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FWD: RE: RE: RE: Beacon Fest Charity Walk for Hospice of NorCal Group

>>> Tyra will email Princess BB Foxy with her list.
>>

BB FOXY:

HERE IS YOUR LIST FOR THE FUN'N'RUN ON THE 23RD. LEAVE THINGS OUT AT YOUR EXTREME PERIL.

1. One tube Max Factor XXXXXtreme Glamour Extra Length Lash, Brown-Black
2. One pen Revlon Drama Delux Eyeliner Pen, Sable Seduction
3. One container Almay Complexion Max Match Foundation SPF 60, No 2 Ivory Pale
4. One container Almay Hazel Intensity Eyeshadow set
5. One Cover Girl Color Last Extreme No 435 Rose-a-Million lip gloss
6. One container Wet 'n' Wild microglitter, Aqualescent
7. One container Cover Girl Color Last Extreme blush in Bloom of Spring
8. One cami-style tank top, black, FITTED!!!!!
9. One pair jeans, FITTED!!!! TESS WILL CHECK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
10. One red jacket if weather requires
11. Permission slip, signed by your father, Angelique will remind him
12. Your cute tush at Sharon's house, seven thirty SHARP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
xoxo Tyra

 

Re: FWD: RE: RE: RE: Beacon Fest Charity Walk Group
Wait, what
Stiles

Re: Didn't we tell you?
BB, we know you do this every year anyway.
xoxo Tyra

Re: NO YOU DIDN'T.
And I was going to do it with the team! You know, the team which I am on?

Re: Why go with a bunch of hormone-ridden, mouth breathing teenaged boys when you can come with US?
Don't be silly, BB.
xoxo Tyra

Re: I AM a hormone-ridden, mouth breathing teenaged boy
Why would I have to be over at Sharon's by seven thirty? The walk doesn't start til ten.

Re: No, baby, you are a fabulous foxy angel in embryo
You think I get up in the morning and walk out of the house five minutes later looking like this?
xoxo Tyra

Re: I feel like there was life decisions I wasn't a part of making here
… there is no right answer to that question, is there.

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"Stiles!" shouts his dad, waving. He's not in uniform, but some creepy cougar lady is staring at him like she's going to manufacture an emergency anyway. Stiles gives her a stinkeye and waves back.

"Dad!" he shouts.

This could, and usually does, end really badly, but Stiles' dad has to go on shift later and he says it's not dignified to be shouting out parts of Monty Python across a crowded street, even if he is wearing a shirt with a fanged rabbit on it. Stiles' dad is an embarrassment.

Stiles' dad cuffs him across the skull, and says, "Looks like you had fun out there with the Queen Bees, kiddo."

"It was okay," allows Stiles, whose eyes still sting from the makeup remover, and who smells like perfume from the three bruising hugs he was subjected to before his escape. It's too bad he can't make it home for a shower, because Scott is definitely going to wrinkle his nose at him.

Well, fuck Scott, he can deal with his own ridiculously sensitive doggy nose. Stiles is going to hang out with his dad and they will look at all the booths and have fun together.

Beacon Fest is half displays and booths run by local businesses and groups and half nomadic carnival staffed by shady temp staff all smoking like chimneys to dull the pain of hearing children shriek all day. Stiles usually doesn't get to go around with his dad much for it now that he's presumably old enough to refuse candy from scraggly-bearded men, but before his mom died they'd all go together and ride the carousel and eat cotton candy and Stiles would have the Batman symbol painted on his cheek.

Even now, it's nice to walk around with his dad, looking at the displays and the booths, and not talking much, just sticking close together. His dad looks relaxed, almost happy, and Stiles is soaking it up to remember during the bad days, that there was a time when they were pretty okay, even now.

As they prowl the booths Stiles is keeping an eye out, because apparently some hippie hipster farm is selling wool and fiber to the tourists and craft maniacs, and a very nice person in Oregon called FaeryMoon23 says it's best if he makes his own stuff for ritual work. To be fair, Stiles is pretty sure they think he's talking about metaphorical, spiritual wolves or something. Apparently it's very important that he handle the making of everything as far up as he can do it. It was pretty awkward explaining to his dad why he's learning to spin from the living history people, but Stiles manned up. Actually learning to felt and weave was kind of interesting, and plus they fed him cookies when he went to the Arts Center to work on his projects.

Also he can't buy that shit off the internet because it has to have been properly treated, and FaeryMoon23 says his best bet is buying it locally so he can be sure it was organic and carefully raised. This led, eventually, to a really terrible discussion about silkworms and silk processing and why FaeryMoon23 disapproved of any silk you hadn't raised yourself and allowed to hatch from the cocoon, and Stiles stumbling to Lydia the next day and hissing, "silk is murder fabric", which he's not sure she's forgiven him for.

Needs must, and all, and the cookies are extremely delicious, so Stiles will just keep forging on. He's trying not to think about the next logical step, which involves linen and learning how to process it, which on the one hand sounds awesome because you no lie leave it to rot in water. ...But on the other hand you no lie leave it to rot in water, and that sounds both smelly and kind of slimy and gross. But then you get to rip it apart with sharp objects, so Stiles is kind of torn.

