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Let Fate Decide

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Let Fate Decide

 

Chapter 1: Heart wolf

"Derek, have you considered looking for an emissary who compliments your pack better?"

            The man in question grunted a non-answer, his jaw set and his eyes narrowed at the druid in front of him. The druid continued,  "I was your mother's emissary for a long time, but I'm growing old, Derek. In the times to come you and your pack will need an emissary more in tune with your needs. I am just a vet."

            A boy with shaggy brown hair poked his head into the room, his face scrunched a little as he asked, "You don't want to be our emissary anymore, Deaton?"

            The man gave the boy a small smile as he explained, "It's been a long time since I've been able to do much help, Scott. I am more of an archivist and a herbalist; my role has changed with age, and your pack is young, often finding yourselves in difficult situations. A druid who plays more diverse roles will be a better fit to your pack."

"You know someone?"  Derek said, voice gruff as he scowled at the druid before him. He didn't know what was more aggravating, how unfazed this druid was, or the idea of dealing with a new one.

"I'll see what I can do, but you should know--" A wave of nausea made Derek sway on his feet; he was vaguely aware that the emissary was still talking, but he found himself unable to make out the words. His vision went dark for a moment, and all he could hear was a rapid pulse thudding in his ears and a whisper chanted,

"You will seek no further. You will wander no farther.

You will seek no further. You will wander no farther.

You will seek no further. You will wander no farther."

            He felt his body sway before a hand clenched around his bicep, surprising him out of the darkness. He snapped his eyes to the hand on his arm, and then looked up to Scott with his brows raised. The beta released him slowly, but he still looked concerned. Both the druid and the beta were watching him carefully, and finally Deaton asked, "Is everything alright, Derek?"

            He let himself glower at the man again, but nodded. The vet hardly looked convinced, but he nodded back anyways, and reiterated, "So, I'll see who I can contact for you?"

The alpha nodded again before crossing his arms and walking out of the clinic without another glance back.

 

            *                                                          *                                                          *

           

            Two months passed, and somehow Derek found himself at Deaton's again. The druid had a thick book open in his hands, flipping through it until he presumably found what he was searching for. Setting it down on the medical table in front of Derek, he explained, "This is the sixth generation of Daehler druids. They are known to be highly improvisional. The one who will be coming to meet you this evening will be around the same age as most of your own betas. I've never had the honour of meeting any of the Daehlers, but I have heard that their bloodlines have been pure for at least the last three generations."

            Derek nodded, feigning interest. It didn't matter, druids didn't participate with packs very often, only when alpha sought them out. In fact many preferred that the majority of the pack didn't know their identity. Probably to avoid situations like Jennifer Blake was put in, Derek thought. However, the Alpha pack they had defeated three to four years ago was hardly the subject that he wanted to think about. Instead, Derek focused on Deaton's speech again. "This is a chance to meet him and decide if you are willing to put your pack and yourself in his hands. The relationship between an emissary and an alpha is sacred; trust is a key component of the relationship."

            The alpha nodded, he already knew that, but maybe that was why the supernatural complications in Beacon Hills were so difficult to take down- he didn't exactly trust the vet very much. Trust had to be earned, and Derek was just starting to get comfortable putting some trust in the man and now he was retiring. What kind of druid retired? Weren't druids supposed to be old and decrepit?

            Derek almost told Deaton that he would rather just continue seeing him, when a loud buzz interrupted his train of thought. Frowning, he reached into his pocket, flipping it open before holding it up to his ear, "What?"

"Derek?" Scott's voice wavered, he sounded confused, but his voice also had a hint of panic in it.

"What is it?"

"I think you need to get here, and bring Deaton."

Derek paused for a moment before clarifying, "Deaton?"

"Uh-" the boy was quiet for a moment, and the alpha could hear his wolves growling in the background. They didn't sound upset, but they definitely sounded defensive, "We have a... guest?"

            Derek could feel his eyebrows drawing towards each other as he growled, "What do you mean, guest?" He briefly wondered if it could be the Daehler kid, but he dismissed the thought- the kid wouldn't know where his house was, he would have come to the clinic.

            When Scott hesitated again, Derek could hear Lydia demand for the phone, and in a moment he heard her curt voice describe the intruder, "He's about 5'9 or 5'10, pale, but covered in dirt. Obviously been in the forest for a long time, he hasn't so much as flinched at the wolves, and his only words were to demand you, by name." She stopped when he growled, but he cut it short and prompted, "What else?"

            She gave a small huff, and he could practically hear her toss her hair over her shoulder, and then she continued, "Isaac says that he smells kind of like pot, but that's not quite right, I think it's Artemisia vulgaris,  but somebody wouldn't let me get any closer." Derek could hear Jackson let out a small huff in the background, "he's wearing a carved wooden mask with a thick wolf pelt like some kind of blanket on his back, he has a rucksack by his feet. He has a few strange looking knives strapped to his legs, but he hasn't drawn any of them."

            "What's he doing?" Derek watched as Deaton flipped through a different book, obviously listening to hear what Lydia was saying and then he flipped a few more pages before pausing to read. Lydia huffed and explained, "Standing in a circle of what looks like nettles. It's working kind of like mountain ash, Jackson and Isaac are circling him, everyone else is between him and the house."

"Be there in ten." Derek didn't wait for a response as he snapped his phone shut before looking at Deaton. "You coming?"

            The man nodded slowly, his eyes still on the book in his hands as he explained, "Yes, I believe so. I will meet you there," Deaton followed the alpha out of the building, locking up behind him as he murmured, "Hm, using Nettle is an interesting choice."

            Derek sped all the way there, but Deaton fell behind at some point, and when the alpha pulled up to the rebuilt Hale house, he hurried to the back, but Derek rounded the corner while Deaton just started to pull up the driveway.

 

                                    *                                  *                                  *

            Lydia Martin's description of the boy did not prepare the alpha for what he found. He could feel his teeth sharpen and his face distort into his beta form and he growled low in his throat, drawing the attention of everybody in the clearing. Including the thin, pale, male who was in the process of shedding his wolf pelt which left him very, very naked. Behind the mask, was the face of a guy who couldn't be older than Scott, moles splattered his face like constellations, his eyes were wide and a soft amber colour, and he flailed with his whole body while he stepped out of the safety of his little nettle barrier. Derek crouched to throw himself at the intruder, but was shocked still when the man beamed and greeted him with an excited glint in his eyes, "Care-Der!"

            Every wolf in the clearing froze, faces alternating between slack shock and active confusion, but Derek didn't pay attention to them, he couldn't. Care-Der. Peter was the only person alive who knew that nickname, and he had vanished some time ago.

            The stranger was still walking forward, heedless of his own nudity, Derek's pack seemed to be stunned into immobility, and Derek snarled again when the naked outsider got within three meters of him. The intruder came to an abrupt stop, his pulse stuttering for a moment, but he swallowed hard and threw his arms out and grinned with a confidence that he didn't smell of as he announced, "I have finally arrived!"

Derek ignored him and growled, "Where did you hear that?"

            The boy squinted at him for a moment before his forehead smoothed out and his eyes lit up again and he announced," Oh! Care-Der? Emily told me. She said that Care Bears was her favourite show, and that you would always watch it with her when she asked. "

            He sounded cheerful, but the words punched the breath out of Derek. After a few moments he finally managed to croak out, "Emily's dead."

            The boy scoffed, "Obviously, how else do you think I would-oh! Oh, I'm sorry, I am so, so sorry, I just- I have this thing where I forget sometimes. I'm just so used to it, and sometimes I forget that-" The boy cut off abruptly, shifting his eyes to glare beside Derek where Deaton rounded the corner.  His voice dropped from the frantic and apologetic tone that he'd been using to a much darker, angrier one as the naked guy shifted into what resembled an aggressive crouch. The stranger interrupted himself with a formality that didn't sound like the same boy from a moment ago, "Alpha, who comes to join our introduction?"

            The alpha's mind was still reeling. Emily? He knew that Emily was dead, but this boy had spoken to her? And why did he sound so angry about Deaton? Thankfully the druid answered for himself as he looked up from his ancient book to give the naked stranger a smile, "My name is Alan Deaton, druid."

The boy turned his glare to Derek, muscles tight and eyes burning as he hissed, "Alpha, what business do you have with the mortal magi you have brought before me?"

            Derek hesitated, glancing between Deaton and the newcomer. He didn't know why the stranger sounded so insulted, and for some reason Derek was somehow getting the impression that if he didn't answer this correctly, he'd be sleeping on the proverbial couch. That being said, if the boy asked Derek's questions without the formal wordplays, he would be a lot easier to answer comfortably. Jackson interrupted before he got a chance to answer, "Is this just some clingy witch you fucked?"

            The boy bared his teeth, much like a wolf would, at Jackson briefly before snapping his gaze back to Deaton, and then he glared at Derek again, "I sent you a foretoken. I spoke to you sixty one days past with trust in my heart and truth on my lips. You received my message, did you not Alpha?"

Derek hesitated, and then he winced as he asked, "What was your message, exactly?"

            The stranger seethed, and his formality broke, "Youknew I was coming. I told you. I told you not to look any further and not to wander any farther. Three Times! I specifically told you that I was coming! After my vision I travelled straight here by foot from the Peruvian Amazon, where I had been studying under an elder Ayahuasqueros. I told you not to look for anyone else!"

            Nobody in the clearing moved. Derek had no idea what the stranger was talking about, Deaton hummed and flipped through a couple more pages, and finally Lydia spoke up, "But you aren't an Ayahuasqueros?"

            He turned, his glare steady as he answered, "No, my father was from Poland, but I was born to a Turkic tribe in central Asia where the Göktürks once reigned. After I became a shaman, I began to travel around the world to learn all that I could from everybody that I could."

            Apparently Lydia's question gave the rest of the wolves confidence. Derek could see the pack starting to loosen up. Erica was the next to ask, "Why did you travel by foot?"

"The spirits instructed me to prove my worth to my alpha."

"And Derek's your alpha?"

            The boy heaved a sigh before glancing towards Derek and he nodded slowly, clearly telling Derek instead of Erica, but Derek was still too stunned to react. Beside him, Deaton glanced back up at the man, "May I ask your name?"

"My father's surname was Stilinski, while my mother's name was Sadik. I go by Stiles in this part of the world." He was glaring at Deaton again.

            The druid flipped a few more pages, and while he did that, Derek flashed his red eyes at the man. He hadn't even realized that he had dropped his guard enough to lose his beta form; Derek glared, "What makes you think I'll let you join my pack?"

            The boy's glare collapsed. His mouth fell open slightly, his eyes grew wider, and his eyebrows furrowed together slightly. Scott shifted uneasily from the corner of Derek's vision, but he ignored him, waiting for the stranger-- Stiles-- to answer.

"I abandoned my training for you!"

Derek rose an eyebrow.

"I walked from Peru."

Derek frowned, "You didn't walk all the way from Peru in sixty one days."

"Well I didn't fly! I walked as much as I physically was able in order to get here on time,  I canoed and train hopped when I had to. The point is- I underwent trauma!"

Derek deadpanned him.

"I had visions of your pack the whole way here."

Derek narrowed his eyes.

"Siktir," the way Stiles hissed the word gave Derek the distinct impression that it was less than courteous, "Your deceased family contacted me from the grave and lead me to you. I don't even have a map!"

            Derek was determined not to dwell on the comment about his family. He was lying. He had to be lying despite his steady pulse. The alpha wasn't ready to face the thought of his family. Instead, he tried to keep the strain out of his voice as he asked, "Why are you naked?"

            The boy didn't even blush, he simply shrugged and gestured back to his circle of nettles, as if that was an explanation. Thankfully Deaton explained, "Judging from the smell of mugwort and its history with Shamanism, he probably performed a purification ritual. Not much was known about the Stilinski family name, only that it dates back well before the formation of Poland and that they were mysteriously close with the Dola- nobody knew if they were Dola, or if they were simply close with them." Deaton took a moment to explain, "The Dola are spirits that protect fate- their job was to ensure that humans followed their fates."

            Deaton continued his earlier rant, "The Sadik ancestry rivals that of the Hales, both dating back well over a millennium. Apparently most of his family has specialized in either Shape shifting or divination. Yours being...?"

            Stiles bared his teeth at the man, before he relaxed slightly as his gaze turned to Derek instead. The alpha sighed and waved his hand towards Stiles, waiting for him to answer. Stiles clenched his jaw again briefly, but reluctantly hissed, "I'm proficient in a variety of spiritual endowments."

Erica snickered and announced, "He's right, you can't say that he's not well-endowed." 

            Stiles ducked his head, a blush creeping over his cheeks as he shifted, suddenly looking uncomfortable in his nudity as he muttered, "Ah, Westerners are so sensitive."

Instead of humouring any of them, Derek shifted his weight and frowned again, "What exactly are you proficient in?"

Stiles glanced at Deaton before returning his gaze back to Derek, "Alpha, if you would consider my consultation, I would prefer not to indulge this interloper with intelligence of such a covert nature."

"You realize that you're the interloper right now, right?" Isaac chirped.

Stiles' hands clenched at his sides, but he kept his eyes meeting Derek's as he clarified, "What I mean to say is that sharing such information with outsiders could be detrimental to my ability to protect our pack."

Derek couldn't help but steal a glance to the sky, wishing for patience. He was in over his head; Derek looked to Deaton and asked, "What's happening?"

            The druid smiled slightly, his gaze still on Stiles as he answered, "Shamans are unique. They rely on a tribe, clan, or, in this case, pack. Druids are the most common type of emissary, but on occasion soothsayers have been known to help guide packs. Shamans, however, are practically unheard of above the equator now. While druids and soothsayers are reserved and help to guide packs from a distance, shamans are well known for always having much closer relations to the people they work with. Shamans are important to the inner workings of  their tribes and clans, and are indisputably the least common and most involved of emissaries. If you choose to work with this shaman, you should understand that if, or when, he joins your pack, he will stay until death herself drags him from this world."

            There was a moment of stunned silence as the pack took in Deaton's words, and then he asked, "Derek, did you receive the message that Stiles spoke of?"

            Derek hesitated, "Maybe? When we were first discussing your retirement I recall," he paused for a moment, "a moment? I didn't realize that it was..." He trailed off, giving a half-hearted gesture towards the naked boy in front of him.

Scott was the next beta to speak up, "So, he's going to be our next emissary?"

Erica flashed her teeth with a grin as she gave him another once over, "I like him."

Boyd gave a small grunt, it sounded like he was acknowledging the boy's presence, at the least.

Jackson, being Jackson, said, "I bet he's just here to roll over and be Derek's bitch."

            Stiles glanced back to Jackson this time. His glare finally easing up again as he let a wicked grin tilt his lips up, "Calm your life stream, redeemed one. All alphas are entitled to any who he holds ownership over, if he so desires." as he finished, Stiles' eyes panned down Derek's body slowly before meeting his eyes again, "Much like the rest of his pack, my mind, body, and soul, are not mine to give, but his to take."

            There was about one beat of silence before the entirety of the pack all began to protest at the same time. Derek gritted his teeth, all he wanted was for Beacon Hills to be calm and hold no surprises. That's all, and yet, somehow the surprises kept ending up at his doorstep.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2: Questions and Answers

            With the shaman inside and the rest of the pack going for a run- humans included, Derek finally had a chance to talk to Deaton alone; he began with a sudden gesture towards the house, "What," Derek hissed, "Is happening?!"

"Well," Deaton's eyes darted to the house before he met Derek's gaze calmly, "You seem to have found yourself a potential emissary."

"I didn't ask for this! He's just a kid!" Derek insisted.

"He is a shaman who doesn't look any younger than your betas, Derek."

"So I'm just supposed to adopt him? Where is he going to live? What is he going to eat?"

            Deaton's expression wasn't patient, but it wasn't impatient either, despite non-answer that he gave Derek, "He has come a long way to offer you everything."

"What if I don't want his anything?!"Derek realized that he was getting a little bit hysterical, but it had been a long day and his betas weren't around to hear so he felt like it was okay.

"Then send him away. Just remember Derek, there are consequences no matter what you decide."

                                    *                                  *                                  *

            Stiles looked around the kitchen. The beta with the floppy hair and easy smile had set down a plate of two strange rectangles, and apologized for not having much else before he jogged out of the building with the other betas. After the alpha assured them all that he wasn't going to sleep with any of them, he had demanded that they go for a run.

            It took a couple minutes for Alpha Derek to come inside. Stiles was reluctant to leave him outside with the druid, but after many assurances, Stiles was considering the possibility that he might not be completely evil. When Derek did come inside though, he stopped abruptly upon entry.

"Scott was told to dress you in his clothes." He said, and Stiles considered it. Scott must have been the boy who set the rectangles in front of him. The shaman shrugged with one shoulder and explained, "I refused. If you'd like your cotton back, I can retrieve my furs."

The alpha glowered, but it proved difficult to stay intimidating when he looked at the plate in front of Stiles and said, "Eat your Pop Tarts."

            Stiles frowned before looking back down at the rectangles again. They were both white with colours sprinkled on top. He looked up to see Derek drinking out of a glass of water, and he said, "I cannot. I am fasting for our bonding ceremony."

