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Blood is (Not) Thicker Than Water

Chapter Text

“So, Stiles, I’ve got some good news and some bad news,” the sheriff said over dinner.

“What’s up?” Stiles mumbled through a mouthful of steak.

The sheriff grimaced at his lack of manners. Stiles just waved his fork at him impatiently, and John sighed.

“Okay, so, good news. Your Aunt Kelly and Uncle Eric are coming out to visit.”

Stiles swallowed quickly, grinning. “Yes! When? Why?”

“Two days, and they wanted to plan a family reunion type of thing.”

“Oh, that’s awesome! I can’t wait to meet the baby, and teach Teddy chess even though he’s five and I haven’t seen Bella since graduation! This is going to be great, they haven’t been here in years. I remember, they stayed here after we got back from Aunt Carol’s house after the last family….reunion…” Stiles’ rambling trailed off as the full meaning of that sentence hit him. He slowly straightened in his chair, looking at his father cautiously. “Dad, no. Please, please tell me that doesn’t mean what I think it means.”

The sheriff sighed, shaking his head apologetically. “That’s the bad news.”

“Dad! No! How did this even happen?”

John rubbed a hand down his face. “I was talking to Kelly about her bringing the kids down for the week, but apparently I was on speaker phone and she was having lunch with Carol. Carol overheard and brought it upon herself to organize a reunion. Here. In two days.”

Stiles clenched his jaw. “They’re not staying here, are they?”

They as in the rest of Stiles’ aunts and uncles.

“Well, I can’t exactly make them stay on the street, Stiles.”

“Have them book a hotel! There’s no room. That’s sixteen people. Where the hell would they go?”

“The triplets are going to share your room with Bella and Dani, Kelly, Eric, and the kids will stay in my room. Gary, Anne, Carol, and Justin will be in the basement on the blow up mattresses.”

Stiles raise an eyebrow. “They’re going to hate that.”

“Well, that’s what they get for inviting themselves over with two days notice.”

Stiles felt sick. His family sucked.

Okay, not all of them. Aunt Kelly, John’s younger sister, and her husband Eric were great. They were Stiles’ godparents, actually. They had two boys, a five year old, Teddy, and a one month old, Taylor. They also had a daughter, Bella. She was eighteen, and Stiles’ favorite cousin.

But John’s older brother Gary, his wife Anne, and John’s older sister Carol, and her husband Justin were awful. They had never liked Stiles’ mother, and they didn’t try to hide it. They also loved to be ‘passive’ aggressive, always insulting and prodding into their lives. Now, that was bad enough, but their kids...they were even worse.

Most of the cousins were all around Stiles’ age, and there were a lot of them.

Gary’s daughters, the triplets- Polly, Sherry, and Jane. The same age as Stiles. His son, Henry, was twenty-one.

Carol’s sons, Nate, who was nineteen, and Tyler, who was the same age as Henry. Her daughter, Dani who was twenty-four.

They lived to make Stiles’ life hell. One of their favorite things to do was bully him mercilessly, and on a few memorable occasions after his mother’s death, push him into panic attacks. The boys were always physical with him, and the girls were the manipulative ones.

At least, most of them. Bella was the only one ever on his side, probably because she got teased just as much as he did. Dani usually stayed out of it, but she never tried to stop the others.

“Wait. Where are the boys staying?”

John looked at him guiltily. “In the living room. With...you.”

“No, that’s it. I’m staying with Scott. I cannot spend a week holed up in this house with these people. Where are you sleeping?”

“Somewhere on the floor. Probably my office.”

“Dad! There is literally no room for these people. We can’t fit five girls in my room, we can barely fit me in there!”

John sighed tiredly. “Yes, I know that, Stiles. But we’re going to have to make it work. Maybe I’ll ask Melissa if Eric and Kelly can stay there.”

“What about us?”

“Stiles, I don’t know what you want me to do here. It’s just one week, and then we can go back to the way things were.”

Stiles let out a slow breath, resigning himself to the fact that his life was about to become hell for the next week. “You know what. I have a pack meeting. I have to go, but I’ll be back to help you clean later.”

“Alright. Tell them I said hello.”

Stiles was already worrying about his father’s mental health. His brother and sister stressed him out as bad as Stiles’ cousins did him.

“It’s just one week,” he said appealingly, standing up and patting his dad’s back. “I’m going to head out. Hang in there, Pops.”

His dad raised a hand, waving him away as he rubbed his temples.


 

Stiles was literally two steps into the loft when all of the werewolves were looking at him in concern.

“Dude, everything okay?” Scott was immediately at his side, a hand on his shoulder and looking him over for injuries. “Is it your dad?”

Stiles took a deep breath and sighed. He was way too upset to bother trying to hide his emotions, so he put on a clenched smile.

“No, Dad’s fine. But we’re going to have a few houseguests for a week.”

Scott stared at him and Stiles shook his head, briefly closing his eyes.

He felt Scott stiffen. “Oh no. No, not happening. Alright, you’re staying with me. No, then you’ll still see them. Alright, road trip. How about Mexico? Fun memories there, right?”

“Scott, you almost died there. Derek almost died there, twice. Kira almost died there.”

“That’s still better than them, man. Plus, if we go to Mexico I won’t have to see them either. They scare me!”

“Just because Sherry-”

“Not just Sherry! Jane too! And Tyler beat me up last time I saw them.”

“I think you can handle them now.”

“Henry broke your arm last time, and no offense but you haven’t changed much since then. Not like I have!”

“Sorry to interrupt, but we’re all pretty confused here,” Kira cut in. “Who are these people?”

Stiles inhaled slowly. “My cousins.”

Lydia gasped. “Tell me they’re not coming out here. I can’t stand them, and I’ve never even met them!”

“Yeah, they are. Dad invited my godparents out so we could meet the baby, but one of my other aunts heard about it and now there’s sixteen people staying in my house. Sixteen! And we don’t have room for them all and my dad’s going to have to sleep on the floor somewhere which isn’t good for his back and I’m going to have to pretend that they’re not awful people because if I complain to my aunts and uncles they get pissed at my dad, and they already get pissed at him enough.”

“Hold on a second. Are these the same cousins who tried to drown you?” Malia asked.

Stiles ran a hand through his hair. “Yeah, when I was twelve. You know what, we’re mostly all adults now, right? I’m twenty. I can handle this.”

Scott looked at him doubtfully. “Will Bella be there?”

“Yeah, thank god.”

“Who’s Bella?” Liam asked, butting in.

“The only cousin I can stand. She’s the only decent one. As long as she’s there, I’ll be fine.”

Scott opened his mouth, but Stiles waved him off, forcing himself to calm down. “I’ll get through it, Scotty. Maybe they've grown up too.”

 

Chapter Text

For the first hour, Stiles held out hope that maybe, just maybe, his cousins had, in fact, grown up. They had arrived and dealt out hugs and handshakes, being overall pleasant. Stiles had relaxed slightly.

But then the snide, passive-aggressive comments started.

“So, Stiles,” Aunt Carol said casually. “No girlfriend?”

Stiles shrugged, immediately wanting to leave. “Not at the moment.”

“I thought I heard you were seeing someone?”

Stiles glanced at his father, who made an apologetic face.

“Malia? We broke up last year. Better as friends.”

“Like he has friends,” Jane muttered under her breath, just loud enough for Stiles to hear. He grimaced, but he didn’t say anything.

“No boyfriend either?” Kelly asked kindly, and Stiles smiled at her.

“Nah. I’m a lone wolf.”

His dad snorted and turned it into a cough when everyone looked at him. Stiles hid his grin.

“You know,” Carol continued as if she hadn’t been interrupted. “Dani’s engaged.”

Stiles blinked at his oldest cousin, currently sitting on the armchair with a man he had never met. They had heard about the engagement for the last year and a half, Aunt Carol bragging about it like it was some great accomplishment. Stiles sighed internally. Great, another person staying in their house. No one had told them that Connor was coming with her, and now they had to figure out where to put them too. In all honesty, though, Connor seemed good for Dani. He seemed nice, had shaken Stiles’ and the sheriff’s hands and thanked them for having him.

“We noticed. Congratulations, Dani,” the sheriff said.

Dani nodded and gave a small smile. She was curled in her fiancé’s lap, and she hadn’t made any rude comments. She had even hugged the Sheriff. But there was something about her that Stiles couldn’t put his finger on, something different. She just seemed...detached. Haunted, almost. Stiles had seen that look on all of his friends faces. Hell, he’d seen it in the mirror.

“Stiles, we haven’t been here in years,” said Gary before Stiles could dwell any more. “Why don’t you show your cousins around town?”

Stiles glanced at his dad, who shrugged. “Go ahead. Just be careful, you know the drill.”

Yes, Stiles did know the drill. Because, yet again, dead bodies had been turning up throughout town. That’s what the pack meeting had been about the other night.

He nodded to his dad and reluctantly handed the baby he was holding to Uncle Eric.

Dani and Connor stayed behind with the others and the two little boys while Stiles grudgingly led his cousins out.

“I can’t believe we’re stuck here,” whined Nate.

Stiles rolled his eyes, biting back a few choice words.

“What’s new with you guys?” He asked instead.

And that question bought him fifteen minutes of fighting between Sherry and Jane over some guy.

“Anyway, one of our friends slapped him,” Jane finished in a bored tone.

“Not that you would know what it’s like to have friends, Stiles,” Polly said casually.

“You’ve all met Scott,” he responded easily. He was already tired of their games.

“Scott doesn’t count. He’s a scrawny little wimp,” Sherry said.

Bella couldn’t contain her snort. “You didn’t seem to think so last time you were here.”

Sherry squeaked indignantly, stopping short in front of the grocery store. “That was all his fault!”

“You kissed him and then pushed him down a slide. We were fifteen.”

Sherry glared at her. Stiles snorted and surreptitiously high fived her.

“Besides, I have other friends.”

Henry scoffed. “Like who?”

“I’m his friend,” someone cut in, draping themselves on Stiles’ back. Stiles barely flinched, easily recognizing the perfume.

“Hey, Lydia,” Stiles grinned, reaching up to pat her arm and letting himself relax into her embrace.

Henry, Polly, Tyler, and Nate all stared, mouths hanging open. Bella was barely containing a smirk.

“Introduce me?” Lydia asked in an overly sweet voice.

Stiles knew she was purposely being flirty, and he was starting to feel better.

“Lyds, these are my cousins. Tyler, Nate, Henry, Polly, Jane, Sherry, and Bella. Guys, this is my friend, Lydia.”

Lydia waved.

Bella reached out and shook her hand.

“Oh, she’s the one you never shut up about, right?” Jane asked, clearly trying to embarrass him. “You’re like, in love with her.”

Lydia laughed, kissing Stiles’ cheek.

Stiles grinned. “I used to be, but I moved on. I dated Malia, and Lydia is dating one of my dad’s deputies.”

“That would be me,” Parrish said, stepping out of the store.

Now, it was the girls whose mouths were open. Stiles snorted.

“Guys, this is Jordan Parrish. Jordan, my cousins.”

Jordan smiled at them, taking Lydia’s hand. “We’re off to the movies. See you around?”

Stiles nodded. “Have fun. No making out in the back row!”

Lydia just rolled her eyes at Stiles.

“It was nice meeting you, Bella,” she said, smiling at the girl.

Bella grinned. “You too.”

“How many friends like that do you have, exactly?” Bella whispered to him once they were gone.

Stiles raised an eyebrow. “Like what?”

Bella rolled her eyes. “Ridiculously attractive.”

“Uh. All of them, I guess? It’s ridiculous, there’s gotta be something in the water they drink.”

Bella raised an eyebrow at him. “In yours too, big cousin. You grew up good.”

Stiles blushed, shoving his cousin. “Shut up.”

She laughed, shoving him back.

“Ugh, can’t you guys shut up?” Polly asked.

Stiles gritted his teeth and Bella patted his shoulder.

It was going to be a long week.


Stiles woke up to a foot in his face. He hated falling asleep during pack piles because they always ended up like this. He pushed the foot away and sat up, wondering why the hell the pack was in his house before he remember that it wasn’t a pack pile, it was Henry’s nasty foot in his face. He stood up quickly, gagging.

It was only one in the morning. Nate, Tyler, and Henry were sprawled over the floor, snoring and drooling.

Stiles had been looking forward to staying at Scott’s, maybe even saving Bella from this torture too.

But when he mentioned it, Aunt Anne had looked at him like he had suggested they commit murder.

“I get it, he doesn’t want to spend time with us. We wouldn’t have come all this way if we had known that,” she had said.

For a moment, John had looked like he was about to say I wish you had known, then (or something along those lines), but Eric had put a calming hand on his shoulder.

So instead, Stiles has smiled politely and told her nevermind, of course he wanted to spend time with them.

And yet, Dani got to stay in a hotel with Connor. Stiles wanted to be angry, but he had noticed again that there was something off with his cousin. He held his tongue.

And so here he was- sneaking out of his own house in the middle of the night, feeling like a teenager again. He drove over to Scott’s and climbed through his window. He fell on Scott, who- apparently- had been expecting this. He just grunted and pushed Stiles onto the floor.

“Alarm’s set for six so you can get back,” he mumbled into his pillow.

“Thanks,” Stiles whispered gratefully, settling into the sleeping bag that had already been set up for him.

He woke up to a blaring alarm, jumping up in confusion.

Scott groaned, flapping his arm out.

“Turn it off!”

Stiles turned the alarm off, then looked out the window.

“Don’t even think about it,” Scott grumbled, glaring at him through one open eye. “Just use the front door.”

Stiles nodded and crept out with one last thankful look at his best friend. He grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl and softly walked to the door.

He was just about to open it when someone collided with him.

He stumbled backwards, surprised to see his father looking embarrassed.

“Walk of shame, Pops?”

John rolled his eyes at his son. “I slept on the couch. How’d you get in?”

“Window. Slept on the floor.”

“Tomorrow night we’re figuring out a better arrangement.”

“Deal.”

 

Chapter Text


“Mom, please. Just let us have a few hours?”

Aunt Kelly looked at them carefully, then sighed. “I’ll tell them you’ve gone to do errands for the barbecue. You better come back with groceries!”

Bella squealed and Stiles grinned. He kissed his aunt’s cheek quickly. “Thanks Aunt Kelly! Love you!”

Bella grabbed his hand and dragged him out. They jumped into the Jeep and took off.

“Where are we going?”

Stiles glanced over at her. “Anywhere.”

“I wanna meet your friends at some point.”

“They probably want to meet you too. They know you’re the only one I can stand. But I think they’re all busy today.”

Stiles saw Bella give him a doubtful look out of the corner of his eye and he laughed.

“I’m serious! Scott and Kira are on a date, you already met Parrish and Lydia, Malia’s...hunting, probably, and the kids are all hanging out together with Theo.”

“The kids?” Bella asked, amusement lacing her voice, thankfully not asking about Malia and her hunting habits.

Stiles snorted. “Liam, Mason, and Corey. They’re your age, they kind of came into our group a little late. Theo came around the same time, plus he’s dating Liam.

“So I’m a kid?”

Stiles rolled his eyes. “You know what I mean.”

“And what about your boyfriend?”

Stiles’ foot jumped on the gas and the car lurched. “My what?”

Bella gave him another look. “You know exactly who I’m talking about. The guy you’re always talking about.”

Stiles had a feeling he knew who she was talking about, but he wanted to avoid that as long as he could.

“I don’t have a boyfriend, and I’ve never had one.”

“I know that. But we both know you want one, and we both know who it is.”

Stiles kept his eyes on the road, and Bella sighed.

“Sti, I was just teasing. Obviously you’re suppressing shit, so I’ll drop it. Isn’t there another girl? Cora?”

Stiles cleared his throat. “Oh, right. Yeah, she went on a road trip with her brother, Derek. They’ve been gone for about two weeks.”

“Fun. Will I get to meet them?”

Stiles shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe. They were helping some friends with an invading pack- of dogs. There was a lot of stray dogs, so they were helping. Don’t know when they’ll be back. Anyway, I decided we’re going to my favorite diner. Are you ready for the best curly fries in town?”


 

Stiles and Bella got back to his house two hours later, laden with groceries.

“Stiles, I swear to god you are never allowed to leave me alone with them again,” John whispered to him the moment they stepped inside.

“You had Aunt Kelly and Uncle Eric,” Stiles pointed out.

“And we’re still outnumbered.”

Stiles glanced into the kitchen uneasily. “Next time, make sure you’re not on speakerphone, I’m begging you.”

“Me too, please, Uncle John,” Bella adds, gently pushing past him to get to the kitchen.

John just sighed and took the bags from Stiles.

“We’re leaving for the park in an hour. Go socialize with Carol and Anne or they’ll kill me.”

“Do we have to go? A family barbecue in the park really doesn’t seem like fun.”

Nothing seemed fun with his family.

John clenched his jaw slightly. “Stiles, I have a case that I’ve been working nonstop that I still don’t have any leads on, and now I have to deal with this awful excuse for a family for the entire week while keeping them safe from this messed up town. I swear to god if I get arrested for beating the crap out of my twenty year old son, I’m going to kill you.”

Stiles blinked at his dad.

“Shit, sorry, Dad.”

John sighed and patted Stiles on the back. “No, don’t be. Just...try not to make them angry.”

Stiles nodded and went off to appease his aunts.

“So, Stiles,” Anne said about ten seconds after he sat down. “Are there many single men in this area?”

Stiles shrugged. “Maybe one or two. Why?”

“Well, my children are all single. I think it would be absolutely lovely if you could set them up. Except maybe some pretty girls for Polly and Henry.”

There was no way Stiles could hate someone enough to set them up with any of his cousins. He wouldn’t even do that to Jackson if he were here.

“I mean…”

“And some nice girls for Tyler and Nate as well,” Carol added.

Stiles felt like a deer in the headlights. “Most of my friends are seeing people at the moment, actually.”

“What about Malia? Your ex-girlfriend?”

Stiles cleared his throat. “I don’t think she’d be interested.”

Carol looked affronted, and Stiles backtracked. “I just mean she’s not interested in dating at the moment. She’s focusing on...herself, for now.”

It was a lame excuse, but as much as he hated his cousins, he didn’t really want Malia ripping any of their throats out.

He snuck his phone out while his aunts were busy gossiping.

To: Scott
How do I get out of a ‘family’ bbq at the park? Preferably with my father and the Gilds?

Scott answered immediately.

From: Scott
Sorry dude. Probably a hospital visit?

To: Scott
Are you saying that you’re in the hospital and I need to come see you? And it’s pretty bad so the sheriff needs to come investigate the mysterious circumstances in which you disappeared?

From: Scott
U know I would love to do that for u but there’s still six days left. Maybe hold out on the big excuses

Stiles sighed to himself.

To: Scott
Fine but I’m crashing at ur place again tonight

Scott left him on read and Stiles rolled his eyes slightly.

To: Derek Hale
Hey do you remember all those times you threatened to kill me

He realized Carol had asked him a question and he looked up.

“Sorry,” he said, wincing under their glares. “I’m waiting on an important text.”

“From a girl?”

Stiles cleared his throat. “No, Aunt Carol. I’m not seeing anyone.”

“Not even a boy?”

“No, Aunt Anne.”

His phone buzzed and he resisted the urge to look at it. “What were you saying?”

“I asked why you still live with your father. You’re twenty years old, shouldn’t you have your own place?”

“Oh. Well, it wouldn’t make much sense to move out at this point, we take care of each other. And I don’t have the money for my own place. Besides, don’t the triplets still live at home? We’re the same age.”

Aunt Anne frowned, but Stiles risked a glance at his phone anyway.

From: Derek Hale
yes?

From: Derek Hale
Was there a point to that or was it just another random Stiles question

From: Derek Hale
You want something don’t you

Stiles couldn’t help the slight grin that pulled at his lips.

To: Derek Hale
Just wondering if u still wanted to bc i would totally take u up on one of those offers rn

He watched the screen as the little bubble showing that Derek was typing disappeared and reappeared a few times before finally-

From: Derek Hale
Not really sure how to answer that. Everything ok there Stiles?

Stiles glanced up at his aunts, who were looking at him in annoyance.

To: Derek Hale
My family is visiting and they’re horrible. I think I mentioned them once or twice

From: Derek Hale
The family who tried to drown you or the family who’s graduation you went to last month

To: Derek Hale
Both. But it sucks either way bc we’re outnumbered by assholes even with the nice ones

From: Derek Hale
Sorry, good luck. About to drive again, gtg

To: Derek Hale
Say hi to Cora

He finally put his phone away and turned his attention to the women sitting in front of him.

“Sorry, friend of mine. He’s away, but he wanted to check in.”

“Is he single?” Anne asked immediately.

“Um, I think so?”

“Is he attractive?”

“Very,” Stiles said, way too fast. He ducked to cover his red face, but he knew neither of them cared enough to notice.

“How is he money-wise?”

Stiles shrugged. “Pretty well off, I guess.”

“He might be suitable for Sherry.”

Stiles almost choked, trying to hide his laughter.


 

“Everybody line up!” Gary called once they were settled at the park. “Time to make teams!”

There was a sinking feeling in Stiles’ stomach. This was not going to end well for him- football with his family was worse than a lacrosse game.

“Okay, Tyler and Henry, you guys are team captains. Start choosing!”

Stiles stood in the line with the rest of his family as the boys slowly made their choices. He was absolutely shocked when Tyler chose him, and not even as a last resort. He cautiously walked behind his cousin, looking at Bella nervously. She shook her head and shrugged apprehensively.

The teams ended up as follows.

Tyler, Stiles, Polly, Aunt Kelly, Uncle Gary, Jane, and John.

Henry, Bella, Nate, Aunt Carol, Aunt Anne, Uncle Justin, and Sherry.

Uncle Eric sat on the sidelines with the little boys, and Dani and Connor were apparently back at the hotel.

The game started and Stiles tried to stay away from the ball. But for some reason Tyler decided to throw it to him, and by some miracle he managed to catch it. He stood there, frozen. Flashbacks from his lacrosse days flooded his mind, and his hand-eye coordination seemed to shut down.

“Stiles, for God’s sake, run!” John shouted.

Stiles shook himself and started to run, by he was sacked immediately. Nate hit him so hard that he flew through the air a few feet, landing hard on his side.

He laid there for a moment, dazed.

“Stiles! Are you okay?”

Bella was hovering over him, looking at him worriedly.

He pushed himself up, accepting her offered hand.

“I’m good.”

He looked at his smirking cousins. He knew that if he somehow managed to knock any of them over, their parents would throw a fit. He resigned himself to staying out of the way and hoarding the ice later.

As it turns out, they didn’t care if he even had the ball. Excluding Bella, every single one of his cousins playing sacked him. Even the ones on his team. By the time they finally called the game, he was bruised and bleeding, sore in places he hadn’t felt since lacrosse.

His father helped him limp over to one of the tables, looking angry.

“I’m fine, Dad. I’ve had worse.”

“Don’t go there, Stiles. Let’s just eat lunch and then we’ll get you home with some ice.”

Stiles nodded, grabbing a hot dog. “How many times did Gary get you?”

His dad winced. “Five or so. The floor won’t be fun tonight.”

“You’re not sleeping on the floor tonight.”

John just patted Stiles’ shoulder. “Just eat your hot dog.”

As soon as Stiles’ dad walked away, he found himself caged in on all sides. His cousins had all sat at the same table as him. Sherry, Polly, and Jane sat across from him while Henry and Tyler sat on either side, squeezing in much closer than necessary. Nate hovered behind the triplets. Luckily, he felt Bella step up behind him.

“So, Stiles.”

Stiles sighed. “Yes, Jane?”

“You never told us about your job.”

“My...job?”

“Yeah, didn’t you intern at like, the CIA or something?”

“Uh, the FBI.”

“So….” Jane trailed off, staring off behind Stiles.

Stiles raised an eyebrow, looking at the rest of the cousins. But they were all gaping behind him. Nate had a half bite of a burger hanging from his mouth.

Stiles furrowed his brow and twisted around, and then he almost laughed.

Stiles could have sworn he was stuck in a pop teen movie. You know the scenes when the popular kids all walk into the school? Like the slow motion montage with the awesome music?

Well, as he watched his friends get out of their cars, (and in Scott and Kira’s case, off of the motorbike), it was almost an exact imitation. The wind was even blowing through their hair. The look was completed when Liam tripped over his own feet and fell onto the grass, then pushed himself back up, embarrassed.

Stiles shook himself out of his thoughts and pushed his cousins away so he could stand up. He grinned at his friends.

“What are you guys doing here?” He asked when they reached him.

“What do you mean?” Scott said with an innocent look on his face. “We’re just on a walk.”

“Right,” Stiles eyed the cars, then looked back at his friends, hoping his face conveyed how grateful he was.

Someone cleared their throat from behind him and he turned, raising his eyebrows.

“Won’t you introduce us?” Jane asked oh-so-sweetly. Her clenched jaw ruined the effect.

“Oh, right. Guys, these are my cousins- Jane, Polly, Sherry, Henry, Tyler, Nate, and Bella.” He paused, trying very hard not to laugh. “Sherry, I’m sure you remember Scott McCall?”

Sherry turned bright red, trying to duck behind Polly. Stiles snorted to himself.

“Anyways, this is Kira, Liam, Theo, Corey, Mason, you guys met Lydia and Parrish yesterday, and this is Malia.”

“You mean your ex, Malia?”

Stiles rolled his eyes. “Yes, Henry, my ex.”

“Stiles is still in love with you,” Polly informed her smugly.

Stiles blinked up at the sky. Why did his cousins hate him?

Malia raised an eyebrow, but Lydia stepped forward.

“I thought he was in love with me!” She gasped overdramatically.

Polly frowned, obviously annoyed that her make-Stiles-look-bad plan had failed.

“Ladies, please, there’s enough of me to go around,” Stiles joked, throwing an arm around each girls’ shoulders.

“Besides,” Liam started, grinning. “We all know that Stiles is in love with De-”

“Liam!” Stiles said loudly, cutting him off. “Look, food!”

Liam shut his mouth with an apologetic look. Stiles rolled his eyes.

“It’s great to meet you all,” Bella said kindly. “I’ve heard a lot about you guys from Stiles.”

“We’ve heard a lot about you too,” Kira said, smiling warmly at her. Her smile dropped as she looked over the others. “And the rest of you.”

“Hey, kids, what are you doing here?” The Sheriff interrupted a potentially….intense situation.

“Hey Sheriff!” Scott said, waving. “We were just on a walk and we saw you guys and figured we’d say hi.”

“Well that’s very nice of you.” Stiles could see his father barely repressing a grin. “Obviously you have to stay for the barbecue.”

“Thanks, Sir,” Liam said, already grabbing a burger.

“Excuse me,” Anne said curtly, coming to glare at them. “That food is for family only.”

“Oh, relax, Anne. These little delinquents are family. Dig in.”

Stiles’ friends laughed and started piling food on plates.

“What happened to you?” Scott muttered curiously.

Stiles grimaced. “Football.”

“Ouch,” Mason grimaced sympathetically.

“I’ll be fine. I should introduce you to the good ones,” Stiles whispered to them.

He brought them over to his Aunt Kelly and Uncle Eric and the boys, and they spent the next hour playing with the Taylor and Teddy and studiously ignoring the stares of his other cousins.

“So, Bella, you just graduated?” Scott asked through a mouthful of potato salad.

“Yep! College bound.”

“She was valedictorian,” Stiles said proudly.

Bella smacked his arm, embarrassed. “It’s not that big of a deal.”

“Uh, hell yes it is! Lydia was valedictorian of our class.”

“But her IQ is like, twice the normal person’s.”

“Shut up, Scott,” Lydia said, rolling her eyes.

“We just graduated too,” Mason inserted.

Liam and Corey nodded.

Stiles was about to say something when something collided with the back of his head. His whole body jerked forward and he fell onto Parrish’s lap.

Multiple sets of hands were helping him sit back up immediately.

“Oh my god, are you okay?” Lydia asked as Uncle Eric checked the back of his head.

“I’m fine, don’t worry. Sorry, Parrish. What-”

Scott was glaring over his shoulder and Stiles turned to see Henry and Tyler high-fiving.

He made a face at them and they shrugged.

“Sorry, Mitchy!”

Stiles groaned at the nickname.

“Mitchy?” Theo asked.

“Don’t. Just don’t,” Stiles said. “Scott, sit down.”

Scott was halfway off the ground, obviously about to give Tyler and Henry a piece of his mind.

“Stiles-”

“Scotty, just let it go.”

“Do you want me to scare them?” Malia asked Stiles. “Because I won’t even scratch them. Well, maybe just a little-”

“Malia, no. What have we said about maiming people?”

Malia frowned. “Save it for the enemies. But they’re bullying you!”

Stiles sighed. “Just, claws away, okay?”

Stiles saw Bella exchange a confused look with her parents, but they shrugged it off.

“Come on, Sti. Let’s get you some ice.”

Bella helped him up, glaring at the boys. They walked over to one of the food tables, and Bella scooped some ice from a cooler into a ziploc bag and pressed it to his head.

“Your friends are really cool,” she said.

Stiles smiled, knowing that most of his friends were probably listening. “Yeah, they are. But they probably shouldn’t hang out with us too much. They’ll end up killing the Drents and the Smiths.”

The Drents were really the Stilinksi’s, but Stiles and his father had taken to referring to them by Anne’s maiden name.

“Would that be such a bad thing?” Bella muttered.

Stiles glanced at her out of the corner of his eye while he grabbed another plate of food. “I don’t want them dead. I mean, yeah, they’re god awful people, but I don’t want them dead.”

Bella sighed. “I know, me neither. But they’re just awful! The girls tried to smother me with a pillow last night. Not to actually kill me, but to scare me. God, I hate them.”

“Everyone does, Bels. Everyone does.”

Stiles sighed, squeezing ketchup on his hot dog. He wasn’t even phased that his cousins had almost killed Bella.

“Stiles?” Bella asked distractedly.

“Yeah?”

Stiles.”

What?”

“Who is that?”

Stiles didn’t even bother to look. “Just because it’s a small town doesn’t mean I know everybody. Why?”

“Because he’s really hot and he has a gorgeous car and I think he’s looking for someone.”

“Where’s the mustard?” Stiles muttered, purposefully not looking just to annoy his cousin.

Besides, he didn’t care about hot guys unless they wore a leather jacket, had dark hair and hazel-green eyes, and was a werewolf whose name starts with D and ends with erek. Okay, maybe he had a slight problem.

Bella grabbed his arm and shook it, pulling him out of his mini-spiral. “Come on, Stiles. I think Sherry and Jane are going to eat him alive. Even Polly’s drooling, and she’s gay! Well, maybe she’s looking at the girl. Stiles!”

Stiles sighed and turned around, and his heart skipped a beat.

Derek Hale was getting out of his Camaro, eyes scanning the park through his sunglasses, looking just as gorgeous and as unattainable as ever. He was wearing his leather jacket despite the fact that it was summer in California, but it just added to the whole sexy bad boy appeal (which Stiles happened to know was a complete front- Derek was a softy at heart).

Sherry and Jane were watching Derek, and Stiles was pretty sure they were actually drooling.

Cora was standing next to him, looking just as intimidating and attractive as her brother. She must’ve spotted him, because she poked Derek and then pointed in his direction.

Stiles’ brain blew a gasket when Derek’s face lit up in an easy, blindingly gorgeous smile when he spotted Stiles standing there. Derek didn’t smile like that. Especially not at Stiles.

Stiles couldn’t compute. Can you blame him? He hadn’t seen this man in two weeks, and he had no time to prepare himself for that level of attractiveness. Honestly, it just wasn't fair.

“Stiles?” Bella nudged him, and Stiles could hear the smirk in her voice. He shook himself out of his trance.

“Uh, yeah, actually. I do know them,” he mumbled.

He grinned at Derek and raised a hand in greeting. He pointed in Scott’s direction, and Derek nodded, pulling Cora over to the rest of the pack.

Bella nudged him in the ribs and he jolted. He glared at her, rubbing the sore spot, only to see a smirk on her face.

“What?”

“That’s him, isn’t it?”

“What? Who? What? No.”

Stiles knew that any of the werewolves could be listening, and he was mortified.

Bella just rolled her eyes. “Come on, let’s go save them from the bitch squad.”

Stiles looked back over and saw Sherry and Jane honing in on Derek, while Polly seemed to be heading straight for Cora. He sighed in annoyance.

He abandoned his hot dog and grabbed Bella’s arm, starting to drag her over.

Derek must’ve smelled them coming or something because he glanced up. It almost looked like he was on the verge of another smile when his eyes widened. He barely got out his warning before something slammed into Stiles’ face, immediately followed by a heavy thing slamming into his back, a heavy thing slamming into his side, and one more heavy thing slamming into his front.

Stiles must’ve blacked out for a second, because the next thing he knew he was on his back and blinking up at a blue sky, ears ringing.

He counted to five before he could breathe again, seven before the faces appeared above him, and ten before he could hear what they were saying.

“Holy shit-”

“Stiles!”

“-you okay-”

“What the hell is wrong with-”

“-bleeding!”

“-dare you?”

“Scott, call your mother!”

“-can you hear us?”

“Don’t touch him!”

“Stiles, come on, man!”

“Stay away-”

“Back off!”

“He was in the way!”

“We thought he was playing!”

“Wasn’t...playing…” Stiles wheezed. “Obviously, I wasn’t...playing.”

“Oh thank Christ,” his father muttered. “Stiles, how many fingers am I holding up?”

Stiles blinked and squinted at the hand hovering above his face. “Uh...three?”

“Alright, good. Come on, there you go.” He helped Stiles into a sitting position. Stiles’ whole body screamed in protest.

Stiles looked around, trying to get his bearings. Eric, Kelly, Bella, and John were all kneeling around him, staring at him. What surprised him, however, was the fact that his friends weren’t even looking at him. They were standing in a protective wall in front of him, facing away and glaring at anyone else who tried to get close. It took him a moment, but Stiles realized that right then, they weren’t his just friends.

No, they were his pack, protecting an injured member.

“What he hell was that, boys?” Kelly asked angrily, pushing between Scott and Derek to stare down her nephews. Despite the fact that she was at least half a foot shorter than them, the angry woman looked a good deal scarier than the wolves. Well, mostly.

“We thought he was playing!” Nate protested with a helpless shrug.

“Like he said, he was obviously not playing,” Derek growled.

“He wasn’t even on the playing field,” Eric snapped.

“Well, I was passing to Tyler and he got in the way! I thought he caught the ball.”

“The ball hit him directly in the nose!” Cora fumed. “And you were clearly aiming at him.”

“Now now, let’s not jump to conclusions,” Justin cut in.

“Conclusions? Justin, he lost consciousness!” The Sheriff yelled.

“Barely,” Gary scoffed.

“Look how badly his nose is bleeding!” Scott snapped.

“Why are we the ones getting blamed?” Henry whined. “It’s not our fault he can’t take a hit!”

“A hit?” Derek asked. “Stiles can sure as hell take a hit. But you threw a football in his face, then the three of you idiots, all of whom are much bigger than him, tackled him from three sides! That would have taken me down!”

“Especially after beating the crap out of him all afternoon!” Bella added.

Stiles blinked at them all, still a little out of it. He figured out that his relatives currently seemed to be in a standoff with his pack and godfamily.

“Come on, son. We’re going to meet Melissa at her house.”

Stiles wanted to protest that he was fine, but the pain running through his body stopped him. He nodded, letting Bella help him stand up.

“Alright, boys. We all know this was an accident,” Gary said reluctantly. “But why don’t you help your cousin to the car?”

Henry looked mutinous. His father just sighed and pushed Henry’s shoulder. Tyler and Nate reluctantly stepped forward with him. They glared angrily at Stiles, but they started to come forward. But the second they got within two feet of the pack wall, both Scott and Derek let out snarls that were decidedly not human.

Scott, at least, made an effort to clear his throat. Derek, however, just continued glaring.

“We can get him to the car,” he said, voice firm.

He and Scott stepped back to Stiles, each taking one of his arms. Stiles managed to not pass out, and he was pretty sure it was because at least one of the men holding him up (most likely both) was taking at least a little (a lot) of his pain.

They managed to get him into his dad’s cruiser, sliding him into the passenger seat.

“I’ll meet you at the house,” Scott told the sheriff.

Derek went to shut the cruiser door, but Stiles reached out and snatched his wrist. Derek raised his eyebrows in question.

“Welcome back,” he said with a pained smile.

Derek’s lips quirked up slightly, and Stiles counted it as a smile.

But then the door was shutting and the Sheriff was pulling away, speeding to the McCall house.


 

Stiles, as it turned out, was going to have a shit ton of bruises. His nose wasn’t broken, thank god, but he still had a black eye. One of his ribs even had a minor crack in it.

His cousins had waited until the adults had gone to bed, but they gave him so much shit about it. They shoved him off of the couch that he was supposed to get to sleep on, and took his pillow and all of his blankets.

Scott and the rest had been upset that he had to go back to deal with his relatives. Scott had even suggested going to Mexico again, and Melissa had offered to drive. Even the Sheriff almost agreed.

But Stiles has insisted he would be fine, that he didn’t want to piss them off even more.

So here he was, laying on the hard floor, waiting for everyone to be asleep so he and his dad could slip out to Scott’s house. They had agreed that one o’clock was a good time, and Stiles watched the clock like a hawk.

Stiles was actually starting to doze when the screams woke him. It was the girls, all shrieking like they were being murdered. Which, in Beacon Hills, was a real possibility. Especially with a new killer on the loose. It really wasn’t the best time for them to be visiting.

Stiles leapt to his feet, ignoring the pain in his body as his ran for the stairs, his cousins on his heels. He could hear footsteps and yells from other places in the house, and he knew that the rest of his family was running to get to the girls as well.

The girls were still screaming, and as Stiles got closer to the room, he could hear another person yelling, a man.

He reached the room at the same time as everyone else, and he was roughly shoved aside as Gary slammed the door open, bursting inside wielding a baseball bat and shouting nonsense.

The man in the room yelled again when Gary brought the bat down on his back, and Gary yelled at the girls to move.

“What the hell are you doing to my daughters?!” He roared.

The man, who was curled into a protective ball on the floor, quickly pushed himself backwards.

“Nothing! This is all a misunderstanding!”

Stiles took one look at the scene in his room- Bella holding a lamp like a weapon, Polly hiding behind Jane, who was hiding behind Sherry, and Sherry holding a knife she got from god knows where, all standing over a large man who looked more annoyed than anything else- and he rolled his eyes, exchanging a glance with his father.

“Dude,” he said with an amused huff. “I told you to start using the front door.”

“Don’t call me dude,” Derek said immediately, glaring at Stiles. “And I...didn’t want to wake anyone.”

Stiles looked around. Literally everyone was awake now. He couldn’t help but start laughing, and his dad quickly joined in. Stiles took a deep breath after about a minute, then forced himself to calm down and he walked into the room, placing himself between Gary and Derek.

“John, what the hell is going on here?” Justin asked angrily.

“Relax, everyone. Just a misunderstanding.”

“A misunderstanding?” Carol screeched. “This man snuck into our daughters’ room! Who knows what he wanted to do!”

