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You're stronger than you know

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It all started with a bronze dagger. Well, no, that wasn’t fair, it all started when Stiles went to get the dagger without any backup. Although that wasn’t really his fault either. He’d got a message from Scott on the first Friday night since they’d broken up from school for the summer, saying that there was something killing hikers in the woods, drowning them in various places throughout the preserve, he had no idea what it was and would Stiles figure it out for him please.

Stiles was still a bit pissed at Scott, after all last weekend he’d been kidnapped by Gerard and his cronies, had the absolute shit kicked out of him so that most of his injuries were still only just starting to heal, and Scott hadn’t once mentioned it, hadn’t even noticed that Stiles had been missing for hours, or that he smelled of blood, which, honestly, how did none of them notice that? Instead all the focus was on Erica and Boyd who were still missing. Chris Argent had been insistent that he’d let them go before coming to help them at the warehouse and that he had no idea where they were now, although they hadn’t been in a good way, Erica had almost been catatonic apparently and Boyd hadn’t seemed much better. Stiles didn’t want to think how much she must have suffered for her to be like that. Derek seemed to believe Chris and that was good enough for the rest of the pack.

Still, no matter his anger towards Scott, and the rest of the pack, although he didn’t expect them to notice anything was wrong with him, it wasn’t like they were actually his friends or anything, no matter how many times he’d saved their asses, the point was that he couldn’t let innocent people die if it was something that he could help with. So, instead of asking Scott if he wanted to hang out and research together, Stiles knew that even if he wanted to ask the answer would be no because Allison was around, not that he felt like being sociable with anyone at the moment anyway, more content to heal up by himself, where he didn’t have to pretend like he was fine. He ended up cooped up in his room, hovering over the keyboard, scrolling through pages and pages of ancient historical texts, mythological sites, supernatural sites, before finally deciding that it was most likely to be a siren.

The only way to subdue a siren was to pierce her chest with a bronze dagger according to the lore, which is why Stiles found himself scouring the internet for a bronze dagger in the local vicinity as the sun started to rise. He stood up from his desk chair, stretching his aching limbs, careful not to rip open any of the healing injuries on his back, wincing slightly as his ribs protested the movement. He yawned widely, he was exhausted, a quick glance in the mirror showed the black circles under his eyes, okay so maybe he hadn’t slept last night, and maybe he had barely slept since last week, not only because of the pain, but because when he closed his eyes he ended up dreaming of Gerard, of the beating, of the feeling of complete and utter weakness and helplessness, he couldn’t help himself, or Erica, or Boyd, he didn’t ever want to feel like that again. Instead he’d only sleep when he absolutely had to, usually when his body told him he couldn’t take any more and collapsed into unconsciousness, sleeping until the nightmares began and he woke screaming.

He’d managed to locate a dagger at a store two towns over, it was an old antiques store judging from the website and Stiles was more than a little curious about what else he might find there that could end up being useful in the future, maybe some extra books or something. He grabbed a quick shower, letting the warm water sooth his aches and pains before he got out and dressed and listened to the silent house for a few minutes.

His dad was working, practically sleeping at the station, as he had done for the last week. Apparently, Stiles refusing to tell him exactly what had happened the night Gerard beat the crap out of him had been the final straw. Admittedly the cut lip and bruise on his cheek had been the only thing his dad had seen, but it was enough. Noah hadn’t bought the excuse that it was the guys on the other team, demanding that Stiles give him their names, some description of them, anything. Stiles had kept repeating that he hadn’t seen them, didn’t know who they were, didn’t know what had happened. How could he possibly tell his dad that it had been the crazy principle and his friends that had tortured him for hours and laughed as he’d screamed? He couldn’t. Not without telling him all about werewolves and hunters and all the other crap that he’d somehow stumbled into.

Noah seemed to decide that Stiles was lying, that he did know more than he was saying, and that he was just refusing to tell him. It meant that their relationship wasn’t in the best place right now. They were avoiding each other most of the time, his dad almost living at the station and Stiles hiding in his room while his injuries healed and, when his dad was home, making sure he stayed awake so he didn’t wake his dad when his nightmares caused him to wake sobbing or screaming.

Stiles decided that he’d go to get the dagger by himself, mainly because he didn’t want to spend time with Scott and he didn’t think he could ask any of the others in the pack, not since they were supposed to be searching for Boyd and Erica, he wouldn’t distract them from that.

Since Jackson had finally become a werewolf, as he’d wanted all along, things had been slightly more tense between Stiles and everyone else. It was kind of to be expected, it wasn’t like they’d ever gotten along, but Jackson had a big thing about the fact Stiles wasn’t anything special, anything supernatural, and that he was just there because he was Scott’s friend.

Stiles was going to protest, but he decided that Jackson was right, Stiles wouldn’t be involved in all this if it wasn’t for Scott, but since he’d been the one to drag Scott out into the woods the night he was bitten, that meant this was his fault, and he wouldn’t abandon Scott now. Although Stiles would kind of appreciate it if any of the wolves could think with anything other than their dicks. Scott especially. It would be nice to have his friend back, at least a little bit. He was torn in a way, he didn’t want anyone to notice the injuries, wanted to manage by himself, bear the burden of his weakness alone. On the other hand, he wanted Scott to notice, wanted his best friend to realise that something was wrong with Stiles, for Scott to be there for him, so he could fall apart and there would be someone there for him who cared.

He didn’t care that the pack didn’t notice, okay maybe he did a little bit, he’d kind of thought that he was starting to have friends other than Scott, but that was all gone now, and he wouldn’t care about it. Instead he’d make himself useful, make sure that he contributed in the only way he could, even if it meant staying up all night to figure out it was a siren and then driving two towns over to get a bronze dagger by himself.

Thankfully by the time he found the shop, it was a dirty little place in one of the back streets that took him three hours to find, it should have only been a twenty-minute trip, he was glad to see it was open. He was kind of surprised that they’d even had a website, the place looked like it was about to fall apart, windows cracked in places, cobwebs covering most of them, the door so small that Stiles had to duck as he entered. The actual shop was dark and crowded with items, Stiles almost tripping over some of them as he tried to locate the counter.

“Hello?” He called out, a little nervously.

“Good morning.” A voice replied from behind a set of shelves. Stiles tried not to jump in shock, he thought he managed it, although the grin on the man’s face when he appeared suggested otherwise. Stiles guessed he was late thirties, although he couldn’t be sure, the man had a long curly dark grey beard, short dark hair that was just starting to grey at the edges and blue eyes that crinkled at the corners as he studied Stiles.

“Hi.” Stiles said feeling a little awkward.

“What can I do for you today young man?” The man asked, not unkindly.

“I’m looking for the bronze dagger you have for sale.” Stiles said confidently. The man studied him for a moment and Stiles tried not to show just how creeped out he felt.

“And what would you need this dagger for?” The man asked quizzically, an odd grin on his face. Stiles paused, what could he possibly say that wouldn’t sound insane?

“Show and tell at school?” He offered and the man scoffed.

“You have more money than sense if you’re willing to pay five thousand dollars for a show and tell project.”

“Five thousand…” Stiles trailed off, paling slightly. How the hell would he be able to afford that?

“Although if you were using it for, say, a siren, then I could completely understand why you’d find it so valuable.” The man smirked

“A siren…” Stiles said numbly, unable to believe the man had even suggested it. “I mean… I wouldn’t know anything about that.” He lied unconvincingly.

“Sure you wouldn’t.” The man smirked, observing Stiles carefully. “Unfortunately it means the price just doubled.”

“What!?” Stiles said outraged, “You can’t do that.”

“It’s my item, it’s my sale. I can charge as much as I like. Do you think you can afford the ten thousand?”

“Just hang on a sec.” Stiles said, pulling out his phone and calling Derek. He would have the money and it was an emergency. It rang for several minutes before cutting out without the option to leave a message. He sighed heavily, calling Scott next.

“Stiles I’m busy.” Scott answered, Stiles could hear Allison laughing in the background.

“It’s impor…” Stiles started before the phone cut off. He stared at it angrily, weren’t they supposed to be searching for Boyd and Erica? He frowned for a moment before figuring out who he could call next.

“Isaac, are you with Der…”

“Not now Stiles. I’m in the middle of something.” Isaac said before hanging up. Stiles practically growled at his phone.

Lydia’s phone refused his call after two rings. He didn’t even have Jackson’s number. He didn’t dare call Peter; the man would probably find a way to hang up on Stiles too but only after threatening him in some way.

“I can get the money.” Stiles said a moment later to the owner. “I just need the dagger right now, and then I’ll bring the money back later.”

“I don’t think so.” The owner sighed.

“Please, it’s life or death.” Stiles pleaded.

“Hmmm.” The owner paused, pulling out the dagger from underneath the counter where it had been conveniently placed, “Tell you what, I’m willing to offer you a deal, one that I think you’ll find very beneficial.”

Stiles glanced at his phone nervously, biting at his lip before staring at the dagger and nodding. They needed it if there was any chance of defeating the siren before she killed again.

“Okay, what’s the deal?”

“Well, first off, I’m going to help you heal those injuries that you’re trying and failing to hide.” The man said, Stiles fought back his gasp of surprise. “And I’m willing to give you the dagger, on two conditions.”

“What are you exactly? Because you can’t be just human?” Stiles said, trying to maintain his confidence.

“I am human, of sorts,” The man grinned wickedly, “I’m a warlock.” He smirked, his eyes swirling vivid green for a moment before fading away. “Now, do you want to hear the conditions?”

“So long as it’s not something weird like asking for my firstborn child or soul or something.” Stiles answered nervously, trying not to sound as afraid as he felt. A warlock, well, that was new.

“I wouldn’t even dream of it. Actually, Stiles, you are quite special, you’ve got a spark, very similar in some ways to my own. My first condition is; I’m willing to train you, teach you, meld your spark into something that you can use to protect yourself.”

“What? Why? Why would you be willing to do that? How could we do that? I mean, I know I made some ash cover a bigger area than it should have done, but how could I use that to protect myself?”

“Are you always so talkative?” The man asked and Stiles nodded honestly, his eyes wide with shock. “Okay, so I’m guessing you are willing to agree to condition one?”

“Yes.” Stiles said quickly, trying to process what the warlock had said, he had a spark, he had the chance to do something, to be useful, to help others, to never be defenceless again.

“Alright, condition two, I owe my brother a favour.” Stiles wasn’t sure he was going to like this, “He owns a magazine, he’s been looking for a new model. I think you’ll be exactly what he’s after. I want you to meet him, listen to his offer, and, should you decide to accept, then I’ll give you the dagger.”

“A model!?” Stiles said shocked, “I don’t think he’d want me as a model.”

“I’m pretty confident that you’re wrong on that one. I’m going to give him a call, tell him to come down now.”

“Okay.” Stiles agreed nervously.

“Good.” The man said, picking up his phone, “Harry, it’s Luke, look, I’m paying back that favour I owe you.”

“How?” Harry laughed, “I saved that little shop of yours, you owe me big.”

“And I’ve got a big way to pay you back.” Luke grinned at Stiles, “I’ve found someone that you might be very interested in. He’s waiting for you in my shop now. I’ll see you in ten minutes.” Luke said before hanging up.

“Is your brother a warlock too? What if I don’t like the offer he makes? Will you still give me the dagger?” Stiles queried.

“You know; you really do ask a lot of questions.” Luke replied, “Yes, Harry is a warlock too, although not quite as serious about it as me, at least not at the moment, he grew out of it a few decades back, although I’m sure he’ll change his mind in the next century or so. Also, I’ll think about it; it depends how seriously you consider Harry’s offer.”

“Centuries?” Stiles stuttered, what the hell had he stumbled into here?

“Of course.” Luke sighed simply, “A warlock can live as long as he wants, should he choose to settle down and grow old with the love of his life then he could do, but if he wanted to stay around for a while, well, it’s not exactly a complex spell.”

Stiles took a deep breath, trying to focus on the normal questions he could ask, not the ones that were sure to blow everything he knew out of the water, eternal life, Jesus, this was way beyond him, next he’d find out there were vampires.

“What kind of modelling?” Stiles queried, trying to sound as normal as possible.

“I’ll let Harry explain that.” Luke replied, pouring Stiles a cup of coffee and clearing a chair next to the counter so Stiles could sit.

“Alright, so tell me about my spark, how did you know about that? And how are you planning on healing my injuries?”

“Magic, oddly enough. Although, I’m not going to heal them, I’m going to teach you how to heal them yourself, you should be more than capable judging from the aura I’m getting from you. And, really, running with werewolves and hunters, you’re going to need to learn how to do that quickly, especially since they don’t seem to really watch out for you.” Luke answered honestly.

“That’s not true.” Stiles said defensively, not even going to ask how Luke knew about that, “They do watch out for me, they are just really busy right now, two of our pack members are missing, that’s much more important than dealing with the siren.”

“I don’t think you really believe that. After all, where were they when you needed them?” Luke said, gesturing to the bandages that were just visible on his wrists, he’d been wearing long jumpers to keep them covered but he must have pushed his sleeves up slightly in his agitation. He glanced down at the bandages before pulling his sleeves back down shamefully.

A moment later Stiles heard the front door open, a bell tingling quietly and then a second man’s voice calling out.

“Luke, where the hell are you…” Stiles assumed this was Harry, he had come to a complete stop when he saw Stiles. Harry was a bit younger than Luke, with short bleached hair and a golden tan. He was staring at Stiles with a look of joy, before glancing at Luke who nodded in confirmation. “So, you’re the guy Luke wanted me to meet?”

“Erm, yeah.” Stiles said a little nervously, he needed to make a good impression if he was going to get the dagger.

“Well, I’ve got to say I’m a little surprised,” Harry began, “I say that we’ll call that favour paid off in full.” He grinned to Luke.

“Told you you’d like him.” Luke smiled.

“Yeah you did.” Harry grinned. “So, kid, what’s your name?”

“Stiles.”

“How old are you?”

“Sixteen, seventeen in a couple of months.”

“I heard eighteen.” Harry replied and Stiles looked at him in confusion. “You ever done any modelling before?”

“No.” Stiles answered honestly.

“Shame, the world has been missing out.” Harry said and Stiles tried and failed not to blush. “Oh, you are adorable. You’re perfect for what I have in mind. Can you come down to the studio now? You’re okay with guys, aren’t you? Or do you prefer girls? We’ll get some photos done, I’ll pay you for your time of course, how does fifteen thousand sound?” Harry quizzed, barely giving Stiles time to think.

“Erm, fifteen…thousand…” Stiles stuttered.

“Come on kid, I want to see how you’ll fit in with the others, so, guys or girls?”

“What kind of modelling is this?” Stiles asked quietly.

“Nothing vulgar, very tasteful photos, don’t worry, nothing too pornographic.” Harry grinned. “I couldn’t have you as full nude until you are actually eighteen.” He laughed.

“It’s a porn mag?” Stiles said in shock, glad he was already sat down.

“Yeah, but, like I said, we’ll leave you pretty much fully clothed, you’ve got this kind of defiant innocence about you, we want that, the readers will love that, we’ll keep that for as long as possible.”

“So this wouldn’t be a one off?” Stiles said, licking his lips nervously,

“Nope, I’d like to make you a permanent feature.”

“How many pictures does the fifteen thousand cover?” That amount of money could change his life, but not if it meant he had to do years of photos.

“It’s per published picture, we’ll do a shoot today, publish the pictures next week, and then we can reassess the price.” Stiles tried to stop his jaw from hitting the floor, he didn’t think he fooled them.

“Fifteen thousand per picture? Isn’t that a little steep?” Stiles whispered in awe.

“Yes fifteen per picture, no, it’s perfectly normal for a multi-million-pound magazine. Sound acceptable Stiles?”

“Erm, I guess I could give it a go, I mean, I don’t know if I’ll be any good, but sure, I could try.”

“So guys would be okay, right? You’re not a huge homophobe or something?” Harry asked and Stiles shook his head quickly, blushing slightly, Harry was obviously very straightforward.

“No, guys are fine. I mean, girls would be fine too. I don’t really mind.” He muttered, “Does that mean that I get the dagger now?” Stiles asked a moment later.

“After the shoot.” Luke said, “But first, we’ll get those wounds sorted. Harry, why don’t you give whichever guy you’re thinking of a call, and we’ll get Stiles here fixed up.”

Harry disappeared out of the door, already on his phone to someone named Andy, as Luke sat down on the chair behind the counter and took Stiles’ hands, Stiles tried not to flinch at that, he wasn’t exactly good at human contact recently, every touch reminding him of Gerard and his goons, flinching from even his father’s hand on his shoulder. He took a deep breath, focusing on Luke who was studying the bandages carefully, this was Luke, not Gerard.

“Close your eyes.” Luke instructed, “Take a deep breath.” Stiles complied, “Nice slow breath, in and out, that’s good, now, I’m going to push a little of my magic into you, just so you can understand how it feels, then you’re going to concentrate and feel that magic inside yourself. Okay, ready?” Stiles nodded, concentrating on the feel of Luke’s hands on his; only a few moments later he felt an odd tingling sensation in his hands that spread up his arms before entering his chest. There it only seemed to grow, his own spark flaring into life, he was surprised at how easily it burned and roared to life, as if it had just been sat there waiting for him to use it.

“I feel it.” He muttered quietly without opening his eyes.

“Good, that’s very impressive Stiles. Now, focus on that spark, on that warmth you feel, now focus on spreading that warmth through every bone in your body, all the way from your fingertips to your toes.” Stiles concentrated on spreading the warmth, it was hard work and he was sweating by the time he was done, barely managing to hold it all in place. “Great, now, hold it there, focus on the warmth moving from your bones, to your blood, through your skin, to the surface, seeping through every one of your injuries, the heat of it forcing your injuries to knit together, to heal.” Stiles concentrated on following the instructions as Luke spoke, feeling the heat almost burning his skin as he focused, as he did his best to force the wounds to heal.

Ten minutes later he was tired but he felt a lot better, not quite so sore, he opened his eyes, surprised to see Luke looking at him in surprise. He glanced down at his wrists, flexing them slightly, still feeling a soft tug of healing skin but nothing like they had been, he ripped the bandages off as quickly as he could, seeing fresh scarring on his wrists and staring at them in awe.

“It worked.” Stiles muttered in shock, “It worked?” He repeated, glancing up at Luke for confirmation who nodded, a smile on his lips.

“I’ve never seen anyone take to the craft so easily. You’re a natural Stiles.” Luke praised. “I can’t wait to see what else you can do.” Stiles got off the chair, rushing over to a mirror at the back of the room, pulling his shirt up and poking gently at his ribs, earlier there had been a large black bruise and probably a broken rib or two, now there was just a fading bruise and a bit of tenderness. The large cut that had started just below his belly button and continued to his hip had healed, now just a thick scar. He twisted around, trying to observe the injuries to his back, most of those had healed now too, he couldn’t believe it. His skin had sort of a glow about it as well, he was still pale, but he looked healthier, less exhausted, the bags under his eyes gone, his eyes flickering like a flame.

He jumped back in shock before moving closer to the mirror again, this time just studying his eyes.

They were still glowing, flickering as if there was a fire in them, he concentrated for a moment, subduing the magic still roaring through his body, before the flame faded slowly and eventually his own eyes were staring back at him again.

“What was that? Did you see that!? My eyes looked like they were on fire!” Stiles said in a kind of fascinated horror.

“That usually happens when a warlock first accepts his powers, you learn to control it over time.” Luke said calmly, “I’m impressed that you’ve already figured out how to stop it, I thought I would have to explain it to you.”

“So I’m a warlock too?” Stiles said in surprise.

“You’re definitely something, I’m not sure if you’re a warlock or not, usually it’s hereditary so if your dad isn’t one then you shouldn’t be, and if he is one then he should have been teaching you so your power didn’t explode at the wrong time.”

“My dad isn’t a warlock.” Stiles said confidently, there was a lot that he wasn’t sure of anymore, but the fact that his dad was a completely normal human being with no supernatural powers was one of them.

“Which makes it highly unlikely that you’re a warlock, there’s a multitude of other things that you could be, we can go through it after the shoot, when you get the dagger.”

“Okay.” Stiles said a little nervously, he wasn’t sure about this, he was going to make a complete fool of himself he was sure, but he did need the dagger, and he needed Luke to help him figure out how to defend himself, not to mention the fact that fifteen thousand dollars was a lot of money.

Harry was back only a few minutes later and studied Stiles again.

“You look much better. You ready to go?” He queried and Stiles nodded, “You sure about this kid, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

“I’m sure.” Stiles said firmly, following Harry out of the shop and to his car. They drove in silence for a few minutes before Stiles just couldn’t sit still any longer.

“Relax, you’ll be brilliant, I’ve asked a few of my guys to come in and shoot with you, we’ll take some pictures, I’ll even let you pick which photo you like best, it’s just to see who you work best with, and if at any point you are uncomfortable, you let me know and we’ll stop. Sound fair?”

“I don’t like people touching me.” Stiles muttered shamefully, the thought of strangers touching him was making him feel a little sick with worry.

“That’s okay kid, we’ll take it slow. You don’t want them to touch you, they won’t. I’ll explain everything that’s about to happen before we take each picture, I know you’re a little nervous right now, but believe me, these guys will put you at ease and you’ll be grinning like an idiot before the day is out. Trust me, I’ve been around long enough to know that you are the kind of guy who’s going to be amazing at this, I only pick those with the right aura.” Harry rambled.

“How long have you been around exactly? Luke said warlocks can live for as long as they want?”

“Luke is just over seven hundred, I’m a tad younger, just over five hundred years now. Same father, different mother. But, no talk of magic or warlocks in the workplace. My models don’t usually know about the supernatural.”

“That must be hard.” Stiles mused, “I mean, it’s hard keeping stuff from my dad, but to keep it from everyone, the people you work with, spend time with, to only have Luke to talk to it about, that must be hard.”

“It’s not that bad.” Harry smirked, “It’s nice to get away from all that drama sometimes, to not be thinking about hunters tracking you down, capturing you, using your magic to kill others. Photography is definitely a step away from that.” He laughed, although the pain in his voice made Stiles think there was definitely more to that story.

The studio was nice, not at all what Stiles had been expecting when they’d pulled up outside. It kind of looked like the place you get murdered and Stiles had been more than a little bit nervous when he’d climbed out of the car, sure he had made a mistake that was about to get him killed, wishing he’d told at least one person where he was going.

“It helps keep the privacy,” Harry explained, obviously seeing the doubt on Stiles’ face, “Nobody thinks we’d be shooting in here, hence none of our models get harassed by photographers as they’re leaving.”

“Photographers harass your models? Is it really that big of a thing?” He said, rubbing a hand across the back of his neck.

“We’re the number one magazine in the country, I’d say yes it’s that big of a thing. We get celebrities calling us directly, asking us to put them half naked on the cover.”

“Jesus.” Stiles muttered in disbelief. “And people don’t mind the fact that this is going to be guys?”

“Are you kidding me?” Harry laughed, opening the door and moving ahead of Stiles, “We cater to all audiences, straight, gay, lesbian, bi, trans, you name it we show it. Come on, I’ll give you a tour.”

Stiles blinked a few times as the lights flickered on, showing off a massive room, it was bright and warm, there were several partitioning walls that gave the impression of smaller rooms, camera stands placed at the front of each one, a staircase off to one side that he assumed led to more rooms upstairs, Stiles was more than a little amazed.

“Come on, I need you to fill in this paperwork and we need to get you some clean clothes and then the others will probably be here.” Harry said, leading Stiles towards a row of clothes and mirrors and the back of the room. Stiles sat down, completing his name and address and other information as Harry browsed the racks of clothes, “Alright,” Harry muttered, “I want to keep this simple, so, let’s go with…” He pulled a pair of jeans, a blank white t-shirt with a low-cut neck and a pair of boots. “Try these on.” Harry glanced at the still healing scars at his wrists, “Oh, and put these on too.” He threw Stiles a pair of wide leather cuffs with bands of metal on them that would easily cover the scars, Stiles thought they might have been able to edit them out, but he kind of liked the cuffs, they felt like extra protection.

“Alright, kitchen is through the back if you want anything to drink, so are the toilets.” Harry said pointing to a corridor just to the side of him, “The upstairs rooms are for full nude shoots, so if you don’t want to see don’t go up there.” He added with a wink and Stiles laughed quietly.

Stiles was a bit embarrassed about his still healing injuries and his older scars, especially when Harry looked at him, Stiles couldn’t place the emotion on his face, something close to pity, but also, seemingly proud, as if sad Stiles had suffered but happy he had survived so much so far. He quickly changed clothes, he’d just finished stuffing his feet into the boots which were heavier than he was used to, but kind of harder and tougher, it made him feel a little braver, when he heard the door open and three men walked in.

They were pretty gorgeous, Stiles admitted, tall and broad, probably early twenties, all looking a lot more competent than him and laughing loudly. Stiles was a bit worried they might laugh at him, he couldn’t help but think what the hell he was doing here, he really didn’t belong here, maybe he could just make a run for it, but then he wouldn’t get the dagger, instead, when Harry introduced them they all shook his hand and smiled which was nice.

“Guys, this is Stiles, Stiles, this is, Andy, James and Matt. You’re going to be working together today. Stiles has never modelled before so be nice to him. I want to keep him.”

“Sure thing boss.” Andy grinned, he was tall with short dark hair, he could have been terrifying if he tried, but his features were relaxed and friendly, making Stiles relax just a little bit. “Nice to meet you Stiles, weird name, short for something?”

“Erm, my first name is kind of hard to pronounce so it’s just a nickname.” Stiles offered.

“Cool, well, I’m looking forward to working with you.” Andy smirked and Stiles smiled back a little nervously.

“Alright, well let’s get to work then.” Harry shouted. “James, you and Stiles are up first.”

Stiles followed James to one of the partitions, it was made up to look like a bedroom with low lighting, James quickly stripped off his shirt and Stiles glanced to Harry for guidance.

“Okay, Stiles, don’t worry about taking anything off, what I want you to do is just lean against the bed post there,” Stiles moved to the bedpost, “perfect, now, just lean back against it, relax a little, can you prop your foot up against it? Perfect.” The camera was already clicking away, “James, move to the side of him, I want a side profile, Stiles, I want James to put his hand across you, on your hip, that okay?” Stiles nodded, glad when James pulled a goofy face at him as he moved, it made Stiles laugh and relax a little. “Brilliant, alright, now, Stiles, lean your head back a bit, I want you to expose your throat but keep eye contact with the camera, exactly, you’re a natural.” Harry praised, still taking photo after photo, “James, can you lean down a little, Stiles, James is going to kiss your neck, that alright?” Stiles nodded a little nervously as James leaned down, his lips pressing against Stiles’ neck. “Stiles, I want you to pretend that it doesn’t even bother you at all, that you don’t even notice he’s there, that he’s not impressing you, that you’re almost bored by the whole thing and keep looking at the camera.” Harry said, snapping a few more pictures before finally telling them it was enough.

“Not bad for a newbie.” James grinned as he stepped away, brushing a hand through his long blonde hair, “I’m impressed.”

“Erm, thanks.” Stiles said, surprised that it had gone so smoothly.

“Alright, moving on. Matt, you next.” Harry said, steering them towards a kitchen.

The afternoon passed quickly, Stiles gradually relaxing a little more as each man managed to make him laugh a little. By the end of the shoot Harry wanted the four of them together. Andy was behind Stiles, his mouth on his neck, an arm across his chest and pulling his t-shirt up slightly, just enough that you could see a hint of his scar. James and Matt were both on their knees in front of him, pulling on the belt loops of his jeans as if trying to drag them down, his jeans unbuttoned and the zip pulled down slightly, his boxers on display.

Stiles felt a little nervous, trying to feign his disinterest, it got particularly hard when Andy decided it would be funny to give him a hickey as a joke and Stiles wasn’t just meaning feigning his disinterest was hard. Harry just took more photos before finally calling it quits.

“That was perfect.” Harry said smiling happily, looking at the pictures on the camera screen and grinning. “Well done guys, I can’t tell you how impressive that was.”

“Anytime Harry, although, not tomorrow, we’re out tonight and it’s probably going to result in serious hangovers. Stiles, you want to come with us?” Andy said casually and Stiles paused, he kind of wanted to go out with them, it would be fun, maybe he’d be able to forget about everything that had happened in the last week, but he couldn’t, he had a siren to take care of and a pack to help.

“I can’t sorry, I have a few jobs to do tonight.” He admitted sheepishly.

“No worries. Next time definitely though?” Matt asked and Stiles nodded, surprised that he was agreeing to doing this again. It wasn’t like he hadn’t enjoyed himself, but, still, he’d never expected his life to take this path, especially not the magic part of it, or the modelling part he guessed.

“Sure thing.” Stiles said, waving goodbye as the three of them headed out of the building. “So what happens now?” He asked.

“Well, firstly, we’ll check out the pictures, then I can take you back to Luke, you can get this dagger you’re so anxious about. Once we’ve decided which pictures we use I’ll send you a cheque for fifteen thousand per picture.”

“Okay, sounds too good to be true.” Stiles laughed as he got changed into his normal clothes.

“Sometimes good things happen to good people kid.” Harry said, beginning to load the pictures on the screen just as Stiles’ phone rang.

“Stiles,” Scott said anxiously, “Did you figure out what it was? Jackson caught a whiff when we were out looking for Erica and Boyd and we’re tracking it now.”

“It’s a siren. You need…”

“Thanks. Got it.” Scott said before hanging up.

“No!” Stiles said in despair, already trying to call Scott back but getting no answer, “Shit.” Stiles cursed, “I’ve got to get the dagger now.” He said, glad when Harry understood and led him out to the car. They were back to the shop within five minutes, Luke handing over the dagger and ordering him to return to the shop before nine the next morning. Stiles nodded thankfully, grabbing the dagger and rushing out to his jeep and assuring Luke that he would be there.

Stiles drove the fastest he ever had, worried that the wolves would be idiotic enough to attack the siren before he got there. The siren was capable of twisting things with her voice, more than capable of turning the pack on each other if she felt threatened and they weren’t prepared.

He thanked god that Scott’s GPS was currently active on his phone, easily able to track the wolves through the preserve.

He heard shouting and the sounds of fighting before he got there and rolled his eyes in exasperation, why did they never listen to him? He shoved his earphones in, blasting his music as loud as he could, the dagger gripped tight in his hand. As soon as he entered the clearing he saw the siren, she was stood near a pool of water, laughing lightly, a smile on her lips as she watched the pack as they all fought each other, Allison firing arrows at the wolves, Lydia screaming loudly, knocking her opponents off their feet, the wolves attempting to tear chunks out of each other, Derek and Peter had definitely done some damage to each other as well as some of the others, both bleeding heavily, although Stiles was grateful that Peter seemed to be the one that was worse off.

Stiles wasn’t going to mention that it was rather amusing to watch the wolves fighting with Blue Oyster Cult as the soundtrack.

Stiles dodged around the edge of the clearing, thankful that the siren hadn’t seemed to notice him just yet, he managed to get a clear line to her when she finally saw him, taking in his earphones and then the bronze dagger in his hand, her eyes going wide in panic and taking a step backwards.

Stiles couldn’t hear what she said but suddenly all the pack were turning towards him, glaring at him with hatred in their eyes. Stiles ran forwards, aiming straight for the siren, managing to dodge the first few attacks, her eyes filling with terror as he got closer, taking a step backwards into the pool. Scott managed to catch him, claws digging into his shoulder but Stiles managed to shake him off, turning slightly as the claws caught and dug into the flesh of his collarbone and dragged over to his shoulder. He spun to the left, bringing his arm up, the dagger plunging into her chest as Jackson slammed into him from the side and he let go off the dagger, hitting the ground hard, half landing in the water, soaking his top half and shoving his head under the water.

Stiles felt his rib crack again as he hit the ground and tried not to cry out in pain, instead he shoved at Jackson who was now blinking at him in confusion as if trying to figure out why the hell he was lying on top of Stiles, almost drowning him. He rolled off quickly looking around at the pack, spotting Lydia, thankfully unhurt, and rushing to her to check she was okay.

“Don’t mind me.” Stiles grumbled sarcastically as he got himself to his feet, brushing off the dirt, wiping the water from his face and trying not to wince at the pain in his rib and shoulder.

“Where the hell were you?” Isaac said angrily, “We headed in here blind.”

“I got here as quick as I could.” Stiles answered defensively, “I was trying to get the dagger, I did try calling you guys earlier but…”

“Sure looks like you rushed here Stilinski.” Jackson sneered.

“I did.” Stiles insisted.

“When? After spending however long making out with your,” Jackson’s nose twitched slightly and he smirked, “boyfriend? Or did some random stranger decide to give you that hickey?”

Stiles blushed bright red, clapping his hand over his neck, he’d forgotten all about that, he wanted to be angry at Andy, but it wasn’t his fault, he’d only been messing about, trying to help Stiles enjoy himself a little, and it had been fun, apart from the fact that Stiles had lost track of time and the pack had been hurt because he hadn’t gotten the dagger to them in time. So much for being helpful from now on.

“Boyfriend?” Scott wrinkled his nose in surprise, “How long have you had a boyfriend? How long have you even been interested in guys?”

“Look, it’s not a big deal…” Stiles said nervously, how could he possibly explain to them what he’d spent the day doing? He wasn’t even going to bring up the fact that Scott knew he liked guys, Stiles had spent one evening ranting to him about his crush on Derek, Scott knew that.

“It is when my pack gets hurt because you weren’t here.” Derek growled.

Derek was glad he was good at controlling his emotions, especially around the other wolves, because the second he’d seen the hickey on Stiles’ neck he’d felt insanely jealous.

The instant he’d met Stiles he’d felt drawn to him, but Derek knew he couldn’t trust him. The last person he’d trusted had murdered his family. Which meant he knew he couldn’t trust Stiles, except time and time again Stiles had proved that he was someone who could Derek could rely on. Derek didn’t want to trust him though, didn’t want to risk what was left of his family, no matter how much he liked Stiles. He didn’t like Stiles, he refused to like him, but still, seeing somebody else had marked him, well, it made Derek want to march over there and cover the mark with his own, wanted to feel Stiles’ skin under his teeth. He took a deep breath before focusing back on the conversation, hearing Stiles say that it was no big deal and that was enough to clear Derek’s head.

“If you’d been here with us then we would have known what she could do, instead you’re off making out with some random guy.” Scott complained, scratching at the almost healed wound on his arm and checking Allison for injuries.

“It’s not like that, I was getting the dagger.” Stiles tried to explain desperately.

“And he tripped and fell on you?” Jackson laughed, seemingly at ease now that he knew Lydia was okay.

“No. That’s not what happened.” Stiles insisted, “Look, I’m sorry I wasn’t here. But, the siren is dead, you guys are all okay, no harm no foul.”

“Next time I ask you for help I’ll make sure to schedule it around your boyfriend.” Scott said heatedly, “Allison could have been seriously hurt,” Allison rolled her eyes before planting a kiss on Scott’s cheek, “You should have been here Stiles.”

“I’m sorry.” Stiles said, fighting back the strong urge to burst into tears, it felt like he couldn’t do anything right at the moment, he’d done everything he could to get the dagger and it still wasn’t enough.

Thankfully Lydia was insisting that she went home and had a shower, Jackson naturally following her and one by one the pack dispersed until only Peter was left.

“For what it’s worth, you did a great job killing the siren.” He said, smirking as Stiles struggled to hide his shock. “Also,” Peter said, reaching out and touching Stiles’ arm, draining the pain from him, whitening minutely and looking at Stiles in shock, as if not expecting him to be in that level of pain, “Thanks for figuring out how to stop her.” A moment later Peter was gone and Stiles was left stood in the clearing by himself, his mind racing, trying to figure out when the hell the world got so turned on its head that Peter was the only one being nice to him.

He grabbed the dagger from the Siren’s chest, shoving her deeper into the water and watching with a muted horror as her body dissolved, then trudged back to his jeep, it seemed a lot further away than the run here had been, he was wet and cold and hurting. By the time he got to the jeep it was fully dark outside, he headed home, arriving to an empty house and flicking lights on as he entered.

He shoved the dagger under his bed, hoping he’d never need to use it again but keeping it handy just in case. He decided to try and heal his injuries again, it seemed harder this time, but Stiles figured that might be because he was absolutely exhausted, he decided instead to lie on his bed in the dark, focusing on that warmth in his chest, working it through his body inch by inch until finally he felt he could move without cringing in pain.

When he examined the wound on his shoulder, which Scott hadn’t bloody apologised for by the way, he saw it was slowly knitting together, it hadn’t worked as well as it had done earlier in the day, but still, it was quicker than he had ever healed before, hopefully it wouldn’t even leave a scar if he was lucky.

He was too tired to do much of anything else, today had been a long day and he couldn’t face doing anything else. Instead he closed his eyes, let his mind drift to the things Luke and Harry had said earlier in the day and slipped into sleep.

Chapter Text

He woke up from a nightmare, fighting back a scream, Gerard had been jamming the electrical prongs into his side again, Erica and Boyd both screaming at him, telling him he’d abandoned them, that it was his fault, he should have done more to protect them, he should have done something. He sobbed into his pillow for a few minutes, glad there was no-one else in the house before finally getting up, turning on his computer and beginning to search for everything he could find on warlocks.

Luke was waiting for him when he got to the shop, despite that it was just before nine on a Sunday morning, Stiles figured that when you were over seven hundred years old days of the week probably didn’t matter that much anymore.

“I see you had another accident.” Luke said as soon as Stiles arrived, Stiles glanced to his shoulder, there was no way Luke could see the almost healed scratch marks under his t-shirt.

“How did you…”

“I’m a warlock kid, I can do a lot of stuff you won’t be able to figure out, until you can do it too of course.” He grinned before relenting, “Your aura is off, studying auras takes lots of practice and commitment, but I’m willing to teach you, when you can read them, well, it’ll help you a lot. But, let’s start with the basics first.” Stiles sighed, he guessed basics were a good place to start.

“It wasn’t Scott’s fault. The siren had control of them. She ordered them to do it.” He said, it was important that Luke understood the pack wasn’t to blame.

“Okay, I believe you.” Luke said, obviously sensing how important this was to Stiles.

They went through to the back of the shop, Stiles surprised to find it was a house, a clean and tidy house, as if everything had its place, wide open spaces and huge windows that let in streams of sunlight and a large garden that looked as if it was part of the preserve, wild and natural and peaceful and terrifying. The complete opposite of the shop out front.

“Wow.” He muttered in awe.

“I know. I much prefer being in here, but, customers expect a certain, authenticity, in the shop, so, one does what one must. Anyway, sit down.” Luke instructed before waving his hands a little oddly at a giant book appeared from nowhere, falling into Stiles’ lap. “This is how I started to learn my magic. It’s a decent book to learn from,” He flicked through several pages, “Although, I have a few suspicions that the priority for you right now is to learn defensive magic, a way to protect yourself. We’ll start here.”

“Why are you so willing to teach me?” Stiles asked, studying the ancient page as he spoke, “I mean, from what I’ve read warlocks are supposed to be very secretive, not to be trusted, not willing to interact with other supernatural creatures, that kind of thing.”

“We are secretive, especially of our magic, and people who might use that against us. We try to keep our magic a secret, should people discover we’re warlocks then they hound us for spells, they try and kill us, or capture us and try to get our magic to work for them, none of them are good options, so of course we avoid contact with other supernatural creatures and keep as much secret as possible. However, we are still human, we can still be hurt and bleed in the same way as normal people, we can just heal ourselves quicker, some of us are trustworthy, some of us not so much, that depends on the individual. I believe that I am trustworthy and loyal, if you have my loyalty then you will never be alone. And I’m willing to teach you, well, because it’s been a long time since I’ve had anyone worthy to teach, I have a lot of knowledge, I’d like to share it with you, it’s as simple as that.”

“But you said you didn’t think I was a warlock?”

“Yet, you are something,” Luke shrugged, “Something with quite a bit of magic I might add, which means I want to share my knowledge with you even more.”

“Quite a bit of magic?” Stiles queried.

“Yes, enough that, should you apply yourself properly, I have no doubt that you will surpass both my brother and I within a few short years, and then you will be the one teaching us magic. Which means, I expect you here before nine every morning that you are not in school or off doing some ridiculous thing with that pack of yours, not that they deserve your help. You are also not to tell them of your magic, they may demand more of you than you can give just yet and it could end up killing you. So, for now, it’s our secret.”

“Okay.” Stiles agreed, Luke made logical sense, the terms seemed fair to Stiles, he didn’t want to embarrass himself in front of the pack, he wanted to be useful. “How do we start? Or where do we start?”

They spent that day basically training Stiles’ magic to respond to him, that when he needed to use his magic it was there and ready to be used. Stiles struggled for the first few hours but then the magic started to work, he could feel it almost humming happily as he brought it to life.

Luke insisted that the first thing he had to learn was to make it as responsive as possible, that they wouldn’t move on until Stiles could call to his magic for assistance at will. It took him two days to figure out how to do that, Luke told him that it had taken him three months to master it back when he was just learning, and that was when magic was a lot more common. Stiles blushed slightly with pride.

After that they started working on defensive spells, it took Stiles the better part of a week to be able to properly cast a defensive spell, forming a dome around himself to protect from attack, gradually learning to make it cover a larger area, keeping his enemies at a distance.

As soon as he learned how to do that it was like a flip had been switched, the spells came quickly and naturally to Stiles, he’d take books home with him and spend his evenings reading them as he made himself some tea. He always made enough for his dad, sometimes it was eaten, but more often than not it wasn’t. He was used to being by himself though, so it wasn’t that bad and learning the spells kept him occupied. Harry called him at least once a week asking him to come in and do a few new shots, Stiles was usually at Luke’s when Harry called which meant he was only five minutes away. He would arrive at the studio, get changed, always putting on the leather cuffs to cover his scars, he kind of liked them, he was thinking he might buy himself a similar set.

He was kind of beginning to enjoy the days at the studio, the guys always put him at ease, always telling him exactly what they were about to do before they did it, Stiles wasn’t sure if Harry told them that, or if they just picked up on it themselves, but he really appreciated it either way, it stopped him from flinching from the contact. If he wasn’t by himself in the photographs then he was usually with Andy, James or Matt. Apparently, Harry thought that Stiles with Andy was the most popular, the issue selling out faster than ever before, especially when Andy looked very possessive of him. Stiles didn’t mind, mainly because Andy was a laugh, although it did annoy him slightly when Andy purposefully left hickeys on him, especially if he had to see the pack at any point, but Andy only did it as a joke and Stiles couldn’t be annoyed at him for long.

The first cheque Stiles received was for seventy-five thousand. He had no idea what to do with it. He put it in his bank account and then let it just sit there. He wanted to pay off all their bills, but he had no idea how to do that without it being obvious where the money had come from and then his dad would ask how he got it and Stiles would have to tell him and then all hell would break loose. Not that he’d seen his dad recently, they’d had breakfast together one morning, as Stiles was leaving and Noah just coming home. His dad had barely spoken a word before stumbling up the stairs and to his bed, Stiles felt more than a little lost at that, wondering how he could ever fix things between them.

In the two weeks since the siren there had been three more attacks from creatures, Stiles had helped as best he could without revealing his magic, mainly it had been casting a spell to make the creature clumsy so that when it attacked, which was not a surprise to anyone, seriously, could one of them just decide attacking was a bad idea? it didn’t do any damage before Derek took it down. After they had dealt with the creature the wolves would head off into the preserve to search for any trace of Erica and Boyd whereas the humans would head back to Derek’s loft and try and see if they could figure out a way to find them from there.

Stiles couldn’t help but notice that Derek was acting weird, well, weirder than usual. Like the evening when the wolves had come home shirtless and sweaty and disappointed from another fruitless search and Derek had threw himself on the sofa, landing on the book that Stiles had been studying that was resting in his lap, and then just generally sprawling across Stiles. Stiles glanced at the rest of the pack in shock, unsure as to why a shirtless, sweaty, Derek was lying across him, he tried not to move a muscle, sure that the Alpha would probably find a reason to yell at him.

Once upon a time he would have quite enjoyed this, quite liked having Derek lie on him, but not anymore, not since Gerard, not since the pack didn’t come for him, it made Stiles realise how little he meant to them and no matter how many times he made excuses for them he knew the truth. He wasn’t important. Without him, the pack would go on. He couldn’t be mad at Scott for not coming for him, he knew why now. He was so relieved that he’d never cracked and told Scott about that night, about the scars he still had, would always have.

“Well, if you bothered to shower before coming across here so you didn’t stink of your boyfriend then he wouldn’t get all weird about scents.” Scott said scornfully when Stiles looked to him for an explanation. It felt like the final straw.

“What is your problem?” Stiles hissed.

“What’s my problem Stiles!? What’s yours? Aren’t you supposed to be helping us find Boyd and Erica? Instead you’re sat there reading some book that’s not going to help at all.” Scott said angrily.

Stiles pushed Derek off him, not even bothered by the fact that Derek growled at him. He stood to his feet, snatching up the book and throwing it at Scott before storming to the door.

“Just so you know, it’s a book about underground passageways in the older parts of town that connected up to the mines. I was thinking they might have been taken down there somehow. And if you have such an issue with me seeing some guy then you need to grow the hell up.” Stiles snapped before slamming the door and leaving the loft. He managed to make it home before the shaking started. He didn’t know what the hell had happened with him and Scott, when their relationship had started to fall apart so completely, he wanted to fix it, but he just didn’t know how. He knew the only thing that would take his mind off it was going to be practising his spells so he sat at his desk, made the most recent book materialise in front of him and began to read.

Around the third week they started discussing different types of magic, not just defensive spells that formed around Stiles, but spells that could neutralise his attacker. Stiles started to practice another spell, one that moved the earth around him, when Luke halted him in his tracks, grabbing Stiles’ cheeks in between his hand and staring at his eyes in wonder.

“Do it again.” Luke demanded and Stiles moved his hands in a circular motion, causing the ground around them to shift slightly, trying not to be unnerved by the fact that Luke was still holding onto his face and refusing to look away. “It can’t be.” Luke muttered in shock, stumbling a step backwards from Stiles.

“What?” Stiles asked, his voice full of fear, he’d never seen Luke looking quite so terrified.

“Your family originated in Poland correct?” Luke asked and Stiles nodded, “You’re a Zduhać, your eyes, it’s the only thing you can be, no warlock, or any other creature I know can do that. You’re a Zduhać.”

“My eyes?” Stiles queried, turning to look in the nearest mirror and seeing them glowing bright green. “So? Don’t your eyes glow green?”

“Yes.” Luke said, “But that’s all they do, when I use my magic my eyes glow green, that never changes. You, well, yours change. Which means, you have to be a Zduhać.”

“You keep saying that,” Stiles said, “But I have no idea what it means.”

“Simple translation is dragon man.” Luke offered, “They originated in Serbia, however there was a huge clan of them that moved to Poland about a thousand years ago. You must be distantly related to one of them.”

“But then, wouldn’t my dad be one too? Or my mum?”

“Perhaps not.” Luke supplied, “Only the very worthy souls become Zduhać, you are the descendent of one of them, but that doesn’t mean that every person becomes one, only those true of heart, the worthiest souls. They are born with a supernatural ability to protect their lands, their family, friends. They can master all kinds of magic; they make warlocks look like children’s performers. You, Stiles, you are a hell of a lot more powerful than I gave you credit for.” Luke said looking stunned.

They sat in silence for a few minutes while Stiles tried to process what he had been told. He’d never imagined that he would be anything like that.

“I need to call Harry.” Luke whispered. “He needs to know; he needs to know how dangerous you are.”

“I wouldn’t ever hurt Harry or you.” Stiles replied.

“I know that.” Luke said sorrowfully, “But, if anyone finds out, if anyone know what you are, the whole world will be looking for you. Harry won’t want to be in that kind of danger again.”

“So we don’t tell anyone.” Stiles said simply. “Tell Harry, fine, but other than that, nobody needs to know. Right? If anyone finds out, I just tell them I’m a warlock.”

“We’ll discuss it with Harry.” Luke said, his tone still troubled. Stiles couldn’t help but feel despair, Luke was obviously terrified of the dangers that being friends with Stiles could bring. He’d only just started to view them as friends and he was going to lose that all over again.

Harry arrived about ten minutes later, looking a little confused as to what the rush had been for, carrying a bag of letters.

“Your fan mail.” He grinned, passing it to Stiles before Luke turned to him with worry.

“Stiles is a Zduhać.” Luke informed him. Harry looked at Stiles in surprise, his mouth dropping open and his face paling. “I’m sorry Stiles, but I can’t train you. It’s too dangerous.” Stiles nodded sorrowfully, he’d been expecting that.

“What the hell are you on about?” Harry said angrily, “You can’t kick him out, he’s going to need all the help he can get.”

“It’s too dangerous Harry, if anything happened…”

“And if anything happens to Stiles because we didn’t help him as much as we could? What then? You think you could live with that? I know I couldn’t.”

“Harry, you know that isn’t what this is about.” Luke scolded.

“You don’t want to take the risk of anything happening to me, or to you, but what happened to dad, I know it couldn’t have gone any other way. Stiles needs our help. If you won’t teach him, then I will.”

Luke glanced at Stiles who was looking at Harry with a look of wonder on his features. Harry was right, Stiles would need their help, no matter how dangerous it was for them.

“Okay, okay fine. We’ll teach you, but it’s going to have to be both of us and you’re going to have to study harder than you have done already. The sooner you can protect yourself the better.” Luke relented.

“I don’t want you guys to be in danger.” Stiles replied honestly, “If it’s that dangerous for you, if you’re going to be at risk, then don’t, stay away, I’ll find another way to learn.”

“No.” Harry said firmly, “You’re going to need our help, yes, it is dangerous, but only if anyone finds out what you are. The fact that you are a Zduhać doesn’t ever leave this room. Agreed?”

Luke and Stiles both nodded.

“Good, so, let’s get down to business. What have you taught him so far?” Harry quizzed Luke. Luke ran through all the spells they had gone through and Harry nodded, sighing slightly when Luke finished.

“You see, I love my brother, I do. But, sometimes, he fails to think outside of the book. To a certain extent, supposedly a lot more common with Zduhaćs, magic comes from inside you, reacts to what you want, what you desire. You can read as many spell books as you like, practice them hour after hour, but if you don’t have those natural reactions then we won’t get anywhere.” Harry said seriously to Stiles.

“Okay, so what do you suggest?” Stiles asked, more than a little unsure.

“I’m going to duel with you, you’re going to react. We’ll go from there.” Stiles nodded but he felt terrified, he had no idea how to duel, or how he was going to protect himself from Harry’s magic. “Alright, let’s go.”

“What, right now?” Stiles squeaked.

“You think your enemies are going to wait until you are prepared?”

“Erm, no?”

“Exactly. Ready?”

“Nope.” Stiles answered honestly, before getting blasted backwards by Harry’s spell. He got to his feet a little unsteadily, calling to his magic, feeling it respond and swell in his chest, ready to be used. Harry was looking at him in worry but Stiles nodded, gestured he was ready to go again. This time when Harry threw a spell at him he used his own magic to cast a displacing spell, causing it to ricochet and hit the wall.

Stiles took a few more serious hits before he stopped trying to plan every move and just started to let his magic react naturally, Harry grinning happily when Stiles stopped just trying to defend himself and started to use magic to knock Harry off his feet.

Stiles reached down to pull Harry to his feet, both of them with matching grins. It was then Stiles looked at the damage they had caused to the room, photos had fallen from the wall, there were huge chunks of earth that had torn through the floor, glasses were smashed, a sofa overturned.

“Erm, sorry, I’ll clean up the mess.” He offered.

“Don’t worry.” Harry said, waving his hand in the direction of the room and Stiles watched in surprise as the room righted itself.

“You have to teach me how to do that.” Stiles said in wonder.

“It’s a pretty basic concealment spell actually.” Harry said, “I’m sure you’ll pick it up in no time. But until then, training is going to get more serious, so prepare yourself. Although, I think we can call it a day for now, you’ve got plenty of fan mail to read.” Harry grinned as Stiles looked at the bag of letters at his feet.

The days passed quickly then, Stiles was out of the house before six most mornings, he started by going for a run, it helped settle his magic and prepare him for the day. Once he got back home he grabbed a quick shower and went to Luke’s, there his days were spent learning new spells or fighting Harry. He was improving rapidly, his eyes now not just glowing like fire and a vivid forest green, but also a bright blue and a swirling silver, depending on what type of magic he was using. He was growing stronger and more controlled, feeling more and more confident in his abilities, Harry and Luke both praising him whenever he managed to achieve a new spell.

He'd also received several more bags of fan mail from Harry. Thankfully Harry had the sense to give them all fake names, Stiles was called the boy with the scars, he wasn’t sure why Harry chose that name, but he trusted he knew what he was doing, so Stiles just went with it. Most of the letters were what he assumed were pretty normal, that they liked his body, they were fans of his photos, some of them were a bit weird, that they wanted to fuck him, that they had a lot of fun daydreaming about touching him, he was kind of creeped out by those letters, although there was one that stood out from all the others, one that described in vivid detail the things the man wanted to do to Stiles, he only got half a page down of the eight page letter before he couldn’t stomach anymore. He burned that one. The others shoving under his bed until he could figure out what to do with them.

They’d moved onto more complex magic now, finding spells in books written in several other languages. Stiles was sat on his bed, rubbing at his weary eyes and trying to make sense of the Spanish wording in front of him. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d slept, he was exhausted, but he felt like he couldn’t rest. He’d wanted to stop himself from ever feeling helpless again, but now, Luke and Harry were both in danger, just for helping him, he needed to make sure he was strong enough to protect them, protect anyone who needed his help. He yawned widely, the words blurring for a moment before he shifted positions and started again.

“La luz que refleja…” Stiles read, trying to understand what it meant, “Light? Reflecting?” He guessed before sighing and scrunching up his eyes in frustration. “This would be so much easier if I could read the stupid language.” He muttered to himself before turning his attention back to the page. He couldn’t focus on the page though, his mind suddenly conjuring up an idea that had him jumping off his bed and dashing across the room to grab a pen and piece of paper.

“It would be a lot simpler.” He muttered to himself, musing over the right phrases to use, what would work best, before simply deciding to rely on his magic, that it would know what he wanted and act accordingly. He combined a couple of spells, one for understanding, one for knowledge and one for guidance, before whispering the words in the silent house.

He felt a huge rush of magic leave him, one that made him feel a little weak in the knees, he hadn’t expected it to be quite such a huge spell. But he had to know if it worked, he rushed back to the bed, grabbing the discarded book and flipping through it quickly.

“Light reflecting spell, magic used to ensure that the caster is protected from other’s sight.” He read joyfully. He grabbed another book, this was in Italian, “Some magic’s can only be used when… Oh my god, it worked, holy cow, it actually worked.” He said, jumping around the room, so excited to share his success with somebody, before looking around and realising that there was nobody around to share it with. He wouldn’t let that dull his excitement though, he’d just created a spell to help him read and understand any language. He couldn’t wait to tell Harry and Luke about it tomorrow.

He went out for a run the next morning, using his magic to give him the energy to keep running, he’d had a very vivid nightmare last night, he’d woken up screaming, convinced he was back in that basement, helpless and unable to do anything, Gerard laughing, Erica and Boyd screaming for his help. He rubbed at the scars on his wrists, swiped at the tears still running down his face before getting up and throwing his running gear on. He didn’t care that it was still the early hours of the morning, or that it was still dark outside, he needed to get out of this house, he needed to clear his mind.

It was probably the longest run he’d ever done, by the time he was heading home the sun was up and people were outside, heading to their cars, messing in the garden, driving to work. Stiles pushed himself to run faster, despite the fact his legs felt like jelly and he was exhausted. He trudged up the steps to their house, surprised to see his dad’s car on the drive for once.

“Hey kid.” Noah called as soon as he heard the front door open, he’d been surprised to find that Stiles wasn’t here when he got home, he figured that Stiles had probably crashed at Scott’s last night. He definitely wasn’t expecting Stiles to appear in the doorway, dripping with sweat, clearly having been out for a run, Stiles looked too pale, too fragile, he looked exhausted. Noah frowned at him in worry, Stiles shouldn’t look so close to the edge of falling apart. “You okay? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” Stiles replied, panting for breath, a small smile directed at Noah, his eyes bright and awake and suddenly Noah doubted that there was anything wrong, Stiles was fine, he must just be tired from the run.

“Since when did you decide to start running? Last time you tried that you tripped over your own feet before you got out the front door.” He laughed, turning back to the stove where he was cooking bacon.

“Well, got to get in shape, haven’t I?” Stiles grinned, snatching a piece of bacon from the pan, glad he’d been able to use magic to fool his dad for a few minutes, he couldn’t stand seeing that look of worry on his face, “I mean, if I want to get on the starting team for lacrosse this year, I need to keep up the practice.”

“I think the coach would be an idiot not to have you on the team after your last game.” Noah smiled, then frowned slightly, obviously thinking about the events after that game, he figured from the look of horror on Stiles’ face he’d thought of the same thing. He cleared his throat, “You know, I get that you don’t want to talk about it, whatever happened that night…”

“I told you…”

“Please, Stiles,” Noah said wearily, “Please don’t lie to me. I know something happened. I know you don’t want to talk about it. But, if you ever do, if you ever decide you want to talk, then I’m here. And if you can’t talk to me about it, talk to Scott, or Lydia, or anyone. Just so that I know you aren’t dealing with whatever this is all alone.”

“I’m fine dad.” Stiles insisted. “But I know that. I know you’re here for me. I know you are.” He said seriously.

“So how is Scott? I haven’t seen him around for a while?”

“Oh, he’s fine.” Stiles dismissed, “We’re supposed to hang out today actually.” He lied, glancing at the clock, “I best go grab a shower before he gets all pissy about me being late.” Stiles said, dashing up the stairs, glad that he’d left his long sleeve t-shirt on so that his dad hadn’t seen the scars, that would have been hard to explain.

He managed to get showered and changed and was heading back downstairs before his dad had finished breakfast.

“You kids have fun and stay out of trouble.” Noah smiled.

“Dad, it’s like you don’t know me at all.” Stiles teased, sighing dramatically before grinning at him and racing out of the door.

When he got to Luke’s he couldn’t wait to tell them about the spell he’d created, about how much easier it would make his studies. Instead as soon as he got there Harry dragged him off to the studio to shoot some new pictures. Stiles spent the quick drive just boosting his energy levels, his healing removing any traces of the exhaustion that would have been obvious otherwise, he’d only just managed to fool his dad, he’d need to up it a bit if he wanted to fool everyone else.

Andy was already waiting for them, chatting happily to one of the other models who Stiles hadn’t met yet. Stiles rushed across to the changing area and grabbed the clothes that Harry threw at him, getting changed quickly, making sure to put his leather cuffs on before dashing back out and being steered towards the bedroom by Harry who grabbed hold of Andy with his other arm.

“You okay boss? In a bit of a rush today?” Andy grinned, winking at Stiles.

“Yeah, Stiles has about a thousand things to do today and can only spare an hour so let’s get cracking.”

Harry instructed them how to pose, with the nightmare from the night before still fresh in his mind, Stiles was a little uncomfortable with Andy pressing practically naked into his side, pulling Stiles’ shirt up with one hand, the scar at his hip clearly visible, the other hand tangled in his hair pulling his head back just slightly (when had his hair grown so much that is was long enough to run your fingers through?) and Andy’s mouth on his neck. Thankfully Andy managed to put him at ease by whispering a really awful joke into Stiles’ ear as they were posing and Stiles couldn’t help but laugh loudly, a wide grin spread across his face and Andy grinning right back at him.

“Okay, perfect.” Harry said a few minutes later, “That’s great guys, get changed and you’re free to go.”

“Well, that was short and sweet.” Andy muttered sarcastically, as he pulled his own t-shirt and jeans back on and Stiles’ straightened his t-shirt, “So, what are you up to today that’s keeping you so busy?”

“Erm, just jobs at home.” Stiles lied, “My dad’s rubbish at keeping the place tidy so I said I’d spend today sorting it out.”

“You’re such a suck up.” Andy laughed, “Well, I was going to ask you if you wanted to go grab some lunch together, but I guess you’d be just too busy?”

“Sorry.” Stiles replied, “But, yeah, I am. Some other time though?”

“Definitely.” Andy grinned happily.

As soon as Stiles got back to the shop he told Harry and Luke about the spell he’d created, so that he could understand any language, that he figured it would help him with his studies and make sure he could protect himself sooner.

“Just…repeat that…” Luke said, seemingly stunned by Stiles’ announcement.

“I said, I created a spell, I just pieced together a couple of other spells, used the important phrases in them and then, I don’t know, I kind of just let my magic do the rest.”

“And it worked?” Harry queried, his eyes wide in shock.

“Erm, yeah?” Stiles said, unsure why they weren’t more excited.

“Stiles, you have no idea,” Luke shook his head, clearing his throat before trying again, “There’s still so much you don’t know, it’s just, Jesus, nobody creates new spells, and if they do it either doesn’t work or it kills them.”

“What?” Stiles asked in confusion, he’d cast the spell, it had worked, and other than being a bit tired afterwards, he was totally fine.

“Everything we know tells us not to create new spells.” Harry explained, “We can pick and choose which spells we want to learn or specialize in, we can occasionally cast a spell that we haven’t properly learned yet, although that is in extreme circumstances, like life or death. We don’t create new spells, nobody does, not ever. And not just because we don’t want to, but because we can’t. If it’s not a specific spell already recognized in the books, we could put as much magic behind it as we possibly can and it still wouldn’t work.”

“But it worked?” Stiles queried, “It definitely worked. So, maybe it’s a spell that does already exist?”

“To understand all languages instantly?” Luke said dismayed, “No. Not that we’re aware of anyway, and trust me, we’re aware of a lot of spells.”

“So then, how come it worked? Maybe because of what I am? Does that make a difference?”

“What? Because you’re a genius?” Luke smiled, “I mean, nobody would have thought to piece those spells together, and to get them to work, Stiles, you are just, incredible.”

“In a good way?” Stiles said unsure.

“Yes.” Luke laughed, hugging him tightly, Stiles flinched slightly and Luke let go of him immediately, looking apologetic but still excited, “God, yes, Stiles, you can create spells, you can use your magic to do whatever you want it to do. You don’t need to learn all these spells, although I’d still advise it. You can just feel what you want to do.”

“I don’t understand.” Stiles muttered confused.

“Alright,” Harry said, “Think of it this way, you wanted to learn how to tidy the house without having to actually tidy the house. You don’t need to know the spell; you just need to feel what you want to do with your magic.” He glanced around, grabbing a vase from the table and smashing it on the ground.

“Hey!” Luke shouted in indignation.

“Stiles, focus on fixing the vase, nothing else, you just want to fix that.” Harry said, ignoring Luke.

Stiles closed his eyes, felt the magic swirling in his chest, he concentrated on the vase, on nothing but the vase, on fixing it. He felt the words on his lips, although he couldn’t have told anyone what he said, he wasn’t sure himself, and then the vase was floating upwards, back onto the sideboard, fixing itself piece by piece until it was whole again. Luke and Harry both gaped at him and Stiles blushed.

“Did I do it wrong?”

“No. Stiles, you’ve got powers we couldn’t even imagine. We don’t need to worry about you being in danger, all you’d need to do is feel what you want your magic to do and you’d be fine.” Harry grinned, clapping him on the shoulder happily.

“But that’s not how magic works.” Stiles insisted, he knew he hadn’t learned that much, but he’d learned enough to know magic didn’t respond to what you wanted, you had to instruct it at least in some way.

“It’s not how magic works for warlocks. You are not a warlock Stiles. Nobody really knows how magic works for you, but from what we’ve seen, you want it, it does it.”

“That seems much too easy. I think I’ll stick with learning the spells.” Stiles disagreed.

“Fair enough. You can never have enough knowledge.” Luke grinned, patting the seat next to him and Stiles sat down, reading through the book that Luke gave him.

Derek really didn’t like when Stiles appeared smelling of another man, but at least it gave him a reason to touch Stiles, to have contact with him, to make sure that he smelled like Derek before he left for the night. Except then Scott had opened his mouth and now Stiles never came over to the loft unless he’d just had a shower, he’d still be wearing marks from his boyfriend, which made Derek frown with annoyance every time he saw them, but at least Stiles didn’t smell like him anymore. But it also meant that Derek couldn’t lie on him, couldn’t sprawl across the sofa, pretending that he hadn’t meant to end up lying across Stiles but that he couldn’t be bothered to move now. He’d thought he wasn’t being that obvious, but Scott had obviously noticed, which meant that the rest of the pack had probably noticed too.

He'd missed Stiles, he didn’t want to admit that, but he had. Stiles used to be around, pretty much all the time, none of them could get rid of him, but now, now he only came over a few times a week, and he always smelled a little off, tired, weary, not at all like he used to smell. He wondered if anyone else had noticed it.

Stiles was sat in a seat near the far wall, studying a map that they had pinned up on the wall, he’d only just sat down, before that he’d been marking areas of interest on the map, places he thought they might find Erica and Boyd. He was obviously lost in his own thoughts, chewing on his bottom lip as he studied the map, Derek couldn’t help but find it incredibly attractive.

Scott and Allison were sat in another chair, Allison on Scott’s lap, making out quite passionately, despite the fact that the rest of the pack were still in the front room. Isaac and Peter were stood in the kitchen, watching Lydia and Jackson as they argued about something, Derek was hardly listening, Lydia had decided to start shouting in another language a few minutes ago and Derek had completely switched off then, instead he was watching Stiles. He wished he could see the way Stiles’ mind worked, the way he could see patterns that the others couldn’t.

“You know I don’t understand a word you’re saying! Can you just speak English like a normal person?” Jackson shouted.

“She said ‘Stop acting like a moron or she’s going to go meet someone who can match her on an intellectual level.’” Stiles said quietly, the whole room going silent and turning to look at him. Stiles seemed oblivious to this, still staring at the map and squinting slightly, as if that would somehow make a difference.

“What did you just say?” Lydia whispered in awe.

“I said that you said Jackson needs to stop acting like a moron.” Stiles replied dismissively.

“You quoted me verbatim.” Lydia said in shock, “Stiles, how long have you been speaking Latin?” Stiles finally glanced away from the board, seeing the pack staring at him and blushed brightly.

“Oh, erm, I just, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading over the summer.” He answered.

“And you learned Latin in the five weeks since school broke up?” Lydia asked.

“Erm, yeah.” Stiles said, rubbing the back of his neck nervously, before glancing at his watch and grabbing his bag, “Erm, anyway, I’ve got to run, things to do and all that. Erm, yeah, I’ll see you later.” Stiles said, dashing out of the door.

“Did nobody else think that was weird?” Scott asked, finally taking a break from making out with Allison to notice.

“What? More weird than normal?” Jackson scoffed before turning back to Lydia, “Look, babe, I’m sorry. Okay. Does that make us okay?”

“Stiles learning Latin in five weeks is weird.” Lydia said, ignoring Jackson, “It took me four months, and even then, it was the basics, no way does he learn it in five weeks. Something else it going on.”

“Maybe his boyfriend speaks it or something?” Isaac asked.

“Nobody speaks Latin!” Lydia replied angrily, “Other than in prayers and stuff, but nobody actually understands what they’re saying!”

“You were speaking Latin?” Allison queried.

“I’m a genius!” Lydia retorted, “I have an incredibly high IQ and it took me months to even begin to get a grip on it. Stiles learned it in five weeks! Do you guys have any idea what this means?”

“Erm, no?” Jackson asked.

“It means that Stiles either started learning it years ago and is lying, or he’s a hell of a lot smarter than I gave him credit for.”

“If it’s bothering you so much, why don’t you go ask him?” Scott said, turning back to Allison.

“It should be bothering you too.” Lydia huffed. “You’re supposed to be his best friend.”

“He didn’t even tell me he liked guys Lydia, never mind that he started seeing some guy without telling me about it. I told him the instant I saw Allison, I told him how much I liked her, how I wanted to go out with her. He didn’t tell me any of that. So why would he tell me he started learning Latin? Probably to impress you by the way. Which he’s obviously done.” Scott ranted.

“You know what,” Lydia said, her face tightening in anger, “I feel really sorry for Stiles, I feel really bad that you’re the kind of person he has to turn to. He deserves a better friend.”

“Oh, like you’re perfect.” Scott said, jumping up from his seat, nearly knocking Allison over and his eyes flashing gold as he struggled to contain his anger, “You barely even knew who he was before this whole mess started. Jackson hates him, Isaac doesn’t care one way or the other, Peter would probably gut him if he got the chance, Derek threatens him with violence like ninety percent of the time. I’m pretty sure I’m the best friend he could get.”

There was silence as everyone processed Scott’s words. Lydia frowning slightly because Scott was right.

“Actually,” Peter said clearing his throat, “I wouldn’t gut him. Given the opportunity, I actually offered him the bite. He turned me down of course, but still.”

“You did what?” Derek said, his eyes flashing red and Peter smirked slightly.

“What opportunity? When did you have a chance to offer him the bite?” Scott said in confusion.

“When I kidnapped him of course. The night I bit Lydia, Stiles was the one who tried to stop me, he insisted that he called an ambulance for Lydia, I let him, and then we went for a drive.”

“What?” The whole pack said looking stunned.

“Who do you think called the ambulance?” Peter smirked.

“But, Stiles turned up at the hospital, he said he had only just heard what happened.” Allison whispered.

“He lied.” Peter replied, “It’s not like it’s the first time, anyway, the important thing is, that given the opportunity to kill him, I chose to offer him the bite instead. And, when he said no, I let him go. I think that makes me a pretty nice guy.”

“You kidnapped Stiles!” Isaac said in horror, “How does that make you a nice guy? He must have been terrified.”

“I think you’re underestimating him there, Stiles is very unique.” Peter said, examining his nails slightly, ignorant of the glares he was getting, “I mean, yes, you’d expect him to be terrified and he was, but the courage he had, well, I wish I could have that kind of courage. I could have snapped his neck in a moment and still he wouldn’t back down until he got the ambulance for Lydia.”

“If you ever do anything like that again,” Derek growled, “I will tear your throat out and make sure you stay dead this time.”

“Like I would dare?” Peter scoffed, “Not when you’re so obviously infatuated with the boy.” Derek blushed brightly, the pack looking at him in shock.

“You…you like Stiles?” Scott whispered.

“That’s none of your business.” Derek said, turning around and heading towards the map on the wall. “Now, can we please get back to business, there’s still a lot of places to search.”

“You like Stiles!” Scott said seemingly horrorstruck, “Why didn’t you tell us!?”

“I just said it’s none of your business, now can we focus!?” Derek said, struggling to contain his embarrassment and anger.

“You’re our Alpha, of course it’s our business!” Jackson said, “I thought you were getting all moody because Stiles didn’t smell like pack, not because you wanted him to smell like you!”

“Look,” Derek said, gritting his teeth, “Who I do or don’t like has nothing to do with this. And even if I did, which I’m not saying I do,” Peter rolled his eyes and Derek glared at him, “He has a boyfriend who he obviously enjoys spending time with, so can we just, focus, please? Boyd and Erica should be the priority.”

“Fine.” Lydia said, swinging her hair over her shoulder and studying the map, “Where do you want to start?”

Stiles couldn’t believe he’d done that, he’d been so distracted, thinking about Boyd and Erica that he hadn’t even noticed that he’d replied to Jackson. He had to get out of there before they asked any more questions. He’d raced down the stairs, flung himself into his jeep and was parked outside his home before he knew it.

He stared up at the empty house, his dad was at work again, he couldn’t help but feel like something was coming, something big was about to happen and he shouldn’t be here, he needed to be somewhere else. He didn’t know what the hell it meant, but he knew by now to rely on what his magic was telling him so he turned and ran into the preserve. He’d spent the past few weeks with Luke and Harry teaching him exactly that, to listen to his magic, to trust it, because Stiles’ magic worked differently to theirs, his listened to him, he had to listen to it in return. As soon as he’d accepted that, well, his abilities were progressing at a rapid pace, he’d learned so many new things and somehow just kept learning more, even creating new spells such as absorbing information from books, not just reading them and remembering, but literally laying his hand on a book and knowing every word it said.

Which meant that when his magic told him he had to move, he went. He followed the feeling in his chest, that he needed to keep moving forwards, needed to reach his destination and soon. He ran faster, pushing himself harder, ignoring the fact that he didn’t know where he was going. Twenty minutes later he stumbled to a stop, his magic telling him that he was here. He looked around, there was nothing here, there was nothing different about this part of the preserve than any other part he’d just run through.

He stood there for a full five minutes, feeling more and more like an idiot, before he heard the sound of other people approaching. He tensed, not sure if to run or hide or prepare to fight when suddenly eight of them entered the clearing, their eyes were flashing blue, another red, and Stiles would have to be an idiot to not recognize them as werewolves. Another pack of werewolves. Perhaps they were friendly.

“Well, what do we have here?” The Alpha smirked, a tall woman with long blonde hair, her red eyes looking straight at Stiles. “Hmm, you look like an interesting snack.”

“Snack?” Stiles replied, arching an eyebrow, trying not to be nervous about the fact the pack was surrounding him.

“Oh yes,” The Alpha grinned, “My pack has travelled a long way to get to this territory, they’re hungry, you would be the perfect treat for them.”

“This territory already has a pack.” Stiles said, ignoring the threat that they were going to eat him. He tried not to be revolted at that thought. Thank god this town had werewolves that didn’t eat people for a living!

“The Hale pack, yes, I’m aware of them. It won’t be their territory for much longer.” The Alpha grinned, flashing her teeth at Stiles, “Not once I’m done with them anyway.” She paused, “Although, I’m very interested in how you know about the pack,” She sniffed slightly, her nose wrinkling a little bit, “You smell a little like them, although you’re not a wolf, do they keep humans around as toys perhaps? If that’s the kind of thing they do, well, perhaps we can reach some kind of agreement so they don’t all have to die.”

“They don’t keep me around as a toy.” Stiles snarled, his heart starting to race.

“What other use have you got boy? Unless they just keep you to fuck you? The idea is inviting I must say.” She said eyeing Stiles hungrily.

“Eww. No. That’s not why either.” He said, feeling his magic beginning to gather, “They keep me around because I’m their protector, the pack is under my protection, and if you plan to harm them, well, you have to go through me first.”

“It would be a pleasure.” The alpha smirked, Stiles was sort of prepared for the first attack, although he’d expected it to come from the alpha, not one of the betas behind him. He let his magic fly free, knocking several of them off their feet, ignoring the growls, the claws, the teeth, the eyes glowing at him in the darkness. Instead he dashed to the side, grabbing a long thick stick, almost a staff, and swirling it around, knocking the rest of them to the ground. Then suddenly he was on the attack instead of defense, his magic doing exactly as he asked and minimizing the number of wolves that were ready to attack him, keeping at least a few of them on the ground at all times.

Eventually, what felt like hours later but was probably only ten minutes, he was up against the Alpha, she managed to get in a few hits, splitting open his lip, breaking at least one of his ribs, but he kept pushing her backwards, hitting her with the branch, knocking her off balance with his magic. He had to win this, if he lost, the pack would die, the town would be under the leadership of this pack, people would die, he couldn’t let that happen.

He swung with the staff again, this time connecting a solid blow to her head, his eyes flashing silver and he shouted in triumph as she whimpered in defeat.

“I’m sorry.” She muttered from the ground, Stiles standing over her, the staff only an inch from her head, the rest of her pack lay on the ground suffering from various injuries. “Let us live. Let us leave.”

“Go.” Stiles snarled angrily, “But be sure to tell anyone who dares to think about this territory, the pack here is under the protection of a warlock, and anyone who wants to get to them, has to go through me. You understand?”

“Yes.” She sobbed. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” She repeated, already retreating as her pack gathered their senses and followed after her, looking at Stiles in astonishment. As soon as they were out of sight Stiles almost collapsed in pain, he could barely breathe, the pain in his side making him feel sick. He wasn’t sure what damage the alpha had caused when she’d hit him, but he knew it was bad, he also knew he couldn’t stay out here while he tried to heal himself, it took too much concentration and he was too vulnerable here.

He staggered home, it was getting harder to breathe with every step, his vision almost whiting out with the pain. By the time he reached his back door he was sure he was going pass out, the pain just kept getting worse, he could hardly keep upright. Thankfully there was nobody home, he managed to make it into the living room, gasping for breath as he pulled up his t-shirt and examined the wound. He was pretty confident his chest wasn’t supposed to be caved in like that. He sucked in a deep breath, crying out in pain as it burned, he fell to the floor, unable to keep his feet under him any longer. He closed his eyes, concentrating on the healing magic inside in him, feeling it burn through his blood, his bones, his skin as it slowly started to heal him.

He felt the injury begin to heal, although it was taking a lot out of him to do it, he kept at it for another twenty minutes, until he couldn’t any more, until he was too exhausted to even move. He knew the injury wasn’t fully healed, but at least he could breathe easily now. He closed his eyes, his breathing evening out as he drifted to sleep.

He woke up hours later, it must have been the middle of the night, still dark outside, he sat up from the floor, his whole-body aching. He got to his feet unsteadily and made his way up to his bedroom, sitting on his bed and going back to sleep, he hurt so much and he was so tired, he just needed to sleep, at least for a little while.

Stiles woke up again to the sun shining through his bedroom window, he sat up slowly, looking around in confusion, he couldn’t remember getting home last night, or healing himself, he just knew that he had somehow. He poked at his side, wincing slightly when it still throbbed, he pulled his shirt up, seeing a large black bruise covering most of his side. He grimaced, feeling his lip pull and split again, he’d forgotten about that, the pain in his side overtaking all other pain. He didn’t have the energy to heal it, he felt like crap, he felt like he could sleep for a month, instead he got up, headed into the bathroom and got himself cleaned up, despite the fact his head was spinning.

His dad came home as he was attempting to make himself breakfast, he couldn’t help but hold himself stiffly, his side still throbbing painfully.

“Hey dad, I’m making pancakes.” Stiles offered, without turning around.

“Sure, sounds good, what’s the occasion?” Noah replied happily.

“No reason, I just felt pancakes would be good.” He answered honestly. Noah got a good look at him then, taking in the split lip.

“What happened to you?” Noah said, all joy leaving his voice, now it was only filled with worry.

“Oh, I was hanging out with Scott, you know how we get, we were messing about, I fell over. It happens.” Stiles lied, it felt wrong, lying to his dad, not just about this but about everything. But he couldn’t tell him the truth, he couldn’t put him in danger like that.

“You boys should be more careful.” Noah said, studying his lip for a moment, no doubt thinking of the same injury the night of the lacrosse game.

“You know what I’m like dad but I will try to be more careful, I promise.” Stiles said, hoping he could keep his promise this time.

They sat and ate their pancakes in silence, Stiles feeling wearier by the second, but he knew if he went back to bed his dad would know something was wrong. His phone decided to choose that moment to ring, he glanced and saw that it was Harry, worried that something might be wrong, he excused himself from the table and headed into the living room.

“Hey kid, how you doing?” Harry said happily.

“Is everything okay?” Stiles asked, both Luke and Harry had been a lot more relaxed since they had figured out how Stiles’ magic worked, that it was the intention behind it, rather than the incantation.

“Yeah, don’t worry, everything’s fine. I was just wondering if you could come in for a shoot today? You’re back to school next week, I thought we’d get one in now, then maybe one evening next week for the next issue?”

“Erm, sure.” Stiles said a bit uncertainly. He wasn’t sure that he was up to it. “I’ll be in there in half an hour?”

“Great kid, I’ll see you then.” Harry said before hanging up. Stiles took a few minutes to gather himself before heading back into the kitchen.

“Everything alright?” Noah asked.

“Yeah, definitely. Just Isaac calling to see if I wanted to go hang out. I said I’d go meet him for a couple of hours.” Stiles replied.

“You sure you’re up to it? You look a little run down?”

“Nah, I’m fine.” Stiles insisted, grabbing his keys and heading towards the door as quickly as he could with the pain in his side. Once he got to his jeep he sighed heavily, he hated lying to his dad, but how could he tell him what he was doing without explaining how it happened in the first place? Which meant telling him about the supernatural, and that was something that he just couldn’t do.

By the time he got to the studio he was so tired he could barely keep himself awake, he used some of his magic to give him as much energy as he could, and headed into the studio.

“Stiles,” Andy said in concern as soon as he saw him, “What happened? Are you alright?”

“I fell over.” Stiles said, sticking with his lie, “Don’t worry, it’s no big deal.”

“Looks kind of sore, what the hell are you doing here? You should be at home resting.”

“Harry asked me to come down and do a few photos, I wasn’t busy so I figured I would.”

“You sure you’re okay though? You look like you’re in pain?”

“I’m fine, although, maybe go a bit easy on me today.” Stiles joked and Andy grinned. Harry came across a few minutes later, took one look at him and ordered Andy to go get them some coffee.

“What happened?” Harry said in worry.

“There was another pack.” Stiles whispered, “A bit of a fight, but I managed to scare them away.”

“Why the hell didn’t your pack protect you better? I keep telling you they’re not looking out for you properly.” Harry ranted, “Here, pass me your arm, I’ll at least try and fix some of the damage, although we can’t do anything about that lip, not now that Andy has seen it.” Harry moved as he spoke, taking hold of Stiles’ wrist, passing some of his own healing magic into Stiles’ body. Within a few moments Stiles began to feel the difference in his body, the deep painful ache subsiding slightly. He knew if he lifted his shirt up he’d still have a large bruise, but it was nothing in the scheme of things.

“Thanks.” He whispered to Harry gratefully.

“Felt like you punctured a lung. You should have called. We would have helped you.”

“I didn’t know.” Stiles replied, quickly explaining how his magic had led him there, the pack wasn’t with him, and that he’d taken on the other pack by himself, before declaring the Hale pack under his protection and forcing them to leave.

“You’re an idiot.” Harry said fondly, “I’m glad you’re alright though, but next time you get a feeling like that, you bloody well call us.”

“Okay.” Stiles grinned gratefully as Andy reappeared with coffee.

“So I’m thinking we doing something a little different today.” Harry said, changing the conversation quickly and studying Stiles for a moment. “I want to go for a little bit more punk maybe, a little more rock than pop if you get my drift.” He said striding over to the clothes rack, handing Stiles his usual cuffs and boots. Stiles glanced at Andy who shrugged casually, taking the black boxers that Harry handed to him. Harry handed Stiles a very similar pair of boxers, a ripped black t-shirt and a pair of jeans, Stiles disappeared to go get changed, stepping out again a few minutes later, worried about the small claw marks on his collarbone that were clearly visible, he’d hoped the wound from Scott would heal without a scar but he’d been wrong on that one.

“Dude, you look hot.” Andy grinned and Stiles glanced around confused, “Idiot, I’m talking to you Stiles.” Stiles blushed slightly before following Andy and Harry across to the bedroom.

“Okay, so this is what I’m thinking, tell me if you’re not comfortable with it, either of you.” Harry advised and they both nodded, “I want similar to last time, Andy leaning over you, looking like the dominant one, now usually Stiles, you act disinterested, but this time, I want Andy to go one step further, pulling on your lip with his teeth, maybe, ripping your shirt with his hands, just a little bit. That sound okay?”

“Sounds fine for me.” Andy grinned, Stiles glanced at him nervously, he trusted Andy, he’d never done anything to suggest that Stiles shouldn’t trust him, but still, he wasn’t sure how he felt about this. “But if you’re not comfortable with it, it’s no big deal, Harry will have other ideas I’m sure.” Andy reassured him.

“No, it’s fine.” Stiles said, squaring his shoulders slightly, “It’ll be fine, I can do that.”

“Alright, cool, either of you change your mind then just let me know.” Harry said happily, already leading them into position.

Stiles’ heart was pounding loudly in his ears, he was more than a little bit nervous, this felt a lot different to what they usually did and he wasn’t sure he was ready for it.

“Breathe Stiles.” Andy said, his lips next to Stiles’ ear, “You know, we don’t have to do this. If you feel that uncomfortable…”

“No, it’s fine, I’m just not used to this, that’s all.” Stiles answered honestly, surprised when Andy nibbled on his ear slightly, almost teasingly.

“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you enjoy yourself.” He grinned cheekily, his smile hidden from the camera. Andy kissed along his jawline until he reached his mouth and started pulling on Stiles’ lip with his teeth, his hand coming across and gripping Stiles’ hip, almost holding him in place.

“Perfect.” Harry shouted, “Now, Andy, I want you to reach up and rip his shirt slightly, just a little bit.” Stiles was a little surprised when Andy’s hand ran its way up the length of his body, pulling his shirt up with it for a moment before it fell again, Andy stroking his neck almost tenderly, Stiles’ tilted his head a little bit, turning towards Andy, meeting his gaze. Andy touched the fabric of his shirt, raised an eyebrow at Stiles in questioning.

“Ready?” Andy whispered and Stiles nodded minutely, successfully avoiding flinching when the t-shirt ripped, feeling Andy’s palm on his bare shoulder, moving back towards his neck.

“Brilliant.” Harry said, although it sounded like it was coming from a long way away, Andy was still tugging on his lip gently, his tongue darting out to lick at his lip ever so slightly, Andy running his hand up Stiles’ neck, his thumb brushing his jaw and Stiles was suddenly sure that he didn’t want to go any further than this. Andy was nice, he liked him, got on with him, he couldn’t kiss the guy, that would ruin whatever friendship they had, and not to mention, the only guy Stiles had ever even thought about like that had been Derek, once upon a time. But that was never going to happen, Stiles had been a fool for ever thinking that something could happen between them, Derek was so far out of his league it was untrue, not to mention that Derek only let Stiles hang around with them because of Scott.

Andy was staring at him, a small smile on his lips, his teeth digging into Stiles’ lip gently, Stiles could almost hear his own heart racing as Andy leaned forward a little more. Stiles pulled backwards, hitting his head on the bedpost behind him in his haste, Andy frowning slightly but letting go of him as Harry shouted out that they had everything they needed.

“Sorry.” Andy said, blushing slightly, “I got carried away.”

“It’s fine.” Stiles said, rubbing at his neck awkwardly, “It’s no big deal, it is a porn magazine, right?” He joked and Andy grinned although it looked forced.

“Great work guys.” Harry said, clapping a hand on Andy’s shoulder. “You guys are my biggest income right now.” He laughed.

“Glad we can help.” Andy smiled, meeting Stiles’ eyes for a moment before Stiles looked away blushing. He’d never thought about Andy that way, he’d liked Lydia, he’d fallen hard for Derek, both obviously unrequited, there had never really been anyone else, and there had definitely never been anyone interested in him like that, other than the fan mail he’d received, there were definitely some people interested, overly interested, kind of creepily interested, he’d had three more letters that he’d had to burn, all from the same guy. He wasn’t even sure if Andy liked him like that, he wasn’t exactly the best at reading situations like this, it wasn’t like he had a lot of experience, maybe Andy was just being friendly, just trying to make sure Stiles was relaxed and enjoying himself.

Harry insisted that Stiles head over to Luke’s not long after that while Andy shot some solo pictures, Stiles couldn’t help but be grateful at that, even though his side didn’t hurt as much he was still tired, he didn’t want to have to pose for photos all afternoon.

He drove across to Luke’s thinking about how he was back to school next week, that summer had passed far too quickly, he could spend days reading the books that Luke had, completely lose himself in them, instead he was going to have to start reading normal books again, he thought of his summer reading list, buried under various other paperwork that was scattered on his desk, he’d have to start that at some point soon.

After explaining to Luke about what had happened with the pack the night before, Stiles sat in silence as he read, sitting comfortably on Luke’s sofa, knees pulled up as he read about how hunters had nearly wiped warlocks out centuries ago, hence why it was so important to keep the secret now.

“Do you think I shouldn’t have told them that I was a warlock?” Stiles said out of nowhere, Luke glancing up from his current project, he’d taken up pottery recently, well, re-taken it up, apparently he learned a couple of centuries ago, but since it had been so long, he was currently trying to relearn the skill.

“I think you did what was right for you.” Luke said supportively, “It’s not as bad as if you’d told them what you really were, but still, I’d advise watching your back, hunters could hear the rumors and come running.”

“That wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to protect my pack.” Stiles whispered.

“I know. Unfortunately, magic users are high on the list for power. It’s just the way the world works.”

Stiles paused, reviewing the page he’d been studying, it told a gruesome story.

“Can I ask…” Stiles started a little nervously, Luke nodded at him to continue, “You and Luke barely talk about him, but I was wondering…what happened to your dad?” Luke dropped the piece of clay he was holding in surprise, going a shade paler and Stiles felt instantly guilty. “Sorry, you don’t have to tell me, I was just, I was curious.”

“No, it’s fine.” Luke said, moving over to the sofa and sitting down next to Stiles, sighing heavily. “It was seventy-two years ago, we’d all been around for a while, we knew the dangers, the risks of practicing magic, the fact that hunters could find us at any time. There was, an incident, one that neither Harry or I could avoid. It exposed us.” Luke paused, obviously trying to control his emotions, “The hunters came for us, they found our father instead. He took out forty-two hunters before they managed to capture him. They knew there were two warlocks in the area, when they found him alone, they set out a trap, waiting for the second warlock. My father had been seeing a woman at the time, someone he was considering settling down with, giving his immortality up for, she didn’t know about the hunters. She went to his house. The hunters were waiting for her. They had found a way to harness his magic, force it to work for them, they used it against her, they killed her.”

Luke took a deep breath before continuing the story.

“Luke and I both went over, we knew the hunters had been closing in, we didn’t know they’d already found him. We walked into a trap. Sarah was already dead. Our father was weak, he’d been tortured, his magic being pulled out of him, half insane because his magic had killed Sarah. His magic was being used to attack us. We managed to fight our way out, managed to beat the hunters, but our father, well, he didn’t make it, he was hit by a spell in the fight. Harry, he always blames himself, says it was his fault, it’s why he gave up magic for so long, he is sure it was his spell that hit our father, I’m sure it was mine. Unfortunately, we’ll never know, and we’ll both always carry that guilt.”

Stiles sat in silence, unable to believe that something so awful had happened, and what comfort could he offer that Luke wouldn’t have already thought of.

“I’m sorry you had to go through that.” Stiles said a few minutes later.

“It happens, happened a lot over the course of our lifetime. Not to us, of course. But to others, warlocks who didn’t keep their magic secret, who weren’t careful, the hunters tracked them down, took them out. There used to be thousands of us, now we’re down to a hundred, maybe less, that was all them. We always thought we were smarter than that, that we would be safe, the more time that passed, the longer we survived,” He sighed, “I guess we forgot how dangerous they could be, you know, got a little too complacent. There was a woman, an innocent, or so we thought, she was under attack, hurt, defenseless. We thought we’d be safe to use magic, to save her, to kill the creature. She was a hunter, we saved her from the creature, but she told the rest of them what we’d done, she didn’t get a good look at us, but it was enough, enough to track us down, attack us.”

“You couldn’t have known.” Stiles whispered horrified, he knew that some hunters were despicable human beings, but he couldn’t have imagined that they would have done that, that they would have hunted warlocks to almost extinction, that they would have murdered innocent people in order to rid the world of a few more warlocks.

“That’s what we tell ourselves, that we couldn’t have let her die, that maybe we could have taken it without using magic, that we could have left her there, maybe she would have beaten it by herself. But we made a decision in the heat of the moment, and we couldn’t take it back. What happened afterwards was on us.”

“It was on the hunters.” Stiles responded, “You saved her life, she shouldn’t have done that to you.”

“They’re hunters. That’s what they do.” Luke responded sarcastically.

“Not all of them. My friend Scott, he’s a werewolf and he’s dating a hunter and they are happy. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure the majority of them are insane, but there’s one or two that are on our side.”

“And you are sure that this hunter can be trusted? Would she protect you if she found out what you were? Or would she be scared of your magic? Tell someone who wouldn’t be as nice? I know you’ve suffered at the hands of hunters before, are you willing to go through that again?” Luke replied, obviously worried about Stiles.

“I don’t know.” Stiles answered honestly, “I want to trust her, trust all of them, but I’m just not sure.”

“Well, until you can be sure, you need to keep your magic a secret, until you know that you can trust them. I don’t want to see anything bad happen to you Stiles, I care about you.” Luke replied and Stiles blushed slightly.

“Don’t go getting all soppy on me.” He grinned, “But, if you have to know, I care about you too, and Harry. I don’t want anything to happen to either of you. If you think it’s safer for me to keep my distance, I can do that?”

“Of course not, we enjoy having you around. I just want you to be careful.”

“When am I ever not careful?” Stiles replied sarcastically and Luke grinned.

“Anyway, weren’t you here to learn something?” Luke said after a few moments.

“Yeah, actually I was. Going to teach me something interesting old man?” Stiles teased.

They spent the rest of the afternoon just messing around, Stiles practicing a few spells, Luke correcting his pronunciation slightly, they also spent some time helping Stiles to heal, they couldn’t do anything about his split lip since people had already seen it, so instead they focused on healing his rib and the bruise that covered his side, despite the fact that Harry had healed it earlier it was still very sore, so he spent a bit of time healing up, borrowing a little magic from Luke, and finally starting to feel like himself again.

His dad was out when he got home, no doubt at work again, Stiles sighed heavily, heading into the kitchen to make himself some tea. He took the bowl of noodles up to his room, sitting on his bed and pulling out a school book as he ate, it was about time he thought about school work for a change. He did honestly try to read it normally, without using magic, but it was such a boring book and it would take him hours to read it. He managed to make it through about quarter of it before he gave up, placing his hand on the cover, whispering the necessary words and closing his eyes as the words flowed into his mind. He grinned, magic was awesome.

He had hoped to see Scott before they went back to school but when he called Scott said he was busy with Allison and pretty much hung up on him. Stiles sighed, looking at his phone with disappointment, it wasn’t exactly a surprise, but still, they’d barely seen each other all summer, and when they had it had been with the pack.

Admittedly, to begin with, he’d, well, not blamed Scott, but wished Scott had noticed, wished he’d noticed Stiles was missing, that he’d come for him. It wasn’t Scott’s fault, he’d had a lot to deal with, Jackson had died and then come back to life, of course Stiles hadn’t been high on his priority list, but still, Stiles had thought he’d been coming, thought any of them had been coming. But it wasn’t their fault. It was his. He was the weak one, the one that had been kidnapped and had been unable to stop them. He shouldn’t blame Scott for being preoccupied. Which was why he’d called Scott, offered to spend some time together, to try and make amends, try to make up for the fact that Stiles had blamed him, even for a moment.

But that didn’t happen. Instead Stiles spent the day alone, he wandered into the garden, sat reading one of Luke’s books, he’d cast a glamour making it look like any ordinary book to anyone else. He sat in silence, soaking up some much-needed sunshine, reading an interesting passage about Cluricaun, an Irish leprechaun like creature, they were apparently permanently drunk and there were various tales from warlocks that had encountered them over the years. Stiles thought they sounded fun, he’d have to ask Luke and Harry if they’d ever met one, he thought he might ask about it next time he went over there.

Before he knew it, the sun was disappearing behind the trees and Stiles headed inside, the book clenched tightly in his hand as he wandered into the kitchen. He threw together a meal, enough for him and his dad, before heading up to his room. He ‘read’ another few of his school books before lying down on his bed, he was tired, exhausted even, his whole summer had been spent learning spells and new ways to defend himself, either that or shooting photos with Harry, but tomorrow he started back at school, back to some semblance of normalcy.

He closed his eyes, trying not to think about Gerard, trying not to think about Erica and Boyd who were still missing, that was on him, if he’d just been a bit quicker, a bit stronger, he could have fought, he could have gotten them out of there, then they wouldn’t still be missing. Despite that he was trying not to think of them they were always present in his mind, and as he slipped into sleep it was them that he dreamt of.

He woke screaming in the early hours, taking more than a few minutes to calm himself, swiping at the tears running down his face, swinging his legs out of the bed, feeling them hit the carpeted floor, clenching and unclenching his toes, trying to ground himself, this was real, he was here now, in this room, his room. He wasn’t in that basement, he wasn’t surrounded by Gerard and his goons, wasn’t screaming in pain, wasn’t being whipped and beaten and tortured. He was safe.

“Stiles!” Scott called when he saw Stiles down the hallway, Stiles turned towards him quickly, almost flinching as Scott clapped a hand on his shoulder. “How you doing buddy?”

“I’m fine.” Stiles replied, looking a little nervous, Scott had heard his heartbeat jump and then start to slow down a few seconds later as he calmed down.

“You sure? You look a little jumpy?” Scott queried.

“Totally.” Stiles said, still fighting back the urge to flinch when Scott threw an arm around his shoulder. “How’ve you been? You ready for class?”

“Erm, not really,” Scott admitted sheepishly, “I probably should have been, but me and Allison, well, we’ve been busy.” He grinned dopily.

“Sounds like fun.” Stiles said, forcing a smile, relaxing slightly when Scott finally let go of him.

“Stiles!” Danny called out approaching him, Stiles looked at him in confusion, he had no idea why Danny wanted to talk to him, Scott looked equally as confused. “Hey, can I talk to you for a minute?”

“Erm, sure.” Stiles replied quietly.

“Why?” Scott asked.

“Is that any of your business?” Danny said condescendingly.

“I don’t know. Is it?” Scott argued back. Stiles didn’t like that people were starting to stare at them. “Are you the guy he’s being seeing over summer?” Scott queried and Stiles rolled his eyes, if Scott even thought to use his werewolf senses then he’d know Stiles hadn’t been seeing Danny.

“No. But I have been seeing a lot of Stiles.” Danny said cryptically and Stiles blushed slightly, knowing exactly what he was referring to, “Now, can I have a minute to talk to him in private? Or do I need to sign some kind of permission slip?” Danny retorted.

“Scott, it’s fine. I’ll meet you in class.” Stiles said quietly, trying to diffuse the tension. Scott glared at Danny as he walked away, Stiles turned towards the main doors, leading Danny out to the car park, trying to ensure that their conversation wouldn’t be overheard.

When they finally got far enough away Stiles turned around to look at Danny.

“Alright, what do you want?” Stiles said angrily

“I don’t want anything.” Danny said, holding his hands up in surrender. Stiles waited, he wasn’t usually good at being patient, but he was getting better at it, he had to, especially with his casting. “Alright, fine,” Danny relented, “Maybe I do want something.”

“What?” Stiles asked quietly, he didn’t like the idea of being blackmailed.

“I want you to stop.” Danny replied.

“Excuse me?” Stiles said stunned.

“I want you to stop doing it. Look, just listen to me for a second, they are fantastic pictures, and if you ever want to go out on a date sometime, I’d be more than happy to ask you out. But, there’s plenty of weirdo’s out there, plenty of people who won’t just stop at a picture. I’m just trying to look out for you.”

“You’re worrying about nothing, I mean, Harry looks out for us, he makes sure nobody knows where we’re shooting, it’s totally fine.” Stiles replied, not thinking about the creepy letters he’d already burned.

“And what about when people find out who you are personally? When they find out where you live?”

“Danny…” Stiles said rolling his eyes.

“No. Listen to me Stiles. People are crazy, believe me. As much as you annoy the hell out of me I don’t want anything bad to happen to you.”

“Aww, Danny, I had no idea you cared.” Stiles teased.

“Only because I’m going to enjoy perving on you, I can’t do that if you aren’t around.” Danny joked and Stiles blushed slightly. “I’m only kidding,” Danny said, obviously picking up on how uncomfortable Stiles was, Stiles smiled at him gratefully, “I’ll save all the perving for the magazines at home.” He winked and Stiles snorted.

“Sounds good to me.” He laughed.

“Alright, I can see that you’re not going to take my advice, but I’m still going to tell you to be careful. And, also, seriously, if you ever want to hang out some time, I’m more than happy to.”

“Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.”

“And the offer of a date?” Danny grinned cheekily.

“Erm, thanks for the offer?” Stiles said a little unsure.

“It’s always there. Any time.” Danny replied.

