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Before the Bite

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Derek Hale was pissed, and when Derek Hale is pissed, people tended to steer clear of him. He thinks it might be the leather jacket, or the scowl, or maybe the wolfish aura surrounding him. Whatever it was, people knew to back off when Derek Hale was pissed.

But not this kid. No, this kid seemed to have a death wish. He just kept on rambling on and on about every single stupid thing he could think of. The only reason why Derek didn’t punch him then and there was because he was the sheriff’s kid, and Derek was in enough trouble with the sheriff as it is. So Derek had to put up with the constant blabbing.

“And then, on my first day of kindergarten, this kid named Scott ate some glue. He got in trouble and got put in time out. But after he had been punished, I asked him how the glue had tasted, and he said it was disgusting. So we became best friends, and now we’re almost like brothers!” the kid said excitedly.

“And this year, this really pretty girl came into our class. Her name is Lydia Martin and her hair is strawberry blonde. She’s really smart, and I really, really, really like her. I just don’t think she likes me, though. I’m probably too lame for her. My name is Stiles, what’s yours?” he asked. Derek looked at the kid, Stiles, in surprise. Well, he changed topics fast.

“My name’s Derek” he muttered. Stiles beamed.

“Why’re you here? My daddy says that only bad people come to the police office, but you don’t seem bad” he stated like it was true. Well, it was, Derek thought proudly. Derek was a proud bad boy werewolf. But then Derek really thought about why he was in the police station, and his pride vanished. Derek stared at the floor in shame, not wanting to speak, but if telling the kid what Derek had done would shut him up, then it was worth a try.

“Well, I stole my sister’s car from school, and drove it around the city. Then I accidentally hit a kid because I lost control of the wheel.” Derek expected Stiles to get scared, back away from him. But the kid surprised him. Stiles burst out laughing.

“Oh my god!” he said between laughs “That is hilarious! What type of car was it?” he asked curiously. Derek stared at Stiles like the kid had grown a second head.

“Did you not hear me? I hit an innocent kid, and you want to know what type of car it was?” he asked incredulously. Stiles shrugged.

“I heard my dad say that the kid just had a broken arm, so it’s not like he’s gonna die or anything” Stiles said casually. Derek raised his eyebrows.

“Well, if you must know, it was Camaro” he said. Stiles’ face lit up.

“Wow, those cars are so cool, no wonder you wanted to drive it” he said. Derek actually found himself smirking. This kid wasn’t so bad after all.

“So, your dad’s the sheriff,” he said “what’s your mom do?” Stiles’ head drooped, and his eyes lost that firefly light. Derek was immediately sorry he had even asked. “My mom’s dead” he said in a shaky voice. Shit, Derek sure knew how to make a kid cry.

“Sorry” Derek said, rubbing the back of his neck self consciously. Stiles smiled sadly up at him.

“That’s okay. I mean, I miss her and all, but I know she’s watching over me. Besides, I still have my dad. He was pretty sad when she died, but I take care of him. I make sure he eats healthy, and exercises, and doesn’t drink too much” Stiles said proudly. Derek found himself feeling bad for the kid. But then Derek thought of his own mom, and how she yells at him constantly, and hadn’t even let him sit in Laura’s cool new car. Bitter thoughts instantly crowded his mind.

“What’s the point in taking care of him? I mean, he’s gonna die before you anyway” Derek blurted. He knew he had made a mistake. Stiles stared at him, wide eyed with horror. With his werewolf hearing, Derek could hear the kid’s heart beating impossibly fast. Too fast. Oh god, Derek thought.

“Stiles, look, I’m sorry” he tried, but the kid didn’t seem to be listening. No, his eyes were fixed on something that wasn’t there, and Derek knew that his heart was beating too fast to be healthy. Derek could hear Stiles’ breathing turned ragged and fast, and Derek panicked.

“Sheriff!” he called, knowing the sheriff would blame him for whatever had happened to Stiles.

“What is it, Hale?” she sheriff asked irritated, walking through the door frame, but stopped in his tracks once he saw his son, struggling to breath. “Stiles!” he yelled, and rushed to his son. Derek watched the scene as if it was happening in slow motion. He saw Stiles collapse in the sheriff’s arms, and the sheriff shot Derek a glare before rushing out of the room. Derek sighed, and put his head in his hands.

The Sheriff felt ready to kill Derek Hale with his bare hands. John carried his panicky son into his office, and set him down on the desk.

“Stiles? You with me?” he asked, desperately trying to keep the alarm out of his voice. Stiles’ eyes briefly fixed on his father’s, but they were losing focus. “Stiles, calm down, I’m here. Everything will be okay” the sheriff said, rubbing Stiles’ back comfortingly. It went on for a few minutes before Stiles calmed down.

“But Daddy, Derek said you were gonna die” Stiles said tearfully. Sheriff Stilinski was so ready to throw Derek into jail.

“I’m not going anywhere, Stiles. I’m right here” he soothed. Stiles looked up at his father.

“Promise?” he asked. The Sheriff felt his heart break into a tiny, million pieces. He couldn't promise something like that. But staring into his kid’s broken eyes, he knew what he had to do.

“I promise, kiddo” he sighed. Stiles smiled, and it was worth it. “Now, I think it’s time to call Derek’s mom.” Stiles nodded, and the sheriff went to make the phone call.