“It’s my room, Aunt Carol. He’s here for me.”

Bella finally seemed to understand. She lowered her lamp. “You’re the guy from the park.”

Derek nodded slowly. Stiles stood in front of Sherry, pushing on her hand until she lowered the knife.

He turned to Derek, still grinning because this whole situation was hilarious.

“You sure know how to make an entrance, Sourwolf.”

Derek glared at him. “Shut up, Stiles.”

“You just broke into my house and scared the crap out of my family, and you tell me to shut up?”

Derek just raised an eyebrow and Stiles made a face at him, offering a hand to help Derek up. Derek actually took it, much to Stiles’ surprise.

“Alright, show’s over,” John said to the rest. “Go back to bed.”

Gary was still glaring at Derek. John gently pushed him away. The rest of the adults followed.

“I’m sorry about that,” Derek said to the girls.

Bella shrugged, setting the lamp back on Stiles’ desk. “Sorry I hit you with a lamp.”

“And sorry our dad hit you with his bat,” Sherry said, voice taking on a decidedly flirty tone that Stiles did not like.

“Yeah,” Jane added in the same voice. “He can just be a bit protective.” She lightly touched Derek’s arm. Stiles gritted his teeth.

“Uh. No worries. But what is it with your family and bats?” He asked, shaking them off and turning to Stiles.

Stiles grinned slightly, relaxing, and he shrugged. “Easier to fight with? Not everyone has your natural weapons, you know.”

Derek rolled his eyes. “Come on, we need to talk.”

Stiles looked at Derek carefully, sighing when he saw the look in his eyes.

“So this isn’t an ‘I haven’t seen you in two weeks and when I did see you you got tackled by your cousins and I wanted to make sure you’re okay’ type of midnight breaking into my room?”

Derek shook his head. “There’s a problem.”

Stiles glanced at his cousins, who were watching them curiously.

“Night girls,” he said, grabbing Derek’s arm and pulling him out of the room, shutting the door behind him. “We can’t talk here. Too many ears.”

“I figured. Let your dad know we’ll be at the loft then meet me in the car.”

Stiles nodded and then Derek was gone. Stiles found his dad in the kitchen, talking with Eric and Kelly.

“I’m going to head over to the loft,” he announced.

His dad raised an eyebrow.

“He says there’s a problem,” Stiles explained.

John sighed. “Does this have anything to do with the case I’ve been working?”

“I don’t know. But I’ve been telling you to let me check it out!”

“They seem normal!” John protested. But then he sighed again. “Just go figure out what’s going on.”

“Wait, Stiles,” Aunt Kelly said.

Stiles looked at her curiously, and she smiled. He didn’t like that smile. That was the smile Bella used when she said something like-

“So how often does that man sneak into your room in the middle of the night?”

Stiles spluttered. “What? Derek? Never!”

John scoffed, and Stiles felt himself turning red.

“I mean, he does it a lot, but not how you think! Just like...when he needs help. And he’s been a fugitive once or twice, so he couldn’t exactly walk right into the sheriff’s house- wait, but he was falsely accused!” He hurried to add at his aunt and uncle’s horrified looks.

“Yeah, by you,” the Sheriff added.

Stiles groaned, hanging his head. “It’s complicated, and I’ve got to go. Bye!”

“Keep me updated,” the Sheriff instructed.

Stiles nodded and waved goodbye before darting out to Derek’s car.

“So,” Derek started after a few minutes of comfortable silence. “You feeling okay?”

Warmth bloomed in Stiles chest. He pushed it down.

“Aw, I didn’t know you cared, Sourwolf,” he cooed.

Hey, sarcasm as a coping mechanism hasn’t failed him yet.

Derek just looked at him in annoyance.

“Alright, alright. Eyes on the road, big guy.”

Derek rolled his eyes but he faced forward. “Don’t dodge the question, Stiles.”

Stiles sighed. “I’m sore. Melissa said I had a slightly cracked rib, but I’ll be fine in a week or so. Lots of bruising.”

“I know you said your cousins were annoying, but that seemed pretty bad.”

Stiles shrugged. “I can handle a few more days. Especially if I get to keep running away like this because you broke into my house.”

Derek rolled his eyes again and Stiles felt a smile pulling at his lips.

“Anyway, what’s this about?” He asked, changing the subject before Derek could probe any further into his shitty family.

Derek sighed, pulling into his parking lot. “Things with Isaac’s pack were a little more complicated than I had originally thought.”

“What do you mean? Why didn’t you call for backup?” Stiles asked as they got out of the car.

“Not that type of complicated. Complicated as in they had allies that we didn’t know about, and therefore who we pissed off.”

Stiles looked at Derek over the roof of the car. “Again, not understanding why you didn’t call for backup.”

Derek looked at him like he was stupid- a common look when it came to Stiles.

“Christ, Stiles, why do you think I rushed back to Beacon Hills so fast?”

“Because you missed us? I don’t…” Stiles trailed off with a shrug, immensely confused.

Derek blew out a huff of air through his nose, looking at Stiles, clearly waiting for him to understand.

They just stared at each other for a full thirty-two seconds before it hit Stiles.

“Oh, shit. They’ve already killed three people.”

Derek ran a hand down his face. “I thought it was two.”

Stiles shook his head. “Another body turned up two days ago. Dad hasn’t let me look at the case because it hasn’t seemed like supernatural killings.”

Derek shook his head. “It’s a weird group. Let’s get upstairs and I can explain better.”

Stiles nodded and followed Derek up to the loft.

“Cora’s asleep, just be quiet,” Derek murmured as he opened the door softly.

“Not asleep, bro,” Cora said from the couch, barely sparing them a glance from her book. “Glad you’re not dead, Stilinski.”

“Thanks, Cora. Fun trip?”

“Not bad. Derek almost died though.”

Stiles turned to look at Derek, who looked like he was torn between protesting and glaring at Cora.

“It wasn’t that bad,” he said finally.

Cora finally looked up. “Der, you were literally bleeding out in my arms.”

Stiles gaped, crossing his arms and looking at Derek incredulously. “What the hell, man?”

“Cora, you weren’t supposed to tell them! Besides, I’m fine now. I healed.”

Stiles opened and closed his mouth a few times before shaking his head. “I’m just going to put that aside for later. I’m not dropping it,” he assured Derek. “But I want to know more about the current issue.”

Derek nodded, looking somewhat relieved. “So you know we went down because Isaac and his pack were having territory issues.”

Stiles nodded and made an impatient go on motion with his hand.

Derek rolled his eyes. “Anyway, we got down there and we figured out pretty quickly that it wasn’t really a normal pack.”

“Neither is ours,” Stiles said, raising an eyebrow.

Derek glared at him. “Will you shut up and let me tell you what’s going on?”

“Then get to the point!”

“And I’m done listening to this. I’m going to bed, keep your voices down.”

Cora waved goodnight and disappeared up the stairs. The boys moved over to the couch.

“Are you going to listen?” Derek asked, not annoyed, just tired.

Stiles nodded apologetically. He forgot that Derek probably hadn’t slept in awhile- he had driven all the way home, and it had been a long day.

“Alright then. Their pack was made up of werewolves, but also disgraced hunters.”

Stiles was about to ask a question, but he stopped himself.

“Disgraced hunters, as in hunters who had defected. They hunted anything and everything except the pack they were a part of, and the packs that they were allied with,” Derek explained, in answer to Stiles’ unasked question.

“Like the one that’s here,” Stiles said, understanding finally dawning. “So there are disgraced hunters in this pack too?”

“I have to assume, yeah.”

“How’d you figure out there was another pack? And that they were here?”

Derek opened his mouth, but Stiles gasped. “Did one of them monologue?!”

Derek cracked a smile.

“One of them monologued,” he confirmed, amusement evident in his voice.

Stiles shook his head. Only self-absorbed idiots monologue, and after seeing many of the enemies they had fought stopped to monologue, it had become a running joke between he and Derek,

“When I…” Derek hesitated, but he seemed to steel himself and he continued. “It was just Cora and I against the one werewolf who we hadn't taken care of. Isaac was down, they had hit him with some sort of Kanima venom concoction, and Jackson was just out cold. And I was hurt pretty bad. I had gotten stabbed with a knife coated in wolfsbane. Cora was holding me, I was pretty much dead.”

Even though Derek was right in front of him, clearly not dead, Stiles felt his stomach twist at the thought of him dying.

“So this idiot goes off on a tangent, saying how everyone we loved was going to die because of what we had done, how people were already dying. He told us that two people had already died, just as a warning- two random people. That they would keep killing until they got to the people we loved, and then they would make us watch, et cetera, et cetera. I’m not sure how, but he managed to forget about Ethan.”

“But Ethan’s the alpha,” Stiles said, eyebrow raised.

Derek nodded with a derisive snort. “They were violent, not smart. Anyway, Ethan got the drop on him, and we managed to get ourselves together. Obviously, I healed, Cora and I rushed back, and here we are.”

Stiles looked at Derek carefully. He was obviously fine, but it kind of upset him to think about how close Derek had come to dying, and he wasn’t even going to tell them about it. Granted, it was Derek, and Derek isn’t really a sharing type of guy, but still.

Derek frowned at him. “Hey, don’t worry. We’ll take care of them before they can get to anyone else.”

Right, chemosignals. At least Derek couldn’t tell why Stiles was really anxious. He blew out a breath, forcing himself to relax. He was usually pretty good at controlling his chemosignals and heartbeat, but he was insanely tired and stressed over his family.

“Yeah, no, of course we will. What’s the plan?”

Derek looked away from Stiles. “That’s why you’re here.”

“You...don’t have a plan?”

“Not yet!” Derek said in annoyance. “I’ve only been back for a day and I haven’t been able to get any information from you until now.”

“What about Scott? Didn’t he tell you anything?”

Derek cleared his throat awkwardly, but he didn’t say anything.

“You haven’t told Scott yet?” Stiles asked incredulously.

Derek glared at him. “Again, I haven’t had the time!”

“Let me get this straight. Instead of telling the alpha that there is a dangerous pack killing people in his territory, and who’s going to start trying to kill us, you came to me- the useless, annoying human of the pack?”

“You’re not useless,” Derek mumbled. “You’re the detective, I figured you would help.”

Stiles bit back a smile at that. “I’m the middle of the night? Because there’s not much we can do until tomorrow.”

“Maybe I thought you wouldn’t be able to get away from your family tomorrow,” Derek said uncomfortably, rubbing the back of his neck and looking anywhere but Stiles.

And then it clicked for Stiles- Derek was trying to be nice. He was giving Stiles a place to stay the night with the excuse of working on a case. And just when Stiles thought he couldn’t fall any harder for this man...well, Derek proved him wrong.

The point is, Derek wasn’t the type of guy who easily admitted to these things, and for once Stiles didn’t want to tease him about it.

Instead, he just smiled and gave Derek a nod. “Hopefully I will, but I don’t know. Tomorrow my dad and I have to figure out where to keep all these people. Dani brought her fiancé, but luckily they’re staying at a hotel. Do you mind if I crash here tonight?”

Derek shrugged like he didn’t care. “You know where the blankets are.”

Stiles nodded. He had spent the night enough times after pack meetings and while working on cases.

“I’ll get the information on the deaths from my dad in the morning and we can go from there.”

Derek nodded, rubbing a hand down his face tiredly.

“So what’s the deal with your family?”

“That is an extremely loaded question, dude.”

Derek rolled his eyes, but Stiles could tell he was suppressing a smile.

“All you’ve told me is that they suck, except for your godfamily. You never told me why, and I’m assuming it’s because they’re violent?”

Stiles chuckled humorlessly. “Yeah, Nate, Henry, and Tyler are violent. They like to beat me up. But the girls are just plain manipulative. They make fun of me over stupid things that shouldn’t bother me.”

“Like what?”

Stiles shrugged. “I don’t know, how I look, that I don’t have a girlfriend or a boyfriend, that I’m too weird to have friends, stupid stuff like that.”

Derek frowned. “You do have friends. And you dated Malia.”

I know that, they just don’t believe me. Like I said, it’s stupid. But they’ve done it to Bella too, so we stick together.” Stiles shrugged. “And yeah, I know it shouldn’t bother me, but when even the adults say things like that, ever since I was a kid, it kind of stuck with me.”

“The adults say that?” Derek asked incredulously.

Stiles shrugged again. “Yeah. I mean, you saw at the park that they were all mad at me for what happened. Refused to blame their precious sons.”

Derek scowled. “How is your dad okay with that?”

Stiles shifted uncomfortably. “He’s not. But we just need to keep them happy, so we deal. Besides, I have Bella, and Dani’s calmed down a lot this year because of her fiancé, so.”

Derek opened his mouth to ask another question, but Stiles interrupted him. “I’m pretty tired. Do you mind if I go to sleep?”

“Oh, uh. No, of course not.”

“Thanks. Oh, I forgot, in the morning-”

“Stiles,” Derek said with a slight smile. “Go to sleep. I’ll bring you home in the morning, don’t worry.”

Stiles smiled at Derek gratefully. “Thanks, man.”

Derek got up from the couch and started shutting off the lights before getting into his bed.

Meanwhile, Stiles grabbed a blanket and laid down on the couch. It took him a few minutes to get comfortable, but then he quickly settled in. Stiles had realized a few years ago that this was one of the few places he could sleep restfully without his pillow. As much as he wanted to deny it, he knew exactly why, too.

His thoughts were disrupted when he heard a snore. Well, not a snore, exactly. More like the snuffling noise one makes when they’re in a deep sleep.

It made Stiles smile, because it meant Derek was already out cold. It was ridiculous, he knew, to be happy over something so trivial. But to him it was an example of how much Derek trusted him- usually Derek would only half-sleep, jumping out of bed at the drip of the faucet. He slept even worse when Cora was staying with him, his protective instincts kicking in. Resting his body was one thing, but actually letting his mind shut off for a few hours? Not worrying about someone breaking in to kill him? It went to show how much Derek trusted Stiles.

So yeah, even if it was stupid, it meant a lot to Stiles that Derek trusted him enough to go to sleep.

Stiles buried his face in his borrowed pillow, inhaling deeply. Okay, maybe it was slightly creepy, but the pillow smelled like Derek.

Stiles fell asleep with the feelings of guilt and contentment battling in him.

 

Chapter Text

“Don’t be stupid, Sourwolf. Get your ass inside for breakfast. You need to debrief my dad anyway.”

With one last grumble of complaint, Derek got out of the car and followed Stiles into the house.

“Morning,” Stiles called as they entered the kitchen.

“Morning!” Bella replied cheerfully.

“Where did you disappear to last night, Mitchy?” Henry asked.

“Derek needed some help with something,” Stiles replied, moving over to the counter and pouring two cups of coffee.

“Did you guys come up with anything?” The Sheriff asked Stiles.

“We did, Sir. I actually need to speak with you about some things, when you have some time.”

Everyone jumped as Derek entered the kitchen. Stiles knew he had been lurking in the hallway, probably trying to count how many people were in the room before he came in. Old habits die hard and all that. Stiles just grinned and handed Derek the coffee he made for him.

The Sheriff frowned. “I don’t like the sound of that. And it’s John, Derek, how many times do I need to tell you?”

“Sorry, John,” Derek said, and Stiles could swear he heard a hint of happiness in the werewolf’s voice as he took a sip of his coffee.

“The situation’s not great,” Stiles admitted.

John sighed. “Alright, we’ll talk later. Find a seat, if you can.”

“I’m sorry,” Carol interrupted. “But who is this man, and why does he keep showing up?”

Stiles blinked. “Sorry, guess I never properly introduced you,” he said placatingly.

Something twinged inside of him.

“Everyone, this is my friend, Derek.”

Derek gave an awkward wave.

“Derek, these are the Drents- I mean, the Stilinksis, my Uncle Gary and Aunt Anne, and their kids, Polly, Sherry, Jane, and Henry.”

Sherry and Jane put on their flirty faces and smiled at Derek, who shifted uncomfortably. Stiles bit back his laughter.

“And these are the Smiths, Aunt Carol and Uncle Justin, their kids, Tyler and Nate. Dani’s still at the hotel with her fiancé, I think.”

The two boys nodded at Derek.

“And lastly we have the Gilds, Aunt Kelly and Uncle Eric, Bella, Teddy, and Taylor.”

Hearing his name, Teddy ran up to Stiles and put his arms up. Stiles picked him up with a grunt, setting him on his hip.

“You’re getting a little big for that, bud,” he told the five year old. Teddy just grinned.

“It’s very nice to meet you, Derek,” Aunt Kelly said, she and Eric taking turns shaking his hand.

Derek smiled at them. “You too. I’m so sorry about last night, I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said to Bella.

“No worries. Sorry again about hitting you with the lamp.”

Derek shook his head. “Believe me, I’ve had worse.”

A snort escaped Stiles before he could stop it, and Derek rolled his eyes.

“Why were you creeping into Stiles’ room last night anyway?” Aunt Anne asked, faking disinterest.

“I needed to go over some important things with him, and he wasn’t answering his phone,” Derek answered.

“It was dead,” Stiles added helpfully. “And have you talked to Scott yet?”

“I’m meeting him for lunch. We’ll talk then.”

“Does he have any idea?”

“I texted him a bit while I was gone to keep him updated.”

Stiles sighed. “What is it with you two and giving important information over text?”

Derek rolled his eyes. “He knows enough, Stiles. You’re the only one who cares about the whole texting thing, even Chris doesn’t care.”

“Okay well personally, I’d prefer to hear that my sister came back from-”

Derek nudged Stiles in the ribs. It wasn’t hard, but thanks to the previous day, it hurt like a bitch. But it cut him off just in time, reminding him that his family was right there.

“Anyway, I’m starving,” he said loudly.

“You’re always starving,” Derek said, rolling his eyes.

“You act like I haven’t seen you eat two whole pizzas by yourself.”

“That is completely different and you know it. Besides, Isaac can eat three and a half.”

Stiles rolled his eyes, grumbling about stupid werewolf metabolism just loud enough for Derek’s hearing to pick up on it. Derek flicked his ear.

“Alright. I need to run to the station,” John announced. “I’ll be back within the hour. Derek, don’t go anywhere, we’ll have that talk as soon as I’m back.”

“Yes, Sir- uh, John.”

The sheriff smiled at Derek, who ducked his head in embarrassment- the cutest thing Stiles had ever seen. It was probably weird that he was so attracted to Derek, that he could still find him adorable after seeing him rip throats out and threaten to kill Stiles. Constantly. But considering how weird the last four years of his life had been...probably not the most concerning aspect of it.

“Mind if I tag along?” Eric asked the Sheriff, already getting up.

“Of course not. I’ve been meaning to show you that thing we talked about.”

Derek shot Stiles a look and mouthed lie.

Stiles rolled his eyes and nodded- Eric obviously wanted to get out of the house, and to do that John had to make excuses. It was how it went.

“And I need to put Taylor down for his nap,” Kelly said, and Stiles’ got a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. He understood that the baby needed a nap, but did they not see what they were setting up? He was like a weak baby animal surrounded by hungry wolves. But  actual wolves, not just Derek.

He shot up from the table and grabbed his dad’s arm just before he and Eric stepped outside.

“Dad, you can’t leave us here.”

“Sorry, son. We’ll be ask quick as we can. Besides, you have Derek. And Bella.”

“Like that’s going to stop them,” Stiles muttered under his breath. But he shook his head with a sigh, knowing that if he protested any more his dad would get suspicious. “Never doing this again.”

“I second that,” Uncle Eric said, clapping Stiles on the shoulder. “We’ll be quick.”

Stiles went back inside to find that everyone had migrated to the living room. He stopped short in the doorway, immensely grateful that no one had seen him yet.

Derek was stuck between Sherry and Jane, each pressing up against his side. Teddy was sitting on his lap, reading a book (looking at the pictures). Derek was staring at Stiles with his get me out of this or I will end you face. Stiles just smirked at him. Derek’s bark was much worse than his bite- when it came to Stiles, anyway.

By some miracle, Stile managed to snap a picture without anyone besides Derek noticing. Okay, this was definitely his new favorite picture- Derek scowling at the camera with Teddy on his lap, and Sherry and Jane trying in vain to get his attention.

Stiles stepped into the room and sat down on the arm of Bella’s chair.

“Stiles honey, don’t slouch. Your posture is bad enough as it is,” Aunt Carol chided immediately.

Stiles hated the way that he automatically straightened. He saw Derek frown at him.

“Derek, before Stiles interrupted you were telling us about your travels,” Sherry said, resting a hand on Derek’s knee. Derek flinched.

The twinging feeling came back when Stiles saw that. It felt sort of like there was a rubber band being stretched under his skin. Derek was clearly uncomfortable, which made Stiles angry- he had been through so much shit with people using him (and his body) and he deserved to be comfortable. Also, Stiles needed to curb his ADHD a little bit. He kept going on tangents, mainly about Derek, who was still very uncomfortable.

“Uh, right. After Mexico I moved to DC for a few months. Stiles found me, saved my ass, actually, and I came back here.”

“Stiles saved you? You mean that Stiles?” Tyler asked doubtfully, pointing at Stiles.

“Yes, that Stiles,” Derek said, raising an eyebrow. “And it wasn’t the first time, either.”

“Derek,” Stiles said, slightly embarrassed- though he didn’t know why.

“What? It’s true.”

Stiles cast his eyes down, uncomfortable with the stares he was now getting.

“How did he save your life? Did he like, warn you about food poisoning or something?” Nate asked. “Because that’s all I can see him doing.”

Derek got this look on his face, like he was about to fight someone, and Stiles felt sort of apprehensive.

“Derek-”

Derek ignored him. “He’s never warned me about food poisoning. But one time he kept me alive after being actually poisoned until we could get the antidote...but there was another time, four years ago, when I was paralyzed from the neck down because of another type of poison- things can get kind of weird around here.”

Stiles managed a snort at that, and Derek glanced at him, lips twitching.

“Anyway, I fell into a pool, and Stiles jumped in after me. We couldn’t get out because this wild animal had gotten in, and I would’ve drowned if he wasn’t there. He kept me above the water for over two and a half hours.”

“For the most part, anyway,” Stiles added, and this time it was Derek who snorted.

“Stiles kept you from drowning. For two and a half hours. In a pool? Like, in the water?” Polly asked, disbelief oozing from her voice.

Stiles sighed- he knew where this was going.

“Yes…?” Derek answered, frowning.

“Aw, Derek, you don’t have to lie to make Stiles feel better about himself,” Jane said sweetly.

Derek raised an eyebrow at her. “Lie?”

“Oh, don’t worry about it. We know that Stiles isn’t as...accomplished as the rest of the kids,” Carol said, as though Stiles wasn’t sitting right there. “I’m sure he must’ve asked you to...embellish some stories.”

Stiles could see Derek stiffen slightly, and he realized that his protect pack instincts were probably kicking up. This had the possibility to end in disaster.

“Besides, if you wanted to lie, you should’ve gone with something less obvious. Stiles hates swimming.”

Derek looked at Tyler, arching an eyebrow. “Does he really?”

“Actually, he does,” Bella said regretfully. Derek turned to look at her- angry look melting into confusion. He slowly moved his gaze to Stiles

“You do?” He asked, voice softer.

Stiles shrugged and nodded. “I told you about the time I almost drowned.”

He wasn’t going to say the time that Henry and Tyler held me under water until Eric found them and saved me because according to Gary and Carol, it was a misunderstanding that they don’t speak about because it upsets Henry and Tyler.

Stiles didn’t think he had ever seen his father that angry. He had yelled at Gary and Carol until he was blue in the face, then promptly packed up their suitcases and driven he and Stiles home. They didn’t speak to them for almost two years, and Stiles remembered that they had almost lost the house because of the money loss- but more on that later.

“You did,” Derek agreed, not looking away from him. “And you still…”

“Dude, I wasn’t going to let you drown.”

“Don’t call me dude,” Derek said automatically, probably not even meaning to. “The pool was the only safe place anyway.”

“I didn’t know that when I jumped in, remember?”

Derek nodded slowly, looking at Stiles like he was just now realizing…

“Are you seriously just now realizing that I didn’t just keep you alive so you could fight off Jackson when the paralysis wore off?” Stiles asked incredulously.

“We weren’t friends then!” Derek protested. “I thought you hated me!”

“I mostly did! You were still mean and scary! Besides, you would have done the same, right?”

Derek scoffed. “Of course I would’ve, dumbass.”

“But you hated me!” Stiles threw Derek’s argument back at him.

“Because you were infuriating!”

“I still am!”

“No argument there,” Derek muttered, smirking when Stiles squawked at him.

“Just because I didn’t like you didn’t mean I was going to let you drown, Sourwolf. I can’t believe in the four years after that that you just realized.”

“Shut up,” Derek said, glaring at him without any real heat. Stiles saw the tips of his ears turn red.

Stiles grinned at him, then remembered that his family was staring at them and he shifted uncomfortably.

“It wasn’t that big of a deal,” he mumbled, mood dropping.

Derek looked like he wanted to protest, but Stiles shook his head minutely and Derek let the conversation move on.

“Nate got accepted to MIT, did you know that, Stiles?”

“I did, he’s been going there for a year, right?” Stiles asked- sincerely, since if he showed any signs of sarcasm he would be made out to be the Anti-Christ by Aunt Anne.

“Yes, and his grades are wonderful!” She cooed.

Nate looked like he couldn’t care less, completely absorbed in destroying Tyler in a game on Stiles’ PS4, and basically breaking the controller along with it.

“Where do you go to school again, Stiles?” Carol asked disdainfully.

“Berkeley. It’s just so much easier to be close to home, you know?”

“Yet you still don’t have a job,” Carol said, shaking her head.

Stiles felt that rubber band pulling tighter under his skin. Literally none of his cousins besides Dani, Henry, and Bella had jobs.

“I’m looking to get a job as a deputy in the Sheriff’s Department here, actually.”

Polly rolled her eyes. “Are you still obsessed with being a detective?”

“Ever since we were little kids, Stiles has had this pathetic dream of being a cop,” Jane told Derek. “He would never shut up about it. Even now, he has this weird board with all this string and tape and newspaper clippings in his room.”

“You were in my closet?” Stiles asked tiredly, more resigned than indignant at this point.

“There was no room in your drawers, they were all full of clothes and weird old books,” Polly defended.

“You really should have made some room for them, Stiles,” Carol said reproachfully.

Stiles nodded apologetically, knowing that only Bella and Derek would notice the sarcasm.

“I’m so sorry that I didn’t move all of my stuff, I was very busy with cleaning the rest of the house.”

Anne nodded like that was an acceptable apology.

“Anyway, I can’t believe you’re still trying to be a cop, Stiles. That’s so lame,” Sherry said. She turned to Derek, eyes wide and flirty. “What do you do for a living, Derek?”

Stiles bit his lip to keep from laughing as Derek answered.

“I’m a consultant for the police department. And I’m thinking of becoming a deputy.”

Stiles was so consumed by watching the horror and embarrassment that filled Sherry and Jane’s faces that he almost missed the last part.

“Wait, seriously?” He asked.

Derek nodded, shrugging. “It’s not a big deal.”

“It is such a big deal!” Stiles exclaimed. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“He obviously thought it too important to share with someone like you,” Tyler sneered.

Derek shot a glare in his direction. “Actually, I just didn’t want to get his hopes up. I don’t know if I’ll even get an interview.”

“Bullshit!” Stiles cried. “Dad’s been trying to recruit you for two years, Derek.”

“I didn’t think they’d actually want a we...well, someone like me.”

Stiles rolled his eyes. “And yet Parrish is Head Deputy. My bet is that you’ll be his partner by the end of your first year. You’re the best detective I know, especially with all your...you know what I’m talking about.”

Derek bobbed his head, conceding the point.

“I’m sure you’re going to be an amazing detective,” Sherry said loudly, trying to draw Derek’s attention back to her. “Much better than Stiles.”

“I don’t know about that,” Derek shrugged. “In the four years I’ve known him, Stiles has solved a lot of cases, and he’s not even with the department yet.”

Henry scoffed his disbelief but didn’t say anything.

Stiles heard a tearing noise and looked down to see Derek’s claws poking into the couch, not two inches from Sherry and Jane. His heart rate spiked in alarm, and Derek looked at him in concern.

Stiles cleared his throat and asked, as casually as he could, “Derek, can I see you in the kitchen for a minute?”

Derek raised an eyebrow at him, and Stiles quickly flicked his gaze down to Derek’s hands before meeting his eyes again. Derek’s eyes went wide and he stood up immediately, clenching his hands tightly.

“Excuse me,” he mumbled. He practically fled the room.

Stiles followed cautiously, and he found Derek pacing around the kitchen agitatedly, fists still clenched. Judging by the blood now dripping down his hands, he hadn’t gotten rid of his claws.

“You okay there, big guy?”

“They won’t go away,” Derek gritted out.

“I think you need to calm down. What’s the matter with you?”

“What’s the matter with me? What’s the matter with you?” Derek hissed. “I have never seen you like this.”

Stiles debated playing dumb, but he knew exactly what Derek was talking about.

“I can’t stand up for myself. It’s a thing with them. I’ve been trying for twenty years, it doesn’t work. Makes them angrier.”

Derek’s eyes flickered between blue and their usual changeable color.

“Stiles, this is ridiculous. If your dad knew what they-”

Stiles sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. He hadn’t had enough coffee for this. “He does know, Derek. He can’t do anything about it.”

Derek stared at him incredulously. “Are you kidding me?”

Stiles shifted uncomfortably. “Okay, so maybe he doesn’t know the full extent of it. But you can’t tell him, okay? Please. If he finds out just how bad it is, he’ll kill them. Or he’ll kick them out, which is probably worse. If that happens, they won’t speak to us for God knows how long.”

“Don’t tell me you’re letting them walk all over you and abuse you just because they’re family.”

“No,” Stiles sighed. “Look, it’s a long story, but the point is we just need to keep them happy for the time being, and they’ll leave us alone for awhile.”

“That’s ridiculous. You need to tell your father.”

“I can’t, okay? You don’t understand the whole situation. It’s complicated.”

Derek growled low in his throat, clenching his fists tighter. Stiles saw blood drip onto the floor.

“Derek, you have to let this drop. You’re hurting yourself.”

Stiles stepped forward and grabbed one of Derek’s wrists, gently uncurling his hand. The holes his claws had left healed almost immediately, and Stiles did the same to his other hand. But the claws stayed, and his eyes kept flickering.

“Is this because of the moon?” Stiles asked softly, trying to get Derek to relax.

Derek shrugged, not meeting his eyes. “It must be. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize, it’s okay.”

This was unsettling for Stiles. Derek almost never lost control, and especially not in the middle of the day.

“Deep breath. Find your anchor, right?”

Derek nodded, shutting his eyes and inhaling slowly through his nose. After a few moments, his claws finally retracted and Derek opened his eyes.

“Better?”

Derek nodded, but he pulled his hand away from Stiles and crossing his arms, clearly still angry.

“The full moon’s still two nights away.”

“I know when the moon is, Stiles.”

Stiles rolled his eyes. “Well, you seemed to be losing your temper a little quicker than usual.”

Derek clenched his jaw. “It’s hard not to around them.”

Stiles snorted. “Tell me about it. Come on, they’ll kill me if we don’t get back in there soon. I think Anne’s already planning your wedding to one of the girls.”

Derek visibly paled, and Stiles had to laugh. “Let’s go, big guy.”


 

“How did I let this happen?” Stiles muttered to Bella as they walked through the preserve. He gripped his bat tightly. He had tried to argue that going into the woods while a rival pack was out here was a bad idea, but even Derek had agreed that they should be fine. Derek was a traitor.

Bella shrugged miserably. “This could be fun, if they would stop complaining.”

Stiles rolled his eyes. Jane and Nate actually seemed to be enjoying the hike, but they were complaining endlessly along with the rest of the cousins. Teddy and Bella were the only ones openly enjoying it, Teddy skipping ahead to look at flowers and bugs like the five year old he was.

“Maybe we wouldn’t be complaining if someone had warned us about the bugs,” Sherry snapped, slapping a mosquito that had landed on her arm.

“It’s common sense, Sherry,” Stiles sighed. “We’re on a hike in the woods. There’s going to be bugs.”

Sherry stopped. “You know what, Mitchy?”

Stiles clenched his jaw at the nickname. It came from his real first name- the Polish one. When they were kids, no one except Dani could pronounce it, and the closest any of them came was ‘Mitchy.’ Stiles hated it.

“I don’t want to be here. None of us do, and you clearly don’t want us here. Our parents forced us all. Here’s the deal- we don’t like you. You’re an annoying, know-it-all, wimpy, scrawny, obsessive little freak! You carry that dumb baseball bat with you everywhere! You know, I’m sure the only reason your ‘friends’ pretend to like you is because they pity you, just like everyone else,” Sherry informed him angrily.

“That’s enough, Sherry,” Bella said sharply.

“See! He can’t even stand up for himself!” Sherry cried. “It’s so pathetic.”

“Believe me, I can stand up for myself just fine,” Stiles assured them calmly. “But I don’t need to against you.”

That was complete bullshit- they bullied him worse than Jackson had before...everything. And Stiles could see that they knew it, too.

“Liar,” Polly sneered. “You know that all it takes is for us to go to our parents and say that you were rude to us, and then you and your father are completely screwed over.”

“You think we won’t do it?” Henry asked. “Just because Dani’s gone all soft doesn’t mean the rest of us have.”

“Seriously, what’s wrong with Dani?” Stiles asked.

He was legitimately concerned for his cousin. She still had that look in her eyes. Connor had seemed like a nice guy, but then again, most people do. He resolved to keep a close eye on Connor’s interactions with Dani, even though he thought it was something deeper than an abusive partner.

“She’s probably just looking for attention,” Nate sneered. “But don’t change the subject, Mitchy.”

Stiles gritted his teeth and that rubber band pulled tighter. He opened his mouth to respond, but before he could answer, a loud CRACK echoed through the air. They all jumped, and a large branch landed not two feet from where Nate was standing. Nate yelled in surprise, jumping into Jane, who shoved him away.

“See! This place sucks! That could’ve killed me!” Nate cried.

Stiles started to say something to ease the tension, but before he could, Bella grabbed his arm so tightly that Stiles expected claws to be digging into his arm- the perk of being friends with werewolves.

“Where’s Teddy?” She asked, her calm façade barely masking the fear in her voice.

Everyone stopped short, looking around. Teddy was the only thing any of them could agree on- they all loved the little kid.

Sure enough, Teddy was nowhere in sight.

Stiles felt his heart climbing into his throat. Now was not the time for Teddy to be lost in the preserve.

“Teddy!” Stiles called nervously. “Teddy, I told you not to wander off!”

There was no answer.

“Teddy!” Bella yelled. “Theodore Joseph! Come back here!”

Again, no answer. The eight cousins looked at each other in fear.

“Alright, we split up, teams of four,” Stiles said after a moment. “Bella, Polly, Jane, and Tyler, go that way. If you see anything or anyone you don’t know, do not talk to them. Call me if you find him or if you get into trouble. Meet back here in fifteen minutes. We need to find him as soon as possible.”

Polly looked at him, eyes wide. “Why?”

Why? Because he’s a five year old lost in the woods, and we’re currently having a wolf problem.”

As in, a pack of werewolves had vowed revenge on Stiles’ pack, and they would probably be hunting anyone who had any relation to them.

Nate visibly gulped. “What do we do if we see a wolf?”

Stiles shut his eyes, not wanting to think about that. The rival pack was dangerous, and they clearly weren’t hesitant to kill.

“Just. Don’t run into any wolves, okay? Now go.”

Stiles led Sherry, Tyler, and Henry in the opposite direction.

Five minutes later, they still hadn’t found Teddy. Stiles was getting scared.

“Teddy!”

“Teddy, where are you?”

“Stiles, what do we do?” Sherry asked desperately. She sounded afraid, which just increased Stiles’ anxiety. Sherry didn’t do afraid. She held her real emotions close to her chest.

He swallowed sharply. “We keep looking. If we still haven’t found him in ten minutes, I’ll call my friends to help.”

“What about Uncle John?”

“Obviously I’ll call my dad, and Teddy’s parents. But my friends are good at tracking. We’re going to find him.”

Sherry nodded, eyes big and scared. Tyler and Henry looked pale and worried, shouting for their little cousin.

“Theodore!” Stiles shouted. “Come on, if you come out now you can have a cookie when we get home!”

“This isn’t funny anymore, Ted!” Henry called.

“Teddy-”

Nate’s yell was cut off by a loud, echoing howl. The hairs stood up on the back of Stiles’ neck, and he froze as more howls answered. They sounded far off, thank god, but Stiles knew werewolves moved fast.

“TEDDY!” He cried desperately, breaking into a run. “Teddy, come on!”

“Stiles!”

Stiles almost cried with relief when he saw the little boy running to him. He dropped to his knees and pulled him close, hugging him tightly.

“Where did you go? I told you not to wander off!” He reprimanded.

“I’m sorry!” Teddy cried, eyes red and watery. “There was a pretty butterfly and I followed it, but then it was gone and I couldn’t see you anymore. But I founded you!”

Stiles nodded, breathing a sigh of relief. “Yeah, you found us. Let’s get back to your sister, and then we’re going to go home.”

Teddy nodded and let Stiles pick him up.

“Don’t you ever do that again,” Tyler said to Teddy. “You scared us.”

“Sorry, Ty,” Teddy whispered.

“I called Polly,” Sherry announced. “She said that they were by an old house and said to meet them there.”

Stiles groaned. “Seriously. They’re at the old house?”

Sherry nodded, shrugging. “She said it looked haunted, it was broken down and burned. Do you know where it is?”

Stiles sighed, but he let out an ironic little laugh. “Yeah, I know where it is. Come on.”

He led his cousins through the woods, making it to the Hale house in just about ten minutes.

He found the others sitting on the decrepit porch, looking stressed but otherwise unharmed.

“Teddy!” Bella cried, and Teddy broke out of Stiles’ arms and ran for his sister.

Stiles looked around uneasily. He hadn’t heard any more howls since the original, but that didn’t mean anything.

“Guys, we should head back.”

Tyler turned to him, back to being an asshole since Teddy was safe.

“Why, are you afraid of the big bad wolf?”

Stiles rolled his eyes. “Depends on the wolf. But we’ve been out here for a few hours. We should get home for dinner.”

“I want to explore this house first,” Jane announced.

Stiles shook his head. “This is private property.”

Immediately, Stiles thought back to the first time he had met Derek Hale, and wow, okay, the difference four years had made in their relationship-

Stiles mentally smacked himself. Not the time.

“We’re trespassing, we should go.”

“Don’t be stupid, who would live here?”

“I actually know the owner, and he’s a stickler about trespassing. Come on.”

“I think we should get Teddy home,” Bella added, pulling out all the stops.

That seemed to get everyone to agree. They stood up and started forward, but then they all stopped short, eyes wide.

“This is private property,” said a voice behind Stiles.

Ho-ly God!” Stiles yelped, practically jumping out of his skin as he whipped around, raising his bat.

He shut his eyes and sighed in resignation as he saw who it was.

“Not quite,” the man said, smirking.

“What are you doing here, Peter?” Stiles could already feel the headache building from the added stress that this was going to bring him.

