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Blossom

Chapter Text

While my roots hid deeper inside
And my leaves stay bundled up tight
I felt my faith get bigger than life
Not only did I survive...
I learned to blossom,
I learned to blossom
finding sunlight in the grey
Knowing I will be okay
I learned to blossom
finding sunlight in the grey
Through a lifetime with no rain, I'll blossom"

No one really thought about the effect basically being erased from existence would have on a person. The pack just expected everything to be perfectly fine once they’d saved the day and Stiles, as well as the others that had been taken, were back and safe. And that’s true, Stiles was safe now. But he couldn’t say he felt fine.

Having to see his own father look at him and not even recognize him still haunts him. It had given him flashbacks to when his mother was sick and didn’t know who he was. To have that happen again with his dad and everyone else he knew was horrible. Lydia had remembered and stuck with him until the Ghost Riders had taken him but even then, Stiles had often wondered if the reach of the Ghost Riders extended outside of Beacon Hills. More specifically to Derek.

It was a weird thing to think about when he was stuck in some weird in between reality with a bunch of people who didn’t even realize what was happening to them, not even Peter. He had spared a little thought to why he did when the others didn’t but didn’t let himself go down that path very far. His mind had drifted to his friends and his Dad and whether they were safe or if they’d be able to save him. But it also drifted to Derek. Being grateful that the man had gotten out of Beacon Hills when he did and got to avoid the most recent shit show they were dealing with. At the time, Stiles didn’t realize that Derek had come back to Beacon Hills, being pulled back to the place for a reason he couldn’t quite explain.

The thought of Derek had made Stiles feel more calm than anything else since the thought of the pack and his Dad still out there with the Ghost Riders filled him with anxiety that he was trying to keep in check.

Finding Peter there had also been unexpected. Before seeing Peter in the train station Stiles hadn’t even realized he’d been missing. He couldn’t help but wonder if that was what it was like for the pack, if they didn’t realize he was missing or that there was even someone to miss. How could you help someone you didn’t even know needed your help? But this was Stiles and he wasn’t known to give up so of course he found a way to communicate with Scott and Lydia. He needed them to understand the danger they were in, that the whole town was in. Sure, he wanted them to figure out a way to get him out but he also mostly just wanted them to be safe. As much as he had wanted to see the others again he hadn’t wanted it to be in that creepy train station.

Coming back to see that Derek had returned and brought Erica, Boyd, and Isaac along with him had been a surprise. When Stiles had first saw Derek, his body had acted before he could really think about what he was doing. He found himself hugging Derek tightly and was surprised to feel Derek hugging him back just as tightly, breathing out a soft "Stiles" against his ear. They'd stayed like that for a moment, just breathing the other in and reveling in the feeling of just being near the other. Until someone to Derek's left coughed causing them to break apart. Stiles had looked over and saw Erica, Boyd, and Isaac standing there.

Isaac was smirking, but Erica was staring at Stiles with her hands on her hips, her bright red lips pulled down in a pout "I better get just as warm a welcome."

Stiles heard Isaac mutter something that sounded like “I wouldn’t count on it.” But Stiles had ignored him and Stiles grinned at Erica, hugging her tightly "I missed you, Catwoman."

"Missed you too, Batman."

Stiles pulled back and looked at Isaac, who's smirk had dropped when Stiles had started towards him "Don't even think about…”

Whatever protest Isaac had been about to make had died when Stiles tackled Isaac to the floor in a very enthusiastic hug. Isaac had complained and rolled his eyes but he still hugged Stiles back before pushing him off.

Stiles grinned up at them all before turning his attention towards Boyd “I don’t suppose you want some of this Stilinski hugging action too?”

Boyd had just rolled his eyes and offered Stiles a hand up. He did pat Stiles on the back with a small smile before going back to stand by Erica so Stiles had counted that as a win.

 

That had been weeks ago, and no matter how hard Stiles tried he hadn’t been able to shake off the sinking feeling he’d felt in his gut ever since the Ghost Riders appeared. He tried to tap it down, tried to put on a smile so that no one would sense something was wrong. It worked a little too well. No one suspected anything, just accepting that Stiles was okay and moving on with their lives like they did every single time.

Stiles found himself going up to Derek’s old loft, which had been emptied ages ago. Derek had decided to move into a new apartment while he worked on building a pack house out in the preserve. The loft might have its bad memories and might be creepy now that it’s been abandoned but Stiles still found himself drawn there. He sighs and sits down on the couch Derek had left behind, putting his head in his hands.

He’s startled when he hears a voice come from behind him “You can’t get past it either I’m guessing.”

Stiles lifts his head up and looks over to see Peter sitting on the spiral staircase leading upstairs. How Stiles hadn’t notice him when he walked in he doesn’t know. Then again Peter can be a bit of a lurker. Stiles wants to deny what Peter said but he knows there’s no point “It’s not as easy as everyone thinks it should be.”

Peter stands up and walks over, taking a seat beside Stiles but still a nice distance away, giving the boy his space. "Try as they might the others just aren't going to get it. They weren't there. Sure, they had their own issues with the Ghost Riders but they didn't experience it the way we did. They couldn't possibly know what it's like to be erased like that."

"But you do." Stiles says. It's not even a question, just a simple fact

"I do. Admittedly I didn't have near as many people to miss me as you did but I was still erased, forgotten, just like you were. You at least had the luxury of knowing someone was probably coming for you."

Stiles doesn’t say anything at first. He just looks off into the distance, thinking. A year ago, Stiles would have agreed with Peter. But after everything that had happened Stiles had to admit that he had his own doubts about whether the others would be able to remember him, especially Scott. That thought makes him feel a little sad. Scott has been his best bro since they were kids, he should have been able to count on him more than anyone else. But things had been strained between them ever since the Nogitsune and they only got worse after the Donovan situation. Even though they’d hugged it out Stiles still felt there was something broken in their friendship and he wasn’t sure if he could fix it. He wasn’t sure if he should be the one to have to fix it.

Stiles knows Scott fought hard to remember him. Still, he can’t help but wonder if Scott would have fought so hard if he knew exactly who he was remembering. It’s one thing to want someone back when you’re told this person is your best friend, but it’s a completely different thing to be faced with the reality of it all. Stiles wishes he could say that things had been great between them ever since he’d been brought back, but that wasn’t necessarily true. Sure, Scott had been happy to have Stiles back but that had been in the middle of the fight with the Ghost Riders. Afterwards, once things had settled down, there was this awkwardness that hung in the air between them.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you be this quiet.” Peter says, breaking Stiles out of his thoughts.

Stiles snaps his eyes back over to Peter and shrugs. “I’m just full of surprises.”

Peter smirks. “I don’t doubt that. But I think we both know that this is more than that.”

Stiles sighs. “What? What do you expect to happen here? Us to have some big heart to heart and everything be grand?”

“I’m not expecting anything Stiles. This doesn’t have to be some emotional bonding session. I’m just letting you know I’m here and I understand what you’re going through if you need to talk it out.”

Stiles looks at Peter for a moment, studying the man. He seems sincere enough. “Why do you care how I deal with this?”

Peter rolls his eyes. “I know I haven’t been the… nicest person since you met me. But I’m not completely heartless.”

“You didn’t see anyone you knew before the Ghost Riders took you, did you?”

Peter shakes his head. “No, I told you before I was on my way out of town when they got me. Why?”

“I did.” Stiles says, fighting down the sinking feeling he gets every time he remembers the looks on everyone’s faces as they forgot him. “I saw them as they all started to forget me. Liam, Mason, Scott, my Dad. The only person that didn’t forget right away was Lydia but I think that probably has more to do with her being a Banshee than any special connection we have.”

“I thought you and Lydia were close now?”

“We’re closer than we were before. But not enough to warrant her remembering me longer than anyone else. As grateful as I was to have her there.”

“It must have been hard having your own father forget you.” Peter says.

He words hold no bite to them, and Stiles can tell that he hadn’t meant it in his usual snarky way. He was just making a statement. Stiles sits there for a moment debating with himself. He feels weird thinking about opening up to Peter of all people but who else is there? He can’t put this on his Dad, the man already feels guilty enough. And with him and Scott still on shaky ground he can’t exactly open up to him. Plus, Scott’s always busy. Everyone’s busy. Which is the problem. Stiles is back but part of him feels like he’s still floating somewhere no one can reach him. His mind is constantly screaming, but that has been happening for well over a year now, ever since the Nogitsune.

He doesn’t exactly have very many choices when it comes to talking to someone about everything, so why not Peter? The worst he can do is be an asshole about it, but Stiles is more than used to that sort of behavior from the man.

“It was.” Stiles says, clearing his throat when his voice starts to crack. “That was the hardest one, to have my own father look at me with no hint of recognition on his face. It reminded me of what happened to my Mom when she was sick. I mean there was less yelling about me trying to kill her, but it… She forgot me first. She still remembered my Dad but she thought I was some demon child sent to kill her and take her away.” Stiles pauses, taking a deep breath and staring down at his hands, purposefully not looking at Peter. “My Dad had tried to explain to her who I was but she just kept saying she didn’t have a son. Having my Dad look at me with not even a hint of recognition on his face just brought all that to the surface, I guess.”

Peter’s uncharacteristically silent for a moment, causing Stiles to chance a glance over at him. Rather than looking at Stiles, Peter is staring up at the ceiling, his expression thoughtful. “And you haven’t talked to your Dad about what happened?”

“Of course not! He feels guilty enough. I’m not going to put this on him.”

“You’re his son Stiles.” Peter says, voice placating. “I imagine he’s already worried about you and wants to know what’s going on with you, that you’re alright.”

“But I’m not alright.”

“Then he deserves to know that too. You’ve been through an ordeal. Talk to your Dad, if only to help give him some peace.”

“Why do you care?” Stiles asks.

“I’m starting to understand what it means to be a parent, I guess.” Peter says, surprising Stiles with his honesty. “I know Malia and I don’t have the most conventional father/daughter relationship but she is my daughter. It might not be the same bond you have with your father but I can at least imagine how worried he must be about you.” Peter stands up, heading to the door, only stopping just before opening it to look back at Stiles. “Just think about what I said. And of course, if you even think about telling anyone about this conversation I’ll deny it.”

Stiles roll his eyes, a grin appearing on his face. “Of course, gotta protect your reputation.”

The last thing Stiles sees is Peter’s toothy grin before the door is shut behind him. Today has been a weird day.

 

Peter leaves the loft feeling slightly proud of himself. He’d noticed a difference in Stiles ever since they defeated the Wild Hunt but had decided to stay out of it at first, figuring Scott or Lydia or even Derek would notice and confront the kid. But as more time went on he realized that no one had talked to Stiles and it didn’t look like anyone was going to, at least not without a push. So, Peter started to pay more attention to Stiles, noticing the constant shifts in his mood, the way he always tries to hide his emotions.

Peter noticed how much time Stiles had been spending at Derek’s old loft and decided to wait him out, figuring he was bound to turn up at some point. He wasn’t disappointed. After listening to the kid talk he’s glad he decided to confront him after all. All that pent-up emotion wasn’t healthy, if anyone should know that it’s Peter.

He just hopes Stiles takes his advice and talks to the Sheriff about what he’s going through. As for the other members of the pack, well Peter would make sure they pulled their heads out of their asses some way or another, starting with Derek. Peter knew Derek noticed something was up with Stiles. His nephew was just too emotionally guarded to say anything about it. Actions though, that was a different story. So, for now Peter is more than content to sit back and watch, lending a helpful push whenever needed.

Chapter Text

John Stilinski wasn’t dumb. He knew something was going on with his son. He also knew how much his son liked to keep to himself. After everything Stiles has been through he’s learned to deal with it on his own. John knew that. He didn’t like it much. But he knew his son liked to handle his own problems, not wanting to drag other people into it if he didn't have to.

And when he didn't want to deal with things on his own Stiles always had Scott. At least he hoped he did. John knew things were strained between them but he hoped they'd overcome it. Stiles needed someone he could trust to open up to, even if that person isn't him. Maybe John would talk to Derek. He was more likely to notice if something was wrong with his son than Scott was. Partly because Scott tended to be a bit oblivious and partly because he knew Derek paid attention.

John sighs, about to pick up his phone when Stiles comes bounding into the house. He spots John and his shoulders sag in relief.

“Everything alright son?” John asks, watching as Stiles flops down onto the couch.

“Yeah everything's f…” Stiles closes his mouth with a clack, glancing over at his father. “No, actually everything's not fine. I'm not fine.”

John stares at his son for a moment before he gets up and sits next to him on the couch. “You want to talk about it?”

Stiles nods but doesn't say anything. So, John decides to break the silence. “Not that I'm not happy that you want to talk to me but what brought this on?”

“I talked to Peter.” Stiles says. “Though he told me not to tell anyone.”

“You talked to Peter? Peter Hale?” The Sheriff asks, face skeptical.

Stiles shrugs. “Yeah I know. I was surprised too.”

“And he told you to talk to me?”

“He seems to think it will help.” Stiles says. “Not that I'm usually one to take advice from Peter but in this case, he was right. We need to talk.”

The Sheriff nods. “I know we do. I just didn't want to push you. I figured you'd come to me when the time was right.”

Stiles sighs, running a hand through his hair. “This isn’t going to be easy.”

“I know son. But nothing that matters ever is.”

Stiles takes a deep breath then begins to speak. Finding that once he starts talking the words just start spilling out. “It was hard, having you forget me. Having you look at me with zero sign of recognition on your face. And I know it wasn’t your fault. I do. But it just made me think back to what happened with Mom and the way she was in the end. Seeing you look at me like that… having both parents forget me. It just. It killed me. And I tried so hard not to think about it when I was in that train station because I knew I needed to focus. But now…”

John’s heart aches seeing how upset his son is, hearing the way his voice starts breaking. He does the only thing he can think of and pulls Stiles into a hug, wrapping his arms tightly around his son and holding him to his chest. When he does, Stiles starts outright sobbing, mumbling apologies into his chest. “It’s okay, Stiles. You have nothing to apologize for.”

“I didn’t want to put this on you. I know how hard things have been for you ever since mom died. I didn't want to add to that.”

John’s heart clenches at that. Stiles wasn't holding back for himself. He was doing it for him. He pulls Stiles tighter against him, unable to stop the tears from falling. “I'm so sorry son. I should have been there. I should have been better. And I will. But I want you to listen to me. I don't ever want you to feel like you have to keep things from me. I'm your Dad, I'm supposed to be the one looking after you, not the other way around.”

Stiles snorts, pulling back to look at his dad. “Nice try old man, but I'm always going to look after you. Especially with the way you eat.”

John rolls his eyes, but gives Stiles a small smile as he ruffles his hair. “How about this, we'll look after each other?”

“Deal.”

“And to start things off why don't we begin by discussing Derek Hale.”

Stiles sputters. “Derek? What? Why? What about him?”

“Maybe how happy you were to have him back.”

“Well yeah,” Stiles says, not quite meeting his father’s eyes. “We're friends. And I missed him. Of course I was happy to see him.”

The Sheriff rolls his eyes. “Uh huh. Sure. You sure it's not more than that?” When Stiles doesn't respond John sighs. “I'm just saying it would be okay if it was. He's a good guy.”

“Yeah thanks Dad. But it's not me you have to convince.”

“You don't think he feels the same way?”

“Even if he does I don't think he's about to do anything about it.” Stiles says. “And that's fine. Derek's been through a lot. Whatever happens needs to be his choice. I'll wait if I have to.”

John smiles. “That's mature of you.”

Stiles shrugs, fighting a smile. “It's been known to happen from time to time.”

“So. What do you say we get some dinner and hang out and watch the game?”

“Sounds great. But no red meat!”

“I heard it’s not necessarily what you eat, just how much you eat of it. I think a little red meat every once and a while will be fine son.”

Stiles points a finger at him. “No way. You’re getting chicken or fish and vegetables!”

John groans. “Can I at least get something with a little butter or salt?”

“Nope!” Before John can argue Stiles is on his feet and making his way into the kitchen. Most likely to get the take-out menu from the diner they like to eat at. Stiles is back a few minutes later, car keys in his hand. “They said it’ll be about fifteen minutes so I’m gonna head over and pick it up. Be back soon!”

“Try not to get in any trouble while you’re gone!” John calls after him. “Love you son!”

“It’s Beacon Hills, there’s always trouble!” Stiles peeks his head back around the corner, a grin in place. “Love you too Dad.”

John watches him go with a smile on his face, turning on the game but not paying much attention other than keeping track of the score. He knows he has a lot to make up for when it comes to Stiles. But he also knows he’s going to do whatever it takes, for however long it takes to make sure Stiles knows just how important and loved he is. Starting with a phone call to Derek Hale.

Chapter Text

Derek notices something is off with Stiles, of course he does. He didn’t need a phone call from the Sheriff asking him to look out for his son and make sure he’s okay to realize something was wrong. He’s always been more in tune with the human’s emotions than almost anyone else in the pack. He notices the hint of sadness and loneliness that appear before Stiles tries to bury them down. None of the other wolves might notice, but Derek does. Being a born wolf he’s always had to be more aware of his senses and picking up on what other people’s emotions smell like. His Mom had made all of her children learn how to hone in on different feelings at a young age, even feelings and emotions people might be trying to hide.

So yes, he notices when Stiles tries to mask his feelings and cover them up with his fake grins and sarcastic remarks. Derek is just unsure what to do about it. He’s never been that good about talking about feelings. Hence why he ran off when he started realizing how serious his feelings for Stiles were, not feeling like his was the sort of person Stiles deserved. At least not yet. After everything that’s happened to Stiles, Derek wishes he hadn’t left. At least not for so long. He doesn’t regret leaving and working towards getting himself better, he regrets not being there for Stiles.

Derek being Derek, doesn’t bring the subject up to Stiles. Instead he starts doing little things to try and make Stiles feel cared for. He makes sure his apartment is always stocked with Stiles’ favorite snacks and drinks, he gets Netflix in the apartment after Stiles mentions wanting to have movie nights, he even goes out and starts looking for a new couch when Stiles complains about how uncomfortable the one Derek has is.

“Seriously Derek? This this is super uncomfortable. How is anyone supposed to sleep on this thing?”

“That’s what beds are for Stiles.”

“You offering up your bed, Der?”

The next day Derek starts looking at couches, determined to find one to Stiles’ liking. Except Derek is unsure what Stiles would like so he has no choice but to invite the other man along with him as he shops, even though he knows Stiles is likely to gloat about it the whole time. It’s worth it to see the way Stiles’ face lights up when Derek asks him to go. And the way he excitedly moves around the store, determined to find the best couch possible. Which of course means he has to try out every single one. At one point Stiles flops down onto one of the couches and then just lays on it, face down, rather than moving around on it like he’d done with the ones before.

“Stiles? Is the couch absorbing you?” Derek asks, not able to conceal the smile in his voice.

“It’s so comfy Der.” Stiles says, lifting his head slightly to look at Derek. “This is the one. It’s perfect. You need to try it. Here.”

Before Derek can argue, Stiles is reaching out and pulling Derek onto the couch with him. Derek lands half on top of Stiles before moving over to lay between Stiles and the back of couch. He expected it to be a tight fit, but it’s not. The couch is actually pretty roomy, giving them plenty of space to stretch out. And it’s far more comfortable than the one he has at his apartment. Derek can see why Stiles loves it so much.

“As much as I love this couch.” Derek mumbles, “I don’t think it’ll fit in my apartment.”

“It’s not meant for your apartment, Derek.” Stiles says, smiling over at him. “It’s meant for your house. It’s almost finished being built, right? So we can buy this and then keep it on hold or whatever until the house is done.”

“Do they do that sort of thing?” Derek asks.

“We do.” A voice responds from above them. Both Stiles and Derek jump, looking up to see a very amused female employee looking down at them. “We can have it stored somewhere and then delivered to you when you’re ready.”

“See Der!” Stiles says, hitting Derek on the shoulder. “This is a sign. We need this couch!”

On the inside, Derek feels with heart flutter at Stiles' constant use of we. On the outside, Derek rolls his eyes, but still can’t keep the fond smile off his face as he stands up, pulling Stiles along with him. “It is kind of perfect.” He turns to the employee “We’ll take it.”

Stiles claps his hands, before pulling his phone out of his pocket, still talking even as he starts walking away. “I gotta tell Lydia. She didn’t believe you’d actually buy a couch and now she owes me 20 bucks.”

Derek is so focused on watching as Stiles walks away that he doesn't notice the employee is still there, watching them, until her voice sounds from right next to him. “You two are cute together.”

Derek’s head snaps around to look at the women, Lindsey according to her name tag. He opens his mouth a few times before he finds his voice. “Oh… he’s… we’re not… together.”

“Hmm…” She looks thoughtful. “Could’ve fooled me. You definitely looked smitten.” Derek’s brows furrow. He didn’t look smitten, did he? Then again, he’s never been able to see his face when he’s looking at Stiles so there’s no telling. Before Derek can respond Lindsey is speaking again. “We should go get you checked out so that non-boyfriend of yours can get his money.”

Derek smiles and follows her over to the register where he puts down far more money than he’d planned to spend on a couch today, but seeing the happy look on Stiles’ face as they leave the store he can’t be bothered to care. It’s been so long since Stiles looked genuinely happy. Seeing that look fills Derek with even more determination to make sure Stiles has even more happy moments like these.

 

Derek knows Stiles has also been having trouble sleeping. He has ever since the Nogitsune. Derek can only assume it's getting bad again, if the constant bags under Stiles eyes and the way he always smells of exhaustion are anything to go by. He's just not sure what to do about it. And no one else seems to notice and that just pisses Derek off. Derek knows why he notices more than anyone else. Why he's always been more in tune to Stiles’ emotions than anyone else's. Why he can feel Stiles is in distress even when he's not around the other man. He's just not ready to admit it yet. At least not to Stiles. Stiles has enough going on right now.

So Derek reverts back to his old ways and hangs around outside the Stilinski house. He just wants to check on Stiles, make sure he's sleeping alright. If not, well Derek will figure something out. Maybe buy Stiles some tea and leave it on his bed. Granted no one else really sneaks into Stiles’ room so he was bound to know it was Derek.

Derek waits for an hour. The house is silent, both men seem to be sleeping. Then he notices Stiles’ heart rate suddenly spike, hearing barely audible whimpers coming from his room. Derek's on the roof and sliding into Stiles’ room before he can think twice about it. He gets behind Stiles, wrapping a comforting arm around him and whispering soothing words in his ear, trying his best to calm him. He hears Stiles heart rate slow and notices Stiles eyes start to open. Derek is out the window before Stiles has a chance to notice he's there.

It keeps happening after that. Derek has just started camping out in his car near the Stilinski house, always alert to Stiles. Every time Stiles has a nightmare Derek slips into his room, doing his best to calm the other man down, and then slipping out before he's awake enough to realize Derek was there.

He thinks he's doing a pretty good job of hiding. Until late one night after about two weeks of camping outside the Stilinski house the Sheriff appears outside his car, peering into the open window with an amused smile on his face.

