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Howl (A musical except without all the singing)

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          "Love. I put my faith in Love. I followed where it led. To my personal circle of Hell, it has not worked out well, I wish that I were dead…”                                                - Chip on My Shoulder, Legally Blonde

Derek Hale knows what he looks like.

He has EYES, okay.

And he also knows how to use what he looks like to his own advantage, when he needs to manipulate. He did it with the cop at the front desk so Stiles could sneak past, he did it with Erica to get her to take the bite, he’s done it.

It’s true that he doesn’t do it often – not because it’s ineffective. But because he knows it’s all a lie. Which – manipulation, of course it’s a lie. But his looks work at catching others attentions even when he doesn’t want it.

He knows what he looks like.

And the truth is, most women only want him for his looks.

And the further truth is, everyone judges him by those looks.

And the truest thing of all is his looks are deceiving.

What you would expect is not what you get, with Derek.

He does play sports, and he’s good at them, but he doesn’t really care for it. Except for Baseball. (He loves Baseball.)

He does work out, but not because he enjoys it. (He works out so he can kill the people who want to kill him.)

He looks like a jock. And the truth is? (He’s a nerd.)

He prefers to read, to stay at home, to be around close ones. He’ll skip the club for his couch any day. (not that he has a couch. Fighting to survive here, no time to get a COUCH,)

He liked school, homework and math and English. English was his favorite.

And when he was 13 Uncle Peter took him to his first broadway show and he fell in love. It was The Annie, he remembered.

He complained about it but Peter bribed him with baseball gear and the book he’d wanted, and his complaints ended the second the lights went down.

There was something about the lights and the music, about the emotions in the room and small catches of breath he heard during the high points, the way his own breath caught without his own choice. And there was something about the girl about his age, grinning and covered in makeup, who only showed up periodically, but who’d caught his attention at her only two solo lines,

"Don't it feel like the wind is always howling,” "No one's there if your dreams at night gets creepy" 

After the show he’d told his Peter it was okay. But he didn’t tell him all the reasons why.

After that, Peter took him to two shows a year, at least, up until the fire. And then he and Laura in New York, and there were so MANY shows, but he only went to ones in which a certain someone was cast.

Then Laura was dead and he was back in Beacon Hills, and it had been almost a year since he’d gone to a show.

He wondered, mechanically, as he strode down main street, gaze unblinkingly focused in front of him, even as he felt the eyes of passersby on him, as he heard the intake of breath at the sight of him.

He wondered if he should check on St. Ski’s next show. Just in case he made it through everything.

And that’s when he heard it.

He paused in front of an alleyway.

Humming.

He leaned back, scanning through the garbage, focusing in on someone, a woman, laying on the disgusting ground, the top half of her body obscured by the dumpster she had crawled under.

And she was humming.

He heard scratching, realizing then what was going on, and intrigued, he moved closer. She paused in her humming to mutter, “Come here kitties, to me babies.”

Derek stopped a few feet away and smirked. The woman wiggled her feet, letting out a small grunt as she tried to finagle the cat into the bag. “Aw, screw it,” the woman muttered, and a chorus of tinny mews followed her words, the dumpster shaking as she gave up on coaxing.

Kittens, Derek realized, crossing his arms.

Obviously successful, she wriggled out from under the dumpster, settling onto her knees and dumping her catch into the bag next to her as gently as possible.

And Derek froze.

She grinned into her bag, brown eyes alight, letting out a huff of breath that blew strands of brown hair out of her face.

Derek blinked a few times, still processing what – WHO – was right in front of him, which gave her time to notice him.

She jumped slightly, then smiled awkwardly. “Ah. Hey, I didn’t realize anyone was there.” He reached out a hand to help her up and she took it with a grateful sigh.

He caught a whiff of berries and pine and sheet music and gulped.

“I know that looked weird, probably,” She started with a huff of laughter. “I just, it’s kittens, right? I can’t leave them. You know, what with their mom,” She gestured helpfully towards the dead cat a few feet away and Derek tilted his head.

Huh.

He hadn’t even noticed.

“Anyway. I’m Cassi.”

“I know,” Derek blurt out. And then he frowned. Because that’s not a creepy thing to say.

But Cassi just grinned and carefully pulled the strap of her bag over one shoulder. “Broadway fan, then?” She guessed ruefully.

He shrugged and then nodded and then frowned, and her smile widened.

“Aw yes,” She agreed, eyes crinkling at the corner in amusement. “I completely understand.”

The silence lingered for a moment and Derek’s mind raced to think of something to say.

“So – you like cats?” Was what came out of his mouth, and he winced. Wow. Nicely done, Hale. But she just smiled and shrugged.

“You could say that,” She agreed. “What’s your name?”

Derek’s eyebrows lowered. That would’ve been a much better thing to say than “SO YOU LIKE CATS?”

“It’s Derek,” He grumbled.

“Derek,” She chirped. “Do you by chance know where the vets office is?” He nodded curtly and started striding out of the alleyway. The Vets. Deaton’s. Yeah. He could do that. It was only when she lurched forward with a grunt that he realized he’d never let her hand go after helping her up. REALLY, Hale? But Cassi just laughed and removed her hand from his to move it to the crook of his elbow.

“Lead the way,” She said gallantly, matching his pace and letting the rest of their walk descend into silence.

Thank God.

The front door tinkled as Derek opened it and stepped in, and Deaton appeared two seconds later.

Probably on high alert, Derek recognized, what with everything.

Deaton glanced first at Derek, expression blank, and then he turned to Cassi, who’d stepped away from Derek and was clutching the handle of her bag with both hands.

“A celebrity,” Deaton said in surprise, a small smile quirking at his mouth.

Cassi huffed. “A broadway fan?” She guessed and Deaton tilted his head, the smile on his face remaining.

“I do believe Cassi St. Ski’s fame exceeds the broadway fandom,” he pointed out lightly, and Cassi brushed off the recognition with a shrug. “And what can I do for you?” He asked Cassi the question, but his flickered to Derek.

Derek shook his head back subtly as Cassi beamed and held out her bag. “Kittens! Four weeks, mom got ran over, it looked like. They were living in an alley, so a general exam for all of them and then supplements?”

“A vet in the making,” Deaton said approvingly as he took the bag from her.

“Just an animal lover,” she snorted. “My nineteen year old ass still hasn’t graduated high school yet.”

“I do believe you were a little busy,” Deaton guessed and she grinned.

“A little,” she agreed. “Do you think you’ll have room to board them for a few days? I still gotta find a rental, so I can’t take them home until I, you know,” She smiled over her shoulder at Derek like they were sharing a joke, and he just stared at her. By the time he’d thought of an appropriate face to make back, she’d already returned her attention to Deaton. “have a home to take them to,” she finished.

“You want to take them all?” He asked in surprise. “There are only four of them,” She shrugged like that was nothing. “And they’ve been through a traumatic experience. Family should stick together after trauma,” She said it like she was speaking from experience, and Derek winced.

“Right,” Deaton pulled the kittens out of her bag and Derek took a small step forward to get a good look at them.

One was a tabby, gray and black striped with a little white nose. Two were gray with white bellies, and the fourth was a bright orange and white splotched. They were cute, Derek could admit. But they were cats. And – Derek had never been around cats. His family were werewolves – they were their own pets. So he was a little interested.

