Stiles didn't even glance up from the book in his hands before saying to the alarmingly tight pair of jeans and knee high boots in front of his desk, “Information is out front. They can help you with what you are looking for.”
“Actually, Emissary.” A soft and clear voice said, “I don't think they can.”
Allison stared at him, amusement and small smile on her face.
Stiles dropped the four hundred year old book in his hand.
In seven years, Stiles would have thought that a lot of things would change. Maybe swing back over to the normal side of things, where he wasn't constantly running for his life, killing things, learning magic or just sleeping like a normal person.
But that wasn't how things went.
Instead, Deaton decided to retire and train Stiles at a break neck speed, putting all the responsibility of being the McCall Emissary in his hands in less than two years. Now, Deaton was on an island somewhere and it was up to Stiles to maintain the aura of mystery that was part of being an emissary. Not that anyone could tell. He worked as the head librarian and Scott kept it a secret as to who his emissary was after the whole messy kidnapping thing a year ago.
Stiles didn't think much could surprise him, but he was wrong. He was very wrong. In fact, he couldn't remember being so wrong before. Because in front of him were the last four people that he thought he would ever see.
And he used the term “people” loosely.
Derek Hale sat in a chair in the corner of his office and Isaac Lahey was leaning casually against the door frame. Allison Argent was standing in front of his desk and Jackson Whittemore was next to the window.
“Mr. Stilinski, I asked them to wait outside-” Stephanie came bustling in just then, looking flustered. She was his right hand, his apprentice in all things magical and library related.
“It's fine, Steph.” Stiles said softly, eyes wide. “I'm probably going to be out for the rest of the day.”
“Sure. We'll close up.” She said, looking at the other four. Isaac winked at her and she paled visibly.
“Quit terrorizing my employees, Isaac.” Stiles chided gently.
Isaac winked at him.
Stiles was sure he paled as well.
No one else spoke while Stiles took them all in. Allison looked good, better than the last time that Stiles had seen her. Because she had been in a coffin that time.
You know. As these things happen.
Derek looked tanned and content, aggressively beautiful, as always.
Jackson was the only one that didn't look better than when he had left. He looked a little lost and kept glancing at everyone else, as though to reassure himself that they were still there.
Stiles reached for his jacket, brown leather and butter soft and nodded to the door. “Let's go.” He said. Allison's smile widened and she turned and left the small office first. Derek stood and followed her. Isaac gestured for Stiles to go next, then Jackson and finally Isaac.
“You've still got it.” Jackson muttered when Stiles approached his blue Jeep.
Stiles gave him a small smile. “Of course.”
Derek tossed Allison the keys and climbed into the Jeep. He watched Stiles with steady eyes and Stiles climbed in behind the wheel. His hands were shaking as he put the keys in the ignition. There was a sudden warmth on his thigh and he looked up from the hand there to Derek's eyes, a small smile there.
“Hey.” Derek said gently, the first word he had said since he came into the library.
Stiles gave him his own small, watery smile. “Hey there, big guy.” He said.
The ignition turned over and Stiles pulled out of the parking lot but Derek didn't move his hand.
They made it to Stiles' small house at the far edge of town. Derek didn't say anything, just hummed along with the radio, watched the scenery pass, closed his eyes against the breeze that was coming in through the window.
When they climbed out of the Jeep, Stiles missed Derek's hand intently. Allison parked behind them.
At the gate, Derek looked over to Isaac and Allison and made a small circle with his finger. They both took off and Jackson stepped closer to Derek. Stiles watched wordlessly as they circled his house and came back, almost as silently as they had left.
“Good.” Allison reported.
Derek gestured for Stiles to go ahead.
Stiles quirked an eyebrow and went up the walk, unlocked the door and let everyone in.
It was a small house, only two bedrooms and one bathroom, a living room and a kitchen. Scott helped him remodel it and now it was open and airy, with wood floors and throw rugs everywhere. There was a couch almost the entire size of the living room and a huge tv in the living room and a large kitchen table that took up the space of an entire wall.
“I like it here.” Allison declared.
Isaac had his eyes closed and head tipped to the side, taking deep breaths. He nodded. “It smells like home.”
Derek smiled serenely.
Jackson glanced around at his surroundings, fidgeting.
“I can take care of that, Jackson.” Stiles offered, gesturing to his side.
There was a long moment of silence before Jackson asked, “How did you know?”
Stiles shrugged. “I can see it.”
Jackson looked at Derek who nodded.
“Come on.” Stiles said, nodding to the guest bedroom.
They didn't all fit in there and Isaac watched over Allison's head from the hallway. Jackson stretched out on the bed and Derek stood at Stiles' side.
“All right.” He grinned at Jackson and wiggled his fingers. “Ready for a little magic?” He asked.
Jackson barely blinked. He was relaxing into the bed, no longer fighting the fatigue around his shoulders.
Stiles picked up the hem of his shirt and didn't wince when he saw the black patch of skin at his side. His body was fighting it, and Jackson would be fine in another month, but there was no need for him to suffer for that long.