“Since you're already here why don't you come in?” The Sheriff says, not even waiting for Derek before he starts walking back towards the house.

Derek considers just leaving but the man didn't seem mad. So Derek rolls up his window, turns off the car, and follows the Sheriff into the house. Derek finds him in the kitchen, two cups of steaming tea in front of him. The fact that the tea is already done must mean that the man made the tea before coming to talk to Derek. The Sheriff pushes a cup across the table and motions towards the chair. “Sit.”

Derek does as he's told, watching the man warily as he takes a hesitant sip of his tea. They’re silent for a few minutes, both men enjoying their tea in silence. It’s quiet for so long that Derek begins to wonder if the Sheriff is going to speak at all. It’s not until the man has finished his tea and set the cup down in front of him that he breaks the silence.

“So Derek,” the Sheriff starts “how long have you been sleeping outside my house?”

Derek looks down at his tea, before muttering “a few weeks.”

The Sheriff is quiet for a moment “And has… have you noticed any change?”

Derek considers this. Has the there been a change in Stiles’ sleeping? “He still has nightmares but not every night.”

The Sheriff nods, standing up and taking his cup to the sink. Derek does the same. Once he's done rinsing them he turns to face Derek. “If you're going to be here anyway you might as well start sleeping on the couch.” Derek starts to argue John cuts him off. “You're helping, at least a little bit. You might as well use the front door. There's a blanket and a pillow waiting for you.”

Derek nods. “Thank you.”

“You really care about him, don't you?”

“I do.”

“Good.” John says. “I'm glad my son has you looking out for him.” He starts to walk away but stops at the stairs, glancing at Derek “And Derek? You don't have to take off as soon as he wakes up. Not on my account. Not when I know he'd like you to stay.”

Derek just stands there gaping after the man, the blanket he’d just picked up clutched tightly in his hands. He sits down, glancing around the room trying to decide what to do. Should he try to sleep? He hasn't really been getting much of it in his car. But what if he falls asleep and Stiles has a nightmare and Derek misses it?

The decision is made for him when seconds later Stiles’ heart rate picks up, causing Derek to race quietly up the stairs. He almost runs into John, who was walking out of the bathroom. He stares at John with wide eyes before he hears a whimper from the other side of Stiles door and then he’s turning away and slipping into Stiles room. He barely notices the door closing softly behind him, already on the bed and wrapping himself around Stiles.

This time Stiles wakes almost instantly, momentarily stilling in Derek’s arms, before turning his head slightly. “Derek?”

“You were having a nightmare. Just go back to sleep.” Derek goes to take his arm away but Stiles stops him, turning himself around until he’s facing Derek.

“Stay.”

When Derek nods, Stiles pushes at Derek until he’s flat on his back before curling himself around Derek, resting his head on Derek’s chest. “I knew it was you sneaking in here.” Derek tenses momentarily causing Stiles to laugh, looking up at him with the same amused look his father wore earlier when he found Derek in his car. “Come on. No one else I know would creep outside my house and then slip into my window every time I have a nightmare. I suppose I have you to thank for the tea, too?”

“I just noticed you weren’t getting much sleep and wanted to help.”

Stiles squeezes Derek’s hand, smiling softly up at him. “You have been. The tea did help a bit. Well, when I actually remembered to drink it.”

“I’m glad.” Derek says, rubbing his thumb along the back of Stiles’ hand. “You should really try to get some sleep though.”

Stiles opens his mouth to say something but a huge yawn comes out instead. “Yeah you’re right. But if I sleep better with you here you might find yourself sleeping in here a lot more often.”

Derek smiles, running his nose along the top of Stiles’ head. “Sleep.”

Stiles does.

Derek wakes up first, opening his eyes to see Stiles still sleeping, his posture relaxed and a content smile on his face. He feels weird being in here awake while Stiles is still sleeping, but he doesn't want to risk waking Stiles up by trying to get out of bed.

When Stiles wakes a few minutes later, he smiles up at Derek sleepily. “Yeah I’m definitely keeping you.”

Something flutters in Derek’s gut. He can’t help but smile back at Stiles. He’ll sleep next to Stiles every night for the rest of his life if it means Stiles wakes up well rested and happy. Never mind how happy it makes him.

 

Over the next few weeks Derek notices Stiles does start looking better. He’s able to sleep through the night most nights, and on the nights he doesn’t Derek is there to calm him until Stiles feels at ease enough to go back to sleep. Derek still notices how things are different with Stiles and the pack though. How they’ll keep their distance from Stiles, having conversations among themselves, leaving Stiles off to the side. He notices Peter watching their interactions with narrowed eyes, which Derek finds interesting. Any other time Derek might be suspicious of Peter watching Stiles like that, but right now it seems like he might be the only other person interested in Stiles’ well-being.

Peter glances over at Derek when he approaches the other man after the rest of the pack have left. “You’ve started catching on, have you?”

Derek shrugs. “I noticed a while ago. I’ve been trying to help in my own way with other things. But this…”

Peter smirks. “You could always pull your rank as Alpha and make them talk to Stiles.”

“I don’t want to make them do anything.” Derek growls. “Stiles is their friend. He’s pack. They should want to include him in things. Should notice that he’s not okay.”

“So, sit them down and chastise them.” Peter suggests.

“Yelling at them in a group won’t help.” Derek sighs. “Yelling won’t help period. I’ll just have to talk to them, figure out what’s going on. It’ll just have to be done individually.”

And Derek knows exactly who to start with.

Chapter Text

Erica isn’t all that surprised when Derek holds her back after a pack meeting. He’s been known to do it from time to time just to check in with different members of the pack and make sure everything’s going okay. What is surprising though is the stern look he gives her. She tries to fight her instincts to cower under the look but isn’t sure she’s successful. So she just gives the alpha a smirk, trying to hold her ground. “Everything okay?”

“No.” Derek growls. “It’s not. And you would know that if you paid the least bit of attention.”

Erica bristles at that. She pays attention. She catches onto things most others in the pack don’t, except for maybe Lydia. “Excuse me? What is this about?”

Stiles!” At that, Erica actually does cower back, not just from the accusing tone in Derek’s voice but because now she knows exactly what he’s wanting to talk about. Derek doesn’t give her a chance to respond though, already speaking before she has an opportunity to defend herself, not that she really could. “You and everyone else in the pack have been keeping him at arm’s length for months. No one hangs out with him anymore and even when you all are in a room with him you barely even look at him let alone talk to him. What the hell, Erica? He’s pack. He’s your friend. After everything we’ve all been through you would think that means something. Especially you, since he’s the only reason you’re even alive right now.”

Erica looks down at her hands, suddenly feeling guilty. She knows Derek is right. Without Stiles’ help Derek never would have figured out where the Alpha pack were keeping her, Boyd, and Cora. At least not in time. Even then they’d barely gotten there in time. She’d been close to dying when they’d found her, but somehow she’d survived. “I wasn’t doing it on purpose. Not really. I just figured he’d need his space after everything. That he’d talk when he was ready.”
Derek sighs. “And you didn’t notice how hurt he was every time you didn’t include him?”

Erica shrugs. “He’s been smelling sort of sad for a while. We just thought it was because of what happened, not because of us.”

“Even then you should have said something! He was forgotten Erica. By everyone. Then he comes back and has his friends basically ignoring him and acting as if he isn’t even there. Did you not even think of what that could do to him?”

“Shit.” Erica mutters. “I’m sorry, Derek. I never meant to hurt him. None of us did. We’ll make it up to him. I promise.”

“You’re damn right you will.” Derek says. “But not all of you. Not all at once. You’re doing this alone. Then you’ll include Isaac and Boyd before everyone else. We’re going to do this slowly.”

Erica nods, standing up. “Sure. Whatever you want.”

Derek follows her to the door, stopping her with a hand on her arm before she has a chance to leave. “Make this right Erica.”

 

Erica, never one for being subtle, tackle hugs Stiles the next time she sees him. Stiles is startled at first but then he's laughing and hugging her back. Erica quickly gets to her feet, pulling Stiles with her. “So, I was thinking of having a Batman marathon now that Derek finally has a TV, you in?”

Erica catches Derek's nod of approval when Stiles’ face lights up and he claps his hands excitedly. “Duh! But we're doing Clooney.”

Erica shrugs. “Fine. Michelle Pfeiffer is hot as Catwoman anyway.”

“She was your inspiration, wasn't she?”

Erica grins. “You know it.”

Stiles looks over at Derek where he's just watching the two of them, a fond smile on his face. Erica is pretty sure that smile is more for Stiles than her. “You gonna join us Sourwolf?”

Erica can tell Derek is going to refuse so she speaks before he has a chance. “Come on, Derek. You need to be educated on the awesome that is Batman.”

“I've watched the movies.” Derek mutters, but he's walking into the living room, taking a seat on one side of Stiles, leaving the other side open for Erica.

Erica notices how Stiles almost immediately leans into Derek, Derek barely hesitating before wrapping an arm around Stiles to pull him closer.

Erica smirks over at them from her spot by the DVD player. Her smirk turns into a full out grin when Derek flashes his eyes at her. Once the DVD is in Erica takes a seat on the other side of Stiles. After debating for a moment, she lays down until her head is resting in Stiles’ lap. Erica sighs happily when she scents the air and notices the contentment not only coming from Stiles but from Derek as well. She counts today as a win.

 

Erica starts making more of an effort after that to hang out with Stiles. Most of the time it isn't hard to find him since he seems to be spending all of his free time at Derek's. Erica walks into Derek's apartment one day and stops dead in her tracks. This is the first time in weeks that she's been there without Stiles being there. But it smells like him. “Oh my god.”

Derek stills from his place by the stove, looking over at her. “Something wrong?”

Erica shakes her head. “No it's just… it smells like Stiles in here.”

“Of course it does, Stiles was just here.” Derek tells her.

“No that's not it. I never noticed before because Stiles has always been here but it smells like him. His scent is everywhere.”

Derek raises an eyebrow, appearing calm but Erica can hear his heartbeat quicken. “And?”

And it smells like you. Both of you. Together. Your scents combined. Like you're one. Like he's yours.”

Derek's eyes widen. “We've just been spending a lot of time together, that's all.”

Erica raises an eyebrow. “Is it?”

Derek scoffs. “Of course it is. What else would it be?”

“That you're scenting him. Making him smell like you. Making this place smell like the two of you. Maybe you're not even doing it on purpose. But you're doing it. And I think I know why.”

Derek stills, his muscles going taught. “I doubt that.”

“You love him, don't you?” Erica asks, moving closer with a sigh when Derek doesn't say anything. “It's kind of obvious that there are feelings there, on both sides. Why don't you just tell him?”

“He's been through a lot. I don't want to push him into something if he's not ready.”

“Why don't you let him decide what he's ready for Derek?”

“Because it's more complicated than just feelings!” Derek shouts, pulling at his hair. “He's different. Different than anyone else. I've known that since I met him. But we were both so young and I didn't understand it fully. Then I came back and smelled him.”

“What did he smell like?” Erica asks, voice soft.

Derek closes his eyes, his nostrils flaring as he scents the air. “Like electricity and flour and cinnamon. Like home. Like he was mine.” Derek sighs when he opens his eyes and meets Erica’s wide eyed gaze. “So like I said, more complicated.”

“What does that mean?” Erica asks, voice barely above a whisper.

Derek sits down, his body suddenly feeling too heavy to stand. “It means we're mates.”

“What? So you're like soulmates?”

“Sort of. It's not exactly common, even among born wolves. But I remember my Mom telling me about it. She had to explain it after I met Stiles and caught his scent the first time. I was only 10 so I didn't really understand. I just knew I had the sudden urge to be near him, to keep him safe. My Mom had to hold me back from going over there and then rush me to the car since I was starting to shift. I forgot about it until I saw Stiles again. Then I just knew. I knew he was meant to be mine. But I couldn't tell him then. Everything was too messed up. We barely knew each other. I was too screwed up. I couldn't just walk up to him and be like ‘Hey you're meant to be mine forever. Cool?’”

“You're starting to sound like him.” Erica smirks. “I get why you didn't say anything then but why not later?”

“When? When we were fighting Peter? Or the Kanima and the Argents? Or Jennifer? Or the Nogitsune? What about the Benefactor? There was never a right time.”

“There might never be, Derek. But he has the right to know.”

Derek sighs. “I know. I will. I just don't know when.”

“Well you better figure it out. If you don't tell him I will.”

Derek growls, jumping off the couch and tackling her to the ground, tickling her. “You'll do no such thing.”

“Well this is unexpected.” Both Erica and Derek look up to see Stiles staring down at them, laughter apparent on his face. “I always knew Derek was a softie, but I wasn’t aware he was also a tickle monster.”

“I’ll show you tickle monster.” Derek growls and jumps up, launching himself at Stiles, causing the younger man to laugh and run away. Erica watches in amusement as Derek chases a laughing Stiles around the apartment. It goes on for a few minutes until Stiles trips and starts to fall. He barely misses hitting his head on the counter when Derek steps in front of him and wraps an arm around his waist to stop him from falling. They stand there just staring at each other, both breathing heavily.

Erica watches with bated breath as their eyes drop down to the others lips, both moving closer. They're close enough now that they're noses are brushing, their lips barely centimeters apart. Erica’s internally screaming, thinking she's about to witness their first kiss when the apartment door slams open, Isaac running inside. Derek and Stiles jump apart and Erica growls, grabbing Isaac by the back of his shirt and throwing him out of the apartment, slamming the door in his face.

She leans against it as Isaac bangs in the door from the other side. “What the hell Erica? Come on! Let me in!”

“No!” Erica shouts back. “You’ going to think long and hard about what you just did!”

“But I don't even know what I did!” Isaac whines.

Before Erica can respond, Derek is walking over to the door, moving Erica aside and opening the door to let Isaac in. Erica glares, whispering to where only Derek and Isaac can hear. “If anyone should be upset it's you! He totally ruined the moment!”

Derek shrugs, looking over at Stiles with a soft smile on his face. When Stiles sees them looking he blushes and looks away, a small grin lighting up his face. “I'm sure there will be other moments.”

Erica throws her hands up, watching as Derek walks into the kitchen, squeezing Stiles’ shoulder on the way. They fall into easy conversation after that, no awkwardness between them. The only sign that the almost kiss occurred being the soft smiles and blushes that cover their faces when they catch each other's gaze. “Idiots.”

“Did I miss something?” Isaac asks, watching the scene with wide eyes.

Erica just growls and cuffs the back of his head. “We need to talk.”

She grabs Isaac by the arm and starts dragging him out of the apartment, ignoring his protests. She’s done her part, now it’s time to do what Derek said and involve the others, starting with Isaac.

“What's going on Erica?” Isaac asks, after he's been dragged a suitable distance from Derek's apartment to a nearby park.

Erica falls back onto the grass, motioning for Isaac to do the same. “We're a bunch of assholes.”

“And? That's not anything new.”

“Yeah well this is more than normal. We've fucked up, big.”

“With what?” Isaac asks, honestly having no clue what Erica could be talking about.

“With Stiles!” Erica throws her hands up in obvious frustration.

Isaac flinches back. “Oh.”

“Yeah oh!” Erica says. “We made a mistake when it comes to how to handle Stiles. And Derek is not happy. We have to make it right.”

“How?”

“Spend time with him. Include him in things. Remind him that he's pack.” Erica tells him. “I've already started. Now it's your turn.”

“Why are we taking turns?” Isaac asks.

“Because we need to take it slow. We don't want him to get suspicious. Especially with how much the pack has been isolating him lately.”

“And it’s not going to be suspicious if I suddenly want to start hanging out with him? We’ve never exactly been best buddies.”

“Just try, Isaac.” Erica says, looking over at him. “Please.”

“Fine.” Isaac mumbles. “I’ll be nice to Stilinski. But I’m not gonna like it.”

Erica rolls her eyes. “No one said you had to.”

Chapter Text

The first time Isaac asks Stiles if he wants to hang out Stiles outright laughs in his face, so much that he has to wipe tears from his eyes, as he brushes past Isaac and heads into the kitchen. “Good one. You almost had me there for a minute.”

“But I’m serious!” Isaac calls after him.

“Uh huh, sure. We both know you can’t stand me Isaac. No need to pretend otherwise.”

Isaac groans, barely refraining from banging his head on the wall. This is going to be a lot harder than he’d initially thought. He sees Erica and Derek watching him from the living room and shrugs. Erica smirks but Derek raises an eyebrow and motions towards the kitchen, clearly expecting Isaac to try again. Isaac rolls his eyes but follows Stiles into the kitchen.

Stiles looks over at him when he enters the kitchen. “Got another joke to tell?”

“I wasn’t joking.” Isaac mumbles.

“Wait, really?” Stiles asks, eyes widening when Isaac nods. “You actually want to hang out?”

“I said I did, didn’t I?”

“Well yeah. But we’ve never hung out before, so why now?”

Isaac shrugs. “We’re pack. The rest of the pack hangs out together, so why shouldn’t we? It might strengthen the bond or something.”

“But what would we do?”

“I don’t know! Play video games, go see a movie. Despite our many differences there has to be something we have in common.”

At this point, Isaac is about to cut his losses and walk away. He’d tried. Then Stiles smiles and hands a bowl of popcorn to him. “Sure, why not?”

“Will you two just get in here with the popcorn already so we can start the movie?” Erica calls from the living room.

“You can start the movie without the popcorn Erica!” Stiles calls back.

“You know Derek refuses to start the movie without you, Stiles. So just get your ass in here. He needs you to protect him during the scary parts.”

Isaac snickers when he sees Stiles blush, earning himself a swat upside the head as Stiles walks by. They walk into the living room just in time to see a pillow hitting Erica square in the face. Erica glares at Derek, attempting to throw the pillow back at him but Derek catches it easily, putting the pillow back behind his head. Derek’s curled up in the huge armchair for once and Isaac can see Stiles debating with himself, looking between the spot on the floor in front of the couch and the spot next to Derek. That is until Derek rolls his eyes, grabbing Stiles’ hand and pulling him down onto the chair with him. Stiles flails but somehow manages not to spill any popcorn.

Isaac shakes his head, taking a seat next to Erica and Boyd on the couch, suddenly feeling like a fifth wheel. Sure, Stiles and Derek aren’t technically dating but they certainly act like it sometimes. Erica and Boyd though are together so sitting next to them might be kind of dangerous. “Why didn’t you two take the armchair?” Isaac asks, glancing over at them.

Boyd shrugs, shooting a look towards Derek. Which most likely means he knows but doesn’t want to out his Alpha. Erica is a different story. She speaks low enough to where Stiles shouldn’t be able to hear but Derek most definitely can. “Derek wanted the chair so he could cuddle with Stiles.”

“He’d cuddle with Stiles anyway.” Isaac points out.

“Maybe he just wanted to get Stiles alone over there so he could finally make a move.” Erica grins.

Isaac snorts. “We would be so lucky. The tension is killing me.”

Derek shoots Isaac and Erica a glare. “Will you two just shut up and watch the movie?”

“Hey! Boyd is over here too!”

“Boyd is actually watching the movie and not gossiping like the two of you.” Derek points out.

“Well if someone would…”

“Erica.”

Erica stops speaking, both her and Isaac glancing over at Boyd to see him watching them with an admonishing look. They all settle in to watch the movie and manage to last 5 minutes in peace before Stiles’ voice breaks the silence sending Isaac and Erica into a fit of laughter. “What scary parts are there during Moana?”

 

Isaac spends the next week trying to think of what him and Stiles could possibly do together. The answer comes to him by accident. Isaac shows up early to pack night at Derek's, knowing Stiles will most likely be there. Stiles is there all the time so it's a pretty good assumption. Sure enough, when Isaac walks into the apartment he finds Stiles in the kitchen. Baking. Isaac stops in his tracks, hit by the smell of baked goods.

When Stiles spots him, he waves his spoons in Isaac's direction. “No! You are not getting any until the rest of the pack is here.”

“What are you going to do? Beat me with a spoon?”

Stiles narrows his eyes. “I’m opposed to unnecessary violence but a nice swat on the hand should work if you even think of coming near my brownies.”
Isaac rolls his eyes. “Relax Stilinski. I'm not here to steal your baked goods.”

“Damn right you're not.” Stiles goes back to what he's doing, flittering around the kitchen with ease. Isaac has a moment to wonder just how often Stiles cooks here, before Stiles is speaking again. “Know anything about baking?”

Isaac shrugs. “I've done it from time to time.”

“Want to help?”

Isaac’s eyes widen. “Really?”

Stiles shrugs. “Sure. As long as you don't screw it up. And promise not to eat anything.”

Isaac walks into the kitchen and is immediately handed a bowl from Stiles and told to stir. They talk a bit while they're baking, mostly about school and the latest television show Stiles is interested in. It all seems to be going well until the conversation turns to the pack. That's when Isaac notices Stiles’ mood shift. He isn’t surprised, after his talk with Erica he knows the pack have messed up when it comes to Stiles. Still if there’s one person that Stiles can rely on to be there it’s his best friend. Isaac figures it’s safe ground. Except it’s not.

“So, how's Scott?” Isaac asks. Scott hasn’t been to pack nights for going on two months but Isaac figures if anyone has talked to him it would be Stiles.

Stiles stills for a moment, before returning to his stirring with much more force. “I'm not sure.”

“Really? He's your best friend, you two were practically joined at the hip.”

Stiles slams the bowl down, grabbing a pan before starting to pour the batter in. “We haven't really talked much lately. He's been busy.” Stiles puts the pan in the oven, setting a timer, before getting a different bowl to start on more brownies. “Hand me the flour.”

“Too busy?” Isaac asks, handing the flour to Stiles. Stiles carefully measures the flour and starts stirring the batter, holding the bowl close to his chest. Isaac knows he should probably stop. Stiles is practically radiating with anger but something makes him keep going. Stiles hasn’t had anyone to really talk to about this, besides Derek. Surely talking about it will help. “You're his best friend! How can he be too busy? And you two have classes together!”

“He changed his classes this semester, okay? So no, I don't know how he is! Why don't you ask him?!”

Isaac isn't sure what happens at first. One minute Stiles is yelling, the next batter is exploding out of the bowl and covering him and Stiles, as well as the kitchen. Isaac just stares at him with wide eyes, taking in the way batter covers Stiles face and hair and Stiles eyes briefly flash gold, before he laughs. Gold eyes or not, Stiles isn’t a werewolf, he would know. And that batter did not fly out on its own. Isaac can only come to one conclusion. "What the hell Stilinski? You never said you were a witch!”

Stiles rubs the back of his neck. "That's because I don't exactly know what I am. I've been trying to figure it out but..." Stiles shrugs, looking around at the mess.

"Maybe I could help you research it." Isaac suggests.

"Really? You'd do that?" Stiles asks.

"Of course. I might be a bit of an asshole sometimes but you're pack."

Stiles smiles. "Thanks Isaac. And one more thing."

"What's that?"

"You can't tell anyone. At least not yet."

"Okay. But how are you going to explain the mess?" Isaac asks.

