Actions

Work Header

Stiles plans are the worst (the best)

Chapter Text

It was a cold night when Stiles woke up with the feeling of something going horribly wrong.

The first clue was the full moon shining in the sky because, having lived with werewolves for half of his life, he knew there were still a few weeks before that happened.  The second was the cold, given how things were in the world and the absurd amount of wards and protections he put in place to deal with his totally realistic paranoia, feeling cold wasn’t really possible. The wards would smother the cold away like blankets pilled over the room.

The room was also wrong, too messy, too big. Living for years with Derek and strange magical ingredients lying around had taught him to be tidy. Living after Derek had taught him to be hidden and to choose the smallest more run down motels in the road where nobody looks.  He definitely didn’t remember having anything as nice as that table or that computer.

Not since…

“Oh shit,” he said inspecting rapidly his surroundings.

He did recognize the place. It was his room, the one in beacon hills with the stupid posters he took away when he was twelve. The room where he hid Derek from his dad, and discovered werewolves, magic, and a world so full of supernatural things some days it still felt like a dream.

Stiles got up from the bed with a jump landing in his too small legs and his too short body. It hit Stiles all at once, his memories crashing down into the present.

The nemeton, the ritual.

The problem was, of course, that Stiles had an idea.

It was a great idea if Stiles had anything to say, but it was fundamentally a Stiles idea. If Derek, Scott or his dad had been there they would have told him not to do it. They would have told him that it wasn’t worth it, carefully distracted him with something shiny and hoped his brain latched into something else before everything went to hell.

Unfortunately, there was nobody to tell him that anymore and Stiles didn’t care. They were dead and it didn’t matter what they would have thought about it. They weren’t the ones who had to live after seeing everyone die from the monsters that plagued the night, or the hunters after they decided to destroy everything that was different. After Derek—

Everyone else was dead, or they would have been soon enough in any case, and the possibility was so tempting that Stiles had to try it even if it killed him. And so, twelve ancient effigies later and the most insane and complex ritual that had ever been devised, he was back in time to change everything for the better.

Or so he hopped.

Now he just needed to know what the exact date was and start planning.

He searched for the calendar announcing it was January of 2005, and then he looked at the full moon still proudly glowing in the sky.

He did it again.

“Oh shit,” he repeated.

He jumped through the window forgetting he was still in his pajamas and pushed forward into the forest hoping he still had some time. It didn’t matter to him how cold he was or how slow he was moving he just kept moving in the dark through trees and roots.

By the time the heavy smell of smoke reached him Stiles was already running.

The Hale House stood in the middle of the forest like a monument to nature. It was a true mansion with vines and flowers growing all over the white walls and around the grounds. The fire was already burning from the left side of the building starting right where the chimney stood. The image he saw was so different from the broken husk that stood in his time that Stiles almost fell to the ground.

It was easy to forget the fire was supposed to look like an accident and nothing more. To the inhabitants of Beacon Hills, this fire was nothing more than a fleeting tragedy, a piece of gossip that lasted a few days. It seemed ridiculous that just a few days were all that was needed to forget that eleven people burned alive that night.

Or as it was, this night. The fire had barely started, and there was still time.

There was a group of cars parked along the tree line that separated the house from the forest. The cars obscured his view, but the pull of his spark showed him the burned lines of mountain ash that barred the house. Someone, probably Kate, had put a lot of power and hope in making sure nobody could escape.

He was about to move forward, to break the barrier when he saw three figures watching the fire from behind the tree line. Three figures watching just there, waiting, whispering, and completely unaware of his presence.

Stiles had less than a moment to recognize a blonde head peering over the cars before the rage took control. His thoughts went to the images of burned bodies the police took, wolves and humans alike, children and adults. His hands pointed at them on instinct without plan or reason but to make them hurt.

His spark sang, and he ordered, demanded they be gone.

And the forest lit up with the sound of a thousand trees waking up. The air shuddered. The birds flew in panic. For a second, Stiles could feel the movement of every animal in the forest hiding or run away before the heartbeat of the nemeton drowned everything else. A nemeton with more magic that it should hold, magic that came with him, that he had used to come back and was about to make everything explode.

He had no time to think or panic. With a thought, he threw the energy at them, at those tree poor pitiful humans that never knew what a bad idea it was to fight him, and in the time it took Stiles' heart to beat once a hundred roots grew and tore them apart.

Kate Argent died alone in the dark to quickly to be able to yell in pain, her head bent around looking at the stars. The other two bodies looked more like cocoons of some unusually big insect completely encased between the roots.

“Shit,” he said with panting breaths. “Shit.”

Stiles could feel the power recede, but it still was at the corner of his eyes. The power was pushing into the nemeton like a sea trying to fill inside a bucket. The nemeton was simply too small to keep it all inside, and for the first time, Stiles thought that maybe the whole thing wasn’t such a good idea.

Magic of the caliber he had to use to come back rarely was a good idea. It was unpredictable and the end result was rarely anything better than whatever you were trying to change, but… It was his last choice and it wasn’t like he had anything else to lose.

“Okay, okay,” he said to himself. “First things first. Save the Hales.”

The mansion was dark except for the still young fire. Stiles considered the possibilities quickly. They were werewolves but it was possible nobody had noticed yet, that everyone was still sleeping. Following survival instincts that only people that had spent half a life running for their lives developed, Stiles took a rock and broke the closest car window filling the night with noise. He yelped when a shard of glass made a shallow cut on his hand.

It did not take long.

“TALIA!” yelled immediately a voice from inside.

Dozens of voices cried for help followed by a quick and deep howl. Stiles smiled knowingly. That was definitely a good way of waking everyone up, and one Derek had used constantly to wake the pack when there was still one.

He was reaching for the entrance when the door swung open and four small children walked out of it in fear only to be stopped by the barrier still in place.

“Get out!” yelled a woman’s voice still inside helping more people exit the building.

“I can’t mom!” cried one of the children hitting the barrier. “I can’t move!”

A shadow launched itself against the barrier making it shudder and light up in blue.

“There is mountain ash!” growled the man.

“Hunters?” asked a woman.

“No, Santa Claus,” continued the man. “Of course it’s the hunters!”

Stiles stopped cold, the voice was somewhat different but he definitely recognized the sarcasm.

“Peter?” asked Stiles.

The man, Peter, looked at him. His eyes were glowing blue and he was younger than he ever remembered him but it was definitely him. Young but still fit and powerful as only a cheating werewolf could be.

“Who the hell are you?” he asked.

Stiles began to laugh moving closer to the barrier. “Peter! I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am so happy to see you!”

Stiles held his hand against the barrier which began glowing a menacing blue. He closed his eyes trying to separate the overwhelming power still around from that of the barrier. It was too powerful, mountain ash barriers rarely stopped humans and this was somehow different. It would have been easier had Stiles not used so much power to finish Kate. Power took its toll and now he had to be smart, not powerful.

It was, unfortunately, a puzzle that he did not have too much time to solve.

“Hey, honey.” said a woman’s voice.

When he opened his eyes again there was a woman hovering at the other side of the barrier looking grim but decisive. Stiles had only seen her in a picture once, one of the few things Derek still conserved from his family.

“Are you a friend of my son?” asked Talia Hale boring her eyes at him.

“Huh… Yes?  And you are Talia?” he asked. “And how do you…?”

“I can smell it in your blood honey. Where you the one who woke us up?” she asked still with that slow tone of voice. Stiles nodded looking at his bleeding hand and she smiled fiercely. “Thank you, but now you have to go okay? I know you want to help, but this place is dangerous—”

Stiles stopped listening to her voice and looked at her instead. He looked at all of them holding each other. They were going to die, they knew that, and Talia was more worried about him. Beacon Hills had lost something precious when they died.

 “You know? Derek does the same thing. He gets all protective: ‘No Stiles, you can’t go investigate the weird kanima attacks’ or ‘No Stiles you can’t go kill the necromancer all alone’” he said trying badly to imitate Derek’s voice. “But then he just— Wait. You smell Derek in my blood?” he asked incredulously.

Talia seemed to be completely dumbfounded by his tirade but she slowly nodded. Stiles groaned loudly.

“Like in soul mates fairy tale kind of thing?” he asked.

“I don’t think those things exist but… yes?” said Talia nodding and she looked around herself to check that yes this was happening.

Stiles groaned. “No! Scott is never going to let me live that down! I’m going to be more clichéd than he and Allison. How can my blood smell like—?”

Something clicked inside Stiles and he looked down at his barely bleeding hand. A half-remembered passage in a magic book flashed through his mind.

“Shit, fuck, shit,” he said and then seeing the expression of Talia. “She used blood to give focus to the mountain ash.”

He dropped down on the ground, put his injured hand at the border of the barrier and let a drop of blood fall. His spark lit up in recognition to the power and he pulled with all his strength. There was a bright glow, a sound like a tensed cord being cut, and suddenly the barrier dropped with enough force to push the ashes and Stiles backward.

Someone growled. Stiles lost his vision for a moment only to open his eyes back to the face of Peter.

The Hale pack was outside and seemingly intact. Talia, other five adults, and four small kids were breathing together in a strange group hug while Talia kissed them and broke down in whispers and tears.

Eleven people with Peter, he counted. He had saved them all.

“Kid!” said Peter. “Are you okay?”

“I remember that being easier!” said Stiles breathing loudly. “Is everyone okay?”

And suddenly he was flying, held in the arms of Talia who started dancing with him in circles.

“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,” she repeated in a whisper.

More people joined her in an attempt to smother him making Stiles head spin. The strength of Talia was brutal in his bones. Luckily Stiles had experience with touchy alphas that enjoyed pushing him into walls and was an expert in the ways to stop them.

“Squishy human, can’t breathe!” he yelled.

“Talia!” said someone else.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she said dropping him on the ground. “Thank you.”

Tears were streaming down her face and the rest of the pack joined her in another hug. Peter didn’t, staring at him with suspicion before deciding his attention was more suited to other things.

Stiles tried to recognize any of them. After the fire both Laura and Derek had been hiding, scared that the hunters would go for them next, and they had no time to save many pictures or mementos. As a consequence, Stiles only knew the Hales by the few stories Derek had told of them, and he never talked much about them.

Even so, he was sure that the tall man that held Talia the hardest and looked like an exact copy of Derek was probably Sean, Derek’s father. The remaining Hales kids included were more difficult to guess.

“And the hunters?” asked Peter breaking the moment. “I can’t smell them but they did this.”

The pack froze, even the kids too small to completely understand what was happening did. Some of the adults growled suddenly. Talia changed. Her eyes glowed red with determination and barely controlled fury. Her voice went cold and low, barely a whisper.

“Find them,” she ordered. “Find whoever thought trying to hurt my family was a good idea, Peter. Find whoever had the gall to try this, and when you do it bring them to me.”

“Guys…?” said Stiles.

“Sean, Mark and your wife get the kids to a safe place,” she continued glancing at a man.

“Uhm…” tried Stiles holding his hand in the air.

“You two will come with me, my children are still out there and if those monsters are hunting tonight…”

“Hey!” yelled Stiles waving his hand.

Talia in kind gave him the most impressive Alpha stare ever. It was surely in the top ten of Alpha stares he had gotten over the years and Stiles was suddenly very aware this woman who was crying less than two minutes ago was actually the most terrifying Alpha he had met. It was kind of impressive considering he met Deucalion.

“What,” she asked.

“Oh, well,” he said pausing for a moment to appreciate Derek’s mom. “I just thought that before you went all Texas chainsaw massacre with claws and teeth and growls you would like to know the hunters are dead over there.”

You could hear a pin drop. Peter was doing a weird thing with his face that could be almost considered a short-circuit. Talia and everyone else was once again frozen. Stiles tried very hard not to laugh while filling Peter’s face for future blackmail. An awkward silence ensued.

“Okay, I know what are thinking and yes,” nodded Stiles. “This is kind how all my first impressions usually go. It’s normal. Try to take a minute to breathe all in.”

Fortunately, the moment didn’t last. A car stopped short of the trees with a bang followed by a deep howl. From the trees came three people running. Derek, Cora, and what had to be Laura at the front ran into the clearing claws blazing just too see their entire family safe and their house burning. They stood there looking at each other.

Stiles' eyes went immediately to Derek. It was a younger Derek who had not lived through all the shit they passed. A Derek who hadn’t lost everything, and that, if he had anything to say never would.

A Derek who unfortunately for Stiles wasn’t his and probably never would.

 “Stiles?” asked Derek.

Stiles froze. It wasn’t possible. He looked harder at Derek considering the facts. He shouldn’t be here, he knew that intellectually. In his time Derek and Laura only got to the house after everyone was dead. He knew it wasn’t possible. He wanted to believe.

Stiles shot forwards and jumped on Derek throwing him to the ground. A part of his mind was running, desperately hoping he was not wrong.

There was one easy way to check.

“Show me your eyes!” he yelled.

“What?” asked Derek.

“Your eyes! Show me the color of your eyes!” he demanded.

Derek’s eyes grew in recognition and his eyes changed to a golden glow. Gold like they shouldn’t be at this moment in time. Gold like his Derek. Stiles was barely hearing the voices of the Hale pack grow bigger behind him but he couldn’t care.

It was him.

“You are here,” he whispered while Derek hugged him. “You are really here. You are with me.”

“I’m here Stiles,” he said with awe in his voice. “I’m here.”

“I never thought it could work,” whispered Stiles tears falling freely from his eyes. “I never thought… And you are here. It worked.”

“Yes, it worked,” whispered Derek shifting in position, considering “What did work, Stiles?”

Stiles stiffened and let Derek go. He should have seen an interrogation coming sooner or later. He was just banking on the later. Or never if possible. Time travel was complicated enough without trying to explain it.

“Nothing?” he said smiling awkwardly.

“What did you do?” asked Derek in a flat tone.

Stiles looked up. “Wow, the moon is very bright tonight. Do you see that Derek?”

“Stiles,” growled Derek.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” he said getting up from him.

Derek growled again making him squirm.

“Just a little bit of time travel, okay? It’s not the weirdest thing we’ve done, right?” he asked trying to sound confident and failing. “What is the worst that can happen?”

And just as he was saying that he felt it again. The power that brought him to the past crashing down against the nemeton. Stiles fell on the ground doubling with pain. He could feel Derek beside him, panicking, holding him and speaking words he did not understand. The nemeton was tearing itself apart from the outburst and there was little Stiles could do but alleviate the pressure. With his eyes closed, he yelled and stamped his hand against the grass rerouting the power like an open dam directly into the forest.

This time there were no roots or dead people, just hundreds of flowers growing in a heartbeat all around them.

“Stiles stay with me!” yelled Derek.

Stiles panted and the cold air of the forest filled him with the smell of the land.

“Okay, that was the worst that could happen,” he said pained with the taste of metal in his mouth.

“What was that?” asked Derek. His face an inch from Stiles.

“We have a small little problem. The nemeton is going to explode,” said Stiles.

“What?” yelled Peter from behind and Stiles ignored him.

“You have a gift to understate things, Stiles,” sighed Derek pinching over his nose.

“It’s not that bad. We will probably survive at least,” said Stiles fidgeting and looking at the forest. “The forest not so much, but— the problem is the nogitsune is still down there, and will probably survive the explosion. If it does and with so much magic around… I… don’t quite want to see what would happen.”

Derek straightened, his eyes flashed in concern. He had that expression that Stiles had missed for so long. The one that knows what is at stake and will still follow him to the end of the world. Stiles closed his eyes breathing hard trying to push his memories of the nogitsune back.

“What can we do?” asked Derek.

“I don’t know Derek! I didn’t have a plan for every impossible thing that may happen!” yelled Stiles breathing harder.

“Stiles focus!” growled Derek. He held Stiles in place and breathed with him holding one of his hands over his heart. “Listen to me. You always have a plan. They are usually weird and end up having completely unexpected consequences but they work. Impossible things are Tuesdays for us, and I need you to remember that because right now you are the only one who can do something about this.”

Stiles snorted but his words worked to calm him down. He looked at Derek whose eyes held so much faith.

“Thanks for that,” he whispered. “But there is nothing I can do unless you have some enormous magical sinkhole lying around you have never told—“

He cut himself thinking, considering. It was a terrible idea. Symmetric but terrible. Kind of like all of his ideas. It would have to work. He looked at Derek and saw his eyes grow big.

“What do you need?” asked Derek smiling.

“I need you to bring me a body, and a sword,” said Stiles dropping all cheerfulness.

Derek stared at the unspoken words. It was not a story any of them wanted to remember but one they will always do. He remembered the nogitsune and he knew what Stiles was talking about. If he had any doubt about the whys he didn’t show it.

Derek nodded. “Okay,”

“Good, go quickly. We have no time,” said Stiles turning around breathing deeply. He stood straighter and looked at the remaining Hales.  “I don’t have much time to explain so we are going to make this quick. Listen to me if you don’t want to die. Peter! I need you to drive me to the nemeton with the bodies back there. I’m also going to need some things from Deaton so we need to stop there too and…”

Stiles continued giving orders to the speechless werewolves and smiled. It was not a pretty smile but one which promised the beginnings of some mad plan.

***

Convincing the Hales and Peter to follow his second stupid plan of the day was surprisingly easy. Derek growled and showed his golden eyes and that was it. Stiles wasn’t sure if it was tiredness, the almost dying, the three bodies covered in roots, or Derek what made the best argument. For some reason, his change of eye color seemed to be the most strange and scary thing all the werewolves had experience that night. Stiles knew his change of heart as it were was important for werewolves, but he was starting to think he never truly understood how big of a deal it was.

A few minutes later Stiles, Peter, and Deaton, who couldn’t stop looking at him every few minutes, drove back into the forest while Stiles revised the supplies he had stolen from the veterinary. Deaton had joined them after Stiles had to dump the excess magic once again into his clinic and broke every barrier inside of it.

As an only explanation, Stiles had smiled like a lunatic and told him to follow them while branches started to grow from the doors. Deaton, unable to pass on an opportunity to be mysterious and strange had followed in silence. It was just lucky the veterinary had everything Stiles was going to need.

The nemeton stood in silence when they reached it. There were no signs of the great power trying to fill it, just the stump of what was once the oldest tree in the land.

“And now what?” asked Peter leaving the heavy bag in the ground. “Do you need to dance naked in the rain?”

“What? No!” said Stiles and then added with a sly smile. “There is no rain.”

Stiles took the heavy jar of mountain ash and filled his hand with a healthy amount of it. There was more than one trick to use mountain ash, in this case, he started to draw slowly on top of the stump.

“Every little piece of magic leaves always something behind, every mountain ash barrier, every potion, or ward leaves waste,” he started to explain while working. “The nemeton is basically a magical recycling station. It takes that waste purifies it and slowly infuses it back together into the land.”

He stopped to take a little more of ash before going back to his drawing.

“That makes the land healthier, luckier. Plants grow healthier, people are happier. Good things happen all around where there is a healthy nemeton, but when the nemeton is cut well…” he trailed off. “Bad things happen.”

Deaton watched the proceedings with interest not saying anything, but as the drawing of a triskelion started to take shape he looked at Stiles.

“Is that the ritual of reclamation?” he asked suddenly interested.

“Yep,” said Stiles without stopping.

Deaton stared. “Are you aware it needs a full circle of druids to complete and several dozens human sacrifices?”

“Yep,” repeated Stiles.

“Not mentioning that we are not even close to Samhain,” he continued.

Stiles finished drawing the Triskelion and inspected the drawing carefully.

“I’m making a few adjustments on the fly. Don’t worry,” said Stiles nodding at his work. “Normally you would be right, but with the power of a decade of multiple human sacrifices, supernatural creatures sacrifices, chimeras, the wild hunt, ten or so ancient artifacts burnt to ash, and all that magic filling it up... I’m feeling lucky.”

Stiles looked at the sky while behind him both Druid and werewolf tried to make sense of what he just said.

“Plus, the bodies should count as sacrifices and the nemeton will eat them whole. Which means with any luck they won’t be coming back from the dead continuously. Where is the east?” he asked and before any of them could answer he continued. “Oh right!”

Stiles stood close to the stump looking at the east and then walked outwards counting three steps.

“Peter! Can you put the bodies here?” he asked smiling at the dumbfounded Peter. “Tonight if possible.”

Peter grunted but started to put the bodies in a pile as requested.  “Am I your servant now?”

“I just saved your life,” said Stiles nodding.

“You are going to keep using that excuse for the rest of your life, right?”

“Or for the rest of yours, whoever kicks it first,” said Stiles nodding again.

Peter rolled his eyes and smiled moving the bodies into position. Stiles rolled his eyes knowing the usual antics of Peter and went back to work.

The ritual wasn’t as easy as he was making it seem. He had thought about doing something like this once when the nemeton kept bringing murder monsters to Beacon Hills, but it was dangerous in a last ditch effort kind of way. If it failed it would be bad, but probably not as bad as the nemeton exploding or empowering the nogitsune. Either way meant it was the best time to try.

Stiles picked half a dozen flowers from inside the bag and tied them together in a small bundle. It was not a pretty job but fortunately, it did not have to be. When he finished he took the bundles and threw them at the north and south of the nemeton. In very little time the whole place was littered with flowers scattered at random.

“Are you sure you know what you are doing?” asked Peter seeing the mess he was making.

“The flowers represent life and growth,” he explained while dropping them. “They are not all that special and it doesn’t need to be perfect, just be there as a symbol.”

When Stiles finished with the flowers he took mistletoe branches from the bag. The branches were burnt and blackened like a stick of charcoal. Unlike with the flowers Stiles took his time to arrange the differences pieces in calculated positions around the stump itself. He counted his steps and dropped them in precise places until the branches looked like the marks in a watch pointing at the nemeton.

It did not take long while he worked for a few cars to stop in the forest bringing Talia and Sean. They took the scene in silence joining Deaton at the sidelines.

Stiles took the rest of the herbs dropping them at careful intervals on the grass and whispering words under his breath until finally, another car stopped. Derek and Laura entered the clear with a bandaged body in their arms. The body looked fresh despite the fact he knew it had been there for decades. The katana was still lodged inside the body. Talia took a breath in surprise and recognition.

“I didn’t want to take the katana out just in case but half of it was already broken,” said Derek bringing the end of the sword to the front of his hands. He stopped then to stare at Kate’s body.

Stiles smiled and made grabby hands. “That way is perfect Derek, put the body here.”

He walked three steps in the opposite direction of the other bodies. Together they put the finishing touches on the ritual. The end piece of the katana was still ludicrously sharp and Stiles held it in his hand with careful movements.

“Sacrifices to the west, and to the east. The flowers for life, the burnt mistletoe for rebirth. Uh. I think that is everything,” said Stiles looking one last time over everything. “Now take off your clothes.”

“What?” asked Derek going absolutely straight.

“I need you in wolfy form,” said Stiles bringing his hands down to his pants trying to take them down.

“Stiles!” growled Derek separating from him. “I can’t get naked myself.”

Stiles huffed. “It’s not like I haven’t seen everything. Or like you care about being naked.”

“Derek!” yelled Talia walking towards them.

Derek was startled for a moment looking at his mother with the most difficult expression he could make. Something within embarrassment and a rictus, Stiles wasn’t sure. Still, they didn’t have too much time. Stiles threw mountain ash into the air willing his spark to drop a barrier around them and the entire ritual area.

“Okay, now it’s finished,” said Stiles moving to the trunk and leaving his shirt in the ground.

His attention went back to the nemeton and the growing magic still trying to fill it. The magic wasn’t slowing down but instead was widening the nemeton with every passing. The widening only made it hold more energy and at the end would make it explore with more strength but for now, it was more controllable.

It was perfect for what Stiles was planning to do.

“What do I have to do, Stiles?” asked Derek behind him.

“Do you trust me?” he asked looking at him.

Derek straightened and looked serious. “Always.”

Stiles smiled and looked at the forest and his parents at the edge of the barrier. Despite the fact all this was pretty much his fault Derek always trusted him. He only hoped it would work.

“Whatever I tell you to do, don’t doubt. I’ll be okay. I promise, but don’t doubt,” he said slowly turning the katana in his hand. “And if I lose consciousness take us out of here as soon as it starts.”

“How will I know when it starts?” asked Derek.

“Oh, you’ll know,” said Stiles.

Stiles walked on top of the nemeton, closed his eyes, and concentrated on his spark and the magic trying to fill the nemeton. He pulled on the magic and made a thin cut on the palm of his hand with the broken sword. Linking the magic and his blood he let a trickle of it drop on the middle of the triskelion beginning the ritual.

And then there was light.

Somebody yelled as even the people without a trained sense of magic could suddenly feel the buildup like a tide drowning everything in the forest. Stiles couldn’t listen to them, couldn’t focus on anything but the job. This part was going to be dangerous even focused.

Stiles went down with his senses, joining the nemeton with his spark, his life, and soul. He followed the roots of the tree until he felt the touch of a jar sealed in the ground. An old jar filled with the darkness Stiles was so intimately aware. Stiles breathed deeply and with all the strength the magic lent him, shattered it.

“Transform now!” ordered Stiles.

Stiles didn’t stop to look if Derek complied. He threw himself back pressed against the nemeton as a fly appeared from below the ground. The fly gave a few lazy passes around the nemeton before flying to Stiles' face and slowly entered his mouth.

There was a moment when Stiles felt the evil asshole that tried to kill his friends once crash against his mind. His defenses held strongly this time but they would not do so for long. He was not strong enough to keep the monster at bay for more than a few moments, nobody truly was, but a few moments were all that he needed.

“Now bite me!” he yelled.

Derek although shaken knew there was little time to protest and jumped on top of him biting his arm. Stiles yelped in pain but held most of it. For the first time in an eternity the nogitsune felt fear and pressed harder against his mind, but it was pointless. The bite of a werewolf, especially an evolved werewolf had the power that could trap the monster inside his body.

“I love you. I’ll be okay,” he said smiling at him. “Trust me.”

Stiles' eyes turned completely black and the smile sharpened. Derek tightened his hold praying he knew what he was doing.

And with his other arm, Stiles thrust the broken katana into his heart. Then there was a fire in his chest and he couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t feel or think. His eyes turned black as one of the oldest monsters in the land tried to take control of his body for the last time and he could feel the fear, and rage, and burn. And the nogitsune died his powers draining from inside Stiles and flowing into the nemeton. Stiles yelled and with all his remaining strength pulled at the magic inside the ritual.

The roots of the tree grew larger and thicker around the dead bodies until they were strong enough to pull them underground and eat them. That was the last key to the ritual. Stiles guided every tiny piece of magic into place by sheer force of will casting his spark into the nemeton. The earth shuddered, night suddenly became the day and went back to darkness again as if the sun had been scared. He could feel the pressure growing quickly at his back and knew it had worked but couldn’t breathe nor tell Derek to move.

Derek, as usual, didn’t need words to know what he wanted and he was dragging him out of the place. The barrier had fallen with the magical onslaught and they simply passed just in time to see the tree starting to grow first slowly and then quicker. It looked like some ridiculous bad CGI, almost unbelievable, but it was happening right there under their eyes.

Step by step the nemeton regrew back, first slowly like a sapling impaling the stump and then faster and faster melding together with the stump like if the tree had never been cut in the first place.

A healthy nemeton was also an enormous magical sinkhole that could hold the power that was still pouring. It would also have the advantage of not leaking and attracting every supernatural creature on earth to it.

Stiles smiled and felt as the connection with the nemeton started to fill him healing his wounds in a moment. He looked at Derek whose face was for once filled with awe and smiled harder. It had been years since he had felt like smiling.

Years since he had felt happy. Years since he had not spent every waking moment looking behind his back for a shadow or a threat. It had been years since he had felt hope, but right now Stiles was sure that no matter what happened in the future everything would go better.

“STILES!”

The last thing Stiles saw before passing out was his dad running into the clearing, and he snorted. Apparently, the universe couldn’t give him a moment of rest.

Chapter Text

John Stilinski, recently appointed sheriff of Beacon Hills, was getting a headache.

He began the night with a call about a fire in the preserve, and living quite close to it, his first stop had been to check on Stiles.

Only a few months had passed since his wife Claudia died and he couldn’t stop checking on his son every few hours to make sure he was still there, still safe. He knew it wasn’t really necessary. Sleep was one of the few moments when Stiles was calm and still for more than a second. He was far more worried when he was awake, but he had to check

So when he saw the empty room and the open window with smoke rising over the preserve, he had panicked. He had ended up going into the preserve forgetting all danger, praying to all that was good in the world his son was okay. Hoping that, despite Stiles inability to stay still for more than a second, he had not gone into the burning forest.

He had had not been lucky.

Now there were fifteen new people in his home.

The Hales, which until last night had been just another well-established if somewhat private family of Beacon Hills, were crowded in his living room after losing their house and almost their lives.

Under another circumstances the attempted murder of the Hales would have been the important part of this whole story. He would have felt angry and scared that someone could try burning an entire family alive. He would have been up all night working, trying to find every scrap of information on the case.

In other circumstances he would be helping the Hales.

After seeing Stiles, his son, bleeding with a knife passing through his chest the Hales were but a second thought.

Then, of course, Stiles had healed in minutes under his very eyes held by an enormous black wolf who promptly transformed into a very naked kid with glowing eyes. John believed his headache had started at that point and had only gotten worse when the Hales convinced him to bring his unconscious son and all of them to his home. Stiles had woken up in less than a few hours and finally insisted in explaining everything about the supernatural world.

It didn’t exactly help.

“Time travel,” he said in neutral tone.

“Yep,” said Stiles.

“Werewolves,” said John pointing at the Hales.

Peter Hale made his eyes glow blue and smiled at the sheriff. Somehow the fact that one of his arms was scarred from the fire made the image more threatening than it already was.

“Yep,” said Stiles again.

“And you have magical powers,” said John.

“Yep.”

The sheriff looked at the room once more and massaged his head. “I need more coffee.”

“Can’t right now, sorry,” said Stiles from the kitchen.

His son was cooking over the kitchen, throwing herbs and flowers inside a boiling kettle and making what was according to his words a magic potion. The fact that he said that while waggling his fingers in front of his face wasn’t inspiring any confidence. The sheriff was about to ask more about it when he remembered what they just talked about and wisely decided not to.

It was strange to watch his son do all of those things.

It was strange seeing him move. Above every other detail of his fantastical time traveling adventure it was how he moved that had him convinced. His son was, much to his amusement and dread, incredibly clumsy. He stumbled with everything he could stumble and John was afraid to leave him alone for more than an hour without breaking something. He knew it wasn’t his fault and that the recent death of his mother, of Claudia, had only made it more difficult for him but still…

There was none of that in this Stiles. He walked with confidence, like a man who knew what he was doing, and that was difficult to fake. It was a difficult pill to swallow nonetheless.

“If it makes you feel more comfortable we’ve been werewolves all our lives and this is still as bizarre,” drawled Peter.

“It doesn’t, but thanks for trying,” said John.

“It shouldn’t, because time travel is impossible.” interrupted Deaton.

The veterinary or druid, whatever that meant, had passed the last hour walking from one side of the room to the other. He had chosen not to talk during the entire story preferring to listen instead while grimacing at intervals.

“No it isn’t!” answered Stiles from the kitchen.

“Yes it is,” continued Deaton. “There are few creatures and rituals that could achieve that result if you are insane enough to try them, but they are not true time travel. They simply send you into another reality, another version of our world where certain events had not happened yet, and there is always a price to pay for this kind of magic.”

The sheriff stiffened not liking how that sounded. Any of it. Although considering his first and only experience with magic was watching his son bleeding and almost dead, he was quickly starting to hate anything to do with magic.

“Are you still pissed about the nemeton?” asked Stiles.

“I’m not— This is serious,” said Deaton driving a line into the floor of his living room.

“Sure, sure,” said Stiles absently at the same time the kettle whistled. “Okay! This is done now not my best job but I’m working without the right tools so…”

He walked inside the living room with a tray of glasses and slowly filled them before offering one to Peter Hale.

“What is this?” asked Peter sniffing the glass.

“Try it,” said Stiles gently, offering with his hand.

Peter watched the glass filled with a clear green liquid, assessing the potion as one would a wine or a poison until he seemed to came to a decision and downed it in one go. Stiles smiled and Peter raised an eyebrow in curiosity. Suddenly, under the eyes of everyone in the room the burn scars in Peter’s arm started to heal faster than it seemed possible.

“Cool, right?” asked Stiles bouncing on his toes. “Good for healing burns and pretty much everything else. It’s not that quick with normal humans but since burns are difficult to heal for werewolves… It complements your werewolfiness.”

“Thank you,” said Peter smiling with too many teeth.

One by one the Hales started to divide the glasses between themselves. Most of them had no burns but they still took a bit. To the sheriff’s amazement some of the adults who seemed completely fine started coughing some thin smoke out of their lungs.

The sheriff looked at his son in amazement.

“Wow Der-bear, your boyfriend is amazing,” dropped Laura Hale.

John’s brain crashed for the second time in the night. Derek’s face turned bright red while Stiles smiled like a loon.

“Der-bear?” asked Stiles barely holding a laugh. Then suddenly he turned to look at Laura. “Wait. Is every werewolf a psychic now or are we that obvious?”

For the first time in his life John contemplated murder.

“What?” he asked feeling his throat dry.

Both boys turned to him and blanched. And that… that was all the answers he needed. Since the night had started they had never been more than a few meters behind each other. Always holding, hugging, or touching each other in one way or another.

“Um… Crap.” said Stiles being as expressive as always.

No, it was impossible. His ten year old couldn’t have a boyfriend who was older than him. Stiles, his baby who couldn’t stop asking awkward questions about circumcision to his deputies couldn’t.

“Nobody is going to have a boyfriend in this house until you are twenty!” proclaimed John loudly while his mind went to the same place over and over again.

“I’m twenty-five!” yelled Stiles.

“He is older Stiles!” yelled John angry but even as he said it he could see it was wrong. “And you are just a kid…”

It was not about the boy, or about being gay. No, that he had suspected even with the constant nagging of his son about Lydia Martin. He was angry but it was not about that. It was difficult to think that his wonderful child had grown up from one day to another and he had lost all those years.

Suddenly Stiles was there holding him. He looked smaller now.

“Dad? I know this is too much to take in one go but… Remember the story you told me about mum?” he asked with a tiny voice and John’s breath hitched. Stiles hadn’t talk about Claudia since her death. “Derek… He. He is one of the good ones. He saved me. We saved each other so many times and… One day he was there and I just knew—”

And he understood. Even if it hurt to have lost so much of Stiles life he understood because he had told his son a story. A story about his mother and how she had been there one day and he knew he couldn’t let her go anymore.

“Not even time travel could take you apart from each other huh?” asked John slowly holding his son eyes.

Stiles giggled. “Yes, something like that.”

John hugged him harder for a moment and then let him go. There was mist in both of their eyes but he understood. It hurt, but no matter how much it hurt he had to trust Stiles knew what he was doing.

That didn’t mean he was not going to make sure Derek was a good boyfriend for his son.

“There will be no touching until twenty or so help me god I will make a rug with your hide,” he said giving Derek his more menacing look.

Stiles laughed loudly –and how had he missed that sound— and Derek blanched nodding quickly. John smiled at the expression. He still had it.

“Yes. Um. It’s impressive you can make something like this with a kettle,” said Talia holding one of the glasses and trying very hard to move the conversation from his son’s love life.

“I know. I’m very impressive,” said Stiles nodding with all the seriousness of a ten year old.

“It does seem really impressive when you don’t know why he needs to be an expert in healing burns,” interjected Derek with a heavy sigh.

“Derek! I’m trying to be cool here!” groaned Stiles.

“Then stop burning kitchens,” countered Derek.

“Please focus!” interrupted Deaton with annoyance moving to the middle of the living room and taking all the attention at once. “Can you explain what made you attempt something as dangerous as time travel?”

Stiles sighed and sat in a chair opposite of the Hales. Derek followed, never more than a few meters behind him since the night started.

Stiles glanced for a second at his father and John saw his tense expression. And suddenly the sheriff didn’t want to know. He didn’t need to, it was written in his eyes. Those desolate sad eyes. Stiles eyes wandered from him to some of the Hale children before posing in Derek.

“Everyone was dead,” he dropped making everyone freeze but looking only at Derek.

Derek held his eyes raising one eyebrow. “And time travel was your first choice?”

“Of course not. My first choice was to bring you back to life. Resurrection is not impossible just very difficult, we saw it with Peter,” he said pointing at the man, and the room doubled over looking at him.

Peter shrugged ignoring the looks. “It’s anybody here surprised?”

Laura snickered and Talia punched his brother discretely.

“Unfortunately it’s not that easy unless you had your soul tied somehow to this world before dying. Getting it back from wherever souls go when we die is kind of difficult,” continued Stiles like he wasn’t bothered by his own words. Like wasn’t just talking about—. “There are basically two ways, making a deal with a death god or the wish of a dragon. Talking with death spirits or death gods is usually a bad idea unless you want to die and nobody has seen a dragon since merlin so I had to go to the second option.”

“Time travel,” said John again hoping this time somebody said it was a joke.

“Yep,” nodded his son and then looked at Derek. “I tried getting your soul anyway, of course, but I couldn’t bring you back. And while all those methods that Deaton mentioned would have worked, I got lucky. I had the opportunity to use the only possible ritual that lets you actually go back in time.”

By that point Stiles was smiling at Deaton and making jazz hands at him. John snorted at the display but inside there was something relaxing. It had been a weight to know his ten year old son was not a kid anymore, but apparently he had nothing to worry about. He was still his kid no matter how old he truly was.

Deaton for his part was sweating and looking at Stiles with fear.

“But— No, that’s impossible! You would need too—” started saying Deaton suddenly short of words.

“Deaton? What is it?” asked Talia.

Deaton swallowed, low and slowly, and every werewolf in the room felt suddenly on edge.

“There is an old story of a powerful warlock who managed to destroy the balance of the world. Plagues and monsters wandered the world killing everything. Most of the people of the earth died and the world, magic itself, was dying with them,” intoned the druid solemn. “A clan of druids sought to change the catastrophe, and the world as a last boon gave them the means to come back before all was lost and restore the balance. But—”

“Yes, fun fact, when I said everyone was dead I meant everyone in the world. The balance is pretty much fucked when there is a zombie apocalypse going on,” said Stiles.

“What?” yelled John without even noticing he did and then let a pained groan. “Please tell me there are no zombies too.”

Stiles ducked his head down and the Sheriff groaned again. He was going to need all the coffee if his son was going to be throwing life changing revelations around. The Hales for their part were either moaning in despair or snickering.

“It may be best if you explain everything from the beginning Stiles, just so we know how fucked we truly are,” said Peter.

And so he did.

“There was a woman named Tamora Monroe. She became the leader of the new hunters, who unlike the old hunters didn’t care about why supernatural creatures existed in the first place and were only interested in killing them. The problem being there is a reason why hunters don’t go around killing fairies, cutting down nemetons, or dragging mermaids to land. Mostly that they don’t want the fairy court to start kidnapping children or to wake the sea-monsters below the ocean and reenact Waterworld.”

“Of course being a bunch of morons meant that no matter how many of these hunters were world-wide most of the supernatural creatures could hide easily enough, but given that stupid people tends to fuck up sooner or later… Well. The only thing I know is that they found the tomb of some Chinese emperor that was cursed.”

“The types of curses put in tombs aren’t that dangerous or difficult to cleanse,” interrupted Deaton.

Stiles smiled. “You are right. Normally a curse shouldn’t be too dangerous on its own. Unless the tomb was built over several ley lines overcharging the curse for about three or four thousand years. The hunters went inside and broke everything. The curse was released and instead of affecting only the people who entered the tomb it expands all over the world.”

Stiles breathed deeply and closed his eyes remembering.

“It was, like you said, not strong enough to affect supernatural beings, even sparks were safe. It was strong in range not in complexity. In a week millions of people were dying from an unknown disease. In a month the military was carrying bodies by the thousands to massive pyres but it was not enough and the bodies just piled on the streets forever. We tried to create wards over cities, even a few simple wards were enough to stop the curse, but by the time we knew what was happening it was too late.”

Stiles swallowed and looked at them. “And then, the bodies started to wake up.”

A frosty silence permeated the room.

“So that is why I’m here. I made a pact with the balance of this world to stop the apocalypse from happening,” he said and then smiled. “It seemed like a good deal given that if I fail everyone will die anyway.”

 

***

 

It was already late in the morning when the Hales departed the sheriff’s house, and while the scare from the fire was not forgotten they did seem more relaxed as Stiles story unraveled. Apparently when you had the zombie apocalypse as a background their simple tragedy seemed less bad in comparison. Talia had taken the kids after a while and they had promised to stay in touch.

Not that there was a possibility they wouldn’t with Derek and Stiles in the equation.

The sheriff had to go too despite the fact that he wanted to hide his son at home and stay with him forever, protecting him from the monsters he now knew existed. Unfortunately the constant calls from the department became too numerous to ignore and he had gone to work too. But only after Stiles had promised to stay in the house and Derek had promised he would eat anything that tried to hurt him.

Stiles had protested that he wasn’t a kid in need of protection. They had both ignored him and Stiles wasn’t sure if the fact they were both working together was supposed to make him feel happy or terrified.

At the end they were left alone in Stiles room. Derek inspected the far too many posters and toys that cluttered the room. There had passed less than five minutes in silence before it become obvious they were waiting for the other to talk.

“So…” said Stiles awkwardly. “How are you doing?”

Derek turned on his feet to look at Stiles. He breathed slowly tasting the air.

“I am alive,” he said not taking his eyes from Stiles.

“Yea… That’s good…”

“And I say that because I remember dying very clearly,” said Derek.

“I remember that too,” winced Stiles even as he closed his eyes and tried very hard not to.

“How am I even here?” asked Derek passing a hand through his hair. “You were twenty-four when I died. If a whole year passed since… How?”

“I told you Derek! The world let me.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“I know!” groaned Stiles. “Do you think the world just walked to me one day and asked: ‘Hey dude, would you like to go back in time?’”

Derek looked at the celling for a moment and then nodded because he was an asshole. “That sounds oddly specific and completely in line with what I expect from you.”

“Um…” said Stiles, speechless. “Okay it was kind of like that. More like in a dream and suddenly I knew what I had to do, but still—”

“How am I here, Stiles?” he asked harder.

“I don’t know. Either the world thought I’ll need you to accomplish my goal or… One of my attempts to get your soul to me worked just enough for the ritual to consider us the same person and bring us both.” said Stiles and then considering quickly. “By the way do I smell like you? Because your mom was looking at me like I was a piece of meat and—”

Derek sniffed the air and then scrunched his nose in confusion.

“Yes,” he said slowly. “But you have the same scent you had when you were older and we were together. Does that tell you anything?”

“That I don’t know anything about time travel. Why don’t we move on?” sighed Stiles.

“Yes, why not?” asked Derek getting close to his face. “Because I also remember asking you not to do anything stupid if something bad happened to me.”

“You weren’t there!” yelled Stiles unable to hold it any longer and Derek recoiled. “I was alone and you weren’t there. What was I supposed to do? Keep living my life like there wasn’t a hole in it? Like you hadn’t gone and suddenly I couldn’t breathe? You were not the one to have to keep on going. I was.”

Derek remained silent and he knew he had touched a nerve. He had that look in his eyes that Stiles recognized as him trying to soften a blow.

“You could have made it worse,” said Derek at last.

Stiles breath stopped. He was right. Magic could be dangerous and unpredictable in the best of times. The most powerful the more dangerous and Stiles knew what he had done wasn’t exactly safe or small. Even with all the precautions he put in place, with the planning with the unique deal he had to break with the balance of the world it had been dangerous. That the only problem to arise from it was the nemeton almost exploding was nothing short of a miracle.

It would have been so easy for the ritual to take something or somebody else as payment from him. Stiles hadn’t even dreamt that the Hales would be alive, but it had worked and better than he dared to hope.

Stiles wouldn’t take that for anything in the world.

“Any price I had to pay was worth it for you,” said Stiles softly and looking at the ground. “For your family, for my dad, the pack and everyone too. But for you the most.”

For a moment nobody spoke and then Derek was hugging him. 

“Thank you. I don’t like this but whatever happens at least now we can face it together,” he whispered with barely hidden pain in his voice. He held Stiles against his chest and Stiles tears stained his clothes. “But I want you to know, if you even try to do something like that again I’ll lock you into a room forever.”

“What, like in a sex dungeon?” said Stiles laughing and moving away from his embrace. “That’s kinky, Derek. I didn’t know you liked that sort of thing. You should have told me!”

“I just did,” said Derek with amusement and then looked up and down his body. “Although I have to say, and I hope it doesn’t bother you, I don’t find you very attractive right now.”

“What?! But I’m a catch, look at me!” said Stiles doing a twirl in the middle of the room. “You couldn’t do better than me.”

“You are ten, and your father is more terrifying than I remember” said Derek with a sigh.

“Yes he is,” said Stiles sadly and happy at the same time. “But if I have to lose my virginity again is not going to be at twenty I hope you know that.”

Derek chocked in air and looked at Stiles with the most wrecked expression he had seen him make.

“I’ll start making plans then,” he almost growled in a soft voice.

Stiles closed his eyes and tried to remember that getting an erection right now wasn’t part of his plan. There were more important things to think at the moment that Derek doing him. There would be time for that when he had a body that was not all skinny legs and arms. It would be his reward!

First he just needed to make sure the world didn’t end.

It better be good though.

“I’ll take your word for it, Der-bear,” teased Stiles.

Derek groaned and threw himself in the bed. “I’m starting to miss being dead.”

Stiles sat down in a chair and basked in the happiness of being back. He could still feel the nemeton cleaning and absorbing the magic from the future, and while it wasn’t at risk anymore it was making him fidget more than usual.

It would take weeks to completely absorb the magic and by the end of it he wasn’t completely sure how the tree would be standing. It should be okay, but what he did wasn’t exactly conventional.

Still, Stiles never knew when he would have access to so much energy in one go, and no matter how tired he felt he wouldn’t waste the chance. He took a piece of paper and started to draw.

“What are you doing now, Stiles?” asked Derek peering over his shoulder.

“I’m making money,” he answered grimacing and never taking his eyes from the paper.  “Can you get me every pencil in the house?”

He began by drawing a circle and a square inside it then added another circle inside the square. When Derek got back with a dozen pencils he started to take them apart separating the few metals bit from the wood and the wood from the graphite. He broke the graphite into pieces small enough to stay inside the circle and then closed his eyes while holding his hands around the drawing.

Magic flooded the circle making it glow a faint blue.  Stiles had to battle with the energy for a moment while holding a clear picture in his mind, but the results were clear soon. With a flash where there had been a few thin graphite pieces now were some small diamonds.

“Okay!” said Derek staring at the diamonds. “What was that?”

Stiles smiled looking at Derek. “Alchemy.”

“Alchemy,” he sighed. “Like the changing metals into gold and the elixir of life?”

“Yes… kind of. Technically like the Dread Doctors and making chimeras too but I don’t know how to do that,” said Stiles putting the diamonds in safe place. “Although transmutation of one element into another is completely out of my league at the moment. There are not that many Alchemists in the world and the ones who can do that sort of thing can be counted in one hand. Changing the shape of an element on the other hand is not that difficult if you know enough.”

There were more things to it of course, like the fact that most people who tried to learn alchemy ended up insane or were unable to understand even the most basic concepts. Alchemy was one of the most difficult disciplines of magic and while there was nothing stopping anyone from learning if they could find a book, it was like trying to get a doctorate without a teacher. The simple fact of needing to keep the chemical and physical structure of an object in your head pretty much ensured most people never touched it.

But naturally if you had a mind and time to dedicate to it the results were impressive.

“I started to learn a few months before you—” he said and stopped, his voice becoming a whisper and cold. “Before. And then it seemed like one of the best options to bring you back to life.”

“Stiles…”

“No. No. Please let’s not talk about that again,” he said pleading with his eyes. “Just don’t. Please. We are both alive, we are here. I want to forget the last year of my life.”

Derek held his eyes and then sighed. “Okay. It’s still impressive, but I don’t see why we need diamonds.”

“We need money,” he said simply adding a few more details to the circle.

“We do?” asked Derek looking at Stiles with concern.

“Sure. I mean. I’m going to need a lot of books and plants, flowers, herbs, silver, gold, some old magical artifacts, maybe a Tardis now that we have fucked the space-time continuum. We need money for that.”

“We have money. My family has money, and if we are going to be saving the world I’m sure—” Derek started to say.

Stiles laughed interrupting Derek. “Nope. No. That’s only the list of things I need to get started in making my potions and tools. Trust me your family doesn’t have enough money for everything I’m going to need just for that, and some things can’t be bought with money. I will have to sell some really complicated potions to very dangerous people just to get everything we need. I don’t even know where to start with the whole saving the world thing.”

Stiles almost bit his tongue when he said the last part and prayed silently in his heart Derek hadn’t heard him. Derek narrowed his eyes. Too late.

“What do you mean you don’t know how to save the world? Don’t you have to simply go to the tomb and stop the curse?” he asked slowly.

“Yea… So… Funny story—” began Stiles.

“Stiles…” said Derek exasperated.

“Remember when I said the zombie apocalypse happened?” asked Stiles tilting his head. Derek nodded. “Well… information wasn’t easy to come by with the, you know, whole world dying. So I don’t have any idea where the tomb is and for all I know finding the tomb may release the curse quicker.”

Derek groaned and used his hands to cover his face. “Right.”

“So our best opportunity is stopping the hunters from going nuts in the first place. But given than some idiot could find the tomb eventually anyway… I’ll try to make sure that if the curse is released it won’t be all that dangerous.”

“That’s not going to be easy either way,” said Derek dejectedly.

“I know. I’ll need to consult people that know more of curses and they are expensive. That’s why I’m saying we need money,” he sighed.

“How much money?” asked Derek eyeing the diamonds.

“I’m not sure…” said Stiles eyeing Derek who had a pensive look on his face. “Why? Do you have an idea?”

“When I was in New York Laura used to invest some of the money we got from the fire,” said Derek breathing deep and looking through the windows. “I was not in a good mood at the time, but I remember some. We could invest in companies we already know are going to do good.”

Stiles stopped. It was a good idea even if it would take several years to get up to something. It was better than his plan in any case which he didn’t have at the moment but would have backfired horrible somehow.

“Yes, we will go with that,” he said and slyly asked. “Laura invested money?”

Derek took a minute to answer lost somewhere looking through the window.

“She was going to study economics, or she will,” he said distracted.

“She is terrifying,” said Stiles and when Derek arched an eyebrow at him corrected. “Laura I mean. I didn’t expect your sister to have a sense of humor. I thought that was only reserved for Peter in your family.”

