It was late. Much later than he had been planning on being. Between Jackson freaking kanamaing out, and Scott almost dying, he wasn't in a rush to get home. So it was no surprise to him to see the living room light on. His dad was probably waiting to chew him out not only for breaking curfew, but for getting him fired.
His heart paned as the thought crossed his head. His dad loved being the Sheriff. He loved getting out there and protecting people. And it was also how his parents had met. Of course, now he had gone and ruined that for him. All because he hadn't told him the truth. His dad was the Sheriff. He deserved to know.
His dad would probably get a little upset. Who wouldn't? He'd, they'd been lying to him for a year now. But his father would understand. He always did. With his mind made up, Stiles braced himself and entered the house.
“Dad?” He called lightly as he paced through the house. He found his father sitting at the kitchen table with an almost empty whiskey bottle in front of him - no glass. His dad eyed him, but said nothing. Instead he reached for the bottle in front of him and took another swig.
“Can we talk?” Stiles asked, tentatively.
His dad pointed to the chair in front of him. Stiles sat down and reached for the whiskey cap. The world always seemed less intimidating when he had something he could do with his hands. “I owe you an explanation.”
“You're damn right you do!” His father said finally breaking his silence. “What the hell is going on with you?! Are you on drugs? Is that it?”
“No!” Stiles looked his dad in the eyes. “Dad, you know I don't mess with that stuff.”
“Then what the hell is it? Because I don't know what is going on in your head anymore. You've always been a little bit of a rascal, but damn it Stiles, you've pushed it too far this time.”
Stiles twiddled the cap in his fingers before setting it down on the table and twisting it so that it spun.
“Stiles! Pay attention!” His dad said as he smacked the bottle top to the floor. Stiles jumped and watched it roll across the floor before coming to a rest in front of the fridge.
“First you keep showing up at crime scenes. Then you stole a police van! And you kidnapped somebody! My sixteen year old son has a restraining order against him! Do you understand? Are you comprehending this?”
Stiles didn't answer. He couldn't look up. He understood the fact that his dad had lost his job because of him. His reputation was permanently marred.
He was pulled from his thoughts by a chair scraping across the floor. His dad walked unsteadily around the table till he was standing right behind his son. “Now I want some answers.” Fingers drummed on the back of the chair. “If you're not on drugs, what is it.”
Stiles fiddled in his pocket with his keys for a moment before pulling them out. “This is going to sound a little crazy, Dad, but you've got to listen to the whole story.”
The Sheriff narrowed his eyes before pulling out the chair next to Stiles. “Talk.”
Stiles flipped his keys over between his fingers. “Remember the Hale murder?” His house key was looking really dingy-all the paint had started to chip off.
"Well. You were right. Scott and I were both there.” He should get a new one at the hardware store this weekend. “Only after you made me go home, Scott was there alone.” Maybe they'd have some new designs. “And something happened.” Their current selection was really pitiful. Last time he'd ended up getting one that was black and sparkly simply for the fact that it was fun to play with when he was bored.
His dad nodded at him to continue when he remained silent. Stiles took a deep breath. Right. Like a band-aid. “Scott's a werewolf.” His dad slammed his chair back.
“Do I look like I'm in the mood for jokes?!” his dad yelled. “I've had enough of your 'jokes', Stiles! I thought you were ready to give me some answers, not feed me more lies”
“I am telling you the truth. Scott is a werewolf. So is Derek! And...”
His dad slammed his hands on the table, making Stiles flinch, and then pointed a finger at his son.
“No, Stiles. I don't want to hear any more of your bullshit! I'm tired of being lied to. I'm done.”
He pushed himself off of the table, he turned to exit the room.
The teen dropped his keys on the table, and turned to run after his father. “Dad, wait. I swear I'm telling you the truth!” He grabbed his father's arm to stop him just as he reached the door. The Sheriff turned and pushed Stiles hard in the chest as he ripped his arm away.
