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There's Magic Between You and I

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- Saturday, September 22nd, 2012 -

Lydia doesn't show up at school the following day. The reason is obvious to everyone, but the fact that she seems to disappear completely—not even Jackson is able to get into contact with her—is cause for concern in Stiles' eyes. Luckily, he doesn't have to worry for long because she reappears at the house bright and early on Saturday. The doorbell rings when he's still relaxed in bed, comfortably ensconced in Derek's arms, and as a result it's a real battle to find the motivation to move. His eyes want to slip closed again every time he manages to open them, but when the bell rings a second and third time in quick succession, he sighs and pries Derek's arm from around his waist, sliding across the mattress and out into the cold a second later. In reality, the room is reasonably warm, but a full night of sleeping with an alpha werewolf pressed up against his back makes it feel freezing by comparison. He's quiet as he dresses and tiptoes out into the hall, not wanting to wake Derek prematurely.

When he actually manages to get to the ground floor and open the door, Stiles gets a shock when he sees Lydia standing on the other side. It's like nothing ever happened, all of her hair remaining firmly attached to her head as she waltzes past and walks casually into the kitchen.

Snapping out of his daze, Stiles shuts the door again before following. "Uh, Lyds?"

"I took the suggestion you made a couple of days ago and ran with it," Lydia responds easily, correctly guessing what Stiles wanted to ask her. When she sees the boy's bewildered expression, she smirks around the spoon she's using to eat a pot of plain yoghurt she took from the fridge and consumes another spoonful before continuing. "You were expecting it to take longer, I assume?"

"You could say that..." Stiles answers, switching on the coffee pot and waiting for it to work its magic. He can already feel that he'll be needing a lot of the stuff to get through the day, and Derek will no doubt want a mug as soon as he emerges from their bedroom later on, too. They don't have anything planned—Derek will probably shut himself away in his study for a while to get some work done, but other than that, the day is wide open. While he's waiting, he sticks a couple of slices of bread in the toaster, getting some raspberry jam out of the fridge to spread on them once the appliance spits them back out. It's not the most exciting breakfast he's ever made, but it'll do. He's not awake enough yet to consider doing anything more complicated, but that'll probably have changed by the time Derek is up and sniffing around for his own food.

Scraping the bottom of her yoghurt pot to get the last of it, Lydia washes it out before tossing it in the recycling and dropping the spoon in the sink.

"I got my mom to take me to this speciality wig maker in L.A. right after I left school. It was expensive, but he got it done fast," she explains happily, stepping closer to Stiles and pointing at the top of her forehead, where the edge of the lace-front is just barely visible.

"Oh, cool," Stiles comments, nodding his approval. The wig is so well made that he never would've been able to tell that she's wearing one at all had she not pointed it out to him. Just then, the toaster dings and produces his two slices of toast, so he retrieves a plate from the cupboard and takes them out quickly, sucking his index finger into his mouth when he nearly burns it. He seems to have timed things perfectly, because as soon as he finishes spreading the jam, the coffee pot also dings, and a minute later he's walking into the living room and taking a seat on the sofa.

Lydia opts for one of the armchairs.

After sitting through a rerun of The Big Bang Theory, she remembers the real reason she came over so early, slapping herself on the forehead for forgetting in the first place. From her pocket she produces a resealable plastic bag and tosses it in Stiles' direction, giggling when he fumbles to catch it and spills the last of his coffee down his front.

"Oops...my bad!" she says when her laughter tapers off, not feeling sorry at all. It might be a different story if the boy was wearing a different shirt, but as it is, she doesn't feel bad about accidentally causing him to stain the hideous graphic tee he currently sports. Nevertheless, when Stiles glares at her, she holds her hands up in defeat and goes to get a couple of paper towels from the kitchen on his instruction, watching as he dabs at the stain and tries to stop it from spreading. After he gives up and inspects the contents of the small plastic bag more closely, she explains what's inside it when he stares up at her in confusion. "It's a hair that I found with Derek's old necklace. It was tangled up in the chain, and I'm guessing it belonged to whoever is doing this to us. I thought you might be able to use it in a locator spell or something—I remember coming across one when I was perusing the collection of books you have on the third floor."

"I can try," Stiles agrees, switching off the television again and going up the library to search for the aforementioned spell.

It doesn't take long for him to find it, inside the thickest and oldest-looking book Deaton gave him. He takes out his phone and makes a list of the ingredients and all the steps he'll need to follow, reading it all meticulously several times over to make sure he understands everything.

He has none of the required items in the house, so after changing his shirt and leaving a note on Derek's pillow so that the man doesn't worry about where he's gone, he gets back downstairs to find Lydia preparing to leave. He asks the girl if she feels like accompanying him on a trip to the veterinary clinic, and a minute later, the pair are climbing into the banshee's car and setting off. The trip to the clinic reminds Stiles that Deaton is still missing—with everything that's been going on in his life, he completely forgot.

By the time Lydia has parked the car outside the building, he's come to the conclusion that he'll try and use the spell a second time to find the man if the first attempt is successful.

Instead of using the back lot like she normally would do, Stiles is a little confused when he looks out of his window and finds that they're parked in front of the main entrance. There are no other cars around, the other spaces all empty. It makes the place feel desolate and abandoned, unsettling. "Why are we parked round here?" he asks Lydia as he gets out of the car and follows her to the double doors. He doesn't get a verbal answer; instead, the girl points to a sign that is stuck to the inside of the glass—'Due to an unexpected family emergency, I've had to go out of town for an undetermined amount of time. I suggest that anybody who requires my services finds and makes use of the clinic in the nearest town until I return. I apologise sincerely for any inconvenience this may cause, and for the short notice.' It's signed Alan Deaton. "Who's idea was this?"

"Scott's," Lydia answers, pulling a key out of her pocket and unlocking the door.

Everything seems normal in the waiting room, but the illusion doesn't last long. Stiles hears the sound of something being knocked over coming from the back room, quickly followed by quiet cursing, so he concentrates and gets his powers ready in case he has to use them.

