re-dialed Derek’s phone number and waited as he aunt kneeled beside him and started cleaning the wounds. She gasped and Stiles knew why. He wasn’t fighting hard enough and he knew he was healing. He felt the heat in zinging through his veins.
His aunt grabbed the sides of his face, her fingers digging harshly into his cheeks, “Stiles, if you want to fight this thing, then you have to fight. You hear me. You fight.”
“I can’t,” Stiles whispered.
“You can too,” Ellie argued, “You told me that Mississippi wasn’t your home. You told me that your home was with Derek, with your pack. You told me that you would do whatever you could to get back home. You’re going to get home to your father and to your family. You can have all those things, Stiles. You can if you fight. You fight for me god damn it. You fight.”
Stiles gripped his phone harder in his hands and he could feel the tears mixing with the blood on his neck. The sting of the salt and the sound of his aunt demanding he fight even though she didn’t really understood what it meant pushed him harder. He wasn’t giving in. He wasn’t going to be part of a pack so unruly, ignorant as they brought new members into their ranks.
“That’s it Stiles,” His aunt encouraged, “That’s it.”
The phone in Stiles’ hand started to ring and he didn’t have the energy to answer. He was focusing on this one task. His aunt pulled the phone from his grip and answered, “Derek?”
“I’m almost there,” Derek answered with a growl, “I need you to keep him awake, no matter what it takes you make sure he’s awake.”
“I will,” His aunt nodded, “He’s fighting this Derek, I don’t know how much longer he can keep up before he passes out.”
“Thirty minutes,” Derek barked out, “I’m doing everything I can to be there.”
“Just hurry. I don’t know,” She choked on her words, “I don’t know how much longer he can do this.”
Stiles reached for the phone and his aunt pressed it against his ear, “I won’t be one of them. I can’t do that.”
“Hold on Stiles, please, just hold on for me.” Derek pleaded.
“Always,” Stiles whispered happily. “Need to see you one more time.”
His aunt snatched the phone back, “Where do we meet you? I know you can’t come here without risking both of your lives.”
“Ten miles outside of town,” Derek answered. “Get there as fast as you can. I don’t know how much fight he has left in him.”
“Stiles doesn’t give up,” Ellie growled out, “He’s stubborn and a pain in the ass for it most of the time but he isn’t going to give up. Not without you giving him permission.”
“Just get there,” Derek hissed out before hanging up the phone. Ellie put the phone in her pocket and wrapped an arm around Stiles, “This is going to hurt.”
Stiles moaned as she lifted him to sit up and then slowly worked until he was standing and resting almost all of his weight on her. “We’re going to get to the car and then you’ll be okay. You hear that Stiles. The car. Stay with me.”
“Hurts,” Stiles grit out from between clenched teeth as he shuffled with his aunt over the glass and out the front door. His aunt lost her grip as the made their way down the stairs, Stiles crumbling down to the muddy ground. She heaved him back up and dragged him to the backseat of her car, “Almost there buddy. Almost there.”
“Derek,” Stiles whispered as he curled into his seat.
“Yeah,” Ellie looked over her shoulder at Stiles, “Derek is going to be there. You promise me something Stiles. She craned her arm back to reach for Stiles’s hand, “You
squeeze my hand the entire time we’re driving. You got that?”
Stiles hummed and did as she said, “Don’t you dare stop squeezing my hand. You got that.”
“Got it,” Stiles whimpered.
Derek’s hands were shaking. The adrenaline rushing through his veins was forcing his wolf closer to the surface, prepared to fight whatever the human was terrified of. Red eyes flashed back at him in the rear view mirror and his heart pounded against his rib cage.
The echo of Stiles’ voice bounced around his mind. He heard the pain. He heard the fear. The worst part of it all was the fact that Derek could feel the resignation in Stiles. He was going to get to Stiles if it was the last thing he did.
And to top it all off, he wouldn’t be able to go directly to Stiles. He couldn’t risk traveling into another wolf’s territory on the full moon no matter how dire the situation was. He nor Stiles would make it out alive if he did. So he did the next best thing. Ten miles outside of town, it was a neutral zone and if his aunt could get him there in time, Derek could try to save Stiles.
The Camaro skidded to a stop in the middle of the street as Derek ran around the car, throwing the passenger side door open and wrenching the front seat out of the way so he could get Stiles in.
The minutes it took for the set of headlights to flash onto the road were agonizing. Every minute that ticked by was a minute that Stiles didn’t have. It was a minute he wished he could erase and start all over again because that’s how much he cared for Stiles. That’s how much he needed Stiles.
Once he heard the engine and sensed the panic Derek knew that Stiles was near. It was only a few seconds but he was running towards the car ready to meet Stiles. The car slid to a stop and in a flurry of movement Derek was pulling Stiles out from the backseat of her car and rushing him over towards his own.
He crawled into the backseat, his hands covered in Stiles’ blood as he looked over his shoulder at Stiles’ Aunt, “Get in and drive. Don’t stop for anything or anyone. You just drive as far and as fast as you can.”
She was pale but she nodded in understanding as she slammed the passenger side door shut and scrambled around the front of the car. “Is he okay? Oh god, please tell me everything is going to be okay.”
“I don’t know,” Derek growled out, red eyes flashing, “Just drive. Please.”
“Driving,” She repeated to herself, “I’ve got this.”
Stiles began to sputter and his eyes opened a fraction his hands latching on to Derek’s arms. Derek smiled down at Stiles before he spoke to Ellie, “No matter what you hear, no matter how bad it sounds, you have to keep driving. Do you understand that? I will take care of Stiles, no matter what happens I will take care of him.”
“He said you would,” Ellie smiled grimly in the rearview mirror as she pushed down heavier on the gas pedal.
Derek took a deep breath and stared down at Stiles. His skin had turned a pasty gray color and blood was still spilling from the original bite. His heart was beating furiously in his chest and his breathing was labored. Stiles was still fighting. Derek placed both hands on Stiles’ face and forced Stiles to look him in the eye as he spoke, “This is going to hurt but I need to do this. You do whatever you have to do. You kick, you punch, you scream and you bite. I don’t care. All that matters is that this works. Stiles? Do you hear me?”
Stiles pressed his lips together, “Do it.”
Derek ripped Stiles’ shirt from his chest and exposed the bite completely. To his wolf it was revolting. It made his stomach roil. He didn’t even want to be near Stiles now that he was marked as another’s but Derek pushed those urges down and away. He swallowed down the disgust and bared his teeth. He looked at Stiles one last time trying to show Stiles everything he didn’t know how to say. He needed Stiles to know how much he wished there was any other way to keep Stiles alive and breathing because he knew Stiles didn’t want this. He wanted Stiles to know how much he cared for him.
“Do it!” Stiles ground out.
Derek didn’t wait. His teeth cut through mangled flesh and he bit. He bit harder than he should have. He could taste the saliva of the other alpha mixing and fighting his own. He heard a pop of bone but he didn’t stop. His bite had to win.
He ignored the shrieks coming from Stiles’ lips. He ignored the way the car shook from the force of Stiles’ movements. He held tightly to Stiles and tasted the fresh flow of blood as it ran against his tongue. He licked at the spot he bit, erasing every trace of the alpha before him.
“Burns,” Stiles sputtered, “Burns.”
“Derek?” Ellie’s voice was barely a whisper but he knew what she was asking.
“It’s a good thing,” Derek whispered to Stiles as he gathered the shaking boy in his arms. “It’s a good thing, I promise.”
He held tightly to the still fighting Stiles as Ellie drove. He held on to Stiles until Stiles stopped moving and his head lulled onto Derek’s shoulder. His breathing was strong, if a little shaky, he was still breathing.
He stayed that way, his arms wrapped around Stiles until Ellie spoke, “We’re running out of gas.”
“Get us to a motel,” Derek whispered, his eyes drooping in exhaustion. “We need to get him cleaned up.”
They drove around for a little while before Ellie pulled the car into the parking lot and jogged inside to get them a room. She was out and back in the car pulling it around to the back of the building.
“Room twenty-three,” She told Derek as she got out and moved around the car to open the door and pulled the seat forward for Derek to get out with Stiles in his arms. Ellie turned away from the blood and torn flesh on Stiles’ shoulder.
Once in the room Derek headed directly for the bathroom. He stripped out of his shirt and pants before he got Stiles out of his clothes. He stood Stiles up in the shower and turned the shower on. It was cold but it’s what Stiles needed now. The heat would be too much for his body to handle. Derek let the water sluice over them and he rubbed a hand at the blood that wasn’t coming free.
“Derek?” Stiles shivered out.
Derek shushed Stiles as he continued to clean him, “It’ll be okay. Trust me to take care of you.”
Stiles smiled against Derek’s shoulder, “Always trust you.”
Derek ignored the skip in his heartbeat and focused on Stiles. As soon as he was as clean as Derek could get him, Derek had Stiles wrapped up in a towel before he moved through the room to get Stiles settled underneath the covers. He didn’t look up to see how Ellie was doing as he moved back into the bathroom to get dressed and to clean the bottom of the bathtub. Ellie didn’t need to see the dirt, blood and flesh that was being washed away.
Taking a deep breath Derek washed his hands clean. He scrubbed the blood out from beneath his fingernails, and scrubbed his hands until they turned a pinkish red from the force he used.
Taking a deep breath Derek sat on the floor for a moment. He rested his head in his hands and the thought of what he had gone through in the past few days finally weighed in. He fought like hell against the thought that he might lose a pack mate. The thought that he might lose the person he had bonded with.
Just because Stiles was alive now didn’t mean he’d make it through the night. It didn’t mean that Stiles would be part of his pack. It was all just hopes upon wishes. No matter how hard he worked to keep Stiles alive and a part of his pack it could all turn out to be fruitless.
A soft knock sounded on the door, “Derek, are you okay?”
Derek closed his eyes, “I’m fine.”
He heard the door open with a soft creak before the soft sounds of someone barefoot walking across the floor towards him. Ellie sat beside him, “He’s going to make it.”
“We don’t know that,” Derek turned his head a little to look Ellie in the eye, “And even if he does make it through the night he might not be mine. He might, I can’t even think about losing him.”
Ellie moistened her lips, “He won’t wake up if he isn’t yours.”
“It’s all up to who’s the stronger alpha now. Marco has the larger pack. He has the strength of his pack behind his bite. I don’t have that. I just have me.” Derek rubbed his eyes before he stood up intending to head back into the main room and to Stiles.
Ellie’s hand on his arm stopped him in his tracks, “What you have is Stiles, who is so loyal to you and your pack that he would rather die than lose you. He is the most stubborn Stilinski that I have ever met and he will fight until he gets what he wants. And what he wants is to be with you. So don’t doubt for one second that he’ll wake up as anything other than part of your pack.”
Derek nodded before he moved to over to the bed that Stiles had curled up in. He sat on the edge, his hand hovering just over the healing skin of Stiles’ shoulder. He rested his hand on Stiles’ arm and took a deep breath, scenting the air around them. It didn’t smell wrong. Stiles smelled like he always had back home in Beacon Hills.
Derek looked up at Ellie, “You should get cleaned up and get some rest. I’ll stay up with him.”
“Wake me up if anything happens. I love him too, you know,” Ellie smiled at Derek before she disappeared into the bathroom.
Derek moved around the bed and lay next to Stiles with his hand resting on Stiles’ hip feeling every breath that Stiles took. He closed his eyes for a second and he felt everything catching up to him.
He listened to Ellie move around the room and settle into bed before she flipped the light off she whispered a soft thank you to Derek before curling up and facing Stiles.
Derek didn’t sleep. He waited until the sun started to leech through the blinds and he got up and headed into the bathroom to splash water on his face, to try to do something that would wake him up.
He stayed in the bathroom, his hands braced on the skink and his eyes closed trying not to let his every thought drown him. Stiles would be awake soon. He might need more rest than the normal human going through the change because he was bitten by two different alphas, but he should be awake. That would give Derek all the answers he needed. Stiles would either be a part of his pack or he would be forever lost to the Murray pack in Mississippi.
It felt like someone had slung a steel pipe against his chest.
He tried to go through things logically. He hadn’t sensed a shift in Stiles’ scent. If the bite Stiles had received from Marco was more effective Derek wouldn’t be able to stand being in the same room as Stiles. His wolf would instinctively want to get away from Stiles. He wouldn’t want to have anything to do with him any longer.
“Derek?” Ellie’s voice was quiet, “He’s waking up.”
Derek closed his eyes and braced himself for the possibility that he could lose his bonded to another pack. He opened the door slowly and stepped into the room with a deep inhale. It happened so quickly. Stiles, oh god, he smelled perfect. Stiles smelled like part of the pack.
“Derek?” Stiles mumbled as he sat up in the bed. The sheets pooling around his waist as he rubbed at his eyes. The spot where Stiles had been so savagely bitten was now just a faded pink scar.
Derek didn’t waste a moment moving across the room before he was sliding onto the bed and wrapping his arms around Stiles as tight as he could manage. He pressed his nose into the crook of Stiles’ neck, “You’re okay. You’re really okay.”
From the moment he woke up, Stiles knew that he wasn’t human any longer. His senses felt like they had been amped up beyond comprehension. The smell of everything around him, the sharpness of his vision and the even beats of his heart, everything around him at the moment made him feel safe.
He knew Derek was in the room before he actually set eyes on the man. The smell of leather, pine and amber flooded his nose. The smell of fear, anxiety and worry were the next things he picked up. He looked around the room and spotted Ellie rolling over to sit up on her bed.
As soon as he sat up he was wrapped in all the scents he had missed for so long. He heard Derek whispering in his ear and Stiles felt the familiar sting of tears behind his eyes. He was alive. He was alive and Derek was here.
He hadn’t lost his fight.
His fingertips dug deeper into Derek’s back like no matter how tightly he held on to the alpha it wasn’t close enough to be real.
“I’m here,” Derek whispered, “We’re right here.”
“I’m,” Stiles breathed out against Derek’s shoulder before he pulled back, “I’m yours.”
Derek’s eyes flashed a bright shade of red before it faded back to hazel. He held Stiles’ face in his hands, “You, Stiles Stilinski, are going to forever be stuck with me.”
Stiles blinked before he choked out a laugh, “Somehow I see it the other way around. Are you sure you did the right thing biting me?”
Derek let a small growl emit from his throat before he stood from the bed, “There was no question to whether or not fighting for you was the right thing. I would do it without thought a million times over.”
Derek grabbed his jacket up and smiled down at Stiles, “You’re starving, I can hear the rumbling so I’m going to get breakfast and we’ll be heading home soon.”
“Does that mean what I think it means?” Stiles whispered as he kept his eyes glued to the floor.
“Yes, it means exactly what you think it means. You’re going to have to call your Dad and tell him what happened.” Derek headed out of the room without another word.
Stiles looked at his hands for a few minutes, not sure what to think. Then he looked up to see his Aunt with her arms wrapped tightly around herself and he remembered how scared she sounded back at the house. He launched himself off the bed and wrapped his arms around her.
He could smell the salt of her tears before he felt them soak his shoulder. She was there pushing him to fight, to not give up. She did what he requested and she let him make his own decision about how he was going to handle the situation.
“Thank you,” Stiles rolled his lips together, the pressure keeping him from crying. “Thank you.”
She stepped back, her hands resting on his shoulders, “I, I thought I lost you in the car. But here you are. None of what happened to you visible to the eye. I just, I’m the one who is thankful Stiles.”
She launched herself back at Stiles, “I love you so much.”
“I love you too,” Stiles held her tightly. “What am I going to tell him? How’s he going to want me back after this? I’ve messed up so much.”
“You can’t seriously think that your father doesn’t want you back Stiles. He might have messed up sending you to live with me but he loves you more than life. He would give anything up just to keep you safe and breathing.” Ellie sat down on the bed, “he loves you.”
“I just,” Stiles bit into his lip before he took a deep breath, “How am I going to tell him this? That his whole plan to keep me safe from werewolves back fired and now I am one? How am I supposed to tell him that he messed up? I can’t do that.”
“He’s going to figure out something hinky is going on around the full moon when you get all wolfy but don’t let that influence your opinion at all.” Ellie stood up and ran her hands through her hair, “Go shower, maybe that’ll help clear your head?”
“I see what you’re doing,” Stiles narrowed his eyes at his aunt, “You think I stink and you don’t want to break my heart to tell me.”
“If I realize you stink then you know that you’ve got to. Human smell versus werewolf smell? Yeah, shower off.” Ellie nudged him towards the bathroom.
Stiles automatically moved to turn the shower on and waited for the water to warm up. He peeled his shorts off and tried to get a look at himself in the mirror. He didn’t feel much differently. Other than the super-senses, he still felt like Stiles. He hadn’t turned into a chick magnet over night. Nope. He was still pale, scrawny and a little weird looking.