“It’s my house,” Peter shrugged.

“No, it’s your nephew’s house. And I meant what are you doing in Beacon Hills.”

Peter hadn’t been in Beacon Hills in over a year, so of course he chose the worst possible time to visit.

“Can’t I drop in to say hi?” Peter asked, mock-offended.

“No, you can’t. Have you checked in with Scott yet?”

Peter shrugged. “I haven’t had the time.”

“We have an agreement, Peter. One that you signed. You check in within three hours of getting to town.”

“How do you know I’ve already been here for three hours?”

Stiles scowled, pulling out his phone. “Because I know you. Get your ass to Scott’s, now. I’m letting him know that you’re on your way, and if you’re not there in fifteen minutes you can bet that we’ll find you.”

Peter held up his hands, rolling his eyes. “You can relax. In fact, I was about to head over to see Mr. McCall when I heard some disconcerting howls.”

Stiles glared at the man, a new suspicion taking over. “Why are you here instead of your apartment?”

Peter smiled calmly. “I was feeling a bit sentimental today.”

Stiles felt Bella come up behind him.

“Stiles, who’s this?” She asked softly.

Peter grinned. “I’m a good friend of Stiles’, Peter Hale.”

“He is not a friend,” Stiles muttered to his cousin, before scowling at Peter. “Don’t talk to her.”

“That’s not very nice, and after all we’ve been through,” Peter drawled, tut-tutting at him in disappointment.

“Shut up and tell me why you’re here,” Stiles snapped, raising his bat.

“Or what?” Peter asked, voice patronizing. “You’re going to hit me? You’ve known me for four years, Stiles, that’s not going to do anything.”

Stiles cocked an eyebrow. “Oh really?”

Peter shook his head like he thought Stiles was stupid, but he didn’t say anything.

Stiles swung his bat with all of his strength at Peter’s head. Peter rolled his eyes and caught it with one hand, just like Stiles knew he would.

He looked at Stiles in annoyance, opening his mouth to say something sarcastic, but instead he yelled in pain and let go of the bat, clutching his hand close.

“I warned you,” Stiles sing-songed.

Peter gave him a calculating look, breathing heavily. But he just nodded at Stiles, almost in respect.

“Smart boy.”

“I’m learning.”

“What is it?”

“Not telling you.”

Stiles knew that if he told Peter the werewolf would just try and find something to help him become immune to the bat, and Stiles had a feeling he’d need to use it on Peter at some point. Lydia had helped him infuse the wood of the bat with a mixture of rare strains of mountain ash and wolfsbane that mixed together to create a perfect physical repellent against supernatural creatures.

Peter just shrugged as though he didn’t care.

“Now, tell me why you’re here before I need to make a call.” Stiles raised the bat again, glaring at him.

Peter sighed in annoyance. “I’d heard about the mess my nephew got into, and I came to offer my assistance.”

Stiles narrowed his eyes at the man. “How did you hear about it?”

“What mess?”

“Shut up, Tyler,” Stiles growled without turning around. “And you, answer me.”

Peter shrugged. “I have sources.”

Stiles raised his bat until it was directly in front of him, level with Peter’s chest, hardly an inch away. Peter took a half step back, but Stiles followed.

“I swear on my mother’s grave, if you have anything to do with the rogues, I will kill you my damn self. And I’ll make sure you stay that way this time.”

Peter raised an eyebrow, scoffing slightly. “Not even Derek could manage that.”

Stiles stepped back, shrugging in a what can you do sort of way. “Was I lying?”

Peter stopped short, cocking his head before tipping it in acknowledgement.

“You should have accepted the bite. You would have done well,” he said easily.

Stiles squeezed his eyes shut and huffed. “Could you not be creepy for maybe five minutes?”

Peter rolled his eyes. “I don’t like being insulted.”

“Well, we don’t like you, so get over it.”

“That’s fair,” Peter conceded. “Now, who are all of these kids on my property?”

“Still not your property,” Stiles told him. “But they’re my cousins. No, you don’t get their names. Everyone, this is Peter Hale. Don’t talk to him, he’s an asshole.”

“Hale? Like, Derek?”

Stiles rolled his eyes.

“I’m Derek’s uncle,” Peter told Jane.

Jane and Sherry immediately rushed forward and introduced themselves. Stiles groaned.

“I’m so sorry for my cousin’s rude behavior,” Sherry gushed. “He’s such an idiot.”

“I can see they’ve met Derek,” Peter said dryly.

Stiles rolled his eyes and nodded. He grabbed his cousins by the back of their collars and pulled them away from Peter. They shrieked indignantly, slapping at his arms.

“No one talks to him.”

“You’re talking to him!” Sherry protested.

“Because I know how manipulative he is, and I can hit him with a bat.”

“I’m telling Derek how awful you are to his uncle,” Jane said in her tattletale voice.

Stiles snorted, imagining Derek punching Peter as soon as he finds out that his uncle was here. “Please feel free. Come on, I need to get him to Scott.”

“I told you, I’m going. But I can go on my own.”

Before Stiles could respond, another howl sounded, again followed by many more. But this time, however, there was an echoing gunshot. Stiles could tell that even Peter was unsettled.

Peter looked around, and Stiles knew he was sniffing the air.

“Well?”

“Maybe we should get out of here,” Peter admitted.

“Everyone, follow the trail back to the cars. If you wander off, I’m not coming back to look for you. Henry, carry Teddy back.”

Henry nodded and scooped up Teddy. For once, no one protested. Stiles made Peter go in front of him, bat pressed against his back.

“Don’t even think about using us as a distraction if things go south,” Stiles muttered to Peter.

Peter just snorted, but he walked slightly faster, trying to get away from the bat.

“You know that this hurts me, right?”

Stiles pressed the bat harder. “Yes.”

It took them twenty minutes to get back to the cars. Before Stiles was even out of the tree line, Sherry screamed. Stiles left Peter and sprinted forward, stopping when he caught sight of his car.

There was blood smeared all over the windows except for one. Stiles found the source- a dead rabbit gored on his antenna. The window without the blood, however, also didn’t have any glass. It was shattered completely, and Stiles knew that it was from the gunshot they had heard earlier. The worst part, however, was the hood. It was scratched all the way through the paint, claw marks forming a spiral symbol that Stiles hadn’t seen in years.

“Revenge,” Peter murmured, coming up behind him. “That’s a warning if ever I’ve seen one.”

“My baby,” Stiles groaned. “Look what they did to my baby.”

Polly was throwing up, and so was Henry. Teddy was crying. Bella, Tyler, and Nate were all pale and shaken. Sherry looked like she was going to pass out. Jane really did pass out.

Bella leaned against Stiles so that he could support her weight.

“Everyone in the van. If I tell you to go, you drive away and don’t look back. Got it?”

Tyler nodded. He scooped Jane up off of the ground as everyone squeezed into the van. Stiles caught Peter by the collar and pulled him back.

“Not you. You stay here and don’t move.”

Stiles pulled out his phone, scanning the woods.

Hello?”

“Yo, Scotty. I’ve got a few situations here.”

Stiles heard Scott sigh. “What’s wrong? Derek filled me in.”

“Alright, first, we’ve got a visitor who’s dangerously close to violating the agreement he signed.”

Scott cursed. “Peter’s in town? Seriously?”

“Unfortunately. But also, I was in the preserve with my cousins and the new pack trashed my car with rabbit’s blood and they scratched the revenge spiral into my hood. And they shot out one of my windows. I don’t know where they are now, not sure if they’re coming back or what.”

“...”

“Scott?”

LEAD WITH THAT NEXT TIME!” Scott yelled suddenly.

Stiles yanked the phone away from his ear. “Alright, sorry. I could use a little help.”

Scott sighed again. “We’re on our way.”

“ ‘We?’ Who’s ‘we,’ Scott? Don’t worry my dad!”

Scott had already hung up. Stiles sighed in frustration, then looked to Peter.

“Are they nearby?”

Peter looked around, smelling the air. He shook his head.

“They’re about three miles away, and getting farther. They clearly wanted to scare you.”

Stiles scrubbed a hand down his face. “My baby…” he muttered, lightly touching the car’s hood.

“For god’s sakes, it’s a car.”

Stiles glared at Peter. “Like I said. If you’re involved with them, you die.”

Peter just rolled his eyes.

It was only fifteen minutes before Stiles heard the roar of Scott’s bike, closely followed by his dad’s cruiser. Scott practically skidded in his haste to stop the bike, throwing off his helmet and rushing over.

“Are you okay?”

Stiles nodded. “I’m good. I didn’t actually see them.”

“We could hear the howls from town,” Derek called, stepping out of the Sheriff’s cruiser. Stiles didn’t even question the fact that he was there.

“You sure you’re alright?” The Sheriff asked, looking at him closely.

Stiles nodded again, smiling slightly at his dad. “I’m fine, I promise. They’re all pretty shaken, though.” He nodded to the van, then gestured for them to come out.

“Oh thank god you're here!” Jane cried, rushing up to Derek and grabbing his arm. “Stiles lost Teddy and someone did that to the car!

Stiles exchanged a look with Scott. “She should’ve stayed unconscious,” he mumbled, just loud enough for Scott to hear. Scott snorted.

“You lost Teddy?” The Sheriff exclaimed.

“No, Uncle John. Ted was chasing a butterfly and wandered off. Stiles was the one to find him,” Bella assured them.

“But Stiles was so incredibly rude to Derek’s uncle. He seems so nice!” Sherry cooed, pressing against Derek’s other side.

Derek stiffened. “My...uncle?” He asked lowly, turning to look at Stiles before subtly sniffing the air.

“You didn’t tell him?” Stiles exclaimed, turning to Scott.

“I didn’t have time!” Scott defended. “I told him that you ran into the pack and he hung up on me!”

Before Stiles could even think about dwelling on that, Peter finally came back from the trees, where he had been taking a piss. At least, that’s what he told Stiles. Stiles didn’t trust him, but he also didn’t want Peter peeing where Stiles could see him. That was weird.

Derek let out a growl and tore away from the girls, surging forward to grab Peter by the collar and throw him down onto the Jeep’s hood.

“Aw, man! Not the Jeep, it’s suffered enough,” Stiles whined.

Derek huffed and shot Stiles a look that managed to say really? without Derek saying a word.

To Stiles’ surprise, though, he pulled Peter off of Stiles’ car and slammed him into the trunk of a tree instead. Stiles grinned to himself. He felt his ears burn when Scott nudged him, smirking.

“What are you doing here?” Derek snarled, shoving Peter further into the tree.

“I came- to offer my- assistance-” Peter wheezed.

“We don’t want it,” Derek told him. “And how did you know?”

“I’ve got my sources.”

Derek pressed an arm to Peter’s throat. “Peter I swear to god, if you’re working with them-”

Peter shoved at Derek hard enough to dislodge him, but Derek just pushed him back.

“Your friend already threatened me,” Peter told Derek, gesturing to Stiles. “Like the girl said, he was very rude about it.”

Derek glanced at Stiles and Stiles nodded, waving his bat.

Derek nodded, slightly appeased, and he let go of Peter.

“I say we write up a new agreement that says he needs to tell us before he comes to town,” Derek growled, pacing back over to Stiles and Scott.

“I second that,” Stiles said, raising his hand.

“Let’s take care of that after we deal with these guys, okay?” Scott compromised in his calm alpha voice.

“I think we should do that at home,” the sheriff said, voice uncertain.

“Dad. My Jeep. Look what they did!” Stiles exclaimed. “I can’t drive home like that!”

“We can get a truck, tow it.”

“No!”

The sheriff sighed. “Son, I don’t know what you want me to do.”

“Just take Thumper off of the antenna and take the backroads,” Peter suggested.

Derek snarled at him. “You, shut up.”

“I hate to say this, but that sounds like our only option,” John said regretfully.

“Fine,” Derek growled.

“See? I’m already helping!” Peter said cheerfully.

Stiles whacked him in the knee with his bat. Scott snorted and Derek smirked as Peter yelped in pain.

Peter growled and started forward, glaring at Stiles. Stiles thought oh shit, starting to back away, but he blinked and suddenly Peter was nearly five feet away, laying on his back. Derek stood half in front of Stiles, glaring.

“That really wasn’t necessary, nephew,” Peter grumbled, standing up and brushing the dirt off of his pants.

“I think it was,” Derek said, his voice full of warning.

Stiles could tell that someone, maybe both of them, was about to wolf out. He quickly stepped forward, putting himself between the two Hales- stupid? Yes. Helpful? Also yes, surprisingly. Derek backed down and Peter scoffed and rolled his eyes.

“Someone get the rabbit off of my car. Peter, get in the back of the cruiser- yes, it’s necessary, don’t fucking argue with me, and don’t even think about trying anything, the car’s lined with mountain ash. Stilinski family, whoever doesn’t feel like riding in the bloody Jeep, get in the van. Bella’s driving, no arguments. Go straight home.” Stiles paused, looking at Derek and Scott.

“What do we do with Peter?”

“We’ll put him in the loft, and if you don’t mind lining a room with mountain ash, John, he’ll stay there for awhile,” Derek decided.

Peter looked annoyed, but he didn’t protest, even as Derek forced him to the car. Scott managed to get the rabbit off of the Jeep, and he threw it into the woods.

All of Stiles’ cousins were crammed into the van, doubled up in seats. Stiles rolled his eyes, but it was about what he expected.

“Do you think they’ll go home now?” Stiles asked his dad hopefully.

“Maybe,” John said, shaking his head. “It really is dangerous for them to be here. But you know them…”

Stiles sighed. “This is so stupid.”

Sheriff Stilinski patted Stiles’ shoulder. “Only four more days.”

Stiles didn’t say that a lot could happen in four days, but Scott patted him on the back like he knew what he was thinking.

Chapter Text

“Get up, dumbass.”

Stiles grunted when he felt something dig into his stomach. He sat up in time to glare at Tyler’s back as he left the living room. He groaned, rubbing his eyes and trying to stretch out the kinks in his back.

It had been a long night.

He had managed to get the Jeep home and covered without anyone seeing it, but the second he stepped through the door he was ambushed by his angry relatives. The cousins had made it home about five minutes before him, and evidently filled them in. Even Bella’s testimony wasn’t enough to keep them at bay, because even Eric and Kelly were unsettled. Stiles had to deal with them for an extra ten minutes before his dad got back from helping Derek get Peter locked in the loft.

When he got home, John had told them that there was a dangerous gang in town. Not too far from the truth. Just add in the fact that half of them are werewolf socio/psychopaths and the other half of them are ex-werewolf-hunting socio/psychopaths with guns who have already killed three people in order to target Derek because....well, you get it.

Anyway, Carol had flipped out, screaming about how they should have been told, (“I did tell you, Carol. Multiple times. I said it’s not safe, two- now three- people have died, and you shouldn’t come!” John had protested) and how the children are traumatized, (Henry and Jane were shoveling chips into their mouths, and the others were looking smug that Stiles and John were in trouble).

They had eventually calmed down enough for John (with Eric and Kelly’s help) to convince everyone to eat, and then go to bed.

Between talking and planning over the phone with Scott and then doing more talking and planning with his father, and then sneaking out to wash the blood off of his car (the hood needed a new paint job), Stiles hadn’t fallen asleep until well after four in the morning. Meaning that he had gotten about three hours of sleep.

But he forced himself to follow his cousin into the kitchen, where everyone else seemed to be back to normal. Dani and Connor were even there. His dad, however, wasn’t.

“Morning, Stiles,” Connor said kindly.

Stiles blinked at him a few times. “Morning,” he said finally. He was pretty sure that was the first time Connor had spoken to him.

Bella handed him a mug of coffee, and Stiles smiled at her gratefully.

“Where’s my dad?” Stiles asked.

“He got a call about fifteen minutes ago and ran out. I think there was an emergency at the station,” Kelly told him.

Stiles frowned. “He didn’t say what it was?”

Kelly shook her head. “Sorry, kid.”

“Could it be that gang?” Gary asked snippily.

Stiles ignored the tone of his uncle’s voice and just frowned harder. “Maybe. I hope not.”

“Are you ever going to tell us what’s going on?” Anne asked, aiming for casual-disgust and landing on fearful-disgust.

Stiles sighed. “We told you last night, we’re not completely sure.”

Lie.

“We just know that they’re very dangerous.”

Not a lie.

“There’s no reason to be worried as long as you listen to what we say.”

Giant lie. They should be extremely worried. They should go home.

Stiles was thankful that none of the people in the room was a werewolf. As it was, Connor looked somewhat suspicious.

He had been training with Deaton, learning how to control his heartbeat, his emotions, and his chemosignals so he could have a little privacy- being around people who could sense his emotions and hear every little white lie he told was a little invasive. Especially when he was trying to hide something like a crush. Hypothetically, of course.

Anyway, Stiles had been getting very good at controlling his heartbeat when he was lying. But this morning he was too stressed and too tired to bother.

Anne just scoffed and rolled her eyes. Stiles bit back a sarcastic comment and sat down across from Dani and Connor.

“So, Connor, where do you work?” Stiles questioned, using the opportunity to see if he could figure out what was wrong with Dani.

Connor smirked, but not unkindly. “Is this the protective cousin act?”

Stiles snorted. “Dani can protect herself.”

He hoped, anyway.

Dani smiled slightly, and Stiles tried not to read too much into it. Dani hadn’t smiled at him in probably eleven years.

They used to actually be pretty close, he and Dani. But when Stiles was nine and Dani turned thirteen, she decided that she was too cool to hang out with a little kid. She never really joined in the bullying that the others had inflicted on him, but she didn’t exactly discourage it.

“That’s very true,” Connor said, looking at Dani with practical hearts in his eyes. “She clubbed me over the head when we met.”

“You were breaking into my apartment!” Dani protested.

“I thought it was Laura’s!” Connor retorted.

Dani rolled her eyes fondly. “I was nineteen, on my own for the first time, and I wake up to a twenty-three year old man breaking into my apartment! What else was I supposed to do?”

Stiles glanced at Bella, and they both smiled, slightly bewildered. Stiles was glad to see Dani looking slightly happier. And he was definitely glad to see that Connor wasn’t abusing her- the man was clearly smitten.

“I lived next door to Connor’s best friend,” Dani explained. “He had too much to drink one night and decided to crash at her place. His key didn’t fit- since it was actually my door- so he decided to break the door in.”

“It’s been five years! How many times do I have to apologize?” Connor whined.

Dani just patted his hand and rolled her eyes.

“Anyway,” Connor laughed. “I teach second grade.”

“Props to you, man,” Bella announced. “Kids are tough.”

She ruffled Teddy’s hair, and Teddy wrinkled his nose and pushed her away.

“Hey!”

Bella smirked at her brother, and Connor laughed.

“Yeah, they can be little monsters, but occasionally they can be cute. I’ve always loved teaching.”

“Do you have any little brothers or sisters?” Stiles asked.

Connor shook his head. “I never had any siblings of my own, but my best friend-”

“The one who’s apartment you thought you were breaking into?” Bella asked, smirking.

Connor blushed slightly, laughing. “Yeah, that would be her. Anyway, we grew up together. She had a lot of little siblings, and I practically lived at their house, so I always thought of them as my siblings too.”

“I can understand that,” Stiles said. “Obviously I’m an only child, but Bella here’s always been the annoying little sister I always wanted.”

Stiles looped his arm around Bella’s shoulders and ruffled her hair, just like she had done to Teddy. She laughed and shoved him away.

“What about your friends?” She asked him.

Stiles smiled fondly. “Yeah, Scotty’s my brother. And the rest of us, we’re all family too.”

Bella’s grinned turned sharp. “So you think of all of them as brothers and sisters?”

Stiles heart skipped a beat- he knew where she was going with this.

“Not necessarily siblings,” he muttered. “Just...good friends.”

Bella waggled her eyebrows, but before she could say anything else there was a loud knock at the door.

“Stiles, don’t be rude,” Carol snapped. “Go get the door!”

“Excuse me,” Stiles mumbled to the others. He got up from the table and walk-jogged to the door as the knocking got more frantic.

He opened the door and Malia almost fell inside.

“Malia, hey, what’s up?”

Malia stalked past him without answering, pulling at her hair.

Stiles shut the door with a sigh and followed her into the living room. She began pacing, still pulling at her hair. Stiles just leaned against the doorway and waited, knowing she would talk when she was ready.

He felt his relatives coming up behind him, but he ignored them.

“I don’t want him here,” Malia growled finally.

Stiles breathed out a sigh of resigned understanding.

“When’d you find out?”

“Five minutes ago. Scott called me. Thanks for the heads up, by the way!” Malia glared at him.

“Malia-”

“No!” She snapped. “He can’t just show up out of the blue! We can’t trust him!”

“Malia, we know that. We don’t trust him, and none of us want him here.”

Malia sighed. “I know. But I just…”

“I know. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. It’s just been a little hectic.”

Malia started her pacing again. “Exactly! How do we know he’s not with them?”

“We don’t-”

Malia rounded on him, picking up steam. “He’s betrayed us so many times! ‘Wants to help us’ my ass. He only cares about himself! Even if he’s not with them now, he’ll just go to the winning side. I say we send him away! Screw the agreement, I don’t want him here.”

Stiles waited for her to stop, and then waited a little longer until she stopped pacing as well. Then he stepped forward and pulled her into a hug. She stiffened for a second before melting into him. She pushed her face into his neck, and Stiles gently placed a hand in her hair and used the other to gently rub her back.

It wasn’t a romantic thing, not by a long shot. This was a wolf thing. She needed comfort, and Stiles was happy to give it. Most of the pack had done it to him at some point or another. Deaton told him that weres need the comfort of pack when they’re upset, and somehow Stiles had become the designated comfort-giver of the pack. Over the years, Stiles had grown used to his friends coming up to him and smashing their faces into his neck to scent him and calm themselves down. On a few memorable occasions, Theo had done it (when no one was around to see). Even Derek had done it, once.

Malia finally sighed and pulled away, only to rest her forehead on his shoulder.

“We’ll get rid of him as soon as we get rid of the others. He’s shut up in the loft for now, and he won’t be able to see you unless you go to him.”

Malia nodded, stepping away. “Lydia’s going to be pissed too.”

Stiles sighed. “I know. But she-”

The front door slammed open and Stiles cringed.

“Next time can someone please tell me that he’s here?” Lydia yelled, marching into the room.

Stiles shrank behind Malia slightly. “Scott called you too?”

“No, I went to the loft to get that book I need, only to find that asshole sitting on the couch reading it!”

“Wait, he’s not locked in a room?”

Lydia rolled her eyes. “He’s stuck on the couch, he has about a five foot radius to move around in.”

“That’s too much,” Malia muttered.

“I agree.”

“So do I,” Stiles said placatingly. “But Scott said we need to deal with the rogues first, and I don’t like it but I have to say that they seem like the bigger issue.”

Lydia and Malia both scowled.

“Just keep him away from us,” Lydia told him.

“I don’t intend on letting him out of the loft, but he’s more likely to listen to you two than to me…” Stiles trailed off as the women glared at him. He held up his hands. “But I’ll do my best.”

“Sorry to interrupt,” Justin said loudly. “But it’s very rude to just barge into someone’s house, especially at this hour. What if we were still sleeping?”

“But you’re not,” Malia pointed out, like it was obvious (it was).

Justin looked taken aback. Stiles saw Eric hiding a smile.

“Where are your manners?” Carol gasped.

Stiles quickly put himself between the girls and his relatives.

“It’s okay, Uncle Justin. They’re welcome here at any time of the day.”

“Stiles, in case you’ve forgotten, this is a family week. Your friends keep intruding and making themselves comfortable,” Gary pointed out.

“I told you the other day, these kids are family,” John interrupted, coming into the room. “Morning, girls.”

“Morning, Sheriff!” Lydia and Malia chorused.

“Is everything okay?” Stiles asked his father.

John frowned. “Not exactly.”

“Did you find another body?” Malia jumped in.

John shook his head, looking like he had bit into something sour. “Not yet.”

Stiles could feel his anxiety building up. It couldn’t be good news. “Dad? What is it?”

John sighed. “I think it’s time to get you guys involved in this case. We just had two more missing person reports called in.”

Stiles breathed out slowly, looking at the girls.

“Anyone we know?” Lydia asked cautiously.

John shook his head. “No. But this makes five who have gone missing, and three of them are dead. Odds are not looking great.”

Stiles ran a hand through his hair, then dropped it to his side, sighing. “Can you guys get the word out to the others? I’m assuming Derek filled you all in.”

Malia nodded, but then she narrowed her eyes. “I am not going to the loft.”

“You don’t have to. Just get the word out.”

Malia looked between he and his relatives, hesitating.

“It’s fine. We’ll meet up later, I promise.”

Malia nodded, and with one last glare at the others, she left.

“Lydia, would you go after her and make sure she doesn’t maim her father please?” John said after a few beats.

“He’s not my father!” Malia bellowed from outside.

“Right, sorry,” John amended. “You know what I mean.”

“I’ll keep her away from the loft, but I’m not promising anything,” Lydia warned.

John nodded tiredly.

“I’ll see you guys later,” Stiles called after her.

Lydia waved over her shoulder, and then she was gone.

“So, what’s the deal with her and her dad?” Jane probed as soon as the door shut.

Stiles gritted his teeth as he felt the tug of the rubber band.

“It’s complicated,” he said.

He looked out the window to avoid glaring at his cousins, and he noticed it was getting cloudy.

“Who cares,” Henry interrupted. “I’m not surprised you guys didn’t last. She’s way too hot for you!”

Stiles shrugged. “What can I say, I have a bad habit for falling for unattainable people.”

He left out the part that it was a mutual breakup, since he knew it would fall on deaf ears.

“No kidding,” Nate scoffed. “First the redhead bombshell, then Maria?”

“It’s Malia,” Bella corrected.

“And Lydia’s hair is strawberry-blonde,” Stiles said automatically.

“You sure you’re not still in love with her?” Polly smirked.

“Definitely sure.”

“With his track record, he’s probably in love with that Cora chick,” Tyler announced. “She’s gorgeous.”

“Wrong Hale,” Stiles heard his dad mutter.

He elbowed the sheriff lightly, then looked around to make sure none of the others heard. Thank god, they were all absorbed in making fun of Stiles, but Connor was looking at them intently, frowning like he was confused.

Stiles sent him an apologetic look, and Connor blinked, embarrassed that he had been caught.

Stiles shook that off and turned to his dad.

“What can I do?”

The sheriff sighed. “Nothing, at the moment. Malia and Lydia will tell the rest, and we’ll see where it goes. I talked to Derek, obviously, so I guess it must be the rogues.”

“Sorry, John, but you let these children help with police cases?” Gary asked incredulously.

“Beacon Hills is an interesting town, and things keep us on our toes. We do things a little differently here, especially when these children are so helpful,” the sheriff answered tiredly. “Now I’m going upstairs to change, take a half an hour nap, and then I’ll be in my office for the rest of the day.”

John didn’t wait for an answer, just pushed past everyone and went upstairs.

“What are we doing today?” Carol asked Stiles after a few moments of silence.

Stiles blinked at his aunt. “Uh, I’m not sure?”

“Of course you don’t know,” Carol muttered. “Well, I was thinking that you and your father should take us out to dinner. Somewhere nice.”

Stiles barely refrained from rolling his eyes. “I’ll talk to my dad.”

Carol nodded, somewhat satisfied, and they all (finally) drifted off to do their own thing.

“Bella, can I talk to you for a minute?” Dani asked suddenly.

“Me?” Bella asked, surprised.

Stiles looked between Dani and Bella, slightly confused. Connor had a reassuring hand on Dani’s shoulder, and Dani was looking at Bella intensely. Dani nodded, and Bella blinked a few times.

“Uh, yeah, I guess,” she said hesitantly.

She followed Dani upstairs, and Stiles was left with Connor.

“Do you know what that’s about?”

Connor smiled slightly. “Yeah. I think she wants to talk to you too, after.”

Stiles raised an eyebrow.

“You play chess, right?” Connor asked instead of explaining.

“I do,” Stiles answered, letting him change the subject. “Why?”

“Dani’s told me that you’re pretty good, and I was hoping for a chance to play you. Not to brag, but I haven’t lost a game in two years.”

Stiles grinned. “That sounds a lot like a brag.”

Connor shrugged one shoulder, smirking slightly.

Stiles narrowed his eyes. “You’re on.”

Connor was good, Stiles had to admit. He had Stiles in check a few times, and every time Stiles had him in check, he managed to get out of it. Bella and Dani came downstairs about five minutes earlier, and now they were cheering them on.

Stiles sat staring at the board, trying to figure out his next move. He finally moved his knight, satisfaction filling him.

“Checkmate,” he said smugly.

Connor sat back with a sigh. “Damn. Nice game, man.”

“You too. Rematch?”

Connor looked at him calculatingly before grinning. “You’re on.”

They had just finished resetting the board when the triplets came up behind them.

“Hey, Mitchy,” Polly said.

The rubber band stretched tighter. Stiles shut his eyes for a second, letting out a slow breath, and then her turned around.

“What’s up, Polly?”

“Who are all of these people?” She asked, smirking and holding up a stack of pictures.

Anger ripped through Stiles so quickly it almost surprised him. He practically leapt out of his seat, knocking it to the ground. It seemed fitting that the storm broke at that moment, thunder and lightning splitting the sky  

The triplets stared at him in shocked satisfaction, and Stiles noticed a few others trickle into the room.

“Give those back,” he said warningly.

“Ooh,” Polly cooed. “I think I struck a nerve. Do you jerk off to those? Is that why they were under your mattress? A lot of them are pretty hot, especially this blonde-”

“They were under my mattress so you wouldn’t find them,” Stiles snarled. “Now give them back.”

“Tell me who they are first.” Polly waved the pictures at Stiles.

“My friends.”

Polly looked at him doubtfully. “Oh really? I haven’t seen any of them with your other ‘friends.’ What, did they get sick of you?”

“It’s none of your business.”

“Stiles, you’re being quite rude,” Anne announced. Stiles ignored her.

“Wait, I recognize that one!” Tyler said, looking over Polly’s shoulder. “Isn’t that Heather? The girl you used to follow around?”

“Yes,” Stiles gritted out.

He heard Bella inhale sharply from behind him- she knew, of course, who they were.

“Oh, I get it!” Jane said, clapping excitedly. “These are all people he was obsessed with! Omigod, Mitchy, you’re a total stalker!”

“You’re wrong. Hand them over, Polly!”

“Did they get sick of you? Is that why they’re not around anymore?”

“He probably bored them to death!” Nate crowed.

“Shut up,” Stiles snapped. His heart was pounding, and he was dangerously close to breaking.

“Aw, someone’s sensitive. This is a lot of people. You’re really that annoying? You drove them all away?”

“They’re all dead, you insensitive assholes!” Stiles shouted.

His cousins fell silent, mouths hanging open in surprise.

“Me-check-slaw!” Carol gasped, completely butchering his name. “You apologize right now!”

“Carol, they owe Stiles an apology,” Eric snapped.

“He’s just being dramatic,” Justin scoffed.

“He’s not,” Bella snapped, coming up behind Stiles and putting a hand on his shoulder. “I’ve talked to him after every single one of the funerals.”

Other than the rolling thunder, it was dead silent. 

“He acts like he’s the only one who knows grief,” Nate muttered suddenly, mostly to himself. But it was loud enough that Stiles’ anger picked up again.

“Who the fuck have you lost?” He shouted. “How many people do you know that have died?”

“Grandma and Grandpa, for starters,” Nate rebutted. “And Dad’s uncle died last year.”

“Nate, you weren’t even close to Uncle Will, so shut the hell up,” Dani said sharply. “And you were six when Grammy and Pops passed.”

“Exactly!” Nate cried. “Mitchy acts like he’s the only one who’s lost someone, but he probably wasn’t even close to these people! He probably doesn’t even know what grief is.”

“I held my mother’s hand as she died!” Stiles cried.

“Boohoo, that was twelve years ago!” Sherry sneered.

“Guys, that’s maybe going a little far-” Tyler started hesitantly.

Stiles was too angry to care that Tyler was actually sort of on his side.

“Fine, you want recent grief? Is the last four years recent enough for you?” Stiles snatched the pictures from Polly’s hands and started holding them up.

“This was Tara. She was one of my dad’s deputies. She used to watch me while my dad was stuck at work. She would always help me with my math homework when I was little, and then we found her dead on the lawn of our school!”

Stiles was shaking in his anger.

“These six people were also deputies that I grew up with. All of them have been killed over the last few years.”

“Doesn’t that like, come with the job?” Henry muttered.

Stiles glared at his family bitterly. He knew he was going a little far, but it was like he couldn’t stop. His voice was desperate and angry, but he couldn’t calm down.

The next picture somehow made him feel worse.

“Erica. She was a friend. She was kidnapped by a...gang, and they killed her. She didn’t deserve it. None of them did, but especially these few. She was only sixteen.”

He looked at the next picture, anger and sadness making his voice tight. “Boyd. He was killed about a month after Erica. It was awful. He was seventeen, and one of the nicest guys I knew.”

Stiles sighed. “Heather. It was her birthday. If I had just stayed with her...if I hadn’t-”

Stiles broke off, breathing hard. Bella squeezed his shoulder, and he steeled himself for the last one.

“But you know what? The worst death? One of my very best friends. Allison. She was seventeen, and I got into some trouble. She was trying to help me, and she was murdered because of it. Because of me. It’s my fault that she died, and I have to live with that every goddamn day.”

Stiles took a pause, scowling. He put the rest of the pictures in his pocket gently, fighting the urge to crumple them in his anger.

“So don’t you dare tell me I don’t know grief. Don’t you dare, because those weren’t even half of the people I know who have died. You’re the ones who don’t know grief.”

Stiles turned around to walk into the kitchen, to get away, but he stopped as soon as he heard Jane open her mouth.

“He’s so dramatic,” she scoffed. “I bet he made it all up.”

Stiles whirled around. He was again struck by how fitting this storm was as lightning flashed across the sky, followed by a crash of thunder that shook the house.

“You insensitive bitch!” He shouted. “It’s no wonder you’ve never had any lasting relationships with anyone in your life, because no one can fucking stand you!”

Stiles didn’t wait to see the aftermath of his explosion. He shoved past everyone and ran up the stairs, past his shocked father and right into his room. He slammed the door and threw himself into his desk chair, burying his face in his hands.

He had done it now. He fucked it all up, he ruined it. He and his dad were about to be penniless.

There was a knock on the door.

“Not now, Dad. I’ll apologize later,” he mumbled tiredly.

The door opened anyway.

“Dad, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have lost it. But I can’t do it now, I can’t look at them and apologize.”

“We should be the ones apologizing to you.”

Stiles jumped slightly, turning to see Dani standing hesitantly in the doorway.

“Can I come in?” She asked softly.

Stiles cleared his throat and nodded, rubbing away the few tears he hadn’t realized he had fallen.

“Are you okay?”

Stiles scoffed. “I haven’t been okay since I was sixteen.”

Dani sighed. “Sorry, that’s not what I meant. I just...Gary took your side, you know? They’re all down there arguing, and Mom’s the only one cursing you out.”

Stiles shot her a disbelieving look. “Really?”

Dani nodded. “Well, and my stupid brother and the triplets. They were so out of line, Stiles. I’m so sorry about your friends. Do you mind if I ask…”

Stiles shrugged. “Go ahead.”

“What happened with Allison? You said you were in trouble?”

Stiles let out a humorless laugh that was more a sigh, shaking his head slightly.

“It just happened so fast,” he said bitterly, recalling Chris Argent’s words. “She was Scott’s girlfriend- his ex, really, but they were still in love. Apparently he held her while she died, but I wasn’t even there to see it. I had been trying to help another friend, but it was a trap, and, well. It just happened so fast.”

Dani was looking at him with pity in her gaze, and Stiles didn’t like that at all.

“Stiles, I’m so sorry.”

“What do you want?” He asked tiredly.

“To apologize,” she said, tentatively sitting on the edge of his bed.

“For?”

“Everything. Stiles, I was awful to you for years. I ignored you, and I saw the others bullying you and I didn’t do anything. I don’t know why I didn’t, but I didn’t. And I feel horrible.”

Stiles blinked at her. That wasn’t what he was expecting.

“Are you just saying this because you feel bad for me?” He asked suspiciously.

Dani shook her head quickly. “No, god, no. It’s what I was talking to Bella about, and I wanted to talk to you anyway. But I also wanted to tell you…”

She trailed off, and Stiles raised an eyebrow.

She sighed slightly. “You said that none of us know grief, but that’s not quite true. About two months after Connor and I got engaged, we found out that I was pregnant.”

Stiles tilted his head, taken aback. His eyes automatically went to Dani’s flat stomach, then back to her sad eyes, and he got a sinking feeling in his chest.

Dani nodded, smiling sadly. “We didn’t tell any of the family, because...well, you’ve met our family. They would have just assumed that’s why we were getting married, and it wasn’t. I don’t really know what our plan was, if we were just going to be like ‘surprise, here’s your grandchild!’ at the wedding, or what.”

Stiles snorted, then covered his mouth guiltily. Dani just shook her head in amusement.

“Don’t worry about it. Anyway, I was about six months pregnant. Connor and I were on a walk, and we were crossing the street. I don’t know if he didn’t see us or what, but a taxi didn’t stop in time. He hit us both. Not hard enough to really do any damage, maybe just leave a few bruises. Except when I fell...when I fell, I landed on my stomach.”

Dani took a shaky breath, brushing away a tear. Stiles wanted to reach out and hug her, but he wasn’t sure she’d want that.

“By the time we got to the hospital it was too late. I lost the baby. It was a little girl. We were going to name her Lori, after Grandma.”

“Dani…I’m so sorry. I had no idea…”

“How could you? We didn’t tell anyone. My point was, I know a little about grief. By no means is it on the scale you’ve experienced it, but I have an idea of what you’re feeling.”

Stiles nodded, and Dani reached out. Stiles smiled and grasped her hand, squeezing it.

“Wow, our family is pretty fucked up,” he said suddenly.

Dani laughed. “Tell me about it. But hey. I’m going to talk to mom. I won’t let her do anything to you and your dad.”

The tightness of the rubber band under his skin loosened slightly.

“Thank you, Dani.”

Dani nodded at him in acknowledgment, but she still looked worried. “Stiles, when you were talking with your friends this morning it sounded like you guys were in trouble. Is there something going on that Connor or I could help with?”

Stiles smiled slightly, shaking his head. “Nah. We’ve got it covered. Like my dad was saying, Beacon Hills is a weird place. We’re just doing what we can to help.”

Dani nodded again, but she was squinting at him as though she was suspicious. Of what, Stiles didn’t know, but he cut her off as she opened her mouth.

“That storm was crazy,” he said, looking outside at the now-sunny skies.

She turned to the window. “Yeah, it was pretty quick, too.”

“Thank God,” Stiles said, standing up. “What do you think? Should we brave the wolves?”

Dani laughed, and so did Stiles.


 

It took about an hour, but everyone finally calmed down. All it took was the sheriff promising to take them to a fancy restaurant for dinner and Stiles gritting out a sincere-enough-sounding apology to his cousins.