Lydia pushes him impatiently when he doesn't immediately move to investigate, so after glaring back at her over his shoulder, he steps through the doorway despite it not really feeling safe. Turning the corner, he finds the room in complete disarray, with someone crouched down on the floor as they root through one of the cupboards below the countertops. Their head is hidden from view, meaning he can't identify them. "Hello?" he calls cautiously as he takes another step.

The person under the counter swears loudly when they bump their head against the top of the cupboard, startled by his voice.

As they crawl backward out into the open and he gets a good look at them, Stiles lets his powers recede when he sees that it's just Holly, his palms losing the faint orange glow the precedes his fire. He sees shock and suspicion pass across her face briefly before the pain must kick in and she reaches up to the back of her head and winces. Quickly moving forward, he helps her up from the floor. She's another person he hasn't seen in a while—almost a full month, in fact, since their last training session when he guesses Deaton first vanished. He'd actually forgotten she was even in town. Her clothes look unwashed and her hair is like a bird's nest on top of her head. He's a little surprised when he doesn't see twigs. "Sorry about scaring you..." he says as he gets her a stool. "What are you doing here, anyway? You've made a pretty big mess of the place."

"I was trying to find a clue about where Deaton's gone," Holly answers, still rubbing at the back of her head. "I haven't heard from him since the day before our last session, and I'm running out of options. I was hunting around in here in case he left something that'll help me."

"Oh, that's...good," Stiles says lamely after a second, blinking and looking around the room again, this time with more focus. It certainly seems as though Holly has been thorough—absolutely all of the cupboards have been emptied, with their contents strewn across the countertops. Jars and boxes and books are piled and mixed up. He can't help thinking that Deaton is probably going to be mad whenever he gets back or they rescue him and he sees the state of his back room.

Lydia hops up on the edge of the examination table, already checked out of the current conversation.

"Why are you here?" Holly asks, returning Stiles' question. "Did he have another training session set up in advance or something that he neglected to tell me about?" Her head has stopped throbbing by this point, so she rests both hands in her lap.

Shaking his head, Stiles takes his phone from his jeans pocket and scrolls through the list of ingredients he typed down earlier, making a slow circuit of the room and picking out everything he needs. It takes longer than he was expecting because nothing is in its rightful place anymore. "Nope. You've probably been out of the loop—which, again, sorry—but there's someone new in town messing with us, and it's lead to some very unpleasant stuff," he explains, lining everything up next to Lydia on the examination table. He puts it in order from what he'll need first to what he won't need until the end of the spell. The resealable bag containing the long blonde hair goes in front of it all, in clear view. "Lydia found this in the preserve, tangled up with something of Derek's, which is what we think was used to curse him. It probably belonged to whoever is doing this to us, so I was going to have a go at casting a locator spell so we can put an end to it all already..."

Getting up from her stool, Holly takes Stiles' phone to get a look at which spell he's using. "I know this; if you want, I can help so there aren't any mistakes made," she offers, handing the phone back. She's pleased when he accepts, and within the next couple of minutes, they have all the tools they'll need lined up behind the ingredients.

"OK, let's do this!" Stiles cheers, putting forth a positive attitude.

"That's a lot of stuff," Lydia comments offhandedly. She had to vacate her seat on the table to make room for it all, something she wasn't very happy about, and she now sits and watches from the stool on which Holly was sitting previously.

"It's a complex spell," Holly replies before positioning two pillar candles either side of a large wooden bowl and instructing Stiles to light the wicks. One by one, she and Stiles tip the ingredients into the bowl with some purified water, pausing every now and then so he can mutter the small incantations the spell requires. Lastly, she unfolds a map of of the town and lays it behind the bowl. "If this works, when you tip the potion onto here, it'll reveal the location of your enemy by leaving that area uncovered."

The final thing to go in the bowl is the hair. Stiles upends the plastic bag and taps a couple of times on the bottom to get it fall into the mixture, recoiling and coughing when, as soon as it makes contact, it releases a large puff of purple smoke right in his face. "Motherfucker!" he chokes, gratefully taking the glass of water Lydia hastily gets for him and downing a third of it in one swallow. "That stuff is awful..." He wipes the moisture from his eyes and sticks his tongue out ridiculously as if the air will get rid of the taste, pouting when it doesn't work. Holly's impatient face swims into view as his eyes dry, and he clears his throat awkwardly before refocusing on the task at hand. After she inspects the potion and deems it complete, he takes the bowl carefully in his hands and tips it slowly onto the map as per her earlier instruction, starting right in the centre of town. The thick liquid spreads gradually out across all the lines and small letters until it covers every inch. He looks down at it, frowning.

"Did it not work?" he asks, not seeing a point anywhere on the map that's been left uncovered.

"Give it time. These things don't always work right away," Holly placates, keeping her own eyes on the map, too. After a whole minute passes without anything changing, she hums thoughtfully before making a start at clearing everything up.

Having been so sure that the spell would be the answer to all of their problems, it not working fills Stiles with immense disappointment. Even though both Holly and Lydia assure him that it's not the case when he voices the thought, he feels like it's a failure on his part, like he wasn't strong enough to pull it off. He appreciates the comforting words, though.

Sighing, he wonders how he's going to clean the map off and dispose of the potion without spilling it all over the floor. He doesn't come up with a solution, so he figures he might as well just get it over with. Stepping around the table, he grabs hold of two of the map's sides and lifts, his mouth dropping open in an 'O' when he finds that it's solid. The potion has completely fused with the paper and turned hard, making it like a piece of poster board. "Well, I guess this is ruined..." he mutters under his breath, breaking it into pieces and tossing them in the bin.

"We'll find them another way," Lydia announces with feigned certainty, sensing Stiles' mood.

"I hope you're right..." the boy responds, washing his hands in the sink before helping Holly tidy everything away. It's not too easy to put everything back where it belongs, but Deaton luckily has all of the cupboard shelves labelled with tiny pieces of paper and tape.

When the last jar is put away and the cupboards are closed, Stiles stands back up this full height and prepares to leave. There's no point in sticking around the place when he has no use for it. "You ready to go?" he asks Lydia, already walking toward the waiting room. The clicking of her heels lets him know that she's following, and he holds the door open for her so she can step through it without getting hit in the face. Holly brings up the rear, and he and Lydia wave goodbye to her when she announces that she's going to try and pursue other methods of finding her missing friend. After Lydia locks the clinic back up and they're sat once more in her car, he stays silent for most of the drive back to his and Derek's house, only opening his mouth when the girl turns onto the road that leads up to the place. "I hope Deaton's OK... Knowing this town, I bet something's abducted him or something. There seems to have been a whole lot of that this year. These villains should try being more original."

