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(Don't) Work Your Magic

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Stiles steps closer to the tree stump. It isn’t mighty and it isn’t graceful. It’s just a plain old tree stump that anyone would look over and not think about twice.

Not Stiles though.

Stiles knows what this “plain old tree stump” is capable of. He has seen it with his own eyes. Felt it on his skin. Felt it through his magic.

He takes a deep breath, closing his eyes against the fading rays of the autumn sun. Deaton’s words echo in his head. Concentrate. Channel your magic. Will it to obey. Believe.

A big bag of bullshit in Stiles’ opinion.

He feels the unnatural heat of his magic underneath his skin, burning bright like a match in pitch darkness. It’s such a foreign feeling every single time. Stiles should be used to it by now; he’s been practicing magic for what feels like ages. In reality, however, it’s only been a year.

And now he’s praying to... a tree?

Okay, not praying. Deaton gives him too much credit for taking this task seriously, but how could he? Asking a tree stump for anything is insane. Asking it for protection is a free ticket to the white room.

A tree branch snaps behind him, but he ignores it. He needs to concentrate. Everything else can wait.

If he keeps delaying the task, he’ll have to deal with it later, and Stiles has better things to do than this, thank you very much. Deaton’s idea of practicing more complicated protection spells is quite boring. Even if Deaton says it will be useful in the long run.

Working with the Nemeton is important. It’s the most powerful living thing in Beacon Hills, and a great source of protection if one gets familiar with it’s energy. The task Stiles has to do is the most similar to befriending a dog, so it becomes loyal to you.

To go with the analogy, if Stiles doesn’t concentrate on it completely, he’s risking the dog biting him. Deaton warned him that if anything disturbs him, stop the spell and return to it later.

He gently pulls his magic back deep into his body, locks it away so the Stiles Syndrome doesn’t return when he stops concentrating. And hey, it wasn’t his fault that his dad’s car always ended up being the one trashed, thanks to Stiles’ uncontrollable magic in the early days.

He lets out the breath he’s been holding in slowly, letting his extended arms fall to his sides. Whoever’s come to visit him is creeping closer and closer now. They’re either trying to be quiet and failing miserably, or trying not to disturb him by stomping, or just simply there to annoy him.

Stiles whips around, glaring. “What, what is so damn important you couldn’t wait two minutes?!” he snaps, flailing his arms to make a better point. Derek seems deeply unimpressed. Whatever.

“We need to talk,” he states.

“It better be good. I was in the middle of—” Stiles trails off, jerking a hand up to gesture at the tree stump. He still doesn’t know what to call the thing he was doing. Showing reverence to this almighty tree stump? Befriending it? Awesome.

“You remember the thing you did?” Derek waits for Stiles to look to him. “When you were trying to valiantly save me from the fairies?”

“The thing?” Stiles frowns, a hand coming up to scratch his brow with his thumb. He has a feeling as to why Derek is here, and he really hopes it’s not to rip his throat out. “You mean The Thing, when I…”

“Yes, Stiles, The Thing. You know, when you linked your soul to mine temporarily to trick the fairies into thinking we’re soulmates. That Thing.” Derek glares at him, eyebrows in full-on disapproval mode. It’s not looking good for Stiles so far.

“Uh, yes...” Stiles says uncertain, scratching his temple, then cheek, and finally his neck. It doesn’t waver Derek’s stare.

“About how sure were you that it was temporary?” he demands, tense. Not good, really not good.

“Uh, about sixty percent?” Stiles squeaks, drawling out the word ‘sixty’. He jumps to his own defense immediately. “I told you there was only one passage in Deaton’s books that talked about it, and I’ve never done it, and that it has risks! The link should’ve faded by now, it’s not supposed to catch if there wasn’t already a pretty solid connection, I didn’t think—”

“Stiles, you never think!” Derek snaps, cutting Stiles’ rambling off. “And how in the world did you think for a moment that we don’t have a strong connection already? Stiles, you’re going to be my emissary. Did Deaton not tell you that emissaries don’t just come from a factory and you chose the one you like the most?!”

“Hey, woah, okay, I know emissaries are supposed to be close to their alphas, okay? But we aren’t that close, I mean, dude! You smashed my face into my own steering wheel, for fuck’s sake!” Stiles exclaims, flailing his arms around again.