Deaton glanced them over and then nodded. “I’m free, so I’ll do their exams now,” He mused, “and Scott can get them situated for the night when he gets in.”

“Scott?” Derek asked, just as Cassi asked the same question. He shot her a strange look, and she did the same.

“Yes,” Deaton said after a beat.

“My assistant,” he explained to Cassi, who nodded slowly.

“Of course. So I’m good to come pick them up on Monday?” Deaton nodded and she grinned. “Perfect. Do I pay now, or?”

“No charge,” Deaton said with a smile, and she opened her mouth to argue. “You’re taking all of them home with you,” He pointed out. “That’s payment enough. See you on Monday, Miss St. Ski.” He smiled and nodded. “Derek,” He shot Derek a serious look, and then he was disappearing into his back room.

Cassi turned and smiled at Derek. “Well he’s interesting. You wanna go for a walk?”

And Derek shouldn’t. He had fifteen billion other things he should be doing, be thinking about, worrying about.

But it was Cassi St. Ski.

So he nodded.

They walked through town, quiet at first.

And then she took a deep breath and held it. After a few moments she exhaled, smiling. “It’s so different,” she admitted.

“You’ve been here before?” Derek checked, and she nodded.

She walked hands shoved into the pockets of her gray jacket, her white Nike’s scuffing the sidewalk lightly as they walked. “I was born here,” She said with a grin and Derek started. She was? “My mom was a deputy and my dad an accountant, boring origin story, right?”

“Yes,” Derek agreed, and she nudged him lightly.

“Yeah I know. Is it more exciting when I say mom was 32 and having an affair with a 20 year old, who was 98% likely to be my actual father?”

“I guess that spices it up,” Derek said, feigning nonchalance, even as he internally grimaced. It was hard for most people to tell when he was joking. But she threw her head back and laughed.

“Yeah,” She agreed. “It does. Unfortunately I popped out brown, so jailbait was 100% not my daddy.”

“Unfortunately?”

“My biological dad was awful,” She admitted. Derek didn’t know what to say to that. So instead, he frowned.

“20 isn’t jailbait.” “No but 15 is,” She shuddered. “And that was when Jailbait and mommy dearest started their illicit affair.”

It was Derek’s turn to frown. That was too similar to his own story.

“Back to your original question,” Cassi quickly changed the subject, “I lived here until dad got transferred when I was 8. And then mom died in a work-related incident,” she rolled her eyes, “and no way in hell was my biological father raising me without supervision.”

Derek wanted to ask when she shuddered at that, and then decided he didn’t need to.

“Is that why you auditioned for the Lion King?” He asked.

She shot him a look, eyebrow quirked in surprise. “Yeah, actually.” She stopped walking and looked at him for a second. “So you’re a big fan then?” She teased, and he grit his teeth, doing his best not to flush. It didn’t work very well, if her wide smile was anything to go by. She ducked her head and wrapped a hand back into the crook of his elbow, propelling him forward. He didn’t know why she kept doing that – But he wasn’t complaining. They walked for a few minutes in silence and then she froze.

“Oh!” She fumbled in her jacket pocket and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. In loopy handwriting, four addresses were written on it. “Do you know where these are?” Derek wrinkled his nose.

He did – one was in the wrong part of town (actually around the corner from his loft, which just goes to show the kind of people that lived in that part of town,), one was a dumpy two bedroom, and one was the Argent’s old house, (and no way in HELL). The fourth was a new construction on the edge of the preserve, a bigger place made in the craftsman style on a huge plot of land. He ripped the paper, separating the first three addresses from the fourth and tossed the larger half into the trash. She watched, trying to hide a smile.

“Well,” She reasoned as he started walking again. “I only need one.”

He led her to his car, opened the door for her, and headed towards the only acceptable place. She’d pulled her phone out and started tapping away as soon as they’d got in and Derek let her, letting himself consider what the hell he was doing.

He was supposed to be coming up with a plan, attempting to process everything that had happened last night, try to find out where Deucalion was hiding – he should be doing anything BUT driving his childhood crush around and helping her rescue kittens.

He pulled into the driveway and she glanced up and grinned.

“I love it,” She agreed immediately. Derek shrugged. It wasn’t bad, about as he’d remembered it. White paint, light wood colors made the home look modern but the large posts and wide windows gave the place a farmhouse feel. The front yard was manicured which contrasted with the wilds of the preserve, clearly marking where the lot began and ended.

She hopped out of the car to move closer, peeking into windows and running a hand down the posts, and Derek considered that it was probably a good time to leave.

But instead of leaving he got out of the car and joined her.

“The real estate agent is on her way,” she chirped when he reached her side. “Wanna jump the fence and sneak into the backyard?”

He shouldn’t.

Which is how he found himself sitting on the back porch an hour later while the real estate explained price and next steps, her eyes bright and her cheeks flushed, obviously star struck. Cassi ignored it to consider the home in front of her.

And then she nodded. “I’ll take it.”

Which was another perfect opportunity to leave, Derek recognized.

Which is how Derek found himself walking in the preserve an hour later, Cassi St. Ski at his side.

Chapter Text

“I am not a stranger to the dark. Hide away, they say, for we don’t want your broken parts. I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars, run away, they say, no one will love you as you are.” - This is Me, The Greatest Showman

“So,” Cassi chirped as they walked. “Tell me about yourself.”

I’m a werewolf, all of my family except for two is dead, I’m fighting another werewolf and I’m trying to make a bunch of outcast teenagers into a replacement pack and it’s working about as well as you expect, Derek thought.

But he couldn’t say that.

“I grew up in Beacon Hills,” He finally decided on. That was safe. He glanced through the trees, the sun setting behind the branches. “There was a fire,” Honest, but vague. “My older sister and I moved after that. I was sixteen. My sister died. I moved back, about a year ago.” He considered that. Short and simple. That was a decent enough answer, right?

He looked at Cassi to gauge her reaction, to find her jaw dropped and her eyes wide. “Derek Hale,”

He flinched at his own name, and her hand gripped his forearm. She laughed. “Your uncle Peter – he’s Jailbait!” “

What?” Derek frowned, and she laughed harder.

“He was the guy who could’ve been my dad,” She clarified, and Derek’s face blanched. No way. No.

“He’s not, obviously,” she calmed, but didn’t remove her hand from his forearm. “But it was a close one. And he stuck around,” Her smile turned wistful. “That guy was crazy, bag of cats crazy,” she admitted easily.

And Derek couldn’t help but smile. “I’m aware of your attraction to bags of cats,” he said meaningfully, and she snorted.

“Yeah,” she agreed with a soft sigh. “He was a huge part of my childhood,” she admitted, resuming walking after a moment.

Derek fell back into step with her. “I was in New York during the fire, but I’m listed as his emergency contact,” She shook her head. “I was in the middle of the rehearsals but I flew back as soon as I found out.” She frowned. “I was twelve? And your sister had gotten him into the center but I stuck around for two weeks before I had to go back or they’d recast me.” She shook her head. “I visited every other weekend until, well.”

Until Peter had gone “missing,” killed Kate Argent, and then Derek had killed him. Right. As far as the public knew, Peter was dead. Which meant as far as Cassi knew – Peter was dead.

“I’m sorry,” She spoke up, and Derek frowned in confusion. “For everything that happened to you,” she clarified. “I’m sure this is a painful topic.”