"Yes, well...let's not give up hope just yet, hmm?" Lydia says as she comes to a stop next to Stiles' blue Camaro. While they were gone, Jackson's silver Porsche and Danny's red convertible have appeared, both parked on the other side of Derek's own black Camaro. She prepares herself for more comments about her wig. "Perhaps some visitors will help get your mind off it?"

Silently agreeing, Stiles exits the car after Lydia and walks inside the house behind her.

Jackson appears in the foyer as soon as Stiles closes the door, and he rolls his eyes when the beta looks Lydia up and down with a frown, confused. "It's a wig, dumbass..." he says exasperatedly before walking past him to find Derek.

Surprisingly, he finds the man still in bed, propped up against the pillows with a book open in his lap. The sheets are pooled around Derek's waist, and it feels so good to see him looking so relaxed and content again after the roughness of the past few days. "Hey, you," he greets as he shuts the bedroom door and walks over to the bed, sliding on to the mattress and tilting Derek's book back so he can read the title on the spine. He nods approvingly after he sees the word 'Misery' staring back up at him in a bloody font. When Derek makes a noise of protest, he allows the man to take the book back and continue reading, pressing right up against his side and snuggling into his sleep-warm skin. "Stephen King, huh? Good choice. I've never read that one, though. Is it any good? I've only seen the movie with Kathy Bates. She was super convincing as a crazy-stalker fan."

Stiles shuts himself up when he realises he's rambling, smiling abashedly up at Derek's amused face.

"It's alright," Derek replies after waiting a second just to make sure that Stiles is truly finished. "I'm not very far through, so it's really too soon to tell. I'm enjoying it so far, though I'm not too sure I like his writing style. We'll see. What did you and Lydia get up to? Your note just said you were leaving without saying what you were actually going to be doing." Now that Stiles is back, he closes the book and sets it on the nightstand before tucking his hands behind his head and concentrating on his mate.

"Lydia found a hair with your gold necklace, so I tried to use that in a spell to find our attacker," Stiles explains, snuggling closer and wedging his nose into the crease between Derek's neck and shoulder, breathing him in with a sigh. "It didn't work."

Sensing Stiles' disappointment, Derek rumbles low in his chest so that the vibrations seep through into the boy's body. He knows the sensation can often mollify Stiles' anxiety and frustrations, and he makes full use of it in that moment, ramping the noise up a couple of notches when the teen hums softly and sighs, the exhalation sounding less despondent this time. The only downside to the trick is that it often leads to jokes about him being like a cat, but fortunately Stiles keeps his mouth shut for now. "We'll find another way, love. Don't worry," he comforts quietly, lowering his right arm so he can run a hand up and down the teen's back.

"That's what Lydia said..." Stiles breathes, his eyes closing.

"She's a smart girl; you should listen to her," Derek says cheekily, pressing his lips to Stiles' forehead in a chaste kiss. "Never tell her I said that, though. She'd wouldn't ever let me forget it." He shudders at the thought. For months now, he's already been thinking that the banshee likes to take control of too many situations as it is, something that doesn't really sit right with the alpha wolf in his head. They put up with it, though, knowing things would be worse if he ever dared to complain—what's happened to Jackson each time he's tried to grow a backbone is more than enough reason for him to stay silent. He never wants to be on the receiving end of Lydia's anger because he'd probably be dead before he could scream. The only comfort is that Stiles would give the girl hell right back in his defence. Speaking of his mate, he can tell that the boy still has some nervous energy running through his system.

He was waiting until Stiles got back to take care of his usual morning workout, and he's glad now that he did. It's the perfect opportunity for the teen to burn off that energy.

"Right, c'mon," he instructs, sliding off of the mattress and chuckling when Stiles ends up falling sideways with a groan into the spot he just vacated. "We're going down to the basement so that you can work off your frustration. It'll be good for you." When Stiles still doesn't move, he hikes up the back of the teen's shirt and leans down to blow a series of raspberries right on his spine.

Stiles breaks down into a fit of breathless laughter, squirming desperately away from Derek.

He ends up falling off the other side of the bed with a thump that echoes through the floor. "That was mean!" he gasps as his laughter tapers off, taking Derek's hand when the man walks around to him and offers it. Instead of letting go when he's on his feet, though, he uses the fact that Derek isn't expecting it to his advantage and pulls him closer, tilting his head up and meeting the wolf's lips when they come crashing into his own. He sucks eagerly on Derek's tongue when it invades his mouth, not at all put off by the alpha's lingering morning breath.

They stand there for several long minutes in their own little world, and Stiles only pulls away when his lungs demand air. The dazed look on Derek's face makes him smile, and he pinches the man's cheeks and coos at him sweetly before sauntering away, pleased with himself.

* * *

- Sunday, September 23rd, 2012 -

Sunday begins like any other day, the morning thankfully passing by without incident.

After their usual cuddle session in bed, Stiles and Derek get up at around ten o'clock following a rather impatient Isaac knocking loudly on their door, wanting company. No one else is at the house yet and Danny is unavailable, having gone out of town with his family for the day. Derek groans at being disturbed, but Stiles just pats him on the back and tells him to get over it.

The human teen takes pity on Isaac and ends up enlisting the curly-haired beta's help in doing his chores around the house. This gives Derek a break from helping himself—Stiles sees him heading predictably down into the basement again while he's busy vacuuming in the living room, with Isaac holding the furniture up for him so he can get underneath. He wants to roll his eyes at his mate, thinking that the amount of time Derek spends working out is a little excessive, but he certainly doesn't mind reaping the rewards. Once the last of the vacuuming is done, he gives the device to Isaac to put away in the closet while he straightens everything up again. His eyes land on a picture frame on the wall, the one with the glass still missing, and he makes a mental note to go and get a new frame while he's out buying groceries later that day. So he doesn't forget, he takes the picture off of the wall and puts it on the small table in the foyer, next to the bowl in which he and Derek keep their car keys.