If Derek had a pissed-o-meter, it would be jumping to the max so fast Stiles would get whiplash. Derek closes his eyes, jaw clenched tight, inhaling long and deep through his nose. After a few breaths, he opens his eyes, not much calmer but looking less murderous.

“Finish whatever you’re doing,” Derek says slowly, eyebrows raising in the ‘I’m talking to an idiot’ way, “and get your ass over to the clinic in an hour, or you’re going to regret the day you were born.”

“Creepy much,” Stiles mutters under his breath, though it isn’t worth the look he gets from Derek. Derek turns to walk away, but Stiles isn’t done with him yet. “Hey, wait! How’d you know anyway?” he shouts, unnecessary because Derek is a werewolf with pretty good hearing.

Derek stops in his tracks but doesn’t turn to Stiles, only tilts his head to the side. “Let’s just say your magic isn’t only feeding off of you. Not to mention your late-night activities,” he pauses, “or your early-morning ones. And at noon? Really?” With that, Derek walks away.

Oh God, no.

No, no, no, no. This can’t be real. The universe is playing a big, evil, ugly, mean fucking joke on him. He’s sure of it. It has to be a big joke that Derek Hale, of all people, feels it when Stiles is jerking off. Stiles wants the earth to open up and swallow him. Like, right now. He has half a mind to call Derek back and ask him nicely to maul him.

He needs a moment to process what must have been the most embarrassing moment in his entire life, one that will haunt him twenty years from now when he’s laying in bed awake and can’t sleep.

He tries to go back to the ritual, but he gives up after he accidentally makes flowers grow around the stump, which is always a sign of poorly channeled magic. The kind of sign that occurs just before the calls from his father come in demanding to know what the hell Stiles did now, because his cruiser was just picked up by a random tornado or fell into a hole in the ground.

He sighs, hanging his head and decides it’s time to go and embarrass himself in front of Deaton as well. He just hopes he will still want to train him after he learns how much Stiles has fucked up.

-----

“Derek, what can I do for you?” Stiles hears Deaton ask as Derek steps into the room in front of him. He enters as well, stepping out from behind Derek, face beet red, head bowed. He gets to his usual corner, dropping his bag next to his stool as Deaton says, “Stiles, I hope you finished that spell I asked you to do?”

“You mean praising a tree stump?” Stiles looks up at Deaton’s flat expression and exhales in defeat. He’s been getting lots of those looks lately. “No. I couldn’t concentrate after…” he trails off, gesturing at Derek. “After.”

“What’s happened?” Deaton asks, concerned. He won’t be so empathetic once he learns the truth.

“Stiles, you want to tell him or should I?” Derek asks, tone suggesting that Stiles better do it, or else. Stiles sighs again.

“Okay, you remember Miranda? Fairy queen two months ago—” Stiles abruptly stops, swallowing the rest of the explanation at Deaton’s eyebrow raise. “I linked my soul to Derek’s and it’s a little bit more permanent than I planned.”

“How do you know how to link souls?” Deaton furrows his brows.

Derek looks like he’s moments away from trashing the place if someone can’t find a solution for him. He makes that known by the low, impatient grunt that leaves his throat.

“Just a minute. This is important.” Deaton holds up a hand at Derek.

“Uh, you gave me that book, remember?” Stiles straightens up. “About ancient practices of magic. There was this passage about soul links with pictures. I pretty much made it up as I went through.” Stiles winces at his own words and at Derek’s low growl.

“What exactly did you do?”

“Well, on the picture this chick was laying on a bed with a knife to her arm, and the dude was sitting above her with a knife to his own, so I guessed it has some bloodier elements. I got Derek to pop a claw and draw blood from both of us. Then the next picture had their arms with a symbol on it, so I just drew the symbol on Derek’s arm with my blood and got him to do the same on mine.”

“At that moment, did any of you feel something?”

“Smelled popcorn?” Stiles looks over at Derek, unsure if Derek remembers just as poorly as he does. “We were in the cinema, and it’s been months, I don’t remember.”

“There was heat,” Derek offers helpfully. “It wasn’t burning or anything. It was more like body heat, like if someone had their hand on my arm.”

“Draw me the symbol.” Deaton slides the notebook Stiles keeps in his corner in front of him, then turns to Derek. “Since then, what symptoms have you experienced?”

