It was an unquestionable fact that Lydia Martin was no one’s fool. This had always been truth, and after three years of reigning over MIT, while being in a pack of werewolves, there wasn’t even a shadow of doubt that this was still true.
By her reasoning, no one in the world should be that relaxed after spending two weeks in a god forsaken shack.
The first year, she wasn’t too suspicious because it was, after all, the year Derek and Stiles had come back from the cabin as an official couple after years of mutual pining. If they were relaxed, then it could have been attributed to the outrageous amount of sex they'd probably had, to make up for lost time.
The second year was merely a coincidence, and one couldn’t base any real conclusions off of it, though Lydia had taken note of their rejuvenation, of that one can be sure.
The third year made it a pattern, because the third year, Derek and Stiles had come back from their two weeks in the wilderness fresh as daisies and happy as clams once again.
Therefore, with three years of evidence in place, Lydia knew that something fishy was going on, and she was going to find out what.
She had interrogated both men thoroughly, to no avail. They’d said the same things about the cabin they always did. It was “peaceful.” They felt better “connected” there. The s’mores were the “most amazing you’ll ever have”, and “what could be better than bonfires and clear water?”
Lydia could think of lots of things that were better than walking for two days to reach smoke in your eyes and mud on your pedicure.
She set her investigation in motion while skyping and eating frozen yogurt with Stiles while they went over the pack’s summer plans.
Stiles had maintained the tradition of planning summer adventures for them to ensure optimal quality time experiences and efficient scheduling, but with everyone flung across the country, it was easier to collect suggestions, formulate a plan, then send it to the pack for confirmation, rather than try and bring everyone together during the semester to hash things out. Everyone would be home this summer and they’d assembled a decent schedule of leisure time and events.
“We can’t do anything in the last two weeks of July,” Stiles said. “Derek and I will be going up to the cabin.”
Lydia rolled her eyes. Stiles had gone to great lengths the past two years to make sure their trip fell on their anniversary.
“Invitation is still open, if you want to join us.” Stiles continued.
“Put Jackson and I down as confirmed,” she said, and Stiles flailed so hard he nearly fell of his computer chair.
“You’re coming?” He asked, incredulously.
“Yes.” Lydia raised an eyebrow.
“Without me blackmailing you?” Stiles asked. At her nod he said, “But, you said you didn’t like camping and hiking and bugs and dirt and what the hell do you mean you’re coming?”
“Would you rather we stay behind?” She asked, sweet as pie. The kind that gave people cavities.
“No! Of course not, I’m just…shocked. I am completely shocked.” Lydia glared at him, delicate eyebrow raised. “Okay, okay. Lydia and Jackson confirmed for Cabin Trip.” He adjusted their summer spreadsheet accordingly. Lydia smiled and moved on to the next part of her list. If she was going camping, of all things, she was dragging the pack to a spa afterward. No further questions.
Stiles signed off of skype and left his home office, running up the stairs into the master bedroom. Stiles loved staying in Derek’s house when he was home. It was specially designed with them in mind, and it was perfect for moments such as this. Derek stretching out on the bed with a book and Stiles jumping on him with unbridled enthusiasm.
“Did you hear? Were you listening?” Stiles asked, as Derek caught him and maneuvered his long legs so he didn’t accidently get kneed in the balls. Again.
“No, I didn’t hear. I insulated the walls for a reason. Did you have a good planning session with Lydia?”
“I did.” Stiles moved his legs to straddle Derek and sat up so he could use his hands to fully convey the glory of his discussion. “And guess what? Guess, guess, guess.” He punctuated this with poking before Derek grabbed his hand.
“What?” Derek said.
“You didn’t guess.” He didn’t really think Derek would guess, he just wanted to make him lift his eyebrow. Just like that. Bam! Sexy-questioning glare. Mmmm. “Lydia has decided she and Jackson are coming to the cabin.”
Derek’s eyebrows switched to disbelieving-glare. “Really?”
“I know, right? This means we can bring the whole pack!” Stiles bounced with excitement.
“How so?” Derek said, bracing Stiles hips so the bouncing didn’t make him want to hurl.
“If Lydia goes, the others will follow.” Stiles ticked off his fingers. “Erica will want to witness Lydia in nature, so she’ll go, and where she goes, Boyd follows.” Derek couldn’t fault that logic. “Allison’s dad won’t be such a hardass if he knows Lydia will be there, and it’s not just werewolves.”
