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Espy Me, While I Watch You

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Erica laughed hysterically, tackling Boyd off of the pack couch. Derek smiled at the sight, he’d only bitten the teenager a week ago and she was already practically a brand-new girl. She’d gone from a quiet girl in day-old sweats to a leather clad young woman full of confidence and sex appeal. Not appeal to Derek but still, Boyd seemed rather enraptured. In the background, the FRIENDS theme song played as the DVD switched automatically between episodes.

“One day, Erica, we’re going to do a pack TV Marathon and watch something that isn’t 90’s TV.”

“One day!” Erica agreed readily. “Today is not that day. And to be honest, next week isn’t looking too good either.”

Derek snorted a laugh. It was good to come home after the long day he’d had.

His pack meant the world to him, even though he had practically thrown a tantrum when he woke up an Alpha. His aunt had died over night a month ago, and left her Alpha powers to Derek, a decision she hadn’t shared with him before her death. Derek had never trained to be an Alpha, Laura would receive their mother’s Alpha powers when their mother passed, and everyone had assumed that his Aunt would leave her abilities to her husband Peter.

Peter was the only one unsurprised by the choice of succession. Derek couldn’t blame his uncle for wanting to stay a beta, all his life Derek was happiest under someone else’s command.

Derek’s computer lit up with an email notification and he grunted.

“Derek.” Peter warned. “It might be important.”

“It’s probably not.” Derek grumped, he had no talent for the social side of being an Alpha, meeting with other Alphas and potential betas every other week.

“Derek…” Peter repeated.

“Ugh fine!” Derek ceded. “But we’re doing double the training this week, if I have to interrupt pack bonding for this.”

Isaac groaned loudly in protest, complaining at Peter for setting a, “fitness freak Alpha onto all of us.”

Derek picked up his computer and switched it on. The only email in his inbox was a notification from YouTube.

LittleRed just uploaded a video

Derek opened the email notification before even looking at the title of the video, pausing it quickly before any sound could be generated. Derek then stood up and walked off without a word.

 

“What the fuck was that?” Peter asked, the three teenagers looking over at him in confusion.

“What do you mean?” Erica asked, actually pausing her wrestle fest with Boyd to address the oldest member of her pack.

“Derek doesn’t care about emails. Derek doesn’t bother responding to his mother’s phone calls most of the time.”

“That’s not true!” Isaac exclaimed. “Not all the time, but a few times a week he’ll go answer urgent emails in his room.”

“Isaac, you’ve known Derek for a month, Erica and Boyd, you two have known him collectively a whole fortnight. I’ve known our Byronic Alpha his entire life, there is no way in hell, he would drop whatever he’s doing to answer an email from just anyone, no matter how urgent.”

Peter’s heartbeat was steady as he spoke, and the three wolves had just learned about lying vital signs from Derek a week ago.

“Well, what’s he doing then?” Boyd asked.


 

 

“Okay guys! I’m so glad you could join me today, whether you’re new or an all-time subscriber!” Stiles waved awkwardly at the camera. “Today’s video is going to be for all my untethered Emissaries out there, though this might be useful for some single Alphas too. If you’re an Alpha and an Emissary you’re considering does any of these things, that means that they have decent control over their abilities, are eager for your approval and have been doing plenty of research to improve their chances of joining your pack. You should be flattered!”

“Anyway, so before this intro gets too long, this is 5 things every Emissary NEEDS to do to be picked up by a pack.” Stiles stressed his word unnaturally for effect as he spoke.

Number one: A flashy introduction.

The words flashed up on the screen in a bubbly blue font.

“Okay, so first impressions are super important, Alphas are instinctive and impulsive, so they will make up their mind about you within the first few seconds of meeting you, before you even open your mouth.”

“A great way to communicate this power is with a fireball. Or, an illusion of a fireball. Real fire can be hard to control if you’re not well practiced in Pyrokinesis.  Most Alphas looking for an emissary will be young and not have a lot of experience with magic as most emissary/Alpha bonds are for life. If your potential Alpha has had a previous emissary, watch my video on Alpha red flags that I’ll link below, because it’s possible that your potential Alpha is dangerous or emotionally abusive.” Stiles points to the bottom of the screen as he speaks.

“So, all you gotta do is focus your power in your palm while picturing the image of fire. Make sure it’s the picture of fire, don’t think about the heat or you might actually set your hand on fire.”

“Bam!” Stiles held his palm up, a small ball of blue fire flickering convincingly in his hand. “You now look like a badass!”

Number two: Do your homework.

“This may be less fun, but you should do your research on your potential Alpha and if possible, the entire pack. You’ll look like a total idiot if you ask, ‘Who’s the Alpha exactly?’ or ‘How’s your Dad?’ when their parents were murdered brutally. This will also help you find out if there are any total deal breakers. Maybe you’re looking to mate with your Alpha in the future, so you should know if they’re married and have 12 pups. Maybe you’re older, and only recently came into your powers and the Alpha is 17 or something.” Stiles pulls his lips down in an unappealing scowl at the idea.

Number three: Follow protocol.

“Maybe you’re all all-powerful emissary, but any Alpha will not appreciate it if you rock up in plaid and a t-shirt and say something like ‘What’s up, bro?’.” Stiles looked down at his own outfit, a wonder woman graphic tee with red plaid over the top. “Don’t ask me how I know that.” He paused to look sheepishly into the camera. “Address them as Alpha and then their last name. Do not say 'My Alpha' until the bond is formed or you’ll look desperate.”

Number four: Be kind to everyone present, or at least polite.

“If you’re a total asshole to everyone except the Alpha, no pack is going to want you, this is just common sense. A pack is a family and no Dad is going to want to adopt you if you swear at his kids and ignore his siblings.” Stiles said brightly. “And for the record, I didn’t do this one, but I did witness another magic user try to make themselves seem important by referring to an Alpha’s betas as ‘mutts’, it was so rude and as far as I know, they still don’t have a pack or an Alpha.”

Number five: Be yourself.

“Don’t lie. If a bond is formed while you’re pretending to be something or someone that you’re not and the Alpha finds out you were lying, you’ll have a broken bond before the week is out.”

Some white text came up on the screen. I didn’t do this either, don’t worry.

“I understand how much most of you want an Alpha, I hear you, but don’t bond with whomever just to be bonded, wait for the right Alpha.”

 

“And hey, most of these steps go for Alphas looking to score an emissary. Bring your whole pack to see how they interact with your possible emissary, and to show your power and prowess as an Alpha. Be polite and address the magic user as their magic user type and their name. I would be Spark Stilinski. The other emissary I know would be Druid Deaton.”

Derek smiled, he could always listen to Stiles speak - regardless of the topic - he even watched that one video review of the Pirates of the Caribbean series. It was two hours long and Derek didn’t regret a single second of it.

 


 

 

This time, the video notification came from Derek's phone.

They were in the middle of their biweekly training at the time, Isaac snarling somewhat half-heartedly at Boyd as they circled each other in the dim light of the sickle moon. Erica looked on anxiously, nervous for the welfare of her mate, despite the training aspect of the fight. Peter sat in human form, his calm only highlighted by the beta shift of his packmates. Derek sat in his Alpha form, his mother’s wolf rather than his grandmother’s monstrous form.

They weren’t far from the house though, Derek’s clothes folded neatly on the steps up the veranda, his phone in the back pocket of his jeans.

So, the moment that his phone buzzed with the alert that seemed generic to the pack, but Derek knew was only for emails, the black wolf’s ears perked up.

Almost immediately, Derek shifted back to a human. “So, Peter, you can be in charge until I get back. If I’m not done by the end of the fight, run two Stiles-I mean miles. Then Erica and Isaac, try and take on Peter.”

Derek yanked on his trousers, as a born wolf he knew that nudity was part of shifting, training and full moon nights. However, three fifths of his pack were newly turned and got very weird about full nudity. They’d tried to explain it to Derek several times but every reason boiled down to ‘it’s just not done!’

Derek was still wondering at the prudes that made up his pack when he logged onto his laptop and opened up the email he knew was from Stiles, having seen the Instagram post earlier warning his fans of the upcoming video.

The title almost stopped Derek’s heart.

My Alpha found my channel?!

Derek had no delusions about ever being Stiles’ Alpha. Derek wasn’t even sure where in the country Stiles lived. But the way Stiles always spoke of being a single Spark gave Derek hope that there were still good Emissaries out there.

Despite the growing feeling of dread, and shrinking feeling of hope; Derek double-clicked on the thumbnail in his email to watch the video.

 

"Hey everyone!" Stiles opened. "So, I just want to be super clear, I am currently a completely unattached emissary. Actually, that's a little oxymoronic. I'm a magic user, a Spark actually, and do not have any official pack affiliations that would classify me as an emissary." Derek paused the video to do some deep breathing. He didn't even know Stiles, and he knew that his quiet nature would clash horrifically with Stiles' need for motion and energy; that he would be boring to the brightest Spark of this century. But knowing that, didn't do anything to dissuade his own visceral reaction to seeing Stiles' face, and the fluid way he incorporated hand movements into his rambling speech patterns.

 

"This video is titled thusly, because my friend is an Alpha, and he found my channel the other day, and absolutely flipped out." Stiles wrung his hands almost nervously, but Derek could see the excitement in his eyes, at the opportunity to talk about something that entertained the teenager. "I've been through a lot since I came into my powers and I make videos talking about it to not only help other people who might be dealing with similar circumstances, but also as a way to sort through my feelings and emotions about things that have happened. One of the things that did happen before I gained the ability to use magic was that my best friend of six years was bitten by a rogue Alpha who we subsequently killed in self-defence." Stiles paused for effect with a wry grin. "Every time I make a video mentioning death, I get a lot of comments about doing the Right Thing. For those of you who tell me off for being a 'murderer'." Stiles paused for the air quotes. "I hope you never have to face a feral Alpha with no magic or training, at 16 years old, and only a newly bitten beta for backup."

 

It wasn't like people didn't know what had happened to Stiles, as the most powerful Spark on record, he was a very public figure for those in magical circles. But hearing it laid out like that was different. Stiles had been a human who fought alongside with wolves for over a year before gaining his powers in one of the greatest shows of untapped magical ability ever seen. Stiles had turned his beta friend into an Alpha with nothing but his own sheer will. It was unheard of, but started an incredible precedent for Stiles pushing the boundaries of magic and beating his own path. Derek was a tiny bit in awe.

 

"Since I didn't discover I was a Spark for a year afterwards, my Alpha best friend had already tied himself to an emissary. And honestly, I don’t blame him, packs are intense about emissaries, they act like bigots confronted with a family with a dad and no mum. Alphas can be nurturing too, and emissaries can be destructive. But, that's why I was so heavily associated with a pack without any official ties." Stiles grinned. " His loss..." Derek nodded in silent agreement, any Alpha would be lucky to have Stiles as their emissary or mate. Or both. "But a lot of people do still think we're a bonded pair. So here is some actual footage of the Skype call I received after my friend and definitely not Alpha found out I had videos detailing all out exploits since middle school."

 

The footage that came after was of a male who was probably close in age to Stiles yelling into a webcam, Stiles looking bemused in the upper corner. He was already mid rant, as Stiles obviously hadn't thought to turn on the recording until after the shouting had already started.

 

Derek screwed up his nose after a growl rumbled unchecked through his vocal chords. He then sped through the video until the end, watching Stiles thank his audience for their time and saying he'd see them later.

 

It was a good thing Derek lived so far away from Stiles, if one shitty Skype call of someone yelling at the Spark made Derek sub vocal, there was no telling what kind of overly Alpha reaction Derek might have if he met Stiles in person. Some of the worse options included Derek stealing Stiles away or losing control of his shift, like he did when he was four and Laura took his stuff.

 


 

 

Derek knew that as a responsible Alpha, something he was determined to be, he had to pick an emissary to represent his pack. But that was so fucking hard to even think about, when his wolf side wanted the best. And Stiles was the best. And Stiles was practically on another planet for how far out of Derek's reach he was.

 

“And, shift!” Derek ordered, watching the speed that his bitten betas could sprout claws and elongate their teeth.

“Still too slow.” Peter said, before Derek could.

“The Sheriff says this might be a Malaysian Polong, they are invisible and once they’re close enough for you to sense them you’ll only have a fraction of a second to respond.”

The three teenagers looked around in dismay.

“Let me guess.” Peter began, and Derek missed his Mum in times like this, and he could use her guidance in teaching what Derek had always known and had no capacity for putting into words. “You three are trying to speed up the shift by forcing it?”

Without waiting for a response, Peter continued. “Well stop it. Your shift is a natural reaction, like when I swipe at Isaac.” Peter leapt forward as he spoke. “Isaac will flinch. So, move as though your claws and teeth are already there and they will be there by the time you make contact. Trust yourselves.”  Thank god for Uncle Peter.

 


 

 

Boyd was walking from the kitchen to his room, glass of juice in hand when he realised that the voice coming from Derek’s room wasn’t one he’d heard before. The beta’s shoulders tensed up as his fight instincts kicked into gear.

He eyed the door dubiously; slightly ajar, lights on in the Alpha’s bedroom.

Second, the sound of the voice, melodic, almost sing song, and so, so quiet.

Then Boyd realised that the voice must be coming through headphones, and relaxed. It was hard to remember that the quietest sound he could hear now was 5 decibels, when it used to be more than four times louder.

“Every tree was stained with sacrificial blood. the very earth groaned, dead yews revived; unconsumed trees were surrounded with flame, and huge serpents twined round the oaks. The people feared to approach the grove, and even the priest would not walk there at midday or midnight.” The foreign voice said, obviously reciting poetry of some kind. “That’s the description given by Marcus Annaeus Lucanus in his work ‘Pharsalia’ and brings us to the conclusion of this video. I hope I managed to dispel some of the myths around the Celtic temples known as Nemetons.”

Was Derek watching a druid documentary?

There was something almost familiar about the tone, the rambling pattern of words. But it wasn't distinct enough for Boyd to make an immediate identification.

When he returned to his bedroom, Boyd set aside his juice, and booted up his own laptop quickly. After a few minutes looking for Nemeton videos, Boyd found the one he figured Derek was watching.

I shouldn’t be telling you this…The Nemeton.

A video with a familiar, smiling face on the thumbnail.

After scrolling through LittleRed’s YouTube channel, Stiles’ channel, Boyd had reached a single conclusion.

 


 

 

“I think Derek wants to learn about magic.” Boyd said in his quiet, serious tone as he walked into the lounge room.

“What?” Erica asked, turning away from the football game momentarily.

“I saw what he was doing in his room, he’s watching videos from that Californian Spark, Stilinski.”

“That makes sense!” Isaac brightened. “He was almost forced into a bonding only a week after I met him. He’s probably on the lookout for an emissary.”

“Wait, wait.” Peter interrupted, looking up from his phone. “Derek has been spending an hour a week watching videos featuring this guy.” He held up his mobile, a grinning photo of Stiles in a red hoodie on the screen. “-This guy, and your conclusions are that he wants to learn more about magic and find an emissary? That’s…” Peter pauses, seemingly thinking over his next words, opened his mouth and closed it again. “Such a great idea!”

“You think?” Erica had a rare moment of thoughtfulness. “He does so much for us, he’s done so much for me. If he wants a magic user in the pack then we’re going to get him one if it’s the last thing Peter does!”

Peter glared momentarily but it was more a token expression, rather than a genuine show of irritation or distaste.

“Well if you guys really want to do something nice for our hard-working Alpha, I’ve got an idea.” Peter said as he pulled out his laptop. 

Chapter Text

Transcript of LittleRed’s newest video ‘Exciting News!’

Stiles is standing in a kitchen, from the angle and shakiness of the camera, it’s obvious he’s holding a phone at arm’s length.
Stiles: Hey everyone!
He waves at the camera
Stiles: This is just a short video, you can probably tell I’m not at home right now, this is my Dad’s house in Northern Cali.
He pauses to gesture around the room.
Stiles: Anyway, I have incredible news! I’ve been invited to this year’s MoonCon in LA as the guest of honour.
The focus of the makeshift camera shifts to lock in on Stiles’ wildly flailing hands.
Stiles: I’m going to do a meet and greet but mostly I’m going to be running a few workshops on magic, teaching any magic users that want to learn about the techniques, spells and rituals I’ve invented myself. Also, a couple on being human in a pack because that’s hard, probably like being a woman in the workplace, you’ve gotta work twice as hard for half the respect. There’s also a bunch of stuff for werewolves and stuff, you guys are the majority!
He nods and a voice from offscreen says something unintelligible.
Stiles: I have to bounce now guys, but I hope to see some of you there if you can make it.

 


 

 

“Derek!” Isaac said the moment Derek entered the kitchen, the whole pack clustered around the kitchen island. “We got you a present.”

“Really?” Derek was surprised and a little embarrassed. Was it an anniversary or a religious holiday?

“We know you like Spark Stiles Stilinski.”

What?” Derek slurred, mouth working still after his brain had stopped. He felt his pulse increase. Stiles was physically enrapturing, was funny and smart and intelligent and everything Derek could ever want. But he’d been so careful, he’d never even said out loud how much he would have given just to meet Stiles. Derek hadn’t even admitted anything to himself. Did he actually like Stiles?

Derek’s emotional crisis was very rudely interrupted by Erica. “So…we got you tickets!”

“Tickets.” Derek repeated, mind still blank at the dawning acceptance that he really had actual feelings for an internet magician.

“To the Los Angeles MoonCon, Stiles is going to be the guest of honour, and he’s doing a bunch of workshops and speeches, we’re driving down to Sacramento a week from now and flying to LA!”

“What.” Derek stated.

“There is a week of speeches, workshops and stuff, the only catch is that, as an Alpha, you need to offer to speak.” Erica’s voice dropped in volume as she spoke, almost as though she was hoping Derek wouldn’t hear her.

“No, you don’t.” Peter bit out. “Don’t lie. Your beta’s rooms are half-off if the Alpha presents so they signed you up.”

Erica glared up at Peter venomously.

“Well.” Derek took a deep breath; his betas were obviously trying to do something nice for him. Expensive but nice, he couldn’t blame them for trying to save money. “Before I chew you out…what did you sign me up for?”

Erica looked down at her feet. “Trauma at the Top.”

“What?” Derek felt as though he was saying that a lot.

“It’s for Alphas dealing with traumatic experiences in combination with the stigma of Alpha strength and emotional distance.” Isaac said slowly, not as obviously ashamed as Erica but clearly concerned about Derek’s reaction.

Derek took a deep breath in through his nose, then another and another after that. “You want me to talk about the fact that I was hypnotised for a fortnight and almost…almost, well you know what happened! With a fucking Darach, a serial killer?”

“For the patriarchy, Derek!” Erica whined, her voice in its high-pitched state only managing to set Derek’s teeth on edge, rather than managing to convince him of anything.

“And, and, and,” Isaac butted in, “There are several social events so you can find an emissary!”

Derek opened his mouth to say ‘what’ again but just sighed instead.  