“Weakness, occasionally. And a pull, like something wanted me to go somewhere. When I followed it two weeks ago, I had shrugged it off when it led me to Stiles’ house, but this morning, when I found him in the forest... It felt like…” Derek trails off, a displeased frown on his face.

Deaton hums. “Other than that?”

“Feelings,” Derek mutters, this time turning to Stiles. “Dull, but there, and certainly not mine.”

Stiles’ face heats up as he turns back to his notepad. Deaton, bless his soul, doesn’t poke further into it. He just takes the notepad when Stiles holds it out for him.

There are a few tense seconds while Deaton is examining the drawing. It feels like both him and Derek are holding their breaths, waiting for the verdict.

“You said two months?” Deaton asks at last, putting the notepad down on the table in front of him. “And Stiles, have you felt anything differently?”

“Nothing I’m aware of. No urges to assault people  or murder everyone who smiles at me.” Stiles shrugs, but no one else in the room appreciates his humor.

“Well, that’s interesting.” Deaton inhales, leaning against the table. “This spell doesn’t seem to be working the way Stiles wanted; I think that’s part of why the link isn’t complete. If it were, you two would be more connected. The knives were supposed to be coated in each other’s blood, and the symbol was supposed to be carved into each other’s flesh for a life-long bond.”

“That’s interesting and all,” Derek interrupts, arms crossed over his chest, so tight that Stiles worries about Derek’s ribs, “but how do we break this… bond? Stiles said it was supposed to be temporary.”

“I have some theories as to why it isn’t. For now, I think you’re more affected, Derek, because Stiles’ magic is still very young and uncontrollable. With the restrains,” he gestures at Stiles’ arm that has artistic symbols tattooed all over it, “Stiles can stop it from acting on it’s own, but…

“Imagine Stiles’ magic like an amorphous entity. It’s there inside Stiles’ chest. Before the tattoos, it ran around, messing with everything Stiles focused it on. Now, it’s in a cage, but it can reach out through the bars, and touch everything Stiles wants to focus it on. It can’t interact with it but it can still touch.

“You have a magical bond with Stiles and that intrigues this entity,” he says to Derek. “It reaches out but it still touches you. This is why you feel the bond more. Derek, your magic is more of a stone. It’s not flexible. The only thing that can change a werewolf’s magic is becoming the alpha, which adds more magic to it, but generally, your magic is more defined and constant than Stiles’.”

Yep, that’s the exact look Stiles had on his face when he heard Deaton first talking about magic like this. Though, the analogy was more in Stiles’ favor. He sees why Deaton decided to use the same approach with Derek.

“What we can do now is contain Stiles’ magic a little more. Since I doubt you’ve felt weak every single time Stiles has cast a spell,” Deaton waits a beat for Derek’s nod, “I’m guessing it depends on how intensely Stiles uses it.”

“And that stops me from feeling… things?” Derek raises his eyebrow, glancing down then back up into Deaton’s eyes. Stiles is honestly so ready for that whole ground-swallowing thing. He even thinks he knows a spell for that.

“Hopefully.”

“Alright. Do you need me here for this?” Derek asks, looking over at the clock on the wall.

“No, you’re free to leave. Though, if you feel any differently, please, let me know.”

“Oh, and one more thing, Stiles.” Derek turns to him, raising a finger to point at him, and Stiles looks back with wide eyes. “Don’t. Ever. Use your magic on me again.”

“What if a spell hits you and in order to neutralize it I have to—” Stiles starts to ask, but Derek leaves, cutting Stiles off with a bang of the door. Damnit.

-----

“So, long story short, I accidentally soul bonded with our alpha almighty.”

Scott is looking at him with wide, shocked eyes. Stiles thinks he fried his brain or something, so he snaps his fingers in front of Scott’s face a couple times before Scott’s hand reaches up and pulls Stiles’ away.

“I am so sorry, Stiles,” he says, like he’s trying very hard not to tell a joke. Stiles rolls his eyes.

“Not funny, Scotty! My life is in extreme danger.”

“It’s just hard to believe you regret it much. I mean, you wrote ‘I want to suck Derek Hale off’ on your mirror when you were drunk once.”

“That was ages ago and the marker washed off.” Stiles shakes his head, not getting that point at all.

“No, that was two weeks ago,” Scott maintains like he’s talking to an idiot. Well, fuck you, Scotty, Stiles can barely remember what he had for breakfast. Who expects him to remember when he did certain things?

