Scott telling Derek that he wasn't his alpha hadn't seemed like that big a deal to Stiles at the time. Yeah, Derek had looked ridiculous amounts of upset. Yeah, Scott had hatched his entire Gerard double-cross without even bothering to let Stiles in on the plan, and that was shit, man. Because Scott was his best friend, and Stiles would always, always have his back. And Scott should know that, okay? Even when he's being an idiot or staring at Allison like she was all the badassness of Katniss Everdeen and Hermione Grainger rolled up into one and dipped in chocolate.
Stiles may have suggested they take down Gerard without screwing Derek over so hard, but Scott's plan was actually a good plan. Pretend to be on Gerard's side while slipping him mountain ash in his cancer pills so that he'd reject the bite? Excellent. Brilliant. That was thinking. That was real planning. Long term. Sneaky. When you didn't have the muscle to defeat someone, you used your brains. Screw anyone who said Scott didn't have a brain. Yeah, he didn't do so great in school. Maybe he was kind of naive and looked at the world through rose-colored Allison-tinted lenses, and he always thought people were nicer than they actually were, but that didn't mean he was dumb.
Scott was, however, hella stubborn. When he decided something like 'no, he was not going to be in Derek's pack,' and 'yes, he was going to continue macking on Allison behind her father's back,' well, that's what he was going to do. And no amount of Derek pointing out that omegas were considered unstable and got picked off by hunters as soon as they were discovered or that as a born wolf who'd been doing this for years, he knew a lot of information and tricks for maintaining control and not almost ripping people's chests open every time he and Allison were off-again was going to convince Scott otherwise, and Stiles knew Alli was his anchor or whatever, but dude, he needed an anchor that couldn't break up with him, or someone, probably Stiles, who was the person consoling him, was going to get maimed.
The point was, you didn't push Scott into things he didn't want to do.
In fact, pushing the issue was only going to make him dig in his heels.
Sending your douchy, power-tripping betas to dog his footsteps, pun intended because if they were going to make his and Scott's lives harder, Stiles was going to make all the dog jokes he wanted, was not going to make him any less intransigent. And yes, Stiles was going to use words like intransigent because it was a good word, damn it, and he was getting ready for the SATs, and the best way to remember a word and what it meant was to use it in context. Not that Stiles wouldn't remember anyway. Because this mind? This mind was a steel trap, and nothing escaped once its teeth had snapped shut.
But no one listened to Stiles. And by one, he meant Derek. No Derek listened when Stiles tracked him down to the honest-to-god train station he was using as a lair like a fucking creeper who creeps, and seriously? He was supposed to have legal custody of Isaac, wasn't he? Why wasn't social services or CPS all up in his shit? Was no one checking in? Because Stiles was pretty sure they were supposed to do that, and a half-finished, mostly-trashed subway station with a few cars crammed inside was not suitable living conditions. And there was no excuse for it, because Derek had to be loaded. Stiles had looked it up, okay? Derek, Laura, and Peter had gotten an ass-ton of money from life insurance and inheritance and shit after the Hale house fire. The guy drove a camero. He could afford a little black sports car to zip around in like the douchenozzle he was but he couldn't rent a two bedroom apartment with heat and AC and running water and wifi? What was that about?
But Stiles had tracked him down because Stiles was a good friend, okay? Scott was getting mad, and the betas were being assholes, which in Erica's case, involved boobs getting shoved uncomfortably close to people like she had something to prove, and that alone was causing a lot of the off-again periods in Scott and Allison's relationship. Not the best way to get a person to like you. Destroying their love life. But hey, who was Stiles to tell a pack of werewolves what to do? It wasn't like he'd ever persuaded Scotty to be his friend. Though, to be fair, he'd done it when they were three by showing him how to make mud by dumping his juice in the sandbox.
The rest of the off-agains were motivated by guilt, Stiles was pretty sure. Allison was coping with her mom's death, thankfully in a way that involved a lot less blood and arrows and terrifying ring daggers than before, but it wasn't easy. She didn't confide in Stiles because they weren't that close, although he'd lost his mom too, but he could see that it was hurting her and she was struggling. So, he did his best to lighten her mood when he saw her and to remind Scott that maybe her anger and distantness wasn't all because of what she said it was and that sometimes a little space and some good old-fashioned understanding and forgiveness when she got over it a few days later was better than being pissy and distant in return.