After that, it's not long before more pack members begin arriving. Erica and Boyd show up while Stiles is preparing lunch in advance.

When Isaac looks at him pleadingly, he waves the trio off into the back garden and watches with interest as they quickly get into mischief. It seems like a game of tag, but it's incredibly acrobatic and over the top, all of them showing off their different skills to get one over on the others.

Lydia and Jackson show up just as Stiles puts the finishing touches on his and Derek's food—something simple, just an egg salad sandwich each—and Jackson is quick to leave the redhead in order to join the other three betas outside for some fun. He gets a smug look on his face as he uses his cunning and speed to get the upper hand and outmanoeuvre Isaac and Boyd whenever they get close to touching him. Erica is the one to finally bring him down. She hides quietly up in one of the trees and waits until Jackson runs underneath her, unaware, before leaping from her perch and pouncing on him. The two go rolling, growling playfully at each other as Isaac and Boyd watch on.

"He's such a dork sometimes," Lydia says from beside Stiles, staring out through the window.

Stiles glances over at her and chuckles quietly when he sees the small smile she's trying and failing to hold back. "Yes, but you wouldn't have him any other way and you know it," he teases gently, patting her on the shoulder. "A little dorkiness is a good thing, if you ask me. Some of the best times I've had with Derek have been when he's let himself act like the goofball he really is underneath all that stoicism."

"True..." Lydia sighs, stepping away from the sink and taking one of the sandwiches from the fridge. She takes a bite before Stiles can notice and ignores his protests when he does, smirking around the mouthful as she dances away from his grabbing hands.

"You're such a pain," Stiles mumbles as he gives up, taking another couple of slices of bread out of the bread box and making a start at replacing the sandwich Lydia stole. He's glad when the girl leaves the room then, heading out through the back door to get a better view of the action still taking place in the garden. It's then that Derek appears, hot and sweaty from his workout, and takes a bottle of cool water from the fridge. Stiles watches the man's throat work as he drinks, accidentally spreading mayonnaise on his hand instead of on the bread. He realises his mistake when Derek laughs at him, quickly running his hand under the faucet to rid his skin of the white condiment. Now clean, he elbows the alpha in the stomach to silence him on his way to dry his hands. "Shut up, you! It's your fault, so you don't get to laugh at me." He purses his lips to stop himself from smiling when Derek grabs him and squeezes him tight, peppering his face with kisses in apology. His shirt gets damp as the sweat still on Derek's chest seeps into the fabric, and he pushes the man away before he gets completely soaked.

His work done, Derek gives Stiles a mock salute before heading upstairs to shower.

Downstairs, Stiles quickly puts the finishing touches on the replacement sandwich before wrapping it and putting it on top of the other one still in the fridge. He leaves a note on top of them to deter more thievery—'Hands off unless you want to be severely punished! I promise I'll get creative! - Stiles'

He hopes the threat works because if it doesn't, he'll have to follow through on it when he doesn't actually have anything planned just yet. Hopefully, the spectacle he made of himself earlier in the week when he blasted Scott off of his feet will make the betas think twice about disobeying him. Speaking of his ex-best friend, as he wipes off his hands and walks aimlessly into the living room, he hears the telltale rumble of the crooked-jawed beta's bike getting progressively louder. Pulling back the curtain and looking outside, he sees Scott come up the drive and pull to a stop next to Jackson's Porsche.

At first, he wonders how the other boy could possibly have the nerve to show his face at the house again, but after Scott pulls off his helmet and he sees the apprehension on the beta's face, he reconsiders. Maybe he's finally come to his senses, he thinks as he steps back, letting the curtain fall back into place before Scott can notice him spying. He hopes that's the case.

The sound of growling coming from behind catches Stiles' attention.

Looking around confusedly, he finds the other betas gathered in the foyer, all shifted and ready to attack as soon as Scott comes through the front door. Even Jackson looks pissed on his behalf, which is oddly touching. Even though he appreciates the gesture, he doesn't want to end up having to clean blood off of the hardwood floor, so he hurries over and steps between the betas and the door. "Calm down, guys!" he placates, holding his palms out. "This is between Scott, Derek and I, so why don't you all go back outside while we deal with this, hmm?" He points a finger in the direction of the back door, the corner of his mouth twitching when the betas reluctantly re-sheath their claws and let their eyes return to their natural colours. He calls after them when they turn around and leave the foyer, his voice firm. "And I don't want anybody eavesdropping or coming back in before you're told you can, OK?!"

Preparing himself, Stiles faces the front door and waits for Scott to enter. He's surprised when the beta chooses to knock on the wood instead, but a second of thought leads him to the conclusion that the other boy is letting him choose whether he answers or not.

It's an unexpectedly thoughtful move coming from Scott, so Stiles doesn't leave him waiting. Reaching for the handle, he opens the door and looks the beta up and down before stepping back to let him inside. He doesn't say a word as he leads the way into the living room, wanting to keep Scott on his toes so that he's more likely to slip up if his apology is insincere or he's not really here to give one at all. After Scott remains standing, lingering by the window awkwardly, Stiles rolls his eyes and finally opens his mouth. "Have a seat," he says, pointing to the armchair.

This puts the coffee table between them, something that makes him feel more comfortable.

"Where's Derek?" Scott asks, his voice timid as he lowers himself into the offered chair. The room feels so uncomfortable and tense, with so many things going unsaid, and he can't help looking around as if he expects the alpha or one of the other betas to lunge suddenly out of nowhere and rip his head off for even daring to come back. He's thankful when nothing of the sort happens.

"Showering. He probably already knows you're here, so he should be down soon," Stiles replies, leaning back into the sofa cushions and crossing his legs atop the coffee table.

