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The Walls Are Breathing In

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Stiles could see his breath in the air as they walked through the preserve. Even with the sun high in the sky, as soon as the wind blew it sent chills down his spine. With his hands shoved into his hoodie pockets, Stiles trudged behind Scott and Deaton as they walked on ahead.

“Couldn’t we have done this, I don’t know, in the summer sometime?” Stiles asked as he looked around, his shoulders hunched over as he tried to burrow his face into the collar of his hoodie. Deaton turned to look at him with the deceptive smile he always wore, the one that blatantly said he knew more than he was letting on.

“We need to go ahead and take care of it, before something else is summoned to the nemeton,” Deaton said. “We need to keep Beacon Hills safe.”

“I don’t know what good I’m going to do,” Stiles mumbled as they headed deeper into the woods, towards the nemeton. Stiles didn’t like being near it, not after everything he went through. When it came into view he stopped walking. “I don’t know if I can do this,” he said. Scott turned to him, gesturing for Stiles to follow him.

“Come on, man, we need you.”

Stiles groaned as he stepped forward, but away from the nemeton as Deaton climbed down into the hole that led into the collapsed root cellar.

“Shouldn’t we have more people here?” Stiles asked as Scott disappeared down into it. Stiles stared at the nemeton, his eyes narrowing as Scott shouted from inside the cellar for Stiles to get down there.

Stiles crawled down into it, stopping at his metal bat that kept part of the ceiling in place. It was a complete wreck, half collapsed while the rest of it looked as though it was about to.

“This is totally safe,” Stiles deadpanned. “Nothing could go wrong.”

“Mr. Stilinski, optimism will get you further in life,” Deaton said as he wiped at one of the shelves, picking up a dust-covered book. “We have to gather these pieces, to preserve them, in case something else is trapped in here.”

“Is that wise?” Stiles asked as he joined Deaton, crouched by another shelf with half of its contents broken at his feet. “I mean, these vials are already busted. We should have brought masks or gloves. This could be some sort of wolfsbane that causes hallucinations or something,” Stiles said, pointing at something that looked to Stiles like a type of wolfsbane. “And what are these beads? Gloves are necessary,” Stiles complained.

“What’s this?” Scott asked, picking up a small sphere that glowed bright when he touched it.

“Ah,” Deaton said, taking it from Scott and placing it in a leather pouch he brought. “These are powerful. They harness energy, someone’s spark.”

“What?” Stiles asked, his eyes wide. “Someone’s spark is in that?”

“Emissaries used to, before they died, syphon their magic out of their bodies to keep. This one is old, since it isn’t practiced anymore,” Deaton said, putting it safely into his bag.

Everything that Stiles could find was broken pieces, shards of what looked like the same sort of spheres, along with a leather pouch full of crystals that Deaton added to his bag without explanation. Stiles stilled whenever the wind howled above them or when dirt fell to the ground in front of him from the ceiling. The place gave him the creeps.

There were books, but they were ruined by water damage, along with scrolls that were empty, the ink completely gone, lost forever. All in all, Stiles didn’t see anything of note, besides the mysterious crystals along with a small bag of rune stones that could be used to tell fortunes. Stiles tossed them in the air, holding them in his hand before opening his palm. He didn’t know what the runes meant, but he could feel their power.

They were heavy in his hand, their energy humming through his body.

“Cool,” Stiles said, moving them in his hand.

“Don’t play,” Deaton said, taking them from Stiles.

“I wasn’t,” Stiles said. “I just--”

“Threw them into the air like you knew what you were doing. You have a spark, Stiles. You can’t mess around with magical items without consequences.” Stiles scoffed, letting Deaton take the entire bag from him.

In the back, in what looked like to be some sort of hidden room at one point before it collapsed, Stiles used his phone’s flashlight to see. There were three small shelves, all of them intact.

“Hey, Scotty, come look at this,” Stiles said, reaching for one of the spheres. As he reached for it, it zapped him, its energy reaching out, leaving his finger feeling as though it had been electrocuted. “Ouch,” Stiles said, rubbing his thumb against his index finger, waiting for the feeling to come back to it. He frowned at the sphere, then looked for Deaton, his neck craning. Without thinking, he reached for it again.

He fell to his knees as pain shot throughout his body as the sphere glowed a soft green, almost neon. Stiles let out a choked sob as Scott grabbed onto him, but only for a second before he was sent backward, hitting one of the walls as if thrown. Deaton yelled for him to drop it, but Stiles couldn’t let go. His hand shook as he thought he’d surely blackout from the sheer pain.

As soon as the pain lessened to the point that he could let go of it, he did, letting it crash to the ground. Stiles gasped for air, deprived of it because of the pain as he watched the sphere break as it fell.

“Stiles!” Deaton shouted, grabbing Stiles’ attention long enough that he saw the look of panic on Deaton’s face. When Stiles looked down, he sucked in a breath. Green light surged upward, wrapping around Stiles’ legs as if latching onto him. Stiles took a step back, but the light followed as it snaked its way up his body. He tried to swipe at it, his heart rate skyrocketed when he realized he couldn’t stop it.

“Scott, Scott make it stop!” Stiles exclaimed, unable to stop panicking as it spread across his whole body, engulfing him. Nearby, Scott got to his feet but didn’t try to step towards him. “Scott,” Stiles pleaded before he choked on the energy as it entered his mouth. Stiles gagged as it filled him, making his entire body buzz. His eyes watered as his fingernails dug into the ground, clawing at the dirt floor.

And then it stopped.

Stiles felt nothing, his body numb as he lay on the ground, sweat covering his body despite the cool temperature. He’d blacked out. Deaton knelt nearby, saying his name as Scott watched on from a safe distance.

“Stiles, can you hear me?” Deaton asked. Stiles nodded his head as he licked his lips. His mouth was dry, felt like sandpaper as he coughed.

“Yeah,” Stiles croaked, sitting up. “What was that?” Stiles asked, looking at the sphere, where it lay beside him, empty. Deaton sighed, looking pained as he looked Stiles up and down, his head shaking slightly. “What?”

“I can’t be sure,” Deaton said, looking from Stiles to Scott. “I’d have to do some tests.” Stiles scoffed as he dusted his clothes off. He was covered.

“What do you mean by ‘tests’?” Stiles asked as he stood up, holding his head because he felt lightheaded, a bit nauseous.

“I believe what happened was... whoever’s power was in that sphere latched onto your spark. That power was untapped, and you’re the perfect vessel for it.” Stiles stood there, his jaw hanging open.

“Come again?” Stiles asked.

“You think the sphere gave Stiles its powers?” Scott asked, walking forward.

“What, that’s not-- I don’t want powers.”

“Want them or not, Stiles, I think that’s what happened.”

Stiles looked down at his hands, moving his fingers. He didn’t feel any different, except for the part where he wanted to hurl. Besides that, though, he felt like the same old Stiles. Well, non-demon possessed Stiles. On a scale of possessed or non-consensually magicked, Stiles would probably choose magicked.

“Or,” Stiles said, kicking at the sphere, “maybe it just didn’t want to be touched-- hey don’t pick that up!” Stiles shouted as Deaton bent over to do just that. When he touched it, nothing happened.

“Okay,” Stiles said. “Or not. Totally normal.”

“Tell me, Stiles,” Deaton said, examining the sphere, “was this the only intact sphere you touched?” Stiles shrugged at him, shoving his hands into his pockets.

“I guess so, a lot of them were broken. I’ve mostly been handling books and those runes.”

“I see,” Deaton said without elaborating. “I think it’s time we head back into town. If anything out of the ordinary happens, Stiles, I want you to tell me.”

“Sure thing,” Stiles said. He hoped Deaton was being overly cautious.

-

That night, in the shower, Stiles was in the middle of his scrub down, when he felt his fingers tingle. It felt a little like he had stuck his finger into a light socket, the way it went up his arm, but it was gone so fast, leaving his fingers feeling numb, that he couldn’t really register what had happened.

When he got out, he flexed his fingers, stretching his arm in different directions to see if he could make it happen again. He couldn’t seem to do it, so he gave up by the time the steam disappeared on the mirror.

He had a mountain of homework to get through, along with reading four chapters of The Grapes of Wrath, so he settled into his bed, wearing pajama bottoms and a hoodie, sighing as he opened his book.

Stiles wasn’t a Steinbeck fan, honestly. He was more of an Orwell Animal Farm and 1984 reader. Well, he had been before his life became overcome by mythical creatures. He felt like he was living in a book, sometimes, but not any book he wanted to read.

He rolled his eyes and groaned, shoving the book away from him.

“I have better things to do right now than read this bullshit,” Stiles said to no one. He had a quiz on the chapters the next day, but he’d rather research weird-ass magical orbs than read about a turtle getting run over in the dust bowl. Begrudgingly, Stiles grabbed the book and found the page he had been on. He pouted as he scanned the page, reading the same sentence five times before he grunted, wishing to set the book on fire than read any more of it.

Then the book burst into flames on his bed. Stiles screamed, kicking it onto the floor.

“Holy fuck!” Stiles yelped. “What the fuck,” he said as he tumbled off the bed, grabbing his wet towel off the floor to cover the book, putting the fire out. With wide eyes, Stiles took the damp towel off the now charred book. Stiles picked it up, his eyebrows lifted, his mouth hanging open. “Did I just-- I set my book on fire.”

Stiles walked around his room, staring at the book where he placed it on his desk, while he chewed on his thumbnail. He jumped when the doorbell rang, running down the stairs before his dad could answer the phone.

“Stiles, it’s late,” he said from the kitchen.

“I know, but this is werewolf business, sort of,” Stiles said as he opened the door. Scott and Derek were there, waiting to be let in. “Upstairs,” Stiles said, ushering them inside, pushing on Scott’s back as they ascended the stairs.

“Everything alright?” the sheriff asked.

“Yep! Everything’s peachy,” Stiles said before he shut his bedroom door.

“So you did what? You weren’t making sense on the phone,” Scott said as he looked around the room, his nose in the air. “Do I smell smoke?”

“That’s what I was telling you,” Stiles said, looking between the two of them. “Deaton said weird shit may happen, and it’s happening.”

“Why call us?” Derek asked.

“Well, I called Scott, not you,” Stiles pointed out. “But you’re here, so.” He waved a dismissive hand. “I set my book on fire.”

“Good job,” Derek deadpanned. “I could too, with a lighter.”

“Yeah, no shit,” Stiles said, shoving the book at Derek’s chest. “Only I didn’t use a lighter. I don’t even have one. I wished it in my mind, and it happened.”

“Do you think it has to do with the orb?” Scott asked, eyeing the book skeptically. “Make another wish and see if something else happens.”

“Like what?” Stiles asked as Scott shrugged. Derek was busy flipping through the charred, half-gone pages of the book.

“Like levitation or something,” Derek mumbled, his brow drawn. “What were you thinking when you wished to burn it?”

“You want me to want Scott to fly?” Stiles asked. “And I hate that book, so I just thought about, I don’t know, burning it.”

“Steinbeck is an American--”

Stiles rolled his eyes at Derek. Stiles concentrated on Scott instead, his eyes narrowing as he thought about Scott flying or levitating.

Nothing happened.

“Wingardium Leviosa,” Stiles said, pointing at Scott. Scott laughed. “It’s not working.”

Derek didn’t say anything as he sat on Stiles’ bed, looking at the window.

“It’s windy,” Derek stated.

“Okay,” Stiles said, looking at Derek oddly. “Thank you captain obvious.” The wind rattled against the window, howling loud enough for them to hear.

“No, but it wasn’t when we came in. This sounds like there is a storm outside,” Derek pointed out.

“So maybe one is rolling in,” Stiles shrugged. “What does that have to do anything. Maybe my book combusted. In sixth grade I did this report on spontaneous combustion--”

“Stiles, it’s a book,” Derek said.

“I think we should tell Deaton,” Scott said. “The sphere threw me against the wall, and you were all glowy.”

“What?” Derek asked.

“Yeah, man, did Scott not fill you in?” Stiles asked, wiggling his fingers. “I broke this orb when we were at the root cellar of the nemeton--”

“Why were you there?” Derek asked.

“To gather all the magical shit out of there in case something else broke out,” Stiles said, rolling his eyes. “Anyways, so this orb broke and all its energy sort of went inside me or something.”

“And now you set a book on fire,” Derek stated, looking down at the book.

“Bingo,” Stiles said, nodding his head. “Deaton wasn’t sure what was up but said, you know, to tell him if weird shit happened and apparently it is, so.”

“Has anything else happened?” Derek asked.

“I was in the shower and my fingers tingled,” Stiles said, looking down at them.

“Like a current?” Derek asked.

“Sort of, yeah,” Stiles said. “Do you know anything about it?” Stiles asked.

“No, not really, just wondering. I’d try not to think about fire for a while,” Derek said as he stood up, handing Stiles back the book.

“That’s super helpful, thanks,” Stiles said sarcastically. “What if something happens in my dreams? I mean I dream of fire sometimes. I have this reoccurring one, actually--”

“Want me to stay and watch you sleep with a fire extinguisher?” Scott asked, completely serious. Stiles didn’t want to tell him that, yeah, he did want Scott to stay. Instead, Stiles waved a hand at him, feigning being calm.

“Nah, I just wanted you to know I set a book on fire. Objectively, that’s awesome, but you know, I’m just not sure I want magical powers.”

“Call if anything else happens, or go to Deaton,” Scott said earnestly. Stiles nodded his head as he led them both down the stairs, letting them out. When they were gone, his dad stood by the stairs with his arms crossed.

“Okay, what’s up?” He asked.

“What? Nothing, why does--”

“Because they don’t usually ring the doorbell,” the Sheriff pointed out. “And you’re doing that thing you do when you’re lying.”

“What thing?” Stiles said, looking down at his hands; he didn’t even realize he had a tell. Stiles dropped his hands to his sides, shoving them into his jeans pockets. “It’s not anything to worry about.”

“You say that,” the sheriff said. “And yet you smell like burning.”

“What?” Stiles said, his eyes widening.

“Were you smoking?” His dad asked him in his cop voice. Stiles backed up towards the stairs.

“What? No,” he said honestly. “I don’t smoke anything. Smoking is not allowed in this house.” His father looked at him incredulously. “Okay, so there was some fire involved,” Stiles admitted as he chewed on his bottom lip, weighing his options.

He decided to go for the truth.

“Okay so, don’t freak out, but I may be on the chessboard.”

“Stiles you are not allowed to be on that chessboard again.” Stiles winced at the word ‘again’, like he had been on it when the demon trapped him in his own mind.

“That-- that wasn’t my fault!” Stiles shouted. “And neither is this.”

“Son,” his dad said, coming forward, putting his hands on Stiles’ shoulders. “Don’t box me out again. How are you on that chessboard? Did something happen? Are you a kanima?” Stiles rolled his eyes.

“No one is a kanima, Dad,” Stiles said, cracking a smile. “And don’t worry about me--”

“Tell me what happened.”

Stiles sighed as he shrugged. He told his dad about the nemeton, about the orb and the glowing light, about the book he set on fire, about his spark which he hadn’t really talked about until then.

“So, Deaton doesn’t know what’s going on?” His father asked. “He doesn’t know what was in the orb?”

“He said to tell him if something happened.”

“And did you?”

“Not yet,” Stiles said. “I called Scott instead.”

“What could Scott do? I mean, do alphas have some sort of--”

“The magic kind of sent Scott flying towards the wall when he tried to touch me when it was all crawling up me and stuff,” Stiles said as he swiped at his arms, shivering when he thought about the feeling of the energy.

“And how do you feel right now?” He asked as he held onto Stiles’ face, looking into his eyes.

“Fine, normal. I mean in the shower it felt like my fingers got electrocuted or something, then the book, but I feel okay.”

“I want you to stop by Deaton’s on the way home tomorrow.”

“Okay,” Stiles promised. “I’ll go to Deaton.”

-

Stiles woke up, like normal. He jacked off, also like normal, wadding up the mess in tissues before he got out of bed and showered before school. He ended up reading the SparkNotes on the chapters he was supposed to read and hoped that would be enough.

He didn’t run into Scott at his locker, which was unusual. He was just about to take his phone out and text him when a girl ran into him. Or, rather, backed into him. When she turned around, she looked apologetic.

“I’m so sorry,” she said as her hand reached out as if to grab hold of his arm. She stopped as if zapped. Stiles could feel the magic’s energy beneath his skin buzzing like some sort of warning, like the feeling you get in your limbs before they are about to fall asleep. Stiles shook his hand, trying to get rid of the odd sensation.

“It’s okay,” Stiles said, looking at her. “Are you-- do I know you?” Stiles asked. She was short, shorter than Lydia, with vibrant red, curly hair, and freckles. She shook her head, smiling at him.

“No, definitely not. Today’s my first day. I’m Ruxandra,” she said with an accent. Stiles tilted his head, his lips pressed into a thin line.

“That’s not a name you hear everyday.”

“It’s Romanian,” she said with a grin as she tucked a stray hair behind her head. Stiles mirrored her movement, only scratching behind his ear instead.

“My name’s Stiles,” he said just as the bell rang. “Do you know where you’re headed first?”

“English, room 205,” she said, looking down at her schedule card. Stiles lifted an eyebrow.

“Huh, that’s where I’m going first.”

“What are the odds?” She asked as they walked down the hall together. Stiles found himself fidgeting with his hands as they walked, the buzzing beneath his skin not ceasing. As they got to the room, Stiles opened the door for her. As she walked by him, her arm brushed his and a shooting pain went up his arm. She looked at him, her eyes narrowing as he grasped his arm, making a face.

“Static,” Stiles said through gritted teeth. “Shocks like a bitch.”

She seemed to buy it as she sat down first. Stiles rolled his eyes at himself as he sat behind her in his normal spot. He looked next to him, where Scott was missing. Lydia, too, wasn’t in her normal seat. Stiles looked around the room as the second bell rang and he couldn’t help but feel like he was missing something major.

He checked his phone for messages, but he had none. Watching the clock instead of paying attention, he was pretty sure he didn’t get a 10/10 on his quiz. Between Scott missing, his skin itching, and Ruxandra in front of him, he couldn’t hold onto any other information at all.

-

Scott showed up during third period with a note. When he sat down next to Stiles, he mouthed the word ‘sorry’ at him. Stiles pointed at his phone, indicating that he had texted him.

“It’s dead,” Scott whispered before he was shushed by the teacher.

“What the fuck,” Stiles hissed.

“Mr. Stilinski, do you wish to stay after school today?”

Stiles sat up straight at the reprimand, shaking his head. He and Scott exchanged a look but didn’t try to speak until after the bell rang. Once out in the hall, they walked together to their lockers. Idly, Stiles scratched at his arm.

“Dude, what’s up?” Scott asked. “You’re all twitchy.”

“My skin feels weird,” Stiles said as a familiar burst of red hair appeared around the corner. Ruxandra smiled at him as she walked towards them. “Oh, I uh, there’s this new girl--”

“Hey, Stiles,” Ruxandra said, stopping in front of them. Scott’s nostrils flared, as if he were smelling her, as she extended her hand. “Hi, I’m Ruxandra.”

“Scott,” he said, shaking her hand. Stiles watched, to see if she shocked Scott, too. When nothing happened, he figured what happened between him and her had been a fluke.

“Where are you headed next?” She asked Stiles.

“Econ,” Stiles answered. She frowned, looking down at her schedule.

“I have Chemistry,” she said.

“With Harris?” Stiles asked, grabbing her card to look. “Yep. Be careful there.”

“How so?” She asked him. Stiles shrugged.

“He hates me.”

When she left them, Scott took hold of Stiles’ arm, tugging him close.

“Dude, she smelled weird.”

“Scott, that’s rude,” Stiles said, making a face at Scott.

“No, not like that. I mean something is off about her,” Scott said, looking in the direction she went down the hall. “I don’t know if we can trust her.”

“Wow, role reversal,” Stiles said as Lydia and Kira came into view. Seeing them put him more at ease. Them missing class that morning had been a coincidence. He couldn’t help but feel like he was missing something. To him, it felt like he was walking down the stairs and he thought he was at the bottom, but there was one step left. It was a terrifying feeling. “Usually I’m the one who’s paranoid.”

-

After school, Stiles went straight to Deaton’s. He was surprised to find a certain Toyota in the parking lot. Rolling his eyes, Stiles hopped out of the Jeep, slamming the door shut behind him. When he entered, he found Derek sitting in one of the waiting room chairs, his shoulders hunched over.

“Here for your yearly check up?” Stiles joked. Derek looked up at him, unamused. Stiles’ face fell. “Oh, come on.”

“Stiles?” Deaton asked as he appeared from behind the counter. Derek stood by Stiles, which was weird, but he accepted it.

“Yep, here. I, uh, well you told me to come by if something weird happened.”

“Did something happen?” Deaton asked, ushering them both to the back of the clinic.

“I sort of set a book on fire.”

“Well, then,” Deaton said, indicating for Stiles to sit up on an examination table. Stiles did so, but not without giving Derek a look. “And Derek, I assume you’re here for Stiles as well?” Derek nodded.

“What, why?” Stiles asked Derek as he watched Deaton pull out a satchel, placing its contents on a rolling cart. “What’s that?” Stiles asked, his eyes wide.

“I’m going to run some tests. I was afraid when the orb’s energy transferred to you that something would happen.”

“Well,” Stiles said, not letting the sudden surge of panic he felt affect him. He looked to Derek as he tried not to think about what Deaton was doing. “Why are you here again?” Stiles asked.

“To check on you,” Derek said. He, too, watched as Deaton brushed a cotton swab over Stiles’ arm. “What are you doing to him?”

Deaton looked between the two of them with a needle in his hand.

“This will give me an indication as to what that orb contained.”

Stiles gulped. He hated needles. He felt flushed, his body going rigid, a cold sweat breaking out all over. Stiles felt himself sway, saw Derek rush forward, catching him as he fell, heard thunder rumble loudly overhead.

Then everything went dark.

When Stiles came to again, he was lying down on the examination table with Derek’s leather jacket bunched up under his head as a makeshift pillow.
“What’re you doin’ ‘er?” Stiles slurred, his eyes barely open. Derek was seated in the corner, against the wall with his arms crossed.

“You can’t catch things on fire, Stiles,” Derek said as he stood, walking over to the table that Stiles was on. Stiles watched as Derek reached out, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Something’s not right.”

“No shit,” Stiles said, wincing as he tried to sit up. “What happened?”

“You--”

“Oh, good, you’re awake,” Deaton said, cutting Derek off before he could answer. “I have some news for you.”

“Vague news? Or actually helpful?” Stiles asked. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Derek’s mouth twitch as if he were about to smile. It made Stiles smirk.

“Depends on how you look at the information I’m about to give you.”

Stiles exchanged a look with Derek but remained quiet as Deaton pulled up a rolling stool to sit on. It wasn’t until Deaton looked between them that Stiles realized that Derek’s hand was still on him. Derek pulled it away as soon as Stiles looked at him.

“I can’t be sure, but based on what happened when you fainted--”

“Passed out,” Stiles corrected. “I didn’t faint.”

“You fainted,” Derek said. Stiles glared at him.

“Like I said, as you fainted, it started storming, so--”

“It did what now?” Stiles asked as he looked out the window, where there was a clear blue sky, just as it had been when he had gotten out of school.

“You started a storm, Stiles.”

“Me? How is that possible?” Stiles asked. “I didn’t do anything.” Denial would only get him so far, Stiles realized, as he looked to Derek for confirmation. Derek nodded his head. “I didn’t do anything,” Stiles reiterated, his shoulders slumping.

“That’s what I find the most interesting,” Deaton pointed out. “I think that, because you don’t know the power you possess, you can’t control it.”

“Well then tell me what powers I have,” Stiles said, his heart rate picking up. “So I can stop using them.”

“That’s the thing,” Deaton said. “We don’t know the extent of them yet, but from what I can tell, that orb wasn’t one of an emissary.”

“No shit,” Stiles said. “What was it then?”

“I believe it was a powerful sorcerer’s.”

Stiles’ fingers tingled at the word sorcerer, his body buzzing beneath the surface of his skin.

“So you’re saying I’m like a bomb waiting to go off.” Stiles clenched his fists. “Because we don’t know what this sorcerer could do, and now I have something like, what? His life force inside of me? I have some old dude inside of me?”

It was a little ridiculous, if Stiles was being completely honest.

“I wouldn’t say you’re a bomb,” Deaton said with a sigh. “More like you have untapped powers. I’d like you to start meditating--” Stiles snorted.

“Have you met me?” Stiles asked. “Can you see me meditating?”

“Like I said, I want you to start meditating, perhaps do yoga, something to clear your mind.”

“That’s all?” Stiles asked, his eyebrows raised. “Get all bendy and nimble via yoga? How is that going to help me?”

“I think it will do a lot,” Deaton said. “Like help you harness some of that extra energy you now have.”

Outside, Derek walked Stiles to his Jeep.

“Uh, thanks for showing up,” Stiles said, scratching the back of his neck, unsure of what to really say to Derek. “I mean, last night too.”

“You’re pack,” Derek said. “You’re important to Scott, and--” Derek sighed. “That was my mistake before, when I was alpha, was that I didn’t-- I wasn’t--”

“Whoa there, big guy,” Stiles said, patting Derek’s chest. “Slow down with the deep conversation. I got you, and thanks,” Stiles said honestly. “I know I never said it, you know, before, but thanks for not killing me when I wasn’t... me.”

“I wasn’t going to do that,” Derek said, his brow furrowed.

“Really? Because I’m pretty sure if it was last year then you would have killed me the second I got possessed.” What a morbid fucking thought. Derek must have thought the same, because he had a pained look on his face.

“I wouldn’t have, not you.”

Well, then. Stiles raked his fingers through his hair, sighing as he looked anywhere but at Derek. He couldn’t think of anything to say to that.

“Thanks, then,” he said eventually, belatedly. “I’m gonna go... meditate, I guess.” He opened his Jeep door, climbing inside. Surprisingly, Derek shut his door for him, drumming his fingers against the side.

“Go somewhere without distractions,” Derek suggested. His voice was muted, due to him being outside the Jeep while the windows were up. Stiles nodded in acknowledgement as he cranked the Jeep. It rumbled to life, letting Derek know to step back from the vehicle.