“You aren’t a werewolf,” Derek pointed out.
“Yeah, but he thinks I’m a little shit, so I don’t count.” Derek ceded the point. “Isaac will be jealous of the other betas and want to be near Allison. That leaves only Scott. He won’t stay behind if everyone else is going. Especially his girl and boyfriend. It’s perfect!”
“Hmm. Invite your Dad.” Derek said.
“What?” Stiles nearly fell off of Derek in surprise. Wolfy reflexes to the rescue again.
“Invite your father. He’s pack now and since, with the whole pack there, we won’t be able to have sex in the kitchen anyway, he might as well come along. Melissa too.” Derek explained.
Stiles was slightly disappointed about the lack of kitchen sex in their future, but he agreed that it would be nice to have the whole pack. He said as much to Derek.
“We’ll have to make up for it before we go,” said Derek, rolling his hips under Stiles, prompting him to notice the other benefits of his current position. He surged forward to kiss Derek, tabling further discussion for another time.
The pack fell like dominos just as Stiles thought they would when he worked his way through the ranks. His father was easily convinced, thanks to the prospect of fishing, and Melissa liked the idea of sitting by the lake in the sun. That left only Scott.
“Dude.” Stiles flopped onto Scott’s couch at the apartment he shared with Isaac. “You know you want to.”
“I really don’t.” Scott was in the kitchen making peanut butter sandwiches, still in his scrubs after getting home from a shift as Deaton’s vet assistant.
“Everyone is going, Scott. Your boyfriend and your girlfriend are going. Not to mention your best bud in the whole world,” Stiles gestured grandly to himself.
Scott hummed noncommittally and Stiles brought out the big guns.
“Dude, even your mom is going.”
“What?” Scott fumbled the jar. “You invited my mom?”
“It’s a pack outing.” Stiles sat up so he’d have maximum gesturing capabilities. “Your mom is pack, so she’s coming. You are pack, so you should come.”
“Stiles,” Scott whined. “Hiking is lame.”
Stiles could see that Scott was starting to crack, so he went in for the kill. Scott may have been an actual puppy, but Stiles had perfected the optimal level of Puss-in-Boots-Eyes. “I just want everyone to be together as a pack.”
Scott whined in the back of his throat and looked at the ceiling. “Fine, I’ll come.”
“Yes!” Stiles jumped off the couch and flung himself at his friend. He let Scott kick his ass at the latest Call of Duty while he started making mental plans for the Awesomest Cabin Trip Ever.
Monday morning of the third week of July, the pack assembled at the Hale house. (Technically, since Stiles had moved in, it was the Hale-Stilinski house, but nobody called it that.) Stiles had a detailed list of who would be sitting in which car, and where to pack everything that needed to come with them.
Of course, bickering broke out immediately between Scott, Isaac and Jackson, because they all wanted to ride in Allison’s SUV. It took them twice as long to pack everything up because they wouldn’t stop sniping at each other.
“We need to get on the road soon or we won’t make it to the campsite,” Derek pointed out. The Sheriff, Melissa and Stiles were the only ones listening, so Stiles took matters into his own hands.
“Everybody in a car in the next minute or we will be leaving without you!” He shouted and got into his jeep. He counted to ten before starting it up and revving the engine. Truth be told, he was a bit hurt that Scott was so against driving with him. It wasn’t like the Jeep was liable to break down anymore, since Derek was bae, and remarkably handy with vehicles.
The passenger door opened and Derek climbed in beside him, with a shy half smile. Stiles counted to twenty in his head, then pulled out and headed down the driveway. Melissa’s new-to-her Honda followed immediately with his dad at the wheel. They were already on the main road, headed for the highway when Allison’s SUV caught up.
“Good job, Ally,” Stiles said, under his breath. He brushed off his tension and focused on the positive. His whole pack was finally coming to the cabin, his amazing boyfriend was with him, and he had a brand new toy just for this occasion. He grabbed the walkie talkie he’d bought for the trip and hit the talk button. “Operation ACTE is a go! All units present? Over.”
“You’re an idiot,” Derek said fondly.
“What the heck is Acte?” Scott’s voice crackled over the speaker.
“Its an acronym, Scott, it stands for Awesomest Cabin Trip Ever, because that’s what this is going to be. Over.” Stiles let go of the talk button and said to Derek, “You know you love me.”
“I do,” Derek sighed, as if it were a trial.
“Stiles, stop trying to make acronyms happen. They're not going to happen.” Lydia said, having wrestled the device from Scott.
