Chapter 1: I need your help
Derek, he needed to call Derek.
Every bone in his body was screaming at him, each one pulling him in a different direction. But there was one thing they could agree on – he needed Derek.
Wincing, Stiles pulled off the tattered remains of his shirt and pressed them to the open wound in his side. His legs moved sluggishly, bringing him closer and closer to his off-campus apartment on instinct. He cleared the woods and made it to the trail head, only a mile away from his destination.
Stiles reached into his back pocket, willing his eyes to focus on his contact list.
He couldn’t call Derek. Derek was somewhere in Brazil, unreachable by cell.
He could call Scott, his Alpha. The word oddly rankled in his mind, but he pushed it aside and hit the call button next to Scott’s name.
It rang five times before going to voicemail. Stiles cursed and tried again.
Ring ring ring ring ring.
“Dammit,” Stiles swore, focusing his energy on not crushing the phone in his hand as he continued to zombie-walk towards his apartment.
Two more calls to Scott went unanswered, so Stiles went through his options.
His Dad? Hell no. Malia, no. Liam, no. Lydia, maybe. But she was in France with her mother, so no.
A flash of pain in his side drove him to hit the call button. Peter picked up on the first ring.
“Stiles,” he purred. “I didn’t think you still had this number. Lonely at Berkeley, are you?”
“Peter,” Stiles gritted out. He felt an ache in his chest he couldn’t place. He applied more pressure to his wound and sighed in relief when he saw the end of his street. “I need your help.”
Stiles could practically hear the air shift over the phone. “I’m on my way,” was all Peter said before he ended the call with a click.
He had no idea why, but the knowledge that Peter was coming eased some of the ache. Stiles knew in the back of his mind that it wouldn’t go away completely until he saw Derek.
Derek, who he hadn’t seen in months. Who left again after they defeated Monroe and the rest of Gerard’s hunters. Who no one had spoken to since the beginning of Stiles’ freshman year.
Stiles took a second to be thankful for the lack of streetlights surrounding his apartment as he let himself in the front door. His dad had been able to pull some strings and get him an exemption from first year housing after Stiles had transferred from GW’s FBI program to Berkeley’s Criminal Justice program.
He dropped what used to be his shirt and carefully removed his jeans and underwear before the front door had even closed behind him.
Resolutely not looking down at his wound, Stiles made his way to the bathroom and got into the shower. He rinsed the blood off his hands, arms, and legs, before using a washcloth to gently clean the area around the wound. Then he just stood under the spray until the water ran clear rather than pink.
Stiles turned off the shower and took a deep breath. His side stung fiercely. The defensive wounds on his hands and knuckles also smarted, but less so.
An hour. That’s how long he had to hold it together. It was an hour from Beacon Hills to Berkeley, and Peter said he was on his way.
Stiles shuffled into his bedroom on autopilot, pulling on some sweats but foregoing a shirt. He grabbed a large gauze bandage from his well-stocked First Aid kit and taped it over his wound as well as he could without looking at it.
After that, he sat down on the sole couch in his living room and waited.
Forty-three minutes later, Peter burst through the front door.
“Where is it?” he asked, looking around wildly with glowing blue eyes. “I smell a wolf, Stiles, where is it?”
His own eyes glassy, Stiles stood and removed his bandage. Peter growled lowly and stepped forward into the light, closing the door behind him.
Peter reached his hand out, but stopped just short of touching the jagged bite wound that marred Stiles’ otherwise unblemished waist.
“Who did this to you?” Peter whispered.
“I don’t know,” Stiles croaked, his voice hoarse. “But his eyes were red.”
The full weight of the situation suddenly sank in, bringing Stiles to his knees. Peter caught him before he fell completely, but Stiles couldn’t make out the words the man was saying.
His breath came in bursts, as if ripped out of his lungs. His head swam and his vision began to blacken around the edges. After a few minutes of fighting against the unconsciousness, Stiles found himself leaning into it instead.
When he came to, there was light shining through his front curtains and a wet washcloth on his forehead. He sat up with a jolt, displacing the washcloth and causing his head to spin.
A hand reached out from nowhere and eased him back down onto his couch. Stiles let himself be manhandled, knowing on instinct the hand wasn’t a threat to him. “Derek?” he slurred.
“Still not Derek,” a tired voice replied, as if it’d had to recite that same line more than once.
Stiles’ head swam, but he remained lying down. Parts of his mind were still fuzzy, but he was aware enough to recognize the voice. “Peter? What are you doing in my apartment?”
“You called me, Stiles,” he replied with a sigh, slumping back down into the armchair on the other side of the living room.
“I did?” This time, Stiles succeeded in sitting up, but kept his eyes closed. The light peeking through the curtains was too bright for reasons he couldn’t grasp yet.
Peter leaned forward with his elbows on his knees, hands clasped together so tightly his knuckles went white. “What do you remember from last night?”
Stiles scratched the back of his neck and chanced a glance through his eyelids. He turned his face away from the window and was able to open his eyes enough to see a discarded, bloody gauze patch on the floor by his feet. “Last night?”
Something was wrong. Peter’s words didn’t have their usual sarcastic bite to them, and Stiles’ head felt like it was working overtime.
“Last night,” Stiles repeated slowly. “I called you. Why did I call you?” he trailed off with a furrowed brow, not expecting an answer.
His head shook slowly of its own accord, as if trying to shake loose the information he was searching desperately for. When the events of the previous night hit him, he shot out of his seat, only to be met with a rush of emotions.
“No,” Stiles insisted faintly. “No, no, no, no.” He tried to run his hands through his hair, but found his arms suddenly locked by Peter’s grasp. He looked up into the man’s ice blue eyes and saw his own flurry of emotions reflected on Peter’s face.
“It’s going to be ok, Stiles.” Peter kept up with his litany of reassurances and Stiles attempted to keep his breathing even and steady. If you’d told him a year ago that he’d find himself comforted by anything Peter Hale said, he would have laughed. But now, Stiles clung to the man’s words like a lifeline.
At some point, Stiles’ claws had extended, biting into Peter’s arms, but the man hadn’t flinched. He just continued assuring Stiles he was going to be fine and instructing the boy to breathe.
Eventually Stiles’ breathing evened out, though his claws remained unsheathed. There was no mirror in the living room, but Stiles could tell from how sharp the room looked in his vision that his eyes were glowing.
“I’m a werewolf,” he whispered, meeting Peter’s eyes almost defiantly.
Peter nodded and extracted himself from Stiles’ grasp. “Why don’t you sit down and I’ll fix us something to eat? We’ve got a lot to discuss.”
Suddenly ravenous, Stiles sat back down on the couch and grabbed his phone from the side table so he’d have something to do with his hands. Trying his hardest not to focus on the claws he was still sporting, he unlocked his phone carefully and frowned at what he saw.
No notifications from Scott.
Not one. It had been almost seven hours since Stiles had tried getting a hold of him and there wasn’t even a, ‘you ok?’ text in response.
Stiles fought through the disappointment and turned his attention instead to the three missed calls from Jackson.
“Jackson called?” he hollered out to Peter, not taking his eyes away from his phone.
Peter gave a noncommittal hum from the kitchen, which Stiles heard perfectly with his newfound superhuman hearing. “Is that abnormal? I just assumed you’d missed your weekly phone sex date or something.”
Stiles growled under his breath, which pulled him up short momentarily. The ability to actually growl was something he’d have to get used to and be careful of. “No, we haven’t spoken since Junior year, a little after the – um, the Nogitsune.”
“Hmm,” Peter hummed again. “You called him after the fact, I take it?” He waltzed back into the living room like he belonged there and set a steaming hot mug of tea and a sandwich in front of Stiles before sitting down a little closer than he would normally dare get. “Smart, getting advice from the only other person you know who had gone through something similar.”
Stiles left Peter to his musings and opened up the 14 unread texts from the former kanima. His eyebrows went higher and higher on his face as he read each one.
‘Stiles, what the hell did you do?’ Followed by several expletives, all sent separately.
‘Call me back. Now.’
‘I’m serious, Stilinski, call me back.’
Stiles’ eyebrows disappeared into his hairline as he read the last one.
‘Fuck it, I’m on my way. You better not be dead when I land.’
He handed the phone to Peter silently, attempting to absorb the multitude of information he had just received. “Why the hell is Jackson coming here?” he asked Peter around a large bite of his sandwich, as if the man would have any idea.
Which, of course, he did. “He must have felt you.”
“Felt me?” Stiles frowned. “You mean, felt me when I turned?”
Peter rolled his eyes and tossed the phone onto the coffee table in front of them. “You know, Stiles, for someone who spent most of the last three years researching werewolves, you seem frightfully under informed about pack dynamics.”
“Pack dynamics?” Stiles picked up the mug and sighed at the warmth under his fingertips. His claws clicked against the ceramic, but he tried his hardest to ignore them. He was aware enough of the pit in his stomach that was begging him to find Derek; he couldn’t focus on much else at the moment, but he tried his damndest to listen to Peter’s response.
Peter leaned back into the couch and closed his eyes, attempting to look nonchalant, but missing by a mile. It was clear from the tension in his shoulders that he was worried about Stiles and trying to hide it. “The wolves in a pack can feel one another. Like a string from your center to theirs. Close your eyes.”
Stiles complied immediately, the wolf inside him thrilled at being given an order that it could follow easily. It did nothing to ease the pit inside of him, but it was another distraction he could cling to.
“Do you feel that tugging sensation in your core?” Peter asked softly.
Stiles hummed affirmatively.
“That’s me. I’m calling out to you using our pack bond.”
Stiles’ eyes flew open at that. “But we’re not pack.” He felt the bond sag, as if it was sad. He concentrated on the bond immediately and pulled it taut again, desperate to right whatever wrong he’d committed to make his packmate feel that way.
Peter opened his eyes and chuckled sardonically. “Aren’t we? Even if you find the idea of me being in your pack… unseemly, it appears that your wolf feels differently.”
“Dammit,” Stiles cursed under his breath, eliciting another amused huff from Peter. “So, wait,” he sat up suddenly. “Does that mean Jackson thinks we’re pack?”
Peter nodded, closing his eyes once more. “Check your bonds, Stiles. They will all feel different from one another. The bond to your Alpha will feel the strongest, but you can feel the other betas as well.”
Stiles frowned and concentrated on his bonds. He checked a few of them, dismissing them all as not-Jackson, until he found one he could only describe as feeling green. “Found him.” He tugged a little on the bond, as if to reassure Jackson he was ok, and was surprised to feel a tug back immediately. It was insistent and annoyed, but Stiles fought a smile when he realized there was also a sense of relief tied to the tug.
“Who else is there?” he asked Peter, cocking his head to the side and reaching out towards his bonds.
“You tell me,” Peter replied, in a quintessential Peter-like tone, as if he already knew the answer and was just waiting for Stiles to catch up.
Stiles frowned again as he found that he couldn’t identify a few of the bonds. When he expressed his frustration to Peter, the man merely smiled.
“That just means the bonds haven’t fully formed yet.”
Sitting back into the cushions, Stiles bit his lip carefully to avoid his fangs, and hesitantly voiced the thought that had been nagging at him since they started their little pack bond lesson. “Why can’t I feel Scott? Is his one of the bonds that hasn’t fully formed yet?”
At this, Peter actually looked somewhat remorseful. “I’m afraid not. If you recognized Scott as your Alpha, not only would you feel his bond above all others, but he would have felt you immediately and it would be him on this couch talking to you and not me.”
“So we’re not pack?” Stiles asked dejectedly.
“That, Stiles, will be entirely up to you. But he is not your Alpha, no.”
“Then who is?”
Peter quirked his eyebrow at the boy. “You sure do ask a lot of dumb questions.”
The pit in Stiles’ stomach grew stronger. He wrapped his arm around his middle, as if holding himself together with one hand. “But he’s not an Alpha,” he protested weakly.
“That’s not as important as it used to be. You don’t need to have an Alpha designation to lead a pack,” Peter said.
“I need him,” Stiles whispered.
To his surprise, Peter didn’t respond with a sarcastic comment or witty anecdote. He simply smiled sadly. “I know. It’s why you can’t change back,” he said, gesturing to Stiles’ beta form and claws.
“Do you… do you know how to get a hold of him?” Stiles asked hesitantly. “He changed his number before I moved back. I’m not even sure he can be reached by phone, come to think of it.”
Peter reached out and placed a hand on Stiles’ forearm reassuringly. “He’s on his way. He felt you so he was coming anyway, but getting word to him was one of the first things I did while you were out.”
Stiles’ wolf howled with joy, but his face squinted suspiciously. “Why do you say that like there were other things you did while I was out that I wouldn’t approve of?”
Peter didn’t answer, just closed his eyes again and smirked.
Stiles sat back and examined his claws idly while Peter feigned sleep. After a few futile minutes of trying to get them to go away, he turned his attention instead to the bonds he could feel, trying to get a better grasp on who his wolf apparently believed was pack.
Lydia, he could feel her. Her bond felt golden and warm. Stiles smiled to himself, but left it alone; he didn’t want to risk her finding out about his transformation before he had it under control.
He rooted around in his bonds and found one that was unmistakably Isaac. Stiles groaned audibly and lolled his head back onto the couch. “Dammit,” he muttered halfheartedly.
Peter snickered next to him. “Not pleased with some of your new pack mates?”
“Shut up, Peter.”
Stiles sat up straighter when he felt a solid bond near the one he knew to be Derek’s. It was firm and resolute, and he knew without question it belonged to his father.
Of course, after the initial excitement from feeling his father’s bond had worn off, the crippling insecurity followed. “Peter,” Stiles whispered.
“Hmm?” Peter, sensing Stiles’ distress, opened his eyes and turned his body slightly towards the new wolf.
“How do I tell him – them?” he corrected himself quickly, but without much hope that Peter would have missed the original intent.
To his surprise, Peter simply smiled lazily at him. “Your father won’t care about you becoming a wolf, Stiles. He’s just going to be happy you’re ok.”
Stiles shook his head, looking down at his claws. “You don’t know that.”
“I do know that,” Peter countered immediately. “In all the time I’ve been watching you and your father, John Stilinski has not once done anything that would lead me to believe he cares if you’re human or not. He has, on the other hand, performed several super-human feats to ensure your continued safety. He’s not going to care you’re a werewolf, Stiles. Of that I am certain.”
Stiles looked up when Peter was finished. “Wow, zombie wolf. That might be the nicest and creepiest thing you ever said to me. Congrats.”
Peter just rolled his eyes and stood up, stretching the ache of sitting on Stiles’ cheap couch out of his body. He strode towards Stiles’ bathroom but stopped before he made it to the door. “Oh,” he said over his shoulder. “And as for the question you’ve been too scared to ask, the answer is yes.”
“What do you mean?” Stiles asked listlessly, his blood running cold.
“Yes,” Peter repeated, stepping into the bathroom and making to close the door behind him. “Your eyes are blue.”
Chapter 2: Ok
Blue. No, no, no. Stiles shot off the couch and ran into his room towards the mirror perched on his dresser. He closed his eyes and took several deep breaths before opening them.
A Stiles he didn’t recognize stared back at him. One with fangs peeking out through his lips and extra hair sprouted on his cheeks. And yes, ice blue eyes.
Despair, shame, and embarrassment washed over him. He ducked his head and turned away from the mirror dejectedly, letting his feet guide him back to the couch to collapse once more.
Stiles had just closed his eyes when he felt a tugging inside of him.
It was Derek’s bond.
Clearly, Derek had felt the drastic change in Stiles’ mood and was trying to help. The tugs grew more insistent, each one pulling Stiles further and further out of his funk. He concentrated on Derek’s bond and gave it a weak tug back, as much as he could muster.
He could feel Derek’s relief, but his primary emotion was still worry. After a few seconds, the bond went quiet again and Stiles exhaled.
Peter emerged from the bathroom a few minutes later, having wanted to give Stiles some privacy.
“You should get some more rest,” he said, more gently than Peter usually spoke. “Derek will be here by tonight.”
With the promise of seeing Derek soon, Stiles nodded off, too exhausted to move from the couch.
He awoke what felt like minutes later. There was a scent in the apartment that was familiar but also foreign.
Stiles opened his eyes and spotted the source of the scent immediately. Jackson was sitting at the other end of the couch with Stiles’ feet in his lap, his arms folded across his chest.
“Look who’s finally awake,” Jackson said, rolling his eyes.
Stiles wiped a hand over his face and shook his head rapidly to wake himself up. He slid his feet off of Jackson’s lap, still confused about how they’d gotten there, and sat up. “What are you doing here?”
Jackson shot him an unimpressed look. “I felt you change, why wouldn’t I be here?” He looked around at the empty apartment. “Where is everyone else? I would have thought they’d come running.”
Stiles cleared his throat and didn’t answer. “Where’s Peter?” he asked instead.
Jackson pursed his lips at Stiles’ non-answer, but let it go for now. “He went out to get groceries. Said something about how new werewolves can’t live on ramen.”
Stiles huffed and swallowed nervously when silence descended upon them. Jackson scooted closer to Stiles on instinct, both of them drawing comfort from pack. “I don’t know how to be this, Jackson.”
“Shut up, Stilinski,” Jackson scoffed. “If anyone can master becoming a werewolf, it’s you.”
Eyebrows making a break for his hairline, Stiles smiled widely. “Did you just compliment me?”
Jackson bumped their shoulders together. “Shut up,” he said again weakly. “You know what I mean. You were the one who got McCall through it, and he’s a moron. You’ve had, what, three or four years of this crap to learn all about werewolves? Becoming one’s going to be a snap for you.”
Stiles’ smile faltered, but he considered Jackson’s words carefully. “Yeah,” he murmured half-heartedly. “We’ll see.”
They sat in silence until they heard Peter’s car about a block away. Jackson stood up and met Peter outside to help bring the groceries in, an act that had Stiles gaping incredulously at his back as he walked away.
“It’s like I’m in the Twilight Zone,” he muttered.
“I will drop these eggs,” Jackson threatened quietly. Stiles had no problem hearing him from outside.
“Are you two finished cuddling?” Peter asked as he entered the apartment laden with enough groceries to feed an army.
“We weren’t cuddling,” Jackson insisted, though the blush on his cheeks claimed otherwise. He ignored Peter and Stiles and set about putting the food away, finding the right cabinets by scent.
Stiles sat down at the small table in the kitchen, idly wondering how he ended up with Jackson Whittemore and Peter Hale of all people in his apartment making him feel better about the fact that he had just been turned into a werewolf against his will.
“How do you feel?” Peter asked, taking out a package of ground beef and some taco seasoning.
“Well, I’ve lived a better day,” Stiles responded wearily.
Peter hummed under his breath. “Hungry?”
Jackson nodded and found a pan large enough to start cooking the meat in.
Stiles watched the two work in strange synchronicity. Jackson manned the stove while Peter grabbed various herbs, spices, hot sauce, and cheeses, handing them to Jackson before he could even ask.
The confused frown gave way slowly to a content smile. The wolf inside of him felt happy in a way it hadn’t since Stiles had been bitten. Almost as if it was curled up in front of a warm fireplace.
“It’s pack,” Peter said softly as he moved closer to set the table.
“How did you – ”
Peter and Jackson tugged on their pack bonds at the same time in answer to Stiles’ unfinished question.
Stiles let his head fall back with a groan. “I don’t know what’s more disturbing – that I’m never going to be able to keep anything to myself ever again, or that you two are basically turning into the same person.”
The two wolves gave each other scathing looks, but both turned away when they saw their expression mirrored on the other’s face, essentially proving Stiles’ point.
“Whatever, Stilinski. Just eat.” Jackson plated the inordinate amount of the food he’d just made, but it was barely enough for the three hungry werewolves. Stiles ignored his claws throughout the meal and actually thought chewing with fangs felt kind of cool.
He thought optimistically that maybe this whole werewolf thing might work out after all.
“How do you feel, Stiles?” Peter asked after they were done eating. Jackson got up and began bringing the dishes to the sink.
“I feel a little more stable, but I still need –,” he shot a nervous glance at Jackson’s back.