Instead of driving home, Stiles found himself at the preserve. He parked by the Hale house, what was left of it, then set out behind it, trudging through the wood until he found a clearing. It was cold out, cold enough that he could see his breath. Wearing multiple layers, along with his hoodie, Stiles didn’t really feel the chill yet as he sat down, crossing his legs.

“Okay, so meditating,” Stiles said, sitting straight up, his hands on his knees. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

Nothing happened.

Stiles opened one eye, peeking around. The woods were quiet, except the sound of leaves rustling as the wind blew. It should be peaceful, but really it just creeped Stiles out a little.

“Meditating,” Stiles said again, but his mind was going a mile a minute, thinking about sorcerers, fire, and the way that Derek hesitated before he drove off.

Weird.

Stiles’ shoulders slumped as as he groaned. He tried again, clearing his mind. He concentrated on his breathing, on not thinking, banishing thoughts as they came to the surface. He thought about his dad, about telling him about his spark, about Allison’s death, about Erica and Boyd, about Isaac leaving.

Stiles wiped at his eyes as he opened them once more. He didn’t want to think about everything that had happened to them, to him. He didn’t want to think about everything that he had done, the consequences of letting the Nogitsune take over his mind and body.

It had been his fault.

With a shaky breath, Stiles took another deep breath, trying once more to calm his mind. It was then that he felt it, the tingling feeling in his fingers, the hum of power beneath his skin. He attempted to reach out for it, harness it, but he couldn’t seem to grasp it. Warmth spread throughout him, despite the temperature. He felt flushed as the hair on his arms and legs stood up. A shiver went down his spine, making his entire body swerve. He opened his eyes to find the same glow as before covering him, surrounding him.

He brought his hand up to his face, looking at it more closely. Stiles moved his fingers, feeling the energy surging forward. He could feel the power he possessed, but he didn’t know how to dispel it.

“Whoa,” Stiles whispered as he heard rustling behind him. Immediately, the glow was gone as he twisted around, searching for whatever made the noise. The wind blew around him, as if shielding him. “Hello?” He called out as he stood up.

The wind died down when Ruxandra stepped into view. The hair on the back of Stiles’ neck stood up as goosebumps covered his skin.

“Stiles?” Ruxandra asked as she stepped closer.

“What-- what are you doing out here?” Stiles asked, finding his voice strained.

“I went for a walk, I got lost,” she said, looking down at the ground, her brow furrowing. Stiles’ gaze followed hers. He let out a gasp when he saw that all the leaves around him were pushed outward, making a circle. He had done that, him. His mouth opened, jaw dropping in awe as he looked up towards Ruxandra.

“Stiles--”

“Weird what nature does sometimes, right?” Stiles said, stepping out of his magic-made circle. “Come on, I’ll get you back to civilization.” As they walked, out of the corner of his eye, Stiles saw movement. A black form followed them, but kept its distance as they found the trail that she had most likely used. It was the one Allison used to take when she went running.

Stiles kicked at the pathway, his hands shoved into his hoodie pockets as Ruxandra stood there awkwardly putting her hair behind her ear.

“Thanks,” she said. “I think I got it from here.” Stiles shrugged. “What, uh, what were you doing out there?” She asked. Stiles licked his lips as he looked her in the eye. She’d know he was lying if he looked away.

“Meditating,” he answered honestly. She nodded in semi-understanding. “I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Yeah, first thing,” she said with an easy smile. Stiles gave her one in return, not letting her know they were being watched. As soon as she turned, walking down the trail, Stiles headed the opposite way, straight back into the woods and off the path.

“Okay, come out,” Stiles almost shouted. As if appearing from nowhere, a black wolf appeared, its head hung low. Really, Stiles should be scared. He knew he should be, but by the way the giant wolf sat on its haunches, he knew who it was. “Derek,” he let out. The wolf looked up at him, it’s eyes flashing blue.

“What are you doing out here?” He asked. “And since when can you shift into a wolf? Were you holding back on us?” Stiles held back the urge to reach out and touch Derek’s fur. It looked soft, thick enough to grab onto. He didn’t have long to think about it because Derek transformed then and there.

He was naked and panting slightly, his eyes wide.

“I didn’t know-- that was the first time I did that.”

Stiles’ brow furrowed as he took in the sight before him. Derek on the ground, covered in dirt, and a lot of hair covering his chest that led downward. Stiles cleared his throat.

“So this wolf thing, it’s new?” Stiles asked as he watched Derek stand up and look around, completely unperturbed by his bare ass being on display. Stiles bit his lip, keeping his eyes on Derek’s face. Well, sort of. Glimpses were unavoidable, really.

“Yeah,” Derek said, distracted. “I was at the house, and I saw your Jeep. I felt this tug, sort of, and followed it. The next thing I knew I was running through the woods as a wolf.”

“So what you’re saying is your clothes are somewhere in the woods,” Stiles said, watching Derek’s breath in the air.

“Who was the girl?” Derek asked, which caught Stiles off guard.

“Uh, she’s this new girl at school. She was lost.” Derek looked at Stiles dubiously.”What?” Stiles asked, beginning to walk. “Come on, we have some pants to find. You’ve got to be cold.”

“I run hot,” Derek said, walking beside Stiles as if he were fully clothed. Stiles wished he was the same way, but he seemed to always be cold. Well, usually. Now, he was sweating, his skin still warm. He looked down at his hands again, checking them for that glow. “Are you okay?” Derek asked.

“Are you? You shifted into a wolf!”

“My mom could do it,” Derek shrugged. Stiles decided to tell Derek about the leaf circle he made, along with the skin glowing and how warm he felt. Derek touched the back of Stiles’ neck with his hand, then his cheek.

“You are flushed,” Derek said. “And warmer than normal. You should go to Deaton.” Stiles swiped away Derek’s hand, scoffing.

“Why? I’m not running to him every time this magic decides to do something. I don’t need to be coddled.”

Derek rolled his eyes, giving Stiles a look as they continued walking.

“I didn’t think you needed to be,” Derek said. “I meant because the magic might be overheating you, building up inside,” he told Stiles, gesturing with his hands around his torso, making Stiles look down at his abs, at his everything. Stiles looked back up, his face flushing. “It could be something dangerous.”

“Maybe,” Stiles said just as he saw a piece of clothing on the ground. It was Derek’s jacket. “Oh, look!” He said, running forward, grabbing it. He also found Derek’s pants.

After some searching, they were still missing a shoe, along with his underwear.

“Dude, how could we have found your pants, but not your underwear?” Stiles asked, flabbergasted. Derek coughed, not looking Stiles in the eye.

“I wasn’t wearing--”

“Ah,” Stiles said, his cheeks reddening. “So just the shoe.”

“I have other shoes,” Derek supplied. “We can head back.”

“Doesn’t that hurt? Walking without any shoes on?” Stiles asked as they made their way towards the dilapidated Hale house.

“No,” Derek shrugged. “If my feet get cut, they heal afterwards.”

“Still,” Stiles said. “Stepping on twigs sounds just about as fun as stepping on a lego.” Derek laughed at him, which made Stiles smile. “You know, you’re different now.”

Derek stilled for a moment, his face stoic, before he answered.

“So are you,” he replied. Stiles thought he had a point there. He knew he had changed, after he was himself again. He couldn’t go back to how he was before being possessed. That was the past, and now he had this to deal with.

He thought it was cool, being able to do a mountain ash circle, but he never wanted to be an emissary, never wanted the bite. And now he was stuck with magic powers unlike that of Deaton, of anything they had encountered. This was real magic, and that scared him.

Stiles jumped as Derek laid his hand on the back of Stiles’ neck, soothing him as he moved his thumb across Stiles’ skin.

“Your heart rate just went through the roof,” Derek murmured. Stiles closed his eyes, thinking about everything he read about wolf pack dynamics, about how touchy feely they were. Derek really had changed.

“You make a way better beta than you do an alpha,” Stiles blurted out. He was worried for a second, that he pissed Derek off, but when he looked at him, Derek’s face was calm.

“I was never meant to be alpha,” Derek confessed. “That was my mom, then Laura. It wasn’t supposed to be me.”

Stiles nodded sympathetically, but didn’t know what to say. Derek’s hand was no longer on his neck and they were standing at their cars once more. They both looked at the house, its burnt remains.

“Life doesn’t turn out like you think it will,” Derek said, turning to face Stiles once more.

“I’m beginning to get that,” Stiles joked, though all he could think about was demons and non-consensual magic. His body thrummed in time with his heartbeat.

“Maybe research could help.”

“Maybe,” Stiles said, the air getting thicker between them. Stiles could feel the heat coming off of Derek’s body, tension rising between them as if building up to something. He could feel his skin beginning to itch with need.

The sun was setting behind them, the light dimming considerably around them. Stiles sighed, getting into his Jeep as Derek waved him off. Stiles pulled away, turning his headlights on as the sun disappeared behind the horizon, his mind reeling over what just happened.

Chapter Text

As it turned out, Stiles wasn’t the most flexible person. Yoga wasn’t really his thing, and he found himself bored by it rather easily. If he did it outside, he found it more calming than if he watched a video in his living room, the couch and coffee table shoved to the side.

His father gave him a look when he had come home in the middle of Stiles on his hands and knees, arching his back. Awkward would be the word that Stiles would choose for that particular situation.

Stiles meditated first thing in the morning, then again at night before bed. Each time, he tried to touch the power within him, to grab ahold of it. It always felt just out of reach, like if he could stretch a little bit farther he would be able to hold on to it. It frustrated him, knowing that he had powers but no control over them.

At school, Ruxandra started eating with them at lunch. She sat next to Stiles, while everyone else sort of looked at her. They couldn’t talk about werewolves, obviously, so their table was quiet. That was what they had in common, after all. Kira talked with Ruxandra and was able to find something to fill the silence. Lately, Stiles didn’t have it in him. He used to be an expert rambler, able to talk about anything, but that was before his mind had been taken from him.

He no longer rambled, keeping his words to himself. He didn’t like that he was violated, again, and this time by nothing sentient, nothing graspable. Not like the nogitsune had been either of those things, but this was different. This was someone else’s powers that latched onto him. What was inside him belonged to no one else anymore, but it wasn’t his either.

Stiles found lacrosse to be stressful. He knew he wasn’t the best, and he didn’t mind warming the bench because he was better at the tactical side of it, but with each tackle and each drill he did he could feel the power surging beneath his skin. He was on his back, after being passed the ball, shoved to the ground by a senior who had at least thirty pounds of muscle on him when he felt his magic rush to the surface.

It was like it slotted in place, his body warming up in the cool afternoon air. Stiles’ eyes narrowed as Scott helped him to his feet.

“Dude, are you okay?” Scott asked, his hand on Stiles’ chest. Stiles gritted his teeth as he watched the senior give another teammate a high five for tackling Stiles to the ground. “Stiles,” Scott said tentatively.

Stiles vibrated with anger, or something close to it, unable to reign in his feelings as the ground beneath him shook. “Stiles, what are you doing?” Scott hissed as the whistle blew, disrupting him.

“Alright, let’s bring it in!” Coach Finstock yelled, ushering them all forward for a pep talk. Stiles blinked as he felt the magic dissipate once more, slipping through his fingertips. Scott had an arm on his shoulder, leading him into the huddle. Stiles looked back at the ground where he saw cracks in the turf, bumps in it as if moles had dug into it. With a furrowed brow, Stiles tried not to think about the fact that he had done that.

He wiped at his face as sweat dripped down it; he was burning up. Tugging at his practice jersey’s collar, Stiles panted for breath as his heart beat so hard it felt like it was trying to burst from his chest. He was having a panic attack. Grabbing at Scott, Stiles fell to his knees as room was made, Finstock coming forward and placing a hand on Stiles’ shoulder.

“Stilinski, can you hear me?” Stiles heard Finstock ask. Stiles shook his head, pushing himself away from Finstock. He didn’t want to be touched, not with his body feeling like it was on fire, aflame as he licked his parched lips, his mouth completely dry.

He could hear Scott calling his name, but as Stiles fell to the ground, he could feel it moving beneath him. Stiles closed his eyes, counting down from ten as he concentrated on breathing, his head spinning. His fingers dug into the ground, the feel of the grass against his fingers making him calm down.

When Stiles opened his eyes, the entire team was still there, staring down at him.

“Stilinski, do you need to go to the hospital?” Coach Finstock asked him, his voice sincere.

“No, coach,” Stiles rasped as Scott helped him sit up. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” Coach said, giving Stiles another look. “McCall, don’t let your friend drive home, alright? Everyone to the showers!”

Stiles stood under the spray for longer than normal, watching the water cascade down his body. He had the water on cold, his skin still burning. He needed answers, but had no idea how to find them.

-

Once he was home, Stiles changed into his pajamas. By the time his dad walked in the door from work, Stiles was curled up on the couch, homework completely disregarded on the coffee table in lieu of reruns of X-Files on some station Stiles had never heard of.

“Something you want to tell me?” His dad asked as he hung up his jacket, stepping out of his work shoes.

“What makes you think there’s something to tell?” Stiles asked, biting at his thumbnail.

“Well, you’re wrapped in your blanket, for one,” the Sheriff said. Stiles looked down at the blanket he had wrapped around himself, one that he had when he was younger. It made him feel safer. “Two, you brought your pillow down.” Again, with the safer. “And three, I know you.”

“I had a panic attack,” Stiles said, holding his breath. He hadn’t told his dad about the ones before he figured out about the nogitsune, or about the one he had when his father had been taken by the darach. But now, here he was, telling his dad that he couldn’t handle what was happening to him, that he’d resorted to blankets and pillows like he was nine again. He felt small.

“Aw, kiddo,” his dad said, coming over and sitting next to Stiles on the couch, reaching forward and squeezing his neck. “Was it about the-- the magic?” Stiles nodded his head, picking at the blanket. He hadn’t even gotten it out in years, had it in a box up in his closet. It felt silly, now, but it did make him have the illusion of safety.

“Yeah,” Stiles said, his voice cracking. “I don’t know what’s happening to me,” he confessed. “I feel lost.”

“Can’t Deaton help?” the sheriff asked. Stiles shook his head, shrugging his shoulders as he looked down at his lap.

“He’s just an emissary, dad. This is big time magic, you know? The real deal. This isn’t throwing mountain ash and using mistletoe. I made the ground move at practice today.”

“You lost me there,” his dad said. “So you’re saying that Deaton isn’t the end-all be-all of magic?”

“Right,” Stiles said, the panic rising inside of him again. It felt kind of like acid reflux, or like he was going to barf. Stiles put his hand over his mouth, just in case. He was so screwed. “I’m sorry, Dad,” Stiles said as he got off of the couch. “I have to go meditate.”

“Meditate?” the sheriff asked, clearly confused. “What sort of pod person are you?” Stiles laughed at his dad, half way up the stairs.

“Deaton said it would help.”

“And how would he know that if he doesn’t even know what’s going on?”

Stiles stopped on the last step, turning to look down at his dad at the foot of the stairs. Stiles bit his lip.

“That’s all I have to go on, Dad. It’s all I can do.”

“Do you need anything? Is there anything I can do?”

“Just be you,” Stiles answered before heading into his room to change clothes. He put on a pair of thick sweatpants, then layered his shirts. He was going into the preserve before it got too dark out. That was where he felt the most at peace, more in tune with his powers.

Before he went out the door, his father hugged him, holding him tight. Stiles pat his dad’s back, giving him a reassuring smile.

“I got this,” Stiles said, hoping he sounded sincere.

“I know you do.”

-

The preserve was quiet as the sun neared the horizon. Stiles trudged his way off of the trail, his mind elsewhere as he walked. Somehow, he managed to find the clearing he made before, a circle of leaves that were distinctly his. As soon as Stiles stepped inside of it, he felt his mind ease. Stiles breathed in then out before he sat with his legs crossed, his hands resting on his knees. He closed his eyes, clearing his mind.

When he opened them again, some time later, it was dark. The sun was completely gone, and as Stiles looked towards the sky he could make out constellations. It was late. There was no moon in the sky to help Stiles see, which wouldn’t be a problem if he had brought his phone.

Which he apparently hadn’t done. He checked his pockets, patting himself down as he felt his anxiety building. He wouldn’t be able to get out of the preserve without being able to see, it just wouldn’t happen. He’d freeze out in the woods without shelter.

Stiles let out a shaky breath as he held a hand out, his palm turned upwards. Before his eyes, flames appeared, hovering over his hand. It was warm, and let off just enough light so that Stiles could see. He grinned to himself, but didn’t dare speak in case it took all of his concentration to get back to his car.

As Stiles turned to step out of the circle, he paused. There, just outside the rim of leaves, was a big black form. Stiles sucked in his breath, the fire diminishing to a tiny flame before it returned to its normal size.

“Derek?” Stiles asked as he stepped forward, his hand stretched out. Derek’s tail wagged back and forth as he sat on his haunches. He whined as Stiles stepped over the line made of leaves, backing away from him. “What’s wrong?” Stiles asked, then looked to the fire. “Oh.” Stiles bit his lip. “I need it to see.”

Derek’s ears flattened against his head as it lowered, the fur on his back standing up straight.

“Hey, hey,” Stiles said, shaking his head. “Don’t get all defensive posture-y on me. I don’t even know how I did this okay? I need to get back to my car.”

Derek turned away from Stiles, beginning to walk away. Before he got far, he turned back to look at Stiles, wanting him to follow.

“Okay, fine,” Stiles said with a sigh, walking alongside Derek, his fingers brushing against his fur. As they continued walking, Stiles clutched at his fur, to be sure he stayed nearby. The fire in his other palm helped a little, but it wasn’t as good as a flashlight would have been.

“Hey, Derek,” Stiles said, a few minutes into their walk. “You wouldn’t happen to know any sorcerers would you?”

Derek snorted, his head shaking.

“I didn’t think so.”

Once back at Stiles’ Jeep, Stiles thought he would leave Derek there, that he had his own car somewhere nearby. What he hadn’t counted on was Derek hopping into the Jeep when Stiles opened the driver’s side door.

“Hey,” Stiles complained. “Rude.”

Derek sat in the passengers seat, where he barely fit, his head hunched over. Stiles rolled his eyes, then looked to his palm where the flame still floated over it. Stiles tilted his head, wondering how to get rid of it.

As if it were sentient, the flame disappeared.

“Well, that was interesting,” Stiles said, getting into his car and turning it on. He turned to Derek as he let his car heat up. He hadn’t realized how cold he was until he held onto the steering wheel. “Okay, where to?” Stiles asked him. Derek just looked at him. “Gonna shift there, big guy?” Stiles asked. Derek shook his head. “Why the fuck not?”

Derek showed Stiles his teeth.

“My what sharp teeth you have,” Stiles joked, poking Derek’s leg. He wasn’t scared of him. Well, he wasn’t until Derek snapped at him. Stiles yanked back his fingers, glaring at him. “You’re an asshole. I’m going back to my house.”

Stiles drove in silence, side-eyeing Derek every once in a while as they made their way back into town. When Stiles pulled into his driveway he half expected Derek to get out and head to his loft, which wasn’t even in Beacon Hills.

Instead, Derek followed him to the door.

“Uh, hate to break it to you, but no pets allowed,” Stiles said with a smirk. Derek’s eyes flashed at him. “Don’t give me that bullshit eye flashy thing.” Derek kept following him to the door. “Now I’m gonna have to explain to my dad that you’re officially an actual wolf. Do you realize that his suspension of disbelief has been punctured about a billion times by now?” Stiles opened the door, letting Derek inside before him.

Of course his father was there, sitting in his chair, his eyes wide as Stiles shut the door behind him.

“Stiles--”

“It’s Derek,” Stiles said, putting both hands up as he stepped between his dad and Derek. “Uh, he’s a wolf right now, but it’s him.” His dad looked doubtful.

“Why is Derek currently a wolf?”

“Not sure?” Stiles asked, looking back at Derek. “Usually he changes back. I mean, the one time I saw him like this he changed back. So I don’t have enough data to say he always--”

“Stiles.”

“Right,” Stiles said, sighing as he raked his fingers through his hair. “So, Derek and I are gonna head upstairs, if that’s okay.”

“It’s not,” his dad said. Stiles jaw dropped. “He’s tracking mud in.” Stiles looked down at the floor and saw that, yes, Derek was definitely tracking mud in. Stiles groaned.

“Stay there,” he said, taking off his shoes then stomping up the stairs to get a towel. When he returned, Derek was there on all fours still, with his tail tucked between his legs as the sheriff sat in his chair with his arms crossed.

“I told him he’s not allowed on the furniture like that.”

“Dad, he isn’t a dog,” Stiles said as he took one of Derek’s paws, cleaning it off. Stiles was dangerously near Derek’s head, his teeth, with his neck exposed. He felt vulnerable, but he knew Derek wouldn’t hurt him. When Stiles grabbed hold of Derek’s back legs, Derek gave him a warning growl. “Shut up,” Stiles said as he cleaned his back paws off. “I’m the one cleaning the mud off of you right now.” Stiles’ dad laughed from his seat as Stiles finished. “Okay, done. Now get your werewolf ass upstairs,” Stiles said, pointing towards the stairs.

With one last look at the sheriff, Derek bolted up the stairs and into Stiles’ room. Stiles was about to follow him, but his dad gestured for him to come towards his chair. Stiles’ face reddened because he knew that whatever his dad was about to say, that Derek would be able to hear it.

“Is there anything you need to tell me?” He asked. Stiles had no fucking clue what his dad was trying to get out of him, so he shrugged. “Anything at all?”

“I--uh.”

“You know, I don’t care what side of the fence--”

“Okay,” Stiles said, elongating it in order to stop his dad while he was ahead. “Okay that conversation is stopping.” He reached out and pat his dad on the arm. “We aren’t talking about that with a werewolf upstairs.” His dad’s eyebrows rose in understanding. “Good talk, Dad.”

Stiles ran up the stairs after that, his cheeks completely red by the time he shut his door.

“Hey, get the fuck off my bed,” Stiles shouted at Derek, who had curled up in his comforter. Derek didn’t move. “Why are you here?” Stiles groaned as he lay down on the floor, flopping over onto his back with his legs spread out.

Stiles’ phone buzzed from where he had left it on his nightstand. He scooted towards it, reaching up from the ground lazily to grab it. He missed a call from Scott and had a few texts.

Dude call me.

Deaton found a book for you.

Want me to bring it by?

Just as Stiles was about to call Scott back, the doorbell rang. Derek lifted his head as Stiles got to his feet.

“It must be Scott,” Stiles said as he went to open his door. As soon as he did, Derek jumped off the bed and growled as he took off down the stairs. “Derek!” Stiles shouted. “Dad, watch out!”

When Stiles got downstairs, Derek, with his fur on edge, stood between the door and his father with his teeth showing.

“Stiles, get Derek--”

“Derek, what the fuck,” Stiles hissed. He didn’t want to reach out for him, that sounded like a horrible idea. “It’s just Scott.” Derek growled more. Stiles reached for the doorknob, cracking it open to find Ruxandra. “Oh.”

Stiles shoved Derek out of the way enough that he could go outside, shutting the door on Derek and his dad.

“Hey,” Stiles said, confused. His dad turned on the outside light for him, ever helpful.

“Hey,” Ruxandra said, giving him a smile. “Is that the same dog from the other day?” Ruxandra asked. Stiles’ jaw dropped, but then he nodded his head.

“Yep, that’s my dog. He’s, uh, territorial.”

“I can see that,” she said, clearly looking at Stiles’ lips. He licked them, shoving his hands into his pockets.

“So, what’s up?” Stiles asked as he heard Derek scratching at the door, whining. Ruxandra stepped closer to him, making a chill run down Stiles’ spine, his magic coming to life.

“I came by to see if I could get English notes from you, from earlier this semester,” she said.

“Oh,” Stiles said, relieved. He scratched at the back of his neck as he felt his fingers beginning to tingle. “Sure, definitely, you can... but I didn’t bring that notebook home with me. I’ll let you have it tomorrow.” Ruxandra’s face fell, but Stiles knew he couldn’t let her inside, not with Derek in there.

“Okay, yeah, thanks,” she said, giving Stiles a small smile before leaning in, kissing him on the cheek. Stiles placed a hand over where her lips touched him. It felt more like he had been zapped by her. He watched as she walked away from his house, getting into a car that was parked on the street. As soon as she was gone, Stiles went back inside where he found Derek laying on the ground, his head on the floor while his father stood next to him with his arms crossed.

“Care to explain that one?” His dad asked.

“Were you watching me?” Stiles asked, pointing towards the door.

“Derek gets to repaint the door whenever he’s human next,” his dad said, indicating where Derek clawed the back of the door. Stiles groaned. “Who’s the girl?”

“She’s just a new girl from school, wanted to borrow notes, yadda yadda,” Stiles said with a wave of his hand as he walked towards the stairs. “Scott may be by to drop of some book Deaton found for me.”

“It’s late,” his dad said.

“It’s Scott,” Stiles said in answer as Derek followed him back up the stairs. Once back in his room, Stiles sat down in his desk chair, twirling around in it as Derek climbed back into Stiles’ bed.

“Can you turn human, please?” Stiles asked, exhausted. His fingers pressed against his cheek, not liking how it made him feel. Derek transformed before Stiles’ eyes.

Now he had a completely naked Derek Hale in his bed. He hadn’t thought that one through. Stiles coughed as he swerved the chair away from a view of Derek. Stiles pointed towards his set of drawers,

“Pajama bottoms are in the bottom right drawer,” Stiles said. Without a word, Derek put a pair on. Only then did Stiles turn around.

“Okay, so spill,” Stiles said, lifting an eyebrow. Derek hadn’t grabbed a shirt.

“I keep changing into a wolf without meaning to.”

“You can’t control it?” Stiles asked, sitting up straighter. Derek shrugged. “Explain.”

“I can control the shift back, but it’s like something keeps-- I don’t know. Something keeps making me shift into the wolf.”

“And you just so happened to find me out in the woods, again.”

“Yes,” Derek said, exasperated.

“And what about that ludicrous display downstairs just now?” Stiles asked as he watched Derek sit on the edge of his bed, his head in his hands as his elbows rest on his knees.

“I don’t know,” Derek said through clenched teeth. “It was like I snapped. I don’t like whoever that girl is.”

“Obviously,” Stiles stated, his eyes narrowing. “You know, I’m not saying your instinct is right or anything so don’t get an ego or whatever, but she gives me this weird feeling--”

“She does?” Derek asked, looking up at Stiles with wide eyes and damn if Stiles didn’t have to look away in order to not react to them.