Anyway, amount of booths selling generic pot related merchandise that Stiles' dad is looking at with judgement in his heart: unsurprisingly high.

He stares at the guy with the dishwater-color dreads and nearly visible aura of patchouli oil, and says, "If you ever think about trying to start smoking pot, you remember what I told you."

"Yes, Dad," says Stiles. As an officer of the law his father is of course anti-drug, but as a private citizen he thinks there are worse things to worry about than potheads. When Stiles had turned fourteen he had been given to understand that if he ever feels the stupid need to try weed, he is going to do it in his father's presence so he can stand over Stiles and say things like, "Wasn't that fun? Wasn't that worth failing six weeks of drug tests?"

His dad shakes his head at the girl wearing a hemp halter top and showing a lot of side-boob -- she'd be hotter if she'd had a bath within the last two weeks, Stiles agrees -- and says, "So since this is the first time in a while we've spent time together, and because it's Beacon Fest, I think we should get Lutheran chicken." He sounds like he's rehearsed it, which he probably has because Stiles is an unyielding force for good when it comes to his dad's health, but --

Stiles wavers. Lutheran chicken is seriously the best, but it's so tasty because it is terrible for you. Like, they just put the chicken on enormous grills without taking the skin off or anything, and then they baste it with olive oil and salt and a secret spice recipe passed on from someone's grandmother in Minnesota, which is probably mostly MSG and delicious death. They cut up potatoes and fry them in rendered chicken fat for the side dish. "But --" he starts, and then blows out a gusty sigh. To hell with it, he thinks, his dad has to go on shift soon, and it's been such a good day, traumatising experiences with eyeliner marker aside. "You have to follow your guidelines for the rest of the week," he says sternly.

"Sure," lies his dad, easily, and turns toward the food area.

They stand in line for the chicken and Stiles shoves his hands into his hoodie's pockets. It's a nice day, far enough into fall that it's a little chilly, but the sun is shining and Stiles tilts his head up to feel it in his face. "Do you want something to drink here?" he says, looking at the menu. "They have lingonberry soda."

"That sounds good," says his dad, and orders. They balance the foil-wrapped plates and paper cups on their arms and look for a spot to sit. There's one good spot left in the shade, two chairs empty -- right opposite Derek Hale, who has coats draped over three more chairs to save them, and is methodically chewing his way through a plate of yakisoba bigger than his head. Stiles swallows hard and decides to brazen it out.

"These seats taken?" he says. Derek flicks his eyes up, starts to lift the corner of his mouth in a lazy snarl, and then sees Stiles' dad.

"No," he says, and then stands up. "Sheriff," he says.

"Hale," says Stiles' dad. He puts the plates down on the wobbly table and sits down. "Sit down, Stiles, stop looking like that."

Derek sinks down slowly after Stiles' dad sits, slouching so his head is lower than his.

"Stop looking like what?" says Stiles, dropping into the chair opposite Derek. He hopes it's something like 'so I once accused this guy of murder' and less 'we spent last week fighting an actual-facts lich and I had to smuggle him into our house to clean evil being goo out of his wounds and he sat and made sounds like an angry cat being bathed the entire time.' Either way, super awkward.

"You know what you look like," says his dad, and Stiles wrinkles his nose. Derek makes a surprised huff in the bottom of his throat, almost like he wants to laugh but has forgotten how. "Here by yourself, Hale?"

"No, sir," says Derek, just as Erica and Isaac drop their plates down and Boyd says, "Hey."

"Hey," says Stiles.

Stiles' dad's eyebrows climb up his forehead. Stile briefly considers choking himself to death on a chicken bone, or at least smothering himself in Derek's yakisoba, but Derek would get really mad at him for getting near his food. He really doesn't want to have his dad witness Derek Hale: Actual Food Guarder. It's terrifying, like one of those "my dog is the worst but I love it so much I feed it from a baby bottle" shows on Animal Planet. Isaac says, "Hello, Mr Stilinski," politely before he sits down, and Erica smiles at him, says, "Hello, Sheriff," and reaches out toward Stiles' fries.

"NO," says Stiles and frowns at her. They'd spent a month figuring out a way to control Erica's infrequent seizures without medications, and if Erica just kept on her diet she didn't have to have her fingers broken to kickstart healing. Stiles was really anti-Erica-having-broken-fingers, and anyway it was practically a recommended diet for werewolves. Lots of meat and fat, no sugar.

They burned right through the fat they ate, too: sometimes before the full moon Stiles would come over and find the entire pack crunching their way through a giant pan of bacon end pieces with really intent expressions, as if they had hunted the pig fat themselves and brought it down triumphantly in the meat refrigerator of Cash'n'Carry. Once Erica had gone over to the Mexican store and came back with whatever was left after they rendered lard -- not quite pork rinds, but close. It was pretty tasty, but Stiles had labeled the bag DRIED PIG EARS anyway. Jackson had not appreciated that.

Which is to say: Erica Reyes can just keep her sticky Catwoman paws off his fries, thank you anyway.

Erica pouts at him, but Stiles is firm.

