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The really bad thing was that Stiles listened to it too.

He hadn’t meant to – hell, if he had had a choice in the matter his very hyperactive self would have begged not to let him hear his best friend comingling with the ultimate enemy, because that’s what Gerard was – the enemy, the worst of all of them, worse than Chris or Derek or even Matt at this point.

And Scott was working with him.

After having managed to get out of the police station – his father thankfully alive and well, and apparently being the sheriff again, as he was pretty much the only survivor of the longest night of all times – Stiles couldn’t remember much of how things had gone down. Matt was dead, and Jackson was AWOL again, and Lydia had gone missing from her party not to be seen again, and Scott’s mother was apparently in the know of Scott’s furry situation, but the main point of it all was: Scott was working with the enemy. With the guy who wanted to screw them all over.

Stiles was pretty much at boiling point – if this was about Allison he swore to God he wouldn’t help Scott again, never ever again. There were limits to what a guy was willing to do to help his best friend, but allying himself with the creepy enemy in the name of love was not something Stiles was willing to do.

That was pretty much the reason why he was skulking around town, risking being mauled or killed or arrested or a combination of all of them, to seek Scott out, to try to give him a chance to redeem himself. Why was he such an idiot, anyway? Did Scott possess no brains at all? Did he think he was Edward Cullen? Because Allison had nothing of Bella Swan in her as far as Stiles was concerned, the chick had tried to kill Derek, and almost succeeded too. And Derek wasn’t the best guy out there, but he had always come to their rescue when they needed, had he needed them back or not. It just wasn’t decent to leave him to his own fate the way Scott had – that, and the way Scott had simply forgotten all about him too back in the police station.

What if his paralyses hadn’t vanished? There had been so much gunfire going on, so many shots and terrible things happening, and not even once had Scott come to his rescue. Not that he was a damsel in distress type of guy, but come on. Scott sometimes seemed to forget what Matt had pointed out that very night – out of all of them, the only one without creeper killing skills or a supernatural power was him. He was the brains of the thing, but there’s only so much brains can do when you can’t move, your father is unconscious on the floor, there’s a freaking Kanima on the loose, a psychopath with a gun angsting away and trying to kill everyone, and werewolf hunters all over the place.

Not the best place for a 100% human to be.

So, yeah, his dad was back at the station trying to puzzle the thing out, and trying to explain away all the deaths and misery, and it was all chalked up to psycho Matt, who they had found in a lake, drowned. Matt was a bastard and a creep and a psycho, but Stiles felt there was something very off about his whole suicide thing. Especially because no one can actually kill themselves by drowning without an aid to keep themselves under water – and Matt didn’t have anything on his body.

Things kept on getting crazier and crazier, and he needed just a tiny little bit of normalcy. A scrap of his old life back.

He needed to hear Scott explain what the hell he had been doing passing information to Gerard Argent of all people.

It wasn’t morning yet, the day was at that strange stage where the light is trying to come through, but the darkness doesn’t quite want to let it go, and everything is an orangey tone of blue, if that is at all possible – and he is going after Scott, who had apparently thought that hiding out at the old Hale place was very nice, because his talk to his mom hadn’t exactly been the best, as far as Stiles had gathered from their rushed exchange of texts on the phone. Scott didn’t sound like himself either, and maybe things had really gotten bad with Mrs. McCall.

It couldn’t be pleasant for a mother to see her son change and shift and basically become a wolf in front of her. But even then, the Hale place? Really? The hiding hole of Derek, taken away from him by the creep Argents? Really, Scott?

Anyway, he needed to sort this out, and that’s where Scott had said he was, and that’s where Stiles is going to, because he needs to believe there is a viable explanation for Scott’s betrayal of the pack he was allegedly helping.

Stiles doesn’t want to think about it from that angle either, because the betrayal of a whole pack seems a lot harder to forgive than just making the wrong choice.

He goes as far as he can on his jeep, and then gets out of it, staring at that creepy house in the distance. He doesn’t have any kind of werewolf super sense to help him see what could be waiting for him there, so he just walks to it – what else can he do?

“Scott?” He calls, and the answer was so not what he is expecting it to be. 

A snarl.

“Scott?” He calls again, looking around the darkened place, and feeling a chill run down his spine, and not the good kind either.

Something shuffles at a corner, and Stiles moves cautiously towards it, thinking maybe his friend is still wolfed out? Because of the fool moon and being upset?

“Hey, buddy, mind moving to the light a bit? I’m not going to the dark corner of a horror movie to talk to you, so, you know.” He half jokes, standing his ground, seeing the form move a bit – it is definitely not human, and so if that isn’t Scott he is pretty much screwed.

Stiles tries to take a step back, but by the time he actually moves he already knows it’s too late, and he’s sprawled on the floor, with a giant fucking wolf on him.

And that’s not Scott at all.

It isn’t Derek either.

I’s freaking Peter Hale.

-

Put me on the train
Send me back to my home

-

Chapter Text



 

And that’s not Scott at all.

It isn’t Derek either.

I’s freaking Peter Hale.

-----

Stiles screams like a little girl, and he knows it, but honestly, he doesn’t much care. There’s a snarling freaking dead man over him, and he can hardly breathe – he’s sure he broke something from the fall and the being crushed by a werewolf thing.

“Hummm, always so useful to steal phones, isn’t it? Not the first time one of your little gang falls for it either.” Peter says, smirking away in his half wolf form, his eyes flashing bright wolf-blue and fading back to normal and then flashing again. His voice is strange, soft and crazed, and he seems to be in-between something.

“You… you were dead.” Stiles points out helpfully, and those eyes stare into his, smirk still in place, his face shifting slowly into his human features once again.

“Your little friend Lydia helped a lot, you know? Being immune has all kinds of side effects.” He says, and then he closes his eyes, humming under his breath and sniffing Stiles, who tries to move, but a searing pain shoots through him, on his back.

He definitely broke something. Probably his ribs. Oh god. He groans in pain when Peter shifts over him, pushing his face to the side with his nose, making him bare his neck, and then sniffs him again, smiling his creepy smile this time.

“I was hoping to trick someone else with Scott’s phone, but something tells me you will do nicely.  I need my pack back.” Peter says, and holds Stiles gaze in his again, smiling, smiling, always smiling.

“You’ve gone Omega.” Stiles says in sudden realization – that’s why his eyes were all crazy, they weren’t red anymore, he didn’t have a pack to be Alpha.

The words had barely left his lips and he’s being crushed again, Peter’s hands holding his throat, and he can’t breathe once more.

“I’ll be Alpha soon enough. Your Alpha, Stiles, you would like that, wouldn’t you? You lied to me before, when I asked you, didn’t you: your heart beat gave you away, you want the power, you want to be strong, you want to be first line too.” He replies, letting the pressure on Stiles’s throat alleviate just the tiniest bit.

“No.” He rasps out in response, just to have his throat squeezed again, Peter’s eyes going crazed once more.

“Liar.” The man says, and then he shifts again, and Stiles can feel his eyes actually fill up with tears from the pain in his ribs, “You smell good, Stiles, do you know that? Ever thought about the fact that my nephew keeps finding ways to shove you, to touch you? It’s because you smell so damn good, you smell like mate, Stiles. And once I become your Alpha you’ll be mine.”

Peter snarls the last part, and Stiles frantically tries to dislodge him, but he can barely move, and the man weights a ton and a half, and has the strength of ten Stiles – possibly more.

“Get off me, you can’t change me.” He says, causing the wolf on him to snarl again, and shift, his teeth going longer and longer, turning into fangs, and Stiles actually closes his eyes and whimpers, because fuck he’s going to die.

Omegas can’t change people, only Alphas can. And even if he could, the whole mate thing sounded like Peter was going to simply turn him into his personal bitch.

Jesus freaking Christ, next time he wouldn’t be going anywhere without an actual phone call, texts be damned.

A clawed hand shoves his head to the side, and he can feel the warm breath of the wolf over him, hear the snarling in his ear, and the tongue that licks his neck twice before the sharp fangs descend on his neck, and he screams with everything he’s got, trashing and trying to dislodge the damn wolf who won’t move, and he feels Peter’s fangs piercing his skin, tearing into his flesh mercilessly. He screams till he’s able to do so, because he is fucking dying.

He listens to a roar, and suddenly Peter is not over him anymore. There’s something warm and wet by his side, and he lifts a hand to it, and with the light of the morning he can see dark, dark red on his hands. He tries to push himself up, the sounds of snarling and breaking of wood making a good incentive, but he can’t. His breathing is labored, and he can feel his heartbeat as if his heart is trying to beat its way out of his chest.

The pain gets worse, and the sensation on his neck is something he can’t think about. He’s dying. He’s going to bleed out, and he’s dying.

Tears slid down his face again, and he makes a noise of discomfort or agony, he doesn’t know quite what it is, and suddenly there’s a whimper kind of sound, and a roar that makes his own hair stand on end and a shadow is falling over him again.

Derek.

“What did he do to you?” The Alpha asks, between astonished, horrified and critic, but Stiles can’t answer, and his eyes start to close without his consent.

He is dying, and Derek is the last thing he’ll ever see.

Great, just freaking perfect.

“Shit.” He hears Derek grumble and snarl, and suddenly there’s one more sharp pain to add to his collection, just under his arm.

He tries to scream or get away, and he can’t.

And then, there’s only darkness.

X

When he wakes up, he’s not in absolute agony, but it’s a close thing. He groans, because, honestly, he’s not up to full words yet, and the answer is a small huffing sound coming from nearby, but he can’t summon energy enough to actually open his eyes.

“You should really wake up soon, because you’ve been here for three hours, and your dad is going to be looking for you.”

He recognizes that voice – Erica.

Which means he’s either dead, and Erica has obviously followed him to the deepest darkest pits of hell, or he’s alive.

He doesn’t want to get his hopes up, but opens his eyes just a bit, blinking fast to try and see things better.

“I’m not dead?” he asks, feeling his throat sore and raspy, and that reminds him of the bite on his neck, and the hands squeezing his throat, and he starts to slowly lose control, panic taking over. His breathing is short and agonizing, and he can see Erica taking a step back from him, looking pissed and fearful all at once.

“Calm down before you reopen the cut.” Says a voice curtly, and Stiles tries to reign in his breathing, seeing Derek coming into the room he’s in – room, piece of bus, potayto potahto.

Carefully he raises a hand to his neck, touching it tentatively – it’s not completely healed yet, but the cut is not open anymore. It’s healing. He is healing.

Shit.

“I’m a werewolf.” He whispers – and his tone isn’t one of fascination or happiness or anything positive.

He is royally scared.

He is sure the other two werewolves in the room can smell it out of him too.

Derek, in his true supportive and understanding, super communicator way, doesn’t say anything, giving him time to freak out a little bit more.

No, no, no, no, no, NO.

Just… no.

This is not how this is supposed to go. He doesn’t want to have one more burden to add to his dad’s already overflowing back, he doesn’t want to become a threat.

Whatever the perks it may seem to have to all those idiots who agreed to become a monster, he doesn’t want to be one of them.

And then it occurs to him that Peter had bitten him first, and that makes him freak out even worse. His eyes widen, and he looks at Derek sharply than he intended, hissing at the pain in his neck and under his left arm.

“Was it you?” he asks urgently, feeling his breathing run away from him, he can’t control it anymore.

“It was the only way.” Derek answers tersely, as if he was getting ready to defend himself from an attack.

“But it was you? Not… Not… him, right? He didn’t turn me, he can’t. Was it you?” His voice is desperate, and this seems to throw Derek out of his balance a little bit. He looks at Erica, who leaves without questioning, and crouches beside Stiles, who’s still lying on the bus seat/bed.

“What did he say to you?” Derek asks, and Stiles tries to shake his head, but he can’t, because of the bites, which still sting a lot, so he closes his eyes, and takes a deep breath.

“Just… He can’t, right? It was your bite.” He affirms more than asks and Derek keeps quiet for a moment longer before answering.

“Yes. It was the only way, you’d have bled out. Even if he was an Alpha, he wouldn’t turn you with that kind of bite. That’s not how you change someone, that’s how… Well.” He goes quiet, and Stiles doesn’t want to know how that sentence is going to end. He really doesn’t. But he is smart, no matter what people think of him, he has perfect grades, and yeah, his hyperactivity is a bitch to deal with, but he can come to conclusions just like anyone else with half a brain can.

“It’s how you mark a mate, isn’t it?” he says, closing his eyes again. He doesn’t want to hear it.

“Yes.” But Derek confirms it anyway. Stiles swallows convulsively, trying his best not to think about it.

“You don’t have to worry about it. It doesn’t work like that, you can’t mark someone who isn’t a werewolf. And only Alphas can mark someone like that, anyway.”

Stiles lets loose a breath he wasn’t aware of holding, and stares at Derek, looking at him in the eye, trying to catch him lying – which, well, now he can, because whoopie, he’s a werewolf. He’s a freaking lying detector now.

“So he’s not my anything, right? Nothing at all, Stiles is a creepy-Peter-free zone, right?”

He can swear Derek looks just a tiny bit amused for a tenth of a second, and then it’s gone.

“No, you are nothing to him, he’s nothing to you.”

“What about you?” Stiles says before he can think about how that’s going to sound, and then he wants to smack himself on the head, but he doesn’t, because, hello, healing laceration on his neck, not good for smacking.

Derek doesn’t even answer; he just stares at Stiles with a disgusted/intimidating face.

“I didn’t mean it like that, geez, I mean… What about you? Am I part of your pack now? Are you my Alpha?”

Derek stares at him for a few seconds.

“Do you want me to be?”

Stiles looks down, and honest to God, he tries to think.

Measure things before he puts his foot in his mouth and ruins everything.

He already knows being an Omega is bad, it’s very, very bad. He doesn’t want to die, he doesn’t want to be the weaker out of all of them, not now. And he knows he’s got two choices here – he can either become Derek’s, or he can go to Scott.

Scott, who Derek himself said was already Alpha of his own non-werewolf pack.

Who, by the way, is betraying the pack he said he wanted to belong to.

Stiles tentatively puts his hand to his pocket, and pulls his phone from there, staring at it. So, Scott had lost his phone, which Peter was using to send him texts. Okay.

His screen shows him two missed calls from his dad. A missed call from Lydia, surprisingly.

Nothing else.

Now, Stiles isn’t the best person on Earth or anything, but if your freaking best friend is missing - and he knows his father would have called Scott’s house the second Stiles didn’t answer his phone - and you know it, wouldn’t you at the very least call him? It’s not like Mrs. McCall doesn’t pay her phone bills. And sure talking to his mom about the whole hey I’m a werewolf now would have taken up a lot of time, but, geez, he had been in that house for, what, an hour? Three more hours dead to the world at Derek’s.

In four whole hours Scott couldn’t have called him? Once?

He dials his father’s number slowly, and puts the phone to his ear, finally being brave enough to sit up. Derek helps him silently, letting him go the second he’s sure he won’t pass out, but he doesn’t leave.

His dad answers at the first ring.

“Where the hell have you been?” He practically snarls on the phone, and Stiles smiles, relieved to hear his dad’s voice.

“I’m sorry, dad, I freaked out home all by myself, and got out of the house. I ended up sleeping. I’m at Isaac’s.” He lies, and makes a face at the same time.

“Isaac Lahey?” His dad asks.

“Yeah. He was kind of down too, and I couldn’t find Scott, we fell asleep on his couch, I’ll be home soon, just gonna make sure he’s okay.”

His father is silent, but he knows it’s plausible. Isaac has been going through a lot this year, and Stiles is kind of a good person. Sometimes.

“Just, don’t do that again. Call me to let me know things. I’m still at the station, and I’m going to need your testimony later.”

“Sure. Hey, did Scott call?” He asks, as if he doesn’t mean anything by it.

“No. I’ve been calling his cell, I’ll need to talk to him too, but there’s no answer. His mother said he went out with one of the Argents.”

Stiles feels as if his heart is skipping a beat.

“Okay. I’ll be home soon. Love you, dad.”

His father answers in kind, and Stiles ends the call, staring at his lap. Scott hadn’t called him, to see if he was fine, if he was okay, if he was alive.

He had gone out with the Argents.

He looks up and stares at Derek, whom he knows has heard everything his father answered, but right now is very easy for him to make a choice.

“He’s betraying us.” He whispers, and Derek nods.

“I know.” He answers, and doesn’t comment on “us”.

Because he knows that with that sentence alone, Stiles is one of them.

He is a part of their pack.

Couldn't live without you
when I tried to roam

Chapter Text

It’s not like it’s happened suddenly, Stiles reflects a few minutes after his phone call to his dad.

Derek is silent in his seat, contemplating something far away, and Stiles is quiet, for once in his life.

And he concludes it didn’t happen suddenly.

Scott and he had sort of been friends for a very long time. Not best friends forever – Scott used to live with his father, but when he moved to live with his mother, and therefore changed schools, they had become fast friends, possible bonding over awkwardness.

Stiles is the type of awkward who has kind of gotten used to it. He doesn’t expect anyone to save him, he doesn’t expect to suddenly be at the top of the food chain in High School – and most of the time he doesn’t even care about any of it. He wants to date Lydia, but he knows she won’t go for someone like him, and, mainly, he knows she’s totally into Jackson. He wants to play front line in Lacrosse, but he knows he’s not good enough. He can see himself for what he is, and it bothers him sometimes, but not enough to try to change or try to fit in in some pattern – he knows he won’t, anyway.

Besides, he likes being himself.

Scott, on the other hand, has had the chance to actually become everything they used to make fun of – out of jealousy, maybe, but they did -, and he took it. And that’s when everything shifted.

That, right there.

The moment when Stiles had needed his help and Scott had hung up on him because he was having dinner with Allison’s family. The way he had called him ten minutes after that, expecting him to just be there – and Stiles had tried to be, he had tried to be the friend he had always been.

The problem was that Scott wasn’t giving anything back to him – hadn’t done so in a few weeks, maybe months, now. He had Allison, and he had problems, and he had werewolves, and werewolf hunters, and the Kanima, and Stiles had been there for him, encouraging him, backing him up, even relaying love messages from Allison for him, word by word.

And then his dad had been caught in the middle of the whole thing, and Scott hadn’t even bothered to check on him. When Stiles had finally gotten home, the very first thing he did was try to call him - answering Scott’s texts, going to the freaking Hale ruin after Scott.

When had Scott ever done anything like that for him?

Never, that’s when. Stiles had almost died so many times these past few weeks he had honestly lost count. Things were getting crazier by the second, and everything they could count was on each other – and Stiles had felt that, if Scott had allied himself to Derek, then so had he, they were a team. Only Scott was double crossing them for an Argent, the worst of the bunch.

Damn.

He sighs. He can feel his neck is not as sensitive as before, and runs one of his hands over where the bite would have been – he can’t feel anything. There isn’t even a scar on it.

He doesn’t know what to think about that either, he doesn’t know how he feels about being a werewolf now, a monster if he lost control of himself, as he had seen Scott do so many times before.

“Do you think it’ll be okay if I go home?” He asks, and Derek turns to look at him, raising an eyebrow.

“You think I’ll be keeping you here as a prisoner?” He says, and Stiles snorts.

“No, you jerk, I’m asking about the control thing. I don’t want to hurt anyone, but my dad wants me home soon, and the excuse I made isn’t exactly bulletproof. I have to either go home or find a more permanent and convincing reason for being out. It’s hard, and I’ll find a way, but I won’t hurt him. I can’t.” He says, and Derek keeps on looking at him as if he can’t quite figure him out.

“Scott never bothered about that.”

“Yeah, well, Scott is an idiot who kissed the girl I’m in love with because of the full moon, and tried to kill me at least four times now. He’s not exactly an example, you know.”

Derek shrugs slightly, moodiness all back suddenly.

“I just figured.” He says, and Stiles stares at him with just a tiny bit of hatred in his eyes.

Okay, maybe not that tiny, but come on.

“I am not Scott, Derek.” He says firmly, and Derek moves his mouth just a little bit upwards. It’s the closest thing to a smile Stiles has ever seen him give when he’s alone with him.

“I’m learning that.” He replies, before sighing, “I think you’ll be safe. The full moon is the furthest it can be right now, and your dad is hardly at home at all times. If anything happens, just… leave. Leave, and lock yourself somewhere, and call me.”

Stiles nods.

“I can do that… I think.”

The silence stretches for a bit longer, and Stiles starts to feel like himself again – at least where his neck is concerned. His side is another thing entirely – it’s the bite of an Alpha, it will take longer to heal, he knows that.

“Were you serious?” Derek asks, and Stiles is a bit confused.

“About…” He prompts, and he can see Derek is making an exceptional effort not to get irritated again.

“Pack. Were you serious?”

His green eyes are staring directly at Stiles and he nods, knowing there’s no way he could lie to Derek and not be caught.

“Yes.” He says finally, and Derek gets up, offering a hand to help him up, and he accepts it, completely confused.

“What’s going on?” He asks, and Derek looks into his eyes, staring, just staring, and Stiles starts to fidget, he’s never been good about keeping still, unless he’s mortally injured, that is, “Derek?”

“If you are to be a part of this pack, you will submit.” He almost growls out, and Stiles looks confused all over again.

“You didn’t do this to Scott.” He points out, and Derek smirks – a full on, villain of teen movie smirk.

“I didn’t trust Scott, and he’s not an expert in werewolves, is he?”

Stiles stares wide-eyed at Derek – he never truly admitted Scott into his pack.

Well, it did make sense, because simply saying ‘I’m pack’ didn’t really sound like an acceptance for an exclusive group, and what’s more, it didn’t seem like the kind of thing that would make an Alpha more powerful.

Derek apparently got tired of his spacing out, and grabbed the back of his neck, bringing his mind to the here and now, and staring into his eyes again.

“Submit.” He growls, and Stiles gets very confused, because Derek didn’t tell him what to do to submit. What was he supposed to do, grovel and say Oh Alpha, my Alpha?

But then he tries to stare at Derek again, and he gets a glimpse of those red, red eyes, and suddenly he feels cowered and protected, all at once. He doesn’t want to look down, but he does – it’s not a conscious decision, it’s an instinctual one.

He can’t stare into the Alphas eyes without it being a challenge, and he doesn’t want to challenge anyone.

He looks down, and his head turns to the side, exposing his neck, as if it’s a natural move, something easy and common.

Derek hold him for a few more seconds, and then releases him, and Stiles rubs his neck, risking looking at the Alpha again – the urge not to look into his eyes now gone.

This is how you become a part of the Pack – by submitting to the Alpha.” Derek explains, and Stiles simply nods.

“Do you think I can go home?” he finally asks, as soon as figures out how his voice works once more, and Derek nods, all business again.

“Yes. Just make sure you change before you go see your father.” He says, nodding slightly towards his t-shirt, which is covered in blood on his left side.

He makes a face, looking the other way, and hears a soft laugh – Erica is looking at him, standing by the door, for the very first time with warmth in her eyes.

“I need to go and get my jeep.” He says, shuddering slightly. Man, if he could never ever again step foot near that place he’d be so very, very glad.

“Do you want one of the others to go and get it for you? You can wait here.” Derek offers, and Stiles smiles at his consideration – so being in the pack did have perks, huh?

“I… I can go. I want to go. It’s okay. I can deal with this, I’m a dealer. I mean, not like, I’m a dealer, like I sell drugs or anything, I’m just very, very good at dealing with things, all kinds of things. I’ll shut up now.” He says when he sees the looks he’s getting.

“How can you be so random?” Erica asks, and Stiles shrugs a bit.

“I’ve got ADHD. My head is like an attic, full of bats and ants and spiders, and they are always moving. Very hard to focus, very easy to babble on till Judgment Day.” He says, nodding along his explanations, and she smiles at him again.

“I’ll go with you.” She says then, and Derek nods.

“Take Isaac too, and Boyd. I don’t want any of you alone from now on, okay? No more sneaking into the woods by yourselves, no more I can handle this by myself. Peter is dangerous, and we can’t afford to lose anyone.” He orders and leaves them. They exchange a look, but Erica leaves to call Isaac and Boyd, and they go to her car.

The ride to the Hale house is silent, but it’s not uncomfortable – Stiles would never notice how much of a difference it could make to be part of something. They simple… accept him. Nothing is hard anymore, there isn’t an edge like he had been expecting.

He’s beginning to see what those three outcasts at school could want when they said yes to the bite, it was more than simply wanting power – it was more the wanting of being part of something.

Like a family.

Or a pack.

Erica parks right beside his jeep, and he gets out, listening to the others leaving the car too. Boyd and Isaac hadn’t said a word to him so far, but it’s okay.

He looks at his jeep and then at the house, just a few feet away, and shivers. He can’t make himself look away.

“What happened, Stiles?” Erica finally asks, and Stiles jumps a little at how close her voice sounds. He looks around him – Erica is by his side, looking at the house – they are all looking at the house, and they are all standing by his side. Boyd beside Erica; Isaac on Stiles’s other side.

“What did Derek say?” He asks, and it’s Boyd who answers.

“He said Peter attacked you, and he had to change you before you died. He’s not exactly a fountain of words.” He says with a smirk, and Stiles nods.

Yeah, he’s got that right.

“He… Peter used Scott’s phone to send me texts, asking me to meet him here.” He says, and Isaac huffs.

“And you believed it?” He asks, and Stiles shrugs.

“It wouldn’t be the most stupid place Scott would have come to.” He almost whispers, and they don’t laugh or joke about it – they know.

They know it’s hurting him to have left his friend behind, and to have been basically abandoned by him. They just know.

“What happened?” Erica inquires again, and Stiles shudders. He doesn’t want anyone to know what happened there, ever – and yet he wants to tell them, so they can tell him it’s not his fault. It’s a strange internal war, and talking actually wins – talking always wins with him.

“He jumped me. When I figured it wasn’t Scott, he jumped me. He said he used Lydia somehow. And then he…” he swallows, it’s difficult to speak, “He said something about… About changing me. About the way I smelled. That he would make me his. His mate. And then he bit me, and Derek came, and saved me, and then he bit me too, and I blacked out.”

They keep silent, and Erica actually moves just a bit closer to him, as if sensing he needs the comfort.

“He said I smelled different.” He whispers, staring at the house, “He said I smelled like a mate. What the hell does that mean?” He asks, and looks at the others. Isaac is staring at him, and Boyd is staring at the house, while Erica actually looks intrigued.

“You should ask Derek.” She ends up saying, and he just nods.

Yeah, if he ever felt like talking about this ever again, maybe he would.

They end up splitting into the two cars – Boyd and Erica in Erica’s and Stiles and Isaac in his jeep, because that is actually his cover story. They don’t talk much during the short ride to his house, and Isaac leaves him by the front door, sniffing all around the house, before he gets into Erica’s car when they are all satisfied Peter is not waiting for him in the house.

He gets in and waves at them before closing the door behind him, and pushing his back against it. He gets into a shower almost immediately, throwing his shirt away in the process, and lets the hot water sooth his muscles and his fears, and maybe just a few tears away.

He’s never asked for all this mess.

Finally he leaves the shower, listening to a phone ringing away. He puts a towel around his waist hastily, and answers it without checking who it is first.

“Yeah.” He says.

“Stiles, it’s me. Your dad just called my mom, saying we need to go to the police station, to give our testimonies. We need to figure out what we’re going to say, and I already have a story.” Scott says it all in one breath.

Not a single, hey, are you okay? Where have you been? Is your dad all right?

Nothing.

Yeah, Stiles knows he has a story – Gerard’s story.

“I’ve just got in, I’ll call my dad, and then we’ll talk.” He says moodily, but he can tell Scott isn’t even paying attention.

“Ok. Call me when you know when your dad wants us to be there.”

Stiles doesn’t bother answering before hanging up, and feels like throwing the phone against the wall – and just the thought that this would be the second phone he’d lose in under a month stops him.

He would have done some serious damage too, it occurs to him.

He’s like super strong now.

He sighs, and pulls up his contacts on the screen, pressing the call button and sitting on his bed, wearing just a towel.

“What, Stiles?” Derek practically snarls in the phone.

“Hum, Scott just called. He says he’s got a cover story figured out for when dad wants to talk to us about last night, at the police station. What do I do?”

Derek is silent for a few seconds, and Stiles doesn’t need to be there to know he’s surprised Stiles actually did mean when he said he wanted to be a part of the pack.

He was sick and tired of protecting Scott at every corner, and always be left behind.

Just… tired.

“This is probably…”

“Gerard’s story, yeah, I know.” He interrupts Derek, and hears the man sigh.

“Just… try to keep me out of it. They saw you there, but no one but the Argents and Jackson saw me. No one who’ll talk, anyway. They were there too, they can’t have a too incriminating story about it – I mean, they left an underage girl go there, intent on killing someone. They can’t have a bad cover story, or it’s their asses on the line too.”

“Okay.” He answers, and is surprised when Derek doesn’t immediately hang up.

“Call me if you need anything.” And then his Alpha hangs up.

Stiles smiles a little, before remembering last night.

Allison being there had been a surprise. The girl was not in her right mind – geez, her mother had just died, damn it, and they totally blamed Derek for it.

Only Derek didn’t kill her – Chris Argent and Gerard did.

And that was the family Scott was helping.

He sighs and dials his dad’s number, to tell him he is home, and ask when he wants him and Scott to be there.

Maybe things won’t be so bad, now that he actually has back up, instead of being back up.

Just maybe, they will all manage to get out of this alive.

Maybe.

Put me by the window
Let me see outside

Chapter Text

Pale Horses

Something Builds

Stiles paces his kitchen while he waits for Scott to show up, so they can think through what they are going to say at the police station. His dad had said they were being expected – they shouldn’t even have left, but the Sheriff had excused them on the basis of shock at being held by gunpoint by a classmate.

His job with Scott is very simple: keep him from trying to incriminate Derek. That’s it. And possibly, not tell him about his change, because he just doesn’t want Scott to find it out yet. He can’t even explain why, he just doesn’t.

A few minutes after his call Scott shows up, putting his bike against the house. Stiles invites him in, and his best friend seems… nervous. Twitchy. He smells like guilt, and Stiles wonders if he’d be able to pick all that up if he hadn’t been changed.

Probably not.

“Hey.” Scott greets with half a smile, and Stiles answers with an awkward hey and a half shrug.

“How were things with your mom last night?” He can’t help but ask, because he truly is worried about this idiot.

Scott makes a face.

“I… I don’t know how things are going to be, honestly. She’s… completely freaked out. I told her the basics, and she flipped, saying we have to try and find a cure. We argued a lot. I left to…” He stops talking, and Stiles simply stares, thinking here comes a lie, but Scott surprises him by not saying anything else, just shrugging.

“It’ll get better, man.” He says, slapping Scott softly on the back and his best friend – ex-best friend? – just shrugs.

“We have to figure out what we are going to say.” He comments, and Stiles sits on the couch in the living room, Scott taking a place in an arm chair.

“You said you had a plan, what is it?”

He sees Scott take a deep breath.

“We tell the truth up to the point your dad and my mom got locked up. Then we say Matt wasted all that time talking about those things about Lahey, and how he almost drowned.”

Stiles nods.

“Okay… but that still doesn’t explain all the damage that was done there. And what about your mom?”

“Mom won’t say anything. I told her about the hunters, she’s freaked with me, but she doesn’t want me dead. And, well, we say…” Scott swallows nervously before continuing, “We say we left, to try and get help, that Matt let us go. And that we saw Derek Hale coming in. And then we got back when we heard shots, figuring our parents could be in danger, and there was no one else there anymore. Just your dad and my mom, which is pretty much what happened.” He finishes and stares at Stiles expectantly.

“Except for the part where the shots came from your girlfriend’s family – and that it almost killed me, my dad, and your mom, and Jackson too. And also that we’d be incriminating Derek again.”

“It’s not like he’s ever helped us, Stiles.”

Of course not, he had only almost died about fifteen times saving them from Peter the first time around, and fighting against the Kanima these past few weeks.