“I mean, my magic doesn’t like her? I don’t think? It’s weird, because every time she’s touched me--”

“She’s touched you?” Derek asked. Stiles sat up straight, his eyebrows lifting. Derek cleared his throat, shrugging a shoulder. “What did you feel?”

“Like I was being electrocuted.” The look on Derek’s face had Stiles flailing his arms around. “Not in like a ‘oh my god I’m gonna die’ way, more like ‘I was doing the dishes and touched the light socket and got shocked way’.”

“Have you actually done that?” Derek asked.

“Don’t give me that look,” Stiles said, scooting forward on his chair. He was hot, but the thought of stripping off his clothes in front of Derek right now was a little bit too much for him to handle. “I wasn’t paying attention-- anyways, off topic,” Stiles said, gesturing at Derek’s bare chest. “Back to you being all possessive.”

“I wasn’t possessive,” Derek said, his brow furrowed. “I was protecting you, idiot.”

“Good job on the protecting, A+,” Stiles said, giving Derek two thumbs up. “Protecting me from what? She’s a girl.”

“A girl who shocks you,” Derek pointed out.

“Other girls could shock me too,” Stiles said, his voice getting higher. “I wouldn’t know what would happen if someone else touched me right now, okay? It isn’t like I have much to go on. I don’t get kissed--”

Stiles stilled. Derek stared at him, his eyebrows skyrocketing.

“On the cheek, I don’t get kissed on the cheek often. Which is what happened.” Stiles didn’t know why he was explaining. This was Derek. He was in his twenties, bad rap sheet on dating killers, awesome stubble and arms. Stiles was just Stiles. Same old Stiles, only a little more broken than he wanted to be and a hell of a lot more magicked up.

“Anyways.”

“What if I touched you?” Derek asked, seriously. Stiles’ mind, of course, went straight to the gutter. “Just a hand.” Stiles found himself nodding his head as he scooted forward, within touching distance of Derek. Derek reached a hand out tentatively, looking from Stiles’ hand to his face, the only skin showing thanks to the hoodie he was wearing.

Derek went for his hand, his fingers sliding against Stiles’. Stiles sucked in a breath, expecting to be shocked. Instead, he felt relaxed as he exhaled, holding onto Derek’s hand.

“Anything?” Derek asked, his voice soft. Stiles shook his head as he looked down at Derek’s hand in his own, the feel of Derek’s thumb swiping back and forth over the back of his hand making his heartbeat pick up.

“Not a shock,” Stiles whispered. Derek pulled his hand back. Stiles blinked, shaking his head, snapping out of whatever daze he had been in. Stiles licked his lips as he pushed his chair away from Derek, enough that it wouldn’t be awkward.

“I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not,” Derek supplied, his eyes not leaving Stiles. Stiles shrugged as he touched his hand, his fingers trailing over where Derek’s had just been. “Maybe it has to do with pack.”

“Maybe,” Stiles murmured as the doorbell rang again. “That’s Scott.”

“Yeah,” Derek said with a sigh, standing up at the same time Stiles did.

“Where are you going?” Stiles asked as he opened the door. Derek was by his window.

“I was going to leave?” Derek said, pointing at the exit he was about to take.

“Dude, you don’t have shoes, or a car.”

“I’m a werewolf.”

“Good observation. Just wait, alright?” Stiles said, indicating for Derek to sit back down before he made his way to the front door.

Scott stood there, waiting for him with the book.

“Thanks for bringing it by,” Stiles said, flipping through it, his brow furrowed at its contents as Scott leaned forward, sniffing him. “Dude,” Stiles said as he leaned away from Scott. “Personal boundaries.”

“You smell weird,” Scott said, scrunching up his nose as he looked upstairs. Stiles’ cheeks reddened as he thought about Derek. “You smell like Ruxandra.” Stiles let out a breath, a little relieved.

“Well, she came by earlier. I, uh, we can talk about her later,” Stiles said, closing the book and holding it close to his chest. “Thanks.”

“No problem. I hope it helps. How’re you feeling?” Scott asked, concerned. “I mean after practice--”

“Fine, I’m good,” Stiles said with a shrug. “I went to the preserve. Meditated, about stuff. I don’t know, man, this entire situation is weird. I made a fireball in my hand.”

“You what?” Scott asked, excited. Stiles told him about forgetting his phone and making the flame. He didn’t tell him that he ran into Derek, though. Stiles wasn’t sure why he decided to skip that part. “That’s so awesome.”

“Glad you think so,” Stiles said, worrying at his bottom lip again.

“Alright, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Yeah, see you,” Stiles said, waving Scott bye before shutting the door, locking it, then turning off the porch light. When he got back upstairs, he expected to find his room empty. It wasn’t. Derek was still there, sitting on his bed, still shirtless. With a sigh, Stiles took off his hoodie, letting it ride up his stomach as he did so before tugging his longsleeved shirt back down once it was off. He was sweating.

He held down his shirt underneath that one as he took the long one off as well. When he was done, he plopped down on his bed, laying down on his stomach with his feet hanging off the edge of the bed.

“What’s in the book?” Derek asked after a moment.

“I don’t know, I can’t read it,” Stiles mumbled, his face pressed into his mattress. “It’s in some weird language.”

“Can I see it?” Derek asked. Stiles shrugged, but didn’t move. Derek grabbed the book where Stiles left it on his desk. Stiles rolled over onto his side as he watched Derek flip through the pages. If he weren’t so exhausted, he’d have looked at it more, but he didn’t have the energy. He was fading, fast. Stiles closed his eyes as he tried to reach for his magic. It was still out of his reach.

“Huh,” Derek said.

“What?” Stiles asked sitting back up as he yawned. Derek looked around the room, then walked out into the hallway and into the bathroom. Stiles laid back down on his bed, waiting.

“Stiles,” Derek called out.

“Shh,” Stiles said as he got out of bed, joining Derek in the suddenly too small bathroom. “My dad’s in his room and the light’s out. He’s sleeping,” Stiles said, shutting the door. The bathroom felt cramped with the two of them in it, like he couldn’t breathe. Derek held open the book as he turned it towards the mirror.

“Look.”

Stiles did as Derek suggested, his eyes casting across the words, that he could now read.

“It’s backwards,” Stiles said, wondering why he hadn’t caught it before. It was in cursive, so it was harder to recognize than when Lydia had written ‘Help me’ across the chalkboard. Stiles leaned forward, starting to read the book. “It’s not even a book,” Stiles said as he read about a page. “I think it’s a journal.”

Stiles took the book from Derek, who leaned against the bathroom sink, practically hovering over Stiles as he managed to half sit, half lean on the countertop, putting the book up against the mirror so he could read easier.

“I think this is going to tell me how they put their magic into those orbs. Maybe we can counteract it somehow,” Stiles said, flipping forward a few pages. “This is like a gold mine of information. Who ever this is, they aren’t an emissary,” Stiles said, yawning again.

“Come on,” Derek said, taking the book from Stiles. “You need sleep.”

“Sleep is for the weak, give it back,” Stiles said, half-assed. Everything felt heavy. “I need to take you home.”

“No, you don’t,” Derek said. Stiles gulped, because Derek was still close to him, his body heat making Stiles’s shirt cling to him. He felt hot.

“Yeah,” Stiles said, looking at Derek’s lips as he leaned forward. Derek’s hands on his shoulders stopped him from making a fool of himself, though.

“Come on,” Derek urged him, his hands still on Stiles’ shoulders as he hopped down.

“You don’t have shoes,” Stiles said as they walked into his room.

“I’m going to transform,” Derek stated. “Run home.”

Stiles gnawed on his bottom lip, wondering if he should offer for Derek to stay over.

“I can drive you home in the morning,” Stiles said, checking his clock. It was past midnight. Derek sighed, his cheeks puffing out slightly. “Come on,” Stiles said, hopefully nonchalantly as he reached for Derek’s hand again, pulling him towards the bed.

With Derek’s hand in his once more, Stiles felt that tranquility again, his body cooling off almost instantly. Stiles let out a breath, his eyes closing as he smiled.

“Stiles,” Derek said, bringing Stiles back to the present. “What do you feel?”

“What?” Stiles asked, his eyes slowly blinking open.

“Your heart rate slowed, your body relaxed,” Derek pointed out, his fingers linked with Stiles’ still. “What do you feel?” Stiles dropped Derek’s hand, embarrassed at how he whined when the heat returned to his body almost immediately. He tugged at his shirt collar. Derek’s hand went for his forehead, feeling it with the back of his hand, then his cheek. Stiles swatted it away.

“Stop.”

“Tell me,” Derek demanded with little to no force behind it.

“Can I?” Stiles asked, extending his hand out for Derek’s once more, his fingers wiggling. Derek held Stiles’ hand once more. Immediately, Stiles sat down on the bed. He hadn’t realized he felt so bad, not until it was suddenly gone.

“Stiles.”

“Shh,” Stiles said, leaning forward without realizing that his forehead would be resting on Derek’s bare chest. Too late. “It feels,” he said, his breath hot on Derek’s chest. “It feels like I have control of my magic.”

“You what?” Derek asked, his voice almost inaudible, his abs contracting. Stiles smiled as he looked up, almost punch-drunk. He could feel his magic, could touch it and it had no heat to it, didn’t make his insides burn.

“I can feel my magic,” Stiles told him, his other hand touching Derek’s forearm, wrapping his fingers around it. “Like, you’re grounding me.”

“Like an anchor?” Derek asked, his brow drawn, confused. Stiles nodded his head as he leaned forward again, this time his cheek against Derek’s chest. “Stiles...”

“I’m sorry,” Stiles said, snapping out of it, sitting back on his bed, pulling his legs up close to his chest. “I’m so sorry.”

“Stiles, it’s okay,” Derek said, putting one knee up on the bed, reaching for him. “I didn’t know.”

“Know what?” Stiles asked. “You think I knew? I have no idea what this means.”

“We’ll figure it out,” Derek assured him, putting a hand around the back of Stiles’ neck. Stiles hummed, his body going limp as Derek joined him on the bed. Stiles lay down, sighing as Derek remained sitting up, his hand on Stiles’ cheek as Stiles played with Derek’s pant leg. “Go to sleep.”

“Don’t leave,” Stiles said. “I’ll drive you.”

“I won’t leave,” Derek promised.

Chapter Text

Stiles dreamt that he was under water. It felt peaceful instead of the panic that came with drowning, like he was being enveloped by the water, wrapped up in it safely somehow. When he opened his eyes he saw why. He had Derek’s arms around him, holding on as they both lay on the bed. Derek’s eyes were closed, his chest rising and falling easily as he slept, his face completely relaxed. Stiles shifted, searching for skin on skin contact. He put his hand on Derek’s waist where his shirt had ridden up enough that Stiles’ fingers could graze across his skin.

As soon as Stiles’ fingers brushed across Derek’s hipbone, Stiles sucked in a breath. He could feel his magic, knew that he could control it. His heart rate picked up as he licked his lips, closing his eyes as he tried meditating in the position he was in in an attempt to grasp his powers. Stiles grinned when he felt the control.

“Stiles.”

And like that, it was pulled away from him as Derek pushed Stiles’ hand away. Derek got off the bed in an instant, barely giving Stiles enough time to realize what had happened. Stiles sat up, watching as Derek turned away from him, obviously adjusting himself. Stiles looked away, clearing his throat.

“I was just testing the anchor--”

“Well, next time do it when I’m awake, alright?” Derek snapped as he ran his fingers through his hair. Stiles bit his lip, about to issue an apology when Derek turned around to look at him, his facial expression not what Stiles was expecting. Derek looked, well, sincere. He wasn’t surly, or angry at him. If anything, he looked like he wanted to crawl back in bed with his hair all over the place. Stiles sighed, nodding his head.

“No more touching, got it,” he said as he got up, stretching towards the ceiling. He could almost touch it. If he jumped, it wouldn’t be a problem. He tried reaching for his powers again, but they were no longer within his grasp. “You know, I don’t get what the point of these powers are if I can’t even use them.”

“What do you mean you can’t use them?” Derek asked. “You’ve done stuff--”

“Accidentally,” Stiles said as he stripped off the shirt he had been wearing, rummaging through his drawers for a cleaner shirt to wear. “I haven’t really done anything on purpose. I can’t do it.”

“Maybe the journal will help,” Derek supplied. Stiles rolled his eyes as he tossed a shirt at Derek that would probably fit him. “What’s this for?” Derek asked. Stiles lifted an eyebrow.

“It’s like, eleven in the morning and if we walk downstairs in what we wore yesterday, it will be obvious and I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want my dad thinking weird shit happened up here last night.”

“Like what?” Derek asked. Stiles rolled his eyes again, giving Derek a look. “Nothing happened.”

“He doesn’t know that, and--” Stiles’ cheeks flushed. “And with how you reacted about Ruxandra--”

“I told you--”

“Yeah, well, just put the damned shirt on would you?” Stiles asked. “Then I’ll take you to your car.”

-

After Stiles dropped Derek off, he went directly back home and hopped in the shower. He thought about his dream, how being suspended in the water felt, how welcoming and tranquil it had been. He closed his eyes as he stood under the spray, imagining it. Stiles thought about the water as it cascaded down his body, beating against his back as he stood there, his fingertips brushing across his stomach as he let his head fall back.

And then the water stopped. Stiles opened his eyes, gasping when he saw the water droplets hanging in the air as if time itself had stopped. With wide eyes, Stiles reached out and swiped his hand through it, moving it. Stiles couldn’t help but laugh as he turned around in the shower, looking at the spray. He did that, made the water stop flowing.

“Oh my god,” Stiles said as he covered his mouth. He thought about setting the book on fire, about the wind moving the leaves in the preserve, about the ground shaking beneath his feet, and now the water in the shower. He was basically the fucking avatar or something; he could harness the powers of the four elements. When he laughed again, the water returned to normal, the droplets that he moved went in whatever direction he had swiped his hand, sending it everywhere.

Somehow, Stiles ended up on his ass in the shower, holding onto his knee because he banged it on the way down. Powers didn’t stop you from slipping in the shower, apparently.

Once he got out, Stiles dried off and put on comfy pants, hopping up onto the bathroom sink and crossing his legs as if he was going to meditate. He barely fit, and it was regrettably awkward, but he didn’t really have another mirror to use. He took out the journal, flipping around until he found something interesting.

Reading using a mirror was weird, confusing, and rather disorienting. There was a lot of talk about familiars, animals that help ground a sorcerer’s powers, made them stronger. Stiles couldn’t help but think of Derek, even though it didn’t make any sense. He and Derek weren’t close, hadn’t been, until Stiles found out that he could feel his power with Derek by his side.

Nothing made any sense. Stiles sat there, with his head in his hands sitting on the sink until his father walked in some time later.

“Uh, Stiles?” He asked, clearly confused why his seventeen-year-old son was sitting in the bathroom with his forehead against the mirror and a journal in his lap.

“Yeah,” Stiles said, his voice cracking.

“You’ve been in here for three hours.”

“Sounds about right,” Stiles said, sighing as he managed to get down, stretching as he tried not to think about the implications of Derek being his familiar; literally an anchor for him. A werewolf as an anchor seemed volatile, considering that familiars were supposed to be animals and Derek wasn’t one, not all the time--

“Shit,” Stiles said, his hands reaching for his dad’s shoulders. He looked his father in the eyes as he breathed inward. “I’ve been turning Derek into a wolf.”

“You what?” His dad asked, concerned. “How could you--”

“I’ve been seeking out a familiar,” Stiles mumbled, raking his fingers through his hair. “My subconscious has been, and he said he was forced into turning... both times were when I was nearby and doing magic.”

“Oh, god,” the sheriff said, looking at the ceiling. “I feel like we need to find someone to talk to about this. There has to be some sort of mythical creature therapist that we could go to.” Stiles laughed, patting his dad on the arm as he grabbed the journal then left the bathroom, squeezing by his father. “Where are you going?”

“Derek’s,” Stiles called out as he went into his room to change. Not even moments after he shut his door, it opened again, revealing his dad.

“And why are you going to Derek’s?” He asked. Stiles shrugged as he pulled on jeans after discarding his sweat pants. He picked out a plain white t-shirt, then his grey striped hoodie, zipping it up all the way.

“Because I need to tell him it’s my fault,” Stiles said, grabbing the journal. His father stood in the doorway with his arms crossed and eyebrows lifted. Stiles groaned. “Also I maybe want to try and make him shift in front of me.”

“Stiles,” his dad said in warning.

“It doesn’t hurt him,” Stiles pointed out.

“He’s a human being,” his father stated, pointing at the journal. “And you can’t just turn people into something against their will.” Stiles took a step back as if slapped. He hadn’t even thought about it like that. Derek had said he didn’t know he could fully shift, that something had made him do it. Stiles forced him to shift, twice.

“Fuck.”

“Language,” his father said, shaking his head. “You go there and apologize. But tell him he’s still repainting our front door.”

-

Stiles pulled up to the loft just as the sun was going down. He had stopped to grab food on the way over, opting to bring Derek something as well. He basically wasted his Saturday by reading the journal, but at least he learned something... like how he was to blame for Derek’s shifts.

He kicked at the sliding door, because his hands were full, until it slid open. Stiles was expecting Derek, so when Cora appeared he dropped one of the bags of food.

“Cora--? Cora, what are you doing here?” He asked as she picked up the dropped food, looking in the bag and pulling out one of the cheeseburgers Stiles got. She smelled it, smiling at him.

“I just got in,” she said, walking into the loft and into the kitchen where she sat on a stool, biting into the cheeseburger. Stiles watched her eat for a moment before his own stomach growled. He shrugged, sitting down next to her as he pulled his fries out of another bag. She tried to grab one, but he smacked her hand. Her eyes flashed yellow in warning, but Stiles wasn’t scared. He showed her his teeth as he slid the fries farther away from her.

“So,” she said, stealing a sip from his soda instead. “What are you doing here?”

“Looking for your brother,” Stiles said, surveying the loft. No Derek spotted. He sighed. “Are you back? Like-- back back?” He asked her. Cora shrugged.

“I came back because, well, Derek told me what happened.” Stiles’ throat went dry. “About him and Peter being taken, about these new hunters showing up--”

“New hunters showing up?” Stiles asked. “What new hunters?” He thought she was going to say everything that happened with him, but apparently shit had happened to Derek too. Stiles had no idea. “And what about Derek being taken? When?”

“Where have you been?” Cora asked. Stiles flinched, his shoulders hunching. “You know what--”

“I was possesed, actually,” Stiles mumbled, shoving away his fries as he stood up. “I didn’t know something happened to him, but shit happened to me, too. And to Scott, Isaac-- to Allison. We’ve all changed.”

“What--”

“Allison’s dead, Isaac ran off to France with Allison’s dad, and Scott is fucking heartbroken and I’m suddenly the Avatar,” Stiles exploded, yanking at his own hair as he felt his magic flowing to the surface. His hands glowed, the same green as when the magic overtook him as he shook. Cora’s eyes were wide as she took a step back from him. “I was possessed by a thousand-year-old demon,” Stiles shouted, his fists clenched as thunder rumbled overhead. Cora looked out the massive window, her lips parting as lightning struck somewhere nearby, lighting up the room.

“Stiles--”

“I can’t--” Stiles sobbed as he fell to his knees. It was too much, the power, and it hurt. He was dripping with sweat as thunder crashed around them, loud enough to shake the building as the door to the loft opened, revealing Derek’s stricken form. Stiles covered his ears with his hands as he screamed.

“What happened?” Derek asked Cora as he rushed over, leaving the door open. Cora stood there shaking her head as she held onto her own arms.

“I don’t know, I was telling him why I was back, because you were taken and he started going on about everything that happened, something about a demon and him being the Avatar--”

Stiles cut off her explanation with another scream, a flash of lightning and crack of thunder followed seconds later. Derek reached for him, placing a hand on Stiles’ neck, sliding his fingers beneath his collar, touching bare skin. Stiles trembled as he let out a gasp, his body going limp.

“Derek, what’s going on?” Cora asked as Derek pulled Stiles into his lap, his hand cupping Stiles’ tear-stricken face.

“I think he had a panic attack,” Derek murmured as Stiles took control of his breathing. With a shaky hand he grasped Derek’s hand in his own. “We’re having, uh-- anchor issues.”

“Anchors? What?” Cora asked, her brow furrowed. “Someone has to fill me in here.”

Stiles breathed heavily, licking his his dry, cracked lips, looking out the window where the clouds were starting to dissipate. Derek spoke lowly, telling Cora about what happened. Stiles closed his eyes as he listened to Derek recount the goings-on in Beacon Hills: Nogitsune Edition. He felt distanced from the retelling, like it hadn’t been his life, that it hadn’t been his fault. Deep down, Stiles knew it was. He opened the door in his mind, sacrificed himself to save his father. He wasn’t strong enough to keep it out, and now he wasn’t strong enough for this power.

It was too much.

Stiles shifted, his face pressed against Derek’s chest as they sat there on the floor of the loft where Boyd died. Stiles grimaced as he thought about walking in and finding Derek there, over Boyd’s body, Cora crying over it. Tears streamed down Stiles’ face, unable to stop them as his fingers tingled.

“I made a thunderstorm,” Stiles mumbled, looking up to find Derek staring down at him, his thumb ghosting over Stiles’ bottom lip.

“I heard,” Derek said, giving him a reassuring smile. “So you’re the Avatar now?”

Stiles shrugged, looking away from him. It felt intimate, suddenly, with Derek’s arms wrapped around him, his fingers touching his face, keeping him grounded. Stiles could still feel his magic coursing through his veins. He made it rumble again, but not very loudly. Derek quirked an eyebrow.

“Sort of,” Stiles said, his voice cracking. Something about using his powers drained him, made his skin hot to the touch, had him drenched in sweat. “Only the Fire Nation hasn’t attacked.” Derek’s mouth tugged upward as Cora rolled her eyes. “Maybe that’s what’s next. The big bad.”

“Alright, let’s get you up,” Derek said. “And into the shower.” Derek got him to his feet easily, turning him towards the bathroom.

“I’m fine,” Stiles said weakly as he leaned against the sink, watching Derek turn on the shower. Stiles looked down to see that his clothes were soaked through. “Or not.” Derek gave him a look, then helped him strip down to his boxers. His skin felt clammy as Derek took his clothes, even his socks, from him.

The shower was quick, using Derek’s body wash, just enough to get the stench of teenage sweat off his body. When he stepped out, the pajama bottoms that he let Derek borrow were there waiting for him, along with an old faded BHHS sweatshirt and plain black t-shirt. Both were probably Derek’s. Stiles looked at himself in the mirror, at the bags under his eyes as he brought the sweatshirt up to his nose, sniffing it.

It smelled comforting, like Derek.

Stiles’ eyes widened as he remembered why he was there in the first place: he made Derek his familiar. Stiles bit his lip as he worried at the frayed band on the sweatshirt’s cuff. He didn’t want to face Derek now, not with Cora there. It was private and embarrassing. Forcing someone into being a familiar seemed like overstepping, nonconsensual. Not that Stiles getting powers was very consensual. Magic didn’t seem to care about wanting something or not.

Derek and Cora were leaning on the kitchen counter with cups of tea between their hands, talking in hushed tones when Stiles emerged from the bathroom. He hugged himself, looking to the ground instead of directly at them.

“Here,” Derek said, bringing Stiles a Gatorade from the fridge. “You probably need to rehydrate.”

“Thanks,” Stiles murmured as he looked to Cora, who took a sip of her tea.

“So, Stilinski,” she said, tilting her head. “Derek tells me you set a book on fire.”

“Yeah, Grapes of Wrath,” Stiles said after downing half the bottle of Gatorade as he made himself comfortable on one of the stools.

“Nice,” Cora said, grinning at him.

“So, you’re staying?” Stiles asked her. Cora exchanged glances with Derek, then nodded her head.

“Yeah, I think so,” Cora said. “I don’t want to be away from my brother.”

“Does this mean you’ll be going to school with us?” Stiles asked as he sat on one of the stools, his back straight. He kept glancing at Derek as he worried at his bottom lip, anxious about the talk they needed to have.

Cora scoffed as she sipped her tea.

“You wish. No, I’m going to get my GED. Public school isn’t for me.”

Derek was silent as he watched his sister, his face stoic, the corner of his mouth lifted. Stiles felt like he was intruding on sibling bonding time, on their reunion, if Cora had just arrived. Stiles spun the Gatorade bottle around as his leg bounced.

“Is there a reason you came by?” Cora asked Stiles. Derek cleared his throat, glaring at her. Stiles’ mouth open and closed as he looked at Derek. Stiles reached for the journal, which Cora began to flip through idly. He grabbed it, pulling it closer.

“Yeah, there is,” Stiles said as he shook his head. “But we don’t need to talk about it right now. I’ll just go.”

“Stiles--”

“I’m going,” Stiles said. “I can’t deal with this.” Thunder rumbled in the distance again. Stiles closed his eyes, trying to calm down. Derek reached out, clasping a hand around Stiles’ wrist. Stiles let out a sigh, his body visibly relaxing at the touch. Stiles could hear the rain outside as it hit the window. He was making it rain.

“You came to talk,” Derek said, his voice bringing Stiles’ gaze to his. “We can talk.” Stiles looked to Cora, then sighed.

“Alright, I get it. Weird anchor talk time. I’m going on Craigslist. We need a place with two bedrooms,” she said as she ascended the stairs. Stiles watched her go, avoiding Derek’s gaze until she was gone.

“She can still hear,” Stiles whispered. Derek nodded as his thumb swept back and forth across Stiles’ wrist, his pulse point. Stiles let out a shaky breath as he opened the journal, pointing at the passage about familiars.

Derek looked at it, concentrating on it enough that his thumb stopped moving, though his hand remained on Stiles’ wrist. Stiles closed his eyes, leaning in at the touch, drowning in the warmth, the power. His fingers tingled as he pressed his arm against Derek’s.

“Tell me what I’m looking at,” Derek said, breaking Stiles out of his trance. He stepped away from Derek, who didn’t mention how close Stiles had gotten to him.

“It’s about familiars,” Stiles said, pointing at the word. Derek frowned, his brow furrowing as he waited for Stiles to elaborate. Stiles pulled his hand away from Derek’s, because this was where Derek was about to be furious. “It seems like, well, according to this journal, sorcerers all have animal companions that help ground their powers. They can summon them, and it helps sort of, you know, amplify the magic.” Stiles bit his lip as he watched Derek’s expression shift, his jaw clenching as he looked down at the journal.

