Chapter 1: Prologue
People were staring again. It had been two months since he saw his husband in bed with a woman and subsequently left his home, and still people whispered when he walked by. It was a grocery store for fuck’s sake. It wasn’t like Stiles was going to have a breakdown right there. Okay, so one time like a week after his world was first shattered he’d cried a little when he was shopping for just one person instead of two, but that was ages ago!
When he went up to the register even the sad bored teenager working the register gave him a pitying look from beneath her emo haircut. He forced himself not to react. He grabbed his bags full of frozen dinners and turned to walk out the door. As he walked out, there they were, walking in. Scott, his once best friend and husband, walking hand in hand with Allison, the woman he left Stiles for. He locked his eyes on his car and refused to even look at them as they walked past.
Just as they were parallel to him he couldn’t help but glance at them out of the corner of his eye. They were looking at each other and smiling. They hadn’t even seen him. There he was, in the middle of a parking lot feeling like his chest was ripped open, exposed and bleeding, and they didn’t even know he was there. He stopped and just watched as they continued into the store. Scott threw his head back and laughed at whatever she had just said.
Stiles hated Beacon Hills. He hated that the town was so small that everyone knew that he’d gotten cheated on and dumped. They all knew that he’d told Scott he would forgive him and that they could work on their marriage together, but Scott had flat out refused. They all knew that Allison had only needed two weeks to charm Scott into being a homewrecker. And worst of all, because of some well hidden homophobia, the town wasn’t mad at Scott at all.
No less than five people had told him that it was natural that Scott would turn away from homosexual perversions when the right woman came along, and that the same thing would happen for Stiles. So even though Stiles had done nothing wrong he had been shunned by the town while the adulterers got to wander around being happy without so much as an insult thrown. Even the Sheriff told Stiles that he and Scott clearly weren’t meant to be together and it was time to move on.
Stiles went home to his sad under-furnished apartment that he was sharing with one Aloe Vera cactus and a Duck Dynasty Chia Pet. It was just salt in the wound that the house was in Scott’s name.
Tomorrow it would be Stiles’ 24th birthday and he didn’t have anyone to celebrate with. Amongst his bags was a box of cake mix and some frosting. Scott had gotten pretty much all of their friends in the divorce. He was going to have to throw himself a party if he wanted one.
“Hey Dad, it’s me, Stiles. I know you said you had to work today and tomorrow, but I was thinking maybe on Monday after work I could come by and we could have a few birthday beers? Call me back and let me know what you think. I love you. Bye.”
Stiles spent his birthday in his house watching Netflix and eating the cake straight from the pan with the tub of frosting next to it. Two people called him. His Dad to say an I love you and to say he probably couldn’t hang out the next day, and Melissa McCall. He loved that woman fiercely. He was beyond happy that she hadn’t dumped him. She’d played the part of his Mom since he was eight.
He was falling down drunk by 7, and hung over by 11 that night. Just before midnight he made a vow. He was going to turn his life around. Forget the bullshit and the assholes and get to a better place. Maybe he would even get his shit together and put on some clean clothes and go to Jungle. There were bound to be some hot loose men who would end his dry spell.
Year 24 was going to beat the shit out of year 23!
After his revelation and subsequent resolutions Stiles went to bed so that he could be up early in the morning for school. Stiles didn’t go to college to become a teacher, but the first time he stepped in front of a class he felt at home. Unfortunately, because Beacon Hills was such a small piece of crap town there weren’t any permanent positions open. That left Stiles as one of the town substitutes. It wasn’t a salaried position, but he worked everyday.
“What up kids?”
“Mr. Stilinski? Is Mrs. Evans out today? Hell yes!” Sean, a smart ass ten year old fist bumped him and walked to his seat.
“Language, but yes! I am your man for the day. Who feels like learning about some fractions?”
It was a great day. Elementary schools were great because the kids were young enough to still see teachers as authority figures. There were only a few minor discipline problems and he might have actually gotten them to learn something.
Stiles hadn’t heard anything more from his father, so he stopped by the gas station, picked up twelve pack and headed over to his Dad’s place. He was happy to see the cruiser in the driveway. He pulled out his spare set of keys and opened the door.
“Hey, Pops. Want to down some brews to celebrate my-”
There they were. All of his once upon a time friends sitting around his Dad’s kitchen table. And there was Scott with an ashamed looking Allison sitting on his lap. His Dad was mid-laugh when Stiles walked in, but that smile faded away when he saw Stiles standing there like an idiot.
“So. This is awkward.” Stiles chuckled darkly. “Didn’t know there was a party. No one thought to tell me.”
No one said anything. Jackson coughed nervously.
Stiles held up the case of beer. “I’ll just leave this here.” He turned and walked out the door.
“Stiles! Stiles, just wait up a minute.” His Dad came running out after him. “Come back inside and have a drink or two.”
He didn’t say anything. He couldn’t. Not without having a complete meltdown on the lawn. He just shook his head at his Dad and kept walking to the car. He got in his car and got to his apartment on auto-pilot. He was amazed he didn’t hit something on the way there. He locked the door behind him and laid his forehead against the wood. He stood there for a moment just breathing. When he turned around he looked at his apartment. Really looked at it. He didn’t care about it. Nothing in it made it a home. There were no pictures on the wall or happy memories to think about.
Stiles grabbed all of his clothes and shoved them into his suitcase. He grabbed his Aloe plant under his arm went back to his car and drove East until he was half-asleep at the wheel. He pulled into a motel in a city he didn’t recognize. He didn’t even know what state he was in, and he didn’t care.
Chapter 2: Hale House Nursery and Daycare
Turns out it was pretty hard to get a job when you had no home or a place to stay or a way to get your laundry clean. Stiles had a pretty good amount of money saved up, but it was disappearing fast. Eight months of driving here and there and working odd jobs as they came left him close to broke, but he was nearly there. New York.
He had no illusions that he was going to make it in New York City. That place was loud and expensive and dangerous. Nope, he was headed upstate. He was going to settle in a town that was just big enough for anonymity and small enough to kind of feel like home. It was May, so he’d have plenty of time to brace himself for dealing with actual snow, which was something he’d never done before.
It was a stupid idea, trying to run away from his life, but breathing in that town hurt. He should have answered one of his Dad’s 50 calls just to tell him that he was okay, but that moment was burned in his mind. When Stiles went to his Dad’s house in the months before Stiles left the man looked exhausted and worn and he clearly didn’t want to talk about Stiles’ relationship status for the billionth time. In the party, before Stiles had walked in his Dad had been relaxed and having fun.
He desperately wanted to be mad about it. He wanted to rage and throw things and put his fist through the wall. Instead Stiles just felt broken. He needed to be somewhere where he could breathe. Almost out of gas, and certainly out of patience Stiles pulled into a motel just outside of Utica.
“From here on out it’s just you and me against the world, Wade.” The Aloe cactus chose not to answer him. Stiles paid for two weeks up front.
The next morning Stiles awoke to the realization that traveling was way easier than trying to actually settle someplace. He needed to find a job, a real place to live, and he needed to find a cheap laundromat because Damn did he stink! The motel he’d picked was miles away from what passed as actual civilization, but the town of Utica was built around a university which meant that it was full of college kid amenities.
Stiles found a cafe with free WiFi and got a large black coffee and a newspaper that still had want ads and settled in for the long haul. The first thing he checked was how to apply to be a substitute teacher in that county. It was a process that was a little too expensive and way too long to be a good option. Next, he checked the internet to try and find jobs he was qualified for. Finally, the want ads.
According to the ads, the only job he’d be getting was on a cleaning crew or working in a restaurant part time… seasonally. Down, but not yet defeated, Stiles tried the very old fashioned method of just pounding the pavement. There were a few hiring signs hanging in windows here and there, but one in particular caught his eye.
Hale House Nursery and Daycare the sign proudly proclaimed. The house was a big old Victorian monstrosity. The sound of kids wailing and laughing floated down the concrete steps toward him. In the window there was a hand written white sign that said,
We Need New Employees.
Like, Right Now!
Despite what the sign was claiming he wasn’t sure they wanted him to just walk in and ask for an interview. So he stood there and kind of looked at the building, and back at the sign, and up at the building again.
“You!” A tall dark haired woman holding a crying toddler on one hip threw open the wrought iron gate and yelled at him. “Why the hell are you standing on my stoop?!”
“Me? I was looking for a job, but I wasn’t sure if-”
“Get your ass up here!” He didn’t. “Do you need an engraved invitation? Move it!”
When he got to the top of the stairs the woman sniffed him. Honest to God put her nose kind of near his neck and took a big whiff.
“You have experience in child care.” She stated with absolute certainty.
“Uh, yeah. I was a substitute teacher in-”
“Don’t care. You have a tan line on one finger, but no ring. Married?”
“Divorced. Is there an application I can fill out or…?”
“Nope, process complete. I’m Laura.” She held the still screaming baby up with both hands. “This is Bartholomew. Call him Bart and his mother will kill you. He’s your problem now. Welcome to the team, I’ll get your info for the W-2 forms later. We have 16 kids here today and you make the second person working here. We have an 11:15 snack time each day and it is currently 11:30 so you can guess how well that is going. I’m going to get crackers and juice together while you contain the masses. Ready, set, go.”
She heaved Bartholomew at him and sprinted for the back of the house. He guessed that’s where the kitchen was at. The hallway he was left standing in had dark wood paneling half way up the wall and a dark striped wallpaper on the other half. Children ranging from 2 to 4 years old ran in between rooms hollering at the top of their lungs.
He approached the first door to his left cautiously. It wouldn’t look good to get trampled to death by a pack of wild children on his first day.
“Hey, B, what do we have in here?” Bartholomew had no interest in anything except conveying his displeasure with life, but hey it was worth a shot. The first room was a sitting room that was barred off on either side with baby gates to turn it into one huge playpen. In one corner was a plastic kitchenette set with fake food and utensils scattered around it. Two girls and one boy were happily playing near it. In the middle of the floor was a three year old boy who just looked like trouble standing inside of a bucket filled with legos.
“I don’t think so little man.” Stiles picked up the kid under one arm. The boy went rigid in his grasp. “No standing on or in toys. That’s a time-out.”
Stiles saw a square piece of carpet sitting in a corner on the hardwood floors and set the dude down on it. “Two minutes facing the wall. You complain or escape and I’ll keep giving you time until you behave for two straight minutes.”
The kid was in a red faced all out tantrum within the minute. Stiles calmly turned his back to wait out the storm. From his new vantage point Stiles could see into a dining room that had a long plastic picnic table covered in pieces of paper and crayons and across the hall to a living room with a T.V. that was roped off so that none of the kids could get into it. Once Little Man realized that Stiles wasn’t even looking at him he stopped screaming and pouted his way through the two minutes.
From the corner Stiles could count 12 children. Five in his current room including the baby with him, four coloring while chatting in the dining room and a few running around playing tag. Part of him was wondering if the other four had gotten lost and died in the chaos.
Laura popped a head into the doorway. “Snacks, kiddos. On the porch today.”
The girls at the fake kitchen had to be coerced into leaving their playtime to go sit and eat food, but the rest of the brood flew outside to go have their sugary goodness. When he walked out Stiles saw that there were four small babies already set up in high chairs outside.
Stiles had been there for all of seven minutes and was exhausted. He treated himself to a Capri-sun and gave Bartholomew animal crackers until his cries calmed to weak hiccups. “It’s okay, little dude. The people who own you will be here to get you in no time.”
“The people who own him?” Laura laughed at Stiles while holding a bottle at a babies mouth and simultaneously feeding another mushy peas.
“If I call them by some other name then he’ll hear the word and he’ll start the waterworks again.”
“True enough. So, newbie, what’s your name?”
“Okay, this time tell me your actual name.”
“My actual name is unpronounceable to people who speak English as their first language and my last name is Stilinski. Everyone who has known me ever calls me Stiles.”
“Even your Mom?”
“When she was alive, she called me Stiles.”
“Shit.” Laura wiped spit-up off the face of one of the smallest babies. “I didn’t mean to bring up bad memories. I’m sorry.”
“No harm done. It’s been almost 16 years. Can’t hold onto it forever.”
“Alright, Stiles. What brings you here with no money and no job when you are clearly a Californian?”
“Okay, are you hiding a crystal ball? Is this daycare and psychic readings because you are either really good at guessing things or you can see the future.”
“Or I can see a tan line and license plates.” She smirked at him. “Part of running a good daycare is being able to spot creepers. You are not one. You are, however, about to change a very smelly diaper.”
She plucked a little girl sucking on a pacifier out of her chair and handed her over. The baby smiled at Stiles and giggled at the face he made when the wall of smell hit him.
“But I have little dude.” He pointed at the now pretty okay Bartholomew.
“Too bad. Smelly trumps sad.” Laura snatched the happy toddler and Stiles went inside and searched for the changing room.
It was 5:45 when all of the kids had been picked up by their parents. He’d always thought that teaching was an exhausting job, but it had nothing on that hurricane of little ones. He waved goodbye to a mom and shut the door behind him. He slid down the door until he thumped on the floor.
“No rest for the wicked.” Laura called from the kitchen. “We have to clean, disinfect the toys, and we have to fill out paperwork so that you can get paid for today. And tomorrow. You’re working tomorrow.”
“Maybe I changed my mind. I hear that Shelley’s cafe down the street needs waiters. I can wait on people. I might spill on them, but at least no one will throw up on me.” He forced himself to stand up and head to the kitchen.
“Don’t be too sure about that. Shelley’s is a get rid of the hangover joint. Freshman don’t know how to handle their liquor.”
“And I suppose grown up puke is both grosser and more copious. You drive a hard bargain.”
“I’m also offering $15 an hour.”
That perked Stiles right up. “That’s almost 30K a year full time. Would this be full time?”
“If you can hack it. We cater to a lot of yuppie Moms who wanted to have children and not have it affect their career so we charge a lot of money, but we open at 5:30 in the morning. 12 hour care is a lot more than the other places can offer. Normally we have someone here to take the morning shift and then another afternoon shift. Two of my people quit today because they ran away to elope, which is not something I thought people still did, and my brother and sister who are my backup bailed because they suck big fat donkey dong.”
“Okay.” Stiles laughed. “So you run a daycare and you have at least one brother and sister. Anything else I need to know about you?”
“Oh yeah. There’s a lot you should know about me before you start working for me, but it’s already too late!” She clapped him on the back. “Sucks to be you.”
It was 7:00 before Stiles made it back to his room to take a much needed shower, but that was okay. For the first time in months he went an entire day without questioning his life. He felt like maybe for the first time he was on the right track.
Chapter 3: And the there were two.
“She tipped me.”
“Yes, Stiles.” Laura was using baby talk on him like he was one of the kids. “That’s what people do in the service industry if they like your service.”
“But she gave me $100. Do you think she gave me the wrong bill? Should I tell her the next time I see her?”
“Did you see her when she dropped Madison off? That baby has not slept in a week and you got her passed out in five minutes. Mrs. Shumacker would leave her husband for you right now if you asked.”
Stiles was sitting on the marble kitchen counter staring at the bill while Laura loaded the dishwasher with toys to sanitize them. It was as much money as he made in an entire day of work.
“Instead of sitting on your ass trying to decide if you can now retire to Florida and hang out with the other blue hairs, how about you start soaking the legos in the bleach bath?”
Stiles tucked the bill into his wallet and started collecting the toys. Three of those pokey motherfuckers stabbed him in the foot for his efforts.
“Yeah, I don’t think I’m quite old enough to join the ranks of the snow birds yet.” He called down the hallway.
“Are you sure? You’ve been working here for three weeks and I know for a fact that the only places you go are here and the motel.”
“Not true. I also go to places that provide me with food.”
“Yes, you go and eat alone and don’t talk to anybody and then go back to your sad little hovel.”
His bucket was loaded up so he headed back to fill it up in the sink. “Again, how do you know these things? And how do you get twelve children to sit perfectly still in the blink of an eye? It has to be witchcraft. Seriously, just tell me. Eye of newt?”
“Seriously? I’m not a witch. They’re even bigger bitches than I am, trust me. No, it’s just that during the day what you talk about is the latest Bieber antics and what happened on the last episode of the Kardashians. I don’t give a shit about either, for the record.”
“You so do. I said that Bieber got arrested for the Egging incident and you totally corrected me and said DUI and had the police report ready on your phone. Don’t pretend you’re too cool for the Biebs.”
“I will deny that forever, and you’re missing the point. You need to start getting out and meeting people who are not me and over the age of 5. Strike that, make it over the age of 21. Find some girl to drink with who can soothe that heartache.”
“Have we not had the conversation where I’m gay yet?”
Laura abandoned her post at the dishwasher and looked him up and down.
“No shit? Huh. I usually have such awesome gaydar. So that divorce was from a husband?”
“A husband who, as it turns out, is way more straight than I thought he was.”
“Damn, son! Now we really need to get you out there.” She lead him over to the gray plastic table turned rainbow with crayon stripes. “Level with me, was the sex bad? Is that why you left him? Was he not peen friendly?”
“My God you are intrusive, but… kinda? I mean, he refused to bottom but that wasn’t an issue, but when it came to head there was less reciprocating than I would have liked. Overall though, I didn’t know that anything was wrong until everything was wrong.”
“You mean, yeah, in a nutshell the sex was bad.” Laura produced two beers from the back of the fridge that were hidden behind gallons of milk. “So when was the last time you got good and laid?”
Stiles sighed and thought back, “Two years maybe?”
“Sadly we only have two real gay bars in town. Do you like your men manly or dragalicious?”
“Then to Strut’s we go!”
They didn’t even get all the way to the bar before a gorgeous man caught Laura’s eye and Stiles was abandoned. He almost chickened out and went home, but decided that part of his Be a New Stiles Plan was not wussing out. Two hours and one watery rum and coke later Stiles was regretting this plan and sketching out a new one on his napkin. A few guys had caught his eye and smiled, but he couldn’t muster up any enthusiasm for them.
Laura might have been under the impression that Stiles needed a one night stand to clear his head, but he wasn’t so sure. Casual sex had never been his thing. What he really wanted was someone who would play x-box with him while they talked about how DC just couldn’t cast superheros worth shit and then give him a BJ before bed. Was that really so much to ask? Stiles headed home sober and grumpier than he had been before he went.
He was cooking up ways to get revenge on Laura for ditching him when he heard something in an alleyway. The sound of crying interspersed with wails of pain were echoing off the brick walls. It was a bad idea to check and see who it was. It would probably end in his demise, and yet, there Stiles went, walking down the alley.
The response was just more of that awful sobbing. Further down he could see a woman, down on her hands and knees.
“Hey, are you okay?” He didn’t want to get too close in case she was a nutjob with a knife who was about to rob him of that $100 bill he’d just gotten. He wanted new shoes.
When he was close enough to see her clearly he could see exactly what was wrong with her. She was pregnant as fuck and clearly in labor.
“Holy Shit! You can’t have a baby here!” He was going to kick himself later for saying something that stupid.
“Help. Please help.” She looked up and for the first time Stiles really saw her face. Her curly brown hair and chocolate eyes could have been taken straight off a photo of Stiles’ mother.
He crouched down next to her.“Of course. Of course I’ll help. I’m going to call 911 right now and we’re going to get you an ambulance-”
“No! No. I can’t afford an ambulance.” She scooted up to him and laid a head on his shoulder. “What am I going to do?”
“You’re going to stand up and we’re going to walk to my car. The free clinic is just down the street. They’ll get you in right away. I know they will.”
She nodded and put most of her weight on Stiles to help her stand. She was wearing a sun dress that had seen better days. The bottom half was coated in grime from her crawling on the street.
“My name is Stiles. What’s your name?”
“It’s very nice to meet you, Elisa.” He smiled at her. She returned it weakly. “Is there anyone you want me to call? Your parents? The father?”
Tears began dripping down her cheeks. She shook her head. “Her father died a few months ago. My parents haven’t spoken to me in years. I’m an omega.”
She stopped him and moaned her way through a contraction while he rubbed her back. There were people walking down the street around them ignoring the screaming woman and the man holding her up.
“Almost there.” He cooed at her. “You said you were an omega? What does that mean? Are you Greek?”
They were finally at his Jeep. He wished he had a vehicle that was lower to the ground.
“I mean I’m an omega werewolf. You smell like a beta. Were you born or bitten?”
She asked like she was perfectly serious, no joke at all. Now Stiles was beyond worried. She was clearly delirious. “I’m not a werewolf.”
“Oh. Right, yeah, I can smell it now. Sorry, your scent is mixed in.”
“No worries. You’re allowed to be a little out of it right now.”
Stiles drove to the hospital like he was being chased by a T-Rex in Jurassic Park. He slid into a parking spot and scrambled around the car to let Elisa out at her door. He took her hand to help her down but she just sat there, rubbing her stomach.
“Something is wrong Stiles. I can feel it. I can feel her.”
“Nothing’s wrong. And if there is something wrong the nice doctors inside of the hospital will be able to make it right.”
Elisa just sat there, not moving except for the shaking of her head. Suddenly her eyes that had reminded him so much of his mother glowed yellow. Hair grew out of her cheeks and hands and her mouth filled with sharp canine teeth. From her mouth erupted the most terrifying growl Stiles had ever heard. He would have run if he wasn’t frozen in fear.
The growl broke down into the wailing cries of the alley and the color bled out of her eyes. She was back to being a frightened woman clutching her swollen tummy. Stiles caught his breath.
“Elisa, look at me.” She turned her watery eyes towards him. “Does she have a name? Your baby girl, what’s her name?”
“Samantha. I’m gonna call her Sam though. That was her daddy’s name.”
“Okay, Samantha? She needs you to get inside the hospital. I know you’re scared and you really really can’t turn into a wolf once you get in there, but she needs you to pull it together and get to the door. Can you do that for Sam?”
Elisa let a few more tears leak out, but she brushed them off, nodded her head and let Stiles help her out of the car.
“Help. We need help right now!” Stiles shouted the second his foot was in the door. A nurse summoned a wheel chair and got them into a room in a flash. There was a whirlwind of nurses and doctors and scrubs and more screaming on Elisa’s part and then they were left alone, just the two of them in the room while the medical people had a pow-wow outside the door.
Stiles considered leaving, just slipping out the back, but Elisa had a grip on his hand, and part of him wanted to stay. He wanted to meet Sam. He hovered around Elisa, petting her back during contractions and feeding her ice chips when she could stomach them.
The doctor, a little old lady with glasses that sat halfway down her face came back in the room with a smile. “So I hear we’re having a baby today! We don’t usually get people in here when they’re as far along as this. I can’t offer you an epidural or anything because you’re already at 10 cm, fully effaced and you have a baby in position to head on out. You ready for some pushing?”
Stiles kind of got in the doctor’s way. “She says that something feel off. Is the baby okay? Is Elisa okay?”
“Don’t you worry Papa, everything is looking just fine.”
He didn’t have time to correct her because Elisa sat up and groaned and pushed. Stiles thought that labor was a slow thing. It was supposed to take hours, even days. They’d been in the hospital less than a half hour and Elisa was already trying to get Sam out.
In between contractions Elisa grabbed his arm and turned to him. Her face was covered in sweat, somehow pale and red at the same time.
“It’s wrong Stiles. It’s all wrong.”
“It’s not. You’re fine, Sam’s fine. Just a few more pushes and you’ll get to meet her. We’re so close now. Don’t give up.”
“Stiles, if I don’t make it, you’ll take care of her right?”
“Of course I will.”
“Promise me. Say it, Stiles. Promise you’ll take care of her?”
Stiles smoothed Elisa’s curls off of her forehead. “I promise.” He kissed her cheek.
“Okay. Okay.” She grabbed the rails of the bed and sat up again. “Let’s do this.”
Three pushes later and there she was. Sam was blue and wrinkled and weird looking and gorgeous.
“Look, Elisa. Look, you did it. She’s so pretty!” Stiles was surprised he could see through his own tears. He turned to see if Elisa could see the baby. Elisa was blue, here eyes trained up toward the ceiling.
Stiles was pushed out of the room. The door was locked and shut with Elisa and Sam on the other side before he even knew what was happening. Stiles paced the hallway. More people rushed into the room ignoring his pleas to know what was going on.
A nurse in pink flowered scrubs brushed past him with Sam in her arms. She didn’t even pause when he called out after her. A few moments later Elisa was wheeled out with an airbag covering her mouth, pumping air into her lungs. He didn’t have to ask about her. He’d seen his mother in the hospital. He knew what dead looked like.
The room was left cold and empty. Where the doctor had stood there was a pool of blood on the floor. He’d been next to Elisa’s head the whole time. He didn’t know that she’d been bleeding out. He sat in one of the cold plastic chairs and cried.
It was another two hours before the doctor came back to the room. Her blue scrubs were still covered in Elisa’s blood. She didn’t say anything, just shook her head and he nodded at her that he understood.
“I’m so sorry, but we need you to fill out some paperwork for us.”
“I want to see her. I want to see Sam.”
“Of course. I’ll have her brought to you. I know that this is hard to think about, but did you get any bottles? I know that some women don’t buy any when they plan on breastfeeding.”
“No, I uh," Stiles fought to steady his voice, "I don’t have any formula or anything.”
“Okay, we’re going to set you up with a few bottles and some formula tonight.”
The same nurse who whisked Sam away was the one who brought her back. Sam was balling her eyes out and the nurse wasn’t even rocking her. Stiles decided that he hated that nurse and she was evil. She handed the baby over too roughly and pretty much threw the warmed bottle at him.
“Thanks.” He said sarcastically.
He put Sam into a football hold and offered her the bottle to settle her down. She suckled on the nipple and quieted.
Stiles knew that babies couldn’t focus on objects more than a few inches away from their faces, but when he looked down at her, she looked up at him and they really saw each other.
Stiles fell in love.
“I’m sorry about your Mom, Sam. But you and me? We belong to each other now. You’re mine and I’m yours, okay?”
Sam just suckled on her bottle and sighed. It was good enough for him.
Chapter 4: Meeting the Family
It was shocking how easy it was to get out of a hospital with a baby that in no way really belonged to him. He figured that men walked out with babies that weren’t theirs all the time, but in those cases there was a woman assuring them that the baby belonged to them. All Stiles had was the power of his own word, and they didn’t even ask if he was the Dad. Elisa asking him to take care of Sam was all they had needed to decide that Stiles should be listed as the father on the birth certificate.
He didn’t even have to adopt Sam. She was officially Samantha Claudia Stilinski, and no one could challenge that. That first night he had to leave her all alone with Evil Nurse so that he could go out and buy baby things. Thank God for 24 hour Walmarts. They had clothes, bottles, pacifiers, and thanks to that $100 tip, a stroller that was also a car seat.
Stiles felt like a fraud. He kept waiting for someone to realize that he and that precious little girl did not look anything alike. Any moment they would do a secret paternity test and she’d become a ward of the state and end up in a foster home where the parents wouldn’t love her nearly as much as he did. Plus, there was that whole werewolf thing to consider.
After only 17 hours, Sam was being released into Stiles’ care. Before they would let him leave they made sure that he had pamphlets on support groups for people losing spouses and groups for single Dads and daycare. A nurse made sure the car seat was installed correctly, and off they went.
When they arrived at his motel which now seemed a thousand times more pathetic with a baby, Stiles realized exactly how much stuff he still didn’t have for her. Looking at his cell phone was always a trial for Stiles. He’d changed his number when he moved away, but the urge to call his Dad was still there. That day more than any other, he really could have used a shoulder to cry on.
After a bottle Sam went right to sleep in her car seat. Stiles took the few minutes of peace to check his bank account. He’d have to take at least six weeks off of work, and in that amount of time there was no guarantee that he’d still have a job to go back to.
“Hey, Laura, I see that you called me to apologize for ditching me the other night. I, uh… look some stuff happened that night, and I need to take time off work. Like a month and a half. I understand if you can’t hold the position open for me. No hard feelings. Thanks. Bye.”
He hoped that wasn’t as weird and vague as it sounded in his head. Stiles pulled a drawer out of the dresser and lined it in two baby blankets before gently laying Sam down in the nest. He swore he’d get her a real crib in the morning, and laid the drawer on the bed beside him so that he could watch over her as he fell asleep.
The next two weeks went by as a zombified blur. Several online sources assured Stiles that Sam should be eating 1 to 2 oz of milk per feeding for her size. She was eating about three to four. They said feedings 8-12 times a day. She was eating 6 or 7 but still getting more than the amount of formula they predicted she would need. He thought about bringing it up at her first check-up, but then thought better about it.
The major upside of her weird feeding habits was that she would sleep for five hours at night. It was less than Stiles was used to, but so much more manageable than the 2 hours a night the websites predicted. All Stiles did with his time was feed Sam, change Sam, wash Sam, and sleep when possible. He hadn’t had a shower in four days and he smelled like it.
It was shaping up to be a very odd day. First Sam ate twice her normal amount of formula and then cried for another bottle. Then she squirmed and fussed and fidgeted like she wished she was strong enough to crawl or run. Then, when night fell, Sam began to howl. It was the only word Stiles had for it. She pursed her lips and let out small hoots while she cried.
Stiles offered her a pacifier and a bottle and a rattle and everything that a baby girl could want in life, but she just kept fussing. She’d been whining for so long the neighbors were starting to pound on his walls. Stiles bundled her up in the only jacket she owned and placed her in a stroller for a walk.
“I’ll make you a deal, Shortstack. If you can keep calm for twenty whole minutes I will introduce you to ice cream when you’re seven. I was going to wait until you were ten to start the addiction, so it’s a pretty good deal. That’s an extra 3 years of being a total spazzed out pain in my ass.”
She stilled in her seat. “Really? That worked?”
Before he could take any credit Stiles saw what she was staring at. His baby girl was staring at the full moon. She reached one tiny little fist up to the sky and made the same hooting noise. This time her eyes glowed yellow and two tiny teeth broke out of her gums.
It lasted for only a few seconds before she was crying in a way he’d never seen before. When she was hungry she didn’t cry so much as she just whimpered. It was the first time he’d ever seen her in pain. He unbuckled her and snuggled her up to his neck shushing her as he went. She calmed down and fell asleep just like that.
Stiles knew what he had to do.
The next day was a Saturday, so he couldn’t go to the Hale House to find who he was looking for. Stiles thanked his lucky stars that he had picked Laura up that night he went to the club. Her address was saved into his GPS.
“Hi, are you a werewolf?”
Probably not the best introduction but he was freaked out and still sleep deprived.
“Do you have a newborn baby in your car?” Laura asked incredulously.
“I asked you first.”
“This isn’t a playground, and we’re not five… I asked you second.”
“I’m going to take your not calling me crazy as a sign that I’m right, so yeah, I am the proud parent of a newborn werewolf, and it’s a full moon and she’s sad and I can’t help her.” His voice absolutely did not break a little at the end. Nope. He just kind of had a frog in his throat.
“Why didn’t you take her to the daycare!? I run an entire organization that takes care of babies Stiles!” Laura pinched his arm hard and walked over to the car.
“Hello pretty girl! How are we today?” Laura sang in baby voice. Sam shrieked her displeasure.
“Don’t do that.” Stiles went over and saved his girl from the big bad wolf. “Don’t call her pretty.”
“Why wouldn’t I call her pretty? She is pretty!”
“I read that people tell girls that they’re pretty and boys that they’re smart and strong and it leads females to think that they’re only worthwhile if they’re pretty. Tell her she’s smart and a hard worker.”
Laura rolled her eyes, “Hello strong, tough, little girl.” Laura tried to pet Sam’s cheek. Sam grew her fangs and growled before turning her face into Stiles’ neck.
“Who’s her Alpha? And how did you have a baby? You’re gay.”
“I’m aware, thank you, and it’s a long story. And what the hell is an alpha?”
“Stiles!” Laura pinched him again. “She’s an omega? Where’s her mother? Doesn’t she have a pack?”
“Her mother died giving birth, and her mother was an omega.”
Laura looked to the sky like she was asking the heavens for patience.
“Stiles, I love you like a brother but you are a grade A fuck up sometimes.” She stole his keys from his pocket and hopped in the driver’s side of the Jeep.
“We’re going to get her settled and then you are coming back to work on Monday. Wait, we’re getting her settled and then you’re taking a shower. You smell like roadkill and baby vomit.”
“That’s fair. Why can’t I drive? It’s my car!”
“Because you look like you’re about to pass out.”
He couldn’t argue with that point either because he fell asleep the second the car was in motion.
Laura shook him awake sitting in the driveway of a big white house with a wrap around porch. It had big columns and pillars and it was awesome. Stiles looked down at his dirty inside out shirt and felt really inadequate. Sam was whimpering for a bottle so he pulled one out when she unbuckled him.
“Laura? I need to warm this up somewhere.”
“Not a problem.” She took the bottle and walked up the steps. “I’m headed inside to deal with this, you two wait out here.”
So Stiles stood awkwardly on a porch with a huge diaper bag slung over his shoulder. The angry baby was really the accessory that completed the look. The door swung open and standing framed in the doorway was the single most beautiful man the world had ever known standing next to a large black wolf.
The black wolf stepped toward them rumbling.
“Is that a real wolf or a werewolf, because I am not letting a real wolf near my daughter.”
“She’s a werewolf, and she’s our Alpha. Show some respect.” Mr. Growly and Gorgeous said to him.
“Okay, okay. No need to bear your teeth at me.”
Stiles sat down in a crouched position and let the wolf sniff at his tiny itty bitty baby. So mostly he resisted the urge to punch it in the snout and run away. She looked Sam in the eye and growled flashing red irises. Sam growled right back and showed her yellow eyes, and then calmed down for the first time in days.
The wolf transformed right before his eyes into a very naked woman.
“What a lovely little girl you have there.” The woman cooed
“Stiles, don’t.” Laura hollered at him from inside the house.
“May I?” The now a woman woman said. Reaching for Sam.
Stiles instinctively flinched back. “I get that she needs a pack and an alpha or whatever, but she’s still mine.”
“Of course she is.” The woman gave him a smile that made him feel warm and fuzzy and accepted. “It’s okay.” She back off a step. “We haven’t even been introduced yet and here I am trying to hold your daughter. Come on inside.”
Mr. Growly with the triangle eyebrows glared at him while Stiles walked into the house. He pushed away the urge to stick his tongue out at him. Laura handed him the nice warm bottle and he fed Sam while seated on the biggest comfiest couch he’d ever been on. It was so big that when he put his back against the cushions his feet didn’t even touch the ground.
While Sam finished her bottle the wolfy woman changed into a flowing black dress. The dude sat in a love seat and glared and brooded some more.
“My name is Talia, you know my daughter Laura, Derek is my son who you met on the porch. My other daughter, Cora is at school. My brother and his wife also live here along with my sister and her husband and twins.”
“Wow, that’s a lot of people under one roof. And are you all… you know… grrr?”
“You mean wolves?” Derek suggested, not very kindly. “No, not everyone in the house is a wolf.”
Talia put a hand on Derek’s knee to silence him. The guy crossed his arms over his chest and went back to sulking. “My sister and brother both married humans and my sister’s twins are both human.”
“I’m sorry if I’m asking questions that I shouldn’t, but I was under the impression that werewolves were fake like Santa until about two weeks ago.”
Derek uncrossed his arms, “You didn’t know your wife was a werewolf until she gave birth to one?”
“She wasn’t my wife, and no. This is all very new to me. I just want Sam to be happy and healthy, and if she needs other werewolves in order to do that, then that’s what she gets.”
“You’re handling this very well.” Talia assured him. “You did the right thing coming to us. Tonight you and Sam are welcome to join us for a Moon Run. I think it’ll be good for both of you.”
“Sign me up.”
Chapter 5: An Odd Pediatrician
Promptly after Sam had finished her bottle both of them fell back asleep on the couch. Stiles really didn’t mean to, but there were no domestic disturbances happening next door and he had a warm snuggly creature on his chest. What option did he have? His eyes started getting heavy while the Hales talked about what to do with them on the run since neither of them could actually keep up with the wolves. The couch pretty much swallowed him whole.
The sound of Sam making her hooting howl noise woke him.
“Daddy’s here Shortstack.”
But she wasn’t there. Sam wasn’t asleep on his chest anymore. In a blind panic Stiles shot off the couch and checked the ground to see if she rolled off of him and onto the floor. She hooted again from down the hall and he sprinted towards the sound.
Laura was attempting to change her diaper on a long maple wood table. Sam was yellow eyed and squirmy and trying to fight off her attacker while big tears rolled down her cheeks.
Laura looked up at him distressed, “She was wet! I’m just trying to change her!”
“She has a thing about getting changed.” Stiles peeled off his outer shirt and folded it. He slid it under Sam’s head and she quieted down and let him get her all cleaned up.
“I get it. It’s a smell thing.” Laura said.
“A smell thing? I thought it was a soft head against hard surface thing.”
“Nope. Total werewolf freakiness. She wants to be able to smell you. Makes her feel safe when she’s got a vulnerable little tummy exposed. I could just rip those tiny little guts right out.” Laura said the last bit in baby talk, tickling her tummy with claws.
“Can we not talk about evisceration in front of the kid?”
“It’s not like she knows what it means. She thinks it’s all nice and fluffy.”
“And, just for the record, removing my baby while I’m sleeping and not letting me know? Not cool.”
“Are you sure she’s the baby? Because you are looking like a pretty big pus-”
“Laura!” Talia interrupted them with a stern look to her daughter, “Stiles, you’re up. I hope you had a good nap.”
Stiles scratched the back of his head, “About that. I’m sorry I nodded off on you like that.”
Talia waved it off, “Nonsense. You’re a new parent. Happens to all of us. Before we get supper started would you like to indulge in another luxury new parents don’t get and take a shower? We have some clean clothes here that would fit you.”
Thinking it would be rude to refuse since he was stinking up the joint, Stiles said yes and was shown to a bathroom on the second floor. Once he was under the warm spray he forced himself to relax. So far they had done nothing to make him think that they were going to rip his throat out and abscond with Sam. If they wanted to kill him or her they would have done it already. It was time to enjoy a water heater that could sustain an entire 30 minute shower.
When Stiles got out he felt like a new person. It was amazing having people around to help him. But he couldn’t get used to it. They were just going to help him get through the full moon and then he’d get out of their hair. He was not going to overstay his welcome or take advantage of their hospitality.
He changed into the clothes left on the sink for him. It was a pair of jeans and a henley shirt that were both just a little too big for him, but they were warm from the dryer. Feeling much more human Stiles descended the stairs. He could already hear Sam crying.
At the bottom of the stairs was an older man who Stiles guessed was Talia’s brother.
“Talia! There’s a human on the stairs who smells like Derek and babies.”
“Thanks, Peter, already knew that.”
Peter looked him up and down once more and walked toward where Talia’s voice had come from. Talia, Peter, Laura, Derek, and a younger woman were all standing in the kitchen looking at Sam who was sucking unhappily on the corner of Stiles’ shirt from inside of her car seat.
“I didn’t know we were taking in strays.” Peter smiled with teeth at Stiles. “We have plenty of people under one roof to take care of already. We don’t need an outsider coming in.” He finished looking straight at Talia.
Talia’s eyes burned red and she let out a warning growl so threatening that Stiles grabbed Sam out of her seat so that she wouldn’t be near the carnage. Peter held up his hands in surrender.
“Don’t listen to me. I’ve just been a werewolf for over 35 years. What do I know. After all, I’m just the guy who kept us all from burning to death.”
Derek went full furry and roared at Peter who roared back and popped out his claws. Stiles grabbed the car seat and turned tail for the front door. Before he was even a full step out the door he could hear the smashing of furniture and the sounds of a vicious fight.
“Stiles! Wait!” It was Laura chasing after him. Stiles buckled in the seat as quickly as he could and snapped Sam into place.
“No way. She is not going anywhere near that. Not now, not ever.”
“At least take her to our pediatrician. Yours won’t know what to do with her at best and will run tests on her at the worst.” Laura was holding out a business card. Stiles snatched it and drove off like the devil himself was chasing him.
That night the two of them stayed outside the whole time the moon was up and Stiles let Sam hoot and cry to her heart’s content. He didn’t need a house full of crazy rampaging wolves to help him raise his daughter. Especially not one like Peter.
The next day was a Sunday, and as much as Stiles wanted to forget that there was a not quite human in the house, it was time for Sam to get her first round of shots and check-ups. Stiles called the number on the card and a old woman answered the phone. He asked if he could get an appointment after working hours and she told him to bring Sam over that afternoon.
Sam was still cranky from shifting so Stiles figured, hey, if she’s going to be angry anyway, might as well get it over with in one day.
The woman had insisted on the phone that he call her MeeMee, and when he pulled up to the house his first thought was, ‘she looks like a MeeMee.’ She was a larger woman but with clear curves. She was wearing glasses that were neon pink and purple on the frames. Her hair was a vibrant dyed blue and her dress was covered in polka dots. She had a walking cane on her left side.
“Well what have we here? Been a while since I have seen a single Dad.” She waved them in through the screen door. “Been even longer since I’ve seen a human one raising a werewolf. Shock to the system eh? Well, it’ll be good for you. She’ll keep you young. Tea? Coffee? If you take coffee I don’t have any real cream, just that shitty fake stuff you can light on fire. I’m addicted to the crap.”
“Did the Hale’s call you, or do I just look like a human?”
“It’s all in the walk, Sugar. I’ve been around more than enough of everything in my day to know how things move. You say that the Hale’s recommended you? Did they give you the lowdown on raising a shifter?”
“I think they would have, but I kind of left once the claws came out. ‘Cause they were actual claws.”
“It was that Jackass Peter, wasn’t it? Bad seed that one. Talia took up all the good genes in that pool.”
MeeMee’s office was a study that had been converted to fit a bed from a medical office and a few cupboards with cotton balls and tongue depressors. The normalness of it all helped Stiles feel more at ease. Sam was weighed and measured and had a light shined in her eyes and her ears.
“You seem like the type of person who does his research, so let’s talk about what’s going to be different. Everything that normal babies do mentally like talk and learn numbers and so on she’ll do just like a human. When it comes to the physical stuff like holding her head up, rolling over, sitting up, walking and so on she’s going to do early. She’ll be running circles around you in no time flat, so hold onto your balls. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.”
MeeMee paused to take a huge gulp out of her coffee. “Normally I’d say she needs an alpha and a pack but you two have clearly bonded even though I’ll chew off my own hand before I’ll believe you’re her biological father. She thinks the sun shines out your ass so she won’t have any trouble seeing you as the leader until she’s old enough to choose an alpha on her own. Any questions?”
He gaped at her for a minute. “Uh… vaccines?”
“No need.” MeeMee poked at Sam and made funny faces. “She can’t catch anything they would protect against. It would be like sticking my horse for polio. Dumb as hell, not worth the fuss.”
Stiles nodded dumbly. “Uh, that makes sense, kind of. Also, she freaks out when pretty much anyone touches her but me. Except you. Why isn’t she freaking out?”
“Magic.” MeeMee said with absolute certainty. She wiggled her fingers at him. “I put on a lotion that conveys my intent to the little ones. They feel my good vibes, they don’t cry. Didn’t Talia tell you? Of course not, not enough time. You really should give the Hale’s a chance. They’d be good for you.”
“I’ll take that under advisement. How much do I owe you?”
“Now that’s the question.” MeeMee took a moment to just stare at Stiles’ face until his skin crawled.
“You have the spark, and I’m in need of a new assistant. You come over here a couple hours each weekend and help me make up my medicines and I’ll be your on call doctor for life.”
“If I say yes, am I going to regret it forever?”
“Probably.” MeeMee opened a sucker and popped it into her mouth. “But you’re also broke as fuck so you’re going to say yes.”
“You swear a lot for an old lady.”
“Yeah, but that’s why you like me.” She smiled and he agreed to come back the next weekend.
Chapter 6: Moving (If you like it or not.)
The first part of this chapter is from Derek's POV.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Derek and Peter were standing side by side a few hundred feet away from the motel looking in through the window at the residents inside the room.
“You can’t tell me you actually think it’s a good idea to let that moron raise a baby?” Peter said gesturing down at the room.
They were watching Stiles try to prepare a bottle for Sam. Stiles was running around the apartment trying to get all the pieces for the bottle while trying to comfort the screaming infant.
“I mean, look at him. He’s a mess. He looks like he hasn’t showered since he left our house a month ago. Laura says that he shows up to work looking exhausted and can barely stay awake for a full shift. I can almost smell him from here. If he ran a hand through his hair the entire quaff would stick straight up.”
It was true. Stiles clothes were wrinkled and worn and stained. Through the window he finally got a bottle put together and put it in a pot to heat it up.
“And the room.” Peter grunted in disgust. “Look, he doesn’t even have a stove! He’s making bottles in a pot that’s sitting on a camping grill. That’s a fire hazard if I’ve ever seen one. And the sink where he washes the bottles is the same sink where he brushes his teeth and washes the baby. At least I have a house, and a wife. I’d be a much more suitable parent.”
As much as Derek hated to admit that Peter was right, ever, from where they were standing it wasn’t looking that crazy. The bottle was finally warm enough for Stiles to take it out of the pot. He gave the bottle over to Sam who suckled on it for only a few seconds before refusing it and bursting into heavy sobs.
Stiles’ crumbled. He dropped the bottle, set Sam down in her crib and put his head on his knees and cried along with her. It was a heartbreaking scene. It hurt Derek just watching it. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, letting Peter take the baby. Parenthood was clearly thrust on the human before he was ready for it. Maybe taking the baby away would give him a chance to be free and grow up a little bit before having kids.
While Derek was thinking Stiles pulled himself together. He wiped the tears off his cheeks and picked up the bottle. He tipped it upside down over his wrist and shook it a few times. The boy mumbled something Derek couldn’t hear and unscrewed the top off the bottle and replaced it with a new nipple. He picked Sam back up and offered her the new bottle. She silenced her cries and hungrily guzzled down the formula. Stiles sat down on the floor again with the baby propped up on his legs so that he could face her while she ate.
It was a still night with no traffic going past on the road. It was quiet enough for Derek’s wolf hearing to pick up the sounds from inside the room.
“You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
When you’re not happy,
My skies are gray.
You’ll never know dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take all
my sunshine away.”
When Stiles finished his song Derek turned to his uncle. “He’s a good Dad, Peter. He loves her. Nothing else matters. Let it go.”
“All you need is love? How very Beatles of you. So he loves her, so what? He can’t provide for her.”
Derek turned and started walking down the road to where he’d left the Camaro shaking his head. “I know that you and Marie want a baby, but that little girl is not it. If I hear anything about you trying to get that baby away from him, I’ll kill you myself.”
“What happened to Derek the human hater?” Peter called after him.
“He grew the fuck up, Peter. Try it.”
If Stiles had thought those first two weeks taking care of a baby all night and all day was hellish, then working all day and taking care of a baby all night was that special ring of hell reserved for child molesters and people who talk at the theater*.
Ever since that first full moon Sam had decided to do her best to become nocturnal. After a check in with MeeMee where she assured Stiles that Sam would only be able to turn on full moons until she was three or four years old, Stiles headed to work that Monday morning.
He had thought that Sam was just tired that day from staying up the night before. Oh how naive he had been. She’d napped all day while he ran around with the other kids and squirmed and squealed and cooed all night when he tried to sleep.
He’d just gotten her into a semi-normal sleep pattern by forcing her to stay awake during the days when the next full moon hit. Of course he would get the baby that slept through the night when he had plenty of time to crash out during the day and then reversed when he had a 5 A.M. start time. She was sooo lucky she was cute as hell.
Stiles stifled yawns and poked Sam awake while he explained to Thomas, for the fifth time, that crayons were not used on walls. Thomas was the same butthead that stood in the bucket of legos and liked to drop his pants and pee on the bushes outside. He was also a werewolf and his parents decided that he should be allowed to,’be himself’, without restrictions. Like rules. Stiles was one bad day away from beating some sense into them.
“Stiles, why don’t you head home? I’ve got it from here.” Laura waved him off. Stiles looked at his watch and saw that it was already 3:00 making it a full 8 hour work day for him. He said goodbye to all the rascals and started pushing the stroller toward home. It was close enough to walk and he’d spent so much time out of work that he couldn’t afford the gas to drive anyway.
From a block away he could see someone taking boxes out of a room and loading them into a car. Once he got closer he saw that the car was a Jeep. Closer still and he could see that it was his Jeep. And they were taking stuff out of his room.
“Hey! What the hell!” Stiles wished he had his protection bat, but it was ironically inside of the motel which was clearly in the process of getting robbed.
“Relax Stiles.” The man carrying the boxes moved them aside to show his face. It was Derek Hale.