“Man, we’re not saying anything about Derek.” He says with finality, and Scott makes an irritated sound.

“Why would we defend him, Stiles?”

“Why incriminate him, Scott?” He throws back, too agitated to sit any longer, getting up and pacing the room.

“It wouldn’t be the first time.” Scott says, shrugging, and Stiles actually stares at him, open mouthed, before laughing incredulously.

“Yeah, but this time we know it’s not him, and we know he’s not dead. So it’ll make a difference. Besides, do you know how it’ll look if we say we saw him? Again? No one is going to take our testimonies seriously anymore. Everything that happens we say it’s Derek’s fault, and it never is. And we are not screwing up my dad’s career again because you want to pull one over Derek.”

“We wouldn’t be messing up anything for your dad!” Scott says indignantly, getting up too.

“Oh, really? Because he got fired because of me, and my trying to keep Jackson away from danger and from killing someone. And now you’re trying to make it look as if we’re trying to incriminate someone who had no reason to be at the station last night, just because we have a grudge against him. That’s what it’ll look like: like the Sheriff’s delinquent son and his friend are trying to use the Sheriff’s position to play a prank on some guy! And we are not doing it. We’re leaving Derek out of this.”

Scott looks like he’s wants to argue, and Stiles swears to God he’ll kill Scott if he says anything at all about this. It’s his dad’s career on the line again.

“Fine, you’re right, sorry.” Stiles lets out a breath he isn’t aware of holding, and runs his hands through his hair.

“All right, fine.” He looks at Scott for a second, and decides to take the leap.

Maybe, just maybe, if Scott trusts him, maybe they can fix this. They can fix their friendship, and forget about this whole betrayal thing.

“Where did you get that plan?” He asks, looking intently at Scott, “Not to offend you, buddy, but you’re so not the great thinker of this duo.”

“Oh, uhm, Allison.” He says, and Stiles stares at him incredulously – he so doesn’t even need to hear Scott’s heartbeat increasing like crazy to know he’s lying.

“She talking to you?” He asks in a very surprised tone, and Scott just shakes his head.

“No, I mean… Er, I thought about Allison. If we put Derek in the station last night, maybe she’d talk to me or something, she really has it out for him.” Scott looks at him hopefully, and Stiles has to take a deep breath, because that actually feels as if he has just been punched.

He’s still trying. Knowing his dad’s job is on a very fine line here, knowing that plan sucks, he’s still trying to get him to incriminate Derek, and he’s still trying to manipulate him.

Where had his best friend gone to?

Oh, yeah, he is Gerard’s lapdog now.

“We are not doing that.” He says fiercely, “I’m sorry, but my dad is more important than your crush right now, Scott.” He finishes through gritted teeth, and Scott, for the very first time, looks at him carefully.

“Anything happened to you last night? You’re… You’re different. Something is… different.” He finishes, as if he can’t put his finger on it.

“Yeah, one could say something happened last night.” He answers, taking the keys for his jeep, and ushering Scott out, managing not to lie even if he doesn’t tell Scott the truth.

He’s feeling just the tiniest bit spiteful right now. Let Scott simmer in curiosity for a while.

The things at the station are completely insane. His father is trying to make sense out of chaos, and people are welcoming him back like Hogwarts welcomed Dumbledore back at the end of The Chamber of Secrets book. There’s a feeling that had he still been the Sheriff none of the carnage would have happened.

Not exactly true, but his dad is not in a leave of absence anymore, and that’s great.

They tell their story, which is the same his dad told, and Scott’s mom too. Scott half looks as if he wants to go for the Derek thing by himself, but he knows no one will believe him and ends up just telling everyone the same thing Stiles did.

The main problem the Police are facing is the state of the other officers’ bodies are in. They are ripped apart by some sort of animal, and there are traces of a chemical substance in them, and, well, they can’t exactly tell the truth on that, so they simply say they didn’t see what attacked the men, they just saw the damage.

As Matt is being accused of planning the whole thing, and Matt is now officially dead, their main goal is to try and find a wild animal that they assume was being used my Matt and is now loose on the town.

At least everyone will be careful out of their houses, and that’s a relief in so many ways.

He leaves Scott at home saying strained a strained see you later, and Scott looks as if he doesn’t know what’s wrong. Stiles sees Scott’s mother looking through the curtains when his friend gets out of the car – well, at least Scott doesn’t have to lie to his mom anymore.

He sighs thinking of the next huge fuming pile of lies that’ll certainly come into his life now that he’s a werewolf and he can’t tell anyone, and he’s got Peter after his blood (hopefully his blood, he doesn’t want to think about that creep being after anything else of his), and him losing his best friend to the enemy.

He gets home and tries to do his homework – honest to god he does. But it’s Saturday, and he knows he won’t be able to concentrate. He wants to go out – he doesn’t want to be alone, but he knows he can’t, because his dad asked him to stay home. To stay safe. How can he deny him that?

He wanders around the house for a while, poking around, turning his computer on and then off, starting at least four different movies, and stopping at none. Finally, he phones his dad, just to have something to do, and the Sheriff tells him to calm down and stay at home.

He also tells him to call Scott if he’s bored.

Yup, he’s not doing that.

Around noon he’s just about to explode the microwave just for the hell of it when he looks out the window and sees a known car in front of his house.

Erica’s.

He frowns and leaves the house – the car is empty, but Erica jumps down a tree when he approaches the vehicle. They stare at each other, and she laughs a little at his bewildered expression.

“Derek told us to come and watch your house, because of Peter. He seems to think he’s coming for you.” She explains with no prompting.

“Us?” He asks, and she whistles with her fingers in her mouth – Isaac comes from behind his house, and Boyd simply appears, Stiles really has no idea where he’s been.

“Well, this is a party.” He says, and the boys seem to take offense at his words, while Erica simply laughs.

“Catwoman wouldn’t leave Batman unprotected.” She says, shrugging, and they stare at each other and he smiles – a real smile.

He kind of likes Erica right now.

“Well, why didn’t you knock or something? You don’t have to be, you know, skulking around.” He says, and the three trade a look. Finally, Isaac shrugs, and goes to his house, the others following.

Stiles is a bit nervous – he’s never been big on the whole hanging out thing. It’s usually just him and Scott.

Things are awkward at first, and then he offers them lunch, and the silence breaks – finally they talk a bit, nothing of wolves or crimes or death. Just a general complaint about the uselessness of most of their classmates, and the way the Lacrosse team is going to win for sure now that four of its players are super powered.

They complain, and talk, and Erica actually asks a few questions to Stiles, because he does have good grades, and Boyd helps by keeping him on the subject, and Isaac is very quiet, but even his silence loses its edge little by little, and he’s even smiling when they settle in the living room to watch Underworld and make fun of the werewolves, and end up talking during most of the movie about the possible existence of vampires, which has all of them laughing in no time.

No one mentions the fact that Derek seems to think Peter will be targeting Stiles more than the rest of them, or that they know he thinks about Scott every once in a while, because it’s strange to be having fun without him – even if in the past few months he’s used to being ditched for Allison.

They just don’t want to deal with that.

It’s getting dark outside when his dad comes home, and he seems a bit confused about all the people in his living room.

“Yo, dad!” Stiles greets him with a smile, and John smiles at him.

“Hey, son. Who’re your friends?” He asks a bit awkwardly, but Stiles knows that awkward runs in the family.

“You know Isaac,” He starts, not mentioning that he knows Isaac because he had arrested him, “this is Boyd, they are in the team with me. And this is Erica, she’s my classmate.”

His dad nods at them, and seems to accept this addition with no further comment.

His pack – pack? friends? pack of friends? anyway – leaves soon after that, saying they have to get home. Which in Erica’s and Boyd’s cases means actual home, and Isaac’s means a small apartment he’s in, because he’s old enough to live alone, and he’s getting emancipated with all the your dad is a creep but he’s dead now thing.

His father watches them leave, and he watches the way Stiles is almost carefree around them, the way he only usually is with Scott.

“So, where was Scott?” His dad asks while they are having dinner, and Stiles looks down, shrugging, and doesn’t answer, “Spill it.” His father commands, and Stiles sighs.

“We kind of… I don’t know, man.”

His father looks amused, and ruffles his hair from his side of the table, reaching his hand over the very healthy meal they’re having.

“Did you guys have a fight?” He asks, thinking that’s impossible.

“Not really. It’s just…” Stiles looks up and meets his father’s eyes, “He’s lying to me. And I know it, and he won’t come clean, and I don’t know why. He… betrayed our friendship, dad. In a totally non-kidding, non-messing around way here.”

“Does this have to do with last night, son?” His father is suddenly worried, and Stiles sighs internally this time. And here come the lies.

“Not really. It’s more personal than that. He kissed Lydia.” He says in an impulse, and his dad looks horrified for a few seconds – his crush on Lydia is legendary that way.

“I’m so sorry, son.” He says, putting a hand on his shoulder when he gets up to put his plate in the sink.

“Yeah.” Stiles replies, because the truth is, he knows it was Peter’s fault, but it still stings.

Freaking damn Peter screwing up his life all over the place.

They end up in the living room again, watching Iron Man on DVD.

And if they fall asleep on the couch, side by side, they don’t comment on it the next day, because it feels good to be so close to someone you truly, absolutely love after what they went through.

On Sunday, John doesn’t go to work – he takes the day off, because most of the things are handled, and he himself suffered a huge shock on Friday night.

They hang out a bit, tidy up the house, talk and watch TV, and Stiles tries to make his dad eat less junk food, and is only half successful. He actually gets his homework done, and spends the day exchanging texts with Erica, Boyd and Isaac.

He thinks about calling Derek to check in, and see how he’s doing, but can’t quite be brave enough to do it.

Just before he goes to sleep, he gets a new message.

Stay out of trouble. I mean it.

He smiles because it’s short and it’s almost rude, but it shows that Derek actually cares about whether he lives or dies.

Which is more than can be said for Scott, who texts him twice, and doesn’t even try to talk to him. In the first text he says he’ll try to swing by his place later. The next, he says he can’t because his mom wants to talk.

And that’s it.

Monday comes with windy weather, and he comes out of his jeep pulling the collar of his jacket up to protect him from the wind.

He parks beside Erica’s car, and she’s there, leaning on her hood, waiting. He says hi and she pulls him beside her, and soon Boyd is there; and after him, Isaac.

The four of them turn around to make their way into the school, talking about homework and how much it’s going to suck if it actually rains later. It’s ridiculously normal, and he sees a few other kids looking at their strange group with curious eyes, because Erica is suddenly very popular, and Isaac is totally in the Dangerous vibe, and Boyd is usually alone, and he’s just the freaky friend of the co-captain of the Lacrosse team. The other kids are wondering what the hell he’s doing with these people, but he doesn’t care.

It’s peaceful, somewhat. It helps him keep calm and in control.

He’s just about to get through the door with the others, when he looks back and his eyes meet Scott’s, who’s locking up his bike in the parking lot.

Scott takes a single look at him and the people he’s with, and Stiles doesn’t have to listen to what he’s saying quietly to be sure: he knows.

“Shit.” He curses and Erica just has to look where he’s looking to know what’s happening.

“You hadn’t told him?” She whispers, while pulling him behind her into the school and towards their lockers.

Stiles shakes his head.

“No. He was lying, and trying to incriminate Derek and I… I didn’t want him to know.”

“Well, this is going to be awkward.” She comments, and they turn, watching as Scott comes towards them, approaching fast and looking murderous.

“He’s going to kill me.” Stiles says, and Isaac chuckles by his side.

“Nah, we won’t let him.” Boyd comments, and finally Scott is there.

Stiles doesn’t say anything.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” The boy demands, and Erica looks completely unimpressed by him, while Stiles just shakes his head.

“Could we not talk about this in public? At this school?” He emphasizes, pointing with his chin to one of the cameras, and Scott just stands there, his mouth trying to work out words he doesn’t even know he wants to say.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” He repeats, “I thought you were my friend.”

Stiles snorts incredulously, and starts to get really pissed off, and he knows he can’t, this is the opposite of staying out of trouble, but he can’t help it.

“Right back at you, traitor.” He hisses and his eyes flash a warm greyish color, lighter than Scott’s, darker than Derek’s.

“Not here.” Erica hisses at them, looking down, trying not to be capture looking at the cameras, because of the glare in their eyes.

“And specially not now, guys.” Says Boyd in a worried voice, and Stiles calms down enough to look at Boyd, and see he’s looking at the opposite side of the corridor.

Stiles follows his stare and feels that saying shit again doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Because Jackson is walking into the school, as if nothing’s happened at all.

Look at all the places
where all my family died

Chapter Text

Pale Horses

Something Happens

“I’m calling Derek.” Stiles says, and he’s already pulling his phone out of his pocket, while Scott whips his head to stare at him incredulously, but he doesn’t much care.

Man, okay, what the hell do they do now?

Derek answers on the first ring.

“What?” Stiles hears the growl in his voice, as if he’s upset at being interrupted.

“Just to let you know our little lizard friend is at school. Like, right now.” He turns towards the lockers to speak, keeping his voice as quiet as possible. Jackson passes them by, with a small nod to Scott, who looks lost in the middle of it.

And Stiles realizes he’d be lost too if he didn’t have a support net, someone to call to when something like this happens, a leader.

An Alpha.

He also realizes that, without him and without Allison, pretty much all the make-believe feeling that Scott possessed of being an Alpha is gone – he’s Omega.

Shit.

“Damn it!” Derek curses on his ear, and Stiles can listen to him breathing hard, “This is what you four are going to do, you go about your day as if you know nothing about anything. Don’t answer if he provokes you, try to keep an eye out for him, to see if he loses control, but do not question him. We’ve got our own problems now, the Kanima isn’t our top priority.” His voice is tight, and Stiles swears he’s never heard Derek speak so much in a single sentence.

“What is our priority?” He asks, watching as Jackson disappears into his classroom, and he looks at Boyd, who has that class with him, and Boyd nods, following Jackson.

“Peter.” Derek bits out, “Wait for me at the end of your classes, I’ll be at the school.” He hangs up, and Stiles turns to Erica and Isaac.

“We’re supposed to watch for any attacks, but not to interfere. He’ll be here when classes finish.” He says succinctly, and they both simply nod, accepting his word for it.

What, is he second on command or something? He wasn’t expecting this acceptance.

“What the hell, Stiles?” Scott hisses, “We need to do something! Why are you even listening to Derek?”

“Why are you listening to Gerard, Scott?” he retorts tersely turning his back on Scott and going to class, followed by Isaac, whom he has that period with.

He misses the shocked and regretful look on Scott’s face, but Erica doesn’t.

“Traitor.” She says with a cruel smile, and she leaves him too.

Jackson, surprisingly, doesn’t do anything outwards during the whole day. He keeps up with his image, being an all-around jerk, looking surprised when someone talks about the attack at the station on Friday, saying he’s always thought Matt was a freak anyway, saying he doesn’t know where Lydia is when someone questions him – it’s like he doesn’t even know what he’s done.

It occurs to Stiles that it’s quite possible he doesn’t.

Allison isn’t at school that day, and it’s with a small pang in his heart that Stiles sits with Erica, Boyd and Isaac to eat his lunch. Scott looks undecided for a few minutes, and ends up sitting at their table, but the other three keep on interrupting anything he wants to say to Stiles.

And Stiles is having a major life crises right now, he can’t deal with a lot of things that he is simply refusing to acknowledge, but he’s good in picking up hints even when he doesn’t mean to, and things start to get put together in his head like half-formed thoughts that keep on shaping up to conclusions he’s never consciously thought about, but are there anyway.

Scott gets frustrated half way through lunch and leaves when Erica tells him he’s almost changing in the middle of the lunch room. Their protectiveness, of all three of them, that’s what keep coming up in Stiles’s thoughts.

“This has something to do with the mate thing, doesn’t it?” He suddenly asks, in a very quiet voice, looking around to make sure Scott and Jackson aren’t around to hear to their conversation.

“What do you mean?” Isaac says, “We don’t want to mate with you, Stiles, ugh, that’s gross.” The boy continues, but Stiles is already shaking his head.

“Not like that, you moron, I mean you three. You’ve hung out together, sure, but like this? The way you keep on protecting me? I get that these are Derek’s orders, but this interference with Scott, and the acceptance of me in your pack, this is not Derek’s orders, this is you accepting me way more easily than I would have thought possible. You don’t like me. Or at least you didn’t.” He finishes and the other three are staring at him in different states of contemplation, “And it’s not like it’s one-sided either – Lydia isn’t at school, but honestly? I’m more worried about what Derek is doing than her not being here. And I’ve been crushing on that girl ever since I found out what a crush was!”

“What are you saying?” Isaac asks, his annoyance at not understanding showing in his tone.

“That this mate thing is way more complex than I was thinking. The way he spoke of it… Like it was, you know, a designation. Like Alpha, and Beta, and Omega. It wasn’t an issue before, because I wasn’t one of you, but now, that I’m your pack, it’s here. I actually trust you three and Derek more than I do Scott, and that moron has been my best friend for years. I worry more about you than Lydia, and I thought I was in love with her ever since I first saw her. You didn’t even like me, and I know I can be annoying as hell, and yet, here you are.”

The other three keep looking at him, and Stiles starts to fidget, because it’s not easy to stand still, and it’s even harder when three werewolves keep on looking at you as if you’re a puzzle they want to put together.

“You should just ask Derek.” Erica starts, and then she seems to gather her courage to continue, “But the thing is, Stiles, I never disliked you. When I said I had a crush on you, I meant it. It’s gone now, sure, but you’re funny and smart and cute, and you’re kind to the people you like, and you care so much about your dad and that idiot Scott. I really liked you, even when you didn’t know who I was. Don’t sell yourself so short.” Erica said, getting up with a smile.

“Hey, why do I have to ask him? Don’t you want to know this too?” He asks after her, and hears Boyd chuckling, while Isaac hides a smile behind his can of soda.

“Not really, no. I don’t care that I like you now.” Boyd shrugs and gets up too, and the other two boys follow him out to class.

There’s Lacrosse practice after classes, and Stiles gets ready between Isaac and Boyd, avoiding Scott like the plague, simply because he doesn’t know what to do about their whole situation. He’s pissed as hell at him, and yet he wants to help him.

He’s just not willing to betray his pack to do it.

Jackson is a complete jerk, but there’s an astonishing lack of homicidal reptiles showing up, so Stiles starts thinking about what could have happened to the boy now that Matt is gone. Does he have a new master, or is he flying solo, or is his scaly personality gone?

They get to the field, and Stiles sits on the bench. Erica is at the stands, looking at the practice, and soon after she’s settled, Stiles sees Derek leaning on one of the stands. He nods at his Alpha and receives a nod back.

He grins at Derek, who just shakes his head, and focus on what the coach is saying – not that the man makes any sense, but, oh, well.

He’s called to the field, even if just to have someone the others can beat and feel better about themselves, and he starts thinking that well, this is it. This is him getting a chance at playing a game, finally. Boyd made into the team after their last game, and Isaac is playing, and Scott is co-captain, and Jackson – who was a great player even before his very serious skin condition – is waiting for him, and when it’s time for him to play…

… He holds back.

Consciously he knows he doesn’t really have to. He can give it his all, and be great, be a great player, a star player, be the best – or one of the best. But how would that look? He can’t keep thinking about his personal welfare if he’s going to really do this pack thing and get out of it alive – and, most of all, to keep his pack.

He gets to play with the big boys, and then Gerard, who’s the freaking Principal at this school, God only knows how he pulled that off, will see he’s got more going on for him than simply being Scott’s friend, and that’s it, he’s on the line, and with him, his whole pack.

It absolutely kills him inside, seeing the ball, knowing he can catch it, he can throw it, he can score with it, he can make this game his bitch – and he doesn’t.

Because there are things much more important than Lacrosse – and his safety, and the safety of his friends, even Scott’s, is more important than this.

His dad’s safety is more important than this.

When practice ends, he can’t help but throw his stick on the grass with a little more force than he thought he’d have, making a dent on it. None of the other regular players seems to be paying him attention, and Isaac and Boyd have already gone to the showers. Erica is hanging by the stands, waiting for him, and he can see her sympathetic face. Derek looks at her, and she waves at Stiles, leaving the field.

Derek starts to come towards him, but Scott beats him there.

“What the hell did you do? Why did you play like that?” He seems thoroughly bewildered, and Stiles runs his hands on his hair, exasperated.

“Because our freaking Principal is a werewolf hunter, Scott. How would it look if the supposed human is suddenly a match for all the other supernatural players in this freaking team? I don’t need a hunter on my tail, and I don’t want to endanger my dad, or my pack.”

Scott is still looking for words to answer him – probably because it suddenly occurs to him that he has never thought about not using everything he can to make his life better with no regard to the others who’ll get caught up in the crossfire - when Derek reaches them.

“I thought about asking you to do that, but I didn’t think you’d listen to me.” He says quietly, and Stiles looks up at him.

“I would listen to you.” He says awkwardly, and Derek is staring at him in a way he can’t define. He’s not pissed, he’s not angry, he’s not thinking he’ll die at any minute – and that’s pretty much the range of facial expressions he’s usually displaying around Stiles. It confuses the hell out of him, “I mean, if you made sense. I wouldn’t listen to you if you were being a complete idiot or…”

“Stiles.” Derek growls, and he raises both his hands, surrendering, but smiling a bit. Derek sounds exasperated, and maybe, just maybe, a bit amused, and not about to kill him, so that’s good.

“Look, we need to talk.” Scott says, and Stiles turns his attention back to him.

When he faces Scott, Derek’s hand fall on his left shoulder. It doesn’t squeeze, it doesn’t hurt him - it’s just there. As if he’s showing Scott Stiles doesn’t… belong to him anymore.

“I know.” He answers.

They stare at each other, until Derek grows impatient.

“Just go to his place tonight, but later. Now we have things to discuss.” He bites out, and the pressure on Stiles’s shoulder appears, guiding him towards the showers.

He goes with no protest.

He showers, and meets Derek on the parking lot. Erica and the others are gone, and he gets into his jeep, following Derek to his lair. There’s no other word to call that place.

Getting there, he finds Derek pacing the width of the room. He drops his backpack on a bus seat, and sits beside it, looking at his Alpha.

“He’s been around your house.” Derek finally says, never stopping moving, “I could smell him around it. He didn’t get in, and I think you’ll be safe as long as you’re not alone – he may be crazy, but he knows he’s weaker than any of us now.”

Stiles looks down, and he can’t stop his hearty from racing.

Shit. His dad. That creep around his house, just… just shit.

He’s hyperventilating soon, and he knows it. It’s just like the panic attacks he’d get when his mom was gone. He tries to control his breathing but it’s hard, because his dad could get hurt, and that… creep could get him, and just…

He feels a hand on his knee, and looks up to see Derek crouching in front of him.

“He won’t get to you.” He says firmly, his chin set, and his eyes fierce, the sentence sounding just as much like a promise as it sounds like a threat.

“What about my dad?” He asks tiredly, throwing himself against the seat, his hands going to his hair again.

The hand on his knee doesn’t move. Derek’s green eyes never leave his.

Suddenly he’s having a bit of trouble breathing for an entirely different reason.

“I think you should consider telling him.” Stiles stares at Derek open-mouthed. What the hell? “Our best shot at getting allies here would be the Argents, but we obviously can’t do that. We can’t hunt a rogue when they are looking for excuses to kill us all. Your dad is the sheriff, he can help more than anyone else, and he’d be… safer if he knew. You’d be safer if he knew.” Stiles looks ready to protest, and Derek holds a hand up, stopping him – but not the hand on his knee, which is still there. “Just think about it.”

He nods, and swallows thickly, looking down again, at the hand on his knee.

“Derek, what does this me being a mate mean?” He looks up, and Derek gets away from him as if he’s being burned, “It’s just this whole mess began because of it, and I can see the way the others are behaving around me, that’s not normal behavior. It was too easy for them to accept me. I just figured it’s got something to do with what Peter said.” He catches Derek’s eyes and tries to make himself not look away, “Does it?”

Derek paces a few more moments, looking caged. He runs his hands through his hair a few times and finally he curses and stops, looking at Stiles.

“First, you have to know this wasn’t supposed to happen, ok? Peter… screwed this whole thing up. This wasn’t supposed to happen.”

He makes it sound like an apology, and Stiles is even more intrigued.

“Okay.” He answers when Derek keeps on staring at him without continuing.

“Mates are… rare. Not because they don’t exist, but because most of them aren’t werewolves to begin with. They smell different, even for Betas and Omegas, but that’s nothing compared to what they smell like for an Alpha. When I became Alpha, you were the first thing I could smell in that clearing.” He stops talking, and Stiles can’t help but asking.

“What do I smell like?” he is intrigued, and honestly curious.

Derek keeps his silence, and Stiles thinks he won’t answer, but then he takes a deep breath, and throws himself beside Stiles on the bus seat, looking at the ceiling.

“You smell like home.” He stops talking again, but this time Stiles lets him. He has the feeling this’s taking a lot more out of Derek than he has any right to ask, “Mates are almost like a kind of wolf in its own right. You are not a beta, you would never be an Omega, and you can never become an Alpha. You only become a mate, because you have… You have a different way of dealing with things. I knew of your potential when I saw how you handled Scott – you trained him better than I could ever hope to do, and you were human by then. A mate is a great addition to a pack. It brings the Alpha power, balance, more than having Betas can do. But it’s so much more than that, it’s something to be cherished, to be chased. Any Alpha would want to have a mate.” His voice is wistful, and Stiles stares at his profile, his jaw firm, his hands in fists by his sides, his eyes fixed in the ceiling.

“And yet you didn’t try to turn me, or convince me to be turned.” He comments, and Derek spares him a look, before staring at the ceiling again.

“My dad...” He pauses, as if the words don’t want to leave his mouth, “My dad was my mom’s mate.  She was already married to him when she became Alpha. He agreed to be turned because he loved her.”

Stiles doesn’t know what to say to that. But mostly, he can see all the things Derek is not saying – like the fact that mates are supposed to be a couple. And also that being someone’s mate probably implicates in loving that person. And he can see, as clear as day, that Derek doesn’t think anyone will ever, ever love him again.

It breaks his heart a little just to think about that. About what life is for Derek, about the way he’s been handling things.

“You were never supposed to be Alpha, were you?” He whispers, and Derek turns to look at him sharply, but Stiles is not afraid – not like he’d be before.

This man is just about making it his life mission to protect him. He’s not going to cheapen that by letting Derek think he’s afraid of him.

They stare at each other for a while, and Derek seems to find whatever it is he is looking for in Stiles, because he sighs and stares at the ceiling again.

“Laura was always supposed to be it. But we never… Our mom, our Alpha, she was still young. Laura didn’t get all the training she needed.” He says it very quietly, as if he doesn’t want to disrespect his sister.

“And you didn’t get any training at all.” Stiles says, feeling even more guilty about the way he’s commented on Derek’s skills with his wolves before.

“Never thought I’d need to.”

They fall silent again, and Stiles gets lost in his own little world, considering all Derek’s told him so far. He’s so distracted he startles a bit when Derek speaks again.

“When Peter bit you, for half a second I thought about just letting you die. You never showed any inclination to wanting to be turned, and what’s waiting for you as a mate is not… I was sure it wouldn’t be what you wanted for your life.”

“What do you mean?” He asks, confused again.

Might as well be his permanent state these days.

I turned you, Stiles. An Alpha turned a potential mate. My wolf, he sees you as his. I had to use every single piece of self-control not to claim you when you submitted to me. I still want to do it now. You are here, and you are handling the pack already. You spent time with them, and I can feel they are more comfortable. When the full moon comes, they will be more easily handled, they might even be able to completely control themselves, because that’s what the presence of a mate does – it balances things. An Alpha is a fighter. We keep the pack safe. A mate keeps them in line, it sees more than threats and fights; a mate sees our lives, our happiness. It’s instinct, it’s the way you’re always taking care of your dad’s diet, and caring about Scott more than you do yourself, and even with that girl you think you like, it’s because deep down, you always knew she needed something she’s not getting.” He looks at Stiles again, serious and solemn, “You make things better.”

No, I don’t, it’s what Stiles think, but he won’t say it aloud. He won’t tell Derek how he actually feels guilty about his mom’s death, and his dad’s losing his job, and all the trouble he had to go through in his life just to give Stiles a better home. Stiles knows he’s trouble waiting to happen, and he’s just done that to Derek too. Now the guy has a mate, and he doesn’t want one, that much is clear.

What does being someone’s mate even mean, anyway?

“What does that mean, anyway? That you want to jump my bones or something?” he asks jokingly, but when he turns his head to stare at Derek he actually startles, because the man is not looking at the ceiling – he’s staring at Stiles, and he’s closer, way closer, than he was before.

Derek laughs dryly and he keeps moving forward, one of his arms coming up, and his hand lands by the side of Stiles head on the bench, the other resting on the seat between them, by Stiles’s hip. He’s looming over Stiles, who tries to even his breathing out, because he’s so completely out of his depth here.

“In a very crude manner, yeah, that’s it.” Derek smiles a smile that Stiles had seen when he flirted with the cop so that he and Scott could get to his dad’s office at the station – but that one was just a shadow of what this smile is.

It’s breathtaking.

And apparently, Stiles is into dudes now, and he didn’t even know it.

“What?” he chokes out, his voice cracking, and he curses his very non-flattering behavior, but Derek leans in, just a breath away from him, and his eyes are completely red.

You’re mine.” Derek growls, actually growls, his voice is not even human anymore, it’s that strangely pitched tone it gets when they are wolfed out – but he’s not a wolf now, he’s still Derek, only his eyes are changing, and he’s leaning in, and the hand that was on the back of the seat is suddenly grasping his neck, and the other hand is not by his hip anymore, in on his hip, and breathing is difficult, and Derek leans in some more, and Stiles has no space to run away – and he doesn’t want to run away, and then Derek is devouring his mouth.

It’s not a kiss, it’s a show of want and dominance. It’s how Derek grips his neck just right to make his breath hitch, and the hand on his hip caresses his skin when it comes up, and goes under the fabric if his shirt. It’s Derek’s lips, demanding and hot against his. It’s how Derek keeps pulling him up and over and closer, until he can’t think properly, and his hands slide of their own accord, running through Derek’s hair, gripping it and trying to pull him close.

It’s the way Derek growls when Stiles parts his mouth, invading it with his tongue; it’s the way Derek pulls back and snarls at him when he tries to dominate the kiss, and he feels the urge to submit again, and Derek licks his neck, holding him in place with a force that will leave bruises, but he doesn’t care. And then Derek’s mouth is on his again, and he’s finally kissing him back properly, making noises he never thought he’d do under a guy.

He keeps expecting Derek to pull away and say he’s sorry, or throw him away and tell him to leave, but that’s not what happens.

The kiss slows down, and Derek pulls away with a bite to his lower lip, eyes staring into his; and Stiles tries to regain his breathing and his bearings – because that was freaking amazing.

“You’re mine.” Derek says again, staring into his eyes firmly, still holding him by the neck and hip, and Stiles can only nod dumbly.

He’s Derek’s alright.

“I didn’t quite expect that.” He says breathily, and wants to curse his voice, because, come on, where’s his manliness?

Derek hums, and dips his head again, nipping lightly over his neck – over where Peter bit him – but he doesn’t break skin.

“I can’t fight it. I don’t want to. But I won’t mark you, not until you’re ready.”

Derek stares at him until he nods; agreeing to something he doesn’t understand, leans away, and Stiles takes a deep breath.

Okay, he’s honestly in a place where he doesn’t know what to do or think anymore.

A buzz in his pants startles him, and he makes a strangled noise, and he swears Derek’s mouth twitch in an almost-smile.

His dad is texting him, asking where he is.

“I have to go home.” He manages to say, and Derek gets up, pulling him up by a hand, but keeps him close.