And Scott, bless his enormous heart, was the most forgiving and understanding person Stiles had ever met. Seriously. Stiles had not
handled his mother's illness and death as well as he'd pretended in front of his dad, not that he'd pretended all that well, and Scott had caught the brunt of it and hadn't abandoned him. He'd hugged Stiles for hours while he sobbed because she couldn't remember him. Not his name, not that he was her son. He had been there to see Stiles breaking down after Mom had attacked him and screamed that he was trying to kill her. His own mother had looked at him like he was nothing to her, and then like he was something horrible and evil, and ten-year-old Stiles did not know how to deal with that. And sometimes that had translated to him being a serious dick to the people around him, which were his dad and Scott. But they'd both forgiven him. Scott knew that when Stiles had been lashing out, it wasn't because he hated Scott or even that he really wanted to hurt him, not deep down. It was because Stiles had been hurting, and his dad had been hurting, and Stiles hadn't known what to do or how to stop.
So, he knew Scott could handle this... mess. He knew he and Allison could get through the grieving process and go back to staring into one
anothers eyes like ooey-gooey piles of love mush all the time instead of just whenever they weren't fighting. And that would happen a lot faster if stupid Derek would just call off his hounds and show Scott that he could take no for an answer.
Because Stiles really did think Scott should join the pack.
Okay, Derek was not a good leader. He was not. The guy had no idea how to get people to follow him or obey him other than baring his fangs and flashing his shiny red eyes and declaring that He Was The Alpha. Or withholding information and then breaking their bones. Seriously, not
good leadership skills. Stiles may or may not have a stack of books on being a good leader sitting in his room. He'd even borrowed the ones from the military leadership courses Dad had taken when he was enlisted in case Derek wanted to stick to the whole 'training them to be his personal fur-faced army' thing. He just hadn't figured out how to give said books to the Sourwolf without getting them thrown back in his face. Which would undoubtedly involve broken noses and trips to the hospital. And he liked his nose, okay? It was his mom's nose. And he didn't think he was one of those guys who could pull off the crooked nose thing. Maybe Scott could. Might offset his crooked jaw? But Stiles could not. Stiles had delicate features, and crooked noses were not going to make them any more appealing to the ladies.
Or the guys. Because, yeah, he was pretty sure that was a thing for him now, and maybe had been all along because now that he thought about it, he'd spent a lot of time telling his mom how pretty the girl in his class's older brother was and how he liked to watch him play kickball at recess and wanted to see if maybe he would like to share Stiles' fruit snacks at lunch. Anyway, Stiles was protecting his nose, and so the books were gathering dust in his room while he considered mailing them to Derek anonymously, and how you made that work when the guy didn't have a mailbox. Maybe FedEx or Amazon delivered to abandoned train stations even if the post office wouldn't.
But poor leadership skills aside, or non-existent leadership skills, depending on how charitable Stiles was feeling, Derek really just wanted to keep his pack safe. Deep down, that was what he wanted, and Stiles knew it. Derek just didn't know how to do that without being a colossal asshole. With a little help and guidance, and maybe some serious therapy and some kind of wolfy chill pills, he could get there.
Unfortunately, the only person Stiles could think of with any kind of wolf-leading knowledge was Peter. Psychotic, newly-ressurected Peter, who, for all that he was a horrible, horrible person, had a good brain in his noodle, a boatload of charisma, and a certain amount of ruthlessness that Stiles hated to admit would probably go a long way towards keeping the pack alive and safe when they were faced with hunters and whatever other dangerous magical critters were lurking in the shadows, waiting to chew their faces off. If only he were sane, Stiles would have gone to him in a heartbeat to help convince Derek to chill out, learn to be nice sometimes, and to leave Scott the fuck alone.