“Thanks for that, Regina George. How about Papa Hawk? Come in, Papa Hawk, over.”
“I hope you mean us,” Melissa buzzed in.
“Of course. Dad’s Papa Hawk, I’m Black Hawk, Derek is Sasswolf, and you can be… Foxy Mama if you want? Over,” Stiles grinned. If anyone could pull that off, she could.
“Hmmm, I’ll keep that in mind.” Melissa said. He could hear Erica cackling in the background. “Papa Hawk is, of course, here, but unable to answer, because he’s driving. We wouldn’t want to participate in distracted driving, now, would we, Baby Hawk?”
Derek laughed and took the handpiece from Stiles. “Did everyone remember to get gas before we left?” Both cars put in an affirmative, so he continued, “Should be hitting the highway soon. Make sure you don’t end up going south.”
This received a “Thank you, Derek,” from Melissa, and a “We know, Derek,” from Lydia. Derek set the walkie talkie on the seat and pulled out Stiles’ iPod to start their road trip playlist. The rest of the car ride was pleasantly passed with music, license plate bingo and occasional harassment between the members of the caravan.
They got to the designated lot an hour later than they had planned, but they were still on track. Everyone climbed out of the cars and stretched, joking and laughing, for the most part. Scott and Jackson had started a new fight, this time over Scott being forced to sit in the middle.
Derek helped Stiles liberally apply sunscreen, while Melissa handed out homemade granola squares.
When the bug spray was brought out, Scott and Jackson switched from bitching at each other to bitching about the smell. “I’m suffocating,” Jackson whined, while Scott gagged behind him.
“Then start walking,” Derek growled. He shoved one of the bigger backpacks at Scott and the bundle of tents at Jackson. He divided the rest of the baggage up to amongst the others, putting on a full pack of his own. “Everyone ready?”
“Lead on,” Stiles said. They set off down their usual trail, the pack spreading out behind them. It was slow going, compared to previous years. Stiles liked showing the fun things they had found over the years to his dad, Melissa and Allison. The others were either indifferent or downright disparaging.
They almost agreed to stop for lunch early, because the terror duo was whining about how hungry they were, but Derek insisted they push on to their usual outcropping. They dished out sandwiches, trading between them so everyone could have their pick of egg salad or peanut butter.
Stiles noticed that Derek seemed a bit more restless than usual. He assumed that Derek just wanted everyone to enjoy themselves, so he made sure to engage everyone at some point before it was time to head out. They gathered up their trash and readied themselves for the next leg of the journey. Stiles was putting on his own pack when Derek took his wrist, “Stiles wait. I wanted to talk to you for a second.”
Stiles searched Derek's expression and asked, “What’s up, Der-bear?”
“It's our anniversary and I just wanted to tell you how much I--” Derek was cut off by Erica’s shout from the bottom of the hill.
“Hey, slow pokes. Where the hell are we going?”
“Just a second!” Stiles yelled back. “What were you saying?”
“I just really love you and I-” Derek started again and once more was interrupted.
“Come on, guys! Hurry the hell up!” Jackson jeered.
“Hold your horses, Lizard Breath, we’re coming!” Stiles rolled his eyes. “Sorry, babe. I love you, too.” Derek hesitated ,looking down at the pack and back at Stiles. “Was there something else?”
“I… No, it’s nothing. I just--Let’s go.” He took Stiles’ hand and pulled him to catch up with the others.
When they’d reached Stiles’ favourite clearing of goldenrod, he had thought Derek was going to say something again, but before Derek could get a word in, Isaac and Scott had raced past and nearly knocked them over, Jackson--covered in pollen--hot on their heels.
Derek had growled, but Stiles just laughed it off, made a crack about juvenile antics and prodded Derek to continue. He didn’t though, just rolled his eyes and said they should keep moving.
The pack made good progress through the afternoon, arriving at the campsite in good time. Allison took the betas and started putting together tents for whoever wanted them. Derek found a flat spot to lay out a tarp for himself and Stiles, while the Stilinski men got a fire going and started heating dinner for everyone. Lydia gave directions from a distance to all parties.
The campfire hotdogs were demolished and everyone pulled out their best campfire stories as they made the Famous Stilinski S’mores. After it got well and truly dark,they banked their fire, and the pack started heading to their tents. “Sure you don’t want to stay out under the stars with us? You’ve never seen stars like this,” Stiles called out.