Everything was the same except for his shoulder.
It hadn’t healed over completely like Scott’s bite had. No. It had turned into a raised scar. His shoulder was a mess of shiny, pink, mangled skin. He could barely make out where one set of teeth started and the other ended. He traced over the edge of the scar and the sensation sent a shiver down his spine in the steam filled room. The skin was smooth, cool to the touch. He could barely make out the feeling of something brushing against the skin. It was almost as if the skin there was numb.
With one final glance at his shoulder Stiles climbed into the shower and let the hot water wash away the reminders of last night. He scrubbed his skin with the mini bar of soap and rubbed soapy hands over his scalp.
Turning the water off Stiles wrapped a skimpy towel around himself and stopped once again at the mirror, looking at himself. He didn’t even know how he was supposed to go about telling his dad what had happened to him. Sure his dad knew about werewolves but that was a whole different ocean to play in. He was a werewolf. Stiles had become the one thing his Dad was trying to protect him from.
There was a soft knock on the bathroom door that roused Stiles from his thoughts, “Stiles, you okay in there?”
Stiles looked up at the ceiling and let out a sigh, “Yeah I just realized I don’t have any clothes though.”
“I’ve got that covered,” Derek offered as he turned the door knob and held a hand clutching a pair of pants and a sweatshirt through the crack in the door, “They’re mine but it’s all I can offer.”
Stiles reached out and grabbed the clothes, “Thank you.”
“Hurry up and get dressed,” Derek ordered, “I’ve got breakfast and after Ellie gets cleaned up we need to get a move on back home.”
“Uh,” Stiles scratched at the back of his neck, “I need to call my Dad before we leave.”
“Oh,” Derek cleared his throat, “Sounds like a good idea. We’ll be out here eating.”
“Yeah,” Stiles shut the door with a soft click. He dropped the towel and pulled on the pants Derek loaned him. There were too long and a little loose but he’d manage. He sat on the edge of the tub and rolled the jeans up so they weren’t dragging along the floor when he walked and tugged on the sweatshirt. The arms covered his hands and the rest of the shirt hung a little loose but he couldn’t help the smile that crossed his lips. Something just felt inordinately right; that in this moment, everything would be okay. It didn’t matter when or how long it took for things to straighten out. All that mattered was that Derek would be right there by his side.
Breakfast was quiet. They ate quickly and didn’t bother with conversation. What were they really supposed to talk a bout? The unspoken truth that Ellie wasn’t going back to her home, she was going with him to Beacon Hills without a second thought. Once Ellie backed from the table and disappeared into the bathroom Stiles stood up and searched the room for his phone. He couldn’t find it anywhere so he looked towards Derek, “Could I borrow your phone?”
Derek licked his lips and nodded before he dug his phone out of his back pocket, “I’m here if you need me.”
Stiles sent Derek a quick smile before he stepped outside the room and sat with his back against the motel wall. His fingers hovered over the keys before he took a deep breath and dialed his Dad’s cell phone. He waited a few rings before the call was answered, “There better be a good reason you’re calling me Hale. After our last meeting I would think my point was clear. Stiles is going to stay in Mississippi with his aunt and that’s final.”
“Dad,” Stiles’ voice cracked, “it’s me.”
“Stiles, why are you on Derek Hale’s cell phone?” His father’s voice morphed from frustration to tense. “Son, where are you?”
Stiles licked his lips, “I think we’re in Louisiana. I, we couldn’t stay at Aunt Ellie’s place.”
“Why couldn’t you stay in Mississippi Stiles? What’s going on that Derek left his pack during the full moon to be with you?”
“Dad,” Stiles let out a shaky sigh, “He saved my life.”
“He saved your life?” Stiles could feel the anger from his father. “He saved your life? How exactly did he save your life?”
All of the sudden Stiles heard a loud crash. He could imagine papers flying off his father’s desk, the old antique lamp that his mother had gifted his father in shambles across the floor. The chair he had been sitting in over turned and against the wall. He could see it all in his mind.
“They were going to change me,” Stiles whispered, “I was bitten.”
“You were bit?” His Dad repeatedly. “Stiles…”
“If Derek wouldn’t have come then I wouldn’t ever be able to come home.” Stiles rubbed at his mouth. “I wouldn’t be here Dad.”
“What did he do?”
Stiles reached up to his shoulder and placed a hand over the scar with his eyes closed. “He saved me.”
“Stiles, what did he do to you? How did he save you? What did he do?”
“He bit me,” Stiles whispered. “He bit me and my body decided whether to keep fighting the infection or to give in.”
“This is the point where you have to tell me exactly what you mean Stiles. I need you to tell me what you mean and not speak in metaphors or try to make everything seem okay when it’s not. Just tell me exactly what happened to you.”
Stiles looked up before he took a deep breath, “I was bitten by the alpha in Mississippi. I thought I was going to die but Derek came. He bit me to see if my body would accept his bite over the other. Apparently my home was always meant to be Beacon Hills because I’m a werewolf and part of Derek’s pack.”
“Oh god,” The sheriff choked out a gasp, “Oh god.”
“I’m fine Dad,” Stiles tried reassuring him, “I’m alive and yeah there’s the small fury problem once a month but I’m alive. That’s good right?”
“That’s better than good,” The Sheriff stuttered out, “Are you coming home?”
“I can come home?” Stiles whispered.
“Yeah, you come home.” The sheriff answered, “You come home as soon as you’re okay to travel. Promise you’ll come home.”
Stiles felt a wave of relief wash over him as he took a deep breath, “I’m coming home Dad. We’re supposed to be leaving after Ellie gets cleaned up.”
“Ellie’s with you?”
“Wouldn’t think of leaving her behind after the night we had,” Stiles rubbed his forehead. A lump of some emotion he couldn’t quite put his finger on but knew it hurt being there. “I’ll see you soon okay? I’ve got to go. I love you dad.”
“Love you too kiddo.”
Stiles rested his palms flat on the door to the motel room and took a deep breath. He needed to calm his heart before going into the room. He didn’t need to have Derek and Ellie worrying about him. He was okay and he was going to be just fine once they made it back home to Beacon Hills.
Pushing open the door Stiles stopped short, Derek was resting against the wall opposite where Stiles had been sitting outside the motel room. He handed Derek his cell phone with a quiet thanks.
“We should get going soon,” Derek offered.
Stiles nodded, letting out a jaw-popping yawn and he felt his eyes burn in fatigue, “Good idea.”
“You should sit up front, if you’re tired you’ll have more room to get comfortable.” Derek grabbed the bag he had brought into the room sometime this morning.
“Ellie should,” Stiles argued.
“No,” Ellie added as she walked around the bed closest to the bathroom, “I’m the smallest, the backseat is my friend.”
Stiles turned towards Derek, “Did you get any rest in the past two days? Should we even be making this drive?”
Derek ducked his head, “I can make it to Beacon Hills just fine.”
Stiles looked at his aunt and shook his head, “No. You need rest. We all do apparently. So a few hours of rest won’t make any difference will it?”
Derek took a few minutes to answer, “No, not really.”
“Great,” Stiles nudged Derek over to bed before he settled on the opposite side, “A few hours of sleep and we’ll be on the road.”
A few hours of sleep turned into an afternoon full of sleep. It was starting to get dark outside by the time Stiles woke up curled into Derek’s chest. Logically he knew it was the connection between their wolves. It was just one pack mate seeking out the comfort of another. Touch established and strengthened the bonds between them. It wasn’t something he should worry about.
In Stiles’ mind it was something all together different. He was cuddling Derek, the alpha. Who also happened to be the man who saved his life, the man who tried to keep the other pack from taking Stiles away from his home and his family. Derek was the person he sought out the most while he was in Mississippi. He was the only person who could calm his racing heart.
Stiles should be doing his damnedest to get away from Derek but he wasn’t. If anything he wanted to stay like this longer no matter what could happen. They couldn’t though. They needed to get home. He needed to get back to his dad. He needed to get back to the rest of his family.
Pressing his palm gently against Derek’s chest, Stiles nudged at the sleep warmed skin until Derek’s eyes fluttered open, “What is it?”
“It’s late,” Stiles whispered, “We should get going.”
“You’re right,” Derek answered, his hand resting on Stiles’ hip for a moment before he rolled off the bed and to his feet. “We’ll grab dinner on the way.”
“Good idea,” Stiles nodded as he moved to wake Ellie, “Hey, it’s time to wake up.”
She cracked an eye open, “Already?”
“Yeah,” Stiles covered a yawn, “It’s already four and we should really be getting home before Dad sends out the Calvary looking for us.”
Ellie snorted, “He would, wouldn’t he?”
“I call the bathroom,” Stiles muttered as he disappeared into the bathroom. He splashed some water on his face before taking care of business. He couldn’t resist checking to see if anything changed where he was bitten. He needed to see if it had healed any further or if it was going to stay that way.
Stiles let out a disgusted sigh. It was still a mess of mangled and healed over scarred flesh. He poked out at it and frowned. The skin was still numb. Shaking his head Stiles pulled the sweater back up so he couldn’t see the scar and headed out into the motel room. Derek was standing by the door and Ellie traded places with him as soon as he was clear from the bathroom.
“How long is it going to take? For us to get back to Beacon Hills?” Stiles asked, trying to fill in the silence of the room.
“All night,” Derek shrugged, “Probably won’t really get there until tomorrow morning sometime.”
“You drove all that way for me?” Stiles ducked his head down and tangled his fingers together.
“You were part of my pack, even as a human, Stiles. I would have done anything that I could to protect you.” Derek’s grip on the bag he was holding tightened until his knuckles turned white.
“Thank you,” Stiles whispered, “I don’t know if I’ve said it or not but no matter how many times I say it, I don’t think it’ll ever be enough to thank you for what you’ve done for me.”
Derek dropped the bag and moved across the room. He pulled Stiles close, his nose pressed in the crook of Stiles’ neck and his fingers digging into the sweater Stiles was wearing. “Being here is enough.”
Stiles moved back and looked Derek in the eyes. There was something different there. The walls that had been in place for so long were gone. He let Stiles see how much he truly cared. The privilege of being able to be allowed into a place that Derek had kept so well guarded took Stiles by surprise.
Derek cleared his throat and opened the door, “It’s time we got going. It’s going to be a long ride.”
Derek wasn’t kidding. It was a long ride. More than half it Stiles was asleep, his body curled in the seat facing Derek and his hand hidden beneath Derek’s. The last few hours, he starred out the front window watching as the scenery slowly changed back into things he was used to.
When they passed the sign welcoming them to Beacon Hills Derek slowed the car more than necessary and broke the silence that had enveloped the car nearly the entire ride
home. “If you need anything, if you feel like something isn’t right, call me and I’ll get to you as soon as possible.”
“Okay,” Stiles nodded before he shook his clear of the fog that driving for hours causes, “Call me to let me know how the rest of the pack is.”
“They’ll call you before I can,” Derek’s lips curled upwards just enough that Stiles could tell Derek was pleased about something. “But I will keep you updated.”
Ellie leaned forward and wrapped around Stiles’ shoulders, “You two are so cute.”
Stiles sputtered and Derek went back to concentrating on the roads in front of him, “We are not cute.”
“Whatever you say,” Ellie grinned before she leaned back into the seat.
They pulled up to the curb outside of the Stilinski home and Stiles ignored the anxiety that blossomed in his chest. He shouldn’t be freaking out. His dad already knew what happened to him but he was always thinking about the things that could possibly go wrong.
Stiles took a moment to settle his nerve before he opened the car door and groaned at the stretch of his muscles. He moved the seat to let Ellie out and she smiled at him, “Talk to him before you come in. I’ll keep your dad at bay.”
Stiles nodded before he sat back down in the car, the door still ajar. He faced forward and tangled his fingers together, “I know you really need sleep but if I need you, if I call you…”
“I’ll be here,” Derek nodded. “You’re new and I’m not going to make the same mistakes I made with Scott. I’ve learned a lot.”
“We all have,” Stiles turned and before he could stop himself he wrapped his arms awkwardly around Derek. He pressed his nose to the juncture of Derek’s shoulder and neck and took a deep breath. The smell of pine, oak and winter invaded his senses. It smelled amazing. He pulled away and ignored the wide eyes from Derek, “Thank you, you know, for saving my life.”
“You would have done the same for me,” Derek shrugged like it wasn’t a big deal, “You’re Dad is dying to see you, get inside.”
Stiles ducked his head before he scrambled from the car and up the front steps. The door opened and he was engulfed in a hug from his Dad. He had never been so happy to see his dad in a long time. He could smell the worry, the fear and the whiskey on his Dad’s breath. He could hear the way his dad’s heartbeat rocketed up and the longer they stayed like this his Dad’s heartbeat started to slow.
“Stiles,” his Dad whispered as he backed away, “I’m so sorry.”
Stiles ducked his head ignoring the sting behind his eyes, “You didn’t know what was going to happen.”
“I should have realized. I should have understood what Derek was trying to get me to understand. If I did,” His Dad shook his head, “It doesn’t matter now does it? I’m just so sorry that this happened to you.”
Stiles latched onto what he Dad said about Derek but he didn’t want to start his own version of an interrogation with his Dad. He just wanted to be home with his Dad and his Aunt. He wanted to see the rest of the pack. To be honest he was tired and dying for a shower.
“It’s not your fault Dad.” Stiles stepped back and rubbed at his forehead, “I need a shower and food.”
“I’ll get started on making something,” His Dad offered before his Aunt cut in, “We will get some food started. You go get cleaned up.”
Stiles smiled at his Aunt and gave his Dad one more hug before heading upstairs and to the bathroom. He wished Derek had called to let him know how things are but he knew there wasn’t anyway that Derek could have made it to his own house, much less check in with the rest of the pack. Stiles was just too amped up and ready to see everyone to be calm. He needed to though. He could feel a pulse of energy zipping through his veins.
He closed his eyes and tried to find something to focus on, to keep him from doing something stupid like changing in the middle of the bathroom. His mind immediately went to Derek telling him to remember his pack, that their strength is his strength. His heart slowed from its frantic beating in his chest.
He turned the shower on and stripped out of the clothes that Derek had loaned him. The scar was still visible and his skin felt tight. His DNA might have changed but the rest of him hadn’t really changed. He was still the same awkward, snarky boy that he was before. He just happened to howl at the moon every once in a while
As soon as he parked the Camaro, the entire pack was rushing out to greet him. He could hear their collective hearts beating far to fast to be good for them. He could smell the mix of emotions and it started to overpower him. His heartbeat rose to match his pack and he climbed out of the car alone. Scott dropped to the ground, his heart stuttering in his chest. Allison bent down next to him, “Everything’s okay. It’s got to be. Derek wouldn’t have let anything happen to Stiles. Everything is going to be okay.”
Lydia grasped Jackson’s hand in a white knuckled grip while Danny squeezed Jackson’s shoulder as they waited for some kind of news from their alpha.
Derek finally spoke, a fist holding his heart with the way the rest of his pack was reacting to the possibility of Stiles not being okay, “Stiles’ is okay. He’s home.”
Scott covered his face with his hands before he got to his feet and made his way towards Derek. He raised his arms to pull the alpha into a thankful embrace. There was no other way for him to show his gratitude.
As soon as Scott let go of Derek, Derek ushered them all into the house. He made a beeline towards the kitchen to get something to drink before he settled down on the couch taking a moment to breathe in the rest of his pack. They were all here, they were all okay and there weren’t any foreign scents signaling the presence of another pack.
“There’s got to be more than, he’s okay,” Scott sputtered out. “Where is he? What happened? You can’t just leave it at that.”
Derek rubbed at his forehead and looked each member of his pack in the eyes before he spoke, “He was bitten.”
The entire room grew eerily silent as he continued on, “I got there in time to bite him myself. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work but it did. He’s changed. He’s part of this pack.”
“He didn’t want that,” Scott whispered. “He didn’t want to be like us.”
“He didn’t want to be like the Murray pack,” Derek corrected Scott. “He fought harder than I’ve ever seen anyone fight the bite.”
“But,” Danny stared at Derek in confusion, “What does that mean?”
“Once I got to him, I bit him. We didn’t know which bite would win out, but once he woke up it was clear. He’s home with his Dad and his Aunt, resting,” Derek stressed the last word, “He’s part of our pack.”
He could feel the tension fade out of the room and it was easier to breathe. He rubbed at his tired eyes and looked up, “How was the moon?”
“Everything was good,” Scott answered with a wide smile.
“For once,” Lydia added underneath her breath.
“There weren’t any threats and Allison and Lydia were here early clearing up the wolfsbane so we could get home,” Jackson shrugged, “I’d say that other packs know, even without you here, we’re a threat to them.”