“You should tell your dad.” He says, and Stiles looks at him wide eyes.

“About this?!”

This time, Derek actually chuckles.

“About your change.”

“I’ll… I’ll think about it.” He answers, and Derek nods, serious again.

They don’t talk when Derek walks him to his jeep, and then gets into his own car, tailing him until he’s home, and the door is closed behind him.

He feels as if he’s safe, knowing Derek is around.

That feeling that he can actually do this keeps getting stronger and stronger.

where all my family died
where all my family died
where all my family died

Chapter Text

Pale Horses

Something Becomes Clear

When he gets home it’s getting dark, and he knows his dad is that kind of really pissed he gets when he is actually completely worried about him. He had the day shift today, and getting home and not finding Stiles there’s got to be on his top ten most hated things.

Stiles feels guilty just by looking at him.

“Where were you? And more importantly, why didn’t you call me to let me know you’d be late?” His voice is angry and worried, and Stiles’s heart breaks a little – is this how things are going to be now, then? He has to find excuses all the time, and doing pack things usually involve being out at night, and his dad doesn’t need the stress.

But what’s worse? Having him worrying and having to lie to him, or tell him the truth and risk giving him a heart attack?

Decisions, decisions.

“Sorry, dad. I’m… really sorry, I just lost track of time.”

His dad doesn’t answer, but he comes to Stiles and hugs him. That kind of hug that makes Stiles feel as if everything will be fine. The kind of hug that can make anything better – even the death of his mom became more bearable because his dad was there to hug him like this.

He doesn’t want to lie, and he has Derek’s permission.

Oh, God, he’s going to do it, he’s going to tell him.

“Just… don’t do that again, son. Not now, ok? Too damn close to losing you too many times.”

Stiles nods and lets his dad go, and then he takes a deep breath.

“Dad, I have to tell you something.”

His father is about to answer when there’s a knock on the door, and Scott actually opens it without waiting.

“Hey, can we talk now?” He asks, looking uncomfortable and guilty.

Stiles sighs, and he and his dad trade a look. His father smiles a bit.

“We’ll talk later, ok?”

He nods and makes a gesture for Scott to follow him, they go to his room, and he closes the door behind him.

Scott shuffles about the room, unsure of himself, and Stiles throws himself on his bed, waiting. He knows it’s killing Scott to have to begin the conversation, and it’s kind of killing him to be quiet, because that’s just not his natural state, but he’s going to extract a little bit of vengeance here.

“I’m sorry.” Scott says finally, looking at him with that kicked puppy look, but Stiles is a cold, cold werewolf now, and snorts.

“Man, sorry doesn’t even begin to cover it. Actually, it’s so far from covering it that it doesn’t even make a hat for it. It’s not a sock on it. It’s maybe a small piece of a shoelace to it.”

Scott looks down, and sits on the chair by the computer.

“How did you find out, anyway? About Gerard, I mean.”

“I heard you.” He says simply, and Scott looks even guiltier, as if he would try to convince Stiles he wasn’t betraying them.

“I really am sorry, Stiles, but he threatened my mom.”

Stiles actually looks at Scott then, and sees how worried and tense he is.

“Gerard Argent?”

“Yeah. He stabbed me outside the hospital, and kept on saying how my mom wouldn’t heal, and that I had to help him.”

“And you went and agreed, and looked for Derek, to pass on information on him to Gerard?” when Scott only nods, Stiles gets up from the bed, throwing his hands in the air, “How can you be so stupid? Why didn’t you look for the police, you moron? Gerard is a human, he can be accused!”

“Because no one would believe me! What was I supposed to say, he’s threatening me because I’m a werewolf?” He protests, and Stiles turns around and fixes him with an incredulous glare.

“What the hell, Scott! You just had to say he had threatened your mom because he wants you to stop seeing his granddaughter, you stupid… ARGH!” Stiles starts pacing again, “It’s not a secret they don’t want you with Allison. A family like that is bound to have some record with the police.”

Scott looks down then, and mumbles something that, had Stiles not being a werewolf, he wouldn’t have been able to pick up – but now he does.

“But Allison would blame me.”

Stiles stops his pacing again. What’s he going to do with this man?

“Scott, you are playing with a lot of people’s lives here. Not only yours, and your mom’s, but mine, and my dad’s, and the whole pack’s. Matt is dead, and Jackson is on the loose, and Lydia is not going to school, and you think that not incriminating Gerard is better than have him at least investigated because of Allison? Because of the girl who was trying to kill Derek?”

“She blames him, okay? Her mom didn’t have a history of depression like people are saying; she killed herself because she was going to turn into a werewolf. And Derek is the one that bit her!”

“Yeah, to save you. He put the whole plan to waste because of you. To save you. The ash was all over the building, and he had me blow it away to save you. And you are here, protecting, and lying and betraying him for the family who wants nothing more than to kill you for what you are now! If she wants to blame and kill someone she might as well start with you, because you’re the reason Derek attacked Allison’s mom. Are you going to tell her that? That her mom is a killer, who was trying to kill you?” He snarls, and he knows he’s losing it, but he doesn’t care, he’s just so pissed at Scott right now, “And that’s not even mentioning the whole question of how stupid it is for them to kill her, or for her to kill herself, with no thought for Allison at all. She didn’t have to be dangerous, she could have been controlled on the full moon, she could have lived! Don’t you see how sick those people are, all of them, and you are fucking WORKING WITH THEM!”

The last part is said in a roar, and he is the closest to turning than he’s ever been. Scott is staring at him guiltily, but he doesn’t say anything.

He knows Stiles is right.

“I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I screwed it all up, and I need… help. Come on, Stiles, you were always my back up, I need you.”

It’s not the plea, and it’s not the tone, and it isn’t even that helping Scott would be just about the most stupid thing he’s ever done that actually hurts him. He’s done stupid things for Scott before, like chaining him to a wall and sitting there while Scott tells him how he’s kissed Lydia.

It’s not that that hurts. It’s the you were always my back up.

Which translates into you were always second best. You are always the afterthought. You are the one who can lose his very first game playing first line, which your dad gets out of work to watch, to solve Scott’s problems. You are the one that can get hung up on because Scott needs to be quiet in Allison’s house, but has to answer the phone ten minutes later and go to his rescue.

You are the one who can lie and get lied to, because you are back up.

You’re the sidekick.

Second best.

He’s never hoped to be first priority of anyone – besides his dad, and even then he fights it tooth and nail, trying to take care of his dad just as much as his dad takes care of him. He doesn’t need to be the most important thing in Scott’s life – that would be just ridiculous, they are friends, they aren’t family, or a couple.

But he has hoped that Scott would see him as an equal. Even ground. Balance. And he clearly doesn’t, because he’s calling Stiles his backup.

Stiles can’t quite define why that hurts him so much now – maybe it’s the fact that he would expect that from anyone but Scott. And he can’t help but feel bitter towards him, because ever since Allison showed up, Stiles has been put in second place, and that’s not her fault, because he wasn’t her best friend. Scott has lied to him, and betrayed him, and endangered him, and it was okay, because they were friends, and they were equals, and he could take it.

It’s what friend do, right?

Okay, with the werewolf part it has become kind of best friends extreme, but it’s alright.

Only it isn’t anymore, because they aren’t even, they aren’t equals.

He’s backup.

Scott didn’t even say because you’re my best friend.

Stiles shakes his head, blinking fast, because he is not going to cry over a lost friendship like this.

“Just… Just go, okay?” he whispers, and Scott gets up, worried this time.

“What… Stiles, I--”

“Just GO. I don’t… I can’t deal with you right now. I’ll talk to Derek, and to my dad, and I’ll see what we can figure out about Gerard, but he isn’t our main focus now, okay?”

“What could be more important than this?” Scott asks, and Stiles laughs bitterly.

“Honestly, man? How about the fact that I HAVE BEEN TURNED? Did you actually get that part? I’m a freaking wolf, Scott, and I sure as hell didn’t ask for it, and Derek had to do it to save my life.” He looks at Scott and can tell that he is really shocked by it, “Peter Hale is back, and he almost killed me, and if it wasn’t for Derek, and Erica, and Boyd, and Isaac, I would be dead right now. And that creep is after me, and I’m quite sure he’s not interested in killing me. So yeah, for me, being alive and Peter-free is kind of top priority right now.”

“What does Peter want with you? And how is he back?” Scott sounds astonished, and for this, at least, Stiles can’t blame him.

“I don’t know. And even if I did, I couldn’t tell you.”

“Why not?”

And Stiles has to admit that, although he always cheers for the good guys, a small part of him always does admire the villains. And he kind of takes just a little bit of perverse pleasure in saying what he says next.

“Because this is pack business. And you are not pack.”

Scott looks as if Stiles has punched him, and Stiles looks down. He doesn’t like hurting anyone like this, but enough is enough. He’s done with this. If they are to become friends again, it’s on Scott to make the right choices now.

“I…” Scott starts, and Stiles just looks up. They stare at each other, and none can think of what to say. Things are just too raw to deal with right now, and there’s not enough I’m sorry in the world to undo what’s been done.

Stiles shrugs, and Scott nods at him, leaving.

“Wait.” He says, and Scott stops, turning to him with a hopeful look in his eyes. Stiles gathers his courage, and digs something out of his pocket.

A key.

He reaches out, giving the key to Scott, and the other boy knows it’s the key Stiles had made – the key to Scott’s house. Scott looks like he wants to say something, but Stiles just presses the key to his hand, and turns his back. Eventually, the other werewolf leaves, and he listens to Scott saying good night to his dad, and drops on the bed, feeling exhausted and awful and guilty. His eyes are stinging, and he thinks all he wants right now is sleep. It’s too freaking much – it’s Peter after him, and Jackson at school, and Scott being a stupid moron, and Derek kissing him, and he needs a break.

“Hey, son, is everything okay?” His dad is leaning against his door frame, and he stares at the man, sighing from his spot on the bed.

Maybe he should just take everything out of the way, like ripping a Band-Aid. Then he could deal with everything at once, which is pretty much the same as dealing with nothing of it at all, because it’s just too much, and he will refuse to think about it.

He sits up, and his dad takes that as an invitation to enter his room. Stiles pats the bed, and his dad cracks a small smile.

“I need to tell you something.” He says, and his voice is suspiciously rough. He keeps on blinking, and takes a deep breath, and thinks it won’t help him any if he starts crying while telling his dad he’s a werewolf – actually, it might actually help him.

Huh. Maybe he’ll cry just a bit after all.

“Are you sure you want to do it now? You’re making this sound awfully serious, and I heard you and Scott screaming at each other here. You’ve never done this before.” He looks as if he doesn’t even want to make the offer, his dad knows this has to be something important, but he’s always willing to give whatever it is that Stiles needs.

God, this is going to be hard.

“No. I want to… to come clean to you.” He looks at his dad, and sees he’s starting to get worriedly suspicious. It’s a kind of look he has only ever seen on his dad – the kind of look that says, oh my god, I’ll be so angry, and yet I’ll want to support you. Stiles looks down, and starts fiddling with the hem of his shirt. It’s now or never.

Never does sound good. How does someone even tell a parent they’re a werewolf now? Hey, dad, remember how I’ve always said dogs were gross? Well, now I’m one! Kind of.

Bad. Bad, bad, bad.

“Stiles?” His father inquiries as he’s lost in his own little world, and he sighs again.

“Okay. I can do this.” His dad looks as if he wants to smile now, but he keeps quiet. Quiet and calm and steady and there, as he’s always been. Stiles has no idea what he’s done to deserve such an amazing guy as his father, but he’s not complaining, “Okay, here’s the deal. There’s a lot going on in Beacon Hills that you don’t know about, and it’s crazy, because you’re the freaking Sheriff, and you should know everything. You should be the Gordon in this town, and Batman should trust you with everything, okay? But this’ll be hard to believe, and I need you to let me get everything out first, and then I need you to know I can prove everything I say. Okay?”

His dad looks a little lost, and Stiles knows he needs a minute to separate the valid comments from the blah blah blah his speech has. It’s a talent.

“All right. What do you have to tell me?”

Stiles breathes in deeply, and lets it all go in a whoosh.

“First, I’m gay now. And I’m kind of committed, as far as I know, because I have a certain suspicion the guy I’m with is not the sharing type.”

John looks divided between being angry and being amused.

“We’ve had this conversation, Stiles, you’re not gay.” He says while he, honest to God, facepalms.

“Maybe not, but I was out with this guy, that’s why I was late. He picked me up at school, and we went out, and talked, and we kissed, and now I’m kind of his, you know? Serious shit.” He confirms it with a nod of his head, and his dad starts to look as if he believes him.

“Who’s this guy? Is that why you’re upset with Scott?” His dad says, looking like he’s humoring Stiles.

“I’ll tell you who he is in a few minutes, when I get the rest of it out of the way. And no, that’s not it, you know Scott has no problem with this kind of thing – actually, he doesn’t even know about this. It’s… new. It’s just happened. I don’t think anyone knows about it; just me, and this guy, and well, you, because I thought that was the easiest point of this conversation – the one it’d be easier for you to believe.”

“The easiest point to believe? Telling me you’re in a committed relationship with another guy is not the hardest part of to believe in what you have to tell me?” John looks startled and suspiciously amused – another one of the expressions Stiles has only ever seen on his dad.

His dad has had to develop a whole new level of facial expressions to deal with him. That’s how troublesome Stiles is. Normal, patented parent-related expressions simply don’t cover the gamut of trouble he gets into.

“Yeah. But keep in mind I can prove it. All of it.”

His dad nods.

“Okay, son, spill it before I start thinking you committed a crime.”

Stiles laughs a little too nervously, and his dad narrows his eyes at him.

“Okay, the beginning then, ok? Remember the day you found me in the woods, when I told you Scott wasn’t there, but he was, and he lost his inhaler?” His dad nods again, “Well, Scott got bitten there by something. We thought it was a rogue wolf, and that was bad enough, but then he started doing things. And hearing things, and then we got into a small spot of trouble, and we thought Derek was to blame, because he was all weird and creepy and just fit into the whole bad guy model, only he isn’t, he’s never been the bad guy. But this is for later, the thing is, what bit Scott was a werewolf. And Scott became one too.”

“Stiles.” John says in an exasperated tone, as if he’s getting upset at being told serious things would be told and then is caught up in some prank.

“I told you I can prove it! Just… Just wait, ok? Please, dad? I’m not having a psychotic episode, I swear!”

John Stilinski actually looks as if he hadn’t thought about it till now but he’s beginning to think that’s a good explanation.

“Please, just listen, ok? I can prove it.” He says again, and his dad sighs but nods. “Alright. Anyway, things got tense and complicated, especially because of the Argents and Derek, but we were dealing with it. I was dealing with it. We actually thought the bad guy was dead and gone, but he kind of came back. And that’s the part that actually has me telling you all this shit, because the bad guy came back, and he’s kind of after me, and he almost killed me, and, well, Derek? Derek Hale is kind of the Alpha of this… pack? And he changed me because then I could heal. That’s what happened Friday night. I wasn’t at Isaac’s, I was at Derek’s. I’m a werewolf, and this whole thing is just… there’s so much more I have to tell you, and I also know exactly who – actually, what – killed all those men in the station, but I have to convince you of this first, because I think you won’t believe me when I tell it was a giant lizard being controlled by Matt if you don’t believe I’m a werewolf now.”

They stare at each other, and John looks down, shaking his head, and then looking up, looking completely pissed at Stiles.

“If you think this is funny or this is some weird prank you’re pulling, I swear to God, Stiles…” But he doesn’t get to finish that, because Stiles is pulling a pocket knife out of his drawer, and while his father is talking he slices it through his hand. “What are you DOING?” His father yells, taking his hand into his, making him drop the knife, and both of them stare at his palm.

And John stops trying to get Stiles to get up, because the cut is closing – as easily and as simply as if someone was pulling an invisible zipper inside his hand. The cut closes up in a matter of seconds, it isn’t a deep cut, and all that’s left from it is the blood that spilled.

John raises his eyes and stares open mouthed at Stiles, his son’s eyes an eerie greyish color, the color of ash that is still warm by the fire that has left it behind.

“I told you I could prove it.” He says quietly, his voice deeper.

“My God.” John whispers, and Stiles takes a deep breath, calming his wolf down. It’s not easy, but this is his dad, and he won’t hurt him. Never.

As John is still staring at his son, he sees Stiles’s eyes go back to normal, and he’s left open mouthed, and feeling as if the whole world shifted under his feet.

“That’s why no murder is making sense. That’s why there’s always so much missing to make the cases look convincing, and that’s why you and Scott are ALWAYS IN THE MIDDLE OF IT! By God, Stiles, what are you THINKING messing with… with… WEREWOLVES?!”

Okay. In the various scenarios Stiles has imagined as to how this would go his father being worriedly pissed at his talent to get into trouble wasn’t one of them.

“I’m… sorry? In my defense, I didn’t even ask to be turned; and I had to take Scott being co-captain, and getting kissed by Lydia, and being shoved around as the sidekick, and I took it all calmly. I wouldn’t have been changed, ever, if I had any say in it, but, apparently, I smell too good for my own good?” He finishes with a cheeky smile, and John shakes his head, staring at Stiles, clearly not knowing what he should do.

“I need you to… To tell me what this… means. And, those things in the police station? The Matt boy. What was he? And what killed those officers? Gods, Stiles, was that a wolf? I don’t… I don’t even know what to ask you.” He finishes, and Stiles pats him on the shoulder.

“If I were you, I’d just take it in stride, dad. Don’t even think about rationalizing this stuff, because it’s not worth it.” John gives a startled laugh, and Stiles looks down, smiling just the tiniest bit bitterly.

“I really am sorry, dad. For everything. I just… I wish I could keep out of trouble sometimes, you know? You don’t… You don’t deserve this shit.” He’s looking down, and the tears that were threatening to make an appearance before come again. He blinks hard, once, twice, and his throat is closing on him. He can’t swallow properly.

His dad is quiet, and Stiles can’t quite make himself look at him and maybe see him agreeing that yes, he’s way too much trouble. He’s too much to be dealt with. He’s always getting into situations where his dad is the one that has to come up to his rescue, and he’s not easy to be around. It’s ADHD, and his mood swings, and his werewolfishness, and his existence pretty much.

“Is that what you think, son?” John asks, and Stiles risks a peek at his father’s expression, looking up at him with his head still bowed, his eyes trimmed with tears he’s trying very hard not to let fall.

He shrugs, and looks down again, because his dad is doing the you can’t tell what I’m thinking look, and that’s never good.

Stiles feels his dad’s hand on his shoulder, and he lets out a small sob, because he can’t hold it in – it’s not quite a sob, it’s a whoosh of air he can’t keep and that makes his shoulder shake just a bit. Sobbing is for girls, he’s a tough werewolf now, he’s done sobbing.

“Stiles, look at me.” When he keeps refusing to raise his head, his dad comes closer, and put one of his arms around him, pulling him close, “Look at me, son.”

He lets his eyes finally meet his dad’s, and there’s nothing there but love, and acceptance, and a tiny bit of grief.

“No matter how much trouble you get into, it’s never going to be trouble enough to make me regret having you, or to make me not love you more and more every day that passes by. You’re everything to me, son. And if this Hale changed you because the other option was you dying, then we’ll just deal with this thing, as we’ve dealt with everything else that’s come into our lives.” He stares at Stiles seriously, and the boy can feel a few tears sliding down his cheeks. His father smiles sadly at him, “Sometimes I feel I didn’t do a good job after your mom…” His voice stops working, and he swallows hard before continuing, “After she passed away. You’re always taking care of me, and I do my best for you, but I feel, sometimes, that you think I’d rather you weren’t here, and, Stiles, that’s the only thing I’ll never, ever wish, son. You are everything to me.”

Stiles suddenly can’t take it anymore, and he throws himself at his dad, who holds him with everything he has, and he lets all the tears out. His father rubs his back, and he knows the man is crying too. They used to never let the other see them cry, in those first days when his mom had passed away, but one day he was crying alone, and his dad walked in on him, and he didn’t say anything, he just sat by side, and let him cry – and cried with him. And that seemed to make things a little less bad.

This was it, all over again. Stiles doesn’t even know why he feels so bad about all of this, because rationally, he knows it’s not really his fault – not his been bitten, anyway -, but he feels as if he’s letting his dad down again, and now the man has to deal with this too.

He just wanted once, just once, not to have to burden his father more and more because he’s a magnet for trouble – but it warms his heart to know his father is not lying.

“I’m sorry.” He whispers, and his dad doesn’t answer, he just holds him.

Things are quiet for a few moments, and Stiles at least tries to get himself back together. He finally gets away from his dad’s embrace, and the man is just looking at him as if he’s trying to gather whether Stiles is going to have a mental breakdown or something.

“Well, now you have the dog you’ve always wanted and I never let you get.” He says, and his father snorts a bit, shaking his head. He’s about to say something when Stiles holds a hand up, and sniffs the air. His father looks confused by this, but does keep quiet.

Stiles goes slowly to the window, and sniffs again.

“Shit.” He says, and John looks worried.

Stiles moves away from the window, locking it, and is already taking his phone out of his pocket, dialing hurriedly, and pulling his dad by the hand after him, going downstairs, to the kitchen.

“Stiles, what is it?” John asks.

“Just… Shit, Derek!” He screams when the person on the other end of the phone call answers, “He’s here.” He says, and his voice is full of fear.

“I’m on my way.” Derek answers and the line goes dead.

“Stiles!” His father says, but there’s a crash in one of the windows. They hear glass breaking and a long, drawn out snarl.

There’s scratching on the ceiling, and Stiles and John both know there’s something upstairs.

The Sheriff takes his gun out of its holder, and Stiles actually tries to shove his dad behind him, and they have half a fight over who is going to be in front of whom.

The scratching gets worse, and reaches the stairs.

“Come on, Derek.” Stiles says, and he can practically feel his dad staring at him at this.

But then his attention is taken away from Stiles’s apparently trust in the accused murderer, because there’s a freaking half-wolf coming down the stairs. He drags his nails on the walls, drawing out the sound, his shadowy form becoming clearer and clearer. The eyes are the first thing they can see, a bluish glow, spiking blue and normal, as if it can’t decide on what to truly be.

“Ah, my little puppy. Hiding behind daddy, dear?” His voice is rough and mocking, and Stiles absolutely freezes.

This is not some crazy, raging, murdering werewolf. This is a conscious Peter Hale, here not to kill him, but to do something much, much worse than that.

“What do you want, Peter?” he says, taking a few steps back, and his voice is not half as firm as he’d like, but Peter’s attention is not on him, it’s on his dad and the gun he’s got pointed at him.

“How about you tell your dad you’re coming with me, and I don’t kill him before I take what’s mine, huh?” The man suggests, coming closer slowly.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen.” John says, and shoots.

Peter screams, his voice loud and half animalistic, but Stiles knows it’s just from the pain – he’ll heal, and then they are screwed.

The older werewolf roars, and starts shifting, snarling the whole time.

“Dad! You have to get out of here!” Stiles screams, but his dad won’t budge.

“What can kill that thing?” He simply asks, all business, and Stiles shakes his head, and the wolf is coming towards them. He screams, trying to protect his dad with his body while his dad tries to do the same with him, but the hit never comes.

Because through the open window in the living room a much bigger wolf’s come in, and he knocks Peter out of his jump, breaking the kitchen table in the process. Stiles looks on, not knowing what to do. Change and help Derek? But what if he loses control and hurts his dad?

His father, on the other hand, is shooting at Peter – not a single miss, and he doesn’t hurt Derek even once. Oh, well, nice to know his dad won’t be shooting the nice wolves then.

The two tear half their house apart, and it isn’t a pretty sight. Peter might be smaller, but he’s more experienced, and he’s got the whole crazy thing on his side. But Derek is an Alpha with three Betas and a Mate – not claimed, but his all the same. He keeps knocking Peter down, and the wolf gets up every time, defending itself, and trying to get at Stiles. He and his father end up simply trying to keep out of the way when John realizes his shooting is not even slowing the smaller wolf down anymore, and they end up at a corner in the kitchen, losing sight of the fight when Derek throws Peter into the living room.

There are roars and snarls, and suddenly a yelp of pain and crashing glass.

Stiles is breathing hard, and trying to go to the other room to check on Derek, but his dad’s hand is holding him, dragging him behind John.

They take two careful steps towards the living room when Derek shows up – not changed anymore, just reddish eyes, as if they don’t quite want to turn back into green yet.

Derek makes a beeline for Stiles, not even sparing John a glance, taking him by the arms, and looking him over.

“What did he do?” He bites out in his very pleasant and polite manner, as always, and Stiles just shakes his head vehemently.

“Nothing. He didn’t even touch me, I swear.” He says, and Derek keeps on looking, making Stiles nervous, “Dad shot him, though!” He says, but Derek doesn’t seem to hear him, making a broken kind of sound, as if he’s trying very hard not to do something.

And the something becomes clear when he pulls Stiles to him and kisses him hard and bruising. It’s fast and hot and fearful. His mouth barely has the time to respond when Derek lets him go, staring at him again.

Mine.” He snarls, and Stiles nods along.

“Yours.” He confirms it, because Derek looks on the verge of wolfing out again.

They stare at each other for a few seconds, and suddenly there’s the sound of a throat cleaning, and Stiles closes his eyes. He feels Derek shift a bit, and when he risks a look, he sees his dad with the gun still in his hand, looking at them – and he is not happy.

“So, dad, about that whole I’m with a guy thing? This is him.” He says with a nervous smile.

This is going to be so awkward.

Leave me by the churchyard
Leave me on my own

Chapter Text

Pale Horses

Something is explained

There’s silence in the kitchen, and Stiles alternates looking at his father and at Derek, who are staring at each other for what could be hours, but it’s actually just a few seconds.

It occurs to Stiles that Derek is officially dating the Sheriff’s son.

He has to bite his lip to keep from laughing, but a small sound escapes his mouth, and the other men in the room turn to look at him.

“Er… Sorry. Just… Nervous habit. Sorry.”

“Son, I’m going to need a very good explanation about what the hell just happened here, because half our house is wrecked, and I am on my very last nerve.” John says it all very calmly, and his eyes are on Derek the whole time he speaks. Stiles looks up, thinking about what he should do – maybe it’d be easier if he sent Derek away.

As if sensing his thoughts, Derek looks at him and shakes his head.

“I’m not leaving you.” He says with finality, eyes narrowing when it looks like Stiles is going to argue, and Stiles sighs.

“Stiles.” His father says as a warning, and he tries to raise his hands in surrender, but he can only do it with his left hand – his right one is attached to the arm Derek is holding.

“Mind letting it go there, buddy?” He asks, looking at the hand on his arm, but Derek doesn’t move, he just stares at Stiles and growls in annoyance. It seems he spent his whole talking quota earlier at his place, there are no words left in Derek Hale.

“Okay, maybe we should all sit down and talk, okay?” He says, sensing the atmosphere growing tenser, because his father has gathered that whatever is going on between them is not exactly puppy love. It’s something more, and that is bothering him.

He looks around the room and frowns. The kitchen table is in pieces, two of the chairs died with it too. He remembers the sound of crashing coming from the living room and doesn’t even want to think about the state that’s going to be.

“How about we go to the dining room?” He says brightly, already starting to make his way through the pieces of cheap wood and metal on the floor. His father looks at Derek, and the man follows, not letting go of Stiles’s arm. John is the last to get into the room, choosing to sit with his back to the door, blocking the exit.

That’s just… great. Overprotective dad and crazy Alpha mate in a little room. Just… Just amazing, everything Stiles has always wanted the beginning of his first relationship to be.

“How about you two begin explaining to me how you are now together, and then we can move on to the werewolf tearing my house apart?” John is doing his menacing sheriff thing, and Stiles looks down, and fights the urge to hit his head on a wall. Or the table. He’s not picky. Because he knows Derek, and the man is just a disaster waiting to happen; he has no charisma and no desire to make other people like him, he won’t be polite to John, and John will be pissed, and things will go down badly, Stiles can feel it in his bones.

“The two are connected, sir.” Derek says, his voice normal and even, his expression completely polite and serious. Stiles might just die of shock as he stares open mouthed at Derek. Apparently, his bones are not to be trusted when it comes to the Alpha.

“How?” John presses and Derek seems to be considering what he’ll have to explain to make John understand.

“What did Stiles tell you already?” He asks back, and John stares at him distrustfully, “Just so I know how much background I’ll have to give you, sir.” He continues, and John continues to look at him through narrowed eyes, but he answers.

“The basics. Werewolves, you changing him to save his life, Scott being bitten.”

“Nothing about the different kinds of werewolves?”

“No.” Stiles answers, making Derek look at him sharply, “There was no time. Scott’s been here, and when I finally started telling dad, Peter showed up, and I called you.”

Derek nods at him, and looks back at John Stilinski, the Sheriff.

His hand is now on Stiles leg. Stiles notices the move, and fidgets on his seat.

“There are different kinds of werewolves - a hierarchy, if you’d like. The lone wolves, such as Scott and Peter, they are called Omegas. The ones who have a pack they belong to are called Betas, and the leader of a pack is an Alpha. They have different strengths, and a werewolf with a pack is always stronger. The more betas an Alpha has in his pack, the more powerful he is.” He looks at John, who nods, showing he’s following Derek so far.

“So Stiles is a Beta of your pack?” He asks, and Derek shakes his head.

“No. Stiles is… he’s different. He’s none of those things, Stiles is a Mate.”

“I don’t quite like the sound of that.” John says, and Stiles laughs, because come on, he would have said the same thing. Derek and John stare at him together, and he holds his hands up, surrendering. Let them bond over his randomness, it’s cool, he can take it.

“It means he brings strength to the pack in a different way. Only an Alpha can truly have a mate. The Alpha who bites a potential mate becomes… possessive of their mate. They are connected, even if they are not… claimed.” And for the first time ever Stiles sees Derek blush. He fights not to laugh again, and bites his lips to stop it. “I had to bite Stiles because Peter sensed that in him – it’s a quality that comes through even as a human. Stiles takes care of things, of people he considers his pack. You, Scott, the red headed girl. Peter was an Alpha, but he lost it, and he tried to claim Stiles, biting him. I had to change him, or he’d die. When I did it, my wolf saw Stiles as… mine.” He explains, and looks down, as if he’s ashamed of admitting it. “I feel very… strongly about him.” He continues, and Stiles is the one who has to deal with being blushing now.

He kind of feels very strongly for Derek too – like very strongly like being thoroughly kissed by him at every second, and the thought of being claimed kind of makes him all tingly inside.

Not that he’ll ever say any of those things aloud.

“Are you two in love?” His dad asks, and the two younger men stare at him as if he’s asking them to please dance the can-can.

“That’s not quite how this works.” Derek says tersely, and the hand on Stiles leg grows tense.

“So you’re telling me you feel entitled to come into my house, saving of our lives notwithstanding, kiss my kid in front of me, and then tell me you’re not in love with him?”

Stiles can’t resist the urge anymore, and hits his head on the table twice, before Derek puts a hand on his shoulder, stopping him.

“Dad, don’t… just… Argh. Man. No.” He mumbles very coherently.

“We weren’t involved before Stiles was bitten, and that happened two days ago. I had felt Stiles potential towards being a mate, but I didn’t want to turn him, because he had said before he didn’t want to. I wouldn’t force myself on someone like that – but now that it has happened, now that he’s my pack, I would never let him go. He’s a part of my pack, mine to protect and care for. I won’t lie and say I’m in love with him to give you peace of mind when it’d be a lie. I will, however, say that he’s more important to me than any other person alive on Earth right now, and I will always protect him.” Derek’s eyes never waver from John’s, and his voice is firm, even if it sounds as if he’d rather never voice all those words at once. He must be breaking records here on the number of words said by him in a single day.

“Good enough.” John says, and then he turns to look at Stiles, who’s feeling just the tiniest bit overwhelmed, “Stiles? What do you have to say?”