The worst part about this was that Derek couldn’t even muster up the will to be irritated. He’d only figured out two seconds ago that he felt something a little more significant than respect for Stiles. And their pack was small but Derek and Peter were Hales, werewolf royalty, even with only four betas, three of whom were bitten wolves, joining Derek’s pack would be an honour. And his betas were good kids, they didn’t deserve to be in a pack with no emissary.

 


 

 

Martin, age twenty-one, was going through a rough divorce.

How did Derek know this? Lanette, the fifty-something woman that Derek had the unprecedented misfortune of being seated next to on his flight from Sacramento to Los Angeles.

Her incessant prattling made the two-hour flight feel endless.

"Oh honey, I never asked, where are you coming from?" Lanette asked, and Derek was shocked at being included in what felt like a lecture on this stranger's entire life.

"Uh, Beacon Hills."

"Isn't that town overrun with wolves? Not that there's anything wrong with werewolves, I would just struggle to feel safe knowing that there are some strong wolf people running around in the woods all hours of the day and night."

"Oh, it's not that bad." Unlike this conversation, and the flight in general.

Being in a stagnant smelling pressurised tube for two hours was not anyone's idea of fun, but the terrified scent of aviophobes and the increasingly stale air, made it even worse for a werewolf.

Or maybe it was just worse for born wolves. Across the aisle, Erica and Boyd were both asleep, leaning on each other perfectly to hold both of them up. Isaac was on his third episode of Brooklyn nine-nine but Peter was looking just as uncomfortable as Derek felt.

Arriving at the Los Angeles Paranormal Convention Centre to sign in before they checked into their nearby hotel, Derek felt like an overwhelmed parent with four overexcited children. Yes, including his uncle.

Erica was reading a copy of some magazine that came from Australia and wouldn’t ship to Northern rural California, she was reading out loud almost the entire issue. It was about feminism and actually really interesting.

Boyd’s headphones had been frayed during transit and so his music was going half through his earbuds and half out the speakers in his phone.

Isaac was getting pamphlets for what felt like every single speech and presentation, and talking about his justifications for each in an excessively loud voice.

Peter was critiquing the graphic design of each of Isaac’s pamphlets, regardless of the subject of the talk.

The result was an ear-splitting cacophony migrating into a headache.

“More CEOs called John, Derek!”

A violin straining at the highest note waivers and falls in an irritatingly tinny fashion.

“I know this talk is about discovering latent magic powers and I’m a werewolf but I think it’ll be really interesting.”

“Mint and grapefruit colours? Together?”

Derek rubbed at his temples as the queue in front of their group diminished and the number of people behind them increased. There were exactly seven Alpha wolves and two Alpha kitsune foxes in the building right now and some small part of Derek was itching to assert dominance. He was pretty glad that as a born wolf and lifetime beta, he had a lot of practice squishing down those instincts. Derek did know that not every Alpha had his even temper and that there was going to be a problem sooner or later.

As Derek and the betas approached the front of the queue to sign into the convention and confirm the fact that he was still alright to speak during the Trauma At The Top presentation. There were three other Alphas set to speak but on the sign in sheet, one name had already been crossed out viscously enough that Derek can’t even tell who it was supposed to be. Someone must have dropped out of the conference, which meant more eyes on Derek. Yippee.

 

Derek turned to leave with his pack, relieved at the reprieve after the four hours of travel that morning. Suddenly, someone ran up behind Derek, heartbeat dangerously fast. Derek spun around just in time for the unknown person to crash full-throttle into his chest.

“Shit.” The man said quietly, seemingly to himself before looking up at Derek. “Shit!”

Shit indeed, the man who just hit Derek at full speed was Stiles Stilinski.

“Uh, hey.” Derek muttered. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, I just really wanted to catch you before you left.” Stiles seemed to realise he was still standing half an inch from being flush against Derek’s chest again. “We haven’t had the pleasure of being introduced. I’m Stiles Stilinski.” Stiles paused in the way that Derek knew meant more words were on their way. “You’re Derek Hale, aren’t you? I’ve heard a lot about you.”

“Yeah, I’m Derek, great to meet you Spark Stilinski.”

“How did you know that?” Stiles replied, apparently forgetting he was world famous for his abilities.

Instead of confirming or denying anything at all, Derek coughed and pointed at the giant banner hanging from the ceiling that proudly stated,

MoonCon 2k17 presents Spark Stilinski

“Oh. Right.” Stiles seemed embarrassed into silence.

“Did you need to ask me something?”

“I guess not?” Stiles said, his voice lilting up like a question. “I just wanted to, you know, meet you. Dad talks about you a lot and I really appreciate you doing the hard work with magical threats for him, I do worry about his health.”

“Your Dad?” Derek replied, confused.

“Oh, right, Sheriff Stilinski?”

“Oh, I should have known, Stilinski isn’t exactly a common last name…” Derek trailed off, suddenly painfully aware that his entire pack was standing right behind him.

“We all love working with the Sheriff.” Boyd said, helpfully.

“Stiles, this is my pack,” Derek remembered belatedly to introduce them. “Erica, Isaac, Boyd and Peter.”

“We’ve met.” At Derek’s confused glance, Isaac clarified. “Stiles was in our graduating class.”

“You guys are all wolves now, huh? Dad mentioned you, but mostly just the incredible heroics of your Alpha. Alpha Hale?”

Derek awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck. “I think my official title is Alpha Hale the second, my Mama is Alpha Hale. But Derek is just fine.”

“Okay.” Stiles brightened. “Derek. And I also saw you were going to speak at the trauma thing. I think that’s incredibly brave of you.”

“Thanks.” Derek regretted not responding with something a little more open, as the silence became more awkward.

“Great. Anyways, I, uh, have a workshop-slash-meet-and-greet tomorrow, I know you and your pack don’t have an emissary yet, so I’ll help you find one this week! Consider it a thank you for looking out for my Dad while I’ve been in LA.”

Well. Fuck.

 

As Derek walked away with his pack, he felt dread crawling up his throat. He wasn’t planning to talk to Stiles, let alone working with him to find an emissary. An emissary that wouldn’t be Stiles. Derek also was feeling worse about his trauma speech now that he knew Stiles was going to be witness to his weakness.

 

 

Chapter Text

The huge hotel was designed for packs, with multiple rooms connected for convenience. Derek got his own room, with Isaac and Peter sharing, to their annoyance.  Derek was just glad that the room was supernatural levels of clean, it always skeeved him out being able to smell the last 30 people who’d been in the room.

The keynote speech was starting in a few hours but Derek was considering missing it. But Stiles was giving it. But Derek had just embarrassed himself in front of Stiles.

 

Since getting to his room, Derek had gotten a few traumatic flashbacks of their conversation. He’d called himself Alpha Hale the Second, like he thought he was royalty. He’d called his mother, the most feared Alpha on the planet, Mama. He’d forgotten to introduce his pack, which must have seemed pretty rude. Derek had just been so…Derek.

More than once, Derek had been told he should speak more, that the strong and silent thing made him seem like a serial killer. But this was the issue, when he opened his mouth, crap like that came out.

Eventually, the siren call of Stiles managed to overwhelm Derek and he rounded up Isaac and his uncle; respecting the metaphorical sock on Boyd and Erica’s door.

Despite Derek’s uncertainty and the humming and hawing over going versus not going, Derek and his two betas were still fairly early. They sat about a quarter of the way back, Stiles’ heartbeat clear to Derek’s senses from where the Spark was pacing backstage.

Under Derek’s chair was a flyer, upon seeing the slanted white font, Derek realised that he didn’t even know what topic Stiles was about to come and speak on.

The Impact of Humanity on the Development of Intra-Paranormal Emancipation

Stiles came out eventually and despite the speed of his heart, Stiles didn't appear nervous at all. The increased heartbeat must have been triggered by caffeine, not fear. Stiles didn't have palm cards and looked absolutely stunning in an unusual red suit. Derek's Little Red. God that sounded creepy but it was like Stiles was inviting the werewolf fantasies with his online handle, the tale of the werewolf and his red caped mate being an ancient fairy tale. 

 

And dammit if Stiles didn't look elegant in red.

 

Stiles coughed once before beginning in a clear voice. “Human beings have a secular view of the world. Binary opposites. It leads to a lot of political and social issues within the human world, and I would know, I was human for the first 17 years of my life. My name is Stiles Stilinski and I'm super pumped to be opening this year's mooncon.” His voice echoed around the room as though he had a microphone but without the aid of technology.

“This is actually my first year attending too, as I only came into my powers a year ago, and was struggling through some of the toughest moments of my life during mooncon 2016. But based on my own research, I wasn't even going to be coming this year, I thought the focus of the convention wasn't moving the supernatural conversation in the right direction.”  Stiles took out his phone, reading with a strong expression of distaste. “This is a list of some of the presentations and speeches from mooncons 2000-2010.”
“How to be more human: suppressing your were instincts and 'tells’. “ A kitsune barked once in disgust from the back of the room, obviously newly turned.
“Magic to divert attention from residents and residence.” Stiles rolled his eyes.
“No powers but all the power, why humanity is top of the food chain.”

 

Putting his phone away, Stiles continued. “Guys, humans know werewolves exist, they know about magic. And instead of us assimilating with them, we bend around their shapes, their faults and flaws. Werewolf history was passed down aurally for thousands of years, but bedtime stories like Daughters of the Moon show us that Alphas used to be thought of as wise, nurturing forces.” Derek remembered that story, it was Cora’s favourite.

“But now, with no small thanks to Hollywood, Alphas are the patriarchy on steroids. Packs are like families and humans have applied the role of a 1900's husband to the Alphas, preferably Alpha werewolves. And the role of the doting 1950's housewife is given to the emissaries.” The parallels weren’t wrong in the slightest.

 

“Betas without the care and nurture of an emissary are viewed almost through the same lens as neglected children. As though Alphas can only ever be commanding officers to small armies and not parents, lovers and friends.”

 

“Why is this a problem?” Stiles paused. “More of a problem than regular toxic masculinity.” He added as an afterthought. “Well, Alpha-Emissary bonds are hard to break and have a deep stigma that doesn't actually originate from human social constructs. The earliest mention of a broken emissary bond was actually as late as the Salem trials.” Derek furrowed his eyebrows in confusion at that statement. “Broken bonds are seen as signs of poor judgement and irreconcilable character flaws for both the Alpha and the magic user.”

 

“So, you have the pressure to bond early as possible, combined with psychological and spiritual and social difficulties with breaking those bonds and you get a recipe for disaster. Whole packs-not just the Alphas-can be stuck with bad emissaries, evil ones, sure but also ones who are just the wrong fit.”

Stiles started to pace across the stage from his place behind the podium. “Druids, who prioritise land and spiritual locations are tied to nomadic packs. Strong witches are paired with unambitious packs and Alphas, crippling their magic and pushing the pack to uncomfortable lengths.”

 

“But it's not as simple as ignoring the social pressure. Supernatural society is so warped in the past fifty years that packs older than a few years without an emissary are treated awfully. They aren't consulted on matters that concern their own territory, are generally ostracised from other organised meetings and other shows of respect.”

 

Derek was very, very in love. Stiles, in only a few minutes completely dissected the causes and impacts of imposing a human family structure onto werewolf culture on top of existing stigma. 

 

“Emissaries are amazing, we magic users have a lot to contribute to any pack, auxiliary in battle and everyday magic convenience but our personalities are as nuanced as anyone. We're not all soccer mums in the wings just waiting for betas to devote our lives to.” Stiles made it very evident that he fell distinctly in the ‘not a soccer mum’ category.

 

"And so, when I was invited to speak, I had several conditions, the most important one being that binary-focused and human centric programs were scrapped. I spend 350 days a year worrying about making humans comfortable, not making my abilities too evident, protecting them from both paranormal and themselves. This week was for us, developing abilities and making connections. My favourite addition is actually the Trauma at The Top seminar, it's on the day after tomorrow and I encourage you all to check it out."

 

 

After the speech finished, Stiles took a seat near the front while the audience filed out. Peter turned to Derek, who had made no motion to leave. 

"What did you think?"

"Did you know Stiles had planned the Trauma event?"

"No clue."

Derek definitely had more mixed feelings about the dreaded speech after finding that out. He'd practically cried blood over every typed word of it, only having the courage to write in the early hours of the morning despite his soundproofed bedroom. 

 

Derek realised that maybe a dozen or so people, including an Alpha kitsune had lined up to congratulate Stiles on his Speech, and agree with the overall sentiment of the keynote speech. Stiles was smiling convincingly and shaking hands but Derek sidled over under the pretence of a show of gratitude to check on the Spark. 

 

"Derek!" Stiles exclaimed in badly concealed relief, squirrelling his way out of the arms of a beta wolf Derek didn't know. "You came! Did you like it?" 

 

"Yeah, it was great. You were amazing up there." Derek was determined this time to say more than a few words in response to Stiles "I actually did disagree with you on the dates when broken bonds were first mentioned. I have some manuscripts..." Derek trailed off when he realised that everyone was blatantly ogling him, utterly agog. 

"What?"

"You disagree?" An African American wizard asked sceptically. "With Spark Stilinski. And who are you?" Derek felt very suddenly as though he was being challenged, that Stiles was being defended against him. 

 

"Uh. Derek. My name is Derek Hale." Derek mumbled. The second he said his last name though, the wizard backed off. 

 

"Sorry man...sir? I didn't know." 

Derek had seen people treat his mother like this. He hadn't left Beacon Hills in long enough to know that the treatment would extend to him. 

 

Drawing himself up, Derek tried to channel his inner Talia Hale. "That's quite alright, now, if you don't mind, I do believe I was talking." Derek stated flatly, turning the man's cruel infliction back on him. 

 

Derek realised that then, Stiles was watching him carefully, amber eyes practically glowing in interest. Dammit, Derek had done the prince thing again. 

 

"Uh, anyways, I have some Japanese manuscripts from monks on the northern island and they mention an Alpha who 'ravaged' his bond with a clairvoyant. It's an interesting read. And while they mention it being the only one they knew of, it does prove that bonds broke a lot earlier than Salem and a lot farther than the USA."

 

"You speak Japanese?" 

"Well yes, but I could translate it for you or something if you were interested in reading it."

Stiles still seemed taken aback somehow. 

"Or someone else could translate it? It's very old so I'd prefer it didn't leave my property..."

"No! I'd love it if you could translate it for me, I just had no idea you spoke Japanese.  I was surprised."

"I also speak Spanish."

"Well, we'll have to discuss that after you tell me all about your Japanese manuscript. Coffee?" 

 

"Sounds great, Peter, Isaac, you ready to go?"

Peter made a rather insulting face as though he couldn't comprehend the inadequacy of Derek's IQ. 

"Isaac and I have dinner plans."

"We do?"

"Come on, I'll buy you something nice."

 

Stiles raised both of his eyebrows once, as if to express his doubt at the situation.

"Looks like it’s just you and me." Almost as an afterthought. "Alpha Hale the second."

Derek felt wrong footed at that, they weren't close enough for light ribbing so it must be a not so subtle criticism. 

"Coffee?" Derek asked in confirmation, in case Stiles changed his mind. "Spark Stiles."

Stiles seemed unduly pleased by that and they set off for the hotel coffee shop, the only place likely to be clean even to Derek's keen nose. 

 

Stiles took a seat in a wooden chair near the doors of the coffee shop and motioned for Derek to sit opposite to him.  Derek didn't. 

"I'm buying, what can I get you to drink?"

"I can pay..." Stiles offered but Derek shook his head. "A large caramel and vanilla latte with chocolate powder on top?" Stiles seemed tentative at the elaborate order. 

"No problem, I'll be right back, think about what you might wanna ask me."

 

Derek ordered the drink and a cappuccino for himself, returning to the table where Stiles had set up shop, slinging his red suit jacket over the back of the chair. 

"Thank you!" Stiles said, making adorable grabby hands at Derek for his syrupy coffee. 

"Here you go. A Spark like you, gotta be burning up calories just breathing."

"You know about Spark physiology?"

"Of course, I studied under my Mother's emissary since I was young."

"Not a lot of werewolves are raised like that anymore."

"Well, us Hales are a long blood line."

"Impressive, I always thought the werewolf royalty thing was a metaphor or an exaggeration." 

"Not so much," Derek felt anxious to change topics as soon as possible. "But what can I help you with based on my knowledge of older texts? The Japanese monks also wrote one other piece on bonding humans into kitsune packs."

"Woah, woah, take a breather. It's so weird we've never really met, I'm in Beacon Hills all the time to see my Dad and I'm old pals with most of your pack. And I hear about all your exploits through the grapevine as well as the Sheriff's department. Tell me about the man behind the mystery."

"What are you, an interviewer?" Derek asked, only half joking, feeling off-put at the idea of being the centre of attention.

"Please, Derek?" Stiles begged, whiskey eyes looking unfairly imploring. 

"Okay, well I've only been an Alpha for a month, it's been an uphill battle, I never trained to become an Alpha, my aunt's 'gift' was a shock to everyone."

"But you're amazing! How many beta requests do you even get?"

"I get probably about a few hundred letters plus thousands of emails a week."

"Are you actually the perfect Alpha?"

Derek felt an ugly blush seep up his throats and onto his cheeks. "Well, I guess I don't have an emissary for my pack." Derek was pretty sure he missed subtle by about a lightyear.

"Don't worry, everything you've just told me is really going to help me with making a decision."

"Wait, what decision?"

"I'm not about to let you enter into even a preliminary emissary bonding without adequate information."

 

Stiles, the Spark, the man of Derek's dreams was going to try and find him an emissary that Derek would bond with. The dread pooling in Derek’s stomach was the only thing he could focus on as he relayed all the details of the old text as he could remember.

 


 

 

Getting back to the room was as traumatic as Derek thought it was going to be.

Even though he had his own room, all his betas minus Peter were crowded on his bed. Peter was mixing himself something elaborate using what seemed like the entire contents of the minibar.

“Isaac said you went on a date!” Erica said, having absolutely no patience and bouncing on the spot in delight. Derek’s heart ached at how genuinely happy for him she seemed.

“Not quite, Stiles says he wants to help me find an emissary.”

“He did?” Peter somehow managed to sound deadpan, doubtful, and smug.

“That’s great, Derek!” Isaac seemed overjoyed too. “Anyone endorsed by Stiles is going to be amazing and powerful.”

“And a perfect fit!” Erica seemed more youthful with her hair up in a bun and in long pyjama pants and what was obviously Boyd’s white shirt.

Derek climbed on the bed, feeling like he was nine again and Laura had busted into his room at midnight for a chat their parents would pretend not to know about the next day.

“Yeah, I guess I’m excited but nervous, I know we are considering a few new betas from their applications but letting someone else chose my emissary is different. But we do need one to round us out.”

“If you don’t like whoever Stilinski picks, you just send them packing, we have ages before not having an emissary will be a problem. And even if it’s been five years, you’re our Alpha, you do everything for us, we want you to be happy and you’re not allowed to rush into anything because that would make all of us miserable.”

Okay, so seeing his betas wasn’t as traumatic as Derek thought.  And the scent of pack helped Derek go to sleep once his room was empty again, warding away loneliness.

