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Across the Sea

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- Sunday June 6th, 2018 -

Stiles isn’t prepared for the sight of his new bedroom. He has no words to describe how beautiful it is. The walls are coloured a dark cherry, wood-paneled, and they mirror the shiny hardwood floors and meet a tall, vaulted ceiling. On the wall opposite his bedroom door, there are floor-to-ceiling bookshelves made of the same cherry wood, which contain what must be hundreds of books. Upon closer inspection, to his surprise he finds that they are all books on plants.

Said bookshelves are separated by wide French doors that open up to a balcony, which in turn overlooks a herb garden. Stiles remembers mentioning something like that to Derek in passing over Skype while he was still in Japan, to aid in his emissary duties. That Derek had paid attention to his ramblings is one thing, but for the older man to actually plan an area on the property devoted exclusively to him is another altogether. The thought does funny little things to his insides, and they make it extremely difficult for him not to just wrap his alpha up in a bear hug. Once he turns back to Derek, still grinning like a buffoon, he feels a warm thrum along his pack bond, coming from the man himself.

“Do you like it?” Derek asks shyly.

Still afraid to really say anything lest his mouth betray him, Stiles just nods and proceeds to inspect the homier touches of his bedroom more closely. There is a queen-sized bed, outfitted in beautiful red silk sheets, backed against the left wall. Next to the bed are two small night stands, the one on the left with a large potted plant sitting on top of it, some sort of small Japanese tree with white flowers blooming from different places. On the opposite wall, there is a heavy wooden writing desk and a tall work area built into the wall, which Stiles thinks will be a great place for spell work.

Derek clears his throat when he realizes that Stiles has turned his attention back to the tree with childlike curiosity. “It’s a Japanese gardenia. I know you said you weren’t having any nightmares last time you were in town, but I was worried being back for good might change that,” he offers up as he touches one of the white petals. “After the fire, Laura would have really awful nightmares. Once we moved to New York and made a few connections, she spoke with a witch who gave her something just like this. It was supposed to keep her from having bad dreams, ward them away, I guess. It worked for her, and I just…thought you could use it, too.”

“It does have magical properties,” Stiles concedes as he holds his palm over the white blossom Derek has just touched and feels a pleasant hum. “It’s beautiful, Derek. Thank you. I didn’t get any plants past customs on my way back in, so this is great. I hope I don’t need it to keep my sleep safe, though.” He says this with a little laugh, and his face bleeds red when he really thinks about how much Derek has already done for him, is still doing for him.

The warm, happy feelings must not go unnoticed, because Derek just grins, steps towards him and touches his neck. The man rubs a thumb right over his pulse point, while his other fingers wrap around the back of his neck, and Stiles is pretty sure he just stopped breathing.

Derek’s touch is almost ghostlike, but the effect it has on him is instantaneous.

He leans further into Derek’s space and wraps his arms around him, tucking his head right under the man’s chin. Derek is still sweaty from whatever he was working on before answering the door, but Stiles doesn’t mind. He feels another thrum in his pack bonds, this one warm and exclusively between them, and he knows that they both feel it. It isn’t necessarily an emotion, more like a color, if emotions had colors. It’s like a sunset.

“I missed you,” he whispers into Derek’s neck. He’s not sure if the hug is alright, if Derek is alright with this invasion of his personal space, and he isn’t given the chance to find out because someone clears their throat from the doorway behind them.

“I see Japan didn’t help your sense of style,” Lydia says with a smirk.

Releasing Derek, Stiles jumps across the bed and practically smothers the banshee with a similar embrace. “I should’ve known you’d be the one who’d diss my new plaid shirt. It’s all the rage in Tokyo, y’know. Supposedly, it’s making a comeback,” he says into her hair.

“I’ve missed you, Stiles,” is all the red head says back.

Stiles pulls away and gives Lydia a solid once-over. ”I love what you’ve done with your hair, cut short and shit. It’s very banshee-chic.”

“And you’re still an idiot,” the girl offers. She looks between Derek and Stiles with a faint grin on her peach-colored lips. “Something’s different. I can feel it. You’re not just a regular pack member anymore, are you?”