Stiles looks at his dad, and then at Derek, and he tries to think of something to say that will be as meaningful or as incredible as what Derek has just said.

But he can’t.

He knows Derek is not lying, and he kind of likes Derek now. He knows he feels attracted to him, even when he didn’t like Derek and thought he was a murderer he could see the man was attractive – that day with Danny was proof enough. What’s he going to say? Yeah, I care for him, but God help me if I fall in love with him, because he sure as hell can do what he wants to me, but I know he could never love me?

It’s not like it was with Lydia. He knew he had no chance there. Taking her to the dance had been amazing, and yet, he knew she had been looking out for Jackson the whole night. He knew he’d never get her, and it was kind of a safety net: knowing you can’t have it. It stops you from hoping it’ll work, and that the person you want will actually want you back.

He gets tense, and Derek is looking at him with concern in his eyes, his father waiting patiently for an answer.

“I… uhm… This is it, right? I know I… I can’t seem to even care for anyone else like… that. So. That’s it, I guess. I’m kind of… Derek’s.” He says with a shrug, but he can actually see the smug smile Derek has when he says it, and Stiles shakes his head.

Damn smug, pretentious, sour wolf.

John shakes his head, but he looks a bit relieved at their answers. It hits Stiles that his dad – out of this whole mess, the whole craziness, with his house torn apart and werewolves becoming real – still only wants him to be happy.

“What about this Peter? How much of a threat is he to Stiles?”

“Not a really terrible one, but he’s a problem I have to deal with. He won’t get to Stiles, I won’t let him, but his coming here was way too daring for his status. He must want something, or know something that’s making him seek power so recklessly.” Derek says, clearly trying to understand what could have his uncle this desperate.

“What about the Argents?” Stiles suggests, “They did make the whole mess at the station, and I’ll bite my own arm off if Matt killed himself. Also, there’s Jackson, and he is a threat.”

“What do you mean, the Argents? And who’s Jackson – Lacrosse captain Jackson? The guy who has a restraining order against you?” John says, and Stiles actually grins, because now he can explain.

“I was TRULY trying to help him. He turns into this thing we call a Kanima, which is basically a giant lizard thing with poison, and he was killing people, because Matt was making him. But at the time I locked him up we didn’t know it was Matt – I told Scott I didn’t like the guy, but he never listens to me, and I’m always right.”

“Your Lacrosse captain killed all those man?” His dad repeats, and Stiles actually winces.  Maybe he said a bit too much?

“He doesn’t know what he’s doing. He isn’t even aware he’s changing.” He adds, “Matt was controlling him, but now we don’t know who is, or even if there is someone controlling him. We’re working on it, though.”

John looks as if he’s about to explode with exasperation.

“Stiles, you shouldn’t be working on ANYTHING. It’s not your responsibility! Why are you even in the middle of this, why didn’t you look for help?”

“We had help! We had Allison and… Well, her - me and Scott and her, and Derek and the rest of the pack. But now it’s all a mess, because Scott is betraying us for the Argents, and…”

“What the hell do the Argents have to do with it?” His father growls and it occurs to Stiles that he’d make a damn impressive werewolf with a growl like that.

He looks at Derek, who’s quiet and unmoving.

“A little help here?” he asks, and Derek actually smirks at him.

“I think you’re doing very well on your own.”

“Why am I even your mate?” He says quietly, and looks at his dad seriously.

“Okay. The Argents? Werewolf hunters. I’ll tell you everything from the beginning.” He says, and they settle for what will be some very long hours, telling John Stilinski all the things he’s never known about quiet Beacon Hills, and all the things he’ll know how happened, but will never be able to explain in the eyes of the law.

Four hours later, at nearly 2am, John is an informed man. Derek and Stiles manage to tell him basically everything he needs to know so he won’t put himself in danger when he’s around town, and he swears he’ll pay a visit to the veterinarian in the morning for something to protect himself from wolves and werewolves and to try and stay clear of Jackson.

“How did I miss all of this?” He asks, looking more bewildered than anything else, and Stiles feels incredibly guilty again.

“I’m very good at hiding things?” He says with an apologetic shrug, and the Sheriff looks at him unimpressed, “Okay, I’m so not helping my case here. I’m sorry, dad.” He says and he means it.

But even if he’s sorry, he’d do it all again, because he feels that, had he still been human, he wouldn’t have told anything to his dad.

It was safer like that. But now safer is not on the menu anymore, so he’s rooting for cautious and alive.

“We should all just… sleep. You have school tomorrow, and I have to find an explanation for all the mess at the station that won’t involve me being sent to a psychiatric ward.” He says, getting up.

“If you don’t mind, I’m staying here, downstairs. I don’t think Peter will do anything stupid like this again, but I’ll be more reassured if I can stay.” Derek says in a controlled way, and Stiles starts to get the feeling that things are way more serious than he knows.

His dad stares at him and then at Derek, and nods.

“No funny business under my roof, you hear?” He says, pointing a finger at Derek, and Stiles is left to die of embarrassment for the third time that night.

“Geez, dad, we, like, kissed! Twice! I can’t even, argh.” He says, and his dad actually smiles at him.

“Up with you, kid.” He points to the door, and Stiles looks between Derek and his father for a moment. Derek gives him what he thinks is supposed to be a reassuring look, but all it does is make him even more nervous.

“Okay. Good night.” He says, and climbs the stairs very slowly.

The two men left in the dining room don’t say anything until his steps can’t be heard anymore, and they hear the soft click of a door closing.

John looks at Derek, and he knows it’s kind of ridiculous what he’ll do now, because the man is a werewolf, he’s seen what he could do, but he has to, anyway.

“That kid? He is a handful. He gave me more gray hair than all the crimes I’ve seen at that station put together, but he’s my life. You hurt him, or you fail to provide this protection you’re saying you’ll give him, a hair on his head gets damaged because of you, and I’ll find a way to kill Alpha wolves, and you are going down.”

He’s expecting Derek to agree to humor him, but that’s not what happens. The man’s eyes go red, and he comes closer to John, looking threatening and monstrous, and so much like a wolf even if he’s not changed.

“I won’t fail my mate.” He whispers, and John tries not to look scared.

He nods instead, looking at the Alpha in the eye.

“See that you don’t.”

He turns his back and goes upstairs, intent on sleeping.

When he opens his door, though, he’s surprised to see Stiles there, looking like a little kid, twisting the hem of his shirt, sitting on his bed.

“He… ah… got in through my room. It smells like him there.” He says, and John simply nods. He lies down on the bed, and Stiles climbs in it, and he can see Stiles needs to be distracted from this Peter thing, or he’ll never sleep.

“I don’t like it that he’s so much older than you. And I don’t like it that he speaks about you as if you’re his property.” He says, and he can feel his son sighing in the dark.

“I kind of… I don’t know if it’s me, or just… wolfish feelings, or whatever, but… I like it. It makes me feel… safe. Safer, at least. Like when… Like when I’m with you, you know? Only different.” He admits, and John goes quiet.

They lie there, side by side, trying to sleep, and maybe they are successful, because when Stiles becomes aware of things again, he’s alone in the bed, and he can see the sun through the curtains.

He gets up with a strength of will he isn’t even aware of possessing, and goes downstairs, where his father is cooking.

“Morning.” He mumbles, and sits at the table, dropping his head on it, his eyes closed again.

“Morning.  I was going to call you soon, so you won’t be late.”

They fall silent again, and Stiles suddenly raises his head, staring at the table.

“Hey, there’s a table here!”

He hears his father chuckling, and notices it’s the dining room table.

“Apparently, Derek’s been busy while we slept.”

“Oh. Where is he?”

His father shrugs.

“He wasn’t here anymore when I got downstairs. The table was here, though, and all the rubble is cleaned up.”

“Huh.” Stiles comment, and starts on eating what his father’s prepared for breakfast. He goes upstairs to get ready under protest, because the last place in the whole world he wants to be in right now is his room, but all his stuff is there, so he’s got no other option.

He takes a shower and throws the very first thing he can grab, getting his backpack and leaving the room in record time. He gets his keys and yells a goodbye to his father, getting out the front door, making his way to his jeep, and opening the door, only to have it closed by an arm that is suddenly in his field of vision.

Turning to look, he sees Derek, closer than anyone had any right to be, and looking damn fine for someone who spent the night cleaning their mess of a house.

“Good morning to you too.” He says, and Derek doesn’t even bother answering.

“I’m taking you to school today.” Stiles starts to protest, but a single look at Derek’s annoyed expression makes his arguments die in his throat, “I’m also picking you up afterwards, we need to train you. I’ve been working with the others, you’ll join us.”

“Fine.” He says, walking to the black Camaro he knows and loathes and loves.

He gets in just in time to see his dad watching from one of the windows. Well, at least now he knows Stiles won’t be alone.

The ride is silent, and Stiles spends it fiddling with his cellphone, not saying a word to Derek. When they get to the school with half an hour to spare, Derek actually parks the car and turns to look at him, clearly irritated.

“What is it?” He says, the ever present biting tone in his voice.

“What is it what?” Stiles retorts, intrigued.

“You’ve been quiet for the whole ride, Stiles. The only time I’ve seen you go so long without talking was when you were unconscious.”

Stiles looks at him surprised and a bit offended.

“Wow, dude, chill. I didn’t talk because it’s early, and I haven’t had my medicine today, because I want to see how this werewolf stuff will affect my concentration and the ADHD. I didn’t talk because I thought you liked it when I don’t talk, and I’m actually making an effort not to annoy you here, ok?”

Derek is quiet after that, and he looks at Stiles, searching his face for something.

“Sorry.” He says after a while, and Stiles smiles at him.

“It’s okay. If you miss me speaking, don’t worry, I won’t be doing the quiet thing again, ever. In fact, I’ll spend the rest of our lives together talking non-stop, you’ll absolutely love it. And I mean love it.”

Derek doesn’t even answer, he just gets out of the car, and Stiles frowns, confused, before getting out too.

They had gotten there early, but by now the parking lot is beginning to fill up with the other students, and they aren’t being discrete in their interest for Stiles and the super-hot ex-murder accused Derek Hale in the same car.

“What are you doing?” Stiles hisses when Derek leans on the car, against the passenger door. On the other side of the parking lot, Stiles sees Erica and Boyd. They wave, and he waves back, looking back at Derek, “Well?” he prods, but Derek smirks, not the you’re screwed smirk, but the I’m about to screw you, and you’ll love it smirk, and pulls Stiles against him, holding him in place with an arm around his waist, and a hand on his neck.

“I’m proving a point.” He says, pulling Stiles to him for a kiss.

It’s different, this time. This is a kiss that’s not testing the waters, it’s also not just to reassure Derek that he’s alive and well – this is a kiss for show. For the others. Derek’s hands are tight against him, and he falls forward with not a thought in the world, his backpack falling down before he puts his own hands on Derek’s shoulders, holding on to dear life.

Their lips move against each other lazily, slowly, and half way through it they break away from each other, but they don’t let go. Stiles looks at Derek, and Derek gives him half a smile, which is a lot more than he was expecting.

“Are you making some move I’m not aware of here? Some strategy?” Stiles asks, and Derek pulls him close again.

“Yeah, I’m proving a point. I’m proving to this whole school, and all of the Argents, and all of the girls and boys there that you are mine. That’s what I’m proving.”

Stiles doesn’t answer, and he doesn’t want to analyze why his hearty races when he hears that. He simply shakes his head, smiling just a little bit.

“Possessive bastard.” He says, but leans in again, and for the very first time, he initiates the kiss, with Derek kissing him back and dominating the kiss soon after.

They break apart when they hear a catcall, and turning, they see Erica looking at them with amusement in her eyes.

“Very nice show, but this is a school. You guys can get to third base when you’re alone, okay?”

Derek throws her an unimpressed look, and she lowers her head just a bit, but Stiles actually smiles, pecks Derek on the lips once more, and moves away from him, picking up his backpack.

“I’ll be here to watch your practice.” Derek says, and gets in the car.

Stiles stays there, watching him leave, and then he turns to Erica and Boyd, and also Isaac, who showed up too. He has a huge grin on his face.

“Guess you figured what the whole mate thing was about, huh, Stiles?” Erica teases, and Stiles refuses to blush.

“Yeah, we sort of did.” He gets a faraway look on his face, but is suddenly brought back to Earth when he sees Jackson and Danny watching him, “I’ve got a whole other set of things to tell you three though, and none of them are quite as pleasant and my making out with the hottest guy in this whole town.” He finishes with a grin, and Erica answers it in kind, while the four of them make their way into the school.

“Oh, but I want all the details.” She says, and they get into the school, missing the look Jackson is giving them.

And that kind of look can never mean anything good.

Some will come and take me,
back to my old home

Chapter Text

Pale Horses

Something Goes Wrong

Derek watches as John goes upstairs, and he sits back down, looking at the table in front of him, but not really seeing it.

Thing is John Stilinski kind of makes him think about his mother.

He doesn’t know how he feels about that – he doesn’t really know how he feels about a lot of things these days, and this is not something he’s used to having to deal with. He’s good with hatred, anger, loathing, rage – he can handle them, it’s pretty much all he’s been dealing with for many, many years now. Laura had tried to move on, but he couldn’t take it, he couldn’t forget it, and sometimes he allowed himself to completely drown in the knowledge that Laura had probably come back to Beacon Hills to maybe find some closure – for him.

Always for him.

She had been his Alpha, and he had left her, because he didn’t want to deal with anything. He wanted to bury it deep, and leave only the darkest feelings on the surface, always boiling, always raging, because he was the reason his whole family was dead, and there was nothing he could do about it.

It wasn’t that he thought it was his fault – it truly, and completely, was. He had let himself become involved with Kate, let himself believe an older girl would find him awesome and amazing and powerful, because that’s how he used to see himself as those days: invincible. It didn’t matter that Laura was going to be Alpha after his mom, he’d never wanted that kind of responsibility, but he used to love knowing he was stronger and faster than all his friends; that he had powers, and he could heal from anything. He loved being a wolf.

And Kate had taught him to hate what he is, what he had been born as.

He came back looking for his sister and he found half her body. He had hoped he’d be able to find his uncle, and what he had found was an empty shell filled up with madness and meanness, seeking to hurt and destroy and kill everything in his path, for power and vengeance.

All he wanted to do was clean up this mess and… leave.

He has a pack, sure, but up till two days ago that didn’t mean he had a family back. None of them would care if he lived or died, as long as they had their powers to make their lives better – that was the reason he had chosen them, after all. Damaged, insecure, shy and outcast, that is how he picked his pack, because anything would be better than what they had, and he was actually making their lives better. When his clean-up was done, he’d leave, and they would be his pack, but from afar. There was no reason for them to be together anymore.

But then Stiles happened. He loathed the boy from the very first time he’d seen him – not because he had done anything wrong, but because Derek could just see what he could become. The piece that would always be missing from any and every pack he might join, because he would never, ever condemn anyone to be his mate.

He had threatened, and hurt, and screamed at him, and yet Stiles didn’t fear him – not the way other people seemed to. Or maybe it wasn’t that Stiles didn’t fear him, but only that he wasn’t afraid of being near him, simply because he knew, just as Derek knew it too, he could never truly hurt him. He knew things weren’t easy for Stiles, even if he didn’t quite know why the boy always smelt like a strange combination of excitement and grief, as if a small piece of him was always missing from the moment he was in. He hadn’t meant to get to know Stiles so well as he seemed to have, but his wolf simply picked on those things: his loyalty, his cleverness, his protectiveness over his friends and his father; and every time he saw something truly good in Stiles he tried to push him away more and more, so that he would never, ever give in and turn him.

Because having a Mate in his pack meant they weren’t just a bunch of dysfunctional teenagers with an even more dysfunctional grown-up getting together to fight something or other. It would mean they were a family – the one thing he longed for, and was decided to deny himself from having. He didn’t deserve a mate. It was as simple as that.

Stiles didn’t even notice how much the other three had come to care for him already, the way they seemed to defer to Derek out of responsibility, but they answered to Stiles because they knew, instinctually, he would try to do the very best for them, because this is who he was. And that seems to be a pattern with Stiles, he can see a lot from other people, he had taught Scott how to focus and control himself better than Derek had, and he wasn’t a werewolf by then, and all he had to go on was the Internet and instinct. He can see things, and understand them, and see the potential in people – everyone but himself.

And a part of Derek, specially the part that comes with being an Alpha, wants to find out why Stiles seems to think so lowly of himself. He wants to unveil the teen, and figure him out, and he wants to kiss him, and claim him, and mark him. He wants to have him, and hear him say again and again that he is Derek’s with that awkward smile and a slight blush, and his heart beating so fast even humans can hear it. But at the same time he wants distance from Stiles, he wants to be as far away from him as possible, because Stiles is either going to bring him out of his misery – and he can’t allow that, because he deserves to be miserable and angry -, or Derek will drag Stiles down with him, making him as unhappy and as full of self-loathing as he himself is. And the last one is way more likely to happen, because Derek is sure, absolutely sure, he burns everything he touches, and all that’s left is ash and death.

He sighs and gets up from his chair, going to the living room, and looking around. The place is trashed – the coffee table is in pieces, and the sofas are turned. The carpet is stained with blood and splinters, and there’s glass everywhere. The kitchen is not much better, the table is a goner, there’s nothing to do there, but most of it is in a better shape than the living room.

And there’s also Stiles’s room, where Peter came in.

He dares not going upstairs, though, but goes to try and find a broom, cleaning the pieces of furniture and glass from the floor. He’s not very good at it, but it’s better than nothing. After doing that, he manages to get the table from the dining-room, and puts it in the kitchen. Stiles and his dad don’t strike him as the kind of people who’d actually eat in the dining-room. They are the eat-in-the-kitchen kind of people.

Like his family was.

But he’s not thinking about his family again.

What he has to think about is Stiles, and how he’ll handle this whole mess. The boy doesn’t deserve to be miserable for something Peter’s done. His wolf, Stiles’s wolf, wants his mate, just like Derek’s wants his; and it’s not like it’s hard to give in to that part of the mating process. He doesn’t have a problem with feeling attracted to Stiles, because the boy is very much attractive. It actually confuses Derek that he doesn’t have anyone. He’s not the classical male beauty, handsome and tough, but he is… something undefinable, sweet and beautiful.

And he’s not going to think about this now. He needs to know what he’ll do, he is the Alpha of this pack, he has a responsibility to all of them, and most of all to Stiles.

Besides, he promised his dad he’d take care of Stiles, and if there’s one thing John has made clear is that it’s not only his physical integrity that worries him about Stiles.

The man just wants his son to be happy.

The only small problem with that is that he’s almost completely mated to Derek, and that pretty much equals some sort of punishment.

He sits on a half ripped sofa, and lets his eyes close, even if he knows he won’t be able to sleep – the smell of another wolf still lingers in the air, and he’s too wired to relax and sleep. He needs to figure out what the hell Peter wants.

Well, that’s actually not hard – Peter wants to kill all Argents, and Derek can’t quite blame him. Gerard is turning out to be just like his daughter. Chris is actually the most manageable out of the Argents left, he can be reasoned with – up to a point.

Or could, up till his wife had gone and killed herself for being bitten. Hell, that was some messed up crap. And now Allison wants to kill him, and he can’t trust Scott. He has to find out what Stiles and he had talked earlier, maybe there is salvation for that boy yet, but Derek knows he will never trust him again, even if Scott submitted to him.

The ideal situation would be if Peter killed Gerard and got himself killed in the process.  Now that was something Derek could root for, but he knew it’d never happen. Another problem was the Jackson situation, and what to do about it. The Kanima is a mutation of the werewolf gene that cannot fully transform until it resolves that in its past which manifest it – it was what the Bestiary said about the boy, but what the hell did he have in his past that wouldn’t allow him to fully change into his wolf?

Why did all the creatures in this damn town have to be so full of angst and self-deprecation they couldn’t even change normally? That girl, Lydia, that was another problem he’d have to deal with soon. Actually, it was the easiest of them all, but he didn’t quite trust himself to deal with facing her, and not ripping her apart from the simple knowledge Stiles used to be in love with her.

Used being the keyword, because that was how Mates worked – he wouldn’t be able to be in love with her anymore. Not really. That is, if Stiles had ever been truly in love with the girl, anyway. It seemed to Derek he liked the idea of how unattainable she was way more than her, but okay.  

He needs to figure out how they are going to do this. Sneak around town, be together, protect Stiles from the Argents by not letting anyone know they were together, or go ahead and make everyone in the world know Stiles was his now, like his wolf really wanted to do?

What would it help if he tried to protect Stiles, anyway, if the boy was already neck deep in the whole mess because of Scott? It actually surprises Derek that Gerard hadn’t come after Stiles yet.

Gerard must have a damn good card hidden somewhere, from all the things he is not doing, when he obviously can.

Or a huge weak point he doesn’t want to expose.

By making it clear that Stiles is his, he’ll actually protect him. The Argents will be careful not to enrage an Alpha by messing with his mate, and they’ll know to stay away. Also, they’ll know Derek has more power now, because of Stiles. He stakes his claim, and people will be wary of him, and that’s good, because while they update their plans to accommodate him and his mate, he has the time to figure out how to deal with Peter.

He could have killed him today. He knows it.

And yet he couldn’t do it, because he had done it once before, and it had taken him everything he had.

It’s his uncle. It’s someone who took care of him when he was little, and let him have candy when his mom had said no. It’s the guy who gave him his first beer when he was too young to drink, and who would laugh at him when he was excited about some new thing he could do because he was a werewolf.

Peter wasn’t his favorite uncle, he wasn’t even that close to him – but he was all that was left from his family. He felt… broken about what had happened. He used to love this man, he knew he loved him back, and now he had killed his sister, and tried to kill him, and wanted to steal his mate.

What was Peter doing?

He doesn’t have to question the why of it, though, he knows it. The loss, the emptiness, the madness that comes every once in a while, of knowing everyone is dead, and everyone is gone, and there is no one else left to live for.

Their family, their pack, the people they cherished, and loved, and adored, all gone.

Because of Derek.

It’s more than losing a relative, or even a parent. A pack is not just a bunch of people together for a fight, no matter how much he tries making it look so – they are a unit. A bond with a pack is the most cherished thing for a werewolf, and that feeling is intensified tenfold if you are a born werewolf. Derek was born inside that pack, with that family, knowing no matter what happened, how bad things would get in the outside world, there was a whole pack of people to help him through it. It was more than a family, it was a part of him.

All gone. Forever. The pain would never subside, even if, at some point in the future, he’d manage to be part of a true pack again; even if he claimed Stiles truly and forever, and he had a mate and betas with him, the loss of his first pack would never leave him.

And the guilt would never desert him, because it was all his fault.

Maybe that was why Peter kept trying to get Stiles away from him. Maybe he knew Derek would never be good for the boy, would only make him miserable.

He sighed, looking around, and settling on staring out the window to the night that slowly became morning, the sky full of pale lights and the orange glow before sunrise.

There was so much to do, and definitely not enough time to do it all.

When he hears noise upstairs, he waits until he can hear Stiles’s father coming down and leaves thorough the window. He goes to his place, takes a shower and changes, before going out again.

He can’t claim Stiles. Maybe he never will – that would be too final, too intimate, too much to handle -, but he will make every single person in the whole town know that Stiles is his. Half the population is afraid of him for crimes he didn’t commit, and the other half will be afraid of pissing off the Sheriff, so they will be okay.

He hopes.

When he leaves Stiles in the company of Erica and the boys, he’s actually feeling better. He can handle this, the physical aspect of their relationship, he can definitely get used to it.

It’s the other part that makes him have dark thoughts, and maybe curse the fact that he just couldn’t have let Stiles die.

X

“What do you have to tell us?” Erica asks, as soon as they get into the school and are out of earshot of lizards and other wolves.

Stiles turns to answer her, but stops, because with his daughter-in-law dead, he was expecting Gerard to take a few more days to come back to school.

He clearly didn’t.

Coming straight towards them, Gerard pauses in front of the four teenagers, and Stiles fights the urge to fidget, because damn, that guy is creepy.

“Mr. Stilinski, I’d like a word with you, if you don’t mind.”

“No.” Stiles says without thinking about it, because there’s no way in hell he’ll go anywhere with that man – not even to his office.

“Are you denying my request as the Principal of this school to come with me, Mr. Stilinski?” Gerard raises an eyebrow and stares, and Stiles looks around him, trying to find a way out – anything.

But deep down, he already knows he’s screwed, because no excuse is an excuse good enough for him not to obey their Principal.

“I’m sorry, sir, but I don’t see why you’d have to talk to me.” He ends up saying, and Erica looks at him as if he’s insane.

It’s the lamest excuse of all times, but he had to say something.

“Well, Mr. Stilinski, as an adult and a grandparent myself, I see that young men like yourself have a difficult time keeping your personal affairs personal. However, as a principal of this school I cannot allow a student of mine to participate in such Public Displays of Affection with an older man, nonetheless, and not inform your parents of it.” Gerard looks at Stiles again, and raises his chin challengingly, “Come with me, Mr. Stilinski.”

“I can call my dad.” Stiles says hurriedly, dodging the hand that has come up probably to drag him away to the principal’s office, “He knows about Derek and mine… ah… relationship. He totally knows it. I can call him. You can call him even.”

“And that’s all the more reason for you to come with me, Mr. Stilinski. If your father doesn’t see the problems with such a relationship, then it’s about time you talk to another adult.” And with this he grabs Stiles’s arm, and makes a gesture indicating for him to come along.

This is it. He’s dead meat.

How could this man figure out this fast he’s turned?

Stiles looks back at Erica, who has her eyes wide, and the boys, who seemingly don’t know what to do. He mouths “Call Derek” at them, and hopes for the best.

It’s not like the school was a safe place, anyway. He knew something like this was bound to happen, he had seen how many times Scott had been in this position, but he really had no idea it’d happen so soon.

He is royally screwed.

They get to the principal’s office, and Gerard lets go of his arm, pointing a chair to him. He’s never been alone with the man before – this kind of situation usually happens with Scott, not him. But he is one of the wolves now, and he’s in some serious trouble.

What was Derek thinking when he made that show in front of the whole school anyway? Stiles hopes to God there’s a better explanation for it than using him as bait.

On second thought, had Derek used him as bait? Would he do that to a mate? The whole thing had sounded so important to Stiles, and yet, had Derek done the whole thing, staking such a claim, making it known he was his mate so that Gerard would act without planning and make a mistake?

It made sense.

He tries to focus on Gerard for now, though, as the man has taken his seat, and is doing the creepy stare thing.

“So…” Stiles says, just so there won’t be any silence anymore.

“Stiles…” The old man begins, smiling at Stiles in a way that makes his heart freeze, “I can call you Stiles, right, my boy?”

Stiles nods for lack of having any idea as to how respond to that, and Gerard smiles again.

This is going to be bad.

“Stiles, I’ve known you for being Scott McCall’s best friend, is that true?”

“Er… I… ah… Yeah, we’re friends. We had a fight, but we’re still… yeah.” He says, and waits, doing his very best to keep quiet. He must be here for what, five minutes? Is this time enough for Derek to be back at school?

If, of course, this isn’t exactly Derek’s plan.

“And as his best friend, you are, of course, aware of everything Scott is been going through this year, I assume?” the man steeples his fingers and waits. He looks like a chess player. He’s playing Stiles.

And that’s when Stiles realizes he doesn’t know Stiles has been turned. He’s fishing for information.

Stiles takes a deep breath, and leans back on his chair. Okay, he can do this.

“What do you mean, sir?”

Gerard smiles again, leaning forward.

“Don’t play games with me, boy. You have been in all sorts of trouble with McCall. You know what I mean.”

Stiles just shrugs and keeps quiet. If he can play dumb for long enough, everything will be fine.

He hopes.

“Are you aware of your… friend’s condition?” There’s something in his tone that clearly indicates that he’s not talking about Scott anymore, and Stiles simply stares at the man again, trying to think of what to say.

And then he grins.

“Yes, sir. I am. Scott is sick. He’s very, very sick.” Gerard looks intrigued, if nothing else, and Stiles keeps on grinning, “I mean, the way he moons over Allison, that’s just… he really should be focusing on his studies now, shouldn’t he? I see your concern, sir.”

“Stilinski, I am not a man who plays games, as your friend certainly has probably made you aware of by this point.” His voice has turn cold and firm, and he puts both his hands on the table, and maybe, just maybe, it irks Stiles that even the freaking creepy Principal assumes Scott would have told him about his threat, when he hadn’t, “I know you are not stupid, Stiles. What I do want to know, though, is what Derek Hale has offered you so you would be… how do I put this…” He pauses, as if considering, and then his smile turns into something mean and hurtful, “oh, yes, his bitch?”

Stiles mouth actually hangs open, because, come on, this is the man who is responsible for their school, damn it! No matter what werewolves do or don’t do, how can he be in charge of something like this?

“I don’t think that’s any of your business.” He answers, his voice showing how upset he is at the man’s words.

But Gerard simply smiles again.

“What did he offer you, Stiles? To turn you? So you would be like your friend? Is that it?”

Oh, please. Stiles feels like he could facepalm, but he doesn’t, because he is incredibly afraid of what Gerard will do to him in return.

“I would never ask to be changed. I don’t see their furry problem as a perk in any way, shape or form.” He says, his voice steady and even, because, well, he is telling the truth.

He’s never asked for it. Peter asked him, and he said no.

And then Peter maimed him, and Derek had no other choice, but he didn’t ask for it, never.

“I don’t truly understand you, young people from nowadays.” Gerard says in a conversationalist tone of voice, and Stiles knows this is it – this is where he gets away with it or something really, really bad is going to happen, “Maybe with some help from a more… age appropriate friend I’ll have some insight.” His smile is the creepiest thing Stiles has ever seen, and when he hears the door open he turns.

And there’s Jackson, his eyes focused and lost, his expression blank, and a whole side of his face is starting to be covered by scales – his right hand is turned into claws.

Holy crap, Gerard is the new master of the Kanima. His eyes widen, and he nearly trips getting up from the chair, his backpack falling on the floor.

“Mr. Whittermore, if you’d please.” He says, smiling, and Jackson comes after Stiles.

He fights the urge to crouch and threaten – if he’s human, they’ll hurt him, sure; but if they know he’s a werewolf, they’ll kill him.

Jackson attacks so fast he doesn’t even have the time to shift. A single swipe of his clawed hand, and Stiles is, in less than a week, for the second time on the floor, unable to move.

He really knows he’s screwed when Gerard nods to Jackson.

“Take him.” He says, and, like a sack of potatoes, Jackson throws Stiles on his shoulder, carrying him out of the office, through the back door, and out of the building, and into the trunk of a car parked behind the school.

He is completely screwed, for real this time.

Put me by the window


Let me see outside

Chapter Text

Pale Horses

Something Hurts

Erica doesn’t even wait till they turn a corner, and she’s dialing Derek’s number. He grumbles an answer, charming as always.

“Gerard’s taken Stiles to his office.”

She doesn’t wait for an answer, and hangs up because she knows Derek is turning around and coming back for Stiles. She looks at Boyd and Isaac and they look just as lost as she feels.

“What’s going on?” Scott says, having clearly just arrived at the school, and picking up on the tension the other teens are showing, “Where’s Stiles?” He asks, looking around, and Erica looks at Boyd and then at Isaac – because no matter how much they hate Scott for betraying them, they still know he’d do anything for Stiles, or at least this is what they hope.

“Gerard’s taken Stiles to his office.”

Scott’s mouth hangs open for a few seconds, and he looks around the hall, as if he’s expecting Stiles to magically show up, saying it’s all a joke.

“Do you think he knows?” He asks, and Erica simply shrugs.