"Something tells me Derek will believe it just happened." Stiles says. "We should still work on getting it cleaned up though."

Isaac groans. "You sure you can't use your magic to clean it up."

"Even if I could, I don't know how to do it."

Derek finds them a few minutes later, brownies in the oven, attempting to mop up the mess off the flour. He takes one look at the mess and rolls his eyes. "I don't even want to know. Just clean it up."

Later while they're all settled in the living room watching a movie Isaac goes into the kitchen to get something to drink. He pauses, looking around the kitchen when he smells batter, sure that they had cleaned it all up. When he doesn’t notice any on the floor or counters he looks up, having to put a hand over his mouth to stifle his laughter. Not wanting to draw too much attention just let he walks to the door of the kitchen and tries to get Stiles attention. After some frantic waving around Stiles finally looks his way, raising an eyebrow at Isaac’s exaggerated movements. Isaac motions him over, mouthing a silent “come here!”

Stiles rolls his eyes but gets up and walks into the kitchen, a confused Derek on his heels. Derek wrinkles his nose when he steps into the kitchen, clearly smelling the batter. “I thought I told you two to clean all the batter up?”

Stiles looks around the kitchen, not spotting any batter. “We did clean it up!”

“Then why can I still smell it?” Derek asks, crossing his arms across his chest.

“I don’t know.” Stiles says, gesturing around the kitchen. “But there’s clearly not any batter left.”

“Oh there’s still batter left.” Isaac says, looking between the two of them with a wide grin.

“Then where is it?” Stiles asks.

“Not anywhere you’ve been looking, that’s for sure.”

Isaac!” Derek growls. “Just tell us where it is.”

Isaac doesn’t say anything, just directs his eyes upward, pointing a finger up towards the ceiling as he fails to contain his laughter.

Derek looks up to where Isaac is pointing, shock clear on his face. "What the hell Stiles? How'd you get it on the ceiling?"

Stiles follows Derek’s gaze and his eyes widen as a blush appears on his cheeks, “Oh my god.”

Isaac laughs so hard he has to lean on the counter for support, but still manages to fall onto the floor. His laughter intensifies when he looks up to see Derek glowering above him.

“Seriously Stiles. How did it get up there?”

Stiles puts on his most innocent smile. "I thought you didn't want to know?"

Derek rolls his eyes, pulling Stiles towards him, until they're both directly under the batter. “I told you to clean it up.”

Stiles flails in his grip. “But it’s on the ceiling! How am I supposed to reach it?”

Isaac nearly falls over laughing again at the sight of Stiles on Derek’s shoulders, attempting to clean batter off the ceiling while Erica films it.

 

The mood shifts after that. Isaac keeps his word and locates a few books on magic that he thinks might help Stiles and brings them over to Derek’s. Remembering what Stiles said about keeping this between them he hides them in his old backpack under some movies. If Derek gets suspicious about the bag Isaac figures he can just open it and show the movies and be safe, as long as Derek doesn’t want to look through the bag. Isaac shows up to the apartment to see chaos, or at least what looks like chaos. He can hear Stiles and Derek somewhere in the apartment but the only thing he can really see are boxes.

“Derek? Stiles?” Isaac calls out, closing the apartment door behind him. He’s almost afraid to put his bag down, not wanting to risk losing it in the chaos.

Stiles pokes his head around the corner leading to the bedrooms, smiling when he sees Isaac. “Isaac, hey! I didn’t know you were coming over.”

“Uh yeah. I had something to show you.” He holds up his bag to show Stiles. “What’s with all the boxes?”

“The house is done.” Derek tells him, walking up to stand next to Stiles, resting a hand on the other man’s back. “So, we’re getting everything packed up so I can get moved in.”

“So we can get moved in.” Stiles corrects him.

Derek rolls his eyes. “Yes, fine. We are moving in…together… as friends.”

“You two are going to live together?” Isaac asks, making sure to stop for effect, enjoying watching Derek squirm a bit. “As friends?” As friends his ass. If those two are just friends then he’s the Pope.

“At least for now. It just seemed easier.” Stiles says, obviously oblivious to Derek’s discomfort. “I still need to figure out what I’m doing after graduation but until then it just makes sense to live at Derek’s.”

“I have the room.” Derek adds. “And it was meant to be a pack house anyway.”

Isaac looks between the two of them wondering how the two of them can be such oblivious idiots. Isaac doesn’t doubt that Derek meant it as a pack house. He saw the plans and saw the progress of it as it was being built, the place is huge. But it being a pack house and having Stiles live there are two completely different things. “Uh huh. So is Stiles getting his own room?”

Stiles blushes and Isaac notices Derek’s hand still on Stiles back. Isaac barely fights the urge to groan and bang his head on the wall. Derek was rubbing his back? Seriously? And he expects people to believe they’re just friends. “Stiles will have his own room. You all will, for you to use whenever you want.”

Stiles scent is tinged with disappointment for a moment before it disappears, the way it always does when Stiles tries to mask how he’s feeling. Derek looks down at him, his brows creased with worry. Isaac decides to cut in, putting an end to this bullshit. Or at least attempting to. “But you two sleep in the same bed basically every night, right?”

“We do…” Derek says, looking back at Isaac. “But it still might be nice for Stiles to have a room of his own. Everyone needs their own space.”

“So who are the other rooms for?”

“The pack, like I said. You, Erica, Boyd, Cora, Jackson, and then Lydia, Malia, and Scott if they want one. In fact, Cora’s supposed to be getting here in two days to see the place.”

Isaac’s face lights up at the mention of Cora. “Cora’s coming back?”

Derek nods. “Of course. She’s my sister. She wants to see the new house. And I convinced her to stay until after graduation.”

“Ugh don’t mention graduation!” Stiles groans, laying his head down on the counter.

"You just did not even 5 minutes ago." Derek laughs, rubbing soothing circles on Stiles’ back. “I thought you’d be happy to graduate.”

“I am.” Stiles mumbles. “Finals not so much.”

“You’re going to do fine on your finals Stiles. We’ve been studying like crazy.”

“We?” Isaac asks.

“I’ve been helping him study.”

Stiles lifts his head, sending a grateful smile towards Derek. “Derek is a history whiz. If I don’t at least pass my history final I really am hopeless.”

“You’re not hopeless. You just need someone to help you keep focused.”

“And you’re able to keep him focused?” Isaac asks, disbelief clear in his voice.

Derek shrugs. “When I can’t there’s also the reward system?”

“Reward system huh?”

Derek blushes when Isaac smirks and waggles his eyebrows suggestively. “Not like that. Just you know, with food and stuff.”

“It’s that ‘and stuff’ that I’m interested in.” Isaac says. “Actually no. I’m definitely not interested in hearing about that aspect of your lives. I mean except to finally know you are having it. Other than that, no thank you. I do not need details about the sex…”

Isaac.” Derek growls, his eyes going red.

Normally Isaac might stand down but this time he won’t do it. His own eyes bleed yellow, his back going rigid as he stands his ground. He’s had to put up with Derek and Stiles dancing around each other for months, years even. He doesn’t know how much longer he can stand being in a room with them giving each other longing looks and reeking of arousal. And he’s not just talking about Stiles there. Derek has gotten just as bad in that area. So no, he’s not going to back down. Either Derek or Stiles needs to pull their head out of their ass and admit their feelings, if only for Isaac’s sanity. If he needs to give Derek a little push, then he will.

“Anyway!” Stiles says, stepping around Derek to stand between him and Isaac. Stiles is either brave or stupid getting between two werewolves. Probably a little bit of both. Then again, he has to know Derek would never hurt him. That’s probably why he feels so comfortable doing it. Stiles speaks to Derek but he doesn’t take his eyes off Isaac, his face stern. “I need to talk to Isaac really quick. I’ll be back in a few to help finish packing. Don’t miss me too much while I’m gone!”

Stiles doesn’t even give Derek a chance to respond before he’s grabbing Isaac and dragging him out of the apartment. “Why does everyone keep dragging me places lately?”

Stiles lets go of him but keeps walking, clearly expecting Isaac to keep up. “Maybe you just have that sort of face.”

“What does that even mean?”

“I don’t know. It sounded good in my head.” Stiles says, stopping close to the same spot Erica had brought him to a little over a week ago, “Do you think this is good?”

Isaac nods. “Yeah we should be fine.” Isaac sits down and puts his bag in front of him, Stiles quickly sitting across from him. “I found a few books on magic. I’m not sure how helpful they’ll be but it’s a start.”

Stiles smiles, taking one of the books that Isaac hands him and examining the cover. “It’ll be more than I know now at least. Thanks Isaac.”

They sit there for a while, both silently flipping through the pages, with Stiles typing out page numbers of pages he finds interesting into his phone so he can look at them more closely later. After a few more minutes of searching Stiles closes the books with a sigh before standing up. “I should probably get back.”
Isaac smirks. “Yeah. Don’t want to keep your Alpha waiting.”

“He’s your Alpha too, Isaac.” Stiles tells him, handing the book back to Isaac.

Isaac puts the books back in his bag, deciding he’ll just leave them for Stiles at the new house tomorrow. “I’m pretty sure he’s your Alpha more than anyone’s else’s Stiles.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Doesn’t it?”

“No! Why would he be… that doesn’t… he’s everyone’s Alpha!”

Isaac rolls his eyes. “I know that. But you’re different. You have to know that. He’s different with you.”

Stiles blushes, averting his eyes. “If you say so.”

“I do. And I’m not the only one that notices. I think you do too.”

“Maybe.” Stiles sighs, turning around and walking towards the apartment. “I’ll see you later Isaac.”

“Just think about what I said!” Isaac calls after him.

“Only if you pluck up the nerve and talk to Cora!” Stiles calls back.

Isaac’s eyes widen at that. He hears Stiles start laughing and curses. That asshole. But maybe Stiles was right and he should talk to Cora. Isaac smiles as an idea occurs to him. Maybe he should talk to her about Stiles and Derek. If anyone can talk, or scare, some sense into those two idiots it’s Cora Hale.

Chapter Text

Boyd has been clued into what Erica, Isaac, and Derek are doing about Stiles for a while. Erica had mentioned her talk with Derek to him the same night it had happened but made him swear not to do anything yet. Derek had said they should take it slow. Boyd could only agree, partly because he wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do anyway. He wasn’t the most talkative person as it was so for him to suddenly walk up to Stiles and strike up a conversation would be suspicious enough. So, he waits.

“So the house is finished.” Erica tells him one night when they’re cuddling on the couch. “He says there are rooms for us if we want them.”

“Are you going to take one?” Boyd asks. He knows how much he would like to be around the pack. Knows it would probably strengthen their bond as a pack. But he also knows he likes his alone time, for himself and for him and Erica.

Erica shrugs. “I’m thinking about it. It would be nice to be around the pack. But…”

“But what?” He asks, running a hand through her hair. He’ll always enjoy the feeling of the soft strands running through his fingers, taking any opportunity he can to do so.

Erica sighs, leaning back into his touch. She always likes these moments as much as he does. “Stiles is moving in.”

Boyd looks down to see Erica grinning like it’s Christmas. “Moving in? As in, moving in as part of the pack or…?”

“I don’t think either of them really know the answer to that.” Erica says. “They both say it’s because Stiles is pack and it’s a pack house but come on. They’re practically dating. They share the same bed every night. They go to see movies together, have dinner together, cuddle on the couch, they even cook together Boyd. Derek and Stiles cook together.”

“We cook together.” Boyd states, keeping his face completely serious, though he’s secretly fighting a smile.

“Exactly! We’re dating!” Erica says, sitting up and swats Boyd on the chest playfully, a wide grin lighting up her face.

Boyd chuckles, grabbing Erica’s hands to stop her from hitting him again. “What does any of that have to do with you moving into the house?”

Erica leans in close, barely brushing their lips together. Pulling back far enough to whisper against his lips. “I’m hoping that maybe finally, officially living together will kick their assess into gear. If not that, then Cora will when she gets here.”

“Cora’s coming back?”

“Yep. She’ll be here in 2 days. Jackson will be here too. There’s going to be a party at the new house this weekend to celebrate it finally being done.”

Boyd considers this. Derek might be happier ever since they left and then came back to Beacon Hills, even going as far as to suggest the pack nights they now have weekly, sometimes more often if they’re not busy. But pack night and a party are two completely different things. Which can only mean one thing. “The party was Stiles’ idea, wasn’t it?”

Erica shakes her head. “You would think so, but no. It was actually Derek’s idea. I think… well I think he might see this as a way to make Stiles feel included. Which is where you’re going to come in.”

“Me?” Boyd asks, running a hand down Erica’s back, grinning slightly when she closes her eyes to the touch. “How?”

“Stiles is supposed to set up for the party.” Erica tells him, moving to where she’s straddling him. “I want you to go over and help. I know you don’t do the whole bonding thing so this is probably as close as we’ll get for the two of you.”

Boyd can only agree, leaning up to kiss her. “Did you want to keep talking about Stiles or did you want to take advantage of the empty house and focus our attention elsewhere?”

“Why Boyd, are you propositioning me? And people think I’m the brazen one.”

Boyd silences Erica’s laughter with a kiss, fully intent on enjoying the little alone time they have.

---

Cora arrives without too much fanfare. She had refused Derek’s offer to pick her up at the airport, deciding it would be easier to just rent a car and drive over. When she arrives, she sees both of Derek’s cars along with Stiles’ jeep parked in front of the house. She’s not surprised, Derek had told her he planned to ask Stiles to move in. It’s late, going on almost 2 a.m., so all the lights are off except for the porch light and the one in the hall that Derek must have left on for her. She smiles slightly, picking up the statue of the fox next to the door and locating the key Derek had left under there. After putting the key back and letting herself in she steps into the house, stopping in the front hall and allowing herself to look around. Spotting a note by the doorway addressed to her she picks it up to read it over.

Cora,

There’s leftovers in the fridge if you’re hungry. All the rooms are made up so pick whichever one you want. Get some sleep and I’ll see you in the morning.

Derek

Cora tucks the note in her pocket and walks into the kitchen to examine the leftovers. She hasn’t eaten much since she left South America, only a small sandwich at the airport, but that had been hours ago. She locates the leftovers easily since there’s post it notes with her name on said containers. Something tells her the post it notes hadn’t been Derek’s idea.

After finishing her food Cora grabs her bag and makes her way upstairs, deciding to grab the room closest to the bathroom. After changing into her pajamas, she decides to peek in and check on Derek, wanting to see for herself that he’s here and safe. She listens, easily locating Derek’s heartbeat a few rooms over, but his isn’t the only heartbeat she hears. Walking over to the room, she cracks the door open slightly to peek inside.

On the bed is Derek, his arm wrapped around Stiles who is sleeping on his stomach, arms wrapped almost protectively around Derek’s waist as his head rests on his chest. She examines the scene with wide eyes before quietly slipping out of the room and closing the door behind her. She knew Stiles was in the house, but she had no idea that him and Derek were… what? Sleeping together? She knew they weren’t dating, at least Derek hadn’t said anything about it. Sure, Stiles had been the thing that Derek talked most about lately but if they were dating surely Derek would have told her.

Cora shakes her head, falling back onto her bed with a tired groan. This was too much to think about right now. She’d been awake for almost 24 hours. She needed some sleep and then some coffee before she could even begin to think about talking to Derek about his relationship with Stiles.

---

Boyd arrives at the house to see Stiles’ jeep parked out front, but Derek’s SUV missing. He knocks on the door but only hears silence inside. He focuses his hearing, trying to see if he can locate Stiles’ heartbeat nearby. After a moment, he picks up on it as well as the sound of music coming from the backyard.

Boyd walks around the house to the backyard to find chaos. At least to him it looks like chaos. Stiles looks perfectly calm moving between all the boxes that are scattered across the backyard. “What is all this?”

Stiles curses, dropping the string of fairy lights he was carrying, and looks over at Boyd. “Umm… decorations? At least they’re supposed to be. I’m trying to figure out what to do with them.”

Boyd walks closer, examining the lights before looking around the backyard for a place to put them. “Why don’t we hang them along the porch railing?”

Stiles’ face lights up at the idea as he takes the lights and makes his way towards the porch. “That’s a great idea. Why didn’t I think of that?”

“You were probably thinking too much about it.” Boyd tells him, taking some of the lights and walking to the opposite end of the porch. “Sometimes you just have to take a step back and look at things differently.”

Stiles nods, tongue poking out of his mouth as he carefully drapes the lights along the railing. “I was trying to think too big. I knew I wanted fairy lights. But in my head they were hanging from the trees and going to be above our heads. Picturing it and actually having it happen are two completely different things though.”

Boyd nods, silently doing his part while Stiles does his. They eventually meet in the middle and step back to examine their work. “It looks good.” Boyd tells him.

Stiles grins. “It looks perfect.”

“What else do you got?” Boyd asks, nodding his head towards the boxes.

“I have some tables and chairs to set up so there’s enough room for us to eat and place the food, because you know there has to be enough to feed a small army with you lot eating. And then of course some disposable tablecloths and forks and stuff. I really just need to get the tables set up.” Stiles turns to face him. “What are you doing here? Are you looking for Derek?”

“Erica didn’t tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

Boyd shifts uncomfortably. Of course Erica didn’t tell Stiles he was coming over, leaving Boyd to make up his own reason for being here. “Erica told me you were setting up for the party so I offered to help?”

“You offered?” Stiles asks, face confused. “You did? Erica didn’t put you up to it?”

“She might have a little bit.” Boyd admits. “But you know how Erica is.”

Stiles laughs, clapping Boyd on the back. “Yeah I do. That’s why I figured she forced you over here. You don’t have to help if you don’t want to man. I’ll tell her you did.”

Stiles is smiling but Boyd can smell the sadness and disappointment. He curses himself for being stupid enough to admit that he was only here because of Erica. “No, it’s okay. I’ll help. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be.”

Stiles looks at him for a moment before nodding, making his way over to one of the boxes. “Help me get this table up then.”

They work together in mostly silence, but it’s not uncomfortable. Stiles sometimes offers a little tidbit of information about what he’s been up to, almost all of it involving Derek. He finds himself laughing and enjoying himself more than he thought he would. It’s not that he doesn’t like Stiles or enjoy his company, he’s just never had a reason to hang out with him outside of pack related stuff. They’re in the middle of putting one of the tables together when Boyd hears the back door sliding open. Stiles doesn’t notice, too caught up in what he’s talking about, but Boyd does. He looks towards the house to see Derek watching them, a fond smile on his face. When he catches Boyd’s eye he nods his head, a silent thank you. Boyd nods back, then towards the table, offering Derek to join him in his own way. Derek just shakes his head and sneaks back inside.

At the sound of the door closing Stiles’ head jerks towards the house. “Was that Derek?” He asks, looking between the house and Boyd. When Boyd nods, Stiles throws down the tablecloth and stomps off towards the house. “That asshole. Thinking he’s going to get out of setting up for his own party.”

Boyd smiles when the sound of loud bickering and then laughter filter out to him from open window. He shakes his head and gets back to work on the table, knowing they’ll eventually join him. Sure enough, a few minutes later Stiles walks out followed by a grumpy looking Derek. The frown quickly changes to laughter when Stiles throws the tablecloth at him and tells him to get to work.

---

Jackson isn’t surprised when Lydia and Scott don’t show up at the housewarming party. He’d already heard from Derek that Lydia had been busy lately and hadn't been around much, same with Scott and Malia. Jackson didn’t know much about Malia, apart from her being Peter’s daughter and a werecoyote and liking to do her own thing. Scott was surprising since he assumed whenever Stiles was Scott would be. When he had mentioned that to Derek, Derek had glared and warmed him not to even mention Scott’s name around Stiles and then stormed off before Jackson even had time to process that.

What was surprising was walking into the backyard to see Danny there. He is happy though, Danny was his best friend and he hasn’t seen the other man since he left Beacon Hills. They still talked every so often but seeing Danny in person was different. “Danny! I didn’t know you were going to be here!”

Danny looks up with a grin when Jackson approaches, pulling him in for a quick hug. “I wasn’t sure myself. But I graduated last week and figured I should at least come back and see everyone here graduate. Then I saw Stiles when I was at the store yesterday and he mentioned you were back too and invited me over.”

“He did?” Jackson asks, glancing over to where Stiles and Derek are having what appears to be a very heated debate about something.

“Yeah.” Danny shrugs. “He seemed all excited about Derek actually wanting to have a party and that Cora and you were coming in. He knows we’re friends man. “

They fall into easy conversation after that. Jackson tells Danny all about his life in London and how much happier he’d been there away from all the craziness. Danny tells him about the school he transferred to a few hours away, how normal it was compared to life in Beacon Hills. He has a smile on his face when he talks about it so Jackson thinks he probably prefers the normal.

Everyone is chatting away, trying to tune out Stiles and Derek and the heated debate the two seem to be having. At least until their voices start to rise, making it harder to not listen in. At some point, everyone stops trying not to pay attention and turns towards the bickering pair. Neither Stiles or Derek seem to notice.

“For the last time, we are not getting a trampoline!” Derek says, clearly done with the conversation.

“But Derek,” Stiles whines. “It’ll be fun! Imagine all the pack bonding!”

“Oh, I’m imagining it alright.” Derek says. “I’m imagining how much harm it could cause with the betas.”

Stiles tilts his head, confusion clear on his face. “They’re wolves Derek. Any harm that could come to them from the trampoline will heal easily. Plus, compared to everything else we’ve faced a trampoline is nothing.”

“I’m not worried about harm coming to them. I’m worried about the harm they could do to you because of that thing. Or the house.”

“How could they harm the house?”

Derek crosses his arms across his chest, obviously trying to get Stiles to stand down. “I’m not going to tell you. I wouldn’t want to give them any ideas.”

“Ideas about what they could use the trampoline for?” Stiles asks, grinning when Derek nods. “If you’re worried about that then you have to be considering it.”

“I am not! We are not getting a trampoline!”

Everyone in the backyard watches the scene with rapt attention, even the Sheriff who rolls his eyes in fond exasperation as the conversation circles back around to the beginning again. Except this time Stiles changes tactics.

Stiles pouts, eyes focused on where his shoe is kicking at the dirt. “I never had a trampoline as a kid. I just thought it would be fun.”

Derek’s shoulders lose their tension as he sighs, running a hand across his face. “I’m not saying yes…”

“But you’re not saying no either!” Stiles says, a wide smile taking over his face as he runs over and hugs Derek. “Thanks, Der! I’m going to start looking and find the best one!”

Derek’s eyes widen as he watches Stiles pull out his phone. “You tricked me!”

“I did no such thing.” Stiles says, face innocent as he glances up at Derek. “I’ve really never had a trampoline. Look at this one!”

Derek reluctantly looks at the screen when Stile thrusts the phone in his direction. Cora can tell Derek’s already caving, even as he mutters out a halfhearted. “I still haven’t agreed to this.”

Cora watches the conversation with growing realization, unable to hold in her groan as she stares between her brother and Stiles. This is even worse than she thought. “Oh my god. What idiots.”