Because that was the thing. Scott was just balking right now. He'd had his choice to be a werewolf or not made for him when Peter bit him, and then Derek had stormed in, demanding that Scott follow his every command without ever establishing why he deserved it. And that did not work for Scott. But Peter had been charging around like the murderous freak he was, and Scott had three choices: team up with the jerky guy who knows a little bit of something, murder all his friends and join Peter's pack, or get his head ripped off. So, he'd gone with Derek as the least of three evils. Then Derek had killed Peter while Scott begged him not to so that Scott could maybe make a choice for himself about whether or not he was a werewolf. Not that Stiles was convinced Scott killing Peter would have changed him back human, but you never knew, and anyway it didn't matter. What mattered was that Derek had taken the option away from him.
And then while Scott was still pissed and reeling from that, Derek went and bit Jackson. Jackson of all people. Who had more emotional issues than everyone else in Beacon Hills combined, and that included Stiles, Peter, and Derek himself. And of course, that went about as wrong as it
possibly could, and Allison's genocidal grandfather had come to town and decided to make it his personal mission to destroy Stiles' faith in humanity and to twist Allison into his werewolf-killing aunt-mimicking puppet while her mother cheered him on and her father searched desperately for his balls. Not to mention the whole genocidal thing. And Derek had come to Scott again and said 'join my little fun squad. There's safety in numbers and look, I turned three quiet, generally not unpleasant human beings into to most colossal dickbags to ever walk the face of the planet. Don't you want to be just like them?' And Scott had said yes because again, he didn't have much of a choice. Die for sure, or maybe die but maybe not because there was at least someone fighting next to you?
So really, it wasn't actually that surprising that Scott had schemed behind Derek's back and then kicked him to the curb as soon as he and Alli were in the clear. When had Derek ever done something to deserve more? Well, he had saved Scott's life at the rave and a few other times, but that wasn't the point. The point was that Derek hadn't earned Scott's loyalty and trust yet. He was demanding it. And that was going about it exactly the wrong way.
See, Stiles was pretty sure that Scott liked the idea of a pack. He liked people. He liked friends and being part of a group, part of something bigger than himself. He would like to have someone who knew something to tell him what was going on when he did weird thing by accident or when he had urges he didn't understand. He just didn't want an oppressive, heavy-handed alpha who expected him to bow down and kiss their boots whenever they talked and to follow orders without question. And that's pretty much how Derek was coming across.
Stiles hadn't said that when he'd gone to the train station. He didn't need another concussion, okay? One was enough, and he'd smelled like garbage for like a week. But that wasn't the point. He'd let that go, mostly, in favor of trying to help Scott and Derek, because he was pretty sure Scott and his general good nature and the fact that he had natural leadership qualities would actually be a good influence on Derek in that Derek could see him getting people to do stuff for him without threatening them with bodily harm or clobbering them with a massive sense of entitlement. And Derek could teach Scott how to not draw targets on his own head.
When Derek had slunk out of the train car to glare at Stiles, and Isaac had stopped looming like a cheap dime-store hood and put away his claws, Stiles had reminded Derek that he knew Scott better than anyone and that badgering him wasn't going to work. If Derek really wanted him in his leather gang, the best thing he could do was back off and wait for Scott to come to him. Sending Isaac and Boyd to torture him at lacrosse practice wasn't helping Scott succeed as co-captain, and that was important to him. Sending Erica to mash her admittedly impressive rack in his face and try to lick his neck was just causing problems in his relationship with the girlfriend he already had, another thing that was extremely important to him. Messing with the things Scott cared about in order to get him to take the blood oath, skin a cow, and hammer studs into his very own leather jacket or whatever the rite of initiation entailed, was not the way to go. You had to show Scott you respected him, and he would respect you back.
Derek, of course, hadn't listened. He'd scrunched up his stupidly perfect face and said something about Stiles being mad that he'd lost first string to Boyd and about being jealous that Erica's boobs weren't in his face. Stiles had pointed out that he'd only joined lacrosse to support Scott, and he didn't give a crap if he played or not because he kind of sucked at it and it was way more fun to sit on the bench and scream at the players and cheer for Scott, and the only reason he'd made first line to begin with was because some of the guys who usually played had been put on acedemic suspension because their grades had dropped too low. Also, Erica's boobs were a lot less fun to stare at up close when you knew there was a distinct possibility that a car part was going to cave in your skull at any second.