"I didn't know you knew these kids, Hale," says his dad and Stiles forgets all about Erica cheating on her medical diet and focuses on praying Derek doesn't say something terrible and awkward and make himself sound like a creep.

"I --" begins Derek and then says, "they're my -- we hang around a lot."

"I see," says Stiles' dad, looking from one leather-jacketed wolf to the next. Stiles wants to die. If only Scott was here to say something awkward his humiliation would be complete.

"Dad," he says, a little desperately, and nudges at his plate. His dad takes the hint and begins eating, but he watches Derek the entire time. It's like watching a predator watching another, possibly weaker predator, and waiting for them to make a move. Stiles has no idea how this is affecting Derek, but he's is hunching more and more into his food though, so it can't be good. Stiles can't tell what color Derek's eyes are between the way he's slouched and the mirrored aviator sunglasses he's rocking, if he's still got green eyes or feeling threatened enough that his eyes are turning red. It's a relief to Stiles and probably everybody else but Boyd, when Stiles' dad's pager beeps.

"Dammit," says Stiles' dad, reading the number. "I gotta go, buddy, I'm sorry. I'm taking the rest of the chicken for later."

"What," says Stiles, glaring at him."No."

"Yes," says Stiles' dad, wrapping up his chicken and clutching it protectively.

"Ugh," says Stiles. "Fine. I'm packing your lunches for the rest of the week, and I will have spies in place."

Everybody in the Hale pack stops eating (or, in Derek's case, trying to make himself look small and unassuming) and stares at Stiles, like they've never seen anybody boss their dad around before. These are people who spend a lot of time around Lydia Martin, so Stiles has no idea what their problem is.

"Spies can be rebought," says Stiles' dad placidly. "Come with me for a second, Stiles."

"O … kay....?" says Stiles, and stands up. He leaves his stuff on the table though, and feels the stares of the pack burning holes into his skull as he follows his dad out of earshot. It may even be out of werewolf earshot, because his dad stops right by a big air compressor filling up a dead-eyed inflatable clown, and says,

"Are you hanging around Derek Hale?"

"Uh," says Stiles, "define hanging around?"

His dad gives him a look, and Stiles swallows hard. "Not like in a creepy way," he says. "Like it's definitely not me crushing on him ridiculously or him buying us booze or --"

"Go on," invites his father.

"Daaaaaad," says Stiles.

"No, really," says his dad.

"He's not buying us booze," says Stiles. He doesn't even know how you could get a werewolf drunk.

"Right," says his dad slowly, and Stiles cringes a little because he knows and his dad knows that Stiles didn't deny the crushing on Derek ridiculously part, and Stiles had actually been pretty successful in pretending that wasn't happening, like, at all. Crap. "I'm gonna be home at eleven, and I expect you to be there, got it?"

Stiles almost falls over with relief. "Got it! Totally! I will be there with bells on. Well, maybe not bells."

"Why don't you be there with pajamas on," suggests his father.

"That," says Stiles. "Yes, that, that entirely."

☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆

Derek watches the sheriff not-quite drag his son off by the ear, and wonders what the sheriff is thinking. Probably nothing good -- if Derek had been any other person in the world and saw how he hung around sixteen and seventeen year olds all the time, he would totally think "My God, that Derek Hale, what a freaking creeper."

"He's probably going to tell Stiles not to hang out with us," says Boyd, taking a sip of his Coke.

Isaac gives Derek an utterly betrayed look, and Erica glares at him. "I told you not to wear those sunglasses!" she hisses.

"What if Stiles can't hang out with us any more?" says Isaac wretchedly. "What if Scott doesn't want to hang out with us because --"

"I said those were pedophile sunglasses!" says Erica, in a quiet, piercing whisper that makes Derek's ears hurt.

Boyd continues eating his gyro, which he has laid out on a plate like a salad on a piece of flatbread, methodically picking out the tomatoes, feta and lamb and laying them to the side to eat after the lettuce. Boyd would eat his gyro if there was a bomb going off.

"These are RayBans and my sister gave them to me," says Derek, trying not to bare his teeth in public and cause a panic. "Scott never listens to Stiles anyway --"

This is a truth, so Isaac subsides with an unhappy look. Derek's not really happy about it either, but Scott's stupidity is not technically his problem.

"-- and I don't want to hear about either of these subjects again," says Derek firmly.

Erica glares at him. Boyd says, "Are you eating that chicken skewer?"

Derek sighs and gives Boyd the skewer. He's not hungry any more, anyway. He tries not to watch as Stiles talks to his dad and flushes at something his dad says, and then is pulled into a rough one-armed hug before the sheriff ruffles his hair and walks away.

Stiles comes back, drops down on the chair again and says brightly, "So that was completely awkward and I think Dad wants me to make sure you aren't committing statutory rape on my innocent friends, but I'm not grounded from you guys."

"Gross," says Erica, wrinkling her nose.

"It would be a little weird, right?" says Stiles. "Sleeping with someone that you turned."

"It depends," says Derek.

"I mean," says Stiles, "If you weren't, like, your creepy uncle, would you consider it weird to sleep with someone you turned?"