“It’s,” He wasn’t going to lie, but. “There’s been some closure over the last year,” He admitted. “It’s not what it was,” He settled with.

Her mouth quirked up at one corner, and she moved to sit on a log past a grove of trees, a perfect view of the setting sun. Derek settled next to her. He thought about how crazy the sudden urge in him was – to tell her about Kate. And then he turned slightly to consider her. She was obviously aware of what he looked like.

But her gaze didn’t linger on his biceps or catch anywhere that it shouldn’t. She didn’t smell of arousal or even romantic interest and while she touched him – a lot – it was always friendly, comfortingly or companionably.

And she knew he was a broadway fan. She was content in his silence, humming under her breath. She laughed at his jokes even though they came off gruff, she recognized his discomfort and changed the subject. From his position next to her he could look down over her profile – and she made him want to smile.

There weren’t a lot of things anymore that made him smile.

“Kate Argent set the fire that killed my family.” It seemed like the place to start. She didn’t stiffen or turn to look at him in shock or horror. She blinked. And then she held out her hand, palm up. He grabbed it, letting their fingers intertwine.

She squeezed encouragingly.

And he continued.


“So why are you back in town?” Derek asked the question long after the sun had set, and the stars shone above them. They’d ended up sprawling onto the forest floor, his leather jacket wrapped around her like a blanket, as much of her curled into a ball and tucked into his side, and yet. It didn't feel romantic. It just - felt warm. 

Safe.

Derek felt – light.

He’d told Cass everything except for that he howled at the moon, and she listened attentively and scraped herself as openly raw as he had. For every traumatic experience he admitted to, she shared one of her own, and instead of it feeling like a competition, it was something different. For the first time since Laura had died – Derek didn’t feel so alone.

“School partially,” She admitted gaze focused on the stars above them. “Broadway gets boring after a decade, and I want to go to college. First stop – high school.” She groaned pathetically, and Derek smirked.

“And the rest of it?” He asked.

“The only family I have left live in town,” she said lightly. “And I haven’t seen them in ten years, so.”

She shrugged and squirmed against his side and Derek vaguely thought about moving away.

He didn't.

“Family?” He asked.

“My mom and dad both have siblings that still live in town, so younger cousins yay.” She tilted her head. “Actually you might know them.”

“Yeah?”

“Well my uncle is the Sheriff.”

Derek moved away from her so fast it took her a second to realize he wasn’t next to her anymore. She frowned at him.

“Dude,” She complained.

“Stiles Stilinski is your cousin,” He said blankly.

“You know him,” She guessed. He thought that one through.

“He tried to get me arrested for killing my sister.” She nodded slowly. “Ah.”

“Who’s your other cousin?” He asked. Because Stiles wasn’t the worst in town.

“Scott McCall?” She tried, and he couldn't stop the grimace. Because Scott WAS the worst.

She grinned at his obvious unhappiness. “OH man. You do NOT like those guys.”

“It’s complicated,” he admitted.

“They’re high schoolers,” She pointed out.

“You’re a high schooler,” He grumbled.

She rolled her eyes and hunkered down under his jacket, obviously feeling the cold without his body heat next to her. He sighed and moved back towards her.

“Only technically,” she pointed out. She poked his stomach. “Don’t tell me we can’t be friends just because I’m related to them.”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” But even as he said it, he didn’t mean it. He got caught on the word “friends”. And she smiled like she knew he didn’t mean it.

“I haven’t seen them since they were six. They way they turned out can in no way reflect on me.”

“It doesn’t,” he assured. “You’re successful.” She snorted. “Do they know you’re in town?” He checked and she shook her head.

“Not yet. I’m making the rounds tomorrow. Blegh.” She stuck out her tongue and he finally returned to her side. “And then school on Monday.” She added, her voice fading as her nose scrunched up. School. Right.

“My girlfriend’s a teacher there,” he said nonchalantly. She burrowed back into his side and he could feel her smile. “Nice casual girlfriend reference,” she complimented. “Watch teachers though – they tend to have shady second jobs.”

She tilted her neck to grin at him. “I’m talking about stripping,” she clarified unnecessarily. Derek rolled his eyes.

“Yeah okay. Jenn’s not like that.” “If you say so,” She said lightly. “Don’t worry. I’m not a home wrecker.” And then she thought about it.

“But if you ever become single I call dibs.” Derek snorted and she snickered. “Can you even call dibs on a human?” She wondered out loud.

“No,” he deadpanned. He carefully didn’t mention he wasn’t a human though.

“Well then.” She was quiet, adjusting so she was pressed against his side.

It was just the two of them, laying flat on their backs, gazing up at the stars.

“I better get a wedding invite.” She murmured. The comment came after twenty minutes of silence, her voice slurring slightly, sleepily.

“It’s not that serious,” Derek said quickly. It wasn’t. Jenn was nice – and he felt drawn to her in a way that, laying next Cass, he could recognize as strange.

“How long have you known her?” Her tone was accusatory, simply inquiring, and after how open she’d been, he felt no awkwardness in answering her questions.

“A week and a half.”

“Short.” Derek furrowed his eyebrows, and surprisingly enough, agreed. “How’d you meet?” she lifted one arm to trace patterns in the stars as she waited for his reply. Derek frowned in thought.

“She was working late at the school and was almost attacked by a wild animal that broke in.” That was – close enough to the truth.

“And she asked you out on a thank you for saving my life dinner?” Her voice brightened at the obvious romance of that – something that definitely hadn’t happened.

“Ah – no.”

“Did you show up later to check on her?” Cass tried to guess and that -

“Yes,” Derek tilted his head. He wasn’t sure why, actually. The reason he gave at the time was to make sure she hadn’t seen anything she wasn’t supposed to.

“And YOU asked her out,” she guessed, this time wrongly, and Derek made a face.

“No.” Why would he do that?

“So when was your first date?” She asked, confusion creeping into her voice. Derek paused for a long time. And Cass sat up, eyes wide.

“You haven’t gone on a date with her,” She realized. “Have you guys had sex?” Derek didn’t answer. He didn’t have to. Cass laughed and smacked his chest. “You horndog! How do you even randomly have sex after meeting someone like that?”

“I,” Derek frowned. “She found me after I got into a fight and took me back to my place. She,” Now that he was saying it out loud it didn’t seem exactly – right. “She was trying to fix my wounds,” Derek remembered that she kept getting distracted by his muscles. He remembered being in pain – his head started to hurt as he tried to remember.

Cassi watched him, eyebrows furrowed, waiting. Derek tried to focus on their interaction, his and Jenns. But the harder he tried the more the pain in his head increased. His vision began to blur and he pressed the edge of his palm into his forehead.

“Whoa,” Cass’s voice sounded far away. “Okay, maybe you should lay back down.” She pressed him down until his back was on the ground, her hand warm and tangible on his chest. “Just, take a second,” Cass’s voice was low and soothing and Derek took the advice, confused.

Werewolves – they didn’t get headaches. So. What was this? But before he could think too much on it, he was asleep.


 

He woke up to the sound of birds chirping, the sunrise setting their little cliff aglow.

Cass was curled up into his side, her palm still pressed on his chest, over his heart.

He stared down at the crown of her head.