The sheriff had taken Stiles aside and apologized for the cousins, even though he had nothing to do with it. Stiles could see how guilty he felt, and he didn’t want his father looking into it too much more, so he just reassured him that he was fine.

Stiles was in the middle of another game of chess with Connor when Sherry let out a loud squeal.

“He’s here!”

Stiles knew it could only be one person, and he sighed.

“Who’s here?” Connor asked, raising an eyebrow.

“My friend. Excuse me, I need to go save him from the girls.”

Stiles got to the front door in time to see Sherry and Jane hovering over Derek as he got out of the car.

“What’s up?” Stiles called, fighting back laughter at Derek’s I’m going to kill something if they don’t get away from me face.

“Nothing,” Derek answered, managing to brush the girls away. “I came to see if I could help...your….”

Derek broke off, squinting behind Stiles.

“Connor?” Derek asked disbelievingly.

Stiles turned around, taken aback, and he saw Connor’s jaw drop.

“Derek! Oh my god!”

Connor ran out the door.

Stiles watched, open-mouthed, as Derek met Connor halfway and pulled him into a hug. His jaw dropped even more when Dani flew past him and Derek hugged her as well.

Derek Hale didn’t do hugs. And especially not with Stiles’ cousin and her fiancé! What the hell?

Stiles snapped out of his shock and hurried forward, looking between the other three.

“Hold on, you know Derek?” He asked Dani.

“Yeah, I know Derek! You know Derek?”

“Obviously I know Derek! Wait, how do you know Derek?”

“How do you know Derek?”

“Do you know Derek how I know Derek?”

“That depends on how you know Derek!”

“Derek!” Stiles and Dani yelled together.

“You both know me the same way, I think,” Derek answered, looking both amused and confused. “How do you know each other?”

“We’re cousins,” they said together again.

Stiles and Dani looked at each other and cringed, silently agreeing to not do that again.

“Wait, so...you know?” Stiles asked Dani.

“Yeah, I know. You know?”

“Yes, I know,” Stiles said impatiently. “How do you know?”

“Connor was Laura’s best friend,” Derek told him.

“Hang on, so you’re a-” Stiles asked Connor.

“Yep,” Connor answered, tilting his head like a lost puppy. “How do you know?”

“What’s going on out here?” Sheriff Stilinski said, coming outside.

“Dad! Dani knows Derek!”

“Wait, Dani knows Derek like we know Derek?”

“Yeah! Connor grew up with Derek’s sister.”

“Cora?”

“No, Laura. Where is Cora, anyway?” Connor asked.

“Back at my place,” Derek said.

“Wait...the gang you’ve been talking about...it’s not a gang, is it?” Dani asked, voice full of tired anxiety.

“We should probably talk,” Derek said regretfully.


“So that means you know that Malia’s a werewolf, right?” Connor asked Stiles as soon as the door to the sheriff’s office was shut.

Stiles nodded. “Werecoyote, but yeah.”

“Good. I’m surprised she didn’t say anything about me this morning.”

“She was upset,” Stiles explained. “She doesn’t always have the best focus when she’s upset. If she had noticed, she definitely would have said something.”

“So all of your friends that you talk about, they’re all part of the McCall pack?”

Stiles nodded. “Yep.”

“Did you know that your pack is kinda famous?”

Stiles blinked, looking at Derek for explanation.

Derek shrugged. “The alpha pack, the Durach, the Nogitsune, we defeated them all. Plus, Scott’s a True Alpha. Word gets around.”

“Stiles, are you the only human in the pack?” Dani asked, frowning.

“Nah. Mason’s a human.”

“But Mason joined later, right?”

“Two years ago.”

Dani looked visibly upset. “So that means that you were the one possessed by the Nogitsune.”

Stiles looked down, swallowing hard. He nodded.

“And that’s why you blame yourself for Allison.”

Stiles looked at her sharply, but it was too late. He sighed and nodded again.

“Stiles, you blame yourself for Allison?” Derek asked gently. It was weird, coming from Derek.

Stiles sighed. “Of course I do.”

“It wasn’t your fault.”

“You know, people say that, but it doesn’t mean anything. So maybe the Nogitsune wasn’t possessing me anymore, but he had been. And he still had my face.”

“Stiles, you’re fucking legendary because of this, did you know that?”

Stiles looked at Connor, raising an eyebrow.

“Dude, a sixteen year old human who lived through being possessed by a Nogitsune? It’s insane!”

“Come on, Connor, now that’s just going to go to his ego,” Derek complained.

Stiles shoved Derek’s shoulder, and Derek didn’t even budge.

“Hang on, how did you guys really meet?” Stiles asked Dani and Connor. “Because unless Connor had some wolfsbane in his drinks, I doubt he was drunk.”

“It was the morning after a full moon, and I was exhausted,” Connor responded. “The rest is true, except for the fact that she saw me with fangs and yellow eyes.”

“So you found out right away, then.”

Dani nodded, grinning. “I was so scared, holy shit. Laura and Derek had to come over because I kept attacking him with my bat-”

“Seriously, what is it with your family and bats?” Derek interrupted, exasperated. “Do any of you even play baseball?”

Stiles and Dani laughed.

“Anyway, it took about half an hour for me to calm down enough for them to explain it to me, and another hour for them to explain that they weren’t going to eat me.”

Stiles laughed.

“How’d you find out?” Connor asked in turn.

“Scott was bitten by Derek’s insane uncle, and I kinda got pulled along for the ride. We met Derek the day after, and he was all stalkerish and creepy for the next year or two. Which caused a few...misunderstandings.”

“Derek, you mean my cousin is the kid who framed you for murder?” Dani asked, her lips twitching.

“Hey! The first time we really thought he was guilty, and the second time it was Scott and we thought he was dead!” Stiles protested.

Derek rolled his eyes. Dani suddenly got a grin on her lips that reminded Stiles way too much of Bella.

“But that means that my cousin is the one who you-”

“Do you want to hear about what’s going on?” Derek interrupted loudly.

Stiles frowned, especially when Dani just sat back with a smirk.

“Yes, we want to know,” Connor reassured him. “But it’s so fun to try and embarrass you.”

Derek groaned, and Stiles sat up straighter. “Wait, it’s possible to embarrass him? What stories do you have? Tell me everything!”

“If they tell you I’ll rip your throat out. With my teeth.”

Stiles just waved Derek off. “Get a new threat, you’re not scary anymore.”

“I’ll tell you eventually, I promise. I have loads of stories, especially because I’ve known him since he was born. But for now we really should hear about whatever is going on.”

Stiles rolled his eyes, but he and Derek filled them in.

They had been talking for nearly an hour and a half when there was a knock at the door. John poked his head in.

“Sorry, kids. I need my office back. Derek, obviously feel free to stick around, they’ll be nice to you because Anne wants you to marry one of the girls, and Carol probably wants one of the boys to marry Cora.”

Derek paled slightly, and Stiles laughed.

“Aw, Derek’s used to people hitting on him, isn’t that right?”

“Shut up, Stiles,” Derek muttered.

“Don’t be shy, I’m always telling you you have a pretty face,” Dani cooed, patting his cheek. “Whenever he comes to visit us, our neighbors flirt with him. The guy in 2B asked about you, by the way.”

Derek groaned, covering his face. “Tell him I’m not interested!”

“You went on a date with the guy,” Dani reminded him.

Stiles gaped. “Derek went on a date?”

He wasn’t sure if he was amused or slightly jealous. A little of both, honestly.

“I didn’t know it was a date!” Derek protested.

“He brought you flowers.”

“I hate your family,” Derek mumbled.

“Nah, you love them,” Connor said, patting his shoulder. “Some more than others, I think.”

Stiles blinked, confused, as Derek shoved a laughing Connor.


The sheriff was right, Anne and her daughters were super nice to Derek. Stiles suspected that Polly was looking for an in with Cora, mainly because she kept asking Derek all about her.

It sucked for Derek, but it was great for Stiles, because it meant they were leaving him alone. He was playing another game of chess with Connor, a rematch for their interrupted game earlier, while Derek sat on the floor, playing with Teddy and Taylor, and trying to ignore the triplets.

“You’re so great with kids,” Sherry gushed.

“I grew up with a lot of them,” Derek said shortly, handing Teddy a blue crayon.

Stiles met Connor’s eyes and looked away quickly, trying not to laugh. Derek had a short temper on the best of days, but with the full moon being tomorrow, and the fact that the girls were incredibly obnoxious, it was worse than usual. Add in the stress of not being able to express this annoyance in any of his usual wolf ways, and trying to be cheerful for Teddy and Taylor, it made for a very cranky Derek.

It also made for a very amused Stiles.

“Hey Derek,” Jane said.

“Yes?” Derek answered, not looking up.

“Did you know that Stiles is in love with you?”

Stiles fumbled his Queen, doing everything in his power to control his heartbeat and not flip out.

The rubber band stretched tighter.

But Derek hardly even reacted, to Stiles’ surprise.

“I thought he was in love with Lydia,” he deadpanned, still not looking at the girls. “Or was it Malia?”

Stiles exhaled in relief, letting himself smile slightly as Derek finally looked up, meeting his eyes for a split second then turning to the girls.

Sherry and Jane were beet red and spluttering, trying to recover.

“We didn’t-”

“How did you-”

“Malia’s my cousin,” Derek explained, an amused smirk on his face as he turned back to Teddy. “Besides, I know Stiles. He’s not great at hiding things. If he was in love with any of us, I think we’d know.”

Stiles’ mind was racing. He couldn’t tell if he was proud of the fact that he had gotten so good at hiding things from his friends, or offended that Derek thought he was that obvious.

He also couldn’t tell which was worse- Derek having no clue about Stiles’ giant crush- and let’s be honest, it’s more than a crush- or Derek knowing and just casually brushing it off like that.

Stiles wanted to scream.

“Next you’ll be telling Scott that Stiles is in love with him,” Derek finished, oblivious to Stiles’ inner turmoil.

“Ugh! No,” Stiles whined, shuddering. “Gross, no.”

Derek smirked at him. “You think Scott is gross?”

“No, I think Scott is my brother, and that is gross,” Stiles clarified, turning back to the chess board.

Connor was looking at him with a mixture of pity and exasperation that Stiles didn’t understand.

Stiles rolled his eyes and put down his queen, smirking.

“Checkmate.”

“Dammit!” Connor exclaimed, looking back at the board in surprise. “Fuck you, dude.”

“Language,” Derek chastised, looking between the little boys and Connor.

Stiles locked eyes with Connor and together they burst out laughing. 

 


 

“Lydia, you’re a lifesaver,” Stiles murmured as he opened the door for his friend around four o’clock.

“I know,” she responded, smirking and brushing past him.

“Young lady,” Carol started, annoyed. “I know they say you’re family, but you can’t just-”

“Carol, she’s coming to dinner with us,” Sheriff Stilinski said. “She made the reservation at the restaurant.”

“My uncle works there,” Lydia explained. “Otherwise it’s impossible to get a reservation on such short notice.”

Carol looked like she wanted to protest more, but she just wrinkled her nose and walked away.

“Hey, Lydia,” Derek called, walking in with Taylor on his hip.

“Hello, sweetheart,” Lydia cooed, ignoring Derek and taking the baby from him.

“You’re still mad about this morning,” Derek deduced.

“No, I just like babies more than you.”

“Doesn’t everybody,” Connor joked, clapping Derek on the shoulder.

Derek rolled his eyes, and Lydia cocked an eyebrow at Stiles.

“It turns out that Connor grew up with Derek’s sister,” Stiles explained, raising his eyebrows meaningfully.

Lydia’s eyes widened slightly. “So…”

“Yep. My cousin is marrying-”

“A teacher,” Derek cut in smoothly. “Anyway, I should probably get going-”

“Aw, Derek, you should come to dinner with us!” Sherry exclaimed.

“That would be so fun!” Jane agreed.

“Oh, uh...thanks, but I don’t want to intrude.”

Stiles rolled his eyes at Lydia, and she giggled silently.

“No, I insist,” Aunt Carol said, much to Stiles’ surprise. “We would love to have you join us.”

A lightbulb went off in Stiles’ head.

“Yeah, Derek, come to dinner,” he said, patting Derek’s arm.

Derek looked down at his hand, then at Stiles, raising an eyebrow.

“Isn’t the reservation only for…” Derek hesitated, seemingly doing a silent count. “Twenty-one?”

“Oh, Uncle James reserved a whole room for us,” Lydia said easily when Stiles gave her a meaningful look. “I’m sure one more won’t make a difference.”

“I’m not really dressed for it,” Derek tried.

“You could go home and change,” Dani suggested, clueing in to Stiles’ thought process. “And maybe you could see if Cora wanted to come. I’d love to see her.”

“What a great idea!” Carol exclaimed. “I think she would get along splendidly with the boys.”

“And Polly,” Anne added.

“Really, Derek, we’d love to have you,” the sheriff joined in, clearly thinking along the same lines as Stiles.

“I…”

“Please?” Stiles asked, genuinely pleading, and hoping that Derek could see it in his face.

Derek slumped almost unnoticeably. “I guess I’ll run home and change, then. And I’ll ask Cora. Before I go, Stiles, you left that thing in my car, can you come get it?”

Stiles sighed, but he nodded. He hadn’t been in Derek’s car in over two months, so that meant Derek was about to yell at him.

He followed Derek outside, and Derek waited until they were out of earshot until he rounded on Stiles.

He didn’t even say anything, just crossed his arms and rested his back against the Camaro, glaring at him.

Stiles sighed. “Look, I fucked up earlier. I yelled at my cousins and I really pissed off Aunt Carol. This is an apology dinner. If you’re there, it’ll keep her happy, and she’ll forget why she was mad in the first place. I’m sorry I dragged you into this.”

Derek’s glare softened. “I still don’t understand why you have to keep them happy.”

Stiles just shook his head. “We just do. Can you trust me on that?”

Derek squinted at him for a moment, seemingly debating.

“I’ll get Cora to dinner, but I can’t promise she won’t maim any of them,” he said finally.

“Just make sure it’s not the Gilds or Dani and I really won’t care,” Stiles joked, relieved.

“Anything else?” Derek asked.

Stiles raised an eyebrow. “Ideally, you’d marry Sherry or Jane. But choose carefully, because either way, that’ll cause a feud between them, and you don’t want to be in the middle of that.”

“Not how I’d prefer to marry into your family,” Derek muttered.

Stiles blinked, clearly having misheard him. “What?”

“Nothing. How fancy should I dress for this stupid thing?”

Stiles shrugged. “I’m going with a dress shirt and nice pants. Or whatever Lydia and Bella force me into. Honestly, letting them meet was a bad idea. And now Dani...ugh, don’t make me go back in.”

Derek snorted. “Go, Cora and I will meet you guys there.”

“Ugh, fine. You’d better be on time!”

Derek just waved him off and climbed into the car.

As his friend pulled away, Stiles watched him with a smile, wondering exactly when he had fallen so hard for Derek Hale.

He jumped as someone grabbed him by the shoulders.

“Come on, loverboy,” Dani said, steering him towards the house. “Lydia picked out your outfit.”

Stiles was too busy protesting the outfit thing, he forgot to complain about the loverboy comment.

Chapter Text

 

It took about half an hour to get everyone dressed and ready, and another five minutes to figure out who was driving with who (“I don’t want to drive with Stiles!” “There was blood on his car yesterday!” “He’s annoying!”), but finally, they made it to the restaurant.

Stiles’ Jeep looked very out of place next to all of the fancy cars, but honestly that was the least of Stiles’ worries that week.

“I can’t believe you drove that thing,” Tyler said in disgust.

“That thing is my baby,” Stiles retorted. “I’ll stop driving it when I’m dead.”

Tyler rolled his eyes, but before he could say anything else about the Jeep, Derek’s arrival was announced by the squealing of the girls.

He had barely parked the car before Cora was out and running.

Stiles had honestly never seen her smile that wide before.

“Connor!” She yelled, throwing herself into his arms.

He caught her, laughing.

“Hey, Corey!”

She shoved him as soon as he set her down, and he stumbled back, still laughing.

“Hey, Cora,” Dani said, grinning.

Cora turned and hugged her too, still smiling.

“This is the weirdest thing I have ever seen,” Stiles muttered to Lydia.

“Shut up, Stilinski,” Cora called, rolling her eyes.

“Hi, Cora,” Henry said, smiling confidently at her.

Cora looked at him and scoffed before turning back to Dani and Connor.

Henry frowned, clearly confused as to why she had rebuffed him.

“I can’t believe that you’re related to him,” Cora said to Dani good-naturedly, pointing at Stiles.

“Hey,” Stiles mock-complained. “I saved your life.”

“Four years ago,” Cora responded, tossing her hair over her shoulder.

“That shouldn’t matter!”

“Alright, kids, I’m hungry,” the sheriff interrupted. “Should we go inside?”

“Yes please, I’m starving,” Stiles announced.

“You’re always starving,” Derek countered.

“I’m not doing this with you again,” Stiles muttered.

Derek just smirked.

They walked inside and as soon as the hostess saw Lydia, she smiled and led them back to a private room.

Before Stiles could even think about sitting down, his cousins were pushing him out of the way and dragging Stiles’ friends to sit with them.

The next thing Stiles knew, the table was set up as follows:

Gary at one head, and to his left was Jane, Derek, Sherry, Aunt Anne, Aunt Kelly, Taylor in his high chair, Uncle Eric, Teddy, and Henry. Aunt Carol sat at the other head, and to her left was Bella, Polly, Cora, Lydia, Nate, an open seat, then Tyler, Uncle Justin, and then the sheriff.

Stiles grudgingly took the open seat. The layout somehow made it so that was he was close enough to his friends and god family that he could talk to them occasionally, but still spread out enough that he was mainly miserable.

“Ugh, where is the waiter?” Sherry grumbled.

“We just sat down, give them a minute,” Dani said, rolling her eyes.

Sherry glared at her, but she didn’t say anything else.

Soon enough, the waiter had taken their orders, and Stiles was ready for the night to be over.

“Stiles, dear, you need a haircut,” Carol told him.

“No, his hair is fine,” Anne disagreed. “But he needs to bulk up a bit. A skinny boy like you will never get a girlfriend. Or a boyfriend.”

“And Bella, honey, you really should get a facial.”

Stiles shared a glance with his cousin, and they both subtly rolled their eyes.

“Derek, you really are great with kids,” Stiles heard Jane coo from the other end of the table.

He turned his head and saw Derek bouncing Taylor up and down on his lap, wincing at Jane’s shrill voice. He sent her a smile that was more like a grimace, then met Stiles’ gaze, rolling his eyes. Stiles grinned at him and shrugged apologetically.

“As I was saying,” Carol continued, drawing Stiles’ attention away from Derek. “Bella, when are you going to find a man?”

“I’m only eighteen, Aunt Carol.”

Yeah, Stiles was ready for the night to be over.

He glanced back over to Derek, then almost choked on his water.

Derek- perpetually brooding, don’t-mess-with-me-or-I’ll-rip-your-throat-out-with-my-teeth, actual angsty werewolf Derek Hale- was making the stupidest faces that Stiles had ever seen at little Taylor. He was going the whole nine yards- the baby talk, the smiling, the blowing raspberries, and even though Taylor was barely one month old, Stiles could swear he was smiling.

Stiles continued staring (not in a creepy way, because seriously, that was Derek Hale and Stiles didn’t think he was possible of making those faces, and he desperately wanted to take out his phone for photo evidence) for he didn’t know how long, but then suddenly he was brought back to himself when something cold spilled over his right arm.

He startled out of his funk and grabbed his napkin, looking to the side just in time to see Tyler placing his water glass back on the table.

“Dude!” He exclaimed, looking at his cousin in surprise.

“Sorry, Mitchy, lost control of my glass.”

“Well, at least it didn’t fall,” Uncle Gary said, barely glancing at them.

Stiles clenched his jaw, doing his best to dry off his soaked sleeve while the rubber band tightened.

“You good, Sti?” Bella asked, looking down the table at him.

“I’m good,” Stiles sighed. He placed his napkin back on the table, accepting the fact that his sleeve wasn’t going to dry.

He glanced over at Lydia and Cora, and he wasn’t surprised to see that both of them looked pissed. One look at Derek and Stiles could see he felt the same.

Tyler snickered, and the rubber band pulled tighter under Stiles’ skin. He clenched his jaw, looking down at his plate. He was distracted by his anger, however, when there was the sound of glass breaking, and Tyler yelled beside him. He turned to see that Tyler was now soaked, covered in water and shards of glass.

“What happened?” Carol demanded. “Are you alright?”

“The glass just...broke!” Tyler exclaimed, looking slightly shocked.

Justin chuckled from down the table. “You don’t know your own strength,” he said proudly. “That’s my boy.”

Tyler grinned at that, appeased, then went to the bathroom to dry off.

“So, Cora dear,” Carol started, once conversation resumed. “Your brother mentioned that he travelled a lot. Have you?”

Cora nodded tensely, but Stiles was pulled into a conversation with Gary and he missed the rest of her answer.

And so the night went. Stiles’ cousins would continuously do things to embarrass and bully him- tell embarrassing (and fake) stories, etc- and his friends would get more and more annoyed as Stiles sat there and took it. The rubber band under his skin was stretched so tight, Stiles was sure it was going to break soon. He didn’t want to find out what would happen when it did.

They were almost done with dinner, almost ready to leave, when Tyler and Nate took it slightly too far.

Tyler elbowed him in the side, hard, and Stiles turned and glared at him.

“What the hell, man?”

Tyler just shrugged and shot him a cocky smirk.

Stiles just took a calming breath and turned back to his meal, about to take a bite when-

“Stiles,” Derek said loudly. “Don’t eat that.”

Stiles looked up at the werewolf, confused. Derek was staring intently at Stiles’ raised fork.

Stiles raised an eyebrow at him, and a muscle in Derek’s jaw twitched a few times before he explained through clenched teeth.

“Nate put olives in there.”

Stiles furrowed his brow and looked down at his fork, and sure enough, there was an olive mixed in with his chicken.

Stiles dropped the fork, pushing the plate away.

“Just...why?” He asked tiredly.

Nate put on a mask of innocence. “You love olives. I was being nice.”

“He’s allergic to olives!” Derek snapped. “His throat will close if he eats any!”

“And you know it too, you asshole!” Dani yelled. “Because you did this to him a few years ago, and he ended up in the hospital!”

Stiles had nearly forgotten about that.

“Danielle Elizabeth, do not raise your voice at your brother! And watch your language!” Carol admonished sharply. “It was a misunderstanding, you heard him. He was trying to be kind.”

Stiles saw his friends looking at her, shocked. Dani opened and closed her mouth a few times in outrage, before slumping back in her chair. Connor put a calming arm around her.

“Stiles, did you eat any?” His father asked, and Stiles could hear the carefully controlled anger in his voice.

“Not that I’m aware of,” Stiles said slowly, hesitating and making sure that his mouth wasn’t going numb. “No, I’m good.”

“All’s well that ends well, am I right?” Justin said easily, and that was that.

The sheriff made eye contact with Stiles, and Stiles nodded, trying to reassure him. John shook his head sadly, but his eyes showed how angry he was. Stiles had a sinking feeling that he was going to have a discussion with Aunt Carol later. Shit.

Derek, on the other hand, stood up abruptly. Everyone looked at him.

“Excuse me,” he gritted out before he stalked towards the bathrooms.

Stiles saw the sheriff rubbing his temples.

“Should I-” Connor started, looking hesitantly at Stiles.

“I got it,” Stiles sighed, standing up.

He walked into the bathroom and found Derek with his eyes shut and clutching one of the sinks so tightly Stiles thought it might shatter.

After making sure the stalls were empty, Stiles just shut the door and locked it behind him, leaning against it.

“When my grandparents passed away,” Stiles started after a moment of silence. He looked at the ground when Derek finally looked at him. “They left the control of their money to the oldest two- Aunt Carol and Uncle Gary. Legally, they have to share it with their siblings, my dad and Aunt Kelly, but they get to decide who gets how much.”

Stiles took a breath, still not looking at Derek.

“Which means that legally, they can give us as little as five hundred dollars a year. We get more than that now, but barely. It’s the same with Aunt Kelly. It’s not much, but it’s enough to get by. So, if we piss them off, they’ll cut us off, and there is no way Dad and I could survive on his salary alone. So...we keep them happy.”

Derek didn’t say anything, so Stiles started rambling.

“After Henry and Tyler almost drowned me, Dad screamed at Carol and Gary. I’d never seen him so angry. We didn’t talk to them for two years, and they cut our money. We came close to losing the house. It only got better when Gary decided to ‘make amends,’ and guilted my dad into helping him with something or another. And during the whole thing with the Nogitsune, when we were having money trouble, that was because Dad found out that the triplets had forced me into a panic attack. Again, they cut us off, and it only got better when Dad agreed to help Carol paint her house. And the truth is, he doesn’t know how bad the cousins treat me. If he did, he might actually kill one of them. We can’t afford for them to cut us off, not with me in college. Maybe when I get a job it’ll be different, but for now, Dad can’t know. And I can take it, I’ve had worse.”

Derek was quiet for too long, so Stiles finally looked at him. Derek was glaring at the door, looking like he wanted to storm out and give Stiles’ family a piece of his mind. Except his eyes were glowing blue.

“Hey, whoa, calm down,” Stiles said quickly. “It’s okay.”

“No, it’s bullshit,” Derek snapped. “So just because they have money means their kids can beat the crap out of you?”

“And go through my stuff and mentally abuse me too, yeah,” Stiles admitted. “But we only see them once every few years, so we keep them happy. Like I said, I’ve had worse.”

Derek growled low in his throat, and that really shouldn’t affect Stiles the way it did.

“Stiles, he could have killed you out there!”

“But he didn’t. And it’s not like it’s the first time someone has tried to kill me.”

“Bullshit,” Derek muttered again, but he shut his eyes and shook his head, and when he opened them, they were back to their normal color. He was clearly still very pissed, though.

“How does this not bother you?” Derek demanded, squinting at Stiles like he was trying to figure out a puzzle.

Stiles came up short, staring at Derek in disbelief.

“What are you talking about? Of course it bothers me!”

Derek raised an eyebrow. “None of your chemosignals are telling me that you’re incredibly upset by any of this. All I’m getting is vaguely annoyed.”

“Oh,” Stiles said, confusion melting away. “Dude, trust me. I’m pissed.”

He let out a breath and forced himself to relax, his whole body sagging as he let go of his carefully control of his emotions.

Derek actually recoiled, wrinkling his nose as the chemosignals from all of Stiles’ repressed emotions hit him at once.

He just stared at Stiles for a moment, eyes wide.

“Stiles, you’re on the verge of a panic attack!”

Stiles shook his head, smiling bitterly. “No, this is just my constant emotional state with them around.”

Derek frowned. “But how did you…”

Stiles shrugged. “Deaton’s been teaching me to control my heartbeat and chemosignals. I’m around emotion-sensing werewolves almost twenty-four/seven. Can you blame me for wanting a little privacy?”

Derek opened his mouth, but then he closed it and shook his head.

“The point is, I’m incredibly bothered by all of this. My family, the insane pack, everything. It just feels like there’s this…” Stiles spread his arms and sort of flailed, looking for the right comparison. “Like there’s a rubber band stretching through my body. And it’s not just in my head, it’s an actual, tangible feeling, and every time one of them opens their mouths, or shoves me, or talks to you, it stretches tighter, and I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen when it snaps.”

Stiles looked up to find Derek squinting at him again.

“What?” He muttered defensively. He knew it sounded stupid, but still.

“Nothing. That’s just sort of what it feels like for me right now. Leading up to the full moon and having to work on my temper and control. Obviously it’s different, but maybe you should try and find an anchor. A person, maybe your dad, or Scott, or Bella. Anyone you trust to keep you calm, or who you could focus on.”

Stiles tipped his head to the side, considering.

He immediately knew that Derek would be his anchor- hell, he already was. Anytime Derek was near him, Stiles felt much calmer, and the rubber band loosened. Unless his family was obsessing over him, in which case it pulled so tight he thought it might snap.

“That’s not a bad idea,” he said finally, instead of voicing his thoughts.

Derek nodded shortly, beginning to scowl again.

“We should probably head back out,” he grumbled, a muscle in his cheek twitching.

Stiles sighed. “You’re right. But I think they’re done anyway, so you can just go home. I swear I won’t force you to hang out with them tomorrow.”

“No, I can’t,” Derek sighed. “I never got those files from your father, so I need to go back to your house.

Stiles grimaced. “Sorry. Alright, let’s go out before they start a riot.”

They didn’t leave the restaurant for another half an hour, Stiles’ cousins demanding dessert and taking their time eating it. But finally, finally, they were leaving.

Stiles had just reached his Jeep with Lydia and Bella right behind him when Tyler spoke up.

“What is it with you and that dumb car, anyway?”

Stiles stiffened and turned around.

“What do you mean?” He forced out.

“I mean that you have an unnatural obsession with it. I doubt you’ve ever let anyone else drive it.”

“I have too!” Stiles protested.

“When you’re unconscious,” Lydia muttered under her breath.

Stiles rolled his eyes at her.

“What’s the big deal?” He asked his cousin.

“I think you should let Lydia drive back to the house,” Tyler said smugly.

“Why?” Stiles asked, confused and tired.

Tyler shrugged. “To prove that you can handle someone else driving.”

Stiles barely stopped himself from rolling his eyes.

“Of course I can handle someone else driving,” he gritted out. He turned to Lydia, holding out the keys. “Here, Lyds.”

Lydia raised a doubtful eyebrow at him, but Stiles nodded. She took the keys, although she had to tug hard a few times before Stiles forced himself to let go.

Trying to relax, he went to climb into the passenger seat, but Tyler stopped him.

“No, I’m sitting there. I have to make sure you’re not coaching her.”

Stiles bit back a few choice curses as he squeezed into the back with Bella and his father, who had somehow been convinced to let Gary drive the cruiser.

Bella patted his hand while he gritted his teeth as Lydia pulled out of the parking lot.

It wasn’t that Lydia was a bad driver, it was just that his car had already been through enough the day before, and Stiles’ nerves were shot.

“So, Bella, what are you thinking about for college?” Stiles’ father asked, effectively distracting Stiles for the next five minutes as Bella talked about her plans for her dorm room and what classes she’s going to take.

It worked so well that Stiles didn’t even realize how far they had gotten before Lydia turned off the car. He breathed out slowly, relieved that they had made it home in one piece. He glanced out the window as his father and Bella continued their conversation, hoping the sight of his house would calm him down a little. But as soon as he looked outside, his heart sank.

He briefly shut his eyes and sighed.

“Hey Lydia?” He asked carefully.

“Yeah?” Lydia turned around and looked at him.

“Is there a reason we’re at an old abandoned warehouse instead of my house?”

Lydia blinked, then whipped around and looked out of the windshield. She let out a tired sigh and laid her head on the steering wheel.

Stiles heard his dad groan slightly.

“Please tell me it’s not…”

Lydia nodded, picking up her head and looking back at them in resignation. “Yeah. Should I…”

“Just let me get my gun,” John said tiredly.

“What’s going on?” Tyler asked, voice squeaky with fear.

“Just stay in the car,” John told him.

Stiles got out just as the other cars pulled in. He groaned, shaking his head. Derek, Cora, Dani, and Connor got out of the first one, looking concerned. The rest of Stiles’ family got out of the others, all looking more annoyed than confused.

“Lydia drove,” Stiles said by way of explanation to his friends.

Derek and Cora’s faces both fell slightly, and Derek muttered something- probably an explanation- to Connor. They all came up to John, Lydia, and Stiles.

“Everyone stay here,” John called to the rest. “There’s something wrong in the building, and Lydia and I are going to check it out. Derek, can you tell if there’s anyone…”

Derek, Cora, and Connor all tipped their heads.

“It’s clear,” Derek said slowly. “But there’s a lot of…”

“Blood,” Connor finished.

John sighed. “Of course there is. I have a feeling we’re about to find one of our missing people. Lydia?”

Lydia nodded and started towards the building, John following closely.

Stiles spent five minutes trying to keep his family from revolting. They were asking questions that Stiles didn’t feel like answering, and when he did answer, they didn’t like what he said.

“Stiles, is everything alright?” Aunt Kelly asked gently.

Stiles sighed, shrugging. “We’ll find out in a minute.”

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, a piercing scream split the air.

Stiles shut his eyes and bowed his head in resignation.

Of course, his family started panicking. Taylor started crying, and Teddy practically leapt into Eric’s arms.

“John!” Eric shouted, starting towards the building.

Derek stopped him with a light hand on his shoulder.

“It’s okay,” he reassured him. “John’s fine.”

“But-” Eric started, gesturing wildly.

“He’s fine,” Derek said firmly. “And so is Lydia.”

“It’s hard to explain,” Stiles added. “But just trust us. They’ll be out soon.”

Somehow, Eric and Kelly seemed slightly reassured. The rest were obviously still freaking out, but Stiles ignored them as he started pacing. He hated waiting, and he hated not knowing who it was who had died. Not even Derek could help. Besides, Derek was just as agitated as him, just hiding it better.

Finally, he spotted Lydia coming towards them. His family fell silent.

Instead of feeling reassured, however, his anxiety increased as soon as he saw Lydia’s face. Even in the dark, he could tell that she was pale and shaky, but what was worse was that she was crying.

“Lydia, what happened?” Stiles asked immediately, taking a step towards her.

She shook her head mutely, clearly trying to collect herself.

“Was it that bad?” Cora murmured.

“It was worse than the gas station bathroom,” Lydia managed. “With Kate.”

Stiles felt nauseous. He had only seen pictures of that, and he didn’t know how it could be worse.

“Shit,” he breathed out. “I didn’t think that was possible.”

Lydia nodded. “Your dad threw up,” she said quietly.

“Was it one of the missing people?”

“Both of them were there.”

“Both?” Derek asked, surprised.

Lydia nodded.

“But that wasn’t all,” Cora observed.

Lydia shook her head. “There was a third body,” she whispered.

“Who was it?” Cora asked carefully.

Lydia’s eyes welled with fresh tears.

Stiles started forward, dread filling him. “Lydia, who was it?”

Lydia shook her head slightly, and Stiles felt Derek grab his arm.

“Hey! Dude, let me go!” He tried to pull his arm away, but Derek held tight. “What the hell?”

But Derek was looking at Lydia.

“Lydia, who was it?” He asked softly.

“It was Caitlin!” Lydia finally cried. “Stiles, I’m so sorry. It’s Caitlin.”

Cora gasped.

Stiles actually staggered back a step, as though the words had physically hit him. It was like all the air was pulled from his lungs as the words echoed around in his mind.

He bumped into Derek’s chest, and Derek let go of his arm, instead loosely holding his shoulders.

“No,” he said numbly, grief already flooding him.

Lydia nodded miserably. “They got her. The bastards got her.”

“They killed her?” Stiles whispered.

“They didn’t kill her,” Lydia said bitterly. “They tore her to pieces. There was nothing left.”

Stiles fought the bile rising in his throat.

“You can let go now,” he muttered to Derek.

Derek cautiously let him go and Stiles took a step forward.

He took a deep breath, then he whipped around and slammed his fist down on the hood of his car with a wordless shout. Pain shot up his arm, but he did it over and over, cursing everything, swearing until he was blue in the face.

Someone grabbed his fist mid-swing and stopped him, pulling at his arm until Stiles let himself be dragged away. He let Derek pull him against his chest, loosely clutching Derek’s shirt in his hands.

Derek wrapped his arms around Stiles, not holding him, not even hugging him, just sort of...supporting him.

Stiles pushed his face into Derek’s neck and inhaled deeply, much like Malia had done to him earlier that day. It didn’t mean the same to him as it would a werewolf, obviously, but it still had a calming effect. Sort of. Like he had realized before, Derek was his anchor.

Stiles was too angry and too upset to fully calm down, though. He didn’t cry, but he was shaking like a leaf.

“Stiles, honey, what happened?” Aunt Kelly asked gently after a few minutes of silence.

“She was my friend,” he muttered. He half-turned so that he could see his aunt. “And now she’s just another person in this god forsaken town who’s been murdered. Just another kind person who was way too young to die.”

He fully pulled away from Derek, his whole body shaking. He saw his father standing a few yards away, staring at him with eyes full of anger and pity, and still looking sort of green.

“We need to get these sons of bitches,” the sheriff muttered. “They’ve just made it personal.”

“I’m calling Scott, we’re having a meeting tonight,” Derek growled. His eyes were hard. “No one else is dying.”

He stalked away, angrily pulling out his phone. Stiles finally looked at his other two friends. Cora just looked angry and stiff, but was sort of hugging Lydia-who’s eyes showed the rage that she was truly feeling.

“What the hell is going on?” Aunt Carol yelled suddenly.

“Stiles already told you,” Cora snapped. “They just killed one of our friends.”

“Stiles, your hand,” Dani said softly, ignoring everyone else.

Stiles looked down. His hand was bleeding from where he had been pounding on his hood. He was so upset that he hadn’t even registered the pain. One look at his car showed that he had somehow managed to dent the hood.

He felt sick.

Lydia pulled away from Cora and gently took his hand, forcing him to meet her eyes.

“They did this on purpose,” he whispered miserably.

“I know,” she murmured. “And we’re going to make them pay.”


 

Stiles paced around Derek’s loft as the pack meeting neared its second hour.

“But we still don’t know how to get them into the open,” Liam pointed out.

“It’s simple,” Lydia said tiredly. She was curled up on the coach with Parrish, rubbing her head like she had a headache.

“Care to share with the class?” Malia snapped.

Peter had been locked in a separate room to prevent any…”unfortunate” maulings, but Malia was still on edge.

Lydia rolled her eyes. “We wait for them to strike first.”

“They already have!” Stiles snapped. “They just killed Caitlin, in case you’ve forgotten!”

“I know that!” Lydia retorted, standing up angrily. “I was the one who found her! I was the one who saw her body so mutilated that you couldn’t tell where she ended and the other two victims started! I was the one who had to see her head on a spike! I will never be able to forget that!”

Stiles blanched. It was like the energy drained out of Lydia, and she fell back down to the couch.

“Sorry,” she whispered.

“No, I am,” Stiles said immediately. “It’s been a long night. I wasn’t thinking.”

“It was that bad?” Kira asked softly.

Lydia nodded, shutting her eyes.

“What I meant when I said let them strike first was wait for them to contact us. They’ll try to draw us out soon, and my bet is that it’ll be tomorrow.”

“The full moon,” Scott said, nodding. “That makes sense.”

“Of course it does,” Lydia muttered.

“So what’s the plan after that?” Connor asked. He and Dani had tagged along, and after introductions had been made, seemed to get along with everyone just fine.

“I want to say we’ll come up with something, but when have our plans ever worked?” Derek responded from where he was sitting on the spiral staircase with Malia. “We plan, we get there, all hell breaks loose.”

“Wouldn’t have taken you for a Harry Potter fan,” Stiles commented.

Most of the pack turned to look at him with raised eyebrows.

Stiles flapped his arm at them tiredly. “It was a quote from one of the movies.”

He looked at Derek, who looked embarrassed at having been caught.