“I think we need to get to class.” Stiles said as the bell rang, Danny walked with him to class, not surprised when Danny sat next to him and Scott glared at them both. He couldn’t help but feel confused by why Scott was acting so pissed, it wasn’t Stiles’ fault Danny bought porn mags, really, he was lucky that Danny was the only one to see the photos so far.

“So what was up with Danny?” Scott asked as soon as they were out of class.

“Nothing.” Stiles replied, the way that Scott looked at him made him realise that it must have been obvious he was lying. “Alright, fine, he, erm, he asked me out.” Stiles hoped that a half-truth would be enough to cover up the rest of the lie.

“He did what!?” Scott said shocked. Stiles hadn’t expected him to look quite so pissed off. “What did you say? Are you going to go out with him?”

“Dude, relax, anybody would think you were jealous or something?”

“I’m not jealous.” Scott said angrily. “Although,” He glowered, “When exactly were you going to tell me you are gay? I mean, I don’t find out until you’ve already got a boyfriend? Already making out with him? Spending all your time with him?”

“What!?” Stiles said in shock, “This is why you’ve been so off with me? Because you think I didn’t tell you that I like guys!?” Stiles wasn’t even worried about keeping his voice down now, he couldn’t believe Scott, “Scott, I told you! I must have told you at least a hundred times! You just never listened to me! You were too busy thinking about making out with Allison for the past year to even notice a word I said!”

“That’s not true!” Scott yelled. “I listened to you! I would have known if you’d said that!”

“Are you even serious right now!?” Stiles said incredulous. “Fuck you Scott.” He hissed angrily, turning on his heel and storming towards the door. He was so angry, he couldn’t believe Scott, couldn’t believe that he’d not heard a word Stiles had said, he’d told him about his massive crush on Derek, ranted about it for hours, and Scott hadn’t heard a word of that, probably too busy thinking about Allison.

He was in such a bad mood, he couldn’t believe that he’d counted Scott as a friend, he was such an idiot, how could he have ever thought that Scott cared about him? The instant Scott met Allison, that he turned into a werewolf, Stiles became nothing to him, and he’d tried to deny it, tried to convince himself that he did matter, that Scott did care. Except he was wrong, again, no wonder Scott never came when Gerard tortured him, Scott didn’t care. He didn’t.

Stiles stormed out of school, knowing he couldn’t be trusted to sit in a class with the guy right now, there was a good chance he’d end up hitting him. He took a bit of time to cool down and then decided to head to his next class, hoping that Scott wasn’t in it. He took several deep breaths, and then finally headed into the classroom. Thankfully Scott wasn’t there, although both Lydia and Allison were, both of them staring at him, to be honest most of the class was studying him, no doubt they’d all heard him shouting at Scott, declaring that he liked guys. He flushed slightly with embarrassment before taking a deep breath and moving to his seat at the back of the class.

Stiles kept his head down for the rest of the day, he didn’t want to deal with anyone, he just wanted to get finished, get home and practice some more spells. He wasn’t due to go see Luke until Saturday, coincidentally his birthday, and it already felt like forever away. He saw Scott in the cafeteria at lunchtime, he ignored him, instead grabbing something to eat and then heading out to his jeep. He sat on the hood, taking a large bite out of his apple, his eyes fluttering closed as he soaked up the sunshine.

“Hey!” Somebody shouted, Stiles jolted upright, unaware that he’d been falling asleep. He opened his eyes quickly, looking for the source of the voice. Danny was stood by the hood of the jeep, grinning widely at him. “Want some company?”

“Erm, sure?” Stiles said a little unsure as Danny jumped up onto the hood with it, relaxing against the windscreen and letting out a little sigh. They sat in silence for a few minutes before Stiles cleared his throat. “You know, I haven’t changed my mind.” He said arching an eyebrow and Danny grinned.

“Damn it, you figured out my master plan already.” Danny replied sarcastically, Stiles smirked at him in reply. “I didn’t come to ask you out again, I just figured you might want some company.”

Stiles was stunned into silence, staring at Danny in surprise, of all the things he’d expected him to say, it wasn’t that.

“Erm, thanks.” Stiles eventually said, blushing slightly, Danny grinning at him widely.

“You know, you are really cute.” Danny smirked, “But, I can see you don’t like me saying that, so I won’t mention it again. Promise this time.”

“Thanks.” Stiles replied. They sat in relative silence for the rest of lunch before heading into their afternoon classes.

Stiles couldn’t help but feel a little better by the afternoon, even though Danny hadn’t said anything particularly special, but still, he felt better. Maybe it was just because somebody had spent some time with him, not because he had to, but because he’d wanted to. It felt kind of nice, obviously, he spent a lot of time with Luke, Harry and Andy, but well, Luke and Harry, were helping him to learn how to improve his magic, and Andy, he worked with Andy, and yeah, Andy had offered to go hang out outside of work a few times, but Stiles had already had plans and hadn’t been able to, Andy had never seemed that fussed though, maybe he’d only being offering out of pity or something.

“Stiles!” Isaac called out after him as they were leaving for the day, Stiles stopped and turned around, he wasn’t sure why Isaac was chasing after him, but he wasn’t going to ignore the guy. “Hey,” Isaac said in greeting when he caught up, “Derek wants us all to meet at the loft tonight. Scott told me to tell you.”

“Why?” Stiles said in surprise.

“Erm, I think he’s still a bit annoyed about this morning, so he asked me to tell you?”

“No. I meant, why are we meeting? What’s going on?”

“Don’t ask me.” Isaac shrugged. “Derek called the meeting. Be there for six.” He said before wandering back towards the school, no doubt going to meet Scott.

Chapter Text

He went home first, pottering around the house, using his magic to do a few household chores while he worked on his homework. By quarter to six he had finished all his homework and the house was sparkling, he smiled to himself, wondering what the hell he used to do before he had magic. He threw on a clean jumper and headed across to Derek’s, entering the loft and finding the rest of the pack already there and waiting.

“Well, now that Stilinski is finally here, can you tell us what the hell this is about?” Jackson asked Derek.

Stiles glanced up, meeting Derek’s gaze for a moment, before moving towards the sofa and sitting down at the far end next to Peter.

“I heard about what happened today.” Derek said, Stiles looked up at him in surprise, Derek couldn’t be talking about what he thought he was talking about, right? Although the way he was looking at Scott made him think that he had heard about that.

“What?” Scott asked sullenly.

“You know what Scott. I know about the argument between you and Stiles. I don’t know exactly what was said, but I do know you two need to sort your crap out. I won’t have you causing a scene in front of everyone else.”

“It wasn’t my fault.” Scott argued and Stiles looked at him incredulously, as did most of the pack, “What!? Stiles is the one who blew up over nothing.”

“Over nothing!?” Stiles said angrily, “Scott, you didn’t listen to me! I told you that I liked guys and girls, I told you that I liked someone,” He was not about to mention Derek by name, “I told you all of that, and you didn’t listen to a single word of it, you didn’t even remember me telling you. Do you have any idea how that feels? Christ, Scott, I’m supposed to be your best friend.”

There was silence. Scott flushing red, Stiles wasn’t sure if it was embarrassment or anger.

“I’m sorry I yelled at you.” Scott apologized, “And I’m sorry that, if you told me, I didn’t listen.”

“I told you.” Stiles replied angrily, unable to believe that Scott was still denying it, that even when he was apologizing it felt like a slap in the face. “Scott, you’re the only one I trusted with that, I hadn’t even told my dad, and I told you. You were my best friend, of course I told you.”

“What the hell do you mean, ‘were’ I still am.” Scott said in surprise.

“Really?” Stiles scoffed, “I mean, really? Because you could have fooled me.” Scott flushed with shame, seeming to finally realise just how much he’d hurt Stiles by forgetting this.

“Alright, I’m sorry okay, I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better.” Scott answered. Stiles could never stay mad at Scott, he guessed that was part of his problem.

“Okay. Fine.” Stiles relented. “So are we going to talk about why we are really here? I mean, I assume that you didn’t call this meeting just to sort out things with us?”

 

“No. Actually, Jackson smelled two wolves at the school today, he confronted them. It turns out that they are part of an Alpha pack.”

“An Alpha pack?” Peter said in surprise. Stiles was more shocked about the fact that Jackson had confronted two werewolves by himself, especially Alphas.

“What’s an Alpha pack?” Scott asked and Stiles tried not to roll his eyes.

“Exactly what’s on the label.” Peter said sarcastically, “A pack that is made up completely of Alpha’s.”

“Do you think they could have anything to do with Erica and Boyd?” Stiles asked quickly.

“They moved in over summer, there’s a chance they could do.” Derek admitted, sounding defeated. Stiles wanted to comfort him in some way, let him know that it wasn’t his fault. “Alpha’s can hide their scent if they want to. I didn’t smell them, or sense them.”

“How could you have known?” Stiles said in surprise, “It’s not like any of us were expecting an Alpha pack to turn up.” He turned to Jackson, “Did they say anything else? These other wolves? Anything we might be able to use to find their hideout?”

“They didn’t exactly seem like Alpha material.” Jackson shrugged, “They were very specific about following instructions from the Alpha of their pack.”

“The Alpha pack has an Alpha? How does that work?” Allison asked.

“Every pack has an Alpha, one wolf more powerful than the rest. Even an Alpha pack has to have one. What kind of instructions?” Peter queried.

“Erm, something about having to stay under the radar, not to let us know about them just yet, they were pretty annoyed that I’d found out about them. I guess they just didn’t hide their scent that well or something.”

“If they don’t want us to know about them just yet, then they have to be planning something.” Stiles replied, moving to the map on the wall, “I mean, we’ve been searching for places out in the preserves or the outskirts of town, small places where Erica and Boyd might be held captive. But, if there’s a pack, they’ll want to keep them close, meaning we need to be looking for somewhere bigger, and they’ll want to stay away from the preserve, too much chance of running into one of you, so we should be looking more around the middle of town I think.” He said, studying the buildings in the area.

“Are you sure?” Isaac asked, standing next to Stiles and studying the map.

“As sure as I can be.”

“Peter,” Scott said suddenly, “You like to kidnap people, don’t you? Where would you take them?”

“I hardly count kidnapping Stiles one time as enjoying it, although he made a good victim. And I had a specific destination in mind.” Peter replied sarcastically. Stiles however had frozen in place, Derek could clearly hear his heartbeat racing, saw the colour drain from his cheeks. Stiles turned around, staring at Peter in horror. “They already knew, stop panicking. Although it’s nice to know you care about my safety.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about that by the way?” Scott asked, “Or is this another thing that you’re going to say you did tell me?”

“I didn’t tell you.” Stiles muttered, still seeming to be in shock, his hands almost trembling. Derek took a step forward, to offer him whatever comfort he could, but Stiles flinched, he fucking flinched from Derek. Derek stopped where he was, frozen in place, the rest of the pack staring at Stiles in shock, Stiles’ heart racing so fast that Derek was terrified he was about to have a panic attack. “I’ve got to go.” Stiles said suddenly, dashing forward and grabbing his jacket before racing out of the front door.

“I thought you said you didn’t hurt him!?” Derek hissed, rounding on Peter as soon as the door was shut.

“I didn’t. Not massively. I mean, I dragged him around a bit, but I didn’t do anything to get that kind of reaction.” Peter answered honestly. Derek could smell the worry emitting from Peter and it did seem genuine.

“I’ll go after him.” Scott said, heading towards the door.

“No. I’ll go.” Peter said sadly, “I mean, it’s my mistake to fix. I didn’t realise I’d scared him so badly, I need to apologize for that.” Derek was stunned but nodded his head in agreement, watching in silence as Peter left the loft, unable to think of anything other than the fact that Stiles had flinched from him. As long as Derek had known him, he’d never, ever, seen Stiles flinch, not from anything. He faced it all head on. All the time. If Peter didn’t fix this, if Stiles ever flinched like that again, then Derek would tear Peter apart without a moment’s hesitation.

Stiles rushed out of the door and down the stairs, his heart racing so fast he was sure it was going to burst from his chest, he couldn’t believe that he’d freaked out like that, over something so stupid. He was a good victim, that’s what Peter had said, that Stiles was a victim. He wasn’t. He wasn’t a victim. He was a survivor. He was not a victim. He wouldn’t ever be a victim again. Except in that moment, he’d been right back in that basement, Gerard taunting him as they hit him over and over again, Erica and Boyd both screaming something through their gags, no doubt telling Stiles to save them, to help them. He’d done nothing. Derek had moved towards him but Stiles couldn’t see him, not really, it was Gerard that was moving towards him, Gerard that was reaching out a hand and Stiles couldn’t help it, he flinched away from him. A moment later and he understood what he’d done, Derek looked to be in physical pain, but it was far too late by then, he just needed to get out of there.

He was calming down by the time he got home, his hands only trembling slightly, he took several steadying breaths before getting out of his jeep and heading into the house. He flicked on the light switches, heading into the kitchen to make something to eat, resting his head against the fridge for a moment before there was a knock on the door.

He approached it slowly, opening it only an inch and seeing Peter looking at him sorrowfully. He opened the door properly, inviting Peter inside wordlessly as he turned around and went back to the kitchen, pulling out food from the fridge so that he could keep his hands busy, hopefully Peter wouldn’t notice the trembling then.

“I’m sorry.” Peter said into the silence and Stiles glanced up at him in shock, his movements stilling. “I had no idea that I’d scared you so much. You put on such a brave front, I didn’t realise that it affected you this badly. I know that I was out of my mind, that I was insane, but still, it’s no excuse, and I’m sorry.”

“You didn’t scare me that badly.” Stiles admitted, turning his back to Peter and starting to cook an omelet. “I was just having a bad day.” Stiles replied evenly, “I just reacted badly to being reminded of that. It wasn’t you.”

He heard Peter move around the counter, approaching Stiles, the fact that Stiles heard him made him think that Peter was being deliberately loud so as not to scare Stiles.

“I’m still sorry. My behavior was unacceptable. I won’t ever be able to take that back, there’s a lot of things from that time that I wish I could take back. Killing Laura, biting Scott and Lydia, kidnapping you. I have a lot of regrets.”

“Well, don’t worry about me.” Stiles replied, “Like I said, I was just having a bad day. Things between us, they’re okay. If it makes you feel any better, I regret setting you on fire. I mean, you needed to die, and I was happy enough to help do that, but you’d already gone through a fire once before, I shouldn’t have done that to you again.” Stiles admitted. He glanced out of the corner of his eye to see that Peter was staring at him in shock, his eyes wide and mouth hanging open.

“Thank you.” Peter muttered a few moments later, so quiet that Stiles barely heard him, “You did what needed to be done. I don’t blame you for that.”

“I don’t blame you for going insane and kidnapping me, so I guess that makes us even.” Stiles smirked. Peter grinned and Stiles couldn’t help but relax slightly, he was feeling a bit better now, glad to have cleared the air slightly.

“What are you cooking? Got some going spare?” Peter asked and Stiles laughed slightly, plating Peter up some of the omelet and handing it over to him. They sat in silence while they ate until Stiles thought of something that he’d been wanting to ask for a while.

“Peter, if you had money, and you wanted to pay for something, but you didn’t want anyone to know you’d paid it, do you know how to do it?”

“Why wouldn’t you want recognition for paying for something?” Peter replied, looking at Stiles in confusion.

“Never mind.” Stiles dismissed him, he couldn’t explain it all.

“Well, if you really wanted to do something, without anyone finding out it was you, well, I’d recommend transferring the money to somebody who doesn’t care if people find out, for example, me, and then I’d pay it.”

“I’ve got the money to pay off the bills on this place.” Stiles blurted out, shocked by his own admission, Peter raised his eyebrows in surprise.

“That’s quite a bit of money Stiles. How did you acquire that may I ask?”

“You can ask, but I’m not telling you. Would you be willing to pay the bills off if I gave you the money?”

“And when your dad finds my name on the paperwork? What reason would you like me to give him as to why I decided to do something so considerate?”

“I don’t know? I helped you out with something? You’re rich? You felt like being nice?” Stiles replied and Peter snorted.

“Everyone knows I don’t ever do anything nice. But, since you seem so insistent about this, then yes, I’ll come up with a good reason, should your dad ask.”

“Thank you.” Stiles said gratefully, surprised that Peter had agreed to do something so easily.

“Although, I have to know, you aren’t doing anything illegal, are you? Not dealing drugs or something equally destructive?”

“No.” Stiles answered honestly, “The money is all completely legal.”

“Okay then.” Peter said nodding, writing down his bank details while Stiles pulled out the relevant paperwork that he wanted paying off.

They spent the next two hours sorting out the details before Peter decided to call it a night, pushing up from the kitchen table and taking the paperwork with him.

Within a few days the bills were all paid off, Stiles knew it would only be a matter of time before his dad found out, but he would try and keep it secret for as long as it was possible. The week had passed quickly, Danny had spoken to him a few more times, sometimes sitting with them at lunchtime, although never mentioning the photos which Stiles was incredibly grateful for.

Derek was leaning against the kitchen counter in his loft, watching Stiles talking to Peter over by the wall studying the map, ticking off locations that they’d already checked, unsure when the two had suddenly become as thick as thieves, but glad that he didn’t have to kill Peter again. Scott and Allison were sat in a chair making out, that didn’t surprise him, Isaac and Lydia were studying something on the table and Jackson was stood next to Derek, watching Peter and Stiles as well.

“You think it’s weird that they’re friendly now?” Jackson muttered under his breath.

“It works for me.” Derek shrugged.

“There’s a few older buildings here we haven’t checked out.” Stiles said loudly, Scott and Allison finally breaking apart.

“Older abandoned buildings?” Scott asked.

“No.” Stiles admitted, “Flats mainly, but flats mean basements, storage rooms, all the kind of places where a pack could hide easily enough.”

“Doesn’t Danny live near there?” Lydia asked.

“Maybe? I don’t know?” Stiles said, glancing to Jackson for confirmation.

“Hey, you never said if you’d gone out with him?” Scott piped up and Stiles turned to look at him in surprise.

“What?” Jackson asked.

“Danny asked Stiles out, a couple of times actually, I figured you might ditch this guy you’ve been seeing, go out with Danny, he’s a nice guy, I like him.”

“Wow.” Lydia said, looking at Scott in shock. “You are such a jackass.”

“Excuse me?” Scott said surprised.

“Stiles can date whoever he wants, he doesn’t need your approval to date anyone.” Lydia snapped, “Although, it would be nice to meet this guy you’re seeing. What’s his name?”

“Look, it’s really not…” Stiles began.

“Why are you so secretive about this guy? Is he a lot older or something?” Scott asked.

“I’m not secretive. It’s just, it’s a long story and it’s complicated okay?” Stiles sighed. “Look, my love life is really not the issue here. We have bigger problems. Erica and Boyd are still missing. We have an Alpha pack running around town that are probably planning something evil. Can we focus on that instead?”

Derek didn’t like that Stiles felt like he couldn’t talk about whatever was going on with this relationship of his, as much as he didn’t want Stiles to be dating anyone other than him, he still wanted him to be happy. At the same time, though, he really didn’t want to hear about whatever was going on, the last thing he needed was to hear Stiles gushing about this guy.

“But just to clarify, you aren’t planning on dumping this guy so you can date Danny?” Jackson asked.

“I’m not planning on dating Danny, no. Don’t panic.” Stiles scoffed, turning back to the map. “Now can we get back to business please?”

“You want to go check out the flats now?” Isaac asked. Stiles glanced at his watch, it was late on Friday night and he had promised to be at Luke’s early tomorrow morning.

“Yeah, sure.” Scott said happily, jumping to his feet and pulling Allison up to her feet. “We might as well go now rather than wait any longer. I mean, if there’s a chance that Erica or Boyd are there, we should go check it out.”

“Okay.” Lydia said, taking Jackson by the hand and leading him towards the door. Isaac grinned and jumped up after them, Derek saw Peter glance at Stiles, raise his eyebrows and then Stiles shrug. It was weird for Peter and Stiles to be communicating so easily, but then, Derek was just glad that the pack was finally coming together, all he needed now was for Stiles to get rid of this boyfriend and then things would be so much easier.

It turned out that it was a dead end, there was nothing there, although it still took them until three in the morning to completely clear the building. Stiles was exhausted by the time they got back to the loft, getting in his jeep and driving home feeling incredibly frustrated, he’d been so sure that they would find them this time. It wasn’t exactly a surprise when he dreamt of them, blaming him for not saving them, when he woke screaming, tears running down his cheeks.

When he rolled out of bed the next morning he felt like crap, he had a really bad headache and he just generally felt like crap, but he couldn’t not go see Luke, not when he hadn’t seen him all week. He spent ten minutes concentrating on using his magic to heal himself, it was a vicious circle really, he used the magic to make him feel less exhausted, to hide the bags under his eyes, and yet by using the magic it made him feel tired. He knew he had to do something to break the circle somehow, but he couldn’t stop the dreams and if his dad saw him, without any magical assistance, then Stiles knew he would just worry about him, so he had to keep it up for now.

He headed downstairs, meeting his dad in the kitchen just coming in from a shift, they ate breakfast in almost silence, Noah’s mind obviously on other things before he headed to his room and Stiles went through the front door.

He drove across to Luke’s, feeling a little better by now, several books in his bag to return to Luke. He got out of his jeep slowly, grabbing his bag and heading into the shop. He was surprised when both Luke and Harry jumped out and started singing happy birthday to him. Stiles gazed at the cake in Luke’s hands in shock, he’d forgotten it was his birthday, he thought of how quiet his dad had been this morning, obviously, he’d forgotten too, he tried not to be hurt by that, instead looking at Luke and Harry who were both beaming.

“Thanks.” Stiles said, blushing slightly as they led him through the shop and into the house behind.

“Here!” Luke said, putting down the cake and thrusting his hand out, what looked like an old scroll in it. “It took me a while to track one down, but I think you’ll like it.”

Stiles unrolled the scroll slowly, his eyes widening as he read the words in front of him.

“This is a way to summon lightning.” Stiles whispered in awe, “To use it however you want.”

“You like it?” Luke asked and Stiles rushed forward, hugging him tightly.

“It’s great, thank you.” Stiles replied, tracing the words almost relevantly.

“There’s also this.” Luke said, handing him a piece of wood, roughly the size of a permanent marker.

“Erm…thanks?” Stiles replied in confusion, taking the wood in his hand and suddenly feeling the magic behind it. He unleashed his own magic, allowing it to prod at the wood in curiosity, before the piece of wood suddenly extended, becoming almost as tall as Stiles, he looked at it in amazement.

“It’s a staff, every good warlock needs a staff, and also, you can imbue it with your magic, push a little bit of it into the staff each day, and if you’re even feeling weak or run down or low on magic, you can draw it back out from the staff.”

“Wow.” Stiles whispered in shock, amazed at the thought Luke had put into his gifts. He focused for a moment before the staff shrunk back down to the size of a pen and he put it into his pocket. “Thank you, you really didn’t need to.”

“That’s not all it can do, I mean, you can alter its shape as well, it takes a bit of practice, but if you didn’t want a staff…”

“Like a baseball bat!?” Stiles asked in excitement.

“I’m sure it could do that, yes, but it would take a lot of practice.” Luke smiled fondly.

Stiles was going to make sure he could do that as soon as possible, a piece of wood that he could carry around in his pocket and turn into a baseball bat whenever he wanted, hell yes he was sorting that out.

“I can’t believe you guys did this, thank you so much.” He said gratefully.

“Don’t forget about me!” Harry piped up, holding out a wrapped gift, “Now, it’s not lightning spell or a magic staff, but still…” He shrugged. Stiles ripped off the paper, finding a wooden box inside, he opened it slowly, letting out a small gasp when he saw two black leather cuffs inside, they were covered in metal runes, Stiles recognized them as ones for strength, healing and good fortune. Runes only worked if there was magic behind them, not only the person using them, but also, a tiny amount of magic from the person who created them, Stiles took them slowly from the box, pulling his sleeves up and fastening the cuffs over his scars, feeling the magic kick in. He couldn’t help the tears in his eyes, he’d never been giving something so thoughtful before. He pulled Harry into a hug, pressing his head into his shoulder, swiping discreetly at his eyes.

“Thank you. They’re beautiful.” Stiles whispered. He couldn’t believe that they’d both bothered to get him something, and not just any old thing, something that was truly special. They sat around for the rest of the morning, eating cake, casting a few spells, joking around about what Stiles had planned for the rest of the day, after his shoot, Stiles didn’t want to admit that he didn’t have any plans, that he’d been so focused on finding Boyd and Erica that he’d forgotten it was his birthday.

Harry passed him another bag of fan mail which Stiles threw in his jeep before they headed across to the studio. Stiles was so glad he’d figured out how to materialize and dematerialize objects now, it meant he could hide all the fan mail easily enough, although he wasn’t sure what he was going to do with it, he was going to have to get rid of it at some point.

They headed across to the studio in separate cars as Harry was going to be staying late to edit the pictures together. As soon as they got there, Stiles got out of his jeep, rubbing at the cuffs on his wrists, unable to keep the stupid grin from his face, repeatedly thanking Harry for them, the lightning scroll tucked safely away in his backpack in the boot of the jeep.

Stiles had just got changed, leaving the room and back out into the main studio when he saw Andy heading towards him, a small grin on his lips.

“Hey.” Stiles said in greeting and Andy grinned back at him.

“How you doing Stiles? It feels like I haven’t seen you in an age.”

“Erm, it was last week?” Stiles said laughing and Andy smirked.

“Yeah, it still felt like ages ago though. So, how are you?”

“Fine.” Stiles said, fiddling with his cuffs slightly, “How’ve you been?”

“I’ve been really good actually. Harry said he wanted to get a few photos done now if that’s alright? You okay for this?”

“Yeah, totally.” Stiles replied, following Andy over to the set so they could get to work. They spent a few hours posing, Stiles relaxing more and more as the day went on, Andy telling him crappy jokes as they posed, Stiles retorting with some of his own, both of them cracking up at one point, unable to keep a serious face, Andy keeping his face hidden from the camera by burying it in Stiles’ neck.

Harry called it a wrap about ten minutes after that, seemingly aware of the fact that he wasn’t going to get any more work out of the pair of them that day.

“Hey,” Andy said to Stiles just as he was about to go get changed, Andy had picked up his jeans from earlier and was rooting through the pockets for something, “Someone told me it was a special day for you today.” Andy finished, pulling out a small wrapped box. “Happy birthday Stiles.” He said, holding out the package.

Stiles was stunned, he hadn’t expected Andy to get him anything, he opened the present, his hands trembling slightly as Andy stood next to him. It was a metal charm, carved to look like a howling wolf, attached to a leather band that he could wear around his neck.

“Wow. Thanks, Andy.” Stiles whispered, slipping the necklace over his head and playing with the charm, his fingers tracing the delicate features of the wolf.

“You talk about wolves sometimes, I thought that meant you liked them, I saw it the other day and thought you’d like it.” Andy confessed.

“It’s great. I love it. Thank you.” Stiles said sincerely. He was so busy looking at the wolf that he didn’t notice Andy getting closer until his fingers were brushing Stiles’ collarbone. Stiles glanced up then, surprised to find Andy’s face very close to his, his eyes locked on Stiles’. Andy leaned forwards slowly, as if worried about scaring Stiles, before finally brushing his lips against Stiles’.

Stiles was sort of in shock, he couldn’t believe Andy was kissing him, and without a camera in sight. Andy’s lips were soft and gentle against his, kissing him tenderly, sweetly, caringly, as if afraid of breaking him. As far as first kisses went it was pretty amazing. Andy pulled away a moment later and Stiles looked up at him in shock, unable to process anything, because Andy must like him, like, like him like him, people didn’t go around kissing people that they didn’t like, right?

“Stiles!” Harry shouted and Stiles broke out of his trance, jumping slightly and turning to look at Harry. “Your phone is ringing.” He said, eyeing Stiles and Andy knowingly, Stiles blushed slightly and then moved quickly to grab his phone.

“Hello?” Stiles answered, unsure of who was ringing him.

“Stiles, it’s me, we’re in trouble. We need you. Now.”

“Jackson?” Stiles said frowning in confusion.

“Yes. Get your ass out to the old Hale house. Now. It’s an emergency!” Jackson said urgently, sounding pained, before the call cut off. That was when the panic set in. He snatched up his jacket with his keys in and raced towards the front door.

“I’ve got to go.” Stiles said when Andy reached out to stop him, “I’m really sorry, it’s an emergency.” He said, moving quickly out of Andy’s reach and running to the exit. He wasn’t going to think about how upset Andy looked.

He drove like a maniac out of town and back to Beacon Hills, glad that the Hale house was at least on this side of town. He arrived fifteen minutes later, terrified that he was going to be too late. He slammed on the brakes, skidding to a stop and almost falling out of his jeep in his haste, the wolves were all lying on the ground, crying out in pain, Jackson was propped up against a tree at the side of the driveway, his phone still clenched tightly in his hand. Stiles rushed to him first, pressing a hand against a large wound on his arm. Jackson blinked open his eyes.

“What happened? Where are Allison and Lydia? Were they with you?” Stiles asked, worried that whatever had done this could still be around.

“Alpha pack attacked us.” Jackson grunted in pain as he tried to move, “Allison and Lydia are fine, they’re back at the loft.”

“Okay, good.” Stiles said, analyzing the situation as quickly as he could. Derek was the only one not moving and Stiles was terrified what that meant. “Okay, you know the best way to start the healing process?” He asked, grabbing a stump, rolling it over to Jackson and lifting it over his hand.

“Do it.” Jackson grunted. Stiles dropped the stump, hearing the bones crunch under it, Jackson crying out in pain. He kind of felt bad about that, but he saw the healing start a few moments later and knew he’d done the right thing.

He moved to Derek next, checking that he was still breathing, he was, studying the wounds on his chest. It looked like Derek had taken the brunt of the attack, no doubt trying to protect the rest of his pack. He knew wounds from Alpha’s took longer to heal, he knew that Derek would probably bleed out if Stiles didn’t start the process right now. He clenched his fist tightly, forcing a bit of magic to help him, and then punched Derek squarely in the jaw with everything he had.

Derek roared loudly, his eyes flashing red, his claws coming out automatically at the threat and grabbing hold of Stiles.

“Easy Derek!” Stiles said, raising his hands in surrender, doing his best to stop the claws digging any deeper into his arms, “It’s okay. It’s me. Take it easy.”

“Stiles?” Derek said in confusion, blinking a few times as Stiles came into focus, what the hell was Stiles doing here? The Alpha pack could be back any second. Stiles needed to get out of here. “You need to leave.”

“We will do. Just rest up a sec, I’m going to get everyone else starting to heal and then we’ll go. Just don’t go back to sleep.” Stiles said, pulling Derek’s hands from his arms, trying not to wince, that was probably going to leave bruises. Scott was next, he had a big cut across his chest and another across his leg. He glanced up at Stiles with pain filled eyes and Stiles tried not to feel incredibly guilty when he stomped on Scott’s leg, breaking the bone as Scott howled in agony. He reached Isaac next, at least he seemed pretty much conscious, telling Stiles to just do it as barely letting out a whimper when Stiles snapped his arm. Peter also got a punch to the face, but at least he didn’t puncture Stiles’ skin with his claws, instead groaning a few times before thanking him.

He managed to get them all into the jeep with a lot of effort and a little bit of magic to enhance his strength. It was more than a little bit of a squeeze, he was going to shove one of them in the boot, but then he remembered the letters in there, he didn’t need anyone finding them. Instead, he shoved four very slowly healing wolves into the back seat of his jeep and hauled a barely conscious Derek into the front seat. He was covered in blood and dripping with sweat by the time he was done, but he was done.

He drove them back to the loft, glancing over at Derek every few seconds to make sure that he was still breathing. He called Lydia as he drove, letting her know what had happened and that he had the wolves and they were on their way back.

Both her and Allison met them downstairs, their faces etched with worry until they saw Jackson and Scott and relaxed slightly. The four in the back were almost capable of moving under their own steam by now, Derek was not. Jackson and Scott leaned on Lydia and Allison, Isaac and Peter leaned on each other and Stiles was left to deal with Derek. He dragged him out of the jeep, trying to be as careful and gentle with him as possible, pulling him towards the building, his heels dragging on the floor.

He had never been so glad to see a lift in all his life, even if it was filled with sweaty bleeding wolves. They rode up together, Lydia rushing forward and opening the door so that the rest of them could pile in. Stiles dragged Derek to the sofa, dropping him heavily onto the cushions, barely able to support his weight anymore, even with magic. He slumped to the ground in front of the sofa, his hands trembling from exertion, he shoved his hands between his knees and rested his head on his hands, trying to catch his breath for a few minutes before thinking of his next move.

He was angry, beyond angry, the Alpha pack had attacked his pack, hurt his pack, his friends, they were probably holding Erica and Boyd hostage, they had to pay. He closed his eyes, knowing that if anyone saw them right now they’d be flashing bright blue as he struggled to control the magic inside him, it was demanding vengeance just as violently as Stiles wanted it.

He took several deep breaths before finally getting it back under control and glancing up to look at the room around him. The pack were all in other seats, Lydia and Allison tending to their wounds, most of them conscious, the bleeding already stopped and the wounds healing on their own. Stiles turned around to look at Derek who still seemed to be out of it, he sighed heavily, getting to his feet and moving to the kitchen to get some clean cloths, the least he could do was see how bad the damage was under all that blood. He splashed some water on his face quickly, trying to wake himself up slightly before moving back to Derek and sitting down on the edge of the sofa.

He wiped at the blood on his chest, glad to see that the wounds did seem to be healing, even if they were quite deep, he’d nearly finished when Derek blinked open his eyes and stared at Stiles, his nostrils flaring slightly and his face tightening in anger. Stiles wasn’t sure what the hell he’d done, other than save their asses again, when suddenly Derek yanked him down onto the sofa next to him, so that Stiles was half lying on top of him, his stubble brushing against Stiles’ neck.

Stiles let out a little squeak of surprise as he pulled into Derek’s chest, the rest of the pack looking at him in surprise and then glancing to Derek for an explanation.

“You smell wrong.” Derek muttered as a reply, Stiles blushed slightly, no doubt Derek could smell Andy who was obviously not pack. Derek pulled him closer, nuzzling his nose into his Stiles’ throat, his hair tickling Stiles’ chin, it was really wrong how nice it felt, Stiles knew that. He knew Derek didn’t like him, that this was purely the wolf’s instincts to make sure that pack smelled like pack, but that didn’t mean it didn’t feel awesome.

“I didn’t have time for a shower.” Stiles whispered quietly, a little afraid that he might upset Derek and Derek would tear his throat out. He thought back to earlier in the day, to Andy kissing him, no wonder he smelled so much like him, it had been kind of nice though, although not as nice as this, but Derek was never going to think of Stiles like that, Andy did, he couldn’t just sit around waiting for Derek to maybe not want to kill him ninety percent of the time.

“What are you wearing?” Scott said a moment later and Stiles startled, glancing down at himself. He was still wearing the clothes from the shoot earlier, the white t-shirt that was mostly covered in blood now, the tight jeans, the heavy steel-toed boots and the leather cuffs Harry had given him for his birthday. It was hard to believe that had only been this morning, already it felt like a lifetime ago, so much had happened since then.

“Erm…” Stiles said, finally managing to pull away from Derek, who seemed satisfied that Stiles smelled enough like pack that he could handle it, “I was out?”

“Out? Where? Why?” Scott asked, “Is that why it took you so long to get there?”

“I was out, you know, like out. But I came as quick as I could.” Stiles said quickly, getting to his feet, trying not to say anything that would be a blatant lie.

“Out like on a date?” Lydia smirked and Stiles blushed slightly.

“It wasn’t a date.” He said quickly, it hadn’t been, they’d been working and then Andy had given him the wolf necklace and then he’d kissed him. “Anyway, the Alpha pack attacked you guys, how did they know where you were? Did you see Erica or Boyd at all?”

Derek sat up slightly, watching Stiles as he moved around the room, he wasn’t going to admit that Stiles looked amazing in those clothes, even if they were covered in blood, that was probably his fault, he knew he shouldn’t have held Stiles against him like that, but his wolf had had more control than usual, probably because Derek was hurt, and all it wanted was for Stiles to smell like him, not this other guy.

Derek stretched slightly, feeling a deep ache in his chest, but he knew it was already healing, could feel his breath coming easier, the pain dulling. He had Stiles to thank for that, if he hadn’t had come when he had then they would still be there, still bleeding out, probably dying.

“Thank you.” Derek said suddenly and Stiles stopped pacing to stare at Derek in surprise, “For coming when you did. You saved us.” Stiles gaped at him, as did the rest of the pack. Stiles closed his mouth a minute later, nodding in acknowledgement and moving back to the map, circling the place where the pack had been attacked.

“I think it’d be a good idea to head home and sleep.” Scott said half an hour later, they were no further along, other than the injuries now healing noticeably. Stiles was musing over the map, the blood now drying on his t-shirt, the rest of the pack had stripped off and gotten into clean clothes, when Derek had offered Stiles a clean t-shirt, Stiles had stared at it for a moment, seemingly considering it, before glancing at the rest of the pack, most of them still shirtless, and shaking his head.

“What’s the date?” Allison said a moment later, glancing at her watch in surprise.

“The 16th?” Scott offered, Stiles wasn’t surprised when it didn’t seem to hold any recognition for Scott. He tried his best not to be hurt by that.

“My dad’s friend is coming for dinner tonight!” Allison said panicked, grabbing up her jacket. “I said we’d both be there, come on we have to go!” She said practically dragging Scott out of the door without a goodbye.

Lydia and Jackson left not long after that, Isaac disappeared off to his room and Stiles decided to call it a night, despite the fact it was only six. He hadn’t expected Scott to remember, not really. He rubbed the cuffs on his wrist discreetly, trying to be fine about the fact that neither his dad or his best friend had remembered his birthday, at least Luke and Harry had, and well, and Andy.

“I’m going to head home too.” Stiles whispered a minute later, Peter was in the kitchen, Derek was asleep on the sofa, his wounds taking longer to heal than everyone else’s.

“Thank you again.” Peter said and Stiles nodded as he left the loft. He couldn’t wait to get out of these bloody clothes, he grabbed his jacket from the boot, throwing it over his t-shirt to cover the blood just in case anyone saw him and headed home.

His car looked like someone had been murdered in it so he cast a couple of spells to remove the blood and dirt before finally heading into the house. He wasn’t surprised to find it empty, his dad back at work no doubt. He headed upstairs, the first thing he needed was a shower, then food and then he needed to figure out what to do about this Alpha pack.

He got as far as a shower, as soon as he’d thrown on some clean clothes he couldn’t believe how tired he felt, he crawled into his bed, burying himself under the covers and slept.

“Are you off for a run?” Noah asked as he arrived home, Stiles was just tying the laces on his trainers, he looked tired, like he hadn’t slept well, Noah felt kind of bad that he was working so much, but then he had a lot to do, he needed the money to keep them afloat, make sure they had a home, and he enjoyed his job, he enjoyed helping the town.

“Yeah.” Stiles shrugged, fastening up his jumper and moving towards the door.

“Alright, well, have fun.” Noah replied as Stiles shut the door behind him. He wished he knew what the hell was going on with Stiles, he was sure it wasn’t drugs, but other than that, he had no idea. He just prayed that Stiles would open up to him eventually, tell him what was going on.

Stiles settled into a rhythm soon enough, he ran around the perimeter of the town, his mind trying to block out the images from his nightmare last night, of glowing red eyes, of Erica and Boyd screaming for him to help them. He ran faster, ran until he could couldn’t breathe, until his legs were trembling, until sweat was running off him and he could barely see straight, then he headed home.

He was surprised to see his dad still sat at the kitchen table, almost waiting for him, a pile of letters in front of him. Stiles paled, surely his dad hadn’t found the fan mail, oh my god he was going to kill Stiles, like literally kill him.

“Stiles, do you know Peter Hale?” Noah asked and Stiles nearly collapsed with relief.

“Yeah, sure, he’s Derek’s uncle.”

“He paid off our bills.” Noah said, indicating the letters in front of him.

“What?” Stiles said, trying his best to sound surprised.

“All of them, the house, the hospital, everything, it’s all paid off, all the debt.” Noah said numbly. Stiles waited in silence, knew his dad was trying to think of why Peter would do this. “I think we should go see him.” Noah said finally, getting to his feet.

“Well, you don’t need me for that right? I really need to go grab a shower?”

“Go get a shower. Then we’re going to see him together. Hurry up.” Noah said firmly, leaving no room for arguments.

Stiles raced up the stairs, jumping in the shower as quickly as he could, throwing on his clothes and then finally texting Peter.

‘Dad knows. Get your ass out of bed. We’re on our way over.’ He texted quickly before rushing back down the stairs.

“I don’t get why he would do this, do you have any idea?” Noah asked as they drove. Stiles shook his head silently, his heart racing, this was all going to come out, his dad was going to find out about the magazine and then Stiles was going to be in mountains of trouble.

Derek answered the door when they knocked, he was wearing pyjama bottoms and no shirt, the wounds from yesterday now just small scratches, Stiles wished he had werewolf healing, his hair sticking up in all directions, rubbing at his eyes as he woke up slowly and then blinking at Stiles and his dad in surprise.

“Stiles? Sheriff?”

“Hale. I’m here to see your uncle.” Noah said before pushing past him and storming into the front room. Stiles shrugged apologetically at Derek, knowing there was no way he could explain this, he hoped the lie would hold.

Peter appeared down the stairs a few minutes later, looking a lot more awake than Derek had and seeming to fight back a grin as he saw both Stiles and Noah.

“Peter. I received some letters today.” Noah began and Stiles tried not to cringe at his tone.

“Oh yes, I assume they are the ones stating that your debts have been paid off?” Peter said calmly, ignoring the way that Derek gaped at him in surprise.

“Yes. You going to tell me why the hell you did something like that? We don’t need charity; we can manage by ourselves.”

“It wasn’t charity Sheriff. Why don’t you sit down? Would you like a drink?”

“No. I want an explanation. Nobody just pays off debts of four hundred thousand dollars without a good reason.”

“I have the money, that amount is nothing to me.” Peter replied, “Besides, I owed Stiles.”

“You owed Stiles?” Noah said, turning around to look at Stiles incredulously. Stiles tried to look completely innocent, he probably failed. “Owed Stiles why?” Noah said, looking angrier by the second.

“He helped me out when I needed it. I just assumed he’d appreciate payment for those services.”

“Services?” Noah said angrily, Stiles could practically see the cogs turning in his dad’s head. “Are you sleeping with my underage son!?” Noah shouted suddenly, rushing forward and grabbing Peter by the collar. Stiles dashed forward too, pulling his dad off Peter, not missing the way that Derek had seemingly frozen in place, Stiles was glad for the commotion, it meant that his dad didn’t hear the growl coming from Derek.

Stiles couldn’t believe that his dad would think that, couldn’t believe that this was all coming apart so quickly. He’d only wanted to do something nice, help his dad out. Now they were causing a big scene in Derek’s loft, Derek was obviously pissed off about being woken up and disturbed so early and Noah attacking one of his pack members.

“Dad!” Stiles shouted, finally getting Noah to break his hold on Peter, “Stop it! Jesus! Of course we’re not sleeping together! Don’t be so ridiculous!”

“Sheriff,” Peter said, “Believe me, I would not be as stupid as to sleep with Stiles.” Stiles wasn’t sure why Peter glanced at Derek as he said that, but he decided to ignore it for now as his dad calmed down. “I do like Stiles; I’d even go as far to say I care about him. But we’re not sleeping together.” His dad was calming down now and Stiles relaxed slightly in relief. “A few months ago there was an incident, Stiles helped me. He never asked for anything in return, he was just doing a good deed. I thought it was my turn to do a good deed. Like I said, the money is a tiny amount to me, I thought it would make a difference to you. But if you’d prefer that I find another way to pay him back, well, I’m sure I could find a way.” Peter finished.

“You’re not sleeping with him?” Noah said turning to Stiles.

“Are you kidding!? No. Not a chance in hell.” Stiles replied angrily, “No offence.” He said turning to Peter who only shrugged.

Noah sank down into one of the nearby chairs, Stiles grabbing him a glass of water from the kitchen and taking it to him.

“So, the bills are all paid, the house is paid off, because you did a good deed?” Noah muttered in shock.

“Don’t sound so surprised, I can be a nice guy once in a while.” Stiles replied sarcastically.

“But it’s so much money.”

“Not to me.” Peter shrugged. They sat in silence for a few moments, allowing Noah to process the shock, Derek was glaring at Peter, Stiles wondered what the hell was going on. Derek was probably blaming Peter for his disturbed sleep, Stiles didn’t mind that, better to blame Peter than blame him.

“What’s that?” Noah said, finally looking up and seeing the map of the town pinned to the wall, large circles and crosses drawn all over it.

“Oh, that.” Stiles said quickly, panicking slightly, “Well, it’s a map of the town obviously.”

“What’s with the markings?” Noah asked, ignoring Stiles’ attempt to deflect his question.

“That’s a project I’m working on.” Peter lied smoothly, “Possible property development sites. I go out, have a look, see if it’s what I’m after, if it’s not then it gets crossed off the list.”

“You’re very dedicated to your project.” Noah said questioningly and Peter shrugged.

“It’s not like Derek is very fussy about decoration in this place. He doesn’t mind and the visual helps me.” Peter said, Derek flushed slightly when Noah’s attention turned to him, assessing him with calculating eyes. Derek glanced to Stiles for help, suddenly feeling convinced that the Sheriff would know he’d been dreaming about Stiles only moments before they’d turned up here. He tried not to look as guilty as he felt.

He saw Noah glance back at Stiles who seemed to be too busy having a whole conversation with Peter using his hands and his eyebrows. It was obvious that he was not happy with Peter at all. Derek would have to get the real story out of Peter and Stiles as soon as the Sheriff left.

Noah wasn’t an idiot, he knew there was something going on here, but he couldn’t quite figure out what. The younger Hale didn’t seem to know what was going on so he knew he wouldn’t get any information out of him, the older Hale was obviously very good at lying which meant he’d be forced to try and get the truth from Stiles, well, that would be like pulling teeth. He sighed heavily.

“Fine.” He said solemnly, “Fine, I’ll believe this was just a return of a good deed. But no more. Stiles, you are to stay away from them from now on.”

“What?” Stiles said in confusion, only just tuning into what his dad was saying.

“You heard me loud and clear. I don’t know what’s going on, I know you’re hiding something and I know it has something to do with Peter. So, until you decide to tell me the truth, and maybe even after then, I don’t want you spending any time with them.”

“Dad…” Stiles whispered in shock. Derek felt numb, he couldn’t believe the Sheriff would say something like that, he couldn’t mean it.

“Don’t argue with me Stiles. I’m your father and I’m trying to look out for you. You stay away from them.”

“What’s going on?” Isaac asked groggily, appearing from one of the bedrooms. Noah glanced at him in surprise before taking hold of Stiles’ arm quickly, Derek didn’t miss the way Stiles almost grimaced at the contact.

“Nothing. We’re leaving.” Noah said angrily, almost pulling Stiles out of the door and then slamming it behind him.

“Dad, can you just, wait a sec, please.” Derek heard Stiles say on the other side of the door.

“No.” Noah hissed angrily, “I don’t know what kind of pervert Peter is, but it’s obvious he’s grooming you.”

“What!?” Stiles said incredulous.

“You do him a favour, one time, he pays you back with an extortionate amount of money. You come over here, no doubt with the Lahey kid or whoever else is involved of all this. Next he’ll be asking you into his room, just ‘to talk’ and then next thing I know you’ll be sleeping with a man old enough to be your father.”

“Are you insane!?” Stiles replied incredulously, “Peter is not a pervert, he’s ten bags of crazy, but he’s not a pervert, and he’s even kind of over the crazy now, sort of. I still wouldn’t be bloody sleeping with him dad. I do have some common sense.”

“Give me a reason why I should allow you to then. Tell me what’s really going on.”

“You know what’s really going on dad. I told you, Peter told you. I helped him out, he repaid me. That’s it.”

Noah sighed heavily, rubbing at his weary eyes.

“I wish I could believe you kid, I really do.”

“So believe me then!” Stiles shouted.

“I can’t. I don’t. Just do as I ask and stay away from here, from them.”

“You’re not asking, you’re telling.” Stiles seethed.

“Yeah, I am, and if I find out you’re going against me on this, then believe me, I’ve got access to GPS ankle trackers and I’m not afraid to use them.”

Stiles stared at him in shock, he couldn’t believe his dad was being like this.

“Don’t look at me like that Stiles. Do you think I like being the bad guy? I’m trying to protect you.” Noah said quietly, almost guiltily, he hated when Stiles looked at him like that, it made him feel like the worst father in the world.

“Fine.” Stiles said quietly, moving towards the stairs and outside to their car. They drove home in silence, Stiles gazing out of the window. Noah had never seen his son so quiet or still before.

“I’m sorry Stiles.” He said as they got out of the car and Stiles headed towards the house, “I don’t like doing this, but I have to protect you.”

“I’m sorry too.” Stiles whispered, before entering the house, going up to his room and shutting the door.

He sat on his bed in silence, his mind racing, he couldn’t let his dad fit him with a tracker, then he’d never be able to go anywhere or do anything. Which meant that if he wanted to keep things secret from his dad, he’d have to try even harder to fool him. He didn’t want to lie to him, didn’t want to keep things from him, but his dad couldn’t find out about this world, couldn’t find out about werewolves and hunters and warlocks and all the crap that came with it. He had to keep him safe from all that.

Derek was fuming, how dare the Sheriff forbid Stiles from seeing them, okay, he could understand the guy not wanting Stiles anywhere near Peter, right now Derek was trying not to kill Peter himself, he didn’t know what the hell had happened that Peter decided it was a good idea to pay Stiles four hundred thousand dollars, but he would be getting to the bottom of it.

“Don’t glare at me.” Peter said from where he was leaning against the kitchen counter.

“Why the hell did you do that?” Derek fumed, “Stiles is our best chance of figuring out where else to check for the Alpha pack and now his dad doesn’t want him over here.”

“You want to know why then you need to speak to Stiles. Although I have a feeling you’re more worried about him not being able to come over here than about finding the Alpha pack. You can’t scent mark him if he’s not here.”

“That is not the issue right now.” Derek snarled, struggling to control his anger, he wanted Stiles, he wanted Stiles to be here. “The issue is that you paid the sheriff four hundred thousand dollars and now he thinks you’re some kind of pervert.”

“And yet you didn’t deny it.” Peter smirked. Derek growled.

“Tell me now.” Derek threatened, grabbing Peter by the collar.

“Look,” Peter said surprised at Derek’s anger, “It wasn’t my money.”

“Wasn’t your money!? What the hell does that mean?” Derek growled, his eyes flashing red.

“It means it wasn’t my money.” Peter retorted, flinching slightly when Derek slammed him into the wall, “It was Stiles’.” He said quickly and Derek stilled in surprise.

“What!?” Derek growled.

“Stiles had the money, he didn’t want his dad to know it was him, I agreed to pay the bills, using my name.”

“How the hell did Stiles get that kind of money?”

“I don’t know, he wouldn’t tell me, but he assured me that it was completely legal.” Peter insisted.

“Completely legal!? A sixteen-year-old gets four hundred thousand, refuses to tell his dad about it, and it’s completely legal? I thought you were smarter than that.” Derek said quietly, his mind racing, what the hell had Stiles got himself into?

Stiles wasn’t exactly surprised when he heard his window open hours later. He’d been sat in his room, stewing over everything for the past few hours, he’d barely moved, trying to think of a way out of this without lying to his dad even more, spending the time putting some magic into his staff, it was a bit weird but also very cool, although he hadn’t managed to make it into a baseball bat yet. He saw movement out of the corner of his eye and a moment later Derek climbed into his window.

Stiles used to fantasize that one night Derek would climb in through the window and then crawl into his bed, it had been a while since he’d thought about that though, there had been too much else going on, too many nightmares to think about anything like that.

“Stiles?” Derek asked in confusion, “Why are you sitting in the dark?” Stiles blinked, he’d been so lost in his own thoughts he hadn’t even noticed that it had gone dark. He blinked, turning to look at Derek.

“What are you doing here?” Stiles said, his voice cracking slightly.

“Peter told me the money was yours.” Derek replied quickly, leaning against the wall when all he wanted to do was rush to Stiles, hug him, hold him. He was so far gone on him it was unbelievable and he couldn’t tell him, he couldn’t do it, he knew he wouldn’t be able to handle the rejection that was certain to follow. Stiles nodded numbly. “Where did you get it? Are you in some kind of trouble?”

“It’s legal.” Stiles replied quietly.

“Are you in trouble Stiles?”

“You mean other than with my dad?” Stiles scoffed, rolling his eyes, “I’m not in any trouble. The money is legal.”

“So why don’t you want your dad to know? If you told him it was yours, then he wouldn’t be annoyed, so why don’t you just tell him?”

“I can’t.” Stiles whispered, “Then he’ll ask how I got it, and I can’t tell him that without telling him about the supernatural stuff, and he can’t know about that. I have to protect him from that.” Derek wanted to argue with him, tell him to not be so stupid, but he knew what Stiles was trying to do. He couldn’t ruin that for him.

“Alright. Fine. But we still need your help figuring out other places where the Alpha pack might be. You think you can manage to sneak around behind his back until then?”

“Yeah I can.” Stiles admitted, “Do I want to? No. But I will. I couldn’t leave you guys to deal with this alone, they nearly killed you once already, I’m going to help however I can without lying to my dad. He told me to stay away from the loft, so my idea is to suggest places to the rest of the pack at school and they can tell you.”

“Okay.” Derek replied, unsure what else to say. He wanted to comfort Stiles but what comfort could he offer him? The only thing he could do was tell the Sheriff about the supernatural, and since that was the last thing that Stiles wanted, he couldn’t do that either.

“You want something else?” Stiles asked and Derek shook his head before moving back to the window and jumping out.

He climbed back up onto the roof a few minutes later, originally it had been his plan to go home and try to find a way to fix this, but he didn’t want to leave, not when Stiles seemed so upset, which meant that despite the fact the Sheriff was home, and could possibly spot Derek, Derek stayed where he was.

Stiles flicked his light on almost an hour later, Derek thought he would be heading to bed by now, instead he moved to his computer and started looking at something that Derek couldn’t see, twiddling a small piece of wood in between his fingers, seemingly lost in thought. By the early hours he was fighting to keep his eyes open, Stiles seemed to be doing the same, getting up and pacing around his room, rubbing at his eyes, still messing with the piece of wood, splashing cold water over his face, seemingly doing anything but go to sleep. Around four Derek heard the Sheriff’s alarm go off, heard him stumble to the bathroom, and half an hour later leave through the front door. It was only then that Stiles moved to his bed, collapsing exhausted on to it and falling asleep within moments.

Derek had spent the whole night thinking, he had a plan now, he was going to prove to the Sheriff that they were decent people, which meant proving himself. He had a lot to do and he needed to get started.

“Sheriff.” Derek said in greeting as he knocked on the office door. Noah glanced up from his desk, saw Derek in front of him and frowned.

“What can I do for you Hale?” Noah asked almost coldly. It had been three days since Noah had banned Stiles from seeing them, still, Stiles had passed messages to Isaac, Allison, Lydia, Scott and Jackson and asked them to pass them to Derek and Peter. He was still helping them and not breaking his dad’s rules. Derek reminded himself to never get on Stiles’ bad side, he was good at manipulating the loopholes.

“Sir, I was wondering if you have any deputy positions available at the moment?” Derek asked a little nervously, trying not to fidget. He wouldn’t admit to anyone just how desperately he wanted the Sheriff’s approval.

His question took Noah by surprise, of all the things he’d expected the guy to come out with, it hadn’t been that. As it happened they had a lot of positions available, oddly enough nobody seemed to want to work in a town that had such a high number of animal attacks and unexplained disappearances and deaths. But Noah wasn’t sure that he wanted to work with Derek, he was still sure something was going on between Stiles and that creepy uncle of Derek’s. The less Stiles had to do with them the better. Although, Noah pursed his lips in thought, if he employed Derek, made sure he was on the same shifts as him, maybe he’d be able to find out more, figure out what was going on, and make sure Stiles stayed away from this one at least.

“Yes, we do.” Noah said eventually, he’d never seen someone look quite so relieved. “But, that doesn’t mean you can fill it. Do you have any experience working in law enforcement?”

“No sir. But I’m a quick study.” Derek answered honestly.

“It’s long hours, just as much paperwork as manual work?”

“That’s fine with me Sheriff.”

“There’s several training exercises you’d need to complete before I could even consider you.” Noah said seriously. Derek pulled several pieces of paperwork from his bag.

“I completed the online tests.” He said, handing the papers to Noah, “But I know there’s a couple of other tests you’d have to have me complete before I could sign on.” He admitted. Noah was studying the test results in front of him, Derek had obviously thought this through, was serious about it.

“Why do you want to be in law enforcement? I mean, you’ve been back in town, what, a year? You and your uncle have plenty of money, you don’t need a job, so why choose one that’s long hours, hard work and dangerous?” Noah asked and Derek paused, obviously thinking carefully about his answer.

“My uncle and I do both have money, that’s true. But I’d rather have my family. If I can help even one person from going through something like that, then I will do whatever it takes to protect them. And, in answer to why it’s taken me so long to think about it, well, it took me a long time to get over the loss of my family, and then the loss of my sister, when I wake up now, they aren’t the first things I think of, I’m not overwhelmed by this crushing grief every second of the day, and I want to start helping others, doing everything I can to make sure they don’t have to go through that.”

Noah grimaced, he’d been kind of an ass to Derek, and it wasn’t the kid’s fault. He’d been through all kinds of crap and Noah shouldn’t have dragged that up.

“Alright, fine. We’ll go out back, you can run through some of the tests out there, if I like what I see then yes you’ll have a deputy position here.”

“Thank you sir.” Derek said humbly, knowing that he should be able to manage the physical test with ease.

The first time Derek went around the obstacle course he broke all previous records. Noah stared at the stopwatch in shock and then at Derek who still looked relaxed. Noah made him run it again and again until eventually Derek was dripping with sweat and panting heavily, putting his hands on his knees and sucking in deep breaths. Nobody had done fifty times around the course before, especially not in under four hours. Noah wasn’t going to deny that he was damn impressed.

Next up was the shooting range, Noah smirked slightly as Derek missed the first time, but then he squared his shoulders, straightened up, widened his stance just slightly and hit the target dead on, repeating it over and over as Noah forced him to keep going.

There was no doubt in Noah’s mind that Derek would be a damn good deputy, but that didn’t mean Noah wasn’t going to push him to improve every time.

“Another ten times around the course while I review your scores.” He said a few minutes later and Derek nodded firmly before heading back to the course. The guy must have known what Noah was doing, but he didn’t complain, followed orders and got on with it. Noah smirked to himself, this would be fun.

Stiles was bored out of his mind, he was being true to his word and not going over to Derek’s loft, instead he was sitting on his bed at home, studying a copy of the map that Lydia had passed to him and trying to figure out where else he could suggest, pushing some more of his magic into his staff, he’d nearly got it to resemble a baseball bat a few times, but it still wasn’t quite right. It had been two weeks since Derek had come to see him and Stiles missed getting to hang out with the pack, although from what Lydia had said Derek wasn’t there that much anymore, he was off doing something else, although nobody seemed to know what.

He decided now would be a good time to go for a run, he needed to get out and clear his head a little bit, maybe then he’d be able to sleep. He pulled on his joggers and trainers, threw on a clean jumper and then headed out of the house. He found himself running around the industrial estate, most of the units had closed up for the day now, it meant it was nice and quiet and gave him time to think.

He’d been thinking about how to find Erica and Boyd, about casting some kind of spell that would help him locate them, but so far, every spell he tried just kept taking a huge amount of magic out of him, making him feel weak in the knees, and not even working properly, leading him to Erica’s house or Boyd’s house or the school, or the Argent’s house, to the basement there. He’d managed to sneak in once, just to check that they weren’t still there, thankfully neither Chris nor Allison had been home. He’d spent the rest of the evening fighting back a panic attack, his knees collapsing from underneath him, his breath coming in harsh gasps, unable to get out of that room, unable to move, pure terror running through his veins because he was back there and it was like it was all happening right then.

Eventually he’d managed to drag himself out of the house, feeling completely helpless, and collapse into his bed at home exhausted, his nightmares filled with Gerard’s smirking face. So, no, he didn’t like casting that spell anymore, but there had to be some way to find them.

He was just heading back through the town, nearing the station, sweat running off him but his breathing even and controlled, when suddenly a car pulled up next to him, it’s flashing lights on.

“What are you doing Stiles?” His dad asked, climbing out of the passenger side of the car. Stiles stopped running, taking a few deep breaths before answering.

“Running.” He replied slowly, he wasn’t sure how long he’d been running for, or even what time it was. His legs felt a little like jelly now.

“It’s the middle of the night, you have school in the morning.” Noah said frowning at him. He knew something was bothering Stiles, he just wished he’d talk to him about it.

“I couldn’t sleep.” Stiles replied evenly. “Anyway, you should get back to work, or is questioning me part of the job description?” He joked and his dad let out a little smile, at least Stiles knew he wasn’t in trouble.

“Come on, get in the car, we’ll give you a lift home.”

“I’m fine.” Stiles replied.

“Now Stiles.” His dad warned.

“Alright, I’d love to pretend this is my first time in the back of a police car, but it’s totally not.” Stiles said, sliding into the back seat and grinning at his dad. It took him a moment to realise who else was in the car and then he froze in shock.

“Derek’s decided to become a deputy.” Noah was saying as he climbed into the car, obviously unaware of how shocked Stiles was.

“Hi Stiles.” Derek said seriously. He was doing his best to avoid Stiles at the moment, until he’d proven to Noah that he could be trusted, picking him up and driving him home wasn’t part of the plan, although it was much better that Stiles running around the streets in the middle of the night, didn’t he have any sense of self-preservation? He knew what was out there, he shouldn’t be out here alone. But Derek couldn’t say any of that. It was more important that Noah trusted him.

“Hey.” Stiles said stunned, blinking a few times to make sure that what he was seeing was true. Derek was a deputy; Derek was wearing a uniform and everything. Stiles wasn’t even going to think about how hot he looked.

“He’s doing a great job so far.” Noah continued as if they hadn’t spoken and Derek smiled slightly, almost as if he was proud of himself, Stiles wasn’t going to tell anyone that it was probably the most gorgeous thing he’d even seen.

“Thanks.” Derek muttered, flushing slightly. “So, we’re dropping Stiles off at home?”

“Yes.” Noah confirmed, turning to look at Stiles, “You know, yesterday we had a mugging, and Derek managed to track the guy down in ten minutes.”

“He wore really strong aftershave.” Derek explained and Stiles fought back a laugh.

“Oh right, strong aftershave, right.” Stiles agreed, “Could you smell it dad?”

“No.” Noah admitted, “But then I guess Derek just has a better sense of smell than me.”

“Probably.” Stiles agreed, “Would you say it was almost as good as a dog’s?” He smiled, ignoring the way that Derek glared at him, before his dad laughed and Derek rolled his eyes in the rearview mirror.

“Yes, definitely, maybe we should move you to the canine unit.” Noah joked and Stiles burst out laughing at the look on Derek’s face.

They pulled up outside the house a few minutes later and Derek jumped out of the car, opening the back door for Stiles so he could get out.

“So, you decided to join the force?” Stiles asked conversationally, intrigued as to why Derek would want to do that.

“Yep.” Derek said quickly, nodding before glancing over at Noah who was getting out of the car a little slower.

“You enjoying it so far?”

“Your dad is definitely putting me through my paces.” Derek answered honestly, grinning slightly, Stiles hoped that Derek didn’t actually hear his heart stutter, because, honestly, that smile might be the most perfect thing in existence.

“No more running in the middle of the night.” Noah said over the roof of the car, “If you can’t sleep then do what normal kids do and binge watch something on the tele or something.”

“Sure thing pops.” Stiles replied easily.

“I’m serious Stiles. There’s a lot of dangerous things out here at night, it wouldn’t be the first time an animal wandered into town. Stay inside.”

“Yes sir.” Stiles said, mock saluting before sighing slightly, his face turning serious, “I will dad.”

“Good. I’ll be home later, maybe I’ll catch you before school?”

“Sure thing.” Stiles said, already turning towards the house, thinking about having a long shower to ease his aching muscles.

When he woke up the next morning, breaking out of his nightmare before he started to scream, it was to find a text on his phone from Derek.

‘Since when do you run?’ Derek asked.

‘Since running for my life became a regular thing. I thought I needed the practice.’ Stiles replied jokingly.

‘You’ve definitely improved.’ Derek replied and Stiles smiled to himself, of course, Derek could mean that he was absolutely awful beforehand and now was slightly better, but Stiles chose to ignore that, instead thinking about the fact that Derek was texting him and it wasn’t about pack stuff. He sighed, he couldn’t be thinking like that, he was getting over Derek, he knew nothing would happen between them, he couldn’t be getting his hopes up again, it wasn’t fair.

He headed to the shower, washing away the sweat from his nightmare, trying to wake himself up for the day. When he got back to his room he had another text, this one from Andy. Stiles had seen Andy twice since his birthday, they hadn’t mentioned the kiss, Stiles was pretty sure that Andy was regretting it and that was why he’d not mentioned it. They’d still done shoots as normal, although Andy had always seemed to keep his face turned away from the camera, a small smile on his lips as he pressed against Stiles.

Friday had passed by in a bit of a blur, Stiles was tired, more tired than he’d been in ages, he knew he shouldn’t have started trying to figure out a new spell for finding Erica and Boyd, before he got the first few words out of his mouth he knew it wasn’t going to work, he could feel the magic being sucked out of him, knew it was just too draining.

He’d stumbled through his classes, barely aware of what was being taught. They were no further along in finding Erica or Boyd. Derek had taken to coming to the school at home time, if he wasn’t on shift, glaring at the Alpha twins until they left. Stiles rolled his eyes whenever he saw the pack gathered in the car park, even the twins weren’t stupid enough to go up against the whole pack in the middle of the school car park.

Derek also used the time in the car park to talk to Stiles about other places they could check. They’d spread the map out on his bonnet, Stiles would point out likely places and they’d make a plan for going to check them out, without Stiles.

Stiles was doing his best to keep his word, he was staying away from Derek’s loft, but since his dad had taken such a shine to Derek recently, Stiles hoped it wouldn’t be long before his dad lifted the stupid ban.

Stiles was late leaving his last class, he had a really bad headache and was looking forward to going to sleep, Scott had been pestering him at lunch time about where else they could search and Stiles was frustrated, he didn’t know why it was falling on him to keep suggesting new places to try, surely some of the others could come up with some ideas for a change.

He could see a large crowd in the car park, seemingly crowding around another car next to his jeep. The pack were all gathered near his jeep, Jackson glaring enviously at the crowd of people. Stiles assumed that meant there was a very nice car behind all those people.

He approached his jeep slowly, trying to figure out what was going on, he could see Derek resting against the hood of his jeep, Stiles wasn’t going to think how amazing he looked, his crush on Derek was over, he was not going to think about it.

“Stiles!” A voice called out, Stiles stopped in surprise, that sounded like…

“Andy?” He asked in confusion, unsure why the hell Andy was stood in his school’s car park.

“Hey!” Andy grinned, pushing himself off the hood of his gleaming red sports car and moving towards Stiles. Stiles didn’t miss the way that everyone was turning to look at him, no doubt wondering what someone like Andy was doing talking to Stiles. Andy did look pretty good, he was wearing a tight white short sleeved t-shirt, tight jeans and a slightly worn baseball hat.

“Hi.” Stiles said unsurely, aware that the pack were glaring at him. “What are you doing here?” He whispered a few moments later.

“I thought I’d come say hi, feels like ages since I’ve seen you, I thought it would be a nice idea to come say hi.” Andy said, flushing slightly and holding the baseball hat nervously in his hands, Stiles grinned.

“Alright then, hi.” Stiles replied.

“You’re still wearing it.” Andy said, reaching out to touch the leather strap of the necklace around Stiles’ neck.

“Erm, yeah.” Stiles said, blushing slightly, he wished that half of the school didn’t seem to be watching them. He glanced back at the crowd, meeting Derek’s eyes for a moment before Stiles glanced back to Andy.

“So, look,” Andy said, turning away from the crowd, leading Stiles by the arm away from everyone to a slightly more secluded area. “I wanted to talk to you, before tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?”

“Yeah, you’re coming to Harry’s, aren’t you? Or did I get that wrong?”

“Oh, yeah, no, I’ll be there.” Stiles said, glad when Andy relaxed and grinned at him, “But what does that have to do with anything? I mean, erm, we’re not, you know…” Stiles was trying to explain without using the actual words, sure that the wolves would hear every word. Harry had called earlier in the week, explaining that there had been a special request, that an a-list celebrity had called in, willing to pay a large sum of money to pose for the magazine, on the condition that he got to pose with Stiles.

“Erm, yeah I know.” Andy said, “Which is kind of why I wanted to see you actually.”

“Not just to say hi?” Stiles teased and Andy smirked, laughing gently.

“No. Not just to say hi.” He admitted. “Actually, Stiles,” Andy fidgeted, he looked uncomfortable, nervous almost, “I, erm, you know the other week, with the, you know…” Andy said gesturing to the necklace, Stiles flushed when he thought about the kiss.

“Yeah.”

“Well, I was wondering, like, we haven’t really talked about it or anything, and I wanted to clear things up, before tomorrow.”

“Clear things up?” Stiles asked, aware that the pack were all staring at him and that Andy was standing pretty close by now.

“I like you.” Andy blurted out, quite loudly, loud enough for plenty of people to hear. “Like, erm, I really like you, and I want to do, things, like that, again, and I wanted to know if you fancied doing that too?” Andy said, his voice hushed.

Stiles was frozen, he wasn’t sure what to do, he did like Andy, but not as much as he liked Derek, but there was no hope with Derek and Andy was asking him out, he should accept, just one date, he could see how it felt, it wouldn’t do any harm, right?

“I mean, we don’t have to, it was just a thought.” Andy said, looking crestfallen. Stiles rubbed his fingers along the wolf at the end of his necklace, Andy was a nice guy.

“No. I mean, yeah, I’d, erm, I’d like that.” Stiles said, pointedly refusing to look at any of the pack.

“Really?” Andy said, looking a little stunned, but incredibly happy. Stiles nodded timidly, he wasn’t sure he’d made the right choice, but he couldn’t keep hoping for Derek to like him back. “Okay. Cool. Wow. I totally didn’t expect you to say yes.”

“Me neither.” Stiles grinned.

“So, erm, do you mind if I kiss you again?” Andy asked, reaching out to touch his arm, running a hand up it towards his neck, leaning in slightly. Stiles knew he could say no, could pull away, could stop Andy, and yet he didn’t. A moment later Andy’s lips were pressed against his, soft and gentle and tender, just like their first kiss had been, it was nice, he guessed, but it wasn’t like he’d imagined it to be. He’d always thought that when he kissed someone it would be like fireworks, sparks, electric. This didn’t feel like that at all. It was nice, but it wasn’t mind blowing. Maybe Andy was just trying to be gentle with him, maybe because he’d seen some of Stiles’ scars and he knew that Stiles didn’t like to be surprised with touch and he was just trying to show how much he cared about him.

Stiles pressed his lips a little harder against Andy’s, showing him that he wasn’t as delicate as Andy thought he was, placing a slightly shaking hand on Andy’s waist, trying to feel like this was okay and not wondering how different it would feel if it was with someone else.

A moment later Andy pulled away, smiling easily at Stiles. Stiles returned the smile, a little nervously, he couldn’t believe he was doing this, that he’d kissed Andy, that they were going to go on a date.

“We could meet up tomorrow before going to Harry’s if you like? Maybe go to lunch?” Andy asked.

“Yeah, that sounds cool. I can meet you outside Harry’s, say eleven, and then we can go from there?” Stiles replied, trying to sound relaxed when really his heart was hammering.

“Brilliant. It’s a date.” Andy grinned happily and Stiles tried to feel the same excitement as they headed back towards his jeep. Thankfully some of the students had decided to go home so the crowd wasn’t so big, although the whole pack was still stood by his jeep, Stiles tried not to blush when Andy took his hand and squeezed it gently.

“So, this is the guy you’ve been seeing all summer?” Scott asked as soon as they were within hearing distance. Some of the other students turned around to look at them, most of them looking at Andy rather than Stiles.

“Erm, well, yes we’ve seen each other, no, we haven’t been seeing each other in the way you’re meaning.” Stiles answered

“So you’re like fuck buddies?” Jackson asked and Stiles blushed furiously.

“No.” He said quickly, trying not to look at Derek, Stiles could almost feel the anger rolling off him, he assumed that Derek was pissed they were wasting time here when they could be talking through other ideas for Erica and Boyd.

“But the hickeys?” Lydia asked.

“Oh, yeah, that was totally me.” Andy said, grinning slightly, “I’m Andy by the way, nice to meet you guys.” He said, holding out his hand to shake Derek’s hand.

Derek looked almost disgusted as he shook Andy’s hand, a smile that looked so predatory, so dangerous, that Stiles was surprised Andy didn’t flinch away from Derek. He could see Derek clenching his hand slightly, the muscles in his arms tensing slightly as he shook Andy’s hand. Andy grimaced slightly and Derek smirked, breaking the grip a moment later.

“You’ve got to explain a little more here.” Allison said, “You’ve been giving Stiles hickeys but you guys haven’t been dating and you’re not fuck buddies?”

“Yeah, I mean, the hickeys were kind of an inside joke, you know, with…”

“Between us.” Stiles said, cutting Andy off quickly. Andy glanced at him in surprise, his eyes widening comically.

“So who’s Harry?” Isaac asked. Andy looked to Stiles, evidently stunned that Stiles was keeping this a secret from all his friends.

“Erm, my boss?” Andy said, almost asking Stiles if that information was allowed to be known. Stiles squeezed his hand quickly to reassure him.

“Yeah, Harry is Andy’s boss.”

“And how old are you?” Derek quizzed, “Because you know Stiles is still in school, obviously. His dad is the town sheriff too.” Stiles glared at Derek, trying to figure out what the hell the guy was doing.

“I’m twenty-four, and yes I’m well aware of how old Stiles is, and his dads career.” Andy replied, placing an arm around Stiles’ shoulder. Stiles wasn’t sure about everyone else, but the tension in the group seemed to be increasing.

“Anyway,” Stiles interrupted, trying to change the subject, “Andy, these are the guys, guys, this is Andy. Now the introductions are done, can we, I don’t know, move on or something?”

“I’m Scott.” Scott said, reaching forwards and shaking Andy’s hand.

“Isaac. You know you look kind of familiar, have I seen you somewhere before?”

“I get that a lot, but no, I don’t think we’ve met.” Andy smiled easily. Stiles quickly moved on before Isaac could say any more about it.

“I’m Lydia.”

“Jackson.”

“Allison.”

“And this is Derek.” Stiles finished, “Okay, everyone has been introduced, that’s great, good, okay, well, erm, Andy, I’ve got plans tonight with the guys, so I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Okay, yeah, can’t wait.” Andy said, leaning in and kissing Stiles on the cheek, “I’ll meet you outside Harry’s at eleven.”

“Okay. See you then.” Stiles replied, ignoring the pack as Andy cupped his cheek gently.

“Looking forward to it.” Andy grinned before moving back to his car and driving off, the engine roaring loudly as he exited the car park. Stiles let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding.

“So, where else do we need to be looking?” Stiles said, pulling out his copy of the map from the backseat of his jeep. He was met with silence, he glanced up, the whole pack seemed to be staring at him in shock.

“You’re seriously going to pretend that that whole thing didn’t just happen?” Jackson said in surprise.

“Does your dad know you’re dating a twenty-four-year-old?” Derek asked.

“Where on earth did you manage to meet a guy that hot?” Lydia asked.

“Do you know if he has any other hot friends?” Isaac asked, blushing slightly.

Stiles sighed, running a hand through his hair as he tried to gather his thoughts before moving away from the bonnet.

“Okay, yes, that’s Andy, we’re going on a date tomorrow, yes he has hot friends, I met him a couple of towns over, no I’m not going to explain how, it’s a very long story and I don’t feel like going into right now. And, no dad doesn’t know I’m going to go out with Andy or that he’s twenty-four, but since he only just asked me out I haven’t really had a chance to tell him, I’m sure you understand that, but it’s really not a big deal, so can we just drop it please and focus on the map right now?”

“Not a big deal!?” Derek replied incredulously, “Stiles, the guy is twenty-four! He’s two years older than me! He’s way too old for you.”

“Who I see or don’t see is none of your business.” Stiles hissed angrily. “So, right now, I’d really like to focus on the map.”

“If you’re dating someone then they’re on the outskirts of the pack, which means that who you date is my business.” Derek argued.

“Don’t be so ridiculous.” Stiles replied.

“I’m not being ridiculous. Scott and Allison, Lydia and Jackson, Erica and Boyd. If you’re going to be dating this guy, then there’s a risk he might end up finding out about the pack. I need to check him out before you go any further.”

“It’s one date!” Stiles said angrily, unable to believe that Derek was being so unreasonable, “I’m going for lunch with him tomorrow. If it goes well, if we decide to actually start dating properly then please, by all means, go crazy, run freaking background checks on him at the station, but until then, can you stop acting like a maniac for five minutes and focus on the map before my dad decides to check on where I am and I end up with a freaking ankle monitor?”

There was silence as the pack stared at Stiles, unable to believe he’d just yelled at their Alpha like that.

Lydia was smirking slightly because if there had been any doubt that Derek was crazy about Stiles it was obvious now. She wasn’t a wolf and even she could smell the jealousy rolling off Derek when Andy kissed Stiles. She was just surprised that Stiles hadn’t picked up on it yet, he’d no doubt realise soon enough, until then Lydia would just sit back and enjoy the show.

“Alright, fine.” Derek grunted. “I’ll drop it for now.” Derek didn’t think he’d even been so jealous in his life. He’d arrived in the car park like usual, walked over to Stiles’ jeep, aware of the admiring glances he received from some of the students, none of them were anywhere near as interesting as Stiles though so he didn’t pay them any attention. Just as he went to lean against the jeep another car came roaring into the car park and parked next to Stiles’ jeep, a red flashy sports car, the driver getting out, obviously well aware of how good he looked, grinning at the students easily, all of them struck by his car and his obvious easygoing nature. The wind shifted slightly and Derek caught his scent and instantly tensed. This was the guy that Stiles always smelled off.

Derek fought for control of his wolf, it was telling him to tear this guy’s throat out, to prove to Stiles who the better mate was, he clenched his fists, feeling the blood welling up in his hands as his claws protruded slightly. He waited as patiently as he could as it seemed like the entire school came out, but still there was no Stiles. He saw the Alpha twins, they studied him carefully as they passed, he glared at them in return. He would find out where they were holding Erica and Boyd and he would kill anybody who stood in his way.

Finally, after what felt like forever, he heard Stiles’ heartbeat, he listened as he left the school, as he approached his jeep, as he saw Andy. Andy, god what a stupid name, Derek hated it. Even more so after he had to listen to him talk to Stiles, had to listen to his heart race as he asked Stiles out, as Stiles accepted, as Andy kissed him. Derek could feel his eyes flashing red as his wolf fought to attack this guy, he clenched his eyes shut tight until the feeling passed.

Then Andy was right in front of him, grinning happily, holding Stiles’ hand, Derek had never felt such rage in all his life. He thought he managed to keep his temper under control, even if he squeezed Andy’s hand a little harder than necessary, then finally, finally, Andy was gone and Stiles was ignoring the fact that he was going out on a date with that guy. Derek knew he pissed Stiles off, knew he should just drop the subject but secretly he was kicking himself. Stiles hadn’t been dating Andy, but now he was going out on a date with him, and maybe, maybe, if Derek had just worked up the courage to ask Stiles out then they’d be going out and Andy wouldn’t even be in the picture, well, if Stiles had said yes, which he obviously wouldn’t, and then things would be awkward, so yeah, it was better he didn’t ask him out. If he just sat and stewed in his own jealousy.

Chapter Text

Stiles barely slept that night, his nightmares filled with Gerard, with pain and fear, Harry and Luke dead at his feet, Erica and Boyd screaming for him to help them. He woke up gasping for breath, sweat coating his skin, his heart racing so fast he was sure it was going to burst from his chest. He should have helped them; he should have saved them.

His dad was downstairs eating breakfast when Stiles went down to go out for his run.

“Hey kiddo. How are you feeling?”

“Fine.” Stiles lied, he was moving towards the door when he thought about his date with Andy later. “Actually, Dad, there is something I was going to talk to you about.” Noah raised his eyebrows in surprise, waiting for Stiles to continue, “Erm, yeah, so I met a guy a while ago, and erm, he asked me to go out with him? For lunch? Today?”

“And you’re asking my permission?” Noah said, seemingly not surprised by that Stiles liked guys.

“Erm, no? I mean, yes? I just, Derek picked Isaac up from school yesterday and he met Andy and he was saying that he didn’t think it was a good idea because Andy’s a lot older and that I should tell you first, and, just, erm, I thought you would want to know.”

“Derek thinks it’s a bad idea?” Noah said, smirking slightly, it hadn’t taken him long to realise that his newest deputy liked his son, he was a sheriff after all, and even if he didn’t know everything, there were some things that were just too obvious to miss. He was just surprised Stiles hadn’t figured it out yet.

“Erm, yeah, because Andy is a little older than me.” Stiles stammered.

“How much older?” Noah asked.

“He’s twenty-four.” Stiles said, clenching his fist slightly, almost as if waiting for Noah to start yelling.

“Hmm,” Noah mused, it wasn’t exactly a surprise that Derek hadn’t been happy about it. “Where did you meet him?”

“He works a few towns over, we just sort of bumped into each other one day.”

“Where are you going for lunch?”

“We were going to meet outside his work, then go get lunch, he’s working this afternoon, so it would just be for a couple of hours?”

“And you like him? You trust him?”

“Yeah.” Stiles admitted nervously.

“Okay, well, providing you’re sensible then I’ve got no problem with it. I mean, I don’t really like that he is so much older than you, but I trust your judgement. Although, I want a call when you leave, I want to know how it goes.”

“Seriously?” Stiles said in surprise.

“Seriously.” Noah nodded, “Just, don’t let him pressurize you into doing something you’re not ready for.”

“Eww, oh my god dad. It’s one date, I’m not going to marry the guy.” Stiles said, rolling his eyes as his dad laughed. Stiles fastened up his trainers as his dad finished off his breakfast.

“I’m heading to the station; you’ll call me later?”

“Yes dad.” Stiles replied easily, already halfway out of the door.

He texted Luke when he got back from his run, explaining what was happening and that he wouldn’t be coming around this morning. Luke wished him luck, saying that he would come across to the studio later in the afternoon, when they’d wrapped for the day, and catch up then.

He grabbed a long shower before going through his wardrobe and pulling out some clothes, a short sleeved black t-shirt, his normal jeans, the leather cuffs Harry had given him, the necklace Andy had given him, and some boots that he’d bought himself. He put on a jacket and headed out to his jeep, he’d thought he’d feel kind of nervous, and maybe he was, but it didn’t feel happy nervous, it felt like he wasn’t doing the right thing. He shoved that thought to the back of his mind and drove on in silence.

He smiled nervously when he got to Harry’s and saw Andy already waiting for him. He got out of his jeep, Andy grinning widely at him. Andy suggested that they go to a new place that just opened up and Stiles agreed easily. They chatted all the way through lunch, mainly about how Stiles felt about the fact he was going to be shooting without Andy today, with this celebrity instead. Stiles liked the fact that Andy tried to put him at ease about the whole thing, even though he wasn’t sure it was really working.

The longer they talked the more Stiles understood, as much as he liked Andy, he wasn’t Derek, and even though he knew that nothing was going to happen between Derek and him, he couldn’t use Andy to try and get over him. That just wasn’t fair to either of them.

They headed back to Andy’s car and Stiles took a deep breath, he was going to hate doing this, but he couldn’t lie to Andy.

“So, look, I need to be honest with you.” Stiles started and Andy turned to look at him, waiting patiently for him to continue, “I like you Andy, I do. You’re an awesome guy, you’re funny and smart and you really make me laugh, and I’ve had a really nice time today.”

“I feel there’s a but coming.” Andy said, smiling a little sadly as Stiles nodded.

“I liked someone, a while ago, and I know there’s nothing going to happen there…”

“But, you gave your heart away and you haven’t managed to get it back yet.” Andy finished for him and Stiles nodded dumbly. “I know Stiles, I figured that much out. I like you, a lot, and I know you kind of like me too. But you’re not ready for this and that’s fine.”

“Really? You’re not mad at me?”

“Of course not.” Andy grinned, “I’ve been in the situation before and I know how it feels. I’m not going to force you to date me, I want you to want to date me. And if that means I have to wait for you to be ready, then that’s fine with me.”

“What if I never get over it? What if I feel like this forever?” Stiles admitted quietly.

“You won’t do.” Andy grinned, “I know it kind of feels like that now, but you will get over it. I promise.” Andy said squeezing his hand tightly. “And, until you realise how madly in love with me you are and decide you want to date me, we’ll just be friends?”

Stiles laughed gently, Andy was a great guy, Stiles was glad he’d met him, even if they weren’t going to date. They headed across to the studio, Andy heading straight to the changing rooms while Harry pulled Stiles to one side so he could go meet this celebrity he was supposed to be shooting with.

“Stiles, I’d like you to meet Tim, he’s the gentlemen who is paying to shoot with you today.” Stiles glanced up at Tim, he was a fairly tall bloke, short dark blonde hair, bright blue eyes and a grin that looked a little maniacal as he shook Stiles’ hand. Stiles had seen Tim in a few films before, always playing the bad guy and never very convincingly from Stiles’ point of view, he personally thought that Tim wasn’t anything that special, but he wasn’t going to say that since the guy was paying Harry for the shoot.

“Hi.” Stiles said as he shook Tim’s hand, “Nice to meet you.”

“A pleasure to meet you too Stiles.” Tim grinned, still gripping Stiles’ hand tightly. Stiles pulled his hand out of his grip a moment later, glancing slightly uneasily at Harry.

“Harry, have you got an outfit picked out?” Stiles said, wanting to get away from creepy Tim as soon as possible.

“Yes.” Tim piped up, “I had an idea of what I wanted actually Stiles, if you’d be willing to agree?” Stiles didn’t like the way Tim said his name, the way it rolled off his tongue, the way he smirked every time he said it.

“Erm,” Stiles said glancing again to Harry who shrugged, “I could have a look I guess?” Stiles replied, taking the bag that Tim’s assistant held out before almost running back to the changing rooms. He was just about to look at his clothes when his phone rang.

“Hey dad.” He said in greeting, he could hear the sounds of the station in the background so he knew he was still at work.

“How did it go? Did Andy behave?” Stiles rolled his eyes.

“Of course he did dad, don’t worry. It was fine, I had a laugh.” Stiles replied, opening the bag and studying its contents.

“So you think you’re going to do it again?”

“Can we talk when you get home later? I’m just hanging out with Andy at work and I can’t really talk right now?”

“Alright. Don’t go getting in his way if he’s working. Behave yourself.”

“Will do dad. Love you.” Stiles replied, hanging up the phone quickly and starting to get dressed. He was wearing dark blue jeans that seemed to have more holes than material, and a white t-shirt that was covered in dark red stains. He wasn’t sure what to wear on his feet, shoving them instead back into his boots and heading back out. Andy was stood by the mirrors, chatting to one of the other models, he caught sight of Stiles and grinned, Stiles smiled back in reply before heading across to where Harry and Tim were waiting.

“You look amazing.” Tim gushed and Stiles blushed slightly.

“I wasn’t sure about shoes?” Stiles admitted, Harry and Tim both glanced down at his dirty boots.

“I thought bare feet would look good, vulnerable almost?” Tim answered and Harry nodded.

“Good idea.” Harry nodded, Stiles slipped the boots off easily, scrunching up his toes on the cold floor.

“Can you lose the cuffs too?” Tim asked, Stiles fiddled with the cuffs nervously, glancing to look at Harry, Harry knew about the scars under there, the scars that Stiles liked to keep hidden.

“No. They stay.” Harry said firmly and Stiles couldn’t help but nod gratefully at him.

“Alright, fine.” Tim conceded, “You hiding more scars under there?” He asked smugly and Stiles looked up at him in surprise, stunned into silence, “I’ll take that as a yes then.” Tim smirked before heading across to the bedroom set.

“You sure you’re okay with this Stiles?” Harry muttered under his breath as they walked. Stiles nodded firmly, he wasn’t going to back out of this just because Tim gave him the creeps. Tim was already stripped down, wearing just a pair of black boxers, Stiles wasn’t going to deny the guy was attractive, but still, there was definitely something off about him.

Harry started the shoot as normal, instructing them where to stand and how to pose, Tim wasn’t as easygoing as Andy or any of the others Stiles had worked with, he didn’t tell Stiles what he was about to do, instead just touching him, holding him in place, running hands over his skin, Stiles tried not to flinch every time, feeling more and more uneasy the longer the shoot went on.

Harry got called away mid-shoot, another cameraman taking over, Harry insisting that they could wait until he got back, Stiles insisting it was fine and that they could carry on, the sooner this was over the better.

Tim ran a hand up under his shirt, scratching his skin with his fingernails, trailing over some of the scars already there, Stiles couldn’t think of the right word for his expression right then, something close to awe, desire, pleasure, joy, whatever it was, it wasn’t right, but he kept going, he wouldn’t mess this up for Harry. Tim trailed a hand up to Stiles’ throat, pressing his fingers into the skin gently, leaning in, his teeth scraping against Stiles’ jaw, when Stiles didn’t immediately shove him off he dug his fingers in a little harder, cutting Stiles’ air supply off just the slightest bit, his lips twitching upwards in a smirk as Stiles tensed against him.

Stiles shoved against him a little bit, Tim pressed up against him even harder, his fingers pressing into Stiles’ throat, grinding his hips into Stiles’. Stiles shoved him harder this time, pushing Tim off him, watching as he stumbled backwards into the wall, Stiles sucked in great lungful’s of air, clutching his throat, rubbing at it, trying to massage away the marks there.

“What the hell are you doing!?” Tim snapped, getting back to his feet.

“Me!? What the hell were you doing!?” Stiles shouted back, coughing slightly, wincing as his throat throbbed.

The sounds of an argument had obviously drawn a crowd; Stiles could see Andy and Harry both pushing through to get to the front of the crowd.

“Somebody best tell me what is going on here!” Harry shouted, looking at Tim still getting to his feet, Stiles bent over, seemingly trying to catch his breath. Andy rushed forward, moving to Stiles, touching his arm gently, not seeming to mind when Stiles flinched away from him, just hovering nearby.

“You okay?” Andy whispered and Stiles nodded, not trusting his voice right now.

“Stiles?” Harry asked, Stiles glanced up at him, “What happened?”

“I’ll tell you what happened.” Tim growled, “You told me this kid was a professional. Instead he starts freaking out for no reason and shoves me into a wall.”

“That’s not what happened Harry.” Stiles glanced up in surprise, the man who had taken over the camera was staring at Tim in fury. “He grabbed Stiles by the throat, Stiles tried to shove him off and he held on tighter.” Harry stood still for a moment before storming over to Stiles, tilting his throat up, seeing the evidence for his own eyes.

“Get out.” Harry said, his voice carrying in the silence.

“He’s the one that started freaking out.” Tim snorted.

“I said, get out. Right now.” Harry snarled, turning to look at Tim with disgust. “Get out and expect a call from my lawyer.”

“Harry…” Stiles started.

“No. Shut up Stiles. I’m talking to this piece of crap. You do not touch one of my people, not now, not ever, so get the hell out of here before I call the police and make this whole thing ten times worse for you.” Harry threatened.

Tim’s assistant passed his clothes to him, following Tim as he stormed out of the building, muttering about ‘unprofessionalism’ and ‘stupid children who don’t know how to handle a joke’. Stiles rubbed at his throat as Andy looked on in worry.

“You okay?” Harry asked.

“I’m fine.” Stiles insisted.

“I should have been here.” Andy whispered, “I should have had your back.”

“I’m fine.” Stiles repeated. “Honestly. I’m fine.”

“You’re going to bruise.” Andy said, examining Stiles’ throat gently.

“It’ll be fine.” Stiles insisted, “It’s not a big deal.”

“The guy choked you Stiles, that counts as a big deal.”

“Can we just drop it please?” Stiles asked, heading to the changing rooms to get back into his own clothes. He got changed quickly, examining the red marks on his throat, using a bit of magic to reduce the redness slightly, hopefully ensuring that it wouldn’t bruise.

“Alright, everyone, let’s call it a day. Stiles, I want you to stick around for a bit, the rest of you, go home, I’ll see you on Monday.” Harry shouted.

Andy gripped Stiles’ shoulder reassuringly, smiling at him gently as he left. Stiles watched in silence as the studio emptied around him, Harry waving him into his office a few minutes later.

“You okay?”

“Fine.”

“Are you actually fine or are you just saying that to make me feel better?” Harry asked and Stiles grinned.

“I’m fine. I’ve handled worse.” Stiles admitted.

“I’m sorry Stiles.” Harry said, holding his head in his hands, “I knew the guy was odd, his aura was all off, but I never thought he’d do anything like that, I shouldn’t have left you with him.”

“It’s fine. What were you doing anyway?” Stiles asked, trying to change the subject, he hated that Harry felt so guilty about the whole thing.

“Luke called, he wanted to let me know we might have a problem.”

“A problem?”

“Our kind of problem.” Harry answered and Stiles sighed.

“Do we know what kind?”

“Not yet. Luke is going to come across here, we’re going to go through what he’s find out and then go from there. Are you okay to get involved in this? It’s fine if you want to go home and rest up.”

“And leave you two to deal with whatever if it that’s freaked out Luke so much?” Stiles grinned. “Not a chance.”

Luke arrived about twenty minutes later, by which time Stiles had healed the marks on his neck, he didn’t need his dad to see them. He was still rubbing at his neck though, still feel Tim’s finger tightening on his neck and knowing that he couldn’t do anything without revealing the fact he had magic. He needed to learn to fight, not just how to do magic, but how to properly fight.

“What do you know about it?” Harry asked as soon as Luke had arrived.

“Not much.” Luke replied, “I didn’t even get a good look at it, just the body it left behind.”

“What about the body? Did it look like an animal attack? Werewolf? Vampire?”

“No marks, I think, if I didn’t know better, I’d say it was a soul-eater.” Luke replied, Stiles gulped. Soul eaters killed ninety-nine per cent of their victims, the one percent that did survive might as well have died, there was nothing left of them just a blank stare.

“But soul eaters died out, the books said they went extinct years ago.” Stiles said in shock.

“The books aren’t always right. You know that, after all, Zduhać are extinct too.” Harry said, packing up his things so they could go out to the cars.

“Do either of you know how to kill a soul-eater?” Stiles asked a little nervously as they headed out to their vehicles.

“A shot to the heart should do it, we’d need sacred ash to do it though.”

“A sacred ash stake?” Stiles asked, “Don’t suppose you have one lying around the shop?” He smirked and Luke shook his head.

“I wish. I’ve been after one of those suckers for years.” He admitted, grinning slightly at Stiles.

“I might be able to track one down.” Harry answered, ignoring the look of astonishment Luke was giving him, “So I don’t hoard artifacts, sue me.” He answered and Stiles snorted in amusement.

It was then that things went to hell.

Stiles was sure that moment would be burned in his memory forever, Harry grinning, Luke half laughing in response, looking at his brother fondly, Stiles stood next to his jeep, ready to get in and follow them back to Luke’s. The next moment Luke was being slammed backwards into the car behind him, flying over the bonnet and hitting the ground hard on the other side.

Harry rushing towards his brother, only to be thrown backwards, hitting the building on the other side of the road and sliding to the ground unconscious, then the thing that had attacked turned his attention to Stiles.

It was more shadow than anything else, a darkness that didn’t really hold any shape, long clawed fingers, glowing red eyes, coming straight for Stiles.

Stiles reacted instinctively, firstly throwing up shields around Luke and Harry so it couldn’t get to them again, then using his magic to protect himself. The creature passed through his barrier like it was nothing. Stiles threw his hands forwards, shaking the ground, throwing part of the pavement up to hit the soul eater.

It didn’t have any effect.

Stiles took a step backwards, casting another spell to create a small twister that would move the creature. The wind whipped around Stiles, his clothes and hair blowing in all directions, but the soul eater kept coming. He took another step backwards, hitting the jeep behind him. The creature was right in front of him by now, its hands reaching out, reaching towards Stiles.

Stiles cast another spell but it too had no effect, he moved to the side, the creature catching him and throwing him into the wall, he hit his head hard, felt the wall scratch his cheek, he staggered to his feet, ready to cast another spell when hands tightened around his throat, squeezing too tightly, Stiles couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. There was a mouth full of sharpened teeth coming towards him, shadowy hands gripping his throat tightly, holding him in place.

He reached upwards, the soul eater slowly gaining a solid form, black mist beginning to wrap itself around Stiles, he thrust all of his magic into his hands, feeling the magic burn the solid flesh under his fingertips, heard the soul eater screeching in agony before it faded into nonexistence. Stiles stared at the empty space where the soul eater had been for a full minute before Luke groaning tore him from his shock.

He moved as quickly as he could around the back of Harry’s car to find Luke on the floor.

“Hey, you okay?” Stiles said, bending down next to him, Luke groaned in reply, nodding slightly and wincing, raising a hand to a large cut behind his ears. “It’s okay, it’s not that bad.” Stiles said, assessing the injury as best he could, lending Luke some of his magic to help heal it as best he could.

As soon as he’d done that he got to his feet, staggering slightly as the pain hit him, before rushing across to Harry. Stiles could hear sirens approaching and he knew he had to hurry, he had no idea what had happened to the soul eater and they needed to get out of here before the police showed up.

He got to Harry and knew there was no hope of them getting out of here before the police showed up, Harry was covered in blood, all seeming to come from a wound at the back of his head. Stiles started trying to heal him straight away, Luke stumbling over, holding on to the unconscious Harry with pure terror in his eyes.

“Harry? Harry, wake up.” Luke mumbled, using his magic to heal Harry as best he could in his weakened state. Stiles could see the wound beginning to heal, pressing a hand to Harry’s neck and relaxing slightly when he felt a strong pulse under his fingertips.

A police car pulled up a moment later, two officers locating them with ease and rushing over to them.

“Sir? Are you okay? Can you tell me what happened?”

“My brother.” Luke sobbed, “You have to help my brother.”

“Okay, sir, we’re calling an ambulance, are you hurt? Do either of you need an ambulance? What are your names? Can you tell me what happened?”

“We’re fine.” Luke insisted. “I’m Luke Harper, this is my brother Harry, and this is Stiles.”

“Stiles?”

“Stilinski.” Stiles nodded numbly. He thought he may be in shock, his head hurt, so did his cheek and his throat.

“Stilinski? Like Noah Stilinski.” The other officer asked in surprise and Stiles nodded quickly.

“He’s the sheriff in Beacon Hills.” Stiles informed them.

“I know. I’ll give him a call; tell him we’re taking you to the hospital.”

“I don’t need the hospital. I’m fine. You just, you need to help Harry.” Stiles stuttered, he was shaking, another sign of shock, his throat almost throbbing now.

“Okay, don’t worry, we’re going to help him.” The officer said reassuringly. “Can either of you tell me what happened?”

“There was a man.” Luke said quickly, “We came outside and he jumped us. Hit me in the head, shoved Harry over, he hit his head, I don’t know what happened then?” Luke said glancing to Stiles.

“Erm, he came straight at me, grabbed me,” Stiles touched his throat, feeling phantom fingers still digging into his skin, “I heard the sirens, he must have panicked, I shoved him off and he ran.”

“Do you remember which direction he ran Stiles?” Stiles frowned, trying to think what he could say, his head was throbbing.