She hears laughter behind her and turns to see Erica and Boyd behind her. Turning back around she sees the Sheriff, Isaac, and Peter giving her various smiles of understanding. “How long has this been going on?”

“Far too long.” Erica says, putting an arm around her shoulders. “Which is why I... we are really glad you're here so you can talk some sense into your brother.”

At the end, she directs her eyes toward Derek who is already glaring at the two of them. Stiles just look looks confused. “What are they scheming about now?”

“Nothing!” Derek says far too quickly, earning himself a raised eyebrow from Stiles. “Nothing for you to concern yourself with.” Derek amends.

Okay.” Stiles looks around at everyone, clearly not convinced but deciding to leave it be for now. “I'm hungry. When's the food going to be done?”

“Burgers are done. Steaks are just about finished. How's the rest of the food looking?” The Sheriff calls over to Erica.

“It's done and ready when you are, Partner!” Erica calls back.

John nods, a fond smile appearing on his face as he turns back to the grill, eyeing the steaks hungrily. Stiles steps up to him, looking at the food critically. “There better be a veggie burger in here for you. And a salad inside.”

Stiles doesn't bother raising his voice, knowing Erica can hear him. Sure enough, Erica appears beside him. “There is a salad. The potato kind.”

Stiles narrows his eyes. “You better be kidding, Erica.”

“Well there is potato salad, but there's also Caesar salad. Will that do?”

“That’s perfect.”

“For you.” John says. “You’re not the one eating it. And you know what? I won’t be either. Not unless I have a juicy steak to go with it. Or something that’s not made from plant.”
The whole yard seems to fall silent as everyone watches the Stilinski men as they stare each other down. Jackson and Isaac start whispering and making bets about who’s going to win this one, Peter quickly joining in. Derek smacks both Jackson and Isaac upside the head and glares at Peter, telling them to mind their own business as he makes his way towards the grill, a plate in his hands. “Buffalo burgers.” Derek says, setting the plate down next to the grill. “Healthier than ground beef and they taste better than veggie burgers.”

John sighs. “Well it’s not a steak but I suppose it couldn’t hurt to try it.”

Cora watches in fascination as Stiles offers Derek a small smile and squeezes his arm on his way back into the house and Derek ducks his head, a smile of his own on his face. She’s about to make her way over to where Derek and the Sheriff are when she hears the Sheriff start speaking quietly to Derek. “You should just tell him Derek. Put us all out of our misery.”

“I’m working on it.” Derek tells him. “Just after graduation.”

The Sheriff nods. “Good. Then he can finally stop pining around the house whenever he visits.”

“I doubt Stiles is the only one pining.” Cora says, walking up to stand next to her brother.

“It’s true.” Erica says, leading Isaac and Boyd to both voice their agreement.

Derek’s eyes widen as he looks around at the pack. “I don’t… I have not been pining.”

“Oh please.” Erica says from her spot stretched out underneath a nearby tree. “You have totally been pining. Both of you have.”

“She right.” Boyd agrees. “I wasn’t going to say anything, figuring you’d both get it together at some point.” Derek sends a betrayed look towards Boyd who just shrugs. “It’s true.”

“Even I noticed there was something going on and I just got here yesterday.” Jackson says.

Cora sees Derek’s eyes flick over to where Peter is sitting. Their uncle just shrugs, a smirk on his face. “You’re not exactly subtle.”

“Everyone has noticed Derek.” Cora says, sending a sympathetic smile towards her brother. “Maybe everyone except for Stiles.”

“Oh Stiles has noticed.” John tells them, throwing a glance at the group as he continues to flip burgers. “He’s just been waiting on you.” At this he points his spatula at Derek. “He wanted to make sure you were ready and didn’t want to push you.”

“Really?” Derek asks.

“Really.” John nods. “Which is why I think you should get it over with and tell him. Let us all finally have some peace.”

“It’s funny that you think there will be peace when they finally get together.” Erica says with a laugh. “It’ll probably be worse. Especially with all the sex.”

That I do not need to hear about. I’m just glad he’s not living under my roof so I won’t have to know about it. You lot on the other hand...”

All conversation stops when Stiles appears outside, a bowl potato salad in his hands. “Why do I always feel like I’m walking in on something?”

“Because you are.” Erica tells him, grabbing the bowl out of his hands. “Want to go get the others and I’ll put this down? Boyd will help.”

Stiles looks around the yard, suspicion clear on his face before making his way into the house with Boyd on his heels. When they’re inside Stiles glances at Boyd. “Want to tell me what that was about?”

Boyd just shakes his head, grinning slightly as he picks up one of the bowls of salad. “Nope.”

He laughs when Stiles’ indignant squawk follows him out of the house and into the backyard.

---

The graduation itself is pretty boring, at least to Cora. It’s held outside on the lacrosse field where a makeshift stage has been set up along with rows and rows of chairs. No one is surprised to find out that Lydia is valedictorian, the whole pack cheering happily when she gets up to give her speech. Cora feels Derek tense next to him when Lydia mentions the importance of friendship and keeping in touch. She places a hand on Derek’s arm, rubbing soothing circles hoping to calm him down. It works and by the time the graduates are being called up to get their diplomas Derek is reeking of pride and happiness and something else Cora can’t quite decipher. At least not until It intensifies when Stiles is called up on stage and Derek jumps out of his seat clapping and shouting loudly, the Sheriff right beside him.

Cora had deemed herself photographer for the day, knowing the others would be far too invested in the ceremony to take pictures. Lucky for her she had hit record on the video when Stiles walked up and is able to catch Derek and the Sheriff’s reactions on video before turning the camera back towards Stiles. Stiles stops at the end of the stage to shoot a wide grin in their direction, directing a wink towards Derek who ducks his head. That she got on camera as well.

When the ceremony is over Cora follows Derek, the Sheriff, Isaac, Jackson, and Peter off to a more secluded area, knowing the rest of the pack will find them when they need to. Sure enough, they spot Stiles’ head bobbing through the crowd as he tries to make his way over. Cora expects him to run right to his Dad but he doesn’t. As soon as he’s close he jumps right into an unsuspecting Derek’s arms, causing Derek to stumble a bit. Derek is quick to recover, wrapping his arms around Stiles and pulling him close. “I’m proud of you.”

Stiles pulls back enough to grin at him. “Thanks Der.”

Neither one of them move for moment, both just staring at the other, happy smiles on their faces. Cora looks over to see the Sheriff watching them in what can only be called fond exasperation. “We’re all proud of you.”

At the Sheriff’s voice, Stiles and Derek reluctantly break apart, twin blushes appearing on their cheeks. Stiles smiles at his Dad as the other man pulls him into a tight hug. The wolves direct their attention elsewhere, wanting to give the two men some privacy.

“Has anyone seen Lydia?” Jackson asks, glancing around at the mass of people.

Stiles glances over at Jackson, waving an arm in the direction of the crowd. “I saw her talking to her Mom on my way over. I’m sure she’ll make her way over to see you."

“And you.” Jackson says, giving Stiles a confused look. “You two are friends. Speaking of friends, where’s McCall?”

Jackson is surprised when he hears Stiles sigh and notices both Derek and the Sheriff tense. That’s weird. That’s not usually the reaction people have to hearing McCall’s name mentioned, at least not those close to him. It’s the Sheriff that speaks. “I imagine Scott is with his parents somewhere.”

“Yeah but…”

“There you are!” Lydia’s voice breaks through whatever Jackson planned to say. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere.”

“We’ve haven’t moved from this spot Lydia.” Stiles says, rolling his eyes in her direction but there’s a smile on his face.

“Yes well, have you seen all these people? I don’t exactly have the ability to sniff you out like some people do.”

Jackson wrinkles his nose in disgust. “Who would want to right now? With all these people in this heat and getting sweaty.”

Lydia ignores him in favor of walking over to Stiles, pulling the other into a hug. When she speaks, her voice sounds a little choked up. “I can’t believe we’ve finally graduated. Time has gone by so fast, and I feel like I’ve barely seen any of you. I’m horrible.”

Cora glances over at Derek to see him looking on at the scene in barely disguised anger. He looks like he’s ready to jump in between Stiles and Lydia at any moment. She would think it was due to jealousy but this feels different. It’s as if he sees Lydia as a threat. Which doesn’t make any sense.

“Relax Lyds.” Stiles says. “You’ve been taking college courses. No one can blame you for being busy.”

“College courses?” Jackson asks, surprise clear in his voice. “Already?”

“Of course already! I’ve been trying to get some my gen eds out of the way so I have less to worry about when I start college in the fall.” Lydia says, pulling back from Stiles with a pat to his cheek. “Speaking of colleges. I have news.”

“Have you decided where you’re going?” Stiles asks.

Lydia tries to keep her face serious but a grin quickly covers her face. “I have! I got a full scholarship to Harvard!”

Stiles pulls Lydia in for another hug. “That’s amazing Lyds! I’m assuming this means you know what you’re majoring in?”

“I do. I’m going for my law degree.”

“You’ll make an excellent lawyer, Lydia.” John tells her.

Everyone else can only agree, including Lydia. “I know. I was thinking of maybe trying to do something for the supernatural though. An in the know lawyer could beneficial for those accused of crimes they can’t quite explain their way out of. I know it certainly would have been helpful around here in the past.”

Stiles smiles brightly, pride clear on his face. “That's an excellent idea!”

Lydia shrugs. “I'm not going to ever get away from the supernatural completely so I might as well put my knowledge to good use.”

“So should you, Stiles.” Derek tells him.

“You think I should be a lawyer?”

Derek rolls his eyes. “No, of course not. But you have a brilliant mind Stiles. I have no doubt you can do great things with it if you really wanted to.”

“Like what?” Stiles asks, voice quiet.

“I think you know son.” The Sheriff tells him, putting a hand on his shoulder. “I think you're just afraid to want it. But I'm telling you, you don't have to be. We'll all be fine.”

Stiles looks around at them all with wide eyes. Cora can see understanding take over Derek's face. “You haven't decided because you don't want to leave.”

“Of course I want to leave. I just don't want to leave you… leave everyone I mean.”

Stiles,” Derek breathes, taking a step closer to the other man, taking his hand in his own. “We'll be fine, you have to know that. Sure, I'll miss you like crazy, as will everyone else, but I’ll feel better knowing you're somewhere safe. And happy. Working towards something you want to do.”

Stiles nods, wiping his face against his sleeve. “Thanks Der.”

Der. Well that was something new. Derek always hated nicknames. Apparently that didn't apply to Stiles, at least not anymore. She and Derek would definitely be having a talk later.

“What is it you want to do, Stiles?” Derek asks.

Stiles rubs the back of his neck, suddenly appearing self-conscious. “I was thinking about joining the FBI.”

Cora watches as Derek’s face remains carefully blank for a moment before a huge grin spreads across it. “The FBI huh? I can see that.”

Stiles’ head snaps up, his eyes moving across Derek’s face. “Really?”

Derek shrugs. “I figured you’d do something law enforcement. I always thought it’d be a cop or a detective but I can really see you doing well as an FBI Agent.”

“So can I son.” The Sheriff says, stepping up and placing a reassuring hand on his son's shoulder. “You’re going to make a great FBI Agent.”

“It won’t be for a while. I have to get my undergrad first and be at least 22 before they’ll even take me.” Stiles says.

“What about Scott’s Dad?” Lydia asks. “Couldn’t he pull some strings?”

Stiles’ smile falls a bit. “I’m not going to ask him for any favors. If I’m doing this, I’m going to do it myself. I don’t want to feel like I owe anyone, especially not Mr. McCall.

The Sheriff nods, clapping his son on the shoulder. “Good for you, son.”

“You'll appreciate it that much more if you have to work for it.” Derek tells him. “But you won't have to go through it completely alone Stiles.”

“Derek is right. We'll always be here if you need us.”

“You make it sound like I’ll be going somewhere super far away.” Stiles laughs.

Derek shrugs. “Far enough.”

The pack sans Scott, Malia, and Peter go out to celebrate the graduation. They debate for a while before Stiles finally convinces them to go to his favorite diner, stating it’ll be less busy than other places around town. Stiles is right, the place is almost empty when they arrive, save for a few people seated at the counter that Cora figures must be regulars.

Jackson looks around the place, his face skeptical. “Are you sure we should eat here?”

“It doesn’t look like much.” Stiles tells them. “But they have great food.”

Once they’re seated, Stiles walks off to talk to one of the ladies working behind the counter who greets him with a big smile and hug. The Sheriff watches the interaction with a smile on his face before turning back to the pack. “That’s Lucille. She owns the place and has known Stiles since he was in diapers. We uh… we used to come here a lot when his Mom was still alive. She loved this place.”

“And that’s why he likes this place so much.” Derek states.

“Well yeah. He comes here because he feels like he’s being close to his Mom. But he does really like the food. And I like it when we come here because it’s one of the rare times he doesn’t get on to me about what I’m eating.”

Stiles comes back to their table a moment later, taking his seat in between Derek and his Dad. He looks at the Sheriff with a smile. “Lucile says hi, and that you better get your behind in here to visit her more often. I told her I’d be sending you in here at least once a week while I’m gone.”

John grins, ruffling his son’s hair. “What about my diet?”

Stiles shrugs. “Lucile’s is different.” He turns to Derek. “You should get the lasagna. I know how much you like pasta and their lasagna is amazing.”

Derek nods, closing his menu. “Sounds good to me. Is that what you’re getting?”

Stiles shakes his head. “Nah. I always get the meatloaf.”

Jackson wrinkles his nose. “Meatloaf? Really?”

Lydia swats his arm. “Don’t be an ass.”

“If you always get the meatloaf how do you know the lasagna is amazing?” Erica asks.

“Because he always steals a little bit of whatever I order just to try it.” The Sheriff says, shooting Stiles a fond smile.

“I have to make sure I don’t miss out on anything.” Stiles grins, glancing over at Derek. “You never know unless you try, right?”

Derek gives Stiles a long look, knowing he’s talking about more than just the food, before offering a small smile. “Right.”

Chapter Text

Stiles isn't clueless, despite what Derek might say sometimes. He catches on pretty quick that something is going on. It starts with Derek. Derek who might act all tough and broody but in reality is a secret softie. He doesn't realize what Derek is doing at first, thinks he's just doing things he would do for anyone else in the pack when Stiles keeps finding his favorite foods and drinks in Derek's kitchen. Until one day Isaac complains about not having any of his favorite candy and Derek just growls and tells him to get it himself. When Stiles’ favorite foods still keep appearing in the kitchen Stiles can only smile at Derek in thanks, happy when Derek smiles back.

Then there's the camping out outside his house and sneaking into his room whenever Stiles had a nightmare. At least until his Dad caught him. Ever since then they've barely slept alone. At first if Derek wasn’t at the Stilinski house, Stiles was at his apartment when he wasn’t at school. Then the new house was finished and Stiles moved in there with Derek. Stiles has his own room but still finds himself sleeping in Derek's room almost every night. Now it's to the point where all his free time is spent with Derek, and Stiles can barely remember what it feels like to sleep alone.

So, it's pretty easy to notice when the pack suddenly starts paying attention to him again. He knows Derek probably has something to do with it. Especially since Stiles notices the look of approval Derek gives Erica that first night when she suggests a movie night. But Stiles can't find it in himself to care how it happened. He was starting to feel like part of the pack again. At least when it came to Derek, Erica, Isaac, Boyd, Cora, and Jackson. That last one had been a surprise. It's almost sad that right now Stiles feels closer to Jackson than he does Scott and Scott’s supposed to be his best bro. Stiles supposes Peter should get credit somewhere too, since he was the one that first tried to help when he noticed something was wrong, even if it was in Peter’s own weird way.

Still, Stiles sometimes finds himself struggling with everything that’s happened. He knows he’s not alone, that if he really needed to talk he could go to Derek or his Dad, hell he could probably even talk to Peter. Some things he’s not sure he’d be able to explain given that he’s still trying to figure it out himself. It doesn’t bother him as much as it did before. He’s found strength in being alone. He was able to delve deep into himself and discover just who he was, who he wanted to be. It’s still hard, but he’s able to face his struggles head on and power through all the shit life throws at him. With everything he’d been through he could have let it break him but instead he used it to his advantage, took it all and let it make him stronger.

He hasn’t told anyone but ever since he came back from wherever the Wild Hunt were keeping him he’s felt different. Not just mentally but physically as well. He’s felt this power beneath his skin just itching to be let out. It wasn’t a completely new feeling exactly. He knew there might be something there ever since Deaton first had him use the mountain ash but he’d never really tried to do anything more with it.

If he was really honest with himself, he was afraid. He didn’t know what it could mean. Then after dealing with Jennifer and seeing what had become of her and of course the Nogitsune, he wasn’t sure he wanted to have any sort of power in his hands. But whether he wanted it or not it was there. And it was starting to make itself known. Except for that time with Isaac, he’s been able to tamp it down but he’s afraid he won’t be able to for much longer. Afraid that if he keeps tamping it down when he finally released it he would just explode. He didn’t like to think about what effect that could have on him, on the people he cares about, on the town.

He had been hoping to talking to Deaton but the vet had been MIA ever since they got rid of the Ghost Riders. Not that he would have been much help. He probably would have offered some vague statement and left Stiles feeling even more confused than he’d been to start with.

So Stiles started looking online, or at least trying to, but he hadn’t been able to find anything the least bit helpful. At least not anything that pertained to him. Isaac had been trying to help, locating some books he thought might be useful. As interesting as the books had been, Stiles hadn’t found much that really pertained to him.

He was starting to feel at a loss when he finally decided he should talk to someone who might have at least a little knowledge about what was going on with him. Truthfully, he’d known for a while the person he should talk to but he’d been putting it off. After all, no one would willingly or happily attempt to talk to Peter Hale.

Sighing, Stiles closes his computer and grabs the keys to his jeep off his desk, making sure to leave a note for Derek telling him he'll be back later. He might as well get this over with. He gets into his jeep and drives over to Peter’s apartment, gritting his teeth the whole time. He comes close to turning around and going home 5 times, somehow talking himself out of it each time. He knows he needs information and right now Peter might be the only one that has it, or at least knows where Stiles can look.

Stiles turns off the jeep and then just sits there. Peter’s car is parked outside so Stiles knows he’s in there. Sighing, Stiles gets out of the jeep and makes his way to the door, unsurprised when Peter has it open before Stiles can even raise his hand to knock.

Peter leers at Stiles as he leans on the door staring out at him. “I was wondering when you were going to work up the nerve to come up here. I was close to saving you the agony and coming out to get you.”

Stiles rolls his eyes. “I wasn’t out there that long.”

“Going on 5 minutes.” Peter says, stepping aside to let Stiles inside. “But who’s counting?” Once Stiles is inside Peter turns to face him, smile still in place. “I’m sure this isn’t a social visit. So let’s just get right to it. What is it you need?”

Stiles rubs the back of his neck as he looks around the apartment, suddenly not sure where to start. He startles when he feels a hand on his arm. “Is something wrong Stiles?”

Stiles is caught off guard by the gentleness in his voice. Creepy sarcastic Peter he can handle, this new oddly nice side of Peter still catches him a little off guard. “Nothing’s wrong, no. I just… have some questions.”

“Questions? About what?”

“Umm… magic I guess? Sparks maybe? I’d ask Deaton but he’s not around. And honestly that dude is about as open as a top-secret research facility.”

“So you came here?” Peter asks. “Why? Why not go to Derek?” When Stiles shrugs, Peter laughs. “Oh, I see. You don’t want Derek or the rest of the pack to know about this, do you?”
Stiles’ head snaps up denial already on the tip of his tongue. “What? That’s ridiculous!” Stiles shoulders deflate. Damn werewolves. Of course Peter would know he was lying. “It’s not that I want to hide it. I just don’t know how to explain it I guess. And I figured you’d be more likely to know something or at least know where I could look if you didn’t.”

“I’m flattered that you think so highly of me.” Peter says, gesturing over to the couch. “Would you like to sit down?” Again with the weird pleasantries. Still, Stiles figures this might be a long conversation so he might as well make himself comfortable. Peter sits down in the chair across from him, studying Stiles with a curious look on his face. “Why the sudden interest in magic?”

“I’m just curious about how someone would know for sure if they have magic. Say they were able to make things happen a few times and then suddenly they started feeling this…power building up inside them. But aren’t quite sure how to or even if they should access it. So they’ve been tapping it down for a few months but they can still feel it there simmering beneath the surface and it’s only getting stronger.”

Peter is silent for a moment, watching Stiles. “I would tell that person that they should find a way to access it, of course. If there is magic there and it’s becoming unstable without use, it will find a conductor against the will of the person or not.”

“But how? I mean, how would I… they do that? With spells? Or what? Are their books?”

“I’m sure there are, yes.” Peter tells him. “I’m sure I could find some for you…well your friend if you’d like. Some magic is tied to emotions so it might need an emotional trigger to wield to be let out. I’d recommend finding someplace secluded and letting the power out. Best to be alone when it happens though, less chance of someone getting hurt.”

“And it’ll calm down then?” Stiles asks, voice quiet as he tries to tamp down the hope building inside.

“Possibly. But like with everything else it’ll need to be controlled, or embraced if you will. Since emotions can affect magic in different ways, it’s better to come at it from a place of acceptance rather than fear. Keep that in mind. I’ll start looking for that book for you.”

“Thanks Peter.” Stiles stands up and heads to the door.

“Stiles.” Peter calls after him, causing Stiles to turn his head to look at him. “Be careful.”

Stiles goes deep into the preserve that night, making sure there’s no one around and that he’s not being followed. He finds a clearing and sits down, trying to figure out what he needs to do. Peter said he needed an emotional trigger. Did that mean something that made him sad? Or angry? He doubted something happy would help him with his. He thinks he knows what could do it so he starts thinking about everything that’s been piling on top of him for the last few months, hell the last few years.

He feels all the sadness and anger start coming to the surface, the power he’s been tapping down coming with it. He does the only thing he can think of then. He screams and pounds on the ground with his fists, releasing all his pain. The power flows from him into the air around him, like electric currents. He sees the sky light up with lightening and then it’s pouring. Rain comes down in waves around him and all Stiles can do is continue to scream and cry.

He feels exhausted by the time he’s done, his whole body shaking. Whether from the chill of the rain or as a result of all the energy he just released. The rain has stopped and now he’s left just sitting there on his knees shaking in the mud. He knows he needs to get up, to get home, but he’s just so tired. He tries to fight it but exhaustion takes over and he can only succumb to the urge to curl up and close his eyes, welcoming sleep.

Stiles barely registers his name being called and the hands skirting across his body. He blearily opens his eyes and recognizes that it’s Peter standing over him. He’d be freaked out by the touching but Peter seems to be keeping the actual contact to a minimal, probably just checking him over for injuries.

When Peter is done he looks up at Stiles, his eyes slightly worried. Which is weird. Why would Peter be worried? “Do you think you can stand?”