“Alright, as soon as we get these bastards, the next movie night is officially a Harry Potter marathon,” Stiles announced. “Uncultured swines,” he added under his breath.

Scott cuffed him over the head, and Stiles mock-glared at him.

“So...what? We improvise?” Liam asked.

“No. We’ll prepare, and we’ll fight if we have to. Ideally, we’ll get them to leave...but that doesn’t seem likely,” Scott admitted.

Stiles looked out the window and let himself zone out. His heart ached with the loss of yet another friend, and with the guilt of knowing she had been murdered just to hurt him.

“Stiles.”

Stiles jumped when Dani lightly touched his shoulder. He turned around to find that everyone except Derek, Cora, Scott, Dani, and Connor had left. He glanced at his watch and realized that he had been lost in his head for nearly half an hour.

“Sorry,” he muttered, shaking himself. “Did you say something?”

“I asked if you wanted to stay here tonight,” Derek said gently.

Stiles shook his head. “I should go home. But thanks.”

“Are you sure you want to go back there?” Scott asked. “You could stay at my place too.”

“Look, guys. I know you’re being nice, that you don’t want me to have to deal with the assholes staying in my house- no offense, Dani.”

Dani just waved him off. “Our family sucks, everyone knows it.”

“But I also know that you guys want to monitor me and make sure I don’t do anything stupid. I promise, I’m not going to go looking for the other pack tonight. I’m not suicidal.”

Scott ducked his head at having been caught, but Derek just raised an eyebrow.

“What? I wasn’t lying, you can hear my heartbeat dude.”

“But you’ve learned to control your heartbeat, you told me earlier.”

Stiles glared at him. “Does it seem like I have the energy to be doing that right now? I know you can sense the chemosignals coming off of me, and I know that it’s probably a lot. Because I just lost my closest friend outside of the supernatural world, and I’m a little upset about it.”

Derek had the decency to look abashed.

“You want us to drop you at home?” Connor offered.

Stiles nodded tiredly. “Please. I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”

Scott just patted him on the back as he left.

“I’m sorry about Caitlin,” Dani said softly as they pulled away.

Stiles just swallowed around the lump in his throat.

“I know what we were talking about this morning. And I don’t want you to blame yourself for this.”

“It’s pretty damn hard not too.”

“I know. But Stiles, these assholes are insane,” Connor chimed in. “From what I’ve heard, you’ve seen others like them before. And I know it doesn’t make it easier, but blaming yourself doesn’t help. Believe me, I speak from experience.”

Stiles watched the way that Connor deflated.

“Your family was in the fire, weren’t they?”

Connor inhaled sharply, but he nodded. “Laura, Derek, and I were at school. And I knew about Kate. I was the only one who did, and I should’ve said something. But I didn’t. And...well, you know what happened.”

It was quiet in the car for another few minutes.

“You were close with Caitlin?” Dani asked after a while.

“Yeah,” Stiles said, smiling sadly. “She was actually the one who made me realize I was bi.”

“How did that happen?”

Stiles smiled at the memory. “There was a Halloween party. At Derek’s loft, actually. Ethan- one of the previously-alpha twins- threw it to impress this guy. Anyway, I ran into her, and she kissed me. I had known her because her girlfriend had been killed a few months before by the Darach, and so I was confused because I thought she was into girls. I asked, and she said she was, and when I asked if she was into guys, she said ‘yeah, are you?’ And it just kinda...clicked. Still haven’t dated any guys yet.”

“But you’re in love with Derek.”

“Yeah, but- wait, I mean-” Stiles cut off, spluttering and trying to backtrack, face burning.

“Don’t worry, we won’t tell him,” Dani reassured him, turning around and grinning at him. “It’s just really obvious to everyone but him.”

Stiles thunked his head back against the headrest.

“That was a mean trick.”

“I literally just said that you’re in love with him.”

“I was monologuing. You tricked me.”

“Oh, don’t be a baby,” Dani teased. “He talks about you a lot, whenever he visits.”

Stiles rolled his eyes. “Yeah, and that’s why you were so surprised to find out that we know each other. Stiles isn’t exactly a common name.”

“Well, Derek’s a private guy. He never really uses names when he told us about his pack. He used to call Scott ‘that new beta,’ and now he calls him ‘the alpha.’ He always called you ‘the alpha’s brother,’ or ‘the alpha’s best friend.’ But usually he refers to you as ‘the hyperactive spaz.’ ”

“Hyperactive spaz isn’t really a positive thing to be called.”

Dani laughed slightly. “He uses it more as an endearment than anything.”

Stiles just scoffed.

The rest of the drive was silent, but Dani grabbed his hand as they pulled into his driveway.

“Derek does care about you, Stiles,” she said, looking into his eyes. “And so does everyone else. Don’t do anything stupid tonight.”

“I won’t,” Stiles promised, meeting her eyes.

“Okay,” his cousin sighed, letting him go. “I’ll see you in the morning.”


Stiles finally went into the kitchen around three in the morning. He had been tossing and turning for nearly three hours, long after his cousins had fallen asleep.

No one had picked on him when he got home, which was surprising. He had let his dad and godfamily fuss over him for an hour, until they went to bed.

But when he tried to sleep, all he could see was Caitlin's face. He got a glass of water, but he really just needed some air.

Stiles wasn’t stupid. It had taken him all of ten minutes of being home to spot the car ‘casually’ parked down the road from his house. He easily recognized it as Malia’s. He figured that Scott must’ve assigned a ‘watch’ to make sure he really didn’t go after the other pack.

He wasn’t upset that Scott didn’t trust him- he understood. But he genuinely wasn’t going to go after the pack. Not tonight.

So he had rolled his eyes and ignored the car, even after it had driven away and Theo’s had taken its place.

But now, it was annoying. All he wanted was to go for a walk, but he knew as soon as he stepped outside, his friends would be there to stop him.

Stiles sighed, but after taking another sip of water, he quietly crept upstairs.

He opened the door to his room slowly, then snuck over and gently shook Bella awake.

“Shh,” he cautioned, holding a finger to his lips as soon as she opened her eyes.

She immediately sat up, concerned.

“What is it?” She whispered.

Stiles just beckoned her to follow him back downstairs.

Once they had made it down, he handed her his hoodie.

“I need a favor,” he said.

She raised an eyebrow, and Stiles sighed.

“I’m going to lose my mind if I stay holed up in here. I need to take a walk, but my friends think I’m an idiot who’s going to go after the bastards who killed Caitlin.”

“And are you?”

“No!” Stiles exclaimed. He winced, then lowered his voice. “No, I’m not. I just need air. The point is, Theo and Liam are ‘guarding’ me, and if I step outside, they'll think that’s what I’m trying to do.”

“So what do you want me to do?” Bella asked in a voice that said she knew exactly what Stiles wanted her to do.

“Just...walk outside in my sweatshirt, and when they catch up to you tell them you were freaked out from before, and you needed to take a walk.”

“Fine. But only because that’s not technically a lie.”

“Even better,” Stiles said, knowing that it would be harder for them to tell that his cousin was distracting them for him.

“Stiles,” Bella said softly.

Stiles looked at her.

“Are you going to be okay?”

Stiles swallowed around the sudden lump in his throat.

“Yeah,” he croaked. “After awhile. It takes time, but I’m used to losing people by now.”

Bella suddenly threw her arms around his neck. Stiles caught her, surprised.

“That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard you say,” she whispered. “I’m sorry you’ve lost so many people.”

Stiles hugged her tightly for a moment, trying to regain control of his emotions, then he let her go.

“Thanks, Bels. And thanks for doing this.”

Bella nodded, smiling slightly. Then she threw on his hoodie and slipped out the front door.

Stiles watched from the window as she got almost to the corner before Liam and Theo jumped out of the car. Once the caught up to her, Stiles snuck out and silently ran in the other direction.

He didn’t really know where he was going, but his feet carried him to his favorite diner, which, thank god, was open twenty-four hours.

It was almost empty, save for one full booth and one man at the counter.

“Hey, Stiles!” Called one of the waitresses as soon as he walked in. “What are you doing here so late?”

“Has a rough day, can’t sleep, you know how it is,” he said, sitting at the counter and smiling at her.

“You want the usual?”

“Nah, just a shake. But thanks, Liza.”

The older woman smiled at him and turned around to make him his shake.

“You come here often?” Asked the other man at the counter.

Stiles glanced at him.

“Sorry, that probably sounded odd,” the man chuckled. “I’m looking for a recommendation. I’m just visiting, and I’ve never been here before.”

“Oh,” Stiles said. “Well, you can’t go wrong with a burger and fries. Best curly fries in town.”

“He’s right,” Liza said, dropping the milkshake in front of Stiles.

Stiles grinned at her.

“I’m assuming your dad got called in earlier?” She asked him.

Stiles raised an eyebrow.

“You know, for the murders?”

Stiles’ stomach dropped.

“I heard about that!” The man said. “Wasn’t it three bodies?”

Stiles nodded, bile rising in his throat. “It was a bad one.”

“Were you there?” The man asked curiously, peering at Stiles.

“His father’s the sheriff,” Liza informed him.

“I bet you see a lot of these, then.”

Stiles shook his head. “Not recently. I don’t want to ruin your stay in Beacon Hills, but we’re having a gang problem at the moment.”

“That’s unfortunate,” the man said. “I’ve dealt with a few gangs, back where I’m from.”

All Stiles wanted was to enjoy his milkshake in peace, but he couldn’t do that without being rude. So he made polite conversation with the man until he finished.

Before he could pay, however, the man stopped him.

“I’ve got it,” he said, dropping a few bills on the counter. “It was nice meeting you, Stiles.”

He held out his hand and Stiles shook it, but he frowned when he felt the man slip something into his palm. Before he could say what the hell, the man had left.

Stiles frowned again as he looked held up the slip of paper. It was a note.

You’re too trusting, Stilinski. Just like your friend Caitlin was. You should’ve seen the look on her face when she realized I wasn’t the Uber driver. But don’t blame yourself for her death. Blame Hale.

Stiles’ heart was pounding and he felt sick.

“Stiles? Are you alright?”

“Sorry, Liza, I need to go.”

Stiles shoved the note in his pocket and sprinted out the door, looking around wildly.

Someone whistled lowly, and Stiles peered into the alleyway.

“Looking for me?”

The man stood half in the shadows, but Stiles could still see the smug look on his face.

“You killed her,” Stiles growled.

“I was one of many who killed her,” the man corrected. “I’m only human, I couldn’t tear her apart the way some of my friends did. Oh, you should’ve seen the way she suffered. We had already ripped off both of her arms and half of her leg before she bled out. She died screaming, Stilinski.”

With a shout of rage, Stiles threw himself at the man. Somehow, he must’ve surprised him, because he managed to knock him to the ground. They scuffled for a few moments, before the man hit Stiles’ head against the ground, momentarily stunning him.

The man rolled them so he was on top, pinning Stiles down, and then he punched Stiles in the face.

“Someone’s got a temper,” he observed, smirking.

He got in a few more good hits to Stiles’ face before Stiles brought one of his knees up between the man’s legs, hard, and the man squeaked. Stiles managed to throw the guy off of him and stand up, smashing his foot down onto the man’s nose.

“Who are you?” He snapped.

“We’re the Olsen pack. Derek Hale killed our alpha’s brother and his pack, and now we’re getting our revenge.”

The man stood, squaring off against Stiles.

“By doing what, killing our friend?”

He man chuckled darkly. “So much more than that. You’ll see tomorrow night. You’re all going to suffer. We’re going to kill each and every one of you, and we’re going to make Hale watch. You’ll die last before Hale, and you’ll suffer the most. He’s going to watch everyone he loves die because of him.”

The man swung at Stiles, but Stiles caught his fist and managed to twist his arm, bending it back so far that he actually heard it snap. The man screamed in pain, kicking Stiles in the shin until Stiles let go.

He glared at Stiles, eyes wild, and that’s when Stiles realized exactly how unstable this man was. The man used his other arm to grab hold of Stiles’ hair and throw him to the ground before kicking him in the stomach.

Stiles curled up, trying to protect himself from the assault, when it suddenly stopped.

He scrambled backwards and looked up, not as surprised as he should have been to see Derek holding the man off the ground by his shirt collar.

Scott offered him a hand up and Stiles took it.

“What do we do with him?” Derek growled.

“Could we put him with Peter?”

“He’s human, guys,” Stiles pointed out.

“We could just lock him in a room.”

“What are you planning?” Scott demanded, flashing his red eyes at the man.

The man just grinned, despite Derek’s claws at his throat.

“I’ll never tell.”

Stiles rolled his eyes. He didn’t think the man realized that he had already told Stiles his plan during his monologue.

“Let him go,” Stiles said, an idea forming.

His friends looked at him like he was crazy.

“Stiles-”

“Let him go. Trust me.”

Derek and Scott looked at Stiles, then they exchanged a look.

Derek dropped the man with a growl. The man stared at them for a second before turning tail and running.

“Stiles! What the hell kind of plan was that?”

Stiles rolled his eyes. “I felt him take my phone during the fight. We can track him now, and hopefully he’ll give us some information on where the other pack is.”

“That’s...pretty smart.”

“Thanks.”

“Feeling any better there, Rocky?” Derek asked, leaning against a brick wall and watching him appraisingly.

Stiles rolled his eyes. “I didn’t go out to find them, I swear. He was there when I got here. He gave me a note and I followed him out here, and that’s when it started.”

“A note?”

Stiles dig around in his pocket and handed the note to Derek. Scott read over his shoulder, and when they finished they were both scowling.

“He gave up their plan, too. Some of it, anyway.”

“Monologue?” Derek asked, a hint of a smile playing on his lips.

“Monologue,” Stiles confirmed. He repeated what the disgraced hunter had told him.

“I don’t like that…” Scott said.

“Me neither,” Stiles said. “Why am I the one who’s suffering the most? Why not you? No offense or anything.”

Scott just snorted, but when Stiles looked at Derek, Derek wouldn’t meet his eyes.

“Come on. You’re staying at my house for the rest of the night,” Scott told him.

“What about-”

“I already called your dad,” Scott interrupted. “Told him that your dumb ass got into a fight but you’re fine.”

“How’d you guys find me, anyway?” Stiles asked as he followed his friends to the car.

“We’ve been following you all night. Did you really think we were just going to let Liam and Theo keep an eye on you?”

Stiles shrugged.

“That was a good plan, sending Bella out,” Scott admitted. “But we saw you slip out after her.”

“Hang on, if you were here the whole time, why’d you wait so long to stop him from beating me up?” Stiles asked indignantly.

“Because you were actually doing okay on your own. You broke his arm. And his nose.”

Stiles huffed in annoyance. “Okay, but I’ve been beaten up enough by untrained assholes this week. I didn’t need a trained former-hunter beating me up too.”

“You’re fine,” Derek told him. “You’re not even limping.”

“Wow, I could be bleeding internally, or in a lot of pain, and still not limping!” Stiles protested.

Derek stopped short and grabbed Stiles’ hand, causing his brain to short circuit.

Stiles saw Derek’s veins go black as he took what little pain Stiles was experiencing.

“There you go, now can you stop complaining?”

Stiles nodded. “Uh. Thanks.”

“I’m sorry about Caitlin,” Derek said after a few moments of awkward silence.

Stiles nodded, but then he looked at Derek.

“Wait, you do know that I don’t blame you, right?”

“You don’t?” Derek asked, sounding genuinely surprised.

“Of course not. I had a talk with Connor about self-blame earlier. The only ones to blame for her death are those bastards.”

Derek hesitated, but he finally nodded.

“Nice job breaking his arm, by the way,” he said suddenly.

“Thanks,” Stiles responded, letting Derek change the subject. “Not so much of a hyperactive spaz, huh?”

Derek groaned. “You talked to Dani.”

Stiles smirked. “I did. And I still can’t figure out how neither of you figured out that we all knew each other.”

Derek suddenly got a glint in his eye, and Stiles raised his eyebrows. He didn’t like that look.

Before Derek could say anything, however, there was a derisive snort from ahead of them.

“Guys, we should get going. We’re going to have a long day tomorrow,” Scott called, sounding amused as he got into the passenger seat of Derek’s Camaro.

“Hey, why does he get shotgun?” Stiles complained, distracted.

Derek didn’t bother to answer. Instead, he gently tugged on Stiles’ hand, pulling him towards the car, which made Stiles realize that Derek had never let go of his hand. Which then made Stiles hyper-aware of the fact that Derek only let go when they had to get into the car.

After a few moments of letting himself stew over that, he shook out of it. It had been a long day for all of them, and Stiles was exhausted. He was obviously reading into this way too much.

Obviously.

The ride was quiet as Derek drove them back to Scott’s house.

“Thanks, man,” Scott said as they got out.

“Anytime,” Derek said easily.

Stiles started following Scott up to the house, but he heard Derek rolling down his window.

“Stiles, hang on a second,” Derek called.

Stiles glanced at Scott, who shrugged. Stiles jogged back over to the car tiredly.

“What’s up? Did I forget something?”

Derek shook his head. “You asked before how neither Dani or I figured out that we both knew you?”

Stiles nodded apprehensively, not liking the look in Derek’s eyes.

“I guess she told you what I usually call you, but she always referred to you by your name.”

Stiles raised an eyebrow. “Like I told Dani, ‘Stiles’ isn’t exactly a common name, Derek.”

Derek rolled his eyes. “Not Stiles, dumbass.”

“Then what did she call me? I don’t have any other na-” Stiles cut off, feeling his confused expression melt into one of horror. “She didn’t.”

Derek just smirked at him.

“Derek,” Stiles warned, heart pounding.

“Goodnight, Mieczysław,” Derek murmured, voice low.

If Stiles wasn’t in such a state of shock, he may even have called it intimate.

As it was, he was helpless to do anything but stare as Derek sent him a smug grin and rolled up the window and pulled off of the curb.

“B- b- but,” Stiles stammered, as Derek’s tail lights faded from sight.

He had never expected any of his friends to figure out his name, least of all Derek. Stiles was honestly stunned, especially at Derek’s perfect pronunciation- even Scott still had trouble with it, and he had known since they were kids.

Seriously, what the hell?

“Stiles,” Scott said, walking up to him.

Stiles looked at his best friend, eyes wide.

“Did he just- did you hear- Scott, he just-”

“I know,” Scott said soothingly, as though talking to a small child. He wrapped an arm around Stiles’ shoulder, steering him towards the house. “Come on, buddy. It’s been a long day. I think you need to get some rest.”

 

Chapter Text

“You look like shit, man.”

Stiles glared at Scott through the eye that wasn’t swollen shut. He sat down across from his best friend, wincing as his body protested.

“Maybe if you had stepped in sooner I wouldn’t,” Stiles grumbled.

It was past noon, and Stiles has just gotten downstairs, even though he had been up for hours. He was hungry, sore, and grieving.

Scott just rolled his eyes and silently passed Stiles a sandwich that had evidently been waiting for him, and some Advil.

Two out of three wasn’t bad.

“Plan?” He mumbled around a mouthful of food.

“I was waiting for you to come down,” Scott explained.

Stiles shot him a look.

“What?” Scott said defensively. “You’d get pissed if we planned without you anyway.”

“That’s fair,” Stiles admitted. “So, we’re going to track my phone?”

“But what do we do when we find it?”

“If it seems like that’s where they’ve been hiding out, I say we storm the place and take care of them.”

Scott hesitated.

“What?”

“It’s just...I talked to Derek last night. You told us that the one who attacked you last night said that he was a part of the Olsen pack?”

Stiles nodded.

“Derek told me that the Olsen Pack is one of the biggest packs this side of the country. There are at least twenty more of them than us.”

Stiles nodded- he had done some research of his own last night. “Can we get anyone here to help us?”

“Ethan can’t leave his territory right now. It’s vulnerable, and if he leaves, someone will step in and take it.”

“And there’s no one else?”

“I texted Chris, but he hasn’t gotten back to me.”

Stiles opened his mouth, but then he just closed it, shaking his head.

“I’m not even going to say anything. So...what do we do? Wait?”

Scott sighed. “That’s all we’ve got right now, since we can’t track the phone until he uses it. I have Mason waiting on it now.”

Stiles’ heart sank slightly, but he nodded.

Scott looked at him carefully for a minute before his resolve apparently broke.

“Do you want to talk?” He blurted out.

Stiles sent him a grateful smile, but shook his head.

“Still processing,” he admitted.

Scott tipped his head in acknowledgment. “I am sorry about Caitlin, though,” he said anyway. “I didn’t get a chance to say it last night.”

“Thanks, Scotty.”

“Do you want to talk about Derek instead?”

Stiles glared at him. “No.”

Scott held up his hands. “Right, forgot, that’s on the we don’t talk about it list. Sorry.”

Stiles rolled his eyes.

“I need to get home,” he said regretfully after a few more minutes of comfortable silence.

Scott groaned. “I know. I was trying to keep you here as long as I could but your dad’s called twice.”

Stiles briefly shut his eyes. “I appreciate that. But...how am I getting home?”

“Don’t worry, I got you a ride.”

Scott looked at Stiles with a smug grin, and Stiles sighed in resignation.

As it turns out, Scott’s timing was impeccable. Werewolf senses and all. Derek’s Camaro pulled up to the curb before Stiles could even protest.

“Sometimes I hate you,” he muttered.

“I know,” Scott said, way too cheerful as he pushed Stiles towards the door.

“Thank you,” Stiles said softly.

Scott just nodded and patted Stiles on the back.

“I know, I look like shit, no need to say anything,” Stiles greeted Derek as he got in the car.

Derek shut his mouth and pulled away.

Other than that, the ride to Stiles’ was quiet.

Stiles could tell that Derek was looking at him from time to time, but he kept his gaze fixed out the window.

The past few days had been crazy enough, and with everything that happened yesterday...Stiles didn’t really feel like obsessing over his massive crush at the moment. As it was, he was too tired to even try controlling his chemosignals, so he knew that Derek was probably worrying about him.

It just made him feel worse.

“Thanks for the ride,” he said as Derek pulled up to his house. “And yesterday’s.”

“Anytime. Do you want me to…”

Stiles raised an eyebrow at Derek. “Really? You’re volunteering to go in there and be harassed by my family?”

Derek didn’t even flinch, staring at Stiles seriously. “If you need me in there, I will.”

Stiles swallowed the sudden wave of emotions that were welling inside of him.

“Thanks, Derek. But I think I’ll be okay for now.”

Derek looked at him doubtfully- clearly having heard the lie that Stiles was too stressed to conceal- but he nodded.

“Call if you need me.”

Stiles smiled. “Will do, Sourwolf.”

Derek flashed him a small smile, then he drove off.

Stiles stood there for a few beats to regain his composure- Derek’s concerned behavior had really thrown him.

With a sigh, he turned around and walked inside.

“Holy shit, what happened to you?” Nate asked as soon as Stiles stepped inside.

“You should see the other guy,” Stiles muttered.

“Stiles, you told me you weren’t going to look for them!” Bella cried, taking in his battered face.

Stiles sighed, waving her off and sitting down.

“I didn’t, I swear. He was waiting for me. I broke his arm. And his nose. And Derek almost crushed his windpipe.”

“What?” Sherry squeaked.

Stiles rolled his good eye. “He was one of the guys who killed Caitlin. And we let him go anyway.”

“You let him go?” The sheriff asked incredulously, coming into the room.

“He took my phone. We’re tracking him now.”

“This doesn’t sound like something you should be condoning, John,” Aunt Carol said. “It sounds like it something you should be taking care of yourself.”

“We do things a little differently here, Carol.”

“Stiles, are you alright?” Eric asked softly.

“I hurt like hell, but I’m honestly just more pissed than anything,” Stiles admitted.

“I suppose that means that you won’t be able to take your cousins to the mall today, then,” Anne sniffed.

Stiles could tell from her tone that she was annoyed with him for his injuries.

“No, of course I can take them,” he said through a forced smile.

“Stiles,” his father started, frowning.

“It’s fine, Dad. I took some Advil.”

“Are you sure? We wouldn’t want to...put you out,” Gary said, clearly implying that they would love to put Stiles out.

“I’ll be fine, Uncle Gary. It’s a family reunion, after all.”


 

And that’s how Stiles found himself being dragged through the mall going on three hours.

Bella was barely any consolation, because the girls kept dragging her into the dressing rooms for her opinion- which was always wrong, apparently.

Connor and Dani didn’t come, so that left Stiles to deal with the rest of his cousins by himself.

They were waiting outside of yet another makeup store for the girls and Stiles was fighting to keep his temper, the stupid rubber band stretching tighter with every word they spoke.

“So, Mitchy, what was the deal with you and that chick from last night?” Nate asked.

Stiles tensed up immediately and the rubber band pulled so tight it sort of hurt. But to his surprise, Tyler spoke up before he could.

“Shut up, Nate. Don’t be an asshole.”

“What? I was just asking!”

“No, you were being a dick. Like with the pictures yesterday.”

Stiles gaped at Tyler, while Nate blinked at his brother in annoyance.

Tyler glared at Stiles. “Don’t look at me like that. I just know that those types of things are going too far.”

Stiles shut his mouth and nodded, still surprised.

Finally, the girls came out of the store, faces made up from the free makeover.

Bella looked like she wanted to cry. Stiles pulled her into a one-armed hug, and she gave him a tight smile.

“Where the hell is the food court here?” Jane whined. “I’m starving.”

Stiles just led them towards the food court without comment, and he sat there while the idiots he happened to be related to stuffed their faces.

“Stiles,” Bella whispered softly.

“What’s up?”

“Does Derek usually lurk in the shadows like that?” She asked tentatively.

Stiles startled and turned around, and sure enough he saw Derek leaning against the wall at the edge of the crowd, aiming for casual- to anyone except Stiles, he probably looked it, too. But Stiles could see the way that he was now sheepishly looking at him- he had obviously been listening in.

Stiles couldn’t help but smirk.

“He used to do it more often,” he answered distractedly, not taking his eyes off of Derek.

He waved Derek over, and Derek shook his head vehemently, eyeing Jane and Sherry. Stiles raised an eyebrow and nodded, grinning and gesturing more deliberately.

Derek heaved a sigh of defeat and walked over.

“Hey there, Sourwolf, funny running into you here,” Stiles grinned.

Derek glared at him as the girls finally realized he was here.

“Oh my god, Derek! Hi!” Sherry squealed. “I never got a chance to say goodbye last night. You should totally eat with us!”

“Actually, I think Derek has to get something from a store,” Stiles tried.

“I think Derek can speak for himself,” Jane said, glaring at Stiles.

“Actually he’s right,” Derek muttered. “I just came over to say hi to Stiles.”

Stiles grinned. “Let me walk you to that store.”

He patted Bella on his shoulder and got up.

“You on guard duty?” He asked as soon as they rounded the corner.

“No,” Derek muttered. “Not guarding you anymore.”

“So it’s just a coincidence that you’re creepily following me around?”

Derek rolled his eyes, but Stiles could tell that he was embarrassed at being caught.

“Hey,” he said, forcing Derek to look at him. “I really appreciate that you’re trying so hard to help me with my family. It means a lot.”

More than Derek knew. Stiles internally rolled his eyes at himself.

Derek relaxed slightly. “Okay. I’ve talked to Scott, but they haven’t used your phone yet, and-”

He cut off, frowning.

Stiles watched as Derek made a face, then gagged and staggered back a step.

“Whoa, dude, are you okay?”

“Do you have wolfsbane?” Derek rasped out.

Stiles frowned. “No, of course not. Why, is there some around?”

“No, Stiles, I’m smelling daisies. Yes, there’s wolfsbane!” Derek snapped.

“Well, keep your voice down!” Stiles retorted in a whisper.

Derek clenched his jaw, but then he suddenly relaxed, staring directly at Stiles in a way that caught him way off guard.

“Talk to me,” Derek muttered.

“What? I am talking to you.”

“Good. Now stop looking confused and start rambling while I figure this out.”

Stiles finally clued in- Derek was trying to find where the wolfsbane was coming from.

“Did I tell you about the thing Bella did? Because it was so cool. She was learning how to waterski, and a goddamn dolphin jumped next to her-”

Stiles let himself ramble and rant quietly as he watched Derek tip his head and tune Stiles out.

To anyone else, it would seem like they were having a normal conversation. A normal conversation where Stiles talked the whole time while Derek just looked at him like...that.

And yeah, Stiles knew that Derek wasn’t really looking at him like that, that he was reaching out with his werewolf-y senses, but, well, it would look pretty convincing to anyone watching.

“Well?” Stiles asked after nearly two minutes.

“Five of them. All human. Don’t know we’re here.”

“How do you know?”

“Because they’re young and inexperienced. And when any of them look at us, I can see that they have no clue who we are.”

“Then what are they doing here?”

“If I had to guess, I’d say that they’re actually just shopping. It sounds too easy.”

“What if they followed us?”

“I told you, they don’t know who we are.”

“The guy from last night said they were going to go after my family. What if they know who they are?”

Derek grimaced. “Good point. Unlikely, hopefully. Come on, let’s follow them.”

Stiles sighed, but he followed Derek’s lead, casually window shopping as they trailed after a group of five.

They had been following them for almost fifteen minutes before the rogues walked into a store. Stiles and Derek walked passed the shop, trying their best not to look suspicious. They stopped nearly three stores away, keeping an eye on the other store.

“I don’t like this,” Stiles muttered, leaning against the wall.

Derek stood in front of him, sort of shielding him from view, and at the same time making it look like they were having an intimate conversation.

“Me neither. But we can’t confront them now. Too many people,” he said lowly, glancing around.

Stiles frowned. “Did you text Scott?”

“I tried. It’s not going through.”

Stiles frowned harder.

He averted his gaze from the store as the rogues walked out, but he heard Derek curse softly.

“What?” He asked, looking at Derek.

Derek was looking directly at him (again), clearly trying not to look anywhere else.

“They saw us,” he murmured. “The woman was looking at us weird and they’re starting to walk this way. Plan?”

Thoughts flew through Stiles’ brain, but only one was sticking.

It was practically suicide, though.

“Have you ever seen Captain America: Winter Soldier?” He asked urgently.

“Of course I have, who hasn’t?” Derek responded, clearly confused as to where Stiles was going with that.

“Ugh, Scott refuses to watch it with me- not the point.” Stiles shook himself. “The point is the mall scene.”

“What mall scene?” Derek asked, quickly losing patience.

“ ‘Public displays of affection make people uncomfortable,’ ” Stiles quoted.

“Yes, they do,” Derek responded, raising an eyebrow. “Why?”

Stiles could see the rogues getting closer in his peripheral vision.

“I’m really sorry about this, please don’t kill me,” Stiles breathed out.

“Sorry about wha-”

Stiles cut Derek off by taking his face in his hands and kissing him on the lips.

Stiles could feel Derek stiffen, but then felt him relax slightly as he caught on. He put his hands on Stiles’ waist and responded to the kiss.

Stiles wanted to die. It was the best and worst kiss he’d ever had. The best because he was finally kissing Derek Hale. The worst because it was fake. And because Stiles sort of forced it on him, which was already dredging up all kinds of guilt in Stiles.

He almost lost the ability to think when Derek pulled him closer, then crowded into his space even more and pressed him back against the wall.

Derek’s lips were much softer than Stiles had thought they would be- warmer, too. And he had a lot of time to think about this. But it was better than he thought it would be. Derek was running one hand up and down Stiles’ back, the other still clutching Stiles’ hip.

Stiles let one hand drop down to Derek’s shoulder, and the other move to the nape of his neck.

“Sorry, kids, you can’t do that here.”

It was like something had physically snapped between the two men. They jerked apart, eyes wide and faces flushed.

Stiles was mortified as he turned to the smirking old man standing outside of his small shop.

“You’re a cute couple, but no PDA here, I’m afraid,” the man said, not unkindly.

“Uh. Right. Sorry, sir,” Stiles managed.

“It worked,” Derek muttered, not looking at Stiles. “They’re gone.”

Stiles nodded, trying to avoid looking at Derek.

An act. It was an act, Stiles reminded himself. It didn’t mean anything. No reason you can’t be normal around Derek now. It doesn’t have to be weird. Don’t make it weird.

Derek stepped back, clearing his throat. He licked his lips, which brought Stiles’ attention back to them, and opened his mouth. But then he frowned, shutting it again. His eyes went wide.

“Shit,” he breathed, taking off in the opposite direction.

Stiles let his jaw drop, slightly offended. Come on, he wasn’t that bad of a kisser, was he? Unless he has upset Derek, in which case-

“Stiles!” Derek snapped over his shoulder. “Hurry up!”

Stiles blinked, then sprinted after Derek. Something was wrong, and not what had just happened.

Derek stopped short just as Stiles caught up to him, causing Stiles to crash into his back.

“Dude, what the hell?”

“Look,” Derek hissed.

Stiles leaned around Derek, and he noted that they were back in the food court. What really caught his eye, though, was the fact that his cousins were now sitting with the five hunters, laughing away.

Stiles’ heart skipped a beat, and then he was stalking forward.

“Stiles, wait,” Derek said, but Stiles ignored him.

“What’s going on here?” He asked dangerously, stopping in front of the table.

One of the hunters looked at him curiously and shrugged.

“We we’re looking for a place to eat and these guys were nice enough to let us sit.”

Stiles glared- there was no way that was true. A different hunter’s eyes went wide with realization, before a smug smirk settled on her face.

“Stiles, it’s so nice to finally meet you. We would’ve said hi earlier, but you seemed a little...busy.”

Anger flashed through Stiles when he realized that they’d been played. It was quickly followed by embarrassment when he realized that he’s kissed Derek for no reason.

“Get. Away. From them,” he said through gritted teeth.

“Stiles, don’t be rude!” Sherry snapped.

“No, I’m going to be rude,” Stiles countered, grabbing the nearest hunter by the collar and dragging her up. “Leave, now.”

“Stiles!” Polly gasped, turning to the newcomers. “I’m so sorry about him.”

“It’s alright,” one of them assured her. “We should go anyway. It was nice chatting with you.”

The rest of the hunters rose from the table. One of them winked at him, and anger hit him like a truck. He opened his mouth, to say what he didn’t know, but he was distracted by something crashing behind him. He whipped around to see one of the food court tables split down the middle, the edges of the split smoking and burnt. He gaped at it, eyes wide. How the hell did they do that without him seeing? More importantly, what the hell did they do?

He turned back around, only to see the last hunter disappearing out the door. He gritted his teeth and ran a hand through his hair.

“What the hell is your problem, Mitchy?” Mate asked incredulously.

“They’re bad news,” Stiles growled. “Don’t move.”

He stalked back over to Derek, fuming. “We have to get them home, and we’re going to track my phone now.”

Derek nodded quickly. “Yeah. You okay?”

“I’m fine. Why didn’t you come over?”

Derek raised an eyebrow and looked down at the ground. Stiles groaned when he saw the thin line of mountain ash. He scuffed his show across it, breaking the barrier.

“What did they do to that table?” Stiles asked Derek.

Derek frowned. “I didn’t see any of them move. It just sort of...broke.”

“And started to spontaneously combust?”

Derek huffed. “I don’t know, I was more focused on them!”

“Right, sorry. We’ve got to get them out of here.”

Derek nodded. “You get them to leave and we’ll go back to the loft and call the pack.”

“You do it. They’ll listen to you.”

“What do I even say?” Derek asked indignantly.

“I don’t know!”

Derek huffed. Stiles hung his head and made his way back over to the table, Derek following close behind.

“Derek, did you finish your shopping?” Jane asked sweetly.

“Alright, we don’t have time for this,” Stiles interrupted, patience snapping. He ignored Derek’s snort. “Those people were dangerous, and you need to go home before they come back.”

Sherry went pale.

“How do you know?” Polly whispered.

“We just do. It’s not safe for you.”

“Hold on. What about you?” Henry asked suspiciously.

“We can handle ourselves,” Derek growled.

“I think this sounds like Mitchy here is trying to ditch us,” Nate announced.

“I’m trying to protect you,” Stiles protested.

“It’s the truth,” Derek inserted. “And I want you all to be safe. The only way to do that is if you leave.”

Stiles had to give Derek props for that one. Sherry and Jane absolutely melted under his worried tone.

“Let’s go,” Sherry said quickly. “We were done here anyway.”

“Bella’s driving home. I’ll meet you there later.”

“You’re not coming?” Bella frowned.

Stiles shook his head. “We need to take care of some things first.”

Bella bit her lip, and then she hugged him quickly.

“Stiles, are you in a gang?” She whispered into his ear.

Stiles had to laugh. “No, Bels. I promise. It’s just a...weird town. I’ll see you at home.”

Bella sighed, but she kissed his cheek and then followed the rest of Stiles’ cousins as they grudgingly left the mall.

“She’s worries about you,” Derek said casually as he and Stiles started for the car.

Stiles sighed. “I know.”

“Maybe…”

“Don’t. I’m not telling her.”

Derek shrugged one shoulder. “Okay.”

Stiles was surprised that Derek dropped it so easily, but he didn’t want to bring it back up, so he let it go.

For the first time in a long time, the silence between them was awkward. Stiles couldn’t stop thinking about the kiss and how stupid he was. It was a great kiss, but it had been for no reason. Obviously, Derek had heard the hunters. What if he figured out how Stiles felt? It would ruin their friendship. Stiles groaned internally.

He would just ignore it. As long as Derek didn’t bring it up, he could ignore it. It didn’t mean anything, right?

“Stiles,” Derek said, voice low and serious.

Stiles flinched. Shit. So much for ignoring it.

But when Stiles brought himself to look at Derek, Derek was staring down at his phone.

“What happened?” Stiles asked, dread immediately filling him. He stopped walking and faced Derek fully.

“We need to go.”

“I thought we were,” Stiles said.

Derek rolled his eyes in annoyance, but he held up his phone so that Stiles could read the screen. It was a text from Stiles’ phone.

Got my phone back. Hurt bad, meet me at the hospital.

Stiles frowned. “I didn’t send that.”

“No shit,” Derek retorted. “But whoever did wants me at the hospital.”

Before Stiles could say anything, Derek’s phone lit up with another text, this time from Stiles’ father.

Stiles just texted me. He found his phone but he needs us at the hospital, it’s bad. Meet there.

Stiles' eyes went wide. It was like a slap in the face, sending all thoughts of that ill-advised...distraction to the back of his head.

“It’s not just you. They must’ve sent it to everybody.”

Derek cursed. “They’re trying to lure us in. It’s a trap.”

“No shit!” Stiles responded.

Derek clenched his jaw. “We need to go. Now.”

Derek turned on his heel and took off.

Stiles scrambled to catch up to him, but Derek wasn’t waiting.

“Your dad’s not picking up,” he called over his shoulder.

Stiles cursed under his breath. “Try Scott.”

“I just did. Voicemail.”

“This can't be good, Derek. What do we do?”

“The hospital is closed for the week while they transfer patients,” Derek said in lieu of an answer. “Starting today.”

“Right. Scott has to know that.”

“We don’t know what they told Scott. They could’ve used a different tactic to get him there.”

Stiles practically ripped open the car door in his haste to get in. Derek slammed on the gas pedal before Stiles had fully gotten in, sending Stiles flying across the center console and right into Derek. Derek just shrugged him off as he sped away. Stiles hastily righted himself and buckled up before Derek could slam on the brakes and send him flying through the windshield.