“Your point, Scott?” Stiles glares.

“My point is that, is it really that bad to be bonded with him?”

“Mph, you’re missing out on the part where he’s feeling when I’m horny, and I’m draining his alpha spark when I use my magic.” Stiles explains, waving around with a French fry.

“Okay, that sucks about the magic. But don’t you think if he starts to feel you’re horny when you’re around him—”

“Scott, if you finish that thought I’m stuffing this whole tube of ketchup in your mouth.” Stiles points at the huge container on the counter of the diner.

Scott looks over, and he has that face, where Stiles can’t decide if he’s interested or just not getting it at all. It’s extremely disturbing in this context.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake, dude. Forget the ketchup!” Stiles throws a fry at him, successfully catching his attention.

“Maybe if Derek knows you’re interested, he’ll become more interested too, don’t you think?” Scott grabs a fry from the basket, looking up at Stiles expectantly.

“No, Scott, I don’t think so. You know why? Because not everybody is Isaac and not everybody is Allison. Who knows, maybe the dude’s a homophobe or he’s bothered by my age. There are so many factors you didn’t even consider.”

“Nah. That’s just you, being negative as always. Give it a try dude, I’m serious. It could work out.”

-----

Stiles won’t admit that Scott’s right. Okay, he does, but not out loud to the world. Not about Derek’s interest in him though, but more in that this way Derek and him get to spend a little more time together. At least, until Stiles’s magic is being bound by another rune, artistically tattooed on his skin.

So they start texting. At first, Stiles just asks for updates in short, simple questions, such as:

How’s the bond feeling?

Fine.

Naturally, Stiles gets bored of the simple format quickly. He starts mixing it up, sending messages about his day, asking Derek if he experienced any of it too. It quickly becomes monotone as well, since nothing really significant happens to Stiles, so the next step is purposefully doing things, just to test Derek.

Hey, you feel this? Stiles texts, pinching himself in the arm where he’s sitting at his desk, eyes heavy from staring at his boring book for so long. He sends a picture of the reddened patch of skin.

No, he gets as an answer.

And this? Stiles picks up a piece of paper and tickles his arm hair with it.

Stiles. You know the bond isn’t working like that.

Bummer. Hey, wait, I’ll get really happy really soon, he texts, grinning as he opens a cat video on his laptop.

I really don’t need to know when you’re jerking off. It’s enough to feel it.

Oh my God, dude, I’m not jerking off!!

Stiles groans, leaning back, feeling his face turn red even without Derek’s presence to make him feel even shittier. He shakes his head, sending the cat video to Derek.

I’m blocking your number.

Oh, come on! Everybody loves cat videos.

Derek?

Derek!!

Did you really block my number??

Stiles huffs, shaking his head and returns to his book.

-----

Derek doesn’t block his number, but he does become wiser. He isn’t answering to Stiles’ every attempt at making conversation, just when he feels like it.

They eventually catch each other at one of the pack meetings before Stiles’ tattoo appointment. Scott and Isaac are already there, the others still yet to arrive. Stiles walks in, drops his backpack near the entrance, then plops down on the sofa while Derek, Scott and Isaac are standing around the table.

Scott and Isaac are leaning over Scott’s phone, watching or playing something, while Derek is just leaning to the table, tense and waiting.

“Hey, dude, you got anything drinkable?” Stiles asks, craning his neck so he can see Derek from his position on the sofa.

“There’s tap water,” Derek answers, turning so he’s facing Stiles. He crosses his arms over his chest.

“Charming. Soda?” Stiles questions, not fazes by Derek’s icy glare at all. Not one bit. Nuh-uh.

“Why are you always wanting to eat here? Don’t you get fed at home?” Derek rolls his eyes, pushing away from the table to head to the kitchen.

Stiles huffs annoyed. “I’m not a pet you feed, Derek. I’m a human person. I need food and beverage to function.”

“You should hold back then. You function a little too much, don’t you think?” Derek passes a can of Coke to Stiles, then sits down on the sofa next to him. It shocks Stiles enough to not to comment.

“It’s the ADHD dude. Know your disorders.” Stiles’ soda opens with a loud sizzle. For some reason, he offers the drink to Derek first, but his offer is met with a shake of the head.