“I think he’s got a pretty good idea, what with Derek and…” But she doesn’t finish speaking because Derek is coming through the main doors of the school, looking as if he’s about to wolf out at any second. He sees the other four werewolves and makes a beeline for them, unaware of the curious school population, always eager for a gossip – and having the hot older boyfriend of a guy they didn’t even know was into guys inside the school is bound to make for some juicy stories.

“Where is he?” He says, and it’s clear he’s doing his very best not to look at Scott, lest he loses control in the middle of a school full of teenagers.

“Principal’s office.” Erica answers, and that’s when Boyd reaches out to grab Derek’s arm, making him look at Boyd as if he wants nothing more than to tear him apart for it.

“Derek, we don’t know if he knows yet. You going in there might actually be worse than just letting the whole thing play out.” The boy reasons, but Derek is already shaking his head.

“We can’t leave Stiles with Gerard, that man is crazy!” Scott says before Derek can argue Boyd’s statement, and all the others turn to look at him.

“Now it’s not the time. We’re going after him.” Derek says, and makes his way to Gerard’s room, Scott hot in his heels, and the other three following without question.

When they get there, however, the office is already empty.

Derek roars in frustration, throwing a chair at the wall, while the others look around, trying to figure out where Stiles could be.

“This is all my fault.” Derek says, shaking his head.

“Derek, you couldn’t have known Gerard was going to…”

“I claimed him in front of the whole school to protect him! Gerard should have gotten the message that he is my mate! But he didn’t, he thinks I’m toying with Stiles, that’s why they’ve taken him. He doesn’t know he’s turned, or he wouldn’t have taken him out of the school – he’s trying to use Stiles as bait, for me.”

“Whoa, what mate? What are you talking about?” Scott asks, looking worried, but Derek simply shakes his head, running his hands through his hair.

“Are you sure he doesn’t know?” Isaac asks timidly, and Derek shakes his head again, not in denial, but as if he’s debating what to tell them.

“The Argents have been dealing with werewolves for centuries. Not even Gerard would be stupid enough to go after a Mate like this. Not if he knew it. He doesn’t know, he can’t know. If he does, and he did this anyway, then…” He shakes his head one more time, turning his back on them, and all they can see is how tense his back seems to be.

“So… Gerard took Stiles, because he thinks you’ll go after him, right?” Scott says, and nobody answers. They might have let him be there in the name of his past friendship with a member of their pack, but he sure as hell isn’t welcome, “What about his dad? Yesterday, when we talked, Stiles said I was stupid for not going to the Police when Gerard threatened my mom. Why don’t we go to the Police now? Gerard has just kidnapped the Sheriff’s son.”

When he finishes speaking there’s silence in the room for a long moment, and the Derek turns around.

“That would be putting Stiles’s father in danger.” He says quietly, looking straight into Scott’s eyes, and he sees the boy shrug awkwardly.

“I think this is a risk Mr. Stilinski would want to take. It’s our best shot too.”

Derek stares at him for a while longer, his jaw tight, and his whole expression is deliberately controlled and cold.

He’s looks like he’s five seconds away from blowing up.

Finally he tears his eyes away from Scott and nods, seeing the boy dialing John’s number.

All they can do is wait.

X

The moment his phone rings, Derek knows it’s a problem coming up, he knows it’s about Stiles, and he knows something has gone very, very wrong.

When Erica tells him Gerard’s got Stiles he swears to God he can’t see straight anymore, he has tunnel vision, all he can see is Stiles, and the fact that their most dangerous enemy has his hands on his mate.

He had barely left the school, so it doesn’t take him long to get back. All he can think about is getting Stiles back, and possibly never leave him out of his sight again, never, because that boy is the most troublesome person Derek has ever met.

When he gets there, he barely even registers that Scott is there too, and he listens with half an ear to the arguing against his going after Stiles, he simply has to go. And then the office is empty, and it’s all his fault.

Again.

He explains his reasoning more to reassure himself than to make any kind of sense or excuse to the teenagers with him – he claimed Stiles like that to prove a point, to show the Argents he has a mate now, that he is more powerful, and specially that Stiles has more protection than simply being the Sheriff’s son: he is Derek’s. He has a pack.

But Gerard hadn’t understood the message, he thought Derek was messing with Stiles, or God only knows what. The man probably thinks he’s playing with Stiles, trying to seduce him into becoming a werewolf – he had done it before, just look at Erica.

Scott finally shows that he has some brains when he reasons they can use the Sheriff to get to Gerard, and he nods, letting the boy call John – Stiles is going to be so mad at them for doing this, putting his dad in the middle of so much danger – all because Derek can’t seem to plan a strategy out of a paper bag.

He is the worst Alpha to ever walk the Earth, and Stiles is stuck with him, and in danger because of him.

He can’t let them do this. He can’t let them take his family away from him again, he just can’t.

He won’t be able to bear it. If anything happens to Stiles this is it for Derek – not because he loves the boy already, or anything to that effect, but because this would be the second time in his life where innocent people get killed and hurt because of him, through his actions alone.

He destroys everything.

“I told him we’ll meet him at his place – he thinks it’s not a good idea to involve all the police because Stiles is… well.” Scott trails off and shrugs.

Derek nods, and looks at the teens in front of him.

“I’ll go and meet the Sheriff, you four go on to class.” When they seem about to protest, Derek actually growls at them, his eyes flashing red, making his pack – and even Scott – look down, “I can’t simply pull four teenagers out of school. Everyone will already be talking about Stiles going missing after the show in the parking lot; I can’t be worrying about your parents or the police asking me what I’m doing with four people who should be in school.”

He leaves, and the rest of the pack looks lost – and just a tiny bit abandoned.

X

Scott doesn’t want to an Alpha. He thinks that’d be too much trouble and hassle, but at the same time, he really doesn’t want to be an Omega, because they are weaker, and him being weak could result in everyone he cares about being dead.

Not good at all.

He is the very first to admit he has no idea what he’s doing all the time – he goes with the flow. He’s used to it. If someone needs to think something through, he’s got Stiles to actually point him the way – or, at least, he did.

And then he went and did the dumbest thing ever, like listening to Gerard Argent, and he lost his best friend in the whole world to Derek Hale. He doesn’t really know what the whole thing about a Mate is, but he’s pretty sure that Stiles being one, and him being Derek’s, is a sure way of Scott losing him forever.

So he spends the night, for the first time since Allison has told him to go away, thinking about something other than his heartache. He thinks about Stiles. He stares at that damn key and thinks about all the times his friend has saved him and come to his rescue, and considers how many times he’s done the same.

The final count is very, very low on his part. Truth is that, when Stiles was in danger, real danger, he had been saved by his dad, or Erica, and mostly by Derek.

Or himself. Stiles is good at getting away with and from things, and Scott always trusted that ability of his friend, and never really stopped to think that Stiles, as a human, was so much more fragile than him. He never realized how hard it must be for Stiles to cope with everything, and be left in the dark, and simply know that in an actual fight he’s a liability and not help.

He was, actually. Not anymore. Stiles has a whole pack of people, and Scott is not afraid to admit that hearing Stiles say that he wouldn’t tell him something because he was not pack hurt him deeply. He had always considered Stiles his pack. His safety net, in a way. The person he could call when things got really ugly, the one who helped him through his change, and believed he could not kill anyone just so he could play Lacrosse.

God, he feels like such an idiot – all the problems and stress he put Stiles through just so he could show off during a game, while Stiles, when faced with the chance to be one of the best, had let it go – because that is Stiles, always thinking about everyone, never really thinking about himself.

Scott goes to bed decided to apologize until he’s blue in the face, and promising himself he’ll be a better friend to Stiles. He can see he won’t get his best friend back easily – maybe he won’t get him back at all – but he owes it to Stiles to at least try.

But all like with his best plans – okay, maybe putting best there is a bit of a stretch – like all his plans things go south as soon as he sets them in motion, because Stiles is not with the pack, he’s not with Derek, he’s gone, and Gerard Argent is the one who took him.

The very same Gerard who stabbed Scott, and kept the knife in while he was threatening his mother.

When Derek leaves, Scott stares at the three other teenagers, and he realizes they are worried about Stiles – way more than would be normal for them. They look as if a part of them is being ripped away, and Scott wonders if this is what it feels like to be a part of a pack, for real. Having this kind of connection with all those other people, be a part of something that is bigger than being a person, being an individual.

Having a home in other people and not in a place.

He stares at his phone, considering his options, and then looks back at Erica, Isaac and Boyd.

“I have an idea, but I think Derek won’t like it.”

“If it’s your idea, then I’m quite sure I won’t like it either.” Says Erica, but she looks as if she might listen.

“Well, it might help Stiles. I think that is enough for you to consider it, right?” He says, and sees he has them.

That’s when he has to wonder how much of an impact on Stiles life this whole Mate thing apparently has, to inspire such loyalty in such a short time.

“What is it?” Isaac says, and Scott takes a deep breath.

This won’t go over well, but this is a better shot at saving Stiles than calling the Sheriff will ever be.

X

“I can’t believe you talked us into this.” Boyd says, looking around nervously, while they ring the bell.

The bell by the door.

The bell by the door at the Argent’s.

“Well, I would have come anyway. Just… trust me on this, ok?”

Isaac is turning to him to let him know they are so not agreeing to this because they trust him, but then Chris Argent opens the door, and he looks pissed. The man doesn’t even speak, he just stares at the four werewolves standing at his door, and Scott swallows hard before speaking.

“Mr. Argent, I know you really don’t want me here, but Gerard kidnapped Stiles, and we don’t know where he took him. We need your help.”

Chris looks startled at this.

“Stiles? You human friend?”

Scott looks like he’ll deny that, but Boyd speaks before he can.

“Yes. He took an innocent kid out of the school, and Derek is already talking to the sheriff. We just thought you might actually want to help us locate your father before he gets arrested for kidnapping the sheriff’s son.” He emphasizes the last part, and Chris seems to be considering something.

“Wait here. I’ll try to get a hold of him.”

He closes the door behind them, and they wait.

X

His family is falling apart, and he knows it. First it was Kate. Then his wife. His daughter. His father. Insanity, pure and simple, because none of it made any sense.

He isn’t dense, he isn’t stupid, he isn’t unable to see the flaws his father and his sister share. When the Sheriff had figured out that Kate had been the one to actually set fire to the Hale House all those years ago, he didn’t feel surprised or betrayed as he thought he ought to – he felt as if he could, for the first time, see all the pieces of the puzzle, because the Hale pack was a peaceful pack, they had never harmed an innocent, they didn’t have any reason to go after anyone, specially now, when the pack was reduced to two people.

Kate died for her mistakes, and Gerard blamed Derek Hale, but Chris could actually see better – Derek hadn’t killed her, and what had happened to her had actually been brought upon her by herself.

And then Victoria had died, and while Chris admired her courage and bravery till the very end, he also had expected more reluctance from his father, if from no one else.

And now Allison was lost in grief, and following in his father’s footsteps, never considering the Code, never following it, just wishing to kill things to drown their own grief.

He sighed, rubbing a hand over his eyes. Allison wasn’t home. Gerard had left for school that morning, but Allison left after his father, after she had received a call.

Probably from Gerard himself. It wasn’t that hard to figure this out.

Why? Why would his father take a school boy, who had never done anything wrong? He wasn’t a creature; he was the Sheriff’s son. As far as people in his daughter’s circle of friendship went, Stiles and Lydia was the least harmful ones.

Then why would Gerard take him? Just because of his friendship with Scott McCall? It didn’t make any sense.

Had his father finally gone mad?

Chris went to his computer, and turned it on. He was an overprotective parent, and there was nothing in the world he wouldn’t do to try and protect his daughter – that’s why he checked out the GPS on her phone, and found out where she was.

And she was definitely with Gerard.

He went to his garage, and took out a few guns. After that, he went to the door, where the four teenager werewolves waited, pale and afraid and nervous, and he had to swallow hard and remember they weren’t just kids, they were monsters.

Were they really?

“You said Hale was with the Sheriff?” he grunted out, and Scott nodded fast, “Then call and tell them I know where they are.”

He was going to battle, and he didn’t even know who were his enemies anymore.

X

The ensemble of cars at that place was an odd one. A black SUV, an old, battered car, the Sheriff’s car, a black Camaro.

All parked in front of an old, decrepit house, one that seemed to be held up by sheer stubbornness.

The SUV had been the last to arrive, and the Sheriff rounded Chris as soon as he was out of the car.

“Are you sure about this? Why would he bring my boy here? It looks empty.” His voice was firm, but his eyes were red, and Derek was looking down, as if he was trying very hard not to be noticed. The teens were all around him, giving comfort or maybe just because they felt safe with their Alpha, Chris couldn’t guess.

“I am. They are inside, in the basement.”

They turned to look at the house, and Derek took the lead in.

Chris was actually afraid of what he’d find when he got inside.

But taking a deep breath, into the Hale house they went.

Look at all the places

where all my family died

Chapter Text

Pale Horses

Something Dies

You see, the thing about the Kanima venom is that it doesn’t render you unconscious – it simply makes you unable to move.

You hear everything. You see everything. You feel everything. From the jostle of a shorter boy throwing you over his shoulder, to the bump in the head at being thrown into the trunk of a car, to the sound of the tires, the panic of being locked up, the turns on the road, the many, many bruises that come up on the skin and then fade away just as fast because of the werewolf healing factor.

You are aware of everything.

It really, really, royally sucks.

Stiles can feel he’s hyperventilating, and then he actually stops because he’s not sure that, as a werewolf, he’s capable of hyperventilating. Or having a panic attack, because if there ever was a proper time for a panic attack, it’s here and now.

And, oh my god, what if he could have a panic attack, and then he shifted, and went into panic overload while being a werewolf? What would that entail? So that’s when he started panicking about having a panic attack, and his breathing is getting harder and faster and more difficult, and he tries to calm the fuck down, because he doesn’t want to die before Gerard had even gotten his hands on him first.

Or maybe he does, because that man is a sick, sick person, and god only knows what he’ll do to Stiles if he has the chance. Maybe dying by lack of oxygen while panicking is the way to go today, because he sure as hell don’t want to know what Gerard will do to him when he finds out Stiles is a werewolf now – and he has no doubt the man will find out, and soon.

Probably when he realizes Stiles is just fiiiiiiiiine even with all the cuts and bruises he should have from the ride in the trunk of a car.

The ride isn’t as long as Stiles thinks it would be. Gerard probably wants him near enough to Beacon Hills that Derek won’t have too much trouble getting there to be, you know, maimed, tortured and killed. For Stiles also has no doubt he’s being used as bait, whether this was Derek’s plan or not.

He really, really hopes not.

The car comes to a stop, and Stiles closes his eyes when he hears the trunk being opened. He blinks when he’s thrown over Jackson’s shoulder again, trying to see where they are, and his heart stops beating for a second when he recognizes the place.

It’s the Hale house.

Of course, why use a warehouse downtown or some rundown neighborhood shack when Gerard can use the one place which will cause mental angst on Derek as well as rage to find Stiles there? Why not put the knife in and then twist it, right?

They get in, and all Stiles can see is the dirt on the floor, and the darkness that surrounds them. They don’t stay on the first floor – they go down, deeper and deeper into the house, where the fire had reached, but hadn’t been able to consume the stones and iron that made up the foundation of the house.

He hears a metal door being slipped open, and is thrown face first on the floor like a sack of rotten potatoes. He groans at the impact, and his cry of pain is half a laugh and half a cry.

He is so afraid he might actually start crying. Or laughing. He can’t decide.

A foot kicks him, making him turn on the ground, and he’s finally able to see Gerard staring down at him with an intrigued look on his face.

Crap.

“You know, Stiles, when I caught you, I was only trying to make Hale come after you. But right now, I think I might have taken more than what I hoped for.” He says, smiling slightly, and Stiles coughs - he’s sure he broke something that shouldn’t be broken.

He can taste blood in his mouth.

“I’m not sure what you mean, sir.” He gasps out, through short breaths, but he knows that playing dumb will be no help for him in a few seconds, when he starts getting all better from injuries that should take, at the very least, weeks to recover.

“Let’s see if you don’t, Mr. Stilinski.” Gerard says with finality in his voice, taking a small knife from his pocket. He crouches down, beside Stiles, and pulls Stiles’s arm towards him, stabbing his forearm, making Stiles scream with the pain again.

“You… You SICK PERSON, my God!” He cries out, but Gerard doesn’t even look at him – he’s staring at his arm, the wound that was wide open with the knife, and is already kitting together again, closing down, leaving only blood behind.

It’s only when the cut is already healed and all that can be heard in the dark basement is Stiles’s harsh breathing that Gerard looks at Stiles – his eyes are cold and crazed, he’s not playing with bait anymore, he’s dealing with the enemy, and Stiles is sure, absolutely sure, he’ll be dead within the hour.

And it’ll be the longest hour in his life.

“Jackson, I think you’ll need to set our friend here in a special sort of accommodation before leaving.” Gerard says, while turning his back on Stiles and looking at Kanima-Jackson.

If Stiles wasn’t so completely terrified he’d pity the boy. It’s not him, and by god, if anyone finds him out, they’ll kill him.

Gerard will probably kill him as soon as he’s done with Derek and Stiles.

Jackson picks Stiles up, and he bites his lips to keep from screaming again, because he might heal fast, but that doesn’t mean that broken bones don’t hurt as hell. Jackson pins him to a metal structure, he’s actually being hold to some sort of grid, with metal shackles and chains. He can’t move yet, not completely, but he feels as his duty to his werewolf dignity to at least protest against being help up on a torture chamber. His head is shaking, and he can feel at least half of his toes. It’s a pity that’s all he can move.

He hears Gerard’s phone beep, and the man leaves them, while Jackson is tying him to the grid.

“Jackson. Come on, Jackson, you can fight this shit, come on, man, help me. I know you totally hate me, because I’m such an ass and also I pined after Lydia while she was your girlfriend, but you and I both know she would never even look at me, man. You don’t have to do this. I can’t even believe I’m saying such a cheesy cliché, but you can fight this, Jackson.”

For a moment, Stiles can swear he sees Jackson through the Kanima’s eyes, but the moment is gone as fast as it comes, and he’s still chained up to a torture device. Finally Jackson steps back, and Stiles is hurting like hell, because the chains on his wrists are too tight, they are breaking his skin, and his skin is growing back again at the same speed it’s being torn apart.

At some point, he’s pretty sure, the healing cycle won’t be able to catch up, and he’ll probably be scarred.

If he’s, you know, alive to be scarred.

He’ll take scarred over dead any day.

Also, he’s pretty sure the chains and shackles are somehow infused with wolfsbane.

Jackson goes to wait by the door at the very moment the door opens again, and it occurs to Stiles the only reason he can see well inside the chamber is because of the werewolf thing. It’s dark in here compared to outside, even compared to the rest of the house.

That’s why Jackson can see too.

Stiles actually blinks when he realizes Gerard Argent could see him too. He had cut him open, looked at him, straight at him, watched his cut heal.

How did he do that?

He’s taken away from his thoughts however when he notices Gerard is not coming back alone to the chamber.

Allison is beside him.

“What is Jackson doing here?” She asks. She can’t see him, because he’s too far from the light coming from the door.

How did Gerard do it, damn it?!

“Leaving.” Gerard answers, and Jackson simply leaves, without saying anything.

It’s killing Stiles to see that.

“You said you had caught him, Grandpa.” Allison’s voice is full of hate and accusation. She’s hurting, anyone can see that, and Stiles can relate to it more than most – he actually lost his mother too. Not to a werewolf bite, but to something stupid, and not at all her fault.

If Stiles is honest with himself, he blames himself for her death, and that had fueled his hate towards a lot of people for a lot of months. Allison is in her Rage stage, she hates everything to do with her mom’s death, and that includes werewolves.

Mainly Derek. And Gerard is exploiting that, turning Allison into his personal killer.

Gods, who would have thought that the creepy Chris Argent would turn out to be the normal one in the family?

Gerard closes the metal door behind them again, and the chamber falls dark, until he turns on a light, focused solely on Stiles, and his poor, skinny and pale form.

“Oh my god, Stiles?” Allison almost screams, turning to her grandfather with horror in her eyes.

This is going to be awful.

“What did you do?” She asks in a whisper, it’s clear she’s scared, but Gerard only smiles, and shakes his head.

“That right there, Allison, that’s not your friend anymore. That is a monster.”

He is not a monster.

“A killer”

He’s never harmed anyone.

“A thing that has to be put down before it tears everyone’s lives apart, like it did to your mother, and your aunt”

Gerard is the one who tore their lives apart.

“Derek Hale turned him, Allison. Made him into a monster. Into his personal bitch.”

And that’s when Stiles’s already shaken control slips, because he’s sick and tired of hearing that man using that word.

“I am no one’s bitch. I’m his mate.” He growls, and his eyes are grey and glowing, he knows it.

But what’s more impressive than his voice, or his control not to completely wolf out, or his even greater control not to cry out in pain when the effort to move makes his wrists split open again, is the fact that, when he hears the last thing Stiles says, Gerard eyes dilate, they widen, and he takes a step back.

And more than that, he reeks of fear.

Hell, yeah. He’s not going down without a fight.

“Grandpa, what is it?” Allison asks, and she has her bow raised, but pointed to the ground. It’s not focused on Stiles, not it’s focused on Gerard, it’s just there.

Oh my god, maybe he can make an ally.

“I have made a mistake. We need to kill this beast, Allison, right now.”

“What?” She asks again, and Stiles can see her eyes going from Stiles to Gerard frantically. She would be okay with killing Derek, possibly okay shooting some unknown werewolf who got in her way, that night, at the station, but right now?

Killing Stiles in cold blood? The boy who took her messages to Scott, word by word?

Stiles can see she’s hesitating, and he tries to calm down, to make his eyes normal again, so she can see Stiles, and not a werewolf. He closes his eyes, trying to normalize his breathing, but that’s obviously a mistake, because suddenly he feels his shirt being torn apart, and Gerard is connecting wires to him.

“What the hell?!” He screams, and finds out that being a werewolf won’t stop his voice from going high pitched and not at all manly.

“Gerard!” Allison screams, and Gerard turns to her, vicious and cold and crazy.

“This is a Mate, Allison. If your father had educated you like he should have, you’d know that this, right here, is the most dangerous thing you could face. And this is Derek Hale’s mate. This thing here will make that wolf ten times harder to kill, and ten times more powerful. It could easily destroy Jackson now. We have to kill it, Allison, now.”

He says it all in one breath, and even Stiles is taken aback, because, wow, he had no idea he was such a big deal.

He’s finally the bad ass in this shit. Ha!

Okay, so maybe the time to gloat is not when the crazy killer man is setting things up to electrocute him, while he wants his granddaughter to shoot him dead, dead, dead, but it’s good to know the Mate thing isn’t just, you know, him and Derek becoming fuck buddies.

He looks at Allison – to plead or gloat what a bad ass he is, but he doesn’t.

Because Gerard Argent is actually electrocuting him.

It feels, at first, as if his whole body is being shaken from the inside out. It’s being shaken by an army of really tiny steel ants that are pinching him hard and all over his body. Stampeding on him, biting him, and it shakes his very core, and it hurts like hell, and he can’t stop the scream that tears through his throat, because fuuuuuuck he’s going to die.

But of course he doesn’t, because he’s a freaking werewolf, and he can heal somewhat – he just doesn’t know for how long.

Allison is screaming now, telling her grandfather to stop, and he’s completely ignoring her. She raises her bow and Stiles thinks that this is it, this is when he has to actually say something to make things stop hurting.

He stops screaming for long enough to gulp some air, the electricity still running through his body, and he’s going to die, and he looks at Allison, and tries to speak – maybe he’ll just plead for her to kill him fast and now, because he can’t take the pain anymore.

“She was KILLING SCOTT!” he shouts instead, the current still flowing, and he feels blood dripping down his chin when his mouth opens. He is hoping it’s because he bit himself, and not because his internal organs have started dissolving or something disgusting like that, “You mom, she was killing him! Derek…” He stops talking again, and closes his eyes, and half wolfs out, howling in pain, but forces himself to go on – if he’s going to die, then at least he’ll make sure Allison knows what a creep her grandfather is, “He didn’t mean to bite her. She didn’t have to die. It’s all his fault, Allison…” He screams again, and this is it. His body can’t take it, he can feel the second his wolf healing stops trying, and everything starts fading away, “Gerard’s fault” He gasps out, and his eyes are closing.

He hears a loud growl, the loudest one he’s ever heard, as if pain and misery and desperation are all laced into one, and there are other howls answering it. Someone screams, and he hears Allison’s bow, a shot, and his body stops shuddering.

Everything goes black, and nothing hurts.

He knew he would die today, anyway.

X

When he steps foot into the house, he has to take a second to take a deep breath and not shift. It’s hard for him, being here – that’s why he chose this place to come to, at first. It hurts him, being in this place. It kills him inside bit by bit, and that’s why he’s always here, somehow.

When the house is not full of Argents, like now.

“Three heartbeats.” Boyd points out, unnecessarily for him, but Chris and John couldn’t have known that. John looks confused, and Chris looks down.

“Allison is here.” He mutters, and everyone turns to look at him, “That’s how I found them. Her GPS, on her phone.”

Derek doesn’t care that he’s found them through magic as long as he’s not wrong, but he knows Argent isn’t wrong. He knows Gerard has Stiles in this house, in the basement, and he has to be honest with himself that he’s afraid of what they’ll find.

“It’s so quiet.”  John says, and Derek shakes his head.

“It’s not.”

“The walls in the basement are sound proof.” Derek and Chris say at the same time. Derek is going to say that they should stay up here, that he will go and deal with Gerard and bring Stiles back when he hears the first scream – and then there’s no holding his wolf back. He shifts, and there’s no thought process, no thinking things through, there’s instinct, and there’s his mate being hurt, agonizingly so, and he runs to the basement, his betas on his heels, the humans following.

He launches himself on the door, and he hears Stiles screaming from the inside, and he can’t seem to open the door – it’s locked from the inside, and that door was made to keep wolves from escaping.

It was the room they – his family - all got into during the full moon.

He howls, and his betas answer, and he hears his mate’s screams, and one of the humans finally opens the door. He launches himself forward, there’s a shot and an arrow, and a cry of human pain, but he doesn’t care.

His howl can be heard all over Beacon Hills, and every single thing who hears it shivers from such pain contained in a single, inhuman sound.

Because Stiles’s heart is not beating.

X

John is a very adaptable man. He’s the sheriff, and has a son with ADHD, he has to be - but it’s not something that comes easily for him. He can’t even seem to close his eyes that night. Stiles’s weight beside him is the only comfort in a night full of terrors and the unknown. His son is a werewolf, and there’s another werewolf trying to kill him, and a whole family more than willing to kill him too.

For a split second, John has to wonder if the Argents are right. One of those things maimed his kid, almost killing him to the point where another one of them bit him to save his life – but that’s what decides it, isn’t it? The fact that Stiles is alive, and mostly fine, and as long as he can keep out of trouble, things will be fine.

Which means things will be fine for about two minutes, because if there’s one thing his kid has a talent in is getting into trouble.

He gets up to prepare breakfast, and he sees Stiles take off to school with his… boyfriend. Boyfriend he can deal with. Mate, not so much.

Mate is much too final.

His kid is barely seventeen, he’s not dealing with mate right now.

And just like he suspects it, all hell breaks loose with a single call from Scott and the arrival of a very angry, very angsty Derek Hale to his porch. The man looks miserably angry, if that’s at all possible.

He’s expecting John to blame him, that much is clear, but what could the man had done? Stayed with his kid at school? Foreseen some crazy man kidnapping his son? If he blames Derek for this, he might as well deny everything he’s ever said to Stiles, and start blaming his only son for the problems he seems to get caught into, and he will never, ever, do that.

Stiles does that enough for both of them.

So he tells Derek to man up, and try to think of how to get his boy back, and that’s it.

They go to the police station, and try to track Gerard or Stiles down, but it’s very difficult. John doesn’t want to alert his colleagues, because how can he explain werewolves to them? How could he put his son in danger like that? Because he’s pretty sure some of the people he works with can take a hyperactive teenager with a talent for trouble, but a werewolf?

They would kill him just as fast as the Argents.

And it’s surprising that it’s from the Argents that comes the answer – Chris Argent knows where they are, and so they follow.

Stepping into the house with four teenage werewolves, an Alpha and a werewolf hunter is probably the most ridiculously frightening experience of his whole life. It probably just comes second to those few minutes after his wife had died, when he knew he would have to take care of Stiles all by himself, and he knew he’d screw up.

He’s in so far over his head in this mess it’s not even funny.

When he sees Derek shift and tear through the house, his heart stops for a few seconds before he follows, managing, between him and Chris, to open the door the five werewolves obviously aren’t able to.

And he freezes.

He freezes because that’s his son, chained up and wired to a machine, with his School Principal killing him, while his best friend’s girlfriend screams herself hoarse asking for her grandfather to stop.

Derek jumps forward, and two people shoot – not at Derek, at Gerard.

Allison and Chris shoot at the same time, their weapons in sync, their shots accurate and lethal, Gerard doesn’t stand a chance.

The old man falls forward, the hand on the controls of the machine killing his son falls down, and the sound of electricity running stops. Gerard is dead before his body even hits the ground.

Derek, however, doesn’t even notice this.

He rips Stiles out of the grid and into his own body, howling so loud and so deep and so desperately it seems to shake the very ground they are on.

His son’s body is tightly held against Derek, who’s slumping forward, his features changing again to those of a human, and the man screams, as if his heart is being ripped from his chest.

He puts Stiles down and crouches over him – he’s doing CPR, and John wants to hysterically laugh at the absurdity of the situation. They are werewolves, there has to be an easier way to save Stiles.

He has to be okay.

While he counts the time between each step of the CPR, Derek says something, so low and so fast John can’t seem to understand him at first.

And then he does.

“Not again.” Derek is saying, over and over and over again.

John is coming forward, pushing people out of the way, and everything is silent. Chris Argent has his eyes closed, leaning against a wall, and Allison has dropped her bow to the ground at some point, and the werewolves are around Derek.

Derek puts his lips over Stiles’s lips, and he pushes air between them, and John closes his eyes.

“Please, son.” He whispers, falling to his knees beside Derek, because if he loses his son then he’s lost everything, and he might as well die here, with him, “Please.” He whispers, and along with his voice, Derek is saying the same thing, “Please.” They whisper once more.

And that’s when Stiles gasps and opens his eyes.

Chapter Text

Pale Horses

Something Heals – if only a little bit

Everything hurts. Everything. Every little piece of him is in pain, and is aching, and he can’t breathe properly, it’s as if his whole body is on fire, and there’s not enough air. He gasps and opens his eyes and there’s Derek staring at him, and he knows, somehow, things will be okay.

And then he passes out.

When he wakes up again, he’s in the hospital. He doesn’t have to be a genius to figure this out, because the whole place smells like disinfectant and sterile things. He turns up his nose before he can even open his eyes.

“Argh, this place stinks.” It’s what he plans on saying, but what really comes out is something raspy, between a whine and a groan, and he hears a very faint noise. Finally gathering his courage he opens his eyes, blinking at the white light, and sees Erica by his bed. She smiles broadly when she sees his eyes open, and he swears there are tears in her eyes.

“Hey.” She says, and Stiles half smiles, because he’s completely confused. Not that he doesn’t like Erica – he does -, but come on. Where’s his dad? Where’s Derek?

“Hey.” He answers, and his voice is still rough. She comes closer, and holds out a glass of water with a straw, and he sips the water slowly, feeling it cooling down his throat.

“Your dad couldn’t stay here, because he’s the Sheriff. He went to the station to clear things up, and make up a convincing story about your kidnapping.” She says without him having to ask, and he smiles again in thanks.

He can’t quite bring himself to speak, he doesn’t really know why.

“Derek is outside.” She says with deliberate calm, and he knows there’s something big going on there, “Scott was here too, his mom threatened to ground him forever and he didn’t want to leave, but Derek made him.” She smirks, and Stiles knows Scott has taken a step in the right direction, but it’s Derek’s news that interest him right now.