He couldn’t lose them all. Not like this. Not now, not ever.

Shit.

Chapter Text

The only noise as they drove was Stiles repeatedly cursing as he called his friends and family and getting no answer each time.

“They’ve got them all, Derek,” Stiles groaned.

“We don’t know that. Shut up,” Derek gritted out.

“I can’t shut up! They’re going to kill my family!”

“Not if we get there. Now shut up.”

“How the hell did they get my entire family?”

“I don’t know! Shut up!”

“None of the pack picked up,” Stiles told him anxiously. He couldn’t shut up. It was a nervous habit.

“I know!” Derek snapped. “And I know that this is my fault! So just shut the hell up and let me drive!”

Stiles blinked, completely thrown.

“This isn’t your fault, Derek.”

Derek just clenched his jaw.

“I’m serious. They’re psychopaths. You can’t blame yourself, or we’re not going to be saving anyone. So shut up and drive.”

Derek didn’t say anything, but Stiles could see some of the tension leave his shoulders. Not much, though, because their friends were all still in danger.

Finally, they reached the hospital. Stiles raced around to the trunk and grabbed one of the emergency packs he kept in there- full of mountain ash, wolfsbane, and many other useful items from Deaton.

He also grabbed his backup wolfsbane bat- he had a few- and, as an afterthought, the gun that Chris Argent had given him, full of wolfsbane bullets.

Stiles looked at the building- it seemed empty, since it was supposed to be empty. No patients, no doctors, no nurses. Not even construction workers.

But the door was open, inviting them in. Baiting them.

“It’s obviously a trap,” Stiles said, tucking the gun into his waistband.

“Obviously.”

“But we have to go in anyway.”

“We have to go in anyway,” Derek confirmed. “Come on.”

With a deep sigh, Stiles followed Derek inside.

The lobby was empty.

“I don’t like this,” Derek muttered.

“Me neither. You okay?”

Derek was wincing and shaking his head.

“I’m fine. Moon’s coming up.”

“Shit,” Stiles sighed. “Do you need to wait outside?”

“I’m not leaving you alone in here,” Derek said firmly.

Stiles looked at him in annoyance before sighing. “Fine. But focus on your anchor-”

“I know what to do, Stiles,” Derek growled.

Stiles rolled his eyes, but followed Derek down the hallway.

“Stiles!”

Stiles jumped and whipped around, relief flooding him as he saw his father rushing towards him, Dani and Connor close behind.

“You’re alright?” The sheriff asked, looking him over. “But you said-”

“Dad, the hospital’s closed,” Stiles snapped. “Of course I’m fine! I would be at the other hospital if I wasn’t!”

“I realize that now, but I was worried,” John told him, ignoring Stiles’ outburst.

“So was I,” Stiles mumbled, hugging him with a sigh of relief.

“What’s going on?” John asked once Stiles released him.

“It’s a trap. Stiles never found his phone. And we can’t get in touch with anyone.”

“No one’s here with you?” Stiles asked, looking around anxiously.

“No, we haven’t seen anyone else. We need to get out of here,” Connor answered.

“You guys are okay?” Derek asked.

“We’re fine,” Dani answered, but she was frowning.

“It can’t be this easy,” Stiles muttered.

Derek shook his head with a frown, but then he hesitated and squinted down the other end of the hallway.

“Scott!” He called.

Stiles froze as his best friend rounded the corner, followed closely by the rest of the pack.

“Thank god,” he muttered. He was both relieved that they were okay and upset that they were here.

“Thank god!” Scott called. “How’d you get away?”

Stiles opened his mouth, but he cut off with a grunt as Scott crushed him in a hug.

“Oof! Dude, werewolf strength.”

“Sorry.” Scott pulled away.

“And I didn’t get away, I don’t know what they told you, but I don’t have my phone. This is a trap and we have to go.”

“I told you!” Theo snapped. “We shouldn’t have come.”

“And if he was in trouble?” Scott countered.

“Argue outside, please, guys!”

Theo rolled his eyes, but followed them back to the lobby.

Once they got back to the lobby, however, Stiles stopped short.

“What are you doing here?” he cried, staring at his entire family.

“John, you’re not hurt?” Carol said, surprised.

John sighed. “No. It’s a long story, but Stiles’ phone was stolen. We need to leave. Now.”

“Are we in danger here?” Anne asked tentatively.

“Yes. A lot. Come on.”

The sheriff strode over to the door and pulled, but it wouldn’t budge. He tried a few more times before cursing.

“Scott, a little help?”

Scott nodded. But as soon as he went to open the door, his hand jerked away.

“Oh crap,” he muttered.

Stiles shut his eyes. “Mountain ash?”

“Mountain ash,” Scott confirmed.

“Is it just locked, or is it jammed?” Liam asked. “Could a human open it?”

“Human?” Nate inserted.

They ignored him.

Scott got as close to the door as he could, trying to sense it or whatever werewolves did.

“There’s something...off about it,” he mumbled. “More than mountain ash. I don’t think we can break it.”

Stiles frowned and stepped forward, hefting his bat and swinging it as hard as he could into the glass.

It bounced off like the door was made of rubber, causing Stiles to stumble back and fall on his ass.

“What did I just say,” Scott grumbled, but he offered a hand to Stiles, helping him back up.

“This means that we’re not alone in here,” Lydia pointed out. “They clearly wanted us to get stuck in here, and someone had to shut the doors.”

“Looks like you were right about them reaching out to us,” Stiles grumbled. “We need a plan.”

“How come we can’t sense them?” Liam asked, growling as he sniffed the air.

“I don’t know,” Scott answered with a frown.

“How about we focus on getting the civilians out of here first?” Parrish suggested.

Stiles grimaced and looked at his family.

Eric was holding Taylor in one arm, the other around Kelly. Teddy was wrapped around his mother’s legs, while Bella stood next to them. The triplets were standing in front of Gary and Anne, with Henry off to the side. Carol and Justin were next to them, Nate and Tyler standing with Henry.

They all looked nervous and confused.

“I don’t think we have time,” Stiles said, frowning and pointing out of the window.

The moon was rising. All of the shifters were clearly getting antsy, constantly moving and clenching their fists and squeezing their eyes shut.

“What is going on here?” Anne screeched. “I’d really love to know!”

“We’re just trying to figure a way out,” John assured her.

“This is ridiculous! Just break a window or something!” Justin rolled his eyes.

“It’s not that easy, Dad,” Dani told him. “Just let us handle this.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Danielle. You’re children. Let the adults handle this.”

“This situation is a bit out of your expertise, Mom. Trust us, please.”

Carol gawked at her.

“Wait a minute. I know what’s going on,” Gary said slowly.

“Of course you do,” Stiles mumbled under his breath.

Derek snorted softly next to him.

“Stiles is in a gang!” Gary announced. “This is all some gang problem!”

Stiles actually face-palmed. “I’m not in a gang, Uncle Gary. I promise.” He turned back to his friends, trying his best to ignore the others. “So I think we should-”

“Me-check-slaw Stilinski!” Carol screeched. “You tell us the truth right this instant! You‘re clearly in a gang. You’re not as smart as you think you are-”

“Carol!” John protested angrily. “Don’t talk to my son like that!”

“No! He clearly thinks he’s clever, trying to hide this! But he comes home bruised up after being out all night, he talks about the rogues and the rivals and someone’s died for god’s sake! This is ridiculous! How could you let that happen!”

The rubber band under Stiles’ skin pulled tighter.

“And what type of gang are you anyway?” Sherry jumped in before anyone could say anything. “Letting Stiles join? He’s an annoying, know-it-all, wimpy, scrawny, obsessive little freak! Like I said the other day, the only reason anyone hangs out with you is because they pity you! But you being in a gang with these people makes more sense than you having friends, so-”

“You bitch!” Malia snarled, stepping forward. “What is your problem? Stiles is amazing! He is loyal and strong and smart and better than you’ll ever be! He’s the best person I know. Even Derek loves him, and Derek hates everyone!”

Despite the gravity of the situation, Stiles couldn’t help but feel a pang at Malia’s words. But he shook it off, cautiously moving towards his friend.

“Malia, it’s okay,” he said.

“But it’s not!” She cried. “How can you let them treat you like this?”

“We have bigger issues at the moment,” Derek tried.

Malia turned to glare at Derek. “And you! How can you let them treat him like this?! How have you not ripped out their throats yet?”

“Excuse me?” Carol gasped.

“Because Stiles asked me not to,” Derek explained, ignoring Carol. “Malia, you need to calm down.”

“I can’t! This is ridiculous! We are in a serious amount of danger, and we can’t do anything about it because we’re stuck here with these idiots!”

“Young lady,” Gary lectured angrily. “That is enough. You have been extremely disrespectful to my family the entire time that we’ve been here for absolutely no reason-”

“No reason?” Lydia interrupted. “No reason?”

“All you’ve done since you got here is hurt Stiles and his father!” Malia snapped. “They’ve been jumping through hoops just to keep you awful people happy for some unknown reason. There’s no way that Sheriff Stilinski knows how you really treat Stiles, because if he did he wouldn’t let this happen. This means that we were asked to stand by and watch as your bratty children bullied Stiles, because he asked us to! And don’t get me started on those idiots! The triplets are mean, fake-tanned, bottle-blonde bitches who have no clue what it’s like to have a friend because everyone they meet hates them-”

Time slowed down as Polly stepped forward and slapped Malia. Malia’s head actually jerked to the side- more out of shock than anything, Stiles knew.

Stiles watched on helplessly as Malia’s careful hold on her control snapped.

She whipped her head back towards Polly with an angry snarl, her eyes glowing blue and her fangs out.

Stiles heard his father let out a tired sigh as Polly screamed and scrambled backwards.

As soon as Polly’s stopped screaming, it went dead silent. Stiles’ family stared at Malia, fear and confusion written all over their faces.

Derek was the first to make a move, gently putting his hand on Malia’s shoulder and pulling her away.

“I...what the hell?” Sherry squeaked out, breaking the silence.

“Alright,” Stiles sighed, rubbing a hand down his face. “Listen up, because we don’t have time for this. I’m not in a gang- I’m part of a pack.”

“A pack?” Tyler muttered. “A pack of what?”

“Werewolves, mostly.”

“Werewolves?” Jane scoffed. “Yeah, right.”

“This prank has gone a little far, John,” Carol announced.

“This isn’t a prank!” Stiles yelled. “We’ve spent way too much time arguing with you. Werewolves are real, and so are a lot of other supernatural creatures. At the moment, we’re trapped in this hospital with one of the largest packs in the country that want to kill us. They already killed my friend, and they’ve threatened to kill all of you to get to us. So if you want to live, you need to listen to us.”

“I-”

“Do you really want to argue right now?” Scott growled, flashing his eyes red.

Justin snapped his mouth shut, shaking his head.

Stiles smirked to himself, but then his eyes fell on Bella and her family.

They were still staring at him in shock- and something else. They looked afraid, obviously, but also almost...betrayed.

Stiles took a step towards them, but as soon as he did, Aunt Kelly pushed Teddy behind her and Uncle Eric turned his body so that he was shielding Taylor. Even Bella stepped backwards, shaking her head at him distrustfully.

“I…” Stiles said, but he couldn’t think of what to say. He understood, of course, that they were afraid. But it still hurt.

“Stiles,” Derek murmured, gently taking his arm. “We need to come up with a plan.”

Stiles nodded, letting Derek pull him away with one last glance at his godfamily.

“I’ll talk to them,” the Sheriff assured him. “Go on.”

Stiles nodded again, forcing himself to snap out of it.

“I’m so sorry,” Malia said once Stiles rejoined his friends. “I didn’t mean to-”

“It’s not your fault,” Stiles reassured her, shaking his head. “She’s a bitch and she deserved it. Now we really need to focus.”

“Our main goal should be getting the civilians out,” Parrish reminded them.

“Of course. But I don’t like that they haven’t made any moves yet. We’ve been stuck in here for way too long, and you guys were already in the hospital before we got here. I don’t know what they’re planning, but it can’t be good.”

“Obviously it can't be good, Derek, they want to kill us all!”

Derek rolled his eyes at Stiles. Stiles just rolled his eyes right back.

“Whatever they’re planning, it doesn’t matter. We won’t be fighting them tonight.”

“We won’t?” Liam asked.

“No,” Stiles said firmly. “At least, not on purpose. Our only concern is getting out of here. It’s not a coincidence that they chose the full moon to attack. I have a feeling that they’re not going to be fighting too hard to stay in control, which means that you guys need to focus extra hard on keeping yours. Focus on your anchors, you know the drill.”

“That’s great and all, but how do you suggest we get out of here?” Theo asked impatiently.

Stiles grimaced. “We’ll figure that out as we go.”

“Why don’t we just line this room with mountain ash?” Kira suggested. “Keeps them out and keeps us safe.”

“Because there are humans in their pack.”

Kira frowned.

Stiles looked around the group, a new worry filling him. “We’re all here, right? No one missing?”

The pack all looked at each other and did a silent headcount.

“All here,” Derek confirmed, and Stiles was about to relax slightly when another voice piped up.

“Did you forget about me?”

The whole pack jumped as Peter Hale entered the lobby from one of the side hallways, Chris Argent right behind him, holding a gun to his back. Melissa McCall followed closely, looking like she was tired of the supernatural world.

“Mom!” Scott cried, immediately rushing towards her. “What are you doing here?”

“Stiles texted me that you all got into some trouble here and needed help. Chris got a similar text, but we’ve been here for at least half an hour, and you’re clearly fine.”

Scott groaned.

“How did you get out?” Stiles finally burst out at Peter, annoyance filling him as this new problem arrived.

“You texted me to get him from the loft,” Chris answered, frowning. “Melissa called me since none of you were answering.”

Stiles shut his eyes briefly, counting to ten.

“My phone was stolen by the other pack. This whole thing is a trap.”

“We kind of figured that out when we didn’t find either Malia or Scott bleeding out in one of the rooms,” Peter said dryly.

Before anyone could say anything else, a roar split the air. Stiles found himself being shoved to the ground as Connor leapt towards Peter, fully wolfed-out.

Peter’s eyes widened slightly and he stepped backwards into Chris. Chris shoved him forward and swiftly got out of the way, pulling Melissa with him.

Just before Connor reached him, however, Derek jumped between them, grabbing Connor by the arms.

“Connor! Don’t!”

Connor snarled at him. “Why didn’t you tell me he was here?”

“Because I thought he was going to stay locked up!”

“Why’s he even here?” Connor growled. “How could you let him come back?”

“I don’t always get a say in the matter.”

“He killed Laura!”

“I know that!” Derek yelled. “Believe me, I know. But we can’t seem to get rid of him, so right now we’re stuck with him.”

Connor glared between Derek and Peter, but he de-wolfed and went to stand next to Dani, who put a calming hand on his arm.

“He killed someone?” Polly squeaked.

Stiles sighed. “He’s killed a lot of someones. So had Derek. Hell, even I’ve killed people! Now for the last time, shut up!”

Polly backed down, lowering herself into a chair.

“He’s working with them!” Malia exclaimed. “He has to be, why else would they want him here?”

All eyes turned to Peter.

“Peter, tell us the truth, now,” Derek growled.

“I truly am on your side, nephew. I got a text saying that Malia had been badly hurt, and the next thing I knew Argent here was in the loft, saying we needed to get to the hospital.”

“Why do they want you here?” Scott asked, letting his eyes burn red.

Peter shrugged helplessly. “How should I know? I’m not working with them.”

Stiles watched Peter intently, not blinking when Peter met his eyes. There Stiles found the usual arrogance and creepiness, but underneath it all, hidden deep within, Stiles found a spark of fear. True, honest-to-God fear that you couldn’t fake.

“He’s telling the truth,” Stiles announced, cutting through the pack’s arguing.

They all turned to him, confused.

“He’s not working with them,” Stiles said. “Not yet, anyway.”

As he said it, he felt a sort of tug underneath his skin, and he immediately knew he was right.

“How do you know?” Scott asked- not accusing, just confused.

“I’m a good judge of character.”

“It’s Peter,” Lydia said disbelievingly.

“I know. But what choice do we have anyway? If he betrays us, we’ll deal with it like we always do. But we are seriously low on time. And as long as there’s no more distractions, I’d really like to come up with a plan.”

Stiles looked around, letting out a breath when he was met with nods.

“Alright. So we’ve established that we need to get these idiots out of here,” Stiles jerked a thumb back towards his family. “Preferably without any bloodshed. We can’t stay here, but we need to figure out why they haven’t made any moves yet.”

“They clearly want us to go out into the hospital,” Liam said.

“But you’ve all walked around and they haven’t done anything.”

“We weren’t all here yet,” Theo pointed out. “The doors only shut once we were all inside.”

“And none of you saw them?”

Everyone shook their heads.

“Why would they want us all here?”

“To kill us, I assume,” the sheriff added dryly.

Stiles rolled his eyes. “Thanks, Dad.”

“Why do they want to kill us?” Henry asked. “We haven’t done anything!”

“You’re Stiles’ family, and they want him to suffer,” Derek explained gruffly. “They’re going to kill all of you, to make all of you suffer before doing it, and they’re going to make me watch until you’re all gone. Then they’ll kill me.”

It was silent for a moment.

“Wow, way to bring the mood down, Sourwolf,” Stiles finally said.

Derek glared at Stiles, but there was no heat behind it.

“So the Olsen pack is one of the biggest in the country. They have at least ten more members than us, even with my family here. I don’t get why they don’t just attack us now? They have the numbers and their immoral mindset, and it’s the full moon. They have the advantage.” But then realization hit Stiles. “Unless…”

Lydia nodded, looking tired. “They want a hunt.”

“So you’re saying that we’re prey?” Mason asked tentatively.

“Basically,” Malia said grimly.

“So what do we do?”

Stiles steeled himself. “If they want a hunt, they’ll get a hunt. We’re going to split up-”

“Wait, no. That’s how everything goes down in the horror movies!” Liam protested.

“Our life is a horror movie!” Stiles countered. “I know splitting up isn’t the most appealing idea, but we need to. I talked to a few wolves who had run into them in the past, and they all said the same thing. The Olsen pack drew them out, hunted them down, immediate slaughter-fest. Most of them had barely escaped with their lives. The Olsen pack is big, not smart, meaning they’ll stick to the same methods. They’re expecting that we’ll stick together- safety in numbers and all that. So if we split up, that immediately gives us the advantage of surprise. There are seventeen ex-hunters and twenty-three wolves, give or take. Why are you all staring at me like that?”

“How do you know all of this?” Scott asked incredulously. “And when did you talk to other wolves?”

Stiles raised an eyebrow. “Did you really think I was sleeping last night?”

Scott frowned. “You were. I heard your heartbeat. You were snoring.”

“I dozed for the hour you were monitoring me, then I got up and did research.”

Scott frowned harder, clearly upset that he hadn’t noticed.

“Anyway,” Stiles continued, putting aside the placating Scott job for later. “We’ll need to split up into groups. We’ll split up my family, because too many humans in one group will draw attention and they’re not able to defend themselves.”

“I know jujitsu!” Tyler interrupted.

Stiles ignored him. “We should send out two scouting groups, see if they missed any exits. I think we should get my family…”

Stiles trailed off, looking at Scott and realizing that maybe he should defer to the alpha, especially on the full moon.

“Scotty, you wanna take over?”

“Nah, you’re doing pretty good on your own,” Scott answered, grinning with an odd sort of pride.

Stiles nodded in acknowledgment, then continued. “We should get my family into an empty room without any windows and line it with mountain ash, and we can leave one or two of us in there with them in case the hunters break the lines.”

“There’s a large storage closet on the fourth floor,” Melissa volunteered. “It can fit all of us comfortably. Room 406.”

“Alright. How do we split up?” Derek asked.

Stiles took a breath, glancing between his bad-family and his god-family and his pack-family.

“Malia, Liam, and Mason, take the Smiths and take the far staircase to the room. Take the most roundabout way you can without running into trouble. And don’t cause any trouble.”

Malia was scowling at the Smiths, but she nodded.

“Corey, Scotty, and Kira, can you guys go scout the east wing of the building?”

They all nodded.

“Okay, Derek, I want you and my dad to take the Gilds to the safe room-”

“Hold on, I’m not leaving you alone!”

Stiles furrowed his brow, and Derek shook his head, marching forward so he could speak privately.

“You heard the guy last night. They want to get to you the most. It’s not safe for you-”

“I won’t be alone. I appreciate the concern, Sourwolf, but I need you to go with the Gilds.”

Derek opened his mouth to protest, but Stiles cut him off.

“Derek, please. I trust you, and I need you to keep them and my dad safe.”

Derek looked like he was debating arguing, but he finally sighed. “Fine. I’ll take Peter with me so I can keep an eye on him.”

Stiles nodded, raising his voice slightly. “Thank you. Cora, Parrish, can you go with them?”

“Got it, Stilinski,” Cora called.

“Melissa, can you, Chris, Dani, and Connor scout the west side?”

“Lydia and Theo, you guys are with me. We’ll take the Drents to the safe room. We’ll all meet back up and go from there.”

Everyone nodded, and the couples exchanged hugs and kisses before going their separate ways.

Stiles was surprised none of his family protested, but he figured that they were too shocked.

He caught up to the Gilds before they could leave.

The sheriff hugged him tight. “Be careful.”

“You too.”

Stiles was about to say something else, but he found himself cut off by Bella throwing her arms around him and hugging him tight.

She made an odd noise, and Stiles knew she was trying to say something.

He gently pushed her away and held her by her shoulders.

“Hey, it’s going to be okay. I promise.”

Bella nodded, lip quivering.

“I’m sorry you got caught up in this,” Stiles murmured. “Take this.”

He pressed his bat into her hands. “Anyone comes near you, whack them.”

Bella nodded again before kissing his cheek.

“Be careful,” she whispered.

“I will,” Stiles promised.

His aunt and uncle both hugged him, which he appreciated, and then he turned to Derek.

“Keep them safe, okay?”

Derek nodded. “I promise.”

“And...you stay safe.”

Derek’s lips quirked up. “I promise.”

Stiles nodded decisively. “Good.”

“You keep yourself safe,” Derek ordered.

Stiles smiled slightly.

“Alright, guys, we gotta go!” Theo called from behind Stiles.

Stiles threw one last look at his god-family, and his friends, then jogged back over to his bad-family.

“We’ll take the stairs in the North side of the building,” he announced.

“Why don’t we just take the elevators?” Sherry suggested quietly.

“Because they’ll expect that. You’ve just gotta trust us on this, okay? We’ll get you out of here safe, but you need to listen,” Lydia said, addressing all of the Drents.

“But my shoes…” Polly whined.

Stiles gritted his teeth. “Take them off. It’ll be easier for us to move without you in six-inch heels.”

Polly hesitated, but she slipped off her shoes, her sisters and mother following close behind. Even Lydia took her heels off.

“Can we go now?” Theo asked impatiently.

Stiles rolled his eyes, but he nodded.

They made it up one whole flight of stairs before Theo stopped dead in his tracks. Stiles walked right into him, and he shoved Stiles back in annoyance.

“Why are we stopping?” Uncle Gary asked, voice uncertain.

“Shhh,” Theo hissed.

He gestured for them to flatten back against the wall, and Stiles did so immediately, grabbing hold of Henry’s arm and pulling him back. Lydia and the rest of Stiles’ family followed suit.

Stiles hadn’t let go of his death grip on Henry’s arm, and he could feel the poor guy shaking. He knew first hand how scary the supernatural world, and he felt a stab of guilt at how his family had been thrown in.

He didn’t have too long to dwell on it, though, because he finally heard what Theo’s werewolf senses had picked up on- footsteps.

He mentally cursed, holding his breath and praying that they were only hunters.

They were not only hunters.

The new arrivals turned the corner already beta-shifted, grinning around their fangs. There were five of them, all wolves.

A few of the humans behind Stiles shrieked, which just caused the wolves to laugh.

“Look who we found,” the first one crowed. “Alpha’s most wanted.”

Stiles pulled out the gun he had tucked into his waistband, aiming it at the first wolf’s head with a steady hand.

“Back off.”

“Wow, I’m terrified,” the second wolf said dryly. “Really, shaking in my boots here.”

“Shut up,” Theo snarled, shifting.

“Alpha Ellis said that the Emissary needed to be taken alive, but we could kill the rest.”

“I’d like to see you try,” Lydia snapped.

The third wolf shrugged. “Okay.”

With that, they attacked.

“Move!” Stiles yelled at his family, shoving Polly out of the way.

He reached into the side pocket of his pack and threw a handful of powdered wolfsbane at the wolf rushing him. He choked and fell backwards into Lydia, who managed to knock him unconscious. Theo took out a second, but the third knocked him to the ground. A fourth grappled with Lydia.

The remaining wolf was stalking towards Stiles’ family with a predatory grin. She reached for Jane, claws out, and Stiles didn’t hesitate.

The first bullet hit her right in the back of her left knee, and the second in the back of her right.

She howled in rage and pain, and Stiles grabbed hold of her hair and smacked her head into the wall hard enough to knock her out.

His family stared at him with wide eyes, but Stiles didn’t have time to deal with that. He quickly turned around and jumped the wolf that was about to rip Theo’s throat, using his body to slam into him.

The surprise factor alone was enough to cause the wolf to stumble, and Stiles silently cheered as Theo got back up.

His celebration didn’t last long, however, because suddenly the wolf got the upper hand, gripping Stiles’ hair painfully tight from behind and pressing his claws into Stiles’ throat.

One of the triplets screamed slightly.

“Okay, easy there,” Stiles tried. “Your boss wants me alive.”

“You seem to be more trouble than we thought,” the wolf grumbled. “Drop the gun.”

Stiles breathed out slowly as he did as he was told. He looked up to see the other wolf restraining Lydia.

The wolf holding Stiles tutted at Theo. “Claws away or I tear his throat out.”

Theo growled low in his throat, but Stiles managed a small nod, and Theo did as directed.

“Let him go!” Gary demanded.

Stiles felt momentarily- and stupidly- touched at his uncle’s concern.

The wolf holding Lydia tipped his head. “We’ll get to you soon enough, be patient.”

“Run, you idiots,” Stiles choked out.

His family didn’t move.

“Well well well,” the wolf practically purred. “Let me give you some advice. Never send the weak human after a werewolf.”

He pressed his claws harder into Stiles’ throat and Stiles could feel the blood beginning to drip down. Stiles slowly moved his hand into his pocket, gripping the cool handle of the small knife.

“Let me give you some advice,” Stiles managed.

He pulled the knife out and swiftly stabbed the werewolf in the thigh.

His captor howled in pain, releasing Stiles, who immediately spun around and pressed the wolfsbane-coated knife to the wolf’s throat.

“Never underestimate the weak human.”

The wolf’s eyes widened as Stiles brought the handle of the knife down on his head, hard enough to knock him out.

He heard grunts from behind him as Lydia took out the last wolf.

“You good?” He asked Theo.

Theo nodded, looking down at the unconscious bodies.

“What do we do with them?” He asked, kicking one.

“I have some rope in the pack. We’ll shove them in one of the rooms.”

It wasn’t until Stiles heard a squeak from behind him that he thought of his family.

“Are you guys okay?”

They were all gaping at him. Anne managed a nod.

“Your neck,” she whispered.

Stiles reached up and winced- the puncture marks stung, but they weren’t awful.

“I’m fine. Had worse. If you guys aren’t hurt, we need to keep moving. We’ll tie them up and then we’ll get to the safe room.”

Gary nodded. “We’ll be okay.”

“Well, if Stiles is our best defense-” Henry started.

“Shut up!” Gary snapped.

Henry flinched, gaping at his father. Stiles knew that Gary had never so much as rolled his eyes at Henry- this was new.

“Don’t you get it?” Gary continued. “We are locked inside a hospital being hunted by fucking werewolves, and your cousin apparently knows a hell of a lot more about this shit than we do. So yes, he is our best defense. This is not the time for you to be acting like a petty child! The way you treat him is inexcusable, and I know it’s my fault. But if you don’t want to die, shut up and do what he says, do you understand me?”

Henry gulped like a fish out of water and nodded at his father.

Stiles himself was gaping, until Lydia sighed impatiently and yanked his arm.

“Give me the rope, Stilinski.”


 

They somehow made it to the safe room without any further incident.

Stiles opened the door, then yelped as Malia pounced on him.

“It’s me! It’s me, put the claws away.”

Malia clambered off of him, offering her hand.

“Sorry. Stupid mountain ash, I can’t smell anything. You’re bleeding!”

Stiles waved her off as he shut the door behind the others and fixed the mountain ash.

Dani, Connor, Melissa, Chris, Liam, Mason, Malia, and the Smiths were the only ones back.

“We took care of it. Any trouble for you guys?”

“We took care of it,” Connor responded, nodding at Stiles.

Stiles took in the cut on his forehead, and the bruises already forming on Malia’s arm. He just nodded back, not asking.

They sat in silence for the next few minutes, until there was a frantic knocking at the door.

“It’s us!” Bella cried. “Let us in!”

Something in her voice had Stiles up and at the door in seconds, ripping it open.

Bella practically fell into the room, followed closely by her mother, brothers, and Cora.

Stiles’ heart sank as he saw blood on most of them, either their own or someone else’s, but before he could dwell on that, Parrish and Eric came in, holding John up between them.

“Dad!” Stiles exclaimed, feeling nauseous.

His dad was hanging off of the other two men’s shoulders, unconscious and bleeding from his head and stomach.

“What happened?” He demanded once they had laid the sheriff on the ground.

“What do you think?” Cora snapped. “We ran into trouble.”

“He’s going to be fine,” Eric announced in relief. “The bleeding’s already mostly stopped.”

Stiles had almost forgotten that he was an EMT, but he sighed in relief.

It didn’t last long, however, before he looked around again. “Hang on, where’s Derek?”

Cora scowled. “Being stupid.”

“What did he do?” Stiles asked, dread filling him.

“I’m going to kill him this time, I swear,” Cora muttered, not answering him. “Especially if he dies.”

“Whoa, hang on! What did he do?” Stiles’ anxiety levels were rising steadily, and he felt Connor put a calming hand on his shoulder. “Guys, where is he?”

“He’s distracting them, with Peter,” Bella said faintly. “Stiles, I think he killed some of them.”

“He definitely killed some of them,” Cora answered, pacing. “And then he made us get them to safety.”

She jerked her thumb at the Gilds.

“How bad was it?”

“Not bad for us,” Parrish said. “But for them...the second they hit your dad, Derek attacked. We barely got any hits in.”

“How many does that leave?” Dani asked tiredly.

“We got five,” Theo answered. “But they’re only unconscious.”

“We had four,” Malia told them. “But we didn’t kill them either.”

“We didn’t run into any trouble,” Melissa said. “And we didn’t find any exits.”

“I think Derek got three, and we knocked out another two.”

“So that leaves maybe twenty-six, more if they find and wake up the others,” Stiles reasoned. “But no way out.”

“Wow, great job Sherlock.”

“Shut up, Theo. Not the time for you to get pissy.”

“Not the time?” Theo repeated incredulously. “Stilinski, we are locked in a storage closet hiding from a pack. I think this is a great time for me to get pissy.”

“Liam, calm him down, would you?” Stiles asked tiredly.

Theo scoffed indignantly, but Stiles saw him soften as soon as Liam laid a hand on his arm.

“So what do we do now?” Bella asked softly.

Stiles turned and finally looked at her, and the rest of his family.

Bella was visibly shaking, the triplets were all crying, as was Teddy, Nate and Henry both looked like they were going to be sick, and Tyler had his eyes closed and was breathing heavily. Taylor was asleep in his mother’s arms, thank god.

The adults weren’t much better. Aunt Anne was also crying, Uncle Gary was pale and he was pacing, Uncle Justin was muttering under his breath, Aunt Carol just looked like she was in shock. Aunt Kelly and Uncle Eric were clearly trying their best to put on brave faces, but it was also clear that they were terrified.

“Now we wait,” Stiles said regretfully. “We still have Scott, Kira, and Corey out there, along with Peter and Derek.”

“Stiles,” Aunt Kelly said, rocking Taylor. “I’m still not really sure what’s going on, but we just saw your friend murder three people who were trying to murder us, and they all have fangs. I would really appreciate a more detailed explanation than the Stiles is in a pack of werewolves, but don’t worry because they’re good people that your father gave us.”

Stiles sighed, slumping. Lydia put a hand on his shoulder.

“When Scott and I were sixteen-”

He was interrupted by a loud thump against the door. Everyone jumped, and when it came again Polly shrieked.

“I got it!” Teddy called, like the five-year-old he was.

“No!”

Stiles lunged for his little cousin, but he missed and landed on the floor.

Jane raced passed him as Teddy opened the door, snatching the little boy away. She then screamed so loud that Stiles thought his eardrums were going to burst, and slammed the door shut, leaning against it.

“Who was it?” Malia asked urgently, beta-shifted.

“It was a wolf!” Jane whimpered.

“A werewolf? How many?” Liam pressed.

Jane shook her head violently, shrieking as something thumped against the door again, followed by scratching.

“No, an actual wolf! It was big and black and I think it’s going to eat us!”

Stiles let out a breath of relief, and he saw the rest of his pack relax as well.

“Oh, thank god,” he murmured, standing up.

“That’s a good thing?” Aunt Carol squeaked.

“Yeah, it’s Derek.”

Stiles gestured for Jane to move aside.

“That was not Derek,” she protested weakly.

“Yes it was. Now move, he could be hurt.”

Jane let Stiles gently push her aside, scrambling back over to her family.

Stiles opened the door, relief filling him even more as he saw that it really was Derek, fully shifted.

Stiles’ relatives all pressed themselves into the back corner, clearly terrified.

That was fair, seeing how Derek came up to Stiles’ waist in height, and had blood on his muzzle.

“I’m going to kill you,” Cora informed him seriously.

Derek snuffed at her, trotting inside.

“Are you okay?” Liam asked carefully.

Derek just tossed his head and bared his teeth, and Stiles rolled his eyes as his family shrieked.

“Dude. You’re scaring them. Can you change back?”

Stiles could picture the exact glare that Derek would be giving him if he was human right now- the one that said You’re an idiot and missing something obvious. He got that glare a lot.

Derek managed to convey it pretty well in wolf form too, staring at Stiles with a curled lip.

Stiles just stared right back, squinting.

Derek huffed and pointedly turned in a circle, looking at himself, then over to Stiles’ family.

Stiles scoffed when he realized what Derek was concerned about, then reached into his pack, pulling out a rolled-up pair of Derek’s sweatpants.

“You’re so lucky that Deaton put some sort of extension spell or some shit on this bag or you’d have to go naked,” he told Derek, holding out the pants.

Derek chuffed and nipped lightly at Stiles’ hand, then took the pants in his mouth and trotted over to the corner.

Stiles grinned as Derek transformed back into himself and hurriedly put his pants on.

“No shirt?” Derek asked in annoyance.

Stiles did not look at Derek’s toned chest. He didn’t.

“There’s bound to be a scrub top in here. But first of all, what the hell were you thinking, using yourself as a distraction?”

“I was thinking that you asked me to keep your family safe,” Derek answered without hesitating. “And I was keeping my promise.”

“I also told you to keep yourself safe,” Stiles pointed out.

“Do I look hurt to you?”

Stiles rolled his eyes, but Derek frowned, stepping closer. Again, Stiles made a point not to look at Derek’s naked chest.

“I told you to stay safe,” he murmured, voice much softer than it had been a moment ago. “You’re hurt.”

Derek reached out and pressed his hand against Stiles’ neck.

Stiles had honestly forgot about the puncture wounds. He hadn’t realized how much they had been hurting until Derek leeched away the pain.

“Thanks,” he breathed.

“Derek,” Malia said suddenly. “Where’s Peter?”

Derek snatched his hand away from Stiles, clearing his throat.

“They had wolfsbane. It knocked him out and they dragged him away. I had to kill the guy holding me just so I could get back here.”

Stiles groaned. “Great. Okay. So now we just need to wait on-”

“We’re here,” Scott announced, walking through the open door with Kira and Corey.

Stiles cursed, looking at the broken mountain ash.

“Oops. Okay, well, good. We’re all here.” He shut the door this time, making sure to fix the mountain ash line.

“Is everyone okay?” Scott asked immediately.

They relayed what had happened on the way to the room, and in turn the other group told them that they had taken care of two hunters, but still hadn’t found an exit.

“Oh, great!” Stiles exclaimed, his panic slamming into him like a truck.

He vaguely registered the werewolves all cringing at the waves of anxiety coming off of him, but he started pacing, pulling at his hair.

“This is just great! My dad is hurt, my family has been thrown into the supernatural world, and we are trapped in a hospital being hunted for the gazillionth time! Seriously, don’t the bad guys ever get tired of trapping us in the god forsaken hospital? There’s plenty of nice abandoned warehouses in this fucked up town! A change of scene would be nice!”

“Stiles,” Derek said gently.

Stiles ignored him, his breath coming quicker. “No, this is perfect! Just perfect for the week I’ve had! I’ve had to deal with these assholes pushing my father and I around, one of my best friends died, and we’re all about to die! They’re fucking messing with us! They have to know exactly where we are! This is just a set-up, and-”

“Stiles,” Derek repeated sharply, grabbing Stiles’ shoulders and forcing him to meet his eyes. “Calm down.”

Stiles wanted to argue, but a voice in the back of his head (that sounded suspiciously like his father) was telling him that panicking wouldn’t help the situation.

He slumped against the wall, sliding down to the ground, and Derek knelt in front of him.

“Stiles, do me a favor?”

Stiles nodded tiredly, looking at Derek questioningly.

“Stop trying to hide your chemosignals.”

Stiles opened his mouth to protest, but Derek cut him off.

“I don’t know how you’re doing it, but I do know that it’s taking a lot more energy than you let on. And keeping these emotions bottled up is just going to make them come out ten times worse. You’re constantly on the verge of a panic attack, and we need you to be at full strength right now; you’re our best strategist. I need you.”

Stiles nodded again, finally straightening. Derek let go of his hand, which Stiles hadn’t realized he’d still been holding. He didn’t go far, instead resting the hand on Stiles’ knee as he turned to look at Scott.

His family was staring at him, and Stiles- for the first time that night- was grateful for the situation, because it meant that they wouldn’t be making fun of him. At the moment, anyway.

Though it hadn’t been a full fledged panic attack, Stiles was left shaking and dizzy.

“Apparently I’m taking a break, who’s next on planning?”

Scott rolled his eyes at him, but he affectionately nudged Stiles with his foot.

“Alright. I think we should split up again, look for another exit. Mom, do you have any ideas where they could be?”

“Oh my god!” Melissa exclaimed, smacking her forehead. “I should’ve remembered...in each wing on the first floor there’s an exit blocked off by filing cabinets. They’re well hidden, used for emergencies only. We've never had to use them before.”

“Thank god,” Carol muttered. “So we have a way out?”

“Maybe.” Scott frowned. “We need to make sure it’s clear, and we can get them open.”