            The wolf choked, spewing water and the hand holding his glass of water tightened dangerously around the glass. Stiles quickly stood, "Alpha, are you alright?" When the man in question nodded, still coughing, Stiles continued, "Good. That wouldn't be the way for an alpha to go out, but if that did kill you, do you think it would classify as choking, or drowning? Because technically it's both. Drowning seems like it would require more water than that, but if it's choking on water, who's to say that it isn't just small-scale drowning, I mean-"

            When Derek held up a hand, Stiles clamped his jaw shut. He was well aware that he spoke much more than most traditional shamans, and much more informally. He was working on it. Derek straightened, he set down his glass and braced himself on the island in the middle of the kitchen as he said, "We need to discuss whatever is going on here. You need to tell me why you came here, why you hate Deaton, and what you want."

            The alpha waved a hand over his shoulder and walked out of the room. Stiles trailed in behind him to discover that he was lead into the central room of the house. The living room, he recalled from Scott's house tour. When the alpha waved the same hand to a chair, Stiles sat. He only began to answer after Derek also took his seat.

"Your ancestors came to me, showing me visions of many things including your past and our future." Derek made a small sound that almost sounded like denial, but Stiles kept explaining, "All shamans have a purpose, Derek Hale. My mother's was to die of an illness after many years of defending her people, with only me by her side. Her mother's was to create an alliance between two of the biggest migratory tribes of her time; she fell in battle. We are all simply strings, tying together a great bawaajige nagwaagan, or as you would say, dream catcher, but instead of dreams, we catch our destinies between the webs with each other. You and I are tied together. Your pack and I are tied together. There is a great deal that we must do.

"Your druid's presence offends me because I am much like yourself; I am fiercely protective of what is mine. Your sister teased me the whole way here, telling me that the only reason why fate invited me to your side was because my spirit animal is a wolf, she is quite fond of you though, I must say."

            Derek shook his head, looking away, and Stiles paused. Apparently the alpha wasn't ready to discuss his family yet. Stiles ran his tongue over his dry bottom lip before addressing Derek's last question, "All that I want is to be your shaman, your emissary, and a respected member of your pack; all that I want is to follow my destiny, just as my mother and her mother before her."

            The alpha was watching him without expression, and Stiles couldn't help but feel apprehensive. After what seemed like an eternity, the man spoke again, "You're just a kid."

"I am a shaman. Sometimes I may come across as someone who has had few experiences, but you need to remember that this is because I am from a different life than yours. Believe me, I have experience experiencing experiences, okay? Mine didn't include government education, health care, and indoor plumbing, like yours, but that doesn't mean that I have lived a life any less than yours. I have lived forty two solstices."

"If you've never lived in North America how do you know anything about it?" Derek asked more curiously.

Stiles shrugged, "Divination, dream-walking, things like that. If that is all, Alpha, may I ask a few questions to you?"

            Derek nodded, but his brows were creased like he was still trying to process all of what Stiles had said. Unfortunately, patience wasn't exactly one of Stiles' virtues, so instead of letting his alpha think, he asked, "Why do you keep trying to find reasons for me to leave? Am I not powerful enough? Or not diplomatic or sagely enough? I am working on holding my tongue, Alpha, and if you need, I can display my spiritual endowments for you."

            The alpha made another small sound of protest and hissed, "Will you please stop saying endowments. No, you're fine. It's fine, but I don't know you, I can't trust you with my pack so quickly."

            Stiles nodded slowly, and his next question came out sounding much more vulnerable than he intended, "Are you going to send me away?"

           

            *                                                          *                                                          *

 

            To say that the pack was odd would be to say that Stiles talks sometimes-- a cruel understatement. 

            Their run didn't seem to do much to calm them down. If anything, it only seemed to give the pack more questions, which they were not shy with the moment they came back into the house. Derek had excused himself and left the house, leaving Stiles sitting on the couch fidgeting with nerves.  He poked around the living room, but didn't venture upstairs. It seemed too intrusive considering Derek's explanation about trust.

            When the pack returned, they returned together, and they all came straight to the living room. The wolves' eyes gleamed with curiosity as they all found places in the room. Some stood, some sat, but they all listened intently as he answered their questions.

The tall curly haired one asked, "What happened to your last pack?"

"Nothing." Stiles answered, "I have never had a pack. I left my tribe when a spirit came to me after my father's death and called me onward."

"So you talk to the dead?" The floppy haired one -- Scott, Stiles reminded himself -- asked.

Stiles shrugged a little, "They usually summon me first, but yes, if I seek out the afterlife I can venture there if I need to. Spirits can be evasive though."

            "Why?" The curly haired one asked. Stiles gave another shrug, "The spirit plane is difficult to navigate. Usually I can only reach the ones that reach back to me. Sometimes they respond, sometimes they don't."

The blonde girl was the one to change the subject, "So you're gay, right?"

            Shaking his head, Stiles murmured, "You Westerners have such strange ways." Then he answered more loudly, "I bed who I bed."

"So what, you're an equal opportunity kind of guy?" She tried to clarify. The shaman frowned a little before shrugging and saying, "I guess? The body is hardly relevant after visiting the realm of spirits."

            The one who they called Jackson finally spoke, asking harshly, "And you want to fuck Derek, is that why you're here?"

            The redhead smacked his chest with the back of her hand, silently reprimanding him for his question, but Stiles couldn't help but notice that she still watched him, waiting for him to answer.

            "My intention is to honour the call of the spirit world, and my fate, which has lead me to the Phoenix pack. Here is where I belong, and where I will stay so long as our Alpha accepts me."

The redhead's voice was clipped as she demanded, "Why call us the Phoenix Pack."

            Stiles could feel his eyebrows furrow, he had heard the nickname so often he had assumed that the pack would know, "Stories of the Hales have traveled far across the world. Mother's warn their pups of hunters who deceive their ways into the hearts of the pack only to lash out with aconitum and fire at the height of the moon, leaving dead in their wake. The world knows only of death, but the spirits know of life. They whisper of a Hale alpha who rose from the ashes to create new life."

            There was a moment of stunned silence from the pack, and then the large dark skinned man who stood behind the blonde asked, "What will you do if Derek rejects you?"

            Stiles swallowed hard before looking down at his hands. He opened them to look at his palms. He had considered it, and he knew what he would have to do if it came to it. He meant to speak louder, more confidently, but all that came out was a small whisper as he admitted, "If I don't find a place here then I must surrender my birthright and leave for eternal solitude in the wilderness, or, if our alpha is generous, he may accept his responsibility to deliver me to the spirits."

The curly haired one cleared his throat and asked, "And by deliver you to the spirits you mean...?"

Stiles looked up to meet the gaze of the pack as he answered, "Kill me."

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Cora

            It wasn't that Derek doubted Stiles'.... abilities, it was just that the shaman was suspicious- showing up at the perfect time, talking about Derek's deceased family and basically offering Derek his body, not unlike some of the nightmares from his past.

            His speech was all planned out. He nodded to his reflection in the mirror. It was time. The longer the shaman was here, the more attached that Scott and Isaac would get- it took days to convince them to release the last frog that they caught by the lake.

            Besides, Derek had already arranged for the Daehler druid to travel all the way to Beacon Hills to meet him- it would be rude to send him away. With one last stern look in the mirror and a silent warning not to let Scott's puppy dog eyes get the best of him again, Derek left the bathroom and walked into the living room.

I already had someone lined up to be my next emissary before you got here, and sorry but your cryptic 'dibs' isn't redeemable here. Peru is probably that way, good luck train hopping home, please remember to wear pants this time.

Derek repeated the thoughts in his mind over and over again until he entered the living room, and then his mind hit a blank wall.

            His entire pack had gravitated towards Stiles, who was sitting on the floor and leaning back against Boyd's knees. Erica, who was sitting beside her boyfriend, was carding her fingers through Stiles' hair as he leaned back absently into her touch, Isaac was sitting on the other side of the couch craning to look at the shaman. Malia was crouching on the floor right in front of Stiles and staring blatantly at him. Lydia was sitting on the love seat with Jackson, both of them leaning in towards the newcomer while holding hands with one another. Liam was sitting on the floor to Stiles' left, almost touching him, but not quite, and Allison was leaning into Scott who was sitting to Stiles' right with an arm over his shoulders. Kira was sitting in Derek's arm chair; she was smiling at the shaman and the alpha could see in her eyes that she wanted to be right over there with the group. They all looked about ten minutes from turning the entire living room into a huge cuddle pile.  Not one pack member was concerned about him- not even Jackson or Lydia.

Well shit. They were not going take this well.

            Without saying a word, Derek nodded towards the front door, and the shaman nodded with a smile as he excused himself and stepped outside. The air wasn't too cold, but it was definitely a little bit crisp- it was halfway through October after all. The alpha shoved his hands into his pockets before saying, "Look, you and the pack seem to be getting along pretty well-"

"I know, right?!" Stiles quickly interrupted, grinning, "They're great! Even the sex-obsessed one, once he gets a little bit less defensive about you. It's a little bit cold here, but that's what the north is like, right?" He chuckled as he rubbed his arms briefly.

            If he heard any more then Derek was going to cave, so he spoke as quickly as he could, "You have to leave."

It felt like the moment was frozen in time.

Stiles' grin dropped.

His eyes grew larger.

Clean air suddenly had a bite of panic in it.

            Then it was like time kicked into gear faster than before. All of a sudden Stiles was speaking ridiculously quickly, "No. No, no, no, no. You don't understand, this is fate! The Dolas sought me out. Everybody said that this is where I am supposed to be! Your family sent me to you. Talia and Jesse Hale. Laura, Jordan, Taylor, Patty, Carmen, Reid, Westin, and Emily. I've spoken to all of them!"

"Cora." Derek interrupted.

Stiles wrinkled his nose as he asked, "Huh?"

"You missed Cora. You haven't spoken to all of them." The alpha mumbled sadly as he pushed the front door open and picked up Stiles' belongings that had been sitting there. Derek turned back and pushed them into Stiles' arms, and the Shaman finally seemed to convince his mouth to work.

"Cora. I never spoke to Cora!" Stiles eyes sparkled and his laugh bubbled out hysterically as he clutched his belongings to his chest, "Don't you understand?! I didn't speak to Cora!"

            The alpha shook his head slightly as he pushed the door closed, but Stiles threw out both of his arms, dropping his belongings in order to stop the door. Derek looked him in the eyes one last time as Stiles yelled, "That means that she's alive! Derek, she's got to be alive!"

            Derek shook his head- he knew better. After the fire he tried to convince himself that maybe they didn't all die- maybe they escaped the wolfs bane infused fire, but he was an alpha with a pack to take care of. Derek couldn't believe in childish dreams anymore.

He closed the door.

 

                        *                                              *                                              *

 

Where is Cora Hale?

            The different energies drifted around him, taking turns touching his mind to    communicate. He turned, trying to keep Laura in his sights as he repeated.

Where is Cora Hale?

            The energy rippled.

I know that she isn't here! I need to know where she is!

            Laura's energy spiked a little.

I already figured out that she is in the dirt world, but the dirt world is really big- I need you to be more specific. This is your sister we are talking about, get serious and help me out!

            Laura suddenly began to feel more distant, and the other Hales' energies followed hers.           They eased away towards the depths of the spirit realm and as they did he heard one          last thing before retorting.

Yeah? Well you're an asshole too!

            It probably wasn't the most sensitive way to talk to a dead alpha, but Stiles was in a mood. It had been three weeks since the Phoenix Pack had kicked him out, and Derek didn't even follow through with tradition and send him to the spirit world- which meant that Stiles had to live alone in the wilderness for the rest of his days, which was also surprisingly difficult because of the Hale pack.

            Derek's betas kept sneaking up into the mountains out of their territory; it was obvious that they were trying to find Stiles. They always climbed the mountains with a sack of food and clothes on their backs, but they never slept out in the wilderness, simply looked around before sighing and leaving. Unfortunately, the laws of his people meant that Stiles wasn't permitted contact with them, and so he stayed back and masked himself while watching them from a distance.

Technically, Stiles was still disobeying tradition though.

            Hope had kept him from breaking his fast, and hope had also kept him from following through with the lessons that he had been taught since he was a child.

            The alpha of the Phoenix Pack had sent him away, so Stiles knew that he needed to perform the ritual to give up his birthright- to fully give up everything, and he knew that it was time. He had most of the materials, but he knew that he had to make his way to the Nemeton. It was time to return his magic to the earth from which it came.

Without his magic the winter would kill him relatively quickly, but Stiles swallowed hard as he finally convinced himself.

I'm all alone here, at least when I die I'll meet the spirits for real. Then maybe, for the first time since my mother died, I won't feel alone.

With one final nod to himself, Stiles adjusted his knapsack and walked barefoot west, towards the Nemeton.

Maybe Stiles had been wrong about his alpha's pack.

Maybe this was the fate that the Dolas really wanted him to follow.

Maybe it was his time.

Chapter Text

WARNING: A little bit of Self harm and some blood for Spell-related purposes. Because I realized that maybe I should give you guys a little bit of a heads up for that. 

 

Chapter 4: Pack Protests

            Derek crossed his arms as he glared at his pack, who were all sulking in the den of the house. He shook his head and said sternly, "This pack needs an emissary; Deaton personally recommended him."

"This pack already has an emissary." Isaac mumbled, and Derek flashed his red eyes at the beta, who set his jaw and swallowed hard despite looking like he wanted to run away. The alpha stared hard until finally Isaac looked away, submitting.

It was worse than he thought if even Isaac was trying to stand up to him about the shaman.

"Deaton said that we should have someone with 'diverse roles', Derek. You know who has diverse roles?" Scott baited.

"Don't." Derek warned.

"Stiles." The beta stared at him with the biggest puppy eyes he had ever seen.

The alpha stood his ground, glaring at each pack member in turn as they made their cases.

"Stiles did seem... nice." Kira offered.

"Nobody else will stand up to you like Stiles did." Allison said.

"He was endowed, Derek. Seriously endowed." Erica insisted.

"Why can't Stiles be our emissary?" Malia asked, her eyebrows crinkling together.

"Whoever you're going to meet right now is probably an even bigger idiot." Jackson sneered.

"Stiles." Boyd said.

"Is anybody going to bring up the fact that he can speak to the dead?" Liam threw a glance around, obviously thinking that everybody else was crazy for not mentioning it.

"His use of Artemisia vulgaris, and stinging nettle was a good, unpredictable choice. His heritage and," Lydia smirked, "endowments would be a serious asset to the Hale pack, and his self-proclaimed resume is impressive, to say the least. Nowadays the Ayahuasqueros aren't exactly well known for taking in outsiders, especially taking them in to teach them their ways. Besides Derek, he did say that he'd let you fuck him, and we all know how much you need that."

            Derek choked on air, but when he recovered, he only glared more intensely at their resident Banshee. Lydia and Scott were the only two who were able to maintain eye contact, but even they snapped their eyes away when he finally snarled and flashed his eyes at them, "Stiles is gone. It's time to move on and get ourselves an emissary. A druid emissary."

That had been a couple of weeks ago.

            The Hales had always been notoriously stubborn about most things, but admitting this mistake seemed worse than most. It wasn't that Stiles showing up at such an ideal time became any less suspicious, but rather that Derek couldn't stand the Daehler kid. 

            First off, the kid carried his camera with him everywhere, and he looked around the same age as Stiles had been. Second thing was that Allison was right- the kid didn't really seem like he could stand up to Derek. Third thing was that he kept reiterating his lineage and his talents, over and over again. It just sat wrong with Derek, it made him think that those were Matt's only talents.

            Derek stepped out of his Camaro outside of Deaton's clinic. It was time to meet up with Matt Daehler again, and he didn't know what he was going to say. Derek sighed and crossed the parking lot, pushing Deaton's door open.

            Matt was already there, talking to Deaton about something, but they fell quiet when he entered. Deaton said, "Derek."

The alpha nodded back to Deaton; the Daehler kid mimicked the nod and said, "Derek. Hello."

Stiles would have called me alpha.

            Derek couldn't stop the thought. Matt wasn't his emissary yet, he had only known Derek for two and a half weeks. Deaton had earned the privilege to call him by his first name, and Deaton also knew him since birth- but that wasn't the point.

"What's on the agenda today?" Matt asked, "More role-playing situations to see what kind of answers I give? Or more quizzing me on properties of the local plants?"

            It isn't that Matt has any less personality than most other people, Derek thought as he watched the kid, it's just that Stiles has enough personality that his scent and the vivid memory of him feels ingrained into everything.

 "We'll be discussing etiquette today. Cultural differences and the like." Deaton explained.

"Always wait until Derek introduces me. Never break the confidentiality clause. Don't allow another wolf to scent-mark me at all." The young druid recited, obviously bored.

Dr. Deaton nodded, and then said, "And about submission?"

"Don't break eye contact with anybody who Derek hasn't broken eye contact with. If the alpha of the pack doesn't submit to them, than neither should his emissary."

Again, Deaton nodded, and this time he prompted, "Formal meals with other packs?"

"If, for some reason I am present, I sit at his right hand, while his primary beta sits at his left. The alpha is served first, then the emissary, the primary beta, and then the rest of the betas. If there is an alpha guest, then Derek is served first, then the other alpha, then myself, then the other emissary."

"Wrong." Derek said with a scowl.

"What?! No it's not." Matt snapped back.

Deaton shook his head, "Different werewolf packs have different customs. Packs who trace their lineage back as far as the Hales usually have differences in their cultures. Specifically this custom."

"Then it must be Alpha, emissary, alpha, emissary." Matt was glowering now, obviously irritated.