Chapter Text

"Where the hell is he?" Erica snapped at her ever-patient boyfriend. Boyd just shrugged.  

A few seconds later, she heard footsteps approach their breakfast table, turning around, she saw Peter and Isaac approaching to sit down. 

It took a moment to realise that Peter's smirking was even more lascivious than usual and that Isaac was blushing. And with quite possibly the biggest show of self-control by Erica ever, she said nothing. Okay, so she opened her mouth and Boyd kicked her, same thing.  

After another ten minutes, Peter stood up. "I'm going to go find Derek, he needs to eat."  

He came back while Erica was eating her fourth stack of pancakes.  

"Derek isn't in the gym, I'm going to go check to see if he didn't get up." 

 

Derek was trying very hard to stay under his covers and pretend he was the only person alive when Peter came in and ripped the covers off him.  

"When you were late for breakfast and the gym was empty, I thought you had died. Come on, you need to get up."  

"Peter." Derek's voice was quiet and his uncle immediately sat on the edge of the bed, ready to listen. "I don't know if I can do the speech, they sent me a notification, after Stiles' endorsement, the interest tripled and they're moving it to the big conference room."  

Peter stood up to get some clothes for Derek to wear.  

"It's not until tomorrow, it's not too late to drop out if that's what you really need." 

When Derek nodded frantically. "But you have to be sure, you're strong Derek, but not everyone would be able to cope as well as you have. You're opening the door for weaker Alphas to talk about what they've been through.” 

"I never even told mum." Derek whispered, ashamed. "She knows something happened but none of the details."  

"Your mother is strong, yes, but I don't think she would handle trauma well on her own, one of the reasons she's such a great Alpha is because of her support system. She has your Dad, her emissary and Laura as well as Cora and the rest of her pack. She never bears any weight alone. You're a young Alpha but in a few years, you'll be mated to Stiles and he'll be a great emissary, drawing more loyal betas to us." 

"What? Stiles...I don't even, he's not all that great. I don't even know why you'd think I would mate him, or whatever, like who even cares how powerful he is?" 

"Derek relax, I'm the only beta who figured it out, and I won't say anything, but I know what you look like with a crush. And Stiles did organise the Trauma thing, and he spoke about how he thought the Alpha patriarchy was bullshit, here is your chance to really impress him." 

That, at least, managed to get Derek up and out of bed.  

"I'm not going to say that this won't suck a bit, some packs are going to be assholes about it, but your name and our reputation will carry us more than if we were a pack of nobodies, or worse, all bitten." Peter mock shudders just to get a rise out of Derek. Derek only gave a half-hearted growl as he tugged his shoes on. 

 

By the time Peter walked back to the breakfast table, everyone else was pretty much finished. Derek looked a little seasick and he looked as though he'd thrown his clothes on in a hurry and almost missed. His hair had little product in it, only what was left over from yesterday. Peter plonked Derek in a seat and went off to go get food, fucking finally. 

Boyd saw the rough shape Derek was in and wordlessly pushed him a plate of eggs and fresh fruit.  

"I'm just a little nervous about tomorrow." 

"Sorry boss." Boyd said, somehow expressing sympathy without moving a single facial muscle to indicate that.  

  

Then a huge Alpha took a seat next to Isaac, where Peter had been. 

"Derek Hale, right? Pleasure to meet you." The Alpha's heartbeat skipped through the lie almost vindictively. "I'm Ennis, from San Diego."  

At the perceived threat, Derek managed to pull himself together. "I'm sure it is."  

Something in Ennis' expression hardened. "You're speaking at the traumatised Alpha thing, aren't you," the tone of his voice made it evident of what Ennis thought of Derek for admitting trauma. "The one my emissary…future emissary threw together.” 

Derek’s blood ran cold. “He is…I mean he did?” Trying to shift his tone from shocked to one of disinterest obviously didn’t work, as Ennis’ grin only grew and Derek was reminded of a shark.  

Not something majestic like a great white, something like the sand tiger shark, scary because of how wrong it looked, rather than predatory perfection. Ironically, the sight set Derek at ease. Ennis was approaching him and posturing like a frilled lizard, trying in vain to make himself look bigger. Derek was surrounded by his pack, was one of the strongest Alphas alive with the might of the Hale name and lineage behind him.  

Maybe Ennis had Stiles, but Derek wasn’t a child. And if Ennis thought that Derek’s trauma, his moment of weakness made him weak, then he was more stupid than he looked, which was quite the accomplishment.  

“Yeah, he is, so don’t come sniffing around no more.” 

Ennis walked away but Derek actually felt better. Yeah, Stiles meant a lot to him. But Derek didn’t need him. Derek was a strong, confident Alpha who didn’t need no emissary.  

 

“Hey Derek!” Stiles said brightly. Derek took it all back, he would cut off his right arm for a shot to belong to Stiles, maybe his left one, since he’d need his right one to hold Stiles.  

Derek’s thoughts of mutilation were disrupted by Stiles babbling on.  

“…so that’s why I was wondering if you’d help me today?” Derek winced internally at the fact that he’d missed the first part of Stiles’ sentence. 

“Sure, uh, help you with what?” 

“With my presentation today, I had someone lined up but they’re…indisposed.” Stiles’ body language gave away the transparent lie before his vitals did. “And you’re the only Alpha werewolf I know who’s pretty enough to be the magician’s assistant.” 

“You think I’m pretty?” Derek was surprised, but he assumed it was all sucking up to get Derek to comply.  

“Duh.” Stiles returned flatly, “Don’t fish. But nothing I would do would hurt too much though a few might trigger your shift without permission, which is why my original volunteer dropped out.” 

Derek understood that, a lot of people would hate to have the control over their bodies stripped away from them. Luckily for Stiles, Derek was wrapped around his little finger. 

“Sure, Stiles, just no hypnotism, nothing where you’re controlling my body or mind or anything.” 

“We can have a safe word, something you wouldn’t normally say.” 

“Sounds good, when is the presentation?” 

“It’s kind of right now?” Stiles spoke slowly, voice climbing a full octave as he spoke.  

“Jeez, thank you for the warning but alright let’s go.” Derek appreciated that his pack was coming with him, that Erica wasn’t whingeing about the hot tub or whatever she was planning to do. Maybe Derek could discuss trauma on stage, but having a panic attack in a crowded auditorium was definitely a hard limit.  

“Bulbasaur. If anything, I do goes too far, just say Bulbasaur. Or even ‘stop, stop’ will work. And I will stop straight away.” 

“And my pack sits up front, I want them close.” Derek said warningly, trying to make it seem that he wasn’t going to go through with this without his single condition met. 

“No problem, the front row is reserved for my guests, which your pack most certainly are. Thank you, Derek, thank you so much!” Stiles threw his arms around Derek in a tight hug, inadvertently smearing the scent of happy magic-user all over Derek’s chest and neck.  

 

The room that the conference was held in was about half the size of the massive hall that the keynote speech was given in and the demonstration was clearly supposed to already have begun. Most of the auditorium was full, and the air was full of the sound of murmuring and impatient whispering.  

At the sight of Stiles walking in, flanked by five werewolves, the attendees fell silent.   

“Sorry for the delay everybody.” Stiles announced, taking Derek by the wrist and ascending the short stairs to the stage. “Welcome to the Innovation In Magic workshop. This is part one, I’m going to perform a demonstration of the things I’ll be teaching and a general idea of how to perform these spells. Just a reminder that these spells were designed by me for personal use, and I’m one of only fifteen Sparks ever recorded. So not every kind of magic user will be able to mimic my process. Witches and warlocks, druids, wizards and mages should be able to do what I do, but clairvoyants, Wiccans, shamans, seers and sorcerers will not. However, I encourage you to stay for the demonstration and use what you observe to find ways to be inventive within your own magical ability. In part two, I’ll be walking around and helping people who stay to perform these spells.” 

Stiles took off his jacket, a pale grey one today, and rolled up the sleeves of his white dress shirt underneath. Derek thought he did look somewhat like a human magician, a master of sleight of hand. And what beautiful hands. 

“This is my assistant. The werewolf, Alpha Derek Hale.” About half the room gave a smattering of applause in reaction to Derek’s name.  “As I run with wolves, my defensive spells are developed for wolves though I promise you’re not about to witness anything untoward happen to Mr Hale.”  

Belatedly, Derek realised that he was still in the outfit given to him by Peter, hair unstyled and wearing slip-on canvas shoes. He wasn’t exactly presentable to an audience.  

“Number one, an identification spell for supernatural beings.” Well, that was unexpected, Derek was totally thinking something more impressive would be number one, like age deceleration or even chloromancy, the control of plants.  

“Werewolves, kitsunes, incubi and most supernatural beasts like kelpies, trolls, thunderbirds, vampires and those sorts of things have a huge advantage over humans and even magic users. Their keen sense of smell lets them know what it is that they are facing. Even beta wolves can smell your species from across a building.” About a fifth of the room had left when Stiles stated what types of magic users could learn techniques from him and which couldn’t but there still was a significant amount of people watching. 

“So, since knowing how to kill something is directly dependant on what it is you’re trying to kill, figuring it out can be an essential step in dealing with a threat to your home. Or your pack’s territory.”  

Mutterings of agreement and understanding fill the room.  

“I mean any shapeshifter can also mask scent with enough time pretending to be human, if an incubus eats enough human food and spends time with humans, they will begin smelling like a human to any untrained supernatural being.” 

“So, aside from anyone associated with human sacrifice, darachs, practitioners of Japanese hitobashira and any other magic user who traded human life for power are marked. Any magic user is able to see them for who they are and what they have done.”  

Derek suddenly felt sick. If he’d had an emissary they would have known, if he’d stayed near his family, his mother’s emissary would have known. He felt the word ‘Bulbasaur’ on the tip of his tongue, then he felt the weight of the audience’s eyes on him. He couldn’t ruin Stiles’ show. That would be selfish. So, despite the worried looks from his pack, Derek forced himself to stay quiet.  

“So, my lovely young assistant will now demonstrate his were form for everyone.” Stiles gestured to Derek, facing him from only a few metres away.  

Derek sighed. Then shifted into his beta form. The audience oohed and aahed appropriately, though Derek was sure that they’d all seen a werewolf before.  

“So, Derek,” Stiles began, as Derek put away his claws and teeth. “Now, I want you to actively try and hold back the shift, like if you were threatened in public and trying to not shift where everyone can see you.” 

Derek prepared himself accordingly.  

Stiles made a flourish with his hands. “Now, I’m going to use my abilities which are silent, but if your powers are deity based, now is the time to pray. The overall shape is a six-pointed star with a circle around it to represent illusions and then a capital E shape with a forked tongue to represent ashes. As in, you are reducing the illusion to ashes. Some of you may work best at tracing these shapes in the air, or drawing them, However, I just picture them and push them outwards.” 

Derek suddenly felt the shift almost overtake him. But he pushed it back, fighting it. Stiles’ eyes narrowed in obvious surprise at the fact that his spell hadn’t worked yet. The pressure increased and Derek grit his teeth, determined to fight it. The patient silence in the room became tense.  

After another minute, it became too much to bear and Derek let the change shift over him. Unfortunately, the moment Derek let go of his control was paired with the moment that Stiles intensified his concentration. Derek bypassed his beta shift and leaped upwards, in his full Alpha form.  

That got the audience’s attention. A full Alpha shift was rare, and even Alphas who could shift rarely did.  

“Oh, dear god! Derek are you okay? I’m so sorry!”  

Derek made a snuffling noise, starting in surprise for a moment when Stiles took a few steps forward, knelt down and wrapped his arms around Derek’s neck.  
“I’m so sorry, Derek, are you hurt?” 

Derek tried to wiggle backwards, the proximity to Stiles causing his chest to feel tight. Control over the shift was restored but despite Derek’s natural acceptance of nudity, turning into a naked man while being held by Stiles sounded like a recipe for the worst kind of disaster. Like filling the room with lust hormones that his whole pack would smell, like wrapping his arms back around Stiles in return and refusing to let go.  

Stiles wasn’t letting go, running his hands over Derek’s form, eyes glowing with magic as he checked for injury. “Can you change back?” 

Derek nodded eagerly.  

“Well, then why…oh right!” Stiles let go and took several steps backwards. As Derek shifted, Stiles’ vitals gave away the fact that he was horribly embarrassed. There was that human awkwardness with nudity.  

“Sorry about that everyone, I overdid it.” The magic users applauded anyways. Derek’s pack still sat in stunned silence at their Alpha’s loss of control.  

Stiles stepped closer to Derek, until they were only inches apart. “Are you alright, do you need a break, or to stop.” 
“Stiles, the safe word is there for a reason, I’m alright to keep going.” 

Stiles stood back. “Alright, so we’re clear to keep going, everyone. My second trick is one that I mentioned in a video. How to create the illusion of fire. I mentioned in that video that having the illusion of Pyrokinesis is very impressive, especially when meeting with a potential pack for the first time.” 

“Again, draw upon the shape of illusion, the six-pointed star.” Stiles held out his hand, a convincing ball of fire glittering in his palm, blue in the centre to mimic heat. “It helps me to think of myself as a projector.” He gestured behind himself. “Like the one up the front here with the powerpoint slides.” 

“But what about the smell, or lack of? And your fire is silent?” Derek hadn’t realised he’d spoken until he looked up and saw the way everyone eyed him. It reminded him of the wizard from the keynote speech yesterday.  

Stiles laughed quietly. “Well the point isn’t to create fire, and it isn’t to necessarily convince anyone of genuine pyrotechnics. It’s a basic display of power, like teleportation. Aside from mages who specialise to the point of only being able to teleport, the farthest a magic user is able to translocate is about a hundred metres. It’s not far enough to save on transportation, or time. But if you pop out of thin air, it looks cool!”  

Derek nodded in agreement. “My apologies, continue.” 

Stiles smiled quickly to show that he had no ill-feelings about the interruption. “The next one is something I call Full Invisibility.” 

“Traditional invisibility affects the way that light bends around yourself. It was taught to me by a druid. So, it might be familiar to some of you. Moonset, mother, eyes.” 

The trio of words was gibberish to Derek, but they obviously meant something to some people in the audience, and Stiles blinked out of view. Derek could still tell he was there though, Stiles’ heartbeat didn’t even flicker, and his breathing indicated that he hadn’t moved at all from his spot on the stage.  

“Derek, do you know I’m here?” Stiles asked. 
“I do now?” Derek said uncertainly, garnering a laugh from the audience.  

“Even if I hadn’t spoken, would you still have known that I was here?” 
“Of course, I can hear your vitals, smell you, feel your heat.” 
“I hope the stink isn’t too bad.” Stiles said as he flickered back into view. More laughter.  
“No.” Derek wasn’t a showman, wasn’t used to playing up interactions for a large audience and he knew that his rather flat response left a lot to be desired. “You smell…nice?” 
Derek discomfort was apparently a trigger for more laughing. The Alpha didn’t get it.  

“Very sweet of you Alpha.” Derek flushed slightly in response. “This is a cloak that prevents all signs of life from reaching senses even as keen as my assistant’s here.” 

Derek tuned out a bit as Stiles explained the process that led to his creation of the Full Invisibility spell. Unfortunately, his lapse in attention meant that he started in surprise when Stiles melted fully out of existence.  

The tittering of the audience was starting to grate on Derek’s nerves. Stiles flashed back into view, his heart sounding like it was starting again, and taking a breath. Derek sagged imperceptibly in relief.  

“Derek, could you tell that I was there?” 
“Not that time.” Derek stated.  

“There we go, ladies and gentlemen! A spell to hide yourself from even a creature as wickedly sharp as an Alpha werewolf in his prime.” 

“Thank you, Derek, you can take a seat now, the rest of the demonstration is only in regard to general and combatant spells, not werewolf specific. Everyone give my gorgeous assistant a hand!” 

The audience clapped obligingly and a few people wolf whistled, including Erica. By the time Derek reached his seat next to Peter in the front row, his ears were scarlet and tingled with the heat of his blush.  

Surprisingly, the next spell Stiles performed was chloromancy, like Derek had thought earlier.  

Stiles went through the motions of demonstrating how to summon vines as temporary handcuffs, “For combat or for fun!”  

Then a woman in the back of the room called out. “Hey, what’s this even for? No one wants to know about your weird pervert stuff, teach us how to kill someone or something useful!” 

Stiles pauses for a single moment, regards the area of the audience from where the voice came with a cool expression before continuing to speak.  
“Anyways, so most chloromancy is quite advanced magic but this is more basic provided you have the necessary power. This is the part that sucks, because you’re born with the amount of power you will always have. This will occasionally limit the kinds of magic you’re capable of. Necromancers need to be born with higher abilities than a magic user who specialises in Seering. But anyone who is capable of performing basic elemental magic will be able to do this.” 

“Hey, Failinski!” The same smokey voice calls out. “We came here to learn the best from the douchebag who is supposed to be the best!” 

Derek felt his shoulder’s tense in a pale human mimicry of a wolf raising its hackles.  

“I am the best.” Stiles said quietly. Quietly enough that Derek doubted that any human in the room managed to hear it. “I’m sorry you’re feeling let down, but I am only allowed to show spells that won’t hurt anyone and I only have a two-hour block. If I was tutoring someone one-on-one with weeks of time, we may be able to learn something more complex, the main point of this presentation is to encourage magic users to test the boundaries of their power, to be more inventive.” 

“That’s bullshit.” 

“Why don’t you come and talk to me later, we can discuss why you think this is such a waste of time.” 

Derek hears motion as the heckler stands up and starts to walk up the centre aisle.  

“Before you, the last five magicians who ‘invented’ their own spells died horrifically.” 

“Are you trying to say that all my spells are tricks, just illusions?” 

“And your little pet werewolf is lying!” A tall woman with grey skin came into view as she clambered indelicately onto the stage. “Oh, I can’t smell you. What a little brat. And obviously, you staged the first magic trick so Mr Hale could just show off. Emissary-less freak.” 

“Hey! That’s not necessary, or allowed.” Stiles said to the woman, hands pressing outwards as the vines Stiles had been mentioning earlier bound the woman’s ankles and prevented her from getting any closer to Stiles. Right on cue, security burst into the room.  

“Please escort the lovely Dryad-Mage halfling out of the convention, she’s been disruptive and rude.” Derek was still a little shocked at seeing Stiles immobilise the grey lady, but he was also impressed that the Spark’s earth magic was more powerful than that of a dryad, even a half dryad. 

“Let’s take a break.” Stiles announced.

Chapter Text

Stiles seemed more than a little rattled as he came down from the stage, taking a few large strides before burying himself in Derek's arms and hugging him tightly. Derek froze for a fraction of a second, then moved to hold Stiles securely, to bring the teen any comfort that he could.

"I'm sorry," Stiles murmured against Derek's neckline. The throatiness of his voice made it evident that he was on the verge of tears.

"Hey, hey, you didn't do anything wrong." Derek moved his hands up and down Stiles' back in long strokes.