Derek smiled, reminiscent, with his eyes unfocused. “She was always like that. Even after the fire. Always trying to get me out of my mind with jokes at my expense.” He said and before he was aware of any movement Stiles was sitting on top of him.

“Are you okay Derek?” asked Stiles.

Derek didn’t know how to answer that. For a moment he was literally without words, stunned into silence and considering.

“She is alive,” he answered with wonder in his voice.

“Laura?”

“Yes, Laura, and mom, and everyone else.  It’s just so… Overwhelming. I’m telling myself this isn’t a dream but— It has been so long since they died and I’ve never thought I would—” said Derek with his voice cracking middle sentence.

Stiles hugged him holding his face to Derek’s heart, listening to the rhythm. “I know. It’s too much to process. I knew I was coming and I still can’t believe it. But it’s going to be okay.”

“I know!” said Derek. “That’s the problem Stiles. We can change everything, and with the nemeton healed and not calling every monster in the world to us we can protect them. We can be happy, we can have normal lives.”

“For a given definition of normal I guess…” nodded Stiles.

“We can be safe Stiles, and think of a future beyond what new monster could be in the next corner waiting to kill us. We have hope,” said Derek giving Stiles a blinding smile. “It’s been so long since I had hope.”

Stiles hugged him harder tearing up in the middle of the speech and noticing for the first time what Derek was trying to say. They had a future. Stiles had been dropping from one supernatural mystery into another since he was sixteen, always running, never looking back and trying to hold to every moment like it was his last. Derek was running and hiding since his family died and couldn’t think of any other kind of life.

He looked at his room with the posters, the books and games. Things he hadn’t had any time since entering high school. Things he had to abandon to survive and replaced with grimoires, cauldrons and smelly plants because even the smallest shard of knowledge could mean the difference between life and death.

“We will protect them Derek,” he said with steel in his voice. “Nobody will take them from us this time.”

Derek smiled and his eyes glowed gold. He eyed the still half-finished drawing. “Where do we start?”

Stiles focused in the alchemical circle and considered.

“First our pack then the world. I’m going to need a few things, but I think I have an idea where to start.”

Derek snorted. “Right, what could go wrong.”

Chapter Text

Despite the weirdness of the whole Hale affair it all blew over in a few days.

Two months had passed since then and the extended Hale family departed leaving only Talia, Sean and Peter along with the children. The town spent a few days gossiping about the fire that almost cost the Hales their lives and then once again Beacon Hills completely forgot about it. The Hales naturally preferred it that way being a family of werewolves, and along with the sheriff they had spent most of their time reassuring the people it had been nothing more than an accident.

For once since Stiles had lived in Beacon Hills things seemed almost normal. The reborn nemeton was helping the land as advertised and no monster had gotten close the preserve ever since.

Their families had calmed but Stiles and Derek continued on edge spending as much time making lists and planning ways to protect their loved ones, aware of how easy it was to take them from them. The fear of losing them again when the future shined so brightly only made them more paranoid and they might have gone overboard.

They began planning the protection of Beacon Hills with something simple. Contacts.

They wanted friends in the supernatural community, people they could trust and that could help them or vice versa. Packs and people they could go to if the worse happened.

Over the years Stiles and Derek had accumulated a veritable network of people aware of the supernatural. From witches to shape-shifters, druids, elementalists, enchanters, and even some friendly hunters, they had helped or in some cases saved plenty of people and cultivated friendships in the supernatural world.

The fact that all of that hadn’t happened yet didn’t mean they didn’t know them and that was always the hardest step in their world.

The truth was that there were plenty of beings with gifts or abilities for sale, from potions to enchanted weapons, if it existed someone was selling it and the biggest hurdle was always to find them. The supernatural community was, after all, secret and sometimes the most difficult part was to find them. Talia, who knew almost as much people as them, had helped to pool together their contacts for what they needed and then reach to them as the Alpha of a powerful pack.

For rebuilding the Hale house they went to some friends Derek had met in New York and knew were already operating, a company of elementalists who could manipulate stone and harden foundations and structures until not even an earthquake could face them. Security experts and some very well paid architects had passed through the plans of the house making a few changes and suggestions. They had bought weirdwood, a very rare and special type of wood that remained alive even after being cut from the tree, from a circle of druids and dryads two towns over. And finally Stiles and Deaton were working over the plans of the structure designing the most paranoid and powerful wards they could think of, which considering Stiles, included everything up to the zombie apocalypse.

The house wasn’t even started and it was already shaping to be a fortress of magic the likes hadn’t been heard since Arthurian times.

Despite all that Stiles wasn’t sure even that was enough. But that wasn’t the end of what they had planned.

The second step of the protections was more complex and had required almost an entire month to plan and design them. A magic ward to protect the forest and the Hales from anyone trying to hurt them. Stiles had to ask for some books from Deaton and buy some more just to be completely sure, and then it had taken another month just to set up.

Still, despite how infuriatingly slow the work had become for a while, Stiles was particularly proud of his achievement.

He was seated late in the night at the edge of the lake that crossed Beacon’s Hills preserve watching the full moon glow in the water. The fruit of his job, a thin collection of rings made of pure silver forged into something similar to a sphere with a glass pebble suspended in the middle, was floating in the water. He had made them by hand, buying the silver and changing the shape with alchemy, for fear that somebody even knowing they existed could compromise the protections.

Laura and Derek were siting close to him both excited from the effect of the full moon but fully in control. Laura had been a surprise to both, to Stiles because whatever he imagined when he pictured Derek’s sister it wasn’t the bubbly teenager who was as able to throw you into a wall as to crack a joke at your expense.

Slowly as the apparatus started to take in the glow of the moon Stiles moved.

“Stop, take it out,” he ordered.

Laura being the closest one was the first to act.

“Okay!” she said rapidly taking the sphere from the water and holding it into the air peering curiously into the mechanism. “Is this… Are you sure this is going to work?”

“Yes Laura, the ward will work,” said Stiles with a sigh. Despite everything he had done since coming back there were still doubts. Stiles understood but he could definitely do with some faith in his abilities.

“It’s just… It seems like such a little thing,” said Laura shaking the sphere.

“We’ve been doing this for twenty nine nights. Why are you asking this now?”

“Because tonight it’s the last time we have to do this!” she said waving the object in his face. “I want to be sure this is going to work and not... I don’t know, make every stone in the preserve sing.”

Stiles raised his head at Derek who was trying to hide his smirk looking at the lake.

“Derek! What have you been telling your family?” asked Stiles moving towards the werewolf.

“Just a few stories. Nothing too embarrassing,” answered Derek pointedly not looking at him.

“It’s okay Stiles, I like Bohemian Rhapsody too,” nodded Laura with a smile on her face.

“It only happened once!”

Stiles groaned painfully. Knowing Derek the Hales already knew everything, his father too. On one hand it was comforting to see Derek so happy and easy to laugh, on the other he was going to start bringing blackmail into the table if he wanted to keep looking cool.

“Let’s just go,” said Stiles pointing at the way.

There was only a token protest before they were walking into to the forest to the final location for the night. They moved carefully, following the well traced paths that Stiles had pointed for them on top of the ley lines below the preserve. The whole process of washing the spheres in the water by moonlight was a complex process of attunement to the land, the nemeton, and the moon. Even the smallest of changes in the magic of the preserve could mean they had to start all over again.

They reached the location soon enough, a clearing quite close to where the Hale house had been.

“Stiles!” greeted his Dad going to hug him.

“Dad, dad, stop!” yelped Stiles while people chuckled around him.

His father had been even more touchy feeling since the almost bleeding to death in the forest thing they didn’t talk about. Stiles wasn’t exactly against it, he feel the need to hug him almost as much to reassure himself he was still there, but there was a limit to it and they were both reaching it.

“Stop doing that!” he said separating himself from his father.

“Not until you are older,” said John.

“I’m twenty-five! Jesus, dad, what are you doing here?” he asked.

John smiled pointing at the clearing. “Well, I couldn’t miss this could I? I wanted to see my son finishing whatever got him so focused.”

“Oh,” said Stiles at a loss for words. His father had not been very endeared with the whole magic thing in his first life, worried as it was of everything supernatural. “Thank you.”

His father smiled at him. Maybe his opinion of magic had changed this time or he was trying very hard to seem cheerful when presented with his time-traveling son.

“Nobody wanted to miss this,” announced Talia from a corner with a smile on her face.

He saw then the rest of the clearing and the people filling it. All the Hales but Sean and Cora were there waiting, even Deaton was there watching with interest.

“Oh, cool, and where is Cora?” he asked.

Talia smiled sadly. “Hating everything and everyone for not being able to be here. She is too young and with little control to be outside during the full moon.”

“Ah,” nodded Stiles and then shivered. “Oh god, she is going to be insufferable at school.”

Talia and Laura proceeded to laugh at him. Stiles smiled at them both loving and hating them just a little then, but he guessed knowing future Cora that they were going to have it worse than him.

“Can we begin now?” interrupted Peter walking through the clearing. “I’m starting to feel older with so much waiting.”

“Don’t worry uncle Peter,” said Laura smirking at him. “You’ve always been our old grumpy uncle anyway.”

As the conversation developed into a battle of wits and insults Stiles examined that everything was in order. The clearing was small but free of weeds, cleaned but natural and with the skeleton of hale house visible through the trees. At one side there was a small pillar made of moonstone fixed to the ground where the sphere was supposed to go. There were twenty-nine pillars and spheres in total scattered in the preserve, one for every phase of the moon, and every sphere passed through the same attunement of tonight. Bathing in moonlight and the waters of the land.

The process had been slower than Stiles had hoped but the results were more important and tonight it would be finished, and he had been feeling it take shape since they put the first sphere in place.

It was a magical ward. Most people believed wards to be some sort of boundary, like a barrier of mountain ash, and the truth was anything but. Wards were usually more like webs extending across a space making knots and pulling on themselves until they were tight and could feel even the smallest of intruders be it magic or human.

The pillars and the sphere were the knots and the forest was the web.

Stiles looked at the moon shining brightly and made a quick calculation.

“It’s time” he announced.

The atmosphere in the clearing became solemn. Everyone hoped this worked so they had one reason less to be scared. Laura wandered closer to Stiles and presented him the sphere with both hands.

“Are you sure this is going to work?” asked Laura one last time, fear and excitement tinting her voice.

Stiles sighed and took the sphere. “Yes.”

Laura raised an eyebrow looking at the sphere and moved to where her family was.

“Wait! What do we have to do?” asked Laura panicking.

Stiles stumbled with nothing. He turned to look at Laura.

“Really? I have explained it twenty times already.” Stiles grumbled and glanced at all the assembled. “Raise your hand if you don’t know what we are going to do!”

Their faces, showing various degrees of confusion, were rather telling. Peter was the only who appeared to know one rolling his eyes at the display.

“I do.” Derek announced holding Stiles shoulders.

“You were there when I made them. You don’t count,” said Stiles.

“We don’t have to do anything. Once the focus is in place everything will fall into place,” informed Deaton helpfully.

“Okay, once more from the beginning. We have twenty nine pillars, and twenty nine silver spheres, right?” asked Stiles.

“I knew that, I had to put some of those pillars in place myself.” Laura grumbled.

“Yes,” nodded Stiles pointing at the pillar. “The moonstone is connected to the land, to the ley lines, to the nemeton. And it absorbs moonlight which is what will really power the ward. The silver sphere is a focus, it’s what makes the magic possible.”

It was the connection to the nemeton what had given him the idea and what made everything possible. When Stiles cleansed the nemeton part of the Nogitsune and some other things powers had been absorbed into the tree. There was no danger on what remained and with some careful maneuvering it was possible to tap into those abilities, but he was not going to tell them that.

No, the excuse was that he was a genius, no that he was copying the powers from an ancient being of evil. That would not go well.

“We are just redirecting energy. Once the last sphere the ward will complete,” he said finally and without waiting to be interrupted again dropped the sphere on the pillar.

The forest became dimmer, the shadows extended and there was a sudden wave of fear that flooded the forest. For a brief moment everyone felt as if their worst nightmares were about to become true and every shadow held their end. Derek was immediately behind him holding him between his arms and ready to strike.

His protection was luckily unnecessary for in a moment the wave passed and the forest returned to normal.

Or almost.

“What was that?” asked his father.

The sheriff had his weapon out pointing at the ground and was looking frantically in all directions. His eyes were shrouded in fear and he was sweating heavily.

“Dad! Dad!” yelled Stiles untangling himself from Derek and running to him. “It’s okay. It’s only an illusion.”

“I felt…”

“It was an illusion. Everything is fine,” said Stiles quickly.

“Holy shit!” yelled Laura. “That was amazing!”

Stiles turned around just in time to see all the werewolves transformed and slowly turning back to human.

“Then, is it working?” asked Talia casting glances at the forest.

“It is,” nodded Stiles.

And it was, for everyone in the clearing everything seemed normal but for anyone who entered the forest with bad thoughts –and what was left of the nogitsune was very good at picking those emotions- it seemed as if the forest was darker, stranger, more dangerous.

He had designed the ward with a single purpose. Whoever entered the preserve with the intention to cause pain to their inhabitants would find itself lost, their path shaded by illusions of shadows and their own minds warped. Fear and illusions will guide them through the dark to never find their destination or return constantly to the beginning of their path.

Stiles smiled fiercely feeling the last pieces of the wards tying themselves to the land permanently. He remembered very well what that monster could do, what it made him do, the fear and pain it caused. The loss…

Allison.

It was almost poetic that what almost destroyed them would now protect them.

“Yes, I think we will be fine here,” he said slowly. “And if anyone is stupid enough to try to come for us inside the forest something bad inside the forest well… They’ll never find their way out.”

 

***

 

Scott knew something was wrong the moment Stiles entered the classroom.

His best friend was quiet. Not the sort of barely held together quiet that he managed during class to let the teacher speak, but really quiet. And Stiles was never quiet, couldn’t be quiet. Mr. Stilinski told him so and he was the sheriff so it was the law, right?

Now Stiles only talked with Scott during recess and only sometimes. More often than not Scott was left all alone, and well…

At the beginning Scott didn’t say anything.

After all Stiles had not been exactly right since his mom died and neither had been Scott since his father went away. It was strange nonetheless because Scott knew that Stiles way of dealing with problems consisted in talking your ear out of them and he was doing the opposite. Stiles was an open book and it had always been easy to know how he was feeling. Now it was like he had been changed with some other person. A silent, closed of person who from time to time looked at him with so much sadness and fear that…

But Stiles was his best friend, and if he didn’t want to talk about whatever was happening with him that was okay. They still talked about other things. Stiles would tell him when he was prepared and he would help because that’s what best friends were for.

So he let it go and hoped Stiles would talk to him soon.

And he didn’t, but then as the days passed other weird things started to happen.

Cora Hale started to talk to Stiles for one.

They were at the cafeteria, Stiles was trying to eat something that the cook said was spaghetti but looked like a tentacle monster and Scott was filling the silence with words about games and comics trying to engage his friend. Comics and games, unfortunately, didn’t seem to be interesting to Stiles anymore who only nodded distractedly.

Then Cora was there.

“Derek is broken,” she said directly at Stiles for all introduction. “And you need to fix him.”

Scott was confused. She knew who Cora was but neither he nor Stiles had ever talked with her. It didn’t make much sense what she was saying. He drank some water calmly and tried to convey his confusion to Stiles without speaking.

But Stiles wasn’t confused.

“What? Why?” said Stiles and there was panic in his voice. “I haven’t seen him in a week. He told me he was trying to smell like pack again or something equally mortifying. What have you done to him?”

“Nothing, but after you saved us from the fire—” she said.

Scott spat the water he was holding. “What?”

He knew about the Hale fire of course. All Beacon Hills had known, but nobody had been hurt, so it was okay. And now Stiles had done what?

Cora stared at him like if he was being idiot –which he wasn’t, she was the one saying weird things, but there were more worrying things at the moment— looked at Stiles for a second and then growled.

She growled, like an animal. And Scott was starting to think he was going crazy.

“I don’t have time for your drama,” she said anger dripping her voice. “He told us about Kate and now he is hiding. Fix him!”

Scott watched her go and then turned to ask a pale faced Stiles. “Dude, what just happened?”

“I’m… I’m not sure Scotty,” said Stiles slowly and it sounded like a lie. “But I’ll find out.”

They did not talk about it anymore after that but Scott knew that Stiles was hiding something. Something big, something about a Derek. And who was Derek? Stiles was his best friend and he had never talked about Derek.

Once again Scott let the mystery hoping it was nothing and wishing his friend would talk to him.

Unfortunately that was not the end of it and only a few weeks later something strange happened again.

They were going to Stiles home after his best friend had forbidden him for failing maths and basically kidnapped him. That wasn’t the rare part, it happened all the time. Stiles got an idea in his mind and he didn’t stop nagging you until you agreed with him.

And that was okay. To Scott it meant his friend was coming back to what he was.

Except when they entered the house it looked like a jungle. Dozens of pots littered the place filled with plants and flowers of every class. They were everywhere, in the living room, in the kitchen, even inside the bathroom. There were so many colors and smells that Scott lost himself for a moment in the strange beauty of it.

But it was nothing compared to Stiles room. He had not been there in a few months –since the fire, and Derek, said a small jealous voice in his head— and the change was overwhelming. Terrariums filled the room from the floor to the ceiling. New tables and shelves had been added to the room just for them. And inside every little glass home there were flowers growing or already in full displaying their colors.

Scott was so overwhelmed that he didn’t notice the giant black wolf until he was literally on top of him.

“AAH!” yelled Scott jumping in the air stumbling backwards on some table.

And Scott’s brain stopped working for a moment, because there was a wolf in Stiles room. A massive black wolf with golden eyes that seemed to glow. It was lying down behind the bed and his big ears where sticking over it. That was how big it was and Scott was starting to think maybe Stiles was right when he said he didn’t paid attention to his surroundings.

The wolf stood up and his eyes were right at the same level that Stiles eyes. It moved and Scott panicked when it reached with his big mouth full of teeth towards Stiles…

Just to sniffle at him in the head.

“Derek!” yelled Stiles standing within Scott and the wolf. “What are you doing here?”

Stiles moved a hand to the wolf’s muzzle and petted the animal.

And Scott couldn’t keep his feelings inside anymore.

“This is Derek?!” he yelled in surprise.

It had been weeks since he heard of Derek for the first time and Scott had been sleeping badly because of it. His nights were filled with questions about this unknown person. Was he a friend of Stiles? That was difficult. Stiles was terrible at making friends and even worst at sharing Scott with other people.

Not that Scott was different in that regard, but he wasn’t jealous about Derek. It was just curiosity.

 “Um…” said Stiles turning towards Derek. “Yes…?”

Derek alternated between looking at Stiles and Scott before finally snorting and going back to laying down on the ground.

And just like that all the nerves Scott had had for weeks disappeared.

“Stiles!” exclaimed Scott.

“I’m sorry!” said Stiles quickly. “I wanted to tell you but—”

“I was so scared!” said Scott jumping to embrace Stiles. “I thought you were going to stop being my best friend because you weren’t talking to me, and then you were hiding and you left me alone—”

“Wait. What?” interrupted Stiles, but Scott didn’t stop.

“…and now you have a wolf?” finished Scott. “Dude, how cool is that?”

Surprise flashed in Stiles eyes and then he was smiling at him. One full open smile that Scott had missed from quite some time.

“You’ll always be my best friend, Scotty,” said Stiles hugging him again before moving apart. “Never doubt that.”

Scott though he saw the wolf roll his eyes, but that was impossible.

“You’ve been hiding something,” said Scott. “Are you okay?”

“Yes, yes. I’m okay. And I want to tell you, but it’s complicated,” sighed Stiles.

“Will you tell me when you are ready?” he asked slowly, with fear.

Stiles smiled to him again and it was glorious. “Of course.”

“Okay,” nodded Scott solemnly.

Scott didn’t care about the secret he just wanted to know his best friend was okay.

“And Derek?” asked Scott pointing at wolf. “Is he yours?”

“Um… Kind off?” he said. “Derek is from the Hales but he is mine too.”

The wolf snorted and Stiles started to pet him. Scott stood there completely entranced by the display when he noticed that Derek was growling very low.

“It’s that safe, Stiles?” asked Scott with a hint of fear in his voice. He had seen Stiles do really stupid things but maybe this would be the last.

Stiles laughed. “Don’t worry! He looks grumpy but inside he is just a big softy. Come and pet him too.”

Scott was not scared, he would deny that forever, but when Stiles took his hand and put it over the wolf he almost made a run for it. It didn’t last though. Soon the fear gave pass to bubbling excitement.

He was touching a wolf! How cool was that? He had to stop when Derek attempted to bite him. And he had to recognize Stiles was right. Derek was a bit grumpy, but he didn’t want to hurt him. If not he could have bitten him fairly easily.

The rest of the day passed as in a dream. Not even long and boring hours of trying to solve math problems could stop the happiness that he was feeling. By the end of it they both had a new friend, and they wouldn’t let him go easily.

After all they were both very jealous of their friends.

If the day had finished then and there it would had been a perfect day. If, when he was about to go home, he hadn’t forgotten a pen in Stiles room and had to go back everything would have been fine.

But he did and Scott’s amazing day became a nightmare.

Because the moment he opened the door he saw a very naked kid sitting in Stiles bed.

“…soundproofing, Stiles?” asked the kid with annoyance.

“I said I was sorry!” answered Stiles. “And I didn’t tell Scott because he is a kid and I don’t know how to act around him anymore. It’s awkward and weird. I haven’t tried to talk with anyone else either yet—”

“Then stop being an idiot and—” was saying the kid.

Suddenly the kid stopped and he was looking at him. Stiles was also staring at him dumbfounded and soon enough guilty Scott stared at the both of them hid hand curling into a fist.

“Stiles?” he asked slowly.

“Um…” started Stiles speechless. He looked at the naked boy and then panicking added. “This is not what it looks like!”

But Scott didn’t know what it looked like. He didn’t know why there was a naked boy in Stiles room. He only cared that Stiles was hiding things from him and that some other person knew. That Stiles trusted someone else more than him.

“Who is him?” he asked slowly, feeling anew the anger and fear he had just thought lost.

Stiles didn’t even bother trying to fake he wasn’t lying. He looked at the boy and then as if a bulb had gone on his head said: “This is my cousin, Miguel!”

“I’m going to kill you,” whispered the kid, Miguel.

“Shut up,” whispered Stiles back trying to smile with confidence and failing.

Scott felt the tears started to form in his eyes. Stiles kept lying at him and he couldn’t stand it. He looked at Stiles with the most bounded expression he could muster, turned around, and ran out of the home ignoring whatever his supposed friend was yelling.

Yes, Stiles was hiding things from him and Scott was going to find out.

The next day at school became one of the worst of his life. It was like their roles had been reversed and now Scott was the one hiding from Stiles while his best friend tried to speak to him at every opportunity. And it hurt because Scott only wanted to hug Stiles and tell him he was his best friend and they shouldn’t be mad and forget everything.

He saw Stiles leave school quickly that day not waiting for his dad nor walking towards his home. Stiles was going somewhere else, to the preserve, to the Hales. Scott was sure that whatever had happened to change Stiles had begun with the Hales. And for a moment Scott was conflicted, he looked for his mother between the crowds at the door and came to a decision.

He followed Stiles.

Later Scott knew he would hate himself for no trusting his friend with whatever was happening to him, but he needed to know.

It was difficult to follow Stiles into the preserve without being seen but once inside he had to be more careful. There was only one road in the forest and he had to walk between the trees without being seen. For some heart-stopping moments he thought he had lost Stiles but at the end it worked and he watched as Stiles entered a clearing.

He almost followed him when he heard clear voices coming from inside the clearing. Voices he recognized.

“I don’t care Derek!” yelled Cora loudly making every animal in the surroundings flee in panic. “Mom doesn’t care. Laura doesn’t care. Peter is not even being sarcastic about it. What is going to take for you to get that?!”

The boy, the naked boy who now was called the same as Stiles wolf, was there too and Scott was so confused.

“It’s more complicated than that Cora,” sighed Derek, or Miguel, whatever. “Kate—”

“Fuck Kate!” growled Cora sounding like an animal. “We care about you. And if what mom told us about you having golden eyes again is true, I don’t know why you are being so difficult.”

“My eyes are golden because I let the guilt go!” growled Derek back. “Don’t you get that? I forgave myself for getting you all killed!”

“Imagine how much it took him considering he is always been a mess of complexes,” said Stiles. Derek turned to him and growled in annoyance. “Don’t look at me like that. You need to stop being a sourwolf and talk with your family.”

“I can’t Stiles.” Derek said pained.

“It wasn’t your fault,” said Stiles slowly, with that tone he only used to speak to people he loved. “You did it once, and I won’t let you get consumed by guilt again. I need you Derek. We need you.”

There was a moment of silence as Stiles hugged the boy and suddenly the most heartbreaking howl resounded in the forest. Scott’s heart was beating a mile an hour and he couldn’t believe his eyes. There in the clearing the boy he had met the other day, Derek, was howling. His face was all hairy and weird, and his eyes were glowing a brilliant golden.

Scott thought then that maybe Stiles did have a good reason to lie to him.

“Well, well, well…” said a voice right behind him. And Scott had to turn to see golden eyes, teeth curled into a smile, and hair everywhere. “What big eyes you have.”

Scott didn’t yell like a girl. He didn’t, that’s not what happened, but he did run right towards Stiles feeling his heart trying to escape from his chest.

“Look what I have found!” laughed the werewolf following him.

Because it was definitely that. An actual werewolf was chasing him and he didn’t know how to feel. Scared or amazed. A part of him was positively giddy and calm, trusting that whatever Stiles had gotten into wasn’t as dangerous as it seemed.

“Scott?” asked Stiles in confusion when he walked into the clearing.

“Run Stiles!” yelled Scott, because he was angry with Stiles but that wasn’t a reason to let his friend be eaten.

Derek rolled his eyes.

“Laura, don’t scare kid,” he said and in the blink of an eye transformed into a wolf leaving his clothes behind.

Scott lost his footing and almost fell at seeing that. He knew the wolf! And it wasn’t bad! It was the same wolf, their friend! Suddenly so many things made sense. With a single jump Derek landed on top of the other werewolf making them end up falling in a heap of hair and grass.

Scott stopped and stared as the two werewolves started to play with each other rolling on the ground. They were filling everywhere with grass and dirt and Scott could only glance at Stiles who looked pained.

“You are terrible at this,” groaned Stiles. “How did you even keep it a secret all this time is beyond me.”

Stiles smiled sheepishly at Scott.

“Is that…?” asked Scott, not trusting his voice.

“Yes... They are not dangerous! Just idiots.” Stiles said pointing at them. “I’m sorry for lying to you but it really is complicated. I didn’t want to hurt you.”

And Scott believed him because that was what friends did. Also there werewolves and it was awesome, so who cared.

“Hey, don’t forget about me!” announced Cora before her face changed and dived too into the pile.

They looked like a puppy pile and Scott was for the first time in love.

“Okay! I have to correct that last one.” Stiles said pointing at the adorable display. “They are actually more dangerous than what they seem.”

“Werewolves!” he stage whispered to Stiles, excitement building by the moment.

“I know, Scott,” said Stiles smiling and throwing an arm around his shoulders. “I know.”

Much later when they returned home Stiles explained about werewolves, about magic, about a world so full of things that seemed there all dreams could come true. When he finished Scott knew, felt in his bones, that the supernatural world would be their world.

And while it wasn’t exactly the future any of them had dreamed of.

It was theirs and they would not change it for anything in the world. After all they had made new friends.

And they were very jealous of their friends.

Chapter Text

It was an early Saturday morning and Stiles was already awake. Normally Stiles would be sleeping at the time but after spending months working, and ignoring his friends, both the Hales and Scott had decided they needed a day to hang-out with him and make sure he didn’t go crazy working with magic. Every Saturday morning was now the day when Stiles’ house was filled with people who didn’t let him sleep.

Derek wasn’t exactly a problem. He was already carrying some heavy boxes from Deaton’s into the house, some of the supplies of flowers and other supernatural paraphernalia they were buying in bulk. The druid had to order most of it in their place because none of the people who sold the things would do so to ten years old.

Laura and Scott were sitting on the couch. Scott still absolutely entranced by the whole werewolf thing and Laura happy to show off her claws. Stiles was particularly happy that Scott was taking to the supernatural world so well. The first time he hated all of it for so long, it took months of being a werewolf before finally accepting it. That Scott could smile now and be so amazed by a werewolf was a great development.

Unfortunately, it also had some problems. He had forgotten how impressionable Scott could be at the age.

“Do it again!” yelled Scott excited.

Laura rolled his eyes but dutifully transformed his hands. One by one his fingers changed to become as sharp as daggers and Scott stared at them in awe and disbelief.

“It’s been months,” muttered Stiles. “When is he going to stop being so...?”

“Childish?” provided Derek leaving one of the boxes on the table and looking at them.

“Yes!” exclaimed Stiles. “I don’t remember being like that at ten.”

Derek grumbled.

“Probably because you were still like that at sixteen,” he said walking out of the house for another box.

“Hey! I’ll let you know I’m very mature and shit, dude.” Stiles said to his back.

“Don’t call me dude!” yelled Derek from outside.

Stiles sighed dramatically bringing his attention back to the pair.

“Again!” yelled Scott once Laura had finished transforming for the tenth time.

“No!”

Laura laughed loudly and threw Scott at the couch before starting to tickle him without mercy. And there was something enrapturing at seeing a half transformed werewolf, all sharp teeth and eyes, tickling a kid to death that Stiles would always remember.

“You are going to break him, Laura,” said Derek leaving another box. “He has asthma and kind of needs to breathe.”

“But look at him. He is adorable Derek!” Laura said stopping only minutely in her assault while Scott laughed.

“He is a kid Laura,” sighed Derek.

“I know! And he is so pure and good. It’s like he still believes everything is good in the world, and everyone is nice with everyone. But you are wrong, and you know what?” she said and stopping completely in her tickling looked seriously at Scott. “Santa Claus doesn’t—!”

Something flew through the air suddenly, smacking Laura’s face directly and making her stop talking. She jumped over the couch after the hit, scared out her wits.

“Ow,” she said holding her nose and looking angry at Derek. “What the hell Der?”

Derek looked at her smug. “Stop taking notes from uncle Peter in how to be evil.”

“I’m not! I’m trying to be nice and break his illusions of the future. He needs to know the world is evil and we are all fucked,” Laura said slowly to Scott.

Scott giggled not convinced in the slightest. Or maybe because Laura said fucked and it was that age when Scott still found some words funny. Either way, Stiles doubted anyone could convince Scott to be less optimistic or nice. Worst monsters had tried to make him fall but by the same conviction that made him a true Alpha, he would not.

There were things that would simply never change. Deaton would always be mysterious and hide things. Peter would always be creepy, even if he didn’t seem crazy at the time.

Scott would always have hope and see the best in everyone. Stiles loved him for it.

Stiles rocked in his chair absentmindedly.

“Why don’t we do something interesting instead of trying to corrupt my best friend?” asked Stiles.

Scott's eyes opened impossibly wide.

“Magic?” he asked.

Stiles nodded moving to the kitchen.

“Potions,” he said pointing at Derek. “Something your mom asked actually. She is trying to make friends with the other packs and asked for a potion for healing werewolves to sweeten the deal. They are rare because making potions that affect werewolves is usually more difficult. I thought to do it now given that I’m awake and you are not going to let me sleep.”

“Can I help?” asked Scott excitedly.

Stiles smiled looking at his friend.

“Of course Scotty! You’ll be my helper.”

Scott squealed and Stiles started to organize everything he needed, mourning, that he still lacked the best tools possible to make potions.

He had some good knives, beautiful things that would cut the ingredients without corrupting the properties, but he was still limited to the fire in the kitchen. A small pewter cauldron was one of his first purchases, something crude and handmade that looked like taken straight from Harry Potter. Pewter was not one of the best materials, nor would the cauldron work to make most potions, but for this, it was enough.

He filled the cauldron with water and started the fire.

“Okay, so… Potions.” Stiles said. “What do you know about them?”

“Nothing!” answered Scott.

“That they taste really bad,” said Laura with a grimace.

“That every time you start to experiment with them you ask for weird things and everything smells like crap for a week,” Derek said.

Stiles sighed and placed some jars filled with dried plants over the table while everyone took its place around the kitchen.

“Potions are fairly simple actually. There is no magic involved in my part so technically everyone can do it.”

“Everyone?” perked Scott.

“Well… not everyone exactly,” Stiles said holding one of the jars to the light and showing the interior. A dried red rose still keeping its color.  “It’s all about the ingredients really. Everything you can think of has some magical property, the magic in the potion comes from it, so technically as long as you have some connection to the supernatural or you are in a place with magic it would work. Pretty much every were-something can do this with some downsides.”

“I can do this too? I thought werewolves couldn’t do any magic,” asked Laura suddenly very interested. “Wait. What kind of downsides are we talking about? Because if it any like the stories Der had told me…”

“NO! No, nothing like that,” said Stiles glaring at Derek. “But you can’t use wolfsbane in any potion, neither mountain ash nor a few other things that react against your werewolfiness.”

“Oh. That makes sense.” Laura said.

“So every plant does something magical?” asked Scott bouncing around and trying to look into the glass jars. “How do you know what everything does?”

Stiles stopped in place.

“Well… Eh…” he started. “That’s a bit complicated to explain. There are books which are usually wrong in some way, and you can find some of the magical properties with alchemy but basically—”

Derek coughed.

“By burning kitchens,” he said. “Lots and lots of kitchens and lots of weird ingredients.”

“Yes, basically you have to experiment. Speaking of which I need your blood.” Stiles nodded holding one of the special knives.

Derek sighed but didn’t protest. At this point asking for blood wasn’t even weird anymore. Stiles passed him a clean empty glass and Derek took the knife in his hand. It took just a moment, a quick cut in the arm and before half of the glass was full of blood the cut was already healed.

Scott stared at the wound closing in seconds with his mouth open.

“Wow.”

Stiles smiled at him and moved the glass to the center of the table.

“Blood it’s one of the powerful materials to work with,” said Stiles moving the glass back and forth. “It represents life, that’s it for the most part, but in werewolves, it also has all the properties that werewolves have. Quick healing, enhanced senses, strength, stamina… It has so many properties that trying to use only the ones we need would make this potion so ridiculously complicated it would take a month to brew. Which is why we are going to cheat.”

Stiles left the glass and opened another jar. This one filled with something faintly resembling white crystals. At seeing them Derek held his breath.

“What is that?” asked Laura.

“Something that has its weight worth in gold,” he said showing the crystals carefully. “This is alchemical salt. Very rare unless you know how to make it on your own. It has some magic of its own and helps absorb and separate the magical properties of things.”

He took some of the crystals, big things the size of a finger, but still looking like salt and one by one filled the glass of blood with them until it looked about to spill over. Then, when it was full he carried the glass into the microwave and started it.

Laura stared in a loss for words, unable to comprehend what just happened.

“You are putting the blood in the microwave,” she said not entirely believing her own words.

“Whatever works,” shrugged Stiles.

Laura stared more. “I thought magic was more… magical.”

Derek mouthed something to his sister in silence. Stiles rolled his eyes.

“A hundred years ago you would need crucibles, special flasks to collect the gasses… It looked magical and took hours. This is faster,” he said and immediately the microwave dinged. “See?”

From the microwave, Stiles took the glass, now filled with faintly red colored crystals and no blood. He took them one by one holding them towards the windows, by the morning light the crystals seemed to almost be glowing in hues of red, and separated them deftly in various plates over the table.

“Dude! That’s so cool!” yelled Scott.

Stiles smiled and took various plants from other jars organizing them in the table. Then, before the eager eyes of his audience, he took some alchemical salt, the one still white, and pulverized it into the cauldron. Immediately the water in the cauldron started to boil throwing bubbles into the air.

Everyone was openly staring by then.

“Okay. Let’s do some magic then!” Stiles exclaimed.

Scott squealed in delight while Derek rolled his eyes and took one of the clean knives.

The next hour passed quickly under the careful watch of Stiles. Derek and Laura had some sort of competition trying to see who could cut better the plants Stiles pointed. Naturally, Derek had the advantage there having been helping Stiles for years, but Stiles was not going to say anything bad to Laura. She could be scary when she wanted and Stiles was not crazy enough to tempt her.

Scott for his part had the time of his life throwing the ingredients into the cauldron and stirring the potion exactly as he was told. He did not have any inherent magic, but with Stiles there and the alchemical salt, the potion would not have any problem.

Before they knew it the potion was finished, taking a translucent red color almost like brilliant blood. It looked properly magical if nothing else, but Stiles knew it was perfect the color. It had worked perfectly. He poured the potion into twenty vials carefully crafted to make the potion last longer and then they just fell on the ground, tired, happy and excited that they had managed to do it.

“And that’s basically it,” said Stiles happy, holding one of the vials in his hands.

“That was—” started to say Scott.

 “Impressive,” interrupted a sudden voice.

Stiles jumped in fright throwing the vial in his hand to the air and quickly trying to get it back once he noticed. He failed miserably before Derek, in an impressive display of werewolf cheating reflexes, caught it before it fell.

He turned, his heart going a mile an hour, just to see Talia standing at the door of the kitchen.

“Jesus. You almost killed me!” he yelled. “Why did nobody warned me she was there?”

Derek, who now that he looked seemed as surprised as him, growled at him. “I told you to stop with the sound-proofing wards.”

“I’m testing them!” yelled Stiles. “And your sister asked for them so…”

“Hey! I told you that in—” said Laura.

A terrible howl interrupted the conversation. Talia had a presence on its own without the need for howling, but when she did howl all the attention focused on her. For a moment nobody said anything as the howl finished. Stiles really hoped the sound-proofing actually worked to hide that sound.

“That. Was. Awesome!” yelled Scott. “Do it again!”

Talia stared at the tiny terror that was Scott and laughed.

“Maybe later,” she said and raised an eyebrow at the full vials sitting on the table. “Is that what I asked?”

Stiles snorted taking a moment to get his bearings. He took one of the vials and presented the clear red concoction into the Alpha’s hands.

“One healing potion specially designed for werewolves,” he said. “With this, you can probably regrow an arm in days even if it was burned or poisoned with wolfsbane.”

“I thought it would take more time,” Talia said. “In fact when I asked Deaton he said it would take a month to brew or more.”

“Yes, well…” he said smiling at Scott. “I had good helpers.”

Laura preneed in the background while Scott high-fived Derek. Stiles’ heart melted a little bit at that even if Derek rolled his eyes when he did it.

Talia checked the potion slowly and then smiled.

“Thank you, Stiles. You don’t know how much this will help with the others,” she said. “A month ago I thought to make alliances with the packs in California would take years and we would end having bad blood with half of them. But if we can offer to heal wounds that we can’t normally heal… I’ve never seen a potion like this. Did you invent this?”

Stiles made a non-committal sound and went to store all the materials he had not used.

“He did,” answered Derek.

“No!” interrupted Stiles. “Well, sort-of… Most of it already existed but I made a few additions.”

“Burned a few kitchens too,” Derek said before Stiles stepped on his toes with all his strength… And did nothing but get a smirk from Derek.

Talia smiled at the display.

“Well, whatever it was. Thank you, Stiles,” she said. “Do you think this could help recover someone’s vision?”

Stiles shrugged distractedly. “Sure, it might—”

He froze. His mind went to all possibilities he could think off and they all ended in the same conclusion. At his side, Stiles felt Derek stiffen coming to the same realization.

It made sense. He was one the strongest Alphas in California and had the strongest pack too. He would hold the greatest sway with the other packs, especially if his eyes were healed. Only a year had passed since he lost his vision so he shouldn’t have gone crazy yet.

The only problem was that he was a jerk

“You want to heal Deucalion,” Stiles said in a cold tone.

Talia straightened.

“Yes. It’s that a problem?” she asked suddenly very nervous.

Derek looked at Stiles. Stiles held his gaze.

“He tried to kill us,” said Stiles getting a surprised breath from Talia.

“He helped at the end,” countered Derek. “And everything we know about him before he went crazy Alpha pack suggests he was a good man.”

“He is,” interrupted Talia looking more concerned by the second.

Stiles ignored her.

“He is a jerk.” He said.

“So is Peter.” Answered Derek.

Stiles sighed massaging his head.

It was a risk. A huge risk, one he had been prepared to take to protect their pack when he came back, but one Stiles wasn’t sure they should take. If they were right and Deucalion had not started to kill his pack to grow in power it might work greatly. He was a great Alpha and had a good pack. The other packs had shunned him after he was wounded, but he had worked well with others before and if that cooperation could exist now…

Well, maybe it was a risk that was worth it in the end.

Derek smiled at him already knowing his answers.

“We defeated him once already,” he said. “We are only stronger now.”

“Fine, let’s be friends with the jerk,” conceded Stiles.

“Yes, and speaking of jerks…” said Derek smiling.

Stiles groaned in defeat and walked out of the room followed by Derek.

“Yes, yes. I have a plan for that too.” Stiles said.

Talia watched them go in confusion.

***

Stiles had been putting it out for months, telling himself there was time and he would do it another day. Losing himself in the magic and preparations, ignoring his friends. Ignoring the world and convincing himself everything would be alright.

The day he saw Scott back in class he wanted to run, hug him and tell him how much he missed him. And he couldn’t because his breath was taken away in fear. They were so different now. He was so different, that he was afraid the differences would make take away that awesome friendship they had once. So many things could go wrong…

And then Scott had proved he was being an idiot and there was nothing to fear. Not from his best friend.

Stiles had to accept that. Things may be different, their friends may be different, but they were still pack.

Even if they did not know that yet.

So the day Stiles entered the cafeteria and saw Jackson, Danny, and Lydia sitting together in a table, Stiles knew if he didn’t start then he never would, and his plan to be friends with another kind of jerk began.

He sat in one of the chairs closest to Lydia with a sigh.

They were so young and yet so similar.

Danny was this tiny ball of sunshine that everybody loved as always. He wasn’t hacking the FBI yet –or he hoped he hadn`t— nor was he the man who tracked hunter movements when they went crazy. He was not the man who had helped save thousands of innocent people whose only sin was not being completely human from a band of madmen, but Stiles hadn’t known that man all that well and he relished the opportunity to do it now.

Lydia... Honestly, she was still beautiful and perfect. She may not know how to make self-igniting Molotov cocktails or to hear the whispers of the dead but that didn’t mean anything. Lydia would end up learning it whether he was there or not to be his friend. And while Stiles knew it would never work –and there was nothing, not even death as he’d shown, that would take him apart from Derek— he would always be a little bit in love with her anyway.

Jackson… well, he was Jackson.

“Why are you sitting here Stilinksi?” he asked leaning forwards until his face was closer to Stiles. “This is the not the table for losers.”

He was a jerk. They had never seen each other in the best of lights and while he had mellowed with age Jackson would always be a jerk. Yes, they had fought together, and they had saved each other lives in the future. Stiles would give his arm for the man, but unlike with everyone else in the pack, he would think about it for a few minutes before doing it. At the end of the day it didn’t matter, they were pack and that was always more important than whatever problem they had with each other.

Unfortunately, it was a problem now when he was the one trying to start being friends with him in the first place.

Stiles looked around, faking being confused, glancing at Lydia and Danny before turning his attention to Jackson.

“Oh, sorry!” he said pointing at Lydia and Danny. “I thought this was the table for the smart people but you are here. My bad!”

He got up and walked away hearing the snickers of Danny in the background. Jackson was so surprised he simply stood there not knowing how to react, but Stiles was sure Lydia had smiled there at the end.

As friendships stand that might not have been a great start, but as it stands that was pretty much the only way he saw a friendship with Jackson developing, to begin with. Stiles would have felt worse about it if Jackson hadn’t tried to trip him a few hours later.

He just had to keep going with it.

The next day Stiles was luckier, only Danny and Lydia were sitting at the table when he got there. He put his food on the table and then rummaged through his bag slowly before taking out an old tome and losing himself between the pages.

Scott appeared soon enough looking at the table in confusion.

“Stiles? He asked.

Stiles pointed at a chair. “Sit.”

“Um… Are you—” began Scott not completely sold in the idea. Stiles simple looked at him and smiled. “Right. Um. Hi?”

Danny smiled and waved his hand. “Hi.”

“What is that?” asked Lydia after a moment.

Stiles looked up. “Uh?”

“The book, Stiles.” She said.

“You know my name?” he asked with genuine surprise in his voice. He didn’t know Lydia knew his name at school and his Lydia was too standoffish to recognize it.  “Oh. I mean. It’s an old herbology guide.”

The book wasn’t particularly interesting, it was just something Derek had bought in the hopes he would stop experimenting. It only gave him more ideas. The only important part was that unlike many of the books he had this wasn’t about magic outright and all odd mentions to weird things could be explained as superstition.

Stiles wasn’t sure that introducing their friends to the supernatural was a great idea at the moment. He couldn’t hide it from Scott anymore, but the supernatural world was dangerous and he preferred to not introduce them so soon.

Danny peered over the pages and his eyes opened in surprise. “It’s that written in Latin?”

Before Stiles could answer Lydia had taken the book from his hand and started reading. Stiles smiled inside hoping it would work.

Which was just when Jackson appeared. He sat at the table glanced at the book and glared at Stiles.

“What the hell are you doing here again?” he asked. “I told you the other day we are not interested in your stupid face or your books—”

Lydia squealed suddenly, and Stiles reconsidered again his love for Lydia.

“This is written in Archaic Latin,” she said with an absolute tone of surprise.

“Well, yes. Why? Do you find it interesting?” asked Stiles, smiling without taking his eyes off Jackson.

“Interesting?” she asked turning towards him. “There are no books in archaic Latin. I looked for months! Where did you get this?”

Jackson started to grind his teeth.

“Well. Here and there…” said Stiles enjoying every moment. “I have a box full of books like that actually. Although I have more books in classical Latin and Greek. I barely understand the archaic one.”

“That’s because you are an idiot,” said Lydia without even thinking, too immersed in the book to notice the looks she was getting.

“No, but I mean,” he said taking the book and putting it closer to the middle between the two. “Look at these, what the hell does this mean? I understand the words but it’s like—”

“Fluxweed must be harvested during the full moon to preserve its mutability properties,” she translated quickly and without stumbling.

Stiles blinked looking over the passage for a moment. “Oh, that makes sense actually. What about this one…?”

“Lydia…” tried to interject Jackson.

“Not now Jackson,” she said without looking up from the book.

Just like that Stiles forgot completely what he was supposed to do. Lydia and he lost the entire hour looking between the pages of the old book while Jackson grinded his teeth in silence.

Danny leaned towards Scott.

“Is he always like this?” asked Danny in a whisper. “I mean—”

“Not really,” nodded Scot in understanding. “He has been weird for a while but what am I going to do? He is my best friend, you know?”

Danny glanced at the red-faced form of Jackson who seemed to be trying to kill Stiles with his eyes.

“Yes. I know.” Danny said smiling.

It was an awesome day. Stiles was getting a translation for a truly difficult book –and despite Stiles using Latin and Greek for years he was not surprised at all Lydia knew more than him— he was making friends with Lydia and Jackson was annoyed at the same time.

Even better, the next days when he came to the cafeteria with Scott, Lydia was smiling and pointing at one of the chairs, asking him to join them. Lydia wanted to talk to him!

Who said his plans were bad again? Scott was even sort of making friends with Danny, which given they were both some of the nicest people on the planet wasn’t surprising, and Stiles felt the beginning of the pack started to form once again.

Everything was going to be all right.

And it was until Jackson threw a glass of water over him when he busy talking with Lydia and Stiles declared war.

The great prank war of 2005, as the school would remember it later, would not go into the history books only because nobody ended hurt at the end of it. But for days both Jackson and Stiles did everything in their power to annoy the crap out each other.

In no time the entire school knew them and felt dread of them, for while they never involved anyone else in their war the escalation became worrying after the first days.

When Jackson put glue in his chair one day, Stiles made sure to be especially nice to Danny the next day. When Jackson insulted him, he brought another book to school and made sure to insinuate how Jackson was too stupid to understand what they were talking about and ended with both of them in detention, where they both kept sniping comments to each other all the time and the professor had to let them go to keep his sanity.

Stiles made jokes about him where everybody could hear them. Jackson threw things at him when nobody was looking. One day there was an honest to god food fight that began when Stiles replaced Jackson’s drink with hot sauce.

It seemed the war would go on forever when one day Jackson walked into the cafeteria with one of his school books completely covered in stickers of Hello Kitty.

“You.” He said very slowly.

“Wow, Jackson. Did someone decorate all your books with stickers?” said Stiles glancing at the book.

“I’m going to kill you,” glowered Jackson.

“What? It wasn’t me, everyone could have done it!”

“You wrote: Jackson is a jerk and Stiles is awesome in all of them.”

Stiles smiled. “And it’s true. So everyone could have done it.”

The conversation degenerated from there on. Day after day it seemed things would continue to escalate on forever because Stiles would never back down and Jackson couldn’t accept that maybe they could both have more friends without losing the ones they already had. Stiles didn’t blame him. It had taken him years to learn that.

But right when Stiles was starting to think he was going to lose them all over again if something didn’t change, something did.

 “Look where you are going faggot.” Said a boy tripping Danny and throwing his tray all over the place.

And just like that, the entire school froze. Stiles and Jackson turned to look at the boy and tried to understand what just happened.

There was a boy who had just tripped Danny. That did not compute.

Danny was okay, a bit confused perhaps, but his food was decorating the ground where the boy had tripped him. For seconds there was not a single sound made in the cafeteria as if the world itself was containing its breath.

Then they both exploded.

Stiles wrapped an arm around the poor boy’s shoulders who still didn’t know how much he just fucked up.

“Hey, buddy! It seems like you had an accident.” Said Stiles looking at Danny’s food sprawling the ground.

Jackson stopped just at the other side of the boy who was starting to shudder.

“Yes, you made a mess. Are you okay?” asked Jackson seizing the boy up and down.

The boy shuddered in place.

“You do seem okay! Although my brain must have skipped a second there because I believe you said something bad to Danny,” continued Stiles.

“Your brain doesn’t work most of the time, loser. Who would be stupid enough to insult Danny?” asked Jackson. “Everybody likes Danny. He must have said something different.”

“Yes. I’m sure I’ve heard wrong because there is no possibility this idiot just called— What was it that you said?”

The boy, who by that point was shacking in place, mumbled something unintelligible.

