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Festival of Red

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February 28th in Beacon Hills was no ordinary day, nor the beginning or an ordinary week for that matter.

In Pine Cove, the day was spent like any other. Certainly school wasn’t cancelled for the rest of week and family owned businesses weren’t closed for the week. The week wasn’t spent in half a drunken haze, dancing and laughing with family and friends. Then again, Pine Cove wasn’t home to one of the largest werewolf pack on the West Coast.

The 28th was a werewolf holiday that all humans under a werewolf pack’s protection observed. Namely, the Festival of Red.

The Festival of Red started with thousands of red blooms in all assortments.

There was roses, carnations, sunflowers, tulips, bleeding hearts, daises, cacti, cardinals, firecrackers, bee balm, hummingbird trumpet, chrysanthemums, clematis, peonies, hibiscus, dahlias, cosmos and many no one could name with any certainty.

The town was blanketed in the perfume of so many blooms for the entirety of the festival, and for some delicate noses the smell lingered until the end of March. Hundreds of fairy lights were hung around town, predominantly on Main Street. The lights varied between soft gold and orange-red. From independently owned shops, red blinds or curtains hung, blocking out the store to make a wall of red from store window to store window.

Main Street on this day was void of cars and other obstacles and instead small fair like booths took residence in the streets. The booths were only large enough to sell trinkets, good luck charms, fortunes and, of course, food. It was during this week werewolves splurged on food and alcohol as the vendors knew exactly to which perfection to make the meats without overpowering enhanced senses and how high the alcohol content should be to give a werewolf a long lasting buzz.

Despite many of the family owned shops being closed for the week and national chains working with the bare necessities, there were still plenty of community members that planned to work through the Festival of Red.

The sheriff’s department with the help of three neighboring counties' law enforcement planned on working double time, night and day during the festival. There were safety concerns with so many people concentrated in one place and scuffles and the like were bound to occur as they did every year without fail.

The hospital also planned on retaining as many doctors, nurses, interns and paramedics as possible. With more werewolves than human beings located in Beacon Hills during this time, humans being injured was common. Accidents were bound to happen and BHH had every intention of being prepared for anything, including an outright pack war.

Then there were the volunteer fire fighters composed of two or three veterans but mostly young men that were eager to test their mettle against a “real” fire. Every year like clockwork, something was set on fire. Last year it had been Mrs. Preston’s backyard when her husband tried his damndest to grill steaks for his son-in-law’s parents. This week was always a good time to test out the newest firefighters.

Lastly, there were the Hales. The werewolves already mated were stationed in groups of four throughout the town. They kept conflicts between humans and nonlocal werewolves to a minimum, restrained overly rowdy werewolves, answered questions and concerns and generally assisted the law enforcement and hospital.

The Hale werewolves did their best to protect their territory. At a hundred-fifty strong, the Hale pack grew every year with the additions of mates, cubs and stray omegas. The actual number of werewolves in the pack’s ranks was known only Alpha Cynthia Hale.

The female alpha was a cool and collected wifwolf with a strategic mind that allowed her to defend her territory and keep her large pack under control. Every year, alpha after alpha petitioned her to attend Beacon Hills’ Festival of Red and every year, she judged and evaluated the alphas and their packs, weighing their worth. It was well known throughout the United States Alpha Hale only allowed packs with outstanding history within her lands. Her pack’s protective attitude towards humans only rivaled by her own desire to keep her human friends and family safe.

Which led into what the Festival of Red entailed.

Four times a year, different parts of the country held a get together (none as large as The Festival of Red, although Alpha Lupa Garcia of New York was a close second with her Beltane Festival) in order for werewolves to find their mates.

The events were organized so all potential mates (the humans with the distinct undertones of werewolf buried in their scents and the werewolves deemed as omegas or submissive betas) were gathered together. The potential mates, also nicknamed as the Chosen, Potentials, and for the more crude, the Fucked, were gathered not as lambs to slaughter but as means for the best wolves to get the best mates and vice versa. With hundreds of potential mates gathered in one area, it became harder to discern scents from each other and more of a challenge for werewolves to find a mate. It became even harder when the potential mates were encouraged to run and hide and fight the werewolves. It was a tough courtship for those on the inside and entertaining for those on the outside.

The Festival of Red began with the Chosen being revealed.

The Chosen in previous weeks received red envelope invitations requesting their presence at the festival along with a slew of consent forms and waivers. As per tradition rather than law, the Chosen stayed silent on their status until the 28th and they wore a red item that declared their status for all to see, otherwise, yellow and green were the favored festival colors.

This year, red hair and head ornaments were considered fashionable as the many beanies, hats, headbands, bandannas, barrettes, flower pins, chopsticks, feathers, beads and hair gel could attest to. Not that red dresses, shirts, skirts, hoodies, sweaters, tights, leggings, high socks or shoe laces couldn’t be seen and occasionally there was even the extremely traditional red cloaks.

The second day was the day everyone waited for with no small amount of nerves and impatience. The second day, the 29th or 1st depending on the year, was the day of the Chase. The Chosen were released into the preserve and did their best in the six hour head start to evade their aggressive werewolf counterparts. At noon, the werewolves were set loose to begin hunting for the mate. Later that night, a ceremony would be held for all the new “marriages.” Each couple would go before Alpha Hale, Justice of the Peace Hyacinth and Sherriff Stilinski to make the marriage legal in eyes of the pack and the law witnessed by an upstanding member of the community.

The third day was devoted to family get togethers, parties, and the town settling all bets. This was the day most babies were conceived the head of the maternity ward swore and as every November there were more babies than there was room, it couldn’t be denied. This was also the day the newly mated got to interact with each other in ways that did not include violence or sex. 

The fourth day was the party day. It was celebrated by feasting during the day and well wishes for cubs by traditionalists. All werewolves, the newly mated and not, howled and howled as their human counterparts (in werewolf families and not) would dance and dance until the sun came up, feeling the magic build and bless all the participants.

The fifth day was made for friends. The new couples would leave their families for the day and show off to their friends their new mates. The purpose to get werewolves acquainted to their friends’ mates and for human friends to see which werewolf they’d need to find when their friend went missing. The day was sometimes fraught with tension as personalities clashed and jealousies arouse. Other times, most times, friends made concessions and welcomed the mates with open arms.

The sixth day was generally devoted to the logistics of a mating bond. Where the couple would live, talks about the future, the sort of thing no one really considers in the heat of the moment or when such joy is present in the air. Luckily, these conversations were rarely held alone as parents always tried helping their children decided what would be best for each.

And the last day was devoted completely to goodbye as the visiting packs left.

As one of the most highly anticipated events of the year, Alpha Hale, Justice of the Peace Hyacinth and Sheriff Stilinski were busy.

The three could be found alongside the mayor trying to make accommodations for all the werewolves visiting Beacon Hills for the festival, the matter of the Enforcers’ daughter being invited to the run and the shit storm that started, some werewolves falling into a pseudo-heat, civilians acting out due to discrimination or hurt over not being Chosen and those were all only the professional issues.

Professional issues could and would be solved.