“Stiles!” he cried as he watched his son flail backwards with the force of the push. Stiles grunted in pain as his face connected with the table before hitting the ground. The world spun. Dazed, he rolled over and looked up at his dad. Horror dawning in his face. His dad had just hit him. He'd never raised a hand to him before. Never. Until now.
“Stiles,” his father, voice filled with pain, said as he stepped towards him. Stiles dragged himself up using the chair he'd narrowly missed, before scrambling away.
“I was telling the truth. I didn't lie.” Stiles said through a sob, and then tore through the room and out the back door.
“Stiles, wait!” he said chasing after his son, but it was too late. By the time he got to the door, Stiles had jumped the back fence and could have gone anywhere.
The Sheriff dragged a hand over his face. He'd lost his job, drank more whiskey than should be humanly possible, and then hit his son. He screamed and threw the whiskey bottle across the room. It shattered on the wall, knocking down the family portrait that his wife had placed there years before. He crossed the room and picked up the picture frame. A small sob bubbled up.
The three of them had been so happy. He remembered that day. They had all put on their Sunday best, determined to get nice pictures for that year's Christmas card. Stiles couldn't have been more than four, and had refused to shut up long enough for them to get a decent picture; he'd babbled the whole way through. But his eyes were sparkling and he held onto both of his parents hands from the stool they'd placed him on.
“I like it. It looks real.” his wife had said as they flipped through the pictures. “Just wait. When he's a teenager, he'll never talk to us. We'll miss these days.”
And now they were a broken family. Blood and tears mixed together as he ran his fingers up and down the cracked glass.
- - - - -
Stiles flopped down on the side of the road. In his rush to get away from his dad, he'd left his keys on the table where he'd thrown them. He couldn't breathe. His chest hurt, his feet hurt, and his face hurt. His side hurt from running all the way from his house to Scott's, only to remember that Scott was hurt. And there was no way that he'd be at home or with Alison after the stunt that her family had pulled.
He wheezed as headlights pulled into view and ducked into the shadows. He knew it wasn't his dad; his dad would never drive drunk. But that didn't mean that he wouldn't call some of his friends up to look for his wayward son.
Scott wasn't answering his phone, but he had to be at the train station. Maybe he couldn't answer his phone. Maybe he was dead. Maybe Stiles' whole life was ruined.
He forced those thoughts out of his head. His cheek twinged as he wiped his tears away. “Come on Stiles. Pull yourself together. The train station's not that far. Only 7 miles. You can do that. You've done worse for Lacrosse.” The teen grimaced before starting out slowly.
The sky was just starting to turn pink when he stumbled into the train station. Every part of him hurt so much that it almost didn't hurt at all. Was that possible, because he certainly felt numb.
“Scott?” He called, wincing as his voice echoed, distorted, back at him. “Derek? Anyone?” He waited, but no one answered him - He was alone. A scream tore it's way out of his throat. Why was it that when anyone else needed someone, he was always there? But the minute he needed someone, no one could be found.
And just like that, the dam broke. All of his pent up emotions from the past few hours burst to the surface. He slid against the wall, drawing his knees to his chest, and sobbed. It was ugly, and it hurt. Each breath caused him pain but he couldn't stop. Everything already ached, what was a little more pain?
He wasn't sure how long it'd been, but when he came to, he realized that he'd been moved, and there were bodies wrapped around him. Erica had pulled him into her lap, and was shushing him as she rubbed circles into his back. Isaac's head was rested his legs and he was mindlessly running his hands up and down them.
He snuffled and was surprised how sore his throat was. A panic attack, his mind supplied to him. He moaned and tried to sit up. He nearly threw up as the movement sent a violent burst of pain through his face.
“Ow Ow Ow.” he said bringing a hand up to his face. Just how hard had he hit that table?
The teens wrapped around him stilled when they heard footsteps, but relaxed shortly after. Derek crouched in front of him and offered him a water bottle. Stiles took it gratefully and chugged half of the bottle in one go. His cheek protested at the movement, but he was grateful that at least his throat felt a little better.
“What happened?” Derek asked him.
