It's summer and Stiles is happy. Not just because there's no school - although that's definitely a plus - but because he gets to spend every day with the pack.
Yeah. That's his thing now. Running with a pack of werewolves.
He'd never seen this coming after that night he told Scott about half a body being found in the woods near the old Hale house.
Stiles is on his front on the sofa, one of his favourite places to be. It'd been donated by Isaac who officially lives with his aunt, but unofficially lives at the warehouse. His aunt doesn't treat him the way his dad did, but - if possible - she seems to care about him even less, not giving a crap about anything he does. Isaac really crapped out on the whole having a decent family thing and sometimes all Stiles can think is that he's lucky he has the pack.
Also, that Stiles is totally never asking him where he got the sofa from. It's comfortable, with no suspicious blood stains and doesn't reek of anything troubling, so Stiles doesn't ask questions and spends as much time there as possible.
At the moment he's going through their slowly-translated-by-him-but-it's-taking-forever-because-he-doesn't-actually-know-Ancient-Latin copy of the Bestiary, unwittingly provided by the Argents a year ago. Stiles has read through what he can of it many, many times but he still finds the thing fascinating, and is always pouring through it to try and dig up some new nugget of information.
And truthfully, it's more like he's trying to go through the Bestiary, because the rest of the pack - bar one - are on the far side of the warehouse, playing. That's totally what it is, too; the way dogs - and wolves, presumably - playfully chase or fight with each other, running around until they finally collapse from exhaustion. Stiles had found it equally ridiculous and hilarious at first; had even started bringing along chew toys until Derek, the big party pooper, had made him stop. But sometimes now a small part of him is kind of jealous that he's missing out. He never says that, of course, and it's not like they purposefully exclude him, but they all know he won't heal the way they do when he inevitably gets hurt. They're not exactly gentle on each other, a point proven when Erica pushes Jackson into a table, creating a veritable avalanche of origami animals hitting the floor. Boyd growls in annoyance, which just makes Stiles roll his eyes. He'd told Boyd ages ago to find a better way of displaying the damn things after that time Scott suffered a particularly brutal sneezing attack (as it turns out, just about everything a werewolf does is more powerful, including sneezing. They kept finding origami'd animals in the weirdest places for days afterward). It's his own fault for not listening.
That's not the only distraction, however. The other distraction is a lot closer - sitting only a few feet away - reading a book. It's something Stiles finds him doing, lately. Whenever Stiles has foregone the computer for the chance to spread out on the comfy, comfy sofa, Derek parks himself on the chair not long after. He always settles in quietly, not saying a word as he opens up his book like the guy's never heard of a Kindle or an iPad. Derek is old-fashioned in a lot of ways, and that's not always a bad thing.
Sometimes a conversation starts up, sometimes it doesn't, and mostly they just enjoy being in each other's presence.
Okay, so maybe that's just how Stiles reads the situation.
Anyway, for all that Derek is frequently the annoying, growly, over-protective Alpha, in quieter moments he's this other guy that Stiles is still getting to know. For whatever reason he's usually less guarded in these moments - and much less likely to argue with Stiles about anything, when he normally makes it an Olympic event. He really has this whole Jekyll and Hyde thing going on, and Stiles doesn't know if it's his werewolf side vs his human side, or if sometimes Derek is just a dick.
He tends to think it's the latter.
His thoughts are cut short when Derek's phone rings, gaining his interest. Derek doesn't get personal calls when they're all together - everyone he cares about is in the warehouse - so phone calls usually lead somewhere interesting. Maybe even to somewhere where Stiles can help out.
Stiles likes being useful, likes being able to have something to contribute - especially when he's the only one in the pack who doesn't have superhuman strength. No, Stiles' skills when it comes to fighting are simply hoping he trips the bad guys up with his body after he inevitably gets knocked unconscious. Not that he thinks he's not an asset, because he totally is. His research and planning skills are usually the best out of the group, but when it comes to the physical stuff? Not so much.