Cass felt real – more real than Jenn did, if he was being honest.

He’d known Jenn four times as long as he knew Cass, knew Jenn more intimately he did the woman he was currently – well – cuddling, and yet.

He felt more connected to Cass. It was something he needed to think about, and not with Cass pressed against him and smelling too much like ma- Well. Just smelling like TOO MUCH.

He was trying to decide the best way to wake her up when her phone started chirping.

At the noise her arms were tightening around him for a moment before she was sitting up and glaring bitterly at the sunrise.

“Coffee,” she moaned, lifting her arms in a stretch. “COFFEE.” Derek smiled at her grumpy display. She shot him a glare and awkwardly rose to her feet. “Shut it,” She grumbled. “Just – shh.” She glared at him until he stood and then started stomping through the woods, headed to the house she’d bought the night before.

Derek followed behind at a sedate pace, smirking at her back. It took about forty five minutes to reach her place. The first fifteen minutes was spent in silence, the next twenty he listened to her mutter grouchily to herself and the last ten minutes he got to hear her hum happily under her breath.

By the time they reached his car, she was smiling.

“Who knew?” Her first polite words directed at him accompanied a cheery smile that, added to her careless bedhead and rumpled clothing, his jacket over the top, the sleeves covering her hands, and Derek was powerless to do anything else but smile back.

“A walk in the woods woke me up better than caffeine on a good day.” “Oh that means we can skip starbucks?” He checked. She laughed and pointed a finger at him.

“You’re funny,” she quipped back, opening the door and sliding into the car. He followed her lead, driving them easily to the coffee shop.

“Thanks,” She chirped when they arrived.

“I assume I’ll see you around town – unless you plan on avoiding me via the family feud you apparently have with my little cousins?” Derek rolled his eyes.

“We’ll see,” Is all he said.

She hopped out and strode towards the coffee shop, stopping to hold the door open for a woman with a small child, and Derek waited to leave until she was inside. And as soon as she was out of sight he fished his phone out of his pocket.

To Peter : We need to talk.

Chapter Text

“I’m poor as a mouse, I’m richer than Midas. But nothing on earth, could ever divide us.

And if tomorrow I’m an apple seller too, I don’t need anything but you.”

- I Don’t Need Anything But You, Annie

Stiles had exactly one member of extended family still living.

When he was younger, it had been different of course. Scott’s uncle Matteo had married his aunt Silvia before either of them had been born, and while Stiles was CERTAIN that if cousin Cassi hadn’t brought him and Scott together they would’ve been best friends regardless, Cassi brought them together as soon as they were born.

Stiles had never liked Uncle Matteo and while aunt Silvia had been nice, she’d worked so much he’d never seen her. His dad’s sister, she was a cop just like him, but she was his boss, so she worked longer hours.

Cassi spent a lot of time with her “Pee Paw,” but when he was busy Cassi was at the Stilinski’s.

His mom watched him, Scott and Cassi as often as she could when he was little, and most of his younger years were about story time at the library or playing in the backyard or in the living room with his cousins.

Cassi was older than them by 2 years, but both Scott and Stiles adored her.

Aunt Silvia got a new job when Stiles was 6, Scott was 5, and Cassi was 7, and they moved away.

And Aunt Silvia died just as Stiles’ mom started getting sick, so he couldn’t go to the funeral, and Cassi became a broadway star so she couldn’t come to visit, and while Scott was okay with not hearing from Cass other than a birthday card and Christmas present every year – Stiles had exactly two family members left – his dad, and his cousin.

He and Cass emailed each other every few days and skyped once or twice a month, once he was old enough to skype.

Whenever she had a show in California she sent tickets, and he and dad would go. She would get to see them backstage for the short time her agent would let her.

He wanted to be able to text her, but due to “issues” she wasn’t allowed to share her phone number, which. Ridiculous.

When the werewolf crap started up he cut back on their screen time, but he made sure to email often. And Scott was happy to be a post script to his emails and hear about Cass second hand.

Stiles crawled out of bed with a yawn and a stretch. Happy it was Sunday and he hadn’t been woken in the wee hours of the morning to deal with any supernatural nonsense, he let his laptop power up as he took a five minute nap, and brightened when he saw the email waiting for him.

He quickly clicked on it and scanned the words. And then he reread it. And then he squealed in a very non-manly fashion, ran down the stairs, flung his laptop at his dad, and called Scott.

“GET UP NERD – CASS IS IN TOWN.”


 

Stiles drummed on the dashboard of his father’s squad car and John sighed, even as leg bounced uncomfortably fast.

“That’s not going to help us get there any faster,” John pointed out meaningfully and Stiles dragged his gaze away from the speedometer to snort at him.

“No, but pressing the gas down harder might,” He quipped.

“We’re only five minutes away,” John reasoned, “It’s not like breaking the law for a one or two minute difference isn’t completely nuts.”

“Dadddddd,” Stiles whined, thunking his head against the window. He inhaled deeply and exhaled noisily and John grinned. “We haven’t seen Cass since,” Stiles paused as he thought, “Well.”

“A year and a half ago,” John supplied, when Stiles went silent. “It’s not that long,” he reasoned, and Stiles huffed and went still for a second.

He kept doing that, John recognized. And for Stiles it just wasn’t right, the way his body would just stop, and his gaze go hazy like he was somewhere else, somewhere not pleasant. “It feels like longer,” Stiles said slowly.

And then his expression cleared and he beamed, shaking John excitedly.

“Whoa hey!” John chastised, even as he grinned. “What is she even doing here though?” Stiles squinted as he thought. “You think the rumors are true?”

“Are they ever?” He argued back. “Anyway, I don’t know.” He put the car in park and gestured out the window. “Ask her yourself.”

Stiles grinned and jumped out of the car, running towards the only other family member the Stilinskis really had.


Stiles slammed the door behind him and hurtled down the sidewalk towards the woman leaning against the front of the diner.

She straightened at the sight of him and smiled, dropping her bag to the ground and stepping forward when it became obvious he wasn’t going in for a handshake.

She made an “ooph!” sound when they collided, but then she laughed, and wrapped her arms around his neck and Stiles wrapped his around her waist and squeezed. He didn’t let go until his dad was poking him the side demandingly.

“Give someone else a chance,” His dad said good naturally, and Stiles was OBVIOUSLY spending too much time around the wolves because he growled and tightened his arms for a second before letting Cass go.

She beamed and smacked a kiss on his cheek and then flung herself at his dad, who grinned and hugged her – less enthusiastically but no less heartfelt. And only until the hugs had been distributed did she plop her hands on her hips and beam.

“Hi,” She greeted, and Stiles and his dad grinned.

“Hi,” they said back. There was a pause.

And then, of course, they pulled each other into a group hug – which could’ve lasted days if Melissa hadn’t shown up them and shouted at them to let her hug her niece.

Cassi turned away from the boys to hug Melissa tightly and then let Melissa put her at arms length and scrutinize her head to toe.

“You’re too beautiful for your own good,” She proclaimed before dragging her back in.

“It’s those devastating Stilinski-McCall genes,” she laughed. Scott stood at his mom’s shoulder, grinning at his cousin and waiting his turn, and she turned her smile on him.

“And when did you two nerds get so tall!” She complained. Stiles shoved his hands in his pockets and grinned.

“While you didn’t,” He joked.