“Me turning into a wolf--”

“Is my fault,” Stiles blurted out. “It’s this power, it reached out to find something, someone to ground it and it found you and I’m so sorry,” Stiles confessed. “I’m forcing you to-- there has to be a way to reverse it.”

“So I’m your familiar?” Derek asked, his voice quiet. He shifted on the stool, looking towards the loft where Cora was. Stiles nodded his head as he hugged himself, his arms wrapped around his body. Derek let out a sigh as he wiped a hand across his face, scratching at his stubble. “So when I found myself in the woods, as a wolf, you did that?”

“Seems like it. It’s like my magic reached out, or something. It found you.”

“Could you turn me right now?” Derek asked him. Stiles shrugged. “Try.”

Stiles thought about people forcing Derek to do things he didn’t want, about how little control Derek seemed to have over his life, and he froze. He was frightened at the thought of taking choice from Derek in this.

“Stiles, I want you to make me shift.”

Stiles held his breath as he closed his eyes, concentrating on making it storm, on using Derek’s energy, melding it with his own. It was as if something snapped within him, like he dove into bright warmth and let it engulf him. When Stiles opened his eyes, he was glowing, his hands neon green. Derek, as a wolf, sat on his haunches in front of him.

“I did it,” Stiles said, crouching down as he reached his hand out in order to pet Derek’s head. The fur was soft, black, and sent a shiver down Stiles’ spine. His magic burst outward, his entire body glowing as Derek whimpered, his ears going flat against his head. “It’s okay,” Stiles murmured. “I can control it.”

He could, he knew that he was telling the truth. With Derek by his side, he had the reins. Stiles looked around the loft for something to do. He wasn’t about to use fire, not within Derek’s home. Stiles looked to the faucet, where it dripped every couple of seconds due to it not being turned off all the way. All he had to do was think about the water lifting into the air before it did just that, hanging in the air. Stiles let go of Derek, and the droplets fell into the sink.

Stiles needed contact to keep control, at least for now.

“What the fuck?” Cora asked, bringing Stiles’ attention to where she stood on the second level. Stiles watched as she made her way down the stairs, even though she could have easily jumped over the railing. “Since when could he shift?”

“Weren’t you listening?” Stiles asked, his hand instinctively reaching for Derek once more.

“No,” Cora said, crossing her arms. “I thought you’d want privacy. What’s going on?”

“I think he should be able to help with the explanation,” Stiles said as he released his hold on Derek’s energy. He transformed back in seconds, once more he was naked, this time as he sat on the ground. Cora looked up at the ceiling, sighing as Stiles watched Derek get dressed.

It wasn’t sexual, but more like a detached sort of feeling where his body shouted my familiar at him. Stiles took a step back from Derek as he shoved his hands into his jeans pockets, finally looking away as his cheeks reddened.

“Stiles’ powers sought out a familiar, and that’s me,” Derek said simply as he looked between Cora and Stiles.

“You’re not an animal, though,” Cora pointed out. She looked to Stiles, seething. “We aren’t animals for you to play with.”

“I didn’t mean to!” Stiles said defensively. “You think I wanted to trap Derek into being my power syphon or whatever? You’d think it would attach itself to Scott or something,” Stiles mumbled as he began to bite at his thumbnail, shaking his head. It didn’t make sense.

At least he wasn’t glowing anymore. The glowing freaked him out a bit.

“I know you didn’t mean to,” Derek said, placing a hand on Stiles’ shoulder for a moment as he looked to Cora. “I can feel his powers as a wolf, I help ground him. He can’t control his powers without me.”

“That’s sweet and all,” Cora said, deadpan, as she tapped her foot against the floor. “But what you’re saying is that in order to help him, you have to be in wolf form? And by his side?”

“Well I was thinking about that,” Stiles said as he shifted from one foot to the other. “I think that if we strengthen the bond, then it would, you know, get stronger.”

“Strengthen how?” Derek asked, his hand dropping from Stiles’ shoulder.

“Deaton told me to meditate in order to get more in tune with my powers, maybe we should do it together?”

Cora snorted, covering her mouth with her hand as she waved at them, laughing. Derek frowned at her, his eyebrow lifting as Stiles cracked a smile. The thought of him and Derek in downward dog position was enough to understand why Cora thought it was so funny.

“I can’t--” Cora said, still laughing. “Picture Derek meditating.” Derek looked thoroughly unamused. “Oh god.”

“Cora,” Derek said, done with her amusement. Her laughter died out, eventually. Stiles couldn’t help but smile at the thought of it, but deep down he knew that it would help them. They needed a stronger bond than they currently had. Until recently the only word to describe what they were was “frenemies” but with Derek helping Scott while he was possessed, Derek was definitely more of an ally. He wouldn’t call him a friend, per se, but that didn’t seem to matter. Stiles found himself standing by Derek again, their arms touching, his magic practically preening at the proximity.

Derek looked down where they were touching but didn’t say anything as he sighed. Stiles felt like a child, and their age difference was apparent. They were the same height, even had similarly broad shoulders, but Derek’s muscle definition was what set them apart. Stiles was lithe, sinewy, whereas Derek was bulkier. He lost some of his muscle mass when he became a beta once more, but that in no way meant that he could be considered small.

Stiles was just a teenager; he had nothing to offer Derek. Grief washed over Stiles when he thought about everything the three of them had been through, the loss and the obstacles they had to face. This was the last thing he wanted.

“Okay, so,” Stiles said, sighing. “I’m gonna go. Just, uh, text me when you want to...meditate.”

“Alright,” Derek said, his voice clipped as Stiles gave him and Cora one last look before leaving.

-

Stiles lay on Scott’s bed, staring up at the ceiling. He’d been lying there for the past hour after he explained everything to Scott. He needed to know what was going on, not because he was the alpha but because he was Stiles’ best friend.

“Wait, so Cora’s back?” Scott asked, after Stiles was done. Stiles craned his neck so he could see Scott, who was seated in his chair by the bed.

“Dude, that’s all you got out of that? That Cora’s back?”

“I thought she was going to stay in South America.”

“Well, she wanted to be near Derek. Something about new hunters, which you need to talk to him about by the way. That isn’t cool, new hunters in town. Argent just left--”

Scott made a wounded noise at the mention of Allison’s dad. Stiles fell back onto the bed, frowning as they both sat there in silence for a moment, thinking about her. Stiles wiped at his eyes, eventually finding his voice again.

“So, you need to talk to Derek about hunters, alright?”

“Yeah,” Scott said, his voice distant. “Just what we need, more people hunting us.”

“Seems like there is always something,” Stiles sighed as he sat up. “Hey, maybe I can help, you know, with my powers.” Stiles wiggled his fingers at Scott, which made him crack a smile. “Defender of wolves.” That got him a full on smile. “That’s right, I’m officially a badass now.”

“You already were a badass,” Scott said with a grin.

“Don’t be a dick,” Stiles laughed as he looked down at his hands, his face falling as he thought about how in over his head he was. “Hey, Scotty... about all this magic bullshit. If Deaton doesn’t know much about it, I don’t really know what I should do.”

“What do you mean? I thought with your weird bond with Derek you’d be fine now?”

“We don’t know what it means for him to be a familiar, though--”

“Maybe Deaton knows about those, or Ms. Morrell.” Stiles sighed at Scott’s suggestions. It wasn’t that they weren’t good suggestions but the fact that he didn’t think anyone they knew were knowledgeable in his powers. He was alone, utterly, and he was dragging Derek unwillingly with him down the rabbit hole.

“I’ll ask to see her at school Monday.”

“Maybe you could try to get out of trig,” Scott said with a smirk. Stiles laughed. “Guidance is more important.”

“You know me too well, Scotty.”

-

Stiles met Derek out in the preserve. It was overcast, making it feel even cooler than normal. Stiles had on track pants and a hoodie, but felt like he needed a few more layers. Derek, of course, wasn’t dressed for the weather in a pair of basketball shorts and a t-shirt. Stiles narrowed his eyes at him as he approached with his hands shoved into his pockets.

“You’re gonna catch something.”

Derek rolled his eyes at him. Stiles thought he looked weird with shorts on, but he wasn’t about to mention that out loud.

“I thought we’d go for a run first,” Derek said. “You should probably stretch.”

“I thought we were meditating,” Stiles complained. “I didn’t sign up for an extra sport okay? Lacrosse is enough.”

Derek didn’t even blink before he started stretching. Stiles groaned as he joined him. The last thing he wanted was to get a cramp when he was out in the woods alone with Derek.

“Running will help clear your mind and open it up for the magic,” Derek said as he extended his back by putting his hands behind his neck and stretching it. Stiles watched, unable to look away as he stretched his hamstrings one leg at a time. When Derek’s eyes locked with his, Stiles’ face reddened.

His body was betraying him as he thought about him and Derek sleeping in his bed together. It was something he had pushed aside, really, because when he thought about it he tended to jack off right afterward. Of course, it wasn’t the time, what with Derek standing right in front of him, so Stiles tried thinking about something gross like naked grandmas in hot tubs.

Stiles shivered, shaking out the bad mental picture.

“Okay, I’m ready, but remember I’m a fragile human being.”

“You’re not fragile,” Derek said, giving Stiles one last look before he began running. With his jaw dropped, Stiles followed behind him, keeping up with him for the first five minutes or so. He trailed behind, but only a few feet. He had a great view of Derek’s ass, which he tried not to think about as he attempted not to trip over roots and uneven ground.

When Derek slowed down to a stop, Stiles was drenched in sweat, his chest heaving as he leaned against a tree, holding onto his side.

“Werewolves,” Stiles spat. “Fucking werewolves.”

Derek laughed as he ran his fingers through his hair, looking Stiles over.

“You okay? We just ran five miles.”

Stiles’ face scrunched up as he shook his head. The cool air in his lungs burned, and he needed water. Also, his legs were rubber.

“Come on, you gotta stretch out,” Derek said, reaching out for him. As soon as his fingers touched Stiles’ skin, he moaned at the feeling. His mind was so clear, his body open enough that Derek’s touch triggered his magic, coursing through him. Stiles bent over, holding onto his knees as Derek kept his hand on Stiles’ neck. When Stiles looked down, he could see that he was glowing again.

“Fuck,” Stiles said, because it felt amazing. “Don’t let go,” he said as he attempted to do something. The only thing he could think of was making the wind howl around them. The breeze felt good, despite the cold day. He was warm because of his magic, along with his run. Derek looked around them, at the leaves as they shuffled around their feet.

“You need to stretch.” Derek took his hand away, and the wind died down. Stiles groaned, making a face at Derek for taking it away from him. “Come on,” Derek said, putting his hand on Stiles’ shoulder for support as he started his own stretches. Stiles mimicked him as he not-so-subtly brushed his fingers across Derek’s neck so he could feel his power again.

Derek didn’t say anything about it as Stiles sighed, resting his head against Derek’s shoulder as he stretched his muscles, his face tucked against Derek’s neck. Derek put a hand on Stiles’ neck, squeezing it as he pulled Stiles in closer, the two of them standing in the middle of the woods. He could feel Derek’s cheek against his hair, could hear Derek breathing him in as his hands grasped at Derek’s shirt, tugging on it. He didn’t know why they were hugging, but it felt right. With his eyes closed, Stiles’ lips brushed against Derek’s exposed neck, eliciting a soft moan from Derek before he stepped back.

His mind was hazy as Derek ushered them both to the ground, his hand in Stiles’. He felt drunk from the touch, his fingers tingling, glowing as the wind whipped around them. They sat facing each other, their legs crossed, fingers linked.

“First I want to meditate like this,” Stiles said, his voice barely audible as he indicated to their hands. Derek nodded his head, but said nothing as he shut his eyes, letting out a relaxing sigh. Stiles shut his eyes, trying to open his mind to the magic, let it engulf him completely. It was easy with Derek’s hands in his. He felt his body relax as he reached out for Derek’s energy, pulling it towards himself.

Derek gasped as Stiles felt the power throbbing between them. He opened his eyes to see that they were both enveloped in the magical glow, the physical representation of his powers. Derek, too, looked around, his eyes wide as he held onto Stiles’ hands. Not wanting to break the concentration they had, Stiles didn’t want to speak. Instead, he squeezed Derek’s hands to get his attention. He wanted to try to do the same thing without touching him.

Stiles slipped his hands into his own lap, letting out a deep breath as he tried to keep the physical manifestation apparent around them without Derek’s touch. It stayed for less than a minute before it faded around them.

Once it was gone, Stiles felt the aftermath. Cold overcame him, along with exhaustion. His sweat turned cold, his clothes wet as he shivered, his teeth chattering. Derek helped him to his feet, attempting to help by placing a hand on Stiles’ bare neck. Stiles could feel the spark of power, but the warmth that usually followed wasn’t there. He was tapped out.

“Come on, let’s get you home,” Derek said. “We’ve been out here long enough.” It was only then that Stiles realized the time. It was getting harder to see, and despite the constant cloud coverage all day, he could tell dusk was near. They’d been out there all day. Meditating always left him with lost time, it seemed. It sapped it from him, time passing by quicker with magic usage.

As they walked out of the preserve, the hairs on the back of Stiles’ neck stood on edge. Derek, too, sensed something was wrong. Within the blink of an eye, Derek turned into the wolf, bounding away from Stiles in search of the disturbance. Stiles felt as though he was being watched as he picked up Derek’s clothes. Dread overcame him as he looked up to find a darkened, hooded form before him. Instinctively, Stiles reached for his powers, desperate for them to work.

He grinned as it thundered overhead.

Chapter Text

Despite his exhaustion, Stiles felt the air around him crackle as lightning struck a nearby tree. The hooded figure didn’t so much as flinch as it hit, the sound of thunder coming seconds afterward. Stiles tried not to think about the destruction he could wreak if he wanted, about the sheer power behind the magic that was now his to control. Instead, he concentrated on the trespasser whose hands were glowing, much like Stiles’ did. Instead of a green, theirs were blue.

“You’re on Hale territory,” Stiles said as the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end, his fingers tingling as he made fists with his hands. He took a step forward as a fireball came towards him. Stiles shut his eyes, shielding himself with his arms in hopes of stopping it. Nothing happened.

Stiles blinked his eyes open, shaking his head as he looked before him where the ground surged upward, blocking the fireball from hitting him. He hadn’t even realized he’d done it. Stiles swayed as the magic zapped what little energy he had left, placing a hand on a nearby tree to steady himself. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the figure, taking aim to throw another fireball at him. Stiles panted as he clenched his jaw, forcing his eyes closed as his body shook with the strain of attempting to pull more magic from deep within.

He had no idea what he was doing, but as raindrops started to hit his face, he realized he was on the right path. Stiles reached out in his mind, for Derek, knowing that if he had him nearer, he could call upon Derek’s energy to give him more power. In the distance, Derek howled as it began to rain harder.

Stiles ran for it, towards the sound of Derek, almost tripping over roots and fallen trees without looking back. It was a downpour, and he was completely soaked through. He could see his breath in the air as he ran, hoping that the rain was enough.

He stopped dead in his tracks as fog rolled in around him. He could barely see his hand in front of his face as he turned around in a circle, the only noise around him was his own heavy breathing. Stiles bent over, holding himself up by putting his hands on his knees, which felt as though they could give out at any moment. He blinked, trying to see through the fog. He inhaled a deep breath, trying to calm himself down as the panic within him swelled. As he exhaled, the fog around him dissipated. With a small smile, he did it again, using the wind.

The ground rumbled beneath his feet, forcing him to the forest floor. Stiles groaned as a branch jabbed him in the kidney. He rolled over onto his side, curling up in a fetal position as he made rain come down in sheets. His entire body shook as it turned into sleet, teeth chattering as a growl brought him back to reality. Derek stood above him, on all fours, snarling at the dark figure who stood nearby. Stiles hadn’t even seen them, he’d been too wrapped up in trying to stay conscious. Derek snapped his teeth at the figure, his fur standing on edge as they took a step forward. Stiles reached a hand out, wrapping it around Derek’s leg as his other extended palm outward towards the other sorcerer.

With everything he had left, Stiles pushed his and Derek’s energy towards them, an invisible ball of air sending them hurtling against a tree where they were then knocked to the ground. Stiles went limp, his last energy spent. Stiles couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer, despite his best efforts in staying awake.

Derek was gone, no longer standing over him as the rain slowed to a steady drizzle. His magic wasn’t warm, not now. Stiles ached everywhere as he lay there, letting exhaustion overtake him even though the threat was nearby.

Stiles jerked awake sometime later, flailing as someone held onto him. For a moment he was afraid he’d been captured, but when he felt Derek’s hands on him, he calmed down.

“Get off,” Stiles mumbled, trying to stretch out. He couldn’t, because Derek was carrying him, one hand under Stiles’ knees, the other holding his back.

“Don’t squirm,” Derek hissed. Stiles could barely move, even if he wanted to get down. It was degrading, being carried like he was, but the thought of walking made him queasy.

“The sorcerer?” Stiles asked, his voice all but gone, raspy and weak.

“Gone.”

“Elaborate,” Stiles demanded, though he didn’t sound very authoritative. He coughed afterward instead, wincing at the niggle he felt where he got a branch to the kidney.

“I went to the tree that you shoved them against with your weird air power ball, and they were gone, and then I came back for you. Now we are walking to the car.” Stiles groaned at Derek’s inflection. Stiles rested his head against Derek’s shoulder as his eyes drooped shut again. He clung to Derek’s jacket as he listened to Derek’s heartbeat, steady and reassuring.

art by geeky sova

He didn’t remember the car ride, or how he got into the loft, but when he was aware again, he was naked in a bathtub full of lukewarm water. Stiles sunk down into it up to his nose, where he blew air bubbles as his hands floated to the surface. He wiggled them, despite them feeling stiff. Everything felt stiff, like his muscles needed to stretch out a million different ways. Stiles shut his eyes as he went under the water, recalling the dream he had about drowning, only not. Letting the water engulf him, Stiles let air out of his lungs, pockets of air floating to the surface, when he was yanked up out of the water by Derek tugging on his hair. Stiles yelped, grabbing onto Derek’s wrists as he gasped for air.

“What the fuck?” Stiles screamed.

“You were-- you were under for a long time,” Derek said as he let him go. Stiles glared at him, then laughed because Derek was completely soaked, his shirt showing off his nipples, along with the outline of his abs. It was only then that Stiles remembered that he, too, was naked. Stiles reached down between his legs, cupping himself as he sunk down back into the water, splashing it everywhere. Derek rolled his eyes and sighed as his gaze returned to Stiles. He placed a hand on Stiles’ forehead, checking his temperature.

“Don’t do that again,” Derek said as he pulled his hand away, grabbing a towel for himself. Stiles watched, his face halfway under the water, as Derek dried himself off. It felt a little too intimate, like they were actually close, which they weren’t. Well, they hadn’t been before Stiles’ magic forcefully attached itself to Derek.

“Don’t do what?” Stiles asked, eventually, the water moving around in the bathtub on its own. Stiles willed it to stop; he hated that he used magic without realizing it. He splashed at the swirls angrily, groaning. Derek gave him a look as Stiles reddened. At least, he felt blood rushing to his cheeks. Outside the water felt cold, and he wasn’t quite ready to emerge.

“Don’t-- First, don’t drown,” Derek pointed out. “Second, don’t use so much magic you pass out and make me carry you.”

“I didn’t ask you to carry me,” Stiles said petulantly. Derek’s eyes narrowed at him. “I didn’t, okay? I had them.” This time when Derek rolled his eyes, Stiles swore they went into the back of his head. Exasperated was a look Stiles knew on Derek well. “I mean, I beat them, right?”

“Define ‘beat’,” Derek said as he reached a hand out in order to help Stiles get out of the tub. Stiles stared at it for a moment, contemplating denying help. He caved, though, slipping his fingers against Derek’s warm hand. The touch sent warmth flowing throughout Stiles’ body. He shivered, but not from the cold, as Derek wrapped a towel around him, running his hands over Stiles’ arms and back.

Stiles bit his lip to keep from smiling because Derek was fucking taking care of him.

“Well, I’m here, aren’t I? I’m not--”

“Dead.”

The look in Derek’s eyes had Stiles inhale a breath. He could have died. Stiles’ eyes widened as he stood there in shock. As it happened, his fight or flight instincts had kicked in. He reacted to what was thrown at him, using the elements to the best of his ability to block and evade, to counterattack. He didn’t have time to think about the fact that he could have died by one of those fireballs.

“Hey, Stiles, calm down,” Derek said, putting his hand over Stiles’ heart. Stiles looked into Derek’s eyes as he hunched over, tilting his head to assure that Stiles was, in fact, looking at him instead of staring off at the wall. “You’re okay, I’ve got you.” Stiles gripped Derek’s arm hard enough to bruise. Well, enough to bruise a human. With short, stilted breaths Stiles tried to calm down. Derek had him, literally, in his arms. He pulled Stiles closer, wrapping an arm around Stiles’ waist, a hand resting on the small of Stiles’ back. Stiles buried his face against Derek’s neck as he let out a dry sob. He closed his eyes as he thought about Allison, about all the people the nogitsune had killed.

He thought about the hooded figure.

“They’re alive, too,” Stiles whispered. “I didn’t--”

“You didn’t kill them,” Derek said, his voice calm. Stiles wasn’t sure if he was relieved or not. They could be anyone, they could be anywhere. He wiped at his eyes, though no tears were there, as he backed away from Derek.

He was still naked, save the towel, and he definitely felt like it. He slipped the towel to his waist, covering himself up, feeling slightly self-conscious. It wasn’t that he didn’t like his own body, because he did, but he was still a kid, basically, lanky with broad shoulders. Next to Derek’s defined muscles he was allowed to feel a little insecure.

“Hold on one sec,” Derek said, his hand trailing down Stiles’ arm before he disappeared out the door to the bathroom. As soon as the contact was gone, it felt as though the air had been sucked out of Stiles’ lungs. It felt like his stomach sank, that he was going to be sick. Stiles covered his mouth as he fell to his knees by the toilet.

Yeah, he was definitely going to be sick. As he shut his eyes, his hands gripping the toilet seat, all he could see was fire, fog engulfing him, the hooded figure. He wretched up everything he had, emptying his stomach of what little was in there, before he sat back, gasping for breath. Derek was there with a glass of water and a washcloth. He even wiped Stiles’ mouth. Stiles felt like he should be embarrassed, but as Derek placed a hand to the back of Stiles’ neck, he didn’t care about that. All he cared about was that Derek touched him.

“I have clothes for you,” Derek said, helping Stiles to his feet. “You need food and sleep.”

It was then that Stiles noticed that he was, in fact, home. Derek had brought him home. The clothes in his hands were his own, meaning Derek’s wet clothes were all he had with him. Stiles shuffled his feet on his way into his room. He contemplated faceplanting onto his bed and passing out then and there, but he was cold. He dropped the towel, stepping directly into sweatpants, foregoing the underwear, and a long-sleeved shirt. Then, he pulled on a hoodie, followed by a warm pair of socks.

“Here,” Stiles said, handing Derek something to change into as well. Derek eyed them suspiciously but declined.

“I’m just getting you in bed,” Derek said. The hand with the clothes in it fell a couple of inches, disappointed that Derek wasn’t staying. Stiles frowned, even though he shouldn’t have assumed Derek was staying. He didn’t really have a reason to.

“Okay,” Stiles said, dropping them to the ground. He didn’t have the energy to put them away, even though normally he was a little OCD about clothes on the floor of his room. Now he didn’t give a shit about laundry.

“Get in bed and I’ll find you something to eat,” Derek said, looking uneasy. Stiles crawled into bed, then snorted.

“Good luck, we don’t have anything,” Stiles mumbled as he shoved his face against his pillow. He drifted off, and by the time Derek reappeared, with a sandwich, Stiles jerked awake. “What?”

“You need to eat,” Derek said, showing him the plate. Stiles frowned.

“I don’t like tomatoes when they’re cold,” Stiles said. He expected Derek to roll his eyes, but instead, Derek put the plate on his lap, then took the sliced tomatoes out of the sandwich before he put it back together again. Stiles took it from him, looking at the rest of the contents before he took a bite. He didn’t even know they had turkey lunch meat.

Halfway through the sandwich, he could barely keep his eyes open any longer. He passed what was left back to Derek, who decided to finish it off for him without so much as a blink. Derek was about to stand when Stiles reached his hand out, wrapping his fingers around Derek’s wrist. Stiles let out a small gasp, because he’d never get over the feeling of Derek’s skin against his own.

“Stay,” Stiles said. It wasn’t a question. Derek didn’t sit back down, didn’t move as he looked down at Stiles’ hand. Stiles gulped as he slipped his hand down and linked his fingers with Derek’s easily. He shut his eyes, feeling Derek’s energy mix with his own. He wanted to swim around in it. His own aura was green, he knew that was what the glow was, but to him Derek’s was warmer, brighter even than his own. Sunshine yellow, perhaps. Stiles smiled to himself as he felt Derek’s thumb brush across the back of his hand.

“You need to sleep,” was Derek’s answer.

“I’ll sleep better if we’re touching,” Stiles said before realizing exactly what he implied. Stiles opened his eyes in time to see Derek wipe his face with his other hand, looking up at the ceiling as he shook his head. Stiles sunk down deeper under his covers as he pulled his hand away. “I didn’t mean--”

“I know what you meant,” Derek said, his voice harsher than it had been. He scratched at his stubble before looking to the floor. Stiles watched as Derek picked up the discarded proffered clothes. “I’ll be right back.”

As Stiles waited for Derek to return, Stiles shucked off his hoodie, knowing he was about to sleep next to a personal heater. Stiles sat up in bed, looking out the window, at the moon. It was almost full; it would be full tomorrow. When Derek reemerged, Stiles sucked in a breath because once more, Derek forewent the shirt because it didn’t fit him. The pajama pants were a little tight, the bigger ones Stiles already let Derek borrow, and showed off a lot more than Stiles had really seen before.

Not that he had been looking, but it wasn’t his fault that Derek wore tight jeans. After the revelation with Caitlin, when he began to think about how it was possible to like both girls and boys at the same time, Stiles thought about Derek. He hadn’t had much time to, really, before everything went sour, but still. Stiles was healthy, in terms of self pleasure, and he’d be lying to himself if he didn’t say sometimes he thought about Derek. Not always, though, because that would be creepy.