"Yes," says Derek. It's too close, sleeping with someone you've turned, too easy to be each other's all in everything. And you would never know if they were there because you turned them and because of the bond or if -- Stiles is right, it would definitely be creepy. He remembers that his great-great-grandmother had been turned by the alpha of the Hales when she married into them, but he's pretty sure it'd been his great-great-great-grandma that turned her, not his great-great-grandpa. Plus she'd been human in a wolf pack anyway.

"Awesome, Scott's coming over," says Stiles, looking at his phone. Derek pokes viciously at the sad remains of his noodles. It's not exactly that he has a problem with Scott, or even that they don't get along, or that they don't like each other. It's just … when Scott is there Stiles pays attention to him. He doesn't not pay attention to the others, so Derek knows he's being ridiculous. It's just somewhere, some horrible part of his mind is angry that Stiles is paying attention to a wolf that isn't part of Derek's pack, or Derek himself. It's bad enough being around Scott anyway, with him refusing to be part of Derek's pack, and Derek hates the extra edge of jealousy he gets around Stiles.

He doesn't say anything to Stiles about it. It's his problem, not Stiles', and he'll get over it.

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THINGS A WEREWOLF WILL EAT AT A FESTIVAL (INCOMPLETE)
- Funnel cakes
- Cotton candy
- Those curly fries that are basically one potato stuck on a circular blade and wound out into a single strip
- Ice cream
- Coca Cola
- Diet Pepsi because Erica is contrary
- Chicago style hot dogs that look like someone threw up on a hot dog bun
- Hawai'ian shave ice because Danny is there with the group selling it and wearing a lei, and also because shave ice
- More ice cream
- Jerky samples
- Fudge
- Caramel apples
- Jesus dextrose Christ, all of the ice cream
- Fried rice
- Sausage onna stick
- Stiles' arm when he tries to hold his sausage onna stick above Erica's head
- Everything

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It takes Stiles a while to find the booth with the sheep fleeces, but then he has the fun of the sheepdog sitting up slowly, staring at one werewolf to the next, and then giving Stiles an unimpressed look to end all unimpressed looks. "Hey," says Stiles, to the dog, indignantly. He does not say You're practically a wolf too!, because he probably shouldn't be arguing with sheepdogs about the werewolves he hangs out with. That way psych evaluations lie. Derek tilts his sunglasses down and stares at the sheepdog, letting his eyes flash red. The dog is even less impressed.

"I like your dog," says Stiles to the lady, with great sincerity. "And I want to give you money for a fleece."

"I like you," she says. "Special on the Romney fleeces."

"Whoo!" says Stiles and subtly steps on Derek's foot as hard as he can, which doesn't help but at least stops Derek from giving her a look over the top of his creeper sunglasses and makes him stop trying to win the staring contest with the dog.

Scott says, "Romney? Like … Mitt?"

"Oh my God," says Stiles. "It's a sheep breed, Scott."

"I'm really beginning to understand why he wants you in his pack," says Erica to Stiles. "Like, I know you drag him into things a lot, but my God, all of third grade makes so much more sense."

"Hey," says Stiles.

"No, really," says Boyd.

"What was third grade?" says Isaac curiously.

"Stiles wasn't in school a lot because of --" Erica stops and looks away guiltily. "Anyway, Scott was by himself a lot at school."

"And he survived, even without me," says Stiles, ignoring the way Derek is looking at him. "He survived like a champ, so we're going to stop making jokes about it, okay?"

"He ate so much glue," says Boyd, but wisely goes back to examining the hanks of wool on the table.

"Which one are you interested in, honey?" says the lady. "I've got a beautiful blue one, and a real nice brown one with some stunning variegation."

Stiles wants a white one, as white as he can get without bleaching it -- chlorine is a surprisingly bad idea around spell components, it turns out. "White," he says. "I'm going to felt with it, so --"

Derek's nose flares a little, like he does when he's smelling something out. The betas and Scott always look like actual dogs when they do it, all wide nostrils and lifted faces. Derek just looks like he's about to sneeze for a second. Stiles wishes he'd teach the trick of it to Scott. Scott looks like a pig when he's using his Power of Werewolf Nose. "That one, back there," he says, pointing to a large white fleece in the back of the booth. It looks beautiful, even rolled up, and even without seeing the tag on it Stiles knows it's out of his budget.

"That's a Corridale," says the lady, looking pleased. "I kept Violetta coated all year. Isn't it gorgeous?"

Stiles says, "It sure is but --"

"It smells good," says Derek, low, to Stiles. and Stiles drives an elbow into Derek's steel side and smiles.

"It's expensive," says Stiles, between his teeth. "One of the Romney fleeces is fine."

"It's the type you need, isn't it?" says Derek to Stiles, "How much?" to the lady.

The lady names a price that makes Stiles feel a little faint.

"Fine," says Derek, and pulls out his wallet. "Do you take cards or do I need to get cash?"