“I don’t know.” He said, trying not to wince at the pain, “I just, I’m sorry, it was, it’s just a bit of a blur. He let go of me, I fell, when I looked up, he was gone.”

“Okay, that’s okay. I’ll call your dad, let him know what’s going on.”

“I’ll call him.” Stiles said, digging his phone out of his pocket, if his dad heard from another officer that Stiles had been hurt, he’d probably have a heart attack before he got here.

“How long until the ambulance gets here?” Luke asked, he was looking paler by the second as Harry still didn’t wake up.

“A few minutes’ sir. We’ll get your brother seen to as soon as possible.”

“Stiles, hey kiddo, I’m just leaving the station, you at home yet?” Noah answered happily.

“No dad, look, don’t panic…”

“What’s wrong? If you say don’t panic it usually means I need to panic.” Noah said, suddenly serious, Stiles could already hear the worry in his voice.

“Look, there’s been a bit of an incident, I’m here with a couple of deputies from Sparrow Fall…”

“Let me talk to them Stiles.”

“Dad, honestly I’m fine.” Stiles started.

“No. Let me talk to them.” Noah said seriously and Stiles handed the phone over to the nearest deputy.

“Sheriff Stilinski sir.” The first officer said, “Officer Lincoln sir.”

“What’s happened to my boy? Is he alright?”

“Yes sir. He’s a little banged up, but he’s okay.”

“Banged up? Tell me what happened.” Noah demanded. He was going out of his mind, already racing over to Sparrow Falls, determined to get to Stiles as soon as possible. He knew he shouldn’t have let Stiles out of his sight, he never should have let Stiles go out with this Andy guy. If it had something to do with him then Noah would kill him.

His day had been pretty quiet, other than Stiles telling him that he was going on a date with a twenty-four-year-old, but he kept quiet, pretended it didn’t bother him, because at least Stiles was telling him, at least he was talking to him, apparently, he had Derek to thank for that. Which meant that when Derek arrived for his shift a little later Noah called him into his office almost immediately.

“Sir?” Derek said a little nervously.

“I spoke to Stiles this morning, he told me about this date he’s going on today.” Noah said, noticing the way that Derek tensed slightly, he fought back a smirk, it was obvious that Derek was completely smitten with Stiles. “He also told me that you were the one to insist that he tell me.”

“I wasn’t at the school to see Stiles. I’m staying away from him, like you asked. I was just picking up Isaac.” Derek mumbled, horrified he was about to be fired as Noah sat in silence across from him.

“Actually, I wanted to say thank you. Stiles has been keeping a lot from me, I know he has, and you, well, you got him to tell me something that he probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. I appreciate that.” Derek was stunned into silence, of all the things he’d expected Noah to say, it hadn’t been that. Noah took a deep breath and then sighed heavily, “Also, I think I made a mistake, judging you and your uncle when I didn’t really know you. I’m not going to say I like your uncle, and I won’t ever understand why he did what he did, but, I think I was a little harsh telling Stiles to stay away from both of you.”

Derek sat in silence, trying to process what Noah had just said, trying not to get his hopes up, that Stiles would be able to come over to the loft again, that Derek would be able to spend hours sat next to him, inhaling his scent, covering Andy’s scent with his own.

“You don’t mind if Stiles comes over to the loft again?” Derek muttered, shock in his voice.

“On the condition that you are there. I trust you. I’m still not sure on your uncle. I know Stiles is smart enough to make his own decisions, and god knows I’d rather he was dating you than this Andy guy, but I don’t want him alone with your uncle. Agreed?”

Derek stared at Noah in shock, unable to comprehend what he’d just said.

“You… you’d be okay… I mean... you wouldn’t mind… erm…what I mean is…”

“I think you’d be good for Stiles and he could be dating someone a lot worse, like your uncle for instance. It’s obvious you like him, I don’t know how he feels about you, but, if he likes you too, then I won’t stand in your way.”

It took Derek a few moments before he could speak, unable to believe that Noah would give him his blessing as it were.

“Thank you, sir.” Derek said humbly, unable to find any other words to express his gratitude.

“That being said; if Stiles isn’t interested then you leave him alone, and, if you hurt or upset my boy in any way, I will make sure you never work in any law enforcement agency again. Are we clear?”

“Crystal.” Derek replied solemnly.

Derek spent the rest of the afternoon feeling like he was on cloud nine, he knew he still had a long way to go, but Noah was letting Stiles see them again, that was a start. He heard Noah answer his phone to Stiles, ask him how it had gone, if Andy had behaved. He tried not to hate the fact that Stiles was out with Andy right now, but he just had to hope it didn’t go so well, he knew that was mean, he did want Stiles to be happy, he just wished it was with him.

He left the station not long after, he was up to date with his paperwork so he decided to take a drive around the town and see if there was anything happening. He also used it as time to see if he could smell any of the Alpha pack or Erica and Boyd, although that never happened, he was beginning to give up hope.

When he arrived back at the station, after having no luck finding any trouble, and nearing the end of his shift, he found Noah still sat in his office reviewing some paperwork.

“I’m leaving now sir.” Derek said from the doorway, Noah glancing up at him in surprise and then at the clock.

“Didn’t realise it was that time already.” Noah said, rubbing his eyes slightly, “Alright, you get off Derek, I’ll be right behind you.”

“Okay. See you Monday sir.” Derek said politely before leaving for the day.

Noah had sat at his desk, studying the paperwork for another ten minutes before finally calling it a day. He packed up his things, shoving the paperwork into his bag and heading out of the door. He’d only just gotten into his car when Stiles called and as soon as he said the name of the town Noah had switched the sirens on and raced there.

“Just, tell me what happened, please.” Noah pleaded to deputy Lincoln.

“There was an attack, Stiles had been hurt, but he is okay.”

“What kind of attack? Was it Andy? I’ll kill that bastard.”

“Dad!” Stiles said, snatching the phone back from Lincoln when he heard his dad getting irate. “It wasn’t Andy. I don’t know who it was, he was wearing like a ski mask or something. I’m fine. The ambulance just arrived, it’s going to take Harry to the hospital now.”

“Harry? Andy’s boss Harry? What were you doing with him?”

“Look, dad, I’ll explain everything I promise. Just, can you meet us at the hospital, please?” Stiles asked, his voice cracking slightly as his throat throbbed painfully.

“Of course, of course I will, Stiles, I’m on my there now, I’ll be there in twenty minutes’ okay, I’ll be right there. I love you. I love you so much kid.”

“I love you too dad. I’ll see you there.” Stiles hung up the phone, his hand shaking slightly. The ambulance crew loaded Harry into the ambulance quickly, Luke following after him. Stiles tried to get to his feet but couldn’t, his throat was killing him, as was his head, he thought he might just rest here for a few minutes.

“Come on Stiles, your dad will be waiting for you at the hospital.” Deputy Lincoln said, offering out his hand to help Stiles up. Stiles took it gratefully, surprised at how weak he felt as he got to his feet, Lincoln clearly getting a look at his neck for the first time and wincing, “That looks bad kid, let’s get you to the hospital and checked out.”

“I’m fine.” Stiles replied automatically, both hands shaking with shock, his voice cracking in pain.

“Sure sounds it.” Lincoln replied sarcastically.

The drive to the hospital was a quiet one, Stiles sat in the back of the police car, a small dressing pressed against his bleeding head as the two officers asked him as many questions as they could think of. Stiles tried to keep everything straight in his mind, but considering his head was spinning he wasn’t sure how good of a job he was doing.

“Can we just, can we take a break?” Stiles asked as they pulled up at the hospital, “I just, my head hurts, I think I just need to rest for a few minutes.”

“It’s best to get as many facts as we can while everything is still fresh in your mind.” Lincoln explained as they climbed out of the car, Stiles needed to lean against the car to keep himself upright.

“I know that, I know how it all works, but, please, I just, I need to sleep for a little while.” Stiles confessed.

“Stiles!” He heard his dads voice, glanced up to see him running from the entrance of the hospital, a look of pure worry on his face. “Oh my god,” Noah said as he looked at the finger shaped bruises on Stiles’ neck, at the cut on his cheek and the obvious wound at the back of his head, “Are you okay? Jesus, kid, are you alright?”

“I’m fine dad.” Stiles said, glad he had his dad to lean on as they made their way towards the hospital.

“We’re just trying to get a statement from Stiles as to what happened.” Lincoln explained, “We want to catch the monster that did this.”

“What’s most important is getting my son seen to by a medical professional.” Noah hissed angrily, “His statement is no use at this stage when he’s suffered a head injury, there’s no telling what damage has been done. I’ve seen the state of the other two, it looks like Stiles got off easily.”

“You’ve seen Harry and Luke?” Stiles asked in concern.

“Yeah, they’re both fine kid, Harry has woken up, he was asking after you, making sure you were okay. Luke’s fine too. Both just wanting to check you are okay and get home to rest.” Noah said, escorting Stiles to the front desk where he could be checked in.

Stiles’ head was pounding, he sat down in a seat next to his dad to wait, resting his head on his dad’s shoulder, closing his eyes for just a moment. What felt like only a moment later he was being awoken by a bright light being shone in his eyes, he blinked blearily, coming back to consciousness slowly, batting at the person who was blinding him.

“…iles, that’s it, open your eyes, good, that’s good Stiles. Are you awake now?” Stiles blinked a few times until finally a nurse came into view. He nodded slowly. “You’ve suffered a serious concussion, you’ve got a bad head?” He nodded, wincing when his head throbbed viciously, “You took a hard blow to the head in the attack, you passed out in the waiting room, gave your dad a bit of a scare.”

“Is he okay?” Stiles muttered.

“I’m fine Stiles.” Noah replied wearily from where he stood in the corner of the room, he couldn’t believe that Stiles was worrying about him when he’d been the one who was attacked.

“What it means for you Stiles is plenty of wake-up calls in the middle of the night, you can’t be allowed to sleep for more than two hours at a time for the next twenty-four hours. Okay?”

“Okay.” Stiles agreed, hating the idea of it already.

“I’ll make sure of it,” Noah said seriously, “Is there anything else we need to know?”

“Take it easy with the talking, your throat is going to be sore for a few days at least, probably closer to a week, the cut on your cheek is mainly superficial, but I’m going to cover it, just until the bleeding stops, it’ll probably have scabbed over by morning.”

“Anything else?” Noah said with worry.

“I’m going to prescribe you some painkillers, you’re going to have a bad head, I’d advise taking the next couple of days to just rest.” The nurse advised them.

Stiles nodded submissively, listening to the instructions as best he could before he could be released to go home. Harry and Luke were both waiting for them in the waiting room, Luke pacing anxiously, Harry sitting down, looking exhausted, a bandage around his head, but otherwise okay.

“How are you feeling?” Luke asked as soon as they appeared.

“A bit sore, but I’ll live.” Stiles replied, hugging Luke and then Harry tightly, Noah cleared his throat and Stiles turned around to look at him in surprise, “Oh, sorry, this is my dad, dad, this is Luke and Harry.”

“Sheriff Stilinski sir, pleasure to meet you.” Luke said, “Just wish it was under better circumstances.”

“Me too.” Noah agreed, “Can you remember what happened? Just Stiles here seems to be a bit blurry about some things, he was even talking about shadows in there for a little while.”

“I was?” Stiles said in surprise.

“Yeah, you were really out of it kid, you had me worried.” Noah said, clapping a hand on Stiles’ shoulder, obviously taking comfort from the fact that Stiles was here and alive and okay.

“Well, Stiles and Andy had gone out on their date.” Harry began, wincing slightly, “Stiles decided to hang around the unit while Andy was working, I didn’t mind, he’d a good kid. We finished up for the day and I wanted to chat to Stiles about maybe working for me. Andy left before us. We went outside, Luke was coming to meet me so we could go out for tea, somebody attacked him, threw him over the car, I turned to help and then I was getting thrown backwards. I don’t remember much after that.” Harry lied easily. Stiles was impressed, he mixed enough truth in with the lie to make it believable. Stiles hoped he never became that good at lying to his dad.

“If it wasn’t for Stiles, I don’t know what would have happened to us.” Luke admitted honestly.

“That’s my son, always getting into messes he doesn’t belong in.” Noah smiled, the concern still evident in his eyes. “Well, we best be getting home. Stiles has quite a bad concussion so he’s going to spending the next couple of days in bed.”

“Okay, no problem. Feel better soon Stiles.” Harry said, clapping a hand to is arm, “And thank you again, for saving us.”

“I’ll feel better when I know they’ve caught the guy.” Stiles said, hoping he was getting the message across, that he didn’t know if he’d killed the soul eater, or if it would be coming back anytime.

“I’m sure they will.” Luke agreed, “Don’t worry about it.”

“Oh, erm, Stiles,” Deputy Lincoln said as they were leaving the hospital, “I wanted to give you this.” He handed Stiles a piece of paper, “It’s my number, you know, if you want to grab a drink sometime or something.” He finished, blushing slightly when Noah glared at him in exasperation. Stiles taking the note and nodding as he shoved it into his pocket.

Stiles fell asleep in the car on the way home, his dad shook him awake when they got back to the house, he climbed up the stairs to bed, lying down carefully, closing his eyes and falling asleep within moments.

His dad woke him up every two hours religiously, it took him until Sunday afternoon to realise he’d left his jeep outside the studio.

“Don’t worry about it, Luke called to say that Harry would drop it off for you tomorrow.” Noah reassured him before he went back to sleep.

By Sunday evening he was feeling a little better, his throat still ached and his head hurt, but it was nowhere near as bad as it had been.

Noah and Stiles sat at the kitchen table, Noah had cooked them a light supper, Stiles was grateful for it, his stomach was still a little queasy and his dad was not the best cook.

Stiles woke up the next morning, still a bit sore but ready to go back to school, to get out of his bed. His dad offered to give him a lift to school on his way into the station, Stiles accepted it gratefully, he really didn’t want to walk anywhere right now.

“Oh, I forgot to mention,” Noah said, he was tired, waking Stiles up every two hours had definitely taken a toll on him, “I spoke to Derek on Saturday. I’ve decided I was too harsh before. You’ll be allowed to go to the loft,” Stiles looked at him in disbelief, “On the condition that you are only there when Derek is there, I don’t want you alone with that uncle of his.”

“Seriously?” Stiles said in disbelief, he couldn’t believe that he wouldn’t have to sneak around anymore.

“Derek already agreed to it. If you agree to, then you’re free to go over there whenever they want you.”

“Sure. Yeah. I mean, yes, of course I agree.”

“Good. You didn’t tell me how your date with Andy went by the way? Are you going to see him again?”

“I’m supposed to avoid talking.” Stiles said indicating his throat and Noah laughed lightly.

“Alright, I just want to know if I need to meet the guy or not?”

“Not yet, no.” Stiles said, glad when they pulled up at the school.

“Alright, that’s not really an answer, but, I’ll let it slide. Harry said he’ll have your jeep dropped off at the school before home time, but if it’s not here for any reason, give me a call and I’ll come pick you up.”

“Okay dad. See you later.” Stiles said, climbing out of the car slowly. He’d pulled on an old baseball cap that morning, trying to hide the large bruise on his cheek as best as possible, covering the still healing wound on the back of his head, and a larger hoodie to cover the bruises on his throat. He’d tried to heal his wounds himself, but every time he closed his eyes he either fell asleep or the room span until he felt sick, not to mention his dad might have noticed if Stiles had healed overnight.

He managed to get through two classes before anyone from the pack noticed the bruises and then they were looking at him with horror.

“I’m fine.” He insisted every time one of them asked, he couldn’t wait for the day to be over, why did he think it was a good idea to come into school? He should have stayed in bed.

Derek had gone into the station feeling quite good, he was planning on going to the school after his shift and meeting the pack, although this time, he’d be asking Stiles to come back to the loft, to study the map there, to spend hours with them, with him.

He’d noticed that Noah looked a little more tired than usual, but didn’t really pay it any attention until he’d gone in after lunch to get him to sign some paperwork and Noah had signed it without even looking at it.

“Are you okay sir?” Derek asked, a little worried.

“Yeah, just a long weekend.” Noah confessed.

“Everything okay?”

“Yes, just, Stiles, he managed to get a concussion on Saturday, I had to keep waking him up every two hours. It was hard work.”

“He got a concussion?” Derek said, his heart starting to race.

“Yes. No doubt he’ll tell you about it later. I’m working a double so I assume he’ll be free if you wanted to invite him over?” Derek tried not to blush.

“Erm, maybe.” Derek admitted, “Although, if he’s got a concussion he’ll probably want some peace and quiet after a day at school. Going home might be a better idea.”

“Well, whatever you think.” Noah said, smiling slightly and dismissing Derek from his office.

Derek spent the rest of his shift wondering what the hell had happened that Stiles had got a concussion, he wanted to text him, find out what had happened, but he didn’t want to pester him if he was busy. He thought about texting the pack, but he knew that they’d no doubt mock him for being so worried over nothing.

Stiles was the first to leave his last class, he was tired, his head aching, his throat throbbing, all he wanted was to go home, close his curtains and lie in the dark for the next week. Instead, when he got to the car park, he saw Andy waiting for him next to his jeep, pacing nervously.

“Stiles.” Andy said as soon as he saw him, rushing towards him, taking in the injuries. “Oh god, Harry told me what happened earlier, I came across as soon as I could.” Andy trailing his fingers gently over the cut on his cheek, “Is this from Tim? Or the attack?” He said, gesturing to the bruises on his neck.

“The attack.” Stiles admitted quietly. “Tim didn’t leave any bruises, don’t worry.”

“God, Stiles, Christ, I should have been there.” Andy was beating himself up and Stiles felt really bad about that.

“It’s alright, you can’t be everywhere at once. It wasn’t your fault.” Stiles said reassuringly, seeing the rest of the pack beginning to exit the school and make their way to the car park, he even saw Derek pull up and get out of his car and head in his direction.

“I’m sorry Stiles.” Andy said, bushing his fingers against the bruises, “I’m so sorry, I wish, I just, I’m sorry. This should never have happened.” He whispered.

Stiles barely had time to react before Derek was there, pulling Andy away from Stiles and practically growling at him, Derek turned to look at Stiles, he saw the bruises, the one on his cheek, the ones at his throat. Stiles saw his eyes flash red, he gulped.

“Did he do this to you!?” Derek growled low in his throat, pulling off Stiles’ hat, studying the injuries more closely, his fingers firm but gentle on Stiles’ jaw, on his throat. Stiles tried not to react to that, instead shaking his head slowly.

“Of course I didn’t.” Andy replied angrily.

“I wasn’t talking to you.” Derek snarled. “Now, did he do this to you Stiles?”

“No. Don’t be ridiculous. Andy had nothing to do with this.” Stiles croaked and Derek winced, Stiles figured he must sound worse than he thought.

“Now, if you don’t mind, we were having a private conversation.” Andy snapped and Derek turned toward him, putting himself between Andy and Stiles.

“Actually, I do mind.” Derek growled. Stiles could see a crowd starting to gather, he shoved the hat back onto his head as gently as he could and did his best to ignore the looks he was getting.

“Weird, but I don’t think it’s any of your business, so why don’t you back off?” Andy retorted.

“Stiles is my business. Why don’t you back off? The first time we meet you is Friday and the next night he’s got a concussion and looks like someone tried to strangle him. Excuse me if I’m not willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.”

“I told you, it wasn’t him Derek. Now can you just give us a minute please?” Stiles said, trying not to get excited when Derek said that Stiles was his business, he only meant in a purely pack way, Stiles shouldn’t read any more into it.

“I don’t trust him. He’s dangerous.” Derek growled, turning to glance at Stiles, his eyes flashing red for a moment. Stiles reached out, placed a hand on his arm, feeling bad that Derek was so close to losing control, all because Stiles had brought Andy into their lives, and he wasn’t pack and it was making Derek struggle for control of his wolf.

“Derek, it’s okay. You don’t have to trust him, just trust me. Trust me, okay?” Stiles insisted, glad when Derek seemed to relax slightly under his touch. Stiles moved around him, reaching Andy and pulling him across the car park to his own car.

“He thinks I’m dangerous!? He should take a look in the mirror.” Andy snapped.

“He doesn’t think you’re dangerous.” Stiles replied quietly, “He’s just looking out for me. That’s all.”

“You don’t actually believe that?” Andy said sarcastically and Stiles paused in confusion.

“Derek is a good guy, he’s just protective, you don’t need to be afraid of him.”

“I’m not afraid of him.” Andy replied, “I’m worried about you, that’s all.” He said, cupping Stiles’ cheek gently, “I don’t want anything else to happen to you, and yet, you just seem to keep running into danger.”

“I think it finds me actually.” Stiles admitted, moving gently out of Andy’s touch as they both shared a grin.

“Just, look out for yourself, that’s all I’m asking.”

“I always do.” Stiles replied, “I’ll see you on Saturday, right?”

“Definitely.” Andy smiled. “No repeats of this though, or anything else.” He said raising his eyebrows. Stiles nodded seriously.

“Agreed.” Stiles grinned.

“Oh, Harry put some things in the boot of your jeep, when you get a chance.” Andy finished, pulling Stiles into a quick hug before jumping into his car and driving out of the car park. Stiles walked back to his jeep, seeing the whole pack waiting for him, he was exhausted, he just wanted to go to sleep.

“Isaac, take my car back to the loft.” Derek said, throwing his keys to Isaac, “I’ll bring Stiles.” Stiles felt like arguing about how Derek shouldn’t just talk like he wasn’t there, but he couldn’t be bothered, he climbed into the passenger side of his own jeep, letting Derek take the wheel and leaning his pounding head against the cool glass of the window. Derek waited until they were out of the car park before he reached over, touched Stiles’ arm gently and began draining the pain. Stiles sighed gratefully, barely opening his eyes before he drifted off to sleep.

When they got to the loft the rest of the pack was waiting patiently for them, Stiles was fast asleep, despite it being only a ten-minute drive away, he looked so peaceful that Derek didn’t want to wake him, instead he opened the passenger door, slid a hand easily under Stiles and lifted him into his arms, Stiles’ head resting gently on his shoulder. He carried him up to the loft, fighting back a fond smile when Stiles nuzzled into his shoulder, he couldn’t let the rest of the pack know just how adorable he found it.

He lay him down on the sofa, not wanting to let go of him, covering him with a blanket before sitting down next to him, still drawing the pain from his injuries, Stiles‘ head resting gently in Derek’s lap. Derek reached down, running his fingers softly through Stiles’ hair, soothing him as best he could, enjoying the feeling immensely.

“Did the Sheriff say what happened?” Scott asked, “We tried to get him out of him at lunchtime, but he barely said a word, just that it wasn’t that serious.”

“It looks pretty serious to me.” Derek whispered, still draining pain from Stiles, he wondered how Stiles had managed to get through the day when he was in that much pain, but then, he was always surprised by Stiles, he always managed the unexpected. “No, Noah just said that he’d got a concussion.”

“Isn’t he going to be annoyed if he finds out Stiles is here?” Peter asked a little nervously.

“No. He’s agreed to let Stiles come over, on the condition that he’s never alone with you, for some reason he doesn’t trust you.” Derek replied and Peter smirked slightly.

“I can’t imagine why.” Peter sad dryly.

Stiles was dreaming, he dreamed of shadows with glowing red eyes, of Gerard, of Erica, of Boyd, he couldn’t stop them, couldn’t save them. He knew the nightmare was reaching its climax, that soon he would wake screaming and there was nothing he could do about it. Then suddenly it stopped, he could feel soft hands running through his hair, a deep voice reassuring him that everything was fine, he slipped back into a deeper, dreamless sleep.

Derek sat stroking Stiles’ hair for what must have been hours, reassuring him gently when he heard Stiles’ heart start to race as if he was having a nightmare. He saw Peter smirking at him and pointedly ignored him. The rest of the pack were chatting quietly, trying to suggest new places to look, discussing what could have happened to Stiles, talking about things that had happened in school that day.

Derek eventually had to get up to use the bathroom, managing to move out from under Stiles and get up from the sofa without disturbing him. He glanced at Stiles, still fast asleep, before going to the bathroom.

Scott was watching Stiles with worry, he needed to know what had happened to him, at the moment all he could imagine was that Andy had hurt him somehow, Stiles had been insistent that that wasn’t what happened, but what other explanation could there be? Was Stiles deluded enough that he thought it was okay for Andy to hit him? Did he think that it was normal? Was he that desperate to go out with him? Scott was going to have to speak to him.

Derek had only been gone two minutes when Scott heard Stiles’ heart beat start to race, Peter, Isaac and even Jackson turned to look at Stiles with worry. Allison and Lydia turned their attention to Stiles too, just as he suddenly jolted upright, panic in his features, his heart racing, breath coming in huge gasps, muttering pleas of ‘I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.’ Over and over again.

“Stiles!?” Scott asked in worry and Derek came racing back into the room looking horrified. “Stiles, are you alright?”

Stiles had started to dream again, Erica was in front of him, glaring at him with gold eyes, her claws extended, ready to tear him apart.

“You left us there.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You should have saved us.” She spat angrily as Boyd appeared behind her, growling viciously.

“I’m sorry, I tried, you have to believe me, I tried. I’m so sorry.”

“You left us Stiles. This is all your fault. You left us there to be tortured. You were too weak to save us.”

“I’m sorry.” He sobbed, there was nothing more he could say, no way to make up for it. Erica surged forwards, her claws digging deep into his stomach, he jolted upright, still muttering that he was sorry, that he was so sorry, as the form of Erica that he saw slowly disappeared from his vision, and Scott’s voice filtered in.

“…iles, are you alright?”

“I’m fine.” Stiles said quickly, swiping at the tears still forming in his eyes and jumping to his feet quickly. “Fine.” He repeated when Scott looked ready to speak again.

He pushed past Derek, who was standing still in the middle of the doorway, heading to the bathroom, trying to forget the feeling of Erica’s claws digging into his gut. He managed to make it into the bathroom and lock the door before he ran to the toilet and threw up, his throat throbbing painfully and the tears spilling down his cheeks. It had been so real, so vivid, it was his fault, it was all his fault.

“Stiles?” Derek whispered, knocking on the bathroom door so quietly that he wasn’t sure that Stiles would even hear him. He’d heard the sounds of Stiles throwing up, could hear the broken sobs that he was almost choking on as he tried to be as silent as possible.

“I’m fine.” Stiles replied a moment later, Derek could almost be convinced of that, other than he’d just heard the evidence that Stiles was not fine, not by a long shot.

“Do you need anything?” Derek asked, unsure what else to say.

“Some painkillers. My head is throbbing.” Stiles muttered quietly.

“Is it the concussion?” Derek replied, wishing he could see Stiles, check for himself that Stiles was actually fine.

“Yeah.” Stiles sighed. “Makes me sick. Just need some painkillers.”

“Alright, open the door and I’ll help.” There was silence from the other side, “Or I could break the lock and come in anyway?”

Derek waited a moment, heard Stiles move almost silently, and then the door unlock. Stiles stood in the doorway, looking pale, his eyes slightly red and staring at the ground rather than at Derek, almost shamefully. Derek held out his hand and Stiles stared at it in confusion.

“Best painkiller around?” He replied sheepishly, he wasn’t going to tell Stiles there were several packets of painkillers in the kitchen cupboard. Stiles gave him a small half smile in return and Derek was sure his heart skipped a beat. He moved forward, taking Stiles’ arm and starting to draw the pain, he was surprised by just how much pain Stiles was in considering Derek had taken most of his pain only an hour ago, he could almost believe that Stiles was sick because of the pain.

They moved back into the front room, Derek never taking his hand off Stiles as they sat back down on the sofa, Stiles sighing slightly and resting his head back against the sofa, exposing the bruises on his neck that clearly looked like fingerprints. Derek tried not to growl at the sight of them, Stiles was never supposed to get hurt like this, Derek had failed him.

“What happened Stiles?” Scott asked a few moments later, Stiles opened his eyes, looking around as if surprised to find all the pack looking at him.

“I threw up from the concussion?” Stiles replied, a little unsure why Scott wanted to know that.

“I meant, how did you get a concussion? You went out with Andy? You came home with a concussion? I want to know what happened.”

“Oh, right.” Stiles said, pausing slightly, he couldn’t tell them about the soul eater, that would just open up a whole other series of questions, “Erm, well, I went out with Andy, and he had to work, so I went to hang out with him. Harry is a pretty cool guy, I’ve spoken to him a few times before and we got chatting, Andy finished his jobs and said goodbye, he had to get home to babysit his little sister. I said I’d help Harry lock up, Harry’s brother Luke was coming over to meet him for tea, as soon as we left some guy jumped us. He knocked Luke out, then Harry, then he attacked me. The guy must have heard the police sirens, he got spooked, I managed to break his grip and then he ran off.”

“Did you get a good look at him?” Lydia asked in horror.

“Nah, he was wearing some kind of mask.” Stiles admitted.

“What the hell Stiles? Why didn’t you call us?” Scott said in shock.

“The deputy there knew dad, he was going to call him, so I called him instead, he met me at the hospital, they checked me out, told me to go home, I went. I slept. I’m fine.”

“Did the police catch him?” Isaac asked.

“Not as far as I’m aware.” Stiles said, “They haven’t let me know, if they had then I think they would have done.”

“What about Harry and his brother?” Allison asked, “Were they okay?”

“Yeah, Harry took a pretty heavy blow to the head, Luke was conscious by the time the police arrived, and Harry woke up in the ambulance.”

“What did he want? Did he take anything?” Peter mused and Stiles glanced at him in surprise, “I’m just thinking, it’s very odd for someone to attack three people if they didn’t want something, did they take any money or anything?”

“No.” Stiles replied, he couldn’t exactly explain that the thing had been after their souls, “I think he just attacked for the fun of it.”

“That’s so messed up man.” Jackson said, the rest of the pack nodding their heads in agreement.

“The police will find him though, right?” Isaac asked.

“I guess so.”

“What were you wearing?” Derek asked and Stiles looked at him in shock, “The clothes might still have his scent on them, I can track him using that.”

“No.” Stiles said firmly, he couldn’t risk Derek going after the soul eater. “I mean,” he stammered, “I washed my clothes. They won’t have any scent left on them. Besides, the police will track him down I’m sure.”

“I am the police, Stiles.” Derek growled.

“I know that, just, you know, the other police, don’t waste your time on it, besides, we’re all fine. It’s nothing to worry about.”

“Fine? Stiles, you have a serious concussion, how is that fine?” Derek sighed.

“I’m alive. That’s about as fine as I can ask for right now.” Stiles retorted, sighing wearily, “Anyway, where are we with the map, anybody got any places we can search?”

“There’s a few,” Allison said, indicating them on the map, “Although, if I’m honest, I feel like we’re running out of areas to search, maybe we need to start searching for another way to track them?”

“Like what?” Scott asked.

“Well, I don’t know, I’m just, we’re running out of ideas here, and we can’t give up on them, maybe we could try following the twins from school maybe, they could lead us back there?” Allison suggested.

“They’d hear us.” Jackson complained, “They’re alphas, they’d know we were there, they wouldn’t take us back to their hideout.”

“We could try capturing one of them?” Isaac whispered.

“They’re never alone.” Stiles replied, “We could maybe take one of them, there’s no chance we could take them both, not without them alerting the rest of their pack.” Stiles paused, “Actually, Danny is crushing on Ethan, we could maybe use that.”

“What?” Jackson said surprised. “He didn’t tell me that.”

“He mentioned it the other day.” Stiles replied casually.

“When? I didn’t hear him.”

“Oh, erm, at lunchtime I think?” Stiles replied, “We were chatting out by my jeep, he was joking about if I wasn’t going to go out with him then he might ask Ethan out.”

“He’s still on about that?” Scott said rolling his eyes.

“What can I say?” Stiles teased, “He thinks I’m hot apparently.”

“I need to get his eyesight checked.” Jackson replied and Stiles laughed easily, agreeing with Jackson. Derek hated when Stiles put himself down like that, Stiles was gorgeous, Derek had no idea how he couldn’t see it, it seemed like everyone else did.

“I’m guessing you said no? Because of Andy?” Lydia asked and Stiles shrugged.

“I said no.” Stiles grinned, “Anyway, getting back to the point, Danny is crushing on Ethan. If I got him to talk to Ethan, alone, after school maybe. Then Aiden would be by himself, and we could grab him then.”

“You want to leave my best friend alone with an alpha werewolf?” Jackson said in shock.

“Not alone, just without his brother, we could make sure there were still plenty of people around, so Ethan couldn’t hurt him, and Danny wouldn’t know anything about our plan, he’d just be an innocent guy trying to chat Ethan up.” Stiles reasoned, hating the plan even as he said it, he didn’t want anything to happen to Danny, they’d become quite good friends in the past few weeks and Stiles didn’t want to put him at risk.

“What do we do with Aiden even if we get him?” Peter queried. “I mean, on the off chance that Stiles’ plan works and we kidnap Aiden, what do you plan on doing with him? Torture their location out of him?”

“If it means we find Erica and Boyd, then yes.” Derek said, hating the very idea of it. Stiles had gone very pale next to him.

“I have another idea.” Stiles muttered, “I don’t know if it’ll work. We’ll keep doing what we’re doing for now, give me until the weekend, if this doesn’t work out, then we’ll try the plan with Danny.”

“What’s the other idea?” Derek said, raising an eyebrow.

“I’ll explain it later, it might not work, just, erm, give me until Saturday, I’ll know by then.”

“Know what?” Allison asked.

“I’ve got to go,” Stiles said quickly, Derek could almost see his mind racing, “Just, give me a little bit of time, hopefully we’ll find them in one of these buildings, but if not, well, just, bear with me okay?” Stiles said, moving towards the door, wincing slightly when he nodded too enthusiastically and Derek wanted to go after him, stop him from leaving, do anything to keep Stiles safe.

Chapter Text

Stiles spent most of that evening creating a new tracking spell, tracking the twins instead of Erica and Boyd. The trouble was that he didn’t know them that well, no matter how he worded the spell, he couldn’t track them because he didn’t really know them. The only other way to get it to work but to get something that belonged to one of them and use that to track them.

He called Harry and Luke the next morning, running through the events of Saturday evening, Stiles explaining that he was sure the soul eater had escaped, that he was also sure it would be back. Harry had managed to purchase the ash stake they needed, but it would take two weeks to get here. Stiles tried not to think about all the damage the soul eater could do in that time, he hoped that maybe it was hidden away somewhere, healing from Stiles’ magic and that it wouldn’t recover until the stake arrived.

The week passed quickly, Stiles was planning every chance he got, he hadn’t been around to the loft because he needed to get the spell to work and he couldn’t do that with the pack there, so, instead, he sat at home, confined to his room, rewording the spell time and time again and still not getting any results, he knew he needed to get something that belonged to one of the twins.

His nightmares didn’t seem to be improving, each time he closed his eyes he saw Erica or Boyd or both of them, fully wolfed out, attacking him, screaming at him, clawing him, blaming him. He needed to find them, he needed to make this right if there was any chance of that.

By Thursday night he had a plan in place, tomorrow was the day, if it worked he’d be able to cast the spell tomorrow night and then find Erica and Boyd. He sighed heavily, resting his head on his desk, his gaze going to the bag of fan mail that he’d gotten out of his jeep earlier in the day, Harry had put it in there on Monday and Stiles hadn’t had a chance to look through it yet. He got up from his chair and moved over to the pile of letters, lying on his bed as he read through each one. He’d got into a bit of a routine with them now, read them, dematerialize them. It kept his room tidy and made sure his dad never found them. If he was honest with himself he didn’t even know why he read them, most of them made him feel kind of gross, but, still, people had written them, he felt obliged to read them.

He'd been at it for a few hours when he came across one that made his blood run cold, it was the same letter that he’d received a few times before, the ones that he always burned, except this one was different, this one wasn’t addressed to ‘the boy with the scars’ this one had his name carefully written, ‘Stiles’ He stared at that one word for what felt like an age. This weirdo, the one that wrote about leaving marks of his own on Stiles’ skin, this crazy person, he knew his name. Stiles stared at the letter in horror for at least half an hour, frozen in place, unable to figure out what to do, before he jumped up from his bed and rushed to the window, closing the curtains quickly, glancing back at the letter. He was finding it harder to breathe, harder to focus on anything other than that one word.

He moved around the house, ensuring the windows were all locked, casting protective charms in every room, making sure that nobody would be entering this house without their specific invitation. He was trembling by the time he was finished, he was, well, not scared, but unnerved. He knew that his magic had vastly improved, that he was nowhere near as defenseless as he had been, but still, the idea of someone out there, someone that wrote things like that, knowing his name, it made him nervous.

He went back up to his room once all the spells were cast, knowing that he was as safe as he could possibly be, and tried to forget about the letter, instead moving back to his other focus, the lightning spell that Luke had given him for his birthday.

He’d attempted it twice before and neither time had been successful, but he needed to learn how to do it, he needed to figure out how it worked because there was a good chance he was going to have to use it tomorrow night, yet he didn’t want to go outside, not now, not when the letter was so fresh in his mind, when the word ‘Stiles’ still jumped out from the page, burned into his mind for eternity.

He sighed heavily, throwing the scroll onto the floor, rolling his shoulders, wiping a hand across his face. He was exhausted and yet he couldn’t sleep, he was too hyped up, he kept glancing back to the letter on his bed, then rolled his eyes. This was stupid. So, the guy knew his name, big deal. Stiles wasn’t going to hide in his house, he was stronger than he’d been before, he wasn’t helpless, or defenseless. He grabbed his trainers and headed downstairs, knowing that a run would clear his head.

He set a steady pace, his mind running over every possibility of his plan tomorrow, what could go wrong, how he’d account for it. He needed one minute, one minute, that was all. If everything went to plan he’d have plenty of time, much longer than he needed. He’d been watching the twins all week, he’d managed to steal a copy of their schedules from the administration office so he knew which class they were in at all times, he’d watched slyly as Aiden and Ethan both shoved various personal items into their lockers. He could do this. It would work.

Derek had missed Stiles, he hadn’t seen him since Monday and he missed him, he wanted to go over to his house and ask how Stiles was feeling, see for himself that the bruises were fading, not just hear secondhand from one of the other pack members. He wanted to know about whatever plan Stiles was working on, but apparently, he wasn’t sharing that with anyone. Scott had told him yesterday that Stiles had called it a longshot, the chances of it working were slim to none, but that he was still going to try. When Lydia had asked him to explain what he was doing Stiles had shrugged and insisted that they’d find out soon enough. Derek hated it. He wanted to know what was going on.

By Thursday evening Derek had had enough, he was going to go over there and demand an explanation from Stiles, he finished his shift, went home and got changed and then headed across there. He was just in time to see Stiles leaving the house, turning in the opposite direction, away from Derek, and running down the street. Derek followed after him.

He stayed back, not wanting Stiles to know he was there, although he had no idea why, maybe he just enjoyed watching Stiles run, Derek was surprised by just how fast Stiles was, how consistent he was. They’d been running for the better part of half an hour now and Stiles showed no signs of slowing down, he wasn’t as fast as a wolf, obviously, but still, for a human, he was pretty damn fast. Derek could hear Stiles’ breathing, steady and quiet, his feet hitting the ground rhythmically, the quiet beat of whatever song was playing through his earphones right then.

Stiles started to speed up when they came to the industrial estate and Derek was taken by surprise, breaking into a fast run to catch up with him, to keep him in sight. Stiles rounded a corner and Derek raced after him, sure that Stiles would be far ahead by the time he got there. Instead when he turned the corner he saw a heavy metal pipe swinging towards him. Thank god for werewolf reflexes. He managed to catch the pipe before it connected, Stiles was holding the other end, panting slightly, looking so angry that Derek winced slightly.

“What the hell are you doing!?” Stiles shouted, suddenly realising he still had his earphones in and pulling them out, glaring at Derek the whole time.

“What the hell am I doing!? What are you doing!?” Derek replied, indicating the pipe they were both still holding onto.

“You were following me! You could have been an axe murderer or something. I’m allowed to defend myself.”

“With a pipe? I don’t think any court would see that as reasonable force.”

“Don’t change the subject. Why the hell were you following me Derek!?” Stiles replied.

“How long have you known I was there just out of interest?”

“You’re trying to change the subject again.” Stiles frowned.

“I was coming across to ask you about whatever your plan is. I saw you leave. After you promised your dad you wouldn’t go out running at night anymore. I decided to follow you, keep an eye on you.” Derek explained, Stiles flushing slightly as he realised he’d been caught out.

“I don’t need you to watch out for me.” Stiles replied.

“What if I was someone who was actually planning on attacking you? You’ve come to a secluded area of town, there’s no-one around, you’re already tired from your run, the pipe missed me, you’re screwed.” Derek argued, trying not to get irate at how Stiles seemed to lack any self-preservation skills at all.

“The pipe would have hit you if you were a normal human.” Stiles growled. “Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go home.” He said, turning around and starting to run back the way he’d come. He wasn’t going to admit to Derek, that for that split second, when he’d been sure it was the letter guy coming to get him, he’d been terrified, kicking himself for being so stupid as to come out, already planning what spells he could use that would not reveal his magic but that would ensure he was safe. Then he’d seen it was Derek and he’d nearly collapsed in relief.

He clenched his fists as he ran, hiding the trembling in his fingers, he heard Derek start after him again, this time jogging next to him, a sheepish look on his face.

“I’m sorry.” Derek said and Stiles ignored him, “For scaring you.” He added and Stiles rolled his eyes, his concentration still on the road in front of him.

“You didn’t.” Stiles lied, hoping his heart was already beating fast enough that Derek wouldn’t hear the lie.

“So, why are you out running when you told your dad you wouldn’t?” Derek asked, hoping he wasn’t pushing his luck.

“I needed to clear my head.” Stiles replied, settling into his rhythm. Derek wasn’t used to Stiles being so quiet, but at least he was still talking to him, that was a start.

“Want to talk about it? Whatever is bothering you I mean?”

“Not really.” Stiles replied coldly.

“Okay.” Derek submitted, running quietly for a few minutes, matching his pace to Stiles’, his heart beating in the same rhythm as Stiles’. He wasn’t going to ever tell him how nice that felt.

“I’m worried about a lot of things.” Stiles admitted a few minutes later, Derek tried not to look surprised, instead just continuing his run, instinctually knowing that Stiles needed him to listen, not interrupt. “My head just gets too filled up sometimes, you know, just too many thoughts, too many plans, just, too much. Running makes me forget all that, it gives me one thing to focus on.” Stiles increased his pace slightly, as if running away from that confession.

Derek caught up with him easily, not saying anything, just running next to him in silence, he understood what Stiles meant, he often ran in the preserve when he just needed to get away from his thoughts for a while, at least Stiles was running on proper paths where somebody would likely find him if there were any issues, he couldn’t imagine Stiles running through the preserve, falling over, hurting himself, no phone signal, sitting there for hours or days before somebody finally tracked him down. The thought made Derek shiver.

He quite enjoyed running next to Stiles, but before he knew it they were back at his house and Derek tried to hide his disappointment.

“Are you going to invite me in so we can talk about this plan you have?” Derek asked, hoping that Stiles would say yes.

“No. Like I told the others, it’s a long shot, chances are it’s not going to work and I don’t want to get everyone’s hopes up. I’ll know for definite by Saturday, and if it’s going to work, then I’ll let you know, sound fair?”

“Is it dangerous? Does this plan put you in danger?”

“No.” Stiles said smoothly, glad his heart was still racing from the run.

“Stiles…” Derek warned, he’d heard the slight increase in Stiles’ heartbeat, glanced at the fading bruises on his neck, a stark reminder of just how human Stiles was, “I don’t want you doing this if you’re going to be in danger. Somebody else can do it, someone not as breakable.”

Stiles felt like he’d been punched in the gut, Derek didn’t trust that he could do this, because he was human, because he was broken. Stiles had never felt more like knocking the guy on his ass with his magic. Instead he fought back the wave of anger and hurt ripping through him and forced a smile to his lips.

“If any of your wolves were capable of doing it, believe me, I’d get them to do it in a heartbeat. But since every one of them lacks the finesse required, I’ll do it myself. But thanks so much for the concern.” Stiles said coldly before heading into the house.

He shut the door behind him, leaning up against it and sighing heavily, why the hell did he have to fall for such a jackass like Derek? Someone who would never see him as anything other than the fragile human? The one who didn’t belong with the supernatural creatures that roamed this town. Stiles felt his eyes flash silver, his magic roaring to be released, to show Derek that he was more than capable of protecting himself now. But he couldn’t. Nobody could know. If they knew about him, he was in danger, they were in danger. He couldn’t let that happen, he had to protect them.

Derek didn’t know what the hell he’d done wrong. One minute they’d been getting along, Stiles had opened up to him, told him about why he wasn’t explaining the plan yet and Derek nodded in agreement, he could understand why Stiles didn’t want to get their hopes up, but it didn’t stop him worrying. If anything happened to Stiles, Derek didn’t know what he would do. Whereas before he knew he had a crush on him, but wouldn’t admit to anything else, now he knew he was head over heels for him. He’d do anything for Stiles. Surely that must be obvious?

He’d said to Stiles that he didn’t want him in danger, that he’d rather one of the wolves do whatever this plan involved, that he’d rather any one of them were the ones at risk as they healed quicker, there was less chance of them getting killed doing whatever it was that Stiles was planning. Except then he’d smelled the hurt radiating from Stiles, and before he knew it Stiles was smiling at him, completely forced and they both knew it, before dismissing Derek and disappearing inside the house. He didn’t know what he’d said that was so wrong, but he knew he’d obviously upset Stiles somehow and felt like kicking himself.

Stiles walked up the stairs slowly, his feet feeling like lead, Derek didn’t think Stiles could be trusted to pull this off, well, Stiles would prove him wrong. He went to the bathroom, taking the longest shower, feeling the tension in his muscles start to ease, trailing a finger over the scar across his stomach, the thins claw marks at his shoulder, the fine scars that covered almost all of his back. He’d suffered for his friends, he’d been tortured for his friends, he’d survived for his friends. He wouldn’t back down now just because there was a little danger, he would do this too.

He threw on some clothes and moved to his bedroom, seeing the letter still sat on his bed and feeling a little sick. He picked it up, shoving it into his bag, he was going to talk to Danny about it tomorrow, see if he could suggest what Stiles should do with it. He collapsed onto his bed, he was exhausted, but he wasn’t sure he could sleep yet, he rolled over, picking up his phone and seeing it flashing with a new text.

‘I’m sorry.’ Derek had apologized, that wasn’t something he did on a regular basis. The worst thing about Stiles was that he really couldn’t hold a grudge against the people he cared about, if someone threatened them or hurt them then Stiles wouldn’t stop until there was justice, but when they hurt him, when they made him feel like crap, he just forgave them. So, he wasn’t going to stay mad at Derek, he couldn’t.

‘It’s fine.’ Stiles replied a few minutes later.

‘Still sorry.’

‘Not a big deal. Don’t worry.’

‘You sure?’

‘Obviously.’ Stiles snorted, shaking his head as he replied to Derek, he hated that even now when he was still kind of mad at him, Stiles couldn’t help but smile at the fact Derek was texting him, he used to wonder if Derek even knew how to use a phone, but obviously, that was wrong.

‘You going to come over to the loft tomorrow night? We’re going to watch a film and have pizza?’

‘I do love me some pizza, but I’m meeting up with Andy.’ He lied, glad that at least Derek couldn’t tell he was lying over text.

Derek read the text from Stiles about ten times before the words filtered through his brain. He’d felt so nervous texting Stiles, asking him over, he hoped it sounded casual, and not as nervous as he felt. When he received a reply a few minutes later his stomach lurched, of all the things he’d expected Stiles to say the worst thing he’d thought Stiles could say was no, or no reply at all. He sure as hell hadn’t expected him to say that he was out with Andy. He was such an idiot. Why did he think that Stiles would ever be interested in him in the first place? He was a mess, he was crap at communicating, he didn’t deal well with emotions, there was no reason whatsoever that Stiles would want to be with him.

‘Oh, that’s cool. You’re coming across Saturday though so we can go through this plan?’ Derek hoped he didn’t sound too bothered.

‘Yeah, I’ll be there late afternoon.’ Stiles replied.

‘Okay, see you then.’ Derek hesitated for a moment before adding a smiley face and sending the text.

‘I didn’t know you even knew what a smiley was ;)’ Stiles replied a moment later and Derek grinned.

‘I’m not as old as you think I am.’ Derek teased.

‘I was thinking more that you were a technophobe, but if you want to call yourself old then by all means go for it.’ Derek laughed out loud when he got that one, ignoring the look he got from Peter.

‘A technophobe? Seriously? I know how to use technology Stiles; it’s just I prefer to get other people to do the work for me.’

‘Dude, that’s so wrong.’

‘Suck it up.’ Derek grinned.

‘Well, some of us have school in the morning, so I’ll see you on Saturday.’

‘Night Stiles.’ Derek replied, a soft smile on his lips.

Stiles saw Danny at lunchtime and gripped him by the elbow pulling him away from the cafeteria and out to the car park.

“Finally decided to go on that date?” Danny grinned.

“No, it’s about something else.” Stiles said nervously, pulling the letter from his bag and handing it to Danny.

Danny looked bemused for a moment, taking the letter and starting to read it.

“Okay, so this guy is a complete freak.” Danny said a few minutes later after reading the entirety of the letter.

“I know that. What do you think I should do? I mean, you said about creeps…”

“Stiles, take a breath, sure you’re going to get letters like this once in a while. But do you think you’re overreacting slightly?”

“Overreacting? Danny, he knows my name.” Stiles said in horror. Danny paled considerably, rereading the letter, his hands freezing on the first page.

“Oh my god.” Danny whispered in shock.

“Guys!” Jackson was walking towards them and Danny shoved the letter into his bag quickly, looking at Stiles with worry. “What you up to?”

“Nothing.” Stiles said quickly, “Just talking about class.”

“Oh, right,” Jackson said, turning his attention to Danny, “well, look, I wanted to catch up with you man, we haven’t had a proper chat in ages.”

“Erm, well, actually, Stiles and I…”

“Nah, it’s fine. I’ll speak to you later.” Stiles interrupted.

“Actually, Stiles, we really need to talk about…”

“No, don’t worry about it. We can talk later. It’s no big deal.” Stiles said, already striding off towards the school and not giving Danny a chance to talk.

He had to forget about it right now, he had to focus on the task at hand, getting something personal from one of the twins. He felt so nervous that he thought he might throw up, that kind of helped his plan.

By fifth period, ten minutes before the final bell, his stomach was lurching horribly, Scott was looking at him in worry, but Stiles merely shook his head. A few minutes later and he stood up, feeling a little unsteady.

“Miss, I need to use the bathroom.” Stiles muttered, the teacher glanced up from her desk, took one look at Stiles and nodded quickly, no doubt wanting him out of her classroom before he threw up all over her floor.

As soon as he was out in the corridor he started to work his magic, covering his scent and rushing down towards the twins’ lockers. His heart was racing, he had a matter of minutes to get this done. He cast a simple combination spell, unlocking the first locker, searching through the items in there as quickly as he could, he knew none of the objects held a personal enough connection that he’d be able to track them. He shut the locker, careful to make sure it looked like nothing had been touched, sealed it back up and moved onto the next locker. His hands were sweating as he cast the next spell, the padlock clicking open, Stiles glanced around him, checking to see that no-one was coming just yet. He searched through the locker, his fingers landing on a small piece of paper that he snatched at gratefully.

It was a picture of the twins a few years back, arms slung around each other’s shoulders, wide grins on their faces. They looked innocent, Stiles guessed this was before the Alpha pack. He shoved the picture into his pocket quickly, knowing that it wouldn’t be missed as it had seemingly been discarded in the back of the locker. He made sure everything was back in its rightful place, before closing the locker and sealing it back up just as the final bell rang. He dashed into the bathroom, dropping the spell that covered his scent and locked himself in a stall.

“Stiles? You in here buddy?” Scott’s voice drifted through the bathroom. Stiles unlocked the door slowly, he was sweating, hands shaking with adrenaline. “Dude, you look awful. You got food poisoning or something?”

“Probably.” Stiles replied, he still felt kind of like throwing up. “I think I’m just going to head home.”

“Okay, no worries, you’ll still be coming to the loft tomorrow though?”

“Yeah.” Stiles mumbled. The picture in his pocket feeling like it was burning a hole in his trousers.

He went out to his jeep quickly, seeing Danny striding towards him, Stiles really didn’t want to deal with that right now, couldn’t think about that, had to focus on the task at hand. He saw the twins leave the school, it was obvious that they hadn’t noticed anything wrong, he sighed with relief, if they knew something was up then he knew there was no chance that this would work. As soon as he saw them leave and before Danny could reach him, Stiles drove home, his hands still shaking, unable to believe that the first part of the plan had gone so smoothly.

His dad was home when he got home, that put a slight kink in the works. He headed up to his room with the excuse of homework, locking his door and starting to prepare the spell, it took a couple of hours but finally he was ready. He felt the magic begin to swirl inside him, he prayed with everything he had that this worked, it had to work.

A moment later he felt it work, it felt like a tendril bursting out of his chest, a string that he could tug on, could follow to the twins. He went downstairs, his dad sitting on the sofa, turning to look at him with surprise.

“You going somewhere?”

“Yeah, I was just going to go to the loft, Scott says they’re having a pizza night.”

“Sounds like fun. Be good kid.”

“Always.” Stiles replied quietly as he left the house. He followed the string of magic from his chest, leaving his jeep on the driveway and walking towards the middle of town. He walked for what felt like hours, but was probably no more than forty minutes before there was a change in his magic. As he got close to his destination it felt like his feet were almost pulling him forwards, wanting him to finish this.

He stumbled to a stop outside a closed down bank, it had been robbed almost eighteen months ago and had never been reopened. He dropped the spell, sure that it had led him to the right location and that the twins were in there, Stiles cast a few quick spells, making sure that his scent was hidden and that the wolves in the building wouldn’t hear his heartbeat, before he moved around the building.

He circled the building slowly, sure that there used to be a window at the back of the building that looked down into the bank. He moved slowly, every movement planned out, climbing up the wall as quickly as he could, the structure of the building making it easy for him, until eventually he could look through the window and down into the bank.

He stared down at the bank, seeing the Alpha pack properly for the first time, it was obvious straight away which one of them was the Alpha of this pack, he was lounging on a large chair, piercing the grapes next to him with a long claw and smirking widely. Stiles knew he was the Alpha because of his eyes, when Isaac had said that the guy’s eyes were red Stiles had assumed he meant like Derek’s, like any ordinary Alpha, not like this, not that his eyes were completely red, it was a little terrifying.

There were two other Alpha’s, a broad tall man that looked more muscle than anything else, and a woman who was walking around in bare feet the claws on her feet tapping against the floor as she walked. They both looked insane.

Then he saw the twins, they were sat on the floor near the open vault, both looking a little nervous, Stiles wasn’t sure why that was. He shifted slightly, trying to get a clearer view of the vault and then he stilled.

Erica and Boyd were there; he could see them. They were alive.

They both looked relatively unharmed, although Stiles was worried about how still they both were, how unresponsive, even when one of the twins slipped them some food they still didn’t move. There was someone else in there with them, another wolf from the looks of things, dark hair, glowing gold eyes, she was chained to the wall, her teeth snapping uselessly, Stiles could almost feel the frustration coming from her. He would make sure to save her too.

It was time to call in the cavalry.

Noah had sat watching the rest of the television episode before he got up to get a drink, he was tired, he’d had a long week and was looking forward to his day off tomorrow, he was thinking that maybe he could spend some time with Stiles, like they used to. He was worried about Stiles, he’d seemed a little off tonight, dazed almost, as he’d headed outside, Noah glanced out of the kitchen window, surprised to see Stiles’ jeep still on the drive.

He hadn’t heard any cars, he probably should have noticed that, but his attention had been on the television, not Stiles. He thought that maybe Scott had come to pick him up, or Derek, but still he would have heard either of those vehicles.

He rang Stiles, just to make sure he was okay, the call went straight to voicemail and Noah began to panic. It wouldn’t be too extreme to go over to the loft, would it? He could just pretend that Stiles had left his keys or something and that he had to go to work so he was dropping his keys off so he could get in when he went home later in the night. That was okay, right? He huffed, tough, it would have to be okay. He didn’t think he would usually be that bothered, but Stiles, well, he’d been quiet this week, quieter than usual, and the bruises on his neck had only just started to fade. Noah knew he needed to keep a closer eye on Stiles than usual, and yet, he’d just let him walk out of the house at ten in the evening and not even thought to check on him.

He went out of the house, clutching his keys and drove across to the loft, feeling more ridiculous the closer he got, Stiles was going to laugh at him for being so ridiculous, still, Noah couldn’t shake the feeling that he needed to check on Stiles, it wasn’t like him to leave his jeep behind. Noah had barely been able to get Stiles out of it since he’d been old enough to drive.

He headed up the stairs, hesitating slightly in front of the door, he felt like an idiot, he should probably just go home, Stiles would be so annoyed at him. He was just turning to go back down the stairs when the door opened behind him and Derek’s voice called out.

“Noah?”

“Erm, hi.” Noah replied sheepishly, rubbing at the back of his neck with his hand, “I, erm, I came to give Stiles his keys. I think he left his at home.” He pulled the keys out of his pocket and held them up so Derek could see them, as if this evidence made his lie any more believable.

Derek was staring at him in puzzlement before opening the door wider so that Noah could see a crowd of people in the living room, all staring at him, Scott was there, as was Allison, Lydia, Jackson, Isaac and Peter. But no Stiles.

“Stiles isn’t here. He told me he was seeing Andy tonight?” Derek replied.

“No. He was sick at school. He said he was just going to go home and go to bed.” Scott spoke quickly, looking at Noah nervously.

“He left about an hour ago, maybe longer, he said he was coming to meet you guys?” Noah said, feeling more panicked by the second.

“He never came here.” Jackson offered, shrugging slightly.

“He left his jeep at home.” Noah said, suddenly terrified that something was really wrong, “I tried to call, but it just went to voicemail. I just thought I’d come over and check on him and he’d laugh at me for being too overprotective.”

“Noah, sit down.” Derek said, moving the older man towards the nearest sofa, he could smell the panic rolling off him, could hear his heart racing much too fast, he needed to calm Noah down quickly, if anything happened to him Stiles would be heartbroken. “I’ll call Stiles now, okay, we’ll get to the bottom of this. Don’t worry.”

Derek moved over to the kitchen counter, grabbing his phone and calling Stiles, only getting the option to leave a voicemail.

“Stiles. Call me as soon as you get this. It’s urgent.” Derek growled before hanging up the phone and pouring Noah a glass of water.

“You know what Stiles is like, he’s probably gone and got himself distracted somewhere. He’ll be fine.” Allison was saying, trying to offer them all some reassurance.

“Do you think he walked from yours?” Peter asked and Noah nodded.

“I didn’t hear any cars.” Noah answered. Peter moved closer to Derek, whispering so quietly that he was sure Noah wouldn’t hear him.

“We could go there, track him, if he’s walked he’ll have left a scent.” Peter hissed.

“What if something has happened though?” Isaac whispered from his other side, “What if he left the house to come here and someone took him? He was working on a plan to find Erica and Boyd. What if the Alpha pack found out about it and decided to take him out?”

Derek saw the wolves around the room all tense as Isaac whispered his theory, Noah obviously noticed, as did Allison and Lydia.

“What is it? Do you know something?” Noah asked quickly getting to his feet.

“No. We don’t know anything for definite.” Peter replied calmly.

“But you have a theory?” Noah pressed.

“Maybe.” Peter replied looking to Derek for guidance.

Derek wasn’t sure what he should do, Stiles had gone to great lengths to keep this all secret from his dad, to protect him, Derek didn’t want to jeopardize that. But, right now, Noah looked terrified, scared out of his mind that Stiles was hurt somewhere and Derek couldn’t lie to him about that. He opened his mouth, still not sure what he was going to say, when suddenly his phone started blaring out ‘hungry like the wolf’ and Derek felt his heart race.

Stiles had changed his ringtone to that a couple of months ago, apparently because it made him laugh, often prank dialing Derek when he was in the same room just so he could see Derek growl at the ringtone. Derek had never bothered to change it, not because he didn’t know how, but because he kind of liked that Stiles had his own ringtone.

He dashed to the counter so quickly that he nearly fell over, stubbing his toe on the kitchen counter and cursing as he snatched up the phone.

“Stiles? Stiles, where are you? Are you okay? Are you hurt?” Derek asked quickly, putting his phone on speaker so that everyone could hear what was being said, he didn’t even care that Noah would probably hear something he shouldn’t, right now all he cared about was hearing Stiles was fine.

“Derek…” Stiles whispered.

“Stiles, oh thank god, are you all right? We’re going out of our minds here.”

“Der, listen to me.”

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” Stiles sighed in exasperation, “Would you just listen!” He hissed. “I found them.” There was silence from the pack, all of them staring at the phone in shock.

“You…you’ve found them? Are they alive?” Derek said, his voice shaking slightly.

“Yeah, I’m looking at them right now, they’re alive. There’s another wolf in there with them, she’s chained up, Erica and Boyd aren’t, but they look, I don’t know, like, catatonic maybe?”

“Is the Alpha pack there? Are you safe?” Derek growled.

“Erica and Boyd? The kids who are missing?” Noah asked.

“Dad?” Stiles said in surprise, “What the hell are you doing there?”

“What the hell am I doing!? What the hell are you doing!? You were supposed to be hanging out at the loft, not running around trying to find missing kids and getting involved with what did you call it? An Alpha pack?”

“Dad, I promise I’ll explain everything later, but not right now.” Stiles whispered.

“Stiles, are you safe? Can they see you? Do they know you’re there?” Peter asked.

“Hang on, something’s happening.” Stiles replied, Derek heard movement, the shifting of clothes as Stiles shifted his position slightly. Could hear the steady beat of his heart, the slow breathing. It made him relax slightly, Stiles was okay.

Stiles studied the pack below him, something was definitely happening, he waved his hands slightly, silently casting a spell that would make their conversation clearer and then listened.

“Deucalion, attacking them before didn’t work, why would it be different this time?” The woman was asking.

“You’re questioning my plan Kali?” Deucalion mused and Kali looked horrorstruck.

“No, of course not, it’s just, the last time we attacked the Hale pack, we assumed their warlock would protect them. He didn’t, but still, Ennis and the twins all suffered injuries that took time to heal. If we attack them again, and their warlock still doesn’t show, we’ll be putting ourselves at risk for nothing.”

“We’re not going to go after the whole pack this time my dear, we’re going to take out the humans first. Leave their bodies as a message to their Alpha, if he doesn’t offer up the warlock, well, more of his pack will die.” Deucalion informed them, Kali and Ennis both grinning widely. Aiden and Ethan obviously looking disgusted with this idea but trying to hide it.

“You’ll stay here, we don’t need you to take care of a few humans, and you can watch the prisoners.” Deucalion sneered at Ethan and Aiden who nodded submissively. Stiles felt kind of bad for them.

“Stiles… where are you? What’s happening?” Scott’s voice interrupted his thoughts and Stiles fumbled slightly as he reached for his phone.

“The Alpha’s are leaving, there’s just going to be Ethan and Aiden there. They’re at the bank, you know the one that got robbed last year, Erica and Boyd and the other one are in the vault.”

“What about the other three, do you know where they’re going?” Derek asked, already shoving his shoes on so he could get to the bank as quickly as possible. Stiles was silent for a moment and then Derek heard him shifting position, his feet scraping against stone.

“They’re planning on going after…” Stiles’ voice trailed off and Derek felt his heart race.

“Stiles? Are you there?” There was silence.

“Well, look at that, we don’t need to go searching for a pet, it came to us.” Kali’s voice came over the speaker and Derek couldn’t breathe.

“Stiles!” Derek shouted, his eyes flashing red.

“Erm, funny story…” Stiles started, then there was a loud bang and the phone disconnected.

“Stiles!” Derek roared, knowing that it was no use, that Stiles couldn’t hear him because the phone wasn’t connected anymore, but logic wasn’t his strong point right now, Stiles was in danger, Stiles could be hurt. He needed to get to him.

He didn’t care that his claws were out, or that his eyes were a permanent red, or that the rest of his pack had already shifted too, ready to go, or that Noah was looking at them all with wide eyes and then taking a few deep breaths and following after them, knowing that his son was in danger and it was more important to get to him and then he’d deal with whatever the hell this was.

It took them ten minutes to get to the bank in their cars, Noah had agreed not to call in any back up after Scott had pleaded with him, Scott had always been the innocent one, the one that wouldn’t get into any trouble, and yet here he was, with claws and fangs and glowing gold eyes, okay, maybe they’d faded right now, but Noah had seen them, he knew.

“Does Stiles turn into a…erm a….?” Noah asked as they raced to the bank.

“Werewolf?” Scott provided and Noah nodded numbly. “No. He’s human. He’s not like us.”

“But the things that were with him? They were werewolves too? Will they hurt him?” Noah asked, his mind racing.

“Stiles has talked himself out of plenty of bad situations before.” Peter tried to reassure him, “I mean, when I kidnapped him he managed to convince me to let him go without too much persuasion.”

“Not helping Peter.” Lydia glared as Noah looked at Peter in disgust.

“You kidnapped my son!?”

“It was one time! I was mentally unstable at the time. Anyway, Derek killed me for it. Let’s let bygones be bygones and all that jazz.”

“And yet you’re still alive.” Noah growled.

“Yeah, that took some serious mojo let me tell you.” Peter smirked, “Anyway, the point I was trying to make is that Stiles will be fine, don’t worry about him.”

“If you ever even look at my son again I won’t hesitate to put a bullet in your brain.” Noah said angrily, flooring the accelerator and flying around one final corner to get to the bank.

They were out of the car quickly, Noah had his gun drawn just as Derek came around the corner, Jackson a moment behind. Everyone rushed towards the bank, Derek in the lead, breaking down the door a second later and storming through into the main room.

They were greeted by Ethan and Aiden who took one look at the pack and backed upwards, pressing themselves against the far wall and looking at them with terror. Derek rushed forwards to the vault, seeing Erica and Boyd alive, but there was no Stiles, he wanted to be happy that they’d finally found his missing pack members, but Stiles wasn’t here. Where was he?

“Where is he?” Derek snarled rounding on Ethan and Aiden who both looked at them in confusion, “Where’s Stiles!?”

“He’s not here.” Aiden whimpered when Derek grabbed hold of his shirt and slammed him into the wall.

“He was here. He was right outside. Tell me where he is!” Derek shouted.

“Derek…” Peter whispered, staring at the vault in horror.

“Derek…” Another voice said, sounding so scared, so hopeful that Derek couldn’t help but turn around and look.

Allison was hovering over Erica and Boyd, neither of them seeming to show any reaction to her presence. Scott was holding a snapped chain in his hand and Peter was staring at the other wolf that had been in the vault with them. She was young, around the same age as Scott, dark hair, wide eyes, eyes that Derek knew, but he couldn’t believe that, she’d died. He knew she’d died.

“Cora?” He whispered, barely able to believe what his eyes were telling him.

“Derek, you’re alive.” She sobbed, running forwards and pulling him into a tight hug. “You’re alive.” She repeated, as Derek clutched his sister tightly.

“I thought you died. You died in the fire.” Derek said in shock.

“I didn’t. I wasn’t home.” Cora informed him, still crying into his shoulder. “I just, I can’t believe it. I can’t believe you’re alive. And Uncle Peter too. You both survived.” She said, pulling away from Derek to hug Peter who looked stunned for a moment before hugging her back.

“As touching as this family reunion is, where the hell is my son!?” Noah shouted, drawing all attention to him and turning to look at the twins. “Where’s the rest of your whatever it is, your pack or whatever, there must be more of you. Where are they?”

“They left. About fifteen minutes ago.” Ethan said truthfully.

“Where were they going?” Derek demanded, horrified that for a moment he’d been distracted, he’d found his sister and forgotten about Stiles.

“They wanted to draw out the warlock. They were going to kill the humans of your pack so that your warlock would have to respond.”

“Warlock?” Peter said in confusion. “What warlock?”

“The warlock that protects your pack?” Aiden said, doubting the words as he spoke them, seeing the confusion on the packs face and knowing he’d have to explain further, “We heard about the warlock that protects your pack. Deucalion lost all interest in killing you then, he just wants the warlock.”

“No warlock protects us. You heard wrong.” Jackson snarled.

“There was a pack, about three, maybe four, weeks ago, they came into this territory, they were planning on killing you, they met the warlock in the woods. He said that to get to you they’d have to go through him. They fought, the warlock kicked their asses, he told them to go, to leave, but that to tell everyone who even thought about messing with the Hale pack, it was under his protection.” Ethan said quickly, watching the stunned expressions of the pack.

“We’d know if a warlock was protecting us.” Isaac said, turning to Derek, “Wouldn’t we?”

“Warlocks have been hunted to almost extinction, there’s no chance in hell one of them would risk outing themselves to protect us, not when he’d know what it would mean, it’d be like walking around with a giant bullseye stapled to his forehead.” Peter dismissed. “It’s rumors, nothing more.”

“How do you explain the other pack leaving then?” Lydia queried. “I mean, why would they lie about that?”

“We’re getting off topic.” Noah insisted, “My son is missing and last we know he was here, looking right at Erica and Boyd.” Noah twisted around, finally spotting the window above them and dashing out of the building and running around to the back of the bank, Derek overtaking him quickly.

There wasn’t any sign of Stiles and it terrified Derek.

“Stiles!?” Noah shouted, hoping with everything he had for a reply. There was nothing. “Stiles!?” He shouted again.

Derek couldn’t smell him, couldn’t find any evidence that Stiles had ever been here, maybe they were wrong, maybe he’d never been here. He looked around, his eyes freezing on the ground, on Stiles’ phone. He reached down, grabbing it quickly, his heart breaking. Stiles had been here; the only reason Derek wouldn’t be able to smell him was if the Alpha’s had covered his scent, which meant they had him.

“They have him. They must have him.” Derek muttered as the rest of the pack arrived.

“Who has him?” Noah glared.

“The others Alphas. The other three in the pack.” Derek whispered horrified, frozen in terror, not even moving to defend himself when Noah grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and pulled him forwards.

“Where? Where would they go?” Noah shouted, trying to stun Derek out of his shock.

“I don’t know, there’s no scent.” Derek whispered.

“Scent!?” Noah flared his nostrils, taking a deep breath and then letting it go again. “Derek, you are a police officer, think, you know these….werewolves…where would they take him?”

“Guys!” Allison called out, waving her arms, “I think we need to get Erica and Boyd to a hospital. They aren’t responding. I don’t know what the Alpha pack did to them, but they need help.”

“I’m not going anywhere until we find Stiles.” Noah said.

“The Alpha pack didn’t do anything to them.” Cora spoke up, “They were like that when they found them. I don’t know what happened to them before that, but it must have been pretty horrific, we’ve spent all summer together and I haven’t gotten a single word out of them.”

“Are they about to die?” Noah said loudly, “Are they in danger right this second? Because Stiles is missing and nobody seems worried about finding him.”

“Of course we’re worried.” Scott said, “But we don’t know how to find him, how to help him. We can help Erica and Boyd.”

“You’re,” Noah started, taking a deep breath to try and calm himself, “you are all freaking werewolves! You must be able to find him, to do something.” Noah pleaded, looking on the verge of tears.

“We could split up and search the woods?” Isaac suggested.

“Splitting up is a bad idea.” Jackson said, “Especially if the twins are telling the truth and the Alphas are going after the humans.” He said, glancing at Lydia with worry.

“Jackson’s right.” Scott said, “We need to stick together.”

“And what? Go wandering around the woods on the hope that we stumble across them?” Peter said sarcastically. “We’re not going to find them unless they want to be found, we know that much already. We’ve searched all summer and not had any idea where they could be.”

“Stiles found them.” Scott blurted out.

“Yeah he did. But Stiles is a genius who had a plan.” Peter argued. “What have we got? We should go home. Map out the area. See if there’s anywhere where they could hide. Make a plan.”

“You want us to go home when my son is out there, when he could be being hurt, being killed, right now?”

“Sheriff,” Peter said reasonably, “Stiles would want us to have a plan. He wouldn’t want us running into something without a plan. We go home. We get out some maps. We figure it out. We get Stiles back.”

There was silence as Noah tried to find the reason in Peter’s logic before he sighed heavily.

“Fine. Okay. I have maps of all the buildings in the area at home. Come to ours. We’ll figure it out there.”

They walked back into the bank, Ethan and Aiden still waiting for them which surprised all of them, they’d half expected the twins to run the moment their back was turned.

“We’d like to help.” Ethan whispered and Jackson snorted.

“Help? You’re part of the Alpha pack. All you want is to kill us.”

“No.” Ethan denied. “All we wanted was to be part of a pack that cared about us. That felt like family. But that’s not this pack, they…they’ve made us do things that we never would have done otherwise and then, tonight, when they started talking about killing humans, I just, we don’t want to be part of that. No now, not ever.”

“So leave then.” Derek snarled, moving to the vault to help Boyd to his feet.

“We can help. We know how they work. If they have Stiles, we can help you find him.” Aiden said truthfully. Derek could hear the truth in his words.

“Fine. But if either of you even think about making a move on any one of my pack I’ll gut you. You understand?” He snarled, flashing his claws for emphasis and both twins nodded eagerly.

They drove away from the bank, back to Noah’s house, all Derek could think was that they were doing the wrong thing, that they needed to go back and look for Stiles. His hands were shaking, he was so terrified and so angry and he just needed to see Stiles, see he was okay, feel that he was alive and fine.

They all headed up the front steps, Noah leading the way and unlocking the house.

“Come on in.” He said, heading into his office, reappearing two minutes later with several maps in his hands. “Scott, I need coffee, go make me one.” Noah ordered, trying not to think about the fact he had several werewolves in his house and that Stiles had known and kept this from him. As soon as he got his hands on him he was going to give him a serious talking to, after he’d hugged him until he couldn’t breathe.

The whole pack went into the kitchen, Erica and Boyd being steered into two seats by the table, while Noah spread the maps out all over the counters. He was worried about what they could have possibly gone through, they seemed to be okay, physically unharmed, but both of their gazes were unfocused, obviously trapped in their own thoughts. He dreaded to think what two kids could have gone through to put them in that state, but he couldn’t think about that, not right now, not when Stiles was missing.

“Deucalion likes to sleep during the day.” Ethan offered, “Ennis and Kali usually sleep at the same time, just to make things easier more than anything else I think.”

“How does that help us?” Peter grimaced.

“It’s only a few hours until sunrise.” Aiden said. “They didn’t take their cars, if Stiles is with them he’s going to slow them down. They’ll want to be in a secure location before then, somewhere easily defendable.”

“Also,” Ethan said, hesitating slightly, “I know you’re going to hate me saying this, but Deucalion likes to play, he enjoys inflicting pain. He’ll want to do that before he goes to sleep, which means that wherever they are, they’ve probably already got there. He’ll want to torture Stiles before the sun comes up.”

“They’ve been gone about an hour and a half, how big of a search area does that give us?” Noah asked, tying not to think that this was his son they were discussing, that it was just another case.

“Well, Kali and Ennis can usually run about thirty-five miles in an hour, Deucalion forty. If he’s carrying Stiles, who’ll probably be putting up a fight, then he’ll be a little slower, probably around the same speed as Kali and Ennis.”

“Which gives us around a fifty-mile search radius.” Noah finished, finding the bank, measuring fifty miles and then drawing a circle on the map and staring at it in shock. It was such a big area to search, not to mention if they’d decided to take a car, then it would be useless. Stiles could be anywhere. He took a steadying breath. This was just another case. It had to be another case.

“Okay, what else do we know about them? Do we know how Stiles found them before?” Noah asked, trying to narrow down the list of possibilities.

“He was working on something. He was going to tell us about it tomorrow. Maybe he’s got notes upstairs?” Isaac suggested.

“Good idea, go look. Bring down anything that looks like it could be relevant.” Noah ordered and Isaac ran up the stairs, Cora offering to go help him. “Okay, did Stiles tell any of you anything about this plan?”

“Just that it was risky.” Derek said quietly, still trying to process the fact that Stiles was missing, was probably being tortured and it was his fault. He should have never let Stiles get involved in all this, he should have kept him out of it. “He also said that it required finesse otherwise he’d get one of the wolves to do it.”

“I can be very subtle when it’s necessary.” Peter replied.

“You don’t even know the meaning of the word.” Scott scoffed.

“This isn’t helping.” Lydia said loudly. “Stiles had a plan, none of us know what it was. We’re not going to be able to figure out what it was. Which means we need to focus on what we know right now. He’s most likely somewhere in this area.” She tapped the circle on the map, “What else do we know about the Alphas?”

“Erm,” Ethan paused, obviously thinking, “Deucalion likes his luxuries. He’s not going to be somewhere without at least running water.”

“You were squatting in an abandoned bank.” Jackson said condescendingly.

“Yeah and if you looked in any of the meeting rooms you’d see that they had huge beds which Deucalion bought in, there were four bathrooms in the bank, we ate out most evenings, or at least picked up food to take back there. We weren’t squatting in the common sense of the word.”

“So he’d want somewhere with power and electric?” Noah asked and Ethan nodded firmly. They studied the map, crossing off some of the buildings, it still left over two hundred. “We need to narrow it down more.”

“Light. He likes sleeping in the day.” Aiden said.

“You’ve already told us that.” Allison sighed.

“Yeah, but he likes sleeping in the day because of the sun, he likes being somewhere where the sun will be shining on him as he sleeps.” Aiden said confidently.

“So anywhere with a window then?” Peter smirked and Aiden deflated. “You must know something else about them, you’re their pack.”

“We weren’t like a proper pack. We didn’t share things; we don’t really know each other, other than the fact that we’re all Alpha werewolves, there is nothing else that binds us.”

“Alright, well, there’ll be another way to figure it out, right?” Noah said hopefully, “They’ll want privacy, to be secluded, in case anyone hears the scream…” He trailed off, looking like he was about to throw up.

“Yes.” Peter agreed, “They’ll want the privacy, but they could get that in any of the older houses too, ones with basements and thick walls, nobody would hear anything there either.”

“Okay, but it rules out the newer developments in town, right?” Noah said, picking up his pen to scratch the houses off.

“Not necessarily. Several of those houses have basements, a lot of them are rental properties where people come and go a lot of the time. If they picked the right house, nobody would know they were there.” Jackson said.

“Didn’t you guys have like a second base of operations or something?” Allison asked the twins who both shook their heads.

“No. Or if we did, they never told us about it. Maybe you could try getting in touch with your warlock. He might be able to find Stiles?”

“We’ve already told you, we don’t know anything about this warlock.” Scott said angrily then paused, obviously thinking, “I mean, unless, do you guys think it’s Deaton?”

“Deaton?” Peter scoffed, “He’s a druid not a warlock.”

“So? He can do magic, like, cast spells and stuff, it’s the same thing, isn’t it?” Scott continued, Peter rolled his eyes.

“No. It’s really not. Comparing a druid to a warlock is like comparing a newborn puppy to Deucalion. There’s no way in hell he’s the warlock.”

“I don’t understand, aren’t all magicians the same?” Jackson asked in confusion.

“Not at all.” Peter said, smirking slightly, “I happened to read several books in my younger years about different casters, it was one of my passions, reading about the kind of things that the different ones could do, there’s a hierarchy of sorts.”

“There are different types of casters? Aren’t all spells similar?” Lydia asked.

“There’s several different types yes, although a lot of them have been hunted into extinction now. As I understand it, and, obviously, I’m not a caster so I can’t say for definite, but all casters can cast the spells yes, but depending on their level of power the outcome would be different. For instance, if a warlock cast a spell to read minds, it would probably work successfully, a druid, it would be too powerful and it would kill them.”

“So, a druid isn’t as powerful as a warlock?” Scott asked for confirmation.

“No. A druid is near the bottom of the scale, beating only Wiccans, above Druids there are Darachs, they have more power because of the dark arts that they use, then Conjurers, followed by Enchanters, Hedge Wizards, then Warlocks.”

“Meaning warlocks are the top of the chain? The most powerful?” Noah asked.

“They are now, once upon a time they were merely halfway up the chain, above them there were Distorters, Mages, Visionaries, Archmages, Seers and then Zduhaćs.” Peter sighed, “But, hunters got all of them, they’re extinct. I mean, you’ll hear about people who think they can predict the future, maybe there might have been a seer in their family history somewhere, but it’s not the same as the true Seers, the one’s that existed years ago, it’s only a small proportion of magic that they used to have.”

“And Zduhaćs? They were the most powerful?” Lydia queried.

“When they existed, yes, they were the most powerful casters that were known, in our history anyway, I’m sure there were other types of casters out there, but they were the most powerful caster on record.” Peter sighed, “Such a shame they were wiped out, but understandable I suppose, they were too powerful in a way, they wiped out thousands of hunters before they were eventually destroyed.”

“Why understandable though?” Ethan asked intrigued, “How powerful were they?”

“Well, from what I remember, they were called Dragon-men, they are where the myth of Dragons came from, the first Zduhać could transform himself into a ferocious fire-breathing beast, using the form to defend his lands from invaders, I don’t know where the term dragon came from, but that’s what they started getting called. The skill was passed down to future generations who inherited the traits necessary to become a Zduhać, but that was only a small portion of their powers, they could cause volcanos to erupt, earthquakes, tsunamis, twisters, in fact most of the natural disasters up until the twelfth century could be linked to a Zduhać protecting his clan.” Peter informed them. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, they were capable of doing great good too, making lands fertile, healing the sick, protecting the weak, they were very, very special. It is a shame that hunters wiped them out.”

The pack sat in silence for a minute, absorbing what Peter had told them.

“What about warlocks? What can they do?” Noah asked, “Do I need to be worried about earthquakes?”

“Well, warlocks are more than capable of creating earthquakes, although not nearly as powerful as the Zduhać. Still, warlocks aren’t to be messed with, if one is protecting our pack for whatever reason, we want to keep them on our side. We don’t want them going against us.” Peter warned.

“There’s nothing up there.” Isaac said as they came down the stairs.

“Nothing?” Jackson asked in surprise.

“No. It’s surprisingly tidy for a teenage boy’s bedroom.” Cora offered. “I always thought everyone was as messy as Derek.”

“Stiles is messy.” Scott said. “I mean, he always knows where everything is, but it’s like, organized chaos.” Scott replied, dashing up the stairs, sure he was going to find something that the others had missed, Stiles was missing, probably being tortured as they spoke, he had to find something that would lead them to Stiles.

He rushed into the bedroom, it was the tidiest he’d ever seen it, like Stiles hadn’t been here in months despite the fact his scent was still fresh. He pulled books from the shelves, shaking them to see if anything fell from their pages, dropping them to the ground when they revealed nothing. He grabbed papers from the desk, scanning each one before discarding them when they proved to be useless. He tipped the mattress from the bed, knowing Stiles sometimes stashed things under there, it was empty. Scott stormed over to the wardrobe, slamming open the doors and pulling the clothes from their drawers and hangers, determined to find something out of place, to point towards Stiles’ plan. Why the hell had he not told any of them what he was planning? Why the hell had he gone out there alone?

“Scott. Stop it.” Noah said from the doorway, staring at Scott in disappointment. Scott took a few deep breaths, looking around the room again. It had been torn apart, his claws must have come out at some point, several of Stiles’ shirts were torn, there were claw marks in his mattress, and it looked like someone had trashed the room, and yet there was still no sign of whatever Stiles had planned.

“We need to find him.” Scott panted desperately.

“We will.” Noah said firmly, “I know Stiles. He is as stubborn as hell. He won’t quit on us. We won’t quit on him. We will find him.”

“I’m sorry.” Scott sobbed, “I’m sorry we kept all this from you.”

“Not as sorry as Stiles is going to be when I get my hands on him.” Noah replied, heading back down to the kitchen.

“He wanted to keep you out of it.” Isaac whispered. “He didn’t want you to be in any danger.”

“I should have kept him out of it too.” Derek said quietly and the room stilled. “I’m sorry. I should have kept him away from all this.”

“Damn right you should have.” Noah snapped, “You’re a werewolf, you’re all werewolves, and you let my son, my kid, run around with you. He’s a kid. He’s a human. He shouldn’t be anywhere near you.”

“With all due respect Sheriff,” Lydia said primly, “Nobody lets Stiles do anything. He does whatever he wants. I would have thought you would have known that.”

“Well, that’s changing. The instant I get him home he is grounded, and I’m going to put in a transfer and we’re going to get out of this town.”

“You can’t do that.” Scott protested.

“Why not? You think I want my kid mixed up in all this? I’m assuming all those times he came back with cuts or bruises from times when you’d been messing about, that really, it was those claws of yours? Or maybe someone else’s claws?”

There was silence again, Stiles had never mentioned any cuts or bruises, but then Scott couldn’t say that he’d noticed any either. He probably should have done. Maybe Noah was just making it out to be worse than it was.

“Look, you’ve had a shock, when my mum found out it took her days before she spoke to me again. But, the priority right now is getting Stiles back. Once he’s home then we can go through what you want to do next. But first, we need him home.” Scott said reasonably.

“Your mum knows about this?” Noah asked and Scott nodded. Noah gritted his teeth. “Fine. Does anyone have any more ideas on how to find them?”

By sunrise they’d given up trying to narrow down locations, there were just too many to look at. There had been a bad lightning storm that seemed to have come out of nowhere in the middle of the night, it had knocked the power out and they’d had to continue their perusal of the map by torchlight. Noah was absolutely exhausted but he couldn’t sleep, not knowing Stiles was out there somewhere, this was worse than the night of the lacrosse game, this was knowing he was with monsters who wanted to hurt him and knowing that even if Noah tracked them down, they’d probably kill him before he knew it.

Allison had provided him with a clip of wolfsbane bullets and explained how it worked. Scott had caught him up on everything that had happened since Scott had been bitten, others occasionally chipping in with other bits of information. Derek had sat silent the whole time, looking like a kicked puppy and Noah was in equal parts wanting to comfort him and shoot him. Stiles was in danger because of Derek but it was obvious to all of them that that was the last thing Derek had wanted to happen.

By eight in the morning he was aware of how werewolves healed, their hearing, their speed, their claws, their anchors, how packs worked, the dynamics of different packs, the whole story behind Peter being the Alpha, how Scott and Lydia were both bitten, Scott becoming a werewolf and Lydia a banshee, Derek becoming Alpha and biting the others, Allison becoming a hunter, Jackson a kanima, and how Stiles had saved them all at some point or another. Noah couldn’t help but be incredibly proud, still incredibly annoyed and terrified, but proud all the same.

By nine they’d decided it would be better to just go and search each property one at a time. Derek insisting that he’d be able to hear Stiles’ heartbeat without having to go into any properties. Noah was slowly catching up on just why his deputy was the best at his job. He thought back to the night they’d picked Stiles up, when they’d joked about moving Derek to the canine unit because of his amazing nose and Noah felt like such an idiot, how could he not have noticed?

Derek didn’t want any of them to split up, but Allison refused to drag Erica and Boyd around the town and they couldn’t leave them here alone.

“We can stay with them? Keep an eye on them?” Aiden suggested.

“What, like you’ve been doing all summer?” Peter sneered. “No offence but I wouldn’t trust you as far as I could throw you.”

“Peter.” Derek warned, “Now isn’t the time. We need to find Stiles.”

“I can stay with them.” Cora suggested, “The Alpha pack wouldn’t think to look for the three of us here.”

“No. You’re not leaving my sight.” Derek replied protectively.

“Derek, we can’t all walk around the streets together. It would be too obvious.” Lydia reasoned. “I know you want to find Stiles, we all do. But we need to be sensible about this. If the Alpha pack see us coming, we’ve no idea what they could do to him.”

“And what about what they’ve already done to him?” Derek replied angrily, trying to hold it together, his claws digging into one of the chairs and he struggled for control. “This is all my fault. I should have been there.”

“We can lay blame all we want after we find Stiles.” Isaac said, “So, what’s the plan? Do we split up? Some of us stay here? Some of us go? Do we all go together?”

“I think it would be best…” Noah started, trailing off when Derek suddenly straightened rapidly, his nose twitching, turning towards the street and then dashing towards the front door, the rest of the pack at his heels.

Noah got to the doorway just as Derek reached Stiles. Stiles who was walking up the footpath and was now being almost attacked by a crazy werewolf.

“Are you alright? Are you hurt?” Derek was saying, gripping Stiles’ arms tightly and examining him for injuries.

“Stiles!” Noah cried out in relief, running down the front path and pulling Stiles into a tight hug, effectively pushing Derek out of the way. “What happened? Did they let you go? Did they hurt you?”

Stiles was covered in smudges of something that looked like ash, he had a few cuts and scrapes on his bare arms, another on his cheek, his shirt was torn in several places and stained with blood and he was only wearing one boot, but other than that he looked fine, if a little tired but generally just confused.

“What are you guys on about?” He said, finally breaking out of his dads’ hug and immediately being embraced by Scott who hugged him just a little too hard and Stiles winced.

“The Alpha pack had you!” Scott said in terror, checking himself for any injuries Derek and Noah might have missed. Derek was standing frozen on the spot, staring at Stiles with such relief in his eyes that Scott realised just how much Derek cared for Stiles, something that he’d known, but never really paid enough attention to see it with his own eyes before.

The rest of the pack gathered around him, hugging him tightly and Stiles was looking more and more surprised at the shows of affection.

“The Alpha’s didn’t have me.” He clarified.

“But we heard, on the phone, Kali was there. When we got to the bank you weren’t there, just your phone.” Noah said, still holding tightly onto Stiles.

Stiles paused, he’d kind of hoped that they hadn’t heard that bit, it had never been part of his plan for the Alpha’s to find him, but then, he’d never expected them to know about the warlock protecting the Hale pack either.

“Oh, yeah, well, I surprised them. I ran. Lost them in the trees. I think they were kind of toying with me, but then they got distracted, there was some other scent that was more appealing and they took off after that.” Stiles said, focusing on keeping his heartbeat steady so they wouldn’t detect the lie.

“Another scent?” Peter queries, “Like a warlock maybe?”

“A warlock?” Stiles asked, wrinkling his nose in confusion, “What about a warlock?”

“The twins told us there’s a warlock protecting our pack, that the Alpha’s were out looking for him.”

“What? Seriously?” Stiles replied, looking slightly paler then when he started the conversation, “Okay, well, maybe they smelled him or something? Can you guys smell magic by the way?”

“No. We can’t.” Derek said quietly.

“Okay, well, maybe it was something to do with Deucalion, I don’t know, maybe it wasn’t even the warlock, but anyway, they took off after this other scent and I spent the night trying to a, avoid being struck by lightning, b, find out where the hell I was so I could get out of there and c, making sure I didn’t run back into them.”

“You outran an Alpha?” Jackson said in surprise.

“Well, I don’t think I really outran him. Like I said, I surprised them, I don’t think they thought I’d be stupid enough to run. Turns out, I am that stupid.” Stiles grinned easily and Derek fought back a laugh, he was so relieved that he could barely stay upright. Stiles was here. Stiles was alive and breathing and cracking jokes.

“You kind of smell a little singed?” Isaac said, sniffing delicately and Stiles frowned for a moment before nodding.

“Well, lightning storm, what can you expect right?”

“How close were you to lightning to smell like you got burned?” Derek asked with worry.

“I didn’t lose my shoe running if that helps narrow it down.” Stiles replied sarcastically, it didn’t make Derek relax, instead all he could think of was that Stiles had nearly been struck by lightning. “More importantly, did you get Erica and Boyd?” Stiles said getting serious.

“Yeah we did.” Allison reassured him. “They’re in the kitchen, we didn’t want to take them to the hospital until we found you.”

“Why do they need the hospital?” Stiles asked with worry, moving towards the house.

“I think they’re in some kind of shock, Cora spent all summer with them and she said that they never spoke a word.” Allison explained, Stiles looked around, locking his eyes on Cora and studying her for a moment.

“What?” Cora said heatedly.

“Nothing. You just, kind of look like Derek.”

“Considering I’m his sister that’s not exactly unexpected.” Cora replied.

“Sister!?” Stiles said, his mouth dropping open in surprise, his eyes widening as he looked between Derek and Cora a few times.

“It’s a long story.” Derek said, “But she’s back and she’s staying.”

“Didn’t even question it.” Stiles said, smiling slightly before moving into the house.

He’d had a long night and he was exhausted, maybe things didn’t go down exactly how he told the pack, but keeping his magic secret was the most important thing, if he told them they’d be in danger, he couldn’t do that to them.

He hadn’t heard the Alpha’s coming around the back of the bank, he’d climbed down from the window ledge, ready to move into a better position when suddenly he was surrounded by Kali, Ennis and Deucalion. Kali taunting him, his heart rate skyrocketing as he grasped the only way out of this would be magic.

Ennis reached for him, long claws already outstretched, ready to tear through his skin, Stiles reacted instinctively, he dropped his phone and cast two spells, one to make the ground roll under their feet, the other to produce a powerful blast of air that would knock them backwards. All three Alphas fell to the ground in surprise and Stiles took off running, he had to get them away from the bank before the pack arrived, before his dad arrived. He didn’t know what the hell his dad had been doing with the pack, but he couldn’t think about that now, all that mattered now was protecting them from the Alpha’s.

He used his magic to enhance his speed, he knew the Alpha’s were closing in on him, but he needed to put more distance between them and the bank before he attacked. He moved as fast as he could, jumping over downed trees, dodging around bushes, until finally he was sure that he’d got as far away as he was needed to be.

He turned just at Deucalion burst through the trees, twisting his hands quickly to cast a spell, launching a rock that hit Deucalion square in the chest. Kali and Ennis burst through the bushes next, both of them with their claws out, already launching towards Stiles. He managed to dodge their claws by mere millimeters, Kali’s claws catching his shirt and tearing it slightly. He slipped and fell landing hard on the ground, throwing up a spell that knocked Kali backwards. He scrambled upwards turning and running again, coming to an abrupt stop when Ennis grabbed the back of his shirt and yanked him backwards slamming him into the ground. He rolled out of the way of Ennis’ fist, casting another spell that blocked Ennis’ feet from kicking him.

He climbed a little unsteadily to his feet, surprised by how exhausted he felt, creating a ball of swirling air around himself, giving himself a little time to figure out what his next move was as he kept the three of them at bay.

“Come on little warlock, drop the spell and I’ll make this quick for you.” Deucalion taunted, his claws extended and eyes glowing red.

“Leave town now and I’ll spare you.” Stiles growled in reply pulling his staff from his pocket and extending it, he thought you could tell it was supposed to be a baseball bat, maybe, if you squinted a little.

“Cocky, aren’t you? We’ll see how long that lasts when this barrier comes down.” Kali shouted over the wind, her claws glistening dangerously.

“I really don’t think you want me to do that.” Stiles warned, his mind racing as he thought.

Stiles dropped the wind, placing a hand on the ground and watching as the earth rumbled under him, creating a circle of rock that he shoved outwards at the three wolves, knocking them all off their feet and backwards until they smashed into the trees.

Deucalion got to his feet first, rushing straight at him. Stiles saw Kali getting to her feet on his right and swung rapidly to avoid Deucalion and slam a fist into Kali as she pounced at him. He stumbled backwards a few steps, feeling more and more desperate as the fight went on, he wasn’t used to this, wasn’t sure he could hold out much longer. He threw another blast of magic, hitting Ennis as he attacked, Deucalion catching his arm and digging his claws deep into his skin. Stiles turned, directing a blast of magic through his bat at Deucalion, loosening his hold enough that Stiles could rip his arm from Deucalion’s grip. Blood was running freely down his arm and it hurt like hell but Stiles couldn’t think about that right now.

He took another step back, hitting a tree behind him, watching the grinning werewolves as they closed in, knowing that they thought he’d lost. He shifted minutely, shrinking his bat and shoving it back into his pocket, squaring his stance, calling to all the magic within him for this to work. Thunder rumbled through the sky and a moment later lightning split the sky, coming straight for Stiles who felt it buzz through his skin before he redirected it so that it hit the ground a few inches from Deucalion’s feet.

He looked at Stiles in astonishment, a wicked grin reappearing on his lips a moment later.

“You know when I kill you, I’m going to enjoy taking every last drop of that power of yours.”

“Leave now or die.” Stiles said determinedly, he could feel the lightning in the sky above them, feel it crackling under his skin, waiting to be used, he would not lose this fight. Kali shifted, ready to attack and Stiles commanded another blast of lightning, this time missing her by the barest of space, she stopped still, frozen in place. “I won’t tell you again.” He said.

Stiles’ hand felt like it was on fire, there was so much raw energy pulsing through his body, he didn’t know how much longer he could hold it back, how much longer before it just exploded from his body, the scroll had never said how much this would hurt.

Ennis growled, baring his teeth at Stiles and Deucalion charged, obviously hoping for the element of surprise. Stiles flinched back from his reach, lightning arching through the sky once more and this time hitting Deucalion.

He screamed, it was loud and filled with pain and abrupt. Deucalion fell. He hit the ground, his whole-body smoking, barely recognizable as the wolf he had been. Stiles didn’t need supernatural hearing to know that Deucalion was dead, he had never meant to do that. He’d never meant to kill him. He hadn’t been able to control the lightning; it had just burst out from him without his say so.

Kali and Ennis were both snarling at him and Stiles took another steadying breath, hoping his voice wouldn’t sound as terrified as he felt.

“Leave now and you’ll be spared.” Stiles ordered. They only growled in return. Stiles was trembling now, the lightning running rampant through his body, he couldn’t hold it much longer, he needed to drop the spell, he needed to do it now before it killed him.

“You will die tonight warlock.” Kali hissed, leaping towards him. Stiles blocked her blow as best he could, blood still spilling down his arm from Deucalion’s claws, he moved as quickly as he could but his body felt slow and unresponsive, he couldn’t co-ordinate what he wanted to do, couldn’t get anything to work. He stumbled, going to his knees, raising his arms to block Ennis’ blow and that was all he remembered. His vision had whited out and then everything had gone black.

He’d regained consciousness hours later, the sun was starting to rise, he glanced around him, surprised that he was somehow still alive, there was no sign of the Alpha’s, the area in front of him was scorched black, a perfect semi-circle that stretched for about twenty feet outwards, trees reduced to ash, everything burned away. Stiles climbed to his feet, using the nearest tree to steady himself as he swayed, the grass was still green where he stood, the only green left in the proximity, it was stained red in places from the blood that still ran from his arm. He used a little magic to try and heal the injury, having to sit back down when it made him feel too weak.

He guessed that Kali and Ennis had been killed, he couldn’t see them leaving him alive otherwise, but he couldn’t be sure, there was nothing to suggest that they’d ever been there, but since Deucalion’s body was also missing, Stiles could only assume they’d all been incinerated. He leaned sideways, panting slightly as his wound healed and his stomach rolled, he threw up, managing to at least get it on the ground and not all over himself.

He didn’t mean to go back to sleep, he’d just closed his eyes to rest for a moment and jerked awake later, he was unsure how much time had passed since he’d closed his eyes. He stood up slowly, still feeling dizzy and a little unsteady, but by leaning on the trees he managed to stay upright and make his way out of the forest, he didn’t have enough magic left to cast a spell to find his way out of the preserve, he was too weak for that, instead he stumbled forwards, hoping he was going in the right direction and carrying on as best he could.

By the time he found the road he was exhausted, but now he was out of the preserve his priority was to find the pack. He got a little steadier the longer he walked, his feet were hurting, he didn’t know when he’d lost his shoe, he dismissed it, it wasn’t important. He had to find the pack, that was what mattered. He knew he probably looked a mess, knew his clothes were torn and covered in blood, but at least the most serious injury was healed. He knew he wasn’t far from home and decided that he should probably go there first to get cleaned up, he didn’t need everyone to worry if they saw the state he was in.