“We didn’t hear you,” said Jackson. “What was it again?”

“I’m sorry,” whispered the boy.

Stiles and Jackson looked at each other unconvinced.

“You are sorry,” said Jackson very slowly and then snorted. “No, I don’t think you are.”

“But you will be,” said Stiles trying to imitate one of the most sinister Peter’s smiles. “I think I still have the stickers.”

“I have the glue,” said Jackson. “Are you sure you are sorry?”

The boy whimpered and nodded, remembering in despair the weeks of war this two had had.

“Well then! Why don’t you start showing how sorry you are by telling Danny?” announced Stiles.

The boy nodded as fast as he could and then looked at Danny. “I’m sorry for insulting you!”

“And?” asked Stiles.

The boy froze looking at Stiles in fear.

“And you are sorry for having thrown his food,” corrected Jackson and then added. “Which is why you are going to give him yours.”

“I’m sorry for throwing your food!” yelled the boy giving his tray to Danny and then running like the devil outside the cafeteria.

Danny, who still seemed out of it by the display, snapped out of it. He looked at his new food, looked at Jackson and Stiles and then gave them the most precious smile Stiles had ever seen.

“Thank you,” he said, scarlet tinting his face.

Stiles looked at Jackson and vice versa as if sizing each other up.

“Don’t be stupid Danny,” said Jackson moving back to the table.

“Yes, that’s what friends are for,” smiled Stiles following suit.

And thanks to the actions of an idiot –who much later they discovered was Greenberg, and Stiles couldn’t stop laughing when he found out— the great prank war ended, and they became friends—

“Don’t think just because Danny likes you, we are friends!” announced Jackson once the cafeteria returned to normal. “You are still a loser, but at least you are not the greatest loser here.”

Stiles rolled his eyes and smiled.

Jackson wouldn’t change, but that was pretty much the biggest compliment he had gotten in both lives.

Chapter Text

A year had passed since Stiles and Derek returned to the past, and the defenses of Beacon Hills were almost finished.  Other members of the Hale family had argued the ward was enough, but neither Derek nor Stiles was convinced. Fear and paranoia guided their thoughts, sleepless nights with blood and dead memories of the pack, were a hell of a motivation to get it all right. The first time none of them had the knowledge or the experience to do so, but now it was another story.

Now they stood in front of the new Hale house and Stiles couldn’t stop grinning.

From the outside, it didn’t look very different to how it was before. Three floors and a basement, same style of building… Maybe it was a bit bigger than the first one, and perhaps more to the left than some of the Hales remembered it but it seemed basically the same building. The differences only started to crop once you looked deeper.

The house was white to begin with and while it had always been white now it was a brilliant white like snow. It was the color of weirwood. Stiles wasn’t sure how much money it had cost the Hales to buy so much weirwood, but it was so worth it even just for the looks.

Weirwood was magical, it was alive even now and thanks to that it could keep wards in place forever or even strengthen then over time.

With so much wood in one place to work with, Stiles had descended over the house like a madman adding wards over wards. From stopping fires (unlikely to begin with given that the wood was alive and disliked to be burnt), to withstand explosions or strong winds capable to shatter trees, and stopping any kind of magic nonsense that a supernatural creature could wield, the house was pretty much safe from anything short of a missile.

Once inside things were different. Bulletproof windows with carved sigils of protection ensured that guns and other weapons could do little. Every room had its own small ward added on top of everything else, including soundproofing. Which despite Derek’s insistence about it not being a great idea, both Cora and Laura had proclaimed a godsend, and given they were teenagers and werewolves could hear everything, was understandable.

The basement was the biggest difference. The foundations had been rebuilt completely, and now they would stand even if all the earthquakes happened a short distance from the house. All the Hales had been there when the elementalists started their work and seeing a few men literally making the stone flow like water before hardening it had left some people quite impressed.

The moment he saw it, Stiles decided to add more wards to the ground for good measure.

Derek held his hand tight and smiled.

“I have to admit I’m impressed,” said Peter walking out of the house. “I have seen a few works on this scale, but not so detailed.”

“I was inspired,” admitted Stiles with a shrug.

Peter smirked. “Yes, I suppose you were. Thank you.”

Stiles did a double take.

“What?”

“Well, there are still a few problems and conflicting wards,” he continued. “The soundproofing doesn’t let you hear anything outside, which is not exactly safe, but…”

“No, no. It’s just—”

You are different he wanted to say but didn’t. Stiles was starting to reconsider who Peter was. What future Peter had passed through had changed him, made him rougher, more obsessed with power. This was not the same Peter that he knew –the one who had gone mad in grief and pain— and it wasn’t fair to compare them.

“Forget it,” Stiles sighed. “Deaton is looking for some way to change that. Although warding isn’t exactly his specialty so it may take a while.”

Peter snorted walking closer to him. He was watching the house as if committing it to memory, as if afraid it may disappear the moment he stopped looking.

“Warding is not anyone’s specialty,” said Peter. “Considering what I believed I knew and what you have shown in the last few days, warding is nobody’s specialty.”

“I’m not that good,” Stiles said looking at him.

To that Peter laughed. A deep tired laugh that seemed to creep over the forest.

“No, you are better.” He said pointing at the house. “Our parents built that house because they wanted my sister and me to be safe. They put wards too. They consulted people that were ‘experts’ in that kind of protection, and when they passed and Talia had Laura we looked for even more of those people to protect our home. I looked for them. Compared to this they were amateurs.”

Stiles stuttered considering the words for a second. It was true that very few warders offered their best to other people for fear they would use it against them, but still… That was impossible.

“I haven’t even received formal training!” he corrected.

“Yes, because there is such a thing as a formal way to learn magic,” said Peter rolling his eyes. “There are no schools and most sparks never learn what they are. The druids are the closest thing and they train their people in lore and wisdom more than actual magic.”

“Deaton has been giving me the evil eye for not knowing the basics!” insisted Stiles.

“Deaton is a druid. They like order and to keep things in their place. Of course he protests for you not doing exactly the same that everyone else has done for a thousand years. You are good, better than most.”

“I—” Stiles began to say and stopped

Because what was he supposed to say. He was good, he knew that, but most of his knowledge of magic was sparse and he knew that too. He had learned magic to keep his pack alive after all –and for a while there to feed himself— but Stiles was perfectly aware of how little he truly knew of magic.

The people they met when they were traveling…

“Stiles,” interrupted Derek. “The people who taught you are weird. We were fighting a war against hunters, nobody who wanted to help in that was normal.”

Peter scoffed. “Half of the contacts you two gave Talia are giving us nightmares. I’m pretty sure one of them was a Hag.”

“Granny Marian,” nodded Stiles.

“She taught him potions. Or well, parts of it,” said Derek snorting.

Peter froze for a second.

“A two-thousand-year-old Hag, one of those supernatural creatures of which there are maybe a hundred in all the world, taught you potions— Right,” he said and then clutched his head. “You know what? I don’t even want to know. I’m a werewolf! I’m not even supposed to have headaches, but you two somehow manage to give me one every day.”

Stiles watched him go back into the house.

“You think we should tell him about the Djinn or the Sphinx?” asked Stiles.

Derek sighed and bent down to kiss his cheek slow and lovingly. Stiles trembled.

“Stiles, I love you and I’m telling you this knowing I’m going to spend the rest of my life with you, but my life was far more normal before I met you,” he said and then walked into the house.

Stiles stood there too surprised to answer until finally his brain came back alive and ran after him.

“Hey, that’s not fair! I can’t kiss you back, I have baby legs! You are not allowed to be romantic when I can’t reciprocate!” he yelled. “And your entire family died before we met!”

“I said normal, not better!” yelled Derek back.

Stiles stopped. “Okay. That’s fair.”

The house was impressive inside. Stiles had only seen the husk in another time. Now it was clean, new with the smell of the forest and nature wafting through the open windows. It was not finished though, boxes and furniture filled the corridors waiting to be sorted, and the paint on the walls was still fresh in some of the rooms. The Hales were still setting everything in place but even so, it was still great.

The entrance alone was a corridor with a big staircase to the second floor and four doors. The door behind the staircase brought you to another set of stairs to the basement warded to hell and back to make sure the basement was not a place anyone could just enter.  The two doors on the right side opened to a bathroom and a kitchen. The last door on the left opened to the massive living room with its big fireplace.

Stiles wanted to wander about, to poke in all the rooms, but Derek was not moving. Paralyzed in place, his eyes closed in a grimace. Stiles took his hand in silence and waited for him to respond.

It took only a moment before Derek looked down at him and nodded.

“Thank you.”

“Memories?” asked Stiles.

“No. Yes, just—” Derek said trailing off with a sigh. “I’m home for the first time in years. I thought it would feel more—“

Stiles nodded in silence. “Can I do something to make it easier?”

Derek smiled at him. “Take the stupid soundproofing ward. It… the silence. It’s like I’m trapped in a cave and I can only hear my echo. I need to hear the forest, the house, the pack, to know this is real and—”

Not another nightmare. Stiles gulped guiltily. If there was something they both understood was nightmares.

“I’ll go tweak the wards,” he said slipping out of the corridor and to the basement as quickly as he could.

The basement was something else. It was partially molded by an Elementalist –made out of the surrounding stone, reshaped in some magical way until it was harder than steel while still being stone— and had a natural feeling it. The walls had an old shimmer and looked like those of a cave sculpted into perfectly straight lines.

There were cages there, steel bars closing a whole section of the basement with padlocks and chains. Protection for the full moon, to make sure they wouldn’t hurt anyone accidentally, not completely need now with the ward in the forest, but Stiles guessed it was better to have it than not.

Outside the cage, though, there were tables and shelves filled with books on the supernatural. In the middle of it on top of its own little pedestal, there was another sphere, not unlike the ones he used in the most extensive wards of the preserve. This one, though, did nothing but make sure all the wards he had added to the house meshed well together and connected with the land.

It was a set of rings made in silver with dozens of glass pebbles embedded into the rings. Each pebble was of a different color and represented a different ward. With the sphere, it was easier to tweak the wards directly without the need for lengthy rituals, just take a pebble out and the ward in question would power down. It wasn’t perfect, Stiles would need to tweak the wards afterward and make sure everything was still working in place, but it was faster than the alternative.

He walked to it and after a quick inspection took a single white pebble from the sphere.

Immediately there was a change as he felt the wards expand slightly in all directions as if decompressing, before setting themselves in place once more. The sounds of the forest drifted into the house again filling the place. Stiles nodded satisfied and walked back up again, hoping it would help Derek.

“Stiles!” yelled Derek.

Or maybe not. He ran into the living room where Laura and Derek seemed to be organizing the boxes.

“Why do we have more than twelve different species of Wolfsbane?” asked Derek holding his shirt to his nose and looking at the box with disgust.

Stiles closed the box quickly. “I bought it just in case.”

“In case of what?” asked Laura. “Oh, wait! Run little brother! I’ll protect you! He only wants to marry you for your money!”

“The faster way to heal wolfsbane wounds is with wolfsbane, and the jokes about us being married are starting to get a bit old Laura,” sighed Stiles.

“Sorry, you are right,” corrected Laura before smiling at them. “Your souls are bonded. That’s more than most people can say!” said Laura.

“Stop! We are not married and our souls are not bonded,” said Stiles. “Yet.”

Derek dropped something in the ground that shattered in a million pieces. “What.”

“Hey! I can be romantic too!”

“Stiles…” said Derek very slowly.

“Not the marrying part! Well… that too, maybe, if we don’t have to spend the rest of our lives running around I’m not going to let you die again. So I was thinking to hold a piece of each other’s soul and that way if one of us dies we can do the same thing your cheating uncle did.”

Stiles' cheeks tinted red. Laura was dying of laughter somewhere in the background. It’s not like he knew how to accomplish any of that, but it would be a lie to say he had not thought about it. He just didn’t think too much about it, just bought a few books about relates topics for research.

And called a banshee.

And a necromancer, one of the ones who communicate with the dead, not the ones who animate bodies as weapons.

Okay, so maybe he’d thought about it a bit more than it was normal, but it was purely academical.

Laura was still laughing loudly when Talia entered the room. She took one glance at the room, sighed dramatically, and ignored them. Deaton followed behind her holding some big box between his hands.

“Stiles,” said Talia smiling. “I’m glad you are here. We were going to call you. We just finished plating the last trees.”

Stiles perked and glanced at Deaton. “All of them?”

“All three hundred trees of mountain ash, yes,” glared Deaton still covered in grime and dirt. “They will take years to grow and I still think so many defenses are unnecessary but it’s finally over.”

Stiles winced. “Well…”

Deaton threw the box in the table and crossed his arms.

“Oh, for— What more could you possibly need?” asked Deaton. “The preserve is completely warded with illusions, this house is more impenetrable than Fort Knox and now we have planted enough trees to physically trap hundreds of people in the forest and further strengthen the ward already in place. Unless you plan to put mines around the whole forest I don’t see how you could make this place any safer.”

Stiles looked at Derek in a silent question. They did not understand of course. They had not seen how the world could change in a second, without warning. Derek and he had, but Deaton had a point, there was not much more they could add to the defenses.

Derek rolled his eyes at him and nodded. “He is right. You can’t do much more to the forest.”

Stiles nodded resigned. He would not stop looking for new things to add in the future, but for now, it would be enough.

“Actually, Stiles, there may be more than one reason to stop,” said Talia pointing at the box. “We found this while we were finishing with the trees.

Deaton opened the box before taking a transparent jar. Inside the glass, there were three glowing balls of light that seem to flutter.

Derek and Stiles groaned in unison.

“Why is there always something wrong with your plans, Stiles?” asked Derek.

“It’s not my fault this time!” defended Stiles.

Laura instead was mesmerized by the lights moving closer to peer at the glass.

“What is it?” she asked in wonder.

Stiles glanced at Deaton waiting for him to answer. Deaton glared at Stiles as if everything wrong in the world was his fault.

“They are pixies,” said Deaton holding the jar at a distance. “They have started to grow in the preserve.”

Stiles held his arm in surrender. “Still not my fault.”

“Pixies?” asked Laura. “The same pixies as in the pixie dust that lets you fly?”

“No. Pixies are basically magic cockroaches that grow anywhere with a huge concentration of magic,” answered Derek trying not to look at Stiles.

“Yep, they are basically harmless. And the only thing that pixie dust does is making you look like an idiot with pixie dust, although—” began Stiles.

Derek tackled him. “No more experiments!”

“But!”

“No, Stiles. I swear to you if we start to float in the air and having tea parties in the ceiling I will rip your throat out. No experiments.”

Stiles threw his arms in the air. “Fine, I’ll wait for when you are not here.”

Derek growled in his ear.

“Can you both focus? This is a problem,” said Deaton interrupting them. “Pixies only grow when there is enough magic in the ambient, and your wards and the nemeton are the ones responsible.”

“I don’t see what the problem is,” said Stiles starting to get confused. “They are just pixies. They may bite you if you get too close, but they are more annoying than anything.”

“The problem is that everything we’ve been doing for the past year is affecting the land, changing it, reshaping it into something different. The nemeton is the most responsible, yes, but you haven’t been taking care of it either,” said Deaton. “After you bonded with the nemeton you should have performed several rituals. I’ve been warning you, but you were too busy, and now it’s getting worse. Last year I’ve had to perform a ritual in Samhain alone just for—”

And then Stiles' brain stopped. “Wait, what?”

“Last year I—”

“No, the other part! I’ve bonded with the nemeton? When?” he asked incredulously.

Deaton looked at him as if he were an idiot. “When you sacrificed yourself to destroy the nogitsune? Did you not use the nemeton to absorb its magic? Do you not feel the nemeton still, despite being miles apart?”

Stiles closed his eyes focusing. The connection was still there, Deaton was right, but he had felt the nemeton since the moment he crossed to the past. It didn’t bother him and it wasn’t dangerous. At the time he thought –he hoped— it was simply a side effect and that it would pass with time, but maybe…

“Well, yes. But— Why didn’t you warn me?” he asked Deaton accusingly.

“I thought it was obvious!” glared Deaton.

Stiles facepalmed and tried to calm down. Sometimes Deaton made him go completely mad with his apparent incapability to communicate simple things. Stiles would swear the druid’s life was dependent on keeping as many secrets as possible.

Derek sneaked behind Stiles and held him between his arms. “Is Stiles in danger?”

“NO!” answered Stiles turning to look at Derek. “It’s okay, it’s not dangerous.”

Deaton nodded. “There is no danger involved, but he does have to oversee certain rituals every year to ensure the nemeton and the land stays healthy. And he should stop casting massive wards all over the preserve. If he does, there should not be more side-effects.” He finished, pointing at the pixies.

Derek glanced at pixies for a second before focusing on Stiles. Stiles winced.

“Surprise, the preserve is transforming into a magical forest?” he tried.

Derek snorted.

“How is it that all your plans end like this?” asked Derek.

“I don’t know, Derek,” Stiles said smiling. “It’s a nice welcome home present at least, right?”

Derek smiled, looked at his home one more time and kissed him again in the cheek. “Home sweet home.”

 

***

 

It began with a note,  it ended with one too.

Isaac clutched the note in his hand all day, never taking it out of his side, never looking at it. He went to school with it, he ate with it, he cried with it. He hid it from his father in fear that he would take it.

The note said simply: I’m sorry.

Isaac couldn’t stop to wonder how the world could keep going just like that. How it was possible that his world had changed so much from one day to another with nobody knowing, or caring. His world was dead, and the people around him smiled, they breathed, they lived.

Well, all of them but his father. His father was especially angry. He hadn’t seen his dad like that since the pool party in which Matt almost drowned before Derek Hale stormed inside his house, took Matt out of the pool, and whispered something to his dad. That night nobody slept from his angry rants and Matt never came back but…

That night also nobody got hurt.

He took the note in his hand, opened and read it again. Just two words.

I’m sorry.

Camden disappeared in the night leaving only two words and Isaac woke up to yells, an angry father who couldn’t stop breaking things, and the silence of a brother lost.

For days he just couldn’t accept it. The pain, the loss, it was too much, and while his father raged to everyone at yelling distance, Isaac got quiet and tried to stay out of the way knowing it was just a matter of time before his father remembered he was still there. His body just went through the motions without thinking, he went to class without really going, and went home without really going.

His home didn’t feel like a home anymore, maybe it never had been.

But inside it was different, inside there was only pain and a question. Why? Why would his brother abandon him?

And in his mind the voice of his father answered:

“It’s because you are useless.”

“It’s your fault he is gone.”

“You should have been the one to go.”

Suddenly he couldn’t breathe, suddenly he felt so lost. Isaac stopped and crouched into the closest corner ignoring the school around him. Ignoring the people that may be watching, ignoring the first rule he had learned living with his dad, to make sure nobody noticed when he was hurt because it always made things worse.

There were tears trailing down his face, and he didn’t notice. There was just pain and Why? He just crouched there and let the pain ride him like a storm.

Until the pain stopped and he felt a hand over his shoulder hugging him. For a moment the hug felt so familiar that he let himself hope, just for a second, that his brother was back. That he had come back and was right there at his side waiting to be a family again.

It wasn’t.

“Need a hand?” asked Derek Hale.

That Derek Hale, who he had only seen a few times, was asking him something and Isaac was trembling and crying in place.

“I—” he tried to say but couldn’t continue, paralyzed, and breathing harder because they had seen him. They knew and would tell and his father would—

“Derek! What are you doing here? I thought you—” asked another voice just behind Derek. “Oh, shit.”

Without warning he was being held in place, the hand around his shoulders was moving him and there was a face right in front of him that some part of his mind recognized despite the world getting dimmer by the second.

“Hey, Isaac. It’s going to be okay. Listen to me, and breathe as I do, okay?” asked Stiles before he started to breathe at a rhythm.

Isaac didn’t understand, but he listened and tried to breathe as he did. It took minutes but slowly the light returned and he started to calm down under the careful hold of the two boys. When the last tremors ceased Isaac felt tired and drenched in sweat. His face wet, smeared with tears.

“What was that?” he asked between breaths.

“A panic attack,” answered Stiles giving him a tissue. “Don’t worry, you are okay. Was it the first time?”

Isaac’s brain was still floating somewhere between pain and didn’t answer. He took the tissue and started to clean himself. It had felt so…

“Thanks. I…” he tried to say and froze.

He had not noticed before and he thought they were alone, but behind Derek and Stiles, there were a lot of people. It seemed like half the school had come to see him lose it. It was bad, really bad. His dad would definitely find about it, and then... He only glanced at the two boys once and then untangling from Derek ran.

He just hoped everyone would forget about it, maybe if he was lucky…

He was not so lucky, though, and the next day he sported a new bruise on his arm. It hurt when he moved it, but it was better than he had hoped.

He was passing through the school doors looking decidedly at the ground, trying to pass as unnoticed as possible, when someone bumped into him and Isaac looked up.

Cora Hale looked at him up and down for a second and then sighed.

“You are sitting with us,” she announced taking his injured arm and dragging him.

Isaac winced slightly and then cursed inside when Cora stopped. She looked at his arm directly at where his bruise was as if she could see through the shirt.

“What?” asked Isaac blinking rapidly.

Cora stared at him and frowned.

“Why are all of Derek’s friends stupid?” she muttered. “You are an idiot. Stiles deals with idiots, so you have to sit with us.”

Before he could answer he was sitting at a table filled with people. He recognized all of them, but that wasn’t surprising after Jackson and Stiles’ war everyone knew them and their friends. Stiles was the only one missing, surprisingly. Their table had become a source of gossip for all the school, and despite some of the most outlandish stories out there they seemed to be good people.

Except for Jackson who was glaring at him.

Isaac looked at Cora, panicked, but she only rolled her eyes and sat at the other end of the table. Jackson sniffed.

“Are we going to keep adopting strays?” he asked Danny. “Since Stilinsky invaded I swear every time I turn around there is someone new.”

“You can keep denying it all you want, but I know you like them,” Danny said.

“I don’t!” answered Jackson too quickly.  “I hate the two of them, but at least they are fun to keep around. Look at him,” he pointed at Isaac. “He is about to fall apart.”

Danny focused on Isaac. He was hunched, looking at his food, and trying to keep himself as invisible as possible.

“I like him,” said Isaac and then held his hand in the air. “I’m Danny, who are you?”

Isaac gulped down and shook hands.

“I’m Isaac,” he said in the strongest voice he could muster.

“Welcome to the table of the crazy people,” said Danny. “Don’t worry about Jackson, he is a lot nicer once he knows you better. He just has… issues.”

“I don’t have issues!” defended Jackson. “I’m the only one normal in here.”

Danny rolled his eyes and smiled at Isaac. He smiled back, maybe it wouldn’t be too bad.

“ISAAC!” yelled a voice from behind.

He turned around, and there it was. Stiles walked into the room followed by two other people.

“I’m so glad you are here. Are you okay? We were so worried when you ran yesterday—”

Isaac cringed at the reminder.

“Yes, I… I’m okay,” he said.

But Stiles wasn’t looking at him. He was looking at Cora who shook her head slightly.

“Are you sure you are okay?” asked Stiles frowning.

Isaac panicked.

“Yes, yes, I’m fine. I just hurt my arm yesterday… It was a stupid accident,” nodded Isaac quickly.

It was a bad lie, and he was usually much better at lying, but the whole thing had him out of his depth. Stiles certainly didn’t look like he believed him, but whatever he was thinking he did not say. Instead, he smiled openly.

“Right, Well we will have to do something about that,” Stiles muttered, and there was something in his voice that Isaac recognized all too well despite the smile, or perhaps because of it.

His dad always smiled like that before he got angry. It was the calm before the storm, and Isaac wasn’t sure why that smile, Stiles’ smile, didn’t scare him as much as it should.

“We don’t let our friends have accidents if we can stop them, right?” asked Stiles looking at the table.

There were nods all around the table, except for one. Jackson got up and pointed at Stiles.

“Who do you think you are?” asked Jackson.

“The most awesome person at this table,” quipped Stiles, and then corrected. “Well, the second after Lydia.”

Lydia smiled at Stiles for one second before going back to ignore him completely.

“Shut up. I’m getting tired of you bossing everyone around Stilinky!” yelled Jackson. “It was not enough that you brought your puppy with you, but now we have even more people here!”

Scott looked up from his food looking around like a lost puppy and then rolled his eyes.

“Hey, Scott isn’t a puppy! He is just misunderstood!” yelled Stiles back. “And you know what? If you weren’t such a jerk people wouldn’t be scared to approach us.”

“Who the hell cares about—“

Just like that, the conversation degenerated quickly and Isaac couldn’t help but ask himself what he had gotten entangled. They were ridiculous, loud, and there suddenly was a hand in his face. He jumped back surprised, just to see one of the people who had come with Stiles holding the hand.

 “Hello, I’m Boyd,” said the boy holding his hand in the air until Isaac shook it awkwardly.

“And I’m Erica, did they kidnap you too?” asked the girl.

Isaac blinked, stunned, and then smiled just a little at the question.

“Yes,” he nodded. “Is it… Is this normal?”

Erica and Boyd turned to look at each other and then at the same time answered:

“Yes.”

Isaac froze. “Really?”

Erica nodded taking a sip of his drink.

“They are nice, weird, but nice,” she said. “I knew Stiles before, but I thought he had forgotten about me. Then I… I just had a really bad day, and he was there, you know?”

Isaac gulped, remembering his bad day.

“Yea,” he said glancing at Boyd.

“Derek saved my little sister,” he said in a whisper. “She just… disappeared one day in the skating rink, and I thought— But then he was there with her. He and Stiles had been helping with things.”

Isaac nodded quickly completely unprepared for that. Even Erica seemed to be taken aback. Inside, though, he was thinking. Were they just helping people at random? That didn’t make sense, who would want to help him? People weren’t even that nice normally, right?

“Yes, they both helped me the other day,” Isaac shared not knowing how to continue. He glanced at Stiles. “Why do you think they are doing it? I mean, people usually—”

Erica shrugged. “I don’t know, but… they are friends now.”

“Friends?” asked Isaac confused. “How can you be friends with someone you barely know?”

Erica and Boyd shared a look and then Boyd nodded.

“They are there when you need them most,” said Boyd. “Isn’t that what friends are?”

Isaac breath stopped, his hand clutched Camden’s note heavy inside his pocket. He felt the beginning of tears starting to form.

“Maybe…” he answered focusing on his meal.

He didn’t dare hope, but maybe…

Just like that his life changed.

Suddenly the Hales were everywhere and with them Stiles, Erica, Boyd... He was not alone anymore but surrounded with people that liked him and wanted him. More than that, they seemed focused on making sure he didn’t spend more time than what was possible alone.

The first time Derek showed up at his house to drive him to school his dad almost had a heart-attack, and every day since one of the Hales had chosen to take him. In school, there was not a single moment that one of them wasn’t there, and there was always a hilarious discussion within Jackson and Stiles over some pointless thing that Isaac couldn’t help but laugh.

But the best of it was that every day when school finished, there was always something to do. Every day they were in someone’s home to finish homework or play games, things he had done with his brother, things he missed.

Things that had ended with Camden and he thought—

He wanted to yell, to ask why they were all being so nice to him. He didn’t deserve nice. He always made things worse. But he did not ask, and he did not yell, maybe because he was too scared to do so or maybe because he was starting to believe that he didn’t deserve the pain.

Maybe little by little, he was forgetting how to be sad all the time.

He did not go home until late, he stayed with his friends and there was always some adult driving him which meant his dad couldn’t hurt him for fear that someone would notice. He still raged and yelled, and one day Jackson –who was much less of an asshole he had believed at the beginning, and lived close enough to hear his dad yell all the time— walked to his door and asked:

“Are you training for a singing show? Because if you are, you are doing it wrong, and everyone else wants to sleep.”

He almost expected his dad to kill him, but instead, he did nothing. Silence.

Isaac couldn’t stop smiling –at least inside— all night after that.

Lunch wasn’t less tense than it always was –his dad being completely silent was unnerving— but it was nicer than he ever remembered.

It was almost a peaceful night.

It was refreshing…

It was—

“So…” drabbled his father with a smile in his face. “You have some new friends.”

Isaac stiffened and relaxed almost imperceptibly. “Yes, dad.”

His father nodded distractedly. “I barely see you anymore. You only come here at night for dinner and to sleep. Where do you eat the rest of the day, uh?”

“They invite me,” answered Isaac.

“They invite you?” asked his dad laughing. “Every day? Well! They must very nice friends, then.”

Isaac shrugged. “Some of them.”

His father smiled, his eyes bored into him, and Isaac had to use every ounce of self-control not to squirm.

“Are you nervous Isaac? Have you forgotten to tell me anything?”

Isaac shook his head.

“Are you sure?” his dad asked again. “Because the other day I found this.”

Isaac world crumbled. His father threw the note –Camden’s message— into the table, it was ugly, tear-stained, and odd-colored from being in his hands all day. Isaac had forgotten all about the note in the past week because he had friends because he was happy and he relished every moment he was not remembering his lost brother.

And now…

“I’m sorry,” he whispered trembling.

His father got up in a single movement making the chair fall to the ground loudly.

“You are sorry?” he asked. “Do you really think I don’t know what you are doing?”

“I’m sorry, dad, please,” said Isaac looking at the floor.

There was an arm around him.

“It’s okay, It’s okay, Isaac. You made a mistake, it happens,” he said hugging him. “But now I have to punish you. You know that, right? I wouldn’t be a good father if I didn’t.”

Isaac was so scared he didn’t feel his father carrying him into the basement. He barely saw the old freezer being opened and the claw marks engraved into the door from the inside. He only heard his father at the end when he was thrown inside the freezer.

“It didn’t quite work with your brother, but we will see if this teaches you not to lie to your father.”

Then darkness.

Isaac would never know how much time he passed inside the freezer. He never knew how much time it took him to understand he was trapped, how much time to feel the walls trapping him and the oxygen leaving him. He never knew when he started to yell, and he never knew when he lost his voice. He never felt his nails bleed over the freezer door as he tried to dig his way out, nor when it started to feel like he was freezing.

He only knew he was alone.

Until he wasn’t.

Until he was carried out of the freezer by warm arms and outside than outside house. Until he saw his dad pinned to the ground by Mr. Stilinsky as more police entered the basement.

He lost consciousness in Derek’s arms wishing he was not dreaming.

Later when he woke up in the hospital, he knew it wasn’t. Derek was sprawled in a chair with Stiles coiling around him like an octopus.

In the corner, on top of the table, there was a note with only two words written lots of times by different people.

Get well.

Isaac smiled, because maybe…

Maybe he just wanted to smile and laugh with his friends, and maybe even if his brother was gone he still had a family.

Maybe he still had a home.

Chapter Text

Derek breathed in slowly, focusing on the scent of Stiles remaining in his clothes to calm down. After hours in that room, he wanted to rip someone out. He wanted to make that bastard hurt.

Instead, he ran as a wolf further into the forest, trying to keep his mind from Isaac.

He had been so sure it would all work out. For months he had been keeping a look on them in the shadows. Never showing himself but making sure they were all right. Correcting the little things he could without anyone knowing.

Derek knew their story. They had told him as much as they were ready to share in another life. Their fears, their hopes, the things that plagued their nightmares. The moments that broke them.

Their particular version of his fire.

For a while, he tried to do it in secret, scared that he would do more damage than good. And it had worked, for a while.

Then, Boyd’s sister almost…

He had not been close at the time but had heard the cry of help even from a distance. He heard Boyd yell the moment he lost her sister and Derek had seen red. It had been the work of a few minutes to follow the scent back to a van and a man guiding the little girl inside.

It had been easy, so easy to find her before it happened.

It had been far more difficult to control himself from clawing the man until there was nothing left but pieces. But then he had thought of Stiles and his dad, the sheriff, who would never forgive him. It was one thing to solve supernatural problems with claws and teeth because there was nothing else that could take care of them, but normal humans…

In the end, he had rescued the little girl and only accidentally broke the man’s arm before calling the sheriff. It had not been a good day then, but seeing Boyd smile had been worth it.

Then Stiles had found out, then Erica had an epilepsy attack, and then…

As always Stiles had the worst plans possible. In only a few months Derek had passed from being a stalker following them around, to be around them almost like an older brother. He didn’t even notice when it started and suddenly they were there, laughing at Stiles and Jackson’s antics, being pack.

And Derek… Derek had thought it would all work out. Instead, Isaac was hurt and he wanted to kill something.

He breathed again deeply listening on the sounds of the forest –and the feeling of the pack, safety, and Stiles that seemed to permeate the preserve since the wards— trying to calm down until he caught the sound of footsteps and the smell.

Derek sighed and transformed back into a human.

It did not take long before Stiles appeared between the trees and threw an arm around his shoulders.

“He will be fine,” said Stiles smiling sadly.

Derek snorted. “He is not fine now.”

Isaac’s body was less in pain than it was exhausted. He had taken the pain away, but his body was fine. The only part that looked bad was his hands, bloody from trying to claw his way out of the freezer.

It was his mind what worried him, that was a kind of pain he couldn’t take.

“You were looking out for them,” pointed Stiles.

Derek nodded like if it was the most common thing in the world. “They are my responsibility.”

“You—” began Stiles before cutting himself, “are the most romantic idiot in the world. Isaac is not your responsibility. Erica and Boyd aren’t your responsibility. You bit them in another life, not—”

“I bit them, I—”

“You were not responsible for their deaths!” shouted Stiles.

Derek shrank. That was a lie, he knew but didn’t say. Stiles was amazing in every other thing but he couldn’t understand that. Nobody but an alpha could understand the feelings that came with making a beta. His mother may not have expected him to be an Alpha but he had taught him all the same. The moment he bit them they were his responsibility to keep safe and he had failed.

“They are pack, everything else doesn’t matter,” he said instead.

Stiles held his eyes for a moment and snorted.

“No, I guess it doesn’t,” he said breathing in slowly. “But he is going to be fine. Isaac is one of the strongest people I know, and last time he managed to move on from his dad after years of this crap.”

Derek sighed. “He still loved him. His father was his anchor, even after all.”

“It’s his dad, and you still love Peter despite everything,” pointed Stiles. “At least he won’t have to deal with that anymore.”

Derek closed his eyes. The things they did for love.

“What about his father then?” asked Derek. “Is he…?”

“Oh, yeah,” nodded Stiles. “They found so much evidence of abuse he is going to spend a lot of time in prison. Jackson’s dad pretty much wants to crucify him on trial. Of course, the biggest problem is my dad.”

Derek trembled a little thinking back at the expression of the sheriff when he saw Derek take Isaac out of the freezer.

“What does he want to do with the man?” he asked.

“With him? Nothing, he is happy with however many years he spends in prison,” said Stiles. “The problem is that he wants to adopt Isaac.”

Derek did a double take. “What?”

“Melissa wants to adopt him too,” smiled Stiles. “And I’m pretty sure I head your mom discussing the possibility.”

“No, that’s just—”

“If we don’t do something about it they’ll start hitting each other for the custody,” said Stiles laughing.

That more than anything gave Derek’s pause, he completely believed that his mom would fight for it and be terrifying. Derek had talked about them so constantly when recounting his future that his mother already loved them.

“It’ll be okay Der,” smiled Stiles. “Just stop believing they are going to break if you are not watching over them and let’s go back with Isaac.”

Derek nodded but didn’t believe it. Things had been going too well lately and Derek had been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This just felt like the beginning of everything starting to go wrong again. It wasn’t just Isaac. Laura wanted to go to college like she never could in another life and Derek was terrified of leaving her out his sight.

He was proven wrong the moment they came to Isaac’s room and everyone was there. For a moment Derek wondered if his little excursion had taken longer than he thought but no. Just a few hours of running to calm himself down and now the room was filled with teenagers.

He could even hear the quick discussion that was taking place inside:

“Please, please, mom,” pleaded Scott.

There was a moment of silence followed by a sigh from Melissa.

“Okay, boys. You can all stay here for an hour but after that, you are all out,” she said. “And when I say out I mean out, no crying, pleading or puppy faces. Do you understand that Scott?”

A ruffle followed by the door opening.

“Like you are going to throw us out,” snorted Jackson.

“Listen, dumbass,” said Melissa pausing. “I don’t care if you are his friend or if your father is taking care of all the legal crap out there. When I tell you to get out you will get out or I will kick your ass screaming out of the hospital.”

With that, she got out of the room and there was silence again in the room.

“Your mom is terrifying,” said Isaac with a gravelly voice.

“Yes, she is awesome,” answered Scott.

Derek’s heart gave a jump in surprise at hearing Isaac awake and couldn’t help but ran to the door. Inside were all the kids Stiles and he had sworn to help and get back. The people that had fought with them, bleed with them, and at the end died with them.

Their pack.

“Derek!” exclaimed Isaac taking him out of his thoughts.

He did not really remember moving closer, but in a moment he was hugging Isaac.

“I’m sorry. I should have been there sooner,” he muttered holding Isaac close to him.

Isaac hugged him harder and asked with a raspy voice: “What are you talking about? You saved me.”

“I thought I had more time,” Derek said. “I thought he wasn’t putting you inside a—”

“He wasn’t! That— That was the first time he did it,” cut Isaac looking down and swallowed. “I thought I was going to die after Camden. I don’t even remember much of it. Just you, taking me out and well…”

He raised his bandaged hands with a grimace.

Derek glanced at Stiles. “This was the first time?”

Isaac froze and gulped. “In the freezer, yes…”

Derek closed his eyes and tried to focus on Stiles scent to calm down the wolf. He couldn’t kill the bastard, but at least it wasn’t as bad as he’d thought. He never knew when the freezer started but he knew Isaac woke up with nightmares of it constantly. Maybe he had managed to stop that.

He held tighter and used the opportunity to drain the rest of the pain away.

“You have to forgive my brother,” said Cora glaring at him. “He is an idiot who feels bad for things he couldn’t possibly know or change. Stiles is trying to fix him but we can take him away if you want.”

Isaac’s eyes opened wide. “No, no! I don’t want you to go! You saved me and knowing you, guys, was the best thing that has happened to me.”

Erica and Boyd glanced at each other and then joined the hug laughing.

“Yes, you are all weird, but you are the best!” announced Erica.

Derek stiffened.

“Hey! I was the one who called Derek,” said Jackson immediately. “I saved you too!”

Lydia rolled her eyes and hugged Jackson.

“Do you feel better now, our hero?” she asked.

“Uh…” said Jackson going completely red.

“You are right, Jackson,” said Stiles smiling. “I think we can rescind your status as a jerk to just a douche.”

Jackson still flustered turned and said: “Nobody asked you, lo—”

“Sneak hug!” announced Stiles suddenly throwing himself at Jackson.

“GAAH! Take him away from me!” yelled Jackson as Stiles made a great impression of an octopus.

Isaac giggled.

Stiles resisted Jackson’s attempt until he began to move Jackson to join the bigger hug. Scott quickly joined to help him with a yell until one by one everyone joined laughing.

Derek stood there, frozen in the weirdest hug that had ever happened –and it was Stiles fault as always— looking at all of them. They were so young, so open, so… happy. He looked down at Stiles who held his gaze with a smirk and rolled his eyes.

 

***

 

The weeks after that passed in a flurry of work as he was proved over and over again that things weren’t going to end badly.

In fact, everyone seemed to be happier after what had happened. They had been hurt yes, but they were together. They had each other and the pain they had passed through only made them closer.

He saw Isaac going back to school and laugh with all of them as if nothing had happened. Stronger and unbroken.

He saw Erica have an attack only for Cora to take the pain away as quickly as it happened. To be held by her friends until it passed and keep smiling after.

He saw them all growing happy. Maybe not in the same way they did before, maybe not to be the same people who they knew, but happier.

And that was so worth it.

After all their work. After so many mistakes it was so worth it to know they could give them that at least. A part of him wanted to believe so strongly that they could have a normal life. That after they had taken care of everything they could just… rest. Be together without war and blood.

That one day…

But another part knew they would never have a completely normal life.

Even now, curled in Stiles bed watching him put a pixie inside a tiny glass bottle felt like the start of a dream. A dream Derek wasn’t sure he was ready to lose himself inside.

“You win, they are safe and happy,” Derek said after some time watching him work.

“Yep, they are,” nodded Stiles. “At least we finished with the easy part of the plan.”

“This was the easy part?” snorted Derek. “Our family and friends are the easy part of your plan?”

Stiles stared at him.

“Well, yes,” he said. “And if you weren’t such a self-sacrificing idiot we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

“I’m not—”

“You’ve been moping for weeks,” he said pointing with the trapped pixie in hand. “Do you still think they are going to break if you are not there to hold their hands?”

Derek sighed. “It’s not just that. I thought this whole thing would take years. Instead, here we are. You have finished the wards, all our friends are okay. There is no immediate threat or even a whisper or something about to go horribly wrong.”

“Yep. That’s the nemeton,” nodded Stiles and seeing Derek’s expression he added. “I told you, it brings good fortune when it’s whole and with the wards spending most of the energy it won’t attract supernatural beings. We are safe, for now.”

“Yes, for now, but things don’t usually go that well for us. Someone will eventually catch a drift of what is happening and then—” said Derek. “I’m afraid. Things are going faster and we still have so many things to do. Plus, Mom is stretching herself thin between all the packs and Laura wants to go to college now. I—“

“Oh,” interrupted Stiles turning around. “It wasn’t about them. It was about Laura.”

Derek lifted an eyebrow.

“Remember what we said about talking?” asked Stiles smiling.

“Uh… That I’m terrible at it and I should just do whatever you say?” asked Derek.

“Yes!” yelled Stiles. “I mean, no! Shit!”

Derek rolled his eyes.

“You have to go,” said Stiles closing his eyes, not looking at him.

“Stiles—” began to say, Derek.

Stiles interrupted him holding him between his arms abruptly.

“You have to, Laura will need you,” repeated Stiles. “And I know you wanted to try college too.”

Derek laughed. It wasn’t a pretty laugh but one of pain and sorrow. “Laura never needed me. She is stronger. I was always the one to need her.”

“And the last time she went away from you she died,” said Stiles.

Derek closed his eyes and swallowed. He wanted to deny it but Stiles knew him too well. It was true. For months after coming back, he was checking constantly on his family but especially on Laura. His sister, who was supposed to stay in Beacon Hills for only a week and died.

He didn’t want to force her sister to stay and he doubted he would convince her or their mother anyway.

“And the others? I can’t just leave them here alone. What if—?” he asked.

Stiles tapped a finger against his chest. “You are going in circles. They are not going to be alone. They’ll miss you –I’ll miss you— but they won’t be alone. I will be there, and Scott, and Cora. Everyone will be, even Jackson is going to be there for them. We will look for each other, we will be pack.”

Derek breathed deeply and said in a stronger voice. “I don’t want to leave you.”

Stiles smiled sadly. “It’s not the first time we have been apart.”

“For reasons of life or death not for college!” shouted Derek exasperated.

“There are no more reasons for life and death! We are safe!” said Stiles. “You have to go with her. I want you to go and have what you couldn’t last time. Please, Der, for me. Beacon Hills is safe, and you don’t have to worry about them. It’s going to be okay, but I want you to be happy and Laura and you deserve this.”

Derek held Stiles tighter. It was tempting, so damn tempting, and he knew Stiles was right. They would be okay. Beacon Hills was pretty much impenetrable now. They would be safer than Laura and he but still…

“Plus, you can always take it as an opportunity to make friends with other packs and in Diagon Alley. Sell my potions, start to make us a name in the community…” began to say, Stiles.

Derek chuckled sadly. “Stop calling it Diagon Alley. That’s not its name.”

“It’s an alley where they sell magic things, of course, it’s Diagon Alley,” corrected Stiles smiling. “It could be helpful to know people from there when we need to start looking into the whole saving the world thing. You could do much good there and—”

“Okay, okay, Stiles,” said Derek holding his hands in defeat. “I will go.”

Stiles smiled back. “It’ll be fine Der. I promise.”

Derek closed his eyes smiling and smelled Stiles’ hair. It was a big step for him, they both knew that, but nothing either of them couldn’t survive. And as Stiles said he could still help meeting someone helpful there or maybe…

Derek just hoped it wouldn’t blow up in their faces.

“By the way, you can’t have sex with women while you are away,” said Stiles suddenly.

Derek’s head wiped up in disbelief. “Stiles, I would never—”

“Mostly because every relationship you have had with a woman has ended with them trying to murder you. So… You know, don’t do it,” said Stiles completely serious.

Derek sighed.

Yes, everything would be fine.

 

***

 

It was later, much later when he found out how wrong he was. Almost like if the universe had chosen to play with them.

After months of talking with Talia and everyone, of making sure everyone was ready. Months of preparing for every possibility. Months of Stiles making hundreds of little things for selling or protection just in case.

Laura and Derek were just finishing their new apartment –the same one they got so long ago when they were scared teenagers in hiding— and Derek was hoping to take Laura to all the supernatural places they discovered once.

New York was perhaps one of the safest places there was for the supernatural. There was just too many people, too many places to hide, too many shapeshifters and others. Nobody tried to stir the pot there in fear of what could happen.

Just when Derek was convincing himself to relax and try to live a normal life…

He got the call.

“Yes?” answered Derek.

“Derek!” said Stiles from the other end.

“Stiles, hey. I was about to call you, we just finished moving and we are all okay,” said Derek. “So you can stop—”

“Derek!” said Stiles again and this time he recognized the panicking tone of voice.

Derek’s voice turned cold. “What happened?”

There was a pause at the other end but Derek could hear the other people in the room breathing slowly.

“I… I was looking through my father files this morning,” Stiles said slowly and someone snorted in the background. “Like I have never done in my life because I’m a good son and I don’t ever snoop. But today they were just there and I had to take a—”

“Stiles!” growled Derek.

Another pause this time he recognized

“Someone is cutting people with a medieval sword,” said Stiles in a single breath.

Derek’s heart stopped his breath shortened. He should have known. Everything was going too well, too perfectly. It was just a matter of time before everything began to go wrong again.

“Gerard,” he mumbled. “Is everyone okay?”

“He is not in California!” answered Stiles quickly. “Apparently Kate never told him where she was going to hunt but he is looking for her. Or… knowing him just using her disappearance as an excuse to murder people, but he is not looking here.”

Derek exhaled deeply not knowing he was holding his breath. “We’ll come back as soon as we—”

There was a shuffle at the other end the breath of his mother against the phone.

“You are coming home every summer and you are calling home every day, but you are staying there,” said Talia slowly.

Derek froze. “What?”

“I’m not going to let that maniac destroy our lives,” she said roughly. “We are safe here, you know that you helped make it so, and not even Gerard is insane enough to start hunting werewolves in the middle of New York.”

“Mom. You don’t know Gerard like we do, please,” he tried.

A growl sounded at the other side that made Derek shrink.

“I know perfectly well what kind of monster is Gerard and the worst that he can do to us is to make us abandon our lives for fear. I know what he can do, what he’s done and I’m not afraid,” said Talia slowly. “I just want you and Laura to be happy and live your lives. Can you do that for me, Derek?”

Derek closed his eyes and swallowed.

“Yes,” he croaked. “But can you promise me you will be okay?”

There was silence for a moment and then another change in the background.

“Hey, Der,” said Stiles and he could feel the smile in his voice. “Can you hear my heart?”

Derek smiled softly. “Always.”

Stiles snorted at the other side.

“Then listen to it and tell me if I’m lying,” he said. “We are all going to be okay. The only thing you need to worry now are classes and one day… One day when this is all over…”

He let the phrase unfinished and Derek smiled. There was no need to finish.

“Okay,” he said. “I love you.”

One day when all was over…

Chapter Text

It had been four years since the day Derek and Laura moved to New York and received the terrible news of Gerard, but things were almost the same in Beacon Hills. The pack was happy and carefree. Their families were safe, and despite their initial fears, nothing had happened in Beacon Hills.

The most worrying thing that Stiles had lived through in the past years was living without Derek.

It was an early morning and as always Stiles was lost to the world. He turned in bed, dreaming that Derek was there with him and that the constant knock on his door was something else and he could still sleep for a few hours, but he was not so lucky.

“Stiles! Wake up! You have class!” yelled his dad from the other side of the door tired of Stiles not answering.

Suddenly Stiles woke up and remembered where he was, he turned to look around for a second, blanched and ran to the door stumbling with something in the way and yelping in pain.

“Dad!” he said opening the door. “What are you doing here?”

John raised an eyebrow. “I don’t know Stiles, what could I be doing in my house?”

Stiles gulped and smiled. “Oh, right. So… what can I do for you dad?”

John looked at his son for and then glanced inside the room before Stiles moved to block the view quickly. The sheriff rolled his eyes.

“Stiles, I know Derek comes today but you really need to start moving your ass. Shower, breakfast, class,” John said.

“Right, class, yeah! I’m going to do it right now!” exclaimed Stiles quickly before closing the door on his dad’s face.

For a moment there was silence. Stiles stood there in front of the door holding his breath, then he turned to the room and the very naked Derek draped around his sheets.

“Do you think he knows?” Stiles asked.

Derek winced.

“I don’t know Stiles. Do you think your boyfriend knows I’m going to kill him?” asked his father from behind the door.

Stiles froze while Derek snorted and smiled lazily at Stiles.

“I don’t know dad! I’ll have to ask him later when he arrives from New York this afternoon!” yelled Stiles.

“Whatever you say, son,” answered John.

Stiles waited for some time again before looking at Derek for confirmation. Derek rolled his eyes but nodded.

“How the hell did he know?” asked Stiles still staring at the door.

“You weren’t exactly quiet last night,” pointed Derek.

“We didn’t do anything!” sputtered Stiles pointing at him. “And we didn’t because you are an evil werewolf.”

“I don’t know, Stiles. I remember some cries for God when I started to bit you in the neck and—” smiled Derek.

“Hey! I have a sensitive neck!” defended Stiles. “And some weird fetishes with teeth, but that’s not the point! You are the one who came here acting like a caveman and wanting to make me smell like you!”

Derek laughed, openly and easy, changing to a more comfortable position in bed.

“You look too happy for having been threatened by a man with a gun,” frowned Stiles.

Derek’s smile if possible turned brighter. “He was lying. In fact, he sounded happier than anything else.”

That… was possible. Stiles had not been the easiest person to live with when Derek had been gone.

Stiles’ house was more of a greenhouse than a house by this point, plants filled every little nook and cranny and the kitchen was a nightmare filled with bottles of murky colors that occasionally seemed to glow or change completely color.

The sheriff had been afraid from some time –especially as some of those experiments seemed to disappear when he stopped looking at them— that with Derek away his son might have gone a bit overboard in the whole experimentation thing, but after some time concluded it was probably better if Stiles was focused on that and not in… moping for his faraway love.