Granting permits, calling in favors to open hotels and beds and breakfasts, motels, cabins and residences willing to house werewolves answered their first problem. Grouping all three of Beacon Hills' jailed offenders solved where to put early spring heats with a clang of jail bars. The Argents were more difficult, but since their daughter was eighteen, it was her decision as it was the right of everyone at seventeen, and she agreed with a bright smile Alpha Hale knew the girl had her eyes on a werewolf with her quick consent. Issuing tickets that helped pay for the festival dissuaded most of the troublemakers and encounters with some betas helped the rest change their minds.

The personal issues that plagued the three officials:

Alpha Hale’s eldest children Alpha-Heir Laura and her Beta Derek had yet to find a mate in all the years they’ve been participating in the festival. It was frustrating, especially as she expected to have grandchildren at this point and her eldest children obtaining mates would secure the Hale pack’s line of succession. It was a political headache, but most importantly she wanted her children to be happy. Damn them for making it so difficult.

Justice of the Peace Hyacinth could hardly concentrate on ordering all the marriage licenses and filling out all the correct paperwork he needed beforehand primarily due to an alpha female from Monterey Bay attempting to court him despite the fact he was married. The woman flustered him at every turn, simply by existing and he didn’t know how to reject her advances without being rude. All his attempts to ask Alpha Hale had the woman laughing at him.

And Sherriff Stilinski tried his damnedest not to think about how his seventeen year old son would be participating in the Chase tomorrow. His wife had always promised him their little Genim would be mischief reincarnated in their lives, but he never knew she meant he’d cause the Sherriff’s heart to go into overtime. It was like it was yesterday Sherriff was teaching his son how to tie his shoes and now the man was helping Stiles pick out a red hoodie to wear that wouldn’t make any werewolves think prey and try and eat him. Nevermind that his baby was most likely getting married tomorrow. Oh God.

Like all personal issues, they were harder to resolve and the festival began before anyone could figure their issues out.

Alas.

000

As before mentioned, only the Chosen were allowed to wear red during this week.

It was to honor the memory of Rotkäppchen.

She was the first human mate that did not simply bare her belly in fear to her werewolf suitor. Oh no. This young woman demanded her werewolf suitor prove his worth to her, even as the werewolf threatened her and her family. The woman was quick to retort she’d only bear a strong, clever werewolf’s cubs and would rather drown a weak pup than let it live. Stunned by her words, the werewolf agreed to prove his worth to the woman. She set three challenges for him. The first was to find her in the Black Forest before the sun went down (as was honored today by the Chase). The second was to navigate conversation with her wily grandmother without revealing himself as a werewolf (and this challenge is often jokingly called the Meet the Parents portion of the festival). The third task was meant to prove his devotion to the young woman and she demanded a brilliant red cloak that would make any queen envious (the last task kept solely between mates today). From this day on, human mates were handled with more respect, respect that inspired Alpha Moon Hale to create the Festival of Red.

Gossip followed those that wore red. The juicy facts about the Chosen were shared about the near two hundred Chosen like they were celebrities. Bets were placed between nonparticipants and the next day was waited with baited breath.

Such gossip tormented Allison Argent.

She could catch snippets of it and she wished she had worn red earmuffs instead of jeweled butterflies Mrs. McCall gifted her with.

“An Enforcer’s daughter,” they whispered and she hated it.

Her father insured werewolves didn’t harm humans and Beacon Hills treated them with caution as if they were killers that could massacre dozens for being in the wrong place. Not everywhere was as blessed as Beacon Hills. Allison knew for a fact Redwood Grove had been terrorized by two packs due to a territory dispute. It didn’t make the Argents bad people, but the town gossip still whispered how she’s more likely to kill her werewolf lover than allow him to Catch her.

She wants to snarl at them all she loves Scott and would never allow anyone to harm him if she could prevent it.

She’d never been more grateful to Stiles, because the hurtful things about her stopped when he walked with her. If Stiles heard the cruel things Beacon Hills said about him, his playful smile gave no indication and Allison could barely contain the love she had for Scott’s pack-brother.

His red hoodie dwarfed his face and hands, too big because there was never any indication, until he received the red invitation that he would be a Chosen. Convinced it was a prank or a mistake, he had reluctantly picked the cheapest clothing of red he could find that so happened to be a large pull over hoodie that did nothing to make him look less like a waif. A waif. Stiles was no waif. He was the opposite of a waif, damn it.

For Stiles’ part, he heard each whisper, tightened his grip on Allison’s hand and mostly agreed with the general census. He was a no good, troublesome, attention deficient, drug addict begging to be punched in the mouth. He’d been just as surprised as everyone else when the invitation arrived. He wasn’t Allison and Scott, and his tiny social circle could attest to the fact he had no secret werewolf admirer and hadn’t been secretly waiting for the day to blindside Beacon Hills with his secret romance.

Just no.

Knowing Scott and Allison was bad enough.

He didn’t know what he had to offer a werewolf unless his werewolve(-an?) mate wanted constant entertainment and irritation because being honest, Stiles is so awesome because of his epic fail. It’s the Stilinski charm. Ask anyone who went to school with dad.

“I want a crown of flowers.” Did he just say that? He hadn’t meant to. It was a flip who was more surprised, Allison or Stiles, but the vacant expression was off her face so fuck it. “For the Chase tomorrow. So my wolfy knows my awesome on sight.”

It worked like a charm. Allison smiled, slow but she ended up clutching a bouquet of red daises in one hand, Stiles’ hand in the other and with every step away from the crowds, her smile grew. Stiles knew Beacon Hills’ general opinion of him, hello, social outcast, and he doubted wearing a flower crown was going to damage his rep any.

“You don’t have to do this.” Allison said still smiling so yeah, he kind of has to.

“Of course I do! Hair ornaments are very in this season. I mean, look!” A Chosen in front of them had red beads clinking in her hair and two other Chosen buying effigies to throw in the bonfire tomorrow night for good luck wore red feathers and red hair gel. “Not to mention your glossy locks.” He eyed the red butterflies.

“Mrs. McCall lent them to me. For luck.” She blushed lightly.

“See? I need my daisy crown or I won’t get Chased.” Stiles frowned. “And then I’ll have to do it again next year. I really don’t want to do it twice.”

The good and the bad of getting Caught this year included not having to do it again and the bad was he’d have a werewolf mate for the rest of his life. Stiles is seventeen. He has a lot of life to live. Unless his wolfy mate has no sense of humor or a temper. Those with no sense of humor and tempers tended to hate Stiles the most and wouldn’t that suck? Being tied to someone for the rest of his life who hates him. That actually sounds like his type of luck.

“You’ll be fine.” Allison beams because she’s a sweet person and can obviously read Stiles like a picture book aimed at toddlers. Scott was lucky, and together the two would create cubs who would only hurt others with excess kindness and sweetness.

It would be like Cinderella meets Winnie the Pooh.  

“And Scott will hone in on your scent, you’ll run and then you two will have sex in the dirt and pine needles.” It was only fair he reassure her too.

“I hope I can watch when you get Caught.” Her levels of snippy are totally uncalled for. Stiles is being comforting.

“Kinky. Is Scott aware of this side of your personality?”

