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Our Flame Flickers But We Won’t Go Out (We Build Our Futures With Our Mouths)

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It’s a Friday when Derek rips his family home down with his bare hands.

Stiles and Lydia are in school and Derek finds himself at loose ends.  He feels restless, needs to move and do something, anything, to get rid of the feeling.  So instead of staying in the parking lot of the high school like he does sometimes or going back to the loft, he drives out to the house almost without realizing it.

He leans against the hood of his car and just stares at the place for a while.  He traces his eyes over the burnt out remains and remembers when it used to be whole and beautiful and strong just like his family.  How it used to be the safest place in the world to him and how he’d never really realized how much he’d loved it loved them until it was all gone.

He pushes himself up off of the car and walks up the steps and onto the porch.  Derek lets his fingertips trail across the peeling paint and charred wood, across the red front door that he’d painted over to hide the Alpha Pack’s mark.  The same door that Scott had destroyed like he had the right to touch any piece of Derek’s home, the place where his family had died.

His feet take him inside, take him from room to room.  His old memories of the place are overlapped with new ones now.  Rooms that used to hold the memories of his time with his family are different, changed in a way that makes Derek’s teeth go long in rage.

He can’t hear his mom’s laughter in the burnt out wreck of the kitchen anymore, can’t smell Cora’s peach bubblegum or Laura’s shampoo.  He can’t hear his dad humming under his breath or Peter singing slightly off key in the shower.  He can’t see or hear or smell any of the reasons he’d stayed there in the first place, any of the reasons he’d always gravitated back to the house in the past.

Instead when he looks around he sees the place where Kate had attacked him, the doorway he’d used to do pull ups with, the place where he and Peter had brawled or the room he’d sat in and used a blow torch to melt away Scott’s arm.  He hears screams and smells smoke and burnt flesh, remembers being numb and horrified because he now knows how long it takes a werewolf to burn to death thanks to their healing factor.

Everything that used to be good about the place is well and truly gone now and it all makes Derek so fucking angry

His fist hits the nearest wall almost before he realizes that he’s moved.  The force of his blow crumples the dry wall and the wood in on itself like it’s made of paper.  He’s panting, breath coming in harsh whines and gasps and suddenly the anger and the pain is back, is fresh and new again like it had been years ago.

Derek hits the wall again.

And again.

And again.

He hits and hits and hits, claws at the wood and the remaining wallpaper, throws boards and planks and beams, barely flinches when the wall comes down and the roof above him shudders.

He just moves to a new spot and keeps hitting, pours his rage and frustration out on the house and screams, howls, while he does it.

They’re gone, they’re gone, they’re gone and Goddess it hurts, hurts like fire and ice all rolled into one and he is so tired of the pain but it’s been all he’s had for so long and a part of him doesn’t really want to let it go anymore.  Sometimes he doesn’t know who he is if he isn’t hurting.

He doesn’t know how long he stays like that, is sure he would have kept on for hours, but the next wall he takes out is a load bearing one.  He only has a few seconds warning before what’s left of the house comes down on top of him like a bundle of sticks. 

Derek lets it.

It hurts, like he knew it would, like he hoped it would.  He smells and tastes blood when his face is sliced open, grits his teeth when he feels one of his shoulders break.  But it’s good at the same time, almost cathartic to be buried under the remnants of his old life.  He’d huffed and puffed and blew the house down only to realize that there was no one hiding inside for him to find.

Eventually he claws his way out of the rubble, stumbles bloodied but whole out of the wreckage and collapses on the ground a few yards away from his car.

His hands shake when he pulls his phone out of his pocket.  It’s amazingly intact but it takes him a few tries to get the pass-code in and pull up the text screen.  He knows Stiles and Lydia are in school, but he needs them, needs his Pack, his tethers, to keep him from flying apart.

I need you.  At the house.  He manages to steady his hands enough to type out and send the message to the both of them.  Barely a minute goes by before his phone buzzes with a reply.

You okay?  The message comes from Stiles’ phone but Derek just knows in his heart that it’s from the both of them.

No.  Because he’s not, he’s so not okay and he doesn’t know how to deal with it at the moment.

We’re coming.  Just like that.  One word and they’re on their way and Derek can feel relief begin to well up in him because his Pack is coming, his mate is coming.  He won’t be alone with the ghosts in his mind anymore.

Time doesn’t feel like it passes but it must because he eventually hears the rumble of Stiles’ jeep coming down the drive.  He knows he should get up off the ground, should try to pull himself together at least a little bit.  Present a strong front or something.

But he just can’t.

“Derek!”  Stiles calls out to him and is out of the jeep in seconds, Lydia on his heels as he dashes across the yard and drops to his knees in front of Derek.  “Derek what happened? What’s going on?  Are you okay?”

Derek stares up at them blankly, sees the concern in both of their faces, the anger that he’s obviously been hurt and the fear for him.  For a moment he’s still, the world seems like it freezes around him again, and then Derek just breaks.

He’s sobbing in the next second, reaches up and wraps his arms around Stiles and pulls him down onto his lap so he can bury his face in his throat.  Derek holds him close to his chest and rocks them back and forth where they’re sitting on the ground.  Lydia stands beside them, a hand on each of their shoulders as she looks around the clearing, spine stiff.  Derek knows she’s on guard, trying to find the threat, whatever had hurt him.  If he wasn’t buried beneath his crushing grief he knows he’d be proud or her, so very pleased at how clever she is, how her eyes glint with something dark and her determination to defend what is hers.

“I miss them.”  Derek whimpers the words into Stiles’ neck, can barely breath from the force of his chocking sobs as he cries in a way he can’t remember ever crying before.  “I miss them Stiles.  I miss them so goddamn much.”

“I know big guy.”  Stiles presses a kiss to his hair and rubs a long fingered hand down his back.  “I know you do.”

“I killed them.”  Derek knows it’s true.  Kate might have lit the fire but he’d given her the fuel, the opportunity, and he’ll never forgive himself for that.  “It’s my fault and I killed them.”

“Hey, hey, no.”  Stiles pulls back from him suddenly.  Derek whines and tries to press closer to him but Stiles just ignores him so he can trace his fingertips across his cheeks and brush away the tears that Derek can still feel coming.  “Derek you didn’t kill them.  Kate did.  Okay?  She did it.  No matter what happened, no matter how she used you or what you think you did it’s not true.  You didn’t do this Derek.  It’s not your fault.”

Derek takes a shuddering breath and feels his heart stutter because no one’s ever said that to him before.  In all the years since the fire no one’s every told him it wasn’t his fault.  He trusts Stiles, loves him with everything that he has, is, and will ever be, and he wants to believe him so badly in that moment.  He searches Stiles’ eyes, sees the sadness and more importantly the sincerity and belief there and it makes him cry harder because it’s been years since anyone’s ever looked at him like that.  Stiles and Lydia both always look at him like he’s worth something and sometimes Derek just doesn’t understand why.

“I want my mom.”  The words slip out before Derek can swallow them back down and Stiles face crumples.  “Stiles I want my mom.  She should be here.  She should get to meet you, and Lydia.  She would have loved you both but she’s dead so now she can’t and it’s not fair.”