“If you’re worried about me finding out about the huge heart boner you have for Hale, I already know,” Jackson said in a bored voice without turning around.
“What?” Stiles sputtered indignantly. “How do you know about that? Scott doesn’t even know about that.” He ignored the pang in his chest at the thought of Scott.
Jackson turned around triumphantly. “I didn’t.” He sat down with a gleeful smile on his face. “Since when do you have the hots for Hale? Or guys at all?”
Stiles groaned and let his head drop to the table. He heard Peter, the traitor, chuckle.
“Why don’t we head back into the living room until my dear nephew arrives? We have a few more things to go over.” Peter didn’t wait for a response, knowing both Stiles and Jackson would follow him.
Peter and Jackson bracketed him on the couch, ignoring the perfectly good armchair on the other side of the coffee table.
They spent the next few hours talking about the different aspects of Stiles’ wolf. Peter used Jackson for a few practical demonstrations, with much less complaint than Stiles had anticipated.
Stiles succeeded in flashing his eyes a few times, but for the most part they stayed blue. Peter taught him more about pack dynamics and about the bonds Stiles could feel. He told him some about anchors, but Stiles had a feeling he was being a little more cagey than usual about that particular topic.
The sun went down and Stiles’ stomach rumbled again. They decided to forego cooking this time in favor of ordering Chinese. Stiles made sure to order some of Derek’s favorites, daring both Peter and Jackson with a look to make a snide comment. Surprisingly, they both remained silent.
Jackson turned on the TV while they ate, which they all watched idly. Stiles asked Peter the odd question here and there, but the pit in his stomach was getting harder and harder to ignore the longer he went without seeing Derek.
Sensing Stiles’ distress, Jackson took advantage of a brief quiet part in the show they were watching to ask a question that he hoped would distract Stiles. “Hey, Peter, I have a couple of bonds that hurt when I focus on them for too long. Do you know what that means?”
Stiles sat up with interest, which was doubled when Peter set his food down and cleared his throat nervously.
“I do,” Peter replied. He licked his lips before elaborating. “That is what a bond feels like when that particular packmate is gone.”
“Gone?” Stiles whispered.
“Dead, mostly. Though it feels nearly the same if the packmate leaves or disowns the pack in some way.” Peter sniffed and busied himself with cleaning up the boxes to avoid eye contact with the other two.
Stiles and Jackson exchanged a look. Stiles closed his eyes and searched for any bonds that felt the way Jackson described. His eyes welled up with tears when he found one that was unmistakably his mother. It was bold and loving, but his head and his heart hurt after a few seconds of concentration.
Moving on quickly, Stiles found two he could tell used to be Erica and Boyd, and one he felt was Allison’s.
He heard Jackson sniff and then cough to cover the noise. On instinct, he scooted closer so they were flush against one another on the couch. Jackson nudged him in thanks and the two waited for Peter to return.
Peter didn’t speak, just sat down on Stiles’ other side. He looked around hesitantly before Stiles just groaned and pulled the man closer so they were shoulder to shoulder.
Which is exactly how they were seated when they heard the roar of a fast-moving car approaching the apartment. Peter and Jackson stood up and faced the door with their claws out, ready to fight the threat until Peter sighed in relief, followed quickly by Jackson. They relaxed and stepped to the side of the room, not wanting to get in the way of what would inevitably follow.
Stiles was frozen in place. He could hear a heartbeat he knew in his bones belonged to Derek, and was suddenly wracked with nerves.
Those nerves flew out the window when the door was ripped open. Derek’s eyes were glowing a blazing blue as they looked around frantically trying to find Stiles.
Stiles, who hadn’t realized he had stopped breathing until the air was forced out of his lungs with the shock of how amazing Derek looked. He had grown out his beard and his muscles looked bigger than Stiles remembered, if that was even possible.
Derek stood frozen in the doorway, his eyes never leaving Stiles’.
“Derek,” he whispered brokenly.
It was all Derek needed to advance on Stiles, sitting down next to him and gathering him up into a fierce embrace that left him nearly sitting on Derek’s lap.
Stiles responded with enthusiasm, fisting his hands in the back of Derek’s shirt. He didn’t realize he was crying until he heard Derek’s soft, reassuring whispers in his ear. One of Derek’s arms had Stiles’ waist in a vice-like grip, while the other rubbed up and down his back soothingly.
The two were vaguely aware of Peter and Jackson slipping out of the room to give them privacy, but they were too wrapped up in the moment to care.
“I don’t know what happened, Derek. One minute I was walking home from class and the next, I was fighting an Alpha. He bit me. He bit me.” The words came tumbling out of Stiles’ mouth as he recounted the whole story. His face didn’t leave Derek’s neck, inhaling the man’s scent greedily as if he had been deprived of it for too long.
Derek just continued his ministrations on Stiles’ back and listened intently, offering a soothing word whenever he felt Stiles’ distress start to grow.
At some point during Stiles’ story, he had shifted to sit entirely on Derek’s lap. Derek just adjusted his arms and held him closer.
After his hiccupping sobs petered out into slightly labored breathing, Stiles lifted his head out of the junction between Derek’s neck and shoulder. He wiped his eyes futilely as the tears continued to run down his face.
Derek’s hand left Stiles’ back and cupped his face gently. “You’re going to be ok, Stiles. I promise.”
Stiles could only nod, hoping with everything in him that Derek was right.
They sat like that for a few more minutes, until Stiles came down from the initial rush of adrenaline and realized his positioning. “Oh,” he muttered, embarrassed. He climbed off of Derek’s lap, but Derek pulled him close to make sure he didn’t go far. Stiles’ wolf howled in pleasure at the gesture.
He ran his hands through his hair and realized with a jolt that his claws were gone. Without thought, he showed Derek his human hands, puffing up happily when Derek gave him a proud smile.
“How do you feel now, Stiles?” Peter asked from the kitchen.
Stiles jumped in surprise, having forgotten Peter and Jackson were still there. He took stock of his emotional and physical state and found that he was markedly better than he had been even an hour ago. “I feel… good?”
Derek pushed some wayward hair out of Stiles’ eyes. “Is that a question?” he asked with a smirk.
“No, I feel good. I’m just surprised, I guess. I’ve had this pit in my stomach all day.”
“You just needed a Hale cuddle session,” Jackson said obnoxiously. Stiles opened his mouth indignantly but was saved from actually having to say anything when Peter smacked the back of Jackson’s head.
Derek smiled and looked down, pleased. “Jackson,” he greeted. “Good to see you.”
Jackson pursed his lips, rubbing the back of his head unhappily. “Yeah, yeah, we’re all happy to see each other. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to check into my hotel. The last time I was alone with the two of you,” he pointed at Derek and Peter without any heat behind his eyes, “you killed me.”
“You came back,” Peter muttered, unperturbed.
“You’re leaving?” Stiles and his wolf both whined.
Jackson shot him a soft smile. “I’ll be back in the morning. I just need to call Ethan and get some sleep – I didn’t get any on the plane.”
“Aww,” Stiles cooed. “You were worried about me, weren’t you?”
“Shut it,” Jackson responded, grabbing the keys to his rental and storming out without a backwards glance.
“I should go as well,” said Peter, gathering up his coat from where he’d left it hanging off the back of the couch.
At this, Stiles sat up straight. “You’re leaving too? You mean you’re going back to Beacon Hills?”
Peter frowned in confusion. “Yes? Your Alpha’s here now, he can help you.”
“I’m not an Alpha,” Derek said with a confused frown of his own.
Stiles blushed, but waived his hand impatiently. They could talk about that part later. “But - .” He cut himself off, not sure why he was protesting Peter’s departure.
“You don’t want me to leave, do you?” Peter asked delightedly. When Stiles only scrunched up his face in response, Peter laughed. “Dear boy, if you’d like me to stay, I’d be happy to. Why don’t I go home for the night and come back in the morning with some of my things?”
Stiles sighed in relief and annoyance. “Yes, please,” he whispered begrudgingly.
Peter smiled and turned to leave, making sure to run his hand over both Stiles and Derek’s heads before he went out the door.
And then they were alone.
Stiles looked up at Derek through his lashes and smiled. “Thank you for coming.”
Derek wrapped his arm around Stiles’ shoulders, pulling the boy to him. “Of course,” he whispered into Stiles’ hair.
They sat like that for a while, content to just listen to each other’s heartbeats, and reveling in how completely normal their proximity felt.
“Stiles?” Derek said quietly about twenty minutes later. “Why did Peter call me your Alpha?”
Stiles cleared his throat and pulled back from Derek slightly. “No idea,” he said.
Derek’s eyebrows asked him again.
After huffing with equal parts exasperation and embarrassment, Stiles answered. “Well, when I first woke up after, y’know, I – I felt my bonds. And yours was the strongest; like an Alpha’s.” Stiles ducked his head so he wouldn’t have to look at the bewildered face Derek was making. “And I just knew that I wouldn’t be ok until you were here.”
“What about Scott?”
“What about him?” Stiles asked bitterly. “He didn’t even pick up when I called him after I’d been bitten. I still haven’t heard from him. I – I don’t feel him. Can we talk about this later? Please?”
Derek grabbed Stiles’ hand and closed his eyes. Stiles intertwined their fingers, his wolf purring contentedly. He leaned into Derek and laid his head on his shoulder.
“Ok,” was all Derek said.
Chapter 3: An anchor
Stiles woke with a start as he heard what sounded like a gunshot right outside his apartment door.
“Car backfire, three blocks away,” came a sleepy voice from behind him.
This time, Stiles was startled for a different reason. Derek Hale was spooning him. And was talking to him as if this was the most natural state in the world for them to be in.
“Go back to sleep,” Derek said through a yawn, tightening his arm around Stiles.
His wolf wanted to turn around and cuddle closer to Derek’s warmth. Thankfully, Stiles was awake enough for his human side to drive, so he didn’t move. “How did we get in my bed?”
Derek groaned and moved his hand from around Stiles’ waist so he could rub his face tiredly. “We fell asleep on the couch. I brought you into your room and you asked me to stay. You don’t remember?”
Stiles flushed with embarrassment. “Nope, definitely don’t remember that.”
There was silence from behind him. “Oh, of course. I can go if you want.” Derek started to pull away, but was stopped by Stiles turning around in a panic. He grabbed Derek’s arm and pulled the man back down to the bed.
“No!” he all but yelled. “I mean, no, you don’t have to go. If you don’t want to.” Stiles let go of Derek’s arm slowly and bit his bottom lip.
Derek smiled, pleased, and laid back down on the bed. He opened his arms and gave a content sigh when Stiles immediately curled up into his chest.
“This is weird. Is this weird?”
“Uh-uh,” Derek said sleepily. “It’s pack.”
Stiles shook his head. “That’s what Peter said yesterday. I guess I’m going to have to get used to this.”
“Mmhmm, you should.” Derek’s eyes were closed and he was already back asleep.
Stiles smiled to himself and pulled the covers back up to his chin. He was out within seconds.
The next time he woke, it was to the smell of bacon. Derek’s side of the bed was empty, but still warm so Stiles knew he hadn’t been up long.
He threw the covers off and got up, scratching his stomach idly as he stretched. He took stock of his surroundings and could tell that Derek, Jackson, and Peter were all in his kitchen.
The thought made Stiles absurdly happy.
He threw on some sweats and an old t-shirt and went to join his pack.
Peter was manning the griddle, making bacon and pancakes. Jackson was plating some eggs. Derek was at the coffee maker, pouring two steaming hot mugs. He gave one to Stiles, prepared exactly the way Stiles liked.
Stiles gave Derek a sleepy smile in thanks and sat down at the table with a yawn.
“So, is that bed head or sex hair?” Jackson asked as he put down a plate of eggs in front of Stiles.
This time, both Derek and Peter smacked the back of his head.
“Hey!” Jackson said indignantly, ignoring Stiles’ laughter.
“Be nice, or I’m spitting in your pancakes,” Peter warned.
Jackson grumbled, but remained silent.
Derek, whose ears had turned red at Jackson’s question, quickly sat at the table and started in on the eggs.
“So,” Peter began as he set the bacon and pancakes on the table. “How do you want to proceed, Stiles?”
Stiles was surprised by the question, but thought about his answer carefully for a few moments. “I need to get more control before I talk to my dad. Already there have been times where I’ve given into what my wolf wants me to do. I don’t want to risk hurting him if I become overly emotional.”
Peter seemed pleased with Stiles’ answer. “And Scott, Lydia, and the others?”
“Uh,” Stiles ate a few more forkfuls of pancake to put off responding. He sighed loudly when the others just stared at him. “I can’t tell him.”
“He’s going to figure it out, Stiles.” Derek reached across the table and grasped the back of Stiles’ neck. He sagged under Derek’s grip and closed his eyes momentarily.
“I know,” he conceded. “But I can’t let him see me like this.”
“Like what?” Jackson asked.
Stiles flashed his eyes then looked down at his plate.
Peter cleared his throat obnoxiously. Stiles looked up and saw all three of the others flashing their own blue eyes at him. It was enough to startle a laugh out of him.
“You know what I mean,” Stiles protested sadly after the moment had passed. “He’s so blindly moral. I can’t just show up with blue eyes, not after everything that happened with Donovan.” He gestured weakly to his eyes. “Not when these confirm what I am.”
“A murderer?” Jackson whispered. Stiles recoiled like he’d been slapped, but Jackson just pushed his plate away and continued. “Do you think I’m a murderer, Stiles? Or Derek?”
“No,” Stiles insisted emphatically.
“Hey, what about me?” Peter asked, mock-offended. Stiles, Jackson, and Derek all fixed him with the same exasperated expression. Peter just held up his hands in surrender and poured more syrup on his pancakes.
Jackson continued as if he hadn’t been interrupted. “If McCall can’t understand why your eyes are blue, he doesn’t deserve to call himself your packmate.”
Guilt coiled in Stiles’ gut. “That’s another thing. How can I possibly explain to him that my wolf doesn’t see him as pack? As my Alpha?” He steadfastly avoided Derek’s eyes, choosing instead to focus on Jackson.
“People drift apart,” Peter replied. “The nature of their relationship changes. Just because you don’t see him as your Alpha doesn’t mean you don’t love him, or that he isn’t family. It just means that your wolf sees him in a different way than you do. Not in a better or worse way, just different.”
Stiles considered Peter’s words. He felt an ankle hook his own under the table and sighed in relief at Derek’s touch.
“I still don’t want to tell him right away. I need to work some things out on my own first.” Stiles paused as he realized something and turned to Jackson. “You didn’t call Lydia when you felt me turn?”
Jackson shook his head. “I tried calling McCall when you weren’t responding to me, and he didn’t pick up. But no, the only person I told was Ethan, and he won’t tell anyone if you don’t want him to.”
Stiles growled under his breath at the mention of Scott ignoring Jackson’s call, but he focused on Derek’s ankle against his own and calmed down after a few seconds. The relief that Lydia didn’t know about his condition yet outweighed his indignation. “Good. That’s good,” he mumbled.
Derek shot him a worried glance at the jump in his emotions, but said nothing.
The rest of the morning passed easily. Stiles was more surprised with each passing minute how well the four of them were getting along. Derek and Jackson left after breakfast to go buy some clothes; they’d both left abruptly without packing much.
Peter took advantage of his alone time with Stiles to talk to him about a few things that still seemed to be bothering the boy.
He nodded towards the couch and sat down after Stiles. “What’s on your mind?”
“Is Peter Hale really asking me about my feelings?” Stiles attempted to deflect. Peter just leveled him with an unimpressed glare. “Ok, ok there are a few things I’m confused about.”
Peter waved for him to continue.
“Well, I was there when Scott was bitten.” He paused and laughed. “You know that, nevermind. I just, I remember how hard it was for him. His emotions were all over the place and he tried to kill me more than once.”
“And you’re not feeling those same murderous urges, and that’s confusing to you,” Peter finished with a sage nod. “It’s because you already have an anchor and a pack, Stiles.”
Stiles cleared his throat and shook his head. “I – I don’t have an anchor. Do I?”
Peter looked towards the ceiling for strength. “The longer you deny what’s right in front of your face, the harder this transformation will be for you. Do you know how we decided when a human was ready for the bite in my family?”
Stiles shook his head again and sat up, enraptured.
“Well, first of all it had to be unanimous. Talia never turned anyone without consent from each pack member, even the kids. But aside from that, they needed to have strong ties to the pack and an anchor already in place. Otherwise, the new wolf was prone to violence. Throughout the generations, it was even noted that the bite was less likely to take without a pre-arranged anchor.”
“Derek,” Stiles bit out when Peter was done. “I think my anchor is Derek.”
Peter smiled ruefully. “Yes, I believe it is.”
“How the hell did that happen?” Stiles asked the room, not expecting an answer.
“You trust him,” Peter said simply. “You’ve both saved each other on multiple occasions, found comfort in each other. It’s not an illogical conclusion to draw.”
“Do you think he’ll mind?” Stiles whispered.
Peter shook his head. “Not in the least. Now, tell me what else is bothering you.”
Stiles looked down and clenched his hands into fists. He could feel his eyes flashing and took a few deep breaths to control himself.
“It’s your eyes, isn’t it?” Peter surmised.
Stiles nodded. “What if this is just proof I actually am a murderer? I mean with the Nogitsune and Donovan, what if I just am?”
Peter was silent for a long time. Long enough for Stiles to look up worriedly, his eyes wide. “I’ve known quite a few murderers in my time, Stiles,” Peter started. “And I, myself, can even be placed into that category. Now, you are a lot of things, but a murderer is simply not one of them. Obviously I don’t know the whole story of what happened with Donovan, but I do know that Theo tried to convince everyone that you murdered the boy in cold blood. Which is enough to convince me that that is the exact opposite of what you did.”
Stiles’ jaw went slack at the faith Peter was showing him. “But Scott –”
“Is an idiot,” Peter interrupted. “He has some good qualities, even qualities that may one day make him a great Alpha, but in his treatment of you and your friendship, he is an idiot. Do not let yourself and your progress as a wolf be swayed by what Scott may or may not think.”
Stiles opened and closed his mouth several times. His human instinct was to give a full-throated defense of Scott’s behavior, but his wolf seemed content to believe the words Peter was saying. After a few moments, he just nodded once.
“Do you think I’m going to lose control and hurt someone?”
Peter hummed. “I think it’s possible that you will hurt someone, but I doubt it will be because you lost control.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, every time I have seen you hurt someone, it has been in defense of the pack. The one time you were forced to kill someone, it was in self defense. You’ve proven multiple times over the years that you value your pack’s lives over your own, so it just goes to reason that you are more than capable of killing for your pack if you deem it necessary.”
Stiles swallowed down the bile that had risen to his throat. “I don’t want to kill anyone,” he countered defiantly.
“Oh, I don’t think you do. But that doesn’t mean you won’t.”
Stiles frowned, but thought about Peter’s meaning. His wolf paced angrily at the thought of a threat hurting his pack and he knew in that instant he would, indeed, kill for them. “Maybe you’re right,” he conceded softly.
They sat in silence for several more minutes before Stiles let his breath out through his nose in a huff. “I don’t know why my wolf is so insistent that we’re pack.”
He expected Peter to be annoyed or angry by the statement, but the man just chuckled. “Believe me, dear boy, I am just as confused by that as anyone. Though I can’t say it doesn’t feel nice, having a pack again. Even if it’s with you,” he finished with a wink.
Thankfully, Derek and Jackson chose that moment to return from their shopping trip. Peter gripped Stiles’ shoulder briefly before heading outside to help them bring in some of their bags.
His heartbeat picked up when Derek came through the door, which Jackson delighted in grinning at him evilly for. Derek just smiled and dropped a small package into Stiles hands, making sure to run his own hand over the top of Stiles’ head as he did.
Stiles’ wolf howled happily at the thought of his Alpha giving him a present. He unwrapped it gently and shook the tissue paper until a small keychain fell into his open palm.
It was an anchor.
Stiles looked up quickly, finding Derek standing in the kitchen doorway with a smug grin on his face. It quickly faded to a fond, happy smile as he shot a shy nod towards Stiles.
Stiles sighed in relief and clutched the anchor in his hands, nodding back at Derek. He felt as if an immense weight had been taken off of his shoulders.