He… He wants Derek by his side now. Erica is great, but she isn’t… his.

“Derek.” He says in a normal tone of voice, knowing that the man will hear him, because how could he not? Stiles is his mate, damn it.

Not ten seconds after that, Derek steps through the door, and Stiles can’t seem to see anything else in the room. His eyes flash grey and Erica makes herself scarce, muttering about letting everyone know he’s awake, and closing the door behind her firmly.

Stiles stares at Derek accusingly. How could he leave him like this? Why did he leave? Why wasn’t he here when he woke up, why hadn’t he been the first thing he saw when he woke up?

“I wanted to give you some time.” Derek says slowly, taking a deep breath and stepping closer to Stiles – still far, though, “I didn’t know how you would… If you would trust me.” Derek says, looking down.

He hasn’t looked into Stiles eyes yet.

“Why wouldn’t I?” Stiles asks quietly, and Derek risks a glance at him, and can’t seem to let it go.

“I failed you. When I kissed you in front of the whole school, it was supposed to be a message for Gerard, that now I… I had a Mate. I had you. That we, our pack, were to be taken seriously.”

“He thought I was still human, though.” Stiles points out, and Derek frowns, “He took me because he thought you were just… messing with me. He didn’t know I had been changed.”

Derek is quiet after this, and Stiles starts to worry. It’s not like Derek to be like this – quiet? Yes. The guy is a mountain of growls and orders and surly words, but this… defeated quietness? This isn’t Derek.

Or maybe it is. Maybe this is the real Derek, the one he keeps hiding behind all that sour wolf image.

“It’s not your fault, you know? That guy is… all kinds of crazy.” He points out.

“Was.” Says Derek, and there’s a malicious satisfaction in the way he says the word, and Stiles takes a minute to understand.

“Oh.” He says when he registers what the Past tense meant.

Gerard is dead.

“Did you…” he starts, but Derek shakes his head with a displeased frown.

“No. I… I was more interested in checking to see if you were alive.”

Stiles smiles broadly at that because, apparently, he couldn’t not do it.

Derek has just admitted he was so worried about Stiles that he didn’t kill someone. That’s… really big.

“Tell me what happened?” Stiles asks, strangely subdued. He’s tired. So tired.

Derek looks at him intently; sensing his weariness in his words and comes a bit closer to the bed.

“I don’t want to tire you out.”

“You won’t if you don’t argue with me, just tell me what happened.” He states with an annoyed tone of voice and Derek raises an eyebrow, a bit of his usual sour wolf coming back to him.

“For someone who’s just been electrocuted you sure are bossy right now.”

Stiles snorts and pats the bed.

“Just tell me the whole stuff before I start making things up in my head. Once I do that, I tend to believe myself, and things could get messy. I could start imagining you quoting Beauty and the Beast while rescuing me.”

This startles a small laugh out of Derek and he takes a few tentative steps forward and sits on the bed, his hands on his lap.

“I didn’t quote anything, I went… feral. When I heard you howling, I lost it completely.”

“Now, that part I remember. What I don’t remember is after Grandpa Argent decided I was going to be fried.”

“Scott contacted Chris Argent. He found Allison because of her phone, and then led us to my old house. I was with your dad at the station; we were trying to track Gerard down. We met at the front of the house, and went in. When I heard your howl I went feral.” Derek takes a deep breath, as if it’s hard for him to tell the rest of it, and maybe it is. Stiles can’t imagine what he’d do if he heard Derek howling like he did, “You were being electrocuted. Allison and her father shot Gerard, he died instantly. But you were… you didn’t…” He takes another deep breath, and one of his hands finds one of Stiles’s and he squeezes it so hard Stiles knows it’s good he heals fast now, or he’d have some broken bones, “You weren’t breathing. It startled me out of my change, and when I went back to normal I did… Well, I saved you.”

He is blushing when he says that, and it makes Stiles smile again.

“How? What did you do?” he asks, curious, and Derek rolls his eyes, but he answers.

“CPR.”

Stiles laughs a little.

“You saved me with a kiss, huh? That’s nice.” He teases with a small smirk, and Derek simply rolls his eyes again.

He looks annoyed and uninterested, but he hasn’t let go of Stiles’s hand yet.

“What’s going on now?” He asks, yawning.

Derek stares at him for a few seconds, as if trying to decide what chance he has of ordering him to sleep, but then seems to decide it’s not worth it.

“The story is that Gerard was mentally unstable, and kidnapped you. Erica saw him getting out of the school with you, and called me, and I got John. Your dad was supposed to have gotten a call from Scott then, saying Chris Argent knew where his father was, and the rest is, well, a tamer version of what really happened – except we’re saying Allison was there against her will. Your father tried to take her out of the picture completely, like he did with Scott and the rest of our pack, but Argent said she had to learn that her actions have consequences.”

Stiles nods, and thinks that’s good. Allison is going through some rough stuff now, but that doesn’t give her an excuse to go all psychopath on them.

And then something occurs to Stiles.

He’s in the hospital. Why is he in the hospital?

“Why am I here?” He asks, almost indignantly, and Derek stares at him as if he’s crazy, which, well, maybe he is, but come on, “Seriously, where’s my super wolf healing right now? I’m feeling miserable. What the hell?”

Derek shakes his head, and runs the hand that isn’t holding Stiles’s through his hair.

“You were almost dead when we got there. Your wolf couldn’t keep up with the shock. You’ll be fine in a few more hours, but the extension of the damage was worrying.” Derek looks as if it pains him to say the words, and Stiles tries to consider this from his point of view.

His Mate – which seems to be a bigger deal than he thinks every time the subject comes up – was almost killed in the house where his whole family had been killed. He hadn’t directly been able to save him, or protect him previously, and the one thing he thought he had done to protect him had actually made his enemy act faster and more viciously than before.

Hell, yeah, Derek is feeling guilty.

“It’s not your fault.” Stiles says firmly, and Derek scoffs, “It really isn’t.” Stiles says again, and Derek looks into his eyes, glaring.

“You were caught because I kissed you.  I couldn’t save you. You almost died.” He says through gritted teeth, his glare so intense it could melt iron – but he’s not really pissed at Stiles, he’s angry at himself.

“Yes. But that wasn’t your intention.” Derek simply shakes his head, and Stiles wants to curse how stubborn the man is, “Derek, it was Gerard’s fault to kidnap and torture me. It wasn’t your plan to get me kidnapped, was it?”

“Of course not!” Derek says angrily, and he’s glaring at Stiles again.

“Then it wasn’t your fault!” He almost shouts, and Derek growls in frustration, letting go of Stiles hand and standing up.

“I should have protected you!” He says loudly, pacing the room, “It was my job, to keep you safe, to protect you! Two days with a mate, and I have already put you at such risk you are in the hospital, Stiles!”

“Yes, and I’ll probably be here a lot more if you continue thinking I can’t deal with stuff! I’m not a damsel in distress, Derek, I can handle stuff! I’ve been doing so for months now, and I wasn’t even a werewolf then!”

“You weren’t mine then either!” Derek shouts and stops pacing to looks at Stiles again, who’s staring at him with his mouth open.

“What is that supposed to mean?!” he asks, starting to get pissed off himself.

“You are mine. To protect. Mine. And I let you down.” Derek says slowly, growling at each word, as if he’s explaining something very easy to a very small child.

“You didn’t, you idiot! I’m here, and I’m alive, and we’ll find a way out of this mess, and honestly, now there’s one less enemy for us to go up against, so stop being a cave man and thinking that just because you’re an Alpha you have to save me all the time! I’m your mate, not a piece of chopped liver! I make my own decisions, and I can handle things on my own! It wasn’t your fault, you stupid wolf!” Stiles sits up half way through his rant, and he’s glaring at Derek so intensely he doesn’t even see when the door of the room opens.

Derek growls again and crosses the room back to Stiles bed and pushes him against the pillows, taking his mouth in a kiss. His hands are on Stiles’s face, holding him in place, but he doesn’t put any of his normal force into it. It looks like an angry, dominating kiss, but in reality is a delicate, chaste touch of lips.

Stiles is moved by it, and he’s about to try and make things more interesting when he hears a cough.

Opening his eyes he sees his dad by the door, his arms crossed over his chest, and a disapproving frown on his face.

“I see you are actually feeling just fine.” John says, and Stiles smiles, while Derek gets up and stands by the bed, his arms crossed over his chest too.

“Actually, my mouth was hurting, so Derek was kissing it better.” Stiles answer with a cheeky grin, and John can’t keep up the frown, going to his son and hugging him carefully.

“Don’t you dare scare me like that again.” He says, his voice muffled by Stiles’s shoulder.

“I’ll try not to.” The boy answers, and John seems resigned when he pulls away that this is the best he’s going to get.

A promise.

Stiles sags against his pillows again, feeling tired all of a sudden.

“When can I go home?” He asks, and John stares at him carefully.

“The jury is still out on that. On one hand, the doctors wanted to keep you here for the night, but I talked to Melissa, and she thinks it’ll be too suspicious for you to simply heal like you’re doing. So, maybe, if we can get you home, you can just miss this week of classes, and then things won’t look so shady with your healing.”

Stiles stares at his dad and feels his insides twist in guilt.

“I’m sorry.” He says, and John looks surprised – and so does Derek, but Stiles isn’t paying him attention right now.

“What for?” John asks, and Stiles looks down, twisting the sheets.

“Everything, actually, but right now because you’ve got to lie and make up all these stories, and… just… sorry, dad.” He finishes lamely, and John shakes his head, coming to the bed again and putting his hands on his son’s shoulders.

“Do not apologize to me again because I’m doing my job as your parent. Never again, you hear me?”

Stiles nods, and opens his mouth to say sorry, but his dad seems to sense that’s where he’s going and raises an eyebrow and Stiles raises both his hands in a surrender gesture.

John seems satisfied and pulls away again.

“I’ll go find Melissa and deal with your discharge, ok? I’ll be back soon, and then we’re going home.” He leaves, and Stiles looks down, completely forgetting about Derek until the man is in front of him, both his eyebrows raised.

“It’s not your fault.” Derek says, and it isn’t mocking, it’s actually just a reminder for him to maybe listen to himself sometimes. He smiles down at the bed, not able to look up.

“Yeah, I get it. Hard to follow up my own advice. I know.”

They fall silent again, and Stiles looks out the window, frowning.

“What time is it, anyway?”

“A quarter to six.” Derek answers, and Stiles sighs.

“There was something weird going on with Gerard.”

Derek snorts incredulously, sitting on the bed carefully, as if he’s not sure he is allowed to sit there.

“Everything was weird with Gerard, Stiles.” He answers, but Stiles is already shaking his head.

“No, I mean, when we got to the basement, he could see me.” Derek looks puzzled at this, and Stiles sighs, “It’s dark in there, Derek. So dark Allison didn’t see it was me hanging there until Gerard turned on that damn light. But he could see me. Like Jackson could, like I could see him.”

Derek’s eyes are cautious as he takes this information in, and he looks down, considering things.

“We’ll talk about this later, with the Pack.” He finally says, and Stiles nods.

“We have a lot to talk about with the pack, especially the Jackson stuff. What do you think will happen to him now?”

Derek shakes his head.

“I don’t know. I’ve been looking, but he has to solve his issues by himself, and until then, he will seek a master.”

“Maybe one of us could do it.” Stiles suggests, but Derek frowns immediately, and stares at Stiles firmly.

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because the Kanima is connected to its master emotionally. It’ll kill whoever the master sees as guilty of any murder. Do you really think any of us can handle that?”

Stiles sees the point. What a messed up bunch they are, geez.

John comes back to the room at that moment, and Stiles is officially okay to go home, as long as he takes it very easy the next few days, and comes back for a check-up in a week. Derek leaves the room for a few moments, while his dad helps him get changed, and then he rides with his father home, Derek following in his Camaro.

Stiles is a bit confused by this, but Derek is the first to go into the house, sniffing away at every room before allowing John and Stiles to come in.

When they stop in front of Stiles’s room, the boy is completely reminded that Gerard wasn’t even their top problem right now. His window is wide open, and the sheets on his bed are clean. There’s no scent of Peter anywhere, but he can’t help but think of the man and the way he had simply tore at his throat at that damn house.

He shivers a little, and both Derek and John stare at him, concerned, but he smiles at them.

“It’s okay. I’m fine, really, just… tired and stuff.” He says, shrugging.

John doesn’t look like he believes him, but lets it go.

“I’ll go downstairs and make us some dinner. You lie down and rest. Rest, you hear me? No funny business.” He says, glaring at Derek for effect, and Stiles facepalms, because, come on, when will his dad get tired of that bit?

Probably never, but okay.

Stiles shakes his head and goes to his bed, Derek hovering behind him, as if he’s afraid Stiles will fall down and break his neck.

“Dude, I didn’t die when I was human, I’m not going to kick now that I have super healing and great reflexes, okay? Chill.” He says a bit on edge, and Derek actually growls at him. He glares right back, but sits on the bed taking off his shoes, and lying down. “Happy now?” he says, and Derek rolls his eyes again, looking around, as if he doesn’t know what to do with himself, “Derek.” Stiles calls, and the man looks at him again, “Could you… I mean, if you want to, sure, do you… ahm… Can you come here? With me?” He says quietly, suddenly very shy, because it’s one thing to be kissed senseless, but he’s asking Derek to cuddle with him.

He’s so sure the man will refuse he’s already opening his mouth to tell him to forget it when Derek goes to bed and sits down, taking off his own shoes and sitting against the headboard, pulling Stiles against him, moving until they know they are both comfortable, Stiles resting against him.

“Thanks” He says, and Derek doesn’t answer verbally, but one of his arms comes around his waist to hold him more tightly against the Alpha, and Stiles knows that the contact is actually helping both of them.

They were too close to losing the other in the last few hours. With Derek being such a control freak, he’s sure his wolf is going crazy.

“My mom died when I was eleven.” Stiles hears himself say, and he feels Derek going very still behind him, as if the other man is afraid that, if he moves, Stiles will stop talking, “I was calling her to come and get me from soccer practice early. I was always anxious, it comes with the ADHD, but back then I didn’t take any medicine, the teachers always dismissed it for me being a trouble maker. I called home about ten times, and I started making a fuss on the phone, for her to come and pick me up, because the other kids were being mean or something. I didn’t have Scott back then, so I was the only freak in the class. I remember I told her I was scared, and I cried on the phone. She swore she’d come as fast as she could – we didn’t have two cars back then, it was only my dad’s, and she went on foot. She was worried about me, you know? She wasn’t paying attention. She crossed a street without looking, and that was that.”

The only sign he has that Derek is actually listening is the way his arm seems to hold him tighter against his body.

“I called home a few more times, and then I gave up. Jackson was actually the one to pull me out of my funk, and I went to play again with them. When the practice was over, my dad was there to pick me up, and she was dead.” He stops and closes his eyes, “Because of me.”

“It wasn’t your fault.” Derek says immediately, and Stiles almost smiles.

“I know. Consciously, I know. I didn’t mean to, and she knew how I was, and most of the time I believe it. But sometimes… Like when the panic attacks come, I think she… I think she died because of me. If I was the Kanima’s master, it’d probably come after me, anyway, when I get too scared.” He doesn’t give Derek time to speak again before he presses on, “So when I tell you it’s not your fault, I need you to believe it, Derek. Because if me getting hurt today is your fault, then my mom dying is mine. And I don’t think I can live like that.”

There’s silence in the room, and Stiles wonders if he’ll get an answer – any answer.

“It’s Gerard’s fault.” Derek whispers, and Stiles closes his eyes.

They can make it work.

He can believe that now, in the way Derek’s arms don’t let him go. He falls asleep with a small smile on his face.

They can make it work.

Chapter Text

 

Pale Horses

Something Shifts

When he wakes up, he’s alone. The only way Stiles knows that, though, is because everything is silent and unmoving, and he figures that, had he been sleeping on Derek, as he had been before, it wouldn’t be so quiet. And before he can get pissed about being left alone in the room, he takes a second and realizes that Derek, before leaving, has arranged a whole lot of pillows to support Stiles up, while still making him comfortable, in the exact same position he had fallen asleep in.

Okay, so he could show a whole lot more consideration than Stiles could ever have thought Derek Hale was capable of showing.

And he has to admit, even if only to himself, that he’s very, very confused. You see, Stiles is very used to not dealing with things – feeling-related things. When he’s upset he finds a tangible reason to be upset, something physical, something that can be fixed. Usually, this allows him to deal with the real stuff slowly and gradually, and actually simply accept them in his life without having to freak out about them. Like he did with Scott and his being a werewolf thing, like he tried to do with himself and his being a werewolf thing.

But he knows he can’t do that with Derek and whatever it is they are having right now. And at the same time, he can’t bring himself to deal with it.

He feels comforted by Derek, he feels at home, as if he’s safe and sound around him, and, at some level, he knows these feelings are reciprocated. They are good together. They can work together, just like Stiles was thinking last night – they are, actually, great together.

The Alpha and the Mate, making their pack work.

Alpha and Mate.

Fine. He can handle that. It’s… fine.

What he doesn’t want to think about is, you know, Derek and Stiles. Because while as wolves he can find his position with Derek instinctually, he has no idea of how to deal with Derek – human Derek, person Derek, the Derek he’ll have to deal with when things aren’t going completely insane around his town; something they’ll hopefully achieve soon, as soon as Peter and Jackson and Lydia are dealt with.

At least Gerard is down.

Looking at his window, he can see the sun shining through the curtains merrily – it must be at least noon, and he realizes he’s slept through the whole night. He’s feeling much better than before, but still a bit achy.

Sitting up, he yawns and stretches, feeling his back getting into place, as if he was half way through wolfing out – or maybe he just slept in a really weird position. He hears noise downstairs, low and quiet, but he can hear them, and so he decides to go there to see what’s going on in his house.

And what’s going on is Derek cooking.

He stops by the door to the kitchen and leans against it, feeling completely confused.

“Not a word.” Says Derek without turning from the sink where he’s dicing something, and Stiles chuckles a bit.

“I wasn’t going to say anything.” He replies, and hears Derek snorting, “I wasn’t! I was just going to… ah… ask where’s dad and why are you cooking?! Oh my god, Derek, I had no idea you even knew how to turn on the stove!” He ends up saying, because he can’t help himself.

Derek looks at him over his shoulder with an unimpressed look, and Stiles tries to stop smiling, he really does, but he can’t.

“Your dad went to the station. The investigation on your kidnapping is a bit messy, because you haven’t yet given a testimony. I asked to stay, because I don’t think it’s safe for you to be alone. As you didn’t eat dinner, your father made me promise I’d feed you something, hence me, cooking.”

Stiles stares at him for a while, his mouth half open, and then he shakes his head.

“You know, you should have gotten a mate sooner.”

What?” Derek growls and Stiles simply shrugs.

“Just saying, man, you’re a hell of a lot better now, when you do the whole putting sentences together thing, instead of the stares and the growls.”

Just out of spite – or at least that’s what Stiles thinks – Derek growls and stares at him.

“Just saying!” He repeats, raising his hands, “I’m going to go and take a shower, I smell like a hospital.” He says, turning around and going upstairs again.

Half an hour later, when he gets to the kitchen again, the food is on the table, and two plates are on it too. Derek looks at him and sits down, Stiles copying him a second later, and they put food on their plates and start eating.

And damn, isn’t this just the most awkward thing they have ever done together, or what?

Stiles bites his lips, looking up at Derek  while trying not to look as if he’s looking, and Derek catches him right on, raising an eyebrow.

“The food is… very good.” He says with a small smile, and Derek looks at him, as if he’s trying to decide whether Stiles is mocking him or not, “Seriously, it’s very good. I can cook, dad can too, but we’re too lazy to do it most days, so we end up eating junk and take out, and this is really good.” He takes another bite just to stop talking and Derek keeps on looking at him for a few more seconds.

“Thanks.” The man eventually says, and Stiles smiles at him nervously.

There’s something very wrong with this. How come they can make out like crazy, and fight like the best of them, and face life and death situations together, but they can’t eat lunch without feeling like a war is about to begin? Stiles wants to say something, but he can’t think of anything. The conversation from last night is ringing in his ears, and he feels as if he talked too much and yet not enough. It’s like they have this immense barrier between them that can only go away if one of them is almost dying or being hunted down.

He is opening his mouth to ask Derek to talk to him when the Alpha beats him to it.

“I called the pack, they’ll be here after school for us to talk about the whole Gerard situation. Scott swears the man was taking some very suspicious pills that Deaton thinks might have something to do with his condition. The vet is already taking a look at them, and Scott will swing by when the others are here to let us know what he found out.”

“Okay.” Stiles says, looking at Derek and then at his food again.

What is he supposed to do here? Derek is staring at him as if he is expecting something, and Stiles doesn’t know what it is.

“He came by, after your dad left.” Derek says, scrutinizing Stiles still. The boy looks at him, a bit confused.

“Who? Scott?” Derek nods, “Oh. What did he want?” he asks more to have something to say than anything else, because, well, maybe Scott is finally trying to do what any good friend would do, and came by to see him.

“He asked to join our pack.”

Stiles almost chokes on his food, and actually coughs a few times before looking at Derek with wide eyes.

“Are you serious? Is he serious?” He asks incredulously.

Derek nods again.

“I couldn’t sense any lies in him, he really wants to be a part of our pack. Your pack, actually.”

Stiles swallows and takes a drink of water before speaking, because, what the hell?

“What are you going to do?” He asks, and Derek looks at him as if he’s annoyed at Stiles.

What did he do, damn it?”

“What do you want to do, Stiles? It’s our pack.” He bites out, and Stiles stares at him, intrigued. Okay, maybe this is some answer, right there, he just has to translate it from Derek-speech to Stiles-speech.

“You want my opinion?” he asks, and Derek doesn’t even bother answering, just continues to stare at him as if Stiles is an idiot, “I think we should talk to the rest of the pack before deciding on anything. You know Scott is actually very good at the whole werewolf thing, he has more contact with Deaton than any of us, he could be useful. But if the others can't trust him, then I don’t see how we would accept him, right?” He says, looking down, unsure of himself, because this is huge. He doesn’t want Scott to be an Omega, with Peter lurking around, and Jackson being a killing lizard, but he can’t just say ‘hey, let’s take him in’, as if he was a cute puppy, because it wouldn’t be right.

They are a pack. They should make these decisions together. When he finally gathers his courage enough to look up, Derek’s face’s changed again – he’s looking relieved. As if this was a test, and Stiles had just aced it.

“Were you testing me?” He asks, a bit indignantly, because come on.

“Maybe.” Derek says, getting up from the table, and putting his dish in the sink. Stiles temper flares and he has to let go of the glass he’s holding before he breaks it.

“Why are you doing this? What the hell, Derek?”

“I have to know, Stiles. He was your priority for so long, and now we have to be your priority, our pack. I had to know.” The man turns from the sink and faces Stiles, who gets up from his place, completely pissed – way more than he thought he could get.

“And it is! I submitted to you, I trust you, and I’m here, and you’re testing me?” He stares at Derek, and sees something flicker in his eyes, and gets the suspicion that that wasn’t a test for the pack’s benefit, “Was this a test?” He asks again, coming closer to Derek, “Was this a test for the good of our pack? For us all? Or was it for you, Derek? Are you feeling threatened by Scott?” He hisses, standing right in front of Derek.

“I do not feel threatened by a pup.” Derek says, low and dangerous, and Stiles is even angrier at that.

“Well, I’m older than that pup. Are you going to simply disregard me too?” He says angrily, coming even closer to Derek, and the man is suddenly turning away, going to the other side of the kitchen so fast Stiles almost gets whiplash.

“It’s different.” He says, his voice calmer, and he runs a hand over his face, as if gathering his strength, “You should rest. The meeting will tire you out later.”

“No.” He answers, and he knows it’s stupid and childish. He is tired, and he is aware that he’ll get tired, especially if he’ll have to deal with Scott and the pack all at once, but he doesn’t want to do something just because Derek tells him too.

He wants… he wants Derek to make him do it.

“What the hell?!” He says, a little scared at that thought, looking at Derek, completely confused.

The man sighs, but keeps his distance.

“You’re challenging me. I haven’t claimed you, you were in danger, your wolf is reacting to it, and it’s trying to make me prove to you I can take care of you. It’s trying to get me to make you trust me again.” Derek explains, and Stiles thinks about it, and it actually makes sense – he’s trying to bait Derek ever since he saw the man.

“I do trust you.” He whispers, because he does. He truly does. Derek has to believe that.

“Your wolf doesn’t.” Derek answers, looking down, and Stiles feels his heart break a little, because Derek is thinking Stiles’ wolf is right, Stiles is sure.

“Then my wolf is stupid.” He says annoyed, and he goes to Derek, who looks like he wants to turn away, but makes himself stay still, “Derek, I need you to believe me, I trust you. I wasn’t thinking before, and, honestly, I don’t think my wolf is having trust issues.” He says, and Derek stares at him, brooding and quiet and moody, and Stiles wants to laugh at him, but he doesn’t.

“Why were you so irritated, then?”

“Because you implied I would put my own needs in front of the pack’s. And that’s annoying. Also, you called Scott a pup. I’m his age. I’m not a pup. I’m your mate.” He says, his eyes flashing, and he’s backing Derek up a wall – he knows the man could turn the table any time, but he’s letting Stiles take the lead for a while, “This has to work, Derek. We have to make it work.” He says the last part desperately, because he doesn’t know what he’ll do if Derek isn’t… here, with him. Handling things with him.

That is your wolf talking.” Derek says, looking at Stiles, and the boy growls at him.

“Stop saying that! Do you make a difference between who you are and who your wolf is? Because that would explain a lot, no one can live thinking he’s two different things, Derek. I am what I am, and a week ago I was a teenager with a shitty best friend and ADHD and an unrequited crush on the most popular girl in school, and now I’m a werewolf mated to the most ansgty of all wolves, but that is going to be who I am all the time. I can’t deal with this if we’re going to do the whole my wolf is into yours, but I’m not. Do you not like me? Do you not want to be with me? Because if you don’t, then we won’t make this work.”

“I don’t separate myself and my wolf, Stiles, I was born like this. But you weren’t, and it takes time…”

“Maybe other people take time, I don’t!” Stiles interrupts him, “Derek, if this is going to happen, if we’re in this forever like you implied, this has to work with everything. Your wolf and you and me and my wolf, we have to be two people, and that’s it. I can’t be two different things. If I’m with you, then I’m with you. I don’t know how to handle the whole I’m with you because of my wolf but that’s it. I can’t, and I don’t want to.”

He stares at Derek but the man doesn’t react. He just looks at Stiles, and suddenly Stiles realizes what he’s done – he’s issued an ultimatum in their four day long relationship.

And, Derek, apparently, isn’t as enthusiastic about being with Stiles as Stiles is with him.

Stiles doesn’t say anything, he just feels as if the floor has been swept under his feet, and then he gets away from Derek and walks towards the stairs, going to his room.

Derek stays behind.

Well, that was enlightening. Derek wanted his wolf, but had no interest in him, of course. It’s not like Stiles has a lot to offer in the relationship department, anyway. He lies down on the bed, face first, turning on the radio, just because he doesn’t want to be in silence, and does his best not to try to listen to what is going on downstairs – if Derek is leaving, or whatever.

It’s fine.

Their wolves are mates, it doesn’t mean that human-person-Derek will ever want him.

And yet, Derek says he doesn’t separate who he is.

What the hell?

He closes his eyes, and tries very hard not to feel completely rejected. But, come on, what is he supposed to think? What is he supposed to do, exactly? When this mess is over, what’ll happen then?

Actually, what happened to the whole I feel very strongly about him? Very strongly like sending him away at first chance actually.

He shouldn’t even be feeling so bad about this, damn it, he had more important things to think about, like the pack meeting, and Peter Hale, and Lydia and Jackson.

Not romancing Derek Hale.

He closes his eyes, taking a deep breath.

Maybe, just maybe, he should go see a therapist, because the whole I can handle it is getting harder and harder.

He hears Derek’s breathing way before he hears his voice.

“I thought you’d be scared about this. That you wouldn’t want it.”

Stiles open his eyes but doesn’t get his head out of his pillow.

“I don’t know if I want to have this conversation right now, Derek.”

“And more than you wanting it, you are seventeen. I’m older than you by a lot. That matters.” Derek continues, as if Stiles hadn’t said anything, “Also, I really didn’t know you would be so calm about this, so accepting. I was expecting a huge freak out about being my mate, Stiles. You don’t like me.”

“I didn’t. Now I do.” He says simply, and Derek sighs, a bit annoyed.

“Because of your wolf.” He says, and Stiles turns around in bed, lying on his back, and staring at Derek.

“No, you moron, because you are here. Do you have any idea what it’s like for me to know you have my back? That you’ll help me? That you trust me to make the right decision with the pack? Even before this whole mess, Derek, I didn’t hate you. I wasn’t fond of the way you seemed to dismiss me, but I didn’t not like you. I was… jealous. I thought for a while you would steal my best friend away from me.” He laughs a bit bitterly, “Turns out you didn’t have to, he’d leave me on his own.”

“I never dismissed you, I just didn’t want you to get hurt. I could feel what you were, Stiles, and it scared the hell out of me.” Derek says, a note of desperation in his voice, and his whole face is a mask of it – he’s open and raw and afraid, and Stiles has never even thought he could be like that, let alone think he’d be allowed to see it, “I’ve lost everything once. Having you there, beside Scott when he was trying to be an Alpha, even if he didn’t mean to, it killed me. Because you could be a Mate, my Mate, and I couldn’t take it. I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve everything you are, and the good you’ll do for our pack. I don’t.”

Stiles is staring at Derek, his mouth hanging open, because he doesn’t even know where to begin to think about it.

What the hell?

“So, yeah, I pushed you away, and I threatened and I growled, because if you didn’t like me, then, well, I could never, ever, even think about claiming you.”

“Well, it didn’t work, sour wolf. I’m Alpha proof. And I do like you. But I can’t manage this hot and cold thing, Derek. I’m not asking you start writing me poems, mainly because you’d suck at it, but if we’re in this, we’re in this all the way. We’re not in this when your wolf thinks so, or when I feel like it. We are together then we are together. I’m not in love with you, I know you’re not in love with me, it’s too recent, but I need you to tell me now if this could happen, because I don’t want to keep hoping if you’re never going to give me anything back.”

Derek stares at him for a full minute before answering.

“Do you think you could fall in love with me?”

Stiles shakes his head, and sits up in bed.

“You know I could. I will, probably. Which is why we’re having this very awkward conversation. Actually, to be completely honest, I’m just waiting for you to tell to get over myself, and say you won’t love me, ever, just so I can deal with that as soon as possible, and try to understand what life will be like, seeing that as far as I got this, we’re kind of stuck forever.”

Derek doesn’t even answer, he kind of pounces on Stiles, and he’s kissing the boy with urgency and longing, and everything Stiles never thought Derek would want from him. It’s fast and hard, and yet careful, because Stiles is not over his injuries yet, but Derek kisses him, on the bed, holding his own weight on his arms, careful not to hurt Stiles.

“You’re mine.” Derek says, and Stiles smiles, because that, in Derek-speech, pretty much means he’s got a shot.

It’s good enough for now.

X

Stiles spends the rest of the afternoon in bed. He sleeps some and rests some, and gets bored a lot, but he is actually feeling a bit drained, both from the injuries and the conversation.

Things are never boring in this house.

It’s a bit after four when the rest of the pack comes by, and Stiles is in the living room, lounging on a couch, Derek answers the door, because when he tried to get up, the Alpha had actually growled at him, red eyes and everything. Erica and Isaac are the first in, they smile at Stiles, and Erica actually kisses him on the cheek. Boyd comes after, nodding respectfully, and at last, Scott comes in too, looking a bit out of place.