"Wrong." Derek said.

"Are you going to tell me why it's wrong?!" Matt's hands were bunched in fists at his side now.

"I shouldn't have to." Derek stuck his hands in his pockets, bored.

Deaton frowned, and looked between them. After a moment the druid announced, "Alright, moving on-"

"No." Derek interrupted.

            There was a beat of silence where nobody said a word. Matt's face was slack in shock, and Deaton lifted his eyebrows carefully, but Derek didn't care. Instead the alpha said, "I'm done here."

            He turned to leave, but a hand grabbed onto the sleeve of his leather jacket to stop him, and although physically, Matt Daehler could do nothing to stop him, Derek stopped anyways. It would feel rude not to.

"What do you mean you're 'done here'? Are you firing me?"

"You were never hired, this was all a trial run. It never would have worked." Derek answered, still bored.

Deaton interrupted, "Derek, are you sure?"

            Instead of answering, Derek turned, ripping his sleeve from Daehler's fingers, walking out of the clinic as Daehler yelled after him, "You'll regret this! You'll regret this Derek Hale! My family goes back-"

            The door closed behind him and Derek ignored the boy for the rest of his rant. Getting into his Camaro, Derek decided that it was time to go and find himself a shaman, at least that would make the pack happy.

            Derek stepped out of his Camaro and inhaled deeply, it had been weeks since he sent Stiles away. The shaman might have already started heading back to Peru, and Derek knew that he had used something to cover his scent when he left- the pack had tried to find him enough times to know that.

Derek was going to have to get into his head.

                                    *                                  *                                  *

"No- piss off! You're the one who told me to come here. You're the one who demanded that I help your pack. You're the one who ignored me when I asked about Cora!" Stiles swatted at the mist flittering about him.

            Laura's spirit gave off a prickly feeling aura at him, and Stiles shook his head, re-adjusting his knapsack and continuing his trek towards the Nemeton. Jesse Hale's spirit told him that he was almost there. Finally. At least someone was going to be mature about this.

"No, Laura, nothing has changed. Don't you get it? This must have been my fate all along, that's why the Dolas told me to make haste. That's why I am here. This forest will be my final resting grounds." Stiles stared up at the canopy of trees with a sad smile pulling at his lips.

            The mist flittered about, and Stiles stiffened and snapped at her, "Is that any way to talk to somebody who is about to die? Give me a couple moments of peace, dude."

She swirled around quickly and then paused.

 "I'll call you 'dude' if I want to call you 'dude'."

            Stiles rolled his eyes at her, "No, the Ayahuasqueros don't say 'dude'. I picked up some speech patterns on my walk north. I met a lot of guys near the beaches who said 'dude' a lot, and English slang is pretty fun."

            Coming into the clearing, Stiles' eyes were immediately drawn to the huge stump. It had obviously been a magnificent tree at some point, brimming with magical energy and life. He was sad for the tree, reaching out to touch the stump, Stiles sensed a huge amount of energy buzzing within it though. He smiled again, soon his energy would become one with it.

But first, he had preparations to make.

            Stiles swallowed hard as his throat squeezed in distress; he lifted his arms and tugged Derek's stained white tank top off of his upper body. A sharp breeze rose even more goose bumps to his flesh, and Stiles suppressed a shiver.

            The shaman carefully folded the dirty shirt and set it on the Nemeton before carefully untying Derek's baggy sweatpants that Scott had also given to him. He took a moment, folding the pants and if a few stray tears fell onto the folded clothes then nobody was around to shame him about it.

Stiles took a shaky breath. It was time.

            Unsheathing the smallest of the ceremonial blades that he kept strapped to his legs, Stiles pressed it carefully into the back of his hand. He carved careful designs along his flesh. It stung, and he flinched a bit at first, but the longer that he carved the less painful it became. The task was time consuming, and his uncontrollable shivers from the cold wind made the job difficult, but Stiles was determined to see it out.

It was tradition.

It was the right thing to do.

            Stiles had finished carving both arms, both legs, his abdomen, and he was just starting to carve his chest, when a loud roar made him jump, gliding the sharp knife deep into his right pectoralis major muscle.

            The shaman was halfway through hissing out in pain when a huge figure hit him, knocking him flat onto his back so that he crashed onto the Nemeton. Stiles coughed, wishing that he had gotten to complete the ceremony before creatures of the night got a chance to eat him- it wasn't like he could defend himself when he was cut up, bleeding, and shivering from serious exposure to the wind.

"Huh." Stiles squinted at the figure when the man withdrew enough that he could look at him properly.

"You're eyebrows. They're gone." Stiles explained after a moment.

            Derek bared his teeth once more before shifting back into his human form. He grabbed the knife from Stiles' hand and tossed it a few feet away and it stuck into a tree with a loud thud. In the back of his mind, Stiles knew that he would not be getting that knife out of that tree without some werewolf assistance. Derek snarled and asked, "What do you think that you're doing?!"

"What am I-? I'm doing what's right! Just because you obviously ignore the common courtesy of fulfilling your duties doesn't mean that I was willing to turn my back on my training and disrespect my teachers and ancestors by ignoring tradition!" Stiles protested as he tried to push Derek off so that he could sit up properly again.

"What kind of sick tradition is this?" Derek growled, pushing a hand against Stiles' chest and forcing him to lay back on the Nemeton.

"It's part of the ceremony." Stiles explained, looking perplexed, "It is the law of my people that we must give up everything to the one whom we wish to serve. If they turn us away then it is their responsibility to perform a mercy killing. In the event that our leaders do not kill us, then we must banish ourselves to a solitary life and give up all of our magic." Stiles explained.

            Derek stared at him. He didn't move, didn't speak, and didn't breathe for a long, long moment. Finally the alpha managed to get himself together; he glared at the shaman, "Well?"

"Well what?" Stiles squinted at him, and the alpha rolled his eyes before asking flatly, "Well, Have you performed the spell yet?"

"What?" Stiles asked before catching up, "Oh, uh, no. I was just on the second last step." He gestured to his carved body, which made Derek wince. The alpha clenched his jaw and stood, giving the shaman a chance to stand up as well.

"Don't bother." Derek grunted.

Stiles' jaw dropped, "Excuse me?"

"The emissary job's yours. If you want it." Derek shrugged, faking non-chalance.

            Stiles narrowed his eyes at the wolf though, and instead insisted, "This better not be some kind of guilt thing, Derek Hale. Laura keeps saying that you are particularly prone to guilt, and if you don't want me then the best thing for me is this ceremony right here."

            Derek's red eyes flashed involuntarily at the mention of the ceremony and he clenched his fists at his sides. Obviously he was going to require more words than that. Great. The alpha reached out an open hand to the shaman and looked him in the eye as he explained, "I want you-no. I need you to be our emissary, Stiles. Will you accept me as your alpha?"

            Tears threatened to spill out of Stiles' eyes in an instant, but he swallowed them down and pushed himself up until he was standing. A grin broke out over his face; the shaman threw his arms around his new alpha and cried out, "Yes, alpha!"

            Without really knowing what the appropriate response was, Derek patted his back awkwardly, thankful that it wasn't covered in blood like the rest of his body. After a moment Stiles gently bumped his nose against the side of Derek's jaw, and while Derek definitely didn't tilt his head back, he allowed Stiles the gesture.

"Alpha?"

"Yes Stiles?"

"Do you think we could do the bonding ceremony now? I still haven't eaten."

            The hand on Stiles' back froze, and the shaman thought for a moment that he could feel the guilt filtering into his alpha's body, so he quickly tried to assure him with a hum in the back of his throat as he nudged his face against Derek's chest. The alpha slowly rested a hand in Stiles' hair, gently petting through it he said, "Yeah, of course we can, Stiles."

"Perfect!" Stiles announced, drawing back just enough to look Derek in the eyes he said, "Take your clothes off, alpha."

Derek choked on air.

Chapter Text

WARNING: There is some blood and there might be a little bit of self-harm for spell-related purposes in this chapter. 

Chapter 5: All Bets are On

            The bonding ceremony was nothing like what Derek expected. After Stiles had finally convinced him that he was being absolutely serious, they ended up sitting on the Nemeton as Stiles educated him. Naked. They were both very, very naked.

            The shaman explained that there was an immense amount of power stored in the Nemeton ("No, Derek. The power isn't evil, it is just energy to be harnessed however the user chooses.").

            There were all kinds of herbs and plants sprinkled around them in a circle, more mugwort and Derek knew that he could smell a little bit of wolfs bane, and there was more that he couldn't identify. The man twitched his nose at the smells, and Stiles must have noticed because all of a sudden he looked across at Derek and gave him a soft smile.

"What?" Derek shifted, hyperaware of his nudity.

"Alpha." Stiles nodded, still smiling softly.

            The warmth rising on his cheeks was just heat, it wasn't a blush. It wasn't. Derek huffed and glanced away; it felt wrong for Stiles to idolize him this much after he sent the boy away. While Derek was caught up in his thoughts Stiles began to chant.

            The language was foreign, and it was definitely not Latin because Derek had heard both Deaton and Lydia speak Latin and this was very different. Huh. He tilted his head slightly as he watched Stiles carefully. The wind shifted around them, and a heaviness settled in.

"Your hand, Alpha." Stiles asked, reaching out. Derek didn't think twice about it, simply gave the boy his hand. The shaman nodded politely and there was a still moment before he slid one of the knives from a sheath on his leg and cut deeply into Derek's palm.

            The alpha winced, but didn't say anything else. When Stiles offered him his own hand, Derek rose his eyebrows, but shrugged when Stiles wiggled his hand, Derek took it in his own, but instead of giving Derek the knife the man yanked him forward.

Derek lurched towards him, but caught himself, "Stiles, wha-?"

"Bite me. Bite me with the intention of making me pack." The shaman demanded.

            Derek wanted to refuse- he didn't want to turn him. He didn't want him to reject the bite like Paige. He didn't want him to turn into a Kanima like Jackson. He didn't want another death on his conscience, but in that moment, Derek realized that it was time to start trying to trust Stiles, and so he swallowed down his protest and when Stiles tilted his head down and to side Derek let his instincts do the rest.

He leaned into Stiles' neck and inhaled deeply, memorizing the boy's scent. Memorizing the boy's tender skin. Then after a moment Derek slowly eased his fangs into the boy's flesh.

            Stiles was mumbling in another language again. He showed no sign of discomfort at the teeth in his neck, and after a couple long moment Derek pulled back slightly to lick the wound a couple of times- Laura had told him once that their saliva could help heal small human wounds, and while he never did figure out whether she was just pranking him or not, the alpha thought that it probably couldn't hurt. Derek stood up straight again and stared at the bite mark on the shaman's neck; it was strangely fascinating. Stiles smiled encouragingly and whispered, "Your hand please?"

            The alpha raised his eyebrows, but complied. The shaman took the werewolf's cut hand and rested it against the bite mark. Derek briefly wondered why his cut hadn't healed yet, but he was quickly distracted by Stiles who hummed happily and tilted his head to the side more, as if it was physically possible for him to bear his neck more.

The sight made Derek's mouth dry.

            Derek's instincts were going all over the place. The man in front of him was here to protect his pack, dedicating his life to him, bleeding for him, and submitting to him perfectly, and to top it all off, the shaman was naked. So. Very. Naked.

            Stiles paused abruptly, and for a moment Derek panicked and thought that maybe Stiles could read minds somehow- that would by abysmal, oh God, Derek swallowed hard and braced himself. Stiles ignored him though, and instead lifted his head up a bit and watching something that Derek couldn't see, and then the boy's lips twitched and he glanced at Derek before shaking his head minutely. His eyes continued to shift, like he was watching something behind Derek, and the alpha glanced behind him briefly before giving Stiles a curious look.

"Sorry." Stiles mumbled, finally meeting Derek's gaze properly.

"What are you looking at?"

Stiles hesitated, obviously knowing that he wasn't going to like the answer, but he shrugged a shoulder after a moment and said, "Laura. She's being a brat."

            Derek felt himself stiffen, and he broke eye contact to look around the clearing carefully. He didn't want to believe Stiles. He didn't want to think about his family most of the time- it still hurt too much- but Deaton had told him over and over again that 'trust is important in a pack, Derek' and 'the trust between emissary and alpha is sacred' so Derek decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and prompt, "What is she saying?"

Stiles' eyebrows leapt up into his hairline, but he smiled after a moment and said, "Laura says that your physiology seems... compatible with mine."

Unimpressed, Derek rose a brow, and Stiles rolled his eyes before admitting, "Fine, she was a little bit more, um, crude, than I."

            That sounded more like her. Derek nodded and then looked down at his hands that he was twisting together. Finally he managed to ask the question that he'd been afraid of this whole time, "Are they not resting because," he hesitated and tried again, "Are they... angry? Or unsettled?"

"Derek," the alpha looked up to see an expression as soft as the man's voice, "No. All spirits dwell in the spirit realm- unsettled or otherwise. However sometimes they get bored and decide that they are curious about the ones who still dwell in our realm."

"So, they aren't angry?" Derek swallowed, trying to hold back the emotion that he'd been suppressing for so long.

"No, I'm saying that your family- particularly Laura, is full of nosy Mc-noser-sons. Okay? They are happy to see you happy- wait, what?!" Stiles yelped, glancing to the right of Derek's head.

            Confused, the alpha looked over his shoulder again, but again he saw nothing. No movement. Nothing but trees. When he looked back to Stiles, the emissary-to-be was glaring at the spot behind him.

"Sorry, Laura says that apparently she's not here to see you happy, she's here to see if you'll, and I'm quoting here, 'be getting some'. In other news, she thinks that she's hilarious." Stiles continued to glare, but the twitch of his lips made Derek think that he wasn't quite as worried about Derek's dignity as he acted.

"She says that they have a betting pool going on, and so she's invested. Hey!" Stiles cried indignantly, as if realizing something, "That better not have been why you sought me out, because I swear to God, Laura, if you dragged me away from my life and home in some kind of matchmaker dress-up game so that you could win a bet, I swear I'll- hey! Where are you going? Get back here! I need to know that you didn't bribe the Dolas!"

            Derek stared at the boy until he huffed out a breath and met Derek's eyes again. The shaman's lips were quirked into a frown as he asked, "Has she always been like this?"

"Always." Derek assured, and then he paused and asked, "Are Dolas really that easy to bribe?"

Stiles hummed and shook his head, but he looked thoughtful as he answered, "I've never heard of them being bribed, but your sister has proven to be stubborn, to say the least."

            Derek nodded, and for the first time he realized that he was seriously starting to believe that the shaman was really speaking to his deceased family. Stiles distracted him from his thoughts though. The shaman brought his hand up to the wound on his neck and pressed into it with his fingers for a moment, then he took his hand away and lifted it to Derek's face.

            The wolf held still, letting the metallic smell wash over him as Stiles drew two lines across his cheeks and three above his left eyebrow. It was more blood than he expected to come from such a small wound, and Derek only had a moment to wonder if there was some kind of magic at work here, because then Stiles was gesturing for Derek to do the same to him. The alpha nodded slightly and lifted his ran his thumb across the wound across his palm, it still hadn't begun to heal and he wanted to ask Stiles why, but it didn't feel like the right time.

            Stiles' eyes were beautiful, and he closed them while Derek painted a thick line of blood just below his eyes. They fluttered open as Derek drew three lines on the lateral edges of his cheeks. Then he painted the middle of Stiles' lower lip with his blood.

            The shaman swallowed hard as Derek withdrew his hand, and then he began to chant briefly again before speaking in English, "Do as I do, and repeat this pledge after me."

"With this blood. You are mine." Stiles placed a sturdy hand over Derek's heart.

"With this blood, you are mine." Derek repeated, bringing his uncut hand up to Stiles' chest.

"With this blood, I am yours." Stiles brought his free hand up to cover Derek's hand on him.

"With this blood, I am yours." Derek brought his bloody hand up to shelter Stiles'.

For a moment there was perfect stillness.

            The stillness was broken with a huge gust of wind that shook every tree surrounding them, and Derek couldn't help but feel like the wind was blowing around them in a circle, almost like the eye of a tornado. The sound of the trees crackling and the branches crashing into one another made him want to look at the forest, but Derek's eyes were stuck staring into Stiles' own eyes as if they were magnets- the force to draw their gaze away from each other was too great. All at once, the storm vanished, and finally Derek could look around them. The forest looked exactly as it always had, not a leaf out of place.

            Stiles smiled and took his hands back to stretch and make a soft whine in his throat at the sensation. Nope. Derek crossed his hands over his chest, determined to ignore the shaman, "So? Is that it?"

"That's it!" Stiles threw his arms out on either side of him with a huge smile, "I'm officially your shaman and your emissary!"

Derek nodded, and he was surprised to find that he felt good about this. Stiles seemed so genuine- maybe for once in his life fate wasn't going to screw him over.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6: Sharing is Caring

            Stiles was humming to himself on the walk through the woods back to the Hale house. Dried blood clung to his fresh scabs, and the wound on his neck hadn't quite stopped bleeding yet, but it only solidified his good mood.

He was alive.

He finally had a pack.

He had begun to follow his destiny.

In his excitement, Stiles failed to watch his feet and he tripped over a root and faltered as a memory snagged his mind.

"I know it's scary, but you have to be brave.

You got this kiddo, just trust yourself.

And if you need guidance, seek out the Dolas;

they will help you find your way."