Jackson took that moment to sigh himself and plop down on the couch next to Stiles. Peter shut the front door and nodded for Derek to follow him into the kitchen, leaving Stiles alone with Jackson to contemplate just how different his life was rapidly becoming.
Chapter 4: Our territory
Stiles only had four weeks left before Winter Break, and he was determined to learn enough control that he could visit his father without fear of harming him.
After a long phone call with Isaac, during which Isaac promised not to tell Scott or anyone else about Stiles’ transformation as long as Stiles checked in with him every once in a while, Stiles devoted most of his time to training.
Peter volunteered to teach him how to channel his emotions whenever he wanted to flash his eyes or unsheathe his claws; Jackson sparred with him every day to wear out Stiles’ wolf and help ease some of the excess energy he suddenly had; and Derek took to auditing Stiles’ classes so he could sit in the back with Stiles to keep him calm. Every so often, Derek would have to place a hand on his shaking knee, or rub small circles into his back to keep him from reacting to every little noise inside the classroom and out.
The general consensus was that Stiles was doing remarkably well.
In a turn of events that shocked exactly no one, Derek had taken to sleeping in Stiles’ bed with him. It wasn’t an arrangement they’d made out loud – Derek simply followed Stiles into his room that second night and crawled in behind him, pulling him tightly to his chest. Their nightly routine was quickly becoming the most stable, and most enjoyable, part of Stiles’ day.
Stiles’ feelings for Derek were put on hold for the time being; his wolf’s need for comfort from his Alpha far outweighed Stiles’ need for anything else from Derek. But there was still an undeniable undercurrent of marvelous tension between them during most of their interactions. They both knew it would come to a head eventually, but it was far down on the list of their current priorities.
About two weeks after Stiles was bitten, Derek got word that there was an animal attack about ten miles away from campus.
“I’m not staying here,” Stiles said for the fifth time in as many minutes.
Derek pursed his lips and breathed in and out through his nose several times. “You can’t come with us, Stiles. You still don’t have full control of your wolf.”
“I have enough! I haven’t accidentally hurt Jackson while sparring in over a week. And I haven’t wolfed out once during class, even when that girl sprayed her perfume right in my face,” Stiles insisted obstinately.
“You do know that he’ll just follow us if we make him stay here, don’t you?” Peter asked idly from his perch in the doorway, picking at his claws as if he were bored.
Stiles grinned triumphantly at Derek, whose eyes flashed at Peter and then Stiles in turn.
“Fine,” Derek gritted out. He grabbed his leather jacket from the back of the couch and led the others out to his car.
Stiles claimed the front seat and put his feet up on the dash while using his phone to look up information on the attack. “So it looks like the victim, a student at Berkeley, was walking home alone at night and was attacked from behind. Hospital records say she has a large bite wound on her neck and has suffered severe blood loss.”
“We’re thinking vampire?” Jackson piped in from the back seat. Derek and Peter nodded. “So, how do we kill it?”
Stiles swatted at Jackson’s legs behind his seat. “We’re not gonna kill it. Not until we at least try talking to it first. I mean, it says here the girl’s going to be fine,” he trailed off uncertainly, looking at Derek with a frown.
Derek just slid his right hand over the back of Stiles’ neck. “You’re right. We’ll try to talk to it first,” he soothed.
“But when that doesn’t work, we’ll kill it,” Peter added unhelpfully.
The frown didn’t leave Stiles’ face until they arrived at the scene of the attack.
“Ok,” said Derek, gripping Stiles’ shoulders and fixing him with a serious look. “Close your eyes.”
Stiles did so immediately. He knew the drill; Peter had been playing this game with him since he was first bitten. Stiles took a deep breath in and began cataloguing the scents he could make out.
“Pine and dirt, which make sense since we’re kind of in the woods. Lavender?” He opened his eyes briefly in confusion.
“That’s from the girl,” said Jackson. “She smelled like lavender when Peter and I snuck into the hospital this morning.”
Stiles nodded and closed his eyes once more. “I smell… milk. Is that right?”
“Very good,” Derek said with a small smile, which Stiles wasted no time in returning once he opened his eyes again.
Peter hummed. “It doesn’t smell sour, so your idiotic plan of talking to the thing first might actually work.”
“The more sour their scent, the more feral the vampire,” Derek told Jackson and Stiles, who were wearing twin looks of confusion. “This one smells fairly lucid, thought there is something off about it. Jackson, do you want to follow the scent and lead the way?”
Jackson looked surprised to be chosen, but smiled shyly before taking a big breath in. He started walking west, away from the school.
They had been walking for twenty minutes when they came across a group of townhomes just past the edge of the woods.
“I think I lost it,” Jackson said with his head hung.
Derek walked up to the beta and gripped his shoulder. “That was good. Look around, why do you think you lost it?”
Jackson preened at the positive attention and took in his surroundings. “We’re at a trail head. Lots of foot traffic.”
Derek nodded proudly again. “Peter, did you find it?”
Peter, who had walked a large circle around the place they’d lost the scent, nodded towards the townhomes. “They’re in one of those.”
They followed Peter as he picked up the scent, which led to the house on the very end. “Here,” he grunted.
“What now?” Jackson asked.
“We knock, of course,” Stiles said, running up to the front door before Derek and Peter could stop him. He knocked sharply three times and turned around to find his packmates wearing various looks of outrage.
“Stiles, are you crazy?” Derek whisper-shouted at him. “Get away from the door, now!”
The door opened when Stiles was mid eye roll, revealing a scared looking woman in her early fifties. “Can I help you?”
“No –,” Derek started, running forward so he was slightly in front of Stiles. Stiles ducked out from behind Derek and approached the woman with a smile.
“Hi, there. We’re here about the vampire attack that took place not far from here.” He could hear Peter sigh loudly as Jackson slapped his hand to his forehead.
The woman’s eyes widened. “We don’t know anything about that,” she pleaded, making to close the door. Stiles silently fist pumped when he was able to hear the lie in her heartbeat.
Derek’s hand stopped the door from closing. His eyes flashed, causing the woman to take a giant step back into her house.
“We’re not here to hurt you,” Stiles assured her. “We just want to know what happened.” He turned around and noticed that Jackson and Peter’s eyes had flashed at the same time as Derek’s. “Seriously, guys? You’re scaring her.”
“We’re scaring her?” Jackson huffed. “We’re not the ones going around biting people at random.”
“He didn’t mean it,” the woman insisted. “Please, don’t hurt him. Please.”
Stiles tugged at Derek’s arm until he released the door. “Don’t hurt who?” Stiles asked, his voice soft.
The woman sniffed and looked over her shoulder. “My son,” she whispered.
“Why did your son bite the girl?” Peter asked. Stiles was relieved to see that his eyes were back to normal, though he was playing with his claws again.
“He didn’t mean to, I promise. He’s been ill, delirious. My husband’s away on business and I just went down to the store for ten minutes. He – he got out and I couldn’t get to him in time. Please,” she pleaded. “He was only turned six months ago, but he’s always had control and he’s already feeling better so it won’t happen again.”
She burst into tears, her chest heaving violently. Stiles made to step forward to comfort her, but was stopped by Peter hooking a single claw into the neck of his shirt. Stiles growled and flashed his eyes at him, but he stood his ground.
“We’ll need to speak with him,” Derek said eventually. “This is our territory and we can’t leave without making sure the threat is contained.”
The woman nodded frantically. “Of course, let me go get him.”
She left the door open so they could hear her run up the stairs and into another room. They heard distant murmuring, followed by two sets of footsteps making their way back down the stairs. One set very obviously more lethargic than the other.
The boy made his way to the door and stood behind his mother. He looked to be no older than 16.
“What’s your name, kid?” Derek asked him, folding his arms across his chest.
“Patrick,” he responded weakly.
“Do you know why we’re here, Patrick?”
The boy nodded. “Because I hurt that girl.” Stiles could smell the misery wafting off of him.
“You did. Can you tell me why you hurt her?”
Patrick sniffed, his bottom lip trembling. “I didn’t mean to. I’ve been really sick. I didn’t even know I was outside until she was screaming for me to get off of her. I stopped drinking right away – I never meant to hurt anyone. We live off blood bags, I’ve never even bitten anyone before.”
Derek took a deep breath and looked at the rest of the pack. Stiles and Jackson gave him slight nods, while Peter squinted discerningly at the boy. After a few seconds, he nodded as well.
“How are you feeling now?” Derek asked.
“Much better,” Patrick insisted. “My fever broke this afternoon.”
“You understand what will happen if you attack someone again, don’t you?”
Patrick’s eyes widened as he nodded. Derek turned around and saw the other three flashing their eyes in warning. The synchronicity made him want to laugh.
Instead, he just nodded towards the mom and took a step back from the front door. “Oh, and kid?” He waited for Patrick to turn back around. “The girl’s going to be ok.”
The full body slump in relief was enough to let the pack know they’d done the right thing. They turned around and made their way back towards the car. Once they’d cleared the edge of the woods and were out of earshot of the vampires, Derek rounded on Stiles.
“What the hell were you thinking?” he demanded, grabbing Stiles’ shoulder to turn him around. “Just walking headfirst into danger like that.”
Stiles’ wolf whined, but he held his ground. “Yeah, Derek, because that woman and her son were so dangerous.”
“You had no idea what you were walking into. What if they’d been hostile, huh? Then what?”
“I heard their heartbeats inside, there were only two of them. We could have easily taken them if it came down to a fight. Four against two are my kind of odds.”
“Without a plan? A strategy? Tell me, Stiles, how do you kill a vampire? What are its weak spots in a fight?”
Stiles shifted on his feet, the defensive anger leaving him slightly as he considered Derek’s questions. When he realized that maybe his approach wasn’t the wisest, he slumped in defeat. “You’re right.”
“Sorry, what was that?” Peter piped up from where he and Jackson had been watching the fight.
“Shut it, Peter, I said he’s right.” Stiles gripped the hand that was still on his shoulder and squeezed Derek’s fingers in apology. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking. I put myself and the pack at risk. It won’t happen again.”
The fight left Derek immediately. He gathered Stiles into a hug and nuzzled his face into his neck. They stayed like that for a few minutes until Jackson coughed to remind them they weren’t alone.
Stiles jumped a bit, but Derek just smoothed his hand over Stiles’ head and continued on towards the car, ignoring the knowing looks Peter and Jackson were giving him.
When they arrived back at Stiles’ apartment, Peter broke off to start making dinner while Jackson stepped outside to call Ethan.
“Hey, Derek?” Stiles asked timidly, not sure how his question would be received after their argument. Derek just quirked his eyebrow and sat down on the couch next to Stiles. “What you said earlier, about this being our territory. Did you mean that?”
Derek’s other eyebrow joined the first.
Stiles frowned. “How does that work? Do we just get to declare this our territory?”
The man hummed and was quiet for a few seconds while he gathered his answer. “Yes and no. If there was already an established pack here, the territory would be theirs. We would either have to negotiate for a piece of their land or fight them for the whole territory.”
“But there’s no established pack here?”
“No,” came Peter’s answer from the kitchen. “I checked with my contacts once you decided to transfer. Some college towns have a local pack you would need to get permission from to attend the school, but the closest pack to Berkeley is the McCall Pack.”
Stiles’ gut clenched at the thought of Scott, but he turned his attention instead to Peter’s words. “You looked into that for me?” he cooed obnoxiously, knowing it would bother Peter. Predictably, he heard Peter huff and go back to his chopping.
“Peter’s right,” Derek elaborated. “We are the only pack in the area, so if we want the territory, it would be fairly easy to claim.”
“So, what, we need to pee on the territory borders and start telling other supernatural creatures in the area to get off our lawn?” Stiles said with a smirk.
Derek looked around shiftily.
“Oh my god, that’s literally what we have to do, isn’t it?” Stiles asked, a delighted grin overtaking his face. “Please tell me I’m right.”
“I’m not peeing on any trees,” Jackson proclaimed haughtily, reentering the living room.
“We don’t have to pee on anything,” Derek gritted out. “We just have to stake our claim.”
“How?” Stiles asked, genuinely curious this time.
Derek pursed his lips before responding. “It’s easy enough to do, I can show you. But, do – do you want this to be our territory?”
Stiles could feel the weight behind the words. Do you want us to stay together in this area was the real question. He looked around at Jackson and tried to get a read on Peter’s scent, but it was overpowered by the food he was cooking. He licked his lips nervously and sniffed once before responding. “Yes, I think I’d like that.”
Jackson barely suppressed a smirk. “Aw, Stilinski, are you asking us to move in with you?”
Stiles just shoved him off his perch on the arm of the couch. “We don’t have to if you guys don’t want to. I just – I’ve really enjoyed these last couple of weeks. More than I thought I would.”
Derek smiled at him warmly. Peter walked into the entranceway with a towel slung over his shoulder, looking so domestic that Stiles couldn’t help but smile.
The smile dropped off his face almost as fast as it appeared. “Oh, but no, of course not. Beacon Hills is Hale territory, has been for centuries. I can’t ask you guys to leave that –”
“You don’t have to ask,” Peter interrupted. He eyed Derek with an unreadable expression. The two had a silent conversation, which left them both smiling softly. Derek shot Peter a weighted nod. Whatever it meant, caused the tension Peter had been holding for years to leave his shoulders.
“Our territory is wherever our pack is,” Derek said with finality. “We’re in.”
Jackson pouted from his position on the floor. “Isn’t anybody gonna ask me if I’m ok with it?”
Derek stifled a smile. “Of course. You have a life in London, Jackson. We could never ask you to leave that. But what do you think of coming back here more permanently?”
Stiles waited with baited breath as Jackson thought about it. “I’ll have to talk to Ethan,” he said eventually, an uncharacteristic vulnerability in his eyes. “He – I couldn’t move without him.”
Peter had disappeared back into the kitchen with a mistiness in his eyes Stiles made sure to tuck in the back of his mind to blackmail him with later. Derek nodded in satisfaction at Jackson’s answer, and soon after the three of them followed Peter to help him finish dinner and set the table.
Chapter 5: We've got snacks
Less than 48 hours after their encounter with the vampires, a second ‘animal attack’ hit the news near campus.
“Another one?” Jackson groaned. He was sitting on the floor in the living room shuffling through class schedules and brochures. Ethan had needed very little convincing to move their lives back to California, and they were both set to start classes when the next semester began. Until then, Ethan was staying in London to tie up a few loose ends.
Derek smiled down at Jackson approvingly after reading his schedule over his shoulder. “It actually isn’t all that uncommon for a territory to be tested when it is newly claimed. After everything we did yesterday to mark the boundaries, there were bound to be a few other supernatural people in the area looking to challenge us.”
Peter handed Derek the phone he was reading the news on with a grim frown. “This one died. He was a guest lecturer at Berkeley who had a wife and two young kids.”
Derek’s face pinched and Stiles immediately recognized the look. He stood up from the armchair and gripped Derek’s elbow. “This isn’t your fault, Derek. We all decided to claim this land; we knew the risks.”
Clearly unconvinced, Derek shook his head and looked away from the phone. “Stiles, Peter, you head to the morgue to see what you can figure out about whatever attacked him. Jackson and I will try to find its location.”
They met up an hour and a half later in a neighborhood that bordered the eastern edge of campus. The neighborhood was still under development, so it was clear that whatever the creature was, it was squatting in one of the unfinished houses.
Stiles had been uncharacteristically quiet since he and Peter had figured out the creature’s identity. Derek raised his eyebrows in question when the four of them crowded around Peter’s car, but Stiles pointedly looked away and shook his head.
“Wendigo,” Peter muttered. Jackson and Derek winced, knowing that what was about to happen would inevitably bring up memories of Donovan.
Derek approached Stiles, but stopped short of touching him. “You don’t have to come with us, you know. We can take care of it.”
Stiles shook his head again. “No, I’m good. Seriously, I’m coming with.”
Derek was unconvinced, but let it go. “Ok, they’re in the fourth house from the end. I hear three heartbeats.”
Peter nodded. “Two upstairs, one down. Divide and conquer?”
“I’ll grab the one on the bottom floor,” Jackson agreed. “We can see what information we can get out of him before the others realize something’s wrong.”
Derek seemed apprehensive about Jackson going in first but ultimately nodded in approval, choosing to trust his pack.
They approached the house quietly; Stiles and Derek waiting by the front door while Peter broke open the back door to let Jackson in. Jackson located and grabbed the wendigo fairly easily, using the element of surprise to incapacitate him enough that he could bring him back outside where Peter was waiting.
Stiles was supposed to be listening for the other two while Derek listened to the conversation they were having out back, but Stiles found himself drawn in.
“Were you not aware this territory was spoken for?” Peter growled.
Stiles could hear the wendigo thrashing against Jackson’s hold. “You have no claim to this land,” he insisted with venom in his voice. “We have just as much right to it as you do.”
“And what about killing that man? Did you have the right to do that too?” Jackson asked.
The wendigo huffed in amusement. “What do you care about humans?”
“What part of ‘this is our territory,’ are you not understanding?” Stiles could almost hear Peter flicking his claws threateningly.
“That means nothing to us. You can’t make us leave, and we won’t go easily; too many bodies on the college campus to keep us warm.”
Stiles swallowed back the bile in his throat. Unthinkingly, he reached out for Derek’s hand and threaded their fingers together. Derek’s only response was to squeeze his hand in return.
Peter sighed. “So you’re going to make us do this the hard way, huh?”
The wendigo let out a shrill screech to alert the others to the threat. The sound was cut off by what Stiles was sure was Peter’s claws ripping through his throat.
His hunch was proven correct when he saw Peter rush into the house, his right arm covered in blood. Jackson, Derek, and Stiles weren’t far behind him. The other two wendigos were already down the stairs and poised to fight.
Derek took on the one on the left while Jackson and Peter jumped in to fight the one on the right. They were both male, older by a decade than the one Peter had just dispatched.
Stiles was frozen with fear, unable to do anything but watch. Memories of a wrench in his hand and falling rebar invaded his mind. It was only when he heard Derek cry out in pain that he was able to bring himself back to the present.
He launched himself forward, feeling his beta shift come over him like a second skin. His claws lashed out seeking flesh. He caught the wendigo in the shoulder, incapacitating him long enough that he could take in Derek’s state. He was down, but wouldn’t be for long.
Stiles was blind sighted by a right hook that sent him spinning. He heard Derek roar and suddenly it was two on one.
Derek and Stiles fighting together was more like a dance than a brawl. They moved with such synchronicity, Jackson and Peter were almost distracted from their own battle.
Stiles went high, going for the shoulder again while Derek hit low, aiming for the calf. They switched for the next round, Derek taking a swipe at the man’s collarbone while Stiles took out his hamstring.
With their coordinated attack, Derek was able to land a killing blow in less than a minute.
Taking a cue from Derek and Stiles, Peter and Jackson changed their approach to match.
Within seconds, Peter took the remaining wendigo out.
Panting heavily, the pack took stock of each other’s injuries. Deeming none of them to be life-threatening, Jackson suddenly started to laugh.
“I’m sorry,” he wheezed, using Peter’s shoulder to keep him upright.
Derek shot the beta a look of utter confusion, which only amplified when Peter began to laugh as well.
The two held on to each other the best they could given the laughter that wracked their bodies.
When Stiles caught sight of Derek’s face, he joined in despite how utterly unfunny the situation actually was.
Derek shook his head at his pack, but even he was completely helpless to resist laughing as well.
The four continued their ill-timed laughing fit until Jackson was able to get back to his feet. He wiped his eyes and looked at Stiles curiously. “You alright?”
Stiles felt Derek put a calming hand on his back, steadying him. “For now.” He knew there would be a come-down from the adrenaline wherein he would be plagued by old memories, but for now he was fine.
He was with his pack.
Peter and Jackson exchanged a look Derek and Stiles didn’t understand. As if following some cue the others couldn’t see, they both left out the front door. Jackson returned with a can of gas from the car, which he proceeded to pour on the bodies and around the ground floor. Peter had dragged the other body inside and quickly lit a match once Jackson was finished.
The house burned while the pack walked away, back towards the cars.