Stiles hadn’t thought he’d come with the rest of the pack, but, oh, well.

Erica sits on the floor, opposite Stiles, and Isaac sits by her side. Boyd settles on her other side, and Derek growls warningly when Scott tries to sit on the couch – or what’s left of it. The boy gets the hint and sits on the floor too, a bit away from the other wolves. Derek sits beside Stiles on the couch, and Stiles finally sits up a bit, making a face in the process.

“Are you okay?” Scott asks, doing the puppy face thing, and Stiles feels like laughing.

“I’m fine, just a bit achy, you know? But loads better than this morning. I should be fine by tomorrow.” He says with an easy smile, which Scott returns promptly.

Huh. Maybe his best friend is actually trying.

“What did Deaton say about the pills, Scott?” Derek commands more than asks, and Scott takes a small box from his pocket.

“It’s a mix of wolfsbane and some other herbs. The box is actual silver, even if it doesn’t make any difference. Dr. Deaton thinks… Well, from the combination of things in it, and the frequency Gerard was taking these, he thinks it’s some sort of suppressant. A wolf suppressant. As if Gerard was bitten, and was taking these to stop himself from changing.”

Everyone is quiet at that, and Stiles can’t help being a bit horrified, because suppressing his wolf seems simply unnatural for him.

“I’ll find a way to check his body tonight, even if I have to talk to Argent to do it.” Derek says, and everyone nods.

“Oh my god, Allison.” Isaac says, and everyone turns to him. He has his hand in front of his mouth, and he looks horrified.

“What about Allison?” Scott says, and Isaac looks at Derek and then at Stiles before speaking.

“It’s awful what he did, but they are hunters, it’s understandable. But if… If there is a way to suppress it, Victoria didn’t have to die.”

Well, that puts the icing on their unpleasant cake, doesn’t it?

“That man was a monster.” Says Scott, making Derek turns to him, and Stiles can see that this is Alpha Derek, the Derek that feels threatened by having an Omega near his pack, and one that had betrayed them too.

“And yet you were helping him.”

“I made a mistake, ok? He threatened my mom!” He defends himself, and he knows it’s weak, but it’s all he’s got.

“And on that bright note, was Jackson at school today?” Stiles asks, before Scott spontaneously combusts from Derek’s glare alone.

“He was at school, and he was completely normal.” Boyd answers promptly, “I overheard him talking on the phone, before practice, and the voice sounded like Lydia Martin.” He says, and startles a bit at Derek’s growl. Stiles smiles widely, because, come on, Derek is growling because he’s jealous of Lydia, how awesome is that?

Not at all if they ever meet, but anyway.

“Maybe she’s his anchor.” Stiles suggests, and everyone stares at him, “They date since forever, and she really, really loves the jerk. It could be it.”

No one answers, because they know it’s likely, but they can’t exactly know the truth, so there’s nothing they can do about it.

“I think we should discuss Scott’s situation before we continue this.” Erica says, “If he’s not in the pack, he shouldn’t listen to anything else.” She points out, and Scott immediately looks at Stiles, as if expecting support.

Well, packs before bros.

“I agree.” Stiles says, looking at Scott and shrugging, “I and Derek talked before, and we agreed that we should be democratic about this. We should vote. If you guys are comfortable with him, or willing to give him a chance, then he’s in.” He explains simply, and feels Derek practically vibrate by his side with dissatisfaction, probably thinking of all the ways he could have said that with growls and threats.

“I’m against it.” Boyd says quickly, and everyone looks at him, “He’s a danger to the pack.”

Stiles smiles a bit.

“But that’s not why you’re voting against him, you’re voting against him because you think he could threaten your position in the pack.” He points out, and Boyd doesn’t deny it, he just shrugs, he’s still against it.

“I’m against it too.” Erica says, “But it’s only because he’s a complete jerk.” She completes with a sweet smile, and Stiles laughs quietly.

Isaac stares at Scott for some time before saying anything, and Scott is already looking miserable.

“I’m for it. He deserves a chance, and no one deserves to be alone without at least a second chance.”

Everyone turns to stare at Stiles and he laughs.

“Seriously, you have any doubt I’m voting for it? I’m second in command, bitches, this is my chance to order him around.” He says with a grin, and Scott smiles back at him.

It’s their turn to look at Derek, and he isn’t looking at Scott, he’s staring at Stiles. He searches for long minutes before sighing loudly and finally looking at the boy in the floor.

“We’ll do this properly this time. Tomorrow night. Now you all go home, and take care. Don’t wander alone, and call me if anything, and I mean anything, happens.”

They all nod, and Stiles sees the way Isaac seems to deflate at being ordered home.

Because, you know, he hasn’t got any.

“Hey, Isaac.” He calls as the others are leaving and the boy stares at him curiously, “Ahm, I know it’s a stupid question, but do you want to stay over tonight? I could get homework and stuff form you, for the classes we have together, and I wouldn’t be alone with my dad when he came back, because he’s not a werewolf, and Derek has to go home at some point, if only to change, not that we’d be able to tell, what with all the black.” He says, and Isaac is staring at him suspiciously.

Finally, the boy nods.

“I’ll just get my backpack from Erica’s car.” He says, and Stiles smiles at him, watching him leave.

Suddenly, he’s being grabbed by the waist, and Derek is kissing him again.

“About before… You know I will.” The man whispers, and lets him go, going back to the kitchen.

The smile that spreads over Stiles face could light up the whole house.

 

Chapter Text

Pale Horses

Something Settles

When Isaac gets back in the house, Stiles is still smiling. The other boy simply stares at him, but shakes his head and follows Stiles up the stairs, where he shows him to his room, where he’ll be sleeping.

They grab their school stuff and head to the living room – usually, Stiles either works in his own room or the dining room, but none is an option right now: his room because he has a feeling Derek would flip at being ignored in the kitchen, and the dining room because of their lack of tables.

Stiles starts looking through Isaac’s notes, and the other boy is working on some homework. They can hear Derek in the kitchen, and finally the man comes out, holding a plate with sandwiches on it.

He sets the plate on the table, and Stiles looks up, his mouth hanging open.

“Dude, what?” He says, and Isaac hides his snicker behind his notebook.

“They are called sandwiches, Stiles. You eat them.” Derek says, as if he’s talking to a very small kid and Stiles glares at him.

“I know what they are, what I didn’t know was that you could make them.” He points out, and Derek rolls his eyes.

“It’s not rocket science, and you need to eat. Your dad would kill me if I let you go hungry. You’re injured.”

Stiles smirks at Derek.

I’m injured, and you’re afraid of my father.” He teases, and Derek glares at him.

“Well, he is the Sheriff.” Isaac says quietly. He’s smiling a bit nervously, as if he isn’t quite sure he’s allowed to play along, as if he’s expecting to be left out or turned down.

It makes Stiles heart break a little bit, and that’s why he smiles at Isaac.

“Eat up, little wolf, daddy made you a snack.” He says, grabbing a sandwich for himself, and pushing the plate towards Isaac.

“If I’m the dad, you’re the mom, Stiles.” Derek says, and there it is again, the smirky smile he shows sometimes, playing along with them, and Stiles can feel Isaac relaxing.

And then he realizes what Derek’s said when Isaac starts laughing.

“Hey! That’s not nice, sourwolf!” he protests indignantly, but Derek merely runs a hand on his neck and goes to the couch, leaving them to work.

They can hear the TV on the background, and Stiles is pretty sure Derek is watching something on a sports channel, while they work.

Is this it? Is this how things are going to be when everything is okay, when Jackson is fine, and Peter is dealt with, and the Argents aren’t trying to kill them all? Is this his family now? His dad, and Derek, and Erica, and Boyd, and Isaac, and Scott – his weird family?

He thinks about it for a second, and he thinks about a place big enough that they could have all of them over when they wanted to, and where there’s land enough around it that they can run during the full moon in their wolf forms, and where there’s always someone around.

Where there’s no more loneliness, and no more fear of being rejected, and no more hiding who you are?

Because if it is, Stiles can totally get used to it.

Perhaps he already is.

X

Derek is trying this new thing where he doesn’t think about the things that are happening, because if he does, he’ll freak out so badly he’ll do something stupid, and hurt everyone.

So he isn’t thinking.

He’s watching TV.

Watching TV and absolutely not thinking about the fact that for the first time ever since his family had died in the fire, he feels at peace.

He had forgotten what this felt like. This calm, this certainty that things would be okay, that he didn’t need to run anymore, that everything he needed was here – even if they were in danger now, they would deal with it.

He could feel it.

The way Isaac’s and Stiles’ voices come from the other side of the room, their quiet banter, arguing over Chemistry, the way the pack had behaved before, talking things through, instead of his usual bark and obey. How Stiles knew Isaac longed for some company, some sense of normalcy.

They are healing.

And the problem is Derek doesn’t think he deserves to heal. He chose those teenagers to be his new pack for a reason, anything he gave them was better than what they had, and they wouldn’t expect more than that. They wouldn’t expect a family, a sense of belonging, of feeling complete only when you know your pack is safe, and sound, and happy. He would get the power he needed, and they would have a better life, and that was it – no pack, no attachments, no true feeling of family.

They should not care about each other; they just had to fight together.

And then Stiles came along, and it all went to hell.

Derek is actually feeling resentful of the fact that he’s happy. Truly happy. He’s not feeling miserably alone anymore, he’s content. His heart is at peace knowing his mate and one of his pack are just a few feet away.

He made them sandwiches for Christ sake!

He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, trying to calm his thoughts and his feelings, because he can’t deal with it right now. He has other things to do, such as finding out if Gerard was truly a werewolf without changing, because if he was, then the man might not be really dead.

And that thought alone makes him ache again – he can still hear Stiles’ screams ringing in his ears, his despair, the way Stiles felt against him, still and empty – and that’s what makes him feeling like an idiot for not wanting this.

Stiles is it for him, he’s everything. It’s stupid that he’s saying he will fall in love with him, it’s such a human emotion – he’s more than fallen for Stiles, his belongs with Stiles, and that’s bigger than falling in love.

Or it will be, if he is ever brave enough to claim Stiles.

Derek tries focusing on the game again, he honestly has no idea what is going on on the field, but as long as he can pretend to be watching it, he will.

He doesn’t have to wait long, though, because soon he can hear the Sheriff’s car coming on the street, and Derek turns around to talk to Stiles.

“I’m going to go now, and I’ll be back in the morning to talk to you. Stay out of trouble, and call if anything happens.” Stiles looks at him as if he wants to argue, and he decides to continue, “Isaac will be able to help if anything happens, but I would feel better knowing you’ll call me.”

Emotional blackmail. He can do it.  Stiles looks conflicted for about half a second, his instincts to deal with everything by himself fighting against his will to actually make Derek happy.

“I promise.” He says, and Derek gives him half a smile, and leaves, touching Isaac’s shoulder briefly in his way out.

Stiles’ dad gets home just a few seconds after Derek goes away, and he raises an eyebrow at Isaac, but that’s the only sign he gives that he’s not getting what the hell is going on here.

They spent the night in, and nothing happens for once.

Stiles goes to bed early, because he’s tired, and falls asleep to the sound of his father asking Isaac if he’d like to watch a game with him.

He truly doesn’t even need to be a werewolf to hear how pleased Isaac is at the invitation.

It must be really late at night when Stiles wakes up to the sound of steps on the stairs. He opens his eyes carefully, and sees Isaac is already awake. They keep quiet, both internally panicking about what to do – jump up and attack? But what if it’s his father (even if he knows it isn’t, because his dad doesn’t step that lightly), and what if it’s just a regular thief, who’s decided to rob the sheriff’s house as revenge for being wrongly arrested, which then doesn’t make him a regular thief anymore, but a very stupid, yet vengeful, man.

“I’m calling Derek.” Stiles whispers at Isaac, who’s lying on his bed on the floor and staring creepily at the door.

That was exactly what I wanted to hear.” They both hear Derek’s voice in the corridor, too quiet to wake his dad up, but loud enough that they can hear him just fine.

When he opens the door to Stiles’ room, the boy throws a pillow at him.

“You complete jerk! We were worried!”

“I’m sorry.” He says, but he’s grinning, so it doesn’t look as if he’s truly apologizing.

He gets in, and Stiles sits up in bed, Isaac looking at the two of them curiously, and just a bit unsure of himself.

Derek doesn’t say anything; he just sits on Stiles’s bed, takes off his shoes, and lies down, pulling Stiles down with him.

“Hey!” The boy starts protesting, but Derek merely growls.

“Sleep.” He says, “Both of you.”

Isaac does lie down, and Stiles glares at Derek, who glares right back.

Eventually, the man closes his eyes, and Stiles shakes his head.

So, this is his life now. Nice, great, amazing.

But even ranting internally, he has to admit that the thought of Derek and Isaac with him makes him feel calmer.

It’s pack.

It’s home.

It’s safe.

And with that thought, he falls asleep again.

X

“I’m going, and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.” Stiles says, and he can just tell Derek is grinding his teeth not to growl at him.

They are at Stiles’s again, and the whole day had gone by with no incidents. Isaac had gone to school, and reported Jackson was still going, and still normal; John had reported no weird happenings in town, and things were shaping up to be fine at the night of Scott’s submission to the Alpha.

Except at five o’clock, just an hour before they had agreed to meet at the abandoned warehouse Derek had been calling a hideout, Chris Argent had called and asked for a meeting.

Apparently, Derek had gone to the man the night before, and demanded some answers – Chris, in light of Stiles’ torture and on the behalf of his daughter’s mental balance, hadn’t shot first and answered questions later, and had said he’d look into it.

Now he had, and he wanted to meet to give those answers.

Thus Derek declaring Stiles wasn’t going to his best friend’s acceptance into his pack.

As if.

“Stiles, Argent might be using this to trick us!”

“Yes, and that’s all the more reason for me to be there, because in case you have forgotten, I’m a wolf too now, Derek! I can help!”

“You’re injured! You’re not even going to school!”

“And you and I both know that’s just to avoid suspicion, and that I am perfectly fine!”

“What if you lose control?” Derek bites out, his eyes flashing red.

“I won’t. Because you’ll be there, and you’re my anchor.” Stiles answers and Derek falters at the words, because, well, that was pretty big.

Emotional blackmail: two could play that game, Stiles thinks, smirking internally.

Not that it isn’t true – well, technically it isn’t, because he hasn’t really shifted all the way to know it, but he’s pretty sure he’s right.

“I just… I don’t want to risk you.” Derek says, and Stiles starts to realize there’s something more into this than just Derek being paranoid.

“What is it?” He says, looking at Derek firmly, “Just tell me, or I’m withholding sex.” He threatens, and that startles a laugh – short and raspy, but a laugh, aha! Triumph! – out of Derek.

“We’re not having sex.” Derek deadpans, and Stiles smirks at him.

“Well, and if you don’t tell me, that’s not going to change any time soon.” He says, still smirking.

“Who says that’s going to change either way?” Derek bites out, and Stiles’s smirk vanishes.

Oh. Okay. So, he’s the mate, and the man had pretty much admitted he could fall in love with him the day before, but he doesn’t want to have sex with him.

That’s… confusing. And demeaning, in a way Stiles can’t quite put his finger on yet.

Derek notices the change in his behavior, and sighs angrily.

“I didn’t mean it like that, I just… Damn it, Stiles!”

“Wow, hold on there, mister, how come you get to be pissy right now?”

“We’re meeting at my place.” Derek says, and Stiles looks at him as if he’s unbalanced.

Which he probably is, but ok.

“I know.” He answers, and Derek shakes his head.

“No, Stiles, my place. The Hale house.”

Well, that explains the paranoia and the anger and just about everything in that very confusing conversation.

“Chris chose the place?” He says quietly, and Derek nods, “Gotta love those Argents, huh?”

Derek doesn’t say anything, but Stiles sighs.

“Look, it makes me twitchy, and I know you won’t like it either, but it’s Scott’s acceptance to the pack, and a whole lot of answers we really need here. I’ve been in the pack for just a few days, but I was already involved in this for way longer, and I want to know what the guy who almost killed me had to hide so badly. I need to know. I want to know that he was only doing this because he was crazy, and not because this is something that runs in the family, because then I’ll have to worry about Scott more than I already do. I have to go. I want to. And I know you’re the Alpha and everything, but protecting people isn’t about not letting them make their own choices, and I want to go.” He stops talking, and stares at Derek, looking right into his eyes, “And you can’t stop me.” He adds, just for effect.

Derek doesn’t say anything, he just looks angry and broody and dark: his default setting is back! They leave a note for his father, and drive to the Hale house in Derek’s Camaro.

They are the very last to arrive, and Stiles can tell every single wolf is very, very nervous about being so close to a hunter and his offspring of craziness without their Alpha. Derek gets out of the car first, and he doesn’t wait for Stiles.

Pack dynamics, maybe? Showing he’s the Alpha, and doesn’t wait for anyone, or is he just pissed at Stiles coming at all?

The boy gets out of the car, and looks around him – they are all in front of the house, but none of them makes any sign that they want to get in. Ok, it’ll be an outdoorsy kind of night. Chris is holding himself together like a bow ready to shoot, but he reeks of anxiety. Something is making the hunter nervous and sad, and Stiles looks at Allison next.

Well, that’s a wreck waiting to happen. She looks so lost, and so sad, and so completely miserable Stiles can’t even summon up enough anger at her for, you know, being there when he was being fried to death. Scott is staring at Allison with longing, but he’s holding his ground. Isaac, Erica and Boyd are nearest to Derek, who stops walking when he’s opposite Chris, in a sort of circle. When Stiles gets to where they are, Boyd takes a slight step to the right, leaving a spot open directly to Derek’s right.

Oh, yes. His spot. He takes his place quietly and stares at Chris, who looks at him and then looks down, clearly showing he isn’t here for a fight.

“What did you find out, Argent?” Derek asks, his voice demanding and angry, and so very Derek Stiles wants to shake his head, but he doesn’t, because that could be taken as demeaning in front of an enemy – and he knows that man is the enemy, even if they are kind of working together now.

The man takes a deep breath, and stops, looking up.

He’s trembling. Allison probably wouldn’t notice, but all the werewolves do – he’s shaking a little, his hands are unsteady.

“He was stopping his change with those pills.” He says, “We looked at the body last night, and today we took samples to Deaton – of both the pills and his own blood. He was actually stopping the change. Deaton thinks it wouldn’t work for very long, so the bite wasn’t old, probably from his last hunt, but it was effective enough that we didn’t notice.”

He looks at Derek straight in the eye, as if waiting for the Alpha to mock him – Argent obviously doesn’t know Derek. He would never mock the death of a family member, even though he hated him.

“Did it affect… uhm, his mental balance?” Stiles can’t help but ask, because, honestly? He’d feel a lot better if the whole kidnapping him thing was fruit of a very psychotic side effect of an Anti-Werewolf medication than, you know, pure hatred.

“No.” Chris answers, looking at Stiles, “His choices were his own, till the very end.”

Including the choice of not telling Chris or Victoria that she didn’t have to change if she didn’t want to. That she could have lived, if only a little longer.

“It’s not a cure, then?” Derek presses on, and Stiles looks at him quizzically, noticing he glances at Scott while he’s talking. Better ask the question that it’s burning inside Scott than let him speak and ruin their organized pack image, “It’s not that effective?” He continues uninterestedly, and Chris shakes his head.

“Nothing can cure you. Even the myth of killing the one who made is a lie. And the suppressant wouldn’t work forever, a few more months and it would have killed him or made him change into a beast.”

Derek nods, but then Stiles remembers something else.

“Is he dead for real?” He says, and every eye in the clearing turns to him, including Allison’s. He expects to see her mad at him, but she only looks regretful, “It’s a valid question, we aren’t exactly easy to kill, and I don’t think a shot and an arrow would be enough. I’m sorry if that’s insensitive, but I’m kind of terrified of that guy, ok?” He finishes, raising his hands in surrender, and Derek looks at him for a second, before pulling him to his side, one of his arms around him, and he nips at Stiles’ neck.

In front of the Argents.

Okay, that’s totally weird in the nicest way possible.

Chris stares at the interaction with narrowed eyes before answering.

“He is.” He says shortly, but none of them are really convinced.

“Are you sure about that?” Erica asks, tilting her head and looking hot and dangerous – it’s a look she can pull off easily.

“Yes.” All of them stare, because it’s Allison who answers. Her voice is thick with tears, and she looks broken, “It’s a new arrow. It wasn’t laced with wolfsbane, it was made of wolfsbane. He did it himself. It would kill any wolf instantly.” She looks at Derek, then, and they all can see she’s trembling, “It was one of a kind, he took the secret of it to the grave with him. And it was intended for you.” She whispers, lost and hopeless.

She’s just lost two family members. She’s alone and lost and scared, and Stiles’ heart aches just by looking at her.

“I am sorry.” Derek says, looking at her and startling Stiles – what? The big bad wolf is apologizing? “I didn’t mean to bite your mother, and I only did it to defend Scott. She was killing him, and even though he was betraying us, I couldn’t let a teen die.”

Allison doesn’t answer – she just looks down, and they can see the tears fall to the ground. Chris pulls her to his side, strangely mirroring Stiles and Derek’s position.

“We know. The Argent clan is going through a rough patch, and we trust the Hales won’t do anything stupid. We call a truce.” Argent says, and they can all see how much this costs him, his pride, his beliefs, the memory of the ones he lost to them, but he’s doing it anyway, and Stiles can see why: his daughter. He wants her to have time enough to heal, he wants her to stop hurting, and it won’t go away, ever, the pain and the misery of losing her mother, but she can get better.

She has to.

And Chris is willing to give them all a chance if it means he will have a chance to let his daughter heal in peace.

Derek stares at Stiles for a second, and Stiles nods at him.

“We accept it.” He finally says, staring at Argent, and finally letting go of Stiles to offer Chris a hand.

The hunter looks as if the hand will burn him alive, but he takes it, and they shake on their truce. Stiles lets go of a breath he didn’t even he was holding, and hopes to God this truce will last.

“In the name of our truce, I will let you know now that Peter Hale is alive, and on the hunt for my mate.” He says, the words paining him, to share information with the enemy, but it’s to keep his mate safe, so he’ll do it.

“We’ll do our best.” Chris says, and Stiles can smell the lie on him.

He’s a hunter; he probably wishes Peter will wipe them all out before they kill him.

The Argents turn to go away, and Stiles sees the very meaningful look Allison and Scott exchange.

They are so not over.

The acceptance of Scott in the pack is slightly anticlimactic after the meeting with the hunters, but he’s officially in the pack after submitting to both Derek and Stiles.

He’s at the very bottom of the food chain too, and that makes Stiles smiles a bit, because, come on, Scott is good at being a werewolf, and terribly at being a friend, he needs to learn.

The others leave after that, Scott being teased by Erica and Boyd endlessly, while Isaac tries to defend him, and Stiles and Derek stand there, looking at the ruin of a house.

“You need a decent place to live.”

Stiles comments, and Derek turns to stare at him, eyebrows raised.

“What? You do, Derek. We can’t be trying to find you in a warehouse all the time, and as soon as my dad realizes the crises is over, after we deal with Peter and Jackson, he’ll want to know things about you. Do you think it’ll be any easier for him to accept you if you’re living like a criminal? Besides, if this progresses, I won’t be living with my dad forever, and I refuse to live in a dump. I’m not saying renovate the place, I’m saying find an apartment.” He finishes shrugging, but Derek’s brain has apparently stopped.

Oh, maybe he shouldn’t have gone for the ‘we’ll probably live together’ thing?

“I mean, we can, if you want to. Or we can, you know, be all modern, and live each at our own place, it’s fine. More than fine, really, I think you’ll murder me if we have to live together for longer than a few days. It was only a thought anyway. Look, if you want to stay at the warehouse it’s okay, I’ll just find myself an apartment when I graduate, and I can be the normal one in this…” But he doesn’t finish, because Derek is kissing him.

Again.

Apparently, kissing Stiles is the new Shut up, Stiles for Derek.

Slowly, he pulls away, smirking again.

“I’ll find a way.” Derek says, and pulls Stiles after him to the car.

Okay, then.

Everything is fine and dandy until they come home, and then they smell something weird in the air, something strong and strange, that they can’t properly identify.

The house reeks of it when they get in there and find house completely normal – but empty. His father’s car is in the driveway, but he isn’t home.

He’s nowhere to be found, and he’s not answering his phone.

And that’s when Stiles understand what they are actually smelling – they are smelling fear.

Fear, and Peter Hale.

Chapter Text

Pale Horses

Something Is Cured

Stiles kicks the door closed, and winces a bit when the whole house seems to shake with the force of it.

Three days. His dad has been gone for three days, and there hasn’t been a single sign of him, a warning, nothing. Not a note. Not a single request for a meeting, a phone call demanding ransom.

Nothing.

The police are, of course, involved – there’s no way to keep them out of it seeing as John is the freaking sheriff – but they don’t have any clues either. Actually they resemble a bunch of headless chicken running around, because the Sheriff has actually found a way to deal with the cases that had been piling up, and now they can’t make any sense of anything without him. Because he knew what really happened, and they obviously don’t.

Stiles hasn’t slept in three days. He’s twitchy, and jumpy, and angry all the time, and nothing can make him calm down. Isaac and Derek seem to be the only ones who dare come near him at all, because he’s snapped at Scott, and almost made Erica cry, and Boyd just can’t be around him without getting angry himself.

He’s miserable.

He needs his dad back, and every fucking seconds that goes by is a second longer that Peter has his dad – because he has no doubt that is Peter who has him. The whole house smells like Peter, like he had taken his dad, and then come back and scented the whole place.

And yet they can’t find him.

It’s hell.

“I know you don’t want to hear this right now, or ever, but you need to calm down,” Derek finally says, when Stiles is still staring at the door he practically broke when the latest officer went away, after informing Stiles that no, they had no idea where his dad is.

Stiles just glares at him and turns around, intent on going to his room, but Derek won’t let him pass, grabbing him by the waist and pulling him close. He glares at Derek, and Derek glares right back, and backs him up against the back of the couch.

“Let me tell you something about you, ok? You affect the people around you. You did it as a human, you do it as a werewolf, and as a Mate of this pack you’re doing it to your werewolves – to our charges seeing as they are all minors, and newly turned. You are making them twitchy and angry and miserable. Is that what you want to do?” Derek’s eyes flashing red and Stiles won’t stop glaring.

“I don’t want to deal with their shit right now,” he hisses, and Derek takes a step closer, and Stiles really hadn’t thought that was possible.

“Really? That’s the way it’s going to be? The first crisis we have as a pack and you don’t care about anything anymore? What happened to the whole ‘we can do this’ crap? What happened to you telling me we were in this together? We aren’t doing this together, Stiles. You are falling apart by yourself, and you are dragging us all down with you.”

Stiles stares angrily at Derek for a few seconds, and then he seems to deflate and shrink into himself. Derek doesn’t let him go, and doesn’t lose the angry expression he’s sporting, he just waits.

“It’s… It’s my dad, Derek.”

And Derek gets it. That’s why they can make this work, and that’s why they are actually really good together as Alpha and second in command – because to any of the others, ‘It’s my dad’ would sound whiny, or needy, or obvious: of course it’s his dad. But that’s not what Stiles is saying. What he is saying is that his dad is a weakness and he is feeling guilty about everything. He feels guilty because his dad was taken because of him, and he feels guilty that the pack is suffering for it, because his dad is his.

Derek gets it that ‘It’s my dad’ means that his dad is everything he has outside of the pack, and this whole thing is too recent for him to be able to see the pack as a replacement for his dad if he loses him.

Derek gets it.

“We know. And we are feeling bad for it too, because we can’t do anything either; but, Stiles, being angry won’t help anything. And taking it out on the pack won’t make things better.”

Stiles actually snorts at it, and Derek half-smiles, because, come on, pot-kettle here.

“Well, angry is my default setting. It’s not yours. It’s making the whole pack feel bad for something that isn’t their fault, because this isn’t our fault. None of ours.”

Stiles takes a deep breath then, and Derek can see his eyes filling up with tears.

He almost feels relieved. As soon as Stiles has a breakdown, he’ll be able to deal with this – at least Derek hopes so.

“I’m sorry,” Stiles whispers, letting his head fall forward, against Derek’s shoulder, and the man runs a hand on his back, trying to be comforting, “I just… Damn, I just wish Peter would make his move. I’m not good at waiting things out.” Derek snorts again, but doesn’t say anything.

He gives Stiles a few minutes to get himself back together and pulls away.

“Please, go get some sleep,” he says, staring at Stiles and the boy manages half a smile, nodding. He sighs and runs his hands over his face, going upstairs.

Derek waits for a few minutes before going to Stiles’ room to check on him, and sees he is actually sleeping – even if he looks troubled, it’s more than he’s done in the past couple of days. He calls Scott and asks him to come over and stay with Stiles while he goes out. He won’t leave his mate unprotected and sleeping in his house, and Scott is the one who stands a better chance at not annoying Stiles back to his angry mood.

He needs to find the Sheriff.

He won’t even think about what his death would mean for Stiles, for the pack, for him.

He will find the Sheriff.

He will.

X

Stiles wakes up to a soft knocking on his door, and sleepily tells whoever it is to come in. Scott puts his head through a small crack on the door and looks at him, reeking of anxiety. He feels like such a jerk for making his best friend look like that while talking to him.

“Hey,” he says sitting up, rubbing the sleep away from his eyes.

“Hey,” Scott answers, and gets into the room, not closing the door, “Derek called me a couple hours ago, asked me to stay with you.”

“Thanks,” Stiles responds, looking down. Derek is out, probably trying to track his father. He heart shrinks in his chest, but he breaths in deeply, and lets it go slowly, calming himself down, “Is everything okay?” he asks, because Scott wouldn’t wake him up for nothing.

“Ahm… There’s someone here to see you. Nothing’s wrong or anything!” he says quickly when Stiles looks like he might start panicking, “She said she heard the news about your dad earlier and wanted to, you know, offer her support.”

“Who is it?” he asks, confused.

“Lydia.”

His eyes widen, and Scott grins a little.

“Yeah, so, she’s downstairs, and I would tell her to just come up, but I don’t think Derek would really like the whole ‘Lydia is in your room’ thing, if the growling when her name is mentioned is anything to go by.”

Stiles chuckles weakly at it, and nods at Scott.

“I’ll go talk to her,” he says, getting up.

“Ok. I’ll just… stay up here. I won’t listen in,” Scott promises very awkwardly, and Stiles just shakes his head, going down stairs.

He gets to the living room and sees the girls he thought he loved for at least ten years sitting on his couch.

She’s pale, and she smells off – she smells like fear and… something else. Something wrong. As if she smells of fear and nothing else, and that’s just wrong, because everybody smells like something.

“Hey,” he greets weakly, and she turns around.

She is crying. Not crying like, ‘oh my god, I’m so sorry your dad was kidnapped’, but crying like, ‘I’m so sorry I’m going to get you killed’.

“Shit,” he says, staring at her, and she looks down.

“He made me do it. And Jackson, I’ can’t… I don’t know what he is, but he… he answers to me. And he made me do it, Stiles, I’m so sorry.” She raises her eyes and stares at him, her hands in front of her body, wriggling, “You have to come to him. Now. You have to come to him now, with me, or he’s going to kill your dad, I’m so, so sorry,” she finishes, bursting into tears, and Stiles looks at his side, where Scott is hiding by the stairs. So much for not listening in.

Thank God for his snoopy friends.

He tries to make Scott understand he’ll have to remain hidden, and the boy seems to catch on with his plan.

“You are Jackson’s Master. And Peter is using you to control him,” he states, very calmly, very easily. It’s hell not knowing anything, but he’s good in a crisis, when shit is happening. What he can’t deal with is the wait.

Lydia nods, and stares at him.

“You have to come with me,” she repeats, glancing at her watch.