            As if the wolf could sense the sudden change in mood, Derek suddenly bounded in front of Stiles. His alpha form was majestic. The wolf was as black as coal with eyes like blood; he was beautiful.

            Stiles chuckled, swallowing down the memory of his father in order to properly pay attention to his alpha, "Hello alpha, are you enjoying your run?"

            Derek's tail wagged, and Stiles had to bite his lip in order to withhold the laughter that threatened to bubble out of him, but thankfully the gurgling of Stiles' stomach distracted him. The alpha made a sound in his throat and then ran off into the underbrush again. Stiles grinned into the darkness and tried to remind himself that if Bill, a vampire that he met in Mexico, didn't like his mosquito jokes, the werewolves probably wouldn't think that dog jokes were funny either.

            The wildlife preserve of Beacon Hills was beautiful, and the darkness of the forest calmed Stiles much more once he was less anxious about dying alone. Because now he had a pack. Stiles wouldn't be alone anymore.

            He didn't resist the smile that broke across his face. The pack would be a lot of work, that much was obvious by how the interacted with one another, but Stiles didn't mind. It seemed like it might be fun working on the pack's inner relations.

            Stiles' thoughts were interrupted by the sound of rustling. A small hoot came from nearby, and the shaman took a deep breath, closing his eyes and meditating for a moment, easily becoming grounded and then centered. He focused inside himself first before turning that focus outside of himself.

            Maybe 5 meters to the east he could sense the great horned owl. He was no threat to the animal, and he kept his level breathing and his focused attention on the owl for several minutes before retreating back to himself and opening his eyes.

            Derek sat in front of him with a rabbit in his powerful jaws. However, the black wolf was alternating between staring at him and staring to the tree beside Stiles that now inhabited a curious owl. The shaman grinned, communicating with animals wasn't one of the gifts that he was particularly proficient in- it was just something that he usually struggled with. It was nice to see that the forest and its inhabitants were friendly in Beacon Hills, and maybe he was getting a little bit better at the skill.

            The ground was hard where Stiles kneeled, but when he reached out an open hand, Derek dropped the rabbit into his palm. It was heavier than expected, and Stiles quickly reinforced the weight with his other hand, but with a grin he took the gift. They walked a little bit farther before the black wolf bit onto Stiles' knapsack and pulled. The shaman stopped briefly, frowning down at him before letting the bag drop from his shoulder. It took a little bit of manoeuvring, but Derek finally managed to nuzzle the bag open, and then he pulled out the clothes that he had been wearing prior to the ceremony.

            The clothes were sprawled on the forest floor for a solid ten seconds before Derek bared his teeth slightly at Stiles and nudged the clothes before seating himself on the forest floor. After a moment, the shaman rolled his eyes, "I assume that you are requesting that I don your trousers before returning to the pack?"

            The wolf nudged the shirt with his nuzzle as a response, and Stiles just rolled his eyes and said, "Alright, but I don't want to hear complaints about getting rabbit blood on them."

            It didn't take long to reach the Hale house, and for the first half of the walk, Stiles was thinking about the significance of Derek letting him wear his clothes. Of course, the clothes that Stiles had been wearing before the ceremony hadn't been washed and so they gave off a strong odor, even to a human like him, but this seemed more significant than that. Stiles had studied werewolves and many other supernatural creatures in his years, and the first two things that he learned about werewolves was that they were territorial and that they were very particular about scents.

            When Stiles first borrowed clothing from the pack Derek had seemed offended that he had borrowed his clothes and not Scott's, and Stiles was sure that it was because of territorial scent reasons. The trousers were too big for him, but not as big as he expected, and the shirt that Derek had insisted on him wearing was also a little bit big, but it was comfortable. As Derek bounded around the forest, coming in and out of view, Stiles surreptitiously sniffed at the collar of the shirt. It definitely had a particular scent, and not a bad one either. Stiles couldn't help but wonder if this meant that he was pack now, but it wouldn't do to dwell on the matter, and so he pushed the thought from his mind immediately.

            Instead, Stiles tried to focus on the rabbit in his hands. He was thinking about making stew out of it- after all, one rabbit would be difficult to feed the whole pack with. His thoughts were interrupted by the view of the huge mansion towering in the clearing that was coming into view though.         

"Stiles!" The shaman in question cocked his head to the side when the voice yelled his name, and after a few moments the door to the Hale house slammed open. The shaman and alpha were still across the clearing, but apparently the pack had sensed them regardless.

            The shaman smiled awkwardly and gave a half hearted wave. He hadn't thought of what to say to the pack yet, but apparently that wasn't going to be an issue because before he could even open his mouth the puppy of a man slammed into him and sent them both tumbling down hard as Stiles tried to keep a solid hold on the dead rabbit without hitting his head and giving himself a concussion.

            The grass wasn't the softest surface that Stiles had ever fallen on, and he couldn't help the groan that he released after hitting the ground, but it was nice to feel missed at least. Derek, however, seemed to appreciate the sentiment much less than Stiles.  

            The moment that Stiles managed to grin and raise an eyebrow at Scott's goofy smile above him the alpha slammed into the other wolf's side with a snarl, and the two went tumbling ass over tail across the ground.

"Are you going to lay there staring at them all day?" Jackson sneered at Stiles, and the shaman snapped his gaze back up to the rest of the pack who were standing in front of him. The beta with the scarf- Isaac, Stiles recalled- was staring after the fighting wolves with a thorough gaze as he said matter-of-factly, "Can't blame him, Scott is pretty hot."

            The pack turned to him in a stunned silence, with even Derek and Scott pausing in their wrestling to stare at the beta- Derek looked to be winning, as the wolf had his beta pinned on his back. Isaac tugged on his scarf with one hand as he pursued his lips awkwardly and shrugged, "What?"

            Movement in the edge of Stiles' vision caught his attention, and he looked over just in time to see Derek shift back into his human form. The glaze of sweat caught the light of the rising sun perfectly and the dips and indents of Derek's muscles made Stiles feel a little warmer all of a sudden.

Scott obviously didn't have that in common with Stiles.

            Stiles could tell because Scott yelped before pushing at Derek's shoulder and whining, "You're naked, oh God, you're naked. Why are you naked?!"

            With a dramatic eye roll the alpha shook his head before standing. Scott covered his eyes with his hands and quickly made an escape while Stiles stood staring.

            The alpha turned back to the pack and lifted an eyebrow, his eyes glittering with mirth as he announced, "Stiles, Erica, and Lydia don't surprise me. However," Stiles could see the twitch of the alpha's lips as he continued, "I am surprised that Allison, Isaac, and Jackson are staring."

            The shaman quickly looked behind him to see the brunette girl blushing brightly and avoiding Scott's sudden gaze, Isaac turning a light pink, but shrugging it off as he turned towards the house and started to walk towards it, and Jackson clenching his jaw as he was looking away. Stiles didn't even see him looking, but the wolf wasn't denying it, so he must have.

            The pack slowly began to turn and make their way back into the house. Scott was pouting towards Allison, who was busy trying to fend off questions from Erica and Lydia,"I wasn't, okay?!"

"Liar! I heard your heart!" The girls cackled as Allison tried to hide her blush, and Lydia gave her a smug look as she said offhandedly, "There's nothing wrong with being attracted to our alpha, Allison."

"I'm not!" She squeaked, and the other two girls shared a mischievous grin before Erica sang, "I can hear it when you li-ie."

            It was quite the sight, to say the least. Stiles grinned to himself- life with the pack looked like fun. Looking at the pack, Stiles briefly wondered what it would be like if he had grown up in California with them- their childhoods must have been so different from his own.

 

                        *                                              *                                              *

 

            The rabbit stew was delicious, and Stiles grinned when each and every pack member thanked him. He began to mentally categorize the types of 'thank you's immediately.

            Allison, Scott, Lydia, Kira, and Liam all thanked him vocally- a traditional thank you, whereas Derek, Boyd, and Malia all ate far more than anybody else and nodded to him after eating- as they left the table each one of them touched him somehow. Boyd clasped a brief hand on his shoulder, Malia straight up rubbed her face into his neck two or three times until a low rumble escaped Derek's chest, only then did his cousin shrug and walk away, leaving Stiles stunned and blushing. The alpha himself sat directly to Stiles' left, their thighs brushing against one another often, and his gaze surreptitiously on Stiles for most of the meal.

            The third category contained Jackson and Erica, and their thank you's were a little bit more unorthodox. Jackson sneered at Stiles every time that they made eye contact over the table, and scowled at the end of the meal before announcing that it 'could have been worse.' Whereas Erica seemed to make it her personal mission to irritate the alpha.

            Erica was sitting to Stiles' right, so it wasn't difficult for her to lean into him as she practically purred, "First day on the job and you're already providing for the pack. That's pretty impressive, Stiles."

The shaman rubbed his neck uncomfortably as he shrugged and shuffled off the credit, "Actually, Alpha Derek caught the rabbit, so he was the one really providing-"

            Erica waved him off and continued speaking, "Derek can't even cook Kraft Dinner, you however managed this amazing meal out of only one rabbit and whatever odds and ends you found in the fridge."

            The wolf batted her eyelashes at him, and while she was beautiful, Stiles couldn't help feel awkward about the incessant praise, "Actually there was a lot of food in the cooking room," Stiles frowned and looked over at Derek, "What's Kraft Dinner?"

            The alpha's eyes were narrowed at his beta, but when he seemed to realize that Stiles had asked him a question, Derek stiffened and looked away while saying, "It's called the kitchen, not the 'cooking room', now eat your food."

            Right, the kitchen, Stiles nodded and then stared at him for a moment, but then he shrugged and obeyed. The blonde wolf on his right was grinning, but she stood and took her dishes to the sink regardless of the strange tension around the dinner table.

            After the meal the pack dispersed to do whatever it was that that did with their Sunday nights, except Isaac, who sat on the counter while Derek reorganized the kitchen despite it not needing the tidying.

            The curly haired beta was staring, and after several minutes of silence Derek finally gave up, "What?"

"Nothing," Isaac answered too innocently, "Just trying to connect the dots between you not wanting Stiles in the pack and then all of a sudden you're getting into territorial disputes over him with your own pack."

            Derek leaned on the counter and he pinched the bridge of his nose. He wanted to deny it. He wanted to lie and make up some bullshit tale about how this was normal for alphas to react this way about their emissaries. He wanted to, but he couldn't.

            This was his pack, and it was his job to teach them, not to take advantage of their ignorance. Besides, Derek reminded himself, they'd hear the lie anyways. With that in mind, Derek opened the spice cabinet and began shuffling around the spices in no particular order just so that he didn't have to make eye contact, "I don't have a good answer. Only guesses."

            Isaac didn't say anything, but he did pull a bag of chips out of the cupboard and opened the bag as he waited for Derek to begin. The rest of the house was unnaturally quiet, the only ones speaking were the very human Lydia and Stiles; it sounded like Lydia was explaining the organization of the library books.

            "I wouldn't have hurt Scott, but protecting Stiles- it's instinctive. Of course Alphas are usually protective over their emissaries, that is part of the reason why the identities of emissaries are usually secrets- to keep them safe." Derek explained.

            After a beat of silence, Isaac said, "Okay," he paused before asking, "but it's not like you were this weird with Deaton... right?"

            The very idea of feeling that kind of intensity for Deaton made Derek's face contort, "No," he explained, "I would have been offended if someone went after Deaton, but for some reason my instincts with Stiles are just all over the place. I think that between the whole 'bonding' thing and the facts that Stiles was already bleeding, wearing my scent, and so painfully human- it just made me a little bit jumpy."

            Isaac nodded, looking thoughtful, and then he hopped off the counter and announced that he wanted to watch a movie.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7: Waffle Wednesday

            Upstairs, Derek could hear Lydia explaining the shower to Stiles, and more than one wolf in the house was chuckling.

"No, wait until after I leave before you start undressing." Lydia didn't sound embarrassed, just exasperated.

            Stiles, however, didn't seem to be picking up on this, instead he sounded like he was wrinkling his nose as he asked, "Why? I don't understand. I'm not mutilated- I have nothing to hide."

"Yes, you showed us all that you aren't mutilated when we first met, thank you very much." She answered flatly. Somewhere in the house, Jackson growled, but everybody else laughed quietly, and someone told Jackson to get over it.

"Then why should I hide my skin, as if there is something shameful beneath my furs." Stiles asked, sounding genuinely curious as the rustle of cloth met Derek's ears.

"Social norms are important to adhere to while you are in a different culture. If you don't learn to keep in your pants here, then you might end up getting naked in public. We don't need you if you are just going to get arrested for public indecency all of the time, Stiles." Her voice had that amused sharpness that it usually got when Lydia was trying to pretend to be annoyed, but Stiles seemed unaffected by her as he continued.

"Arrested?"

"Yes. Arrested."

"Derek was arrested once. Laura told me, she told me that the police took him as punishment because they thought that he killed her." Stiles explained.

The household wasn't laughing anymore, everybody was silent. Uncomfortable with the line of conversation.

            When the redhead didn't answer him, Stiles continued to speak, "Laura worries about him a lot, although she doesn't like to sound sentimental very often. Once in a while she opens up though."

"Stiles, this isn't really something that we should be talking about." Lydia whispered.

            The shaman ignored her, continuing to reminisce, "One day she told me that her biggest regret was that she felt like she hadn't convinced Derek that the fire wasn't his fault. Another time, she told me that her happiest moments were with her pack when everybody was alive, but she also said that she had happiest moments when her pack was just her and Derek too. She contradicts herself sometimes."

            Derek's face felt hot, and he was dimly aware of the first tear that slid from the corner of his eye. He found himself unwilling to stop the conversation, and so he continued to listen with the rest of the pack as Stiles spoke.

"She said that if she could come back for one more day, it would be for a Wednesday because in New York they agreed upon 'Waffle Wednesday' and every Wednesday they would have waffles for dinner. It was tradition, and they would always have weird toppings on them- like once they had marmite on top because she insisted that they had to at least try it. Said they were horrible. Sometimes she wonders if Derek has had marmite since- apparently he was even less of a fan of that particular Wednesday than she was. The week after that she rolled her eyes and gave in, so they had strawberries, chocolate, and whipped cream on them to make up for the horrible marmite the week before. She told me that she acted like it was such a burden, but she was secretly excited- she loved strawberries."

"You would have liked her, Lydia." Stiles mumbled, "She likes books, and math, and chemistry. Hell, she got her degree in engineering."

"What was she like?" Lydia whispered, and Derek was surprised for a moment, he didn't realize that the pack ever thought about this kind of thing.

            Stiles sounded like he was grinning as he answered, "I don't really know what she was like before, but now she is a pain in the ass. She is stubborn, hot headed, and acts like she is a queen and everyone else are simply her vassals. However, Laura is also funny, smart, and loyal. She told me that if I don't take care of her pack, she'll possess the hell out of my ass and protect them herself. I've never been possessed before, but if anyone could do it- I think it'd be her."

            There was a solid moment of heartfelt silence before the sound of shuffling cloth reached their ears and then Lydia yelled, "What did I say about being naked?!"

The shaman sighed, sounding like he was speaking to a child as he said, "How am I supposed to bathe without being naked?"

"We've been over this- just wait until I leave before you shower." Lydia snapped.

"Then when will you shower?"He asked, sounding genuinely concerned.

            Lydia sounded pained as she explained, "Tomorrow morning. Alone, because Jackson refuses to wake up before 8." It was a dig, and Jackson huffed out a breath somewhere in the house.

Stiles didn't seem to understand, and so he sounded thoughtful as he proposed, "That sounds wasteful. If you'd like you can wash with me."

Jackson's snarled loud enough that apparently even the duo upstairs heard because there was a loud thump before a huge crash and Stiles hissed out, "Siktir!"

The shaman groaned, and Derek could hear Lydia's irritation as she snapped, "Maybe I should shower with Stiles, at least until Jackson gets his head out of his ass."

            Derek's beta was still growling, but it was much quieter now, and upstairs Stiles responded, obviously confused, "O...kay?"

            "Just have a shower, Stiles." Lydia huffed, "And tomorrow Allison and I will take you shopping- Derek is bad enough with new people as it is. You wearing his clothes is just going to screw around with his instincts."

            Finally the pack began to chatter amongst themselves when they heard the door to the bathroom close and Lydia's heels walking down the hall to her room. The last thing that Derek heard Stiles mutter was, "So you're not going to- no? Okay, you're gone now, so I'm just going to have to assume that you're not." There was a pause as Derek could hear  Stiles pulling the shower curtain closed before he grumbled, "I don't think I'll ever understand these Westerners."

 

                                                             *                                                        *                                                              *

            Werewolves are notoriously territorial, that wasn't a secret. In fact, Derek had made that abundantly clear to everyone, and when he rebuilt his childhood home he made sure that everybody would have their own space.

            The house had a basement, a ground floor, two stories above that, and a loft that served as his own bedroom. It truly was a mansion, although the exposed cedar beams made it feel more rustic than an ordinary mansion. It had a pack room with several couches, a television, a coffee table, a movie collection, and a lot of free space that Derek had no doubt they'd eventually fill.

            That room, the dining room, the kitchen, and a bathroom were the rooms on the main floor. In the basement there was a room for chaining up new weres- precautionary only, of course. There was also a workout/training room in the basement, and a laundry room.