Stiles pushed the alpha's concern aside momentarily. “Where's Scott?” his voice cracked, and Derek raised an eyebrow at him. Stiles sighed and drank the last of the water.
“Deaton is watching over him. He should be okay in time. Boyd is there. If anything changes, he'll let me know.” Stiles filed away that information and looked up to catch Derek watching him. He reached out a hand and brushed it over the bruise that had blossomed over his cheek. Stiles flinched at the touch.
“My dad,” Stiles started, only to be interrupted when Isaac shot up and growled. “He didn't mean to.” he said in a pacifying voice, reaching up to grab Isaac's arm. The werewolf sat down and reluctantly resumed his position. Stiles threaded a hand through the other boy's hair.
“My dad got fired today.” he said through pursed lips. “Apparently it make the department look bad when the Sheriff has a teenage delinquent for a son.”
“So, what, he hit you?” Derek growled
“No, no. That came later. I, uh.” he sighed. “I tried to explain to him what was actually going on.” a bitter laugh escaped. “He said he was tired of my bullshit jokes.” He pushed Isaac's hair wrong ways before straightening it out.
“I tried to make him sit down and listen to me, but he pushed me.” he threw his hands up. “and I fell right into the table. Way to go Stiles. Full of grace and tallent as always” His hands found their way back down to Isaac's head. “He said,” his breath hitched, “My dad said he was done with me.” He couldn't stop the tears that escaped. Erica nuzzled his neck before hugging him from behind.
“I'm trying so hard! I just want to make him proud of me. And I can't. I can't do this!” he sobbed. Erica and Isaac whimpered at his pain and tried to pull him closer. Derek's eyes flashed red, and he was gone.
“Shh” Erica said as she rocked him back and forth. “It's going to be okay. You're going to be okay.”
- - - - -
Derek tore into the Stilinski house, not even bothering to knock. He sniffed the air before walking towards the kitchen. The former Sheriff was sitting at the table, no doubt the one that he'd knocked his son into. The smell of whiskey hung heavily in the air, emanating from the man in front of him. The same man who had yet to recognize his presence.
Derek growled loudly, and tore the older man from the chair. “Let's talk.” The alpha said as he slammed him backwards into the wall.
“You!” he said instinctively reaching down for the gun that was no longer there.
“Yeah. Me.” Derek said, baring his teeth. “You know, Stiles is always talking about you. He's so proud of you: the big, bad, Sheriff Stilinski. Keeping the town safe, without a clue of what's actually going on. And how do you repay him?”
Derek dragged him away from the wall and shoved him down onto the table. “You throw him into a table. It's not so fun to be on the receiving end, is it?”
“Hold on, I never meant to...”
“But you did!” Derek growled, lowly. “I've never had a more competent pack member. Let alone a human one. And the only thing that's keeping me from tearing you limb from limb right now is the fact that Stiles loves you so much. He'd never forgive me.”
Derek released his hold on the older man and stood up. He watched the older man pick himself up as he walked across the table and took a seat. The werewolf motioned to the seat across from him. “Let's talk. Sit down.”
Stilinski rubbed his eyes before pulling out the chair.
“Now, I don't know what Stiles told you. But I have no doubt he told you the truth.”
“You expect me to believe that you think you're a werewolf?”
“Not think. I am.” Derek let himself wolf-out. Not all the way, but enough to convince the man in front of him.
The Sheriff jumped. “Holy mother of God.”
Derek reigned his wolf back. “Werewolves are real. There are several of us around Beacon Hills. My family were all werewolves, until they were killed by a crazy hunter.”
“The house fire all those years ago.”
Derek nodded grimly. “Stiles didn't tell you this because he wanted to protect you.”
“There's something else out there too. There's a shape shifter out there called a Kanima. It's the one hurting people. Someone's controlling it, and we're trying to catch them. The boys want to save him. The hunters want to kill it.”
Derek cursed himself for letting that slip. “We know who the Kanima is. But the boy has no idea what he is. Scott and Stiles are trying to help him.”