Stiles and Lydia both make wounded noises and then Lydia’s on her knees behind him, arms wrapped around his shoulders and face buried in his neck.  They bracket him in, hold him between them and refuse to let go.  They let him cry like he never did when he was young and Derek doesn’t feel ashamed of the grief for once, can’t feel ashamed because they’re with him.

Hours pass and they just hold him there, in the falling shadows of the forest.  Eventually they get him up though, get him in the passenger seat of the jeep with Stiles behind the wheel while Lydia takes control of his own car.

They take him back to the loft, get him to the shower and carefully, tenderly, get him clean.  They wipe away the blood and the ash and the tears, clean him up and then dry him off afterwards with such tenderness that Derek can barely handle it.

He’s naked, Stiles is in a pair of his shorts and Lydia in one of his shirts when they crawl into the bed together. 

Even then they don’t let him go.

They slot themselves against his sides, hold hands across his chest and kiss his cheeks, whisper to him how much they love him, how good he is, how proud they are that he is their Alpha.

He feels like they’re holding him together, keeping him as sane as he can possibly be, and he loves them both for it.  No matter what happens in the future, the one that they will share together, Derek knows that he will always love them.  He will worship them and the gifts that they have given him, will do all that he can to be worthy of the devotion they have shown him.  He wants to lay the bodies of their enemies at their feet, wants to topple nations in their names and fashion them crowns from the stars themselves because they are the only things that feel even close to holy and righteous in his life anymore.

Sometimes he has a hard time believing they’re real, is scared that he’ll wake up back in New York with their names on his tongue and Laura’s scent in the next room.  That it’ll all be a dream and he’ll have to live with having it stripped away from him.  Derek knows that he’d rather sleep for the rest of eternity than have that be true.

Real or not, they’ve seen him broken in so many different ways and each time, instead of turning him away, they just crowd closer and push him back together instead.

He’ll die before he’ll ever give them up.


 

It takes Derek a week before he feels like he’s back on even ground.  Stiles and Lydia stay with him the entire weekend and then come over as often as they possibly can during the week.

Derek spends most of that time in silence and they let him.  They give him the space he needs by being quiet around him, by not forcing him to talk and engage more than necessary.  But they also give him comfort by always being near him when they’re at the loft.  They stay in his line of sight, move around him casually and give him small touches that reassure him that they’re still there.

Stiles grabs him by the face once and just stares in his eyes for a long moment before he kisses him.  It’s slow and soft and filled with so much love that it makes Derek want to cry again or get on his knees and prostrate himself at Stiles’ feet.

Lydia pulls him close, nestles his head against the soft curve of her breasts and sings softly to him in the quiet of the loft, a slow rhythmic song that doesn’t really have words but Derek feels it reverberate in his soul anyways.

When Derek fucks Stiles during that week because no matter how he feels he can’t not have Stiles, can’t not take his boy it’s slow and soft and sometimes hesitant.  Sometimes Derek doesn’t know what to do with his hands or his mouth, can’t remember how to move right, forgets how to feel things correctly, and it makes him frustrated.

Stiles stops him, makes him lay back against Lydia despite his protests. Stiles sucks him off tenderly, nurses him through his orgasm, cleans him with sweet kittenish licks, and then curl up against his chest.  Stiles doesn’t come during those times, doesn’t even seem to care.  He just smiles at him.  Stiles tells him he loves him, and that sometimes he likes to do things for Derek without getting anything in return besides Derek’s pleasure.  That it’s enough for him to know that he’s made Derek feel good.

Derek doesn’t cry again but he wants to.

He takes that week and tries to think, to try and straighten out his emotions and his thoughts.  To get them into some semblance of order.  He finds his mind turning back towards his time in New York with Laura over and over again.

As much as he’d loved her, still loves her, Derek had spent a long time being mad at Laura.

After the fire happened and Laura had run all the way across the country with him in tow Derek had barely been able to breathe or move or think for the longest time.  He’d functioned in only the most basic of ways, had been unable to remember how to exist beyond the basic, unavoidable needs of his body.

Laura had left him alone in the beginning, had barely been able to look at him sometimes even when she’d clung to his side like he would vanish if she took her hands off of him.  Sometimes he’d felt like he would have, like, if not for her hand on his arm he’d crumple into ash or float away like smoke on a breeze.

It had taken some time for him to come out of his daze and when he had Derek hadn’t been the same.  It was understandable, no one went through what he and Laura had and came out on the other side unscathed.  Derek had lost weight, was quieter, more brittle somehow, and changed deep inside in a way he couldn’t describe, couldn’t understand.  He’d known it though, had known that there was something not right with him, that something inside of him had fractured and shifted all at the same time.  Laura had changed too, had been harsher, tired and haunted far beyond her age, but not like he had.  She’d just seemed worn and beaten down while he’d been put back together wrong.

He’d had an itch beneath his skin that he hadn’t know how to deal with then, a longing or a need for something that he hadn’t been able to name.  He’d felt wild in a muted sort of way, like he’d been spinning out of control and wrapped in cotton at the same time.  Muffled and disconnected and like he’d been flying apart at the seams.  He’d kept quiet about it though, unwilling to talk about something like that to Laura after everything that had happened.

The answer had come to him one afternoon out of the blue.  Laura had been gone, out setting things up for their new life.  Derek had been alone in the apartment that they’d moved into it wasn’t home, would never be home but it was all they’d had.  He’d been making a late lunch, eyes turned blankly to the tiny window above the sink, when the knife he’d been using had abruptly sliced deep into his hand.

The pain had been sudden, unexpected, and Derek had blinked down in shock at the blood that had welled up and spilled out onto his skin before the wound had knitted itself closed.  He’d stood there frozen and stared down at the knife in his hand, had looked at the blood on the blade for a too long second.

That time, when the blood had welled up from the vulnerable curve of his wrist, the cut had been intentional.

Because in that perfect moment between when the pain had come and the wound had closed, Derek’s mind had been finally, blissfully, clear.  He’d been amazed, ecstatic, and eager to feel like that again, to feel halfway aware and alive.

It had all gone downhill quickly after that moment because that feeling, that sort of clarity, had been amazingly addictive to Derek.

He’d been smart enough not to use any of the kitchen knives again after that first time, had used his own claws instead.  He’d always waited until Laura was out of the apartment, had always turned the shower on and sat under the spray, sometimes naked and sometimes still fully clothed, and clawed his wrists and arms open over and over again.  He’d watched the blood wash down the drain, watched his arms heal over and over again no matter how much he’d wanted them not to sometimes.

Still that was one of the advantages to being a werewolf with exceptional healing.  There was never any scars and he was always careful to scrub down afterwards so there was never any sign of what he’d done to himself.  Or Laura had been too distracted to investigate any he’d left behind.

It had been thanks to that fact that it took months for him to get careless enough for Laura to catch him in the act.

He’d been sitting in the shower with the hot water pounding on his back as he watched the tile around him turn red.  He’d lost track of the time and he’d been so focused on what he’d been doing that he hadn’t heard Laura come back.  She’d walked into the bathroom and caught him with his fingers buried in the underside of his arm, blood everywhere while he played with strands of muscle and blood vessels and kept the wound from healing.

Her roar had been deafening, had startled him out of the state of perfect calm clarity he’d fallen into.  She’d grabbed him by the shoulders, had yanked him naked from the shower and thrown him out into the hallway.  He’d smeared blood on the wall he’d landed against but she’d been up in his face before he could really react.