The house came into view and Stiles had never been so grateful to see it in all his life, the last thing he expected as he stepped off the sidewalk towards the house was for Derek to come barreling out of the door, racing towards him, holding him tightly while examining him for injuries.

Chapter Text

Stiles went into the kitchen to see Erica and Boyd, seeing them sitting so still, their eyes not focused on anything, as if they were trapped in their own memories. He hated it. He walked towards them slowly, well aware of the pack behind him. He tried not to be surprised by seeing the twins in the corner of the room, he was surprised Derek had let them live, but Derek constantly surprised him. Anyway, the twins weren’t his priority right now, Erica and Boyd were.

“Erica? Boyd?” He whispered, crouching down in front of Erica. There was no response. He glanced to Allison who shrugged sadly, all of them at a loss for what to do. Jackson moved slightly, lifting his arm to cover his nose, he could see the rest of the wolves shifting uncomfortably and frowned. “Okay, well, obviously, I stink.” He said quietly, “I’m going to grab a shower and then we can figure out what to do next, sound good?”

“Yeah.” Scott nodded.

“Okay.” Stiles agreed, getting to his feet and heading towards the stairs, only to be stopped by his dad’s arm on his shoulder.

“Then we’re going to talk about the fact there are werewolves.” Noah said and Stiles looked at him guiltily but nodded.

He spent a long time in the shower, washing off the dirt, blood and grime, and then just standing under the hot water, letting it soothe his aching muscles. He was exhausted, all he wanted to do was go to sleep, but even though he’d got safely home, his work was not done yet and felt like it never would be. He refastened the cuffs on his wrist to cover his scars before looking in the mirror, he had several bruises that covered his torso, he wasn’t even sure how he got them but he would assume it was in the fight. He turned slightly, catching sight of a scar on his shoulder that he’d never seen before, he stopped, turning back to the mirror, his mouth dropping open in surprise when he recognised it was a lichtenberg scar, another one for him to cover up, it went from his collarbone to half way down his arm, he fought back tears at that, just once he wanted to fight and not be scarred by it, or better yet, not have to fight at all. He slipped a long sleeve t-shirt over his head, pulling a pair of boxers and jeans on quickly, shoving on a pair of socks and his trainers and heading back downstairs.

Erica and Boyd were still sat on the seats, seeming to have not moved an inch, he couldn’t help but wonder what the hell had happened to them to put them in such a state, then feel immense guilt when he realised it was probably something Gerard did, and he’d left them there, to be tortured, to go through something that traumatised them even months later. It was his fault. He crouched down in front of them, studying them as best he could without making everyone aware that had magic.

He’d been working on auras with Luke, but it was hard going, more than a few moments looking at someone made Stiles feel sick, and most of the time it wasn’t accurate, he hadn’t figured out what all the different colours meant, or why they changed so abruptly sometimes. He had kind of decided that he wouldn’t do it unless it was absolutely necessary, but this was one of those times.

He felt for the magic inside himself, ignoring the way that it whined, it was tired and it wanted to rest, he couldn’t, not yet, he needed to fix this. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, seeing the colours flash into existence, both Erica and Boyd were surrounded by a soft grey aura that looked sickly, he shook his head slightly to clear it as the colours faded and he stomach swirled dangerously.

“Stiles?” His dad asked and Stiles shook his head gently, rising up, grabbing his phone from the side and heading to the door. “Where are you going?”

“Just, give me a second, I just need to clear my head.” Stiles said quickly, needing to call Luke urgently.

“I’ll come with you.” Noah replied.

“No. Just, give me a minute. Please.” Stiles said, practically slamming the door in his dad’s face and crossing the road quickly to get out of the pack’s hearing.

“Can you still hear him?” Noah asked Derek who shook his head in annoyance.

“Stiles knows how good our hearing is, he’s out of hearing for now.” Derek replied, trying not to feel hopeful about the fact Noah hadn’t kicked them out yet.

“He shouldn’t be out of sight; the Alpha pack is still out there somewhere.” Isaac whispered quietly.

“Do you think they found the warlock?” Lydia asked.

“It certainly sounds like it.” Peter replied, “I’m curious as to why a warlock would put his life at risk to protect our pack though, he’ll be in danger now, a lot of it, and we don’t even know who he is.”

“If he survived the Alpha pack.” Jackson said solemnly, “I mean, there’s a good chance the Alpha pack killed him already, or have taken him captive, I don’t know what the standard thing is for warlocks, do you guys?”

“Probably killed him.” Aiden said quietly and they all turned to look at the twins in shock. “Deucalion had tracked down a spell that basically allowed him to absorb a warlocks’ powers. Hunters use a similar one to force a warlock’s powers to do their bidding, but without actually absorbing the powers. If Deucalion found the warlock, and managed to cast the spell, then he would have drained the powers from the warlock, he’s probably already trying to track us down and kill us.”

“But it wouldn’t have killed him? Right? Just taken his powers?” Scott asked, hating the idea that this warlock could have lost his powers trying to protect them.

“The spell wasn’t designed to just take his powers, it was done to absorb everything, including his life force. If Deucalion won, your warlock is dead.” Ethan muttered and the whole pack paled slightly.

“Do you think there’s any chance he survived?” Isaac asked in a small voice.

“Deucalion wouldn’t have backed down; the warlock would have had to kill him to get him to stop his attack.” Aiden said seriously. “Kali and Ennis wouldn’t go down without a fight either. Honestly, the chances that the warlock is still alive are low.”

“We should prepare for Deucalion, if he’s coming back with a warlock’s powers, then we need to find a way to fight him.” Lydia said.

Stiles threw up as soon as he was out of sight from his house, seeing Erica and Boyd auras looking so sickly had completely stunned him, he’d barely made it out of the house before a wave of nausea had overwhelmed him, he had stumbled across to the bushes and thrown up violently, sitting on the ground and panting as he tried to recover.

He pulled his phone out of his pocket and called Luke, praying that he answered and sighing in relief when he did.

“Stiles? Are you alright? I expected you here before now?”

“I’m fine Luke, just a long night, look, I need your advice. We found Erica and Boyd last night, but there’s something wrong with them. I looked at their aura’s and they’re all grey and sort of misty, like they are sick or something?”

“How did you all find them?” Luke asked casually.

“I used a tracking spell, I was alone, the pack didn’t know.” Stiles reassured him.

“And the Alpha pack?” Luke asked.

“Possibly dead, Deucalion definitely is, I don’t know what happened to Ennis and Kali. I blacked out.”

“Blacked out? What? How? Tell me exactly what happened Stiles.” Luke said, sounding serious, so Stiles told him everything, how he’d created the spell to track the twins, how he’d tracked them to the bank, what he’d seen, the Alpha’s finding him, how he’d run, the fight and then finally the lightning spell. How it had been too powerful, he hadn’t felt in control, how it had burned through his body left a scar on his arm and how it had more than likely incinerated Ennis and Kali.

“I don’t know what happened to them, but they weren’t there when I woke up and I was alive, so I figure they must be dead, otherwise I would be.” Stiles said, “But, right now, the priority is Erica and Boyd, they, I don’t know, it’s like they don’t know what’s going on. Like they can’t see us or hear us.”

“And their auras are grey? Like a veiled grey?”

“Yes.” Stiles said firmly.

“It sounds like they’re in shock, was the rescue traumatic?” Luke queried.

“No, they were like that before, when the Alpha pack found them. I think it had something to do with Gerard, I think he did something to them.”

“What and they’ve been like that all summer?” Luke asked sounding shocked.

“Yeah, I just, I don’t know what to do. If we take them to the hospital they could end up locked in a psych ward or something and god knows what will happen then, I mean, they’re werewolves for god’s sake, if they run tests on them or anything, it’ll be obvious, not to mention if they are locked up for the full moon.”

“Stiles, calm down. You won’t need to take them to the hospital.” Luke replied and Stiles was stunned into silence. “They’re in shock, it’s like a kind of trauma, isn’t it?”

“I suppose, that’s why it looks like they are sick?” Stiles asked.

“Exactly, and if one of the wolves is hurt, how do they start the healing process?” Luke asked, talking slowly, wanting Stiles to reach the conclusion on his own.

“They have to break a bone, that’s what starts the process.” Stiles said triumphantly, “Do you really think that would work?”

“Have you got any other ideas?” Luke said sarcastically and Stiles smiled slightly.

“No I guess not. I’ll try.”

“Good, and I’ll see you over here in a few hours?”

“Give me until three. My dad just found out about all of this, I think he’s going to want to talk about that first.”

“Okay, I’ll see you at three, we need to talk about this lightning spell, any later and I’m coming to you.” Luke warned and Stiles laughed, even though it sounded hollow even to himself.

“I’ll be there.”

“Good. See you later.” Luke replied ending the call.

Stiles walked back to the house with determination, he had an idea, a plan. He entered the house, ignoring the fact that all the pack were looking at him, no doubt he still smelled like sick, he tried not to think about that, instead he moved over to Erica and Boyd.

“I have an idea.” He said quietly, “A way to break them out of this, hopefully.”

“Okay, let’s do it then.” Derek said and Stiles glanced at him surprised, more than a little amazed that Derek hadn’t even questioned him, hadn’t even asked what the plan was. He rested his hands on their legs, pushing a little of his magic into them, hoping it would encourage them to heal, without anyone suspecting what he was doing, a few moments later he stood up, moving away from them.

“So, the way I figure it, they’re in shock, and shock is kind of an injury, isn’t it? Like trauma? A wound? So, we need them to start healing, and you guys all start to heal when…”

“Our bones are broken.” Scott finished, looking horrified at Erica and Boyd, “You want to break one of their bones!? They aren’t even aware we’re here.”

“Have you got a better idea?” Stiles snapped, rubbing at his eyes, he was exhausted, he wanted to go to sleep more than anything else, but he couldn’t not yet, “Besides, if it doesn’t snap them out of this, they’ll still heal quickly.”

“I’ll do it.” Derek said quickly, Stiles glancing at him gratefully as he walked towards his wolves. “Sheriff, you might want to step away, if this works, their wolves are going to be dominant.”

Noah took a few steps away, grabbing Stiles’ arm and pulling him backwards too, Stiles effectively hiding his flinch at the sudden contact, his dad let go a moment later and he took the opportunity to put some distance between them, only a step or two so that he was away from anyone who could touch him, allowing himself to relax just slightly. Derek picked up their hands, looking at his unresponsive beta’s, his eyes full of sorrow, as he twisted their wrists, breaking the bones instantly.

The responsive was immediate, Erica and Boyd both flashed golden eyes, jumping to their feet, growling at the threat before recognizing their Alpha and submitting slightly.

“Stiles…” Erica whispered, her voice cracking with disuse, and Stiles froze, he hadn’t thought this through, they were going to tell the pack what he’d done, that he’d left them there, that they were in this state because of him, god, they were all going to hate him, blame him for this, kill him for it. “Stiles…” Erica repeated, both Boyd and Erica glancing up, seeing him across the room and then surging towards him, their eyes still glowing gold, claws still ready to tear through him.

Stiles backed up slightly, hitting a cupboard behind him, seeing his dad reaching for him, knowing he wouldn’t get there in time. It was his nightmare all over again, they were going to gut him, kill him, and he didn’t blame them, not in the slightest. They’d been tortured into almost insanity and it was all his fault.

He squeezed his eyes shut, not wanting to see the end of this, when suddenly he was hit by two bodies, he could feel Erica’s hair tickling his nose, Boyd’s arms wrapping around him tightly, squeezing too hard, making it difficult to breathe.

“You’re alive. You’re okay.” Erica was muttering into his shoulder.

“We thought they’d killed you, they did kill you.” Boyd was saying from his other side. Stiles was too stunned to move, placing an arm around each of them and pulling them closer.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” He whispered into Erica’s hair, knowing they’d hear his words clearly.

They stayed like that, hugging each other tightly, Stiles’ could feel a wet patch on his shoulder, knowing Erica was crying on him, he wanted to comfort her, but he could almost feel the relief wafting off her, knew that more than anything it was tears of relief, tears of joy that Stiles was alive, he had no idea he meant that much to either of the beta’s.

“Does someone want to tell me what the hell is going on here?” Noah said a few minutes later, breaking the silence, Stiles glanced up at him, seeing that all the pack were staring at the three of them with stunned expressions on their faces, all of them confused as to what they were witnessing.

Boyd pulled away slightly, but Erica still clung tightly to him, refusing to let go of him.

“I’d like to know that too.” Derek said, sounding angry and Stiles tried not to flinch, maybe he didn’t succeed as well as he would have liked, or maybe it was because Erica and Boyd were both still pressed so close to him, but the moment he flinched, even the slightest bit, both of them turned on the threat, putting him behind them, protecting him, growling at Derek, seemingly not caring that they were growling at their Alpha. Derek looked even more surprised, if that was even possible.

Stiles reached forward, touching both their shoulders gently, the contact seeming to relax them, until eventually they stopped growling, but still did not move from in front of Stiles.

“I think this is going to be an interesting story.” Peter smirked, sitting down in one of the seats at the table and grinning at Stiles who was still trying to get over Boyd and Erica’s reactions. It was the last thing he’d ever expected. “Care to explain?”

Erica and Boyd both glanced to Stiles, seemingly surprised that nobody knew the story already. Stiles didn’t want to deal with this, not now, not ever, he didn’t want anyone to know about this. They shouldn’t know about this.

He hesitated, opening his mouth, about to start explaining when there was a knock at the door and Stiles almost collapsed in relief.

“Don’t think this is over. I want an explanation, and I’ll get one.” Noah warned as he moved towards the door.

Stiles waited in silence, the rest of the pack studying him in confusion, studying Boyd and Erica who were both still in front of Stiles, still protecting him from any threat, and hadn’t said a word other than his name yet.

“Stiles,” Noah said wearily, appearing in the doorway, “It’s for you. Deputy Lincoln about the attack.”

“Okay.” Stiles said, moving towards the door, glad to get out of the room where everyone was still staring at him.

Deputy Lincoln was stood on the doorstep, shuffling a little nervously, grinning when he saw Stiles. Stiles was glad that his dad hadn’t invited the guy inside, it meant they could go outside and talk, hopefully keeping their conversation as private as possible with a pack of werewolves in the kitchen.

“Deputy Lincoln, nice to see you again.” Stiles said, stepping outside and shutting the door behind him.

“Stiles, how’ve you been? Recovered from your injuries?”

“Yeah, all healed up.” Stiles replied easily. There was a moment of silence that felt a little awkward and Stiles moved to the far end of the porch, “So, what can I do for you?”

“I just came to let you know how the case is going.”

“Oh, have you caught him?” Stiles asked casually.

“No, not yet. But, I was hoping, now that your injuries are healed, you might be able to give a more detailed description?” Deputy Lincoln asked.

“Sorry, but I don’t remember much, he was wearing a mask, he ran off, I didn’t see where.” Stiles replied, hoping that the wolves weren’t listening in and hearing the lie in his words. Deputy Lincoln studied him for a moment before sighing.

“Fair enough. Had to ask I guess.”

“Sorry I couldn’t be more help.” Stiles answered, eager to wrap up the conversation, but not eager to go back into his home and face a pack who would demand answers.

“One more thing,” Lincoln asked and Stiles turned back to glance at him, “You never called.” Stiles looked at him in confusion, it was obvious he needed more of an explanation, “At the hospital, I gave you my number, you put it in your pocket, you never called.”

“Oh.” Stiles said blushing slightly, up until this moment he’d completely forgotten about it, probably washed his jeans by now too. “Erm, I had a concussion, it totally slipped my mind.”

“Well, what about now? If I gave you my number now?”

“I’m, erm, I’m kind of seeing someone.” Stiles muttered, shuffling from one foot to the other and wishing this conversation was already over.

“Any chance it would that Andy guy?” Lincoln asked and Stiles looked up at him in astonishment, he was pretty sure that he’d never mentioned Andy in front of the deputies, or maybe he had, most of that evening had been a bit of a blur. “I’m going to take your silence as a yes. Well, how about an autograph instead?” Lincoln asked, pulling out a magazine from the back of his jacket, it took Stiles one second to recognize the cover and then he was dragging Lincoln back down to the end of the porch, already trying to shove the magazine out of sight.

“Are you insane!?” Stiles hissed angrily.

“I’m guessing from that reaction that your dad doesn’t know about your little side job?” Lincoln smiled, looking very smug all of a sudden.

“Of course not.” Stiles whispered, “Can you keep your voice down please? Can you, can you just leave?”

“Tell you what,” Lincoln said, smirking as he leaned in towards Stiles, lowering his voice to a whisper, “If you go out with me, I’ll make sure this is never mentioned again.”

“You’re blackmailing me!?” Stiles whispered incredulous, looking at Lincoln with disgust.

“No, I’m just suggesting, you should go on a date with me, you don’t have to of course, but it would be terrible if one of these,” He waggled the magazine dangerously, “was to find their way into your father’s hands.”

Stiles glared at him, completely unsure what to do, he couldn’t let his dad find out, he sure as hell didn’t want to go out with this prick, and then suddenly, the decision was out of his hands.

“Can you hear what’s going on?” Noah asked Derek as soon as he reentered the kitchen and heard Stiles shut the front door. Derek nodded. “Okay, so tell me.”

“They’re talking about the case; they haven’t found the guy yet.” Derek informed him and Noah nodded, he knew that much already, he’d been asked to be informed the moment his son’s attacker had been captured, “Now they’re discussing Lincoln giving Stiles his number.” Derek said, trying not to frown, why the hell did everyone seem to be hitting on Stiles? He wanted to date him, he wanted to go out with him and laugh with him, and he wouldn’t stand a chance when there were all these other offers, Stiles would never even consider him, if Derek ever worked up the courage to put himself out there in the first place.

The conversation went quiet, Derek heard a rustle of paper and then Stiles’ heartbeat starting to race.

“What’s going on now?” Noah asked.

“Apparently, Lincoln has something Stiles doesn’t want you to see.” Peter remarked, “It must be pretty bad, he’s trying to blackmail Stiles into going on a date with him and he’ll keep his mouth shut.”

Derek was fuming, his hands shaking, he was glad Peter had told Noah that, he wasn’t sure he would have been able to speak. He watched in silence as Noah stormed towards the front door, opening it quickly and going outside.

Stiles saw his dad step outside, looking angrier that Stiles had seen him in ages, he quickly snatched the magazine from Lincoln, shoving it behind his back and trying not to look too guilty.

“Get off my property. Right now.” Noah said angrily and Lincoln glanced at him in confusion, “Or would you prefer that I arrest you for blackmail? Or trying to elicit sexual favours from minors? Because, really, I’m quite happy to go with either. So, please, feel free to stay, it would be a pleasure to drag your ass down to the station in cuffs.”

Lincoln stared at Noah, flushing red before snatching the magazine from Stiles’ hands and throwing it at Noah as he stormed off down the steps.

“You’ll want to look at page ninety.” He called back.

Stiles stared at his dad in silence as he picked up the magazine, realization washing over him as to what the magazine was and then flicking through to find page ninety. Stiles wanted to speak, but he wasn’t sure what to say, he was at a loss for words, nothing he could say would stop his dad from flying off the handle. He watched as his dad went white and then a very vivid shade of red, Stiles could see a vein in his forehead throbbing dangerously.

“Dad, I can explain…”

“Get in the house.” Noah growled. Stiles opened his mouth to speak but couldn’t find any words, instead shuffling silently into the house. The whole pack was gathered in the kitchen doorway, Stiles couldn’t believe they were all going to find out about this, he should have been more careful, he should have never done it.

“I can…”

“Take your shirt off.” Noah almost shouted and Stiles flinched, he hadn’t expected his dad to say that. Scott was looking at him in confusion, obviously able to feel the rage coming off his dad, it really didn’t reassure Stiles.

“I don’t see…”

“I said take your shirt off Stiles. Right now.”

“No.” Stiles said defiantly, folding his arms across his chest, he couldn’t let his dad see his scars, couldn’t let any of them.

“This isn’t me asking. This is me telling you. I want to see if they somehow edited in these scars, because if they didn’t, so help me god, I will put a bullet in every single member of this pack.” Noah snapped and Stiles took a step backwards, he’d never seen his dad so angry before.

“Dad…”

“No, don’t try and change the subject, take your shirt off, let me see that these scars aren’t real, and then we’ll discuss the fact that you’ve been taking your clothes off for money.” Noah snarled, throwing the magazine on the floor. The whole pack seemed to suck in a breath, staring down at the magazine which had a picture of Stiles and Andy, Stiles leaning against a wall as Andy pressed against him, pulling his shirt up so you could clearly see the scar on his stomach, he was wearing the ripped shirt that showed the claw mark from Scott, Andy’s other hand clutching both of Stiles’ wrists and pinning him to the wall, his mouth on Stiles’ neck. He could see the stunned expressions on their faces, the complete and total shock, he couldn’t believe he’d been so stupid to think they wouldn’t find out.

“So, you show me right now.” His dad snapped, looking on the verge of a heart attack, pulling out his gun, “Or I’m just going to start shooting them anyway. Wolfsbane bullets kill them, right?”

“Dad, it wasn’t them!” Stiles shouted, moving towards the gun, stepping in front of it, between his dad and the pack, “It wasn’t them!”

“So, you admit it? Those scars are real?” Noah said, sounding more distraught than Stiles had ever heard him.

“That’s not what I said.”

“Yet you won’t take your shirt off, which makes me pretty damn sure they are.”

“Stiles, just, take your shirt off. Show him it’s not true.” Scott whispered and Stiles looked at him in sorrow.

“No.”

“Stiles, just do it.” Scott said, sounding on the verge of tears.

“I can’t.” Stiles muttered and his dad raised his gun again. “Dad! I told you! It wasn’t them!”

“Who was it then? If it wasn’t these monsters who the hell gave you a scar like that?”

“It was Gerard.” Erica whispered and the room stilled.

“Gerard?” Peter asked in confusion.

“He had Stiles. He tortured him.” Boyd informed them. Stiles flushed red as every eye turned to look at him.

“Look, I’m sorry about the pictures, okay? But I never planned on you finding out. I’m sorry.” Stiles said, trying to change the subject away from Gerard, glad when his dad took the bait.

“You’re sorry!?” Noah shouted, “Sorry? Stiles you’ve been stripping off for half the goddamn country, how long did you think you were going to keep this from me? How long have you been doing this?”

“Since the beginning of summer,” He admitted truthfully, there was no point in lying, the wolves would tell his dad and then he’d be in even more trouble, “and I haven’t been stripping off, I never take my clothes off.” Stiles defended.

“A few months?” Isaac spluttered in shock and Stiles shrugged.

“Right, yeah, sure, because your photo is in a porn magazine and you never take your clothes off.” Noah replied sarcastically.

“I don’t!” He insisted. “Harry said he wouldn’t allow anything like that, not unless I wanted to.”

“Harry!? Harry who you were with last week!? Harry who is Andy’s boss? Is this Andy? This guy who is all over you? You realise these assholes are taking advantage of you Stiles. You’re a child. A sixteen-year-old kid. They are taking suggestive photos of you, I could have him arrested.”

“Your dad is right Stiles.” Scott added, looking disappointed, “How could you do this? You’ve put us at risk, if anyone finds out how you got those scars…”

Stiles stilled, a sort of calm detachment came over him at Scott and his father’s words and suddenly he didn’t feel scared, or worried, or panicked. He didn’t feel anything, other than the need to leave.

“I put you at risk?” Stiles said coldly, “Really? You don’t even know why the hell I did it, god forbid that I actually had a genuinely good reason for doing this. You say your my best friend, you and dad, you’re supposed to be the ones that care about me, except, these ‘assholes’ that are ‘taking advantage’ of me, they managed to remember my birthday, because I’m seventeen dad, seventeen, and have been for a few weeks now, if you were ever here you might have noticed that.” Stiles said, snatching up his keys and storming out of the house.

He jumped in the jeep and reversed off the drive at speed, glad when no-one had come out of the house to stop him, roaring off down the road with no destination in mind other than to get the hell away from there as fast as he could.

Noah felt like he’d been slapped with ice cold water, he glanced at the calendar on the fridge, the date screaming at him, Scott looked just as horrified, but what could he say, he was Stiles’ dad and he’d forgotten his birthday, and not by just a day or two, he’d completely and utterly forgotten about it. Before he could say anything, or move, or try to defend himself in any way Stiles had already left, already got in his jeep and driven off to god knows where. This was all his fault; how could he have forgotten Stiles’ birthday!? It wasn’t exactly a surprise that Stiles had kept things hidden from him, what were the chances of Stiles telling him important things when he couldn’t even remember his birthday. He was the worst father in the history of all father’s ever.

Derek was still staring at the magazine on the floor, staring at the photo of Stiles and Andy, he had never felt so aroused and so jealous in his life. The words that were being spoken seemed to be coming from a long way away, he could barely focus, his wolf was demanding that he claim Stiles, to make sure that nobody else could ever touch him in that way, he wanted to be the only one allowed to touch Stiles like that.

He heard a sudden silence in the room and when he finally tore his eyes from the photo it was to see Stiles looking blank and detached. He could smell the hurt radiating from Stiles, even if there was no evidence of it on his face, he wasn’t sure what had just happened, he tried to recall what had just been said, but it was all a blank. Stiles helped him figure it out though, when a moment later he spoke and it was with such a cold, detached voice that it barely sounded like him, when he said that it had been his birthday, that they’d forgotten his birthday, Derek could completely understand where the hurt was coming from, it felt like they all let down Stiles down time after time, and this just confirmed it.

He had been too stunned to move, too frozen at the hurt rolling off Stiles to do anything other than stand there mutely, and then it was too late, Stiles was gone, his jeep roaring off into the distance.

“You forgot his birthday?” Lydia said a few minutes later, surprise written all over her features.

“I didn’t mean to.” Scott admitted, “There’s just been so much going on, it slipped my mind.”

“You too Sheriff?” Peter asked but there was no need for an answer, the horrible paleness of his skin, the look of torment in his eyes, it was evident that Noah had forgotten.

“I…” Noah began, his voice trailing off, his eyes darting between the calendar, the pack and the magazine that Isaac had picked up. “I just, I didn’t mean…”

“We should go after him.” Allison said quickly.

“And say what?” Scott replied quietly, “Hey Stiles, sorry we forgot your birthday, come home so we can yell at you some more about deciding to star in some porn?”

“Maybe now isn’t the time to talk about that, maybe instead we ask him about Gerard, about the fact he was tortured and hid it all from us.” Jackson suggested, sounding more pissed at Scott than he ever had before.

“What happened?” Lydia said, turning to Erica and Boyd, “When did they have him? What did they do?”

Erica and Boyd glanced at each other, as if unsure that they wanted to go through what had happened to them, to Stiles.

“Tell us what happened.” Peter said and Erica glanced to Derek.

“Tell us.” He said quietly, without his usual demand, instead sounding defeated and broken. That more than anything made the decision for Erica.

“We were in the basement, Gerard and his goons had captured us earlier in the day, they’d beaten us, doped us up with wolfsbane and hooked us up to the electric. But then Gerard said he was getting bored, because we were still healing, and it was no fun torturing people for information if they healed straight afterwards.” Erica paused, looking nervous, “He gagged us and he left, when he came back it was with two of his men and Stiles.” She looked a little sick now, losing the colour in her cheeks, “They tortured him, they wanted information on the pack and Stiles wouldn’t give it up. We tried screaming for them to stop but the gags kept us quiet, they tortured him.”

“How?” Lydia asked.

“What do you mean how?” Boyd said glaring at her, “They tortured him, isn’t that enough?”

“I’m just asking what kind of damage they did?” Lydia replied quietly.

“They tortured him.” Boyd exclaimed, “What damage they did!? They beat him, they whipped him, they electrocuted him, burned him, kicked him, punched him. Is that what you want to know? That they laughed as he screamed, that they enjoyed it.”

“I want to know what kind of damage there was so that when we find them we can inflict the same damage on them.” Lydia replied calmly, sounding more dangerous than any of them had ever heard before. “Stiles is the only one of us who is innocent in all this, the only one of us that could walk away and not have to look back. But he never does. He has stuck with us, every single time we’ve needed help he’s been there, he’s always had our backs, so if someone hurt him, believe me, I will spend the rest of my life making sure he gets justice.”

The pack looked at her in astonishment and she shrugged casually.

“Like any of you were thinking any differently?” She replied.

“Lydia’s right.” Jackson said, Noah looked at him in surprise, from what Stiles had said Jackson and Stiles barely got on, so he was the last person Noah would expect to be demanding vengeance for his son. “What?” Jackson shrugged, “Lydia is right, Stiles could have turned his back on us a million times, and he didn’t, so he’s grown on me, what’s so wrong with that?”

“Nothing.” Isaac said, “I just always thought Stiles annoyed you.”

“He does some of the time, but he’s pack, and nobody messes with our pack.” Jackson replied easily.

“So, we go after him, we tell him that it’s okay, and we deal with everything else later?” Allison said, pulling out her phone and calling Stiles, it went straight to voicemail. “Where would he go?”

“I don’t think he left here with any destination in mind.” Isaac said, “I don’t know about you guys but I think he was hurting and he wanted to get away, that means he’s not going to be going anywhere that we might know about. I know I wouldn’t, in that situation.”

“So, we should be looking in places where Stiles thinks we don’t know about?” Derek asked, wishing that he’d been quicker, that he’d stopped Stiles from leaving, that he hadn’t been so wrapped up in his jealousy that he’d been able to stop things from escalating.

“Maybe his new boss will know where he is.” Noah said, groaning in frustration when he too called Stiles’ phone and it went to voicemail.

“Do you think Stiles will answer his phone if Harry calls him?” Scott asked.

“It’s worth a shot.” Peter said, “It’s important that we find Stiles, that we talk to him.”

It didn’t take Noah long to find out exactly where the attack had taken place last week and then they were on their way. Noah didn’t like that they were all going, he wanted to speak to his son alone, apologize for forgetting his birthday, find a way to make it up to him without the pack being there, but he knew that wasn’t an option. He’d suggested it and every one of the wolves, bar Derek, had growled at him, oddly Derek had been almost silent since this had all come out, he kind of wished Derek was acting a little more like himself, although Noah wasn’t sure he knew who that was, after all, the guy was a werewolf and he’d kept that from him.

They parked around the corner from the warehouse, not wanting to spook Stiles if he was there and then moved towards the units, Noah wasn’t sure which unit was the right one, but Derek pointed it out quickly, telling him that it was Andy’s car parked outside.

Just as he was about to knock on the door it opened and Andy stepped out into the daylight, looking a little surprised to see the crowd of people in front of him.

“You’re Andy, right?” Noah asked, he saw Andy glance at the crowd, relaxing slightly when he recognized them.

“You must be Sheriff Stilinski,” Andy said, smiling slightly and putting his hand out for Noah to shake, “Pleasure to meet you sir.”

“I wish I could say the same, but oddly enough, I can’t.” Noah frowned, moving past Andy, ignoring his outstretched hand and going towards the warehouse.

“Excuse me, you can’t go in there.” Andy said, following after Noah who was storming into the studio, the rest of the pack following behind them.

“You forget your keys or something?” Harry laughed lightly, coming out of his office and seeing Noah glaring furiously at him, Andy hovering at his shoulder nervously and he guessed this was the pack that Stiles had talked about so much, he observed them for a minute, taking in their aura’s, they were angry, that much was obvious, but they were also worried and that made Harry pause. “It’s okay Andy. You go home. I think Sheriff Stilinski and I need to have a chat.”

Andy nodded briskly, turning on his heel and leaving the building, the door shutting behind him. Harry wandered over towards the kitchen, pouring himself a glass of water before turning to face the pack.

“I would ask what you’re doing here, but since you all look more than a little pissed off, I’m guessing that you found out about Stiles shooting here.” Harry began, finding a little amusement as Noah flushed red and then took several deep breaths to calm himself down.

“Yes, we found out about that. Then there were words, and Stiles left and he’s not answering his phone, so I hoped that he had come here.” Noah said tensely, gritting his teeth as he tried to be as polite as possible to the man in front of him.

“No, I haven’t seen him since last week.” He glanced at his watch, “He was supposed to be coming earlier, but he rang to say he’d be delayed. I’m sure if you stay and have a drink he’ll be here. Then we can discuss any issues you may have with all of this.”

“Issues I may have!?” Noah hissed incredulously, “May have!? You’re taking pornographic pictures of a minor, of course I have issues.”

“Sit.” Harry said, indicating the chair opposite him and Noah sank into the seat, “They are not pornographic photos, I am fully aware of what kind of trouble that would get me into. They are suggestive photographs, Stiles never takes his clothes off on any of his shoots and he would never have to, even when he turns eighteen, if he still wants to work for me at that point, he wouldn’t have to unless he wanted to.”

“My son will not be doing any more photoshoots with you.” Noah growled, knowing full well that Harry was right, he wasn’t doing anything illegal, even if Noah severely disagreed with it.

“Well, that decision lies with Stiles, doesn’t it? He might not be so keen to give it up, the money has already made a huge difference to your lives, or did you genuinely think that Peter had forked out all that cash to make your lives easier?” Harry said calmly. Noah glanced back at Peter who stared at the ground guiltily and Noah rolled his eyes, why had he ever thought that Peter would be willing to do a good deed?

“Hang on, how much are you paying Stiles?” Scott asked in confusion, “I mean, wasn’t that like four hundred grand?”

“I think that’s something you should probably discuss with Stiles.” Harry said casually.

“I think that as his father, it’s something you should probably discuss with me.” Noah said, controlling himself so that he didn’t just reach across and slam Harry’s face into the table.

“Fifteen thousand.” Harry informed him.

“Per week?” Isaac said in shock.

“Per published picture.” Harry smirked as the people around the table gasped in shock. “Now, I’m sure you can understand why Stiles might want to keep the job, if you don’t account for any other factors other than the money.”

“Any other factors?” Derek asked quietly.

“Well, it’s not escaped my notice that Andy and Stiles are getting on remarkably well at the moment. That could be another reason Stiles would be happy to stay.” Harry replied, doing his best not to grin as he watched the Alpha’s aura flare with jealously, Stiles hadn’t mentioned that the Alpha was pining after him, maybe he didn’t know, he smiled to himself, “I am after another model though,” He handed a card to Derek, “If you’re interested in doing a shoot, with Stiles perhaps, then give me a call.” He winked.

Derek looked flustered, worried that this Harry guy could somehow read his mind, he’d been thinking about how amazing Stiles had looked in that photo, how he would love to be the one touching Stiles, but instead it was Andy, and then Harry had passed him a card, suggested setting up a shoot with Stiles and Derek couldn’t help the blood rushing to his cock at the thought. Then he glanced up, saw Noah looking at him with astonishment and Derek crumpled the card up.

“No thanks.” He said politely. “Look, what time did Stiles say he was going to get here? There’s some things we need to talk to him about.”

“All of you?” Harry asked politely, inside he was dancing gleefully, it had been a long time since he’d got to tease a werewolf pack so easily.

“Yes, all of us.” Scott said firmly.

“I’ll take a card if you’re offering though.” Peter smiled, Harry studied him for a moment, ignoring the way that the Alpha was glaring at Peter.

“No thanks. You don’t have the right qualities.” Harry said dismissively, although the guy was relatively normal enough, he was too cocky, it would be a struggle to match him with any of his other models. “I haven’t had any twins for a while though.” He added, spotting the twins at the back of the group.

“What? To model?” Ethan whispered.

“Well, yes, and for other things.” Harry winked dramatically and Ethan blushed while Aiden rolled his eyes.

“You’ll have to be waiting for a little longer yet. I am strictly not into guys.” Aiden sighed.

“Such a shame.” Harry said with disappointment, “Oh well, these things happen I guess.”

“This is ridiculous.” Cora growled, “Why the hell are we waiting here? Just take his phone, call Stiles off it and get him to answer.”

“Cora.” Derek reprimanded, turning slightly away from Harry so that he wouldn’t see the red flash of his eyes, Cora was close to losing control and Derek couldn’t let that happen in front of a human.

The door banged open and Derek heard someone else approaching with hurried footsteps.

“Harry, we’ve got a big problem! I’ve just had a call from my contact at the morgue and she’s got six dead bodies with no visible indication of how they died. I think the soul eater is back.” A man was shouting, coming into the room, seeing the pack surrounding the table where Harry sat looking relaxed and then stumbling to a stop. “Erm, hello.”

“Luke, I believe you’ve met Sheriff Stilinski before. These are some of Stiles’ friends.” Harry said gesturing to them.

“What the hell is a soul eater? And what are you doing with a contact at the morgue?” Noah said in shock.

“Oh, that.” Harry waved his hand, dismissing the whole idea, “That’s nothing, just my brother making up a silly story, he does that sometimes.”

“You’re lying.” Derek growled, his eyes flashing red without his permission, neither Harry or Luke looked particularly shocked though.

“Honestly, five hundred years and you still haven’t mastered the art of lying.” Luke said, waving a hand that conjured chairs out of thin air and pushed them down into them, gluing them in place.

“You’re the warlock.” Isaac whispered in awe.

“Actually, we both are.” Harry said, his eyes flashing green for a moment before fading back to their normal blue.

“You’re the ones who are protecting our pack? Why?” Derek muttered in shock.

“Because Stiles asked us to that’s why.” Luke said, glad when his heart remained steady enough that nobody picked up on the lie. “Anyway, this isn’t the time.” He said, turning from the pack to address his brother, “It’s back, we’ve got six dead bodies already, we need to track it down and kill it.”

“How? The stake doesn’t arrive for another week.” Harry replied, all business now, the light teasing tone gone from his voice, it was obvious this was serious.

“I don’t know, but we have to find a way, it looks like it’s heading out of town, the bodies are all heading in one direction, if it gets out of here, we’ve no idea where it will go.”

“Which direction?” Harry asked.

“Towards the one-eighteen.”

“That’s one of the roads that goes to Beacon Hills.” Noah said quickly.

“So?” Luke said condescendingly, didn’t he realise that a soul eater could kill a lot more people than the population of Beacon Hills?

“Stiles is missing. We don’t know where he is, if he left town, if he took that road, he could be in danger. Please, if Stiles asked you to look out for the pack, you must care about him, you don’t want to see him hurt, do you?”

“He called earlier, said he’d be here around three.” Luke informed them, glancing at his watch, it was half past. Stiles was never late. He pulled out his phone, looking at Harry who seemed just as worried and called Stiles.

Stiles was exhausted, he’d driven until he wasn’t able to, then pulled over at the side of the road and sobbed brokenly, it was too much, it was all too much. The pack finding out about Gerard, his dad finding out about the photo shoots, he never should have lied to him, he should have told him what was going on, what had been going on for the past year, instead he hadn’t, he’d tried to protect him from the truth and now it was all out there and there was nothing Stiles could do about it.

He had sat there for what felt like hours, tears rolling unchecked down his cheeks, he hadn’t even tried to stop them, he was overwhelmed, he’d been strong for too long and he couldn’t stop now even if he tried. He sat there until the tears ran out and all he could do was pant for breath, trying to calm his breathing, trying to stop the feeling of something crushing his chest.

It took him another half hour before he finally got himself under control, he turned his phone back on, glancing at the time as he started the jeep and headed back towards town. His phone started beeping with incoming messages, he didn’t even bother looking at them, he knew it would just be his dad yelling at him some more.

His phone started ringing a moment later and he recognized it as Luke’s ringtone, he glanced at the time, he was late, nearly an hour late, no wonder Luke was calling him.

“Hey, sorry, I’m on my way now.” He said answering the phone, wiping a hand across his face to try and hide the evidence of his tears.

“Stiles, oh thank god, look, where are you?” Luke said sounding panicked.

“What is it? Are you alright?”

“Stiles, where are you?”

“I’m…” He glanced around, he wasn’t sure where he was, actually, he couldn’t remember the drive out here, or even where here was.

“Are you near the one eighteen?” Luke asked, interrupting him before he could finish his sentence.

“Erm, maybe? I don’t know man, my dad found out about werewolves and the hunters and the shoots and, god, he’s so mad at me.” Stiles sighed, “Luke, I messed up, I mean, I should have told him, but you know, I was just trying to look out for him and then we argued and I said some things and I shouldn’t have...”

“Stiles, you need to focus, where are you?” Luke said impatiently.

“Why? What’s going on?” Stiles asked, forgetting all the issues from earlier and sounding serious.

“The soul eater is back, it’s dropping bodies already, it’s heading towards the one eighteen which is why I need to know where the hell you are Stiles.” Luke demanded. Stiles straightened in his seat.

“The one eighteen heads straight to Beacon Hills, I need to get back there, if it goes into town, dad will be a prime target.”

“Your dad is here Stiles, he’s safe, don’t worry.”

“What? Why is dad there with you?” Stiles paused, his head was hurting, he needed to go to bed.

“He knows about us Stiles, about Harry and I, about the fact we’re the warlocks that are protecting your pack.”

“What!? Luke, are you insane!? You shouldn’t have told them that!”

“Stiles, we can talk about it later, just tell me where you are.”

“Did you get the stake?” Stiles said, nervous as he finally spotted a road sign.

“Not yet, we’ll have to improvise.”

“Okay, yeah, well, I’m on the one eighteen now, about twenty miles out of Beacon Hills.” Stiles said, glancing at the preserve on either side of him as if expecting the soul eater to suddenly appear in the shadows, he rubbed at his neck nervously, as if he could still feel the hands choking him.

“Stiles, you need to get off the road right now, turn around, get somewhere else.” Luke said sounding panicked.

“It’s a straight road Luke, where do you want me to go?” Stiles replied sarcastically. There was the sound of movement on the end of the phone and then suddenly his dad was talking to him.

“We’re on our way now Stiles, can you see any turn offs or anything?”

“Don’t come out here, you’ll be a target.” Stiles replied quickly, glancing nervously around him.

“Stiles, just, stay on the phone okay, we’re coming.” Noah said urgently.

They sat stuck to the chairs as Luke called Stiles, Noah didn’t care that they were stuck to the chairs using magic, or that Luke and Harry were both warlocks, or that they were the ones who were protecting the pack, at Stiles’ request. All he cared about right now was hearing his son’s voice, hearing that he was okay.

When Stiles finally answered the phone, Noah couldn’t help but be relieved, except, as the conversation continued it became evident that Stiles would, of course, be in the very place that the danger was greatest. Luke released them from the spell while he was still talking to Stiles and Noah couldn’t help but marvel at the power these warlocks held, but more than anything, he wanted to speak to Stiles. The wolves could all hear Stiles’ side of the conversation, but he couldn’t and he needed to speak to him.

They were already leaving the studio, heading towards the cars, Luke and Harry both coming with them when Noah finally got to speak to him.

“So, you’ve spoken to Harry then?” Stiles asked.

“Yeah, I have. Stiles, listen, I’m not happy about you doing this, but I’m willing to listen to your side of the story, so when we get home, we can sit down and we can talk about this. Does that sound okay?”

“I’m sorry dad, sorry I’ve put you through all this.”

“Don’t worry kid, there’s obviously a lot that we need to talk about, but we can talk about it later, no shouting, no screaming, and I’ll make us pancakes, the chocolate chip type that you like.” Noah rambled, terrified that Stiles was in danger and wanting to make up for everything he’d said, all the times he’d let Stiles down, “I love you Stiles, I’m so sorry about what I said earlier, and about forgetting your birthday, you know you’re the most important thing in my whole life.”

“It’s okay dad, I know you do, I love you too. Although you’re making me a little nervous with all this talk, the soul eater isn’t here yet, I’m only about fifteen miles out of town now.”

“That’s good, what do you know about this soul eater anyway? Is it dangerous?”

“Luke and Harry know more than I do, but, in complete honesty, it wasn’t some random bloke that attacked us last weekend.” Stiles said, cringing slightly as he waited for his dad to start yelling.

“It was this thing? That’s what nearly killed you?” Noah said, trying to sound calm and not shout at Stiles for keeping this from him.

“It didn’t nearly kill me, it just got a good grip is all.” Stiles replied dismissively.

“I’m guessing the name gives away it’s abilities, it didn’t, you know, eat your soul?”

“I think you’d know if it did.” Stiles laughed. “Most of time removing the soul kills the victim, and if by some miracle they survive, they are catatonic, like Erica and Boyd were, but there’s no chance of snapping them out of it, that’s it, for the rest of their lives.”

“Sounds pretty serious.” Noah replied, ignoring the look of worry on Derek’s face as he floored the accelerator and tried to get to Stiles sooner. “How did you guys scare it away last time? Did Harry or Luke do some kind of spell?”

“Erm, dad, could you pass the phone back to Luke I need to talk to him.” Stiles said sounding urgent, the rumble of the jeep seemed to have quieted, as if it was idling in place rather than driving.

“Are you alright?” Noah asked tensely.

“Fine. Just, erm, put Luke on the phone for me.” Stiles replied and Noah handed the phone to Luke who was pressed into the back seat on the other side.

“Stiles? What’s going on?” Luke said, feeling the tension radiating from the other wolves squashed in the car.

“Where abouts do you think this thing is going to come out?”

“What? I don’t know, somewhere on the one-eighteen? Why?”

“There’s a café out here, the car park is filled with people, if it comes out here, it’ll kill everyone.” Stiles replied.

“I can’t say where the hell it’s going to appear Stiles, all I know is that it was heading in that direction, that it was leaving town, it could have gone a million different directions by now, I don’t know. All I know for sure is that I want you out of there.” Luke said seriously.

“Alright, just, give me a minute to think.” Stiles whispered, Derek could imagine he would be chewing on his bottom lip nervously as he tried to think of a way out of this. “Do you know how they pick their targets?”

“What?”

“How does a soul eater choose who to go after? There must have been something about the people it’s already gone after, right? Otherwise it’d just have chowed down on the whole town, but it didn’t, it left, so what does it look for?”

“I don’t know, Harry might, he’s read more on them than I have, hang on.” Luke held the phone against his ear, grabbing Derek’s phone from his hand when he held it up and then called Harry who was in the other car with the some more of the pack. “Harry, how does it pick its victims?”

“People with a soul?” Harry remarked sarcastically before sighing, “I don’t know Luke, it just picks them, I guess it can see souls, so it’ll go for the brightest?”

“The most worthy?” Luke whispered, sounding horrified, Derek wasn’t sure what he’d missed, or why Luke suddenly looked so terrified. “Stiles, it goes for the most worthy souls, do you understand me? The worthiest.” He stressed the word worthy, Derek didn’t even want to know what he was trying to say.

“I get it.” Stiles replied sounding odd, “Bigger issue right now.” They heard the screech of tyres and the rumble of the jeep, “Turns out you might have been right.”

“About what? Stiles, what’s going on?”

“It’s here.” Stiles said sounding calm, even though Derek could hear the roar of the jeep as he tried to outrun it.

“Where are you?”

“I’m heading away from the café, away from Beacon Hills, about twelve miles out of town. How far away are you?”

Luke looked at Derek who was taking corners faster than anything Luke had ever experienced before.

“About fifteen minutes?”

“Ten.” Derek growled.

“Ten minutes.” Luke said reassuringly.

“Okay, ten minutes is good, I can handle ten minutes, so, any idea what we’re going to do without the stake?”

“I don’t know, same as last time? Damage it enough that it’s out of action for a week by which time we should have the stake?”

“That’s an idea.” Stiles replied sounding nervous.

“Is it still following you?”

“Definitely.” Stiles said, Luke was in a state, he should have known, he should have warned Stiles, he should have stuck with him until they knew the soul eater was taken care of. “So, anyway, how’s my dad holding up?”

Luke glanced across at Noah who was gripping the door handle tightly and looking like he was about to throw up, but his gaze was still fixed on the phone in Luke’s hand.

“He’s doing great. You’d never guess he only found out about werewolves last night.”

“That’s good to know, but he looks okay? Like he doesn’t look ill or like he’s about to have a heart attack or anything?”

“No Stiles, he’s fine.” Luke replied patiently, Noah rolling his eyes slightly at the fact that Stiles’ concern was obviously misdirected right now.

“Good, and everyone else? They’re dealing with you guys okay? You know, the whole warlock’s thing? You know, you shouldn’t have told them that, you’ve put yourselves in danger unnecessarily.”

“Not unnecessarily Stiles. They needed to know.” Luke said patiently.

“But the hunters, if they try to track you down…”

“We’ll deal with it. You really worry about the wrong things you know?”

“I know. It’s an issue of mine. I’m planning on working on it in the future…” There was a sudden screech of breaks, a shouted curse from Stiles and then the sound of tearing metal and shattering glass.

“Stiles!?” Luke called out in panic. Noah staring at the phone frantically. Derek driving even faster, leaving the other cars trailing behind them. “Stiles! Are you there? Can you hear me?”

There was nothing but silence. Then slowly, finally, there was a low groan of pain.

“Stiles! Stiles! Answer me! Talk to me right now damn it!” Luke shouted, not caring when the wolves in the cars flinched at the noise.

“Lo’?” Stiles’ voice finally came over the phone and Luke relaxed slightly.

“Stiles are you alright?” There was a moment of silence before Stiles replied slowly, his words sounding slurred slightly, obviously in shock.

“Thing flipped my jeep.” Stiles replied.

“Where is it?”

“Don’t know.” Stiles replied, there was the crackle of glass as Stiles moved, unbuckling his seatbelt and hitting the smashed windscreen with a small gasp of pain.

“Are you alright?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine.” Stiles replied, he didn’t sound sure. “Okay, nope, can see it, it’s still here.” Stiles said, there was a small whoosh, Luke recognized it as Stiles’ magic, but to anyone else it could have been the wind. “Okay, I’m in the jeep, it can’t get in.” There was another loud screech of metal and they all heard Stiles gulp slightly. “I take that back, it can totally get in.”

“We’re only five minutes away.” Derek growled. “Tell him to hang on.”

“Stiles, we’re five minutes away. Just hold on.”

“Five minutes is going to be about four and a half minutes too long.” Stiles replied, Luke heard another whoosh of magic, the sound of glass cracking and then Stiles groaning slightly, then there was the sound of him running, well, stumbling to be more accurate, away from the jeep. Luke shouted his name several times but he couldn’t get Stiles to hear him.

They arrived at the crash site four minutes later. The jeep was lying on its roof, the bottom torn open like a sardine can, two rocks were pressed tightly against the sides of the jeep, evidence of another at the front, it was obvious to Luke that Stiles had tried to keep the soul eater out by moving the earth to protect himself, and when that failed, he’d dropped the rock at the front and made a run for it.

Derek could smell the blood as soon as he stepped out of the car. Noah had rushed towards the destroyed jeep, calling for Stiles even though they all knew that he wasn’t there. The smell of Stiles’ blood made Derek’s stomach twist uncomfortably, he was hurt, Derek needed to find him, before the soul eater caught up with him.

Peter arrived a minute later, Cora, Harry, Erica and Boyd climbing out of his car just as Jackson, Lydia and Allison pulled up after them and the twins rode up a minute later.

Derek was terrified, he’d never been more scared in all his life, his mind conjuring up images of Stiles lying dead in the preserve, or of him blinking silently, his eyes unfocused, never knowing who he was or where he was, or even who they were again. There was a sudden pain in his stomach and Derek almost doubled over with the strength of it.

“We can track the blood.” Isaac was saying, it sounded like it was coming from a long way away. He knew the pack were looking to him for guidance but all he could think of was Stiles, seeing the damage that this thing had done to his jeep, only imagining what it could do to Stiles’ body. He gripped the jeep for support to keep himself upright as another wave of agony hit him. “Derek? Are you okay?”

“Fine.” Derek snarled through gritted teeth. “Just go. Go. Find him.” Derek snapped, trying to move forwards but his knees buckled and he fell to the ground. He let out a gasp of pain as it felt like something snapped inside him, his eyes glowing red, and he suddenly realised that his wolf was demanding control, that it needed to save Stiles just as badly as Derek did. He gave in, allowed the wolf to take control and a moment later was looking up at the pack from a much lower position than he was used to but at least the pain was gone.

Everyone was staring at him with open mouths, surprise etched in every single feature.

“Well, that’s new.” Peter said a minute later and Derek glared at him, he opened his mouth to speak but no sound came out, he raised his hand to his throat in surprise, stilling when he realised he was looking at a large black paw. He was a wolf. An actual wolf. He didn’t have time to dwell on that fact though, the scent of Stiles’ blood was even stronger now and his wolf needed to get to him, Derek needed to get to him.

He started to race towards the preserve, hearing the shouts of the others behind him as they struggled to keep up.

Stiles was in a bad way, he knew that, as soon as he came to in the jeep, hanging upside down, blood dripping onto the smashed glass below him and the sound of someone shouting his name he knew he was in a bad way. The soul eater had appeared a minute later and he’d cast a quick spell, forcing the ground to cover his jeep, he thought that would keep him safe, but he’d been wrong. Within a minute the thing was tearing its way through the metal of the bottom of his jeep. Stiles knew he had two options, stay here and die, or try and fight this monster.

He’d dropped the rock at the front of his jeep, kicking out the remaining glass and then crawling out, cutting his hands and legs as he moved forwards, before eventually he could stand up and then he started to run.

He knew the soul eater wasn’t far behind him, could hear its angry screeches as it chased him down and as Stiles cast spell after spell to try and slow it down, praying that Harry and Luke were nearly there. He stopped to catch his breath, he knew it was a bad idea but he couldn’t breathe properly and his head was throbbing and he just needed to rest for a moment.

He’d realised that the soul eater was after him when Luke had said it went after the most worthy, he still recalled what they’d discussed months ago about being a Zduhać, about only the worthiest souls with the potential actually became one, that you could have the bloodline, but if you didn’t have the right loyalties, that if you weren’t will to sacrifice everything for those you cared about, then you would never become a Zduhać. It had his scent now, or whatever you wanted to call it, he knew it would chase after him, so when he saw it coming through the trees, a lot more solid than he remembered, knowing that meant it had already had a good feast, so close to that café, he’d done the only thing he could think of, turn around and drive the other way, keep the rest of them safe for as long as he could.

He looked up, pausing in surprise when he realised the tree across from him was an ash tree. It was a long shot, it probably wouldn’t work, but it was better than nothing. He moved across to the tree quickly, swiping at the blood that was still running down the side of his face and snapping a sturdy branch from the tree.

He felt for the magic inside him, muttering a quick spell, blessing the ash branch as best he could under the circumstances and then he kept moving forwards. He would really prefer not to have to use the branch unless it was a last resort, the chances of it working were almost non-existent.

He had only gone about fifty foot when something heavy slammed into him from the side, knocking all the wind out of him and pinning him to the ground. The soul eater had a hand on his neck, it was smirking, if you could call it that, pointed teeth that were black in places, glowing red eyes that stared at him without blinking, thick black mist surrounding it, tentacles of it breaking off and surrounding Stiles. Stiles struggled, trying to get out of its grip, fumbling for the stake that he had dropped, his fingertips brushing it as it rolled out of reach and he gasped for breath that wouldn’t come.

The soul eater reached downwards, its other hand resting just below Stiles’ ribcage and then its fingers sinking through his flesh without tearing it, Stiles would have screamed if he had any air, it was the worst pain he’d ever experienced in his life, instead he thrashed violently, trying to dislodge the soul eater and failing. It was pulling something out of him, Stiles could feel it, like a hand gripping his heart tightly and pulling on it, a moment later Stiles saw the beginnings of a bright white light shining through his skin, meeting the black mist that the soul eater was producing and absorbing the white light. Stiles would have been horrified, but oddly, he didn’t feel like that, he didn’t feel like anything.

He stopped fighting, stopped struggling, just stared at the white ball that was slowly disappearing into the black.

The soul eater was ripped away from him, and Stiles coughed and spluttered as the hand was released from around his neck and the ball of white light, with black still attached to it, disappeared back into his skin.

There was a wolf, a huge, black, snarling wolf, it was attacking the soul eater, launching itself at the creature over and over, although the soul eater didn’t seem to realise this, instead just moving back towards Stiles inch by inch. The wolf had backed up now, standing almost protectively between Stiles and the soul eater, Stiles was trying not to think about the fact there was a huge freaking wolf right next to him, it was probably wanting to eat Stiles itself, probably fighting for its food. The soul eater lashed out a vicious whip of black, hitting the wolf and sending it sprawling across the clearing as it moved back to Stiles.

Stiles scrambled backwards, feeling the stake under his fingertips, seeing the wolf get to its feet a little unsteadily, shake its head for a moment and then launch itself at the soul eaters back.

It connected hard, its teeth sinking into the creature’s neck, the soul eater rearing backwards in something that could have been pain if it could feel emotions, and Stiles took the opportunity. He gripped the stake tightly and swung it forwards from his position on the floor, watching as he slammed it into the soul eater’s chest, praying he hit its heart. He waited, tension running through him, if this failed, he was done for.

The soul eater stared at the stake in his chest, if it was capable of feeling anything, Stiles would have said it looked shocked. Then without any warning it collapsed to the ground disintegrating into dust in front of his eyes.

Stiles thought he might be in shock. It wouldn’t surprise him. He’d just killed a soul eater. He should be proud of that fact. Instead he was now face to face with the massive black wolf and was a little afraid he was about to get eaten.

“Nice wolf,” Stiles said, trying not to sound as scared as he felt, “Good wolf, you don’t want to eat me.” He whispered, inching backwards slowly, ignoring the slow throb of pain in his chest.

The wolf was studying him, its head cocked slightly to one side as if in confusion, then suddenly growling, jumping so that Stiles was trapped between its enormous paws and snarling at the bushes at the edge of the clearing, its hackles raised. Stiles decided not moving might be a good idea right now. He thought a simple spell to put the wolf to sleep would be a better idea and he was just about to do it when he heard someone approaching, the wolf had obviously heard them first.

He almost cried out in relief when Jackson stepped into the clearing, followed by the rest of the pack, Harry, Luke and his dad. He sighed happily, closing his eyes for a moment and letting his body relax, it was okay, they’d sort this.

“Erm, hi guys?” Stiles whispered. Luke moved to step forward and the wolf above him growled, Stiles could almost feel the vibration of it. “Turns out there are wolves in California, who knew?”

Cora snorted, the rest of the pack smirking slightly, Stiles had no idea what was so funny.

“Very funny.” Luke said moving forwards still, the wolf still growling.

“I wasn’t being funny. Genuinely. Actual huge wolf. Tell me you guys see this too? I’m not imagining it, am I? Am I like hallucinating or something? Oh god, what if I have like bleeding on the brain or something?”

“I wasn’t talking to you Stiles.” Luke said patiently, a little warily as he moved closer, “I’m talking to the stupid Alpha here.”

“What?” Stiles asked in confusion, then glancing at the pack, “Where is Derek?” He asked worriedly, what if he’d gotten hurt somehow?

“Maybe you did hit your head badly.” Luke teased.

“I’m lost.” Stiles replied.

“Derek turned into a wolf, I mean, one time and he gets all snarly about it.” Luke said pointing to the giant wolf still standing over Stiles. Stiles took a few seconds to glance at the wolf above him and then at the pack who were all staring at Derek with awe.

“Ae you shitting me right now!?” Stiles said, shoving at the fur above him, he was not going to think about how amazingly soft that fur was, and pushing Derek off him, Derek growled at him in return, flashing red eyes for a moment and Stiles stilled before shoving at him again. “Stupid Alpha.” Stiles muttered, finally getting Derek to move and standing to his feet a little unsteadily, kind of relieved when Derek leaned against his side and held him upright.

He had a pretty bad pain in his chest now but he ignored it, it was more important to get out of here. His dad rushed forward, hugging Stiles tightly, looking at the cut on the side of his head with worry.

“How are you feeling?” Noah asked with worry.

“I’m fine dad. You okay?” Stiles replied, ignoring the pain in his chest, leaning on Derek a little more, glad that he hadn’t moved yet, even if he knew that Derek would probably yell at him for it later. His hand was clenching in the thick black fur, he wouldn’t say how good it felt, how much he just wanted to snuggle up to the wolf, fall asleep against the heat, until he remembered that it was Derek and there was no way he’d be allowed to do that.

“What happened? Is the soul eater gone?” Luke asked and Stiles nodded, feeling a little nauseous at the movement, it made him think that maybe he’d hit his head harder than he thought.

“How long do you think we’ve got before it comes back?” Harry asked.

“No, I,” Stiles swayed slightly, his fingers tightening in Derek’s fur as he braced himself, “I stabbed it with a branch from an Ash tree.”

Harry and Luke both looked at him in astonishment, the rest of the pack not really understanding what that meant.

“You killed it?” Harry said, clearing his throat in shock.

“Yeah.” Stiles muttered, the pain in his chest getting worse and his vision blurred for a moment. Derek whined slightly and Stiles tried to release the grip on his fur slightly, but he felt like his knees were about to give way. “I don’t feel…” He started to say, his stomach lurching uncomfortably.

“Stiles!” Noah said in shock when Stiles collapsed to his knees, the colour leaving his cheeks and his eyes rolling backwards.

Derek loved the feel of Stiles’ hand in his fur, it was one of the most amazing feelings he’d ever had, he hoped he wasn’t purring, it certainly felt that way. Becoming a wolf had to be one of the weirdest sensations, but he hadn’t really had time to think about it, not with Stiles being in as much danger as he was. He’d raced through the preserve, moving as fast as four feet could carry him, and then he’d seen him, the soul eater was on top of Stiles, pinning him down, a hand choking him and Stiles was motionless, not doing anything to stop it. He was terrified he was already too late, he raced forward knocking the soul eater off Stiles, relief rushing through him when Stiles coughed for breath, but he couldn’t relax just yet, there was the soul eater to fight.

He did his best to keep the creature away from Stiles, until something hit him in the side and he was thrown clear across the clearing. He jumped back to his feet, shaking his head a little at the shock and then springing forwards, his teeth digging into the creature’s neck, Stiles had surged forward with a stick in his hand and Derek couldn’t help but think that Stiles must have had a death wish, before the soul eater turned into dust.

He’d barely had a moment to register his surprise, surprise at the fact Stiles had killed the soul eater and surprise that Stiles didn’t seem to recognize Derek, before he heard someone else approaching, he’d jumped into action, ready to protect Stiles from whatever this threat was, the smell of his blood and pain still far too fresh for Derek to be able to relax. When he realised, it was the pack he relaxed just slightly, but seeing Luke approaching him made him growl, he didn’t want him anywhere near Stiles, he wanted to keep him safe, it was his job to protect him and he’d failed far too often already.

When Stiles had finally figured out that it was Derek, when he’d started pushing at the soft fur of his underbelly Derek had almost lay down and demanded that he continue because it felt amazing, but he managed to control that urge, instead allowing Stiles to stand but never moving far from his side, glad to feel Stiles’ hand in his fur, it made him feel that he was doing something useful. He could still smell the pain radiating from Stiles and it worried him, but the amount of blood down the side of his face and soaking his shirt made Derek think that he’d probably hit his head pretty hard, not to mention the bruises that were starting to appear on his neck from where the soul eater had strangled him, again.

Still, Stiles was okay, he was walking and talking, Derek couldn’t ask for more. Until Stiles collapsed. Until he said he didn’t feel well and collapsed to the ground, his skin losing all colour and a sheen of sweat coating him.

“What’s wrong with him?” Noah panicked, kneeling next to Stiles and feeling for a pulse, Derek could have told him that Stiles still had one.

“I don’t know.” Luke replied, glancing to Harry who looked just as worried. “Did something happen with the soul eater?” Derek realised that Luke was asking him, he tried to speak, tried to tell them about the weird ball of white light he’d seen for just a moment before he first tackled the soul eater, but the words wouldn’t come.

He growled in frustration, right now he needed his voice. His wolf relented, allowing Derek to shift back to human. He didn’t care that he was naked or that everyone was staring at him, what mattered was Stiles.

“The soul eater had its hand in his chest, it didn’t break the skin or anything, like it passed through the skin, but there was this ball of white light and it looked like it was pulling it out.” Derek explained quickly before he paused looking horrified as realization washed over him, “Was that Stiles’ soul?”

“Probably.” Harry said, leaning down next to Stiles and pulling his shirt up to expose his stomach and chest. They could all see the scar that ran from near his bellybutton to his hip, Noah sucking in a deep breath and turning a vivid shade of red, but that wasn’t important now, what was important was the black veins that seemed to be running under Stiles’ skin, spreading from a point just below his ribcage and already reaching the top of his ribcage and around towards his sides. “It poisoned him.” Harry spat angrily, reaching forwards and slapping Stiles’ cheek slightly to bring him round.

“Harry?” Stiles slurred in confusion. “Hurts.” He muttered a moment later.

“I know.” Harry said firmly, motioning for Luke to come next to them. “I’m going to need you to hold him down.” Harry said, straddling Stiles’ hips.

“Hold him down!?” Noah asked horrified, “Why the hell do you need to hold him down? What are you going to do?”

“Dad, it’s fine. Don’t worry. I trust them.” Stiles slurred, nodding as firmly as he could in his dazed state.

“I’m going to need someone to take the pain. It’s going to hurt.” Harry shouted and Derek rushed forward, gripping Stiles’ hand quickly.

“Why are you naked?” Stiles asked and Derek rolled his eyes, of all the things Stiles could have noticed.

“Stiles, pay attention.” Harry said, grabbing his cheeks in one hand and turning Stiles eyes to look at him, “The soul eater poisoned you. I’m going to have to burn it out, you understand what I mean? What I’ll need you to do? We’re going to have to burn it out.”

“Okay.” Stiles replied, nodding determinedly, his eyes not really focusing properly.

“Okay!?” Noah spluttered, “Okay? Are you kidding me? We need to get him to a hospital!”

“He won’t make it to a hospital.” Luke said firmly, snatching Stiles’ hand from Derek’s grip and pinning both of his hands under his own, casting a quick spell to seal them to the ground, the last thing they needed was Stiles casting a spell to defend himself and hurting them all. “Hold onto something else.” Luke snapped at Derek who reached forward and placed his hand on Stiles’ shoulder.

“Ready?” Harry asked Stiles, Luke and Derek. Luke nodded, Derek looked terrified but still nodded and Stiles gritted his teeth.

“Do it.” Stiles growled out.

Harry rubbed his hands together, casting the spell required to rid the body of poison and heal, he saw Luke muttering under his breath and knew he was casting a similar spell, but they needed Stiles to do most of the work, needed his magic to respond and do as they asked. He could feel the heat building in his hands, he placed them against Stiles’ stomach, doing his best to stay seated and keep Stiles in place when he screamed in agony, writhing desperately to try and get away from the heat.

Derek felt it the instant Harry’s hand touched Stiles’ skin, the most insane amount of agony that he’d ever felt, he tried to draw as much as he could from Stiles, but it didn’t seem to be doing anything, Stiles was screaming, it was clear to all of them that he was in complete agony. Erica and Boyd were being held back by Jackson, Peter and Isaac as they struggled to get to Stiles and help him. Scott was holding Noah away from him, Lydia, Cora and Allison were staring in shock and Ethan and Aiden were standing further away than the rest of them, looking terrified.

Derek wasn’t sure how much more pain he could take, Stiles had moved past screaming now, his whole body was rigid, protesting against Harry’s spell, he would have screamed, but he couldn’t, the pain was too much to scream, too much to breathe, all Stiles was doing was trying to draw in one breath after the other in attempt to stay alive as the magic burned through him.

Harry was sweating, Luke was sweating, both of them struggling as they tried to hold Stiles, as they tried to heal him. Stiles’ whole body was almost glowing by now, a soft gold that reflected the magic that was burning its way through him. It reached his eyes and Derek marveled in wonder as his eyes seemed to shine gold too, he imagined for a brief moment it that was how Stiles would look as a werewolf, and then the thought was gone, the pain building until Derek was sure he was going to pass out, but he still didn’t let go, he wouldn’t let go, he’d help as much as he could until this was done, if Stiles had to go through it then Derek wasn’t going to let him go through it alone.

The bright glow coming from Stiles’ skin was getting hard to ignore, Derek was squinting slightly, even as he turned his face away from Stiles. Harry and Luke both had their eyes squeezed shut and Derek could see the rest of the pack covering their eyes. Derek couldn’t handle it when it seemed to get even brighter and when he squeezed his eyes tight shut he could still see the light behind his eyelids.

Finally, after what felt like hours, the pain seemed to be slowing, the light was fading and Derek blinked a few times as he opened his eyes and Stiles finally came into focus, he was soaked with sweat, and was shaking, Derek wasn’t sure if it was with shock or cold or just exhaustion but at least there were no more black lines under his skin, instead just the scar that Gerard had left.

“You okay?” Derek said, moving forwards to study Stiles carefully, examining the now almost healed wound on his head.

“You’re still naked.” Stiles muttered, sounding more exhausted than anything and Derek smiled easily.

Harry climbed off Stiles, swaying a little unsteadily, Luke releasing his hands and rubbing at his own hands carefully, before standing up, undoing his trousers and throwing them across to Derek.

“Put them on before you give my brother a heart attack.” Luke ordered, standing there in a t-shirt and boxers like it was completely normal.

“I’d really like you to reconsider my earlier offer.” Harry smirked, putting a hand against a tree to support himself as he studied Derek. Derek flushed slightly, standing up quickly and pulling on the jeans. He kind of wished he was still a wolf so he could tear the guys throat out.

Noah was kneeling next to Stiles who was slowly sitting up, still looking very pale and fragile but alive and healing. Derek couldn’t help but be grateful to Harry and Luke, even if he didn’t really trust them and couldn’t understand why they’d be willing to protect his pack just because Stiles asked them to.

“How are you feeling kiddo?” Noah asked with concern.

“Like I just had my insides melted and then regrown.” Stiles joked, but it lacked his usual enthusiasm. “I just want to go to sleep.” He whispered, as if that confession was the worst thing he’d ever uttered, as if it made him weak.

“The spell took a lot out of you.” Harry said and Stiles nodded, yes, some of it had been Harry’s magic, even Luke’s magic had been pushed in there, but the majority of the work had to be done by Stiles, because he was the only one who could get his magic to do what he needed it to do and that had been to burn the poison out. “You’ll need a lot of sleep to recover.”

“Okay.” Stiles said, getting to his feet, swaying unsteadily and clinging to his dad as he nearly fell. “Head rush.” Stiles grinned weakly as Noah held him tightly, struggling a little, because although Stiles was lean it was all muscle and at some point, Stiles had grown taller than him and it made it all just a little harder.

“Maybe one of the wolves should help you with him?” Luke suggested and Derek moved forwards before anyone else could, putting an arm around Stiles’ waist and holding him upright. Stiles could barely keep his eyes open, he was almost falling asleep upright, Derek took more of Stiles’ weight as he moved forwards, it was about half a mile to the cars and Derek knew there was no way Stiles was going to make it that far. He looked across at Noah who seemed to be realising the same thing, Noah nodded, letting go of Stiles who blinked blearily at him once, confused as to what was happening, before Derek bent down and put Stiles on his back, carrying him easily. Stiles’ head was resting on his shoulder, his breath tickling his ear lobe, Stiles muttered once about ‘stupid werewolves I can walk’ before he fell asleep and Derek couldn’t help but smirk to himself.

It didn’t take them long to make it back to the assortment of cars, Noah staring at the destroyed jeep for a few minutes.

“He’s going to be gutted. There’s no way to fix that. I’ll get someone out to scrap it.” Noah said sadly, gesturing to the gaping hole in the bottom of the jeep.

“We can fix it.” Harry said quickly, “It’ll take a few days and some different spell work, but we can fix it. If you get someone to tow it home, we’ll sort it out for him.” Luke nodded in agreement.

“You’re coming back with us. There’s a lot of things we need to discuss.” Noah said and both Harry and Luke nodded. It was obvious both of them were exhausted, but at least they were still awake which was more than could be said for Stiles. Derek lowered him gently into the back seat of his car, leaning him against Noah as Scott climbed in on Stiles’ other side. Derek couldn’t help but feel a little sad at the loss of contact as he pulled on his own clothes and got into the driver’s seat, he knew he shouldn’t want to be with Stiles so much, that there would only ever be rejection and pain in that future, but he couldn’t help it.

Chapter Text

He drove back to town quickly, pulling onto the drive outside the house and sighing slightly, he was exhausted, he was sure the rest of the pack were too, it had been a long twenty-four hours. They all got out of the cars, Derek picking Stiles up easily and carrying him into the house, he didn’t even stir.

He was going to take Stiles upstairs, put him in his bed and let him sleep peacefully, but he couldn’t bear to let him out of his sight and it was obvious that everyone else felt the same way. Instead Noah brought down some pillows and blankets and they formed a pile in the middle of the front room, Noah, Harry and Luke sitting on the chairs while the pack crowded around on the floor, Stiles was still fast asleep, Erica and Boyd curled up on either side of him, the rest of the wolves sprawled in various comfortable positions but ensuring that they all had some physical contact with Stiles including Cora. It kind of surprised him how quickly his sister had become part of the pack, he still couldn’t quite wrap his head around the fact she was alive, but everything was falling into place, he glanced across at Ethan and Aiden who had sat down away from the pack, not sure that they were welcome, well, nearly everything.

As soon as Derek sat down he was exhausted and it felt like a battle to keep his eyes open, but there were things that they needed to talk about and he needed to get answers from Harry and Luke, even if they looked as exhausted as he felt.

“So what happened with the Alpha pack?” Ethan asked quietly, trying to be considerate and let Stiles sleep.

“You want to know if they’re alive or dead?” Peter queried.

“I want to know if my brother and I are safe, or if we need to leave, or just generally where we stand?” Ethan clarified.

“I’m not about to kill you.” Derek replied. “But, I’m not welcoming you into our pack, not yet at least, I’m not sure if you can be trusted.”

“We can prove that we are, if you give us some time.” Aiden said.

“I’ll think about it.” Derek conceded, he didn’t want to kill the twins, not unless they became a threat to his pack.

“You were out in the preserve last night, the Alpha pack left Stiles because they’d caught your scent.” Peter said, getting back to the subject at hand, “Or was that a very clever lie by Stiles?” Stiles looked the epitome of innocence when he was sleeping, Derek looked down at him, surrounded by his pack, most of them already on the edge of sleep, it felt right, but the idea that Stiles was lying to them, had been lying to them, it made him worry.

“The first thing you must understand about warlocks, or any other kind of magic user, is that our abilities are our most precious secret.” Harry mumbled, “Our kind has been hunted to near extinction, other kinds of casters are all but gone from this world, the only way we’ve lasted as long as we have is because of our secrecy.”

“Stiles knew that our father had been murdered by hunters, we asked him to keep our identities a secret at all costs and he agreed. I thought at first that he may not understand the gravity of the situation, that he may tell one of you, or all of you, but he didn’t. He kept our secret, because he knew how important it was that nobody could find out what we were.” Luke said seriously.

“But you told us?” Noah muttered in confusion, sitting forward in his chair so that he didn’t fall asleep. “You could have denied any knowledge of warlocks or werewolves or anything like that, but you told us?”

“Over the past few months I’ve gotten to know Stiles, and he talks very highly of all of you, at first he wouldn’t talk about you at all, I think he didn’t trust me, thought I might use the knowledge against you, but, in time, he came to trust both of us, just as we trust him. He told us about the pack, about all of you, and he is loyal to you in a way that I have never seen before.”

“What do you mean?” Jackson asked.

“I mean, he will not hear a bad word said against you, not ever. When you went up against the siren you weren’t prepared, Stiles was the only one sensible enough to wear earphones, when he got close to her she ordered you to attack him. He came to me the next day with claw marks on his shoulder and a broken rib. I told him he should leave the pack, get away from people who obviously didn’t care about him. He was insistent that it wasn’t Scott’s fault, that he had been under the siren’s spell. He wouldn’t listen to a word I said about you, despite numerous attempts on my behalf, because I don’t think any of you are good enough for him.” Luke informed them, “But,” He said, holding up a hand when Scott looked ready to interrupt him, “Stiles won’t back down, he won’t leave you, and if he thinks you’re trustworthy, then I’ll entrust you with our secret.”

“However, it does mean that you are in danger now, people will have heard about our existence and they may try to get to us through you. That was the other reason Stiles didn’t want you to know about magic, he doesn’t want you to be in any more danger than necessary.” Harry added.

“You didn’t tell us what happened with the Alpha pack?” Isaac said a moment later.

“Deucalion is dead.” Harry told them, “There’s a strong possibility that Kali and Ennis are too, but there was, an explosion of sorts, and we don’t know what happened to them. Although it’s more than likely they were incinerated in the explosion.” He smirked at Luke, he could lie, although this was more of a missing out key information than actually lying.

“I can’t say I’m sorry about that.” Cora muttered sleepily, “Leaving the twins alive doesn’t really bother me, they were nice enough in that hellhole, but Deucalion, Kali and Ennis all deserved to die.”

“I’m with Cora on that one.” Erica said, snuggling into a pillow and moving closer to Stiles.

“How sure are you that they’re dead? That we don’t need to worry about them coming back for vengeance?” Scott asked.

“Pretty positive. Deucalion was definitely dead and his body was burnt to ash, it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that Kali and Ennis burned too.” Harry said.

“What kind of explosion? And where was Stiles in all this? Was he actually running around trying to find his was out of the preserve like he said?” Noah asked.

“The explosion was caused by a spell.” Luke told him, “A spell to cause lightning, the spell is very complex, but the basis of it is that you summon lightning and you use your body as a conductor, manipulating the lightning into doing as you command.”

“So the lightning storm was you guys?” Aiden asked in awe.

“Yes it was the spell.” Luke agreed, “Deucalion wouldn’t leave, even when he was given that option, he was struck by lightning and died almost instantly. Kali and Ennis continued the attack. The thing about the spell is that it’s very powerful, you have lightning running through your veins and you can only hold it for so long before you either drop the spell or it consumes you. Because Kali and Ennis continued to attack there wasn’t the option to end the spell, instead the lightning took control, bursting outwards and incinerating anything with a twenty-foot radius.”

“Where was Stiles during all this?” Noah asked.

“He was there.” Luke replied, “He had a plan in place, to find Erica and Boyd, it was never part of the plan for the Alpha’s to find him. But they did. He led them into the preserve.”

“And you guys just happened to be there?” Lydia queried.

“Part of the plan Stiles used required magic. He wanted to use a tracking spell, the attempts to find Erica and Boyd using the same spell hadn’t worked, so Stiles took something from one of the twin’s lockers and that was used in the tracking spell, we found them, leading directly to Erica and Boyd.”

“What did he take?” Ethan said looking a little scared.

“A photograph of the two of you from when you were younger. Don’t worry, it wasn’t damaged in the spell. You’ll get it back.” Harry replied.

“What I don’t understand,” Lydia continued, “Is why you left Stiles at the bank alone? Why didn’t you go in there, blast the place apart or whatever?”

“Because we wanted to keep our identities a secret. We didn’t want anyone to know about us. Stiles assured us he would call you and you’d all go in together. We’d wait in the preserve in case we were needed.” Luke replied. “The only reason you’ve found out now is because Stiles was in danger. Otherwise you still wouldn’t know.”

“I know you said before, that you’re looking out for us because Stiles asked you to,” Derek said, glancing once at the still sleeping Stiles, “But I don’t understand why you’d be willing to do it? Surely, if secrecy is the most important thing, then shouldn’t you have said no?”

There was a paused before Luke sighed.

“Perhaps I didn’t tell you the whole truth before, Stiles didn’t ask us to look out for you. I offered it, as part of a deal.”

“What kind of deal?” Noah quizzed, he’d been looking on the verge of sleep but had jolted upright at those words.

“You see, to kill the siren you needed a bronze dagger. Stiles came into my store asking for one, he told me it was for a school project, show and tell,” Luke huffed out a laugh at the memory, “I told him it was five thousand dollars, that he had more money than sense if he wanted to spend that on a school project. It took me a couple of minutes to get the correct reading on his aura, to realise that he already knew about the supernatural, that the only reason he’d want the dagger was because of a siren.”

“So you gave it to him?” Scott asked and Luke rolled his eyes sarcastically.

“Of course not, I doubled the price. He called all of you, trying to get hold of Derek who would have the money, but, apparently, you were all too busy to listen to him for more than two seconds, so, I offered him a deal instead.”

“Which involved what?” Noah asked again, sounding agitated.

“I offered to heal his injuries, he was still recovering from the hunters, the wounds still mending and he was in a lot of pain. In return, he had to meet with Harry.”

“I’d been looking for a new model for a while, I’d helped Luke out a few years ago and he owed me a favour. He knew what I was looking for and Stiles’ aura was perfect, so I went to the shop to meet him and we talked through what I was offering, how much I was offering and he agreed as long as he also got the dagger.”

“So, you blackmailed him into doing photoshoots for you?” Derek said horrified.

“Of course not. He didn’t have to. He only had to hear me out. He did. He decided to give it a try. I told him that he could say no at any point if he was uncomfortable but he said he was fine. I even think he quite enjoyed it. Then Scott called him about finding the siren in the woods and he went back to Luke’s, got the dagger and came to help you.”

“But you wouldn’t have given him the dagger unless he agreed to do it!” Noah argued, trying not to raise his voice and wake Stiles.

“I would have.” Luke insisted. “As soon as he’d heard Harry out I was willing to give him the dagger, but they went to do a shoot first. It was completely up to Stiles and he agreed to do it. We didn’t blackmail him into anything, and in case you’ve forgotten, I also healed his wounds, he’s got a lot less scars than he should have had because of that. If you want to be angry at someone, blame this pack that couldn’t be bothered to listen to him because they didn’t answer their phones, or were too busy doing something, or someone else.” He finished, glaring at Scott.

“It’s pretty obvious you don’t like us, so why did you offer to protect us?”

“Stiles wanted it as part of the deal. He agreed to my terms, but only on the condition, that should you need help, that we helped. We agreed to it, so long as you didn’t find out about us, that we kept our involvement a secret.” Harry explained.

“He was trying to watch out for you guys.” Luke added.

“What’s so special about his, what did you call it, his aura?” Allison asked.

“Well, with a little magic, it’s easy to see anyone’s aura. Like, right now, you’re all a little gloomy, guilt and worry mostly, but generally you’re all still okay, Noah’s very angry, a lot of red, Scott’s green, a lot of confusion, redefining all prior conceptions, Derek, well, we don’t want to embarrass him.” Harry grinned and Derek couldn’t help but flush slightly.

“I don’t know…”

“Please, don’t deny it, it’s pretty obvious that you’ve got some very strong feelings for one particular person in this room, even without reading your aura.” Harry smirked.

“I, erm, no, what?” Derek spluttered and Harry’s grin stretched wider.

“Oh, it gets even brighter when you’re flustered.” Harry teased.

“So what does Stiles’ aura look like?” Jackson said, obviously interested.

“He’s special, very special. Something that I’ve never seen before.” Luke admitted, “He shines so brightly I can’t look at it for more than a few moments without getting a headache. There’s so much going on, so much guilt and pain and heartbreak, but so much strength and courage and loyalty. He’s so innocent in some ways, but he’s also seen the worst side of people, he’s defiant to the point of stupidity, he won’t back down if it means protecting those he cares about. He always puts others needs before his own. Now, I know you might be thinking that a lot of people are like that, and they are, but the thing about Stiles, the thing that makes him so special to me, is that he feels like he’s broken, but he’s the strongest person I’ve ever met. If it came to a fight, he’s the only person I’d want on my side, so yes, I’d do anything for him, even break our secrecy and put our lives at risk to protect him.”

There was silence in the room, all of them staring at Stiles and then at Luke and Harry. Derek could easily understand why Luke felt like that about Stiles, Derek felt the same way, he hadn’t realised straight away, too wrapped up in his own pain and guilt, but over time he’d realised Stiles was amazing, and the more time he spent with him, the more Derek fell for him.

“So, the soul eater is dead, the Alpha pack are taken care of, does that mean, for now at least, we’re safe?” Lydia asked, yawning widely as she struggled to keep her eyes open.

“Yes, for now at least.” Harry confirmed.

“Which means that, right now, we can go to sleep?” Isaac yawned.

“Yes.” Luke replied.

There wasn’t much more to be said, Scott was already asleep, Noah was nodding off, it didn’t take them long to go to sleep, Derek snuggling down into the blankets and pressing against the rest of his pack, a hand touching Stiles’ hair gently.

Stiles woke up to the sun shining through the window, the smell of frying bacon and a stifling heat that could only be accomplished by a pile of bodies. He shifted slightly and felt an arm tighten around his stomach, pulling him back towards another body, he could feel stubble rubbing across the back of his neck and he tensed, blinking his eyes open quickly and looking around him. He could see the pack all sprawled around him, hear the murmurs of voices in the kitchen, but he was spooning with someone, who the hell was he spooning with!?

He moved as gently as he could, hoping not to disturb any of the pack, the arm across his stomach tightening again and holding him in place, Stiles managed to twist enough to see it was Derek and he wasn’t sure if to feel amazed or terrified about that, on the one hand, he was spooning with Derek, which was one of the things he’d fantasized about a million times, but on the other hand, if Derek woke up and found Stiles next to him, pressed against him, and probably with a hard on if he thought about this for much longer, then Derek would hate him, definitely be pissed at him. Okay, so maybe Derek was nuzzling the back of his neck and maybe it felt incredible, but he was asleep and werewolves evidently enjoyed cuddles when they slept, if the pack scattered around him were anything to go by.

He managed to wriggle out of Derek’s grip eventually, glad when he didn’t disturb him, then he had to lift Erica’s head off his arm and Scott’s head off his legs and finally he was free! He got up, a little unsteadily, his head was pounding, and attempted to climb out of the pile as carefully as possible, avoiding stepping on anybody.

He couldn’t help the little involuntary fist pump when he managed to get to the chair without waking anyone up. He saw his dad smirking at him from the kitchen table with Harry and Luke and blushed slightly, Stiles moved towards them without paying attention properly and managed to trip over Lydia’s handbag.

He hit the floor hard, startling the wolves awake, all of them sitting up and looking for what caused the noise.

“Ow.” Stiles grumbled, sitting up slowly, rubbing at his cheek and his elbow that had somehow taken the brunt of the fall.

“You okay?” Scott called, already sounding like he was half asleep again, used to Stiles’ clumsiness.

“Peachy.” Stiles replied, getting back to his feet, this time watching for hazardous handbags and making his way into the kitchen. He made himself a bacon sandwich before finally taking a seat at the kitchen table.

“How you feeling kiddo?” Noah whispered as Stiles sat down.

“Fine.” Stiles replied, munching on his sandwich happily. He heard a few snores coming from the living room and knew at least some of the pack had gone back to sleep, he was glad about that. “What is everyone doing here?”

“We were all tired after leaving the preserve, we decided to stay.” Harry informed him.

“What were we doing out there?” Stiles asked, he didn’t miss the looks of worry that Harry, Luke and his dad shared, and, as if it wasn’t obvious enough, when Derek and Peter dashed through from the front room, looking equally as concerned he knew he was missing something.

“Stiles,” Luke said cautiously, “What do you remember about yesterday?”

“Erm,” He paused, he couldn’t really remember much, he remembered arguing with his dad, his dad had found out about werewolves and then the photo shoots and Stiles had just shouted back with the most hurtful thing he could think of, and then he’d driven, where had he driven to? “We had an argument, about werewolves and the modelling and stuff, and I drove somewhere.” He got up and moved to the window, immediately noticing his jeep was missing from the driveway and running his hands through his hair in sudden agitation, hitting a sore spot and rubbing at it. “Don’t tell me I crashed my jeep!? Did I crash my jeep? Oh my god!” Stiles said getting more panicked by the second. He couldn’t remember that, and his jeep, his bloody jeep, if it was destroyed he had no idea what he was going to do.

“You didn’t.” Harry reassured him, “I mean, I suppose the outcome was the same, but actually, the soul eater flipped it for you.”

“Soul eater!?” Stiles said horrified, he couldn’t believe that Harry had just said that in front of his dad. “I mean, I don’t know what one of those are. Is that another of your jokes?” He said, forcing a laugh.

“Relax Stiles. We know about magic.” Peter reassured him.

“We had to tell them about our magic.” Harry said seriously and Stiles nodded, he got the message, his magic was still a secret.

“We should take him to the hospital.” Derek said and Stiles turned to look at him in surprise, “He’s lost at least twelve hours of memory, he hit his head pretty hard, what if he’s got internal bleeding or something?”

“He’s also still in the room.” Stiles said sarcastically, huffing slightly when he saw the rest of the pack getting to their feet and coming to the kitchen, Ethan and Aiden trailing a little behind. Stiles moved to the stove, grabbing up some bacon and making sure the twins got first dibs, both of them staring at him in shock for a moment and then smiling at him gratefully. “So, what happened? Why do you guys know about their magic?”

Noah ran him through it as simply as he could, explaining everything he knew, from going to Harry’s, finding out about the soul eater, finding out about magic, going to find Stiles, the car crash, Derek turning into a wolf, Stiles killing the soul eater and then being poisoned and then eventually coming home.

“Are you kidding me!?” Stiles said incredulously.

“What?” Cora said startled.

“Derek turns into an actual freaking wolf and I don’t remember it!? Can you do it again? Do you still think like a human? Like you didn’t want to eat me, did you? Can you do it now? How did it feel? Was it awesome? I bet it was awesome. How big were you? Could you run faster? Did like your senses get super enhanced…”

“Stiles! Breathe!” Derek ordered and Stiles shut up, blushing slightly as he realised just how many questions he’d asked.

“I think they’re all relevant questions.” Peter smirked, “I mean, we haven’t really had a chance to talk about it, how exactly did you manage to fully shift?”

Both Harry and Luke had a pretty good idea what had caused Derek to do a full shift, and it seemed that Peter did too, they grinned wickedly at each other as Derek flushed slightly, mouth opening but no words coming out.

“I don’t know.” He snapped, folding his arms across his chest, “Anyway, shouldn’t we be worried about the fact that Stiles remembers none of this?”

“No. I think the bigger issue is that you turned into an actual wolf and you don’t know how! What if it happens again, but, like in public?” Stiles said horrified, he wasn’t sure how he’d explain that one.

“I’m with Derek on this one. I think we need to get you checked out.” Noah said.

“I’m not going to the hospital. Luke can check me out.” Stiles replied, moving over to the table and sitting down next to Luke who had sighed fondly, a small smile on his lips.

“Alright, close your eyes.” Stiles complied, “I’m just going to put my fingertips on your temples, alright?”

“Yep.” Stiles said quickly. As soon as his fingers brushed against his forehead he planned to use his own magic to continue the healing of his head wound, except when Stiles reached for it his own magic barely responded and when it did it was sluggish and painful.

“Just relax, the spell we cast to remove the poison took a lot out of you. It’s going to take a little bit of time to get that energy back.” Luke muttered and Stiles tried to relax, but it was harder than he thought, he had a bad headache and he ached, he couldn’t relax. He jumped slightly when he felt fingers at the back of his neck but sighed gratefully when the pain started to recede. “Okay, that’s better Stiles. Just relax.”

It took ten minutes before his headache started to fade and as he slowly relaxed he started to remember the events of yesterday evening, more than anything, the agonizing pain of having his soul nearly torn out of his body, but that was nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to the pain he went through as his body was healed from the poison. But he also remembered Derek sucking as much pain as possible from him, he knew that it must have been excruciating for him, but somehow Derek had stayed with him, continued trying to drain the pain from him, Stiles wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to express how much that meant to him without sounding like a complete idiot.

Luke took his hands away a few minutes later and Stiles blinked his eyes open slowly.

“Better?” Noah asked.

“Much.” Stiles nodded.

“You took quite a hard hit to the head, it scrambled your brains a little bit, but you’re on the mend now, memories coming back to you?” Luke said.

“Yeah.” Stiles replied, glancing around slowly, “Yeah. I remember now.” He frowned, “My jeep is going to be totaled.” He sighed, resting his head in the palms of his hands.

“Luke and I are going to fix that for you. I’m sure we can come up with some kind of spell to repair metal.” Harry teased and Stiles grinned, jumping up from his seat and hugging Harry tightly.

“You guys are the best.” He grinned.

“Obviously, you don’t get to be our age without learning a few things.” Luke said, laughing when Stiles hugged him too.

“How old are you?” Isaac asked, blushing when all eyes turned to him, “You said yesterday ‘five hundred years and still haven’t learned to lie’ which kind of gives the impression that you’re half a millenia?”

“I am.” Harry grinned, “Luke has a few extra years on me though. He never lets me live it down, like a couple of hundred years make that big of a difference. It’s always, ‘when I was younger I had to transcribe from books, we didn’t have printed copies’ rub it in why don’t you?”

Luke laughed loudly, ignoring the astonished expressions of the pack.

“Honestly, most of the scrolls I have I had to copy by hand. He just doesn’t understand the struggles.” Luke teased.

“You’re seven hundred years old?” Jackson uttered in shock.

“And I look good on it, don’t I?” Luke replied lightly as Jackson nodded.

“Wow…” Noah muttered, shaking his head in disbelief, “So, is that it? No more secrets, nothing else we need to know? You can’t like, shapeshift into a horse or something?”

“No. That’s it. No more secrets from us.” Harry said and Stiles grimaced, he should tell them, they had a right to know, he trusted them, but knowing would put them at risk, surely, they should know about his magic though? It was better for them to know what they were dealing with, right?

“Actually,” He cleared his throat, “there is something that I need to tell you about. You see…”

“Stiles agreed to come help me in my shop on Saturday mornings, before he shoots with Harry. I, in turn, agreed to let him have access to all the knowledge I possess. That’s what you were going to say wasn’t it?” Luke said, raising an eyebrow at Stiles, telling him silently to protect his secret.

“Erm, no, what I was actually going to say is…”

“You weren’t going to tell him about that incident with Tim, were you? I’m sure you don’t want your dad to worry about that.” Harry interrupted.

“Tim? Who’s Tim? What incident?” Noah asked quickly, sounding irritated that Stiles had kept something else from him.

“It was nothing dad, it was just the shoot the other week, he just got a little too, erm, handsy I guess. But it’s fine. Harry kicked him out. So, you don’t need to worry about it.” Stiles replied, holding his hands up in surrender.

“What do you mean ‘too handsy’? What does that mean Stiles?” Noah growled.

“It means, erm, it means that he got a little too physical and I put him on his ass and Harry kicked him out and we’re not working with him anymore.”

“I want to know what happened.” Noah pushed.

“That’s it dad. I promise. It was no big deal.” Stiles insisted, glancing to Harry for back up.

“It wasn’t Noah. I assure you. The situation was dealt with promptly and he won’t be appearing in my magazine again.”

“I don’t want you doing this anymore Stiles. What if this Tim guy is a stalker or something?”

“He wasn’t a stalker.” Harry informed Noah, “Sometimes we have celebrities that pay to be in the magazine, Tim offered a lot of money to do a shoot with Stiles and he pushed his boundaries, which, as Stiles said, got him knocked on his ass.”

“Didn’t you like see his aura and realise he was a nut job?” Derek said angrily, the idea of Stiles in danger making his stomach twist with dread.

“It’s not an exact science.” Harry defended, “Believe it or not it is possible for me to misjudge people once in a while.”

“I don’t want you doing this anymore Stiles. Who knows what kind of crazies this job attracts?” Noah insisted. Stiles frowned, clenching his jaw as he struggled to keep him mouth shut. “You’re still under eighteen and it’s my decision to make. I don’t want you being put in the situation where someone could hurt you.”

“That’s your biggest issue? That by shooting with someone else I’d be in danger?”

“Yes.” Noah said firmly.

“Okay, fine.” Stiles agreed, Noah looked at him in shock, as if he’d expected Stiles to argue with him. “If that’s what you want, then fine.”

“What? You won’t do any more of these photographs?”

“No, I won’t do any more that involve anybody else. I’ll just do solo shoots.” Stiles amended.

“That wasn’t what I was meaning Stiles and you know it.” Noah growled.

“So? What? You want me to quit doing it altogether? Why?”

“Why!? Stiles, you’re seventeen, you shouldn’t be modelling in a porn magazine.”

“Why not? I mean, it’s not like I’m getting naked? So why is this an issue? If I agree not to model with anybody else, and agree to keep my clothes on, what’s the problem?” Stiles argued and Noah frowned, trying to think of another argument.

“Just because you’d be modelling by yourself doesn’t mean you’d be safe there.” He said a moment later. “You’ve already had this incident with Tim and the soul eater while you were there. It’s obviously not safe.”

“What? You want me to hire a bodyguard or something?” Stiles scoffed, “Harry’s a warlock. There’s not much that gets past him.”

“Actually, a bodyguard is a good idea.” Noah mused, “If you’re going to insist on doing this, then I’m going to insist that either I’m with you or one of the pack is with you at all times.”

“Dad!” Stiles whined, “You can’t do that. I don’t need a babysitter.”

“Well, that’s my condition, if you are going to do this, then I want you to have someone with you. If you don’t agree to it, then I swear to God, I will spend every moment that you aren’t at school making sure you are handcuffed to my desk. I’m actually kind of tempted to do that anyway.” Noah replied.

“Fine.” Stiles pouted.

“Fine as in I need to get my handcuffs out? Or fine you’ll agree to have someone with you and only shoot alone?”

“Fine as in I’ll take someone with me.” Stiles relented.

“Good, glad we could agree on that.” Harry smiled easily.

“Aren’t you worried? If Stiles stops shooting with other people, it won’t be as popular? Will it?” Ethan asked quietly.

“Well, there’s always the option of using one of the pack as a model? I’m sure Noah wouldn’t object to that?” Harry replied, winking at Derek behind Stiles’ back. “But, if that would still be an issue, then Stiles is very popular, popular enough that solo shoots will still sell plenty of magazines.”

“I don’t think that would be any fun for any of them.” Stiles muttered blushing slightly.

“Okay, alright, we’re in agreement then. So, if you don’t need anything else from us, we’ll go home, I’m sure there’s plenty of things you need to discuss with Stiles without our input.” Luke said, clapping Stiles on the shoulder as he stood to leave, making sure that Stiles got the message, he wouldn’t tell them about his magic.

“I’ll see you Saturday morning.” Stiles replied quietly and both Harry and Luke nodded before leaving.

“There’s something else that we haven’t discussed yet.” Erica whispered as all eyes turned to her. “We haven’t spoken about what happened with the hunters.” Stiles’ mouth hung open in shock, he hadn’t expected that to be brought up, he tensed, almost as if he could still feel the whip hitting his back, as if he was back in that room knowing that this time he wouldn’t be spared.

“Stiles, calm down.” Derek ordered, Stiles knew his heart was racing but he couldn’t calm down, he didn’t want to talk about it, didn’t want to think about it. “Stiles!” Derek said, reaching out to grab his shoulders as Stiles flinched backwards. “Take a breath.” Derek said calmly, placing a hand on his chest, above his heart, and meeting his gaze, “Good. Now do it again.” Stiles followed his order, forcing the air in and out his lungs, his breathing evening out, his heart slowing down to a normal speed after a few minutes.

“Stiles,” Noah whispered, his voice unsure, “Can you tell us what happened?” Stiles shook his head, he thought he might throw up.

“We haven’t said thank you.” Boyd said and Stiles looked up at him in shock.

“There’s nothing to thank me for. I couldn’t help you. I left you there. And then, whatever they did, whatever they did after I was too weak to help you, it must have been awful to send you into that kind of shock and it’s my fault. I should have helped you. I should have been stronger.” Stiles said sorrowfully.

“Are you insane?” Erica said, approaching Stiles carefully, “Stiles, you did save us. How many times did Gerard say that he was going to start on us again? And how many times did you redirect his attention to you? You’re an idiot by the way, we could have taken it. It broke me, having to watch you go through that, it broke my heart, and then they dragged you off upstairs, and we heard you screaming, and then, then…”

“Your heart stopped.” Boyd finished.

“What the hell do you mean?” Noah questioned, “What does that mean that your heart stopped? Did you die? Stiles, what happened? Talk to us.”

“I didn’t die.” Stiles replied.

“We heard your heart stop Stiles. After that, everything turns sort of blurry, and the next thing that’s clear is being in your kitchen.” Boyd confirmed.

“I didn’t die.” He repeated, he couldn’t talk about it, he didn’t want to talk about it.