“Yeah, maybe I have been a bit irritable while you were away,” he said.

“I have seen the kitchen.”

Stiles groaned. “What is it with you and your obsession with kitchens?”

“Nothing, I’m just scared of getting close to it, but your room is a surprise,” said Derek pointing at the room with a hand. “I thought there would be more books.”

Stiles snorted. His room was clean of most of everything but the plants. Most grimories and ancient books filled with magic and recipes were gone from where they had been in years and it wasn’t because he didn’t need them anymore. If anything, he had only gotten more books since Derek went to New York and bought everything he found every month. Stiles had so many books it had gotten to the point where he just couldn’t keep them all.

Now his room looked almost as it had been once, long ago, before he had even meet Derek. At least, if you ignored the piles of papers that had nothing to do with homework and the dozens of little bottles that glowed in the dark with pixies trapped inside.

“Well, after someone sent me five new books every week or so we have to do something,” said Stiles. “They are all in the laptop now.”

“Thank god, last time I was here I couldn’t pass through the mountains of books and crap you had here,” said Derek.

“Yeah… You should probably see your home now because everything is there,” smiled Stiles.

Derek sighed and stretched in the bed. Stiles took the opportunity to observe him in all his glory and droll to the obscene sounds he made while stretching. He took the opportunity almost immediately while Derek was distracted, launching himself on top of the bed and cuddling Derek like a teddy bear.

“I’ve missed you,” said Stiles smiling and kissing his shoulder.

Derek laughed softly and pulled him down into the mattress.

“It hasn’t been so long,” he said.

And he was right, they talked every day and Derek visited as much as he could, but it wasn’t the same. He was here now and not going anywhere.

“Doesn’t matter. I was going crazy with you away.”

Derek sniffed at his shoulder. “I’ve missed you too, Stiles. But on the bright side, I’m here now and you were right about being safe.”

The whole Gerard thing had been kind of a letdown. When he began his crusade four years ago it had seemed like everything they tried to stop had just speed up and gone to shit.

They had been wrong.

Gerard had not exactly stopped murdering werewolves and other supernatural creatures, but it had become rare after the first few months. Maybe because the packs had gotten whiff of what was happening or maybe because leaving corpses cut in half where the cops could find them wasn’t exactly subtle –and no matter how much money or fear mongering the Argents did would stop people for noticing something was going on— but with time the killings had slowed down.

It was still worrying, and Talia was having conniptions to communicate and help the packs that were attacked but for Derek and Stiles, it was not so bad. They had seen far worse after all.

Only the first months had been worrying, and while they still heard of something happening from time to time, things seemed to be okay in California for the packs. Nobody had even gotten close to Beacon Hills.

“Yes, things have been calm,” nodded Stiles. “It’s a shame. I was hoping someone was stupid enough to try to enter the forest.”

“Only you would be hoping to be attacked,” said Derek.

“Hey, I put a lot effort in making the preserve impenetrable. I wanted to see people crying in despair!” said Stiles.

“Don’t worry Stiles, knowing our luck it’s only a matter of time,” Derek said. “Nothing has come in all this time? No hunters or evil creature of doom? Nothing?”

“Some packs passed by to speak with Talia but besides that… No one related with the supernatural around here that we know. Which reminds me, how are things in New York?” asked Stiles.

In the past four years, and despite Derek’s usual attitude towards unknown people, they had managed to make an unusual amount of friends among the packs and other supernatural that lived in New York. Their success was, more likely than not, unrelated to Derek’s charisma –because his idea of good first impressions was throwing people against walls— and more because of the potions and other magical knick-knacks Stiles had been selling to them.

By now they were well known in New York, and that was a blessing. Most of the supernatural community was there, to begin with, hidden in little alleys and houses that didn’t look anything different until you were inside and found yourself in a forest. The city was the closest thing to the capital of the supernatural and it showed.

Many of the people they had known in another time had been from New York, witches, mages, hags, shapeshifters, and even some rare vampires. In four years and with some help –the Hale name was suspiciously well known in some circles now that they weren’t all dead— Derek had managed to make friends with many people.

 “They are all okay,” said Derek. “You know how they are. Oh, I found Marian just when I was getting back by the way.”

Stiles' eyes opened in surprise. “Really? How? You’ve been looking for ages.”

“She just came to me right when I was about to leave,” Derek said rolling his eyes. “She says that you are getting better with your potions.”

Stiles froze for a second making sure he heard tight and then started to laugh. “I’m not surprised that she would notice.”

“I was!” grumbled Derek. “Apparently she was already aware that someone had fucked with time, even if she didn’t remember exactly what happened. She just came to me like time travel wasn’t a big deal!”

“Well, if I was older than the Roman Empire I would know a thing or two about time too, and not care about it,” said Stiles.

Derek snorted and put his nose to Stiles' shoulder peppering his back with small kisses while massaging him with his hands. “Better not tempt luck. I wouldn’t put it past you to find a way to do that.”

Stiles moaned with Derek ministrations. It had been so long since Derek had touched him like this. He understood really, and it wasn’t like he had many sexual impulses at ten, but since puberty began again not having Derek had been a nightmare.

“What part? Because I think I have proved I know enough about time,” said Stiles completely without thinking. “And the living for so long it’s kind of small potatoes, I know five ways to become immortal. The easiest would be to visit the fountain of eternal youth. We can do that, the entrance is in Brazil. I mean it’s hidden, it only shows itself to whoever is worthy to bathe in its waters and only one person has ever done it, but we can always—”

“Shut up, Stiles,” said Derek massaging him harder.

Stiles moaned. “Yeah, okay, shutting up. Don’t stop that please.”

“You are doing it again,” said Derek smiling at his noises.

“Shut up, you are really good at this!”

Massages were one of Derek’s hidden abilities. There may be people who knew more but nothing beat a massage when the guy doing it to you could drain the pain at the same time he did it.  Slowly, Derek broke him with kisses and massages and put him back together.

“No, but seriously, how did my dad know you were here?” Stiles asked in a moment of lucidity. “Did you bring the Camaro?”

Derek arched an eyebrow stopping for just a second.

“I think this affects you too much. I don’t have the Camaro, Stiles,”

“Of course you have it. That car it’s like five percent of the reasons why I’m with you!”

“Five percent,” he said with a flat tone.

“Yep,” nodded Stiles. “But the leather jacket is like ten percent so…”

Derek sighed and mumbled something Stiles didn’t manage to catch. With a few more strokes he finished, leaving Stiles jittery and smiling at the ceiling in contemplation. He completely forgot about the time because after a moment Derek started to move him.

“C’mon Stiles, you need to go to class,” he said.

Stiles groaned and untangled from Derek, blinking at the room in confusion.

“Why can’t I stay with you all day?” he asked. “It’s not like going to class helps. I already know everything we are doing.”

“Because my family doesn’t know I’m here yet,” he said with a grimace. “I have to go home to make sure they don’t freak out and tonight is the full moon, they need to prepare.”

“Tonight is the full moon?” asked Stiles getting up from the bed and stretched loudly.

“Yes, Stiles, and for the love of everything wake up already,” said Derek throwing a pillow at him. “It’s the wolf moon.”

As soon as he heard the words all his drowsiness passed. Stiles straightened.

“Oh, right, the first moon of the year,” he nodded. “Have you noticed all the bad things that usually happen during the wolf moon?”

Derek snorted. “No, Stiles, I didn’t notice. It’s not like my family died during the wolf moon, or like my sister died during the wolf moon.”

“Hey, my best friend was bitten during the wolf moon last time! I suffered too,” said Stiles and then looked at the ceiling in consideration. “Tonight’s moon, actually, which means tomorrow is when we met for the first time.”

Derek rolled his eyes and moved towards the bathroom ignoring him. Stiles smiled, it had taken years and time travel but Derek had managed to grow from the fire to the point when he could accept jokes about it.

After everything that had happened to them –and what they were surely going pass through— that was a good step.

“Are you coming?” asked Derek starting the shower.

Stiles looked at his room with Derek’s clothes thrown over a chair and then he looked at the bathroom door.

“Yep!” he yelled losing his clothes in a second and running into the bath.

Yes, things were looking up.

 

***

 

Hours later Stiles was reconsidering all of his life choices.

“But she is just so pretty!” said Scott in that ridiculous tone of voice of his only reserved for one girl.

Stiles banged his head against the door uncaring of how much he was hurting himself. The pain was worth it not to deal with this.

“And she is so nice. She asked me for a pen and—”

“Yep, I saw it. You gave her a pen, she smiled and then you smiled, and then Lydia and Jackson made friends with her and now we are here. Oh, and she is very pretty, did you get her name at least?” said Stiles slowly.

Scott sighed with happiness. “Allison.”

It had begun as a fairly normal day. Stiles went to school hoping not to end up sleeping in class, listening to exactly the same things he had already heard once. Of the whole time travel experience repeating High school was definitely not one of his favorites but it beat seeing everyone you loved die, so Stiles didn’t complain much.

Then she had entered the classroom and everything started to go just like last time. Literally. Ignoring that Scott wasn’t a werewolf now it had all happened exactly like last time. Stiles had hoped for a quiet day to spend with Derek, now his mind was churning.

It was like someone had taken a copy of that day and pasted it into the present. It was really strange. The supernatural kind of strange. It scared Stiles. Was it simply a coincidence or some kind of signal? Was it some consequence of the ritual he used to travel back in time? Was it destiny?

And the worst part of all, if that could repeat itself, what more things could repeat?

Stiles looked at his best friend who was still lost somewhere and bashed his head against the door.

He lost the rhythm suddenly when the door he had been banging on for the past five minutes opened and Deaton appeared. Stiles winced, clutching his head in pain he just noticed. The druid looked at Stiles and then at the door.

“I heard it the first time, Stiles, you didn’t need to knock on my door so many times,” he said. “Or did the door do something to you?”

Stiles groaned.

“It’s just this idiot and A—” he began to say but stopped seeing Scott shaking his head in fear. “I… I was just testing the door.”

“Testing the door,” said Deaton.

“Well, you never know when they will stop working,” nodded Stiles.

Deaton seemed to have a momentary aneurysm but ultimately walked inside with a sigh leaving the door opened.

Stiles and Scott followed inside, but Stiles glanced at Scott in confusion.

“Okay. Why did you stop me, dude? I thought you wanted everyone to hear about Allison,” he whispered to Scott. “Or I misinterpreted the last hour of you talking my ear about her.”

“I don’t want him to know about Allison because every time I’m happy about something he makes me work until late,” Scott whispered. “I don’t know if he enjoys making me miserable or its just coincidence but there is a party tonight, and I asked Allison to go with me.”

Stiles snorted. “Great, well. I hope you have a good time then because I’m not going.”

He should have guessed. It was just like the good old days when Scott was stupid and had a one track mind.

They entered further into the clinic passing through the door made of mountain ash wood and Stiles felt the wards protecting the place take shape. Deaton’s clinic wasn’t as protected as the many other places in Beacon Hills like the preserve or all of the houses of friends and family but it had some good wards.

Better than in another time, but still made entirely by Deaton who either didn’t trust Stiles enough or just wanted to keep the mystery. In any case, the building was safe enough for Stiles to conduct business.

“So, uh, how much work is there today?” asked Scott dropping his things at one side.

“There are just a few animals today, Scott, with some luck we will finish soon,” said Deaton opening cabinets and arranging tools over the table before his eyes turned to Stiles. “You, I hope are only here to bring me something and not to play with potions in my clinic.”

Stiles grimaced remembering the last time. He thought it was a great plan, Deaton already knew about the potions, Scott could talk with a friend from time to time while working, and he could stop thinking about Derek.

Needless to say, it hadn’t been a success, but who would have thought dogs hated the smell of potions so much? Werewolves were unnerved but didn’t start biting him.

“No, I learned my lesson,” said Stiles. “I just bring you a finished batch.”

Stiles dropped his bag over a table and started taking the bottles. They were big, wine-sized bottles instead of the usually smaller he preferred, adorned with a symbol engraved inside the glass that seemed to loop around the whole thing in some kind of stylized ‘S’.

His symbol. It made him feel a bit like Superman, but since he started working in selling potions six years ago he had become rather well known in some circles. His potions were a valuable commodity and his symbol a promise of quality.

Deaton took the bottles one by one raising an eyebrow. “More than I was expecting but unfortunately the messenger won’t be back until the end of the week.”

“It’s okay,” said Stiles leaving the last bottle on the table. “I know this whole business can be slow. It’s not like we can sell these on eBay.”

“Perhaps one day,” Deaton sighed taking the bottles in hand and walking to his office. “I was meaning to ask. Should I expect fewer products now that Derek is back in town?”

Stiles spluttered. “What? Why?”

“Well, I assumed you would be too busy with—”

“Nope, nope, nope!” yelled Stiles.

How did everyone find out so fast? And why was everyone so interested in his love life? Scott was laughing so hard that he had to take his inhaler. The traitor.

“Not talking about this with any of you. I’m going to go before anyone says something more to give me nightmares or you begin talking about Allison again. Good luck in the part tonight by the way!” he yelled towards Deaton taking in stride the hurt face of Scott.

“There’s nothing strange about—” was saying Deaton but Stiles was already running.

“Stiles, wait!” Scott said looking around for Deaton and whispering. “You are not going to the party? Everyone is going be there!”

“I can’t tonight, but I hope you have fun with Allison,” said Stiles smiling. “Tonight I run with wolves.”

 

***

 

Stiles got to the Hale house when the sun started to disappear under the horizon. He parked his jeep right at the border between the forest and the house along with the other half a dozen other cars. He glanced at the other cars only stopping at the sight of Derek’s Camaro and smiled.

The Wolf moon was a big tradition of the Hale family and of werewolves in general, many celebrated that moon as anyone else would a birthday. It was a very special celebration for werewolves but above all, it was a night for fun, for running and playing. It was a night for the wolves and almost all packs had some sort of celebration or ritual to it.

The Hale pack, especially Talia, saw it more of an occasion to get all the family together than anything else, and since Stiles was kind of an honorary Hale at this point he had been going to them for the past six years.

Stiles walked into the house and was received by the sounds of every member of the Hale family laughing and sharing stories. Kids running around or fighting for the TV remote. Stiles stood there for a second as people he barely knew smiled at him and greeted him as a friend, as a family, as a pack, and he valued those smiles all the more knowing that in another time none of them would be alive by now.

Now he just had to make sure they remained like that.

Stiles looked around until he found the man he was looking curled in a chair typing in a laptop.

“Peter! Show me your wolf eyes!” he said.

Peter looked at him in confusion but already used to the craziness that was Stiles in a good day complied. His eyes glowed in brilliant blue.

“Satisfied?” he asked.

“Yeah… just making sure we don’t get a repeat performance…” mumbled Stiles mulling over the possibilities. “Wait! Have you felt a sudden need to kill everyone you love to become the Alpha lately?”

Peter arched an eyebrow and smiled thinly. “Of course, every day.”

“Oh,” said Stiles openmouthed. “Right, stupid question. Everything is normal then, never mind.”

Whatever was happening with Allison and the repeating day wouldn’t have a crazed Alpha Peter running around trying to kill everyone at least. He was probably imagining it anyway, it wasn’t even exactly the same day, last time Allison moved to Beacon Hills the day after the full moon, but still… His instinct –or his paranoia— was telling him something was off.

He would just have to figure it out tomorrow.

“Stiles!” yelled Laura from behind.

Suddenly he was flying, held in the air by an overactive werewolf who still hadn’t got he was a lot more breakable that most people in her family.

“Laura, please stop!” he yelled completely resigned to his fate.

“Sorry, sorry. I forgot but look at you. I can’t believe you’ve grown so much since we last saw. You look great!” she said hugging him, then sniffed at his shoulder. “God, you stink. Derek! What have you done with Stiles?!”

There was a faint yell coming from somewhere in the house that Stiles couldn’t catch.

“Nothing my ass!” laughed Laura.

“No, really, nothing happened,” Stiles mumbled. “Not for my lack of trying, though.”

Laura laughed harder before Derek walked into the room ignoring his sister and coming straight for Stiles before kissing the ever loving shit out of him.

“Yes, he is mine, not stop with the interrogation,” said Derek stopping the kiss.

Stiles was confused.

Laura was not, instead he yelled in surprise. “Oh, thank god you finally got your shit together Der. I don’t think I could survive four years more of mopping.”

“I don’t mope,” growled Derek.

Stiles phone chimed with a message. He read it and snorted.

Thank you for telling Deaton about the party!! I’m still working and now Allison is never going to speak to me again! It was my only chance and you ruined it!

Typical.

Stiles sighed and put aside the phone.

“Everything okay?” asked Derek.

“Yes, just Scott being an idiot,” said Stiles. “Did you tell Talia about Allison?”

Derek nodded. “I did, but it wasn’t the best of timings.”

“No, it wasn’t,” said Talia grimacing and walking to them. “If that family is in town… It’s worrying but we’ll deal with it tomorrow.”

Stiles and Derek nodded. If they knew Gerard was in town it would be an immediate issue, but Allison…

They could deal with that tomorrow.

The moon was already peaking in the sky when the Hales finished preparing, most of them wore little clothes or none at all in the case of Derek and Talia. Stiles accepted in resignation a bag with some clothes for later and smiled at Derek as he took full wolf shape.

His phone chimed again when it was about to start with a message from Scott:

Allison is coming to take me to the party! She is so amazing and—

Stiles ignored him.

Then they ran and it was beautiful.

Stiles didn’t have the words to express what it felt like to see a dozen werewolves running in the forest as one. They were majestic figures of black fur and the silver glimmer of the moon filtering through the woods. They ran some in two legs –jumping over roots and trees— or using all their limbs, running like actual wolves in the night.

And they glowed! Faint little dots of light in red, gold and blue barely visible in the night.

They all followed Talia, who along with Derek were the only ones capable of full shift into wolves. They moved as fast as they could, turning around trees until they could barely see each other but for the moon and the scent of the pack. Stiles would have lost them if not for the faint sense the nemeton gave him over the preserve and of everything inside.

He managed to follow them from close enough to see them lose themselves to the wolf when suddenly, one of them jumped over another making them fall in a heap playfully. Other joined quickly enough, rolling over the grass or fighting playfully.

Or as playfully as someone with claws and teeth could manage. In humans, most of what they were doing would have resulted in a panicked visit to the hospital, with werewolves it was just a game. There was some mechanics of dominance and pack involved that Stiles would never understand but the sight of it would never grow old.

Then there was the sudden howl! And it was a deep howl that passed over the preserve like a blanket and was quickly followed by the symphonic answer of a dozen more.

There was a sense of nature, of… belonging, as if they were one with the land, the sky, and the moon.

Stiles was about to join in –not on the mock fighting, he tried that once and it didn’t work— when he felt it, the faint sense of the wards and the nemeton pointing that someone had entered the forest.

Someone armed.

“Oh, shit,” Stiles said.

The wolves didn’t take much longer to feel it. To hear the sound of the intruders amplified by the wards to warn them that they were not alone. Talia’s ears perked and she let another deep howl go before running in the direction of the sound.

Just like that, the party was over and the pack ran as one again following their Alpha.

Stiles followed as fast as he could while trying to get a feel from the wards of what was happening.

Whoever they were, they were close and had entered the woods from one the closest places to where Deaton’s clinic was. He could feel a group of four people, that they were armed and didn’t have the best of intentions. They didn’t feel downright murderous, more wary and resolute than anything, but they were hostile. They knew what they were doing, and they weren’t scared.

Hunters.

Taking direct control over the wards Stiles pushed the boundaries of where they were allowed to move, guiding them subtly towards a patch of mountain ash trees closer to their position. He cheated to the pack by going directly there instead of trying to follow them and when he felt all of the intruders enter, pushed with his will to the trees forming a barrier.

Soon they were all there and he relaxed. They were not aware they were trapped yet and they were not highly armed, just with crossbows. Stiles was trying to see them better in the darkness when the Hales came running through the woods glowing eyes and howls dancing in the darkness.

The hunters reacted quickly, they raised their weapons and banded together carefully looking at the now very angry predators.

It took only a moment as the pack circled the hunters never closing the barrier they knew was already up. Talia Hale walked to the edge of the barrier as a massive wolf with red hungry eyes floating in the dark and howling.

The pack answered and Stiles didn’t need the connection to the nemeton to know what the hunters were feeling at the moment.

Talia changed and completely naked walked past the barrier as if it wasn’t there and only stopped until she was in front of the hunters.

Then, and only then did Stiles recognize the leader.

“Alpha Hale,” said Chris Argent in the most neutral tone the man could do.

“Argent,” said Talia without a hint of anger in her voice. “It used to be a custom to warn the emissary of a pack before moving into its territory.”

Chris, for all he knew how much of a badass he could be, took the full glare of the Alpha Hale without blinking.

“I apologize, we had to move quickly and we didn’t know who your emissary was,” said Chris. “We don’t come here for you.”

“And what are you doing in my lands then?” asked Talia.

“We heard rumors of a pack moving to the area,” he answered easily, almost bored. “A dangerous pack.”

Talia snorted. “We are the only pack here.”

“Maybe,” said Chris. “But we would still like to check. Just to make sure there are no… hidden problems.”

“The kind of problem that needs to be cut in half with a medieval sword?” asked Talia dropping any attempt at democracy. “Maybe one day not long ago I would have believed you, but I’m afraid the hunters have lost any goodwill they might have once. Don’t you think, Argent?”

Chris’ hands tensed over his weapon, his mouth thinned into a line unable to say anything. You could cut the tension with a knife, and Stiles was sure even the smallest of changes could start a carnage.

Suddenly Stiles’ phone went off.

“Oh shit,” he said fumbling with his phone and accidentally throwing it to the ground. “Shit.”

He dropped and tried to look for it in the grass as it keeps blaring Scott’s tone until finally, his hand graced the case.

“Sorry! My bad! God I just had a heart attack,” said Stiles closing the phone without answering. “I’m a bit busy right now Scott!”

Somewhere Laura started to shake and snigger and the tension disappeared completely. Talia covered her head with a hand and let a long-suffering sigh escape. The hunters lowered their weapons just slightly.

Stiles ignored them all in favor of hiding behind a bush.

“I love him like a son, but some days I just to want to—” said Talia to an exasperated Chris. “Are we boring you, Stiles? Because if it’s really important we can wait until you finish.”

“Yes, no. Shut up!” he yelled pointing at Peter who was surely about to say something cutting.

Whatever Peter was about to say, though, was lost in the howl that broke the night. A howl that did not belong to anyone in the Hale pack and came from town.

Talia shifted in place looking at the sky and growling. The hunters turned, all calm lost after the sudden sound.

“It was close!” said Talia and turning to the hunters said. “Give me your word you won’t attack my pack.”

Chris glanced for a second at the other hunters and then stared at Talia.

“We hunt those who hunt us only,” he said.

Talia stared at him for a long second and nodded, apparently having passed her test.

“Follow us then,” she said and changed again running into the woods followed by the pack

Stiles dropped the barrier trapping the hunters and joined them but his mind was away. Afraid that he knew what was happening. Afraid he had been right and the future was repeating itself.

It did not take long for the strange group of hunters and wolves to walk out of the forest and into the outskirts of the town. There was nothing there but Deaton’s clinic and…

The messages, the call.

“Scott!” yelled Stiles running as fast as he could.

There, in the middle of the street was Scott and Allison together. For a second he almost saw them as they were in another time. He was on the ground and she was watching over him with a dagger, looking in every direction for possible enemies.

“Scott…” he said with trembling voice. “Shit.”

“Hey, Stiles,” smiled Scott, hiding the pain badly. “This hurts a lot more than I thought it would.”

There was blood in the ground where he was laying but not much. The only thing of note was the cut shirt and the deep bite on his back of a werewolf.

Chapter Text

Stiles could feel his heart beating out of his chest as they dragged Scott into Deaton’s clinic.

He didn’t notice when they moved or when Deaton opened the door to the clinic, but suddenly they were there with Scott laid down over the operation table. The room was crowded with the voices and yells of hunters and werewolves who seemed about to kill each other.

Deaton and he hovered over the table as quickly as they could.

With one hand he checked over the wound while Deaton moved a light closer. It looked like two mandibles carved over the flesh, every single tooth masterfully detailed to the point he could count them. Definitely from a werewolf, deep and red but—

“There doesn’t appear to be any bleeding,” murmured Deaton confirming what Stiles was thinking.

If it was the bite from a beta it wouldn’t stop bleeding. They quickly checked the eyes and mouth immediately and found nothing.

Stiles closed his eyes breathing heavily.

“Hey, Stiles?” asked Scott in a whisper. “I’m not sure why is everyone freaking out so much, but I don’t really feel so bad. Am I—”

Stiles snorted holding his friend hand.

“It was an Alpha, right?” he asked and when Scott nodded continued. “If the bite was going to kill you, you would be bleeding black blood by now from your eyes and mouth. So yes, Scott, after years of nagging you finally got your wish.”

“Awesome,” smiled Scott weakly.

“You tried to call me, right?” asked Stiles. “What happened?”

“I was with Allison and we were about to go when I heard the growl,” said Scott gulping. “Then I saw the eyes and—”

There was a crash of something breaking behind. Yells filled the air and weapons pointed at one or another. Talia and Chris were glaring at each other with barely contained fury.

“—you’ll tell me everything you know or I will—” Talia was saying, anger dripping from her voice.

Chris for his part was almost as angry. “—my daughter in danger I—”

“Dad! Stop! He saved me!” yelled Allison suddenly.

Silence engulfed the room. Both parts, so convinced that they were in the right, suddenly lost all words.

“What?” asked Chris in a whisper staring at his daughter.

“The Alpha was trying to bite me,” she said looking guiltily at Scott. “He recognized me! It was coming from me, but Scott jumped in the way.”

Stiles moved towards Allison. “Okay! What the hell happened from the beginning? Why are you in Beacon Hills?”

Allison turned to his father and nodded. Chris sighed and after eyeing all the member of the pack left the crossbow in a table with a careful movement.

“For the past months, we have been following a pack that we knew had killed people and was out of control. Unfortunately, they always moved before we get there. Until now.” he said not taking his eyes from Talia. “We received word that it was moving to Beacon Hills and we hoped to trap them during the full moon, but then we were interrupted.”

Talia sniffed. “Are we supposed to believe you? For all we know, you could have driven this pack here on purpose.”

“We have a code,” repeated Chris. “We only hunt those who hunt us.”

“Tell that to your father,” snorted Peter.

Chris tensed. “Gerard isn’t—”

“I think we have an idea of what Gerard is, thank you,” interrupted Peter.

Nobody spoke for a second to busy trying to decide if they were going to kill each other.

“Gerard killed my mother,” announced Allison suddenly and her voice started to gain strength. “Gerard is a monster that used my mother as bait and then killed her in cold blood when she stopped to support him. He lied to me and tried to convince it had been werewolves. He twisted the code to fulfill a sick fantasy of revenge and got more of us killed than any other werewolf pack in a decade. We are hunters, yes, but we follow the code.”

You could hear a pin drop. Talia was staring at Allison in surprise and every other wolf was tense.

“You are not lying,” said Talia taking in a heavy breath and letting it go.

Chris nodded heavily. “If we ever see Gerard again we will make sure he doesn’t get away.”

Stiles gulped. Gerard was a bastard but that was a new low even for him. He remembered how hard Allison took the death of her mother, but this was even worse. At least this time she hadn’t tried to kill Scott.

“Wait, does that mean you are the Matriarch?” asked Stiles catching up.

Allison smiled and waved with a dagger at him. “Of the hunters that didn’t go with Gerard to… wherever he is now. Yes. We only want to protect our people.”

Talia sighed seeming to relax further. “You are not the only one who wants to protect his family, but—”

“Then, believe us!” pleaded Allison. “Because the pack we are looking for, they don’t play nice with werewolves either.”

Stiles felt suddenly cold, sure of what she was about to say. It wasn’t possible. They had changed that future, he was sure of it.

“They call themselves the Alpha pack,” said Chris. “They are led by a woman named Kali and they are here to recruit.”

 

***

 

Stiles threw his bag and sank his head on the closest stand on the stadium blinking tiredly while Scott followed yawning. He was already completely healed, so at least Stiles wasn’t worried.

The stadium of Beacon’s High was filled with players waiting for the lacrosse practice to start. Stiles wasn’t even in the team this time around, but Scott was and he didn’t want to lose the opportunity to join the team despite the night he had passed.

Just like last time.

“Bad night?” asked Danny finishing to put on the equipment.

“More like no sleep,” said Isaac snorting. “They came home hours after I came back from the party and Melissa almost killed me already for being late. I don’t want to imagine what she said to you.”

Stiles mumbled non-committal, Melissa hadn’t said anything when they appeared late in the night with a bloody Scott, and far less when they explained what had happened. She knew, of course, at some point Scott had let the secret slip and they had explained about the supernatural but that didn’t make things much easier.

Scott was once again a werewolf and Stiles hadn’t slept.

One by one he observed his friends, his family as they sat in the stands and his mind whirled. Six years of peace and now this. He knew it was just a matter of time, but the wake-up call wasn’t exactly welcome.

“…Stiles!” said Danny moving a hand over Stiles’ eyes. “Are you okay?”

Stiles blinked wearily. “What?”

“I asked what happened. You weren’t at the party, and neither was Scott,” Danny said.

Stiles fumbled with the words looking for something to say that wasn’t too incredible. Introducing them to the supernatural didn’t seem like a great idea when the Alpha pack was in town.

“He was with Derek,” announced Cora suddenly, plunking down at the stands. “They finally got over their shit and started making out. It was gross and everyone in my family loved it because they are awful.”

“Hey, that’s not—”Stiles began to say and then grimaced. “Yeah, okay, kind of.”

Isaac spluttered while Danny laughed loudly and high-fived Stiles.

“You and Derek?! But I thought…” Isaac said glancing subtly at Lydia.

Lydia snorted. “Please, those two had been eye fucking each other for years.”

“And Lydia is too much of a woman for a loser like him,” chimed Jackson giving a quick kiss to Lydia.

Stiles stared at them. “I can’t believe I’m saying this but I agree with both of you.”

From the corner of his eyes he saw Allison enter the stadium, eye him and Scott for a second and then move away awkwardly. At his side, Scott whined. Shit, another thing to solve.

“So… I was busy and Scott had work. Uh…” began Stiles. “How did the party go?”

Lydia arched an eyebrow in his direction. “It was my party, what do you think?”

“No, I know that!” asked Stiles and when Lydia raised an eyebrow continued. “I mean, did something weird happened? Did you see something out of the ordinary? Something big and black running in four legs?”

“Like what, a wolf?” asked Lydia with a snort and Stiles had a small heart attack. “Jackson said he heard a wolf howling last night.”

“I’m telling you I heard it!” exclaimed Jackson forcefully. “I’m not imagining things.”

“There aren’t wolves in California,” she said with a sigh. “You are all crazy.”

Stiles gulped and nodded distractedly. He glanced nervously at Boyd and Erica barely listening to the conversation. The Alpha pack was in town but they had already beaten them once. They could do this.

Things would not be going the same way again.

Hours later when Scott made it into the lacrosse team in exactly the same way he did last time, Stiles was starting to doubt his own words. It was exactly the same way! Jackson got angry with Scott which was… not that strange but still weird given he had spent months helping Scott to train harder.

It was strange, but there were other things more important to focus at the time, like for instance dragging Scott to werewolf training.

Which wasn’t exactly difficult given how impressed and excited was Scott with his new abilities.

“Seriously Stiles, it’s amazing,” said Scott as they walked to the preserve. “I’m stronger, faster and I have better reflexes! I don’t even need my inhaler. It’s like everything I dreamed. I see better! I can even smell the mint gum in your pocket.”

“I don’t have—” began Stiles and then stopped cold checking quickly in his pockets and finding nothing. “I don’t actually have anything. You are really bad at this.”

Stiles frowned, confused, he almost remembered something like this…

“Hey!” Derek said walking at the edge of the preserve.

“If you say ‘this is private property’ right now, I will murder you!” yelled Stiles.

Derek stared at Stiles for a second in incomprehension and then snorted. “My mother is waiting for you, Scott. Try not to keep her waiting. Oh, and just some advice, if you don’t take this seriously it’s going to be very painful.”

Scott nodded quickly before coming to a stop when neither of them followed. “Wait, you are not coming?”

Stiles glanced at Derek for a second. “Not today Scott, we have something to do.”

 

***

 

Six years had passed since the last time they really fought anybody –if you didn’t count playing monopoly with werewolves that always ended with someone bleeding— but fortunately fighting wasn’t something any of them could forget.

Their problem was simple and so was the solution.

The Alpha pack was in town and they had attacked Scott.

They were here probably to recruit another Alpha, Talia presumably, which didn’t make much sense for she would never join them.

They trusted Chris’ information, of course. The hunters were usually good at finding everything about their prey and Chris didn’t seem so different from the man who had saved their asses and fought hunters to save innocent lives in whatever form they took.

They trusted Chris implicitly, but there were things the hunters didn’t know, and things that didn’t seem to make much sense.

They knew that Deucalion wasn’t part of it, Stiles potion and the increased help other packs in California were receiving had changed his future completely. Now he was running around trying to solve problems within the packs before they appeared and stopping violence before it occurred.

It was nice… knowing they had averted that future at least.

But given that Deucalion was the one to discover how to gain more strength by killing your betas they didn’t know how this Alpha pack had formed. It just didn’t make sense…

Derek and Stiles needed to know more about this Alpha pack, and so they went looking for it.

“Well, on the bright side we did find them!” yelled Stiles over the sound of growling.

The moon was up in the sky and they were running. Derek was behind him drawing the attacks of the Alpha from him, and Stiles could barely keep the rhythm. It had been the short work of a few hours to find the first signs of the Alpha pack in Beacon Hills, mostly because –as they had discovered pretty soon— the Alpha pack was trying to trap them.

“Shut up and keep running, Stiles!” said Derek. “We are close to the preserve.”

One of the twins appeared suddenly from one side and swiped with a claw at Derek who barely dodged out of the way. Stiles threw mountain ash into the air towards the Alpha, willing a barrier to form, but the Alpha ran out of sight before it closed.

“Shit,” said Stiles. “They are too fast!”

There was a howl behind them and without looking at each other Derek and Stiles separated, running in different directions. They knew each other good enough to know how to act in concert when every second counted.

“Help!” Stiles yelled to the air hoping it was convincing.

He barely saw Ennis ran behind Derek as he dived into the woods and focused in the wards. In barely a second he focused on every person inside the forest looking for someone, anyone. The Hales were relatively close, but not close enough.

Stiles sighed. That was going to make things difficult.

A deep howl broke the night again and Derek followed him into the forest losing the Alpha’s sight. Stiles powered the wards around them hiding them and guiding their scent into the woods.

“C’mon, C'mon,” mumbled Stiles.

The Alphas appeared one by one right at the edge of the forest, peering into the darkness of the woods.

Kali was in command of the Alpha pack, strolling highly into place. Ennis joined her at the side like her second, which was not surprising. Aiden and Ethan were behind them keeping each other straight, one of them was bleeding from the abdomen thanks to a lucky attack from Derek but they seemed okay.

He could see the question in their eyes, they were thinking if it was worth it entering the woods. Even if they were stronger than normal Alphas entering someone else’s territory was a dangerous endeavor at the best of times. The Hales knew how to maneuver inside and how to fight not counting the wards they knew nothing about.

Stiles held his breath. For a moment it seemed it was going to work.

And then an arrow passed through Ennis’ arm and the Alphas growled. Stiles didn’t need to be a werewolf to hear the sound of cars moving closer and he swore. Kali looked into the woods for one last time and then howled before running away with her pack.

“Shit,” said Stiles with a heavy sigh.

Two black vans stopped right where the Alphas had been and Chris walked from inside one of them.

“Are you all okay?” Chris asked.

“No, we are not!” yelled Stiles walking out of the woods. “Why did you have to come right at this moment?”

Chris arched an eyebrow. “We heard howling and you were yelling for help.”

“I was acting!” he yelled. “We almost had them! There was a circle of mountain ash ready to trap all of them. Why does this always happen?!”

“Because all your plans are destined to fail horribly,” said Derek rolling his eyes.

“Yes, thank you for reminding me of that,” said Stiles and sighed. “Great! Well, this isn’t going to work a second time.”

“They are not that strong, Stiles,” said Derek. “We’ll find a way to get them.”

That was true at least, they were stronger than normal Alphas like last time, but unlike last time by this point, Derek and Stiles had fought so many things that by comparison, they weren’t a threat. Derek had singlehandedly fought the twins to a standstill in their merged form before Ennis joined the fight and it became too much.

They could fight them, but now the Alpha pack knew that and it would become far more difficult to find them.

Chris was looking at them in confusion. “You were baiting them? Do you know how dangerous they are? Ennis and Kali killed their entire packs for power along with at least fifteen other innocent people. You can’t just play with them.”

Stiles rolled his eyes but immediately shuddered. It was right at that moment when Talia appeared.

“Can somebody explain to me why you two brought four alphas and hunters to my door?” she asked very slowly.

“Uh…” said Stiles. “It seemed like a good idea at the time?”

Derek sighed.

 

***

 

Things started to go wrong from then on. Talia wasn’t exactly pleased with them going on their own against the Alphas and the hunters weren’t happy about losing the trail either. They had been reckless, yes, but it had almost worked.

Almost didn’t count for anything, unfortunately, and now they were both benched.

Neither was exactly on board. Talia was being too careful and slow, but they understood.

The greatest problem now was that nothing was happening. There was no sign of the Alphas and everyone was getting worried. Stiles had felt some probes to the preserve wards of what probably were the Alphas but all the times they defenses worked and repelled the intruders.

They had no clue on where they were and there was little they could do but watch over their friends and hope the pack or the hunters found something.

To make matters worse neither was keen on working with each other. Talia, understandably, didn’t exactly trust the brother of the person who almost killed her entire family. Chris just didn’t think to work with them.

The only thing they could do was to make sure that their friends were okay, which was not exactly easy.

“So… why are you following us Stiles?” asked Lydia.

“You know… Just a completely normal…” Stiles grimaced. “Well, it’s nice to have company, right?”

Stiles was watching over Lydia and Jackson at the moment, following them around as they went to video rental store –because those still existed apparently—  and trying to make sure nothing attacked them.

“You are acting very strange lately,” said Lydia.

“Tell me about it,” he answered thinking back to all the weird occasions she was acting strangely.

“I’m only going with this thing because Derek promised I could choose the movie,” said Lydia.

“And because it’s been years since we had movie night all together, right?” smiled Stiles.

It was certainly a good excuse to keep them all on sight and safe.

Lydia blinked one time in confusion as if she only remembered now. “Yes, right. I’m sure it would be fun.”

Jackson was walking after her and glaring at Stiles.

“Yes, fun. I’m sure watching the Notebook again won’t kill me,” he said.

Stiles was accosted by a constant feeling of déjà vu.

Everything was different sure, they were all friends now and the timing of the Alpha pack attack was wrong, but he was sure entire classes repeated exactly as they had happened last time. The teacher said the same things word for word, the students answered the same way and everything felt like it was repeating…

Jackson had suddenly become more of a jerk than he had in years after Scott entered the team. Lydia was colder, aloof, and for the past days seemed to be trying to hide that she was smarter than everyone knew she was.

Everyone was weird, and Stiles wasn’t entirely sure if High School had some magical effect that changed people.

In fact Stiles felt like—

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

Stiles was running inside the building before the scream stopped. He could recognize the sound in any place of the world. Perhaps not the true version, but a beginning of the real one. It was the banshee’s wail. It was the sound of death.

It was Lydia.

When he got inside the store Jackson and Lydia were frozen in place and in front of was a body clawed into pieces.

And he just couldn’t help but remember that there was something very similar about it, but then he looked at his friends, trembling and scared out of their wits.

Right, there were more important things to focus on at the moment.

 

***

 

The attack had been traumatic for their friends but at the end of the day, it was not their friends the ones who were in the most danger.

The next time the Alpha pack appeared it was trying to attack Cora and since Derek and Stiles were with her at the time it escalated quickly. Derek, Cora, and Stiles managed to stall the four Alphas for only a few minutes before it became too much for them, but that was all they needed.

One moment they were fighting alone and the next half of the Hale pack was there.

Talia dashed into the fight punching Kali, who was the biggest threat, out of the way and fighting her on with his brother.

It was overwhelming.

Peter had always been fast, sneaky. The fire had blunted some of it but it was still visible in the way he moved, in the way he fought. Now, he was a beast, you could barely see him or predict where he was going to strike and along with her sister they were beating the crap out of Kali.

Ennis was busy under the onslaught of Laura and Cora.

Meanwhile, Derek continued fighting the twins. He didn’t even try to pretend it was a balanced fight. Derek fought them like a possessed man beating them without trouble.

It was not difficult, but that could have something to do with the bruises decorating part of their torsos.

With careful hits, Derek tried to take them out without killing them. They dropped, one over the other, hurt but unflinching, staring at the eyes of Derek in defiance with the face of someone who believed was about to die.

Derek didn’t really understand. They were hurt with wounds that didn’t heal, unmistakably the work of an Alpha, but still, they fought. Why?

It just seemed so—

A howl interrupted his thoughts. There were more important things to focus on.

The Alpha pack ran, clearly overwhelmed. Derek hesitated for a moment but he let the downed twins go. He didn’t want to kill them if there was a possibility they were…

“Derek!” snapped Peter walking towards him. “You had them! Why didn’t you kill them?”

Derek stared at him, speechless. That was strange. His uncle was rarely so bloodthirsty, only in that other time after being burnt had he been—

No, there were more important things to focus on.

“I don’t want to kill them if I can avoid it,” answered Derek. “In our future, they ended—”

“They are trying to kill us, Derek!” yelled Peter. “What are you going to do, caress them tenderly while they claw you to death?”

Talia growled. “Peter, that’s enough!”

“Oh, yes, the mighty alpha,” said Peter rolling his eyes at her. “If you weren’t so scared of what might happen if went all out we would have already killed those bastards.”

Talia flinched.

Peter walked out and Derek barely recognized his uncle anymore.

 

***

 

It was awful and terrifying and Stiles felt like he was going to die.

Allison and Scott were together.

He had thought they had hit a snag after the whole becoming a werewolf thing with Scott, but apparently the fact that it happened when trying to save her life gave many points to his best friend.

Despite everything that was happening, it seemed their one true love couldn’t be stopped. Stiles was not surprised, they had the sappiest and adorable love story ever, and everyone in the pack had been devastated when Alison died.

Stiles just didn’t enjoy hearing about it or seeing them.

At least in that regard, things were normal even if it seemed like he was rewatching a movie.

Scott and Allison have a study date together.

Chris has a meltdown and tells her daughter they can’t be together.

Scott and Allison go on a double date with Lydia and Jackson.

Scott discovers again that Allison is her anchor.

Everything the same. Stiles wanted to pin it down to the same strange feeling that everything was repeating itself if it weren’t because he just couldn’t imagine things going in a different way.

Still… there had been too many consequences lately, things that just shouldn’t be…

“Stiles,” said Scott.

Stiles blinked suddenly realizing he wasn’t alone. Both Allison and Scott were there before him.

Right, there were more important things to focus on.

“What can I do for you, Romeo,” he said pointing at Allison, “and Juliet?” pointing at Scott.

Scott sighed and Allison smiled brightly.

“There has been another death,” said Scott. “And we want to help.”

Stiles arched an eyebrow looking at Scott.

“Scott…” began Stiles. “I know your training is going well but you are very new at this.”

“But there are people dying!” said Scott. “Why do these powers matter if I can’t use them when people are in danger?”

Stiles sighed. Scott always being the moral compass for everyone.

“We don’t need more fighters, Scott,” answered Stiles. “We can fight them, but we don’t know where they are hiding and they always end up running.”

“We can help you with that,” chimed in Allison.

Stiles froze staring at Allison.

“Are you sure your father will want to listen?” asked Stiles.

Allison smiled. “Are you sure your Alpha will?”

He began to laugh. Trust Romeo and Juliet to end up finding a way to communicate within the two groups.

He had forgotten so much about her but now she looked almost exactly like in another time when—

No, there were more important things to focus on.

 

***

 

Weeks passed since the first incident and nine people were dead already. Crushed, slashed, murdered by claw and teeth. Without Deucalion, it seemed the Alpha pack was unstable at best and didn’t care about how many people died.

Why were they killing random people? To bring them out of their territory? Well, it had worked.

They weren’t hiding anymore but it didn’t matter, every time they fought the Alpha pack lost. It wasn’t a huge loss, because the Hales also ended hurt, but they had to run away every time.

The Alphas were stronger, yes, but not smarter. They seemed almost feral going after an objective without another care in the world and while dangerous fighters they weren’t up to par. Derek beat the twins in every encounter and it was starting to take a toll on them.

Even worse, if their last encounter was anything to go by Kali didn’t like failure, because the twins wore some painful looking wounds that had to be caused by an alpha and wasn’t helping matters.

The Alpha pack was breaking apart, killing innocent people left and right, and it didn’t make any sense.

The only thing that made sense was that they needed to fight the Alphas before more people died and that brought them here.

“I want to point out before we do this, that I think this whole plan is wrong and we are all going to die,” said Peter sitting in the car.

“You said that already,” said Derek.

“We are about to fight the Alpha pack with the son of a genocidal psychopath,” said Peter. “I thought it was necessary to point out how bad is the idea.”

Stiles rolled his eyes. Peter was strangely irritable lately. He sniped at Talia whenever he could about the smallest most pointless things and couldn’t stop to disagree with everyone. It was unnerving, almost like the old Peter but—

No, it didn’t matter right now. There were more important things to focus on.

“Every time we fight them they end up escaping, I think we need the help,” said Stiles.

Peter snorted. “Why? It’s not like we need to fight them, they can’t even enter the preserve.”

“Because they are killing innocent people?” asked Stiles.

Peter looked at him as if he was being an idiot.

Which didn’t quite make sense. Peter wasn’t nice but even him didn’t think that people dying for them wasn’t a big deal. He might have thought like that once when—

No, it wasn’t the time. There were more important things to focus on.

Talia and Chris opened the door of the car.

“Peter, leave it,” ordered Talia looking angered at his brother.

“Yes, Alpha my Alpha!” said Peter saluting and rolling his eyes.

Chris only glanced at Peter with a boring look.

“My people are ready, Alpha Hale,” said Chris. “We know where they are at the moment, if we attack now we will have the advantage.”

Talia nodded. “We will follow you, but make sure your men don’t get in the way.”

“We know what we are doing,” said Chris, implying they didn’t.

Which… rude. Stiles had been in more fights than everyone else there.

“Are you sure?” asked Peter smiling. “Maybe one of your people accidentally confounds us with one the Alphas. It would be unavoidable—”

Talia sighed. “Peter, you will stay outside making sure they can’t run.”

Peter snorted saluting again.

“Of course, after all, if you want to do something you have to do it yourself.”

The Alphas turned out to be where Derek’s old apartment used to be in another time and Stiles couldn’t believe he hadn’t thought of the place before. The place was basically abandoned by everyone and it was the perfect place to set up a base.

Hunters and Hales entered the building in a flurry of claws and crossbows, ready for anything that might come from them, knowing this could be their last chance to get them. They weren’t exactly well coordinated but it didn’t matter. They were more than the Alphas, they were working together, and the Alpha pack was going down.

Only a moment passed after they entered the building and Kali jumped in front of them.

“And the cowards come to play, but not alone. I never thought an Alpha would go so low as to get hunters to help them,” she sneered looking at the hunters. “Maybe we shouldn’t bother with you, Talia. I thought you were strong, but this…”

“We are strong,” growled Talia. “That’s the difference between you and me Kali. I know when I need help.”

Then they were all fighting and it was chaos. Stiles could barely follow the movements as they fought.

Some hunters were thrown against the walls while Talia and Kali battled each other. Kali seemed even stronger now than last time, but Talia was slowly gaining the advantage.

Stiles ran throwing a barrier around the fallen hunters. They were not going to get up any time soon, but with luck, they would survive.

Derek, Laura, and Cora were about to join in in the fight, they were stalking around Kali, waiting for the moment when Talia opened an opportunity.

Then there was a howl and Scott crashed inside through a window.

“Scott!” yelled Stiles. “What the hell are you doing here?”

They had left Scott and Allison protecting their friends, in his home and under wards just in case. Why would he…?

Scott looked at Stiles, eyes unfocused and glowing. “They took them!”

He was about to ask when Derek howled in anger and drove through the wall breaking it apart. The entire building shook and Stiles could feel the desperation and fear in his movements.

Stiles didn’t even blink at the display. He was running instead, there was only one reason for Derek to act so forcefully, so out of his mind. So…

“ISAAC!” yelled Derek.

There in the ground toppled over the table was Isaac. At his side was Erica and Boyd tied to a chair with a bloody arm. They were hurt but nothing serious. The only thing was the look of fear in their eyes.

Ennis stood over them smiling at the terrified teenagers.

“Well, looks like we didn’t need you after all,” he said to them. “Your friends came here all on their own. Maybe we can have some fun before I kill—”

Derek punched him through a wall.

“I’m going to kill you,” said Derek with barely contained fury and eyes glowing brightly gold.

But then the twins interrupted him and threw themselves at him.

Stiles ran after his friends throwing mountain ash into the air around them and him, protecting them from the fight. They were just too fast and strong to get involved directly.

Stiles could do nothing more than watch as they began to battle, breaking the whole building apart. He glanced at his friends unable to say anything. After all the time they passed trying to keep them safe they ended putting them in danger.

Another howl sounded in the battle as Ennis came back and tried to attack Derek from behind while he was busy with the twins.

Stiles saw it happen in slow motion.

“DEREK!” he tried to warn him.

Laura howled jumping over the half broken walls over Ennis.

“I have him!” she said to his brother grappling the Alpha out of the way.

But it was not enough, the distraction had cost Derek a precious second of concentration and the twins capitalized in that breaking the tie.

Somewhere below things started to go wrong as he heard the wounded howl of Talia. A wall closer to the fight exploded into pieces as Kali flew into the room and the ceiling followed suit.

Derek and the twins didn’t react in time as the fragments of the ceiling fell on them. Derek only had barely the time to move Aiden out of the way from a falling beam.

Dust filled the room for a moment.

But when it was over Derek was holding an unconscious Aiden, protecting him with his body, and Ethan…

Ethan was above him looking astonished holding his claws over Derek’s head.

Time stood still.

“Kill him,” ordered Kali.