“Don’t let that get to your head,” Derek pointed out, “Thinking like that makes you drop your guard and that’s when they’ll attack. But, good job.”
Scott’s mouth dropped open in surprise from the alpha’s praise. It wasn’t often that they got it. Shaking his head and the surprise clear from his mind, Scott moved on to the next topic, “When can we go see Stiles?”
“Give him a little bit of time with his Dad,” Derek answered, “They have a lot to talk about and he does need rest. He’s been through a lot these past few weeks. Call him later on tonight or go and see him. He’ll probably like that a lot. He misses you guys.”
“Of course he does,” Lydia rolled her eyes.
“Any other pressing matters?” Derek asked trying to cover up a yawn.
“Not really,” Jackson stood up, “I guess that’s our cue to leave?”
“Yes,” Derek nodded and followed behind the bunch of teenagers as they made their way out of the house, “Don’t do anything stupid.”
“Don’t ask for the impossible,” Danny replied with a grin before he ducked into Jackson’s Porsche.
Derek showered and managed to shove down a pop tart before he gave in and called Stiles, hoping that no one in the pack had beat him to it. He waited a few rings before Stiles was answering the house phone, “Hello?”
“Stiles, how is everything going with your Dad?”
“He’s just happy I’m home,” Stiles answered with his own question, “How is the pack?”
“They’re glad that you’re back and part of our pack versus another pack.” Derek answered.
“As happy as I am to hear that, what I was really asking about was how the hell they survived without you on a full moon because honestly, when I left, they were no where near being able to handle it without an alpha around. So how much have I really missed out on?”
Derek glared up at the ceiling, “They realized that what you were trying to do before you were sent away were things they needed to focus on in order to be a better pack.”
“So it took me leaving for things to get better,” Stiles gave a derisive snort.
“That’s not what I meant,” Derek grumbled, “It’s just, it took a bad event to bring them together. It made them realize what a pack meant when they were faced with losing one of their own.”
“I still can’t believe they made it through the full moon without your overbearing presence there. I mean, come on, you’re the alpha. What were they doing without you? Chasing bunny rabbits? What did they tell you about the full moon?”
“Why do you want to know so badly?”
“I want to know because I’m going to be there with them next month and I don’t know what that means for me,” Stiles gasped after the words burst forth as if he didn’t mean to say that.
“Stiles,” Derek’s voice grew softer, “I’m not going to let anything bad happen to you on your first moon. You might feel more emotional or overwhelmed by what is happening to your body but you’re going to have our support. I wouldn’t ever let you do anything bad during the moon. None of us would.”
“I just,” Stiles’ voice cracked, “After I sat down with my Dad and he turned on whatever it is he turned on and fell a sleep during, that I’m actually a fucking werewolf and as much as I researched this for you guys, I don’t know what this really means for me.”
“Stiles, just, take a deep breath and everything is going to be okay as long as you don’t sabotage yourself.” Derek instructed.
“I’ll try my best,” Stiles answered.
“Do you need me?” Derek asked through a yawn.
“You need sleep,” Stiles answered with a yawn of his own, “Go to sleep. I’ll bury myself in research and that should calm me down.”
“If you change your mind you know how to find me,” Derek answered, “Don’t research too much.”
As soon as the call ended Derek headed up to his room and tucked his phone beneath his pillows before he settled down on his bed. He stared up at the ceiling trying to actually take a moment to understand what all had happened to the pack and him self in the past few days.
The thing though, that really had his mind completely reeling was: Stiles was here. The boy, the wolf, he had bonded to was now going to be around more often. The pull to be there, to keep him safe, to touch Stiles would grow.
For some reason, Derek couldn’t think of a worse time for something like to happen. Stiles’ entire life was changing. He would have to learn things that he had only read about. He would have to learn how to control his wolf, how not to let his emotions get the better of him. All the while, Derek’s wolf was howling to get closer to Stiles, to claim him as more than a bonded.
It was more than protecting a pack member. The need to protect Stiles. Derek knew that deep down his wolf had found someone who could make him grow, someone who could challenge him, someone who could keep him focused and someone he could love.
He stared at the ceiling, willing himself to give in to the fatigue that had blanketed him all day but he couldn’t. His mind kept going to Stiles. He was worried about his newest pack member. He found himself crawling out of bed, pocketing his cell phone and grabbing his car keys on the counter.
He was parked outside of Stiles’ house before he realized where he was driving to. He stared up at the soft glow filtering out from Stiles’ bedroom window. Chancing that Stiles was still awake, Derek climbed up a tree and then silently leapt to the roof and moved to Stiles’ window. He could hear sheets rustling and the frustrated groan before something hit the wall across the room.
Derek tapped softly on the window and waited. It took a moment before Stiles was hesitantly pulling the blinds away and edging over to look out the window. He visibly calmed when he saw it was Derek before he slid the window open.
“I thought you’d be asleep,” Stiles muttered as he moved to allow Derek to crawl through the window. He checked his watch and sighed, “Or you’d still be passed out in bed. If I could sleep I’d totally be asleep right now. But you know, my brain won’t shut up. So hear I am, at ten o’clock at night, trying to read but as you can see that didn’t work out too well for me.”
Derek looked across the room where Stiles had thrown a well-read copy of Harry Potter. He didn’t say anything, just raised a brow at how unbelievable Stiles-like for him to read something like Harry Potter in hopes of calming down enough to go to sleep.
“What’s on your mind?” Derek offered as he grabbed hold of Stiles’ shoulders and guided him back over to his bed. Once Stiles gave in and lay down, Derek moved to the other side of the bed mirroring Stiles’ position.
Stiles looked up at the ceiling, avoiding Derek’s eyes, “What if I hurt him? I’ve already hurt him enough already. I can see it when he looks at me. It’s like he’s not sure if I’m still his kid or if I’ve turned into something else and he thinks it’s all his fault. But it’s not. He just did what he thought was right. Now, we, he, I don’t even know.”
“Give him time,” Derek whispered, “He’s your father and he loves you no matter what. He’s just trying to understand everything that’s happened to his son. As hard as it feels for you, getting used to this, it’s going to be even harder for him.”
“I just wish he knew I didn’t blame him,” Stiles turned on his side and faced Derek, “No matter what I say I don’t think that he believes me.”
“Time,” Derek repeated, “It’s just going to take time to understand everything.”
“Yeah,” Stiles nodded, “I guess.”
They were quiet for a few minutes. Derek lay with his eyes closed and finally felt like he might be able to go to sleep if it weren’t for the way that Stiles was staring at him. He let Stiles stare. What ever question he was thinking up was probably something Derek wasn’t too interested in having to answer.
“Why did you come here tonight?” Stiles asked.
Derek cracked an eye open to look at Stiles before he answered, “It felt like you needed me.”
“No,” Stiles shook his head not accepting Derek’s answer, “You had all day to get some sleep buy you didn’t. You look horrible, in the way that you really could use some solid sleep. So why did you really come here?”
Derek let out a soft growl of frustration before he answered Stiles, “I was worried about you. You were bitten by another wolf, not just me. You were attacked by them before I got to you. You’ve been through a lot the past few days. I was worried and I think it pushed my wolf to need to make sure that you were okay.”
Derek ignored the way Stiles shifted onto his back, turned his lamp off and pulled the covers up to his chest. The action felt like rejection, that Stiles didn’t care that he was here but the human side of him knew differently. Stiles being this quiet meant only one thing, he was thinking.
“I’m glad you felt the need to check on me,” Stiles answered softly and he rolled back onto his side facing Derek. “I haven’t felt this calm since you dropped me off this morning. I feel like I can finally go to sleep.”
Derek reached out and grasped Stiles’ hand for a moment before letting it go, “Then go to sleep.”
“You too,” Stiles mumbled already falling victim to the pleasant pull of sleep. “Good dreams.”
Derek smiled at that, “Good dreams, Stiles.”
Derek woke up to the sound of someone puttering around in the kitchen. It wasn’t something that he was used to hearing in the morning when he woke up so he pulled himself from the fog of sleep to figure out where exactly he was.
Someone was nestled against his side, correction, Stiles was nestled against his side. Their legs tangled together and the sheets bunched down at there legs. Stiles had one hand curled up in Derek’s shirt and his nose pressed into his chest. Derek ignored the warmth that spread across his chest having Stiles this close to him and maneuvered himself out of Stiles’ tight hold. He scribbled out a note for Stiles to call if he needed anything adding a teasing line at the very bottom, don’t think your dad would understand why you have me in your bed, so I thought it was best if I left. Do something for yourself today. Catch up with the pack.
He took one last look at Stiles. He had rolled into the warmth that Derek had left behind and Stiles pressed his face into the pillow he had used during the night. Ignoring the pleased bay of his wolf he slid out the window and jumped down from the roof. Casting one quick glance over his shoulder before he drove away from the Stilinski house, Derek made himself promise that he wouldn’t seek Stiles out like this again. Stiles needed to be the one to initiate such close contact. Derek didn’t want to force something on him that he might not have wanted.
Stiles woke up to an empty bed. Honestly, he expected Derek to be gone when he woke up but he couldn’t help feeling disappointed though. His Dad knocked on his door, “Stiles, you should get up.”
“I’m up,” Stiles rasped out.
“I’ve got breakfast ready, get out of bed so it doesn’t get cold.”
Stiles waited until his Dad headed back downstairs before he untangled his legs from the bed sheets and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He spotted a piece of tented loose leaf paper sitting on his nightstand. He couldn’t help but chuckle at Derek’s mention of his dad finding them in bed together. It wasn’t like they were doing anything. Stiles ignored the heat that rushed to his cheeks as he set the note back down and headed downstairs.
His Aunt was munching on bacon as his dad adjusted his duty belt in between taking bites of toast.
“You have work today?” Stiles asked even though the answer was obvious.
His Dad halted in adjusting his belt, “I could tell them I need to stay home if you want?”
Stiles shook his head, “Nah, its cool. I need to go get a new phone and hopefully check in with Scott?”
His Dad shook his head in amusement before digging in the junk draw and tossing Stiles the keys to his Jeep, “And you can take the Jeep.”
Stiles scratched the back of his neck, “I uh, don’t really have that much here, neither does Ellie. It’s all back in Mississippi.”
His dad dug in his pocket and handed over his debit card, “Don’t go crazy and just get a few things that’ll tide you over until Ellie’s friend ships your stuff.”
Stiles looked towards Ellie, immediately worried that something could happen to whoever decided to be a good Samaritan and go into the house that had nearly been destroyed to salvage their clothes. It didn’t occur to him until now that Ellie had left her job and her entire life behind just by becoming involved with him.
Ellie could see what he was thinking, “Don’t worry about it Stiles. It’s my old boyfriend, the one I told you about. He owes me a favor and he’s less likely to get hurt helping us out than any of my other friends.”
“What about your job?” Stiles asked.
“Family emergency,” Ellie waved it off, “I talked to the principal and the school board to take a leave of absence.”
Stiles immediately felt guilty for putting his aunt through that. She wasn’t a part of any of this until Stiles showed up in her life. He dropped the bacon he had been eating and leaned back in his chair.
“Hey,” Ellie snapped her fingers getting Stiles’ attention, “This isn’t your fault. You’re family and I’d do it all over again if it means that I get to keep you in my life. Okay?”
“But what about work? You love teaching.”
“I’m nationally certified so I can get a job at any school in the country,” Ellie shook her head, “You’re just as bad as your father, feeling guilty over something you had no control of. I love you guys and I’d do whatever I could to help out. Plus, I need a vacation from life and this might provide it for a few months. I get to annoy the snot out of my brother and his kid again. I don’t see anything bad in this deal.”
“I, I’m still sorry about everything,” Stiles stood up and headed towards the kitchen sink to wash his hands. He turned towards his aunt, “You want to come with me to get my new phone and some clothes?”
“What about your friends?” Ellie asked.
“I’ll meet up with them afterwards. I bet you’re tired of wearing the same clothes. Let’s go wild and spend all of Dad’s money.” Stiles grinned at the sound of his Aunt’s laughter.
One new cell phone, three new outfits, socks, shoes and boxers, Stiles was satisfied with what Target had to offer him. His Aunt even picked out a few things for her self before she was lured over to the tiny section of books that Target offered and grabbed a few books.
The ate lunch together before Stiles got antsy enough that she sent him away to go see his friends. He was in his Jeep and headed towards Scott’s hoping that he wasn’t over at Allison’s.
He rang the door bell and Scott’s mom answered. He was pulled into a hug before he realized she moved, “Stiles, it’s so good to see you.”
“You too Ms. McCall,” Stiles grinned, “Is Scott around?”
The question was pointless because Scott was already sliding down the stairs and pushing passed his mother and wrapped Stiles up in a tight hug, with his nose pressed against Stiles’ neck, “Dude! You’re back!”
Stiles laughed and hugged Scott back just as tight, “Yeah, I’m back. You have to tell me everything I missed while I was gone.”
“Dude,” Scott launched himself up the stairs, “We gotta get everyone here. They’re going to be pissed if they don’t see you and I get you all to myself for a few hours.”
Stiles grinned as Scott called Allison and passed on the news that had her calling Lydia, who then called Jackson who picked up Danny and within an hour they were all piled in Scott’s bedroom all talking at once trying to catch Stiles up on everything that had been happening all while trying to get Stiles to tell them what they missed out on with him.
“Hey slow down,” Stiles chuckled trying to get everyone to quiet down for a minute, “What I want to know is how was the moon without the alpha? I know everyone wasn’t on their best behavior.”
Scott looked over at Jackson and they both tried to hide smiles but Stiles caught it before they could get away without answering, “Aha! You two! I know you did something. Let me in on the secret.”
Danny rolled his eyes, “Those two, I don’t even know where to start but I do know there was more than just pack hunting going on.”
Stiles’ eyes widened, “Oh? It’s like that now?”
“Oh please,” Jackson rolled his eyes, “I have far better tastes than McCall. No offense Allison but Derek wouldn’t have let us let go and have as much fun as we did. It was just a nice change being able to be that free.”
Stiles nodded even though he didn’t really understand what Jackson was trying to explain. Maybe one day he would understand what Jackson was getting at but at the moment he had no clue.
After a little while Lydia and Allison stole him while Jackson, Scott and Danny holed up with Scott’s X-box.
“Are you okay?” Allison asked softly, “I remember how hard it was for Scott, even though I might not have been aware of what was happening to him at the time, I know it was difficult for him to adjust.”
“Because if you need someone to hurt I fully volunteer Jackson or Danny for that job,” Lydia smirked at the barks of outrage she got from both boys, “Kidding. I’m sure Derek has already talked to you about some methods to keep calm and in control.”
Stiles rolled his lips together and looked down at the floor, “Uh, well I haven’t had much trouble yet. I got a little antsy last night but Derek called and things got better. I just, I feel like normal.”
Both Allison and Lydia shared a look, “Really?”
Stiles nodded, “Yep.”
“Derek called you?” Lydia asked with a raised brow, “Like he made the call, not you.”
“That’s what I said, yes,” Stiles nodded before he looked over his shoulder at the guys, fully engulfed in the game they were playing.
“That just doesn’t sound too much like the Derek we all know,” Allison scrunched her nose up in confusion.
“Well, we’re, sine I’ve left he’s kind of been the person I talk to when things go wrong,” Stiles shrugged, “So we’ve kind of got a connection as more than the usual, Stiles you’re an
annoyance go the hell away connection we had before I was carted away to Mississippi.”
“Huh,” Lydia looked towards Allison before she shrugged it off. “Any love interests while you were in Pine Grove?”
Stiles snorted, “No, I’m sorry to disappoint but my time in Mississippi wasn’t kittens and rainbows. I’d rather not get into that if you don’t mind.”
“Sorry,” Allison picked at her fingernails, “Do you think you’ll get back on the lacrosse team since you left?”
Stiles looked up at the ceiling, “I’m not even sure if I want to be on the lacrosse team anymore. I got used to not going to practices and the most I’d be doing is sitting on the
bench. I’m sure I can find other ways to spend my time.”
“How?” Lydia narrowed her eyes at Stiles, “By spending more time in the library or in front of your computer researching? No, I don’t think so. I expect you’ll be training with us after the boys get out of practice any way, so there wouldn’t be much time for that.”
“No?” Stiles questioned, “How often do you actually train?”
“A few times a week,” Allison answered, “Usually Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays. Depending on how vicious Derek is feeling we might train more.”
“That bad?” Stiles asked with a grimace.
“Not really,” Lydia answered with a shrug, “We just like to give him a hard time.”
“Okay…” Stiles looked over his shoulder and caught Scott giving him a weird look, “I should go hang with the guys. They might think I’m switching teams or something.”
“Have you?” Lydia teased.
Stiles rolled his eyes before he flopped down on the bed next to Danny, his shirt getting caught under him and exposing his scar, “What’s up?”
