Stiles pushed the door to the tattoo parlor open, letting himself into the store. His eyes flittered around the store as he stepped farther in, taking in the bright colors and graphics on the walls. “Can I help you?”
The young man spun around, attempting to keep his balance, but almost losing it as he searched for the voice. He found it as a pierced and tattooed girl walked into the main room. “Um. I want a tattoo?”
“You askin’ or you tellin’, sugar?” she asked.
“Telling. I want…” Stiles reached into his pocket, digging out the paper he’d shoved in there. “I know it’s a bit wrinkled.”
The girl accepted the paper from him, smoothing it out, and studying it. “It’ll need to be sketched out again,” she cautioned.
He nodded. “As long as it’s still… It can’t be changed.”
“Here.” Stiles pointed to his chest, right over his heart. “Right here.”
“That’s going to hurt like an SOB,” she commented. “It’s right on muscle and bone.”
“Yeah. I know,” Stiles confirmed, “but it’s okay.”
“You want colors or…?”
“All black. And if I could do it today.”
“Before you lose your nerve?” she questioned.
“No. Before certain people find out.”
She eyed him suspiciously. “I’ll need ID that proves you’re at least eighteen. Then give me a few minutes to clean this up and we’ll get you into the back to get started.”
Stiles dug his wallet out of his pocket, handing over his license, and watching as the girl took it over to the copier. She frowned at it. “How do you say that?”
“You don’t. Pretty much no one does,” he answered. “It’s Stiles.”
“What’s a Stiles?”
“A lifetime of being asked that.”
“Well, you’re legal.” She handed his license back. “Give me a minute to sketch this up.”
Stiles fidgeted, looking around the shop as he waited for her to finish re-drawing the sketch he’d handed over. He wasn’t as nervous as he’d thought he’d be with this decision made, but he wanted to get it done before one of the pack called to find out where he was. Or decided to come looking for him.
“Okay.” She turned the paper she’d been drawing on around and showed it to him. “How’s this?”
He took the paper from her, amber eyes skimming over the thick lines of black. “Perfect.”
“And you want the sides touching like that? The lines that thick?” she questioned.
“Yeah. They need to be that way. For… reasons.”
“Okay. This is going to take a little while. Why don’t we get you set up in the back? And then we can get started.”
“Okay,” Stiles agreed, following her into the back room. “So do I get to know your name?”
“Sapphire,” she tossed back over her shoulder.
“And you thought my name was weird,” he commented as she pointed towards the chair.
“At least mine can be pronounced.” She motioned towards his t-shirt and overshirt. “That needs to go.”
“I think my boyfriend might have an objection to you stripping me,” Stiles joked.
“If you want the tattoo on your chest, the shirts have to go,” she explained.
For a minute, Stiles stared at her. He knew she was right, but he wasn’t as comfortable with removing his shirt as he had been in high school. Years of running with wolves hadn’t left him unmarked, although he probably wasn’t as scared as he could have been. The wolves had a habit of throwing themselves in front of him when the bullets weren’t filled with wolfsbane and sometimes even when they were. Finally he reached for the buttons on his plaid, shrugging it off his shoulders, and then reaching for the hem of his t-shirt.
Sapphire busied herself with the needles and ink as Stiles made himself comfortable in the chair she’d indicated. When she turned back to show him the items, she stopped. “Your…”
Stiles glanced down at his chest, amber eyes skipping across the claw marks, knife slices, and one random bullet scar. “Yeah. Sorry. Guess I should have warned you.”
“Is someone abusing you?” she asked.
“No. Just.” He shrugged. “Accident prone.”
“Okay. Well, I guess this might not be as bad as I was thinking.” She held up the still sealed needle and ink. “I always open things in front of the customer.”
He nodded. “Looks good.”
“Okay. I’m going to make the pattern, you okay it, and then we’ll get started.”
Stiles nodded. “Let’s do this.”
Stiles let the door shut quietly behind him after he left himself into the rebuilt Hale house. After Derek had returned from chasing Kate Argent (without Peter which all of the pack was thankful for), he’d wanted to reclaim the Hale land. The house had been in receivership too long though and there was no way for Derek to actually reclaim it. He was able to buy back some of the land and that was where they built the new house.
The young human had become accustomed to wandering in and out of the house. It was rarely locked and even when it was, all of the McCall and Hale pack members had keys to all of the doors. After he’d started dating Derek, he’d started spending even more time there.
He was kicking off his shoes when Derek came down the stairs. “Hey, you finish your errand?” the ‘wolf asked.
“Yeah. All done,” Stiles answered with a grin.
Derek came closer, reaching out towards Stiles, then pulling up short just before he touched the younger man. “Why do you smell like blood and ink?”
“So I might have done something…” Stile said. “And I don’t want you to get upset.”
“Stiles. What. Did. You. Do.”
“Don’t freak out, okay?” Stiles said. Rapidly he unbuttoned his overshirt, shrugging it off before pulling his t-shirt over his head. He hadn’t removed the dressing Sapphire had put over the new tattoo, but now he carefully pulled the wrapping off.
Derek reached towards the new mark on his mate’s skin, aborting his touch when he realized the ink was new. “What did you do?”
“Scott’s been bugging me for years to get the tattoo for his pack.” When Derek growled in response, Stiles rolled his eyes. “Hey. Look at it. I wasn’t going to put just the McCall pack permanently on my skin. I’m aware of what’s going on here.”
“And what’s that?” Derek asked.
“I can’t help but love all of you,” Stiles told him. “And I can’t turn my back on any of you. So there’s no way I was going to choose Hale pack over McCall pack. Or vice versa.”
Derek’s hand moved to Stiles’s face, cupping it. “I don’t deserve you.”
“Pretty sure it’s mutual, sourwolf.”
“How long until it’s healed?”
“Probably a week or two since my body’s used to healing stupid shit. You should be able to touch it tomorrow.”
Derek nodded, motioning for Stiles to pick up his clothes. “What do you want for dinner?”
“I need to call Scott,” Stiles replied as he followed the ‘wolf into the kitchen.
“I think you can wait on that conversation. I’d rather be out of hearing when he explodes over it.”
Stiles laughed in response, pressing a kiss to the side of Derek’s head. “I’ll keep that in mind.”