Derek had had the good grace to look slightly embarrassed at that, but he didn't apologize. Instead, he said something about Jackson and Lydia joining the pack meaning it was only a matter of time before Scott followed suit, and how Scott should know by now that being a werewolf on its own was just asking for a wolfsbane bullet in his chest. Stiles hadn't had anything to say about the Jackson and Lydia thing, but he had pointed out that being in a pack didn't seem to stop the bullets from flying at Derek and his betas. Derek hadn't liked that, but he had managed to blame it on something other than himself. Typical.
Stiles was surprised that Jackson and Lydia would join up. One, they weren't into leather jackets, and two, neither of them took orders. From anyone. Well, from anyone who wasn't Lydia. Also, last he'd heard, Mr. Whittemore was talking about sending Jackson to boarding school in Europe. Maybe that wasn't happening? It was only a rumor. But if Jackson left, there was no reason for Lydia to join. She'd never turned into a werewolf, which, what the hell? How in hell was that even possible? And unlike Stiles, who was in this thing for Scott, she didn't have any other friends in the pack. Unless you counted Allison, but Stiles didn't think Derek did since she'd tried to kill him and every single member of his pack just a few months ago. And also, her parents had tried to kill them and Scott, and her aunt had kind of already murdered almost all of his family. No, Allison wasn't part of the pack, even if she was joined to Scott at the tonsils. Which could be a problem later, but Stiles was going to deal with that one if and when it came up.
So, Stiles had ended up throwing one of the leadership books he'd bought, just one, he wasn't going to waste them all if Derek decided to
shred them without even looking, at Derek's head and telling him to read the damned thing and leave Scott the hell alone or Stiles was pretty sure Isaac was going to end up with a restraining order and then Derek would lose custody and have CPS up his ass, and by the way, if he didn't move out of this mold-ridden cesspit before the next time Stiles came to tell him to fuck off and into a place with electricity, running water, and decent adherence to the health code, Stiles was going to make the call himself.
If he'd shouted that last bit as he drove off in Roscoe, well, no one needed to know, but when he'd tracked Derek down again after school let out for the summer, not for a chat, just because he kind of hadn't been kidding about their living conditions, he and Isaac had been living in a loft in the warehouse district. It was zoned for residence. Stiles had checked. He still kept the numbers for social services and CPS in his phone, though. Because you never knew.
There were fewer natural opportunities for Isaac, Erica, and Boyd to harass Scott with school not in session. They couldn't go to his house
because Melissa had had Deaton put mountain ash in the doors and walls, and teach her how to use it. Also, even Derek seemed to have the good sense not to threaten Scott's mom. That left catching him while he was out with Allison, while he was at Stiles' house, or while he was on shift at the animal clinic, and they were finding opportunities and making them when they didn't present themselves.
Stiles had asked Deaton about mountain ash for his house, because his dad didn't know anything and Stiles really wanted him to have at
least a little protection, but Deaton had gotten all evasive and unhelpful, and Stiles could hear the 'no' even when he wasn't saying it directly. Which,
awesome. It was awesome to know where he fell on Deaton's priorities list. He didn't. Scott got the werewolfy powers and the ability to heal from nearly anything and mountain ash to protect his house, and Stiles got nothing to protect his skinny ass or his father. He'd collected a few handfuls of the powder from the ring he'd made at the rave, and it was in a jar in his nightstand, but that wasn't much. And googling how to get the stuff had proven oddly fruitless. It was like the supernatural world wanted him and his dad to die a horrible death.
He'd considered asking Chris Argent, because come on, the guy was a hunter. He had to be willing to help a squishy human like Stiles protect his equally human father, but Argent was pissed at Scott for shoving his wolfy tongue down his daughter's throat, and that seemed to extend to him hating Stiles as well. And the guy had like a ton of guns, okay? Stiles was not going to get himself shot so soon after getting the crap kicked out of him by Gerard. Dad had freaked out enough over that, and Stiles was not going to die before him. He was not putting him through that. But that meant that until the internet got its head out of its ass and started spitting out real results or Stiles planted a god-damn ash grove in the back yard, their house was just not going to be protected.