            On the second floor, there was the living room, and a lot of bedrooms. Derek had designed the place kind of like dorms- two pack members shared one bathroom, except for his own room. The alpha got his own bathroom.

            Erica and Isaac shared, Scott and Malia shared, Jackson had a room that had an empty room attached, and Liam and Danny shared a bathroom, although Danny spent a lot of time away for work, so he wasn't around a lot.

            The next floor up was full of bedrooms. Boyd and Kira both had rooms with an empty room attached, Lydia and Allison shared a bathroom, and there were four more empty bedrooms that served as guest bedrooms, but could be converted into new pack member's rooms. The third floor also had a generous library in it.

            Derek couldn't help but think back to back when he was designing the new house. His blueprints had been unrolled on the table, and it had stirred conversation in the pack.

Allison was confused about the sheer size of the house, "That seems kind of expensive, I mean, isn't that impractical? We could just share rooms." She had asked.

Derek didn't have a chance to answer because Erica beat him to it as she explained, "Believe me, wolves get a little bit too territorial sometimes- even if Scott spends most of his nights in your room, he'll need his own room every once and awhile or he'll start to get all honeymoon-y. It's weird, I'm talking bringing you dead animals as a gift and getting defensive over new smells."

Scott grinned at Allison and suggested, "Okay, we'll just share an adjoining bathroom together."

"Not a chance," Derek had cut off, "Listen up, these'll be the new house rules! One: Respect each other's space. If you aren't explicitly invited into somebody's room, then stay out. I don't care if you want to surprise them with rose petals and champagne- their territory is their territory and you ask to enter it. Rule Two: No sharing a bathroom with someone you think you'll ever be romantically interested in. That's asking for trouble and drama, and I'm not interested in dealing with the fallout, got it?"

            Scott pouted, but nodded. Derek nodded back before continuing, "Rule three: If you break it, you pay me back for it, you fix it, or you buy a new one. I can't afford to replace everything that you guys wreck, and you need to learn to be careful. Rule four: At least try to give each other the illusion of privacy. Deaton is going to try to help make these walls at least a little bit sound-proof, but that doesn't mean that we won't still be able to hear most of it. Rule five: If you can work it out yourself, then do so. I'm your alpha, not your babysitter, not your dad, and not your teacher. I'll step in if I have to, but you're not going to like the result. Rule five: If you need something, you can talk to me. Again, I'm not some parental figure or babysitter, but if you've got a problem, you can come to me. Got it?"

            The pack nodded slowly, and Derek added one more comment in, "And this isn't a rule, but I think it'd be better if most of the humans tried to be on the third floor- that way if someone attacks from below you'll have werewolves there for protection, and if someone attacks from above, you'll have me. There will be a few werewolves on that floor with you too. For protection."

            Lydia didn't tell him that he was being a paranoid pain her ass, but her eyebrows strongly implied it, however Allison nodded and smiled as she agreed. The banshee inspected her nails as she pointed to the blueprint announced, "I guess Allison and I will take these rooms."

            The race was on, apparently, because all of a sudden the entire pack was scrambling towards the parchment. Erica pointed to two rooms, "Isaac and I get the corner ones!"

            Isaac shot her an indignant look, "Should I be insulted that you don't think that we could ever... y'know." He gestured between them, and Erica rolled her eyes; Isaac huffed out a breath, but he sounded amused more than anything.

            Malia pointed to a pair of rooms and announced, "Scott and mine."

            The other beta gave her an odd look and asked, "What? Why do you want to share a room with me?"

Derek's cousin shrugged and explained, "You're not interesting enough to fuck, and you'll probably spend all of your time with Allison, so I'll basically have the space to myself."

Scott opened his mouth to protest, but he stopped when Boyd pointed to a room without a roommate attached. He didn't say anything, but Derek nodded. The alpha took a moment to wish that they were all more calm about the whole thing, like Boyd. It's not like the house would be anywhere near done for quite some time, and yet here they all were claiming rooms already.

            Jackson pointed to a room on the second floor and announced, "I can't have someone across from me- after all, who wouldn't be interested in me?" There were a couple of scoffs and sarcastic comments, but Derek just rolled his eyes. Kira, Liam, and Danny hadn't joined the pack yet, and they came in and claimed rooms after everybody else was moved in, one by one.  

            The footsteps of Stiles coming down the stairs reminded Derek that the emissary had nowhere to sleep yet. It was time to find a room for him, and while part of Derek wanted him to be closest to his room, he knew that it was only fair to let the shaman choose his own territory.

            The human stepped into the living room with a towel wrapped loosely around his waist, it was obvious that he knew that he should cover himself, apparently he had caught on about their discomfort with his nudity. Looking around, Stiles asked, "My clothes were gone when I got out of the rain room."

            "It's called a shower, and thank god. I forgot that you'd try to put them back on after your shower." Lydia rolled her eyes at the boy before looking around the room. Kira was the one who smiled at her and stood, "I put the clothes that you borrowed into the laundry machine, and I hand washed the furs that you showed up in. They were in rough shape and I thought they might not be machine-wash friendly."

            Stiles tilted his head in confusion, but after a moment he made a humming noise and mumbled, "I forgot about the automatic washers that your culture has," then, louder, he said, "Thank you. I appreciate it. May I have them back now, so I have something to keep me warm?"

            "Oh, um..." Kira paused, shifting her weight as a blush rose in her cheeks, "I'm sorry Stiles. They won't be dry until tomorrow- they are all pretty wet still."

            "Ah. Right." Stiles said. The two of them stared at each other for a long moment, and Derek rolled his eyes, and he was about to offer Stiles to wear his clothes, after all the emissary refused to borrow Scott's before, so maybe he liked smelling like Derek's.

            The thought made his throat dry, but then he shook his head. No. This was his emissary, and a shaman. He wasn't a wolf, and he didn't realize the implications, well, he probably didn't anyways.

Kira smiled and waved Stiles towards the stairs, "Come on, I'll try to find some clothes that fit you!"

 Across the room Jackson scoffed, "First the alpha's clothes, and now you're just going to lend him a bra and a skirt or something? You guy are trying pretty hard to make him pack."

            Kira looked taken back, and Derek couldn't stop the snarl that tore from his throat at Jackson. His beta flashed blue eyes as him, but ducked his head minutely. Stiles, however was the one who caught everybody's attention. The shaman frowned as he walked across the room until he stood in front of the beta in question.

            "Jackson Whittemore." Stiles stared at the wolf hard, but he didn't speak until Jackson opened his mouth- only then did Stiles announce, "You push me out because you are afraid for the people that you love. You are afraid because in the past change has brought this pack pain and misery. I am not the storm, werewolf, but the clear, full moon. I am not here to hold you back, but to protect and empower you all so that when the storm hits we are strong, so that like roots in a forest we support each other where we stand."

            The wolf bared his teeth at the emissary, but he didn't say anything, and after a pause, Stiles explained, "You have yet to make peace with your sins, and the guilt in your aura is as iridescent as the stars, and could be seen from such a distance as well."

            Eerie blue eyes glowed at Stiles, and the silence in the room made the blood pounding in his ears only seem louder, but he knew that it was time to deal with the wolf properly, "I understand why you are hesitant, but I have sworn upon my blood and my life to serve Derek; I exist for nothing else. Whether you like it or not, we are pack." Stiles finished.

 There was a moment of silence before Isaac asked, "Is it just me, or does everything that he says sound like something from some weird Derek-focused cult."

 "I'm not from a- ugh." Stiles dropped his head to his chest and pinched the bridge of his nose, "I'm trying really hard to sound spiritual and deep, you guys."

"Why?" Malia asked bluntly. Stiles looked up, his mouth open and obviously about to protest, but Scott interrupted him, "Yeah, seriously man, don't bother trying to sound like Deaton. He's a little bit too confusing sometimes- it'd be a lot easier if you just spoke normally."

            Stiles bared his teeth at the mention of Deaton, it was starting to seem like a conditioned response- mention the previous emissary and watch Stiles get possessive and jealous. Derek knew that the reaction freaked him out before, but it was starting to be kind of amusing.The emissary blinked at the end of Scott's small speech and protested, "No- you don't understand. Speaking cryptically is traditional. It shows wisdom, experience, and general," he flailed a little bit, trying to find the right word before giving up and finishing, "savvy-ness."

            "The oldest person here is a twenty six year old alpha. Followed by a twenty three year old huntress, I think that we can safely say screw tradition in this particular case." Isaac announced as he raised an eyebrow.

            Stiles opened his mouth, but it came out wordless, and then he turned to Derek and gestured around him in quick aborted movements. It was fairly comical, actually. The alpha fought a grin as he rose his eyebrow and said, "Speak however you'd like, it makes no difference to me."

            The shaman continued to be speechless, until Liam finally asked, "So why have we been ignoring all of the blood for several hours?" He gestured to the small wounds covering Stiles' body, and the rest of the pack fell silent- they had obviously all been wondering the same thing.

 "It was, uh," Stiles rubbed the back of his neck, and the bitter tang of self-consciousness wafted from his scent, "part of tradition, actually."

The pack was quiet for another long moment before Scott clapped a hand on Stiles' shoulder and said, "You have some weird traditions, man. I mean, it does seem kind of cult-y."

"Right?!" Isaac exclaimed, sitting forward abruptly.  

            "What Scott means," Lydia announced with a critical gaze, "Is that now you're pack, and we respect any of the traditions that you and your culture practice- but we also support your decisions if there are any that you would like to renounce or alter in your life."

"I," Stiles choked out, stopping as he looked around the room, and the pack looked back at him with open expressions, none of them denying what Lydia said, "Thank you."

"It still might take us awhile to get used to it though," Scott added, and Stiles nodded, grateful for the honesty. Kira smiled and waved towards the stairs, "Why don't we find you some clothes, and then I'll show you the available rooms and you can choose where you'd like to sleep."

Stiles smiled and nodded, grateful for the change in subject and then the kitsune lead him upstairs.

 

 

NEXT TIME ON LET FATE DECIDE (Because apparently this is a thing that I'm doing now) :

"What is it that you present me with, alpha?" Stiles asked with his eyes twinkling and a cat's smirk on his lips. Derek kept his expression schooled into apathy as he shoved the gift into his emissary's hands, "The pack's welcome."

"Gift. The pack's welcome gift, to me. As in the customary tradition for a new emissary? Is that what you are doing right now? Upholding tradition?" His whiskey eyes didn't lose their amusement for even a moment.

Derek shrugged, "You like tradition."

"I do." Stiles agreed.

Chapter Text

 Chapter 8: Those who Train Together

            Kira seemed nice. Stiles followed her up the stairs, catching himself after he tripped on the first step. There were a few giggles behind him, but he just blushed and continued to follow the girl.

            She took him up to the third floor and lead him into the second room on the left, "This is my room. Most of us share bathrooms with whoever is in the neighbouring bedroom, but the bedroom that shares my bathroom is empty. I'll just check for something that might fit you." She added, giving Stiles a quick once-over.

"Does it give you weird instincts? Letting someone else wear your clothes, that is." Stiles asked, genuinely curious.

            Kira turned back towards him with a short pair of sweatpants and a red tank top, "I'm actually a kitsune, and we aren't quite as... particular as the wolves tend to be. That being said, the pack might get a little bit closer to you than they have been. When you wear my clothes you'll smell more like me, so to them you smell more like pack. They shouldn't get too close though- it's almost like they can't decide if they want to snuggle or back off when you are wearing someone else's clothes."

            Stiles made a hum in the back of his throat at that. Maybe it was a territory thing, like if he was wearing Kira's clothes, he might smell like her territory or something. It probably would make her uncomfortable if he shared his opinion though, Stiles decided, and so instead he dropped his towel to step into the pants that Kira was holding out.

"Eep!" She squeaked out, and Stiles paused his movements to give her a curious look. The kitsune wasn't looking at him though, in fact her palms were plastered to her eyes as if they could erase the sight that she already got.

            "Ah, I apologize. Lydia mentioned that nudity is uncomfortable for you all." Stiles quickly tugged the pants onto him. They were white, cotton, and a little bit tighter than he would usually wear, but they would do. The sweatpants only went down to just below his knees before the elastic at the bottom of them bunched against his calves.

            "It's okay, I guess. I just- are you finished?" Kira's voice was still a little bit higher than usual, and Stiles quickly shrugged the shirt over himself as he said, "Yeah. All dressed."

            When the kitsune looked at him, she gave him another once over and smiled as she nodded, "You look good!"

            Stiles nodded, looking down at himself. His body was still covered by fresh scabs, and he knew that the more sleep he got, the better his body would heal. He looked up at the kitsune again and asked, "Would it be alright if I went to bed? I'm feeling a little bit exhausted."

"Oh!" Kira gasped, "Of course! I am so sorry- you've been out in the wilderness for weeks, and then with the cuts and being out in the woods with Derek- I'm sorry, of course, let's go find you a room! Which floor would you like to be on?"

            Stiles shrugged and shoved his hands into the pockets of the white sweatpants as he said, "I don't really care which floor. I do care about Alpha Hale though- may I share with him?"

"Derek sleeps in the loft," she stepped out into the hall and Stiles followed, and then Kira nodded to the stairs and continued, "he doesn't share a bathroom."

"Okay, cool." Stiles nodded, trying to look innocent- it wasn't a bathroom that he'd been trying to share with the alpha- and began walking towards the stairs; Kira hesitated before putting a hand on his arm and mumbling, "Stiles?"

"Yeah?" He turned to face her, and Kira was blushing a bit, "I just, um, you can pick any of the available rooms- there are two on this floor, the one attached to mine and one attached to Boyd's across the hall, those ones," Kira gestured further down the hall towards four doors, "are Allison and Lydia's, an open pair of rooms, and there is one open attached to Jackson's room downstairs."

            Stiles made a small sound in his throat before glancing back at the stairs. He wanted to share a room with Derek- the closer they were physically, the easier it would be to protect him. However, he reminded himself, wolves are territorial and need their space. It was proving difficult to remember in real life practice; Stiles was used to close living situations. Stiles had to focus though, and he turned and smiled at her as he said, "Can I see the one attached to your room?"

            The room was closest to the staircase, and hopefully he would have an easier time bonding with his pack this way. It was a win-win. Stiles grinned and tumbled onto the bed, "Looks great. I'll pick this one."

"I'm sure Lydia will make sure that you guys personalize it tomorrow. Is there anything that you need before you go to sleep?" Kira asked.

            Stifling a yawn, the emissary shook his head, and Kira ducked her head as she grinned before slipping out of the room. For an unfamiliar space, Stiles found it remarkably easy to undress and slide beneath the blankets of the bed, his dreams whisking him away before too long.

            It wasn't difficult for Stiles to wake up in the morning because apparently they all had training first thing in the morning.

"Good mo-orning Sunshine!" Her voice was louder than it had any right to be at, Stiles peeked an eye open and caught sight of the clock by his bedside, five thirty in the morning. Despite that, the shaman tried to hold back a grin as Erica collapsed onto the bed on top of him. It felt nice. Like he really was a part of the pack now.

"Good morning, Erica." Stiles said, he tried to sound more grumpy than he was, but Erica didn't seem concerned with that. The shaman realized this when the blonde popped up to stare straight into his eyes from about two inches away, and then she made this strange purr/growl sound as she said, "Guys sound so sexy when they are just waking up."

            His eyes were getting bigger, and the larger they grew, the larger the werewolf's grin became. After a couple moments she burst into a cackle and ruffled his hair before getting off of the bed and walking away as she announced, "Come on, training starts in fifteen."

            Well, she definitely woke him up. He wouldn't be falling back asleep after that. Stiles shook his head as he untangled himself from the blankets on his bed. While Stiles tugged the blankets up to somewhat resemble tidiness, he considered Erica. She got up very early for training already, and it seemed like a lot of work to wake up, put on her makeup and then train when she was presumably going to shower afterwards.

"Breakfast is ready!" A voice called from downstairs, Stiles tried to place it, but it was too soon. Male and young though. He tucked his thoughts about Erica away for a moment and instead walked downstairs, still wearing the outfit that Kira had lent him.

            The whole house was an amazing building. The logs that it was made of made up the walls, and the ceilings, and the floors were all hard wood and polished beautifully. It was very different from the places where Stiles used to live. He couldn't help but stare at everything as he walked downstairs. It was amazing what he noticed now that he wasn't bleeding and exhausted.

            There were faint marks on the walls in some places, distinct marks like scratches and grooves that most people would see and blame on pets, but Stiles knew better. The pack didn't have any pets that he had seen, and he suspected that they were marks from the pack members getting a little bit rowdy.

            Liam nodded to him as he got to the bottom of the stairs before handing him a bowl of cereal. There wasn't much milk in it, but Stiles took it happily. The young werewolf lead Stiles to the table and explained, "Derek usually makes a bigger breakfast after training,- after Scott threw up chocolate pancakes one day, Derek decided that it might be better if we only had a bit of food before our work outs."

            Stiles nodded, his mouth already full with the crunchy cereal. Liam nodded before turning and walking away, which left Stiles sitting at the table with Jackson sitting across from him and Boyd sitting beside him. Jackson looked so tired that he didn't even take his normal opportunity to harass Stiles, and even though the shaman barely knew the group he already knew that Boyd wasn't going to be a great conversationalist, and so he huddled down and began to eat his cereal as quickly as possible.