“We’ll meet you at home, ok?” Derek asked, gently helping Stiles into the passenger seat. Stiles didn’t need the help, but Derek seemed determined to keep contact with him, which Stiles would never deter.
Peter nodded and tossed Jackson the keys. Jackson caught them without looking and they piled in the car and drove away.
“You sure you’re ok?” Derek asked Stiles gently from the driver’s seat when the other car was out of earshot.
Stiles had his answer all ready to go, but one look into Derek’s eyes and he broke. Sobs caught in his chest as he struggled to breathe. Derek got out of the car as fast as he could and ran around to the passenger side, nearly ripping the door off its hinges as he opened it.
He turned Stiles towards him and tipped him forward so Stiles’ head was in the juncture of his neck. “Breathe with me, Stiles.”
Derek took exaggerated breaths while running his hands up and down Stiles’ arms slowly.
The sounds Stiles was making were a cross between a gasp and a growl, and each one broke Derek’s heart just a little more.
Eventually, Stiles’ breathing began to even out. He kept his nose in Derek’s neck, inhaling the man’s scent greedily.
Once his heart rate had calmed down and he was able to breathe in through his nose, Stiles raised his head. His nose brushed Derek’s, but neither made to pull back.
After a few seconds, Stiles cleared his throat and leaned into the seat. He noticed that his hands were fisted in Derek’s shirt and loosened his grip. “I’m sor –”
“Don’t,” Derek said, not unkindly. “Don’t apologize for that. Any of it.”
Stiles shot him a shy smile and nodded.
Derek rubbed his hands up and down Stiles’ arms one last time before letting go and retaking his spot in the driver’s seat.
The ride home wasn’t at all uncomfortable, but that might have been because Derek had insisted on holding Stiles’ hand the whole way back.
When he opened the door to his apartment, Stiles was shocked at what was waiting for him.
Jackson and Peter had transformed the living room into one gigantic pillow fort.
A lump caught in his throat as he took in the intricate pile of pillows and draped blankets that made the couch almost invisible.
Peter poked his head through what looked to be the fort’s door. “You coming in?”
“We’ve got snacks,” added Jackson from inside.
Stiles was struck with a sudden rush of affection for his pack; a feeling he’d never thought he’d ever have for Peter, let alone Jackson. He frowned for a second trying to put a name to the feeling.
Family, his brain suggested. It felt more right than anything else.
He beamed and turned to Derek with excitement, only to see the same expression on his face. Stiles grabbed his hand and led him into the fort, which was large enough to fit all four men and their snacks.
Stiles settled in between Jackson and Derek, with Peter on the other side of Derek. They leaned into each other against the couch cushions as Peter turned on the TV. Stiles couldn’t hold back a snort when he saw that they had queued up an old werewolf movie.
Peter and Derek spent the next two hours pointing out all the inaccuracies, which delighted Stiles to no end. When that ended, they put on another, and another, until they all fell asleep surrounded by the scent of pack and family.
Chapter 6: Relative peace
The next two weeks passed in relative peace.
Stiles was nervous about his first full moon, but seeing how confident Derek, Peter, and Jackson were in his self-control helped his anxiety quite a bit. They took him out to a remote part of the woods for a picnic before the moon fully rose. He could feel the pull of the moon, but looking around at his packmates enjoying the night, he felt well in control.
When the moon finally rose to its peak, Stiles felt the shift come over him. He growled instinctively at the scent of wolves around him, but calmed when he realized it was just his pack. Derek shifted into full wolf form and danced in front of him, crouching playfully before taking off.
Stiles howled and followed him, chasing the man through the woods. He could hear Jackson and Peter flanking him and smiled. When Stiles lost sight of Derek, he halted to a stop and closed his eyes, scenting the air. His eyes shot open when he found the scent, and took off to his right.
Peter beat the others to Derek. By the time Jackson and Stiles ran into the small clearing where he’d been hiding, Peter and Derek were already sparring.
Stiles couldn’t help but beam at the sight of the two of them getting along so uninhibitedly. As if all their baggage had dropped away.
He was pulled from the thought when Jackson tackled him from behind. His wolf howled excitedly as the two wrestled for a few minutes.
That night, the four of them fell asleep in the clearing, chests heaving and hearts happy.
After the full moon, there were three more territory disputes, but they had all ended without violence. A family of werewolves was looking to settle down, but they left on their own after a long talk with Peter. Two omegas approached Derek and asked for permission to stay in the territory. Derek had granted the request, with the understanding that they wouldn’t cause any trouble.
The third wasn’t actually a dispute at all, despite what Peter had initially thought. It turned out there was a small coven of witches living nearby, just outside the borderline. They had heard of the new pack and wanted to investigate for themselves to see if an alliance would be mutually beneficial.
After sitting down with the pack briefly, it was decided that they would have a more formal meeting after they returned from Beacon Hills for Stiles’ Winter Break.
The idea of a possible alliance tinged the last night they spent at Stiles’ apartment with happiness. Derek wrapped his arms around Stiles in bed, radiating contentment. Stiles couldn’t help but let his fingers run up and down the arm enclosing his waist, eliciting a small shiver from Derek.
They didn’t speak, just enjoyed the closeness and the success of the day, until they both fell into a dreamless sleep.
The next morning the pack sat around the kitchen table splitting a large pile of Peter’s pancakes. They could smell Stiles’ nerves about returning to Beacon Hills, but no one mentioned it. If Stiles wanted to discuss his concerns, he would.
“So, what’s the plan for when we get there?” Jackson asked. “I mean, it’ll be easy enough for me to just pretend I’m visiting, and it’s not unusual for Peter to disappear for weeks at a time so they won’t be suspicious of where he’s been, but what about you two?” he pointed at Stiles and Derek before shoving a large forkful of pancake into his mouth.
“What about us?” Stiles frowned.
Derek ducked his head guiltily and his ears turned a distracting shade of pink. Stiles found himself staring at them before realizing with a jolt that Jackson and Peter were both looking at him with identical smirks.
“We, um,” Derek cleared his throat. “We smell like each other. Especially since I’ve been sleeping in your bed.”
“Also…” Peter trailed off, looking at Stiles’ torso with a speculative eye. “Is that Derek’s shirt?”
Stiles looked down and plucked at the shirt in question. “Oh. Yeah, it is.” He looked around shiftily. “I guess if we see Scott and them they’re gonna be able to tell we’ve been spending time together?”
“You could always pretend you’re dating,” Jackson suggested innocently, with an evil glint in his eye. His gaze darted to Peter momentarily, suggesting the two had already discussed this option in depth.
“Oh, what a great idea,” Peter agreed with enthusiasm. “That would explain just about everything.”
“I hate you,” Stiles told them, stabbing a pancake with his fork on his plate.
Derek hummed. “That – that would explain it, Stiles.” He kept his head down, focusing hard on the edge of his own plate. “But obviously we don’t have to if you don’t –”
“It’s fine,” Stiles reassured him. “You’re right, it makes sense.”
Peter and Jackson shared a smile at their plan falling into place.
Stiles cleared his throat. “Ok, we’ll do that, then. I mean, that’s only if we run into Scott though, which might not happen right? I don’t have any plans to meet up with him, anyway…” The thought of pretending to be with Derek filled him with about as much happiness as it did dread.
Derek reached under the table and placed his hand on Stiles’ thigh reassuringly. “Right.”
Stiles exhaled. Just as he’d pushed all thoughts of Scott from his mind, his cell phone buzzed with an incoming text. He slumped when he saw it was from Scott.
“Speak of the devil,” he muttered. “Oh, he’s calling a pack meeting for tonight. Apparently there’s something new he wants to discuss with everyone.”
“You don’t have to go,” Peter said. “You can always tell him you’re spending the evening with your father, which has the rare quality of being true.”
Stiles bit his lip and looked around at his pack before taking a deep breath and texting Scott back.
A few seconds later, he got a response that made his blood run cold. “He says I have to be there.” Stiles gulped audibly. “They’ve gotten word of a new pack nearby.”
“He’s talking about us, right?” Jackson asked with his mouth full.
Peter and Derek nodded, sharing a worried frown.
“He won’t give me any more info. Just says I have to come to the meeting tonight.”
Derek bit off a growl at Scott’s antics. “We’ll all go, then. Are you going to be ok with that?”
Stiles took another deep breath and grabbed Derek’s hand. “I guess I’ll have to be.”
An hour later, they loaded into the cars; Jackson and Peter in Peter’s, and Derek and Stiles in Derek’s.
When they pulled up to the Stilinski household, Stiles took a moment to ready himself. He breathed in through his nose and out through his mouth several times, closing his eyes as he checked on the state of his wolf. His wolf was excited to see his dad, but was calm enough that Stiles didn’t think it was a risk.
He opened his eyes. “Ok, let’s do this.”
With his pack at his back and his anchor keychain in his hand, Stiles opened the front door. The scent of his father and his childhood home almost sent him staggering backwards. He inhaled happily and continued into the house.
“Dad?” he called, shutting the door once everyone was inside.
“Stiles? Is that y –” the sheriff stopped himself halfway down the stairs. “We have visitors.”
Stiles scratched the back of his neck nervously. “Oh, yeah. About that. Why don’t we sit down and I’ll explain?”
His dad nodded, grabbing a quick hug from Stiles first. Stiles squeezed back just shy of too tight, if the surprised groan from his dad was any indication.
“Derek,” John greeted, holding out his hand for the wolf to shake. “It’s good to see you, son.”
Derek took the proffered hand with a nod. “Sheriff.”
“Peter, Jackson,” John nodded at the two with a confused frown on his face before taking a seat in the armchair in the living room. He raised an eyebrow when the others squished onto the couch, but didn’t say a word.
Stiles took a deep breath and bit his lip. He looked at Derek and Peter on his right, and Jackson on his left, and found the courage to start talking.
“Look, before I tell you what’s going on, you should know I’m fine.”
The sheriff pinched the bridge of his nose and leaned forward. “Aw, hell, kid. You know I hate when you start your stories with that. All that means is that somewhere along the line, you weren’t fine.”
Stiles let out a shrill, hysterical giggle. “Ok, good point. Can’t really take it back now though so I’m just gonna push through. About – about a month ago, I was attacked by an Alpha.” At this, his dad stood up and looked at Derek for confirmation. “He, um,” Stiles soldiered on, not looking at his dad’s face. “He bit me.”
John shot away from his chair and knelt down at Stiles’ feet. “He what?” He ran his hands over Stiles’ arms, as if looking for a bite mark he could fix.
Stiles’ lip wobbled, but he maintained his composure. “He bit me,” he whispered again. “I’m a werewolf, dad, please don’t be mad at me.” At this, Stiles burst into tears, leaning forward into his father’s arms.
John just wrapped his arms around his boy, rocking him back and forth while Stiles cried. Jackson and Peter both stood and went into the kitchen to give them some privacy. Only Derek remained, intent on helping Stiles finish telling his dad the whole story.
When Stiles had regained his breath enough to continue, he leaned back and grabbed one of Derek’s hands. With the other, he guided his dad to sit on the other side of him on the couch.
He told his dad everything. About calling Peter, feeling the pack bonds, Jackson coming in from London, Derek being his Alpha even though he’s a beta. He even told him about the vampires, the wendigos, and the coven they were thinking of starting an alliance with. He finally told his dad about his eyes, flashing them in shame for a moment before changing the subject rapidly.
Stiles could hear Peter and Jackson bickering in the kitchen as they prepared snacks and got everyone drinks. It was oddly soothing, and helped Stiles get his words out more articulately.
When he finished, Stiles finally looked his dad in the eyes.
“First of all,” his dad began harshly. “If Scott or anyone else gives you crap about the color of your eyes, they’re going to find themselves looking down the business end of my service weapon. You understand me?”
Stiles nodded more out of habit than understanding, completely blown away by the vehemence in his dad’s voice.
“You are not a murderer, and I won’t have you talking about yourself that way.” John blew out a big breath and pulled Stiles in for another hug. “Secondly, why on earth did you think I’d be mad at you, kiddo?” he asked when he pulled back.
Stiles just shrugged. He heard Peter mutter, “told you,” and shot a scathing look at the wall separating them from the kitchen.
At his dad’s frown, Stiles explained. “Peter may have told me you wouldn’t care as long as I was ok.”
John huffed a laugh. “I guess he’s smarter than he looks, then.”
Derek chuckled, drawing John’s attention to him. “And you? What do you think of all this?”
Derek looked startled at being asked, but answered calmly. “I think Stiles is an excellent wolf, Sheriff. And I’m honored to be able to call him pack.”
John looked down at their interlocked hands. “And how long has this been going on?”
“Oh,” said Stiles guiltily. “It’s kind of not?”
“Yet,” called Jackson, loudly enough so the sheriff could hear.
Derek cleared his throat and steadfastly avoided Stiles’ eyes. “We just figured it would be easier to tell to Scott that we’re dating, since Stiles isn’t ready to tell anyone else he’s a werewolf yet. It would explain my presence, and why our scents are mixed from the last month.”
John looked around the room pointedly. “Scott’s not here right now, is he?”
“It’s also an anchor thing,” Stiles elaborated. “Derek helps anchor me; it helps me control my wolf better.”
“And Stiles does the same for me,” Derek admitted shyly.
Stiles’ intake of breath was only audible to the wolves. His eyes shot up to Derek’s in surprise. After a few seconds, his face broke out into a wide grin and he squeezed Derek’s hand harder.
John looked to the ceiling for strength. “Ok, we’ll go with that for now.”
Thankfully, Peter and Jackson chose that moment to re-enter the living room with snacks and drinks. The pack caught the sheriff up on what he’d missed, how Stiles’ training had been going, and what Derek and Jackson had both been up to since leaving Beacon Hills.
A sense of calm washed over Stiles while his pack and his dad talked. He knew it wouldn’t last since he was due at Scott’s house in just a few hours. But for the time being, he reveled in the peace.
Chapter 7: I needed you
“You sure you don’t want me to come with?” John asked before the pack headed out for the meeting at Scott’s house.
Stiles nodded. “Yeah, you don’t usually come to these meetings; you being there would be kinda suspicious. And it’s already going to be suspicious enough with me showing up with these three,” he hooked a thumb over his shoulder at the others waiting for him by the door.
His dad frowned slightly, but agreed. He pulled Stiles in for another hug and watched as he left with his pack to pile into the two cars.
They pulled up to the front of the McCall house, choosing to park on the street for an easier getaway if necessary.
“You ready?” Derek asked Stiles, gripping his hand.
Stiles blew out a big breath. “As I’ll ever be, I guess.”
He squeezed Derek’s hand once before letting go to get out of the car. He joined Peter and Jackson, who were already walking up the driveway, and held his breath as he paused at the front door.
Stiles never knocked. He and Scott hadn’t knocked on each other’s doors in years, but oddly the thought of entering an Alpha’s territory so brazenly rankled at him.
Thankfully he was spared from making a decision when Jackson just huffed and let them all in.
“Jackson!” Stiles heard from the doorway, followed by the sound of feet pounding across hardwood.
He looked up and saw Lydia’s arms wrapped around Jackson’s neck. The fact that Lydia was so effusive in her excitement made Stiles smile. A quick glance at Derek and Peter told him he wasn’t alone in the sentiment.
Lydia detached from Jackson, pulling back beaming. She opened her mouth to speak, but caught sight of Derek standing behind Jackson. “Derek?”
She greeted him with a hug as well. Stiles couldn’t help but huff a laugh at the pleasantly surprised look on Derek’s face over Lydia’s shoulder.
“Don’t I get a hug?” Peter asked dryly.
Lydia just shot him a glare with markedly less disdain than usual, which Stiles filed away for later. She didn’t answer, but made a point in hugging Stiles right in front of Peter.
Stiles froze at the sound of Scott’s voice. There was no way Lydia didn’t pick up on it, since her arms were still wrapped around his waist. Thankfully she didn’t say anything, but she did raise an eyebrow as she stepped back from their embrace.
Stiles shook his head discretely and turned towards the living room where Scott, Malia, Liam, Mason, Corey, Hayden, and someone else Stiles couldn’t see clearly were all gathered.
“Kira?” came Derek’s voice softly from behind Stiles.
The figure whipped her head around at the sound of her name. Kira’s face lit up as she jumped off the couch and into Derek’s arms. “Derek!” she screeched excitedly.
Stiles, Peter, and Jackson all knew that Derek had seen Kira the year before, when the Skinwalkers helped out the pack Derek had been staying with. But judging by the looks on everyone else’s faces, that was not quite common knowledge.
Derek spun Kira around, both of them laughing. He set her down still chuckling and could only smile when Kira pounced on Stiles as well.
Kira grabbed Stiles and Derek’s hands and led them over to the couch to sit with her, talking excitedly about something she’d learned from the Skinwalkers after she’d last seen Derek.
Peter lurked in the doorway while Lydia introduced Jackson to the rest of the pack he hadn’t met yet.
Stiles wasn’t ignoring Scott per se, but he could smell the confusion coming off the Alpha in waves. Had he anticipated a warmer reception? Did he think Stiles was just going to greet him with a hug and launch into a long-winded story like he might have done in high school?
Scott frowned and decided to take back control of the room by starting the meeting. Once everyone stopped their side conversations, he began. “Now, as you know, there’s a new pack that’s trying to establish itself to the north of us. So far, there are three confirmed deaths that can be linked to this pack.”
Stiles shuddered at the though of the wendigos, but calmed when he felt Derek’s fingers brush the nape of his neck. He looked up and saw Derek’s arm draped over Kira’s shoulders, hand just within reach of Stiles.
“A new Alpha Pack?” Liam asked, looking scared despite the fact that he hadn’t actually been around for the Alphas.
Scott shook his head. “No. In fact, we have no information about their Alpha. What we do know is that the betas all reportedly have blue eyes. So clearly they’re not averse to killing.”
Surprisingly, it was Lydia who spoke out at that. “You know that’s not what that means.” She was seated on the arm of the chair Jackson occupied. Jackson rubbed his hand over her shoulder in thanks, subtly scent marking her in the process.
“I know what blue eyes mean, Lydia,” Scott countered indignantly.
Stiles focused on Derek’s hand on his neck and reached into his pocket to grip the anchor keychain to ground him. He felt Kira shift closer to him, as if on instinct. She had no way of knowing why he was upset, but she felt the need to comfort him anyway. There were a lot of things from this meeting already that Stiles needed to tuck away for future consideration.
“Now, now, Scott,” Peter clicked his tongue patronizingly. “No need for stereotyping.”
“No need for –” Scott repeated, dumbfounded at how quickly his meeting had been derailed. “There’s a pack of murderers less than an hour from here and you’re concerned with me stereotyping?”
Stiles found himself at a crossroads. Either he could let Scott’s words in and have a panic attack right there in front of everyone, which would inevitably give away his new werewolf status, or he could do what he did best and talk.
He chose to talk.
“How about this? You said about an hour north, right?” he said, growing more confident with each word. “Well, that’s close to Berkeley so why don’t I keep an ear out and do some recon, and I can figure out what’s really going on?”
Scott scoffed at the idea. “You can’t do that alone.”
Derek growled sub vocally, cutting himself off when Malia shot him a sharp, confused look at the reaction.
“Well first of all, sure I could,” Stiles started, struggling to keep his voice even. “But I wouldn’t be alone.”
Jackson, picking up on what Stiles was trying to say, took over. “He’s right. That’s one of the reasons I came here tonight. Ethan and I are moving back to California. We’re transferring to Berkeley starting next semester.”
Lydia shrieked and threw her arms around Jackson’s neck again. There was a murmur from the rest of the group, but it sounded largely supportive.
Stiles nodded back at Scott. “So I’ll have Jackson and Ethan to help me. Anyway, is that all? I really should get back to my dad. I’m pretty sure I saw him eyeing the takeout menus when I left and I don’t even want to imagine the crap he’s been eating while I’ve been away.”
“No,” said Scott sharply, clearly rattled at how out of control he was of the meeting. “There’s one more thing. We’ve had reports of strange sightings in the Preserve. Strange enough that Deaton thinks we should look into it. I think we should break into groups tomorrow and see what we can find out.”