Laughing, she forced him to sit under a tree Stiles is positive hadn’t been there yesterday. The red blossoms further supported his theory. Allison was using her mystic girl magic to make the daises into a crown, while he told her about previous Festivals of Red.

Apparently, Enforcers didn’t really go in depths about the lighthearted aspects of the Chase and only told Allison about the occasions where actual rape and not just highly dubious consent and death occurred instead.

“Well, last year there was Daniel and Betty. Betty tried climbing up a tree and got stuck and when her mate went after her, he got stuck too.” Stiles laughs. “Apparently, that didn’t stop them from consummating their relationship any and Daniel fell out like three times. The Hales still snicker about it.” He hums for a moment, debating whether or not to tell her what the Hales had said after they stopped laughing. “They called it things like “memorable” and Daniel “lucky.” I think werewolves like it when the Chase is difficult.” Personally, Stiles thought it was mortifying and embarrassing.

Half way between explaining how the werewolf mating instinct worked (or as much as they let humans not mated to a werewolf know), Lydia Martin in an honest to God velvet red cloak gracefully (she’s Lydia Martin, everything she does is graceful) sits next to them. Stiles may or may not flinch because she looks pissed as if she received a 98% because of the math teacher’s inability to read her own answer key.

 “Hi, Lydia.” Allison greets, simultaneously trying to express her opinion of Lydia’s attitude to Stiles via her eyebrows. Stiles mostly tries to sit still and not breathe because Lydia had gotten the teacher to leave the school in tears and predators only killed what moves, right? Right.

“Jackson is a Chosen.” Her tone of voice heavily implied she knew Stiles was there because she planned on using him as a virgin sacrifice to change Jackson’s status as a submissive beta. Jackson belonged to Lydia and not some werewolf. She put a lot of effort into her boy-toy and someone had to pay and that someone was Stiles.

At least that’s what Stiles heard. Allison must not of because what she asks is clearly because she wants Stiles dead. And here he’d been thinking they were bros. “Did you guys break up?”

Festival of Red, the end of thousands of teenage romances since 1982.

The rules of girl must be different.

Lydia doesn’t snap Allison’s head off, just sighs like she’s physically pained by the thought of someone else making Jackson miserable. Stiles may worship the redhead for her intelligence, but he’s never been struck blind, deaf and dumb to her faults, even if in his book making Jackson Whittemore miserable was another reason to worship at the altar of Lydia Martin. “Yes, and now I have to start from scratch with whoever Catches me.”

“Admit it,” Allison is fearless. “You were getting tired of Jackson. You had him watching The Notebook willingly twice a week.”

Ooo, blackmail material. Please, keep discussing. Sadly neither girl heard his mental encouragement but then again it was safe to breathe again. The topic changes instead to which weak willed beta Lydia will bring to heel.

“It’s highly unlikely anyone but a potential alpha will Chase you with the vibes you put off.” He froze, unwilling to believe his mouth. Deflect! “Who said that? Damn you, Greenburg!”

Lydia’s scary eyes have never been so focused so intently on him before and he kind of wishes she’d look away now. Please, oh please for the love God, look away!

000

This year it was March 1st the Chase was on and the day began with the rising sun.

The sheriff’s department and human mates who volunteered gathered all the Chosen by the Beacon Hills Preserve entrance. They went over the guidelines, safety measures, gave advice, and words of encouragement before releasing a sea of red to spread as many trails as possible to make the Chase worthwhile.

Across town, Alpha Hale was going over a similar procedure over breakfast. Traditionally, the werewolves weren’t released until noon and over the course of six hours the four hundred werewolves gathered to participate would only get more restless. Keeping them distracted with tactics and anecdotes helped ease the air, and the feeling of community the mated Hale pack members broadcasted soothed the worst case of nerves.

“Follow your senses. Allow a scent to enthrall you. Follow the most attractive red you see. Listen for the heartbeat or voice that calls to you. Touch and taste your potential before mating them. A mate is for life.” Cynthia said to all the listening ears. “Don’t pick a Chosen just because you’re afraid. There will be more festivals and more Chosen.” The dark beauty smirked. “After all, my kids are in their twenties and still haven’t found a mate.”

Soft chuckles came from the crowd and only grew into laughter at Derek Hale’s hiss, “You promised not to bring it up this year,” and Laura Hale’s huff.

“Sweethearts, being picky is a good thing. I would just like to see cubs soon.” Neither younger Hale appreciated their mother voicing her desire.

Derek grimaced. After his third festival, his mother had been dropping hints the size of anvils about pack expansion via a mate and cubs. It wasn’t like he was going out of his way not to find a mate. He was actual desperate to Catch one if only to get his mother off his back. The past five festivals he entered the woods only to leave an hour later, disgusted at the idea of mating to any of the Chosen, a problem he shared with his sister.

The fault laid at Aunt Selene’s feet.

Every year on the day of the Chase, she’d gather all the cubs, humans and werewolf alike, seventeen and under to keep them out of the way and told the story of Rotkäppchen, of course, but it was the other stories she would tell them that interested Derek the most. The stories of Atlanta and Melanion, Tristan and Isolde, Remus and Sirius, Lucian and Sophia, and Belle and Ella.

All the stories had one common theme: the mates had been soul mates.

Atlanta refused anyone who couldn’t beat her in a foot race, waiting for a mate, a mate clever enough to defeat her and until the day Melanion showed up, none proved to be enough to best the beta wifwolf.

Tristan fighting beta after beta and challenging his Alpha at the first sniff of the human princess Isolde’s scent. Tearing apart friendships and a kingdom for their love.

Remus and Sirius, brothers-in-arms in ancient Rome until they turned of age and mated and lead a slave rebellion. Partners in everything, even death as they were executed.

Lucian Chasing Sophia for days because he’d been drawn to her heartbeat after hearing it pass him when a carriage containing her passed his home in the country.

Belle seducing Ella away from her lordly, human husband even at the cost of Belle being banished after winning her mate over and the lord’s ire.

They were mostly sad stories, but Derek liked to hope one day he could have something like it. Someone who changed his life completely simply by breathing in Derek’s orbit.

Maybe if Aunt Selene had left off the true love stories, Derek would have an easier time of finding a compatible mate. As it was, he only wanted to mate to the being that drove him out of his mind, called to his wolf, completed Derek. It wasn’t an impossibility or rare. Just not common. But Derek was nothing if not stubborn. As long as Peter didn’t have a mate, the oldest werewolf in pack at thirty-five without, no one would say anything to Derek’s or his mother’s face. Laura’s, maybe, but she was just as likely to shove those same words down the stupid bastard’s throat because she’s twenty-eight not fifty.

“I will abdicate my position if she doesn’t stop it.” Laura says for her brother’s ears alone. “Fuck, I need to find my mate this year.”

Derek rests his head on her shoulder in agreement.

Together, they watched the younger members of the pack show off, listen to boasts from werewolves confident of their mates’ identity, nomads discussing the common hiding spots with the Hales, visiting packs sharing stories about pack life. Once in awhile Laura would pet Derek like the cub she still considered him and the sun moved across the sky.

At noon, every werewolf participating in the Chase was gathered at the edges of the preserve. Some were partially transformed; primarily the youngest in attendance while the other werewolves like Peter complete in wolf form. Derek, like Laura, stayed human, not seeing the point of transforming completely for a likely bust.