“Uh,” Danny’s eyes were glued to Stiles’ shoulder, “Is that…”
“Is what?” Stiles looked up at Danny waiting for the normally articulate boy to finish his sentence before he realized what Danny was looking at. He scrambled to cover up his shoulder better and tried to ignore how quiet it had gotten in Scott’s bedroom.
“Uh, well,” Stiles sat up and looked at the wall behind Scott’s head.
“What the hell is that Stiles? What happened to you?” Scott was the only one with the courage to ask the question everyone wanted to ask.
“Well you see,” Stiles started, “When you get by two alphas the bite heals differently. At least that’s what Derek and I figured out.”
“You were bitten, by two alphas,” Jackson’s mouth dropped open in shock, “How is that even possible?”
“If you get bitten and you don’t want to become part of the pack that had first bitten you, you can fight it. That’s what I did. Derek had found out that there was a possibility if he got to me in time, and bit me, that it was really up to my body and my will which bite actually took. So, you know, apparently I love you guys and my body was all gung-ho for becoming part of Derek’s pack so here I am. Back home part of the broody-wolf pack.”
Scott muffled a laugh before he grew somber, “Can you tell us what happened?”
“Uh,” Stiles tangled his fingers together and felt his heartbeat grow faster, “I, no. I can’t. Sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Danny reached out but stopped before he actually touched Stiles and resettled his hand in his lap, “Just if you need us, you know where to find us or get into contact with us. Right?”
Stiles snapped his fingers, “Oh, speaking of keeping in contact with each other, I got a new cell phone. The old one got destroyed so I need to give you guys my new number.”
“That’s why you haven’t been answering my calls,” Scott muttered underneath his breath.
Stiles smacked him on the shoulder, “No I’ve totally been avoiding you since I’ve gotten home because you wearing that orange shirt with those brown pants is a little much for my soul.”
Stiles grinned at the raucous laughter that resulted in his mockery of Scott. Scott just shook his head before punching Stiles on the shoulder. This is what friends were for. Ruthless mockery in order to change the topic.
Stiles made it home around nine, his Dad was lying on the couch watching the Deadliest Catch and his Aunt was sitting at the kitchen table with his Dad’s Jurassic aged laptop in front of her. Stiles plopped down in the chair across from her, “What cha doing?”
Ellie looked up with a smile, “Job hunting. The earlier you get your applications in the more likely you might actually get one in the school systems.”
“What schools are you applying to?” Stiles asked.
“Not yours if that’s what you’re worried about,” She smiled over the laptop at Stiles, “The surrounding counties.”
“Traitor!” Stiles teased her. “So while I’m rooting for the home team, you’ll be on the visitors’ bleachers yelling for the rivals.”
“Oh yeah,” Ellie rolled her eyes, “I don’t really go to the sporting events.”
“Where’s your school spirit? You’re supposed to me molding the minds of the young and impressionable. You don’t want them to start thinking for themselves do you? Sports is the only way to go.”
“You’re something else kid,” Ellie shook her head before she leaned back in the chair, “How did your visit with your friends go?”
“Okay I guess,” Stiles shrugged, “They wanted to know everything that happened but I wasn’t really up for talking about that with them. But, I had to explain what happened with my shoulder and why unlike everyone else you can definitely tell I got mauled by a wild animal.”
“And?” Ellie prompted.
“They were a bit shocked by it but I really think they were shocked more with how crazy Derek went trying to get to me and what he had to do in order to save me.” Stiles rubbed his forehead, trying to figure it all out him self. From the way Lydia and Allison reacted to how much he was in contact with Derek, he felt like there was something more to him just being part of the pack. There was something else going on. The only thing though, he wasn’t sure he wanted to know what it was. He liked how things were going right now. He liked how close he and Derek had come over the past few months. It was something he wasn’t willing to give up. Giving up what he and Derek had built meant he’d have a hole in his life.
He checked his watch and leaned over the table to kiss his aunt on the cheek, “Don’t stay up too late.”
“You either,” She smiled up at Stiles as he headed out the kitchen and reached out to grasp his father’s shoulder and bid him goodnight.
Showered and clean, Stiles lay in bed with a copy of Harry Potter propped up on his knees. He wasn’t really paying attention to the words in front of him. Instead he was fiddling with his cell phone wondering if he should give in and call Derek or if he should let things be because he was a bother to the alpha. Something he truly did not want to be. He gave in after a few minutes. The phone had barely rang once before Derek was answering, “Stiles?”
“Hey,” Stiles closed the book and sat it on his bedside table before he sat up all the way in the bed, “I just wanted to check in on you and make sure you had gotten enough sleep.”
Derek chuckled softly over the phone, “I believe the entire night sufficed. How are you doing? Everything go okay with everyone? They didn’t push you too far did they?”
“They wanted to know what happened.” Stiles answered letting the conversation drop off.
“And you didn’t tell them?”
“I didn’t want to,” Stiles picked at the invisible lent on his bed sheets, “I, I don’t want them to look at me differently. I don’t really want anyone to know. Does that make any sense or does that make me sound crazy?”
“It’s not crazy,” Derek reassured Stiles. “I wouldn’t want to retell what happened with the fire, I can understand you not wanting to go over what happened.”
“Oh,” Stiles ducked his head, “Good.”
“Tomorrow is a Monday. What are you going to do since everyone else is going to be in school?” Derek changed topics quickly and Stiles was thankful for the subject change.
“My Dad’s going to take me to re-enroll in school and I’ll probably end up there trying to catch up with everything they’ve done so far this year.”
“You want to come to training tomorrow afternoon?” Derek asked. Something in his voice had changed as if he weren’t sure that stiles wanted to be a part of this. That he wouldn’t
want to accept being a werewolf. “It doesn’t start until four thirty, Scott, Jackson and Danny will all be at lacrosse.”
“You couldn’t keep me away,” Stiles answered quickly.
“Good, it’ll be good to have you there. We can start working on your control and honing your senses.”
“See you tomorrow.”
“See you tomorrow Stiles.”
Stiles got to go into school a little late. His Dad led the way to the main office and started the motions of registering Stiles to attend school again in Beacon Hills. He ignored the curious looks he got from a few of the kids waiting their turn to see their respective counselors.
“Stiles,” His dad snapped his fingers in front of Stiles’ face, “Are you listening?”
“Sorry,” Stiles smiled at the women sitting across the desk from him, “What was that?”
“You’re choices are limited where elective classes are concerned,” As soon as the words were out, Stiles tuned her out again. She’s put in him a class he really didn’t want to be in.
He’d take whatever he got. It was almost the end of the semester so it wouldn’t be too long for him to have to actually deal with it.
“Stiles,” His dad huffed out a sigh, “She just asked you if you would like to talk with coach Finstock to see if you could get back on the team or not?”
“No,” Stiles shook his head, “I’d just be benched any way. I’ll just focus on my school work.”
The Sheriff’s mouth dropped open in shock, “Are you sure about that? Because he’d probably be okay with having you back on the team.”
“Nah, I’m cool Dad.” Stiles looked across the desk at the counselor, “So what’s my schedule look like?”
Hell. That’s what his schedule looked like. Even if he did come in at the end of the semester he couldn’t get away from Mr. Harris and his science classes. When he walked into class, Harris rolled his eyes, ‘Can’t stay away Mr. Stilinski?’
At least he wasn’t alone in his nightmare. Almost all of the pack was in the class with him so if he happened to be behind he’d be more than able to catch up or at least cheat off of Allison via Scott.
The rest of his classes weren’t so bad. He had his usual blend of boring classes until he got to his elective which was physical education. He didn’t have gym clothes so he was able to sit out for the day but it looked like out of all the options he had, he’d be hanging out on the track running laps. He had no interest in the volley ball game, nor the basketball game on the other side of the court and those were his only options.
He thought of it more of an exercise for his wolf. He wasn’t going to have brute strength like the rest of the guys because he wasn’t as bulky as they were. He was going to rely on the one thing he knew he had, his speed. At least he knew what he’d be in for during tomorrow’s class.
Stiles showed up to Derek’s before the rest of the pack. He knew that they had worked on the house and fixed it up but he didn’t realize they had worked this hard. There were a few places that Stiles could tell were part of the shell of the old home but the rest of it. It was so full of life and it finally looked like a home. He had missed this. He stared up at the house until Derek opened the front door, leaning on the door frame waiting for Stiles to make a move.
“I can’t believe how good this place looks,” Stiles smiled as he jogged up the front steps and towards Derek. “I’ll be severely disappointed if it doesn’t look as good inside. Not only because it’s trickery but because you shouldn’t be living like that.”
Derek raised a brow before he stepped aside to let Stiles inside the house. Stiles didn’t wait for Derek to show him around, he started exploring the house. The living room, it was definitely designed in mind of the pack. There were huge couches, bean bags littering the floor and one over-sized recliner that Stiles was definitely going to fight Derek for. There was even a television, an X-Box and DVD’s shelved in the corner.
He moved across the walkway and into the kitchen. He grinned when he saw the dining table, more than enough room to accommodate everyone. The kitchen was nice too. Nothing too high tech, everything was just homey and warm. He rounded the corner and headed up stairs. The rooms were furnished, even though they weren’t very lived in he was surprised that Derek went through the effort. There was a study and finally he stopped just outside of Derek’s room. It didn’t take an expert to figure that out but the scent alone was intoxicating.
Turning away from the room quickly, Stiles ran directly into Derek. He looked up and blushed from being caught almost snooping in the alpha’s room. With a quick recovery Stiles started speaking, “This place, it’s great. You guys did an awesome job fixing it up. Now it feels like your home should be.”
Derek’s lips curled upwards, “Thank you.”
“I didn’t mean to snoop,” Stiles pointed to the door behind him, “I was just, I’m amazed.”
“It’s okay,” Derek shrugged before he led Stiles back down stairs and into the living room. He sat down in the recliner and Stiles flopped down on a pile of bean bags that were thrown together. He grinned up at Derek as he snuggled down into them getting comfortable.
“How was school?” Derek asked.
“Well besides the overly loud bells and the gossip queens who don’t know how to shut the heck up, it was okay.” Stiles shrugged, “Nothing too crazy.”
“You decided not to do lacrosse anymore?” Derek asked curious as to why Stiles had made that decision. He had seemed to love the sport even if he was benched during the games he was wild about it.
“I just, I have to prioritize. Right now my goals are to know for sure I can control my wolf. So if that means I quit lacrosse and head over early then that’s what I’m going to do. It’s not like I had any real time on the field anyways.” Stiles waved it off like lacrosse hadn’t been something he had been so obsessed with.
“Look, Mississippi didn’t have it and I got used to focusing on my academics,” Stiles grinned at that, “They don’t need another werewolf on the team. That’s just plain unfair to the other teams.”
“If you say so,” Derek rolls his eyes, “There weren’t any problems with your control today?”
Stiles scratched his head and looked at the floor, “No, not really. Which it doesn’t make sense because Scott was hell on wheels the first couple of months. And here I am, doing
the same thing I always do.”
“Huh,” Derek rolled his lips together. “Research, that’s the only way I can think of finding an answer as to why you’re so in control.”
“Maybe,” Stiles tangled his fingers together, “Maybe something in your bite canceled out Marco’s. Maybe I’m just human.”
Derek stood up and moved to kneel in front of Stiles before taking Stiles’ hands in his own, “Stiles, you’re a wolf. I can smell it on you and deep down you know you are too. You wouldn’t have heard your dad the other morning from your room, you wouldn’t be so intent on sniffing me out either. You’re just like the rest of us so don’t think you aren’t.”
Stiles smiled up at Derek, “I just, I’m so different from the rest of the pack after they changed.”
“And that is why we need to research it and see why,” Derek rubbed a hand over Stiles’ buzzed head before he stood up and headed back to his recliner to sit down.
I'm back in school full time and I also have a full time job, so updates might be spotty for awhile. I have been writing ahead so hopefully updates won't be so spotty! I just wnated to let you know what was what.
I have power and internet for a little while so I figured hey, I'd give you an update while I still can!
Derek set tasks for Scott, Jackson and Danny while Lydia and Allison began working on their own project. Derek took Stiles to the corner of the house, so he could still keep an eye on the rest of his pack as he worked with Stiles.
He tried using his strength as a means to get Stiles to loose control. Every time he would go to push Stiles or to hurt him, his wolf wouldn’t let him. His wolf would reign in the force of the blow. He let out an angry growl, which confused Stiles more than anything. He spun around in an angry circle trying to figure out what the heck was going on before he was yelling for Jackson, “Jackson! Over here. I need you to work with Stiles.”
Everyone stopped what they were doing to look over at Derek and Stiles wondering what the heck had just happened. Derek shook it off as Jackson made his way over.
“What do you want me to do?”
Derek looked at Stiles and bit the inside of his cheek, “I need you to test his control. We need to figure out what his triggers are and find the best method for Stiles to control it and calm down.”
“I thought that was what you were doing?” Jackson tilted his head curiously.
“I,” Derek swiped a hand over his face before looking at Stiles out the corner of his eye, “It’s too close to the time that I bit him. I can’t, my wolf, I just can’t push him right now. He’s new to the pack and I feel overly protective. Just do what I ask.”
“Okay,” Jackson nodded and he took Stiles off guard. He turned around and gave stiles a heavy shove. It was forceful enough that Stiles stumbled and fell on the ground with a shocked look. He was on his feet and pushing Jackson back with just as much force, “Seriously? You had to shove me that hard?”
Jackson looked over towards Derek and back as Stiles, “He said to try to get you to lose control. Someone starts a fight with me I’m ready to shift.”
“Yeah, well all that achieved was making me want to push you back, not wolf out.” Stiles stood up and brushed the back of his pants off. “And it makes me realize you’re still a jerk.”
Jackson grinned before he reared back and threw a heavy punch at Stiles. His fist landed near Stiles’ eye with a heavy thump. Another fist landed in Stiles’ gut before Stiles was able to get his footing and move away from Jackson.
“Hey,” Jackson held his hands up, “I’m just doing what our fair alpha told me to do. Otherwise I wouldn’t have anything to do with you now Stilinski. New wolves make me itchy and it makes my control fade. So stop looking at Derek like he is your mother about to defend your honor and let’s get to it.”
Stiles felt heat rush through his chest, his face reddened in anger. “Shut up.”
“Shut up?” Jackson tossed back. “You want me to shut up? About who? Your mother or Derek? Oh that’s right you don’t have a mom right now so you must be talking about Derek. Derek who had to save you because you couldn’t save yourself? That sound familiar to you?”
Derek saw the way Stiles curled his fingers into tight fists. He could hear how quickly Stiles’ heart was beating and how softly Stiles was counting to himself in order to stay calm.
When Jackson threw a punch, Stiles avoided contact. He moved out of the way of other blows and he focused on the threat in front of him.
“Stop it,” Stiles ground out between his teeth.
“No,” Jackson snarled at Stiles. “You’re just as pathetic as you were before. You’re still alone even though you’re one of us. You’re never going to belong to anything. Not even the alpha thinks you belong.”
Stiles let out a snarl full of rage, “Stop. This doesn’t feel right. Stop!”
Stiles curled into him self and looked up with bright blue eyes at Jackson, “Just stop.”
Derek pushed Jackson out of the way and grabbed Stiles’ arms, his back bent so he was standing eye to eye with Stiles, “Stiles. You know what he was doing right?”
Stiles nodded, “Doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt.”
Jackson reached out and made a sound to explain but Derek held up a hand to stop the beta from speaking.
“He doesn’t think that about you,” Derek whispered, “He doesn’t think you’re pathetic and he would never bring up your mother in conversation. He knew that those things would hurt you. Since him hurting you physically didn’t do anything he did the one thing he thought might make you lose control and it did.”
Stiles closed his eyes tightly and took a deep breath. Derek could hear Stiles humming underneath his breath. Each sound resembled a number spoken just like before. Once Stiles opened his eyes, they were back to normal. His breathing was heavier than usual but he was completely focused on Derek.
“So I’m okay being beaten to a bloody pulp but once someone brings up my mom I’ll just wolf out like that.”
“Words affect you more than being shoved around,” Derek answered, “It probably has something to do with the fact that you’ve dealt with werewolves for so long you’ve come to expect it. What you didn’t expect is an emotional attack and that’s what made you lose control.”
“He’s right though,” Stiles glanced to where the rest of the pack was supposed to be but had disappeared underneath his nose, “I am kind of a pathetic for a wolf.”
Derek shook his head, “You’re not. If anything, you proved you have the potential to be more than just a beta.”
Stiles took a step back, “What?”
Derek shrugged, “It’s the eyes. Scott, Jackson and Danny all have amber eyes when they change. You have blue.”