The tired part of Stiles’ brain wants to say no, he’s perfectly comfortable here on the cool ground. But the logical part knows it's bound to get cold outside, especially in the preserve, and isn’t all that safe so he should at least try to get up. When he speaks, the words feel heavy in his mouth, coming out much slower than usual. “I’ll try. Might need help.”

Stiles slowly sits up, feeling a little lightheaded but nothing bad enough to stop him from standing. At least that’s what he thought. Until he attempts to get to his feet and finds himself swaying, his knees almost buckling underneath him. It’s only Peter’s quick reflexes that stop him from hitting the ground.

Peter looks down at Stiles with an amused look, though the worry is still there. “If you can’t walk I’m going to have to carry you.”

Stiles groans, attempting to stand up on his own and willing his feet to move. He barely moves a foot before he’s swaying again and having to rely on Peter to keep him up. Peter sighs, bending down to put an arm around Stiles’ knees and lifting him up into his arms.

“We’re not telling anyone about this.” Stiles mumbles, resisting the urge to lean into the man. He might be tired but he’s not that tired. Speaking of, “You didn’t tell me how exhausted that was going to make me!”

“I wasn’t sure how bad it would be.” Peter says. “I’ve only ever heard about it, never actually seen it happen. I did have my suspicions about what could happen which is why I’m here. It’s always likely that releasing that amount of power could take a lot of energy. I imagine it was worse for you since your energy isn’t exactly at its peak anyway.”

“But you still let me do it!”

“Of course I did. It was either you let your magic out yourself or keep it pent up until it found a way to release itself, possibly harming you and innocent bystanders.”

“Since when do you care about innocent people getting hurt?” Stiles asks.

“Since one of those innocent people might have been my daughter.” Peter says. “And like I told you before, I’m not completely heartless, as much as you all would like to believe I am. If I was I would not be here helping some kid who instead of thanking me for my help has decided to yell at me.”

Peter keeps walking and it takes Stiles longer than he’d like to realize they’re going in the wrong direction. “Wait. My car’s not this way. Where are we going?”

Stiles swears he can feel the force with which Peter rolls his eyes. “Your cold, wet, and shivering. We need to get you dried off. I’m taking you home. You can get your car later, or Derek can. Right now, the priority is making sure you don’t catch a cold.”

Home. Of course. The new house was nearby so logically that would be the closest place to go. Even then… “Derek doesn’t know about my magic. How am I supposed to explain this?”

“You were out looking for some plant and got caught in the sudden storm. You exhausted yourself trying to fight your way through it.”

They barely make it onto the porch before the door is flying open, Derek appearing in front of them eyes red and frantic as he takes Stiles from Peter. “What happened? Are you hurt? You never came home! I was worried!”

“Relax Der.” Stiles mumbles, pushing further into Derek’s warmth. “I just got caught in the storm.”

Stiles notices Derek looking over Stiles’ head, most likely at Peter. “I found him sleeping in the mud. He’s cold. He probably needs a warm shower and some werewolf body heat.”

“Shut up.” Stiles grumbles, realizing too late that he’s been rubbing his head along Derek’s chest. His very bare chest. Because it was the middle of the night and Derek was most likely sleeping. Shit.

Stiles jerks back fast, causing Derek to curse and pull Stiles back against him. “What the hell Stiles? Are you trying to get a concussion on top of your hypothermia?”

“I’m not going to get hypothermia. Or a concussion. You’re warm and you’ll protect me.”

Stiles feels Derek’s chest shaking against his cheek and looks up to see Derek grinning down at him, laughter clear on his face. “I’m not sure what one has to do with the other but you’re right. I’ll always protect you.”

Stiles hears Peter clear his throat. “Well I trust you have this covered. I’ll leave him in your very capable hands.”

Stiles blushes and is surprised to see a hint of blush on Derek’s cheeks as well, barely hidden beneath his stubble. Derek looks down at him, catching Stiles staring but Stiles doesn’t look away. “You gonna take care of me Der?”

Stiles is amazed when Derek’s face turns an even darker shade of red, not able to stop himself from running his hand along Derek’s stubble. For a moment, Derek closes his eyes, covering Stiles’ hand with his own and leaning into the touch. When Derek speaks, his voice is barely above a whisper. “We should get you warmed up.”

“Hmm… I am warm here.” Stiles exhausted brain can’t be bothered to care what comes out of his mouth at this point. Plus, it’s worth it to see Derek blush.

Derek sighs, starting towards the stairs. “Your temperature does seem to be going up. We still need to get you out of these clothes.”

“I hoped when you said that it would be under different circumstances.”

Derek’s steps falter, but he quickly recovers, leading Stiles to his bedroom. Stiles is too tired to look around much but he swears he sees a Batman poster on the wall that wasn’t there before. Derek leans Stiles against the wall, looking at him warily. “I’m going to get you some clothes to change into. Think you can manage to stay up while I’m gone?”

Stiles nods, leaning heavily against the wall. He wants to tell Derek he has his own clothes in here but he doesn’t, thrilled by the thought of wearing Derek’s clothes. He has to fight to keep himself standing but he somehow manages it, only sliding down a few inches while Derek is gone. Derek returns with a pair of sweatpants and a worn looking t-shirt. “My savior returns.”

Derek snorts. “I’m not sure what I’m supposed to have saved you from this time. Peter’s the one that found you.”

“You would have if Peter hadn’t.” Stiles says. “You always do.”

Derek shakes his head, a small smile on his face as he hands Stiles the clothes. “You’re standing so I assume you can change into these on your own.”

“If I said I couldn’t would you help me?” Stiles asks, giving Derek a cheeky smile.

The comment is worth it when Derek blushes again and stumbles his way out of the room. “Just get dressed!”

When Stiles is finished he opens the door, wet clothes in hand. He sees a light on in across the hall in Derek’s room so he assumes that’s where Derek is. He’s not wrong. Derek is there, laying back on his bed with an arm draped across his chest. His eyes are closed but Stiles knows he’s not sleeping.

“Quit staring.”

“You’re asking for it, laying there like that. You had to have known I’d come to find you.”

Derek smirks up at him, barely opening his eyes as he studies Stiles. “Considering we’ve been sleeping in the same bed for months I’d say that’s a pretty good assumption.”

Stiles gapes, then narrows his eyes. “You totally did this on purpose, you asshole!” When Derek laughs Stiles balls up his wet closes and throws them, hitting Derek square in the chest.

Stiles laughs and runs out of the room before Derek even makes it out of his bed. He’s still not surprised when a hand wraps around his waist from behind and pulls him back against a very hard chest. Stiles barely suppresses a shiver when Derek speaks lowly against his ear, his stubble scratching against Stiles' skin. “I thought you wanted to get warmed up.”

Stiles leans into Derek, letting his head fall back against Derek’s shoulder. “Derek.

Stiles gasps when Derek starts nuzzling into his neck, enjoying the feeling of his stubble scratching against his skin. “I need to know what you want Stiles.”

Stiles turns around in Derek’s hold, looking up at the other man, eyes serious. “I want you. I’ve wanted you for years. And not just this…” Stiles gestures to Derek’s body. “But all of you.”

Derek surges forward, claiming Stiles’ lips in a hungry kiss. Stiles is helpless against it, groaning into the kiss and gripping Derek’s hair in an effort to pull the other man closer. Derek growls and before Stiles knows it his back is hitting the wall and Derek is plastering himself against Stiles. He moans against Derek’s mouth at the feeling of Derek’s hard length pressing against his own growing erection. Stiles wants this. Oh, he wants this. But he’s also still so tired from the magic he released earlier. He hates himself a little when they pull back to catch their breath and a yawn escapes him.

Derek looks at him, amusement clear on his face. “Is this not exciting enough for you?”

Stiles swats at his chest. “Shut up. You know I’m exhausted.”

“Hmm I guess we should go to sleep then.” Derek laughs when Stiles pouts. “Don’t worry. We’re going to talk about this in the morning.”

Stiles slowly follows Derek into his room, quickly crawling into bed next to him and allowing himself to be maneuvered until his head is resting on Derek’s chest. “Yeah, we’ll talk. And this will happen again. Right?”

Stiles feels Derek’s smile against his hair. “Yes, Stiles. It will happen again. Because in case you hadn’t figured it out, I want you too. All of you.”

“Good. Because now you’re stuck with me. Forever. No take backs.”

Derek laughs. “No take backs.”

Chapter Text

When Derek wakes up the morning after his first kiss with Stiles he expects everything to feel different. It doesn't though. He wakes up with Stiles in his arms, warm sunlight breaking through the curtains making Stiles’ skin almost glow. But he doesn't feel different. He's been waking up like this for months. The only difference is now he can allow himself to fully look, to relax and enjoy the feeling of Stiles in his arms, knowing that he can have this. That he can run his hands through Stiles hair, kiss his skin, run his nose along his neck and just breathe in the smell of Stiles. Because this is his. Stiles wants him.

Derek smiles against Stiles’ hair, his smile growing when the man in question groans and hides his face in Derek's neck, mumbling against his skin. “It's too early.”

Derek laughs, running a hand along Stiles’ back and whispering into Stiles’ hair. “It's 10 a.m.” Derek pauses, debating with himself before adding on. “Sweetheart.”

Stiles’ head flies up, barely missing smacking his head on Derek's chin, as he looks at the man with wide eyes and his mouth hanging open. “Did you just…? I can't believe you just used a pet name on me!”

Derek smirks. “It got you to wake up, didn't it?”

Stiles groans, laying his head down on Derek's chest. “I'm not sure. I might be dreaming. I'm not prepared for a reality where Derek Hale uses pet names.”

“Are you, Stiles Stilinski, the man who calls me Sourwolf telling me you're opposed to pet names?”

“As a whole no. I just didn't know it was something that was on the table.” Stiles looks up at him, his eyes narrowing slightly. “Just as long as you don't call me baby.”

“Noted. Baby is off the table.” Derek nods, his lips twitching slightly. “So, you want breakfast?”

Stiles tightens his arms around Derek's waist, as if he's trying to prevent him from leaving. “I do. But let someone else make it. I want to stay here a little longer.”

Derek pulls Stiles tighter against him, burying his face in his hair. “That's fine with me. I wasn't wanting to leave this bed anyway.”

Derek feels Stiles grin against his chest. “Ever?”

Derek huffs a laugh. “We're going to have to leave at some point.”

“We could hire someone to bring us food.”

“What about showering?” Derek asks, wrinkling his nose. “I love you but I don't want to know what you smell like after not showering for a week.” Derek feels Stiles still against him, before he's jumping back, his heartbeat picking up. He looks up at Stiles, his brow furrowing. “What is it? What's wrong?”

Stiles looks at him with wide eyes. When he speaks his voice is barely above a whisper, as if he can't believe what he's saying. “You love me?”

“What?” Derek sits up on his elbows, staring at Stiles. Had he said that? He said something about showering but… oh. He had said that. He sits up fully, taking Stiles hand in his own. “I do. That wasn't how I wanted to tell you but…” He shrugs, a small smile on his face.

“Wow.” Stiles breathes. “That's…wow.”

“It's okay if you don't feel the same way yet.” Derek tells him. He needs Stiles to know that. Sure, it would hurt. But he was okay with waiting.

“What are you talking about?” Stiles asks, gripping Derek's hand harder, trying to pull him closer. Derek goes willingly. “Of course I love you Derek. I have for years. I just wasn't... I guess I'm surprised you're saying it so freely. I mean it took us a while to even get here.”

Derek nods, leaning forward to run his nose along Stiles’ cheek. “I wanted to wait until you graduated. I didn't want to push you. But now…” he pulls back to look at Stiles, placing a quick kiss on his lips. “Now I'm tired of denying myself the things I want.”

“Good.” Stiles grins. “Because you deserve nice things Derek Hale and I’m going to make sure you get them. Not that I'm a nice thing…”

Derek hooks an arm around Stiles waist, pulling him into his lap. “I think you're a very nice thing.” He kisses him thoroughly, slipping his tongue into Stiles’ mouth and enjoy the moan it elicits. When he has to pull back it’s only far enough to speak against his lips. “You feeling awake now?”

Stiles smirks, grinding down against Derek. “Very awake.” Derek's eyes flash red and then he's flipping them, putting Stiles on his back. Stiles grins up at him. “Oh yeah, I'm definitely awake.”

Derek smirks, leaning in to speak lowly against Stiles‘ ear, enjoying the moan it gets from him. “Good. You're going to need your energy.”

Derek is so caught up in the moment, only focusing on the feeling of Stiles writhing beneath him, that he doesn’t hear someone entering the house. He’s just managed to sneak a hand down Stiles’ boxers when his bedroom door flies open. Derek goes to remove his hand when Stiles stops him with a hand on his wrist as he narrows his eyes towards the door.

“Okay wow. I didn’t know you were that far.” Derek hears Cora say from behind him.

“We thought you were just making out.” Erica says, her voice sounding gleeful. “But this is so much better.”

“It would be better if you weren’t here.” Derek says, glaring at the two of them over his shoulder.

“Oh I bet.” Erica smirks. Don’t stop on my account.”

Derek goes to order them out but Stiles opens his mouth, stopping him. “I wasn’t planning on it.” Stiles says, moving his hips up to meet Derek’s, causing Derek to release an involuntary moan. “We are having sex. I’m not about to let you cockblock our first time. So you can stay or leave, the choice is yours.”

Derek blushes, not sure how he feels completely comfortably with the idea of someone watching them, especially his sister. But he knows Stiles is just calling Erica’ s bluff. At least he assumes. He has no doubt that Stiles would do whatever possible to make both Erica and Cora run screaming from the room. They don’t have to worry about Erica because
Cora makes the decision for the both of them, disgust clear in her voice. “Ew no. I am not about to watch my brother have sex. Come on Erica.”

Derek is sure Erica is pouting but soon they’re leaving and the door is closing behind them, Erica yelling out a delighted “Congrats on the sex!”

Derek looks down at Stiles to see him grinning. “I can’t believe you didn’t lock the door. Or hear them coming.”

Derek rolls his eyes. “I was distracted, and I wasn’t exactly planning this. We were just sleeping when I shut the door last night and then I was otherwise occupied this morning.”

“Hmm…” Stiles says, rolling his hips at the same time he leans up to suck hard on Derek’s neck. When Derek glances down he’s smirking. “Now, where were we?”

 

Derek knows Stiles is hiding something, he figured that out even before he and Stiles started dating. Derek was sure that even if he hadn’t learned early on to pick up on Stiles’ tells he would have figured it out. Then again Stiles wasn’t exactly being all that sneaky. Sure, he was trying but he wasn’t trying that hard. Derek saw the silent exchanges Stiles would have with Isaac before the two of them would go off somewhere just out of earshot. Other times he would walk in to see the two of them huddled over a book somewhere before they immediately quit talking and hid the book out of his sight when he walked in the room. So Stiles definitely was not being sneaky. If anything, it was like he wanted people to people suspicious of his behavior.

Then there was Peter. Peter had always had an interest in Stiles, but ever since what happened with the Ghost Riders his interest seems to have changed. It no longer seems like just curiosity about Stiles but more concern for his wellbeing. Peter had been the first person to notice something was off with Stiles and actually confront him about it. Derek is still grateful for that. Stiles needs people in his corner, even if one of those people is Peter. Derek notices the way Peter looks out for Stiles in his own way. Even so, Derek can't help but be surprised and even a little confused when Peter brings Stiles home cold, wet, and exhausted, giving some excuse about Stiles being caught in the rain. Derek knew it was a bullshit excuse but he had been too worried about Stiles at the time to call either of them on it.

Derek had even talked to the Sheriff about what Stiles could be up to. He hadn't sought the man out either. John had came to him a few days after Stiles’ graduation worried that him and Stiles had had a fight. Apparently, Stiles had been sneaking up to his old bedroom and holing himself up there for hours, sometimes with Isaac. Derek had assumed he was spending time with his Dad, but apparently not.

The Sheriff had seemed worried Stiles and Isaac were messing around together and had warned Derek he needed to tell Stiles how he felt before it was too late. Derek had laughed, saying there was no way Stiles and Isaac were together. For one, they barely tolerated each other. And then there was the fact that Isaac knew how Derek felt about Stiles and had been attempting to push them together. And while Derek hadn't been completely sure at the time he was at least 98% sure that Stiles felt the same way about him.

After Stiles and Derek start dating, The Sheriff becomes even more worried about what Stiles is hiding. He seems to think Stiles isn't fully committed, which Derek finds laughable.
Derek tries to assure the man that Stiles wouldn't do something like that. Surely John had to know that. After all, he'd been pushing for him and Stiles to get together for months, stating that Stiles was crazy about him. And Derek knows Stiles, when he's in a relationship he's fully invested. Plus, they're mates. Stiles doesn't know that yet but Derek knows he has to be feeling the pull. Not that Derek wants to have that conversation with the Sheriff. He'd let Stiles take that one, or at least be present when it takes place

He knows Stiles has things he needs to work out on his own. And yes, Derek wishes he knew what it was so he could support Stiles through it, but he also respects his need for privacy. Whatever is going on, Derek knows Stiles will come to him with it when he's ready. He just needs to make sure Stiles knows and understands he's okay with that.

Derek steps in the Stilinski house, pausing in front of the door, trying to work out if Stiles is here alone. Hearing Stiles’ and Isaac’s voices upstairs, he makes his way further inside, pausing near the stairs when he hears Stiles speak. “So, you ever going to talk to Cora?”

“Cora?” That's Isaac, and he sounds confused. “About what?”

Derek hears Stiles snort “I don't know, maybe about the fact that you're hopelessly pining for her?”

“What? I am not!” A pause, which Derek imagines involves some of their silent communication. “Okay, even if I was Derek would kill me. And if he didn't, Cora would. She's terrifying.”

Derek barely suppresses a sigh. He really needs to have a talk with Isaac about utilizing his senses. He knows he's already heard too much so he walks quietly back towards the door, opening it and then closing it loudly, calling out for Stiles as he does so. “Stiles? You here?”

He hears the sound of books slamming around then Isaac is hurrying past Derek as he makes his way up the stairs, barely sparing Derek a glance. Derek stops in the doorway of Stiles’ old bedroom, watching the man almost fly around the room. The place is in disarray, books and papers scattered all over the room. Derek doesn't pay them any mind, focusing his attention on Stiles.

“I know you've been keeping something from me.” Derek says, watching as Stiles tenses from where he's shoveling books into his old backpack. He steps closer to Stiles attempting to get the other man to look at him. When Stiles won't meet his eyes he sighs. “I’m not angry Stiles. I need you to know it's okay if you can't tell me. I know you'll tell me when you're ready, and I'll be here to listen, whenever that is.”

Stiles looks over at him and Derek's heart clenches at the sadness he sees in his eyes. “Really?”

“Of course.” Derek tells him, taking his face between his hands. “I love you. And I trust you. If you need time to figure this out I understand.”

“What if it's bad?” Stiles asks, voice small. “What if… what if whatever it is makes you hate me.”

“That's not possible.” Derek says, voice firm. “I promise you, no matter how bad you think this is, nothing you could tell me or show me could ever make me hate you, alright?”

Stiles gives Derek a small smile, reaching up to squeeze his hand where it's still resting on Stiles’ cheek. “Alright. Thanks Der.”

“Of course,” Derek says, running his thumbs along Stiles cheekbones, watching as Stiles’ eyes flutter closed. “You do need to have a talk with your Dad though.”

Stiles’ eyes fly open. “What? Why?”

“He seems to think you're messing around with Isaac.”

“What?! You're not serious.”

“I am.” Derek laughs. “He said something about having a serious talk with you about appreciating what you have. I think he means to defend my honor.”

Stiles groans, dropping his head down to Derek's shoulder. “I can't believe this. How he could think… I would never!” Stiles looks up suddenly, face serious. “You know that right? I do appreciate you and I would never cheat on you.”

Derek places a lingering kiss on his lips, pulling back far enough to rest his forehead against Stiles’ “I know. And I told him that. I still think it would help if you talked you him.”

Stiles nods, letting out a long sigh. “Yeah I will. I'll go do that since I'm here.” Derek reluctantly lets go when Stiles pulls back. Stiles stops at the door, glancing back at him. “Hey Der?”

“Yeah?”

“I love you.”

Derek smiles, watching as Stiles walks out of the room. Derek debates waiting, but decides to give Stiles some privacy while he talks to his Dad. He heads downstairs, passing Stiles on his way towards the door. He stops, pressing a quick kiss to Stiles’ cheek. “I love you. I'll see you at home, alright?”

Stiles smiles, giving him a small smile and a quick kiss. “I won't be too late.”

Derek nods to the Sheriff on his way out the door and leaves the two men to talk. He isn't sure what Stiles plans to tell the man. He just hopes that Stiles will find a way to be honest with him even if he's not ready to tell Derek yet. Stiles has been making progress and Derek needs Stiles to continue the road he's on, not for Derek but for himself. Stiles smells happy more often now, and the smiles he offers Derek fell more genuine. The nightmares, while not gone away completely, happen less often. Things are settling down. The pack is starting to feel like a pack again, minus Lydia, Scott and Malia, who Derek knows will come around eventually. So, if Stiles needed the time to work through things, Derek was happy to give it to him.

Chapter Text

Lydia isn't exactly being inattentive on purpose. She's usually one of the first people to notice when something is going on. She's just been so busy with making sure everything was ready for college in the fall that everything sort of fell away. She just assumed Stiles was okay. Though she really should have known better. Because how could he be after everything that happened?

So when it's Jackson of all people that brings up that something is wrong with Stiles, she feels a little guilty. He's s one of her best friends and she just let him suffer alone. She's going to fix this. She hopes to do that tonight at dinner. The Sheriff had invited both her and her Mom over for dinner that night and Natalie Martin had gladly accepted on behalf of both of them.

Lydia’s sitting on her bed touching up her makeup while her Mom fixes her hair, stating that Lydia’s mirror is bigger and provides a better view. Lydia doesn’t question it, she knows it’s true. She also knows her Mom is probably building up to something. Sure enough, as she’s fixing her hair she looks at Lydia through the mirror. “I talked to John yesterday.” She says. Lydia just gives a noise of acknowledgement.

This wasn’t anything knew. Her Mom and the Sheriff had been spending a lot of time together and going on dates. Natalie had been bringing the Sheriff up in casual conversation ever since the whole thing started, as if she’s trying to ease Lydia into the idea. Lydia doesn’t think that’s really necessary, and has told her mother so. She knows the Sheriff, knows he’s a good man and he makes her Mom happy. That’s all that matters.

When Lydia doesn’t offer a proper reply, her Mom continues on. “He told me that Stiles and Derek were finally dating.” She says, giving Lydia a look through the mirror. “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me.”

Lydia’s mouth hangs open a moment before she quickly closes it. Stiles and Derek were dating? She isn’t surprised, really. They had been dancing around each other for ages. She is surprised to find out about it from her mother though. “I didn’t know.”

“Stiles didn’t tell you?”

Lydia shakes her head, feeling the guilt creep back in again. “No. I’m sure he planned to. We just haven’t talked much lately.”

“Well maybe you can tonight at dinner.” Her mother says, turning her attention back to the mirror and ending the conversation.