Stiles wasn’t creepy, at least not anymore. Stiles flailed as he made room for Derek in the bed, scooting closer to the wall. Derek hesitated before getting into the bed.

“I’m not gonna bite,” Stiles said weakly as Derek climbed in, pulling up the covers as their feet bumped together. Derek huffed silently, his laughter short as they shared a pillow. Stiles had others, but he wanted to be close. Derek knew it, too, probably, because he draped his arm over Stiles’ waist. Stiles mirrored him, his body practically humming with contentment at the skin-on-skin contact as his palm touched Derek’s torso. “Can you feel it?” Stiles asked.

“Yeah,” Derek said, his voice cracking as Stiles pushed his energy outward, then pulled it back in again. He could feel the warmth not only from Derek’s body heat, but from his aura as well, washing over him. “It feels-- I can’t explain it.”

“Does it hurt when I take your energy?” Stiles asked, licking his lips, feeling insecure about this entire magical venture he was forced to take. “When I took it as I fought?”

Derek shook his head, his fingers dragging up and down Stiles’ arm, then up to his cheek. Stiles closed his eyes, wishing there were more behind the touch than there possibly could be.

“It doesn’t hurt,” Derek whispered as he pressed his forehead against Stiles, his breath hot against Stiles’ face. “When I’m a wolf all I want to do is protect you.”

“As opposed to when you’re like this and you just want to throttle me?” Stiles attempted to joke. It fell flat as Derek’s hand slipped back down Stiles’ arm, then around his back, pulling him closer.

“I haven’t wanted to do that for a long time,” Derek admitted, sighing. Stiles liked that he could feel it as Derek exhaled. Derek inhaled deeply, his stubbled cheek rubbing momentarily against Stiles’ cheek before he backed away. Idly, Stiles rubbed Derek’s back as he thought about his life. Everything happened so fast, and now he had Derek in his bed, again. “You should sleep.”

Stiles’ body ached from the fight, and he knew he’d be sore in the morning. Hell, he probably should have taken a pain pill before getting in bed. He wasn’t about to get up, though. Stiles groaned as he felt an odd sensation, a tug at his back where Derek’s hand rested. Stiles’ eyes drooped, his mouth hanging open as he arched his body at the touch, pressing against Derek.

“What’s that?” He asked, panicked as he felt it even more so. He moaned, his fingers digging into Derek’s back. “Is my magic fucking something up?”

“No,” Derek said. “I’m taking your pain away.” Stiles relaxed immediately, letting go of his soreness, the stress of fighting another sorcerer. “You should feel drowsy, ready to sleep.”

“This is awesome,” Stiles mumbled, feeling the after effects. He did feel better, but sleepier. He felt drugged in a way. When the feeling stopped, Stiles’ eyes closed, refusing to open again until he was jolted awake by his bedroom door opening.

Stiles sat up, finding himself alone in his bed and Scott in his room, his face scrunched up. The sun was out, and by the look of it, Derek was gone. Stiles squinted his eyes at Scott, who seemed to be looking him over.

“Dude,” Stiles croaked, not fully awake as Scott lifted his shirt, checking him over. Stiles pushed Scott away. “Whoa, man, boundaries.”

“Derek said you almost died,” Scott pointed out as Stiles got out of bed, searching for something to wear.

“Derek’s being overdramatic.”.

“You didn’t-- there’s a pack meeting downstairs.”

“What?” Stiles asked, clearly confused. “Since when do we have pack meetings?”

“Since you were attacked by someone who has similar powers to you in the forest,” Scott said as he crossed his arms. Stiles was about to change in front of him when he remembered that he wasn’t wearing underwear. He wasn’t going to explain that one, so he walked out into the hallway, turning towards the bathroom.

“Okay, give me like, fifteen,” Stiles said before he shut the bathroom door in Scott’s face. It was a cowardly move, but it was better than facing his best friend whose scrunched up face was because Stiles smelled like Derek.

He may have told Scott about the whole familiar thing but he wasn’t about to explain why Derek was in his bed, or that his sheets smelled like both of them. It was awkward. Stiles hopped in the shower, scrubbing down as quickly as possible. He was covered in small knicks from twigs and forestry, and had a massive bruise on his side from where he landed on the branch. Stiles hissed as he poked at it in the shower.

When he made his way downstairs he stopped dead in his tracks. Pack meeting literally meant that, it seemed, because not only were Derek and Scott there, but his dad, Melissa McCall, Deaton, Kira, Lydia, Cora, and Malia. Literally everyone, damn. Stiles thought about going back up to his room, because all eyes were on him, but he didn’t. Instead, he locked eyes with Derek as he walked to stand by Scott, scratching the back of his neck as he winced. His side was definitely hurting him.

“What’s up, guys?” Stiles asked. His father cleared his throat, grabbing Stiles’ attention as he crossed his arms, lifting an eyebrow.

“Derek told us what happened yesterday,” he said. Stiles sucked in a breath, giving Derek a death glare of doom before exhaling. “I know you don’t like saying when you need help, son, but from the way Scott explained how this pack business works is we help each other out.”

His dad had a point. Also, wow, Scott talked to his dad about pack dynamics, apparently. He missed that. It was then that Stiles looked at the time.

“It’s four?” Stiles asked, his jaw dropping. “I slept until four?”

“No one could wake you,” Derek grumbled. “When I tried, I was thrown back. Your magic repelled me across the room.” Stiles’ eyebrows rose at that, amazed.

“His recovery period must mean a trance like state where, if someone tries to attack him, though he is unconscious, the magic will protect him.”

“Well, that’s probably a good thing,” Stiles pointed out. “Considering I almost--” He stopped that train of thought. He wasn’t about to tell everyone that he almost passed out during his badass sorcerer fight. “Okay, so if Derek told you everything--”

“I didn’t,” Derek said, coming up to stand beside him. “Not everything.”

“What we do know is that there is another sorcerer,” Scott said. “That they have similar powers to you. Could you tell anything about their skills?”

“What? Like, were they more powerful than me?” Stiles asked. Scott looked on, expectantly. “I couldn’t tell, really. I mean, I was able to block them.”

“You could control your powers?” Deaton asked. Stiles shared a glance with Derek. He told everyone about Derek being his familiar, that with him there he was stronger.

“Could you tell if they were male or female?” Lydia asked. “How tall were they?”

“It wasn’t like, hand-to-hand combat, we weren’t close to each other,” Stiles explained. “I never saw under their hood, it was really Sith Lord of them, you know?”

Scott, of course, didn’t get the reference. Stiles really needed to catch Scott up on Star Wars, but that wasn’t the point. The point was Stiles had no idea who he had fought. That reminded him of something else. He crossed his arms, turning towards Derek.

“Speaking of foes, what’s this about hunters in the territory?”

Derek and Scott exchanged looks.

“That was the second order of business,” Scott said before Stiles’ dad interrupted him.

“No, no changing the subject yet. What are we doing about this, this sorcerer who is apparently out to get Stiles?”

Surprisingly, the sheriff looked to Deaton for the answer.

“We can’t do anything, not without knowing who they are,” Deaton pointed out. “I would suggest Stiles not be alone, but if they weren’t swayed with the presence of a werewolf familiar, then I don’t think they would be intimidated by a kitsune or an alpha, either.”

“So what you’re saying is I’m not safe,” Stiles said, his stomach sinking.

“Not quite,” Deaton said with a quirk of his lips. Stiles just about rolled his eyes because of Deaton’s overall vagueness. “I think you’ve shown tremendous promise with your abilities. I think you’re safe, as long as you remain rested and energized.”

“So as long as my powers are working, I’m okay? That’s shit, because most of the time I can’t control them.”

“I thought you said you had control during the fight,” Melissa said, recalling what Stiles said earlier.

“I did during the fight, yeah, but that’s like, adrenaline. If it’s, like, right now I don’t know if I could even do anything at all.”

“Someone make him mad,” Cora suggested with a smirk. Stiles stuck his tongue out at her petulantly. Stiles looked around the room as he sighed, his eyes falling on a glass of water. He tried to lift it out of the glass but nothing happened. Without thinking, Stiles wrapped his hand around Derek’s wrist. As soon as he did, the glass of water froze.

“Interesting,” Deaton said as Stiles dropped his hand, taking a step away from Derek. Last night, he’d liked their odd bond, but in front of the pack it made him feel uneasy. “It’s almost as if he’s your anchor as well as your familiar.”

“Magic needs an anchor?” Scott asked. “I thought it was just for shifting.”

“It’s similar,” Deaton said with a shrug, not explaining further. Stiles had just about enough with him. Emissaries, as a whole, seemed to be the opposite of forthcoming with information.

“Let me get this straight,” the sheriff said. “What you’re telling me is that my son, who is seventeen, has a target on his back and there isn’t anything we can do about it, supernaturally speaking?”

“It appears to be that way, yes,” Deaton said neutrally. The look that his dad got on his face, Stiles knew well. He was about to be grounded. Stiles braced for it, wincing as his father sighed.

“Stiles, I don’t want you getting mixed up in this.You’re grounded.”

“Dad-”

“I don’t mean it maliciously,” he pointed out, holding onto his holster, where his gun was kept. Stiles tried not to make a face, because not once when he’d been grounded had he remained in the house. “But this magic thing, it’s not safe.” His father was looking at the frozen glass of water as if it was an alien as he said it. Stiles took a step back, frowning. His dad didn’t want him on the chessboard, but he was. He wasn’t a human who wasn’t able to protect himself any longer. He had the power to keep himself safe.

“Safety is relative, Dad. We feel safe here, in this house, but it’s just as safe as the preserve. You don’t think that whoever this sorcerer is, that they can’t just waltz right through that door? They can. I’m just as safe here as out in the preserve. I can protect myself, and I can defend. I’m not grounded.”

Everyone was silent as his dad took in his words. He shook his head, his nostrils flaring before he even attempted a rebuttal.

“I don’t like it.”

“You think I do?” Stiles asked. “I didn’t ask for these powers. Scott didn’t ask for the bite, and Lydia definitely didn’t ask to scream as someone’s about to die but we’re all dealing. We defeated the alphas, the nogitsune, hell, even Peter that first time. We can defeat whoever this sorcerer is.”

“Well, alright then,” Melissa said, clapping her hands together once.

“So about these hunters,” Stiles said, not letting it drop. He looked between Scott and Derek.

“They’re from Mexico,” Cora spoke up. “They’re really well known, bigger than the Argents, by the name of Calaveras.”

“They’re the ones who captured Peter and I when we dropped Cora off,” Derek said. Stiles’ eyebrows rose. “We got out.”

“Okay, that’s all fine and good, glad you’re here,” Stiles said clapping Derek on the back. “But what are they doing here? This isn’t really their jurisdiction, if you catch my drift.”

“The Argents changed their code,” Scott whispered. “Allison changed it without consulting them.”

“Do hunters have a hierarchy? A monopoly of some sort? This reeks of corruption to be honest,” Stiles rambled, glad to have the attention off of him for a moment. He found himself leaning towards Derek, their arms brushing against each other as the discussion continued.

Scott sighed.

“Well, since Chris left, the Calaveras decided to make their presence known.”

“So you’re telling me that hostile, kidnapping hunters have replaced the Argents?” Stiles asked. “And you guys were worried about me?”

“They haven’t attacked yet,” Derek pointed out.

“But we know where they are staying,” Scott said. “Kira and I have been scouting around town.”

“Dude,” Stiles said, hurt that he hadn’t been included.

“You’ve been all magicking and stuff,” Scott said, wiggling his fingers at Stiles. “You had a lot on your plate.”

“So these hunters, are they people I need to be on the lookout for?” The sheriff asked.

“Not at the moment, but if they step out of line, we’ll call you before we make a counter move,” Scott assured him. Stiles smiled, proud of his best friend for making a plan that involved the proper channels.

His dad nodded his head in approval.

“So that’s that, then,” Cora said, leaning back on the couch. “Are we ordering pizza?”

-

After his weekend, school felt unnecessary. The periods dragged by, and Stiles couldn’t pay attention to save his life. His body felt better, but he could tell his magic was still drained and he didn’t know how to fix it. He spent his Sunday reading the journal in the bathroom but found nothing that would help him. Whoever owned the journal originally wrote down a lot of gossip. Apparently there were a lot of internal wars between sorcerers based upon greed. Stiles learned that power draining was definitely a thing, and that whoever’s powers he now possessed could have possibly been drained of them. The thought made him sick, that he could have stolen powers and not the powers of some dead but completely willing sorcerer who wanted to preserve his essesnce or someshit.

In English, Ruxandra gave him back his notebook that she borrowed. She sat next to him, which Stiles supposed made sense since she didn’t really know anyone else. He was preoccupied, though, what with rogue sorcerers and militant hunter families, to realize that she was trying to get his attention. Eventually, she threw a note at him. Stiles jumped, snapping out of his daze as he opened the note.

‘Want to grab something to eat when the bell rings?’ She wrote down. Stiles appreciated the offer, but he had lacrosse and journal reading to do, not to mention meditation. He didn’t have time for non-pack business. He looked over at her, shaking his head as he mouthed ‘sorry, I can’t,’ at her. She looked disappointed, her face set in a frown.

When the bell rang, she hung back as he packed his bag.

“I wasn’t really lying,” Stiles told her with a sigh. “I’ve got lacrosse, and on top of that I’m grounded.”

Sort of. He wasn’t really, despite his dad saying he was. It was more the principle of the thing. Stiles never really paid attention when his dad had grounded him in the past.

“What’d you do to get grounded?” She asked. It was a normal question, really, but it put Stiles on edge. He bit his lip, exhaling enough to puff his cheeks out.

“Out past curfew... all weekend.” Sounded legit enough, in Stiles’ mind. “Lacrosse then straight home, them’s the rules.”

Ruxandra seemed down about it, but her smile returned shortly after.

“Maybe I could come over,” she suggested as she reached forward, playing with the straps of Stiles’ backpack. He gulped as he recalled the kiss on the cheek, his face reddening. “We could study together.” He knew exactly what ‘studying together’ meant and as much as he had a thing for redheads, he couldn’t really think about her that way.

“Yeah, maybe,” Stiles said, taking a step back. “I’ve got to get to lacrosse, but raincheck?” He said over his shoulder as he headed towards the door.

It was a weird feeling, knowing that someone liked him and he felt nothing back. That never really happened before, except with Erica. Stiles deflated as he thought about her, but she had Boyd, which also didn’t help lift his mood. As Stiles changed for practice he sat down on the locker room bench, putting his head in his hands. He could tell that Ruxandra was interested in him, but he literally felt nothing in return. His mind was full of banshees, werewolves, hunter families, and sorcerers who were out to get him. He didn’t have time to deal with unrequited feelings.

“You okay?” Scott asked as he placed a hand on Stiles’ shoulder. Stiles looked up, waving Scott off.

“Yeah, man, totally,” Stiles said as he stood up. He pushed his feelings down, plastering a smile on his face as they walked out with the rest of the team.

Stiles found out that he could manipulate the wind in his favor when it came to lacrosse. He felt sort of like an all powerful wizard. Coach seemed to think it was brilliant, Stiles’ sudden ability to score on Danny. Danny wasn’t amused, though.

“What’s up, Stilinski?” Danny asked after Stiles scored on him for the third time during a scrimmage. The coach had just grabbed onto Stiles’ shoulders, shaking him in congratulations as he shouted ‘This is how you play lacrosse!’ over and over. “You on what McCall is now?”

Stiles thought about Jackson, about how he thought Scott was on drugs.

“No, just been practicing,” Stiles said with a smirk, feeling pretty good about himself. His bruised ribs from the fight were smarting him, and the tackling hadn’t helped, but his confidence was lifted by the goals. Danny eyed him, then checked him out.

“Let me know if you want to practice some more,” Danny said with a smile. Stiles lifted his eyebrows. “That offer I gave you last year? Definitely on the table.”

Stiles’ jaw dropped. Danny just implied sex, actually propositioned it. This was a story all about how Stiles’ life got turned upside down. Apparently all he needed to get laid were magical powers, who knew?

Scott clapped Stiles on the back, pulling him close by the neck as they walked back inside, towards the showers.

“Dude, did you just--” Scott wiggled his fingers. Stiles’ guess was that was the new signal for his powers. “--back there?”

“Yeah, definitely. You couldn’t even tell, I was so smooth,” Stiles said, snapping his fingers. He could use a bit of magic on his own, if he didn’t think about it too hard. It was when he thought about it that a block went up.

“Well, be careful,” Scott said, his brow furrowing.

“Says the dude who flashed his eyes and sniffed everyone. I just used some air,” Stiles said, lowering his voice. “I’m a little bit more inconspicuous.” Scott shoved at him playfully.

After their showers, Stiles said bye to Scott who was on his way to Deaton’s to put in a couple of hours. He’d fallen behind, what with all the supernatural shenanigans happening, with his job and he really needed the money. What Stiles didn’t expect was Ruxandra meeting him at his Jeep. She leaned against it with her arms crossed, her hair done up in an intricate braid, wearing a dress that wasn’t weather appropriate in the slightest.

Stiles was cold just looking at her.

As Stiles approached, his eyes narrowed. He thought he’d been clear about that raincheck. He had his keys in his hand, ready to head home as he walked up to her.

“Heya, Rux,” Stiles said in a false lighthearted manner. He was sort of freaked out about the whole her knowing his Jeep thing, not that it wasn’t distinct or anything. “What’s up?”

“Sorry to bug you, but I have no one else to ask,” she said, looking a little pitiful if Stiles was being honest. Stiles shoulders sunk, feeling guilty of being skeptical of her. “But I sort of need a ride home.”

“No problem,” Stiles found himself saying, despite warning signs going off in his mind. She climbed into the car, putting her seatbelt on as Stiles did.

“Thank you so much, I know it’s out of your way--”

“Where do you live?” Stiles asked as he cranked the car. Roscoe was finicky, and he hoped with the weather the Jeep wouldn’t give him trouble.

“Down Seventh,” she said. Stiles turned out of the parking lot, heading towards that end of town, towards the preserve. At a stoplight, as Stiles strummed his fingers idly against his steering wheel, Ruxandra reached out and put her hand on his arm.

Stiles could feel the energy between them crackling, even with the fabric of his hoodie as a buffer. He froze, staring down at her hand. He felt violated as the air thickened in the Jeep, almost suffocatingly so. Stiles looked in his rearview to see the cars behind him waiting for him to go when the light turned. Sweat dripped down his face as he tried to breathe.

“Head into the woods,” Ruxandra said, her voice calm but commanding. When the light turned, Stiles didn’t budge. Her hand went to his exposed wrist, shocking him. Stiles screamed as he hit the accelerator pedal, his body feeling as if it had been struck by lightning. “Next time, do as I say,” she hissed, pulling her hand back.

Stiles gripped the steering wheel tightly, panicking as they drove towards the preserve.

Chapter Text

Stiles had options, he just had to have time to think of them as he sped down the road, leaving what little civilization that Beacon Hills had behind. His head was pointed straight, but he kept glancing at Ruxandra as he drove on, his jaw clenched tight.

“So you’re the sorcerer?” Stiles asked, perturbed.

“Sorceress, Stiles, come on,” she said, giving him a smirk. “And yes.” She glowed, showing off her magic. Stiles rolled his eyes; he had no self-preservation skills.

So, options: there were a few Stiles could go with in the current situation that he found himself in. He could crash the car and hope to survive enough to crawl out unscathed, but that had some major downsides, like possible death and totalling his Jeep. He decided against that option, obviously.

He could go with Ruxandra without a fight and see what she wanted, but that would most likely end in his death, so he didn’t want that either.

The only real option left was to fight her, again, only this time without Derek by his side. Stiles sighed, his body jittery with anticipation as he pulled over, parking the Jeep. As he stepped out, the wind almost knocked him over, chilling him to the bone. His hair was still wet from practice and he wasn’t wearing many layers.

As Ruxandra walked around the Jeep towards Stiles, he made a fireball in his hand. Without thinking, he hurled it at her, pushing the wind in his favor as best he could. She was stronger than he was, having no problems with evading the ball of fire. In the time it took her to deflect, though, Stiles ran.

He leaped over fallen trees, leaving the trails completely as it thundered overhead, his heart beating fast as he reached for his phone. Speed dial one was his father, so he hit that first, trying to keep his speed.

“Stiles?” He heard his dad say, despite not having the phone up to his ear as he ran with it in his hand. Stiles twisted his head, looking behind him as he ran.

“Dad, get Scott, get Derek, I’m in the preserve,” Stiles panted. “Help--” Stiles tripped, not watching where he’d been running, his feet catching on a stray branch. He went down, tumbling down a small hill.

He lost his phone. “Dad, if you can hear me, my Jeep’s off route 27,” Stiles said, scrambling to his feet. “I’m heading east.” With that, Stiles took off, leaving his phone behind. He was completely alone.

There was no sign of Ruxandra, not that Stiles could tell, but he wasn’t putting his guard down. The clouds overhead darkened, even turned a tinge of green as Stiles continued on into a part of the preserve he’d never been in before. He slid his way dangerously down a cliff, his feet landing on roots and loose dirt as he grabbed onto whatever he could to keep upright. He flinched as lightning lit up the sky, gasping as he saw Ruxandra’s form following him down the hillside.

As it started to drizzle, Stiles stuck his hand out towards Ruxandra, his eyes closing as he concentrated on the downward slope. He clenched his fist, pulling his hand towards himself. Beneath him, the ground rumbled, the dirt shifting, giving in. He caused a landslide, making a circle around himself, shielding himself from the debris. Stiles was surrounded by dirt and mud, enough that he had to climb out as he searched for Ruxandra’s body. He couldn’t see it as the rain picked up, unsure if it was he himself causing it or Ruxandra.

With his heart beating out of his chest, Stiles climbed out of the rubble, the way back gone, continuing to head east. He barely took two steps forward when he was flung back towards the landslide, landing on his back as severe pain erupted from his wrist where he was yanked. Stiles craned his neck as he gasped for breath, his eyes widening as he saw what caught him: a whip made of fire. It licked at his skin as she tugged him back, dragging him across the ground as it continued burning him. Stiles screamed in pain as she stepped on his chest, her heel digging into his skin, bruising it as the flames died down. Overhead, thunder rumbled as she moved her heel to Stiles’ throat, pressing down. Stiles’ eyes watered as he tried to push her off of him, his wrist barely functioning due to the pain.

“You’re mine now,” Ruxandra said.

He winced, closing his eyes. Stiles could see the lightning from behind his eyelids as he clenched his jaw, pushing his energy outward into the sky as he screamed. Above him, Ruxandra hissed as she staggered away from him, releasing her heel from his throat.

Stiles felt the rain turn into ice, nicking his face like tiny, sharp razors as he forced himself to sit up. He put his hood on, shielding himself as he held onto his throat, willing the ice shards towards Ruxandra whose arms were covered in enough small cuts that Stiles could see red dripping down her arms and legs as the wind picked up around them, their powers mixing.

Ruxandra dropped to her knees as she screamed, covering her face with her hands. The wind whipped around them, enough that Stiles was moved by it, ice shards cutting his exposed skin as he looked around, his eyes widening when he saw a funnel cloud appear, twisting in the sky in a long, thin whirl of wind and debris.

Stiles ran, panic overtaking him. Ruxandra made a fucking tornado and he felt like he was about to collapse. His legs were like lead, heavy after a hard practice and now this. When Stiles came across a paved road, he stopped running as he bent over enough to place his hands on his knees, catching his breath. He looked both ways, trying to figure out where he was, which way was town. The sun was gone, hidden by their clouds. Stiles could hear the tornado, the sound of it like a freight train, as it neared the area. He took off in a direction, wishing he had the energy to counter her magic.

He didn’t know how long he ran, but he did notice that the rain stopped, along with the sound of the tornado. Ruxandra probably couldn’t keep it going for very long, judging by how much energy it probably took in order to cause such a catastrophe. He kept looking behind him as he began walking, each step becoming slower than the last. With a hand on his throat and the other, injured one, tucked against his chest Stiles tried to stay focused and aware of his surroundings. Cars passed by him, but he didn’t wave them down.

It wasn’t until he heard the sound of a siren, one single loud piercing noise that made him jump, that he allowed himself to collapse to the ground, his adrenaline long since gone. As his father ran towards him, Stiles let himself cry. His sobs were stilted, his voice shot as his father held him close. He tried to say Dad, but no words came out as he pressed his face against his father’s jacket.

“I got you, son, you’re okay,” the sheriff said as he held Stiles in his arms. Stiles laughed, though it came out more like a wheeze. Like his father being there would somehow save him from Ruxandra, if she were to appear suddenly. He wouldn’t be able to, unless he shot her perhaps. Stiles cradled his burnt wrist against his chest as he wondered if he could stop a bullet with the wind or not, if he’d be fast enough. “Tell me what happened,” his father said as he tried to look Stiles over. Stiles opened his mouth, but his throat hurt as nothing came out. He clutched at his throat, tapping it to signify that he couldn’t talk. It felt bruised, tender to the touch.

His father helped him up, putting an arm around him as they walked towards the cruiser. Stiles was soaked through, his face bloodied by his own ice shards, neck already black and blue from Ruxandra’s heel. After he managed to get his seatbelt on, with help from his dad, Stiles examined his wrist. He was in so much pain that he couldn’t stop the tears from falling. Letting out a choking sob, he closed his eyes as he rested his head against the window as his father called Scott.

“Scott, I’ve got him, you and Derek meet me at the hospital.” Stiles flailed his arms around as his father mentioning going to anyone but Deaton with this. Explaining a burn such as his would be difficult under normal conditions, but he was currently unable to say anything at all, let alone a lie. “He’s going to be fine,” his dad said as he looked Stiles over. “We’re going to get him checked out.”

-

Stiles sat in a bed with his wrist wrapped up and his face numb. He’d had to get stitches in a few places, along with an X-ray of his throat. He hated hospitals, and he hated silence even more. He couldn’t fill the void with words, keep everyone occupied with nonsense facts no one actually cared about. There was no escape. Melissa was on duty, thankfully, and that along with his dad accepting his so-called take on what happened for the records, it was all swept under the table.

