It only happens the night before his Heat begins. For months now, Stiles knew when he needed to stay home, because the night before he found himself sleepwalking in the forest, waking only when he was far enough from home that he couldn’t simply walk back.
The first time it happened, he ended up trekking all the way back to the house nearest to the Preserve — counting his blessings that he at least figured out the way there easily — and called Scott to come pick him up. What he’s learned from that experience was that a) riding on the back of Scott’s scooter when he’s only in pajama pants and a worn out T-shirt is very uncomfortable and b) that his sleepwalking starts with a drive to the Beacon Hills Preserve in his Jeep. The latter was a discovery he made when they arrived at his house and Roscoe was not parked in front of it. Unfortunately, that discovery also led to him alerting the Sheriff’s Station to what turned out to not be a theft after all.
“I mean, you should’ve guessed,” Scott pointed out when one of the Deputies found the Jeep at the edge of the forest. “Who’d even steal Roscoe?”
“Excuse you, Roscoe is awesome!” Stiles protested, though he knew that Scott had a point.
“What I mean is that everyone in town knows it’s yours, and that your Dad is the Sheriff,” Scott amended quickly. “It would be stupid to try and steal a car that recognizable.”
That was enough to settle Stiles’s outrage, but it just gave him more space to start thinking why he was even in the forest to begin with. When his Heat hit that morning, he figured it was related, and his suspicions were confirmed the next month, when he woke up barefoot and a little cold, surrounded by trees and bushes again. At least that time — and all the times after — he knew that he only had to walk to the dirt road that led back into town. Each time, Roscoe was waiting for him, keys in the glove compartment.
“At least I’m not leaving it running,” Stiles mumbled to himself the third month.
His Heat is not particularly regular, and he’s never been good at tracking it, so he can’t predict when his next sleepwalking adventure will happen. At least that’s what he thinks it is, though he can’t find other cases mentioned in any of the research he’s been doing since that first time. No one — not the doctors, not Scott’s Mom who’s a nurse, not even the local pack’s Emissary — can tell him why he ends up in the Preserve every month.
And that’s another thing that worries him a little. The Beacon Hills Preserve is the territory of the local werewolf pack, and the last thing Stiles wants is to end up there on a full moon, if it happens to align with his sleepwalking. It hasn’t yet, but he knows that once every month, the area is off limits to anyone who’s not a shifter. Since his Heat isn’t completely regular, he doesn’t have a guarantee that his timing will never manage to coincide with a full moon. Naturally, once the realization of the possibility hits him, he spends hours researching upcoming moon phases, even though he has no control over his own heat cycle.
Then he forgets. For one day, because of two midterms on the same day, it completely slips his mind that he should check what day of the month it is.
The word comes out way too loudly in the emptiness and darkness that’s surrounding him. Stiles cringes at the sound of it filling the air, and immediately rushes away from the clearing he’s in and towards the bushes on the side of it. Sure, he knows that shifters would notice him easily by scent alone, but his instinct is to hide from the moment he looked up to see the round and bright moon illuminating the trees above his head.
Because it’s a full moon. And he’s been sleepwalking again. And it’s later in the night than he’d usually wake up in the Preserve, probably because when he got home, he was exhausted from the all-nighter he pulled the night before to study.
On the upside, shoes, he thinks as he glances down at the surprising lack of chill on his toes. Downside, werewolves, his brain adds unhelpfully.
He knows that Scott is probably out here somewhere too, because he’s been pack-adjacent since he got the Bite in high school during an ill-advised hike through the woods that Stiles dragged him out to. That’s not as much comfort as Stiles would like it to be, not when he knows that shifters are driven by instinct more strongly on full moons than any other days. What he is realizing is that he’s going to have to figure out a quick way back to Roscoe, to the dirt road that marks the edge of the pack’s territory and thus means safety.
But it’s harder than the other nights, because the morning is closer, and with it Stiles’s Heat. He can already feel his temperature rising, goosebumps forming on his skin, and he clenches his teeth together as a whimper threatens to escape his throat. Sure, Heats aren’t completely incapacitating, but they’re still easier some months. Not this one though. Stiles already feels that it’s going to be one of those that requires him to miss days of school. He’s just glad that he has a light week, now that he had his last two midterms.
He’s lost in thought about the timing of his Heat as he makes his way towards the edge of the Preserve, so he almost misses it.
“Shit,” he hisses, the rustle of leaves close. Too close.
The dirt road is too far still, and Stiles knows that he has no chance of making it all the way back to it before whoever it is nearby finds him. Just then, another wave of heat washes over him, and he can’t hold back a small whimper. The leaves rustle closer again, from what Stiles can tell only a few yards behind him. He freezes and ducks deeper into the bushes he’s been making his way through, and turns around.
There’s no missing the two glowing red eyes, not even with the shrubbery that’s obscuring his view, and Stiles tries hard to hold his breath. He runs through what he knows of the local pack in his mind, and tries to remember them all. He knows some of them from school, Betas to the new Alpha who inherited the territory after a horrible fire that the previous Alpha died in along with most of her pack. But he’s never met the current Alpha, isn’t sure who it is, as the new pack mostly keeps off radar. Not even Scott told him, despite Stiles’s questions.
Stiles stiffens when he hears the unmistakable sound of a deep inhale.
Scenting, he thinks, and then realizes that that’s going to be his downfall.
Not only is he human, and too close to the werewolf for his scent not to be noticed, but he’s also all too aware of the extra strength to it due to his Heat.