"Oh dear God," says Stiles, as Scott bristles up and Derek hands the lady his Visa -- Derek Hale uses Visa! What the actual fuck! "Derek, come on --"

Derek ignores him, and Scott bristles even more and begins a subvocal growl that the sheepdog, up until now lying under the table and judging Stiles' life choices, sits up and takes exception to, lips peeled slightly but ominously back from his teeth and everything. "Crap," says Stiles, torn between Scott getting into it with Derek Hale and a fucking sheepdog, and Derek Hale buying him a sheep fleece like -- like -- well, Stiles was not going there.

"Hey, DJ Cujo, let's turn that subwoofer down," says Stiles, which only makes Scott's eyes turn more gold than hazel and Jesus fucking Christ, straighten out his shoulders aggressively like he's going to throw down and dare Derek to pick it up in front of God and everybody.

"Scott, come with me, let's get brittle," says Isaac, Stiles' hero for forever, and drags Scott off before he starts flashing fang. Erica follows them to block Scott's path back to Derek's throat. Boyd just stands there like a brick wall between Scott and Derek and Stiles, if a brick wall examined alpaca batts with every evidence of absorbed interest.

"Derek, seriously," says Stiles, praying that nobody is there watching as Derek signs his ridiculously tidy signature to the Square app and the lady lays out a wide sheet of fabric to roll the fleece into. If this gets back to his dad, he is trouble so deep a werewolf would be digging three days to get him out again.


SUNNYDALE FARMS AND FIBRE

7 LBS CORRIDALE EXTRA FANCY FLEECE @$12/LB: $84
SALES TAX: $6.09
TOTAL: $90.09

PAID VISA ****-7342
DEREK HALE
signed: DEREK HALE

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PURCHASE!

Enjoy Violetta's fleece! :)

Derek accepts his receipt and the giant muslin burrito of sheep hair. "It's fine, Stiles," he says.

"It's ninety dollars," says Stiles, as Derek nudges him forward with the fleece. "You can't just --"

"It's okay, Stiles," says Derek, again. He looks around and lowers his voice. "It's traditional."

"What," starts Stiles, but Boyd is behind him and pushing him toward the rest of the group, which includes a really sullen Scott eating walnut brittle angrily, and Stiles doesn't have the time to try to dig out Derek's reasoning.

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Scott's still really mad about Derek buying Stiles the fleece, and spends at least ten minutes glowering at Derek and herding Stiles around like he's the one sheep remaining to him -- and Stiles is done with the sheep metaphors for today, seriously.

Derek hefts the fleece easily over one shoulder and says, "Where did you leave the Jeep?"

"No, it's okay," says Stiles, keeping an eye on Scott eating honey roasted almonds and his feelings. "I'll … put it in the Jeep. Myself. Maybe Scott can help me."

Derek looks at him and Stiles says, "I actually want to get him alone to chew him out over being a ridiculous three year old, but I have no idea why the hell you bought me a ninety dollar piece of sheep hair, so I don't think it's going to go very well."

"If it's to benefit the pack," says Derek, like Stiles is stupid, which, Derek probably does think that a lot, "the pack should pay."

"What," says Stiles, and then, "nobody else is chipping in for it, so I don't --"

Derek gives him a beetle-browed glare and says, "I'm the alpha."

"That can't actually be your excuse for everything you do, I'm just saying," says Stiles. "Like, one day you're going to say you're the alpha and it will be like, like the wolf who cried alpha. Nobody will care."

"It is my responsibility to offer you materials for your work," says Derek, super-slow, "because your work benefits my pack. I can't be in your debt, Stiles."

"Oh," says Stiles. It doesn't -- he swallows hard and looks away. "But --"

"Stiles," says Derek, "this is not a thing that means -- if you weren't in the pack -- my mother always gave things to Deaton, okay? Because it's not good for you to give so much without being offered something in return."

"Deaton's not pack, though," says Stiles, still staring at the ground.

Derek makes an exasperated noise, and cuffs Stiles upside the head. "If you weren't in the pack, I wouldn't be buying materials for your work. It would be -- it would be really freaking bad, okay. Mom always gave him money to buy things, or food. Not things for his work."

"That doesn't make sense, though," says Stiles.

"I can't not give you something," says Derek, looking really uncomfortable. "It's bad luck. But if you weren't pack, I couldn't give you things that you use for your work. It's -- it's not good."

Stiles supposes it makes sense, somewhere, in Derek's head, but it's hard to get him to talk about his family and their traditions, so Stiles puts it aside to puzzle out later. He'll ask Deaton, not that he's likely to be much help. "Fine, whatever," he says. "Thank you. I appreciate it. Do you think if I left Isaac in charge of Scott he'd keep him just eating his feelings until we get back from the car and I can deal with him? Maybe?"

"Sure," says Derek.

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Scott hasn't killed anybody or broken away from Isaac to leap on Derek and attempt to rip his throat out as punishment for doing whatever he thinks Derek is doing to Stiles by the time they get back, so Derek is sort of counting that as a win. It's probably because Isaac is literally hanging off Scott's every word like he's a genius supermodel stripper, but Derek can't make himself care. Scott probably doesn't know what he thinks Derek is doing to Stiles, but for a turned wolf, he's got pretty good instincts, and he's obviously running on them right now. Derek is not, technically, trying to court Stiles. It's true that it's bad luck to accept too many favors from the faoladh or witches without giving something back, though, and Derek needs all the good luck he can get.