“What in the hell are you doing?”  Laura had sounded enraged and sad and desperate all at the same time.

“Nothing.”  He’d sounded sullen even to himself then.

“That wasn’t nothing Derek.  You were hurting yourself.”  Laura had shook him then, hard and sharp enough that he’d felt his teeth rattle in his skull.  He’d looked at her face, saw the pain and barely hidden disgust in her eyes.  Derek had felt the satisfaction and joy he’d gotten from opening himself up drain away and be replaced with guilt.

“Sorry Laura.”  He’d whispered it to her, had ducked his head in shame like a pup.

“Just don’t do it again Derek.  We’ve got enough shit to deal with without you acting like some kind of fucking idiot.”  Laura had let him go and scrubbed a weary hand over her face.  “Jesus fuck this is the last thing I need.”

He’d pulled himself up, had slinked back to the bathroom and washed the rest of the blood off of him under Laura’s sharp red eyes before he’d gotten dressed and tried to lock himself in his room.  She hadn’t let him, had made him sleep with his door open for months, had watched him like a hawk throughout the next year.  She’d only finally really relaxed after she’d finally managed to push him into going to college and he’d seemingly evened out.

He’d never cut himself again, had always felt too guilty.  Instead he’d found other ways to hurt himself, had gotten a tattoo for a hundred different reasons added to the fact that he’d liked the way he’d known he’d hurt from the blow torch on his back.  He’d exercised until even his muscles had screamed, had stayed awake for days, had forgotten to eat.

Then Laura had left him behind in New York and gone and been murdered.  When he’d found out he’d been so broken and angry with her in those first few days he’d barely been able to function.  He’d wrapped her grave in wolfsbane and relished the way his hands and arms had burned.

After that Derek hadn’t felt the need to hurt himself again because everyone else had seemed so willing to do it for him.

Looking back Derek can admit that Laura had been his Alpha and his sister and that she’d been sweet and beautiful and great in so many ways but she’d also been young.  Young and fucked up and foolish.  She’d reacted wrong to things, done immature shit, had been selfish and resentful sometimes.  She had handled him with either claws or kid gloves with no middle ground included, had waffled between smothering and so distant he could hardly feel their Pack bond in those first few years.

Looking back at those moments now Derek is at peace with himself enough to admit that Laura was wrong, that she’d handled the whole thing in the worst possible way.  She’d used violence and anger and controlling guilt to make him stop, but she’d never tried to find out why he’d done it.  She’d never wanted to know what had pushed him forward to that point, what had finally tipped him over the edge and into a place where hurting himself had seemed like he best option. 

She’d never made him talk about it, or even asked, had instead brushed it all under the rug.  He’d always been mad at her about that, pissed that she’d never cared enough, that she kept so much distance between them when he’d needed her.

He isn’t angry with her anymore about it though.  They’d both been young and floundering in a world that they’d always had help navigating before.  Both of them had been fucked up and selfish in their own ways, had clung to things that made them feel a little less broken.  He with his pain and her with her drive to succeed, to push forward and never hesitate. 

In the end she could have handled things better, but she hadn’t.

In the end he could have tried harder, but he hadn’t.

Still he doesn’t regret any of it anymore, doesn’t regret the fights and arguments, doesn’t regret all of the things that had happened between them, the ways they’d hurt each other.  There was good in there too, too many good memories of having her by his side, things that Stiles had made him remember that he never wants to forget again.

He misses Laura desperately sometimes but it’s not in the all-consuming way it used to be.  Even his break down at the house seems good, seems cathartic now that he has some distance from the event.  That pain has been smoothed over some, rough edges sanded down and into shape.  Derek knows that it’ll never really go away but now the pain of losing everyone slots into place a little better, feels a little more natural and calm.

Stiles and Lydia have given him that, have absolved him of so much, have taken the pieces of him that had been shattered and shifted so many years ago and slowly begun to reshape them into something new and closer to whole. 

Now Derek doesn’t even feel guilty about what he used to do to himself, can’t hold onto that anger against Laura or bury himself in his grief like he’s done for years.

He can’t.

What’s more, what really shocks Derek, is the fact that he doesn’t want to.

Not when he looks at Stiles, sees his boy laid out in their bed, head pillowed on Lydia’s stomach as they sit together in comfortable, companionable silence.  Not when he remembers how the two of them had taken care of him.  Not when he looks at them and his chest feels like it is on fire, filled to bursting with flames that he actually enjoys, a heat that he relishes.

Sometimes he wonders if that was all just payment anyways.  If he’d had to bleed out all the parts of him that Kate and the fire and the death of his family had touched before he could be set down the path that got him to where he is now.

It’s a strange idea, one that he keeps to himself because he isn’t even sure if it makes sense, but he kind of likes it.  Kind of likes thinking that he’s earned what he has now even if he doesn’t always think he’s good enough.

But the idea does give him a small, quiet kind of peace.

Because Derek has always liked the thought that sometimes you have to bleed for the things that matter.

That sometimes you have to be broken before you can appreciate being made whole again.


 

Derek goes back to the house eventually.

He waits until the next time Stiles and Lydia are forced to spend a day at their parent’s houses those places aren’t their homes anymore, their homes are with him before he decides that he’s up to the experience.  They’d wanted him to wait, to let them go with him, but he’d asked them not to, told them that it was something he needed to do on his own.

They’d both been reluctant, especially Stiles who’d frowned and gnawed on his bottom lip in that way that made Derek’s stomach knot up.  He’d been helpless against the urge to reach out and draw Stiles into a deep kiss, to back him up against the side of the jeep and kiss him breathless before they had to go their separate ways.

Lydia had huffed at them in affectionate amusement but she had rubbed a hand across the stubble on his jaw and given him a kiss on the cheek anyways.

As always the faith and care they have for him shores up his strength, straightens his shoulders and builds up his determination.  He will give them the home he’s promised them, will build them a house, a den, to shelter and protect them if he has to rip the forest down with his bare hands in order to do it.

He goes into town first, pays to have a trash skip delivered out to the property as soon as possible, and then he heads out to the house on his own.  The place is just how he left it, wood and debris scattered everywhere.  Derek looks around the clearing, walks a circuit around what’s left of the house with his arms folded across his chest.

He waits for the anger to hit him again, for the rage to overwhelm him like it did before.  He waits for the blind anguish and pain to overtake him again, to cloud his eyes over and destroy his control.

But it just … isn’t there.

It’s different than it was before, different than the way he’d shoved it all down and locked it up inside of him.  Different than it was when he’d spent every free moment wandering around the burnt out husk and had slept curled in the corner of what used to be his parent’s room.  When he’d haunted the property in a desperate attempt to be close to his family.  Before he’d pushed his way into Stiles’ room, before the subway and the train car, before he’d buried Peter beneath the floorboards, before the loft.

He’d been numb then, iced over with a sort of ragged and desperate calm that he’d held on to with claws and fangs until it had been stripped from him.

Now, standing in the place his life had ended and in some way begun again, Derek feels only a tired kind of peace.

Derek looks out over the pile of rubble that used to be his home and in the distance he can hear a truck, knows it’s the skip, knows that soon he’ll really be on his way to keeping his promise to his Pack.  They’re going to have a home, somewhere he can keep them at his side, protected and sheltered and so deeply, desperately, loved.