“Can you just tell me what happened? Please Stiles, please kid? Just, talk to me. Tell me what happened.” Noah pleaded

“I can’t.” Stiles said quietly, he couldn’t relive it, he couldn’t think about it, not again.

“You know, at the station, when a victim has been through something really traumatic, when they can’t talk about it, it helps them, if they don’t think about it as happening to them, if we just talk about it like it happened to someone else, it’s not a healthy way to think, not long term, but it gets their statements, you think you could do that?” Noah suggested.

Stiles felt more sick by the minute, but he knew there was no way out of this, that they wouldn’t leave him alone until they knew what had happened.

“It was the night of lacrosse game,” He whispered, the whole room going silent and waiting for him to continue, “The lights went off on the pitch, Gerard and some of his guys grabbed me. They took me back to the basement, Erica and Boyd were already there. They wanted information on the pack, I thought you guys would be coming, I thought I could hold out.”

“You did.” Erica agreed and Stiles shrugged.

“They chained me up and hit me. Quite a few times. I didn’t think I could take any more pain, then Gerard went back towards Erica, and I could see how much she was hurting, how much pain she was in, and I didn’t want her to get hurt. So, I made sure Gerard came back to me, and when he moved for Boyd, I did the same thing again.”

“I’m pretty sure it was something along the lines of ‘Getting tired old man?’” Boyd quoted with a quiet laugh and Stiles smiled back at him, it hadn’t been one of his better lines and it hadn’t sounded that good when he’d been spitting out blood, but it had kept Gerard away from the betas and that had been the point of it.

“After a little while they got fed up of using their fists, they moved on to using, erm, tools I guess you could call them. I was still sure you’d all be coming any time, I didn’t know about Jackson, that he’d died, or that he was coming back, I thought you’d realised, that you were coming, and all I had to do was hold out a little longer.”

There were tears in Scott’s eyes, Stiles wasn’t trying to make him feel bad, he just wanted to tell them the truth, that’s what they wanted. He didn’t dare look at anyone else or fear of what he would see in their eyes.

“I lost track of time I guess, I think I was more out of it than anything else by that point, anyway, Gerard seemed to think that there was a better way to try and break me, they dragged me out of the basement and we went up to the kitchen.” Stiles paused, taking a swig of water to help clear his parched throat. “They’d come up with a new drug, something they’ve spent quite a bit of time perfecting, it burns out of your system quickly, like, really quickly, five minutes per dose and it’s like you never had it.” Derek growled and Stiles ignored it, “In smaller doses it just causes pain, a lot of it, but if they give you a larger dose, it stops your heart for a period of time. It restarts again after a minute, but for that minute, you’re dying, your brain is shutting down, your lungs stop working and everything starts to fade around you, and then it all restarts, and you are sucking in great lungfuls of air because nothing has even felt so good. And then they’d ask me about the pack again, and when I still didn’t tell them, they’d give me another low dose, make me scream, and ask again, and then another big dose, and it just went on and on.”

“How did you get away from them?” Peter asked, the only one apparently not horrified from what Stiles had suffered, he already knew just how completely inhuman hunters could be.

“I didn’t. They took me out to your old house, they left me on the porch, Gerard was convinced that I wouldn’t survive, that I would die there, something about the doses putting a strain on my body and my heart would give out. He was on about setting Derek up for my death, that my dad would be the one to find my body, that Derek would be arrested, that if he somehow survived what Gerard had in store, his life would still be over. I watched them leave. I couldn’t let them kill me, I couldn’t let dad find my body, and I couldn’t let Derek take the blame for it. So, I got up, and I went back to the school and got cleaned up and then came here. Lydia turned up and told me about Jackson and we came to help you guys out and then Chris said he’d let Erica and Boyd out and I didn’t have any idea where to even start looking for them, I hoped they’d turn up, but when we found out about the Alpha pack, well, I didn’t see how telling any of you would help anything.” He finished lamely.

“Stiles,” Noah began, tears flooding down his cheeks as he pulled Stiles into a tight hug, “Kiddo, why didn’t you tell me? I would have helped you Stiles, you just needed to tell me.”

“I couldn’t dad. What could I have said without telling you about the pack? ‘oh hey, by the way my principle is insane and just tortured me for the fun of it and left me in the woods to die. Also, while you’re at it, my back is all torn up from the whip and my ribs are broken from the beating and my skin is burnt from the electrocutions and there’s a pretty good chance my heart is going to give out from all the drugs they shoved in me.’ Somehow, I think you would have wanted a proper explanation, and I couldn’t bring you in on this, I wanted to protect you from all this.” Stiles ranted.

There was silence as they all tried to process what Stiles had said, what he’d been through without them realising.

“Can we see?” Scott whispered and Stiles looked up at him.

“It won’t make any difference.” He sighed defeatedly.

“It will to us.” Derek growled, he wanted to see the damage, wanted to see what Gerard had done, and then he’d spend all his time tracking them down and making them pay.

“It’s not pretty.” Stiles said, wanting them all to change their minds, he didn’t want to do this, he didn’t want them to see.

“You’ve never been pretty Stilinski, won’t be any different for me.” Jackson said, obviously trying to make a joke with him and Stiles half laughed, he would have laughed properly, but the fact was, it was true. Stiles had never had a huge amount of self-confidence, and this, these scars, they pretty much destroyed any confidence he might have had. Nobody wanted to see him half undressed, not unless they were insane, sure people might write to him and say he was hot, but if he stripped in front of them, if they saw the damage for themselves, the only thing they’d be is revolted.

“Please, Stiles, let us see.” Noah whispered and Stiles sighed in defeat.

“Fine.” He whispered, unfastening the cuffs at his wrists so that they could see the scars on his wrists from where the chains had cut into him as he hung. Lydia moved forward, studying the scars silently, taking his wrists gently and sighing.

“They aren’t that obvious Stiles,” She whispered, “You only notice them because they’re on your body, nobody else would notice there unless they were really close to you.” She tried to reassure him.

“These aren’t the only ones.” He muttered, so quietly that he wasn’t sure anyone would hear him.

“That’s alright.” Lydia replied, “We’re here, no matter what.”

Stiles felt physically sick, but he knew he had to do this, for their benefit, he had to do this. He pulled his shirt off in one swift movement, knowing it would be better to just get it over and done with. He closed his eyes, making sure that he couldn’t at least see the pity in their eyes, he heard the intakes of breath from all around him, the ones behind him sounding louder than the ones in front.

“Stiles…” He heard Scott’s voice breaking with emotion behind him and Stiles squeezed his eyes shut even tighter, clenching his jaw tightly.

“What happened here?” Noah said, fingers brushing against the scar on his stomach and Stiles did his best not to flinch.

“One of his guys decided to get creative with a knife.” Stiles dismissed casually, that hadn’t been the worst thing he’d experienced that night.

“And here?” Noah asked, touching the claw marks at his collarbone. Stiles opened his eyes slowly, trying not to have another panic attack.

“There was a siren, she turned the pack on each other, I took a rogue claw while taking her out.”

“Do you know who it was?” Noah said, knowing full well it had been Scott, but he wondered if Stiles would tell him that, or if he’d deny it, still trying to protect his friend, protect Noah from the knowledge that Scott had nearly killed him.

“I don’t know, it was all a bit hectic.” Stiles lied. He knew the wolves at least heard the lie in his words.

“What about this one?” Peter asked, pointing at the scar left from his lightning spell from two nights before.

“I was stood pretty close to some lightning. Must have got me a little bit at least.”

“Luke and Harry told us you were there with them.” Peter smirked.

“Yeah, okay, well, Deucalion was trying to tear my throat out, there was lightning, I guess it caught me at the same time.” He confessed.

“What about your back?” Derek growled, his eyes flashing red, he’d never felt angrier in his life, Stiles’ back was a patchwork of thin silver scars, some of them darker than others, it was obvious that he’d been whipped, and judging from the scars, it had been brutal and merciless, he couldn’t even imagine how Stiles had survived it, and more so, Stiles had been waiting for them, holding out and waiting for them to come and rescue him, and they hadn’t even looked for him, hadn’t even thought he was missing. Derek had let him down, on a monumental scale, and his scars would never let Derek forget it.

“Can I put my shirt back on now?” Stiles said, ignoring Derek’s question, it was obvious to all of them what had happened to his back, he didn’t want to have to go through it all again.

“Yeah, sure, of course kid.” Noah said, Stiles already pulling his shirt back on.

“I’m going to go take a shower.” Stiles said quickly, already heading up the stairs away from the pack. He’d never wanted them to see that, he’d wanted to protect them from that.

“Where is he?” Noah hissed angrily as soon as Stiles was out of earshot. “Where is that bastard?”

“We don’t know.” Allison said, her voice hollow with shock, “He left the warehouse when we were distracted.”

“I am going to find him and I’m going to kill him.” Noah snarled.

“I’ll help.” Scott said.

“We all will.” Jackson growled.

“I can ask my dad, maybe he’ll have an idea where to start.” Allison mumbled, unable to believe how crazy her grandfather had been, she couldn’t believe that they’d done that to Stiles, that they could have done that to anyone.

When Stiles got out of the bathroom he could still hear the murmur of voices downstairs, he couldn’t deal with anything else today, he didn’t care that it was early afternoon, all he wanted to do was go to sleep. He went to his bedroom, a little surprised at the mess but ignoring it for now, before shutting the door behind him and crawling into his bed, pulling the covers over him and closing his eyes. He didn’t remember much after that, falling asleep within moments.

“He’s in bed.” Derek said to Noah a few minutes later, they’d all heard the shower shut off but then there had been silence, Derek had seen Noah waiting in worry and decided to put him out of his misery.

“Sleeping?” Noah asked and Derek nodded, he was a bit surprised at how easily Stiles had gone to sleep but he figured he needed it. The last few days had obviously been tough on all of them but Stiles most of all. “I think you guys should all go home, no doubt your parents are all wondering where you are.”

The pack all started to get to their feet, but Derek didn’t want to leave yet, he wanted to stay, wanted to make sure that Stiles was okay.

“Sheriff, there is still something we need to discuss.” Peter said awkwardly and Noah turned to look at him, “You spoke before about the possibility of moving away, about moving out of town? Is that still something you are considering?”

“I’m not sure.” Noah said wearily, “I can see how much Stiles means to you all, but we’ve also just witnessed what this life has already done to him, he nearly died yesterday, he nearly died Friday night. Next time he might not be so lucky, and more than that, I don’t want there to be a next time.”

“You can’t take him away though.” Erica said in horror.

“I’m going to think about it and I’m going to speak to Stiles about it. I’m not going to make a rash decision, and, should we choose to leave, I’ll ensure you all get the opportunity to say goodbye.” Noah replied quietly.

Derek wanted to protest but he could completely understand where Noah was coming from, if Stiles died Derek was sure it would kill him, he wanted to protect Stiles from everything, and if moving away was the best way to keep him safe then Derek would not fight Noah on it.

They all left, instead of going home however, they all headed to the loft, all discussing various ways to track Gerard down, to make him pay for what he’d done. By midnight Derek was the only one left awake, he knew they all had school in the morning, although Erica and Boyd would probably need a few days to readjust, they would have to go speak to their parents, come up with a cover story as to where they had been all summer, there was a lot of work to do.

Derek couldn’t sleep though, he was worried about Stiles, worried that despite his words earlier, Noah would decide that the simplest solution would be to leave in the middle of the night while Stiles was asleep, to just take him and leave, to not give them a chance to say goodbye. In fact, he became so convinced of this that the only rational thing he could think to do was to go over there and check Stiles was still in his bed.

He left the loft silently, glad when none of his pack woke up, and ran across to the Stilinski household, he climbed swiftly up the tree and moved to the roof, seeing Stiles’ desk lamp on he moved closer. Stiles was awake, moving things in his room, obviously clearing up Scott’s earlier rampage. He’d barely been there a minute when Stiles opened the window and peered up at Derek.

“If you’re going to creep all night, come be helpful?” Stiles asked, gesturing to the mess behind him. Derek moved quickly, feeling a bit sheepish that Stiles had caught him out.

Stiles had slept for a little while, but it hadn’t been long before the dreams started, Gerard was there, beating him, the soul eater was there, laughing as it ate his soul, the pack were all there, unable to look at him without pity or disgust, his scars clearly visible for them to see. He woke up panting for breath and covered in sweat, but at least he wasn’t screaming.

He could hear his dad snoring in the other room and relaxed slightly, he knew he wouldn’t get back to sleep now, not that he wanted to, and he did have a lot of homework to do before school tomorrow, he looked around his room at the mess and decided he’d have a tidy up first, he was tempted to use magic, but thought maybe the manual labor would keep his mind busy. He’d barely started though when he felt something press against his wards on the house, whoever it was didn’t feel like an enemy though and it didn’t take him long to figure out it was Derek. He half expected him to have disappeared by the time he got to the window but Derek had stayed and before Stiles knew what the hell he was doing he was inviting Derek inside.

“I wanted to apologize.” Derek muttered, picking up some of the paperwork from the floor.

“For what?” Stiles asked in confusion, bending over and picking some of his clothes up before shoving the ones that weren’t shredded back in to the wardrobe, Derek sucking in a breath as he stared at Stiles’ ass.

“For, well, for a lot of things I guess.” Derek answered honestly, “I should have known about Gerard, or at least figured it out.”

“Don’t blame yourself for that.” Stiles replied, “Nobody knew, not even Scott and, you know, he’s like my brother, so it’s not your fault, besides, apparently, I’m a lot better at lying than I thought I was.” Stiles grinned easily and Derek couldn’t help the smile back. “So, what are you going to do with Ethan and Aiden?”

“Big question.” Derek said, letting out a sigh as he piled more of the paperwork on Stiles’ desk. “I don’t know. They’re at the loft now with the rest of the pack.”

“You left them with your pack?” Stiles said, pausing to look at him in shock.

“Yeah.” Derek admitted.

“Well, you must trust them a little bit then, I mean, there was a time when you didn’t trust Scott with your betas, and now you do, so there must be a little trust there.”

“There was a time when I didn’t trust you either.” Derek muttered and Stiles grinned.

“But you do now!?” He smirked.

“Sometimes. Like yesterday, figuring out how to snap Erica and Boyd out of it, that was a smart plan.” Derek admitted.

“I’ve been known to have them once in a while.” Stiles replied, moving to his bed and starting to flip the mattress so at least the claw marks were on the other side. Derek moved to help him, easily turning the mattress and then helping Stiles put the sheet back on.

“I’ll buy you a new one.” He offered and Stiles shrugged.

“Money’s not really an issue anymore.” He replied honestly, “Harry pays quite well, I mean, I don’t know what to do with it most of the time, I figure I’ll be able to go to whichever college I want though.”

Derek tried not to get frustrated at the mention of Harry, instead thinking about the picture he’d seen earlier and getting aroused, he made a mental note to go buy a copy of every magazine that Stiles had appeared in.

“You know, the Alpha of a pack provides for his pack, if you wanted to go to a college and couldn’t afford it, I’d give you the money.” Derek said, a little surprised at his own words, but not as surprised as Stiles who had dropped the pillow he was holding and was staring at Derek in shock.

“That’s a nice offer.” Stiles replied eventually, moving to his desk to sort out the paperwork as Derek sat on the bed, “But I don’t need it. Anyway, doesn’t some of that money belong to Cora now?”

“Yes, but there’s still plenty there for all of you.” Derek insisted, moving backwards so he could lean against the wall and rest his eyes just for a minute, “I never thought I’d see her again, I can’t believe she’s alive.”

“So why are you here instead of spending quality time with her?” Stiles asked, shoving some of the books back onto the shelf and pulling out his calculus homework.

“I was worried,” Derek admitted, he was half asleep by now and probably being more honest that he should have been, “Your dad is thinking about leaving town, that moving away might be the best option for you, I was worried that he’d do it tonight and none of us would get a chance to say goodbye.”

Stiles turned in his chair away from his desk to stare at Derek in shock, the guy couldn’t actually think that Stiles would leave them, could he? His dad couldn’t possibly think that Stiles would leave this town? His friends? His pack? No, nope, not going to happen.

“I’m not going anywhere.” Stiles said firmly.

“I don’t blame your dad for thinking about it.” Derek mumbled, “You’d be safer away from here, less likely to get hurt, less likely to get into trouble.” Stiles tried not to feel hurt by that, Derek was looking out for him, but it still felt like a kick to the gut, Stiles didn’t need to be protected, he could handle himself just fine. He turned back to his calculus homework, focusing on the words on the page in front of him. “Aren’t you going to go back to sleep?” Derek yawned.

“I think the bed has its companion for the night.” Stiles replied quietly, “You use it. I’ve got homework to do.” He said, scribbling his calculations down onto the paper. He turned around a few minutes later when Derek hadn’t responded and wasn’t surprised to see him fast asleep on top of the covers, his head buried in Stiles’ pillow, Stiles was pretty sure that if Derek snuggled any deeper into the pillow he’d inhale it, but he couldn’t help the smile on his face. If only he had Derek in his bed for other reasons, rather than an exhausted werewolf who thought he was a liability. He stood up silently and moved to the bed, throwing a blanket over Derek before turning back to his desk and getting on with his homework.

Noah woke up to the sound of his alarm, he rolled over, groaning as he shut the blasted thing off. He couldn’t believe it was Monday again already, he was supposed to be on a double shift today and he was exhausted, the weekend had really taken a toll on him. He stumbled out of his bedroom towards the bathroom, surprised to see Stiles’ light on, he pushed the door open gently, Stiles was fast asleep at his desk, his pen still resting in his hand. He couldn’t help the small smile on his face, it was nice to see Stiles looking so relaxed. He heard a snuffle and looked at the bed, more than a little surprised to see Derek curled up on the bed, buried under a blanket and cuddling a pillow, he was a little annoyed that Derek was here, but it was becoming pretty obvious to him that Derek cared more about Stiles than he’d let on previously, and he knew that at least if Derek was nearby there was a lower risk of his son getting hurt by some random person or creature again.

Stiles’ alarm started blaring and it was quite comical to watch him jerk upwards from his desk, the paper still stuck to his face and nearly fall backwards out of his chair as he stumbled towards the bed and turned the alarm off before sinking onto the bed and closing his eyes again.

“What’s going on?” Derek mumbled, finally emerging from the covers, his eyes still closed in sleep.

“Jesus!” Stiles cried in surprise, jumping up from the bed and falling onto the floor.

“Stiles? You okay?” Derek said, fully awake now and peering at Stiles who was sat on the floor.

“I forgot you were here.” Stiles mumbled, “I mean, I wasn’t like, getting into bed with you or anything, I just forgot you were here.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Derek shrugged.

“Morning.” Noah said from the doorway, grinning widely as Stiles flailed, getting to his feet and blushing bright red, Derek looking equally horrified and staring at Noah speechless.

“Dad! This isn’t what it looks like, I mean, it’s not...”

“I know what it is Stiles, I’ve been stood here for a while.” Noah smirked, “I’m going for a shower.” He moved towards the bathroom, “Morning Derek.” He called behind him.

“Sheriff.” Derek replied in greeting, finally regaining the use of his voice. He glanced at Stiles who was still stood awkwardly next to the bed, he wanted to say that he’d had the best night’s sleep, that falling asleep with the scent of Stiles in his nose and the sound of his heart beating steadily nearby had made sure that he slept peacefully, but how could he possibly say that? How could he risk saying that knowing that Stiles would only reject him and it would just make things awkward between them? They’d only just started to act like real friends, without Derek threatening physical violence at every possibility, he couldn’t ruin that by declaring his love for him, it would just make a mess of everything. “I should probably get back to the loft and check everyone is okay.” He said quickly, heading towards the window.

“You can use the door you know.” Stiles replied, moving towards his wardrobe to grab some clothes so he could go for a run. He was not freaking out about waking up and finding Derek in his bed, he was not thinking about how many things they could have done instead of sleeping, that wasn’t an option, would never be an option and pining over it would not make any difference. He would be cool about this.

“Where would be the fun in that?” Derek grinned as he jumped out of the window. Stiles was glad Derek had left so that he wouldn’t hear the way Stiles’ heartbeat jumped when Derek grinned, he was gorgeous, he should definitely smile more, except if he did that Stiles would not be able to hide his crush for any longer. Personally, he was impressed with how well he hid it until now, you’d think that being surrounded by werewolves who could smell all his emotions one of them would have figured it out by now. He’d thought at one point that they did all know about it and were just not mentioning it so they didn’t embarrass him, but, apparently, Stiles was better at hiding things than he thought, although the fact he’d hidden what had happened with Gerard had kind of proven that to him already.

It was a little surprising how quickly the week passed, Erica and Boyd were back at school, Cora had been enrolled, life seemed to be settling into some kind of rhythm. Danny had cornered Stiles at lunchtime on Monday, holding up the letter, a look of pure agitation on his face.

“Stiles, you need to tell someone about this. This guy sounds like a complete nut job. If he has your name it won’t be long until he finds out where you live.” Danny hissed.

“I’m aware of that.” Stiles whispered, looking around nervously for the pack.

“So, you’re going to tell somebody? Your dad or this Harry guy or someone, right?” Danny insisted.

“Yeah, yes, I promise, I’ll speak to Harry about it.” Stiles agreed, Danny looked as him skeptically but handed him back the letter and they headed into the cafeteria together.

Andy had called a couple of times in the week, just to have a chat and a catch up before Saturday, Stiles was a little nervous about having to take someone with him, he felt a little stupid about it really, but Andy agreed with his dad, said it was a good idea, especially after the last few incidents. Stiles felt a little better after that. Harry and Luke had come over after school a couple of times, the idea being that they were fixing his jeep, Stiles had it covered. By Wednesday it was drivable again and probably in better condition than it had been in years.

Erica and Boyd were a little over protective, never far from Stiles and when he was talking to anyone who wasn’t in the pack he could always see them getting agitated. Ethan and Aiden had stuck around, surprising all of them, they’d even given up their Alpha powers and become Omegas, Derek was seriously considering making them his betas but he was taking his time making the decision, he still wasn’t sure if he could trust them, because of that, when Ethan and Aiden offered to go with Stiles on Saturday Derek insisted on going too.

“Guys, I really don’t need three babysitters.” Stiles whined on Friday night, “It’s not something I haven’t done before. So, can you just chill out?”

“Your dad won’t let you go without an escort.” Peter replied.

“Yes, one person, not three! Look, I don’t need you there, the chances of something happening is like practically zero, but dad is insisting on it, so I’m taking one person, one. That’s it.” Stiles said firmly.

“I’ll come with you.” Isaac said and Stiles nodded.

“Good, glad we’ve got that sorted. Don’t pout.” He said, noticing the look of annoyance on Derek’s face. “Anyway, I’m going to Luke’s in the morning, want to meet me at the studio about one?” He said to Isaac who nodded in agreement. “Cool, well, I’ve got homework to do and stuff, so I’m going to go home.” He got up to leave, grabbing his bag and thinking about what spells he wanted to practice with Luke in the morning.

“Aren’t you worried?” Erica said as soon as Stiles had left.

“Worried about what?” Derek replied, he was worried, he wanted to be there, but Stiles had made it pretty obvious that he didn’t want any of them there and Derek didn’t want to push it any further. As long as Isaac was going to be there then Derek could relax a little bit, he wasn’t sure he trusted the twins with Stiles just yet.

“Worried about Stiles?” Erica asked, “I mean, he’s spending time with warlocks, who, from what Peter has said, could pretty much kill him without blinking an eye, how do we know he’s safe?”

“They care about him.” Scott said dismissively, “They’re not going to hurt Stiles and they’ll do their best to protect him too.”

“I’ll watch out for him.” Isaac said seriously, making sure to meet Derek’s, Erica’s and Boyd’s gaze, “I promise. I won’t let anything happen to him.”

Stiles managed to finish his homework and get a few hours’ sleep before his nightmares woke him, he went for a run for a little while before heading over to Luke’s. They did some spell work for a couple of hours, although by now Stiles was surpassing Luke and Harry in most spells, he was always keen to learn new magic. Isaac was waiting outside the studio when he got there, looking around nervously as if waiting for an attack.

“You can relax Isaac, nothing is going to happen.” Stiles said in greeting and Isaac grinned at him. They headed inside together, Stiles being greeted by some of the models that he’d spoken to during the summer months, it wasn’t as busy as it would be during the week which was good, the final photos being taken for the weekly magazine, Isaac hovering next to him always prepared to leap into action, Stiles couldn’t help but smirk a little bit. They headed over to the changing rooms where Harry and Andy were both waiting for him, Harry handing Stiles a change of clothes and pushing him towards the changing rooms.

“You’re one of Stiles’ friends, right? Isaac, isn’t it?” Andy asked.

“Yeah.” Isaac confirmed. “We’ve met before.”

“Oh right, you were there when I was talking to Stiles.”

“You mean when you asked him out? Or when you and Derek had words about those bruises?” Isaac said defensively, he was not going to like Andy, he was standing in the way of his Alpha’s happiness, he would not make it easy for him.

“I’m surprised Derek isn’t here actually.” Andy replied smoothly, the hint of a smirk on his lips, “I wouldn’t have thought he would let Stiles out of his sight.”

“He knows Stiles can take care of himself.” Isaac said, hoping he sounded confident.

“And yet you’re here?” Andy smirked.

“The Sheriff wants someone here with Stiles, he doesn’t want a repeat of Tim.” Harry said finally stepping in. “Now, you two behave or I’ll make you both leave while we do Stiles’ shoot.”

“Sorry Harry.” Andy apologized.

“Good.” Harry replied easily just as Stiles came out of the changing room. Isaac’s jaw dropped a little bit, okay, maybe a lot. Stiles was wearing a pair of dark jeans and boots with a plain white t-shirt that was covered in dark smudges, he looked hot. “Alright, since you’re shooting solo today we’re going to go a little more professional, let’s get you to styling.”

Stiles followed him a little unsure, he’d never had to go to styling before. He sat down in a chair and let Amanda puff up his hair a bit, then rub some smudges of dirt on his face and his hands before letting Harry take a look.

“Perfect, alright let’s get this shoot done.” Harry said, steering Stiles towards one of the sections that had been made to look like a mechanics workshop. “Okay, here,” He handed Stiles a glass bottle of coke, “Alright, lean back against that wall for me, perfect, okay, rest your foot against the wall, loosen the grip on the bottle a little bit, great,” Harry was clicking the camera furiously and Stiles made a point to ignore Isaac and Andy who were both hovering nearby. “Okay, take a drink for me.” Harry said, “Can you stretch up as you do? I just want a hint of skin.” Stiles complied, leaning his head back as he took a swig of coke, exposing his throat and a line of skin at the bottom of his t-shirt. “Fantastic Stiles, now relax, look at the camera, perfect.” Stiles continued following the instructions that Harry shouted out, losing himself in the shoot and forgetting that both Andy and Isaac were watching.

Isaac was feeling a bit awkward, it was bad enough that he could smell the arousal rolling off Andy as Stiles shot with Harry, but when Stiles took a swig of the coke, exposing his throat, Isaac had felt all the blood rush to his cock. He’d always kind of noticed that Stiles was attractive, even more so over the past year as they’d gotten to know each other, but he’d never felt this aroused because of him before, it was new and more than a little surprising and he couldn’t help but feel guilty, that Derek would somehow know what had happened. He knew he couldn’t come again in the future, he’d have to come up with a good excuse.

Finally, an hour and a half later they were done, Stiles grinned easily when Harry called it a day and Andy went over to talk to him. Isaac tried not to eavesdrop but it was kind of hard not to when he was only a few meters away.

“You did a great job.” Andy smiled easily and Stiles returned the grin, Isaac would be more comfortable with it if Andy didn’t still stink of arousal.

“You going out with James later?” Stiles asked, rubbing the dirt from his cheeks.

“Yeah, I was going to ask if you wanted to come out?”

“Maybe not tonight. My dad is sort of a bit overprotective at the moment, maybe in a few weeks once he’s relaxed a bit?”

“Sure, I figure you’re worth the wait.” Andy grinned and Stiles blushed slightly glancing up and looking at Isaac who had obviously heard that and blushing an even brighter shade of red.

“Okay, cool, well, I’m pretty sure Isaac is bored out of his mind so I’ll go get changed and then we can go.” Stiles said quickly, already heading to the changing rooms to get his own clothes back on.

Isaac felt a lot better when they got outside and he could get rid of the scent of arousal from his nose, Stiles was shuffling a bit nervously and Isaac wasn’t sure what was going on with him.

“Did you run here?” Stiles asked moving towards his jeep.

“Yeah, I figured I could get a lift back with you if that’s alright?” Isaac replied.

“Yeah sure jump in.” Stiles said, getting in his jeep just as Harry came out holding a bag. “Oh, hang on one sec.”

“You’ve had a few more letters.” Harry grinned, handing the bag over to Stiles. Stiles wanted to mention to him about the guy who knew his name, but he didn’t want to bring it up in front of Isaac. He’d speak to him about it some other time. “You going to see Luke tomorrow? Or next Saturday?”

“Erm, not tomorrow, got some stuff to sort out at home, but I’ll be there next week, about eight? We could have a catch up there if that works?”

“Yeah sure, I’ll see you there, kid. Have fun.” Harry grinned, waving goodbye to Isaac as he disappeared back inside. Stiles shoved the bag of letters into the back of the jeep and then jumped back into his seat.

“Are you going to tell me what that is?” Isaac asked a few minutes later, “Harry said they were letters?”

“Erm, yeah,” Stiles muttered, “They’re, erm, fan mail?”

“Really!?” Isaac said in shock, turning to look at the bag again, there were quite a few letters in there. “People send you fan mail? Saying what?”

“Erm, lots of different things, mainly that they think I’m attractive.” Stiles said, clearly embarrassed.

“That’s pretty normal I guess, I mean, you are, so it’s not exactly surprising that people send you letters telling you that.” Isaac shrugged.

“Erm, thanks?” Stiles replied unsure, “Anyway, thanks for coming today, I know it wasn’t fun for you or anything, but it keeps my dad happy, so, you know, I appreciate it.”

“Don’t worry about it. Although, I’ve got to be honest, Andy was like super turned on and it kind of stank.” Isaac said honestly.

“Sorry.” Stiles muttered, looking more embarrassed by the second, “I forget you guys can smell things like that. Maybe I’ll ask Lydia or Allison to come next week?”

“I don’t think your dad would be happy about that, he wants a wolf with you, I mean, don’t get me wrong, Allison and Lydia can both totally handle themselves, but he wants a wolf with you in case there are any big issues.”

“I guess.” Stiles said uncomfortably, he couldn’t exactly tell Isaac that he would more than likely be able to take care of any issues.

“You were good.” Isaac blurted out when they arrived outside the loft and Stiles got out of the jeep looking at him in confusion, “I mean, you looked good, like, you know, I can understand why you’re in a porn mag.” He rambled, he wasn’t even sure where that was coming from, god, if Derek heard him he’d kill him.

“Isaac, do you think I’m hot?” Stiles teased grinning at him jokingly.

“Yeah, but I do have like really low standards, so don’t go getting excited or anything.” Isaac replied sarcastically as they got into the lift.

“Low standards!? Dude, you fancy Danny, Ethan and Cora, they’re like three of the hottest people around, that is not low standards my friend.” Stiles smirked happily.

“I never told you that.” Isaac said in shock.

“Oh, please, like it isn’t obvious? Son of a cop remember!?”

“That doesn’t automatically mean you know who I fancy.” Isaac argued jokingly.

“It means I know everything.” Stiles replied waggling his eyebrows dramatically and Isaac laughed loudly, unable to believe that Stiles could be such a loveable idiot.

They stepped out of the lift to see the whole pack waiting for them in the doorway, including Noah, Stiles and Isaac both stumbled to a stop.

“Hi?” Stiles said a little nervously, not sure why they were all staring at the two of them.

“How did it go?” Noah asked Isaac who blushed slightly.

“Everything was fine.” Isaac shrugged.

“So there were no issues?” Derek asked and Isaac shook his head quickly.

“Oh, hi guys, what are the chances of seeing you all here? Oh, gosh, sorry, did you forget I was standing here and have a mouth that can speak and answer questions and everything?” Stiles said sarcastically, not liking the fact that they were talking about him as if he wasn’t there.

“Well if I thought that you’d tell me if anything happened then I’d ask you.” Noah replied easily and Stiles frowned, feeling more than a little hurt by that.

“Okay, well, here’s me telling you, I’m going out with Andy tonight, no, actually, I’m going out with him right now. Screw you guys.” Stiles said, not bothering to wait for the lift and instead heading down the stairs.

“Stiles!” Noah called out after him but Stiles didn’t want to hear it, he was so fed up with being treated like a child, like he was so fragile and breakable, he’d survived Gerard and his goons, he’d survived the Alpha pack and a freaking soul eater, the least they could do was at least pretend that they didn’t think he was a complete liability.

He stormed out to his jeep, he knew he should stop running away every time he got pissed at something, but the other option would be to stay here where he’d probably only end up saying something he’d regret. It was better to leave and cool down and talk to them later.

He didn’t actually want to go see Andy, he did like him, but he wasn’t ready to date him, not yet, not when he was still hung up on Derek, he knew it wouldn’t be fair to go hang out with him just because he was mad at everyone else. Instead he drove quickly across to Luke’s, glad to find that both Luke and Harry were already there. Luke made him a hot chocolate, adding in a sleeping potion knowing that Stiles needed it even if he wouldn’t admit it, and they sat on the sofa and talked about lots of different things, it was nice, Stiles was warm and comfy and feeling better by the minute, it wasn’t exactly hard to fall asleep to the sound of Luke and Harry talking nearby.

Noah had started after Stiles but Isaac had stepped in front of him, blocking them from getting to Stiles. Derek had growled but Isaac had refused to back down.

“Can’t you see what you’re doing?” Isaac mumbled sounding scared and Derek straightened up, moving away from him, he’d never meant to scare Isaac. “Not to me. To Stiles. Can’t you see it?”

“What are you on about?” Noah snapped, he wanted to get to Stiles, talk to him, not let him leave.

“You’re pushing him away. He’s going to leave us and it’s because you’re all pushing him away. Why would he stay with us?” Isaac said sounding tearful, “We’re not great friends to him, we let him down, a lot, we barely listen to him when it’s not life or death and we hardly ever thank him when he saves our asses.”

“That doesn’t mean he’ll leave. We’ve been friends too long.” Scott supplied.

“You didn’t see him today, he was happy, when he was chatting to Harry or Andy or any of the other people there, he was happy, he was smiling and laughing and he didn’t smell of hurt. And then he spends a minute here and he reeks of it. We’re going to lose him unless we all change how we do things.”

There was silence, even Noah looking stunned at Isaac’s insight into his son after spending only a few hours with him.

“I don’t want us to lose him guys, so we’ve got to start putting in some effort.” Isaac said firmly, “He’s been through too much already, even my, my,” Isaac took a deep breath, “Even with what my dad put me through, it wasn’t as bad, and Stiles needs us. He needs us to be there and pay attention and know that he’s got us, that we’re always going to be there for him. Because if he doesn’t know that, well, he’s going to leave. Why the hell would he stick around? Would any of you?”

“But we’re werewolves, we’re tied into this, we can’t leave.” Scott argued.

“Meaning you’d leave if you weren’t a werewolf?” Isaac snapped.

“No.” Scott sighed, “But, I mean, Stiles doesn’t have to be involved with all this, maybe he’d be better off without us in his life.”

“No.” Erica shouted, “No. Maybe it’s selfish, Stiles might be better off without us, but would we be better off?”

“I’d still be in that vault. Or dead maybe.” Cora said.

“We’d still be with the Alpha pack.” Ethan muttered.

“I’d probably still be the kanima.” Jackson said.

“We would have died if Gerard hadn’t been distracted with Stiles.” Boyd input.

“I would have gotten myself killed.” Isaac smiled, thinking of the multiple times that Stiles had talked him out of doing something stupid when he was freshly turned.

“I would have killed Lydia, Derek and a good portion of the population.” Peter smirked.

“I’d be dead.” Lydia added.

“I would be too.” Allison agreed.

“I’d have died, one way or another, maybe from wolfsbane poisoning or drowning or fighting an insane Alpha.” Derek said, thinking of all the times that Stiles had saved him, had always come to help him, even when it put Stiles in great danger.

“You wouldn’t have known you were a werewolf.” Erica said to Scott, “Stiles stopped you from killing anyone that first night. He saved you too. Isaac is right, if we keep pushing him away he’ll leave.”

“I’m not trying to upset him.” Noah sighed, “It’s just, there’s so much that I didn’t know and now I do, every time he leaves my sight I’m terrified it’ll be the last time I see him alive.”

“He won’t leave you. He loves you.” Peter said seriously, “If you asked him to give all of this up, he would do, if it made you happy.”

“But he’d get into trouble one way or another, at least I know you guys are around to watch out for him.”

“We haven’t done a brilliant job of that so far.” Jackson muttered.

“Which means that you need to improve on it. And, I guess, I need to trust him a bit more, so I’ll work on talking with Stiles rather than at him and you guys look out for him and we can go from there.”

“I think we should throw a party.” Lydia piped up, “Like, a surprise party, for his birthday, I mean, I know he’s upset about it, so maybe, we plan a surprise party, invite a load of people and show Stiles how much he matters to us?”

“I think that’s a lovely idea Lydia.” Noah said, “But planning it as a surprise might be hard, keeping any secrets from Stiles is hard work.”

“Believe me he won’t know what hit him.” Lydia smirked already coming up with several ideas.

They all moved into the loft, sitting down and discussing possible ideas, Derek’s mind had drifted a little bit, he was thinking about what he could get Stiles as a present, something that would show him how much he meant to him, and then he started thinking about the party, Stiles would be happy, laughing and joking and dancing and maybe Derek could dance with him, maybe they’d dance for hours before Derek leaned in and kissed him and Stiles kissed him back, yeah that would be a pretty amazing night, although the chances of it happening were small, impossible almost.

It had taken him a few days to manage to purchase all the copies of the magazine that Stiles had been in, when they arrived the loft had been empty and he’d practically run up to his room and shut the door before sitting on his bed, he wasn’t sure why the hell he’d done this to himself, Stiles looked incredible, but he was always posing with Andy or with someone else and Derek couldn’t help the jealousy surging in his veins. He had pulled out the pictures of Stiles, throwing the rest of the magazines away and then studied them, it was easy to put them into some kind of order, Stiles’ hair had been quite short the first time he showed up, it was definitely long enough for Stiles to run his fingers through now, or, in some cases, for Andy to pull on slightly. He couldn’t help getting aroused looking at the pictures of Stiles, the way his eyes looked like they were staring right at him, the heat of his gaze making Derek’s cock throb, he hadn’t planned on doing it, one minute he’d been staring at the pictures, the next he’d had his hand down his trousers, stroking his aching cock.

It hadn’t taken him long to cum, his mind filled with thoughts of Stiles, of what he would do in that situation, of pressing himself against him, or marking him in the same way that Andy had, but he would make sure that everyone knew that Stiles was his. Afterwards he’d cleaned himself up and stashed the pictures in a box under his bed, he felt bad about it afterwards, sure that everyone would be able to tell what he’d been doing when they got home. It didn’t stop him doing it again the next time the loft was empty though.

Lydia planned events at length, when Derek got up to make everyone another drink he was kind of surprised to see it was dark outside, glancing at the clock and seeing it was coming up for eleven already. He’d barely sat back down when his phone began to ring and Derek began to panic when it was Stiles’ ringtone, what if he’d gone and met Andy and something awful had happened, what if Andy had left him in the middle of nowhere, or he’d never even got to Andy crashed his jeep again. He answered the phone before he could panic any more.

“Stiles? You okay?”

“Not Stiles. Luke. I assume the pack is with you?”

“Yeah, we’re all here, is Stiles with you? Is he okay?”

“He’s fine, he’s asleep.” Luke replied, “Put me on speaker.” Derek complied with his demand and the pack were all looking intrigued. “Is Noah there?”

“Yes I’m here.” Noah confirmed.

“Good.” Luke said firmly. “Let me make something perfectly clear to all of you, I am with Stiles, I’m offering protection to your pack because of Stiles, but I will always be with him, so if you don’t sort your shit out then believe me, I will not allow you to treat him like this and I will remove him from your pack, forcefully if necessary.”

“What…”

“Did I say I was finished!?” Luke snapped, “Harry and I are loyal to Stiles, not to you. If there ever comes a time for a choice, well, there’s no contest. Do you understand me?”

“Yes sir.” Derek said seriously.

“Is he okay?” Noah asked.

“He’s asleep, finally managed to get him to go to sleep by putting a sleeping potion in his hot chocolate. He was upset.”

“With us?” Erica said in a small voice.

“Yes. And no. He’s upset because he feels like you guys don’t think he’s capable of looking after himself, despite proving it time and time again.”

“That’s not true…” Scott began

“And yet you don’t think he’s capable of recognizing when he’s in danger? Have you thought that Stiles knows exactly what kind of danger he is in at times, but still risks it, for you? To protect you as best he can? Even if he isn’t a werewolf?”

“He shouldn’t have to, we should be the ones looking out for him, not the other way around.” Cora reasoned.

“Believe me, Stiles does not need you looking out for him, he needs you to start acting like friends who trust him.”

“We do.” Isaac said.

“Well start proving it to him then, because I’m not going to put up with it any longer. I’m not going to sit here and watch him try not to breakdown because he feels he’s not good enough for any of you. Sort it out, or I will.” Luke threatened.

“We will. We’ll do better.” Peter confirmed.

“Good. Now, is one of you going to come here and take him home? I’m pretty sure he’ll want to wake up in his own bed rather than on my sofa, no matter how comfortable it is.”

“I’ll come over now.” Noah said quickly, taking the address from Luke and moving towards the door.

“His jeep will be there.” Ethan said, “If you want I can take you and then you can bring the jeep back?”

“I think I’m a little old for motorcycles.” Noah teased and Ethan blushed slightly, “But thanks for the offer.”

“I’ll take you.” Derek said, getting to his feet, he was reeling, how could Stiles possibly think that he wasn’t good enough? He was the best of them. He was the one who’d pulled them all together and made them into a pack. He had to make sure Stiles knew how important he was, not just to him, but to all of them.

Noah was lost in his own thoughts, unable to think of anything other than Stiles, he’d driven his son away because he didn’t trust him, yes there was definite multiple reasons not to trust him, he’d lied to him for the past year, but Stiles had only done it to protect him, he’d had his father’s best interests at heart. Yes, maybe Noah had only his son’s best interests at heart, maybe he was insisting on treating Stiles like a child because he was terrified of something happening to him, because he was trying to protect him. Stiles had to realise that Noah was only trying to protect him, that it wasn’t that he didn’t trust Stiles, it was that he didn’t trust every other bastard in the world.

They drove in silence, both of them thinking about Stiles, thinking of all the mistakes they’d made over the past year. It didn’t take them long to get there, even if Derek was driving a little slower than the other day. Harry was standing outside waiting for them and nodded in greeting.

“Did he meet up with Andy then?” Noah asked as they headed inside and Harry shook his head.

“Nah, he came straight here from the loft, I only just beat him from the studio.”

Stiles was fast asleep on the sofa, a blanket covering him, Luke was stood against the kitchen counter observing them carefully.

“How long will the potion last?” Derek asked, a little worried that Stiles had drank a sleeping potion.

“A good eight hours, he needs it, he doesn’t sleep enough as it is, he’s completely out of it right now.” Luke said tensely.

“Okay, well we’ll take him home now.” Noah replied, pausing for a moment, “Thank you. I don’t think I’ve properly said that to you yet. So, thank you. Thanks for looking out for him, for fixing him up, for making sure he’s as safe as he can be.”

“Stiles looks out for everyone else but never himself, it’s about time somebody makes the choice to put him first.” Luke grumbled.

“We’ve let him down. I’ve let him down.” Noah said, “I know that. I didn’t know how much I’d let him down, but now I do, I promise you, I will do everything I can to protect him.”

“He doesn’t need your protection.” Harry snapped, “He needs your support, no matter what, you get that?”

“Yeah.” Noah sighed sadly, he did understand, he couldn’t protect Stiles, not from everything that was out there, but he could support him, he could always be there for him, listen to what he had to say, he would do that. He had to do that.

“We will.” Derek said firmly. “He’s pack, we’ll do everything we can to keep it that way.”

“Good. Because I meant what I said, if you let him down again I will take him from you.” Luke frowned.

“Stiles is ours. He’s staying with us. You will not take him away.” Derek growled.

“Be careful who you growl at Alpha.” Luke warned, sparks flitting at the end of his fingertips, the tension in the room palpable, “Stiles is loyal to you all, he wants to stay with you, there’s no doubt of that, but I won’t stand by and let him get hurt if you guys aren’t at least trying to help him. Do you understand me? I wouldn’t want to take him, I wouldn’t want to split you apart, but I won’t let him die for you.”

“We wouldn’t want him to.” Noah whispered, “The last thing any of us wants is for anything else to happen to him. He’s my son, of course I want him safe, but you’re right, he won’t leave the pack, so all I can do is have his back whenever he needs me.”

“Good.” Luke replied sternly, “Stick with that and I won’t have to step in.”

“Thanks for looking out for him.” Noah said, moving over to the sofa and stroking Stiles’ hair softly, he didn’t even stir. “I’ll take him home now.” Noah managed to get Stiles half sat up before glancing to Derek, “A little help would be nice?” He said and Derek moved forward hastily scooping Stiles up off the sofa and holding him in his arms, he was a little worried about how warm Stiles seemed but figured that being under the blanket would have effected that. Noah smiled at him gratefully and Derek felt even guiltier over the photos under his bed, sure that Noah knew exactly what Derek had thought about when he’d picked Stiles up.

Derek put Stiles in the jeep easily, then offered to follow them home so he could carry Stiles to bed, Noah nodded in agreement and then started the jeep and headed off. Harry and Luke were both stood outside watching and Derek approached them with caution, he needed them to like him, needed them with him, he needed them to know that he’d never put Stiles at risk again if he could help it.

“Thank you.” Derek said offering his hand out, Harry accepted it eventually, rolling his eyes at Luke who held his arms firmly across his chest. “I’m not the best at expressing myself, or communicating, or probably anything in general, and I’m not brilliant at controlling my anger, when my pack is threatened I can’t help but get defensive. But I want you to know that my pack is everything to me, Stiles is everything to me, so thank you, for helping my pack and for helping Stiles.”

Luke sighed heavily, finally extending his hand for Derek to shake, Derek smiled glad that they’d at least been able to see eye to eye for a moment before going to his car and following Noah home. Noah had only just pulled onto the drive when Derek got there, he moved to the house turning on the lights as Derek went to the jeep and picked Stiles up, carrying him into the house and up the stairs, Noah had already pulled back the covers and Derek placed him into the bed before pulling the covers over him.

Stiles snuggled down into the covers, almost burying himself under them and Derek couldn’t help the fond smile on his lips. Noah motioned for them to head downstairs and Derek followed him silently, heading into the kitchen as Noah poured him a glass of whiskey and another for himself, downing it quickly. Derek settled into one of the seats, musing over the glass in front of him, he could still hear the steady heartbeat of Stiles upstairs and he relaxed.

“I guess I should be happy he wasn’t out with Andy.” Noah offered and Derek looked up to meet his eyes, “I don’t like him.”

“Stiles does.” Derek muttered. “I want him to be happy, if Stiles likes him then we have to put up with him.”

“I keep thinking at some point that I’ll finally understand you, and then you go and surprise me again.” Noah smirked.

“What?” Derek questioned.

“Well, at first I thought you and your uncle were some kind of perverts, then I got to know you better and I thought you were a good match for Stiles, then I find out you’re a werewolf and the last thing I want is you anywhere near him.” Noah paused and Derek clenched his fists, not wanting to hear what Noah said next, no doubt it would be awful. “But the past week, it’s been plenty obvious to me how much he means to you, you care about him, and it doesn’t matter that you’re a werewolf, you’re a good man Derek. You’ve made mistakes in the past, we all have, but you are a good man with a good heart and that’s what matters.”

Derek stared at Noah stunned, of all the things he’d expected him to say it hadn’t been that.

“Thank you sir.” He said humbly.

“I’ve got the day off tomorrow, I was thinking it would be nice to spend some time with Stiles, you know, make popcorn, watch movies, that kind of thing. Maybe you could all come over? If you’ve no other plans?”

“That would be great.” Derek grinned, “I’ll invite everyone and if they are free I’m sure they’d love to too.”

“Good. Now, get off home, I’m sure you need some sleep, I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Night sir.” Derek said, getting to his feet and heading to the door glad that the drink had no effect on him, still he couldn’t help the wide grin on his face as he headed back to his car, Noah liked him, thought he was a good guy. If he thought that Stiles would consider it without rejecting him outright and making it awkward for everyone then he’d give it a go, but that would never happen and Derek would end up making it uncomfortable between them, he couldn’t do it.

Chapter Text

Stiles woke up slowly, he wasn’t sure the last time that he’d slept so well, he would have to thank Luke for the potion even if he hadn’t asked for it. He stretched out across the bed, sprawling lazily as he blinked himself awake, he wasn’t sure how he got home last night, the last thing he remembered was listening to Harry and Luke talking.

He hadn’t felt this relaxed in a long time, he took his time getting up, pulling on a pair of joggers and heading down the stairs so he could go for a run. He was kind of surprised that his dad was already sat at the kitchen table looking a little tired but generally okay, he glanced at the clock, it was already eleven, no wonder his dad was up, he must have been really out of it. He was even more surprised to find all of the pack sprawled out in the living room looking incredibly comfortable and the television on in the background.

“Morning, how are you doing?” Noah asked and Stiles looked around in surprise.

“Fine. What’s going on?” Stiles asked grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge.

“Were you planning on going out? I was thinking we could spend the day together? Maybe watch some films? I’ll make popcorn?”

“I was just going to go for a run.” Stiles said, “But that sounds good, I’ll only be an hour or so if that’s alright?”

“Yeah, sure.” Noah replied.

“I’ll come with you.” Scott shouted up, jumping up from the sofa.

“Oh, yeah, me too. I need a good run.” Erica grinned.

“Why not make it an outing?” Isaac smiled.

“Erm,” Stiles paused feeling a little overwhelmed.

“Come on buddy, it’ll be fun, I can see if you’ve improved or not.” Scott laughed.

“I, erm, I was just going to go by myself? Like, I’m sure you’ll all be bored out of your minds at how slow I am, so, you know, was just going to go for a run by myself?”

“No, you’ll be fine, we’ll slow down and keep pace with you. It’ll be good practice.” Peter smirked.

“Honestly, I’ll be fine.”

“Don’t you want the company?” Scott said looking disappointed.

“I’m, erm,” Stiles started.

“Guys, give him a break.” Allison said jumping to her feet. “Can’t you see you’re harassing him?”

“Oh.” Scott said looking stunned, “Well, just, we didn’t want you to be alone.”

“I’m fine by myself.” Stiles replied, trying not to get angry, they weren’t trying to upset him, he knew that, but still, he could manage a run around town without anything drastic happening.

“But, you shouldn’t really be alone, I mean, it’s not really safe…” Scott trailed off.

“Nothing is trying to kill you right now, I’m pretty sure it’s the safest it’s ever going to be.” Stiles said trying to contain his anger but failing.

“Alright, enough.” Allison shouted moving towards Stiles, grabbing him by the arm and going to the door, “Stiles and I are going out for a run, no, we don’t need any company, yes, we will be fine and under no circumstances do we need any chaperones, now, excuse us.” She said dramatically slamming the door shut behind her and grinning at Stiles. “So, where do you want to go?”

“I don’t usually have a destination in mind.” Stiles replied honestly.

“Good, let’s go.” Allison took off running and Stiles laughed and chased after her, catching up within a minute.

They ran through town and out the other side, running parallel to the preserve for a mile or so, both of them covered in a slight sheen of sweat by now, Allison panting slightly as she kept up with Stiles. He decided to take it easy on her and slowed down, she glanced at him knowing exactly what he was doing.

“Thanks.” She muttered and Stiles grinned.

“Don’t worry about it. Thanks for coming out with me, sometimes they can be a bit…”

“Overprotective?” Allison surmised and Stiles nodded. “You know it’s only because they care?”

“I know.” Stiles sighed, running in silence for a few minutes, “I don’t mean to get so annoyed at them, it’s just, I can’t live my entire life in fear and I can’t run around with a bodyguard every minute of the day.”

“You think they’re babying you?” She queried.

“Yes.” Stiles shouted in exasperation and Allison laughed.

“And you don’t think you need it.” She confirmed.

“No, I don’t.” He said seriously. “I know they’re only looking out for me but I don’t need it. I can handle myself. I knew what the most likely outcome was going to be when I signed up for this, but I’m not going to abandon them and I’m not going to have someone watching me twenty-four hours a day, I don’t need it.”

“They’re worried something else might happen, like what happened with,” Allison took an unsteady breath and couldn’t meet his eyes, “with Gerard.” She gritted her teeth, increasing her pace slightly.

“I know.” He sighed sadly, keeping pace with her easily, “But that’s not their fault, or yours, you know that, right? I don’t blame you, it’s not anyone’s fault other than his, and they can’t shove me in a bubble and protect me from every bad thing in the world. It seems to have a habit of finding me anyway.”

“You do seem to have had a run of bad luck.” Allison smirked, “I mean, like how I’m going to beat you back to the house.” She laughed, effectively ending their solemn talk and sprinting ahead of him.

“Cheater!” Stiles laughed, pushing to catch up with her. They’d already done about five miles, both of them panting more than a little bit but both grinning, laughing and joking with each other with whatever air they had to spare, Stiles felt relaxed again, like the words with the pack had never happened, that he was just enjoying a run with a friend and that there was nothing supernatural about it.

They weren’t far from home now, only a few streets away, Stiles was a step ahead of Allison, ready to sprint as soon as they rounded the corner, knowing it would catch Allison by surprise and he could totally beat her back to the house, he sped up as they got to the corner, Allison shouting after him in indignation, he rounded the corner and smacked straight into someone nearly falling on his ass.

He looked up seeing a broad chested man standing in his path, he reeled backwards, shoving Allison behind him, his arms stopping her from going forwards, protecting her as every muscle in his body tensed and his magic roared to the surface. He knew that face, the last time he’d seen him had been that night, the night with… Gerard chose that moment to step out from behind the giant, Stiles was sure his name had been Ben if he remembered correctly.

He felt Allison surge forwards angrily in an attempt to get to Gerard, Stiles held her behind him, there was no chance anyone was getting near her.

“You son of a bitch!” Allison shouted.

“Come now Allison is that any way to talk to your grandfather?” Gerard smirked, “Mr. Stilinski, I’ve got to be honest, I was very impressed when I found out you’d survived our time together.” He grinned and Stiles couldn’t move, could barely breathe.

“You’re no relation to me, you’re scum, you’re sick and twisted and I despise you.” Allison screamed. Stiles kind of wished there were more people around, that someone would notice them, instead the street was empty.

Allison could feel the rigidness of Stiles’ body in front of hers, the tension that was obvious to all of them, she wasn’t sure what she could do to help, she had never felt angrier in her life, she wanted to kill Gerard, wanted to watch him die in agony, but Stiles wouldn’t let her move, holding her in place, protecting her from Gerard and the man with him, not moving an inch. It had started as an overcast day, hinting that autumn was here and winter was only around the corner, but the sky had darkened rapidly, the clouds thickening and rolling above them, Allison wasn’t exactly surprised to feel a raindrop hit her cheek, followed by another a moment later and then the whole sky seeming to empty at once, rain coming down so thick and fast that she could barely see Gerard, but she could clearly see the gun that was pointing at both of them.

“I want to know about the warlock.” Gerard sniffed, “I know he’s protecting your pack and if you don’t tell me what you know then I’ll make sure he has one less person to protect.”

“You touch us and you’ll die.” Allison snarled.

“But I’ve done it before,” Gerard smirked, “Haven’t I, Stiles? There was a lot of touching before wasn’t there? I had fun, and yet, oddly enough I’m still breathing.” He laughed.

Stiles was silent, he couldn’t speak, couldn’t move, all he could think about was protecting Allison, keeping Gerard away from her, he had to protect her. His magic was sparking out of control, he hadn’t meant to make it rain but at least he hadn’t struck Gerard with lightning yet, although he didn’t know how much longer he’d be able to keep any control of his magic, at the moment it was a struggle just to maintain his breathing.

He knew it was stupid, that it didn’t make any sense, that he was so much more powerful now than he had been that night, but all he could see was being chained up in that basement, the whip striking his back and doing his best not to scream in agony, all he could think about was Gerard punching him every time that he refused to tell him anything about the pack, Ben smirking at him evilly, he was terrified, his heart hammering loudly in his ears.

“You won’t be for long.” Allison snapped, “If you lay a finger on either of us then believe me you’ll wish you were dead.”

“Your warlock will come after me I assume?” Gerard grinned.

“They’ll make you beg for death.” Allison said menacingly.

“They?” Gerard said in surprise and Allison felt Stiles’ grip tighten on her arms, “As in more than one? Well that does surprise me, even more than finding out Stiles was still alive.” Gerard grinned, Allison couldn’t believe she’d let that slip, she hadn’t meant to, she’d just being trying to threaten him, scare him, make sure that he left them alone, left Stiles alone.

“No, of course not.” Allison grumbled, “It’s an expression, there’s not two, it’s just my wording.”

“You always were a poor liar.” Gerard said gleefully, “Even more so now I can hear your heartbeat.” He smirked, then turned to look at Stiles, “Yours is sounding a little fast Stiles, tell me, do you still dream about that night? Because I know Ben here thinks about it a lot, he’s seen your pictures you know, he gets very excited about that scar of yours, the one he gave you. He really enjoys your pictures.” Gerard smirked while Ben grinned at Stiles lecherously, Allison felt more than a little disgusted and Stiles, if it was possible, was even more rigid and unmoving.

“I think we should take him, I can play with him some more, and bring the warlock to us.” Ben said loudly.

“This warlock is protecting the pack, not some pathetic, broken human on the outskirts. There’s no point in taking either of them until we have more information.” Gerard said lowering the gun, swiping some of the rain from his eyes.

“But I want to play…” Ben whined.

“And you’ll get your chance, but not now. Getting the information is important, we need to go back to the rest of them, tell them about the fact there are two warlocks.” Gerard said, smiling at Allison.

“Fine.” Ben grumbled before studying Stiles for a moment, “We’re not done yet, I’m going to have a lot of fun with you before this is all over.”

“You lay a finger on him and I’ll cut you into pieces.” Allison shouted, trying to push past Stiles to get at Ben, to get at Gerard.

“We’ll see you soon Allison.” Gerard smirked, backing away from them and pulling Ben with him, “Stiles.” He grinned.

Stiles couldn’t breathe, his whole body was screaming at him to run, his stomach rolling, his vision was blurring but at least the rain was starting to slow as Gerard and Ben rounded the corner and vanished from view.

“Stiles?” Allison said nervously, Stiles hadn’t moved, his hands still gripping her arms tightly and holding her in place, his breathing sounded harsh and Allison was worried. “Stiles? Are you okay?”

Stiles could hear Allison’s voice but it sounded like it was coming from far away, he released the grip on her arms, suddenly realising how tight he had held her in place, she’d probably have bruises and that was his fault. He pulled her forwards, keeping a slightly lighter grip on her wrist and stumbled towards his house, he had to get her there, she’d be safe behind the wards, they’d all be safe behind the wards, they just had to get there.

“Stiles, it’s okay, they’ve gone, it’s okay.” Allison was muttering, trying to reassure him but he knew they could be back at any second, that they could be following them right now, the house was in sight now, they only had to make it a few hundred meters, then they’d be safe. Stiles dragged Allison up the garden, shoving her in front of him and through the door before slamming it behind him and resting his forehead against it, they were safe, the wards were in place, they were safe.

Noah heard the front door open from his seat on the sofa next to Isaac, he’d heard the rain start about ten minutes ago and knew Stiles and Allison would be back soon.

“Hey, how was your ru…” He started, trailing off when he saw just how terrified Allison looked, when he saw Stiles leaning against the door, his chest heaving as he struggled to control his breathing, “Stiles!” Noah said jumping to his feet and rushing towards him, “What’s wrong? You okay? What’s going on?”

Both Allison and Stiles were soaked to the skin but it was more than that, Stiles was sweating and pale, he looked awful, Noah wasn’t sure what the hell had happened but he needed to know, right now. He turned to look at Allison, Scott was at her side, a hand pressed to her cheek, she was pressing against him, looking on the verge of tears, hugging him tightly. Derek was stood near to Stiles, obviously wanting to comfort him in whatever way he could but not knowing how, not knowing what was wrong, but, judging from the look of pure panic on his face, Noah knew it must be pretty serious.

Derek smelled the terror rolling of Stiles the moment they stepped through the door, could hear the racing of his heart, it was enough to fill Derek with fear, he’d been on his feet before Noah had even started to speak, but what could he do? He didn’t know how to help or what he could do or even, what was wrong. He had to know.

“What happened?” Scott asked and Stiles turned, paling even more if possible, before he dashed out of the room and into the bathroom, Derek could hear him throwing up, he needed to know what the hell was going on.

“Gerard.” Allison whispered, shivering in shock, tears forming in her eyes.

“Gerard?” Noah asked angrily.

“We were out running, he was, he was there.” Allison muttered.

“Did he hurt you? Are you okay?” Scott asked anxiously.

“I’m fine.” Allison reassured him.

“Stay here.” Derek growled, his eyes flashing red as he turned towards the door. “Keep Stiles safe.”

“We’re coming with you.” Isaac and Jackson shouted.

“Alright, everyone just take a breath.” Lydia said calmly. “We don’t know where he went or what he wanted, if we go out there now we could be running straight into a trap, besides, the rain will have washed his scent away. Allison, tell us what happened.”

“There’s no time for that, he’s getting away!” Erica snarled.

“And if he kidnaps you again!?” Lydia snapped, “What then? If he kidnaps you and tortures you again? You think you can survive that again? You think any of us can? Stiles can?”

There was silence, all of them thinking of what would happen if Gerard captured any of them.

“I’m going to check on Stiles.” Noah whispered heading to the bathroom and knocking quietly on the door. He went in a moment later, Stiles was sat on the floor, knees pulled up to his chest, his eyes unfocused, his mind elsewhere, Noah didn’t even want to think where that was. “Hey kid.” Noah said, sitting next to him, not missing the fact that his clothes were soaked and Stiles was shivering, he was in shock, Noah needed to help him, he got up and started running the shower, the first thing they needed was to make sure Stiles was warm and dry. “Come on Stiles, get up for me, we’ll get you in the shower, you need to warm up.” He went to reach for Stiles who flinched away from him, shuffling more towards the corner in an effort to protect himself.

Noah tried not to cry at the sight in front of him. Stiles had his head resting on his knees, evidently trying to keep his breathing under control as he tried not to fall apart. Noah would tear Gerard apart for this, he would make sure the man never breathed again.

“Do you need help?” Boyd whispered appearing in the doorway and looking at Noah steadily.

“He won’t let me near him.” Noah replied, his voice cracking slightly. Boyd moved slowly, crouching down in front of Stiles and taking several slow breaths, looking like he hated what he was about to do.

“Stiles, we need your help.” Boyd muttered, Stiles startled, pulling his head from his knees and staring at Boyd as if only just realising he was there. “We need your help Stiles, you have to help us, we’re in danger, in trouble, if you don’t help us we’ll get hurt.”

“How?” Stiles whispered, his voice cracking and Noah relaxed slightly, Stiles might sound awful but at least he was talking, it didn’t mean he agreed with what Boyd had done, what he had said, but Stiles was making eye contact for the first time since he’d entered the house.

“Nice to see you’re still alive in there.” Boyd smiled gently and Stiles nodded, a frown on his face. “Okay Stiles, you’re in shock, that’s normal, but we need you to feel better, which means a shower, getting warm, your dad is going to bring you some dry clothes and then we can go back downstairs and stop everyone else from doing something stupid.”

“They can’t go after him.” Stiles said through chattering teeth. “You have to make sure they don’t go after him.”

“We will.” Boyd said calmly, reaching out a hand to help Stiles to his feet, Stiles refused, getting to his feet by himself, if a little unsteadily, “Don’t worry, nobody is leaving, nobody is going anywhere. But we need you to feel better. So, clothes off.”

Stiles flinched backwards, hitting the wall behind him and Boyd held his hands up in surrender, not meaning to frighten Stiles. Noah looked just as confused by the sudden reaction and that at least made Boyd feel a little better, that he hadn’t done anything to upset Stiles.

“Stiles, it’s okay, we’re just trying to help you feel better.” Noah muttered, Stiles glanced across at him, looking terrified for a moment before nodding resolutely.

“I know that.” Stiles whispered.

“Good, okay, so you need to get in the shower.” Noah repeated, Stiles was leaning on the wall, looking like all he wanted to do was go to sleep, Noah took a step towards him and Stiles straightened slightly, moving away from him.

“Just, I can do it, just, don’t touch me.” He confessed and Noah struggled to contain his anger at those words, what the hell had that bastard done to his son? Why was Stiles afraid of people touching him? Of his own father trying to help him?

Stiles pulled at the hem of his t-shirt and then sighed, he didn’t feel like he had the strength to get it over his head, he was exhausted, it might be easier just to sit back down and go to sleep, his legs felt like jelly, barely able to hold him up, it would just make sense to sit back down, go to sleep, rest.

“Stiles, kid, you need help, alright, so let me help you, please?” Noah pleaded, he could see Stiles fighting to keep himself upright, Noah was so proud that Stiles could be so stubborn, that he had managed to survive by himself, but right now, Stiles needed help and Noah needed to help him.

Stiles nodded, his jaw clenched tightly as Noah approached.

“Tell me how to help? How do I make this easier for you?” Noah whispered, hating that Stiles looked on the verge of tears.

“Tell me what you’re doing?” Stiles whispered, so quietly that Noah almost missed it.

“Okay, I can do that, so, first things first, you’re soaking wet and you’re in shock, so we need to take your clothes off and get you warm. I’m going to take your shirt off, so, just stay still, okay?” Noah began and Stiles nodded firmly, Noah counted it as a win when Stiles didn’t flinch when he touched him. Stiles’ skin felt like ice under his fingertips, they needed to get him warm and they needed to do it now.

Stiles shivered as the wet t-shirt slid over his skin, he was freezing and he was so tired, he just needed to sleep, he’d feel better once he slept. Noah made sure he didn’t look at the scar on Stiles’ stomach, he knew if he saw that right now there was nothing that would stop him chasing after Gerard and shooting him between the eyes. Stiles needed him, he needed to be here for him.

“Erm, I guess, trousers next.” Noah muttered, Stiles was shivering violently, Boyd moved closer when it looked like Stiles was about to fall over. “You’ve remembered to put your boxers on, right?” Noah tried to joke and Stiles gave him a small half smile, all that he could manage right now. “Good to know.” Noah smirked, “I’m going to pull your trousers down okay and Boyd is going to stop you from falling over, that sounds like a good plan, don’t want you hitting your head or anything, any more hits to your head and you’ll probably end up with brain damage.”

“Just do it.” Stiles mumbled, his whole body trembling. Noah pulled his joggers down quickly, bending down and lifting his foot up so he could pull the trousers off, seeing Boyd grab his arm to keep him upright when Stiles nearly fell.

“Okay, shower, you’ll feel better once you’ve had a shower.” Noah reassured him, steering him towards the shower and stepping inside with him. He didn’t care that the water soaked him, all that mattered was getting Stiles warm, Stiles’ legs gave out as soon as they got in the shower and Noah sunk to the floor with him, an arm wrapped around his shoulders and glancing up at Boyd who looked worried. “Go get us some dry clothes, alright?” Boyd nodded and disappeared from view.

“Not long now.” Noah said, rubbing Stiles’ shoulder gently, “You’ll be warmer soon and then you’ll feel better.”

That sat in silence for a few minutes, Stiles’ shivers slowing down, realization starting to settle in and tears streaming down his cheeks, blending in with the water.

“I froze.” Stiles whispered and Noah pulled him closer, holding him tightly, glad the water hid his own tears. “I didn’t do anything. I froze.”

“It’s okay Stiles, it’s okay.” Noah tried to comfort him.

“They could have hurt Allison and I didn’t do anything.” He sobbed.

“Stiles, listen to me, you’re okay, Allison is okay, that’s all that matters. That’s all I care about. You’re safe Stiles.” Noah said, Stiles resting his head against his dad’s shoulder and closing his eyes. “You’re safe, you’re safe.” Noah repeated, rubbing his hand along Stiles’ back, feeling some of the scars on his back and trying not to think about how he got them.

Derek hated that he couldn’t do anything, his pack could be in danger, Stiles could be in danger, he could feel the agony start in his stomach, knowing it meant a shift was coming, that his wolf needed to be in control right now, that it needed to protect his pack. It came easily this time, now that Derek knew what it meant he gave into it without a second thought, he would not let Gerard get anywhere near them.

Lydia rolled her eyes, standing in front of the door so that he couldn’t go anywhere, Derek growled at her but Lydia just sighed.

“We’ve already discussed this; we’re not going anywhere until we know what happened. Scott, go get Allison some dry clothes, I’m sure Stiles won’t mind.”

Scott and Allison went upstairs and Derek was left listening to Boyd talking to Stiles in the bathroom, telling him that they needed his help and finally hearing Stiles speak. Derek didn’t like the way Stiles sounded so wrecked, he wanted to go up there and help but what could he do? Stiles didn’t need him right now, he needed his dad.

Derek couldn’t help the overwhelming rage he felt when Stiles said he didn’t want to be touched, he couldn’t stand here and do nothing, not when Gerard was still out there, he needed to do something. He moved towards the door and Lydia sighed again.

“I’ve already told you Derek, you’re not going anywhere. Wait until Stiles comes back down, until Allison is back and then we find out what happened and we go from there.” She said standing in front of the door. Derek paced from one end of the house to the other, listening intently for any sound of movement outside, he had to protect them, had to protect all of them.

Allison and Scott came back into the living room five minutes later, all of them waiting anxiously to hear what had happened.

“There’s no point going through it now, Noah will want to hear too, and Stiles can probably tell you more than I can.” Allison said, sitting on the sofa and leaning against Scott.

“How’s he doing?” Lydia asked.

“Not well.” Peter supplied, “But he’s in the shower, Noah’s in there with him. He’ll be fine. He’s always fine.”

“Boyd’s getting them some dry clothes, Noah is looking after him.” Jackson informed her.

“How are you feeling?” Cora asked Allison who shrugged.

“I’m fine, just annoyed, angry, he was right there, if I’d had any kind of weapon I would have killed him.”

“Stiles says he froze?” Ethan asked.

“I’ve never seen him like that,” Allison whispered, “He wouldn’t move, wouldn’t let me get near them, or them get anywhere near me.”

“He does that kind of thing.” Erica replied.

Boyd left them alone in the bathroom after putting the dry clothes by the sink, it was obvious that Stiles needed some time to sort his head out right now. He headed back downstairs finding Derek waiting at the bottom, he thought it was pretty awesome that their Alpha could turn into an actual wolf, maybe someday Derek would teach them how to do it.

Stiles managed to get himself dressed with only a little help from his dad, but now that he was dry and warming up he couldn’t help feeling even more tired, all he really wanted to do was go to sleep, he knew that was shock, he knew he needed to have a sugary drink and he’d probably feel a lot better.

They headed downstairs together, Noah supporting him silently, Stiles wasn’t exactly surprised to find the pack all still there and waiting, although Derek being a wolf was a bit of a surprise. Noah went into the kitchen and grabbed Stiles a bottle of pop, opening it and passing it to him.

“Drink up.” Noah said and Stiles smiled at him gratefully.

“We should get out of here.” Scott said, “If Gerard was nearby he would have seen us in here, we should leave, go to the loft or something, where it’s safer?”

“Good idea.” Noah replied, “We’re ready to go.”

“No. It’s safer here.” Stiles muttered.

“No. We should get out of here, if he comes back, with friends, we need to leave.” Allison said.

“No. There’s wards on the house, nobody is coming in here without an invitation.”

“Wards!?” Erica asked.

“Magic to keep out people who aren’t welcome.” He explained wearily, sitting down on the sofa and fighting the urge to close his eyes.

“When did we get wards?” Noah said in shock.

“I needed them.” He muttered, “I spoke to Luke and Harry about it, the house is protected, it’s safe. Nobody can come in without an express invitation from dad or from me.”

“That’s powerful magic.” Peter supplied and Stiles shrugged. “I wouldn’t have thought a warlock could do that?”

“No, but two of them evidently can.” Stiles dismissed. Derek climbed on the sofa next to Stiles, sniffing him slightly, Stiles looking at him in confusion for a moment before leaning forwards to take another gulp of the drink.

“So what happened?” Isaac asked and Stiles tensed, Derek obviously noticed because he moved forwards, leaning against Stiles’ side, Stiles wasn’t going to deny it felt kind of nice, a solid form of comfort and heat. He pulled his knees up onto the sofa, trying to make himself smaller, he’d frozen, he’d been unable to act, too scared to do anything. He let them down.

“If Stiles hadn’t been there I would have attacked them.” Allison muttered.

“I need to call Luke.” Stiles said suddenly, jumping up and grabbing his phone from the side before going back to the sofa and sitting down next to Derek again, Derek kind of felt a little smug about that, especially when Stiles petted his side absentmindedly as he scrolled through his phone.

“Why? What’s up?” Scott asked.

“I let slip.” Allison said, “They wanted to know about the warlock, they threatened us, I told them that if they laid a finger on either of us they’d pay. Gerard said that he knew the warlock would come after him. I told him that ‘they’d make you wish you were dead.’ I said they, not he, and Gerard picked up on it instantly. He knows there is more than one warlock out there. I’m so sorry Stiles. I didn’t mean to say that.”

“I know you didn’t. I need to tell them.” Stiles mumbled, pulling up Luke’s number and calling him, glad when he answered only a moment later.

“Stiles!” Luke said happily, “What can I do for you this fine morning?”

“Gerard was here.” Stiles said without preamble, “He knows there’s two warlocks.”

“Are you okay? Did he hurt you?”

“I’m fine.” Stiles replied, “But he knows, he knows there’s two of you. You guys need to leave, go into hiding or something, leave the country but just get the hell out of here, you’re in danger.”

“We’ve faced down worse threats than a half turned old man Stiles, we’re not going anywhere, we wouldn’t leave you.”

“It’s my fault you’re in this mess.” Stiles muttered.

“You honestly think anyone would believe one warlock took down an entire werewolf pack by themselves? They’d have figured out there were two of us, now they just know sooner than we anticipated.”

“I’m sorry.” Stiles whispered, he never should have taken out that pack, he should have let them kill him or killed them all, not let them leave, he should have never said he was a warlock, this was his mess, he had to fix it.

“It’s not your fault Stiles. I don’t blame you. We need to make a plan. The wards are holding? You’re safe there?”

“Yeah, they’re fine.” Stiles replied quietly.

“Good, stay there, we’ll try and track him down.”

“No. Don’t. He said he was going back to the others, we don’t know how many there are, we need to make a plan.”

“So long as you don’t do anything stupid in the meantime?”

“Me? Stupid? I don’t know what you mean.” Stiles said, cracking a smile.

“You know exactly what I mean. No going off by yourself, no wandering off into the preserve or going out for a run. Until we have a plan nobody goes anywhere alone.” Luke ordered and Derek nodded from next to him.

“Apparently, Derek agrees.” Stiles mumbled.

“Not just you.” Peter supplied, “This goes for everyone. Nobody goes anywhere alone until we have a plan.”

Stiles already had a plan, he was going to kill Gerard, kill Ben, kill whoever they were with, he would kill them all. He wouldn’t let them get near Luke or Harry or his pack, they were his to protect, although Gerard’s words were still echoing in his brain, why would any of them care about the pathetic, broken human who wasn’t even pack? To begin with it was obvious he wasn’t part of the pack, but at some point, he’d started to believe it, started to think that they were his pack, that he was part of it all, but with Gerard’s words that belief started to crumble.

“Stiles, if you need us we can come over.” Luke said.

“No. If they’re watching the house they’ll see you. Just, stay safe, okay?”

“You too kid. I’ll be in touch soon.” Luke said before disconnecting the call.

“You still haven’t said what happened?” Lydia asked and Stiles sighed.

“Nothing major. Gerard was there with Ben. They threatened us, asked about the warlock, and when they found out there were two they left, wanted to get back to the others and tell them.” Stiles said.

“Nothing major?” Erica said incredulously, “Somehow I find that hard to believe. Allison, why don’t you tell us what really happened?”

“Who’s Ben?” Isaac asked.

“He was one of the men there, that night.” Boyd muttered.

“One of the ones that tortured you?” Noah asked and Stiles nodded not speaking, not wanting to talk about it.

“They were there when we went around the corner, Stiles stayed in front of me, made sure they couldn’t get to me. Gerard wanted to know about the warlock, I told him that if he touched us he’d die. He said,” She paused looking at Stiles, biting her lip a little nervously, and looking at Stiles guiltily, “He said that there had been a lot of touching that night and he was still breathing.”

“What the hell does that mean?” Jackson asked angrily.

“He also said that Ben got a lot of enjoyment from Stiles’ pictures, that he liked seeing the scar he’d made.” Allison whispered, Stiles paled slightly and Noah went red with rage.

“This Ben gave you that scar?” Peter hissed, Stiles was a little touched that Peter sounded so angry on his behalf, it showed how much things had changed recently.

“He gave me a few.” Stiles muttered, “Gerard said he’d been trained in torture interrogation, that he’d be able to make me hurt in ways I’d never thought possible. When the whipping didn’t work, he cut me, and then electrocuted me, burned me and when none of it worked Gerard suggested the drug and, well you know the rest.”

“What did he mean that there was touching? That Ben likes your pictures? Did he touch you Stiles?” Noah asked outright.

“No.” Stiles lied and Derek snarled from next to him. Stiles leaned back on the sofa, pulling his knees closer, “I mean, yes, he did, you know, skin on skin contact when he was punching me.”

“You’re still lying.” Erica muttered. “Whatever happened in that kitchen, we won’t think less of you, it wasn’t your fault.”

“I don’t see how knowing everything helps you guys!” Stiles said getting agitated, “Isn’t it enough to know that they tortured me? Isn’t that enough? Haven’t you seen the scars? You know what I went through, how does telling you a play by play of everything help you guys? It’ll just make things worse.”

Derek pushed closer to Stiles, glad when he stroked the thick fur at the back of Derek’s neck and even scratched behind his ears a little, Derek was glad Stiles was so distracted that he didn’t mind stroking him, it felt good. What he didn’t like was the fact that something else had obviously happened and Stiles wasn’t telling them about it. He shifted his massive frame, resting his head and front paws across Stiles’ legs, there was no way he was getting out of this until he told them what had happened.

“Stiles, listen to me kid, right now I’m thinking that this Ben guy raped you, so believe me, you telling me what happened, what really happened, has to be better than what’s going on in my mind right now.” Noah said, moving in front of Stiles and sitting on the table opposite the sofa, “Please, son, tell me what happened.”

“He didn’t rape me.” Stiles confirmed, “You don’t need to worry about that, or think about that. That’s not what happened.”

“So what happened then?”

“There was some bad touching, a lot of it, but nothing else, I’m very happily still a virgin dad.” Stiles replied casually and Derek grumbled at that, he would kill this Ben and then Gerard, although he was more than a bit happy that Stiles was still a virgin.

“What do you mean ‘bad touching’? Was Gerard involved in this too?” Noah whispered, obviously trying to keep his anger under control, knowing it wouldn’t help the situation.

“It’s not a big deal dad.”

“Not a big deal!? Stiles, are you crazy? These grown men kidnapped you and tortured you and now I find out they molested you too!? Of course it’s a big deal.”

“It wasn’t like that, I mean, it wasn’t, they didn’t…” Stiles paused taking a deep breath, “Look, when they injected me with the drug, the dosage that caused pain, it made all your nerve endings feel like they were on fire, Ben, he, erm, he pulled my shorts down and grabbed my ass, the drug made it feel like he was ripping the skin and muscle off, it hurt, I screamed, he found it funny so he did it again.” Stiles shrugged, as if it wasn’t a big deal, that was so far from the truth that it wasn’t even funny, but he had to be okay, for them, he had to hold it together.

“And that’s all? He grabbed your ass a couple of times?” Noah asked.

“Yes.” Stiles said, Derek shook his head.

“Derek says you’re lying and since he’s closest to your heart right now I’m going to believe him. Tell me what else Stiles.”

“Fine.” Stiles grumbled, folding his arms and ignoring the look of annoyance he got from Derek, it wasn’t fair, how come he got to turn into a huge wolf and get to avoid talking to anybody and still managed to get Stiles into trouble for lying? “Stupid werewolves.” He muttered under his breath, knowing they’d all still hear him.

“I’m waiting.” Noah complained.

“What do you want me to say dad? You want me to tell you that I still had imprints of his nails on my ass for days afterwards? You want me to tell you that Gerard and Aaron held me down while Ben licked the blood off the cut on my stomach? That they pinned me down when they poured salt into the wounds on my back? That Ben got a fucking hard on from it? That he enjoyed threatening me with what he planned on doing? That if Gerard didn’t decide to go to the warehouse instead, that if he hadn’t decided to dump me at the Hale house, then no doubt Ben would have raped me? You wanted to know, there, now you know. Do you feel better?”

“Of course I don’t feel better Stiles.” Noah said a moment later, the rest of the room still in silence, “It makes me furious, it makes me feel like a failure because I let you down, I should have been there for you, I should have realised you needed me and I didn’t and you’ve been dealing with this by yourself and I should have known something was wrong. I’m so sorry Stiles.”

“You’ve nothing to be sorry for.” Stiles muttered quietly, ashamed of his earlier outburst, he’d never meant to say all of that. “I didn’t want you to worry.”

“I’m your dad, I’m going to worry about you, no matter what.” Noah said looking tearful.

“We’ll make them pay for this.” Peter snarled.

“We will.” Scott said reassuringly, “But, until then, we need to come up with a plan, a way to find out who else they are working with. Do you think Luke or Harry could use a tracking spell to find Gerard?”

“You have to know them pretty well to track them, or have something that’s really personal to them.” Stiles explained, “The first couple of times we tried tracking Erica and Boyd it failed, just taking us to places that they had been, big points in their lives and stuff. The only reason tracking Ethan and Aiden worked was because of the picture.”

“You seem to know an awful lot about tracking spells?” Peter asked.

“I’ve spent the summer hanging out with warlocks, oddly enough I’ve read a few of their books.”

“Reading their books doesn’t give you magic, does it?” Isaac asked and Stiles snorted.

“No. You either have magic or you don’t, you can’t create it just by using a spell.” Stiles replied, relaxing slightly, still scratching behind Derek’s ears, a little surprised that Derek hadn’t already ripped his throat out.

“I can look around the house, my dad might have something lying around that belongs to Gerard?” Allison suggested, getting up and moving towards the door, Derek growled.

“Oh, right, no going anywhere alone.” Lydia interpreted. “So, what? Are we going to make this the base of operations then? Or should we ask Luke or Harry to ward all of our houses?”

“No, the more wards there are the harder they are to maintain.” Stiles informed them, “So protecting one house means nice strong wards, protecting six houses would weaken the wards, make it easier for someone to break through.”

“So we make this house the base for now?” Cora asked.

“I think that would be the best idea.” Noah agreed, “I’d suggest you all go home, in pairs, grab whatever things are necessary and, for the foreseeable future, you all stay here, including your mum Scott, if she knows about you then she’s in danger too.”

“We can’t all sleep here.” Jackson whispered, “There’s not enough room, we’d be all over each other.”

“Don’t pretend you don’t enjoy the puppy piles.” Stiles teased and Jackson blushed, “Besides, dad’s right, for now, this is the safest place for us all to be. We make plans from here, we stick together.”

“Is it okay for Ethan and me to stay here too?” Aiden asked and Stiles rolled his eyes.

“Have you guys not made this official yet?” He scoffed, “Obviously, you guys are part of the pack, Derek hasn’t asked you to leave, hasn’t threatened to kill you, or physically harmed you yet, you’re doing better than me. If you want my opinion, I think you might just be his favourites.” Stiles whispered, ignoring the way Derek grumbled in his lap, he was a little bit weirded out by the fact Derek hadn’t moved yet, but he couldn’t deny he appreciated the heat and solid presence of him.

“I think that might be a little bit of an overstatement.” Peter smirked, “They might not be Derek’s favourites.” He winked at Ethan and Aiden behind Stiles’ back, it was obvious to all of them who Derek cared about the most, “But, Stiles is right. You are part of our pack now, I’m sure Derek would say it if he could speak right now, but I’ll say it on his behalf, welcome to the pack.”

“Really?” Ethan said in astonishment, “You’re serious?”

“It’s not something we’d joke about.” Isaac said, getting up and pulling first Aiden, then Ethan into a hug. “Welcome to the family.”

There were several more hugs and shouts of congratulations, Stiles was going to get to his feet and hug both of them but Derek growled when he tried to move and Stiles sighed sadly. It just confirmed his thoughts from earlier, Gerard was right, Stiles wasn’t true pack, that’s why Derek always got annoyed when he didn’t smell like pack, he didn’t do it with anyone else, that could only mean that Stiles was the only one who didn’t smell like pack, because he wasn’t. He couldn’t believe he’d been so stupid, it was obvious now, Gerard was right, Stiles was an idiot, no wonder Derek didn’t want him joining in the celebration. He shifted slightly, pulling his knees closer to his chest, effectively getting Derek’s head off his lap, it didn’t help though, instead Derek put his head on Stiles’ feet, wrapping himself around his side, there was no way Stiles was going anywhere without disturbing Derek.

He closed his eyes, thinking about the possibilities, how he was going to be able to give the entire pack the slip, how he was going to be able to cast the tracking spell without any of them realising, how he was going to work any magic when they were all hovering around, but, still, they’d made the right decision, it was better for the rest of them to stay together and stay where it was safe, even if this new found realisation that he wasn’t part of the pack made his chest hurt. He’d just have to prove to them all how much he could help, which meant getting rid of Gerard.

Everyone left shortly after, in groups of two or more, apart from Derek who growled a lot before eventually letting them leave, even though he wasn’t happy about it. He paced nervously by the door until the others returned, Stiles glancing at him every so often, surprised that Derek hadn’t turned back into a human yet.

Noah and Stiles spent the time trying to make sure that their house was capable of accommodating fifteen people, it was going to be a struggle. Stiles tided up his room as best he could, offering it to Melissa when she arrived who accepted gratefully, the biggest issue was going to be the bathroom and the hot water, he guessed they could all use the showers in the locker room at school, well, the ones who went to school, although he imagined group showering was going to be incredibly awkward, he didn’t want them staring at his scars.

They moved the furniture around, creating as much open space in the living room as possible before pulling out all the spare pillows and blankets they could find. Stiles kept pretending to find more pillows in his room, despite the fact that really he was just conjuring them up, it made him smile a little bit.

Lydia showed up with four different bags, clothes in three of them and the other crammed with her school books, the others rocked up with backpacks of clothes and a few school books crammed in there. Derek stopped pacing when they all got back and Stiles rolled his eyes, the guy was way too overprotective. Stiles sat at the kitchen table, completing some of his homework and allowing his mind to drift slightly, thinking about who else Gerard could be working with, about who else might be preparing to attack them.

Lydia sat down on one side of him, Ethan on the other, both pulling out their books and starting on some of their homework. Cora and Isaac had started a pillow fight in the front room and Stiles was getting distracted, his mind was still on Gerard and Ben, on finding them before they hurt anyone else.

“Are you taking AP chemistry?” Lydia said in surprise looking at his book, Stiles shrugged casually, he’d been keeping that one a secret, the only class he didn’t have with any of the pack. “You’re just full of surprises, aren’t you?”

“Got to keep some secrets.” Stiles smirked.

“Can you help me with my homework?” Ethan asked cheekily and Stiles grinned.

“Sure thing.” He scooted a little closer to Ethan, leaning over and going through the questions. They’d only been going through it a few minutes when Derek padded over and started hovering near the table before eventually butting in between the two of them, Stiles rolled his eyes, moving his hand slightly so that he was scratching behind Derek’s ears again. He couldn’t believe Derek hadn’t killed him yet, but he wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to pet a giant wolf, it wasn’t like it happened every day.

By early evening they were all getting hungry, Stiles checked the fridge, there definitely wasn’t enough in there to feed all of them, they could order takeaway but there wouldn’t be anything in the morning either.

“I’m going to go do a grocery shop.” He shouted to his dad who was upstairs somewhere, already heading to the door to grab his keys until Derek blocked his path growling at him. “It’s literally a block away, I think I can go that far.” He argued.

“Nobody goes anywhere alone, we’ve discussed this.” Cora said standing next to Derek.

“Fine.” Stiles sighed, rolling his eyes sarcastically, Scott was busy making out with Allison, Isaac was sat at the table doing his homework with Erica, he wasn’t taking Peter shopping, the guy barely ate anything unless it was cooked by the gods themselves. “Jackson, we’re going shopping, come on.” He said quickly, Jackson looking at him in surprise before jumping up and moving towards Stiles, going to grab his keys. “Nope, my jeep will hold more. I’m driving.” Stiles grinned.

“Guess you’re paying too?” Jackson smirked and Stiles laughed, Derek was still standing in the way of the door, looking nervously between Jackson and Stiles.

“Relax sourwolf, we’ll be back in like an hour, unless you’d prefer to starve?” Stiles asked, Derek’s stomach grumbling loudly which made Stiles grin widely. “I’ll take that as an okay to the food shop, now, Ethan, order us a takeaway for tea, we’ll be back in an hour, Derek, can you move so we can get out?” Derek stepped out of the way slowly, still looking nervous, Stiles opened the door feeling more than a little relieved when the fresh air hit his face. They headed to the shop, the jeep starting the first time, it was running better than ever since he’d fixed it after the soul eater attack.

“So what do you think the chances are of us getting attacked while getting groceries?” Jackson asked.

“I’d like to believe it’s unlikely, but I’ve got to be honest, my track record is not the best.” Stiles joked.

“Yeah, you do seem to go through some shit.” Jackson replied. “But let’s try and avoid getting into any trouble while we’re out. Lydia will be pissed at me.”

“Well you don’t want to get her angry so that sounds like a good plan.” Stiles laughed.

They took two trolleys around the market, Stiles throwing in piles of food knowing that it would all get eaten soon enough, the wolves had huge appetites. Jackson was surprised how easy things felt between the two of them, it was weird to think that once upon a time he’d hated Stiles, sometimes he still annoyed him, it wasn’t like they were best friends, but there was something between them that hadn’t been there before, a kind of tentative friendship.

They headed home without incident and Stiles was relieved when they pulled up at the house without someone waiting to attack them, the door opened and Scott, Isaac and Erica came out helping them carry in the bags, they had to take a few trips and Noah laughed when he saw the amount of food.

“Have you cleared out the whole shop?” He joked.

“Nearly.” Jackson replied seriously.

The takeaway arrived just as Stiles was putting away the food, feeling somebody press against his wards a moment before the doorbell rang. Aiden answered the door, Derek hovering nearby, and took the pizzas gratefully, handing over the money that Peter had given him.

Stiles’ stomach rumbled when he smelled the pizza, it smelled amazing, he hurried putting the shopping away before going to the living room where everyone was already digging in. The seats were all taken so he sank onto a pile of blankets and pillows in the middle of the room, grabbing several slices of pizza and munching on it happily. Derek appeared, finally back in human form, and thankfully dressed, Stiles didn’t think he’d be able to handle a half-naked Derek right now, sitting down near Stiles and grabbing an entire pizza, pulling it onto his lap and eating hungrily.

“Are you going to explain what the whole wolf thing was about?” Melissa asked and Derek shrugged.

“My wolf thought it was important to protect the pack, so I shifted.”

“And it took you so long to shift back because?” Peter asked. Derek wasn’t going to admit that it had been because he liked being able to touch Stiles so easily, or to have Stiles touch him, it felt good to be so close to him, in a way that he never could be as a human.

“I don’t know, I guess I needed to have you all here safely before I could relax enough to shift back.” Derek mumbled ignoring Peter as he smirked behind Stiles’ back.

They ate in relative silence, Stiles was thinking about all the things he couldn’t do with the whole pack here, maybe he should have suggested putting wards on everyone’s houses, but he hadn’t been lying, the more wards he put up the weaker they were, by trying to protect everyone he would risk them all, he’d just have to suffer the lack of privacy for a little while.

Scott put a film on the television, ignoring Isaac’s comment about doing his homework until Melissa scowled at him and he went into the kitchen to do some of it. They all sat and talked for a while, up until Noah excused himself to go to bed, he was on the early shift in the morning, Derek contacted one of the other deputy’s, asking to switch shifts tomorrow, Noah would then arrange that he’d be on the same shifts as him for the rest of the week, the rule about no-one being alone was going to be stuck to, with no exceptions.

“I am not having him hanging around the hospital all day.” Melissa frowned pointing at Peter.

“What other options are there?” Scott said. “He’s the only one who doesn’t have school or a job.”

“I can take some time off school.” Stiles suggested.

“Serious suggestions only.” Lydia replied.

“I was being serious.” Stiles pouted.

“No-one is missing school. I promise I’ll behave.” Peter smiled.

“I don’t trust your promises.” Melissa grumbled.

“The other option would be to stay at home?” Erica offered.

“I’d rather be in the hospital with him than sat here by myself with him.” Melissa replied sighing heavily. “Fine, okay, you’re coming to the hospital, but if you get in the way then I will shoot you up with sedatives and finish the rest of my shift by myself.” She threatened.

“Good. Glad that’s agreed.” Peter replied as Melissa excused herself to go to bed.

“So, next issue, you all have another member of the pack in all your classes?” Derek asked.

“We’re not going to get attacked in the middle of class dude.” Stiles snorted, snuggling deeper into the pile of pillows he’d collected.

“I don’t care, until this is sorted, until Gerard and whoever else he is working with is taken care of then none of you go anywhere alone and that includes classes. So, do you all have another member of the pack in all your classes?”

They all nodded then turned to look at Stiles.

“Liar.” Isaac muttered and Stiles blushed.

“Alright, fine, one class, I’m not dropping it though.” Stiles said firmly.

“Can one of you get transferred into Stiles’ class?” Peter asked.

“Which class is it?” Ethan asked.

“AP chemistry.” Stiles muttered.

“You’re such a nerd.” Jackson replied fondly, “No chance am I getting into that class.”

“I might be able to.” Lydia said nervously, “I mean, I know quite a bit already, I’m in the set below, maybe with a bit of a push I could move up, but by tomorrow? No chance.”

“Anyone else?” Derek asked.

“Nope.” Erica muttered. “Why the hell are you taking AP chemistry?”

“I’ve got to learn how to make bombs somehow.” Stiles joked.

“Just miss your classes this week.” Peter said.

“And what? Go sit in the library by myself? Or go out of school by myself? Besides, we don’t know how long this is going to take to get sorted, surely it makes more sense for me to sit in a class full of other students?”

“I don’t like it.” Derek complained.

“You don’t like anything.” Stiles muttered. “Anyway, even Gerard isn’t going to be stupid enough to attack me in the middle of chemistry when I have acid nearby.” He added.

“I still don’t like it.” Derek paused, “But, fine. Providing you don’t leave the classroom unless there’s someone waiting for you.”

“Fine by me.” Stiles grinned.

“Someone in the pack.” Peter clarified and Stiles glared at him.

“Fine.” He said a little less gleefully. Why did they have to start getting so specific now? He would never be able to lie if they started getting this specific, he was only just learning how to get around it in the first place. “Do I need someone to hold my hand while I go to the bathroom too?” He muttered sarcastically.

“He makes a good point.” Aiden said, “The bathrooms would be a good place to attack, when you’re least expecting it.”

“I was joking!” Stiles shouted in frustration, he was going to need some private time at some point, they all would.

“Aiden’s right.” Peter smirked, “No going to the bathroom alone either.”

“So you’re going to follow Melissa into the bathroom?” Stiles snorted at the mental image, “Man, I can’t way to see how you look doped up on sedatives. This will be fun.”

“Eww, gross, dude you can’t go into the bathroom with my mum!” Scott groaned in disgust. Allison was shaking her head in amusement next to him, Stiles could feel his eyes getting heavier the longer he sat there but he couldn’t go to sleep, not with everyone else around, he needed to get this mess sorted and quickly so he could go back to having some privacy.

He got up heading to the kitchen and pouring himself a coffee while he got out some other books that he’d glamoured to look like school books, in actual fact they were self-defense books, Stiles was going to learn how to fight, he was not going to just rely on his magic, he was going to be able to protect himself in a multitude of ways. He’d already read several books and after a few failed attempts, created a spell that helped him fight easily, Stiles wasn’t going to tell anyone, but he was confident that should there ever be another occasion where he had to fight, maybe he’d make it to the middle of the week without incident if he was lucky, then he’d be more than able to handle himself.

It didn’t take long before he heard at least three people snoring quietly in the front room, he was glad at least some of them were going to get some sleep, he couldn’t, not when he knew that he’d have a nightmare and not when he knew they’d all hear his heart racing even if he didn’t wake up screaming for a change.

Peter wandered into the kitchen around midnight, glancing at the book over Stiles’ shoulder.

“You should have done that before now.” He teased.

“It’ll be fine.” Stiles replied, rubbing at his tired eyes, he was exhausted, he just wanted to go to sleep.

“You’d be better off sleeping and looking at it with a fresh pair of eyes in the morning.” Peter advised.

“I’m fine.” Stiles muttered.

“Don’t make me get physical with you. Go get in your cushion pile or I’ll pick you up and take you there.” Peter threatened and Stiles snorted, turning his attention back to his book. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Peter said a moment later and Stiles jumped when strong arms were suddenly pulling him out of the chair.

“Jesus! Let go!” He hissed, not wanting to wake anyone else up but objecting to being picked up and carried like a child.

“In a second.” Peter laughed moving towards the living room throwing Stiles over his shoulder.

“This is ridiculous! Put me down!” Stiles whispered.

“Okay.” Peter said, dropping Stiles into the pile of cushions. Stiles glanced around to make sure he hadn’t woken anyone up, they were all crammed onto the floor, barely any space between them, Stiles was lucky he hadn’t hit anyone when Peter dropped him. Somehow, he was at the center of the circle and he wasn’t sure he could get out without stepping on anyone, Aiden blinked at him blearily a few times before going back to sleep, Derek was watching him carefully, obviously just having been woken up and Stiles looked away, glaring at Peter instead. “Now you can stay there and go to sleep, or I can make you stay there until you go to sleep.” Peter smirked as Stiles went to get up again.

“Very funny. I have homework to do.” Stiles said starting to get up, letting out a small whoosh of air when Peter lay down next to him and flung an arm over his chest holding him in place.

“Go to sleep Stiles.” Derek muttered.

Stiles sighed heavily, he didn’t want to go to sleep, he didn’t want to dream. He decided instead to run over spells in his head until he felt Peter’s breathing even out and decided it would be safe to get up again, it only took a matter of minutes. He’d barely moved an inch when Derek rolled over and put his arm over Stiles’ chest.

“Go to sleep.” He repeated, glaring at Stiles.

“Fine.” Stiles muttered, turning slightly to get comfortable and closing his eyes. He would just have to wait until Derek fell asleep too, he could do that. He started to think about other spells, other things he could try in the future and slowly slipped into sleep without meaning to.

“You think you can do anything to help them? You’re pathetic. You know that. I know that. I would say the only thing you’re good for is bait, except, you’re not even good for that. They’re not coming. You’re going to die here Stiles. Nobody is coming for you.” Gerard taunted, Stiles struggled against the ropes tying him in place, trying to get his hands free so he could cast any kind of spell, something that could help him, but he was powerless, helpless, terrified.

“No.” Stiles whimpered when he saw Ben approaching with a knife, an evil smirk on his lips.