“But it's hard to help someone you've got a restraining order against?”
Derek's head shot up in surprise. “You guys may have kept me in the dark, but I am, or was, the Sheriff for a reason. I know how to put two and two together to get four.”
The silence stretched between them. “You said the boys were trying to save him. I noticed that you conspicuously left yourself out of that.”
“I don't think he can be saved.” Derek's eyes flashed. “The people he killed, he was able to kill because of me. I bit him, and it's my responsibility to stop him.”
“You bit Jackson? What about Scott? Stiles?”
“Jackson wanted the bite. After he saw what it did to Scott, he came to me. But something went wrong. And now someone is controlling him, and using him to kill people.” Derek took a deep breath while he figured out how to word the next part.
“My uncle, he was an Alpha. Alphas can turn people. And he was the one who bit Scott. He was the one who killed my sister. He bit Lydia. Peter tried to bite Stiles, but he turned him down and fought him off. Long story short, Peter died, and now I'm the Alpha.”
Stilinski rubbed his forehead. “So, ignoring Coma-Uncle, which you will tell me about later” Derek made a face. “You're telling me that I've got a bunch of teenage shape-shifters running around my town? And you're biting people to make more?”
“Kinda? Lydia didn't turn into a werewolf. We think she's immune. Jackson is a mutated werewolf. So in actuality, you've only got... four teenage werewolves and one other shape-shifter running around town. And for the record, I'm not my uncle. I only bite people who want to be bitten. Stiles doesn't want to be turned.”
The older man eyed him thoughtfully. “But you want him to turn.”
“What?” Derek said, caught off guard.
“When you came in, you said that you had never had a more competent pack member than Stiles. Now Son, correct me if I'm wrong. But shouldn't pack members be werewolves?”
Derek shifted in his seat. “Not necessarily. Scott's pack was made up of him, Alison, and Stiles. They're both human.”
“Scott isn't in your pack?”
“He is now. But he wasn't always. There's too many threats right now to be a lone wolf.”
“Now hold on. Too many threats? I thought the Kanima was the only thing y'all were worried about?”
“Kate Argent murdered my family and then tried to finish the job last year. Hunters are supposed to stick to a code - We don't hurt innocents, and they don't hurt us. Chris usually sticks to it. The rest of the Argent family, they tend to stretch the rules, if not outright break them. Scott almost died tonight because Alison's mom tried to kill him for dating her daughter. And I'm half convinced that Gerard is the one controlling the Kanima.”
“Wait, wait. Go back. Scott almost died? Just what the hell are you getting these kids into?”
“I'm not getting these kids into anything. I'm trying to keep them alive. I'm teaching them how to defend themselves, how to be safe. Hell, they're safer now as werewolves then they ever were as humans.” Derek pounded his fist on solid wood, and realized that at some point, he'd stood up and hunched over the table.
The Sheriff didn't back down, instead, he looked pointedly at the seat that Derek had recently vacated.
“And what about my son?” He murmured in a low voice after he had allowed the younger man a moment to collect himself. “He's not a werewolf. He's a human. And you're dragging him in the way of monsters and murderers!”
Derek scoffed. “You think that I haven't tried to stop him? Stiles does what he wants regardless of what I say.”
“Sounds familiar” The former sheriff muttered.
“Look, I do my best to keep him safe. Stiles is special. And I won't let anything happen to him.”
The eldest Stilinski met Derek's eyes, his attention piqued.
“Your son is one of the best things to happen to me. And if you ever hurt him again... I'll hurt you back.”
Stilinski stood up and walked until he reached the window. Derek shifted in his chair so that he could still see him.
“Believe me. If I could take this day back and start over, I would. I was angry, and I made a mistake. Most importantly, I broke a promise. You know anything about mistakes, Derek?”
The alpha didn't speak, but the answer flickered across his eyes.
Leaning against the wall, he eyed the man sitting at his table. “Normally I'd say that you're a little young for a face like that...”