There was a smattering of agreement from the room.
“Ok, then. We’ll meet here at noon.” With that, Scott gave some sort of signal Stiles didn’t pick up on, that apparently ended the meeting.
Liam, Mason, Corey, and Hayden left, saying something about a double date at the bowling alley.
Meanwhile, Stiles rose to greet Malia after giving Derek a grateful nod. It was only due to Derek’s constant touch that Stiles was able to make it though the, mercifully short, meeting.
Derek and Kira stayed on the couch, smiling and chatting as they were joined by Jackson and Lydia. Peter stayed in the doorway, waiting. Waiting for what, Stiles wasn’t sure. But that was definitely his waiting posture.
Malia left after talking to Stiles for a few minutes, saying her dad wanted her home for dinner. She shot an awkward smile at Peter on her way out, which was returned just as awkwardly, if not a little more warmly than usual.
And just like that, Stiles was standing next to Scott with no one to use as a buffer.
“Stiles, what’s going on with you?” Scott asked with a frown.
“What do you mean?”
Scott gestured vaguely to where Stiles had just been seated on the couch. “I mean, you’re acting weird.” He leaned forward and took a very obvious sniff. “And why the hell do you smell so much like Derek? I didn’t even know he was back,” he finished accusingly.
“Maybe we should go?” suggested Kira.
“I think that’s probably a good idea,” Peter agreed, taking a step forward. “These two clearly have some things they need to work out.”
The others stood. Jackson gave Stiles a nervous glance, silently asking if it was ok that he stay and talk to Scott alone. Stiles nodded once, sending him a crooked, forced grin.
Peter led Jackson, Lydia, and Kira out the front door, but Derek remained behind.
“Can you give us a minute?” Scott asked Derek in a tone that suggested he wasn’t asking at all.
“No,” replied Derek simply. He didn’t elaborate, just leaned further back into the couch cushions.
“What the hell?” Scott muttered, looking back and forth between Stiles and Derek several times. “Can one of you tell me what’s going on? I mean, Stiles, you’re acting strange and you smell really weird. And I don’t just mean you smell like Derek.”
Stiles worked to control his heartbeat as Scott spoke. He was nowhere near ready to have the werewolf conversation, especially after Scott’s callous classification of the new ‘threat’ as murderers just because of the color of their eyes.
He sighed. “Everything’s fine, Scott, really. I’m just tired and really want to get home to see my dad.”
“But why do you smell like Derek?” he demanded again.
Derek rolled his eyes and stood up, wrapping an arm around Stiles’ waist.
“Because we’re dating,” Stiles said confidently. “Happy, now? We wanted to wait to tell people but you just had to go and use your nose inappropriately. I mean, what the hell, Scott? Don’t you know by now it’s rude to smell people without their permission?”
“You’re dating Derek?” Scott asked incredulously, putting a condescending emphasis on Derek’s name.
Stiles’ wolf howled inside of him at the inflection. He took a deep breath and turned into Derek’s space to hide his eyes in case they flashed.
“How long has this been going on?” Scott continued, completely oblivious to the effect his words were having on Stiles.
Derek tightened his arm around Stiles and answered Scott calmly. “About a month. Since I got back from South America. And Stiles is right, we were waiting to tell people so if you could – ”
“A month!” Scott yelped. “A month and you didn’t tell me,” he shot accusingly at Stiles. “We talk all the time and you couldn’t fit in the fact that you’re dating Derek freaking Hale?”
At this, Stiles extracted himself from Derek’s grip and took a step towards Scott. “First of all, don’t you dare say his name like that. Derek is an amazing person and he’s done more for me than you could ever know. Anyone would be lucky to date him.”
Scott was dumbfounded at the ferocity in Stiles’ voice.
“And secondly,” Stiles continued in one breath. “We talk all the time? Scott, the last time I tried to contact you, which was like a month ago by the way, you never answered. I called you four times and you couldn’t be bothered to even text me to see if everything was ok. How often do I call you four times in a row if it’s not an emergency? What were you doing that night, huh? You were out with Malia weren’t you?”
Scott looked around guiltily and opened his mouth to speak, but Stiles pushed on.
“Classic. You start dating a girl and suddenly no one else matters. I needed you that night.”
“Are you o–” Scott took a step forward, but stopped his approach when Derek growled.
Stiles continued, ignoring the posturing from both wolves. “And you’re mad at me for not telling you Derek was back? What about Kira, Scott? Didn’t you think I’d want to know she was ok?”
Stiles hung his head, suddenly exhausted. “You know what, it doesn’t matter. I’ve got to get home. I’ll do some research tonight on the sightings in the Preserve. If I find anything, I’ll – well, I guess I’ll call Lydia or Kira. They might actually answer.”
With that, he turned and walked away, knowing Derek would follow. They were silent in the car ride, and on the walk up to Stiles’ house. The sound of laughter from inside pulled Stiles up short.
He opened the door to find Jackson, Lydia, and Kira on his couch, his dad on the armchair, and Peter leaning against the doorway. The ghost of their previous laughing fit gave everyone a slight happy glow.
Stiles walked in and sat down on the floor across the coffee table from the couch. Derek joined him and conversation picked up right where it had left off when Stiles and Derek had arrived.
Stiles closed his eyes and leaned into Derek, letting the sound of his friends and family’s happiness wash over him.
Chapter 8: We're with you
After the Sheriff excused himself to bed, Lydia turned to Stiles with sharp eyes. “Are you going to tell us what’s going on, or am I going to have to figure it out myself?”
Stiles gulped at the intensity of her stare and leaned further into Derek subconsciously.
Jackson opened his mouth, but shut it with a click at when Lydia turned her glare on him.
Stiles cleared his throat and looked down at his lap. “I was bitten about a month ago. By an Alpha.”
Lydia’s soft gasp caused Stiles to look up. Her eyes roved over his body, as if expecting to see a bite mark. “You were turned?”
Stiles was surprised be the sudden movement from the banshee. Lydia jumped off of the couch and launched herself into his arms. “Oh, I’m so sorry I wasn’t there to help you. I had no idea.” She kept up her litany of apologies until she realized Stiles was laughing.
She pulled back slightly to look at Stiles’ face. The corners of her mouth turned up into a smile as she turned her body to sit in the few inches of space between Stiles and Derek.
“You don’t seem surprised,” Jackson said to Kira.
Kira shrugged shyly and flashed her eyes in explanation. “I saw his wolf when he walked through the door. He didn’t seem out of control, so I wasn’t going to bring it up.”
Stiles felt a rush of affection for both Kira and Lydia in that moment.
Lydia stood up, brushing the wrinkles out of her pants. “So, what are we going to do about this?”
“About what?” Derek asked.
“About the fact that you guys are clearly the new pack Scott was just telling us about,” Kira finished.
Peter huffed a laugh from the doorway, but Stiles could tell he was impressed.
“How do you know –,” Stiles began.
“Stiles, please,” Lydia interrupted, waving at him impatiently. “A blue eyed pack just happens to show up in the Berkeley area, and the four of you come home all chummy after you’ve just been bitten?”
Stiles looked down at the mention of blue eyes.
“We don’t care,” Kira whispered, nodding at Lydia. “We don’t care about the color of your eyes, Stiles.”
Lydia sent him a soft smile in agreement and changed the subject abruptly, much to Stiles’ relief.
“So, back to my original question. What are we going to do about this? Obviously we’re with you, but something tells me you want to keep your werewolf status a secret from Scott. So how do we explain that you guys are the pack he’s so worried about without him finding out?”
Stiles was too distracted by something she’d said to focus on the matter at hand. “What do you mean, ‘we’re with you’?”
Derek, Peter, and Jackson all exchanged hopeful looks, but Stiles only had eyes for Lydia in that moment.
“Well,” she said uncertainly, looking at Kira. “We’re in your pack, right?”
Kira and Stiles both nodded slowly in tandem.
“So, we’re with you,” Lydia said with more confidence.
“But what about Scott?” Jackson asked.
“What about Scott,” Kira scoffed.
Her tone elicited a laugh from Peter. “Not a fan of our resident Alpha, are we?”
Kira cleared her throat as her face softened. “I’ll always love Scott, but he’s not my Alpha. Not anymore. I gave him my tail to look after while I was with the skinwalkers and I thought – I guess it doesn’t matter what I thought. He’s not my Alpha.”
It was Jackson surprisingly who scooted over to provide comfort to the kitsune. He bumped their shoulders together and gave her a reassuring grin. She returned it and sat up straighter on the couch.
Lydia nodded at Kira’s words. “He’s one of my best friends, and I’m not saying he’s a bad Alpha; he’s great with the new betas, and he keeps our territory safe. It just doesn’t feel as right as it used to.”
Stiles’ eyes widened as they spoke, hardly daring to believe it was that easy.
“Does this mean you guys are in?” Peter asked, his voice soft.
Kira and Lydia exchanged a look before nodding. “We’re in,” Lydia confirmed for them both.
There was enough commotion after the declaration that Stiles’ dad had to shout at them from his room for them to keep it down. They all laughed, but quieted.
They decided that Stiles would reiterate to Scott tomorrow that he, Jackson, Ethan, and Derek would keep an eye out for the ‘new pack,’ and report back any disturbing news. It wasn’t a permanent solution, but it gave Stiles more time.
“Who’s our Alpha?” Kira asked after she had resettled onto the couch between Lydia and Jackson.
Stiles looked at Derek instinctively. “We don’t exactly have one?” The words felt wrong in his mouth. Derek slipped his hand onto Stiles’ knee and squeezed, both of them ignoring the shiver Stiles let out at the action.
“Not yet, anyway,” Peter interjected with a gleam in his eye. Everyone’s heads turned to him with various degrees of surprise, but he moved on swiftly before anyone could ask him to elaborate. “So, what are we going to do about the threat in the Preserve? I would rather get it taken care of before our little excursion tomorrow. The last thing we need is for Stiles to be caught unaware and accidentally give away his wolfy disposition.”
Stiles frowned at Peter’s subject change and the possibility of himself being outed before he was ready. He stood up, stretching the ache out of his bones, and rooted through his bag until he found his laptop.
Lydia pulled out hers as well, and they got to work while Peter and Kira made everyone a late dinner.
“Faeries,” Stiles said with a shrug an hour and a half later.
Lydia nodded in agreement and showed Derek and Peter her research. Jackson and Kira looked over Stiles’ shoulder at his laptop as they all discussed the next steps.
They decided to wait until morning to approach the Fae. Faeries were very temperamental creatures, and would certainly take a pack seeking them out in the dead of night, regardless of their intentions, as a threat.
“Maybe they’ll be peaceful,” Kira said hopefully as she and the rest of the pack laid the couch cushions onto the floor.
Derek grabbed some spare blankets and pillows from the closet. “Maybe,” he agreed, shooting her a wink.
The six of them settled onto the cushions, reveling in the new pack scent that surrounded them. There were a few smattered conversations, but they all fell asleep relatively quickly.
The Fae, it turned out, were simply looking for a place to settle. It was a group of about twenty – a very small family, relatively speaking.
Peter had startled them at first, causing one of the younger Faeries to cast a spell on him so he was forced to hop on his left leg until the spell was broken.
Upon realizing what her son had done, the matriarch of the Fae family apologized profusely and offered to break the spell at once.
Jackson insisted that it wasn’t necessary, and let Peter continue hopping throughout their conversation. Peter cast murderous looks at the elated beta throughout, but the spell prevented him from speaking as well.
Once the pack had determined that the Fae were harmless, or as harmless as Fae could be, they offered to allow the family to settle in the Regional Preserve in their territory. Having a small group of Fae nearby could prove useful to the pack.
The mother agreed gratefully, promising to sit with Derek when he returned so they could iron out a formal alliance.
She broke the spell on Peter before disappearing with her family. Peter, exhausted from hopping for nearly an hour, summoned what was left of his energy to take off after Jackson.
Jackson hollered in delight and sprinted through the Preserve, using his tail to take down branches and leaves behind him to slow down Peter’s advance.
Derek and Stiles took off after the two, joining in on the roughhousing with wide grins.
Lydia and Kira laughed and sat down on a fallen log to watch. By the time they had to get home to prepare to meet Scott and the others, the pack was panting, dirty, and smiling.
Chapter 9: Budding friendships
The pack cleaned up from their jaunt in the woods and headed over to Scott’s house. They had considered just telling him that they’d come across the Fae in an innocuous way and convinced them to move on, so no one would have to spend the day looking for a ‘threat’ in the Preserve that wasn’t actually there. After a few minutes, they decided it would just lead to more questions, and resigned themselves to the fact that they’d just have to waste a day traipsing through the woods.
“Ok,” said Scott without preamble once everyone was congregated inside his living room. “Each pair will start from a different area of the Preserve. Remember, recon only. If you find anything, let the rest of us know and we’ll head to you.”
He looked around as the younger members began to pair up. Malia scooted closer to Scott, making her preference known. Scott grimaced a little as he looked at Peter in the doorway. “Someone’s going to have to go with Peter,” he mumbled.
“I will,” Lydia said before anyone could react to Scott’s callousness. She fixed Peter with a look Stiles couldn’t decipher, but knew didn’t bode well for Peter.
There was some surprise from the members of Scott’s pack, but they all seemed too intimidated to question Lydia.
“What about me?” Jackson pouted haughtily.
“You’re with me,” Kira responded, throwing an arm around his shoulders.
Jackson smiled and shot her a wink.
Scott, whose face had gone from surprised to incredulous in a manner of seconds, opened his mouth to speak. Before he could get a word out, Stiles cut in.
“Ok, let’s go.” He turned and walked out the front door, knowing his pack would follow.
Stiles could hear Scott mumbling to Malia, asking if she knew what the hell was going on, but couldn’t hear her response.
The pairs wandered around for about an hour before their group chat got a text from Kira that she’d found something. Everyone converged on their location in time to hear Kira explain that she’d found evidence that it was Faeries and that it looked like they had moved on.
Scott didn’t seem convinced, but Peter and Derek took turns filling him in on what they knew of Fae lore – and that the Fae were notoriously transient – until he begrudgingly conceded that they were probably right.
Stiles snorted at Scott’s tone, but avoided the Alpha’s eyes when they turned to him.
“Are we done here?” Jackson asked obnoxiously. Peter turned around, but it was clear he was just trying to hide a smile at the question.
“Looks like,” Stiles responded before Scott could come up with a reason for them all to stick around.
Stiles tried to keep from looking at Scott as he, Derek, Peter, Lydia, Jackson, and Kira all headed for the cars, but a lifetime of subconsciously checking on his friend won out, and he couldn’t help but see the dumbfounded expression on Scott’s face.
He also couldn’t help but notice the speculative glances Peter was throwing Lydia as they walked back towards the parking lot. Stiles internally groaned as he realized he now knew Peter well enough to be able to tell that was the look he gets on his face when someone has pleasantly surprised him. He tamped down the urge to ask about it until they were somewhere more private.
On instinct, he grabbed Derek’s hand. When he realized what he had done, he moved to pull it back. Derek just held on and squeezed their hands together, steadfastly avoiding Stiles’ gaze. Stiles closed his eyes and catalogued Derek’s scent, pleased to find that he was able to discern how happy Derek was. There was an underlying scent of embarrassment as well, which made Stiles smirk.
When Stiles, Derek, Peter, and Jackson returned to the house, the Sheriff was already home from his shift. The five of them settled into the living room and chatted for a while before being joined by Lydia and Kira.
“Derek, can I have a word?” Peter asked nonchalantly.
Stiles looked around and saw that everyone but Lydia seemed a little surprised at the question.
Derek frowned, but nodded and followed his uncle outside.
“What’s that about?” Stiles asked Lydia once Peter and Derek were out of earshot.
Lydia just shrugged and tossed her hair over her shoulder. She wasn’t fooling anyone, but they all knew if she didn’t want to tell them, nothing they said would change her mind.
They settled back in to finish the movie they were watching, each of them casting nervous glances towards the backyard where Peter and Derek had disappeared, until the two men came back. Derek looked white as a sheet and Peter looked distinctly pleased. Peter took a seat next to Lydia, much to Stiles’ confusion.
Stiles immediately scooted over on the couch to make room for Derek. Derek collapsed in the seat and leaned into Stiles, whining lowly.
Jackson raised an eyebrow at Peter and received a nod in return, leading Stiles to believe that Jackson knew a little more about what was happening than he let on.
“You guys are going to explain soon, right?” Stiles asked the room, wrapping an arm around Derek tightly.
He received three nods in return, from Lydia, Jackson, and Peter. Derek just sighed and laid his head on Stiles’ shoulder, ignoring the looks the Sheriff was sending the pair.
With the issue set aside for the moment, Stiles just settled in to enjoy the remainder of the movie with his pack.
Luckily, they were able to finish his break without coming in contact with Scott again. However, it wasn’t for lack of trying on the part of the Alpha. Scott called and texted Stiles nearly every day he was there. Stiles ignored all the calls, but would sporadically respond to the texts.
It was enough to keep Scott at bay and not start a confrontation that might cause Stiles to wolf out in front of him.
The day before they were set to head back to Berkeley, it was decided that Kira would stay behind for now. She had some loose ends to tie up and her GED to finish before she joined them, and it would be a good opportunity for the pack to keep an eye on Scott and make sure he wasn’t getting close to figuring out Stiles’ secret before he was ready.
Lydia’s break from MIT was a week longer than Stiles’, so she accompanied them back to Berkeley.
Stiles was surprised to find that while they’d been in Beacon Hills, Peter and Derek had been making arrangements to buy a pack house in Elmwood, which was an area close to campus that was only a few blocks away from a nearby Regional Preserve – the same Preserve where the Fae family had relocated.
The house itself was in great shape, so no renovations were necessary. Lydia insisted that she be in charge of decorating the place, so she and Peter drove straight over once they’d all arrived in Berkeley. Their budding friendship was a surprise to everyone, including the two of them, but no one was eager to look that particular gift horse in the mouth.
Jackson was bouncing with excitement the whole car ride. Ethan’s plane was only an hour away, and his wolf was whining at how long they’d been apart. Derek rolled his eyes, but Stiles could smell how happy he was at the prospect of a new pack member entering their territory. After about fifteen minutes at Stiles’ apartment, Derek just huffed and nudged Jackson’s shoulder, leading him out to the car so they could wait at the airport.
Stiles laughed at the two and leaned back on his couch. His head shook of its own accord as he thought about how bizarre his life was turning out to be. He was a werewolf, he had a pack that seemed to be growing by the day, and he was about to move into a house with a group of people he never saw coming.
The smile grew on his face until it couldn’t stretch anymore. He let out a hysterical giggle that turned into a full on laughing fit. He laughed and laughed until he wore himself out enough to curl up on the couch and fall asleep.
Which is how Derek found him an hour later after dropping Jackson and Ethan off at the new house. Derek smiled down at Stiles and without hesitation, fit himself between Stiles and the back of the couch. He wrapped his arm around Stiles’ waist, tucked his forehead between his shoulder blades, and fell asleep in seconds.
Chapter 10: Next
Stiles woke up feeling warm and happy. When he realized he was wrapped up in Derek’s arms, he smiled and burrowed into them. There wasn’t anything unusual about their position; it was how they usually woke up in Stiles’ room, even if it wasn’t always how they’d gone to bed.
This time, however, was a little different. Derek clearly wasn’t fully awake yet, and he was nuzzling into the back of Stiles’ neck in a way that forced a low whine out of Stiles’ throat. He clamped his mouth shut in an effort to soften the sound, but the damage was done.
Derek’s breathing shifted and Stiles immediately knew he was awake. He expected Derek to pull his arms away or try to extract himself from the situation, but all Derek did was pull Stiles closer to him so their bodies were flush together.
Stiles could smell Derek’s hesitation even as his scent turned sweeter with arousal. He turned in the man’s arms carefully so they were almost nose-to-nose.
“Stiles,” Derek whispered, his eyes darting to Stiles’ lips.
It was all the confirmation Stiles needed to surge forward, capturing Derek’s lips with his own.