“You guys would have loved him, both of them.  Maybe even half as much as I do.”  Derek whispers the words out, can’t keep them contained.  They sound like a goodbye.  “They make me happy.  Like I haven’t been in years.”

The breeze that trickles through the trees, brushes across his cheeks and ruffles his hair, feels almost like a caress.

Derek closes his eyes, leans into the feeling, and smiles.

He’s ready.


 

Together they sit around the bar in the loft and talk about what they want the house to look like.  Stiles takes notes in a pad and Lydia’s armed with a pair of scissors and is already halfway through a pile of decorating magazines as thick as Derek’s hand.  He’s pretty sure the two of them are scrapbooking or something but he doesn’t really know and isn’t going to ask.

They’re happy though, scents flooded with a kind of contentedness that makes Derek’s wolf rumble in pleasure, and that’s all that matters.

Lydia demands elegance in the design, wants hardwood floors and numerous windows for natural light, large bedrooms and spacious closets.

Stiles practically swoons over the idea of a massive kitchen, of marble countertops and streamline appliances. He wants the windows that Lydia is demanding to have large flat sills and for the door casings to be wide enough for him to carve protections and runes into the wood.

They both want a massive library although Stiles demands a secret room hidden behind one of the bookcases, grins at them and says that every superhero has one.

Derek and Lydia both smack him across the back of the head but they add it to the list anyways.  It’ll be an ideal place to hide some of the more eccentric magical tomes and items they’ve managed to accumulate.  Keeping it off of the official blueprints for the house will be easy enough since Derek is willing to flash the necessary cash around.

For his part Derek just wants the house to be large and safe like it used to be.  A warm, secure den with plenty of room for pups in the future or for anything they might want to have or do.  He also wants the basement reinforced, wants to add in some tunnels, escape routes and ways to evacuate so that no one will ever be trapped inside again.

They all agree to the idea of using as much in the way of fire resistant building materials as they can.

No one even thinks of mentioning a fireplace.

Stiles is the one who finds the architect, someone from Los Angeles that Derek has never heard of.  Lydia is the one who contacts the firm, throws her last name and her parent’s money around like a spear to get the woman’s attention.  It takes her ten minutes, three of which she spends talking to a receptionist, before she has an appointment for Derek to meet the woman at the property the next day.

Derek watches them both in awe. His Pack is strong, is smart and capable and glorious and he wants to kill something, the world maybe, and lay it at their feet in tribute.

“It’s gonna be great Derek.”  Stiles crows as he looks up at him, hair wild and eyes bright, that soft mobile mouth of his split wide in a delighted grin.  “Our house is going to be awesome.”

Derek’s around the bar and crowded up into Stiles’ space, eyes bleeding Alpha red and fangs gone long in his mouth, in the next second.  Our, Stiles had said ‘our house’ had laid claim to the home that Derek was building for them and it was enough to make Derek shake with need.  He pulls Stiles into a deep kiss, doesn’t bother being too careful because he’s learned by now that Stiles likes the press of his fangs, the danger of them and the pain when he occasionally gets cut.

When he finally pulls back they’re both panting, the taste of Stiles is sharp and heavy on Derek’s tongue, and Stiles has a small spot of blood welling up at the corner of his mouth.  Derek leans down and licks it off, has to clench his eyes shut and groan at the way the flavor rockets through him again.

Derek likes the way Stiles’ blood tastes, the way it resonates with power.  Stiles is intoxicating and the jolt of his Spark is distributed throughout every piece of him.  It’s so large that even with him sharing it with Derek it still spills out and into Lydia, binds them all together.

Stiles is grinning when Derek looks back at him, face flushed and body loose where he’s leaning back against the bar, long legs splayed wide across the barstool.  Lydia watches them from across the bar, eyes dark and red painted mouth curled up in a small smile as the silver in her hair catches the light in the room.

Derek knows that Stiles is fully aware of what he does to him.  Knows that Stiles relishes every second of it, loves manipulating him into giving him what he wants.  Stiles likes to push and push and push, likes to poke and prod at Derek to see what’ll happen.

Derek doesn’t mind.  He feels the same kind of pride about the way he can take Stiles apart with a few well practiced moves.  Plus he likes the games they play with each other, is secure in the knowledge that they’d never hurt each other without permission, would never do anything to really scare or damage one another.  He knows that Stiles is intent on a game now, intent on pushing Derek into something and that knowledge makes his blood heat like it’s been set on fire, makes the Spark that he shares with Stiles jump in anticipation.

Like always Derek is helpless to deny Stiles something they’ll all enjoy.  Is completely defenseless against the picture Stiles presents as he leans back against the bar, his body all spread out and open.  Inviting.

“You gonna stare all day or are you gonna do something Derek?”  Stiles practically taunts him, eyes heavy lidded but sharp with that hint of darkness the Derek loves so much.  “If not I’m gonna go back to working on our house.”

 “Fuck.”  Derek breathes the word out because of course the little shit knows what’s got him so worked up.  When he speaks again his voice is barely more than a growl gnashed out between too sharp teeth.  “I want to tear you apart.”

“You think you can?”  Stiles goads him on, smile viciously challenging and breathtakingly beautiful all at the same time.  Derek will always strive to rise to that challenge, will always try to meet Stiles halfway like Stiles does for him in those moments when Derek needs to feel in complete control.  Stiles always give Derek what he needs, even when he doesn’t realize he needs it and all he wants to do is make sure that he give Stiles the same in return.

“Yeah.”  Derek dips down and nips the underside of Stiles’ jaw, bites at the high arch of his cheek hard enough to sting.  “Could fuck you till you cry, make it hurt just the way you like.  Put my claws in you, just right, mark you up and make sure you can’t wash me off.  Put my name on you, write it in your skin.”  Derek likes that idea, likes the thought of carving himself even further into Stiles’ skin.  Stiles is already underneath his, already settled behind his rib cage, curled around his heart and tucked against his lungs, so it’d only be fair.

“Really?”  Stiles asks as he sucks in a breath and his scent goes sharp with desperate arousal.  Derek sends him a fanged grin before he crowds up against Stiles again, leans down and buries his face in his throat so he can take that scent deep into himself.  He can feel the way Stiles is already hard against him, cock gone stiff beneath the thin sweat pants he’d pulled out of Derek’s drawer this morning.  Goddess he loves that spark of black in Stiles that makes him perfect for Derek, that part of him that’s returns Derek’s need to write their love out in blood.  Theirs or others, sometimes it doesn’t matter which.

“I’d be careful.”  Derek knows he would be too, would be oh so careful with Stiles.  “Make sure to take my time, make sure it’d scar up real pretty.”  Derek runs the pad of his finger across the arch of Stiles’ shoulder, on the opposite side of the mating mark and in a place the runes from his Spark sign hasn’t touched.  “Put it right here too so you’d be marked on both sides.  Marked by my teeth and my claws.  Frame that pretty little neck of yours.”

Derek trails his hands down Stiles’ bare chest so he can palm the cut of his hips above the low riding waistband.  He’s absently grateful of the way his boy’s confident and carefree around him and Lydia, comfortable being shirtless or naked the same way Derek is.  Lydia is less so, prefers to wonder around at least in one of Derek’s shirts, but he understands that it’s different with her.  Maybe one day it won’t be but for now he respects her needs and desires.