“I say we leave the humans here while we check,” Malia suggested bluntly. “Bringing them is a liability, and there’s no way that the sheriff can stand up on his own right now.”

The sheriff groaned on the floor, as if to prove her point.

At least he was waking up.

“That’s a good plan.” Derek stood up, moving to check on the sheriff.

“Uh, no. That’s a terrible plan. How do you expect us to get there and back, and then go back to the doors- if we can get to them- with my family without being spotted?”

Derek shrugged. “We’ll send one or two people back to get you guys.”

“I don’t know,” Stiles said, but then he sat up straight, squinting at Derek. “ ‘You guys’? Don’t you even think about telling me-”

“You’re staying here,” Scott said firmly, after exchanging a look with Derek.

“What the fuck!” Stiles exclaimed, jumping to his feet.

“Stiles, you just had a panic attack,” Scott tried.

“Oh no. No, that wasn’t even a full panic attack! There’s got to be a better explanation than that.”

“Someone needs to stay with your family,” Scott reminded him.

“So you’re benching me? This is so unfair!”

“They want to kill you!” Scott objected.

“They want to kill all of us!” Stiles snapped. “Why am I the one getting left behind? And if any of you say it’s because I’m human, I have a handful of wolfsbane I can shove right up your-”

Derek growled, actually flashing his eyes at Stiles.

“You want a good reason? Other than me, they want you dead the most. So if they capture you, they’re going to make you watch as they kill everyone else, and then they’re going to torture you slowly, not killing you until you’re begging. YOu know what else? They’re going to make me watch, and I absolutely refuse to do that, understand?”

Stiles could only nod, blinking at Derek. He didn’t even point out the fact that if he went with them, they could protect him better. There was something in Derek’s eyes- something raw and vulnerable- that made Stiles give in.

“Fine,” he muttered, staring at the ground.

“Maybe a few others should stay,” Mason suggested timidly. “....A supernatural someone. We’ll draw too much attention as this big of a group, and these guys need someone to protect them.”

Stiles opened his mouth, annoyed, but Mason quickly cut him off.

“I just meant someone other than Stiles. Wait, that still sounded bad! Stiles, I know you can protect them just fine, but I just thought it wouldn’t hurt to have someone with claws-”

“Don’t hurt yourself.” Stiles saved Mason from the hole he was digging himself into. “I get it. And he’s right, it would help to have someone here with me.”

“I’ll stay,” Connor volunteered immediately.

“Me too,” Corey piped up. “I need a little more time to heal before I can fight.”

Stiles looked at him, slightly guilty that he hadn’t noticed the big gash running down his leg.

“Anyone else?” Scott asked, looking around.

“Me. I twisted my ankle before, I don’t feel like sprinting around just yet.”

Stiles looked over at Lydia, and then he felt even guiltier for not noticing the way she was sitting on the floor, resting her foot in Parrish’s lap.

“Jesus, Lydia, I’m sor-”

Lydia held up a hand, stopping him. “I’ll be fine in a little bit, I just need a rest. The point is I don’t need to be standing to scream.”

“Scream? Why would she scream?” Uncle Justin asked nervously.

“That’s her thing,” the sheriff groaned, pushing himself into a sitting position. “Derek and Scott and them all have claws and fangs, Parrish lights himself on fire, Kira controls electricity, Corey’s...a mix, and Lydia screams. You get used to it.”

“Are you okay, John?” Derek asked, beating Stiles over to the sheriff and kneeling beside him. Stiles knelt on his other side, worriedly looking him over for injuries.

“I’m fine,” John answered, lightly touching the injuries on his head and stomach. “What’s going on?”

“We’re being left behind while they go find a way out,” Stiles muttered.

“Stiles-”

“I know, I know, I’m kidding. Mostly. We just have to wait here until they make sure the exit is clear,” Stiles told his father, ignoring Derek’s gaze.

“Thank you,” the sheriff said to Derek. “You saved my life. Yet again.”

Stiles saw Derek duck his head, embarrassed.

“They won’t be killing anyone else,” he said seriously, despite the redness in his cheeks.

“And I appreciate that. I also appreciate you keeping my son safe.”

“I…” Derek trailed off, apparently lost for words.

Stiles just shook his head and clapped his hands together, changing the subject.

“Alright. If I’m not allowed out there with you guys, you can bet I’m sending you off with the best thought out plan I’ve ever come up with.”

“This should be good,” Theo muttered.

“Shut up, Raeken. Alright. You need to switch up the groups again- it’ll mess with the scents. Mason, I’m giving you mountain ash and wolfsbane, use it wisely. Don’t use it on Theo when he gets annoying.”

Theo rolled his eyes. Stiles ignored that and they divided up the groups again, and this time it was much easier without humans having to be mixed in.

“Okay. Okay. Be careful, don’t do anything stupid.” Stiles breathed out slowly, trying not to worry. He failed pretty spectacularly at that.

“Stiles, we’ll be fine,” Scott assured him, patting his shoulder.

“I hate this,” Stiles muttered.

“I know. But hey, you came up with a good plan.”

One of Stiles’ family members snorted.

Stiles sighed as Scott glared over at them.

“Problem?”

“Guys-” Stiles started, not wanting to go through this again.

“Yeah, actually, I have a problem.” Nate stood up, glaring. “What the hell is wrong with you? You’re letting this idiot plan everything! I once saw this guy trip over air and fall into a lake, but apparently we have to trust him to get us out of here safely? Why aren’t any of you planning with him? You guys are fucking werewolves! He’s just a weak human, like the rest of us!”

Stiles cringed with each word, partially because it hurt and partially because he knew that his pack wasn’t going to react well. He could already see them twitching.

“Nathaniel Paul, what is the matter with you?” The sheriff interrupted. “Don’t you dare talk to Stiles like that!”

Nate ignored him, clearly not finished.
“Obviously he isn’t the strongest, everyone’s been telling us that Lydia is the smartest, so what is it? I mean, sure, he can apparently handle a gun, but do you really trust him to get him out of here alive? I mean, we always knew that there was nothing special about him, why don’t you see that? He’s pathetic-”

“Enough,” Stiles interrupted.

Nate smirked at him, even though he was still clearly shaken. “Why, did I hit a nerve? Am I upsetting poor wittle Mitchy?”

“I said enough,” Stiles snapped. “I don’t care about you insulting me. I stopped caring a long time ago. But we don’t have time for this. You can insult me all you want as soon as we get out of here alive.”

“But we’re probably not going to get out of here alive!” Nate cried. “Because for some unknown reason they think you’re smart enough to get us out!”

“I’ve gotten us out of situations like this before,” Stiles informed him coolly. “But it’s not like I’m doing this alone. We’re all working together. Apparently you don’t know what teamwork looks like, but that’s what’s happening here. So if you could just stop your pathetic attempt at trying to upset me just to hide how afraid you are-”

Stiles’ head snapped to the side as Nate’s fist connected with his jaw.

It was instant uproar.

Stiles’ packs and god-family all started yelling, and Stiles’ relatives started yelling right back. But the kicker was about fifteen seconds after Nate had first hit Stiles, there was a loud roar and the next thing Stiles knew, Nate was pinned against the wall. His relatives began screaming, and Nate looked like he was going to piss himself.

“Derek!” Stiles cried, rushing forward and grabbing at his arm. “Jesus, let him go!”

Derek just snarled, glaring at Nate with glowing blue eyes. He had beta-shifted and was holding Nate against the wall with one arm pinned against the boy’s chest.

“Derek,” Stiles said again, firmly this time. “I’m fine. Let him go, this isn’t the time.”

“When is the right time, Stiles?” Derek snapped, turning to Stiles, and thankfully letting Nate go.

Nate scrambled over to hide behind his mother.

“Anytime that we aren’t stuck in a hospital, preferably.”

Derek just huffed, still in the beta-shift. He started pacing, snarling softly under his breath.

“This is ridiculous. You let them beat you up and bully you just for- they have no idea what you’ve done! You’ve saved us so many times, sacrificed so much, and they just- you’re not pathetic!”

Stiles grabbed Derek by the arms, forcing him to stop and look at him.

“Derek, I know. It’s okay. Well, not the bullying, but I don’t care about it because I know what I’ve done. You know, and the pack knows, and that’s all that’s important to me. So you need to calm down, because we have a plan, and that plan does not include you tearing off the head of the next person who looks at you wrong.”

“We plan, we get there, all hell breaks loose,” Derek muttered.

Stiles couldn’t help but grin. “Yeah, I know. But dude, seriously, calm down.”

“I can’t,” Derek gritted out. “And don’t call me dude.”

He had his head bowed and his eyes closed, and his hands were gripping Stiles’ forearms so hard that Stiles was pretty sure they would leave some bruises. At least his claws weren’t digging in too tight.

“Right,” Stiles said, mentally slapping himself. “Full moon. God, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen you like this. Okay, think of your anchor, right?”

“I know what to do, Stiles.”

“Well, you’re clearly not doing it. Focus on your anger.”

“Anger isn’t my anchor anymore,” Derek ground out, clearly struggling to hold on to whatever was left of his control.

Stiles looked around at his friends, who all shrugged.

“Uh, okay, then focus on whatever your anchor is. Braeden?”

Derek hadn’t seen Braeden for over two and a half years, but Stiles wasn’t sure if he still had feelings for her.

Derek just shook his head.

“Okay...Cora?”

No, Stiles. Stop.”

“I’m just trying to help!” Stiles said indignantly, but there wasn't any heat behind it. “What about-”

“Jesus Christ, you’re my anchor, you idiot,” Derek snapped.

Stiles blinked, then blinked again. He was Derek’s anchor? Since when? Why?

He stopped his thoughts before he could get carried away, reminding himself that Derek needed him.

“Okay then. Okay, just focus on me, then. Take some breaths, slow your heart rate, you know the drill. There you go.”

Derek took a few deep breaths through his nose, (and Stiles knew that he was probably scenting him), until finally his grip on Stiles’ arms loosened. His claws retracted and his face shifted back to normal, and after a few blinks, his eyes stopped glowing.

Stiles tentatively released him, making sure Derek was still meeting his eyes.

“Are you good?”

Derek nodded jerkily. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you lose control like that. Are you going to be okay out there?”

Derek let out a harsh breath through his nose and nodded again. “I’ll be fine.”

“Okay. Good.”

“That’s it?” Carol cried.

Stiles glanced at her sharply.

“He just attacked my son for no reason! Aren’t you going to do something about it?”

Stiles clenched his jaw, putting a reassuring hand on Derek’s shoulder.

“You want me to do something? Fine. How about next time Derek loses his temper because your son was an asshole, I’ll cheer him on. How does that sound, Aunt Carol?”

Carol gaped at him, incredulous. “John!” She screeched.

“Don’t look at me, I’ll be cheering with him,” Stiles’ father snapped. “I’m not entirely sure why the hell you think you can treat my son this way, but it ends now. We’re trying to keep you alive here, so shut up and deal with it!”

Carol looked like she had swallowed a lemon, and Stiles felt a sudden rush of gratitude.

He felt Derek brush against him, and Stiles knew that he was probably still using him to stay calm. Which brought him back to the fact that he was Derek Hale’s anchor. Seriously, since when? And did it mean anything?

It probably doesn’t, Stiles told himself. Anchors aren’t always romantic. Hell, one of Derek’s first anchors was anger. That is decidedly not romantic. Cora’s anchor was Derek, and they’re just siblings.

Shit, does this mean Derek thought of him as a brother?

“Stiles.” Derek snapped in front of Stiles’ face, and Stiles jerked away from his thoughts.

“Huh? Sorry. Zoned out.”

“Hadn’t noticed,” Derek said dryly. “I asked if your neck is still hurting.”

Stiles shrugged, but as he shifted he felt his whole body ache. The last few days of being beaten up were really catching up with him.

Derek frowned, then reached out and grabbed Stiles’ wrist. Again, Stiles felt the pain draining out of him, and his body sagged in relief.

“Thanks,” he muttered.

Derek just nodded, not looking away from Stiles.

“Derek, are you good to go?” Malia called, preparing to step out the door.

“Yeah,” Derek said, breaking Stiles’ gaze and releasing his wrist. “I’m good.”

Scott came over and tugged Stiles into a quick hug, patting his back.

“Be careful,” Stiles said, trying not to let his worry show- and failing miserably.

“Hey, we’ll be fine,” Scott assured, but Stiles could hear the anxiety in his voice.

“Yeah, I know.” Stiles patted Scott’s back one more time before releasing him.

Stiles watched them file out the door, anxiety clawing its way up his throat.

“Derek!” He called out before he could stop himself.

Derek turned, one foot out the door. His eyebrows were furrowed in annoyance and he glared at Stiles.

“Stiles, you’re not coming. You’re staying here so you can stay safe.”

Stiles was stupidly touched even though he was still annoyed at being left behind.

He raised an eyebrow and huffed in mock-annoyance. “I was just going to say if all hell breaks loose, get ‘em to monologue.”

Derek cracked a smile, albeit a tired one. “Don’t open the door for anyone but us.”

“No shit, Sherlock.”

“Stay safe,” Derek said after a beat.

“Alright, Sourwolf, go be the hero.”

Derek smiled once more, and then he was gone.

As soon as he had fixed the mountain ash, Stiles slid down the wall until he was sitting on the floor.

“Are we going to talk about any of that?” Lydia asked, her smirk clear in her voice.

“No, shut up,” Stiles grumbled, shutting his eyes and leaning his head against the door.

It was silent for a few minutes.

“So...do you want to explain now?” Bella asked tentatively.

Stiles let out a loud sigh, then got comfortable.

“When Scotty and I were sixteen, I overheard my dad on the police scanner. They had found a body in the woods.”

Stiles told the story of how Scott had been bitten, and the cliff-notes version every insane thing that had happened afterwards. It took forever, with more than a few tears and added details from Lydia and his father, and questions from his family.

“So. Any other questions?”

Bella raised her hand and Stiles snorted at her. She rolled her eyes at him, and then she got that smile, the one that she and her mother got before they asked something like-

“So, when did you realize you were in love with Derek?”

Stiles spluttered indignantly, flailing slightly and not answering.

“It was about a year and a half ago.”

“Lydia!” Stiles protested indignantly, because what?

Lydia just raised an eyebrow at him and continued. “Stiles got sick and Derek cancelled a trip to see Isaac’s pack in order to take care of him. He let Stiles stay at the loft, made him soup, the whole nine yards. Stiles woke up fever-free to see Derek asleep on the couch, because he had given Stiles the bed. See, werewolves are very particular about who they let in their personal space, because they have very sensitive noses. So it meant a lot to Stiles, and Stiles just kinda realized.”

Stiles gasped at Lydia. “Okay, how the actual fuck do you know that?!”

“When you got that fever last month you got kinda delirious and told me everything.”

“You are my new favorite person,” Bella told Lydia, smirking.

“I hate you all.”

“He loves you too.”

“Dani, don’t,” he said softly. He was too tired for this.

“You’re his anchor, though,” Connor pointed out.

“That doesn’t mean anything!” Stiles protested. “Guys, just...please don’t. Not now. Not ever, actually. I just want to focus on living through the night, okay?”

“Fine. But as soon as we do, we are having a big discussion,” Bella informed him seriously.

“How are you so calm?” Dani asked her suddenly. “I’ve known about all of this for years and I’m still freaking out right now!”

“Believe me, I’m terrified. I’m just in shock, I think.”

“That makes sense, I guess,” Lydia said.

“So it really is your fault that Allison died,” Sherry said bluntly.

Stiles blanched, feeling as though he had been punched in the gut.

“Say that again,” Lydia said in a bored voice, examining her nails. “Because I really should warm up my voice before we get into any trouble.”

“What's that supposed to mean?” Sherry demanded, glaring at Lydia.

Lydia pushed herself to her feet and practically squared off against Sherry, glaring right back.

“It means that you’re a horrible person, and Allison’s death was my fault, not Stiles’.”

“No, Lydia-”

“Not now, Stiles, I’m dealing with a bitch.”

Stiles sighed, pushing his way between the two girls. “Lydia, please. We have established that she’s a bitch and that they’re awful people. This isn’t new. Please don’t scream at her.”

Before anyone could answer, gunshots rang through the air, probably from the floors below them.

Stiles stiffened, especially as his family shrieked and huddled closer together, argument forgotten.

A loud roar cane next, followed by multiple howls.

“Connor,” Stiles said, his voice carefully free of panic.

“That wasn’t your pack,” Connor answered, clearly dismayed.

Stiles cursed under his breath. He sat down close to his dad, and Lydia curled up next to him. They listened as chaos reigned below them, howls and yells and gunshots and more that Stiles couldn’t identify.

He let himself stew until he heard a howl that he identified as Scott’s, closely followed by one from the other side of the hospital, closer to Stiles, that sounded like Derek.

“Alright. New plan. We’re getting to the doors ourselves.”

“Are you insane?” Anne snapped.

“Seriously, Stiles honey, you want us to go out there?” Kelly asked, pulling Taylor closer to her body.

“I do. They’re all distracted, and we need to get you out of here now.”

Stiles pushed himself to his feet, pulling Lydia up next to him.

“How’s your ankle?”

“I’m good to run,” she answered grimly.

“Corey, your leg?”

“Mostly healed,” Corey confirmed, standing up.

Stiles helped his father up next, looking at him meaningfully.

“I can manage,” the sheriff said firmly. “And as soon as we get out of here, we’re talking about why the hell your cousins think they can treat you like garbage. You’ve been hiding something from me, and I don’t like that.”

Stiles just nodded guiltily.

“Is this really the best idea?” Eric asked, just as something knocked against the door.

Everyone jumped. Stiles drew his gun as the rest of those in the room with supernatural experience took on defensive positions in front of the civilians.

“Stiles, open up! It’s me! Come on!”

Stiles let out a breath of relief as he shoved his gun back into his waistband, rushing to open the door.

Derek stood there, much bloodier than when he had left half an hour ago.

“Jesus Christ,” Stiles muttered, running his eyes over his friend’s body and trying to catalogue the wounds. “What’s going on?”

“Hell broke loose,” Derek answered flatly.

Stiles let out a sigh.

“You okay, son?” The Sheriff asked.

“I’ll live,” Derek responded.

“Where’s everyone else?” Lydia asked, the worry evident in her voice.

“We got separated,” Derek ground out. “Come on, we need to get you out of here.”

“I told you!” Stiles gloated, even though it wasn’t really the time. He heard a boom from somewhere in the hospital, and he winced.

“Hurry,” Derek demanded, motioning towards the door. “One of the exits is in the east wing on the first floor. Corey, take the adults there.”

The adults, predictably, began protesting.

“I am not leaving my children,” Gary snapped.

“This is where I put my foot down,” Kelly agreed. “We won’t leave them.”

“Aunt Kelly, it’s-”

“No. You can tell us to hide, to run, whatever, but I draw the line at leaving my kids behind,” Eric interrupted.

“They’re safer without you,” Derek snapped.

Six heads swiveled towards Derek.

“Excuse me?” Carol squawked.

“Immediate families have similar scents. If you’re separated, it will throw off anyone tracking you. They’ll be safer if we split up. Please, trust me.”

The adults all hesitated, even the sheriff.

“He’s my best friend,” Stiles said softly. “I trust him with my life. And I trust him with your kids’ lives. Do you trust me?”

Kelly looked between him, Derek, and Bella, before cautiously stepping forward and handing her youngest son to Bella.

“Teddy,” Bella said softly, gesturing at her brother.

Eric reluctantly untangled Teddy from his legs, pushing him towards Bella.

“Wait, are you seriously considering this?” Justin asked incredulously.

“We don’t have a choice,” Kelly said, voice shaking.

After another minute of debating, the adults reluctantly conceded, saying goodbye to their kids.

“Stiles,” John said softly.

Stiles stepped forward, and John pulled him into a hug.

“Be careful,” he whispered, kissing the side of his head before releasing him.

“You too, Dad.”


 

They had made it two floors down before it went downhill. Again.

“We’ve got company,” Connor announced.

“I know,” Derek growled.

“Are we fighting?” Lydia asked tiredly.

“Not now. Run.”

Stiles let out a groan at Derek’s command, dismayed.

“You heard him, run!” He gestured at his cousins, and they took off, following Lydia’s lead.

He followed behind them, Derek close on his tail. He heard laughing and growling from behind them, and he ran faster.

“Go!” Stiles yelled, already out of breath. Derek seized his wrist and pulled him along faster.

Jane let out a cry as she tripped, crashing to the ground. Sherry fell on top of her, and Henry fell on top of her, causing everyone else to stumble down.

“Get up!” Derek snapped, yanking Henry to his feet.

Stiles reached for Sherry, but someone leapt onto his back. He crashed to the ground, rolling over just to find claws an inch from his face.

He yelped, grappling with the wolf on top of him. He could hear more attacking, but he was too distracted to figure out if they were human or wolf. His attacker grabbed hold of his hair and smacked his head into the ground, momentarily stunning him.

“Hey, furface!” Stiles heard Bella yell.

The werewolf on top of him momentarily stopped trying to claw his eyes out, then suddenly there was a dull thudding sound, and the wolf fell off of him.

Stiles lay on his back for a moment, trying to make the room stop spinning as he stared at Bella, who was standing above him clutching his bat, looking shocked.

“Who has the boys?” He asked stupidly.

Bella nodded towards his other cousins, who were all in a huddle on the floor. Sherry was holding Taylor, shielding him with her body. Teddy was practically being crushed underneath Henry as they protected him.

“Stiles!” Derek shouted, breaking him out of his daze. “Get them out of here!”

Stiles scrambled to his feet to see Derek grappling with three other wolves, Connor rushing towards them to help. A hunter advanced on Lydia, but she managed to knock him out. Stiles grabbed his gun and shot the remaining attacker in the shoulder before she could sink a knife into Corey’s eye. Corey took care of the rest.

Stiles cursed as he realized that it was his last bullet in the gun.

“Get out of here!” Derek yelled again, throwing one wolf into a wall. “Elevators!”

Stiles hauled his cousins to their feet, shoving them in the direction of the elevators. Lydia and Corey corralled them, but Derek and Connor were still fighting the three wolves.

“Come on!” Stiles shouted.

“Connor!” Dani yelled.

“Go!” Derek snapped, and Stiles saw one of the wolves rake their claws across his chest. “Go!”

“Dani, run!” Connor cried.

Stiles grabbed Dani’s arm and started backing up, staring at the fight before them. He tugged her arm once, then turned around and took off after his cousins.

“Stiles!” Dani cried, trying to pull away.

“No, we need to go! They’ll be fine!”

He practically dragged her until they reached the others, and then he swore when he saw that they had stopped.

Lydia and Corey were each fighting hunters, outnumbered two-to-one.

Corey took out one and Lydia got two, temporarily subduing the last one.

“Come on,” Stiles called, starting to back them towards another hallway as the hunter got back up.

Stiles made sure that everyone was behind he and Lydia, holding out a pointless arm in front of them. Teddy was clutching his leg, and Stiles couldn’t shove him back without tripping. He sighed, using his other hand to hold the child close.

“Lydia?” Stiles muttered as the hunter advanced on them, now joined by two more friends.

“Yeah?” Lydia’s tone implied that she knew exactly what Stiles meant.

“Scream.”

Lydia nodded, taking a deep breath.

“Cover your ears!” Stiles snapped at his family.

Stiles knelt down and covered Teddy’s ears just in time, and he saw Sherry cover Taylor’s instead of her own as well.

The banshee’s scream echoed throughout Stiles’ whole body, and he felt his eardrums ringing. He saw the hunters lifted off of their feet as the sound waves hit them, slamming into the wall behind them and falling to the ground, either unconscious or...not waking up again.

“Nice one,” Stiles complimented, immediately inspecting Teddy’s ears. His own ears were muted, but he knew it would pass soon. “You’re being so brave, buddy.”

Teddy looked at him with watery eyes, his whole body shaking.

“But I’m scared,” he whimpered.

“I know, kid. But we’ll get you out of here safe.”

“What happened to Derek and Connor?” The little boy asked.

Stiles felt the rubber band pull tight. “I don’t know, bud,” he answered honestly. “How are your ears?”

“Okay,” Teddy responded with a shrug.

My ears are not okay,” Tyler interrupted, shaking his head and pawing at his ears.

“I warned you,” Stiles muttered.

“Let’s stay here a second,” Lydia said. “Breathe. The ringing will stop in a minute or two.”

Stiles shook his head, trying to get his eardrums to stop rattling. He gave up after a minute, instead reloading his gun.

“That was so cool,” Bella gushed to Lydia after checking up on both of her brothers.

“Thanks,” Lydia responded with an easy grin.

Before anyone could say anything else, running footsteps echoed down the hallway.

Stiles groaned, preparing to run again. Or fight. Or both.

Probably both.

He drew his gun yet again- he should just keep it out at this point- taking careful aim.

Just as the new threat rounded the corner, Corey slammed into him so that his shot missed and hit the ceiling.

“Dude!” Stiles yelled, shoving him away and trying to re-aim from the ground.

“Relax, Stiles, it’s us!”

Stiles jerked at the sound of Derek’s voice, relief flooding him.

“Thank god,” he muttered, putting the safety back on the gun.

Stiles couldn’t see Connor because Dani had launched herself at him in her relief, but Derek was about ten times more beaten up than he had been five minutes ago. His clothes were torn and he was bleeding heavily from multiple gashes. He walked over to Stiles, offering him a hand up.

Stiles took it, and Derek hauled him to his feet. He didn’t move, just stood there and examined Derek’s injuries. They were already healing.

“You okay?” He asked dumbly, unable to think of anything.

“Peachy,” Derek grumbled. “Your head?”

Stiles reached up and winced at the tender bump from when the wolf had smacked his head into the ground.

“No concussion. I’ll be fine.”

“Guys,” Jane called, voice high with fear.

Stiles looked over to where she was pointing to see three wolves heading for them.

He finally released Derek’s hand, reaching for his pack.

“Behind me!” He yelled, grabbing one of the mountain ash vials.

He threw it towards the entrance of the hallway, watching as it spread smoothly from wall to wall. The wolves didn’t stop in time and ran directly into the invisible wall, bouncing so hard they fell on their asses. Stiles chucked a vial of wolfsbane over the barrier, and the wolves scrambled backwards, choking, as it broke at their feet

“Come on,” Derek snapped, pushing the group down the other hallway.

“What the hell is that stuff?” Tyler yelled as Stiles grabbed his arm and started pulling him along.

“Pixie dust,” Stiles deadpanned.

“Really?”

No, you idiot!” Stiles snapped. He thought that he might know how Derek had felt when Stiles and Scott had first started out. “It’s mountain ash and wolfsbane. Supernatural no likey.”

Finally, he caught sight of the elevators, right ahead of them.

He, Derek, Lydia, and Corey corralled the others inside.

“Not so fast,” a voice called.

A single hunter stood at the opposite end of the hallway, a shotgun hanging loosely from her arm.

“Close the doors,” Stiles mumbled as he and his friends crammed themselves into the elevator.

“I’m trying!” Jane cried, pushing the button.

Stiles shoved her aside and started hitting it repeatedly, watching as the hunter got closer.

“Close close close close close,” he muttered to himself.

“That’s not going to do anything,” Derek snapped.

Stiles turned towards him in annoyance, just in time to see the hunter taking aim and firing.

Time sort of slowed down.

Stiles felt his body automatically moving forward, shoving Derek out of the way as he jumped in front. He tripped over his own feet, stumbling out of the elevator. Pain pierced his side and he cried out. There was silence for a few moments. Stiles looked down slowly, feeling oddly detached as he watched the red stain on his shirt grow larger. He blinked a few times, swaying on the spot, before time resumed.

He fell to his knees, hands pressing against the wound, trying to slow the bleeding.

Someone, maybe a few someones, screamed from behind him.

The hunter looked smug. “Not my intended target, but just as good,” she announced.

A roar came from behind Stiles then, so loud that it literally shook the whole building. Dust and small chunks of ceiling rained around Stiles and the floor trembled beneath him. It shook Stiles, too, but in a different way. Derek’s roar was one of rage and pain, one that Stiles had never heard from the other man.

The woman’s smug smile faded, quickly replaced by a look of fear as Derek leapt out of the elevator at her. She tried to shoot, but Derek was faster, ripping the gun out of her hands.

She screamed and Stiles looked away. He finally registered that there were people talking to him. Dani, Bella, and Lydia were there, trying to get his attention.

“Ow,” he managed. He slumped and one of the girls maneuvered him so that he was laying flat on his back. Blood was oozing between his fingers, and he groaned in pain.

“Stiles,” Bella cried, tears already in her eyes.

“Hey, I’m okay,” Stiles tried. “Don’t worry.”

“Jesus, Stiles.” Derek fell to his knees next to Stiles, pressing down on the bloody wound. “Why did you-”

“She was about to shoot you,” Stiles said weakly.

“I would have healed!” Derek snapped.

Stiles was going to point out that it was a wolfsbane bullet, and if Stiles hadn’t intervened it would have hit Derek right in the heart, so no, he wouldn’t have healed, but he was tired.

“Hey, Stiles, come on. Can you get up?”

Stiles shook his head, his breathing labored.

He wasn’t stupid. He knew that he was going to die. He could also tell from the way that Derek’s head tilted that he could hear more of their enemies coming.

“Go,” Stiles said weakly. “You have to go.”

“Christ, we’re not leaving you here.”

“I can’t run. I’ll slow you down.”

“I could-”

“You’re not carrying me,” Stiles said firmly.

He was suddenly struck with an idea.

“Fine. Girls, get back in the elevator. I’m coming with you.”

The three women stared at him doubtfully.

“Go,” he flapped a hand at them. “Seriously. I promise. Derek, grab my pack. I have something in there…”

“What do you have, a first aid kit?” Derek snarked, but Stiles could see the worry in his eyes. Derek nodded at the girls, and they slowly got back into the elevator, watching him through narrowed eyes.

Derek handed Stiles his pack and helped him sit up, looking at him curiously.

Stiles rummaged through it, trying to ignore the pain burning in his side. He found the bag he was looking for, deliberately not looking at Derek as he opened it and took a pinch of the contents. He then grabbed the only remaining vial inside and clenched it in his fist.

He drew his hand out of the bag, guilt already eating at him.

“I’m sorry,” he said to Derek, finally meeting his eyes.

“For what?” Derek asked suspiciously, narrowing his eyes.

Stiles moved before Derek could get any more suspicious. He threw the handful of wolfsbane into his face, causing Derek to choke and stumble backwards. As soon as Derek had crossed the entry into the elevator, Stiles threw the vial of mountain ash. It shattered, effectively caging Derek inside.

“Stiles!” He shouted, anger and fear clear in his voice.

“Go!” Stiles called back, letting himself slump back on the floor.

Stiles watched Derek throw himself against the barrier, beta-shifted and snarling.

“Stiles!” Lydia started for him, but Stiles shook his head and Corey grabbed her around the waist, holding her back.

“Someone, get them out of here!” Stiles yelled, Bella and Dani struggled against Connor.

He made eye contact with Tyler, and Tyler nodded and slammed the close door button with his fist. Finally, the elevator closed.

The last Stiles saw of his friends was Lydia elbowing Corey in the nose, Connor holding both Dani and Bella, and Derek clawing at the invisible wall of mountain ash.


 

“No, no no no, Stiles! Come on, wake up.” The voice sounded muffled, like it was far away.

“Fi’ more minu’s,” Stiles slurred, weakly raising a hand to bat away whoever was shaking him.

“No, you have to get up.”

The person opened one of Stiles’ eyes with his fingers, and Stiles recoiled against the brightness. That caused a stabbing pain in his gut that reminded him of what was happening.

He groaned, forcing his heavy eyelids open.

“Chris?”

Chris Argent, who was crouched over him, let out a sigh of relief.

“Thank god. Stiles, what happened?”

“I got shot,” Stiles mumbled.

“No kidding,” Chris deadpanned. He hauled Stiles into a sitting position against the wall, which elicited a squawk of pain from Stiles.

“Okay, kid, where’s your group? Derek was supposed to get you guys.”

“He did,” Stiles told him, wincing as Chris prodded his wound. “We ran into some trouble, which Derek and Connor took care of, then more trouble that Corey and Lydia, then Lydia again, took care of, and then we were getting in the elevators and a hunter tried to shoot Derek.”

“And you jumped in front,” Chris deduced tiredly. “I’m assuming it was Derek’s roar that almost brought down the building?”

Stiles nodded, then started coughing. The coughing hurt so bad that Stiles saw stars, and when he came back to himself, he felt a dribble of blood coming from his mouth.

“They left you here?” Chris asked, but he sounded like he knew the answer.

“I made them.”

“How the hell did you make Derek leave you behind?”

“I threw wolfsbane in his face, then locked him in the elevator with mountain ash.”

Chris sighed, briefly shutting his eyes. “He’s going to kill you.”

“Joke’s on him, I’ll already be dead.”

Stiles’ joke fell flat, and he closed his eyes.

“What’s going on? What happened to the others?”

“We got separated,” Chris said grimly. “Now, come on. We’re getting you out of here.”

“Wha-” Stiles cut off with a grunt of pain as Chris looped one of Stiles’ arms around his shoulders and hauled him to his feet.

“I’m too-”

“That’s not going to work with me, Stiles,” Chris said firmly, already pulling Stiles to the elevator.

Stiles was too tired to protest. He wasn’t sure how long he had been out before Chris had found him, but he knew that he had lost a lot of blood. They didn’t talk for the whole elevator ride, and Stiles kind of wished for some sort of noise just to distract him.

As soon as the elevator doors opened, though, Stiles wanted to take that back. There was growling and coughing and gagging noises, and a baby was wailing- Taylor, Stiles’ muddled brain supplied. It was almost too much for Stiles to process.

There was some sort of fog in the room that made it difficult to see. Stiles looked anyway, struggling to see what was happening.

All of his family, Lydia, Mason, and Melissa were in a line against a wall, being held at gunpoint by multiple hunters.

Scott, Derek, Cora, Liam, Theo, Malia, and Connor were all on the ground, either retching, choking, or coughing, and combined with the fact that the rival werewolves all had a weird-looking has mask on, Stiles deduced that the fog was some sort of wolfsbane vapor.

Peter was unconscious, slumped on the floor in a circle of mountain ash. Apparently he really wasn’t working with the other pack.

Corey, Parrish, and Kira were each being held by a rival wolf, with claws at their throat. Stiles didn’t know what was stopping any of them from shifting, but he didn’t have long to dwell because the second that he finished taking everything in, he and Chris were spotted.

“Oh, good,” one of the wolves crowed, face mostly covered by her gas mask. Her eyes still showed, though, and they flashed red.

Stiles was kind of surprised that she was the alpha. She was small, shorter than Lydia, and it looked like a slight breeze could knock her over. Clearly, looks can be deceiving.

“You know,” the alpha continued conversationally. “I was very annoyed when I heard that they had shot you. I had plans, you know. I was saving his sister and the True Alpha for last, before you and Derek. I wasn’t even going to touch you until everyone else was dead. But my pack can get a little...excited. Unfortunately, Derek killed Penny before I could punish her for shooting you. But you’re still alive, so all’s well that ends well, am I right?”

“Let them go,” Stiles gritted out.

The alpha tilted her head in mock-consideration. “No, I don’t think I will. Harry, be a dear and grab them for me.”

One of the hunters raised his gun, aiming for Chris. Stiles used what little strength he had to shove Chris away, diving in the opposite direction. The bullet hit the wall of the elevator in the exact place that Chris’ head had been.

Stiles groaned at the pain in his side, but he ignored it as he saw the hunter raising his gun again. He didn’t even think, just aimed and pulled the trigger on his own gun, hitting Harry right in the chest.

Shock swept through the room as Harry fell, dead before he hit the floor.

The alpha narrowed her eyes at him, rage flitting through them before she hid it again.

“Stiles,” Derek choked out. “Run.”

Stiles glanced at him. Derek was on his knees, pale and sweaty, looking sick. One of the hunters kicked him.

“I underestimated you,” the Alpha Olsen said coolly, glaring. “I won’t do it again. Kill the father.”

She said the last part to one of the hunters holding the humans against the wall. Panic clawed at Stiles’ throat as his father was pulled out of line and a gun was pressed to his head. The rubber band underneath his skin pulled so tight that Stiles felt it starting to fray.

“Stop!” He yelled desperately, forcing himself to his feet. “I’m sorry, just stop!”

The alpha scoffed, looking back at him. Her eyes widened, however, the second she saw him.

“What are you doing?” She asked sharply. “Stop that!”

“Stop what?” Stiles cried. “I’m not doing anything!”

Everyone was staring at him, even his pack and family.

“Stop that right now!” Alpha Olsen demanded, voice rising.

“Stop what?”

“Stiles,” Scott wheezed. “You’re glowing.”

Stiles furrowed his eyebrows, looking down at himself.

He yelped, jumping as he saw that he was, in fact, glowing. Yellow light seemed to be shining directly out of him, resulting in a faint glow surrounding his whole body.

“What the fuck!” He cried. “What did you shoot me with?”

“Stop!” Alpha Olsen snapped.

“I can’t!” Stiles said, shaking his arms and trying to get rid of the glow. “I don’t know what’s happening!”

“Yeah, right!” The she-wolf scoffed, but her voice was nervous. “You have ten seconds to stop, or your father dies.”

“Wait!” Stiles cried. His mind was already hazy from the blood loss, and his panic wasn’t helping.

“Ten.”

“Please, I don’t know!” Stiles cried desperately.

“Nine.”

“Stop! I don’t know how! I’m not lying, listen to my heartbeat!”

“Eight.”

“Stiles, listen to me,” Derek croaked.

Stiles looked at him desperately.

“It’s okay, John’s going to be fine! Just calm down, okay? Just listen to me. Remember what we talked about the other night, about finding an anchor? Think of your anchor, focus on that. Just like getting out of a panic attack, okay? Deep breaths.”

Stiles kept his eyes on Derek, forcing himself to relax slightly. He focused on Derek’s voice, trying to calm his breathing. It was difficult, especially with the fact that blood was still pouring out of his stomach.

“Good,” Derek said, coughing slightly.

Stiles looked down again, and was relieved to see that the glow was gone. The complete panic hadn’t faded at all, and the rubber band was still stretched as tight as it could be without breaking, but sure, at least he wasn’t glowing.

“What are you?” The alpha asked suspiciously.

“I don’t know,” Stiles answered honestly. He was shaking, and his heart was pounding, but he didn’t know if it was from fear, adrenaline, or being shot.

Probably all three.

“Interesting…” the alpha said slowly. Then she turned to the woman holding his father. “Shoot him.”

A few things happened at once.

The gun cocked, the rubber band inside of Stiles snapped, and he exploded.

Stiles felt his body go rigid, his arms spreading wide on their own accord, his head snapped itself back, and he couldn’t move. There was a pressure in his chest, like something was being sucked out of him. It was like all of the anger and fear and grief he had felt over the last week was being concentrated into some sort of energy and forced out of his body. All he could see was golden light, apparently coming from him. His body felt like it was on fire, burning up from the inside out, but at the same time he only felt slightly warm and tingly.

He didn’t know if he blacked out or what, but suddenly the light was gone and he could move again. He stumbled, somehow managing to stay upright. He blinked a few times, slowly processing the scene before him.