“Come on, let’s play, it’ll be so much fun for me.” Ben taunted, pressing the knife into Stiles’ skin, he felt it cutting deeper, slicing through him, it hurt, it hurt so much and there was no way he could hold out. He cried out in pain and Ben smiled widely. “That’s it. You know I love hearing you scream.”

Ben pushed the knife in deeper and Stiles screamed, it hurt, it hurt too much, he couldn’t handle it, he wouldn’t survive it.

Derek had been sleeping quite peacefully, surrounded by his pack in the way that he had only been a few times before, he woke up suddenly, unsure what had disturbed him, until he had heard the rapid beating of Stiles’ heart, heard him mumble something, noticed the sweat running off him and the tension in his body.

“Stiles.” Derek whispered, prodding him slightly, not wanting to disturb everyone else but needing Stiles to wake up. A moment later Stiles mumbled again, slightly louder this time, Derek heard him whisper no in denial, he needed him to wake up now. The rest of the wolves were starting to wake up, obviously, all of them were being disturbed by Stiles’ dream. “Stiles.” Derek tried again.

Just as Lydia started to wake up Stiles started screaming, pain-filled heartbreaking sobs of terror, Derek moved quickly, wrapping himself around Stiles as best he could and stopping him from lashing out at anyone, holding him tightly to try and calm him.

“It’s okay, it’s okay, it was a dream, it’s alright Stiles, it’s okay.” Derek muttered, feeling like his heart was shattering, no wonder Stiles had been so resistant about going to sleep. Noah stumbled down the stairs, gun in hand, ready to shoot whoever was attacking them and then taking in the scene in front of him, and then moving towards Stiles.

Stiles finally came back to his senses a few moments later, he became aware of strong arms holding him tightly, someone breathing on the back of his neck as they held him in place.

“It’s okay, it’s okay, it was a dream, it’s alright Stiles, it’s okay.” Derek was repeating from somewhere nearby. “You’re okay, it was only a dream, you’re safe.” Tears were streaming down his face, and he swiped at them furiously, feeling Derek let go of him slowly and refusing to meet anyone’s gaze. He felt humiliated and weak. They’d all know how pathetic he was now.

“Kid? You okay?” His dad asked and Stiles nodded firmly, getting to his feet and going to the kitchen, trying to get rid of the look of delight on Ben’s face from his mind. “You want to talk about it?” Noah asked following him into the kitchen.

“No.” Stiles said quietly, running the cold water and splashing it on his face, rubbing it at the back of his neck.

“You know you can talk me, I’m here for you.” Noah insisted.

“I’m fine.” Stiles replied, refusing to turn around, knowing that his dad would be looking at him with pity. “Go back to sleep.”

“I’ve had plenty. If you want…”

“No. I’m fine. I’ve got homework to do, you should go back to bed, you’ve got a long day.” Stiles said quickly.

“Okay, sure, but, if you want to talk about it…”

“I don’t.” Stiles snapped before sighing and turning around to look at his dad, forcing a smile to his lips, “I’m fine dad, it was just a dream. I’m fine. Just leave me alone and go back to sleep.”

“Alright.” Noah sighed, knowing he wasn’t going to get Stiles to talk about it. He went back into the living room where the rest of the pack were all still awake and looking at Noah with worry. “Go back to sleep, Stiles is doing some homework. He wants to be left alone.”

Derek wanted to go talk to Stiles, he knew that he wasn’t okay, but if Stiles wouldn’t talk to his dad about it then he definitely wouldn’t talk to Derek. They all settled back down, none of them going back to sleep, Derek glanced at the clock, three hours, Stiles had only had three hours sleep, Derek was confident that he would never forget the sound of Stiles’ screams, he had felt so helpless in that moment, so terrified, he couldn’t bear to hear it again, he had to do something to help him, somehow.

Derek must have drifted back to sleep at some point because he startled awake when he heard the front door closing. Stiles was glaring at the door like it personally offended him and then looking across at the pack, most of whom were staring at him in surprise.

“Breakfast?” He said sheepishly, holding up several paper bags, Derek could smell pastries from here, it made his stomach rumble.

“Don’t tell me you went out by yourself!?” Scott said in exasperation.

“Relax, it was only to the shop, anyway, breakfast?” Stiles tried again.

“What part of ‘nobody goes anywhere alone’ don’t you understand?” Lydia said angrily.

“Erm, the part of nobody, anywhere and alone?” Stiles joked before rolling his eyes, “Jeez, guys, it’s like a block away, I’m pretty sure if I screamed you’d hear me.”

“Speaking of which,” Peter began, “Did you get any more sleep?” Stiles tensed slightly at the mention of the incident the night before.

“Sorry about that, I mean, waking you guys up and everything, so, apology breakfast, I brought cheese bagels.” Stiles replied just as Noah came down the stairs.

“Did you get any blueberry ones?” Noah asked.

“Of course pops!” Stiles said energetically, passing a bag across to Noah.

“Your son went out of the house by himself.” Peter tattled.

“You did what!?” Noah said angrily.

“I brought bagels though, so you know, there’s that.” Stiles replied, shuffling nervously.

“Until we know what Gerard is planning nobody goes anywhere alone, that’s what we agreed on. Now, unless you want me to handcuff you another member of this pack you stick to it.” Noah ordered.

“You’ve got a real thing about handcuffing me at the moment.” Stiles teased, “I mean, like I don’t have several copies of your keys already?”

“I’m serious Stiles.” Noah said quietly.

“Fine.” Stiles mumbled, “I’ll stick to it.” He wasn’t going to tell any of them that he’d had to get out of the house, he’d spent a couple of hours putting some of his magic into his staff while he studied the books, but then he could feel his eyes wanting to shut again and he couldn’t go through that again, not twice in one night, not waking up and seeing everyone looking at him with pity. He was trying to prove that he was an asset to the back and all he’d actually done was show them all how broken he was, so yeah, he’d gotten dress, gone out of the house, wandered down to the bakery at the end of the block, bought himself several expressos and a couple of dozen pastries and then headed home, feeling a bit more awake.

“Have you slept?” Peter asked and Stiles shrugged.

“Sure.”

“Since waking up last night?” He pressed.

“You’re getting like super specific at the moment, you know that? I mean, it’s like you expect me to lie all the time.” Stiles replied casually.

“And you didn’t answer.” Peter snorted.

“We all need to be aware of our surroundings at all times, if you’re too tired you might not be paying proper attention.” Lydia said and Stiles rolled his eyes.

“I’m fine. I can totally handle it. Anyway, we’ve got to be at school in an hour, does anyone want a shower or whatever?”

“Obviously.” Lydia grinned, going into the living room, grabbing a bag and disappearing upstairs.

“You do realise that none of us are going to get to use the bathroom now?” Jackson joked.

“There’s a toilet and sink down here, it’s not much, but you can use it to clean yourselves up a bit.” Noah said, heading back upstairs to get changed.

“Damn it, I left my uniform at the loft.” Derek said quickly.

“Don’t worry, I brought it for you.” Peter smirked throwing him a bag, “Grabbed you some other clothes too, I left that box of yours under the bed though, I hope that’s okay?”

Derek could feel the heat flooding through his face, no doubt the rest of the pack could smell his embarrassment, he was going to kill Peter.

“Why? What’s in the box?” Stiles asked putting on a stupid accent and hopping up onto the kitchen counter while biting into a pastry, everyone stared at him, “Seriously!? None of you guys have seen ‘seven’? It’s a classic!” He said in exasperation, “Okay, fine, whatever, just continue being uneducated forever.” He sighed.

“So what is in the box?” Erica asked.

“Nothing.” Derek grimaced, scratch that, he wasn’t going to kill Peter, he was going to flay him alive.

“So why do you have an empty box under your bed?” Allison asked in confusion.

“It’s an old shoebox, that’s all.” Derek said, he really didn’t need anyone getting suspicious about it. The first chance he got he was going to have to move it, or destroy it, he thought about the pictures in there, no, move it, there was no way he was destroying it.

“That’s not at all mysterious.” Stiles muttered under his breath and Isaac snorted.

“Haven’t you guys got to be getting ready for school!?” Derek said in exasperation, “Peter, a word.” Derek said, dragging him by his arm into the living room.

“Why so tense?” Peter smirked.

“You go through my things again and I’ll kill you, this time I’ll make sure it sticks.” Derek growled.

“Okay, fine.” Peter said, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done it and I shouldn’t have made a joke out of it. Okay?”

“Fine.” Derek glared, “Don’t do it again.”

“I won’t.” Peter replied, looking appropriately upset. “I didn’t realise you’d be so upset about it. I’m sorry.”

“You are such a jackass sometimes.” Derek said shaking his head, he couldn’t believe Peter, thank god Stiles hadn’t figured it out, Derek would never live it down, Stiles would probably be too disgusted to ever look at him again.

“I’m sorry, really, I am. I just thought it would lighten the mood a bit.”

“How did that work out for you?” Derek snapped.

“Not like I planned, a first for me I must admit.” Peter said and Derek couldn’t help but smile slightly at that.

“Alright, fine, but I mean it, you do this again and I’ll kill you.”

“Got it.”

“Bathroom’s free!” Lydia called from upstairs, Erica beat Allison to the stairs and raced up there. It was all a bit of a rush but eventually they were all out of the house, Ethan and Aiden jumping in with Stiles, Isaac and Erica.

“Stiles!” Noah called out just as they were leaving, Stiles jumped out of the jeep and moved back towards the house, Derek waiting patiently by his car for Noah, waving for the rest of them to head to school. “You’re going to stick to this, aren’t you? Stay with someone?”

“I said I would.” Stiles replied.

“I need you to be safe kid, I don’t want anything bad to happen to you. I want you safe.”

“I’ll be careful dad, I promise.”

“Good, okay, well, have fun I guess, we’ll be back late.”

“Same goes for you, you know? Be careful. I mean, you’ve got Derek with you so I’m sure he’ll watch out for you, but still, be careful.” Stiles replied and Noah nodded firmly, “Oh, and buy some flea spray, you don’t want any of those critters in your car with you.” Noah laughed pulling Stiles into a tight hug, pressing a kiss to the side of his head.

“See you tonight.”

“Love you dad.” Stiles whispered, turning and heading back to his jeep, the stares from the others in his car were kind of hard to ignore, “What?”

“You and your dad are really close.” Ethan said.

“Aren’t you close with your parents?” Stiles asked, feeling a bit uncomfortable, Isaac’s dad had beaten him and then been killed, Erica’s parents hadn’t even noticed she’d disappeared for months, he wouldn’t have said he was that close with his dad, he’d lied to him for a full year, but they were all the other had, so, yeah, maybe they were close.

“No. They died a few years ago.” Aiden informed them, “When the Alpha pack came.”

“They killed your parents? And you stayed with them?” Erica said in horror.

“They weren’t exactly the best parents to begin with.” Ethan muttered, “I mean, the pack we were with, it wasn’t like your pack, it was more like the Alpha pack, you all had to fight for your place, when we didn’t fight, or did fight and then lost, well, we weren’t treated kindly. The Alpha pack promised us that we’d never feel like that again if we joined them.”

“So you joined with them and then they treated you like shit too.” Stiles concluded, “I’m kind of surprised you aren’t more messed up if I’m honest.”

“You should be like, king of fucked up, and yet, you’re fine, so I figure I can be fine too.” Aiden said quietly. Stiles nodded, meeting his eyes in the mirror, they weren’t fine, Stiles could see that, but if they wanted to pretend they were, well, Stiles couldn’t argue with them, after all, it’s exactly what he did, get up, pretend he’s fine, make it through the day, then the next one, just keep going and maybe one day he would actually be fine.

Danny was chatting in the car park with Jackson when they arrived, the rest of the pack still gathered around, Stiles wandered towards the school, Danny quickly catching up with him and slinging an arm around Stiles’ shoulder, Stiles did his best not to jump but he must have done slightly as Erica was there a moment later frowning at Danny.

“I wanted to talk to you,” Danny began then glared at Erica, “in private.”

“No.” Erica began rudely before frowning, “I mean, erm, Stiles has something of mine in his locker and he said we’d go get it before first period.”

“Oh, yeah, right. Totally forgot about that.” Stiles said.

“I’ll walk with you.” Danny replied ignoring the rest of the pack that were hovering behind them, this was going to do Stiles’ head in, they needed to get this fixed and soon, as in, tonight.

“So, what’s up?” Stiles asked when they got to his locker.

“I needed to talk to you about that paperwork you showed me the other day?” Danny said quietly, purposefully not looking at Erica.

“Oh, right, that paperwork.” Stiles replied, god, he’d forgotten all about that stupid letter with his name on it. God, there was just too much going on in his life right now. “Can we talk about it later? Lunch maybe?”

“At your jeep?” Danny asked and Stiles nodded.

“Erm, actually, Stiles promised to help me improve in chemistry.” Lydia butted in, “We said we’d do that at lunchtime.”

“Busy guy.” Danny said and Stiles sighed.

“Yeah, look, Danny, I think I’m probably going to be busy for the next few days or so, you mind if we catch up about that stuff next week?”

“Don’t you think it’s kind of urgent?” Danny asked.

“Well, if it’s urgent, why don’t you just talk about it now?” Erica queried.

“No, it’s not urgent.” Stiles said, “It’s not.” He insisted when Danny frowned, “We can talk about it next week, don’t want to waste everyone else’s time talking about it now.”

“Alright, fine. We’ll catch up next week I guess.” Danny said, frowning still before disappearing off to his first class.

“Are you going to tell us what that was about?” Lydia asked.

“Nothing important.” Stiles replied, grabbing the relevant books from his locker, “Honestly, the sooner we get this stuff sorted with Gerard the better, I quite enjoy being able to go to the toilet by myself.” He frowned, heading to his first class.

Chapter Text

Lacrosse practice was hard going, by that time of the day Stiles was flagging, he was exhausted, he wanted to go home, spend several hours in his bed before his dad got home and sleep, but that wasn’t going to be an option. Anyone in the pack who wasn’t on the team had stayed to watch, mainly because Jackson didn’t want Lydia out of his sight and it just made everything easier to stick together. Usually Stiles took his time finishing on the pitch so that by the time he got to the locker room everyone had left and he could have a shower in peace, or he headed straight home and showered there, it didn’t seem like he could do either of those today.

Scott, Isaac, Boyd, Jackson, Ethan and Aiden were all heading to the showers after practically dragging Stiles into the changing room with them, he sighed, there was no way he could go without a shower, he stank, but he really didn’t want to get naked with them all around. Thankfully his phone chose that moment to ring and Stiles snatched at it quickly.

“Hey Harry, give me a minute.” He said, turning his back on the showers and heading back out towards the pitch.

“Stay where we can see you!” Scott shouted and Stiles rolled his eyes.

“I’m going outside, I’ll be with the others.” He shouted in reply, moving back to the pitch and waving to Cora, Allison, Erica and Lydia who were still sat on the bleachers, before walking further across the pitch to make sure he was out of hearing distance. “So, what’s up?”

“I’m guessing you’re alone now?” Harry replied.

“Yeah, for the first time in way too long.”

“It’s been a day and a half Stiles.”

“Seriously!? That’s it? It feels like a lifetime.” He paused, “But, I’m guessing that’s not why you’re calling. Everything okay?”

“Other than hunters knowing about us, we’re fine.”

“I’m really sorry, it was an accident.”

“You’re sure about that? Only, as I understand it, it was the hunter’s granddaughter who told him. Are you sure she did it accidently?”

“Of course it was an accident.” Stiles said heatedly, pacing across the pitch angrily, “She was trying to scare them off, I wasn’t any help, she said whatever she could think of, and it was more of an accident with wording, it’s not like she came out and said, ‘oh, by the way, there’s two warlocks running around.’”

“So you trust her?”

“Obviously.” Stiles replied.

“I’m just trying to look out for you.” Harry explained.

“So everyone keeps telling me.” Stiles said.

“I care about you, that’s why, and the last thing I ever want to see is you getting hurt because you trusted the wrong people with your secret.”

“I won’t tell them. I promise. And I’ll fix this, I’ll take care of Gerard and whoever else he is working with, I won’t let them get near you.” Stiles replied, hearing Harry chuckle.

“You always have your priorities in the wrong place you know, I’m more worried about making sure you stay away from them.” He sighed, “Promise me you’ll keep your powers a secret, no matter what?”

“Sure.” Stiles nodded, turning and seeing the rest of the pack coming out of the changing rooms and looking at him. “I’ve got to go, everyone’s waiting, I’ll see you on Saturday?”

“Yeah, definitely, by the way, how do you feel about getting wet?”

“Wet?” Stiles laughed in confusion as he wandered back across the pitch.

“Yes. Wet.”

“Erm, I guess that’s fine? You’re not going to let me drown or something?”

“Obviously not.” Harry chortled, “Believe it or not I want to keep you around a bit longer yet. I make a lot of money off you.”

“Glad you’ve got your priorities straight too.” Stiles laughed. “Are you going to explain what wet means? I mean, like, I’m a pretty strong swimmer, but if you’re going to dump me in the ocean or something?”

“So innocent.” Harry laughed, “See you on Saturday!” He finished, ending the call quickly.

“What’s happening on Saturday?” Scott asked and Stiles shrugged.

“Harry said something about getting wet, I don’t know.” He moved towards the changing rooms to go grab his stuff but Scott held his bag up.

“I figured you’d want a shower at home?”

“Sounds good.” Stiles said, grabbing his bag and following everyone to the car park, thinking about what Harry could have meant.

Stiles went for a shower while everyone else did their homework, then came down and started cooking tea, it was a bit weird cooking for so many people but Stiles adjusted quickly.

“Peter text to say your mum is fine, they’ll be home in a couple of hours.” Cora said to Scott over their school books.

“You heard from your dad?” Scott asked, Stiles grabbed his phone, there were no new messages.

“I’ll just give him a call.” He replied, he wasn’t worried, his dad was busy that’s all. “Hey dad, just checking in, you okay?”

“Fine Stiles, you? How was school? No issues?”

“I’m good, school was fine, no issues, no attacks, everyone is fine.” Stiles laughed while stirring a pan on the stove. “I’m making tea, want me to leave you some in the fridge?”

“Yeah, if there’s any going spare I’m sure we’d love some. We’re going to be a few hours at least.”

“No worries. I made plenty. See you later daddio.” Stiles said hanging up the phone and turning his attention back to cooking food.

After they’d finished eating Stiles started on his homework, it took him longer than usual but that was because he kept getting distracted, thinking of the ways he could track Gerard down. Eventually he finished, the others were all already in the living room so he headed upstairs and grabbed his equipment and headed back into the kitchen.

“What are you doing?” Cora asked when she came in the kitchen to get a drink and saw the paper Stiles had pinned to the wall, there were various notes written in different places and a map of the town with some areas already circled.

“I’m thinking.” Stiles replied distractedly, chewing on a pen and never taking his eyes from the wall. Cora got closer, Gerard’s name was up there, so was Ben’s and someone called Aaron, along with what Stiles knew about them and about where they could be staying.

“How does this help us?”

“If we can figure out where they’re staying then we can figure out who they’re working with, how many we’re up against, how best to defends ourselves.”

“And you’re going to figure out where they are by staring at a map?” Cora said sarcastically.

“No. But it’s better than doing nothing.”

“Everyone else is going to bed. Why don’t you come with?” Cora asked, Stiles glanced at the clock unable to believe it was already past eleven, he knew he could sleep, but he wasn’t sure how long it would last before the nightmares woke him up and he knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep until everyone was home safely. Still, he allowed Cora to tug him into the living room and sat down on his pile of cushions, the rest of the pack settling down nearby and the television on quietly in the background.

“Make any progress?” Scott muttered and Stiles shook his head. “You’ll figure it out dude, you always do.” Scott said, rolling over, pulling Allison closer to him and going to sleep.

Stiles sat and watched the television, some old film that he didn’t know, he could feel his eyes sliding shut against his will and knew he wasn’t far from sleep when suddenly something pressed against his wards. He jumped to his feet, thankfully not waking any of the sleeping pack and hurried to the door.

Melissa and Peter both looked a little surprised when Stiles yanked open the door and looked at them in surprise.

“Shouldn’t you be asleep?” Peter asked.

“Shouldn’t you stop dressing like you’re the villain in an eighties bond film?” Stiles retorted sarcastically and Peter grinned, Stiles stepped aside to let them both in. “There’s some food in the fridge, but dad and Derek still need to eat.”

“You’ve been busy.” Melissa whispered indicating the wall.

“It didn’t solve anything though, not yet anyway.” Stiles replied as he pulled out two plates for them and piled them with food.

“You seem certain they’re staying in town?” Peter asked.

“It makes sense, they think Luke and Harry are protecting us, therefore they’d expect them to be nearby in case of trouble, a twenty-minute drive isn’t far, but if it’s an emergency then twenty minutes is life or death, which means, they’ll expect them to be close by, so they’ll stay in town.”

“I worry about you sometimes.” Peter said fondly.

“Me too.” Stiles admitted, “But, I have been thinking, maybe we could draw them out, you know, like, if they saw someone walking down the street, alone, someone they didn’t see as a threat to them, then, maybe they’d take that opportunity to kidnap them, and then the pack could follow them to their hideout?” Melissa frowned and Peter growled at him angrily.

“I’m going to pretend that you didn’t just suggest getting yourself kidnapped in the hopes of finding them.” Peter snarled.

“I didn’t say it was me…” Stiles began innocently.

“Please, who else would you be willing to sacrifice like that? And let’s not deny that sacrifice is exactly what it would be, because Gerard would probably kill you the minute he realised what was going on. Would you let Lydia do it? Scott? Your dad? Melissa? Derek? There’s no way you’d even suggest putting any of them in danger, so, obviously, you’re thinking about yourself. I’m going to blame sleep deprivation for that idea and I never want you to think about it again.”

“Fine.” Stiles grumbled. “But it’s still an idea.”

“No. It’s not.” Melissa said seriously, “Peter is right, we can’t lose you Stiles, don’t ever suggest it again.”

“Alright, fine, won’t suggest it again. Promise.” Melissa gave him a quick hug before she went up to bed and Stiles glanced across at Peter.

“And you won’t decide to do it anyway, will you?” Peter asked firmly, smirking when Stiles frowned. “Don’t think I haven’t figured it out Stiles, I’m smarter than you think.”

“I don’t know what you mean.” Stiles replied.

“You might be able to fool everyone else, lie to everyone else, but I know how you’re getting around it, not being specific enough, interpreting our questions differently, you’ve been hanging around with those warlocks too long.” Peter informed him, grinning when Stiles’ mouth dropped open in shock. “Don’t try to fool me again, or next time I’ll tell everyone else what you are doing.”

“Okay.” Stiles agreed.

“Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for sleep. Come to bed, or do you need me to carry you again?” Peter smiled.

“I think I can walk thanks.” Stiles replied sarcastically, going back to the living room and sitting on the cushions.

Peter came in to the living room ten minutes later, lying down on the other side of Stiles, glancing at him a couple of times before closing his eyes and going to sleep. Stiles was a little jealous of how easily the rest of them could go to sleep, that they didn’t need to worry about nightmares, he envied them.

He didn’t mean to fall asleep, he’d wanted to stay awake, didn’t want to disturb anyone else again, but it had been inevitable, he’d tried to get up and Peter had put an arm across his chest again, keeping him pinned to the pillows, mumbling that Stiles needed to go to sleep.

Derek had finally been able to relax the moment they’d stepped through the door, he could hear the steady breathing of his pack, the sound of their heartbeats, they were all here and they were safe. Noah passed him a plate of food and they ate in silence, studying the paper on the kitchen wall.

“You think this will work?” Noah muttered.

“He’s surprised me every time.” Derek answered, “And he’s never let me down.”

Noah went to bed a little while later, they weren’t on shift until seven this evening so there was plenty of time to sleep, Derek decided to study the wall for a little while longer, see if there was anything that he could add to it, before heading into the living room.

He was glad there was still space next to Stiles, climbing over the rest of the pack before settling down into the pillows nearby, he’d barely closed his eyes when he heard Stiles’ heart start to race. He sat up, moving closer and touching Stiles gently.

“Stiles?” He whispered, hoping for a response.

Stiles was staring at the bodies in front of him in horror, his hands covered in blood, Luke was there, so was Harry, Erica, Boyd, Allison, Scott, Melissa, Peter, Cora, Isaac, Ethan, Aiden, Derek, Jackson, Lydia and his dad. All of them were dead, their eyes wide open, unseeing, throats torn out, blood everywhere, he was kneeling next to his dad’s body, tears spilling down his cheeks as he tried uselessly to get him to wake up.

“Please, dad, please, don’t leave me. Wake up. Please.” Stiles begged.

“I think it’s a bit too late for that, don’t you?” Gerard taunted. “You killed them, they’re all dead because of you.”

“This isn’t real, it’s a dream.” Stiles muttered, “It’s a dream. I just need to wake up.”

“Really? Feels pretty real to me.” Gerard laughed, kicking Boyd’s lifeless body.

“Stop it.” Stiles whispered, he could feel his heart shattering, they couldn’t be dead, he had to save them, he had to bring them back.

“I haven’t even gotten started yet. You’re going to beg for me to kill you long before I do.”

“Don’t, just stop, bring them back.” Stiles sobbed, “Please, bring them back, I’m sorry, whatever you want, just, please, bring them back.”

“Don’t you understand? They’re dead because of you Stiles, you killed them just like you killed your mother. You’re a disease Stiles, you’re a cancer. They’re better dead than with you.”

“Dad! Please, dad, wake up. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Please come back, don’t leave me.”

“You need to pay for this Stiles.” Gerard snarled, approaching him and kicking him hard in the ribs, Stiles blacked out for a moment and when he opened his eyes he was chained up in the basement, Erica and Boyd were there, screaming for him to help them as Ben and Gerard smirked at him, holding up the wires that would cause electric to surge through his body again.

“You ready to play again?” Ben smiled.

“Bring it bitch.” Stiles snarled, spitting out blood, he had to protect Erica and Boyd, they couldn’t die, he had to save them.

The pain was immense, his body screaming in agony, it had to stop, he had to get it to stop, he couldn’t take any more.

“Tell us where your pack is.” Gerard shouted.

“You don’t need to look for them, they’re going to find you and you’ll wish you were dead.” He whispered, trying to catch his breath.

“Don’t you get it yet Stiles, they’re not coming for you. You’re going to die down here, haven’t you realised that yet? You’re not pack. They don’t care about you. You’re nothing to them.” Gerard laughed, indicating for Ben to continue. Stiles braced himself, knowing it was going to hurt, seeing Ben pick up the whip from the table, he couldn’t take it, his back was already shredded, blood running down to his shorts, he wouldn’t survive it.

The first hit hurt, the second one set his back on fire all over again, the third one made him scream and Ben started to laugh.

“Stiles! Help us!” Erica was screaming, “Save us!”

Stiles lost his footing and felt the chains cut into his wrists as he hung, the whip hit his back again and he sobbed brokenly, screaming whenever he had enough air to.

“Stiles, Stiles, it’s okay, it’s a dream, you’re safe, wake up, you’re safe.” Derek was saying, Stiles blinked quickly, taking in his surroundings, the pack around him, all looking at him with worry, strong arms around his chest, holding him in place, his dad and Melissa at the bottom of the stairs, Melissa looking terrified. He tried to move, swiping at the tears running down his cheeks, he was going to get up but he couldn’t move, he looked around seeing Derek still holding on to him tightly.

“I’m fine.” He said instantly.

“Good. Go back to sleep then.” Derek said, pulling Stiles back down into the pillows and blankets without letting go of him. “All of you. Sleep.” Derek ordered.

“Aren’t we going to talk about…” Scott began.

“No.” Derek growled, “Sleep.”

“But we should really…” Lydia started.

“No.” Derek snapped, “Stiles will talk to us when he wants to, until then, sleep.”

Stiles couldn’t help but feel grateful to Derek for that, but he wished that he could still run away, into the kitchen at the very least, but Derek was still holding onto him and he couldn’t move. He lay in silence, trying to calm his racing heart and waiting until he could hear everyone’s breathing even out and he tried to move, Derek’s arms tightened.

“Go to sleep.” Derek muttered sleepily in his ear.

“I don’t want to.” Stiles confessed quietly. “If you let go I’ll go into the kitchen, get out of the way.” Derek’s grip tightened even more.

“You’re not going anywhere, now go back to sleep.”

“I don’t want to.” Stiles whispered, his voice cracking slightly as he fought back tears, he couldn’t go back to sleep, couldn’t see everyone lying dead at his feet, couldn’t bear to see Gerard again.

“Stiles,” Derek said, clutching him tightly, Stiles would think it was amazing, if Derek was doing it for any other reason than to keep Stiles still and quiet so that he didn’t disturb the pack any more than he already had, “talk to me, tell me how to help.”

“I can’t.” Stiles whispered quietly, he hated feeling so weak, so pathetic, but he couldn’t stop the dreams, no matter how many spells he tried. Derek shifted slightly, turning Stiles to face him, Stiles’ face nearly buried in his chest. It had to be one of the best hugs Stiles had ever had, although he couldn’t dwell on the fact that Derek was hugging him, voluntarily, because that wasn’t what this was, Derek wasn’t hugging him because he liked Stiles, he was just trying to offer him some comfort.

Stiles closed his eyes, fighting back a wave of nausea when he saw his dad’s blank eyes staring at him, he couldn’t fight back the tears any longer, especially not when Derek started rubbing his back soothingly, Stiles felt the tears running down his cheeks silently, he didn’t even have the energy to try and stop himself, he hated that he was so weak but he was exhausted.

Stiles felt another arm reach over him, a body press against his back and even breaths tickle the back of his neck, and, a minute after that, someone else run a hand through his hair, within a few minutes he knew that all of the pack were reaching out to touch him in some way or another, Erica had her head on his legs, Scott’s fingers brushing his shoulder, Derek still hugging him, Peter behind him, Lydia’s fingers in his hair, he was a bit surprised at how much comfort it offered him.

“Derek?” Stiles whispered, barely audible.

“Yeah?” Derek almost hummed in reply, if Derek was a were-cat Stiles would say he was purring right now.

“Am I pack?” He muttered, hoping he didn’t sound as pathetic as he felt, Derek tensed, shifting slightly so that Stiles could see his face, his eyes wide with disbelief.

“Of course you are. There wouldn’t have even been a pack without you.” Derek said in surprise, how did Stiles not realise that? “Why would you think you’re not?” Derek was astonished, he couldn’t say that he’d managed to get to sleep yet, not with Stiles waking up screaming and sobbing and Derek holding him tightly until he calmed down enough to realise where he was, but he hadn’t been able to let go of Stiles, couldn’t let go of him when his heart was still racing so loudly that Derek felt his ears were about to burst.

He knew the best thing for Stiles would be to sleep, to calm down, realise it was a dream and go back to sleep, not go into the kitchen and drink several cups of coffee and try and keep going without falling asleep, so he wouldn’t let go of him, he would get him to go back to sleep and he would not let there be any reason for Stiles to run away, so he’d ordered everyone to go back to sleep, that they wouldn’t talk about it, even if he was desperate to know how to help.

He’d never expected for Stiles to admit that he didn’t want to go back to sleep and he’d never thought that Stiles would allow Derek to hold him tightly while tears ran silently down his cheeks and his face was buried in Derek’s chest. He wouldn’t have even known Stiles had been crying if he hadn’t smelled the salt, he was so angry, Stiles was still hurting and scared months later and Derek hadn’t done anything to protect him, he was a failure.

But after all that, Stiles asked the question that made Derek’s heart shatter, how the hell could Stiles ever question his place in the pack? He was just as much an Alpha as Derek, except he wasn’t a werewolf, but other than that, everyone turned to Stiles for help when they needed it, and he was always there to offer them advice even when they didn’t want it. Stiles was the one who had brought them all together and he was the one that kept them all together, any chance of Derek falling asleep now was gone, he wouldn’t be able to sleep until he knew what had caused Stiles to doubt himself like this.

“Gerard,” Stiles whispered, hoping not to wake any of the pack, stumbling over his name slightly, “Earlier, he said, he said that I was only a human on the outskirts of the pack, and that night, the night, the night in the basement, he said that you wouldn’t come because I wasn’t pack and you wouldn’t care.”

“Stiles,” Derek said, his voice straining with emotion, “We should have been there. I’m so sorry.” There were no excuses he could make that wouldn’t sound worse, he could say that they would have been there if everything hadn’t happened with Jackson, or if they’d have realised something was wrong, or if they’d even noticed he was missing, that wouldn’t make Stiles feel any better, and thinking about it made Derek feel even worse.

“But I’m pack?” Stiles asked nervously.

“Without a doubt.” Derek confirmed, not knowing what else he could say to make Stiles feel better.

“Okay.” Stiles muttered, closing his eyes and relaxing slightly, he didn’t know how much he’d been worrying about that until Derek had clarified things for him.

“Stiles?” Derek asked.

“Mmmm?” Stiles replied sleepily, Derek was kind of glad that he was starting to go back to sleep he just hoped that he could at least sleep for the rest of the night now.

“They will pay for what they’ve done.”

“I know.” Stiles mumbled, his heart slowing as he slipped into sleep, Derek smiled fondly, taking a hesitant breath before moving slightly and pressing a soft kiss to Stiles’ forehead, Stiles didn’t stir and Derek relaxed, the last thing he wanted to do was upset Stiles by forcing his feelings on him. Derek loved him, loved him more than anything, he couldn’t help but feel complete contentment hugging Stiles with his pack surrounding him.

Stiles startled awake to the sound of his alarm going off, he was so hot he was sweating, there were warm bodies surrounding him, several people groaning and fumbling to find his phone.

“Stiles!” Scott whined still half asleep, “Turn it off!” Stiles shifted in the pile, trying to find where he’d left his phone and wondering how the hell he’d ended up at the bottom of a puppy pile.

“Got it!” Cora shouted triumphantly, turning the alarm off and throwing herself back into her pile of pillows with a sigh, moving so that she could put a hand on Stiles’ leg.

“Please tell me it’s not morning already.” Jackson mumbled.

“I would, but I’d be lying and apparently, that’s bad.” Stiles muttered sleepily, the sarcasm in his voice evident for them all to hear and Scott snorted. Stiles tried to stretch out as best he could, but since he was still wrapped in Derek’s arms, he would not think about how good it felt, it was not because Derek fancied him, it was because Stiles was a mess who couldn’t seem to sleep without nightmares, he didn’t get very far.

Derek mumbled sleepily when Stiles shifted, pulling him tighter to his chest and stopping him from moving.

“We should really get up for school.” Allison moaned.

“Shoot me now.” Stiles whined and he heard Derek chuckle softly from next to him. “I don’t think I need to go to school any more, I’ve already got a job, I’m set for life, who needs an education?”

“You’re going to school.” Derek grumbled.

“Yeah your good looks will only get you so far.” Ethan said quietly.

“Aww, you think I’m hot too?” Stiles teased, turning slightly to look at him as best he could with the bodies half piled over him.

“Too?” Scott asked.

“Yeah, Isaac thinks I’m hot too. Something about Andy stinking out the studio because he was turned on and Isaac telling me he gets why I’m in a porn mag.” Stiles grinned, finally waking up properly and rolling onto his stomach, disrupting everyone from their comfortable positions.

“Dude, so not cool.” Isaac blushed. “Anyway, didn’t we also talk about how I have low standards?”

“You do not have low standards.” Lydia said, “Stiles is hot, we all know it, get over it.”

“Yeah, well you didn’t all have to watch him work in a room that stank of sexual frustration, it’s not my fault it kind of turned me on.” Isaac complained and Derek growled quietly.

“I’m coming with you on Saturday.” He muttered and Stiles looked at him in surprise.

“You’re not just going to tell me not to go?”

“Like you ever do what I tell you.” Derek scoffed casually, there was no way that Derek was going to let anyone else go with Stiles, there were already enough people interested in Stiles, he really didn’t need anyone else taking an interest in him, not if Derek stood any chance.

Everyone started to get up slowly, Stiles finally wriggling free of the pile, getting to his feet quickly, grinning widely before going into the kitchen.

“You look less tired this morning.” Erica said as he poured himself a bowl of cereal.

“I slept better.” Stiles admitted.

“After your nightmare?” she prompted and Stiles tensed slightly.

“Yeah, after that.”

“You want to talk about it?”

“No.” He said firmly, shoveling a large spoonful of cereal into his mouth.

The rest of the week passed by in a similar fashion but they made no progress on finding out where Gerard was staying or who he might be working with. Stiles was feeling more hyped up the more time that passed, mainly because he wasn’t using any magic as he was never alone, and now it felt like his insides were buzzing with energy, he felt like he could do almost anything. It worried him a little how much he must have been using it before, just to keep himself going, but now that he wasn’t using it to keep himself awake, it was becoming apparent to him just how much magic was nestled inside him.

He was sleeping better, last night he’d even managed not to wake up screaming, he’d still had his nightmares, still woken up sobbing, the pain feeling so real, but at least he hadn’t screamed and woken everyone up, just those closest to him. Derek had spent all week holding him until he went back to sleep and Stiles hated it, every time he thought that he couldn’t fall any deeper for Derek, the guy just kept proving him wrong. It was pathetic, Stiles needed to get a grip, Derek didn’t like him like that, wouldn’t ever like him like that, all he was doing right now was looking after a member of his pack who was struggling, and if Stiles didn’t sort himself out soon he was sure they’d all get fed up of it, he was kind of surprised that none of them had already complained about their disturbed sleep.

He woke up on Saturday morning and for the first time since this extended sleepover had started, didn’t wake anyone else up. He was drenched in sweat and shaking but at least he wasn’t crying or screaming. He managed to extract himself from the pile without too much trouble and couldn’t help the smile on his lips as he looked at them all sleeping peacefully, it would be wrong if he didn’t take a picture. He picked up his phone snapping a picture quickly and heading into the kitchen laughing to himself.

The sun was already up but it was early enough that nobody was up and about yet, he needed to get out of the house and he needed to burn off some magic, it would make sense to go for a run, use his magic to enhance his speed and his ability, take a quick run through the preserve, half an hour would hopefully rid his body of this tingling, nobody would know, it would be fine.

He grabbed his trainers, threw on a pair of shorts, his t-shirt would be fine, and headed outside, it was cold, the first morning of autumn, Stiles loved this time of year, the way his breath clouded the air in front of him and the trees starting to change colours. He ran left, heading towards the preserve, using his magic to make himself run faster, quickly reaching one of the paths that travelled through the preserve. He barely broke a sweat, running through the trees, listening to the sounds of the forest, his magic was humming happily, glad to be used, wanting to do more, he made himself run faster, running from the path and jumping over some logs, using his magic to make sure he hit the ground gracefully on the other side.

He ran through the preserve, out to the other end, before deciding to head back, at least the tingling was starting to fade, he did the same thing on the way back so that by the time his house came into sight he was drenched in sweat and panting for breath. He started towards the front door when it opened and Peter came out, looking incredibly angry, Stiles stilled in his tracks.

“Where the hell have you been?” Peter hissed angrily getting closer and Stiles fought the urge to back away. Peter didn’t wait for an answer, instead grabbing him by the arm and dragging him back into the house.

“Peter, let go.” Stiles whispered, glancing at the still sleeping pack on the floor as they headed towards the kitchen.

“Let go!? Let go!?” Peter scoffed, not caring about the volume of his voice, heading towards Derek’s bag and rooting through the contents.

“What the hell are you doing!? Get off me.” Stiles said, pulling at Peter’s grip and wincing as it tightened slightly.

“What am I doing? What have you been doing Stiles?” Peter asked, grinning triumphantly as he pulled out a pair of handcuffs and Stiles froze, staring at him in shock and not moving quick enough to stop Peter from handcuffing him to the table leg.

“What’s going on?” Derek mumbled as he entered the kitchen, rubbing the sleep from his eyes and blinking a few times before grinning at Stiles handcuffed to the table. It really shouldn’t look as good as it did, especially when he could smell the anger rolling off Peter. He blinked a few more times, tried to forget about the thought of storming over there and kissing Stiles when he couldn’t run away.

“You want me to tell you what is going on?” Peter seethed.

“I went for a run!” Stiles interrupted, “Jeez! What’s the big deal?” Derek tensed up immediately.

“You went out for a run? By yourself?” Derek growled, dangerously close to losing control, he heard the pack waking up in the living room, knew they were all listening.

“I don’t think it’s really necessary to handcuff me to the table though.” Stiles complained.

“Really!?” Peter shouted and Stiles winced, no doubt the noise would wake his dad and Melissa up. “I think it’s necessary, I think it’s the only logical thing to do actually, because you seem to have no sense of self-preservation at all!”

“What’s happening?” Noah asked as he stumbled down the stairs, a little surprised to find his son handcuffed to the table, Peter standing nearby shouting at him and the rest of the pack starting to gather in the doorway.

“Oh, nothing, nothing, just your son deciding it’s a good idea to just ignore the rule about never being alone!” Peter shouted and Noah frowned.

“Stiles…” He began and Stiles grimaced, he knew he was in for it now, his dad was using his disappointed tone.

“Oh, no, not yet, that’s not even the best part!” Peter said angrily, glaring at Stiles, “Because, weirdly, we were having a conversation the other night about a plan your genius of a son came up with for finding Gerard, want to know what it involved?” Stiles paled slightly and Noah gritted his teeth.

“What plan?” Derek growled.

“Nothing, we talked about it, decided it was a bad idea, I promised I wouldn’t even mention it again.” Stiles informed them.

“Yeah, you don’t mention it, doesn’t mean you’re not still planning it! Let me guess,” Peter said, pulling Stiles’ phone from his pocket, “You’ve got your tracking on, so, what exactly was your plan here Stiles? Go out for a run, lure them out, trick them into kidnapping you, get us to track your phone? What about if they threw your phone away? What if they just killed you outright this time? What happens then, you idiot!?”

There was silence and Stiles studied his hands, not looking at any of them.

“Please tell me you are not that stupid?” Noah whispered and Stiles still refused to meet their gaze, how could he even begin to explain that he would have been able to deal with Gerard even if he had attacked?

“I had a second tracker.” He mumbled and Noah slammed his hand down on the table.

“Damn it Stiles! Do you have a death wish? Do you get a thrill out of this or something? How could you ever think of doing something so dangerous? You wanted them to kidnap you? Knowing what they did to you last time?”

“They’re going to take someone at some point.” Stiles said, “It’s the only logical thing for them to do. If you guys haven’t thought of it yet then you’ll think of it eventually, it makes sense, no way are they going to attack us head on, they can’t watch all of us at all times to figure out who the warlocks are, the only logical thing for them to do is to take one of us and try and get the information from us. It made sense to make myself a target.”

“How the hell does it make sense for you to be a target?” Noah hissed. “If you know they’re going to try and take one of us then it makes more sense for us to stick in larger groups.”

“No, it doesn’t. We need to end things, not drag them out even longer.”

“But why you?” Erica asked, “Why not one of us?”

“Because I’m not going to let any of you go through that! You think I’d let any of you suffer like that if I can help it? Isn’t it bad enough that I have nightmares? What? One of you wants to have them too? I’ve let you guys down too many times already, I have to protect you from this, however I can.” Stiles shouted, rattling the handcuffs slightly when he stood up.

“Stiles, it’s not your job to protect us.” Derek said sadly, “Pack means that we protect each other, we look out for each other.”

“You shouldn’t have done it, none of us had even noticed that you’d left, if they’d taken you then, it might have been hours before we realised you were gone.” Scott said, placing a comforting hand on Stiles’ shoulder.

“Alright, so we adjust it, make it a better plan.” Stiles muttered.

“No. There will be no plan that involves you getting kidnapped, it’s not going to happen. No.” Noah said angrily. “If you want to come up with a better plan that’s fine, but there is no way in hell that I am ever going to let those bastards get their hands on you again. I won’t allow it. I’ll die before I let them touch you.”

“Nobody is dying.” Peter said. “But, until we’re sure Stiles isn’t going to try anything so stupid again, I vote we keep the handcuffs on.”

“I won’t.” Stiles said innocently, “I promise.”

“You’ll excuse me if I don’t believe your promises.” Peter scoffed.

“I’m with Peter on this one.” Noah said pouring a cup of coffee and taking a sip.

“You know he has a kink about handcuffs though?” Stiles said lightly and Noah spat out his coffee.

“Excuse me!?”

“I do not!” Peter said blushing.

“Anyway, I need a shower before I go across to Luke’s, so, can you take these off?” He rattled the cuffs, knowing he could easily just unlock them with magic but that would kind of ruin the secret.

“You think it’s a good idea going to his today?” Jackson asked, “I mean, they might notice you leaving, follow you, see you going into his shop, it might be kind of a giveaway?”

“Jackson’s right.” Noah said seriously, “And, you should be grateful that I’m even letting you leave the house after this stunt.”

“Fine, I’ll call Luke and tell him I’m not coming. Happy?” Stiles said, wishing that they’d just take the handcuffs off already, Peter had tightened them a little too much in his anger and his wrists were starting to hurt a bit.

“Happy? No. I won’t be happy until this is over. But, will I let you go to Harry’s? I guess so.” Noah said and Stiles gritted his teeth and tried to control his magic, it wanted him to show them just how powerful he was, how he could kill Gerard without a thought, that he wouldn’t be in danger, that he could take care of himself. He took a deep breath and forced his magic down, they couldn’t know, if they knew they’d be in danger. It had to stay secret.

“Thank you.” He said stiffly, “Now, can you please take these off?”

“I think they should stay on a little while, teach you not to go running off by yourself again.” Boyd said and Stiles glared at him.

“Good idea Boyd. Now, anyone want breakfast?” Noah said smirking, moving over to the fridge while Stiles pulled against the handcuffs slightly. Stiles took a few more deep breaths, he would not use magic to get out of this, it wasn’t a big deal, he was safe here, they weren’t trying to hurt him, just jokingly punish him for running off. He sat down on the nearest chair and closed his eyes, taking slow even breaths and trying not to start freaking out.

Derek couldn’t believe that Stiles had done something so stupid, he’d put himself at risk again to protect them, Derek was going to have a serious talk with him about it, didn’t Stiles realise that without him they’d probably all fall apart.

Noah started cooking some bacon, some of the pack pouring themselves some cereal instead. Stiles was sat at the table frowning in concentration, his eyes closed and his heart beat steady, Derek wished he knew what to say, something that would convince Stiles not to be so careless with his life.

“Can you take them off now?” Stiles asked as soon as everyone had sat down with breakfast.

“Not yet. I don’t think you’ve learned you lesson yet.” Peter smirked.

“Okay, I get it. No more running off. Take them off.” Stiles said forcefully.

“No.” Peter replied, eating his breakfast slowly.

Stiles was trying to keep his breathing as even as possible, trying to keep his heartbeat steady, trying not to panic, but the longer he sat there and the handcuffs cut into his skin the more he struggled, he kept seeing flashes of Gerard, laughing at him as he hung uselessly, blood running down his arms as the chains cut into his wrists and Stiles screamed.

“I need you to take them off.” Stiles said seriously.

“What? So, you can run off? Not yet.” Peter retorted grinning as Jackson and Isaac both laughed. Stiles sighed heavily, he needed them off, he needed them off now, he squared his shoulders, taking a slow breath in and then out, he would not beg or break down about this, he had withstood more than this, Ben taunting him as he hit him with the whip as Stiles struggled to get free and the chains cut deep into his flesh.

Derek was eating a sandwich when he heard Stiles’ heart start to beat faster, he glanced across at him, he had his eyes scrunched close in concentration, sweat forming on his forehead, Derek knew straight away that something was wrong, getting out of his seat and moving quickly to Stiles.

“What’s wrong?” Derek asked in worry, ignoring the looks he was getting from the rest of the pack, knowing they were only just beginning to pick up on Stiles’ distress.

“Take them off.” Stiles muttered and Derek glanced down at the handcuffs and winced, Stiles’ skin looked red and angry around the cuffs where he’d obviously pulled at them, “Please.” He whispered and Derek paled, Peter handed him the keys quickly looking horrified, like he might be about to throw up, Derek unlocked the cuffs as quickly as he could and Stiles jumped to his feet, rubbing at his wrists and refusing to look at him, at any of them, instead studying the ground.

“Stiles, I’m so sorry.” Peter began, “I didn’t mean… I didn’t know… I just…”

“It’s nothing.” Stiles said quietly. “I’m going to go get a shower.” He said, practically running out of the room, up the stairs and locking himself in the bathroom, trying to calm down, he’d been so close to losing control, so close to just snapping the cuffs himself, plagued with thoughts of Gerard and Ben, could feel the blood running down his arms, Erica and Boyd begging him to help them. When Derek had taken the cuffs off he was well on the way to a panic attack, he’d needed to get out of there before they saw how pathetic he was.

He stood in the shower for what felt like hours, rubbing at the red marks on his wrists, washing the sweat from his body, muttering curses under his breath the entire time, how could he possibly think he could fight Gerard when he could barely hold himself together most of the time?

What he needed was a way to get past this, he’d tried various sleeping spells but none of them had made any difference to his nightmares, the potion Luke had given him had done the job, but anything could have happened in the time he was asleep and he wouldn’t have known. What he needed was a way to get rid of the nightmares, so that he didn’t have them in the first place, a way to get rid of the memories.

He stilled, unable to believe he’d never thought of it before, he jumped out of the shower, threw on some clothes and went back downstairs to grab his phone, calling Luke quickly and ignoring the pack as they hovered in the kitchen, waiting for him to speak.

“Luke, hey, quick question…”

“Morning to you Stiles.” Luke replied groggily. “Are you on your way?”

“No, I’m not going to make it today, but I’ll be at Harry’s later if you’re around?”

“Yeah, sure, so what’s the question?”

“I want to wipe my memory.”

“What!?” Noah shouted but Stiles ignored him.

“You want to wipe your memory?” Luke asked for clarification. “Can I ask why?”

“No.”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea.” Luke advised.

“But it’s possible?”

“Yes, it’s possible, but, Stiles, listen, your memories make you who you are. If you remove some of them, or all of them, then you won’t be you anymore.”

“Okay, I’ll think about it.”

“There’s nothing to think about.” Noah said, “I’m not letting you have your memory wiped. It’s not happening.”

“We’ll talk about this at Harry’s later. I’ll see you there in a couple of hours.” Luke said before disconnecting the phone.

“You can’t do it.” Scott said seriously, “I mean, you heard him, if you do it, you won’t be you anymore.”

“I’ll talk to him first, okay? Then I’ll go from there.”

“You won’t make the decision today?” Noah asked.

“No. I think I can handle a few more nightmares.” Stiles admitted.

“I’m so sorry Stiles, I didn’t realise.” Peter blurted out and Stiles shrugged.

“It’s no big deal.” He replied, pulling on the sleeves of his jumper to make sure they covered the red marks on his wrists.

“It is to me. I didn’t mean to.”

“I know. Anyway, I want food, any bacon left?” He asked, moving into the kitchen and making himself a sandwich, hoping the rest of the pack took the hint that he didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

“What time do you need to be at Harry’s?” Cora asked.

“An hour or so I guess.” Stiles replied.

“If you think that Gerard and whoever he is working with might attack, you shouldn’t take just one person with you, maybe more?” Noah suggested

“I’m taking one person to keep you happy, I’m not taking anyone else, it’s embarrassing enough that you think I need a bodyguard.”

“It’s not a bodyguard.” Noah insisted.

“Alright then, I’ll take Lydia with me.” Stiles said.

“No. You take a wolf, someone able to protect you, not saying that you can’t Lydia, but Jackson would drive us all insane until you got back.” Noah said then sighed, “I guess that would count as a bodyguard.” Stiles smirked, knowing he’d won this round.

“What are the rest of you up to today?” Stiles asked.

“We need to go get some more food.” Erica said, “Then homework I guess, maybe we could go out for a run later? I don’t know about everyone else, but this house arrest stuff is really starting to get to me.”

“Sounds good.” Scott grinned.

“Count me in.” Cora smiled.

They chatted for a little longer before Derek got to his feet a little nervously, he wasn’t sure what he was letting himself in for here, maybe it would be better if someone else went, that way he wouldn’t end up tearing anybody’s throat out, but he wanted to be there.

“You ready to go?” Stiles asked him a moment later and Derek nodded, he’d get the whole car ride there and back alone with Stiles, that had to be worth controlling his arousal for the rest of the afternoon.

They drove in Derek’s car, mainly because it was faster than Stiles’ jeep and Derek was a faster driver and if they needed to get anywhere quickly it made more sense for them to be in Derek’s car. Stiles looked a little nervous when they set off and Derek wasn’t sure why, he wanted to ask him but he wasn’t sure if Stiles would just get annoyed at him.

Stiles was so nervous he felt sick, Derek was going to be watching him at his shoot, what if he accidently got a hard on? It wasn’t the first time, although usually it was because Andy was leaving hickeys on his neck, but still, Stiles liked Derek, like, really liked him, and what if Stiles embarrassed himself today? They seemed to be getting on better recently, even if Stiles was sure that Derek was getting fed up of waking up with Stiles’ screams, and Stiles didn’t want to ruin that. He knew he didn’t stand a chance with Derek, but he didn’t want to ruin whatever kind of friendship they had at the moment.

“Are you always this nervous?” Derek asked and Stiles jumped slightly.

“I’m not nervous.”

“I can smell it.” Derek said rolling his eyes.

“Alright, so I’m nervous. So what?”

“Okay, I’m just asking.” Derek relented.

“Harry asked me the other day if I mind getting wet, and then when I said that I was a reasonable swimmer but I didn’t want dumping in the middle of the ocean he told me I was too innocent.” Stiles said, blurting out the first thing he could think of.

“You’re worried because you think Harry is going to dump you in the ocean?” Derek asked confused, unable to stop the fond smile on his lips, Stiles didn’t seem to notice.

“I don’t know what he’s going to do. I think it won’t be in the ocean, because we’re going to the studio, but I don’t like not knowing what’s happening, I kind of wish he’d just told me on the phone.”

“He asked you if you mind getting wet and your first thought is getting thrown in the ocean?” Derek laughed.

“Yeah, why? What’s your first thought?” Stiles asked glancing at him.

“For a porn magazine? Pool maybe? Or shower?” Derek suggested, trying not to think of Stiles in the shower, he couldn’t make this anymore awkward for Stiles. He really needed some alone time sometime soon, spending every night holding Stiles and not doing anything about it was making things extremely uncomfortable for him.

“Oh.” Stiles said in surprise, “That makes more sense I guess.” Derek smiled to himself, Harry was right, Stiles was so innocent sometimes.

They drove in silence until they got to the warehouse, Derek was a bit annoyed to see Andy outside he’d hoped for a few more minutes alone with Stiles but that wasn’t going to happen.

“Stiles!” Andy said in greeting as soon as they got out of the car and walking over towards them, “You looking forward to today? I hear Harry has something special planned.” He continued, throwing an arm around Stiles’ shoulder and steering him towards the doorway. Stiles glanced back at Derek who scowled but moved forwards, following them in, if Andy was going to act like a prick and ignore him then Derek was going to show him just who he was messing with.

“Morning!” Harry shouted when he saw Stiles, moving over towards them, Andy was still holding Stiles’ shoulder pulling him closer to him and Derek tried his best not to growl, instead just clenching his fists tightly for a moment and taking a deep breath. He didn’t miss Andy turn to look at him when Stiles was talking to Harry and smirk at him, he obviously knew how much Derek liked Stiles and was doing his best to piss him off. “Derek, good to see you again.” Harry said. “You’ll excuse me if we don’t spend a lot of time with small talk, we’ve got a lot to get done today before the deadline. I made sure everyone else finished up this morning, we’ve just got Stiles left to shoot.”

“Sure.” Derek replied, following them towards the back of the warehouse, Stiles walked a little faster and Derek couldn’t help his smirk of satisfaction when Andy’s hand dropped from his shoulder.

“Clothes are in the changing room, go get changed and we’ll get started.” Harry said quickly, almost shoving Stiles through the curtain. “Andy, you’re done for the day, so if you want to head home?”

“It’s cool. I’ll hang out here for a bit.” Andy grinned, hopping up onto one of the nearby tables, Derek crossed his arms across his chest, he was going to struggle not to kill Andy before the end of the day. “Stiles? You still wearing that necklace I bought you?” Andy shouted, smirking at Derek the entire time.

“Yeah? Why?” Stiles called back.

“No reason. Just checking.” Andy grinned.

“Play nice boys or I’ll kick you both out.” Harry said quietly.

“So why did you get everyone to finish early?” Derek asked in curiosity.

“Well, after everything that’s happened recently, I thought it would be a good idea to keep numbers strictly limited while Stiles was here.”

“Why?” Andy asked, “What else has happened? I mean other than Tim and that guy the other week?”

“I’m pretty sure these jeans are cutting off the circulation to important parts.” Stiles shouted and Harry grinned.

“That’s the idea, now get out here so we can get to work.” Harry replied, ignoring Andy’s question completely.

Derek was prepared, he could handle seeing Stiles in whatever it was he was wearing, he was ready for this. Stiles stepped out and Derek felt his breath catch, he was wearing tight black jeans and a rather loose short sleeved dark t-shirt that showed the edge of his lichtenberg scar, Derek was a little surprised he figured that the t-shirt would be tight too, but he wasn’t going to question Harry’s judgement. Stiles had on his usual cuffs, thankfully they covered the red marks at his wrists, he wouldn’t be able to even begin to explain how much they’d messed up on that one, and bare feet, his toes curling against the floor as he stood there waiting.

“You look great.” Andy said and Stiles blushed slightly.

“So what’s the plan?” Stiles asked sounding a little nervous.

“Don’t worry no ocean swimming.” Harry grinned, walking towards one of the rooms as Stiles followed him. “Just a shower.”

“Seriously?” Stiles asked puzzled. “And that’s hot how?”

“Just trust me. Believe me or not I know what I’m doing.” Harry explained, turning on the shower and stepping out of the way of the spray.

“You just want me to step in?” Stiles asked and Harry nodded grabbing his camera. Stiles shrugged and stepped into the spray, turning his back to them as the water soaked him, Derek could smell the arousal coming from Andy and he could completely understand why, as his t-shirt got wet it stuck and clung to him, emphasizing his broad shoulders and narrow hips, not to mention that his ass looked amazing in those jeans, Derek could already feel himself growing hard and had to take a few calming breaths in order to focus properly. He wasn’t here to perv on Stiles, he was here to protect him.

“Great, now, side profile.” Harry shouted and Stiles turned sideways, “Tilt your head up, perfect.” Stiles was stood under the spray, his clothes soaked and sticking to him in all the right places, he’d tilted his head up, his throat exposed and his eyes closed as the water ran down his face. He ran a hand quickly across his face swiping at the water, his hair sticking up in all directions. “Okay, turn to look at me.” Derek wasn’t sure how he kept breathing steadily, Stiles looked amazing, it was taking everything he had not to stride over to him and kiss him right now, it wasn’t fair. “Fingers in your belt loops, look a little fed up, great.” Harry continued.

Derek was achingly hard by the time they were done, he had never been so desperate to touch Stiles as he was right now, he needed to go find somewhere private for an hour and sort himself out. Stiles was still soaking and shivering a little bit as he headed back towards the changing rooms, Derek watched him leave, knowing that Andy was doing the same thing, it annoyed the hell out of him.

“I guess we’re done for the day. I need to have a chat with Stiles about something, Andy why don’t you go home.”

“I don’t mind waiting until you’re finished.” Andy said.

“You can ask Stiles, but we’re going to be a couple of hours.”

“I’ll go speak to him.” Andy replied, hurrying across to the changing rooms, Derek listened to their conversation without moving. “Stiles?”

“What’s up?”

“I just wanted to see if you were free tonight? We could hang out?”

“I can’t dude, my dad has still got me on lockdown. Maybe next week?” Stiles asked, Derek heard something fall over and Stiles curse.

“You okay?” Andy asked.

“Fine. Just these stupid jeans, I’m pretty sure they’re stuck.” Stiles sighed.

“Need a hand? I mean, I’ve been trying to get your jeans off for a while, this is one way to do it.” Andy said and Stiles snorted out a laugh.

“Aren’t you supposed to joke about getting into my pants? Not about getting my jeans off?” Stiles laughed.

“I’ll take what I can get.” Andy smiled, “So? You want a hand?”

“Nah, I’ve got it now.” Stiles said, throwing the wet jeans over the top off the curtain so that they landed on Andy.

“Seriously!?” Andy shouted jokingly.

“What? I thought you wanted my jeans?” Stiles laughed from inside the changing room.

“You’re such an idiot.” Andy said fondly. “Want a hand with your shirt too?”

“Nope, I’ve got that one sorted.” Stiles said, Derek fought back a laugh when Stiles’ wet t-shirt smacked Andy in the face.

“You’re not free tonight then?” Andy asked when Stiles came back out, considerable drier and wearing his own clothes.

“Nope sorry, dad’s being a little overprotective and wants me straight home.”

“I could come with you if you like? We could hang out? Watch a film or something?”

“Erm, that’s probably not the best idea. Scott’s house is out of action at the moment and he’s crashing at mine, so is his mum and a couple of other kids from school.”

“And you’d be all embarrassed making out in front of them?” Andy teased and Stiles blushed.

“You know that’s not on the cards.” Stiles replied.

“No harm in asking.” Andy grinned and Stiles shrugged, thankfully before Stiles could reply the door banged open and Luke walked in, glancing at Andy and then Derek before smirking to himself and heading towards Harry and Derek.

“Honestly, if you get any more jealous you’ll be growing claws.” Luke muttered quietly in greeting and Derek blushed.

“I’m not…”

“Jealous? Of course you are. I can see your aura, remember? And jealous isn’t the only thing you are right now. I need to speak to Stiles privately, why don’t you make the most of your alone time?” He said raising an eyebrow and, if possible, Derek blushed an even brighter red.

“Hey.” Stiles said as he approached them, looking at Derek in curiosity before turning to Luke. “Everything okay?”

“Fine.” Luke grinned, “Just offering Derek some advice. Andy, if you’ll excuse us I need to speak to Stiles privately.”

“Sure.” Andy said, pulling Stiles into a surprise hug and pressing his lips to his neck. “See you later.”

“Erm, yeah, bye.” Stiles said looking a little stunned, he wasn’t sure what had gotten into Andy today but he would have to tell him to take it down a notch, the guy knew that he didn’t like being touched without being told about it first, to pull him into a hug like that, and kissing his neck, well that was weird, he wondered what was going on with him, he’d have to speak to him about it.

“Stiles, we need to talk.” Luke said, dragging him towards the office, “Derek, kitchen is down the corridor and to the right, go make yourself a drink or something.”

“And don’t panic.” Harry continued, “We’ll be casting a soundproofing spell, it’ll mean you can hear our heartbeats but not our conversation.”

“Erm…” Derek began not sure where he was going with that.

“It’s nothing to worry about, there’s just a few things we need to talk to Stiles about.” Luke added.

“I thought there weren’t any more secrets? Can’t I hear about it?” He asked.

“Well, if you want to make sure that all of our secrets are out in the open that’s fine, let’s start with your secrets.” Luke grinned behind Stiles’ back.

“What secrets?” Stiles asked.

“No. It’s fine. You go talk about whatever. I’m going to get a coffee.” Derek said, striding away as quickly as he could. He was a little annoyed, he wanted to know what Harry and Luke were hiding but he wasn’t going to push it. If they were going to be a couple of hours, then Derek would find a way to kill time. He found a bathroom that smelled like it had been recently cleaned and headed in, locking the door behind him, as soon as the door was shut he undid his jeans and reached down to stroke his cock, it responded instantly, he thought of Stiles stood in the shower earlier, the t-shirt sticking to his skin, how good it would feel to pull that shirt off, touch his wet skin, run his hands over him, it didn’t take him long to cum and it felt so god damn amazing that his legs were shaking slightly.

He cleaned himself up quickly and left the bathroom, heading into the kitchen and making himself a cup of coffee, he felt so much more relaxed now, it had definitely taken the edge off things.

“We can’t talk long; I’m sure Derek is already trying to eavesdrop.” Stiles said as they sat in the office, missing the way that Luke and Harry both rolled their eyes.

“Fine. Let’s talk about this brilliant idea to erase your memories.” Luke sighed.

“It’s only one night I want erased, surely that isn’t going to change me that much?”

“The night Gerard had you?” Harry asked for clarity and Stiles nodded.

“Stiles, there’s something we need to discuss, something we haven’t discussed before, although how it’s never come up is a mystery to me.” Luke said, Stiles felt a little nervous at how serious he sounded, Luke pulled a few books from his bag, the last one looked very old, hundreds of years old at the very least, he passed it across to Stiles. “This is a diary, from a Zduhać, about eighteen hundred years old so please be very careful with it.”

“Okay.” Stiles whispered, looking at the book with awe, “How did you get it?”

“With a lot of work.” Luke smiled, “It’s yours, to keep, perhaps you can learn a thing or two from it.”

“Thanks.” Stiles replied distractedly, already studying the cover, wondering what secrets it might hold. “How does this relate to what we’ve never discussed before?” He asked.

“It doesn’t.” Luke smiled fondly, “It arrived this morning and I wanted to give it to you before I forgot.”

“The thing we’ve never discussed is how you got your powers.” Harry said and Stiles tore his gaze from the book to look at him.

“I thought I just always had them, I just didn’t know about it?”

“No. You didn’t.” Luke started and Stiles waited for him to continue, he needed to know what he meant, “You’re a descendent of the first Zduhać but the powers don’t go to every descendent and they aren’t born with them, they earn them.”

“Earn them? How?” Stiles asked in confusion.

“We’ve discussed before, about being worthy, well, you proved yourself and that’s why you got your powers. You didn’t have them when Gerard tortured you but you did have them a week later.”

“But it’s supposed to be about protecting your lands and stuff, isn’t it? So why doesn’t dad have them? I mean, it’s his literal job to protect the town, shouldn’t he have powers too?”

“If it worked like that, Zduhaćs would have never died out in the first place. Stiles, what I’m trying to tell you is that you got your powers that night, and if you wipe it out, erase it, there’s a serious chance that it will remove your powers too.” Luke finished and Stiles stared at him stunned. Those were his choices? Try and live with the nightmares and keep his powers, or try and remove the memories and probably lose them.

“But, I didn’t protect them, not that night, I tried to, but I couldn’t. So, that can’t be when I got them.”

“You told me that Gerard dumped you at the Hale house, that you were supposed to die there.” Harry began.

“So?”

“You didn’t. You got up. You forced yourself to live when it would have been easier to die, and you did it to protect your dad. It’s easy to say you’ll die for someone, it’s easy to do it, but to live for them, to be so scared and in so much pain that it would be easy to give in, and to make yourself stand up and carry on, all in an effort to protect those closest to you, to make sure your dad wasn’t the one to find your body, to make sure Derek wasn’t framed for your murder, that takes more strength than anything. To live, not for yourself, but to protect them, that’s what gave you your powers.” Harry explained.

“You can’t know that for sure, I mean, I could have done something else that week instead?” Stiles tried.

“What did you do that week? Lie to all of them so they didn’t know what had happened? To protect them. Stay in your room so that you didn’t have to move and give the game away? Face it Stiles, you got your powers that night, there’s no getting around it, and if you wipe it from your mind, the strength you found that night, that magic recognized it and decided you were worthy, that could all be lost. Is it really worth it? Think how much your life has changed in the past few months, you took out a soul eater, defeated the Alpha pack, saved your pack from certain death time and time again. If you didn’t have your powers you won’t be able to help like that again in the future. Is it worth it?” Luke queried.

Stiles sat in silence, they were right, without his powers he wouldn’t be able to help, not in the same way that he had been doing, he’d be back to doing research, back to trying to outsmart the enemy and hiding in the background. He wouldn’t be able to save them; he probably wouldn’t even be able to save himself, and now, with his dad in the know, it was even more important to protect them. He’d just have to handle the nightmares.

“Okay.” He sighed in defeat, “I get it, no memory wipe.”

“You will get past this Stiles.” Harry reassured him. “You’re stronger than you know.”

“I hope you’re right.”

“Time heals everything, in a few years you’ll look back on this and wonder how you could have even contemplated giving up your powers, especially as you’ll only grow in power as time goes on.” Luke grinned.

“I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.” Stiles replied, launching into an explanation about how he’d had to go for a run this morning just to reduce the magic buzzing under his skin.

“You’ll need to start putting more into your staff.” Luke said and Stiles frowned.

“And if that’s buzzing too?” He asked, he hadn’t put any in all week after it had started almost vibrating in his hand.

“How are you feeling now?” Harry queried.

“Okay, I used a lot of magic on my run this morning so it’s not so bad, but now I’m not using to keep myself awake there seems to be a lot more of it.”

“It’ll take you a little while to adjust to it, there’s a lot of power in you Stiles, a couple of weeks and it should settle down.”

“Until then? There’s no chance in hell anyone is going to let me be alone long enough to use any magic.”

“We’ll come see you, mid-week after school, say that we need to borrow you for something and then you can use up some of that magic, do the same on Saturday and hopefully after that you should be nearly adjusted.” Luke suggested.

“Sounds good to me.” Stiles said, standing up and holding the book carefully. “I should probably get back to Derek, he’s probably bored out of his mind by now.”

“I’m sure he’s fine.” Harry grinned, dropping the spell that kept Derek from hearing them and opening the door.

Derek had finished his coffee within a few minutes, he’d picked up one of the magazines from the table before realising that it was a copy of last week’s magazine, he flicked through it quickly, finding the pictures of Stiles and stilling, he looked incredible, Derek could feel his cock hardening again already, he paused, listening to the three heartbeats in the office before deciding he’d have time to go to the bathroom again, this time taking the magazine with him.

He had only just finished when he heard Stiles’ voice, he cleaned himself as quickly as he could, accidently splashing water on his jeans and groaning, this was not what he needed!

“Derek?” Stiles’ voice drifted from nearby, probably looking in the kitchen.

“In here.” He called out so that Stiles didn’t worry, staring at the magazine in his hands in horror, if Stiles saw him with that there would be no denying what Derek had been doing. He shoved it into the bin as quickly as he could and moved towards the door, glancing quickly in the mirror to make sure he didn’t look to flustered. Stiles was leaning against the opposite wall when Derek came out and he looked a little confused.

“All finished?” Stiles asked and Derek nodded, wiping his hands on his jeans and trying not to blush at the thought of what he’d just been doing. “Alright, well, I’m ready when you are.” Stiles continued, holding his bag almost protectively to his side.

“Okay.” Derek muttered, moving back towards the main room and the exit.

“See you later Stiles!” Harry called from his office and Stiles waved back at both Harry and Luke.

“Bye Derek!” Luke shouted and Derek nodded in their direction.

“Are you feeling okay?” Stiles asked when they got in the car and Derek nodded, he wasn’t, he’d nearly been caught, caught doing something that would revolt Stiles and drive him away. Stiles would hate him, there was no way he could tell him. “You sure?”

“Yeah.” Derek replied, clearing his throat slightly and trying not to think about how amazing his second orgasm had been.

By the time they got home Derek had relaxed slightly, Stiles had spent most of the trip chattering away, no longer as nervous as he had been earlier, instead he seemed to have an air of excitement about him, Derek wondered what Harry and Luke had told him to put make him so energetic, Derek dreaded the thought that they’d agreed to remove Stiles’ memories, but he couldn’t bring himself to ask, if Stiles decided to get rid of his memories it would change him, Derek knew that for a fact, he wasn’t sure if it would change him for better or for worse, but he knew that Stiles wouldn’t be this Stiles anymore and that scared him.

“Did you talk to Luke?” Noah asked as soon as they walked through the door, Stiles glancing around the kitchen in surprise, the counters were piled high with food, somebody had obviously gone shopping.

“Yeah I did.” Stiles said, moving to the nearest bag and starting to put stuff away, oblivious to the way everyone seemed to tense, waiting for him to continue.

“And?” Scott asked impatiently.

“They’ve convinced me it’s a bad idea.” Stiles replied, not looking at any of them, instead seeming to be incredibly interested in the contents of the bag in front of him, “Guess you guys will just have to put up with me like this for now.” Derek let go the breath that he’d been holding, as much as he hated Stiles having nightmares he was glad that he wasn’t going to get any of his memories removed.

“I think we can handle that.” Aiden smiled and Stiles turned to look at him in surprise. “So, how was the rest of your day? Did you get dumped in the ocean?” Stiles laughed and Derek couldn’t help his smile at that, he loved when Stiles laughed.

“Nope, just a shower.”

“With your clothes on though, right?” Noah asked and Stiles nodded.

“Yep. Plus, just to make you feel even better, Harry made sure everyone else had finished by the time we got there so no chance of anyone deciding it’s their turn to have a go at killing me.” Stiles grinned, moving to put away more food.

“So it was just you there?” Cora asked.

“Andy was there too.” Stiles shrugged, oblivious to the others turning to look at Derek in surprise, Noah actually checking to make sure there was no blood on his clothes.

“And there weren’t any issues?” Peter asked, more to Derek than to Stiles.

“Nope. Everything was fine.” Stiles replied casually. “Other than he wanted to hang out but I told him you’ve got me on lockdown for the time being.” Stiles said to Noah. “I figured that was easier than explaining that I’m not allowed to even go to the toilet on my own. Oh, and Scott’s house was out of action and he was staying here for a little time at the very least.”

“That’s it?” Erica asked sounding surprised.

“Yeah.” Stiles concluded.

“So what did Luke and Harry say to convince you it was a bad idea?” Lydia asked and Stiles hesitated, he couldn’t exactly tell them it was because he would probably lose his magic.

“Just that, you know, the experience has made me stronger and that if I lost that then I wouldn’t know how strong I am. You know, the usual stuff.”

“They’re right.” Noah muttered, “I’m glad you listen to them at least.”

“Obviously, I mean, if I didn’t they’d make me pay for it big time.” Stiles joked. “Anyway, weren’t you guys going to go for a run?”

“Aren’t you coming with us?” Erica asked and Stiles shook his head.

“Actually, Luke gave me a couple of books to read, he thought maybe there’d be something in them to help with finding Gerard.”

“And he asked you to look because?” Jackson asked, Stiles shrugged.

“He’s a busy guy, he can’t be expected to remember every spell he’s ever read, besides, a fresh set of eyes never hurt anyone.” Stiles replied, having put all the groceries away and moving towards the table.

“I can help you with that.” Lydia said, “There’s no chance I’m going for a run.”

“We’ll get started on tea.” Melissa said to the rest of them, placing a hand on Noah’s arm to indicate he would help. “The rest of you go out and enjoy yourselves. Be back in two hours.” She practically shoved the rest of them out of the door and Stiles chuckled to himself, pulling out the diary that Luke had given him as well as three other books that he’d been wanting to read through.

Lydia sat next to him, looking at the books with a kind of reverence, it was obvious that they were old books and had somehow survived the passage of time without too much damage. The diary was calling to Stiles, he really wanted to read it but it would probably be too obvious if he grabbed it straight away.

“Stiles, these are in languages I can’t read.” Lydia whispered almost shamefully and Stiles frowned, he’d forgotten she wouldn’t be able to read them.

“Don’t worry about it, we can do some homework instead.” He said, moving to put the books away.

“You can read them!?” Lydia said in astonishment.

“Bits and pieces yeah, Luke has a load of them at his house, he spent the summer teaching me odd words, so I could at least pick out what was relevant and what wasn’t.” Stiles said, glad there were no wolves around to hear his lie.

“What languages are they?” Melissa asked from across the kitchen and Stiles glanced at the books.

“Erm, Amharic, Serbian, Swahili and Ancient Greek.” He explained.

“And you’re going to be able to tell what they say so that you can make suggestions to Luke about how to find Gerard?” Noah asked, looking at the books over Stiles’ shoulder.

“Maybe.” Stiles lied, if there was anything in them he would find it.

“Well, you do that then.” Lydia said confidently, “And, maybe you could teach me some too? Then I can help too?”

“Sure thing.” Stiles grinned, scooting closer to Lydia and pulling one of the books closer. He read through the first page quickly, a spell to help grow body hair, he smirked to himself, shaking his head a little before glancing to Lydia, “This word is how we would say quickly, or rapidly,” He pointed to the word, “hair, growth, and this one is body. If I had to take a guess, I’d say it’s a spell to help you grow body hair.”

“That’s not very useful.” Lydia said, scribbling down the words in her notepad and their translations, Stiles flipped the page, this spell was to make alterations to your body and there was a drawing of a man with huge wings and claws and bright yellow eyes and a warning that the alterations couldn’t be controlled, he looked more than a little scary. “Please tell me that’s not a real thing.”

“No, it’s a human, one who’s altered his body.” Stiles said, pointing out key words to Lydia, “The caster used a nonverbal spell to make changes to their body, but here, this word, that’s warning, it’s saying that there’s a problem with the spell.” Stiles pretended to struggle for a moment before pointing out words to Lydia, “This says that the alterations can’t be controlled, so if you cast the spell you don’t know what you’re going to end up with, you might like lose weight but also grow horns, kind of not something you want to mess with.”

Lydia looked a little sick but scribbled down the relevant words and they carried on.

“Nonverbal spell?” She asked and Stiles nodded.

“You think the spell rather than say it, they’re more dangerous because there’s no guarantee that you can direct the magic how you want it to, and, obviously, this guy didn’t think about that.” Stiles gestured to the picture again and Lydia studied it carefully.

As it turned out, the book didn’t contain anything useful and Stiles was glad when they finished it, the spells just got more and more disturbing the longer they studied it. He could have just cast his own quick spell, read what was in it almost immediately and decided it was useless, but that would have been a bit of a giveaway to Lydia, Melissa and his dad. Instead he forced himself to continue, finishing the book about an hour and a half later and grinning at Lydia who had several pages of key words.

He was going to say that they could have a break for a bit when Lydia reached forward and picked up the diary.

“What’s this one?” She asked, passing it carefully to Stiles. He stroked the cover, unable to believe that he had a diary of another Zduhać in his hands, he tried to open it, pushing a little of his own magic into it to remove the spell in place and then listening to the crackling of paper as he turned to the first page.

‘Today I gained my powers, I am now a Zduhać, my father told me it would only be a matter of time, that I was the most likely to be worthy of them, but still I doubted him, four of my brothers have died in an attempt to gain their powers, I was sure this task would be the death of me too.’ Stiles silently read the lines in front of him, entranced, unable to tear his eyes from the page.

“Stiles? What does it say?” Lydia asked and Stiles jumped, for a moment he’d forgotten she was there.

“Erm, it’s a diary.” He answered truthfully.

“A diary?” Lydia said peering over his shoulder and then pausing, “Hang on, isn’t that word, I mean, Peter’s said that word before, Zduhać? That’s what he called them, isn’t it?” She said turning to Noah, “They were the ones at the top of the scale, weren’t they?”

“Scale?” Stiles asked in confusion, ignoring the racing of his heart, the panic surging through him when Lydia had said that word.

“Yeah, Peter explained that different casters have different abilities, that depending on what kind of caster you were depended on your power level. I’m sure he called them Zduhaćs, they were the highest known power at one point, before hunters wiped them out.” Lydia informed him and Stiles tried to keep his face neutral.

“Oh, right, well, that’s interesting.”

“No, what’s interesting is that you have a diary that mentions them, Peter would freak out if he saw this. Do you know what it says?” Lydia asked in excitement.

“Erm, it says that,” Stiles thought about lying, but if Peter found out about this no doubt he would sit and translate every word religiously. “Erm, that the person writing it became a Zduhać, that they gained their powers, and that, I think, erm, four of their brothers died trying to get them.”

“What!? Was it like a fight to the death or something?” Melissa asked in curiosity.

“Erm, give me a minute.” Stiles said, diving back into the diary and reading the rest of the page.

‘Somehow, I survived and those I care most about survived, that was all that mattered to me in that moment, that I was around to protect them, that they wouldn’t have to suffer the loss of another member of our lands. My father intends to teach me how to shift as soon as possible, the hunters have been narrowing down the search area, it is only a matter of time before they find us and I must ensure that I am ready to protect them in whatever way I can.’ Stiles kept reading, turning the page, holding the delicate paper in his fingertips as he got lost in the words, the next entry dated several weeks later. ‘I fought my first hunter today, he murdered a member of our sanctuary in order to draw my father out, thankfully my father was busy with other matters of importance, keeping him safe, and it was up to me to protect our village. I shifted, I burned the hunter with my fire, it did not burn as I thought it would, instead it was a warmth that ran through my throat, he died quickly. I wanted to tear him apart with my claws for the atrocity he had committed, but instead I gave him a quick death, a mercy killing. He should have thought to do the same for my kin, there was no need for his mercilessness to a member of our sanctuary.’

“We’re back!” Scott called happily, stumbling into the kitchen and startling Stiles, “All safe and sound.” He said, throwing an arm around Allison’s shoulder and pulling her into his side.

“Great! Where’s Peter? Stiles has got the most amazing book.” Lydia said quickly and Peter smirked as he approached them, “It’s a diary, written by a Zduhać.” She explained, Peter looked at it with awe, his mouth dropping open in surprise. “It’s in Serbian, but Stiles has translated a little bit already.”

“Really?” Peter said in shock, pulling out the chair next to Stiles, Stiles fought the urge to protect the diary, Peter wouldn’t dream of damaging it he was sure of that, “What does it say?”

“Erm, he got his powers, four of his brothers lost their lives in the attempt to gain theirs, and then here,” He pointed to where he’d just been reading, “It mentions hunters, they murdered someone, a sanctuary member, erm, a priest or something maybe? The Zduhać shifted, he says about his claws and that it was his fire, and that it didn’t burn like he thought it would.”

“He shifted? Into a dragon?” Peter said in shock, “God, this is, I’ve never heard of anything so precious, can you translate it all? Or do you think Luke could? I loved reading about them when I was younger.”

“Tea’s ready. Stiles can translate after tea.” Melissa said, Stiles put the books back in his bag carefully before heading back into the kitchen.

“Did you know that Zduhaćs only gained their powers after tests, ways to prove that they would die to protect their people?” Peter said excitedly to the whole pack, “Most of them weren’t worthy, they didn’t show the necessary levels of loyalty and the magic never came to them, no matter how hard they tried. When they reached twenty-five they’d be tested to see if they would be granted their powers.”

“What kind of tests?” Isaac asked curiously, Stiles had never felt more uncomfortable, this was too close, he needed to change the subject.

“Life and death.” Peter grinned, “I read a book once that stated less than one percent of people with the possibility of becoming a Zduhać ever managed to survive the test and gain their powers.”

“What do you mean possibility?” Cora asked.

“It’s a bloodline, passed down to the next generation, but like I said, a lot of them weren’t selfless enough to become one, they put their own lives before the ones they wanted to protect.”

“Why twenty-five?” Lydia asked, “Why not test them when they were older or younger?”

“Twenty-five was supposed to be the age of maturity, if they were tested when they were younger they all failed, the parents made sure that they weren’t tested until they reached twenty-five to increase the chances of success.” Peter paused, “Did you know the most distinguishing feature about Zduhaćs was that their eyes changed colour depending on what type of magic they were using? All other casters just had one eye colour, like Harry and Luke, but Zduhaćs, supposedly their eyes glowed all different colours. It’s such a shame hunters wiped them all out, what I wouldn’t give to meet one.” He added excitedly, almost bouncing in his seat.

Stiles ate his food in silence, thinking that Peter was wrong, they couldn’t have all been wiped out, otherwise Stiles wouldn’t be in this situation right now, somehow, somewhere, someone with the right blood must have survived. He went out onto the back porch when they’d finished tea, he left the door open so that everyone would know where he was but he just needed some space, he had decided to extend the wards, at least make sure that they could go into the garden without being at risk, he couldn’t spend any longer locked up in the house without going insane. He wandered down onto the grass, casting his spell as he went, feeling the wards extend as he touched each necessary point in the garden before he moved back to the house.

“What are you doing?” Boyd asked, stepping onto the back porch.

“Nothing. Just having a walk.” Stiles said, settling onto the bottom step.

“It’s not safe out here.”

“It is.” Stiles replied. “I asked Luke about extending the wards around the house, it was done today, the garden is safe.”

“How did he do it without being here?” Ethan asked in wonder.

“Erm, warlock? He can do pretty much anything, anyway, the wards are up and the garden is safe, excuse me if I don’t want to sit in a house permanently.” Stiles said, dodging the subject as best he could.

“So we can go in the garden?” Allison asked and Stiles nodded, a little surprised when suddenly there was a flood of werewolves leaving the house and practically throwing themselves on the grass.

“I miss freedom.” Isaac said and Stiles frowned.

“We’ll get it back, not much longer and Gerard will be gone. We’ll find a way to track him and whoever else he’s working with.” Stiles reassured him.

Chapter Text

By the middle of the week Stiles was sure he was going to go insane, Harry and Luke had called to say they wouldn’t be able to make it and that they’d have to come tomorrow night instead, Stiles hadn’t had any privacy in almost two weeks and he needed some alone time, soon. He’d had to spend last night hiding in the kitchen with Ethan, Aiden, Cora and Isaac while Scott, Allison, Erica, Boyd, Lydia and Jackson had an incredibly serious make out session in the front room, all of them disappearing off upstairs at some point during the evening and Stiles making a mental note to scrub the bathroom from top to bottom before he ever showered in it again, at least he didn’t have super hearing.

Isaac and Ethan went out into the garden and Stiles didn’t need to be a genius to predict what was going to happen there, even Aiden and Cora had been eyeing each other up appreciatively, Stiles hadn’t been able to wait for Peter, Melissa, his dad and Derek to get home, even if it was to just put a serious damper on teenage hormones. He’d had his own shower this morning, biting his lip to make sure he didn’t make any noise as he stroked his cock, it felt so good when he finally came that he couldn’t help the little gasp of pleasure, he hoped it was still quiet enough that nobody else could hear it over the sound of the running water.

School had been a complete drag, he was sat in his fourth period of the day, the only class he got alone. He wasn’t any closer to finding Gerard, he had nearly finished translating all of the diary for Peter, he could have done it that first night, but he wanted it to look like more of a struggle, he didn’t need any of them to know how easily he could read it, instead he’d spent the past few nights finding a quiet spot and reading the diary, mesmerized by the stories it told. He’d still had his nightmares, three nights waking up screaming, the other blinking back tears as he came back to reality, they didn’t seem to be getting any easier, but he knew it was the only way things could go, he couldn’t lose his magic which meant he had to deal with this.

Last night had been bad, after it seemed like pretty much the entire pack had decided to have sex in his bathroom at some point during the night, Derek and his dad had finally come home, Peter and Melissa arriving a few minutes after them. Stiles had just finished reading a passage in the diary, the Zduhaćs father had just been murdered by hunters and he was enraged, almost half of their village had been wiped out in the attack, the only reason they didn’t all die was because the Zduhać had lead the rest of them to safety, on his father’s orders. Stiles hadn’t realised that his dad was talking to him until someone touched his shoulder and Stiles flinched, looking up to see his dad looking at him guiltily.

“Sorry, you’d really zoned out on me there.” Noah said quietly, not wanting to disturb the pack who were sleeping in the front room. Stiles rubbed at his eyes, blinking a few times, he hadn’t realised that so much time had passed.

“Find anything interesting?” Peter asked and Stiles nodded. “What happened?”

“His father sacrificed himself to save the rest of their village, hunters wiped at least half of them out, the Zduhać led the rest of them to safety.” Stiles explained quietly.

“You see, incredible, weren’t they? So selfless.” Peter praised and Stiles nodded tiredly.

“Alright, bed, you look exhausted.” Derek said and Stiles wanted to argue but he was too tired, instead he got to his feet and headed towards the living room, falling into his pile of cushions and burying himself beneath a blanket. He’d dreamed of fire and screams, a village laid out before him, hunters attacking, bodies littering the ground and his dad screaming at him to run, Stiles couldn’t, he couldn’t leave him, and then somebody had hit him and he’d woken up in the basement, Ben grinning, Gerard laughing, a knife cutting into his side and there was so much blood, he could taste it, smell it, feel it running down his body. He woke up screaming, sobbing, trying to catch his breath as Derek held him tightly until he could calm down.

He’d woken up this morning to find Derek still holding him tightly, strong arms wrapped around his chest, and the feeling of complete safety, obviously, his cock had responded instantly and he’d had to get up and almost run to the bathroom before he completely embarrassed himself, which was how he’d found himself in the shower, playing with himself and doing his best not to make a single sound.

He was so busy thinking about the fantasy he’d had in the shower this morning that he startled when he heard his name announced over the speaker in his classroom.

“Mr. Stilinski to the main office immediately.” The voice said. Stiles grabbed his books, shoving them into his bag, ignoring the curious looks he was getting and left the room.

His phone vibrated as soon as he was in the corridor, he’d set up a group chat so that anyone could message and they’d all know what was going on. Scott had text him asking him what had happened, what was going on, followed by Lydia explaining to the members not in school that Stiles had been called out of class, he didn’t bother responding, wouldn’t bother until he knew what was going, he headed into the office, the receptionist looking up and smiling at him before Stiles saw someone move out of the corner of his eye.

“Stiles, good to see you again.” Tim said happily and Stiles frowned at him.

“What are you doing here?” He asked, disgust in his tone, the receptionist obviously didn’t notice, too busy staring at Tim in awe.

“I thought we should talk, it’s no problem if we just take a quick walk around the school, just to talk in private, is it?” Tim asked and the receptionist blushed.

“Oh, no, no problem at all.” She smiled, Stiles glared at her as Tim put an arm around his shoulder and steered him towards the door. As soon as they got outside the front doors there were two men stood there, both in black suits, tall, broad, obviously bodyguards, Stiles rolled his eyes as they started walking ahead of them towards the lacrosse pitch.

Stiles managed to shrug off Tim’s arm from around his shoulder as they walked, his phone buzzing in his pocket, he glanced at the message from Isaac, saying that they could see him, and that most of the class were watching them instead of the teacher, Stiles frowned, so much for using magic to get out of this one.

“So, I assume you want to apologize for being a jackass?” Stiles said, typing a quick reply to Isaac that he had it handled and not to panic. Tim laughed from behind him and Stiles ignored him, paying more attention to the bodyguards ahead of him, they were going to be the issue he guessed.

What he didn’t expect was for Tim to suddenly wrap a hand in his hair and pull him backwards, Stiles flailed slightly and the next thing he knew Tim’s lips were pressed hard against his, his hand almost ripping Stiles’ hair from his scalp to hold him in place. Stiles shoved him solidly in the chest, breaking their kiss and taking a step away from him.

“What the hell is wrong with you!?” Stiles shouted, no doubt drawing more attention to them. He felt his phone vibrate again and when he looked again it was from Jackson saying that Boyd and Cora were both out of class and would be there in two minutes, Stiles shoved the phone back in his pocket.

“Oddly enough I don’t want to talk Stiles, I’m more of an action kind of man.” Tim grinned, Stiles felt two large hands grab his arms and suddenly the bodyguards were yanking him backwards, holding him in place as Tim punched him in the face, Stiles licked his lip, tasted the blood there and smirked.

“I think you might need to work on your action. My grandma hit harder than that.” He taunted, laughing a little when Tim punched him again. “So, I’m guessing that you’re the creep who sent those letters? I mean, you’re definitely a creep, obviously, so, fair warning, touch me again and you’ll need a walking stick for the rest of your life.” He threatened.

“You are just irresistible, you know that?” Tim smiled, gripping his chin and holding his face still. “I mean, I saw your pictures and thought you were hot, I meet you and I’m a little bit in love, but, when you shoved me off you, when I got to wrap my hands around your throat and watch you begin to panic before finally standing up for yourself, well, that just drove me crazy.” Tim said, kissing him again. Stiles struggled against the bodyguards, their fingers digging into his skin and he knew it was going to leave bruises.

“Want to know what else is going to drive you crazy?” Stiles asked when Tim pulled away. Tim grinned lecherously and Stiles smirked back at him, “This.” He reared backwards, slamming his foot solidly into Tim’s knee, feeling a deep satisfaction when it crunched loudly and he fell to the ground screaming in agony. The bodyguards loosened their grip momentarily, obviously not expecting Stiles to do that, instead he spun towards them, kicking one of them in balls and elbowing the other in the face, feeling his nose break under the force of it. The guy that had been kicked in the balls was still on his feet somehow, whereas the other was on the ground, blood streaming down his face and crying in pain. The first guy charged at Stiles and Stiles ducked under his arms, got behind him and threw a punch that hit him in the kidney, this time the guy went down hard and didn’t get up.

Stiles grinned to himself, swiping at the blood on his lip and the three guys on the ground, Tim still rolling around, clutching at his knee and crying in agony, Stiles crouched down next to him.

“I told you not to touch me.” He smirked getting to his feet and seeing Cora and Boyd running towards him before taking in the scene in front of them.

“You shit! You’ll pay for this! I’ll kill you for this!” Tim was screaming, Stiles just shrugged and walked away towards Cora and Boyd.

“What’s up guys?” He asked.

“Stiles…” Boyd started, staring at the three guys on the ground, “What…erm…how?”

“Don’t we have a class to get too?” Stiles said, ignoring the looks they were giving him and pulling out his phone to send a quick text to everyone saying he was fine.

Scott had been sat in his class along with Erica, Lydia and Isaac when they’d heard Stiles’ name called to come to the office, Scott started to panic, what if this was Gerard’s play? His way to get Stiles alone? When he’d seen Stiles walking outside of the school windows, along with three other guys, he’d relaxed just slightly, at least he could Stiles was okay.

“Hey, isn’t that the guy from that film?” One of the girls at the other end of the classroom asked.

“Oh my god, yeah it is. What’s he doing with Stilinski?” Another one replied.

“Stiles?” A guy asked, peering to look while the first girl got out her phone and started recording, “God, that guy has all the luck.” He complained.

“What do you mean?” The first girl asked.

“Are you kidding? Didn’t you see it the other week? Derek Hale, as in the hottest guy you’ve ever seen, ended up almost starting a fight with the guy Stiles is seeing, who, by the way, is also super-hot. They were totally fighting over Stiles. And now this, he’s even got superstars chasing after him.”

Scott was about to tell them how wrong that all was except then the guy Stiles was with was grabbing hold of his hair and pulling him into a kiss. Scott was pretty sure that he wasn’t the only one growling, and then, when he hit Stiles, well, Scott saw red, he was ready to bolt from his classroom, regardless of the teacher, when he heard Cora and Boyd run past his classroom and knew they were on the way.

But before they got there, almost faster that Scott could process, Stiles moved and a moment later all three guys were on the ground, rolling around in various degrees of agony. There was silence in the classroom.

“Even I want to fuck him now. Hell, I’ll let him fuck me.” A guy muttered from the back of the classroom and that was enough for Scott, he grabbed his books and bag, knowing the rest of the pack were following his lead and left the classroom, they needed to get to Stiles and check he was alright.

They got to the car park just as Stiles, Cora and Boyd came around the corner, and a police car came flying into the car park, lights flashing and sirens blaring, Derek and Noah both jumping out and running towards Stiles.

“Are you alright?” Noah said, studying Stiles’ split lip for a moment.

“Fine.” Stiles said, pulling his bag up his shoulder.

“You should have seen it.” Jackson said excitedly, “Stiles just took them out! Like all three of them! One, two, three and done.” He said, pretending to hit someone in front of him.

“It’s them that I can hear screaming?” Derek growled dangerously and Stiles nodded, worrying when Derek stormed off towards Tim and his guards and chasing after him, the rest of the pack right on his heels.

“Derek, it’s fine. They’re taken care of.” Stiles said quickly, catching up with him and stopping him from getting to Tim.

“Get out of the way.” Derek snapped, his eyes flashing red for a moment.

“No.” Stiles said firmly, “Look, think about it for a second, the whole school can see you right now, if you hurt them everyone is going to see it.”

“Probably already filming again already.” Scott added in.

“You want to take them to the station, absolutely fine, but if you kill them, you’ll be in trouble. So, calm down and take a breath.” Stiles said calmly.

“Sheriff I want him arrested!” Tim was shouting, obviously thinking his savior was here.

“As if.” Lydia snorted, “Half the school saw you attack Stiles, he defended himself. There’s no way he’s getting arrested.”

“I didn’t.” Tim screamed, “He’s crippled me. He attacked me for no reason.”

“No reason!?” Erica snarled, “First, there’s going to be a load of videos in there that are probably already on their way to the press that shows you attacking Stiles first, and secondly, I’m pretty sure that shoving your tongue down someone’s throat while your bodyguards hold him still counts as plenty of reason.”

“He what?” Derek growled and Stiles gulped, he was sure Derek was about to kill Tim and his bodyguards in plain view of the school.

“It wasn’t a big deal, I’ve been through worse, besides, he can’t hit to save his life.” Stiles said jokingly, trying to ease some of the tension.

Noah moved forwards, crouching down next to Tim and glaring at him.

“I’m going to call an ambulance, we can get that knee seen to at the hospital, but first, you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, you have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you, do you understand the rights I have just read to you?”

“No. No, he attacked me, he’s the one that needs arresting.” Tim shouting, pointing accusatorily at Stiles.

“No. You attacked him and he defended himself, I don’t need to see the videos to know that, but I’ll still watch them anyway, just so I can see how easily my son kicked your ass, you piece of shit.” Noah snarled and Stiles couldn’t help the smirk on his face as Tim paled. Noah called an ambulance and it arrived a few minutes later, Stiles waited until Tim was loaded into the ambulance and the bodyguards in the back of the police car before he turned to head back into school.

“Where do you think you are going?” Noah asked and Stiles turned to look at him innocently.

“I’ve still got half a class left before the end of school.”

“The rest of you back to class, Stiles, you’re staying with me, we need a statement and I’ll need to talk to the receptionist, if one of you could get a copy of the recording that would be great.” He said, dismissing the rest of them, and holding out his arm so Stiles couldn’t go.

“Dad.” Stiles whined, “Can’t I go to my class while you do all the stuff you need to do here? We can do the statement later.”

“I’m not letting you out of my sight until I’ve got enough evidence to put all three of them behind bars and keep them there.” Noah snapped, moving towards the main office with Derek and Stiles behind him.

The receptionist looked up from her desk, looking at Stiles’ guiltily before standing up and shaking Noah’s hand.

“You’re aware of the incident on the field today?” Noah asked and the receptionist nodded, looking on the verge of tears. “Sarah? Isn’t it?”

“Yes Sir.” Sarah said.

“So, can you just give me a rundown of what happened in here? Why you allowed a pupil at this school to leave a class for a non-emergency situation?” Noah said seriously, placing a voice recorder on her desk, Stiles felt a little sorry for her.

“Erm, sure, of course, well, Tim came in and I recognized him instantly.”

“Tim?” Derek asked looking at Stiles, “Tim that Harry mentioned?” Stiles nodded and both Derek and Noah looked ready to murder him, Stiles gulped.

“I’d seen him in the movies,” Sarah continued looking terrified, “We chatted for a few minutes, he was sweet, asking what my favourite movie was, and, you know, things like that. Then he asked if we had a student called Stiles here and, obviously, I said that we did, it’s quite a rare nickname, he said he knew you and that he needed to talk to you and that it had to be today, but that he’d prefer to do it before classes were finished and there would be lots of students around who would recognize him.”

“So you pulled him out of class?” Noah asked in disbelief.

“Yes. I’m so sorry. I thought it was important, the way he said that he had to speak to you today, it sounded serious.” Sarah explained.

“It’s okay.” Stiles muttered.

“No it’s not. I made such a huge mistake, and then, of course, he asked about you going for a walk around the school grounds, to talk privately, and I didn’t even question it, I just, I fell for it all.” Sarah said, breaking down into tears and Noah patted her gently on the shoulder, looking like it was the last thing he wanted to do.

“What about afterwards? How long before you noticed that they hadn’t come back?” Derek asked.

“I didn’t expect them back straight away, I thought they’d be gone about twenty minutes, and then when the period ended one of the teachers came in and showed me a video, I knew who it was straight away, realised what a huge mistake I’d made.”

