Derek's just stepping out of the shower, towel wrapped loose around his waist and muscles healing after a painful session at the gym when he jumps nearly a foot in the air.
"Laura!" He hisses at his sister, who's sitting rather non-chalently on his bed with a raised eyebrow and black jeans. "What are you doing here?"
She rolls her eyes and tosses his tee-shirt at him. "Get changed little bro, we've got some talking to do." And she walks out of his bedroom and downstairs.
Derek considers not going down once he's dressed. Contemplates leaping out the window and making a run for the car.
He decides against it.
And not because he thinks she'll catch him.
But for...other reasons.
It's not that he doesn't love Laura. He does, she's his only sister. His only sibling. And she'd moved to Manhattan with her husband a few years ago, happily telling Derek to take Hale House to raise his daughter in, especially since he was reeling from the loss of Isabella's mother.
But Laura can be a little...
She's in the kitchen at the breakfast table, perfectly manicured nails curled around her coffee cup seeming perfectly at home. Derek stands defensively in the doorway, but at her beckoning sits opposite her, grumbling something under his breath about how she is not the boss of him.
"So," Laura smiles sweetly, and Derek knows a trick when he sees one "Anything you'd like to share?"
He glares at her. She looks good though, her hair's been cut to her shoulders, sleek and brown, and Derek sees Isabella in her eyes. "No."
"No?" She shakes her head; mock disappointed. "Can you imagine my surprise when I find out that my brother has been dating someone for six months? Six months. Without a call to his sister?" Her voices rises a little bit "Not to mention the fact that he's a fae! Derek, what the hell?"
Derek cringes "It's not- it all just sort of happened, Laura, I was gonna tell you-"
"Eventually?" She challenges, cheeks red "Jesus, Derek! You have to keep me informed, I'm your family! I want to know when you make a new friend at work! So I definitely want to know when you get a boyfriend!"
He looks down at the table guiltily, and her voice softens.
"It's you, Derek. You don't...you never date, which is why I know you must be really in love. Which is why I'm really hurt that you didn't tell me."
Derek's voice breaks "I didn't know how long it would last- I didn't know if it would last, and I really want it to but- if it didn't- I didn't want you to have to see another breakup." He says stiffly.
Laura reaches out and takes his hand, forcing him to look at her. "Sisters are meant for that. I'm supposed to be the one you come to for breakups, I want to help you backstab the life out of them, and maybe pierce their tyres a few times." He manages a small smile, but her voice becomes firm again "but don't you see, Derek? You trust so easily. Someone you've been dating this long is obviously already an important part of Izzy's life. I can smell him all over the house and in her bedroom. Six months, Derek, do you even know anything about him?"
"He's not like that." Derek says, eyes hard "he would never do anything to hurt anyone."
"Derek," she sounds put-out "you thought that Jennifer would never leave you-"
"This is different. He's different."
Laura leans back, crossing her arms. Her eyes look inquisitive. "Then I'm sure you won't mind me having a look myself."
"She's my niece, Derek. My god-daughter. And you're my brother for crying out loud!" She throws her hands up in the air in exasperation, before going to massage her temples "this whole thing is giving me a headache. Anyway, you don't really have any say in the matter, I'm going to check him out because I know you'd do the same for me, whether I wanted you to or not."
He thinks for a minute, before giving a reluctant nod "Okay," he says slowly, breathing out through his nostrils in a controlled manner "but don't do anything...to scare him off."
She grins at him, suddenly happy with his new found, unneeded permission. "Please," she takes a sip of coffee, and slips back into the mode of his teasing sister. "So a fae, huh? How'd that happen?"
Stiles is having an intense argument with a bumblebee when he catches the scent of it.
Sweet, and slightly artificial. Unnatural for the forest.
"Do you smell that?" He whispers to the bee, who buzzes in accordance. The two of them track the scent slowly, Stiles keeping his eyes pierced. The sunlight is filtering in slivers of amber through the foliage, the the woods smell floral, every plant in bloom thanks to Stiles. It isn't spring, but he figures people won't notice that autumn's coming later than usual.
There's a pile of sugar cubes on the ground.
It's weird as shit, and Stiles should have eaten lunch because he can't stop looking at it.
The bee bumbles towards it, lands on a cube happily and Stiles watches mournfully.
"That's not fair," he whines "I want some."
But he isn't a fool. It's obviously some sort of trap, and he gives a sensitive sniff. He can smell the sugar and some traces of wolf, but there's the hint of Derek and Isabella to the scent, so nothing really out of the ordinary. Maybe it isn't a trap, he thinks, maybe some...hiker just left their sugar cubes out in the open.
Or maybe it is a trap, but to catch some sort of animal.