“What the hell are you doing with all of my stuff?”
“I’m packing it.” Derek said it like Stiles was the village idiot and he was explaining 2 + 2.
“Care to explain why? Or where it’s going? Or why?”
Derek rolled his eyes. “This place sucks. It has no security and you’re paying too much money. I have an open room. I’ll charge you less for rent there and I have a dishwasher, a washer/dryer, and a kitchen.”
“And you were planning on asking me to move in with you when exactly?”
“I’m not asking.” Derek loaded the boxes into the back of the car and shut the door. “Living like this? It’s pathetic. Get in the Jeep. You can follow me to my place.”
Stiles tried to argue, he really did, but Derek walked really fast and Stiles didn’t want to leave his Jeep while it contained everything he owned in life, so he gave up and just followed Derek.
Derek’s place was a townhome with three levels. A downstairs with a bare room completely devoid of anything next to a bathroom, the mid-level which had a living room with a leather couch and a flat screen TV across from an open kitchen with a center island, and an upper level that held Derek’s master bedroom.
“Sam can sleep on the lower level. You could stay there with her, but I don’t have a mattress or anything, so you’ll have to sleep on the couch until you can afford one. Do not go upstairs unless I tell you to. The common areas are free for you to use, but do not hurt the couch.” Derek took a beer out of the fridge and started up the stairs.
“Whoa, wait. That’s it? No discussion? No house rules? No rent negotiation or a lease to sign so that I know you can’t throw me out on my ass at a moment’s notice?”
Derek paused on the stairs. “If I throw you out you can go back to that roach motel. No harm done.”
“I haven’t even agreed to live here!”
“I have a frozen lasagna that I’m going to cook for dinner. I’ll see you then.”
And then Derek ducked out of sight.
Stiles looked down at Sam. “I am getting way too used to weird stuff, Shortstack.”
“My thoughts exactly. Now, was that an X-Box I saw in that T.V. stand?”
*This comes from Firefly, because I love it.
Chapter 7: First Night Out
This starts with a three month time jump. Skip the last part if you're not up for some smut!
“Stiles, she’s almost four months old. It’s time.” Derek had one hand on each of Stiles’ shoulders holding him firmly in place.
Stiles was not about to get talked into anything else. He’d let Derek talk him into moving in with him without a fight, but Stiles blamed that on being sleep deprived and broke. He’d been sick of being in the motel and not having any money and every other day MeeMee was telling him to go get help from the Hales. It really wasn’t his fault he gave in so easily.
“Are you sure? I mean, she can barely sit up on her own yet.”
Plus since Stiles now had a steady source of income and an address he could now order Sam the cutest onesies ever. She was currently dressed in one that said, ‘My Daddy is a Better Gamer than Your Daddy’. Who could leave that?
“Which means she’s miles ahead of human babies her own age. It’ll be okay. It’s just for a little while.”
“But… but I’ve never been away from her for more than a few minutes before.”
There was no way Stiles was winning this battle, and he knew it. There was a new movie playing in the theaters that he told Laura he wanted to see. She freaked out because she wanted to see it too, and no one would go with her. So they made a movie date. That meant that Stiles was going to have to leave home without his baby girl for 3 1/2 whole hours. Even more if they got food after!
“I watch her all the time. She’ll be fine.” Derek pushed Stiles, walking him backward toward the door.
He'd only meant to stay with Derek for a week or two to save money while he looked for his own place. But Derek turned out to be pretty okay. He was quiet and neat and when Peter wasn't around he wasn't angry all the time. Stiles could relate to that. Plus, having two people to take care of one baby really was pretty fucking cool.
“Yeah while I shower or cook dinner you watch her for like 15 minutes. Or you change her diaper because I’m in the middle of COD.”
“Exactly. She lets me feed her and change her. She likes me. We’ll be fine.”
“You like her too.” Stiles teased as he was being forced out the front door. “You think she’s pretty and awesome. Ha! Derek likes babies. I bet you’re trying to get me to leave so that you can play pretty pretty dress up and have a tea party. But with like squirrel blood or something gross. Wait a minute! Are you going to perform a ritual that involves babies blood in the sacrifice? Because I am sooo not cool with that.”
“Yes.” Derek rolled his eyes, “You’ve uncovered my nefarious plan to send you to the cinema with my sister so that I can summon Satan.”
Stiles was officially out of the house now and perched on the sidewalk.
“Now go enjoy yourself.”
“Call me if anything happens!” Stiles called at Derek’s back. “Like anything! Especially if she starts crawling or something. And who says ‘cinema’?”
The door clicked in to place leaving Stiles’ plea bouncing off of it back to him. He sighed and got in the Jeep. Stupid fucking idea wanting to go see a movie. He wasn’t even to the movie theater yet and it was already the worst movie he had ever seen. The theater itself wasn’t very crowded even though it was a Friday night. Stiles checked his phone compulsively as he put the car in park. He checked it again on the walk to the door and again when he was in line.
Laura was already in line to get popcorn. Stiles was so busy checking his phone that he never saw the ambush coming. In line with Laura were four other people. At first glance, it all looked very normal, but then he saw it. There was a man standing just a little too close to Laura, two women holding hands, and the last person was a single effeminate man.
Stiles had been tricked into a group date. No matter how awesome superhero movies were, there was no way it would be cool enough to make up for the amount of suck about to happen. He waved his hello and got into line with them. He appreciated that Laura would go through the trouble of letting him meet new people, but he hated blind dates. His father had set him up on three right after his split from Scott. They all ended horribly.
“Hi, I’m Jeremy.” The man who was clearly meant for Stiles was dressed like a hipster. He was wearing a loose cardigan over a v-neck t-shirt and had on a super tight pair of skinny jeans. The look was completed with an over sized scarf that was unnecessary for the weather and a pair of glasses that didn’t even have lenses in them. Not exactly Stiles’ type.
“Hi, I’m Stiles.” Just that one sentence always lead him into a discussion on his first name and how he didn’t use it. Jeremy tried to insist. He said he loved ‘ethnic’ names and he was really good with accents and couldn’t Stiles just spell it so that he could see if he could pronounce it correctly? Four minutes in and he was already annoyed. It was a record. At least Laura’s date, Anthony, was a pretty cool guy. Not that Stiles got a chance to talk to him much.
“You keep checking your phone. Are you waiting on an email or something?” One of the other ladies asked. They were named Ashley and Leigh and Stiles was going to spend the rest of his life thinking of them as one entity. They chose their snacks together and walked together and finished each other’s sentences. They were Ashleigh inside his brain.
“Don’t mind me.” Stiles felt kind of bad ignoring them. “It’s my first time ever being away from my daughter. Kind of a nervous wreck about it.”
“Oh my God! I love babies!” Jeremy gushed and grabbed Stiles’ arm to link their elbows. “Tell me all about her!”
At least that was a subject Stiles was well versed in. He told Jeremy all about Sam until the lights fell around their seats. He then spent the better part of the movie very specifically not holding hands. As predicted he couldn’t focus on the movie. His phone was on silent in his pocket and was begging him to check it, just to see if everything was okay. He was so focused on the weight in his pocket that he couldn’t follow the plot at all.
Afterward Anthony asked if everybody wanted to go to the bar that he co-owned with a friend of his. Stiles wanted to say no, but he also hadn’t been drunk in forever and he really needed conversations with adults. He had been watching to much of the Wiggles. He needed to know what was going on in the world.
It was a bad idea. He tried talking baseball with Anthony, but Jeremy kept hijacking the conversation so that he could try to connect with Stiles. It was kind of cool to have someone be into him, but Stiles couldn’t handle the smarmyness. The guy critiqued the wine and talked about politics like he was full of new insights but he was just spouting the same stuff Stiles heard all through college. Stiles plead out before 9:00.
“Hello people I actually enjoy! I’m home!”
Sam squawked until Derek brought her over to greet her Daddy. The second she was in his arms she started making noises and grunting at him and waving her arms excitedly. Stiles raised an eyebrow at Derek.
“She’s trying to tell you about her day.” Derek explained. “She does the same thing to me when I get home from work.”
Derek worked as a Professor at the local community college teaching English. Every time he put on the blazer Stiles collapsed into a fit of giggles.
“Huh.” He waited patiently for Sam to finish, asking questions where it seemed fit. When she wrapped up she made the hand gesture for bottle so he heated one up for her and set her up with it on the couch. Derek was sitting in the recliner glaring daggers at him.
“What? Did I spill popcorn butter on myself? Am I ruining the couch? Again?”
“Why do you smell like a bucket of cologne?”
“I am not a ‘dude’.”
“Fine, hey Mr. Hale, does your sister ever set you up on bad blind dates?”
Derek broke into a grin, “You got Laura-ed.” Derek shook his head and chuckled. “Let me guess, you thought it was going to be the two of you, but instead she brought a date and another couple and just happened to bring along one other person who happened to be single and wasn’t that just a coincidence.”
“So it’s a thing she does often.”
“It’s the first initiation into the family. You’ll be running moons with us in no time.”
Stiles scowled. Full moons were still something of a thorn in his side. Sam still fussed and hooted and got all growly, but she didn’t seem so desperately unhappy when they came around. Last month two days before the full moon Talia had called and invited him to bring her along on their run. He’d showed up for dinner and after 15 minutes of Peter crowing about how terrible being raised by a human was for werewolves, Stiles had cursed him out and drove off. It was not his finest hour.
“I’ll run moons with the family when your uncle stops being a dickhead. So, never.”
Derek opened a can of soda and threw the tab at Stiles. “Stop pouting. He’s harmless. You just have to learn to tune him out.”
“Says the guy who tries to maul him every time they're in the same room. AIso, I’m pretty sure if I didn’t live with you he’d literally kidnap my kid. That’s not harmless in my book. Tell me I’m wrong.”
Derek paused for a second. “… we’d help you get her back?”
“Now that’s reassuring.” Stiles didn’t even try to stifle his yawn. “I’m going to put Shortstack to bed, clear off while I’m gone.”
“You could buy a bed.” Derek nagged. “You don’t have to keep sleeping on my very expensive sofa. They have these things called mattresses. I have one. They’re nice.”
“You get snarky when you’re tired. I’ll buy a bed when I can afford to live someplace where it will fit.”
Technically a twin could fit inside Sam’s room, but between the crib and the changing table and all her toys there would be no room to walk.
“Suit yourself.” Derek flipped him off and went to bed.
Stiles rocked Sam until she fell asleep in his arms and then he placed her in her nest of blankets in her crib. She snuffled, but stayed asleep.
Stiles walked up to the mid level and listened for a second to hear if Derek was still shuffling around upstairs. There wasn’t so much as a creek to be heard, so Stiles snuck down to the lower level bathroom and locked it behind him. MeeMee told him that werewolves had excellent hearing. Stiles was crossing his fingers and hoping that it either wasn’t that good, or Derek was already asleep.
Stiles was about to violate himself, and he was hoping that Derek wouldn’t hear some of self-love sounds. He missed the days when he could stretch out in a bed and really spend some time, but now that his bed was a communal couch he couldn’t take his time anymore.
He was actually pretty tired and really wanted to just go to bed, but he had to knock one out.
Because on Saturday mornings Derek subjected him to a gay man’s dream and nightmare rolled into one. Every Saturday Derek descended from his bedroom shirtless and proceeded to work out until he dripped with sweat. He did push-ups and pull ups and squats until Stiles was out of his mind.
Stiles leaned against the wall across from the mirror and sink and dragged his pants down far enough to expose his dick to the chill of the night air. He took a bottle of lotion out from under the sink and pumped some into his hand. If he was going to never have sex again he was at least going to have a cock that was soft and smooth.
He closed his eyes and pictured last weekend’s workout. Derek’s sweat pants had been slung so low on his hips that Stiles could see that V of muscle between Derek’s hipbone. Given a chance Stiles would suck on those muscles until Derek was marked for a week. They also showed off that amazingly hot treasure trail that Stiles so desperately wanted to follow south.
His right hand was stroking quickly up and down while his left wandered down to massage his balls. It was a terrible idea to be attracted to his roommate. Derek had been amazing to both of them and he was saving Stiles’ life helping out with Sam.
Unfortunately, Derek also grunted when he did push ups. It made Stiles want to ride his dick. And that thought forced a moan to tumble out. Stiles let his left hand creep past his taint and back to his hole. He let the image of Derek doing sit-ups on the floor flit into his mind. This time, Derek stops in the middle of his routine and grabs Stiles’ hand. He sits Stiles down on his lap and asks if Stiles can feel how hard he is.
Stiles kisses Derek hard. It is full of tongue and teeth and its hot and wet and satisfying. In his head it isn’t his hand, but Derek’s, stretching him open. Preparing him for that slow hard burn of taking someone in.
Stiles bit his lip and spilled onto his hand and the floor. As he cleaned up he vowed that he was going to stop thinking about Derek when he masturbated.
He wasn’t fooling anyone.
Chapter 8: Intro to an Emissary
This is a short chapter that's really just the intro to the big next chapter.
The next day dawned just like Stiles new it would. Sam awoke him up over the monitor at 4:30 a.m. because that was when they usually got up for work. She babbled and cooed and shrieked happily to herself while playing with her toes until he came in to get her. Once he had the coffee brewing and a bottle in hand Derek came walking out, bare chested and glorious.
Stiles very decidedly did not stare, but instead just kept reading Yahoo News out loud for Sam while he sipped on his Folgers. It was all sorts of wrong to get excited when there was a baby in your lap which made it easier to keep his eyes glued to the screen.
“Stiles? Hey, Stiles?” Derek waved at him to get his attention. He promptly lost Stiles’ attention when a single drop of sweat rolled down the peaks and valleys of his six pack abs.
“I’m sorry, what?” Damn him for melting Stiles’ brain!
“Your phone is ringing.”
Stiles checked his table and his pockets, “I can’t hear it.”
“You must have left it in Sam’s room.”
He thanked Derek and headed down to find his phone and get Sam dressed for the day.
“Hey, MeeMee, what’s up?”
“Hey, Sugar, you still planning on heading down today?”
“Uh, yeah,” He dropped the phone down to look at the time. “Am I late?”
“No honey, I was just calling to see if maybe you could get Sam a sitta’ for the day.”
Stiles paused and blinked at Sam. She blew a raspberry at him. “I left her with Derek last night, I don’t think I could impose on him again.”
“It’s fine!” Derek shouted down from the main floor. “I’ll take her.”
“Please pretend you can’t hear this!” Stiles hollered back. Derek stomped his way down the steps until he was in the bedroom. There was a short tussle over the phone that Stiles lost.
“Hello, MeeMee. Yes. Uh-huh. I agree… Are you sure? He might just pass out on you.” Derek side eyed him. “Yeah… As long as you need… Yep. Bye.”
And then Derek hung up the phone. Stiles made an indignant sound at him which Derek ignored. He also ignored the stuffed animal that bounced harmlessly off of his back. Sam giggled and threw her bottle, since it looked like fun.
“Care to tell me what you talked about on my phone?”
Derek’s head reappeared in the hallway. “You get to go help MeeMee deliver a baby today. Could take all day. Don’t worry. We’ll be fine here.”
“Yeah you might be fine, but what about me? I’m about to be scarred for life.”
“You’re already gay, so it doesn’t matter if it scares you away from vaginas and you’re a wimp, so everyone expects you to pass out anyway. What harm could it really do?”
Stiles wished he had more things to throw.
Stiles arrived at MeeMee’s house by 6 with the biggest cup of coffee he could manage to safely fit in a cup holder and without his baby girl. It marked not only the second time he’d left home without her, but also the second day in a row. He swallowed a tiny panic attack at the thought and looked to the house.
MeeMee was standing on the porch, hands on the white rail staring at the sky. Stiles got out of his Jeep and looked up. He couldn’t see anything but blue sky and clouds floating past. He looked back to her. Her eyes were trained upward, unblinking.
“What are you looking at?” He asked her and looked back up again.
“Oh! There you are.” She smiled at him and hobbled down the steps. “Glad you could make it. We have a big day ahead of us.”
“About that, are you sure I’m the right person to be assisting? I have it on good authority I am really not that much help.”
“Trust me, Honey, no one can do the job but you. Come on inside.”
He settled into an oak chair while she puttered around the kitchen. Despite his protests she sat him down with a plate of homemade bread and jams and told him that he needed to eat a lot now. There was no saying when there would be time to have another meal.
“Alright, time to get into the thick of it.” MeeMee sat down on a chair and rolled up the sleeves on her blouse.
“Whoa. I didn’t know you had tattoos.” He reached for an arm but stopped himself before he grabbed it without permission. MeeMee waved him on so he took her wrist in hand and turned it this way and that to look at the design.
“What do they mean?” They looked tribal-esque, but they were large swaths of black with small designs only along the edges.
“I’ll get into that, but first, let’s talk about you. I’ve been hearing back from a lot of people about the tinctures you’ve been making for me. Gettin’ a lot of repeat customers off of you.”
“Stop, you’ll make me blush.”
“If I was trying to make you blush, Honey, I’d succeed.” MeeMee sighed. “You have the gift, Stiles. The spark. I was kind of hoping it wouldn’t be you. Never had an emissary with a werewolf child before. Reckon it might complicate things down the road, but the Gods will what they will.”
“What’s an emissary?” She might as well have been speaking Farsi to him.
MeeMee pushed the plates away and leaned forward, “Every great werewolf pack has a human druid who watches over them. The job of the druid is not to help that one tribe, but to keep the balance. I am a druid, and I hate to say it, but Stiles, so are you. You’ve got it in your veins. Knew it the minute I saw you. In most people it’s weak, just a flicker. You have a full spark. There’s a reason why Susan Banks won’t take my cream for her son’s eczema anymore. Mine don’t work half so well as yours on its best day.”
“Am I on some kind of hidden camera T.V. show? Is this whole town in on it? Okay, first werewolves, now druids who can do magic and you think I’m one of them. I’ll bite, why are you telling me?”
“Because these,” She gestured up and down her arm, “These ain’t tattoos.”
After that very cryptic conversation MeeMee dragged him out of the house through the back door and into the large expanse of woods that grew behind the lot. The path they were following was uneven and full of roots, but it was clear that it was well traveled. She wound them further into the thicket until they came to a grove of oak trees covered green with moss. The trees were thicker and older than what they had passed by on their path.
MeeMee stopped and bowed her head to touch it to a tree. She whispered words to it and then stood straight up and rose her arms up to the sky. All sounds of life in the trees stopped. No more birds chirped. No bugs rustled the leaves. It was still and calm in the grove.
“This is our Nemeton. This is an ancient place, sacred to our people.” She pointed out carvings of the faces of Gods in the trees. “I come here and ask for signs. For guidance. The trees answer.”
Stiles nodded. He kind of thought she was crazy, but there was an energy in the grove. The trees pulsed around him. He felt surrounded in a cocoon of warmth and healing.
“Are you asking about the birth today? Trying to see if it will go well?” He was still trying to figure out what they were doing there.
“I guess it’s truth time. I needed something that would get you out of the house without the kid. Tell me, Stiles, do you believe in demons?”
“Demons? Like from hell sent by the devil, demons?” He paused. “I didn’t, last year, but things have changed from then.”
“Doesn’t really matter if you do now. You will by the end of the day. You me and a priest are about to perform an exorcism.”
Chapter 9: The Exorcism
Stiles was jittering out of his skin. MeeMee was much calmer than he was, but as she drove them toward the house she would lean over the wheel look up at the sky and mutter to herself. There was a huge part of Stiles that was hoping she was schizophrenic. Or that they were going to see someone who was schizophrenic and not possessed. He wasn’t picky.
They arrived at a little unassuming blue house with nothing extraordinary about it except for the man on the porch with his head in his hands. He was maybe forty but when he looked up at them he had big blue bags under his dark eyes and more stubble than was generally considered attractive. His eyes were also bloodshot red from crying. He stood putting his weight on a black cane.
“And how is he doing?” MeeMee asked barreling past him and into the house with no introductions. Stiles made to stick his hand out but the man was hurrying behind MeeMee, completely unconcerned with the newcomer.
“Badly. Much worse than yesterday. We had to restrain him. The things he’s been saying… the things he knows! He couldn’t know that. How did he know that?”
“Demons are whisperers. You can’t listen. They’ll convince you they can tell you the future.”
“I think he can.” The man whispered, shaken to his core.
They walked upstairs. As they reached the last steps a noise flowed out from underneath a door. It was as if a hundred voices moaned at once. It turned around in Stiles’ gut.
MeeMee pulled off her sweater revealing a tank top barely hiding a dozen of the demon tattoos across her chest and arms. She pulled out a pack of cigarettes and lit up right there in the hall. She rolled her eyes at Stiles who was waving the smoke away from his face.
“Are you right with the Lord, Honey?”
“Uh… nope. I’m gay and I have a kid out of wedlock and I haven’t been to church in a couple of decades.”
MeeMee nodded. “You don’t have to believe in the church for it to work. I believe in the Goddess myself. Do you know the mythology of how the wolves came to be?”
Stiles shook his head.
“Well it’s a tale I don’t have time for at the moment,” She took a long drag “but suffice to say that Mother Earth and Father Wolf have something to do with it. I may not think much of Catholic ways, but their book sure knows a thing or two about banishing a demon. I don’t know if you were an atheist when you woke up boy, but you won’t be one once the night is out.”
What could Stiles do but nod? He wasn’t an atheist, but he felt uncomfortable referring to God as a person like it was a buddy he could talk to.
“So, what are we waiting for?” Stiles needed to do something. That noise was still rushing against the door and echoing down the halls. The man shook along with it.
“For me I daresay.” At the bottom of the stairs was a priest. He was bald on the top but had a ring of hair all around his head. He looked older than he probably was and made the cross on his forehead as he reached the upper landing.
“I haven’t gotten church sanction on this one. They give them so rarely these days.” The priest said mopping his brow with a handkerchief.
“Fuckers.” MeeMee put out her cigarette. “Brace yourself honey. We’re going in.”
Stiles was prepared for a scene from a movie. Floating beds and children turning their heads 360 degrees. What he got was a boy of no more than 9 or 10 strapped to a bed by his wrists and ankles with one big strap across his forehead. Stiles was far from convinced that the kid was possessed. He looked like all he needed was a warm meal and a hug.
“Help me!” The boy pleaded to Stiles. “They won’t let me out and I haven’t eaten in days.” The boy loosed huge tears down his cheeks. “Please.”
For just a second Stiles was fooled. He began plotting on how he could get the boy out of the straps and out the house without his parents or MeeMee stopping him. And then the glassy eyes went calculating.
“I’m good over here.”
The boy huffed a sigh and let out a chuckle. “MeeMee, you’ve brought me a faggot. You think that will help? Letting sin run in the room?”
The voice that the boy spoke in was too deep for his age. When he said the f-word all of the eyes in the room had darted to Stiles, but he kept his gaze fixed on the bed. Turning your back to the devil was a bad idea. Even he knew that.
“All of us carry sin,” The priest said as he set up his bible and holy water. “There are no exceptions here.”
“Is that what you tell yourself when you skip fast past the nudity in shows and then dream about it at night?” The boy let out that evil chuckle again.
It crystallized Stiles’ veins. He prayed to his absent deity that he would never have to hear it again.
“They can’t hear you.” The demon assured Stiles. “No one is listening.”
Stiles steeled his nerves, “If you exist, so do they.” He looked to MeeMee. “Let’s exorcise this bitch.”
MeeMee clapped him on the shoulder, “That’s the spirit.”
The Priest, Father Jacobson, probably thought he was the person doing all of the work, but Stiles knew better. The man chanted in Latin and tossed holy water here and there and prayed with the parents. Every once in a while the boy would come to his senses and recite the prayers until he was overtaken by the devils again.
And yeah, Stiles had to refer to them as Devils, as in the plural, because there was definitely more than one in there. They had different mannerisms and voices. It was like a bad sitcom where somebody had dissociative identity disorder. Only it was happening before Stiles’ very eyes. Which had so far gotten spit, blood, and urine in them. Stiles didn’t think the priest was doing jack shit, but the demons sure did.
And then there was MeeMee. She was circling the bed reciting something in her own ancient language, but it was all under her breath. She was sageing the room and smudging the walls with a mixture of herbs. The same herbs she’d made him mix up the other day. They were supposed to be giving to a local woman having trouble getting rabbits to stay out of her garden. It was a mix to provide protection.
Stiles felt so out of place it hurt, but he was afraid to leave. Who in there right mind could walk away all la-ti-da when it was possible that a friggin’ demon could walk out of a room that night? What if he broke the bonds and slit throats and then came to find Stiles at home and then killed Sam? Or Derek? Or any member of the Hale family? With the exception of Peter, they were all really cool people.
It went on for hours. It went on so long Stiles actually got bored. At an exorcism. Finally, around 3 P.M. the demons began to roar louder, Father Jacobson prayed harder and the family made the sign of the cross so many times they grew weak.
The boy let out a deep breath, and with it a black cloud came out. It hovered over his form in the air. The priest chanted about Satan and the power of Christ, and the black shadow dissipated. There was cheering and clapping, the parents hugged each other and patted their son on the forehead.
Stiles was ready to whoop it up with the family but MeeMee held him back with one arm like a Mom in a car that stopped too fast.
“Stiles, before we start untying bonds, could you go feel his forehead?”
“Uh…” Stiles looked at the boy. Color was coming back into his cheeks. It looked like it had just become easier to breath.
“Sure.” He shrugged. He figured she wanted him to see if the kid had a fever. Maybe it was some weird doctor training. Like, if he could feel a fever he had passed some unnameable test.
He walked past the relieved parents and placed one cool palm onto the boy’s head.
“Seems normal to me.” The skin was cool and kind of clammy.
“Stiles, close your eyes and try again.”
Now everyone was looking at him expectantly. He was now the asshole standing between this poor dude and freedom. Stiles flattened his palm again and closed his eyes. It was just black nothingness and the feel of skin.
And then they came from the darkness. Voices and faces raged upwards and clawed their way towards his eyelids.
He threw himself backwards and out of their way. He landed hard against the carpet, his head whipped back into the wall. His brain pounded with the promise of a headache to come.
“What did you see honey?” MeeMee coaxed him gently. She offered him a hand to get him on his feet.
“Demons.” Stiles choked out. The woman turned and weeped noisily into her husband’s collar.
“I don’t know… more than one? At least three or four.”
“Try harder.” MeeMee’s voice turned serious. “Really think about it.”
Stiles looked to the ceiling. He wasn’t about to close his eyes to think about it. “Six. Five lessers and one really big bad son of a bitch.”
“What does that mean? He can’t get better?” The wife hiccuped and sniffled her way through the question.
“No, don’t you fret now.” MeeMee gathered the woman into her arms and patted her back. “We told you this could take a while. We cast one out, and the first takes the most time. We’ll get him clear before tomorrow is out.”
It was well into the night before the five lesser ones were all scattered into dust. Stiles wasn’t doing anything but fetching towels and water for the group, but he was beyond fatigued. He wished he was as tired as a day after the daycare. That was a hundred times better than what he felt hovering at that bedside.
Once the fifth cloud had come and gone the Father Jacobson nodded at MeeMee. She nodded back and let her face go long and determined.
She turned to the parents, “I’m going to need the two of you to leave.”
They made some weak protests, but the priest scooted them out of the room and shut the door behind them.
“Alright, you and me, Honey, we’re about to tangle with the devil. No screaming, no leaving. Rule #3 of dealing with demons, we don’t leave until they do.”
“What was rule #1?”
“Don’t listen to them.”
The demon chuckled through the boy’s mouth. “I love that you brought me fresh meat, Demon Slayer.”
MeeMee just ignored it. “I’m going to cast a binding spell. This’ll take a good minute.”
“And a runner too.” It smirked at Stiles. “Leaving behind your father.” It clucked its tongue. “Do you think about the damage it did to him? Wife dead? Abandoned by his only child?”
Stiles swallowed, “What was rule #2?”
MeeMee paused in her trek around the bed, “There’s always more than one. The first gets cast out and then the others hide. If no one knows the others exist the get to walk around in a person a while.”
“But you didn’t really abandon him, did you Stiles?” The demon taunted. Stiles tried to focus only on the circle MeeMee was drawing around the bed in ashes. “No, you left in the care of his other son. His favored child. Does it bother you to always be in second place?”
It could tell it was getting under Stiles’ skin. “You were Scott’s second choice, your father’s second choice. Even Derek only puts up with you because he loves your daughter. How long until she realizes she has nothing in common with you and she decides Derek is a better daddy?”
“How long until we can get this fucktard out of this kid?” Stiles seethed.
“Quit listening.” MeeMee barked at him. “It’s about to get real in here. Leave if you need to.”
Stiles shook his head.
MeeMee anointed the child’s head in the herb rub. “Watch and learn, small fry.”
She pressed the heel of her left hand to the bridge of the boy’s face and lifted her right hand to the sky. From her mouth poured forth the language she’d been speaking earlier. He watched, mesmerized as her right hand began to glow. The boy’s back arched off the bed.
The kid’s forehead turned black and then an ooze began to creep from his very skin up MeeMee’s arm. The sludge curled around her muscles and slithered higher. Stiles stood at the ready, prepared to do whatever she needed, but MeeMee stood firm and strong, ignoring it. Her eyes were still turned to the heavens.
The boy was screaming in agony, writhing around. From his throat at least three voices were ripping out of him. The darkness finally receded from his face and entirely up into MeeMee’s arm. She released his forehead and reached both hands up. The black moved across her shoulders and down onto her chest.
It swirled and roiled on her skin. She called out to the Gods until her whole torso glowed and the blackness was forced into a still tattoo joining her other war wounds.
MeeMee collapsed on the floor and the boy cried for his Mom.
Chapter 10: Running in the Moonlight
Four hours later Stiles was sitting across from MeeMee in Shelley’s Cafe. The array of food in front of them was daunting. MeeMee had ordered pretty much one of everything and was making a pretty good run at eating every last bite. It was gruesome.
“Are we going to talk about the freaky ass shit that just happened?”
Instead of answering she shoved a bowl of macaroni and cheese at him. He sighed and gave it a try.
“Holy God!” He moaned. “This is the best mac’n’cheese I have ever had in my entire life.”
“Well thank you!” Shelley herself with her rainbow hair said as she cleaned off the table behind them. “You get a new tattoo today, MeeMee?”
MeeMee nodded and kept shoveling.
Shelley looked to Stiles. “Every time MeeMee gets a wild hair up her ass to get a midnight tattoo she comes here after. Says that eating her weight in pie and roast beef takes the edge off the adrenaline.”
Stiles could appreciate that. He was wired beyond thought. The sky was lit with yellows and reds as the sun rose over the trees. It didn’t seem real. It felt like the night had been days ago, or maybe that it shouldn’t even be day yet. Like he was still inside of the experience.
Once Shelley was out of ear shot MeeMee licked her fork clean and set it on a plate that used to be brimming with nachos.
She lit up another cigarette and took a long drag then looked at it. “I kicked these damn things years ago, but after a demon pull nothing else can soothe it away quite the same.”
“Is that what we’re calling that now? Cause I was thinking something more along the lines of Act of God.”
“Goddess. I call to the Goddess. She’s the one who sees me through. Keeps me strong. I’ve been sucking devils out of kids, half-wits, and the weak willed for going on thirty years now. I have twenty three marks to show for it.”
“I already have a job, if that’s what we were going to talk about next.”
MeeMee stubbed out the cigarette on a lone bite of hamburger that had been missed. “I’m not quite sure you have a choice, Honey. Your Mom die when you were young?”
“Yeah, and if you tell me it was because of a demon I’ll call you a liar and be scarred forever.”
“Not demons.” MeeMee shook her head. “She had the spark, but didn’t use it. Doctors have some fancy name for it, but what it boils down to is not using your brain the way it needs to get used. Makes the connections wither up.”
“Frontotemporal Dementia. And you’re supposed to be one of those doctors.” He spat at her.
“I am sorry, Honey, but you have the gift and it needs to get used. Making those rubs and elixirs might be enough to stave it off. Maybe forever. But I can’t keep doing this. I’m no spring chicken. I need to start training someone. The Goddess sent me you.”
“Laura Hale sent me to you.” Stiles got up and tossed a twenty on the table. “I have a baby to go get ready for the day.”
“Think about it! I’ll see you next Saturday!” MeeMee called after his retreating back.
When Stiles wearily closed the door behind him he could hear giggles from the landing. He trudged up the stairs and nearly cried at the sight on the couch.
Derek was sitting on the edge of the cushion. Sam was laid with her back against his legs. He grew his teeth, flashed yellow eyes, and growled at her. She giggled and attempted to roar back at him. Derek laughed at her back in human form. Rinse, lather, repeat until dead from the cute.
“I am teaching her to control the turn. It’s just like any other skill. She practices it now so that she’ll get it perfect. Then she won’t rip any throats out when she gets older.”
He tickled her tummy and she dissolved into more tiny laughter. Derek looked up and finally got a good look at Stiles.
“Are you okay? You don’t smell like you were at a birth.”
“I am not okay.”
Stiles walked to the couch and gently lifted Sam. She excitedly hooted at him and began the baby babble about her day. He squeezed her tight to his chest. Derek stood up and raised his eyebrow in a worried question.
Stiles pulled him in for an involuntary group hug. Derek relaxed into it and rubbed Stiles’ back. For just a minute everything was okay again.
“Alright.” Stiles pulled back just a little misty eyed. “Enough love fest. I need a shower like Whoa. I know you’ve been watching Shortstack for approximately forever now, but do you think you could be on rug-rat duty for just a few more minutes?”
“Of course.” Gruff as always.
It was hard to hand Sam over. She fussed and reached for him and it broke his heart to turn her down. The shower was one of the fastest he’d ever taken, but it was enough time to reflect. He’d spent nearly 24 hours with that family expelling a demon from their kid, and he didn’t even know their names. They couldn’t spare enough time to be polite. They didn’t care. Their kid had been in peril and they were focused on nothing but him. They had been willing to do anything for the well being of their son.
Stiles pulled on some sweats and raced back upstairs.
“Hey Derek, if the invitation is still open, I’d really like to bring Sam on the Moon Run this month.”
Which translated to ‘I’m going to freak out for days and change my mind a thousand times and then you’ll have to drag me and Sam to your parent’s house. K, THNX!’
The first time Stiles had seen the Hale family house he’d been overwhelmed. Now that he didn’t have a freaked out infant and was running on a good amount of sleep, it wasn’t so bad.
“Decided to finally take your daughter’s best interests into account? Or are you so poor that you needed the free meal?” Peter Hale snarked at him from the hallway.
Ah Yes. That’s why it was that bad.
“Peter!” Talia’s voice shook the entire frame of the house. She appeared in the doorway after the sound dissipated. She was barefoot as always and wearing another flowy dress. This one was a deep purple.
“You are not welcome tonight.” At first Stiles thought she was talking to him, but her gaze was leveled at Peter. Her voice left no room for arguments.
“What the fuck? I am a part of this family! You’re just going to kick me out for Derek’s shithead roommate and that mewling omega bitch?”
Stiles was willing to break his fist off on Peter’s jaw, but Derek beat him to the punch. He had a full wolf-out and tackled his uncle. It took Talia no time at all to sink claws into both of their necks and separate them.
“Peter, you may join us when you learn that family is a fluid thing. AKA not this month. Derek, Peter is your uncle. When he chooses to use language that is wildly inappropriate and is a general asshat, you still don’t get to attack him. Even if you were provoked.”
“I didn’t provoke him. I just told the truth.” Talia tightened her grip until Peter winced. She dragged both men out onto the porch.
“Fine. My wife and I will just have a private run tonight.”
“That’s right! I forgot!” Stiles called out. “You convinced someone to marry you!”
Stiles looked to Laura who had joined the team of people on the porch.
“Hey Laura, what is Peter’s wife like? Boils? Plague?”
“Surprisingly both attractive and sweet. Love is inexplicable.”
Peter stood up, straitened the collar on his shirt and walked with his head held high to a convertible. He drove off with the wind in his hair.
“I do not like him.” Stiles told Sam. “I do not like him here, I do not like him there. I do not like him anywhere.”
“My feelings exactly Shortstack.”
Talia smiled broadly and held her hands out to hold the baby. “If you’re not careful she’s going to think that’s her real name.”
Stiles tried to hand Sam over, but she was not having it. She tightened her grip on Stiles neck and grunted when he tried to pry her off.
“Well I was sure that my real name was a form of punishment growing up, and I wasn’t permanently damaged.”
“Stiles, you changed your name.” Derek said finally picking himself up.
“Yeah, but that’s because even if I tell you my name, you won’t be able to spell it, not because my nickname invaded my life.”
“OOOomph!” Sam cheered.
“As lovely as this porch is, I have my husband cooking steaks and grilling pineapple and corn in the yard. Tell me Stiles,” Talia grabbed him by the elbow “have you ever had grilled pineapple?”
Stiles had not ever had it before, and now he was never going to eat canned pineapple ever again. Even pineapple upside down cake would forever be inferior to this excellence. In between stuffing his face he was caught in the middle of a discussion on Dr. Seuss and his merits.
“You read her Dr. Seuss every night. I’m there, I know. Because I’ve heard it. Every night. For the past 4 months.” Derek was holding Sam who refused to be in her normal hold. She insisted on sitting with her back to Derek’s chest so that she could see everybody.
“Yes, and she loves it, but that doesn’t mean that I think they’re good. I mean, have you read Green Eggs and Ham and analyzed it? If I knew that guy I’d be like, dude, you are a dick who refuses to try new things. We are not friends.”
“Plus,” Jake Hale chimed in, “The Cat in the Hat is all about vandalism and property destruction, and then it’s all better because he cleans it up? No. That was an abusive relationship.”
“See!” Stiles pointed, “He gets it!”
Jake Hale was Stiles’ hero. He took his wife’s last name to preserve the family line, cooked bomb ass food, and looked like Derek, just aged 30 years. And those 30 years had not been hard on him. Oh no, they had been easy on that still soft skin. Stiles could only hope that Derek would look that good down the road.
Stiles was betting he would. After all, it was in his 5 year Seduce Derek Plan. Part of the plan involved Derek falling too madly in love with Sam to ever let Stiles go. Some might consider it pimping. Stiles considered it good use of assets.
“It’s a story to teach kids to clean up their rooms when they’re done playing.” Cora announced. She was carrying a pitcher of fresh lemonade and glasses out from the house.
“Okay, lemonade is a summer thing. The sun has said buh bye and it’s October. Why am I the only person freezing?” Stiles was clutching his hoodie around him. Even Sam seemed to think it was a pleasant night, not a teeth chattering 30 degrees out.
“We run hot, especially at the full moon.” Talia informed him.
“Speaking of, Sam is usually turning by now and howling as best she can. What gives?”
“Pack.” Derek said it softly, reverently. “She knows that she’s with her kind.”
“Yeah. Pack.” Stiles gazed at his baby girl who grinned madly back at him and waved hello.
“Alright, so how does the Moon Run happen?”
As soon as he said it everybody gathered up their dishes and cups and carried them inside chattering about nothing. In a whirlwind of movement the yard was cleared until all of the wolves came back barefoot and mostly bare chested too.
“A Moon Run is exactly what it sounds like.” Talia talked while Stiles looked elsewhere since she was one of the half naked people.
“After we feast we run the woods. Since you’re new and Sam can’t run at all Derek will run slow with you two. About two miles from here there’s a campsite. Most of us will run a good deal past it and come back around to it. We meet there at midnight and we celebrate the night and the moon and each other.”
After her speech Talia fell into her full wolf form. She reared back and howled mournfully at the moon. All of the werewolves shifted and followed suit. Even Sam with her tiny hoots called out into the night. Then, in a flash they were all gone except for Stiles and Derek.
“Ready?” Derek propped Sam up on his shoulders. “Let’s go.”
It took them two hours to reach the clearing. Not because Derek couldn’t travel that fast with Sam, but far more because Stiles was a human. A human who had not done any cardio in years.
When they finally did make it he was out of breath and panting. At least, as promised, the rest of the Hale family was not there to see his shame. There were some reserves of food, clothing, and wood for a fire set up already, as well as… were those drums? They were! Several sets too.
While they waited in the woods for the others Sam was restless. Stiles sat cross legged on the ground with her in his lap. She refused to sit. She stood on his legs and danced as only a baby can when there is no music playing.
“Ruh! Ah, ra roh!”
She was all yellow eyes with her sharp teeth out and proud. Her claws were digging into the skin of his hand, but he was not complaining. It was the first time he’d ever seen her happy, really happy on a a full moon.
Just around midnight the rest of the pack came tumbling in. Laura and Cora burst out of the tree line in an epic battle for dominance which Laura won without even really trying. Their battle scars healed before Talia and Jake came sauntering in.
“Where’s your sister, Talia? I have yet to meet the elusive third Hale sibling.” Stiles handed Sam over to Derek who was gently roaring at her. Now that she was wolfed out she had a much more fearsome growl to answer back with. When she let out one particularly rumbly one she turned to see if Stiles had heard her.
“Very nicely done. The best roar in the whole town.” She giggled and tried again.
“She prefers to run with just her husband and the twins.” Talia answered.
“You mean she’s all uppity and doesn’t like it when the twins get dirty so she won’t allow them out with her.” Jake rolled his eyes.
“So when MeeMee said that Talia was the only good one of the bunch she actually meant it?”
“Yeah.” Derek answered holding Sam’s hands so that she could practice toddling about. “Peter has some wannabe Alpha issues and Susan has some wannabe human issues.”
“They are not that bad.” Talia said tossing a grape at Derek’s head.
“No, they’re worse!” Laura scooted over close to Stiles. “When Mom says that Aunt Susie wants to run with her family she means that she stays in her house and pretends that the full moon is just another night. She puts a stick right up her ass and refuses to remove it long enough to see that she can be a wolf and love humans at the same time.”
“Super glad that you guys aren’t quite that crazy.”
“What’s there to fight about?” Derek scoffed. “Laura actually wants to be Alpha, and Cora wants to spend her life as a nomad.”
“A traveling journalist is not a nomad, dickface.”
“Cora, language around the baby.”
“Mom? He is a dick who happens to have a face.” Cora punched him in the arm, much to Sam’s delight. “I’m just telling him the truth.”
“How about we get this party started?” Jake pulled a set of drums onto his lap and started up a beat. The wolves took up the beat and began to dance and whoop and howl at the moon.
Talia stilled and looked to the moon and tossed a bunch of herbs into the fire. They smoked up into the night sky.
“That smells like something. Sage?” Stiles asked.
Talia nodded at him. “To ward off the spirits. Being a wolf has its advantages, but it brings bad with it. We fend off attacks and defend our territory.”
She sighed and took a deep breath raising her hands up toward the pale moon, swaying to the beat of the drums. “We run and dance to remind ourselves that this life, despite its strife, comes with great joys.”
The next day Stiles went to MeeMee and told her that he wanted to start training as soon as possible.
Chapter 11: Getting to Know You
After spending 6 months living in Derek’s house and watching him teach Sam to crawl and talking to her and bathing her and dressing her Stiles assumed that Derek just had a way with babies.
This was not so. Laura took a day off to get her business license and other shit in order and since Derek didn’t teach any classes on Thursdays he was assigned duty at the Hale House Nursery. He could not have looked more out of place or uncomfortable if he’d tried. He just stood there like a very large referee at a very tiny hockey game. If there wasn’t blood, he wasn’t calling foul.
Stiles may or may not have started recording it on his cell phone.
It wasn’t entirely Derek’s fault that it was shaping up to be a very bad no good day at the Nursery. It was Thomas’s birthday. Stiles called him Tom-ass in his head because that kid was a straight up asshole. His parents had given him a cupcake laced with something that could make werewolves bounce like they’d had a shot of espresso.
That’s right. A hyperactive two year old werewolf. And he was not letting anyone forget that it was his birthday. He tore a door off the plastic kitchen and then screamed in time out because there are no time outs on his special day. Ah, toddler logic.
Outside of snack time where he was minimally helpful, Derek really just hovered around Sam. If she had a toy and some other kid wanted it too, look out! Derek was about to maul your face off. Finally, after they’d served lunches Stiles had to pull him aside.
“I think it’s super hilarious that you’re trying to be the baby police, but Sam has to learn how to share.”
“Buwuh? Da da twabtuh Dee Dee?” Sam was dressed in a pink onsie that said Princess on the front with a picture of Princess Leia. She was doing her best to get it and her curls covered in Spaghetti sauce.
“Exactly. Daddy needs to teach DeeDee that spoiling Shortstack only leads to more knuckleheads like Thomas.”
Luckily Thomas did not catch that. He was too busy trying to start a munchkin food fight. Stiles took him out of his high chair and set him on the time-out carpet for his daily meltdown. They were eating inside since snow had come to New York.
“Don’t call me DeeDee.” Derek seethed.
“You let her call you DeeDee.”
“She has an underdeveloped pallet. She can call me whatever she wants. And sharing is fine, but she doesn’t have to share with that kid.”
Derek pointed a thumb at Thomas who was blue from forgetting to breathe while screaming.
“Promise me her birthdays will never look like that.” Derek pleaded.
“Oh Hell No! If she acts like that the birthday is canceled. She’ll have to hang out at your parent’s house where only 7 adults will spoil her rotten.”
“Speaking of,” Derek broke open a bag of chips and handed a few out to each kid at the table. “When’s your birthday? You’ve been in town for like 8 months now. It has to be coming up soon.”
“Hate to disappoint, but it came and went in September.”
“You were living with me in September.”
“Truefax. My 24th birthday was kind of the worst ever, so I just decided not to do anything this year.”
Derek shook his head and huffed. “You could have told me. I would have gotten you a cake at least. That’s what friends do.”
“Ha! Right. Us, friends.” Stiles chuckled to himself and spoon fed an infant some pureed peaches. He looked up at Derek who was fuming in his direction.
“Oh! You were serious. You think we’re friends?”
Derek stormed out of the room.
“Come back! That came out wrong!”
Derek came back, but only to help with clean-up and kid wrangling. The next five and a half hours were full of noise from the kids, but not one word from Derek. The silence between the two of them was deafening to Stiles.
When everyone but Sam was gone Stiles approached Derek while he washed toys.
“Okay, let me explain.”
“Nothing to explain. We aren’t friends. End of conversation.”
“Don’t be a dick! Look at this from my perspective. You don’t talk to me unless it’s about Sam. If you’re watching Moonshiners, a show we both love, and I walk into the room, you leave and go watch T.V. in your room. You know I’ve lived here for 8 months, but do you even know where I came from?”
“Where in Cali? North? South?”
Derek shrugged and glared at the toys in the water.
“Are you getting my point? I would love to be friends with you, but you have got to give me something to work with. I mean, I don’t know anything about you either because you don’t like words. When I get home I talk about my day, and I don’t know if you even hear me. You grunt occasionally, but that could mean anything from, ‘I agree’ to ‘I’m hungry’.”
And it’s vaguely sexual which is not helpful at all.
“It’s not polite.”
“What?” Stiles asked baffled, “Talking?”
“No. Hogging the T.V. I let you have it when you get home because it’s rude to keep it all to myself.”
Stiles softened a little, “Dude, try offering me the remote. I’m sure that there are a few shows we could compromise on and watch together.”
Derek nodded. “Where?”
“Where can we watch T.V. together? The living room?”
Derek sighed and rubbed his eyes his his arm, “No, where did you come from?”
“Oh! Northern California. A tiny place called Beacon Hills.”
Derek dropped the rubber duck he was washing and turned to face him. “Stiles. Short for Stilinski. You’re the Sheriff’s kid.”
“You’ve been to Beacon Hills?”
Derek swore under his breath and drained the sink. “Yep. Grew up there.”
“Holy shitsnacks!” Stiles snapped his fingers, “You used to live in that big house on the reserve! See! We’ve been living together for months and had no idea we even grew up in the same town!”
“I hate that fucking place.”
“Me too! See all the things we have in common!”
Derek gave him the side-eye. “Why do you hate that town?”
“Husband cheated on me and everybody acted like it was my fault because I’m gay. Why do you hate that town?”
“You’re gay?” Stiles just gave him that same look of ‘you're not funny’.
“My human ex-girlfriend was a werewolf hunter and tried to burn my entire family alive inside of our house.”
“Sharing bad things isn’t a competition, but you totally win anyway. That is harsh! Although it does explain a lot about why Peter is such a humanphobe.”
“Duh traguh!” Sam crawled into the room and grabbed Stiles’s pants to pull herself up onto her feet. She reached an arm up in the classic, ‘pick me up’ pose.