Their mother’s howl broke the dam and a flood of werewolves soaked the forest.

“Smile, maybe you’ll Catch someone.” Laura smirks before setting off into the woods at a jog.

“Hide your face and maybe the Chosen won’t run away.” He shoots back, going in the opposite direction. In the unlikely event Laura found a mate today, he didn’t want to sense it in any way.

He’s mentally debating between rabbit stew and elk jerky when a scent has him on all fours, shifting into the black wolf he considered himself to really be most days. Anyone from his pack could attest to Derek shifting only when forced due to his inability to control the shift completely– “Some things come with time, dear” -- and for the man to willing shift without great incentive from the pack would cause many eyebrows to climb.

The scent that piques his interest is difficult to distinguish, muddled with another scent, flowers (how Derek hated those fucking flowers) another werewolf’s scent and woods.

He’s pleased.

His mate, trusting his instincts and there was no doubt to the wolf, his mate, was so clever trying to cover up his scent. The perfume of flowers deliberately clinging to the scent that had Derek’s tail wagging. The Chase was all about the best wolf finding the best mate and clearly Derek was the best werewolf for his mate. Now if only he could pick out his mate’s scent.

He follows the scent as best as he can, growing pleased with every false trail the scent puts him on. So clever but the wolf is clever too. The other scent alongside his mate’s was sisterpack, the werewolf scent linking the two making his mate the other werewolf’s packbrother. Packsister’s scent was more forward, wanting to be Caught by her werewolf. The wolf began hunting packsister instead. She’d lead him to his mate.

The wolf chases her smell deeper into the woods, trees blurring past him. A growl a mile and a half behind him makes the wolf chuff. Packsister’s mate finally found the right trail. Must not be as clever as he. Her trail had been easy. The wolf speeds up. Increases the distance between him and little brother. He has no intention of fighting his mate’s packbrother for breeding rights like the younger wolf likely believed.

Packsister, when he finds her, is sitting on rocks in the stream. He can’t help staring at the red in her hair, the color dazing the wolf enough to let Derek shift back to a mouth suitable for human speech.

“Go away! I’m waiting for someone else!” Packsister shouts, obviously panicked.

Behind Derek, the young beta howls, drawing closer.

“Packsister,” He assures her and ignores her confused words for deep breaths of her scent. Her scent consists of feathers, wood, the beta behind him and crunchy leaves. Pleased, Derek turns his nose to the faint traces of his mate. Medicine, those damn flowers, tree sap and best of all the tease of Derek’s scent combining all the smells together to make his mate’s scent. Got you.

He takes off, down the stream, clever mate, as packsister’s mate crashes into view. Derek hopes the beta mounts his mate instead of chasing Derek.

He has a mate to Catch.

000

Stiles’ yesterday never ended since he was still awake, hit by panic and no he didn’t want to be married and spent the night researching evasion techniques. His day started when he pops more of his speed than he should have as a pick me up and his dad knocking on his door, so they can head to the preserve together. Neither Stilinski said anything, one out of uncertainty of what to say and the other out of panic his dad would notice Stiles’ extra pills this morning, even as his humming and twitching fingers gave him away.

His dad kissed his forehead and went to give his speeches, leaving Stiles to find Allison and begin to tell her his theories on Iron Man’s intimacy issues.

From there all he remembers is walking, sometimes back and forth, in zig zags, rubbing against trees, pouring his water out behind him until Allison mentioned she wanted Scott to find her, prompting Stiles to drop her off on some rocks so he could march his way up the stream, getting out to spread his scent more when he got cold, jumping from bank to bank when he warmed up. Deeming himself safe, he climbed a tree, falling only once before freaking out because his red hoodie could be seen by anyone with eyes much less super eyes and dove for some bushes a little further upstream.

Red traditional his ass. Red was probably traditional to make it easier for werewolves to find and molest hapless humans.

The bushes were kind and hid him awesomely in their dense leafiness and then he passed out.

Crashes were a bitch like that.

If he’d known the extra Adderall would be his downfall, Stiles would have flushed the entire bottle down the toilet and actually attempted to sleep.

He jumps awake when jaws clamp on his hood and pull him from the bushes. Terror doesn’t even begin to describe waking up to a massive black wolf dragging him from his hiding spot and sleep with fangs. Stiles has studied the difference between male and female werewolves so he knows the wolf is a male and fuck, he’s going to be someone’s bitch, wasn’t he?

The answer to that was hell no if anyone was wondering. Stiles read about Arthur and Guinevere and how she out ran the alpha wolf until sunset and he had to respect her chose of Lancelot. Stiles is totally okay with taking inspiration from a badass human princess. Scrambling out of the red hoodie the wolf’s teeth are still buried in, Stiles runs as fast as he can, only looking back once to see the wolf drop the hoodie and begin chasing Stiles.

He only has to outsmart the werewolf until sunset. Stiles could do that. In the face of pro human consent laws, the Festival of Red allowed the Chosen the chance of not being mated if they could hide until sunset. Never mind the werewolf behind him is closing the distance between them with every thud of his paws and the sun is still high.

If Stiles hadn’t been so concentrated on protecting his innocence and single status, he would have noticed the howls of satisfied werewolves, human moaning and no less than four couples in the middle of sexual intercourse. As it was, Stiles only noticed brown = tree, green = bush, red = other obstacle, jump fool!

He doesn’t know how long he’s ran for, just that his legs ache and his lungs are on fire. He’s getting into territory he’s so unfamiliar with Stiles wouldn’t be at surprised if he had ran all the way to Oregon. He’s tiring so he makes sure to obey the one rule of running for your life there is: he doesn’t look back. He’s seen enough horror movies to know better than to look back, so he doesn’t and damn it. Not fair! He didn’t look! But he’s still tackled down a wannabe hill, the body pining him decidedly not furry or really wolfy in any way but the crystal blue eyes Stiles maybe read about.

Shut up.

He has a lot of information in his head okay, and to be honest more pressing things to think about than the relevance of bright blue eyes on a werewolf.

“You win, Wolf-man.” Stiles pants out. He lets his limbs fall where they want. He’s tired damn it. Boneless. He’s a meat suit and bones are not included. “I feel I should warn you, Wolfy, I’m Trouble. Capital T. Ask anyone. That Stiles needs his voice box ripped out.” Wolf-man turned his head with a non-clawed hand thankfully and Stiles let him. Refer to boneless for why, besides he can still warn the werewolf off like a poison dart frog. “And ADHD problem to go hand in hand with my Adderall problem. Really. I drive people nuts – are you licking me?! Dude, I’m gross. Don’t do that.” Never had his words expressed what he doesn’t mean so he’s quick to amend the incorrect statement. “Never mind. Keep doing it.” The tongue chasing the sweat down his neck resumes and wow, he kind of wishes he could move his arms so he could hold the guy’s head to the spot that makes embarrassing sounds escape his mouth. “Fuck it. If you still want to fuck me, you’re doing all the work.”