He projects an air of nonchalance, like Scott's presence isn't affecting him at all. He wants to come off as completely indifferent so that he keeps the higher ground—giving Scott even the smallest inkling that he's dying to forgive him before hearing whatever speech the crooked-jawed boy has come to give would be a step in the wrong direction. He meant what he said that day, that Scott needs to learn his place, and that place right now is expendable. It'll be tough because of how long they were each other's only friend, but he won't hesitate to cut the beta off from the pack entirely if he's given enough reason—he won't let Derek be hurt like that again. He won't stop Allison and Kira from seeing Scott if they choose, but he will forbid the two girls from discussing pack business with him unless if affects him directly, like if his or his mother's lives are in danger. His planning is brought to a stop when he hears footsteps on the stairs, and he turns to watch over his shoulder as a tensed-up Derek comes into view in the foyer, hazel eyes flicking over in Scott's direction before settling on him.

Derek raises an eyebrow at the human teen to ask silently for an explanation.

Patting the seat next to his own, Stiles rests a hand on Derek's hairy thigh when the man takes his place, the thick muscle twitching beneath his palm. Glancing sideways, he sees that his wolf's whole body remains rigid, something he understands. "OK, here's how this discussion is going to go," he begins, drawing both wolves' eyes.

"You're going to say whatever it is you came here to say," he states confidently, addressing Scott directly, "and if both Derek and I think it's good enough, we'll go from there and try to move past what you said before. If, however, we think what you say next is complete bullshit, I'll kick you out and we won't be speaking again. Ever. Got it?" He can feel Derek's approval radiating through their bond, and he squeezes the man's leg reassuringly as he waits for Scott to agree to his terms.

Being in the same room as Scott just five days after their confrontation keeps Derek on edge, but he knows there's no way to work their problems out it if they don't talk.

"Right, OK, that's...that's fair," Scott fumbles to accept, his tongue suddenly feeling large and unwieldy in his mouth as he looks at Derek. "Well...I wanna start this off by saying that I'm sorry. I don't know what I was thinking, saying all of that stuff to you... Well, I do, I guess—I thought I was right then, but I don't now; I know it was wrong. So wrong, like Allison and my mom have been telling me over and over." He laughs humourlessly before clearing his throat to cut the sound off. "Anyway, I was saying what I thought everyone else was thinking, and I was scared that if I didn't speak up, something like that would happen again, only this time Stiles wouldn't make it out alive." He flicks his eyes over to the boy in question at this. "Seeing you acting so lifeless like that again terrified me, and that was without all of the physical injuries factored in. I know it's nobody's fault now, but my fear made me cling to old ideas and Derek was an easy target for the anger I was feeling because I couldn't take it out on the person who was actually responsible.

"I especially want to say I'm sorry for the whole...'rape' thing. That was definitely crossing the line." Scott looks down at his feet, embarrassed and ashamed of his past self. "I'll do whatever I have to do to earn your forgiveness, no matter what it is, and I promise to never say or do anything like that ever again."

As much as he doesn't want to admit it, Stiles feels the smallest hint of pride.

He's still not ready to slip right back into his previous friendship with Scott, but he thinks he's willing to put the effort in to get back there. When he really ruminates on the subject, he admits that the two of them grew apart considerably over the last year or so, though a lot of that was simply an unavoidable consequence of their social circles widening beyond just the two of them. He hopes this will be the start of them getting back the close friendship they shared before that fateful night in the preserve.

Even so, he knows it's not solely his decision. "Derek?" he asks, looking sideways at his mate's profile. The man frowns still, thick eyebrows pulled down to meet as he continues studying Scott.

Derek didn't detect a single trace of a lie during Scott's whole speech. Honestly, he thought it would take a lot longer for the beta to reach this point, and he himself isn't really there yet. Even though the bleeding is beginning to slow, because it hasn't been that long since their short argument, the wounds he has from Scott's scathing words are still open. "OK. I accept your apology," he says eventually, after another minute spent watching Scott squirm under his gaze. It made the vindictive part of him feel better, at the very least. He holds up a hand when the beta's face lights up with a relieved grin. "But I'm going to tell you now that I'm not completely ready to move on from what you said just yet; you said those things to hurt me, and that's exactly what they did. I won't object to you being around the house, but it's going to take me a while to forget them. Deal?"

The grin vanishes from Scott's face, but his expression still remains hopeful. "Yeah...totally, dude," he agrees, his hair flopping about as he nods quickly. He feels apprehension when Derek's eyes narrow at being called 'dude', but it fades again when the alpha doesn't tell him off for it.

"Alright, dude. I have some work to do, so excuse me," Derek dismisses, getting up to leave.

Once the alpha is gone, Stiles stands and holds his arms out in an invitation that Scott is apparently eager to accept. He's nearly knocked off of his feet when the beta collides with him and squeezes him tight, and he holds on to his friend just as hard. "Don't you ever be that fucking stupid again, OK?" he whispers hoarsely, blinking his eyes rapidly to stop himself from tearing up.

* * *

The rest of the day passes somewhat smoothly. As Stiles thought might happen, Erica and Isaac remain distrustful of Scott, shooting the crooked-jawed beta glare after glare whenever they think he isn't looking. They're not as discreet as they think, though, because Stiles catches them every time. He gives up telling them to back off after the first glare is given, figuring that it's up to Scott to get the two to come around again. Scott seems willing to take up the task, though, which Stiles is happy to see—in his mind, it means his friend was definitely sincere about wanting to make amends, and not just with him and Derek. Speaking of Derek, the alpha stays shut up in his study the whole time, and when Stiles pops in to ask him what he's doing, he just gets a shake of the head and told that he'll find out later. Because it's a school night, most of the pack decide to call it a day earlier than they ordinarily would, returning to their own homes just after nine o'clock.

Luckily, by that point, Isaac has warmed up to Scott again enough to go with him, grudgingly sitting behind the crooked-jawed beta on his bike as they speed down the long driveway and out onto the main road. Stiles is frankly glad for the peace and quiet because the noisy betas were driving him insane.

It's too late for him to go shopping for groceries as he originally planned, so he settles instead for spending the remainder of the night binge-watching all the episodes he's missed of Game of Thrones.

Derek finally emerges from his study and joins Stiles in the living room when the last episode has almost concluded, falling down into his usual seat with a sigh and slinging his arm casually over the back of sofa. He plays with the short hairs at the back of Stiles' neck as the final scene plays out on screen, not really following along with the plot at all since he's never watched an episode before. Thankfully, it's a show Stiles hasn't forced him into watching just yet.