            He had just closed the dishwasher when a howl vibrated through the house, and he did mean vibrated. Dishes clinked together and Stiles was pretty sure he could see a slight tremor of the building. All of the betas in the room threw back their heads to howl back- their howls were significantly less dramatic, but still loud enough that Stiles winced a little bit as he grinned at them. It was, after all, the first time he had heard his pack howl together.

            Apparently when alpha Derek said 'training' what he really meant was 'physiological torture and exhaustion' because this was very different from the training that Stiles was used to. Part of him wanted to mention that maybe he should train by spending time with his magic and nature, but Stiles couldn't find it in his heart to not partake in such an obvious pack-bonding time.

            They had run a marathon ("It's just a quick jog, Stiles, you're being dramatic"), played the most terrifying version of tag that he'd ever seen ("Seriously, you're going to flail so hard you hit yourself if you keep this up, Stiles."), and then they fought each other, possibly to the death.

"Not to the death. Until one of us taps out, Stiles." The werewolf reasoned.

            That's right. Stiles had to face off against one of his new pack mates, and not a human or a small, young werewolf, no, Derek sent him off with the biggest werewolf who had to be the strongest in the pack (other than alpha Derek, of course). Boyd raised a single brow, and apparently those ten words were all that he was going to say. Stiles swallowed hard before huffing, "If I was allowed to use my magic, it wouldn't be to the death, because I'd be able to at least hold you back."

            The werewolf rolled his eyes, but didn't answer. Stiles scowled, sure, he could see Derek's value in making sure that everyone could survive as long as possible if it came to hand-to-hand combat, but he could at least let Stiles practice with a human, or someone who might take it easy on him. Kira seemed nice. He glanced past Boyd, and the werewolf took the opportunity to lunge at him.

            Stiles panicked, and he forced himself not to use his magic, so instead he threw himself to the side, but not fast enough to beat Boyd's reflexes. The werewolf lightly slapped his ribs as Stiles fell. He rolled as he hit the ground, but not gracefully in the least. He groaned as he pushed himself off of the mossy ground, "Can't I, I don't know, get lessons before we do this? That might help."

            Boyd simply smiled and rose an eyebrow, obviously not only ignoring Stiles, but also trying to goad Stiles into attacking first. Well alright then. The shaman ran straight at him before throwing his arms out to try to tackle the beta. The werewolf wasn't fast enough getting out of the way, and he only had time to shift his weight before Stiles slammed into his midriff, but when he made contact he yelped.

            It felt like he just literally tried to tackle a bull. Stiles pulled back immediately, distinctly aware of the fact that Boyd didn't even budge. Alright, maybe Boyd hadn't been too slow to move, maybe he just didn't see a point. The human frowned at him, how was he supposed to best a werewolf?

            Time passed slowly at first, but as Stiles began to figure out some new strategies it became a little bit easier to bear with. All it took was a little bit of thought, and Boyd was minutely easier to deal with. Stiles may not be able to outrace him or outfight him, but he could sure as hell aim effectively, dodge if he faked or double faked first, and think of his feet.

            Stiles used his momentum to jump up and grab onto a tree branch, at the last moment he kicked off the tree though and changed his trajectory, which sent his opponent stumbling passed him as Stiles landed on the forest floor with a grin. He turned and quickly threw himself to the right- Boyd went left, obviously expecting it to be a fake again.

            The shaman landed on his shoulder, and he tucked his head to smoothly roll through the motion before getting his feet up and under him as he grabbed onto a thick branch on the ground. He heaved it over his shoulder and swung hard at the first body in front of him- straight into Derek Hale's chest. The alpha's arms came up to block the blow immediately and for once Stiles was glad that his face was already red from the exercise.

            You can work with Allison for a bit," Derek said to him before he nodded towards the dark haired human standing closer to the house, "It's her day off, so she'll give you some basic weapons training; you guys can work together for as long as you can handle."

He was smirking, and Stiles knew that he was goading him. Well, what could he say? He was easy to goad.

"Bring it on," Stiles bragged, "I could do this all day."

            The second part of his statement sounded wheezier than he would have liked, but he held his head high as he walked towards Allison and tried to catch his breath. Behind him he could hear Boyd and Derek mumbling to each other, and despite his curiosity, Stiles managed to not look back.

            Allison was very patient, but that didn't make Stiles any better at handling the throwing knives, daggers, bow and arrows, swords, guns, or tasers that she tried to teach him to use. After he almost tasered himself, she confiscated the weapons and announced that they needed to take a break.

            Stiles huffed and rolled his eyes, but followed her inside anyways. There was still some bacon and omelette on the stove. Allison quickly turned it on to warm them again, and he beamed at her as she handed him a plateful. They chatted politely as they ate, and Stiles couldn't help but lean in as she shared her story with him.

"Wow, you were really a hunter? Do all of the pack members have this much history with each other?" Stiles marvelled, "It must either make the seams between you all very weak or very, very strong."

"We were definitely weak at first, but we've worked at it a lot. Some of us still get along better than others though." Allison explained.

"Like who?" Stiles asked, but Allison just shook her head and looked thankful when Derek finally walked in with a long box wrapped with brightly coloured paper with a large metallic bow on the center of it.

            The shaman set aside his finished plate of food and stood as the alpha approached, he knew what this was, and alpha Derek had to know what it was. Despite this, Stiles chose to play coy.

"What is it that you present me with, alpha?" Stiles asked with his eyes twinkling and a cat's smirk on his lips. Derek kept his expression schooled into apathy as he shoved the gift into his emissary's hands, "The pack's welcome."

"Gift. The pack's welcome gift, to me. As in the customary tradition for a new emissary? Is that what you are doing right now? Upholding tradition?" His whiskey eyes didn't lose their amusement for even a moment.

Derek shrugged, "You like tradition."

"I do." Stiles agreed, and then he looked back down at the significantly big, long, box in his arms as he asked, "And traditionally, once an emissary joins a pack, the alpha bestows a gift upon him- usually some kind of weapon or protection."

"It's important to use protection!" Erica hollered as she ran downstairs, "Wrap it up, Derek!"

The alpha growled, apparently not in the mood for her teasing, but his beta only snickered, and ran out the door as she announced, "Lunch break is over, gotta get back to work!"

            All the while Stiles stared at him, the confusion clear in the wrinkle of his brows and the slight part of his lips. Derek shook his head, and Stiles smiled uncertainly and nodded as he turned back to the gift in his hands.

He didn't remember the last time that he had received a present, but he suspected that it might have been from his father.

            Stiles was careful with the bow and the paper, he wasn't sure how his alpha would feel about the giddy childish glee that was rising higher and higher in his chest, but he would act like an adult damn it. He breathed in sharply as he got to the final layer. Now it was just him, the box, and whatever was inside.

            He held his breath as he carefully popped open the cardboard, and he stared wistfully at- another box. Stiles clenched his teeth together hard as he fought a scowl, he turned to give his alpha a sharp look, "Derek..."

"Yes?" The wolf looked downright smarmy. Stiles had never really seen someone look smarmy before, but that's what Alpha Derek Hale looked in that moment. He looked like he was the one really getting a gift. He looked like a teasing elder brother, or like someone who just gave out a 'trick' for Halloween instead of a 'treat', and Stiles wrinkled his nose at him, trying to silently convey that the alpha wasn't as funny as he thought he was. Derek, however, appeared unrepentant.

            It wasn't until Stiles broke and began to just dig into the boxes, ripping off the paper, sticky plastic ("It's called tape, remember Stiles?"), and shiny bows that Derek and Allison both began cackling at him. But everything stopped when he finally opened up the last box and stopped to stare in awe.

            He was in awe for two reasons. First off, because he was finally actually looking at his gift, and secondly because he had seen one of these before. When he was travelling up through Southern California he had met a couple of young men who insisted they 'show him around'. They hadn't been great at pointing him towards Beacon Hills, but they had taught him about culture, assuring him that surfing and baseball were the pillars of Californian culture.

            The wooden baseball bat in the box was obviously new, and Stiles could feel a grin threatening to split his entire face in half. He grabbed the bat by the handle, letting the box it was in fall to the ground around him. Then he stepped on the wrapping-paper, cardboard graveyard of garbage around him and walked until he was almost chest-to-chest with his alpha. The baseball bat hung carefully from his right hand as he stared up to meet Derek's gaze, "Why this? Of all of the possible weapons that you could have chosen, why this?"

Derek smirked and shrugged with one shoulder. It was infuriating. "Is it because of when I hit you with that branch this morning? Is that why?"

            The alpha's smile grew, but Stiles still felt like he was missing something. There was something about it all- the way that he wrapped the gift, the way that he laughed as Stiles opened it, it had been the first time that Stiles saw such an unguarded expression from the alpha. He was missing something. This was completely deliberate, and Stiles couldn't figure out what piece of the puzzle he was missing, but he definitely knew that there was more. Instead of fighting more though, Stiles ducked into Derek's arms and hugged him, he basked in warm when the alpha carefully wrapped one arm around him, and then Stiles nudged his nose up under Derek's chin towards his neck.

            Derek let him for a few moments, but then he eventually pulled back and snapped his jaw playfully at Stiles' nose, then he made a shooing motion with his hands as he suggested, "You two have work to get back to. Go on."

Allison and Stiles were both smiling as they walked back out to train a little bit more, and Stiles wasn't nearly as bitter about the training as he was in the morning. Maybe it wasn't quite so bad.

 

NEXT TIME ON LET FATE DECIDE:

            "If you really want to be like the rest of the pack, why don't you just get a job." Isaac asked as he walked by with half a sandwich in his mouth.

"A job." Stiles echoed. He stared at Derek's face that was quickly twisting into disapproval, and he ignored his alpha as he announced, "A job! I'm going to go and get a job, Derek."

Chapter Text

Chapter 9:

            Training for so long was difficult, but it was also rewarding. Stiles felt a strange kind of confidence knowing that he had a little bit more training under his belt. He liked feeling like he could protect himself and other people just in case something happened and he wouldn't be able to use his magic. Obviously he knew that he still had a lot to learn, but it was a start.

            By the time that the first couple of pack members got back from work, Allison had showered, insisted that he do the same, and then lent him some of Scott's clothes. That proved to be a good thing because the moment that Lydia finished setting down her work bag, she traded her purse for a different one, changed her outfit, and announced that they were going shopping.

            Lydia, Allison, and Isaac ended up bringing Stiles into town. He was excited to see the town near where he was living, and Stiles couldn't stop grinning. Lydia rolled her eyes at him, but she was smiling, and Allison was happily pointing out landmarks and businesses.

"What's that building?" Stiles asked, pointing out the window. Allison smiled, "That's the Sherriff's station. Oh, and in a couple streets we'll pass Isaac's favourite coffee shop!"

"What are your other favourite places in town? Can we go to them all?" Stiles asked, looking between the group, and after a quick driving tour of the town, they managed to herd Stiles into a clothing shop. For the first while they simply let Stiles shop, following him around to see what kind of outfits caught his eyes. However it didn't take long for Lydia to announce that it was time to help him because 'she had seen toddlers dress themselves better than him'.  

            Then the group divided to gather their choices, and every once and a while one of them would approach Stiles and ask his opinion on something. By the eighth or so time that Isaac returned to Stiles with garments in his hands Stiles couldn't help but lift his eyebrows and admit, "It looks pretty warm, but do you really think that I need that many scarves? How cold is the winter here?"

            The werewolf didn't answer with words, but his eyes widened a bit, his lower lip trembled for a second, and his shoulders drooped minutely. Immediately Stiles flailed his arms between them and said, "Whoa! I mean, I love scarves! We should get them all! Who knows how many I'm going to need, even though I can only really wear one at a time..."

            Isaac grinned, suddenly looking a little mischievous as he tucked his hands into his pockets and walked away. Stiles had the distinct feeling that he had been had, but then he was distracted as someone bumped into him. Stiles turned towards the person immediately; it was a guy around his age with short, dark, wavy hair whose eyes immediately widened as he said, "Oh, sorry! I didn't see you there."

            The shorter man smiled, so Stiles returned the expression, "No harm done," Stiles said, and then his eyes were drawn down to the man's chest as he asked suddenly, "what's that? That looks amazing!"

The man looked confused, and his blue eyes followed Stiles gaze down before he chuckled, "It's a camera. I'm really into photography. You've never seen one?"

            Stiles shook his head and his fingers twitched with the desire to reach out and touch it. No, he scolded himself, that would be rude. Instead he met the man's eyes again, "How does it work?"

"That's a bit of a long explanation, but I can give you a quick demonstration. Can I take your picture?"

            Stiles nodded quickly, despite not understanding, and when the man took the black cap off of the contraption and pointed it towards him Stiles stared into the shiny glass curiously. Afterwards, the man turned his camera around and showed Stiles a small glass screen with the picture on it. The image was amazing- it was a perfect portrait,  and Stiles couldn't wrap his head around it. Stiles pointed to the camera and asked, "How did you get it? Your camera, I mean."

"I worked a summer job and saved all of the money I made. It was hard work, but worth every second." The man explained.

Stiles nodded, and he was about to ask more questions when he heard Allison ask, "Stiles, are you ready to try on all of your clothes?"

            Stiles turned back and smiled at her, "Allison! This guy has a camera, and it takes pictures that are perfect portraits! I've never seen anything like it. He said that he worked for it. At a job. Like you guys!"

            Allison's eyes were getting wider and wider as he spoke, and Stiles couldn't help but think that she didn't look nearly as excited as she should be about this camera, but she was still smiling. She nodded to the man and said, "It's nice to meet you."

"It's nice to meet you too..." he trailed off and she said, "Allison."

            Allison looked like she was about to ask what his name was in response, but then Lydia appeared and she announced, "Time to try it all on, and Stiles, don't bother trying on every single scarf that Isaac grabbed. He obviously just wants you to get them on Derek's credit card so that he can wear them."

"Hey!" Isaac yelled from across the store.

            Stiles nodded, but when he turned back to say goodbye, the man with the camera was gone. Too bad, Stiles thought, and then he followed Lydia to the change room. He tried on outfit after outfit- some were scratchy, some were tight, and some were a strange material called 'pleather' that was hard to peel onto his legs. He wasn't a fan of most of the clothes, but there were some things that Lydia insisted on ("Your ass looks amazing in those Stiles. I'm not saying that you have to wear them, I'm saying that we'll buy them so that you can wear them if you want to later on.") and there were some outfits that weren't horrible; Stiles particularly liked the shirt combinations that made Lydia wince and say, "Plaid shirts over graphic tees are not fashionable, Stiles."

             It was getting to the point that Stiles was getting ready to walk out naked because he was feeling done with it all, and finally Lydia allowed him to sit and wait in front of the change rooms with Isaac because, "You had your turn, Isaac gets half of the scarves that he grabbed, and now it's our turn."

            While they sat in front of the change rooms, Stiles talked. He talked about traveling north to California. He talked about how some of the things here were new and exciting, and he talked about how some of the things here he had already come into contact with. Mostly though, he talked about the camera, "Do you have a camera? They take pictures, Isaac."

            There werewolf huffed out a breathy laugh, and admitted that no, he didn't have a camera. When Stiles asked why, he simply shrugged, and so Stiles kept prodding, "Do you have a job?"

"Yes, Stiles," he rolled his eyes, "Of course I have a job."

"What is your job?"

"I'm a veterinary's assistant. I work with Scott and Deaton at the animal clinic." Isaac answered, and Stiles knew that he didn't miss the way that the shaman bristled at the druid's name. Stiles forced himself to calm down though- after all, he was in the pack now. This Deaton man was in the past.

            Allison and Lydia both emerged, and Isaac showered both girls with compliments, while Stiles made a face at Lydia. She narrowed her eyes at him immediately, and snapped, "What?"

            "Your clothing choice isn't practical. Winter will be upon us soon and that jacket does not look like it is built to properly keep you warm and protect you from the elements." Stiles said, and Lydia just rolled her eyes and said, "Not everything is about survival, Stiles."

            With a toss of her hair and a spin on her heel, the redhead walked back into the change room and closed the door. The werewolf beside Stiles was smiling as he shook his head- it appeared to be something that he did a lot. Stiles wasn't going to be distracted from their earlier conversation though, "Why do you have a job?"

"What?" Isaac's eyebrows did a funny thing, like they couldn't settle on just one expression, and then he answered, "Because. I can't just live off of Derek forever, I don't want to be a burden."

            Stiles nodded thoughtfully, and without any more prompting, Isaac continued, "He's done a lot for me. He houses the pack, he feeds us, and he took a lot of us in when we had nowhere else to go. It's not cheap to take care of this many people, so we all chip in. Derek says that we don't have to, but we want to. He's our alpha, but that doesn't mean that we can't help out. Well, and a lot of us still have student loans to pay off."

Stiles nodded again, and a comfortable silence fell between the two. Isaac's words stuck with him throughout the rest of the day.

            They arrived back at the Hale house just in time for dinner, and Stiles ate in relative silence. He was tired after seeing so many new things in one day and there was  a lot to reflect upon. Allison had put all of their new clothes in the wash, announcing that the pack didn't like the smells of new clothes, and so again Stiles was still wearing Scott's clothes.

            Dinner finished and Stiles helped Scott and Boyd with the dishes. Scott was talking about Allison, Boyd was quiet, and Stiles nodded at the appropriate moments but his mind was still dwelling. He didn't know how much anything cost in the new world that he was in, and Derek hadn't asked him to help with anything.