At least it was until Agent McCall stuck his head in the door. Stiles scooted down on the bed, covering his neck with the thin hospital blanket. Agent McCall walked in, slipping his hands casually into his front pockets as he approached. Stiles was alone in the room, his father left ten minutes prior to fill Deputy Parrish in on what was happening before he clocked out for the evening.

“Stiles,” Agent McCall said as he picked up Stiles’ clipboard, reading over whatever the doctor put on it. “Care to explain how you got third-degree burns wrapped around your wrist like that?” He asked. Stiles clenched his jaw. “Ah, I see you that you can’t, in fact, tell me anything. How... coincidental. I’m sure your father got the full story, though,” he said with a smirk as he put the paperwork back.

Oh, how Stiles wanted to make a snarky remark to him. Agent McCall smiled down at him, as if knowing that all Stiles wanted to do was rip him a new one verbally but couldn’t.

“Good talk, Stiles,” he said as Scott and Derek walked into the room. Scott’s demeanor shifted immediately as his gaze fell upon his father.

“Dad, what are you doing here?” He asked with his brow furrowed.

“Heard your best friend was here,” he said, indicating Stiles. “I wanted to make sure everything was okay.” Scott looked to Stiles, who shrugged as he kept his neck covered, his eyes drifting to Derek. Derek had his hands clenched into fists, his nostrils flaring as he glared at Agent McCall.

“We don’t want you here,” Scott said. “This isn’t your business.”

“Isn’t it?” Agent McCall asked, looking back at Stiles as he took a step towards the door. He leaned towards Scott, whispering loudly into his ear. “I know something is going on in this town, and it has to do with your little group of friends. Stilinski is covering for you guys, and one day you’ll slip up.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Scott said through gritted teeth as his father walked out of the room. As soon as he was gone, Scott was by Stiles’ side. “Dude, are you okay?”

Stiles shrugged, dropping his blanket so Scott could see the damage done.

“Whoa,” Scott said as he reached for Stiles’ throat. Stiles winced even before Scott touched him, closing his eyes. He sighed as he felt the pain ebbing away as Scott soothed him. “Did you find out who it is?”

Stiles’ eyes shot open because he hadn’t even thought about telling his dad, he’d been so out of it and wheeled around and stuck with things and he hadn’t--

“Stiles, you need to calm down,” Derek said, now standing on the other side of the bed, slipping his hand in Stiles’, their fingers intertwining. At the contact, Stiles shuddered, his energy pulsing between them, Derek’s sending warmth and taking even more pain away. Stiles’ heartbeat slowed, despite his panic. “Do you know who the other sorcerer is?”

Stiles nodded his head, freeing his hand from Derek’s long enough to gesture writing. Scott looked around the room for something for Stiles to write with as Stiles took Derek’s hand in his, squeezing it for reassurance. Derek looked down at their hands, a small smile appearing across his lips before it faded as Scott returned with a small white dry-erase board and marker from the wall.

He didn’t want to let go of Derek’s hand, but he was in no way ambidextrous, so he had to. Surprisingly, Derek kept his hand close by, resting it on Stiles’ thigh as Stiles wrote down the name ‘Ruxandra’. As Scott looked at the white board, Stiles looked up at Derek, whose face showed everything that Stiles felt. Betrayal of his own senses. Stiles prided himself on being able to point out people they shouldn’t trust, and there he had been, pushing the warning signs aside.

He hadn’t even suspected her. Stiles dropped the marker, covering his eyes with his hand as Derek took his other one once more, squeezing it.

“It’s not your fault,” Scott said. “We didn’t know.” Only they had known: both of them stated that she’d smelled wrong. Even his magic had warned him about it. He should have listened to his magic, he needed to trust it completely.

“Stiles,” Derek said, his fingers sliding up and down Stiles’ arm soothingly. Stiles peeked at Derek from between his fingers, his face set in a frown. He felt vulnerable, weak next to Derek and Scott. He couldn’t even talk. Stiles sniffled, then sighed as he dropped his hand. “We’ll find her.”

“No,” Stiles rasped, his voice barely there. It hurt, and he held onto his throat as he winced afterward. He held on to Derek’s hand, pulling it closer to him. He shook his head vigorously. Derek and Scott couldn’t go after her alone, they’d die.

“We can’t,” Scott said, the apparent voice of reason. Stiles relaxed, falling back against the bed, his head hitting the pillow. He still had Derek’s hand in his, up against his chest. Derek didn’t seem to mind it, but Scott was looking at it like their hands were on fire. “She’s going to know we know, and what with her powers... who knows what she could do.”

“So then, what? We just sit here and wait for her to attack him while he’s injured?” Derek asked, his voice rigid, his brow drawn downwards.

“No one is attacking anyone,” the sheriff said as he walked into the room. Stiles sat up, letting his and Derek’s hands fall to his lap when he watched his dad enter. He was in plain clothes, and he had a take out bag in his hand from Stiles’ favorite burger joint. “Boys, I’d like some time alone with my son.”

“Sure thing,” Scott said, giving Stiles one last look before heading towards the door. “We won’t make a move,” Scott assured him.

Derek untangled his fingers from Stiles’ hand while Stiles watched him stand. The beeping of his heart rate could be heard by everyone in the room, thanks to the monitor. Stiles made it stop by slipping the gage off his finger, his face red as his father cleared his throat.

“Thank you for stopping by, I’ve got him,” the sheriff told Derek, who only nodded before heading for the door. Stiles didn’t want him to leave. “He’s not going anywhere,” his dad said as he sat down in Derek’s chair, pulling the food out of the bag. “He hasn’t left since I brought you in here yesterday.”

Stiles’ eyebrows rose as he mouthed ‘yesterday?’. His father nodded his head as he unwrapped a burger for himself. Stiles knew he should swat it out of his hand, but he could only imagine how stressed he’s probably been. If it was between a burger and whiskey, Stiles would rather his father have the burger. Stiles searched the bag, grinning when he found the fries. He stuck a few in his mouth, chewing them until he was ready to swallow. It definitely hurt, but he wasn’t passing up fries.

“So the doctor tells me you were dehydrated and almost to the brink of passing out from exhaustion,” the sheriff said conversationally, “on top of the third degree burns, and the fact that your larynx is badly bruised. I’m assuming it’s the magic?” Stiles nodded his head, picking up the whiteboard, erasing Ruxandra’s name so he could write something else down on it.

‘Magic drains energy,’ Stiles wrote down. ‘Without Derek I couldn’t do more.’

“Ah, about that,” the sheriff said, looking towards the door conspiratorily before he turned back towards Stiles and leaned in. “Don’t think I didn’t see you two holding hands.”

‘It’s not like that,’ Stiles wrote, underlining the word that three times. ‘He’s my familiar.’

“You keep tossing that word around,” the sheriff said, taking one of Stiles’ fries. “But what I think you’re searching for is that he’s your boyfriend.”

Stiles spit his fries everywhere, half chewed, onto the blanket in front of him. If he could talk, he’d be word vomiting everywhere. Derek doesn’t think of him like that, wouldn’t, actually. Stiles sat there with his mouth hanging open as his father laughed at him.

“You’re a keeper,” he joked. Stiles made a face at him as he shoved more fries into his mouth.

-

Stiles thought that he’d feel weird the next time he saw Derek because of his father’s revelation, but thankfully he was wrong. It was the day after he’d been released from the hospital, when Stiles walked out to his Jeep after school with Scott in tow. Derek was there, leaning against his jeep in his leather jacket and aviators, his hands in his pockets as he waited. Stiles smiled to himself as he and Scott walked up to it.

“Shouldn’t you not be loitering in school parking lots?” Stiles asked. He could tell that Derek rolled his eyes at him, but his amusement was caught by a simple upward turn of the corner of his mouth.

“Shouldn’t you be taking it easy?” Derek retorted. Stiles jiggled his keys in his hand as he looked at Scott, his finger pointing at Derek.

“Are you hearing this?” Stiles asked Scott. “Have I not been ‘taking it easy’?” It was better this way, being petulant and snarky instead of showing his feelings. He didn’t want to make Derek uncomfortable, even if his dad had spoken the truth about how he felt, or was beginning to feel about Derek.

“He’s been doing good,” Scott said earnestly. “He’s been drinking Gatorade,” Scott said, counting off on his fingers, “been ordered to not go to lacrosse practice, no running, no using his powers-”

“See, I’m doing good,” Stiles said, biting his lip as Derek stood up straighter, crossing his arms as he looked at Stiles over his sunglasses. “What?”

“You’ve used your powers,” Derek stated. Stiles narrowed his eyes at Derek, crossing his own arms.

“You don’t know that,” Stiles said, jutting his chin out in defiance. “You can’t tell.”

“Yes I can,” Derek stated. Stiles looked to Scott.

“Does my magic have a scent or some shit?” Stiles asked him. Scott shrugged as Stiles looked back to Derek, poking him in the chest. “You can’t smell it.”

“Yes,” Derek said, pushing Stiles’ finger away from him. “I can.”

“Prove it,” Stiles said, goading him. Derek let out a visible sigh, his shoulders rising then falling, his lips pursed. Stiles grinned; he liked getting under Derek’s skin.

“I felt it,” Derek said eventually, looking at Stiles and only Stiles. “I can feel... you.”

“Whoa, okay,” Scott said, waving a hand. “That’s TMI for me, and my cue to get to work. I’ll see you later?” Scott asked Stiles. Stiles fist bumped him before he left, leaving Stiles alone with Derek. Stiles could feel his heart racing, threatening to beat out of his chest.

“What do you mean you can feel it?” Stiles hissed, his voice low so people who were walking by them couldn’t eavesdrop.

“I mean I’m connected to you,” Derek said, his hand reaching out for Stiles’ chest, palm pressing over Stiles’ heart. “And earlier you used magic.”

“It wasn’t a lot,” Stiles murmured, confessing.

“Stiles,” Derek warned.

“Don’t mother me,” Stiles said, taking a step back from Derek, his hand falling away between them. “I don’t need--”

He was going to say that he didn’t need Derek’s help, but he did. He needed him if he was going to defeat Ruxandra and that hurt. He didn’t like using Derek as a crutch. Derek, too, looked pained.

“I’m sorry my subconscious dragged you into this mess, I know you didn’t want it.”

“Can we not talk about this here?” Derek asked.

“Okay,” Stiles said, sighing. “I need to sit down somewhere.” He was still exhausted from the amount of energy he expelled, and using the little spark he had earlier all but sapped what small amount he had in him.

All he wanted to do was test his magic, to see if it was still there since he couldn’t feel it like he could before.

“I’ll drive,” Derek offered, holding his hand out for Stiles’ keys.

“What about your car?” Stiles asked, looking around. He didn’t see it anywhere.

“Cora has it,” Derek said as Stiles gave in, allowing Derek to drive it.

“What’s she up to?” Stiles asked as he went around to the passenger side. Normally he wouldn’t let anyone else drive his Jeep, but he didn’t feel his best so he gave in easily.

“She’s... furniture shopping.”

“What now?” Stiles asked, his eyebrows raised as Derek climbed into the Jeep.

“We... moved.”

“No shit? No more bachelor pad loft?” Derek didn’t even make a comment at Stiles’ quip as they drove towards Stiles’ house. “So where’d you move to? Apartment? Townhome? House?”

“We got a house,” Derek said casually as if it meant nothing that he was putting down new roots in Beacon Hills. That he wasn’t planning on leaving again. “It’s in Scott’s neighborhood, actually.”

“Near the alpha,” Stiles said as he nodded his head.

“Yeah,” Derek said, giving Stiles a look. “Exactly.”

When they got to Stiles’, his father’s car was parked in the driveway. Stiles hesitated before walking towards the front door. He wanted to warn Derek about his father’s assumptions, but at the same time he wanted Derek to remain in the dark about it. He didn’t even know how to broach the subject.

Derek, of course, noticed Stiles’ hesitance.

“What’s wrong?” Derek asked, handing Stiles back his keys. Stiles looked down at them in his hands as he shrugged one shoulder, his eyes squinting in the daylight as he looked at his house.

“My dad thinks we’re dating,” Stiles blurted out, ripping the proverbial band-aid off. Derek didn’t say a word as Stiles turned to look at him. Stiles expected Derek to scoff or roll his eyes, be perturbed, at least, about the assumption that Derek would stoop so low as to date Stiles Stilinski, high school junior.

Derek’s silence was deafening, actually. Stiles swallowed as he waited for a response. When he didn’t get one, he snapped his fingers in front of Derek’s face.

“Hey, dude, what’s going on in there?” Stiles asked.

“He-- what?” Derek asked.

“Don’t make me say it again,” Stiles said. “I just wanted to tell you before you walked in and he gave you some sort of sex talk.”

“He-- he doesn’t need to--”

“Yeah, well, he might,” Stiles grumbled as he ascended the stairs. “Come on, I need to lay down.”

Derek followed him inside where, of course, his father was waiting for them.

“Derek, you staying for dinner?” He asked. Derek looked to Stiles, his sunglasses now off and tucked in the vee of his shirt.

“If Stiles--”

“Yeah,” Stiles said, clapping his hands together once. “Sure, why not. This isn’t awkward enough already.”

“Good,” his dad said. “I’m making steak. How do you like yours, rare?”

Dad,” Stiles groaned as he smacked himself in the face. Derek laughed, though, as he answered.

“Medium rare, actually.”

“Got it,” his dad said, heading into the kitchen. They were halfway up the stairs when his dad shouted, “Keep the door cracked open!” Stiles blanched, his face then reddening as they entered his room. He did as his dad asked, though, leaving it ajar.

He felt like he could cut the tension in the room with a butter knife.

“You weren’t lying,” Derek said as he shrugged off his jacket, draping it over Stiles’ desk chair.

“You would have been able to tell,” Stiles pointed out.

“You’d be surprised, actually,” Derek admitted. “At how good you are at lying.”

“You shouldn’t tell me these things,” Stiles said with a small grin, forgetting for a moment what they were talking about.

“So how are you really?” Derek asked. Stiles sat down on the floor, taking off his shoes as he crossed his legs. Derek joined him in sitting, even removing his shoes, which Stiles found really fucking adorable. Derek’s socks didn’t match, which made it even better. They sat facing each other, like they had when they meditated together in the woods, their hands on their knees, mirroring each other.

“I’m--” Stiles took a deep breath, his eyes closing as he tried to reach for his magic. “Weak.”

“You’re not weak,” Derek grumbled, his hand reaching out and finding Stiles’ wrist, his uninjured one. Derek’s touch sparked something within him, opening the floodgates to his powers. “You drained yourself.” Stiles could feel Derek taking his pain away, too, from the burn along with a tension headache he’d held all day in school. Stiles leaned forward, practically laying his head down on Derek’s knee. Derek’s hand slid from Stiles’ wrist to the back of his neck, resting it there as Stiles put his head in Derek’s lap. He maneuvered himself so that he was in child’s pose, his knees tucked up against his chest. Derek’s hand spread across Stiles’ upper back, beneath the fabric of his shirt.

Stiles breathed in and out, feeling everything that Derek offered him. He was wrapped in warmth, the room felt brighter around him. Somehow, their tension dissipated with the silence, like they both needed to be close to one another. Stiles wanted to say something, but he didn’t want to ruin the moment, not when Derek placed his other hand in Stiles’ hair, raking through it gently.

Well, Stiles didn’t do anything until he realized how close he was to Derek’s dick. He stiffened, his body pulling away. He sat up, Derek’s hands in the air, his face questioning as Stiles’ chest heaved. He had his face in Derek’s lap and Derek had been playing with his hair.

“What are we doing?” Stiles asked.

“We’re--”

“Boys! Dinner!” His dad called out from the stairwell. Stiles would curse his father’s timing, but he didn’t have time before Derek was helping him to his feet. Stiles adjusted himself before they made their way downstairs, a natural reaction to what had just transpired. He didn’t want to think about the fact that Derek could probably smell it on him. This entire situation was weirding him out.

Dinner was weirder, by a lot. Steamed vegetables and steak, with a side of awkward parent who poured Derek a drink even though he hadn’t asked for one. Stiles sort of wanted one himself, for the courage to get through whatever his dad was about to talk about.

“You are aware of Stiles’ age, correct?” His dad asked Derek, who was mid-bite. Stiles chewed his broccoli in silence, avoiding Derek’s gaze as his father waited for an answer.

“I am,” Derek said, taking a sip of the proffered drink.

“Well, there’s that,” his dad said, tipping his drink towards Derek before taking his own sip. Stiles wanted to die or stick his head in a hole somewhere. He kept his head down, deciding that instigating something wasn’t a good idea. He wasn’t usually one for self-preservation, but he had to pick his battles.

Stiles did the dishes, just to keep from having the inevitable conversation with Derek about this entire mess. He barely had a chance to think about his own feelings, which were a jumble, about Derek before now. Somewhere in the back of his mind, yes, he thought Derek was attractive, but there hadn’t ever been the time what with Peter being a psycho alpha on the loose, Jackson becoming a giant lizard, his English teacher boning Derek and being an evil Druid, then the whole possession thing. He didn’t have the time to think about the simple teenage issue of ‘check these boxes of what you find attractive: dicks, vaginas, dicks and vaginas’. Stiles was definitely on the side of ‘all of the above’, but looking and not touching was definitely different than Derek being within reach. Possibly. There was still definitely a chance that Derek didn’t want to be up in Stiles’ grill, which was fine.

He kept telling himself, as he dried the plates slowly as possible, that he would be okay if Derek turned him down. Not that he was going to lay himself out there or anything. There would be no laying out of anything, except for the fact that Stiles had, in fact, just had his head in Derek’s lap for an indescribable amount of time.

“I think those are clean enough,” his dad said, making Stiles jump. “I got the rest.” His dad took the dish towel from him, giving him a knowing look. “I said what I did for a reason, you know.”

“Because your entire point in life is embarrassing me,” Stiles said as low as he possibly could. Damn werewolf hearing.

“No, well, yes, but this isn’t about embarrassment. I want you to be safe--” Stiles was about to interrupt but his father pointed a finger at him. “I want you safe from that-- that girl. Yes, Scott told me, and yes I’m mad it wasn’t you but that’s not the point. The point is, is I know having him here is another way of protecting you because I can’t be there, here, for you one hundred percent of the time. But that doesn’t mean that I think it’s wise that you’re seeing someone who would have already graduated from college.”

“Derek isn’t in college,” Stiles pointed out, unhelpfully.

“Not the point.”

“Right.”

They stood there for a moment awkwardly before Stiles headed upstairs without another word. Derek was in his room, staring at one of Stiles’ bookshelves, avoiding his gaze.

“I’m sorry,” Stiles said as he shut the door this time. He needed the privacy.

“Nothing to be sorry about, he’s worried about you.”

Stiles scratched at his bandaged wrist where it itched, his shoulders hunched as he sat on his bed. Stiles groaned as he bent over, covering his face with his hands. He didn’t talk about feelings, not with Scott, not with his dad. Feelings were different than telling Scott about a five-year, even a ten-year plan with Lydia. That was never going to happen and he had been fully aware of that. She was unattainable and that had been the entire point. Derek was different. He was standing right in front of him and he... he could break Stiles’ heart.

Stiles held his breath at the realization, the gravity of the situation. He panicked, not wanting to face the fact that he had feelings for Derek.

“Hey,” Derek said as Stiles opened his eyes. Derek knelt in front of him, taking Stiles’ hands in his own. “Why are you so worried?” Stiles laughed as he looked down at Derek’s hands in his own.

“I don’t talk about feelings,” Stiles confessed. Derek cracked a smile, giving Stiles a half-assed eye roll.

“And you think I do?”

“Point taken,” Stiles said lightheartedly as he possibly could.

“Your dad’s right,” Derek said, looking down at their hands. “About your age.”

“Age is just a number,” Stiles supplied, his eyes meeting Derek’s.

“You know how old I was when Kate used me to kill my family, right?” Derek asked him. Stiles nodded solemnly. He had been Stiles’ age, or somewhere close to it. “So age has a lot to do with everything.”

“You’re not Kate.”

“I know that,” Derek said, sighing. “And I didn’t -- I didn’t ever expect anything like this to happen to us.”

“Like the bond?” Stiles asked. Derek nodded at him. “But that was me, I did that to you.”

Stiles couldn’t read the expression on Derek’s face at all; his stoicism was impenetrable. Stiles could feel the bond, even now, connecting them.

“I didn’t know it was you, at first, that made me change, but I don’t think that if I hadn’t wanted this, it would have still bonded us together.” Derek wasn’t looking at him again, but down at their hands.

“You wanted this?” Stiles asked, his eyes wide.

“Not necessarily the whole familiar thing,” Derek admitted with a smirk. “But yeah, you. I wanted you.” Stiles felt a little slow on the uptake, because he couldn’t quite wrap his mind around the fact that Derek said he wanted Stiles.

Stiles lifted his eyebrows as he looked at Derek’s lips, leaning forward, instigating a kiss. Derek’s eyes closed as his lips brushed across Stiles’ tentatively, their mouths opening as Derek cupped Stiles’ face with his hands, cradling his head as his tongue swept into Stiles’ mouth. Stiles moaned, unable to stop himself as his hands mirrored Derek’s, his thumbs catching on Derek’s stubble as the kiss continued.

When it ended, they sat there, their foreheads pressed together as they breathed, their eyes closed as they held onto each other. Stiles licked his lips before he kissed Derek again. Derek kissed him back, sucking on Stiles’ bottom lip languidly, without haste. It felt right, somehow, like their bodies simply slotted together. It didn’t feel like anyone else Stiles had kissed. Those had been fleeting, spur of the moment. They hadn’t meant anything.

This had meaning behind it, heavy as Stiles’ tongue begged entrance into Derek’s mouth. Derek’s mouth opened for him, the kiss deepening, a sense of urgency rushing over Stiles as he pulled Derek even closer. Something ignited deep within him as Derek’s hands slid down Stiles’ back. Derek was still on his knees in front of the bed, his head tilted upward in order to kiss Stiles. Stiles’ fingers carded through Derek’s hair as Derek slipped a hand beneath Stiles’ shirt, placing a palm against his bare back. Stiles arched his back against the touch, groaning as Derek’s mouth trailed downward, leaving his mouth to leave a line of kisses down Stiles’ neck, his nose brushing against his skin before he licked and sucked.

Derek shifted, getting off his knees as he pressed Stiles down against the bed, onto his back, as he crawled on top of him. Stiles looked up at Derek, his head tilted as he watched Derek’s heavy gaze on him as Derek’s hands lifted Stiles’ shirt, exposing his stomach and the strip of hair that went from his belly button down, disappearing beneath his jeans. Stiles grunted as Derek brushed his fingers across the area, his hips bucking upward as he sought friction. Instead of his hand continuing south, Derek bent over, kissing Stiles again.

“Your dad was serious,” Derek said, his lips against Stiles’. Stiles whimpered at the mention of his dad, killing his boner a little bit. Derek laughed like he knew. Stiles kissed Derek again, his own hands searching for the hem of Derek’s shirt, his fingers touching Derek’s bare skin. Stiles’ spark pulsed beneath his skin. Moaning, Stiles’ entire body shook as Derek dragged his hands down Stiles’ body, to his thighs where he wrapped Stiles’ legs around him, his entire body weight pressing Stiles against the bed.

“Don’t talk about my dad when you’re on top of me,” Stiles said as Derek mouthed as his neck once more, his hands caressing Stiles’ thighs. He was throbbing painfully against his jeans as Derek sucked and marked his neck, his entire body buzzing with energy and endorphins. He was making out with Derek fucking Hale and he didn’t know what to do with himself.

“Noted,” Derek said eventually, his stubble rubbing against Stiles’ exposed skin. Stiles’ eyes shot open as he tugged at Derek’s shirt.

“Are you-- are you scent marking me?” Stiles asked, his voice cracking. Derek licked his neck again, not answering. “Dude, isn’t that like, serious?”

That got Derek’s attention, his eyes flashing blue as he pushed himself up enough that he could look Stiles in the eyes. Stiles flushed at how Derek looked, his hair a mess, his pupils blown so barely any blue shown, lips red and swollen.

Derek sat up, rolling off of Stiles, shaking his head.

Stiles sat up too, not knowing what he did wrong as he watched Derek cover his eyes with a hand.

“I’m sorry,” Derek said, dropping his hand. Stiles’ brow drew downwards in confusion as he shook his head.

“No, what? Why are you sorry?”

“I assumed-- I’d wanted to do that for so long and I shouldn’t just mark you.”

“Hey, wow, no. I didn’t say I didn’t want it,” Stiles said, placing a hand on Derek’s thigh, his nails catching on the fabric. “I just wasn’t sure what was happening. Werewolf makeouts aren’t something Scott and I ever did, so...” Stiles grimaced at the face that Derek made at the mention of Scott. “This doesn’t negate, like, pack standing does it?”

“I’m not really in Scott’s pack,” Derek said, scratching the back of his neck. His cheeks were flushed. “We were working up to it, but I don’t want to encroach-- I should have asked him first.” Stiles’ eyes widened at the implication that he needed permission from Scott.

“Dude, Scott isn’t the holder of my virtue or whatever,” Stiles laughed. “That would be fucking weird, for one. Two, I can kiss who I want.” Just to prove it, Stiles leaned in, kissing Derek again. “Three, he already knows something’s sort of up, so. Scent me all you want.”

Derek groaned, his lips brushing Stiles’ before bypassing them completely in order to bury his face against Stiles’ neck. Stiles smiled as he wrapped his arms around Derek’s body, a hand resting on the back of Derek’s neck as they sat there with Derek slowly rubbing his face against Stiles’ already stubble-burned skin.



art by geeky sova

Chapter Text

Ruxandra didn’t show back up at school, which wasn’t the only thing that Stiles found odd about the entire situation. None of his teachers seemed to notice a missing student, as if she hadn’t ever walked through the halls at all. After a few days, he was able to take his bandages off. His burns were scarring, which the doctor told him would happen. They were still sensitive to the touch, but with Scott and Derek’s werewolf pain-leeching mojo it wasn’t so bad.

Scott, though, made a face when Stiles showed up at school after he and Derek had made out.

“Dude,” Scott said, his face pinched. “What happened to your neck? You look like you got mauled--” Scott leaned in, sniffing him.

“Hey, wow, we talked about the sniffing thing,” Stiles said, pushing Scott’s face away as he laughed. “Personal space, Scotty.”

“You smell like Derek.”

“We talked about that, too. He’s my familiar, we're sort of bonded now.”