Ethan hesitated, looking between his downed brother and Derek. The wheels were turning on his mind, considering the possibilities. To one side were the people who they had tried to kill repeatedly and never responded in kind, to the other was Kali who had hurt them so badly and was not different from their old pack.

“Kill him!” ordered Kali with a growl.

“NO!” yelled Ethan and turning around he attacked Kali.

Of course, it didn’t quite work. Kali was stronger and she simply caught him with an arm and threw him out of the window before anyone could blink. Derek didn’t lose time and ran after Ethan, catching him at the abyss dangling from the broken window.

“If you want something done you have to do it yourself,” she said.

Kali hissed looking at them in disgust and then began to—

“I agree,” said a voice.

Claws flashed and suddenly Kali fell to the ground before having even an opportunity to ran, the blood pouring from her open neck and empty eyes looking at the sky. It had taken less than a second, less than a blink but she was dead.

Peter stood where she had been a second ago, his eyes flashing red. He seemed confused, dazed by the power or something else.

There was something so similar about the picture he made standing there—

But then again, there were more important things to focus on.

Peter blinked at Derek for one moment, watching dispassionately as his nephew hanged from the window trying to save Ethan and then… He ran.

And that didn’t make sense! The Peter of this time was sarcastic but never—

No, there were more important things to focus on.

“NOOOO” yelled Ennis seeing the dead body of Kali.

Talia howled in challenge and success. He was the only one left. The fight was almost over. Chris was readying an arrow.

Ennis growled menacingly and ran after her. Or that’s what they thought, for one second later he changed course towards taking her with one arm and running out of the building.

Stiles didn’t have the time to react before part of the building finally collapsed after the strain of the battle, taking with it the faster way after the fleeing werewolf.

It seemed like too much of a coincidence really almost like…

Talia wasn’t stopped by a mere building collapse, though. She howled and ran after her daughter leaving everyone else behind.

That was strange Talia wasn’t usually so impulsive, and she knew other members of her pack were hurt. Derek was still—

No, there were more important things to focus on.

Except, no, there wasn’t.

He was barely aware of helping his friends get up and out of the building.

Peter was acting strange, almost like—

There were more important things to focus on.

“They have Allison!” was telling Scott with that ridiculous tone of voice again.

Everyone had been acting strange, almost like—

There were more important things to focus on.

He couldn’t think, there was the niggling feeling on his mind that something was going horribly wrong.

“Stiles!” yelled Derek suddenly at his side. “We have to move, he has Cora!”

Things had been repeating like in their future, things that shouldn’t be happening, almost like—

There were more important things to focus on.

There were more important things to focus on.

There were more important things to focus on.

“Come with me,” said Stiles taking Derek’s hand and running out of the building and into his jeep.

 

***

 

His mind hurt but he couldn’t stop, he was afraid that if he stopped thinking about it he would forget again. Stiles drove as fast as he could to his house.

Derek arched an eyebrow when they got there.

“Do you have a new plan?” he asked.

“No, shut up. C’mon,” said Stiles moving faster as the feeling intensified.

His hands were shaking and he was sweating halfway through and he could barely think but he continued.

“This is stupid, Stiles,” said Derek trying to shake his hand. “The Alpha pack is still out there and they have Cora. I have more important things to focus at the moment.”

Derek was almost forceful in trying to move away and Stiles clenched his teeth. There it was again.

His room was open and there was a single forgotten box made of cold iron below the bed. Stiles opened it and inside there was just a broken branch.

“Trust me, Derek, please,” said Stiles holding Derek’s hand as hard as he could.

Something in his voice did the trick and they moved. Stiles breathed heavily holding his hand and Derek’s around the branch of the Nemeton and focusing on the feeling again.

There it was.

There were more important things to focus on.

Like a constant voice in the back of his mind telling him it was not the time, making him focus on something else. He could feel it now when before it had been too subtle, the tang of magic in his mind. He pushed it towards the branch and the magic of the nemeton soared like a tide drowning the feeling completely.

The world stopped and both Derek and Stiles gasped like they hadn’t breathed in ages.

“Okay, what the hell is going on?” said Stiles breathing with difficulty. “Because I thought everything that was happening were just coincidences.”

Derek blinked rapidly in confusion staring at Stiles. The feeling was receding, washed away by the magic of the nemeton.

“I felt like a constant feeling of déjà vu but every time I tried to focus on what was strange something else was happening,” he said in a whisper.

“Like a perception filter,” said Stiles nodding.

“We are not in Doctor who, Stiles,” said Derek. “But why? What is happening?”

Stiles focused on the feeling following out to wherever it went, he blanched.

“It’s a spell of some kind and it spreads all over Beacon Hills through the ley lines. Someone had been changing time, influencing people to repeat events from our future,” said Stiles with his eyes widening. “Things that shouldn’t be happening after all the changes we made to the timeline. They are out of order and there are some differences but... The Alpha pack, Scott being bitten, people repeating conversations that are incorrect or out of context like they are repeating a script… We are the only ones who remember the future to notice the strange changes.”

“No, we are not the only ones who remember,” said Derek in a whisper.

Stiles' eyes widened further. “Granny Marian?”

“She knew about the time changing course,” said Derek. “I thought it was simply because she was your teacher and recognized your potions as her style but…”

“What if there are more people who remember?” finished Stiles catching up. “Someone who preferred the world the way it was and they are trying to what? Recreate it?”

“Someone is playing with us,” said Derek closed his eyes and growling. “This is the real attack. The Alpha pack was only a distraction to whatever else is happening here. But, how the hell do we fight it when we don’t even notice it?”

“The wards are dampening the effect a little,” mumbled Stiles. “And being close to the magic of the nemeton should cancel it entirely. I was hoping to use the branch on another occasion but—”

“Can you make it work for more people?” asked Derek.

Stiles stared at Derek in fear.

“I don’t think we have the time for that anymore,” said Stiles going to work.

 

***

 

One quick application of alchemy and they had two amulets made out of the nemeton branch that would keep them safe from the influence. Unfortunately, Stiles barely had time to finish making them when he felt it.

There were intruders in the preserve moving towards the nemeton.

And the wards weren’t keeping them away.

They were running before they even realized. There were no words exchanged, they were back to what they were years ago before the peace. The soldiers that knew one mistake could kill them.

They didn’t need words at this point, after so many years, they simply went into the preserve and ran until they could barely breathe.

They found Ennis half way through –howling and out of his mind, more wolf than human at his point— and Derek didn’t even stop to look at Stiles before he began battling him.

They had so little time.

Stiles kept running towards the nemeton.

He could feel them there and then saw them. Cora and Allison were tied to the nemeton and Chris lay down in the grass. They were alive, but Chris was bleeding profusely so that could change very soon.

And there was another figure, something he could only see but not feel.

“When it happened I thought I was going to die. The nemeton choose someone else than me, my connection was weakened suddenly and then I remembered…”

“You!” exclaimed Stiles.

There in front of him stood the Darach in all her disfigured glory.

“I remembered gaining power and taking my revenge,” she continued. “I remembered killing Kali. My Kali, dying by my hand for what she did and then… dying. I remember dying and being lost, another sacrifice for the nemeton.”

“You were connected to the nemeton when I came back—” said Stiles opening his eyes.

“It took me years to get my strength back after you weakened my connection to the nemeton. So many… but then, you already know what I’m talking about,” said the Darach.

Stiles glanced at Cora. “Yes, yes I do, and I don’t want to see it again which seems to be what you are trying to achieve.”

“I don’t want your future,” sniffed the Darach in disgust. “I want my power back. Even weakened it was so easy, throwing you at the big bad wolves to keep you distracted while I overcome the wards.”

Stiles gulped. It made so much sense now. He had felt the poking at the wards and assumed it was the Alpha pack, but it was her.

“You want the nemeton,” said Stiles.

“It was mine! You are not worthy of this power, Stiles,” said the Darach. “You didn’t fight for it, you didn’t bleed for it. You just stole it, and now it’s time I take it back.”

Stiles breathed heavily he glanced at Allison whose eyes were round and scared and the dark figure off Chris laying in the ground bleeding to death. He thought of everything he passed through, every battle, every moment he lived when he was sure he would die.

And laughed.

“You think this is funny?” she asked pointing a deformed hand to Cora.

“Yes! Yes, actually! I think it’s hilarious,” said Stiles without being able to stop laughing. “It’s just that I suddenly remembered you murdered people to get your powers. You literally stole your powers from them! And you think I’m not worthy!”

Something in the mass of broken skin that was the Darach’s face changed. “You are weak. I saw it. The nogitsune choose to control you because you were the weakest.”

Stiles kept laughing but it was a deeper, darker sound. He got up and stared into the eyes of the Darach.

“The nogitsune didn’t choose me because I was the weakest,” he said smiling. “It chose me because between a true Alpha and a badass hunter I was the one he feared.”

Stiles held his amulet in the air and focused all the magic he still had through it into the nemeton. Roots grew in a second all around the Darach dragging her into the ground with enough strength to kill her but she resisted. Her magic battled against the roots.

“You don’t think this is enough to kill me, right?” asked the Darach taunting when the roots stopped exerting pressure.

“Not really,” Stiles smiled. “NOW.”

A shadow passed over the Darach slashing its neck in half. The Darach didn’t even see it coming and the roots took their sacrifice once again into the ground.

Stiles dropped to the ground in exhaustion as the monster died, breathing heavily. It had taken more magic than he was ready to give at the time but it had worked.

It was over.

“How did you know I would help you?” asked the shadow.

Stiles turned to him. Peter was standing there with red unblinking eyes staring at Stiles.

“Because you are not a bad person no matter how much you seem to think you are,” said Stiles. “I saw it in your eyes when you become an Alpha, you noticed the feeling.”

Peter snorted. “I used to think Talia was not worthy of being the Alpha once.”

“I know, you told me,” grimaced Stiles.

“I used to think I was worthy, that if I had the power I could accomplish so much,” whispered Peter. “The things I could do being an Alpha.”

Peter bent down over the body of Chris looking at the hunter’s eyes with pity as he bled to death. It was already too late to save him.

“I used to be like her,” said Peter looking at the point where the Darach had disappeared.

Then he took Chris’ hand and the wounds started to disappear. Chris began to breathe heavily as he healed quicker than it seemed possible.

“But I don’t think I want to be anymore,” said Peter finishing healing Chris. “My sister seems to think there can be peace within our people. I hope she is right.”

When he turned to look at Stiles his eyes were back to a brilliant blue.

Somewhere in the woods, a final howl sounded as Ennis died and Derek’s eyes flashed in red.

Chapter Text

The day was black, downcast, kind of like Stiles felt at the moment. After having failed.

His dad had been hugging him for hours after the final showdown, worried for days and working overnight because of the ‘mountain lion’ attacks that had plagued Beacon Hills for the past weeks. The sheriff barely had some time to help except trying to keep people out of the way of hunters and werewolves while the professionals took care of it.

Nobody else could deal with the problem and he knew that, but knowing Stiles was there and he couldn’t do anything didn’t sit well with him.

It had been difficult for him, for everyone, really. Beacon Hills was scared with constant news of dead people, but it was over.

They were safe.

And after Stiles had given potions to every hunter and wolf involved they were all healthy.

Now Stiles and Derek had to deal with another problem just as important as the Alpha pack.

“So… I guess I owe you an explanation,” said Stiles looking at all of them.

Every single one of their friends but Allison was there, and she wasn’t there only because of his father. They had gathered in Stiles’ house and everyone was huddled together in the living room while Stiles put his ideas in order.

Stiles wasn’t sure how to begin. He had explained this so many times, that it should be second nature by now but something about introducing the supernatural world to his friends made it harder after years of trying to keep them apart from it.

The fact that they were threatened and almost killed by werewolves didn’t help matters. Erica, Boyd, and Isaac were huddled together in a corner of the couch, looking weak and scared. They were completely healed now, but they were tense, and it was because they couldn’t protect them.

Stiles needed to explain it to them well or it could end badly. He just needed to find the right words and—

“You are from the future,” said Danny suddenly.

Stiles spluttered. “What? How do you know that?”

Derek facepalmed and sighed loudly moving away from Stiles in defeat.

Danny began laughing at his face and pointed at Jackson with a hand. “I told you! Pay up!”

“This is so bullshit,” protested Jackson but quickly passed him some money.

Stiles was speechless staring at them until Lydia decided to take pity on him.

“We figured out something weird was going years ago,” she said smirking. “Remember all those times one of you was in the most convenient place possible to solve an unexpected problem?”

Stiles nodded openmouthed.

“I voted for time travel,” said Danny.

“Complete bullshit,” mumbled Jackson again.

“You—”

“I didn’t think it was true!” said Danny, quickly. “We just thought there were too many coincidences going on at the time.”

Stiles glanced at Derek who was trying to ignore him completely. They should have known that both Danny or Lydia would figure it out in time.

“Why did you do it?” asked Lydia suddenly. “Because I don’t think time travel it’s something easy to do.”

“Yes, what did you change?” asked Danny.

Derek tensed at his side and Stiles sighed.

“We came back the day of the Hale fire,” said Stiles, slowly, and he saw the minor flicker of recognition in their eyes. “In our time everyone died.”

The explanation went off the rails from there.

Somehow and under the sad puppy face that Scott was giving him, Stiles walked around the explanation of their time travel story and what had happened at the end without going into details. Given that the explanation began with ‘we saved the Hales from dying horribly” and finished with ‘zombie apocalypse’, they didn’t ask too many questions.

“That’s why we didn’t tell you anything. The supernatural world is a dangerous place. We didn’t want to put you in danger,” he said.

Lydia arched an eyebrow.

“Great job, then,” she said pointing at the group.

Stiles winced.

They had been attacked in Scott’s home, under heavy wards and protected both by Allison and Scott. They weren’t even supposed to be in danger in the first place but they had taken precautions anyway.

The Darach and Ennis basically ignored them and took half of them as hostages.

Stiles was sure they only broke through the wards because of the Darach manipulating her weak connection to the nemeton to bypass them. It wasn’t something anyone else would be able to pull off but he had failed.

Nobody had been hurt, but it had been a scare.

“I know, I’m sorry,” said Stiles. “It can’t happen again, all of your homes are warded to stop intruders. You will be safe there, and the Alphas are gone.”

Their friends shuddered and Stiles cringed for making them remember.

“Can you show me?” asked Isaac after a moment looking at Derek.

Derek tensed and turned to look at Isaac hard. “Are you sure?”

Isaac gulped with difficulty and nodded.

Derek sighed and moved to the center of the room where everyone could observe the transformation better. Then, very slowly, he changed starting with teeth and claws and ending with the glowing red eyes.

It had been a surprise to find Derek being an Alpha again. Even more of a surprise when it ended being that his Alpha spark came from the one Peter rejected. Somehow he became an Alpha while fighting Ennis and the power boost gave Derek all he needed to finish him.

Nobody was exactly happy about it, Derek even less so. It wasn’t easy having two Alphas in a pack and while it wasn’t affecting Derek’s relationship with his family there was some weird werewolf posturing between mother and son. It was inevitable between two Alphas but it made things awkward.

To that, it followed a long explanation about werewolves, Alphas, hunters...

The condensed version of the Alpha pack, the Darach and what had happened in the last days didn’t take long to explain, but Stiles got to see their faces turn pale in some occasions. There was not much to explain even, they had lived a good deal of it.

They knew. They had seen the deformed Darach walking into Scott’s home and take Allison while Ennis took the rest away.

“So, we are not crazy,” said Danny slowly. “And Scott is a werewolf.”

Scott smiled weakly making his eyes glow for a moment.

“That’s why you become so good at lacrosse suddenly!” jumped Jackson. “You cheated!”

Danny rolled his eyes. “Stop being so melodramatic, Jackson. We all know you are happy that he is on the team.”

“I am! But that’s not the point!” said Jackson. “He has all these superpowers and is cheating.”

“Ignore him, he is jealous,” said Danny looking at everyone else.

“Of course I am!” said Jackson. “Who wouldn’t want to have superpowers?”

“People are dead,” interrupted Boyd slowly. “And we could have been killed.”

That brought Jackson and everyone short. They knew. They understood but it hadn’t sunk yet how close they had been to death. The ones who were brought as bait had seen Kali die and that was though.

Stiles had to remind himself this was not the hardened friends he had known so long ago. They were kids who had just found the world was far stranger they ever believed.

“There is more, right?” asked Isaac suddenly, staring at Stiles. “Because you did something with some black dust to protect us, and then you gave us a magic potion.”

Stiles sighed as all eyes turned to him in interest.

“The supernatural world is dangerous as I said,” said Stiles. “There are many things out there that only look human and are anything but. There are monstrous creatures that only understand how to kill and things that would keep you awake at night. Werewolves are just one of the most numerous examples.”

Isaac pressed. “So, you are—?”

Stiles snorted.

“No, I’m just human, but I have what is called a Spark,” he said. “A spark is basically… A spark, really. I can do magic but I don’t have much power on my own. I… light the spark of the flame, but I need wood to start a flame. As long as I have power from somewhere –things like mountain ash or special plants— I can do a lot of things but on my own, I can’t do much.”

“So you made those potions that healed Isaac, Erica, and Boyd,” said Lydia as the three people perked up in interest. “That explains the books you were trying to translate in school.”

“And all the plants,” said Danny looking interested at all the flowers in the house.

Stiles winced. “Yeah, I know, not exactly subtle. I also made the wards, magical protections around your homes that will keep most bad things away.”

They were still uneasy, scared. Especially the ones kidnapped, and there was little Stiles could do. Isaac’s face of fear was seared into his mind like a wound. He had failed them and Stiles was scared for the first time in years that their friends wouldn’t want to continue being close with them given the danger.

“What more can you do?” asked Danny.

Stiles looked around for something and quickly found an easy answer. With careful steps, he moved to one of the many flowers decorating his home and took an undeveloped bud from one of them.

Stiles showed in closer to everyone in the room and with a quick application of will and a push from the magic of the nemeton, the bud started to grow under their very eyes until a single flower was laying in his hand.

He gave the flower to the dumbfounded Lydia who was still staring at his hand. It was a completely useless application of magic but his demonstration had the intended effect.

There was wonder in their eyes.

Even Erica, who had passed all-time cuddling Boyd, was peering closer to the flower in interest.

“I don’t actually have any limits in what I can do unlike people born with special abilities but I don’t have any power of my own. I’ll never be as powerful as other people out there but I can do a lot,” Stiles said and then pointed at Danny. “Technically, you could too, Danny.”

Danny blinked and his eyes turned round. “Me? I can do magic?”

Stiles nodded, smiling. “You are Spark too.”

Stiles had never seen Danny do anything with his spark in the other time, but he knew he had started to learn just at the end when everything when to shit.

“And what about me?” asked Lydia pointing with her arms at everything. “I already translated dozens of books for you. Can I learn this thing too?”

Stiles breathed deeply and turned to look at her.

“You can, some of it at least,” he said trying to find the words. “But, remember when I said there were people with special abilities? Have you had strange dreams or feelings lately—?”

And just like that, any good feelings lingering in the room disappeared.

Lydia froze in place as if struck by lightning and Jackson held her between his arms in surprise.

“I thought I was imagining it,” she whispered.

“Lydia?” asked Stiles moving closer.

Lydia stared into his eyes as if she wasn’t even seeing him.

“The way you looked at me after I found the body, and the other bodies I found too. I remember dreaming of them, dying,” she said shuddering. “I heard voices! I thought I was going insane and when I screamed you looked at me like you knew.”

Stiles gulped. “Lydia…”

“What I am, Stiles?” she asked.

Stiles closed his eyes. It had taken years for Lydia to be comfortable with being a banshee, to accept her gift.

“You are a banshee,” said Derek, bluntly. “A human woman who is closely connected to death.”

Everyone shuddered simultaneously and Lydia seemed to deflate.

“I am connected to death?” she asked. “What—?”

“In— In a good way!” Stiles said, glaring at Derek. “I know how it sounds but it’s nothing bad. You can feel when people are about to die and stop it. You can save people and so much more!”

But the damage was already done. Since the Alpha pack attacked she had turned to half of the murder scenes, found them in a trance without even trying and Stiles had not said anything trying to keep them away.

She had been so scared and he had failed her too.

His friends went to comfort the pallid woman and he simply stared.

He had failed them and he needed to get out, now.

Stiles got up and looked at his friends one moment more.

“Look, I’m sorry. I know all of this is too much to take in one day,” he said once more. “We didn’t want to get you involved in this. This world is dangerous and I would understand if you don’t want to have anything to do with this,” he whispered. “Or with us.”

And then he ran followed by Derek.

This time it was not a matter of life and death.

This time it was a choice they could make.

He owed them that at least.

 

***

 

Everything was a mess.

The entire warding scheme was powered down after the Darach attack. The houses and those were still up, but those in the preserve had stopped working. It had been a very subtle attack against the nemeton that Stiles hadn’t even felt.

Admittedly, the attack was a masterwork.

Since the Darach was still connected to the nemeton in a way similar as to how Stiles was connected she had managed to slowly extend her influence over the ley lines flooding the place with that perverse feeling and the magic necessary to repeat past moments.

She had manipulated the Alpha pack directly, pretty much shrouding their minds to make them believe what she wanted and then throwing them at the Hales. Then, they had started killing people, which instead of being a simple trick, had turned out to be a way to power the magic she was casting and slowly erode his wards from the inside.

Essentially the Darach had managed to convince the nemeton she was Stiles and let her pass. It should have ended then, but then she had turned down the wards to let Ennis pass and now—

“I have to activate them all over again,” groaned Stiles. “It’s going to take a month at least.”

“But it will work, right?” asked Derek. “There won’t be more surprises.”

“Unless there is someone else out there who was connected to the nemeton at this point in time, yes,” said Stiles. “Trust me, the things she needed to do to pull this off were insane, and it barely worked anyway. The defenses are good, this was a worst case scenario and we did pretty good.”

“They almost died,” said Derek, walking from one side of the room to the other. “After everything—”

“Relax, Derek,” said Stiles. “It will be fine.”

That was a lie. He talked and tried to fill the void with words because he was afraid.

A week had passed since they told the truth to their friends and both Derek and Stiles were keeping their distances, distracting themselves with work, with healing, with other things. Whatever it was just to not think about the very real possibility that their friends would choose to move away from the danger they represented.

They were hiding in the Hale house with people moving up and down, with people they saved, and everything felt so cold. Stiles felt like waking up again in his room six years ago barely feeling the ground under his feet. Unaware of how to keep going or what to do next.

He put his hands on the table and alchemical circle one more time, observing the lump of iron that was left in the middle. With a push of magic and concentration, it melted away flowing into the shape of a simple oil lamp.

It was barely a disk of cold iron with chains to hang it. Nothing special but for the hundreds of tiny runes decoration every single space on it.

“I’m even going to add a few more details just to make sure,” said Stiles. “At least Talia isn’t so worried that I’m going overboard anymore.”

Derek snorted and Stiles smiled.

Yes, their friends would be safe. It was another matter entirely if they would be fine.

The door to the room to the living room opened just when Stiles was finishing and the twins entered. They walked slowly still, despite having spent a week with Stiles potions added in the mix, they were still healing, but at least they were walking already.

The stopped at the entrance the moment they saw them inside.

Stiles arched an eyebrow. Derek only glanced at them and continued drawing lines on the floor ignoring them.

Ethan coughed awkwardly.

“You can walk already?” asked Stiles. “I thought it would take longer.”

Their wounds were far worse than they had seemed at the beginning. Not only had Kali mistreated them in an effort to ‘teach them’ but the wounds were seeping with the Darach’s magic.

They barely remembered most of what had happened to them since the Alpha pack found them. Apparently, the Darach had more control over them than they had thought at the beginning. All of them had been living through the ‘Déjà vu’ for quite a while and it had left scars.

It didn’t change what they were, or what they would have done with or without her influence, of course, but it was something.

“Yes, we are better, yes,” said Ethan looking at Derek.

“Are you sure?” asked Stiles. “I mean, you were hurt everywhere and you kind of meld into each other in some weird Voltron wolf. Have you checked if everything is still in place?”

Ethan and Aiden looked at each other in silent conversation. Then they looked at them making their eyes glow in blue. There was nothing more than a thin glow, an ember of red in those eyes.

“We are not Alpha’s anymore,” Ethan said after a second. “We’ve never been much of an Alpha anyway, but the Darach—”

“We are not sure if it was because of our merged form or if she did something, but it’s over,” said Aiden over his brother.

Stiles nodded, not entirely surprised. “And what are you going to do now?”

They looked at each other again this time for a longer time.

“We want to join you, Alpha,” said Ethan.

Derek stumbled over one of the tables dropping one of the lamps to the ground and Stiles winced.

That was not the best topic to mention at the time.

“What?” asked Derek with the coldest voice he could muster.

“New Alpha’s need a pack to control their power,” said Aiden rolling his eyes. “We want to be part of it.”

Even worse thing to mention.

Derek was almost shaking in place with barely contained fury.

“You saved us,” said Ethan quickly, trying to calm the situation. “You saved our lives and you didn’t have to. We just want to—”

“Oh, look at the time!” exclaimed Stiles. “We have something else to do right now, we’ll talk later!”

Stiles took his tools in hand and walked out of there with Derek before it turned worse.

They walked through the forest in silence for just a moment before Derek exploded again.

“They want to be part of my pack,” he said with an incredulous voice.

“Yes, Derek,” sighed Stiles.

“They want me to be the Alpha,” he whispered. “I can’t be the Alpha.”

Stiles sighed heavily. Yep, there it was.

“You know, I’m happy you are using your words instead of hiding everything in a ball of angst before you murder someone, but—” said Stiles. “Can you stop hitting yourself for this? Or do I need to find something for you to murder?”

Of everything that had come to pass after the Alpha pack, perhaps this was the worst part. The Alpha spark was dangerous, it gave power, but it also made a werewolf more determined, quicker to command and to worry for their pack.

It was a natural change for an Alpha. It was needed for an Alpha, but Derek didn’t want to be an Alpha.

Derek ground his teeth. “I was a terrible Alpha.”

“Yep, you were,” said Stiles, because it was completely true.

“I got them killed, Stiles,” whispered Derek. “I failed them. I promised them a better life and then they died.”

“It wasn’t your fault,” said Stiles evenly.

“I took all the wrong decisions,” countered Derek. “I could have trained them better, I could have—”

Stiles rolled his eyes. “You were not perfect, true, but not even close to the worst.”

“I failed them, Stiles,” Derek said. “And when I saw them there with Ennis— I thought—”

Stiles took his hand and kept walking.

He knew what he felt, standing there seeing them in the ground of his old apartment. In the same place where he had been forced to kill Boyd.

“I can’t lose them again,” whispered Derek.

“Well, you don’t even have them right now, so don’t worry too much,” grimaced Stiles.

Derek let a pained sound escape.

“I can’t be an Alpha, Stiles,” he repeated, getting an eye roll from Stiles.

“Talia disagrees,” said Stiles helpfully. “She is incredibly supportive, which is weird given she snaps at you every time you try to get the salt at the same time as someone else. She wants you safe, and being an Alpha helps with that a lot.”

“Yes, but Laura—”

“Laura is pissed because she can’t get the full wolf form yet despite years practicing!” Stiles groaned. “Apart from that she is happy and conspiring with Cora to do something nice for you I don’t even want to know. And anyway she will be Alpha too when your mom wants to pass the torch.”

Derek sagged in defeat. “I can’t do this again, Stiles.”

“Is this because your Alpha hormones or something?” asked Stiles. “Are you— Are you on the period for Alpha werewolves? Because if you are I need to know, Derek.”

They were interrupted, suddenly, by a sharp shot sounding in the forest. Derek perked immediately and they were both running before the sound finished. It was fairly close and it took only a moment to get there.

When they arrived there was a dead mountain lion laying on the ground and both Peter and Chris looking at it with interest.

“Good shot. You almost didn’t need my help keeping it in place,” smiled Peter, and then turned to look at them. “Nephew.”

Derek stared at both of them, hunter and werewolf so close together. “What are you doing?”

Peter rolled his eyes. “Solving most of our problems.”

Chris breathed once and looked at them putting away his gun. “The threat of the Alpha pack is finished, but we can’t tell that to anyone. This is the easiest way to drop the fears of Beacon Hills to normal.”

Stiles nodded. It made sense. Beacon Hills already believe the attacks were caused by a mountain lion, giving them the monster they already expected would make his dad’s job a lot easier.

“That, and I thought presenting a mountain lion killed with claws would not help,” said Peter pointing at Chris. “He agreed to help and given they have decided to stay in Beacon Hills for now and that we are trying to be friendly—”

Peter arched an eyebrow at Chris.

“We are trying to be cooperative,” said Chris pointing at the body and moving away. “You will be carrying it.”

Peter snorted and took the mountain lion in his arms before following the hunter.

“Of course, I’m happy to be of help,” he said and before completely disappearing turned to Derek. “Tell Talia I’m busy making friends.”

And they disappeared.

Stiles just stared at where they had gone. “Is Peter being more sarcastic than usual or are they—?”

“I don’t want to know!” yelled Derek continuing onwards.

They wandered the rest of the way in silence until they reached the nemeton.

The nemeton looked just a smidge bigger than last time but actually wasn’t, it only looked like that. It was filled with pixies flying around. The magic was thicker because of the sacrifices, it was eating three bodies and what remained of the Darach’s magic. A considerable boost that was taking some time for the nemeton to cleanse.

The excess of magic was pretty much the only reason Stiles couldn’t turn the wards back on again so easily. It would take time for the nemeton to process all the spare energy.

In the meantime, Stiles had found a few holes that he had passed over when making the defenses of Beacon Hills. The nemeton was strong but it relied completely on the defenses of the wards. Yes, what had happened was impossible to repeat, but there were so many ridiculous things out there that impossible could be around the corner.

Stiles took on of the many lamps of iron he had made, held it between his arms and concentrated in his mind.

I hate cool-aid.

He breathed the words into the lamp and it sparked. The blue ghostly flame danced over the iron disk and Stiles passed it to Derek who barely paid attention to it before hanging the lamp on one of the nemeton’s branches.

Stiles held another one unlighted lamp to Derek. “C’mon Der, it just needs one little secret. I don’t have many pointless things that nobody knows to light all of them.”

Derek sighed but breathed slowly into the lamp until it lighted. “I hate fae magic.”

Fae magic was weird but it was powerful. The Fae were weird but powerful. They had only had the barest of meetings with a fae and they hated them with a passion. They couldn’t lie and all their magic was connected to pure concepts and words.

Secret flames were one of the most interesting –and innocent— things on fae magic Stiles had managed to find in the books they bought. It only required a secret, it didn’t matter how big of a secret, and it would work forever as long as nobody found about it.

One by one they filled the branches of the nemeton with blue ghostly lamps. Next time that someone even tried to get close to the nemeton without his permission they’ll end up worse for wear.

They were almost finished when Derek turned around listening to a sound he could only hear and growled. He looked towards the trees.

“Derek, what—?” asked Stiles staring at the woods ready for everything.

Except Derek didn’t look ready to attack, just pissed off.

“Laura, I’m going to kill you,” murmured Derek.

Stiles didn’t need to wait much for his answer because all of their friends walked into the clearing following a smug Laura. Stiles sucked on a breath.

“Derek,” said Isaac at last in barely a whisper looking at the blue fire dancing in the lamps.

Derek tensed and stopped breathing.

Isaac seemed stronger then, still afraid perhaps, but stronger. He held his ground proudly among his friends. There was silence for a moment before he finally spoke.

“You… I don’t know what life I had in that other time. I don’t know what it is to live with my father, but I know I wouldn’t have enjoyed it,” Isaac breathed looking into Derek’s eyes. “You saved me and I don’t care if it is dangerous. You are like… like a brother to me.”

Derek stood there speechless. “You don’t understand how dangerous this life is. There is no way out if you get into it, you will always be part and always be in danger. You can’t—”

“Like when my sister was kidnapped?” asked Boyd, suddenly.

“That wasn’t—” began Derek.

“It wasn’t a werewolf the one who tried to do it, just a human,” said Boyd. “But it was you who saved her.”

“Or me,” pointed Erica. “I was alone and scared. Every other day I had an attack and now… You saved us Derek, you and Stiles.”

Derek shuddered imperceptibly and Stiles took his hand.

“You helped when I found out my parents—” began Jackson, to the surprise of everyone. “You were there, you came from New York to be there. All of you were there and while it hurt the same… It helped. And it’s because of you and the loser made us friends.”

Stiles felt the completely irrational feeling of wanting to kiss the bastard.

“We are stronger together,” said Isaac smiling. “You made sure of it.”

“We are here because you made us pack,” said Scott smiling.

Derek opened his eyes, glowing in glorious red.

“And we will not abandon you when you need us,” said Isaac.

Scott nodded. “We talked with Talia, and with Laura. She explained it, what it meant to be a pack, and we want to be that with you.”

Derek gulped down.

“So I hope you are ready because we kind of wanted to be werewolves now,” said Jackson.

Lydia sighed at his boyfriend. “You can’t just say it like that.”

“Of course I can,” scoffed Jackson. “It’s kind of obvious. We are going to need to be stronger if someone tries to hurt any of us, right?”

“Talia said you needed werewolves to help with your control,” said Boyd.

“And while I haven’t had an episode in almost a year, it sounds good not having to worry anymore,” said Erica smiling wryly.

Derek stared at them rooted to the ground and then took them all in a hug.

“You are all idiots,” he said with happiness.

“By the way, Stiles. You said something about magic, right?” asked Danny smiling.

Stiles laughed.

Yes, in the end, they had always been pack.

Chapter Text

Everything was perfect.

After the confession and the pack forming again they felt whole. Stiles and Derek could barely believe it. It was working. They were pack again, and there were no secrets between them.

Everything was perfect

There was just one problem. Derek needed wolves to help with his control, as an Alpha it was pretty much a necessity to have a pack with wolves and Scott alone was not going to cut it.

Fortunately, their friends had offered to become werewolves, which was great because they were fairly sure there was no risk of rejecting the bite if they didn’t last time.

The problem came because of the hunters, who weren’t exactly on board with the Hales making so many werewolves. It was understandable and Derek and Stiles solved this problem fairly easily, they threw their friends at the Argents so they could relate in all gory and biased detail how bad it was to be a werewolf.

For days the Argents tried to convince their friends of how much of a bad idea was to become a werewolf.

They told them of carnages and nightmares.

They told them of the things they’ve seen that would make anyone vomit.

They did, in the end, what Stiles was hoping. To truly educate them about the dangers of the supernatural.

And when they finished nobody changed their mind. Erica, in fact, laughed at them and told them off.

Derek and Stiles were not exactly surprised. They were expecting a similar result and at the end, even the Argents recognized that they wanted to be turned and they could do nothing about it.

It did gain them some points. The Argents were happy to get a vote, or at least the opportunity to make sure none of them were flying blind into it. After that, any little problem they might had with the Hales banished. Talia and Chris even spent some time talking about common problems and share information about what was happening in the supernatural community.

It wasn’t anything serious but it was the beginning of something good, something peaceful that perhaps could last.

Everything else was easy in comparison.

Now they just needed to fight for what they had.

Stiles kissed him with passion, trying to convey his absolute love.

He was worried, so worried something could go wrong. Worried that maybe there were still doubts about his commitment. Worried that he did not understand completely what pack meant. They weren’t the best of friends true, but still, he needed to understand…

Jackson threw him to the ground and spat in revulsion.

“Stop kissing me! Why do you keep doing that?” asked Jackson looking at him.

“Just… you know, a general wanting to make sure you don’t become a massive lizard murder monster,” said Stiles spitting at the ground and shuddering.

Only a few weeks had passed since they became werewolves and by this point, it was pretty much impossible that Jackson would transform into a Kanima, but still… It was good to make sure.

And it annoyed Jackson so everything was good.

“I am more worried about how it is that you never dodge in time,” said Lydia arching an eyebrow.

“He just jumps at me!” defended Jackson pointing at Stiles.

“Every time?” asked Lydia arching the other eyebrow. “I thought you had super senses now.”

“He is sneaky!” said Jackson.

Derek chose that moment to join them, followed by both Talia and Laura. He rolled his eyes at the display and sighed.

“Stiles, stop kissing my betas,” he said.

“Yes, please. It’s a bit—” Scott said shuddering.

“Hey! I’m just trying to be—” Stiles began.

“Stiles…” said Derek pointing at him.

Stiles sighed in defeat. “Fine. I will leave the wolf things to you. Go teach them how to mark their territory or something.”

Stiles wasn’t sure what that training was. He had seen them at one time or another fiddling with the Triskelion amulet of the Hales and Derek told him about finding their anchors and learning their senses but… He knew they didn’t need so much training, they barely had any last time. It was true that this time there were far more wolves than last time but still.

They just spent so much time in the forest howling at each other that it was starting to look strange.

“You sound like you don’t like the way we do things, Stiles,” said Laura right from behind him. “Do you have a problem with the traditional way of training new werewolves? The way our family has taught new member for generations?”

Stiles stiffened.

“Uh… What? No! I mean, you are not actually peeing everywhere, right?” asked Stiles. “Not— Not that there is anything wrong with that! You can pee everywhere you like!”

There was a collective groan and Laura’s shoulders shacked with mirth. He had forgotten how terrifying and evil could be Laura.

“This is your boyfriend, Der,” she said. “Are you sure you don’t want to change him for someone else?”

Derek sighed. “No, I’m stuck with him.”

“Hey! What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Stiles. “You love being stuck with me!”

“I do,” nodded Derek simply.

Stiles smiled. “Me too.”

Isaac groaned. “Can we go now? I am the only who has to live with Scott praising Allison constantly and I don’t want to see a repeat.”

Stiles blinked looking at all of them. Suddenly remembering they were all there and grimaced. He didn’t want to be compared to Scott and his soppy love story.

He looked at them, their pack. Everyone was there.

Derek’s pack had a whopping seven werewolves counting the twins. It had not been an easy choice, but the twins were relentless and both Erica and Isaac –being the more hurt by the Alpha pack— ended deciding they didn’t care all that much so, for now, both of them were in the pack.

They were strange, not exactly comfortable with the whole thing and always keeping a bit apart. Stiles knew enough about their story to understand how they felt, even when they were in the Alpha pack there were still basically treated as omegas. It wasn’t easy to come into a new pack –a pack they had attacked— and be welcomed instead.

Their pack wasn’t ready for them either. Not entirely, they knew each other too well to accept completely new people, but they were trying. Danny, in particular, was trying Ethan, which again wasn’t very surprising but it would take time.

For the time being, they were just there, simply, and that was enough for now.

Talia clapped her hands drawing everyone’s attention.

“Let’s get into the forest before it gets too late,” she said and then looked at Stiles. “Stiles, I leave you the house, please don’t burn it like last time.”

The pack entered the forest following Derek, and Stiles only had a moment to splutter.

“I didn’t burn anything! I saved you all from burning!” he yelled as everyone disappeared into the woods.

One by one they disappeared leaving only him with Lydia and Danny who were snickering in the background.

“Let’s just go,” said Stiles frowning.

They walked inside the Hale house and down into the basement. It was more or less like they left it last time except because the steel bars that separated half of it were chipped and bent in some places. With so many new werewolves to train in one go, the room had seen plenty of use lately.

Fortunately, the wards were already up and there was no much need anymore for it. All the junk that Stiles and Derek had bought over the years was kept down there, from books to jars filled with the strangest things. At one side of the room, there was a cauldron simmering, an enormous black thing that shone with sparkles of occasional light and smelled of winter and cold.

The basement wasn’t much different but it was prepared for what they wanted to do.

Stiles dove into one of the tables starting his computer and taking a few books to consult before leaving a big heavy pot filled with mountain ash to one side.

This whole thing was a new experience for Stiles. Training someone, that is.

He had learned on his own, with books at the beginning and the occasional hint from Deaton. Step by step since the moment they gave him a handful of mountain ash and told him to believe. The closest thing he had received to training was with potions and even there most of it was self-taught trough painstakingly efforts and experiments.

Stiles just wasn’t sure how to do it, but Lydia and Danny wanted to learn and he was going to do his best.

It helped they were both really good.

Danny and Lydia took some ash in their hands and with a quick and simple movement threw into the air. It flew forming a dark cloud in the air for just a second before falling to the ground in two perfect circles side by side.

Stiles walked around inspecting them. They looked well done. Both of them had made a good effort into practicing that technique, and while it wasn’t anything complicated it was the first step.

The first step was always the hardest.

With a quick movement, he took a small vial filled with pixies and pressed it against the circles. Both of them flared in blue holding the supernatural creature at bay and Stiles smiled in satisfaction.

“Well done!” he said leaving the pixies at one side. “You’ve finished the first step.”

Danny and Lydia breathed deep and with difficulty. Pearls of sweat fell from their heads as they tried to come back from the exertion.

“That was amazing!” whooped Danny in delight.

Lydia sat in one of the chairs and rolled her eyes. “We barely did anything. When are we going to learn something more interesting?”

“You have barely begun. What more do you think you can do?” asked Stiles arching an eyebrow.

“C’mon Stiles,” said Danny beginning to breathe normally. “You promised to teach us magic and the only thing we have done since then is this thing.”

Both Lydia and Danny looked at him with puppy eyes. Well, Danny did, Lydia just looked at him as if he was an idiot that was making lose her time.

“Okay, okay, you win,” yielded Stiles. “I was going to do it anyway.”

Stiles rolled his eyes and turned around the table closer to the cauldron.

“Magic is a complex thing,” he said watching them turn to pay attention. “It’s all about your will, wanting to do something and then having the tools to do so. Will, wanting, believing. That is the first step and the most difficult. Without you wanting something to work there is no magic. You could be trying to make a potion for years with all the right materials and it wouldn’t work unless you knew it would and you wanted it.”

“Which we just did,” said Danny pointing at the ash.

Stiles nodded. “Yes, but it all begins with your will so we have to start with that. Your will is like— Going back to the mountain ash. It blocks, not just supernatural things but anything. You can use it to block smells or sounds depending on what you believe. Magic can do pretty much everything, you just need to believe.”

“Just believe? That’s everything?” asked Lydia scoffing. “That doesn’t make any sense. If your will is what makes everything work why do we need the mountain ash for this to do anything?”

Stiles grinned, holding a hand in front of Lydia’s like he was about to high five concentrated for a second and then shook. The space within both hands flared blue like that of a barrier.

“I know two different ways of making rainfall that works doing exactly the opposite to each other and gets the same result. The ingredients are needed but it’s more about—” he paused thinking about it and starting to look up inside a book. “No, better, think of it this way. All magic is dangerous, all magic has a price. The price of making a barrier is in the mountain ash you use, the price of potions is the ingredients. We need to sacrifice an animal every few months to keep the nemeton healthy, for instance. If you don’t know the price of what you want to do, the magic will pay itself with you, and unless it was really small you won’t like the result.”

Stiles smiled showing them an old book with an illustration of someone exploding into dust. The properly horrified expressions were more than welcome.

“That is why I’m trying to do this slowly and step by step,” he said. “Potions are relatively easy to begin with because believing they would work is easy when you have already seen they do. The problem with potions is that learning how to prepare them right is a slow process. It takes time to learn how and why to cut, slice or crush ingredients and much more on how to prepare the potions themselves.”

He pointed to the cauldron that Derek had gifted him a few years back to aid his work. It was a massive thing made of obsidian, black and slightly transparent crystal that had been cut into shape with magic. It did not weight much despite how big it was and it was possible to see through it the contents of the potion. The cauldron rested over an industrial hot plate on the ground, a big thing that helped control the temperature at which it was simmering.

Stiles pointed at them to move closer showing them the potion.

Lydia moved over the cauldron looking at the white liquid and smelled. “It smells like ice and snow.”

“It feels cold,” said Danny moving a hand over the cauldron, “but it’s not. What is it?”

Stiles smiled. “It has been simmering for over a month, from moon to moon. With many potions you can figure out what they do simply by seeing them, this one is a bit more complicated. Okay, let’s try something quick. What do you think?”

Lydia and Danny looked at each other and then began whispering to each other. She was parsing over every book he read or translated with Stiles long ago but it would not help.

“Does it protect you from the cold?” she asked finally, and then grimaced. “I don’t know Stiles, it just looks weird.”

Stiles took a small spoon and filled it with the potion. From close enough it looked like a ghostly substance, almost like a gas flowing over the spoon.

“This is Dreamer’s journey, basically it helps people to control their dreams. Instead of sleeping something random you are completely aware of what you are dreaming and remember it perfectly the next morning,” he said. “It’s usually used by people that want to start spirits journey’s, to find yourself inside your mind, some native American rituals and that sort of thing but… It can also be used by people that want to have more time in a day to focus on their mind.”

He stopped, looking at both of them. They were properly impressed.

“That has to be amazing,” said Danny with his eyes wide open.

“Of course, I sell a bottle for a few thousand dollars easy. Just one drop is enough for a night but it’s incredibly difficult to brew,” said Stiles pointing at the cauldron. “This batch is yours.”

“What?” asked Danny turning to him.

“That’s not—” began Lydia.

Stiles raised a hand. “This is the easiest way to train your will and to believe. Inside your mind everything is possible, and everything will respond to your orders. Once you learn to believe that, everything will be faster.”

He turned, moving closer to them as they digested the words.

“But this is not all, right?” asked Lydia. “Because I’m not going to spend the next month’s dreaming weird things if you are only going to teach me how to throw mountain ash into the air. I want to know how you make these,” she said looking at the cauldron.

Stiles sighed.

“Yes, Lydia, I’ll teach you how to make potions. Even if you are already terrifying with normal chemistry I’ll teach you. I’ll even give you the recipe for greek fire if you promise not to use it when I’m not around because that shit burns under water and through steel and I don’t want to die,” he said gaining a quick interesting look from her.

“You know how to make greek fire,” Lydia said with a flat tone.

Stiles smiled showing a single bottle filled with a red almost golden fluid.

“Trust me,” he said. “You are going to love this but it’s going to take time.”

 

***

 

It was only a few months into their whole pack training thing, that both Derek and Stiles accepted that no big monster was coming for them, that they realized that it was time to start thinking of their second problem.

That little detail about saving the world.

Yes, they were as safe as it was possible to be. They had made friends anew with their pack –the second Hale pack that was shaping to be one of the strongest in North America— and they had allies, both hunters and supernatural.

But they knew it would not be enough if some idiot unleashed a curse upon the world and everyone died. Not just that, there were things out there that they already knew would come for the nemeton if they found out. For all their countermeasures they were remise to lose even the smallest opportunity to protect their loved ones.

The fact that they had repeated some past events once –which should have been impossible— made that clearer to them than anything.

So, it was time for them to be more proactive about their problems, and luckily six years had not been wasted in just protecting their pack. In the time since they came back, Stiles had learned more about curses and magic that he believed possible and had put that knowledge to the test training his friends.

Which is why they found themselves spending their summer vacation on a smallish island in Greece that barely ever saw tourists. Everyone had followed them –for some reason— in a ridiculous kind of pack vacations with parents included that was just a nightmare. Derek didn’t find it difficult to believe, some kind of pack dynamic that Stiles would always find weird, but it wasn’t important.

While their families and friends had fun at the beach, Derek and Stiles were working looking for treasure.

The cave was barely visible through the overgrown foliage, trees and green covered the place so well that there was no indication the place was there. The entrance was nothing more than a thin crack in the mountainside that looked completely natural. Then, because all of that was not complicated enough to detect, there were wards, a subtle magic effect that hid the cave making everyone’s eyes slide over the entrance without noticing.

Stiles had spent three days passing over it without seeing it until at last, Derek’s werewolf eyes that could see through some things noticed just the slight difference in the rock and brought him to his attention.

“Is this it?” asked Derek sniffing at the entrance.

“It should be,” said Stiles. “Unless this is the other magic cave there is on the island.”

Derek snorted. “How did you even know this place was here? It doesn’t seem like anybody has been here in ages.”

Stiles threw his bag on the ground and began taking his tools from inside, boxes and glass bottles filled with different colors, flashlights and more.

“From the future, some years from now someone discovered the cave and recovered some interesting things,” he said organizing everything in rows. “It was some pretty big news in some circles precisely because they found a cursed cave. I thought, hey, since we are looking to learn more about curses why don’t we test with the real deal.”

“Because all the money we spent in investigating was not enough? You bought half the store,” asked Derek.

Stiles scoffed. “They are necessary tools! That’s why we are testing it now, nothing better than firsthand experience. It’s not like we need the—“

“Just those two coins cost several hundred thousand dollars,” said Derek in a completely flat tone.

Stiles' brain stopped. He was only partially aware of how much money he was making of his potions and that most of it was going into making more and learning more things about magic and how to deal with their many problems.

He knew there was more but never bothered to check.

“Uh… How much money do we have, Derek?” he asked his hands still frozen holding one of his tools.

“You are asking now after you bought all those trinkets?” asked Derek arching an eyebrow.

“Yes, well, I was busy planning and stuff. I didn’t bother with money when our future was on the line,” said Stiles going back to his work.

Derek sighed moving a hand over his face.

“When we started investing we didn’t make much. After Laura took over when we were in New York and I gave her our list,” said Derek very slowly. “Maybe enough to buy half of Beacon Hills. Actually, probably enough to buy half of Beacon Hills demolish it and rebuild it a few times.”

Stiles dropped a box in the ground and looked at Derek in astonishment. “What.”

“Let’s talk about this when we are at home,” said Derek, sighed again and walked towards the entrance. “We are spending a lot of it anyway.”

Stiles only had a second to blink in confusion and wonder before Derek disappeared inside. It wasn’t a priority now but questions still bogged his mind.

He took a box and some of his tools and walked into the cave with a flashlight. The cave was barely wide enough to let a man pass walking sideways and Stiles could feel the magic on his skin. There was a lot of magic in there, far more than he had expected. Not even close to something like the nemeton but far too much for it to be something simpler like an old forgotten cave with a curse.

It did not take long before the cave stretched open and the natural walls of the cave gave passage to a chiseled structure, a wall of cut stone with columns like those of an old temple of ancient Greece. In the middle of the construction, there were two doors of painted wood decorated with bronze and ivory.

Stiles passed the flashlight over the walls watching as thousands of little runes gleamed in the dark and the thrum of magic intensified. He contained his breath.

Yes, this was definitely it.

Derek flashed red eyes at the construction –trying to see more than was visible at simple sight— before looking at Stiles.

“Okay, I have to admit this is more impressive than what I was expecting,” said Derek watching intently.

“Yep,” smiled Stiles. “Let’s see what we got.”