Derek reciprocated immediately. Their mouths complemented each other perfectly; Derek tilted his head a little to the left and captured Stiles’ bottom lip with both of his. Stiles groaned and shifted their position so he was fully on top of Derek.
Stiles wasn’t sure what he thought kissing Derek would be like, but this kiss was blowing all expectations out of the water.
Eventually, they stopped. Stiles was breathing heavily and he knew his eyes were glowing blue, like Derek’s were. The unguarded smile on Derek’s face as he looked up at Stiles was almost too much for Stiles’ heart to bear. He leaned down and pressed one last, sweet kiss to Derek’s mouth before carefully standing up from the couch. He needed some space to clear his head before he just jumped Derek then and there.
“Well, that happened,” Stiles muttered. His heart was beating out of his chest, and he could hear that Derek’s was doing the same. The heady smell of their combined scents had Stiles stumbling a little as he walked over to the armchair.
He sat down as Derek sat up. The man was still breathing heavily, but his eyes seemed a little more clear since Stiles had moved away.
“It did,” he confirmed through a smile. “Do you want it to happen again?”
Stiles looked for any signs of hesitation or discomfort on Derek’s face, and found none. “Absolutely,” he admitted with confidence.
Derek positively beamed. A deep rumble sounded in his chest, and Stiles could feel their pack bond soaring with happiness.
Some of the other bonds tugged playfully in response to the change, eliciting a laugh from both wolves.
They sat across the room from each other collecting themselves for a few more minutes. Stiles’ instincts were telling him to go back to his Alpha, but there were other matters to attend to that his brain knew took priority.
“So,” he started. “When are we meeting with the coven and the Fae?”
Derek attempted to drop his smile so he could speak, but it took a preciously long time. “The coven we’re meeting with tomorrow,” he said eventually. “And the Fae family said they’re going to need a few more days to settle in, but that they’ll contact us in about two days.”
“We meeting with them at the new house?”
Derek nodded. “Everyone’s there now if you want to head over?”
Stiles bit his lip and stood up. “Yeah,” he said, walking over and levering himself down so he was straddling Derek’s thighs. Derek’s hands went to Stiles’ hips instinctively. “In a few minutes.”
Half an hour later, they finally made it out to the house. Stiles’ jaw dropped when he took in the three-story mansion. Because there was no other word for it; it was a mansion. It was in a beautiful neighborhood that had been designed so the houses were far enough away from each other for privacy, but close enough to still have a community feel.
Stiles’ mouth was still open while he ventured up the walkway to the front door. Derek placed his hand on the small of his back and gave him a gentle nudge when the boy stopped at the bottom of the porch stairs. It wasn’t quite a wrap-around porch, but it surrounded the whole front of the house and part of the left side, leaving the right open for the garage.
Lydia opened the door before Stiles or Derek could and huffed at them to hurry up and get inside to they could help. The inside was just as beautiful as Stiles had imagined. The main floor housed an enormous living room that opened up to the kitchen. Across from the two rooms was another large room that he assumed would house the dining room table. There was another nook by the dining room, complete with a sliding glass door to the backyard.
Apparently the first priority had been furnishing the living room, because there was already a gigantic L-shaped couch as well as two armchairs taking up most of the space.
“Hey, Stiles,” came Ethan’s voice from the couch.
Stiles’ head whipped around to find the beta curled up with Jackson, who was rubbing his hands all over him, still trying to get the airport stench off.
Stiles nodded at Ethan. A look of understanding passed between them, and they both knew they’d have to talk about what happened with Aiden pretty soon. His scent soured with guilt momentarily, until Derek rubbed his cheek against Stiles’.
“Now that that’s out of the way, can we get back to furnishing this place?” Lydia asked, gesturing to the multitude of binders she and Peter were pouring over on the kitchen island.
It took them most of the day, but eventually they were all able to agree on how to furnish the common areas and the two offices they were going to put on the second floor.
Jackson and Ethan were going to share a room on the second floor, and Lydia and Peter had already picked out their respective rooms on the second floor as well.
Stiles frowned when he realized there were no more rooms on that floor after Lydia claimed the last one for Kira, but was just led up the stairs by a smirking Derek after voicing his concern out loud.
On the third floor were two additional bedrooms and a third room that could be used for anything the pack decided on. They went into the first room on the left, which was clearly the master bedroom. It had an en suite bathroom with dual sinks, and a walk in closet. “So this is your room, right?” Stiles asked Derek.
Derek cleared his throat and looked down at his feet shyly. “I thought maybe it could be our room?”
Stiles’ eyes widened. His wolf howled with happiness at the offer from his Alpha, but his brain took off in a dozen different directions.
“No.” At Derek’s crestfallen expression, Stiles rushed to amend his answer. “No, I mean yes!” Derek raised an eyebrow, now amused. “I mean, it’s fast. Don’t you think it’s fast? I know you sleep in my bed and there was that whole thing earlier with the kissing, and I obviously really like you, but oh my god fast.”
Derek walked over to Stiles and grabbed the hands that had been worrying at his hair. “Stiles, breathe. Why don’t you plan to set your things in the other bedroom next door and we’ll just see how it goes?”
Stiles sighed in relief and tucked himself against Derek’s chest. He knew he’d more than likely still end up sleeping in Derek’s bed, and that his things would slowly make their way out of his room and into this one, but knowing he had his own space and that Derek wasn’t rushing him gave him a kind of comfort he really needed.
Dinner that night found them all back at Stiles’ apartment. The stark contrast between the enormity of the pack house and Stiles’ one bedroom place made them feel a little more confined, but no one really minded.
They were just finishing the dishes and settling in to watch a movie when the wolves tensed. Lydia looked around curiously, but her question was answered by a knock at the door.
Peter rose from his chair after a nod from Derek and opened the door.
“Christopher,” he purred obnoxiously. “To what do we owe the pleasure?”
If Chris Argent was surprised to see Peter answering the door to Stiles’ apartment, he hid it well. What he didn’t hide well was his shock at seeing Derek, Lydia, Jackson, and Ethan there as well.
“Hello, everyone,” he said with somewhat forced civility, clearly embarrassed at the crack in his practiced stoicism.
Derek and Stiles, who had stood up at the first whiff of Argent so the man wouldn’t notice Stiles plopped on Derek’s lap, had adopted the same rigid posture. Chris’ eyebrow quirked and realization flooded his scent.
“I take it Scott didn’t tell you I was coming?”
Jackson growled and Peter rolled his eyes at this.
Stiles cleared his throat and focused on not shifting. “No,” he said steadily. “No, he didn’t.”
Chris just shook his head and sighed, as if that weren’t surprising news. “He asked me to look into this new pack. I guess he wanted you to have some backup in case things went south with your recon.” His eyes roved over the group and landed on Stiles. “But I can see no recon is necessary. You all are the pack he’s heard about, aren’t you?
“What makes you say that?” Peter asked nonchalantly.
“Blue eyes,” Chris said with a shrug. If he noticed Stiles tense up, he didn’t mention it. “I know you four have them,” he gestured to Peter, Derek, Jackson, and Ethan. “And I’m guessing you do as well, Stiles?”
Before the other wolves could so much as growl at the realization that Chris knew Stiles had turned, Lydia stood up and placed herself between Chris and the rest of the pack. Even Peter backed up at the ferocity of her glare.
“You are not going to touch him,” she said fiercely.
Chris looked surprised at her aggressiveness, but even more shocked at her words. “Of course I won’t. As far as I know, Stiles hasn’t hurt anyone. Have you, Stiles?”
Stiles shook his head.
“Then I think someone needs to get me a beer and we need to talk about what the hell we’re going to do next.”
Chapter 11: When the time comes
Ethan was the first one to collect himself enough to walk into the kitchen to grab the beer. Chris collapsed into the armchair, looking oddly at ease given that he was the only human in the room. He accepted the beer with a grateful nod and took a long gulp before gesturing to the room at large to start talking.
Peter took charge and filled him in on most of what had happened. There were some details he left out, but the pack trusted him enough at this point to know that if there were things he wasn’t sharing, it was for a reason, so they stayed quiet.
Chris’ face remained passive for most of the story. He finished his beer and chuckled under his breath when Jackson brought him a new one.
Stiles looked like he was ready to bolt at the first sign of trouble. He had a pretty good relationship with Chris, but he’d never been more keenly aware of the fact that the man was a veteran werewolf hunter than he was in that moment. He was somewhat calmed by Derek’s hand at his back, but it wasn’t until Jackson and Peter subtly placed themselves between Stiles and Chris that he fully relaxed.
When Peter was done, Chris sat back in the chair, both empty bottles forgotten on the table by his arm. The pack held its breath until he spoke. “The wendigos you killed – they murdered a man?”
Jackson nodded. “Yeah, and they expressed intent to continue killing.”
Chris pursed his lips but hummed in agreement of their course of action. “And the vampire boy?”
“He’s fine now,” Derek reported. “And he knows what the consequences will be if he loses control again.”
“What happened to the Alpha? The one that bit Stiles?” Chris asked with a frown.
Stiles gulped and looked to Peter instinctively. When Chris saw where Stiles’ attention was, he looked to Peter as well.
Peter pursed his lips and waited for Derek’s nod to speak. “I’ve been tracking it.”
The declaration came as a surprise to exactly no one.
“And?” Chris prompted.
“And he will be dealt with by us when the time comes,” Peter said with finality.
Chris just nodded at that and launched into a few more unrelated questions. The questions had a more curious than accusatory tone, so the pack was able to relax as they all took turns answering.
Stiles subtly scented the room to check in on his packmates and felt nothing amiss. When he smelled a low level of arousal coming from Chris and Peter after the two exchanged an unreadable look, Stiles smirked but shut off his nose for the foreseeable future.
They spoke for about an hour before Chris agreed to keep the details to himself for now. Stiles, who had explained his reasoning for wanting to keep his transformation from Scott, visibly sagged with relief.
“Thank you,” he sighed. “I know I’ll have to tell him soon, I just want it to be on my terms when I’m ready.”
Chris nodded and made to stand from the chair. “Understood. I’ll stay in town a couple of days, and then I’ll report truthfully back to Scott that everything is taken care of up here.”
“I’ll walk you out,” purred Peter. Derek rolled his eyes and Stiles just laughed. Peter led Chris out the door and closed it behind them.
“So, the Alpha who bit me.” Stiles’ eyes raked over the remaining pack members in the room. “You all knew Peter was tracking him?”
Derek, Lydia, Jackson, and Ethan all nodded. Stiles sighed and sunk down onto the couch. “What are we going to do about it?”
Lydia, Jackson, and Ethan all turned to Derek, who ducked his head to avoid Stiles’ searching gaze. Stiles scented the room and could smell nerves coming from Derek and excitement from the other three.
“Derek’s going to kill him, isn’t he? And become our Alpha?”
“That’s the plan,” Lydia said when it was clear that Derek couldn’t answer. “Peter has evidence that the Alpha has been attacking people all up and down the coast. It doesn’t look like he’s bitten anyone else, but some of the people he has hurt are in critical condition.”
Stiles nodded in understanding. “So, he needs to be dealt with one way or another. Derek?” Derek’s head lifted and he eyed Stiles warily. “Do you want to be an Alpha again?”
The man took a deep breath and faced the others in the room. “Two months ago, I would have said no. But it would be an honor to lead this pack, if you’ll have me?”
Lydia moved first. She made her way to the doorway Derek was standing in and slowly exposed her neck in a sign of submission. Derek growled, his eyes wide with shock, and nosed at the line of her neck, formally accepting her into his pack.
One by one, Jackson, Ethan, and Stiles did the same. Stiles couldn’t help the shiver that spread through his body at the feel of Derek’s nose at his throat, but this moment was about Derek, not him, so he ignored it for the time being.
The front door opened and Peter walked back in, watching the display with a blank face. Stiles stepped aside and the whole pack looked at Peter to see what he would do.
Without hesitation, Peter took several determined steps forward until he was standing in front of a misty-eyed Derek, and bared his throat.
Chapter 12: Unbidden
Lydia, Jackson, and Ethan decided to spend the night at the new pack house. Peter left at the same time in his own car. He hadn’t said where he was going, but no one had to think too hard to know he could probably be found slinking out of Chris’ hotel room in the morning.
After the show of trust from the rest of the pack, Derek found himself overwhelmed with emotion. Stiles tidied up his place for a few minutes, allowing Derek some time alone to collect himself. After fluffing his pillow for the fourth time, he decided Derek had been alone for long enough.
“Der?” he whispered, sitting down on the couch next to the unmoving man. When Derek didn’t answer, Stiles grabbed his hand gently and tugged them both into a standing position.
Derek caught onto Stiles’ plan and got ready for bed methodically, the dumbstruck expression never leaving his face.
Stiles eased Derek into bed and turned them so he was the big spoon. This wasn’t the first time their normal spooning positions had changed, but something told Stiles that Derek needed to be held.
A low whine came out of Derek’s throat unbidden. Stiles tightened his grip and placed a soft kiss on the back of Derek’s neck. “You’re going to be great, you know.”
Derek hummed noncommittally, which Stiles was having none of.
“No, Derek, I mean it,” he implored the man vehemently. “You already lead this pack, and you do it well. Every one of us trusts you with our lives. And what’s more, you’ve made us into a family. Did you ever think even three months ago that I’d want to voluntarily spend time with Jackson? Or that Peter and Lydia would be able to sit on the same couch and decorate a house that we are all actually excited about living in together? You did that.”
“You did that,” Derek countered. “We wouldn’t be a pack without you, Stiles.”
“Fine, then we did it together.” Stiles sighed heavily. “I know me being bitten was the catalyst that started this pack, but you’re why it has grown into what it has. And why it continues to get stronger every day.”
There was silence in the room for so long, Stiles was sure Derek had fallen asleep.
“Every time I’ve been in charge, people have died,” Derek whispered into the dark room.
“And I can’t guarantee that no one will die this time,” Stiles admitted. “No one can guarantee that. But we’re stronger now than we were last time you were an Alpha. All of us. It’ll be different this time around, you know it will.”
Derek yawned, suddenly more tired than he could ever remember being. “I’m going to need you to remind me of that from time to time, ok?”
Stiles nodded into Derek’s shoulder. “’Course. Now get some sleep, you’ve got a big meeting tomorrow.”
When they arrived at the pack house the next morning, the smell of bacon and happiness was almost overwhelming. Ethan was manning the bacon and eggs, while Jackson poured everyone coffee from the pot he just made.
Lydia was sitting at the dining room table with Peter, who was grinning from ear to ear. Not wanting to be the one to ask what had put the man in such a good mood, especially given how much he smelled like Chris, Stiles broke off from Derek at the front door and plopped into the seat next to Lydia.
“Who are you texting?” he asked her.
“Cora,” she responded, not looking up from her phone. “She’s flying up the day after tomorrow.”
Derek perked up at the news, abandoning his attempts to steal bacon from the frying pan after Ethan swatted his hand with the spatula twice. He sat down next to Peter and nodded his thanks at Jackson when he was presented with a steaming cup of coffee.
“What time is the meeting with the coven?” Jackson asked, placing two mugs in front of Lydia and Stiles and refreshing the one in front of Peter.
“Noon,” Derek responded after a large gulp.
“Who are you taking with you?” Lydia asked, finally abandoning her phone. “Traditionally the Alpha and their second attend any meetings that involve pack business.”
Derek coughed, choking on his next sip. When he regained his composure he found that the whole pack was staring at him. “Well, I’m not technically the Alpha yet,” he hedged.
There was a shared eye roll from Lydia, Stiles, and Jackson at that.
“Fine.” Derek raised his hands in surrender. “In that case, I hadn’t asked him officially yet, but Peter?”
Peter sat up straight and failed to hide the surprise from his face. “Me?” His voice was hoarse until he cleared it. “But I’m not meant to be a second. I wasn’t trained –”
“And Derek wasn’t trained to be an Alpha, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be an exceptional one,” Stiles cut him off.
“I am not second material,” Peter insisted stiffly, as if reading from a script.
There was a beat of silence before –
“Who told you that?” Lydia asked softly. “Someone said that to you once, right?”
“More than once,” Peter rasped. He looked down at his lap and hunched his shoulders, displaying none of his usual confidence. “Talia was always going to be the Alpha, we all knew that growing up. I used to think I would help her run the pack, as her second. We did everything together, she was my best friend, why wouldn’t that be how it worked? My parents would sort of smile at each other whenever I brought it up, but I just thought they were happy. I didn’t realize they were only humoring me.”
Ethan took the food off of the stovetop and set it aside before taking a seat at the table to listen.
Peter lowered his voice, but it didn’t matter; the whole pack was hanging on his every word. “When Talia married Michael, I was thrilled. I finally had a brother. He was kind and warm, like Tal, but he had an edge, like me. He fit right in. On the night our father gave up his Alpha power to Talia, we had a big celebration. The whole extended family flew in and we had a party that lasted all day and all night. At noon on the second day, there is typically a ceremony where the new Alpha formally introduces their second. I still remember how excited I was, practically bouncing in my seat.”
He cleared his throat and licked his lips before continuing. “Talia stood up and made a big toast, thanking everyone for coming and my father for his sacrifice. Then she looked straight at me, and announced that her second would be Michael.”
Peter let out a breath. “I ran up to my room – I couldn’t bear to hear anymore. I remember my father followed me and scolded me for causing a scene. He said he couldn’t understand why I was so upset, that I had to have known this was coming. That I wasn’t second material.” Peter stopped talking then. He took a deep breath and Stiles didn’t have to smell the salt in the air to know that the man was crying.
It was Lydia surprisingly who stood up and rounded the table to provide comfort first. She placed her hands on his shoulders, but it was clear she didn’t know what to say.
“He was wrong,” Derek said simply. He waited until Peter met his eyes to continue. “And that was cruel. I remember my mom telling me that story – the ceremony, the party, and how happy she was that day. She never mentioned what she did to you. I love my mother very much. But she and my grandfather were both wrong. I don’t mean to say that my dad was a bad second. I remember him helping mom lead, and as far as I was able to understand it at my age, he did it well. But they never should have done that to you. And grandpa never should have told you that.”
“I’m not the man for the job, Derek,” Peter protested weakly.
The declaration came from Jackson, of all people. He looked at Derek uncertainly, as if he wasn’t sure he should interject. After a nod from the man, Jackson continued with more confidence. “You’re not a pillar of the community, that’s for sure.”
Derek groaned, as if reconsidering giving Jackson permission to speak.
“But no one in this room is. Except maybe Lydia,” Jackson hastened to correct himself. “What I’m trying to say is that we aren’t a pack full of perfect people, and we don’t expect our leaders to be perfect either. But we do expect them to be knowledgeable, and strong. To know enough about dealing with other packs to not accidentally start a conflict. And to care enough about us that they would kill for us, or die for us.”
“And that’s you,” Derek finished after Jackson stopped speaking. “So, will you be my second?”
The pack held its collective breath as Peter stared into Derek’s eyes. He opened and closed his mouth several times, disbelief still dominating his face. “I will.”
Stiles let out a whoop while Lydia and Jackson rewarded Peter with a half-hug. Ethan grinned and went back to finishing breakfast.
Derek pulled Peter to his feet and enveloped the man into a full hug, which was reciprocated fiercely.
The rest of the morning passed with palpable happiness before Peter and Derek went off to meet with the coven. Jackson, Lydia, Stiles, and Ethan went off to shop for furniture, which resulted in two shouting matches, one near-fist-fight, and the four of them almost being kicked out of Ikea.
But at the end of the day, they had fully decorated bedrooms and a new alliance with a powerful coven.
Chapter 13: That's pack
Stiles was startled from his perch on the counter. He’d been worrying about the meeting between Derek and the Fae family, but he instinctively knew it would end up with an alliance. The family was small and peaceful, and Peter had been teaching Derek the ins and outs of alliances over the past few days. Especially since they’d brokered a deal with the coven – the Fae should be a snap.
He looked up and saw that it was only Ethan summoning him and relaxed somewhat. “Yeah, what’s up?"
Ethan nodded towards the backyard of the pack house. “C’mon, come sit with me for a bit.”