“You're never too young for stupid.” Derek smiled bitterly.
“It doesn't matter how old you are, people will always make mistakes.” he shrugged. “The important things are the lesson that we take away from them, the promises we make to ourselves that we're not going to fuck up like that again. You know,” he said as he pushed himself off of the wall, “I made my wife a promise before she died. I told her that I'd always protect our son. And then I went and hurt him. Now, if everything you told me is true, I'm learning that I can't protect him.”
The elder crouched down so that he was eye level with the werewolf. “I want you to swear to me that my son is safe will you.”
Derek didn't hesitate. “I swear that I'd die before I let something hurt him.”
The Sheriff sighed and closed his eyes. “You can't make that promise. Stiles is going to get hurt. Just, keep him alive. Please?”
Derek ran his tongue across his teeth before nodding. Stiles' father, apparently satisfied, stood and walked to the door.
“Wait.” Derek called. The other man turned around. Derek stood and offered a hand to Stilinski. “Keep him safe together?”
The former Sheriff smiled and shook Derek's hand. “Deal.”
Derek started towards the back door, but paused. Looking over his shoulder, he asked “You want to see him?”
- - - - -
Stiles groaned and pulled his shirt over his head. Why had he ever thought that playing strip poker with a bunch of werewolves was a good idea? Probably because there was a gap in what he knew, and what he actually knew. And after the night that he'd just had, he thought that he could be excused a little lap in judgment.
“You guys suck.”
Erica laughed as she snatched the shirt out of his hands. “It's like taking candy from a baby.”
“Maybe we should take pity on him.” Isaac laughed as Erica waved the shirt in front of Stiles, keeping it just out of his grasp.
“Take pity my ass. Stupid, cheating, werewolves. I'd like to see you beat me at any video game.”
“Oh, I'll take you on” Isaac puffed.
“Bring it wolf-boy. I'll kick your ass.”
“Please. I'm not scared of you.”
“I would be if I were you.” a voice called from the back of the train station. “My son practically breathes video games.”
“Dad!” Stiles breathed. Erica immediately held out the shirt to him, and he quickly grabbed it.
“This isn't what it looks like?” he said as he fumbled his shirt on.
“Really?” he asked with a quirked eyebrow “Because it looks to me like you lost horribly at strip poker.”
“Well then.” Stiles quipped, “this is exactly what it looks like. Um. Dad, what are you doing. Here. In our creepy, abandoned train station?”
Derek chose that moment to step forward. “I showed him where to go.”
Stiles felt his breath catch in his throat when he was motioned over, but he instinctively moved to his father.
“Dad,” he hesitated, but found himself pulled against his father's chest in a tight hug. He melted immediately.
“Oh Sty. I'm sorry kiddo. Never again.”
Stiles stepped back far enough to look his father in the eyes. “You believe me?”
“I do now. And from now on, no more secrets or lies. I might not be able to do much. But I'd rather think that my son was out there protecting the town, instead of kidnapping his classmates. Okay?”
Stiles nodded. “Yeah. Okay.”
His father stared at him pointedly. “Son. When you left the house, I'm pretty sure you had pants.”
The hyperactive teen fiddled with the hem of his boxers. “Well Dad. When you make a stupid mistake with a werewolf, you tend to end up with no pants.”
Derek choked on his breath, and the group turned to stare at him. Stilinski raised an eyebrow before turning back to his son. “You were saying?”
“Uh. I mean. Strip poker with living lie detectors was probably not the best choice. Those two were clearly not ready for such an awesome, yet terrifying gift.”
Isaac rolled his eyes before throwing a pair of jeans across the station.
“Ow!” Stiles cried as they hit him in the back of the head. “CLEARLY NOT READY. You see what I've been dealing with?” he said to his father who laughed.
“It's good for you. Reminds me of my family when we were growing up.”
“It took us a while to get here.” Derek murmured.
Stiles shrugged. “Well, we're pack. Families always have a little trouble, but when it comes down to it, we're there for each other.” Ignoring the look on Derek's face, he finished zipping up his jeans and turned to the others.