“Just look at you.”  Derek rumbles against Stiles’ neck as he mouths at the mating mark and sets his teeth against it hard enough to bruise.  Stiles moans, arches his back and turns his head away to give Derek better access, submits to Derek in a way that makes him dig his claws into Stiles’ hips just enough to hurt sweetly.  “You’d fucking love it.”

“Yeah.”  Stiles hisses the word out and reaches up to bury his hands in Derek’s hair.  “Do it Derek.  Mark me up again.  Want another, want you to give me more.  I want your everything.”

Derek snaps.

He jerks Stiles off of the barstool, kicks it aside with a quick motion and presses Stiles’ forward until he’s facedown against the counter top.  Cloth rips and goes flying when he gets his hands on Stiles’ pants and then he shreds his own so he can rut the hard line of his cock against Stiles’ ass.  Stiles squirms beneath him, his forehead pressed against the granite counter top as he shoves his ass back against him.

Derek wants inside of him, wants to fuck up into the warm, soft cradle of Stiles’ body until he can’t see straight.

Until Stiles is limp and raw and too tired to beg him to stop.

He reaches down, wraps a hand around the base of his cock, strokes it once and rubs the pad of his thumb through the stream of pre-come that’s already accumulated.  Then he steadies himself so he can press the head against the tight ring of Stiles’ hole.

“I should do it just like this.  You’d feel me for days.”  Derek seriously thinks about shoving himself inside, not bothering with lube or eating Stiles out, but Lydia’s beside him in that next second, a tube of slick in her hand and a dark, almost hungry, look on her face.

“Make him do it.”  Lydia suggests darkly.  “Make him get himself ready, make him do that for you first and then give him what he’s asking for.”

Derek nods, unable to deny her, and watches as she pops the lid on the tube and squirts some into the waiting palm of Stiles’ hand.  Then she reaches over and dribbles some down the line of Derek’s cock before she pulls back so she can sit on the stool closest to them.  With so little distance between them Derek can smell her arousal even through the heady fog of pheromones he and Stiles are putting off.  It’s sweet, a hint of milk and honey, something smooth and hot but also tainted darker by the longing that hides just beneath it.

He knows what she’s thinking about, knows who she sees when she looks at him and Stiles together like this.  He wants to give it to her, wants to give her what she’s so obviously desperate for but he knows he can’t at the moment.  For now this is all he can give her, his loyalty and protection, his love and the closeness they all share, safety and acceptance.  Hopefully soon, she’ll be beside them, pressed against a mate of her own, body open and mind at ease.

Derek hopes so, wants to see her face twist in pleasure just to know that she’s happy.

Stiles’ ragged moan brings his attention back around to his mate, his boy, who has four of his own fingers buried deep inside his ass and who’s eyes Derek can just see are glazed over with arousal.  Derek watches him for a few moments, feels his cock swell even harder at the show Stiles’ is giving him as he fingers himself open and begs Derek to fuck him with a voice gone shaky with want.

Derek reaches down, spreads the slick down the hard line of his own cock and then wastes no time in pulling Stiles’ hand out of his way.  He ignores the way Stiles moans in protest at being empty.  Instead he focuses on the punched out little chocked off sound Stiles makes when Derek abruptly rams himself inside of him, goes in all the way to the hilt in one harsh thrust.

He folds himself across Stiles’ back, latches his mouth onto the mating mark and bites down, far enough to draw blood, to taste Stiles’ power on his tongue, but never deep enough to change him.  Derek gets lost in the taste and it takes him a few minutes to come back to himself, to realize that he’s been fucking Stiles, hard and deep and relentlessly, the entire time.

His teeth leave Stiles’ skin reluctantly but he’s still careful to lick the remaining blood away as it wells up out of the wound.  Stiles just moans, presses back against him harder than before.

“Fucking hell.”  Stiles’ rasps out, voice barely more than a dry clicking noise punctuated by little moans and whimpers.  “Do it.”

Derek shudders, feels lust and love and deep dark devotion well up in him like a tsunami or a forest fire.  The feelings he has for Stiles are natural disasters as nature herself had intended them to be, massive, devastating, completely all-consuming, and ultimately the source of new life.  He pulls back, slows his thrusts down to where he’s no longer jolting Stiles’ body roughly against the counter top, swipes the pad of his thumb across that blank spot on the back of Stiles’ shoulder.  Admires the way his claw looks pressed against the skin there almost hard enough to draw blood.

“Oh Stiles.”  Lydia breathes out, hands pressed low against her stomach and thighs clenched tightly together as she stares avidly at Derek’s hand.  “It’s going to look beautiful.”

“Of course.”  Stiles moans and manages to look back over his shoulder.  His mouth is spit slick and his face is dazed.  “It’s Derek’s, course it’s gonna be perfect.”

Stiles says it with such conviction that Derek has to clench his eyes closed.  But he can’t stop the way his hips fuck up into Stiles’ again for a few more brutal thrusts before he finally gets control of himself.

Derek breathes in deeply, steadies himself deliberately, and makes the first cut, starts the line of a D.

Stiles keens.

Beside them Lydia laughs in breathless joy.  


 

Stiles finds out about a late night showing of some old horror classic that even Lydia seems pleased to go to at the local theater.  Derek doesn’t even bother to protest, too enchanted with the idea of going out with the two of them, of spending a few hours in a dark theater with Stiles.  With pretending like they don’t have to hide what they are from everyone else.

Because Derek is older, an adult even if he doesn’t always feel like it and Stiles has told him time and again that they have to be careful in a way that makes him want to fuck Stiles on the hood of his father’s patrol car for the entire world to see.

So they go and the streets are empty enough that Stiles and Lydia tuck themselves underneath Derek’s arms without anyone giving them a second look.  Derek buys their tickets and does his best not to flash his eyes at the bored clerk who gives Lydia an obvious once over before they head inside.  Together they walk up to the snack counter and Stiles rambles on about the different advantages of different theater foods until Lydia rolls her eyes and orders for all of them, a credit card flashing out before Derek can even move.

The theater’s empty except for them but Derek doesn’t pay attention to the movie when it comes on.  He’s too caught up in Lydia’s commentary about how its portrayal of some type of psychosis is completely incorrect and the way Stiles grins around a licorice stick and debates with her like he ate articles on the subject before they came.

Knowing Stiles as he does Derek’s half sure that he probably did.  Stiles probably knows all about the movie, has probably read everything he could get his hands on about it before he even mentioned it to them just to make sure it’s something that Lydia can get into, or can at least have fun picking apart.

Stiles leans across Derek so intent on his conversation with Lydia and the collar of the shirt he’s wearing Derek’s shirt, the one with the thumb holes that doesn’t fit Stiles quite right in the chest yet so it gapes on him falls to one side.  Derek can just see the curve of his shoulder, the spot where his claw had cut into Stiles’ skin as he had carved his name into that supple flesh.

Like he’d promised, it had healed beautifully, Derek’s care in carving it and Stiles’ magic making it close up and scar over quickly and easily.

Seeing it there, uncovered and displayed, makes Derek’s blood heat and his cock stiffen as he reaches up and trails his fingers across it without a second thought.  Stiles freezes, turns his head enough to look up at him and Derek hears Lydia huff out an amused little giggle beside them.