“Do you still have a copy of the video?” Noah queried.

“It’s on the internet, already going viral.” Sarah replied, clicking on a few buttons before the video popped up on the screen.

“Can you burn it onto a disc for us?” Noah asked, he wasn’t going to watch it right now, he needed to calm down a little bit first, this woman had called his son out of class and let him leave with a stranger, anything could have happened to Stiles, what had happened had been bad enough, but what if they’d decided to shove him in a car and take him off somewhere? It didn’t bear thinking about.

Sarah put it on a disc and then handed it to Noah silently, Stiles sighing heavily, it would have been easier if they’d been supernatural, he wouldn’t have to deal with all of this.

“That’s great thanks. We shouldn’t need anything else from you, but if we do I’ll need you around, don’t leave town.” Noah said, picking up his voice recorder and moving towards the door, leading them back out to the car park.

“I’ll drive these two back to the station, Derek, you bring Stiles in his jeep?”

“Yeah, we’ll be right behind you.” Derek said, ignoring Stiles rolling his eyes and getting out his phone to text the rest of the pack. He felt his phone vibrate a moment later and smiled when he saw that Stiles had let the rest of them know what was going on, he appreciated that Stiles was keeping everyone else in the loop for once.

They drove to the station in silence, Stiles obviously pondering over what had happened, Derek wanted to ask him, but he was a little worried that he’d end up killing Tim before he even got out of the hospital, he’d never felt so close to losing control before. He’d received the message from Scott and then Lydia explaining what had happened and they’d headed straight for the school, knowing something was going on, when he’d seen Stiles standing there, fresh blood on his lip, it had made him so angry he could barely breathe, he’d been determined to tear the guy’s throat out there and then, it was only that Stiles had managed to talk some sense into him that Derek hadn’t already killed them, but still, it had been a close call.

When they got to the station Noah pulled in their crime scene photographer and got him to take pictures of Stiles’ injuries, clearly showing the split lip and a bruise now forming on his cheek.

“You’ll probably need this too.” He said, taking off his jacket and Derek clenched his fists when he saw the clearly defined finger shaped bruises on both his arms, Noah glared at the marks with clear hatred and Derek knew that there was no way they would get away with this.

Stiles had to give his statement next and Noah decided it might be easier if it wasn’t someone that Stiles knew that was asking the questions, so, instead, Noah asked Deputy Jameson to do the interview while Derek and Noah listened in from the other side of the mirror.

“Stiles, we’d like to know what happened at the school today, just so you are aware, this conversation is being recorded and anything you say may be used in the prosecution of Mr. Timothy Andrews. Is that okay?” Deputy Jameson began, her voice gentle and soothing.

“Yeah, that’s fine.” Stiles replied, his arms folded across his chest.

“Okay, would you like your father in the room? We’re more than happy for him to sit in with you?”

“No, it’s fine.”

“Alright, in your own words, can you tell me what happened today?”

“I was sat in class and heard my name being called over the speaker, the receptionist telling me to come to the main office. I went there and Tim was waiting in there.” Stiles began.

“You’d met Tim previously?”

“Yes, once. Erm, I work for a magazine, and we were doing a shoot together, he took things too far and I pushed him away.”

“What kind of shoot?”

“It’s, erm, it’s was a modelling shoot, I think my boss Harry might still have copies of the pictures somewhere, but he wouldn’t publish them, he was a bit pissed about what Tim did and he didn’t want the publicity the guy would get if they went public.”

“Can you go into a bit more detail about what happened? Only I want to make sure of the relationship between you and Mr. Andrews?”

“There wasn’t any kind of relationship.” Stiles said angrily before taking a deep breath, “I keep my clothes on, all the time, but it’s a, it’s a porn magazine. Tim paid money to shoot with me, we did the shoot and he started strangling me, I shoved him off, pushed him over, the other guys saw it, Harry told him to get out. That’s it.”

“Until he showed up at your school today?”

“Yes.” Stiles confirmed.

“He said he needed to speak to you privately, can you tell me what you discussed?”

“We didn’t really discuss much. He pulled me out of the school and these two guys were there, I assumed they were his guards or something, they started walking in front of us, leading us around towards the pitch.” Stiles explained, “I said something to him about thinking he was here to apologize.”

“Was he?”

“No.” Stiles scoffed.

“Can you tell me what happened next?” Deputy Jameson asked gently and Stiles paused, he looked sad, scared almost, disappointed that this kind of crap just kept happening to him.

“He grabbed my hair, pulled me backwards and kissed me.”

“Which you didn’t want?”

“No. I didn’t even know what he was planning and then he kissed me and I shoved him away.” Stiles sighed rubbing at his eyes wearily, “I asked him what he thought he was doing and he said he was more of an action man. His guards grabbed me, held me still and then he hit me. He hit me a second time and I told him that if he touched me again I’d make sure he needed a walking stick for the rest of his life. He said something, I can’t remember exactly, but something about how I drove him crazy and he kissed me again and then I kicked out, aimed for his knee, heard it crack. His guards went to grab me so I kicked one in the balls and elbowed the other in the face, and when the first one was still coming at me I punched him again, I went for his kidney, and that was it.”

“So, there’s no chance that Mr. Andrews could have thought you were enjoying it in any way?” She asked and Stiles glared at her.

“No. Not unless you usually have to get two guys to hold onto whoever it is you are trying to kiss.” Stiles said sarcastically.

“You left the school with him though? Why didn’t you stay in the main office?” Stiles gaped at her in shock, “I’m sorry Stiles, but people are going to ask the question, I need to make sure we’ve got all the information.”

“I don’t know. I wasn’t expecting him there, I guess I was surprised. I didn’t want to cause a scene in front of the receptionist and then we were outside.”

“You didn’t lead him on in any way?”

“No.” Stiles said firmly.

“And there was no contact between the two of you after the incident at the magazine and the school today?”

“No.”

“How did he find out where you go to school?”

“I don’t know. He knew my name, I guess he figured it out from there.”

“Okay. Last few questions Stiles, there is no way in any shape or form that Mr. Andrews could have believed that there was a relationship between the two of you? You’d never given him your home address or told him which school you went to? You never contacted him or suggested he come see you? And there had been no physical relationship between you before today?”

“No. No. No and other that the shoot, no.”

“What did the shoot involve? Did you kiss? Touch each other sexually?”

“No. I was wearing clothes, he was in his boxers, he put his hand up my shirt at one point, scratched me, and then he tried to strangle me, I don’t really think either of those count as touching each other sexually, especially not with a camera two foot away from us.”

“Did you notice if those actions made him aroused at all?” Stiles looked at her in disgust, “I’m just trying to cover all bases Stiles, what I don’t want is for him to claim in any way that there was a relationship between you.”

“I can’t say I noticed, maybe? But then he was so busy trying to cut off my oxygen it wasn’t my number one priority.” Stiles retorted, starting to get incredibly annoyed at these questions, he was tired, he wanted to go home, curl up on the sofa with the diary and forget about today.

“Okay, that’s great Stiles, one final question, he wouldn’t have any reason to think that you enjoy things, erm, a little rough?” She asked and Stiles blushed slightly. “Any suggestions within the shoot? You know, whips and chains?”

“No. Nothing like that.” He paused, she probably needed to know, “I, erm, I do have some scars though, and, they weren’t sexual, at all, but they did get displayed on the shoot.”

“What kind of scars and how did you get them?”

“There, was, erm, an incident, someone beat me up pretty badly, they left some damage.”

“Do you know who it was? Could it have been Tim?”

“I know who it was, no it wasn’t him, and no, I never pressed charges, I didn’t want anyone to know about it.”

“But they know now?”

“Yeah, my dad knows, but the person responsible is long gone, there’s no chance of catching him so there’s no point in bringing it all out into the open.” Stiles lied.

“Okay Stiles, that’s all I need from you, I’m sure your dad is waiting for you.”

“Great.” Stiles said, getting up from his chair and moving towards the door. He was glad when his dad was there, he hoped that he hadn’t listened to all of that, but he guessed it was likely he had, Derek definitely had, he looked ready to kill someone. “Can we go home now?”

“Why don’t you go wait in my office? There’s still a few things I need to sort out here first.” Noah said and Stiles rolled his eyes, going into the office, shutting the door behind him and going to the sofa, at least he could do his homework while he waited.

Several hours later they were finally ready to go home, after seeing the video, Noah and Derek were both impressed with how quickly Stiles took out his attackers and Tim had confessed to assaulting a minor, both his bodyguards had been charged as accomplices and had been transferred to the local jail awaiting trial. Tim had been transported to the prison straight from the hospital, his knee had been shattered, and, as predicted, it would be unlikely he would ever walk without a stick again. Stiles felt a bit guilty about that, but he’d warned him, and the tape clearly showed it was self-defense, at least he didn’t have to worry about facing any charges himself.

His homework was all done and he was exhausted, all he wanted to do was crawl into bed. Stiles was allowed to drive his jeep home by himself with his dad and Derek following right behind, it felt like a small victory. The lights were all still on when they got in, the pack all waiting up for them, dinner was sat on the table for them and Stiles ate it greedily before finally looking at everyone.

“You doing okay buddy?” Scott asked and Stiles nodded.

“Where did you learn to fight like that?” Jackson asked excitedly, “I mean, it was just like, boom, and they were down.”

“I don’t know,” Stiles shrugged, “I guess it’s something I’ve picked up from all those crappy kung-fu movies Scott makes me watch.”

“I’m pretty sure they never do anything like that in those movies.” Scott laughed, “But, it was still awesome, can you teach me?”

“It wasn’t complicated; besides, you have claws and fangs and stuff, you don’t need to punch someone.”

“I do.” Allison grinned, “So, teach me?”

“And me.” Lydia smiled and Stiles sighed.

“Sure. Just not tonight.” He said tiredly.

“Are you in pain?” Isaac asked and Stiles shook his head, okay maybe he had a bit of a headache and his arms ached and his face hurt a little bit, but other that he felt fine. He went to the bathroom, taking a long shower, convinced that he still smelled of Tim, brushing his teeth viciously, and then got changed and went to his pillow pile, it was obvious that someone had washed the bedding because he had to shift around for several minutes before he could get anywhere near comfortable. He could hear the rest of the pack shuffling around but refused to open his eyes, he didn’t want to talk about it, but, on the plus side, at least he knew that it had been Tim sending the letters and that he didn’t have to worry about that anymore, he needed to make sure he told Danny about that tomorrow so that he wasn’t still worrying.

Eventually everyone went to sleep and Stiles still lay there, his mind racing over the day’s events, until, in the early hours, he succumbed to sleep.

Stiles was running, he was being chased by someone, something, he was running but he knew it was futile, there was no escape, he was going to be caught. He glanced behind him again, trying to figure out what was chasing him, there was nothing there, he stumbled to a stop, looking around him at the dark, empty streets, there was nothing, he was running from nothing.

He chuckled in disbelief, wiping the sweat from his brow when something slammed into him from the side and he went down hard, smacking his head on the concrete, his vision blurring for a moment.

He was in Gerard’s kitchen, bent over the table, his bare back exposed and bleeding, Gerard and Aaron holding down his arms, Ben behind him, laughing, taunting him as he struggled.

“You drive me crazy.” Tim said, appearing next to him, digging his nails into Stiles’ shredded back as the others laughed.

Stiles woke up panting for breath, slowing realising that it had been a dream and he was safe at home, he scrubbed a hand over his face, wiping away the evidence of his tears and sighed heavily, at least he hadn’t woken any of the others up this time, the second time since this extended sleepover had started. He went to move, thinking that getting up would be a good idea when Derek rolled over, put an arm around his side and pulled him closer, Stiles wished that he got to cuddle with Derek every night, and that it wasn’t in this way, that they spent the night kissing and touching and having sex and then went to sleep like this, but that wasn’t ever going to happen, and the sooner they resolved the issue with Gerard the sooner he could go back to sleeping in his own bed and start forgetting how amazing it felt to sleep next to Derek.

He slipped back into sleep without even realising it and when he woke up it was to see Derek staring at him.

“What’s up?” Stiles mumbled.

“Nothing.” Derek replied, moving his hand slightly and brushing Stiles’ jaw with his fingertips, “Just, your face looks worse today.” Stiles remembered then, the split lip, the bruises, he was such an idiot, for a moment, when Derek had touched his face, Stiles had thought he was going to kiss him, had hoped he was, and then he realised, Derek was just worried about his face, he didn’t fancy Stiles, would never look at him the way Stiles looked at Derek, because Stiles was broken and scarred and Derek was gorgeous and could have his pick of anyone.

“Aren’t you supposed to make a joke about how it still looks better than normal?” Stiles joked, breaking the tension and sitting up quickly.

“I was thinking it looks like it hurts.” Derek replied seriously.

“I’m fine.” Stiles said, getting to his feet, climbing over the rest of the pack who were just starting to wake up and moving to the kitchen to get himself coffee.

Derek had woken before any of the others, it was the first time that he’d slept completely through the night without being woken by Stiles, he glanced down at him, Stiles was still asleep, looking more peaceful than Derek had seen in a while, he’d held him a little tighter, pressing a soft kiss to his forehead before studying the bruise on his cheek. He didn’t expect Stiles to blink open his eyes a moment later and he panicked that Stiles had felt the kiss and was about to tell him to get away from him, but instead Stiles had looked at his with those gorgeous eyes and asked him if everything was okay. He’d brushed his fingers along Stiles’ jaw, wishing that he could just kiss him, that Stiles wouldn’t freak out about it, before he blurted out that the bruises looked worse. He’d expected Stiles to brush it off, make a joke about it, so he wasn’t surprised, but, still, the fact that he pretty much ran from the room confirmed it for Derek, Stiles wasn’t in the least bit interested in him and Derek couldn’t keep hoping that would change.

Luke called Stiles at lunch to say that they would pick him up after school, that they wanted to talk to him about something important, Scott heard and insisted on coming with him, Stiles managed to convince him that he’d be fine with Luke and Harry and they confirmed they’d pick Stiles up from school and drop him off at the house and that he wouldn’t leave their sight and Scott finally relented, although Stiles was still a little worried that his dad wouldn’t be happy about it.

He managed to see Danny before school and explain as best he could, without mentioning the actual letters, that it had all been taken care of. Danny had sat with them for most of lunch, looking a lot more relaxed than he had done in a while and that made Stiles feel a little bad, Danny had obviously been really worrying about it.

He’d been approached by several people throughout the day, asking him how he was feeling, if he knew what was happening with Tim, if he was seeing anyone and if he wanted to go out with them, he’d even been approached by a reporter that morning, trying to find a story on why a celebrity (if Tim could be called that) had decided to attack him. Boyd and Jackson pushed past her to get to Stiles, slinging arms around his shoulders and frog marching him into the school, he was more than a little grateful for that. He was so glad when the bell rang for last period, gathering up his books and bag and walking with Jackson and Ethan to the car park to meet the rest of the pack. He threw his bag in his jeep, giving the keys to Aiden and telling him to treat her with care while Luke snorted with laughter before pushing him into Harry’s car.

Harry drove them out to a secluded part of the preserve and Stiles cast a few spells, getting rid of some of the energy built up inside him, causing the greenery in one clearing to suddenly grow six foot, it looked like an overgrown jungle and Stiles laughed for a moment before finally turning serious.

“Out with it, I know you’ve been thinking of something.” Luke said calmly.

“I was thinking of doing the tracking spell again.” Stiles explained.

“But you don’t have anything that belongs to Gerard, Allison checked, there’s nothing.”

“I do have something though, Ben, he said about it being his scar, the one he gave me, I was thinking, maybe I can use my scar to try and track him?”

“It’s not going to work.” Harry muttered, “Or, should I say, the chances of it working are low, but with you, well, the odds always seem to be wrong.”

“But we have to do something and this is the best shot we’ve got at the moment, it’s worth a try, right?”

“It can’t hurt to try, but, if it works, and if we find them, you stay out of sight, they cannot see you, not under any circumstances. Fair?”

“Fine.” Stiles agreed, already preparing the spell mentally. It took him a couple of hours to get the wording right, especially as Luke and Harry kept chipping in with their own advice and he had to amend it slightly each time, but eventually he got it right, and finished the spell, feeling the magic sucked out of him, leaving him a little light headed, but it worked. “Got it.” Stiles grinned triumphantly.

“Alright, get in the car, we’ll follow him that way.” Harry said.

They drove across town, the opposite side to Stiles’ house, they parked the car on the outskirts of the preserve and got out, walking up a steep hill and then finally seeing their destination. They were looking down on a farm house, it had obviously been abandoned for some time, but there were lights on in the house and the barn.

“We should get a closer look.” Luke whispered as Stiles dropped the spell, taking a couple of deep breaths as his magic settled.

Then walked down the hill as silently as possible, it was steep, Stiles nearly stumbled a few times, Luke slipped once but managed to catch himself on a tree before he fell. They cast spells to make sure they weren’t heard, that their heartbeats were hidden and then moved closer.

They went to the house first, despite the lights, there was nobody in there so they moved across to the barn, Stiles pointed to a dusty window at the back of the barn and they headed there together, peering inside.

There were easily thirty hunters in there, they were hard at work, welding chains decorated with symbols into concrete pillars, others at the far end of the barn, drawing something on the dusty ground, two large wooden doors to the side that pointed towards the house. Gerard was there, talking to a long haired blonde woman who had her back to them, Stiles could see Ben and Aaron, he felt a little nauseous, there were a lot of them and they were obviously preparing for something big.

They watched in silence for a couple of minutes but they couldn’t make sense of what the hunters were planning, Stiles heard the rumble of another car approaching and they ducked down behind the bushes, watching as another car full of hunters parked up and they headed into the barn.

“We should get out of here.” Luke whispered and Harry and Stiles both nodded, they stood up, ready to head back up the hill when Stiles saw the woman that Gerard had been talking to turn around, he froze in shock.

“Kate.” He muttered in disbelief, there were no scars on her throat but he’d been there, he’d seen it, she was dead. She must have heard him, or at least heard something, because she turned to look at the window and Stiles ducked down instantly. “Shit.” He cursed, “Okay, got to run, we’ve got to run now.” Stiles hissed to Luke and Harry, all three of them breaking out into a full sprint up the hill at the sounds of the barn doors slamming open behind them, hunters shouting and running after them.

They got half way up the hill when Stiles felt the first bullet whiz by him, he ducked behind a tree as another volley of bullets went by, hearing Harry cry out in pain as one struck him in the side.

“Harry!” Luke called in horror, rushing to his brother and pulling him back to his feet.

“I’m fine, fine, come on, keep going.” Harry was saying, the hunters were closing in on them, they were nearly at the top of the hill but they wouldn’t make it to the car, not with Harry using his magic to try and heal himself and Luke doing his best to help him.

Luke sent a blast of magic at the hunters that were closest, knocking them backwards down the hill, Stiles glanced backwards, seeing Kate near the front of the hunters, she’d shifted, her face almost purple with huge teeth and terrifying glowing green eyes. Stiles prayed she hadn’t seen him yet, too focused on the attempt to get Harry and Luke.

He planted his feet firmly on the ground, called to his magic and pushed it outwards, causing the ground beneath his feet to shift and slide, he pushed more, it had to be more, it had to happen now. The hill started to shift all at once, the hunters crying out in surprise as they slipped, bullets still flying in all directions, Stiles kept going, forcing it to collapse around them and slide down the hill. When the ground around his feet started to shift Stiles finally stopped the magic, turning towards Harry and Luke, going to move towards them when his legs gave out and he collapsed to the ground, the spell had taken more out of him than he had planned.

“Come on! We’ve got to go! Get up!” Harry was saying, pulling on Stiles’ arm, Stiles stumbled to his feet, glancing once at the hunters, all struggling to climb out of the landslide and get back to their feet. They made it to the top of the hill, Harry was panting heavily, his body beginning to heal from the bullet wound, Luke was nearby, his hands covered in blood, his clothes covered in dirt, more blood running down his leg from a wound there, it was starting to heal slowly but he’d used too much magic healing Harry and looked on the verge of collapse. Stiles was pretty sure that Harry wasn’t fairing any better and if he was completely honest, he could quite happily lie down and go to sleep right now.

They stumbled down the hill, spending more time off their feet than on them, finally getting to the car, all three of them panting for breath, Stiles was the only one without a bullet wound, even though he somehow still had blood all over him, so he took the keys from Harry and starting driving.

They got back to the house about twenty minutes later, Harry was nearly healed now, Luke was still bleeding but it was at least slowing down and Stiles felt like he might throw up, Kate was alive, Kate and Gerard were working together.

They climbed out of the car, Stiles supporting Luke as they made their way to the front door and Stiles pulled out his keys, unlocking the door and stepping through.

Everyone had frozen where they stood, all of them looking at the three of them in shock, Stiles glanced down, they were all covered in mud and blood and generally looked like hell, no wonder the entire pack were staring at them in horror.

“Funny story…” Stiles began, his words cut off when his dad moved towards him, gripping him tightly and checking him for injuries. “I’m fine. Not my blood. Speaking of which, chair? Table? Anything?” He asked, gesturing to Luke who was sweating profusely as he tried to stay on his feet.

“Bring him in here.” Melissa said quickly and Stiles steered Luke into the kitchen, Harry following behind them and the rest of the pack still staring in silence. Melissa got Luke to put his leg up on another chair and then cleaned the wound. “This is a bullet wound.” She said and Stiles was confident that you could cut the tension in the room with a knife.

“What happened?” Derek growled, his eyes flashing red and Stiles gulped guiltily.

“Do you guys want the good news or the bad news?” He said, trying to joke, it fell flat, everyone was just staring at him in silence. “Okay, so, erm, we found out where they are, there’s at least thirty of them and they’re planning something big, there was like chains and inscriptions and something.” He began.

“And the good news?” Peter asked and Stiles frowned, what he told them next was going to cause some huge reactions.

“That was the good news.” He sighed, “The bad news,” He braced himself, there was no way to say this without causing pain, “turns out you didn’t kill Kate.”

“What?” Peter hissed angrily, his eyes flashing blue as he took a step towards Stiles, “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“It means, she’s alive, and some kind of like, were-jaguar or something?”

“You’re sure it was her?” Allison asked in shock.

“Positive.” Stiles replied.

“And she’s working with Gerard?” Lydia asked.

“Yep, I’m just a little surprised that the hunters are willing to work with them, you know, one being a half turned wolf maybe and the other a jaguar, I kind of would have thought they would have killed them before carrying out their evil plan.”

Derek was growling under his breath, pacing across the room, anger evident in every step, shrugging his shoulders as if it would displace the tension and stop the shift. He’d been at work, processing paperwork, ignoring the two reporters that had asked for more information about Tim, Noah had pointed them towards the jail and informed them that he had confessed and there would be no trial, if they wanted to speak to him, they could go see him there, where he would be staying for the next five to ten years.

They’d finished their shift and headed back here, Peter shouting from the garden that they were out there, Derek could smell cooked meat and his stomach rumbled hungrily, he was half way through piling up his plate when he realised the one sound that was missing.

“Where’s Stiles?” He’d asked, rushing out to the back garden, Stiles’ heartbeat was obviously missing and it terrified Derek.

“He went with Harry and Luke, they said they needed him for something important.” Scott explained.

“And you let him go alone?” Noah said incredulous.

“They’re warlocks, they’ll look out for him.” Isaac replied.

“That’s not the point!” Noah shouted, “We’re all supposed to stay together!”

“Luke insisted, they said they’d bring him back here as soon as they were done.” Lydia said.

“Done with what!? Does anyone know what they’re planning? What they need Stiles for? Where they’ve gone? What time to expect them back?” Noah asked and was met with only blank faces. He stormed angrily back into the kitchen, going to grab his phone, the rest of the pack following behind him when the front door opened and Stiles stepped inside, a bloody Luke at his side, looking on the verge of falling over, Harry behind them, clutching at his side and all three of them covered in dirt and blood.

When Stiles explained that Kate was alive and that there were over thirty hunters in the vicinity Derek could feel his wolf clawing to get out, desperate to shift and protect his pack, he did his best to keep it at bay, right now it was more important to ask the questions that needed asking.

“The bullet wounds?” He growled.

“They heard us.” Harry explained, taking the glass of water that Cora handed to him. “We made a run for it, they gave chase.”

“And shot us.” Luke confirmed.

“How did you get away?” Derek asked, doing his best to ignore the claws digging into his palms, Kate was alive, she killed his pack before, he had to protect this one from her.

“A spell.” Harry replied, Stiles had looked about to speak and Harry glared at him for a moment before continuing, “It was a hill, the hunters were below us, the spell caused the ground to shift, caused a landslide as it were, they went to the bottom, we went to the other side and back to the car.”

“A landslide?” Lydia asked in surprise. “Was it hard?”

“It took a bit of effort, yes, but we survived so it’s all fine.” Luke said.

“Fine?” Derek snapped, “There’s over thirty hunters looking for us, Kate is alive and you nearly got Stiles killed. How is that fine?”

“I’m fine.” Stiles replied, “Honestly, completely fine, no injuries, no nothing, just tired.”

“Congratulations on somehow not getting hit by however many hundreds of bullets were flying around. Maybe Gerard just wanted you taken alive so he could torture you some more, god knows that the nightmares aren’t enough for me to deal with already.” Derek snarled and Stiles frowned, biting on his bottom lip and looking hurt, Derek couldn’t take it back, wouldn’t take it back, Stiles had nearly been killed because of these stupid warlocks. He regretted it when he smelled the anger and hurt rolling off Stiles.

“It must be so shit for you to have to deal with my nightmares, I’m so sorry about that, it must be so tough for you.” Stiles snapped sarcastically, “You’re just pissed that I didn’t tell you what was going on, if you were any kind of decent Alpha you would have known that I was missing that night and then I wouldn’t be having fucking nightmares!” He shouted, pushing past Derek and going up the stairs, slamming the bathroom door.

“Wow.” Erica said letting out a breath, “Well, that didn’t exactly go as planned.”

“Shut up Erica.” Derek growled, his wolf was howling at him, demanding to take control, Derek had messed up, it was down to his wolf to fix this.

“Congratulations on being the absolute worse at expressing yourself, I’ve met millions of people over the centuries and I’ve never met anyone so completely and utterly incapable of showing his emotions. I would give you an award but I don’t have enough magic to create one right now.” Luke muttered sarcastically and Derek glared at him before finally sighing.

“I didn’t mean…”

“We know what you meant.” Peter snapped, “I’m sorry Stiles is upset, I am, but right now, the bigger priority is Kate, she needs to die.”

“Yeah, because you did such a good job of that last time.” Scott scoffed.

“She murdered my family!” Peter roared and Scott took a step backwards. “And she’s out there, still breathing. Where is she!?”

“They’ve probably moved locations already.” Harry said, they possibly had, although he didn’t think they’d want to with all that work going to waste, he wasn’t, however, going to let a group of upset werewolves go out looking for them right now, Stiles would kill him.

“So? Track them again! You’ve done it once; you can do it again!”

“We’d need Stiles to track them.” Luke said, “Since we used the scar Ben gave him to track them the first time. You want to drag him down here so we can do more spell work on him?”

“I want her dead!” Peter snarled.

“We’re too weak to take them on right now, healing ourselves took a lot out of us both.”

“And the landslide too.” Lydia added.

“Yes, that too.” Luke agreed, he didn’t miss the way that Lydia looked at him suspiciously for a moment before looking away.

“Okay, how long before you can do the spell again?” Peter demanded.

“A few days at least. There was a lot of magic involved in tracking them down and then causing the landslide, it’ll take a few days to recover from that.” Harry said. “I don’t think any of you realise how lucky we were that the tracking spell even worked, getting it to work was a miracle, and the power it drained was enormous, you should appreciate that we tried.”

“But you didn’t get anything from it.” Derek snapped, “Other than nearly dying we still don’t know where they are.”

“No. But we do know who they are, how many there are and that Kate is alive. I think you should probably be grateful for that information at the very least.” Luke argued. “Now, I want to go home and sleep for a week.”

“Stiles will be at the studio on Saturday and if I even expect that you haven’t apologized for your comments earlier then I will make you pay for it, dearly.” Harry threatened before getting to his feet, helping Luke and going out the door.

Derek could hear the shower running upstairs, knew that Stiles would probably spend hours in there if it meant he could avoid Derek, he was such an idiot, why couldn’t he just tell Stiles he cared about him? That all he wanted to do was protect him? He sank into the nearest chair, putting his head in his hands and trying to think what the hell he could say that would make Stiles not completely hate him.

Stiles was still in the bathroom when everyone decided to call it a night, Derek waited in the kitchen, waiting for Stiles to come out, waiting to talk to him and fix this. Long after everyone had gone to sleep Derek finally heard Stiles coming down the stairs, Stiles walked past the sleeping pack without a second glance and headed out the back door, Derek followed him silently. When he got outside Stiles had curled up in one of the chairs with a blanket over his legs.

“What are you doing?” Derek asked confused.

“Going to sleep.” Stiles mumbled in reply, not bothering to open his eyes and look at Derek.

“Out here?”

“Obviously.”

“Come back inside.” Derek said and Stiles opened his eyes, looking at Derek with such disappointment that Derek felt his heart breaking.

“No thanks. I’ll try and keep my nightmares as far away from you as possible.” Stiles said waspishly.

“Stiles,” Derek whined, taking a step closer, “I didn’t mean that, I didn’t mean it like that. I just,” He took a deep breath, calming himself, choosing each word carefully, “You could have died tonight and that terrifies me. I lost one pack, I can’t lose this one too, and if anything happened to you, this pack, it would fall apart. Which means I need you to be safe.” Stiles hadn’t started screaming and shouting at him yet so Derek hoped he was saying the right things, “I didn’t mean that your nightmares are annoying, or that dealing with them is a problem, I meant that I hate that you have them. It means that they remind me of how badly I failed you and that I would do anything to take them away, other than take your memories of course.”

Stiles was silent, looking at Derek with confusion for a moment before shaking his head as to rid himself of a stupid thought.

“I’m sorry too. You are a good Alpha; I know you would have been there if you’d known. I didn’t mean to say that. I just, you always treat me like I’m breakable, and I’m not, and it drives me insane sometimes.” Stiles admitted.

“I know you’re not, you’re the strongest person I know Stiles, but you don’t heal like we do, of course I’m going to get angry if you are out there doing something dangerous and I’m not there to watch out for you, you’re pack.” Derek said.

Stiles was sure his heart just skipped a beat, he hoped Derek hadn’t heard it, it didn’t seem like he had. Stiles scolded himself, Derek did not like him like that and he’d proved that a thousand times already, why couldn’t Stiles just get it into his head that Derek would never fancy him? He was such an idiot.

“I’m sorry.” Stiles muttered, “I didn’t expect it to go like that, we weren’t even sure if the tracking spell was going to work and I didn’t want you guys to get all excited and then nothing happened.”

“I get it.” Derek agreed, “I don’t approve of it, but I understand. So, how about I make a promise to you? I promise not to start shouting every time you do something stupid and to try and see things from your point of view.” Stiles chuckled quietly, a smile on his lips.

“How about I promise to at least tell you when I’m planning on doing something stupid?”

“That sounds fair.” Derek grinned, they sat in silence for a moment before Stiles yawned widely, the spells had taken a lot out of him and he was exhausted, he wanted nothing more than to go to sleep but he was still ninety percent certain that his nightmares annoyed Derek. “You ready to go to bed?” Derek asked, hoping with everything he had that Stiles would come back inside, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to sleep knowing Stiles was out here alone.

“I don’t mean to wake you up, with my nightmares, I mean, if I could wake myself up before they got to that stage I would do…”

“Stiles, I already told you, it doesn’t bother me.” Derek interrupted softly. “So, come on, bed, or do I have to resort to Peter’s tricks and carry you there?” Stiles laughed quietly before getting to his feet and moving towards the house, carrying the blanket with him, Derek couldn’t help but hum happily in relief, following Stiles into the house.

Stiles made to go lie down in an empty space at the edge of the pile but Derek grabbed him by the arm, rolling his eyes, and pulled him into his usual place at the centre before settling down next to him.

“Thanks Der.” Stiles muttered a few minutes later, Derek looked at him surprised, but Stiles was already asleep, Derek couldn’t help the smile on his lips, that Stiles’ last thought before going to sleep was about him, maybe there was hope. Or maybe he was being a complete idiot and Stiles wouldn’t ever be interested in him, no matter how hard Derek wished it wasn’t true. He tried not to think about that, instead studying Stiles as he slept before finally closing his eyes and going to sleep.

He was woken by screaming but for once it wasn’t Stiles.

“Peter!” Stiles was shouting, straddling his hips and somehow finding the strength to keep hold of Peter’s hands to stop his claws from tearing him open. “It’s a dream! Listen to me! It’s a dream!” Stiles was shouting. Derek moved swiftly, grabbing Peter’s hands from Stiles’ and pinning them to the ground as Peter screamed.

“Peter!” Derek shouted, “Wake up!”

Peter was crying, screaming, begging and Stiles was horrified, he did the only thing he could think of, he punched him square in the jaw and Peter blinked open bright blue eyes snarling at him for a moment before they faded back to normal and he looked around in surprise, confused as to why Derek was pinning his hands down, Stiles was straddling him and the rest of the pack were looking at him in horror.

“I’m sorry.” He muttered breaking into sobs which surprised Stiles more than anything else the guy had ever done.

“It’s okay.” Stiles said, climbing off him slowly, ignoring the pangs of pain he was getting in his hands where Peter had clawed him. “It was just a dream.” He paused, “You want to talk about it?” Peter put his head on his knees and sobbed harder.

“You’re bleeding.” Derek said suddenly, turning to Stiles and examining his hands with worry, already drawing pain from him.

“It’s nothing. Peter’s the one that needs help right now. Help him.” Stiles said, getting to his feet and going into the kitchen, healing himself as best he could on the way, it didn’t work very well, his magic was still severely depleted and he was exhausted. Somehow, hearing Peter screaming had woken him from his own nightmare, he’d seen Peter rolling around as if in agony, his claws already extending and tearing into the blanket, Lydia had been on the other side of him, looking terrified and Stiles had done the only thing he could think of, jump on Peter and stop him from hurting anyone else, he’d managed to hold him securely for a moment and then his claws were coming straight for Stiles’ face and all he’d been able to do was hold him at bay until Derek had intervened.

He washed the blood away, glad to see that the cuts were quite small and already stopping bleeding, before heading back into the living room.

“I’m so sorry Stiles.” Peter whispered and Stiles looked at him in shock.

“It wasn’t your fault, you were dreaming. It’s okay.” Stiles reassured him, sitting next to him quietly. He knew that when it was him he didn’t want to talk so he wasn’t going to force Peter into talking if he didn’t want to.

“It was the fire. Kate.” Peter muttered, so quiet that Stiles almost missed it, but from the way Derek tensed Stiles knew he hadn’t. “I was there again. Everyone was there. Screaming, dying, right in front of my eyes and I couldn’t do anything. I was burning and it hurt so much. I wanted to die, and she was there, laughing at me, taunting me as my family burned around me.”

Stiles sometimes forgot how bad it had been for Peter, that it wasn’t really any kind of surprise that he had gone insane for a while, he couldn’t imagine how awful that must have been, what he’d suffered through felt tiny in comparison, at least he hadn’t had to watch Gerard murder all those he cared about.

“I thought I’d finally made her pay for what she did and instead she’s running around, still trying to ruin our lives.” Peter confessed, looking so broken that it made Stiles ache.

“I dream about being back in the basement.” He whispered, barely able to believe he’d said it out loud. “Erica and Boyd are there, screaming for me to help them, but I can’t, I’m powerless and then I leave them there, I get taken to the kitchen and I leave them there.” He muttered, purposefully not looking at anyone, instead finding an interesting pattern on the nearest cushion and tracing it with his fingertip. “There’s nothing worse than not being able to help the ones you care about, to watch them suffer. I can’t imagine how much it must hurt to have seen them die.”

“Even before this, before knowing she’s still out there, I’d dream about them, I’m not sure if I can even remember them anymore, when I try to picture them, all I can see if how they looked as they died.” Peter mumbled.

“Mum had the most amazing green eyes.” Cora said suddenly, “Derek got her eyes, I was always jealous about that.”

“Uncle Robert used to laugh so loudly you could hear him a mile away.” Derek said a moment later and Stiles stared at him in shock, he’d never heard Derek speak about his family before, not so openly and never about something so normal and happy.

“Dad used to wait until mum had done yelling at us before sneaking us treats.” Cora laughed.

“Except mum found out and dad had to eat all his meals outside for a week!” Derek grinned and Peter smiled slowly, finally coming back to himself as Derek and Cora shared hundreds of memories of their family before the fire. Stiles thought they sounded amazing, funny and smart and sarcastic and scary and happy and family, Kate had destroyed that and in the process, nearly destroyed Peter, Derek and Cora. But they had a new pack now, one that would do everything possible to make sure that they never had to suffer through that again, Stiles vowed to make sure that nothing would happen to this pack, to his pack.

Eventually they all settled down to go back to sleep, despite the fact they had to be up for school in a few hours. Stiles was just starting to go back to sleep when Erica poked his arm and he glanced up at her.

“You didn’t leave us. I know that probably won’t help, but you have to know, you didn’t leave us and we don’t blame you, I know I’ve said it before, but you have to believe me, it wasn’t your fault.” She whispered, Stiles clutched her hand tightly and smiled at her, he knew what she was trying to do.

“Thanks.” He whispered, closing his eyes, still holding her hand and going to sleep.

He woke up with bodies piled all over him, Peter pressing into his chest, Derek behind him, Erica almost lying on his face, Scott with an arm wrapped around his hip, his face nearly in Stiles’ crotch. Thank god he wasn’t excited by the heat of Derek behind him, oh no, wait, yes he was, he needed to move and he needed to move right now.

“Got to pee.” He practically shouted, disrupting everyone from their sleep and scrambling to his feet before rushing up the stairs. He couldn’t believe he’d just done that, he’d got a boner, if he hadn’t woken up first, if Derek had woken up and realised what was going on he would have killed Stiles.

School was a drag; it was Friday and everyone was talking about their plans for the weekend, Jackson didn’t waste any time in explaining to him that Luke and Harry had said they’d need a few days to recover and then they could go after Kate, Stiles was glad that he at least had a few days to come up with a proper plan.

He got home Friday night to find his dad, Derek, Peter and Melissa already home, they’d all booked the weekend off and that they hoped to resolve everything this weekend. Stiles spent the next few hours outlining all the information he’d seen at the barn, including the fact that he was sure they would have moved on by now, but, still, the inscriptions he’d seen might be able to point them in the right direction. By the time pizza arrived the whole wall was covered in drawings and details that Stiles could remember. They sat down in the living room, putting the television on and eating their pizza while Stiles stewed over some of the notes in his lap.

“I’m going to miss this.” Ethan said out of the blue and Stiles looked up at him in surprise.

“You’re not going anywhere, are you?” Isaac asked sounding worried, Stiles wondered how long before they made everyone else aware of their relationship.

“No. But, when Gerard is taken care of, when Kate is dead, the hunters are gone and we can go places by ourselves again, we’re not going to be having sleepovers every night, are we? I’ll miss that.”

Stiles was shocked into silence, he loved waking up with the pack around him every morning, he loved waking up with Derek, and sure, he would miss it, like crazy, but he also knew that the longer this went on the harder it would be when he had to go back to sleeping in his own bed, waking up alone. He didn’t want to think about it.

“But we’re all still going to see each other.” Scott said simply, “We’re not just going to disappear just because we don’t have a puppy pile every night.”

“They aren’t called puppy piles.” Allison sighed.

“Yeah they are, Stiles came up with it and it’s a perfect fit, so it stays.” Scott said seriously and Stiles grinned.

“We’ve got a lot to get through before it’s even an option.” Aiden said, “Gerard, Kate, the hunters. There’s over thirty of them, trained to kill us in a huge number of ways, lets survive that first, then we can talk about what we’re going to plan for the future.”

“Hear, hear.” Boyd said. “So, the plan is to use the tracking spell again, locate them, surround the building and take them by surprise.”

“We hope.” Stiles added.

“You’re going to talk to Luke and Harry tomorrow? See if they’re up for doing the spell again on Sunday?” Lydia asked.

“Will do, magic should be back up to full by then.” Stiles agreed, yawning widely, he was still trying to recover from the spells last night, the landslide had taken a lot out of him, he probably shouldn’t have done the spell in the clearing before they’d even started the tracking spell, but he hadn’t expected the night to go that way. He told himself that he wasn’t going to use magic again unless it was an absolute necessity, at least not until this was all over, he was going to need every ounce of power he could get.

He stretched out on his pillows, listening to the mumbles of conversations and the television in the background as he went to sleep. He didn’t sleep well, his dreams filled with Kate, Gerard and Ben, all of them laughing as he struggled to fight them, as he failed to protect his pack, all of them falling one by one until there was no-one left to protect and he was surrounded by their dead bodies. Still, he didn’t wake screaming, only jerking awake, managing to snap himself from his nightmare, glancing around and looking at the sleeping forms of his pack, they were all safe, it was okay, before he lay back down, felt Derek’s arm come around his waist and he went back to sleep.

“Stiles! Thank god you are here!” Harry said as soon as he walked into the studio the next afternoon with Derek right behind him. Stiles had suggested that someone else should come with him, Derek had already given up last Saturday afternoon at the studio, that he didn’t have to do it again, Derek had glared at him until he’d surrendered and then they’d gone to the studio together.

“What’s up?” Stiles asked, worried about why Harry seemed so stressed. Andy was sat on the table behind him, swinging his legs childishly and grinning at Stiles, at least he seemed happy.

“Can you call your dad? Ask him if it’s okay to shoot with Andy today? I just got the chance to look at the cover for this week and it’s abysmal, Andy, can you just make a note for me to speak with Claire, I can’t believe she thought it was acceptable. There’s no other photos that work for what I want so I need you to do some with Andy, please? The deadline’s tonight, I can’t get hold of anyone else. Please?” Harry begged.

“You want me on the cover?” Stiles asked in shock. Derek was trying to control himself, it was bad enough having to watch Stiles do the shoot and not lose control, having to watch him with Andy? That would send him over the edge, he knew it.

“Of course. I’d have had you on the cover the first week if your dad had known about it and not killed me. Please Stiles? I need your help with this.”

“Erm, let me call him and ask.” Stiles replied, pulling out his phone and calling his dad. “Hey dad.”

“Everything okay?” Noah replied instantly sounding worried.

“Yeah, fine, well, actually, Harry is having a bit of a crisis…”

“The hunters?” Noah said sharply.

“No, no, nothing like that.” Stiles took a deep breath, “The cover for this week is crap so Harry wants me to shoot with Andy for the cover but he wants me to ask you first?”

“The cover? Seriously?” Noah asked. “Can’t you do it alone?”

“Harry has this idea in his mind apparently and none of the others are good enough.” Stiles explained, he was used to Harry’s perfectionism with the photographs.

“And you’d only be shooting with Andy? Nobody else?”

“No, just Andy.”

“And you trust him?”

“Yes, I trust him dad, beside if he tries anything Derek’s right here.” Stiles joked, glancing at Derek and frowning when it looked like Derek was in physical pain.

“Fine. But same rules, no clothes off, and if there’s any issues…”

“There won’t be dad. Thanks.” Stiles said, hanging up the phone and looking at Harry. “He says it’s fine.”

“Yes!” Andy shouted triumphantly, jumping up from the table and heading over to Stiles, throwing an arm around his shoulder and steering him towards the changing rooms, “It’s been way too long since we did a shoot together.”

“Dude, it’s been like three weeks, get a grip.” Stiles joked, picking up the pile of clothes Harry had left for him and heading into the changing room.

“Are you going to be able to handle this?” Harry asked as soon as Stiles and Andy were out of hearing. Derek glared at him.

“What? Worried I might kill your model?” He snapped.

“Yes.” Harry said seriously, “If you’d prefer to go wait somewhere else that’s okay.”

“No. I can handle it just fine.” Derek growled, crossing his arms and moving to the nearest table, leaning against it and refusing to move from it.

Andy reappeared first, wearing just a pair of tight white boxers and a wide grin, Stiles appeared a few minutes later in a pair of soft blue jeans and a plain white t-shirt, the cuffs on his wrists firmly in place as he fiddled with them nervously and moved next to Andy.

“You okay dude? You’re looking a little pale?” Stiles asked, Andy nodded.

“Yep, fine.” He replied, putting an arm around Stiles and pulling him closer.

“Okay, sure, just, take it easy man, got to get used to this again.” Stiles mumbled and Andy looked at him apologetically before letting go of him.

“Alright guys, I need the perfect picture, so, Stiles, stand in front of Andy for me, Andy, reach around, one hand on his hip, the other on his thigh, that okay Stiles?”

“Yep.” Stiles nodded, successfully not jumping when Andy’s hands touched him.

“Great, Andy, right hand upwards, pull his shirt up with your hand.” They took a few more photos but none of them seemed to satisfy Harry, none of them were quite right, Stiles was facing Andy now, his back to the camera, Andy had one hand on his ass, the other pulling up the back of his t-shirt just slightly, just giving a hint of the scars there, Harry had asked him to turn his head to look at the camera and Andy had rested his head against Stiles’ neck, he was doing his best not to lose concentration when he felt Andy begin to suck at the sensitive skin on his neck, it didn’t help that he was not getting any privacy at home to sort himself out, so the fact that he could feel himself getting hard didn’t exactly surprise him, he hoped to god that Derek couldn’t smell the fact he was getting aroused, it was already embarrassing enough.

A few minutes later and Andy finally moved again and Stiles could relax at least a little bit, although Andy did look kind of ill, he’d gone very pale suddenly and was frowning seriously.

“Dude, you sure you’re okay?” Stiles asked, not exactly surprised when Andy shook his head and rushed off towards the bathroom. Stiles stood there awkwardly for a minute before glancing at Harry. “Did you at least get the shot you wanted? I don’t think he’s going to be much use for the rest of the day?”

Harry looked through the pictures on his camera, sighing at each one, Stiles knew that sigh, it wasn’t good news.

“No, none of them are what I had in mind. Maybe I can give James or Matt a call? They said they were busy but it is kind of an emergency, I’m sure they’d be willing to drop their plans if I offered them double.” Harry sighed, glancing towards the toilets in annoyance before back at the camera.

“Can you not go with what Claire picked out? She’s usually good at this kind of thing?” Stiles suggested, wondering if he should go and check on Andy.

“No. She’s completely missed what I was aiming for. If I’d not been so busy this week I would have had more of a chance to look through them before now, what I need is someone who doesn’t look like crap to do the shoot with you.” Harry said, pausing and looking across at Derek, Stiles could almost see Harry’s mind come up with the idea and, before he could even get his attention and tell him that it was a terrible idea, he was talking. “Derek? Could you help us out?”

Derek had been so relieved when Andy ran off the shoot that he’d finally been able to take a proper breath. He hadn’t been managing too badly, he’d felt the pinpricks of his claws in his palms as he’d watched the shoot, but he’d been keeping it under control, Harry talking almost constantly kind of helped, made it obvious that this was a shoot and nothing more no matter how badly Andy smelled of arousal, up until Andy had given Stiles a hickey. Derek had smelled when Stiles started to get aroused and his wolf was howling, nobody should be doing that other than him, Derek had barely breathed since then, he did not want to smell Stiles getting excited by Andy, he couldn’t handle that.

“What?” Derek said confused, he hadn’t been paying attention, he’d been staring at the hickey on Stiles’ neck and thinking about how he wished it was his, what he would do if he got to be in that situation with Stiles.

“Andy’s obviously out of the picture, I can call in another guy, maybe, if one of them is free, but Stiles hasn’t shot with them in a while. So, I’m asking if you’ll do it?”

“Do what?” Derek said turning to look at Harry and seeing Stiles looking a little panicked.

“Shoot with Stiles?” Harry explained slowly, like he was talking to an idiot.

“What?” Derek said unable to process what was being offered right now.

“I need you to shoot with Stiles, or would you rather I ask someone else to do it? And we spend the next few hours waiting for them to show up rather than just getting it done?”

“Harry,” Stiles began, “Derek hasn’t done anything like this before.”

“So? You hadn’t either and you’re a natural.” Harry argued, now that the idea was in his mind there was no way he was going to let it drop. Derek was sure that his wolf wasn’t going to allow him the opportunity to turn down this offer, he just hoped that he could control himself.

“What do I need to do?” Derek asked, Harry grinned triumphantly and Stiles looked at him in disbelief, his mouth hanging open in shock.

“Great, good man Derek, of course I’ll make it worth your while, how does twenty thousand sound?”

“Sure.” Derek replied, he wasn’t bothered about the money, he just wanted to be able to touch Stiles.

“Great.” Harry said, steering him towards the changing rooms, passing him a pair of tight black boxers and telling him to hurry up.

Stiles was sure he was about to have a panic attack, how the hell was he supposed to not get a boner when Derek was going to be getting up close and personal with him while he was half naked? This was going to be a disaster. Derek and Harry came back a few minutes later, Derek in only a pair of black boxers and Stiles was sure he was going to pass out, this was not going to go well, not well at all.

“You guys are going to look great.” Harry said grinning, oblivious to Stiles’ panic, steering Derek into position in front of Stiles and moving to his camera.

“Your heart is going like crazy, can you calm down a little bit?” Derek muttered uneasily and Stiles took a deep breath, held it for a second and then let it out slowly, he could do this, he was professional and calm and in control, he could totally do this.

“Better?” He asked and Derek nodded.

“Alright guys, can you go for the same position as a minute ago? Derek, move closer, okay, put your hand on Stiles’ hip, yep, perfect, the other on his ass, great, pull the back of his shirt up, yep, just there, okay, Stiles, turn to look at me, brilliant, hold it there.”

Derek was sure he was going to have a heart attack, his hands were on Stiles, cupping his ass gently, he wanted to pull him closer, hold him tightly, kiss him until they both forgot how to breathe, this was torture, why did he say he’d do this? Harry must be taking great pleasure from torturing Derek like this.

Stiles felt like Derek’s hands were burning him, branding him, he was sure that he’d still be able to feel them long after Derek had let go, he didn’t know how he’d got into this situation, but it felt incredible, he just wished they weren’t doing it on a shoot, but that it was happening for real.

“Okay, great, alright, Stiles, turn to look at Derek,” Harry said, shifting his position so that he got a side on shot, “Alright, great, tilt your head back a little bit,” Stiles shifted, he should probably be a bit worried that he was exposing his throat to an Alpha werewolf, but he trusted Derek so it would be fine. “Derek, move closer,” Derek prayed to god that Stiles wouldn’t be able to feel his erection, even if it was so obvious there was no way anyone could miss it. “Great, kiss his neck.”

“What?” Derek said surprised, turning to look at Harry.

“Kiss his neck, it’s not complicated, lips, neck, go for it.”

“Erm, Stiles, are you okay…” Derek began, as much as he wanted to do it, he wasn’t going to make Stiles any more uncomfortable about this whole thing.

“Yeah, sure.” Stiles said, looking a little nervous, still keeping his throat exposed as Derek leaned forwards and pressed his lips against Stiles’ neck, covering Andy’s hickey easily, “Just don’t decide to tear my throat out with your teeth.” Stiles mumbled and Derek laughed softly, a wide grin on his lips.

“Honestly, I threaten you with that one time and you hold it over me forever.” Derek replied, muttering the words against Stiles’ skin, feeling him almost shiver, the scent of arousal flooding his nostrils and Derek grinned, pressing his lips against his skin again, feeling the softness of it under his lips, deciding to take it a little further and lick at Stiles’ skin, hearing Stiles’ heartbeat stutter and his own cock throb at the sound.

Harry was still shifting his position trying to get the perfect picture and Derek decided that he’d take advantage of that time, covering Andy’s hickey with his own. He sucked on Stiles’ soft skin and Stiles’ let out a little moan of pleasure, making Derek smirk to himself, Andy hadn’t been able to get that kind of reaction.

“Great.” Harry said, breaking Derek from his spell, “Okay, let’s put that muscle to use.” Harry grinned, Stiles was looking at Harry in confusion, Derek was unable to tear his gaze from the hickey on Stiles’ neck, that was his, his mark, it made his wolf hum in contentment and Derek shook his head, this was a shoot, nothing more, Stiles was just doing his job.

“What are you thinking?” Stiles asked Harry, his voice cracking slightly.

“I’m thinking of you wrapping your legs around Derek’s waist. Can you pick him up?” Harry asked Derek. Stiles had blushed slightly which confused Derek, he hoped that he wasn’t make Stiles incredibly uncomfortable.

“Yeah?” Derek said unsure, looking to Stiles for guidance.

“Alright then big guy, pick me up.” Stiles replied, seeming to put a bit too much effort into his words, as if it was the last thing he wanted to do but trying to hide it.

“If you’re sure?” Derek asked.

“Go for it.” Stiles grinned jokingly, Derek shrugged, grabbing Stiles by the hips and picking him up, Stiles wrapping his legs around Derek’s waist, Derek’s hands going to Stiles’ ass, wishing the jeans weren’t there and he could feel Stiles’ bare skin instead, holding him in place, praying that Stiles couldn’t feel his erection digging into him but knowing that he probably could.

“Perfect, comfortable?” Harry asked and Stiles snorted out a nervous laugh, Derek thought it felt amazing.

“Yep. What next?” Stiles asked seriously, he was trying really hard not to let Derek know how much this was turning him on, his cock was throbbing and he knew that if they didn’t get this done with, sooner rather than later, he was going to end up cumming, Derek would think he was disgusting and Stiles would never be able to think about this day without feeling completely humiliated, he had to keep it under control, at least until the end of the shoot. He could do that, providing Derek didn’t do anything else that made him lose his mind, no more hickeys or Stiles was sure he’d die from pleasure.

“Okay, Derek, move to the wall, press Stiles against it, great, take a step closer in, okay, hold it there, one second.” Harry said, snapping away, shifting around so he could get lots of photos from different angles, “Perfect, Stiles, your turn. Kiss Derek’s neck.”

“What?” Stiles said, looking mortified.

“Lean forwards, lips, neck, I’m seriously considering giving you guys a book on human anatomy.” Harry said, Stiles was sure Harry was enjoying this, he probably knew exactly how much Stiles was crushing on Derek and was just trying to make his life hell. Stiles licked his lips nervously, sure Derek would kill him for this later.

He leaned forwards, pressing his lips gently against Derek’s skin, sure it was branding him in the same way his hands were, certain that nothing would ever feel as good as this, they were pressed so close together that Stiles was sure he could feel Derek’s heart beating against his chest, he shifted slightly, Derek tensing slightly, Stiles figured he must be so uncomfortable with all this, he wished he could do something to make it easier for him, get him to enjoy it too. He didn’t know what made him do it, would probably never be able to explain it if anyone asked him, but he moved his mouth from Derek’s neck to his earlobe, catching it in his teeth and pulling slightly, Derek actually groaned and it made Stiles feel a bit better.

“Stay right there.” Harry said, coming behind Derek and getting a shot of Stiles looking straight at the camera, his teeth still pulling on Derek’s ear. “Perfect. Alright, nearly done.” Harry said happily.

He had them shift again, Stiles still sat on Derek’s waist, still pressed against the wall, this time so their foreheads were nearly touching, their lips so close that he was sure he was breathing in Derek’s air, it wouldn’t take much for him to just lean forwards that last inch, close the distance between them, kiss Derek. It would destroy him though, Derek would hate him, Stiles would never be able to talk to him again without thinking of what an idiot he was, he wasn’t brave enough to do that.

“Great, now, stay still, hold it.” Harry was muttering, getting so close to them that Stiles was sure you wouldn’t be able to see much more than their lips in the photo. “Perfect, and that’s it. I’ve got everything I need.” Harry said, flicking through the photos and grinning happily.

Derek dropped Stiles like he’d been burned before rushing off towards the changing rooms, Stiles felt a little sick at that, he’d kind of thought Derek might have been enjoying himself for a second, but he’d obviously been mistaken. He was such an idiot; Derek must hate him. Any excitement he’d felt was long gone, instead he just felt like someone had just punched a hole in his stomach, he got changed quickly and then he went to the bathroom, deciding it was better to check up on Andy than face Derek just yet.

“How are you feeling?” Stiles asked when he entered the bathroom and saw Andy slumped on the ground, his head resting on the toilet seat and looking at Stiles in sorrow. “Sorry I asked.” Stiles said a moment later.

“I can still finish the shoot, just give me a minute.” Andy groaned.

“Don’t worry about it dude. Harry’s got all the pictures he needed.”

“I didn’t think there was time for that? He’s such a perfectionist I’d thought we’d be at it for hours.” Andy asked and Stiles rubbed at the back of his neck nervously. “Did he get someone else to finish the shoot with you?”

“What?” Stiles asked, confused as to how Andy could have leaped to that conclusion so quickly.

“I’m pretty sure you’ve got a second hickey over mine.” Andy muttered, turning back to the toilet to throw up again, Stiles moved over to the mirror, looking at the hickey on his neck, tracing it with his fingers, as if he could still feel Derek’s mouth on his skin. He’d enjoyed it so much and Derek, well, Derek had hated every moment of it, just trying to get it done so they could get home. Stiles sank to the ground next to Andy, leaning the back of his head against the wall and closing his eyes.

“Harry asked Derek to do it.” He whispered.

“To do the shoot? Or to give you a hickey?” Andy said shocked.

“The shoot.” Stiles sighed, “It was just a job, you know, get done, get home kind of thing. Beats waiting around all afternoon for Matt or James to show up, or, I guess, you to feel better.” Andy looked at him like he was insane and Stiles shrugged, he knew it wasn’t a job to him, that he cared about Derek, that he wanted more, but Derek would never look at him in that way, was apparently disgusted by Stiles’ arousal, he must have been able to smell it, no wonder he’d been so uncomfortable. He sighed, hitting his head gently against the wall, “I am such an idiot.”

“Yeah you are.” Andy smirked, still clutching at the toilet.

Derek had never felt anything quite so good as Stiles pulling on his earlobe with his teeth, it felt incredible, mind-blowing, he was going to cum if Stiles didn’t anything else like that again, he was so hard it hurt, and when Harry had made them rest their foreheads together, their lips only centimetres apart all he’d wanted to do was move forward, close the distance between them and kiss Stiles, but he couldn’t do that. Yes, he could smell Stiles’ arousal, but he imagined anyone would get excited in that situation, Stiles wasn’t excited because it was him, he was excited because it was a sexual situation, Derek couldn’t forget that, couldn’t make an idiot of himself by kissing Stiles.

As soon as Harry said he was happy with the pictures Derek let go of Stiles and rushed off to the changing rooms, knowing that if he didn’t do something now he’d end up doing something stupid. He bit his lip to keep quiet as he played with himself, bringing himself so close to the edge at the memory of Stiles’ skin under his lips, he came a moment later, biting back a groan at how amazing it felt. He cleaned himself up quickly and started to get dressed when he heard Stiles go into the bathroom with Andy.

When Stiles said that it was just a job Derek had to sit down, he’d known that, he did know that, Stiles was just being professional, and he happened to be very good at his job, it wasn’t his fault that Derek was crazy about him, Stiles hadn’t had to rush off and deal with his erection, that was just Derek, it just proved to him that Stiles wasn’t interested. He took a few moments to compose himself before he went back outside, wandering over to Harry’s office where he was already working on some of the pictures.

“About to tell me you want a copy?” Harry grinned.

“No.” Derek frowned, although he knew he was just going to buy a copy when it came out, as much as he hated the fact Stiles didn’t feel the same way, there was no way in hell he wasn’t going to keep hold of those pictures, although he was sure Harry had a lot more photos than he’d publish. He hesitated and Harry grinned at him, handing him a memory stick and winking, Derek shoved it into his pocket determined to find time to enjoy them properly.

Stiles and Andy came out of the toilet about ten minutes later, Stiles holding Andy up and looking at him with worry.

“You know, I’ve got just the thing to make you feel better.” Harry said, getting up and pouring Andy a drink.

“It’s water?” Stiles said in confusion.

“It’s special water.” Harry replied, winking at Stiles and handing it across to Andy who drank it greedily. The colour started to return to cheeks almost immediately and Stiles looked at Harry in shock.

“Did you…” Stiles trailed off, how could he possibly confront Harry about spells in front of Andy, although he was beginning to suspect that Harry had planned this, that the cover was rubbish, that Andy got ill, that Stiles shot with Derek… Stiles blushed brightly, unable to believe that Harry could humiliate him like that, he let go of Andy, who managed to stay upright by himself, and grabbed Harry by the elbow. “Can you excuse us for one minute?” Stiles said, already dragging Harry from the room.

Derek wasn’t sure what was going on, he just hoped that Andy didn’t throw up while Harry wasn’t in here.

“Please tell me you didn’t make him sick on purpose?” Stiles said heatedly, Derek heard every word perfectly and couldn’t help but look at Andy in shock, he hadn’t noticed Harry casting any kind of spells.

“Of course not.” Harry replied, Derek heard the truth in his words, “Could I have made him better and carried on the shoot? Yes. Did I want to? No.”

“Are you kidding me!? You made Derek shoot with me and you could have just fixed Andy! Why?” Stiles said sounding distraught, Derek didn’t think it had been that bad, maybe Stiles had hated it a lot more than he’d let on.

“Let’s say it was for my own amusement.” Harry replied.

“That was cruel.” Stiles snapped, “I don’t appreciate it.”

“Alright, I won’t do it again.” Harry said lightly. “And, I’m sorry. If that makes you or Derek feel any better?”

“It doesn’t.” Stiles said, “Don’t pull something like this again or I’ll quit.”

“Okay.” Harry said solemnly, “I am sorry Stiles. But, it was a good shoot. You won’t believe some of the pictures I got.”

“Fantastic. Well done. Don’t worry about people’s feelings or anything.” Stiles grumbled. Derek was confused, was Stiles angry at Harry because Derek was too obvious with his feelings? Or was Stiles just so uncomfortable with the whole thing that he was going to be mad at Harry no matter what?

“I really am sorry. I didn’t think it would upset you so much.” Harry said sincerely.

“Whatever. I’m going home. You’re going to come across tomorrow to do the tracking spell?” Stiles asked.

“Yeah, both of us will be there.” Harry said. “Stiles, I didn’t mean to upset you, or Derek. I just thought it would be fun for you. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.” Stiles replied quietly, “I just, I thought, forget it. I’m blowing it out of proportion, forget I said anything.”

“What did you think?” Harry asked in concern.

“Forget it. I’ve still got some stuff to go over for tomorrow, I’ll see you at ten?”

“Yeah, of course Stiles.” Harry said, still sounding worried that he’d upset Stiles, but following him back to the office.

“Feeling better?” Stiles asked Andy, he looked a lot better.

“Yeah, guess I’m going to head home now. Unless you want to come hang out for a bit?” Andy asked, Stiles glanced at Derek who looked like he was hating every minute of being here.

“No, you should go home and rest, we’ll catch up some other time.” Stiles said before turning to Derek, “Ready to go?”

“Yeah.” Derek said quickly, going to the door and glancing back to make sure Stiles was following him.

The drive home was uncomfortable and quiet, Stiles couldn’t think what to say to make this better and it felt like Derek was driving faster than usual just to get home and out of the car, away from him.

“I’m guessing you heard what I said to Harry?” Stiles asked and Derek nodded tightly, “I’m really sorry, if I’d have known that he could have made Andy better, I never would have put you in that position.”

“What position?” Derek said through gritted teeth, trying to rein in his anger, he was only angry because he was hurting, because Stiles was arranging plans with Andy in the future and Derek had just made a complete idiot of himself.

“You know, having to do a shoot with me.” Stiles muttered, “I know it wasn’t the most exciting thing…” He’d been going to say ‘for you’ but Derek cut him off.

“How about we just don’t mention it again? That sounds like a good plan to me.” Derek said, then sighed when he smelled the hurt coming from Stiles, he’d not meant to upset him. “I mean, it’s just a job, we did what we had to do to get the magazine sorted and now it’s done, so we don’t need to talk about it, sound okay?”

“Yeah.” Stiles mumbled.

“Harry said that they’d be at yours tomorrow for ten?” Derek asked trying to change the subject, Stiles nodded. “You think they’ll be able to do the spell again?”

“I don’t see why not. It worked once, it should work again. But we’ll need a bit of privacy, it takes quite a while to prepare the spell and if there’s any distractions it has to be started all over again.” Stiles replied.

“Okay, well, as soon as we finish this with Gerard you’ll be able to have your freedom again, go spend time with Andy or whatever.” Derek said, trying to cheer Stiles up, he still smelled of sadness.

“I don’t think that’s what I’ll be doing if I’m honest.” Stiles muttered and Derek looked at him in surprise, raising an eyebrow and waiting for more information, “Don’t get me wrong, we’re great friends, and he’s been there for me when I’ve needed him,” Stiles was fiddling with the wolf necklace uncertainly, “but, he wants more than I can give at the moment and I hate letting him down all the time.”

“What? Is he pressuring you into sex or something?” Derek growled, certain that the next time he saw Andy the guy wouldn’t be breathing for long.

“No, nothing like that. He wants us to date, and I’m not ready too.”

“But you went on a date with him? He came to the school, made a big thing about asking you out and kissing you?” Derek said in shock.

“Yeah, but that was it, the grand total of my dating experience, two kisses and one date. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was fun and I enjoyed it, but there wasn’t that spark, and then Andy figured out that I wasn’t ready for something serious and he said he’ll wait until I am, but what if I’m never ready? With him I mean? If he’s just hanging around waiting for me and I’m never wanting to commit to him like that?” Stiles rambled, unable to believe he’d just said all that to Derek.

Derek tried to focus on the road, making sure that he didn’t just pull over at the side of the road and kiss Stiles, that wouldn’t help the situation at all.

“I didn’t mean to say all that, it just kind of slipped out.” Stiles said blushing.

“It’s fine.” Derek said, he couldn’t help but feel relieved, at least Stiles wasn’t dating Andy properly, “If you want my advice, and you can ignore it if you don’t, but usually, if something doesn’t feel right, it won’t be, no matter how long you wait or how hard you try. If you don’t have that spark with him, I don’t think that will ever change.”

Stiles was staring at him with his mouth hanging open and Derek blushed slightly, did Stiles know that Derek had only said that because he didn’t want Stiles to date Andy?

“What?” Derek said, still blushing.

“Nothing.” Stiles said, snapping his mouth closed and turning to look out of the window, “Just, I didn’t know you could offer advice rather than order.” Stiles joked and Derek chuckled gently, pulling into the driveway and opening the door.

“Believe it or not I didn’t spend my whole life barking orders.” Derek grinned, heading towards the house as Stiles followed him in. At least whatever tension had been between them seemed to have disappeared and Stiles didn’t smell quite so sad anymore which was good.

“How did it go?” Scott called from the kitchen as they walked in, Stiles pulled his phone and keys from his pocket and put them on the side before heading to the kitchen.

“It went fine.” Stiles said, ignoring the way that his dad was staring at the hickey on his neck, at least most of the pack were outside so he didn’t have to face them too.

“I’m going to have to speak to Andy about damaging the goods.” Noah said and Stiles laughed.

“Probably a bit too late for that, I’m already pretty damaged.” Stiles joked.

“Dude, why do you smell so much like Derek?” Scott asked and Stiles blushed.

“Well, funny story…” Stiles began and Derek groaned, Stiles only seemed to say that when he was getting into trouble, he was going to have to come up with a better way to break bad news. Derek slid into the nearest seat, putting his head on his arms and closing his eyes, this was not going to go well. “Erm, so obviously, Harry planned on doing the shoot with Andy and I called you and I asked you about that.” Stiles continued, looking more pained by the second.

“Andy got sick so Harry asked me to step in.” Derek said finally putting Stiles out of his misery.

“I’m sorry, what?” Noah said incredulously. “You did a shoot with Stiles?”

“Yeah, so you know, that happened.” Stiles rambled, “Harry said that he’ll be here with Luke for ten tomorrow, so we’ll all set with the plan.” He said trying to change the subject.

“Sure, sure, that’s good.” Noah said, staring at Stiles in shock, “But, let’s just get back to the fact that you and Derek did a shoot together, is Harry going to use it on the cover? Only it’s bad enough my son is in porn, one of my deputies is now also starring in it. I’m going to be seeing issues of this everywhere, aren’t I? At least tell me you kept your clothes on?”

“I think I need a shower.” Stiles said, moving towards the kitchen door.

“Stiles!” Noah barked. “You kept your clothes on, right?”

“Sure I did dad, I agreed I would, didn’t I? Anyway, shower time.” Stiles said, practically running up the stairs and shutting the bathroom door behind him.

“I’m going to take a wild guess that the hickey isn’t from Andy?” Noah asked Derek who blushed brightly before looking around for support and glaring at the ceiling, hoping Stiles could tell he was going to kill him.

“The first one was.” Derek mumbled honestly, ignoring Scott who still seemed to be processing the fact that Stiles and Derek had shot together.

“Was it fun?” Erica asked, bursting into the kitchen from where she’d obviously been listening outside and Derek groaned. “I’m going to take that as a yes, I’d say a lot of fun actually.” She grinned.

“And now I need fresh air.” Noah said, heading out into the garden where he knew he wouldn’t have to listen to this conversation.

“You and Stiles?” Ethan asked, “Did you guys do anything? Like, declare your undying love for him?”

“Shut up.” Derek said mortified, if Stiles heard that there’d be no hope for him.

“Well, you obviously had a fun afternoon.” Lydia grinned, “So, are you going to do it again? Or just let him do it with Andy next time?”

“No.” Derek snapped, “Not with Andy again, never.” Derek clarified, he couldn’t stand there and watch Andy touch Stiles like that, not after having the pleasure himself, he wouldn’t be able to control himself, which meant he made sure Stiles only did solo shoots or Derek wasn’t there if he had to shoot with Andy, not if he wanted to stay out of jail for murder.

“Obviously not,” Peter sniffed, “Our Alpha has claimed him already, or did you all miss that?”

“Claimed him?” Allison asked in confusion.

“Marked him, whatever you want to call it.” Peter replied, “The hickey.” He added as further explanation, “Derek’s made a claim, any person in their right mind wouldn’t challenge him for that.”

“Which means what?” Jackson asked.

“It means, that if Stiles chooses to accept the claim, he’ll become our Alpha’s mate, I mean, he’s already almost there, even if he doesn’t realise it, all they need to do is make it official.”

“Official how?” Boyd asked and Peter rolled his eyes.

Stiles stared at himself in the mirror, looking at the hickey, feeling a shiver of desire run through him when he brushed it with his fingertips, it looked like Derek had marked him, claimed him, and even though he knew that that wasn’t the case, that it was nothing like that, he couldn’t help getting turned on by the thought. He stripped and got in the shower, slowly stroking his cock and thinking about how incredible Derek’s lips had felt on his skin, how good it would feel to kiss him, to spend hours getting to know his body. He tried to hold off on his orgasm, making it last as long as he could, biting his lip viciously when he finally came in an attempt to stay as quiet as possible.

He scrubbed himself clean, hoping that he’d got rid of both Andy’s and Derek’s scents and just smelled like himself again before heading back downstairs, a little surprised when everyone seemed to grin widely whenever they looked at him, he didn’t know what he’d missed but he decided to ignore it, instead heading into the kitchen to run over the notes, hoping they’d reveal something he’d missed previously.

“Hey Stiles.” Erica grinned perching on the chair next to him hours later. “Find anything interesting?” She asked, yawning and stretching her arms, her fingertips brushing his neck and landing on his hickey, Stiles jumped up like a jolt of electricity had just gone through him. “You okay?”

“Fine, just, erm, I need to use the loo.” Stiles said, rushing into the downstairs toilet and slamming the door behind him, he’d been lost in his own thoughts and they weren’t thoughts about Gerard, they were filled with Derek, with the shoot, with how good it felt, Erica had startled him, her fingers brushing his skin and just for a moment he’d thought it was Derek. He was such an idiot; he was supposed to be concentrating on figuring out what Gerard and Kate were planning and instead he was thinking about Derek.

He went over to the mirror, staring at the hickey on his neck and getting an odd thrill from it, he knew that Derek hadn’t meant anything by it, had only be doing what was necessary, he couldn’t read any more into it couldn’t think anything else of it, had to stop hoping that Derek would ever look at him like that.

“Get it together Stiles.” He muttered, splashing cold water on his face.

Chapter Text

Derek wasn’t sure what had happened with Stiles, he’d been listening to his heart beating steadily in the kitchen and then Erica must have spooked him and he’d run into the bathroom. Stiles had barely been in there a minute when his phone started vibrating on the side and Scott picked it up, glancing at the screen before answering it.

“Hey Harry, Stiles is just in the bathroom.”

“That’s good since I’m wanting to speak to your Alpha not the pathetic human.” A voice replied, Derek jumped up from the sofa and almost snatched the phone from Scott’s hand.

“What are you doing with Harry’s phone Gerard?” Derek snarled, all of the pack including Noah turned to look at him in surprise, their bodies tensing with fear and anger.

“Well we’re spending some quality time together actually.” Gerard replied, “Luke is here with us too, we’re getting to know each other. Say hi boys.” Gerard taunted.

Derek heard Luke and Harry both screaming in the background and Derek tensed, clenching his fists tightly.

“What do you want?” Derek said, trying to rein in his anger.

“Quite simple, I want you to come see us, have a chat.” Gerard replied.

“And you think we’d come because?” Derek said.

“Really? Derek, I thought more of you.” Gerard mocked. “You’d really abandon the warlocks that were protecting your pack? Abandon them with me? Really? I wouldn’t have thought you would be so heartless.”

“Tell me where and I’ll come see you.” Derek threatened.

“I think that’s a great idea, bring Stiles with you, I’d love to spend some time with him again.” Gerard smirked and Derek growled.

“I’m going to kill you.” He snapped.

“Feel free, I’ll even give you the address.” Gerard replied casually. “Just make sure you bring your little human with you, it’ll make getting information from these warlocks so much easier.” Gerard ended the call abruptly and a moment later Stiles’ phone pinged with an incoming text. Derek moved swiftly, grabbing a chair and jamming it under the handle of the bathroom so that Stiles couldn’t get out.

“He stays in there. Don’t let him out under any circumstances.” Derek ordered, moving towards the door.

“And you’re going where?” Noah asked.

“To get Harry and Luke back.” Derek said, growling when Scott blocked his path.

“We’re coming with you.” Scott said. “Stiles can’t get out of there, you can’t take out thirty hunters by yourself. Let us come with you, you’re going to need all the help you can get.”

“No. It’ll be dangerous; I can’t risk you getting hurt.”

“And when the hunters catch you too?” Lydia hissed, making sure that Stiles didn’t overhear them, “What then? You’re our Alpha Derek, we’d follow you anywhere, so let us come with you or we’ll just follow you.”

“We can’t let them get their hands-on Stiles.” Noah said, “He has to stay here and we have to make sure he never has to fear them again.”

“Fine.” Derek relented, glancing nervously at the bathroom door, “Alright, let’s go. Now.” They all rushed for their cars, Noah locking the front door behind him, hoping that they’d all make it out of this, praying that Stiles would somehow be able to forgive him for this.

Derek drove like a mad man, arriving at their destination within five minutes, climbing up the hill, viewing the damage from the landslide below them, trying to figure out how best to attack.

“They didn’t move.” Peter whispered, “It’s the same barn they were in before.” He said as the observed the landscape, there had to be a way for them to get to Harry and Luke, kill Gerard and Kate and not get caught by all thirty hunters.

“We should split them.” Noah said with a calculating gaze, “There’s ten by the barn, there’s another ten by the house, we could split up, some of us go around the back of the house, make some noise, draw them to us, the rest go for the barn, Stiles said there was a window, maybe get in through there, take out the other hunters inside, possibly a maximum of fifteen, get Harry and Luke out, back up the hill before the rest of them know what hit them.”

“The fastest should go around the back of the house.” Isaac said, “Ethan, Erica and I are the fastest, we’ll go, the rest of you get Luke and Harry.”

“Allison, Melissa, Lydia and Noah should stay here, out of direct line of fire. If anything goes wrong, you can shoot from here.” Jackson said, looking at Lydia with concern.

“I’m a banshee, I’ll be better in close quarters.” Lydia argued.

“I’m with Jackson on this.” Melissa said, “I can’t fight, but I can shoot, if it comes to it.”

“Lydia, listen to her.” Jackson sighed.

“I’m not staying here.” Noah whispered, “These men hurt my son. They need to die for it.”

“I’m so glad you feel that way.” Gerard said, stepping out of the trees, easily twenty men surrounding them, guns pointed at them, there was no way out of it. “You like my little magic trick?” Gerard said, “I’ve only had them two hours and I’ve already figured out how to use their magic to hide my heart beat and my men’s. You should be impressed with that. Now, if you don’t mind, let’s take a trip, I’ve got a lot to show you.” Gerard pointed towards the barn and the whole pack moved reluctantly in that direction, staring in awe at the evidence of the landslide that Harry and Luke had created, it had done some serious damage.

All of the hunters were laughing triumphantly when they saw Gerard and the crowd of hunters approaching with the pack as their captives, one of them threw open the large wooden doors and they were marched inside.

“No!” Harry called out. Derek turned to look at him, Harry and Luke were both bound with heavy chains that were covered in inscriptions and linked to concrete pillars that held them to the ground. Harry was on his knees, bleeding from several cuts on his face and body, he looked far too pale and was obviously in pain, Luke was lying on the ground about five foot away from Harry, Derek could hear his heart beating steadily but it was obvious he was unconscious.

“Draining their magic takes a lot out of them.” Gerard smirked, “Now, if you’d all be so kind,” Gerard pointed, pointing with his gun to a large circle behind them. Derek wouldn’t let any of them get hurt so he motioned for the pack to follow Gerard’s orders and step inside the circle.

“Where’s Stiles?” Ben asked, stepping forward as soon as they had stepped inside, Derek growled, stepping towards him and being knocked backwards by an invisible force, Gerard grinned at him, muttered something quietly and Harry screamed in pain as the whole pack were brought to their knees and chains formed around their wrists.

“He’s not here.” Noah snarled.

“I wanted to play with him.” Ben pouted and Derek snarled, he was going to kill him, kill them all, all he could think was he had done the right thing, leaving Stiles there, making sure he was safe.

“You’ll get your chance.” Kate smirked as she stepped forward, Derek heard Peter growling viciously behind him, “I mean, you didn’t even give him the option to hide.” She said and Derek felt his heart stutter in fear, “My men saw you all leave and that Stiles wasn’t with you, it didn’t take a genius to figure out you’d left him in the house, but locking him in the bathroom? That was just cruel.” Kate smirked.

“What have you done with him?” Noah whispered in horror.

“Oh, don’t worry, we didn’t burn the house down with him still inside.” Kate laughed, “I mean, of course we still burned it down, but we did drag Stiles out first.”

“Where is he?” Noah snarled.

“He’s on his way here, don’t worry, I told my guys to bring him here, after they’d had some fun of course.” Kate grinned.

“If you touch him…” Harry began, breaking off when Gerard muttered something and he choked for air.

“Now, honestly, I don’t care which one of you I have to hurt to get the information I want.” Gerard said, “But, since these warlocks seem to be so fond of Stiles I’m guessing that they’re going to make things a whole lot easier for me when he gets here, but until then, I’m happy for any of you to hurt.”

“What do you want?” Lydia asked, “You already have them, what more can you want from them?”

“Oh, you don’t know?” Gerard taunted, “Listen carefully,” He smirked turning to Harry, “Was there another caster with you and your brother that caused the landslide?”

Harry clenched his jaw and refused to say anything.

“You see, they think that if they don’t say anything I won’t be able to tell if they’re lying. But, the thing is, both of your warlocks were shot that night, they were too busy healing to be able to cause that landslide, which means they were with at least one other caster, maybe even two, so I want to know who it is.”

“Go fuck…” Harry began, cut off with another cry of pain.

“Now, you swore to protect this pack, so,” Gerard waved another hunter forward, Derek tensed when he saw a syringe in his hand, “let’s see,” he wandered between the wolves, pointing a finger at Jackson and grinning as the hunter approached him, “stick him with it first, let’s see how he handles it.”

“No.” Harry said and Gerard smirked at Kate, they’d finally broken Harry.

“So, tell us, was there another caster with you that night?”

“Yes.” Harry said, almost sobbing in pain, Derek couldn’t hide his shock, how come Stiles hadn’t mentioned this third caster?

“One or two?” Gerard asked.

“Two.” Harry said and even Derek heard his heart jump with the lie, and Kate grinned victoriously.

“So only one then?” She asked and Harry looked on the verge of tears. “One caster who caused that entire landslide, nearly wiping us all out. He must be pretty damn powerful, a whole lot more powerful than you and your brother?” Harry stayed silent.

“Alright, let’s do it the hard way then.” Gerard said, motioning for the hunter to inject Jackson, Derek tried to pull uselessly at the chains holding him in place, he couldn’t move and was helpless as the serum was pushed into Jackson’s bloodstream.

Jackson collapsed to the ground almost immediately, grimacing in pain as Gerard looked on happily, reaching down and stroking a finger softly along Jackson’s cheek. Jackson screamed, it was filled with so much pain that it broke Derek’s heart, he pulled harder on the chains, unable to do anything as Jackson screamed and sobbed brokenly.

“Let me repeat the question,” Gerard smirked, “Was there only one additional caster with you?”

“Yes.” Harry spat out angrily. “Now stop it. Help him.”

“Sure, of course, Ben, help our little friend out.” Gerard said, watching with amusement as Ben slapped Jackson hard across the face and he screamed in pain.

“Stop it!” Lydia was screaming.

“He doesn’t have such a pretty scream.” Ben pouted and Gerard rolled his eyes.

“I’ve told you, you’ll get to play with Stiles when he gets here, until then, we’ll just have to make do with these lot instead. They seem to be doing the trick for now.” Kate snapped. “Is it a distorter?” She quizzed Harry who remained silent, “Tell me or we dose him again.”

“Go to hell you crazy bitch.” Harry spat out.

“You heard the man, give him the higher dose.” Kate snarled and Derek watched helplessly as the hunter injected Jackson with a second dose, Derek heard his heart stop immediately as Jackson gasped for breath that wouldn’t come and his eyes started to glaze over, he could hear the rest of the pack screaming, Lydia screamed, making his ears hurt as she stared at Jackson with terror in her eyes.

A minute later Jackson’s heart restarted and he gasped for breath, the rest of the pack sighing in relief as Jackson tried to move and moaned in pain.

“Funny that I call your little human pathetic and yet he didn’t moan like that.” Gerard smirked, “We dosed him up eighteen times before I got bored, you think you can take that Jackson? Ready to go again?”

“I think you enjoy picking on me.” Jackson groaned, getting back to his knees and glaring at Gerard with hatred while gritting his teeth, “I’m ready when you are.”

Kate and Gerard looked at each other, then at Harry who smirked a little.

Luke groaned slightly, opening his eyes and looking at Harry, he wasn’t sure what had happened, the last thing he remembered was Gerard forcing him to cast the spell that covered their heartbeats, he hoped he’d passed out before they’d been able to capture the pack, if Stiles revealed his powers he’d never be safe again.

Instead Harry was pale with exhaustion and pain, when he moved slightly he saw the pack all chained up inside the circle, thank god that at least Stiles wasn’t with them, he would have revealed himself already, Luke knew that for a fact.

He’d had worse days he supposed, but being surprised in his own home by hunters, using a high amount of his power in order to try and defend himself, and, just when he thought he had the upper hand, he’d seen Harry unconscious in the back seat, his little brother, captured and defenceless, he’d been distracted, only for a moment, but it was enough, he’d taken a hit to the head and when he had woken up it was to find himself chained in this barn, his magic being pulled from him, pain that he’d never experienced before and Harry screaming in just as much agony next to him.

“So glad of you to join us Luke.” Kate smirked, “Maybe you’ll be more willing to answer our questions that your brother.”

“Go to hell.” Luke spat.

“I really think you should rethink that, we know there was a caster with you that night, just one, which makes them a whole lot more powerful that you, so how about you just stop me when I get to the right one…”

“I’m not telling you shit.” Luke growled, unable to believe that Harry had told them anything at all.

“If you don’t, this pack that you’re so desperate to protect, well, they’re going to feel a whole lot worse before the end of the night.”

“Do what you want to them, I don’t care.” Luke groaned in pain when Kate kicked him.

“Leave him alone.” Derek snarled and Kate turned to look at him with delight.

“Ah, the Alpha, you’re just so damn cute when you get all growly.” She taunted, swaggering towards Derek and crouching down next to him, Derek tensed, pulling on the chains as hard as he could but making no progress, “You know, I think I can have some fun with you, I mean, we used to have so much fun, didn’t we? It was so amusing when I burned your house down, I laughed about that for years.” Peter and Cora both snarled viciously but Derek remained silent, he would kill her and he would make sure she stayed dead this time. “How about, while Ben here plays with your little human I get to play with you, that would be fun, wouldn’t it?”

“They have Stiles?” Luke croaked out to Harry who nodded solemnly.

“Oh, yeah, we have you friend, so, how about you tell us what we want to know before he gets here? I promise that we won’t be quite so hard on him if you tell us what we want to know.”

Luke relaxed slightly, they didn’t have Stiles yet, he wasn’t here with them yet, there was still hope. Just as he was about to reply to Kate, tell her where to shove her offer, her phone started ringing and she answered it quickly.

“Where are you?” She said angrily, “You were supposed to be here already.”

“He got away.”

“Got away? Got away! He’s a child! How the hell did he get away from you?” Kate raged.

“He surprised us. Crashed the car.”

“If you don’t tell me something helpful in the next ten seconds I will tear you apart.” Kate snarled, whereas the pack were all grinning victoriously, they were still captive, but Stiles wasn’t, he was safe at least.

“We weren’t far from you, there’s no one else around, he was injured in the crash, he won’t get far, we’ll catch him.” The hunter informed Kate who frowned down the phone.

“Make sure you do, and, as soon as you catch him bring him to me,” She glanced at Derek, “And make sure he’s bleeding when you do.” She ended the call, grinning at Derek as she did so. “You don’t think this makes any difference, do you? We’ll catch him, we’ll bring him here and you’ll watch helplessly as we beat him to death.” She turned away from Derek, looking instead at Harry and Luke, “Unless, you tell us, right now, is it a mage?”

“He’ll kill you.” Luke snarled, “You lay another finger on us, or those that we protect and he will kill you all.”

“Funny, my granddaughter threatened me with the same thing, said that you’d make me pay, except, I’m still standing and you’re all my prisoners. Funny how things work.” Gerard laughed.

“So, a mage?” Kate asked, Luke and Harry both remained silent, Gerard motioned for the hunter to prepare another syringe, this time it was directed to Noah who tensed against the hunter holding him in place.

Harry glanced to Luke, unsure what to do, if they told then Stiles would be in danger, if they didn’t then Noah would be tortured and Stiles would hate them for not protecting his father.

“He’s not a mage.” Luke said, knowing that Stiles would always put the welfare of his pack before his own, and, that if they didn’t try to protect them too, Stiles would never forgive them.

“Good, now we’re getting somewhere.” Kate grinned, “Do it anyway.” She smirked.

“No!” Derek cried out in denial as the hunter stabbed the syringe into Noah’s neck and he collapsed to the ground, crying out in pain when the hunter smacked him lightly around the back of the head. “Tell them what they want to know!” He shouted to Luke and Harry, unable to understand why they didn’t just tell them what they wanted to know, his pack was hurting and in pain, he had to protect them.

“We can do this all day.” Gerard smirked evilly, “But the Alpha is right, tell us what your caster is and we’ll stop this right now.” He motioned for the hunter to hit Noah again and he cried out in pain, doing his best to stop himself from screaming.

“He’s a Zduhać!” Harry shouted and everyone froze, looking at him in shock.

“A Zduhać?” Peter whispered in shock.

“Impossible, they all died out.” Kate muttered.

“Am I lying?” Harry said, hating that he’d spilled Stiles’ secret, but knowing he’d had no other choice, if anything happened to his dad then Stiles would never forgive himself.

Stiles had been stood in the bathroom, trying to ignore the pounding in his heart every time he thought of Derek’s lips on his neck. He’d just been preparing to go back into the kitchen when he felt his wards press and then, a moment later, break, sheer panic ran through his veins and he moved quickly, unable to believe that someone had shattered his wards so easily, when the handle didn’t budge he really started to panic.

“Guys!” He called out, banging on the door, “What’s going on? Let me out!” He shouted, getting ready to blast the door open when suddenly it opened and Stiles was staring down the barrel of two guns.

He didn’t put up any fight, seeing that the rest of the pack were nowhere to be seen gave Stiles two options, either they’d escaped and left Stiles trapped in the toilet, unlikely, or they’d left before the hunters got there and trapped Stiles in the toilet in a vain attempt to leave him out of whatever this was. From that he figured that it was most likely that the pack had found out where Gerard was and were going after him, he might as well get a ride with the hunters and probably get them to spill their evil plan along the way before he escaped, he could use a tracking spell but that would waste magic that he might need before the end of the night. They cuffed him and put him in the back seat of the car, Stiles was quite impressed, they hadn’t even bothered knocking him out, they must have figured he was no threat whatsoever.

He hadn’t expected one of the hunters to go back inside the house for a few minutes while the other smirked at him evilly, when he’d seen the first hunter reappear almost ten minutes later, and then seen the smoke billowing out of the house behind him he’d almost broken down into tears, their home was being burned down, the only memories he had of his mother were in that house, he wanted to end the charade then, kill them and save the house, but then he wouldn’t find out where they wanted to take him and what they wanted.

The hunters got in the car a moment later, grinning at Stiles who couldn’t tear his eyes away from his home, he closed his eyes and cast a silent spell to protect their home as best he could in the circumstances and then turned away, studying instead the hunters in the front of the car as they drove away.

“I’m assuming you have some kind of plan here?” He asked a minute later, already bored of the silence, “I mean, you didn’t just kidnap me for the fun of it?”

“Of course not.” The first hunter scoffed, “Gerard said the warlocks will break when we torture you.”

Stiles processed that, so Gerard had Harry and Luke and somehow knew that Stiles was attached to them. He didn’t know how they’d found that out or how they’d captured Luke and Harry, but it was vital that he got to them and got them away from the hunters before they hurt them. It only took another minute for him to realise exactly where they were going, the main roads were all behind them, the preserve surrounding them, a dirt track in front of them on the right, as soon as they took that turning Stiles knew they could only be going to the farm, and, rather than go there as a captive, he’d need to make his own plan.

“Well, as much as I’m enjoying our time together, I’m getting a little bored so you can let me out anywhere around here.” Stiles said, pulling on the cuffs, casting a silent spell and feeling them come loose.

“Gerard said you were a cocky little beggar.” The second hunter smirked. “He also said that we’d get to join in to beat that out of you.”

“Well, you’re going to have to wait on that.” Stiles said, seeing a corner coming up and knowing this was the time to make his move. Both hunters started laughing mockingly and Stiles took the opportunity, he reached forward, grabbing hold of the steering wheel and yanking it towards the trees. The hunters both cried out in surprise but it was too late for them to do anything, they hit the nearest tree hard, coming to a sudden stop, Stiles smashed into the back of the driver’s seat and felt his ribs crack, he blacked out for a moment and when he came to he was lying in the backseat of the car, the two hunters both unconscious in the front, he sat up groggily, wiping at blood that was dripping in his eye and clambering out of the car, grabbing a jacket from the front seat and putting it on quickly to keep the chill away.

He used a little magic to heal his ribs so that he could move without too much pain and then started into the trees, knowing that if he circled around he’d come out on the other side of the barn, where he’d be least expected, they’d think he’d head for town, for help, for safety, they didn’t know him at all.

He arrived at the same window as he had on Thursday night, except this time Luke and Harry were chained up, their chains linking to the concrete pillars and holding them in place, both looking to be in pain and bleeding, then Stiles saw the pack, they looked a little worse for wear, but generally okay, he wasn’t sure what had happened but they were all looking at his dad in worry and that made Stiles more than a little bit stressed.

There were at least twenty hunters in the room with them, Stiles knew there were more outside, no matter how powerful he thought he was, taking out forty hunters would be a challenge. He needed to take out the ones outside first.

The sky above him was clouding over, the rumble of thunder echoing in the sky as rain started to fall and splatter the ground, he moved around to the other side of the barn, watching the hunters move to get out of the rain and grinning to himself, this would be easier than he thought, he stayed in the shadows, out of sight. He cast another spell, forcing the ground to turn to mud beneath their feet, then, muttering another spell that took a lot out of him, he made the hunters start to sink. It took a good five minutes to complete the spell, the hunters started to panic when the mud reached the top of their boots, within a few minutes it was up to their knees, they started to scream and shout and Stiles silenced them with another spell, his legs were shaking by the time he finished, all the hunters now trapped in the mud up to their necks, their mouths all open in silent screams. It was then that he turned his attention to the barn.

Luke glanced to the sky when he heard the thunder rumble and tensed, Stiles was here, he had to protect his secret, however he could, the supernatural creatures in the room must have all heard his heart rate increase and turned to look at him in surprise.

“How on earth did you find a Zduhać?” Gerard asked, already moving around the room, they hadn’t been prepared for a caster of that power, he’d truly believed they were all extinct, however, if he managed to capture him then Gerard could have power he never dreamed of, the Zduhać would be able to heal him, make him a proper werewolf and then he’d kill that stupid Alpha, take his pack and kill them too, he would be unstoppable.

“He found us.” Luke answered honestly, “Just like he’s going to find us again, and he is going to be very angry when he sees what you have done. I’d strongly advise letting us go right now, before he gets here.”

“I’m counting on it.” Kate said, “When he gets here, we’ll capture him too and then you’ll all be useless to us. If it’s any consolation to you, I’ll make your deaths very painful.”

“Tell us his name.” Gerard growled, both Harry and Luke shook their heads. “Fine. Ben, dose up the redhead.”

“No!” Jackson snarled, pulling at his chains uselessly as he tried to reach Lydia, she was whimpering with fear, Ben holding her head tightly and pressing the syringe to her neck.

Stiles moved towards the barn, he wasn’t sure what was said and he wasn’t about to waste any magic to find out, he was already running dangerously low and he had to maintain the silence spell if he wanted his plan to work and make sure nobody found out what he was. He saw Ben move to Lydia, hold a syringe to her neck and Stiles saw red, he would not allow them to do that to his pack. He opened the door a crack, saw Derek turn to look at him in terror, obviously able to hear Stiles’ heartbeat.

“Fair warning Der,” He muttered, “I’m about to do something stupid.” Stiles said taking a deep breath and swinging open the doors. “I wouldn’t do that if I was you, hearing a banshee screaming, it’s really going to hurt your ears.” He said casually, leaning against the doorframe and smirking as every eye in the room turned to look at him.

“Stiles! No! Run!” His dad cried out in terror and Stiles ignored him, he wasn’t going to leave any of them here.

“Did you come to play?” Ben grinned letting go of Lydia and taking a step towards him cautiously, as if expecting Stiles to run. Stiles pulled the staff from his pocket, forcing his magic to change it into a baseball bat and holding it behind his back out of sight.

“You want to play big boy? I’m here. Let’s play.” Stiles taunted, a smile on his lips but murder in his eyes, doing his best to hide his panic when Ben strolled towards him, Ben was grinning widely, smirking more when Stiles didn’t run. He would not let them hurt his family, even when they were all screaming at him to run, pulling on their chains like they’d be able to break them, he would not let them down. When Ben got a step away he took a step backwards and swung the bat, connecting it solidly with Ben’s knee and when he went down, smacking him in the ribs and then finally the head, Ben collapsed to the ground unconscious and Stiles relaxed his grip a little on the bat, sauntering into the barn and standing between the pack and the hunters, he only wished Luke and Harry were behind him too, where it was at least a little bit safer.

Gerard burst into laughter, looking at Stiles with amusement.

“What exactly do you intend to do now Stiles?” He laughed, “You’re going to fight all of us? I have two warlocks on my side, soon enough the caster they’ve been hiding will arrive and then I’ll have him too, what exactly do you plan on doing against that sort of power?”

“If I have to fight you all, I will. Now, let them go, before this ends badly for all of you.” He said, trying to sound as dangerous as possible.

Kate smirked at him and Stiles did his best to control his rage, he couldn’t do magic right now, he couldn’t give the game away, not yet, not if he could do it without them finding out. Kate muttered something under her breath and both Harry and Luke cried out in pain as their magic was pulled from them, Stiles tightened his grip on the bat, clenched his jaw, he wouldn’t let her get away with this, before this was over, she would die.

“Stiles! Behind you!” Isaac called out and Stiles spun around quickly, freezing slightly when he saw Derek coming towards him, his eyes glowing red, his claws out and panting with rage.

“Derek, what are you doing?” Stiles said confused, unable to understand why Derek looked ready to attack him, he took a step backwards and Derek followed him. “What have you done?” He said, risking a glance at Kate who laughed happily.

“You think it’s bad when we torture you, wait until your precious Alpha beats you, until he breaks you.” She laughed.

“Stop it.” Stiles said, he wasn’t willing to fight Derek, he wasn’t sure he’d win and even if he did, it would cost too much magic to beat Derek, he needed to save his magic for the hunters. “Derek, stop it.” Stiles said, taking another step backwards, towards the wall when Derek growled at him. “You don’t want to do this. Don’t do this.” Stiles pleaded, hoping to get through to Derek.

“It’s not going to work!” Harry sobbed, “Run! Stiles! Run!”

Stiles shrugged, he had two options, fight Derek or don’t. There was no point in running, as fast as he was, Derek would catch him, he could not fight, but knowing Kate and Gerard that would only make them beat him more, which didn’t give him any options, he had to fight, he had to take Derek down and quickly.

“Sorry about this.” He whispered as Derek started to charge. He could hear the pack all shouting, shouting for Stiles to run or for Derek to stop, but it became white noise to him, all he could think about was treating Derek as if he was an enemy, take him out, hard and fast. He swung the bat hitting him hard in the ribs and ducking under his claws, Derek roared in rage and spun quickly, coming straight at Stiles again. Stiles only just managed to dodge his claws, they caught in his t-shirt and ripped it open, Stiles ducked out of range again, holding back because he didn’t want to do Derek any serious damage, he saw his opening and decided to take it. Derek charged again and Stiles spun, Derek’s claws catching his arm and ripping open the jacket and his skin before Stiles carried on spinning and launched Derek into the far wall, watching with horror as he hit it hard and went down to the ground, completely out of it.

He turned back to Kate and Gerard, ignoring the whispered cries of relief from the pack behind him, and glared at them.

“Now, let’s try this again, let them go, otherwise I’ll kill you. Have I made myself clear?” Stiles growled. He glanced at Derek who was slowly getting back to his feet, albeit it a little unsteadily, but, still, at least he was okay. He heard a groan from his other side and saw Ben starting to get to his feet, clutching the syringe in his hand and glaring at Stiles with hatred, recovering from his injuries quicker than Stiles would have thought possible.

“I think you need to rethink that statement.” Gerard taunted.

“No. I really don’t.” Stiles said, moving a step away from Ben and towards Derek, the lesser of two evils he guessed. “You’re running out of time, in sixty seconds the offer is off the table and you all die.” He looked around the barn, hoping he could successfully bluff his way out of this, “Or did you really think I’d come in here without a back-up plan?”

“What kind of plan?” Kate asked in interest and Stiles smirked.

“Why don’t you call for help from your guys outside?” He grinned, “Oh, no, wait, you could do, but there’s not going to be any reply, they’re all a little stuck right now.” He stepped backwards towards the door, Derek and Ben both coming towards him.

“I think there’s plenty of people in here that can take care of you. We don’t need any help from outside.” Gerard replied and Stiles shrugged.