Stiles inspected the ground and ceiling watching for any more details he hadn’t noticed and then opened the box he was carrying. Inside there were two black coins filled with runes and inscriptions. He took both coins in his hands and concentrated, feeling the connection between the two, and threw one at the door.

The coin stuck to the door like a magnet and Stiles quickly took the other coin and made it spin over the closed box.

The coins were special –and very expensive apparently— crafted to measure magic and give details about whatever effect was being used. They were both connected so one stuck to the closest source of magic and did the measuring, and the other told the user what was happening.

Only a few minutes passed in silence as the coin stopped spinning and the symbols over the coin changed completely, some of them flashing in different colors.

“Oookay… So… let me—” said Stiles inspecting the coin slowly. “Yes, good! We are cursed!”

“And that is good?” asked Derek arching an eyebrow.

Stiles blinked at Derek. “The… The door, I mean, inside. Not us, but don’t get to close.”

Derek grimaced balking away from the door.

“Okay,” said Stiles after a few moments. “The good news is that it’s not a really dangerous curse. Well, it is, but nothing that will affect anybody but whoever enters at least. The bad news is that is a pretty complex curse.”

In the six years, he had spent looking for knowledge in curses Stiles had learned a lot.

Curses were interesting things that Stiles had unexpectedly liked studying. For once they were living spells that latched to a person like a parasite and became part of them to the point that it was impossible to take them out.

There was not such a thing as ‘uncursing’ anyone. Like the werewolf curse, you couldn’t just stop being a werewolf, there was simply no cure. It was impossible. Magic, of course, was never unfair and the counter side of being impossible to cure was that curses were really easy to prevent.

A single barrier of mountain ash could stop most curses but there were types and types.

The simpler the curse was –the fewer effects and power it had— the easier it was to prevent and the fastest it spread, to the point that the simplest of curses didn’t work in supernatural creatures of any kind but could spread over an area easily.

The most complex it was the curse, on the other hand, had the opposite effect. It was more difficult to prevent but it was very limited in what it did and who it did it.

In this case, the curse on the cave would only work in anyone who entered and would have a fairly complex effect. It would trap them and wipe their minds little by little until they were barely anything more than animals cursed to roam the cave until their deaths.

“Can you work around it?” asked Derek.

Stiles nodded. “It will take a while but I can.”

The next days of their vacations passed in a flurry of activity as Stiles went from the hotel to the cave and vice versa, taking his time testing and straining his knowledge of curses around the problem.

It was a slow process with hours of Stiles only chanting in strange languages or hitting the door and walls with a tiny stone hammer and listening to the sound. Hours of walking in circles dropping mountain ash in different ways and flowers in different positions until just when both of them were starting to lose patience he finally found the answer.

“Okay, I need to ask,” said Derek staring at the table. “Can you explain to me why we have two snakes that have little signs with our names on them?”

The snakes in question –trapped in two glass tanks— ignored them. Stiles smiled at him.

“Because this one looks like it’s smart,” said Stiles pointing at his snake. “And this other looks like it has eyebrows.”

“Stiles…” sighed Derek exasperated.

Stiles snorted and pointed at the snakes. “Crafting an amulet or a ward around us to resist the curse would take ages. This is easier, basically, I put a bit of my blood inside my snake and a bit of yours inside yours. When we enter, the curse will think the trespassers are this snakes instead of us and curse them. And given they are already animals it won’t do much.”

Stiles walked forward towards the door with confidence. Derek stopped him holding his arm.

“Are you completely sure this isn’t going to fail horribly somehow?” he asked.

“Relax,” sighed Stiles and then murmured. “Nobody has any faith.”

He walked to the door and opened it, throwing an orb of glass inside the room at the same time that broke in a brilliant flash of light. For a moment there was only light and the pained bark of Derek who had watched the initial flash but soon it was over.

Stiles walked inside immediately, closing his eyes as he did and feeling the curse trying to latch onto him before flowing into the snake.

It had worked. One step closer to not having an apocalypse.

“What was that, Stiles?!” yelled Derek blinking rapidly with his Alpha eyes.

“You didn’t really think I was going to put all my eggs in one basket, right? The orb will weaken all magic inside for a while and take care of any other surprises,” said Stiles laughing with giddiness and touching Derek’s arm as he got his vision back. “Stop being so prickly, everything worked fine so let’s see what’s inside Short Round!”

And with that Stiles wandered inside humming an Indiana Jones song. Derek sighed and followed in resignation.

There was only one room inside and as soon as they entered dozens of torches and lights illuminated the entirety of it in a blaze. It was a massive thing with dozens of columns keeping the roof in place and walls of bookcases and shelves creating smaller spaces. Stiles could feel the traces of magic keeping the cave intact and preserved and see the thousands of old books.

They moved through the almost labyrinthical hall seeing nothing more than books and cobwebs.

“Is it normal that the lights started when we entered?” asked Derek.

“Oh, yeah. Neat trick, nothing dangerous,” said Stiles keeping an eye for the magic. “I don’t see anything too interesting.”

“You remember we are here to test your abilities and not find the lost ark, right?” asked Derek with a snort. “And the books are not interesting?”

Stiles hummed passing around a bookcase wall.

“Not really, this place is thousands of years old, most of what is written here should be in one of the books we already have,” he said. “And magic has evolved with time, is more advanced now than before for the most part so we can probably find all of this somewhere— Except that.”

He stopped as they came to a big space with broken pots filled with plants still alive. In the middle close to an unlighted fire there was a huge cauldron and tables filled with bits and pieces of metal and books. Further away there was a pedestal and other furniture covered in ratty old cloth as well as stone statues.

Stiles eyes, however, were boggling in surprise at the completely white flower with a black root still surviving in there.

“This we can’t buy…” he said kneeling over the plant and inspecting the pot. “Because it was supposed to be extinct, or mythical, whatever. It’s Moly.”

Derek walked around inspecting the tables. “And that’s useful?”

“If it’s actually real, maybe,” said Stiles.

“Just maybe?” asked Derek looking at him.

“Yep, I wasn’t even sure it was real,” said Stiles. “It appears in many books, supposedly it’s dangerous for mortal men to harvest them without dying, hence the maybe, but it’s supposed to counteract magic. This— This could be really big.”

Stiles finished inspecting the flower quickly. The pot was keeping the plant alive in a sort of sleep so they would need to take the pot with them, but that wasn’t exactly a problem given that he wasn’t even sure he could pluck the flower without dying.

If only a fraction of what he’d read was true…

“It’s just like you to find something that doesn’t exist anymore,” sighed Derek. “Do you see anything more of interest?”

Stiles got up and walked around inspecting the rest of relic.

“Not really…” he said shaking his head at the cauldron. “Maybe the cauldron. It’s made of bronze from the Bronze Age, and that sort of thing can be powerful with some magic, but nothing else. Just old things.”

Derek watched over the covered furniture for a second before taking one some of the cloths revealing a big mirror covered in grim and an incredibly accurate statue of a human depicted in a moment of surprise.

“You think Laura will want a several thousand years old mirror for her birthday?” asked Derek coughing from the dust.

Stiles snorted looking distractedly at the mirror while taking a big book from the table covered in cobwebs and dust to the point that it was barely visible. He blew in the cover trying to clean it up.

“Probably not,” said Stiles. “Not unless it laughs at people.”

It took a moment of scrubbing before the cover of the book was visible and Stiles froze while at the same time Derek took the cloth of another statue before turning to the pedestal in the middle and taking the cloth.

He barely had a second to feel the magic and react.

“CLOSE YOUR EYES!” yelled Stiles.

Derek obeyed instantly only hearing the quick rhythm of Stiles' heart going a mile an hour and the smell of fear.

“Shit,” cursed Stiles. “Okay whatever you do, don’t open your eyes. I know what was this place is now, and it isn’t good.”

“Stiles…?” asked Derek.

“The book has the symbol of Circe!” said Stiles. “This was Circe’s home and by the magic, I can feel whatever you uncovered can only be a few things. Do me a favor and use your super werewolf senses to take the cloth that was covering the thing and cover it again without opening your eyes.”

Derek gulped and slowly crawled on the ground taking the cloth with all the care in the world and throwing it over the pedestal.

“Done,” he said and he felt the breath came back to Stiles.

Stiles opened his eyes and moved to the pedestal in two steps touching passing his hands over the covered object feeling it slowly with his hands. After a moment he took one side of the cloth revealing a stone head with snakes instead of hair, the eyes and the face covered still by the cloth.

“Shit,” said Stiles again.

“It’s that—?” asked Derek staring.

“The head of a Gorgon,” nodded Stiles. “The petrified head of a Gorgon which by the conveniently placed mirror, the magic I felt, and all the statues, stills petrifies perfectly well. The cloth was hiding the magic somehow or I would have known.”

Stiles covered the head again, and they both fell into silence.

Derek sighed and mumbled. “Every single time…”

“What?” asked Stiles turning to look at him.

“Let’s go explore a cursed cave, it will be fun, I’m sure nothing would go wrong,” said Derek imitating Stiles. “I should have known something ridiculously dangerous would happen at the end.”

Stiles rolled his eyes. “In my defense—”

“Shut up,” groaned Derek. “Just let’s get what you want from here and get out before you have a new plan.”

“But the magic—” began Stiles.

“Not listening!” yelled Derek walking away.

Chapter Text

Stiles walked into the bank followed by Derek and his two apprentices.

Beacon Hills First National Bank had been abandoned for years. It was old, big, and grim. Empty of anything interesting and nobody cared about it or remembered it existed. The building had nothing important except for two single details.

It was on the intersection of two ley lines and it had a big vault made out of moonstone.

Derek didn’t like the place, but Stiles thought it was perfect.

“And you bought this place?” Lydia asked, sniffing.

“Yep, cool, right?” Stiles said.

Lydia looked at Derek raising an eyebrow at all the broken furniture and papers forgotten on the floor. Derek rolled his eyes.

“You do realize he still drives that stupid jeep, right?” he said. “This is not my fault.”

The vault of the bank, however, was another story and far more impressive. It was lined with mountain ash and inscribed with gleaming runes in the walls that made them almost unbreakable. The massive metallic door to the vault was similarly protected but for one detail, a circle of metal in the middle like that of the Hale vaults. They had put the thing together with help from Talia and some ideas from Stiles. In combination, the thing was basically indestructible.

Derek brought his claws to that circle at the same time as Stiles felt the prick of magic inside the door asking for confirmation and he pushed gently. The magic accepted both of the keys and the door began to open slowly.

“Wow,” Danny said, shuddering. “I can actually feel that.”

Stiles snorted. “Yeah, well, it’s still halfway done. There aren’t even wards. Only the mountain ash, the door, and the unbreakable walls work.”

“Right, we only have a room that will survive a nuclear bomb,” Danny said rolling his eyes.

“Well…” Stiles said shrugging. “Yes. The vault would survive but the people inside not, so… unfinished.”

The interior was everything Stiles loved, bookcases lined the walls with books, pots with flowers, and tables filled with artifacts. In the few spaces that the wall could be seen, there were runes burned or fused with metal to the wall. Dozens of cauldrons were either in use in their own hot plates or piled in one of the tables. The whole room looked so ‘magical’ that the fact everything was illuminated by light bulbs broke some of the atmosphere.

After bringing almost an entire cave worth of books with them, they had faced a problem. They didn’t have enough space for everything. The Hale Vault under the school was big and could hold a lot of it but it was also really bad to get in and out without being seen and many of the things they had been collecting were needed from time to time.

It was just a matter of space really. They couldn’t continue learning magic in the middle of someone’s home. There was always a danger involved and they needed their own space.

“Well, It’s not a wizard’s tower but it’s magical,” Stiles asked smiling. “I have more space for my potions and for training you or whatever you want to try. What do you think? We can always build a tower on top of it if we want a wizard’s tower. I’m kind of,” he sniffed, “rich now, you know?”

Derek groaned softly while Danny patted him on the back.

“No, Stiles, we didn’t know,” Danny said in a flat tone. “It’s the first time you tell us how rich you are.”

“Yes,” Lydia said. “It’s a surprise. We also didn’t hear anything about how you were completely oblivious to the fact until some time ago.”

Stiles deflated and glared at Derek. “I hate you. Let’s get to work.”

For months, Stiles had immersed in teaching his friends more and more about magic. He trained them with a single-minded objective, to make sure they knew everything they might need to survive. As they spent their nights dreaming of magic and carefully honing the control of their will, Stiles began introducing them to the simplest concepts of magic.

It was not easy, Stiles was good with magic but mostly in potions and warding. He knew that the most ‘academical’ aspects of magic were not his strength and that both Danny and Lydia would not necessarily want to learn about those two topics alone, so he needed to find alternatives.

Simple books on magic, the ones not particularly complicated, where the first place to start but there was far more to learn and Stiles just wasn’t an expert.

Luckily, Lydia and Danny were both geniuses and didn’t take too long to get the basics before Stiles just dumped his entire library on them and told them to go nuts with it.

After that, training became far more interesting for everyone involved when Stiles began to let them help with his most pressing work.

Finding the tomb that could end the world.

Danny moved to the biggest table in the room and unfolded a map of Beacon County.

“Uh… You’ve finished it?” Stiles asked peering over it in surprise.

“Yes,” Danny said. “It took some time to map them but these are all of the telluric currents –ley lines— that pass below Beacon County.”

The whole map was crisscrossed with dozens upon dozens of lines of different colors and shapes that covered the majority of Beacon Hills. All of them crossing to one another in places and ultimately connected to the Nemeton. Over the lines, there were numbers and hundreds of annotations in half English, half Latin that Stiles barely recognized.

Stiles crossed his eyes at the details. He barely understood half of it.

“Okay, I’m not an expert on geomagnetic energy, but this is incredibly detailed Danny,” Stiles said. “I asked you to do this like a week ago, how did you—?”

“You said you needed it,” Danny said shrugging. “And it was fun. I already knew about them before I knew magic was real, but they are even more interesting than I thought. Electromagnetic currents under the earth. The heartbeat of the planet flowing under our feet. And there are a lot more than what I was expecting.”

“It’s for the Nemeton,” Stiles said, pointing to it in the map. “All the currents flow into the Nemeton in the end so there are a lot more than its normal around.”

Danny nodded. “Yes. I wanted to ask you about that, none of the books you gave us are very clear on what the Nemeton is.”

“I’m not surprised, they are a mystery even to the druids,” Stiles said moving his hands towards the location on the map. “Out of curiosity, what do those books say?”

“That they are sacred druid places,” chimed Lydia. “The druids took the oldest tree in the forest and used it as a place of reunion and ritual, it needs sacrifices to keep itself powered and it’s connected to the land and the ley lines. Not much about what it does except that it is very powerful and dangerous.”

Stiles sighed.

“Yea, well, almost,” Stiles said. “There are only seven Nemeton’s on the world and at least half of them are inactive. The druids didn’t choose them because they were the oldest trees in the forest but because they were the first trees in the world, or at least the only first trees that survived to today.”

“Wait, the first trees of the world?” Danny asked.

“Nobody has checked, but the myth and all the information that exists on them says so,” Stiles nodded. “And that’s not even the interesting part. The Nemetons acts like a cleaning device of magic, they clean the magic of the world and of the ley lines, kind of like kidneys but for the planet and consequently, all magic is attracted to it sooner or later.”

“That sounds—” Lydia said with round eyes.

“Important, yes,” Stiles said nodding. “But if they are not carefully tended and warded they attract everything related to the supernatural so most of them were abandoned or forgotten. I only know the one in Brazil is under some indigenous tribe care and working fine which is good. I take care of the one here which is the reason why we don’t have too many visits of supernatural nonsense constantly.”

Lydia and Danny looked at each other. Stiles knew how it sounded, but the truth was he didn’t know all that much about the Nemeton. Nobody did, the druids used it as a ritual place to cleanse the land and they knew many things were possible with it. But what was the true limit?

The fact that he traveled back in time through the Nemeton and spoke with the world should give everyone an idea of what manner of things was possible with the Nemeton.

Stiles moved a hand around the map inspecting all the ley lines.

“So apparently you have a gift for geomantic magic. Good to know. Do you think, you can map the ley lines in China?” Stiles asked at last.

“Not without being in China,” Danny said coughing. “And China is big so it’ll take a few years.”

“We need to go to China, Derek!” Stiles yelled.

“Nope,” Derek said from behind a bookcase.

Stiles groaned but he knew Derek was right. It had been a long shot anyway and while it was a surprise how easily could Danny map the ley lines it was not going to help to find that tomb.

The only thing they knew about the tomb was that it was on top of some ley lines. It was their only clue to find the place and stop any possible apocalypse and it was not going to be so easy.

He sighed. They were starting to run out of options to find the damn place.

“Okay,” Stiles said turning to Lydia. “We will try another way.”

Lydia grimaced but followed him to a chair. In front of her, Stiles put a massive map of China with strings attached to a wide net. She brought her hands to the strings slowly with her eyes closed and then waited.

“This is stupid Stiles,” said Lydia after a moment.

“Can’t you have a little faith?” asked Stiles with a sigh. “Just try it.”

“I tried it,” she said. “I think I managed to hear something in the graveyard last time, and not very clear. I don’t think I can—”

“Hey, Lydia, look at me,” Stiles said staring into her eyes. “I know you are not exactly comfortable with your talents but—”

Lydia arched an eyebrow. “Oh, I’m sorry Stiles, how am I supposed to feel when I hear the whispers of the dead?”

“—but,” continued Stiles and then sighed. “You have a gift. I know your connection to death sounds bad but it’s not… I’ve seen a lot of people die, Lydia, and regardless of what you might have read, you don’t cause death,” he said staring into her eyes. “Everyone dies Lydia. You just make sure they are heard one last time.”

Lydia breathed deeply staring at Stiles and nodded. She closed her eyes and concentrated touching the strings again.

Banshees could feel things, divine the position of objects and people as long as death was somehow in the mix. They were rare, women who were so tightly woven into the supernatural that could feel death, but their gift was difficult.

It had taken years for Lydia to perfect her abilities in their other life and no matter how much Stiles wanted to help, it would take time because he would never understand her power as well as she could. Fortunately, the best teachers for Banshees were their own powers, the whispers of the death will teach her more than many humans ever dreamed of knowing and Stiles –and the pack— could only support her while she learned.

They just have to be there for her every step of the way.

For the next hours, they worked in silence as Lydia continued trying. Danny and Stiles began studying the ley lines map of Beacon County to see what they could do with minor interruptions to add something to one of the dozen bubbling cauldrons in the room. While it wouldn’t help to find the tomb, knowing where all the ley lines were located was a huge help in finding ways the protect Beacon Hills.

A few hours later, unfortunately, Lydia sagged in place without having done anything to the map. She just looked at Stiles, drained and tired without answers.

“It takes time,” said Stiles smiling. “Don’t worry, when you get it for the first time it will feel amazing. We have time yet and there is no need to rush.”

“Easy for you to say,” Lydia said with a snort.

“Hey, magic is difficult. It doesn’t matter if you can’t get some of it right the first time because you are killing with everything else, both of you are,” Stiles said taking both Danny’s and Lydia’s hands on his own. “If you knew how I began—”

Both of them smiled and glanced at Derek for a second before returning to normal. Stiles sighed.

With that, they finished their training for the day, closed the vault, and drove back.

When they got to the Hale house there were many cars parked at the entrance, more than what Stiles recognized. He parked his jeep quickly and entered the house to a cacophony of yells.

It did not take long to understand why.

There were two packs of werewolves in the room, Talia’s and Satomi Ito, another Alpha who lived fairly close to Beacon Hills with her pack. The later was looking enraged and wild, at the edge of transformation. Just at the other side of the room were Chris and Allison Argent looking extremely calm despite the pack of werewolves sneering at them that seemed a second out of pounding with all the claws and teeth you could imagine.

The tension could be cut with a knife while Satomi shouted enraged words to Chris’ face and Talia tried to calm her down to no effect.

“HEY!” yelled Stiles accompanied by Derek’s howl.   

Everyone stopped and turned to look at them.

“Thank you,” said Stiles smiling at Derek. “Now, can somebody explain to me why you are all going nuts here?”

Peter snorted. He was laying down on the couch with his eyes closed and ignoring everyone. “Believe it or not this is actually progress compared to an hour ago.”

Talia let go a long-suffering sigh.  “Yes, Peter, we heard your opinion. Do you want to do something to help?”

“I am helping!” Peter said. “With silence and patience.”

“Your silence and patience look like snoring to me, Peter,” said Talia.

Peter rolled his eyes.

“You find our problems funny?” Satomi asked growling.

“No, no,” said Peter. “Just boring and a little bit confusing given you started yelling the moment you entered.”

“Two members of our pack were attacked! Their wounds were similar to those of hunter weapons and poisoned with wolfsbane,” she said dropping an arrow into the table. “If it weren’t for your boy’s potions they would be dead by now, and I want to know how that happened!”

Instantly Chris moved to take the arrow and began inspecting it. Allison was right behind him doing the same.

“What?” Stiles asked blinking rapidly.

That was impossible. The hunters were helping them, working together, not—

Stiles groaned. “Please tell me it’s not Gerard.”

“It’s not, he is… somewhere in Europe last time we heard,” said Allison distractedly.

Talia sighed, turning around the table to get closer to Satomi and held her.

“The problem is far worse,” she said. “We have been getting reports from Deucalion and other packs of similar attacks in California and some other places. We know someone—”

“Them,” Satomi growled.

“Someone,” Talia continued without missing a beat. “Someone is attacking the packs, with arrows and tactics that resemble those of hunters.”

“With this arrows?” asked Allison looking at Talia.

Talia nodded. “And wolfsbane, yes. Deucalion is trying to keep the peace but people are scared and they are being attacked. Nobody has died yet because Stiles potions helped but it’s just a matter of time. I wanted to give your people the benefit of the doubt Chris, but—”

“It’s not one of our arrows,” Allison announced.

Everyone turned to look at her, but Stiles was already moving to take the arrow from their hands and begin inspecting it. The moment he touched the arrow his eyes widened in surprise and he felt the thinnest traces of magic dancing over it.

“It’s not wolfsbane,” Stiles said. “Well, it is, but there is something on top of it. Something magical, the wolfsbane is just there to weaken the body for the other part. I don’t think this was made to kill anybody.”

“Magic?” Satomi asked staring at the arrow. “What kind of magic?”

Stiles dropped his shoulders. “I don’t know but this is not from hunters.”

“Hunters can use magic too,” Satomi snorted. “They don’t really care all that much about their hate of the supernatural when it’s convenient for them.”

Stiles snorted holding the arrow in the air for all to see.

“Yeah, right, but using mountain ash from time to time and these are two different things. There is very little left but just by what there is now…” Stiles said. “This is heavy magic, powerful and difficult to do. The kind you need someone with power or good knowledge. Whoever did this was good, as good as me at least.”

“You are starting to believe it,” whispered Derek.

“Shut up,” he whispered back.

He was right nonetheless. Just with the barest of touches he couldn’t tell what the magic did, it was too weak and too soon to tell, but he knew it needed someone on his level. The problem was there were not many people on his level anymore.

“Where did you say these attacks took place?” Chris asked suddenly. “Somewhere in the south closer to Mexico before moving north?”

Talia blinked. “Yes, the first packs attacked were in the south. How do you—?”

Chris sighed looking at the ground in silence. Allison stared at his father.

“You think they are related to—” began Allison.

“Possibly,” said Chris and then turning towards the rest of the room. “For a few weeks, we have heard of disappearances, humans here and there that simply banished without more information. We thought it was wendigos at first and they were just eating them but after a few weeks, some of our hunters found bodies. Dozens of bodies hacked to pieces.”

The words hanged in the air for a moment.

“Wait, wait, wait,” Stiles said. “Why didn’t I know anything about this?”

Talia sighed. “Because—”

“—we thought it was them,” Chris and Talia said at the same time.

Peter opened his eyes and got up. “Wait. So someone makes it seem like hunters are attacking werewolves and that some manner of supernatural creature was attacking humans at the same time? And you all fell for it?”

They looked at each-other intently then, the wheels turning inside their heads.

“This is a setup,” Alison said.

Chris frowned. “It’s possible. The Alpha pack and the pack the twins belonged to were the most aggressive of the lot. Without them, we’ve only had some attacks, and all of them were minor. For months things were calm and we even got assistance from one of the packs in hunting a dangerous monster.”

Talia growled, looking at the table in contemplation.

“We were thinking—” she began and stopped, looking directly at Allison. “Deucalion wanted to have another summit with your people. He thought that now that we are more or less in good terms there was an opportunity to finish our fight forever.”

You could hear a pin drop for a moment. Hunters and werewolves had been fighting for hundreds of years, for the most part, their war was not really a big one compared to an actual war but over the years, hundreds or thousands were dead from both sides.

Deucalion and Talia had been the only ones to advocate for peace years ago and it had ended badly when Gerard tried to murder everyone. That they were ready to try again was… big.

Something that Stiles should have known.

“Apparently nobody tells me anything anymore,” murmured Stiles while resting his head on Derek’s shoulder.

Derek mumbled something equally surprised.

“If someone is trying to drag us into a fight we need to know,” Allison said turning to Satomi. “Where were your people attacked?”

Satomi looked at Allison with a mixture of anger and hope, staring at her for a moment considering her options.

“Close to Eichen house,” she said at the end.

Talia stiffened. “That is practically around the corner. We can still find them.”

“But we don’t know what we are facing. Whatever these things are, use both claw and weapons, they know our tactics and enough about werewolves to try to trick us,” Chris said. “They won’t be easy to find.”

“We have the best trackers in existence both human and supernatural,” said Talia smiling. “I think we can find them.”

Allison and Chris looked at each other.

“We need an hour to round out our people,” Allison said nodding to her father.

“Derek?” asked Talia looking at his son. “We need to cover a fair amount of terrain.”

Derek grunted shaking his head. “They are not exactly the best at focusing their senses yet, but they had been waiting to put their abilities to use. I guess can get all of them ready in an hour.”

Stiles smiled. “Okay! That’s what I’m talking about. You take the pack and I’ll go and—”

“You won’t go anywhere, Stiles,” Derek said.

“What, why?” he asked.

Derek sighed. “Because every time you make a plan it ends with something going horribly wrong.”

Stiles opened his mouth and closed it. “I was just going—”

“No, Stiles,” Derek said.

Stiles sighed.

“I was going to say that maybe I can find something about what we are fighting from the arrows while you are sniffing around town. Actually, having the people that were hurt to take a look at the magic would be more helpful,” he said looking at Satomi.

“Oh, look at that!” Peter said. “That is an actual good plan that may work. Why don’t you trust your boyfriend more?”

Derek growled at Peter and Stiles rolled his eyes.

“Okay, Peter isn’t exactly helpful, but I can help to find whatever we are looking for,” Stiles said.

Derek looked into his eyes. “You’ll stay away from the action?”

Stiles rolled his eyes.

“Yes, fine, I’ll take Danny and Lydia and we’ll do a lesson while we are at it,” Stiles said nodding to them. “No interfering with your really smart plan I promise.”

 

***

 

It was already night by the time they got to the bank again. It had taken little time to convince them and the pack that it was time to do something and Stiles was not surprised by how eager were all the werewolves to open their wings as it were.

One of the members of Satomi’s pack was with them inside the safe vault, laying over a table while Stiles examined him. There was no wound anymore, the werewolf regeneration and the potion they had given him had healed everything but the magic was still there.

Stiles took a magnifying glass with runes etched on the golden rim where the bound was supposed to be and watched.

“Okay, so I want ideas,” Stiles said.

“Well, whatever it is, is weak,” Danny said. “I can feel it better in the arrow than in him.”

“Uh… kind of, more” Stiles said turning around the table.

Lydia rolled her eyes while moving the arrow up and down her hand. “The magic is too weak to be reusable, they enchanted the arrow to only work once.”

“Which is expensive and pointless unless they didn’t want to leave many clues. You are both right, but for a few details,” he said pointing at the werewolf. “The reason why you barely feel it is because he is a werewolf and the curse is also magical. This thing is hidden under the curse.”

“Uh, but it’s too weak even after that,” said Danny closing his eyes while touching the werewolf. “It’s like it’s trying to camouflage within the body, trying to look like just part of—”

Stiles stopped suddenly and ran to one of the bookcases taking one of the boxes with him. When he came back he had two coins in his hands, he took just one second to tune them, put one over the werewolf and spun the other. In just a moment the coin stopped and Stiles stared at it.

“Okay, it’s a curse,” Stiles said with surprise.

“What?” Danny asked as both Lydia and he moved closer. “That doesn’t make any sense.”

It didn’t, and yet, there it was, staring at them. The coin clearly showed a curse and he had taken a moment to adjust for the werewolf part so there was no mistake. The thing hiding under the werewolf was just one little curse.

Stiles took the arrow and repeated the process again with similar results.

Lydia moved forward taking the coin from his hand and reading over the symbols.

“It’s a curse that does nothing,” she said with a flat tone.

Stiles nodded. “Apparently.”

“I thought curses usually did something,” Danny said.

“Well, it’s doing something, kind of,” Stiles explained. “It’s there so that at least is doing something, but besides existing nothing much. Or so it seems.”

Lydia and Danny looked at each other and then at once began taking books from the bookcases. Most of the books were in curses, things they didn’t have the time to study because how rare they usually were.

“Where do we begin?” Lydia asked.

Stiles smiled, proud of how they took to research and separated some of the books adding some tools that would help them. Once they began reading Stiles focused on the curse, it was something very simple, so simple it shouldn’t actually exist. It was like the framework of a curse that was never filled with anything.

He walked around the bookcases looking for something of an inspiration. There was something about the magic that seemed familiar from the beginning but he couldn’t place it.

Peter chose that moment to cough from behind the bookcase and Stiles jumped.

“Sorry,” he said. “You were so focused that I didn’t want to bother.”

“Right!” Stiles said breathing hard. “Tell me, why are you here again?”

Peter snorted. “Because the way you built this thing you need a Hale to open the vault and apparently my lovely nephew thinks I can protect you when the inevitable happens and your plan to stay aside makes the world end. I’m paraphrasing, by the way, but that was the gist of it.”

“Yeah,” Stiles said. “I know that, but you are one the best trackers. Shouldn’t you be of more help there?”

“I go where my Alpha commands,” Peter said smiling.

Stiles arched an eyebrow. 

“What? I do. You are doing a great job, by the way, with the pack and them,” he said pointing at Lydia and Danny.

Stiles smiled trying to wonder if that was sarcasm. “Thank you, he took a while to get it but Derek is a great Alpha.”

And he was, a few months with a pack had made wonders on him, a bit more worried than usual but that was expected given the increased stakes. He just couldn’t fail his pack and if that made him a bit paranoid, well, Stiles couldn’t exactly talk much in that regard.

“Yes, Derek is being a great surprise but I’ve seen you,” Peter said. “Derek may be Alpha but you are the brain, you are the one who plans, who guides him. Let’s face it, Derek wasn’t ready to be an Alpha before he met you. You are the one who made him realize his potential, and I— Well, I’m not sure I would have resisted the Alpha spark before you came into our life.”

Stiles stopped, shocked and speechless. He stared at Peter with his mouth open unable to get any sound to come out of his mouth. That was something he would never have expected to hear.

“What?” he asked at the end.

“If you tell that to anyone I will kill you,” Peter said.

And that was the normal Peter back.

“But it’s true. You’ve changed all our lives for good,” he continued. “And you keep trying to do more with the hunters and the packs. Don’t even try to deny it, you may be surprised that Talia and Deucalion are going for it now but you were the one pushing for it in the first place. Sometimes I can help but wonder what is that you really hope to get from all of this.”

Stiles stared at him.

“I just want—” Stiles said and stopped. “I just want peace, to live the rest of my life in peace with the people I love without having to wonder if they would be alive by the end of the week. Just that.”

Peter smiled a curved smile almost like he expected him to say that.

“I used to think that was impossible, but if your luck holds…” he said with a snort. “Who knows, maybe we will live to see the day.”

They were interrupted by the clear cheering of Danny and Lydia.

“We have something!” Danny said from behind his laptop.

Stiles looked at Peter for a moment before turning to them. Both were standing around the werewolf prodding at him with small instruments around his body and taking quick measurements of the magic.

“See this?” Danny asked with a small pendant hanging from his hand.

Stiles took a closer look. The pendant was just slightly falling towards the werewolf instead of perpendicular, almost like if it was being attracted to the body instead of the ground.

He frowned, taking the pendant from his hands and testing it further. Whatever position he put it the pendant fell always towards the body.

“It’s being attracted, but it doesn’t make any sense,” said Stiles arching an eyebrow.

The pendant was a simple tool, it attuned to magic quickly making subtle things easy to read but nothing more. It shouldn’t be being attracted to anything.

He took a little hammer over the arrow and hit it. A single clear note sounded in the vault making the werewolves move in alert.

“I know something about this,” Stiles whispered doing it again. “I’ve seen something similar. The magic has a taste to it that I— I have it on the tip of my tongue but I can’t find it!”

He had met hundreds of sparks and other people with magic so even if it was someone he had known—

Suddenly the lights went out and Stiles groaned.

“And now what?” Stiles yelled taking his phone and seeing it didn’t turn on. “My phone is dead. Does anyone have a light?”

“My laptop died, too,” Danny said. “And my phone. Why would—?”

Danny stopped cold but Stiles wasn’t listening anymore. At once the both of them focused in the ley lines below their feet, or more to the point the ley lines that weren’t there anymore. Something had overloaded them, rerouted the power through another place.

Something clicked in Stiles’ mind at last, but far too late.

Lydia screamed making the walls of the vault tremble.

There was a buzz in the room like that of static and then three figures Stiles had hoped to never see again wearing masks and elaborated coats walked through the unbreakable walls as if they weren’t there.

The Dread doctors walked into the room phasing through furniture armed with crossbows and a sword cane.

Stiles only had a second to think before the first arrow flew towards Danny. He moved between him and the arrow and created a barrier of will alone that made the arrow bounce off the way.

“HIDE!” he yelled running towards the nearest cauldron in the room and pushing with his magic.

The cauldron fell but instead of water, there was vapor and ghostly trails of smoke that enveloped the vault in a second. Stiles felt the magic take his toll the moment he did it, the potion wasn’t exactly made for that and there would be some prize to pay for it later on but for now, their survival took priority.

For now, the magic smoke hid them completely from the doctors making them unable to distinguish anything and hiding their sound. He couldn’t even feel the magic of the artifacts stored around him.

“You cannot hide from us,” said one of them in a broken voice.

“I can try!” Stiles yelled.

He dropped on the ground, crawling behind tables and trying to make as much sound as possible to confound them. Inside the vault, every sound reverberated over the walls and with the smoke it only made things more difficult for them.

Stiles should have known they would come sooner or later for the Nemeton. They did last time and he had tried to find them over the years but it hadn’t worked. Now they were trapped in here with the three monsters and the only thing that gave Stiles hope was that the walls were still unbreakable.

The Dread doctors had overloaded the ley lines to be able to phase through the walls. If the fog lasted long enough they would be trapped here completely, or they would run.

He was hoping they would run because last time they barely managed to drive them back for a while much less kill them. They were intangible most of the times so that didn’t help either.

Suddenly an arrow flew past his head and embedded into what had to be a bookcase. Well, at least now they knew who they were looking for.

“You failed!” he yelled back.

He needed time to think. To plan a way around them and out of the vault. They just didn’t have enough strength to fight them on their own and their pack could be god knows where at the moment.

He needed to gain time and—

Stiles blinked and got up with a jump.

“So! What are you three idiots doing now?” he asked. “I thought you were busy making chimeras and shit.”

Another arrow flew by completely failing to get close. The sound of static intensified.

“I mean, I don’t really care about what you are trying to do, mad scientists are boring but—” he continued as another arrow flew. “—trying to jeopardize hunter-werewolves relations is not something I pegged you for.”

For a moment there was only the sound of static and then.

“You interfered with the great plan,” one said.

Stiles snorted. “It can’t be that great if I can interfere then. And going from mad scientists to idiots with crossbows doesn’t seem like a great step in the right direction.”

There was a great clang sounding in the room as a stray arrow hit something of value. Stiles shuddered hoping it was nothing important or dangerous.

“I mean, it’s not like you are even good about it! You haven’t killed a single werewolf yet,” he yelled. “You didn’t even manage to fool them for long. They are coming for you. What were you trying to do?”

“You cannot stop him,” said the voice again.

“I think I’m doing a great job already!” Stiles said. “Your experiments are not even—”

And then something clicked again, too late to be of any good. Stiles blanched.

“Him?” he asked and suddenly everything made a lot of sense. “What you are doing doesn’t make sense, you experiment with people not kill them outright. Unless… Unless you—”

Suddenly he stumbled against a bookcase, with his back he felt the cloth of what could only be one thing. The head of the Gorgon. Without thinking he took the head between his arms and took a position against the bookcase.

“You brought the beast back,” he said.

He felt just in time the ghostly feeling of the door asking to open and he sent his magic to work. Just one moment more to focus in and with another push focused in opening the door started to open. The magic was making him feverish already but he pushed a little more into the fog trying to hide the sound of the door.

Stiles brought his attention to the arrow still in his hand.

“They don’t do anything because they don’t need to,” he whispered. “They are markers. You are guiding him through the country making everyone who could put out a fight believe they are the enemy.”

Suddenly the wispy figures of the doctors stood in front of him blinking in and out of phase. Completely intangible to physical attacks but hopefully not to magic.

“The greatest killer is alive again and you cannot stop him,” the doctor said.

And with one single push, the doctor brought his sword through Stiles body before he could even react.

Time stood still and Stiles did the only thing he could do. He took the cloth away from the head and focused every single ounce left of his magic in extending the effect of the Gorgon to them.

The effect was instantaneous. The doctors stopped blinking and were corporeal but nothing more. The sound of the door reached his ears and suddenly there was an arrow sticking between the doctor’s neck and bleeding and death. Howls filled the vault and werewolves trotted inside with glowing eyes.

The last of the fog began to thin down as one of the hunters dropped something glowing in the ground and a werewolf jumped behind one of the doctors cutting him in half.

Stiles was barely aware of what was happening by then, bleeding with the sword still inside him, he tried to cover the head back as well as he could.

The last thing he saw before falling was the last of the doctors die, hacked to pieces by someone that looked a lot like Deucalion, and Derek staring at him with brilliant red eyes filled with tears.

Chapter Text

Stiles woke up after almost dying with a loud groan, the taste of metal in his mouth and the faint feeling of tiredness. He opened his eyes awake in confusion and looked around.

He was in his room, the one on Beacon Hills and for a second he thought he had gone back in time again, but that sensation didn’t last long. The light of the sun was shining brightly from the windows and around him, sleeping or huddled together in weird positions, was his pack.

Each and every one of them but Derek.

“How the hell do you even survive when we are not around,” Isaac said smiling.

Stiles coughed weakly incorporating in his bed. “It’s called being awesome.”

The moment he spoke everyone in the room stirred awake.

“Dude you are awake!” Scott yelled. “We were so worried.”

Stiles coughed in pain when Scott threw himself at him in a hug of death.

“Squishy human here Scott!” he yelled.

Scott stopped and jumped back in fear. “Shit, sorry. I forgot. You had a sword through your chest, Stiles! We thought—”

Stiles widened his eyes, the memories of those last moments coming back to him. Immediately he brought his hands to his chest and looked for a wound that was not there anymore. Just a thin silver scar that was barely visible. He had felt that, barely. The brief sensation of pain before everything went cold and dark.

He should be dead.

“We thought you were going to die,” Isaac said grimacing. “But Derek did something to heal you and then we gave you a potion. You are lucky we always have some with us.”

Well, that at least explained that. Stiles blinked at them. “Well, thank—”

Suddenly someone was kissing him like his life depended on it and Stiles simply let it happen in surprise. It wasn’t Derek, he knew that but—

Jackson finally stopped and glared at him.

“Now we are even,” he said. “Don’t get yourself killed next time.”

Stiles was just too surprised to say anything back. Everyone just stood there opening and closing their mouths.

“Jackson,” Lydia said very slowly. “Do you want to tell me something about this?”

Jackson stiffened. “I was just trying to—”

“No kissing Stiles,” she said pointing at Jackson.

“But he kisses me all the time!” Jackson yelled. “And I just wanted to—”

Lydia rolled her eyes. “I don’t care, no kissing any other man at all unless it’s my birthday.”

Jackson grumbled something unintelligible and everyone else just stared.

Stiles just gave up and dropped back on the bed.

“Okay. I’m too tired for this shit, wake me up when Derek comes,” he said closing his eyes.

“Dude, you can’t go back to sleep yet! He’ll be here soon, and you’ve been sleeping for a week,” Scott said.

That brought Stiles up again.

“Okay, not tired anymore!” he exclaimed and then groaned. “A week? What the hell has happened since I went sleeping beauty?”

Boyd walked around the bed giving him a glass of water. He hadn’t even realized how thirsty he was until then and chugged down the drink.

“Nothing really. Everyone is too busy trying to deal with this beast but they don’t seem to be having much luck. We have been waiting for you to wake up,” Boyd said.

Right, there was still the beast out there.

“We were worried because you wouldn’t wake up,” said Danny rolling his eyes. “The potion healed you in only a few minutes but by then you were already unconscious.”

Stiles coughed and grimaced trying to not to look at them. “I used magic without the proper materials several times so it’s not rare that I spent a week sleeping. Take that as a lesson, you two, don’t fuck with magic if you don’t know what you are doing.”

With that, he tried to focus his spark and quickly got a sense of the forest and the wards. Everything was okay which considering how quickly he had to act back then it was nothing short of a miracle. He had tried to minimize the risks using the few tools he had close to him then but it could have backfired anyway.

“Was there someone else hurt?” Stiles asked looking at Danny and Erica.

They had been there with him during the attack and he hadn’t seen were many of the arrows went. Fortunately, they just rolled their eyes at him.

“We are fine, idiot,” Lydia said with a fond smile. “You were the only one who got hurt.”

“Yes, everyone is fine. Nobody has slept for a week but we are fine.” Isaac said.

“That too,” Danny said nodding. “I hope you don’t mind we haven’t been working when you were here.”

Stiles laughed, feeling calm again.

“It’s fine. Just don’t believe we are not coming back to it when this is over just because I heard you scream, Lydia,” he said looking at her, who blinked in surprise. “I’m so proud of you that I could kiss you, but Jackson already did that so… kind of pointless.”

Lydia smiled. “You were right. It felt amazing.”

A comfortable silence descended upon the pack and then.

“Are we going to hug?” Isaac asked.

“What?” Jackson asked.

Scott nodded. “He is right, we always end up with a group hug in this kind of situations. We hugged you when we found out you were adopted.”

Jackson scoffed. “That was completely different! He almost got killed like an idiot. That’s not something that deserves a hug.”

Stiles raised his arm. “I want a hug.”

Everyone ignored him.

“No, I think I’m with Jackson in this one,” Danny said. “Almost dying is not the kind of thing you want to encourage.”

It was then that the door opened and Derek walked inside staring at Stiles as if there was nothing else in the world. He looked tired and ragged, which for a werewolf was not an easy feat to accomplish, and there was the thinnest expression of fear in his eyes.

They stared at each other eyes forgetting everyone else in the room.

Stiles had been so close to dying this time that he could only imagine what Derek had been like for the past week. They had both been in situations like this more than once but even so, it was always stressful.

Of course, they had practice and after a while had developed a sure way to deal with all the almost dying feelings.

“I told you,” Derek growled staring at him. “Every time you plan something it goes wrong somehow.”

Stiles stiffened and smiled. “Right, because it was my fault.”

Derek snarled walking closer to him

“It’s never your fault but you are an idiot that never listens!” Derek yelled.

“Well, at least my plans work most of the time!” Stiles yelled back.

There was a second of silence and then Derek threw himself at Stiles and started kissing him like he needed him to breathe. It was raw and primal and Stiles could almost feel the werewolf teeth in his mouth.

They only stopped momentarily to catch air.

“Right!” Stiles said turning to everyone in the room. “I’m having celebratory ‘you are alive’ sex so unless you want to watch get out!”

Scott shuddered and everyone obediently ran out of the room as if it was on fire. Or at least everyone but Ethan. Stiles stared at him.

“I like to watch,” he said nodding.

Derek howled at him half transformed and Ethan ran laughing out of the room.

“Hey, that’s nice. At least he is getting more comfortable with the pack. Maybe we—” Stiles began.

Only to be stopped by Derek kissing him and tearing his clothes apart.

“Shut up, Stiles.”

 

***

 

When they got out of the house the sun was already up in the sky.

Their pack was gone probably because none of the werewolves wanted to hear everything that was happening inside. For hours they had the opportunity of being together and alone enjoying each other and unpacking their feelings. The only interruption had been of Stiles’ father who got home midway through and ended with an incredibly awkward conversation, an apology for making his dad worry and the sheriff going back to work trying to forget what he’d seen.

Derek got in his car smiling openly and Stiles followed walking slowly, stopping every few steps and dropping down in the car with a yelp of pain.

They drove to the preserve as quickly as they could.

“Okay, that was totally worth it,” Stiles said. “Maybe not a great idea after getting a sword through my chest but totally worth it.”

Derek snorted. “You are fine, Melissa checked you, and after the first night, I couldn’t drain your pain anymore. Your body is just tired.”

“I know! I checked after the second time in the shower,” Stiles said wincing. “But my ass disagrees.”

“You are such a baby,” Derek said rolling his eyes.

The teasing and everything came easy then. It was practically a ritual at this point after almost dying and while it could look stupid they kept doing it for one single reason. It worked. It was true, none of them were the most emotionally adjusted people –none in their situation could be— but throwing every single feeling they had at each other usually worked greatly.

And the sex was awesome.

Stiles laughed loudly, happily, an action that was quickly followed by Derek. Stiles took down his shirt looking at his new scar. It was barely visible but it was there.

“You know,” he said touching the scar. “I kind of missed my scars. Well… not really, but you know what I mean.”

“No, I don’t,” Derek said.

“Right, cheating werewolves don’t get scars,” Stiles sighed.

As they moved through Beacon Hills they passed throes of cars and people that looked completely out of place in the town.

“So… what happened after I fell?” Stiles asked. “Because I still don’t know. I think I remember the doctors dying but what about after that?”

Derek kept driving for a moment not looking at Stiles.

“That night we started looking for them without much luck, there were a few smells here and there but nothing that pointed in a direction until Deucalion found us,” Derek said. “He had been following the trail of the attacks. The doctors were moving in a clear direction and he cut straight to Beacon Hills hoping to catch them.”

“Well, that was lucky,” Stiles said with a snort. “But given that it was the Dread doctors I doubt you managed to find much to track them.”

“Not really, for what you told me of them they don’t usually leave clues. But by that time Beacon Hills suffered a blackout and Deucalion’s emissary told us about the ley lines,” Derek said glancing at Stiles. “I guess because I spent so much time around you and something stuck of your long babbling about magic I knew you were in danger and we went back to the bank.”

Stiles smiled widely. “I knew you listened to my constant ramblings! You do like you don’t understand anything but it’s all a trick!”

“Of course,” Derek said with a nod. “Also if something magical was happening around it was probably your fault.”

Stiles deflated and wanted to protest but abstained. It was sort of true after all. He stretched in the car, stiff after a week sleeping, and suddenly with his hand touched something strange in the back seat.

He turned to look and his smile widened.

“You got the sword!” Stiles said excited taking the sword cane in one hand.

It was still the same as he remembered from both times. The sword that had almost killed him glinted gently in the car and just by touching could feel the impressive amount of magic it carried. It was not a spell of some kind, just raw belief, legends and the hope that had taken seed during its forging empowering the blade far more than it should have been possible with normal means.

Derek glanced back and nodded.

“I knew if I didn’t take it you would be insufferable when you woke up,” he said. “I know how you value these things. I also saved their masks and armor, but those are in the vault.”

Stiles’ eyes were sparking by the time Derek finished. He had never gotten the opportunity to study anything from the dread doctors, by the time he had the knowledge to do so everything had been destroyed or lost.

“I love you so much right now,” Stiles said in a whisper. “If my ass didn’t hurt so much I would be doing you again.”

Derek groaned while trying to focus on driving.

They reached the preserve in only a few moments and as they pulled closer to the Hale house Stiles saw dozens of cars parked in front of it. The whole clearing was filled with cars and Derek took a moment to actually find a place to park.

Stiles couldn’t help but get pulled again to the scene of a few years back.

“Okay, I realize I’ve been a bit out of it for a while but I need to know—” Stiles said. “Did I time travel again?”

Derek rolled his eyes. “You’ll see.”

The Hale house was, once again, in what appeared to be its new natural state. The main room was filled with some people Stiles didn’t know and some people he definitely did even if he hadn’t seen them after coming back in time. He had felt them before, just barely, when he was flexing his magic and touched the wards but the number of people was surprising.

All of them, wolves and hunters were working together around maps and other information dropped in tables around the room with Deucalion, Talia and Allison at the head talking quickly. Behind them were Chris, Peter and both emissaries of their pack, Deaton, and Morrell, inspecting the map and one of the arrows from the doctors.

The moment they walked in Talia stared at him and snorted looking quickly back at Derek with the most complicated expression he had seen her do.

“What?” Stiles asked looking around. “Do I— Do I smell?”

“Oh, yeah, you do,” chirped Laura from one side with a snort.

Stiles arched an eyebrow at Derek who seemed to be turning red by moments and finally sighed.

“Well, we showered. Twice,” he said smiling. “So if you have a problem with that we can go and—”

“No! Stiles, no,” Talia said quickly moving closer and scrunching her nose. “I am happy you are okay. It’s just a… surprise you came.”

“Well, I am in perfect shape and completely healed! And that’s why I came. In fact, we both came because if we hadn’t come we would still be there,” Stiles said looking around the room. “There was a lot of coming involved.”

Some of the people in the room laughed quietly while several others groaned.

“So this is your boy wonder, Talia,” Deucalion said chuckling. “The spark to which we owe our current state of affairs. We meet at last.”

 “Yes,” Stiles said without missing a beat. “I wanted to meet you too and thank you for the other night. I think I saw you take one of the doctors.”

“It was nothing, we were close by and I was glad to be of help,” Deucalion said with a smile before turning to another man. “Marcus, please bring him a chair. We have much to discuss.”

Stiles stared at the man. Deucalion seemed so different and so similar at the same time. Open and moving around his pack like he belonged without that unnerving feeling of outsider that he used to give. It was a completely different man to the one he knew back then.

The beta brought a chair for him and Stiles sat, losing himself and inspecting the many maps over the table that covered almost all of California.