“Peter claims he’s the one who saved the family, but it was really his wife. The hunters put a line of mountain ash around the house. She came home in time to break the line and get everybody out.”
“I’ve been told that the elusive Marie is a human. How does Peter justify being married to one and still hating them all?”
Derek started walking around turning off lights while Stiles bundled Sam up to go outside. Not like Sam cared. She loved the snow like it was a puppy.
“That’s why they don’t have any kids. He loves her, but he can’t stand the thought of having to raise humans. He thinks they’re inferior. He wants her to get the bite. Mom won’t do it without Marie’s full consent. She’ll say she wants it, but we can all hear the lie.”
“Married to Peter.” A shiver ran up Stiles’ spine. “Ugh.”
“See, this is good! We’ve made real progress today. Soon we’ll have real conversations every single day.”
Derek did not look as excited about that as Stiles did. It didn’t matter if Derek liked it now. He would soon. Stiles mentally crossed off, ‘getting to know each other’ off his 5 year Seduce Derek Plan.
On their way home Stiles stopped at a local pizza place that cut their pies into huge floppy pieces that he loved. They drove separate cars to the daycare, so Derek was already in the shower when Stiles got back with the food. Everything was working according to plan.
When Derek got downstairs Stiles had everything set up. Sam was in her high chair eating tiny squares of pizza. (This translated to her eating the cheese and sauce and leaving the bread sitting on the plate.) Stiles had opened the T.V. stand and set out an array of movies and games on the ground.
“What’s all that? You know that I’m making you clean all of this up.” Derek was still toweling off his hair.
“As if you’d even notice. You stepped on a stuffed elephant, two block sets and a rubber ball just to get over here. But I digress, this is a collection of things that were in the house before I got here.”
Derek lifted an eyebrow that said, ‘go on’.
“You owned an X-box before I got here, and I’ve never seen you play it! Not once! So here’s what we’re going to do. These are movies and games that I know I like, and I assume you like since you freaking bought them, so you are going to choose tonight’s entertainment and whatever it is, we are going to enjoy it. All three of us. We’re having a Townhouse Bonding Night. Brace yourself. This will be a weekly thing.”
Derek gave him a weak ass glare and then walked over to the pile and tossed a game at Stiles.
“Plants vs Zombies. You enjoy Plants vs Zombies.”
“You asked me to pick one! If you don’t like it why’d you set it out!” Derek made a move towards Stiles to take the game back.
Stiles ran behind the kitchen counter clutching the game to his chest. “No! I love this game! I’m just shocked. I thought Laura bought all the X-Box stuff and just left it here hoping you’d do something other than read.”
Derek stole a slice of pizza. “She didn’t. It’s a stress reliever.”
“Awesome! We’ll set Sam up in the pen and kill some shit!”
“Wooha! Tsum.” Sam said more to her messy plate than to them.
“She’s agreeing with me.” Stiles said pointing.
“No, she’s getting ready for a diaper change.” Derek smirked back.
When he got back from getting Sam bathed and in her jammies Derek had the game ready to go. To Stiles utter horror, Derek was actually better at the game than he was. They played until Sam was passed out and it was way past midnight.
Stiles was super sleepy the next day, but it was totally worth it.
Chapter 12: Trouble on the Horizon
“This is impossible. Can’t we just open my head and just shove the papers in? Or can I just absorb it like Willow from Buffy? That was the shit.”
MeeMee smacked him upside the head and set a cup of coffee down next to his hand.
“Doesn’t happen like that. Even magic takes hard work.”
“I graduated from college. No one there told me I’d have to spend months learning all of the genus and species under the family Aconitum.”
“Yeah well, you probably went to college with a bunch of jocks and nerds who would punch you in the nads if you told them you’d be training to be a druid while raising a werewolf. Now suck it up and start reciting. Not just the names, but what we use them for in house. And quick. We have a 2:00 coming in.”
“Is it the Lantcher twins? Their Mom asked me to join them in a threesome. Twice. Gross. Ladybits.”
“You’re stalling, and no.” MeeMee was wearing what might have been an old Cosby sweater with a zig zag skirt. The glasses that day were bright green.
“Then do tell, who are we going to see today?” He shoved the books aside and slid his butt onto the table. He swung his legs around until his whole person was on the counter. MeeMee rolled him off onto the floor. Sam clapped in delight and babbled.
“Since you’re going to be a butthead until I tell you, we have a newborn werewolf coming in. The family is traveling 2 hours just to come see us, so don’t fuck it up by being you.”
“I will just sit here quiet. Like a mouse. Like a mouse wearing socks. While walking across carpet.”
“The hell you will. You’re taking lead on this one.”
“Nope. No sirree Bob. I am unlicensed and untrained. I am the dude who muddles the herbs and makes the delousing shampoo. Not a doctor.”
“No, but you can weigh a baby and take a temperature. More importantly, you need to learn how to sense your way around a babe to see what ails them. You’re ready, Honey. Just give it a try.”
“Well, you’re right. I do regret this.”
It wasn’t just a Mom and infant like Stiles thought it would be. Nope, it was the entire damn pack. Grandma, Grandpa, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, Mom, Dad, a Brother and a Sister, as well as a single wrinkly little three day old baby.
And they were all looking at Stiles like he was an intruder. He might as well have been a Shark amongst the Jets. They looked right at him and whispered to each other behind their hands. His only saving grace was Sam.
She was wary of the other little weres running around, but once they invited her to play with them she was happy and giggling, but she never strayed more than a few feet from Stiles. She also had on a black shirt that spelled out CuTe in periodic blocks. It was irresistible.
Examining a baby in a room with 13 people for the first time? Not Fun. He managed not to drop him or poke him in the eye, but the entire room got to watch as the little man pooped in his hand when he tried to take a temperature. MeeMee had abandoned him claiming that the doctor only came into the room after the nurse had taken down all the information.
Stiles knew what she meant, the old biddy wasn’t showing her face until he completed some magical test he didn’t really know anything about. So with an entire family staring him down Stiles closed his eyes and tried to ‘feel the situation’.
It felt like what he’d done to the boy who was possessed. He opened his mind into the baby and instead of a demon he came face to face with a tiny wolf cub. It reared up and wagged its tail, ready to play.
“Damn. He’s ready to go howling.” Stiles shouldn’t have said that out loud. Now the entire family was looking at him like he was nuts.
“So!” MeeMee burst into the room with a big smile. “I hear we have a bouncing baby boy.”
“Now I officially hate you.” Stiles first job as an attendant was to offer patients drinks. His last job was apparently to clean up every cup and spill from the brood after they’d gone.
“Really? I thought that went kind of well.” MeeMee was relaxing in a chair with her feet up. Sam was taking a nap on her chest.
“You think that went well because you came in for all of three minutes and they loved you. You have no affiliation. I’m on the other side of a mob war or something.”
“It’s hard for two packs to share land. It wasn’t your fault. I told them that Talia gave permission for all packs to get some Grade A advice from yours truly, but they don’t really trust it. Of course they don’t trust it because if the roles were reversed they’d have slit throats and claimed territory.”
“What is it with you people and bringing me into situations with homicidal maniacs?”
“Oh! Speaking of, we have to do a little divining today.” MeeMee got out of her chair and placed Sam into her car seat.
“Who with the what now? Diving? Like off of a board?”
“Divining. Like scrying.” His face was still totally blank. “Looking into the future.”
“Okay, now you’re kidding me. Werewolves? Bring it on. Druids? All right, I’ll buy it. Demons? Historically makes sense. Now you’re just pulling my chain.”
But while he was talking MeeMee was walking outside. She was looking up at the sky again like she had the day they went on the exorcism. It turned Stiles’ stomach.
“Do we need to break out some taro cards? Toss some chicken bones in a bag and read them. Tea leaves in a cup?”
MeeMee turned her gaze on him. “You are lucky you aren’t in arms reach or I would be giving you the worst purple nurple on the planet right now.”
Stiles defensively covered his nipples with his fingers. “Well that’s uncalled for.”
“How many times do I have to tell you that the crap you see in papers is just that? Crap. Taro cards.” MeeMee shook her head disdainfully.
“Fine. I get it, no hocus pocus. So, how do we do this.”
“We watch the birds fly.”
“Oh, yeah. That sounds way less crazy than thinking you can shuffle energy into a deck of magic cards.”
MeeMee took a step towards him with a look of malice. He ducked behind the porch swing. “Just look. Shut your damn mind up and look.”
Stiles shook his head and looked up. Just like he suspected, there were in fact birds in the sky. And look at them go! They were flying around like it was the most fun ever.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. It was a flock but they weren’t together. They were broken into separate groups spiraling toward the ground and back up. Practicing for a fight. Looking to hunt. Three groups swooped around each other, dive bombing their own members. Talons ripped through wings sending a rain of feathers floating down through the chaos
He was shocked out of looking up by Sam’s hand on his leg. She had crawled to him and was looking at him concerned.
“What’s up baby girl?”
He looked to his left, but MeeMee wasn’t there anymore. She was going back and forth on the porch swing.
“What was that?”
“Trouble. Headed toward the Hale’s. Might be a good time to get your own place.” She seemed so unconcerned. Like warnings of impending doom were commonplace.
“I can’t do that. You don’t just abandon people when the going gets tough.”
MeeMee smiled at him. “Glad you feel that way. They’re going to need your help.”
“So then she’s all like, ‘there’s trouble coming’ and doesn’t tell me anything about my weird ass vision even though she clearly understands it.”
Derek was fixing tacos for dinner before bonding night and letting Stiles babble at him.
“Did it occur to you that maybe she didn’t tell you because she knew you’d tell me about it four seconds later?” He smacked Stiles hand when he tried to steal some of the shredded lettuce.
“I’ll have you know that I am awesome at keeping secrets.”
“I call bullshit on that and we both know you would have texted me before she could even tell you not to.”
Stiles opened his mouth to protest but looked at Derek’s crooked eyebrow that was asking if he wrong.
“I am pretty speedy with my thumbs.” He conceded.
“Try the meat. Does this need more cumin?”
Stiles took a bite and his eyes rolled back in his head, “Oh God. This is so fucking good. Why don’t you cook food all the time?”
“Because I have a job.”
They both looked at Sam in surprise. She was looking right at Derek. “Papa. Cook!”
“Sammy.” Derek pulled her up onto his hip. “I’m not your Papa.”
“How about you call me DeeDee?”
“PAPA!” She put her hands on her hips and made an angry face at him. Derek looked to Stiles for support.
“Oh no.” Stiles held his hands up in surrender. “I fought with her today over getting her to put on underpants. This is between the two of you. I can build an octagon and we’ll see which one of you comes out alive.”
Derek and Sam stared each other down. “How about you call me Papa DeeDee?”
“Papa!” She squeeled happily.
Derek hung his head. That just put his hair within grasping distance allowing her to grab his hair and yip her victory.
Derek’s cell phone rang and Stiles graciously said he’d answer it to leave Derek to wallow in the shame of having been beaten by a person who hadn’t learned how to use the potty yet.
“Hey Momma Hale, what’s up? Your son is busy being beaten down mentally and spiritually.”
“Stiles, you and Derek have to get to the house. Now.”
Derek could hear Talia’s tone through the phone. He was gathering the diaper bag together while Stiles told Talia they’d be there as soon as possible.
At Derek’s insistence they moved the car seat into the Camaro so that they could speed all the way to the house.
Laura and Cora were out on the lawn pacing, waiting for them.
“Give me Sam.” Laura held her arms out. “Just give her here, Stiles.”
“I’ll take Sam.” Derek offered. Stiles unbuckled her and handed her over. Sam didn’t know what was going on, but she took one look at Stiles’ face and started bawling and reaching for him. He sushed her as they walked into the house.
“I need someone to tell me why I can’t hold my kid.” Stiles demanded when they stepped foot in the living room.
It wasn’t just the normal gathering of Talia and Jake and their kids. Peter was there next to a frail tiny woman Stiles guessed was his wife and there was a couple each holding a three year old twin. It had to be Susan and John. They looked every inch as worried as Talia was.
Talia’s face relaxed a fraction when everyone was in the room. “I’m very sorry, Stiles. I didn’t mean to worry you, I just needed to make sure everyone was safe. I count you and Sam as part of this family Stiles, and I know you want to protect Sam, and you’re just going to have to understand that she needs werewolf protection day and night until we’re out of danger.”
“Danger from what exactly?” Susan asked. “My family is not a part of whatever you are mixed up in.”
“Susan, whether you like it or not you are a part of this family and the Alpha Pack doesn’t care if you don’t want to be a werewolf.”
“What’s an Alpha Pack?” Stiles asked feeling out of place.
“It’s just what it sounds like. A pack of alphas.” Derek sounded worried, bouncing Sam.
“And what does that mean for us?” Susan was pissed. You could hear it all over her voice. Stiles had never seen Susan before, and despite the clear Hale features he was having trouble seeing how she fit in the family. Her face was severe just like the bun holding back her hair.
“It’s Deucalion, Susie.” The second the name slipped out of Cora’s mouth Susan’s face drained of all color.
“Oh God.” She slipped down into a chair. “What’re we going to do?”
“Nothing. I am going to handle this.” Talia went to her, crouching by her chair, and laid a hand on her arm. “In the meantime, could you stay here with us?”
Stiles raised his hand. “There is still a human left out of the fucking loop. I’m a part of the Venn Diagram that is just not connecting.”
Talia related the whole story of Deucalion to him. The loss of the sight, how he now went like a parasite from pack to pack asking alphas to join with him. Convincing the alphas to rip apart their own packs apart limb from limb.
“And what happens if you say no? What if you don’t want to join the psycho pack of murdering wolves?”
“Either you murder your pack,” Peter held up one hand, “Or they murder your pack.” He held up his other hand and tipped them back and forth like a balance.
“Well that’s a load of bullshit. Why hasn’t anyone fought them before?”
“They have.” Derek said gravely.
“Shit. What do we do?” Stiles looked around.
Talia stood up and clapped her hands together. “Sam’s about to have her first slumber party!”
Chapter 13: A Day in the Life
That night at the Hale house Stiles learned something very very important. Samantha was the best hide-and-seek player the world would ever know. Of course, he discovered this in a blind panic.
After the brood had all been informed of the situation and they realized that the house was going to become home base, they had to get provisions. Stiles had left clothing and toys and pretty much an entire world of baby things at the townhouse. Everybody was going to need food and they were going to need blankets and batteries and other things to stay together for at least the weekend.
Since Stiles was the person with the least ties to the Hales and the most stuff to get, he was volunteered (by himself) to go get supplies. It was also determined (not by himself) that Derek would go with him as a werewolf body guard just in case anything did pop out of the shadows. This left Sam all by her lonesome without Derek or Stiles for the first time in her whole life.
They had just paid for their groceries when Laura called them.
“Stiles, oh God Stiles! I don’t know what happened! I only turned my back on her for a second I swear!”
Stiles was about to start asking a flurry of questions when his throat closed up and his vision went blurry. Derek supported his weight with an arm on his back to keep him from sliding onto the floor. He grabbed the phone from Stiles’ hand and put it on speaker.
“Laura, calm down and tell us exactly what happened.”
“Derek, it’s Mom. Laura was watching Sam while we set up rooms for the boys upstairs. She went to go get Sam a diaper to change her, and we haven’t seen her since.”
Not Helpful. Stiles’ panic attack went from threatening to full throttle in an instant. He stumbled his way toward the car but crashed to his knees in the parking lot. Derek all but picked him up and carried him to the car.
“Have you followed the scent trail? Who was around the house? Has anyone started tracking?” Derek was asking all the things Stiles wanted to know, so Stiles took a second to try and hold his breath.
“There is no scent trail. No doors or windows opened. She has to still be inside the house.”
Better, that was slightly better. A house was only so big, they could find his baby in one house. It was a fucking miracle Derek didn’t get pulled over on the way to the house. He sped, he changed lanes and wove in and out of traffic like it was standing still.
Stiles bolted for the front door before the Camaro was even in park.
“SAMANTHA!” He cried out at the top of his lungs.
The instant he did Sam’s little head popped out of the diaper bag sitting right next to the door and she wailed for him to pick her up. He sank to the floor in relief and plucked her out of the wreckage of diapers and cheerios.
“But… but I was looking right in that bag when she went missing.” Laura said when she came upon the scene.
Sam whined and snuffled into his chest. She made her bottle gesture and Stiles reached into the bag and found one bottle that she hadn’t devoured while hiding in the sack.
“Laura,” Derek growled mean and low, “We do not call people in the middle of a crisis to tell them their children are missing, unless their kids are actually missing.”
“She WAS!” Laura looked frantic. Her hair was disheveled, her shirt was stained with grease and maybe some garbage too. “We looked in this hallway a dozen times. I couldn’t even hear her breathing!”
“I’m very sorry for worrying you.” Talia said softly, “But we were awfully worried ourselves.”
“Mom, I swear to fucking-”
“Derek.” Stiles grabbed his hand, “Let it go. No harm, no foul. Calling when baby is possibly kidnapped? Good plan. If you growl, next time they just won’t call. Calling good. Kidnapping bad.”
Just to help Stiles make her point Sam looked up with her big brown eyes that were red around the edges from crying and said, “Papa? Hug?”
Derek melted, like every human on the planet would, and leaned down to give Sam her hug. “No more hiding. Okay kiddo?”
Hiding from an Alpha pack really was like a slumber party. Susan, her husband John, and their twins, Liam and Loch were all staying on the ground floor. The twins were in sleeping bags and the adults were on the couches. The boys took this as a sign that they could run wild in their pajamas.
Sam was in no mood for their shenanigans. She could feel the tension in the house, or smell it as Derek claimed, and she responded by being super cranky. All of the toys were her toys, and no, you could not touch her toys. Did she give you permission to pick up her stuffed elephant? No? Well she was going to scream and cry and fuss until you understood that it was not yours.
And Stiles’ lap? That was her lap now. There would be no getting up. There would be no moving her to eat food. A temporary transfer to Derek would be okay if Stiles needed to pee, but only Derek was acceptable. Cora attempted to pick her up so that Derek could help with dinner and Sam screeched like she was getting murdered.
She also stubbornly would not go to sleep even though her eyelids were slipping shut. When they got to halfway she would force them back open so that she could glare at the world. For just a minute Stiles wondered why he chose parenthood.
“I think it would be best if the three of you shared a room.” Talia said as politely as possible when everyone else had gone to sleep. “We have a crib that Sam can sleep in and we’ll put it close to the bed so that she can see you while she sleeps.”
“We’ll take it.” Stiles said inside of a yawn. Derek looked as fall down tired as he was.
Sam was Not Okay with sleeping in the crib until all of her belongings were in there with her including Stiles’ hoodie he’d worn all day, and she made Stiles hold her hand through the bars of the crib while she fell asleep.
“Don’t worry Shortstack. I’ll spring you from the clink in the morning.”
“She’s not in jail Stiles.”
He’d been so focused on Sam that it hadn’t sunk into Stiles’ brain that the three of them meant Derek was going to be sharing his bed.
“She looks like it. Any minute she’s going to start clinking a tiny tin cup against the bars. It’s the only entertainment she has in the slammer.”
Derek was bare chested and wearing just a pair of boxer briefs when he slid into bed. Stiles was glad he had the foresight to grab pajama bottoms when they went to the townhouse.
“Derek, do think it’s going to be as bad? I mean, on a scale from 1 to the apocalypse, how bad do you think this is going to be?”
Derek turned toward Stiles in the bed. It was a queen mattress, but even still Stiles could feel his breath across the sheets.
“I don’t know.” He shrugged. “Mom once told me that Deucalion used to be a man of great vision. If she can bring him back to that, this could be over before it begins. If not…”
“If not people are going to die. Part of the pack is going to die.”
Derek didn’t say anything. He didn’t need to. The silence said enough. Stiles fell into a fitful sleep that lead him to toss and turn in between nightmares all night.
The next morning while Stiles was up early cooking breakfast for an army of people it occurred to him that he was basically married to Derek. It was a pretty profound thought for 5:30 in the morning. He almost dropped the pancake flipper right onto the griddle.
He knew that Derek was going to wake up at about 6:00, completely missing the 5 AM wake up even though Stiles had slept spread like a star fish and had thrown a leg over Derek. Stiles knew that Derek would get up, grab a cup of black coffee that Stiles brewed strong, just like he liked it, and kiss Sam good morning. Derek would then go do his workout in the yard since it was a pretty nice day if a little chilly for Stiles. He would then read news on his computer until Stiles left for work or MeeMee’s house.
No one thought twice about them sleeping in the same bed, except for Stiles who had been terrified at the idea of poking Derek with his morning wood. Stiles talked to Derek more often and more comfortably than he had with Scott in the last year of their doomed relationship, and he felt safe with Derek.
Stiles looked at Sam who frowned sternly at him. She was still upset about the fact that they had left her alone the night before. Usually she tried to share everything with him, this morning she was hoarding things. That was another big tick in the column for all-but-married to Derek. Stiles’ kid called Derek Papa and was all kinds of butthurt that her Daddy would try and leave her with anybody else.
“When did this happen?”
Sam popped her pacifier out of her mouth and said, “No.” Firmly. She was not going to be helpful in this situation.
“Pancakes?” Cora mumbled as she walked into the kitchen scratching her tummy.
“There are a few in the oven staying warm, but I think I need to make about 40 more if I want to feed the masses. I’ve seen how many Derek can pack away. I shudder to think how many the whole house can eat.”
“So I get fresh ones? Blueberry?”
“Or apple cinnamon. Or plain. You guys do have a mountain of syrup.”
“I said Blueberry.” Cora growled and flashed yellow eyes at him. He raised an eyebrow.
She deflated. “Sorry. Used to fighting for the good ones. Blueberry… please.”
Over the next two hours people trickled down the stairs. Talia and Jake were down almost right after Cora was up. Laura took her pancakes into the dining room so that she could call all of the parents and tell them that the daycare was closed for the day. Even without werewolf hearing he could pick up on some parents screaming at her through the phone.
Derek was down at 6, just like Stiles knew he would be. Once both her Dada and Papa were in the room Sam stopped brooding and was willing to be sociable with the room. That did not mean that Talia was allowed to hold her though. Derek only passed her over to fill his plate but Sam squirmed and wailed and had a full out tantrum until she was back on a preferred lap.
“Oh no, you don’t get to pull that, Shortstack.” Stiles left Cora at the flipping helm and picked up Sam and put her in a corner for a one minute time out. That brought out the real water works, but she made it the full minute.
It was so domestic. It was the most like a real family meal Stiles had since his Mom died. Peter and his wife even behaved themselves, as did Susan and John. The whole family was eating at one table like a scene from a movie. It took Stiles’ breath away.
And then there was a ring of the doorbell.
Chapter 14: Trouble Comes Knocking
When the bell rang even the twins knew it was time to be silent. Talia was the first to stand up from the table. She pointed to Laura and the twins and her daughter whisked the kids upstairs. She looked to Stiles to do the same. He picked up his uncharacteristically quiet baby girl and went just far enough up the stairs to be out of sight. He sat on the steps and kept Sam cuddled to his chest.
“Talia!” The man speaking was British, going by his accent, and sounded genuinely happy to see her, but in a condescending douchey kind of way.
“Deucalion.” Talia greeted icily. “It has been a very long time.”
“Yes, it’s been quite some time since you abandoned me when I was near death.”
“You know my pack always comes first for me.”
“Of course.” Stiles could hear the asshole smirk in his voice. “You will have heard that I started my own pack. A new one. A better one.”
“Well it certainly is new.” Talia said.
The man laughed. It was full bodied and evil. Just evil. It dripped off the sound, clenching Stiles heart in his chest.
“You know what offer I have to make you.”
“Yes. And you know my answer.”
“Well, no harm in asking. You fail 100% of the times you don’t try. Here is my phone number.” There was a sound of shuffling, “Please let me know if you change your mind.”
And just like that he left. Stiles ran all the way up the stairs and bolted to the window of his room to watch them leave. There was a woman who was barefoot walking next to a blind man Stiles guessed to be Deucalion and a pair of twins standing next to a mountain of a man waiting for them at the end of the driveway.
The twins smirked in Stiles’ direction. He didn’t flinch or move, just stared them down. Once they were out of sight Stiles flew downstairs.
“That was a trap, right? Total trap. They are going to come back and slaughter us all in our sleep. What kind of reinforcements do we need? I can get some mountain ash from MeeMee and secure the house, or like secure most of it and put up the wall when we really need it and then I can find-”
“Stiles” Talia stopped him gently, “This is not your battle to fight, and we can not stay cooped up in here. We need to show them a strong front. By being together when they first came we showed our unity. Now we will let them see how strong we are by going about our lives like normal.”
Stiles gaped like a fish. “Nope. Bad plan. I vote we start booby trapping the woods and digging a moat around the house. Who’s with me?” Stiles raised his hand. Derek looked embarrassed for him.
“Oh yes, I’m sure you can even find some tiny fresh water sharks to swim around in it.” Peter said sarcastically. “Talia’s right. We need to just live our lives. Maybe they really will turn tail and run. They know how strong our alpha is.”
“Stiles isn’t completely wrong.” Derek finally came to his defense. “This is a trap. I can’t teach my classes and watch after Stiles and Sam. I’m going to need help making sure they’re taken care of when I have night classes.”
“Or…” Laura smiled up at her little brother, “you could just take them to class with you.”
She was kidding, but Derek still looked at Stiles and asked, using only his eyebrows, if Stiles would be okay with that.
“That’s not a bad idea. Public place, well lit, lots of witnesses who know who we are.” Stiles was nodding while he spoke.
“And what about us?” Susan hissed. “Who’s going to watch over my kids when I go to work?”
“Yes what are you going to do?” Peter flopped happily into a chair. “Are you really willing to leave your children to be raised by wolves? We might teach them to pee in the yard or something.”
“Oh Peter, stop.” Marie swatted at his arm and gave her husband a fond smile.
“What? Inquiring minds want to know.”
“The twins can just come to work with Laura and I.” Stiles piped up and was once again the center of the room’s scrutiny.
“Why don’t they come to me for daycare?” Laura asked, obviously offended now that she was thinking about it.
“Because John is doing perfectly fine as a stay at home Dad.”
“Can John weigh in?” Susan’s husband asked. “Because I would love to have a day off every now and then to get stuff done around the house, and I do work from home. Would we get a discount if we went to you guys?”
Laura looked at John like he was a three headed beast. “Yeah. It’s called free ‘cause you’re family. Do you think Stiles has to pay for Sam?”
“Sign me up.” John smiled happily while Susan huffed.
Stiles could not believe it. It was un-fucking-believable. An entire pack of very strong and decidedly murderous beasts had come to town, and they were just going to go about their lives. The family didn’t even spend the weekend at the house like they’d planned. They just quietly ate lunch together and then went their separate ways.
The whole drive home Stiles was watching his back. He kept all but turning in circles to make sure they weren’t followed. The only person who seemed completely okay with the turn of events was Sam. The closer they got home the more excited she was. When they pulled up in front of the townhouse she surprised the rest of the car by showing that she had enough strength to get out of her car seat all by herself.
Stiles was less thrilled with this development than she was.
“Aw come on! Now I have to buy a new one. Didn’t you like your stroller?”
“Dada! Papa! Oh fuhr ruios mu!”
“She does have a point.” Derek said with half of a smirk.
Stiles gave him a look that clearly said, ‘we are not amused’. Behind him a twig snapped under the weight of the snow and toppled to the ground. Stiles whirled around to see where the noise came from. All around them was the normal traffic of the street and nothing more.
“They’re not here Stiles.” Derek steered him toward the door.
“Yeah, no. I know that. I just… wanted to check. That’s all.”
They got in the door and unloaded all of the baby stuff in Sam’s room and went to the main floor. Stiles couldn’t help pulling back the curtain on the little window looking out from the kitchen.
“I won’t let anything happen to you or her.”
“I know.” Stiles let go of the curtain guiltily. “I just don’t understand how calm you’re all being. There’s a dude who has made it his goal to destroy packs and turn their own Alphas against them and everyone’s just kind of cool with it.”
“We’re not cool with it.” Derek assured him slipping two beers out of the fridge. “This just isn’t anything new to us. We’ve had threats to the pack before, and we’ve dealt with them as a family.”
He handed a brew to Stiles. “That’s kind of sweet in a weird ‘there is homicide afoot’ way.”
“If it’ll help you calm down I’ll even let you put on some terrible reality T.V. shows even though they’re rotting your daughter’s brain away.”
“It’ll help me calm down if you’ll watch my crap T.V. with us.” Stiles fluttered his eyelashes to beg just a little.
Derek rolled his eyes and politely sat through many hours of truly terrible programming.
When night rolled around Stiles went to put Sam in her crib and was stopped by Derek’s hand on his arm.
“She’ll be too far away. If I hear anything it’ll be too late before I can get to her. We should move the crib.”
Stiles looked at his not so small anymore bundle. “Good plan. I’ll move it up here and she can sleep next to the couch by me.”
Derek shook his head. “Still too far. The two of you should just come sleep upstairs tonight.”
Stiles was a little dumbfounded. “Like, she sleeps in the crib and I sleep in your bed?”
“Why not? We slept in the same bed last night.”
He had a point. Stiles couldn’t think of a single argument that wouldn’t sound made up and stupid, so he said okay and went about exchanging rooms. Sam did not give even the slightest fuck about getting moved and bounced around. She slept right through all of Stiles’ inner turmoil.
The night before when they’d shared a bed, yes, he’d been a little anxious. But there had also been this dangling looming threat hanging right over their necks. He’d been so emotionally and mentally exhausted he’d just fallen asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. Now he was wired, no chance of sleep anytime soon.
Derek’s master bathroom had two sinks, so they brushed their teeth side by side with Stiles in his pajama bottoms and Derek in his boxers.
“Ooo nuh ut?”
“Stiles, spit, then talk.”
“You know what, we’re both adults here.” Stiles was just going to go with blunt and hope it would work. “There’s an elephant in the room, or there will be, so we should address the problem now.”
Derek was getting used to Stiles’ weird rants. He didn’t even look surprised. “And what would that be?”
“We’re both healthy males. Morning wood is going to be a thing that happens.” Stiles was playing it cool, but he was also blushing. He could feel it lighting up his face. “So what’s the protocol? Tuck it into the waistband and head for the bathroom? Pretend we don’t notice?”
“Having this conversation kind of negates that option.” Derek wiped down his face.
“You underestimate my powers of make-believe. I was flying around in pretend rockets until I was 12.”
“Stiles,” Derek met his gaze in the mirror. “I’ve had boyfriends before. This is not an issue.”
3… 2… 1… Brain Rebooting.
“I’m sorry, what was that?”
“I said,” Derek repeated chuckling, “that I’ve had boyfriends before. I think I can survive catching a glimpse of a tent in your sweats.”
“Why wouldn’t you? Be able… to survive that.” Stiles shook his head. “I’m sorry, of course you’d be cool. I just… do you feel like I’m taking advantage of you?”
Derek turned around to lean back on the sink and look Stiles in the eye. “What in the world would make you think that?”
“I’ve seen your mortgage. You’re charging me way under what you should be. You let me eat your food and you take care of my kid and now we’ve invaded your space. It’s unfair. You know what, I should really sleep out on the couch.”
Before Stiles could step out of the bathroom Derek pulled him back in by his arm.
“I charge you what I want. It’s more than I need. I have too much food anyway and I love watching Sam. You’re not a burden, Stiles. You’re…”
Derek paused and lifted one hand to Stiles’ face, “You give me hope for humanity. I’ve never met anyone so purely good as you.”
“Stop.” Stiles said joking. “You’ll make me blush.”
“You’re already blushing.” Derek whispered and brushed a thumb against his cheek.
Derek leaned in just another inch. It was close enough to kiss Stiles, right on the lips.
Chapter 15: Smut
Did you notice that the rating changed from Mature to Explicit? This chapter is the reason why. There is no plot here. If you are too young for the smut, or just don't like it, you can skip this entire chapter and not miss even a sentence of plot. Enjoy!
Derek’s lips were so much softer than what Stiles would have given him credit for. The kiss was gentle and sweet, but when their lips met a flash of heat flamed out from Stiles face all across his body and settled in his chest making his heart beat fast. Derek took control of the kiss deepening it and pressing Stiles into the wall.
“Ow. Towel Rack.” Stiles should have just kept his mouth shut, because Derek was backing off the kiss. There wasn’t even a shirt that Stiles could conveniently grab onto to drag Derek back to his mouth.
Derek put his hands on Stiles sides and shifted him over so that his back was against the door. He ran his thumbs up and down Stiles hipbones sending goosebumps fluttering all over Stiles torso. His eyes fluttered shut at the sensation. When he opened his eyes Derek was moving in for another kiss.
This time he went for Stiles’ neck. Instead of kissing him Derek licked him with a wet flat tongue. Suddenly it wasn’t a sweet gentle makeout session anymore. Stiles had never had his neck licked before, but it was now making its way to number one on his kink list. The heat in his chest slipped its way down into his groin filling it with blood.
Derek pulled back enough to nuzzle his nose into the hollow of Stiles’ collarbone.
“You have no idea what you smell like. You just flood the room with the smell of want. Every fucking weekend.” He paused to nip at that collarbone. “It smells like cinnamon and cardamom and lust.”
Derek pressed his body against Stiles and ran one hand up into the hair at the back of his neck. He pulled at the hair in his fist forcing Stiles to lean his head back and moan. They were so close that Stiles could feel the growl rumble up in Derek’s chest before it came out of his mouth.
Stiles had no choice but to hitch one leg up over Derek’s hip so that he could get a little closer to Derek’s erection and grind into it. Derek’s attention on his neck wandered over to Stiles’ adam’s apple. He kissed it with just a hint of tongue pressing out.
Between their breaths panting out hot and Stiles’ cloud’o’lust the bathroom was starting to feel like a sauna. Stiles pushed on Derek’s chest with the intent to put enough room between them to get his pants off, but he got caught up in scratching his nails down Derek’s nipples.
“Seriously, Pause.” Derek backed off of Stiles in a heart beat putting so much space between them that Stiles could feel a chill on the air that had just been smoldering.
“This is my last clean pair of pajama pants.” He said as an explanation and dropped them to the floor. “And I can’t not wear pants because if there is an emergency-”
Derek pushed his boxers down revealing his cock. It was so red and swollen and thick jutting out from a nest of hair.
“… and yeah. Pants bad. Or, good, I mean, in emergencies. Right now, pants bad.” He gulped in fresh air and then Derek was on him again. This time when his body slotted against Stiles it was all bare skin on skin contact lighting up a fire in Stiles nerve endings that sang into his blood.
Derek licked into Stiles’ mouth while their erections rubbed into each other with a delicious friction. One hand snuck down and wrapped Stiles’ hard on in close heat. He groaned into Derek’s mouth and rutted up into his hand.
The werewolf placed his hands on either side of Stiles’ head and pushed off so that the only part left pinning Stiles down was his mouth. Stiles whined at the loss and grabbed Derek’s ass to get him back in place. But then he got kind of distracted because he had a firm ass in his hands. Derek broke the kiss and hung his head in the space between their bodies.
“What’s up?” Stiles had to ask even though he was afraid of the answer.
Derek shook his head back and forth a few times. “That fucking scent. It’s like a fog. I can’t fucking think.”
“No thinking necessary. More kissing. And hands. I really liked the hand.”
“Yeah?” Derek asked as a whisper right in Stiles’ ear. Stiles nodded dumbly. Derek’s right hand left its bracing position on the wall and wound its way behind Stiles’ back. And as Derek licked against his ear lobe that hand slid lower and lower down Stiles’ back until it was dipping between his cheeks. Stiles arched his back until his chest was just pressed against Derek’s and that hand was forced lower down.
And then Stiles was left alone against the wall. “Did I do something wrong?”
Derek was three feet away standing next to the shower with his back to Stiles.
“No. Just give me a minute.”
So Stiles stood awkwardly naked for a minute.
Derek tuned to face him, erection still fully flushed out, red and leaking. “This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while.”
Was it weird that that sentence made Stiles harder?
“But we haven’t been on any dates. Our first kiss was five minutes ago. I want to do this right. I want to be your partner. Not a one night stand.”
“Well, yeah.” Eloquent, Stiles.
“I was going to stop with just a kiss, but you just smell so fucking good and you make these fucking noises.” Derek was stalking closer to him, lean muscles rippling in the flickering florescent lights.
“I want our first time to mean something. I want it to be in a bed. Romantic. But then you claw at me and moan and all I can think about is bending you over, lubing you up and fucking you over the sink.”
Derek was within a breath’s distance. Close enough that his cock could leak pre-come onto Stiles’ stomach.
“You’re doing it again!” Derek growled. “When I say fuck you engulf me in your stench of want.”
“Alright.” Stiles couldn’t catch his breath. He wanted it. He wanted to say fuck romance, but he knew one of them would regret it in the morning. “No bending me over the sink.” It came out kind of pouty.
Derek nodded, but looked equal parts disappointed and horny as hell.
“Can I suck your cock?”
It wasn’t what Stiles meant to say, but as soon as the word suck exited his mouth Derek was making a noise in the back of his throat and half shoving Stiles to his knees. Luckily there was a soft mat that caught his descent.
It had been years since he’d done anything remotely sexual with anyone else, but this was so familiar. Hard cocks had a smell to them. Musky and male and Stiles loved it. Derek’s dick was thick enough to stretch Stiles’ mouth when he went to suck at the head of it. It jerked at the contact.
He lapped his tongue up and down to get all Derek’s moisture off of it before he pulled his mouth back off to lap all around it from root to head. Derek had a hand in Stiles’ hair holding him in place. When Stiles licked up the back he looked up to meet Derek’s gaze.
Derek’s eyes were werewolf yellow and blown wide with lust. They kept eye contact as Stiles opened his mouth wide and took Derek in as far as he could go. He’d never quite mastered the art of deep throating, but Stiles loved the feel of cock in his mouth. It was always smoother and heavier than he remembered it to be. He sucked down hard.
Derek yelped and his eyes fluttered shut. His hips stammered forward into Stiles. Stiles was unable to control the pulse of heat that shot through him in response. Derek’s eyes shot back open.
“Is that what you like?” He ran his fingers farther down into Stiles’ hair. “You want me to fuck into your mouth?”
Stiles was halfway through a moan when Derek started thrusting. He gripped hard into Stiles’ short hair and cast his hips back and forth forcing himself in and out of Stiles’ lips. Stiles neglected cock leaked onto the floor and begged for attention that Stiles granted in the form of a few fast tugs.
“Ung. Uh. Fuck. Stiles, oh -uh- that’s so good.”
Stiles moaned again. Praise was one of those things that made his blood boil.
“Oh Shit!” Derek growled. “Are you jerking -ah- off? You better not fucking -uh- cum. That’s mine. I get to do that.”
Which only made Stiles moan louder.
Derek pulled off, stroked his dick a few times and came down Stiles’ chest and neck. Stiles was still striping up and down his cock.
Derek dragged Stiles to his feet, ran a hand through the mess he’d left on Stiles and forced Stiles hand out of the way so that he could take over. In an embarrassingly short amount of strokes later Stiles was unloading onto Derek.
The whole encounter ended the same way it began. With Derek placing short sweet kisses into Stiles’ lips.
“I call the left side of the bed.” Even Stiles wondered why he said the things he did.
“At your parent’s house you took the left side. But that’s my side.” Stiles finished lamely. It was maybe the most idiotic post-coital thing he’d ever said.
Derek rolled his eyes but he gave Stiles a fond smile before grabbing a towel and cleaning them both off.
Chapter 16: Learning the Rites
One of my personal goals before writing this was to get up to 1,000 hits per chapter, and you lovely readers have made it happen. Thanks for continuing on with me!
I didn't mean to make this a cliffhanger, but it happened anyway. It's not a big cliff, I promise. Sorry!
When Stiles woke up the next morning it was on the left side of the bed with his right hand tangled with Derek’s. He allowed himself a few minutes to scream on his insides because last night happened and it was awesome. By the time his happy dance was done Sam was already on her feet in her crib bouncing up and down.
“You are the best Shortstack in the whole wide world!”
Sam pointed at herself. “Beebee?”
“That’s right. You are the best baby girl because you sleep right through Dada Papa naughty times. Good girl! You deserve pancakes.”
“Yep. Smothered in apple sauce, not syrup. No matter how awesome you are, you still don’t get to eat pure sugar for breakfast. Only adults get to do that.”
Stiles went about cooking up his famous blueberry pancakes and setting up Sam with a plate of her own.
Right on schedule Derek came sauntering downstairs shirtless for his workout routine. While Stiles had been stirring the batter he’d been giddy with the idea that maybe this Saturday would be different from the others. Derek had admitted that he could smell Stiles across the room.
He thought there might be flirty looks. Maybe even a wink or two. But there was nothing. There was no smile in Stiles’ direction. Derek had kissed Sam good morning, but hadn’t even looked Stiles’ way. No hug. Nothing.
Stiles still sat and read his news stories and had inappropriate thoughts, but Derek ignored him more than he ever had. He even managed to make it in and out of the kitchen with a plate of pancakes without a word to his bedmate. Stiles was officially to the point of paranoia.
When Derek passed right by him to put his dish into the washer Stiles had had enough. Derek had to reach around him to open the door and put the plate in and still hadn’t looked Stiles in the eye.
“Okay, that’s it.” He grabbed Derek by the shoulders and forced him up so that they were face to face. “Hi! Remember me?” He waved.
“What’s up?” Derek looked at Stiles’ face for about half a second before his eyes darted away to the living room and Sam in her chair.
Stiles swallowed a lump in his throat. “Look, if you woke up and realized that you don’t want to do this and it was just adrenaline from the alpha pack or whatever, just fucking tell me.”
Now Derek was looking him in the eye. “What the fuck are you talking about? I told you I didn’t want a one night stand. Do you not want this?”
“Of course I want this! You’re the one who won’t look at me the morning after.”
Derek’s gaze hardened. He leaned in close to Stiles’ ear. “I’m not looking at you because your lips are still swollen from me face fucking you and you haven’t taken a shower yet. Your neck still smells like my cum, but Sam is five feet away and staring at us.”
Stiles cleared his throat and looked at Sam. She smiled with a mouth full of food and threw a handful of pancake mash onto the floor.
“So unless you feel like scarring her for life, you have to deal with me not looking at you.” Derek gave him one long hard kiss and stomped back upstairs.
Stiles turned to Sam with a shit-eating grin on his face. “Did you hear that? It’s going to be a good day!”
“Dada! MeeMee hoos!”
“Yep.” He grabbed a hand wipe and did his best to de-sticky his infant. “We’re going to MeeMee’s house today.”
“All of us.” Derek called down from the bedroom.
Sam looked toward where Derek’s voice came from and then back at Stiles quizzically.
“Papa and Dada are paranoid because there are psychopaths on the loose. Can you say, ‘psychos’?”
“Very good! What a smart baby!” Sam cheered for her success.
Stiles dressed her in a Star Trek Federation t-shirt (yellow because red was just asking for trouble) and sweat pants. Derek wore his signature henley and leather jacket and pointedly did not look at Stiles when he smacked Derek’s ass as he walked by.
When they swung the front door open it was as if a magical spell was broken. Stiles had been so light and happy and then the gust of winter air just blew it all away. Suddenly the real world was invading their sanctuary. There were demons and an Alpha pack that Stiles had thought about, but they felt like distant stories. With the reality of watching their backs looming Stiles lost all of his levity.
Derek came up behind him and engulfed him in a hug. “It’s okay. We’re just going to MeeMee’s. You do this every week. Nothing different.”
Stiles took a deep breath that burned down his lungs. “Nothing different.”
By the time they got up to MeeMee’s door Stiles was calm and collected. As much as he ever was anyway.
“Holy shit! Look at the two of you.” MeeMee looked at Stiles from head to toe. “Honey got some last night.” She said knowingly.
Stiles blushed but also smiled and gave her a high five. Derek did an incredulous eyebrow dance and carried Sam inside.
“It’s a good thing you brought your boytoy with you, Sugar. We’re going to have to spend some time outside today and we can’t be watching baby girl while we’re doing it.”
“I’m not sure that I can leave her alone today.” Stiles said peering over his shoulder suspiciously.
“Cause of the Alphas? Trust me, this is the safest place on the planet. No one is getting on my property without bodily harm. Now put your coat back on. We’re headed out.”
Late February in upstate New York was very pretty, very white, and very very cold. Stiles had on his coat, gloves, hat and a scarf and the part of his face that was sticking out was still so cold it permeated into his core. They walked into the dead woods until they found their way into the Nemeton clearing.
“Pop quiz, see this tree? It is an Eastern Hemlock, it is over 300 years old, over 100 feet tall and it weighs over 20 lbs a square foot. Now, all that tree, where’d it come from?”
Stiles looked up at the huge pine tree looming above him. “I’m not sure I understand the question.”
“The mass. The wood. You get your weight from food.” She poked him in the belly with her cane. “Where’d that tree get its mass from?”
“No dumbass! The ground is still underneath the thing! You took a science class! You learned about photosynthesis! Where’d it get it’s mass from?”
“Water and Carbon Dioxide. Can you not hurt me?”
She smacked him in the back of the knee. “I’ll stop hurting you when you start using your head. Where’d the water and carbon dioxide come from?”
“Holy Shit! Give the kid a treat! That’s right. All of this tree came out of thin air.”
Stiles kicked his foot against a root and marveled at the fact that all of that came out of stuff he couldn’t even see.
“That’s super cool and all, but what does that have to do with us?”
MeeMee tossed her cane to Stiles and hobbled over to the tree. She used one arm to drag a branch low to her. She cupped her hands around one end and closed her eyes tipping her head up to the sky. Stiles watched as a pinecone began to sprout out from the branch. MeeMee opened her eyes, mumbled a prayer, and picked the cone off and tossed it to Stiles.
“Everything plants need to grow and thrive is already around them. If you ask, put in a little love, you can get them to grow. Even out here.” She gestured around to the hibernating forest.
“You just asked that tree to grow a pinecone for you?”
“No, I asked the Goddess to provide for me and she answered.”
MeeMee kicked at the snow until she’d cleared a path down to the shrubs that had covered the path in the summer. She pulled Stiles over to the spot.
“The Goddess wants her things to grow. It is hard to get her to agree in times when she knows the flowers will not last, but it is still just a small request. It’s your turn. Get something to grow.”
Stiles knelt down in the snow pack and took off his gloves. He cupped his hands around a dead brown sprout in the ground.
“I don’t know how to ask. What do I do?”
“What did I say when I was done growing?”
“I don’t know. Some kind of prayer.”
“How do you know it was a prayer? Did you understand the words?”
That took a second to process. “It just sounded like a prayer.”
“And this will just feel like asking.”
Leaps of faith were nothing new to Stiles at this point, so he just closed his eyes and tried to will the plant to wake up. He called out and pleaded and asked very nicely and when he opened his eyes… the leaves were still all withered and wrinkly.
“No go. I’m defective.”
“You ain’t defective, just slow.” He flipped her off. “You’re asking inside of your brain. Don’t ask inside of yourself. Ask outward.”
That made even less sense, but Stiles was determined not to be a quitter. Stiles shut his eyes as tight as he could and sent his intentions outward. He let his mind wander across the forest looking for something. He could feel it. A flicker of life. A spark out in the somewhere that echoed with the spark inside of him.
“Hold on there, Sugar. Don’t go waking up every damn thing.”
Stiles opened his eyes to an entire patch of green leaves and yellow and pink blooms.
“I did it! Oh my God! No, oh my Goddess! I’m magical! I have magic!”
MeeMee laughed at him. “Yes, you’re very special. Now, how about we try to wake up just one thing like I asked you to, instead of a square yard?”
It was like school, but way cooler. After three hours they got back to the house.
“Derek! Derek! I’m awesome! I have a superpower!” Derek was sitting in a wooden chair watching Sam use the walls and chairs to practice walking around the room.
“You’re not smiling. Be happy for me.”
Derek did not start smiling, “We have a problem, It’s the Alphas.”
Chapter 17: Stalked
“So the scary chick moved into Laura’s apartment building, the twins are about to start going to the same school as Cora, the really tall dude is following Susan everywhere she goes, and Deucalion has been spotted lurking outside of Peter’s house.”
“For the seventh time, yes, Stiles. He’s got people posted around everyone but Mom. He’s trying to intimidate us. Show Mom that he can take us out if he wanted to. He’s trying to get her to change her mind.”
They were in the car coming back from MeeMee’s house. Derek was driving as erratically as the night they thought Sam had been kidnapped.
“Why aren’t we staying at your parent’s house? We all managed to fit there for one night. I’m sure she could handle us being there for a few more days.”