So, when Derek declares that they have to go back to Jungle again - as a group, because apparently being a pack means doing practically everything together; Stiles literally had to stop Isaac from following him into the bathroom that one time with a rant about personal space - Stiles knows exactly what to do. Derek is concerned about them not blending in, which - has Derek seen himself? Or his pack? They already look like they belong in a gay club 90% of the time anyway.
But Stiles is The Man. The Man with The Plan. And a cell phone that holds Delores' number.
She sounds genuinely pleased to hear from him again and is eager to take Stiles up on his invitation to meet more of his friends. Stiles always get the impression after talking to Delores - which might have happened a few times now, usually when he wanted to quite rightfully complain about something obnoxious Derek had done - that she feels like she's taking him under her wing, or something. Which is totally, totally unnecessary.
It's kind of nice, anyway.
So, once the arrangements are made, Stiles heads back in to the warehouse to share the good news.
Jackson is his typical, cheerful self. "You have friends? Outside the pack?" Yeah. Aligning his lizardy ass with Derek's pack hadn't made Jackson any less of a dick. Go figure.
"Jackson," Derek warns with a rumble of a growl, and at least there's that, now. For all his - many, many - faults, Derek will not stand for in-fighting.
"Unlike some people, I know how to socialise like a human being," he shoots back anyway, "probably because I am the only human being. I know how to network. Get on someone's good side. Make friends."
"Wait," Scott says, "are these the same friends you brought...to Lydia's party?"
The hesitation's there because they don't talk about Lydia's birthday party. It's a whole big denial thing they have going on. The fall-out and repercussions of that night went on for a long, long time - and still weren't completely over. Hence the reason Allison and Lydia weren't part of the pack with them. At the moment, he told himself. Just at the moment. "Yeah."
"Awesome!" Scott grins and Stiles grins back.
That night, Derek's face alone gets them straight to the front of the line (of course it does, why is he even surprised?) and when they walk in together as a group...Stiles suddenly understands why Derek was worried about blending in. They're getting a lot of attention, which totally makes sense given the number of hotties they have in the pack - including Erica, who's attracted the attention of the only lesbian in the room. Thankfully Delores is already there, waving them over and Stiles' relief grows as he leads the way, the interest waning a little as it becomes clear they're actually there to meet friends, not about to indulge in some physics-defying sex orgy right then and there.
"Hello, gorgeous!" she greets loudly over the music, before her gaze zeroes in on Derek and Boyd specifically, eyebrows arching. "Well, looks like somebody had two daddies," she remarks wickedly, as Stiles just makes a face and Jackson busts a gut laughing.
"That is so gross I cannot begin to tell you," is all Stiles can think to say, and then he's gesturing from group to group. "Delores, meet my friends. My friends, meet Delores and her friends."
Scott goes right up to shake her hand.
"It's a pleasure," she says warmly, then leans down towards Stiles after Scott moves away. "Is that Derek?" She asks as quietly as is possible with the music, her eyes drifting towards Scott who's happily standing to one side, moving his head up and down in time to the beat, totally oblivious to the looks he's getting.
Weird question, for several reasons. "That's Scott. My best friend." She doesn't seem to recognise him. "You met him at the party?"
"Oh," she waves a hand, "I don't know what the hell was in that punch, but I barely remember anything about that night - apart from a really disturbing nightmare about my ex." Yeah. Sounded like that had been a bad night for all involved.
"That's Derek." Stiles gestures to the man in question, who at least doesn't seem to be paying attention, talking to Boyd and Jackson about something quietly.
Clearly surprised, Delores brings a hand up to her cleavage. "Oh. I imagined something...a little more your size."
Stiles is starting to feel offended, but he's not even sure why. He's about to snap back some kind of response when there's a hand - a female hand - sliding from his shoulder down to his stomach and pausing there, a body pressing up against his back and when he turns his head he sees Erica grinning straight at Delores. "Oh, don't worry about Stiles, here. He's plenty big enough to handle Derek. Isn't that right?" she asks, turning her head to meet Stiles' gaze, and he'd be enjoying the groping a lot more if she wasn't so evil.