From what Derek remembers, it's probably more that a faoladh or a witch would be ruthless in calling favors than it is actual bad mojo, but. It's not fair, is all. Stiles wouldn't be doing this if it weren't for Scott and Derek and the pack, so they should be helping him with it.

Anyway if Derek was to bring courting-gifts to Stiles, it wouldn't be a huge sheep-smelling fleece that makes Derek's mouth taste like like grass and lanolin. Red things, bright things, prey with the blood still fresh on the fur; that was a proper courting-gift. He'd never wanted to bring Kate anything, but he remembered the cache he had buried in the back of his closet, for the nebulous someday.

Scott's glowering at him like he knows, he knows Derek is thinking about Stiles and courting-gifts in the same minute, and he's going to get between Derek and Stiles if it's the last thing he does.

"Serious, dude," says Stiles, staring at Scott, "It's not even your time of the month for a week and a half, why are you so crabby?"

Scott opens his mouth, closes it again when nothing comes out, and says, sullen, "No reason."

"Sure," says Stiles, obviously unconvinced, and then, "Cotton candy lady! Come on, Scotty, we're going to go watch the nice lady make fairy floss, and you will take the stick out of your ass."

"I don't have a stick up my ass," says Scott, even more sullenly. Stiles cocks his head at him, raises an eyebrow, and then hooks his arm around his neck and drags him to the tiny cart where the lady is indeed making cotton candy.

Derek wants to hit something. It's not like he's jealous of Scott, exactly. He misses it, a little, the rough and tumble puppy affection of his family. It makes him want to shake Scott until he realizes what he has and how grateful he should be for it.

He doesn't, though. He follows Scott and Stiles and his betas to the cotton candy cart and watches as the lady pours the sugar into the drum and waits for it to spin out into soft, insubstantial clouds of sweet scent, and twists the spun sugar expertly onto paper cones. It's still warm when Stiles pulls off a bit from the cone and offers it to him.

☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆

When they get to the carnival side of the Festival, it's just getting dark enough so the lights are beginning to show up on the rides and awnings. The lights soften the edges of the dinged-up rides and the faded yellows and reds of the awnings. It looks pretty magical, really, and Stiles draws in a deep breath and lets it out again. It's cool.

"Derek, win me something," commands Erica.

"Why do I need to win you something?" says Derek, from behind. "You could beat any of these games that you wanted to now."

Erica sticks out her bottom lip in an extravagant pout. "I want someone to win me something. I've never had anybody win me anything, and I want someone to win me something."

Stiles turns around and walks backwards, trusting that Scott probably will save him from running over any five year olds up past their bedtimes, and says, "I'd offer, but I am pants at this shit. Last year I brained someone, it was horrible."

"I am actually afraid to ask," says Boyd.

"It was that game where you shoot the water pistol at the creepy clown's mouth," says Scott.

Nobody bothers to ask how he managed to injure another person doing that game, presumably because they've all met Stiles before. Erica says, "I'll win you a thing, Stiles."

"I can win my own thing," says Stiles.

"No, dude," says Scott. "You really, really can't."

During all this Boyd has wandered up to one of those booths where you knock over bottles to win things. He looks up at the stuffed animals hanging despairingly by their necks and says to the guy, "How much to win one of those big ones?"

"You'd have to knock down fifty bottles," says the guy. "There's a hundred on the stack."

"Uh, Boyd," begins Stiles, because he is the only sensible person he knows, he swears to God.

Boyd nods, hands the guy his money, and winds up.

There is a long silence while Isaac chases down one of the bottles and Stiles covers his face with his hands.

"Can I get two of the big wolves, please?" says Boyd.

"Sure," says the guy, a little weakly, and hooks them down. Boyd wrinkles his nose a little at their scent -- which even Stiles thinks smells like cheap fabric and maybe cardboard, and a little like diesel fuel -- but hands one to Erica and keeps the other.

"If you have an arm like that why the hell are you playing lacrosse and not baseball," says Derek, like it just burst out of him. Derek's super serious and weird about baseball, though. One of Stiles' most magical moments this year was trolling through old issues of the school paper and discovering a picture of Derek, wearing a baseball uniform and beaming at the camera with all his gangly, awkward heart while he clutched a giant baseball trophy in his hands. It had been great for about four seconds and Stiles had laughed until he thought about what Derek was like now and what had happened to make him that way, and went to go eat curly fries until he stopped having emotions.

"Don't like baseball," says Boyd. "There, Erica."

For a minute Erica's face goes all soft and happy, open, before she makes herself stop. "I will love it and squeeze it and call it George," she decides.

Scott fake vomits behind her (hypocrite) and Isaac pulls gently at the thing's ear. "George is very cute," he says solemnly. "He is the cutest."