"I'm sorry I dragged you in here and, and I'm sorry I can't handle myself." Stiles seemed so fragile as he looked up from where he was still nestled in Derek's old t-shirt.

"Hey, hey, you don't need to be able to do things all alone. You have me, and one day, your future pack."

Stiles brightened considerably. He looked around the other wolves. "Nice to meet you, you know, again but properly this time? Can I buy you guys some morning tea before the tutorial portion of the workshop?"

Though the leap from tears, to Stiles' future pack, to a meet and greet with Derek's pack caught the Hale Alpha off guard, there wasn't anything wrong exactly, there did feel like there was a gap in the conversation.

 

As they turned to leave the half empty hall, two twin wolves ran in the door, looking around in something bordering on panic, calming once they saw Stiles. They took several long steps to fall in line with the group.

Addressing Derek rather than Stiles surprised the Alpha.

"Alpha Hale, we are..."

"...so glad we caught you!" 

Derek cringed away from the two weres. He hoped they didn't make a habit of speaking like that, it was sort of creepy. He didn't know if it was because of his body language, but the next time the two boys spoke, they couldn't be older than eighteen, they spoke separately.

"We really want to apply to your pack!"

Derek tried to repress the deep sigh. He got so many requests from betas to join his pack, even halfway across the state, he wasn't safe.

"I know you must get heaps of these requests so we just wanted to stand out by giving you our application in person."

"I do." Derek confirmed, he could feel his pack's eyes on him.

"I'm Ethan, and this is my brother Aiden. We'll leave you alone now, but it's an honour to meet you, even if you don't choose us."

Derek smiled at them and took the offered envelope.

 

"They seem nice." Stiles said absently as they made their way to the coffee shop within the hotel. "Do you think you'll approve their application to join you?"

Derek felt suddenly like he was being tested. "It's not my decision. Well, not my decision alone, we will all look over the letter they've written and decide unanimously. And we wouldn't just accept them, we'd let them stay at the pack house for a test period before deciding."

"And hey," Isaac points out. "No one has even made it that far yet. We get so many letters and emails we don't have time to go through all of it."

Stiles nodded, seemingly satisfied by the answer. As everyone sat down, Stiles took out his phone. "So what can I get you guys?"

"Oh, Stiles, there is no need..." Derek began, but was cut off.

"Der-bear, you bought drinks last time, so it's my turn."

The four betas were eyeing the Spark with something akin to disbelieving astonishment.

"What?" Stiles took a moment to think back over what he had said before freezing. "Oh fuck."

"Der-bear?" Peter said, incredulous. "That's hilarious!"

"I'm sorry, it just, like, slipped out." Stiles said, stricken.

"Hey Stiles, it's okay, I think you're just a bit on edge after what happened." Derek stood, to wrap an arm around Stiles' waist. "Just take a few deep breaths and relax."

"You're right, you're right." Stiles agreed, trying to level out his breathing.

 

"Great!" Erica calls out from across the small table. "I'll get a skinny flat white. Boyd drinks decaf drip filter." Boyd seemed happy enough for Erica to speak on his behalf, so Derek didn't bother telling Erica off.

"Can I get hot chocolate?" Isaac asked quietly, almost afraid of being mocked.

"You're adorable." Peter commented. "I'll get a macchiato."

Stiles turns to Derek with an expectant expression. "What'll it be Der." Stiles pauses. "-ek."

Derek badly hides his snort. "An iced mocha please."

Stiles looks up at the Alpha in surprise. "I thought you were a black coffee man."

"Well after buying your two-syrup monstrosity, I better get my money's worth." Stiles laughs. "I'm joking, sometimes I need a little chocolate."

"Need a little sweetness in your life, Alpha?" Stiles seemed coy.

"Sure, Stiles, sure."

 

"That was ridiculous! You are the worst at flirting I've ever seen in my whole life!" Erica laughs, seeming far too amused for Derek's taste.

"I wasn't flirting, Erica just shut up before someone hears you!" Derek hisses.

Even at that point, Derek whipped his head around to see if anyone was watching, if Stiles had heard.

"His flirting was just as bad, don't worry."

"He wasn't flirting, Erica, ohmygod!" Derek spat with venom. "He already has an Alpha if you'd forgotten."

"There is no need to talk to me like that! Especially since Ennis..."

Boyd put a massive hand on Erica's shoulder. "Let it go, Erica, this isn't something to get involved in."

Erica makes a face. "Why is everyone in this pack so fucking male." Her forehead hit the table with a clunk as she groaned.

Isaac looked over at the envelope Derek had put on the table and forgotten.

"Let's see what they wrote!"

"Maybe later. It's rude to discuss this in public."

"Werewolves have such weird rules about propriety, nudity is fine but talking about beta applicants in public is not." Erica points out as Stiles reappeared with everyone's drinks.

"Humans are the weird ones." He argues. "Their binary view of everything changes large scale perception of actions." That got him nothing but a blank look.

"The view of us versus them is so deeply ingrained in people that even someone who considers themselves the most socially just of them all still has prejudices based on the way a person looks."

"I disagree." Erica said solidly. "I judge people based on the way they act, like you look like a high schooler but you're the most powerful magic guy alive."

"You see a homeless man." Stiles starts. "He's filthy to the point that you can't tell what colour his shirt is supposed to be. You can smell blood and month-old sweat on him. He's walking around and muttering to himself. What conclusions do you draw?"

"He's crazy. If I was human I'd probably cross the street to get away from him. But that's not because of how he looks. That's because he's muttering to himself."

Stiles suddenly look immensely smug. "And if the person muttering to themselves was a pretty girl with a long flowy dress and a hippy flower crown? You’d think she was a free spirited type.”

Peter scoffed but it was obviously on Stiles’ behalf, even Erica, infamous for her pride, was looking impressed more than insulted.

 

“So, you guys have a pretty small pack. I met the Ito pack recently, they don’t live too far from you and they populate an entire town by themselves. It’s a pretty small town but still. And they only accept werewolves. The only non-wolf is their druid.” Stiles said, switching gears rather suddenly.

“It’s a personal choice to each Alpha and to each beta who asks to join their pack. I have only accepted Boyd so far, but one day I would like a big pack. But a big pack full of people who I care about and who care about each other.”

“You only accepted Boyd? What about the other three?”

“Well, I inherited Peter from his wife.”

“That sounds weird no matter how many times you say it.” Isaac muttered under his breath.

“Isaac was given to me by my mother who was having some difficulty connecting with him. And Erica applied through the government for the bite. They recommended her to me based on proximity. Boyd was part of the package deal.”

“So, do you only like werewolves. I mean for your pack?” Stiles asked, sounding suddenly like he was up to something.

“Not at all.” Derek said. “There are a lot of werewolves and we’re the most pack minded but kitsunes and humans play an important role in pack hierarchy.” Derek replies, choosing his words carefully.

“That’s great! I have a friend. Danny. He is actually my best friend, he’s human. He’s an MIT graduate but he’s really friendly and looking for a place to live. It’s rough for him, trying to find a spot to settle down.”

“You think he should be in our pack?” Derek said slowly, hating Danny already. Even if Stiles wasn’t trying to fill the Stiles-shaped hole in Derek’s life, Danny was a smart guy. Derek only had a basic college degree, guys like that didn’t like Derek.

“Yeah! He has some loose pack associations with my old Alpha friend. But he deserves better. I do understand you can’t just sign him up because I say so, but maybe you could make sure you read his application? You get so many you probably can’t find the time to read all of them. But if you could read Danny Māhealani’s application, that would mean a lot to me.”

“Sure, we will make sure we go over it.” Derek promised, Stiles almost swept both of their drinks off the table as he dove towards Derek for a massive hug.

“Thank you, thank you!”

Erica grunted, “Were you always this grabby, Stilinski?”

“Only with jacked Alphas.” Stiles said, smiling into Derek’s neck.

Alphas like Ennis. Derek was reminded painfully.

 Derek stiffened and Stiles, feeling the tension from where his entire torso and face was pressed against the wolf, pulled away.

Derek was toned and strong, but Ennis was a mountain of an Alpha.

“Well, we have to get back for the tutorial part of the presentation, mostly just the vine cuffs, because there aren’t enough wolves for everyone. And I’m not going to be lending out Derek like a library book.” Stiles looked down at the table top. “There were going to be another few spells I was going to teach; long distance mirror communication, like a magic Skype call. And…and a trick that works like luminol in crime scenes.”

“Well, why didn’t you?” Isaac asked. “The dryad lady was escorted out.”

“My magic can act up when I’m upset. Being yelled at in public isn’t a fun experience and it triggered flashbacks to high school.”

Erica shot Stiles a look that spoke of camaraderie, of understanding.

“You wouldn’t get it, Derek, you’re the big, jock type.”

“I don’t know whether to be insulted or flattered by that, but I only attended two years of high school, I was home schooled for most of my life.”

Stiles held up a finger. “Wait, which years?”

“Seven and eight. It was an awkward time.”

“You? Awkward?” Stiles seemed incredulous at the thought.

“Seems impossible now, I know.” Peter said, eyes glittering with laughter. “But the muscles and artful scruff are new.”

Derek glared at his uncle for embarrassing him on purpose while Stiles giggled.

They all stood up and moved to make their way back to the hall, Stiles walking a little way ahead and chattering about how his science and Spark culture degrees had led him to experimenting with his own material, first by modifying potions and leading up to the creation of several high-order spells.

“And then, I figured out how to strip the abilities!”

“Woah, wait. You can strip someone’s werewolf from them?” Peter showing this level of interest in someone who wasn’t him was extraordinarily novel.

“Repress and only with betas. And don’t say that so loud or someone will murder me on principle. Plus, it’s not permanent.” Stiles whispered in a harsh tone.

“Damn, you really turned out to be a badass.” Boyd said, speaking for the first time in a while.

“Well you don’t get to be crowned as the most powerful because you write long essays about dicks in economics class.”

Boyd laughed. “Oh man, I almost forgot about that!”

They parted ways, Stiles rushing back in to make the second half of his own tutorial. The pack set off to find a place outside where they could go for a run.

“Derek, tell me what’s going on. Right now.” Erica said shortly as they rounded a corner.

“I don’t know what you mean.” Derek replied, shouldering past Erica with a grimace.

“You and Stiles were five minutes away from making out over the coffee table.”

“No. Erica. We weren’t.”

“Ugh, boys. Stiles doesn’t act like that with just anyone.”

“Erica!” Derek snapped. “He acts like that with jacked Alphas. Like, for example, his actual Alpha? Ennis.”

And in quite possibly the worst possible timing, Ennis sauntered over.

“That’s right, Smurfette.” He said, addressing Erica derisively. “I don’t know why you’re trying to get your Alpha’s hopes up. If you want to be in a pack with the twinky Spark, then all you need to do is renounce this boy, and accept a real man.”

The pack took several steps as they moved closer together, becoming a unit.

“Ennis, we aren’t trying to persuade Stiles to ditch you and run off to Northern California with us, my betas are old friends with him and they like spending time with Stiles. I’m barely involved in the conversation.” Derek said smoothly.

“If I find out you’re lying to me, little boy, we’re going to have words.”

“He’s not lying, so fuck off, speak to Stiles yourself if you don’t want him talking to anyone, but we’re not going to avoid an old friend on your say-so.” Peter says firmly, tilting his chin up slightly in complete defiance.

Ennis took a step backwards, spinning smoothly in a one-eighty before stalking off across the grounds.

“Oh, that’s not right.” Erica said to Boyd, grimacing. Something was up.

“Let’s just go for a run.”

As his pack shifted into their beta form, Derek stayed human, it was easier to run in his half-shift, but he wanted to feel the burn of his own muscles ripping as he pushed his body to the max.

Stiles was off limits. Peter might be posturing about them being allowed to talk to him whenever they want, and Erica, Isaac and Boyd might be old pals with him. But for Derek, Stiles was off limits.

If Derek let Stiles visit their house every three weeks, let him embed his scent into the pack couch and hug Derek whenever Derek let him get away with doing whatever he wanted. Which would be always, Derek couldn’t possibly ever look Stiles in the face and say ‘No’. If Derek let that happen, he would be totally unable to ever commit to another magic user, another wolf. He wouldn’t be able to get an emissary or a mate. And if he was alone, maybe Derek would let himself live it up in the short term, ignore the scent of Ennis over Stiles after the two bonded. But Derek had a responsibility, a loyalty to his pack. He couldn’t let them suffer in an emissary-less pack.

By the time the pack tired themselves out, Derek had reached a solid conclusion. He was going to protect his pack, by protecting himself. He had to blank Stiles, no more hugs or anything. And then when he left back to Beacon Hills, Stiles wouldn’t visit them in the house, would think that Derek didn’t approve of him.

It was the only way. Aside from challenging Ennis to a duel or something. But if Stiles chose Ennis, Derek wasn’t going to try and take that choice away from him.

Chapter Text

The only other presentation they could have gone to after skipping the second half of Stiles’ tutorial was a speech on the human theories about the Loch Ness monster. So, they went to see some action film and go eat dinner early.  

Dinner was more relaxed than Derek thought. Everyone had exhausted themselves and spent all day with each other. No one had anything to say because nothing had happened that no one else knew about. They’d left the paranormal hotel for the first time since their check-in and gone to a human restaurant nearby. Derek had tried to look up ‘cleanest restaurants in Los Angeles’ but all the results were for vegan and paleo specialty restaurants. So, the whole pack had just set off walking and stopped at the first place they could all agree on. It was a small pizzeria with a real woodfire oven and a strong smell of lemon detergent.  

They’d ordered a massive pizza and sat eating in total silence.  

“I’m sorry, Derek.” Boyd said quietly, staring down at his plate resolutely. 

“Boyd, babe, what’s wrong?” Erica said quietly, putting a manicured hand on his forearm.  

“I saw you watching Stiles’ Nemeton video and I assumed you wanted to come and meet him and learn about magic and stuff. I didn’t know you…” The quiet man paused. “I didn’t know that you and Stiles…And I’m sorry, I should have seen it. And, even though it isn’t my fault or anything, I’m sorry about Ennis.” 

Derek pulled a wry grin. “Boyd it’s alright, and it’s okay because I appreciate that you all put in so much effort to do something nice for me.” 

“Of course, we would!” Erica smiled. “You’ve done so much for us. I was approved for the bite a month after my application. But for years I was shuffled around packs who pulled favours to avoid having to bite me and have ‘damaged goods’ join their pack.” 

“I thought we were put together based on proximity? And that it took you a year to be approved?” Derek said, confused.  

“Well, before I even tried to deal with the red tape associated with a government-approved bite, I asked your mother and she turned me down. An illness like that was a sign of weakness, she said, and that her whole pack was blood relatives.” 

Derek leaned away from Erica, he couldn’t believe his mother said that, that Talia thought that. 

“And so, then I applied for a bite for medical reasons, but most Alphas shared her opinion.” She shot Derek a small smile. “Until you.” 

Derek reached across the table to take her hand and give it an encouraging squeeze. “I bet they’re all sorry now, huh.” 

Isaac furrowed his brows. “Wait, why are you apologising, Boyd? You didn’t do anything wrong.” 

Peter made a loud sound of frustration. “Is everyone in this pack an idiot, no offence.” He said, with a tone that indicated he wanted to offend as much as possible.  

"Derek is ass up, tits down in love but de Nile ain’t just in Egypt, girl.” Peter snapped sassily, still addressing Isaac. “And you all thought Derek was quarantining himself to his room to learn about magic spells?” 

Derek looked up at his Uncle. “You knew? How? I didn’t even know!” 

“I’m your Uncle, Derek, you’ve always acted like you’ve got something to hide when you’re in love. Also, when you first discovered your left hand but I don’t like to think about that time in my life.” 

The information seemed to dawn on Isaac in that moment. “You like Stiles?” he froze. “But Ennis.” Another pause. “Dammit.” 

Peter looked at the blonde wolf. “You’re lucky you’re pretty.” 

"So, Ethan and Aiden?" Peter asks after another pause, opening the letter and taking out the contents. 

"Is this really appropriate?" Derek hissed. 

Peter just shrugged. "There's no one here magical to judge us." 

Erica picked up the pages with interest. "They seem to have decided to share a single beta application form." 

She held it out and Derek saw with some amusement that two names, Ethan and Aiden were crammed into the slot meant for a single first name, the rest of the answers apparently unanimous.  

Peter glanced at the official paper with amusement. "It's certainly a novel idea, there were probably a few instances of only one twin being offered a pack position." Behind the form was several handwritten pages, apparently torn out of a notebook. "Oh look, they've written us a letter." Peter discarded it almost immediately.  

"Why don't you read it?" Isaac said, picking up the sheets.  

"It's addressed to Derek." Peter said absently, looking over the form. "Oh, this is of note, they're both born wolves, and former co-Alphas. Whatever that means; a pack isn't a baseball team." Born wolves without a pack were certainly rare, Derek had never encountered or even heard of one before. In times of war, packs expanded through the bite, wolves were only born during times of peace, and times of peace weren't conducive to the death of an entire pack.  

"God, this letter." Erica said, reading through the pages quickly. "They've been fans of your mother's prowess since they were 'young pups' but after their pack was killed in a freak accident, they couldn't bear to join a new one without feeling like traitors." 

Peter interrupted, "Says here they left the Deucalion pack due to 'irreconcilable differences'." That seemed reasonable, Deucalion was extreme, running his pack like an army boot camp. It seemed glorious from the outside but it wasn't for everyone.  

"But listen, you are the Alpha they never knew they needed. Suck ups." Erica paused for thought. "I vote yes, they seem sort of desperate." 

If anyone understood desperate, it was Erica.  

Isaac nodded and so did Boyd. As one, the pack turned to Peter, the one who vetoed applicants more often than anyone else.  

"I vote yes." Peter said simply. Derek wondered briefly what it was specifically that tipped the twin's application in Peter's favour. 

"Looks like we just got two more pack members." Derek said in delight. "Peter if you could talk to them before the end of the conference and they can come back with us for their two-week probationary period." 

The whole pack eyed their Alpha dubiously, Derek kept saying that there was a probationary period but had accepted Erica only minutes after hearing her sob story about her pervasive epilepsy, and Boyd was on probation for half a day before Derek realised how in love Erica and Boyd were, and turned him immediately so they could be together. Aiden and Ethan would be fully fledged betas within the first few days. 

 

They walked back to the hotel in dejected silence. 

The whole night, Derek was restless. He would sleep for half an hour and wake up filled with adrenalin, panicked that he was going to be late for his speech.  

Derek read over his palm cards twenty times, retyped it onto his laptop and reworded it. Then he had to find the business centre of the hotel to go and print his new speech. It was three am, Derek hadn’t showered and was still in the clothes Peter had forced him into yesterday. 

So of course, at his most vulnerable, Derek ran into Stiles. 

“Der-bear!” Stiles said joyfully. “What are you doing up at this time of night?” 

“You called me Der-bear again.” Derek said, wrong footed at the overwhelming happiness flooding Stiles’ scent.  

“I thought it would be okay, your pack isn’t here to mock you. And it’s cute.” 