That could easily change, though, so he makes sure to keep quiet about it.

After the episode finishes, Stiles gets up from his seat and begins tidying up all the mess the betas left behind. Most of it is in the kitchen from when they polished off pretty much all of the remaining junk food in the house, with Scott eating a whole jar of hot dogs because he was 'starving to death'. It's only when he's finished that he feels eyes on his back, so after turning off the tap and drying his hands, he turns to find Derek leaning against the door jamb with his arms crossed over his chest. "What's up?" he asks, his frown growing more prominent when Derek just keeps staring at him with an unreadable expression on his face. It's worrying, mainly because he's never been unable to tell exactly what Derek is thinking—even back when they first met, he could easily work out what was running through the man's mind, regardless of whether or not he was actually paying close attention.

"It's nothing," Derek replies evasively, his expression finally changing as a small smile appears on his lips. "I'll see you upstairs, OK?"

Without waiting for a response, Derek walks from the room and leaves Stiles standing in the kitchen, feeling more baffled than ever. Shaking his head, the boy does a cursory sweep of the ground floor just to make sure everything is in order, switching off lights and locking doors and windows as he goes.

He plans on annoying Derek as much as he can when he gets into their bedroom, not relenting until the man coughs up whatever is on his mind. It's one of his favourite games to play. He narrows his eyes at Derek as he passes by on his way to the bathroom, leaning back as he walks through the doorway so that the man stays in view for as long as possible. He almost falls flat on his back doing it, but he knows it's worth it when he hears Derek chuckling away quietly in the other room as a result of his buffoonery. Quickly brushing his teeth and relieving himself with a flush, he switches off the bathroom light before returning to the bedroom and sliding beneath the covers next to Derek. "So, are you gonna tell me what you were up to all day or are you gonna make me pry it out of you?" he asks, leaning back against the headboard and smoothing the sheets out across his lap. The lamp on Derek's bedside table is the only light source in the room, making everything feel comfortably intimate.

He keeps his eyes on Derek as the man puts his book away.

"I had a special therapy session with Sheila, quite a lengthly one," Derek answers, smiling kindly when Stiles' eyes widen and his mouth drops open. "I've been talking with her in secret ever since Tuesday, and she was nice enough to clear her schedule once I told her everything that's gone on with me over the past few years. She agreed to talk today, too, even though it's the weekend and she wasn't technically supposed to be working at all."

"Gee, thanks for telling me," Stiles says sarcastically when Derek comes to a halt. He changes his tone fast after that, though, adopting a more positive attitude. "Do you think it's helping?"

Nodding, Derek flings back the sheets so that they're both uncovered.

"Uhh...what're you doing?" Stiles asks confusedly when Derek grabs his ankles and pulls him down along the bed until his head comes off the pillows. He only becomes more perplexed when the man climbs atop him, strong hands pressed into the mattress either side of his head.

"I'm making love to you," Derek replies as if it's the most obvious thing in the world. His voice is low and husky, and he doesn't give Stiles a chance to respond before easing himself down completely and laying the full weight of his body atop his mate's. His tongue slides easily past Stiles' parted lips, the boy's mouth still open in shock, and it takes a few seconds for Stiles to react, slender legs parting to let him fit more comfortably in between and his lips beginning to move, reciprocating the kiss. Derek growls into it when hands fist in his hair, fingers tangling and tugging gently. His cock twitches in his underwear, steadily getting harder as he grinds his hips down deliberately against Stiles' more bony pair. It's not long before the friction seemingly becomes too much for his mate, and he feels the teen shudder against him as wetness spreads between them and soaks through the thin fabric of his boxer-briefs. The scent of Stiles' come is too intense for words as he tears his mouth away to look down at the mess the boy has made already.

His cheeks flushing red, Stiles feels embarrassed at losing control so quickly. "It's been a while, OK?" he excuses, quickly shutting up when Derek grins down at him devilishly, his fangs glinting in the low light. He watches, enraptured, as Derek crawls down the length of his body and curls fingers under the waistband of his sweatpants, pulling them down slowly.

Stiles' crotch is wet and sticky with come, and Derek just has to get closer.

He licks in long lines over the boy's softening cock, collecting all of his release on his tongue and moaning as the taste explodes in his mouth. He savours each and every drop before swallowing it all somewhat reluctantly. "So fucking delicious..." he whispers, licking his lips.

Beckoning Stiles to sit up, Derek yanks the teen's shirt off over his head before pushing him back down so forcefully that he bounces a couple of times against the mattress. Miles of pale skin call to him, so he wastes no time running his mouth over every inch, flicking his tongue out over the first mole he encounters and playing Connect the Dots with the rest. Stiles arches up into him, knocking him off course, so he presses a hand down in the centre of the boy's chest to hold him in place as he continues from where he left off. He reaches the hard nub of Stile's left nipple and sucks it into his mouth, biting down on it, pulling it gently with him as he draws back and releasing it before the pain becomes too much. He plays his mate like he's a skilled musician and Stiles' body is his finely tuned instrument, knowing instinctively just what notes to hit to make the boy sing.

It's good to know that nothing has changed.

Stiles fists his hands in the sheets, pulling on them until they threaten to tear. His toes curl and his mouth drops open in a drawn-out groan, the slight twinge of pain combined with the overwhelming pleasure making him see stars behind his closed eyelids. It's all happening so fast, much faster than he originally thought—he was sure that Derek would need at least another few weeks to work through enough of his demons and reach the point where he was ready to be intimate again.

He's glad to have been proven wrong, though, quickly getting caught up in all the sensations Derek is making him feel, to the point where his breath comes in short, his head tipped back as he pants out his pleasure. Derek's mouth feels like hot heaven.

Moving on to Stiles' other nipple, Derek gives the second nub the same treatment, his hands curling around the teen's hips and holding on tight. It takes some effort to push past the want to keep his claws hidden, but he manages it eventually, the sharp tips digging into pale, fragile skin almost to the point of piercing it. The fact that Stiles' moans only get louder makes it easier.

Finally releasing his mate's sore nipple and sitting back to inspect his handiwork, he can't help but hum in satisfaction when he sees how red and tender they look.

"Beautiful..." he mutters, breathless.