Stiles’ jeep is parked outside when they arrive at the house, along with the Sheriff’s cruiser, so Lydia expects Stiles to be home. Except when they enter the house the Sheriff appears to be the only other person there. He smiles at her Mom, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek, and offering a brief greeting to Lydia before heading back into the kitchen.

Lydia smiles all the same, looking around the house half expecting Stiles to pop up somewhere. “Hello Sheriff, is Stiles here?”

The Sheriff tilts his head. “I'm sorry Lydia, but he's not here.”

“He's not? His jeep is out front so I just figured he was.”

“He's with Derek. They rode together after dinner last night.”

“Derek?” Lydia asks, surprise clear in her voice, momentarily forgetting what her Mom had told her, her mind flashing back to more dangerous times. “Why? Did something happen?”

She realizes her mistake immediately when the Sheriff crosses his arms, fixing Lydia with a stern look. “Nothing's wrong. He and Stiles have been spending a lot of time together.”
Lydia glances at her Mom. “Why don’t you go get washed up for dinner while I talk to the Sheriff?” Her mother looks between the two of them before stiffly nodding her head and heading towards the bathroom. Lydia waits until she hears the bathroom door close before turning back to the Sheriff. “I’m sorry. I know I haven't been around much but I've been so focused on school…”

The Sheriff holds up a hand. “I'm not the one that you need to explain it to. But right now, Stiles is spending time with his boyfriend so you'll just have to get with him another time. Try calling him. Or texting. That's what you kids do these days.”

Lydia nods, offering an apologetic smile. “Of course. For the record, I am happy to hear he and Derek finally got their acts together.”

The Sheriff’s lips quirk slightly. “Aren’t we all.”

Lydia pulls out her phone when the Sheriff starts getting everything ready for dinner and shoots a text to Stiles. “Free tomorrow?”

She’s surprised when Stiles doesn't respond right away, instead taking almost a full 5 minutes before answering her text. “Busy in the morning. But I’m sure I can make time for my favorite strawberry blonde. Tomorrow afternoon? Say 2? At Lucille’s?”

Lydia smiles, quickly responding to his text. “2 is perfect. I’ll see you then!”

Her Mom appears a moment later, raising a questioning eyebrow. Lydia shrugs. “I’m going to fix it.”

Natalie nods, placing a hand on Lydia’s shoulder before going into the kitchen to join John. Lydia’s quiet through most of dinner, content to let her Mom and the Sheriff talk. Eventually the conversation turns to Stiles and Lydia just has to ask the question that’s been nagging at her. “So, has Stiles just been spending a lot of time at Derek’s since they started dating?”

“At Derek’s?” The Sheriff turns to her, brows furrowing in confusion. “It’s not just Derek’s. They live together.”

Lydia’s eyes widen. “Already? That’s a little fast, isn’t it?”

“Is it?” The Sheriff asks.

“Well they just started dating and they’re already living together…”

“They were living together before they started dating.” The Sheriff tells her. “Stiles moved in months ago, and even before then he spent almost all his time over at Derek’s apartment. Plus, you and I both know those two have been dancing around each other for years. So no, I don’t think it’s too fast. If anything, it’s a long time coming.”

“Of course,” Lydia says, squaring her shoulders and looking right at the Sheriff. “I know I haven't been there for him like I should have after everything that has happened, but I love him like a brother and I would cut an alpha for him."

John stares at her for a moment before nodding, lips twitching slightly “I have no doubt.”

The three go back to their dinner, exchanging small talk until the sound of keys in the door makes them pause, the sound laughter filtering into the kitchen. Lydia looks over to see Stiles and Derek walking in, Stiles facing Derek as he talks to the other man. “I'm telling you Derek, I am going to make an Orphan Black fan out of you.”

“We'll see.” Derek says, giving Stiles a soft smile as he helps him remove his coat.

Stiles grins, leaning in to kiss Derek's cheek, laughing when the other man blushes. Derek rolls his eyes, before directing his attention towards the kitchen, eyes widening slightly when he sees the three people at the table watching them.

“I wasn't aware you were coming to dinner.” The Sheriff says, grabbing Stiles’ attention.

“Someone didn't feel like cooking.” Stiles says, shooting a look at Derek as he walks into the kitchen. “Please tell me there's food left. I feel like I haven’t eaten in days.”

“You ate a huge lunch.” Derek tells him.

“Yeah well. I need plenty of food to keep my energy up.” Stiles says, shooting Derek a wink.

“There should be plenty of food left.” John tells them. “No one else here eats quite like you do.”

“Hey! That's not fair. All the wolves eat more than I do!”

“But you certainly give them a run for their money.” Lydia says.

“Lydia!” Stiles whirls on her, as if he just noticed she was sitting there, but he quickly recovers. “Not cool. You're supposed to be on my side.”

Lydia smiles. “Honestly Stiles, anyone that has had to watch you eat would agree. You eat like an animal.”

“Yeah well… Derek thinks it's cute!”

Stiles points a finger at a startled Derek. “That's not the word I would use.” Derek replies dryly.

Stiles smacks Derek's chests, then quickly pulls away, glaring down at the hand like it offended him. “Stupid werewolves and their stupid werewolf strength.”

“You weren't complaining about my werewolf strength last night. In fact, you seemed to like it.” Derek says, then immediately puts his hands over his mouth as his eyes widen.
Across from her, Lydia hears silverware hitting a plate. She looks over to see the Sheriff staring between Stiles and Derek, his own face turning red. Stiles just stands there, mouthing hanging open as he stares at Derek.

They're saved by any further awkwardness when Lydia’s Mom speaks. “This lasagna is delicious, John.”

“Wish I could take credit for it but I picked it up from Lucille’s.” The Sheriff says, shooting one last look towards Stiles before directing his attention towards Natalie.

Lydia watches Stiles and Derek as they get their food. Stiles is saying something in a hurried whisper while Derek looks anywhere but at Stiles, shrugging at whatever Stiles says. Stiles reaches over and squeezes Derek's hand, leaning in to say something to him that has Derek smiling and ducking is head. Stiles steps back with a smile of his own before grabbing his plate and heading towards the table. He pauses when he gets there, looking between the two available seats, one next to Lydia and the other beside the Sheriff. Derek walks over and gives Stiles a long look before shaking his head and taking the seat next to the Sheriff.

“Don't think this means you're getting out of lunch tomorrow.” Stiles says to Lydia as he starts in on his food.

“Of course not.” Lydia says, wrinkling her nose when Stiles shovels food into his mouth, some slipping out and almost landing on his pants. He's only saved from getting a stain when Derek reaches out with a napkin and catches the lasagna before it lands in Stiles’ lap.

Stiles shoots him a grin and Derek hands Stiles another napkin, and places another one on his lap. “You are a mess.”

“Yeah but I’m your mess.” Stiles says, shooting Derek a grin.

Derek rolls his eyes, a fond smile on his face. “Yeah you are.”

The Sheriff groans, drawing all eyes to him. “Really you two? First the insinuating about your sex life and now this?”

“You should be happy your only son is happy and in love.” Stiles tells him.

The Sheriff snorts, shaking his head in amusement. “Yeah you are. And I am. I’m also happy you’re no longer living here so I don’t have to witness this all the time.”

“Oh please. Don’t act like you don’t get all sappy and romantic.”

Lydia sees the Sheriff blush and her Mom duck her head, a small smile on her face. “Ugh. I chose the wrong dinner to come to.”

Stiles laughs. “Probably. Maybe you just need to find someone you can bring to dinner.”

Lydia wrinkles her nose. “No thank you. I’m about to go off to college. I fully intend to spend the time focusing on my studies and not being tied down with anything serious.”

“So as long as it’s not anything serious you're fine?”

Before Lydia can respond Derek speaks up. “So, is there dessert?”

Stiles looks over at Derek, then down at his plate of lasagna, raising an eyebrow. “You haven’t even finished your dinner. You’re already thinking of dessert?”

Derek shrugs. “I was just curious.”

“We brought pie.” Lydia tells Derek, shooting him a grateful smile. “Apple pie. I heard it was your favorite.”

“It is.” Derek says, offering Lydia a small smile.

“And it’s homemade.” The Sheriff adds, looking hungrily towards the counter. “It smelled delicious when they brought it in.”

“You haven’t finished your dinner either!” Stiles says, throwing his hands up.

“I’m going to. But I’m also making sure to save room for that pie.”

“Uh huh. I bet. Just no whipped cream.” Stiles says, pointing his fork at his Dad.

Derek reaches out, putting a hand on Stiles arm and lowering it back to his plate. “I’m sure a little whipped cream won’t hurt him Stiles.”

Stiles narrows his eyes at Derek. “Really? Because if he gets whipped cream you won’t be getting any.”

“Are we still talking about dessert toppings or something else?” Lydia asks, looking between the two of them.

The Sheriff sighs. “I’m just going to pretend it’s dessert toppings. And they’re only used for dessert purposes.”

Lydia looks over at her mother to see her looking as if she’s wondering what she's gotten herself into. She tries to fight a laugh but finds she doesn’t succeed very well when all eyes turn to her. Her mother gives her a confused look. “Something funny, Lydia?”

Lydia shakes her head, smile still playing on her lips. “No, nothing. I just missed this.”

Stiles grins over at her. “Yeah me too.”

 

Lydia arrives 15 minutes early to her lunch with Stiles at Lucille’s, surprised to find Stiles’ jeep already parked out front. He’s not in the jeep so Lydia walks inside, spotting Stiles by the counter talking to Lucille. Lucille spots her first and waves at her, gaining Stiles’ attention. She says something to Stiles and he turns around, pleased grin on his face as he comes her way.

“You’re early.” He says, pulling her into a hug.

“So are you.” Lydia says, pulling back from the hug and looking around the diner. It’s mostly empty, like it was the first time she came her. “Should we get a seat?”

Stiles nods, leading her to the same booth they sat in before. Lydia thinks it’s a little big for the two of them but doesn’t question it. Stiles must see something on her face though because he starts explaining. “This is my favorite seat. I would always beg my Mom to sit her, even when it was just the two of us. I think she only agreed because she liked having the extra space for me to crawl around on.”

Lydia nods. “You must have a lot of memories of this place.”

“I do. Most with my Mom. My Dad would come too sometimes, but my Mom would bring me here when he was working. Still, it was hard for my Dad to come back here after she died. He didn’t start coming back until recently.”

“And you?”

Stiles shrugs. “I started coming back as soon as I was able to get out on my own. I missed this place. It makes me feel close to my Mom.”

“I imagine the meatloaf does too.” Lucille says, stopping at their table. She has a notebook and pen in her hand, clearly ready to take their order.

It’s only then Lydia realizes she hadn’t really looked at the menu yet. She quickly opens it up, surveying the contents while Stiles talks to Lucille. She looks up when Stiles speaks to her. “The meatloaf was my Mom’s favorite. That’s why I always get it, no matter how good the other food is. Except, of course, when my Dad brings home other food like he did last night.”

“I tried to send him home with some meatloaf for you.” Lucille tells him. “But he refused, saying he wasn’t sure if you’d be there and didn’t want it to go to waste.” She looks between Stiles and Lydia, tapping her pen on her notebook. “I know you want the meatloaf, Stiles. But are you ready to order dear?”

Lydia nods, giving Lucille her order before turning her attention back to Stiles. “So you and Derek huh?”

Stiles’ face lights up almost immediately. “Yeah. That finally happened.”

“You two look good together. And you seem happy.”

“I am. We are.”

Lydia smiles, patting Stiles’ hand. “Good. You deserve to be happy. Both of you.”

They talk a bit while they wait for their food, mostly about Derek and how they’re both preparing for college. When Lydia tells Stiles she’s spent most of the beginning of the summer packing and preparing for college Stiles just laughs and shakes his head, telling her he’s not surprised. Stiles, of course, brings up Jackson wondering if Lydia has had any contact with him.

“I’ve talked to him.” Lydia says. “He’s called a few times and showed up at my house. It was nice to see him again. I’ve talked to him every few days but I haven’t seen him since. I’ve been too busy.”

“So you’re not looking to rekindle that romance?” Stiles asks.

“I already told you, I don’t want anything serious in college. It’s going to be out me. I want to have that experience for myself without worrying about anyone else. Not that there’s anything wrong with going to college in a relationship.” Lydia tells him. “I just don’t want it. I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about being in a relationship and what other people think of me. I don’t want that anymore. I know who I am. I know my worth. Now I’m going to make everyone else see that.”

Stiles grins. “You’re going to conquer the world.”

“Yeah well. I’ll just aim for making it a little better.”

Their food arrives and they dig in. Well, Stiles does. Lydia has the patience to wait a bit for hers to cool off. She watches as Stiles takes a bit of his food, closing his eyes and releasing a groan. “That good?”

“The best.” Stiles says, opening his eyes and going right back to this food.

Lydia cuts up her chicken, taking a bite, nodding her head pleased with her food. “The food really is great here.”

“I told you.”

“Did you ever bring Scott here?”

Stiles stills, staring at Lydia with his mouth hanging open, before he quickly closes it, swallowing his food. “I uhh… yeah. A long time ago. He always preferred fast food to this place though.”

“Hmm… have you talked to him recently?” Lydia asks.

Stiles sighs, shaking his head and taking a drink. “Not really. It’s been… a while. He’s been busy.”

“Maybe you should…” Lydia starts but Stiles cuts her off.

“I’m not going to talk to him.” Stiles says, stabbing a fork into his meatloaf. “If Scott wants to talk, he can come to me.”

Lydia nods, deciding it was best to drop the topic. She changes it back to Derek, knowing that would be a good way to lift Stiles’ spirits. Sure enough, Stiles starts talking about how he finally got Derek to watch Orphan Black last night and then they binged the whole first season rather than sleeping.

“You should seriously watch it, Lyds.” Stiles tells her. “Tatiana Maslany is amazing. I think you’d love it.”

“I’ll consider it, if I have time.” Lydia tells him.

“Find time. You won’t regret it.”

Lydia agrees to at least check it out, hoping to get Stiles off her back. He eventually changes the subject to something else, Lydia listening attentively and offering input where she needs to. Her mind is somewhere else though. Wondering what could possibly be going on with Scott and Stiles that could have them not speaking. Stiles didn’t seem to want to tell her so that meant she had to go to Scott.

Chapter Text

Malia’s confused when she hears the sound of Lydia’s car approaching Scott’s house. It had been awhile since they had all hung out together so she was instantly on alert, afraid that something was wrong. Scott’s not home, having decided to do some work at Deaton’s clinic since the man got back in town a few days ago, so that left Malia to her occupy herself. She had still been in bed when Scott left earlier and still hadn’t gotten around to leaving yet.

She’s on her feet the moment she hears the car door shut, opening the door before Lydia even has a chance to knock. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

“Why would you just assume something’s wrong?” Lydia asks, giving Malia a curious look.

“Because you’re here. You haven’t been here in months. I just figured whatever brought you here couldn’t be good.”

Lydia sighs. “Well it’s not bad. I just need to talk to Scott.”

“He’s not here.” Malia tells her. “He’s working at the clinic.”

“Without Deaton here?” Lydia asks.

“Deaton got in a few days ago. What do you need Scott for?”

“I want to talk to him about Stiles.”

“Oh. Maybe you should come in.” Malia says, stepping back from the door to let Lydia pass through.

“So I’m assuming you know what’s going on between Scott and Stiles?” Lydia asks, taking a seat on the couch.

Malia sits in the chair across from her, trying to decide how much she should tell Lydia. Maybe if Lydia knows what’s going on she could talk some sense into Scott since he doesn’t seem to want to listen to her. “I do. Scott’s been avoiding Stiles because Scott and I are dating.”

Lydia raises an eyebrow. “Really? That’s it?”

“Yeah. He thinks it might be weird since Stiles and I dated. I told him he’s been ridiculous but he won’t listen.”

“He is being ridiculous.” Lydia says. “I figured whatever was happening was because of Scott. Stiles has other things on his mind right now. He’s not going to care. Or at least he wouldn’t have if Scott had just told him to start with rather than hiding it.”

“I keep telling him that.” Malia says, rolling her eyes. “He won’t listen to me. He keeps saying it’s not the right time. Maybe you can help though.”

“How?” Lydia asks.

“Convince him to talk to Stiles. Maybe he’ll listen to you.”

Lydia nods. “I came here to figure out what was going on and convince him to talk to Stiles anyway. I’ll see what I can do.”

“I have no doubt you can make him see reason. Or at least intimidate him into talking to Stiles.”

 

Scott’s surprised when Lydia shows up at the clinic. The only person that even knew where he was was Malia but the last he knew Lydia and Malia hadn’t been talking that much. At least that he knew of. One look at Lydia’s face tells him all he needs to know. “You talked to Malia, didn’t you?”

Lydia crosses her arms, glare firmly in place. “You’re damn right I did. And now I’m going to talk to you. And you’re going to listen.”

“Okay. About what?” Scott asks, trying to feign ignorance but knowing he probably fails. Lydia might not be a werewolf but she can see through bullshit from a mile away.

Lydia narrows her eyes. “Don’t give me that. You know exactly what I want to talk about, Scott McCall. You’ve been avoiding your best friend and from what I hear it’s for a pretty shitty reason.”

“He could have always talked to me.” Scott says.

“Are you serious? Stiles has been through a lot. He needed his friends and none of us were there. Yes, I am including myself in that. I’m self-aware enough to know that I haven’t been there for him like I should have. I let myself get so absorbed with school that I didn’t notice anything else. You though. You were just too worried about looking like an asshole for dating your friend’s ex that you purposely avoided him, even going so far as to change classes from what I hear. So you have a lot of work to do. And a lot of groveling.”

“Bu what if he gets mad?” Scott asks, looking down at his hands and refusing to meet Lydia’s eyes.

“He won’t be.” Lydia tells him. “At least not about you and Malia. But even if he does get mad he has that right, Scott. And you’re going to suck it up and take it.”

“But…”

“No buts. Go talk to him. I’ll know if you don’t.” Lydia tells him. “But just know, I’ve done my research so I know plenty of ways to inflict pain on an alpha and make it last.”

With that, Lydia turns on her heel and walks briskly out of the clinic, the door slamming shut behind her. Scott gapes after her, having no doubt that Lydia was being serious. He didn’t need to be a werewolf to know she wasn’t lying. He hears a throat clearing behind him and turns around to find Deaton watching him. “I take it you’re going to need to leave early?”

Scott rubs the back of his neck, feeling guilty. “Yeah I guess. But I could stay if you need me to. And go later.”

Deaton shakes his head, a smile playing on his lips. “I have no doubt you would be selfless enough to do that. But you should go talk to Stiles. I believe Miss Martin was serious in her threats.”

Scott nods, putting away his things and grabbing his jacket and keys and heading towards the door, hearing Deaton call “Good luck!” as he goes.
Before he leaves he leaves the clinic he shoots a quick text to Malia. “I’m going to talk to Stiles.”

Malia’s response is almost immediate. “It’s about time.”

Scott sighs. He knows it is. He’s put this off for too long, too afraid of hurting Stiles to actually talk to him. He gets on his bike and travels the familiar road to the Stilinski house hoping to find Stiles home. Stiles’ jeep isn’t out front but he heads to the door anyway, just in case. It could always be in the shop.

“What is it you need Scott?” The Sheriff says as soon as he opens the door and sees Scott on the porch.
Scott stills, eyes wide. “I’m looking for Stiles.”

“Stiles isn't here.” The Sheriff tells him, crossing his arms in an intimidating manner. Scott might be a werewolf but the man still scares in a bit. Especially since he now carries wolfsbane bullets thanks to Argent. “Is something wrong?”

“Why does everyone keep asking that?” The Sheriff asks. “Just because Stiles isn't here and is with someone else doesn't mean something is wrong. He has more people in his life than just you.”

“I know that! He's just usually here…”

“Waiting for you to decide to spend time with him or come to him for help with the latest problem. Is it really that surprising that he would get tired of it?”

Scott ducks his head. “I wasn’t… I guess I just didn’t realize...”

“And that’s the problem, isn’t it? Stiles is your best friend, has been ever since you were kids, yet you had no idea how bad he was hurting. He needed you and you weren’t there.”

“I’m sorry. I was just...busy.”

“Busy?” The Sheriff asks, voice lowering to a dangerous level. “You were busy? Oh that explains everything. You were too busy, probably with some girl, to notice that your best friend was suffering and needed you. That changes everything.”

Scott looks up, surprised. “It does?”

No!” The Sheriff runs a hand down his face, taking a deep breath. “Whatever excuse you have you can save it. I’m not the one you need to apologize to.”

“But I don’t know where…”

“He’s with Derek. If you paid attention you would know he’s living there now. With his boyfriend.”

Scott doesn’t get a chance to respond before the door is being slammed in his face. He’s just left there gaping on the doorstep. Stiles lives with Derek? They’re dating? He sighs, getting on his bike and driving over to Derek’s. Apparently him and Stiles have more to talk about than he originally thought.

When he gets there, he doesn’t see either of Derek’s cars, but he spots Peter’s. He doesn’t really feel like dealing with Peter right now but it doesn’t seem like he has much of a choice. Not if he wants to find Stiles.

“Well this is a surprise.” Peter says when he answers the door. “What can I do for you Scott?”

“I’m looking for Stiles.” Scott says.

“Stiles?” Peter asks, raising an eyebrow. “Why would Stiles be here?”

“Because he lives with Derek now.”

“Yes.” Peter says. “But not here. They moved into the rebuilt house weeks ago. And I moved in here since it's bigger than my old apartment.”

“Rebuilt house?” Scott asks, feeling more confused than ever. “Since when was Derek rebuilding the house?”

“He started working on the plans as soon as he got back to town.” Peter tells him, smirking. He probably feels smug that he knows something Scott doesn’t. “Stiles was helping him. Then since they were practically living together anyway Derek asked him to move in.”

Scott sighs, running a hand down his face. Finding Stiles was proving to be a lot of work. Which was just proving he had a lot to make up for. “Do you have the address?”

Peter writes something down on a slip of paper and hands it over to Scott. “Say hi to Stiles and nephew for me, would you?”

Scott doesn’t respond, doesn’t even bother thanking Peter before he walks takes off towards the parking lot. What sort of world is he living in that Peter Hale knows more about Stiles than he does?

When he gets to the house he gets off his bike and starts walking towards the porch and finds Derek at the door, leaning against the frame with his arms crossed across his chest, staring at Scott with an unreadable look on his face. “What are you doing here, Scott?”

“I want to talk to Stiles.”

“Oh really?” Derek asks. “What? You need help with something?”

Scott glares. “No. I shouldn’t need an excuse to see my best friend.”

Derek raises an eyebrow. “Is that right? Well you could have fooled me since you’ve barely seen or talked to your best friend in months.”

“I know. I messed up okay. Can I please just talk to him?”\

Derek goes to say something but is stopped by a hand on his arm. Stiles stands there, eyes focused on Derek, barely glancing on Scott. “It’s okay, Der. We can talk.”