She flipped him off over Scott’s shoulder and his dad and Melissa in sync said

“Kids!” They shared a smile and Cassi pulled away from Scott to beam at the group.

And then her stomach growled – loudly.

“That sounds like our cue,” Melissa teased, and they tromped into the diner and claimed a table, Stiles Cassi, and Scott on one side, Melissa and his dad on the other.

“What are doing here?” Scott asked the important question, nudging her shoulder, and she tapped the edge of her menu with an eyeroll.

“Broadway is not a long-term career,” she said and Melissa snorted.

“No duh,” She observed. “Continue.”

“So,” Cassi smiled, “I’ve decided to go to school.”

“Smart,” Stiles’ dad agreed, and she shot Stiles a commiserating look.

“Parents,” She teased, “I’m gonna have to get used to those again. Anyway,” She straightened. “I was home-schooled on the road but not very well, so I’m a few credits shy from a high school diploma. And I missed you guys,” She jostled the boys on either side of her and Stiles threw his arm over her shoulder and Scott ruffled her hair.

“Okay, I’m missing you a little less, right now,” she laughed, and none of the kids missed the way their parents shared a fond smile.

“ANYWAY – my agent contacted the high school, and they agreed to allow me to credit recovery my last three credits with them, but I have to attend three in person classes and participate in an extracurricular in order to be considered full time so. Back to high school I go.”

“So you’re going to be in town for a year?” Stiles brightened.

This was amazing.

Scott though, frowned, as if it was anything BUT amazing.

“Maybe longer,” She agreed, “depending on where I want to go for college.”

“Is this a joke?” Melissa raised a hand, eyebrows lowered, and Cassi beamed and shook her head. “Nope,” She said cheerily. Melissa grinned and rounded the table to pull her into another hug and she grinned and let it happen.

Stiles watched happily, grunting when Scott shoved his shoulder.

“Watch it,” He warned, making claw gestures with his hands. Scott’s eyes widened meaningfully and he jerked his head towards the bathroom and Stiles exhaled heavily through his nose before shooting his dad a fake smile. “Bathroom,” He decided to say in lieu of explanation, and then Scott was dragging him around the corner.

“What?” He snapped as soon as they were out of sight, and Scott’s eyes flashed – gold.

Right.

Werewolves and Scott being an alpha and an alpha pack and having to figure out how to deal with them and Derek, and – “This is a really not safe time for our poor defenseless musical theater cousin to show up with obvious ties to both of us, both of us currently fighting a werewolf war and she’s just another pawn on the chessboard now.”

Scott relaxed.

“This is bad.”

“I recognize,” Stiles agreed.

“But also – this is AMAZING!” He flung his hands into the air and Scott growled. “Yeah it’s great I missed her too, but really? She’s got a huge target on her back!”

“Okay, first of all,” Stiles hissed, raising a finger, “We haven’t got to spend any quality time with our only other family in a decade – so this is EXCITING.”

“It will be less exciting when she gets kidnapped by an alpha werewolf,” Scott pointed out.

“So we keep an eye on her,” Stiles reasoned. “No late night forest walks, no befriending anything with claws, we’ll keep watch she’ll be fine.”

“We’ve got more important things to worry about than spending all of our time with her.” Scott crossed his arms.

Stiles copied his best friend and pulled out the big guns. “And we had more important things to do last year too, and where were you the majority of the time? Oh yeah, spending all your time with Allison.” Stiles widened his eyes and waited for Scott to realize Stiles was RIGHT.

It took him a while, and then he slumped. “Okay, maybe you’re right,” He agreed and Stiles nodded emphatically. He was always right. “But we have a meeting with Derek tonight – we have to talk about what happened on Friday.”

“He finally got back to you?” Stiles straightened. “Cause I texted him like you told me to yesterday. I texted him like – fifty billion times, actually, and he didn’t respond.”

“Yeah he got back to me,” Scott shook his head. “We’ll figure out what he knows tonight.”

“Well.” Stiles turned to go back to the dining room, “Let’s hope he knows more than we do. Because we know nothing.” Scott huffed in agreement and then they both smiled as they rejoined the table.

Cassi, her hair pulled into a high ponytail, large thick rimmed glasses perched on her nose, face clean of makeup but still somehow looking too pretty to be real, smiled at Stiles and Scott. “You guys still go to the bathroom together,” She pointed out with a wink. “Some things never change.”

“And some things do,” Stiles’ dad pointed accusingly at her. “When did you get so gorgeous?”

“Stop it,” Cassi rolled her eyes, and Stiles frowned when he could tell she meant it. Chicks loved being told they were pretty. Why was Cassi so against it?

“Wait where are you staying?” Scott asked, and Cassi rested her chin on her hand.

“With us, duh,” Stiles answered before she could, but then he whirled to his dad. “Right dad?”

“That was fine when she was younger,” Melissa spoke up, “But she’s a woman now,” Stiles wrinkled his nose, Cassi and Scott doing the same, “Maybe she should stay with us?” She glanced at Scott to see if he minded, and Scott shrugged, seeming fine with whatever, as long as,

“Actually, I just got a place of my own,” She piped up, and Stiles looked panicked at Scott. “I won’t have the keys for another few weeks, so I’ll need a place to stay til then, so whoever has room,” she paused meaningfully and Melissa looked satisfied but then his dad frowned.

“Don’t you have the Lahey boy in your guest room?” He checked with Melissa, and she frowned.

“Oh right.” His dad took a drink of coffee but Stiles didn’t miss the way he smiled into his mug. Sneaky, dad. Sneaky. And then Melissa was glancing down at her watch and frowning. “I’ve got shift I gotta go. You need a ride?” She asked Scott, and he nodded, shoving Stiles.

“Stiles too,” He piped up. “We’ve got homework.”

“Homework on a Sunday?” Cassi wrinkled her nose. “Who are you?” Scott shrugged and smiled and Cassi rolled her eyes and shoved a hand into her pocket. “Let’s meet before school starts,” She proclaimed, and Scott nodded. She grinned and passed Stiles her phone. “Now that I’m off the circuit I can have one of these.”

Stiles couldn’t help but squeal and program his phone number in, and then scott’s and then Melissa’s and then his dads. “All the important people,” he proclaimed. “I’ll see you tonight?” She nodded and Melissa hugged her again and demanded she come over for dinner Monday night and then Scott was shoving both Stiles and his mom towards the door.

Stiles’ last glimpse was of his dad and his cousin grinning at each other across the table.

He wanted anything to be there with them, instead of being forced to go to this dumb meeting.

Darn werewolves.

Chapter Text

“Why should I worry? Worrying’s not like me. Nothing to do but pace and stew, and wait til the girl walks in. Why panic now, with everything to win?” – Anastasia

In another universe – The confrontation goes exactly as Derek predicts – horribly.

And somebody dies.

In another universe – maybe it’s Derek that dies but rarely is it an enemy, and more often, probably, because that’s Derek’s luck, it’s one of his pack.

But this universe?

The one Derek has been granted – it’s always the worst possible outcome.

This universe is not kind to him – hasn’t been, won’t ever be, he thought.

This confrontation though – waiting on boards for Kali to appear, to see if Boyd’s plan will work, and the power being shut off makes sense.

That part isn’t a surprise.

Kali’s monologue?

Not a surprise either.