Full moon, omega in Heat, Alpha, Stiles cringes as the thoughts hit him. I’m fucked.
His brain unhelpfully supplies that it’s precisely what his hormones are driving him to, and he only just manages to hold back a groan as another hot wave washes over his body. The Alpha — Stiles can still only see the glow of the red eyes — hisses, and then the branches in front of Stiles part, and…
“Derek,” Stiles breathes out. “Derek Hale.”
They look at each other in silence for a few beats, then Derek’s eyebrow raises in question, and Stiles gulps.
“I’m sorry,” he mutters. “I didn’t… I’m not trespassing on purpose, I swear.”
Derek doesn’t speak, but his eyebrow seems to rise further.
“I’ve just been sleepwalking lately,” Stiles tries to explain. “And I always end up here. Which is not that big a deal normally, I bet you didn’t even notice. I really didn’t plan on being out here on a full moon, I know better than to intrude on your wolfy shenanigans, whatever it is you’re up to….”
He thinks he can see a hint of amusement in Derek’s face, still mostly obscured in darkness, but illuminated by the moon enough that Stiles can see the changes in his expressions. There’s definitely a twitch of the corner of Derek’s lips, and then….
“Brave of an omega to be out here tonight,” Derek says, definitely sounding amused. “Especially—” he takes a deep breath, and his mouth quirks into a bigger grin, “—in Heat.”
“Not on purpose,” Stiles responds, voice dripping with the indignation he’s feeling. “It’s not like I came here looking for and alpha to knock me up or anything.”
Derek’s eyebrow goes up again, and Stiles’s cheeks burn in mortification at the words that just fell from his mouth.
“Are you sure?” Derek asks, still grinning. “You’ve been here a lot for someone who claims that this is all just accidental.”
Stiles glowers at him. It’s bad enough that this whole ordeal with sleepwalking has been weighing on him for months, he doesn’t need anyone pointing out how it looks to outsiders. Especially not Derek, who happens to be someone that Stiles has been harboring a crush on for years, even back when Derek was a Beta, before the fire.
Somewhere behind those thoughts he feels the lingering surprise that Derek is back in town, that he’s the Alpha who’s rebuilding the Hale pack, but it doesn’t seem important right now. What’s more pressing is Stiles’s building Heat, the feeling of warmth that’s getting stronger not only with each passing moment but also with each step that Derek takes towards him.
“You…,” Stiles starts, then takes a deep breath and tries to make his legs move to put a little distance between them. “You look a lot like a wolf on the prowl right now.”
“Do I?” Derek asks, eyes glowing, his voice still sounding amused. “Well, omega, maybe it’s because I am a wolf, you are on my private property, and you do smell… interesting. Or interested?”
Both, I hope, Stiles thinks, then blushes more because Derek chuckles, giving away that the words didn’t stay only in Stiles’s mind.
“I’m not in the business of accosting people in the middle of the woods though,” Derek tells him, stopping only inches away from Stiles. “Unless they ask me to.”
The next wave of warmth that washes over Stiles is not only because of his Heat. He’s pretty sure that he’d have the same reaction at any other time, and his dick twitches with interest, quickly going from the semi he woke up with earlier to fully hard. Derek, glancing down for only a second, takes a deep breath again, and Stiles shivers.
“But before you say anything,” Derek continues, since Stiles can’t come up with the right words, “I think we should look into this sleepwalking thing. I’d love to know what it is that had you in my territory month after month, driving me crazy.”
Stiles nods, because it’s a mystery he’d like to find an explanation for too. Derek turns and pushes the bushes to the side, offering Stiles to go ahead. Stiles finally gets his legs to work again, and when he passes by Derek, he feels the tension rolling of his body, along with what feels like a pull towards each other.
“You know,” he says, pausing for a beat as he brushes past Derek, “maybe we’re soulmates.”
Derek tenses, and his hand drops, the branches almost hitting Stiles as they fall back down just behind his back. When Stiles turns around, Derek’s eyes are wide and his expression shocked, lips parted in surprise.
“What?” Stiles asks, narrowing his eyes.
“I’ve got to show you something,” Derek says.
Without any further comments, he reaches out to grab Stiles’s hand, then starts walking deeper into the forest, striding with determination. Stiles has little choice but to follow.
There’s a notebook, old and charred at the edges, one of the few things salvaged from the burnt down house that used to stand in the clearing behind them. Derek and Stiles are on the porch steps of the new, smaller house that still smells of fresh paint though it looks fully finished.
“Soulmates,” Stiles says in a disbelieving tone.
“Well, mates,” Derek corrects, staring straight ahead. “It’s… we’re supposed to be compatible.”
“In what way?” Stiles asks, both curious and amused.
Derek turns to him and glares, like he can’t believe Stiles is asking that. Then his lips curl in the same way they did earlier in the woods, and his eyebrow twitches.
“So,” Stiles starts, then his own lips form a smile. “That’s something we should probably explore. In depth. Thoroughly. Several times, in several different positions. If you’re up for it.”
The only response he gets is Derek getting up and hauling him off the steps and towards the front door.
Soulmates. Huh. Stiles thinks, following Derek inside without hesitation. Then, just as they reach the front door, a thought hits him like a freight train.
“Wait, you know my name. You know who I am?”
He doesn’t get a response, only Derek’s shoulders shaking with laughter, and Stiles rushes inside, mind spinning with more questions.