Derek huffed. “We’ve been over this. If we act like we’re scared it makes us look weak. This is just posturing. He’s just moving his pawns around to make it seem like he has more power than he does.”
“Are you sure that he doesn’t actually have that much power? And, not that I’m complaining, but why isn’t anyone lurking in our shadows? They cover the whole family but leave us alone?… There’s totally someone behind us right now and you just won’t tell me, isn’t there.”
“No, I think-” Derek drew in a deep breath and stopped for a red light. “I don’t think we’re actually part of that pack. At least, not from an outside perspective.”
Stiles pouted. “Talia said she thought of me and Sam as pack. Was she lying? Are we not cool enough to be part of the Scooby Gang?”
At least that got Derek to put on a little smile. “You only need three members to be a pack. I think we’re our own pack.”
Stiles heart grew a couple sizes bigger. “That might be the most romantic thing anyone has ever said to me. Hold on a minute! I call shenanigans! Susan’s family is four people.”
Derek put the car back into gear and sped off toward the townhouse, “Her family has four members, but she doesn’t treat it like a pack. She’s trying to keep it all very human. She doesn’t scent mark them or run with them. The way she acts makes it clear that Mom is her alpha and she’s part of that pack.”
“If I’m hearing you correctly, the plan is to just ignore all of our stalkers and hope they go away? That’s Sam’s plan for peek-a-boo. Not an actual plan to rid the town of rampaging assholes.”
“That’s not the whole plan, just this phase. Eventually Deucalion is going to have to make a move, but until he does, we’re going to lay low and act like everything is normal.”
Because Stiles’ life was never ever simple or easy, Sam decided that the week when the Alpha pack showed up and was trying to destroy them was the week she should learn how to walk.
She’d been toddling about with some help from hands and furniture for a few weeks, but that day when they got home she was on a mission. Stiles set her down in the living room with Derek to play so that he could learn ancient Sumerian. He thought it was an insane task, but MeeMee insisted that it was the language that ‘felt’ the best when she was talking to the Goddess.
“Stiles. Look.” Derek spoke like the words could shatter something.
Sam was at the end of the couch standing, but not holding on to it. She took a tentative step forward, wobbled, but held her ground. She looked up at Stiles unsure.
“You’re doing great! Gonna walk to Daddy? Come on!”
She took another step, and then another, and suddenly she was gaining momentum. She was walking so fast she couldn’t stay upright and crashed face first into the ground. Her cries were muffled by the carpet she was pressed into.
Derek got to her first and picked her up. “Oh, don’t cry. You’re okay.” Derek placed a kiss on her forehead. Stiles watched black spider veins appear and vanish across Derek’s face.
“Did you just literally kiss it and make it better?” Stiles asked laughing.
He set Sam down on her feet and slowly let go of her hands so that she was standing on her own again. This time she made it all the way into Stiles’ hands before she fell down. They clapped and he taught her how to do a fist bump to celebrate. He even let her have some honey nut cheerios as a treat.
The encouragement was a bad idea. Perhaps the worst idea he’d ever had in his life. Two days later Stiles felt like he’d never get to sit down again. On Monday they had reopened the Daycare and fielded questions from a lot of parents about why they’d closed that Friday. Some of the parents were concerned, most were unreasonably mad that they’d had to spend time with their own children.
Sam was now walking with a pretty steady gait, and she was fast. Not only was she quicker than Stiles thought babies could be, but she’d also decided that if walking was cool, climbing was The SHIT! He was giving a kid a time out in the nursery, turned around, and Sam was on top of a bookshelf.
Not on the top shelf, oh no, she was sitting on top of the whole thing. It was so tall Stiles couldn’t even reach her to pull her down.
“How in the name of the Goddess did you get all the way up there? How are we supposed to get you down?”
Sam laughed and rocked back on her heels giving Stiles a heart attack.
And then she leapt off the bookcase and into his arms.
“NOT OKAY!” Stiles yelled.
Sam looked at him with those big brown eyes and her bottom lip started to quiver.
“You go right ahead and cry!” He set her on the time out mat. “We do not jump off of things! What if I hadn’t been able to catch you!”
Sam put her fists up to her eyes and started to quietly blubber.
Laura socked him in the arm harder than she’d ever hit him before. He turned and stuck out his tongue at her. “What the hell did I do?”
“You’re being mean! She’s a baby, dickhead!”
“Dickhead!” Thomas echoed.
“Thomas, 3 minutes on the square.” Laura pointed. “Now.” The boy huffed and sat in his regular spot grumbling about how she’d said it so why couldn’t he.
“I know she’s a baby Laura. That’s why she has to learn right now that what she did was not cool.”
“She’s a werewolf baby, Stiles. Even if you hadn’t been there she just would have broken an arm or leg and it would heal in a couple days. She has to learn her limits.”
Stiles gaped at her. “You’re all insane. How did it take me this long to see it? You’re all fucking nuts. What if she snapped her neck?”
“It’d heal.” Laura said it like it was common sense. No big deal, just a SNAPPED SPINE!
“I forget how fragile humans think things are.” Laura shook her head.
Stiles was getting Sam out of time-out and giving her a snuggle to make her feel better when out of the corner of his eye he saw Laura go rigid in place. She straightened her normal slouch into a straight back and tilted her head up. Laura dashed over to the front window and tossed open the curtain.
Standing on the lawn smirking at them was the evil chick. Up close Stiles could see that not only was she still barefoot walking across the snow, she also had talons for nails growing in yellow snarls out from her toes.
“Lady, it is time for a pedicure. We’ll wait here while you go to the salon.” Stiles called out through the window. He wrenched the curtain shut again.
Laura popped a hip and glared at him. “And I’m the one who’s crazy?”
“What’s she going to do? Slaughter a house full of kids to leave no witnesses? Please.” Stiles said it like he was confident. He was really trying not to wet himself. Laura’s eyes told him that he hadn’t fooled her. They still went about their day like normal.
Even though the pack had shown no interest in Stiles or Sam, Derek still would not let them stay alone by themselves. That meant they were both going with Derek to his Monday night class. The community college looked like a high school on the inside, just without the lockers. Derek’s class that night was Lit 101, a huge freshman class. It was held in an auditorium with stadium seating.
Sam was allowed to roam in between seats while Derek set up his powerpoint, but Stiles knew she couldn’t handle sitting for an entire lecture. He took her by the hand and let her run all over the building pulling him behind her. At every window she asked to be picked up so that she could peer inside, and then go off running again.
This game was only fun for a half hour. They read, played with blocks, Stiles took off his shoes and made actual sock puppets, but soon they were both bored. Stiles was searching in the diaper bag for his cell phone so that they could watch something on Netflix when she took off running.
It wasn’t hard to follow after her because she left a trail of giggles in her wake, but she had a good lead since Stiles had to pack up all their crap before he sped off after her. She made it to the door of Derek’s room before he could catch up. The wide open door.
She was at Derek’s feet before Stiles even made it to the doorway. Derek didn’t even notice his visitor until Sam said, “Papa! Up!”
When he lifted her up Stiles could hear the collective “Awww!” From all the girls in the class. He could almost just make out the sound of their brains kicking into high gear thinking, ‘Where’s the Mom? Is she in the picture? I could offer to babysit and then maybe he’ll fall in love with me.’
The whole thing was so amusing Stiles just couldn’t break their hearts by walking in and dashing all their hopes and dreams.
“Sammy, what are you doing here? Where is your…” Derek looked around and spotted Stiles giving him two thumbs up from the hall.
Derek stalked over to hand Sam off. “Stiles.” He growled a warning.
“’Tiles.” Sam said in a perfect imitation with the eyebrows and the attitude and everything. Stiles collapsed under the weight of his laughter. Derek had to wait for him to regain his composure before handing Sam over.
Derek didn’t look amused at all, and Stiles thought it was because of his giggle fit, but then he spotted them.
In the first row grinning over at them were identical twin boys.
Chapter 18: A Threat and some Fun
There are about four paragraphs with some plot and then more smut happens. You've been warned!
The sight of the werewolves was sobering. Stiles held an oblivious Sam tight in his arms. There was no where to go. He couldn’t jump into the Camaro and speed off, that would only take Sam farther away from Derek’s protection, and there was no guarantee that home would be safe. He couldn’t saunter in the classroom with the baby, that would just get him mobbed with attention from the students, and he was sure Derek wouldn’t want that.
He was stuck in a limbo just outside of the door for the last 10 minutes of Derek’s lecture. He texted Laura cursing himself out for never getting Talia or Jake’s numbers. And then he waited with bated breath.
As soon as the clocked clicked to 9:00 Derek ended his lesson and an unprepared Stiles was swarmed with the girls from inside. They cooed at Sam and tried to get her to smile. One very bold brunette tried to grab her right out of Stiles’ hand saying, “I’m really good with babies.”
Sam bit her. Actually leaned down and chomped into the girl’s hand. Stiles didn’t laugh, because that would be rude, but he also did not assign a time-out either. The girl, and several others, backed off.
“Professor Hale! She’s so cute!” One of the girl’s gushed to Derek who was standing protectively close to both of them.
While the girl tossed her hair and batted her eyelashes Stiles looked over her shoulder and caught the eye of one of the twins. He was offered a smile that was all teeth. There were predators within reach of his baby. Stiles called out to the Goddess to keep them safe.
“Stiles!” Laura was jogging down the hall to them. She looked cool and calm to the untrained eye, but Stiles had seen her around a pool of children. That was the look of Laura prepared for a showdown.
“All right, bitches. Shows over. The baby does not like you, she does not want to be your friend. and Derek has more than enough babysitters.”
“And you are…?” A girl asked condescendingly.
“I’m Auntie Laura, and I’m willing to slap the shit out of you. Want to find out if I’m lying?” She pulled herself up to her full height and brought one hand back just an inch.
They scattered. All that was left were the Hales, the Stilinskis, and the twins. The boys rose from their seats as one and walked toward the door with their strides in unison.
“Thanks for the lecture, Professor Hale.” One of the boys said with that toothy smile.
“Yeah, it was… illuminating.” Said the other with a mirroring grin.
They walked right through the growling Hales and toward the parking lot.
“We can’t keep doing this! I can’t keep doing this!” The Hale siblings were pretty much ignoring Stiles as he paced back and forth in the living room. Laura had come home with them from the college. She had overcooked some pasta and thrown sauce from a jar on top of it for dinner. It was as sad and depressing as Stiles’ outlook on life.
“They haven’t done shit. What do you want to do? Start a war because they look at us funny? Speaking of, I know I’m hot and all, but that chick was definitely watching me shower the other day. Is nothing sacred?”
“Laura, your powers of comfortable avoidance are astounding to me.” Stiles said with actual respect.
“What can I say? Ignorance is bliss.”
“Go home Laura. If you’re here, she’s here, and we don’t need any more drama tonight.” Derek opened the door.
“I see how my kindness gets repaid around here.” She wrapped Stiles into a big hug. “Worrying accomplishes nothing. Also, you smell like Derek jizz. Take a bath.”
“Still? I’ve showered like three times.”
“You’ll notice that I said bath. Goodnight!”
She waved and was gone. Sam had made a valiant effort to stay awake for Laura’s visit but was asleep on top of her stuffed elephant. Stiles lifted her up and brought her upstairs. When he got to the bedroom, her crib was nowhere in sight.
“Hey, Derek.” The man appeared right behind him. “Gah! I will get you a collar and a bell if you don’t start making sounds when you move. What happened to Sam’s crib?”
“I did a little rearranging while you were at work today.” Derek opened the door to the closet. It was a huge walk in closet that was at least 5x5 ft. Derek had cleared out most of the clothes to make room for the crib, hung Sam’s mobile from the light, and converted a shelf into a changing station.
“This way she can be close but we can have some… privacy.”
Stiles laid Sam down in the bed, careful not to wake her up and shut the door firmly behind him. And then he jumped all over Derek.
“By privacy you meant sex, right?” Stiles asked while peppering kisses all over Derek’s face and neck. “Because I want it to mean sex. I’ve had a bad day. Make it better?”
Derek opened his mouth to Stiles’ tongue and began running his thumb just below the waistline of Stiles’ pants. He kissed his way down Stile’s neck and then did that amazing licking thing from the night before. And just like that night, it made sounds just fall out of Stiles.
Stiles was moaning like a wanton whore and writhing up into Derek’s body. “I haven’t actually had like penetrative sex in almost two years, so I’m warning you now, this is going to be over fast. Like, 12 year old gets transported into his favorite porn fast.”
“What’s your refractory period?”
Stiles’ brain went blank because there were teeth scraping across the muscle in his neck. “Uh, 15 minutes? Maybe 20?”
Derek moved his mouth back on top of Stiles’ and popped open the button on his jeans and then pulled the zipper down. He placed his hot palm against flat stomach and slid it down into Stiles’ boxers. With no warning he took Stiles in hand and began jerking him off with brutal fast strokes.
“Ung! Fuck! Not fair! That’s not what I meant.”
Derek smiled into a kiss and reached his other hand down the back of Stiles’ pants and ran a finger over his hole.
“Double not fair! Sooo…uh…oh…not…” but there was no point in fighting it. Stiles was already fucking up into Derek’s fist and then back onto the one curious finger. He wasn’t wrong about it being over ridiculously quickly. After only a few minutes he was pumping onto Derek’s hand and the inside of his jeans.
“Oh man! Now I’m going to have to do laundry.”
Stiles thought that Derek might respond to his funny ice breaking quip, but he was just leaning into Stiles huffing at his neck.
“Do I smell good?” He meant to say it teasing, but it came out as a breathy whisper. It even had the post orgasmic rumble to it. Derek growled and gave his neck one long flat tongued lick and forced that wayward finger into Stiles.
“Ten minutes. Fuck.”
And then, predictably, Derek backed off of Stiles to go take some deep breaths of fresh air.
“I… get on the bed, get naked. Lube. I’m going to get lube.” Derek headed toward the bathroom.
“You don’t want to undress me?” Stiles smirked as Derek walked away.
Derek veered off course and attacked Stiles’ mouth. His hands wandered up Stiles’ shirt and over his nipples with nails turned into claws. The kiss was deep and dirty and hot. There was a ripping noise but Stiles was so far into the kiss he didn’t recognize it as his own shirt being shredded until Derek left him panting against the wall.
“Hey! I like this shirt.” It was already ruined so he shrugged it off and tugged his jeans off at the same time.
Derek came stalking out of the bathroom bare ass naked with a bottle in his hand. He grabbed Stiles around his middle and launched him onto the bed. Stiles hadn’t even stopped bouncing before Derek was on the bed.
He sucked dark red hickeys into the flesh above Stiles’ hipbones. He nipped and lapped his way up the pale freckled body until Stiles was fully hard again and writhing in need. Derek put a hand underneath each of Stiles knees and brought them up. He reared back and stared down. Stiles was past the point of feeling any insecurities.
Derek’s tongue left a wet trail down the back of Stiles’ thigh and into the crease where his hip met his groin. “I can’t go slow.” Derek looked up at Stiles and licked again. Stiles moaned. “Was gonna make love to you. Can’t. Feel like I’m in a fog from that smell.”
Derek poured shockingly cold lube down Stiles’ crack. This time when Derek pushed a finger into him it was a cold slick slide and it was accompanied by Derek biting into the back of his leg. Stiles yelped and groaned as quietly as he could.
Derek leaned over to kiss Stiles while he worked in a second finger. Stiles’ moans went into the kiss. Derek wound his fingers around in Stiles’ hair.
“I’m starting to think you have a thing for my hair.”
“I do it because you leak when I pull.” To emphasize his point Derek tugged hard. A flash of heat coursed across Stiles. A third finger pushed in with a gorgeous amount of friction and more fire raced on his skin. Derek groaned.
“Gonna fuck you so hard. Can smell how much you want it.” Derek groaned against Stiles’ ear.
“Please. Yeah, Derek, want it.”
Derek sat back on his heels and pulled his fingers back out of Stiles. Despite what he’d said earlier, Stiles still thought that at least that first thrust in would be slow. It wasn’t. Derek slammed his full weight into Stiles embedding them together balls to balls in one move. It burned in the best way. Stiles bit down hard on his lip and pushed against Derek’s shoulders.
“Wait. Stop. Fuck.”
Derek froze like a statue.
“I need something to bite on.” Stiles was proud of himself for coming up with an entire coherent sentence. “I’m gonna scream. I can’t stay quiet. Give me a fucking pillow or something.”
Derek put his forearm up to Stiles’ mouth and fucked into him again. Stiles opened up and bit down hard on the offered flesh.
He’d never had sex like that before. Stiles had maybe used the term ‘getting pounded’ before, but he hadn’t known what it meant. He’d never had someone thrust into him so hard it moved him up the bed. The headboard was smacking against the wall in time with Derek hitting his prostate. And Stiles was literally yelling into Derek’s arm.
Stiles never wanted it to stop, but Derek’s cock was dragging against his prostate and it was forcing Stiles over the edge.
“Oh yeah, Stiles. So good. Biting so hard.”
That’s what pushed him over the edge. One good hard hit to his spot and Stiles was shooting off across his stomach and screaming. Derek grabbed Stiles by the hips and used Stiles’ limp form to get himself off.
Stiles was left gasping and satisfied on the bed. “I would like to do that again.”
Derek was still shaking with after tremors. He pulled out and flopped down next to Stiles. “Yeah. Okay.”
Stiles looked over to the closet door. “I can’t believe Sam slept through that.”
“She wouldn’t have if you didn’t have my arm in your mouth.” Derek was staring at Stiles’ lips. “When all of this is over I’m going to drop her off at my parent’s house and I’m going to find out how loud you really are.”
Stiles jumped out of bed. “Stop it! Stop that right now!”
Derek looked perplexed, eyebrows furrowed. “Stop what?”
“You’re trying to seduce me! I’ve cum twice in the last hour and I had no idea how sore I was until I got out of bed, but ow, and you’re giving me bedroom eyes and talking about making me scream again! So just stop looking amazing while naked because I kind of want to give you a BJ, but your dick was just in my ass and that’s gross.” Stiles felt like an idiot standing naked with his arms crossed, but he was standing his ground.
Derek stood with perfect grace and just by crossing the room Stiles lost all of his nerve. He put a hand on Stiles’ chest and Stiles was filled with a warm floaty feeling and the ache in his backside dissipated.
“Mmmmm. You make a good point. Round two?”
Derek pecked him on the lips. “It’s not healed, I just took some of the pain. Let’s go take a shower.”
Communal showers shortly became number five on the list of Stiles’ New Favorite Things. It fell just behind sex with Derek, Derek’s cock, Derek’s ass, and Derek’s abs.
“Ew.” That was the first word out of Laura’s mouth when Derek dropped Stiles off for work in the morning.
“Good morning to you too.”
Laura gave him a wide berth on his way in. “When I said take a bath, I meant bathe in water, not in my brother’s nut juice.”
“Joos!” Sam threw her arms up.
“Does my big brave girl want some orange juice so that she can smell something other that Dada’s dirty deeds?” Laura plucked Sam out of Stiles’ arms and wrinkled her nose.
“It is not that bad. Is it?” Stiles sniffed at himself discreetly. “I really did take a shower.”
“And you got off in that shower.” Laura said and made a gagging noise.
“Yeah.” Stiles said with a goofy grin.
“So yes, it is that bad. I’m willing to overlook it for the sake of my brother’s future happiness, but dude, get a better bodywash.”
Stiles really thought she’d been playing it up, but when Thomas’ mother dropped him off she looked a little scandalized and tsked at Stiles. So maybe it really was that pungent. They’d only exchanged hand jobs in the shower. But now he was picturing it. As soon as he started thinking about it a bit too much Laura pinched him hard enough to leave a bruise.
“Don’t make it worse!” She swatted at him. “Guh! Have some decency! There are children here.”
After that he’d reigned it in and gotten the day started. Sam was running around and climbing on everything and it made Stiles so aware of the female alpha that was just down the street. At least Sam couldn’t open doors yet. She could jump up onto the knob and hang off of it giggling like a madwoman, but turning it was a little beyond her grasp.
In an effort to teach her climbing yes vs climbing no he taught her how to climb up into her own chair for snack time. It did not occur to him that if she knew the way up, she also knew the way down. Only bribery of animal crackers got her to sit in her seat like the other kids. Sam thought it was the Best Day Ever.
At about 2:00 the door bell rang.
Since door bells were not expected and were not historically filled with good news, Stiles was a little on edge.
He turned to Laura but she looked just as bewildered as he was. He knew that she’d be able to smell if it was a werewolf, but she had already gone back to the table of kids surrounded by crayons. She didn’t have a care in the world. That left Stiles to go see who was on the other side of the door. It took to the count of ten for him to get warmed up to the idea, but Stiles did eventually go over to the door and open it.
The Sheriff didn’t look any different from last time Stiles had seen him. Not one hair out of place, his wrinkles might have been a little more pronounced, but nothing new. It was his same Dad, just standing on the stoop.
“Hey Kid.” He was nervous, shifting back and forth from foot to foot.
“You’re in Utica.” Good work, Brain. Nicely done.
“Yeah, we uh… we hired a private eye.” The Sheriff flailed for a second, “Not to check up on you or anything. Just to find you. So that we could see you.”
He stepped to the side revealing Scott standing three steps down. “Hey Stiles.”
Of course Scott would be there. How could his Dad possibly have made the four day drive alone?
“Tiles! Tiles! Cowor?” Sam was grabbing on his pants and holding up a crayon. Without thinking he swooped his baby girl up onto his hip.
“I’m at work.”
“Yeah. I know. I didn’t want to bug you at home. If you, uh, if you didn’t want to be bugged.” His Dad’s eyes were watering up. He kept lifting his hand just a little, as if he was about to reach out and just hold Stiles’ hand or give him a hug.
“There’s a cafe. Just down the street. Shelley’s. I don’t get off work until 6. I can meet you there?”
“Yeah! I mean, yes, we can meet you there. Of course we can. We’d love to.”
It was awkward standing there. Should he hug him? Should he yell at them both to fuck off until he was ready to deal with them?
“Okay then. 6.” He settled on just standing there, waiting, while they both waved goodbye and headed off to the cruiser.
“Holy Shitsnacks!” He jumped because Laura was right there next to his ear. “So that was the infamous Dad. Who’s Scott?”
“The even more infamous Ex.”
“No fucking way!” Laura ripped open the door and watched the car roll down the street. “He’s so tiny! I thought you liked ripped guys. Like, Derek ripped.”
“Laura, I’m kind of freaking out here. I can’t have dinner with them! I have unresolved feelings and a whole lot of angst I didn’t even know was still there!”
She was still peering out through the iron gate, “Plus you have to text Derek and tell him you’re going to ditch him to spend time with your ex-husband.”
“No Deedee! Papa!” Stiles stared at Sam who waved her pretty purple crayon at him again. “Cowor!”
“I have a kid.” Panic was happening. Panic was in full effect. “I have an entire human that I never told my Dad about. Holy God. How am I going to explain this?”
“You don’t. You say, ‘I have a kid, her name is Samantha, and if you want to get to know her, you better work!’” She finished with a snap of her fingers.
“Yeah, that’s not going to happen.” He carried Sam over to the table so that she could finally get to color. “Shit! What am I going to do about… protection?”
“Wear a condom?” He threw a balled up piece of paper at her.
“From the other people?” He was trying not to use buzz words that the kids might bring home to their parents.
“I don’t think they’ll try anything out in the open like that, but I will valiantly agree to be your bodyguard.” She went into a superhero pose with her fists on her hips, imaginary wind blowing her hair back.
“You mean you were going to follow and eavesdrop on us anyway, so you might as well keep an eye out while you’re there.”
It was fun (insert sarcasm here) explaining to Derek that his father had moseyed into town with Scott in tow. There had been growling and mashing of teeth and a lot of abrupt answers, but generally Stiles thought that Derek was on board. If nothing else Derek agreed to take Sam home with him. Stiles was willing to be out and about, even with the Alphas, he wasn’t willing to be out with Sam.
“I can do this. I can do this. This will be fine. We’ll talk about life and then I’ll just go home. I can do this.” He was pacing in front of Shelley’s and Laura was trying to be supportive by leaning against the brick looking bored.
“You can do this.” She agreed for the thousandth time. “It’s just a meal.”
“Right? I can always walk out. Here I go. Walking into the diner.”
Laura graciously pushed him through the door. Stiles hoped that being in Shelley’s would make him feel comfortable. Scott and his Dad were sitting on the same side of a table set for four people, a backpack was sitting on the floor at Scott’s feet. He’d never sat at a table in Shelley’s before. He’d always gotten a booth, even his first day in town.
“Stiles!” There were all of two other people in the diner, one of them being Shelley behind the counter, and his Dad still waved and called out to make sure Stiles saw him. He pulled out an uncomfortable metal chair and sat down opposite his father.
“Thanks for coming.” The Sheriff was just so earnest, so eager just to talk to Stiles. It made some of the anger he was holding onto slip away.
The Sheriff shifted a little in his seat. “We got a table for four. The P.I. told us you had a… a uh… fella’ in your life. We thought you might want to invite him along.”
“Derek. His name’s Derek. And I would have invited him, but someone had to stay home and take care of the baby.” Stiles lost his breath on that one word.
“He has a baby?” Scott asked kindly. It was the first thing he’d said to Stiles since he sat down.
“How’s everybody doing today?” Shelley appeared all smiles at the table, rainbow hair newly dyed and brilliant. “Hey Stiles. Mac’n’cheese?”
“Yes, thanks.” He suddenly wished he had a more refined pallet. Not that there was anything refined at Shelley’s, but it just felt so juvenile. Whatever. If they were going to judge him, bring it on.
“That sounds really good. I’ll have the same.” Scott flashed his lopsided smile at her and his Dad ordered a burger and fries.
“So, Derek has a baby?” Scott asked while Shelley bustled away to fill their order.
“No, I have a baby.” Stiles corrected.
His Dad smiled softly. “You adopted? That’s great. Boy or girl?”
“No, Dad, I didn’t adopt her. She’s mine. That girl who came up to me at the daycare? That’s my Sam.”
Scott scoffed and rolled his eyes.
Stiles called him out. “What was that?”
“Stiles,” Scott leaned over the table, “You don’t have to lie. You don’t have to make stuff up and act like life is so much better here and you have everything together. It’s okay if it’s not all white picket fences. We heard her call you Stiles. We know she’s not really your kid.”
The Sheriff was pale and gaping horrified at Scott. Stiles chair scraped loud against the floor as he pushed it back to stand up. He stormed almost all the way to the door. Just before he reached the threshold he paused his stride to lean against a table and just breathe.
Stiles was not a quitter, and he was not a runner. He was not going to let what that fucking demon said be true.
“You okay hon?” Shelley ran a kind hand up and down his arm. It worked to soothe his nerves. Through the glass he could see Laura frothing mad, ready to fuck some shit up. He took a few meditating breaths, held up a hand to stave off the hurricane that was angry Lady Hale, and turned back toward the table.
Scott at least had the decency to look sheepish.
Stiles scooted his chair back up to the table and sat down. “That little girl is Samantha Claudia Stilinski and has been since the hour she was born. Now, Scott, what the fuck are you doing here?”
“I’m sorry,” Scott babbled, “I just, she called you Stiles and she doesn’t look anything like you-”
“She looks like Claudia!” The Sheriff whisper shouted.
“I didn’t ask why you’re an asshole. You called me a liar, I asked what the fuck you’re doing here.”
Scott’s face softened. “I’m here because we miss you. We just wanted to see how you’re doing out here. Maybe get you to come home.”
“Er. Wrong. Try again, this time with the truth.” Stiles crossed his hands and leaned back.
“That is the truth.” His Dad pleaded. “I wanted to come and talk to you. Just talk, that’s all. When Scott found out I was driving out he asked to come along. We both care about you.”
“No, Dad. You are here because you love me and you care. Scott’s here for something else.”
His Dad looked heartbroken, but Scott’s face fell with guilt.
“Fine, Scott. If you’re not willing to tell me, I’m just going to have to guess aren’t I?” Stiles looked at the table and then down to the floor.
“You brought a backpack in with you. You drove here in the cruiser, so I know you have a hotel somewhere, so why’d you bring in a backpack? What’s in it?”
Scott didn’t say a word, but his eyes flashed to the backpack and the guilt in his eyes deepened.
“Dad looks all sorts of confused, so it’s not an album of pictures showing me all the things I’ve missed in the last year and a half.”
And then the awful truth dawned on Stiles. “They’re divorce papers. We never actually legally got divorced.”
“Scott!” The Sheriff yelled, scandalized. “Are you shitting me?”
“I thought it would be therapeutic or something. Like closure?” Scott sounded miserable. He also sounded an awful lot like he was still lying.
“Bullshit.” Stiles snarled. “This has nothing to do with me.” All of the pieces clicked into place in Stiles’ mind.
“You want to propose to Allison, but you know she won’t say yes if you’re still married.”
Scott was noticeably silent in the face of the accusation. The Sheriff buried his face in his hands, shaking his head.
“Hand ‘em over.” Stiles fished around in his pockets for a pen.
“Really?” Scott asked shocked.
“Trust me, I don’t want to be married to you any more than you want to be married to me. Let’s just get this over with.”
Scott pulled out a thick stack of papers and slid them over. Stiles flipped through page after page. He read it all, and even though the agreement gave him a whole bunch of shit he didn’t want, he signed and initialed the whole fucking thing.
“Shelley, make mine to go please.” He called to the kitchens.
“Sure thing hon.”
It was ten minutes of total uncomfortable silence. He finally reached the last page. He slammed his pen down on the table and tossed the stack back to Scott. “Are we done here?”
The food was slipped onto the table. Scott shook his head. The Sheriff just looked down at the to-go box in front of Stiles.
“Have a lovely vacation.” Stiles put a twenty on the table, picked up his food and left.
Once again he turned around just before he made it to the door. He snatched all of the french fries off of his Dad’s plate.
“You’re not supposed to have deep fried foods!” He scolded and tossed them all in the trash as he actually walked out of the diner.
Confession: I really like the character of Scott on Teen Wolf. I think he's a good person and a great friend, so I'm not sure why he's such an ass in this story. Sometimes my characters do things without my permission. Scott's doing a lot of things without asking.
Hope you liked part 1 of the reunion!
Chapter 20: You May be Wrong, You May be Right
Laura growled the entire drive home. You’d have thought she was the one who’d had a fucked up dinner with her father and ex-husband. She was so loud Derek was out the door with Sam before the car was even in park. He looked Stiles over and gave him a couple of good sniffs before turning to Laura.
“What’s with all the rumbling?”
Laura slammed her car door shut. “I’m going to kill him. That fucking Scott is a dead man.”
“Lighten up, Laura. It’s… it’s whatever. So he drove all the way here just to ask me for a divorce. It needed to happen anyway.” Stiles was resigned. It had been a really long day and all he wanted was to hang out with Sam and maybe have some consoling sexytimes later.
Derek pulled Stiles into a hug with his free arm. Sam leaned over and placed a kiss on his nose since they were face to face. He gave her a big fat kiss on her cheek in retaliation.
“I thought you were already divorced?” Derek steered him up the steps.
“Only emotionally and physically as it turns out. I never signed actual papers until today.”
“Yeah. Surprisingly, I feel kind of good about it. I really don’t want to be married to Scott in any sense of the word, it’s just still overwhelming.”
“You want to go take a bath and relax?”
“Noo!” Sam pouted.
“Not you, Shortstack.” Stiles picked her up and flew her over his head, much to her delight. “And not me either. I’m pretty sure you’ve hung out with your sisters too much if you think relaxing baths make all things better. Instead of a bath, can we break out the Nintendo 64 and get some Mario Kart going?”
“I call Bowser!” Laura shouted, but then looked sheepish, “unless Stiles wants Bowser.”
“Nah, Toad’s my dude, but Derek’s my favorite so if he wants Bowser, he gets him.”
“Have you ever played with Derek before? He’ll claim he hates it, but he always chooses Princess Peach. Always.”
Derek could not be shamed, “She has good maneuverability.”
Stiles was pretty sure they were taking pity on him and letting him win since it was the first game he’d ever beaten Derek in. Sam was doing her best to help him out by grabbing Derek’s controller, holding it upside down, and making vroom noises.
“I call not it for cooking dinner.” Laura announced once seven rolled around and they were watching Brave.
“If I call in the order for chinese, will you go pick it up?” Stiles was the king of compromise.
“Why do I have to be the one who picks it up? Every time I go someplace I have to watch for that long toed b-bad lady.” Laura censored herself when she noticed Sam watching her.
“You have to go get the food because Derek won’t let me go by myself, Derek won’t leave Sam with just the two of us and no other company since you come with a stalker, so that leaves you going to pick up food.”
Laura stood up, “You and your stupid logic.”
“Love you, Boss.”
“You’re just lucky you’re my favorite employee.”
Half an hour later Laura was heading out the door to go pick up the food. Stiles wasn’t paying any attention to Laura until she called from the foyer, “Hey Stiles?”
“You have a visitor.”
Just like that morning, Stiles’ Dad was standing outside the door looking forlorn.
Stiles could see him gather up his courage as he paced on the concrete. “I know that I’ve messed up, but I need you to know what really happened. I can’t just leave like this.”
Stiles sighed. He could see that his Dad was really upset and trying to make amends, he just wasn’t sure he was up to hearing it. “Can we do this tomorrow? Can I have one day to recover before this showdown?”
The Sheriff turned stern, “You’ve had 18 months Stiles. I must have called you a thousand times. I’m just asking you to listen, just this once.”
Derek moved so he was standing menacingly over Stiles’ shoulder. “Everything all right?”
“It’s fine. Here,” Stiles grabbed his coat off the hook, pulled on his house slippers and stepped outside. Derek tried to protest but Stiles waved him off. He left the door open just a crack so that Derek could clearly hear the whole thing.
“So what do you have to explain to me?”
“I didn’t ask Scott to come here, and I didn’t know about the papers.”
“Why’d you bring him then? What part of you thought that could possibly go well?” Stiles just sounded sad, even to himself.
“I don’t know.” The Sheriff rubbed at his forehead. “I thought maybe time would heal some old wounds. You weren’t good husbands, but I remember when the two of you were the best of friends. It was a mistake, I’ll be the first to say it, but there are other things.”
“I didn’t leave to hurt you. I left because I needed time and space.” The broken man in front of him was never what Stiles wanted.
“I know, I know that.” The Sheriff nodded, “But I need to let you know that day wasn’t what it looked like.”
Stiles face gave away his disbelief.
“I was trying to plan a surprise party for your birthday. I called the Martin girl and Danny because they plan every damn thing in that town and I knew you were friends. Well, Lydia invited Jackson, who invited Scott, who brought Allison. Suddenly I have this house full of kids and I don’t know how to get them to leave without being rude, and then you walked in and I…” He threw his hands up, “I didn’t know what to do.”
“Dad, all I wanted for my birthday, was to have a beer with you. That’s it.”
His Dad wiped a few tears away from his eyes before they could fall, “I know that now. I was just trying, and I know that it was fucked up, and I’m sorry. You have no idea how sorry I am Stiles, but I can’t stand not having you in my life. And I want know my Granddaughter. So just tell me what I can do to make this better.”
Stiles sighed and shook his head, “It’s not that easy Dad. I get that it’s been 18 months, but all I have to do is close my eyes and I’m back in that moment. Everybody who hadn’t spoken to me in months is sitting in the house I grew up with, and you’re laughing with them. I want to let that go, I do, but I’m not sure that I know how.”
”All I’m asking for is a chance. I booked Scott a flight home and dropped him off at the airport. If you don’t want me to ever speak to him again, I won’t. You want me to move here and babysit every day for a month? I can do that. You’re my kid, Stiles. I’m willing to try anything.”
Stiles sighed. “Derek’s sister is getting us chinese food. You are not allowed to have any egg rolls or orange chicken.”
Stiles turned back to the house. When he opened the door his father was still just standing there. “You coming in?”
He hesitantly walked in the door. Derek still had on his death ray gaze, the same one he leveled at Stiles the first time they met.
“Hey Sammy, come on over here.” Sam toddled cautiously over to Stiles peering at the stranger in the room. Stiles swung her up onto his hip.
Stiles walked her up to his father. He snapped his fingers a few times to get Sam’s attention. “Hey Shortstack, who am I?”
“Very good. Do you know who this is?” she shook her head.
“This is my Daddy. Your Grandpa Stilinski.”
For the first time that day his Dad looked genuinely happy. It was impossible to be unhappy when Sam was smiling at you.
“Hi!” She waved at him. “Dada!”
“Hello sweetheart! Can I hold you?” He held out his arms for Sam, but Sam decided that was one step too far. She crawled up Stiles’ chest and over his shoulder right into Derek’s hands.
“She’s stranger shy.” Stiles apologized, “She won’t even let Laura change her or babysit her and she’s known Laura since she was two weeks old.”
“That’s fine.” He said, but he still looked upset.
“How about we color?” Stiles laid out newspaper on the table and then place a piece of white paper on top of that. Sam clamored up the seat and picked up a crayon in each hand.
Stiles offered a chair to his Dad next to Sam. She cooed and babbled and talked to him while she smacked the paper with her colors. She even offered the Sheriff the blue one when she was done with it. He was enthralled.
Derek, was less enthusiastic. Stiles pulled him into a hug just to get him to loosen up a bit. “He’s my Dad, Derek, not the invading Huns.”
“When you came home you smelled defeated. I didn’t even know that was a scent.”
“You were probably just smelling the mac’n’cheese.” He joked. “This is a good thing. I’ve missed my Dad. When Sam starts acting up or when she starts school and is a weirdo because the other kids don’t have Star Wars memorized, I want to be able to call my Dad.”
“I just don’t want you to forgive and forget with one conversation.”
“That’s not what’s happening here. We’re going with baby steps, I’m just glad that we’re headed in the same direction.”
Laura burst into the townhouse, “I got grub! Who wants some?”
Stiles’ Dad stayed until 10:30, keeping Sam up past her bedtime. He seemed so tickled with the whole process that Stiles even let him read her a bedtime story. When she was asleep he left for his hotel with a big smile and a phone full of pictures of Sam.
Derek was noticeably absent from the whole evening. He was always there watching Sam, but never part of it. When his Dad was building towers so that Sam could knock them down or prancing ponies around on the carpet, Derek never joined in. Derek was usually right in the thick of things. Hell, he was usually the first person helping Sam get out her huge hand sized legos.
When the Sheriff left Derek’s mood didn’t improve in the slightest. He was picking up toys and throwing them into the toy bin like they were mortal enemies.
“Der, this whole me asking you what’s wrong when you go brood in the corner thing? It’s getting old. Communication. You’re good at it when you try, so how about we start trying big guy?”
“Are you going back with them?”
“With Dad and Scott? To Beacon Hills? Fuck no!”
Derek nodded, “Okay.”
Stiles raised and eyebrow and gave stared incredulously at Derek’s back while he continued cleaning the living room. “Really? That was it? You got your panties all in a bunch because you were afraid to ask if I was leaving?”
“It would have been okay.” Derk sat down on the couch, looking down at Sam’s stuffed elephant. “If you had wanted to go, I wouldn’t have stopped you.”
“See, that’s kind of an issue with me.” Stiles sat down next to Derek on the couch. “For some reason there’s a voice in your head that says, ‘I’m the reason why we can’t have nice things’. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re a great daddy to Sam and a really great boyfriend. My Dad has been kind of mediocre and Scott was the actual worst husband ever. Beacon Hills isn’t home.”
Derek looked up at Stiles through his eyelashes. “I don’t want you to go back.”
“Well good. I don’t want me to go back either. And if I did go back for whatever reason, I’d drug you and stuff you in my suitcase and take you with me.”
Derek smirked, “I don’t think you’d know what to drug me with and I know for a fact you don’t have luggage that would fit me.”
Stiles swung a leg over Derek to straddle him and give him a few warm kisses. “MeeMee would tell me how to drug you and I can buy something that would fit you. The logistics are just a detail.”
An hour later and Derek was complaining about the mess on the couch.
Chapter 21: Blood Red Moon
Stiles was soooo ready for the full moon that month. The first day of the full moon made Sam bonkers. It was like Stiles had injected Pixie Stix right into her veins. She was literally bouncing off the walls. She would run to one end of the room, turn so that her back smacked against it and then use the momentum from her bounce to run to the other side and do the same thing. Stiles would have stopped her, but she wasn’t hurting herself and was laughing like it was the best game ever.
“Yes, I’m watching. You are clever and awesome Shortstack.” He wasn’t really watching. A good 65% of his attention was on his laptop. He had promised Laura that he’d bring her into the 21st century by giving her a website, and since Sam was entertaining herself, he was relearning how to format.
Derek had gone running, but only around the house. He was full of the same nervous energy that Sam was, but still unwilling to leave them alone. When he walked in the door Sam accosted him, flying onto his legs and climbing until she was perched on his shoulders. She went over the top of his head so that she was looking at him upside down.
“You’re drooling on my forehead.” She cracked up like he was hilarious. Derek turned her over and play growled at her. She couldn’t stop giggling long enough to growl back at him, but she did manage yellow eyes and a mouth full of teeth.
“Oh my Goddess, is it time to go to your parent’s house yet?” Stiles was exhausted just watching them.
“Not quite, it’s only 1 in the afternoon. Speaking of, what did you tell your Dad?”
“I told him the truth-ish. I said that we had plans to go camping with your family this weekend and they’ve been in place for months. He asked if he could tag along and I told him it was too soon to spend that much time together. He was pretty upset about it because he only took two weeks off of work and with a combined 7 days of driving he’s only here for a week total.”
“Then maybe he should have thought about maybe getting in touch before he showed up at your doorstep.” Derek said with only a medium amount of annoyance.
“But that would have taken forethought and consideration.” Stiles yawned wide and loud.
“Why don’t you take a nap?” Derek grabbed Sam by an arm and a leg and started swinging her around. “We’re going to be up late tonight, and I know you didn’t get much sleep last night.”
Derek said the last part with a wicked smile aimed at Stiles.
“You are evil, and just for that I’m going to go take a nap and get the bed all full of love stink.”
Derek snorted, “As if it wasn’t already. We’re washing the sheets tomorrow.”
“You can’t tell me what to do!” Stiles joked and ran off to sleep.
He had every intention of loving himself up just to drive Derek nuts since he knew the smell would travel down to him, but his pillow was just so soft and the blankets were so snugly that he drifted off. When he woke up it was already dark outside. He changed into his warmest set of jeans and layered up for the night. The January run had been a challenge to not get frostbite, this time he was ready to do battle with the elements.
Standing in the living room was Sam all cozied up in a full snowsuit. She looked like a starfish. She could barely move her arms or legs so she had to just waddle from foot to foot to walk.
He chuckled and walked over to her.
“How puffy is Sam?” He held her arms out wide. “Sooooo puffy!” They laughed conspiratorial.
“How puffy is Sammy?” She pulled her arms apart as far as she could. Seeing as how she couldn’t bend her elbows, it was pretty far.
“I hope you two are having fun.” Derek looked like he’d been run ragged, “You have no idea how long it took me to get her into that.”
“I bet it was a while!” He singsonged to Sam. She nodded solemnly and babbled nonsense.
“Is everybody ready?” He looked to Derek who pulled on his leather coat. “All right, let’s get this show on the road!”
Susan and family pulled up in the driveway right around the same times they did. Their boys climbed out of the car in what was not even close to being the correct attire. They were in jeans and shoes with only thin jackets. No gloves, no hats, no scarves.
“Hi Susan. Not running with us tonight?” Stiles asked politely. He even gave her a mostly genuine smile and everything. She scowled back at him.
It must be in the Hale genes.
“I’m not having my boys participate in a barbaric ritual involving their naked grandmother.” She whispered naked like it was a cuss word.
“Maybe if you ask she’ll wear a top until she’s in wolf form?”
“Maybe raising my children is my problem and you can just raise yours like a filthy animal, how about that?”
“Susie, chill.” John had one boy under his arm and the other holding his hand. “He was just being nice. Stiles, we don’t let the boys participate for a lot of reasons, but thanks for trying.”
“Sorry John, didn’t mean to intrude.” It was sincere, since it was John he was apologizing to. Stiles wasn’t sure that calling Sam a filthy animal was something he was willing to look past with Susan. Ever.
“Right on time!” Laura called from the doorway. “In honor of the itty bitty humans we’re eating inside tonight!”
“Yes! Praise Allah! I love Jake’s barbecue, but I’m pretty sure I almost died of exposure last time.” Stile’s was greeted with a warm wall of air when he opened the front door. The smell of homemade pasta sauce wafted over to him and rumbled his stomach.
“We’re pretending to be Italian tonight.” Jake said as a greeting. “I even made the butter from scratch myself.”
“Yeah, and he’s only told us that about 50 bagillion times.” Cora called from the couch. She was engrossed in her Nintendo DS.
“When you churn butter with herbs your own damn self I’ll let you brag about it as much as you want to.” He wrapped an arm around his youngest daughter’s head and proceeded to give her a noogie. She squirmed around and tickled him back.
Stiles fucking loved Hale family dinners.
Talia, barefoot and regal, walked into the room with her signature gentle smile. “Hello darlings.” She gave Derek a kiss on the forehead and Stiles a big hug including Sam still all bundled up.
It must have been hell getting Sam into her snowsuit, because getting her out of it took almost half and hour and she needed a change as soon as it was off. They joined the family at the table.
“Where are Peter and Marie?” Derek asked. Stiles had noticed their absence but was afraid that if he asked someone might call Peter to see if he was coming over. If there was any chance of a Peter free run Stiles was going to take it.
“I haven’t heard from them, but it’s not unusual for them to miss with no notice.” Talia set a big bowl of cesar salad on the table.
There was a lot of talking and joking and laughter all around while they ate. There was an epic thumb war over who would get to eat the last of the garlic bread between Derek and his sisters (and yes, homemade butter really did make it taste better) that Cora won. Stiles had never seen a three person thumb wrestle before. Sam coated herself, her place mat and the wall in sauce with a flourish and left Stiles mortified that his kid was the biggest mess.
It was a great time. They were loading the dishes into the washer and clearing up for dessert when a key could be heard turning in the lock. Stiles looked up, startled, but Talia quickly assured him that she’d recognize Peter’s gait from a mile away.
In a rush the room was empty of everyone but Stiles and the kids. He toweled off his hands.
Peter was covered in blood. It was so thick into his clothes that they clung to his body, wet and tacky. His shoes squished with it. Talia was cradling his head into her shoulder.
“The Alpha Pack, they killed Marie.” Peter sobbed into his sister.
Stiles blood froze in sticking icicles in his blood. John was already running the kids upstairs. Stiles picked up Sam and foisted her into John’s arms as he went.
“They’re in the backyard.” Laura hissed and popped her claws. The rest of the clan followed suit. Talia, back ramrod straight, walked calmly to the front of the pack and they fell in line behind her.
Derek dug a hand into Stiles arm. “Stiles, stay here. Protect Sam.”
He shook Derek’s hand off and stood side by side with them as they marched to the sliding glass door. The wolves didn’t even notice the bite of the wind as they stepped outside, but Stiles felt it in his bones. The entire Alpha Pack, eyes glowing red, formed a semi circle around their psychotic leader.
“Talia, so good to see you again! We were in the neighborhood and decided to say hello.”
Something was off. It gnawed at the back of Stiles’ mind. The twins were standing on the lawn with the weird chick on their left. The large man was not among them.
“One of my pack is dead.” Talia’s shift was subtle, slow. Her hair and nails grew longer in centimeters, showing her control. “I’ve been challenged before, Deucalion. Care to guess how many challengers have survived?”
Deucalion chuckled and took off his sunglasses. “None of those challengers were the Demon Wolf.”
When the words left his mouth Stiles felt like he could see them in the air. He watched it crystallize into solid truth. In that instant he was sure that it wasn't just a nickname. Lurking behind those dead eyes were the shadows of demons.
“Do humans really count as part of a pack? And besides, I’m not the one who killed her.”
Stiles caught the movement, just out of the corner of his eye. Peter who had been hunched over in his grief reared up to his full height and brought back one clawed hand to strike. He was standing right behind Talia, talons aimed at her throat, eyes glowing bright red.
Time slowed into a thick molasses. Stiles drew a breath to yell at Talia, scream that Peter was coming for her. Derek heard Stiles’ intake and glanced back at him. He followed Stiles gaze to Peter and lunged at his uncle. He caught Peter’s arm with two hands just as one nail sliced into the back of Talia’s neck an inch from her spine.