Kali mentioning bait?

It causes Derek’s chest to sieze because Jenn, of COURSE, He’s an IDIOT, but then.

Then.

Derek…

...catches a break.

The Alpha twins don’t walk dragging a crying confused Jenn in between them.

The Alpha twins don’t walk in at all.

Instead, defying all the odds, (literally all of them because Derek had buried her dead body,) Erica walked in, claws at the ready, as sharp as her smile.

And outside – it began to rain.

Erica’s surprise appearance stumped Kali, giving Derek the opportunity to rush her.

And the fight began in earnest.

Derek wasn’t surprised by the fight.

Derek had been fighting for years.

But was surprising was that the odds were in his favor.

And then the lightning began.

The first strike just lit the room for a few moments, thunder immediately following.

The second strike hit the window, sending glass and most of his pack flying out of the way.

He turned to check on them, the rain and a rush of roaring wind hitting him so hard that he flew out of the way – Just in time too, as the third strike of lightning hit Kali in the heart.

Kali was dead before she hit the ground.

And that – was the most surprising thing of all.

Because the confrontation definitely didn’t go exactly according to plan.

And someone had died.

But Derek looked around, Boyd having rushed Erica the second it was certain that Kali was dead, Peter examining the window closely and Isaac watching Derek worriedly, waiting to see how he was supposed to react.

And they were all upright and alive, and two of the three Alphas were now dead.

Derek caught Isaac’s eye, and then he shrugged.

He didn’t know how to react either.


Recounting the tale Sunday night to everyone – those that were there plus Scott, Stiles, Lydia, Allison, Cora, just made him realize how surreal the moment was.

“But – this is a good thing, right?” Stiles, sprawled on one of the steps piped in. “I mean, we saved Deaton, Kali’s dead, yay.”

“It is,” Peter agreed, purposely brushing past Stiles as he hopped down the steps.

Stiles shuddered theatrically at the touch, and Derek couldn’t help but squint at his uncle.

Peter smiled toothily at Stiles’ discomfort. “But, we still don’t know who the darach is and the other three Alpha’s will be getting anxious. Killing Kali was a coup – but Deucalion will not react well.”

“He hasn’t reacted at all,” Erica said, and the moment she spoke everyone smiled at her.

They couldn’t help it, she’d been dead.

Okay, Derek didn’t smile at her, persay, but he did nod once, slightly less gruffly than he would’ve don’t to anyone else.

So.

Same thing.

“Kali got Karma struck Friday night and it’s Sunday now. 48 hours and no move yet?”

“So even as angry as he must be, he’s got enough control to wait to make his move. That means this next one is going to be a doozy,” Stiles harrumphed. “Perfect timing of course.”

“One,” Lydia’s voice rang in the room, even as she couldn’t look away from Peter.

Ah right. Derek internally winced.

The whole Peter - biting - then possessing - Lydia - and traumatizing her - just to come back to life - thing.

Why did no one remind him about that?

“None of us know what you mean by perfect timing,” Lydia rolled her eyes, manicured fingers making quote signs in the air. “Two, why am I here? I have very important things to prepare for.”

“Lydia, this is important,” Allison spoke up, rolling her eyes.

What was with teenagers and rolling their eyes? Derek frowned as he wondered.

Cass had done it too, but not nearly as often as these ones did.

Was it the age difference? It was only two years, but,

“Are you even listening to me?” Lydia’s voice brought Derek out of his own head, and he frowned.

“You don’t want to be here,” He summarized. “So go then.”

Lydia’s eyes narrowed, and Derek didn’t flinch – on the outside.

Hopefully.

“What’s so important that werewolves trying to kill us isn’t even on your radar?” Stiles popped up, and Lydia leveled him with a look.

“None of you imbeciles even pay attention to the single most important thing to happen to Beacon Hill’s since EVER?” She huffed. “Cassi St. Ski is in town.”

Derek took a step back.

Not because he was surprised.

Because he KNEW that.

But he wanted to take in everyone’s reactions.

Allison smiled excitedly – Lydia had probably told her already, but Allison’s excitement was more of what Derek’s would’ve been, the excitement of someone who was a fan.

Boyd’s expression didn’t change – he had no idea who that was.

Isaac’s eyebrows raised – he knew, and it was interesting, but Isaac, at least, was more concerned about the werewolves trying to kill them.

As he should be.

Lydia waited impatiently for everyone to catch up, and then gave up.

“She is the single most important in Beacon Hills. Not only is she rich, successful, famous, and gorgeous,” Lydia flipped her hair. “She’s got connections. AND she starts at the high school tomorrow. I have to befriend her.”

“And that’s more important than this?” Erica snorted at Lydia’s shallowness, even as seemed as eager as Allison.

Derek wrinkled his nose.

Teenage girls.

Scott and Stiles were speaking telepathically, it seemed, from across the room, their eyebrows rising and lowering dramatically, Stiles’ hands moving and Scott shaking his head quickly.

“They’re going to find out tomorrow!” Stiles finally gave up on the silent communication, and Derek rolled his eyes.

Oh God.

He was becoming one of them.

“Find out WHAT.” Lydia’s voice was dead calm, and Scott huffed and gave up.

“Cassi St. Ski is our cousin,” He admitted.

The room was silent at that shocker, and Derek pivoted to glance at his Uncle, having saved the best for last, but then Cora whirled on him, pointed and burst out laughing.

And Derek sighed.

Right.

Peter wasn’t the only one who knew about Derek’s fondness for musical theater.

Derek rubbed his forehead.

“What?” Scott and Stiles asked together.

Derek grit his teeth and Cora smiled like this was the best thing to ever happen to her. “Derek had the biggest crush on her growing up,” She admitted gleefully, “and she’s your COUSIN!?” Cora burst into laughter again, and Derek turned away from the rest of the teenagers looking at him like he’d grown a second head.

“NO,” Stiles said forcefully, “I get it, she’s a babe and she’s awesome, but NO. Don’t talk to her, don’t look at her, don’t even, NO.” Stiles demanded, hands on his hips. Derek narrowed his eyes at Stiles, who looked seconds away from shrieking, and Scott, who was glaring, and he grinned sharply at them.

“No,” He said simply.

And Stiles did shriek, Scott’s hands fisting at his side.

Cora snickered and Lydia considered Stiles.

“She’s an actress, she’s probably not a virgin,” She said glibly, and now Stiles and Scott were glaring at her. “You’ll introduce me,” She said, and then she and Allison were gone.

Derek watched Stiles cross his arms and pout and considered the foursome in front of him.

Cora and Erica, both presumed dead, both standing there alive and awaiting his orders. Erica smiled, seemingly unconcerned even though she, just like everyone else, had no idea how she was still alive. She just waited.

Boyd, unblinking and calm, ready for whatever came next. And a few feet away, not sure where he stood, body swaying as if he couldn’t decide, was Isaac.

Derek grabbed the duffel bag on the floor next to him and threw it to Boyd, who caught it with a huff.

“Isaac, you’re fine at Scott’s for a few more days?” Derek spoke like he hadn’t kicked Isaac out.

He was hoping if he ignored it he wouldn’t have to bring it up – he knew it didn’t work like that, but he couldn’t help but hope. Isaac’s answer was slow in coming, the ending syllables lifting slightly in hope.