“Reminds me of ice,” Derek shrugged, “But that tells me there that you are strong. You’re more than able to handle yourself and we’re lucky to have you as part of our pack.”
Stiles grinned, “If you say so.”
“I do,” Derek rolled his eyes, “Let’s head in. The rest of the pack is probably raiding my kitchen for food.”
“Jackson really didn’t mean any of that?” Stiles asked as they walked up to the house.
“If you would have looked passed what he was saying and the way he was holding his body and the sound of his heartbeat you would have realized that.”
“I’m so special sometimes,” Stiles chastised himself.
“You’re just learning,” Derek shrugged, “And think of it this way, you didn’t sprout fangs or claws. You’ve got the best control out of any of us.”
Stiles snorted, “Well that’s good I guess.”
Derek rested a warm palm on Stiles’ shoulder, “Look, it wasn’t the best way to go about testing your control, but we needed to find out quickly what would trigger your wolf and how to control it. There are other things, threats or changes in your environment that could set you off but we needed something quick in order to help you learn.”
Stiles shook his head, “I guess we found out I’m a bit sensitive.”
“That’s not a bad thing,” Derek replied, “You’re more in tune with the people around you. Have you noticed that? Even before you changed you instinctively knew what everyone needed. Now, you’re more empathic than you might have been but that’s a good thing.”
Stiles rolled his eyes, “If you say so.”
“I do,” Derek nudged Stiles towards the house. “Go eat something.”
Stiles headed up to the porch and turned to look back at Derek, “What about you?”
“I’ll be inside in a few minutes.” Derek waved Stiles off before he moved around the corner of the house. He moved to sit on the side porch and stared off into the woods. He needed a few moments to think for himself, to figure out what going on.
Most newly turned wolves can’t help but change at the sign of a physical threat. The wolf’s instincts take over in order to protect the human. It was highly possible that Stiles didn’t see Jackson as a viable threat since they were pack mates but that didn’t really make sense with the way the rest of his wolves reacted to each other when put in physical danger by their pack mates.
It took Jackson speaking about Stiles’ mother before they got any reaction from him. It took something that Stiles had buried deep down inside himself to make him react.
If Derek was truly honest with him self, he wasn’t even sure where he could look in order to find the answers he was seeking. He needed to know why Stiles was so different from the rest of his pack. There was one person he knew that might have the answers he was looking for. Dr. Deaton. The man had worked with Laura off and on when she had first become alpha of the pack.
Deaton had also consulted with his parents when he was younger. The man was a fount of knowledge and it would be remiss of Derek to ignore the opportunity in front of him.
He looked over his shoulder, through the kitchen windows and watched his pack. They all stuck close to Stiles. They were still getting acclimated to the newest wolf of their pack. Unconsciously they were trying to get their wolves comfortable with Stiles’. They had all piled together at the kitchen table, seats scooted close enough to each other it would be difficult to leave the table. He could hear them chattering on about there day and Stiles regaling them with the latest gossip he had heard getting a lot of laughter from the rest of the pack.
With his decision made about going to see Dr. Deaton tomorrow, Derek got up and headed into the house to join them for dinner.
Dr. Deaton was sitting behind the reception desk when Derek walked into the veterinary clinic. He looked up in surprise seeing him here before he stood and silently moved toward the entrance to flip the sign to closed.
“What brings you to my office Derek?” Dr. Deaton asked as he moved back towards the exam rooms.
“I know you worked with my family before…” Derek swallowed, “And you worked with Laura when she was alpha of the pack. I was hoping that maybe you would be willing to help me out with something.”
“I made a promise to help the Hale family and to your mother. I am more than willing to help you with what ever you need. I think I have proven that a few times before.” Dr. Deaton sat down in his chair and gestured for Derek to take a seat on top of the exam table if he felt so inclined.
Derek chose to lean against the stainless steel table as he spoke, “I have a question about a newly changed wolf.”
“Ah,” Deaton nodded, “Mr. Stilinski.”
“Yes,” Derek nodded, “He has such a tight hold on his wolf. He’s so in control and I haven’t ever seen that. Even with born wolves, I still have problem with control.”
Dr. Deaton shook his head, “For one thing Derek, you have to relearn control because of all the power you inherited with becoming an alpha. As for Stiles, did you ever think since he was already considered pack, the way he taught three of your members control that might effect how he can control his own wolf?”
“It just,” Derek stumbled with finding the right way to explain everything to him. It was a few minutes of being underneath the scrutiny of Dr. Deaton’s endless eyes before he was spilling everything out to him. “I bonded with him, before he left, when he was still a human. I could feel it when he was panicking, I knew when he needed someone to talk to and I would call him, no matter what time of the night it was. I practically claimed that he was mine before another pack by mailing him my clothes.”
Dr. Deaton’s widened before he held up a finger, “I will be right back Derek. I need to check something before I can tell you anything conclusively.”
Derek ducked his head down still speaking as Dr. Deaton had stood up to leave the room, “After he was bitten by Marco, the other alpha, I bit him my self, hoping that he would become part of my pack. That my bite was strong enough.”
The soft hum and the nod he received from Dr. Deaton wasn’t the answer he wanted. He wanted something that would actually tell him what was going on with Stiles. If how controlled, how in tune he was with his wolf was a product of the bond and the need to claim Stiles as his own.
He waited twenty minutes in the room before Dr. Deaton came back into the room with a worn, leather-bound book in his hands. He opened the book and set it on the table next to Derek, “I have a feeling you already know why Stiles has the control he does.”
Derek closed his eyes, “He’s my mate.”
“Yes Derek,” Dr. Deaton nodded, “Stiles is indeed your mate.”
“What if, what if he doesn’t want this?”
“Do you even think it’s a possibility that he doesn’t feel the same way you do Derek?” Dr. Deaton shook his head, “The fact that the two of you bonded while he was still a human should speak volumes of how he feels for you.”
After a few minutes of silence Doc Deaton had broken the silence between them, “He welcomes conversation between the two of you, even now after he had been attacked by another alpha, he doesn’t shy away from you. If I remember correctly, he even worked together with you trying to find away to balance your pack out, to get them to work together. He questioned and challenged you when he thought you were doing something that would result in consequences rather than rewards. If he had no feelings towards you, he wouldn’t have even attempted to stand up to you, to work with you to better your pack. He would have worked only with Scott. He wouldn’t have bothered with the rest of your pack.”
“It’s a possibility then,” Derek muttered to himself and startled with Doc Deaton set his hand on Derek’s shoulder, “It’s more than a possibility. If this is what you want, if this is what you believe would be good for the both of you, don’t squander this opportunity. Not only will your pack strengthen but we both know his presence in your life makes things more bearable.”
Derek licked his lips, processing what Deaton had said. He knew it was more than likely that they were mates, even before he come into the office to speak with Deaton, he knew Stiles was going to be something different to him. He knew since the moment Stiles had weaseled his way into the pack that he was different.
It had only become clearer to him once Stiles had left Beacon Hills and ended up in Mississippi. He needed to know that he was okay. He needed to be sure that Stiles was safe, even if he wasn’t there to do it himself, he needed some way to keep Stiles safe. He wouldn’t have driven as far or as fast as he did for anyone else. He’d like to think he
would have but the pull was different when it came to Stiles.
“If you have any other questions, you know where to find me Derek,” Deaton closed the book and tucked it under his arm, “Even if it seems benign, I am always willing to help.”
Derek nodded before he pulled his keys out of his pocket, "Thank you.”
“Digest this Derek, think about what it means. Don’t rush into anything to quickly. You wouldn’t want to scare off the young Stilinski with your intensity would you?”
“What does this mean for him?” Derek asked, “If he becomes my mate, what does it mean for Stiles?”
Deaton smiled at Derek, “That is something Stiles would need to speak with me about. Not you.”
Derek shook his head and headed out of the office and back to his Camaro. Deaton gave him a lot to think about, a lot to consider. He didn’t want to force Stiles into anything. He was only seventeen, who knows what Stiles really wanted out of his life?
Settling in the driver’s seat, Derek closed his eyes and inhaled the lingering scent of Stiles.
Derek wasn’t the only one who wanted answers as to why Stiles had such a tight control over his wolf so quickly. Stiles wanted, no, he needed to know why he was so different from the rest of the pack. It didn’t feel normal for him to be able to handle things this way. So Stiles did the one thing he’s always known how to do and had come to rely on since Derek Hale entered his life. He researched.
Yeah, more than ninety percent of the stuff he came across on the internet was one hundred percent crap and a waste of his time. But in the five minutes out of the two hours he had been searching he had come across a vague answer for what was going on with him. Everything pointed to a connection he had formed with Derek.
Logically it made sense that he would be connected with Derek after everything that happened in Mississippi but what he was reading made the connection sound more important than a bond an aploha would have with a beta wolf. There was something different between him self and Derek.
Stiles rubbed at his eyes and stared up at the ceiling, the glow of the monitor dancing against the walls of his room. He thought about the training session and how Jackson had tired to provoke him physically. He didn’t really bother Stiles at all until he mentioned both his mother and Derek. His blood ran warmer and then it got too hot for him to handle and that’s when he broke.
Shaking his head Stiles sat back straight and looked back at the computer screen. He needed to focus and figure out what was going on. He’d start with bonds and see what he could come up with from there.
Stiles woke up with a crick in his neck and nearly falling out of the rolling chair. He blinked his eyes clear trying to figure out what woke him up in the middle of the night. He took a deep breath and he knew who was there before he turned around, “You were going to let me sleep like that? Seriously? That’s just mean.”
Derek snorted before he nudged Stiles to get up and move over to the bed, “You were waking up when I got here anyways. What are you doing up so late?”
Derek was looking at the latest topic that Stiles had found important for a brief moment before Stiles was scrambling across the room and shutting the monitor off.
Stiles grinned sheepishly at Derek, “A guys’ got to have his secrets.”
Derek held his hands up in surrender, “If you say so.”
Stiles nodded before he sat down on his bed, “So what’s up with the late night visit. Not that I don’t enjoy these scintillating moments between us.”
Derek kept quiet which had Stiles a bit worried. Stiles tried to figure out why Derek was here but he didn’t really know why he would be. It wasn’t like Derek visited Scott late at night like this. He didn’t think that Derek visited the pack as much Derek had visited him in the past few days.
Derek stood up before he nudged Stiles’ shoulder hard enough he fell back against the bed, “Get some rest.”
Stiles scooted up the bed, “I’m not the only who needs some sleep.”
Derek sat on the edge of the bed and rested a hand on Stiles’ ankle, “You shouldn’t worry about me.”
Stiles rolled his eyes, “Dude, you, how can I not worry about you? You, well, I don’t know but you’re important. To me. So I’m going to worry about your wellbeing. I can’t exactly help who I worry about.”
“It’s because I’m the alpha of the pack Stiles.” Derek explained.
“Uh, no, I don’t think so,” Stiles shook his head, “But you can believe whatever it is you think but I know that it’s more than you being the alpha. There’s something going on here and I’m going to figure it out.”
Derek shook his head as he curled onto his side next to Stiles, “Don’t worry about figuring it out now. Just let it be Stiles.”
“Let it be,” Stiles mimicked, “You try letting it be when it’s all you can focus on.”
Derek huffed out a sigh, “Try and focus on something else.”
“Like what?” Stiles mumbled into his pillow.
“How about enjoying your time as a kid?” Derek offered, “Stop taking things so seriously. You’re going to give yourself ulcers by your next birthday.”
Stiles snorted, “If I haven’t gotten an ulcer yet then I don’t think I’ll be getting one any time soon. Seeing as I got this awesome new superpower of speedy recovery. The best superpower ever.”
“You think so?” Derek rolled onto his back and stared up at the ceiling, “If you could have any super power that’s what you’d pick?”
Stiles looked over at Derek from the corner of his eye and shrugged, “I don’t know. It would be awesome to fly or to control the elements but when it comes down to it, I’m happy with where I am. No superpowers needed.”
“Not even when you were human?” Derek questioned softly.
“I had you guys. I didn’t need a super power,” Stile answered and he let his eyes close, “Good night Derek.”
“Good night Stiles.”
Saturday arrived far too bright and far too early for Stiles’ liking. He grudgingly showered and headed out the door heading towards Derek’s place. He didn’t know what kind of training he was going to be doing today, but he knew he’d probably be exhausted by the end of the day.
By the time Stiles parked his Jeep, the rest of the pack was slowly doing the same while Derek stood leaning against the porch railing, watching and waiting. Stiles walked up the drive way next to Danny, “Morning.”
Danny looked at the barely risen sun and grinned, “If you say so.”
“What do you think he’ll have us doing today?” Stiles asked, hearing the deep intake of Derek’s breath knowing he had heard Stiles question.
“I don’t really know. But if it’s anything like my first Saturday training session,” Danny grimaced, “You’re going to hate him for the rest of the weekend.”
Stiles groaned, “Please tell me you’re over exaggerating?”
Danny sympathetically patted Stiles on the shoulder, “I wish.”
Stiles waited with his hands in his pockets as the rest of the pack gathered around with sleepy yawns. Derek moved to the middle of the semi-circle they had created, “Today is a test.”
“Oh fuck,” Jackson groaned and Lydia smacked him on the shoulder.
“Stiles,” Derek pointed looked at him, “We need to know your weaknesses, where we need to help you improve. Today is all about staying away from the rest of the pack
by using your new senses. Don’t let any of us catch you too quickly.”
“Really, don’t,” Danny whispered and that earned a glare from Derek.
“You get a five minute head start,” Derek folded his arms and looked at Stiles who stood there waiting for further instruction. “You’re wasting time Stiles. You might want to go.”
Stiles rolled his eyes before he started off in a jog towards the most heavily wooded section around the Hale property, “Seriously?”
He heard the echoes of laughter as he pushed himself from a jog to a run. He figured the number one sense each of the pack would use was smell. He knew there was a creek that would throw them off his trail if he was quick enough getting there. He weaved in and out of trees making it seem like he wasn’t too sure where he was going. He rubbed his hand against several different trees before he took off in the opposite direction. It had been longer than five minutes, he knew they were probably hot on his tail.
He left a straight trail. It wasn’t his brightest move but he needed to get to the water. Once he got there he didn’t hesitate wading into the cold water and he moved in the direction he had come from. The muscles in his calves and his chest were already starting to burn from the exertion he was giving from walking against the current.
He grappled with loose tree roots to pull himself from the water before taking off in a dead run. He couldn’t bother looking back to see if anyone was following him. He was so focused on running he didn’t think to listen or try to scent them.
When he saw a tree perfect for climbing he did get one of the most brilliant ideas he had ever had in his life thus far. Climbing up the tree, and settling between branches Stiles peeled his hoodie off and tucked it where it would hopefully be hard to see but the scent would attract the others to this spot.
He ducked through the trees and took a deep breath. His heart stopped. Scott.
Internally groaning Stiles pumped his legs harder and ignored the way branches scratched at his arms. He needed to get as far away from Scott as he could before Scott found him.
Stiles grinned when he saw a group of trees packed together. He climbed the closest one and moved from limb to limb as far as he could. He froze mid-step in between one branch to another. Jackson and Danny were working together.
“You smell that?” Danny grinned over at Jackson, “We’re getting close.”
Stiles could imagine the eye roll Jackson gave Danny, “Or he could have passed through here and we’re that far behind him. The scent isn’t that strong.”
Stiles swallowed and prayed to whatever god was listening to him for nothing to move. Not him, not the pine needles or the leaves on the trees. Nothing. His heart pounding in his chest as he waited for them to decide what they were going to do.
“Maybe we should just take a break for a few minutes,” Jackson suggested and Stiles could have killed him. “It’s not like he isn’t going to be caught in the next few minutes. We might as well give him a little leeway.”
“It’s been an hour,” Danny pointed out and Stiles chanced looking down at his watch. It definitely did not feel like an hour since he had took off from Derek’s. This moment right here? This felt like a freaking hour. If he stayed here any longer, they would realize he was right here, “He’s stayed out here longer than you did. Don’t underestimate him.”
Jackson probably rolled his eyes again from the frustrated sigh he let out, “Fine, but I’m telling you he’s already been through here. We aren’t going to find him here.”
Stiles waited until he couldn’t hear them any longer before he moved further along the trees and hopped down. He moved and thought about the one place he could go that no one would think to find him at and he grinned. He tugged off his shoes and threw one in one direction as far as he could and the other shoe in the opposite direction. Hopefully someone would come across them because not only would he lose his shoes, his dad would be really pissed that he lost his good shoes. Well, not so good anymore, thank you Derek.