Derek scoffs and walks inside, leaving the door open for Scott to follow him and Stiles into the house. Scott looks around the front hallway and living room, noticing it looks a lot more decorated than the first time he visited. Stiles sits down on the couch, gesturing for Scott to do the same. Scott takes a seat in a chair facing Stiles, looking from Stiles to the direction Derek walked off. “He’s hospitable.”

“He’s protective.” Stiles says, surprising Scott when he glares at him. “What is it you want?”

“To apologize.” Scott says. “I know I’ve been a shitty friend and I think you deserve to know why.”

“Oh, so there’s a reason then? It wasn’t just because you got some new girlfriend?” When Scott doesn’t say anything, Stiles rolls his eyes. “Of course it was. What else would it be?”

Scott’s about to get defensive when he remembers he came here to make amends with Stiles not fight with him. “It is about a girl. But it’s different. More complicated.”

“And why is that?” Stiles asks.

“Because of who the girl is.”

Stiles doesn’t say anything, just looks expectantly at Scott. When Scott doesn’t elaborate, he gestures at him. “And? Who is it?”

“It’s Malia.” Scott says. “We’ve gotten close and realized there was something there and it just sort of happened. I just… I know you two dated and I didn’t want to make things weird.”

“So you decided rather than possibly making things weird between us you’d just cut off all contact and avoid me? That makes sense.”

“I planned to tell you!” Scott says, feeling guilty. He hadn’t told Stiles as a way to avoid hurting him, but in the process he’d missed just how much his best friend was already hurting. No wonder everyone was mad at him. He sighs before continuing. “I really did plan to tell you, but as more time went on the harder it got. We hadn’t talked in awhile and I didn’t know how to bring it up. Even though Malia kept telling me I needed to tell you. That you deserved to know.”

Stiles glances towards the kitchen at the sound of pots and pans banging around, rolling his eyes slightly but Scott can see there’s a smile on his face. When he turns back to Scott the smile falls and Scott hates it. “Was there anything else?”

Scott’s eyes widen. “What? No. Are you not going to say anything?”

Stiles shrugs. “I don’t know what you want me to say. I got over Malia a while ago. We came together at a crazy part in both of our lives but it just… it wasn’t meant to be. She was never the one I was supposed to be with. If you think she is for you, that’s great.”

“And you’re not mad?”

“No. I’m finally starting to be happy Scott. I’m not going to waste my time worrying about insignificant things, no offense.”

Scott doesn’t know what to think about that. “I guess I just expected you to have more of a reaction.”

“Why? Did you expect me to be jealous or feel betrayed?” Stiles asks. “Because I’m not. I’m with Derek now. And he makes me happy. He’s been there. He understands me. That’s what matters to me right now. I need to focus on the good things in my life and not dwell on things I can’t control, it never leads anywhere good.”

Scott nods. “Do you think we’re going to be okay?”

Stiles shrugs, wrapping an arm around Derek when the man sits down next to him, clearly over pretending he hadn’t been listening to the conversation the whole time. “I don’t know man. I’d like to be. But it’ll probably take some time. Too much has happened, and I’m not just talking about these last few months. We have a lot to work through but I’m willing to try if you are.”

Scott smiles. “I am. Maybe we could all do something? As a pack?”

Stiles looks up at Derek, waiting for him to nod before turning back to Scott. “Yeah we can do that. You can come to pack night on Friday if you’re free. Malia too. I know Peter would like to see her more often.”

Scott furrows his brow, confused. “Peter? Peter comes to pack night?”

Stiles laughs. “Yeah. It takes some getting used to, but he’s not so bad anymore.”

Scott shrugs. “If you say so. I’ll take your word for it. Just give me a time and I’ll be there.”

When Scott gets home later he finds Malia lounging on the couch flipping through the channels. She mutes the TV when he sits down and turns to face him. “How’d it go?”

“It wasn’t horrible, I guess.” Scott tells her with a shrug. “Stiles wasn’t angry about us.”

“I told you he wouldn’t be.” Malia says. “But he was angry, wasn’t he?”

“He wasn’t the only one.” Scott mutters, sighing when Malia raises an expectant eyebrow. “I got threatened by Lydia and had to deal with a protective Sheriff and Derek. It wasn’t fun.”

“I imagine it wouldn’t be. But you and Stiles are okay?”

“We’ll get there.” Scott says, putting an arm around her shoulders and pulling her close. “He invited us to pack night on Friday."

“Pack night?” Malia asks, glancing up at him. “That’s actually a thing?”

“Apparently so.”

“Good.” Malia says, snuggling in close to him. “It’ll be nice to see everyone again. I’ve missed them.”

“Yeah me too.”

Scott knows he has a lot of work to do to regain Stiles’ trust and it wasn’t going to be easy. Too much has happened. Neither one of them are the people they were before. But he’s willing to try and do what he needs to get his best friend back.

Scott doesn't know what he expected from pack night, but everyone lounging around Derek's living room in comfortable clothes while settling in to watch a movie. He stands in the entryway to the living room watching them, unsure what to do with himself. Stiles is in the kitchen with Derek, preparing snacks while Derek brings them out and the rest of the pack are laughing and talking among themselves.

Stiles turns, with hands on his hips when Isaac and Erica start fighting over a bowl of what looks like chocolate covered pretzels. “Isaac, Erica, cut it out!”

“But these are my favorite! And Erica always eats them all!” Isaac says, shooting a pleading look in Stiles’ direction.

Scott sees Stiles exchange a look with Derek, who just shrugs. Sighing, Stiles steps over to the cabinet and pulls out another bag of the pretzels. Derek gives the bowl to Erica before handing the bag to Isaac, ruffling his hair when Isaac smiles his thanks.

Derek walks back into the kitchen, hugging Stiles from behind. Scott watches as Stiles leans back into him, a smile on his face. “You spoil them.”

Derek doesn't bother denying it, just looks down at Stiles with a grin on his face. “So do you. I think they deserve it.”

“You say that now.” Stiles tells him, stepping away in order to grab more bowls off the counter and hand them to Derek. “These are for Lydia and Cora.”

Scott watches the pack interact, not quite sure where his place is. Everyone is happy and relaxed, clearly used to having nights like this. This is what he's wanted, and they've built it all. He just wasn't around to be part of it. He goes to say something to Malia, only to find her gone. Looking around the room he spots her talking with Lydia, Erica, and Cora.

He's torn out of his thoughts when a voice speaks next to him. “You can join in you know.” Stiles says, watching Scott with amusement clear on his face. “You don't have to pull a move from Derek circa 2011 and lurk.”

Scott smiles sheepishly. “Sorry. It's just.. you've really built something here. You and Derek. It's nice.”

Stiles shrugs, but he looks pleased. “It took some time but we all got to a place where we trust each other. Things settled down and slowly we all came together.”

“It's Stiles.” Erica calls over. “He's our North Star.”

“North Star?” Malia questions.

“The brightest star in the sky.” Isaac says, offering a small smile to Stiles.

Erica nods, giving Stiles a softer smile than the grin she usually wears. “We look to him to find our way home.”

“You guys are too much.” Stiles says, wiping at his eyes, burying his face in Derek's chest when the man wraps him up in a hug.

The Sheriff soon joins them, rubbing soothing circles on Stiles’ back.

“Group hug!” Erica calls.

Before Scott can process what's happening Erica and the others are wrapping themselves around Stiles, Derek, and the Sheriff. Scott's surprised when Boyd joins in, a small smile on his face, and eventually Parrish makes his way over after Lydia beckons him. Soon even Malia is joining in, looking over at Scott with a shrug. The group soon loses their balance and they all topple to the floor, laughs and groans heard among them.

“I love you guys.” Stiles says from somewhere in the pile. “But I don't think the human should be at the bottom of this impromptu puppy pile.”

They somehow maneuver themselves to where Stiles is laying on top of Derek, with the others lying around them, all somehow touching. Even the Sheriff, who stated he was too old to lay on the floor and moved to a nearby chair, has his foot resting against Erica's back. Peter sits on the couch, sipping some drink Scott doesn't care to know about, and watches the rest of the pack with amusement clear on his face. Scott would think there was fondness there too if it wasn't Peter.

Scott's standing there watching them, debating if he should join them when Stiles speaks. “Creeping once again, Scotty? Or are you going to join us?”

“I'll join. I just..”

He looks around until he notices Malia holding a hand out for him. “Come here.”

They all finally get comfortable, enjoying just being around each other. Until Stiles calls out “Does someone have the remote?”

There's some grumbling and shifting before the Sheriff speaks up. “I got it. Looks like I'm in control.” When the pack grumbles again the man laughs. “Relax kids. It looks like there's a movie already in.”

Both Stiles and Derek tense, causing the wolves to turn towards them. “What do you have in there?” Erica asks, voice sounding gleeful at the thought of embarrassing them. “Is it porn?”

“Oh gees. Please tell me it’s not.” The Sheriff says, stilling with his hand on the remote. “I really don’t need to know what sort of porn you two watch.”

“Do you two watch porn together?”

“I don’t need to know that either!”

“It’s not porn!” Derek says, voice stern.

Everyone quiets when the menu screen for Beauty and the Beast comes up. Then Erica starts snickering, earning a smack from Isaac. “I like this movie.”

“Of course you do.”

Erica and Isaac start bickering and soon Cora and Lydia join in. Scott looks over to see Stiles and Derek sharing a look before Derek speaks up.

“All of you quiet.” Derek says, silencing the packs arguments. “We can either watch this or put on Netflix.”

\Soon enough everyone agrees to just watch Beauty and the Beast and they calm down again. Scott feels something settle in him as he lays there surrounded by his friends. They all have this bond now with each other, one that as much as he wants to he doesn’t quite feel. His avoidance has cost him this. He just hopes there’s a way he can fix it.

Chapter Text

Stiles is angry. He’s been angry ever since the pack lied to him and snuck out to fight the witch off without him. Which yeah, that’s a thing. He kinda figured with him having magic now but to encounter an actual witch? Weird. The thing is, the witch wasn’t even dangerous. She’d just been casting some innocent spells, mostly to make things grow. But the pack got suspicious and worried that either she would go bad or draw unwanted attention to herself and therefore other supernatural creatures.

Stiles had tried to argue her case but they’d just ignored him. Then even lied and said they weren’t going to do anything, even Derek. Which yeah that pissed him off more than the others did. He knew they were trying to protect him but he could protect himself. Especially against a witch that wasn’t even evil in the first place and was only attacking because they had attacked her first. Stiles only knew what was going on because Isaac had shown up shortly before the pack went off to track the witch and had told Stiles exactly that they were planning to do. He told Stiles he didn’t think it was fair that they leave him out and that since Stiles had magic maybe he would have a better shot of talking to the witch than a pack of angry werewolves.

She eventually runs off, of course, or more like disappears. But Stiles manages to find her holed up in some cabin. He knows he only has a short amount of time before the rest of the pack shows up. He hesitantly knocks on the door, hearing all movement inside the cabin stop. “I’m not here to hurt you, I promise. I know that’s probably hard to believe since my pack just attacked you but you need to know I was very much against that. You weren’t hurting anyone. I just want to help.”

The door opens and the witch peers out at him. “You have magic too.”

Stiles nods. “I do.”

“And your pack doesn’t know.”

“Not everyone, no.” Stiles says. “I’m still… getting used to it myself.”

The witch nods, opening the door wider to let Stiles in. “I can sense the magic in you. But it’s potential is still untapped.”

Stiles rubs the back of his neck. “I haven’t exactly had a proper teacher. Or any teacher. I’ve been figuring it out on my own.”

“Well I’d offer my assistance if your friends weren’t so intent on chasing me out of here.”

Stiles sighs. “They can be pretty...stubborn.”

“That’s one word for it.” The witch says. “What’s your name?”

“Stiles.”

“It’s nice to meet you Stiles, however brief. I’m Destiny.”

Stiles looks around the cabin and sees most of her things have been packed. “You should probably finish packing and get out of here before they find you. Do you need any help?”

Destiny gestures to some books that are still scattered on the table nearest Stiles. “If you wouldn’t mind putting those in that bag there.”

They works quickly, Stiles knowing the pack is probably close behind. Sure enough, Stiles barely has the bag closed before the door is flying open and Derek is rushing in all teeth and claws. Stiles tosses Destiny the bag. “Go!”

She nods her thanks and then she’s gone, only leaving dust and a few scattered vials in her wake. Stiles barely spares a glance at Derek before he’s walking back out of the cabin. Derek follows after him, most likely building up to a lecture.

Except it’s not Derek that speaks, it’s Scott. “What were you thinking? She could have been dangerous! She could have hurt you!”

Stiles spins around to face him, feeling his anger and his magic building up, barely able to contain both. He knows if he releases one the other will surely follow. “ Why? Because she was a witch? Not everyone that uses magic is evil Scott!”

“Yeah but she still had magic and you’re...human!”

“He’s right, Stiles.” Lydia says. “Running off was stupid. You could have been hurt.”

“Or killed.” Malia offers.

“But the witch wasn’t bad guys.” Isaac says. “Stiles knew that. He tried to tell you that. But you wouldn’t listen.”

Stiles sends a grateful smile to Isaac. “Magic isn’t something that needs to be feared. I know we haven’t had the best examples of good magic but all of you should know what it’s like to have to worry about people fearing you just because of what you are.”

But the others still won’t listen, well Scott won’t. Erica, Boyd, Lydia, Cora, and Derek seem a little bit appeased with the situation. But Scott keeps going on and on, talking about how careless Stiles had been. How he didn’t know what he had been walking into you. How he should never have been there in the first place. On and on about what he did wrong when they’re the ones who went after a perfectly harmless witch. Stiles listens, his anger building up with each accusation until he just can’t take it anymore.

“Shut up!” Stiles shouts, sparks shooting from his fingers and into a nearby bush, catching it on fire as his eyes light up a brilliant gold.

Everyone stares at him, faces a mix of shock, fear, and wonder. Stiles looks around at their faces and then he runs. He ignores the calls of his name behind him and runs as quick as he can.

 

Derek stands there bewildered through the whole argument. He should have known that Stiles would show up when they were trying to get rid of the witch, especially since he had been so adamant that she was harmless. He hadn’t even thought when he’d got to her cabin and sensed Stiles inside, shifting and breaking the door down, determined to protect Stiles. Except Stiles wasn’t in danger, he was helping the witch.

He’s silent through the whole thing, trying to understand what’s happening. It’s the fierceness with which Stiles defends the witch, insisting that not everyone that has magic is evil that gives Derek pause. The way he spoke was as if he needed to believe that. Derek’s so focused on Stiles that it’s impossible to miss the way his eyes glow yellow and sparks shoot out of his hands, catching the bush nearest Scott on fire. Stiles had just… he had magic. Of course. The secret conversations. The pouring over books. It all made sense.

Except now Stiles is running away, ignoring Derek as he calls after him. Derek doesn’t even think, taking off after Stiles and ordering the rest of the pack to stay back. He thinks he finally knows what’s been going on with Stiles and this is a conversation they need to have alone. He sends Isaac off to find Stiles before turning to face the pack. “You can all go home. Isaac and I will find Stiles.”

“Are you sure?” Scott asks. “He just lit a bush on fire. He’s…”

“Stiles.” Derek says, glaring at Scott. “He’s Stiles. He’s your friend. A member of your pack. And my boyfriend. He won’t hurt me.”

“He’s right Scott.” Peter chimes in. “Stiles’ magic is tied to his emotions. This was a result of anger. I feel if anyone’s safe to be around Stiles right now it’s Derek.”

“Then why did you send Isaac after him?” Erica asks. “Shouldn’t you have sent someone a little less antagonistic.”

“Isaac has known about Stiles’ magic.” Derek says, looking at the others. “I’m sure he has for a while and he’s been trying to help him. Isaac will be fine.” When they still look unsure he sighs. “I’m going to find Stiles. Alone. I don’t want any of you coming near him right now, okay? I don’t want him to feel cornered. So just go home.”

Derek doesn’t wait for a response before he takes off, senses on alert as he searches for Stiles.

 

Stiles knows the pack could easily catch him if they wanted to, but they don’t. Of course they don’t. That is until a hand wraps around his arm, pulling him backwards. Stiles stumbles to a stop, leaning on a nearby tree to catch his breath. He expects to see Derek when he glances over his shoulder, but instead he sees Isaac.

“Are you okay?” Isaac asks, looking at Stiles hesitantly.

Stiles’ answering laugh sounds bitter even to his own ears. “I just caught a damn bush on fire, Isaac. I’m lucky it was a bush and not one of you guys. And Derek’s probably scared of me now. So I’m pretty sure I’m not okay.”

“Derek isn’t scared of you.” Isaac tells him. “If anything he’s scared for you. Yeah, you caught a bush on fire, but you also ran off. Of course he’s going to be worried about you.”

“I could have hurt him.” Stiles says, voice small. He’s barely holding on right now. If his magic had shot even a few feet to the right it would have hit Scott. Sure, he was mad at Scott but he didn’t want to hurt him. He didn’t want to hurt any of them. But he came pretty damn close tonight.

“But you didn’t. And you won’t. And even if you did it wouldn’t be on purpose and Derek would know that.”

Stiles hears footsteps approaching and leans his head against the tree again. He doesn’t have to turn around to know that the person who joined them is Derek.

Isaac steps away from Stiles, turning to face Derek who is watching Stiles, eyes filled with concern. “He’s a little upset.” Isaac says, keeping his voice low enough that only Derek can hear him.

Derek nods, placing a hand on Isaac shoulder in thanks, keeping his voice low to match Isaac’s. “I have this. You can go. Maybe go find the others and try and explain what you can.”

Isaac nods and then he takes off into the trees, leaving Stiles and Derek alone. Derek walks closer to Stiles but still keeps his distance, not wanting to spook him.

“What do you want?” Stiles asks, his voice sounding tired.

“Why did you run?” Derek asks, voice soft and careful.

Stiles laughs bitterly. “I just shot actual sparks out of my fingers and caught a bush on fire!”

“And?”

Stiles whirls around to face him, seeing Derek’s eyes widen as his eyes once again change color, but not in fear. In wonder. “You’re not scared of me.”

Derek shakes his head with a smile, stepping closer to Stiles. “No. Why should I be?”

“I could be dangerous. I could hurt you!” Stiles tells him.

Derek takes Stiles hands in his own. “You are a lot of things Stiles, but dangerous is not one of them. At least not to me, or the pack. I know you would never do anything to hurt me.”

It's Stiles’ turn to look at Derek in wonder. “You mean that. I mean, I wouldn't purposely hurt you. But I just lost control. I could do it again! I could…”

“You won't.” Derek tells him, his voice firm and leaving no room for argument. “And even if you did it wouldn’t matter because it wouldn’t be on purpose. You just need to find a balance. Just like a wolf you need to find a way to control it. Find something to ground you.”

“An anchor.” Stiles says, lips quirking up slightly.

Derek smiles. “An anchor. Something or someone that makes you feel calm when everything else is in chaos.”

“Like Scott’s was Allison and yours is anger.”

Derek blushes, looking down. “It was but not anymore.”

“It's a person then?” Stiles asks. Derek nods. “Who?” Stiles finds himself asking before he can think better of it. Even with their new relationship Stiles isn’t all that certain it could be him. For all he knew it could be Cora.

Derek clears his throat, still refusing to meet Stiles’ eyes. He knows Stiles is his anchor, but admitting that could lead to a whole different conversation. One he’s not sure Stiles is ready to have right now. “That's not important. Can you think of something?”

Stiles steps closer to Derek, a small appearing on his face. “I can think of someone that does that for me, yeah.”

Derek looks up then, surprised to find Stiles so close. “Who?”

“You.” Stiles tells him, grinning when Derek's eyes widen. “You've been the one thing to keep me calm through this whole mess, even before we started dating. Being around you makes me feel at ease, keeps me grounded. If anyone's going to be my anchor, it's you.”

Derek smiles, reaching out and taking Stiles’ hand. “You're my anchor too.”

“It's more than that isn't it? And more than us just being boyfriends?” Stiles asks, deciding they might as well get this conversation out of the way as well. It’s been a long day, some good might as well come out of it.

Derek nods, steeling himself. Feeling that it’s finally time. “It is.”

“We're mates.” Stiles says, it's not a question, just a statement. He says it as simply as he would comment on something like the weather. Stiles laughs when Derek's eyes widen. “I figured it out. It took me a while to figure out exactly what it was but I noticed we had this connection between us a while ago. You know me, I had to do research. Of course I wasn't sure how accurate it was so I asked Peter. He was only too happy to explain. That conversation may have scarred me a little bit.” Derek growls, his eyes flashing a brilliant red. “Down boy. I know how to handle Peter by now. I don't need you going all protective…boyfriend or whatever you are to me now.”

Derek ducks his head, running his nose along Stiles’ neck, allowing himself to just smell him. He's so lost in taking in Stiles’ scent that he doesn't even think before he starts placing kisses along his neck. This whole thing between them still feels so new. He sometimes forgets that he’s allowed to do this now. To have this. Have Stiles. “I'm yours.”

“Fuck Derek.” Stiles gasps, pulling Derek’s hair until the werewolf meets his eyes. “You damn well better kiss me now.”

Derek doesn't respond, instead leans forward claiming Stiles’ lips with his own in a slow and intoxicating kiss. They keep it slow until Stiles grips the back of Derek's neck, pulling the other man closer and deepening the kiss. Derek groans, opening his mouth and allowing his tongue to tangle with Stiles’. When Stiles pulls back for air, Derek takes advantage of Stiles’ now exposed neck. He starts licking and biting his way down, sucking a bruise onto Stiles’ collarbone.

“Der.” Stiles groans. “As much as I'm enjoying this maybe we should take this somewhere we're a little less exposed.”

Derek grins against his skin. “Let’s go home.”

Stiles nods. Home. “Yeah let's go.”

 

“I’m worried.” Stiles tells Derek later, when they're comfortably curled up around each other on their big bed. Something about tonight feels different to him. Their earlier talk along with the warmth and safety he feels in this room with Derek makes it easier for him to voice his concerns.

Derek is quiet for a moment, his tired brain trying to figure out what could have Stiles worried. There aren’t any threats, and Stiles had seemed to calm down about his magic, for the moment at least. Derek isn’t ready to move his head from where his nose is currently buried in Stiles’ hair so when he speaks his words come out quiet. “About what? You’re not still worried about leaving are you? I told you we’ll be okay.”

Stiles sighs, rolling over onto his back, causing Derek to grumble his displeasure. Stiles shoots him a tired smile, taking his hand to ensure some form of contact. “Not about leaving, not really. Okay so maybe that’s part of it. I’m worried about my magic. It’s still not completely under control. What if something happens while I’m at school and I lose control? I’ll be thousands of miles away, all alone, Derek. Without the pack. Without you.”

Derek’s eyes widen as Stiles’ voice gets progressively higher and more frantic as he speaks. Derek moves until he’s straddling Stiles, taking his face into his hands. “You’re going to be fine Stiles. No one said that you have to go alone, that I have to stay here.”