“Like hell,” Jackson called back. No one changed course from their tents.
“Sorry, kiddo,” the Sheriff said. “Maybe on the way back.”
Stiles waved him off and headed for the sleeping bags Derek had zipped together. He climbed in and changed into his pajama pants under the covers. After he had settled, he waited for Derek to come back from changing into his own pants in the woods. As soon as he was back, they tangled themselves together so their arms were wrapped around each other with Stiles’ head on Derek’s shoulder, but they could both still see the sky.
They murmured to each other about nothings and everythings, just as they had their first trip here, and so many of the nights in between, until they both drifted off.
Their campsite came alive with the sun. Those who could sleep through the brightness coming through their tents were soon woken by the sounds of birds greeting the day.
The fire was brought back up to heat coffee and muffins were passed around before anything productive was done.
Stiles and Derek elected to sit and tease the others rather than actually helping to pack the tents away. “Gee, Derek, I wonder if we need to refold our tarp.” is met with various forms of “fuck you, guys, and your star gazing.”
After everything had been gathered up and the fire truly extinguished, they set out.
The werewolves were feeling playful, chasing each other and shifting between forms as the humans keep a steady pace toward their destination. Derek alternated between leading the way and looping around to herd any stragglers forward.
Three hours after they had stopped for lunch, they reached the private trail that branched off the main one and led to their cabin. Stiles practically vibrated with excitement. “So close.”
“Anything else you want to tell us before we get to the cabin, Stiles?” Lydia said with a raised brow.
“Nope,” Stiles said, gave her a wide grin as he hurried up the hill.
“You don’t want to say anything at all?” She pushed.
“I do,” said Derek. The whole pack stopped when he did and gave him their attention. “I wanted to thank you all for following me. Following us.” He looked at Stiles before addressing the group again. “Not only here, but back in Beacon Hills, too. I know hiking isn’t really how most of you would choose to spend your time, and it means a lot that you came anyway. So, thanks, and welcome, I guess.” Derek wasn’t big on speeches and grand gestures, so he grabbed Stiles hand and pulled him up to crest the hill without another word.
Stiles let Derek lead him and looked back to see the reactions of the pack as they followed them over the hill and saw the lake and cabin before them. The expressions of surprise and awe were totally worth nearly tripping over a rock.
The betas ran down the hill, pushing past one another and shouting over what they saw. Derek and Stiles headed straight for the kitchen, putting out food for everyone to snack on when they finished exploring.
“Who the hell owns that many board games?” Erica shouted in the living room.
“Derek, I don’t suppose that TV gets the game, does it?” The Sheriff asked, as he and Melissa came into the kitchen.
“I don’t know which game you mean, but it has a few channels devoted solely to sports.” Derek explained, pulling out cutlery.
“Hot damn,” breathed the Sheriff.
“Derek and I thought you and Melissa might want the other bedroom in the house. We’re taking the master, but the second one has another TV, and there's a bathtub I think you’ll enjoy, Melissa.” Stiles grabbed plates out of the cupboard.
“Are we talking an itsy bitsy bathtub with your knees by your ears, or one you can soak in?” Melissa asked.
“It has jets and there’s bath bombs in the cupboard.” Stiles smirked.
“Bless you, child, my prayers have been answered.” Melissa threw up her hands in over the top thanks and pulled Stiles in for a big hug, then did the same to Derek. “Thank you, boys.”
Derek’s ears turned red from the praise. He looked positively tickled when the sheriff clapped him on the back and said, “This place is amazing, son, thanks for bringing us along.”
They dished out food as the rest of the pack came in, exclaiming about what they had found and how they would spend their time here. They staked their claim on various cabins, and bitched about the cooking schedule Stiles had made, while simultaneously rejoicing in the well stocked pantry and fridge.
“Why didn’t you tell us about this years ago?” Scott asked.
Stiles shrugged. “It’s hardly our fault that no one wanted to come with us.”
“We would have, if you’d said it was like this,” Isaac whined.
“Maybe in the future, when your alpha tells you a place is wonderful enough to bring his whole pack, you’ll listen.” Stiles said lightly, but the undertone of steely reprimand was clear, cutting through the noise of the room like a knife.
Everyone was quiet for a moment, his friends looking cowed. Erica slid off the stool she was perched on and walked over to Derek, eyes downcast. “Thank you for bring us, Derek,” she said, tilting her head down and to the side.
“I’m happy to have you here with me,” Derek said, he hugged her as an acceptance of the apology.