He means it as a last ditch attempt to prove he’s bad mate material, hello, lazy in bed, but Wolfy took it as consent. Sure, he hears that part of his ‘why Stiles Stilinski will make a very bad mate’ speech. Already Stiles can sense the miscommunication problems they will have.

He hadn’t liked his shirt anyways. And he could probably find his shoes again. Maybe. Who needed pants? Stiles always wanted to live in a pantless utopia. A quick stop at Wal-Mart would fix his boxer situation, no problem. Being naked in the woods was freeing. People should do it more often. Maybe Stiles would after all this.

Or was it the feel of Wolfy’s mouth and hands stroking his body that was nice? Ooo, another experiment idea. Naked in the woods by self, sex with Wolfy elsewhere. Maybe more variables, especially the sex with Wolfy part.

“Sorry. My arms are traitors.” He attempts communicating because communicating was important shit that they will improve on, but Wolfy is sucking a hickey on Stiles’ chest and there’s frottaging going on so it sounds more slurred like, “Sree. Arms. Tra-ah. Ors.”

It takes a brief nap, Wolfy curled around him, still knotted in him for Stiles to regain proper control over his mouth and use of his body and he’s already Wolfy’s mate, the mine and yours vows exchanged before teeth buried themselves deep in Stiles, blood flooding the werewolf’s mouth, making Stiles swear loudly as he came. There’s no taking back mutually awesome orgasms.

So fuck it.

The second Wolfy’s knot recedes, Stiles is riding him, going to mark Wolfy’s skin so hard his super healing won’t keep up. For the most part, his plan is a success, except the part where Stiles loses his god damn mind and pins Wolfy’s hands down with his own, getting high off that fucking beautiful sight and gasping “Be mine” over and over until Wolfy rumbles, “Yours, mine yours, yours.” And yeah, Stiles bites hard, tasting blood, loving the taste like some sort of freak. Whatever. Wolfy must’ve liked it because there’s more knotting and if Stiles had known he’d feel this awesome, he probably would have been chasing Wolfy or y’know set himself up by the entrance ass in the air.

Yeah. He has problems. Don’t judge.

Those problems in no way impeded Stiles from learning Wolfy’s name is in fact Derek between lingering kisses and come being rubbed into his skin after the third time. Leading into the fourth time for Derek, and wow, Stiles wasn’t sure who liked when he moaned it more, him or Derek because fuck those syllables sounded awesome.

He learns the werewolf has a triskelion tattoo Stiles likes licking and biting as much Derek likes Stiles doing it. Derek’s age and his dad was going to freak his werewolfan (-en? Whoever the hell is in charge of this shirt dropped the ball on that one, seriously) mate/husband is six years older than his seventeen year old son, but his mom and dad had a ten year difference so like his dad could talk.

 Stiles also learns his new lifemate (mate-mate? Wolf-mate? Bond-mate? Seriously, werewolfian to human guidebook is required)  didn’t care when Stiles mumbled lines to poems he memorized for the fuck of it when insomnia held him hostage, instead Derek panted the titles and poets into Stiles’ mouth and gah, Stiles’ brain was melting out his ears. Hot and smart, Stiles’ favorite type.

Derek discovered Stiles’ off button shortly after, putting the teen to sleep with his heartbeat. Their nap only lasting until the woods grew colder, almost dark enough to be considered twilight rather than sunset and since they were both already naked, more sex couldn’t hurt.

Even if Stiles felt like boneless jelly again.

This time sex involved a level of tenderness and gasped out compliments. Stiles could stand to be called clever, delicious smelling and fuckable for the rest of his life, while all Stiles could jabber about was “Eyes. Seriously. And brain. Awesome and your dick. Irk.” Before his words plain didn’t make sense, not that he didn’t try.

Stiles is always going for the A in effort. His executions have always been shaky.

“Sun’s down.” Stiles says. Derek’s hair is so soft around his fingers; he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t a little awed. Someone like Derek was letting Stiles pet him. “Think anyone will look for us?”

“The pack will.” Derek rumbles, rubbing his face into Stiles’ stomach. “All new mating bonds must be approved by the alpha and be legally sanctioned by the justice of the peace with the sheriff as witness.”

The two don’t move, still basking in each other and the peace they emanated together. Stiles doubts he would have moved if Derek didn’t hear the pack’s warning howls to all the stragglers and Stiles has heard about the embarrassing situations stragglers got caught in.

He votes clothes.

No way in hell is he ending up like Erica Reyes and her mate Say-My-First-Name-And-I’ll-Make-You-Cry Boyd.

Stiles agreed. It was a rather long first name as first names go. At least Boyd wasn’t saddled with Genim. Really? Why not like Zeno or Grimaheld?

In the end, Derek finds Stiles’ shoes, socks are in shoes awesome!, jeans and his red hoodie to wear. The rest are considered fallen comrades. At least he was mostly clothed. Humans were delicate flowers like that; although, Stiles seriously did not mind cataloging his mate’s naked body like he’d be quizzed later.

It could be a new thing. You never know.

When they find the main trail, Derek shifts into his wolf form so as not to offend delicate human sensibilities with his glorious nakedness despite Stiles’ many arguments (how far away from town did Stiles fucking run?) no one would mind and would probably get a lot of free stuff and pads out of the woods with Stiles stumbling behind him, hands deep in fur because it is dark.

Not because he’s clumsy.

Nope.

Shut up. No one asked you.

000

During the Chase, the town square completed the transformation it started the day before. A large bonfire was constructed. Lanterns glowed from trees, buildings and even some cars, lending more light to the scene for human eyes. Families of the Chosen sat on blankets or fold out chairs like they were waiting for Independence Day fireworks. A stage had been added so everyone could see Alpha Hale, Justice of the Peace Hyacinth and Sheriff Stilinski as they formally recognized the bond between mates in the eyes of the pack and human law.

Not to say the night ended successfully for everyone. An odd two dozen Chosen weren’t Caught and an even higher amount of werewolves returned disappointed and mateless.

The Argents had sat outside the preserve for hours before acknowledging their daughter had been Caught. Their disappointment could be spotted yards away and humans and werewolves alike gave the family a wide berth. To most people, being Caught was an honor. Not something to be horrified about.

The Justice of The Peace’s werewolf problem didn’t go away like he hoped; the female had spent the entire day sleeping outside every door he was behind or following him, her laughing eyes on his wife. To be honest, he was rather intimidated as much as he was flattered by her attention.

With dismay, Alpha Hale greeted her daughter an hour after the Chase began. Hope of Laura finding a mate locally dissipating. She’d been in the middle of setting up Laura and Derek to go to the Beltane Festival in New York when she realized Derek never returned. Her glee could not be contained and many packs laughed when she shouted the good news to her mate.

As his people rounded up the unmated Chosen, Sheriff Stilinski quickly accepted the fact his son was mated. If by quickly one meant locking himself in his office for an hour and accepted they meant stopped going through the list of werewolves that didn’t come back and rating them from bad to worst.

Vehicles began dropping off new couples, others walking from where they parked and the town’s anticipation grew. Faces were often hid, or the werewolves were unrecognizable to humans due to partial transformations or complete wolf forms. Many werewolves came furry, went to a tent and returned to their mates human looking and clothed.

The sun completely down, the ceremony began.