“In the theater.  Really?”  She laughs at the both of them as she daintily picks out all of the yellow and blue M&Ms from the pack she’s eating.  “You two are such a cliché.”

“Yeah we are.”  Stiles grins back at her even as he twists and drops to his knees on the floor, presses up into the v of Derek’s legs and reaches for his zipper.  “But you know what they say about clichés Lydia.  Just because they’re overdone doesn’t mean they’re not fun.”

Derek chuffs out a sound of agreement and leans into the hand that Lydia’s automatically buried in his hair as Stiles’ swallows him down and sucks him off in the dim light of the theater.

He comes like that, cock buried in the warmth of Stiles’ mouth, knot straining the corners of lips until they’re in danger of cracking.  When Stiles finally pulls off Derek can’t help but wipe the come and the small spot of blood off the corner of his mouth and then reach out to rub it into Stiles’ skin over the curve of his name.

Stiles just laughs and kisses him again.

Derek has never been so happy and he can’t help but feel like it’s all going to crash down around his ears.


 

That feeling of almost dread builds in him for days.  He can feel something, can feel that there’s something afoot, and his nervousness translates into everything he does.

He avoids the building site where the house is steadily progressing, work speed up by the obscene amount of money Derek has poured into the project to cut construction time without sacrificing quality.  His sleep is restless and his anxiety sends him to pacing outside of Stiles or Lydia’s windows in the early hours of the morning on the days they’re separated.  He takes them to school or follows them there, hangs out in the woods and keeps his attention focused on searching for any threats. 

Stiles and Lydia are both on guard, unwilling and unable to overlook whatever has their Alpha so upset and uneasy.  They close ranks around each other, barely separate from each other’s sides except for when they have to.

Stiles goes on little sleep, has a wild almost feral look in his eyes and a hand always hovering over his Spark sign beneath his shirt.  Derek catches him murmuring in that language that Lydia had taught him or in one of the others he’s begun to pick up on, words that sound old and powerful.

Lydia is never less than perfectly made up, her hair artfully tousled or intricately arranged and her lips are painted a vibrant red despite the sharp spike of anxiety Derek can scent on her.  Derek knows she uses her looks and her makeup like armor and he thinks she’s never more beautiful than when she’s perfectly coifed and painted for war.  She strokes the stone at the base of her throat often, rubs the pad of her fingers across the smooth surface and hums low and dark as she almost smiles.

And always, always, the two of them look to Derek, watch him closely, take their cues from his mood and circle him like they’re trying to decide where to slot themselves against him.  They’re two whirling dervishes of power, as intent on protecting him as he is on protecting them.  Together Derek thinks they could do anything, thinks that the world should tremble in fear at the idea of what they could be driven to do for each other.

When it all finally comes to a head, when the tension that Derek’s been feeling for days finally comes to fruition, they’re in the preserve.

It’s night, the moon is high in the sky and only a few days from being completely full.  They’re there for Derek, because he needs to run, needs to be a thing of teeth and claws and wildness with the moon on his skin and the night air in his face, needs something that he just can’t have at the loft or in the city proper.

They’ve been there a few hours, chasing each other around the clearing Derek had taken them to like pups.  Even Lydia’s proper and put together demeanor evaporates in the face of a Stiles who, shirtless and face flushed with a brilliant grin, coaxes her into playing.  The three of them twist and turn around each other in under the light of the moon, and it’s easy in those moments to see the ways none of them are really human. 

Derek is so obviously something else, noticeably and openly a werewolf with no reservations or need for caution in the safety of the preserve.  His eyes and claws and fangs are as much a part of him as his tattoo or the feel of Stiles’ Spark pulsing in his chest.

Lydia is too graceful to be human, twists and turn and twirls through the clearing like she’s on strings.  Derek could swear that her feet leave the ground sometimes, that she floats or glides instead of walks but he isn’t completely sure.  But even playing, even running and jumping and tumbling around, she looks so cool and put together so Derek knows there’s something at work there beyond her unbelievable poise.

Stiles is bright in the moonlight.  His skin glows faintly silver in a way that reminds Derek of the stories his grandma used to tell him about the Unseelie, dark fae who had an affection for werewolves.  His Spark sign and the lines of runes that have been etched onto his skin glows a soft and subtle red when Derek looks at him out of the corner of his eye, like the color is there but doesn’t want to really be seen.  Like Stiles always was, Derek thinks; there and obvious and right underneath everyone’s nose but unnoticed and untapped.  Derek’s thankful that Stiles’ was overlooked for so long because it means he gets to have him now, gets to be the one to realize how glorious he really is.

Derek has a hard time keeping his hands off of him, tumbles him down to the grass to lick and bite at him a few times but Stiles always squirms away and goes back to frolicking with Lydia.  He shoots Derek a coy grin over his should each time though so Derek knows it’s more like foreplay, a hunt of sorts that makes him rumble low and pleased in his chest.  Stiles is a good mate, a perfect mate who knows that sometimes his Alpha likes to hunt and chase his pleasure.

The tension they’ve all been carrying for so long doesn’t evaporate but it does lessen a bit, melts off of their shoulders to a degree as the scent and aura of joy and Pack spreads out across the clearing.

Derek’s on the sidelines watching them for a moment, marveling at how easy it is to think of them as wolves sometimes as they laugh into the night air and tumble through the sweet smelling grass, when awareness kicks into him.

He knows abruptly that they’re no longer alone in the forest and he growls low and long in a way that makes Stiles and Lydia instantly freeze and then rush back to his side.

Derek catches the familiar scents on the breeze a few seconds later and feels his shoulders stiffen and his jaw start to ache as his teeth try to go longer, as his face struggles to contort in a way it never has before. 

He doesn’t have long to focus on that though because in the next second there’s a crashing sound in the trees in front of him and then familiar bodies are spilling out into the clearing.  The first person he sees makes Derek want to snarl.

Scott.

Allison and Isaac aren’t far behind him but it’s Scott that Derek focuses on.  He is, after all, an Alpha and a rival for more than just territory because as much as Derek knows Stiles loves him, is devoted to him, there’s still that knot of fear in the back of his mind that Stiles will realize Derek isn’t good enough and will go back to Scott.

“Stiles.”  Scott is the one who speaks first, his voice surprised and sharp as he breaks the silence of in the clearing and takes a step forward.  Derek can’t help but roar then, lets out a harsh and threatening sound that’s ripped from his chest automatically.  Scott has no right to approach, no right to call out to Derek’s mate and his Pack, to step close to them like he’s not a threat to their safety.

“Scotty.”  Stiles says from right behind him and Derek is pleased with both the hand Stiles has on his shoulder and with the way he doesn’t try to move past him.  “What’s up man?”

“You … when did you … why?”  Scott looks like he’s at a loss for words as he waves a hand in Stiles’ direction, eyes focused on the symbols and runes spread out across Stiles’ skin.  “Isaac and Deaton both said but I didn’t think …”

“Ah, you’re gonna have to be a bit more specific about that buddy because there’s a lot of shit I’m pretty sure you don’t think about.”  Stiles says it all calmly and evenly but Derek knows he’s fully aware of what Scott means and is just being difficult on purpose.  The hint of bitterness in Stiles’ voice and the way his fingers are digging into Derek’s shoulder are proof enough of that.