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It takes a lot of talking-- well, whining -- for Derek to be convinced to play any of the games himself. Scott, even with werewolf senses, is predictably terrible at them, and Isaac wins a tiny bear and looks unreasonably happy over it. Erica nails ten balloons in twenty seconds (the attendant had looked somewhere between terrified and kind of unreasonably aroused by this) and wins Boyd a genuine NHL knockoff jersey. Stiles doesn't even bother trying. He's surrounded by werewolves, he doesn't need to try to make himself feel worse.

When Derek finally caves to Erica's nagging and Isaac's sad face and plays a penny toss game, he wins a small pewter wolf statuette with red glass eyes, muzzle turned up toward the moon. It's possibly the crappiest representation of a wolf any of them have ever seen, and Stiles has bought every ironic wolf shirt that Hot Topic has ever sold to give to Scott.

"You could have gotten a wall scroll instead," complains Erica. "Why didn't you go for a high score?"

Derek gives her a look and says, "I am not going to win a freaking picture of a wolf in a rain forest just so you can try to make me hang it up."

"It would be a little nightmarish," agrees Scott. "Like, waking up and seeing the wolf staring at you."

There's a moment where everybody imagines that and shudders.

Stiles checks his phone. There's a reminder text from his dad: home by eleven, okay?, because his dad is a total nag and probably more worried about Stiles hanging around with the Jets than he actually wanted to admit. It's almost nine o'clock and the chill is beginning to soak through his hoodie. "We should get going soon," he says reluctantly. "What else do you guys want to do?"

"Ferris wheel," Isaac blurts out. His eyes go wide and a little panicky, like he hadn't actually meant to say anything. There's times when Stiles is really glad Isaac's dad is dead, no matter how terrible that makes him feel when he does. "I -- can we go on the Ferris wheel?"

"Sounds good," says Derek.

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The Ferris wheel is lit up in rainbow colors, with giant speakers blasting something terrible and perky from Sirius or whatever, some auto-tuned to hell song about how the singer would love someone forever. Derek hates perky pop music, always has, even though Laura loved it and Peter liked doo-wop and his parents danced to Belinda Carlisle and Martina McBride. He'd gotten so much shit from Laura about how he actually likes bands like Guster and Mumford and Sons.

The seats are only big enough to hold two people each. Erica and Boyd take the first one, and then somehow Isaac accidentally crowds Scott into the next, looking shifty and flat-eared like if he's only casual enough about it nobody will realize what's he's doing. Derek's not touching that one. He doesn't think Isaac is courting Scott, and God alone knows if it isn't Allison Argent Scott can't see it, but -- he'll deal with it when he has to deal with it.

Which leaves him and Stiles being locked into the third gondola's seat, sitting as far apart as they can and staring out into the distance of the town.

"I feel like we're in a rom com," says Stiles. "I feel like we're the bro characters in a rom-com -- no, we're not even the bro characters. We're the bitter single friends of the main characters and the bro characters, and a camera is going to pan from us to the bro characters to the main characters, to contrast their special perfect awkward love in a Ferris wheel gondola."

Derek blinks.

"And the worst of it is, I don't even know who the bro characters are and who the main characters are," says Stiles glumly.

"He's not going to desert you," says Derek. He can see Scott and Isaac laughing over something above them, Scott making the cabin swing and Isaac yelping in surprised, frightened delight.

"No, he won't," says Stiles, and for a minute he looks a little tired and sad, but mostly determined. "I won't let him. I've spent too much time on him to let him go this easily, dammit."

"You don't give up on people easily," says Derek, awkwardly. It's probably Stiles' best point, and his weakest one, too. It's going to get him killed, one of these days, not giving up on his friends. He'll be dead because he was too loyal to a werewolf, whether it's Scott or one of the others or even Derek himself.

"Oh well, you know me," says Stiles easily. "Mulish."

Derek's silent as the Ferris wheel creaks its way around the axle. It's clearer up here, away from the smell of the crowds and the food and the diesel fuel, and Derek takes a deep sniff of the fresh air. Of course Stiles is right beside him, smelling of sweat from the walk that morning and two or three conflicting artificial flowery scents and his dad from when they hugged goodbye, and just Stiles. "Why do you smell like perfume?"

Stiles sniffs at his jacket sleeve like he thinks he's going to be able to smell whatever Derek does. "Huh, I still smell like the ladies?"

"The ladies," repeats Derek flatly.

"The Queen Bees," says Stiles. "They usually give me hugs when we split up but since Scott didn't say anything I thought the scent had worn off."

"The Queen Bees," says Derek, even more flatly. It's just pure possessiveness welling up inside him, an ugly black thing that he's ashamed of instantly. That's not a wolf instinct, but a human one, and a terrible one at that. He doesn't -- there is no reason to be this way, he tells himself, as if repeating it will make a difference. He is not going to be like that.

Kate isn't going to twist him like this, too, dammit.

"The drag queens? You remember, from the thing with Lydia's party and the -- yeah. We got to be pretty good friends. One of them works with Dad, I guess, and when Dad got worried because he thought I was going to become a delinquent, they kind of -- they kind of took me under their wings, I guess. They gave me a drag princess name and everything, it's pretty cool." Stiles laughs a little, under his breath. "Basically they come kidnap me for their charity things. I mean, I can't go to the bars where they do their shows yet, so it's not like they can make me perform or whatever. But like today they dressed me up for the hospice walk. It's, I dunno, kind of fun."