“I don’t need to know about your human problems.”

“’Problems’?” Stiles gasps in mock offense, placing a hand over his heart. “It’s not a ‘problem.’ Problems go away. This doesn’t. You’re being an insensitive asshole.”

“Some problems don’t go away though,” Derek mentions, looking at Stiles expectantly. Stiles gestures for him to go ahead and tell him what he means while sipping his soda. “You don’t, for one.”

And yep, that’s soda in the wrong pipe, and now Stiles can’t breathe. He coughs, slapping his chest, then Derek’s shoulder to get Derek to pat his back. Which is a bad idea, because Derek isn’t the gentlest man he knows, but somehow, he survives with all his ribs in place. Hopefully.

“Dude, that was so fucking—” he starts, but can’t finish before the next round of coughs.

“Honest?” Derek smirks.

Derek Hale smirked at Stiles!

“I’m in an alternate universe, aren’t I?” Stiles says.

Derek just huffs and gets up just as the door to the loft opens and the remaining pack members walk inside. Derek keeps up his creepy, alternate universe-self for the rest of the meeting, but it’s so subtle, that maybe Stiles is the only one who notices. From the blank look on Scott’s face, he’s sure.

-----

“Why are you like this?” Stiles hisses at his jeep, shivering in the cold on the side of the road. The hood is popped open, but Stiles can’t find the problem despite knowing Roscoe’s ticks back and forth. “Come on, work dude. I know you love me, so love me like you mean it,” he grumbles, putting another piece of duct tape on top of the one he just replaced.

He doesn’t even notice the car that approaches, let alone when said car parks behind his jeep and the driver gets out. Then there’s Derek, leather jacket and sunglasses, all douche-y glory.

Stiles sighs. “Don’t even. If the next words out your mouth aren’t ‘I’m a professional mechanic and can take this car apart and put it together under half an hour like it’s brand new’, I don’t want to hear it.”

“You’re heading to the tattoo parlor, right?” Derek asks, wiping a finger over the hood and frowning at the dirt it comes away with.

“Yeah.” Stiles nods his head. “Unless I have to reschedule because my piece of— lovely, favorite car— decided to be an ass today.”

“Come on. I’ll give you a ride. Your car can wait until we get back.”

“And why would you do that?” Stiles snorts, straightening up and wiping his hands off on a rag.

“Maybe because it’s I’m the one that gain from you getting that tattoo.”

“Oh.” True, but Stiles won’t admit that. He sighs and locks the car, double-checking – not that anyone would want to steal it. He walks over to Derek’s car and wow, he’s never actually sat in the Camaro before for more than five minutes.

“This car is so sleek dude.” Stiles says, nestling into the leather seat and reaching for the radio. Before he can get to it, his hand is knocked away.

“Don’t touch anything. And buckle up your seatbelt. Just because your car doesn’t have any, doesn’t mean it’s not against the law. I’m surprised your dad lets you drive that thing anyways.” Derek shakes his head, pulling away from Roscoe and onto the road.

“If it didn’t have seatbelts, he really wouldn’t. But I do have them. Just don’t really have to use them when someone’s always bleeding all over my seats, because for some reason, it’s okay to use my car as an escape car.”

“It’s because when the bad guys see it, they don’t have the heart to destroy the tires. That piece of scrap metal doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere ever.”

“Okay, stop.” Stiles raises his hands. “That’s just fucking mean. Leave Roscoe alone. She’s a brave girl.”

“It was a compliment.”

“You have no idea what the definition of a compliment is.” Stiles rolls his eyes, fidgeting in his seat. “Hey, how did you find me anyway? I have a feeling you didn’t have business outside of town at the same exact time my car broke down.”

“It was the bond,” Derek grumbles. “I felt your frustration and that pull again.”

“Wow. Dude, are you sure you want to get rid of this?” At Derek’s piercing glare, Stiles quickly backtracks. “No, I mean I get why you want to get rid of it! Really, just. You know, it could come in handy. If we finish the bond—”

“I’m not bonding my soul to yours, Stiles.”

“Hear me out. So, if we finish it, I would be able to tell when you’re in trouble, and you when I am. Given our luck, it’s likely we would need that every once in awhile.”

“You’d feel my feelings. And I’d feel yours?”

“Yeah. Maybe I can find something where we would be able to control it. There has to be something that can stop us from unintentionally sharing our feelings with each other.”