“Don’t be a dick Stiles.  I’m talking about the tattoos, about the reason you smelt like blood for like two days last week and that was it so it obviously wasn’t you getting those.”  Scott looks mildly frustrated and vaguely hurt, like the idea of Stiles not being open with him makes him sad.  It takes all Derek has not to laugh and toss Scott bodily from the clearing.  Scott has no right to seem insulted when he’s the one who hurt Stiles first.  “I took you with me when I got mine.”

“Yeah Scotty this is a completely different situation.  I don’t think you’d have liked my choice of artist much.”  Stiles sounds almost amused and Derek hears Lydia let out a small snort beside him because Stiles’ marks grow as his power does, as his bond to Derek and Lydia does, as their Pack grows in strength and devotion to each other.

“Stiles.”  Scott’s voice has a plaintive and disappointed note to it then.  “This isn’t like you man.  You’re keeping secrets and you’re never around anymore.  We barely ever talk and your dad says you’re always out of the house.  And then Isaac tells me about your tattoos and what he … walked in on and Deaton’s worried too, says there’s something wrong with you.”

“Oh he would say that, the bastard.”  Stiles cuts in, voice sharp and displeased.  Derek can’t help but agree with him, doesn’t like the vet any more than Stiles does now.  Not with the way he’d slowly begun to refuse to continue teaching Stiles, had slowly begun pull back and away and gone back to speaking cryptic bullshit every time Stiles tried to talk to him.

“Look he’s just worried man.  We all are Stiles, about you and about Lydia too.”  Scott glances towards Lydia then, face open but a little unsure.

“Don’t worry on my behalf McCall.  Like I told Allison before I’m perfectly fine.  I’ve got absolutely no interest in you spilling your feeling all in my general direction.”  Lydia’s sneer is more than readily obvious even though Derek isn’t looking at her and he sees the way Allison winces but bobs her head in acknowledgement.  Derek has a feeling that the littlest huntress isn’t exactly on board for this whole meeting but he doesn’t call her out on it.

Scott’s Pack isn’t any of his business just like his Pack isn’t any of Scott’s.

WorriedYou’re worried about me?”  Derek tenses even further because he can hear something dark in Stiles’ voice, knows that Scott has hit a nerve with those words.  “You’re a piss poor best friend if you’re only worried about me now Scott.  You should use those goddamn werewolf senses that you’re so ashamed of unless they’re helping you win at lacrosse to figure out that I’m happier than I’ve been in fucking years.  You unmitigated asshole.”

Isaac snarls at Stiles then and takes a step forward, gold eyes shining in the dark, and Lydia reacts before Derek can, lets out a brief screech that has Scott and Isaac both whimpering and Allison slamming her hands down over her ears.

Stiles and Derek stand unaffected.  They are Pack, are bonded and together and Lydia’s voice will never hurt them.

“Get your bitch on a leash McCall before I’m forced to do it for you.”  Lydia is all strawberry-blond hair and righteous fury in that moment and Derek is so very proud.

Scott wraps his hand around Isaac’s shoulder and it takes a moment for the beta to calm down enough for the conversation to resume.  Derek watches the group across the clearing every second, stands half crouched in front of his own Pack, prepared to charge, prepared to rip and rend and destroy no matter the consequences to protect what is his.

“You’re my best friend Stiles of course I’m worried about you.”  Scott finally manages to reply a few minutes later.

“No Scott I used to be your best friend, but I’m not anymore.  You just don’t want to admit it to yourself.”  Stiles sounds sad then, hurt and bitter, and it makes Derek want to keen and kill things until he’s happy again.  “If I was still your best friend you’d have been worried when I got my ass kicked by Gerard or when I couldn’t sleep or when I was going half out of my mind because my fucking dad thought I was a psycho who’d been killing people.  You wouldn’t be worried now that I’m happy, now that I have a Pack of my own, that I’ve finally found the people and the place that I belong to.”

“Pack?”  Scott whispers it out like a question and Derek is the one who answers him.

“He’s mine now Scott.  My Pack, my mate.  Mine.”  Derek feels a flash of dark pleasure race through him both at the way Scott’s face twists and at being able to taunt Scott out loud with just what Stiles is to him.  “I’m his Alpha now.  Stiles and Lydia made me one again, gave me the power of their own free will and their mine now.”

Scott’s control breaks so completely that the snap is almost audible.  He darts towards them, toward Derek, anger and hurt apparent on his face.  Derek goes after him, is off like a shot in his direction, determined not to let him get by him and closer to Stiles and Lydia no matter what.

They meet in the middle and the clash is like a thunderclap.  Blood goes flying into the air around them instantly as their claws both find purchase and they hit the ground with a thud, locked together as they tear at each other.

Derek is quick to kick Scott away from him, throws him back into a tree that splits in half beneath the impact.  Scott snarls and leaps at him again as he lashes out repeatedly, all wild limbs and uncontrolled motions.  He goes for Derek’s throat with the wide arching reach that Derek remember using on Isaac, Erica and Boyd so many times in the past.  It’s a clumsy, beginner’s move, something that Derek had been trying to get them to learn before he could move on to the more complicated ones.

It doesn’t connect but Derek admits that Scott is strong and fast and Derek can see the rough, raw potential in him.  But in the end Derek is faster, stronger, and ultimately more vicious and deadly.  He’s lost so many fights in the past, been beaten so many times, but he refuses to lose again, not now when he has so much to fight for, too much to lose.

Stiles and Lydia have made him a better Alpha in more ways than Derek can count.

He has Scott pinned, a clawed hand in his throat and his teeth bared in a feral snarl when he feels the knife bury itself in his shoulder at the same time Isaac barrels into his side and knocks him off of Scott.

There’s a screech, loud and vicious, followed by a more human bellow of rage and then Isaac is just gone, jerked away from Derek like a puppet on strings.  Derek can suddenly smell Stiles like he’s right beside him.  Across from him Scott no longer looks interested in fighting him so much as finding out what’s happening.  Derek only hesitates for a second before he turns around and see what’s happened.

Lydia and Stiles stand in the center of the clearing, highlighted by the glow of the moon.  Lydia has her arms spread out at her sides and her hair is lifted by an invisible breeze.  The sound of her scream still echoes in the clearing.

Beside her Stiles stands, Spark sign glowing bright and obvious, his arm held out directly in front of him with his fingers curled like he’s holding onto something.  Across from him at the corner of the clearing Isaac claws at his own throat, face slowly turning red while Allison’s feet kick feebly at the air a few inches off of the ground.

Derek’s feet take him to Stiles’ side instantly, drawn in by the thrum of power Stiles is giving off.  He wraps himself around Stiles’ back, darts his head down to lick at his name and then he hooks his chin over his shoulder so he rub his cheek against Stiles’.  Lydia is there too, one of her hands flutters over the knife in his shoulder, pulls it out and shifts it over to her other hand, before her fingers move up to tangle themselves in Derek’s hair.

Neither of them try to stop Stiles.  Neither of them really wants to.  He’s only doing what they’ve all said they’d do for each other.

Killing to protect the Pack is a given, is an honor, and Stiles is an excellent Pack mate.