Nothing else was said, but Stiles followed him out to the yard. Both betas sat on the swinging bench and didn’t speak for a while, Ethan’s foot swinging them back and forth slowly. He knew Ethan could hear his heart racing, and he could hear Ethan’s in return, but they both just sat together peacefully.
“So,” Ethan said, breaking the silence. “I think there are some things we need to talk about.”
“I think there are,” Stiles agreed, before going silent. He catalogued Ethan’s scent, but found it to be content and happy. None of the apprehensiveness Stiles was feeling.
“You didn’t kill my brother, Stiles.” As usual, Ethan went for the gullet at the get-go.
Stiles was quiet for a few moments, soaking up the statement, Ethan’s demeanor, and the situation at hand before he responded.
He took a deep breath. “You might be right,” he conceded eventually. “But that doesn’t mean I won’t carry his death with me for the rest of my life.”
Ethan nodded and considered Stiles’ words. “I’d imagine that’s kind of how I feel about Boyd.” A sour scent clouded Ethan’s words, but it dissipated eventually.
Stiles growled under his breath and didn’t speak. Boyd’s death was a little different. The twins were under the thrall of the other Alphas. They didn’t know what was going to happen until it was all over. “I guess it is,” Stiles allowed. “But that doesn’t mean you, or Derek for that matter, feel it any less. Just because we understand that it wasn’t our fault, doesn’t mean that emotionally we don’t feel like it is.”
Ethan nodded, but said nothing. He swung his arm over Stiles’ shoulders and squeezed his far shoulder briefly.
The two stayed on the swing for a while, moving back and forth with its momentum until they were interrupted by Peter’s return.
“I’m not sure either of you are going to reach an understanding today,” he said with his customary smirk. Of course he knew exactly what the had been discussing.
He made his way towards the two of them with his usual arrogant swagger. Instead of finding it irritating, Stiles found it somewhat comforting.
Ethan just shrugged and nudged Stiles with his elbow. “We’ll keep working on it, though. That’s pack.”
Stiles nodded with a small smile, unable to speak through the sudden lump in his throat. There was a weight on his shoulders he hadn’t realized was there until is started to dissipate. “Maybe you’re right,” he agreed.
They both stood and looked at Peter expectantly.
“Ah,” he said with understanding. “The meeting with the Fae went fine. We have reached an agreement. They are allowed to stay in our territory as long as they remain peaceful, and in return, they will offer aid to our pack whenever necessary.”
Stiles and Ethan exhaled simultaneously.
“Really, it was boring.” Peter seemed almost disappointed that the meeting hadn’t resulted in bloodshed.
Ethan laughed and shook his head. “You looking for a fight, old man?” he dared his second with a smile. He crouched down and unleashed his claws in a friendly challenge.
Peter lit up and crouched in return, shifting fully into his beta form. Stiles could smell his joy.
Stiles laughed as Peter launched himself at Ethan and delighted in watching them spar until Derek appeared to break it up to bring them all back into the pack house for a meeting.
“Ok,” he stared, looking out at his pack with a small smile. “We’ve got an alliance with the coven and the Fae, so our territory should be safe for the time being.”
The pack exchanged smiles after the declaration.
“But,” Derek continued, “there is still some uncertainty within the pack. Close your eyes.”
Instantly, Stiles, Peter, Jackson, Ethan, and Lydia closed their eyes. Derek felt a rush of happiness at how quickly his pack had obeyed his orders, but pushed it aside in favor of continuing his activity.
“I need you to look for your pack bonds. Feel which ones are the strongest and which ones need to be strengthened.”
As one, they opened their eyes.
Peter’s eyes met Lydia’s as Derek’s met Ethan’s. Jackson and Stiles smiled at each other when they realized they were the only two whose bonds felt fully secure with all of their pack members. Stiles spared a quick wink towards Ethan since they still had unfinished business, but their wolves apparently believed they were fully pack.
“Ok,” Derek said, pulling the attention back to himself. “It’s movie time. Ethan, you’re going to sit with me. Frankly, there is still a part of me that blames you for Boyd’s death, so we need to move past that. Lydia, you and Peter are going to share the armchair if you’re ok with that. I know you comforted him the other day, and that you have been working closely together on the house, but you guys still have your issues to work out. Also, you’ve been the first one to initiate any touch between the two of you, so I’d like Peter to give it a try.” Lydia took a deep breath and look at Peter. They shared an unreadable glance and Lydia nodded. Peter’s shoulders slumped in relief.
“Stiles and Jackson, you guys can sit with each other, or choose where else to sit.”
He spared Stiles a proud and smug smile and sat down on the couch next to Ethan.
Lydia took another deep breath and gestured for Peter to sit on the chair. Once he was settled, she sat on the arm and slowly swung her legs over his lap. Peter smiled and laid his arms over her shins, sending her smile softer than Stiles had ever seen.
“Thank you,” he whispered, gripping her ankles tenderly.
Lydia flinched slightly, but nodded to herself, then Peter, and relaxed.
Ethan was sitting ramrod straight next to Derek on the couch until Derek draped an arm over his shoulder. “I’m not Deucalion,” Derek reminded him quietly.
Ethan inhaled and exhaled quickly before relaxing tentatively. He sunk into the couch and leaned into Derek. His head rested against Derek’s shoulder as Derek sunk his face into Ethan’s neck. Their movements were so platonic that even Jackson didn’t growl in response.
Stiles and Jackson smiled at each other again before assuming their positions. Jackson was already comfortable with Lydia and Peter – which was a surprise to him for sure - so he sat at Derek’s feet and leaned into his knee. There was a pause before Derek combed his hand through Jackson’s hair slowly. They both hummed contentedly before Stiles looked around.
His pack was comfortable.
His pack was happy.
Everything was good. For now.
Stiles started the movie and sat at Peter’s feet, grinning his way through the opening credits.
Chapter 14: Incoming
That was all the warning they got before Kira launched herself onto Jackson’s back. Jackson caught her instinctively and laughed.
Stiles and Peter exchanged commiserating looks that fooled no one.
They’d returned to Beacon Hills for the weekend to retrieve some items from the Hale vault. Kira had been excited to hear that they’d be back so soon, and vowed to track them down at some point.
A promise she’d obviously kept as she sprung herself on them in the middle of the mall.
Lydia emerged from a boutique and grinned at Kira in greeting before leading them to yet another store. Kira clung to Jackson’s shoulders and refused to get off, something the former kanima pretended to be exasperated about.
“So, Scott’s called a pack meeting for tonight,” Kira said after they’d spent about twenty minutes in a store holding Lydia and Jackson’s clothing options. She’d extracted herself from Jackson when he started trying on clothes and relegated herself to just giving opinions when either he or Lydia exited a dressing room.
“Does he know I’m in town?” Stiles asked with a frown, checking his phone and finding no text from Scott.
Kira just shrugged.
“You don’t have to go,” Peter told him. “None of us do if we don’t want to.” He laid his hand on the back on Stiles’ neck briefly, both of them finding comfort in the fleeting gesture.
Lydia took this moment to emerge from her dressing room wearing a stunning dark green blouse. Peter hummed and motioned for her to spin, which she wasted no time in doing. He nodded in approval before turning his attention back to Stiles. Lydia disappeared back into the dressing room with a small smile on her face.
“Do you want to see him?” Peter asked without judgment or opinion.
Stiles considered the question for a second, ignoring the speculative glances from Kira and Jackson. “I mean, he’s my best friend, of course I want to see him. But… did he say what the meeting was about?” he asked Kira.
Kira shook her head. “No, it seemed like it was pretty informal. Just a pack get-together kind of thing, I think.”
Stiles took a deep breath. “We should go to the meeting, then. After we’ve gotten everything we need from the vault.”
Peter nodded in agreement and looked down at his phone, sending a text to Derek to let him know of the development. Derek had elected to stay home during their trip, since Cora had finally arrived in Elmwood.
Jackson emerged from the dressing room in a horrible pair of burgundy jeans.
“No,” said Peter, Kira, and Stiles simultaneously.
Jackson pouted, but disappeared back into the dressing room without complaint.
After another hour of shopping, they called it a day. Kira resumed her position on Jackson’s back and they made their way out to the car. Peter laid all of Lydia’s bags in the backseat of his car with care and opened the passenger door for the banshee with a bow that was only 30% mocking.
It was a remarkable show of trust that Peter allowed Kira, Lydia, Jackson, and Stiles to accompany him to the Hale vault. Stiles had assumed he’d drop everyone off at Lydia’s house and go himself. He thought he hid his surprise pretty well when they pulled up to the school instead, but even Kira rolled her eyes at his faked nonchalance.
“Shut up,” Peter mumbled half-heartedly as he made his way to the entrance. He used his claws to open the vault and stepped forward with a sigh.
Kira and Lydia made their way to the bookshelves immediately, having been given permission from both Peter and Derek to take with them whatever they thought looked helpful or interesting. Stiles stayed back at the door to make sure none of them were interrupted, even though he could hear no heartbeats nearby.
Jackson stuck by Peter like glue. Whenever Peter picked up an object that made his heart skip or his scent turn sour with grief, Jackson was quick to offer a comforting touch. Whether it was a hand on his back or a grip on his shoulder, Peter was never without pack comfort of some kind.
Stiles hadn’t been surprised to learn that out of the whole pack, it was Peter and Jackson who craved touch the most. He had asked Derek about it one night when they were curled up together in Stiles’ bed, and Derek had gone quiet for a few minutes contemplating his answer.
“I can’t speak for Jackson, of course,” Derek had said. “But I think it has something to do with his parents. His birth parents died before he was born and his adoptive parents loved him as best as they knew how, but touch was never something he grew up with. I think having a new family that chose him, and that loves him like we do knowing all that he’s done has allowed him to open up to the fact that he can be close to us in that way.”
Stiles hummed in agreement and pulled Derek closer. “And Peter?”
Derek’s scent turned sad. “Peter’s not as hard to figure out. The touch thing has always been big with werewolves, but spending six years in a coma, only being touched when he was rolled over by an orderly or bathed by a nurse has done lasting damage on him. Any comforting pack touch we can give him, we should.”
After that talk, Stiles had made a point to start each day by hugging Peter. The expression on Peter’s face the first time was priceless, but the way the man desperately clung to him in response just reinforced Stiles’ decision.
Once everything Peter and Derek needed had been taken from the vault and deposited into one of the pack cars, Stiles wasted no time in gathering Peter up into a bone crushing hug. Peter returned it without hesitation, and held on for several moments.
They made their way to Scott’s house for the meeting, hoping Kira was right and that it was just a pack bonding meeting and not a substantive one.
Lydia made way to one of the couches immediately, putting her legs up across the length of the couch and sighing in relief.
Jackson, Kira, and Stiles milled about, saying brief hellos to everyone and getting drinks from the kitchen. Peter just sighed with a smile and joined Lydia before Scott could take a place opposite her on the couch.
“Feet, darling,” he demanded, sitting at the other end. Lydia didn’t react or open her eyes, just kicked off her heels and placed her feet into Peter’s lap, sighing in relief as he began massaging the long shopping spree out of her soles.
The incredulous look on Scott’s face prompted a snort from Stiles as he emerged from the kitchen with drinks and snacks for both Peter and Lydia.
Thankfully, Kira was right and the meeting was nothing more than an attempted bonding experience. The pack took their places around Peter and Lydia and sat silently through a showing of Lake Placid – which Stiles saw Kira sneak into the DVD player before Liam could choose a movie himself – and went back to their cars to head to Lydia and Stiles’ houses for the night.
Stiles laid in his bed, content to be smelling of pack but missing his Alpha. He grabbed his phone from his bedside table and pulled up his most recent call list.
“Hello?” Derek picked up on the first ring with a smile in his voice.
They talked until the sky began to brighten with the early hours of the morning.
Just as he drifted off to sleep, Stiles heard Derek whisper a goodbye that sounded suspiciously like, “goodnight, love.”
Chapter 15: Alpha
Several weeks later, after Lydia went back to MIT and Jackson and Ethan had settled into their classes, Peter approached Derek about the Alpha that had bitten Stiles.
“I think it’s time,” he said somberly.
Derek looked up from the book he was reading in the breakfast nook. “Time for what?”
Peter just handed him his phone, which showed a news article from Portland, Oregon about a mutilated body that had turned up in the woods just outside the city.
Derek’s frown became more pronounced as he read. “This is the Alpha? We’re sure?” He looked up to see Peter nodding.
“We’re sure. I contacted the local pack and told them we would take care of it.”
After clearing his throat and handing Peter back his phone, Derek nodded slowly. “Ok, get the pack together. We’ve got some planning to do.”
An hour later, Derek, Peter, Stiles, Jackson, Ethan, and Cora were congregated in the living room. Cora had Lydia, Kira, and Isaac on speakerphone.
Stiles stood next to Derek facing the rest of the pack on the couch. He placed his hand on the small of Derek’s back and pushed contentedness through their pack bond to encourage him to start talking.
“The Alpha who attacked Stiles killed someone in Oregon last night.” He waited for the murmurs to die down before continuing. “We,” he nodded at Peter, “think it’s time to find him and for me to take his power.”
He reared back a little, as if expecting someone to suddenly object to Derek becoming an Alpha. Stiles refrained from rolling his eyes, but only just.
“That’s what we want, right, everyone?” Stiles asked for Derek’s benefit.
There was a chorus of “yeah,” “of course,” and “yes,” from the rest of the pack that caused Derek’s shoulders to slump in relief.
“Ok,” he said more confidently. “Peter and I will leave first thing in the morning.”
At that, there was another chorus of voices, this time all dissenting.
“We’re coming with you,” Cora said fiercely through all of the commotion.
Derek seemed overwhelmed by the ferocity of the pack’s responses. His eyebrows made a break for his hairline. He exchanged a look with Stiles, who was wearing his patented ‘you’re an idiot’ expression.
“Ok,” Derek said slowly, drawing out the word. “You all want to come with us?” He looked around at each pack member individually.
“I already bought my plane ticket back,” said Isaac obnoxiously through the phone. “Don’t leave before I get there.”
Peter and Jackson both snorted at that.
They planned for a little while longer, deciding that Jackson and Kira would act as bait in an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of town, and the rest of the pack would lie in wait for the Alpha to attack. Peter got word to his contact in the local pack to start spreading rumors of a kitsune and a kanima-turned-werewolf in the area. If the Alpha was lucid enough, he would want to build his pack and Kira and Jackson would be great additions for him. If he was more feral, he would see the two of them as a threat and would want to eliminate them. Either way, it would get his attention and he would have to act.
Stiles pulled Derek into their room. Stiles had been right when he guessed that all of his possessions would slowly make their way into Derek’s room. He woke up one day in Derek’s bed, only to realize that his phone charger, laptop, school textbooks, and even his toothbrush were there. Since then, Derek’s room had become ‘their room.’
He led Derek to the bed and the two of them sat down. Derek had a look on his face that Stiles couldn’t place. “What are you thinking,” he asked gently.
“What if I’m bad at it,” Derek whispered, not looking up from his hands.
Stiles started shaking his head even before Derek finished asking. “Impossible.”
“Stiles - ,” Derek began.
“No,” Stiles cut him off. “Listen to me, Derek. We’ve talked about this. You already lead this pack. You becoming an Alpha doesn’t change that, it just makes it more official. And you know how much more powerful a pack is when they have a strong Alpha.”
Stiles ducked his head under Derek’s until the man was forced to meet his eyes. He cupped Derek’s face with his hands, his thumbs gently tracing the man’s cheekbones. “Look, you’ve got nothing to worry about. The pack wants this too. You heard them down there, they’re all so excited for this. Sure, we probably wish it could happen without you having to kill someone, but this Alpha is dangerous. Someone has to take care of him. And you’ll be an amazing Alpha. You already are.”
Derek looked at him like he was seeing him clearly for the first time. “I - ,” he hesitated. “Never mind.”
Laughing, Stiles dropped his hands and grabbed Derek’s. “What?”
“I love you,” Derek whispered.
Stiles’ face lit up, but then sobered into a faux unaffected look. “I know,” he said with a half shrug.
Derek tackled Stiles onto the bed, tickling him mercilessly on this one vulnerable spot under Stiles’ ribs until Stiles, laughing uproariously, declared, “I love you too, I love you too!”
The lay side by side panting for a few minutes, fingers linked together at their sides, before rejoining the pack downstairs to go over the plan again.
One Isaac (who to everyone’s surprise hugged Jackson first) Lydia, and Kira arrived, the whole pack took off toward Oregon.
Peter took great joy in poking fun at how happy Stiles and Derek looked holding hands in the front seat, until Isaac asked him why he smelled so much like Chris Argent and he shut up fast.
The warehouse was relatively empty. There was a stack of industrial sized boxes in one corner and what looked to be abandoned dumpsters lined up in the opposite corner. After Ethan and Jackson tried unsuccessfully to throw Isaac inside one of the dumpsters, it was decided that Derek, Stiles, and Lydia would hide behind them, while Peter, Cora, Ethan, and Isaac would hide behind the boxes.
“Are we supposed to just stand here?” Jackson rolled his eyes and folded his arms. He and Kira were standing right in the middle of the warehouse, in perfect view of the rest of the pack.
Kira chuckled. “Yup.”
Jackson pouted, but let it go. Thankfully they had only been in position for about twenty minutes before they heard one of the large side doors creak open.
Stiles froze at the sight of the man who had attacked him walking through the door. Derek and Lydia both leaned into him, offering support, and he felt the rest of the pack tugging on their bonds to help ground him.
Jackson and Kira crouched, ready to attack. The Alpha approached the two at a run, his red eyes glowing brightly in the dimly lit space.
Derek roared, which was the pack’s cue to attack. They knew the deal; aim to injure, not kill.
Lydia, who was the only one without claws, was able to get a shot to the Alpha’s left thigh before anyone in the pack could reach him.
This slowed him down for Cora and Ethan’s coordinated attack. They took turns with Jackson and Isaac, attacking him in pairs in an attempt to get him onto his back. Once he was weakened, Stiles and Peter came in from behind him and took out his legs, causing the Alpha to roar and fall backwards.
He tried to fight, but Ethan and Jackson held down his shoulders, leaving Isaac, Cora, Kira, and Peter to pin down his thrashing legs. Stiles stood, chest heaving, and beckoned for Derek to join them.
Derek took a deep breath and stepped forward. With one swipe of his claws, he slit the Alpha’s throat.
The pack gasped as one when they felt the change take hold. Derek let out an almighty roar, his eyes burning red and his pack bonds singing in his chest.
They had an Alpha.
Chapter 16: Best Friend?
As Stiles had predicted, nothing within the pack really changed when Derek officially became an Alpha. They already deferred to his and Peter’s authority before, so the biggest change was to the Alpha himself.
Derek had forgotten how powerful an Alpha’s spark felt; his body was practically singing. He could feel all of his pack members more acutely, and was vividly aware of their moods through their bonds.
Peter took care of informing the coven, the Fae, the two omegas living in their territory, and the vampire family of the change in status. Derek was overwhelmed to hear that all of their reactions were positive, until Peter reminded him that the more stable the pack is, the more stable the territory. So, he was helping them as well by becoming an Alpha. Peter also had a suspicion that the two omegas would be asking to officially join the pack soon since they now had an Alpha, and he knew Derek would acquiesce.
It had been almost a month since he had killed the Alpha, and Derek’s pack was happier than ever.
Stiles, Ethan, and Jackson were flourishing at Berkeley, Lydia still had the MIT students and staff eating out of the palm of her hand, Isaac had returned home but was talking about moving back to California permanently, and Kira was nearly finished with her GED program.
Derek and Peter were both happy when Cora announced she would be moving into the pack house officially, but she went back to her other home to tie up a few loose ends and pack her things, so she was gone for the moment. Derek wasn’t worried; he could feel her through their bond more than he had ever been able to before.
His bond with Stiles was also stronger than ever. After their full moon run in the Preserve, Stiles had wrapped his arms around Derek’s shoulders and looked at him from under his lashes.
“Take me to bed, Alpha?”
Later that night, they both laid in bed panting and sated. Their bond suddenly pulled at both of them, glowing brightly and humming. When it settled, it was much sturdier, and had taken on a more lustrous hue.