“Yeah, if Scott doesn’t mind a visitor for a while longer?” Scott smiled – a strained, half smile, but it relaxed Isaac. “Yeah,” Isaac said more confidently.

Derek approached his uncle and caught his Uncle’s eye.

Peter hadn’t moved, hadn’t breathed, it seemed like, since Lydia had said Cass’s name. He just stood in his corner of the loft, under the broken window where the sun shone like there’d never been a thunderstorm 48 hours previous.

Derek held his hand out palm up and Peter blinked, and then handed over a key.

“Stay at Peters,” He told Cora, Erica and Boyd.

“Peter’s not gonna be there, right?” Cora checked, and Derek smiled a not very pleasant smile.

“No.” He rotated his neck slowly. “The Alpha’s are regrouping, so we will too. Stay aware, stay together, but for right now.” He nodded firmly. “Get some rest.” Cora, Erica and Boyd nodded and made their exit and Isaac loped over to Scott.

Derek tilted his head. “Let me know if another body drops,” He finally said, unsure of what else to say.

Scott nodded and that was enough for him, apparently, because he just sniffed and stomped away, Isaac following behind quickly.

Stiles loitered to glare at Derek for another second. “No,” He finally said before hurrying after Scott.

“Like you don’t think Cassi would actually go for him right,” Derek heard as they descended the stairs.

He snorted, the teenagers to far away now for him to hear the response.

And then he looked back at his Uncle.

Peter wasn’t even looking at him.

His gaze was distant, his body lax.

Like he was remembering.

“I met her.” It was as good of a way to break the silence as any, and it caught Peter’s attention, the older man taking an involuntary step forward.

“Yesterday,” Derek continued blithely. “She rescued a litter of kittens, asked for a ride.” Peter read everything Derek didn’t say, he knew, and the man swallowed heavily.

“She’s well?” Derek tilted his head at the hoarseness of his uncle’s voice.

“She’s your daughter.”

Peter tilted his head back and laughed self-deprecatingly. “Not by blood.”

“In every other way,” He countered. “And she thinks you’re dead.”

“Because her successful career on broadway was more important than a coma patient who slept with her mother 20 years ago,” He snapped.

“She thought so,” Derek crossed his arms. “She contributes her success to you, she mourned you, she treats you more like family than your own family did.”

And yes, it was an insult to himself – but it was true. Derek and Laura left Peter in that hospital to rot. They visited maybe twice in six years, including the one time Derek thought maybe he knew something.

“You didn’t tell mom about her,” Derek said when it became clear Peter wasn’t going to respond.

“Why would I willingly show my hand?” Peter asked breezily. He seemed to shake himself back to his normal uncaring attitude. But Derek could hear the rabbit tempo of Peter’s heartbeat and he saw the way his hands shook. “And you learned all this how?” Peter ran a hand over the table Derek stood in front of, acting like he didn’t care to hear the answer.

“She told me,” Derek said honestly. Peter’s eyebrow quirked but he still didn’t look at him. “She’s going to be in Beacon Hills for at least a year, probably more, and while I get the feeling her cousins don’t want her involved – She’s a Stilinski and a McCall,” He tilted his head, “and a Hale.”

And there it was.

Peter’s gaze, startlingly open, hesitantly hopeful.

“She’s involved. She should hear you’re not dead from you.” Derek decided that was all he was going to say.

He turned his back on his uncle and made for the door. But of course his uncle wasn’t finished.

“Does she know?”

“I haven’t told her.” When Peter didn’t speak again, Derek continued walking.

Derek was two blocks away when he heard the whispered “Thank You,”.

Derek didn’t acknowledge it, because he and his uncle weren’t there- might not ever be there again, but he did smile.

And he started his patrol.

Everything else that would unfold tomorrow – well. It could wait until tomorrow.

Chapter Text

“Though she’s flown so far behind my reach, she’s never out of sight. Now I know she’ll never leave me, even as she fades from view, she will still inspire me, be a part, of everything I do.” - Evermore, Beauty and the Beast

Peter remembered her last visit.

She’d burst in the way she always did, grinning and talking before she’d even cleared the doorframe, pulling off the winter garb reminiscent of New York and settling into the chair next to his, set there specifically for her.

She grabbed his hand and held it the way she always did, speaking of everything going on in her life.

Peter remembered every visit.

But that last visit the plan was already in the works, and he knew it would be the last visit even as she didn’t.

“And Shawn wrote a song about me, did I say last time? It’s actually quite good – the music, the lyrics aren’t entirely flattering,” She laughed and it took every fiber of him not to squeeze her hand.

“He’s still not handling the break-up very well,” She mused. “They never do.” She shrugged and rubbed the back of her hand across his scarred cheek, and he wanted to lean into it, but he couldn’t.

“OH!” she brightened. “I got to hold a baby today – this poor lady had two of ‘em and she was struggling. No one in her row would help her,”

They let two infants in first class? Peter would have asked if he could – but he couldn’t.

She rolled her eyes at him like she heard him and patted his hand.

“She was in coach but the baby was screaming so loud I heard through the divider. I asked if I could help and she handed the screaming thing right over.” She sighed dreamily, and Peter would have scoffed and made fun of her love of weak things. “I got it to stop crying,” She said proudly, chest puffed up like she’d cured cancer single-handedly. “And the mom let me cuddle it the whole way.”

Peter listened and watched her out of the corner of his eye, memorizing every inch of her face.

She spent the entire day with him, like she always did, and then she kissed him on the cheek, squeezed his hand, and checked in with his nurse.

Jennifer answered the same as she did every time before.

And then she was gone and Jennifer was coming in to check on him. He turned his head and nodded slowly, and Jennifer smiled back.


Peter hadn’t seen her since.

Before the fire he didn’t go more than two days without seeing her, even after her parents had moved her to Tennessee.

After the fire she visited every 14 days like clockwork.

Twelve days after her last visit his lawyer – paid very well, informed her of the public story.

Kate Argent had set the fire and kidnapped him, with the help of his nurse, and dragged him to the woods to do the same – and she’d succeeded.

Kate had been caught by her brother and then killed by a mountain lion and when the smoke cleared – both Peter and Kate were dead.


It had been nearly a year.

Peter watched from far away enough that she couldn’t see him but all of the baby wolves could, and they kept shooting him nervous looks.

He returned every one with a smarmy smile.

She was perched on the top of the backrest of a bench, her feet resting on the seat.

Her gaze was directed up, grinning at Stiles as he told a story.

She was a vision, Peter admitted with a quirk of his lips.

Pristine white converse swung idly back and forth, dark skinny jeans, a sleeveless v neck wrap top that cinched at the waist, flowed over her hips, and cut at the exact spot they should.

Only Peter and Cassi knew that both the jeans and the top were pieces he’d designed.

She laughed at Stiles’ punchline, shoving him lightly, flicking her head so her tight ponytail flicked over one shoulder.

Every gesture was designed to exude happy, calm, comfort.

And every gesture was important.

Peter was impressed.

He’d taught her well.

“You’re an idiot,” Derek sighed heavily at his side.

Peter flicked his eyes to Derek’s face, unsurprised to find Derek was watching her too.

He was surprised when Derek smiled slightly.

Peter frowned.

“Don’t even think about it,” He said sharply.

Derek quirked an eyebrow and strode towards the school.