“Hm.” He said softly, passing a hand over the wound. “They are mixing strains of nightshade and wolfsbane. You got most of it.” Stiles muttered. “They got Liam like this a couple of months ago.” Stiles turned to the bookcase behind him and opened the right side door. He pulled out a small vial of a thick viscous liquid and shook it. He held it up to the light and watched as it turned blue and grabbed a huge silver needle from the case as well.
“But what the hunters don't have that we do? A Stilinski.” Stiles said. He stabbed the needle into the vial and used it all up in that one go. When he turned, Derek was on the other side of the bed, holding Jackson's hand. Jackson was muttering something and there were tears on his cheeks. Stiles hid the needle behind his back.
Stiles leaned over Jackson and put a hand on his forehead. He searched his eyes. “Remember when you were a little kid and your mom would put on cartoons before your nap time and you would try your hardest to stay awake but it was like the harder you tried, the sleepier you got?”
“Try now for me, Jackson.” He said softly.
Seconds later, Jackson was deeply asleep. Stiles inserted the needle right into the wound and pushed all the blue liquid in. Jackson twitched but didn't wake. The black patch began to disappear almost immediately.
“He's gonna sleep the rest of the day.” Stiles said, stepping back and tossing the needle into the biohazard trash can. “Did you need to get moving?”
“We have time.” Derek said, putting Jackson's hand on his stomach and throwing a blanket around him.
Allison stepped away and into the living room and Isaac stepped into the room. He shifted Jackson around and then pulled off both their shoes. He shuffled into the bed next to Jackson, draping himself casually over him, like they did this everyday. Derek closed the blinds and the room darkened.
In the living room, Allison and Derek settled themselves in.
“So.” Stiles said and glanced between the two of them. “This is a surprise.”
Allison laughed. “But a good one, right?”
“Of course. Now I can absolve myself of the guilt of your untimely and horrific death.” Stiles said easily.
Allison wasn't even bothered. “No one blamed you. Not even me.”
“Ok, but how?” Stiles said, leaning forward. “You died. Lydia screamed. I was there.”
“Dad has connections.” Allison replied and looked to Derek. Derek only watched the two of them. “I was alive. Barely. Doctors worked forever, I went through I don't know how many pints of blood and Dad staged my death. Makes this whole 'hunting in the shadows' thing so much easier.”
Stiles had so many questions but he had to take what was given, for now at least.
“Ok.” He said finally before turning to Derek. “Are you high?”
Derek grinned. Grinned. Like he was happy and not about to kill someone. “No.”
“What's-” Stiles gestured to him. “What's this? This new Zen Derek? What happened?”
“I've missed you.” Derek said, the grin still on his face, lighting him up from the inside out.
“This is Derek Hale, right?” Stiles whispered to Allison.
She nudged Derek's foot with her own. “It is. But this is the Derek Hale that spent three years in the company of Tibetan monks, working on himself.”
“Forgiveness is a hell of a thing.” Derek said softly, still with a smile, searching Stiles' face.
“I would say so.” Stiles said.
There was silence but it was like a blanket, comforting and warm.
“What brings you here?”
“Hunting the pack that did that to Jax.” Allison said.
“You hunt?” Stiles asked Derek.
“Sure. When they try to kill one of my betas.” Derek said.
“But you aren't an alpha anymore.” Stiles pointed out.
Derek flashed his eyes that crimson red and stared at Stiles. “You sure?”
Stiles was going to have a headache. “Who did you kill?”
“For the alpha power? No one, surprisingly.” Derek said, his eyes returning to normal. “Tibetan monks have a lot of secrets, a lot of knowledge that they can offer someone who will die to protect them.”
“I have got to meet these guys.” Stiles muttered.
“I'll take you.” Derek teased. He stood and offered Stiles his hand. “Come on. Allison is getting sleepy.”
Stiles let himself be guided out of the room and glanced back to see Allison tugging her boots off and laying out on the couch. Stiles turned into his room and grabbed a blanket. He threw it over her and turned the air conditioner up. She mumbled her thanks.
Derek was already on the back steps, looking out at the trees that lined the back of Stiles' yard. “You're close to water.”
“It helps.” Stiles said. “Running water, clear water. All that.”
“Where were you?” Stiles whispered after a long moment.
Derek turned and looked at Stiles. Stiles knew that Derek knew about the kidnapping. He had heard Kira on the phone once.
“Asia.” Derek said softly. “I was dying, if it helps.”
Stiles thought for a moment. “It helps.” He decided.
Derek smiled and nudged his shoulder. Stiles leaned into him and Derek put his arm around his shoulders. Stiles tucked his face into Derek's neck and Derek pulled him closer.
“I missed you.” Derek murmured into his hair.
“That word isn't strong enough.” Stiles said.
Derek tightened his hold and then Stiles climbed into his lap and wrapped himself around Derek.
“I missed you.” Derek repeated and tightened his hold on Stiles.