“Now what did you jerkfaces do with my shoes?” Stiles wandered back towards the rest of his pack, snarking the whole way.
“We're not finished here.” Stilinski said. “There's still a lot that you haven't told me.”
“I know.” Derek said.
“Stiles trusts you. That's good enough for me. Come over some time next week. We'll have coffee. Discuss strategy.”
“Derek. One more thing. If you love him half as much as I think you do, you'll wait.”
The alpha spluttered. “What?”
“Stiles will be graduating in two years. If he agrees, you can date him when he's seventeen. You will not have sex, period, until he's eighteen.”
Derek flushed. “I. I haven't even asked him out yet.”
“I saw the way your face changed when he said he was part of your pack. However,” He held up a finger. “Stiles isn't ready. You take advantage of my son, and I will find out just how much it takes to kill you.”
Memories of Kate filtered behind Derek's eyes. When he was sixteen, he thought he knew what love felt like. And that emotion had gotten his home burned down. His pack killed. His life ruined. That love tasted like ash in his heart. He refused to be the one who put that feeling in Stiles. “I can't do that to him. I won't”
Stiles' father narrowed his eyes. “You sound like you're speaking from experience.”
Derek shook his head. “It's a story for another time.” he turned his attention to the bedraggle bunch of were-teens.
“It seems like there's a lot that I don't know yet.”
“There's a lot that none of us know. I feel like we're trying to build a jigsaw that's missing a bunch of pieces and has no picture.” He smirked. “I'm starting to sound like him, aren't I?”
The former-Sheriff nodded. “Yes you are. It's not necessarily a bad thing. I seem to recall you being rather quiet the last few times that we met.”
“I was innocent.” Derek huffed. “And I blame your son for that. I don't care if they thought I was dead or not. Being arrested sucks.”
“Well, at least it's something you two can bond over. Time spent in jail cells for the good of the pack.”
“I don't suppose I can have one of those cells to throw him in anytime he pulls a reckless stunt?”
“Good luck. I've been threatening him with that since he was ten. I'm pretty sure he's made copies of all of my keys by now.”
“Guess I'll just have to keep an eye on him at all times.”
”That had better be all you keep on him.”
Stiles popped up behind the two and wrapped an arm around both of their shoulders.
“Dad? What did you do to Derek? I've never seen his face turn that color before.”
“Oh nothing. We were just talking. Remember what I said. And don't forget, coffee!” the two headed towards the door. “How did you get here?”
“I walked.” Stiles said with a shrug. “It's not that far. Come on, a walk will do you good. Get the blood pumping.”
“You've already got me eating veggie burgers. I'm not about to start doing this every day.” His father complained as they set out on the path.
“Oh please. You think I don't know that you're going to be out here every day? Just don't lead the Argents to us. I'm starting to like the train station. The roof doesn't leak nearly as bad as the Hale house did.”
His father sighed. “I'll do my best not to lead the crazy werewolf hunters to the nest full of werewolves.”
“Den dad. Wasps have nests, Werewolves have dens”
“What did you do, Google werewolves?”
“No! Yes. Well I went to the library! There was Latin. Which I googled. And Lydia'd”
“I keep hoping that someone's going to tell me that this was all a really weird dream.”
“Welcome to my world, Dad. Sometimes I still think that this is a whipped cream, cheeze-it, Mountain Dew induced coma.”
His father made a disgusted face at the combination. “Now just where have you been hiding all of that stuff?”
“Nowhere Dad. The junk food is just a dream. We'll have a fruit leather when we get to the house.”
“I think after this walk I deserve something besides a fruit leather.” His father grumbled.
“Well too bad. Because you're having a fruit leather and then we're going to bed.”
His father scoffed. “You're pretty bossy for a kid.”
“Yeah, well, I learned from the best. Now come on, we have a lot to finish before the sun makes everything really hot.”
Stiles smiled when he felt his father wrap an arm around him as they walked. At least for the moment, everything felt alright again.