By the time Talia Hale had reached the police station, Stiles had drowned himself in self hatred. He hated how he was so weak. He hated panic attacks, he hated making his father stressed out, and by now, he didn’t like Derek that much either. So he watched in pleasure from behind the glass window in his dad’s office as Derek’s mom yelled at her son. Stiles could barely suppress a giggle at the sight of Derek cowering before the woman. But then Talia Hale opened the door to the sheriff’s office, and Stiles himself felt like cowering.

Talia Hale was intimidating. She was tall, and had a sense of authority to her that made Stiles want to hide under his dad’s desk. And then she smiled. And Stiles thought how could I be afraid of her?

“Hello, Stiles” she said. Stiles just stared at her for a minute before he found his voice.

“Um, hi” he said shyly.

“I’m sorry about Derek” she said, scowling a bit “he can be a bit...inconsiderate at times.” Stiles blinked in surprise. How was his panic attack Derek’s fault? It was Stiles who was the weak one, Stiles who had panicked, not Derek.

“It’s fine” Stiles said “It wasn’t Derek’s fault anyway” Stiles was surprised at the bitterness in his voice. Talia raised her eyebrows.

“You’re not weak, Stiles” she said, as if she had read his mind. She continued, “You’re just human. And human doesn’t mean weak. Always remember that” she said. Stiles looked up at her in awe. And then he reached out and hugged her. Talia froze, and Stiles had a fleeting thought that the Hales must not be a hugging family. But then Talia relaxed, and hugged Stiles back.

“Thanks” Stiles whispered.

“No problem, Stiles” said Talia.

Derek knew he was screwed the second his mother walked into the police station. It was pretty bad when she was yelling at him, but Derek survived that. No, it was the awkward car drive after that was killing him.

“I’m sorry” he tried. Talia’s gaze snapped to him, and her eyes glowed red.

“You’re sorry?” she asked, and Derek flinched. “Derek Hale, you gave that poor kid a panic attack. I want you to say sorry to him the next time you see him. Okay?” Derek looked at his shoes.

“Okay” he said, and he actually meant it.

8 years later

Derek was walking through the woods of Beacon Hills when he heard voices. The voices of two teenage boys. He hid behind a tree and observed them. He recognized Stiles immediately. The kid was older, obviously, but he had the same eyes, same scent. There was another boy with him, who must have been no one other than Scott.

Something nagged at Derek, and he sharply sniffed the air. Scott was a werewolf. Derek wanted to curse, or maybe punch something. He didn’t want Stiles, the innocent kid from the police station, to get caught up with this werewolf business. Least I can do is say sorry. Derek thought, remembering his promise to his mother.

So Derek stepped out from behind the tree, and opened his mouth to apologize to Stiles, but different words tumbled out of his mouth instead.

“What are you doing here?” Derek found himself saying sharply “This is private property.” the other boy, Scott mumbled something about leaving. Derek rolled his eyes, and tossed Scott his inhaler, and then walked away, still listening to their conversation. Did Stiles remember him? Did Stiles hate him?

“Dude, that was Derek Hale” Stiles said. Derek’s heart skipped a beat. So Stiles did remember him. “His whole family burned to death in a fire like, ten years ago” Stiles continued, and Derek stopped.

Of course. Stiles was the sheriff’s son, so of course he knew about the fire. Everybody in this small town knew about the fire. Derek felt relieved, but he also felt like he had lost something.

Derek shook his head. He couldn’t let petty things like a kid he met eight years ago distract him. He was back in town for one reason, and one reason only. He was here to find Laura’s killer.

1 year later

Derek stood in a pool of water in his loft, staring down at the body of his dead beta. Staring down at Boyd’s body. Boyd, whom he had killed. This was all his fault. Everything was his fault. Then Derek felt a hand on his shoulder. He knew who it was before he turned around. Derek could recognize Stiles’s scent anywhere.

An hour later, Scott had arrived, and they all stood around Derek, who was sitting down on his couch, staring into space. Stiles was going off on some rant on how Boyd’s death wasn’t Derek’s fault, and how Derek couldn't’ have done anything. God, Stiles was so annoying. He just couldn’t shut up.

But Derek still owed Stiles something. He owed Stiles an apology. So, cutting Stiles off mid-rant, he said

“Stiles, I’m sorry.” for the first time in what Derek could remember, Stiles was struck dumb, his mouth hanging slightly open.

“What?” he asked Derek stupidly. “Why the hell are you sorry, Derek?” Derek sighed. Did he have to spell everything out?

“Do you remember the time you first met me, Stiles?” Derek asked. Stiles’ eyebrows knit together.

“Yeah, I do. You told me and Scott to get off your property.” Derek shook his head.

“No, before that, at the police station. Do you remember?” Stiles’ face cleared, and he blinked.

“Oh. That. Yeah, I remember. You made me have a panic attack” Stiles said coolly. Now Scott was growling softly in the corner, but Derek ignored him.

“Well, that’s what I’m sorry for. I was young and stupid, and I said things without thinking them through. So I’m sorry, Stiles” he said. Derek suddenly didn’t care about Scott, Cora, and Lydia watching him and Stiles. This apology was long overdue. Derek wondered what Stiles was going to say. Would Stiles be angry at him? But then Stiles smiled shyly, and relief flooded Derek.

“It’s okay, Derek” Stiles said, and Derek’s mind finally felt at rest.