Then he stared at everyone at the table.

Everyone stared back.

“Uh… I just realized I don’t know why I’m here,” he said pointing at Derek. “Derek is distracting and he brought me here when I was still loopy from the... Everything. So, uh… Hi?”

Allison sighed while Talia facepalmed.

“The beast, Stiles. Lydia told us your conversation with the doctors about a beast that has been responsible for all those disappearances and dead bodies we are finding,” Allison said. “We have been trying to find more about it but you didn’t leave a lot of information to go with.”

“It has been easier to find the bodies than whatever caused them, unfortunately,” Deucalion added.

“Wait, you didn’t tell them?” Stiles asked looking at Derek.

Derek shrugged. “I told them what I remembered of your story but I don’t know all the details. And— It’s not like is easy to believe.”

Stiles closed his mouth.

“Yeah, okay, that’s a good point,” Stiles said looking back at the room and the curious stares. “Okay so… What do you know about the dread doctors?”

Chris walked forwards. “They were some kind of parascientists that made several experiments with people over the world, more than that we are not sure.”

That was depressing, but not surprising considering they could erase memories. In their timeline, they didn’t even know that.

“Yes, they were…” Stiles stopped looking for the words. “Alchemists and scientists. They were obsessed with the creations of chimeras –blends of different were-creatures— and had a very specific objective in mind, to bring the most perfect killer back to life. The beast of Gevaudan.”

The temperature in the room dropped. Hunters and werewolves by equal went silent and stared at him. That name at least everyone knew.

Allison stiffened but quickly straightened her back. “The beast is back. The one my ancestors killed. That’s what you meant.”

Stiles winced. “Yes, unfortunately.”

“The werewolf of legend?” Deucalion asked, frowning. “That’s it? This beast has killed almost a hundred people in two weeks under our noses. I highly doubt a single werewolf could have done all of that without anyone finding it.”

“Satomi’s pack can hide their scent, maybe the beast has a similar skill,” Talia pointed.

“Even so the problem remains, neither the packs nor the hunters can find it and while we stand here planning more people are dying.”

Deaton coughed and looked at Stiles. “We have been trying to use the arrows to track the beast without luck.”

“The arrows?” Stiles asked taking the arrow from the table. “You mean the curse?”

Deaton nodded. “Your apprentices informed us of your theory and we tested it. The people cursed by the arrows are emitting some magic signal. While nobody seems to be able to feel it the fact that the attacks of the beast are happening around the people attacked seems to indicate you are right. The doctors were guiding the beast.”

Stiles blinked. “And you are trying to follow the beast with the magic?”

“Yes, but it doesn’t appear to be working,” Deaton said showing him a crude attempt of something similar to a compass. “All our attempts only point to the closest marked werewolf.”

That was ridiculous. Stiles felt the magic in the compass, it was well done but completely pointless.

“Yeah…” Stiles said slowly. “Think of the markers like a scent that only the beast can find. This isn’t going to help you find it. But you don’t need it. You already have the best way to find the beast. He will follow your people.”

Deucalion grimaced. “We tried to move the packs that had these markers into deserted areas where there wouldn’t be victims but the beast killed them all.”

“Including the hunters, we sent to help,” Allison said. “We are only gaining time for now but we didn’t even hurt it.”

“Yes, despite our attempts to work together this werewolf seems immune to—” Deucalion began.

“No, no, the beast was never a werewolf as you are,” Stiles said, interrupting. “According to the legend he is stronger and more dangerous than any werewolf we have, and while it may be weakened by wolfsbane it won’t kill it. He is closer to a demon than a werewolf, a monster made of shadows that only wants to kill.”

“Shadows?” Chris asked. “Like an Oni?”

Stiles grimaced and nodded. “Plus we don’t really know how the dread doctors resurrected it. He may be even more dangerous.”

The last time they had used Mason but that couldn’t be the case this time. He hadn’t even entered High school yet and Stiles had been keeping an eye just in case. Whatever was killing people half a country away couldn’t be him.

Chris sighed. “If it is a like an Oni it won’t have the weakness of normal werewolves. It could be immune to everything that we can throw at him.”

“Then, how do we deal with it?” Allison asked.

“The legend says that only a maid with an enchanted steel pike could kill the beast,” Stiles said smiling.

He sighed and took the sword cane that almost killed him between his hands opening it for all to see. The steel sword glinted coldly in the light.

Stiles looked into Allison’s eyes. “I think this belongs to your family.”

 

***

 

Working in dealing with the beast began immediately after that.

The hunters contacted their members and the packs spoke with their own. Stiles couldn’t believe it at first. There was simply too much bad blood and while they could be neutral and don’t try to murder one another, this should require too much cooperation.

He was wrong.

Apparently, the moment they heard ‘The beast of Gevaudan’ all bets were off. The truth was that the beast was a real danger for everyone, legendary not only for killing hundreds but also for being the creature that truly made the Argent family what it was today.

There had always been hunters but, in a sense, the beast had truly started the war between werewolves and hunters. It was its brutality what had forced a group of humans to band together and fight the things that dwelled in the night.

A piece of far less known lore, however, was that the beast hunted everything including his own kind and for every dead human there was a supernatural creature that had fallen on his claws.

Both hunters and supernatural creatures had been shaped by that monster and that single bit of history. To know that it was back was a worrying situation for both of them and it was the work a few short hours to coordinate two groups that had hated each other for centuries.

It had, also, taken just a few moments to guess what to do with the beast. Trying to lure it out of the way would only decrease the number of dead people for a while and they needed to kill it quickly.

Luckily they knew how to do that.

Unfortunately, the only easy and quick way was to lure it where they were stronger which was here in Beacon Hills where they could trap the beast in the preserve.

There was just a problem with that plan.

“Dad! I have a job for you!” Stiles yelled the moment he entered the sheriff department.

The sheriff stopped and turned around to look at his son with a pained expression.

“Oh, god. Last time you said that I ended up arresting almost all of the staff of Eichen House because they were experimenting with people,” he said. “Please tell me this isn’t going to go like that.”

“Well, uh… First, that wasn’t my fault,” Stiles said slowly.

The sheriff groaned and sat on his chair.

“I’m warning you right now. I haven’t slept in a weak worried you were not going to wake up and—” he stopped and glared at Stiles. “I’ve already seen you naked with your boyfriend today. I can’t deal with much more.”

Stiles gulped.

“Well, dad, uh…” he began saying.

The sheriff sighed and looked at Derek. “I’m not going to like this, do I?”

Derek snorted and smiled. “I’m afraid not.”

“We are trying to lure a mass murderer monster into Beacon Hills to kill it,” Stiles said in a rush trying to get it all out at once. “It’s kind of our only option right now. But I thought, hey, maybe this goes incredibly wrong and my amazing dad –who is in charge of the safety of Beacon Hills— should know about it before we do anything.”

He kept going, explaining about the beast and how many of the recent disappearances in California were probably its fault. When he ended his tirade John was looking at Stiles with a broken expression.

The sheriff simply stared for a moment and then took a load of papers from a cabinet dropping it unceremoniously on top of his desk.

“You mean to tell me all of this is because of a monster?” John asked.

Stiles stared at the files, pictures of different faces, and swore. He should have known the disappearances were becoming common knowledge. It was just a matter of time before it would happen, but he was hoping it would take longer.

“Yes,” he said in a whisper. “They are probably dead now.”

His father closed his eyes. “There are more than—”

“I know,” Stiles said.

“Stiles, I thought—”

“I know,” Stiles repeated.

“And you want to bring it here because it’s the easiest way to keep the number of these,” John said pointing at the files, “from growing.”

Stiles kept silent. It wasn’t an easy choice, he knew that and simultaneously it was probably the choice by which fewer people would die. Even if it could bring more death to Beacon Hills.

Suddenly his father was holding him in his arms and Stiles stared.

“Some days I don’t know what I did to deserve you,” John said. “You are amazing, son. And I know you are trying to keep me out from all of this as much as you can but I’m here and I trust you. I may not know much about all these monsters but I trust you.”

Stiles blinked rapidly. “Thanks, dad.”

His father released him and looked at him with a pained smile.

“I’ll keep my deputies on watch but they are going to need help,” he said.

Stiles smiled. “Don’t worry, Talia and Chris are bringing everyone here so lack of men isn’t going to be a problem.”

“Good, at least that’s something,” John said walking back into his desk observing the files in silence before staring back at his son. “Do you think you could keep this monster from hurting anyone?”

Stiles smile faltered.

“I have a few ideas, but it’s going to be difficult, dad,” he grimaced. “If we can keep it away from the underground tunnels it shouldn’t be able to move too far away before—”

He stopped, blinked, smiled. The underground tunnels, he had forgotten about those. Stiles looked at Derek with a smile.

“I think have a plan.”

The expression of hope and horror in both his father and Derek were completely worth it.

Hours later that expression was completely justified when Derek and Stiles stood in front of the entrance to the still intact base of the dread doctors with a Nazi werewolf marinating in a tank of green goo.

“Okay, this is definitely not my fault,” Stiles said. “I didn’t even think they would set up camp here.”

“Well, at least we already know what the surprise is with this plan,” Derek said with a sigh. “It’s Nazis and I hate you so much.”

 

***

 

Regardless of what the opinion of anyone was of his plans and the usual surprises they brought. Those plans were still their best chance and after a quick stop to feed a dead Nazi to the Nemeton everything was roughly back on course.

Day after day more people, werewolves, and supernatural creatures poured into Beacon Hills seeking the safety that the packs and the hunters imposed. The town was filled with strange people running from the shadow of the Beast. They were scared, all of them, and while it wasn’t exactly subtle, it was better than the alternative.

While this exodus took place, the packs that had been marked and the hunters drove to Beacon Hills on mass at the same time as they tried to keep the beast from populous areas. It wasn’t easy, however, and some people died in the process to give them a little more time to prepare.

Stiles, Danny, and Lydia spent their time working together without rest inside the vault.

Stiles poured over a cauldron. In the interior, there was a murky black fluid, a rough and fast product he had to brew in a day. Slowly he poured the contents into several cans of spray and cleaned everything as he worked.

“This is amazing,” Lydia said holding a vial of green goo.

She had a hand working with a potion while hovering with interest over a number of files. Lydia demonstrated an impressive ability with brewing potions –not surprising considering what he could do with regular chemistry— and didn’t lose concentration but still…

“Lydia, please focus,” Stiles said.

“Yes, yes,” she said rolling her eyes. “But have you read this? According to their notes, they could resurrect people with this thing.”

Stiles sighed, finishing with his potion and turning around.

Finding the doctors lair hadn’t been something completely pointless.

Inside it, they had found plenty of interesting things. Including notes of their experiments and what they had achieved. They were scientists, mad scientists but scientists none the less and they took careful note of everything they did.

Well, not everything, plenty of things were either coded or they never wrote about but it was enough to have an idea of how many awful things they had done.

“It’s a dumbed down version of the elixir of life,” Stiles said walking around her. “It’s impressive but it only works because they had an… interesting ingredient we can’t use ourselves.”

Because while Stiles wouldn’t really feel bad keeping that bastard simmering in a tube for centuries it had been safer to kill it. Even more, considering he was fairly sure the only reason the Wild Hunt came to Beacon Hills last time was that of him.

“There is a less powerful version,” Lydia said. “Something they used at the beginning.”

Stiles perked with interest but quickly calmed down.

“We will study them, and the masks and everything we have, but not now,” he said. “Now we finish this.”

“Stiles,” Lydia said turning to look at him. “We have made more than a thousand healing potions in a few days. We are drawing temporary wards across Beacon Hills just for the beast and you have an army of adoring fans following your every command. We are doing as much as we can.”

Stiles grimaced with the comment about his fans. Dozens of sparks and other creatures with magic – many of those that had come either with their packs or alone in fear of the beast— had found he was the creator of the surprisingly famous potions and had taken to follow him around asking him for tips.

Instead, Stiles had put them to work together trying to erect barriers of mountain ash around different places of Beacon Hills closing as many paths for the beast as possible when it came and ensuring it fell for their trap.

He dropped on a seat with a sigh.

“You are right,” Stiles said. “I’m just worried about everything.”

There were still some enigmas in place that made Stiles impossible to relax. How did the doctors resurrect the beast this time? It was not in any of the notes they had found and after checking Stiles was sure Mason, wasn’t it.

They were flying blind.

“It will be okay,” Lydia said.

“Are your banshee senses tingling?” asked Stiles.

“Maybe,” Lydia answered. “Or maybe I’m smarter than you and I’m telling you everything will be okay.

That shouldn’t have felt as reassuring as it was, but Stiles smiled gratefully.

“Stiles, we are here!” Scott said, entering the vault with the rest of the pack.

Danny looked up from his laptop.

“Just in time,” he said getting up from his chair. “I just finished.”

Stiles perked in interest and went to check his work, a giant map of Beacon Hills marked in dozens of places.

“What do we have to do?” Jackson asked dropping in one of the chairs.

Stiles brought the spray cans he had just finished filling to the table and sat.

“Okay, so… We don’t know how much is going to take for the beast to come here but we don’t have the time to prepare full permanent wards around Beacon Hills. Instead, we are going to be using this,” he said taking one the spray cans. “Every can is filled with a solution that will keep a temporary ward powered for a few months. Nothing too powerful but with luck, it will be enough to keep the beast away from the places we don’t want it to go. Your job is to paint a few hundred symbols with this in the locations we marked on the map.”

Isaac stared at the map and the cans. “I don’t think that’s going to be enough to protect all of Beacon Hills.”

“That’s the great part of this plan,” Stiles said pointing at Danny. “We don’t have too.”

Danny moved forwards with another map, this one filled with straight lines drawn under Beacon Hills.

“There is a web of underground tunnels below Beacon Hills that goes from the outskirts to the preserve,” he explained pointing in the map. “The idea is that we will close with mountain ash every other entrance but the ones in Eichen House and the preserve.”

“Eichen House?” Stiles asked moving around to look at his notes. “Are you sure that’s the best place?”

“Yes, Stiles,” Danny said rolling his eyes. “I know what I’m doing, you taught me. It’s the only entrance closest to the ley lines and it’s far away from everything else.”

Stiles dropped his head in embarrassment but still checked his calculations. They were perfect, and he smiled at Danny to continue.

“We will use magic to boost the signal that is attracting the beast right over the Eichen House entrance and wait until it is inside of the tunnels. Once is there we will close the entrance and Stiles will draw on the wards of the preserve to guide the beast through the tunnels and into the preserve.”

“Where pretty much it will be over for him,” Stiles said.

“And nobody will get hurt?” Scott asked with a tint of hope in his voice.

Stiles looked at Scott. His best friend and moral compass that despite having lived half of his life among werewolves still got upset when anyone got hurt –even if they were mad scientists that were trying to kill him— and hugged him.

Scott was always the best at knowing what worried him.

“I hope so,” Stiles said. “I hope so.”

Because if he failed a lot of people were going to die.

And suddenly there were more people hugging him, surrounded by pack and trust. He looked around in surprise and caught Isaac’s smile.

“We owed you a hug, right?” Isaac said.

Stiles snorted and smiled.

Right, he had forgotten.

He was with his pack and together they could not fail.

Chapter Text

Stiles walked into the woods as the rain and thunder ragged in the dark sky.

The storm had begun only a few moments before the beast appeared in Beacon Hills –almost as if following him— and despite how grim it made the situation everything had gone surprisingly well. The beast had come from the rough direction they hoped it would and had gone straight for the tunnels getting trapped soon after.

Stiles had felt its presence immediately and guided the beast inside the woods. As far as everyone was aware, everyone was fine and nobody in Beacon Hills had gotten hurt.

It had worked perfectly.

And there laid the problem.

After weeks of constant deaths, disappearances, and the few hunters and werewolves guiding the beast –at least those that managed to survive the exodus thanks to the potions and running very fast— everyone was skeptic of the plan.

And now… Nobody was ready.

Stiles moved away as a Dryad ran past him after a werewolf and soon many more werewolves followed, running half shifted through the woods. More and more people ran around him towards the preserve as if their life depended on it. Further away, running far more slowly followed a few humans that, after seeing Stiles, stopped, bowed at him in silence and continued on their way muttering loudly.

Stiles sighed watching his fans go.

“I’m getting so tired of that,” he mumbled and then yelled to the retreating figures. “There is a road between here and where you are going! So, please, don’t let anyone see… Oh, fuck it.”

Nobody was listening anyway, and they were too worried to obey him even if they weren’t. He closed his eyes feeling the hundreds of minds moving into the woods continually. Werewolves, hunters, and creatures of every kind that until a few hours ago had been patrolling through Beacon Hills converged towards the monster that had forced them here and they weren’t going to be stopped just because there were a few unaware humans on the road.

The beast was already trapped between a circle of mountain ash trees and a thousand illusions but that wouldn’t have stopped them. They wanted to be sure with their own eyes that they were safe from the monster.

They needed to see how the beast fell.

Stiles controlled the illusions of the preserve to cover just slightly the closest road from where most creatures were passing through, hiding the supernatural from any bystander.

It was as he finished tweaking the wards that his phone went off and Stiles answered.

“Stiles! Where are you?” Derek snarled from the other side of the phone.

Stiles rolled his eyes. “I’m almost there, Derek. I’m fine. I just had to walk. Are you all there already?”

Derek let a long breath go.

“Scott is coming with Allison but… Yes, we are all here,” Derek said. “I thought you would be here before anyone and… Why are you walking? Did your jeep break again?”

“No Derek, my baby is fine,” Stiles said grumbling. “The storm dropped a tree in the middle of the road and it was faster to walk. By the way, if Jackson is laughing at my jeep again kick him.”

There was a second of silence followed by a sharp sound of protest. Stiles smiled.

“Come as quick as you can, this is starting the fill,” Derek said.

The woods opened into a dark road. It was filled with dozens of cars stopped midway and with only a few people outside drenching in the rain. Nobody was alarmed by the packs that had passed around them just moments before and the rain was thick enough that nobody should have seen anything anyway. So that was a problem less to worry about.

“Don’t worry, I’m almost there,” he said passing between the cars and keeping an eye on the wards. “Just make sure nobody gets too hotheaded and tries to—”

He came to a stop suddenly, all of his senses tingling with a strange feeling coming from one of the parked cars. If it wasn’t because he was so close he wouldn’t have felt it.  It was strong, incredibly strong but it was mostly contained and difficult to find. Some powerful presence pushing just slightly against his wards.

“—Stiles?” Derek asked from the phone.

“Hey, give me a second. I’m almost there,” Stiles said and ended the call before he could protest.

Stiles couldn’t believe it as he concentrated further on the sensation he was catching.

It was like thunder and fire.

He didn’t stop until he was on top of the car and could confirm his feeling. In a second he was knocking on the window with a smile. He was barely aware of how frightening he should look, completely drenched and calling a random car but he didn’t care.

“Yes?” asked Noshiko opening the window car just a smidge. “Can I help you?”

In the car was Kira and her family and he just couldn’t believe the coincidence. Well, not really. It wasn’t much of a coincidence, half of the supernatural inhabitants of California were running to Beacon Hills, it was likely a matter of time they did but still. To run into them just the same night the beast came was lucky.

They were looking at him just as he remembered them. Alive and well.

Stiles came out of his mind quickly.

“Uh… Sorry I… Are you Noshiko?” he asked awkwardly.

“Yes,” Noshiko said arching an eyebrow. “I’m sorry. Do I know you?”

“No, not really,” Stiles answered quickly. “But I think we have friends in common, uh… Satomi Ito.”

Noshiko’s eyes widened in surprise and then smiled. “She still remembers me? I didn’t think she would.”

“Who are you talking about, mom?” Kira piped in from the back.

“A long lost friend, Kira,” Noshiko answered, eyeing Stiles carefully before coming to a decision. “A werewolf who helped me during some very dark times.”

“Yeah, she is around here, right now,” he said pointing towards the forest. “You catch us in the middle of—”

Stiles phone went off again and he groaned taking the phone again. It was Derek again.

“The beast can wait five minutes, Derek! He is not going to move from there ever again,” he said to the phone quickly and finishing the call immediately.

He turned to see the gobsmacked expressions of the family staring at him.

“You caught the beast?” Noshiko asked.

Well, that was that at least.

“Yeah, and everyone is incredibly emotional about it,” he said as a few dozen more werewolves ran around the cars uncaring of how they looked.

Stiles sighed. He understood the need to be there to see the end but they were being a bit stupid about it.

“Would any of you like to come?” Stiles asked focusing in Noshiko. “It’s going to be big as you can see and I’m sure Satomi would like to see you. She talks about you from time to time.”

She talked to Talia, of course. Stiles barely had contact with Satomi but an explanation on ‘how I time traveled and I used to be pack with your daughter’ wouldn’t go very well. Nor did they have the time at the moment.

There was a faint expression of curiosity on Noshiko’s eyes. She glanced at his husband who was looking at the situation with a faint knowing smile.

Kira beat them to the punch opening the door of the car and stepping on the heavy rain. Her parents stared.

“What?” she asked looking at her parents. “We came all the way to here because of this, right?”

With that, she ran into the forest and Noshiko sighed in defeat.

“Park the car there and we will go make sure our daughter isn’t killed,” she said pointing at one side of the road.

Stiles laughed.

“Don’t worry the wards will protect her!” he said walking towards the forest. “Just follow them and you will be fine.”

He ran into the woods not waiting for them and following his way quickly to the rest of his pack.

When he got to the clearing it was packed full of people and supernatural creatures. Dryads hid around the trees. Packs huddled together around the barrier. Little pixies darted around the multitude attracted by the magic and the sound. Vampires, Sparks, Spirits… Creatures of every shape and form –some of which he didn’t even know the name— stared in fear and fury at the beast.

It was there in the middle of the clearing completely cut from the rest of the world by magic.

The beast of Gevaudan, a monstrosity seemingly made of darkness and wispy shadows, stared at his prey through the barrier and ran in circles trying to find a way out in vain. There was nothing he could do anymore, like a fly trapped in a jar it was powerless to act.

In the woods, Stiles’ wards were simply impenetrable.

“Stiles!” Isaac yelled from ahead.

Further ahead was his pack standing together and everyone else was giving them a wide berth. It wasn’t difficult to see why because around them were Talia and Deucalion along with their packs and a real army of hunters commanded by Chris.

“Hey, you came here quickly,” Stiles said moving around the few people that stopped to stare at him.

“It was movie night, Stiles,” Isaac said. “We were all together when we got the news.”

“Everyone but you because you were obsessing over the defenses and hiding from your fans,” Lydia said with a roll of her eyes.

“Well, and Scott and Allison that were on a date,” Isaac pointed.

Stiles blinked and looked at Derek. “Wait, I missed movie night? Why didn’t you tell me?”

They spent far more time with their pack than in another time but Stiles hated missing any of their nights together. Derek shrugged and moved around Stiles taking him between his arms.

“You were busy, and I knew you needed to be alone for a while,” he said kissing him softly. “Now, is everything okay?”

Stiles turned to look at the massive amount of people pouring into the woods. He made a quick check with the wards. Emotions were high but they were all focused on the beast. Luckily, nobody wanted to start anything right now.

There was something strange about the beast, there was a man behind it a mind with desires and feelings and ideas. This wasn’t it. Through the wards, Stiles could feel the mind of something that was closest to an animal than an actual person.

There was cunning yes, rage, and certain deviousness but it felt more like the cunning of a predator than a human. Stiles swore in silence.

The beast was back, yes, but only the part that made it ‘the Beast’ and nothing more. The doctors only had brought the animal and not the person Perhaps they had failed, or perhaps they only wanted the killer, but that was the end result.

It explained a few things about how they were guiding the beast and ultimately didn’t matter much. Whatever they had done to bring the beast back it had worked well enough to have everyone scared shitless.

The beast still needed to be killed.

“Stiles?” asked Derek again looking at him in concern.

Stiles shook his head at Derek distractedly. “Everything is fine. Just checking, and yes. I’m ready.”

He spied the figures of Allison and Scott that where hidden from the crowd whispering hurriedly. Scott seemed worried but understanding and it didn’t take long for the two to share a long kiss and join the others.   

Soon there were no more people entering the woods and the entire clearing was filled at the edges of the barrier. The anticipation and emotions grew to the point that Stiles could almost see them glowing in the dark.

Or maybe it was the hundreds of glowing eyes staring in anticipation.

Deucalion, Allison and a few other people walked around them to the forefront of the barrier and everyone gave them space. Silence descended upon the woods.

“Is everything ready?” Allison asked looking at Stiles holding Scott’s hand.

“Yep, just waiting for you,” Stiles said.

Deucalion nodded towards Stiles and at once he let the barrier flicker just for a second.

At once Deucalion, Talia, and Allison entered inside the barrier only followed by a few hunters and betas. Neither Derek nor their pack was inside and Scott stared impotently at Allison from the safe side of the barrier.

It might have seemed like entering inside the barrier with the monster wasn’t the safest choice but it was the one to give them the best chances. Only the sword of the doctors could kill the beast. They only had one shot and they needed to make it count.

The danger was also far lower than what it seemed as Stiles controlled the wards to offer as many advantages as he could during the fight. The truth was the beast wasn’t going anywhere anymore. By the reports they had been getting, it probably didn’t need to sleep or eat but it didn’t really matter. They could just keep going at it until it worked.

Stiles would just keep the beast trapped and swap people out of it if they were injured or it turned to be too dangerous. He controlled the wards tightly as Derek took his hand in his own.

The battle began, and it quickly turned out that their careful precautions were not as necessary as they had seemed in the first place.

Yes, the beast was, if any, stronger than it had been in their time and that was shown quickly as it flew from one side of the clearing to the other and threw one of the werewolves in the air with a single swipe of his claw.

This time they did not have chimeras at their side or a true Alpha, but what they lacked in power they had in experience.

Deucalion had always been a beast fighting even when blind. Now it was like watching a breaking ball. He punched with precision and strength and moved away right when the beast tried to attack only to be distracted by another werewolf.

The werewolves worked in pairs using their strength to move away from their companion from the beast's attacks keeping the monster busy and unable to focus on just one objective.

It was impressive to watch until the moment Deucalion tried to swipe at the beast’s neck and the later turned around throwing the Alpha against the ground. The beast howled and loomed dangerously over the fallen Alpha about to kill when Stiles jumped into action.

Hundreds of roots grew under the beast feet trapping him and his arms in position at the same time an arrow embedded into the monster. Deucalion gave a small nod of gratitude towards of Allison and moved into action again.

They had prepared for this, together, learning from those who had fought the beast before and survived to know what would be the best strategy and now they were completely in sync. Dozens of arrows flew from the hunters making the beast howl in pain but it was not enough. Soon the arrows were melting in the shadows that shaped the beast.

They were ready but…

In a moment everything turned around and the beast simply passed through the roots that were trapping him like a dark mist. Stiles didn’t have time to react as he simply moved past werewolves directly against Allison as if possessed.

As if he recognized her.

And Stiles saw something clear, she was not going to be quick enough.

“Allison!” Scott howled banging against the barrier and making it shudder.

“Oh, shit,” Stiles said quickly bending the wards around.

He could do it. He could, but it wasn’t necessary.

Suddenly Deucalion was there using his body as a shield and completely blocking the attack from reaching Allison. The claws of the beast reached deeply into his body but he resisted. Stiles eyes widened and changed plans making the roots grow again around the other arm trapping the beast in place.

Allison didn’t need an invitation and in a second the ancient sword stabbed through the beast’s heart.

There was a moment of indecision, a moment of painful silence as if the world contained its breath and then…

The beast howled from the last time and completely dissipated into black dust. Stiles lowered the barrier only after feeling the last part of the beast being absorbed into the roots and the nemeton. One sacrifice more.

For a moment nobody could utter a sound.

A bleeding Deucalion almost fell to the ground but was quickly helped up by Allison. They stared at each other for a second and finally, together, they turned to look at everyone assembled.

It started with a whisper.

“My friends,” Deucalion said passing his eyes over everyone. “I am Deucalion and all of you know me. You are here because of fear, fear of your loved ones being killed by a monster that couldn’t be stopped, fear of a beast brought back from the myths of old to kill us all, fear of the beast of Gevaudan.”

A lull of muttering filled the woods.

“This beast has spilled the blood of hunters…” he yelled pointing towards Allison and Chris. “…and werewolves! And despite the fears, despite the dead, and despite the loss. Here we stand!” he yelled. “Facing it! Together!”

Hundreds of creatures either howled or yelled to the night. The hunters clutched their weapons tighter as they joined to in the cry of victory.

“You have nothing more to fear! Now the greatest killer lies death and has taught us something we would have never learned without it. For too long we have lived in the shadow of a story! For too long we have lived in fear of our loved ones dying by claw or arrow!” Deucalion yelled. “For too long has lasted our fight! Together we are stronger and we won’t let beast or warmongers take that from us.”

Allison still winded down by the battle glanced at Deucalion who pointed at the crowd in silent

“I am Allison Argent,” she said weakly but soon gaining strength. “The hunters— My family was born to protect the innocent, to protect those that were attacked by monsters and some of them forgot in the way something very important. That not all of those innocents are humans.”

There was a sharp intake of air at Stiles side but he couldn’t look away to check.

“We have made mistakes, my people and yours but we will not forget again. From today onwards we will work together to protect ALL those that cannot protect themselves,” she said to the increasing howls of approval. “Together, for peace!”

The kiss that Scott gave Allison at that moment was almost more impressive than the fight.

“We made it,” Derek whispered looking at Stiles with the biggest smile.

Stiles smiled back barely containing his tears. “We did.”

The following howls and yells of celebration left Stiles completely deaf as all the tension of the past weeks was replaced by elation. It was not long before everything devolved into an improvised party where for once, hunters and werewolves laughed together.

Stiles simply smiled at the image.

It felt like a beginning. It felt like hope.

His plans were definitely the best.

 

***

 

Victory over the beast became something else, something new.

It started well, with the high spirits of victory still doing their job. Allison and Deucalion used the best possible opportunity to drop the bomb and it had worked. Yes, after years of slowly trying to pull werewolves and hunters together and it had worked. The result was beyond his wildest dreams because both supernatural creatures and hunters seemed ready to work together for a better future and Stiles couldn’t believe it had worked so well.

There was peace and despite Stiles natural paranoia, he believed it could last.

There was just one problem.

“Why, oh why did I have to get myself into this?” Stiles asked softly driving with Derek.

“Because no matter what you do your life has to be weird and strange,” Derek answered looking sideways.

The light of the day filtered through the windows as Derek drove towards the bank and Stiles turned around and rested his head over Derek’s shoulder. He was so tired of dealing with the weird eventualities that happened because of his plans.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with the result. You know that, right? I’m glad they are talking and helping instead of killing each other,” Stiles asked. “But why do I have to be part in it?”

After that night and for weeks after that representatives from packs and dozens of creatures had sat together and finally talked about their differences, their problems and what they wanted from each other. Days after days had been spent talking and deliberating in a surprisingly calm manner –or not that surprising given that Deucalion and Talia glared at anyone who tried to start a fight— and they talked.

“The worst part is that every night is the same,” Stiles said. “We talk, we try to understand each other and we don’t get anywhere. Peter expends all the time sleeping in a corner and I have to listen because everyone wants to hear my opinion. What’s that even supposed to mean?”

“That your potions have saved thousands of people. That with your magic –and luck— nobody in Beacon Hills was hurt…” Derek said. “Relax, Stiles, it won’t take too long. Just a few months for the talks to end and Beacon Hills will go back to normal.”

“Oh, no, no. It’s never going to return to normal. I have fans, Derek!” Stiles shouted. “It’s awful. They follow me everywhere bowing and asking me questions and now that they know I’m here they aren’t going to move because—”

“You are the Messiah,” Derek nodded.

“I’m not the Messiah!” Stiles yelled instantly. Derek simply arched both eyebrows at him. “You are a terrible person.”

Derek smiled. “I know. I learned from the best.”

Stiles sighed but immediately after they reached the door to the abandoned bank and he cringed. At the entrance, they found a nightmare as dozens of people were waiting for them. Stiles could quickly recognize most of them as his usual stalkers because in the same moment they appeared they descended upon him asking questions and crowding them.

Derek had to strong-arm them to let them get to the door trying to pass quickly. In a moment of confusion, Stiles and Derek entered the bank. The door closed back with a brilliant blue flash around the building as the wards closed again completely protecting them from anyone trying to enter.

Stiles dropped to the ground groaning.

“This is just the beginning, Derek. See that?” Stiles said groaning. “That’s what is like every night and Talia and Allison want me to help them organize this entire nightmare. The hunters want to become the new supernatural police communicating and helping the local packs! There are werewolves that want to join the hunters!”

He stopped, breathed deeply. “And the sparks and magic users want to stay here because of me.”

Derek snorted and kissed him.

“Well, at least they have good taste,” he said. “I’m here for you too.”

“Don’t be romantic with me when I’m pissed, Derek! You are ruining the moment!” Stiles shouted back.

Derek arched an eyebrow. “I’m ruining you being angry?”

“Yes!” Stiles said. “I’m tired of this. I can’t spend time with you and everyone else because of how busy I am. I’ve spent a week working in a new ward system that would extend to Beacon Hills and protect everyone living here because suddenly we have a thousand supernatural creatures and sparks that want to stay and now they  want me to—”

Derek stopped him and moved around until he was looking directly into Stiles' eyes.

“Stiles,” Derek said. “This is new and nobody knows how it’s going to go. I wouldn’t even know where to begin but they want your opinion because… despite how terrible are your plans you always have one and they usually work. You don’t need to have an answer to every problem they have but you have to agree that you have an important position in the community. If nothing else because your potions are useful and have saved thousands. Now I want you to relax, close your eyes and remember one thing: We did it. We stopped another war for happening.”

Stiles was about to protest when another voice interrupted.

“I always thought losers should be together, but this is ridiculous,” Jackson said from one of the windows, watching as the group of sparks at the entrance disappeared.

At that moment, Stiles realized for the first time that they were not alone and that things have changed dramatically in the once-abandoned bank. Their entire pack was there for one. New tables, couches, and furniture decorated the place where the last day had been. They had bought things for the place but hadn’t had the time to clean or put it in place and now the place looked good as new.

“What are you doing here?” Stiles asked. “And when did you do all of this?”

Jackson snorted. “We are hiding from the losers, Stiles. You are not the only one they are stalking.”

Boyd was resting with Erica between his arms in a comfy couch around one of the walls and smiled at him.

“They want to know about you and give you things,” Boyd said.

“One of them gave me a recipe for a healing potion,” Lydia said not moving from her chair. “He wanted your opinion and almost entered my home to get it.”

Stiles sighed. “Was it any good at least?”

“Not really,” she said. “It was like one of those easy potions you made us practice at the beginning.”

That wasn’t surprising, most people didn’t have someone to train them as Stiles had.

“You are lucky,” Scott chimed in. “They came inside Deaton’s clinic when I was working. Deaton looked so murderous that everyone ran away.”

“It’s because he is a druid, Scott,” Allison said. “He is the mediator in our talks and everyone gets scared of him now.”

Both of them were resting in another of the couches watching a movie on a new TV he didn’t remember buying but probably did. Allison rested over Scott’s chest smiling at him like Scott was the only light in the sky. They were ridiculously sappy even now and Stiles both hated and loved it so much.

“Allison! Thank god, please tell me I don’t have to keep going to the talks,” Stiles pleaded running at her.

Allison grimaced. “Stiles, we need you. You are the only one everyone listens.”

“I barely talk!”

“Which might be one of the reasons why they listen, yes,” Allison nodded with a smile.

Stiles groaned moving around the room. Everyone was busy with something, either studying, reading or watching something. It was interesting that the bank had become a refuge for his friends but not surprising considering all the wards they had in the place.

Derek and Stiles dropped in one of the tables with Lydia. She was surrounded by the files from the doctors and dozens of little green vials. He had barely had the time to study them since the talks started.

“So… What did you figure out from this thing while I was busy?” he asked shaking the little green vial and looking at Danny.

He was sitting in another of the tables working with his computer and some kind of monstrous array antennas surrounding one of the doctors’ mask. He had spent quite some time already working with it by the looks of it.

Danny looked up and smiled awkwardly. “Sorry. I haven’t tested it. I’m more interested in the mask than potions.”

Stiles smiled. He was too. The mask was used to control their powers over electromagnetism and phase through solid objects. With it, they had been pretty much invincible as most things just passed through them. At least until Stiles tried to paralyze them with the Gorgon's head.

The only problem was that it could only be used by someone that already had some power over electromagnetism if they tried to put the masks on they would fry them from the inside.

“Right, well, you have a better affinity for this type of magic than me. So it’s all yours,” he said turning to Lydia. “Lydia?”

Lydia smiled pointing to one of the doctor’s diaries she had in a hand. “It’s a blood serum, it needs to be injected in the blood for it to work so that makes it less useful than normal potions but it acts faster. It also works with anybody instead of being more useful for a creature in particular.”

That was interesting, many of the potions they made worked better for werewolves or for other creatures, especially the most powerful ones. A healing potion that was universal could be really useful.

Stiles whistled.

“That’s cool. We can work around the problems later,” Stiles said and then groaned, remembering the little time he had. “When I have some time.”

 “Yeah, Stiles, about that. How it’s going with the talks?” Scott asked. “Allison has been telling me bits about it but is it really so—?”

Stiles groaned. “It’s worst.”

Allison mumbled an affirmative. “It’s like the most polite debate you could ever imagine. They know we are not lying, they know we want to do this and they want to do it too but… Everyone wants something different.”

“It’s more than that,” Stiles said. “Everyone needs something different and they don’t want to talk about it.”

“I don’t get it,” Jackson said. “You said you wanted to be protectors. There are monsters out there that need killing. Why do you need to talk so much before taking care of them?”

Allison and Stiles groaned in unison.

“Because it’s not about the monsters,” Stiles said. “The things that are evil and nobody questions them are easy. The problem is everything else. Look, for every well-adjusted werewolf pack there is a werewolf that was bitten by accident, has no idea how to control his instincts and ends up killing someone in their first full moon. How do we deal with that?”

Allison sighed. “We killed them. We couldn’t teach them and we couldn’t just tell another pack to teach them, so we killed them. Even if it wasn’t their fault.”

Understanding dawned in everyone’s faces. Stiles grimaced and swallowed. That could have been pretty much Scott if it hadn’t been from Derek helping him the first time. It was such an occurrence that nobody even thought about it.

“They have spent centuries only caring about how to kill them not about what they need or want. Now they want to be something else. Werewolves are easy –Deucalion has spent years trying to stop that from happening— but everything else…” Stiles said. “Wendigos need to eat human flesh and most of the time they just steal bodies from somewhere, should that be punished? Vampires need blood but most think hunting for food is below their station and rarely kill humans anymore.”

“I want my family to be protectors of everyone but there are a lot of creatures that need to eat us to survive, and we don’t know how to solve that problem,” Allison said with a nod.

“And then there are the Sparks which just want to be left alone from the fights, make a living selling potions, wards or magic tools and be safe,” Stiles said. “The Dryads that want their forests to be alive and protected from fights and fires.  The Naiads want their lakes and coasts clean and they get cranky and homicidal when someone dumps waste on them.”

“There are a thousand and more stories like this one for every little supernatural creature out there, and many more that we don’t know precisely what things we need to take into consideration when dealing with them,” Stiles continued.

“I think that’s the biggest problem, really,” Allison said pointing at Stiles. “They know we are committed to making this work, they believe us –they have werewolves and other people that can feel if we are lying— but they also believe that the next generation of hunters will just go back to kill them and use what they learn now, to do it better later.”

Stiles grimaced. That was absolutely true and it wasn’t very difficult to believe either. The hunters that Allison and Chris had taught or that stayed since Gerard went away where good people for the most part. A little bit gung-ho for what he’d seen, but people that wanted peace like everyone else.

“Actually, I think the main problem is that the supernatural community is that it’s a secret,” he said. “This thing with the Beast has blown out of proportion and everyone has heard and come here, but for the most part, the community is secretive. They barely talk with one another or know each other. Even now there are people that just discovered the supernatural and have no contacts or idea what they are doing. They are all used to hide and we are asking them to trust us. Finding all of them, talking with them and helping is going to be difficult.”

For them, it had been like that so many years ago in another life. Just discovering Scott was a werewolf and trying to find information to help him with barely any luck. The only reason none of them had gone crazy was that Derek had taught them control and that Allison and the hunters knew enough to survive.

Without them, their introduction to the supernatural would have been far bloodier.

Stiles just couldn’t see a way to solve—

Danny coughed quietly. “I think I can do something about that.”

Stiles was running towards him before he finished speaking. “What? With what?”

Danny smiled brilliantly pointing at the mask and the laptop.

“You always said that your main problem finding books or ingredients for potions was that you didn’t know who sold them, right? That it was more difficult to find people aware of the supernatural than everything else,” he asked waiting until Stiles nodded. “I think I can help with that.”

Stiles stared at the mask and then at Danny. Allison and Derek walked closer with interest. In the screen of the laptop, there was nothing out of the ordinary. Just Google and a few other pages open.

“Explain?”

“There is no Wi-Fi here,” Danny said smiling more.

That was true but—

“I know you are smart but can we go the part where you explain?” Stiles asked.

Danny sighed and turned around the table and disconnected one of the cables that went from the laptop to the mask contraption. Immediately the internet connection in the laptop stopped.

“I’m using the ley lines as an internet connection,” he said proudly.

Everyone stared. He had spent weeks working with those masks around but that was not something Stiles was expecting. He moved closer studying the array Danny had built around the masks. It was impressive, ingenious, something Stiles would have never tried.

The mask could manipulate electromagnetism like that of the ley lines. It wasn’t safe for someone to use directly but for a machine, it wasn’t a problem, they already used electricity. That Danny had found a way to use them was amazing but—

“Are you going to hack the FBI again?” Stiles asked. “I’m just saying that just because you can use magic to hide your computer or something like that doesn’t mean—”

Danny smiled tightly. “I never hacked the FBI.”

“The FBI agents that came to school disagreed,” Jackson said with a snort.

“He totally hacked the FBI,” whispered Scott to a smirking Allison.

“You are all awful,” Danny said. “But no, I think I can create a web page where only people aware of the supernatural can enter. A place to share information and keep contact safely.”

And then everything fell into place at once.

“You want to create the magic internet,” Stiles said astonished.

That was impressive and it could actually work.

“I was thinking more in a forum, a chat, a Wikipedia… a place to share information for people that just entered this world and need help,” Danny said. “Maybe if there are enough people a way to buy and sell magical objects like potions or things like that...”

“You want to make magic eBay,” Stiles continued openmouthed.

That… That was even more impressive and would solve a lot of their problems with the sparks and the people that had magical articles to sell but could rely only on word of mouth to find buyers.

“And…” Danny continued. “Since you said the Nemeton can use the ley lines to attract people, well…”

Stiles froze for a second and then began to laugh. Everyone stared at him like if he was crazy but Lydia quickly caught on.

“We can use the Nemeton to attract people to your forum instead of towards Beacon Hills,” she said explaining the same time Stiles kept laughing. “That could work. That would make all of the supernatural beings in North America know of the rest of the community and keep them in contact.”

Allison stared getting slowly up. “That could help us organize, share threats in places before it’s too late and protect them. And…”

It was much more like that, it solved most of their problems of communication in a single stroke. It would—

“Okay, okay, yep,” Stiles said walking around the array. “We need to do this like a week ago, make it bigger and connect it to the nemeton. I have an idea on how to do that but what do you need for everything else, Danny?”

Danny straightened scratching his arm. “Uh… well. I don’t know about everything yet. Computers, servers, maybe…”

“Derek! We need money!” Stiles yelled. “Just make a list and a plan on what do you need. We’ll get you everything.”

Derek smiled at Danny. “You will have everything you need. At least that’s a thing less to worry. It’s a shame you can’t just magic everything else away too, Stiles.”

Stiles stopped breathing. He thought about it for a second considering everything he knew about magic and then opened his eyes. Before anyone could ask he was running and checking books without stopping.

He had been so stupid.

The plan had always been to stop a war between hunters and werewolves to happen again like in their time. The tomb was a problem, yes, but Stiles wanted something more. He wanted peace, long lasting peace. The safety of not having to worry that any of his friends would die again.

And there was something he had completely forgotten.

There was something he could do. Something game-changing, something even more impressive than a magical internet.

Something that could change the world forever.

The final answer.

It took a few hours of diving inside some of the oldest and rarest books in his library. Hours of working in automatic, in silence and barely aware of the people watching over him in wonder and curiosity.

The magic was old and complex but if it worked…

He called Deaton almost immediately and to his surprise, he came quickly followed by Deucalion and Talia. They watched with interest the mountain of open books he had accumulated in the past hours.

“Oh, and you brought them all, nice,” Stiles said beaming. “Now I don’t have to explain everything twice.”

“We were in the middle of something and you sounded panicked,” Deaton said rolling his eyes. “Please, tell me I’m not here for some harebrained scheme, Stiles.”

“Uh… no, no!” Stiles exclaimed trying to put his thoughts in order. “We were talking right now and realized everyone has too many trust issues. We need to make everyone understand this is going to last and they can trust us,” Stiles said. “And then I thought— this whole thing is very similar to a legend I heard—”

“Stiles…What are you talking about?” Deaton asked.

Stiles closed his eyes counted to ten and then said in a single whisper: “I want to make a Pact.”

Deaton ceased to have a facial expression for a full minute while staring at Stiles in absolute silence.

“You want to make a Pact,” he said very slowly.

“With capital P, yes,” nodded Stiles.

“None had made a Pact in more than two thousand years, Stiles,” Deaton said. “The last one was made by Arthur and the druids with help of Merlin. You are good, but you are not Merlin.”

“Maybe, but I spoke with the world once,” he said back. “I think I can swing it again. I just need more details about how to complete it.”

It had taken the apocalypse to speak with the world last time but, hey… He was optimistic if anything.

“It may be technically doable, Stiles but…” Deaton stopped looking at Stiles directly. “It’s dangerous, and you’ll have to convince everyone else to take part in it. They’ll need to know what they are getting into or it wouldn’t work.”

Danny coughed loudly. “I’m sorry, but what is a Pact?”

Deaton sighed and sat slowly in one of the chairs. He looked older and tired but completely resigned.

“There was a time when magic was free. It was a wild and savage time, a dangerous time and we were constantly at war. Not like this war, a war unlike any other where dragons and demons roamed the world,” Deaton intoned. “The balance of the world was in constant danger by wizards and witches who thought they could lay claim to all. Death was a constant. Peace nothing but a dream. Until a man arose between the clans that wanted to do the unthinkable. He wanted peace.”

“Arthur Pendragon,” chimed Stiles with a smile towards his friends.

Allison gulped and Scott took her hand.

“Yes, thousands of creatures, wizards and more flew to his banner and waged war upon those that would not stop harming the world and life. It was a long and bloody war,” he continued with a nod. “Yet victory was not achieved until the druids signed a Pact in blood and magic with the very world. An oath, a  promise that we would not take part in any fight human or supernatural alike and strive only to maintain the balance that had been brought.”

“Which is why they are usually spared in most fights and taken as emissaries by some packs,” Stiles said. “A Pact cannot be broken. They can wiggle around a bit, offer wisdom when it’s needed but they can only intervene when the balance is at stake.”

“And even ignoring the difficulty of remaking such a ritual,” Deaton said pointing at Stiles. “Which at this point I’m willing to believe you could make it. There is still the problem of convincing them to try it.”

“Are you kidding?” Stiles asked pointing with his head at the people in the room.

Allison, Deucalion, and Talia were looking at Stiles openmouthed. They didn’t move, they didn’t breath. After a moment they dared to look at each other.

“You think you can manage to—” began Talia.

“Yep, but you wouldn’t be able to get out of it after,” Stiles said. “The Argents, the hunters will become protectors, bound forever to follow the Pact.”

“If we do this nobody would doubt us, right?” Allison asked catching up quickly. “It would be like the ultimate proof that we want to do this.”

Deaton snorted. “It would be the ultimate commitment. It would be a promise of prosperity and protection that none would be able to fight against. Not even you or those who follow you later.”

They exchanged looks.

“It appears that we have a new meeting to prepare,” Deucalion said.

“Yes,” Allison said moving back towards the door looking briefly behind followed by Scott and Talia.

In a moment they were gone.

“So your brilliant plan to take care of all your fans is imitating Merlin?” Jackson said whistling. “That’s a shitty plan.”

Stiles blanched and groaned.

His plans were definitely the worst.

Chapter Text

The promise of a new Pact was the spark that changed everything.

It was a lull in the air, a nervous energy infecting everyone in Beacon Hills. Suddenly every little difference the community had was forgotten in hopes of seeing the Pact take fruit. The talks began to move forward and people began to compromise. Something amazing began to take shape before their eyes.

Something new, something important.

For thousands of years, the supernatural world had followed the law of the jungle. For the supernatural, being killed or seeing people close to them die was always a possibility they had to live with. Stiles and Derek had lived that life once and they didn’t want to live it again.

Now they were going to make sure nobody had to do so again.

However, the preparations for the Pact took time. The ritual he intended to do was, after all, one of the biggest and most powerful magic that Stiles could imagine or hope to do. There was a need for an almost obsessive amount of research, for careful planning, for resources, for materials Stiles only knew existed but had never seen, and it was slow to take shape.

Day after day more and more people came and go, pack and creatures of every shape and form traveled to Beacon Hills not in fear of a beast but in hopes of a different future and they began to work.

The first step began in a stormy night at the top of the bank rooftop.

Stiles laughed madly, hanging onto the rooftop as well as he could while the rain and the wind petered him constantly.

“Do it now!” he yelled.

His hands were on the ground touching the massive alchemy circle drawn over the roof and in the middle, there was a massive pillar of gold. It had taken days to make and millions to buy so much gold but in a few moments, it was going to be worth it.

Maybe.

Kira, the only other person on the roof with him, was holding her weight on the roof awkwardly. The heavy wind and the water were fighting against her.

“I’m not sure about this, Stiles!” she yelled.

“Just do it!” he yelled back.

Kira stared at him for a second more and then her hands glowed casting arches of lightning around her body. It was a thing of beauty and brought back painful memories. She was not at the level of their Kira but she had learned more from her mother this time so she had enough control and that was what they needed right now.

The sky broke over them and a massive lightning struck the pillar of gold.

Stiles barely had the time to close his eyes and focus the magic and the alchemical circle. There was magic in the thunder, magic of nature, but it was usually gone in a second. That was how much time he got even with the help of a thunder kitsune. He moved the magic, used alchemy to shape lightning and gold into one greater whole.