000

They arrive half way through the ceremony if the line was any indicator. It looks a lot like his high school graduation all over again. And exactly like his graduation, clothes were mandatory.

Derek leads his mate to the tent that’ll have something for him to wear, since it’s hard for Stiles to claim Derek back if no one but the pack can recognize Derek. Human faces were necessary. And his clothes had been torn and unsalvageable from when he shifted earlier in the day.

He finds sweats easily enough, a shirt proving too elusive, so shrugging he leads his mate to the end of the line. Stiles’ bite mark still red on his shoulder’s junction.

Derek’s mate.

He rumbles softly enough only Stiles can feel or hear it, pressed tightly as they are back to chest. The boy smells strongly of their couplings, semen flaking off their skin, making Derek smug. His pack will know Stiles immediately as his. There will be no doubts in anyone’s mind to whom claimed Stiles, or whom Stiles claimed in return. And Derek had plenty to be smug about.

His mate tricked him and eluded him for hours, clearly sneaky smart. Then his mate ran from Derek, challenging his right to claim him like a good mate should. His mate was fearless. He’d heard from his cousins rarely did a human mate feel comfortable claiming a werewolf back in a wolfish manner. Some humans taking years to feel brave enough to bite hard enough to claim. His mate was intelligent. Derek never met anyone who could recite Pablo Neruda in English much less Spanish whilst meeting Derek’s thrusts. Lastly, his mate was his. That alone made him perfect to Derek.

Sure, his mate seemed full of energy at all times (even when worn out and trembling slightly in exhaustion) and with the smell of medication Derek was guessing ADHD was the culprit (vaguely he can recall Stiles mentioning it but the wolf hadn’t cared so neither had Derek) and his mate liked, no, loved to ramble but Derek felt these qualities could only help his mate battle Derek’s more worrisome personality traits. Something like aggressive personality with the social skills of a maximum security convict. He hadn’t paid much attention to Nathan’s words, too busy imagining the silence he’d have if he punched Nate in the throat.

Which probably proved the point Nate had been trying to make. Huh.

“Did you know the Festival of Red was first celebrated in Germany after the mating of Rotkäppchen and Woolf? Putting her village under Woolf’s protection?” Derek could smell the nerves rolling off his boy. Was the babbling a nervous tic? “The festival began in Beacon Hills in 1982 by Alpha Moon Hale due to the Hale pack’s dwindling numbers at the price of putting Beacon Hills under their protection against all supernatural enemies like the troop of spirit foxes that had been kidnapping babies to eat, which ew and so sad.”

“Did you know Alpha Moon renamed herself after the moon during the 60s? She even went to Woodstock.” Derek whispered in his mate’s ear and that was an interesting way to quiet the boy, new information.

The line shortens considerably by the time Stiles asks, “How did you know that?”

Derek catches his mother looking at him, pride and happiness rolling off her as if Derek did something spectacular. Between pairs, she wasn’t very subtle about trying to sniff out his mate’s identity. Stiles’ hood covering most of his face, Derek’s arms and dry semen hiding his normal scent. Derek smirks at her.

“Family secret.” Derek whispers during the applause for Lyra and William’s bond being sanctioned.

Then it was their turn, Derek’s arms still around Stiles’ waist, rumbling slightly because his nerves sky rocket only to lessen to just high.

“The Pack recognizes the mate of Derek Hale,” his mother began, pointedly looking at the red hood. Smirking at her obviousness, he tugs the hood down with his teeth. His mother’s eyebrows shoot up. “Genim Stilinski.”

Stilinski? Why did that sound familiar?

“Your last name is Hale?” His mate whispers.

“Your name is Genim?” Derek whispers back just to see his mate blush.

 “The State of California recognizes the lawful union between Derek Hale and Genim Stilinski.” The Justice of the Peace officiates next.

“Shhh, never call me that if you want to sleep soundly. I know how to use a fork.” And Derek lets out a whoosh of breath when his mate jabs an elbow into his stomach that is quickly chased by amusement.

Feisty.

One more to go, then Derek could get his mate off the stage before his heart exploded.

“Oh look, it’s my dad, hey dad.” His mate whispers, shy, pushing into Derek’s for chest for comfort.

Ah. Sheriff Stilinski. Tomorrow Derek is properly going to freak out about the ramifications of mating with the sheriff’s son. The same sheriff that arrested Derek and Jon for public intoxication when he was fifteen. Not the best impression Derek could have made on the man. Derek’s hoping the Sheriff has forgotten that. Right now though, he’s going to wait patiently for the last bit to make everything nice and legal.

“I, John Stilinski, so swear by my office this union is consenting and recognized by the Hale Pack and State of California.”

Cheers erupted from the crowd. The last pair of the night and because Derek’s family loved to embarrass themselves.

Come on, Derek was going to mate at some point. No need to make it seem like a thing. Assholes.

000

The bonfire is blazing. The flames shadowing and warming bodies as the celebration of essentially two hundredish weddings began. Laughter and conversation flowing freely between families. Only the families of the Chosen were in attendance, the actual presentation of the Chosen to the general public not occurring until the next day. Tonight was reserved for introductions between families and meeting the parents.

Stiles is floating. His feet are only on the ground because Derek is holding on to him. Stiles is a balloon.

“Do you want to find your family first?” Derek asks.

Stiles is positive his dad is currently mediating the Argent family and McCall family introductions. Unless that guy dressed as the sheriff standing between a pissed off Ms. McCall and stony Mr. Argent just happened to look like his dad. Stranger things have happened. Oh, look, Ms. McCall’s flashing fang.

“Let’s find your family first.” Maybe then Stiles’ family won’t be a few snappy words from a showdown to put the WWE to shame.

(When Ms. McCall was pregnant with Scott, she had been attacked by an alpha trying to show the Hales up. Ms. McCall and Scott obviously lived, but the bite changed them both into werewolves. When Scott was five, his dad decided he couldn’t handle the collective werewolf awesome that was his wife and son and bailed. Ms. McCall was now understandably touchy whenever anyone even hinted that Scott wasn’t good enough due to his wolfy powers.

What Stiles is saying. The Argents are going to need a flashlight to find their teeth if they keep it up.)

Derek’s mouth, his very talented mouth, twitches into what Stiles feels is a pleased smile. He doesn’t know how he deciphered it, maybe some mystic bond bullshit, but he’s pleased. Gooey warm in the center pleased with himself and he’s smiling, no, beaming but whatever. He can be a dork. He’s certain his mate is the hottest werewolf/humanoid in attendance at this shindig.

Okay, at the very least in the state of California.

‘Though Stiles might be a tiny bit biased.

Derek leads him to a large group – werewolves = big family – that was doing a good impression of the lacrosse team when they won their regional title. Champagne is being opened and sprayed everywhere. People are jumping up and down, some hollering and singing about victory and cubs and God knows what else because all of their words are jumbling around in Stiles’ head.

“This is our year!” A man resembling Derek via check bones cheers.

“About god damn time, Hale!”

“You took your sweet time, Derek!” Another man shouts.

“Take that you Garcia bitches!” Another voice hollers, but the group was too tangled for Stiles to see who.