"What name did they give you?" says Derek. Names are important, he knows, even for humans.

"Oh God, it's the stupidest, but I can't get them to change it. Princess BB Foxy, like I can't even," says Stiles, hunching into himself. "They said when I turn eighteen, if I'm still doing things with them, I can pick my own queen name. But - I don't know."

Whoever picked out his name has a good eye, Derek thinks. There is something foxlike about Stiles, something tricksterish and wild. "It's not terrible."

"Thanks," says Stiles, his mouth turning down.

"They could have named you Princess Baby Hedgehog," points out Derek, and Stiles twists his neck and gapes at him.

"Did you make a funny?" he demands. "Did you actually -- oh my God, you make a funny! I should Facebook this shit. Or tweet it. Oh my God, you made a funny!" He thinks for a second. "Except it's not really that funny, but almost funny! Because I'm not a hedgehog. You're a hedgehog. You're the hedgehog of loneliness."

Derek … can't even argue that point, which is the worst part. Pathetic, really.

"I guess Peter would be a hyena," says Stiles thoughtfully.

"We are not having this conversation," says Derek, before Stiles can assign animals to the rest of the pack, who are already werewolves.

"This is an awesome conversation," says Stiles, but he sits back a little and goes quiet anyway.

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It's not like, romantic or anything, riding a Ferris wheel with Derek because they're effectively the only two single people in their group -- and don't think Scott isn't going to hear about that the next time they're playing Call of Duty. What the fuck, Isaac appears to have a legitimate crush on Scott. Stiles guesses Scott's pretty hot and all, especially after his wolfy power up, and he's not a terrible person or whatever either. It's just … Scott. Scott Dating. Dating Scott. How. Why. And if Scott doesn't realize that Isaac is kind of into him -- well, Stiles will figure that out later. Or maybe, and this is a weird thought, maybe he'll let Scott deal with it instead. Since he's so gung-ho on being the alpha of his own pack or anything. Let him make his own decisions, no matter how stupid those decisions are.

Stiles feels briefly like he's being really mature and stuff, and enjoys the feeling while it lasts.

But it's kind of nice, being so high above the festival that all the carnival lights and lanterns look like stars spread out against the darkness of the ground. This high up, even the music is muted, mostly just the thump of the bass and the highest of the notes.

Derek's really warm beside him, even through his leather jacket and Stiles' own hoodie. The radiated heat feels nice, and Stiles wants to slide over and enjoy it more. He shifts instead, thinks about swinging the gondola back and forth like Scott's doing, but -- no.

"It's been fun today," he says, before the silence gets too awkward. "I mean … it's been fun. Like usually when I'm around you guys someone is literally dying and sometimes it's me, so it's kind of nice to --"

"Yeah," says Derek. "It is."

They're quiet again, but it's more comfortable now, and when the gondola reaches the top, Stiles leans over Derek to see from his side without worrying that Derek is actually going to throw him off to plunge to his death below. "Do you ever wonder -- " he begins, and stops. He starts to scoot back to his own side, but Derek kind of puts his hand on Stiles' shoulder, and for some reason Stiles ends up sitting down again nearly cuddled up against Derek's side. It's even warmer like this, which is nice because his jacket isn't that heavy and he's only wearing a thin shirt and lace camisole underneath.

"Wonder what?" says Derek.

Stiles tries to shrug, but he's practically in Derek's lap and he can feel Derek's jacket sliding against the fabric of his own. "It's just, things don't seem so real in a Ferris wheel. Isn't that weird?"

"No," says Derek, and Stiles takes a deep breath. He thinks he's never going to get Derek alone again like this, so why not? Things aren't as real here, Derek said he agreed. And he, Stiles Stilinski, is crowned king of terrible ideas, so what's one more, right?

He reaches out, not looking straight at Derek, but keeping him in the corner of his vision, and puts his hand on Derek's.

Derek jerks a little, setting the gondola asway, and turns his head to look at Stiles. Stiles stares blindly out into the middle distance, waiting for Derek's reaction. After an agonizing eternity of maybe ten or fifteen seconds, Derek's hand turns under his, so their palms touch, and Derek curls his hand around Stiles'.

"Some things could be real," says Derek, looking straight ahead.

Stiles feels a giddy rush of relief, like a year's worth of tension has suddenly dropped from him. He squeezes Derek's hand, hard as he can -- Derek probably barely feels the pressure -- and looks at him. "Yeah?" he says.

"Yeah," says Derek, and there's a tiny smile tucked up against the corner of his mouth, and it stays there, even when Stiles gathers up all his courage and presses a kiss against it.

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When Stiles gets home at ten thirty, his dad is already there, feet on the coffee table in the living room and drinking a beer. Stiles is in such a ridiculously good mood he doesn't even give his dad a look over the beer.

"Did you have a good time?" says his dad.

Stiles puts his hand in his hoodie and curls his fingers around the little pewter wolf. "Yeah," he says, "Pretty good."

"Great," says his dad.