Derek gasped. “Mate.”
Stiles rolled over and placed a sweet kiss to his Alpha’s lips. “Mate,” he confirmed.
The pack gave them well-deserved grief the next morning at breakfast. Stiles had just given Peter his customary daily hug when Ethan piped up from the couch.
“Can we at least find a way to mute our bonds when you guys have your alone time? No one needs to feel all of that,” he fake-gagged.
Stiles rolled his eyes. “Yeah, as if I don’t feel it every time you and my best friend get d – oh, shit.”
Jackson’s face lit up mischievously as he rose from the couch. “Best friend?”
He took several quick steps towards Stiles, who shrieked and ran away, rounding the kitchen island and trying to find somewhere to hide.
“Nope,” Stiles denied, shooting a dirty look towards the rest of the pack who were laughing at his current predicament. “Who said that? I don’t even like you.”
Jackson just cackled and continued his pursuit. “You love me,” he goaded. “I’m your best friend; the whole pack heard you say it.” The wolf leapt over the island, boxing Stiles in so he was backed against the counters.
“I hate you,” he tried, though they could both hear the lie in his heartbeat.
“Yeah, yeah,” Jackson said, pulling Stiles in for a hug. “I hate you, too, Stilinski. And you’re definitely not my best friend either.”
Stiles relaxed when he heard the lie there as well.
Now that they had an official Alpha in the pack, Derek and Peter met in one of the pack house offices to discuss what that meant in terms of the remaining pack hierarchy. They had an Alpha, an Alpha mate, and a second, but Peter brought up that having no left hand made them a little more vulnerable than he would like.
Derek just raised his eyebrow. “You really don’t think we have a left hand? Consider your packmates, Peter. I count three left hands.”
Peter snorted. “Jackson, Lydia, and Cora,” he confirmed. “You’re right. I’ll start training them right away.”
After that, Peter began giving left hand lessons to Jackson in person twice a week, with Lydia and Cora joining by Skype.
By mid-March, most of the pack was together. Isaac, Cora, and Kira had moved into the pack house, enrolling in the local community college.
Stiles and Derek were lying in bed, wrapped up in each other and talking about their plans for Stiles’ Spring Break coming up in three weeks.
“I think,” Stiles hesitated. “I think I’m ready. To tell him.”
Derek’s grip on him tightened and he let out a surprised breath. “Are you sure?”
Stiles sighed. “I hate keeping this from him. He’s not my pack, I know that. And he’s not even my best friend anymore, which is weird. But he’s my brother. For better or for worse, he was there for me for over a decade, and it feels wrong to not have him know. Regardless of his reaction, I need to tell him.”
Derek nodded, pressing a kiss to the top of Stiles’ head. “Then you should. Do you want me there? Or someone else from the pack?”
Stiles bit his lip and considered that for a moment. “Maybe. I’ll let you know.”
He fell asleep in his Alpha’s arms, just like he planned on doing every day for the rest of his life.
Chris Argent waltzed through the door of the pack house the next morning, bearing bad news.
“The supernatural community has been talking,” he said, walking into the kitchen and helping himself to some coffee from the fresh pot. “It got back to Scott somehow that what he’s been calling ‘the blue-eyed pack’ has been expanding.”
He waited for the growls to subside before continuing. “He’s planning to bring his pack up to investigate in a few days.”
Stiles frowned and set his coffee mug down. “I need to tell him,” he said. “I should go down tomorrow after class lets out and just rip off the band-aid. I’ve got early classes tomorrow since it’s Friday, so I can be there by mid-afternoon.”
The declaration was met with versions of ‘I’ll come with you’ from all of the pack members present.
Stiles managed a weak laugh. “Thanks, guys. Let me think about it. I don’t want to bring too many people, or he might take it as a challenge. But I – I don’t want to go alone.”
His pack members nodded, but he could tell some of them were more reluctant than others. He watched Chris settle on the arm of Peter’s chair, and smirked slightly when he saw them exchange a small, private smile.
Stiles grabbed Derek’s hand and led the man upstairs and straight into their shower. Derek chuckled, but followed him willingly.
“Why are we in here,” he asked, shaking his head fondly as Stiles gave him a sudsy shampoo mohawk.
Stiles smiled at the picture it made. “Well, I needed a distraction from the whole Scott thing, and I wanted to get you alone to tell you how proud of you I am.”
Derek sobered quickly and donned a look of surprise. “Proud? Of me?”
Stiles nodded, pressing a kiss to his cheek. “You don’t even realize it, do you? A hunter – an Argent, no less – just walked into your den without warning, and you didn’t so much as flinch.”
“It was just Chris,” Derek refuted, not understanding.
Stiles smiled at him softly. “And if Chris had done the same thing at the loft back in Beacon Hills a year ago, what would you have done?”
Derek thought about it and conceded the point. “Probably something violent,” he admitted.
“Exactly,” Stiles exclaimed, resuming his work on Derek’s hair. “You’ve learned to trust again. Hence, celebratory shower sex.”
The Alpha just rolled his eyes at his mate and backed him into the wall under the spray, kissing him deeply.
The next day, it was decided that Derek, Peter, and Jackson would accompany Stiles back to Beacon Hills to talk to Scott. The drive was tense, and Stiles was worryingly quiet. As they pulled up to the McCall residence, Derek took his hand over the car’s console and brought it up to his mouth so he could press a soft kiss to his knuckles.
Stiles steeled himself and walked up to the door, knowing he had his wolves at his back.
He took a second to grip the anchor keychain in his pocket and then knocked. Scott opened the door as if he was already right on the other side.
“Hey, Scotty,” he said hesitantly. “We need to talk.”
Chapter 17: Something Happened
THANK YOU for all of your wonderful supportive comments! I'm working on finishing this one up, and hope to have it completed in the next few days if I can. <3 <3 <3
“Hey,” Scott replied uncertainly, stepping back to let them in. “What are you doing here? It’s not your Spring Break yet, is it? You’re dad’s ok, right?” His eyes widened as he asked the last question.
Stiles smiled at him, the concern reminding him fondly why he was friends with the wolf in the first place.
“Dad’s fine,” he said, walking into the living room.
He sat down on the couch with Derek on his left and Peter on his right. Jackson elected to stay standing, surreptitiously placing himself between the couch and the armchair Scott had chosen to sit on.
“So, what’s up?” Scott asked, casting shifty glances at both Peter and Jackson.
Stiles took a deep breath and leaned forward so his elbows rested on his knees.
“Something happened,” he started. “Late last year.”
Scott nodded slowly and frowned. “Around the time you started dating Derek? When you were acting all weird?”
Stiles heard Peter scoff, but ignored him. “Yeah, around then. I was – I was walking home from class one night when I was… attacked.”
“Attacked?” Scott echoed, his voice and scent rising with worry. “By what? What happened? Are you okay?”
Stiles spared him a small smile. “I’m fine now, Scotty. It was an Alpha.”
He let the sentence hang in the air, hoping Scott would catch on so he wouldn’t have to explain much more.
“An Alpha,” Scott repeated. He squinted and frowned at the far wall while he processed that. “An Alpha attacked you, and… Stiles. Your scent changed. You – you. Were you?” He didn’t seem able to finish his thought.
Stiles just nodded, biting his lower lip to keep it from quivering.
Scott shot out of his chair and took a step towards Stiles, only to find that Jackson and Peter were suddenly both blocking his way.
“You’re a werewolf?” Scott stepped back, but his gaze remained on Stiles’ face.
He nodded. “I am,” he confirmed, looking down at his hands.
“Why didn’t you tell me before? I could have helped you! You should have told me! How have you been functioning without a pack? Is your control okay? Did you hurt anyone?”
Stiles let Scott finish his rant before responding. “I’m fine, Scotty. I –,”
“He’s more than fine,” Peter interjected, glaring at Scott with a sneer. “He’s great. His control is impeccable, and has been from the start. He did call you when it happened, you just didn’t answer, which I understand is par for the course with you.”
“And he does have a pack,” Jackson added venomously. “One that actually appreciates him.”
“Enough,” Stiles said, quieting the two. “I didn’t come here to fight.”
“You have a pack?” Scott asked incredulously. “Who -,”
Stiles saw the exact moment when Scott figured it out. The Alpha’s posture straightened and his eyes flashed red.
“You’re the new pack, aren’t you? The one near Berkeley?” His tone was unreadable and his scent was giving off so many emotions that Stiles couldn’t tell them apart.
“Yes,” Stiles said simply, holding his breath.
Scott was quiet for a long while. He sat back down and regarded the four others in his living room thoughtfully. The fact that he hadn’t already thrown a fit or asked a million questions just went to show how much he had grown.
Upon smelling the pride on Stiles, Scott sent him a rueful grin.
There was more silence. Derek grabbed Stiles’ hand, and Peter resumed his seat. Jackson remained standing, and took a step backwards so he wasn’t completely between Scott and the couch.
Scott took in a deep breath and let it out in a loud puff of air. “You have blue eyes, don’t you? That’s why you didn’t tell me.”
The sob that had been threatening to escape Stiles’ throat for the last fifteen minutes finally fought its way out. He lowered his head and let the tears run freely.
Scott shot out of his seat and launched Jackson into the kitchen when the beta tried to prevent him from approaching Stiles.
Peter and Derek both growled at that, but stopped short when they saw what was happening.
Scott crouched down in front of Stiles and gripped the new wolf’s arms, whispering reassurances in a low, private voice.
“It’s okay, Stiles, please look at me. Take a deep breath for me. That’s it, breathe.” The Alpha continued talking to him softly until Stiles was able to breathe normally and look up.
Stiles knew his eyes were shining, but he couldn’t help it. He saw Scott’s intake of breath at the color, and closed his eyes.
“No,” Scott said brokenly. “Please don’t hide from me.”
Stiles’ eyes shot open in shock.
Scott’s eyes were moist, and he remained crouched in front of Stiles. “Stiles, you’re my brother. Why didn’t you think you could tell me you were turned?”
He took several deep breaths. “How could I, Scotty? How could I tell you that you weren’t my Alpha? It was bad enough to discover that I had murderer eyes, but then to discover that my wolf didn’t even see you as pack? I couldn’t do that to you. I couldn’t tell you all of that.”
“Murderer eyes,” Scott echoed dumbly, realization flooding his scent. “This is my fault, isn’t it?”
Stiles gripped Derek’s hand harder and considered the question. “Yes and no,” he said finally. “I should have told you earlier, but it’s true that you haven’t exactly been receptive to blue eyes in the past.”
Scott just nodded and stood up, looking absolutely crestfallen.
Peter, after running to Jackson to make sure he was okay, resumed his seat next to Stiles.
“I’m not your Alpha?” Scott confirmed.
Stiles shook his head. “Derek is. Peter tracked down the Alpha that bit me and we found out it was feral. It attacked a lot of people before we found it, and Derek took its power.”
Scott frowned, but wisely kept his opinion to himself.
“You’re a good Alpha,” Stiles continued. “Just not for me.”
Scott whined. “Why not?”
Stiles sighed and sniffled, wiping the residual tears from his eyes with the hand not still holding Derek’s. “I need something different from an Alpha than you can provide,” he said eventually. “You’re amazing with the new wolves; teaching them control and helping them with their transformations. You even help Malia navigate everything she missed when she was a coyote. But I need stability and reliability. I need family.”
Scott nodded to himself while he processed Stiles’ response.
“You took Lydia and Kira, didn’t you?” he asked, already knowing the answer.
“Lydia and Kira chose our pack, yes,” Peter responded, doing his best to keep the distain from his voice.
“I need some time, Stiles,” Scott said eventually. “I know you aren’t dangerous, and I trust you, but I think I need some time before I can figure out how I feel about all of this.”
Stiles nodded rapidly. “Of course, Scotty. I’m just – I’m just glad you know now. I hated keeping this from you, I hope you know that.”
Scott rose from his seat. “I know. We’re brothers, Stiles. Now and always.”
Stiles whined and met Scott at his chair, embracing him fiercely.
When they separated, Derek and Peter led Stiles back to their car.
Jackson decided to stay at Scott’s place, to help answer additional questions and maybe kick the Alpha in the ass a little if need be.
Either way, Stiles returned back to his pack house feeling much lighter.
Chapter 18: Happy
THANK YOU so much for putting up with me, everyone! I really appreciate your comments and kudos, and sticking with me through my unpredictable posting schedule. It was a fun story to write, and I wrote it the way I wanted to even though it took forever.
<3 <3 <3
Stiles didn’t hear from Scott for two weeks. Jackson had returned after a day and a half, reporting that he’d done everything he could to explain the full situation to Scott.
“It’s up to him, now,” he told Stiles, gripping his shoulder briefly before leaving to seek out Ethan.
Four days after his meeting with Scott, there was a knock on the pack house door. The wolves had heard it coming, so they knew it was the omegas they’d let stay on their territory after claiming it. Lydia was visiting for the weekend, and it was she who answered the door and let them in.
The two stood side-by-side in the living room, too nervous to sit. Derek smiled warmly at them and sat in the armchair, facing them. “Kathryn, Josiah,” he greeted.
The pack didn’t know much about either of them, just that they were siblings who had been turned in a similar fashion to Stiles. Josiah was younger, in his early thirties, while Kathryn was closer to forty. They both had curly brown hair and bright hazel eyes.
“Alpha Hale,” Kathryn responded formally.
The omegas eyed Lydia skittishly when she entered the living room with two steaming mugs of coffee, but accepted them with grateful nods.
Lydia, Stiles, and Peter stayed in the room, but the rest of the pack had retreated upstairs, not wanting to overwhelm the two visitors.
“Your pack is young,” Kathryn observed shrewdly. “But they feel strong.”
Derek grinned. “They are. Most of them go to school locally, except for Lydia, here, who’s at MIT.” She shot Lydia a proud wink where she was seated on the couch between Stiles and Peter.
Josiah’s scent suddenly flooded with what smelled like longing. His face was impassive, but he was eyeing Lydia with interest.
“Josiah?” Peter caught the wolf’s attention. “Something wrong?”
He cleared his throat several times, but found that he was unable to respond.
“You’ll have to forgive my brother,” Kathryn said, coming to his rescue. “He used to be a professor at MIT; he actually designed much of the mathematics curriculum that they still teach.”
Lydia perked up at that. “You’re J. Bonham?”
Josiah nodded, looking surprised. “Yes,” he croaked. “How did you know that?”
She smiled enthusiastically. “I just read your paper on –,”
Stiles groaned, interrupting her. “Oh god, you two might as well just go outside and spare us from having to listen to you nerd out.”
Lydia swatted at the back of his head, but stood up and gestured for Josiah to follow her to the porch so they could continue their conversation. He did, wearing an expression that told the other wolves in the room that the banshee already had him wrapped around her finger.
Kathryn bit back a laugh, but her scent quickly turned sad. “He had to quit when we were bitten,” she told them in a soft voice. “He had control issues early on, and didn’t trust himself to be around his students.”
“How is his control now?” Peter asked, wondering how closely he should be monitoring the omega’s interaction with his packmate outside.
“Much better,” she assured him. “He could easily go back to teaching, but he’s being stubborn. He doesn’t think they’d take him back, and he doesn’t want to leave me by myself if he moves back to Massachusetts.”
“You wouldn’t go with him?” Stiles piped in.
Kathryn shook her head. “It’s a little hard to explain, but this town kind of acts as my anchor. We’re from here originally. I was just visiting Josiah when we were attacked. Afterwards, I moved in with him so we could be together while we tried to figure out how to survive as wolves. It took me a lot longer than him to learn to control my wolf. I really only felt stable when we moved back, and you graciously allowed us to settle here.”
Derek nodded thoughtfully, a plan already forming in his mind. “What can we do for you today, Kathryn?”
She steeled herself and stood up straighter, looking Derek in the eyes. “Apologies if I do this wrong; I don’t have much experience with packs and formalities. But I was hoping you may be open to the possibility of accepting Josiah and myself into your pack?”
Since they were prepared for the request, and had already discussed it with the rest of the pack, Derek was able to give her an answer right away. He stood up and approached the omega confidently.
“We would be honored to have you join us,” he told her with a sincere smile.
Kathryn slumped visibly in relief. “Really? You have no idea how much that would mean to us, Alpha Hale.”
“Derek,” he corrected her kindly. “Please, call me Derek. And I do know. I can’t tell you how impressed I am that the two of you were able to navigate turning and controlling your wolves without help. From what I can see, you two will make wonderful packmates.”
She blushed at the praise, but frowned uncertainly. “What do we do now? Is there some formal ceremony or something?”
Peter huffed a laugh. “What does your wolf want you to do?”
Kathryn considered the question for a second before tilting her head to the side almost without thought, baring her throat to her new Alpha.
Derek smiled proudly at her and ran his nose over her throat, formally accepting her into the pack. He felt the bond immediately and gathered the woman into a tight hug, which she reciprocated without hesitation.
He went outside to where Josiah and Lydia were locked in a fierce debate. Derek scented the air and could tell the two were both pleased and content with their current interaction.
He watched them for a few minutes, before repeating the scenting ceremony with Josiah. Lydia beamed when it was done, and took her new packmate’s hand so she could lead him into one of the offices inside to continue their conversation.
Derek returned to the living room to find Peter, Stiles, and Kathryn perched over a laptop, smelling happy.
“What are you guys doing?”
Stiles smiled and pulled him forward so he could place a kiss on the wolf’s lips. “Colluding.”
“We’re buying Josiah a plane ticket so he can fly back to Massachusetts when Lydia does,” Peter explained. “I can make a couple of calls and get him an interview at MIT.”
“Because of course Peter has contacts everywhere,” Stiles said with an eye roll so large it looked like it hurt.
Kathryn smiled at the exchange, and Derek could feel through her bond how excited she was already to be part of the pack.
The next day, Derek and Peter were the first to rise. After pouring a mug of coffee for his uncle, Derek sat down next to him in the living room.
“So,” he started nonchalantly. “While I’m on a roll accepting new people into the pack, is there something you’ve been wanting to ask me?”
Peter, who had just taken a big sip, choked on his coffee.
Derek had to laugh at the normally very put together wolf dabbing futilely at his coffee-soaked shirt.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Peter responded primly, glaring daggers at the Alpha.
Derek just rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah, just call him, Peter. See when he can get here so we can get this over with.”
Peter growled half-heartedly, but he smelled pleased.
Chris arrived that afternoon and happily accepted Derek’s offer.
When Stiles finally heard from Scott, it was in a manner he hadn’t expected, and came in the form of a messenger knocking on the door of the pack house.
He answered the door and accepted a large envelope. He brought it over to the dining room table and sat down to open it. Derek, Peter, Jackson, and Isaac were the only ones home, and they joined him immediately when they heard his heart start to race as he read the papers inside.
“It’s,” he said in a strangled voice. “It’s a request from the McCall Pack for a formal alliance.”
Derek stilled before sighing happily, and settled in to read with Stiles. After they read through everything, they handed it over to Peter to iron out any issues or details that hadn’t been addressed.
Stiles called Scott that night and they talked for over two hours. There were lots of apologies and tears, as well as promises to never let their relationship reach that level of strain again.
They hadn’t fixed everything, but it was a damn good start.
The sun hadn’t quite set on the first day of summer when Stiles walked out onto the back porch to watch his pack.
Peter and Chris were cuddled up on the porch swing, idly swaying back and forth contently. Lydia, Kathryn, Cora, and Josiah were playing bean bags in the backyard while Isaac and Jackson sparred nearby.
Peter and Scott had worked out the final terms of the treaty, and it had been signed officially that morning.
Stiles’ dad drove up to help them celebrate, and was manning the grill. His attention was half on the food, and half on keeping the wandering hands of Ethan and Kira from stealing everything he’d already cooked.
Strong arms wrapped their way around his waist from behind. Stiles sighed serenely and burrowed backwards into a familiar, broad chest.
“You smell happy,” Derek rumbled, running his nose over Stiles’ throat to get closer to the scent. “Are you happy?”
Stiles looked out into the backyard at his pack and hummed in confirmation. “If I’ve lived a better day,” he said, “I can’t recall it.”