“If you all would rather get drunk off moonshine than meet my mate, we can go.” Derek says dryly. Dry. Stiles feels parched, another thing to lov— appreciate about the werewolf. Stiles is sure he can only benefit if he starts making a list.

“Derek!” Various members of Derek’s family roar.

They are instantly mobbed, rather, Stiles is while Derek preens and is smacked on the shoulder a lot without anyone actually getting all up in his space. Stiles is feeling a little envious if he’s honest. He’s pretty sure his shoulder is going to be jerked out of its socket – his hand being shook so enthusiastically. He’s using all his concentration to ignore the obvious sniffing. If he thinks about what their wolfy senses are picking up from him, Stiles will never be able to look Derek’s family around the facial vicinity again.

“Move it,” the werewolf sniffing Stiles’ hand in disguise of shaking it is pushed out of the way and Stiles has hair in his mouth and an arm hugging him and edging into choking territory. So delicious, hair. And air. He prefers air over hair, in case there was any confusion. The she with long hair removes herself to beam at him. “He’s cute.” Derek agrees, which does not send pleasure down his spine. At all. “I’m Laura. Derek’s sister.”

Laura? Funny. Stiles always thought there was only one Laura Hale. That Laura was Alpha-heir because her mother was Alpha Hale. What a coincidence, the Alpha-heir also had a brother named Derek. Feeling like he’s on the edge of solving this mystery, Stiles looks at the large group celebrating, then back to Laura to Derek.

Oh.

“Your Alpha Hale’s son?! Not just a Hale?”

Laura’s eyes go round. “You ass! You didn’t tell him?” She punches Derek, who deserves it because being a Hale was whateves, being the Alpha’s son, not whateves. It didn’t stop Stiles from wanting to kiss the spot better though.

“I’m not Alpha-heir.” Derek says like that makes sense. “You are.”

“Your mom is the alpha.” Stiles may be flapping. Derek’s family may be laughing. May bes were hard to concentrate on right now. “Alpha Hale is badass.”

Not two weeks ago, the alpha had ripped chunks out of a disgruntled alpha she rejected for attendance to the festival and had decided it would be a smart move to invade Hale territory. Hint: it wasn’t. Fur flew. Meat flew. The end. No more alpha. Alpha Hale had roared in triumph naked, except for the other alpha’s blood running down her chin.

Stiles maybe idolizes her.

He likes strong women, okay?!

Derek, the bastard, shrugs. “She’s my mom.”

“At least one of my sons” One of her sons? Stiles may be feeling a little weak in the knees. He’s never been accepted by anyone so quickly. “Appreciates me.” Well, positively.

Jackson accepted the fact Stiles and Scott were put on this Earth solely to irritate the shit out of him, but Stiles always got the feeling it was one of those negative things and not like a thing to be proud of. Even if Stiles totally was.

Derek huffs, hoist air landing on the back of his neck and the breath sending a shudder through Stiles.

Alpha Hale, Derek’s mother, was the Hollywood image of a dark, sexy pirate, and Stiles is ignoring the fact he applied the word sexy to someone who called him son for his own sanity. The woman was beautiful, including the scar across her mouth in the way only a female Jack Sparrow could be and he should ask Derek if that was the secret to the Hale’s sexy gene – common genetic material with Johnny Depp.

“Call me Cynthia,” and kisses him on the cheek. “This is my mate, Remy.” And hello carrier of Derek’s greenish eyes. Remy Hale wasn’t striking like his mate. The man was soft and unassuming but his eyes were pretty enough to steal any show from his dynamic mate.

“’M Stiles.” He says before anyone can get any ideas about this Genim business. If his face is red, it’s clearly because of the bonfire. Never mind the only heat Stiles can feel is from Derek’s body. “Pleased to meet you.” His father did train manners into him after all.

“Welcome to our family, Stiles.” Remy says. Sounding like he meant it. Seriously. Stiles is going to faint if people kept treating him like this. Like Stiles is a good thing to be happening to their son and not y’know, a burden or hellspawn that needs to be exorcised with some archaic Latin.

“Thank you.” He squeaks. “Your son Chased me to Cedar Copse to make me part of your family so all credit does to him.”

Derek is oozing smug and pride and all conversation froze and Stiles is getting a little uncomfortable with the intense starting everyone is doing. He’s starting to get the feeling Derek and him achieved something great when Alpha Hale laughs sounding a little drunk and Laura’s eyebrow tries crawling into her hairline and Remy smiles with fatherly pride.

“He’s too good for you.” Laura tells her brother.

“You have to tell us how that happened.” Cynthia declares. “Right now. Every gritty bit of it.”

She leads them into the thicket of the Hale pack, inviting Stiles to talk off her ear.

Clearly, the best family ever.

000

On March 2nd the new marriages were posted on the doors of Town Hall and the post office.

This was the day dedicated to the union of two families.

The McCalls and Argents decided on spending the day in the park, along with a dozen or so other families. It was decided by everyone involved, the more public, the better. It was also decided by the Sheriff that one of his deputies would sit in on the family activities. The Sheriff, if he was honest, didn’t trust the two families not to maim each other unless they were watched closely. Not that the arguing and barely veiled threats did anything to dampen the amor of Scott and Allison. The two rarely came up for air, and were giddy newlyweds that made many elderly mated pairs coo.

“Sir, please.” Deputy Patton pleads with Chris Argent.

The man had been making blunt threats to Ms. McCall about his daughter achieving her full potential as not only an Enforcer but also as a daughter if something were to happen to Scott while the man’s wife, Victoria Argent made a tasteless joke (god, he hoped it was a joke) about wolfsbane and the McCall home’s pipes.

“As a mother and woman, I think Alpha Hale will be lenient if I were to rip out the throats of those that dare threaten my family.” Ms. McCall and her smile was entirely human but only made the woman more vicious in  Deputy Patton’s eyes. “What do you think?”

“Awe, aren’t they cute?” an elderly woman sighs to her husband and the deputy is reminded of the two teenagers who were sucking face like they didn’t have a tomorrow. It only made the situation he was in more awkward, especially as Mr. Argent’s threats seemed to be in direct correlation between where hands were and how much tongue was being used.

“Just like how we were.” The woman’s husband agrees with his wife. “We wish you two a happy life together!”

The two teens break apart long enough to beam. “Thanks!” and “We plan to!”

“Oh my, you two were certainly be hearing the pitter patter of tiny feet in no time.” A woman old enough to know better commented as she passed the two devouring each other again.

Deputy Patton was sure he saw Argent’s eye twitch and Mrs. Argent looked faint, even Ms. McCall appeared slightly green.

Finally, common ground!

“Not any time soon.” Allison broke away to say. “But thank you!”

“Hopefully, never.” Mrs. Argent says under her breath and really? Ms. McCall was a wifwolf.

For fuck’s sake.

“Be sure to give me as many grandchildren as possible the moment you two are ready.” Ms. McCall encourages in retaliation.

The Mahealani and Whittemore families were overjoyed to discover their sons’ mating.

They invited all their close and extended family members, much to Danny’s and Jackson’s embarrassment.