Stiles whines quietly in confusion when, all at once, every exquisite sensation he was feeling stops abruptly. He cracks his eyes open and blinks hazily, watching Derek as he moves and pins his legs down, firm ass coming to rest on his thighs. "Why'd you stop?" he rasps, feeling his heart skip in his chest when Derek just grins at him again and grabs the hem of his Henley in both hands. Stiles is left breathless when the shirt is pulled off and the impressively defined physique he adores is revealed. Every sharp line and groove just begs to be worshipped, but when he tries to sit up and actually touch the man, Derek pauses in his undressing and stops him with a growl of disapproval. His wolf tells him that he wants to devote the entirety of the night to him, and Stiles is more than happy to let him have that. He lies back once more and enjoys the rest of the show, saliva quickly building in his mouth as he looks on. Content to just watch for the time being, if he still wants to—which he obviously will—he knows he can run his hands over Derek's body all he wants later on.

As he always is, Stiles is left mesmerised when Derek finally pulls his shirt off completely and tosses it aside. The bedside lamp provides just enough light for him to see everything, the faint yellow glow of it making Derek's skin look especially tanned and warm.

His mouth waters.

Derek's chest puffs out as he revels in the attention, showing off. The fact that he can still affect Stiles with just his naked flesh makes him feel proud and strong, like he can do anything. His cock is painfully hard, so he rises to his knees and yanks his underwear down, his thick length slapping up against hair-dusted abs when the waistband slips past the leaking head.

Flinging the offending garment across the room to land in a ball on the floor, he moves forward and grabs their lube from the top drawer of his nightstand. He doesn't miss the way Stiles' pupils dilate with arousal when he pulls the bottle out and gives him an indication of what's to come.

Swinging himself around so that he faces the foot of the bed, Derek looks over his shoulder to make sure he's positioned perfectly as he shuffles backward.

When Derek's gorgeous ass comes to a stop right in front of his face, Stiles takes it as a clear sign that he can finally actively participate. When Derek bends his legs back to get at his hole with a lube-slathered finger, he parts the alpha's own hairy cheeks and dives right in with his tongue, flicking it up the crack and breathing in the musky scent with a moan. Derek pushes back onto his tongue until he's practically sitting on his face, something of which Stiles vehemently approves. Derek must be listening to his heartbeat, because every time he gets close to running out of air, the man shifts forward and gives him a second to refill his lungs before smothering him once more with his delicious ass. Nothing but Derek's scent fills his nostrils, intoxicating him and driving him wild, and he squeezes the man's cheeks in his hands at the same time a second finger slides into him. The fine, dark hairs of Derek's ass catch between his fingers as he digs his nails into the muscular globes.

A groan works its way out of Derek's throat as Stiles' slick tongue worms its way inside his body, and he presses his mouth against the teen's inner thigh to muffle the sound. He'll never get used to how vulnerable it makes him feel, and it's all he can do to keep his fingers moving, preparing.

The tight ring of muscle gradually loosens under his ministrations, and soon enough he finds he's able to add a third and final finger without encountering any resistance. He really can't wait to slide his cock deep inside. His own hole seems to be heading the same way as Stiles coaxes him to relax and open up, the teen's pulsing tongue fucking deep inside and almost making his legs give out.

He'll have to sit on Stiles' face more often, it feels so good.

Finally concluding that his mate is adequately prepared, Derek drops Stiles' legs and turns around, chuckling when the boy pouts up at him. Stiles is obviously not pleased that he took his fingers and ass away, but he knows the next part will have him quickly singing a different tune. "What's the matter? Don't you want this?" he asks teasingly, running a hand down his body until he reaches his cock, hard as steel as it leaks pre-come all over the sheets.

"I guess..." Stiles admits, his pout disappearing as the man gets into position. He curls his legs around Derek's hips and pulls him closer, squirming impatiently when his wolf's cock slots into the crack of his ass without actually entering him. His restlessness only increases when Derek just stays hovering above him, hands on either side of his head, watching silently with red eyes. "Do I have to beg again?" He's not above it if that means he'll finally get Derek's wonderfully filling length inside of him again, something he's sorely missed. Luckily, his words seem to be enough for Derek. The alpha shakes his head as if clearing it before smirking down at him and unlocking his elbows, lowering himself so that Stiles' re-hardened cock is trapped between their stomachs. The field of hair on Derek's chest tickles his still-sensitive nipples to the point where he squirms to try and get away, but it's pointless. Derek's powerful arms don't let him go, not that he truly wants to be anywhere else.

Pinned beneath his mate's muscular frame is his favourite place to be.

Waiting until Stiles' eyes meet his again, Derek slowly presses forward until the head of his cock pops past his fluttering rim. The boy feels so unbearably tight still, even after taking three of his fingers, so much so that it feels like their first time all over again.

Moving slowly out of necessity, he eases himself home inch by inch until he's sheathed to the hilt within warm perfection. Stiles' head tips back again and he rests his forehead on the boy's chin, waiting as he gets used to being stretched so wide again. His breathing is laboured and his body shakes as he holds himself still, not wanting to move until his mate gives him the all-clear.

Stiles digs his nails into Derek's back as he's slowly split apart, filled steadily until it almost becomes too much to take. The initial penetration feels so raw and intense that it's like he's losing his virginity again, and he thinks that's a nice way to look at things. It's like they're completely erasing that horrible evening from their lives and starting anew. He groans quietly into Derek's hair when the man pushes forward a final time and the last inch slips inside, weighty balls coming to rest against the curve of his ass. Having to wait until his channel acclimates to being stretched so wide once more verges on agonising, so he focuses instead on the feeling of Derek's hot breaths as they blow across his neck.

They stay like that for several minutes, holding on to each other tightly, their eyes closed.

An experimental squeeze of his ass around Derek's thick cock lets Stiles know that the initial discomfort has passed, meaning the man can finally begin moving. He winds the fingers of one hand into Derek's hair and gently pulls his head up, pecking him affectionately on the tip of his nose before speaking. "OK, Sourwolf; you can move now," he whispers huskily, his mouth remaining parted on a gasp when the man immediately does just that.

The pleasure he feels when Derek's length begins sliding slowly in and out leaves Stiles breathless, and he can do nothing but cling to the wolf as he loses himself in their lovemaking.