Stiles closed his eyes and asked the Goddess to bring MeeMee.
In the grass in front of him, a battle began. Laura and the female alpha were locked into their own fight. Punches and kicks were interspersed with slashes that threw red streaks of blood hot against the white snow. The twins morphed into one franken-monster that easily tossed Cora into a pine tree. She was buried in the snow that shook off its branches. Susan barreled into the side of them and took them off their feet.
“Peter! What are you doing? They killed Marie!” Derek shouted at Peter while avoiding a blow to the chest.
“No, I killed her.” Peter smiled as he said it. “First I had to kill Ennis. Can’t be part of an Alpha Pack without being an alpha. Now I just have to kill off the rest of you!” Peter roared and caught Derek in the back with his nails. He hoisted Derek into the air on the edge of his claws and howled in victory.
A shotgun blast ripped through the fray and loaded Peter’s chest with holes.
“Get the fuck away from my son.” Jake pumped the rifle and unloaded another shot into Peter’s face. He dropped Derek and ran yelping off into the darkness.
Time sped back up. Stiles was being useless, he needed to do something. He darted into the house and ran for his coat.
“What’s going on?” It was John.
“Just stay inside!” Stiles found the pouch he was looking for hidden in a zippered pocket and rushed back outside.
Talia was holding her own against Deucalion and Jake was pulling Derek toward the deck by his arms. Laura was losing her battle against the toenail chick. The woman executed a vicious spin kick that launched Laura back across the field. Laura landed with a sick limpness. Stiles ran over to her as fast as he could and circled them both in mountain ash.
“Ha. Do you think that will save you? You just made the battle three against two for the others.”
She sauntered over to where Cora was trying to get to her feet in front of the twin monster and backhanded her into a tree.
From out of the forest came MeeMee, hobbling on her cane. The twin beast howled and charged at her. She slid her cane up in her hand so that she was holding the end and swung it like a golf club into its face. The entire massive form stumbled back, dazed.
“Where’s the demon?” She asked Stiles.
Deucalion roared in answer. Talia, using all of her might, grappled Deucalion down to the ground and pinned him by the throat.
MeeMee placed her hands on Deucalion’s shoulders. “Stiles! I can’t do this alone!”
He left the sanctuary of his mountain ash circle and went to her side. She placed his hands on the demon wolf’s neck.
“Whatever happens, you do not move your hands! We do not break contact! From this point forward, there is nothing but you, me, and the demons!”
Stiles nodded and closed his eyes.
They were teeming inside of him. Puddles of inky evil floating around inside of Deucalion’s mind. Clouding it with hate and revenge. One of them opened its mouth showing him gums that dripped with green acid.
Goddess help me. I don’t know what to do.
She must have heard his plea. As soon as he thought it he felt the urge to pull. Like tugging on a rope he set his mind to the idea of grabbing hold and wrenching that sickness towards him. The demon in front of him clawed at Deucalion’s subconscious, trying to find a foothold, but Stiles just pulled harder.
He could feel it slithering up the skin of his arm cold and wet like an ooze. The ooze turned to acid and felt like it was melting his flesh off. He did not relent. He kept tugging and heaving and refusing to give up until the demon couldn’t hold on any longer, and was gone from Deucalion’s soul and inked onto Stiles’ forearm.
“Susan!” His eyes jerked open and he saw John running across the snow with a bat in hand. He turned around and saw the woman charging at him. Stiles watched in horror as John swung the bat and missed when she ducked out of the way. She snarled and bit down hard on his arm.
“NO!” Susan screamed. She grabbed the alpha by her hair and ripped it off her scalps in gaping chunks.
Stiles never released his grip.
He closed his eyes and went back into the internal war he was fighting. MeeMee was taking on a demon that put the one he’d seen in the little boy to shame. It was as tall as a building compared to MeeMee’s short frame in the hellish landscape they were stuck in, but she was conquering it. Inch by inch.
Stiles grabbed hold of another lesser demon and wrenched it up towards him. As soon as it was in his grasp it began whispering vile things. Derek would never love him back. The Hales were using him to get to Sam. His father loathed him and would never want him back.
Rule #1. Never listen.
Stiles grappled until the demon was just a faint memory etched onto his aching skin.
“Oh God! What have I done?”
The Deucalion he saw when he opened his eyes was a new man. True remorse and grief were written all over his face.
“Stop! Stop this! Ethan, Aiden, Kali!”
The alphas were too entrenched to listen. The twin monster was standing over Cora’s prone form. As they went in for the killing strike Talia sprinted up behind them and forced all ten of her claws into the back of its neck. She separated her hands and they separated with her, falling into heaps at her feet.
Susan was not faring any better against Kali. She was sloppy in her moves, driven by hate and revenge for the bite to John’s arm. Kali was able to get Susan into her arms, her claws millimeters away from her jugular.
“Fuck you, Deucalion!” She roared bringing her claws just a hair closer to impaling Susan.
In her anger Kali missed Derek, crawling his way behind her. Derek sliced his claws into her hand, twisted it behind her, and slit her throat from ear to ear.
Derek’s yellow eyes faded into a deep red.
Chapter 22: In the Aftermath
The story has gotten over 1,000 kudos and I just wanted to give a big thank you! I love reading the comments each day and I'm happy that you guys are enjoying the slow build.
So much love,
The red bled out of Derek’s eyes and he fell to his knees. Blood was still pouring in rivets out of his stomach and down his legs onto the snow. Jake rushed to his son’s side to press against his wounds and stem the flow. Deucalion was still just sitting staring blankly into the snow muttering to himself and smelling the carnage in the yard.
“MeeMee!” Stiles cried out. She was in the snow collapsed into a drift.
“Someone, help me get her inside!” Cora blinked her eyes open and moved an inch in his direction before her energy was gone. There were too many people who needed help. Laura was awake inside the mountain ash circle cradling a broken arm and walking with a heavy limp, John was still bleeding out in Susan’s arms, and the twins may have been dead. He viciously hoped that they were.
“We need everyone into the house. Now!” Talia roared it, her voice unnaturally deep. Stiles felt the command reverberate through him. Talia slung MeeMee over her shoulder like she weighed nothing and ran to the house. Stiles was barely on his feet before she was leaping out of the door to help her children make their way indoors. Stiles forced his legs to move one in front of the other until he had shuffled away the mountain ash circle and made his way into the stifling heat of the kitchen.
“Where are the kids? Where are my babies?” Susan sounded frantic. John was pale, but awake and alert.
“I left them upstairs. I left the boys in our room.”
Susan abandoned her husband and fled toward the stairs. Derek was escorted in leaning heavily on his father. Stiles made a move to stand from the chair he had collapsed into, but couldn’t muster the energy to go to his partner. Luckily, Derek came to him. He was laid out across the kitchen table so all Stiles had to do was lean forward to rest his head against Derek’s arm.
One loud horrified scream ripped through the house. Laura and Talia rushed to go see why Susan was making that God awful noise. They were back in the kitchen moments later.
“Peter came back to the house. He has the kids.” Talia was terrified. They’d just been in the battle to the death and she hadn’t looked a fraction as afraid as she did in that moment.
“Sam.” Derek moaned and rolled to get off the table. Stiles put a hand on his chest to keep him in place.
“No, Sam hides. She would have hidden.” He sounded hysterical, even to his own ears.
“She’s a baby, Stiles!” Laura exploded. “They don’t know how to hide! A three year old hides by covering their eyes with their hands! They think that if they can’t see someone, then that person can’t see them.” She was crying. Big fat tears of emotional and physical exhaustion.
“Then, why…” Derek groaned. “Why the diaper bag?”
“Because it smelled like us. It smelled like home.” Stiles was flush with adrenaline that helped him force each muscle one at a time to get him off that chair and carry him up to the room he and Derek had slept in when they’d stayed the night. He tore the decorative pillows off the frame and hidden beneath them was Sam.
His baby girl had exhausted herself running that afternoon, and had slept through the whole damn thing.
Down the hall Stiles could see where Peter had clawed through a door to get to the twins. His stomach lurched when he saw scratch marks on the walls where the boys tried to cling on. Stiles mustered up just enough energy to pick Sam up and carry her back down to the family. He placed her on the table next to Derek so that he could smell her while Jake sewed his son’s wounds shut with a needle and thread.
Stiles closed his eyes for just a second and when he opened them three hours had gone by and the room was filled with shouting and crying.
“I”LL FUCKING KILL HIM!” Laura was being held back by both her parents and her sister as she tried to scratch her way to Deucalion. He was just sitting on the floor, dead eyes blankly looking at nothing out in the distance.
Sam was awake and crying, curled into Derek’s chest. He was trying to shush her but he winced and flinched with every movement.
“Laura, stop. He was possessed.” Stiles said weakly.
“POSSESSED? IS THIS 15TH CENTURY FRANCE? NO? THEN HE WASN’T FUCKING POSSESSED!”
She twisted and tried to tear her way out of the safety hold they had on her. Deucalion turned his face toward the sound of Laura’s struggle. He welcomed her with open arms.
“Laura!” Stiles peeled off his shirt to reveal the black expanse crossing its way up his left arm and up onto his shoulder. It was still moving. They still roiled under his skin bubbling up and down in waves trying to rip their way out to the freedom of a new host.
“What the fuck is that?” She’d stopped struggling. Now Stiles was the center of attention.
“Demons. I took three out of him. MeeMee got a big one. A revenge demon. Where is she? Where’s MeeMee?”
Talia released her grip on Laura and walked over to Stiles. She slowly placed a hand over one throbbing span of skin and brushed her fingers down it. The demons were tamed by her touch and finally went flat.
“Oh sweetie. What have you done?”
“I did what I had to. Where is MeeMee?”
“She’s on the couch, in the living room.”
Talia led him to where she was lying. “Her breathing and heartbeat are stable, but we haven’t been able to wake her up.”
There was no color in MeeMee’s cheeks, no light in her features. Stiles took one of her hands in his and closed his eyes. He felt into her presence. MeeMee was definitely still there, alive and kicking, but the pull had taken a lot out of her. She just needed a few days of rest and she’d be back on her feet.
“She doesn’t need your help. The pack does.” Susan had come into the room and was throwing venom in her words.
“What do you want me to do? She’s the healer. Not me.”
“Bullshit!” Susan screamed. “She’s been training you! My husband was bitten! Do you not get that? He could be dying! And my twins, my babies,” her voice cracked with pain, “are gone, and no one is looking for them because we are here trying to get everyone better. So you are going to go back into that fucking kitchen and you are going to make sure that my husband is going to make it through the night!”
“Yeah, of course.” Stiles walked up to her and gathered her into a hug she wasn’t expecting. “We’ll find them. I promise on my life we’ll find them.”
He let her go before he got a response. John was sitting, pale and shaky, at the head of the table Derek was laid out on.
“How are you feeling?” He took John’s pulse, just like he would if it was a kid.
“Sore, shaky, feverish, shitty.”
“You look like it.” They shared a small laugh.
Stiles looked into John. He searched in every crevasse and cave. Every hidey-hole and spot he could find. Finally, in the very way back of John's mind, Stiles found a wolf lurking. It was stretching its paws, yawning with big powerful teeth and shaking itself awake.
“Okay, okay.” Stiles smiled. “You’re going to have a rough night ahead of you, but you’ll be running moons with us in no time.”
Susan rushed forward, “Thank you! Oh thank you.” She kissed her husband and smiled up at him. She grabbed Stiles hand and gave it a firm squeeze. “Thank you.”
“I’m really, sincerely very glad that John’s going to be okay, but why the fuck is this pile of puke still here?” Laura was pointing at Deucalion, still sitting patiently on the floor.
Cora, who had gone to the restroom, walked right over and kicked him across the jaw. Blood splattered out of his mouth and across the wall.
“Cora, that was just rude. You know one of us is going to have to clean that up.” Jake grumbled, looking secretly pleased.
“You should kill me. Talia, you don’t know how many families there have been. I’m not sure I know. I’ve only been awake for snippets. Tiny pieces of time here and there. Since that night when the Argents attacked.”
“Hold up, the Argents?” Stiles asked.
“What do you know about them?” Derek sat up. Pained huffs of breath escaped out of him. Stiles was by his side, picking up Sam and holding her between them before Derek was fully up.
“The woman Scott cheated on me with. Her name was Allison Argent.”
“Gerard’s granddaughter.” Deucalion growled.
Talia backhanded him across the face. “Your need for revenge did this! You left room for the demons in your soul with your thoughts! From this point forward you will not be a part of this. Tell us everything you know and then I may be willing to allow you to atone for what you have done.”
She knelt down and dragged his face close to hers, “There are things far worse than death and I will do all of them to you if you let this continue.”
“There are more of them.” He took a shuddering breath. “More demons. I had so many. They would come and go. I know that some of them left me, went into others along the way. I don’t know where they were headed. So much of my memory is not my own.”
“There has to be a way to find out.” Stiles spoke up. He was bouncing Sam on his hip. Frantic upset noises kept tumbling from her mouth. He wanted to take her home and wrap her in Mountain ash and never leave the house again, but there was work to be done.
“We’re just going to have to do this old school. Where are you staying? Where was the secret alpha hideout or cave or whatever?”
“It was a hotel room.” Deucalion scoffed. “You don’t really think we hide out in caves, do you?”
“You don’t really expect me to believe you’re not an incompetent douche bag, do you?”
“Stiles, not helpful.” Talia scolded.
Stiles was willing to ignore her. “You’ve been going from town to town. That means they probably picked out the next town already. You might already have a room booked, ready for the next invasion.”
“I know where the hotel room is. I can take you there.”
“Alright. Let’s go.”
“Stiles, no.” Derek pulled him in close. “Too dangerous. We can’t trust him.”
“We have to.” Talia said. “But not tonight. Tonight we rest. I’ll make sure Deucalion is secure. In the morning we’ll go looking for Peter and the demons, but we need to regroup and heal.”
“But my boys!” Susan cried. “I have to find them.”
“Susie, I know it hurts, but if Peter wanted to kill them, we would have found bodies. He’s going to keep them alive to use them against us. He’s playing a game with us, and unfortunately, the ball is in his court.”
Chapter 23: Following demons all the way home.
That night could not have been different from the week before. Stiles, Derek, and Sam were sleeping in the same room again, but there was this thick feeling of dread laying over all of them. Derek’s entire abdomen was swathed in bandages trying to keep him from leaking blood onto the sheets.
Stiles didn’t want Sam to be one of those kids who slept in her parent’s bed so she never learned to sleep on her own, but he couldn’t set her in the crib. The mattress was just big enough to fit her in the middle with one Dad on either side of her.
Stiles didn’t know it was possible to be too exhausted to sleep. The house was quiet and his body was beyond movement, but just as he would slip into sleep he would jerk awake. Images of the gore flashed behind his eyelids and he would snap into full alertness until he could see and touch Sam and Derek. At least they seemed capable of getting some rest.
He flitted in and out of consciousness until the morning light filtered into the room. Stiles crawled out of bed as soon as was socially acceptable. He went over to Derek’s side and peeled off one side of the tape to peek under the bandage. Underneath was nothing but the smooth hard skin he was used to. Stiles ran his hand over it just to make sure it wasn’t an illusion.
“Not with Sam here.” Derek grumbled still half asleep.
“I wasn’t hitting on you. Not that I wouldn’t, but I’d pass out before either of us got off. Plus, as previously stated, Sam’s here. I was just checking your stomach. I am absurdly pleased to tell you that it looks like nothing even happened.”
“Oh Shit! You’re an alpha now!” Stiles took a step back and appraised Derek. “At least now we know who Sam’s alpha is going to be.”
Derek sat up with ease and removed the rest of the bandaging. “I’ve never wanted to be an alpha. I’ve never trained for it. It’s supposed to be Laura.”
“What does it change? What’s different?”
Derek kissed Stiles. “Everything.” He said and walked into the bathroom.
Stiles didn’t bother putting on real clothes to go downstairs. They could deal with pajamas. Jake was cooking eggs. All of his girls were hovering around him. Cora was hugged into his side while Laura sat precariously on the counter top. Talia was at the table staring down Deucalion who was sitting with a stillness that Stiles didn’t think living people were capable of.
“Where are we starting today?” Susan came out of the living room with John right behind her.
“We,” Talia emphasized “aren’t starting anywhere.”
Susan slammed her hands down on the table. “Talia, this is my fucking fight and I will not be put aside so that you can-”
“That’s enough Susan! You’re husband is a new wolf. He is going to be volatile and he’s going to need an anchor. You’re the best qualified. Who do you want to stay here with him? No one? Do you want us to take him out on the town with us on a full moon night?”
Susan snarled and calmed herself down. “Fine. But I will not be kept out of the loop. Don’t keep information from me and tell me it’s for my own good.”
“I feel fine.” John piped up. “I don’t think I need a babysitter.”
“You’re wrong.” Susan sniped at him.
“Hey, I’m just trying to help!” His eyes twitched yellow and his teeth came out. For a second he looked murderous. The color faded and his eyes widened. “Okay, so I need a babysitter. And maybe a tranquilizer?”
“Stiles and I will go.” Derek said from the doorway.
“This doesn’t involve your pack.” Talia said sternly.
“Bullshit.” MeeMee scoffed. Stiles was relived to see her up and about even if she was moving slow that morning. Even with the limp and the cane she was usually spry and light on her feet. She had the hunched over back of a person 20 years older.
“Stiles was raised by a sheriff and I’ll bet you all of the bacon in your house that he’s been breaking into schools and chasing down leads for as long as he’s been walking. And I’m serious about that bacon. Literally all of it.”
Laura brought her a plate and had the audacity to try and keep a piece for herself. MeeMee smacked her hand hard enough to make her drop the strip and then endured MeeMee’s glare while she ate it.
“That’s not inaccurate.” Stiles admitted.
“No shit. Stiles should be the one going out. Talia, you have a house full of shit to deal with and three possible enemy wolves under your roof. Deucalion’s all quiet and remorseful, but how about those twins in your basement? Derek may be an alpha with a pack of his own, but he’s still your god damned son. Give your self a little credit. You didn’t fuck your kids up.”
Talia nodded. “Derek,” She handed him a paper. “This is everything Deucalion could tell us.”
Stiles snatched it out of his hand and read it. “This is just a room number and the hotel cross streets. Do you have a laptop? Does it have a password? How about a cellphone? Credit cards? You might as well just hand over your wallet now.”
“Ha!” MeeMee laughed through her food. “That’s why we send Stiles.”
“And Sam.” Stiles said firmly, “We’re one unit from this moment on.”
“Put on real pants and we’ll get started.” Derek and his mother exchanged a look full of unspoken words as Stiles took Sam out of the room to get dressed.
“Here we are, Hotel Utica. Narcissistic Ass had to pick one of the more expensive hotels in town.”
The hotel was tall and well maintained. It had stripes of color running down it in fresh coats of paint. It was a far cry from the motel Stiles had stayed in. Their little family looked out of place, but they already had their key card. They kept to themselves and headed straight to the elevator. Sam insisted that she be able to press the button, and then yelped when it started moving. Stiles always forgot there were little things Sam had never done before.
“This probably isn’t the best time to ask, but why did MeeMee have to talk your mom into trusting you? She called you an alpha of your own pack. What does that have to do with anything?”
A ding sounded and they stepped off onto their floor. “My family will always be my family, but there’s something about being an alpha. It makes you want your own territory. Every time Mom says something about what we should do or need to do it makes my skin twitch. There can’t be two alphas in one pack without violence. I’ll be fine for a while, but soon I’m going to need to start having runs on my own or with only you and Sam.”
They arrived at the room and on the first try the light turned green and they were allowed access.
“A suite? Seriously?” There was a sitting area removed from where the king sized bed was. “They have a whirlpool tub! Where do they get their money from? Do they hire out for the mob?”
Sam was having a grand old time jumping from chair to couch to a new chair and back. It was a bad idea to let her keep going because she’d learn that jumping on furniture was okay, but if anything broke the werewolves would have to pay for it on their card. Stiles weighed the pros and cons and settled on not letting his kid be an asshole and set her up for timeout in a corner.
“Found the laptop.” Derek brought Stiles a shiny new Mac. He simultaneously was filled with envy and had a small nerdgasm.
“I’m stealing his credit card and calling it reparations. And look at this! Gorgeous computer, no password. What the fuck.”
Of course a man with no password also did not care about clearing his browser history. It was all very normal except for the distinct lack of porn, which as far as Stiles was concerned was odd. What he did find made his stomach turn over. He swallowed down excess bile in his throat.
“Aw fuck.” He couldn’t hold it down. Stiles made a dash for the bathroom and was ill all over that whirlpool tub.
Derek stalked in after him.
“Don’t let Sam see.”
Derek shooed her away and rubbed at Stiles back until the heaves subsided. “What was it?”
“I found a search for houses to rent. They were looking in Beacon Hills.”
They brought everything back to the Hale house and all of the adults just sat around drinking coffee and not speaking while Sam ran around the chairs and climbed into laps to babble at whoever her target was.
“They aren’t our problem.” Susan broke the silence. “I’m not a demon expert, but they’ve been around for a long time. One or two of them are headed to a town none of us care about anymore. Boo fucking hoo. A few people will lie or steal or kill. Our priority isn’t with them, it’s with Peter.”
“My Dad lives there. I care about that town.” No one even acknowledged that Stiles spoke.
“And what if Peter is possessed?” Laura interjected. “What if Peter and the demons are the same thing? He killed Marie, Susan. She was the only person he even tried to be nice to. Even if he was dumb enough to accept the deal with the Alpha Pack-”
“It wasn’t a terrible idea.” Deucalion said.
“Shut the fuck up before I remove your jaw so you can’t speak at all. Even if he accepted the moronic idea that killing your pack made you stronger, which it clearly doesn’t because my Mom beat all your asses down, he never would have hurt her first. He would way rather rip Stiles’ head off, or John’s.”
“Thanks for that. Appreciate it.” Stiles saluted her.
“Don’t hate just because I’m right.”
“Laura, referencing Stiles was unnecessary.” Talia admonished.
“Derek, I think you and Stiles should move back to Beacon Hills while the rest of us stay here.”
“NO!” Stiles flailed his arms and almost tipped over backward in his chair. “Veto! I changed my mind. I don’t care. Let that town burn. Problem solved.”
“Stiles,” Talia sighed exasperated. “We don’t want the demon to know that we’re aware of its presence. Think about it. You and Derek have the perfect excuse to move back there. Your father’s in town. Just tell him that you’ve been thinking about moving back for a while, and he tipped the scales.”
“There is one huge fatal flaw with that plan. I’d actually have to live in Beacon Hills.”
“And what if Peter’s there? With my children?” Susan whispered.
“This is Stiles’ decision. If he allows it, we’ll go. He says no and we’re staying right here.” Derek was commanding in that same way Talia was when she meant business.
They all stared down Stiles. “Aw dammit. Fine. Back to that God Forsaken Hellhole.”
Chapter 24: Back to Beacon Hills
“I can’t. I can’t fucking do this.” Stiles was having a panic attack on the side of the road in front of a sign that said “Welcome to Beacon Hills.”
It had been a hellish and very very short two weeks. Once the proclamation had been made that it was back to California for Stiles and Family they’d gone into a tizzy trying to get everything ready for the move. They’d packed up the entire townhouse, Derek applied for a job at a community college in town, and Stiles found a space to rent. He was going to try and go all ‘Practical Magic’ and try to sell the ointments and rubs and peels that MeeMee taught him to make.
He’ll cheat on you. He hasn’t even said he loves you. Are you even an exclusive couple? I don’t remember hearing that conversation.
And as a special added bonus to the fun of moving across country to a town he hated, the demons plastered across his body were murmuring directly into his brain. MeeMee had warned him that they would. She’d sat him down and explained that the first few were always the worst. They saw everything he saw, knew what he knew, and they would use it all against him. Once there were enough of them they'd drown each other out, but for now he could hear every vile idea they spewed out.
It didn’t help that his brain, his guts, and the demons all agreed on exactly one subject. None of them wanted to go to Beacon Hills.
Hence the hyperventilating breakdown in front of the city limits.
“Stiles, you’re okay. We’re going to be okay.”
Derek was chasing after Stiles as he walked farther away from the sign and the town.
“No. Not okay. We can still turn back. I don’t see any demons? You see any? No? Okay. We’ll just turn around and drive right back home. We’ll go to the townhouse where Sam learned how to smile and crawl and walk and she’ll grow up there.”
They’ll laugh at you when Derek leaves. All of those people who turned on you before will turn on you again when he finds someone better than you.
Stiles went from short of breath to out of breath. His lungs burned with want of air that he couldn’t seem to get into them. He sat down and put his head between his legs.
“Dada?” Sam toddled over to them.
“How’d you get out?” Derek asked and picked her up to run her back to the car.
While Derek got her resituated Stiles did his best to chill the fuck out. Susan’s twins were still missing, and they hadn’t seen hide nor hair of Peter. Stiles didn’t like Susan, but he couldn’t fathom being a parent without a kid. That was the other reason why he agreed to this disastrous plan. Now that he had a kid he could see how much it must hurt his Dad to be without him.
“Better?” Derek was back with him.
“Better, but not good.” With a helping hand he made it back to his feet. “This may sound weird and out of the blue, but you’re not allowed to see other people. I mean, I’m not either, but I’m like monogamous in my DNA.”
Derek looked into Stiles’ eyes. “Wolves mate for life.”
“You’ve had girlfriends and boyfriends. I call bullshit.”
“Those were flings. Not mates.” Stiles was treated to a deep kiss.
Stiles caught his breath when they broke apart. “You know I’m going to freak out approximately a thousand more times before we get to the house.”
“I promise to still respect you when we get there.”
“PAPA!” Sam wailed from the car.
They hurried back to their cranky kid and entered the city limits. Stiles only had three half panic attacks before they got to the house. Sam was a lot happier than her Dad at arriving at her new home. It was a small house they were renting down the street from the Veterinary Clinic. It was a three bedroom house with two bedrooms upstairs and one downstairs. Stiles already knew it was going to be a battle over where to put Sam.
Stiles would want her nearby in case of evil, Derek would want her farther away in case of sexytimes. They both made pretty strong arguments.
Sam loved the staircase. She climbed to the top of it and then thumped her way down on her bottom. It turned out to be really helpful because she repeated the action for the two hours it took them to empty out the U-Haul. Having the couch and table set up loosened something in Stiles’ chest. Sam learned to walk in the townhouse, but she walked from the couch to the table, and they were still there.
When things were all in place Stiles felt like maybe it could be a home to him someday.
When there was a knock at the door all those good feelings evaporated into a new drench of panic. Stile picked Sam up off the stairs and retreated to the kitchen while Derek went to the door.
“Oh! Hi! You must be Derek. I’ve heard so much about you. I’m Melissa McCall.”
“Melissa?” With the all clear Stiles turned the corner and saw his surrogate mother looking in at him holding a plate of cookies. She was dressed in her flowery scrubs that he remembered so well.
He raised a suspicious eyebrow. “Raisin or chocolate chip?
“Who do you take me for?” She peeled back saran wrap to expose mountains of chocolate chips, the good square kind.
He pulled her in for a hug, a real one. Full lean in and squeeze. It felt good.
“And this must be Sam.”
Sam was sniffing at the cookies with interest. Before Stiles could get a hand back around she’d grabbed one and put it in her mouth. Her eyes went real wide and she vibrated around.
Stiles sighed. “I wondered when this day would come.”
“I’m sorry, was it rude of me to show up the day you moved back?” Melissa was already backing out of the foyer.
“No, not you. This is the first time Sam has ever had a cookie or chocolate.”
Sam still had most of her first one in her hand and was already reaching out for more.
“Nope. You get one Mama McCall cookie, the rest belong to me. I earned them.”
Stiles picked the plate up and raised them way over his head. Sam tried to one hand climb her way up him.
“I’ve got them.” Derek swooped the plate away. Sam let big fake tears trail down her cheeks.
“You want to come on in?” Stiles opened the door a bit wider.
Melissa waved him off. “I just wanted to stop by and say hello, and maybe see Sam. Your father has been showing her picture to everybody. I actually caught him showing his cellphone to a drunk he brought in to the hospital for detox.”
“Well thanks for stopping by. I’m sure whatever cookies I can get away from Sam will be delicious.”
“Cookie!” Sam managed to cheer and cry at the same time.
“Thanks for having me.” She gathered Stiles close for another hug. “If Scott says anything to you I will personally beat the shit out of him for you.”
“Yeah, apparently I didn’t introduce Derek very well. I’m covered on that front.”
One last wave and she was gone.
“Is that what it’s going to be like here?” Derek was all rumbly, and not in the way Stiles liked. “Are we going to get a billion people welcoming you back?”
“You are overestimating my appeal. The two people who will care are my Dad and Melissa, so I think we got it out of the way.”
It turned out that was wishful thinking. The anonymity that Stiles had clung to like a blanket in Utica was stripped away leaving him exposed. In New York he had the chance to be anyone. Living there hadn’t changed him, but he hadn’t been chained down by the impression people had of him. In Beacon Hills he was followed around by the memory of an awkward clumsy teenager and a messy divorce.
Two lights in the kitchen were burned out, so he’d gone to get bulbs. No less than ten people had said hello to him. One old lady had even said there was no shame in having to move back in with your parents. He’d tried to explain that he was living on his own, but she’d just patted his cheek and said that it would all work out.
Stiles let the door slam open when he got back. “Executive decision. Let’s move to Showten Falls. It’s only twenty minutes away, it has a very nice school district, or so I’ve heard, and none of them know us. Sounds like heaven.” Stiles laid all his bags down on the table.
“I know how much you hate packing, and if you try and make me move again I will empty every box just to make you wrap it all up again.”
Derek was peeling an orange and rubbing the skin on a tennis ball.
“Is this a housewarming ritual that I’m not familiar with or…?”
Derek tossed the ball in the air a few times. “Sam isn’t familiar with the layout yet. I thought it would be a good time to teach her to hunt by scent, but I need your help.”
Stiles held onto Sam and ‘together’ they counted to twenty while Derek left with the tennis ball. He was back with them by the time they hit 18.
Derek held up the orange for Sam to sniff. “Can you go find this Sammy? Can you go get the ball?”
Stiles sat her down on the floor where she just went over to her toy chest and dumped everything onto the ground so that she could climb in and start piling the toys back in on top of herself.
“Stand aside Papa, this is a job for Dada.”
Stiles snatched up Sam who threw a sock at him in protest and put her in Derek’s hands so that she was facing outward. He took out one of the forbidden cookies and held it up. Suddenly he had all of Sam’s attention.
“You count. I’ll go hide this.”
He broke the cookie into three pieces and put one into the linen closet, one onto the top shelf of a bedroom closet and the third he placed on a napkin on the edge of the bathtub.
With the proper motivation of sugar Sam was able to find all of it in less than three minutes.
Chapter 25: Play Dates
So it might be weird to ask this 25 chapters in but, does anyone want to Beta for this story? I have a few ideas about the direction of this story and I could use some help getting them straight. I also have grammar and spelling issues, but you probably already knew that!
Send me a message if you'd like to take on the job!
“The blue one, or the green one?” Stiles stood in front of the mirror alternating shirts in front of himself while Derek and Sam played on the bed.
“Why are you getting so dressed up for a ‘Mommy and Me’ playdate? I’m not sure you’ve put this much effort into an outfit ever. You even put Sam in a dress.”
He’d forgone Sam’s usual nerdy get ups and put her into a frilly pink dress. He’d even gotten her a purple clip to hold her hair out of her eyes. He was afraid that she wouldn’t like it, but as it turned out Sam was kind of a girly girl. She loved twirling in her dress and staring at herself in the mirror.
“It is not ‘Mommy and Me’, it’s ‘Parents and Us’ but you already knew that, jackass. I have to make a good impression for many reasons. Not the least of which is that it turns out nobody actually knows how to track down demons. All of the demons MeeMee ever pulled out she found through concerned parents. Everybody knows that young Moms are the best source of gossip in this town, so I have to get in good with them.”
“No you don’t.” Derek balanced Sam on his feet up in the air. She held her arms out to whoosh. It was the new game of choice since she’d seen a Superman cartoon.
“You could go and listen in to their vapid nonsense without being friends with them.”
“Nope, the best gossip comes later at private groups and birthdays. Besides, I’m also trying to start up a business that will rely heavily on the underemployed Moms, and if I can come off as a stylish gay man they will think I know about fashion and hair and crap. So, blue or green?”
You don’t know the first thing about running a business. Almost all start ups fail in the first six months. I could help you Stiles. Just release me.
Not today asshole.
“Neither.” Derek bounced Sam down on the bed and went to the closet. He pulled out a tank top and a red button down. “Wear it unbuttoned.”
“I’ll look like I’m going to a night club.”
“Exactly.” Derek winked at him.
“I’m also going to need you to flirt with the moms a little when you come pick us up.”
“Stiles!” Derek claimed he never whined, but that was whining.
“You can flirt, can’t you?”
“Yes, I can flirt. I flirt with you all the time!”
Stiles laughed, “No, you really don’t, and I don’t count. I’m a sure thing. All it takes to get me into your bed is the phrase-, no I’m not sure it would take words. A suggestive eyebrow raise could probably do it.”
“I can flirt, and I’m going to flirt just to prove it.”
The idea of Derek flirting kept him occupied the whole way to the park. It was easy to tell which gaggle of ladies made up the meet-up. They were all in cute sun dresses with their hair and make-up immaculately done despite the fact that all of them had at least one kid under the age of five.
“Okay Sammy. Your job is to be super ridiculously cute. You know I don’t normally support using good looks to get what you want in life, but this could be a life or death situation.” Sam was really good at looking like she understood what he meant. He gave her a fist bump.
Sam did her job perfectly. She giggled and bounced her honey curls and was shy, but not too shy. All of the women were cooing over her and trying to hold her in no time flat. Stiles let her toddle off toward the infant side of the playground where everything was coated in soft foam material and was less than two feet off the ground.
“Oh my gosh! I did not expect a baby that small to be able to walk!” A woman named Courtney gushed. Courtney looked like a southern belle. Her hair turned out at the bottom like she’d stepped out of a 60’s fashion magazine. She was also very careful not to touch Stiles. He was willing to put down money on her thinking she could catch gayness or sin from him.
“How old did you say she was?”
“She’s ten months old.” Stiles made his voice just a hair higher and more feminine. He was going to use gay stereotypes to his full advantage.
“Ten months! She’s so steady. Has she said her first word yet?” Stephanie was Courtney’s second in command. She was a follower wannabe if Stiles had ever seen one.
“Oh yeah! She says all kinds of things. Dada, Papa, cookie.”
“Cookie?” Sam called out across the playground. Stiles really should have known better than to say it in ear shot.
“My eldest, Brandon, I swear cookie was the only word he would say until he was two!” And then Stephanie laughed, like it was hilarious that her kid said a word. Stiles laughed along because that’s what you do to blend in. He already hated these people and wanted to never come back.
“Hi! Sorry I’m late!” The new woman was dressed a little frumpier than the other two. Her make-up was faded and more natural, her dress a little older and more worn. Her baby was maybe three months old and was entirely made up of rolls of baby fat. The other two ladies rolled their eyes a little.
“Wendy, so good to see you. I thought you weren’t coming today?” Courtney’s tone made it clear that not showing up would have been the better choice. Wendy smiled on, oblivious.
“Yeah, Jacob’s rosacea was really acting up this morning, so I didn’t want him out in the sun, but it’s pretty cloudy and he just loves it here.”
“I have a cream for that.” Stiles was maybe a bit too eager. “I make my own all organic creams and ointments, and I have one for rosacea.” He reached into the diaper bag and produced a small mason jar with a white cream.
“Oh, thank you! Are you new here?” Wendy dropped her numerous bags on the ground and swung Jacob onto her lap so she could smother his face in the lotion.
“Yeah, my partner and I just moved here. We both grew up in Beacon Hills but we’ve been in New York for the past few years.”
“OMG! I loooove New York!” Courtney gushed at him. “Why’d you move back?”
“My Dad wanted to spend more time with Sammy.”
“That’s right! You’re the Sheriff’s son!” Courtney’s smile turned predatory. She could see the potential gossip and scandal. Stiles smiled on like he couldn’t practically read her thoughts.
“Oh that is too cute, moving back for your Father.” Stephanie made a little pouty lip which was supposed to be adorable, or something. “And can I just say, your hair is so shiny! What do you use in it?”
Stephanie reached out and carded her hand through his hair. He fought the urge to snap it off.
“Thank you! I make my own shampoo and conditioner. I’m actually opening up a store on Main street.”
“Really.” Courtney’s eyes flashed. “You’ll have to hook us up with some free samples. You know who’s going to love you? Whittey.”
“Oh yeah. Whittey’s husband’s best friend is gay, so she’ll just eat you up.” Stephanie added. As if knowing one gay man meant you were in a special club or something.
“Here she comes now!” Stephanie waved madly.
The woman walking towards him holding an infant was unmistakably Lydia Martin. In true Lydia style she managed to look more casual and more put together than the other ladies. She’d win any beauty contest between the three of us.
“Lyds! Come meet our newest addition!” Courtney called.
“Hey Lydia.” Even now, decades into accepting that women just weren’t for him, he still felt a little flutter in his stomach for her. “I didn’t know you had a baby.”
“I do! This is Olivia.” Stiles took great pleasure in the completely unbiased observation that Sam was way more adorable.
“If I didn’t know any better I’d say that baby looks a heck of a lot like Jackson.”
“Of course he’s Jackson’s!” Stephanie giggled missing the sarcasm completely.
Stiles had to suffer through an hour and half of the most inane conversation he’d ever heard. At least they seemed to accept him into the group. It was at least 40% because Lydia was including him. Her daughter was only two months old and yet Lydia was already queen bee of the play group. She was friendly with Stiles, so the others were too.
It was weird as hell. They’d never been friends, not really. They hovered at the edges of each others friend groups, but they never spent time alone together. Scott had made the lacrosse team senior year despite his asthma because of a huge drug ring scandal and had become frenemies with Jackson. The only reason Lydia knew Stiles existed was because of that casual tie in. He thought she believed his name was, ‘Scott’s other half’.
“So, Wendy,” Stiles had to give Lydia props for trying to include Wendy in the conversation. The other bitches just ignored her. “Jacob seems to be doing a lot better.”
“What do you mean?” Wendy looked over to her son asleep in his stroller.
“He’s usually so red by now.”
“He was red before we even-” Wendy took a good hard look at her son. “Wha- but- he doesn’t even have a rash anymore!” Wendy picked up one arm and then the other twisting them this way and checking his face for any evidence of the redness and peeling that had been there when they arrived.
Stiles smirked. His skin cream was the BOMB!
“Hey babe.” Derek came strolling across the grass like a GQ spread. He was wearing gray slacks and a fitted white T-shirt underneath a billowy white button down shirt. Fixed on his face was the biggest brightest smile Stiles had ever seen.
Derek swooped down and captured Stiles in a kiss that left him breathless.
“Papa! Papa! Papa!”
“Sammy! Sammy! Sammy!” Sam raced to Derek who swung her around in a circle. “Did you have a good day?”
Derek turned to Stiles as he said it, but Sam took it upon herself to answer in gibberish. While she talked Derek let his gaze wander from Stiles’ eyes to his lips. Derek pulled his bottom lip into his mouth to wet it and gave Stiles a downright sinful look while he did it.
“Ahem, ladies, this is Derek.” They were entranced. They all gave weak waves except for Lydia who popped up an appraising eyebrow and turned to give Stiles a ‘well done’ look.
“I hate to cut this short,” Derek put on that wide white smile again, “but I have to steal these two away. It was nice to meet all of you.”
“Thank you.” Stephanie said. Stiles tried to figure out how what that meant, but there was no way of knowing.
They said a few more goodbyes and walked to the Camaro. “I asked you to flirt with the women, not with me.”
Derek shrugged, “I didn’t want to flirt with them.”
Chapter 26: Setting Up
There was a large fatal flaw in my asking for a Beta, namely that AO3 doesn't have a PM system yet, so I don't know how to get in touch with individual people. I also have a tumblr account at my author pseudo, but alas I do not know how to message people there either!
So let's try this again! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know if you're still interested! In thanks of putting up with my craziness I can write up a prompt that's been floating around in your head.
BEEEP. “Hey kiddo, it’s Dad. I’m sorry I missed you. I was wondering if you and Derek needed any help moving in to the house. Melissa said she saw you the other day and people keep saying they’ve seen you around town.*cough*. So, uh, yeah, just thought I’d call and offer a hand in moving. I’d really love to see you and Sam and Derek. Give me a call back. Love ya. Bye.”
It was the fourth time Stiles had listened to the message. Every time he did his head was flooded with the mumbling demons. They told him not to call back. “He deserves to wait on you like you waited on him,” they would whisper. Stiles was trying not to pay attention because hey, if a demon thought it was a good idea it was probably a really terrible idea, but it was tempting. They’d been in Beacon Hills just over a week and between setting up the house and trying to get the business in order he hadn’t had time to see or call his Dad.
Stiles looked over at Sam who was trying very hard to fit a square peg in a round hole. He wouldn’t want Sam to do that to him, so he couldn’t do that to his Dad.
He dialed and hoped that the call would ring right through to voicemail.
“Hey Stiles! It’s good to hear from you! Are you liking being back?”
“Sure. Listen, Derek and I have the house pretty unpacked, but the shop still needs a lot of work. Any chance I could bribe you with some beer and pizza to come help me set up over there?”
It was a blatant lie. If Derek could use full werewolf strength it would take a quarter of the time it would take him and the Sheriff working together. It was all part of a plan. If he asked for his Dad to help him accomplish a task their time together would have a set limit. No need for unnecessary chatter or extra hanging out time. Meet up, set up shop, leave.
“I’d love to! I hear a lot of good chatter about it already.”
Stiles gave himself a pat on the back for that. Wendy had told the entire town about her son’s miraculous recovery thanks to the cream Stiles gave her and Stephanie was going around showing off her new luscious locks thanks to the shampoo sample he gave her. The word of mouth campaign was working perfectly.
“Cool. Okay. Tomorrow at let’s say noon?”
“Definitely. I’ll be there! Love you, kid.”
“Me too. Bye Dad.”
That was one task off of his checklist for the day. Stiles thought that should really just be it. One big phone call and he should just get to spend the rest of the day lounging around in his boxers teaching Sam her colors. He cursed being an adult and instead of slacking off went about researching how to track down demons. Derek taught day classes, night classes, and had office hours on Fridays which meant Stiles had no good excuse to stop until Sam went to bed that night.
The next morning Stiles was actually really nervous to see his Dad.
“Will you please just sit?” Derek pleaded. He was doing chin ups on the door frame and complaining about Stiles pacing around. That was a double standard in Stiles’ humble opinion. For the past few months Stiles had been joining in on Derek’s workout routine to avoid the… tension it usually caused. Not that day. If Stiles sat down he’d crawl out of his skin. Or the demons would. They were taunting him for giving in. They wanted to see his Dad suffer.
“Can’t sit. I’ll explode with nervous energy. Speaking of which, I should get a will. Being surrounded by werewolves has really upped my chances of a premature death. I’m leaving everything to Sam. Except for Sam herself, who I’m leaving to you.”
Derek abruptly stopped. “Really?”
“Duh, dude. Do you think she calls you Papa because she’s mistaking you for the leader of the Smurfs?”
“Well, no. I just thought you’d want your Dad to have her or something.”
“You are adorably ignorant of how much my world revolves around you.”
As Stiles predicted getting the store ready went super slow with his Dad there. Sam had mostly forgotten about the Sheriff, so she was curious about the stranger, but only when his back was turned. She spent most of the afternoon wrapped around Stiles leg with her butt sitting on his shoe so that he’d swing her when he walked.
The store itself was shaping up to be pretty nice. It was painted in baby blue and white with deep mahogany shelves showcasing his concoctions in their mason jars. The packaging was a little hipster, Stiles could admit that, but the pinterest obsessed Moms would love it. He could play an audience.
His favorite feature of the store was the play corner furnished with tiny chairs and tables sanctioned off with a short half wall. The moms could set their kids down while they shopped and Stiles could still watch Sam all day long. It would be just like running the daycare only with the added bonus of hopefully making a better profit. Someday.
“This is really impressive.” His Dad remarked when they ended their day with a pizza break. “I didn’t know you knew how to make this kind of stuff.”
“Picked it up when I worked for MeeMee.” The Sheriff gave him a blank stare. “Sam’s pediatrician. I made all her ointments from scratch. Thought I should give selling them a try.”
“Where’d you get the start up capital? Did you get one of those websites where people donate money?”
His Dad must have gotten more tech-savvy if he knew what crowdfunding was. “Uh, nope. Derek’s family was gracious enough to loan out to me.”
It wasn’t a loan so much as they had thrown the money at him for agreeing to move back in the first place, but he was going to give back every red cent. It was kind of a revelation that the Hales were fucking loaded and could afford to start a thousand new companies. That was no excuse though, Stiles was going to be all kinds of successful and pay them back. With interest.
“Do your parents work for a bank or…?”
“No.” Derek had not warmed up to his Dad. At all. And it was super mean, but watching Derek glare at the Sheriff and bark out curt answers made Stiles want to giggle.
“They invested wisely. They got in on the ground floor of Apple.” That part was actually true.
The three men stood in a circle drinking their beers and watching Sam run around so that they wouldn’t have to interact with each other.
“Thanks for the help, but I think we’ll be good from here.” Stiles said to dismiss his Dad.
“Are you sure? Maybe we could rent a movie and watch it, or I could take you three out for dessert?”
“We’re trying to limit Sam’s sugar.” Derek said tersely.
“A little sugar never hurt a soul. Stiles turned out okay.” He smiled at Stiles.
“And we’ve decided to go a different route.” Derek snatched up Sam and went into the back storage room.
“Aw hell, I’m sorry.” He hung his head.
“Dad, I love you, but questioning parenting choices? Not cool. I think we should call it a night. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
The Sheriff left downtrodden. As he walked out, dejected, Stiles heard the door ring to signal someone else coming in.
“Hello Stiles.” It was Lydia, as perfectly put together as ever. Her daughter was also clean and dressed in her undented unscratched stroller. Sam was smudged in pizza sauce and wearing a shirt that said, “Living Proof Nerds Have Sex”. At least she was still cute as a button… and in the other room so that Lydia couldn’t see what a mess she was.
“The store’s not open yet?” It was the only thing he could think to say.
“I noticed.” She adjusted her tiny purse which no doubt cost thousands of dollars. “I just decided to pop in and invite you and your partner to my birthday dinner. The place looks great, by the way.”
“I’m not sure we’ll be able to make it. What night is it?”
“It’s next Friday, and just so you know, Scott and Allison will be there.”
Stiles blinked at her for a second. “Sounds like it’s going to be a truly great rousing fun night, but Derek teaches on Friday nights and I’d rather be anywhere else on Earth than at dinner with my ex and his new fiance, so I don’t think we can make it.”
Lydia put on a small all knowing smile. “Scott and Allison are exactly the reason why you are going to be there.”
“You’re wrong, but I’m kind of curious. Explain.”
“My birthdays are still the it event of the social season, and you are what the entire town is talking about. You won the breakup. For the first few months we all thought Scott came out on top, but you came back to town with a perfect toddler, a gorgeous man, and you’re about to open a shop that it set to be the biggest thing since we got Krispy Kreme. You’re going to be there to rub it in all their faces, and I will once again have the most talked about party of the year.”
Lydia smiled and bounced her curls as she turned to walk out. “Love the bottles, BTW. I expect at least three for my present.”
She didn’t even wave as she left.
“Who was that?” Derek asked walking back in.
“That was the Head Bitch In Charge, aka Lydia Martin. What are the chances that you can cancel your Friday class?”
Derek’s face was consumed in a scowl. “You’re going to go to dinner with Scott.”
“And Lydia and her husband and a dozen other people. It’s not a candle lit table for two.”
“Is it really that important to you to show off?”
Stiles looked sheepish, “It’s not that important, but it would be super fucking awesome and I’d be really happy.”
Derek rolled his eyes, “I can’t cancel my class completely, but I will end it early.”
“Thank you!” It had always been a dream of his to be invited to a Martin bash. This time he might actually be the guest of choice.
Chapter 27: The Birthday Party
Thanks for all of the offers to Beta! I went with a first come first served method to choose who I went with, but I really appreciate everybody who volunteered time.
This chapter may be kind of controversial, but it's been in my head since chapter 1.
Before the party that night Stiles went through the same green/blue talk he’d had with himself before the play group.
“Green or blue?”
“Reen. Bwoo.” Sam repeated and held up one block with each color.