The others followed suit and Derek worked his way through the whole group. The Sheriff elected for a handshake, at first before changing his mind and pulling Derek into a bear hug.
While Derek was working his way though the group, Stiles slung an arm around Lydia’s shoulders, and said, quietly, “Thank you for coming.”
“Please. There had to be something about this place that made you keep coming back,” she huffed.
Stiles watched Derek smile softly as his father clapped him on the back. “Yeah, there’s something, alright.”
Having the pack at the cabin was every bit as wonderful as Stiles had hoped it would be. They made use of the board games, spent hours in the lake, and staged an epic boat race.
The only drawback was that Derek still seemed a bit off. Stiles couldn’t peg what was wrong, exactly, but it was almost like Derek was nervous. Every time Stiles tried to talk to him about it, someone from the pack interrupted and pulled them into whatever fun activity was being put together. The only really private time they had was when they went to their room, and that was spent…doing other things.
On the fifth morning, Derek woke Stiles up before dawn. “Derek, it’s the crack of stupid, what are you doing?”
“I want to watch the sunrise with you.”
Stiles groaned and rolled over. “Can’t we wait and watch the sunset instead?”
“Get up, Stiles, we’re going to miss it.” Derek said, pulling Stiles’ blankets away so he couldn’t snuggle back in.
Stiles gave a sigh of epic proportions and flopped onto his back “Fine, you win.” Derek smiled smugly, and handed him his jeans and a shirt.
They went down to the dock and stood wrapped in each other, Derek’s chest to Stiles back, as pink slowly creeped into the sky and reflected on the lake.
“Stiles?” Derek asked, quietly.
“You know that I love you, right?” Derek said.
“Of course. I love you back.” Stiles was a bit surprised at the question. Duh, they loved each other. He was out of bed wasn’t he? He wouldn’t be here if he didn’t know Derek adored him.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about the things we’ve been through. And about what might happen in the future.”
Stiles hummed. They had been through a lot, but Beacon Hills was getting increasingly quieter as the pack established themselves and secured their reputation as Not to be fucked with.
“Well, I think that…whatever happens from here, I want it to be with you. I want going on trips and coming home, and date nights, and stay home days and laughing at each other and screaming at each other. I want all of it, and I want it with you. For better or for worse.”
The whole speech sounded rehearsed, which made sense to Stiles because it was far more than Derek would usually be comfortable saying at one time. It wasn’t until those last words, cliche and iconic, that Stiles finally clued into what was happening.
“Derek?” He turned in Derek’s arms to look at his face. Derek took Stiles’ hand in his and fished something from his pocket, then sank down onto his knees. “Oh my god, Derek!” Stiles shouted.
“Stiles, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?” He opened the ring box and presented a sturdy silver band with a delicate inscription written into it. Stiles barely noticed how beautiful it was, because he was too busy jumping up and punching the air.
“Yes, yes, yes, yes. Fuck yes! I love you!” He grabbed Derek’s collar and pulled him up to kiss him as hard as he could. Derek took him by the waist and kissed him back, pinning him against his chest so his feet barely touched the ground.
Cheers rang out from around the lake. They broke apart to see the whole pack gathered in their pajamas watching their proposal. Isaac and Lydia both had cameras. Allison wiped away a tear, with an arm around Scott while he sobbed and clapped next to her.
The racket pulled John and Melissa from the main house. “What the hell’s going on?” The sheriff called.
“Dad, I’m getting married! Derek asked me to marry him!” Stiles shouted. “We’re getting married,” he said to Derek at a lower volume.
The sheriff whooped. “About damn time. He’s been carrying that thing in his pocket this whole vacation.”
Derek positively beamed. He pulled the ring out of the box, and Stiles looked at it more closely. “Is that Latin?”
“Ancient latin,” Derek confirmed.
“What does it say?” Stiles ran his finger over the inscription.
“I will follow you anywhere.” Derek said.
“Derek, that's the cheesiest thing I’ve ever heard. I love it! It’s perfect, I love you.” He pulled Derek in for another kiss, briefer this time. “Put in on, put it on.”
He was so excited, he reached for it too fast and their hands collided and knocked the ring out of Derek’s grip. It dropped towards the dock, and Stiles had visions of searching in vain with scuba gear, but Derek snatched it out of the air before it could disappear through the cracks.
“Thank god for wolfy reflexes.” Derek slipped the ring onto his finger, while their pack laughed and cheered behind them.