It was one of the most difficult works he had done in his life but he persevered. Stiles pushed at the feeling of lightning under his skin and the sky swallowing them and kept pushing until both elements broke, melted and were forged by magic in barely a second. It was only then, still feeling the thunder and the light that Stiles opened his eyes.

There, standing in the middle of the roof stood a massive statue of gold in the shape of something akin to a native American totem. It was their alternative to the doctors’ mask, far more powerful and useful than them but with only one function, to serve as the first step on Danny’s magical web.

The magic was strong now, bonded with the gold into something perfect and powerful.

Kira walked closer breathing with difficulty and yelling in the heavy rain. “Has it worked?”

Stiles laughed. “Yes!”

Quickly the two of them abandoned the roof and took refuge from the rain back inside the bank. It was a short trip from there to the first floor and his friends reunited there.

Danny was the first to notice them, quickly looking over his computer.

Around him was the beginning of Danny’s magical web, a small server modified with runes and small pieces of metal that formed one of the most impressive contraptions Stiles had ever seen. There were antennas sticking out of everywhere, and while it had taken ages of research and work it still looked like something taken out of Mad Max.

“Is it done?” he asked.

Stiles laughed hard taking a towel and drying his hair. “You mean if I just forged with Alchemy a few million dollars in gold into a magical material that has not been used since the Romans? Because yes, I did, and it was awesome.”

Fulgur aurum or blessed gold was something that alchemists in Rome had invented. It was gold blessed by Jupiter or struck by lightning –as it had been seen in its time— and had a multitude of magical uses. The metal was rare, not just because there were very few people that could create it now but because gold was expensive and there were other cheaper alternatives to it. However, it conducted magic like the ley lines and could make use of them better than anything else they had including the masks, something that was going to be fundamental in Danny’s project.

A few weeks of calculations and experiments with the mask had made it quite clear that it was the best material they could use to substitute them and create what was essentially a magical antenna to connect their special server to the internet.

Danny smiled. “Yes, Stiles you are awesome. I will inform your fan club of the news.”

Stiles grimaced. “I hate you.”

Danny ignored him, going back to his laptop and the machine resting at his side. Slowly some of the runes in the contraption blinked alive with magic and sparked with energy and electricity. In the computer appeared lines of code that Danny worked with quick and careful touches before closing them. Danny hummed appreciatively when everything began to hum lowly.

“I think we have it,” he said.

In the computer opened a few web pages –first normal things like google and youtube— quickly checking the connection worked, and then Danny’s work appeared on the screen. It was nothing complicated a simple page explaining that whoever entered was already into the supernatural and inside they could find help or information.

It didn’t need to be more complicated than that. Danny had worked in making the pages at the same time he worked in everything else and while it wouldn’t win any prizes for the time being it was functional.

There was a forum, a way of contacting people and sharing information. Even a few ways of contacting people, hunters or Deucalion, for help if a situation required it. Basically, the things Stiles had wanted to find a long time ago when he tried to research the supernatural and most of what he found was wrong.

“That is amazing,” Stiles said staring. “Is it working already?”

Danny nodded. “Well, yes.  The web is hidden from normal searches and will only show to people with knowledge of the supernatural but until we drop the totem closer to the Nemeton it won’t actively attract people.”

Stiles nodded. “That’s okay. I’m going to need the totem for the Pact ritual too.”

They were going to use a lot of magic and the totem would help aid with his control. Part of the reason why they went with something so expensive was that they were going to need it for the Pact, with it Stiles could cut in half the problems he was going to have to deal for the ritual.

“Um…” Kira began, looking at the artifact. “So, I know I said I wanted to help—”

“Yes, thank you for that, by the way,” Stiles said dropping in one of the chairs.

Kira nodded distractedly. “Well, everyone is helping and I’m glad I can be of help with anything but— uh—”

“Stiles kidnapped you, right?” Erica asked smiling from the couch.

Kira looked at her and nodded with fear in her eyes. “Is it normal?”

Everyone began to laugh loudly while Stiles looked around in offense.

“What? No, I didn’t!” he said. “I asked her!”

Isaac nodded, ignoring him. “He does it all the time. Says he has a plan, needs your help and then takes you away.”

“Oh, that makes me feel better,” Kira smiling awkwardly at them. “Don’t take this the wrong way but it’s still weird.”

“Welcome to the club,” Jackson snorted. “I’ve been saying it for ages. It’s all Stiles fault, really. Even before we knew of the supernatural our lives were weird.”

Kira stared at Stiles while the latter spluttered.

“That was his plan from the beginning. He is nice with people first, helps you and makes you feel loved,” Isaac said. “But actually he is slowly driving you crazy. We accepted that werewolves were real so quickly because well… It was less crazy than some other things we have seen.”

“Hey! I’m right here!” Stiles protested. “I was trying to be nice and friendly so that she wouldn’t run away when she meet you all and now you are running it.”

“Is it too late to run away?” Kira asked but she was smiling then.

A real big smile, one she hadn’t shown since moving to Beacon Hills.

“Oh, you can’t escape anymore,” Lydia said rolling her eyes

“Yes, we tried a few times,” Jackson snorted.

“We need to be friends now,” Scott said smiling widely. “It’s how it works.”

 

***

 

Weeks passed after they finished the totem and began with next part of the preparations.

It was slow but with the inclusion of his pack, Stiles knew it was just a matter of time to make it work. They had already faced impossible odds before and this was almost easy in comparison but the pack also showed him he was being incredibly stupid.

Stiles had at his disposal many ideas, potions, and magic that could be used to alleviate or solve plenty of the problems that the talks were throwing in the light. Magic was in many senses limitless and he had solutions. He had never considered those solutions because most of them were too time-consuming or difficult to produce to be viable.

He was just one person and couldn’t do everything.

The mistake was, in believing he was alone in this one when he had an army to help. Stiles embarked in the worst plan he had ever devised.

He asked for help to his fans.

It began with enlisting all the dryads that wanted to stay in Beacon Hills. There was an impressive number of them and it wasn’t surprising, at this point the preserve was the most protected forest in the world and the most magical one too. They could thrive there and Stiles was ready to let them stay with just one condition. That the dryads helped grow the magical plants they needed to make potions in greater quantities.

In a week the forest was thriving with new plant life of every color and species.

With every step he took, he saw more and more plants grow, some of them harvested almost immediately by a wandering spark or dryad passing through and started to grow back again instantly. It was an important change, not only did it provide with potion materials but it also gave more magic to the land and the Nemeton, and for the Pact he was going to need all the magic.

Unfortunately –at least for Stiles— those changes didn’t translate to the people. Sparks bowed their heads almost to the ground when he passed close by or started muttering loudly and waving their hands. Dryads blushed and ran away.

Stiles wanted to hide in his bed with Derek forever.

Instead, he walked faster to his destination and soon the distillery entered his vision.

The old distillery had been abandoned years ago, the last people who had visited it had been the packs and the hunters in their last attempt at peace. It had ended badly and none of the people involved wanted to go back there for anything.

It was also cheap, at the outskirts of the preserve and could be easily fixed.

Now, after a few weeks of work of magic and helpful werewolves carrying heavy machinery with their hands, it was mostly finished. He walked in, finding hundreds of people working already, either putting the last touches to the new machinery or testing how it worked. Scott and Isaac were the only ones he recognized between the multitude, helping a few other werewolves drop a huge steel tank at one of the sides.

“Stiles!” Scott yelled finish with the tank and running forward. “Dude, what have you done to this people?”

He was flushed and looking around every few seconds. Stiles arched an eyebrow.

“He means the Dryads,” Isaac said pointing to some of the blushing Dryads staring at them. “They tried to sex him up. Me too but he ran away in fear like a coward.”

“I didn’t run away!” Scott defended blushing furiously. “They were half naked and they threw themselves at me! I— I have Allison and I don’t want to—”

“We get it, Scott,” Isaac said smiling. “You are as pure as the snow.”

“I’m not pure! I—” Scott spluttered.

Isaac stared at him and Stiles coughed.

“Scott, you are like a brother to me but you are the most innocent and pure soul that has ever existed in this world. You have been my moral compass for years,” Stiles smiled. “You were upset when we had to kill the Beast and you cry when the Grinch’s heart grows big.”

Scott stared openmouthed. “Everyone does!”

“You cried more than I did when my father went to jail,” Isaac pointed.

“I was a kid and your father was an asshole!” Scott defended.

“He was,” Isaac said, clicking his tongue. “Nevermind. He is right. What have you done to the Dryads? They weren’t so… in your face last week.”

Stiles grimaced. “Nothing, really. I needed their magic for the Pact and they wanted to stay in a safe place. They are connected to the land now and since the preserve is the most enchanted forest in… anywhere. They are a bit high with power.”

He might have also given them a magical plant that had been extinct for a few thousand years and he might have been briefly engaged to several hundred Dryads after that. Apparently gifting flowers to Dryads was a marriage proposal, which would have been nice to know before. Gifting extinct flowers to Dryads was well…

He had hoped they could use the flower for something but at this point, Stiles just rolled with the punches.

Right at that moment some of the people in the room shouted and from one the enormous tanks and Stiles turned around. The sparks were crowding around the machine murmuring excitedly and Stiles walked towards it with a smile, eager to see if they were going to be able to do it at their first try.

He wouldn’t take against them, the recipe he had given them was not exactly easy, but the people he had taught were some of the best he had seen between the group of sparks and the few ones who didn’t stand wide-eyed while he talked.

The people around the machine worked with counted movements, pouring a small content of the tank inside a glass.

Stiles took the glass in his hands, carefully inspecting it with all his senses. The liquid inside was a murky dark blue color, not perfect but with the correct shade of blue. The magic inside felt right. Even if it wasn’t perfect there shouldn’t be any problems.

He stared at the squirming spark before him and without a second to wait drank a mouthful.

It tasted like the most amazing food he could ever taste, like the cookies his mom made and more, like someone had taken the perfect food he could imagine and made it just or him. Stiles drooled in satisfaction as a comfortable feeling of fullness and warmth spread inside him.

It tasted like victory.

“Stiles!” Scott said standing right over his face. “Are you okay? What the hell is that?”

“Nothing!” Stiles said, smiling like an idiot and slowly coming back to normal. “Just Ambrosia, and it works perfectly. Congratulations.”

The sparks yelled in celebration quickly taking more samples to taste. Isaac and Scott just stared alternately at him and the glass still full.

“Ambrosia,” Isaac said slowly. “Like the one from—”

“Yep, Nectar, Ambrosia, Manna, is all the same crap,” Stiles nodded. “Just without the desert and the drama.”

“You taught them how to make the food of gods,” Isaac said again.

Stiles rolled his eyes. “It has nothing to do with gods. It’s not even that impressive really. It’s rare and expensive to make but it only feeds you and tastes like the best thing you could ever taste.”

The recipe was also not written anywhere and Stiles only knew it existed because of his potions teacher was older than the stories of those gods but they didn’t really need to know that.

Stiles gave the glass to Scott who eyed it with some reservations before tasting it.

The immediate dopey grin he sported was completely worth it.

Ambrosia was also what Stiles was hoping the sparks would mass produce in the distillery. It was one of the first and most useful ideas he had. The distillery was converted to a potion factory, the sparks would mass produce Ambrosia at the distillery using the abundant amount of flowers in the woods and then they would sell it to the people that needed it.

It wouldn’t be easy to make as much as they needed but with time…

Wendigos, vampires, and all creatures that needed to eat ‘humans’ or otherwise could feed on Ambrosia without the need to hurt anyone and the sparks would be too busy working to bother him constantly.

That at least took care of one of the biggest problems they could have in the future but that was just the beginning.

 

***

 

It took months, days of sparks and creatures pouring magic on the land to increase the chances of the ritual. Weeks of slow work where Stiles looked for objects he only knew the name of, artifacts he even had to drop his –now increasingly famous— name to get results. Looking for people that had helped him in another time, in another future.

But after a while and with some of their projects beginning to make strides in the community every piece of the puzzle began to take place.

Stiles and the pack were below the basement of the Nemeton. It was completely different at how he remembered the place, the tree roots had grown around it, encasing it in a cocoon of wood and magic. There were runes engraved into plaques of metal and wood, tight knots of flowers hanging from the ceiling, crystals, pots with plants, and artifacts of every kind.

The pack was working around moving some of the heavier stuff in place.

 “…we come here, joined in peace to ask for a boon. A pact for—” Allison intoned. “Do I really need to say all of this?”

“Not, really,” Stiles said with a sigh not taking his attention from his work.

Deaton coughed and glared at him. “Despite how little Stiles cares for tradition and common sense, you are going to ask the magical representation of our planet to help you. Some preparations are necessary.”

“Yes, but it’s a test, right?” Allison asked. “That’s what you are all saying. The Pact is not just an unbreakable oath, it’s a test I have to pass to prove that we can do this. I don’t see how I can prove that if I’m reading what you are writing for me.”

Stiles sighed. He had stopped trying to convince Deaton that the whole speech wasn’t necessary but it was like talking to a wall. The truth was the ritual was not something anyone could entirely control. All that Stiles was doing was summoning the world to speak with, literally. From that making, a Pact would be a matter of effort and will.

Allison had to be the one to do it as representative of the hunters and what they wanted to become but however, it went after Stiles did his thing it wasn’t going to be won by words. The Pact would only be sealed with blood and magic.

It was honestly speaking the only thing that scared Stiles. Allison was strong, no doubt about that and she had not changed much from the other time. She wanted to do this but will that be enough?

Stiles observed Allison intently as she kept talking with Deaton.

No, she was still the same girl who had gone against everything their people believed and loved Scott. The same girl who had fought an indestructible being and won. The same girl who had died far too young once too protect those she loved, to protect a pack.

If she truly wanted to do this then nothing would stop her, not even the entire –literal— world.

Allison sighed but turned to recite again the whole thing from the beginning.

Stiles tuned them out going back to crafting the last parts of the ritual. He carefully finished drawing runes on a few spheres made from a stone of the land. At his side, Lydia helped by pouring a simple potion over the spheres. They were nothing particularly important, just a way to ground the magic which considering they were trying to talk to the Land was kind of important.

One by one they set the stones around the few holes the Nemeton left between the wall of roots and stopping only one second to see if Lydia was ready, they began the slow process of attuning the whole thing. The weeks spent working on it were almost worth it when the whole chamber lit up eerily.

Stiles stared in silence letting the feeling of the magic take hold at last.

“I think this is it,” he said slowly.

Allison perked up from her position under a dozen books. “You have finished?”

Stiles nodded. “We need to wait for a few weeks more for the magic to settle completely but… yes.”

Allison groaned loudly. “Oh thank god. I was starting to get bored of all his planning and preparations,” she then looked at Deaton. “No offense.”

Deaton sighed pretty much taking that as the acknowledgment that his work was finished and closing the old books back.

“I’m not offended. I’ve come to accept that everyone close to Stiles is reckless or insane,” he said. “I only hope that in this case, your insanity works.”

Stiles did a double take. “Wait, you actually like my plan? You can do that?”

Deaton stared at him for one second too long.

“Yes, Stiles, I like it. That’s why I’m helping,” he said. “Why wouldn’t I want long-lasting peace?”

“Because of the whole non-interference thing you have going on?” Stiles asked.

“I’m a druid, I’m not supposed to be involved in any of this,” Deaton said slowly. “But for hundreds of years there had been emissaries and that is an involvement we shouldn’t have either. The balance is easier to protect when there is peace. We tried to solve the disputes before it turned bloody but our own oaths made it difficult.”

That… made a lot of sense actually. He had known for years that Deaton couldn’t exactly interfere in the Hales lives, he couldn’t have saved them as Stiles did. Druids were always neutral by their own Pact but that hadn’t made things easier for him.

He was not very different to how he remembered the man, still cryptic and insufferable, but where another had been crushed by the deaths of those he considered friends and given his back to the whole supernatural world this one was still hopeful, still fighting.

“How does it feel?” Allison asked and when Deaton turned to look at her, corrected. “To be a druid. Does it change anything?”

Stiles perked up. That was a question he hadn’t even considered and given that all the druids he had meet tried to be mysterious and hide things it was something he should have. 

Deaton considered the words slowly. “Possible druids pass through a traditional and rigorous training before being allowed to become one, but other than that no.”

Stiles hummed slowly. “Well, at least we won’t have to deal with cryptic messages from them.”

“However there is a ritual to induct new members, something similar to the Pact itself but far more simple, an oath of sorts intoned in a place where the magic of the earth is strong,” Deaton said. “You will need something similar to induct new hunters and there is magic in it. Enough to seal your oath. Some creatures are capable of feeling the magic on the individuals and understand what it means to the point that they can recognize Druids by sight but—”

“Wait, so people will feel we are hunters?” Allison asked.

Deaton nodded. “They will know what you stand for, that you are protectors.”

Stiles smiled at Allison. It didn’t seem like that much but it was all they needed to change the world. The druids rarely used magic even though they could because just with that Pact, with that promise of neutrality they had become a pillar in the world. With the people’s trust, the hunters could become so much more.

They just needed an opportunity and if anyone could give it to them it was Allison.

It was then that he felt something come close to the Nemeton, a very distinctive magic and Stiles couldn’t help but run outside with a smile.

“Peter!” Stiles yelled almost falling to the ground while passing through the branches.

A car was parking closer to the entrance and Chris and Peter come from the inside, tired and worse for wear but happy. Peter blinked seeing Stiles ran towards them and gave him a half-smile.

“See? That’s what I was talking about. He is so happy to see me he had to run,” Peter said looking at Chris smugly. “That’s a real greeting not whatever was that thing with the—”

“Did you find them?” interrupted Stiles.

Chris smiled at Peter frozen expression. “I think he is happier that we are back with his artifacts.”

Peter grunted staring at Stiles with a bounded expression.

“Is that it?” he asked. “You send us in a merry chase to find lost artifacts for your ritual and you don’t even care if we are fine or not?”

Stiles rolled his eyes. There was nothing in places he had sent them that was so dangerous they couldn’t find their way out safely but Peter always had a flair for the dramatic.

“You are fine and—”

“We are fine?” Peter asked and pointed at Chris. “Did you know that man was once mind controlled by a magical snake?”

Allison coughed. “That happened years ago and we killed it.”

“And I was fine,” Chris pointed out. “The glowing eyes and the raspy voice gave it away very quickly.”

“But it could have happened again!” Peter pointed. “There was another one in that Egyptian tomb you sent us. Every part of your little adventure almost killed us.”

“The temple in India was fine,” Chris said. “Some statues came alive and tried to kill us, but it was fine.”

Scott moved quickly at Allison’s side and stared at his friend.

“I thought you said it was safe,” Allison said arching an eyebrow in disbelief.

Stiles pointed at them. “They are fine! Most of the artifacts were bought from other people.”

“Yes, but some of those people had teeth and were hungry, Stiles;” Peter said. “And let me tell you, trying to eat me is not a fun way of meeting new people.”

Chris sighed again covering his face with a hand.

“Not that way of eating me, at least,” Peter smiled.

“It was safe,” Chris said looking at his daughter. “The most dangerous part came while coming here. There was another call from your friend’s page, someone was in danger. We were close and decided to help.”

“It was a pair of newly bitten werewolves that didn’t know what they were doing,” Peter said seeing Allison’s expression. “They were lucky to find the web and that we were so close. There was a rogue Alpha but we took care of it. Deucalion is now teaching them control. They’ll be fine.”

Allison breathed deeply.

“You know a few years ago we were lucky to find more than a dozen actual cases of supernatural problems,” she said groaning and looking at Stiles. “Now, we get a dozen a month. You are confusing my hunters! Working together with werewolves was already weird for them but between your potions and this helping them do the job they joined for in the first place they are… not sure if they should hate you or love you.”

Jackson snorted. “That’s how we all feel about Stiles.”

“Yes, yes, fine, but did you get them?” Stiles asked impatiently.

Peter rolled his eyes, but moved towards the back of the car and opened the trunk. There were twelve boxes inside, of different sizes and designs. Stiles could feel the magic buzzing in the air and he opened the closest one.

Inside there was a statue, and ancient effigies made of wood that had petrified over time but didn’t seem to have lost anything.

The same twelve effigies he had used to ask the world once to go back in time.

The same he would use this time to hopefully make the world a better place.

He looked at the Nemeton and back to the statue.

The place where all began and where all was destined to end.

It was time.

 

***

 

Stiles walked along the river of the preserve, barefoot and slowly, trying to be as attuned as possible to the land.

Derek was with him, following at the same pace.

The woods were calm, almost silent as the morning light filtered through the trees. Peaceful, and safe. It was difficult to picture that in another that same forest had been witness to so many deaths, so many lost, so much pain.

“I used to love this forest when I was a kid,” Derek said, suddenly.

Stiles stopped for a moment, surprised, and the continued in his way looking intently at Derek in silence. Derek rarely talked of his childhood even after all this time.

“We used to play here,” he said pointing at the river. “I loved to run with Laura and hide, to jump from trees and bathe in the stream. Once we even fell asleep on top of a tree and our mother ended finding us only after night fell. Every day was like an adventure.”

Stiles smiled slowly. “I can imagine it.”

And he could too. He had even seen pictures this time of a little Derek running around with Laura. He could see how the place could have been then for him.

“After Paige, it wrought me nightmares, and after my family— well… It wasn’t a nice place,” he continued and closed his eyes breathing deeply. “Now it’s peaceful again. Thank you for that, Stiles.”

Stiles took Derek’s hand between his own and kissed him. “Happy to help. Now we just have one last thing to do and everyone will leave us alone at last.”

Derek snorted. “Except for the sparks.”

“Yeah and that,” Stiles grimaced. “But I’m hopeful they will be a bit less insufferable with the forum.”

Danny’s project was already in full swing and had already evolved way beyond what they expected in a few weeks. It turned out that being secretive wasn’t exactly the same as being shy. In just a few weeks the page had started there was already a library with grimoires uploaded and an entire section dedicated to sparks talking shop.

The community was ecstatic and while many people found the whole thing weird and strange, it was already working. It provided a way to contact people that could help or offer their services.

If it kept like that in a few years it would be something impressive to see.

“Is it going to work?” Derek asked.

Stiles straightened and looked at him. There was no need to ask what he was talking about. Everyone was talking about it.

A Pact was pretty much the biggest news of the century. The last time a Pact was made there was peace for hundreds of years. It marked the Druids as protectors of the balance and now it would mark hunters as protectors of the supernatural.

It was going to be big and difficult even after months of preparations and the help of hundreds of people.

“Yes,” Stiles said with confidence. “It will work and then we can rest.”

It had to.

“And what about the tomb?” Derek asked.

“If this works we don’t need to worry about the tomb anymore,” Stiles said smiling. “It took thousands of years for anyone to find it, without the hunters trying it can wait a few more hundred years. This is the final answer, Derek. If this works we don’t need to worry anymore, even if the tomb was opened tomorrow, with everyone working together I could find a way to stop the curse.”

He had ideas –of course, after years studying curses he had many ideas— plan B’s and contingencies on top of contingencies in case one morning they woke up and someone had unleashed the curse or something similar to it. There were ways he could stop it once it started if he had enough people helping him, if just a few hundred sparks around the country made a few wards around their towns –easy simple wards that shouldn’t be a problem from anyone with a little experience— the problem would be gone.

The cooperation that those solutions required was the only thing keeping him away from that solution.

Now, not so much and one of the first thing he was going to teach through the community was to cast simple wards.

“Gerard, the war, the curse,” Derek whispered. “It all comes down to this.”

“I would like to see Gerard trying to fight against an army of hunters and supernatural working together,” Stiles smiled with his teeth showing.

They didn’t take long to walk down the river and to the Nemeton. The great tree stood proudly over the woods as a watcher filled with pixies and blue lanterns. Thousands of people surrounded it drowning the forest in sounds and conversations, waiting for the moment it would begin, ready to see as the world changed forever.

Stiles and Derek walked among the sea of supernatural creatures, and there were pretty much examples of every supernatural creature that existed. Stiles smiled walking between the people until his pack came into view.

“Stiles,” Allison said smiling.

“Matriarch,” Stiles said smiling back.

Allison rolled her eyes at the name. “Is this how it’s going to go?”

“Well, if you do this you are going to be kind of a big deal,” Stiles said easily. “You need a title. The leader of the Hunters, protectors of all.”

“Uh, Stiles. Are you sure you want to talk about titles?” Lydia said glancing at one of the wide-eyed sparks staring at Stiles.

Stiles groaned. “Nevermind, let’s just get on with this.”

“Yeah, better,” she smiled.

All the around the Nemeton stood twelve wooden effigies, the same ones that Peter and Chris had helped find and the same ones Stiles had used long ago in his ritual to come back in time. They were old pieces carved in different eras by different civilizations and they had power, a lot of power soaked after hundreds of thousands of years.

That power, however, wasn’t the key part of the effigies. They were a representation of life, of nature, of the world. Last time he had used them to ask the world for help when there was literally no other option left. When the world itself was dying and a crazy choice was the last chance at saving it.

This time circumstances were different –there was no apocalypse on sight for one— and he was not as desperate. His loss and pain wouldn’t drive his magic to the limit as it did last time and he wasn’t asking for one last chance.

No, this was a calculated choice, the silly dream of a boy that despite everything he lived through still hoped there was an opportunity for a happy ending.

Stiles walked around the nemeton dropping a big circle of mountain ash around the place, leaving most of everyone outside but his pack and began drawing the last symbols in the ground for the ritual to begin.

The ritual itself wasn’t complicated, it was essentially a big alchemy circle that he would only have limited control over. The circle would try to shape the magic and the energy of the world from the world into the Nemeton. He was trying, in a sense, to draw the attention of the world towards there for enough time but that was pretty much it.

“Remember,” Stiles said working slowly. “Nobody can force the world into anything. I can give you a chance but you have to convince it of making a Pact. If your cause is just and you are ready to pay the price the world will answer.”

Allison gulped and Scott squeezed her hand. She walked into the middle of the circle and stared at the Nemeton as Stiles finished the last of the details. The pack wandered around the edge of the barrier while everyone waited with baited breath for the ritual to begin.

Stiles finished quickly checking over all his work. There was an oppressive feeling of anticipation, not just on the emotions of the people but in the land itself. The magic was flooding the place after all the preparations, the wind and the grass swayed in perfect sync and the pressure was growing by the second. Like the beginning of a thunderstorm, everything stood on edge.

He closed his eyes and let the magic flow into the circle. The circle illuminated with warm white light, the statues glowed ominously, the preparations under the Nemeton began its work.

It began slowly like the whisper of the wind growing stronger by the second, buzzing higher and higher until the sound settled in the bones. The land shuddered and trembled, groaned like a giant waking up after too long sleeping.  The beating of an ancient heart rippled across all the ley lines in the world pumping more magic than it should be possible into the Nemeton until the magic became overwhelming and shattered and became light in the air.

Motes of light in the darkness forming patterns of beauty for all to see.

Twelve effigies of wood and stone sparked in flame.

Stiles could feel the pressure in his soul, the eye of the earth focusing on them. He felt like an ant being watched by an all-powerful being.

And then, suddenly it was over, the pressure, everything, and everyone stood still. The world stopped, it stood frozen, waiting, watching, and in the ancient voice of all things in the language that all beings understood it spoke for the first time.

“Hey, how it’s going?” asked the rocks, and the trees, and the sky, and everything.

Everyone stared in silence. The pack just groaned in commiseration and Peter pretty much lost it and began laughing somewhere.

“Uh… Stiles?” Allison asked panicking.

Stiles closed his eyes slowly. “Just, uh… be honest!”

Allison glared at him but quickly came back and staring at the Nemeton began to speak again.

“Uh, hi, yes,” she said stopping over her words. “Everything is going, uh… fine…  I guess, thanks for asking! I’m Allison Argent, the matriarch of the hunters and we are here to ask for… for…”

She stopped trying to remember.

“A boon!” Stiles shouted.

“Yes! A boon,” Allison said quickly getting back on track. “As it was done once we ask to the land for another Pact. To be granted the opportunity of speaking a new oath to the world that can never be broken. To form a new order of protectors that will fight for the innocent!”

Deucalion took the opportunity to speak then following in her words. “And we stand here as witnesses of this momentous occasion. The packs and all supernatural creatures of the world stand today to support their new allies in hopes of bringing long-lasting peace to the land.”

“We stand as one, together,” Allison intoned. “In unity, knowing our path will be difficult and long. Knowing that our choices today will last for eternity but with the conviction that together we can leave a safer world to live in. We ask you that you hear our words and—”

“Yeah, that’s all very impressive, but why are you telling me all of this?” the world interrupted sounding like the cracking of the thunder and fire. “I mean, uh, it was cool and you really worked for it but I’m literately everywhere. I already knew what you wanted.”

Someone somewhere facepalmed.

Allison looked around gulping slowly. “Oh, right, so… Can you…?”

“Yes,” the world said like the rain falling.

Another moment of thick silence passed as they waited.

“Are you going to do it?” Stiles asked.

The earth groaned again.

“Well, I guess this is a way of solving the issue of the zombie apocalypse and the whole time traveling thing. A bit roundabout but, yes, okay,” It said.

Stiles was sweating bullets while the rest of the supernatural stared and began whispering questions.

Allison, completely nonplussed, carried on ignoring everyone. “I have chosen my words and the oath that we will carry for eternity. Hear me and—”

“Yeah, uh, that’s cute but that’s not how it goes,” the world said like chimes in the wind. “What do you want?”

Allison stumbled in a loss for words and then in the smallest voice, in the truest whisper from the soul she said the only thing she could say. The words she had been keeping for years inside since Gerard killed her mother in a lonely night:

“I want peace, I want to protect them all. I want to make sure nobody has to suffer anymore.”

The world stood in silence for a second.

“Prove it,” it said.

And the world exploded in light, the wind picked up in a moment forming a tornado around them leaving them in the eye of the storm. Rain poured from the sky as thunder shattered the wind, the earth danced with the elements around them.

Allison was engulfed in a pillar of roaring light. Stiles lost all control over the ritual as an ancient being simply continued in his place, taking more and more magic into the ritual without his help.

Allison cried in overwhelming pain inside the barrier of light almost like she was being burned alive.

“She is being judged!” yelled Stiles over the sound. “The world is testing her conviction to see if the Pact can be made!”

That was the most dangerous part. The part where nobody could help. The pact was a choice and not an easy one. If she failed, if her ideals were not pure enough, if she didn’t believe with all her heart in what she wanted to do she would die and there would be no Pact.

Now, they could only wait.

“Allison!” yelled Scott.

Or not.

Scott couldn’t wait and he transformed pushing against the light with all his strength. It was completely pointless but he kept doing it fighting against the power. He was not the only one affected as supernatural creatures transformed following the overwhelming power trying to simply stay conscious while the storm raged.

“Scott, stop! You can’t interfere!” Stiles yelled.

He didn’t, he just kept pushing against the barrier with more and more strength until it thrown him away to the ground while Allison shuddered inside the beam of light.

“You can’t help her,” the world said like the crackling of ice breaking.

Scott stopped stared at the Nemeton and walked again towards the barrier pushing with all his strength. Stiles felt the world shift under his feet.

“It is her choice, her test. You can’t interfere.”

“It’s not her test alone. It’s our test, all of us!” he cried. “She wants to prove that together we are stronger.”

And Scott, wonderful, strong and completely pure pushed against the barrier.

“That together we can stop the death of the innocent,” he said shuddering in pain.

The barrier trembled and Stiles pushed with the little magic he had left against the barrier. Werewolves and supernatural transformed and followed him. Thousands of eyes glowed and spirits sparked in the dark flowing drowning the light like a cloak.

“That together we are invincible!” Scott shouted.

And his eyes turned red and the barrier shattered.

Thousands of people howled and cried in sync. Scott fell inside the light holding Allison against his arms. He howled and everything stopped. The world returned to normal as if nothing had happened. Nobody could speak as both of them kissed and the impossible happened before their eyes.

The earth broke and the old roots of the Nemeton grew quickly before the pair of them. Stiles breathed deeply.

It had worked.

The Pact had worked but it wasn’t over. He lost the last control of the magic and the ley lines exploded carrying far more power he believed possible, the Nemeton beat like a heart pumping all the magic into the spell.

In a moment the roots changed and started taking the shape of a massive triskelion the size of a table. It was immediately followed by metal flowing from deep below the earth, silver jumping in the air and branding a fleur-de-lis into the Triskelion. Under their eyes, a few words took shape in the wood.

“We protect those who cannot protect themselves.”

And as soon as it had come it was over. The magic stopped, the massive triskelion fell to the ground loudly and the Pact was sealed.

Over them stood its physical representation.

It was a symbol and more, magic more powerful than Stiles had thought possible once. Magic not unlike that of a pack. Of a new family being born.

It was a commitment. It was a promise of prosperity and brotherhood that would not be lost in but a moment.

It was peace.

Chapter Text

Once upon a time, Derek had thought he lived in a fairy tale.

It was easy to see why. He had a family of wolves, they lived in a forest and some of the visitors that came to their house could make light appear from their hands. It had been easy to live in the fairy tale of magic and wolves then, to feel the days pass in fun and adventure as an endless fantasy where everything was right.

A fantasy where his parents taught him about the moon and the wolves.

A fantasy where Peter would mercilessly scare him with stories of monsters but would be there to save him from those same monsters hiding under his bed.

A fantasy where his sister was whole and they laughed and ran in the forest without care because it was never going to end.

Then it ended.

It ended with a whisper of ‘please’ and his eyes turning blue.

It ended with ashes and fire.

It ended with a scream on his lips as Laura died, and then Erica, and Boyd…

Over and over he made the mistakes and others paid for it while Derek survived. Every time it felt like dying, it felt like burning and screaming and a nightmare. And every time he came back, and survived and keep going always waiting for the next blow that came.

Always waiting for the blow that would finally end him.

But it never came and somehow he always fell for that comfortable lie that things were getting better, that he could be happy for a moment before everything came crashing down again. Because somehow the end blow never came.

Somehow he always came back, even if every time he did it took a little longer to smile again.

He had tried to move away once, to forget, to keep others away from him for a while trying to keep them safe from what had to be his luck. Knowing that every time he was just a little bit closer to giving up completely.

At least until Stiles.

Derek stretched on the bed watching Stiles work.

It was a warm night, the full moon shone through the windows draping around Stiles’ like a cloak of silver while he worked in the closest chair and Derek didn’t –couldn’t— feel the loss of control that usually came from the moon. Just the cool heat of the bed sheets, the taste of Stiles in the air and the feeling of happiness.

Stiles had found him, saved him once again and untangled the nightmare that was his life. Helped him find a way to forgive himself and keep going when the strength was leaving him. It had taken years under the most ridiculous person he had ever met to finally move on.

To breath again, to hope.

To love.

And even now, years after coming back from that time Derek felt like he was walking in a dream. Because Stiles...

Stiles never gave up. Not even when he should. Not when there was no hope, not when there was no other choice and never when his family was on the line. In that sense at least he was far more of an Alpha that any other Derek had ever met.

They had passed through so much together, so much pain and loss. So much and he never wavered.

“I can’t believe this worked,” Derek whispered.

After so much of their lives fighting to protect their families. Looking over their shoulders and moving from place to place in hiding. Now it was over.

“Of course it was going to work, my plans always work, eventually,” Stiles said. “Now stop squirming naked in the bed. I need to focus and that isn’t helping.”

Derek rolled his eyes, finished stretching and got up slightly on the bed. Stiles was sitting at the border of the bed, as nude as Derek and with one leg still touching Derek inside the bed. Only a few months had passed since the Pact was made. Since history changed forever and not having any more pressing issues Stiles kept working.

A small table was assembled at the side were Stiles fiddled with some complicated potion work and a small, thin, black triskelion. Plants and alchemy arrays littered the place as a testament to the process.

One last idea, one last plan, just to make sure.

“I thought we needed a witness for this,” Derek joked.

Stiles stared at him. “Jesus, Derek, we are not getting married.”

“No, we are binding our souls for eternity,” Derek said, pointing at the table. “I think that is a bit more permanent than marriage.”

“It’s not like that!” Stiles spluttered. “This is like the thing Peter did with Lydia to get back from the dead. If anyone of us dies we will act as catchers, you’ll get my soul and keep it from passing away for enough time to heal my body back and I’ll do the same for you. I left instructions to put my soul back in my body if that happens and Lydia—”

“Binding our souls together, forever,” Derek repeated deadpan, still not quite believing it.

“To your body, not for eternity!” Stiles said loudly. “The moment we die both it will stop working. I’m not touching our souls at all, is more physical than anything. Trust me you don’t want me to start experimenting with souls, Derek, that way lies madness, demons and… Oh… actually, if I could—”

Derek stopped him then, kissing him deeply, slowly, until Stiles melted in his embrace and forgot what he was talking about. When it was over Stiles took a deep breath and looked goofily at Derek.

“That— was a nice distraction,” Stiles said. “What were we talking about?”

“How you want to marry me, apparently,” Derek said, feeling less confident than he was trying to sound.

“Hey, we’ve been together for fifteen years and we haven’t killed each other,” Stiles said. “I would marry the hell out of you if I wasn’t seventeen right now.”

Derek shuddered, feeling the weight of those words, a lot had passed since they began their relationship and at this point, Derek couldn’t see himself with anybody else but… The truth rang so clear sounding from his mouth. Without fear or hesitation.

“We don’t have to do this, Stiles,” Derek whispered, and it was weak. They both knew that it was weak in the same way they both knew he needed to say it.

Stiles stopped and turned around with a look of panic staring at Derek. “You don’t want to do it?”

Derek moved forward embracing Stiles and kissing his shoulder. Stiles shuddered slightly.

“I do, but we have time,” Derek said. “We have all the time now.”

Stiles snorted, but there was a smile on his lips when he went back to his potion

“We do, but I want to make sure,” Stiles whispered. “I don’t want anyone to take this from us.”

Derek sighed but inside was smiling. He would like to say that he was sure things were safe now. That after all that Stiles had worked, after everything they had done to change the future, things were going to continue going right but it was difficult. Part of him still didn’t believe it was real.

Beacon Hills had changed a lot in the few months after the Pact. It was subtle changes, of course, nothing most people would notice. An abandoned building here and there that got renovated, a few thousand people moving into new apartments or the occasional new business appearing out of nowhere.

Little things in the grand scheme of things but a change that was clear even to the unaware people of the town. Beacon Hills was growing, day by day, unknowingly accepting new supernatural beings inside.

The Argents had moved part of their front business as security contractors to town to train the overwhelming amount of new recruits waiting to join, recruits that now included some supernatural creatures between their midst. The old hunters weren’t even angry about it, in fact, they were ecstatic, the Pact made anyone who joined a protector without a possibility to change, bonded by their own laws the strength and new abilities would only help their cause. It was pretty much what they always wanted, supernatural creatures that were unable to hurt innocent people forever.

“I still can’t believe it worked,” Derek repeated. “I never thought that we-we— could get this.”

“Well… to be fair we are kind of overachievers, and we time traveled,” Stiles said. “We were never going to just wait for the possibility of another hunter war.”

Derek scoffed. “And now hunters and werewolves are working together, and Beacon Hills is one of the safest places in the world for the supernatural.”

“Which was the only actual objective,” Stiles said nodding while shaking the potions. “To make sure our pack was safe.”

Derek smiled. That was at least pretty much assured considering all the changes and defenses in place. Too many hunters, too many supernatural invested in making it work. Their families were safe, it seemed so easy, so cheap to say that after spending so much of their lives fighting for it.

“And speaking of that,” Derek said planting another kiss in Stiles' shoulder. “I know you have been not so subtly trying to get Kira into the pack. She is already with all of you in class and expends most of the timeout with a member of the pack.”

Stiles nodded. “She needed friends after moving here and she was good. She is.”

“I know, and I agree,” Derek said. Kira had pretty much saved their asses several times in the other time. “But I’m curious if you are going to be adding more people to the pack now.”

“Well, now that Scott is an Alpha again in all its ridiculousness and he is going to need betas,” Stiles said. “And since we are not going to split the pack that means…”

Derek groaned. From everything that came out of the Pact the fact that Scott became the first True Alpha in a century in the middle was the most headache worthy. It had certainly helped drill the point home that they were all in this together but Peter, Talia, Chris, and Deucalion had gotten drunk celebrating or trying to forget that everything happened.

“Please tell me we are not getting Liam again,” Derek said.

Stiles turned around. “I thought you liked Liam.”

Derek sighed. “I do. As much as I can like the baby you and Scott secretly always wanted but never expected to have.”

Stiles snorted. “Yeah, he was kind of a lost puppy.”

“That seems to be our specialty,” Derek said with a snort.

“Finding a family for lost puppies?” Stiles asked, smiling. “Or being lost puppies?”

Derek snorted while Stiles fiddled with his potions.

“Both, but the puppies are growing up. Isaac, Erica, and Boyd are already talking about choosing a college,” Derek said, sighing as he looked to the moon. “At least after they spent weeks trying to keep it out of my ears because they thought I wouldn’t like them going away.”

Stiles snorted. “Did you promise to pay for all of it?”

Derek scoffed. “Of course, we are paying for everyone, Laura says we would need to buy a few more tons of gold before we get out of the budget.”

Derek still didn’t know what she was doing with their money now, but at this point, it scared him more than anything. He was pretty sure most of their knowledge of the future was already exhausted and she was finding ways of making more.

“Danny wants to do the whole MIT thing, get a degree in computers or something,” Stiles said. “Although given how much he knows already it’s probably going to be pointless.”

Derek smiled. “Isn’t he already busy with the magic web?”

“Yep, and he is already making money out of it helping people trade magic,” Stiles snorted. “Lydia wants to do the same than Danny but with physics, I already promised her we will go to where the portal to the wild hunt is to study it. Apparently, that was in one of the diaries of the Dread doctors and she wants to see an actual wormhole. So I guess in a few decades she will discover faster than light travel and win all the Noble prizes and a few Fields medals in the way.”

“Not surprising,” Derek nodded. “But I thought she wanted to study more magic.”

Stiles stared at him like he was stupid. “Of course! She will do both and it will be glorious and ridiculous because she is perfect and nobody will—”

Derek turned him around and kissed him, interrupting the still too usual rant over Lydia.

“And Scott still wants to be a veterinarian,” Stiles coughed, coming back from it. “Which, you know, considering he treated some kind of psychic cat, familiar thingy, from one of the witches with Deaton…”

“We’ll need to find a way to keep them safe out there,” Derek said. “Together, or at least as together as they can be.”

Stiles smiled. “Don’t worry Derek, we won’t lose them because of this.”

Derek held him tight, hoping it would be true. He knew they would be safe, Derek trusted them to keep themselves safe. They just needed to find a way to make sure there would be no surprises.

It was at that time that Stiles turned around, finishing the potions at last.

“Okay! I think I have this,” Stiles said. “Just stay, still. This is going to hurt me a lot more than it’s going to hurt you.”

“I know,” Derek smiled easily. “You had to invent a new type of magic just because of your fear of needles.”

“Hey! I’m not afraid of needles! I just… have a healthy dose of respect for them,” Stiles said.

“You blacked out last time, Scott told me,” Derek pointed.

Stiles stared at him for full a minute opening and closing his mouth.

“That’s not how I remember it,” he said turning around to fiddle with the potions.

Derek snorted. “That’s how Scott remembers it, and I believe him.”

“Are you sure you want to keep talking about this with the guy that is about to stitch our souls together, Derek?” Stiles asked sniffing.

Derek closed his eyes and let out a tiny groan. Stiles smiled like a fox and presented him with two vials.

Derek took one the vial in his hand while Stiles took the other. They were filled with some sort of golden potion that glowed slightly in the darkness of the room. Derek looked between the potion and Stiles alternatively, unable to move for a few moments.

He remembered all those times they fought together, all those times they won and lost. All those times they loved. Derek certainly never expected it to work, to last. He didn’t exactly have the best record with relationships and Stiles… Ridiculous, wonderful, smart Stiles could do better than him. Or at least with someone who didn’t have the emotional baggage he had.

It had not been easy at the beginning. He was not even sure how it all began. How a mutual respect for their abilities and saving each other’s lives grew into friendship. How did their friendship change to become… this.

Derek only knew one day he woke up with Stiles at his side and knew he wanted to wake up like that for the rest of his life.

They fitted together, somehow, despite everything.

And now, this was it. There was no coming back from this.

He eyed the potion again and Stiles’ eyes. Asking silently if he was sure, if he really wanted to do this with him. If this wonderful man trusted him with his soul when he had shattered so many others.

But there was no hesitation in Stiles’ eyes, no doubt. Just trust, and love.

Derek breathed deeply for a moment and drank the potion along with Stiles. It tasted like nothing he had ever tasted, like warmth and Stiles and forever. He felt the pull almost instantly after, a brutal tug that slammed at him from the core of his being almost scrambling his control over the wolf.

Suddenly there was just so much, Stiles scent, his heartbeat, the texture of his skin. He could feel Stiles almost like an extension of his body and he couldn’t help but smile stupidly.

“Woah,” Stiles said looking at him with his eyes blown. “This is trippy. Is this how you feel everything around you all the time?”

Derek nodded, unable to articulate words. It wasn’t, this was so much more and at the same time so little.

“Okay, we are not finished, turn around, now comes the awful part,” Stiles said.

Derek obeyed, barely listening to his words. He remembered this, they had practiced this before and dropped in bed with his back up. Stiles moved closer peering closer in his back, with one hand he took the small triskelion he had been working for a week and then with a quick movement separated it into two perfect triskelions. Two mirror pieces of one great whole.

Slowly, Stiles planted one of the pieces between his shoulder blades, right where once he had tattooed that same symbol for his family and now would again for a new family.

“Are you sure you don’t want it in your butt cheek this time, Derek?” Stiles asked.

Derek snorted. “Please, don’t mess this up.”

“Right, like there is anything I could do to mess your body,” Stiles bristled. “This is so unfair, in you it’s going to end up being attractive whatever I do, in me…”

Derek growled and took the other triskelion with his hand, dragging it over Stiles' neck and keeping it in place as well as dragging him down to his eye level. Stiles stood there looking at his eyes and lips.

“Okay! In the neck it is,” Stiles said in a rush of air, moving his hand over the triskelion behind Derek’s back. “How did you do all of that and didn’t move your piece is—”

“Stiles,” Derek half growled.

Derek could already feel his eyes glowing red and his control snapping under the overwhelming sensation. It was just too much.

Luckily Stiles seemed to understand because he pushed the triskelion in his back and then kissed him.

It burned. In his back, and in Stiles. He could feel the flesh being open and burning under his fingers. He could feel the triskelion melt like simple ink and brand itself over their skin. It was painful, it burned. Stiles screamed in his mouth and Derek drank the pain away as much as he was capable. For what seemed hours the pain lasted and then it was over.

Stiles and Derek separated, sweating and breathing heavily but the overwhelming sensations ceased. There was nothing more left in its wake than a weak pull and the feeling of happiness.

Derek looked at the new triskelion tattooed in Stiles' neck, touched it with care and felt the same feeling of Stiles again, the same pull, and he smiled in awe staring into Stiles' eyes.

Stiles dropped in the bed, snuggling closer to Derek and groaning in delight.

“That was far more painful than I thought,” Stiles said with a sigh looking at Derek. “Was it okay?”

Derek nodded, smiling at him.

“I can’t believe they are all safe, that they are all alive, that this whole plan has worked,” Stiles said. “I can’t believe it’s over.”

“Over?” Derek asked, and then began to chuckle. “Stiles, you have just helped create a new order of protectors, united most of the supernatural creatures and humans in one common goal, and for how you keep helping Sparks in the web I’m sure you are going to end opening a magic school.”

“Wow! Where the hell did you get that idea?” Stiles asked. “I’m never opening a school for anyone who bows for me. And I’m not helping them! People are being stupid on the internet, and they need to know it, Derek!”

Derek rolled his eyes, kissing Stiles in the tattoo, shuddering with the sensation. Apparently, everyone but him knew that he was going to teach other people magic sooner or later, it was hilarious in hindsight. He spent so much time correcting mistakes of other Sparks in the distillery and over the web that it was becoming clear what he wanted to do even if he protested most of the time.

He was even a good teacher, even if his first students were pretty much genius on their own Stiles had taught them far more than most Sparks understood about magic.

“Okay,” Derek said, instead. “But it’s not over. It’s never going to be over. We have spent most of our lives fighting to protect our families and now that they are safe we are not going to hide in our beds and fuck.”

“But I actually like that plan,” Stiles said arching an eyebrow.

“You’ll end up getting bored, having another brilliant idea and we’ll spend the rest of our days dealing with whatever bullshit consequences your ideas have.”

“Hey!” Stiles began to say blinked and perked. “You are absolutely right.”

They stared at each other for a moment.

“Thank god,” they said in unison.

“For a second there I thought we were going to have boring and safe lifes,” Stiles said.

“It will be difficult or impossible for anyone to break what we have, the pack will be safe, people will be safer but if we want adventures we can always go explore more forgotten ruins, experiment with magic…” Derek said

“Buy a house, have a kid…” Stiles said whistling.

Derek stopped, turned around, stared. “What?”

Stiles coughed. “Well, you want to have kids, I know that and… Someday, it will be fun to have a son or daughter called Steve.”

Derek kept staring, he didn’t blink or even breathe.

“A daughter named Steve?” Derek asked very slowly.

“What?” Stiles asked. “Steve is gender neutral.”

Derek blinked. “Steve isn’t gender neutral. It’s Captain America's name.”

“Well, Derek,” Stiles said. “That’s your opinion and you are missing the point.”

“No, I’m not!” Derek shouted. “You just—”

“The point is—! We can think about having that now. Not yet, none of us is ready for a kid right now but we can think about it. I was thinking to build something on the other side of the river close to the Nemeton. A big thing like your family’s with space for the pack and well— With space for… us. Just for us,” he finished with a deep breath relaxing at last.

Derek just stared at him, shocked and kissed him murmuring. “One day when everything is over…”

Stiles snorted. “They stopped fighting got a house, a dog and lived happily ever after. One fairy tale ending.”

“I never thought I would have one of those, Stiles,” Derek whispered to him.

“Well, you are getting it and you can’t say anything about it now,” Stiles said smiling brightly. “You deserve it.”

It had just taken a few dozen awesome and terrible plans to finally get it right.

“You are going to drive me crazy,” Derek said, and then grumbled lower. “Steve…”

“I know,” Stiles said smiling. “And you love it.”

“I love you,” Derek smiled and nodded, “and whatever happens now we’ll do it together.”