“Stiles. We’re driving you to the tattoo parlor to get you something that blocks this. Don’t you think it’s a bit too late to change your mind?”

“Hey, I’m just theorizing. Would it really be so awful for you to deal with my feelings?” Stiles tries not to show how vulnerable Derek’s answer makes him feel, but from the frown on Derek’s face he fails. Right. Soul bond.

“Your feelings don’t bother me. Your magic does.”

“Ouch, right in the gut,” Stiles winces and looks out the window. Of all answers, this wasn’t the one he expected.

“I meant the way the bond works with it. Deaton says it feeds off my alpha spark if you’re doing more intricate spells. What if we have to fight and  you do some spell and I’m too weak to defend myself?”

“Right.” Stiles has to admit Derek has a point. He doesn’t want that either. “But hypothetically , if we could control what goes through the bond, you really wouldn’t mind?”

“Why are you so stubborn about this?” Derek asks, clenching his jaw. “No, I wouldn’t. It doesn’t mean I volunteered to do this for months. When you did it, I barely had a moment to think through what you offered. I only agreed because you said it wouldn’t last.”

“Okay.” Stiles nods. Fair enough. “Okay, then don’t you think we’re making a bit of a mistake right now? I mean, we should discover the possibilities before we go and cut off any chance we’ve got?”

“Didn’t Deaton say to you that he doesn’t know a lot about this kind of magic?” Derek frowns.

“He did. But he’s also not the only emissary to ever exist. I’m pretty sure we can find someone who can help us out with this.”

“And until then what?” Derek reaches for the radio dial. “I feel everything you do and your magic is draining me?”

“I can work on the magic thing. And I’ll try to not... feel anything intense. What do you say big guy?” Stiles raises an eyebrow, reaching out to change the station from the quiet indie music to Katy Perry.

“Stiles, why are you so against blocking your magic?” Derek clicks his tongue, knocking Stiles’ hand away when he tries to turn up the volume. “You were fine with it so far.”

“I don’t want to unnecessarily restrict my magic even more than it is now. You think it’s good for me, and it is, fine, but… It’s like if I took away your claws and now I’m taking your hearing away too. Does this make sense?”

“Not really.”

Derek doesn’t offer more and Stiles doesn’t know how to explain. He slumps down in the seat, looking out the window. The scenery is blurry as they speed on down the road.

Stiles is so deep in his thoughts that he doesn’t notice Derek turned left when he was supposed to turn right. When he does, thanks to a familiar building that comes just before they enter Beacon Hills, he sits up straighter, looking over at Derek.

“Uh, Derek, where are we going?” Stiles asks.

“To your house. Do some research.”

“Why?”

“Because I’d hate to lose my werewolf hearing.” Derek sighs, turning onto Stiles’ street. Stiles smirks, hiding it behind his hand as Derek parks in front of his house.

-----

“Stiles, it’s come to my attention that you didn’t attend your scheduled appointment and you still have yet to finish the spell at the Nemeton like I asked you to. I know that you and Derek are having a situation right now, but it shouldn’t make you sloppy with your training,” Deaton says as Stiles enters the clinic, ready for his next lesson.

Stiles drops his bag besides his chair in the corner, leaning down to pull out the book that has the soul linking spell in it.

“Me and Derek decided to learn a little more about this whole soul thing. I think it would be good for both of us to have a more direct alarm system of our own.” Stiles says, opening the book at the marked page and sitting and turning to Deaton. He’s just pulling his gloves off, dropping them into the trash can by the sink.

“And what have you found so far?” Deaton asks without offering a comment on the decision. Stiles sighs, pulling out the sheets of paper sandwiched between the pages of the book.

“Mostly romantic bullshit. Who knew soulmates were this popular?”

“It’s natural.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever you say,” Stiles sighs. “I know you said you don’t know a lot about them, but I’d like to run through some ideas by you?” he says, raising his eyebrows.

Despite being the most cryptic motherfucker Stiles knows, Deaton is surprisingly generous with information when it comes to teaching Stiles. He nods, and Stiles looks down at his notes.

“So, this one says: ‘soulmates are supposed to be feeling what the other feels and if it’s strong, they could even hear the other’s thoughts’.”

“The first part is true, if we’re talking about soul mates who have magic in them already. If you were to bind two regular people together, they wouldn’t feel anything other than a really strong connection.”