“Yeah, I know that,” Scott said, poking one of Stiles’ hickeys. Stiles swatted Scott’s hand away, then covered his neck up. “But I didn’t know that it meant he’d maul you with his mouth.”

“Me neither, but hey,” Stiles said, his cheeks red. “You don’t mind, right? I mean, he said something about asking--”

“Asking?” Scott asked, his brow furrowed.

“Because you’re the alpha,” Stiles pointed out. “And apparently I’m pack and he isn’t, or something about pack politics.” Stiles’ hands were waving around as they walked towards class together. “He wanted to ask permission but I told him I didn’t belong to anyone, you know?”

“Yeah,” Scott said, his voice distant.

“Right, though? I mean--”

“So he scent marked you?” Scott asked, looking at Stiles’ neck again.

“Yeah,” Stiles said, fidgeting with his shirt collar. Scott broke out into a massive, dopey grin. “What’s that look for?”

“You guys are hilarious.”

“What? Shut up,” Stiles said, shoving at Scott.

“He basically wrote ‘mine’ all over you,” Scott said. “I’d have to rub all up on you to cover it.” It was Stiles’ turn to make a face. “I mean, I’m not gonna do that. It just means he doesn’t want other people touching you.”

“But you’re my alpha,” Stiles pointed out.

“You’re pack, but you’re human too,” Scott said with a shrug.

“Well what if Derek was pack?” Stiles asked, broaching the subject. “I mean, there’s Cora, too, and they were at the pack meeting. I don’t know, I feel like being one unified pack would help.”

“Yeah,” Scott said as he thought. “We’d have to talk about it. I don’t think Derek wants to be in my pack.”

“You won’t know unless you ask,” Stiles said as they sat down in their seats as the bell rang.

-

To christen their new house, Derek and Cora had a party. It wasn’t so much a party as a gathering. The pack was invited, which solidified Stiles’ stance on Derek wanting to be part of it. It was a nice three-bedroom, two-story house with a great backyard, an enclosed patio area with a fireplace, and a massive deck. It was perfect for grilling in the summer, and Stiles found himself wishing it were warmer out. As it was, Derek had a fire going out on the patio while most of the party took place inside. It was a potluck, and Stiles brought a pasta salad because he wasn’t really much of a cook.

It was Friday night, and Stiles hadn’t really seen Derek since earlier in the week, when they were in his room. The thought of it made him flush as he stood in the kitchen, a soda in his hand as he talked with Cora and Lydia. Derek was nearby, but kept himself busy by prepping the food.

Cora noticed Stiles checking Derek out, her smirk apparent as she took a sip of her own drink. She eyed Stiles’ fading mouth shaped bruises and the stubble burn, exchanging a look with Lydia.

“How’s the spark doing?” Cora asked, tilting her head.

“It’s getting there,” Stiles admitted. “I really need to figure out a way to not expel so much energy at once.”

“Or to amplify what you have,” Lydia pointed out.

“Have you and Derek tried meditating more?” Cora asked innocently. Or, Stiles thought she meant it innocently until he noticed Derek’s back tense. Stiles’ mouth twitched, unsure how to broach the subject. He and Derek hadn’t really talked afterward.

“No, not since-- no we haven’t.”

“Hmm,” Cora said shrugging as she walked off towards the back deck. Lydia mingled, joining Kira and Scott who were in the living room, leaving Stiles alone in the kitchen with Derek. Stiles leaned against the counter, watching him for a minute or two before offering to help.

“I don’t need any,” Derek said as he licked his thumb, which had a bit of sauce on it from the stir fried vegetables he made. Stiles watched as he licked it, sucking on his thumb momentarily before taking the spatula in hand, stirring the vegetables.

“So about this weekend,” Stiles ventured to say, looking down at the floor instead of at Derek. “Do you have any plans?”

“Do you want to hang out, Stiles?” Derek asked point blank. Stiles looked up to see Derek’s sharp gaze on him, amusement in his eyes. Stiles nodded his head, the corner of his mouth lifting tentatively. “We can do that.”

“I want to do bond stuff,” Stiles mumbled. “But not like, only that.” God, he was embarrassing. He shouldn’t be allowed to talk to people. Derek laughed, but nodded his head.

“Bond stuff.”

“Not like the movie,” Stiles quipped. “But you in a tux would be awesome.”

“I’m not wearing a tux,” Derek grumbled as he checked the oven. He made ribs, and they smelled amazing as Stiles watched him pull them out of the oven.

Dinner was self-serve, and Stiles ate way too much. His dad, too, showed up after his shift ended and helped himself to whatever he wished, despite the death glares Stiles sent his way when he got seconds of everything but the vegetables. Typical.

Stiles groaned as he patted his stomach. They were all seated out on the patio, in comfy outdoor furniture with squishy cushions. Stiles was sprawled out across a chaise lounge with Derek leaning back on it. Stiles’ head was on Derek’s foot, somehow, but he didn’t care as he continued patting his belly.

“There’s pie, too,” Cora said from a hanging chair. Stiles wanted in that chair, immediately. He’d wait until she was out of it, though. He was patient.

“Oh god, pie,” Scott called out from a papasan chair that he shared with Kira. No one made a move, apparently too full to go get any. Melissa and the Stiles' dad left some time ago, leaving them all there in almost silence, the crackle of the fire filling it.

“This is a nice house,” Kira said.

“It has a nice energy to it,” Lydia added with a smile. Both Derek and Cora nodded their heads, agreeing.

“It’s a good start,” Cora said as she started braiding her hair.

“We should do pack things,” Scott suggested. “You know, together. I feel like we should.”

“Like what?” Cora asked.

“Like movie nights,” Stiles said with a yawn. He reached back without thinking, tugging on Derek’s jeans. “You need a big screen TV.”

“We don’t need one,” Cora said, rolling her eyes.

“What do you mean?” Stiles asked. “I saw that living room, there’s nothing there.”

“Because we have a projector,” Cora snorted. “It takes up the entire wall.”

“Badass,” Scott whispered, his eyes wide. Stiles grinned to himself as he watched the fire die down. Having Scott talk about pack with Cora and Derek included made him feel warm inside, like everything was slotting into place.

“You can use our house for whatever you want,” Derek said eventually, his voice soft. Stiles turned his head towards Derek, the grin still on his face. Derek had his palm turned upward, dangling from where it rested on his thigh. Stiles reached out, linking their fingers together. It was dark on the patio, but Stiles knew any of the wolves would be able to see them. He didn’t care.

Derek’s eyes reflected in the dark as the fire crackled, piercing blue appearing then flickering back to normal within the blink of an eye.

They stayed out there until the cold got to be too much, even for the werewolves. Once inside, no one was really in any hurry to leave, so Cora set up a movie, American Psycho, and everyone made themselves comfortable. Stiles took over the floor, grabbing a throw pillow from one of the couches. Derek, too, sat on the floor with his back against the couch, legs spread out in front of him as Stiles lay beside him.

Stiles loved American Psycho, actually. He thought it was hilarious, though he hadn’t seen it since everything went down with werewolves. His life was unrecognizable now versus sophomore year when all he had to worry about was to be noticed by Lydia and if he’d jacked off too much comparably to Scott. Stiles snorted to himself as he thought about how times had definitely changed. He looked up to find Derek looking down at him, his eyebrows doing that thing they did. Stiles gave Derek an upside down lopsided grin.

Derek did the same, his gaze returning to the movie as his hand found Stiles’ head, his fingers carding through Stiles’ hair. Stiles looked up at Derek, but he wasn’t paying attention. No, it wasn’t that, he was being inconspicuous. Stiles decided that two could play at that game. He let Derek play with his hair for a while before he got up, heading to the bathroom. He had the beginnings of a hard on, thanks to Derek touching him. He willed it to go away by thinking about the fact that he was in a room full of werewolves who just so happened to be his best friend and Derek’s little sister. It worked.

When he returned he decided to make his move. Instead of returning to his place next to Derek, Stiles kicked at Derek’s out stretched leg. Derek looked up at him, his eyebrow arched as he spread his legs for Stiles. Stiles grinned as he sat between them, grabbing his pillow and placing it right in Derek’s lap.

Oh yeah, he was stealthy as fuck.

He laid down between Derek’s legs, concentrating on Patrick Bateman trying to get a reservation at the Dorsia for a moment before Derek’s fingers were carding through Stiles’ hair once more. It felt nice, calming even, to have Derek touch him so casually. Stiles looked up at him, surprised to see that Derek wasn’t, in fact, watching the movie but him instead. Stiles bit his bottom lip in order to hide his smile.

His heart was beating faster as he began to play with Derek’s pant leg, his fingers pinching at the fabric near Derek’s ankle. He was in socks again; for some reason it made Stiles think of comfort. He liked to think about Derek being comfortable. It was an odd notion as Derek massaged Stiles’ head, his hands sliding down the back of Stiles’ neck, thumbs digging into his shoulders before making the same motion again.

Stiles let out an accidental groan as Derek hit a sensitive spot in his neck, his mouth shutting automatically to attempt to keep it a secret. Derek laughed, his shoulders shaking as his grip on Stiles’ loosened. No one said a word, but it was probably noticeable that something had been going on. Not that it had been sexual because it hadn’t been, though Stiles’ dick hadn’t gotten that memo.

Stiles, not so subtly, covered his bulge with his shirt as he paid attention to the movie. At some point, Stiles fell asleep because the next thing he knew, everyone was shuffling around and stretching, saying their goodbyes. He didn’t move, and neither did Derek as Scott waved goodnight, kicking Stiles in the foot before he made his way towards the door.

As soon as the door shut, Derek had his hands on Stiles once more, this time its intent completely different than when surrounded by the pack. His hands cupped Stiles’ face, though upside down as Stiles slid his hands up and down Derek’s legs.

“Hey,” Stiles said. Derek rolled his eyes before leaning over, brushing his nose against Stiles’ before kissing him.

“Hey,” he said before straightening back up.

“Hey, Der, you’re on clean up,” Cora shouted from the stairs. Stiles had completely forgotten about her.

“Yeah,” Derek said, knowing she would be able to hear him. That meant that Cora shouted for Stiles’ benefit alone. Stiles could hear a door shut upstairs, but he knew she’d be able to hear them.

“What did you do?” Stiles asked. “Before, if you--”

“We couldn’t really hide much,” Derek admitted. “I got really good at being quiet.” Stiles cheeks flushed when he thought about a teenage Derek jacking off, being as quiet as possible. “There wasn’t much we could keep from our family.” Derek sounded sad, distant, for a moment before he bent over, kissing Stiles again. “What do you want to do?”

“Uh,” Stiles said, not sure what his options were. He wanted to kiss more, make out. He wanted to continue in the direction that they had been going in. “Is Cora really going to make you clean up everything?”

“Yeah,” Derek said. “Why, you offering?”

So instead of making out on the couch, Stiles helped Derek clean the mess they had made of their brand new kitchen. Apparently the gathering had officially christened it, which Stiles found to be endearing, that Derek and Cora waited for company.

Stiles had his hands elbow deep in the sink when Derek wrapped his arms around Stiles’ waist, burying his face against Stiles’ neck.

“Unless you want suds in the face I suggest you not--”

Stiles ended up on the floor on top of Derek, both of them soaking wet due to the water fight that ensued after Derek rubbed his stubble against Stiles’ sensitive neck. So much for cleaning up, because they ended up making even more of a mess as they laughed their asses off.

“You two are ridiculous,” Cora said. She was in her pajamas, her hair up in a bun as she stood over them. “Go upstairs, I got this.”

“Oh, now you offer to help,” Stiles said as Derek helped him to his feet. Derek pulled Stiles close, kissing him right in front of Cora. Stiles managed to look over at her, but she wasn’t paying them any attention as she finished up the dishes, though she had a smile on her face. She probably wanted her brother to be happy. At least Stiles hoped she did.

Derek brought Stiles upstairs, to his room, where he tossed him a towel to dry off with. Stiles took both of his shirts off, dropping them to the floor before he dried himself off. He managed to look around Derek’s room as he did so, amazed at the amount of stuff he had.

“Where was all this at your loft?” Stiles asked as he walked over to one of the bookshelves, lined with books, mostly historical, along with a lot of Spanish literature. Stiles realized then that he didn’t know much about Derek.

“It was in storage,” Derek said as he searched through a set of drawers. “I had everything Laura and I accumulated in New York sent here, but hadn’t done anything with it.” He tossed Stiles a shirt, then a hoodie to go along with it, both well worn. Stiles put them on, taking a moment to breathe in the smell. He was surrounded in Derek’s scent, his magic practically humming as he sat on the edge of Derek’s bed.

“So, some of these are Laura’s?” Stiles asked, indicating the books. Derek frowned as he shook his head, putting a new shirt on himself.

“Laura’s are in the guest bedroom,” Derek said, his voice low as he walked over towards the bed. “Getting rid of her things wasn’t--”

“You don’t need to explain anything to me, I’m still surrounded by my mom at home. Everything is hers, the afghans, the plate patterns, the placement of the furniture. Nothing’s changed.”

Stiles hadn’t realized he was upset until Derek had his hands on him, pulling Stiles up to his feet, their lips meeting chastely. They’d both lost family, been used against their wills in different ways. As the kiss deepened, Derek lifted Stiles up. Stiles wrapped his legs around Derek’s waist as Derek held onto his thighs, Stiles’ arms hooked around Derek’s neck as their mouths opened, seeking each other out. They fell onto the bed, which was considerably bigger than Stiles’ full.

“What is this? A queen or king?” Stiles asked as he scooted up the mattress, towards the pillows.

“Queen,” Derek answered as he flopped down onto Stiles’ stomach, burying his face against it as his hands slid up Stiles’ shirt. Stiles, held up by his elbows, crashed onto the mattress. He couldn’t get over Derek’s hands on him. “Cora has the master bedroom, don’t have room for a king in here.”

“Sure you do,” Stiles said as he watched Derek stare intently at his lower half. “If you got rid of some books--”

Derek scoffed at him.

“I didn’t know you cared so much about books. Why was I the one doing all the research, then?” Stiles asked, knocking a knee against Derek.

“I was... preoccupied.”

“Obviously,” Stiles joked. “And now?”

“Now we just have to worry about that sorceress,” Derek grumbled. “And the sheriff--”

“What?” Stiles asked as Derek sat up, his eyes searching as he turned towards the windows. Stiles swore Derek’s nostrils flared before he was off the bed, heading for the door. “Derek--”

“Stay there,” Derek said before practically jumping down the stairs. Startled, Stiles sat for a moment before making his way into the hallway where he bumped into Cora who seemed to catch whatever scent Derek had moments before, her eyes glowing yellow.

“What is it?” Stiles hissed as Cora made her way down the stairs, Stiles following her.

“Hunters,” Cora said as she stopped dead in her tracks just before they reached the bottom of the stairs. Stiles bumped into her, but her strength kept them upright. They both peeked around the wall, looking towards the front door where Derek stood with his arms crossed. Derek turned his head enough so that he could see both Stiles and Cora, his jaw clenched. His attention went back to the woman standing at the door before him. “The Calaveras,” Cora told Stiles.

“What are they doing here, it’s like, almost midnight?” Stiles said, worried. “I should--”

“Do nothing,” Cora said, blocking Stiles from stepping foot off the stairs.

“What are they saying?” Stiles asked. Derek and the hunter were speaking lowly, too lowly for Stiles to hear.

“They’re talking about you, actually,” Cora said. “She wanted to make sure you were okay.” Stiles rolled his eyes. “Apparently they know you’re, uh, a child.”

“What the-- I’m seventeen,” Stiles said with a huff. “What are they doing here, it’s not like Derek can turn me. He’s a beta now.” Cora shrugged.

“Now they’re discussing Ruxandra. Apparently she’s not the only sorcerer besides you in town.” Stiles gulped, thinking about a family of sorcerers. “They’re after... crystals? Orbs?”

“Orbs,” Stiles murmured, his eyes wide. He pushed past Cora, stopping once he got to Derek, making sure to stay behind him. “I know about the orbs Ruxandra is looking for.” Derek wasn’t happy Stiles was getting mixed up in this, but if these hunters could help, he wasn’t about to say no to them.

“If you want to help, then you’ll need to discuss it with the alpha. Until then, maybe showing up at people’s houses unannounced at midnight isn’t the smartest move.”

The hunter only smiled at him, nodding her head once before leaving.

“Heed my words, Hale,” she told Derek.

“I will.” Once Derek shut the door he rounded on Stiles. “I told you to stay upstairs.”

“When have you ever known me to listen, like, ever,” Stiles exclaimed. “What was that even about? ‘Heed my words’, that’s some thinly-veiled BS.”

“Stiles--”

Derek,,” Stiles said, mocking Derek’s tone of voice. By the stairs, Cora snorted. “Anyways, creepy hunter visits aside, now we know why Ruxandra was after me,” Stiles said with a sigh as he carded his fingers through his hair. Both Derek and Cora waited for Stiles to continue. “Isn’t it obvious? I broke an orb, I have the powers that they want.”

“So they aren’t looking for orbs, they are looking for powers,” Cora stated.

“Exactly.”

Derek crossed his arms, giving Stiles that look of exasperation that Stiles knew so well.

“Dude, don’t look at me like that, like I did something. I didn’t do anything this time. This was not me. It isn’t my fault the orb attacked me.”

“I didn’t say it attacked you, or it was your fault. But you need to stop sticking your nose into things that aren’t your business.”

“Like talking to creepy hunters?”

“Exactly like talking to creepy hunters,” Derek said, rolling his eyes but giving away his slight amusement by smiling. “Don’t cause more trouble.”

“Yeah, well, if we’re talking about faults how about we talk about you being a martyr all the time. Can we cease with that?”

“Don’t,” Derek said as Stiles lifted an eyebrow, hooking his fingers around Derek’s belt loops.

“Don’t what?” Stiles asked. Cora groaned, making it known that she was leaving by stomping up the stairs, leaving them alone.

“Don’t be petulant,” Derek murmured as they kissed. Stiles opened his mouth for Derek, moaning as Derek grabbed Stiles, lifting him into the air enough so that he could wrap his legs around Derek’s waist easily. Derek held him by the backs of his thighs as they continued to kiss. Werewolf strength was an amazing thing because Stiles liked the position. Their kisses were languid, not rushed to begin with but as they continued, the intensity rose. Stiles gasped as Derek’s hand went from his thigh to his ass, sending a shiver down Stiles’ spine.

“What-- where?” Stiles asked, his lips pressed against Derek’s lips as he rutted against him. Derek decided on the couch, apparently, because the next thing Stiles knew, they were lying horizontally on it with Derek on top of him, his face buried against Stiles’ neck while his hands roamed Stiles’ body. As Derek’s thumb grazed a nipple, Stiles’ phone began to ring.

Stiles grunted, pulling it out of his back pocket.

“Shit,” Stiles said when he saw who it was: his father. He answered it, looking up at Derek as he held onto his shirt, keeping him close with his legs still wrapped around him. “Hey, Dad.”

“Are you still at Hale’s?” His dad asked. Stiles searched Derek’s eyes, then nodded his head.

“Yep,” he said, popping the ‘p’. “Still here.”

“I don’t want you spending the night--”

“We had some visitors,” Stiles said, interrupting him. He knew he was probably safe, but he knew he could probably use it to his advantage. Derek quirked his eyebrow at Stiles, his hand skimming beneath Stiles’ shirt tentatively as Stiles leaned into his touch, his mouth opening in a silent moan. “The new hunters in town showed up at Derek’s door.”

“Is everything okay?” He asked. “Do I need to send someone over?”

“No, everything’s fine,” Stiles said, biting his lip as Derek mouthed at Stiles’ stomach, lifting his shirt out of the way. Stiles’ legs fell open as Derek’s hand grazed over his erection. Derek was toying with him, and he liked it. “I just wasn’t -- I didn’t think it would be a good idea to leave if I can’t see--” Stiles couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t use his normal ways of spinning words to his advantage with Derek’s mouth so close to his dick. “Can’t I just stay here?”

His dad groaned.

“Need I remind you about-- you know what. Werewolves are real and you can control the weather. Do what you want, but stay out of trouble. I don’t want to hear about a murder and you showing up there tonight, got it?”

“Got it, no crime scenes.”

Stiles hung up the phone, tossing it to the floor as he moaned.

“You-- were you trying to get caught? Do you want to be castrated by my dad? Possibly publicly?”

“You seemed into it,” Derek said with a shrug, his palm lying flat against Stiles’ stomach. Derek was right, but that was beside the fucking point.

“You got me,” Stiles said, running his fingers through Derek’s hair before tugging on it lightly. “So I got a free pass for tonight.”

“So I heard,” Derek said nonchalantly.

“Is that okay? I mean, if I stay? I didn’t really ask.”

“You can stay,” Derek answered, leaning towards Stiles so they could kiss. It was chaste but electrified as Stiles’ magic came to the surface. It felt good, having it be so close to him again. He honestly couldn’t remember what it felt like before, without it. It was a scary thought, considering he hadn’t even wanted it to begin with.

“Come on, let’s get upstairs. No sex on the couch.”

“Whose rule is that?” Stiles asked as they got up, making their way upstairs.

“Cora’s and mine. It’s better that way, for everyone involved.” Stiles tried not to think about the fact that Derek had mentioned sex so casually, like that was a thing that was about to happen. Stiles supposed that yes, it was, it could technically happen, but he hadn’t even thought that far ahead yet. He wanted to make out, he wanted to get off, but sex seemed so much further off than where he was. How do you jump from point A to point Z?

By apparently being stripped of one’s clothes, as Stiles found out when they entered Derek’s room. Derek helped Stiles out of his shirt, mouthing at Stiles’ neck. Stiles did the same to Derek, stripping it off of him. His body seemed to know what to do, how to move, even if his brain couldn’t really register what was happening as they got on Derek’s bed, continuing to kiss.

Derek rolled onto his back, urging Stiles on top of him as their hands roamed. Stiles began to move against him, rubbing his erection against Derek’s leg as they kissed, their mouths open. Stiles’ hands were at Derek’s waist, fingers teasing at the edge of his pants. Derek groaned against Stiles’ mouth as he rocked his hips upward, seeking contact. Stiles’ hand slipped lower, groping Derek’s dick through his jeans.

Ending the kiss, Derek ran his nose along the underside of Stiles’ chin, breathing him in as he rolled Stiles over onto his back, straddling him.

“You smell like me,” Derek said, his voice lower than normal. “From wearing my clothes.”

“Is that-- that’s good, right?” Stiles asked as Derek nodded his head. Stiles grinned up at him, happy that he smelled like Derek. “Good.”

“Tomorrow, my bed is going to smell like you.” Stiles got it, he really did, about werewolves and smells, he just didn’t really ever think that it meant so much to Derek, or any of them. But this was Derek’s room, his domain and he was practically preening at the thought of his bed smelling like Stiles. It made Stiles’ dick throb.

“Maybe we should get under the covers, then,” Stiles said, shrugging like it wasn’t a big deal. It was, though. A very big deal. Sure, they’d shared his bed at his house, but that wasn’t like this. This had a connotation behind it. They both managed to get out of their jeans, tossing their socks away, leaving them both in their underwear.

This was completely different.

Stiles cursed his The Flash briefs when he caught a glimpse of Derek’s black Calvin Klein ones that hugged his hips just right, showing off the divot between his pelvic bones and stomach perfectly. Derek smirked when he saw Stiles’ though, his lips grazing across Stiles’ cheek as they crawled back into bed.

They faced each other, kissing lazily as their legs tangled together. Stiles had his hand on Derek’s waist, but his other hand slid up Derek’s thigh, fingers teasing at the line of elastic near Derek’s ass. Immediately, their kiss deepened as Derek pushed Stiles’ onto his back again, the touch igniting something between them once more as Derek moved against him. Stiles moaned as he felt Derek’s cock rubbing against his own. His own hips moved, seeking friction and urgency. He shoved at his briefs, the head of his cock peeking out from the elastic band as he pushed them down. Derek’s hand brushed against his cock, and Stiles thought he was going to come then and there as he shouted out.

“Fuck,” Stiles said as Derek wrapped his hand around Stiles’ cock. Derek was giving him a hand job, and he couldn’t even comprehend it. Stiles bucked his hips, fucking up into it without any sort of finesse. He supposed that came later, with experience. Now, though, all he could do was try not to come too soon. Derek’s gaze was on Stiles’ cock appearing then disappearing in the palm of his hand as Stiles moved his hips. Derek bent down, his tongue catching the tip of Stiles’ cock. Stiles stilled long enough for Derek to get his mouth around him, for him to suck and lap at him. “Shit,” he said, his fingers in Derek’s hair as he blew him.

He wanted to write an ode to Derek’s mouth, pages of sonnets, even. He hated sonnets, but that didn’t fucking matter because he was getting blown and he couldn’t do anything but curl his toes and moan.

“Derek, I’m gonna come,” Stiles said, his hands roaming Derek’s body, fingers finding the edge of Derek’s briefs and tugging them down, revealing his own cock, dripping with precome. “Fuck, I need-- I can’t, the angle’s all wrong,” Stiles complained. Derek resituated them, rolling onto his back as he pulled Stiles on top of him, facing away so that he could take Stiles into his mouth once more. Stiles groaned as he wrapped a hand around Derek’s cock, stroking him a few times before tasting him.

Bisexuality was awesome, 100% would recommend.

Stiles got the hang of it, based on what made Derek moan more as he went on, licking up his length and taking him into his mouth. He’d thought about scenarios similar to this one, but never in this position, both blowing each other at the same time. Reality in this instance, was way better than his fantasies.

Eventually, Derek pulled away, resituating them again so that Stiles was straddling him, both of their dicks in Derek’s hand as Stiles moved against him, their mouths hovering close together as they panted. Stiles watched his dick slide against Derek’s like some sort of out of body experience.

“Shit,” Stiles said as his entire body shook from his climax. Derek’s teeth raked across Stiles’ shoulder as he came as well, making a mess on both of their chests, along with his hand. Stiles sat there in Derek’s lap, his chest heaving. He didn’t know what to do, never having come mutually with someone before. Derek was the first to act by licking their come off his fingers. Stiles thought he’d be grossed out, but his mind was completely blank, come-drunk.

Derek kissed Stiles, holding onto the back of Stiles’ neck. He could taste them on Derek’s tongue, which made him whimper. His magic crackled between them, his entire body warm and buzzing. When he opened his eyes, his glow was back. He hadn’t seen it since before the hospital. Stiles grinned as he kissed Derek again.