For so long, the two families had been friends and to discover they would in fact be related through their sons was cause for celebration for the two families, in particular Mrs. Mahealani and Mr. Whittemore as the two were business partners. Their family get together, or perhaps family reunion was a more apt description, was the thing made of werewolf happy endings. Even if Mr. Mahealani and Mr. Whittemore began ribbing the boys about cubs.

“When should we be expecting the first cub?” Mr. Mahealani began to tease Jackson.

Vaguely horrorified by his father, Danny looks to the sky. “Why? I’m a nice guy. What did I do to deserve this?”

“Don’t be so dramatic baby.” Mrs. Mahealani dismisses. “It’s a fair enough question.”

“That I don’t want Jackson to answer because we haven’t talked about it.” Danny says.

“Jackson’s his own man! He’s been making decisions years before you two mated.” His father was quick to point out to a cherry red Jackson. “So how about it?”

“Soon?” Jackson tries to appease his mate’s and best friend’s family.

“Oh! We should have you boys tested!” Mrs. Whittemore exclaims. “You never know if you’re pregnant this second if we don’t!”

“Mom,” Jackson says and his eyes are huge.

Danny can relate.

“Now boys, you shouldn’t wait too long. Your mother and I waited,” Mr. Whittemore began to explain to Danny. “to start our families so we could focus on our practice and we could only have one child each. Waited to long, we did. A strong family and pack should have at least two cubs and you two should have even more since you’re financially stable.”

Danny squeezes Jackson’s hand as tightly as possible, feeling his mate’s stress. They would escape as soon as his mom’s sister and her brood mobbed them. Maybe they’d talk about cubs or maybe they’ll bury this particular topic of discussion until they’re thirty. Jackson squeezes back.

The mating of Peter Hale and Lydia Martin was shocking enough, and humans could hear the yelling of Mr. Martin from down the street. Of course, the former Mrs. Martin had retaliated by expressing her utter joy at her daughter marrying (mating was so crude) such a distinguished man. Peter Hale was after all a professor in Shifter Magic and Alpha Hale’s brother. In the former Mrs. Martin’s opinion, her daughter couldn’t have done much better, an opinion she expressed by flirting with Peter in front of her daughter and ex-husband.

 Peter prayed for his alpha’s interference soon, but she was busy with her son’s new family, and their sisters and brother were no help in taming the situation. Mary was laughing with Sam about his mate’s unfortunate parents while Rose was at least trying to bond with his rather young mate. Shit. Nineteen year difference. Somewhere, the divine were laughing at him.

“Our daughter is seventeen!” Mr. Martin shouts. “There has to be laws about this!”

“There really isn’t.” Sam disagrees with a smirk. “Especially if your daughter is willing.”

“Like hell my daughter is willing. He’s nineteen years older than her!” Mr. Martins says, doing a remarkable impression of a werewolf. “We’ll go to the courts to dissolve this mating and marriage if we have to, won’t we Lyds?”

Peter’s eyes haven’t left his mate, even with his mate’s mother pawing at him and he could see the intrigue in her eyes, the curiosity and he can remember her telling him her dreams about mathematical formulas to explain the universe and a Field’s Medal and he knows his mate will deny her father. She wants to be with Peter, not out of love or loyalty, not yet at least, but because Peter is her gateway to a new life. A life away from her parents that clearly don’t see her as their daughter but as a pawn in their games when she’s clearly a queen.

“Dad, its fine.” She rolls her eyes.

“I knew I never should have let her live with you.” Mr. Martin hisses to his ex-wife. “She’s obviously adopted your deluded definition of “fine.””

“Mr. Martin,” Rose disapproves and this is why Peter brought his sisters and brother.

They could alienate his mate’s family for him while keeping him in their relative good graces. Now if he could get Sam to be a good brother and let the former Mrs. Martin stick her hand in his pants, his brother’s mate Angela would understand it was for a good cause.

Really.

The Stilinski family had been invited over to the Hale house in order for the two families to get to know each other, and both men were promptly lost in the sea that was Derek’s cousins, sisters, aunts, and uncles. Everyone wanted to meet their newest additions to the pack, especially since this was the family Derek and his wolf saw worthy to bring into the fold.

Derek, to his credit and he was positive Laura had something to do with it, rescued the sheriff as soon as he spotted the man with his spinster aunts and kept him close while Derek sniffed out Stiles so he could introduce their parents and then get on with the games his sisters had insisted on.

 There were many jokes and stories told at Derek’s expense in exchange for stories about Stiles, the Sheriff found and he was enjoying himself even in the middle of a puppy pile for scent exchanging. The embarrassed whines and grumbles of Stiles and Derek only made the man happier.

“I call Stiles!” Natalie, Derek’s youngest sister, calls.

“I call his other side!” Payton, the second youngest, is quick to follow.

“Oh, really.” Derek eyes his sisters.

The girls were seven and ten and he was pretty confident he could take them alone. If Madeline and Morgan and Laura joined forces with Natalie and Payton however, he had no chance in hell. Laura had taught their sisters to fight dirty and Madeline had no problems kneeing him in the balls while Morgan would cry he was hurting her only to wiggle from his grasp and elbow him in the nose.

Sisters were evil.

“Yes, this is pack bonding.” Natalie huffs. “And you had him all to yourself yesterday.”

“I call the Sheriff!” Madeline shouts and kindly adds. “Derek you can be on his other side. It’s important your mate’s dad knows your scent so he doesn't kill you on accident.”

“Derek doesn't need to worry about the Sheriff accidentally shooting him.” Laura smirks. “The Sheriff is an excellent shot.”

“Baby, human noses aren't as strong.” Their mom joins the conversation as the Sheriff and Stiles watch the proceedings with curiosity. “We’re scenting them, so other packs know they are under our direct protection. Like we did with Uncle Ross.”

Derek is bodies away from Stiles and in agony. His mom was having fun speaking to the Sheriff.

“When Derek was eleven he got chased by a moose.” Alpha Hale laughs and the Sheriff one ups her story with a grin. “When Stiles was eleven he got stuck in a tree trying to rescue a cat.”

There were of course more matings, after all, it was nearly two hundred “marriages” that were officiated, but those families were less interesting.

Then of course there were the bets that had to be squared away and everyone called foul when Coach Finstock won the most from the betting pool.

Two grand richer, Coach Finstock smugly told everyone it would take someone blind and deaf to not notice the obvious attraction between McCall and Argent (and the fact he’s over heard a dozen conversations about the girl between McCall and Stilinski had nothing to do with it) or romantic tension between Mahealani and Whittemore (and Coach Finstock had noticed since the two were his best players and he’d noticed the second their dynamic was thrown off).

It wasn't his fault he paid attention to his boys unlike the swim coach or Harris who had all four in his chem. class and should have definitely seen all this coming so he could stop whining like a little bitch anytime now.

He’d be honest though, he honestly had not expected Stilinksi to mate to anyone. He thought the kid was too wily to be caught, but apparently his best midfielder in a decade was more than capable of catching the teen. Coach Finstock still felt the insane urge to giggle and check his retirement plans because no way in hell did he want to still be coaching when the offspring of Derek Hale and Stilinksi entered high school. He’d rather deal with another Lydia-Jackson blowout.

“Life is good.” He toasts himself and downs the glass of whiskey.