“Fair enough, but, don’t say I didn’t warn you.” He said, shifting quickly when Derek went for the attack again. Blood was running down his arm from where Derek’s claws had caught him earlier and Stiles could feel the stinging pain but he had to ignore it, he couldn’t waste magic fixing it as it wasn’t life threatening. Ben swung a massive fist towards his head and Stiles dodged it at the last second, having to swing his bat into Derek’s ribs again in an effort to push him back. He used as much magic as he dared to keep his strength up, but he knew he was going to lose, it was obvious, he couldn’t keep this up, his magic was decreasing rapidly and Derek and Ben didn’t seem to be tiring, he managed to make a move over to the bag on the side, knowing that Ben kept his drugs there, and felt a vicious satisfaction when it smashed to the ground.

He wasn’t able to get out of the way of Ben’s next swing, this one hitting him in the ribs and Stiles felt the ones he had healed earlier crack under the blow, it dropped him to his knees and he only just managed to miss a kick from Derek that would have knocked him out cold.

The next blow was from Derek, catching him in the jaw, knocking him sideways and making his eyes water with pain, followed up by him grabbing his arm and snapping the bone easily, he screamed then, clutching at his broken arm uselessly. He knew it was over from there, he was taking more hits than he was giving, barely able to dodge out of the way of most of them, until, finally Derek got his hand around Stiles’ throat, his claws cutting into skin as he almost lifted him from the ground. Ben was smirking with delight, Gerard and Kate laughing with the other hunters as the pack pleaded for Derek to realise what he was doing and let go.

“Derek…” Stiles gasped, unable to catch his breath as Ben walked over to his bag, Stiles prayed that he’d smashed everything but evidently not as he pulled out another syringe and measured the dosage before coming back towards Stiles, he couldn’t help the panic setting in then, the last thing he ever wanted was to go through that again. He reached for his magic but found he didn’t have any strength left, other than the bit keeping the hunters silent, and if he dropped that then his plan would be over, he would drain the magic from his staff, drain the reserves in there and have power back to beat them, but his bat was lying uselessly on the ground under his feet and no matter how much he kicked at Derek the guy refused to let go.

Ben was stood next to him, the syringe hovering against his skin, Derek’s claws digging into his skin, he could feel the blood running down his neck, he could barely breathe, barely think straight.

“Derek, please.” Stiles pleaded but it didn’t work, there was no sign of recognition in Derek’s eyes and then Ben was plunging the needle into his neck and Stiles felt the burning start through his entire body, Derek let go and he dropped to the ground, trying his best not to scream as the pain nearly overwhelmed him.

Derek had nearly had a heart attack when he’d first heard Stiles’ heartbeat approaching the barn, and then, when he’d smelled his blood, he’d never felt terror like it in his life, he saw Stiles peering through the crack in the door when everyone else was looking at Lydia, he wanted him to leave, he wanted him out of here, where he was safe. Stiles warned him he was about to do something stupid, taunting the guy who had tortured him was definitely stupid, beyond stupid, but then Stiles had taken him out, was marching into the room, putting himself between the pack and the hunters and Derek couldn’t help the rush of love he felt, even if he was still terrified for him.

What happened next nearly drove him insane, he heard Kate whisper a command to the warlocks and the next thing he felt was an overwhelming agony, he couldn’t catch his breath, it hurt so much, and then, just like that, it was over, except Derek’s body was moving and he didn’t want it to, he was moving towards Stiles and Stiles backed away in terror, pleading with Derek to stop. Derek was screaming internally, he couldn’t stop it, he wanted to, more than anything, he would die rather than hurt Stiles, but he couldn’t stop his body from attacking, no matter how much he fought. Hearing Stiles’ arm snap had been awful, he was responsible for that, he’d hurt Stiles, he’d broken his arm, he’d never be able to forgive himself.

When he wrapped his hand around Stiles’ throat, bringing an end to the fight, he could feel the way Stiles’ pulse jumped, could smell the blood where his claws cut into Stiles’ skin, and yet, he couldn’t stop himself, he screamed, he shouted, he fought as hard as he could, doing everything he could to break the hold the spell had before Ben could inject Stiles, unable to believe that this was happening, even as Stiles pleaded with him and Derek waited motionless.

When the serum was injected he dropped Stiles to the ground, his body not responding to Stiles’ cry of pain, Derek hated himself more in that moment than he had ever done previously, Stiles was in pain and it was his fault, he’d helped the hunters. He moved back to the circle, kneeling down onto the dusty ground and allowing the chains to wrap around his wrists again before finally his body became his own again.

Stiles was still on the ground, Ben standing over him and laughing as Stiles did his best to breathe through the pain, and seemed to be reaching for his baseball bat with his good arm, Derek didn’t know how the hell it would help him right now, but it didn’t matter as a moment later Ben kicked it out of his reach before kicking Stiles, Derek’s heart falling apart at the scream of pain from him.

“See? It’s such a nice scream, isn’t it?” Ben said, grinning happily at the other hunters in the room, Derek was sure he was going to be sick, this was his fault, he’d done this, this was on him.

“Derek?” Erica whispered from next to him and Derek nodded tightly, aware of the tears streaming down his cheeks, “We’ll save him.” She winced when Stiles screamed again, doing his best to scramble away from the kicks, Ben laughing loudly and Gerard striding over, crouching down next to him and punching him in the face. Nothing would ever make this okay. Derek had done this.

“Now, let’s get down to business.” Gerard said, turning to grin at Luke and Harry who both looked horrified. Ben held down a struggling Stiles, straddling his hips, pinning his hands to the ground with one large hand and starting to pull his shirt up with the other one, tracing the scar on his stomach with one finger, “Ben is going to make Stiles suffer immeasurable pain, but you can stop that, you just need to tell me where the Zduhać is and I’ll stop it, right now.”

Ben pulled out a knife and pressed it tightly against Stiles’ stomach and Derek could see the terror in his eyes as Stiles did his best not to breathe, tried to stop the knife from cutting into his stomach again.

“No.” Stiles screamed, “Don’t tell them, don’t tell them shit.” He shouted, screaming as Ben dug the knife into his skin.

“Stiles…” Luke whined, looking terrified.

“Don’t. Plan goes to hell if you tell them. Don’t tell them.” Stiles pleaded, his words cut off slightly when Ben punched him in the face again.

“I think he needs another dose.” Gerard smirked and Ben climbed off Stiles, “Tell us and I’ll end his suffering. Don’t and I’ll give Ben permission to do whatever he likes.”

Ben grinned happily, holding what Stiles hoped was the only bottle of drug left, straddling Stiles again and holding the syringe to his neck, waiting for his instructions.

“Stop it!” Noah was screaming, “Just tell him! Tell him what he wants! Just stop it!” He sobbed.

“No!” Stiles shouted, “Don’t! Trust me! Please! Trust me!” Stiles shouted, still struggling against Ben and then almost sobbing when he pushed in the next dose, Derek heard Stiles’ heart stop and he couldn’t help the terror running through his veins, they needed to find a way out of this, they needed to help him, save him, he pulled harder on the chains holding him in place, roaring in rage when it didn’t make any difference.

Stiles’ heart restarted a minute later but every second had felt like a lifetime, Derek couldn’t survive him going through that again, wouldn’t be able to keep himself sane, Stiles couldn’t be given any more of that drug.

“Ready for round three Stiles?” Gerard laughed as Stiles did his best to catch his breath.

“Bring it on.” He replied, almost smirking as Ben got back to his feet and went back to the bag, frowning slightly.

“We’ve only got enough for another dose.” Ben said and Gerard frowned.

“Well go get more.” Kate snapped, Derek watched as Stiles moved towards the wall, where his bat was resting, nobody seemed to have noticed him yet and Derek tried not to draw any attention to him, he didn’t know what plan Stiles had, but he knew that he wouldn’t have come in here without one.

“I haven’t got any more here, it’s all at home.” Ben said, returning to Stiles and sighing when he saw that he had moved, before kicking him in the stomach and pinning him down, holding the needle to Stiles’ neck while Stiles grinned at Gerard smugly.

“You think you’re so smart.” Gerard snarled, grabbing the syringe from Ben and shoving it into Stiles’ neck. “The next five minutes are going to be filled with so much pain that you’ll be lucky to remember your own name.” He threatened before stamping on Stiles’ broken arm and he screamed in agony. “Tell me where the Zduhać is and I’ll get him to stop, until then, Ben, do whatever you like.” Ben’s face lit up in excitement and Derek knew that could only mean bad things were about to happen.

Stiles struggled harder when Ben sat up and started unbuckling his jeans, Derek snarled, pulling on the chains even harder, cursing warlocks and Harry and Luke and everything magical in existence when they didn’t even budge slightly.

“Don’t touch him!” Noah screamed as the rest of the pack echoed the sentiment and Stiles cried out in pain as Ben hit him repeatedly to get him to stop struggling.

“You know when you scream like that it just gets me even harder.” Ben said and Stiles bucked upwards trying to throw him off, blind panic seeming to control his actions as Ben held him down and started to unbuckle Stiles’ jeans with his free hand.

Derek knew the five minutes were almost up, that any second the drug would be out of Stiles’ system, he didn’t know how that would help, other than Stiles not being in pain every second, it wouldn’t stop Ben.

“Stop!” Luke cried out, “I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you.” He sobbed.

Ben glanced towards him, seemingly disappointed that he didn’t get to do anything else to Stiles, he must have relaxed his grip just slightly, enough that Stiles managed to get his hands free and he punched Ben solidly in the side of the head with his broken hand, knocking him off balance and finally throwing him off before scrambling for his bat and grabbing it in triumph.

“What do you think you’re going to do now? You think you can beat us all?” Ben snarled moving towards him and rubbing at his head, clearly he was in pain and Derek was so damn proud of Stiles in that moment. “I’m going to enjoy fucking you, I hope you realise that. All of this, this defiance, thinking you can beat me, I’m going to beat that out of you and then, when you can barely move I’m going to fuck you, right in front of your precious pack, they’ll have to watch as I make you my bitch, and maybe, if I’m feeling nice when this is all over, when they’re all dead, I’ll let you live, keep you to play with whenever I like.”

“As fun as that sounds,” Stiles retorted sarcastically, “I’m going to go with door number two.” Ben smirked at him, Gerard laughing as he moved towards him.

“I’d love to know what this grand plan of yours is Stiles, I’d love to know how you think you’re going to beat twenty hunters, two warlocks, and very soon, when he arrives and we capture him, the Zduhać too. Not to mention, we can just cast another spell, turn your entire pack against you this time. So, please, tell me, what exactly is your plan here?” Gerard mocked.

“Well, number one, get rid of the drug.” Stiles replied, standing up a little straighter, clenching his bat tightly, “You’ve got none of that left now, no chance of you threatening anyone in the pack with it.”

“Hang on,” Kate said interrupting, “You took three doses just to make sure that they didn’t have to?” She said, almost impressed, Stiles ignored her.

“Number two, the thing that you are so very wrong on, he’s already here.” Stiles said ominously, dropping the spell that kept the hunters silent, just as they started to scream for help he pulled some magic from his bat and cast another spell, this one splitting the sky with lightning as thunder rolled above them, “And he’s very pissed off.” Stiles continued in the silence, “He sent me in here to tell you to let them go, there’s no other option, other than to die.”

He could see the pack all looking at him in astonishment, even Luke and Harry were looking at him in shock. He prayed this worked.

“He trusts you with the negotiation of his warlocks’ lives?” Kate asked.

“There is no negotiation. Let them go or die.” Stiles repeated, drawing all the magic from his bat so he could refill his reserves. “He did give me a deadline, but that’s long gone. I think you missed it when you busy dosing me up with drugs.” He smirked, “But, I’ll give you one final chance. Let them all go now, or die.”

“I don’t believe you.” Ben snarled.

“Good job I don’t need you to believe me.” Stiles grinned, “Listen to my heart beat, am I lying? He is here and he will kill you all if you don’t let everyone go, right now.”

Gerard frowned, obviously considering his options for a moment before turning on his heel, storming to the back of the barn and pulling out a gun, pointing it at Luke’s head.

“Tell him to come in here. Then we can negotiate.” He snarled. Stiles glared at Gerard with hatred, he should have known the guy would mess with his plans.

“Fine. You want him. You’ll get him.” Stiles spat in disgust, assessing the room and what spell he could cast that would cause the most damage to the hunters.

“Stiles, don’t.” Luke pleaded.

“No, Stiles, do. Bring him in here, then we can discuss a trade, his freedom for his warlocks.” Gerard smirked. “Isn’t that how they work? Putting the needs of others before their own lives? Surely he wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice his warlocks just to protect himself?”

Stiles started preparing the spell, shifting his hands slightly, wincing as his arm throbbed painfully, as much as he despised Gerard the man was right, Stiles wouldn’t be leaving here without all of them, alive and well. He put himself in the middle of the room, between the hunters and the pack and smirked smugly at them.

“You’ve really misunderstood the situation…”

“…Don’t Stiles…” Harry interrupted.

“…they are not ‘his’ warlocks, I’m theirs.” He said, pocketing his staff, his eyes glowing a bright green as he finished the spell, causing the earth beneath their feet to crack and shift before large boulders broke the surface and slammed into the hunters, they flew through the air, hitting the wall at the back of the barn and slumping to the ground unconscious.

Kate was the first to regain her composure, muttering something as Luke screamed and a moment later jets of flames sprung up from the floor, the hay in the barn easily spreading the fire. Stiles cast again, this time sucking the air from the flames and putting the majority of the fire out in one go.

“I told you to let them go.” He snarled, casting another spell that knocked Ben off his feet when he ran at him, Kate and Gerard were both using Luke and Harry’s magic, Stiles blocking several spells and nearly getting hit on four different occasions, the fire was spreading and Stiles was starting to panic a little, he could feel his magic starting to dwindle again and the smoke was making him cough, he could hear the pack behind him coughing too and he knew he had to do something.

He spun, turning his back on Gerard and Kate and cast a complicated spell, it broke through the spell that Harry had put in place and the chains dropped from around their wrists.

“Go!” Stiles shouted, blasting open the doors as the fire spread and part of the roof started to fall. There was nothing natural about this fire, it was made by magic, designed to kill, Stiles was desperate to save those that mattered to him the most.

“Stiles!” His dad was screaming but Stiles couldn’t think about that now, he had to get to Luke and Harry. He cast one more spell, shifting the ground beneath the packs feet and effectively pushing them out of the door, just as another part of the roof fell and the door vanished from view.

It was getting hard to breath, he was soaked with sweat from the heat and the smoke was filling his lungs, he could barely see through it, but at least he’d got the pack out, at least they were safe, now he just had to get Luke and Harry.

Gerard was shouting ahead of him and he moved towards his voice, hoping that he’d stayed near Luke and Harry. He tripped over a chain and went down on the floor hard, whimpering in pain when his bad arm hit the ground first, he looked sideways, saw Luke and Harry both lying nearby, both unconscious, barely breathing, he could see Gerard and Kate and the other hunters, all trying to get as far away from the wall of fire as they could, there was nowhere for them to go and the barn was creaking ominously around them.

He saw the smoke clear for a moment, everything going almost silent around him as if all the oxygen had been drawn from the room, and then it roared back into life, the roof above them splitting and then starting to fall, Stiles reached for every last bit of power he had and cast his final spell before he blacked out.

Derek was reeling, Stiles was the Zduhać? Why hadn’t he told them? Why hadn’t he said something? Why didn’t he just march in there and do some magic and get them all out of there? Why did he go through all that, Derek hurting him and Ben drugging him and not do something about it? He wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to understand that. But then there was fire everywhere and he could hear everyone coughing around him and couldn’t do anything, Stiles was there, freeing them, and before he could do move forwards, desperate to help him, Stiles was casting another spell and when Derek opened his eyes he was outside in the fresh air and staring at the barn as it burned.

“Stiles!” He cried in horror, scrambling to his feet and rushing towards the burning barn, only to be held back by Peter and Boyd. “Stiles!” He screamed again, desperate to get to him, hearing Noah calling for his son just as desperately as Scott held him back, tears streaming down his face. There was a sudden silence, the whole world seeming to still and then the barn collapsed in on itself. “No!” He screamed, his heart shattering, pulling against Peter and Boyd as hard as he could, until Jackson and Aiden grabbed onto him too and held him as he fell to his knees, staring numbly at the fallen building.

He heard cries for help and turned abruptly, sure that Stiles had somehow escaped the burning building and instead finding twenty hunters buried neck deep in the ground, he couldn’t help but shake his head in amusement which turned to sobs when he realised that Stiles was still in there. That he’d been in there when the barn collapsed.

“We have to get to him.” Noah was begging, pulling at Scott as desperately as he could.

“We should call the fire brigade.” Allison muttered, obviously in shock, they all were, Derek was staring at the remains of the burning building in horror, sure that any second he’d see Stiles appear out of the flames, brushing off the dust and laughing about how dramatic they all were.

“How do we explain them?” Ethan asked and Allison looked at the hunters in surprise. “We wait. Once it goes out we’ll find him.”

“What if he’s still alive in there?” Noah shouted, “We have to find him, please, we have to get to him.”

“Erica, Cora, go into the house, see if you can find anything to put the fire out with.” Peter said, moving to Noah’s shoulder and placing a hand on it firmly, “We will find him. I promise you sir.” He said before heading towards the barn.

The fire only took twenty minutes before it died out on its own, Derek was sure that had something to do with the fact it was started magically and the rain that was still falling but he wasn’t going to think about that, instead he rushed forward, shifting pieces of metal and wood, that had somehow remained unburned, in an attempt to find Stiles.

They found the hunters first, eighteen of them curled up, barely recognizable, although he couldn’t help the satisfaction he felt when he recognized Ben as one of them, Derek was sure that none of them were Stiles and, more so, that none of them were left alive. He shifted another pile of metal and heard the sound of a sluggish heartbeat.

“Stiles?” He called out, moving the metal with urgency and then freezing, it wasn’t Stiles, it was Kate. She was still breathing, spluttering out a laugh when she saw Derek, despite the fact she was badly burned, Gerard was half lying on top of her, he was dead, that much was obvious, Derek glanced at her in disgust, before he turned away to continue his search. He heard Peter snarl and a moment later her heart beat stopped, there would be no coming back this time. He didn’t feel bad about that.

Jackson moved towards the middle of the barn, sure that Luke and Harry had been chained around here somewhere, he knew that Stiles would have been trying to free them, so, either, he’d managed and they could be anywhere, or he hadn’t and they’d be here. He glanced over at Derek who was still tearing the barn apart and sighed sorrowfully, if Stiles was dead he wasn’t sure Derek would ever recover from it, he wasn’t sure any of them would. He shifted a heavy piece of metal, the top of the concrete pillars came into view and then he froze, he could hear a heartbeat, he paused, scratch that, he could hear three heartbeats, they were weak, as if far away, but there were definitely three heartbeats. He moved faster, practically ripping the metal from the pile as he hurried to get a clear view.

“Over here!” He screamed, needing everyone to help him, needing to get to Stiles, sure it was him and Luke and Harry and that they were all alive. “We’re coming! Stiles! Hang on, we’re coming!” Jackson screamed as everyone came over, Derek pulling the metal sheets away even faster than Jackson until eventually the ground came into view.

There was nobody there.

“No. Where is he?” Noah shouted, “I thought you said he was here!” He shouted accusatorily.

“Shut up.” Cora said suddenly, staring at the ground in awe.

“What? What is it?” Allison asked desperately.

“Jackson’s right, they’re alive.” Cora said, grabbing hold of one of the chains that seemed to vanish underground and pulling on it quickly. A hand appeared at the end of the chain and everyone scrambled forward, digging at the ground quickly until Luke was pulled free, coughing and sputtering but otherwise alive and unharmed.

Aiden pulled on the other chain and it only took a few minutes before Harry was free as well, his other hand wrapped tightly around a slightly smaller wrist, coughing out Stiles’ name and pulling as hard as he could. Derek took over, digging Stiles out of the ground, trying to calm himself that it was fine, that Stiles’ heart was beating, that he was alive, but he couldn’t relax, not until he’d seen Stiles properly, until he could see that he wasn’t hurt.

He pulled him out of the ground, Stiles’ body limp and unresponsive, blood coating his head, arm and stomach, dirt covering him completely, but his heart was beating and he was alive. Noah pulled Stiles from Derek’s arm, stroking his face and hair, urging him to wake up.

“Stiles, Stiles, it’s me, it’s me, it’s okay, you’re safe now, I’ve got you, you’re okay, you’re okay.” He looked to Luke and Harry, “Why isn’t he awake? Why isn’t he waking up?”

“He’s exhausted.” Harry coughed, “He needs time to heal.”

“We should get him home.” Noah said quickly and then paused, “Except, do you think Kate was telling the truth about burning the house down?”

“We’ll drive that way.” Derek said reassuringly, never tearing his eyes from Stiles, “Anybody feel like going to get the cars?” Everyone paused for a minute, as if none of them dared to leave Stiles, let him out of their sight. “Okay, we’ll all go together.” He glanced to Luke and Harry, “Can you walk?”

“If you get these chains off, maybe.” Luke replied honestly, resting his head against the pillar behind him in exhaustion. “Gerard had the key.”

Isaac rushed across to Gerard’s body and pulled a key triumphantly from his pocket, rushing back and undoing both Luke and Harry from their chains, they rubbed at their wrists in relief and nodded at Isaac gratefully. They got to their feet unsteadily and Ethan and Isaac supported them willingly. Derek picked Stiles up from Noah’s arms, trying not to look at the puncture marks on his neck, he’d done that, he’d nearly killed him, could have easily killed him.

“Wait! Don’t leave us here!” The trapped hunters called as the pack moved towards the road.

“I’ll call my dad, tell him what happened, he’ll deal with them.” Allison said, already pulling out her phone.

“You can’t tell him about Stiles.” Luke said, coughing slightly and leaning on Isaac a little more, “Not about what he is, you can’t tell anyone.” He coughed harder and Isaac swayed as he took Luke’s full weight, the older warlock passing out from exhaustion.

“He says to give him until the morning and they’ll be no evidence of them.” Allison said after ending the call with her dad.

They got to the cars within a few minutes, Derek lowering Stiles into the car, Noah pulling him close to him, as if afraid that this was all a dream and that Stiles wasn’t here with him but still in that barn. They drove through town, seeing the fire engines surrounding Noah’s home and he sighed heavily, the house looked destroyed.

“You can stay at the loft with us, at least for tonight, until you figure out what you want to do.” Derek said quickly, taking the right turn towards the loft as the rest of the pack followed behind them.

“I best call the station and let them know we’re okay.” Noah muttered, stroking Stiles’ hair gently. It rang twice before someone answered and Noah sighed. “It’s Stilinski.”

“Sir, thank god, your house, we weren’t sure if you were in there or not. Are you okay? Is Stiles?” Derek recognized the voice as one of the deputies on the night shift and relaxed slightly.

“Yes we’re both fine.” Noah said, looking down at Stiles with pure love, “I’ll come in tomorrow and explain everything, but, short version, I was taken by some people who thought lessons needed teaching, they took Stiles too then burned the house down. We’re both okay now, and there’s no threat of anyone coming after us tonight, we’re going to stay at Hale’s for the night, I’ll come in tomorrow and give an official statement.”

“Okay sir, so long as you are both okay, do you need anything? Want me to send a doctor to Hale’s place?”

“No. It’s fine. We’re both okay, just exhausted. Let whoever needs to know that we’re fine and I’ll speak to you tomorrow.”

“Alright sir, have a good night.” The deputy said before ending the call.

They arrived at the loft, all of them looking a little worse for wear, covered in ash and dirt and blood, Derek didn’t want to let go of Stiles, didn’t want to lose contact with his steadying presence, but he put him down on the sofa and then looked around at his pack.

“You know where the showers are, go get yourselves cleaned up, Peter can you lend Noah some clothes please?”

“Sure. Follow me Sheriff.” Peter said. Derek was glad that they’d only kept a few items at Noah’s house, otherwise that would all be lost too. Luke, Harry and Stiles were all fast asleep, completely exhausted from the day’s events, Derek pressed a hand to Stiles’ forehead and drew as much pain from him as he could, smiling fondly when Stiles seemed to sigh in relief and shift slightly in his sleep, the first sign of life since they’d found him.

Scott woke Harry up to go get a shower, Ethan handing him a pile of clothes. Derek went up to his own room, grabbing some of his own clothes for Stiles and passing them to Noah.

“If I carry him to the other bathroom can you shower him by yourself? I don’t think he’ll want to wake up like this.” Derek asked.

“Yeah I can manage.” Noah said numbly, heading to the bathroom as Derek followed him with Stiles. By the time Noah called out that he was all done Luke had managed to wake up and have a shower too so that they were all clean and fresh and looking around almost nervously until Derek returned with Stiles who had somehow slept through the whole event.

“Can you heal him?” Scott asked nervously and Harry shook his head.

“We’re still too weak, but, by morning Stiles should have his magic back and he’ll be able to heal himself.” Harry explained. Melissa asked Cora to get her a first aid kit and decided to examine Stiles’ injuries herself.

Jackson and Erica disappeared upstairs and came back down a few minutes later, their arms piled high with pillows and blankets, proceeding to dump them all over the floor. Melissa got Derek to shift Stiles to the floor and then looked at the injuries, putting his arm in a stiff brace to keep him from doing any more damage while Derek drained the pain from him, this was his fault, he’d caused this, Stiles was in pain because of him. She cleaned the wound on his stomach, the entire pack frowning when it was still bleeding, she stitched it shut and covered it and Stiles didn’t even stir. His ribs were obviously broken, there wasn’t much she could do about that other than bind them in place, then she bandaged his other arm where Derek had clawed him, before examining the wound on the side of his head, finally deeming the rest of the injuries superficial and suggesting the best cure would be plenty of rest.

“One question,” Noah asked wearily, rubbing at his eyes, “How come you didn’t die? You must have been under there for half an hour? How come you didn’t die?”

“Stiles cast a spell that protected us from the fire, it moved us under the ground, gave us oxygen to breathe, it wouldn’t have lasted much longer though, the longer we were under there the more power it pulled from Stiles, it would have killed him before he let it drop.”

“Because he puts your lives ahead of his own?” Peter asked, looking at Stiles with something like reverence.

“Because he puts all of our lives before his own.” Luke replied tiredly, “You can speak to Stiles about it when he wakes up, but for now, I need to sleep.” He turned slightly and went to sleep almost immediately, Harry following him only a moment later.

“There’s beds upstairs if you want them?” Derek offered, Noah glanced at the sleeping Stiles in the middle of the pile of cushions and blankets before shaking his head.

“I think I should stay nearby.” He whispered, looking at Stiles with tears in his eyes.

“I’m sorry.” Derek replied, he wasn’t sure what he was apologizing for, hurting Stiles? Leaving him to be captured? Not being able to fight the spell no matter how hard he tried?

“It’s not your fault. It’s damn magic and all of this, this supernatural crap. I wish he wasn’t involved in all of this, but,” Noah sighed, “I guess there’s no pulling him out of it now, no matter how badly I want to.”

“We can talk about this tomorrow.” Peter said, lying down near Stiles, “For now, we’re all exhausted, let’s get some sleep, look at things with a fresh set of eyes in the morning.”

Noah nodded, stretching out on the sofa while Melissa curled up on one of the chairs and Derek lay down in the blankets, reaching out to continue draining pain from Stiles as he slept.

Derek woke up with his arms around Stiles, holding him gently, Stiles’ head resting on his chest and sleeping peacefully. He glanced around and saw that most of the pack were already up and about, breakfast was cooking on the stove, Noah chattering happily to Erica and Cora about a school project they were working on, his eyes glancing back to Stiles every ten seconds or so.

Derek tried to shift from under Stiles but Stiles just groaned in annoyance, pulling Derek closer and stopping him from moving. Derek tried not to get aroused by that, but it was a hard thing to do, Stiles was adorable in every sense of the word and when he was still fast asleep, clinging to Derek, it made him fall even more in love with him.

Isaac was grinning at him happily as he stood behind the nearest chair, indicating the plate of bacon that Noah had cooked and Derek’s stomach rumbled hungrily, he shifted again and Stiles still clung to him.

“Stiles. I need to move.” Derek whispered, hoping not to wake any of the pack who were still sleeping, admittedly that only seemed to be Lydia, Jackson, Aiden and Boyd, but, still, he didn’t want to wake them.

“Five more minutes.” Stiles grumbled sleepily and Derek tried not to laugh as he extracted himself from Stiles’ arms and handed him a pillow to cuddle instead. He’d rather be cuddling with Stiles, but he figured that it wasn’t a good idea if he didn’t want to get a hard on in front of the pack.

He made his way to the kitchen counter picking up several pieces of bacon and eating them while they were still hot, ignoring the look Peter shot him before pouring himself a cup of coffee and sitting down opposite Harry and Luke.

“I have questions.” He said quickly and Harry and Luke glanced at each other.

“Okay, but don’t you want for your entire pack to wake up? And, Stiles can probably answer some of them better than we can?”

“I want to know things before Stiles wakes up.” Derek said quietly, ignoring the looks the pack were shooting him, aware that Erica almost ran to the blankets to wake the others up quietly without waking Stiles. They all appeared a minute later, looking a little ruffled but at least awake. Derek tried to figure out where he wanted to start, “The Alpha pack. Were you even there?”

The look on their faces gave him his answer.

“So Stiles cast the tracking spell? And then he took out the Alpha’s?”

“Yes.” Harry admitted, “Everything else we told you was true though, Deucalion wouldn’t stop attacking, Stiles didn’t have any other choice, he didn’t mean to kill him, and then the lightning overwhelmed him and the blast happened and he passed out.”

“He cast the lightning spell?” Scott said in awe and Luke nodded.

“He doesn’t know if Kali and Ennis survived, like Harry said, Stiles blacked out, we’re not sure what happened.”

“And the other pack?” Derek asked, “The one that were chased off by a warlock?”

“Stiles again. His magic told him there was somewhere he needed to be, he went, he greeted the pack, they were going to eat him, he fought them off and then said he was a warlock, to get to you they had to go through him.”

“But he’s not a warlock. He’s a Zduhać. They died out. How is he possible?” Peter said.

“It’s a bloodline, you know that, we’re pretty sure Noah could be, but he’s not found himself in the position where his powers were an option.” Harry explained.

“And I’m not going to be.” Noah said in surprise, “I don’t mind helping with all this, but ending up as one of you, I’m not ready for that, not yet anyway.”

“How did Stiles get his powers?” Lydia asked, “He wasn’t supposed to take any kind of test until he was twenty-five, did you test him?”

“No. Stiles already had his powers when I met him.” Luke said.

“He underwent his own test? How?” Scott asked in confusion, “I mean, how did he know it would work? Or did he like track his bloodline or something?”

“No.” Harry said, looking pained, “Stiles didn’t have any idea what he was, or even that he had powers, not until Luke told him.”

“So, how did he get them?” Erica asked.

“Protecting you, we think that started the process anyway, protecting you and Boyd from Gerard, protecting the pack by refusing to give him any information even when it meant certain death, and then, when it would have been easy to die, when they dumped him at the Hale house, left him there to die, he chose to live, but not for himself, he chose to live because he didn’t want Derek to take the blame for his death, he didn’t want his dad to find his body, he chose to live, and when I met him less than a week later, he had his powers, although he didn’t know, not until I told him about them.” Luke explained.

There was silence as everyone processed what Luke had just said, looking across to the pile of blankets where Stiles was still asleep. He looked too young and innocent to have such a burden on his shoulders.

“Why didn’t he tell us? Why didn’t you tell us?” Derek asked.

“We told Stiles not to tell you, you have to understand, over forty hunters gathered here to get a warlock, if they had known there was a Zduhać in the area, that Stiles existed, there would have been hundreds of them, you have no idea how powerful he is, no idea what he could if he chose to, no idea what people would be willing to do to get their hands on him.” Harry said quietly.

“Not to mention, Stiles wanted to keep you safe, if you didn’t know then, should anyone find out about a Zduhać in the area, there would be nothing to link you to him, nobody would attack you to get at him. We advised him that it was best if you were all kept in the dark, and, when he was going to tell you, we distracted you changed the subject, made him keep his secret.” Luke paused, “Also, I wasn’t convinced that you could be trusted,” He held up his hand when Noah made to protest, “He’d been tortured and none of you even noticed, excuse me if I didn’t think you could be trusted with a secret that is life and death for him.” Luke glanced at Stiles, “You’ve proved you care about him, I won’t deny that, but would you die to keep him safe? I don’t know and that does worry me. He did his best to avoid you finding out, putting his own life at risk to keep you safe, but now you know and I have to know that you’d be willing to do the same, to risk your own lives to keep his secret.”

“Of course we would.” Scott said seriously, “He has to know how much we care about him.”

“Well maybe tell him that more often then, because I’m sure he thinks that he comes last on your priority list, that if it ever came to a choice,” Luke paused, “If Allison was captured by people who were demanding you reveal his identity or she dies, what would you do?”

“I’d die.” Allison said solemnly and Scott looked at her in surprise, “I’d die Scott, you wouldn’t tell them anything about him.”

“But…”

“No buts, if people find out what he is, he’ll never be able to live in peace again, you don’t tell anyone, not ever, even if it means I die, if we all die.” Allison finished.

“Okay.” Scott said, nodding seriously and studying his breakfast carefully, “But, if you’re in that situation, we’ll have Stiles, right? He can just like, summon lightning and blast the guy’s head off?”

“Oddly enough I don’t enjoy having lightning burn through my entire body just to zap somebody, I’d much rather just drop a tree on them.” Stiles groaned, rolling over on the blankets and getting to his feet slowly, wincing slightly but ignoring the pain to go get himself a drink of water. Scott blushed bright red as several of the pack snorted with laughter, all of them unaware that Stiles had woken up and had been listening to at least some of their conversation.

“How are you feeling?” Noah asked, studying the bruises on Stiles’ face from where Gerard had hit him and the various other injuries he’d suffered.

“Like a barn got dropped me.” He muttered sarcastically. Reaching out and picking up his phone, keys and small staff from where they’d been put last night, he shoved them into his pocket before glancing down and wondering who’s clothes he was wearing.

“That’s not funny.” Noah frowned.

“It’s a little funny.” Stiles grinned, it didn’t reach his eyes though, he looked tired still, pained and Derek was to blame for that. He took a step towards him and Stiles moved backwards, flinching almost and Derek couldn’t help but feel guilty about that, he’d hurt Stiles, it was all his fault. “Sorry, just, you know, a bit jumpy, I’m fine though.”

“Sure you are.” Jackson said sarcastically, rolling his eyes.

“Why didn’t you just use your magic to tear through the barn in the first place? Then you wouldn’t have had to fight Ben and Der…” Cora asked before trailing off, aware of how badly Derek was hurting right now.

“Erm, secret powers? I was kind of hoping that I could keep them secret?”

“Still, you could have done something to stop them without revealing your powers, couldn’t you?” Ethan asked and Stiles shrugged.

“Maybe? But, I was running pretty low on magic when I got to you guys, I didn’t want to waste any more of it until it was necessary.” Stiles admitted.

“Why were you running low? How does it work? Like do you only get so much power a day or something?” Lydia asked, Stiles sighed, grabbing a piece of bacon before making his way back over to the blankets and sitting down, the rest of the pack following him.

“My magic is different to Luke and Harry’s, it responds more to what I want to do than what I say, intentions rather than specifics. The way I think about it, it’s like a bowl with water constantly trickling into it until it gets full, so, I have some power and then when I use a lot of it in one go it drains the bowl, so like, if I just cast a few small spells then I’m back at full power within an hour, but bigger spells take more magic, and there were a lot of big spells last night before I got to you guys, so the bowl was already almost on empty.” He paused, making sure they were all still following him, “So, Luke got me a staff for my birthday that I can put magic into,” He pulled the staff from his pocket and showed them, “Whenever I had some spare I put it into the staff and then, last night, I drained all of it just to make sure I got you guys out of there.”

He could see them all looking at it with confusion and he pushed a little of his magic into the staff, it growing into his bat within a moment, all their eyes going wide in shock.

“That is so cool.” Aiden whispered and Stiles grinned before shrinking it back to its normal size and putting it back in his pocket.

“So, you used the magic from your staff to get us out of the barn? But, what else did you do before you got to us to drain you like that? And how did you find enough magic to save the three of you if you were already low?” Isaac asked, Stiles looked a little overwhelmed at all the questions.

“Erm, well, I broke the cuffs they had me in, then I healed myself after the crash, erm, I turned the ground to mud and made the hunters sink, and then I kept them quiet until the right moment.” Stiles explained. “And, erm, I don’t know? I didn’t have much choice; I just sort of hoped for the best.”

“Can you heal yourself now?” Cora asked.

“I think I need to power up a bit first,” Stiles sighed, “Maybe sleep some more?”

“One more question first,” Noah said, “We know you took out the Alpha pack, and the other pack that were planning to attack, is there anything else we need to know about? Any other threat that we need to be aware of?”

“No. It’s safe to split up as far as I’m aware.”

“I don’t want to.” Lydia muttered, “Not yet at least, there’s no rush for us all to go back to own homes just yet, is there?” Stiles paled slightly turning to look at his dad.

“The house?” He asked, his voice cracking slightly.

“Burned. I’m going to head into the station in a minute, give them a story, then I’ll go check the house out.” Noah replied, “See if we can salvage anything. Then I guess we need to figure out somewhere else to live for a little while.”

“You’re welcome to stay here, as long as you like.” Derek said seriously.

“Say things like that and we’ll never leave.” Stiles joked, leaning back against one of the nearby pillows, Derek ignored the way the rest of the pack looked at him when his heart skipped a beat, “I would offer to come with you, but the state I’m in it’ll probably make things worse. I can wait in the car if you want? Then we can go to the house together? I did cast a spell to protect it as best I could in the circumstances, I don’t know how well it worked?”

“How about I go to the station and then come back here and get you before we go to the house when I’m done? I’ll probably be a couple of hours. You can get some more sleep.”

“Sure.” Stiles nodded, already looking on the verge of sleep.

Noah had spoken to Chris earlier that morning and arranged for him to leave Kate and Gerard’s bodies at the barn, the rest would all be removed. He went to the station, explaining the same story as the night before and then took them to the remains of the barn, informing them that Kate had started the fire and then both her and her father had become trapped inside when it spread too quickly. Thankfully Stiles and Noah had both made it out in time before finding a nearby vehicle and driving it home.

“Where is Stiles? Was he hurt in the kidnapping?” Deputy Mars asked.

“No, nothing too serious, he’s just exhausted, I told him to stay at Hale’s, that we’d go to the house later.” Noah replied.

“Do you know why she decided to burn your house down? Or target you at all?”

“Actually, Derek suspected that she was the one that started the fire that killed his family seven years ago. I was looking for further evidence that not only had she faked her own death, but that she’d started the fire as well. I guess I stumbled onto something because she took me from the house and brought me here, and then, an hour later, her father brought Stiles. They laughed that they’d set fire to the house, Stiles confirmed it was true. They were going to kill us, she started the fire, and then, Stiles got free, distracted them long enough that I managed to escape too and then we ran.” Noah explained, most of it was true he guessed.

“Why didn’t you call us when you got out?” Mars asked.

“We didn’t have our phones with us, the barn collapsed almost the same instant we got out, there was no chance they survived, we drove and saw the house, I drove us to Hale’s knowing he had the space for us to stay for the night and called the station to let them know what happened.” Noah explained.

“I’ll need to speak to Stiles directly, just to confirm his story, not that I doubt your word Sheriff, just procedure.”

“I know. We’ll go to the house later then I’ll bring him to the station, does that sound okay?”

“Perfect. I’ll see you later sir.” Mars said before leaving.

Stiles was awake and waiting for him when he got back to the loft, he was still battered and bruised but he’d managed to heal the cut on his stomach and his broken arm, he insisted that he could handle the rest until he built some more magic back up.

They went across to the house, Scott and Melissa going with them, knowing that they’d both need the support. Stiles stared at the mess wishing he’d done things differently and saved his house instead of going with the hunters.

“You’re welcome to stay at ours, the boys can share a room, I’m sure they won’t mind.” Melissa said as Noah looked at the destruction around him. The kitchen was completely destroyed, a blackened carcass of what it had been, most of the living room had been destroyed too, the back bookcase had somehow miraculously been spared and Noah moved towards it, pulling out the photo albums that had survived, sobbing when he saw the pictures of the three of them, before Claudia got sick, before Stiles looked so haunted by her death.

“I’ve got to get some things from upstairs.” Stiles said, moving to the staircase and treading lightly as it creaked ominously under his feet, Scott following behind him nervously.

His dads room seemed to have survived intact, the bathroom hadn’t though, neither had the spare room, Stiles’ door was burned black and it creaked when he pushed it open. The fire had got a good portion of his room, the only thing that had managed to survive had been his bed and the board of photographs behind it, all his clothes were gone, burned beyond recognition, his school books and everything else that had been on his desk was gone. He moved towards the bed which was somehow pristine in this mess and bent down letting out a sigh of relief when he saw the things under there were still undamaged.

He pulled out the books and weapons that he’d accumulated over the summer, ignoring the way that Scott was looking at him in surprise before piling them up on his bed. He went to the board, pulling off the pictures, smiling sadly at each one, pictures of his mum and him on the stairs, his mum and dad in the kitchen that was a little blurry, Stiles had taken that one, Scott and him over the years, matching grins and usually covered in mud, one that he’d taken over the summer of the entire pack, sitting around in Derek’s loft, completely unaware of the camera on them. He pushed them into the cover of the nearest book and then glanced around, there was nothing else for him to take.

“You okay buddy?” Scott asked and Stiles nodded, blinking back tears, he’d thought he’d been able to do something to save more than this.

“Who’s clothes am I wearing?” He asked quietly, aware that until he went and bought more he’d probably be borrowing everyone else’s clothes for a while, Scott sniffed at him and Stiles chuckled sadly, werewolves were so weird.

“Derek’s.” Scott said, looking around at the room in misery, “Anything else under the bed?” He asked and Stiles shook his head. Stiles had used a bit of magic to try and rematerialize at least some of the stuff he had made invisible over the past couple of months, he felt the spell work but nothing appeared, he assumed it had been destroyed in the fire somehow.

“I guess this is it.” He said sadly, turning to the books and weapons on the bed, picking some of them up as Scott grabbed the rest.

Noah’s things had made it through the fire with almost no damage, he had several boxes of clothes, photo albums, books, reports, anything that had been in his room had survived the fire. Stiles’ belongings looked kind of pitiful next to his dads when they loaded them in the car.

“Everyone said they were going to stay at the loft until we got back, you want to head there?” Scott asked, Noah nodded and they made their way back.

The pack all helped them unload the car and take the boxes up to the loft, Derek had even tided up one of the spare rooms and offered it to Noah, it wasn’t big but it would do the job and give him some privacy. Noah accepted it gratefully, carrying his boxes into the room as Stiles headed into the kitchen and made himself a sandwich, Derek glanced at the two remaining boxes, filled with weapons and books but no clothes, nothing remotely useful to Stiles for everyday life.

“You doing okay?” Derek asked, standing on the opposite side of the table to Stiles, making sure to make himself as non-threatening as possible.

“Yeah.” Stiles sighed, looking at his sandwich for a moment before dropping it down on his plate, Derek could smell the sadness coming off him in waves, Harry approached a moment later, when Derek was still struggling to think of what to say and pulled up a chair next to Stiles.

“I thought you said you cast a spell to protect the house?” Harry asked, sounding too business like, Derek was about to tell him to be a bit more considerate when Harry shook his head silently in his direction and Stiles sighed.

“I did, or I thought I did.”

“What did you want to do? When you cast the spell, what were you thinking?”

“I don’t know? That I didn’t want the house to burn down?”

“Well you obviously failed on that one. I thought you were supposed to be good at this.” Harry said and Stiles frowned at him.

“I saved your ass, didn’t I?” Stiles retorted and Harry grinned.

“You did, and I appreciate that, it’s such a nice ass, I’d have hated to have it toasted too soon.” Harry replied and Stiles chuckled quietly, Derek relaxed a little bit at that sound. “So, tell me, what were you thinking of when you cast it?”

“I guess, I was thinking that every memory I had of mum was in that house, that I didn’t want to lose that, to protect what mattered most.” Stiles muttered.

“Your photo albums were saved, and everything in your dad’s room, and the books under your bed.” Harry paused, “Do you think maybe it did work? That the most important things in that house, to you, were saved? Your dads room, your photos of your mum, your books?”

“I would have appreciated saving some of my clothes.” Stiles joked and Harry laughed loudly, the pack all turning to look at them in surprise.

“I have spare clothes, if you want to borrow some, until you get some new stuff sorted?” Derek offered.

“That would be good, thanks man.” Stiles replied, “And, erm, thanks for these ones too I guess.” He said, pulling on the shirt he was wearing.

“We can go shopping after school tomorrow.” Lydia said excitedly, “I think you needed a new wardrobe anyway!” She grinned and Stiles rolled his eyes.

“My wardrobe is fine.” He sighed, “Was fine.” He amended.

“Okay, let me choose one outfit though, please?”

“You could just borrow some stuff from work?” Harry suggested and Stiles laughed loudly.

“I’m not going into school in those clothes.” He joked.

“Like Lydia was going to pick anything differently.” Luke scoffed. “We’ll go grab you some clothes, at least tide you over until you can go get some more.” He said, getting to his feet and motioning for Harry to come with him.

“You don’t have to…” Stiles started.

“Nonsense. Give us a couple of hours and we’ll be back.” Luke said.

Derek went into the kitchen and poured himself a glass of water, wondering what the hell he could say to Stiles to make things okay between them, he’d broken his arm, that wasn’t something that was easily forgiven.

“Hey.” Stiles muttered from directly behind him and Derek jumped, spilling water down himself, looking at Stiles with worry but relaxing slightly when he saw Stiles grinning at him. “Aren’t you supposed to have like super hearing or something?” He teased.

“Something like that.” Derek replied, noticing that Stiles looked a little uncomfortable and making sure that he wouldn’t make any sudden movements to scare him.

“Look, I just wanted to say, it’s okay, I know it wasn’t you, you know, last night, I know you wouldn’t have done that if you’d been in control, and I don’t know if you remember all of it or nothing at all, but, I don’t blame you, so don’t think that I’m like mad at you or anything.” Stiles rambled and Derek looked at him in shock, that was the last thing he’d expected him to say, “And, I know that I jumped earlier, but I think I’m going to be doing that for a few days, with anyone, you know, one of those things, just when I think I’m out and they pull me back in.” He joked, looking more nervous by the second.

“Did you seriously just quote the godfather at me?” Derek said and Stiles grinned widely.

“You’ve watched that one!? Thank god! I was worried that you were going to have no education whatsoever and I’d have to teach you.” Stiles grinned.

“I think I’ll survive somehow.” Derek snorted.

“So, about the other thing, the spell, you’re okay?” Stiles asked in concern and Derek paused.

“I’m not sure I’ll ever be okay about it Stiles, but, do I understand you don’t blame me? Yeah, I guess so.”

“Which means you don’t get to blame yourself either. I know what you’re like, you’ll spend the next week in here sulking about it and then I’ll have to knock some sense into you. Plus, like, before the double team thing, I totally kicked your ass.” Stiles said and Derek huffed out a laugh.

“You did not kick my ass, if I’d have been in my own mind I would have beaten you easily.” Derek replied jokingly.

“I’m pretty sure that’s a challenge.” Stiles grinned.

“It was not a challenge.” Derek said.

“I heard it as a challenge.” Peter shouted from the living room, “And, I’ll put twenty on Stiles.”

“I’ll take that bet.” Jackson grinned and Stiles glared at him, “Come on man, Derek is the Alpha, I have to bet on him otherwise he’ll get upset.”

“Stiles beat him at like half-power last night,” Isaac argued, “No offence Derek but I’m sure once he’s better he’ll take you out in like three seconds.” Derek looked at Stiles who was grinning widely.

“I’ll be nice to you; we’ll make it ten seconds.” Stiles winked and Derek laughed, unable to believe how incredible Stiles was, he couldn’t understand how Stiles could forgive him so easily, but he had done, and Derek had to take his advice, that it wasn’t his fault, that he couldn’t have done anything about it.

“You honestly think you could take me down in under ten seconds?” He grinned and Stiles pretended to think about it for a moment before nodding.

“Yep, damn straight.”

“Alright, deal. When you’ve healed, and are back to whatever it is that you call normal, I’ll fight you.” Derek said, offering his hand for Stiles to shake, Stiles grinned widely, his eyes dancing with amusement and took his hand.

“Looking forward to it.” Stiles said before moving back to the pile of blankets just as his phone rang and he answered it quickly, “Hello?”

“Stiles? It’s deputy Mars from the station.”

“Oh, hey, dad said you might call.” Stiles replied.

“Yeah, I need to get your statement from last night, your dad said he’d bring you down to the station later but are you free if I came over to Derek’s now?” Stiles glanced at the pack on the floor and shrugged.

“Sure.”

“Great I’ll see you in ten minutes.” Deputy Mars replied ending the call.

“You know you’re still all bruised?” Allison said and Stiles glanced at himself in the nearest mirror, his eyes resting on the hickey on his neck for a moment longer than the rest of his injuries, that felt like a lifetime ago. He could maybe heal the bruises, but the wound on the stomach hurt as did his ribs he’d rather save up a little magic and heal them first.

“It’ll add to the story I guess.” He sighed, moving to open the door when deputy Mars knocked on it. “Hey deputy.”

“Stiles. How are you feeling?”

“Bruised.” Stiles answered honestly just as Noah came out of his room and looked at Mars.

“I’d like to speak to you about the events last night, we can do it privately if you prefer?”

“Nah, it’s fine, they already know anyway.”

“Okay.” Mars said taking out a recorder and moving to the nearest chair and sitting in it. Stiles sat on the blankets, most of the pack doing their best to look busy doing over things but all clearly within touching distance. “So, tell me what happened when you came home yesterday afternoon.”

“Erm, I was in the bathroom, I heard a noise, like someone breaking in, and when I opened the door Gerard was there with a gun. He hit me and cuffed me and took me out to his car then he set fire to the house, he made me watch as it started to burn and then he drove out to this old barn. I didn’t know what was going on and then I saw dad, he was tied to a chair and Kate was there, I knew her from before, like, before she was supposedly killed, so I was a little surprised to see her alive.” He paused, glad that at least Mars couldn’t hear his heartbeat, “Gerard tied me to a chair but he didn’t do it too tightly I guess, Kate started ranting and raving about stuff, about how clever she was for getting away with murdering the Hale’s, about how she’d get away with killing us too, she started the fire, I managed to get free. I knocked the gun out of Gerard’s hands and we were fighting, he got in a few good hits, dad managed to get himself free and he pulled us apart, pushed me towards the door, the smoke was really thick and it sounded like the barn was coming down around us, we stumbled outside, thinking Kate and Gerard were right behind us but then the barn collapsed and they didn’t come out.”

“Okay, I’ve noticed on your file that you’ve been in two incidents in that last couple of months that involved serious injuries.” Deputy Mars said and Noah looked at him in surprise. “I have to ask if you think this incident was in any way linked to either of those?”

“No.” Stiles said firmly.

“But your first attacker was never caught, do you think it could have been Kate or Gerard?”

“No it wasn’t.” Stiles clarified, “It wasn’t linked. They knew my dad was close to cracking the case, they figured it out and decided to take us out.”

“I can’t understand why they didn’t just kill you in your own home? Do you know why they might have moved you?”

“I guess so nobody else interrupted us while they ‘talked’ to us.” Stiles answered.

“And when you say talked?”

“I mean they pretty much dominated the conversation, both of them were as crazy as each other so you’ll forgive me if I’m not mourning their deaths.”

“Of course.” Deputy Mars said, looking suitably abashed. “What about when you came out of the barn? What happened then?”

“We found a car and drove home, we didn’t have our mobiles, didn’t know where to find one, drove to our house and saw it destroyed and then dad suggested coming here.”

“When did Derek have the chance to offer you a place to stay? If you didn’t have phones?”

“He didn’t, but dad knew it was a big loft with plenty of space, they get on, dad thought he’d try here and see, when we got here he called the station and let them know what was going on.” Stiles said, “Thankfully Derek was in and he said it was fine to stay until we sort something out, is that all?”

“Yes that’s all Stiles. Thanks for your help with this, we just needed to make sure.” Deputy Mars got up to leave and then turned back, “One other thing, you said in a previous statement that you had several scars after an incident earlier this year, that had nothing to do with either Gerard or Kate?” Stiles stared at him in shock before finally clearing his throat.

“No.” He answered as convincingly as he could.

“That attacker was never caught either, but you said that you knew who it was?”

“Yes.”

“And you wouldn’t be willing to tell me? Perhaps if we went somewhere more private?”

“What are you suggesting deputy?” Noah asked, glaring at Mars angrily.

“The same as you would be in this situation sheriff, Stiles seems to have been involved in a number of incidents this year alone, two of which were with mystery attackers that have never been caught, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that it could be someone close to him carrying out these attacks.”

“It is completely unreasonable.” Stiles shouted, “Have you thought that maybe I just attract trouble? It sure as hell isn’t my dad and I don’t want you to ever think that again, understood?”

“Got it.” Deputy Mars said, picking up his recorder and shutting it off. “I’m sorry sheriff, you know I had to ask.”

“I know you did.” Noah sighed, “But, it wasn’t me, and if it had been, believe me, someone in this room would have kicked the shit out of me for it.”

“Yes I would.” Melissa replied and Noah laughed.

“But, I appreciate you’re just trying to do your job. I’ll see you at the station tomorrow.”

“Yes sir.” Deputy Mars said, leaving the room quickly.

Chapter Text

Harry and Luke arrived back a little while later with three bags of clothes and a large bag which looked to be stuffed with letters, Stiles grabbed it quickly and shoved it out of sight, as if that would somehow distract them from its contents.

“More fan mail?” Isaac asked and Stiles blushed.

“Fan mail?” Scott said in shock, “You get fan mail?”

“Erm, a little?” Stiles shrugged, rubbing the back of his neck nervously with one hand. “Anyway, clothes, thanks for that.” He paused, “I meant to ask you earlier, did Kate or Gerard get you to break my wards?”

“Yeah.” Luke sighed, “Almost as soon as they’d bound our powers, just in case the pack didn’t come running when they heard we were in trouble.”

“They were your wards?” Ethan asked.

“Yeah, oh, yeah, there’s that too.” Stiles said, “That wasn’t like keeping a secret, I just kind of forgot to tell you about it.” He smiled innocently.

“Yeah well your wards nearly drained both of us, there’s no way in hell they would have gotten through if it hadn’t been for us. You’ve got skills kid.” Luke grinned.

“I thought you already knew that?” Stiles teased.

“I trained you well.” Luke grinned, “Anyway,” He said standing up, “We have a lot to be doing at home, I’ll see you next weekend?”

“Yeah definitely.”

“Me too?” Harry asked

“Of course.” Stiles replied, “See you then.”

Noah had said Stiles could sleep in his room on Sunday night, at least an attempt at returning to normality, those with their own rooms slept in them and those with rooms at home went to their own homes. It didn’t last long, Derek was woken by screaming in the middle of the night, it sounded like Stiles was being murdered, he’d almost fallen out of his own bed in his race to get to Noah’s room and had burst it, seeing Noah with his arms wrapped around Stiles, holding him tightly, tears in his own eyes as he whispered reassurances to him. It felt like forever until Stiles calmed down enough to realise that he was awake and safe, he’d extracted himself from his dad’s arms a few minutes later and headed towards the kitchen, mumbling that he was fine even as he wiped the evidence of tears from his face.

“I’ll watch out for him.” He reassured Noah and followed Stiles into the kitchen.

The blankets and pillows were all still piled in the living room and Derek gave Stiles a minute to get a drink before approaching him.

“Come on.” He said indicating the pillows, Peter appearing and collapsing down into them, Ethan following a moment later, and Stiles shook his head silently, glaring at the water in his hand, “Stiles,” He whispered, “Come on, let’s go back to sleep.” He said, reaching forward and touching Stiles’ elbow gently, steering him towards the blankets where everyone apart from Noah had already sat down.

“I didn’t mean to wake you all up.” Stiles muttered shamefully.

“It’s fine.” Peter said, pulling Stiles into the blankets.

“I don’t need the beauty sleep anyway.” Erica smirked, running a hand through Stiles’ hair and already starting to drift back to sleep.

Within minutes the rest of the pack were asleep again, Derek glanced across at Stiles who was still awake and staring at the ceiling as if it held all the answers.

“Want to tell me what you’re thinking about?”

“No.” Stiles answered honestly.

“Want to tell me what you were dreaming about?”

“Nothing exciting.” Stiles muttered before pausing and turning to look at Derek, “You’re the Alpha,” He began and Derek smirked slightly, Stiles could be so random sometimes, “It’s your job to protect your pack, right?”

“Right.” Derek confirmed, it was his job, although everyone else did just a good job as him, Stiles did better most of the time.

“They’re in danger if I stay.” Stiles whispered, “If I stay and anyone finds out about what I am, the entire pack will be in danger, they could die, because of me, I couldn’t bear that.” He admitted, thinking back to the conversation he had heard this morning. “So, tell me to leave, tell me they’ll be safer without me around, we both know it, but I’m not strong enough to leave by myself, and you are the Alpha, so order me away.”

“No.” Derek muttered horror-struck, “No, Stiles, no, not ever. Never.” He said earnestly, “I meant what I said before, you are the reason this pack exists, you’re the reason we’re all still alive, you can’t leave, not ever, I forbid it. We’re safer with you around, even if the entire world knew what you can do, I’d still want you with us, no matter the danger.”

“And when someone dies?” Stiles whispered, his voice cracking with emotion, “If Allison died because of me? You think Scott could ever forgive me? You think anyone could?”

“Stiles, that’s ridiculous.” Derek said, propping himself up on his elbow and glaring at Stiles, “If anything happened, to anyone in this pack, I know you would have done everything within your considerable power to stop it, so would everyone else. You are what you are because you’re willing to put our lives before your own, and that’s the most messed up thing I’ve ever heard of, I’d die a thousand times if it meant you stayed alive,” He paused, he hadn’t meant to say something quite so serious and Stiles looked a little shocked, “I mean, for any of you to stay alive, but the point I’m trying to make, is that we all already know that you would die to protect us, and you matter to us, to all of us, and you can’t blame yourself if something awful happens. Just like you won’t let me blame myself for what happened last night.”

“I’m scared of something like that happening.” Stiles said.

“Me too.” Derek confessed, “But, I’m more scared of you leaving, it would destroy us, we need you Stiles and not for magical powers, because you have saved our asses a hundred times before that, we need you because we like having you around, things would be so boring without you.”

“Well, we can’t have that.” Stiles replied, a faint smile on his lips, “God forbid you have a day without my sparkling personality disrupting you from your brooding.” Derek laughed quietly knowing that the conversation was at an end, that Stiles wouldn’t leave them.

“I mean it.” He said seriously, “Don’t ever leave us.”

“I won’t.” Stiles replied solemnly.

“Good, now, can you please go back to sleep? Some of us have to do actual work in the morning.” He teased, Stiles hit him in the face with a pillow, chuckling quietly before rolling over and closing his eyes, Derek listened to his heartbeat slow and finally relaxing, for now they were safe, he shifted closer to Stiles, putting arm around his waist and inhaling the scent of him in Derek’s clothes, his wolf hummed in contentment and he slipped into sleep.

“You had a puppy pile without us!” Scott said loudly and Stiles blinked awake, aware that he was surrounded by waking werewolves, he looked up, Scott was standing at the edge of the pile, along with Allison, Lydia and Jackson, all looking a little gutted that they weren’t included.

“Come join in then.” Stiles yawned, stretching slightly and then turning to snuggle back into the pillows, aware of Derek shifting slightly behind him as if annoyed Stiles had moved and disturbed his sleep.

“Dude, we’ve got to be in school in like twenty minutes.” Scott said.

“What!?” Isaac said, jumping to his feet and kicking Ethan in the head on his way out of the pile. Stiles heard all the others getting up, Aiden, Cora, Erica and Boyd, while Peter and Derek groaned and rolled over to go back to sleep, Stiles was sure he wanted to stay here instead of going to school.

“Stiles! Get up!” Scott almost shouted, pulling him by the ankle out of the blankets, Stiles hated him in that moment. “Dude, come on, if we’re late Barnes will stick us in detention for a week.”

“Okay.” Stiles whined, blinking his eyes open again and staring up at Scott, “I’m awake.”

“Good, get your ass up then.” Scott chided.

Stiles got to his feet wearily, his stomach still hurt and his ribs ached but he was sure by now he had enough magic to heal them, he headed to the bathroom, grabbing one of the bags of clothes Harry had brought and locked the door behind him. He started the spell to heal himself and took a quick shower at the same time, by the time he was done he could move without being in too much pain, although his face was still a bit bruised and he still had the hickey, the other injuries seemed to be almost healed. He grabbed a handful of clothes and got dressed quickly, thankful that Harry seemed to think of everything including some new boots, he threw on a jacket and then ran to his dad’s room to grab a baseball cap to hide his face slightly.

“You okay kid?” Noah asked waking up suddenly at the noise.

“Yeah I’m good dad, how are you feeling? On the late today?”

“I’m fine, yeah I am, guess I’ll be back late on, you going to go shopping after school?” Noah asked looking at Stiles’ outfit.

“Probably.” Stiles admitted, he did feel a little uncomfortable in his work gear, a pair of tight soft blue jeans and a black t-shirt that was a lot tighter than what he usually wore. “Anyway, got to run dad, see you later.” Stiles said dashing out of the room and into the living room where everyone seemed to be staring at him, “What?” He asked glancing around before realising he didn’t have any school books anymore, only what was left in his locker.

“Nothing.” Lydia said looking a little smug, he wasn’t sure what that was about, he bent down and grabbed his phone, keys and staff from the low table near the pile and then turned around to look at the still staring pack, even Peter and Derek were staring at him, although Derek looked a little annoyed.

“Okay? Are we going or what? I thought we were like running late or something?” He said, already moving towards the door.

“Right.” Isaac said quickly, catching up with him and calling goodbye to Derek and Peter as he left. They made it to school just as the first bell rung, Stiles saw people giving him lots of strange looks, he had to make sure he had actually put on pants this morning before figuring out it was probably the bruises, he pulled the hat down on his head a little further.

He was excused from his first class so he could go pick up some new books from the main office and by the time he got back to class he had over fifty messages asking him if it was true his house had burned down over the weekend, he shoved his phone into the bottom of his bag and decided that ignoring it was going to be the best thing to do for the rest of the day.

By lunchtime he was so fed up of everyone staring at him that he headed out to his jeep and sat on the bonnet, it was obvious that it was autumn, despite the bit of sunshine he was soaking up there was still a chill in the air, he got about two minutes of peace before somebody prodded his foot and he opened his eyes to see Danny staring at him.

“What are you doing?” Danny asked and Stiles shrugged casually.

“Not much, you?”

“Thought I’d come check out what everyone is talking about.” Danny said, jumping up on the bonnet next to him, Stiles looked at him in confusion for a moment before he frowned pulling his hat lower.

“The bruises, yeah, I know, I look awesome. I already had one of the deputy’s sort of accuse my dad of beating me.” He sighed and Danny looked at him in surprise.

“I so wasn’t talking about that, but, while we’re on the subject, what happened? I assume it’s to do with your house getting burned down? It wasn’t another fan, was it? Jackson sort of gave me a half story when he text, but I’m pretty sure he was lying”

“No, of course not, just some crazy person trying to get at my dad.” Stiles admitted.

“By taking it out on your face?” Danny smirked and Stiles grinned.

“Well they obviously went for my most incredible feature.” He said mockingly.

“Of course they did.” Danny paused, “I’ve been thinking, about Tim.”

“What about him?” Stiles said his body tightening in tension.

“It’s just, you said that he didn’t confirm he wrote those letters, I mean I know he didn’t deny it either, but he was already in trouble, why didn’t he admit to it?”

“Because admitting to it would have meant even more time in jail?” Stiles said in confusion, they were spared any further conversation by Erica, Cora, Scott and Jackson approaching them, wide smiles on their faces. “You guys okay?”

“Yeah, just figured we’d come hang out.” Erica said, almost sitting on his lap when she jumped onto the bonnet too, Jackson leaned against his own car smirking at Erica’s antics.

“And to do that you needed to sit on me?” Stiles laughed jokingly.

“Just doing what everyone else wants to do.” Erica grinned, leaning against him, her nose almost pressing against his neck, at the hickey, and humming slightly, “You still smell a little like Derek you know?” Stiles blushed and Danny looked at him incredulously.

“Derek gave you a hickey!?” Danny exclaimed

“It was a work thing!” Stiles explained quickly, “The cover was rubbish and Andy got sick and Harry needed someone to shoot with me and Derek was there, so, anyway, yeah, just work.”

“Just to confirm, you shot with Derek? And it’s going to be on the cover?” Danny asked and Stiles nodded, “Man, I can’t wait to see those photos.” Stiles was about to argue that they wouldn’t be that exciting, even though he kind of wanted to see them, he’d never really been bothered about looking at any of his pictures, but part of him desperately wanted to see those pictures, believe that Derek was holding him like that because he wanted to and not because it was just a job. He didn’t get a chance because a girl called Peri approached them, Stiles had a couple of classes with her but he’d never spoken to her before, he was sure she was here to talk to Danny.

“Hey Danny,” Peri said in greeting before looking at Stiles, “hi Stiles.” She said blushing slightly.

“Erm, hi?” Stiles replied in confusion.

“I was wondering if you’d be able to help with my chemistry?” She asked and Stiles paused for a moment, still looking around in confusion, “I hear you’re really good at it, maybe we could meet up after school? Go through some things together?”

“Erm, sure?” Stiles replied unsure what was happening.

“Great.” Peri grinned widely, “So you want me to come to your place?”

“Actually, I’m sort of staying at Cora’s place at the minute.” Stiles said, Cora grinned at Peri, her smile looking very wolfish, Peri obviously didn’t notice.

“Great, I know where that is, I’ll meet you after school?” She smiled.

“Sure.” Stiles agreed as Peri left still grinning happily, he was just about to ask what that was about when Joel, also in one of his classes almost ran towards them.

“Stiles, hey,” Joel said looking a little guilty, Stiles was more than a little confused now, Joel had never spoken to him before in his life, “I was just hoping you might be able help me out? I heard you are good at chemistry and I could do with some extra tutoring?”

“Erm,” Stiles glanced at the others for help, they were all stifling laughter and Stiles really didn’t understand, “Sure,” He said ignoring them all, “You want to come over after school? We can go through some stuff then?”

“Definitely.” Joel grinned, “I’ll meet you after school.” He said, walking away quickly.

“That was weird.” Stiles muttered.

“You going to help me with my chemistry too?” Danny teased and Stiles shook his head in amusement. Erica opened her mouth to say something but Danny shook his head quickly, Stiles didn’t miss the movement but he didn’t understand what the hell was going on. He was about to demand an explanation when the bell rang and he groaned, sliding off the jeep and heading back towards school, waiting for the others to catch him up, today already felt like it was going on forever.

“I just want to see how long it takes him to figure it out.” Danny muttered to Erica, oblivious to the fact that the others could all hear him.

“Stiles is smart, he’s probably already figured it out.” Scott whispered to Danny.

“What? Like he’s figured out Derek is madly in love with him?” Danny scoffed.

“How did you know….”

“Please, like it isn’t obvious to absolutely everyone who’s seen him, he can barely tear his gaze from Stiles like ninety percent of the time, I would have loved to have seen this morning when Stiles had those jeans on.” Danny grinned, watching Stiles’ ass as he walked ahead of them, the real reason that everyone had been talking about Stiles today, the fact that he looked incredibly hot and everyone seemed to realise just how much he hid under those baggy t-shirts. “Besides, don’t tell me it won’t be fun when Derek finds them draping themselves all over Stiles.” Danny grinned, “Which, by the way, I’m totally hanging out at the loft tonight.” Danny said to Jackson who nodded at him in agreement.

By the end of school Stiles had had enough, he wasn’t sure why people had suddenly decided that he would be the best to tutor them in chemistry but he now had five people coming across to the loft to go through some questions with him, he just hoped he could help them. He decided it would probably be a good idea to ask Derek if it was okay, since it was his loft and all, so as soon the final bell went he pulled out his phone and called him, hoping that they weren’t in the middle of anything at the station.

“Hi Stiles.” Derek said, answering the phone after only a couple of rings, “Everything okay?”

“Yeah, I’m not interrupting anything, am I?”

“No, your dad and I have just left a call, on our way back to the station.”

“Okay cool. Look, erm, I was hoping you wouldn’t mind if I had some people over at the loft tonight? They apparently need help with chemistry and asked me to help them, I mean, if it’s a problem or anything that’s fine, I could probably get them all to go to someone else’s house, just, you know, with it being your loft and all, I wanted to check.” He rambled, getting some stuff from his locker and heading towards the main doors.

“Weren’t you supposed to go shopping tonight?” Derek asked sounding a little annoyed.

“Oh crap, yeah, I totally forgot about that, but I’ve got some more clothes from Harry, I can go tomorrow night instead, if that’s okay I mean?”

“It’s fine Stiles.” Derek sighed wearily, “Have whoever you want over, the loft is yours too, at least until you get a new place sorted.”

“Thanks man. I appreciate it. I promise we’ll stay in the kitchen and they’ll be gone long before you get home.” Stiles replied, seeing Lydia glaring at him from the jeep when Peri, Warren, Joel, Tom and Kim were all waiting for him, looking at each with something like annoyance.

“I thought we were going shopping tonight Stilinski.” Lydia said angrily before he had even got to his jeep, he frowned, full surname, he was not in her good books.

“Yeah, sorry about that, I totally forgot and then Peri asked for help with chemistry and then the other guys did too so I figured like, study club or whatever, we can go tomorrow?” He offered and Lydia glared at him. “Or you could take my card and go buy whatever you like?” He said instead and she finally smirked like a shark, all teeth, and Stiles suddenly regretted that offer.

“Anything I like?” She grinned.

“Within reason.” Stiles amended, “Like, normal clothes, not this kind of shit.” He gestured to what he was wearing.

“At least three outfits that are that kind of shit.” Lydia compromised.

“Two.” Stiles said firmly.

“Three.” Lydia argued and he sighed.

“Fine. Three.”

“That you must wear, not just shove to the back of your wardrobe, when you get one again.”

“Fine. But nothing too insane, okay?” Stiles relented.

“I’m making no promises.” Lydia said before snatching his card from his hand and sauntering towards her car. “Who wants to come shopping? Stiles is paying!” Erica, Isaac and Ethan joined her waving bye to Stiles and driving off, he dreaded to think what they’d come back with. He turned to look at the five other students who had watched the entire exchange with bemused looks on their faces.

“So, erm, you guys ready to go?” Stiles asked, moving towards his jeep.

“Can I get a lift with you?” Joel asked, “My dad dropped me off this morning.”

“Sure.” Stiles replied, “Do the rest of you want to follow us?” They all looked at Joel in annoyance, he only shrugged in reply, Stiles felt like he was missing something vital here, he clambered into his jeep, not surprised to see that most of the car park was already empty and headed to the loft.

“Thanks for doing this Stiles, you are awesome.” Joel said and Stiles shrugged, it wasn’t that big of a deal, although he might change his mind when he saw what Lydia came back with. “I mean it.” Joel said sincerely, looking at Stiles without breaking eye contact, Stiles thought it was a little weird, “You must have so many other things to do with your time.”

“Not really.” Stiles shrugged, “I was only going to go shopping with Lydia, and, god knows that would take a hell of a lot longer than teaching you some extra chemistry stuff.”

He could hear voices coming from inside the loft, opening the door and finding those who weren’t shopping sprawled out on the living room floor, the television on in the background and completing their homework, apart from Peter who was looking at the guests in surprise.

“And what do we have here?” He grinned predatorily, Stiles rolled his eyes.

“Guys this is Peter, ignore him, Peter we’re going to be in the kitchen, out of the way.” Stiles said, ushering them through the living room and into the kitchen, he’d been a little surprised to see Danny there who was smiling smugly at him, he was going to have to find out what that was about.

They spent the next hour going through some of the questions that they had and Stiles answered them all as best as he could, hoping that he was making some difference, he didn’t like the way that all of them seemed to touch him throughout that period, a soft touch on his arm or a lingering pat on his back, each one seeming to last a little longer than the person before, as if there was some kind of competition that he didn’t know about. He was feeling more and more tense as the evening dragged on, until he was almost flinching away from any contact, until, eventually Allison wandered over from the pile of blankets to get herself a drink and leaned against the counter, waiting for him to finish his lap of the table where he was currently leaning over and assessing Warren’s work. Warren’s hand moved and rested on his lower back as he explained where he was going wrong, Stiles stiffened, panic washing over him at the thought of someone holding him down, bending him over the kitchen table and pouring salt into his wounds. All the wolves in the living room stopped what they were doing and turned to look at him, it was obvious that they smelled his panic, Allison pushed herself away from the counter and grabbed him by the elbow, pulling him away from Warren who looked a little upset.

“Stiles, I was just thinking about making tea, I think the food in the fridge might be off, can you come smell it for me?” She said, steering him towards the fridge.

“We’re home!” Noah called loudly as he stepped through the door, oblivious to the fact that Derek tensed up immediately, able to smell everyone’s unease and Stiles’ panic, not to mention the blatant smell of sexual arousal coming from the students at the table. He moved forwards, ignoring Noah’s fading grin and headed straight to the kitchen.

“What’s going on?”

“Weren’t you guys supposed to be on the late shift?” Stiles asked, trying to sound as normal as possible and not like his heart was still racing.

“Some of the guys called in asking to switch shifts.” Derek explained, still glaring at Stiles. “Are you okay?”

“Fine.” Stiles said reassuringly, he would not be broken by something so simple, he was stronger than that, grabbing a glass of water and moving back towards the table of students who were all looking at Derek in astonishment, “Food smells fine by the way Allison.” He added. “So, where were we?” He said, moving back towards Warren who grinned at him.

“You were telling me about the composition of blood?” Warren said.

“Oh, yeah, right,” Stiles said, looking back at the answer Warren had written, this time crouching down next to the table and pulling the work closer to him, “So, the question is about different levels of red blood cells,” He began, “And the way the different levels can indicate different illnesses, so, you’ve got this bit right, that it’s made up of red blood cells, the buffy coat and plasma, but you don’t mention any illnesses.”

“Like what kind?” Warren asked, staring at Stiles who was still studying the paper in front of him, stretching out his arm slightly and resting it on Stiles’ shoulder as he studied the paper next to him, Stiles tensed slightly and Derek growled in the back of his throat, doing his best not to attack the guy as the room filled with the scent of what he considered triumph.

“Erm, well, so, anaemia is caused by a low percentage of red blood cells, there’s lots of different kinds, but, for example, autoimmune haemolytic anaemia is where the body produces substances that cause their own body to destroy the red blood cells.” Stiles explained stiffly, getting up and shrugging Warren’s hand from his shoulder, “So, you need more in depth information, you’ve got the basics right, you just need to learn some more in depth analysis.”

“Stiles,” Joel whined and Stiles moved over to him next, Derek didn’t miss the way Warren’s gaze lingered on Stiles’ ass. “I need help with this Ionic bonding crap, can you, like, break it down for me?”

Stiles leaned on the table, looking at what Joel had written and sighing heavily, bending over to scribble out the incorrect information. Derek sucked in a breath, Stiles ass looked incredible, bending over like that was going to give him a heart attack. Noah came into the kitchen and stared at the kids around the table, evidently, without the ability to smell their emotions, concluding that they were all there to try and attract Stiles.

“You need to do something about this,” Noah muttered, “I am fed up of having every Tom, Dick and Harry hitting on him, so I need you to start dating him, for my sanity.”

“Not because I like him?” Derek smirked, sometimes Noah could be so relaxed about things it made Derek laugh, how he ever got lucky enough for Noah to think he was good enough for Stiles he would never understand.

“I guess that’s an added plus.” Noah joked and Derek snorted out a laugh shaking his head in amusement, not exactly surprised to see the table full of students staring at him including Stiles, who blushed a little before glancing back down at the paper he was studying, Derek hoped he hadn’t heard what had just been said.

Allison cooked them tea, Stiles dashing into the kitchen at odd moments and stealing some chicken from the pot, Allison laughing when he burned his tongue, the rest of them settled into the living room, it took Derek a minute to register Danny was there and then he only just managed to keep from growling when Danny spent a good portion of his time staring at Stiles rather than doing his homework with Jackson.

An hour later he was ready to go insane, the whole room stank of sexual arousal, he was surprised that nobody else was wrinkling their nose with it, Stiles seemed oblivious that it was all directed at him, instead he was smelling more and more stressed and Derek didn’t like it, he’d avoided looking in that direction for the past half hour since Danny had seen him looking and then smirked at him, but the more obvious Stiles’ stress became the harder it was to ignore it.

He was glaring at the television, not really watching what was on it, when everyone seemed to tense at once, even Danny had gone stiff and Derek turned to see what they were all staring at even as he smelled Stiles’ sudden fear, he was out of his seat before he’d really processed what he was seeing, Warren’s hand was on Stiles’ ass as he bent over the table, a smirk of victory on his face and everyone else looking disappointed, but Derek couldn’t see that, all he could see the look of terror on Stiles’ face as he straightened up abruptly and stared at Warren in shock.

“I think that’s enough tutoring for tonight.” Derek growled, surprised that he hadn’t already shifted and torn them all apart for touching Stiles like that. Stiles glanced at him gratefully as the five of them started to pack their books away but Warren obviously didn’t pick up on the tension in the room.

“So, you want to hang out some time? Just the two of us?” He asked.

“Do you even need help with chemistry?” Stiles blurted out and Warren laughed.

“Probably, but totally not why I asked for your help, it was more to do with those jeans.” Warren grinned and Stiles blushed brightly, the bruises on his face colouring with embarrassment.

“Did any of you actually want my help with chemistry?” He asked incredulously, watching as one by one they all shook their heads, looking suitable abashed. “Wow.” He muttered, turning to go to his dad’s room when Warren reached out to grab his arm, Derek went to move forward and help but Stiles glared at Warren with such disdain that Derek stilled, Stiles had this completely under control. “Take your hand off me now or I’ll break your arm.”

“Dude, chill out, I’m asking you out on a date, do you know how many guys want to date me? How lucky you’d be to go out with me?”

“Well go ask one of them then, I’ll consider myself lucky if I never have to speak to you again, so take your fucking hands off me, now.” Stiles snarled and Warren backed off, looking insulted that Stiles couldn’t see what a catch he was, Derek was in complete agreement with Stiles, the guy best get out of his loft right now or Derek would slaughter him.

The others had already packed up their stuff and were heading for the door while Warren shoved his books into his bag and slung it on his shoulder.

“Your loss.” He said when he got to the door and Stiles glared at him.

“It’s really not.” He said coldly and Derek tried not to laugh at the look of pure disappointment on Warren’s face. As soon as the door shut Stiles turned to glare at Danny, “Just when the hell were you going to tell me that they were only here to try and cop a feel?”

“I think they were actually here to try and get a date with you, ‘copping a feel’ as you so eloquently put it, was just a bonus.” Danny laughed.

“You are a jackass.” Stiles said, falling down into one of the chairs nearby and pulling his knees to his chest.

“Hey, I’m not the one who made bets on how long it would take you to figure it out.” Danny smirked and Stiles stared at him open mouthed.

“Sorry.” Aiden said handing Danny ten dollars, “Although, really, I bet you’d figure it out way sooner.” He turned back to where Cora was still studying her book and pulled another ten from the back pocket of her jeans, “Cora was feeling nice too.” He explained and Cora glanced at him grinning.

“Obviously, I overestimated your powers of deduction.” She laughed while Stiles stared at the room in horror.

“I, however, didn’t.” Noah said, collecting the money that pretty much everyone had passed to Danny and putting it in his pocket.

“I didn’t bet on you Stiles, if that makes you feel any better.” Scott said honestly.

“You guys are all jackasses.” Stiles said, getting up from his chair and going to his boxes, pulling out the diary of the Zduhać and shutting himself in his dad’s room, refusing to even think about any of them until he lost himself in the story in front of him.

“What was that book?” Danny asked and Jackson shrugged, even though he knew full well what it was.

“Some book he’s been translating for like ever.” Jackson replied, drawing Danny’s attention back to their homework. Stiles was still shut in the room, giving them the silent treatment when Danny left, although Derek was sure that unless someone broke down the door into the room Stiles wouldn’t come out for the rest of the night.

Lydia, Ethan, Isaac and Erica arrived back not long after Danny left, carrying in at least thirty different bags and grinning widely. Scott explained what had happened with the others and Lydia glared at all of them for a moment before heading towards the bedroom, knocking on the door quietly.

“Stiles? Can I come in?” She whispered, Derek heard the door unlock a minute later and Lydia entered the room, shutting it behind her and moving towards where Stiles still lay on the bed, reading through the diary and not looking at her. She lay down next to him, resting her head on his arm and looking at the diary.

“What’s that one?” Lydia asked, pointing to one of the words she didn’t recognize.

“Ran.” Stiles replied.

“They were running?” She asked.

“No. The ground ran red with blood.” Stiles muttered, as if there were only the two of them in the whole loft, it made Derek a little jealous.

“Who died?” She asked quietly, doing her best to make Stiles feel like there were only the two of them in the whole world, that he would stop sitting silently and would open up, tell her what was going on in that great big brain of his.

“Everyone.” Stiles replied, sounding a little heartbroken, “He couldn’t save them, the hunters tricked him, they’re all dead.”

“His entire village?” Lydia said in shock.

“Yeah,” Stiles ran his fingers over the page softly, the writing seemingly scrawled hastily, as if trying to get it all out in a rush, “It says ‘I didn’t know, I should have known, I should have realised, I should have saved them. I was only trying to protect them, keep them safe. I left them there to be slaughtered like cattle. I have failed. My father died for nothing, I failed him, I failed them, they’re all dead and there is only one thing left for me to do’” Stiles paused, flipping the page and seeing the writing coming to abrupt end halfway down the page, “’Should anyone ever find this, know that I tried, I did everything I could to save them and it wasn’t enough, but also know this, I did not go down without a fight. I cannot save my people, but I will avenge them.’”

“And that’s it? That’s where it ends?” Lydia whispered in horror.

“There’s a couple of spells at the back that I’m going to try when I’m back at full power, but, yeah, that’s it.” Stiles replied quietly.

“You think he defeated the hunters?” She asked hopefully.

“Maybe. It’d be nice to think so.” He replied, staring at the page as if it had all the answers.

“Stiles?” Lydia queried, “What’s wrong? Why are you upset?”

“What makes you think that?”

“You’ve locked yourself in a room away from your dad, not to mention the pack, that tells me something is wrong, so, what’s going on? Besides the obvious.”

“The obvious being?”

“Being that people you trust made fun of you, took bets on you, let you be surrounded by idiots who were after only one thing just to prove how oblivious you can be some times?” Lydia suggested, hoping that the entire pack were blushing with shame in the living room where they were no doubt eavesdropping, they deserved it, other than Scott and Derek who had apparently not made any bets.

“Other than that?” Stiles scoffed and Lydia nodded earnestly.

“What else is going on in that brain of yours?” Lydia asked and Stiles glanced at her, finally meeting her eyes, apparently having forgotten that the wolves would still hear every word.

“Why am I so messed up?” He asked and Lydia raised her eyebrows in surprise, “I can’t handle anyone touching me without telling me about it first, I thought it was getting better but it’s not and I’m not getting over it, I’m still having stupid nightmares that wake everyone else up no matter how hard I try not to, and I’m seventeen, I’m supposed to be flirting with everyone within touching distance, I’m supposed to be going out on dates and making out in the back of cars with people I barely know and all that kind of stupid shit and I can’t even handle one guy grabbing my ass without telling me first before I start to completely freak out.” He whispered, his voice full of self-hatred and Lydia’s eyes softened, Derek felt his heart breaking, he wanted to be the one to comfort Stiles but at the moment Lydia was the only one Stiles was willing to talk to.

“I’d freak out to if Warren grabbed my ass, he’s a complete douchebag.” She said and Stiles huffed out a laugh, Lydia paused, obviously thinking over what she needed to say next, “You are getting better Stiles, it might not seem it sometimes, but you will get over it, you are too strong to quit now, and come on, let’s be honest, you were never going to flirt with anyone within touching distance, you’ve always been a one-person kind of guy, you know that, so I don’t think we need to worry that you’re not running around making out with every person you see.” Stiles laughed quietly knocking his shoulder into Lydia’s, “Besides, you are pretty incredible, I don’t think it’d be fair to anyone else who might be interested, if you went out with a guy who grabbed your ass as a way to ask you out, I mean, really? He didn’t even bring you Reese’s!”

“Ah, yes, the only way to my heart. Well, I’d hate for all those potential interests to be disappointed, I best wait until someone makes a proper effort.” Stiles muttered sarcastically and Lydia laughed, grinning at Stiles when he relaxed just slightly.

“So, do we need to talk about this more? Or are you just going to listen to me without arguing? You know I’m always right, so when I say you’re awesome and you’re doing just fine and Warren is a dick who needs a good smack to the head, you’re going to believe me, right?”

“What other choice do I have?” Stiles asked and Lydia smacked him playfully on the shoulder. “Okay, okay, I admit defeat, Lydia Martin you have outsmarted me as usual.” He joked.

“Good.” Lydia said, getting up from the bed and taking Stiles’ hand, leading him towards the kitchen to get food where the entire pack were waiting guiltily.

“I’m sorry Stiles.” Aiden said, “I should have thought about how much it would upset you.”

“It’s no big deal.” Stiles said, looking at his plate rather than at the pack. “Anyway, how about we forget about the whole major strop I just had and talk about how everyone else’s day went?” Derek recognised the change in subject easily enough, knowing that Stiles didn’t want to talk about it, and knowing that talking about it wouldn’t make him feel any better.

Derek suggested they all sleep over, he knew that Stiles wouldn’t ask, but it was obvious that he needed the support and he figured a puppy pile might be the best way to help him. Lydia spent the next hour showing Stiles what she’d bought, Derek was sure that if he saw Stiles in some of those clothes he was going to lose his mind, he was almost positive that Lydia had done it on purpose.

“Did you get anything useful? Like normal clothes? Pyjamas? That kind of stuff?” Stiles asked after the twentieth bag.

“Normal clothes yes.” Lydia confirmed, “But we may have forgotten the pyjamas.”

“You can borrow some of mine.” Derek said quickly, he wasn’t going to admit that he loved the smell of Stiles when he was wearing Derek’s clothes, that their scents combined and it just smelled right.

“Thanks dude.” Stiles said distractedly, already rummaging through the other bags to find what he deemed his normal clothes, pulling out some hoodies, plaid shirts and a mixture of graphic and plain t-shirts as well as jeans, underwear, socks and a couple of pairs of shoes and trainers. “I think you’ve got everything else sorted.” He said surprised when it all seemed to be in the right size and generally stuff he’d probably buy himself.

“Aren’t you going to ask how much it cost?” Erica asked.

“Unless you spent like a ninety grand I think I’m okay.” Stiles replied, he had moved most of his money to a savings account but hadn’t moved last week’s pay cheque yet.

“That’s an absurd amount of money.” Ethan said, “Although I don’t feel so bad about buying ourselves dinner now.”

“And that’s just this weeks.” Noah smirked, for someone who had been so against this a couple of weeks ago, his dad seemed to have turned a corner when Stiles explained that he had paid all of their loans off and still had enough to put himself through whatever college he wanted and buy a reasonable house outright.

“I thought you would have bought more?” Stiles teased and Lydia grinned widely.

“We can always go back tomorrow.” She said and Stiles laughed, grabbing his phone when it started to ring, a faint smile still on his lips.

“Hey Harry, how’s it going?”

“Good, just putting the final pieces together now, I know you aren’t bothered about whatever pictures I use, but I just wanted to check Derek is happy with what I use?”

“Erm, hang on.” Stiles said handing the phone over to Derek.

“Derek, you want to see the pictures before I finalise the edition?”

“Erm, yeah I guess I do.” Derek said, wanting to know what he was letting himself in for, Harry sighed and Derek could hear him clicking on the computer in the background.

“Alright, what’s your email? I’ll send them to you now. I need you to come back to me within half an hour though, if you don’t like them, I need to make amendments.” Harry said, typing as Derek told him his email address and then the call cut off.

Derek went to his own room, pulling up his laptop and opening his emails, the pictures were sat there waiting for him and Derek took a deep breath before clicking on the first one. The colour had been darkened, so you could only see their outlines rather than their faces, Stiles had his legs wrapped around Derek’s waist and they were pressed up against the wall, their foreheads resting against each other and their lips almost touching, it made Derek’s body almost throb with want, it looked amazing. The next one was where Derek had given Stiles the hickey, Stiles had his head thrown back, his neck exposed and his eyes almost fluttering closed with pleasure, Derek liked that one too, another showed a close up of Stiles’ face, he was nibbling on Derek’s earlobe but his gaze was fixed on the camera, a faint smirk on his lips as if he knew exactly how crazy that moment had made Derek. He cleared his throat, shutting down the laptop before he could look at the rest of them, knowing Harry had done a good job and picked the best ones, he grabbed Stiles’ phone and called Harry back, saying that it was fine to go ahead.

“Great, I’ll pop the cheque in the post for you, or do you want Stiles to pick it up for you on Saturday?”

“Stiles picking it up is fine.” Derek said, he’d planned on going with him, but he wasn’t sure what shifts he was working yet, but, still, he didn’t want Stiles going alone.

“Great. Speak to you later.” Harry said, ending the call, Derek tried not to think about the pictures when he went back downstairs, although Stiles looked to be chewing nervously on his thumb and then stared at Derek when he saw him coming.

“Everything okay?” He asked, Derek could hear Stiles’ heart racing in his chest, he seemed genuinely panicked about how Derek was about to react.

“Yeah, all fine.” He reassured him, moving to the sink to grab himself a glass of water, he’d had a stronger reaction to those pictures than he thought, and now he couldn’t look at Stiles without wondering if he could give him another hickey and make him moan louder this time. He could see Peter smirking at him and pointedly refused to even look at Stiles for the rest of the night, not sure if he’d be able to stop himself from doing something stupid.

Noah headed to bed a little later while Stiles made his way into the kitchen to start on his own homework. Derek watched as everyone started to drift to sleep, leaving a space at the centre of the blankets for Stiles and Derek, Derek sat on the sofa until the film that had been on had finished and then glanced across at Stiles who was staring at his homework, his mind obviously elsewhere. Derek got up from the sofa and padded over to the table, handing Stiles a pair of joggers and a t-shirt he could change into.

“I’m fine.” Stiles said without looking up, “Got homework to do.” Derek rolled his eyes.

“Go get changed, then you can carry on with your homework.” He compromised, knowing that he wouldn’t be letting Stiles do anything of the sort, they were going to bed, Stiles needed the sleep to rebuild his magic, Derek needed him back at full strength so that maybe he wouldn’t panic so much about something happening to him. Stiles took the clothes, looking at Derek suspiciously but going into the bathroom and getting changed, he came out a few minutes later, and moved back towards the table, not looking Derek in the eyes before sitting back down and picking up his pen.

Stiles saw Derek hovering out of the corner of his eye, it made concentrating hard, not that he had to actually concentrate on anything, he’d finished his homework an hour ago but hadn’t wanted to go to bed, not knowing he’d have more nightmares, not when Derek was obviously pissed at him, he’d gone into his bedroom, looked at whatever pictures Harry had sent through and barely spoken two words to Stiles since. Derek was mad at him for making him do the stupid shoot and he’d be even more pissed at him if he then woke him up with his stupid nightmares, so, yeah, he wasn’t going to bed anytime soon.

Derek sighed when Stiles hadn’t even moved his pen in the past two minutes, Derek could see that the questions had all been answered so he knew that Stiles was just postponing the inevitable.

“Are you done?” He asked grumpily, he didn’t know why Stiles had to be so stubborn about everything.

“Erm…” Stiles said, tapping his pen nervously against the paper as he tried and failed to come up with a good reason as to why he was still not going to bed.

“Right.” Derek huffed, moving quickly, before Stiles had even realised what was going on Derek had pulled him out of the chair and thrown him over his shoulder, carrying him towards the blankets.

“This is ridiculous.” Stiles hissed from where his head was resting against Derek’s lower back, hanging uselessly and wondering if he could just waste some magic and make Derek fall over.

“You’re ridiculous.” Derek retorted, climbing over the sleeping wolves easily and Stiles kind of envied his gracefulness.

“I can walk.” Stiles whispered, hoping not to wake anyone.

“You can also spend an hour pretending to do homework so you can avoid going to sleep.” Derek replied and Stiles went silent, he hadn’t realised he was being that obvious. Derek practically dropped him onto the blankets and Stiles was lucky that it was so cushioned, before Derek lay down next to him, threw an arm over his chest to stop him from moving and closed his eyes to go to sleep.

Derek blinked his eyes open slowly, he’d been having a really nice dream about Stiles’ surprise party, he’d got him a present and Stiles had stated that it was perfect before kissing Derek, for one brief second it had been amazing and then he’d woken up, sure it was all true, until he realised that he was still in the middle of the puppy pile and he groaned in disappointment, rolling over and seeing that Stiles was still awake.

“Why are you still awake?” He groaned in exasperation when Stiles just shrugged.

“Can I ask you a question?” Stiles asked a minute later when Derek was just on the verge of going back to sleep, he nodded anyway. “Who came up with words? Like how do I know that if I say ‘blue’ that it’s the same thing as whoever invented the word means? And, what if it meant something completely different back then? And how did they even come up with the word? Blue? Blue? Blue?” Stiles said, saying the word in a variety of different ways. Derek grabbed the nearest pillow and hit Stiles in the face with it, Stiles looked at him in shock letting out a little giggle and Derek would be lying if he said it wasn’t the cutest thing ever.

“Go to sleep.” Derek growled, wrapping an arm around him, making Stiles the little spoon and pulling him closer, sighing in contentment when his nose rested at the back of Stiles’ neck and when he breathed in all he could smell was Stiles. Stiles shifted slightly, apparently trying to get more comfortable and Derek fought back the urge to hold him in place with his teeth on the back of Stiles’ neck, before finally he settled, his heart rate slowed and he slipped into sleep. Once he was sure that Stiles was asleep he pressed a soft kiss to the back of his neck, leaving his lips there for a moment and whispered so quietly that it was lost amongst the breathing around them, knowing that there was no chance anyone would hear him, “I’m in love with you Stiles.” He sighed, held him tightly and went back to sleep.

With Gerard and Kate gone they felt like they could finally relax, most afternoons were spent at the loft, although everyone stayed at the loft most nights, occasionally one or two of them had to go home and at least make an appearance. Derek loved having them all together, he kind of wished they did it on a more permanent basis, he knew Stiles appreciated it, even if he didn’t say it, he’d slept through last night which was the first time in a while and Derek was sure it had something to do with all the pack being in close proximity. He hadn’t slept in his room once since Stiles had started staying, instead using it only as a place to get changed and to very occasionally open his laptop and look through the pictures that Harry had sent him.

Stiles informed him this morning that he was back at full power and would happily kick his ass this evening when they got home, for a moment he’d been worried that it had taken Stiles until Thursday to get back to normal but then he forgot about it. Derek had snorted into his coffee, there was no way in hell Stiles was going to beat him, he’d been heading towards the door when he’d suddenly tripped over his own shoelaces, thankfully he managed to stay upright and when he looked down he saw that his shoes had somehow been tied together while he’d been walking. He turned to look at Stiles who smirked at him smugly before going back to his breakfast, the rest of the pack chuckling. Derek decided to make sure that he wasn’t wearing shoes when they fought, just so he didn’t make it too easy on Stiles.

Stiles had gone through school as usual, trying to keep his head down and get the necessary work done, he’d read all of the books for the rest of the year one night when he’d been bored, placing his hand on each book and absorbing all the information before moving onto the next one. It meant that most of his classes were too basic and straightforward to keep him entertained and his mind often wandered, thinking instead about the spells he’d found in the back of the Zduhaćs diary, and how he had promised to teach Allison and Lydia how to fight, wondering where would be the best place to start with that, he’d cheated in a way, learning it all through magic rather than experience, he hoped he did actually beat Derek tonight otherwise it would be so embarrassing.

In his first lesson of the day Harris told him he had to stay behind after school so that they could discuss his work, Stiles had rolled his eyes and headed to his next class, ignoring the glare that Harris sent in his direction. Stiles figured it was just how his day was going to go.

He spent lunch in the cafeteria with everyone else, it was getting a bit too cold to be sitting outside now, so instead he ate his lunch with the pack and Danny surrounding him, laughing and joking and trying to ignore the odd buzzing he felt in his chest, maybe it was just a build-up of power again, he’d try and get rid of some of it tonight after his fight with Derek, then it would be fine. Warren had spent the entire lunch period glaring at Stiles, Stiles did his best to ignore that too, he wasn’t sure what the guy had been thinking, but, as if Stiles would ever date a guy like him. He’d start dating Andy before he dated Warren.

The final bell rung and Stiles had never been so relieved, he was bored out of his mind, he was heading towards the car park when Harris caught him by the collar and almost dragged him back into his classroom, Stiles waved Scott on, saying he’d see them all at the loft in a bit and followed Harris into his room.

Danny waved at him when he entered and Stiles wondered what the hell he was doing there before Harris finally started talking.

“Mr Stilinski,” He started, sounding as if he was in physical pain, “You’ve been doing exceedingly well in your AP chemistry class. Mr Mahealani here is going to be moving into your class, I expect you to assist him in whatever he needs.”

“Erm…” Stiles whispered in shock, of all the things he’d expected Harris to say it wasn’t that.

“Shut it Stilinski, how you are top of the year I will never know, can’t even string an intelligent sentence together most of the time, just do as I ask and tutor him.”

“I think your actual words were ‘assist him in whatever he needs.’” Danny grinned winking at Stiles who blushed a little at the implied meaning to Danny’s words.

“I’ll tutor him.” Stiles agreed and Harris nodded firmly. “Is that all?”

“Yes. Now, get out of my sight.” Harris said and Stiles and Danny both jumped off their stools and headed to the car park.

“So, when do you want to do this?” Danny asked and Stiles shrugged, the car park had emptied in the past fifteen minutes, there was nobody left hanging around the school and yet Stiles couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. “Earth to Stiles!” Danny said and Stiles turned to look at him, not aware of the fact that he’d been reaching for his magic, listening for something that he couldn’t hear, not yet anyway, something was coming. “I can come to the loft now if you want?” Danny suggested, Stiles turned to look at the preserve at the edge of the school, whatever was coming was coming now and it was going to be there.

“I’ll meet you there.” Stiles said quickly, striding towards the preserve.

“Where are you going!?” Danny called out, making to go after him.

“No. Stay there.” Stiles replied urgently, something was about to happen, he was sure of it, his magic was almost burning him in warning, “Danny, stay there.” He warned before dropping his bag and breaking into a run towards the preserve.

Danny stared after Stiles in shock for a moment, wondering if Stiles was having a mental breakdown, before chasing after him, whatever had just happened, he wanted to know about it, maybe he’d finally find out what they’d all been hiding from him.

As soon as Stiles reached the first tree he could feel something big coming his way, could almost feel the vibrations under his feet, he grimaced, casting a spell to protect himself as he pushed forward, determined to keep whatever it was as far away from the school as possible.

He’d barely got twenty feet in when he was confronted by a large beast, Stiles didn’t know what it was, he’d never seen anything like it before, it was huge, at least five times the size of Peter in his Alpha form, it probably looked most like a rhino, a huge horn on its snout, but it’s skin looked thicker, like iron rather than flesh and it was bright red, smoke coming off it like it was on fire inside, and it looked pissed, beyond pissed, it scratched its front paw against the ground, getting ready to charge, Stiles’ mind was racing, he wasn’t sure what the hell would work against this thing.