“I would prefer it if you just called me Derek.” Trying to keep Stiles at arm’s length would be easier if Stiles called him Alpha Hale but he couldn’t uninvite Stiles from calling him Derek.  

“Oh.” Stiles said softly, smile faltering. “Well, I’m still glad to see you. I was looking for you after my presentation, I thought we could have dinner together? But you weren’t in the hotel.” 

“Yeah, my pack and I went out and had an early dinner.” Derek spoke flatly, trying not to invite any more conversation. 

“That’s cool, cool, but maybe I could join you for breakfast? And I can sit with your pack while you present after lunch. Full-moon Auditorium A, isn’t it?”  

“Yeah, whatever, listen, I’ve just made some last-minute changes and so I’ve got to go find the business centre and print out my new speech.” 

“Great! I’ll show you where it is and keep you company.” 

“Oh, that’s not necessary, I can find it alone.” 

Stiles looked shocked for a moment before beaming. “Aw man, you’re so grumpy in the morning, that’s adorable!” 

Derek had no response for that, and obediently followed Stiles down an unfamiliar corridor towards the sound of printers whirring.  

Derek plugged in his USB and opened up the file he needed to print. 

“I almost want to ask what you’re going to talk about but I also want to experience for the first time everyone else. Oh, oh, give me a hint!” 

“How do you have so much energy? It’s three am.” Derek snarked, not feeling nearly as jovial. 

“It’s a Spark thing, my power flares up sometimes and it’s like drinking 50 of those five-hour energy drinks. But don’t think you can try and change the subject.” 

“It’s a story about a woman I was almost bonded to a month ago.” 

Stiles’ eyes narrowed. “Wow, a failed bonding.” He said with zero inflection in his tone. “You and I have different definitions of trauma.” 

Derek did something he’d never done, ripped out his USB before ejecting. Then he grabbed his speech and moved to leave.  

Under normal circumstances, Derek might not be so upset over a small misunderstanding, but it would be easier to push Stiles away if he could fill his own heart with fury instead of unbridled affection.  

“Goodbye, Stiles.” 

“Wait, Derek!” Stiles called, but Derek wasn’t in the mood to hear Stiles say Derek wasn’t traumatised while pretending not to want Stiles to just ditch that fucker Ennis and fall in love with Derek. It was just too early.  

Derek broke into a full sprint, racing to the lift to get in, chose the floor he was staying on and jammed his finger on the ‘close door’ button until the lift was moving and he was sure that he wouldn’t have to talk to Stiles again until morning.  

Derek didn’t sleep the rest of the night and woke up feeling wired with anxiety. 

Rapid-fire knocking hit the door between his room and Erica and Boyd’s.  

“Derek, get your perky ass out of bed! We got to go and get breakfast before the omelette bar closes!” 

“Ugh, fine!” Derek called out. He almost fell out of bed as he rolled over, his cotton sheets binding his legs together and pushing him off balance.  

At his very manly squeak, Erica opened the connective door to check on him, laughing at his baffled, ruffled appearance. “Derek, what the hell happened to you?” 

“I ran into Stiles.” Derek decided not to mention the fact that Stiles had belittled Derek, or that Stiles had called him adorable for being grumpy. Erica would rush to Derek’s defence, most likely a rather physical defence, old friends or not. 

“God, Derek.” Erica clambered onto the bed, smelling so strongly of Boyd that the man himself may have been there too.  

“How did you know you loved Boyd?” Derek asked Erica. 

“Oh, Derek. Honey.” Erica said, face full of pity. “Oh, you didn’t.” 

“No, I don’t.” Derek ceded. 

“No, and I know you don’t because maybe you’ve been following Stiles’ career but you only met him two days ago.” 

“What if I don’t know what love even feels like? I had a girlfriend when I was young but she died after a rogue attacked her. And then I would have sworn under oath that I loved…you know who.” 

“Voldemort.” Erica said seriously, pulling off the deadpan so well that Derek spluttered until she cracked a grin.  

“Derek, I don’t know what to tell you, I guess I fell in love with the person I was whenever Boyd was there.” 

“That’s nice.” Derek said, clambering out of bed and changing into some jeans and a standard grey Henley. “Stiles said he wanted to join us for breakfast, but I really don’t want to see him. Make sure we get a table with only five seats.” 

“I’ll make sure of it, but we should go down all together so that there aren’t any empty seats.” 

Derek nodded in agreement, eyes crinkling in the corners as he smiled gratefully.  

 

Derek ordered a massive omelette and was halfway through when he heard Stiles’ distinctive heartbeat approach from behind. Boyd was sitting directly opposite him and glared at Stiles with such ferocity that Derek could hardly believe that it was his mildest-mannered beta making that face.  

Derek couldn’t expect his whole pack to ignore Stiles forever because Derek’s feelings got an ouchie. But he would need a few days to recuperate, so the next time he saw Stiles, his pain from rejection wasn’t as fresh, especially with the flirting Stiles wouldn’t let up on. 

Stiles froze, Derek could hear his footsteps stop, his heartbeat not getting louder like it would have if Stiles kept coming closer.  

For half a minute, Boyd and Stiles were locked in a standoff. Derek resolutely refusing to look behind him at the Spark he knew was standing there. 

After a few moments more, Stilinski broke, turning around slowly and walking away, footsteps heavy and Boyd returned to his breakfast. Stiles probably assumed that Derek had told everyone about the fight-slash-extremely-minor-disagreement. Derek probably seemed like a real tool at the moment, hopefully, Ennis would make sure Stiles wasn’t too upset at being blanked by what seemed to be the only people Stiles knew at the conference.  

After breakfast, Derek went to the gym. It was either go to the gym or get trashed on wolfsbane-infused vodka. And Derek still had to give his speech later. At least agonising over Stiles had distracted him from his impending doom via self-imposed public humiliation. Derek could see the coroner’s report now.  

Derek loaded up the bench press with 80% of his capacity and started his workout. After sixty reps, Derek was about to move on when Ennis came in and beelined straight for where Derek was disassembling his weights.  

“Are you stalking me or something, Ennis?” 

“I just came to say that I’m excited to attend your speech later. I wonder what is scary enough to frighten the Prince.” Ennis said, suspicious for how genuinely kind he sounded. Then his words registered. Stiles must have told his Alpha about Derek’s one offhand comment that his royalty status wasn’t so much of a metaphor.  

“Well, you’ll have to wait and see with everyone else.” 

“I guess I will, are you done with that?” Ennis said, pointing at the weight bench. Derek just nodded and mentally modified his workout to be on the other side of the room from Ennis, he didn’t want to have to be fending off any more attempts at conversation.  

After working out for four hours, Derek went to shower and change before the start of his speech. 

Chapter Text

As he filed in and found where his pack was sitting a few rows from the front, a tall human in an old, but well-maintained business suit, was welcoming everyone.  

“We’re going to start soon, so if everyone could come in, and find a seat. Today we at MoonCon are proud to announce that we’re presenting the first conference of its kind, Trauma at the Top. We have three Alpha’s to speak for you today, we did say four on our flyers but there was an inevitable cancellation.” The man took a seat at the edge of the stage.

Derek watched in awe as a slim, middle aged beta kitsune took the stage first. The entire left side of her face was scar tissue. Morbidly, Derek wondered what she looked like in her shift form.

"I know what you're all thinking, I'm not an Alpha. But I was when I was attacked. The depression that followed meant that I was such a detriment to my own pack that I gave up my Alpha abilities to my mate who is still the Alpha of our pack today." She gestured to a black woman whose eyes were a little red, obviously struggling with seeing her mate discuss her injuries. 

"This generation's Argents are some of the most prolific supernatural law enforcement agents. They have unique knowledge of the way that almost every paranormal beast hunts and how to stop them if they go out of control. But Chris Argent's father was a horrible, speciest asshole who delighted in the mass torture and murder of paranormal beings. He caught me while I was in my fox form, it's fairly distinct since I was about three times the size of a normal red fox and had ten tails. He was testing how long it took before Alpha healing gave out. The answer, if anyone was curious is almost immediately if you inject a blend of mountain ash and wolfsbane into the Alpha's heart."

Derek took out his palm cards and checked to see that they were all in proper order for when he spoke. 

"I was only there for a day before my pack came to rescue me. But it took me over a year to recover mentally. I was the only permanently injured Alpha I'd ever even heard of and of course, I was an Alpha, I didn't even consider therapy until I reached a critical point, gave up my Alpha and got the help I needed."

Derek sat in stunned silence as the beta woman, who hadn't bother introducing herself, talked about how angry she was after therapy that it had taken so long to get to therapy. Her end was rather abrupt, so it took a few seconds before soft applause started. 

"Thank you," the moderator said evenly after the woman sat down. "We've had a last-minute cancellation, so for our second and final speech, I'd like to invite our next speaker to the stage, everyone, give him a warm welcome."

Derek stood up slowly, knees shaking. As he ascended the stairs he heard the door to the auditorium fumble open and the staccato rhythm of Stiles' heartbeat enter.

"Good morning everyone, my name is Derek Hale." Derek felt ten years old again, trying to master the shift in front of his entire pack. Derek realised that his shoulders were curved in on himself and forced himself to stand up straight.

Derek forced himself to make eye contact with the audience, but avidly avoided Stiles' imploring gaze in his peripheral vision. 

"A month ago, I was a new Alpha then, with just two betas when I met a woman. She told me she was a Druid. I thought it was love at first sight, I felt relaxed, dreamy almost whenever I saw her, my other responsibilities melting away the more time I spent with her. In hindsight, the fact that I was ignoring my Uncle, and ward should have been the first sign that I was being hypnotised.

The audience gasped as if on cue. 

"Jennifer wasn't lying about being a Druid, she had been one, before a horrible act of betrayal by her Alpha..." Derek looked at the crowd and he could tell they knew how that sentence was going to end. "Turned her into a Darach. All her power came from the life force of human sacrifice."

Derek took out his palm cards and quickly discarded the cards that he'd already gone over. The audience were chattering quietly in disbelief, but Derek could still feel  Stiles' eyes on him, frozen, standing still in the doorway of the auditorium. 

"Since I became an Alpha, I worked in assisting the Sheriff within my territory with dealing with supernatural threats, my own pack was small, but every human being on my land." Derek paused awkwardly. "I don't actually own the whole town, but you know how wolves are with territory." Derek shrugged. "Every human being in Beacon Hills was and still is, under my protection." Derek's wolf instincts told him that all the town and the surrounding forest belonged to him. 

"I was understandably panicked when the local Sheriff told me that there was a Darach in the area. But under...Jennifer's power," Derek still struggled to call her by her name, struggled for weeks to connect the woman Derek thought he had loved with the dark, twisted Darach that the Sheriff had shot in front of him.

"Under its power, I made no connection between the poor children showing up dead in the woods and the mysterious overly-scented garbage bags that she would make me carry out of the woods and throw away. The Darach told me she was collecting rubbish. It wasn't until I mentioned to my beta, Isaac that my girlfriend picked up massive bags of litter at midnight almost every night of the week, that I realised how odd it sounded after his reaction." Derek took a shaky breath.

"Even when the Darach told me about her first bonded Alpha, and how she had left her for dead, I didn't make the connection. I just comforted her. After several hours of...comforting...I proposed she become my mate and emissary after she told me that she would want to spend the rest of her life with me. I had only known her for a week and a few days at this point so my betas, thankfully, intervened, realising that there was something wrong. Especially as neither of them had met her. No Alpha in their right mind would agree to a bond without seeing how well the magic user interacted with their pack." Derek spoke slowly, knowing it was obvious but feeling the need to be clear. 

"When my pack and the entire Sheriff station confronted me, Jennifer ordered me to kill a lone hound who was a deputy. I don’t know if he’ll ever truly forgive me for following that order. I was in the middle of fighting him when the Sheriff shot me, and then Jennifer. The wolfsbane bullet nicked my artery and I almost bled out, my pack members saved my life."

Derek paused. "This isn't as bad maybe as being tortured. But I had announced to my old pack and several others that I was about to be bonded. So over the next week. I had to retell my story what felt like a hundred times. And the hound almost died due to injuries I inflicted. After my memories came back in full, I realised I had covered up over ten murders of unknown people and I had no idea where I'd put the bodies. I still don't." After her death, most of the Darach's spells were broken but Derek had slept with her dozens of times and some of her memory spells could never be reversed. 

"My pack is small, I only have four betas, but I trust each of them with my life and more importantly, I trust them to do the right thing, even when I can't. Without their unwavering support, I wouldn't be able to tell you this today."

Derek coughed. "Just over a week ago, I met with the parents of a little girl who had gone missing during the time I was hypnotised. She was last seen when she was put to bed by her parents who loved her. I had to-well I guess I didn't have to, but I did look them in the face and told them that I was the reason that they would probably never get answers, that their daughter was killed, and they'd probably never get to bury her, that they would never know if she died peacefully in her sleep or alone and scared in the forest. Annabelle Howell was four years old and she's the only one that the Sheriff has managed to connect to the Darach. And to me."

Derek took a deep breath, trying to stop his hands from shaking so bad. "Part of the reason that trauma is so bad for Alphas is because we can't talk about it or seek help. But also, something that is strong enough to get one over on an Alpha is going to be something out of a nightmare and would be hard for someone who was allowed to talk about trauma, to cope with."

Derek put his basically unused palm cards back into his pocket and did an awfully awkward half-bow to the audience - unable to stop himself - and the audience broke out in thunderous applause. Derek heard several people in the audience start talking about how 'brave' he was. That was ridiculous, and if Derek hadn't already yielded the stage back to the moderator, he would have said that what happened to him wasn't as bad as the kitsune's torture but it was too late.

Derek heard the click of the door as Stiles left. Maybe Stiles disagreed, still thought that Derek's story wasn't real trauma, wasn't bad enough. But that wasn’t Derek’s focus right now.

Derek descended from the stage and was immediately mobbed by his own pack in a huge group hug. 

"That was amazing, Derek!" Isaac gushed, Erica, making a high-pitched squeal of excitement. 

"It's not like most of them don't already know the basics, but I'm glad I did it justice." Derek knew that it would be years until he would fully come to terms with what had happened to him, that most of his missing memories would likely never return. But at least he knew now that what had happened wasn't his fault. Derek had been vulnerable because he wanted so bad to be in love. But Derek would have never willingly done anything she had made him do. Derek would never neglect his pack, never face against the Sheriff and threaten him, and Derek could never hurt a child. 

Similarly, to Stiles' keynote, several people came over afterwards to congratulate Derek on the speech and offer consolation for the memories he'd lost.

Eventually the whole pack managed to escape the auditorium, but unfortunately, ran smack into Ennis. They tried side-stepping the Alpha, but Ennis just fell into step with Derek.

"Wow, you're even more of a child than I thought, you were taken down by a druid.”  

The comparison was rather like John Cena being taken down by Sarah Hyland, when Ennis said it like that.  

“Darach. But sure. Yep.”

“Wow, I can’t believe that Talia Hale’s son is such a weak, pathetic wimp.”

“At least Derek has a loyal pack. Unlike you, are you sure you’re not Omega ?” Isaac said cruelly, his tone undermined by the fact that he angled himself to be slightly more behind Peter after he spoke.  

“You and your piss weak little girlfriend should go run away like your Alpha does.”

They were outside in the hotel gardens now, trying not-so-subtly to avoid Ennis. From the opposite direction, Stiles came up to them, holding a white paper box.

“Hey guys, look…” He began, before seeing Ennis, the one out of place.  “Uh…hello.” Stiles said softly.

“Stiles.” Ennis nods awkwardly, before spinning on his heel. Snarling, “Hale,” before powerwalking away.

“Wow, who the hell is that asshole?” Stiles said tersely, before changing tones to address Derek.  “These are for you.” Stiles said, sounding downtrodden but defensive. He handed Derek a cardboard white box that smelled sweetly of icing and baked goods.

“What?” Derek said, Stiles’ sentence was the very definition of nonsense.  

“These are apology cupcakes. Because I was kind of a dickhead and…” Stiles realised then that the Hale pack was all staring at him gobsmacked.  

“Not what’s in the box, what do you mean who’s that?” Peter said, creeping closer to Stiles like a predator smelling blood.  

“I don’t know who that is?”

“That’s your Alpha.” Derek said, becoming overwhelmed with confusion and frustration.  

“Uh, no.” Stiles looked around, as though he was expecting one of them to yell ‘gotcha!’ “ You are my Alpha.”

“What? No, I’m not!” Derek panicked, eyes widening.

“Well, I guess not yet anyways but someday soon.” Stiles said simply, as though each word he said wasn’t a paradigm shift that was cracking Derek’s life in two. “After I come back with you to Beacon Hills, hang out with you for a month, make sure there aren’t any personality clashes. Like us both being morning showerers. Or wanting to sleep on the same side of the bed.”

“Well,” Peter spoke while Derek was still standing in place, frozen as he processed everything. “Did you know that Ennis, the asshole, is telling everyone that you’ve agreed to enter into a bonding with him in the nearby future.”

What?! ” Stiles spat angrily. “That’s awful! Is that even legal? I’m going to be talking to Chris about this.”

“Because…you think I’m your Alpha. Future Alpha.” Derek corrected, needing to hear Stiles say it explicitly again.

“Yeah, of course.” He took one look at Derek’s shocked expression and his entire face crumpled. “No, no, we are! You’re my Alpha. You can’t reject me now! Danny is already making arrangements to apply and follow me to Beacon Hills even if he can’t join the pack. My Dad was so excited to have me moving back closer to him, and for me to have supernatural back up in emergencies! You told me I could always count on my future pack!” Stiles gestured around at the werewolves standing there, becoming more and more irater.  

“Please, please, Derek!” Stiles seemed on the verge of genuine panic now, borderline anxiety attack evident in his voice, heartbeat and breathing pattern. “What…what did I do? Was it the comment about your trauma? Because that’s what the apology cupcakes are for!” Stiles was talking so fast, Derek couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Stiles stepped right up into Derek’s space, opening the cupcake box. “I paid extra to get them to say Sorry!” There were six cupcakes in the white box, each with a corresponding letter and one with an exclamation point.

Stiles’ breath was going in short, sharp pants now.  

Derek passed his cupcakes to Boyd, putting his hands on Stiles’ shoulders. “Breathe deep, match my breathing patterns.”

Stiles tried to pull away, his scent almost sickly with mortification.  

“No, no, Stiles, I’m not letting you go until you’re breathing. And then we’re going to have a chat.”  

As Stiles’ breathing evened out slowly, Derek looked up at his pack. “I’ll see you guys back in my room later.”

“Derek,” Stiles said, sounding broken and as though he had no idea how he could possibly finish the sentence.  

“Stiles, don’t freak out.” Derek spoke softly, trying to soothe his Spark. “I am not rejecting you, I didn’t know that being your Alpha was even an option to reject.”

“But…how? Is it because of what Ennis said, because I don’t even know that guy, I think I might have been introduced to an Ennis a few years ago. But he isn’t even sort of my Alpha.”

“But since when was I your Alpha?” Derek was still confused.