His brief interaction with his nephew had given the teenage girls a chance to arrive and approach, and Cassi smiled politely and waited for Stiles to introduce them before showing any signs of enthusiasm.

“This is Allison Argent, Lydia Martin, and,” Stiles stretched out the last word, waiting for Erica to approach, Erica Reyes,”

He smiled in relief, glad to have introduced all the girls at once.

Smart boy.

Cassi’s smile brightened, and she addressed Erica first.

“You’re gorgeous,” She said immediately. “And alive.” She quirked an eyebrow and Erica shrugged her shoulders.

“Kidnapped, tortured, but the death part? Greatly exaggerated.”

“A girl not to be messed with,” Cassi smiled in a friendly way, but her tone was final, and it would quickly be passed around.

“One of a few,” Cassi continued, turning back to Lydia and Allison. She inclined her head at Lydia.

“Of course I’ve heard of you, brilliant and beautiful and far too good for my favorite cousin,” She pinched Stiles’ cheek and he rolled his eyes but leaned into her, and Lydia raised her chin in haughty victory, eyeing Stiles consideringly. “

That’s me,” she drawled.

“And Allison – the sweetest, most beautiful, smartest, most talented,” Cassi started listing, tapping her fingers, and Allison smiled and rolled her eyes.

“Scott’s mentioned me,” Her tone was stiff – but less stiff then it had been, a little more fond than before.

“Once or twice,” Cassi agreed. She considered the three girls in front of her. “I arrived in Beacon Hills without any luggage. Wednesday afternoon, we should shop.”

The girls didn’t hesitate before agreeing, sharing wary but agreeable looks, and Peter almost applauded.

She was amazing.

The girls moved into class, and Stiles did applaud.

Cassi’s grin turned genuine and she stood, her added height from standing on the seat of the bench putting her above Stiles, and she bowed.

Scott McCall finally saw a chance to make his move.

It was interesting, Peter mused.

Scott was as much Cass’s cousin as Stiles was, but she seemed more fond of Stiles.

Something that hadn’t been when they were children.

Scott must not have kept in touch – but Stiles only had two family members, and one of them was Cass.

Of course he wouldn’t not maintain their tie.

Scott wrapped his arms around her waist and dragged her off the bench, spinning her around for good measure and she shrieked and laughed, even as Peter knew very well she’d seen him coming a mile away.

She smacked his palms even as she laughed, and once he’d let her loose she pulled him into hug.

The smile she directed over his shoulder at Isaac was nothing less than maternal, and Isaac in equal part preened and panicked.

“This must be Isaac Lahey, that your mom mentioned?”

“Yeah.” Scott shot Isaac a reassuring look over his shoulder. “He’s staying with us because,”

“I heard,” Cass’s gentle voice interrupted Scott and she leaned forward to squeeze Isaac’s hand.

“I’m glad to see you’re doing well.”

Cassi St. Ski’s biological father was doing life at Riverbend Maximum Security prison for child abuse, and everyone who knew her name knew it.

Isaac Lahey nodded stiffly, but Peter could already see the hero worship growing.

IMPRESSIVE.

Boyd was walking by and looked like he wanted to stop, and she stepped in his way, making his choice for him.

“And you must be Boyd.” He nodded once, very slowly.

She was good, great even, Peter could admit.

But good enough to get Boyd?

“During my interview with the band teacher Mrs. Barnes and she told me you play the piano?”

Boyd leaned back, and Peter did applaud.

Fifteen seconds and she knew more about Boyd, than all of them, excepting Erica, of course.

Scott shot him a dirty look over his shoulder and Peter shrugged, and Cassi, unaware of the exchange, smiled at Boyd.

This smile was warm but honest. Boyd would recognize and ignore anything else.

“I’m woefully behind and you’re leagues ahead of everyone in Band. Ms. Barnes is willing to switch us both to a private class if you don’t mind giving me lessons?”

Boyd tilted his head, and then he nodded slowly.

“Awesome! See you second period then.” Boyd returned her smile and nodded.

And Peter happily admit to himself that he’d been dethroned.

“Whoa,” Stiles shook his head. “You’re scary.”

“And don’t you forget it,” She grinned. “Get to class – I’ve got a meeting with the guidance counselor.”

“Need directions?” Scott, Isaac, and Stiles asked together. She smiled smugly.

“Nope. See you at lunch.”

She waited patiently for the boys to drag themselves into the building.

And instead of following, she approached Derek.

Derek, who’d moved to the sidewalk but stopped there, who’d waited, head turned away like he was looking for someone, sunglasses obscuring his face, hands shoved into his pockets, smirking slightly as he listened to her win everyone over, one by one.

He snapped his head to look at her as she moved towards him, sliding his glasses off his face, smiling slightly.

“How’s your head?”

“Fine.”

Peter narrowed his eyes.

What had happened to his head?

“So.” She placed her hands at the small of her waist and huffed. “I think I owe you an apology.”

“Do you?” Derek’s voice was blank, and Peter couldn’t see his face, and so whether he did or not was still up in the air.

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m a bit of a diva.” She began frankly.

“I hadn’t,” and he wasn’t lying either, but she shot him a look like of course he’d noticed –

“Regardless, I am. People treat me like a big deal, and I’ve literally been handed everything I’ve ever even thought about wanting, and – I’m selfish.”

Derek tilted his head, and so did Peter.

She helped mothers with crying babies and saved kittens on the daily, and she was selfish?

“I forced you to spend 24 hours with me without even asking if you had the time. I just assumed that I was the most important thing in her life and of course you didn’t mind helping me drop kittens off at the vet and visit potential residences and verbally bleed everywhere into the wee hours of the night.”

Derek snorted and glanced down at the ground and Peter didn’t have to see his nephews face to know his cheeks had turned as pink as the back of his neck had.

“Believe me,” He said grudgingly. “If I hadn’t wanted to be there, nothing you could’ve done would have kept me.”

Cassi looked at him blankly before a slow smile grew on her face.

“Oh,” she said knowingly, her smile widening. “Well. Okay then.”

She got distracted for a minute and then visibly shook herself, “Regardless,” she said seriously. “I apologize for taking up so much of your time, and I want to level the playing field.”

“And how do you intend to do that?” Derek drawled.

Peter coughed meaningfully and Derek stretched his neck irritably.

“You gave me a day of your life, so you can have one of mine,” she said easily.

“24 hours, call in individually or all at once.” She smiled and clasped her hands in front of her while she waited for him to speak.

When he did, it was rather uninspiring.

“Fine.”

But she grinned like she’d won the lottery.

She held out her hand and he handed her his phone.

She tapped away, snorted, tapped some more, and then handed it back.

She looked like she wanted to say more but than someone opened the front doors and leaned out.

“Excuse me? Shouldn’t you be in class? Derek?” The last word dropped the gentle chastisement and was pure confusion and Peter grinned.

The girlfriend.

Right.

Cassi smiled and strode towards the teacher, and the teacher barely paid any mind as she considered Derek. Cassi squeezed past her, but not without one last cheerful wave for Derek.

Peter wished he could see Derek’s face, because he could only see the teacher’s and her expression – for some reason, was one he couldn’t read.

But then the teacher was gone and Derek was striding towards his uncle.

“When?” Derek demanded to know.

And Peter…

Peter didn’t know the answer to that question.