“Papa is so much better at this than you are.”
Stiles smacked his head against the wall. “The only way you’re getting a sugar fix is if you potty train yourself in the next 45 minutes.”
Sam toddled into the closet and came back out with a stained Doctor Who shirt that Stiles wore all the time and smelled like it needed a wash. She buried her face in it. “Peek a oo!” She giggled.
“I’m going to take that to mean I should wear the blue one. Thank you.”
She cooed sounds that might have been ‘welcome’ and kept playing Peek a boo. She tried very hard to be helpful when Stiles made an attempt to get her hair into ponytails. In the end she just ended up getting them both sticky even though there was nothing sugary or tacky anywhere near them, so Stiles ended up in the green shirt after all.
He had to fight not to get a hard on when he changed his shirt. Before going to work that morning Derek had cornered him in the bathroom and jerked off onto his back. He’d rubbed it into Stiles’ skin and ordered him not to wash it off.
“Why do I have to be jizzy all day?” He’d asked, not unhappy, but puzzled and turned on.
“If you’re going to go see Scott while I’m not there you’re still going to smell like you belong to me.”
“You didn’t make me take a spunk shower before I saw him last time.”
Derek pinned him and sank to his knees to take care of Stiles’ problem, “I wasn’t your alpha then.”
Stiles shuddered. It had been an excellent morning. He could only hope it would be a great night as well.
They arrived to find Courtney and Stephanie already seated at the table with their dude-bro husbands sitting in between them with no children in sight. Lydia and Jackson were sitting opposite a couple Stiles didn’t know. There were two seats left at the table. Right between Lydia and Allison who was sitting next to Scott.
“Happy Birthday.” Stiles handed over a bag with six little bottles of shampoo, lotions, and conditioner.
Stiles chose the obvious spot next to Lydia and got Sam a high chair in between for just a little space. Allison gave him a meek smile when they accidentally met eyes. In classic elementary school style he said hello to everyone except for those two. Stiles was across from Stephanie who was helpfully asking Stiles a thousand questions about his new store.
“Hey everybody!” Danny walked in. Jackson tried to get people to shuffle around so that he could sit next to his friend, but Lydia put her foot down.
“Stiles, do you mind if I steal this spot?”
“Derek will be here around 8, and you’ll have to put up with Sam being in your face until then.” He was trying to be subtle in telling Danny, that no, he wasn’t okay with it. It was too subtle because Danny sat right on down next to Sam. She greeted him with a squeak and some babble. Weirdly Stiles understood that she was telling Danny about her bottle.
They all chatted while ordering. Stiles was subjected to Lydia’s fake laugh in one ear and Allison spreading her feeling of awkwardness across Danny between them. Stiles could hear Scott talking and it was pulling him out of the not exactly stimulating conversation. There was a small reprieve while people ate, then it was back to the awful.
“I’m going to use the restroom.” Scott kissed Allison as he left. As she scooted out her chair her left hand caught the light.
“Allison! That is a beautiful ring! Tell me all about it! How long have the two of you been together?” Courtney asked. Stiles saw her look at him out of the corner of her eye. That bitch knew exactly what she was doing.
“Oh it’s, it’s nothing.” Allison said, hiding her hand in her lap.
“It is not nothing! It’s not everyday a girl gets engaged! Come on, tell me how the two of you met!”
“Well, uh, almost two years ago I moved here, I saw Scott and I thought he was kind of cute. Lydia was the first person I met in town and I asked her if she knew him. She told me that Scott had recently gotten separated and that I should go for it, so I asked him out on a date.”
Stiles was stunned. Why would Lydia have told Allison that Scott was free?
Because she knew you weren’t what he wanted. Scott never loved you.
“Speaking of which,” Danny turned in toward Stiles. “I need your help to settle a bet. Did you and Scott separate in February or March? Lydia and I have been debating it for years. I say March she says February.”
He was trying his best to process, but he felt like his brain was full of mush. “What makes you think we separated in March?”
Lydia was now tuned in. “Scott came to me in February of that year and said the marriage wasn’t working and that he didn’t know what to do. I told him to go talk to you. When I asked in March he said you guys had a long talk and decided to separate but live together, but he didn’t tell me when the talk happened. I say it was right away, but Danny thinks he pussied out for a month. So which was it, February or March?”
“May 24th.” Stiles choked out. Sam was catching on to his distress and began fussing in her seat.
“You mean March.” Allison laughed without any humor. “Scott and I started dating May 5th.”
“Yeah, and we broke up about two weeks later.” He said it slowly.
Allison’s face drained of blood. “But that would mean Scott was still married when he asked me out.”
“What’d I miss?” Scott was all smiles, oblivious to the tension blanketed across the table.
“Scott,” Allison all but suffocated on the word, “When did you and Stiles separate?”
“You know I’m terrible with dates! May twenty-something I think? Right Stiles?”
Allison whimpered. Her chin began to quiver. She covered her mouth with her hand. “Oh God. I think I’m going to be sick.”
“Do you need some water or something?” Scott offered her his glass. He went to put a hand on her and she jerked away.
“You were married when we started dating?”
The whole table was watching in horrified fascination. For Stiles it was a complete revelation. Those months when he thought no one cared he got cheated on, it was only because nobody knew it was cheating. They just thought he was an ex crying because his husband had moved on before he did.
“Yeah, but you knew that. It wasn’t a secret.” Scott said bewildered.
“I thought you were separated!” She screamed. The rest of the restaurant went silent in the wake of the noise.
“I never said that. Why would you think that?” Scott was genuinely puzzled. He went to place his hand on Allison’s back.
“DON’T TOUCH ME!” She bellowed and stormed out. Scott chased after her trying to figure out what went wrong.
“Stiles, I am so sorry.” Lydia looked just as stunned as he felt. “Scott told me you weren’t together.”
“I spent actual months telling you guys he cheated on me.”
“Shit.” Danny looked embarrassed. He was red faced. Courtney, on the other hand, looked like the cat who got the canary.
“This explains a lot of stuff actually.” Once the information sunk in Stiles felt lighter. “Who’s up for some dessert?”
“I am.” Derek said. Stiles had never been so glad to see him. He leaned in to give Stiles a quick peck but he demanded more before he let Derek get back up. “Sorry I’m a little late. Do you mind if I steal this chair?” Danny scooted over, still reeling from what just happened.
Sam looked up at Derek and said, “Woah.”
“What do you mean they didn’t know? How could they not know?”
Dessert hadn’t happened. After the big blowout everyone decided that was pretty much it for the night. The ride home was twenty minutes of Stiles trying to explain to Derek what the fuck had gone down.
“Scott told everybody he broke up with me, but didn’t have the balls to really do it.”
“But how could they not know? You were still living together. I thought you said that you and Scott were still hanging out and going to restaurants the week you caught him with Allison.”
“We were! They must have thought I was just living in ignorance or something.”
As they pulled up the headlights flashed on a figure standing in the driveway. It was Scott. He was wearing the same clothes he had on at the party, but had added the accessory of a bottle of whisky.
“What fresh hell is this?” Stiles couldn’t help but wonder out loud.
“She broke up with me!” Scott yelled when Stiles had one foot out of the car. “Are you fucking happy now? You’ve been here for a week and a half and you’ve already managed to FUCK EVERYTHING UP!”
Derek was out of the car and growling up in Scott’s face. “He fucked up your life? What about what you did to him?”
“Derek, this is isn’t your fight. Also, I don’t want you to end up in jail. Scott, I’ll call you a cab. Sleep it off, we’ll talk in the morning.” Stiles was holding Derek back by the shoulders.
“NO! I’m not going ANYWHERE! This is all your fault!”
That was it, the last straw. Stiles whipped around. “How is it my fault that you FUCKING CHEATED ON ME AFTER TELLING EVERYONE YOU BROKE OFF OUR MARRIAGE? You’re the one who never told Allison that you made her your MISTRESS!”
“SHE WASN’T MY MISTRESS! I LOVE HER AND YOU MADE HER BREAK UP WITH ME!”
“NO DUMBASS! YOU DID THAT ALL BY YOUR FUCKING SELF!” Now Derek was the one holding Stiles back from beating the hell out of Scott. Red and blue lights flashed across the house. Stiles could faintly hear Sam crying in the car.
Stiles Dad stepped out of his cruiser. “Boys, what’s going on out here? I’m getting a lot of noise complaints.”
“Scott never told Allison that we were still together when he started fucking her behind my back. She found out and dumped his sorry ass and now he’s trying to blame me!”
“He did it on purpose! He told her just to make her break up with me.”
The Sheriff got a hard look on his face and pulled out the cuffs. Scott was too busy swaying on his feet glaring at Stiles to notice them until they were clapped on one wrist.
“Wha- I’m not doing anything!”
“I see some public intoxication, domestic disturbance, and a noise violation. You’re going to spend the night in the drunk tank, then I’m going to call your Mom to get you in the morning. The jail time will be the least of your worries.” He tipped his head to Derek and Stiles. “Sorry about this. Goodnight.”
Stiles was left fuming on his driveway.
Chapter 28: The Grand Opening
Spending the night with Derek and Sam cooled Stiles off a little bit and they spent the entire weekend holed up just the three of them. Stiles made phone calls to Laura and Talia to check in. They were still running around town trying to track down Peter and the boys. Every few days they would catch Peter’s scent and get on his trail. Once they were able to follow him all the way to a cabin where they found evidence that the boys had been with him. Susan was losing hope that she was every going to see her boys again.
It made Stiles want to work that much harder to try and find the demons lurking in Beacon Hills. Plus, he was banking on being able to go back to New York in no more than 6 months.
So it was time for Phase 2. Open the shop.
It was 9 o’clock on a Monday, so Stiles didn’t think people were going to pour in, and they didn’t. Until about noon. The first person in the door was Wendy who tried to buy out his entire supply of face cream. He assured her that each tub was enough for at least two weeks so she didn’t need to stock up. With Wendy being such a pleased and loud customer a herd of housewives poured in. The kiddy corner was a big hit with the moms making it a breeze to sell more than he had hoped that day. It made ignoring the demons thankfully easy.
By four they had trickled out leaving only two costumers in the store. Both of them looked painfully lonely and out of place. Stiles recognized both of them from high school but couldn’t put a name to either of them. The girl was wearing a hoodie three sizes too big. Her blond hair hung down in limp greasy waves. Stiles didn’t know if it would be rude to suggest a shampoo and conditioner. She left without saying a word or purchasing anything.
Once she was gone the man, a cherub faced guy, approached the counter. “Hey, do you, umm, do you have a cream that can get rid of bruises? I play a lot of sports and I have some spots I’d like to fade out.”
Stiles put the face together with the police record. Isaac Lahey. His father was an abusive asshole who kept having heart attacks so his adult son was still living with him.
“I think I have something over here.” Stiles helped him pick something up and wrapped it up for him. Isaac thanked him timidly.
“You know, the best treatment for bruises is to stop getting them in the first place.”
Isaac just walked out, head down, shoulders hunched, with the small plastic bag clutched in front of him.
At 5:00 he and Sam were beyond ready to go home. Sam had been bored for the last few hours despite being in a pen full of toys and had been trying to find her way out. She piled up toys to step on to try and climb out. Her structural engineering skills were not up to par yet, so she would just tumble down softly on her stuffed animals then fuss until Stiles came to pick her up and kiss her imaginary boo boos away.
He really needed to hire a few employees so that he wouldn’t have to work all by himself. He’d never have enough time to actually make all shit he was selling.
You can’t afford employees. What money are you going to pay them with? This store can’t even pay for itself or you. I can help you sell more. I can give you all the customers you could ever dream of. You could sell to movie stars.
“Ha! I knew there had to see some celebrities who sold their souls to get where they are! Who demoned up to make it in the big time? It’s Tom Cruise isn’t it.”
“Stiles? Who are you talking to?”
Stiles squawked, slipped, and crashed to the floor. “Derek, I lo-, I appreciate you, but you have to stop creeping up behind me. It’s bad for my health. Physical and mental.”
Sam, after hearing Derek’s arrival, doubled her efforts to break out. With the help of a block she got one good werewolf jump in and she made it just high enough so that she was resting on her belly on top of the wall. She grunted and squirmed until she fell over it onto her back. Stiles expected her to fuss, but she got right up and giggled her way over to Derek.
“Oh you are such a faker! You’ve been crying about tumbling half that height all day! We’ll see if I go help you again.”
Derek was looking around the store until he noticed Stiles' look of ‘WTF?’. “I’m trying to figure out who you were talking to.”
Stiles rolled up his sleeve and pointed to the left side of his arm.
“I’m just going to pretend it’s normal that you talk to tattoos made up of the essence of an evil spirit. I was actually wondering if in celebration of your grand opening you’d like to go to dinner with me.”
“Do you hear that Shortstack?” He poked her in the belly to get her laughing. “Papa’s taking us out on the town tonight.
“Actually I was thinking it would be just the two of us. On a date.”
Stiles kind of reared back a bit. Derek looked shy with a blush creeping its way up his neck. “I’d love to go on a date with you.”
They’d never been out just the two of them before. Stiles was already getting all fluttery in his stomach at the thought that Derek actually wanted to date him.
“Wh- who’s going to watch Sammy?” Stiles threaded his fingers with Derek’s at his side.
“I already asked your Dad if he would watch her. I also tried to explain to him that she hides, but I don’t think he really understands what that means. He said we could drop her off at 7.”
Stiles smiled and moved in just a little closer to Derek, “So you already thought I’d say yes.”
“I hoped so, yeah.”
Stiles gave Derek a kiss that lasted a little too long and they set out for home.
“Yes Dad…… Yes I know you can’t find her, but we told you that was going to happen.” They were standing outside of the fanciest restaurant in town waiting for their names to get called. Stiles was on the phone assuring his father that he hadn’t really lost Sam.
“I know she’s a baby Dad…… I understand that you only turned your back for a second, this is what she does…… She hides. She’s very good at it…… Yeah, I get that the baby book says that children that small don’t know what hiding is or how to do it.”
Derek, the ass, was standing behind Stiles listening in and chuckling into Stiles’ shoulder. Stiles moved the phone away from his ear to nuzzle against Derek.
“Have you checked my old room?… I mean everywhere, even in drawers and things……I’ll wait.”
He rolled his eyes to Derek who just laughed harder. “You found her under a pile of clothes in the closet? Can’t say I’m surprised. Just let her sleep there. If you wake her up she’ll just find someplace new to get into……Mmm hmm. Yep. 11:00. Love you too, bye.”
It took one look at Stiles’ face for Derek’s chuckles to become full belly laughs.
“He was shocked, shocked, that she had actually gone missing. What’s the point of telling him if he’s not going to listen?”
Derek wiped away a tear, “He’s still trying to get on your good side. If he lost your kid it might be a step in the wrong direction.”
“Half the reason he thinks I hate him is because you give him the stink-eye every time you see him.”
“Not on purpose. That’s just what my face looks like when I’m around people I don’t like.”
“Hale. Party of 2?”
They were escorted to a small square table set with flowers and candles in between two chairs at opposite sides. Derek looked at the arrangement, grabbed a chair and moved so that it was next to the other one then sat down. The hostess looked offended, but didn’t say anything. Once she had her back turned Derek started shuffling all the decorations into one corner of the table.
“Did the candles offend you? Were they keeping us apart?”
“The flowers. I can smell them so I won’t be able to smell my food. And I haven’t been fond of candles since the house fire. Why do they sit people across from each other anyway? We’re here to talk to each other, why would I want to be so far apart?”
“You are a secret romantic. You love all this stuff.” A waiter, who was silent like a ninja, took their drink request and vanished into the background only to return minutes later to pour Stiles some wine and take their order. Stiles ordered a steak that cost more than all the food he’d eaten in the last week.
“The other reason I wanted to sit close was so that we could talk about the pack.” Derek kissed Stiles hand and held it in his own on top of the table.
“We’re two thirds of the pack, and Sam’s the other. What’s there to talk about?”
“I know we haven’t identified any demons yet, but trouble is coming to this town, I can feel it. Part of being an Alpha is about protecting my pack. I think I need more people to do that.”
Stiles was taken aback. “You want to bite some people in?”
Derek sighed, “I don’t really want to, but I need to. You are the person who protects Sam, but if you have to do an extraction or exorcism or whatever, that leaves just me and her against whoever else is left. What if there are three of them? Four? We got lucky with Sam last time. I can’t take that chance again.”
“You’re right. You’re absolutely right. Do you know who you’re thinking of bringing in?”
Derek shook his head. “That’s why I’m talking to you. You were able to tell that John could handle the bite. I’m not a part of this town the way your are. I want you to find some candidates and check to see if you think they could survive the transition. I need your help.”
Stiles gulped down his glass of wine and signaled the ninja to pour him some more. It had been so long since he’d had any alcohol that an hour plus four large glasses of wine later he was pretty drunk.
The conversation turned to lighter things as Stiles ate what was possibly the best tasting piece of cow he’d ever had in his mouth. He knew he was making obscene sounds while he ate it based on how Derek fidgeted in his seat.
Stiles was tipsy enough to give Derek sly smiles and slide his hand up Derek’s knee until it was a little higher than it should be in polite company.
“Can we get the check, please?” Derek asked the waiter when he appeared to take away their plates.
The dude just nodded like a total boss and disappeared into the shadows.
“That man is really good at his job. We need to leave him a huge tip. But first, I’m going to hit the restroom before we head home.” He gave Derek a wink and a flutter of his eyelashes.
When he walked to the bathroom someone brushed against him sending a shiver up his spine. He dismissed it. It was probably just cold in the dining room.
Chapter 29: When the kid's away...
This is another one of those chapters that you can skip without missing plot because it is just smut.
Well, the last couple of lines have a little plot, but you'll hear all about it next chapter anyway :)
Stiles was a little handsy on the drive home, but who could blame him? He’d had a really good day. His store had opened and gotten actual customers, his hot partner had taken him out for a great meal with some fantastic wine and their baby girl wasn’t due to be picked up for another 2 hours.
The minute they stepped foot in the house Derek had him pressed against the wall. He was letting his hands roam underneath Stiles’ shirt and beneath the band on his pants. His tongue was licking at Stiles’ lips asking to get inside.
“Hold up, I think I need a shot.” Stiles left a confused Derek in the foyer while he poured himself a shot of vodka and downed it was a cough and an ‘ick’ face.
“Why are you so interested in getting drunk tonight?” Derek asked suspiciously.
“I’m not? Why? Does it seem like I am? Do you think I need to be drunk for something?”
Derek just crossed his arms and let Stiles talk. He knew that if he stood there long enough Stiles would end up accidentally telling him anyway.
“Okay, fine. Yes, I’m getting drunk because I plan on asking you to do something for me, you know, in the boudoir, and I’m nervous about asking so I decided it would be easier to handle the rejection if I was a little inebriated first.”
Derek took the glass out of his hand. “You know that your chances of sex at all go down with every shot you take. I’m not the kind of guy who’s willing to take advantage.”
“I had not considered that.”
“And I can’t imagine what you could ask me to do that I would shoot you down for.” Derek unbuttoned Stiles shirt just far enough to give him space to fold the shirt back to suck at Stiles’ neck underneath.
“You know what? I changed my mind. Let’s just 69 and then have shower sex.”
“Stiles,” Derek kissed up underneath his ear. “I’m not going to say no if you ask.”
“Are you sure? Because Everybody I’ve ever asked has said no. Granted that was one person, but still.”
Derek bit down on Stiles skin making him clutch at Derek’s hair and moan. “You mean there’s something that no one has ever done for you? I could be the first?”
Stiles nodded. Derek crouched down a little making Stiles think he might actually get that 69. He folded Stiles over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and carried him off to the bedroom.
“Hey! Manhandling! That’s sexual harassment!”
Derek set him gently back down on his feet. “You love it when I manhandle you.”
Derek smirked and went back to peeling Stiles shirt off his body. “If you aren’t going to tell me what you want, I’m just going to have to figure it out.”
Derek got Stiles button-down off and pulled his undershirt up off over his head. He trailed his nails down Stiles’ nipples and set his tongue on Stiles’ neck. The combination of the attention and the booze was making Stiles fuzzy with lust.
“It’s nothing up here. I’ve explored all of this area, thoroughly.” Derek whispered against Stiles’ chest as he kissed don it. He backed Stiles up against the bed and pushed his so that he landed back first on the comforter.
“I think it involves something in your pants, so I should just get rid of them.” Derek undid the belt so he could slide Stiles’ pants and boxers off onto the ground.
“I think it would help if you got naked too.” Stiles suggested.
“Yeah?” Derek smiled. He stripped down while Stiles watched and licked his lips.
“Stop that.” Derek scolded. “I’m on a mission and you’re flooding the room with scent again. You know what that does to my concentration.”
“Then maybe you should just fuck me. You know, get it out of your system then you can try this again later.”
Derek’s response was a line of kisses down Stiles’ stomach. He paused and locked eyes with Stiles before swallowing as much of Stiles as he could in one shot. Stiles tried to stifle his groan before he realized that they were in an empty house and let it rumble out from his chest. When Derek pulled back up he flicked his tongue against the head of the cock in his mouth.
“As much fun as that is, we’ve done that before, so I know that’s not what you’re looking for.”
Stiles whined in protest. “It’s sooo what I’m looking for. Warm wet mouths are good.”
Derek turned on that bright white smile, “So it involves mouths, huh?” Derek pretended to think for a minute.
“Maybe you want my mouth here.” Derek sucked one of Stiles balls into his mouth and rolled it around with his tongue.
Stiles was past the point of caring. He really honestly didn’t give a shit what Derek did next as long as it got him off.
“But once again, been there, done that. And I don’t know many people who would turn that down.”
Derek knelt at the end of the bed and put Stiles knees on his shoulders.“I think what you really want is my mouth down here.” Derek opened Stiles up with one hand on either of his cheeks and lapped at the hole he found there.
Stiles thrashed on the bed, his mouth letting out one continuous moan. He’d thought that rimming would be amazing. Now he was certain. He’d asked Scott if he wanted to try it once and gotten an, ‘Ew, that’s disgusting’ in response, so he’d played it off as a joke. But it had always been there in the back of his mind.
He was pretty sure it was the only thing he was going to think about for a week now. It wasn’t just that the sensation was beyond what he could describe, it was that Derek seemed to genuinely love doing it. He was licking around it and into it, growling while he did it. He usually kept his eyes open for blow jobs, but his eyes were screwed tightly shut while he ate Stiles out.
“Oh yes! Oh Fuck Derek! More! Uh. Oh. Uh. Yeah!”
And then Derek added a finger into Stiles. He couldn’t help thrusting down on Derek’s face and shouting as that lovely digit swooped around to his prostate and started massaging it in time with some decadent tongue thrusts.
“Shit! Fuck! DEREK!” Stiles screamed it as his orgasm crashed over him.
Derek roared and got up to his feet. He grabbed Stiles hips and held him up. “Tell me I can fuck you.”
“Yes, Derek. Please.”
Derek took his time thrusting in while Stiles shook his way past the crest. Once he was in, Derek’s pumps were fast and hard. There wasn’t a lot of technique to Derek’s frenzy, but it still managed to keep hitting Stiles on his over sensitive spot. It brought Stiles to another dry climax before Derek unloaded into him.
Stiles was gasped for air on the bed with a huge grin on his face as Derek lowered his legs.
“I think we should get married.” Derek said.
Chapter 30: Freaking Out
Stiles was freaking the fuck out. After Derek’s declaration of intent (Stiles couldn’t call it a proposal.) Stiles had run off to the shower locking the door behind him. He’d had a silent meltdown in there and when he got out he told Derek to go pick up Sam because he was too drunk to drive anyway. He got under the covers and pretended to be asleep when Derek got back.
He didn’t say he wanted to marry you. He said you should get married. It’s an obligation. For tax purposes. He doesn’t want you, he only wants Sam. You’re the consolation prize. I still haven’t heard that ‘I love you’.
It played as a loop in his mind all night long. He was up and out of the house before even Sam was awake. He left a note telling Derek he needed to get to the store early to make some things. Derek had been there when he’d made the first few batches, so he’d see right through the lie. It didn’t matter. Stiles couldn’t think with Derek lying right next to him.
Stiles wandered out into the woods. He needed to get back in touch with his inner emissary. He had some meditation to do. The forest guided Stiles to a clearing that held a huge stump in the ground. There was no mistaking that it was a Nemeton, but it felt corrupted, diseased, and twisted. The feeling was seeping in up through the soles of his feet. The demons pulsed in his cells begging to go down into the poisoned ground.
Stiles toppled over in his haste to back away from it and ended up flat on his back staring up at the canopy.
Flocks of birds chased each other in and out of hiding in the foliage. The birds as a group were picking at one or two members. The weak birds had lost feathers. They were covered in scabs from being worn down. Stiles was going to shout at them, chase them off when a hawk swooped down catching a bird in its talons. The flock rose up and swarmed around the hawk trying to force open its toes to release the trapped bird. A second Hawk appeared and snatched up another small bird. A battle raged between the tiny sparrows and the hawks. Blood and feathers were raining down from the trees.
Stiles blinked and the whole scene was gone. A few birds sat cleaning themselves on branches. Nothing more. Stiles stood up and booked it out of the forest.
He made to the shop in record time. His pants and shirt had to get washed in a sink to get the residue of dirt out of them. As he slowed his racing heart he texted Lydia asking if she wanted to meet up for lunch.
“… then he said, “We should get married.” Not, ‘will you marry me’ or ‘I love you so much I can’t stand the thought of being without you so we should get married.’ Just, ‘we should get married’. Who does that?”
Lydia had arrived promptly at noon with two salads. Stiles flipped the open sign to closed and they headed to the back room.
“Also, I’m sorry we ruined your birthday party.”
Lydia huffed, “Are you kidding? It was epic! What I wanted was a party that the town would talk about. That’s exactly what I got. It’s become a legend. Random people keep asking what really happened. Rumor has it Scott hit on your boytoy, you poured a glass of water over his head, then the two of you had a knife fight.”
“You did. They don’t know Scott spent the next day in jail, but he wasn’t at work so the story is that he was in the hospital. But that is not the point. Why didn’t you say yes and ride off into the sunset?”
Stiles poked at his lettuce with a fork. “Have you ever seen the movie Jerry Maguire?”
Lydia shook her head.
“It’s about a woman and a man working at the same place. He quits to start his own business, she follows him and the woman has this really smart kid-”
Lydia was starting to look annoyed. “Long story short she says, ‘On the surface, everything seems fine. I've got this great guy. And he loves my kid. And he sure does like me a lot.’ That’s what I feel like. What if he isn’t in this for me? What if he’s with me because he wants to be Sam’s Dad?”
Lydia scoffed, “Grow the fuck up, Stiles!”
“Well that seems a little harsh.”
“It’s not. You have a great guy who wants to marry you and take care of you and your baby. Does it really matter if you love him more than he loves you?”
“It does to me. Like a lot. When I was married to Scott I didn’t understand the difference between loving someone and being in love with someone. I was never in love with Scott the way I thought I was, the way I am with Derek. The break up with Scott was bad, but that would destroy me. If Derek doesn’t love me for me I have to get out before I get completely wrecked by this.”
Lydia rolled her eyes. “Allison is taking classes at CBC and she knows people taking Derek’s class. She says that they tell her all the time that the only thing he talks about is you. So the proposal was a little heat of the moment. Pull on your big boy pants and go talk to him.”
He nodded. “You’re right. I need to just sit him down so we can talk this out.”
“Good. Now please tell me you have something that can put babies to sleep?”
Stiles perused his stock. “Is Olivia not sleeping well?”
“She’s cried for three days straight. And I mean straight. No sleep.”
Stiles had been too wrapped up in his own drama to spot the dark blotches under Lydia’s eyes that couldn’t quite get covered by make-up.
“Here’s a camomile rub, but you should really bring her by. I am a master at the art of getting little ones to fall asleep.”
Lydia paid for the tub and packed up her things. “If she doesn’t conk out with this, I’ll definitely consider it.”
With Lydia gone Stiles reopened the store. The few customers that came in kept to themselves, not asking many questions. Stiles was left with too much time to think.
She’s using you. She’ll boss you around and make you her puppet. She and Derek could be sneaking around right now. She’s on her way to your house. They’ll be together in your bed while you sit behind the counter. Aren’t you tired of playing the fool?
“Do you?” An agitated Isaac was standing right in front of Stiles.
“I’m sorry. What?”
“Do you have any more of that lotion?” Isaac was skittish, looking around.
“Yeah, over here.” Stiles pointed him to the display. Stiles gave him a 15% discount.
In the last few minutes before the store closed the bell went off and in walked an older guy, 40s or 50s. Not his typical clientele.
“Welcome. Can I help you find anything?”
The man had this presence, like he knew exactly what he was doing at all times. Situational awareness, like he was prepared for an assault on all fronts. Like a hunter.
“Yes. You can, Mr. Stilinski. I’m looking for wolves.”
“Then you’re looking in the wrong place. There haven’t been wolves in California for decades. I hear that they released some into the wild in Yosemite National Park. How does a vacation sound?”
“My name is Chris Argent.” Stiles spine stiffened. “I’m Allison’s Dad, and she used to have an aunt, named Kate. Kate used to date your boyfriend, then one night there was a fire and she was never heard from again.”
“Cool story. Would you like to buy some hemorrhoid cream for that butthurt you’re carrying around?”
The man smiled at Stiles slowly. It looked unnatural on his face. “No thanks. I was actually thinking of getting myself a pelt. But hunting can be dangerous. I wouldn’t want any innocent people, or children, getting caught in the crossfire. Now, you got Allison to break up with Scott, and I’ve never liked that kid, so I feel I owe you a favor. The Hales are not to be trusted. Get out while you can.”
“How about you get the hell out of my store while you still can? Don’t threaten my family.”
“Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you when everything comes crashing down.” As he said it Chris knocked a few jars onto the floor just to watch them shatter. He walked through the mess on his way out. “Think about it, Stilinski.”
Stiles went home without cleaning it up.
“So here’s the thing,” Stiles was talking before he’d even taken his jacket off. “I want to marry you, like really really want to, but last night was our first date, and you were literally inside me when you said it. Plus you haven’t said some important words to me yet, so I panicked. That happens to me.”
Derek was watching him and nodding along. Sam ran up for some attention from the Dad she hadn’t seen all day.
“I get all of that, but maybe next time you could tell me that instead of making me worry all day that you were going to break up with me?”
“I can’t promise that. I’m a processor, I need time to… process things.”
Derek approached him cautiously. “So now that you’ve processed, and both of us are sober and dressed,” He removed a ring box from his pocket, “what are you thinking?”
“I think a werewolf hunter threatened Sam and I today.” He blurted out.
“WHAT?” Derek stepped close enough for Stiles to reach out and grab the box from his hand. Stiles opened it. Inside was a plain white gold band. He lifted it out of its velvet confinement. There was something inscribed on the inside.
“Is that elvish? Did you get a ring inscribed in elvish for me?”
“Focus Stiles. Do they know about Sam?”
“Uh, no just you. They called Sam an innocent child. What does it say? I’ve been meaning to learn elvish but I haven’t gotten around to it.”
“It means love of my life. Who went after you? Did you get a name? Who was it?”
Stiles shut him up with a kiss.
“You love me.” Stiles said when he pulled back.
Derek gave him another kiss. “Yes, I love you, but we need to stop having two conversations and focus on the important one.”
“You’re right. Forget the hunters, we need to talk about timing. I’m thinking a summer wedding. It’s April, so do you think we could pull this together by July? Sam can totally be the ring bearer.”
Chapter 31: Apology Day
The next morning Stiles spent too much time staring at his new ring and lamenting the fact that he’d left Sam at home the day before during his completely unwarranted breakdown. Starting that day it was three days of no Sam in the shop due to full moon wolfy potential. He consoled himself by spinning his ring, taking it off to look at the inscription, and watching it shine in the sun.
When the bell rang and in walked Scott all Stiles could think was, ‘I hate all doorbells. I should melt them all down into a statue of the word Hate.’
“Dude, I am really not in the mood for a showdown in the middle of my brand new store. Get the fuck out.”
“Please, please Stiles, just give me two minutes.”
Stiles took out his smart phone, set a timer for two minutes, and held it up so that Scott could see him press the start button.
Scott took a deep breath and began talking really fast. “I owe you about a hundred thousand apologies. I thought you knew that our marriage was shit. I thought we were both just avoiding the break up because we were friends. That’s no excuse for cheating on you, but it was love at first sight. That makes me sound like a total dickbag, because I am one. I can’t tell you how many times over the past two years I wanted to call you up and talk about Allison and life, but I couldn’t because I fucked it all up. I should have just told you and we could have broken up before I ever asked Allison out. Also I know her leaving was my fault, I was just hurt… plus drunk. Two minutes is longer than I thought it was.”
“Hey, asshat, I had no idea our relationship was shit until I started dating Derek. Why in the name of the Goddess-”
“Yeah, I worship the Mother Goddess. Problem? Yeah, that’s what I thought. So why the fuck did you never have the urge to confess all this in the TWO MONTHS between when you fucked Allison in our marital bed and when I left?”
Scott sighed, “I didn’t know how to have the talk in a way that would end in us being best friends again.”
Stiles gaped at him, “Fucking really Scott? You ruined your chances the second you chose pussy over me.”
“Hey!” Scott shouted, “don’t talk about Allison like that.”
“Is this the moment to defend her? Are you trying to apologize, or be a douchebag? Because you are succeeding in one category. The other? Not so much.”
“You’re not exactly accepting it either.” Scott pointed out.
“You? Adulterer. Me? Victim. I don’t have to accept it.”
“But you have a really cool job, and partner, and daughter. Can’t we just talk about all those things while playing some X-box?”
Stiles was awestruck. “Is it nice in whatever world you live in? You still haven’t said I’m sorry. You said you owed me apologies, then never offered any. If you fell in love with Allison the first time you saw her, you should have broken it off with me an hour later. When you saw me for the first time a year and a half after I left Beacon Hills, you shouldn’t have insulted me by saying Sam wasn’t mine. Or how about telling me I fucked up your life? Feel like saying sorry for, I don’t know, any of those things?”
“I’m sorry, Stiles.” Scott said it quietly, gutted. “I shouldn’t have married you knowing we made better friends than lovers. I’m sorry I couldn’t work up the nerve to tell you I was unhappy. I’m sorry about how I handled the entire Allison thing, and I’m sorry about every time I’ve seen you since then, because I’ve been all mixed up. I pushed you away, but I still get mad when I see you with Derek… Is that an engagement ring?” Those last few words dripped in disbelief.
“Yeah. There’s one person who actually wants to marry me. Stop sounding so shocked.”
No, he doesn’t.
Stiles mentally kicked at the demons.
“I’m not shocked.” Scott backpedaled. “I really liked being your husband. I just liked being your best friend more. So now can we go play games?”
“I’ll make you a deal. Every time you see me for the next 3 months you have to be nice to me. If you can do that, I will consider asking you to go see a movie with Derek and Sam and I. If you can be nice to them, I’ll think about inviting you over for some GTA.”
Scott smiled, “Dude, how good is the new one? It’s pretty frickin’ cool.”
“The drivers will flip you off if you hold up traffic which is… you know what? Your two minutes are up. Go home, Scott.”
Scott left with a smile, which wasn’t exactly what Stiles wanted, but at least there hadn’t been any screaming or police this time.
He picked up his phone to ask Lydia for a coffee date only to discover she’d beaten him to the punch.
10 minutes after the store closed he was walking into the Beacon Bean. Olivia’s cries could be heard down the street. The store was quickly loosing it’s caffeine seekers to the noise.
Stiles was blindsided by Lydia’s guest who was none other than Scott’s ex-fiance. He’d known in the back of his mind that she was part of a hunting family, but he assumed they hunted evil wolves. Werewolves like Peter and Deucalion who needed to be found and killed. His confrontation with Chris had destroyed that image. Suddenly Allison had the potential to be a very real looming threat.
Lydia thrust Olivia into his hands as soon as she was within arms reach.
“Four days, Stiles. She’s been like this for four days. I took her to the doctor and he didn’t even look at her. Do you know what he said? ‘Babies cry.’ He’s lucky he survived.”
“Let’s see what we have here. What’s wrong sweetheart?”
Stiles took the blanket that came with the baby and swaddled her up tight in it before lifting her up to his shoulder. He closed his eyes and shushed. To the outsiders he looked like an experienced parent. On the inside he was searching Olivia for the source of her wailing. He was in no way prepared to come face to face with a mythical creature. A fairy was flitting around inside Olivia’s head screaming a warning.
Death was coming to Beacon hills, and she had no way of telling people.
Stiles soothed her, told her that he understood. He knew what she was trying to say, it was okay to fall asleep.
“Oh my God! You’re my fairy Godmother!” Lydia gasped. Stiles internally snickered at her choice of words. He handed back the now blissfully quiet baby.
“I told you I’m skilled at putting babies to sleep.”
Allison cleared her throat, “Stiles, I owe you an-”
“Cure my epilepsy.”
The blond with the sad straw hair and debilitating acne tossed herself down in the seat opposite Stiles.
“Rude much?” Lydia snapped offended. She leaned as far away from the girl as she could.
“Erica,” Allison said gently, “There is no cure for epilepsy. Do you need to change your meds?”
“I wasn’t talking to you.” Erica’s eyes never left Stiles’. “I’m 26 and I’ve never driven a car. Did you know that they won’t give epileptics licenses? I’m not even legally allowed to ride a bicycle. I read about rosacea. It’s not just a skin rash, it’s an immune response, but you made it vanish. Take my epilepsy.”
Stiles never could handle crying women, and Erica was right on the edge of tears. He turned to Lydia and Allison, “Ignore me for a minute. Talk amongst yourselves.”
He took Erica’s hands in his own and delved into her soul. It was awash in shame. The epilepsy dominated her thoughts, keeping her from real growth. It was everywhere he turned. But there was a glimpse of something. A flash of light. It was a metal cage. Inside of it was a sleeping wolf. They both jumped in their seats.
“What was that?” Erica asked breathless. “You can do it. You can make me better.”
“It’s dangerous.” He answered. “You’d just be trading one set of problems for another.”
“Nothing can be worse than this.” She said it with a grave seriousness.
“Look, give me your phone number.” He handed over his cell, “I’m not promising anything.”
Erica entered her number and called herself on his phone. “I’ll do anything.”
She left as quickly as she came.
“Freak.” Lydia scoffed.
“I don’t think it’s right, getting her hopes up like that.” Allison scolded him.
“I’m not. You were saying something?”
Allison took a deep breath and steadied herself. “I came here to say I’m sorry.”
Once again Stiles was at a table with a girl on the verge of crying.
“I couldn’t imagine what it must have felt like for you, and I can’t stand knowing that I’m the person who did that to you.” Big tears were streaming down her cheeks. She dabbed at them politely with a napkin. “There is no excuse. I don’t deserve forgiveness, so I won’t ask for it. I just wanted you to know that I’m so sorry.”
“You need to give Scott a lesson on how to apologize correctly, because that was way better than the speech he gave me.”
“You talked to Scott?” She asked coyly.
“Yeah. It didn’t go as terribly as I thought it would.”
She nodded. “I’m glad he tried. It was the least he could do.” She stood up from her seat. “I don’t want to intrude on your coffee. I hope you have a great day. Bye, Lydia.”
Lydia followed Allison’s exit with her eyes. “Is your life always like this? Days of Our Lives doesn’t have as many twists and turns.”
“I remember the good old days when my life had zero chaos. Then I moved here. Yay for me.”
Chapter 32: Moons Over the Hills
The moonlight flitting through the leaves in the forest made Stiles long for the Hales. He couldn’t believe that it was already Sam’s 11th moon. It was the first one they’d had in California. He was so amazingly depressed at having to run without Laura’s crassness or Jake’s barbecue. He wanted Talia’s enthusiasm mixed with Cora’s teenage reluctance. There was no midnight picnic set out, just a clearing where Sam could run herself ragged in circles.
“Are you sure she knows how to get here?” Derek was a bundle of controlled energy.
“Not really. And it just occurred to me that asking an epileptic to travel alone through woods might actually be a really bad idea.”
Erica should be able to follow the GPS coordinates as long as she had a smart phone, although looking back they could have just met up and walked out together. It would have ruined the big reveal though, and Stiles was really looking forward to that. He did have a flare for the dramatic.
Derek turned to face south long before Stiles could hear Erica crunching her way across the forest.
“There had better be a damn good reason why I had to walk through miles of mud.”
“Erica, this is my fiance, Derek, and my daughter, Sam.”
Sam growled playfully at Erica with yellow eyes. Erica froze in place. Her eyes flitted between the men and the tiny girl with the very sharp teeth. It was just as hilarious as Stiles pictured it.
“What the fuck…” Erica started slowly backing away.
“Epilepsy can be a terrible thing.” Derek stalked around Erica. “The cure could be worse.”
“What is she?”
“The same thing I am.” Derek’s teeth sliced into fangs. His glowing eyes lit up in the dark. “A werewolf. We have superhuman strength and speed. We also have enemies. We tracked demons back to these hills. There are hunters closing in on us and if I bite you, you will have to fight the urge to maim and kill for months before you can control it.”
Stiles stepped forward. “This is it. Not the easy creams I give to the Moms. This is for life. There is no going back from this. If you want in, it’s both feet in the deep end. This is the red pill.”
Erica gave a little scream when Sam ran up to roar at her. Sam laughed so hard she fell on her bottom and turned back into her human form.
“So scaring people is fun now?” Stiles poked at her with his shoe. She brought her fangs back out to chew on it. “This is why you aren’t allowed to come to work. Chew on that piece of info.”
She smiled around the leather. Derek gave a huff to let Stiles know that his big speech had been ruined.
“You bit the baby?” Erica hadn’t blinked in over a minute. It was creepy.
“I would never give someone the bite without their consent.” Derek said solemnly. “We were both born wolves.”
“Let me see if I understand this. You want to cure me of something that’s been killing me. The side effect of the cure is that it will make me a badass superhero with a little training.”
“Where there are heroes there are always villains.” Stiles said sagely.
“Whatever, Batman.” Erica held out her arm. “I agreed back in the coffee shop. What are we waiting for?”
“I want whatever you gave Erica Reyes.”
“I’m sorry Ma’am, I don’t know what you mean.” This was the third random woman to ask Stiles for the same thing.
“Oh, please.” She chided. “She came in here Monday looking like raggedy Ann and today she looks like she stepped out of Maxim.”
“Well she did buy some of my anti-aging cream. I can’t be sure, but I think she also bought a shampoo/conditioner combo.”
Yeah, he was exploiting this for profit, what about it?
Speak of the Devil.
Stiles was secure enough to admit that he’d seen more than a season or two of America’s Next Top Model, so he knew what the phrase make your own wind meant. Erica had learned it as well, seemingly overnight. She gave the lady a slow sly smile full of pearly white teeth. Stiles made over $200 on her alone.
“Are you just spending the day walking around?”
“I’m walking around in skin tight jeans.” She said with a wink. “God I feel good. I’ve lost three pounds since yesterday.”
“You should be at the house with Derek and Sam learning control. Although my wallet is enjoying having you out and about.”
“So who are we bringing in next?” She put her elbows up.
“What do you mean?”
“Batman, I’m your Robin. Who’s going to be our Batgirl?”
Stiles paused, “What does that make Derek?”
Erica giggled. “Catwoman.”
“Oh my God! Do not ever let him hear you say that. But yes.”
“Soooooo…? Who? Tell me. Tell me. Tell me. Tell me.”
Stiles glowered at her. “You’re going to make me regret picking you.”
“Too late!” She singsonged.
They both turned to look at who walked into the store after the bell sounded. It was Isaac. This time instead of perusing the shelves looking shifty he walked right up to Stiles.
“I heard that you might be hiring. I’d like a job.” His eyes were rimmed in red from crying. He was wearing sunglasses that didn’t quite cover the bruise coloring his eye socket.
“I don’t have any applications made up yet. Just give me your number and address and I’ll call you for a formal interview when I have time to set one up.”
“Can I work here?” Erica rudely asked right in front of Isaac. She hopped up on the counter. “I’ve never had a job before, but I’m sure I’d be really good at it.” She gave Stiles a flirtatious smile. One leg slowly crossed over the other bringing her short skirt up a little higher.
“I’m both engaged and 1000% too gay for that to work.” He turned to Issac. “I’ll get back to you.”
Stiles saw his Dad booking it toward the door of the store through the large glass windows.
“Stiles! Oh thank God, I caught you.” He put his hands on his knees while he caught his breath. “Derek told me you guys were planning on camping this weekend. He said you were leaving today.”
“We are. What’s wrong?”
“There was a murder out on the reserve today. It’s right next to the campsite you guys were planning on going to. I’ve been calling your phone all day. It was a wild animal attack.”
The hair on the back of Stiles’ neck stood up. “What kind of animal?”
The sheriff shook his head, still panting. “I don’t know. Asking Deaton to take a look.”
“But isn’t he a vet?” Erica asked looking at her now long beautiful nails.
“Yeah he is but… Are you Erica Reyes?” Hid Dad gave her a hard look.
He folded his arms and leveled his stern fatherly gaze at her. “I’ve had an APB out for you since last night.”
She hopped down. “What the hell for? I’m an adult. You can just go tell my Mom that if I want to stay out all night I can.” She was getting too angry too quickly.
“Erica!” He shook his head at her as a warning to cool down. “She was probably just worried.”
Erica leveled her gaze at the ceiling. She was audibly counting to ten. “Sheriff.” She said in a sickly sweet voice. “I’m sure that my mother is worried because I started a new medication. I haven’t had any side effects or seizures. If you can relay that message to her it would be much appreciated.”
“Is there any chance at all you can tell her that yourself? You’re both kinda… intense. Playing the part of the messenger is sounding hazardous to my health.”
For a second Erica looked like she was going to turn into one of those cartoon figures who blew smoke out their ears.
“Fine.” She whipped her phone out of her pocket and stormed out of the shop.
“Well, she’s terrifying.” The Sheriff chuckled.
“She applied for a job. I’m thinking she can be security. I don’t think I’ll have any shoplifters if she’s what’s going to run them down.”
The Sheriff was looking out the window watching Erica scream into her phone. “I know I sure as hell would think twice.” He turned back to Stiles. “Can you do me a favor and keep out of the woods until we get this mess cleared up? Every year we have a few animal control calls, but I have never seen anything like this. In Colorado last year there was a mountain lion who stalked some kids and ate some pets. With Sam being so little, I just need you to promise me you won’t go into the woods for a while.”
“Scout’s honor.” Stiles held up the three finger salute.
“Thanks kid, love ya.”
As he walked out to the cruiser Erica came rushing back in. “I am twenty-God-Damn-six years old and you’d think I had just run away from home.”
She huffed and grumbled. “I need something to take my mind off of this or I’m just going to rip the store to shreds.”
“Hey! Not the store! What’d it ever do to you?” Stiles hugged his pretty counter tops. “Shhh, she didn’t really mean it. I’ll protect you.”
“Oh I know!” She clapped her hands together. “Let’s talk about that puppy you’re obviously thinking about adopting. He’s cute, he’s wounded, he wants to work here. Can we get him? Please, please, please? So that I can have someone to play with? It’s depressing being taught the same things as a 1 year old. I need another Beta friend.”
“I’ve been thinking about it.” Stiles admitted, ”but I don’t know how to screen him. You just demanded I give it a shot. I don’t want to offer it and then be all, ‘sorry you’re not good enough’ if he doesn’t pass the test, but how can I give him the test without being a total weirdo?”
Erica bounced up and down, “I’m sure I can think of a way.”
Chapter 33: House Guests
Derek turned Erica during the full moon because, “She shouldn’t finish the transition within the three days, so we’ll have the entire month to work with her.”
Or, Erica was a freak of nature that healed up over night. She told Stiles she had plans until the moon had started coming out. Only some quick thinking with a few calming salves and some ice water brought her back to her senses.
“I don’t want to take Sam on her moon run alone!” Stiles pouted. “I haven’t done that since she was little. Like hand-sized. I know she’s still little, but she used to littler. She needs other wolves!”
“What do you want me to do? Erica needs to be chained up and watched. Unless you’re volunteering for the job, it has to be me.” Derek was not budging.
Erica raised her hand, “She is standing right here, in your kitchen. How bad could I really get? Stiles stopped me earlier.”
“And what if he hadn’t been able to?” Derek snapped at her. “You could have killed him.” Derek was seething. Erica’s teeth grew and she let out a high whine at the chastisement.
“She didn’t know, leave the puppy alone.” Stiles smacked at Derek’s arm.