Stiles is smarter than his animal brethren. Probably. He takes a tentative step forward, mouth watering. Damn him, the sugar smells so good.
He decides to fuck it, and skips towards the sugar cubes, when a huge net, covered by scattered leaves, launches into the air, taking leaves, sugar cubes, Stiles and all, till they're hanging between the lower tree branches.
Stiles sighs, popping a sugar cube into his mouth as his bee friend flies out of the net and away. "Traitor!" Stiles calls, shimmying a little so that he's a tiny bit more comfortable. The result takes a while, until he's sort of on his stomach, face meshed against the net and legs curling upwards.
At least he has his sugar.
"Comfortable?" Comes a triumphant voice, and Stiles is about to make a remark when his eyes land on her.
Shit. She looks just like Isabella. And Derek. She's a wolf- oh, that's probably why Stiles couldn't smell her. "Oh yeah," he drawls "this is my go to spot, actually. I'm gonna have to ask you to leave, respect my privacy and all."
She looks faintly amused. "I was sort of worried about what a fae could be doing with my family, but you were so easy to catch that I doubt you cause very much damage at all, huh?"
"Hey, lady," he warns "don't annoy me. I'll assume my ultimate form and kick your ass."
"I'd like to see you try." She scoffs, and Stiles secretly adores her a little bit.
"Oh yeah you would," he says, as he starts making grass and shrubbery grow over her feet, gently and loosely at first so she won't notice. "Who wouldn't? I mean, fairies? We're the stuff of children's books. Are you jealous that there aren't any wolf books? I mean, even witches have books and they're...scary shit." He's making weeds grow strategically, the thickest ones covering the area of her feet with the most muscle. "So, uh, are you Derek's...cousin? Sister? Crazy twin?"
"He hasn't mentioned me?"
"I don't know man, he mentions a lot of family. All with weirdly similar names. Are you...Cora? Laura? Talia- no, Malia, that's the cousin right- are you her? Talia's the mom. Is she your mom? She seems great! Derek says great things about her. Rockin' lady, I'm uh...sorry for your loss. Was it the loss of your mom? Your aunt?"
"Do you ever stop talking?"
"Sure I do," Stiles grins, eyes bright, and on command, every plant tightens hard around her feet. She lurches, cursing, but manages to keep her balance. She tries to lift her feet, but they won't budge. "What d'ya think now?"
She kneels, rolling her eyes "a little impressive, but-" she uses her claws to begin swiping and tugging through the plants like they're nothing, but jerks to a stop when Stiles screams.
"What are you doing?!" He cries, and she winces because he sounds in legitimate distress. "They'll go! Just don't-" and all the plants are receding, and she's free. She feels like a scolded child, and shifts awkwardly. Waiting for an explanation. Stiles takes a minute to compose himself. "Those plants are...they're living beings, okay? You don't just...it's one thing to pick a flower, it's another thing to rip out clumps of grass. You don't- you shouldn't do that." His voice is soft, and Laura is suddenly reminded of playing soccer as a junior, of sitting cross legged on the grass and picking out clumps of it with her fists absentmindedly as coach would give them a run down of the game.
"I'm sorry," she says truthfully "I didn't think. I'm Laura. The sister."
Stiles smiles at her, and she likes him a little in that moment. He's quick to forgive. "I'm Stiles. The boyfriend. But I guess you knew that."
She nods, and moves to sit down, leaning against the bark of a nearby tree and looking up at him. "You don't seem evil,"
"That's good," Stiles says lightly. He coerces a lily into growing beside Laura, and she fights her smile, a little enchanted.
He's not what she expected, but now that she thinks about it, he makes a lot of sense. Intelligent, snarky, and doesn't know what's good for him. He's Derek type, Laura thinks. But it's more than that. She examines him through the netting, he's all fair skin and moles and there is something distinctively...fae, about him.
"Do you love him?" She asks, and he smiles at her. Like he understands her and her intentions.
"Yeah I do," he says "I mean, I could break right out of this net you know, I could literally make this tree lower its branch and set me on the ground. But I wanna make a good impression for my boyfriend's psycho sister."
She fights another smile. "Do you love her?"
"Bells?" Stiles nods "hell to the yes. We took her to Disney the other week, should you have seen her. I've got the pictures on my phone-" he wriggles a little, and tosses it to Laura, who chokes. It's a photo of the three of them, and Isabella is in the middle, dressed as Bella from Beauty and the Beast in a large, pouffy yellow and gold dress, with a beautiful crown. Stiles is wearing a top hat and carrying an umbrella and Laura realises he's Jiminey Cricket, and she loves him a little bit. But it's Derek. Derek who never gets dressed up, not even as a kid on halloween, Derek's wearing a pair of mickey mouse ears and a too small shirt with a large depiction of Simba from Lion King.