“Please don’t. I’m sorry, it all sounds so stupid now.” Stiles seemed incapable of meeting Derek’s eyes.  

“Stiles. So, when you said you wouldn’t let me make a decision about an Emissary without sufficient information. You meant, with you?”

“Yeah, I mean my Dad has told me basically your life story, except, obviously, the Jennifer thing. I didn’t know about that. I swear, if I had, I wouldn’t have said what I did, but I don’t know, I shouldn’t have said anything anyways.”

“Hey, Stiles, it’s okay, I’ve got my apology cupcakes and I forgive you. But, when you called me pretty and all of that, you were actually flirting with me. And being grabby and hugging me all the time.”

“Well I thought you were going to be my Alpha, and I know that not all Alphas mate their emissaries but I did actually hope…I tried to do everything right. I called you Alpha Hale the Second until you invited me to call you Derek, you called me Spark Stilinski. I wore a nice suit, no hoodies or nothing.”

Derek moved his hands from Stiles’ shoulders to his neck, each thumb framing Stiles’ elegant jawline.  

“Those suits were for me.” Derek stated, it wasn’t a question. Stiles nodded in response, still looking upset.

“Well, I loved them. You looked good enough to eat.” Derek spoke deeply, trying for the first time to flirt back.

Stiles beamed back at Derek. “Yeah?” It felt like it was the first time they had both been on the same page. “I had to do something to try and get on your level of hotness.”

“And, I tried to show you what I could do at my tutorial thing but it backfired after that woman upset me and you had to look after me, but you didn’t seem angry?”

“Stiles, Stiles, slow down.” Derek opened his mouth to speak but he didn’t know what to say. There had been so many misunderstandings and confusion between them, what Derek said next would define their next course of action. Stiles’ eyes glittered with joy, a sign that his magic was rising to the surface.

I’m not rejecting you . No, Derek already said that, it didn’t seem to register at all.

I have been watching you for a year . Too creepy.

I did consider murdering Ennis . Nope, not that one either.  

Instead of saying anything, because words wouldn’t suffice, Derek leant forward slowly until his lips met Stiles’. It was surprisingly gentle, pressing their closed mouths together. Stiles sighed, his lips sliding open. They drew away after a moment, their eyes meeting. Derek huffed in laughter slightly, half in joy, and half in utter disbelief that he managed to be here, kissing Stiles of all people. They threw themselves at each other again, this time with much more passion, mouths meeting, already half-open. The wet, slick slide of tongues made Derek groan loudly, moving his hands to Stiles’ ribcage, holding him tight enough to be able to feel the dips between each bone.  

Stiles drew away, tucking his face into Derek’s collarbone with a smile. “Don’t do that to me again!”

“Don’t…kiss you again?” Derek said dubiously, feeling as though he must have misunderstood, because Stiles was still practically glued to Derek’s front.  

“No! I mean yes! Yes, you have to kiss me again.” Stiles spluttered. “Don’t scare me like that again. Don’t tell me that you’re not going to be my Alpha. Don’t tell me that I’ve been wasting all that time trying to be the perfect emissary, using the right titles and all that bullshit, as well as wasting all that time hitting on the hottest werewolf in the Northern Hemisphere.”

“Well, it wasn’t a complete waste of time.” Derek said softly. “We did end up here, making out in a park in broad daylight.”

Stiles laughter in response was muffled as he pressed his face against Derek’s Henley. “Damn it, my Dad will hear about this before I’ll get to tell him.”

“What? How?”

“You totally overestimate how much real news there is in the supernatural world. Even the serious journal blogs and papers are barely comparable to the lowest gossip rags. I’ll have to call him in like the next ten minutes or someone else will.”

“Oh,” Derek said, laughter evident in his voice. “My future emissary is a celebrity!”

“Shut up, Derek, or I’ll call my Dad and tell him I’m engaged to a prince.”

“No, no, please don’t do that!”

 

Chapter Text

Amidst the varying threats, joking though they were, Derek and Stiles agreed to go back to his room.

“At least we know I get along with your pack. Except maybe Peter, I haven’t met him properly yet.”

“Peter is self-serving, so it’s great if you have coinciding interests. But apparently, it was his idea to get me tickets to come down here for MoonCon.” Derek let himself think for a moment.

“I’m sure we’ll get on great.” Stiles said softly, as though his mind had moved on and he was thinking about something else already.

“He’s my Uncle and I love him, but he’s a bit…” Derek was attempting fruitlessly to find a way to say ‘wickedly manipulative without being wicked’.

“hey, Derek.” Stiles asked softly, giving Derek the distinct impression that he wasn’t listening to Derek’s fumbled attempts to describe his Uncle. Maybe that was for the best. “Do you think I could still come back with you at the end of the conference? I only ask because my apartment is on a monthly lease, and I know we can be a good match, but because of the whole permanent bonding thing, I know there needs to be a period of time where we test the waters, but wouldn’t it be better to do that in Beacon Hills? I don’t even have to move in straight away.”

“Stiles, we have heaps of spare bedrooms, there’s plenty of room for you. And we’d be honoured to have you.” Derek replied, pressing the lift button so they could head back to his room.

“And Danny? He emailed me a copy of his application so I could give it to you. He’s big on technology and snail mail gives him heart palpitations.” That must have been why Stiles was in the business centre so late the night before.

“Sure, Stiles, I already promised we’d read over his application really thoroughly.”

They exited the lift and Derek barely raised his room key to unlock the door, before it was swung open to reveal an overexcited Erica, practically vibrating with the intensity of her curiosity.

“What happened? Is Stiles our emissary yet? Did it all work out?”

Stiles laughed and purposefully reached out to interlock his fingers with Derek’s. “I mean, assuming the probationary period goes great…”

“Don’t worry about that!” Isaac called out, from where he was perched on Derek’s bed. “The longest amount of time Derek’s been able to hold someone at arm’s length is a record breaking four hours with Boyd.”

“Erica was on probation for two minutes. The second she started crying, Derek snapped like a twig.” Peter added unhelpfully.

“Shut it, man,” Erica said. “I was just so happy he agreed to even give me a chance.”

“Aww, Der-bear, are you a big softie?” Stiles asked gleefully.

“Yes.” Boyd answered before Derek could.

“I spoke to Ethan and Aiden on our way back.” Peter mentioned, “They were so excited, they wanted me to tell you how thankful they are.”

“Those twins who spoke in unison?” Stiles asked. “That was sort of ominous.”

“They wrote Derek a personal letter with their sob story. So, he said yes.”

“Stop telling Stiles how much of a pushover I am.” Derek retorted, not bothering to deny it.

“He’d figure it out eventually.”

“Stiles should come have a late lunch with us, you don’t have plans, do you?” Isaac asked. “It’s like four o’ clock and I haven’t eaten in hours.”

“Werewolves.” Stiles sighed affectionately, but tightened his grip on Derek’s hand. “Pigs, the lot of you.”

Derek started in surprise as rapid fists beat the door. He was so wrapped up in the delicious feeling of being adored by Stiles that he’d missed the sound of two wolves approaching the hotel room.

“Invite the twins to lunch, Derek.” Stiles instructed as Boyd got up to go answer the door. Derek had assumed it was those two by the timing of the visit and he could hear that there were two people of similar build. But, “How did you know it was Ethan and Aiden.”

“They have a weird magic residue, almost like someone who used to be an Alpha, but bigger. I can feel it.”

Derek wasn’t sure what that exactly meant, but he wasn’t about to start arguing with Stiles Stilinski about magic.

“Alpha Hale!” the two wolves said in delight, saw Stiles and promptly began beaming delight. “I knew it!” Aiden said, “Ennis tried to tell us we would be stupid not to join his new pack, that he was about to bond the most powerful emissary alive.”

Peter glowered on principle. “Ennis is a bully and a liar.”

“Hi!” Stiles greeted, though Derek could scent the tense fury emanating from every pore of his lithe body. “I’m Stiles, and provided we both get the Alpha we want, I’ll be your emissary in the future. I don’t even know Ennis, just for future reference.”

“How many people do you think Ennis managed to convince he was going to be mating Stiles in the near future?” Peter asked the room at large.

“What about his pulse?” Erica asked. “I thought that us werewolves could tell when people were lying.”

“That’s true.” Derek said, feeling a teachable moment. “But the skip of the heartbeat doesn’t come directly from the act of lying. It comes from either the guilt of lying, or fear of being caught out in the lie. So, if I was lying to you about a surprise party, I wouldn’t feel guilty and it wouldn’t necessarily register as a lie.”

“So, Ennis is essentially just a sociopath.” Isaac stated.

“It’s possible,” Peter pointed out. ”That he just practised telling lies. But due to the nature of the lie, and the fact that he’s a giant creep, my money is on him being a psychopath.”

“You two want to come and get lunch with us?” Derek asked as his pack walked back towards the door, Aiden and Ethan nodded happily.

They all went back out into the hallway to find something to eat.

“So, what are we supposed to do if we see Ennis?” Erica asked, linking arms with her boyfriend.

“Ignore him as much as possible, he’s always been alone so we have no idea how many people are in his pack or what sway they hold with other packs.” Derek said, aiming for sage.

“And if we catch him telling people that he and Stiles are engaged?”

“Let me deal with that.” Stiles said. “I’ll sue him for slander, or do an interview or something, cry on national television about how the big bad Alpha was mean to me and tried to warn off my Alpha and boyfriend by spreading horrible lies about me. People will hopefully take care of his bullshit for us.” Derek blinked at the casual use of the word boyfriend, but he wasn’t displeased.

“Snagged yourself a smart one there, Derek.” Boyd said jokingly.

Derek hummed in agreement, squeezing Stiles’ hand in response.

“You want sushi? Can we get sushi?” Stiles asked, almost vibrating.

Derek did not, in fact, want sushi. He was a werewolf, he wanted steak. “Sure, sushi is fine.”

“Yay!” Derek was rewarded with a peck on the cheek, and promptly went pink all the way to his ears.

Everyone followed Stiles’ lead to a sushi train he claimed gave him a ‘reason to go on in dark times’.

Isaac playfully thwacked Stiles’ bicep in retaliation for the dramatics, Derek growled in the back of his throat, unable to hold back the knee-jerk reaction.

Stiles opened the door and asked the woman behind the counter for a table, giving her a quick hug before she escorted them to a table.

“Akari and I have been friends since I moved here, god it’s going to be strange moving back to Beacon Hills, for a while I was confident that I was never going to be living there ever again. But I know it’s different now you’ve moved there and there’s an established pack, keeping everything grounded.”

“Plus, we got the Nemeton removed.” Peter pointed out. “The whole area reconsecrated, the whole shebang.”

“There was a Nemeton in Beacon Hills?”

Peter nodded in confirmation.

“I can’t believe this! This is why my high school experience was so fucking bullshit? A fucking magic ass tree?”

“Pretty much.” Isaac said. “The number of supernatural attacks was fucking ridiculous so we asked some magic people to figure out why, and they said all the ley lines were being poisoned by the murder that took place on the magic tree stump.”

“Fuck.” Stiles swore. “Just, that’s so infuriating, I left Beacon Hills when my magic was just starting to show, because I wanted to learn from the best and there was a 600-year-old Shaman who studied under the last Spark. Maybe if I’d stayed I would have noticed the poisoning of the ley lines earlier…”

“Stiles, it’s not your fault.” Derek said. “If you’d stayed you might have been killed and then think of all the people that you wouldn’t have been able to help, all the advances in magic that you’ve made.”

Stiles just gazed down at his edamame beans despondently.

Then his phone vibrated in his pockets, every wolf at the table hearing it immediately.

Derek realised something. “Weren’t you going to call your Dad before he found out about us?” He asked Stiles, who’s eyes widened in alarm.

“Oh, dammit.” Stiles spat, scrambling frenetically for his phone. ”Ha! It’s Jordan, not my Dad!”

Stiles stood up and left the restaurant, the only way to get any privacy when hanging out with seven werewolves.

Derek took the chance to choke down some uncooked fish. Alright, it was delicious but it was so tiny.

Only a minute later, Stiles rushed in, the smell of his body wash overpowered with panic.

“Derek, you need to take me to the airport, my Dad, he’s in hospital. Derek.”

“Oh.” Derek said, feeling slightly struck dumb for a fraction of a moment. “Stiles, hey, let’s go back to the hotel, and pack, I’m coming with you.” He said, taking charge.

“Us too.” Erica said, slapping down enough money to pay for their lunch.

“I’ll pay for your flight to Beacon Hills.” Derek told the two prospective betas. “But there is no harm if you want to remain at the conference until the end of the week and join us then.”

The twins turned to each other as the pack jogged back towards the hotel. They made eye contact for a single moment.

“No, you’re our pack now.” Aiden said before Ethan took over. “And we’ll be with you to provide as much support as we can. Whatever you need.”

They arrived at the hotel lobby, their jog slowing down to a speedy power walk.

Derek turned to everyone. “Erica, Boyd, you two check out for us. Isaac, take the twins and go book us a flight, take my credit card, the next flight we can make. Peter, if you could go tell someone in charge that Stiles will be leaving.” Derek gave his Uncle the trickiest job, knowing his manipulative nature would be able to get it sorted out the fastest.

“Then everyone go pack, we have half an hour before we leave.”

Derek walked with Stiles, knowing that he was so shaken, that he would need the full half hour to pack and calm down enough to get onto the plane.

“Stiles?” Derek said tentatively, the Spark facing away from him in the elevator, shaking with anxiety. “What do you need?”

Stiles spun around and began sobbing into Derek’s shirt. “My Dad, Derek, I should have been there to protect him. Instead, what was I doing? Prancing around with an Alpha.”

“Hey, I’m sure he’ll be alright. What actually happened? You don’t have to tell me, but it might help.” Derek offered, while trying desperately not to be offended.

“I don’t know!” Stiles said, dashing out of the lift the moment that the doors opened.

“What do you mean you don’t know?” Derek asked. “I thought Jordan called to tell you.”

“All he got out was that my Dad was in the hospital and then whoosh!” Stiles took his phone out of his pocket. The screen was shattered to the point that the inner workings were visible. “My magic flipped out and my phone imploded.”

“Alright, well, take a breath. Maybe he sprained his ankle or something. Humans can recover from that!” Derek said, causing Stiles to laugh briefly through his tears as he opened his hotel room and began packing frantically. “Don’t get yourself worked up, remember, worrying doesn’t empty the future of trouble, but empties the present of peace.”

Stiles looked up from where he was desperately trying to zip up his suitcase. “I love that quote, what a coincidence, hardly anyone has heard of it.”

 Stiles’ surprise just managed to remind Derek that he had failed as of yet to tell Stiles how long he’d been a fan. As long as he didn’t wait too long, in the middle of a crisis with his father might not be the best time to bring it up.

“Yeah, weird. I’m going to go pack now, but meet us downstairs in the lobby in twenty minutes and we will go to the airport, catch our flight home.”

“I’ll have to come back to send all my stuff to my new home, but it feels weird to be leaving LA after two years. I thought I’d have a few days to pack up my apartment and say goodbye.”

Derek left Stiles to compose himself, thinking he wouldn’t appreciate Derek being witness to him breaking down over leaving Los Angeles for a few days.

Derek packed efficiently, having hardly removed anything from his suitcase without putting it back afterwards. Then he went around to everyone’s rooms to check that they were on target to leave in less than ten minutes. Derek didn’t know where Aiden and Ethan were staying, so he just hoped they would be in the lobby in time.

Five minutes later, everyone was downstairs with their luggage and Derek ordered a maxi taxi to drive them to the airport.

They all clambered in, climbing over the top of each other to get the better seats. Stiles just got in next to Derek and curled into his side, no longer crying but his face still a vulnerable pink.

Derek wrapped an arm around Stiles to draw him in as close as the seatbelts would allow. “Peter, make sure a minibus or whatever can collect us from Sacramento airport to drive us back to Beacon Hills. Offer an obscene tip for the late notice.” Then to the driver, “There’s 300 dollars in it for you if you can get us to the airport fast.”

“Yes, sir!” The driver said, before setting off, obviously thrilled at the prospect of so much money for a twenty-minute drive.

Check in and everything was such a blur. All Derek was aware of was Stiles, trying to keep him calm enough for security to let them through and refusing to buy him alcohol in duty-free on their way to the gate. “Stiles, I know it’s the most stressful day of your life, but wouldn’t it be more stressful if your Alpha was detained by airport staff for supplying alcohol to a minor?”

Their seats were all split up, with only two individuals being able to sit next to each other. Ethan and Aiden looked so pathetic at the prospect of sitting separately, that Derek let them have the seats, while he went off to sit alone in business class. He shouldn’t have worried though, because what seemed like seconds after the seatbelt sign was switched off, Stiles was there to curl up in Derek’s lap with a sigh.

Derek was starting to think that Stiles was just always this grabby and clingy. Not that he was about to start complaining.

“Derek, thank you. Thank you for paying for everyone to go home, and giving that guy three hundred dollars to get us to the airport quickly. But mostly, thank you for organising everything. I was about to go straight to the airport without checking out, talking to the convention staff or even finding out when the next flight was. You did all of that, you looked after me so well.”

Derek’s chest swelled with pride, unable to hold it back. 

“I couldn’t have chosen a better Alpha, or a better boyfriend.” Stiles paused. “Well, I know I called you my boyfriend before, but if you’d rather I didn’t, I’m fine with partner, emissary, mate, significant other. Whatever you feel most comfortable with.”

Derek reeled back a little, unable to process the fact that Stiles had just invited Derek to address him as ‘mate’.

“Boyfriend is fine. Mate is just a little too serious right now, we’ve only been dating a day…” Derek said, reluctant to shut Stiles down.

“No, that’s fine, Derek we’re not going to get engaged…marriage engaged, anytime soon and I know ‘mate’ is even more serious than ‘husband’.”

Derek sagged in his chair in relief, before a poor stewardess came passed and had to tell Stiles that it wasn’t safe to be perched in Derek’s lap during the flight. Derek knew he looked scary, especially in his leather jacket, but it was Stiles who shot her such a furious glare that she stumbled backwards.

Stiles got up immediately to apologise, and check that the woman hadn’t hurt herself stumbling in stilettos.

“Stiles, we can sit next to each other on the drive from Sacramento to Beacon Hills, try and go get some rest if you can, I know you won’t sleep later.”

“Thank you, Derek, really. What you’ve done for me today, it means the world to me.”

Derek spent the remaining forty-five minutes of the flight trying to get some sleep, it was about six now, and hopefully, they could get some dinner before leaving Sacramento airport.

The only thing open was a human McDonalds, and even though the food quality wasn’t ideal, the restaurant was almost as clean as a werewolf-specific restaurant, something endlessly incredible about fast food chains.

The drive back was more relaxed, everyone mellowed out by the long flight and greasy food. Stiles was quiet, occasionally trying to use his magic to repair his smashed phone.

Derek took it off him by force when one of Stiles’ attempts caused it to burst into purple flames, ones that were only extinguished by another spell, and not with Erica’s attempts to throw water over the device.