Stiles just grins back at her.

Derek decides to explain before it can get back to the others ahead of schedule. “No, he isn’t. He’s our emissary now. I offered him the position before he got back since Deaton’s retired and moved on. Even though he wasn’t the official Hale emissary, Deaton still helped us out enough for me to realize we needed one. Stiles was the perfect fit,” he supplies with a smile. “I was actually about to talk to him about announcing it tonight when everyone else gets home, after dinner.”

Lydia gives them both a knowing look, one that makes Stiles blush, and then adds, “Well, I heard all of the buzz around the house and had to come see for myself. I’ll let you two get back to…whatever it is you were doing.”

Stiles’ face heats up even more and he tries to defend himself, even though he isn’t sure what it is he’s defending, but Lydia interrupts him.

Sternly, she says, “Save it. You two have been dancing around each other ever since you left, and if I have to endure more pining, from either of you, I’m going to scream, and no one wants that.” There’s a hint of finality in her tone, and she gives them one last evil grin before exiting the room.

Stiles and Derek are left alone in an awkward silence.

Thankfully, Derek breaks it a second later, telling Stiles that he wants to show him something. Stiles clears his throat and agrees because he isn’t sure he could bring himself to talk about what Lydia just said, at least not aloud. His mind is filled with a million and one thoughts as he follows the alpha out of his room, down the stairs and out the back door. What?! Derek’s been pining? Derek has been pining?! The scruffy, ripped, leather-clad leader of my pack has been… I’ve thought of the word ‘pining’ too many times for it to be normal. What the fuck is that about? What the fuck is my life right now? He’s almost vibrating with excitement from the new information Lydia practically threw in his face, and when Derek suddenly turns to look at him as they walk across the backyard, he almost doesn’t notice.

They’re approaching a beautiful, white stone building near the entrance to the preserve when the older man speaks up. “You’re glowing,” Derek points out.

Stiles is too focused on his internal freak-out to realize that his magic has bled to the surface and is causing little round orbs to bounce around on his exposed, tattooed arms. He reels it back in and gives a flustered apology as they close the distance between them and the mysterious building. “What is this?” he asks, even though he knows exactly what it is.

The mausoleum is large, with thick round beams adorning the entrance and a large golden triskele embellishing the outside of the white door, matching the colour of the handles. Along the sides of the structure are small holes in the ground, and the one nearest the front has a long garden shovel sticking out of it.

“I’ve been trying to get these seeds to root, but they just won’t take. It’s what I was working on when I heard you pull up,” Derek informs Stiles when he catches the younger man staring at the holes in confusion.

“What are you trying to grow?” Stiles asks as he looks up at Derek and thinks of how sweaty the older man was when he answered the door.

“They were my mom’s favorite when I was little. She called them ‘trumpet vines’. They have yellow, red, and orange blooms during the spring and summer. Mom had them planted around the back porch when the house was built, and they came back every year. Hummingbirds would swarm the place,” he explains with a fond smile and a far-off look in his eyes. “She would make it a game to see which of us could figure out how many times their hearts would beat a minute. I always won. She loved hummingbirds, said they were magical. You kind of remind me of them. You don’t even have to speak to be heard.”

Stiles is pretty sure his heart sounds like a hummingbird’s right then, especially with Derek’s attention placed solely on him. He stares openly right back at the man, fascinated. He remembers a time when Derek couldn’t talk about his family without his claws and fangs coming out, wanting to rip and tear and gnash at everyone. Hell, he remembers when Derek couldn’t even talk to him at all without reacting violently. This newer, sentimental Derek has his chest tightening, and as he looks at the alpha and sees the reminiscent smile on his lips, he has an idea.

“I can help them grow if you want. You’ve done so much for me, it’s the least I can do.” Derek looks up at him with such sincere hope and wonder that Stiles almost melts to the ground.

“Can you really?” the alpha asks breathlessly.