After withdrawing until just the head of his cock remains inside Stiles' ass, Derek's eyes roll back in his head with the next push in. The tight heat feels like paradise, like everything that's good and right in the universe has been combined and condensed down to surround his cock. He can't believe that someone would ever want to take something so pure and sacred and taint it, making it ugly and full of pain, and he's more thankful now than ever that it didn't work. He feels so full of love that his heart is fit to burst and his mind empties of everything else until his whole world is narrowed down to the beautiful boy moaning beneath him. His wonderful mate is all that matters to him in that moment. When Stiles releases his hair, he lets his head fall again so that his face is buried in the curve of the teen's neck, his lips pressed just above the pulse point. He sucks the skin into his mouth and bites down on it, nibbling to leave his mark on the vulnerable flesh.

Every time Derek's cock glides smoothly inside him again, it sets off fireworks behind Stiles' eyelids, the head nudging insistently at his prostate and punching a breath from his lungs. It feels like too much and not enough at the same time, and he turns his head to the side and hides his face in Derek's forearm to stop the sounds pouring from his mouth from getting too loud.

To ground himself, he curls one of his hands around the back of Derek's shoulder and reaches down with the other to grab hold of the man's strong thigh. The thick muscle flexes beneath tanned, hair-dusted skin with every slow thrust.

The pace never changes, Derek's movements staying languid and unerringly precise in their aim. The alpha releases Stiles' neck from between his teeth after almost a full five minutes of worrying it, drawing his face back to look at the result. The rumbling in his chest that's been a constant ever since he first made Stiles come gets louder with approval when he sees the mark he's made, dark against the teen's pale skin, and he licks over it a couple of times to soothe the ache.

Stiles arches up into the slick feeling of Derek's tongue, a breathy moan of his name slipping out.

Now that he's able to move freely without fear of hurting the boy, Derek levers himself up on his hands so that he can look down between their bodies and watch himself. Stiles' hand slips from his shoulder with the change, sliding down his arm and holding on to his wrist instead. The fact that the teen can't seem to let him go even for a second is touching. Stiles' legs are still clamped around his hips, heels digging into his ass to prevent him from pulling out much more than halfway, as if he would ever think of leaving the exquisite warmth wrapped around him. No, he wants to stay right where he is for the rest of his life, making love to his perfect mate for eternity. He wants to shout it from the rooftops, declare just how much Stiles means to him to the whole world so that everyone knows, just as much as he wants to keep it a secret, something shared and treasured just by the two of them. His wolf is finally happy again, howling in his head in joy now instead of pain, the sound close to deafening.

He wants to howl himself, but he holds off, so entranced is he by the sight of Stiles' face scrunched up in pleasure and the litany of moans and mewls that escape his mouth even as he tries to keep quiet.

It doesn't take much longer for Stiles to feel his second orgasm approaching. He holds on to Derek tighter, biting so hard into the man's forearm when it crests that he actually breaks the skin. Arcs of viscous come shoot forth from his cock, coating his stomach in white and making Derek's thrusts falter. Blood coats his lips, but he doesn't mind the taste.

The sensation of Stiles' ass clenching down hard around him makes Derek whine, his arms almost giving out as he holds himself buried deep inside, his hips flush with his mate's ass. He'd forgotten just how amazing it feels to be inside Stiles while the boy comes, and the scent of his release as it fills his nose turns him on so much that his knot suddenly seems to blossom into existence, growing rapidly just behind Stiles' fluttering rim. His own orgasm is almost milked from him, the rhythmic clenching of Stiles' ass around his knot overwhelming him and making him push it in even further, burying it deeper until there's no space between them.

His balls draw up and his whole body tenses as it finally happens.

Derek's cock pulses wildly as it spurts copious amounts of seed, more than he ever remembers producing before. There's so much that Stiles' stomach actually starts to distend, swelling full and glistening with his own come in the low light, and he can't resist collecting some of the slowly drying fluid in his hand and rubbing it into the skin over his heart, smearing it around until he's marked and his chest hair is matted down with the stuff. It's then that he feels Stiles' hand in his hair again, trying to get his attention. Tearing his eyes away from his own chest, he peers down at the teen curiously, his hips still moving in tiny circles as his orgasm continues and Stiles' stomach grows even more. Before he can open his mouth to ask what his mate wants, he's pulled him down until his face hovers just above the juncture between the boy's shoulder and neck, his breaths puffing out across the scar of his mating bite. He still can't quite figure out what Stiles is asking for, but the teen doesn't leave him hanging.

"Bite me..." Stiles gasps, Derek's knot pressing right up against his prostate, keeping him hard even though his orgasm is over.

"W-what?" Derek chokes, teeth turning into fangs and his mouth already lowering even as he tries to get his brain to function. It's a strange request, one that takes him a while to understand. The whole night has felt like them wiping the slate clean and starting fresh, and eventually he guesses that Stiles wants to commemorate it by renewing their bond.

When Stiles says just that, his voice breathy, Derek doesn't keep him waiting. He sinks his teeth down in the exact same places he did all those months before, reopening the wound and causing blood to fill his mouth. It's not a changing bite—the intent needs to be there for that—but it affects him just as much. While their bond never died during their time apart, it feels somehow stronger when Stiles bites into his neck with human teeth and claims him right back. It shines brighter and he feels the boy's emotions more clearly as it's completed for a second time.

Stiles is of a similar mind, glad that the idea popped into his head when it did.

Releasing the boy from his mouth, Derek flips them around so that he's lying on his back and Stiles is sprawled atop him, breathing into his neck. His hands rub up and down the boy's back, unable to stop moving and touching and loving him. He's so happy he wants to cry.

"Love you, Sourwolf..." Stiles whispers sleepily into Derek's neck, his eyes closing as the man beneath him returns the words. His wolf smells so good, like sweat and come and home, that he's quickly lulled to sleep by it, his nose twitching as he begins snoring softly, dreaming of nothing but the two of them together. A contented smile appears on his lips as he relives all the best parts of their relationship on repeat, his body losing every ounce of tension because he knows instinctively that he's safe with Derek's arms holding him tight.