Stiles grimaced as his socked feet gathered prickly substances before he gave in and pulled the off, shoving them in his pocket as he made his way through the trees. He paused for just a second, trying to get his bearings. He closed his eyes and took the time to listen to the sounds around him. He heard the soft crunch of dead leaves to his left moving away from him. He could smell Derek but he couldn’t pinpoint if he was near him or if he had passed through the area. He couldn’t tell were Jackson or Danny were. Crossing his fingers and metaphorically knocking on wood, he hoped they were still going the opposite direction he was going.
Trying his best not to draw attention to himself Stiles headed back towards the house. He wouldn’t have thought to look for someone so close to the house so he was hoping he wasn’t alone in that thought.
Zig-zagging through the trees, being sure to leave some scent markers in line with the ones before pointing in a direction he didn’t plan on going, Stiles slowly made his way back passed the creek and through the thinning woods. He was on the home stretch when he heard it. The too close snap of a branch echoed in his ears. Stiles looked over his shoulder. He didn’t give thought to the person who would catch him was Derek, he just ran.
Stiles ignored the stab of pain in the arch of his foot and he pushed himself harder. He wasn’t going to let Derek catch him, he couldn’t. Not yet. He focused on reaching his goal. For some reason, he decided that getting back to the house without being caught it would show them that he was good enough to be a werewolf. He was good enough to be part of the pack.
Something hit his face it brought tears to his face but he was almost there. He was a few steps away from the clearing. Everything was so loud. Both he and Derek weren’t trying to be discreet. They were crashing through the trees trying to end the chase and Stiles ignored the burn in his chest, he ignored the sweat dripping into his eyes. He made it into the clearing and halfway to the house before he felt Derek’s hand on his shoulder.
Then he was falling. Well more like rolling. When Derek’s body slammed against his, Stiles felt the air leave his lungs and he was choking for air as they came to a stop. Derek held him pinned to the ground as Stiles collected his breath. Stiles looked up and met Derek’s gaze, “I guess I suck at being a wolf too?”
Derek let out a soft growl before he was moving to his feet and pulling Stiles up to stand. Stile let out a pained whimper and looked at his foot. Okay, the pain he felt earlier? It might be because he had stepped on branch the decided, hey Stiles’ foot is a perfect place for a new home.
Derek looked down and grimaced before looping an arm beneath Stiles’ arms to take most of the wait, “Come on. I’m not taking that out until you’re sitting down.”
“Jesus,” Stiles groaned as they started moving, “This is so not cool. Seriously, not cool at all.”
“Stop whining, it’s not that bad,” Derek muttered.
“I know but this is like my first werewolf injury that I’m conscious for. I have to milk it for all that its worth.” Stiles smirked as Derek settled him down on the steps. Derek rolled his eyes before he headed into the house.
“Hey, you can’t just leave me with a tree in my foot! That’s like cruelty to werewolves!” Stiles shouted.
Derek came out with a wash rag and sat down on the steps before settling Stiles’ foot in his lap, “I wasn’t leaving you here. I was getting supplies.”
Stiles ducked his head, “Oh, well thank you.”
Derek placed a hand on Stiles’ ankle and looked up, “This is going to hurt. It’s lodged in there deep because you ran on it.”
“Hey, I was pretending it was a life or death situation, training, so I couldn’t exactly stop and say hey, I’m a little hurt can we push pause?” Stiles replied as he waited for Derek to pull the stick from his foot. He blinked and then he let out a pained growl, “Couldn’t you have counted to three or something? That really hurts. I’m bleeding. Holy shit, I’m bleeding.”
Derek wiped the blood from the bottom of Stiles’ foot and slowly cleaned the wound and the area around it as it started to heal, “This isn’t the worst you’ve bleed before. You do know that don’t you?”
“Well, yeah, but,” Stiles scratched awkwardly at the back of his neck and he watched the way Derek took care of him, “I wasn’t you know, all there when that happened.”
After a few moments Derek tossed the rag behind him and nodded almost if he had said something to himself, “Your foot is good.”
Stiles pulled his leg from Derek’s lap and leaned on the porch post, “So, do I suck as a werewolf or what?”
“You’re not as bad as you think you are,” Derek shrugged. “It took about three hours to find you. The creek was a clever idea.”
Stiles grinned, “Totally thought like a human on that one. If it weren’t for television I might not have thought that it might throw you guys off my trail.”
“That wasn’t the clever part Stiles,” Derek shook his head and he almost looked like he was proud of Stiles, “You walking against the current, doubling back on the path you took on land and leaving the water where you did, where no one expected you to. That was the clever part.”
Stiles shrugged, “Well I tried.”
“You did better than the rest of them,” Derek tried to reassure Stiles, “Scott only lasted half an hour. Jackson made it about forty five minutes and Danny was out there for little over an hour and a half. You Stiles, you were out there for three hours.”
“Huh,” Stiles rubbed his eyes, surprised with himself.
“You,” Derek started but stopped not sure of what exactly to say, “There are people who are made for this. Not just born werewolves, but bitten werewolves also have an affinity for this kind of life. There’s something in you that makes you special. You’ve adapted quicker than I could have imagined. You don’t differentiate between your wolf and the human side of yourself. They are one, how it’s meant to be. Maybe it’s because you’ve researched so much and learned so much from us or maybe it’s something else entirely. I don’t know what makes you so good at being a werewolf but you are. You understand what it means to be a werewolf.”
Stiles sat quietly, taking in everything Derek said. It wasn’t like him to say so much to him where the rest of the pack could hear. Stiles bite at the corner of his thumb nail and looked at Derek through his lashes, “You know your uncle offered me the bite. Then Marco offered me the bite. I didn’t want it from any of them. But you? For some reason I could handle becoming a werewolf if you did it.”
Derek had grown tense throughout Stiles’ confession but remained quiet waiting for Stiles to say something else.
“I think why I’m so good at being a werewolf and why the rest of the pack wasn’t when they started,” Stiles paused to make sure he had Derek’s full attention, “It’s because I trusted you. I always have.”
Derek started to say something before he jerked his head towards the woods to see Scott, Danny and Jackson heading out of the woods with Stiles’ hoodie and shoes in hand.
“You couldn’t have done something to let us know Stiles was here?” Scott grumbled as he dropped Stiles’ soggy shoes down on the porch. “We’ve been looking for him for forever.”
“It’s not his fault he was better at staying away from you three.” Derek smirked.
“If he wouldn’t have thrown his clothes all over the woods we might have found him quicker,” Danny clapped Stiles on the shoulder, “The hoodie was genius.”
“What did you do?” Derek asked.
“I tucked it up in a tree,” Stiles shrugged, “I knew it would really smell like me since I haven’t washed it in a while and figured that might buy me some time.”
“And your shoes?” Derek prompted.
“Oh,” Stiles rubbed at his forehead, “I threw one in one direction and the other in another. I thought, hey if I did this with my hoodie, this might confuse the hell out of them.”
“He was right,” Jackson grudgingly admitted.
“And,” Stiles couldn’t help the smug smile on his face, “If you wouldn’t have taken a break or underestimated me you might have found me.”
Jackson and Danny turned towards each other with twin looks of shock on their face. Danny was the first one to say anything, “Where were you?”
“Wolves my stick to the ground, doesn’t mean a werewolf has to,” Stiles grinned before he sobered, “I seriously thought I was caught and you two just sat there talking to each other for freaking ever.”
“You hid in a tree?” Derek asked.
“More like, I traveled by tree for a little bit. I guess I was high enough off the ground they couldn’t tell exactly where I was? I don’t know but that was about an hour into it.”
Derek looked at him, pride showing once again, “Good job…”
“I’m sensing a but in there,” Stiles’ shoulders slumped.
“We have to work on your stealth,” Derek answered, “If you would have been a little quieter I might have thought you were an animal and not you.”
Stiles huffed out a noisy sigh, “Well when do we start?”
“Next week,” Derek answered as he stood up, “As for now we should eat something.”
Derek watched the pack pile in around the table, sweaty, eyes alive with energy and the brief touches that each of them passed to another reminding them of their bond as pack mates.
He wanted that. The affection of pack mates, it was something he missed when his family was murdered, when Laura was killed, when he became alpha. He couldn’t afford to show weakness otherwise betas like Jackson and Scott would vie to become alphas or even go off on their own as omegas. He couldn’t let that happen to them. Pack might make the alpha stronger, but the bonds of the pack mates strengthened just as well or even more. The amount of trust they place in each other’s hands, wasn’t something Derek could understand. Not anymore. He tried but he didn’t trust them one hundred percent. He should though. He should trust his betas. He should be able to count on them, to believe that they would have his back just as much as he would have theirs.
He knew that this part of his personality couldn’t be flipped like a switch as much as he wanted it to, but he was trying. He was trying to become what his pack needed. He needed the right catalyst to make this possible.
Running his hands through his hair, making it stick every which way, Derek headed inside and pulled up a chair next to Stiles. He noticed the slight pause in conversation before Stiles stole the stage.
“You guys should have seen Harris’ face when I walked back into his class,” Stiles grinned, “It looked like I ran over his puppy, trip his grandmother and spit in his hand. He was mortified that I was back.”
Jackson and Danny burst out into fits of giggles and Scott shook his head in amusement.
“Maybe if you were decent in his class, you wouldn’t get so many detentions or incur his wrath,” Lydia pointed out as she broke a brownie in half, setting the other half on the napkin in front of Jackson.
Stiles sat back with mock shock on his face, “I do act decently.”
The entire table grew quiet and Stiles looked over at Derek, “Don’t I?”
Derek raised his brows before patting Stiles on the thigh, “Yes Stiles you are the most decent of the decent out there.”
Scott snorted and the rest of the table rolled their eyes from Derek’s response. Stiles folded his arms over his chest, sneaking a glance on the hand warming his leg before glaring at the rest of the table, “I’ll remember this. When any of you need me to research something for you, just remember when you thought I was indecent. See if you find the cure to whatever supernatural STD you caught.”
“That’s such a big threat coming from you,” Jackson rolled his eyes.
“It is,” Stiles nodded, “Just you wait.”
“Enough,” Derek shook his head, “I figure you all have something to do other than hang out around my kitchen table this weekend?”
There wasn’t any protest before the entire group was shifting away from the table throwing out obnoxious farewells. Stiles stayed sitting by Derek until the house cleared out and he couldn’t hear any of the cars in the yard. He cautiously set his hand on top of Derek’s and cleared his throat, “I know sometimes you’re screwed when it comes to emotions or affection, but you don’t have to sneak attack me.”
Derek pulled his hand out from underneath Stiles’ and stood up away from the table, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Derek wasn’t sure what Stiles was thinking when he turned in his seat and his eyes narrowed the tiniest bit but he knew something was going on in Stiles’ mind. He watched as Stiles slowly stood and moved over to where he was leaning against the counter top. Stiles stopped just shy of his boots and looked up at him.
“We’re all so tactile but you aren’t. I’ve seen the way you watch us. The way you want the same things but you’re afraid to ask or to just do.” Stiles reached up and wrapped his arms around Derek. He didn’t know what to do, or what to think. He stood there awkwardly before he mimicked Stiles. He held him tight to his chest, his nose pressed to Stiles’ scalp. He reveled in the scent of Stiles. It made his chest swell with hope and joy. Out of all the wolves, Stiles was the only one to know what he really needed and he wasn’t afraid to give.
He ran his fingers along the back of Stiles’ neck, brushing at the peach fuzz that tickled the tips of his fingertips. He rubbed his cheek along Stiles’ forehead, his nose brushing softly against Stiles’.
Derek let out a soft sigh when Stiles reciprocated the motions. Soft, nimble fingers carded through his hair. The blunt fingernails scratched light enough to send shivers down Derek’s spine.
Every touch made his heart soar and his wolf settle with a happy sigh from the attention. It made him want more from Stiles. He wanted to know what it felt like to have Stiles’ pressed against his body beneath the cool sheets of his bed, to have him to touch, explore and love.
He would give up everything just for more moments like this with Stiles. Derek had never felt so content in his life before. He had never thought if this was it, he’d go out happy. He didn’t think that would ever be possible again, to feel so complete.
Stiles shifted against him and Derek looked down into wide brown eyes. He felt his heart beat faster in his chest and he swallowed down the conflicting thoughts of what he should do next. When Stiles’ closed his eyes, rested his cheek to Derek’s collar bone the decision was taken out of his hands. He pressed a light kiss to Stiles’ temple.
They stood like that, Derek listening to the beat of Stiles’ heart pick up from the simple touch before it lulled to match his own heartbeat. Stiles had become lazy in his hold, waiting for whatever was going to come next.
Derek let his fingers tighten softly along the back of Stiles’ neck and in the tee-shirt riding up at the small of his back. When his fingertips brushed against cool skin, he wanted to feel more. He wanted to feel the rest of Stiles.
His hands weren’t the only ones moving. Stiles had dropped his arms down around his waist. His fingers softly toyed with the hem of his shirt. Every so often he could feel the cool touch of Stiles’ skin against his.
Derek took a deep breath, greedy to remember Stiles’ scent. He flinched when the sound of Stiles’ cell phone chirped breaking this moment between them. Stiles hesitantly stepped from Derek’s hold, “I should check that. It might be my Dad.”
Scratching awkwardly at the back of his neck Derek nodded, “Yeah, definitely.”
Stiles rolled his lips together, waiting for something before he gave up and turned to his find his phone. Derek watched as he leaned over the couch, and scrolling through his phone. He looked up with a sigh, “I have to head home. I’ll see you soon?”
Derek didn’t trust himself to speak right this moment so he nodded and watched Stiles grab his ever present backpack and head out the door and he listened to the crank of the ratty engine in the Jeep. Rubbing a hand over his eyes Derek headed towards the living room and flopped down on to the couch with a breathy sigh. He was getting deeper and deeper in this and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to stop himself from falling completely.
There wasn’t a real reason his dad wanted him home. He just texted to remind Stiles of what time he needed to be home but he used it as an excuse. He didn’t need to get away from Derek. He didn’t really feel uncomfortable with what had occurred between them. It was the fact that he didn’t know what to do with that intimacy.
Flopping down on his bed he stared up at the ceiling with his hands resting against his chest. The echo of his heart beating vibrating through his chest as he remembered the feeling of Derek wrapped tightly around him. He had never felt so needed or wanted like he did in those moments.
Oh how much he wanted to be forever in that moment. It calmed the waging war between the confusion zooming through his brain and then things he thought he needed to do or be for the pack.
A soft knock on his door had Stiles sitting up in his bed, trying to erase all thoughts of Derek from his mind. Ellie stood just inside the doorway until Stiles beckoned her into his room, “What’s up?”
Ellie took a seat on Stiles’ rolling chair before she spun to face him directly, “I should be asking you the same thing.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that I’ve never seen you leave your friends so early and I’ve never seen you look so,” She waved her hands around trying to grasp the words she was looking for
from mid-air. “You just looked forlorn when you came into the house.”
“I’m fine, just have some things on my mind,” Stiles shrugged in answer.
“It wouldn’t happen to have anything to do with your newly formed status as a werewolf,” She waited for one of Stiles’ main give-aways, the slight narrowing of his eyes or the nervous energy tapped out by his fingertips. Since she didn’t see anything she pressed on, “It wouldn’t have anything to do with Derek would it?”
Stiles tensed up at the mention of Derek. He looked up at his aunt and saw her looking at him with a soft smile, “I had a feeling it might have something to do with him.”
“It’s nothing,” Stiles shook his head.
“Sure it’s nothing,” His aunt nodded solemnly. “Because nothing just drops you in the deep end of thinking what the hell am I going to do now? Nothing, got it.”
Stiles huffed out a sigh before he flopped back on his bed, “None of this will get back to my dad?”
“Unless it involves drugs or sex my lips are sealed.” Ellie mimed zipping her lips.
“What if it had to do with sex?” Stiles asked quietly.
“Then we’d be giving you the safe sex talk,” Ellie coughed before amended herself, “Correction your father would be having that talk with you.”
“It’s not about sex,” Stiles turned to grin at how uncomfortable Ellie had gotten, “And Dad has already given me that talk in a variety of manners so I think I’m good on that front.”
“Thank god,” Ellie wiped at invisible sweat on her forehead, “I thought I was really going to have to sit him down and talk to him about how the world functions today.”
“Nah,” Stiles turned back to look up at the ceiling. “It’s not about sex.”
Ellie waited a few minutes before prompting Stiles, “Well then what is all this moping about?”
Stiles took a deep breath preparing himself for what was lying in wait by starting this conversation with Ellie. “I think Derek and I are more than just alpha and beta, friends and stuff.”
“And stuff?” Ellie teased before she grew serious, “What do you mean?”
“There’s something that makes us closer than the rest of the pack. I know when he wants or feels like he needs something. The rest of the pack, I can feel them there but it’s nothing like what I have with Derek. It’s like if anything happens to him I would know about it. I would know because he’s,” Stiles stopped mid-sentence. He was going to say that Derek was that important to him that he cared if anything happened to Derek. He didn’t think he could take it if Derek was hurt, or if something serious happened to him. “There’s a connection between us and I don’t know if it’s because of how I was turned or if it means something more.”