Stiles scoffs and pushes his sleeves up with determination. He squats down and digs the pads of his fingers into the rich soil Derek has already prepared, and the skin that isn’t covered by his clothes begins to glow, as do his eyes, beta gold. At the same time, green vines erupt all around the mausoleum, and orange flowers pop out as the vines grow up the sides of the building. They meet atop the tall roof and wrap their way around the columns that line the front. There’s a sweet floral scent in the air as Stiles stands back up, quickly reining his magic back in and dusting his hands off on his black skinny jeans. He gives a surprised-looking Derek a shit-eating grin. “Told you so.”

Derek walks around the newly decorated memorial, inspecting the greenery while Stiles waits.

When he comes back into view, Stiles’ heart swells. Derek stands there, looking up and scenting the air like he can’t get enough of it, his eyes glassy. Stiles knows better than to speak and interrupt whatever memory the alpha is reliving, but he feels pretty fucking good about helping him when it was literally no trouble at all.

“Thank you,” is all Derek can manage to say.

Stiles accepts it gladly.

Derek asks him if he would like to see the inside, and he nods readily. He feels like this is an important step for them. It’s as if Derek is opening up and showing him a piece of himself that’s been buried for a long time.

Stepping into the building is a little strange. Stiles is so used to them almost living in a horror movie that he’s relieved when he doesn't find cobwebs and old Shakespearean skulls adorning the altars in the center. It’s breathtaking, to say the least. Each Hale whose life was cut short by that hateful fire so many years ago has a plaque, on which their names and birthdates are written, along with the family symbol just beneath. It’s obvious that great care has been put into every detail.

Stiles asks about each one, genuinely interested, and Derek eagerly offers insight into the lives of people that Stiles now wishes he’d had the chance to know. He notices how sentimental Derek is when divulging small details about his family, and when he asks about the wall of empty plaques that is just opposite, Derek explains that if anyone from the present Hale pack wants to be laid to rest there, they will always have a place. Stiles is moved by his words. The thought of moving on from a place that was buried in fear and ashes would terrify a lot of people, but to him, it brings a sense of peace.

That he could be considered family by such a noble pack is heartwarming to both men.

After they leave the mausoleum, Derek and Stiles catch up while strolling around the property together, and when there isn’t anything else to catch up on, they find their way back to the house. When they arrive, the older man tells Stiles to go unpack and get ready for dinner since they’ve spent the entirety of the afternoon together, a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by either of them.

“I need to unpack my jeep first,” Stiles remembers, turning back to the front door.

“That’s been taken care of already,” Derek grins. When Stiles goes to ask him how, he just snorts and says, “I’m the alpha.”

Derek’s eyes bleed red, and Stiles is pretty sure he spotted hint of fang in the man’s smirk. He can’t help but shudder at the display of power, small though it may be. He silently admits that he’s always found Derek’s confidence alluring. Since when have red eyes made me all tingly, though? Probably because Derek’s eyes are red sometimes. Duh. I wonder if he has alpha eyes in bed. I wonder what that would feel like? A super powerful alpha all up in my personal space… Well, that just got weird, Stiles thinks as he feels his blood rushing south.

Derek cocks his head and smirks when he smells Stiles’ body’s reaction.

“I’m gonna go unpack now,” Stiles stammers as he runs from the ground floor up to his room.

* * *

After Stiles has successfully unpacked a whopping total of nine boxes containing all of his earthly possessions and hung up all of his amazingly stylish clothes, he decides to explore the bathroom that he hadn’t even realized was there.

The checkerboard floor has heated tiles, and a black, Japanese-themed room divider hides a large garden tub slash shower. Hmm. I have my own bathroom. This could be fun, he thinks, grinning, completely unabashed as he imagines Derek’s naked body submerged in bubbles. The thought sends him into a fit of giggles as he continues his inspection. There’s quite a bit of storage space between the toilet and sink, and a small fireplace stands out across from the tub, next to a red stained glass window. He makes a mental note to ask Lydia why there is a fireplace in his bathroom, not wanting to upset any of the house’s other residents by bringing up painful memories.

He turns on the shower, undresses, steps into the warm stream, and thinks about everything that has happened since he arrived as he washes his toned, tattooed body. The one thing that he knows for certain as he goes over the day’s events is that Derek has feelings for him. The looks Derek hadn’t thought he’d seen, the too-long linger of his fingers, the carefree way he gave him all of his attention, and all of the personal things he had told him. Stiles realizes for the first time since he left Beacon hills that this is not a crush. This is not some silly infatuation. This was something so much more.