He unleashed his snarl at Stiles.
“Oh really?” Stiles lifted an eyebrow.
“Sorry. I just-” Derek rubbed a hand over his face, “I thought we’d have more time, but we don’t. Stiles, I need you and Sam safe or I can’t function. Erica and I are going somewhere for the night, and that’s final.”
Derek walked out the door snapping his fingers to get Erica to fall in line. She followed after him with her head held high like it had been her decision the whole time.
After five hours alone with a cranky werewolf Stiles was wondering how he survived being a single parent to one for 2 months. She cried, she whined, she fussed. She threw her toys around and sulked in her time out when Stiles told her to pick them up and put them away in the toy chest.
Since Stiles called her Samantha when he was annoyed with her, she was calling him Stiles instead of Dada because she was annoyed. It only made matters worse because she pronounced it, ‘Tiwoows’, so he’d smile, which only made her more angry and she’d stomp away.
It was coming up on 11:00 so they were out on the reserve so that she could take her frustration at being an omega for a night out on the trees instead of the furniture. He sure was going to miss that chair she’d ravaged with her claws. Sam was climbing trees to shout at the wildlife. Pretty soon there’d be no birds or squirrels left to yell at.
“Too high! Samantha! Get down here this instant! If you don’t there will be no crackers for a week! Do you want a time-out? I will climb up there and get you.”
She leapt down from a branch at least eight feet off the ground. Stiles heart jumped into his throat, but she tucked into a roll that left her completely unscathed.
“Never again. Oh no, never again.”
Sam wasn’t listening. It wasn’t his threats that had brought her back to the Earth. She was crouched down, one ear turned up. A low growl seeped out of her mouth.
Stiles went as still as he could. The whispers of the leaves in the wind weren’t quite loud enough to hide the sound of twigs snapping.
Can you hear us? We’ve found you. You can’t handle all of us at once. We’ve come to feast.
Sam’s growls got louder as the crunching grew closer. In a blind panic Stiles tossed magic outward when the sounds hit the edge of the clearing.
Hey, I know that voice saying that word.
Sam stood upright. “Warwa?”
“Yes, it’s motherfucking Laura! What the hell Stiles?” Laura walked out with a hand clutching her bleeding nose.
“You snuck up on me.”
The demons cackled mercilessly in his head.
“So you decided to swing a tree branch into my face? You couldn’t try a, ‘hey, who’s there’?”
Stiles walked up to take a better look at the damage. “That doesn’t end well in horror movies, so I figured it wouldn’t end too well here either. Let’s let bygones be bygones.”
She glared at him. Her nose was still trickling blood.
“What brings you to Beacon Hills? Have I mentioned yet how glad I am to see you?”
“You have not, and you should be glad. The other night we were on Peter’s trail, but it vanished. Everyone else went to bed while I stayed up patrolling. I found a fox with one of Peter’s jackets tethered to it. We’ve been on a wild goose chase up there for months, but the jacket was fresh with scent. Susan is convinced that means Peter’s in town. I think Peter is paying someone to tape his old shit to animals and setting them loose. I think Peter’s here. In Beacon Hills.”
Sam had done a complete 180. Now that there was another wolf she was back to being a happy babbly baby. She tugged at Laura’s pants and lifted her arms. Laura obliged her by picking her up.
“I read that there was an animal attack around here just a few days ago. What the hell are you doing out here alone?” Laura’s voice was less nasally.
“Oh yeah, I meant to look into that.” Dealing with heaps of Erica drama and Sam stubbornness had pushed it out of his head. “I’m alone because Derek bit a Beta into the fold yesterday, so he had to deal with her craziness tonight.”
Laura laughed, “Why would he bite her on the full moon? She’ll be a walking time bomb.”
“He had a theory that it would take her four or five days to go full wolf. His plans are not always the best.”
“Speaking of plans.” She grabbed his hand to look at the ring. “Really? That’s it? No diamond?”
“Hey!” He snatched his hand back. “It has an inscription and it’s the best ring on the face of the whole wide planet.” He stuck his tongue out at her.
She punched him in the arm, “Aw, I always wanted a little brother who wasn’t a stick in the mud like Derek.”
Sam and Laura played around in the woods until about 3 A.M. when Stiles declared it was bedtime. It wasn’t surprising that Derek wasn’t back yet, but it still panged in Stiles’ chest to fall asleep in an empty bed. Laura claimed the downstairs bed as hers citing noise reasons even though it was clearly Sam’s nursery. He didn’t have enough energy to put up a fight when she rearranged all of the furniture herself. It was something they’d been meaning to do for a while anyway.
Stiles woke up for just a few seconds when Derek finally tumbled into bed. He didn’t say anything. He just wrapped Stiles up in his arms and kissed his forehead.
The next morning he awoke to the sounds of a cat fight. Erica and Laura were screaming at each other. His exhausted mind couldn’t keep up so he just rolled over and let Derek get up to deal with them. It took till 11 to convince his legs to get him out of bed. When they finally took him downstairs he found the girls sitting at the kitchen table talking like old friends.
“What happened there?” He asked Derek, who was preparing a huge breakfast.
“Erica didn’t like the intruder, I explained she was pack, or close enough. Now they’re probably plotting to overthrow the entire world. Introducing them might be a mistake of epic proportions.”
“Stiles,” Erica called, “You’d go to a concert with us, wouldn’t you?”
“What kind of concert?”
Erica smiled like she was winning a game. “Don’t know, don’t care. It’s just that most of them have those disclaimers about flashing lights, so I’ve never been to one. You, me, and Laura have to go to at least one. I’ll let you chose the band if you pay for my ticket.”
“How generous of you. Let me see who’s going to be nearby.”
“What about me?” Derek asked, “Maybe I want to go to a concert too.”
Erica and Laura exchanged significant glances. “Derek, I’ve known you your whole life. Every concert you’ve ever been to you complained was too loud. That includes when we went to that Irish music in the park thing. It was sponsored by the local library.
“Well I just don’t understand why they need to blow our eardrums out! You can hear the music just fine at a lower level.” He huffed.
Erica giggled. “And that’s why nobody asked you.” Erica was looking a little worse for wear that morning. It wasn’t quite pre-bite bad, but she had that same look of regret she’d had before.
“We shouldn’t even be talking about concerts right now. Stiles was confronted by a hunter a few days ago, and someone was attacked and killed. We have to find out what’s going on.” Derek said sternly to his wayward Betas.
“We know someone who can get into morgues.” Erica’s eyes glinted dangerously.
“Who’s we?” Stiles was beyond confused, “Because I don’t remember meeting anyone who works in a morgue.”
“I didn’t say he works in a morgue,” Erica looked very pleased with herself, “I said he has access to them. Our dear friend Isaac all but runs the town mortuary. He doesn’t just dig graves, he also picks up bodies before the services. If we ask real nice he might be able to get us in to see the corpse before it’s shipped off.”
Stiles nodded, “Not a bad plan, but if he has a job, why did he ask if he could apply at my store?”
“His Dad also works there. I think he’s trying to move out on his own.”
“Who’s Isaac?” Derek rumbled.
“Somebody’s jealous.” Laura sung at her brother.
Stiles ignored her, “He’s potentially our next recruit. We can ask him tomorrow if he’s willing to sneak us in, in exchange for a tip. You can come with and get to know him before offering the bite.”
“I’ll watch from the sidelines as you all fail miserably.” Laura said with pep.
“Laura, you’re still not helpful.”
Chapter 34: Bodies
A great big thank you to my Beta and my readers for pointing out that I've been misspelling Isaac in every chapter. Opps! I've gone back and fixed it.
Sorry and Thanks!
Laura was not getting her wish of watching their plan in action. She was left at home with babysitting duty while Stiles, Derek and Erica set out to find Isaac. The one place Stiles could usually find Isaac was at the store, but since it was a Sunday the store was closed. They still started their search there since Stiles had some of Isaac’s contact information written down.
“Hey guys!” Scott accosted then outside the shop.
“What are you doing here?” Stiles briefly wondered if Derek was even more possessive around the moon. The answer was a definitive yes if the protective arm Derek slung over his shoulders was anything to go by.
“I came to see if you wanted to play some cards or something when you had a break at work today.”
“Now it’s four months.” Stiles gave him the stink eye.
“But why? I’m being nice!”
“Yes,” Stiles said in the same tone he used when explaining things to Sam. “I said be nice to me when we see each other and we might hang out again some day. You’re trying to hang out with me now, which is a clear violation of boundaries. Now you have four months to go before I think I can stand to look at your face.”
“You’re being ridiculous.” Scott huffed.
“Oop! Now it’s five months. Want to keep going?” Stiles crossed his arms and tapped his foot until Scott took the hint and walked away.
“What was that all about?” Erica was watching Scott walk away. “I mean I know about the divorce stuff because, you know, Beacon Hills’ gay couple is a hot topic, but the time thing?”
“I told him it’d take 3 months before I’d hang with him. I started small because I assume he’s going to add enough time that I won’t have to deal with him for like two years.”
That made Derek smirk, “I don’t know. Two years might be a little soon.”
When they caught up with Isaac it was ironically at the morgue. He was picking up the very body they were hoping to look at.
“You want to pay me money to leave the room while the three of you look at a dead guy?” Isaac didn’t sound sufficiently disturbed by that. On Stiles’ personal creep scale that would be at least a nine. Maybe dealing with dead bodies desensitized people.
“How about if I let you, you’ll give me that job?”
“Good Goddess no! I mean, I’m going to give you the job, I just don’t want you to think you only have it because of a favor. That can only lead to professional tension. Also, you don’t have to leave the room. My uncle has a mountain lion who got loose for two days. I’m just trying to make sure it wasn’t his Bobo who did this.”
Derek shook his head in disbelief at Stiles’ explanation. Stiles used his eyebrows to tell Derek to shut the hell up. Isaac did not look convinced but he let them in with his key card anyway.
They whipped off the white sheet and Stiles just walked right back out of the lab. He spent a few minutes doing the heeby jeeby dance before he could convince himself to walk back into the room. He admired the sterile walls to avoid looking at the body.
“So what do we have here?”
“This wasn’t an animal attack.” Derek’s voice was monotone. Stiles couldn’t discern anything from it.
“Awesome. Isaac, do you want to start on Monday? Which is tomorrow? Great, see you then.” Stiles did not check to see if anyone followed after him when he walked out.
Stiles was very happy to be in air that did not reek of formaldehyde. Erica was asking questions the second they were back out in the sun.
“If it wasn’t an animal attack, was it a werewolf attack? If it was werewolves, who did it? It wasn’t you or me or Sam. Was it just a normal murder? How could you tell it wasn’t an animal attack? Those looked like claw marks to me. How can you tell different types of claw marks-”
“Erica, this can wait until we get back to the house.” Derek flashed red at her to get her to understand that he meant it.
The trip home was made in terse silence.
“Isaac’s been beaten. Recently.” Derek said as soon as they were in the door.
“Yeah. His Dad is a piece of work.”
“It’s his Dad?” Derek asked incredulous.
“Yep. There are medical records of it going back a decade, but Isaac will never confirm. It’s always a door or a set of steps he tripped on. I haven’t tested his wolf potential yet though.”
“I’m working on it.” Erica chimed in. “I’ve got a pretty fool proof plan. How about we talk about that pesky corpse now?”
“Dada! Papa!” Sam ran full speed ahead until she saw Erica and got all shy. She hid her head behind one of Stiles legs and peeked out.
“You met her this morning, Shortstack. Same person.” Sam would peek out and Erica would make a face. Sam would giggle and hide again. Repeat.
“It wasn’t an animal, and it wasn’t werewolf either.” Derek popped out his claws. “See how the claws come to a single sharp point around a curve? Those wounds were cleaner than a werewolf’s. They were also pretty shallow. To an outside observer it would look like the work of a werewolf.”
“Who would try to frame werewolves?” Stiles had enough of the peek a boo with his leg and shifted so that Sam was left exposed to Erica’s gaze. She froze in her tracks.
“I would say hunters, but the only reason they would do that was to justify hunting us. If they’re willing to frame us, it would make more sense to just go after us without all the mess.”
“Maybe it was one hunter setting us up to get the others on board.” Erica offered.
“Whoever or whatever did this, it’s definitely about to turn into a shit show around here.” Stiles said. “Especially if Peter really is in town. I have no idea what to do about your homicidal uncle if he shows up. Any ideas on that one.”
Erica looked around. “Who the hell is Peter?”
Stiles shook his head at Derek, “It’s your job to train the newbies, Mr. Alpha.”
Erica survived through the last night of the full moon. Despite looking less than her best she accompanied Stiles to work the next day. San still wasn’t exactly loving having an outsider join the team, but she was warming up. She even let Erica hold her while Stiles fished the keys out of his pocket to open the store.
Isaac was waiting on the sidewalk, head down, hoodie pulled up over his ears. “You didn’t tell me what time to be here.”
“Sorry, I was suppressing my gag reflex.”
“I bet you have a lot of practice with that.” Erica said coyly.
He glared back at her. “Well you’re right on time. It’ll be nice having people around to help me set up in the mornings.”
He brought them through the routine of doing the morning count-in and how they’d keep track of hours. Stiles hated the paperwork that came with owning his own business. Adding employees tripled that hassle. They were locked in his office for almost an hour completing everything.
“Just sign these forms for the W-2 and the liability insurance and we’ll be ready to start in on the good stuff. While you two finish that I’ll go set up the work station in the stockroom.”
Stiles was getting all the bowls he needed and using his mojo to get some herbs growing when he noticed something odd. He wasn’t being harassed by a pint sized person. His eyes darted around the room. She wasn’t on any shelves of in any cabinets.
He popped his head into the office just to check. There was Sam, sitting in Isaac’s lap, totally content to play with her feet while he initialed his life away.
Isaac cringed his body inward, like he was bracing for impact. His breathing became labored. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know she was supposed to go with you. I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.”
Stiles very slowly and very gently put his hand on Isaac’s arm. He crouched down so that they were eye to eye. “Hey, it’s okay. I was just surprised. You’re the first person Sam has ever voluntarily stayed with who wasn’t me or Derek. I’m actually pretty happy about it. It means I have a viable babysitter if we want to go out on a date.”
Isaac nodded sharply. “I can do that.”
Erica caught Stiles’ eye. She was fuming in her seat but trying to hold it back. She knew why Isaac was having that response. She also knew how to find that person and decimate his life.
“Let’s get on to the fun part.”
At least Stiles thought making all of his products was fun. He explained what each ingredient was and why it was in each thing. His subordinates did not seem nearly as enthusiastic. Maybe because he was showing them how to make everything while at the same time telling them they were never allowed to make any of it.
“It’s just important that you know what’s in everything if customers ask.”
“It’s on the label.” Isaac pointed at the bottle.
“You’d be surprised at how many people refuse to read a label if there is someone available to read it to them. Plus, you guys are now in charge of labeling and bottling everything.” He said with jazz hands shaking wildly.
“You should show us the new products.” Erica had that evil sheen back in her eyes. Stiles proceeded with caution.
“Yeah, weren’t you telling me yesterday about a new cream formulated for hand massages.” Erica was trying to lead Stiles to some conclusion. He wasn’t following all that well. “You should make some and try it out on Isaac.”
“Why would I try it out on Isaac? Dudes don’t usually care if their hands are silky smooth.”
Erica literally face palmed. “Stiles, my hands are soft and beautiful. Wouldn’t it be nice if Isaac’s were too?”
The light bulb finally clicked on. Stiles felt like a moron.
“Oh! Yes! Digging graves has to be hard on hands. Let me just whip some of that up.”
The formula was made on the fly, but Stiles knew it was going to sell. “I’ll try to make this as not awkward as possible. But it’s still going to be pretty weird.” He apologized to Isaac in advance.
Isaac looked unconvinced that it was a good idea. Sam decided to take his mind off of it by climbing into his lap and counting her fingers with made up numbers. Stiles grabbed Isaac’s left hand with his slicked up fingers and rubbed at his palm.
Yep, super weird.
While Isaac was distracted by the girls, Stiles dove into his unconscious. He had walls everywhere. Thick ones that held secrets and pain. There was one spot shaped like a room. It had a sign that said, ‘Do Not Open Ever’. It rattled as Stiles went past it. He didn’t know how to look for anything in that mess. When he opened a few innocuous looking doors he encountered self loathing, disdain, and hostility.
In the very last room at the end of a very long hall Stiles found what he was looking for. Erica had a full grown wolf sleeping in a cage. Isaac had a single tiny puppy shivering inside of a cardboard box.
To Stiles the journey felt like it had taken hours. Sam hadn’t even gotten all the way to her tenth tiny finger before he opened his eyes.
“I could do that.” Isaac mumbled
“Could do what?”
“I could offer the customers hand massages to test out the product. If they like it they should buy it, right?”
“Isaac, I think you’ll fit in very well around here.”
Chapter 35: Hunting
Erica’s transformation had been so dramatic that Stiles just assumed it was always like that. Isaac’s transition was just as subtle and quiet as he was. Erica struggled with little outbursts a couple times a day. Isaac was still just the same old Isaac. The only thing it changed was that Sam liked him even more. Stiles was on the verge of having some real jealousy issues.
“Are you finally finishing that website that you said you’d make for me months ago?” Laura decided if Erica and Isaac were going to hang out at the store while Derek was at work she should too. She also insisted that since she wasn’t an employee she shouldn’t have to do any actual work. There was a stack of magazines sitting on the counter in front of her that she was flipping through one at a time.
“I forgot all about that, but in my defense, a lot of shit went down. I’m actually starting one up for this shop. Who’s even running the daycare while you’re here doing nothing?”
“Susan and John are running it, and I’ll have you know that I am part of a protection detail. I’ve also been running a trace on Peter’s credit cards. He may be on the run, but there’s no way he’s living like it. Man likes his luxuries.”
“Hey Stiles,” Erica called from across the store. She was restocking his supplies. “While you’re creating a website, you should think about a better name for the store. FYI Stiles Shop is a dumb name.”
“It is not. It’s punny. You know, because Stiles with an i sounds like Styles with a y, so it’s a shop of styles?” They girls rolled their eyes in unison. “Oh shut the hell up. Laura, has Peter actually done anything with those credit cards?”
“Nope. He is laying low. I’m guessing he’s going by an alias or living in an abandoned mansion.”
Isaac came walking out of the back with a new box for Erica to start unloading. “We need a better plan than waiting for a possessed psychopath to swipe his debit at the gas station.”
From inside her playpen Sam hurled blocks out onto the floor to show her protest at being left alone while everybody else got to hang out, so Stiles did something he’d sworn he’d never do. He set up his laptop to run a movie to keep her quiet while he concentrated on work.
“I think we might have to talk to the hunters.” All of the wolves stopped what they were doing to stare at him. “We need them to know that we didn’t kill that man, or they could end up coming after us. Plus, if Peter is in town it might be nice to have some extra- Hello! How are you today?”
He did a 180 flip as Courtney and Stephanie walked into the store.
“We’re good. Look at this place! It’s gorg!” Courtney gushed. “I was hoping you could help me out. I’m taking Bella in for her 3 month pictures and I need to look stunning in them.”
Stiles wasn’t sure he wanted to know, but he did want to take their money, so… “3 month pictures?”
“Oh yeah! It’s the latest thing. You get your baby’s picture taken at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months and make a collage. It’s time for the 9 month pictures.”
She leaned close to Stiles. “I was talking about it at playgroup,” She put her hand up like she was going to tell him a secret. “And Wendy decided to have Jacob’s pictures taken, only she used a way cheaper photographer. They’re awful.”
Laura put her magazine down and walked out of the room.
“Who was that?” Stephanie whispered as loud as a shout.
“That’s Derek’s sister. She’s in town to help me plan the wedding.”
Cue the oo-ing and ah-ing over the ring. Stiles picked out way too many products, including some that did nothing, just to make their wallets hurt. When they saw the sign advertising the hand cream Stiles volunteered an unhappy Isaac to give them both massages. They flirted with him mercilessly. It took almost 45 minutes to get them out of the shop.
“I take it back. The massages were a terrible idea. I’m going to burn that sign.” Isaac was looking at his hands like they had been traumatized.
“It wasn’t that bad.” Erica argued.
“You’re right. It was worse.”
Laura slammed the door open as she walked back in. “Those two are the worst. We should ban them. Forever. I ban people all the time. Your kid is a douche bag, don’t come back. You’re a douche bag, don’t come back. See how easy that is?”
“As much fun as it is to talk about dumb and dumber, we need to talk about what we’re going to do about hunters and demons.” Stiles said. “Erica, when you asked me to cure you that day in the coffee shop, Allison acted like she knew you. Are you two close?”
“She’s a nurse.” Isaac interjected. “At the hospital. When I was going there a lot I used to see her all the time. What does she have to do with any of this?” Isaac’s voice was defensive.
“Seriously.” Erica sided with Isaac. “Allison may have dated your ex-husband, but she’s about the nicest person I know. She treated me like I was a normal person even after she’d seen me having my fits.”
“That’s all very nice, but she’s an Argent. They’ve made it very clear to me that they are a hunting family who know all about Derek. It’s only a matter of time before they know about the two of you. Actually, if they don’t already know about you, Erica, they are terrible at their job. I’m not saying Allison is for sure a hunter, but if she is, all that kindness makes her the weakest link in the chain.”
“You want the tiny baby betas to cozy up to the heir to a hunting dynasty?” Laura said incredulously.
Stiles shrugged, “I’m going to ask Derek first.”
“I’ll do it.” Isaac announced. A blush rose up from his neck onto his cheeks. “I brought her coffee sometimes while she was working. She wouldn’t think it was weird if I talked to her.”
“Stiles, I love you, but you are awful at plans. Let’s say she and Isaac share a drink together. What’s he going to do? Say, ‘Hey, so I heard you might hunt werewolves?’”
“I was thinking more along the lines of, he makes sure she’s occupied while we break into her house and search for weapons.”
“How did you survive to adulthood? We’re trying to make her believe that despite working at werewolf central, Isaac is not a wolf. Isaac, when I got here you were covered in bruises. How are you going to explain your miraculous recovery to her?”
“I’ll tell her the truth. I’m moving out of my Dad’s house and in with Erica.”
“You guys are getting an apartment?” It was the first they’d mentioned it to Stiles. He was a little hurt. They’d both been crashing at his place since getting turned.
“Hell yes we are!” Erica high fived Isaac. “I love you and Derek, but damn you two are loud in bed. Five days of that was more than enough for me.”
“That’s a lie.” Laura declared. “Derek’s pretty quiet. It’s just you, Stiles. It’s embarrassing. Buy a gag.”
“Just for that, I’m going to make sure we go with my plan.”
Laura snorted, “Derek will never go along with it. He at least has some common sense.”
Derek gave the plan his stamp of approval and put Laura on Sam-sitting duty while they went to Allison’s house. Stiles was not built for stealth. He slipped while walking up the driveway, then when they reached the door he tripped on the mat and slammed his head into the door.
“Ow. I hope one of you two has a plan on how to get into her house.”
Derek tried turning the doorknob.
“Brilliant. Great plan.”
He took a second to flip Stiles off before pulling out a lockpicking kit from his jacket.
“You know how to pick locks? Why do I find that so attractive?”
“Oh my God, Stiles! Will you please shut up!” Erica whispered at him.
He zipped his lips shut.
“Thank you! Jesus Christ.” She muttered to herself.
With a click the lock opened and they were inside. It was a very normal looking house. It was a small one level that was decorated in a way that screamed, ‘my owner is a girl’, but it was tasteful. Derek walked right over to the mantle and pointed. Sitting there was a potted plant. Wolfsbane.
“Ah fucksticks. I really liked her.” Erica grumbled.
“That was fast. I’m thinking maybe Laura had a point though, because I have no idea what to do with this information.”
“This doesn’t prove anything.” Derek was moving around the room lifting cushions and looking behind books. “Her father could have given her the plant without telling her what it was for. We need more. Erica, garage, Stiles, take the bedroom. I’ll check this room and the kitchen.”
Stiles felt like such a creeper looking around that bedroom. Her drawers held nothing but clothing he didn’t like having to lift up to look under. In her closet he struck paydirt. There was a chest with a lock on it. Luckily for him, the lock wasn’t closed, just hanging there, daring him to take a look inside.
He’d stepped into a rambo movie. There was a crossbow, bolts, bullets, guns, and a vial labeled wolfsbane seeds. There was no mistaking it for what it was. Stiles pocketed the vial and went to go tell Derek what he’d found. His fiance was standing in the living room in the same pose Sam made when she’d heard Laura closing in on them in the forest.
“What is it?”
The door swung open. Standing illuminated by the street lights was Chris Argent and three other men, armed to the teeth.
“What have we here? It looks like the big bad wolf and little red riding hood decided to try their hand at some B&E. Too bad you tripped the silent alarm, or you meddling kids might have gotten away with it.”
“We came here looking for you.” Derek was calm. Stiles was a mess.
“It’s a small town. If you wanted to find me you would have gone to my house.”
“This seemed like more fun. It wasn’t one of ours who killed that man in the woods.”
“Despite what you might think,” Chris put his gun in his holster, “we are not idiots. I know what a werewolf scrape looks like. It wasn’t one of ours either. Sounds like we’re both looking for the same person.”
A man walked in holding a gun to Erica’s head.
“You told me not to threaten your family, Stiles. When you break into my daughter’s house I take it as a threat to mine.”
“Hey now, we’re not threatening anyone. We’re just trying to figure out who we can trust.”
“Not us.” Chris said smoothly. “Now get the hell out of this house before I decide to put you all down just for breathing.”
The man holding Erica shoved her towards Derek who caught her easily. She held up her middle finger on both hands as they pulled her towards the door.
“Oh, and Derek?” Chris pulled his gun out and fired two silenced shots at Derek’s abdomen. They ripped into him with a splash of blood.
“Next time I catch you sniffing around Allison I’ll use the good ones.”
Chapter 36: Interpretations
What's that you say? When that blade went into Allison it severed her spinal cord leaving her paralyzed from the waist down and now she has to go to France to train because she's wheelchair bound?
I reject your reality and substitute my own. -Doctor Who
On his way to work the next day Stiles saw his vision again. The two tiny birds missing feathers being swooped into the hold of the hawks. He saw it over and over again until Isaac pulled him out of it. The betas kept looking at him like he was going to start frothing at the mouth any moment when they made it to the shop.
“What the fuck are you doing?” Laura was standing over his shoulder.
“Quit breathing on me! I’m making a map of connections. I’m tired of stumbling around in the dark. We have the hunters up in this corner, being fuckheads who shoot my fiance because they have an overwhelming urge to prove their assholeishness at every turn. Down here are the demons that we have no current hope of identifying. Right in the center is Peter who has a connection to the demons because he’s probably full of them. Then we have you Hales over here with Sam and I with a connection to our Betas.”
Laura smirked, “Did you really just carry him to the car and leave?”
“No! Well…yes, but I was getting ready to fuck them up with magic when Derek told me not to. Apparently if you blast people with magic it increases your chances of getting shot, and Derek didn’t want that. I did curse them out a lot and give them the finger.”
“And this poster is helpful… how?”
“I only know a few things about demons, but I think if I take what I do know I can figure this out. They inhabit either children, or people who are carrying around hate or a need for revenge or something. They also transfer by skin to skin contact. I just need to make more connections.”
“You are such a cop’s kid.” Erica joined them over the poster.
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“How about we put the big poster with the word ‘Demon’ spelled out in big red letters away during business hours?” Laura rolled it up while Stiles protested.
“Why aren’t you at home taking care of Derek?” Stiles fought to get the map away from her and lost.
“Because he’s a big boy and those were normal bullets. He’s probably fine by now. Don’t get your panties all bunched up.”
There was a rapping at the window. It was Wendy. She was out on the sidewalk looking like she hadn’t slept in days. Her eyes were red rimmed from crying.
“Hold down the fort, I’m going to go talk to my friend.”
He walked out to Wendy. She paced on the sidewalk trying to calm her sobs and hiccups. “Are you okay?”
Wendy shook her head. “I’m not. But you’re at work. I shouldn’t have come here, I’m sorry.” Stiles grabbed her arm before she could walk away.
“Hey, the store is in good hands.” He told her, even though he could see Erica tossing grapes across the room to Laura who caught them in her mouth. “It’ll be fine. I can take time out for you.”
“It’s not me, it’s Jacob. He’s been acting really weird. I thought maybe he was sick, but he didn’t have a fever and his pediatrician said there was nothing wrong. You helped so much before with his rosacea and Lydia won’t stop talking about what you did for Olivia, do you think you can look at him?”
“For my favorite play group friend? Of course.”
He put Laura in charge of the store even though she technically wasn’t an employee with them at all. Sam was actually okay with him leaving since Isaac was there to play with her. Erica begged to come along, but he refused.
“I’ll be back in no time. I’ll have my cell phone on me if you need anything. Don’t burn the store down. Don’t mess with the supplies. Don’t steal the money.”
On the trip to Wendy’s house she ran him through what was going on. Jacob had been acting odd for weeks, pretty much since Stiles had seen him at the park. First he’d started refusing foods he’d liked and fussing at meals. Then his attitude had gone completely down hill. Her happy baby had started biting and kicking. He’d started throwing everything he could hold.
“The doctor keeps saying it’s a phase. I know my kid, Stiles, it’s not a phase. There’s something wrong with him.”
Stiles was pretty sure he knew exactly what was going wrong. Wendy brought him up to Jacob’s nursery where her husband was trying to settle the baby down. Jacob roared with all the might his little lungs had when Stiles walked into the room. The presence of the demon was heavy in the air. He was amazed he was the only one who could feel it.
“Let’s see what we have here.”
Stiles pulled on a pair of latex gloves and discreetly cut a hole in the palm of it. He tugged his sleeves down low so that they went over the edge of the gloves. Jacob crawled away from him bawling his eyes out. His parents watched anxiously as Stiles held him down with a hand on his back.
For the first time Stiles looked in and saw only one demon. It was so confusing he spent too much time searching around for more of them.
“Well?” Wendy asked, “Is there something wrong?”
God, he must have looked awkward hunched over the baby with just one hand on Jacob’s back and his eyes closed.
“I think there might be, I just have to check something.”
Stiles brought his ear down to Jacob’s back like he was listening to him breathe. The combination of latex and fabric hid the black of the demon as it was sucked up onto Stiles’ arm. Jacob quieted instantly. He gurgled and flailed in a normal baby way.
“I think he has a small infection. Too small for a fever even, but it would be enough to make him hurt, so that explains the crankiness. He probably got it from his rash being exposed to so many germs at the park. I’m going to give you an antibiotic cream. Apply a few times a day and he’ll be right as rain.”
He was engulfed in a too tight, and kind of snotty, hug with both parents. Since there was skin to skin contact available Stiles stole a glimpse into each of them. They came back clean.
“How can we ever repay you?” Wendy asked while wiping away tears.
“Actually, there is something you can do. These skin diseases can be really infectious, spreading from kid to parent and so on. Could you make a list of everybody Jacob’s been in contact with in the last few months?”
Stiles didn’t bother returning to the shop afterward. It was late in the day and they’d be back home before he could make it all the way there anyway.
You don’t really think our host is on that list. I was just a stranger on the street. I passed my hand over the child while his mother’s back was turned at the grocery store. There is no name or face. Just two ships passing in the night.
“You’re home early.” Derek tugged him in for a kiss. Or seven.
“Yep. Honey I’m home.” He wrapped his arm around Derek’s neck to hold him close. “I feel like I haven’t seen you in days.”
“We have been a little busy. Where’s Sam?”
“She’s with Isaac.”
“I’m glad she trusts him.”
While they talked Derek worked on Stiles’ belt. “You’ve been working so hard on the store. You deserve a break from everything.”
“You’re right.” Stiles nodded as Derek moved down to his knees, “How’s your stomach doing?”
Derek whipped his shirt off and lifted an eyebrow.
“Looks good to me. Continue.”
“Or don’t.” Laura called from the entrance. “We’re coming in and we don’t want to see any nudity.”
Laura led the Beta’s into the living room. “That includes your shirt, Bro.”
“I didn’t think you’d be home so early. How nice to have you all back.” Derek said sarcastically as he tugged on his shirt. “I thought I heard some mention of at least two of you moving into your own place. What happened with that?”
“We’re looking for something big enough and cheap enough.” Isaac explained. “I’ll start looking tonight… right after my date.”
Erica pretended to wipe a tear from her eye. “They grow up so fast. Who’s the lucky lady?”
Isaac ducked his head to hide his smile. “It’s Allison. When we were talking last night I asked if she’d like to go to dinner with me tonight.”
“Did we forget to mention the part where we found definitive proof that she’s a hunter? Of werewolves? Of which you are one?” Stiles held his hands out. “I distinctly remember mentioning this last night while I was stitching Derek’s stomach back together. Did that happen or am I on the crazy train?”
“I’m going on this date.” Isaac’s eyes went yellow. He made it two steps forward before Derek’s claws were embedded in his chest.
“You need a hell of a lot more training before you can even think about going out. What happens if your pulse starts racing? If you loose control like this in front of her, she’ll kill you.”
Isaac backed off. “I’m not going to cancel. I’ll be careful.”
“We need you here.” Stiles interjected into their alpha/beta moment. “That baby I went to see today had a ripe old demon hidden in his squishy depths and I got a list of people from the Mom. It’s possible that it was Peter, but I don’t think it was. In this vision I’ve been having there are two big hawks. Jacob’s demon was tiny. I think that we’re searching for two people with major possession issues.”
Laura was nodding along, “You think Peter is one and someone on this list is the other.”
“The demons keep telling me the name isn’t on the list. That means we’re close enough to make them nervous.”
Isaac picked up the list. “Most of these names are Moms and their kids. I can’t talk to them without outing myself anyway. Why can’t I just be the person in charge of distracting Allison again?”
“Because it’s stupidly dangerous. And stupid. Just generally speaking.” Stiles withstood Isaac’s glare until his phone rang. The room erupted into bickering.
“Hey kiddo! Haven’t heard from you since I saw you in the store. How’s business?”
“Hey, Dad.” Stiles stepped outside where there wasn’t so much arguing going on. “It’s been good. Been getting a lot of repeat customers already.”
“That’s great! I heard that you got yourself a handful of workers, too. That Lahey kid needed a break. I’m glad you gave him one. Since you do have the extra help around I was wondering if you and Sam might join me for lunch at the station tomorrow. Derek’s welcome to come with, if he doesn’t have work.”
“That sounds,” awful, invasive, not fun, “good. Derek will be at the college, but Sam and I will be there with bells on.”
Stiles walked back into a distinctively more sullen house.
“Isaac walked out.” Laura explained rolling her eyes.
“My evening was this close,” Stiles held his fingers together, “to being really awesome.”
Chapter 37: Errands
To take their minds off of Isaac at his date, Stiles put in The Avengers and settled into a movie night. He skillfully ignored Derek bickering with Laura about if they should go after Isaac or leave him to his date by teaching Sam the background of each marvel character.
“That’s Hawkeye. In this movie they make it seem like he loves the Black Widow, but he doesn’t. The love of his life is Mockingbird. It’ll be a long time before he meets her though, so we’ll let it slide for now.”
“This is way too lame for me.” Erica walked through the still squabbling siblings.
“Where are you going?”
“I have some errands to run. It’s too crowded here anyway.” She gave the Hales a glance. “Bye, Batman.”
He ignored the yelling for as long as he could. Stiles ensconced Sam in her play pen. She didn’t even notice, she was engrossed in watching Loki make Germany kneel at his feet.
“Going after him now will just send out a flare telling the hunters he’s one of us!” Derek yelled at Laura.
“He’s with us 24/7! Could we be any more obvious? Let’s go get him before she decides to cuff him and torture him in her basement!”
With every breath they drew closer to each other, closer to a fight. Their hands were curling into fists, jaws clenched tight.
“Okay, time-out! There are too many cooks in this kitchen.” Stiles inched his way between them.
“Stiles, stay out of this!” Laura barked.
“No, you stay out of this. I know you were raised to be an alpha, but you’re under our roof. What Derek says, goes. If you don’t like it the door is right over there. I’m sure Erica would enjoy the company.”
Erica burst back into the house. Her hands were coated in blood. “Isaac’s father is dead.”
“Or maybe we should break up the date right now. I’ve got the keys.”
“Laura! Go with him, I’ll clean this up.” Derek ran to grab onto Erica as she collapsed.
“I didn’t do it. It wasn’t me.” Erica cried. “I got there and he was just like that. There was so much blood. It was still warm.”
Stiles was in the Jeep before she was finished. He peeled out of the driveway without Laura. Isaac had taken Allison to a Mom and Pop burger joint for their date. They were laughing, carefree and happy together. One brave hand was inching its way across the table toward Allison.
“Isaac, I need to talk to you.”
Contempt was written all over his face. “Stiles, this is none of your business. This misplaced loyalty to Scott, or whatever, needs to stop.”
A text chimed in Stiles’ pocket.
Derek: Called Police. Lahey dead at least an hour. Erica at station giving statement.
“I just need to talk to you. You can continue the date after. I’m not sure you’ll want to, but you can.” Isaac didn’t move a muscle. “Dude, have you met me? I’m the most stubborn persistent bastard on the planet. I pursued Lydia Martin for ten years, and I’m gay.”
“Allison, I’ll be back in one minute.” Isaac told her through clenched teeth.
He wasn’t. He walked shakily back to the table to excuse himself and left with Stiles to identify the body at the morgue.
There was no point in going to the shop the next day. Lahey died the same way the man in the woods had, from not werewolf marks. Isaac went to work looking and acting like a zombie had taken over his body.
The store hadn’t burned down when he’d left them alone the day before, and he had things to do. Stiles took Sam and his list of names to the park. It had been weeks since he’d last been there. It gave him the opportunity to shake hands with people. As he chased Sam around he picked up kids who fell or tripped as they played. He scanned the entire park. There was no trace of a demon anywhere.
“Hey, Stiles.” Lydia’s strawberry curls were shining in the sun.
“Stiles.” Jackson was holding Olivia. He did not look pleased to be in the park.
“I thought the store was open on Thursdays. I was going to stock up later today. That face and neck cream? Amazing! Necks are where women show their age. I’ve never heard of an anti-aging lotion that worked on a neck before.”
“Blah blah blah, best stuff ever.” Jackson mocked.
“How’s Olivia doing?” Stiles reached out to tickle her. Jackson pulled her back reflexively.
“Fat chance, Stilinski. Not until you bathe those hands in Purell.”
Lydia sighed, “Really honey?”
“Hell yes, really. I shared a locker room with him. You think I’m letting him touch my princess with those filthy digits?” He looked revolted by Stiles fingers.
Lydia thrust a diaper bag at her husband and grabbed the baby who she handed over to Stiles, no cleaning necessary. Lydia shared a conversation with her husband with her eyes. Stiles confirmed that the only creature holding residence inside Olivia was a sprite. She still screamed of deaths yet to come.
Stiles broke their showdown, “There are hours today. I have my underlings running the shop. Sam hasn’t been able to get out much. I thought I’d treat her to a day in the sun.”
She gave him her award winning smile, “You’re such a good daddy.” She placed a hand on her arm. Inside of Lydia’s mind a woman in a white robe screeched soundlessly. Her anguish poured out into Stiles.
“I-” Stiles shook his arm out of her grasp. “I think I’m late to meet my Dad for lunch.” He snatched Sam off of a hot yellow slide. “You should stop by the store though. Tell them that I said you could have the friends and family discount.”
Stiles cuddled Sam close to his chest in the car. She wiggled and grunted, not knowing why he needed her to be so close. It had never occurred to Stiles why Derek taught her to track a scent. She’d been in every training session the Betas had. Less than three feet tall and being taught to leap from trees. Laura had told him months ago that Sam needed to learn her limits.
They were teaching his Shortstack to hunt. To kill. To defend herself from the evil walking about in the world.
Lydia was ignorant to the power inside of her. She hadn’t nurtured it, so it got locked away, ignored. She’d never be able to teach Olivia how to listen for the wailing. Olivia would be the same, oblivious to the power.
“Dada!” Sam pushed against him with all of her tiny might. It was enough to get her back against the steering wheel. “Dada?” She touched his face.
Would he rather have her prepared or blissfully unaware? He wasn’t sure.
“Daddy loves you very much, Samantha.” He gave her a kiss after she was safely strapped into her car seat. He had to wait for the swelling around his eyes to go down before he could walk into the station.
“There’s my favorite girl!” The Sheriff lit up when he saw Sam toddling toward him.
He picked her up and set her on his hip. “I got some brand new coloring books for you, and a big set of crayons.”
“That’s right! What a smarty pants.”
Sam beamed at the recognition. Inside of his Dad’s office there was a spread of toys and books for Sam on one side of the big wooden desk. On the other side was a stack of pizzas.
“How much food do you think two dudes and a baby can put away?”
The Sheriff scratched the back of his neck, “I remember you liking meat lovers, but I wasn’t sure if you still did. I ordered one of those and a hawaiian, plus a veggie thin crust for me. I know you don’t like it when I overload on the fat.”
“Thanks, Dad. That was very thoughtful.”
The Sheriff could not have looked more ecstatic. Stiles grabbed a plate while his Dad set Sam up with her colors. Laid out on the cork board were pictures of the two non-werewolf murders.
“Do you think they’re connected?” He pointed at the pictures.
“Some things never change, huh? You know I can’t share any details about open cases.”
“Wouldn’t be the first time.” His Dad gave him a stern look. “Okay, hypothetically if two people in a town who are otherwise unconnected but die in a very similar way would you think that their deaths might not be coincidental?”
“There are only two bodies, Stiles.”
“…And two is a coincidence.”
The Sheriff smirked. “Glad to hear you haven’t forgotten everything. Can Sam eat pizza?”
“I’m surprised she isn’t already. Those must be some excellent crayons you have over there. Just put a bib on her. If you don’t, she’ll stain her shirt to hell.”
Stiles continued perusing the cork board while the sheriff searched in the bag. A man leaned in and knocked on the wall.
“Hey Chief. Do you need me to do anything other cleaning before I head out?”
“Hey! I know you!” Stiles snapped his fingers. “You’re the ninja waiter!”
“And you’re the handsy husband.” The man chuckled. Stiles pointedly did not make eye contact with his Dad.
“Stiles, this is Vernon Boyd, Boyd this is my son and this,” he held Sam up proudly, “is my grandbaby!”
Sam waved hello. Boyd smiled and waved back. “You good until tomorrow?”
“Yeah, I’ll clean up here.”
Boyd smiled again and left.
The Sheriff went back into the diaper bag to find the elusive bib. “What’s this?”
It was the list of names Wendy had compiled.
“Uh… it’s uh… you know Lydia, right? She’s planning an anniversary party for her and Jackson. It’s a list of people she wants me to invite.” Sounded plausible enough to him.
“I thought they got married in the fall.”
“Well, yeah… but it’s Lydia. She probably started planning the one year bash the day of the wedding.”
The Sheriff chuckled, “Well that explains that.”
Stiles set down his slice and walked over. “Explains what?”
“Nothing.” His Dad waved him off. Stiles gave him a, ‘what gives’ look. “There was just a name on there that didn’t add up. Too many years in law enforcement I guess.”
“What name?” Stiles looked down at the list.
“This one.” He pointed. “The rest are parents and kids. Makes sense once you explained though.”
“Do you know him? I haven’t been able to get a hold of him, yet.”
“Yeah. I think I have his card somewhere.” He rummaged through his desk. “He’s the guy I hired to find you in New York. Here it is, Matt Daehler, Photographer and Private Eye.”
Chapter 38: Chasing Shadows
“What do you mean we can’t find Daehler?” Stiles was screaming into his phone. He was at home alone with Sam while the entire rest of the pack was out hunting down the demon carrier.
“I mean that I’m standing in an empty apartment.” Erica’s voice was sharp, even through the cell. “And I don’t mean someone packed up in a hurry empty, I mean no one has lived here in years empty.”
Laura walked in with Isaac and shook her head.
“Laura just got here, so I’m going to let you go. See if you can find any trace that he ever lived there at all.”
Stiles hung up, “What’d you find at his office?”
“There is no office.” Isaac sagged into a chair. “The building listed is a real office building, but the office number doesn’t exist. When we called the number listed there was a phone that rang once before the call got forwarded, probably to Matt’s cell.”
“Someone has to know him. He has to eat and buy groceries sometime. Right? Demons can’t just feed on bad deeds, can they?”
“You’re the expert.” Laura pointed out. “If anyone knew it’d be you.”
“They have to feed their host body, they just have to.” Stiles put his face in his hands.
It had been only a matter of hours since Stiles finally caught the break they’d been looking for, only to have it lead them to dead ends. Matt’s voicemail message said he’d be out of touch for a few days, just leave a message. His work and home were turning out to be a bust as well.
“He was right there the whole time!” Stiles scolded himself. “I knew the demon had to get from Deucalion to Beacon Hills somehow.”
Laura smacked him on the head. “Beating yourself up isn’t helpful, and since you’re always telling me to be more helpful, why don’t we trace his credit cards? Even if he’s off the grid we’ll be able to see what his routine was before that.”
“You’ve already got someone tracing Peter’s cards.” Isaac untied his boots and tossed them across the room. “Can you just add Daehler to the list?”
“Nope. My guy is an in person, cash only guy. Says everything else is too easy to trace or record.”
Derek and Erica also came back empty handed. “He was always a total weirdo. I just didn’t think he was so paranoid he’d cover all traces of his existence.” Erica lamented.
“I don’t even remember him.” Stiles pulled the yearbook off the shelf. He didn’t look like an evil guy. Other than taking pictures for the yearbook he wasn’t part of any clubs or sports. He was just a painfully average looking teenager Stiles had never taken note of.
“Who do we know who could hack into some bank accounts?” Stiles contemplated.
“What do you want, Stiles?” Danny already looked exasperated even though Stiles had only been there for a few seconds.
“What makes you think I want something?”
“You’re at my Gym, which you’ve never set foot in, and you’re holding an adorable baby to try to sway me. You want something.”
Sam was looking abnormally cute in her Soft Kitty shirt.
“Alright, I want something, but I’m willing to offer compensation to get it.”
Danny side-eyed him. “How much?”
“I don’t have a set amount in my brain. I’m not sure I’ve ever paid someone to hack for me. This is new territory.”
“Terrrr!” Sam waved her fist.
“It really isn’t safe for her to be here.” Danny grabbed her hand to shake it.
“She’s fine, I’ll leave as soon as you say yes.”
“I’m not saying anything until you tell me what you want me to do. Is it illegal?”
“Probably.” Stiles answered truthfully. “But it’s for a good cause and I think it’s only minimally illegal. I need you to track someone’s bank record for me. I don’t want to know the number, just recent purchases, that sort of thing.”
Danny gave him a knowing look, “Trouble in paradise?”
“What? No, Derek and I are fine. Do you remember Matt Daehler from high school?”
“Kinda creepy kid who always carried him camera with him?”
“That’s the one. He’s gone missing. I paid him to take some shots of Sam, then the next day, poof! I just want my pictures or my money back.”
Stiles was getting good at the lying thing. Danny asked why Stiles was willing to pay to get his money, so Stiles told him it was the principle of the thing. It was about having integrity. $300 exchanged hands and Danny said he’d be willing to look into it.
The hardest part of the next few days was pretending like nothing had happened. Laura left a message on Matt’s phone saying she was interested in a few photoshoots. If they didn’t want to spook him any more than he already was, they had to wait for him to come to them. It was a waiting game, just like it had been with the alphas. Stiles brain kept supplying the image of Peter walking into the house with his hands dripping in his wife’s blood.
“I can’t believe we have to stay in on the full moon.” Erica sulked. “This sucks. It’s not even dark yet. If we just travel as a pack there’s nothing he can really do to us anyway.”
“Except infect some member of the group with a demon. Did we learn nothing from the Avengers people? Hawkeye caused the most devastation when Loki took him over. I am doing nightly demon sweeps and we are staying in for the night.”
Isaac moaned, “I am not watching that movie again. If I have to stay here instead of-”
“Going on my date with Allison.” The entire room chorused back at him. Even Sam gave her best attempt at echoing their sentiment.
“If I have to stay in,” Laura walked in with tubs of popcorn, “I’m not watching that movie or listening to you bellyache about not getting to hang out with a hunter.”
“We don’t know that she’s a hunter! She still hasn’t said anything to me, no hints.”
Stiles’ brain started whirring. “What if her mission is to get close to you? Her father tells her to go on dates with you, and then she starts really liking you. Soon she’ll turn away from them and join our pack. Or she won’t be able to give up her family for you and the two of you will have to pine after each other from a distance until one day when you have to fight a great evil together and your love will reignite.”