“What do you think it means Stiles?” Ellie asked.
“I think,” Stiles rolled onto his side to look at Ellie, “I think it means that we are more than alpha and beta. It feels like it’s more than that. What I felt today, I’ve never felt so protected or cherished. He made me feel like I actually belong right where I am. That he needs me as much as I need him. I can’t stop thinking about what it felt like being held and trusted to be so close to him.”
Ellie stood up from her chair and laid down next to Stiles. Their heads brushed against one and others. They stayed quiet for a while. Stiles wasn’t sure how long they lay like that but it felt so much better telling someone about what was going on in his head.
“I think,” Ellie began, “I think that you might mean just as much to Derek as he means to you.”
“I’m just afraid of what it might mean for the pack,” Stiles whispered, “What if something like this, this thing between Derek and I, messes up what the pack has worked so hard to establish.”
Ellie patted Stiles’ arm, “It’s not. Deep down you know that it wouldn’t. You’re just afraid of what might come, of the possibility that changing things might mean something different.”
Stiles took a deep breath and nodded, “I, what would Dad say if I did do something? He and Derek don’t have the greatest of histories.”
“Oh?” Ellie grinned, “A bad boy is he?”
Stiles chuckled before he shook his head, “A case of the worst timing in history more like it.”
“You know he cares for you, don’t you?” Ellie asked quietly. When she didn’t get a response from Stiles she continued on, “I saw the way he watched you back in Louisiana, how terrified he was of losing you. Don’t let this pass you up Stiles. You’re a good person and you deserve a little happiness that is just for you.”
Stiles sat up and ran his hands over his hair, “Thanks. Sometimes it helps having someone to just let things out to.”
“And that is precisely why your nosey aunt waltzed in here in the first place. Plus I get to hold this over your father’s head.” Ellie nudged Stiles with her elbow for meandering out of the room. Before she left she turned back, “Gather ye roses while ye may.”
Monday morning dawned bright and early. He was up earlier than his alarm clock so he took time to muddle his way through the junk mail, throwing advertisements out as he went. He froze when his fingers brushed against the stock of a postcard. There was no message but it was clear who it was from by the picture on the front. There was a magnolia tree sitting elegantly in front of a plantation with script scrawling across the card proclaiming greetings from Mississippi.
Stiles’ hands shook uncontrollably as he dropped the card back to the table and sat heavily on one of the kitchen chairs. He knew that Marco knew where he was. It wasn’t hard to figure out he was going back home to Beacon Hills. But the one thing that had him feeling safe was Marco didn’t know exactly where he was and now the illusion of safety was shattered. They had his address.
Stiles picked up the postcard and dropped it in his backpack. There wasn’t anything he could do about it right now but after school he knew exactly where he was going.
Stiles tapped his fingers impatiently as he waited for the parking lot traffic to mellow out. He had places he needed to be. He needed to tell Derek. He needed to know what he should do, what they could all do if Marco and his pack did try to do something to him. He needed to warn Derek.
He parked his Jeep at an odd angle before he had jumped out with his bag hanging off his shoulder and darted up the front porch. The door opened before Stiles could knock and he strode through the door without sparing Derek a glance. He stopped and dug the postcard from his bag and slammed it down on the table, “They know where I am!”
Derek moved cautiously around Stiles, he let his hand rest on Stiles’ shoulder as he picked up the postcard. He flipped it over twice before he set it down and turned Stiles so he was facing him.
“They’re trying to scare you Stiles,” Derek let his hands rest on Stiles’ shoulders as he tried to calm him down.
“Well, congratulations to them because it worked,” Stiles growled, “It’s a threat Derek. They didn’t have to do anything but put my name on that and send it to me. I know what it means. I know it’s not friendly and I know that they aren’t going to just let me go. No matter how much I thought I was safe, I wasn’t. They were just bidding their time, coming up with a plan.”
Derek gathered Stiles up in his arms, tucking Stiles’ head beneath his chin, “I’m not going to let anything happen to you.”
Stiles moved closer, letting the comforting motion of Derek’s hand rubbing circles on his back soothe the anxiety away. He gripped Derek’s shirt hard in his fists and wasn’t going to let go anytime soon.
“They can’t take me,” Stiles whispered. “I won’t let them.”
Derek huffed out a breath, “I know. I won’t let them either.”
Stiles abruptly pulled away from Derek, realizing how close he was to him and shifted his weight awkwardly, trying to pretend he hadn’t been clutching Derek like he was a lifeline.
“What do we do now?” Stiles asked as he finally decided to take a seat in one of the kitchen chairs.
Derek rolled his lips together and tapped a finger against the postcard, “There’s nothing we can do except for wait.”
“But,” Stiles shook his head, “We can’t just wait.”
“And we can’t go off half-cocked without a plan or even a thought as to what we could do to stop them. They are a pack that is bigger than ours Stiles. We might have the strength of our bonds but we don’t have the numbers they do. The only thing we can do now it to tell the rest of the pack, and even the Argents, put everyone on alert as to the fact that trouble could be coming. We handle things as they come and when they get here? We’ll be at the advantage. We’ll be able to take care of this.”
Stiles nodded before rubbing a hand over his mouth, “I know, I just, I wasn’t expecting this. I thought for once things were going okay. I thought that worst thing I was going to have to deal with was my first full moon. Now, now this happened.”
“The thing about pack,” Derek took a seat next to Stiles, “Is we never let one go through something alone. It’s not our way. We’re here for you and we’d fight for you in a heartbeat. So we take things as they come. Right now it just looks like they’re trying to mess with you, to scare you. So your focus needs to be on the upcoming moon.”
Stiles shook his head before smiling up at Derek, “I kind of forgot about that to be honest. With all that’s been going on. Coming home, getting back to school, training with you, we’ve been busy. I guess I got lost in time for a bit.”
“Don’t worry too much about it, you’ll be fine.”
“Everyone is meeting here right?” Stiles double-checked.
“Just before sun down,” Derek nodded and nudged Stiles towards the door, “If you need anything you know that you can call me, right?”
Stiles nodded as he backed onto the porch, “See you later.”
The entire day before the moon Stiles was on edge. Not just because all he could think about was the full moon, but it was what he found in the pile of mail sitting on the counter this morning. It was another envelope from Mississippi. This time there was a ripped up picture of Stiles. He didn’t know when the picture was taken but he knew it had to have been sometime while he was out of Beacon Hills.
Out of all days, he didn’t want to spend it thinking about the possibilities of what could have been or what might still be. He wanted to be focused on the pack here, not the wolves back in Mississippi. He didn’t want to think about how afraid of them he was.
Fear put him further on edge. It was hard to concentrate on being human and not wolfing out while he was at school. He had to convince himself that the first chance he got he’d show Derek what he had received. He didn’t need to bring it up before the full moon because there wasn’t anything any of them could do if he did bring it up. What he needed to do was concentrate on his control.
While he was at school, attention was everywhere but where it needed to be. The only person who probably benefitted from his lack of focus was Mr. Harris and he was the most perturbed by it also. There wasn’t much that Stiles could do to please him anyways so there wasn’t much of a reason to try.
His Dad and Ellie already expected him not to come home tonight, so at least he wasn’t lying to them about where he was or what he was doing. The only thing he really had to worry about was getting to Derek’s place and what the full moon would bring.
On his way over, Stiles stopped for a package of curly fries, because they always served to calm his nerves. Don’t judge. They were his comfort food. He might have shoved the last handful in his mouth as he pulled into the driveway and jumped out of his Jeep.
“Dude,” Jackson popped him on the back of the head, the action earned him the same treatment from Danny, “Really? You look like a chipmunk storing up for winter.”
Stiles rolled his eyes, “I was antsy and food calms me down.”
Scott chuckled, “He’s right about that. Stiles can nap hard after he eats. It like calms his soul.”
“Do I really want to know what can calm Stiles’ soul?” Derek asked as he stepped out from his house.
“Food!” Danny piped up helpfully.
“Okay,” Derek nodded, not too sure how to respond to this before he focused his attention on the betas in front of him, “Tonight we need to keep an eye on Stiles.”
“Yes, please,” Stiles nodded, “I do not want to be picking human bones from my teeth come morning time. I’m not down with cannibalism.”
Stiles hid a grin from the snickering that he elicited from his friends, especially on a night like tonight. It was good to see the normally tense posture of Danny relax. Jackson didn’t mind brushing shoulders with Scott and they all just felt like family.
“I need you guys to make sure he doesn’t go off of our territory. I’m going to be keeping an eye out for him but I need to know that you have his back,” Derek supplied ignoring Stiles’ brief interlude, “I don’t want him out of our territory.”
All three of the boys turned to look at each other, confused by the demand but nodded saying they understood what Derek was telling them and would do their best to uphold the alpha’s wishes. Stiles didn’t miss the look they shared but instead of poking the subject until it was dead he had a feeling that he knew why Derek was keeping them within the Hale property. It was because of him.
“So,” Stiles clapped his hands together and shifted back and forth on his feet, “When does this party get started because I’m feeling a little impatient.”
“You’ll know,” Derek grinned at Stiles and nodded to the rest of his betas. They all spread out a good bit from each other and slipped out of the most restricting parts of their clothes and they waited. Stiles looked over to Derek, wondering what he should be doing but he didn’t need to ask.
The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end and his entire body felt like it was collapsing in on him. He could feel the bones in his face changing, morphing into what they needed to be in order to become wolf. His hands tingled, feeling numb and lazy as his fingers extended and claws formed. He felt a burn down his throat and a sting behind his eyes before he felt pure energy rushing through his veins.
Then he felt something different. It was a warmth that spread over his body. The feeling made him want to curl up to whatever was giving him this feeling. He felt like nothing in the world could touch him as long as he kept feeling like this.
Stiles turned to look where Scott, Jackson and Danny were supposed to be standing but they were already gone. Heavy tracks led into the woods and Stiles tilted his head back and took a deep breath in. He let the wildness of their scents fill his lungs. He wanted to chase the scent. He wanted to find his pack. He couldn’t though, not yet.
He turned towards Derek, who stood with his eyes a deep scarlet and focused on Stiles. They stood watching each other. When Derek took a step forwards, Stiles took one back not wanting to challenge Derek. After a few steps, Stiles stood still, not giving up any more ground to the alpha. He waited for Derek to make the first move.
Derek cocked his head to the side and that was enough of a signal to Stiles. Both he and Derek started towards the tree line. Stiles could hear the rush of wind in his ears and smell the browning leaves breaking beneath his feet. His entire body felt loose, relaxed and ready for whatever the night was going to bring. He never felt as good as he did now.
He tore through the trees. He loved the way he could feel his legs stretching, his muscles sliding and his body soaring through the air. He ran faster than he ever believed could be possible. The heavy beat of his heart was exhilarating instead of frightening. He wanted to run as far and as fast as he could. Within a blink of an eye, Danny was by his side, pushing him to go further to test the limits of his body.
Just as quickly as Danny appeared he disappeared. There were happy yips and playful growls that filled his ears as he moved through the woods. He paused at the creek and jumped across it. He landed with a splash before he was running and leaping over downed branches.
Stiles felt the air around him change before he saw both Scott and Jackson rushing at him. He slid across the ground and spun around to head back the way he had come. He looked over his shoulder and saw them hot on his tail.
It became a contest and Stiles wasn’t going to lose. He darted in between trees trying to trip up the other wolves. He was too young and too inexperienced compared to Scott and Jackson. He was tackled from the side and he tumbled against the ground coming to a stop as his body banged against a tree. He let out a breathless cough and he looked into Danny’s smug amber eyes. Danny had come out of nowhere taking him down. Stiles let out a playful growl before he was on his feet and pursuing them through the woods.
He lost track of time after a while. Eventually the burn in his muscles resembled fatigue and the playful banter of howls and growling became quiet. Stiles found himself in front of Derek’s house without realizing where he was headed. Derek was sitting on the porch, the wolf hidden deep down beneath his skin. He stood up and approached
Stiles, he rested his hands on Stiles’ shoulders.
“Tired?” Derek questioned softly.
Stiles nodded, sucking in deep breaths through chapped lips.
“Close your eyes and focus on who you are,” Derek instructed, “Focus on what makes you who you are.”
Stiles let out a frustrated growl. His mind was everywhere else but on himself. He could smell the earth on Derek’s skin and the sweat that had gathered on his arms. He could hear animals heading back to their homes without the threat of predators around. He wanted to turn back around and explore the parts of the woods that he hadn’t seen yet. He didn’t want to focus on who he was supposed to be. He wanted to focus on now.
Stiles didn’t see or hear Derek move. He just felt a pair of hands on his face and his head jerking back so he was staring straight into red eyes. He felt the air rush from his lungs.
“Focus Stiles,” Derek barked and gripped Stiles tighter. “Not on what’s out there. Focus on me and you.”
Stiles grasped Derek’s wrists and breathed in deeply, his eyes locked with Derek’s. He felt sweat on his arms cool and his heart beat slow. His entire body started to cool down and every muscle in his body seemed to sag in relief. His knees fell out from underneath him and Derek’s hands were under Stiles’ arms, “Come on, let’s get some sleep.”
“Scott? Jackson?” Stiles muttered out from behind a yawn, “Danny?”
“Already passed out on the living room floor,” Derek shook his head in amusement, “Come on, you can pile in with them or take the couch.”
Stiles let Derek lead him into the main room before he nodded towards the floor. He wanted to be as close as he could be to pack. He settled in between Scott and Jackson, his head pillowed on Scott’s arm. He watched Derek move around the room until he finally settled onto the couch above them.
Sorry for taking so long to update *cringes* I've been crazy busy with school and work I just haven't had the time for anything besides a little sleep here and there. I probably won't be able to update again until december or so because I'm about to hit the last two weeks of instruction and then finals!
So long time no update, yeah? Sorry about that. I've been beyond busy with work and classes. But, uh, hopefully this makes up for it?
Stiles woke slowly to the feeling of fingertips brushing along his scalp before changing course and sliding through his hair. He couldn’t help but let out of the little hum of contentment. He didn’t have to open his eyes to know that it was Derek’s fingers that were carding through his hair.
“How did you sleep?” Derek whispered so not to bother rest of the pack still snoozing on the floor next to him. Derek’s hand had paused on the crown of Stiles’ head but his fingers spread out leaving a trail of warmth in its wake.
Stiles cracked his jaw from the force of his responding yawn before he answered Derek. “Like a rock.”
Derek snorted in amusement before tapping at Stiles’ forehead. “You should grab a shower before the rest of them wake up. Otherwise you’ll be fighting for hot water.”
Stretching out against the couch Stiles hummed in acknowledgement before standing up and looking down at Derek a little uncomfortable. “I didn’t bring any clean clothes or shower stuff.”
Swinging his legs over the couch and bumping into Stiles’ thighs Derek stood up and gestured from Stiles to follow him upstairs. They were in Derek’s room before Stiles could think about what direction they were going. He watched quietly as Derek pulled out a spare set of sweat pants, boxers and a tee-shirt before opening the bathroom door and gesturing Stiles inside. “I know they’ll be big but it’s better than nothing. Towels are in the cabinet and you can use whatever.”
Stiles just stared at the bathroom doorway where Derek was lingering with clothes in his arms. He couldn’t breathe. He was being offered a place in Derek’s sanctuary without pause. This was something important and Stiles could feel the wolf beneath his skin howling in joy. Stiles skirted around Derek but stopped as soon as Derek reached out and grasped his wrist. “You did good last night. Better than any of us would have thought. You should be proud of your control.”
Stiles ducked his head to hide the blush that was rushing to his cheeks. He reached out and grabbed the offered clothes before he sent a shy smile up to Derek. “I’ll be down in a few minutes.”
Derek waved Stiles off as he backed out of the way and started to close the door. “Don’t rush. It’ll take some time to get breakfast ready.”
Stiles stayed frozen a step away from the door listening to Derek move a few steps and stop. He waited and listened for Derek to move but there was no movement on the other side of the door. Stiles could feel his heart beat quicken in his chest wondering what was going through Derek’s mind. The conversation he had with his Aunt replaying through his head. You might mean just as much as Derek as he means to you. Oh god how he wanted that. More than anything else at the moment, to feel Derek’s hands on him again. Just the thought of those calloused fingertips brushing along his stomach before slowing to rest on his hips had Stiles reaching out to grasp the sink to steady himself. Stiles closed his eyes and took a breath trying to grip on himself. The heat that flared down his chest wasn’t what he was expecting. He wasn’t expecting to feel so stirred.