"I hate you," he squints, because Erica - and most of the pack, actually - seem to think it's funny to make jokes about him and Derek, when it couldn't be further from the truth.
"You love it," Erica taunts, giving his stomach a firm pat before sliding her arm and her body away, and walking - sashaying, really - off towards the woman who's still giving her the eye. Stiles doesn't know if all supernatural creatures are fluid with their sexuality, or if there's just something in the water. It could be either one, because Isaac has starting dancing with a guy who doesn't have a shirt on.
Rolling his eyes, Stiles focuses back on Delores. "Ignore her. That's just Erica. She's-"
"Stiles." A much larger - and much more familiar, which says a lot about how often Derek pushes him around - hand drops on his shoulder. Stiles is about to turn when Jackson is clearly shoved right next to him, almost stumbling. "Jackson's staying here," Derek says in no uncertain terms and Jackson looks as thrilled about this as Stiles is. "Boyd's coming with me to see if my...date's here," he finishes, and by 'date' he means 'contact', and why these secret meetings about the latest hunter activity have to happen in gay bars, Stiles has no idea. Maybe Derek's contact is gay, and this was a kill-two-birds-with-one-stone thing.
Derek's about to take off when he apparently thinks better of it and pauses, giving Delores a silent nod in greeting. It's the only way he's acknowledged her presence in any way, shape or form and then he is leaving, Boyd walking right next to him.
"I see what you mean," Delores says knowingly and Stiles throws his hands out in triumph that at least somebody understands.
"Thank you! You see what I have to work with?"
Jackson frowns at them. "What the hell are you talking about?"
Sometime later, it turns out that Jackson likes fruity drinks with umbrellas in them. This news is somehow unsurprising and Stiles would make a lot more fun of him than he already has, but alcohol doesn't affect Jackson anymore so he figures he can only get away with so much when Jackson is still sober. Delores has taken herself off to the little girls room (her words, and Stiles couldn't help but wonder which room she'd actually be using but that was the not the kind of question you asked a lady without getting slapped), so the two of them are sitting at one of the few seating areas. Clearly bored, Jackson is rolling an open umbrella between the thumb and index finger of his right hand, while Stiles fiddles with a cherry impaled on a plastic stick (oh, irony). When Jackson suddenly shifts, sitting up straight, it's enough to draw Stiles' interest and he looks up to see a guy walking towards them. He's not Derek levels of hot - or, God help him, even Jackson - but he's definitely cute and looks like a man on a mission. Sighing, Stiles drops the cherry and turns to one side, because he has no intention of watching absolutely everybody hook up around him - or watch how damn smug Jackson is about to be - when he realises cute guy's path has changed and he's walking towards him.
"Hi," the guy says, smiling at him. At Stiles.
Right now, he really wishes he could see Jackson's face, but he kinda can't tear his face away from the guy who likes him. "Hi."
There's a noise next to him, a chair being moved and then Jackson's arm is around his shoulders. What the hell? That breaks the trance and Stiles turns to glare at him. "What are you-?"
"He's here with someone," Jackson tells Cute Guy meaningfully and seriously, what the hell?
"Really?" Cute Guy asks with a disbelieving smile. "Because it doesn't look like he's having a very good time. In fact, he looks bored out of his mind."
"That's just his resting face," Jackson says smoothly. "It's a lot different than his orgasm face, I can tell you-"
Oh my God. "Oh my God! Would you both let me participate in a conversation that's about me? Please?" Stupid assholes and their stupid territorial bullshit. And why the hell was Jackson being territorial over him in the first place?
His freak out doesn't scare Cute Guy off, who probably thinks he's doing Stiles a favour by getting him away from Jackson. This is not far from the truth. "You want to dance?"
Stiles glances out over the heaving mass of bodies and doesn't know what he wants. He's kind of pissed at both of them, but he's never danced with a guy before-
And then Jackson is kissing him.