He’s head-over-heels in love with Derek Hale.

Well that snuck up on me. If anyone is listening, the only thing they would hear is a single, “Fuck.”

* * *

Danny, Ethan and Malia prepare dinner that night. Malia had caught two small pigs while she was patrolling, and Danny uses his grandparents’ cookbooks to prepare them Hawaiian style, hole-in-the-ground, covered-in-coals style. Ethan works on the side dishes and vegetables. It’s a beautiful night, so they all decide that dinner will be served outside. While Stiles was unpacking, the betas must have moved the yard furniture around. There are five wooden tables lined up together, with long benches placed on either side, and it all smells absolutely divine. Danny had seen Stiles’ display of natural magic through the window earlier and asks the other boy if he can produce any plant like that. Stiles asks what he wants and, with a bit of concentration, conjures several different piles of fruits with which to adorn the table.

His dad stands by and watches, mesmerized by the little orbs that bounce around on Stiles’ skin when his magic is active. He’s always amazed by what his son can do.

Everyone laughs and catches up while they wait for dinner to finish. They reminisce about the time when their parents had all been kept in the dark, and how now they are practically honorary members of the pack. If a new threat ever appears, they will be protected fiercely. They respect the ways of the pack and know that their grown children are safer together than apart.

When dinner is finally served, Derek stands up and everyone respectfully listens to everything he has to say. The reveal of Stiles’ new role in the pack is met with cheerful praise. Lydia of course has to rub it in everyone’s faces that she figured it out earlier and keeps grinning at Stiles all night. Every time she does, she nods towards the head of the table and Stiles’ honey eyes automatically meet the green-gold of his alpha’s. Every time.

Stiles is so blissed out that he doesn’t realize he is enveloping the table in magical, little fireflies.

The girls all coo and refer to them as fairies, while the guys at the table just use the extra light to dig into more food. Stiles is initially embarrassed by his obvious lack of control under Derek’s gaze, but once he realizes that the alpha is enjoying it, he can’t care less. He finds himself feeling brave, and everyone laughs as he sends a firefly Derek’s way. Derek catches it and watches as it glows in the palm of his hand. Stiles has never seen the man look so young, and, from his position right in the heart of his pack’s territory, feeling everyone’s joy through his bonds to them, he feels power like he never has before.

He’s never felt more love in one place than he does right then, and he knows that if anything shows up to go bump in the night, he will die defending the ones he loves.

* * *

As the night goes on and the moon climbs higher in the sky, the betas start getting restless. Petra climbs down from her mother’s lap and asks Stiles to make more fairies for her to chase, and after a seeking permission from Peter and Nadia, he decides it’s time to have a little fun. He takes off his overshirt and feels his body come alive as he throws his arms wide and more little orange orbs fly out of him. He watches fondly as the small child giggles and chases the orbs around in her beta form.

The rest of the pack soon follow.

The humans of the group kiss their partners as Derek announces that he thinks it’s time for a pack run. They’ll stay behind and clean up. It isn’t always like that, but they know the moon is full and the wolves will feel boundless energy if they don’t get it out of their systems now.

When Stiles is removing his shoes, Derek approaches barefoot and shirtless, a small smile on his lips. “What do you think you’re doing?” he asks playfully.

Stiles just smiles back. “I can’t let you have all the fun, now, can I?” Derek’s eyes stay locked to him as he crosses the yard towards the preserve, where the rest of the betas are already running free, his eyes blazing gold. He feels the power of the earth and his pack deep in his bones and uses it to his advantage, sucking it up from the grass beneath his feet. He moves with unnatural speed up to Derek, and the look on the man’s face is priceless. He can’t help but kiss Derek quickly on his stubbled cheek before prancing back towards the trees with a new bounce in his step. He calls back to a blushing Derek. “Catch me if you can!”

At these five words, Derek rumbles happily and lets the change take over, eyes bleeding red, claws sliding out, and teeth elongating. Something on a primal level has just been awoken, and with a contented howl, the chase begins.