“Stiles. Stop. I don’t think your phone is coming back to life. You can use mine if you need to call someone.”

Stiles made a deep sound of frustration. “I don’t know Jordan’s number off by heart. And my Dad’s phone must have been smashed during whatever happened to it because I tried calling him back at the hotel.”

Derek briefly thought that it was a good idea to google the number for Beacon Hills general hospital, and Stiles could talk to a nurse or something. Then Derek realised that if he suggested that, and the prognosis was bad, that Stiles would spend the remaining half hour of the drive vibrating out of his skin.

It was eight o’ clock by the time they reached the sign that read:

Welcome to Beacon Hills

Derek paid the driver, plus the promised tip.

“Erica, take Ethan and Aiden to the house, get our bags inside, let them pick rooms and show them where the linen cupboard is.”

“Boyd, go with them, and check none of our food has gone off, if it has, go buy replacements, just make sure we have food for breakfast.”

Derek knew those jobs could have waited until later, but he didn’t want to overwhelm the Sheriff by showing up with six extra werewolves in tow. Isaac knew the Sheriff pretty well already, and Derek wasn’t sure about Noah and Peter being acquainted, but they were close in age.

The car peeled away from the curb, the three of them heading inside to the hospital.

Stiles’ anxiety was back, only the quiet halls of the hospital forcing Stiles’ bolt to the reception desk to slow to a walk in an effort to make his footsteps as quiet as everything else.

The whole place reeked of Dettol, decaying skin and old food, so strongly that it must have been evident even to the noses of the humans filling up the cold halls. Derek would make sure to get Stiles on his medical plan, so that if anything happened to him, he could go to the werewolf hospitals instead.

“Excuse me, my name is Stiles Stilinski, er, uhm, Mieczyslaw Stilinski. I need to see my Dad.”

Derek smiled to himself as Stiles painstakingly spelt out his first name for the lady before they could head through.

“Your Dad is in room eleven on the second floor.” The receptionist told them, and Stiles set off at a barely-constrained run. It was almost funny in the way that it was reminiscent of a penguin waddle.

Stiles froze when they reached the right door. Derek could only barely smell Stiles’ terror through the pervasive scent of the human hospital.

Derek went forward to open the door, since Stiles seemed incapable of doing so.

 

Chapter Text

“Hi, Sheriff.” Derek managed, before he was almost bowled over by Stiles running into the room at full speed.

“Dad.” Stiles sobbed, burying his face into the Sheriff’s shoulder. Then Stiles drew back, checking visually that his Dad was fine before slapping him on the shoulder. “Don’t scare me!”

“Me scare you?” Noah said incredulously. “I was in a small car accident taking out the Polong, so I tell Jordan to call you. He says he barely got three words out before you let out an unholy shriek and his phone died. We tried to call the hotel and they said a scary werewolf told them you were checking out and had to leave immediately.”

“Hi!” Peter chirped brightly. “I’m the scary werewolf.”

The Sheriff sighed in relief. “Peter, Derek.” Noah looked them over sceptically, then his face split into a grin. “Congratulations, son.”

“Dammit, how did you know?” Stiles said.

“Peter just said that he checked you out and now he and Derek are here with you. It’s not a huge leap in logic to figure that you and Derek are more than acquaintances.”

“But Dad, look at the hot babe I scored!”

“Are you sure you want to date such a loser?” Noah asked. Derek’s skin prickled in agony.

“Dad!” Stiles gasped in horror. “Derek is a good man, you’re the one who told me he was a good person.”

“Oh, I know. I was talking to Derek.” The Sheriff replied.

Stiles scoffed in mock offence, while Derek sagged in relief. “Stiles isn’t so bad.”

“What happened to ‘Stiles, there is so much room in my home for you, it would be an honour to have you.’” Stiles spoke in a deeper voice. “’If only for a single night.’ I remember you saying that.”

“Are you sure you weren’t asleep at the time?”

“Oh, wolf’s got jokes.”

“Did you manage to kill the Malaysian spirit?” Derek asked the Sheriff, taking a few steps forward to fall into the hospital chair next to where Stiles was standing.

“Yeah, turns out the lore about them being controlled by a master was true and when I hit the master with my car particularly hard, the spirit went away.”

“He’s dead?” Stiles whispered.

“Not exactly, he’s a few doors down from me, but they don’t think he’ll wake up at any point, and the fact that his blood spirit left supports that.”

“And you’re okay?” Stiles checks.

“Just a fractured collarbone and a couple of broken ribs. But none of them pierced my lungs or anything. I get a few weeks off before I’m back to work on desk duty.”

Stiles made a sound of outrage. “You should get more time off, but I know you, and I’m assuming they had to beg and berate you to take more than two days off.”

“That’s…not wrong.” Noah confirmed, “And so, are you moving in with Derek? Well, the Hale Pack?”

“Well, Derek says that there will be a probationary period of two weeks, but if that goes well, I’ll be moving back here permanently.”

“Don’t worry about the probationary period, Derek won’t keep you waiting more than a few days.”

Derek grunted in irritation. “Why do all my friends keep saying I’m a pushover?”

“Because you are a pushover. It’s a refreshing quality in an Alpha.” Peter said, clapping a hand on Derek’s shoulder with a grin.  “Are you going to give my nephew a shovel talk? Can I watch?” Peter said almost in glee.

Derek shot him a glare. “I don’t want to know what kind of weird joy it would bring you to watch someone threaten me.”

“Immense.” Peter said. “An immense kind of weird joy.”

“You two are hilarious.” Stiles mentioned, before reaching back up to hug his Dad. “God, seriously, I’m going to be paying for you scaring me like that for the next year.”

The Sheriff looked as confused as Derek felt. “What are you talking about?”

“I’m pretty sure I’m going to be too broke to travel back to Los Angeles and return as well as pay for all my stuff to be driven down for the move. The furniture all belongs to the landlord but still, and if I don’t move out in a few days I’ll have to pay for the next month in rent on top of that. The convention organisers were paying for my room and flight but they’ll probably ask me to pay them back after ditching on them.”

“Hey, Stiles.” Derek said quietly. “You’re pack now, I’ll hire some people to bring down all your stuff with no issue, you just call your land lord and explain that some unfamiliar people will clear out your apartment and you write them a list of things that belong to you so they know what to leave behind. All you need to worry about is settling into the Packhouse.”

Stiles turned around from his Dad, looking wetly at Derek. “You, you would do that for me?” His voice was thick, tears obviously threatening.

Derek had grown up in a mansion in Northern California, he was tutored at home for most of his life. He had a huge extended family with jobs in politics, law, land management, stocks, banking and other antiques dealing, with enough money within the original Hale Pack that those who wanted to go into social work, painting and charity had more than enough room to. Sometimes Derek found it easy to forget how much even a few hundred dollars could be an obstacle to many people.

“Of course.” Derek said, still reeling. “Stiles, you’re pack now, as well as my boyfriend. Anything within reason and you need only ask. The pack pools our resources for this exact reason.”

“So, I’ll be expected to contribute?” Stiles asked before scrambling to clarify. “Not that is an issue, or anything, just, there isn’t a lot of money in what I do, yet. I have preferred to dedicate my life to the creation of magic, and my chosen career isn’t a popular one.”

Derek wondered why Stiles was being so oddly cagey about his job making videos. “Stiles, that’s fine. The thing is that you give 40% of what you have to the pack. That goes towards food, maintenance of the house, and other emergencies like moving you into the house before the end of the week.”

“That sounds perfectly reasonable.” The Sheriff said evenly from the bed. But he did eye his son disapprovingly, obviously realising that Stiles was very inelegantly avoiding mentioning the specifics of his job.

“Now, tell me, how was your magic innovation thing?” The Sheriff said indulgently.

“Oh, Dad, it was great. I mean there was an evil Dryad…”

“Stiles, would you like to meet us up at the house, later, when you’re finished?” Derek felt a little less than welcome in this father-son moment of reconnection.

“Uh…” Stiles breathed. “It just occurred to me that I have no idea where the Packhouse is.”

“Parrish is coming by to bring me lunch later, he can drive you out to Derek’s place.” Noah said.

Peter called a long-distance removalist company and organised a removal for a few days later. Derek smiled at his Uncle in thanks for the thoughtfulness of the gesture, having done it without Derek even asking.

Arriving back home was lovely. Erica had opened all the windows and lit a vanilla candle that helped to air out the house after standing stagnant for a few days.

After walking in, Derek was met with the delighted faces of Ethan and Aiden bounding down the stairs.

“Derek, just one question.” Ethan asked. “We picked separate rooms, is that okay?”

“Of course, it is,” Derek said. “You are twins, but you are two separate people. I assume you don’t want to share a room with your brother.”

Derek got the distinct impression that this approach was not something the twins were used to. That they were used to being addressed and treated as a singular entity. That might be cute if they were six, but not now.

Boyd was in the kitchen replacing eggs and milk in the fridge.

Derek felt a sudden burst of anxiety, and made his way upstairs to straighten up. Derek’s room was a little sparse, but he felt worried that Stiles would find something lacking.

Not that Stiles would be staying in his bed. Maybe one day in the future, Derek could count on waking up in the morning in a warm bed, with a room smelling thickly of Stiles’ cologne.

But maybe Stiles would prefer to keep his own space even months or years into their relationship. Derek didn’t even attempt to feel concern over the fact that he was already thinking that far ahead in their relationship.

Derek straightened the single picture hanging on his wall, moved his copious amounts of decorative pillows Erica had given him, from their near-permanent spot on the floor and arranged them nicely on top of his made bed.

Derek then took his laptop out of his luggage, which Aiden had brought into his room. Derek would have to remind him later not to come into his room again, though it was a nice gesture for Aiden to have carried Derek’s stuff all the way up the stairs.

Derek knew that he would have messages from his mother, but he wasn’t really feeling so charitable after what Erica told him about Talia. But, registering Ethan and Aiden as his betas, was something important he needed to do before too much time passed.

However, Derek’s inbox was full. There weren’t just beta applications now though, there were dozens of requests to interview him from various news outlets. The subject for most of them referencing his Trauma speech. Derek cursed loud enough for the other wolves in the house to be able to hear him.

“Ethan!” Derek barked, storming out of his room. “I want you, to put an application online for a secretary, hire a PR team, whatever, this is insane. I need someone to weed out the jokes and the bad fits before I can even read some of these beta applications. And I’m not doing any interviews!”

Ethan nodded. “Are you sure I should do that? I’m just brand new.”

Derek heard the distinct grumble of Jordan Parrish’s engine, and rushed to finish the conversation so he could go see Stiles.

“Ethan, this isn’t ‘first in, best dressed’, you’re part of the pack now, and if I see my inbox full of crap one more time, I will cry. You don’t want to be in a pack with an Alpha who cries, do you?”

Aiden shook his head frantically, while Derek clambered back down the stairs.

Parrish had walked Stiles to the door and was standing there with a grin that almost seemed threatening in its intensity.

“Derek, you’re back. Good to see you.” Jordan seemed excessively cheery.

“It’s been three days.” Derek said, then was suddenly suspicious. “What do you want?”

“No, uh, nothing.” Jordan stuttered. “Just, the video of your speech went viral.”

Derek looked puzzledly over at the deputy. “Jordan, you know everything that happened.”

“You said you didn’t know if I would ever forgive you for trying to kill me. Derek, I knew it wasn’t your fault, and it wasn’t like I actually died or anything.”

Stiles looked between the two of them, halfway between overexcitement and pure interest.

Derek reached out a hand to shake Jordan’s hand. “That’s good to hear, we’ve always worked really well together, but I think anyone would find it difficult to get over a friend attempting to murder them, even if I never wanted to.”

Jordan left, after he drove away, Stiles turned to Derek.

“Parish is a nice guy. You two seem to be getting on very well. Is he a beta in training?”

“Oh no, he’s a lone hound, it’s rare, but not impossible.” Most shifters had a pack mentality, and it was rare for them to live alone or with humans exclusively.

 “Can I pick a room? How big is this place?”

“You can go pick any vacant room you like. We have twelve bedrooms and a nursery meant for multiple babies. Standard for a Hale Alpha.”

“Cool, which one is your room, so I can make sure I’m nearby.”

Derek raised an eyebrow at the unsubtlety of Stiles’ comment.

“In case there is very serious official Alpha-Emissary business I need to discuss with you very late at night.”

“Sure angel, sure.” Derek said indulgently, but still pointed out his bedroom, the door open and his cleaning efforts on display.

“Ooh, so can I get this room?” Stiles pointed to the one next to Derek.

“If you want it. There are some bigger rooms towards the east of the house or even on the third floor, but you’d be alone up there.”

“If you don’t want me staying next door, just say so. I’m not loud or anything.” Stiles didn’t sound irate, just forcibly patient.

“Woah, Stiles, I would love for you to stay next to me, the rooms are all completely soundproof, I just don’t want you to pick the room closest to me and then realise that there are better rooms. You’re going to be our Emissary, you get your pick of any room.”

“Derek, by normal people standards, that room is really big.”

Derek reached out to grab Stiles by the wrist, pulling him close to his chest.

“Stiles, I don’t want you to think that…that, I don’t want you here. I’m thrilled you’re moving in, I’m thrilled you’re going to be my emissary.”

Stiles suddenly made a shocked face, taking his luggage from the hallway and racing into his room. Derek stood in the doorway and watched in shocked bemusement as Stiles completely began tearing into his awfully-packed bag.

Stiles came out a few seconds later. With Danny’s application letter.

Stiles was pacing downstairs, his anxiety practically vibrating through the entire house. Stiles had said several times that he wouldn’t take it personally if they couldn’t accept Danny into the pack. But he’d also refused to be in the room during discussions.

“You all know my vote, I don’t want anyone feeling uncomfortable to speak their mind. And I don’t want to know if anyone vetos him. He’s my best friend, you know?” Stiles had said before handing them the envelope with Danny’s application inside. No one commented that only fully-fledged pack members got a vote, Stiles was so tightly wound that he could have lashed out.

Derek opened the envelope, the tense atmosphere only augmented by the even pacing of Derek’s boyfriend downstairs. Aiden and Ethan were sitting slightly to the side, they weren’t full pack members yet so they didn’t get a vote, but they were interested in the process and wanted to watch while the pack made a decision.

“Danny Māhealani.” Derek said, somewhat unnecessarily. “Witch, specialising in…technology? Is that a thing?”

“If it is, it’s a new thing,” Peter stated, looking a little impressed.

“A degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from MIT.”

“And he’s nineteen, right?” Isaac added, after snatching the form from Derek. “That’s insane.”

“It’s not a thing.” Aiden said, holding out his phone. “I just googled it, if Danny really is a tech witch, he’s the first one.”

“Well, I’m certainly intrigued, I vote yes. Stiles’ vote of confidence is good enough for me.” Peter nodded.

“I actually wanna discuss this more.” Erica said. “Danny was known as the school’s resident hacker but I didn’t know he was a witch.”

“The form says he works as a freelance software designer, can work from anywhere.”

“Anywhere with internet.”  Ethan corrected. “Or does being a tech witch mean you’re a walking hotspot, in which case we definitely need him.”

“We’re not adding a random guy so you can get free Wi-Fi.” Derek said sternly. “But there aren’t any deal breakers, I don’t see a reason not to approve him for a test period.”

“Oh, he’s included a photo on the back.” They passed it around.

Ethan froze when he got the picture, eyes widening. “I know I don’t have a vote yet but, yes please.”

Aiden rolled his eyes at his brother. “We’re supposed to just be watching, asshole.” He said rather affectionately.

After another few minutes of discussing the things Danny mentioned on his form. They reached a unanimous yes.

The incredible happiness radiating from Ethan was a surprise. But the squeal of joy that Stiles made when Derek told him they would be inviting Danny to stay with them was not. Stiles threw himself into Derek, lifting up his legs to wrap around Derek’s waist. Derek shifted immediately to grip at Stiles’ thighs.

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” Stiles shouted in delight. Then he paused. “You didn’t even stumble. God, that’s super hot.” Derek kissed his Spark gently, very aware of their audience.

“I’m glad you’re happy, but Danny would have been approved anyways, he sounds incredible.”

“Hey, Stiles?” Ethan asked quietly. “Is Danny straight?”

“Not even sort of.” Stiles said offhandedly, utterly unfazed by the question. “Derek, how long exactly do you think you could hold me up?” He asked suggestively, winking in a way that was completely obvious.

Stiles we have an audience.” Derek was flushing bright pink, ears tingling with heat. Stiles might not care but Derek was horrifically embarrassed.

“I know you have to like send him a letter but can I call him. Please, Alpha?” Stiles’ eyes widened, looking imploringly up at Derek, but it wasn’t necessary.

At least Stiles hadn’t twigged yet that Derek was wrapped around Stiles’ little finger and would let him get away with literal murder.

“Sure, go ahead and call him so he can start making arrangements to move up to Beacon Hills and…” Derek cut himself off as Stiles jumped down and ran upstairs to find his phone and call his best friend.

Honestly, Derek hadn’t even considered Danny’s sexuality. He wondered briefly if he had something to worry about with those two but forced himself not to stress unnecessarily.

As the wolves took seats in the lounge room to pick a film to watch, Stiles’ excited chattering rang through the house, since he left his bedroom door open.

“Danny, they said yes! They’re going to send out your official welcome letter and invitation and everything but get ready to come live here! You don’t need to worry about getting another place, you can come pick out a bedroom and everything.” There was a pause, presumably filled with Danny answering Stiles on the other end. And then. “Tomorrow?!” Stiles squawked in delight and alarm.

Stiles practically bounced back down the stairs, taking a seat right next to Derek and curling into his side. “Danny said he heard that I left LA in a huge rush, so he told his roommate he was leaving and is going to be coming down some time tomorrow! But since you accepted him into the pack, he’ll bring all his stuff and move in!”

Derek made a sound of agreement, to confirm that he was listening, nosing gently at Stiles’ hairline.

“I’m so excited, I’ve wanted to be pack with Danny for years, he was friends with my old Alpha friend but wouldn’t join his pack because he knew I wanted to be an emissary and he wanted to be able to join me when I finally got an Alpha of my own.”

“Sounds like a really great guy.” Derek said, amused at Stiles’ excitement.

 “Oh, he is, nicest guy alive!”

“What about Derek?” Peter asked teasingly, but Derek shot his troublemaking Uncle a glare.

“Nah, Derek’s a bit of a grump, but that’s alright, it’s how he tells you he cares.”

“You two are revolting.” Isaac said, not sounding revolted but endlessly amused.

It was about ten, but Derek was feeling kind of wiped out after the stress of the day, and from travelling for four hours to get back to Beacon Hills from Los Angeles.

Derek went to get ready for bed, shoving off the embroidered pillows from his bed to slide in between his sheets.

A few seconds later, Stiles stepped into his room. Derek kept his room dark enough that even he struggled to see things in perfect clarity. But Stiles’ scent was so distinctive that Derek knew the second Stiles opened his bedroom door.

“Derek, are you asleep?” Stiles must have known that Derek was still awake, because Derek had gone to lie down only a minute ago.