“And no romance flicks.” Derek tossed aside a few DVDs. “We’re left with Disney or action.”
Sam held up Lion King and made urgent noises.
“Good choice, squirt.” Isaac grabbed her by her feet and held her upside down. She wolfed out so she could swipe at his shins. Derek picked up the movie she dropped and put it in the player.
Before Rafiki could present the cub to the animal tribes, Stiles’ phone started ringing. The crowd of wolves booed uproariously while tossing popcorn at him.
“Hey, Stiles, it’s Danny. I’m forwarding you what I got from Daehler’s bank accounts. There are a few strange things, but no plane tickets, train passes, car rentals, or unusual gas station purchases. Unless he stole a car and is paying for his gas in cash, he’s still in town.”
“Thanks, I owe you one.”
“No, you still owe me $50.”
“Potato, po-tah-toe. I’ll get it to you sometime next week. Bye.”
Stiles fired up his laptop with Derek leaning over his shoulder. Most of Matt’s purchases were mundane things. He went to a 7/11 not far from the office he pretended to work at every morning up until a week before hand. All of his purchases since then had been at random places and times around town.
“I think he infected Jacob on purpose.” Stiles concluded. “I think maybe he wants us to find him.”
“Stiles, look at this.” Derek reached over his shoulder to scroll down the page. There were a few charges to some children’s clothing stores.
“Can you get an itemized list?” Derek asked.
Stiles clicked around a bit until he found a breakdown of what was purchased. Shirts, pants, and shoes fit for four year old boys were on the list. Each item had been purchased twice.
“Holy Shit.” Stiles’ chest unwound. He slumped back into Derek. “The twins are alive.”
“What?” Laura crawled over the betas to get to the computer. “We have to call Susan.”
“What twins?” Erica asked as she pushed Laura’s legs off of her.
“Seriously Derek?” Stiles pinched his fiance. “You had one job. Okay, you had lots of jobs, but one of them was definitely to fill the betas in on the whole sordid history of what happened before we got here.”
“The twins are my Aunt’s children. Peter kidnapped them. This is proof that he’s here, in town with us.” Laura was already dialing New York.
“Why do we even bother putting movies in? When was the last time we finished one?” Isaac pointed at the screen. Simba was strutting through the elephant graveyard.
A knock sounded on the door. “See what I mean?” He opened the door. “Allison.”
“When you said you were feeling under the weather I decided you might like some chicken noodle soup.” Her voice grew less confident as she looked around at all the people gathered.
Isaac slumped his frame and let out a cough, “That’s so sweet. We were just going to watch some cartoons. It’s been going around the house. We’re all not up to 100%.” He stammered and shuffled his feet. “I’d invite you in but, I don’t want you catching whatever this is.”
Allison looked skeptical. “All right. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She ran a hand down Issac’s arm.
Sam bounded towards them before Stiles could stop her. She scaled up Isaac’s clothes to growl at Allison with yellowed eyes.
Allison gasped and leveled a gun at Stiles’ baby.
Chapter 39: Emerging
Stiles sprinted toward Sam as Isaac turned his back to Allison, shielding the snarling baby from her. Stiles snatched her up and Derek swung the pair of them behind his back. He was wolfed out, prepared to defend his cub.
“Let’s all just calm down.” Allison said putting one hand up. Her gun was still trained on Sam who had begun crying from all the jostling about.
“You just pulled a gun on my fucking baby! You calm down!” Stiles yelled at her.
“She attacked me.” Allison defended.
“Attacked? I’ll show you what a fucking attack looks like!”
“Stiles!” Derek growled.
Stiles pinched his side and rocked Sam. “It’s okay Shortstack, Daddy’s got you.”
“So you are an alpha.” Allison said to Derek. “Our information has you listed as a Beta under your mother. Who’d you kill to get those red eyes?”
“Someone who would have killed me.” Derek snarled.
“Allison,” Isaac pleaded, “Don’t tell your father about Sam. She hasn’t done anything wrong. I know you would never do anything to jeopardize a child.”
“My Dad? Of course, you think he’s calling the shots. You thought that because he’s an older male he must be in charge. In the Argent family the women lead.”
“It’s not a sexist thing.” Stiles protested, “it’s more of a scary dude coming around to fuck up my shit and shoot people is probably the leader.”
“When you tripped the alarm in my house I told him to scare Derek, not shoot him. My apologies.” She never looked more like her Dad. “I must say, I’m disappointed, Isaac. I thought maybe you weren’t one of them. I’m sorry I was wrong.”
“I’m not.” He pulled himself up straight. “They gave me family and strength. What do you get from the hunters other than hate? What did werewolves do to you?”
“They killed my mother.”
“Dementia killed my mother and you don’t see me rampaging around waving guns in the faces of small children who had nothing to do with it!”
Allison slowly put her gun into her waistband. “I wouldn’t actually shoot her. I’m not a monster.”
“Neither am I.” Isaac’s voice was wounded.
“You’re not human anymore.”
“So everything you said to me, all of that kindness just goes away because I chose to stand up for myself.” Isaac was backing away from the door.
“There are other ways to stand up for yourself.”
“Oh what the fuck ever!” Stiles had to go up on tip toes to yell at her over Derek’s shoulder. “Why aren’t you hunting down the town’s resident serial killer? Or how about the one werewolf in town that is an actual murderer? Why are you spending your time sending your dad to break jars in my store? I’m sending you a bill for that, by the way.”
“You know who the serial killer is?” She was starting to look interested.
“No, I mean, in that hypothetical- there is a serial killer on the loose, so it’s not technically hypothetical, but shouldn’t you have traps out or something?”
“Who is it?” She looked at each person. The Hales rumbled at her. Erica just ignored her and examined her nails.
“Isaac.” Allison moved into the house towards him. Sam’s sniffles turned back into growls. “I know that you don’t want to see anyone get hurt. Just let me help.” She took him by the hand.
Isaac was weakening. Their poor pup couldn’t stand to disappoint people.
“We can’t tell you because it’s not their fault.” Stiles blurted before Allison could wear Isaac down more. He’d beat himself up just as much if he was the weak link.
“Killing at least three people was not their fault?” Allison crossed her arms and raised her eyebrows in disbelief.
“We have reason to believe we’re dealing with someone who’s possessed. They don’t need bullets, they need an exorcism.”
“An exorcism.” Now she was looking at Stiles like he was crazy. “Do you have a priest all lined up?”
“As a matter of fact…”
“You know what, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. I’m telling you right now that if we catch this person before you do, there won’t be a ritual. I will not risk this town’s safety on hocus pocus.”
“What about risking it on the police?” Erica still didn’t look up from her manicure. “If you catch them can’t you turn them into the police? Unless you want to go kill an innocent person trapped by a demon inside their own body.”
“You do owe me a favor.” Stiles reminded her. “We’re not asking that you let anybody go unpunished. And if you see a murder about to take place, by all means, go ahead and stop it, just don’t use lethal force. If you kill them the demon will just go on into the next host.”
“I’m not making any promises.” Allison turned toward the door. “If I see someone getting hurt, I’m taking down the attacker. That goes for everyone in this room.”
Derek continued to growl until her car pulled out of the driveway.
“She doesn’t have the worst point in the world.” Erica turned the T.V. off. “Why isn’t the plan, find Matt, kill Matt? Will killing him really send the demon into a new host?”
“I’m not 100% on that, but if the movies I’ve seen are anything to go by, it’s probably true.” Sam wailed and rocked side to side until Isaac agreed to pick her up.
“You’re perfect.” He told her. “Don’t let anyone tell you you’re bad for being what you are.”
“We don’t kill innocents.” Derek silenced the room with his voice. “We are predators, not killers. The Argents think that their moral code is what separates us from them. It’s not. We have our own code. What makes us different is our instinct. I’m not willing to give up just because it might be harder.”
Derek was reluctant to let Stiles leave the next day for a coffee date with Lydia. He sounded just like his mother. Talia had been all about laying low and staying in until they understood the threat. In order to get Derek’s permission to go Stiles actually had to call Talia up. Stiles hadn’t been able to hear the other half of the conversation, but whatever she said made Derek agree that he could go out alone.
“Stiles!” Lydia wave him over to her spot. Olivia was set up next to Lydia in her car seat. As he said hello, Stiles reflexively scanned them both for demons. He had to hide his flinches from the banshee screams inside both of them.
There was an extra coffee sitting at their table. “Did you pick up my mocha for me?”
“Nope.” Lydia smiled smugly. “That is part of a surprise.”
Stiles groaned. “I hate surprises. And it’s a surprise that drinks coffee, so it’s a person. The only people I want to see right now are you two lovely ladies. Let’s just run away before they get here. What do you call a ding dong ditch with coffee?”
“Stiles, I’m hurt. You don’t want to say hello to your future uncle-in-law?” Peter gave Stiles that patented evil asshole smile. His mind went totally blank. He should do something. Anything. He could scream or run or text Derek, but he was frozen.
“Surprise!” Lydia was so damn pleased with herself. “I saw him wandering around looking at his GPS. I asked him where he was headed…”
“And that’s when we decided to set up this little meeting!” Peter finished. “If I had known you had women this beautiful in Beacon Hills I would have shown up way sooner.”
Lydia flushed at the compliment, “Stop!”
“I didn’t think you’d be dating so soon.” Stiles put on his best fake smile. “I know that what happened with Marie must have been hard on you.”
“It was.” Peter nodded sadly, “but life must go on.”
“What happened?” Lydia was looking between them.
“I lost my wife earlier this year.” Peter pretended to be choked up. “It’s been really hard. You know what might make me feel better? Holding that gorgeous baby girl.”
Stiles could only watch horrified as Lydia put her daughter into the hands of a murderer. Olivia bawled when their skin came in contact. All of Stiles’ options flew out the window. Peter could eviscerate her in seconds if Stiles made one wrong move.
“It’s okay, little one. I’m not going to hurt you.” Peter’s smile was all teeth.
“And how are the twins?” Stiles forced the words out.
“You know boys. Always making trouble. They’re as cute as ever. Every day they look more and more like their mother.”
“Twin boys? That sounds like a handful.” Lydia commiserated. “How old are they?”
“They’re four.” Peter checked his watch. “And I should be getting back to them. The daycare charges by the hour. Stiles, do you think you could give me your address so I can surprise Derek?”
“Sure, just let me find a post it.” Stiles wrote, ‘Go Fuck Yourself’ on the yellow paper before handing it over.
“Thank you.” Peter gave him a wink. “I’m sure we’ll see each other again soon.” He gave Olivia back to her Mom and swept out of the shop.
“Will you excuse me for a minute?” Stiles abruptly stood up from the table. “I think I wrote the house number down wrong.”
By the time he made it to the sidewalk, Peter was no where to be seen.
Chapter 40: Right Behind
Stiles feigned a sudden stomach illness and waited outside for reinforcements to arrive. Derek made it to the coffee shop with illegal speed. He checked every inch of Stiles for damage despite Stiles’ assurances that he was fine.
“People are staring.” Erica whispered.
“Let them.” Derek lapped at Stiles’ neck to scent mark him. Stiles could not be held responsible for the pheromones that poured out in response. He’d been trained pavlovian style to respond to neck licking.
“Mom, Dad, you’re making the kids uncomfortable.” Laura pried Derek off of Stiles. Stiles regained his senses a bit and realized the betas had wandered toward the car.
Once Derek’s nose was exposed to the air instead of Stiles’ skin he began sniffing for Peter’s trail. It was a rainy day. The smell of old gasoline and worms crawling around was thick in the air. Stiles didn’t know how they could possibly smell anything else.
“It’s gone. Washed away.” Laura shook her head. Derek was still frantically sniffing around. She put a hand on his arm. “Let it go. There are other ways to find him.”
“How?” Derek exploded out of her grasp. “He’s too close to us. What if he decides to kill Stiles next time? What if he decides he’s tired of werewolves living in the shadows and transforms in public? We need to get to him now.”
He knows you can’t catch him. He steps out brazenly because he can. You aren’t a threat. Derek is hardly an alpha. Your betas are weak willed. You’re so weak even the hunters take pity on your sad pack.
Fuck off. You’re just sad your old host is an idiot who got himself caught.
“I know how! I know how we can track Peter! To the batcave!” Stiles ran to the car.
Erica was strapped into the back squeaking a toy for Sam. “You’re taking this Batman thing too far. I might have to relegate you to the Penguin.”
“Aww! You can’t do that! He’s a villain! And he sucks!”
“I don’t care if he sucks. You’re in Derek’s car.”
Stiles looked around, “What does that have to do with anything?”
Erica rolled her eyes, “You drove here, genius. You have to take the Jeep back to the house.”
“I knew that.” Stiles unbuckled his belt. He not quite so gracefully strolled to the Jeep and headed home.
He checked his phone and saw that there was a voicemail from his Dad. He put the phone on speaker when he hit a red light.
“Hey kiddo, did you ever get a hold of Matt Daehler? Let me know if you did. He was spotted near two of the murders and he had a history with Mr. Lahey. If we find him I’m going to hold him on the charge of petty theft for what he did to you so I can question him. Call me back if you have anything. And let’s set up another lunch. That was nice. Love ya, bye.”
He made it to the house ahead of the rest of the pack. He slid the coffee table aside to reveal an expanse of carpet. He found the largest map of Beacon Hills he could and unfurled it across the plush floor. When the rest of the pack rolled in he was sprawled out putting dots all over it.
“Is there a short explanation, or only a long one?” Isaac leaned over to get a better look.
“Short explanation is I was raised by a Sheriff and watched waaayy too many crime shows. Or still watch, present tense. It doesn’t matter. I’m making a map of everywhere Daehler made a purchase in the last two months based on his credit history.”
“You’re trying to triangulate his most likely position based on where he goes to and from.” Erica caught the strange looks the Hales threw her way. “Like he’s the only one allowed to watch ‘Numbers’.”
“Look,” Stiles pointed to a line of red dots leading off towards another small town to the east. “We know that Peter and Matt have to be working together because Peter took the twins, but Matt has been buying stuff for them. I’m going with the assumption that Matt gave the clothes to Peter the same day he bought them. Looking at those plus everything else that might be Peter or twin related, maybe we can track down Peter’s lair.”
Laura was getting excited. “Add to that Peter’s refusal to sleep outside or in anything ‘cheap’ and we can narrow down where we think he’s staying.”
“Or we could just ask Mr. Stevenson where they’re staying.” Isaac held up a printout of the history.
“Who’s Mr. Stevenson?” Stiles asked snatching the list back.
“He’s a realtor. He’s got billboards and posters up all over town and Matt’s been giving him $800 a month. He’s probably renting one of his properties.”
“I just did all of this work for nothing, didn’t I?” Stiles huffed.
“He doesn’t. I just texted him. He gave me the address.” Erica presented her phone. Stiles matched the address with the ten mile radius he had circled as the most likely whereabouts of Peter and co.
“Now that we have a location, let’s talk game plan.” Derek folded the map down to show only the location of the cabin Matt was renting. “It’s a full moon again tonight. Peter’s an alpha, which means he’s going to be stronger than ever tonight and whatever damage he does will heal slow. Isaac will stay here with Sam and Stiles-”
“He’ll stay here with Sam,” Stiles protested, “but Stiles is going out.”
Derek snarled at his fiance, “How many times do we need to have the conversation about you staying safe?”
“At least a dozen more. I’m slow. Or instead we can have a conversation about what you plan to do with Peter when you find him. Can you perform an exorcism? How about you, Laura? Erica? Can you even control your shifts on the moon yet?”
“Yes! Mostly…” Erica said sheepishly.
“Laura and I can take Peter down while Erica secures the twins. You can show up after Peter is secured.”
“Hell to the no. Peter doesn’t give a rat’s ass if I’m there. He’ll never suspect I can do anything. Take me with. I can do this.”
Derek looked to Laura who nodded. “Fine, but if something happens I will make Erica drag you back here and I’ll deal with you when I get back.”
Stiles gave him a salacious smile, “Promise?”
Everyone rolled their eyes.
They abandoned the car a full mile ahead of the house. It was a testament to the full moon runs that Stiles could keep up with the breakneck pace the Hales set on their way through the woods. The cabin was set back on two acres of land. It had been a hunting cabin in years gone by. The irony was not lost on Stiles.
“I don’t like this.” Derek whispered when the cabin was in sight. “Peter is a planner. If Matt really did infect Jacob to out himself Peter knows we’re coming.”
“He probably does.” Laura agreed. “But that changes nothing. We have to get to the twins.”
Erica quietly rumbled her consent. Stiles could see her fight for control over the wolf. There was no way Stiles would have been anywhere else, but it did make him a little nervous. He wasn’t nearly as stealthy as the others on their walk up.
They snuck their way underneath window sills. Peter was sitting on a chair reading a book. Derek made a series of hand gestures that meant nothing to Stiles, but the girls seemed to know what he meant. He chose to follow behind Erica.
Derek burst through the front door while Laura vaulted herself in through a window. Stiles and Erica stayed hidden on either side of the doorway.
“Hello! If it isn’t my favorite niece and nephew come to visit me. Are you looking for a fight? Because I’m not looking to put one up.”
“You’re going to come quietly?” Derek was crouched down low, not believing a word of what was spilling forth.
“I’m not sure I would go that far. I did call up a few friends to join the party. Hope you don’t mind.”
Black SUV’s swarmed up the dirt driveway.
“You hate hunters. You hate Argents.” Laura snarled at him.
“Oh yes, but they can create a dazzling diversion. In a minute you, are going to let me slip away unnoticed because you are going to be preoccupied with them.” He pointed toward Allison and her team of mercenaries who walked in with guns and bows drawn.
“Tell me, hunters, have you ever seen a new wolf who has been denied access to the moon for months on end?” Peter pulled back the thick rug on the floor of the cabin. There was a trap door. “It’s a sight to behold.”
He swung it up and the twins came rushing out of it. The hunters took shots at the snarling children who raced to clamp their jaws onto the nearest people. Derek and Laura knocked their guns to fire off target of the boys. Stiles scrambled out of the way as one of the children burst out of the house in a frenzy. Erica gave chase after him into the woods. He projected his magic out to grow weeds to tangle around the child’s feet, but they only slowed him down.
Derek and Allison had an argument shouting over the din of the battle, “They’re children! You said you’d never shoot at children!”
“They’ve killed two of my men! We have to do something. What if they get to town? Think of who will get caught in their path! We have to end this here and now!” Allison shot a bolt at the twin still in the house piercing into his leg. The boy roared and leapt out of the window. The hunters went out into the night after him.
“If I get to them before you do, I won’t have a choice.” Allison’s voice was watery, but firm. “Children or not, lives are at stake.”
“I’ll get to them first.” Derek vowed.
“Hey guys, where’s Peter?” Stiles asked.
“Fuck! Stiles, get back to the house. Let Isaac know what’s going on, make sure Sam’s safe. The twins could be headed there right now, and God knows where Peter’s sulking off to.” He gave Stiles a firm kiss and pushed him in the direction of the car.
Three hunters felt it was necessary to walk Stiles the entire way there. He protested, but it made him feel safer to have the company. He sped home like the devil himself was on his ass.
The front door was a mess. It had been blown open by some sort of weapon. Stiles called and called for his baby girl and Isaac. They were both gone. He pulled out his phone hoping Isaac had taken off and left him a message. There was only one text, several hours old. The Sheriff had Matt Daehler in custody. Stiles pulled on his jacket and got back in the car to head off to the station.
Chapter 41: Now What?
I left some cookie crumbs, did you follow me all the way here?
P.S. This is the last cliffhanger ending. I promise.
Stiles strolled into the station like he owned the place. “Deputy Graeme, I’m going in to see my Dad. Is he with someone? Kick them out.”
Tara didn’t say anything. “Deputy Graeme?”
Blood oozed slowly from the hole in her forehead. There wasn’t a heartbeat available to turn it into a real flow. Stiles dropped to the floor. He crawled slow and quiet until he could brace his back against the counter. He inched his way around the bend to behind the desk. He searched the body as quickly as he could without puking all over himself. She’d been stripped of her service weapon and the pistol she kept around her ankle. The shotgun that was normally stowed under the ledge was also missing.
Stiles made himself small under the desk and stopped to think. He put his cell on silent before shooting off a few texts. He hoped Derek wasn’t too busy chasing after demented children to check his phone. The best plan would be to leave and come back with reinforcements, like a bazooka. He almost started crawling his way back to the door, but then out of the holding cells came the sound of Sam crying.
It wasn’t her pitiful wail of being told to clean up her toys or not having any more cookies. Sam was in real pain.
You’re not fooling anyone. We can sense our kin, and they can sense Us.
Stiles had begun to think of his demons as playing one big game of truth or dare. Were they telling the truth, or daring you to act on bad information?
Sam’s screams got louder. There was no thought beyond that noise. It was the only thing that mattered to Stiles. The only thing that could matter. He picked up the heaviest object he could easily carry (the three hole punch) and abandoned his hiding spot. He walked in a crouch over to the door of the holding tank room. He kept his back to the wall. He leaned forward an inch to see inside. Inside the first cell were two people. They were both unconscious on the floor.
There was a bench with a row of handcuffs danging a few feet above it that was normally used to hold people for processing. One of Sam’s hands was zip-tied to a closed cuff. She had to stay up on her tip toes to keep weight off of her bleeding bruised wrist. The pain from the fresh wound was keeping her from wolfing out. She looked like a normal baby suspended from a wall.
Stiles had never known he was capable of a hate like the kind that flushed through his veins into his heart. Sam was in so much distress she didn’t even notice him. Couldn’t even smell him even though he was three feet away from her. He did his best to block her whimpering out of his mind. There was a new mission.
Determine who was in that room. Kill them, regardless of demon status. Dance on the remaining corpse.
He leaned forward three inches and turned to get a better view.
“Thanks for joining us!” Matt said from behind Stiles, and then he brought the butt of Tara’s stolen gun down on Stiles’ temple.
The stench of demon was so strong Stiles gagged as he came back from the darkness.
“He’s waking up… yeah, him and the brat… No, no harm at all. At least, nothing permanent.”
Stiles vision swam as Matt came into focus talking into a phone. “Who uses landlines anymore?” Daehler ignored his question. Stiles tried to rub at the lump on his head and found that his hands were bound behind his back.
“Sorry about the rope.” Matt smiled. It didn’t reach his eyes by a mile. “The rest of the cuffs were taken.”
To Stiles’ left were two holding cells. Scott and Isaac were slumped over in one. His dad and the ninja waiter were blearily coming to their senses in the other. On the floor at the Sheriff’s feet was another dead deputy.
“I would have killed more people, but I’m saving up my bullets. I have a few more errands to run once I leave here.”
“DADA!” Sam screeched and stretched her arms out for him. He fell over backwards to scoot into her arm.
“Un uh. Nope. No daddy daughter time.” His boot stomped into Stiles’ side. His breath whooshed out of him. Stiles closed his eyes and asked the Goddess for guidance. He needed to get out of his bonds. In his pocket was the vial of seeds he’d taken from Allison’s house, but they were impossibly far away from his bound hands. He felt outward across the floor. In the cracks of cement on the floor were a few dormant buds.
“Did you call for backup before you came here, or did you just show up guns blazing like always?” Matt took the opportunity to smack Stiles again. This time Stiles let the blow carry him over to where one of the tiny seeds was lurking. He wiggled it into his rope.
“Like always? I don’t remember ever being tied up in my Dad’s jail before.”
Matt smirked, “I’ll take that as a no.”
“Hey! Get away from him.” The Sheriff was awake and doing his best to take the pressure off of Stiles.
“I’m thinking no.” He slapped Stiles across the face. Stiles rolled with it. He was focused on getting his little seed to grow in between strands of rope. He’d seen pictures of trees ripping apart rocks. He could only hope the tiny fern he was nuturing could do the same to his bonds.
“Stiles?” From inside the second cell Scott and Isaac began to stir.
“How nice of you two fucking bastards to wake up and join the party.” Matt’s attention was focused solely on the two men.
“What the fuck is going on?” Scott was still trying to shake off his unconsciousness.
“What the fuck is going on is that I’m waiting for someone to come take the idiot and the fucking brat off of my hands and then I’m going to watch the two of you die slow agonized deaths. I’m thinking gut shots. I heard it can take half an hour to die and you feel what’s in your guts pouring into your wounds. Like rubbing salt into a cut.”
“What’d I do?” Isaac cowered in on himself in a corner. Despite his werewolf healing he couldn’t escape that instinct to hide in the face of danger.
“You touched something that’s mine.” Matt seethed.
“Now now,” Peter came strutting in. Stiles couldn’t hold in his groan. “You’ll get your chance. Stiles, what a surprise to see you here. I told Matt to bring me Sam. I didn’t know he’d bring you as a consolation prize. It’s going to be so refreshing to finally kill you. I’ve had to listen to you run your mouth every time I’ve had the displeasure of being in the same room as you. But if I kill you now I’ll never get to see your face when I have Sam kill you.”
Peter picked Sam up so that she wasn’t dangling by her wrist any more. She stopped crying when he absorbed some of the hurt. “When Derek inevitably shows up to save you he’s going to be weak from chasing down the twins. I’m naturally stronger than he is anyway, so I’ll win the fight. Then I’m going to go kill Laura for being a meddling bitch. Finally me and this little angel are going to walk right out of here. I’m going to raise her to be a true wolf. When you least expect it, we’ll show up where you live, and she’ll rip your throat out.”
“Or you could kill me now so I don’t have to hear you go on and on about your shit plan that’s doomed to fail.” The rope finally gave way under the force of the seedling.
“It’s doomed, is it? Why?” Peter looked genuinely interested.
“Every villain has a fatal flaw. Yours is hubris.”
“Pride always was my weak point.” Peter agreed. He walked back toward Stiles leaving Sam hanging by her wrist again. “But I think you’re just getting cocky because you think I don’t know you broke out of your bonds a minute ago. I don’t care if your hands are bound or not. What can a weak fucking human do to me?”
“This.” Stiles reached into his pocket and smashed the vial of seeds on the floor. Peter looked less than impressed, until Stiles willed the plants to grow. In seconds Matt and Peter were entwined with wolfsbane. Daehler just struggled against his bonds, but everywhere the flowers touched Peter blue black veins pushed poison into his system. He wretched dark bile up his throat.
“You’re right, asshole. I am cocky.” Stiles’ first order of business was to get Sam down. He used his car keys to snap the zip-tie. She wanted desperately to stay at his side, but he had work to do. He put her near Isaac’s cell so he could reach his arms through the bars and hold her to him.
“What the fuck was that?” Scott asked in absolute awe. The Sheriff had the same dumbfounded look on his face.
Looks like I’m going to have some explaining to do after this. Oh well, might as well do the whole thing right here.
Stiles removed his jacket. “I need you to be less infested before I search you for jail keys, so it’s exorcism time bitches! But first…” Stiles cracked Matt across the jaw. It was so worth the hurt to his knuckles. “Had to do that while you were still evil.”
“How’d you know? About the demon.” Matt writhed in his bonds. “You’re a fucking moron. You couldn’t put two and two together to make four on a calculator.”
“You infected Wendy’s kid, Jacob. Ringing any bells?”
“No I didn’t” Matt scoffed. “I would never put my hands on a vile snot nosed kid.”
Stiles put his hand on Peter’s left shoulder and prepared to remove his demon. Peter was filled with hate and evil, but it was his own. There was no demon there. Stiles flinched back.
“Wait a minute, if you didn’t give Jacob the demon,” he pointed at Matt, “And Peter doesn’t have any demons, who’s the second demon carrier?”
Stiles heard the gun shot before he felt the bullet tear its way into his left shoulder. He swung around. Standing in a cell, holding the smoking gun, was Boyd.
Chapter 42: The Final Stand
This is the last official chapter of the story. I will put up two epilogue chapters, but it will take me a week or two to get those pulled together. Thanks for following along!
The Sheriff barreled into Boyd shoulder first knocking him into the bars. Boyd shifted around, cold cocking his gun into the Sheriff’s face, knocking him out again. Boyd produced the keys to the cell and let himself out, locking the Sheriff in behind him.
The pain from his shoulder was keeping Stiles from being able to focus his magic. Control over the vines was slipping from his grasp. Boyd walked over to Stiles. He tried to fight Boyd off, but he was weak. Boyd pressed the palm of his hand onto the hole left by the shot. Stiles stifled his screams.
Boyd pushed him away and shook his head at Peter and Matt. “Could you two be any stupider? You both knew Stiles was breaking out of the rope.” He took a hunting knife out of a holster on his leg. Boyd used it to start sawing at the wolfsbane. “But no, you just assumed he couldn’t do shit to you. You just let it happen.”
“Thank you very much for that recap of the last episode.” Peter gasped sarcastically. “Now, how about you cut just a little faster before the poison kills me? This feels worse than it looks.”
That was saying a lot since he was covered in black lightning spikes all over his body and was covered in his own black sickness. Stiles forced himself to his feet and charged at Boyd. Boyd easily tossed him off into a corner. He landed hard on his injured side. The jolt of pain whited Stiles’ vision. The last of the wolfsbane fell away from Peter. He staggered out of the foliage toward Stiles.
“You still think you can take us on?”
“Hell yes I do. I’m going to take you out.”
“You and what army?”
Derek slid into the room and let out a booming alpha roar.
“That one.” Stiles pointed. Derek launched himself at Peter’s throat. The asshole wasn’t as fast as Derek, but he still had power. He kept Derek at bay by forcing a forearm into his throat. Boyd rushed to free Matt who grabbed the keys from him to open the cage where Scott and Isaac were cowering. He slapped Sam out of Isaac’s hands to swing the door open
That was a mistake of epic proportions on his part. Isaac’s claws sprang free at the bidding of his alpha. As he lunged forward Boyd emptied his clip into Isaac. When Isaac fell back Scott huddled next to him keeping pressure on as many wounds as he could.
“Why are you doing this?” Scott demanded. “I don’t know what the fuck he is, but he didn’t do anything to you!”
“He touched something that was mine!” Fire and demons danced in Matt’s eyes. He stole the gun from Boyd’s grasp and refilled the clip.
“I was the first person in this town to see Allison Argent. I went on a date with her the day she got into town. I showed her around, took her to a concert, bought her dinner. Then she met you.” He turned the gun on Scott.
Sam crawled over to Stiles who felt useless bleeding out on the floor. She stood with her back to him, eyes glowing, claws out, protecting him from the rest of the room.
“This is all your fault! If you hadn’t been a cheating fuck up Allison would have been mine! But I knew you weren’t good enough for her. I just had to bide my time, wait for her to realize how pathetic you are. That’s when you showed up.” He turned his gaze, and the gun, to Isaac. “But that’s okay. It’s all over now. I just have to kill both of you and Allison will belong to me.”
“I don’t belong to anyone.” Allison called from the hallway before she delivered an arrow right into Matt’s throat. It pinned him to the wall. Stiles could hear the awful sucking sound of his lungs pulling in blood when he gasped for air. Allison, not knowing Boyd was part of the evil brigade, walked right past him on her way to the cell to take stock of what damage had been done. Boyd grabbed the bow from her and kicked her into the cage, clanging the door shut.
“It looks like I have to do everything myself.” He aimed a shot at the werewolves wrestling for dominance on the floor. Stiles gathered together as much magic as he could to grow a vine to wrap around the bow and force the arrow up into the ceiling.
“You have been a thorn in our side for too long, Demon Bearer.” Boyd pried the gun from Matt’s dead grip to level at Stiles.
“NO!” Derek bellowed. Sam hollered after him. She barreled over to Boyd and clamped her jaw onto his shin. Derek broke free of his entanglements with Peter to swoop Sam up and set her aside. That left Peter free to come towards Stiles, who was now lying in an impressive pool of blood.
Derek froze in his advancement on Boyd when he saw Peter’s claws aimed at Stiles’ throat.
“I have your fiance. There are two of us left and only one of you. What do you have left, Derek?”
Susan and John burst forth into the room. Peter dropped Stiles to deal with the feral parents whose child he had stolen. Derek grappled with Boyd over control of the gun. It ended with Derek’s teeth sinking deep into the sinuous muscle of Boyd’s shoulder.
There had been too many deaths from the demons already. Stiles couldn’t let Boyd go down just because he was unfortunate enough to have been infected by Matt. Stiles heaved his weight up onto his feet and stumbled his way to Boyd. He only had to bend his elbow to set his left hand on Boyd, but even that movement was agony on the gunshot.
Stiles lifted his right hand high in the air and began chanting to the Goddess.
There were seven demons swirling in the mess that was Boyd’s mind. A healthy dose of self loathing mixed with survivor’s guilt had allowed them to find footholds to cling onto. The four small demons were easy enough to pry out of his subconscious, but Stiles was already weak. He would never get the last three out without help. Outside he could feel his body begin to sway on its spot. He was flagging.
From out of the recesses of Boyd’s mind sprang forth a wolf. Derek’s bite had unleashed it, and as far as the beast was concerned, this place was its territory. It used its fangs and talons to shred away where the demons were holding on. The wolf decimated the demon’s grip so that Stiles could wrench them out of Boyd.
Susan’s bellow of triumph brought Stiles back into his own body. Clutched in her teeth was the dangling crimson viscera of what had been Peter’s throat. Together Stiles and Boyd toppled to the floor gasping for breath. Derek knelt down and gathered Stiles into his arms.
“What? What the fuck?” Boyd could not have looked more confused. “Where am I? What the fuck happened here?”
“Dude,” Scott called from inside of the cage, “I have been asking that all fucking night.”
“Congratulations. You are now a werewolf.” Stiles gave him a weak round of applause.
“Where are my children?” Susan was wearing the red eyes of an alpha.
“They’re with Laura and Erica. Safe. Take my phone. Laura can tell you where they are.” Derek handed her his cell. Susan and her husband stole away to fetch their twins.
Sam unsteadily walked her way over to Stiles. She placed a soft butterfly kiss on his cheek. He felt a little bit of his pain recede.
“Did you kiss it and make it better?” She nodded. “Thank you, Shortstack.”
“Stiles,” The Sheriff called from his own cell. “Do you think you could maybe let us out? And don’t think saving my life is going to get you out of one very long, very detailed explanation of what just happened here.”
“Sure, just- DAMMIT!”
Suddenly everyone was back on high alert. “What? What is it?” Derek was tense around Stiles.
“I used my left arm to pull demons, again! Now all of my tattoos are on that side. I’m ink lopsided. It’s going to look weird.”
Derek sighed, “You’re lucky I love you.”
Chapter 43: Epilogue: The Wedding
It's been a wonderful journey! Hope you liked it too!
“Dad, seriously, no guns necessary.”
“Stiles, are you or are you not, about to be hunted through the woods by 4 packs of werewolves?”
It turned out that there were a number of very odd customs when marrying a werewolf. Among them was the custom of humans proving their worth by being chased down by packs. That meant Stiles dodging claws and fangs if he wanted to make it to the alter.
“They won’t actual hurt me. Wait, let me revise that, they won’t kill me.”
The Sheriff harrumphed, “Yeah, I feel reassured.”
Stiles could feel the sarcasm on the wind. “If permanent damage is done, blame MeeMee. It was supposed to just be Derek’s pack and the Hales, but nooo. MeeMee had to invite a whole bunch of weres I’d never met before. Are you listening?”
MeeMee smiled at him from her lawn chair. “I’m sorry? What was that? I can’t hear you over the tequila in this daiquiri.” She shook her ice at him and took a long loud slurp.
“I hate you.” He called over to her.
“Then why did you invite me?”
It was a fair question. At the moment, all he really wanted was to go elope. Derek wasn’t even at the picnic. He wasn’t allowed to come within 500 ft. of the chase. It had to be everyone but him chasing Stiles down. Tradition decreed that it had to be others who caught him. That, and if he was captured in less than 20 minutes the wedding couldn’t happen at all.
He would be given 10 minutes to get as far as he could before they came after him. If he couldn’t play keep away for an equal amount of time after leaving, he would be deemed unworthy of an alpha. Don’t panic, Derek said. It’ll be easy, Derek said. The betas want us to get married so they won’t try too hard. At least the ten demons soaked into his skin sort of drowned each other out so he couldn’t hear their skepticism.
It wasn’t the betas Stiles was worried about. One of the packs was the family Stiles had seen back at MeeMee’s clinic. The one that had hated him on sight. Yeah, he was really looking forward to having them trying to take a bite out of his ass.
“You don’t have to do this.” His Dad was giving him that Concerned Father look.
“I really do.”
“Let’s get this shindig on the road!” MeeMee whooped from her chair. “Daylight’s a wasting!”
Stiles stood at the very edge of the woods. The packs stood in clusters behind him. Erica gave him a big thumbs up complete with teeth. Maybe it was the betas he should be worried about.
“How are we keeping track of time?” Stiles was stalling, he was comfortable with that.
“That’s right!” Isaac came over and stole his phone. “You’re not allowed to know how long you’ve been out there. Sorry.”
“Oh, that’s just fabulous!”
“The only fabulous thing out here is you, Batman!” Erica mocked him.
Suddenly he was ready to be alone in the woods. He took off at a run hoping they hadn’t gotten a timer started. Those few seconds could be the difference between happily wedded bliss or embarrassment and a life of living in sin.
At least he came prepared with a few tricks up his sleeve. Stiles was going to use every dirty magic trick in the book. The first trick was his favorite. Stiles had a number of dandelions hidden up his sleeve. Like, literally up his sleeve. He had put his scent on them with a magical tag. He didn’t even need to slow down to blow them off into the wind. With any luck he could at least divide the marauding parties.
On to trick two. Stiles ran a circle of mountain ash around a cluster of trees. Then, and he was very proud of this, he willed some branches and leaves to grow in the shape of a Stiles forty feet up. Trap two was to make the wolves think he was hiding inside the ring up in the tree. By the time they figured out it wasn’t really him he had to be at least 10 minutes away.
The howls of the wolves sounded off.
Damn, did they sound close already. Stiles barreled off down to the river. Trick three, make them believe he’d crossed water to throw off the scent. Using his growth trick he made it appear as if there were foot prints on the opposite side of the river. He kept running for as long as he dared before he was out of breath. He settled in against a tree and put some undergrowth over him. He set up a few werewolf triggered alarms and waited.
It occurred to him that he should have started counting the minutes when the sun was setting. How long had it been? How long would it be? An leaf itched up his thigh, letting him know a wolf was near. He wanted it to be a Hale. The man who popped out was a complete wild card. He was the second in command of the pack Stiles had never met. Derek assured Stiles he’d known the pack since birth. Color Stiles not reassured when a wall of a human was sniffing the air in front of him. Stiles could see in his eyes when he caught the scent.
The best defense was a good offense, so Stiles threw some hallucinating wolfsbane in his face and scampered away. The man roar that burst forth from his jaws quaked Stiles’ bowels. There was no way he was making a clean getaway from this. He ran, tripping over roots and rocks along the way.
When he passed by a tree he felt a prick in his neck. His legs were instantly ten times heavier than they had been. He turned around.
There was MeeMee, waving at him with one hand and holding a syringe in the other.
“Et tu, MeeMee?” Stiles fell to his knees as the drugs really took hold.
“Hey, if no one catches you, you’d be called too strong for the pack. I know you two are stupid for each other. Someone had to take your dumb ass down.”
“Di… I ma… 20 min?”
“Sugar, it’s been an hour and a damn half. Go the fuck to sleep.”
Who could argue with that?
The drug induced stupor Stiles was left in lingered through the night. The next morning he woke up feeling just as hung over as he had the morning after his bachelor party. That night was the reason why Boyd was banned from being on beer duty forever. True American was an awful drinking game that was not meant to be played with werewolves.
“WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!” Laura and Erica screamed in tandem as they jumped on Stiles bed. They bounced him around until he was sure he was going to puke all over the comforter.
“What did I do to deserve this hell?”
“You told Derek to turn Erica.” Boyd said from the doorway. Erica launched herself into his arms. She wrapped her legs around his waist and made a move that made Stiles feel just a little bit sicker.
“But you love me.” She cooed at him.
“I do.” Boyd answered sincerely. He was the middle child that balanced out the other two. Boyd was their quiet beta who kept Erica calm(er) and was able to get Isaac out of his shell. Stiles was grateful every day for his Dad’s falsified police report putting all of the blame firmly on the shoulders of Peter and Matt. Their pack hadn’t been complete until Boyd was there.
“God I wish I was at my house. Why did Derek get to stay at the house with Sam? I don’t even believe in the whole superstition of not seeing each other before the wedding.” Stiles pulled on his sweatpants while attempting to shoo everyone out of his room.
“Because we do believe in that tradition, and you are clearly the bride in this situation, so Derek isn’t allowed to see your tux before you walk down the isle.” Laura nodded sagely.
“I am not a bride! Hello, dude parts! Plus I have a tux.”
“You are so the bride.” Erica giggled. “You’re the pack Mom. Plus, you’re the one walking to meet him at the end of the aisle. That makes you the bride.”
“This is nothing but assigning gender roles based on societal norms. You had better not be teaching Sam that shit.”
“Waa waa. Put on your tux! We have a wedding to get to!” Laura gave him a fat wet kiss on the cheek and shut the door behind her.
It took Stiles all of 15 minutes to shower and throw his tux on. He then had to spend several hours watching the girls get their hair and make-up done in the kitchen. They yelled at him every time he went to eat anything while his jacket was on. He ended up wearing his red hoodie over his shirt so that he could indulge in the bacon Jake had sizzling in the frying pan.
After hours of staring at the ceiling twirling around on an office chair they finally left for the church. While Stiles was in the dressing room he could hear Sam babbling and running around in the church. He wanted to scoop her up and abscond with her. Nerves had officially set in.
To Derek: It’s not too late. Elope with me. Vegas is only 11 hours away.
From Derek: Gay marriage is still illegal in Nevada.
To Derek: Really? That’s bullshit! If I want to make bad impulsive life choices while on a high from gambling I should be able to!
From Derek: Your Dad is giving me the stink eye for texting. Just get down here.
“Ooop! Looks like they’re ready for us! Let’s go!” Stiles attempted to march his way toward the other groom, but was stopped by a myriad of hands holding him back.
“You’re not ready!” Erica rolled her eyes. “Your hair’s a mess, your tie is crooked and you buttoned your shirt wrong.”
Stiles looked down at his mess of an outfit. “I bet if I was with the guys instead of you bitches they’d let me go.”
“Probably, and you’d look like an idiot in your wedding photos.” Laura said while straightening him out.
15 minutes of fussing later they deemed him acceptable enough to walk. That was when all the butterflies showed up.
“You okay, Kid? You look a little green around the gills.” The Sheriff was wearing the same tux Stiles was, only he made it look easy and effortless.
“Yeah, I just have a pack of birds fluttering on my insides. Nothing much.”
“Sounds about right. Felt the exact same thing when I caught sight of your Mom walking towards me. She’d have been proud of you today. She bet me $20 on your fifth birthday that you’d marry a man.” They chuckled wetly.
Stiles sucked in a huge breath, “Let’s do this.”
Derek looked so fucking good in his tux that Stiles barely remembered the ceremony. They’d wisely decided not to write their own vows. Stiles could barely do the call and response when the minister prompted him.
He would, however, always remember Sam running towards them with the rings, bawling her eyes out. Jake had been in charge of holding her back before her big moment. She found the whole thing very traumatizing. They held her between them for the rest of the ceremony. Stiles may have cried just a little, but it was okay because Derek kissed it all better.
Stiles allowed three hours of dancing, drinking, and reveling before he pulled Derek out of the hall by his tie.
“You are such a genius for getting us a honeymoon suite.” Stiles barely removed his lips from Derek’s to utter it. Derek was doing this sucking thing on Stiles’ tongue that was going straight to his dick.
“Glad you like it.” Derek mumbled as he slid his mouth down to Stiles’ neck. That gorgeous sucking continued until Stiles was grinding his cock against Derek’s thigh just to get some friction.
Stiles was suddenly bereft of both the friction and the suction. “Why, you stop, why?”
Derek chuckled, “That wasn’t a sentence. I am in dire need of a shower.”
Stiles gave Derek a sly smile, “So we’re starting this off with some wet’n’wild fun times. Nice.” He made a move to unbutton Derek’s jacket. A hand on his chest stopped him.
“Not so fast. I said I need a shower, not we.”
Stiles was flabbergasted. “But, but, we’re married. It’s my honeymoon! I’m pretty sure that by law for the next week if you’re naked I get to be there!”
“Not this time.” Derek gave him one last dirty kiss before he walked into the bathroom.
“Why? Why are you doing this to me?” Stiles pointed at his erection.
“I like you desperate.” Derek growled at him with a filthy smile. It made Stiles stupidly hard.
Stiles got naked and waited. He jacked off a little, just to stay hard. He made sexy poses in the mirror, which was a terrible idea because they were not sexy. He played some Candy Crush Saga on his phone. He basically did everything he could think of for the twenty minutes it took Derek to get clean.
If Derek wanted him desperate, mission accomplished.
Derek walked out fully nude with a cloud of steam billowing behind him. He stalked over to Stiles, who was breathless in an instant. Derek kissed and nuzzled Stiles starting at his ankle, making his way to the junction of his thigh.
“This is what I wanted.” Derek panted against Stiles’ balls as he gave them kitten licks. “The room is flooded with the smell of you wanting me.”
“God yes, want you so bad.”
Stiles would have said more, potentially an entire sonnet, but Derek’s mouth descended on Stiles’ hole and thinking and speaking became limited. As Derek’s tongue licked at him Stiles could really only say, “Derek” “Fuck” “Yes” and “More”. Stiles would have come from the exquisite tongue bath alone, but Derek pulled off of him.
“I have a surprise for you.” Derek gave him that salacious grin Stiles loved.
“Yeah?” It came out breathless and needy.
“Yeah. I thought that since it’s our wedding night we should do something we haven’t done before.”
“There are things we haven’t done before?” Stiles brain was on the foggy side.
“I wasn’t just getting clean in the shower.” Derek crawled up Stiles, licking a path as he went to straddle Stiles. He took Stiles hand a guided it back to his ass.
“Oh Holy Shit.” Derek was slicked up and open.
“Feel like topping?”
Stiles closed his eyes as tight as possible. “I need you to not speak or move for at least three minutes, or I will cum.”
“Is that a yes?” Derek laughed.
“Shut the fuck up.”
When Stiles had gathered his wits enough to open his eyes he was greeted with the sight of Derek working himself open.
“Now I need you to ride my cock. Right now.”
Derek pulled Stiles in for a tongue-fucking kiss while Stiles’ cock slid slickly into him. He quaked underneath his husband.
“So good. Tight. Hot. Fuck.”
Derek’s response was, “Ugh.” He could not have looked more sinful lowering himself onto Stiles. He didn’t mean to start bucking up before Derek was fully seated, it just kind of happened. Luckily, Derek didn’t seem to mind. He rolled upward with Stiles’ thrusts, grinding down into the friction. Stiles was losing his mind.
Derek rode him like a pro, groaning madly while Stiles bucked into him. Stiles’ hands roamed all over the hard muscles of the man on top of him. He scratched across those perfect abs and ran his nails over Derek’s nipples. When he knew he couldn’t possibly hold on much longer, he took Derek’s leaking cock in hand.
The blissful look on Derek’s face proved too much for Stiles to handle. He was moaning and swearing and pumping his cum into Derek’s ass before the first splash of Derek’s jizz hit his chest.
“I love you so much.” Derek gasped.
“Awesome. Post-coital five.” Stiles held up his hand. Derek only smacked it because he knew it would make Stiles happy.
Stiles’ phone began ringing. “Nope. No way. Not answering that until at least round five.”
Derek, still seated on Stiles’ softening hard-on, picked it up.
“What?” He barked. “Guess why I’m out of breath.” He pulled the phone away and mouthed ‘Laura’ to Stiles. It was unnecessary, since Stiles could hear her groan of disgust through the line.
“How many dead bodies?… And they’re walking around, even though they’re still dead?… Mom’s pack or Susan’s pack are more than capable of handling this without us… I don’t care if- don’t you hang up on me!”
Derek fumed as he tossed the phone away.
“World ending crisis?” Stiles asked. Derek nodded, sighed, and hopped off.
“Is our life always going to be like this?” Derek nodded again. “Well fuck them, I’m not showering. If they can’t handle shit on my wedding night they can deal with the smell of a spunk shower.”
“That sounds fair.”
Stiles pulled Derek down for one last slow kiss, “Come on, sweetheart. You and me versus the world.”