He tilted his head and stared at the door, as if he could see Derek standing just mere feet away waiting for Stiles to do something. He reached out and laid his hand on the doorknob. He stood still wondering what would happen if he opened the door. He heard the soft pad of Derek’s footsteps towards the bathroom door and air got caught in his lungs. His grip tightened on the door handle and he took a breath waiting for some signal to say that it was okay to do this. He wasn’t alone with this need to be closer to Derek.
The heavy thump and sound of growls broke the moment though. Stiles immediately took a step back and he could hear Derek sigh loudly through the bathroom door. Stiles set his clothes on the bathroom counter and turned the shower on. He inhaled the steam that gathered in the room and felt the muscles in his shoulders slowly uncoil. He hadn’t realized that he had become so tense. Whether it was from the shift from the night before or if it were because of what just transpired between he and Derek he wasn’t sure, but he knew one thing. As soon as he got out of the shower things were going to be different between the two of them.
Peeling off his clothes and stepping into the shower Stiles knew that if he could feel Derek on the other side of the bathroom door, then Derek could feel him just as well. Scrubbing his hands through his hair Stiles let the hot water pulse over his shoulders. He could be normal, act like nothing happened. Because nothing had happened? Right? It was just a moment in time that he believed something was about to happen, but it didn’t. They were still Stiles and Derek, beta and alpha, friends who would always look out for each other no matter what the circumstances. Yeah. They were friends. He could totally work with that.
With a self-deprecating sigh Stiles shook his head. Who was he kidding? Things hadn’t been normal between he and Derek since they got back to Beacon Hills.
Breakfast was more like a feast. Stiles stared in surprise at the actual amount of food that had been set up buffet style on the countertops of the kitchen. There were pancakes, sausages, bacon, toast, eggs made three different ways, fruit salad and in the corner nestled by the refrigerator there was orange juice, milk and apple juice waiting to be devoured.
Derek looked up as soon as Stiles came around the corner fully and smiled. Scott groaned from where he was sitting at the table, “Can we eat now that Stiles is here? I’m starving.”
Stiles chuckled and shook his head knowing if he didn’t get in line first he wouldn’t be eating as much as his stomach was demanding him to eat.
“Yes, we can all eat now.” Derek grabbed a plate and started gathering his food first followed by Stiles and the rest of the pack.
As soon as everyone was sitting around the table Stiles perked up after his first bite of his pancakes. He let out a soft happy moan. “Who made all of this? It’s like heaven on my plate.”
Scott rolled his eyes before he answered. “Derek did most of the cooking but the rest of us pitched in while you were busy getting the first shower.”
Stiles playfully bumped shoulders with Scott in response. “You snooze you lose.”
Danny chuckled before leaning over into Jackson’s space stealing a strawberry off of his plate. He ignored the teasing growl as he popped the strawberry into his mouth. “So Stiles, how was last night?”
Stiles felt the grin on his face before he could fully remember how happy he was during the moon. He slid his eyes towards Derek and noticed the slight pink shade decorating the alpha’s ears before he looked back at Danny to answer the question. “It was awesome. I didn’t think I would have as much fun as I did, even with you lot trying to make me eat dirt half of the night.”
The three boys at the table shared a look that had Stiles more curious than anything. He pointed at them with his fork. “I saw that look. What was that about?”
Stiles shifted his focus towards Derek as if he could get the answers more quickly from him but no one was speaking. They had all ducked their heads down and began shoveling food into their mouths as if no question had been posed to them.
“Uh uh,” Stiles shook his head. “You started it what was that look about?”
Scott was the first one to answer. “My first moon wasn’t fun. It sucked. I was so angry and I didn’t understand what was going on. It could be different for me because was bitten by Peter and didn’t want this at the time but I don’t think the first moon was easy for Jackson or Danny either.”
Danny shook his head. “It wasn’t fun. I uh, I couldn’t control the wolf for the first few moons. All I wanted to do was fight Jackson and Scott.”
Stiles tapped his fingers on the table top before zoning in on Jackson. “What about you? It wasn’t easy for you either?”
Jackson shrugged it off. “I’m not the happiest of people and I have supposed ‘anger’ issues. So no, it wasn’t easy for me. It got better and now it’s fun but was I like you on my first moon? No.”
Derek reached out to rest a hand on Stiles’ arm. “It doesn’t make you any different from us because you had a good first moon, Stiles. You’ve dealt with a lot since Scott’s been turned. You trained with us, listened to the things that helped them find their anchor and find their control. You understood what a wolf goes through before you were turned.”
Stiles set his fork down and stood up from the table taking his plate with him. “Or it could be because of how I was turned and that I wasn’t really ever normal to begin with.”
“Stiles?” Derek stood up not sure what to do with the change of mood.
“Derek,” Stiles set a hand out to stop any potential movement between himself and Derek. “I just, look, it’s a lot to take in right now. You know? With it being the first change and all. I need to go check in with my Dad and Aunt to let them know everything went over okay. I’ll see you guys later. Okay?”
Without thinking about what he was doing, Stiles brushed a hand along Scott, Jackson and Danny’s necks before he moved towards Derek and letting his hand linger on the alpha’s neck for longer than what would be considered normal. He caught Derek’s gaze and let his lips curl upwards for a brief moment before he pulled away. “Thank you.”
He waved to the rest of the pack before grabbing his dirty clothes up off the couch in the living room and heading out the door and to his Jeep. He had barely cranked the engine and made it onto the road before he let out a confused groan. He needed to get home. There he would be able to think without the influence of Derek being near him. He’d figure out why he was so in control while everyone else had issues. It shouldn’t be this easy for him.
Derek stared at the spot that Stiles had just been standing in before he shook himself out of the haze of confusion that had blanketed him. Stiles probably had no idea what he had just done as he was leaving. Touching was something all werewolves did on instinct. A pack shared a scent, saying that they were a family to anyone who came into their territory. What Stiles did by pressing a hand along their necks, was more than just reinforcing pack scent. He was marking the betas as his own.
Derek could feel the wolf forcing itself to the surface. Needing to acknowledge the fact that Stiles was more than a beta. He closed his eyes thinking back to this morning. How he woke up with his hand resting against Stiles cheek and how badly he wanted for Stiles to open the bathroom door and just do something. Anything. Taking a deep breath he looked at the boys sitting at the table just as confused as he was. Danny had his hand on the spot that Stiles had rubbed and Jackson was looking curiously at Derek.
Scott was the first one to say anything with his fork still poised mid-air with egg settled on the prongs of the fork. “What just happened?”
Derek licked his lips, “He’s overwhelmed. You guys remember how different things were the morning after your first moon. You remember how all of your senses were over-sensitized and your thoughts confusing. It’s the same for him no matter how different he may have acted last night while shifted.”
“There’s more than that going on.” Danny thought out loud. “He’s been different since he’s gotten here and been around the pack. None of us were that mellow. We still
aren’t. What’s going on Derek?”
Running his hands over his face and then through his hair Derek shook his head. “I don’t know.”
Derek ignored the way his heart beat harder in his chest and ignored the looks of disbelief from his betas as he headed towards the stairs. “I need a shower and some quiet to figure things out. You guys can hang around as long as you want. Don’t worry about cleaning up. I’ll get to it later.”
“Dude, you can’t just leave us in the dark here. It’s Stiles!” Scott shot up from his seat and his hands curled into angry fists at his sides.
“Right now I’m not sure what’s going on Scott. It could have to do with the fact that he was bitten by two alphas or that he helped every one of you deal with finding your own anchors so you could gain control. It could be something else. I don’t know why Stiles is so different from you guys but does it matter? Stiles is good, everything that’s been happening to his wolf wise since changing has been a good thing. Not bad. Stop worrying and let it be.”
When Scott moved to protest Derek held a hand out, “For now. As soon as we figure this out you will know. You’re my pack, we’re pack, so I’m not going to leave you in the dark about this.”
“Promise,” Scott’s voice dropped low and threatening. “Promise you will tell us what’s going on. If it affects Stiles it affects us too.”
Derek felt a slice of pride in the fact that Scott was standing up so vividly for a pack mate but at the same time he wished Scott would have just let it go. This was between himself and Stiles. He didn’t need someone to mess Stiles up and get afraid or anxious. He didn’t want to lose Stiles before he had a chance to have him.
Looking Scott in the eye Derek didn’t let his voice waver. “I promise.”
Both his Dad and Aunt were sitting in the living room waiting for him to come home. Stiles stopped in the archway and waited for them to turn around. He watched the way his dad wrung his hands together and his Aunt picked at her fingernails. He gave in and stepped loudly into the room. Both of them stood up from the couch and spun around to face him. His dad was first around the couch wrapping his arms around Stiles.
“Glad to see you in one piece.”
Stiles chuckled, “Such little faith you have in me.”
Stiles’ chuckle grew in intensity as his Aunt pried his dad away and wrapped her arms just as tightly around him. “How was it? Did you run into any trouble? Did Derek take care of you? Whose clothes are you wearing? You didn’t get hurt did you? You have to tell us all about your night.”
Stiles pulled away and collapsed in the recliner before bothering to answer any of her questions. “First everything went really awesome. The only thing I had a problem with was shifting back earlier this morning. Derek talked me through it so yeah he took care of me Ellie. These are also his clothes. I needed something to borrow after I showered so he let me borrow these. I didn’t get hurt and there wasn’t any trouble. I actually had fun. Which apparently was weird but when is anything normal when I’m involved?”
“What was weird about having a good time?” His Dad asked.
Stiles rubbed at his eyes and let out a heavy sigh. “Just, apparently everyone else had a rough time during their first moon. I didn’t. I’m not questioning it. Not right now because you know as soon as I do something bad is going to happen.”
Ellie hummed underneath her breath and Stiles focused on her before she held her hands up in surrender. “Just remember what we were talking about yesterday? Do you think it might have something to do with that?”
Tangling his fingers together, Stiles stared at the floor in front of him before he answered. “I think that it has everything to do with why things went so smoothly.”
“What were you guys talking about yesterday?” His Dad asked at a loss of what they were talking about.
Stiles looked up at his Aunt with wide eyes. Really? He was going to have to talk about this with his Dad. His Aunt just shrugged her shoulders as if to say, ‘your call’. Stiles let out an awkward cough before he finally gave in. “The connection between me and Derek.”
“What connection? His Dad let out a groan already knowing that things were about to get more complicated than he ever wanted.
“Just,” Stiles flailed for a moment before coming up with a somewhat coherent explanation. “When he’s around I’m a lot calmer. I feel safer around him than I do with the other guys. Even Scott. When he says things are going to work out or he’s going to figure something out I actually believe him. I don’t think he’s just placating me. I think that’s influencing the way things are working out for me as a werewolf.”
The Sheriff looked down at his son and then looked towards his sister before let out a exasperated sigh and sitting on the couch across from where Stiles was sitting in the recliner and starting ticking things off on his fingers. “So let me get this straight. He turned you and now you’re part of his pack. So you should be influenced by him but what
your feeling or how you’re reacting isn’t normal to feel for your alpha? I got that right?”
Both Ellie and Stiles nodded their heads and let him continue on thinking out loud. “So you’re feeling calmer around him, more grounded is what I assume you mean. You feel safe around him?”
Stiles nodded hesitantly and responded in a soft whisper. “Like if he’s around and I’m in trouble he’ll do whatever he can to make sure I’m okay. That he would even risk his own life for mine.”
His dad blinked slowly before asking his next question. “Would you do the same for him?”
There wasn’t any hesitation in the answer Stiles gave his Dad. The words tumbled from his lips without any consideration from his brain. “Without a doubt.”
“I think you know exactly what’s going on you’re just afraid to actually digest it.” His Dad offered before standing up. “Get some sleep kid. I doubt the couple of hours you got from sunrise and now were enough. Just get some rest and don’t think about it too much.”
It wasn’t until his Dad had mentioned getting more sleep that Stiles realized he was actually still tired. He moved around the coffee table to get one more hug from his Dad and Aunt before heading up to bed.
As he curled up under the covers Stiles couldn’t stop thinking about Derek. He blamed it on the fact that he had used Derek’s soap and shampoo and was still dressed in the borrowed clothes. There were so many questions running through his mind that he wanted the answers for but his Dad was right. He was afraid of the answers. Afraid of what might happen if they weren’t the answers he was looking for or if Derek didn’t feel the same pull that Stiles did.
The next week had been quiet. Derek called to check up on him but he never outright bothered Stiles. They went on business as usual until Stiles got the mail a week from the full moon. There was a letter with his name and address but not return address in the top right corner. Stile could feel his hands shaking as he slid a finger beneath the seal of the
envelope and pulled out the letter.
Two bites from two different alphas and you made it through the moon. It’ll make it that much richer when we make you ours. To have you is a strength that any pack would kill for.
Stiles let the paper flutter to the floor in front of him and he stood there staring at it. Every muscle in his body was frozen stiff. The words continued to haunt his mind as his heart
beat harder and harder. Each breath became smaller and smaller. His world was slowly fading towards black.
There was a pounding on his door and before Stiles could register that he should do something the door was bursting inwards towards him. He looked up and met Derek’s red eyes. He still didn’t move.
“Stiles!” Derek grasped Stiles’ chin in his hands. “Stiles, what’s wrong?”
Stiles looked at Derek before he moved close and curled his hands into the back of Derek’s shirt in a tight hug. “They aren’t going to give up. Are they?”
Derek caught sight of the letter lying on the floor behind Stiles and could just barely make out what had been written before he was holding Stiles just as tightly as Stiles was holding on to him. “Just because I’m in Beacon Hills and part of your pack they aren’t going to give up.”
“I won’t let anything happen to you.” Derek’s words were soft but the meaning behind them sent a thrill done Stiles’ spine. He looked up into Derek’s eyes and felt his entire world shift. His heart rate had evened out the moment Derek had wrapped him in his arms but now, Stiles could feel the static in the air. This was exactly what he felt waiting for Derek to open the door.
Rising to his toes, Stiles rubbed his cheek against Derek’s and breathed deeply of the man’s scent, trying to etch it into his memory. He felt the way Derek stiffened for the briefest of moments before he relaxed and moved with Stiles, letting Stiles mark him. With the smallest of movements, Derek tilted his head back and Stiles let his nose brush against the column of throat that Derek exposed to him. His lips brushed against Derek’s shoulder and he licked his lips, capturing the taste.
Stiles reveled in the way Derek’s fingers curled tightly against his hips, brushing against over-heated skin. Stiles repeated the motion, drowning in Derek’s scent and pressing as close as he could to the man before him. With his lips next to Derek’s ear, Stiles whispered, “Tell me to stop.”
Derek let out a moan before he reached a hand up to the back of Stiles’ neck and tilted his head further back letting Stiles have complete control over whatever was going to happen between the two of them. His entire body shook with want when Stiles pressed a hot open mouthed kiss below his ear and moved until his teeth were resting right over Derek’s pulse point. Darting his tongue out, Stiles moaned at how quickly Derek’s heart was beating.
Pulling away Stiles took in Derek’s blown pupils, hazel verging on turning red. He could tell Derek was starting to lose control and that excited Stiles even more. Stiles let his fingers dip beneath Derek’s shirt, before resting just under the band of his jeans. Stiles nosed his way from Derek’s throat to the corner of his lips and paused trying to catch his breath. It didn’t matter he wanted. Oh god how he wanted. He pressed his lips against Derek’s before slowly parting them. He could feel the heat of Derek’s breath mingling with his own and his body moved on its own accord. With a hand at the back of Derek’s neck and the other at his waist, Stiles let his lips move against Derek’s urging for more than a simple press of lips against lips.
With a whoosh of breath, the tables had been reversed. Derek had Stiles pinned against the wall, his lips marking a trail of fire up Stiles’ neck. Just below Stiles jawline Derek gave a quick nip before was kissing Stiles before he could register the pain. The taste of Derek made Stiles want more. He was so lost in the man before him. The taste, the feel of having Derek this way made his heart beat heavily in chest.
When Derek pulled away and rested his head on Stiles’ shoulder, Stiles let out a soft whimper at the loss. Derek pressed on last kiss to Stiles’ lips before stepping back and picking up the letter off of the floor. “Your Dad.” Was the only explanation he gave Stiles before heading towards the back door. With one last look at Stiles Derek crumpled the paper in his hand, “We’re going to take care of this.”
Stiles nodded as he watched Derek dart out the back door and across the yard. With a deep breath he slid down the wall he had been pinned to moments before. After a few minutes Stiles heard what Derek had heard, his Dad’s cruiser pulling into the driveway. The thought of his dad seeing him so debauched wasn’t something Stiles wanted to experience so he darted up the stairs and into his room. As soon as he sat on his bed, Stiles felt like every muscle in his body had turned to jelly. He fell back on his bed and curled into the pillows.