“’If one soulmate dies, the other is to follow shortly’,” Stiles reads, then looks up.

“I’m not sure about that. As I said, I know very little.”

“’If one soul mate is injured, the other feels it like the pain is their own’. I call bullshit on that, because when Derek was over helping with research, I stubbed my little toe and he laughed at me. Internally, but he laughed at me.”

“I’m afraid we won’t know until the ritual is finished.”

“Okay. So—”

“Stiles, as much as I enjoy this discussion, I gave you a task almost two weeks ago and you still haven’t finished.” Deaton crosses his arms.

“Oh, come on! You mean befriending a tree stump is really my biggest concern right now?” Stiles whines, throwing his head back.

“You linked your soul to Derek’s without my knowledge, I’m sure you can deal with it on your own free time. Cleaning up your mess isn’t part of the training in this case.”

“You’re an evil man, Alan Deaton,” Stiles mutters, narrowing his eyes.

-----

“Scott, come on, it’s boring!” Stiles whines as he drives, phone on speaker because he’s the good son of the Sheriff.

“If it’s boring, why would you invite me? And you know I have a date. I’m sorry, dude. Ask Derek, I’m sure he’d like to entertain you,” Scott says in a suggestive tone. Stiles rolls his eyes.

“Yeah, sure he has nothing better to do on a Wednesday night than adoring a tree stump with the guy who accidentally linked his soul to his. Thanks, bro.” Stiles shakes his head, ending the call after Scott apologizes once more and they say bye.

He parks on the same spot he always does when he goes to the Nemeton, not getting out of the car as he draws the pros and cons of calling Derek. In the end, pros win, because Stiles is sure Derek would rather be present when Stiles is doing magic than sitting at home, feeling dizzy without knowing what Stiles is doing.

Stiles picks up the phone and dials, bracing his elbow on the door and holds his head. He’s drumming with a finger on his thigh as he waits for the line to connect.

“Stiles,” greets a honey smooth voice.

“Hey, alpha almighty! How’s it hangin’?” Stiles doesn’t expect an answer, so he doesn’t even wait for one before continuing, “So, there’s this big tree stump and I have to do a spell at it. Feel like joining?”

“Why would I?” Derek asks. It sounds like a challenge, and Stiles smirks. He’s good at challenges.

“Because I have new info about the soul bond.”

“What is it?”

“I’m not telling you unless you come to the Nemeton to keep me company.”

“That’s blackmail,” Derek grunts.

“Yup. Coming?”

“I’ll be there soon.” With that, the line disconnects. Stiles fist pumps, then gets out of the car so he can walk to the Nemeton. He’s just got there and started to get things ready when Derek appears at his side, looking at the Nemeton with a frown.

“What are you supposed to do with it?”

“Worship it.” Stiles shrugs. Derek looks at him as if he lost his mind, but Stiles just smiles at him.

“So, this new information?”

“Oh, yeah. I’m positive we won’t read each other’s thoughts and we won’t die if the other does.”

“That’s all?” Derek raises his eyebrows. Stiles nods smugly. “This is why you demanded I come out here. To tell me what we already guessed.”

“Yup!” Stiles grins. “But also for you to keep me company. Our beloved Nemeton isn’t the most exciting thing to stare at for hours.”

“And I am?” Derek snorts, crossing his arms over his chest, Stiles’ eyes widen.

“No, I mean, yes, but not—I didn’t call you here to stare at you, not that I don’t want to, because damn,” he licks his lips, looking over the shirt straining over Derek’s arms. He blushes when he realizes Derek saw that. “But uh, yeah, like, practice,” he points at the tree stump, “I have to practice.”

“Stiles?”

“Yeah?” he gulps loudly, taking a step back when Derek steps forward.

“Shut up.”

“Why—”

Stiles’ train of thought is cut off when Derek heaves a sigh and reaches out, hand on the nape of Stiles’ neck, leading him forward, and close, so close to him, Stiles has to cross his eyes to see Derek’s face.

“Because the more you talk the less I want to kiss you,” is what Derek says before he closes the distance between them, catching Stiles’ lips in a kiss. It’s dry, soft and everything Stiles didn’t think it would be. He reaches up and pulls Derek closer, holding onto the leather jacket to keep Derek where he can reach him.