“But you just built the house Derek. And the pack…”

“The pack will be fine Stiles. The house will be fine. I built it as a pack house, you know that. And most of the pack will be going off to school too. There’s no reason I have to stay.”

“You don’t have to do this for me.” Stiles tells him, averting his gaze as best he can with his face still being held by Derek.

“Hey, look at me.” Derek says, tapping a finger against Stiles chin until Stiles meets Derek’s eyes. “I wouldn’t just be doing it for you. I haven’t exactly been looking forward to being without you again. Sure, I would have sucked it up because it meant you were off going after what you want but I would have spent all that time wishing you were here, missing you like crazy.”

“Pining.” Stiles grins up at him, his eyes alight with mischief.

“Yes, Stiles.” Derek rolls his eyes, leaning down to kiss him. “I would have pined.”

“Me too.” Stiles tells him, running his hands up along Derek’s sides then back down slowly, marveling in the way Derek closes his eyes to the touch and brings their foreheads together. Sometimes it still amazes him that he gets to see Derek like this. That Derek trusts him enough to be open and vulnerable around him. “I love you.”

Derek opens his eyes, meeting Stiles’ own serious gaze, a small smile on his lips. “I love you, too.”

 

Stiles isn’t that surprised when Scott shows up at the house the next day. He had been expecting a confrontation, but he’d also hoped it would wait until after breakfast. Stiles and Derek are in the middle of eating their eggs when Stiles notices Derek tense, his eyes drifting towards the door. His eyes flick back to Stiles, mouth pulled down in a frown. “Scott’s here. He wants you to come outside.”

Stiles looks towards the door and then back towards his breakfast, releasing a put upon sigh. “Of course he does.” Stiles mutters. “This better be good because I hate cold eggs.”

Derek squeezes his hand as Stiles goes to walk past. “I can make you more after we’re done.”

“We?” Stiles asks, watching as Derek pushes back from the table.

“Yes we. I’m not about to let you do this alone.”

“Der, it’s Scott. I can handle this.”

Derek doesn’t look happy but nods all the same. “Fine. But I’ll be listening and I’ll be here if you need me.”

Stiles smiles, leaning up to kiss him. “I know you will.”

Derek sticks close to the door, watching as Stiles walks out to meet Scott. Scott is pacing around the yard, shooting worried glances towards the house. The sight puts Derek on edge. Especially when Scott tenses and backs up a few steps when Stiles approaches. This isn't going to go well. He can already sense the anger coming from Stiles and he knows it's only going to get worse when Scott opens his mouth.

Stiles watches Scott, watches as his best friend backs away from him as if he's afraid. The thought is almost laughable. Scott's an alpha werewolf and Stiles is human but Scott sees Stiles as the predator. The thought makes him angry because it means Scott still doesn't trust him. Stiles clenches his fists, trying to calm down. The last thing he needs is to lose control. “I assume you're here because you have something to say?”

Scott nods, not quite meeting Stiles’ eyes. “I think it might be best if you stayed away for awhile.”

“What?” That had not been what Stiles was expecting. He expected a lecture on magic, not to be pushed aside by his supposed best friend yet again.

“I'm sorry, Stiles. But you saw what happened in the woods! You lost control! You're messing around with something dangerous and people could get hurt!”

Stiles hears movement from behind him but doesn't pay it any mind, too focused on Scott. “Are you kidding me? I'm not messing around with anything! I didn't choose to have magic Scott. It just happened. And it's not like I’ve had anyone to teach me control! And do you know how hypocritical you're being right now? When you got turned you tried to kill me and I still tried to help you. I always try to help you despite the fact that I'm human and don't have super healing like you do. But no, the minute something starts happening with me you ignore the problem and turn away. You are such a shitty person Scott McCall.”

Derek watches Stiles with wide eyes, moving closer, hoping he can calm Stiles down. The more Stiles speaks, the angrier he gets and the more unstable his magic becomes. Derek doesn't even think when he reaches Stiles and puts a hand on his harm. The next thing he knows he's flying through the air and his back is hitting a nearby tree. He groans, feeling momentarily disorientated

“Derek!”

Derek looks up to see Stiles watching him with wide fearful eyes, both hands covering his mouth. To make matters worse, Scott chooses that moment to speak. “I told you someone could get hurt.”

Derek growls and flashes his eyes at Scott. “Leave.”

Derek expects Scott to go, what he doesn't expect is Stiles to speak, voice quiet and broken. “Okay.”

Derek's head snaps in Stiles direction to see him backing away, his hands raised and tears in his eyes. Shit. “What? Stiles, no. Not you.” Derek tries to stand up and groans, falling back against the tree. Instead he holds his hand out towards Stiles. “Will you come here, please?”

Stiles looks at Derek warily. He had hurt him, Derek shouldn’t want Stiles anywhere near him. Slowly, Stiles walks over to Derek, kneeling down in front of him. His hands twitch at his sides, wanting so badly to reach out and touch, to check him over and make sure he’s okay, but he’s afraid. He’s not sure he’s allowed.

Derek makes the decision for him, reaching out and taking one of Stiles’ hand in his own, bring it up to his chest, allowing him to feel his heart beating in his chest. “It’s okay.”

Stiles shakes his head, tears running down his face as a sob escapes him. He had hurt Derek. The one thing he’d feared happening had happened. He’d lost control and Derek had paid the price. Unable to stop himself, Stiles reaches out, running his hands over Derek’s chest, his arms, his head. Another sob escapes him when he pulls his hand away to find blood on them. No doubt the wound is already healing but Stiles had caused this. “I’m so sorry Der.”

Derek pulls Stiles to him, running a hand down his back while the other grips the back of Stiles’ head, allowing himself to tuck his face into Stiles’ neck. “It’s okay, Stiles. I’m fine. It was just a little cut and some bruises, not to mention having the breath knocked out of me a bit. But I’m fine and I’m already healing.”

“But it could have been worse! I hurt you! Sure it was minor but what if it happens again? What if I lose control again and you…” Stiles doesn’t finish his sentence, as he’s overcome with another sob.

“It’s not… this wasn’t your fault. Yes, you lost control and I got hurt. But it wasn’t intentional. I know you would never intentionally hurt me. You were just pushed too far.”

“You’re not mad?”

“No Stiles, I’m not mad.” Derek tells him, carding his hand through Stiles’ hair. “At least not at you.” At this he glances over to see Scott still standing there, watching them. “What are you still doing here?”

“I just… you were hurt because of his magic. I wanted to be sure…”

Derek stands up, facing Scott, ignoring Stiles’ protests that he stay down. “No I was hurt because of you. Because you came here once again proving what a shitty friend you are by trying to push Stiles out of your life again. If you hadn’t shown up and gotten Stiles all riled up this wouldn’t have happened. His magic is tied to his emotions you idiot and he’s still learning control.”

“But you’ve seen what he can do!” Scott says.

“I have.” Derek tells him. “And you know what the common factor has been in the instances where he’s lost control? You Scott. His anger towards you. Otherwise Stiles has never lost control.”

Scott gapes, his face indignant. “That’s not… you can’t…”

“You should go.” Stiles tells him, not even bothering to look his way. His eyes stay focused on Derek.

“It’s not safe.”

Stiles’ eyes flick to Scott, his expression unreadable. He appears calm but Derek knows what’s lurking underneath. He just hopes Scott is smart enough to listen. “Maybe not for you.”

Derek places a comforting hand on Stiles’ shoulder. “Go Scott. And what was it you said to Stiles? Oh, that’s right. I think it might be best if you stayed away for awhile.”

He barely spares Scott a glance as he wraps an arm around Stiles and starts towards the house. Stiles might seem calm now but he knows they still have a lot to work though after what just happened. He has a feeling it’s going to be a long night of comfort and reassurances for the both of them.

Later that night, Stiles hesitates by the bed, playing with the sleeves of the too large sweater Derek had forced him into. He knows they’re okay, that Derek isn’t mad about what happened but part of him still can’t help worrying. Can't stop feeling guilty that he hurt Derek, accidental or not.

He hears a sigh from the bed and looks over to see Derek watching him. “Just comes to bed Stiles. We both know neither of us can sleep without the other now.”

Stiles hesitates. “What if something happens? I could hurt you again…”

“You won’t. And if something does happen, we’ll deal with it. You aren’t going through this alone. Now just get into bed please.”

Stiles finally relents and crawls into bed, barely hesitating before fitting himself around Derek. He feels Derek relax instantly, and allows himself to settle in deeper. "I don't want to hurt you, Der. That's... I can't have something like that happen again."

Derek rubs a soothing hand along his back before setting a hand on the back of Stiles' neck, trying to ground him. "I know. And you won't. We’re going to figure this out, I promise you. Now sleep."

Stiles nods, pressing a kiss to Derek's chest right over his heart. Derek tightens his grip on Stiles in response. "I love you." Stiles whispers, closing his eyes.

"I love you too."

 

It’s a few days later when Derek comes up with a plan. The easiest way for Stiles to learn to control his magic is to get him used to using it. Derek might not have magic but he does remember his Mom working with a couple witches when he was little. One of them was only about 7 or 8 and had just been coming into her powers. He remembers the older witch talking about how she used tricks to make the girl focus, having her focus on something she wants and then imagining it happening. He thinks something like that might be useful for Stiles. Stiles can achieve a lot when he believes in something so Derek just needs to get him to believe in his own abilities.

Derek brings up the subject when the two of them are lounging on the couch. Stiles is calm and relaxed so Derek figures now is the best time to bring the subject up. “I’ve been thinking about your magic.”

Stiles looks up at him expectantly. “What about it?”

“Not only do we need to work on your control, we need to train you so you have easier access to your magic.” Derek tells him, running a hand through Stiles’ hair.

“How? Do you have some magic user hidden somewhere that can help?”

“I might know someone. An old family friend that I contacted.” Derek says, standing up, much to Stiles’ displeasure. “For now though, I do have an idea.”

“What is it?” Stiles asks, taking the hand Derek offers and allowing himself to be pulled up. He’s momentarily distracted by the small slip of skin Derek exposes on his hips when he stretches his arms above his head.

Derek smirks, probably able to smell the arousal on Stiles but choosing not to comment on it. “So far you've only used your magic by accident. But there have to be other ways to access it.”

“Like what? Spells?”

Derek shakes his head, turning Stiles to face the kitchen. “I’m sure there are spells but I'm not so sure you need them. I think if you focused you could access your magic and wield it to your liking.”

“Okay. That would be awesome.” Stiles says, shooting a glance towards Derek. “But why am I standing here staring at the peanut butter?”

Derek rolls his eyes. “Because I want to test a theory. I want you to focus on something, something small, imagine it happening, and then make it happen.”

Stiles turns to face Derek, eyes wide. “Just like that? What if… what if something goes wrong?”

Derek smiles, cupping Stiles’ cheek. “It won't. I trust you. I know you can do this.” With both hands on Stiles’ shoulders, Derek turns him back around, leaning down to speak in his ear. “You just need to trust yourself. Find your balance, focus on what you want and make it happen.” Derek stands up, giving Stiles’ shoulders a reassuring squeeze, but leaving his hands in place. “I'll be right here. And you know, if something does go wrong I do, in fact, heal. It’ll be fine. So focus. Ground yourself. You can do this.”

Stiles takes a shuddering breath and closes his eyes, letting Derek's presence calm him as he tries to picture what he wants. “If you believe it, you can make it happen.” Stiles mutters to himself. Taking another breath, Stiles reaches down towards his magic, opening his eyes, and sticking his hand out. Nothing happens at first, or the second time he tries, then on his third try his eyes glow a brilliant gold, and the jar of peanut butter flies into his hand. Stiles gets so excited that he almost drops the peanut butter.

“I knew you could do it.” Derek says, unable to keep the grin off his face.

Stiles spins around to face him, giving Derek little warning before he's throwing himself into Derek's arms with a happy laugh. Derek lets out a laugh of his own, picking Stiles up and spinning him around. As soon as his feet are back on the ground, Stiles leans in and kisses Derek. It's not much of a kiss since both of them are still smiling like idiots. Stiles almost forgets he's still holding the peanut butter until he accidentally hits Derek in the back of the head with it.

“Your limbs are more dangerous than your magic any day.” Derek laughs, taking the peanut butter from Stiles.

“Shut up.” Stiles says, but he's still smiling.

Derek loves that smile. He loves how easily it's given. Loves the way it feels against Derek's lips when he kisses Stiles. Again. And again. And again.

“You know.” Stiles says in between kisses. “This. Could. Be. Really. Beneficial. Derek!

Stiles laughs when Derek pulls back with a pout. “How so?”

“I can summon anything I want and not have to move.” Stiles tells him, clearly pleased with the idea.

“So it's just going to contribute to your laziness?” Derek asks, raising an eyebrow.

“Well yes, it would be nice to not have to get up for a drink in the middle of a movie. But I was thinking of other things.”

Derek's eyes darken at the wicked smile on Stiles’ face. “What things?”

Stiles leans in, making Derek shiver when his hot breath fans across his neck. “I was thinking,” Stiles takes Derek's ear between his teeth, enjoying the groan it elicits. “It could come in handy when we're naked in bed and don't want to get up.”

Derek grips Stiles by the back of his neck and pulls him in for a rough kiss. Stiles grabs Derek's hips in an attempt to pull him closer and Derek goes willingly, wanting to be as close as possible to Stiles.

Later, when they're laying in bed, both too tired to get up and Stiles summons them a washcloth and a couple bottles of water from the kitchen, Derek has to agree with Stiles’ earlier statement. “I can definitely see the benefits.”

Stiles looks over at him with a grin. “I thought you would. Now how do you feel about an adjoining bathroom?”

 

It’s the last weekend they have together as a pack before everyone starts packing up and leaving Beacon Hills to go to college, or back to South America in Cora’s case. Derek had tried to convince her to move with them to D.C. but she had declined, stating that Stiles and Derek needed their own space, and that she didn’t think her nose and ears could handle being around them that much. She did promise to visit more often though, and already had plans to come back for Christmas since the Sheriff had invited them all over. Even though the Sheriff was planning the get together Stiles had a feeling it would wind up being at the pack house since there were so many of them and he didn’t think they’d all fit in the Stilinski house.

Stiles had insisted on having one last barbeque as a going away party for everyone, wanting to bring them all together one last time before they all went their own separate ways for a while. Derek had agreed, happy that Stiles was feeling comfortable enough with his place in the pack to want to throw a party.

Lydia and Erica had taken over as decorators this time. Derek could only imagine what his backyard was going to look like by the end of it. There wasn’t much to work with back there but he had no doubt, with their minds put together, that Lydia and Erica would create something extravagant.

Derek looks over at where Stiles is talking with the Sheriff as he once again mans the grill. Derek notices that their aren’t any veggie or buffalo burgers present so he figures John got his way about getting a steak this time. When he mentions this to Lydia she just shoots a fond smile Stiles’ way. “I think he’s letting him have his way now since he won’t be around as much and he’s feeling guilty.”

“You would think it would be the opposite.” Derek says. “That he’d want to make sure he ate healthy while he was around and could keep track of it.”

“That’s what he has me for.” Melissa says, coming up to stand beside Derek. “Stiles already asked me to keep an eye on him.”

Derek can’t help the laugh that escapes him. “Of course he did.”

Derek feels eyes on him and looks back towards the grill to see Stiles watching him, a smile on his face. Derek grins back and waves before turning his attention back to Lydia and Melissa.

Melissa gives him a small smile. “I haven’t seen him this happy in a long time. You’re good for him. He’s lucky to have you.”

“Thanks but I’m the lucky one.” Derek says, feeling his eyes once again drifting to where Stiles is. Except Stiles isn’t there. He tries to catch his scent but Stiles’ scent is everywhere in the area so he doesn’t have any luck.

He sees Melissa and Lydia both laughing, Melissa with her hand covering her mouth, but doesn’t understand why until a voice sounds behind him. “That was so sappy.”

Derek spins around to see Stiles standing there, a big grin on his face. “You’re getting sneaky.” Derek tells him, hooking an arm around his waist to pull him closer.

Stiles’ grin widens as he hooks his hands around Derek’s neck, playing with the hair there. “I didn’t even know it was possible to sneak up on a werewolf but apparently it is.”

“I couldn’t catch your scent because it’s everywhere out here.” Derek tells him, brow furrowing in confusion. "I still should have heard you though."

“But you didn’t?” Stiles asks, looking hopeful.

Derek shakes his head. “No. I didn’t. Why?”

“I tried something. And it worked.”

“With your magic?” Derek asks, surprised.

Stiles nods. “I’ve been trying things out. And I decided to see if I could muffle my steps if I focused. And I guess it worked.”

Derek probably feels as proud as Stiles looks, if not more. He’s really starting to show a lot of progress where his magic is concerned. “That’s great Stiles. I”m proud of you.”

Stiles ducks his head, looking up at Derek through his lashes. “Thanks Der.”

“Stiles.” Melissa says, gaining Stiles' attention. “Can I talk to you for a moment?”

Stiles nods, following Melissa away from the others.

He wonders if he should try to use his magic to give them some privacy. It had worked with his footsteps, he sees no reason it shouldn't work now. Before he can try Melissa is speaking.

“I know you and Scott aren't on the best terms right now. But I just want you to know you're still family, and I'm still here if you need me alright? No matter what happens with Scott.”

Stiles gives her a grateful smile. “Thanks Melissa. That's good to hear.”

Before Stiles knows it she's pulling him into a hug, patting his cheek when she pulls before. “You're doing great Stiles. I'm proud of you, we all are. Especially Derek.”

Stiles feels himself blush at the look she gives him. He suddenly wishes he'd tried to use his magic. He's saved from having to respond when his Dad calls them over. “Food’s done! You two better get over here before the wolves eat it all!”

Stiles gives Melissa one last look before rushing over to the food table. He expects to find everyone getting their food, but when he gets there he sees them all lined up next to the table, looking at him expectantly. “Why aren't you getting food?”

Erica gestures towards Derek. “Mr. Alpha there said we had to wait until you got your food.”

Stiles rolls his eyes fondly, grabbing a plate and watching as everyone falls in behind him. “Of course he did.”

Stiles smiles when he sits down and Derek leans over and places a kiss on his cheek, lingering there to run his nose along the same spot. Stiles turns his head slightly, leaning in to lightly brush his lips against Derek’s, their foreheads resting together. “You should eat before your food gets cold.” Derek tells him.

“He’s right.” Erica says, taking the seat next to him. “That would defeat the whole purpose of you getting your food first.”

“He got his food first so that all of you wouldn’t take it all before he had a chance to get anything.” Derek says, shooting a look at the wolves at the table.

Isaac rolls his eyes from his spot across from Stiles, knocking his foot against Stiles' and shooting him a grin. “We would have left him food. We’re not complete assholes.”

“Yeah. We have to make sure our Mom gets fed.” Erica says, grinning over at Stiles.

Stiles’ eyes widen and further down the table his Dad starts coughing, having swallowed his drink the wrong way. Both of them let out a surprised “What?!” when they regain their composure.

“He’s like our Mom.” Erica says. “He’s Derek’s mate. Derek’s our alpha. It only makes sense.”

“But I don’t act like a Mom!” Stiles says, indignant. This whole lunch was getting ridiculous.

“You kinda do.” Isaac says, pointing his fork at Stiles. “You cook dinner, bake us treats, make sure we have snacks in the house, patch up our injuries, make sure we’re on our best behavior.”

Beside Stiles, Derek starts laughing. When Stiles shoots him a look Derek offers him an apologetic smile. It’s not very effective since his shoulders are still shaking with laughter. “Sorry. It’s just… they’re kind of right.”

“I’m ignoring all of you and eating my lunch.” Stiles says, picking up his burger and finally taking a bite. He wasn’t angry, if anything he was secretly pleased with the idea.

The pack starts having their own conversations after that, leaving Stiles the opportunity to take it all in. They’re all together, they’re happy, they’re alive and healthy. Each one of them has been through a lot and came out stronger because of it. They’re all so different, realistically they shouldn’t make sense but somehow they all fit together and it works.

Stiles finally looks over at Derek to see the other man already watching him. He smiles, leaning into Derek when he puts an arm around him. “What’s on your mind?” Derek asks, keeping his voice soft.

“I was just thinking about the pack.” Stiles tells him. “They’ve all been through so much and yet they’re still here, happy.”

“Are you?” Derek asks him, genuinely curious. Stiles has been though a lot and had to pull himself out of a lot of darkness. “Happy, I mean.”

Stiles looks at Derek, actually taking the time to think about the question. He knows he’s happy with Derek. But as a whole? After everything he’s been through? He looks around at the pack again, letting his eyes linger on each one. They’ve all done so much for him, in their own way. Made him feel like he had a place with them and realize he’s not alone.

Peter, who was the first one to talk to him and listen. Who convinced him to talk to his Dad about what he was feeling. He helped him with his magic in his own way.
His Dad, who loves and understands him better than almost anyone, save maybe Derek. Stiles knows he has always been a bit of handful but the man has never once made him feel like he was never enough.

Erica, who was the first of the betas to start trying to get close to him again. The Catwoman to his Batman. The one that loves who a fierceness that would be frightening if he didn’t know there was a softness underneath.

Isaac, who Stiles never expect to like let alone call a friend. Isaac had surprised him the most, keeping Stiles’ secret for him and doing his best to help Stiles learn more about his magic. He even stood up for Stiles on more than one occasion, showing Stiles that there’s more to Isaac than all the snark.

Boyd, who might be quiet but is always there to help Stiles whenever he needs it. He even does it without prompting from Erica now. Jackson, who might still be a bit of an asshole but has shown that he would do anything to help the people he cares about, to help his pack. Cora, who might be a little frightening but has a secret soft spot for hot chocolate with marshmallows and curling up to watch Doctor Who with Stiles and Derek.

Lydia, his best friend who he loves dearly, who can send even the fiercest of wolves running off with their tale between their legs with just a look. She’s beautiful and fierce and is always there to push Stiles to do what needs to be done.

Melissa, who was been the mother figure he turned to after his mother died. She might have a no bullshit attitude but she’s also one of the most caring people he’s ever met.

Stiles eyes skim over the empty seats that would have been for Scott and Malia had they been there. Stiles had invited them, not wanting to go leave Beacon Hills with things unfinished. Scott hadn’t even bothered to decline, not even sending an apology with his Mom. That was all Stiles needed to know. Malia had sent an apology letter. Saying that she’s sorry Scott’s being so stupid but she hopes they’ll still keep in touch while he’s at school and she’s in Paris.

Then he looks at Derek again. Derek who is watching him, eyes expectant, but ever so patient. Derek who helped him through his nightmares and listened whenever he heeded to talk. Who gave him a place to go when he felt like he didn’t have one. Who has accepted him for who he is. Who loves him, all of him, flaws and all. The man he wants to build a life with, to marry one day, maybe have some kids. Stiles smiles, thinking about all the things he has, and that he’s working towards, easily finding the answer to Derek’s question. “Yeah, I am.”