            Once they finished cleaning up from dinner, Stiles wandered around the house until he found Derek. The alpha had been in the gym doing chin ups effortlessly. Stiles felt like sweating just looking at him, but he decided that he had to talk to the alpha as soon as possible.

"I want to help out more." Stiles announced, and Derek simply lifted his eyebrows and shrugged before nodding, "Okay."

"I mean it. I want to be more than just the emissary. I want to help out more, and I don't want you to take care of me." Stiles insisted, and Derek sighed before dropping from the chin up bar and heading upstairs. Stiles trailed close behind, and as he walked Derek said, "It's fine, Stiles. I don't know what's going on in that head of yours, but you don't need to worry about anything."

"I won't be a burden, alpha Derek!"

The werewolf palmed at his forehead as he gritted out, "I didn't say that you were a burden, Stiles."

The shaman stuck his chin out in a physical show of stubbornness as he announced, "I can rest near the Nemeton, or find myself an abandoned den. I can catch food in the forest-"

            Derek snarled at the mention of the Nemeton and Stiles rolled his eyes before reminding his alpha that the Nemeton wasn't evil- it was neutral energy. Derek ignored his speech and finally snapped, "You aren't a burden, you don't have to try to catch who knows what with your own two hands, and you aren't sleeping out there."

"If you really want to be like the rest of the pack, why don't you just get a job." Isaac asked as he walked by with half a sandwich in his mouth. "A job." Stiles echoed. He stared at Derek's face that was quickly twisting into disapproval, and he ignored his alpha as he announced, "A job! I'm going to go and get a job, Derek."

"With what identification, Stiles? You can't just waltz into places and-" Derek stopped mid-sentence as he stared at the plastic cards that Stiles had withdrawn from his pockets and shoved into his hands. "How did you get these?" Derek asked.

"I am a registered citizen. It's not like the government doesn't know that I exist. They just didn't know exactly where I was because my people moved around so much."

"You have ID."

"I even applied to American citizenship. Got accepted too." Stiles announced, flashing a passport. Stiles grinned, happy that he had decided to keep his identification on him 'just in case'.

"That's impossible, you didn't have enough time. Did you forge that or magic it or something?" Derek reached for the passport, and Stiles let him have it. The shaman knew that he wouldn't see any flaws in it. It was real.

"The Dola's personally told me that this was my destiny, Derek. There is supernatural assistance at work here, but it didn't come from me, and it didn't come lightly."

            Derek stared at Stiles hard for a moment, and then he blinked and the expression was gone, replaced by a furrowed brow as he turned around to growl, "Isaac, why are you eating a sandwich- you just ate dinner!"

Isaac cackled, but ignored Derek, and Erica called out snidely from the other room, "I love when Derek sounds like some kind of 'pack dad', it really makes this whole unit feel like family."

            There was a couple chuckles from around the house, and Stiles found himself smiling fondly with the pack. They weren't wrong, it was pretty funny to hear the alpha sound like a father figure- he just looked so young and grumpy.

"If you really want a job, then I'm sure that Isaac would help you make a resume tomorrow. After all, it was his idea." Derek offered, and Stiles grinned and wildly gestured with his arms before clenching his hands at his sides in excitement, "Really? Isaac!"

There was a groan before someone sighed in the other room, and then Isaac grumbled, "Fine. I can help you write up a resume."

"Thank you!" Stiles beamed as he followed Issac's voice into the pack room where Isaac was laying on the couch. In his excitement, Stiles threw himself over the edge of the couch to collapse on top of Isaac with a bark of laughter. Isaac let out a small 'oof' before pushing Stiles off of him and onto the floor, but Stiles just laughed as he sat up to lean against the couch.

Kira was smiling at him from the couch across from them, and Scott was frowning as he asked, "Is Stiles wearing my shirt?"

"Oh, Scott..." Allison smiled as she shook her head.

"You're a werewolf, dumbass- he's been wearing your clothes all day." Jackson rolled his eyes as he went back to texting on his phone.

Scott frowned at Jackson before turning back to frown at Stiles again, but then he shrugged it off and went back to smiling at Allison.

 

NEXT TIME ON LET FATE DECIDE:

"I'd rather sell pleasure with my flesh than endanger the pack by allowing him to learn anything more about my abilities." Stiles insisted, and Isaac's head jerked back as if Stiles' words had been a physical blow. After a silent moment, Isaac asked, "Did you just tell me that you'd rather be a prostitute than be my coworker?"

Chapter Text

Chapter 10: Family

"Okay, what kinds of jobs have you had in the past?" Isaac asked with his hands resting on the keyboard of his laptop. Stiles didn't quite understand the laptop yet, but he was assured that someone would teach him later.

"I have worked alongside some of the most prevalent magic users and peacekeepers in the southern hemisphere," Stiles bragged, "Once, Hecate herself actually reached out to warn me that our enemies were-"

            Isaac was shaking his head, but when Stiles didn't slow down as he told his story, the werewolf finally interrupted him and announced, "Those kinds of skills aren't really applicable here, Stiles."

"Wait, they aren't?" Stiles' mind seemed to stall for a moment, and then he shook his head minutely and said, "Right. Okay, well I spent years catching, and cleaning meals to share with my people."

"Alright," Isaac appeased, "I'll write down 'security' to cover all of your... fights, and put down hunting and food gathering under volunteer work. Do you have, like, someone I could write down as a reference?"

Stiles nodded excitedly, and Isaac smiled and let out a breath before he said, "Great, alright, who?"

"Alpha Derek." Stiles said as he grinned.

            Isaac's shoulders slumped and he shook his head. Stiles realized that he might not have wanted the alpha's name, so instead he said, "I mean, most people where I am from didn't really own phones, but the Dolas could give great reviews."

"This is impossible." Isaac grumbled, and Stiles' gaze sharpened into a glare. After a moment Stiles announced, "I'll get a job. You'll see."

 

 

"You wanted a job," Isaac's voice was definitely more than a little annoyed as he clenched his hands on the steering wheel, "this is a job, now get out of the car and go apply."

"I will not work under him," Stiles insisted as he jutted his chin towards the window of the car, "the more he knows about me, the less I can help defend the pack if he decides to attack us."

"Deaton is not going to attack us, Stiles." Isaac hissed, "Come on, he'll even understand that you don't understand all of the local culture! That's the best possible solution for you, Stiles."

"I'd rather sell pleasure with my flesh than endanger the pack by allowing him to learn anything more about my abilities." Stiles insisted, and Isaac's head jerked back as if Stiles' words had been a physical blow. After a silent moment, Isaac asked, "Did you just tell me that you'd rather be a prostitute than be my coworker?"

"And I stand by that." Stiles said with a stern nod.

 

 

            "Did you apply?" Isaac asked when Stiles got back into Allison's car. The brunette had generously leant it to Isaac and Stiles for the day, which Stiles appreciated unlike Isaac's pushiness. The emissary shook his head stiffly before turning to look back at Eichen House, "The spirits are too loud here, too angry. Trust me, Isaac, don't go near that place."

"Well you have to apply somewhere!" Isaac growled, and although Stiles wasn't looking at him at the time, he could practically hear the flash of Isaac's beta eyes.

"I'll find somewhere, don't worry." Stiles mumbled.

 

As Isaac stopped the car, Stiles rolled his eyes and announced, "No. Keep driving."

            The wolf growled low in his throat, but he drove away from the ice rink as Stiles had requested. Finally he snarled, "I will drive you exactly one more place, so you sure as hell better apply. Got it?"

            Stiles nodded, and sure enough when Isaac stopped the car, the emissary went inside. This time, however, Isaac went in with him; when Stiles gave him a funny look, the wolf explained, "What? If they ask for an audition I sure as hell want to see it."

            The Jungle was grungy, but Stiles had seen more disgusting places before. The men at the front door were three times his size even though it was still early in the day, and Stiles found that strangely comforting as he went in to apply.

            The owner was a woman who smiled evilly at Stiles, and he blinked at her in response. After she quizzed him on alcohol and discovered that he knew next to nothing about mixing drinks, the owner's smile grew and she announced that he'd have to audition for a job as a dancer.

            Being whisked away to the dance floor was intimidating, the lights were bright on Stiles' small stage with a pole in the center of it. He stared at it for a moment before he began. He didn't recognize the song, but it sounded sensual, and despite the fact that  the audition was not private by any sense of the word, Stiles found that he wasn't too nervous.

            He rested one hand against the metal pole and let his weight carry him smoothly around it once. The owner was sitting forward, looking hungry, and Isaac was leaning back with a challenging eyebrow raised. There were other people in the club, but it was only four in the afternoon, so there weren't many people.

            Stiles smirked at Isaac as he prepared to start his dance. He toed off his shoes first, and then he rolled his head back, revealing his long, pale, speckled neck with the music. His hand came up then, fingertips brushing against his face and neck as he slowly caressed down his own body, he brought his hand down slowly past his collarbones, over his nipples, ribs, his hips, and finally his fingertips brushed the inside of his thigh.

            His smirk was still teasing at his lips when he was loudly interrupted by someone clapping their hands on either side of Isaac's chair. Everybody stopped what they were doing to look up questionably, and Stiles was perplexed by what he saw. It was a tanned, lean, man around his own age.

The man looked concerned as he asked loudly, "Isaac, what a surprise to see you here, when was the last time that you were at Jungle?"

            The curly haired beta shifted in his seat in a way that made Stiles think that he must be uncomfortable, Stiles forced himself to continue dancing though, as he paid attention to the interaction. He carefully slid his arms out of his plaid over shirt, one hand at a time.

            Isaac shrugged to the other man, but the newcomer narrowed his eyes and gestured to Stiles, "This isn't Derek's new friend that I've been hearing so much about from Jackson and Lydia, is it?"

            Stiles gyrated his hips three times with the music and he caught his bottom lip between his teeth for a moment before releasing it. When he looked up again the newcomer was swallowing as he eyed Stiles, but then the man shook his head and said, "I heard that Derek didn't think that job hunting was a good idea- do you really think that helping him get a job at Jungle will make Derek very happy?"

            With a quick movement Stiles reached back and grabbed the back of his shirt, pulling it over his head and off to leave his upper body naked. He rose an eyebrow towards the newcomer, and then he heard Isaac say to the man, "I'm pretty sure that all Derek has to do is ask nicely and Stiles will make sure that Derek is happy."

            The newcomer choked out something that sounded like a laugh just as Stiles lifted himself onto the pole and did a careful flip with his arms supporting himself on the pole, and when Stiles released the pole, he stood in front of it and slowly bent his knees as his hand snaked across to the button of his jean.

The owner grinned as she said, "Alright, here we go."

            The newcomer looked hesitant, and Isaac must have realized that too because Stiles heard him reassure the man by saying, "Trust me, I've seen it and you're going to want to too."

            He let his long fingers take their sweet time bringing down his fly, but by the time that it was completely undone the newcomer clenched his jaw and yelled, "No. No, no, no, no, and no. Derek will be pissed, I refuse to be a part of this."

            He stormed up to where Stiles now had his jeans halfway down his hips, and he swallowed once more as he stared at Stiles' mouth before he tugged Stiles' jeans up and did them up for him. Stiles was so taken back that he didn't even respond until after the man was walking around gathering his shirts, only then did Stiles ask, "Isaac, who is that?"

"His name is Danny." Isaac growled, he did not sound impressed. Stiles nodded before he turned back to the owner and asked, "So, did I get the job or...?"

"We're leaving!" Danny announced before the owner could answer, "Let's go. Here's your clothes, put them on."

            Stiles frowned down at the clothes, but obeyed regardless, and before he knew it he was whisked away to the parking lot as he shrugged on his plaid over shirt. Isaac was loudly complaining about how unfair Danny was being, and Danny had adjusted himself in his jeans at least twice. Stiles thought that he had done pretty well, and he wanted to announce so, but ultimately he decided that the other two were arguing enough it looked like. Danny got in the back seat and told Isaac to drive him up to the house because he had gotten a ride to Jungle, only then did they return to fighting about the audition.

It wasn't until they were driving home that Stiles caught sight of a building and interrupted Isaac to say, "Pull over."

"What?" Danny asked, but Stiles ignored him to continue staring at the building. Isaac sighed heavily and grumbled, "You'll get used to it. Sometimes he speaks a bit like Derek, but usually he is better than this."

When the car came to a stop, Stiles stared at the building for an extra moment before he said, "I'll be back."

            The duo didn't respond, and Stiles closed the door before walking towards the building. Stiles remembered asking about it on their drive the day before- the sheriff's station. When he walked inside there was nobody at the front desk. It was curious, but he shrugged and waited until an officer came into view. It was an attractive man, probably around Derek's age, and he had a friendly smile as he said, "Hi, can I help you with something?"

"I want a job." Stiles announced.

The man rose both of his eyebrows, but nodded as he said, "I'll get the sheriff."

            The sheriff turned out to be a stern looking man with brown hair and green eyes. He didn't look unfair, and Stiles decided immediately that he liked the man. The sheriff reached out to shake his hand and Stiles nodded to the man as he said, "Name's Stiles."

The sheriff rose his eyebrows, but he didn't comment, he only said, "Hello Stiles, what can I do for you today?"

            Stiles wanted to focus, he didn't want to be distracted, but the swirl of energy caught his attention, and for a moment all he could do was tilt his head as watch carefully as the spirit thrummed with energy. It was an interesting reaction, and when he finally realized what the spirit was trying to say it felt like the breath was knocked from his lungs.

The sheriff put a steady hand on his shoulders which shook Stiles from his moment, but when he looked into the man's eyes all Stiles could manage to say was, "We're family."

 

NEXT TIME ON LET FATE DECIDE:

            Derek hesitated before he reached forward and he winced when his hand was forced out of Stiles' space- some kind of power refused Derek's presence. The alpha growled lowly, but it didn't matter because Stiles was helplessly laying there and he couldn't do anything about it.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 11: Anchors

            The sheriff's eyes narrowed carefully at him, but he didn't say anything at first, so Stiles decided that it would be a good chance to try to explain, "My last name is also Stilinski, my family is from Poland- my great grandfather took his family and moved to America after the first war but his eldest son, my grandfather, chose to stay in Europe. I honestly didn't realize until I saw you, it's just we share a last name and you look so much like my-" Stiles choked on the words.

            The sheriff's eyes softened a bit, but he rose his eyebrows like Stiles might be a little bit crazy. The man turned to his deputy and shook his head with a shrug before he said, "Parrish, I guess I'm going out for lunch, I'll be back in an hour," then the man turned back towards Stiles and asked, "You coming, kiddo?"

            Stiles swallowed hard, trying to push back the memories haunting him and instead of letting himself reveal his emotions, the emissary forced a grin on his lips before he nodded. The duo walked outside, and Stiles waved a hand at Isaac and Danny. The young adults looked confused, but they started the car and pulled out as Stiles got into the cruiser with the Sheriff.

            The car ride was exciting, Stiles asked a lot of questions about the radio and the interior of the car, and the Sheriff answered with an amused glint in his eyes. When they stopped at the diner, Stiles ordered the same thing as the sheriff after the sheriff offered to pay for the meal, and then there was silence.

            The sheriff was staring at him carefully, and Stiles was definitely aware of the scrutiny. Finally Stiles said, "I've heard stories, you know? Through the grapevine."

"What kind of stories?" The man across from him asked, and Stiles shrugged before sharing, "My father told me that grandpa was still in contact with our American family. I've heard that our family is very small, and if I'm correct- you had a beautiful wife named Claudia."

            The sheriff's gaze fell to his hands as he folded them together on the table top, and he nodded, but didn't say anything at first. Stiles waited as he bounced his knee to try to expel the nervous energy that he sudden found himself flooded with. Eventually the sheriff looked back up and said, "I'm afraid that I've never spoken to anyone from our European side of the family. I know that my brother has been sending letters to one of our cousins for years, but I never thought that I'd meet any of them."

Stiles nodded in understanding and said truthfully, "I never expected to meet any of my family again, both of my parents- um. I don't really have any other family."

            The sheriff nodded just as the waitress returned with their burgers and curly fries, and Stiles grinned the moment that the woman left. The sheriff took a bite of his burger right after he asked, "So Stiles, what are you doing in town?"

                                    *                                              *                                                          *

            Stiles waved as he bounded out of the sheriff's car and the man rose an eyebrow, but waved back. The emissary grinned before turning to jog into the Hale house, he could hear the soft rumble of the police car pulling out and driving away. The grin didn't falter as he pushed open the front door of the house, and Stiles immediately announced, "Guess who got a job!"

"Congratulations!" Kira smiled at him from the stairs as she continued to walk down them, and Isaac poked his head around the corner with narrowed eyes; he asked, "Seriously? You managed to get a job there?"

"Where are you going to be working?" Allison asked from the other room, and the group wandered into the pack room before Stiles smiled at her. He opened his mouth to answer, but instead suddenly there was a hand yanking him back by the back of his shirt and Derek's face was right there beside Stiles', and he was also growling.

"Heyyyy Alpha, is there something that I can do for you?" Stiles managed to ask, his voice only an octave or two higher than usual. The alpha in question growled loudly again as he bared his teeth and asked roughly, "Why do you smell like Jungle?"

"Jungle has a smell?" Stiles asked instead of answering? He wanted to hide under a rock- he didn't realize that Jungle was off limits, but Derek's voice was making that exceptionally clear . The alpha didn't answer his question, instead he growled out what sounded like, "Sweat, booze, and sex."