And Jackson's hot and all, and maybe Stiles had imagined what this'd feel like once or twice before, but now that the moment's here it's mostly just shock. The kiss isn't bad, but it is his first kiss with a guy, and Jackson is not the first guy kiss he's been hoping for.
Not that he's been hoping for anyone in particular. Or anything.
And then he thinks this is Jackson, and Jackson has kissed everyone and Stiles probably has a STD already in the five seconds they've been lip-locked and Stiles is still so shocked, it takes him a while to remember he can do something to stop it. Planting a hand on Jackson's chest, Stiles shoves him away, hard. Panting, wiping a hand across his mouth, Stiles watches in satisfaction as Jackson nearly falls off his chair.
"Dude," he breathes out angrily, "do that again and you lose both balls." He doesn't care that Jackson is a super strong lizard - he'll find a way to make it happen.
"That won't be all he'll lose," a voice says, so Stiles turns and of course Derek and the rest of the pack are all standing there watching. Derek and the rest of the pack had suddenly swooped in like there was a disturbance in the pack-force and their were-midi-chlorians had alerted them to it. Of course they had. His mortification lives only briefly, however, before Derek speaks again - and he's clearly addressing Jackson. "You were supposed to pretend to be his boyfriend. That was all."
And way, woo, wha, huh? "Excuse me? Say what?" Because he cannot have heard that correctly. Seriously cannot.
"I scared the guy off didn't I?" Jackson defends and still no one is answering Stiles' question. "You said keep him out of trouble."
"By pretending to be his boyfriend, yes," Derek says. "Not by..." Derek grimaces like it hurts to even say it, "...sucking his face off."
No, seriously. What?
"So? I kept him out of trouble." And then Jackson adds, much too smugly for Stiles' liking, "With my lips."
Derek huffs and then suddenly he's moving forward, grabbing Stiles' wrist - and oh, they were back to this, now - literally dragging him out of the club. Stiles can't resist even he wants to - and he actually really does want to. As they pass Delores she gives him a dirty wink and a big thumbs up. He can't help but feel betrayed because in what universe does this actually look like he's being dragged outside to be ravished by the hot guy in the leather jacket? Can she not see how angry Derek looks? How angry Stiles looks?
Finally, though, they're all stumbling out the exit. Derek's grip loosens just enough and Stiles is yanking away, only to prod a finger firmly against Derek's chest. It may bounce back a little due to the muscles. Stiles tries not to notice. "What the hell is wrong with you?" The shock has worn off and Stiles has settled on angry, with a chance of pissed. "You leave a...fake boyfriend with me, like it's any of your business whatsoever? So...what?" His brain tries to make sense of this insanity. "There won't even be a chance that someone might look at me? You guys get to go off and dance with whoever the hell you want, but what about me? Maybe Stiles wants to dance with a guy! Maybe Stiles wants a chance to actually kiss someone in the next decade-"
"Already taken care of," Jackson points out smugly.
"Someone who isn't Jackson!" Right about now, Jackson needs a dose of his own venom.
And Derek just keeps glaring at him, like this is all Stiles' fault when he hasn't done anything wrong at all. Seriously. For once, this is not in any way his fault. Saying nothing, Derek eventually grumps away in the general direction of his car.
Stiles stares after him. "But...I..."
"Stiles," Jackson is right next to him and Stiles see the others sneaking past - Scott included - before he can say anything to them, the cowards, "don't be a moron. Well, even more of one than usual." Completely confused, Stiles just looks at him. Jackson pats him on the shoulder in a way that's almost friendly, and maybe it should be weird because they've kissed now, but it totally isn't. "You're pack."
Stiles doesn't admit this very often, but he really doesn't understand what Jackson's getting at. "So?"
"So...you're ours," Jackson explains, like it's a perfectly normal thing to say and not in any way creepy or possessive.
Stiles just stands there, stunned, watching Jackson walk away.