“I think our bond is stronger,” Stiles pointed out. Derek snorted, kissing Stiles back.

“I think you’re right.”

Chapter Text

Being in a relationship with a werewolf was definitely different than Stiles thought it would be. Well, not entirely what he expected, more like. For starters, Derek was a cuddler. On top of that, he was like a personal furnace at night. Stiles did like to keep warm at night, but he found that waking up covered in sweat, the sheets kicked off the bed, with Derek’s arms wrapped around him to be a little bit jarring.

With Derek’s face buried against Stiles’ stubble-burned neck, breathing against Stiles’ skin, Stiles pried Derek’s hands off of him so that he could at least cool off. They were in his room, with the door locked, his father asleep down the hall. He knew that Derek was over, had known, so it wasn’t like he was quiet on purpose as he stumbled out of bed, searching for his boxers that they had discarded earlier.

His door creaked as he shut it, his footfalls soft against the carpeted floor as he made his way to the bathroom. The light made his eyes squint as he turned on the faucet, cupping his hands as he sipped water. When he was done, he splashed his face, rubbing the back of his neck. As he looked himself in the mirror he could barely recognize his own body. Not only was he covered in hickeys, marked by Derek, but he could tell a difference in his muscle tone. He and Derek had taken some time, out in the preserve, doing yoga. Not just regular, calming yoga, but strength training together. Stiles could hold himself up, his arms gaining muscle tone. He even had a small six pack forming.

Stiles grinned to himself, proud.

Ruxandra hadn’t been seen in almost a month. All was quiet, even on the hunter front. Things were normal, as normal as they possibly could be with Stiles’ powers getting stronger the longer he and Derek meditated together.

The day before, Stiles had frozen the entire lake in the middle of the preserve, which had somehow landed him with a nasty case of bark burn from where he and Derek had celebrated, christening the preserve with blow jobs.

Stiles ghosted his fingertips across his neck, angry red from Derek’s stubble. He groaned, not wanting looks from his father. He knew about Derek, obviously, since he’d been the one to point it out to Stiles, but still. He didn’t like to walk that fine line of out of sight, out of mind. Usually Derek was better at marking his territory. Stiles grinned thinking about it. Derek was his, just as he was Derek’s.

They’d talked about it, one night in Derek’s house in low whispers between kisses, hoping that Cora couldn’t hear. Stiles didn’t like talking about his powers turning Derek into a wolf in order to aid him, like he owned Derek. It wasn’t like that, Derek had said. Derek wanted to help him, he still beat himself up about not being there to save Stiles from Ruxandra. It wasn’t Derek’s fault.

It was Stiles’, for not realizing sooner who and what she was.

A knock at the door made Stiles jump, one hand going to his heart as the other gripped the door handle. Derek stood there, his hair sticking out every which way wearing a pair of Stiles’ pajama pants, which were a bit tight.

“The bed was cold,” Derek said, his voice raspy from sleep. Stiles rubbed at his eye as he yawned, resting his head on Derek’s shoulder.

“Too hot,” Stiles mumbled, though his hands wrapped around Derek’s body. “Maybe we should open a window.”

“I don’t think that’s a solution,” Derek mused as he mouthed at Stiles’ sensitive neck. Stiles hissed, pushing away from Derek, tweaking a nipple so that Derek would move out of the way.

“Ow,” Derek feigned as he followed Stiles back into his bed room. Stiles turned on a light, groaning when he saw the time, barely past three in the morning. Stiles crawled back into bed, as did Derek once he rid himself of Stiles’ pajamas.

They kissed as they got comfortable, their limbs tangling. Stiles sighed as they slowed, kisses lingering, hands still on their waists.

“What if she’s waiting?” Stiles asked.

“Waiting for what?”

“I don’t know, something,” Stiles said, anxiety coming to the surface. Derek’s hand slid up Stiles’ arm, then back down again, soothing him.

“You’ll be ready for her. And this time, I promise I’ll be there.”

“You can’t promise that,” Stiles said, his voice hushed as Derek kissed his forehead.
-

Stiles didn’t make a habit of driving alone. It wasn’t that he was scared to, because he wasn’t, but because there were sorcerers in town, two of them, and Stiles knew that he shouldn’t. But it had been weeks since the fight and the hospital and safety was relative. Stiles felt safe, even without Scott or Derek with him. He was perfectly capable of driving to and from school and practice without an escort.

His plan had been to bring his father dinner at the Sheriff’s department, and he had. It was a good dinner, one that he made himself, with the help of Derek, to bring down to the office. He made enough spaghetti for everyone on duty, leaving some left for him and Derek to share once he got back to Derek’s house.

It was on the walk from the Sheriff’s office to his Jeep where he was accosted but not by Ruxandra. Before him, with that stare that Stiles despised, was Scott’s dad.

“Agent McCall,” Stiles said with a perturbed sigh as he shoved his hands in his jeans pockets. “Stalking teenagers, are we? Isn’t that a little pedo for the FBI?”

“You think you have it all figured out, don’t you Stiles?” He asked, stepping forward, into the light of a street lamp like some sort of film noir. How fucking picturesque.

“What? Life? The answer is forty-two,” Stiles deadpanned. He didn’t so much as get a smirk from McCall. Agent McCall looked up at the sky, moonless, then back down at Stiles again.

“Do you and Scott think I’m an idiot?”

“Is that a rhetorical question or do you actually want an answer?”

“Are you selling drugs?”

“So the answer is, ‘yes, you’re an idiot’,” Stiles said, taking a step away from Agent McCall.

“Is Scott doing drugs?”

“Still an idiot,” Stiles said, his jaw snapping shut. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw movement. Apparently so did Agent McCall because his hand was on his gun faster than Stiles had expected it would be. The ground was wet, and as Stiles saw ice crystals forming in one of the puddles near his feet, he knew exactly who was lurking in the shadows. Stiles stepped in front of Agent McCall, his hand extended as the air around them chilled.

“What is that?” He heard Agent McCall ask, his gun now out of its holster.

“You mean ‘who’,” Stiles pointed out. He looked down at his hands, which were glowing. Agent McCall took a step back from Stiles, his eyes wide. Stiles grinned at him. “I’m a sorcerer, by the way. You should probably go get my dad.” With that, Stiles took off running. He ran out of the parking lot, towards Scott’s house and Derek’s. Scott’s was closer. All he had to do was get to them and he’d be okay. He couldn’t think about Rafa, or his father.

Of all the nights to come after him, it had to be when he wasn’t wearing shoes with good traction. Stiles slipped as he turned a corner, falling to the ground, hitting his elbow. The wind picked up as he got to his feet, as if helping him along. He could feel his powers crackling beneath the surface, ready to be expelled.

He could see Scott’s house in the distance, not even two blocks away when he heard Ruxandra’s voice carried in the wind.

“You can’t stop us, Stiles,” the wind called out. “You’ve taken something that belongs to us.”

“I didn’t take anything,” Stiles shouted at no one. The street was empty, eerily quiet. Ruxandra appeared in the street between his and Scott’s houses, a low fog at her feet. “This power wasn’t yours,” Stiles said, his voice picking up, seemingly echoing around them. “It sought me out.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, her hair blowing in the wind. Stiles liked the effect, though it seemed like a waste of energy to him. He’d been building his up, not using it for when she came back, so that his energy reserves would be full.

“I know enough,” Stiles said through clenched teeth. He threw an air ball at her, as if it were a baseball, and then another. She blocked them, sending her own which were made of fire. Stiles used the water on the ground to make shields. In the distance, Stiles heard wolves howling, along with police sirens. This time he wasn’t alone.

As soon as Derek bounded into view, his massive wolf form running towards Stiles, Ruxandra changed the direction of her aim. Stiles screamed, his hand extended towards Derek as Ruxandra used fire. Stiles shut his eyes as he willed the skies to open up, for rain to pour down as Derek collapsed to the ground. Stiles let out a choked sob as he dropped to his knees by Derek’s side.

Still in his wolf form, Derek whined, the rain soaking them both in seconds. Stiles’ tears mixed with raindrops as he covered Derek’s body with his own. Stiles knew Ruxandra was there, approaching him as he ran his fingers through Derek’s fur. He could feel their bond, their linked energy, but he didn’t want to take any of it from Derek.

Ruxandra’s touch hurt, the shock making Stiles wince as she placed her finger under his chin, forcing him to lift his head.

 

“Enough fucking around,” she sneered. “You and your familiar are coming with me.”

Stiles spat in her face, earning him a back-handed slap to the face with the added sting of electrical shock. Stiles bit back his screams as his palms glowed bright green, Derek lying beneath him giving him a power boost he desperately needed. Stiles shut his eyes, pushing his magic outward. When he opened them, Ruxandra was on the ground, ten feet away. Stiles stumbled to his feet, then ran at her as she tried to get up.

Tears stung his eyes as he thought about Derek, who still wasn’t moving, as he put his hands around her neck. His fingers burned her skin as he choked her, straddling her body.

“I’m not going anywhere with you,” Stiles hissed. Beneath him, the ground shook. Slowly, Stiles felt something crawling up and down him in waves. It pulsed, his body rejecting whatever was happening to him. As it intensified, he could no longer control his magic. He fell to the ground, grasping at the asphalt as he tried to get back to Derek. It felt like he was dying.

Above him, Ruxandra stood, her eyes maniacally wide, her hair standing on end as if static held it there, her hand pointed towards Stiles. He curled into a ball, shouting out in pain as his blood boiled beneath his skin.

“You think this is a game?” She asked him, bending over, taking a hold of his hair. “Your magic is mine.”

“Never,” Stiles whispered, his voice cracking from the blinding pain. He panted as she forced him to his feet.

“Rouse your familiar,” she ordered him. Stiles’ knees shook as he tried to remain upright. She was still using her magic on him, using the water in his body to cause him immeasurable pain.

“You killed him,” Stiles said, his mouth dry, cheeks stained with tears. Ruxandra kicked Derek’s limp form, illicting a whimper from him. Stiles let out a choked sob.

“Get him up, or I will kill him.”

Stiles fell to his knees beside Derek, pressing his forehead against Derek’s fur, clenching his fists in it as Ruxandra let out another wave of magic, blinding Stiles momentarily from the pain. He couldn’t even move as he screamed.

He didn’t want it anymore, he never wanted it. She could have all of itl. He’d give her whatever she wanted if she’d only stop hurting him.

“Derek,” Stiles managed to say, shaking Derek’s body. “Derek please.” Above him, Ruxandra sighed.

“You’re taking too long,” she said as if bored. Stiles wanted to punch her. She put her hand on his forehead and then there was only darkness.

-

Stiles woke up out in the woods. All he could see was the sky and the trees extending upward. It was morning, first light, the sky grey and overcast. He was cold, shivering as he tried to move to no avail. He was strapped down on something hard, his hands tied above his head, legs secured, spread eagle. He felt exposed.

Craning his neck, Stiles saw where he was: the nemeton. Stiles groaned as his head thunked down on the tree stump. His clothes were damp, probably from being out in the open all night, and his muscles sore from the strain Ruxandra put on them.

Stiles panicked when he thought about Ruxandra, how she’d been the one to put him there. He looked around, searching for Derek. He was nowhere that Stiles could see. Stiles yanked on his restraints, attempting to get free. They were made of metal, not hemp or anything that Stiles could use magic on.

Instead of allowing himself to panic further, Stiles took a few deep breaths, calming himself. He reached outwards with his powers, searching for Derek. The wind rustled the leaves surrounding him. He couldn’t feel Derek, but maybe Derek could still feel him.

Derek had said that he could feel when Stiles used magic, and in his wolf form especially. Stiles’ mind reeled, attempting to reach Derek somehow. His attention was brought back to the forest around him when a twig snapped.

There stood Ruxandra with an orb in her hand. She wore more weather appropriate clothes for once, her hair hidden in a beanie as she approached him, putting the orb on his chest.

“I would say this isn’t going to hurt, but-- it’s going to hurt.”

“What?” Stiles asked as she took out a knife. “Hey, whoa, is that necessary? I don’t think it is, I mean, sure that is a fast way to drain my magic but there has to be a way that doesn’t include gutting me.”

The knife hovered over Stiles’ throat, then his stomach. Ruxandra smiled down at him, though there was no warmth behind it.

“What do you know about power draining?” She asked, crouched down next to the nemeton.

“Nothing,” Stiles admitted. “Where’s Derek?”

“Your pet? He’s dealt with.” Stiles shivered at the implication. She’d killed him, really killed him. Derek wouldn’t be showing up and saving him. No one would be, not knowing where Stiles was. His father might not even know he was missing if Agent McCall hadn’t gone to him. “He’s somewhere where you can’t get to him.”

Stiles let out a sigh of relief at those words. He was going to die, but at least Derek was still alive. At least he had that.

“The Calaverases said there were two of you,” Stiles said, stalling. “So who is the second?” Ruxandra rolled her eyes at Stiles.

“He’s dead,” Ruxandra said as if irritated by Stiles’ questions. “How do you think I got stronger so fast.”

“A lot of meditating?” Stiles suggested, his breath hitching as she shoved his long sleeves down his arms. “What are you doing?”

“I need your blood, and this is the fastest way to gain power.”

Stiles couldn’t do anything but watch as she cut along his forearm vertically, the blood dripping down onto the nemeton. Stiles hissed as he felt the tree beneath him vibrate.

“I’m not some virgin sacrifice,” Stiles laughed. “That ship has sailed.” He tried to hide his fear as she cut his other arm the same way, blood pooling on the stump. He’d bleed out in less than an hour this way.

“You don’t need to be a virgin,” she smirked, cutting his hoodie down the center, placing the orb on his bare skin. “Usually power transfers have to be consensual, but lucky for me, we have the nemeton here.” A sick feeling overcame Stiles as bile rose in his throat.

“You killed someone else here?” He asked. Her silence was the answer as the orb on his chest began to glow, along with a necklace she was wearing. Linking the orb and her necklace was a stream of magic, their energies mixed together. Stiles could feel his power draining slowly as green turned to orange in the transference.

Far off, Stiles heard a distinct howl as his eyes closed.

“What the--” he heard Ruxandra say as she fell to the ground. Stiles opened his eyes to the sight of Derek. Apparently he hadn’t been as far as Stiles thought, but his head was fuzzy. Derek was completely naked, dirty, and in his beta form. He’d clawed her, by the way his claws were dripping in blood and the red spreading across her front.

“Derek,” Stiles rasped. Derek looked over at him, his teeth sharp, face shifted, his chest heaving. Derek’s nostrils flared as he caught the scent of Stiles’ blood. Derek rushed over, yanking on Stiles’ arms, freeing him by breaking the restraints. He shifted back into his human form, ripping up the rest of Stiles’ shirt, wrapping it around his forearms to stop the bleeding. Derek’s touch engaged Stiles’ powers. His lips found Derek’s, tongue begging entrance.

“Who the fuck are you?” Ruxandra screamed. She was back on her feet as thunder erupted over head, thus ruining their moment. Stiles groaned, his eyes rolling as he looked over at her. The orb, which was now in Stiles’ lap, still linked their energies, transforming his power into hers.

“Derek, break it,” Stiles indicated as he got to his feet. Derek took the small orb in his hand and shattered it, his lip curling as he shifted once more, this time into a wolf. Ruxandra’s eyes widened.

“He’s-- he’s--”

“Not just a familiar,” Stiles stated, his hand resting on Derek’s head. “He’s a werewolf, and you’ve fucked with the wrong sorcerer.” This time when it thundered overhead, it was Stiles’ doing. “Get her.”

Stiles sicced Derek on her, watching as Derek lunged into the air, his fangs finding her arm. Stiles used the roots of the nemeton, wrapping them around her ankles to keep her in place. He walked forward, yanking the necklace from around her neck and throwing it to the ground, stamping on it. The air crackled around them as Derek pinned her down. It was Stiles’ turn to crouch over her, his eyes narrow.

“Give me one reason I shouldn’t kill you,” Stiles sneered, his hand hovering over her, ready to strike.

“Because we’re here to arrest her,” his father said from a few yards away. His gun was aimed at her and Derek, but his eyes were on Stiles. “Step away from her, son.”

As Stiles backed away, he saw that his dad wasn’t alone. Scott and his father were there, Agent McCall with his gun trained on Ruxandra as well. Stiles didn’t trust her, not with his father’s life, as he watched his dad haul her to her feet, handcuffing her.

Wary, Stiles followed his dad, who called it in. Agent McCall eyed Stiles as they walked, Derek following close by while Scott opened the door for the sheriff to put Ruxandra in it.

“So, uh,” Agent McCall said, running a hand through his hair. “Magic.”

“And werewolves,” Stiles stated, pointing at Scott.

“Yeah.”

That was it, that was the conversation. Nothing else needed to be said on the matter as his father turned towards him, eyeing his bandaged arms.

“You need to get to the hospital,” he said, pointing at Stiles. “And you need to change back,” he pointed to Derek, whose ears flattened.

“Dad--”

“No,” his dad said, his teeth clenched. “He was supposed to-- you were supposed to be safe.”

“Dad, I wasn’t with him! I had just-- I just gave you dinner. I was in the parking lot.”

“But--”

“That isn’t fair!” Stiles exclaimed. “To put it on him. He doesn’t deserve that. Your misplaced anger belongs on me. I’m the one that was alone.”

His father had a silent stare down with him, both of their hands in fists as Agent McCall and Scott watched. Derek had his head hung down in shame.

“I’ll take him to get checked out,” Agent McCall said, indicating for Stiles to follow him as he made his way towards his car.

“I’m going to go with your dad,” Scott said, giving Stiles’ shoulder a pat. “Make sure everything’s okay.” Stiles nodded his head, glad that Scott would protect his dad in case Ruxandra tried anything. Stiles started walking towards Agent McCall’s car when he realized Derek wasn’t following him. He stopped.

“Come on, Derek,” Stiles said, suddenly exhausted. He ached, his arms throbbing from the deep cuts. Derek looked back towards the woods, then at Stiles again before he took off in the opposite direction of the car. “Hey! Derek!” Stiles shouted, going after him.

“Stiles--” Agent McCall called out, but Stiles didn’t stop.

He found Derek at the edge of the woods, by the lake, sitting in his wolf form. Stiles knelt down by him, carding his fingers through Derek’s fur.

“You scared me, you know,” Stiles said, his voice catching in his throat. Derek didn’t move, didn’t budge an inch as Stiles sighed. “I thought she’d killed you.” Derek shifted on his paws, staring out at the lake as if watching for something to come out of it and attack them. “When she had me tied up, I thought you were gone, and when she let it slip that you were alive, after she cut me, all I could think about was how at least you’d survive.”

That got Derek to turn his head, looking Stiles in the eyes. He narrowed them, and even in wolf form he looked about done. Stiles bit his lip, running his hand down Derek’s snout, then back up again.

“But you saved me.”



image by geeky_sova

Derek licked Stiles’ face, then his neck, then his cheek again, lapping at him. Stiles laughed, jokingly licking back, catching Derek’s nose. Derek paused, his back stiffening. Stiles smiled, because he knew what it meant. Derek was higher than him, more important. After a long moment, Derek licked Stiles back, catching his mouth and nose. Stiles closed his eyes as he wrapped his arms around Derek’s neck, burying his face against his fur.

“I love you,” Stiles mumbled, holding him tight. Derek whined, then shifted. Fur turned to skin against Stiles’ glowing green palms. Derek cupped Stiles’ face in his hands, urging Stiles to look at him, their bond strengthening with every breath, Stiles’ magic reacting to their proximity emotionally.

“Don’t--” Derek said, about to tell Stiles ‘don’t ever do that again’, but he knew better. Stiles wasn’t ever big on self-preservation. Derek dragged his nose across Stiles’ cheek, his mouth hovering over Stiles’ for a moment before he kissed him. Stiles leaned into it, his eyes closing. When the kiss ended, Derek pressed their foreheads together. “I love you, too.”

Eventually Agent McCall found them, appalled at the fact that Derek was naked. He almost lost it when Derek turned back into a wolf before his eyes. Stiles laughed despite how beat he was, using Derek to lean against as they walked to the car.

Trying to explain that Stiles didn’t need a psych evaluation was difficult, with the wounds he sustained. Melissa wasn’t on duty, but Agent McCall hadn’t left his side, which was surprising.

“I didn’t do this,” Stiles explained for what felt like the thousandth time. His arms were bandaged, stitches covered and carefully wrapped. They were treating him as if he’d done it to himself. “I’m not-- I wouldn’t do that.”

“He was found in the woods, we arrested the girl who did it to him,” McCall said, his FBI badge showing from where he had it around his neck.

“Why would someone do that?” A doctor asked. Agent McCall gave Stiles a look.

“An occultist,” he supplied. Stiles realized that wasn’t too off base.

They kept him overnight anyways, just in case.

His father showed up hours later, Derek in tow, fully clothed, with him.

“What’s happening?” Stiles asked, fiddling with his hospital gown. “Is she still detained?”

“She is,” his dad said. “We’ve got her for a couple of charges--”

“You can include murder,” Stiles said. “She killed another sorcerer on the nemeton before me.” His father blanched, but silently nodded his head. “But how are you going to detain her?”

“That’s what I need your help with,” his dad said, giving him a look. Stiles grinned.

-

Once Stiles was released, he went straight home, grabbing the journal. He’d not finished it yet, but he had a feeling he knew that it would include a spell that would help him. He didn’t waste time looking through it at his house, tossing it into his passenger seat as he rode towards the Sheriff’s department. Stiles half expected for it to be rubble when he arrived, for Ruxandra to cause an earthquake to escape. It was fine, though, and he poked his head in the back to see that she was, in fact, still in one of the cells.

“Hey,” his dad said, grabbing Stiles’ attention. “Did you find it?”

“Not yet,” Stiles said, showing his dad the journal. “But I have a feeling what we need is in here.”

Stiles set up a mirror in his dad’s office, on the floor leaning against the wall. He sat down, cross-legged as he started reading as fast as he could. It took time to read it, and most of it was unhelpful. Derek arrived at some point, handing Stiles coffee, placing his hand on Stiles’ neck reassuringly.

“Do you need anything?” He asked. Stiles shook his head but tilted his head upward, waiting for a kiss. Derek gave him one, but it was chaste, considering his father was sitting right there. Stiles didn’t even look at him to see a reaction as he went back to reading. Stiles looked down at what he was wearing, grinning to himself when he realized that he was wearing one of Derek’s hoodies and not his own. No wonder Derek held onto his neck, he’d smelled like Derek.

Sometime, mid-afternoon, Stiles fell asleep on his father’s couch. When he awoke, Derek was in his place by the mirror, reading.

“Find it?” Stiles asked, his voice hoarse.

“No, go back to sleep.”

“You can’t tell me what to do,” Stiles said, though his eyes closed once more. He was shaken awake as the sun was beginning to set, by his father and Deaton. “What’s happening?” Stiles asked as he sat up.

“Derek found something, Deaton’s brought an orb-- but there’s something else.”

“Ruxandra’s gotten her strength back?” Stiles asked, a chill going down his spine. His father nodded his head, his face set in a frown. With his stomach in knots, Stiles read over the inscription that Derek found. It was a way to drain someone’s powers without spilling blood. It didn’t need consent, either.

This was how other sorcerers had gained power, by taking it from others. And now he’d do the same to Ruxandra. The thing was, was in order for this to work, he’d be draining his own as well since she was stronger than he was.

He didn’t have time to think about it as he entered the cell, the orb in his hand. She sat there, grinning at him.

“Are you here to kill me?” She asked.

“Not quite,” Stiles said, his voice calm. Derek and Scott joined him in the cell, for back up, as he sat, putting the orb down in front of them.

“Going to try to take my powers for your own?” She sneered. “Hypocrite.”

“Unlike you, I don’t seek power,” Stiles hissed as he began to glow. “And I’m not taking them for me.” He touched the orb, watching his magic crackle, a bolt of light attaching to the orb. “Touch it.”

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “I’m not.”

Derek and Scott both put a hand to her shoulder, digging their claws into her. As she screamed, a bolt of lightning hit a tree outside. The lights flickered overhead.

“Do as he said,” Derek said through clenched teeth. She thrashed around as Derek took her hand, forcing it to connect to the orb. A bolt of light, her magic did the same as Stiles’. Slowly, Stiles pushed his magic towards the orb, at the same time sucking it from Ruxandra. He reached out, in his mind, towards Derek, using him as a sort of conduit. Derek’s hand on Ruxandra made Stiles’ hold on her stronger as she attempted to pull her magic back.

Stiles felt a tug in his magic, and for a second he thought Ruxandra was stealing it, pulling it from the orb, but as he looked at her he realized she felt the same tug-- and then nothing. He couldn’t feel a thing as the green glow of his magic faded from him.

Ruxandra wailed, tears streaming down her face at the loss of her own magic. Stiles too, felt the loss of it. He felt empty as he tried to reach for it, feel it. There was nothing to grab onto.

His father appeared, helping Stiles to his feet, getting him out of the cell and into his office. Stiles was in shock as he watched Deaton wrap the orb with his and Ruxandra’s powers in a cloth then put it in a pouch.

“I’m going to put this somewhere safe,” Deaton told his father. Stiles couldn’t even comprehend where such a place could be. He tried to summon fire, but couldn’t. He closed his eyes, covering his face with his hands. As if on cue, Derek appeared by his side, sitting on the couch as he wrapped his arms around Stiles, placing his chin on Stiles’ shoulders.

“It’s gone,” Stiles murmured.

“I know,” Derek said, his lips against Stiles’ neck. Derek’s voice was comforting, but the spark of their touch was no longer there. Stiles’ breath hitched as he thought about the loss of not only his powers but of his bond. “You did what you had to do.”

“But--” Stiles didn’t want to voice his concerns about their bond, about their relationship.

“I wasn’t lying, in the woods,” Derek said eventually, filling the silence. “I don’t need a bond to tell me how I feel about you.”

Stiles turned his head to face Derek, kissing him. He survived seventeen years without magic; he didn’t need it. He also spent seventeen years without Derek’s arms around him, but he definitely wanted that. Stiles kissed Derek again, carding his fingers through Derek’s hair.

“As long as we’re on the same page,” Stiles said, his lips pressed against Derek’s. Derek grinned, kissing Stiles once more.