“Stiles stop it!  You’re killing them!”  Scott screams out, voice frightened and desperate, but he seems too shocked to really do anything, too surprised by the viciousness Stiles is displaying to stop him.        

Stiles hesitates for a second and then his face twists and his hands fall.  Allison and Isaac drop like stones, hit the ground and sputter for breath as they rub at their throats although Isaac obviously heals quicker.  Scott’s beside them in seconds, fluttering between who to check on first before he plasters himself to Allison’s side.

Never touch him again.  Any of you.  Never touch Derek again.”  Stiles’ voice cuts through the clearing, sharp and dark and viciously dangerous.

“I thought you’d always have my back.  How could you do something like this?”  The words burst out of Scott and Derek can tell that even through his fear Scott wants to move forward, wants to grab Stiles by the shoulders or something, and he growls low and long in warning.  Scott darts a glance at him but it’s the way Allison lays a hand on his shoulder that gets him back under control.  “How could you hurt Allison like that?  Or Isaac?”

“You attacked first Scott and when you got your ass handed to you Allison threw a knife into Derek’s back and Isaac jumped him.  If you’re Pack can protect you then Derek’s can protect him.”  Stiles sneers.

“How could you pick him over me?  Over us?”  Scott seems angry again and Derek almost wants to roll his eyes.

“It’s funny that you think I’m the one who picked first Scott.  Because I didn’t.  You were the one who decided you can’t do both Scott.  You’re the one who left me behind when I needed you the most.”  Stiles spits the words out coldly and Derek does snarl then at the remembered pain in Stiles’ voice.  “You don’t have the right to get pissed because I found someone else.”

“You said I still had you Stiles!  You promised!”

“Yeah and you know I should have figured it out then when the first thing you said was that you already had me Scott.  I should have realized that I was some sort of outlier to you.  Good ol’ Stiles, always here to lie for you or get his ass kicked in a basement for you because you’re a werewolf that can’t keep his dick in his pants when it comes to someone who could easily kill you.  Someone who has a family that actively wants to kill you.” 

“I love Allison Stiles, you know that.  We want to be together and I thought you understood that, I thought you had my back.”  Scott looks betrayed and plaintive.

Stiles reaches one of his hands up and cups the back of Derek’s head, tangles his fingers with the ones that Lydia still has in his hair.  “I did Scott, and I do but I’ve had it with your stupid fucking Romeo and Juliet bullshit.  I’d have died for you Scott, but I’m not going to die for your fucking romance, not anymore, not now that I’ve got something to live for too.” 

“But it’s Derek!  He’s the reason all of this happened in the first place.”

“Jesus McCall get a clue.  We all know that half the frankly ridiculous shit that’s happened in this town can be traced back to Allison’s crazy fucking family.  No offense Allison.”  Lydia’s dry voice quips out and Allison goes pale and immediately tense when everyone’s attention swings back her way again but she also stays perfectly still.  She has better instincts than Scott does and Derek thinks she’d be a far better Alpha.

“He’s not good for you Stiles.”

“You don’t know him Scott, none of you do, so you can’t say that kind of shit.  He’s mine.  He’s mine and Lydia’s Alpha and he makes us happy.”

“You’re not a wolf Stiles.  You’re not a wolf and he’s not your Alpha.”  Isaac finally speaks up then.

“There’s more to being a Pack than being a wolf Isaac.  Otherwise Allison wouldn’t be in yours.”  Derek growls as he bares his teeth in the boy’s direction because that’s one of the lessons he’d tried to teach him that Isaac had obviously never listened to.

“You’ve changed man and not in a good way.  He’s changed you, you and Lydia.  Why can’t you see that?”  Scott gets to his feet finally and pulls Allison up with him while Isaac hovers behind their shoulders.

“You’re such a fucking hypocrite Scott.  Why do you get to have your love-saves-all-romance but I can’t have mine?  Why is it alright for you to drop everything and everyone when Allison or fucking Isaac calls you but I can’t be friends with Lydia, can’t have Derek?  Why can’t I be with him, with someone who loves me, who protects me, who makes me stronger, who’ll be stronger for me?  Why is it suddenly wrong when it’s me?”  Stiles seems genuinely curious but Scott doesn’t have an answer for him, only stares at him with wide, hurt eyes.

“This isn’t over Stiles.  You’re my friend and I’m not going to give up on you.”  Scott answers after a few seconds of silence, face gone determined and mind obviously made up.  “I’m going to fix this.”

“Scott, I’m telling you there’s nothing to fix.”  Stiles’ shoulders slump and Derek tightens his grip on him and nuzzles their cheeks together in comfort as Stiles’ hand in his hair tightens alongside Lydia’s.

“We’ll talk again, when you’re calmer.”  Scott turns to leave, Allison is wrapped in his arms and even from across the clearing Derek can see the hand print that’s darkening across her throat, knows that it’ll be a perfect match for Stiles’.

“Stiles.”  Lydia’s voice, low and intimate, draws everyone’s attention and Derek turns his head enough to look at her when her fingers slip from his hair.  “Don’t let them forget this.”  She holds the knife she’d pulled from Derek’s back up in front of her.

Stiles’ face contorts with rage again and then the knife is in the air in front of them.  It hovers there for a second and when everyone’s attention is on the blade it crumples, folds in on itself like paper.  Stiles flicks his wrist and it flies across the clearing, the metal ball slams into the trunk of a tree beside Scott’s face like a bullet, causes splinters to flare out and embed themselves in Scott’s cheek.

“The next time anyone tries something like that … I’ll kill them.”  Stiles’ heartbeat is a fast but steady sound in Derek’s ear, filled with nothing but a truth so profound that Derek is half hard and close to purring against his back.  Stiles will kill for him, was about to kill for him.

Scott’s eyes are wide, Allison’s are slightly calculating, and Isaac stinks of fear but neither of them says anything else.  They just look back between Stiles and the tree for a moment and then turn and hurry out of the clearing.

Derek and his Pack watch them go silently.  Derek tracks their progress until they’re out of his range and then he unwraps himself from around Stiles’ back so he can pull both him and Lydia into a proper hug.

It takes less than a minute for Stiles to start crying, tears streaking down Derek’s neck as he sobs quietly against his throat.

“He was all I had for so long.”  Stiles sobs out against the curve of his neck and Derek just holds him closer while Lydia runs her fingers through their hair.

“I know.  I know he was.  But you have us now Stiles.  You have us now and we’ll never let you go.”  Derek does understand how he feels because he’d worked with Peter for a long time on that very basis, because without Laura Peter was all he had left.  But now it’s different and Stiles shouldn’t have to settle for scrapes of friendship and care when Derek and Lydia will give him anything, everything.

They’re a tangled bunch of limbs and hair and desperately needed comfort as Stiles sobs out his grief over Scott and the cluster-fuck that their friendship has become.

Eventually Derek tumbles them to the ground, lays out on his back with Stiles tucked into the curve of one arm and Lydia under the other.

They greet the dawn together like that.

Lydia hums and reaches her hands up towards the sky in the soft early morning light as Stiles roams his hands across Derek’s skin in a desperate attempt to drown his grief.

Derek just lets Stiles take what he wants, what he needs, and kisses him until they’re both breathless.

The sun rises bright and brilliant over the top of the trees and to Derek it all feels like a new beginning.