“Not just yet.” Derek said, reaching to turn on the lights with the switch next to his headboard.

“Can I come lie with you for a little bit?” Stiles asked and Derek nodded immediately, moving over in his massive bed to make sure there was room. Derek didn’t know if Stiles was feeling wired, or homesick but he wasn’t going to interrogate him.

“You’re so warm.” Stiles murmured. Derek knew he was, because Stiles’ frigid hands were tucked under his t-shirt and onto his warm torso.

“You’re so cold, tomorrow we can go buy an electric blanket if you think you need it.”

“Nah, my magic can take care of it.”

After a few minutes of lying in silence, Stiles left, and Derek got to fall asleep surrounded by his future Emissary’s heady scent. Maybe that was why Stiles wanted to lie with him.

 

Chapter Text

The next morning, Derek got back to the house and realised Stiles was bounding around the pack house loud enough to wake up the other wolves. Derek followed his emissary’s excited, energetic scent into the kitchen. The spread was incredible.

"How long have you been up?" Derek asked.

"A few hours maybe, why do you ask?" Stiles returned, leaning over to kiss Derek's stubbly cheek gently.

"Well, you've made omelettes, fried eggs, toast, and pancakes. And it's like seven in the morning."

"They are crêpes, not pancakes and I'm just nervous, I want everyone to get along."

"Calm down, Erica, Boyd and Isaac remember Danny well enough to think he's nice, Ethan already has a little crush on him and Peter is interested in your friend's choice in magic speciality."

Stiles suddenly looked concerned, taking several steps until he was very close to Derek. "What about you, Derek? Are you just going along with it?"

"Stiles, Danny seems fine, but he is also your best friend, no one in this pack has had to join on their own and I want to make you as comfortable as possible."

"Keep the powerful Spark happy, right?" Stiles joked cheerily.

"Yeah, huge status symbol for me, gotta trick you into bonding with me so I can look super cool with all my werewolf friends."

They both laughed, Derek shifting slightly so their foreheads were pressed together, nose tips brushing against each other delicately.

"Where were you, by the way?" Stiles asked delicately, not moving away from Derek. "I came into your room, hoping for morning cuddles, but you were gone."

"I was out running." Derek answered.

"At six in the morning?" Stiles sounded horrified. "Scratch it, I can't bond to you if you're going to leave me alone in the mornings to run around."

"Stiles we don't even share a bedroom." Derek said, shaking his head at the melodramatics.

"Yeah, but we will, we can bond first and I'll take you on an amazing date and then I'll spend a few nights a week in your bed and then we'll have mind bending sex and I'll move into you room fully." Stiles turned away partially, preparing plates of varying food options.

"You got it all planned out, huh?"

"Well yes. One of has to." Stiles said, as though the whole thing was rather evident. "And after all the time spent when I was blatantly hitting on you and making plans to be your emissary for forever and you thought the whole time that I was shacking up with Ennis, it was fairly clear that it wasn't going to be you."

"That was only like three days, I'm sure I would have figured it out eventually."

"Who would ever believe me if I told them that Derek 'Sex God' Hale was insecure and shy. Absolutely no one at all. The king of Alphas not being confident?"

"Stiles, don't be stupid, I'm hardly a stereotypical Alpha, I was trained as a Beta. And please don’t call me ‘Sex God’ Hale."

"That's probably why you're so good at being the Alpha, you run more of a democracy than a benign dictatorship. Or a not-so-benign one, like Deucalion."

“Deucalion is fine, he doesn’t force anyone to do anything they don’t want to, and a lot of his betas appreciate the structure he imposes. Ones that don’t are free to leave.”

“That’s so cool that you just know that.”

“I learned about him when he first became an Alpha when I was a teenager. He actually has the longest probationary period of any Alpha.”

“Speaking of probationary periods, how long do you think you will keep me waiting?”

“It hasn’t even been 24 hours yet, don’t you want to be sure that we don’t have some irreconcilable differences?”

Stiles sighed in defeat. “Yeah, I guess, I’m just so excited to finally be an emissary! You’re Derek Hale, I feel like I need to lock you down real quick.”

“I’m not going anywhere, and this isn’t like a beta probationary period, where at any time, either of us could break the bond. Both of us would need to agree to break an Alpha-Emissary bond, and you of all people know the social consequences.”

“You’re right, Alpha.” Stiles said reluctantly. “Just, please tell me if I’m doing something wrong instead of just turning me away.”

Derek looked down at the Spark in alarm. “I’m not going to turn you away without trying to work it out. Stiles.” What on Earth had happened to Stiles that he thought that.

“I’ll be an amazing Emissary.”

“Yes, you will.” Derek agreed without pause.

“Danny is here!” Stiles suddenly yelled in excitement.

“What, where?”

“Nah, he just broke city limits.” Stiles said calmly. “I can feel him.”

Derek wondered briefly if Stiles knew that because he was so in tune with Danny’s magical signature, or it was because Stiles was searching actively for Danny with his own magic, excited for his friend to come.

Peter and Isaac wondered into the kitchen, Peter thanking Stiles for cooking, Isaac rendered mute by the earliness of the hour.

“Derek.” Peter said. “Marry that boy. These pancakes are literally the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my whole life.”

“They’re crêpes, crêpes goddammit!”

“Stiles, I think you might be too cultured for us.”

“Thanks Pete!”

“Peter is fine.” Peter said seriously, leaving no room for discussion.

“Peter.” Stiles corrected himself. “Danny’s going to be here soon!”

“Cool. Ethan will be thrilled.” Isaac said flatly, finally looking up from his omelette and coffee.

Derek heard Ethan in the shower. The room itself was soundproof but the waterpipes were gurgling quietly.

“He likes Danny?” Stiles asked. “Huh. Danny hasn’t dated in a while, so I can’t comment on whether Ethan is his type, but Danny has eyes so I’m sure he’ll appreciate the attention.”

“Does Danny know how to get to the house?”

“No!” Stiles yelled in alarm. “I gotta call him!”

Stiles raced back upstairs to retrieve his phone and dialled Danny’s number while bouncing on the spot, the floorboards shifting slightly at the changes in pressure.

While Stile explained the route to the Pack house animatedly over the phone, Derek served himself some breakfast as Aiden wandered down the stairs sleepily.

“Ethan has been in the shower for like twenty minutes. I’m so glad that this house is soundproof, it was bad enough sharing a bunk with him at Deucalion’s.”

“How long were you Deucalion’s betas?” Peter asked conversationally.

“We just did the two-month probationary period, then we decided we didn’t want to stay there permanently, it was good for us to have routine after our pack died, but we weren’t as hardcore as Deuc.”

Derek heard the crunch of unfamiliar tyres on the access road to the house. He panicked for a fraction of a second before realising that it must be Danny.

This was confirmed seconds later when Stiles came bolting down from upstairs. “Danny’s here! Danny’s here!”

Stiles threw open the door, revealing his beloved Danny. Danny had dimples, Derek had a witch-beta with dimples.

“Hi Stiles,” Danny said brightly. “It’s good to see you.” The two of them hugged briefly, Stiles practically vibrating with unspent energy.

“Alpha Hale.” Danny said, dipping his head slightly in an approximation of a bow. “Thank you so much for inviting me into your home. I’m excited not only to be in Stiles’ pack, but yours too.”

“Thank you, Danny, and I just want to let you know that you got in on your own merit, Stiles is the reason that we reviewed your application so quickly, but you seem like a good fit.”

Derek then heard Aiden and Ethan whispering conspicuously to each other at the top of the staircase.

“He’s cute. Go talk to him.”

“He’s a witch.”

“A cute one.”

Eventually Ethan traipsed down the stairs, trying and failing to look causal.

“Oh, hey, you must be Stiles’ friend. ’m Ethan. A werewolf.”

Stiles rolled his eyes at the complete failure at any attempt of being smooth.

“Danny.” The witch said, obviously not buying the classy and casual act either.

“Have you been friends with Stiles for long?”

“Yeah, ever since he got over his giant crush on me, and fell in love with the Werewolf Prince.”

“Shut up!” Stiles’ cheeks were flaming with heat.

Derek felt something stiff roil in his stomach. “You liked Danny.” He said, being careful to avoid as much infliction in his tone as possible, which probably gave more away than if he had spoken normally.

“No! I asked him if he found me attractive because I needed to know if anyone at all could find me attractive. It was like market research.” That was the most ridiculous answer Derek could have thought of, but it struck him as being the truth.

“That’s funny, Derek had a huge crush on you too.”

“What are you talking about,” said Stiles, turning from facing the room in general to specifically facing Peter.

Derek faced Peter too, and said through grit teeth. “Yeah, Peter, what are you talking about?”

“Derek has been a long-time fan of your work.” Oh, that was okay. Derek breathed an inner sigh of relief. “And I don’t mean your magic.” Peter wasn’t done. Fuck.

“What do you mean?” Stiles asked, puzzled.

“Does the word LittleRed, mean anything?”

“Wait, Derek? You know I’m a youtuber? Oh, that’s good, I was worried about how to tell you.”

“Oh, he doesn’t just know about it.” Peter purred, Derek frozen in absolute terror. “He first told me he was subscribed to you when you posted a video essay about why rogue alphas should be dealt with by the High Pack Council.”

“That…” Stiles seemed so confused. “That was my second video. Ever.”

Stiles makes eye contact with Derek before looking away.

Stiles locked eyes with Danny. “Derek Hale watches my videos.”

Slowly, Stiles slid to the floor, hyperventilating, tucking his face in between his knees. Danny followed him, putting an arm around Stiles’ back.

“Stiles, stop breathing so hard, slow, deep breaths.” Danny coached.

Derek shot his Uncle a terrible glare. Derek really had been going to tell Stiles, he was just waiting for everything to settle and then Stiles’ Dad was in the hospital, then Danny was coming and Derek just didn’t get a moment to breathe.

After not too long, Stiles’ breathing slowed and evened out under Danny’s careful tutelage. Stiles leant on his friend as he stumbled to his feet.

“You like my videos?”

“Of course, Stiles, I swear I was going to tell you…” Stiles’ eyes were vaguely wet as he went in to wrap his arms around Derek’s waist.

“This is the best day of my whole life.” Stiles sniffled, tucking himself securely underneath Derek’s chin, and burying his face into Derek’s neck.

“You’re welcome.” Peter said, and Derek was so annoyed at the moment of interruption, that he flashed his eyes at Peter, deep ruby light glowing in his irises.

“Are you sure you’re not mad that I didn’t tell you before?” Derek asked, feeling like he was tempting fate, but still filled with relief that Stiles hadn’t immediately begun to rage at him for lying.

“Maybe later. Are you sure you’re not mad I didn’t tell you?” Stiles asked, looking up at Derek, his eyes slightly wet.

“Stiles, no, I was curious as to why you were being sort of cagey about what you did, but I’m not angry.”

“It’s just…you said everyone contributed money, and there isn’t a lot of money in what I do. Maybe one day, but it has been three years.”

“I don’t care about money…” Derek began.

“That’s because you have it.” Stiles snapped back with sass.

“Don’t quote Friends at me when I’m trying to be a supportive boyfriend.”

“You watch Friends?” Stiles beamed.

We watch Friends. Every Saturday. Pack bonding time.”

“Derek, please, marry me?” Stiles begged, and Derek laughed.

“Maybe one day,” Derek said, before going back to what was important, Stiles’ wellbeing. “Now, are you feeling alright?”

“I’m perfectly fine now, I was just a bit overwhelmed for a moment. Derek, you have to do the boyfriend tag with me. I film tomorrow.”

“Sure, whatever you want.”

Danny was looking at the two of them with more than considerable amusement. “Is there a room for me, somewhere?”

Ethan took Danny by the elbow eagerly. “I’ll show you all the spare bedrooms!”

“Alright.” Danny said indulgently. “I hope you have a wi-fi hook up.” He said to Derek, and the sound of power behind the words made it sound almost like a shovel talk.

Stiles took Derek by the hand and ran up the stairs, Derek feeling vaguely like a balloon trapped in a hurricane.

Stiles pushed Derek into his own room before slamming the door behind the both of them.

“You’re so full of it Derek, we don’t need a long, drawn out probation period, you know me.”

“Watching videos of you is different to living with you.” Derek attempted feebly, but Stiles yanked him closer and kissed him deeply.

“Yeah, it’s going to be wildly different.”

Instead of being upset, Stiles’ scent was thick with excitement. “I’m going to sleep in your bed, and the sex schedule has been moved up to before our first date.”

“How on Earth am I supposed to deal with you.”

“However, you’d like.” Stiles breathed, his exhale warm against Derek’s ear.

“Fuck.” Derek blurted out, almost unable to handle the way Stiles’ scent wove itself around him, a gentle miasma of arousal and magic.

“Soon, but not yet.”

“Dammit, babe, slow up.”

“Derek, you’ve been so good to me since the moment that we met. Just relax for a minute.” Stiles walked the two of them to Derek’s bed and pushed him down onto the unmade sheets.

“Okay.” Derek agreed, because he really didn’t know what else he could say. Stiles was always confident, with only a few moments of insecurity since they had met. It was like finding out that Derek was a long-time fan had just fuelled Stiles’ self-assurance.

“Last night, did you like your bed smelling of me? Parrish said I should try it.” How would Parrish know how potent Stiles’ scent was to an Alpha?

“It was delicious, you smell amazing.” Derek admitted.

“My Spark brings all the wolves to the yard.”

“Oh, so you rubbed your scent all over my bed, knowing you smelt good enough to eat?” Derek said teasingly. “Does it turn you on to be Little Red Riding Hood, wandering into the wolf’s den, asking for him to escort her to her grandmother’s house for safety?”

“I did always love that story.” Stiles said absently. “I like the version where she is planning to mate him from the beginning, seducing the wolf with faux innocence. Abd then she rescues her new Alpha from the evil hunter with the wolfsbane arrows.” Of course, being a fairy tale, there was no seduction in the original story, but the legend had been retold so many times that there were dozens of versions with varying motives and endings.

Stiles gasped suddenly. “You came to MoonCon to meet me!”

“Of course, and then Erica signed me up for the Trauma thing to ‘fight the patriarchy’.”

“And for the discount, yeah?” Stiles asked jokingly.

“How did you know?” Derek laughed back. Derek pulled on Stiles until the Spark was draped over him like a living blanket.

Derek had only just woken up, and he was still in his running gear, but he didn’t think that either of them were going to be getting up anytime soon.

“I may not have a freaky werewolf nose, but I think you smell pretty great too.” Stiles said, snuggling into Derek with an easy sigh. “Don’t think you won’t be showering later, though.” Stiles warned.

“Of course, I don’t need to worry about washing away your scent, I can get it straight from the source, whenever I want.”

“Yep, you’ll probably struggle to get my stink off of you.” Stiles admitted with undue pride.

“I’m totally fine with that.” Derek said in response, feeling loose and relaxed.

“I am sort of mad that you lied to me the other day. When we were talking in the coffee shop.” Stiles said quietly after some time had passed.

“What do you mean?” Derek responded.

“You told me that you weren’t the perfect Alpha. But you are.”

Chapter Text

Two weeks later...

Transcript of Howleen Season 5 Episode 07, An interview with Emissary Spark Stilinski

 

Howleen: Stiles, wow, you're absolutely glowing, the Hale pack must be agreeing with you.

Stiles laughs as he takes a seat opposite the television host.

Stiles: Oh, it is, being the emissary to Alpha Hale the second is just... it's exactly the way I dreamed it would be. You know, when I first came into my abilities and started to learn about the intense bonds between a mated and bonded Alpha/Emissary pair. Derek is everything you want the Werewolf Prince to be, and so much more.

Howleen: Wow, that's so exciting! I'm so happy for the both of you. Now, you're recently bonded, yes?

Stiles nods once affirmatively.

Howleen: So, how did that happen? I mean both you and Alpha Hale are big names in the paranormal community, just last month you were the cover of Emissary magazine and the keynote speaker for MoonCon. Derek was on the cover of Alpha magazine this month. So with both of you under such scrutiny, you could understand how everyone was taken by surprise after your bonding announcement only a few days ago.

Stiles looks up with a soft smile. He seems to be gazing into the middle distance but it appears organic rather than forced dramatics.

Stiles: It's a really good one. We actually met for the first time at MoonCon last month.

Howleen leans back in her chair in surprise.

Stiles: I know, I know, a short courting period. But when you know, you know. And I knew before I even met Derek. Derek worked alongside my dad since he first became an Alpha and moved into his territory. For months it was all 'Derek is so brave’ and 'Derek takes such good care of his betas’ and 'Derek rescued eight puppies while holding his lungs in his chest after a fight’. You know for sure that someone who takes such good care of everyone in his territory, not just his pack, is going to be a great man. So from the second, I met Derek, I knew I wanted to at least try to become his in whatever way he would let me, beta, friend or mate.

Howleen smiles empathetically.

Howleen: Wow, with a guy like that, scratch a short probationary period. What took you so long?

Stiles suddenly looks sad and very young, shrinking in place where he sat.

Stiles with a slight hitch in his voice: That's not as nice of a story. It's actually kind of awful. There was another alpha, one I'd never even met, and during MoonCon, he was going around and telling everyone that he and I were bonded. Derek didn't know me at the time, so he had no reason not to believe Alpha Ennis.

Stiles’ eyes widen as though he's said something he shouldn't have. Nonetheless, he carries on.

Stiles: That awful man threatened Derek to stay away from me or he'd hurt my mate’s betas or me.

Stiles’ eyes are glassy with tears and his lower lip trembles slightly as the camera zooms in for a heartbreaking close up.

Howleen: Oh, you poor thing, that's awful.

Stiles: It was awful, I was so scared for my friends and boyfriend. And to make things worse, I spoke to my friend, Chris Argent of the double-PD, paranormal police department, and he said that what Ennis did was illegal but the alpha never wrote anything down, was just telling people and there's no evidence. Derek and I eventually managed to talk it out and realised that Enn- the alpha was lying, but my heart goes out to any other alphas and emissaries he might tear apart just to make himself sound good in passing conversation.

Stiles’ tears escape his eyes and stream down his face. Stiles is no longer making eye contact with the cameras or the audience, staring into his lap dejectedly.

Howleen: I feel you, Stiles, I hope karma is coming for that awful man and I'm glad you and Derek turned out okay, despite his interference. We'll be right back after the break!

 

Daily Mail headline

NYPD seeks anyone who can provide information on a series of savage vigilante attacks on Alpha Ennis following a Howleen interview with American Spark-Sweetheart.

  • It's not very often that paranormal news is relevant to our news, but vigilantism is dangerous.
  • Badmouthing the sacred bond, will legal action be taken against this mouthy alpha?
  • Slander is illegal, but in the case of the paranormal community, also violates the deep spiritual beliefs held by the majority of werewolves and other shifters.

 

Top Comments

Anonymous - We ain't no snitch

Bunnygal56 - That's awful the magic world can be so scary and dangerous, lying isn't that bad!!!!;!!! Stay safe :(

Alpharedridinghard - He deserved it