"It's not what it seems, Derek." Danny began, and the alpha snarled at him, but didn't move closer. Isaac stayed carefully silent, obviously an important survival instinct strategy that Stiles recognized was a good idea- and yet he found himself explaining, "I was job hunting."

            Silence. Silence. Silence. The suddenness of Derek's snarl was enough to make Stiles wince and flinch away from the left where the Alpha's mouth was next to his ear, and he could immediately feel the hold on his shirt tighten. The pack were all yelling, but Stiles could only make out what a couple of people were saying.

Danny yelled, "His pants didn't even come off- I dragged them out halfway through his audition."

Erica laughed, Kira yelped, Allison's voice had a bite as she said, "Derek!"

Derek growled low in his throat and then snarled, "What were you thinking?!"

            Stiles opened his mouth to answer, but Isaac answered instead, "He wanted to find a job, and you told me that I had to help him job hunt! He's not exactly qualified for any kind of normal jobs around town, Derek!"

"That doesn't mean that you should encourage him to become a stripper!"

"What makes you think he was auditioning as a stripper?! There are bartenders and bouncers too, you know!" Isaac snapped back and Derek snarled before retorting, "Danny did mention him taking off his clothes, and an audition."

The shaman had heard just about enough, and he rose his right hand high in the air to shout, "Silentium!"

            Immediately the pack fell silent and he knocked Derek's hand off of his shirt before stepping forward and angling his body so that he could see the entire pack. He lowered his hand before he calmly explained, "Derek, I may be pack, but my decisions are my own, and even if I did make funds from causing others arousal, that is my business, and mine alone. If you have a problem with it, then you should have taken me aside and discussed it like two adults,  and to the rest of the pack," Stiles narrowed his eyes at them, "Though I appreciate that you defended me, you should all show more respect to your alpha, and trust that any problems that come between us are, in fact, between us. Now, if you excuse us, Derek and I are going to go upstairs and discuss this like two mature adults."

            The emissary nodded and his alpha, and although Derek's teeth were still bared, he turned and walked up the stairs. It might not have been a win exactly, but it sure as hell felt like one. Stiles nodded once to the pack before he followed Alpha Derek up the stairs. They managed to stay silent until Derek lead him upstairs and they closed the door of Derek's bedroom.

            The walls of the room were painted various shades of grey, there was a dresser, a bed, and an attached bathroom. Nothing had any colour, everything in the room was a white, black, or a shade of grey, and the impersonality of it made Stiles wince a little bit. When he turned to Derek, however, his face was schooled into seriousness once again. He nodded to Derek and the wolf growled low and said, "It is my business if you walk in every day smelling like that."

"Does it really bother you that much?" Stiles asked before lifting his plaid shirt to sniff at the collar- it didn't really smell like anything to him.

            The wolf clenched his jaw and nodded slowly, his eyes flickered red, but ultimately stayed green. Stiles watched him carefully and then said, "You cannot handle these matters through aggression- this is why your pack is having trouble bonding properly and working together as a pack."

            Derek growled low in his throat, but didn't say anything, and so Stiles pushed the matter by watching the wolf carefully as he continued to push, "You can't help it, can you? You know exactly what you are doing wrong, but you can't do anything about it. You can't stop it because it's your anchor."

            This time the alpha turned his back on his emissary and ducked his head. Stiles knew that he hit a nerve, and he watched the careful trembling of Derek's back for a moment before he whispered, "What's your anchor, Derek?"

            For a long moment, Stiles didn't think that his alpha would answer him. He just kept trembling as he stared at the floor clenching and unclenching his fists, but eventually the man mumbled, "Anger."

"Derek," Stiles whispered as he stepped forward. Left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right. He reached out a hand and rested it out Derek's shoulder and said, "That's not healthy. Not for you and not for the pack."

"I know." Derek sounded beaten. Broken.

"It's time to let go of your anger. You have to let go."

There was a long pause before Derek whispered again, "I can't."

"You can."

"They're all dead. It's all my... and everybody is dead." His shoulder quivered minutely, and Stiles didn't have to see his face to know that it was wet with tears. The emissary tightened his hold on the alpha's shoulder and said, "No. It wasn't your fault, it never was, and I know it feels like they aren't here, but we're all here. Scott, Isaac, Malia, Jackson, Lydia, Danny, Erica, Boyd, Allison, Kira, Liam, you, and I; we're all still alive. Many of them are still alive thanks to you."

            Stiles was going out on a limb on that last one, but Derek didn't correct him, so he had to assume that he was right, and while he was on the topic, Stiles added, "Even the ones who are gone still love you, they've told me all about you. About how Halloween is your favourite holiday and you always give tricks instead of treats. About how you hate cauliflower but love broccoli even though Taylor and Patty both insist that they taste the same anyways. About how you used to watch Care Bears with Emily until she fell asleep even when Peter teased you about spoiling her, and Derek, I promise that Cora is alive somewhere, and I'm going to find her. I swear it on our bond."

            Stiles took another step forward before he carefully wrapped his arms around Derek's chest and held him close to his own. They had a long moment with Stiles just holding him and Derek's body quivering silently. It felt like trust, healing, and forgiveness, and Stiles hoped that he was right.

            Eventually the alpha sniffled and Stiles released him slowly. The alpha looked over his shoulder and nodded to Stiles, and Stiles nodded a silent you're welcome back to the alpha. They stared at each other's eyes for a long moment and then Derek whispered softly, "I should speak with them."

"I'll be down right after you." Stiles said with a smile, and Derek nodded before walking downstairs.

            There was a beat of silence before Stiles nodded to himself and walked down the stairs, ducking into his bedroom. His alpha was in a bad place and Stiles knew exactly what he needed- he hadn't done the amount of research that he'd of liked to, but screw it, he thought, my alpha needs this.

            He quickly flipped through one of the books that he brought in his knapsack, he didn't have much time, and he didn't want to make a liar of himself. There! Stiles flipped back a few pages before settling the book on his bed and grabbing sage and charcoal out of his bag, he pushed the back aside and quickly pushed it away. He drew a quick circle with some protective and grounding runes on the floor within it before he pulled a lighter from his back pocket and lit the sage. He smudged the room quickly but carefully before he sat down with crossed legs and fell into the familiar centred state of meditation.

            A deep breath filled his lungs and Stiles was comforted by the sage; he let the Latin spell spill from his lips on his exhale. The familiar words kept coming as if they were caught up in the current of his breath unable to escape, and when he finally exhaled the last sentence of the spell, Stiles only had a beat of silence before he felt himself being torn away.

                        *                                              *                                              *

            The pack waved off Derek's behaviour too easily, and Derek winced at the very thought that they'd been listening in on his and Stiles' conversation, but he empathized, after all most of them were werewolves and they had been very silent throughout the exchange.

            That didn't stop the alpha from insisting that he was in the wrong and that him and Stiles would figure it out. It wasn't until Scott got home from work and paused in the doorway that Derek realized that Stiles was mumbling something upstairs. It sounded like a spell maybe? Odd.

            Scott frowned and glanced at the stairs before he asked, "Why does it smell like sage? Deaton always says that sage is most commonly used to purify, what's going on?"

"I think he's doing a spell or something? He's speaking another language." Derek mumbled with a frown, and Liam tilted his head slightly before he mumbled, "It sounds a bit like Lydia when she's studying 'for fun'."

            Lydia's eyes widened, and if it was anyone else Derek would described her eyes are bulging, but it was Lydia and everything that she did had a certain elegance. The banshee immediately stood, pushing Jackson's head off of her lap which caused him to swear as he hit the ground with a thump. Lydia didn't seem to care though, instead she snapped, "He's speaking Latin and smudging sage?!"

Scott was the one who answered with a shrug and a quiet, "I guess."

            "What is that idiot up to?!" Lydia stepped over Jackson quickly and made her way for the stairs, when nobody else moved she paused to glare at Derek and announce, "Latin plus purification means that he's probably either calling spirits, or leaving himself open to spirits."

            Derek took a moment to realize what that meant, and then he, followed by the rest of the pack, ran upstairs. He pulled the door to Stiles' room open just as the emissary stopped speaking.

            His body was sitting upright, a meditating position that Derek had seen other people in before, but Stiles' eyes were closed and his breathing was almost silent. The room did smell strongly of sage, and the bundle that he'd used for smudging was resting on a small porcelain plate before him. The circle drawn on the floor looked a bit rushed, it was fairly oblong. A book was open on the bed, and Lydia picked it up before reading aloud, "Spirit Searching: subcategory B: Amongst the Living."

"Cora." Derek managed as he wheezed out an exhale, it felt like someone had punched him in the gut, "He is going to try to find Cora."

Lydia kept reading, "Average Spell Survival Level: 28%. Average Possession Level: 79%. Caution: A strong tether to your body is necessary, if you cannot make it back into your body then possession, death, or falling into a comatose state is imminent."

            As soon as the banshee stopped speaking, Stiles' body slumped a bit and then he tumbled back, collapsing into a heap of immobility, his eyes not even fluttering, and Derek could hear some of the pack whining behind him.

            Derek hesitated before he reached forward and he winced when his hand was forced out of Stiles' space- some kind of power refused Derek's presence. The alpha growled lowly, but it didn't matter because Stiles was helplessly laying there and he couldn't do anything about it.

            Tilting his head back, Derek let out a long, mournful, wolf like howl, and one by one the wolves in his pack leaned their heads back and did the same. It wasn't perfect, but Stiles was part of the pack, and that was how the pack called each other home.

NEXT TIME ON LET FATE DECIDE:

"You're lying." She snarled, and he shook his head as he raised his hands between them in defence, "I'm not. I swear I'm not. Please, you have to believe me!"

Chapter Text

Chapter 12: Family comes First

            Apparently the problem with a living spirit searching the living world for another living spirit, was that the world was even more distracting that way, Stiles realized. Everything seemed blurry, and he wasn't quite focussing properly on anything. There were bodies surrounding him, some pulsed with life while others were silent in death, simply watching. The pulsing ones were moving quickly, and their energy was giving Stiles something that felt reminiscent of a headache.

            The world was in black and white, painted with shades and movement and nothing more. The emissary had something important to remember though, there was a reason why he left his body. He had to remember. He tried to ignore the loud energy around his spirit and focus; there was a person. A person who Stiles was going to find. A stranger. A pack mate. A mystery. He held that thought close. Pack mate. Someone with a tie to his alpha, and therefore a tie to him.

            Stiles glanced back towards the loud, pulsing, forces and this time he could see colours- not everywhere, just in little webs between people. The colours were different, and he couldn't force himself to focus on them. He knew that there was a couple of red webs, one that resembled green, and many gold threads. The gold threads all lead into the loudest pulsing body, and they vanished into the force around him. He had a red thread leading somewhere, but Stiles was focussing on the golden web leaving him. Thirteen of the threads were bright and thrumming with energy, but there was one that was dull and it had a barely there blue thread leading away with it.

            Stiles reached forwards and plucked one of the golden threads like a string. Immediately he was assaulted with visions: a quiet sit down dinner, an angry father, the inside of a freezer, a graveyard, glowing red eyes, the overwhelming feeling of safety, and then the visions were gone. He shuddered and tried to get the right string this time; a different thread, this one was green. A car, the full moon, flashes of metal and sky, blood, then paws on the forest floor; running and hunting through the forest, again and again.

Stiles plucked the pale blue one this time. Stiles felt nauseas as images of a large family in a larger house, piggy-back rides and days out at the lake, full moon pack runs, and a tragic fire, then fear and loneliness.

The shaman held the dull blue cord tightly, and with his other hand he grasped the red cord. Big family meals, Halloween night celebrations, wolves roughhousing and hunting, a girl bleeding, an older woman, fire, fire fire.

            These were the threads that he needed. The emissary replayed the images over and over in his mind as he held onto the red and blue threads and refused to let them go. He was vaguely aware that time was probably passing, but everything felt weightless, and timeless. He tried to focus, and Stiles managed to force himself to follow the blue thread. When Stiles finally found the pulsing figure that the blue thread was fading into he knew that he needed to find a way to speak with her.

            There was another body there, Stiles could see a colourless thread  between the figures, but that wasn't of consequence. The emissary reached out with his magic and let himself fade into the figure.

            There was someone yelling loudly in his head, but there was also someone yelling loudly outside of his head. Stiles groaned before he managed to open his eyes, it was hot, much more warm than Beacon Hills, and he let out a sigh at the feeling. He preferred the warmth. Someone shook his shoulder, and Stiles met her eyes. The girl had long dark hair, a soft face, and soft brown eyes for all of a moment, and then her face and eyes both hardened as she leapt back with a loud snarl before she snapped, "Who are you?!"

            Stiles looked down at himself. He was in the body of the human who was still screaming at him in his mind, with that information, he turned his attention back to Cora Hale. Stiles winced once before he managed to say, "I am your brother's emissary."

The girl's face twisted with several dark expressions before she shook her head and transformed into her beta form, "Impossible." She snarled.

"It's true," Stiles insisted as he brought a hand up to rub his temple, "Alpha Derek has been living in Beacon Hills for years; he doesn't realize that he wasn't the only one to survive."

            She roared at him harshly, and Stiles winced, she was terrifying and loud. Cora shook her head and growled low before she said, "Leave Arianna's body now, and maybe I won't rip your soul from her body."

"You can't," Stiles said, "You lack the spiritual ability, the magic, and the knowledge of how to actually do so. You would need a substantial amount of all of these to actually do anything about my presence in- Arianna, was it?"

            A ferocious sound tore from Cora's throat again and Stiles had to remind himself that she wouldn't hurt him because he was in her companion’s body. Arianna was still panicking in his mind, and he knew that he needed to get back to his own body, and so Stiles said, "Cora Eve Hale please, Derek won't believe me and none of us know how to find you. His anchor is unstable, he is plagued with survivor's guilt, and he misses you like he would miss the very heart in his chest. He is trying to do his best but he can't heal without you. Please, Cora, I might never find my way back and he needs you. We all need you."

"What about what I need?!" Cora's voice was harsh, but Stiles could hear the underlying panic beneath it, and with one final sad smile he said, "Let us be all that you need, Cora. After all, we're pack."

            Stiles finally let go, and Arianna had her head all to herself to scream to her heart's content. He took a moment to stare at the pulsing forces of Cora and Arianna, and then Stiles turned and, with his grasp tight around his own red thread, he released the dull blue thread. He truly hoped that she would seek them.  

 

                        *                                              *                                              *

 

            The pack was all crammed in Stiles' room in a tense silence; Derek knew that they wanted him to say something, guide them, tell them something but he didn't know what to say. He could call Deaton, but Lydia didn't exactly make it sound like there was much that they could do about the situation. He paced outside of Stiles' oblong circle growling. The girls in the pack were all sitting on Stiles' bed, and rest of the pack was standing around the room just as uselessly.

            In minutes Stiles' eyes fluttered, and Derek threw himself towards the emissary but the barrier pushed back and he found himself snarling at the boundary just as Stiles leapt up to his feet with a sharp gasp. The room was loud suddenly, the entire pack was yelling at Stiles, and only Lydia was quiet. Derek snarled loudly and everybody else silenced themselves. He stalked forward until he was just on the other side of the barrier as he ignored Stiles' shocked stare, and then Derek snarled, "What the hell did you think you were doing, you idiot?! You just became my emissary, you can't just cast these kind of dangerous spells without discussing them with me beforehand!"

"Derek," Lydia interrupted, and Derek bared his teeth at her, but he didn't reprimand her vocally, she continued, "I don't think that that's Stiles."

            The alpha spun back towards the figure and inhaled deeply. He could only smell pack, sage, and Stiles. He eyed Stiles, the boy's eyes were wide and his jaw dropped in shock, his face was pale but his body was suspiciously still. Derek growled low in his throat before he asked darkly, "Who the hell are you?!"

"D-Derek?" Not-Stiles asked, and the alpha hesitated before he nodded.

"Derek!" Not-Stiles sobbed, and he took a step towards the alpha, but Lydia was quickly standing between them. The redhead shook her head and snapped, "Stay in the circle. I'm guessing that Stiles did his spell correctly, but his circle only protected his body from malicious spirits, so I assume that you are not one."

Not-Stiles shook his head, but his eyes were still boring into Derek's as Lydia kept talking, "Just because you aren't a malicious spirit does not mean that you couldn't accidentally let one in if you leave the circle."

            Not-Stiles' eyes never left Derek's, but he nodded anyways, and Lydia narrowed her eyes but slowly moved back towards the bed as she crossed her arms. Derek clenched his jaw and crossed his arms and asked, "Who are you, then?"

"It's me," Not-Stiles said just as tears began to drip down his cheeks, "Derek, it's me, Laura."

            The world stopped for a moment as Derek stared into Stiles' big brown doe eyes and he could see it. He could see the shock and the love of his sister staring at him through Stiles' eyes. Derek felt his jaw drop and he felt like he was choking for a moment. His first instinct was to reject it. Surely not. Surely he wasn't speaking to his dead sister, but when he looked in her eyes...

"Laur...." Derek managed to whisper, and she nodded as she covered her mouth with a hand.

 

NEXT TIME ON LET FATE DECIDE:

Hopefully I won’t disappoint you all by taking so long ;P

<3

Seriously though, thank you all for being so irrationally patient with me. <3