He'd never wear stuff like that. Not even with Jennifer, which means- which means-
Stiles barrels on, unaware to her epiphany. "-you know what she did? She ran into the giant fountain, it was amazing, security came and everything but she just started talking about how princesses could defeat anything, even big muscly security guards, and we got chased around the park for hours!"
Laura swipes right, and the next photo is indeed of the three of them, soaking wet and out of breath and in Derek's car.
They're all smiling so widely.
God. Derek's gonna marry this kid.
She can't get over it. And she especially can't get over the fact that she wants him too.
"You ever been to Disney?" Stiles asks, conversationally, and Laura wants to laugh at how absurd it all is. He's hanging from a net and she's petting a lily that seems entirely too animated.
"Who hasn't?" She manages through delirium.
"Nice, did you wear a costume?"
And they end up talking about Mulan for two hours, before Derek appears.
"Laura!" He cries, appalled, eyes only for Stiles as he rushes over. Stiles goes to reassure him, but Derek's already cutting him down and checking him for injuries. When he finds none, he turns to his sister, who's brushing the mud off her jeans. "I told you not to do anything weird!"
"Technically, you told me not to scare him off. And I haven't, right Stiles?"
"Yes Ma'am," Stiles grins, rocking on his heels and looping his arm through Derek's. "In fact, I sorta feel like part of the family now. This was a rite of passage. You should meet my dad soon."
Derek blanches, entirely distracted by the thought "your dad is the Sheriff, Stiles,"
"Yup, you know what that means? He carries a gun."
Laura watches them interact the whole way to the house, and she's shaken. Happy but shaken, because Derek's so...different. At ease. He laughs and talks freely in a way that she's never seen before. At least not since mom died. He's always been so reserved, even with Izzy to a certain extent.
When they approach the front of the house, Stiles jerks towards his jeep "Should I pick up Bells-"
Bells. Stiles calls her Bells. Laura and Derek and the rest of the Hale clan call her Izzy, and Laura kind of likes that Stiles hasn't followed the grain.
"No, no, I'll do it. I haven't seen her in too long." She says, heading towards her car. Derek looks like he might say something, but Stiles tugs him backwards. Laura's grateful, and she's guessing it won't be the first time.
Izzy acts as expected when Laura pulls up to greet her.
"Auntie!" She screams, and Laura picks her up and twirls her in the air, kissing her cheek and leaving a smudge of lipstick here.
"Look at you!" She beams "getting bigger and bigger every time!"
And she is, to Laura's hip now and she's so happy and a bundle of energy. She never stops talking the entire way home, and when she gets onto the subject of Stiles, Laura listens even more attentively.
"And daddy's in love with a fairy I found! His name is Stiles and he's my favourite fairy in the world!"
When they get home, Laura watches with fascination as Isabella runs to kiss Derek and pushes her backpack into his hands, requesting a ham sandwich, but then launches at Stiles who's just coming down the stairs. Stiles laughs, hauling her up and nodding at her babbling.
They're acting like it's an everyday occurrence.
Derek catches her look "don't even," he rolls his eyes "I've been demoted to an errand snack man this week because Stiles has learnt to braid."
Stiles shoots him a smile over from the couch where he's sitting- Isabella between his legs, and a barbie doll in her hands. He begins brushing her hair, and she brushes the barbie's. He sticks his tongue out, and Derek rolls his eyes.
Laura watches as Derek diligently prepares a sandwich, and as Stiles begins to braid. He's doing a complex one that Laura doesn't recognise, and flowers bloom on his thumbs and fingertips and he embeds them seamlessly into her hair.
When he's done, she examines his work in the mirror and gives him a fierce hug. "I'm the prettiest princess!"
"Yes you are." He says solemnly, and she skips into the kitchen.
"Daddy! Auntie! Look!" And she twirls, brandishing her barbie like a wand.
They both concur, and Derek presents the princess with her sandwich.
"Thank you, daddy, can I eat it in my room and play barbies?"
"Of course you can," Derek cups her cheek, and she runs upstairs, dropping crumbs as she goes.
Stiles stands, stretching, before giving the siblings a knowing look. "I'm gonna make sure she isn't trying to feed her barbies again," he murmurs, jogging up the stairs.
There's silence for a beat longer, before Derek clears his throat. "So, what do you thi-"
"Marry him, Derek." Laura says firmly, and her brother's eyes widen. "I swear. You hold onto that fairy and you never let him go. Don't do anything stupid! Do not mess this up!"
"Yeah I-" he seems frazzled, but determined "I won't."
"Good." She nods, satisfied. "So, what's he like in bed?"
In fairness, Derek's skills have gotten better, because she doesn't manage to duck when the piece of bread hits her square in the face.