“I will. This is my dad we’re talking about, I’m coming. But I need to wrap my mind around this. How could we not smell him? Or Jackson, or even you here?”

She just shakes her head, and looks at him as if she’s scared of him too now.

It probably hadn’t occurred to her that he was one of the creatures that keep hurting and haunting her.

“He… he has this thing, it throws off our scent. That’s what he says,” she says in a very quiet voice, and Stiles takes a deep breath.

Okay, what to do, what to do.

“We have to go NOW!” she almost screams, staring at her watch again, and Stiles raises his hands.

“Okay, I’m going. I’m going with you right now, with no backup, and no friends to help me. I’m going,” he answers, and she turns to leave. Stiles looks at Scott and mouths Pack at him, before showing his cell phone at him, and putting it back in his pocket.

He gets into Lydia’s car, and all he can do is hope Scott will know what to do.

X

Scott gets up and thinks about running after them – he can catch up with Lydia’s car in his wolf form, but then what would he do? Growl at Peter?

Stiles said Pack, so pack it is. He takes his phone out and calls Derek first.

He just hopes he’ll survive the phone call.

X

The thing about Peter Hale is that he’s just never what you expect him to be. Stiles particularly thinks the man should be at least half burned still, like the Phantom of the Opera, with the shit he pulls.

He also thinks he should be, you know, dead, because he died, being burned up by him and Lydia, and having his throat ripped out by Derek.

But nooooooooo, he’s handsome, in the creepiest way possible, and he’s very much alive.

Also, he’s not in a warehouse, in an abandoned shack, in a cabin in the woods – no. He’s in a small, yet respectful, house. One story high, with a garden full of colorful lilies in front of it, and bright curtains in the windows.

What the hell?

He and Lydia took about fifteen minutes to get there in her car – and in fifteen minutes you pretty much covered all of Beacon Hills in any direction. Everything is quiet in the neighborhood, the sun is shining, birds are singing, and Stiles swears he hears children laughing in a nearby park.

And his father is inside that house, probably half dead.

Peter is a psychopath.

“This is it?” he says when Lydia parks and tries not to shake. She just nods, and Stiles looks at her, really looks at her, “Are you okay?”

She stares at him incredulously for a second.

“I’m really not,” she whispers, and points to the house, “You should get in, he’s waiting for you.”

“Is… Is Jackson there?” he asks, because if the Kanima’s there, then chances are Peter will have him paralyzed the second he gets in.

Not good. At all.

She stares at him again, her eyes full of tears.

“He said we’re free. He said that if I got you here, he’d let us go, me and Jackson. I’m sorry, Stiles, I really am, but…”

But her life, and Jackson’s, were worth more to her than Stiles’ and his dad’s.

He stares at her for a second, and wonders what it must be like – to be able to put yourself first like this.

It must be freaking awesome sometimes.

“I get it,” he says quietly, and leaves the car.

His only chance now is for the pack to track him down by his cellphone, like Chris had done for Allison.

He doubts his chances are good.

He opens the small, wooden gate, and walks the few feet between him and the door, listening to Lydia’s car go away.

He’s on his own, to deal with the man who wants to… He doesn’t want to think about it. His dad is there, and he’s getting him out of there, and that’s it.

The door is slightly open when he gets to it, and he doesn’t knock. He gets in the brightly lit living room. There are two armchairs, a bright green color, and a TV set. The curtains are, like he suspected, bright and airy, a light green, swaying slightly with the breeze coming through the windows. The floor is covered by a light cream carpet, and the corridor to the rest of the house has some flowery wallpaper on it. The place is homey; it feels like it should be lived in by a soccer mom and an office dad, with 2.5 children, with cookies and milk before bed.

Not the place to have the sheriff hostage, and a Mate Werewolf to come to as a sacrifice.

He looks around the empty space and takes a deep breath – he has no idea what to do. He has no plan, no strategy, not a retort in his mouth, nothing. The place has… thrown him off. He could deal with Gerard and his brand of craziness, with the kidnapping and being hostage in the basement of a house that’s falling apart. He’d know what to do if this was a normal blackmail thing.

He feels that, should he scream in this place, the police would be here in no time.

Maybe he should.

As soon as he finds his dad.

“Honey, you’re home.” Stiles turns around so fast he almost gets whiplash.

Peter Hale is in a dark blue shirt, his cuffs undone, just like the top buttons in the shirt. He’s wearing jeans, and his hair is pulled back.

He’s barefoot.

The crazy werewolf who almost killed him twice and kidnapped his father is barefoot in a Stepford Wife’s living room.

“Where’s my dad?” he demands, and is glad to notice his voice didn’t tremble. Much.

Peter smiles at him.

“Sleeping,” he answers simply, shrugging slightly. Stiles doesn’t say anything to that, he just glares, and Peter rolls his eyes, “Oh, please, darling, I want you by my side, and not even I am crazy enough to think you’d be here for a second if your dad was, you know, gone. He’s sleeping, just like he has been for the past three days. He wakes up every eight hours, and he’s fed, and then he goes to sleep again. I wouldn’t hurt my future father-in-law.”

Stiles stares at him incredulously for a few seconds – and then, when he opens his mouth to say something, Peter moves fast than he had anticipated, and has him by the throat.

“I would really think about what you are going to say, dear. Try not to aggravate the man controlling the Kanima and who has your dad and a cupboard full of tranquilizers.”

Stiles closes his mouth and glares, as Peter smiles at him, and then sniffs at his neck.

He’s shorter than Stiles.

It’s a ridiculous thought, and he isn’t even trying to understand why that sounds so ridiculous to him – a lot of people are shorter than him, he is reasonably tall. Derek is taller than him by very little.

Peter, the man terrorizing his every waking hour ever since he became a werewolf, is shorter than him, and is now sniffing at him.

He’s probably going into shock, because he almost starts laughing.

“He hasn’t claimed you yet,” Peter says from where he has his nose buried in Stiles’ neck, and Stiles snorts, taking a step back and facing Peter.

“If you haven’t noticed, Mr. Creepy, I’m underage.”

Peter actually snorts then, and tilts his head to the side, eyeing Stiles.

“And you think that would stop any Alpha?”

“I don’t belong to any Alpha, I belong to Derek,” he answers tersely, and Peter snorts, taking a step back, and just watching him for a few seconds.

He could probably take him down. He could kill Peter, if he puts strength enough in his attack. He can do it.

His eyes flash gray briefly, and Peter smiles at him.

“I was just waiting for that to happen, you’re getting slow, Stiles,” he comments with a small smile, “You are not going to kill me.”

His smile is infuriating, and Stiles is pretty sure that, yes, he can and will kill him.

“You know why? Because not even Derek could kill me. You think he couldn’t have finished all of this that night, in your house? Didn’t you see he could have ended me there? That you could have killed me there? And you didn’t. Do you know why? Because my nephew can’t bear to kill me twice. He’s not as hard as he liked to imagine he is, you and I both know that.” He takes a step closer to Stiles again, and the boy refuses to get backed up again. He doesn’t move, and Peter snorts a half laugh, “And you won’t kill me, because for the rest of your lives he’ll know you killed someone he can’t. And he will be miserable, because he failed his mate, and you will be guilty, because you killed the last living member of his family. And you both will be unhappy, and sad and miserable, and your dear pack will be over before it even began properly. So stop pretending you know what you are doing, flashing your eyes at me, dear, because we are simply going to wait here for your knight in shining armor, and then I will rip his throat out, and claim you after that.”

Stiles is stunned into silence because… well, because the damn werewolf makes sense. He’s never wanted to be a werewolf, because he knew it involved lots of violence and at some point or another, he’d have to kill something and he doesn’t want to do that.

He doesn’t want to kill anything, and as a human, he had that option. As a wolf, not so much.

They stare at each other, Stiles seriously considering just attacking him, and Peter smiling away, because he knows Stiles won’t.

“I want to see my dad,” he ends up saying, because he can’t stay still, and glaring isn’t really effective, even if he wishes it was.

Peter tilts his head to the side.

“I don’t see why not” he answers, smiling still, and Peter turns his back on him. Seriously, he just turns around, and goes to one of the rooms off to the right of the main corridor, opening the door carefully, and gesturing Stiles inside. Stiles stares at him blankly for a few seconds, because, come on, it’s disconcerting. He can’t even judge if this man is completely insane, or if he’s insanely clever, and his plan is really just that good, “Come on, darling, daddy is waiting.”

Stiles walks to Peter slowly, and passes by him, into the room.

His dad is in the bed, asleep, just like Peter promised.

And with its claws around his dad’s neck, is Jackson, Kanima form full out.

“Oh, yes. I might have forgotten to mention our little lizard friend. So, see, you’re not going to kill me, or attack me, because if you do, your dad is dead meat, honey.”

Stiles has to bite his own lips not to say something completely ridiculous, like ‘you will pay for this’, or ‘you won’t get away with it’, because he wants to, he really, really wants to.

He can’t.

Peter walks to him and Stiles’ breath catches in his throat when he feels the man’s body leaning onto his. His arms come around his waist, as if they were a couple watching someone they care about sleep.

“Get away from me,” Stiles hisses and Jackson hisses back, the venom in his claws glistening.

“No. My scent on you will drive Derek crazy. He will make mistakes, because he is stupid. He is really good for menial labor, but as a strategist, as an Alpha?” Peter snorts at that, his hands tightening their hold on Stiles, “He would have been lucky to find you if I hadn’t found you first.” He goes quiet for a moment after that, and Stiles wants to throw him away, he can feel his claws coming out, and he knows his eyes are changing, “You were in my plan. After I finished off all the Argents, I was going to turn you. Seduce you. I would even ask, darling, ask you again, because I knew you were lying the first time.”

“I would have said no,” was his answer, deep and rough. He needs to calm down, but his wolf is reeling at the thought of that man’s hands on him.

Peter snorts and doesn’t answer him.

“He was never meant to be Alpha. He could have submitted to me, passed me the power if it weren’t for you, and the way you ended up being his. I would have taken my time in getting back in his good graces, getting his trust back, and then he would have let this ridiculous pack go. He doesn’t want the power. He’s not ready to have it.” Stiles doesn’t even answer to that, because he knows it’s the truth, “But then you came along. And now he’ll never give anything up, and I had to resort to this ridiculous villain plan, with kidnapping single parents, and threatening the mate.”

“It’s your own fault” Stiles replies, “You shouldn’t have bitten me.”

“Not my brightest moment, but then again, I had been just resurrected, and the first thing I see when I come back from the dead is an Argent controlling a Kanima. I freaked out, so sue me.”

Stiles can almost hear the smile at the man’s words - Peter is completely fucked up. He closes his eyes, trying to even out his breathing, trying to calm down, before he changes and ends up getting his dad killed. Peter pulls him closer to his body, and Stiles has to rein in a growl. He can feel the man shaking with suppressed laughter, and that makes him even madder – he wants to rip his throat out, he wants to tear him apart, disembowel him, and rip him to pieces…

“Maybe I should bite your dad too.”

And that’s when Stiles loses it.

X

Lydia has always been a bitch.

It’s not something she has actually tried to be, she didn’t wake up one morning and thought ‘I’m going to despise everyone’, she just… was.

She reacted badly to a lot of things while she was growing up – like her parents’ divorce, for instance, and she didn’t know how to act after that. They didn’t help matters either, and she had to learn to deal with stuff on her own. And the best way she found to deal with feeling like she had been abandoned was to actually never let anyone close enough to be abandoned again.

It worked until the day she had met Jackson and helplessly fallen in love. Yes, she acted like the only thing that mattered to her was the fact that he was popular and handsome, but what really called to her was the way he seemed to need someone, always, as if he couldn’t quite find his place in the world.

He had a lot of issues, and she worked her damn best to make him feel better about himself. She didn’t mind playing her part, as long as she could have him – and then everything fell apart. All her life, every single lie she had built around herself, all shattered and torn and ripped from her. Peter had done way more than simply use her, he had gone into her deepest and most shameful places, and made her face it all. And now he was controlling Jackson through her, and that was not right. He had gotten inside her head, and she had been terrified of him, but not anymore.

Men always underestimated women like her. She was pretty and cute and a bitch, and therefore, very few people thought she could actually be better than that – and she could.

She could be anything she wanted.

So she followed Peter’s orders, because she couldn’t do anything else. When she touched Jackson’s transformed, scaly hand on Peter’s orders, when she ordered him to stay quiet, and go to school; follow Peter’s commands, she had done it all – and she had planned.

Because the game was bigger than Peter was letting on, there was a point to all he was doing, there had to be. And she could bide her time, waiting for an opportunity – and it had come, in the shape of Stiles Stilinski, in the middle of the mess, again, and this time without Scott. It was all about him, and she didn’t even care – she just wanted out.

She wanted out, and she wanted revenge.

So, when she left Stiles in front of that creepy house, she acted as if that was it. She thought she was free.

And then, when she was three blocks away, she took Jackson’s phone out of her bag, and called Derek Hale.

She couldn’t take Peter out again, but she could make sure another werewolf would.

X

For all that Stiles is expecting it to be like being ripped apart, changing doesn’t really hurt – it burns.

It burns from the inside out, in fury, and rage, and hatred. It burns in the worst way possible, because it isn’t physical, it is inside him, like an animal waking up trapped, and seeing it can’t escape its cage, and it needs out, but it can’t.

His wolf is savage, and hurt, and angry, and he wants to rip everything out. He roars, throwing Peter away from him and the Kanima hisses, its claws ready to rip his father’s throat out, when a shout comes from the door.

“Jackson, stop!”

Jackson and Stiles turn as one, and see Lydia Martin standing there, her eyes full of fear, but also strong determination.

“That, my dear, was a mistake,” says Peter from where he is getting up, and advancing towards Lydia. Stiles roars again, wanting to hurt something, anything, and starts advancing to Peter and Lydia when another roar answers his.

“I don’t think it was,” answers a rough voice, and Stiles looks up, seeing Derek – his face changing fast to a werewolf, roaring as an Alpha, and Peter unconsciously takes a step back.

He is trapped, and he knows it. He looks ready to attack Lydia, when Stiles sees her eyes meeting Jackson’s, and, with a loud hiss, the Kanima jumps out of the bed. As if that was the signal they were all waiting for, Stiles and Derek jump too, all three of them attacking Peter at the same time.

The half-wolfed out man screams, trying to fight it, but it’s a losing battle – or, actually, no battle at all. He screams empty threats while he can, and howls out in pain when he can’t anymore. They are savage, and that man, that wolf, is the reason their pack is being threatened.

They need to defend their pack.

Derek has a hold on Peter’s head, and Jackson is holding him by the waist, claws digging into his skin, and Stiles pulls at him, clawing him.

They tear him in half, his last shout dying at his throat, and Stiles feels as if he can breathe again.

No threat. They are free.

His grey eyes meet Derek’s red ones, and the wolf reaches out a clawed hand towards him. He doesn’t even notice the way his wolf fades away, and how he is just Stiles again – he throws himself in Derek’s arms, and feels safe and at peace, feeling his mate’s chest under him, his breathing on his neck.

“I…” he tries to say, but nothing really comes out.

“Shh,” Derek answers, soothing him, holding him tight, “It’s over,” he reassures Stiles, and Stiles can only nod, letting out a shuddering breath.

“Jackson?” They hear Lydia say, and Stiles turns his head a little, not willing to step out of Derek’s arms, but worried about the other two.

Jackson is on the floor – Jackson, not the Kanima. He is breathing – if he focuses enough, Stiles can actually hear his heartbeat, but his eyes are closed.

He looks peaceful. Lydia kneels beside her boyfriend, and touches his forehead tentatively, looking wary while doing so – and within reason, because the second she rest her whole hand on his neck, Jackson sits up, gasping for air, and roaring the next second. Lydia falls back, startled, and they all watch as Jackson roars, his eyes an electric blue, just like Derek’s before he was an Alpha.

Stiles doesn’t really feel his change, but he knows he is at that strange stage, when they are half wolf, half human by the horrified look on Lydia’s face.

Derek roars first, and Stiles answers, and Jackson looks at them both, as if measuring a threat. He crouches before Lydia, clearly intent on defending her, and Derek roars again – not a threat: an invite.

Jackson stares at them, and then looks back at Lydia, who tries to smile encouragingly. She clearly has no idea what is really going on, but she’ll support Jackson in anything.

He finally got that.

Jackson kneels, and bares his neck for Derek. The Alpha roars again, in approval, and accepts his submission, nudging Stiles forward to do the same.

They accept Jackson into their pack, and now they have him – and Lydia, by extension.

Their wolves recede at the same time, and they are left human, in a house they have no idea how Peter had it, and Stiles’ father is still unconscious.

Not to mention the body torn to bits by their side.

“We need to clean this up,” says Lydia, in a practical tone of voice, and Jackson is the first one to laugh, hugging her to him, not caring that he’s staining her clothes with blood.

They are safe.

As long as they aren’t caught in this house by the police.

X

What they end up doing is taking a page out of Kate Argent’s book, and burning the house down.

“What?” Lydia asks, when the three men look at her when she suggests it, “It’s the only way to cover everything up. Also, the Police will be more focused on finding out what happened to the Sheriff, they won’t even look into an uninhabited house catching fire, the nearest neighbor is far enough that they won’t even notice. Short circuits and bad wiring, it happens all the time.”

Best not to argue.

They take the Sheriff to Lydia’s car, and find the gas pipes. A few minor breaks, a small spark, and the place is catching fire nicely, Peter’s pieces inside. Despite all the roars and the fight, none of the neighbors even notice anything is wrong until the fire is coming out of the house windows. They watch, from a corner, as the Fire Department is called, and then they leave – Lydia and Jackson in the front, Derek and Stiles in the back seat, the Sheriff between them. They decide to just take the man to the hospital and say he showed up like this at Derek’s old place.

They simply don’t have any imagination to deal with making up a convincing story right now. Besides, the Sheriff will just say he doesn’t remember anything, anyway, because, well, werewolves.

Melissa is the nurse responsible for his room, and that makes Stiles a bit calmer.

His heart is beating a mile a minute, and he knows he’s on the verge of a major breakdown. He can just feel it. Now that the adrenaline is starting to fade away, he can actually realize what they’ve done.

Murder and arson are just two of their crimes today.

Jesus Christ.

“I can’t stay here,” he whispers at Derek pleadingly – he’s afraid he’ll shift in front of everyone. Derek looks at Melissa McCall and she nods at him, understanding. Scott must have told her Stiles is one of them now.

“I’ll call as soon as he wakes up. Go home and rest, honey.” She smiles at Stiles, and Derek guides him out of the hospital. Lydia offers to drive them home, and they accept it, knowing they will have a lot to explain to the girl as soon as they are all not half crazed. Jackson is actually asleep on her passenger seat, and Stiles has to close his eyes to avoid getting angry when he thinks how long Peter must have forced Jackson to stand watch over his father without sleeping.

“He’s gone,” Derek whispers in his ears, and Stiles trembles a bit before nodding, and setting his head on Derek’s shoulder.

He feels as if he’s falling apart.

The ride is at the same time too short and too long for Stiles’ taste. He wants to be home, and yet he never wants to get there, because he knows he’ll actually be able to deal with everything when he’s alone with Derek, but he doesn’t know if he wants that.

Lydia stops the car and she looks ready to say something, but Derek simply stares at her sternly for a second and opens the door, pulling Stiles with him.

Stiles is immensely grateful. They will deal with it. With Lydia, and the rest of the pack, and his dad and Jackson and everything – but not today.

Not now.

He can’t.

He breathes in and out, slowly, trying to calm down his racing heart when they are finally alone. Derek takes him by the hand and leads him to his room, and Stiles lets him.

He doesn’t want to fight. He doesn’t want to be strong right now – he wants to… he doesn’t even know.

Derek is staring at him, and Stiles knows it’s because he’s silent, so very silent and so very still. He takes a step forward, and wraps his arms around Derek’s neck, his mate’s arms coming up slowly to encircle his waist, and they stay like that for a few minutes, simply breathing each other in, reassuring their human parts that they are safe.

Their wolves know, because their wolves had ripped Peter apart together.

Bonding over ripped to pieces uncles. That’s the way to bond as a couple.

Stiles starts laughing, and he can’t really stop – he laughs in relief, because his dad is okay, and he laughs in despair, because he killed someone today. He laughs in confusion, because just a few days ago he was head over heels for Lydia, and today he couldn’t even think of her, all he saw in that house was Derek.

It seemed to him that Derek was the only constant now, the only one he could count on to defend him, and protect him, and keep him safe. It was his job now to keep their pack together, to keep his father and Melissa safe and healthy, but he felt as if… as if he could do it if Derek was there, with him.

If Derek claimed him, now and forever.

His laughter dies down, and he notices he’s actually crying. Major way to have a breakdown, but Derek hasn’t left. He hasn’t said anything, hasn’t moved, except to hold Stiles closer to him, burying his nose on his neck, running his hands over his back.

“He knew you hadn’t claimed me yet” he whispers softly, his voice quiet. Derek hums, but doesn’t say anything, and Stiles presses on, “Why haven’t you, Derek?”

He pulls away a little, to stare at the man, and he sees pain crossing his face – despair and fear, and pain and rejection.

He doesn’t want to claim Stiles because it’s a good thing for him. He doesn’t want to be happy.

“Please” he whispers again, a few tears falling from his eyes, because he needs this, he needs to know this will last, this will be it, this will work. He can’t go around in this tentative kind of thing, in this ‘you are my mate but not really’, he can’t take it.

Derek closes his eyes, and his jaw looks like it’s about to break it’s so tight.

“You don’t understand how much that would change everything. You don’t understand what it entails” he answers, his eyes still closed.

Stiles’ hands make their way from Derek’s neck to his shoulders, caressing his skin over his blood stained shirt, and he takes Derek’s face into his hands, forcing the man to look at him.

“Does it entail me being with you forever, with no way out?” His eyes search Derek’s, and the man just nods, staring back, unflinching, “Does it entail doing my best for my pack?” Derek nods again, and Stiles comes closer, barely a breath keeping them apart, “Does it entail me being you mate for real, never being able to leave you?” His voice is even quieter now, and Derek takes a few seconds before nodding again, and Stiles presses his lips to Derek’s, “Claim me” he demands against his lips, and Derek growls in response, before pulling Stiles tight against him, dominating the kiss, and Stiles allows him to – he doesn’t want to control anything tonight, he wants to be marked, he wants to belong.

He wants to know he’ll always have a place to call home: by Derek’s side, with their pack.

He pulls on Derek’s shirt, and the man takes a step back, taking his shirt off and opening his jeans, throwing his shoes to the side to step out of them. He then slips out of his underwear, coming towards Stiles once more – there’s no time for gentle caresses and sweet nothings – they want this so much it hurts.

Derek helps him out of his shirt and jeans, making him fall against his bed so that he can take off his shoes, and then his boxers. His eyes are a strange shimmering red, not quite Alpha, but not really human anymore.

It’s desperate and fast, the way their clothes lie on the ground, the way Derek climbs over him in the bed and claims his lips again, kissing him deeply, biting on his neck; and Stiles bites him back, pulling on his hair, until Derek lets go of his neck and kisses him again.

Derek settles between his legs suddenly, spreading them apart, and Stiles feels the actual shift in the way things are now – Derek seems to have lost his urgency, he is still desperate, but he’s holding it all in, because this is happening. This is going to be true.

They will be together for as long as their pack existed, and there was no space for haste in this.

Derek kisses him deeply for a few moments, and then pulls away, staring at Stiles as if trying to memorize his every feature, as if instead of getting closer this will actually erase Stiles from his memory.

“There’s no turning back after this” he warns, his voice rough with need, and want, and fear, and denial; but Stiles reaches for him, bringing his face closer to his again, and kisses his lips tenderly, biting his lower lip before letting him go.

“Claim me” he demands again, and Derek’s eyes sparkle red. He pushes himself up and sniffs at the air, before smirking, and opening a drawer in a bedside table, taking a packet of lube out of it, and Stiles actually blushes. Derek kisses him on the cheeks, and bites his neck, distracting him enough that he only realizes Derek is preparing him when he feels a strange intrusion in his body – it stings, not really hurting, but feeling somewhat unnatural.

Stiles is lost after that, between Derek’s kisses, and the heat of his body, and the way that everything around them seems to revolve around Derek: he is his only focus, he is everything that exists, over him, and inside him.

Derek takes his time preparing him, making him moan, teasing him, and then taking it all away to reassure himself he isn’t hurting Stiles, but Stiles doesn’t care – he wants this, and he says so loudly, and repeatedly, until Derek finally caves, taking his fingers out from where he was preparing Stiles, and rearranges them in the bed, Stiles legs bending up, Derek caressing his neck with a clawless hand, his eyes sparkling red and hazel and bluish green but never leaving Stiles’.

When he feels Derek entering him, he tries to close his eyes, but Derek whimpers at it, and he opens them again – his mate needs to know he is okay with this, and Stiles tried to stop his own whimper at the pain.

It hurts like hell, but he doesn’t care.

He’ll never care, because Derek will be his forever, and he will never, ever, be alone again.

None of them will.

He moves tentatively once, and Derek moans quietly – staring at each other, never hiding their reactions. Derek moves against him, and Stiles has trouble breathing. It hurts, but he wants this so much.

And them Derek is touching him, taking him into his hands slowly, and Stiles can’t hold in his own moan, groaning, and calling Derek’s name – pain and pleasure mixing up into one, and he’s a shivering mess while Derek moves over him, faster and faster, and Stiles can smell blood, but he doesn’t care, not now.

Derek’s breathing becomes more erratic and he bends forward, kissing Stiles on the lips once, and running his lips over his skin, until he finds his neck.

He bites him, hard enough to draw blood, and leave a scar, and Stiles closes his eyes, because this is it – he’s claimed.

He is Derek’s.

His hands find Derek’s hair, and he pulls the Alpha to him, licking his own blood from Derek’s mouth, not caring about anything else but the thought that Derek is his. And that’s what sends him over the edge, shuddering, and calling out Derek’s name, while the man keeps moving over him, riding out his own orgasm, and they collapse on the bed, against each other.

They are dirty, and bleeding, and the room smells like sweat and heat and blood and semen.

And they don’t care.

At that precise moment, it doesn’t seem like anything else will ever matter again but the two of them.

Stiles is strangely content with that thought.

They are silent, getting their breath back. Derek moves around, lying on his back, and pulling Stiles over him, caressing his neck and his back, and Stiles kisses his chest and his hands, when he can reach them. Their eyes are closed, and at that moment, everything seems to be fine, right.

It’s like they are finally where they had always supposed to be.

They don’t know how long they are like that, but there’s a phone ringing, and Derek answers with a growl.

Stiles hears Erica’s voice telling their Alpha that the Sheriff has been moved to a room, and is expected to wake up at any second.

Derek hangs up after that and they look at each other, and they know.

Nothing will ever be the same again, and that’s a good thing.

A great thing.

It’s actually perfect.

Chapter Text

Pale Horses

Something That Became Everything

Stiles is surprised when, by the end of his shower, he is already healing. Derek smiles at him and says that Stiles is his. Even if he is an Alpha, his bites will never linger on Stiles.

Stiles leaves the bathroom feeling really smug about that.

They get to the hospital just as John is waking up, and Stiles can’t help but tearing up again. He hugs John to him carefully, and his dad hugs him back – he isn’t hurt, he’s okay, just a bit disoriented from all the medicine keeping him unconscious.

He says he doesn’t remember anything, he remembers he was taken from his house while sleeping, and that’s that, because he is the goddamn Sheriff, and his word is actually the law.

Things settle down after that.

Stiles still has to go to school, and Derek actually insists on taking him there and picking him up for weeks before he is comfortable enough to let Stiles drive there. Stiles gets annoyed at this, he complains and bitches, but he secretly loves every second of it, but he never tells anyone or they’ll never let him live it down.

Jackson finds his place in their pack, with Lydia by his side, even if takes a couple of weeks for Derek to be completely okay with her. Scott settles too, and he seems calmer than before, more adjusted. He has a real pack now, he’ll be fine.

Time passes and they grow. In the teens’ case, literally. Boyd is taller than Derek now, and Stiles is even with his mate. Erica loses her extreme ways and seems really comfortable in her body, and so does Isaac.

She and Boyd start dating just before graduation, and everyone can tell it’s a forever kind of thing – like their Alpha and his Mate.

Allison actually starts talking to Scott again by the end of the year. They take things slow this time, the truce with the Argents holding even when they officially become a couple again – this time with less idealistic puppy love, and a more practical take on life. She never really gets comfortable around Derek – or any of the wolves, really -, and he confesses to Stiles one night that he doesn’t think she and Scott will last once they get into college.

They find out in two years that he is right.

Isaac grows into a confident and responsible man, and he studies hard, decided to become a doctor – which he does, with full rides and all into college.

Lydia and Jackson are the first two to get officially married, just a month after graduating from Law School – together. They have the most successful Law Firm in Beacon Hills, and are perfectly content with each other.

The Hale House actually meets a fiery end in the summer after Peter’s death, a small problem with a pack of Alphas, that are absolutely no match for their pack – because they are seven wolves and a human: five betas, an Alpha, a Mate, and the most terrifying teenage girl a small town could produce.

The house doesn’t survive though, and Derek takes that as a sign that the past should be, at last, left behind.

Their new house is bright and airy, and far enough from the original one that they can’t even see the burned ground it used to stand on.

The sheriff has a few choice words to say to Stiles when he comes home with decorating plans for his house with Derek, but he’s come to accept that his son would never have a normal life.

From all the teens, Stiles is the only one who doesn’t even leave Beacon Hills for college. He attends a small one in a nearby city, commuting every day, because he can’t bear staying away from Derek, or his father. Scott goes there too, but he actually gets a dorm.

Melissa and John start dating that year, and Stiles swears he knew that was bound to happen sometime.

The new Hale House is built, and Stiles moves in as soon as he’s eighteen. Derek takes night classes and online courses to learn how to manage what’s left of the Hale money – their insurance and their properties that he hadn’t sold before he actually realized he could have a future.

Stiles becomes a Journalist – he writes for Beacon Hills biggest paper, and he’s happy to report the number of weird news has never been lower. Scott is a Veterinarian, helping Deaton, and eventually taking over the business when the man retires.

Scott meets a nice girl, with dark hair and bright brown eyes, and he falls for her, one year after graduating from college. It’s not teen love, it doesn’t have the intensity of his feelings for Allison, but he loves her.

They haven’t yet talked about marriage, but Stiles is keeping his hopes up.

Isaac actually meets a nice and cute werewolf at Stiles and Derek’s Union Celebration. Derek was against it, but Stiles was adamant that his father would see him getting married, and Derek caves, as he seems to do with everything that has Stiles in it.  

The ceremony is quiet and beautiful, and Derek invites a few friends from his old life, before Laura had died – including a cute Omega who captures Isaac’s heart on his first smile. It’s enough to say he wasn’t an Omega for much longer after that, accepted into the Hale Pack that just keeps on growing.

Eight years after the whole Peter debacle, Derek is called away by a few other werewolves, and he comes back home with a small bundle in his arms – some Alpha bit a kid, four years old, and left it behind.

Stiles thinks he’s too young, and his father agrees. Derek thinks they really aren’t ready for it, and Melissa concurs – but they do it anyway.

They adopt little John Stilinski-Hale, who insists on being called Sky, and that’s how they build a family.

A pack.

Safety and security, love and acceptance.

It’s not perfect, and they have their issues – the days when Lydia is a bitch, and Jackson is a jerk, and Scott gets that faraway look in his eyes like he’s thinking about Allison again, and Isaac takes something the wrong way and sulks, and Boyd gets angry at some imaginary offense, and Erica is a bit too rough with someone. Days when Stiles wants to scream at the top of his lungs that he is their age and the only kid he has is Sky not all of them, and days when Derek is quiet and brooding.

It’s not perfect.

But none of them would change a thing.

Fin.