The wolfsbane fog was gone, and the wolves were slowly sitting up, able to breathe again.

What surprised Stiles most, though, was that every single one of the members of the rival pack was on the ground feet from where they had last stood, either out cold or dead.

His pack and family all seemed unhurt, apart from whatever had been inflicted on them by the other pack. They were all staring at him with looks varying from shock to fear.

Yet again, Stiles felt his fear building. The last time he had blacked out and woken up with dead bodies around him...let’s just say he wasn’t going through that again. He felt a sharp pain in his side and looked down to see blood pulsing out of his wound, even more than it had before the whole...episode. He weakly brought his hands up to press down on it, even though he was pretty sure it was useless at this point. He was swaying on the spot, staring around in horror at what he had done.

“Stiles,” his father was the first to break the silence, stepping towards him.

“No,” Stiles choked out, stepping backwards and holding out a bloody hand.

John stopped, his face drawn in concern.

“Are you okay?” Derek stood up, starting towards Stiles.

Stiles stepped back again, stumbling this time. “Stay back,” he warned fearfully. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

He was suddenly terrified that he was going to erupt again, vivid memories of twisting a sword into Scott’s stomach, unable to stop himself, surfacing.

“I asked if you were okay,” Derek replied, taking another step.

“What if it’s the-”

“The Nogitsune is dead, Stiles,” Scott said gently, matching Derek’s slow pace.

“But I just-”

“That was you, Stiles, not an evil spirit,” Derek told him. “It’s okay. You’re okay, we’re okay. You saved us.”

Stiles nodded slowly, trying to relax. Instead, his knees gave out and he fell.

He fully expected to hit the ground, so he was surprised when someone caught him,

“Stiles, stay with us, you’re going to be okay.” Despite the reassurance in the words, Derek’s voice was slightly desperate as he gently lowered Stiles onto the ground.

Everything was fuzzy. There were faces above him, and voices he sort of recognized, but it was like he was dreaming. The scene in front of him faded in and out, until something slapped his face.

He startled awake, opening his eyes.

“Stiles, please, come on, son.”

“Dad?”

John was looking down at him, tears running down his face. Stiles vaguely registered that his head was in his father’s lap.

“Hold on, son, please. Just stay with us, okay?”

Stiles swallowed thickly. He coughed suddenly, and it hurt like hell. It was disgusting and gurgly sounding, and Stiles knew that the liquid coming out of his mouth was blood. He knew then that it was over.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered.

“Stiles, no.”

Derek was on his right, staring at him. Stiles didn’t think he had ever seen Derek look that afraid, and he felt bad that he was the cause of it. He reached up feebly to pat Derek’s cheek (why, he had no idea), but once he touched Derek’s face it was too much effort to lift his arm any more. Derek grabbed hold of his hand, keeping it from flopping back down, and Stiles saw his veins turning black.

His pain lessened, and he could suddenly breathe easier.

“Thanks,” he murmured, eyes shutting.

“Stiles, no, please!”

Stiles couldn’t tell who was talking anymore. It could’ve been his father, or Derek, or Scott, and likely it was all of them, pleading with him to stay, telling him that he would be okay if he would just stay awake, begging him not to go.

But he was so tired, and everyone was safe, and why was he trying to stay awake again?

“Stiles,” someone choked out next to him.

Stiles managed to open his eyes one more time, turning his head to the left. Scott was there, tears streaming from his eyes. He was holding Stiles’ other hand, also taking his pain.

“It’s okay, buddy,” Scott told him, nodding even though he was clearly not okay with any of this. “It’s okay. You saved us. Thank you.”

“Thank you,” Derek echoed.

Stiles nodded, trying to even out his breathing. It didn’t work, so he looked over at his dad.

“I love you, son.” John’s voice cracked, and Stiles saw him press his lips together.

There was something wet against his palm, which was weird because last he remembered, it was still on Derek’s cheek. Why would Derek’s cheek be wet? Stiles weakly looked at him and saw tears dripping out of his eyes in earnest. Derek didn’t even seem to know that he was crying.

“It’s okay,” Stiles heard himself whisper, as though he was watching from far away. “I’m okay. I’m okay.”

He closed his eyes one last time, finally feeling his breathing slow down.

“Stiles?” Derek’s voice sounded funny. Choked up and thick with emotion. “Stay with us. Stiles, please. Stay with me.”

“I’m okay,” Stiles whispered, one last time.

 

 

Chapter Text

Stiles woke up with a start, shooting upright in bed and looking around wildly. His heart was pounding, and his confusion only increased as he saw that he was in his room.

He blinked a few times, rubbing at his eyes. How had he gotten here? The last thing he remembered was…

Stiles blinked again. What was the last thing he remembered?

Something about a hospital...and his cousins...and Derek was there too.

Stiles groaned, scrubbing his hands over his face and stretching as the dream faded. He hated dreams like that. They always felt so real.

He pushed himself out of bed and followed the smell of bacon downstairs. He would lecture his dad later, but for now, he wanted bacon.

This was their weekend routine- his dad would make breakfast, and Stiles would wake up and set the table, then lecture his father about the unhealthy breakfast.

“Morning,” he yawned, without looking at his dad. He shuffled over to the cabinets and grabbed two plates.

His father didn’t answer, and Stiles rolled his eyes.

“Good morning, son,” he said in imitation of his dad’s voice. “How’d you sleep, son?”

Still no response.

Stiles frowned, finally turning to look at his dad, and then he dropped the plates and staggered backwards with a surprised yelp.

Boyd?”

His old friend was standing at the stove, staring at him with wide eyes.

Stiles?”

Stiles whipped around and gasped as he saw Erica Reyes gaping at him.

“Wait, Erica- Boyd- what are- how-”

Erica shook her head wordlessly, still gaping. Boyd wasn’t any help either.

Stiles smacked himself, then pinched his arm.

“Another nightmare,” he muttered, trying to snap out of it. “Wake up, Stiles.”

“You’re not dreaming,” a shocked voice whispered from behind him.

Stiles turned so quickly that he almost got whiplash, then he froze.

“Allison,” he whispered.

Allison Argent was standing next to the fridge, a carton of orange juice held loosely in her hand.

Stiles was moving before he could think about it, and Allison met him in the middle, dropping the juice and throwing her arms around his neck.

Stiles wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tightly. Her grip was just as strong as he remembered, so tight that it almost hurt. Stiles didn’t care though, pressing his face into her hair.

“What, no hug for me, Batman?”

Stiles laughed wetly, releasing Allison and turning to Erica, putting her into a tight hug.

“Hey, Catwoman.”

When Erica let him go, Boyd shook his hand, and Stiles finally stepped back, leaning against the counter.

“I don’t understand,” he said after a beat. “You guys are alive? You’re okay?”

Allison shook her head, frowning. “No, we’re dead,” she said gently. “But that means you...”

“I’m...dead?” Stiles slumped against the counter. “But I...how?”

“I don’t-”

Something fell with a crash, and someone gasped.

“Stiles?”

Stiles stiffened, slowly turning to the doorway.

A woman stood there, both hands over her mouth, eyes glassy. She was fairly young, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Stiles’ heart began to pound, which he didn’t understand because apparently he was dead, but that didn’t matter because the woman said his name again, and he hadn’t seen her in twelve years.

“Mom?” His voice cracked, and he took a tentative step forward.

Claudia Stilinski suddenly rushed forward, smothering Stiles in a hug. Stiles clutches her tightly, unbidden tears falling from his eyes.

“Oh, Mieczysław,” she whispered, pulling away and cradling his face in her hands. “You shouldn’t be here.”

“Mom,” he repeated, and he was shaking at this point. “I don’t understand. I’m dead?”

“What’s the last thing you remember, kochanie?”

“I don’t…” Stiles thought hard, and his dream started coming back to him in pieces. “I was in the hospital...we were trapped by a rogue pack. They were hunting us down, and they had everybody captured.” Stiles stiffened, straightening. “Jesus, I killed them! Something happened to me, I don’t know, but I kinda...exploded? There was this light, and then the next thing I knew they were all dead.”

“So you exploded? That’s how you died?” Boyd asked.

Stiles frowned, a memory tugging at his brain. “No, I don’t think...I was shot!”

He looked down at his side, patting around and not finding any sign that he had been shot in the last few hours.

“One of the hunters was going to shoot Derek and I-”

“Jumped in front. Christ, Stilinski. I almost forgot how gone on him you were.” Boyd shook his head, but it was fond.

Stiles felt his cheeks burn, and he ducked his head.

“Shut up,” he muttered. Something occurred to him suddenly. “Have you guys seen…”

“Caitlin? She came by yesterday. She’s with her grandparents,” Allison told him. “We told her about everything. Heather’s around here somewhere, too. Neither of them blame you, you know.”

Stiles nodded, not meeting Allison’s eyes.

“Stiles,” she said gently. “Neither do I.”

Stiles resolutely looked at the ground.

“Stiles Stilinski, I don’t blame you for my death, and you shouldn’t either. It was not your fault, do you understand? And it wasn’t Lydia’s fault, or Scott’s, or anyone else who blames themselves.”

Stiles finally looked at her, giving a watery grin.

“And neither do I, kochanie,” Claudia looked at him firmly. “I don’t know where you got the idea that my death was your fault, but you’re wrong.”

Stiles nodded, letting out a breath that he hadn’t known he was holding.

Stiles, please.”

“What?”

The four people in the room looked at him, raising their eyebrows.

“What, what?” Erica said.

“Someone said my name.”

“No one said anything, Mieczysław.”

Stiles frowned, looking around. “I swear-”

Stiles, come on!”

Stiles shook his head, because no one’s mouth had moved, but he had definitely heard something.

His mother and his friends were frowning at him, but he closed his eyes and cocked his head.

Stiles!

Son, just hold on a little longer.

Please, Sti. Just hang on!

“I hear voices,” Stiles muttered. “It sounds like...like Dad, and Bella, and Scott. And there’s this weird growling noise, it’s probably one of the wolves. You don’t hear it?”

His mother’s eyes suddenly went wide. “Oh, kochanie. Baby, you’re not dead.”

“He’s not?” Erica, Boyd, and Allison asked.

“I’m not?” Stiles echoed.

“Well, not quite. You’re...mostly dead. But a small part of you is still alive.”

Claudia’s eyes were shining again, and she took hold of his hand with a smile.

“Mieczysław,” she murmured. “My sweet boy. You’ve gotten so big. You’ve been so brave these last few years. You’ve grown into an amazing young man, and I’m so proud of you. You have amazing friends, you’ve found yourself a family. You promise me that you’ll keep them close.”

Stiles furrowed his brow, but he nodded. “I promise. But I don’t understand.”

“You can go back, honey. The living are not done with you yet.”

Stiles’ breath stuttered. “Really?”

Claudia nodded. “But you need to hurry. If I had to guess, something- or someone- is keeping you alive. I don’t know how, but the point is you can go back.”

Stiles hesitated, looking around the kitchen. “But if I go, I won’t see you guys anymore.”

“Are you insane?” Erica slapped his head. “Go back, Stilinski. Live your life, and make it a long one. You’ll see us again, but not until it’s really your time.”

“Will it hurt?” He asked stupidly.

“You were shot, Stiles,” Allison told him. “Yes, it’s going to hurt. But there are a lot of people counting on you back there.”

Stiles looked at his mother, who nodded. “Your father still needs you,” she informed him. “And your brother.”

Stiles smiled when she referred to Scott as his brother.

“Derek needs you too, Stiles,” Boyd said softly. “You’re his anchor, you know.

“Yeah, he told me.”

Boyd cocked an eyebrow at him. “If you took a bullet meant for him, you know how much he’s going to blame himself, right?”

Stiles thought about that, and guilt settled heavily in his stomach. He sighed. “I really have to go back, don’t I?”

“We can’t force you,” Claudia said regretfully.

“But?”

But if you don’t go, I will kick your ass so hard that you’ll wish you had,” Allison said, matter-of-fact.

Stiles cracked a grin. “What do I do?”

“Follow the voices. That’s what’s keeping you grounded.”

“Stiles,” Boyd said suddenly.

Stiles looked at him.

“Can you tell Derek that we don’t blame him for what happened to us?” He asked softly, taking Erica’s hand. “Knowing him, he’s still punishing himself.”

Stiles nodded. “I will.”

“And Stiles,” Allison stepped forward, hugging him again. “Can you tell my dad that I love him?”

“Of course. He misses you. We all do. All of you.”

“We miss you guys too,” Erica said, taking Allison’s place and hugging him again. “Take care of yourself, Batman. Don’t take this the wrong way, but we don’t want to see you here for a long time.”

Stiles laughed softly. “I’ll do my best.”

Boyd hugged him next, quickly patting his back. “Take care of the pack for us? I know Derek is Scott’s second, and Scott’s an alpha, but sometimes they need to be looked after, too.”

“Believe me, I know.” Stiles smiled, then turned to his mother.

She hugged him again. “My brave boy,” she whispered. “I love you.”

“I love you too, Mom. I missed you so much.”

“I know, kochanie. Just remember, I look in on you and your father often. I’m always here for you. But like Erica said, I don’t want to see either do you here for a long time.”

She kissed his head swiftly and pushed him away. “Now go. You have a lot of people waiting for you, I think.”

Stiles looked around at the people in the kitchen one last time, waving slightly. He didn’t know what else there was to say, so he turned around and followed the voices out the door.

 

Chapter Text

This time, when Stiles opened his eyes, he was looking up at a white ceiling. He tried to move, but a searing pain in his side made him stop.

He squeezed his eyes shut again, hissing at the pain. Yep, he was alive again. He registered a beeping noise, and he forced his eyes open to see a heart monitor beeping steadily next to him. The next thing he saw was his father, asleep in the chair next to his bed.

“Dad,” he croaked out.

John startled violently, practically vaulting out of the chair to look at him.

“Stiles!” He cried. “Oh, thank god. Thank god.”

Stiles watched tiredly as his father started crying softly, tears pouring down his face as he checked Stiles over.

“How are you?”

“Ow,” Stiles muttered, trying to lift his arm.

John laughed wetly. “Yeah, that seems about right. What do you remember?”

“Everything,” Stiles groaned. “Water?”

John nodded and swiftly handed Stiles a styrofoam cup, which Stiles gratefully drank.

“How long?”

“You’ve been out for almost twenty hours,” John told him. “It’s about five in the afternoon.”

“I saw Mom,” Stiles whispered after a beat.

John startled, then looked at his son closely. “What?”

“I saw Mom,” Stiles repeated. “And Allison, and Boyd, and Erica. I was dead. Or was that a dream?”

John, looking stricken, shook his head. “You were technically dead for two minutes,” he told Stiles. “Your heart stopped.”

Stiles swallowed. “She said that she was watching over us. You believe me?”

The sheriff nodded. “Son, we just fought a pack of werewolves and hunters, and that’s not the craziest thing we’ve seen in the last four years. You talking to dead loved ones when you were technically dead isn’t that unbelievable.”

Stiles nodded, smiling slightly. He closed his eyes for a few minutes as his father explained that he was still in the hospital, even though it was still technically ‘closed for renovations’. Being the Sheriff has its perks- he had managed to shut down the hospital for an investigation, only putting himself and Parrish on the case.

After Stiles had been shot, between Melissa and Uncle Eric, they had managed to get him stable. Melissa had set him up with emergency blood transfusions- Eric, Dani, and John were the only ones with the same blood type, so they donated.

“Other than the ones who went to take care of the bodies, your pack stayed the whole night,” the sheriff told him. “And your cousins, but I think they’re just scared to be alone.”

Stiles laughed slightly.

“And those two slept outside your room all night,” his father continued, pointing to the window that took up most of the wall by the door. “If they slept at all, anyway. Mostly standing guard, watching over you, I think.”

Stiles turned his head and automatically smiled when he saw Scott and Derek standing there, watching him anxiously. Stiles could tell they were both listening in, trying to monitor his vitals from outside.

He weakly raised a hand, ignoring the pain that flared in his stomach, and gestured for them to come inside.

His hand was barely back down on the bed before Scott was at his side, eyes anxiously scanning him.

“Hey, bud.”

Scott smiled at him, relief filling his gaze. Derek came up behind him, and even though his face didn’t show it- seriously, Derek needed to learn how to express emotion through something other than his eyebrows- Stiles could tell that he was in about the same state as Scott.

“I’ll let you boys talk,” the sheriff said, standing up and gently ruffling Stiles’ hair.

Scott sat in the chair that he had vacated, while Derek just hovered next to the bed, not really looking at Stiles.

“How’re you feeling?” Scott asked, looking at him with his puppy dog face.

“Like I got shot,” Stiles deadpanned.

Scott snorted, shaking his head at Stiles fondly. Stiles tried to push himself into a sitting position, but he was still pretty weak, not to mention that it hurt like hell. He flopped back down with a grunt, screwing his eyes shut against the pain.

“Idiot,” Derek muttered, resting a hand on Stiles’ arm as he reached over him and grabbed the bed remote. He pressed a button and the bed moved until Stiles was upright, still laying against his pillows.

“Thanks,” Stiles murmured, relaxing as the pain slowly faded away.

“Stiles?” Scott asked in a small voice.

Stiles opened his eyes and looked over at his best friend. Scott wasn’t looking at Stiles, instead focusing on his hands.

“We heard you say...did you really see….”

Stiles nodded, knowing exactly what Scott was asking.

“It was weird. I woke up in my bed at home, and I couldn’t remember what had happened. It was weird, when I tried to think about it, it was like trying to remember a dream. I went downstairs because I thought my dad was making breakfast. I wasn’t really paying attention, I guess, and I was talking to him. He didn’t answer, and I turned to look at him, but it wasn’t him at the stove. It was Boyd, and then I saw Erica, and then Allison was there too.”

Stiles took a breath, looking between Scott and Derek with a sad smile. “They looked good. They’re happy. Apparently they live there with my mom.”

“How was your mom?” Scott asked.

Stiles smiled, leaning back against the pillows. “She was great. It was just... seeing her again, I feel like I got some sort of closure, you know? I said goodbye, and I know that she’s always there. She told me that it wasn’t my fault.”

“It wasn’t,” Scott agreed.

“And I talked to Allison, and she said that her death wasn’t anyone’s fault. She said she misses you.”

Scott swallowed, blinking fast, then he shot Stiles a wavering grin.

“And could you...I’m assuming you’ll see Chris before I do, so could you just...she said to tell him that she loves him.”

Scott nodded. “Of course,” he said immediately, voice hoarse.

Stiles then turned his head so that he was looking at Derek, but Derek wouldn’t meet his eyes.

“I talked to Erica and Boyd too,” Stiles told him softly.

Derek kept looking at the floor.

“Boyd said to make sure that you know he doesn’t blame you. Neither of them do.”

Derek visibly flinched, but he nodded. Then he coughed slightly, taking his hand off of Stiles’ arm (Stiles hadn’t even realized it was still there) and started moving towards the door.

“I should go help with the clean up. We made a mess last night.”

Stiles felt a stab of disappointment, but he brushed it aside.

He saw Scott frowning at Derek, but Derek shook his head slightly and left without saying anything else.

“Did I do something?” Stiles asked as soon as he thought Derek was out of hearing range.

Scott shook his head. “Derek’s just being...Derek.”

“You guys already finished cleaning everything up, didn’t you?” Stiles asked wryly, looking at the ceiling. He could feel his pain coming back.

“Yep,” Scott confirmed.

Stiles sighed and shifted, but then he winced. Seriously, he hadn’t been hurting this bad until-

He sighed again. “Was he seriously taking my pain that whole time?”

“Yep,” Scott repeated.

“God,” Stiles groaned, shutting his eyes and feeling guilty that he hadn’t noticed. “He’s so perfect.” 

He could feel Scott rolling his eyes at him. “Please don’t start.”

Stiles stuck his tongue out at his best friend, then remembered something. He snapped his head to look at Scott, ignoring the discomfort that caused.

“Did you know?” He asked incredulously.

“I know a lot of things,” Scott said evasively.

“Scott,” Stiles said, exasperated. “You know what I mean. About me. Being Derek’s anchor. Did you know?”

Scott nodded. “Yeah, obviously.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?!”

“I thought you knew! I thought it was on the list of things we don’t talk about!” Scott cried. “Like how in love with him you are!”

Stiles glared at Scott, but there wasn’t any heat behind it.

“I can’t believe I have to say this again, but Derek lo-”

“Don’t finish that sentence,” Stiles interrupted. He rolled his eyes. “He barely even looked at me the entire time he was here, Scott. I don’t know what I possibly did between yesterday and now, but I- oh, hell.”

Scott blinked at him, tilting his head.

“What did you do?”

Horror filled Stiles, mixed with embarrassment.

“I kissed him,” he whispered.

“You what?!” Scott exclaimed. “And you didn’t tell me?”

“I was a little busy!” Stiles defended. “It was at the mall, and when we were trying to avoid the rogues, they saw us, so I just kissed him. It turned out they were playing us, they knew we were there the whole time. Oh my god, Scott, I kissed him. I must’ve made him so uncomfortable, oh my god.”

He made to bury his face in his hands, but he whined when it tugged at his wound.

“Stiles, you need to calm down,” Scott told him seriously. “I’m sure Derek understands. Did he seem uncomfortable last night?”

“We were too busy running for our life last night,” Stiles argued.

“He saved your life,” Scott said out of nowhere, abruptly changing the subject.

Stiles blinked at him, cocking his head. “What do you mean?”

“Last night. I’m not sure exactly what he did, but…” he hesitated. “Do remember after you...exploded or whatever?”

Stiles nodded. “Vaguely. You guys were talking to me.”

Scott nodded. “You lost consciousness. Actually, I’m pretty sure you died. Derek sort of...lost it. He had already been taking your pain, we both were, but he- okay, this is going to be really cheesy, so just bear with me.”

Stiles nodded slowly and Scott let out a breath.

“When your heart stopped, Derek grabbed onto your arm like he thought he could keep you alive just by holding on.”

Stiles blinked, but he didn’t comment.

“You know how when a wolf takes the pain away, the veins turn black and it looks like it’s literally being pulled away from the body?”

Stiles nodded impatiently.

“Well, while he was holding your arm, it suddenly changed. It looked like that except it was being pushed into your body instead of being taken out. I thought he might tear off your arm, that’s how tight he was holding on. He shifted and started growling really loud, and he was so tense that he was shaking with whatever the hell he was doing. After about two minutes, your heart started up again. Somehow, he brought you back, and he kept you alive long enough for Mom and your uncle got the blood transfusions.”

“Is that what he did for Cora?”

Scott shook his head. “He would have had to be an alpha. I don’t think he knows what he did- it just sort of...happened. It was like he was literally pushing the life back into you.”

Stiles sat in silence for a few minutes, trying to process.

“I heard him,” he finally said quietly.

Scott tipped his head like a puppy.

“When I was with Mom and them, I started hearing voices. You and Dad, calling me. I heard growling, too, and I guess that was Derek. That’s how Mom knew I could come back, she told me to follow the voices.”

Scott sat back in his chair, running a hand through his hair. “Our lives are fucked up,” he finally muttered.

Stiles laughed, then groaned because it hurt.

“Yeah, buddy. Yeah, they are.”


 

Stiles had gone back to sleep a little while after he and Scott had stopped talking and turned on the TV. Melissa was in and out every few hours, checking his vitals and all that, so he never got to sleep for too long.

At one point, though, when he woke up, his father was asleep in one of the chairs. It was dark, only the light coming from the machines that he was hooked to and from the hallway. The clock said it was just after 3:00 in the morning. He shifted slightly, turning his head towards the window, just in time to see a large someone in jeans and a scrub top disappear around the corner, walking too fast for it to have been a casual passing-by. He let out a pent-up breath and pushed his head back into the pillows in frustration.

Why couldn’t Derek just confront him about the stupid kiss? Or, better yet, pretend it hadn’t happened? Stiles could see that Derek obviously was worried about him- in a friendly way, of course- but instead of making both of them feel better, he was resorting to staring at Stiles through a window in the middle of the night while he slept. And judging by the fact that he was still in that damn scrub top, he hadn’t even left the hospital.

Stiles rubbed his eyes. He didn’t blame Derek. He had clearly made him uncomfortable by kissing him. He knew Derek had a thing about consent- and for good reason. Stiles had never wanted to make Derek uncomfortable. He had never wanted to be that asshole. Plus, he cared about Derek, in case you couldn’t tell. He was in love with him, and even though Derek didn’t feel the same, Stiles just wanted him to be happy and comfortable all the time, because Derek Hale deserved to be happy and comfortable after everything he had been through, dammit.

Stiles fell back to sleep with a mild feeling of self-loathing and the guilty memory of Derek’s lips on his.


 

“So,” Bella said, after scaring the shit out of Stiles when she walked out of the bathroom, because he had just woken up and thought he was alone. “Werewolves.”

“Werewolves,” Stiles agreed. “What time is it?”

Bella sat in the chair and leaned forward. “Just after five. Everyone’s floating around somewhere. I think the Drents and the Smiths are scared to leave, Mrs. McCall made your dad lay down in a bed in another room, and your friends-your...pack is around patrolling and hovering, I think. Dani and Connor are with them.”

Stiles nodded, resting his head back against the pillows. That sounded about right.

Bella took a shaky breath. “Stiles, I know you sort of explained, but I just...what? I mean, werewolves are real? And Dani’s fiancé is one? And all of your friends?”

“Not all of them,” Stiles protested. “Just…a lot of them.”

Bella shook her head, not even touching that.

“Are you…”

Stiles sighed, shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve never done anything like that, except when I was possessed.”

Bella frowned at that, but Stiles plowed ahead.

“And it wasn’t exactly like this then, either. Then, it was like I was being pushed to the back of my own mind, I could see and hear and feel everything but I couldn’t control it. Now, though, that was all me. I don’t know how I did it, but I did.”

“You’re not at all...worried about this? Freaking out?”

Stiles scoffed. “Of course I am. Look, Bels. When you’re a part of this world…things just get thrown at you. I’ve been dealing with this shit for four years, and I’ve learned to roll with the punches. Literally and figuratively.”

Bella bit her lip. “How do you go back?” She asked quietly. “After you found out, how did you get back to normal?”

Stiles sighed, even though he had been expecting this.

“I didn’t,” he admitted honestly. “Ever since I was sixteen, it’s been a constant shitshow of supernatural chaos. We get rid of one thing, another shows up to replace it. The few years have been relatively quiet, just a rogue omega here and a few witches there, occasionally some hunters, but we dealt with them easily. This is the worst we’ve had in a long time.

“I haven’t had the time to get back to normal, and honestly, I don’t know what normal is anymore. This is my normal. I thought college would be great, you know? A break from the supernatural, my worst worry would be getting my assignments done. But when I got there for my first year, it was just so...boring. I was always on edge. I wanted to be back home, I was always worried, wondering if my friends were in trouble, if my dad was safe. I couldn’t explain it.”

Stiles paused and took in Bella’s pale face. He felt bad for upsetting her, but he had to make a point.

“But when I came home after my freshman year, Deaton- our very own cryptic expert on all things supernatural- explained it to me. It was the pack bond. See, being a part of a pack is like being a ridiculously codependent family, but multiply that by a thousand. Even the humans can feel the bond, and when we’re apart for too long, we get antsy.”

Stiles took a breath, watching Bella’s look of anxiety change to confusion. He knew he was rambling slightly, and probably changing subjects too much, but again, he had a point.

“My point is, Bels, that I chose this life. I was with Scott from the get-go, the night he was bitten, and I’ve stuck with him. We’ve had rough patches, we’ve been through hell, but over time we found this family. But just because you know doesn’t mean everything has to change for you. So what, werewolves are real.”

“And a crap-ton of other stuff,” Bella muttered.

Stiles smiled. “And a crap-ton of other stuff. I know people who got out. My friend Danny, he knows. He dated a werewolf, Ethan, for awhile, but he decided that he didn’t want to be a part of this world. Last I heard he was designing computer software for the government. And I heard that from him last week, so it’s pretty accurate.”

Bella finally cracked a smile.

“You don’t need to be afraid,” Stiles said gently. “I know it’ll take some getting used to, and yeah, it’s scary, but I won’t let anything happen to you. I’m an emissary- I sort of make ties between packs- and I’ll see what I can do about contacting a pack near your family, if you want. They can make sure nothing’s going to go near you. Nothing should, because nothing’s really changed for you other than the fact that you know, but if it would make you feel better…”

Bella nodded shyly. “I’ll talk to Mom and Dad, but I think maybe that might help a little?”

Stiles smiled at her. “Alright then. As soon as I can breathe without my chest aching, I’ll take a trip.”

Bella frowned again. “How are you, anyway?”

“Hurting,” Stiles admitted. “I’ve been shot before, but that was in my foot. And it’s not like it’s my first near-death experience, but it’s definitely up there on the oh-shit-I-really-almost-died list.

“You have a lot of lists.”

Stiles snorted. “You talked to Scott.”

“No- well, yeah, a bit, but I just keep hearing about the we-don’t-talk-about-it list. Mostly about Derek.”

Stiles groaned, and Bella laughed softly. “I’m guessing you don’t want to talk about it, then.”

“Nope.”

“Okay.” She was quiet for a minute, then, “Sti?”

“Yeah?”

She sounded nervous again. “I know you explained everything the other night, but I also know that you left a lot out. If you feel up to it, I kinda want to know more. I mean, if you don’t want to talk about some things I totally understand-”

“It’s fine,” Stiles interrupted gently. “I figured you would. But get comfy, it’s a long story.”


 

At some point after telling Bella everything, Stiles fell asleep again. When he woke up it was light out. Stiles blinked at the people in the room before shaking his head and yawning.

He probably should have been more surprised to see Deaton in his hospital room, but it’d been a crazy few days (years) and Stiles had learned to roll with it.

“Morning,” he said.

“Good morning, Stiles. How are you feeling?” Deaton asked.

“A little better.”

“That’s good. Now, I’m sure you're curious as to what happened the other night.” Classic Deaton, straight to the point, if not clear with the answers.

“Oh, you mean when I killed all of the rogue pack without touching them? Yeah, I’m a little curious.”

Deaton didn’t react to his snark with anything other than a nod. “Exactly. I can assure you, it was not the Nogitsune as you feared.”

Stiles started to sit up, but flopped back down when his body protested. He heard Scott scoff at him, and John shook his head, but he handed Stiles the bed remote.

Deaton waited patiently while Stiles maneuvered his bed into an upright position.

“If it wasn’t the Nogitsune, what was it?”

“It was you,” Deaton answered simply.

Stiles resisted the urge to roll his eyes at the vet, already growing frustrated.

“I know it was me, but it wasn’t me. I want to know how that came out of me.”

“Let me ask you, Stiles, have you ever made strange things happen when you were angry or afraid? Anything you couldn’t explain?”

Stiles thought back over the last week. That branch that had almost hit Henry...that weirdly timed storm...the glass shattering when Tyler had spilled water on him...and the table at the mall. It all happened at times he was angry- when he felt that rubber band.

Hell, he had started glowing the other night.

He let out a long-suffering sigh. “I swear to god, if your next words are ‘yer a wizard, Stiles,’ I’m gonna lose it.”

Deaton chuckled. “I’ll take that as a yes. But no, you’re not a wizard.

“Then what am I?”

“Do you remember when Jackson was a kanima?”

Stiles nodded impatiently.

“Do you remember what I told you when I gave you the mountain ash?”

Stiles frowned, trying to remember. “You said a lot of things. Something about a spark?”

“Yes. An individual with a certain spark inside of them can manipulate mountain ash.”

Stiles sighed. “Anyone can manipulate mountain ash.”

“No, anyone can use mountain ash,” Deaton corrected. “You can control it more than anyone else. However, I was wrong about you having a spark.”

Stiles wanted to shake the man. Could he maybe not talk in riddles for one day?

“I’m lost,” Scott interrupted.

“Me too,” Stiles admitted.

Deaton just nodded patiently. “Stiles doesn’t just have a spark inside of him, he is the spark. He has powers that a normal human doesn’t.”

“How did this happen?” Sheriff Stilinski asked.

“Cases like your son’s are extremely rare. I myself have never met a Spark in person until now. But as I understand it, he was born this way. His powers may have only just manifested themselves now, but they’ve always been there. It takes very strong emotions to unlock the sort of power you’ve displayed, Stiles. I’ve spoken to a few of my contacts, and based on the display of the other night, and your personal history in general, I believe that you are one of the most powerful Sparks to date.”

Stiles closed his eyes and rested his head against his pillows, slowly counting to ten, because of course he couldn’t just be a normal human. He did it three more times before exhaling and opening his eyes.

“So what now?” He finally asked. “I don’t know how to control it.”

“A Spark’s power relies heavily on their emotions, in case you haven’t noticed. Your power seems to have been activated by your anger, but as you learn control I believe that you will be able to tie it to any emotion. Much like werewolves, it would be best if you found an anchor to ground you when you feel overwhelmingly angry, scared, or upset, or any other strong feelings. It’s best not to keep anything bottled up inside, as it can explode out of you- it seems that’s what happened the other night. The stress from your family and the supernatural threats took a toll, and you-”

“Snapped,” Stiles finished. “Yeah. How do I learn to control it?”

“I suggest making our meetings weekly instead of bi-monthly, and we’ll tack on control to our usual lessons. Meanwhile, nothing else has to change, really. Just be aware of your emotions, that’s all the advice I have.”

Stiles nodded, thanking him. The veterinarian left a little while later, and Scott followed him out. The sheriff, however, stayed.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” He asked after a few minutes of comfortable silence.

Stiles frowned and raised an eyebrow at his father. “I didn’t know until you did.”

John shook his head. Stiles took in his guilty face, and the anger behind it, and he sighed, realizing what his father meant.

“You know what I mean. Why didn’t you tell me about the way your cousins treat you?”

Stiles shrugged slightly. “It’s not that bad.”

“I talked to your friends, Stiles. It is that bad. I should’ve realized the other night, with the olives, but I was just so preoccupied. I was going to speak with Carol, and I was planning on making them leave, but then everything with Caitlin…” he trailed off, rubbing a hand over his face. “I knew they were physical kids, but I really thought they were just roughhousing. And I know they’re rude, and they make stupid comments, but you always said they didn’t bother you.”

Stiles hated the way his dad’s voice sounded. Rough and broken, full of guilt and a little bit of anger that wasn’t meant for Stiles, but mostly he just sounded devastated, like he had failed Stiles. 

“I’m sorry, son. No parent should ever let their child be treated that way- this constitutes as abuse, Stiles. Technically, the boys putting olives in your food could be considered attempted murder. If you wanted, we could present a case against them. I would have put a stop to it a long time ago, before I knew how bad it was, but you always insisted that you were fine. I assumed you wanted to hold on to your family for some insane reason but that’s clearly not the case. So I’m going to ask you one more time. Why didn’t you tell me?”

Stiles deflated. “You would have killed them. They would have cut us off, and I know how much we need the money. It’s really not that big of a deal, Dad, you know I’ve had worse.”

The sheriff stared at him. “What do you mean, ‘cut us off’?”

“I know about the whole money thing, Pops. With Grandma and Grandpa giving their assets to Gary and Carol.”

“Stiles,” John said carefully. “That was resolved years ago. Kelly and I got lawyers and took them to court- they split up the money evenly.”

Stiles frowned. “But after the thing with the pool, when we didn’t talk to them for years, we almost lost the house. And again after the panic attack thing.”

John sighed. “That was a coincidence, Stiles. I honestly didn’t even notice that those things lined up. Both of those times were after bills from your mother’s hospital stays popped back up. It had nothing to do with Carol and Gary.” He frowned again, looking upset. “Even if that was the case, I would have found a way to get by. Do you honestly think I’d let them treat you that way just to get money?”

That didn’t make any sense. Stiles had a horrible feeling in the pit of his stomach. “But they said-”

“But who said?” John asked carefully, sitting up straight and narrowing his eyes dangerously.

Stiles mentally cursed at himself as realization dawned on him. “Gary and Carol. When I was...I don’t know, nine? They told Bella and I about the whole situation. They said we had to behave and get along with our cousins because if we didn’t they’d stop giving you money. Every time we saw them they would remind us. And their kids always threaten to go to them if we didn’t do whatever they said.”

Stiles glanced at his father and saw that he was slowly turning an alarming shade of red.

“The money issue was resolved when you were eleven,” he gritted out, standing up.

“Dad? Where are you going?”

“To commit murder.”

Stiles blanched. Being the sheriff and all, his father had never even joked about that. He scrambled out of his bed, detaching wires and ignoring his pain, tripping out the door after his dad. It was a testament to how angry the sheriff was that he didn’t even protest.

“Dad, wait!”

Stiles cursed as pain shot through his body, holding onto the wall for support as he stumbled down the hall. This was the first time he had left his bed, and his dad was going too fast for Stiles to keep up.

“Dad, come on, just talk it over!”

But the sheriff was already out of sight. Stiles swore again, then tripped over air and fell to the ground, hard.

“Stiles? What the hell are you doing?” Dani gasped as she came around the corner, rushing up to him.

“Did you know?” Stiles gritted out as she helped him stand.

“Did I know what? Why are you out of bed? And why does Uncle John look like he’s going to kill someone?”

“Did you know about the money? The inheritance?”

Dani frowned, furrowing her brows. “Well, yeah. I talked to Mom, and I told her not to stop giving you guys the money. Honestly that whole situation is ridiculous, Aunt Kelly and Uncle John should get lawyers-”

Stiles sighed. “There is no money, Dani. That was resolved years ago, apparently. A court case and everything- the money was split between all of them.”

Dani paled. “But-”

“They lied to us. And my dad just found out, and he’s going to go kill them. So if you could help me find them, I’d like to stop that.”

“I wouldn’t!” Dani snapped. “They’re awful people! I’m so sorry, oh my god!”

Stiles shook his head. “Not your fault. But come on, I think he may actually kill them.”

Dani straightened. “Fine. But your pack’s still here- I might not be able to stop them.”

Stiles grimaced. Dani helped him make his way down to where the family was still gathered in the waiting room. Stiles didn’t know why they hadn’t gone home yet, or if they had left the hospital at all. Maybe they were still afraid to be alone.

Anyway, Stiles and his cousin got there just in time to see John storm in and punch Gary so hard Gary fell to the ground.

“John!” Carol screeched.

“Gary!” Anne cried, hurrying over to her husband.

“What the hell!” Gary snapped, standing up and glaring at John.

“You bastard!” John shouted, lunging for Gary again and managing to clip him on the jaw before Eric caught him around the waist, pulling him back. “Let me go!”

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Carol demanded.

“You! You too, you bitch!”

Carol gasped, looking almost comically offended.

“John, what’s going on?” Eric asked as John shoved him away.

The sheriff glared at them all, breathing hard. “They’ve been lying to our kids, that’s what.”

“What do you mean?” Kelly stepped forward, frowning.

“You remember the case with Mom and Dad’s money?”

Kelly nodded slowly.

“They’ve been telling Stiles and Bella that they still have control over the money, and if they didn’t keep them and their kids happy, they’d cut us off and we’d go broke.”

Kelly went very still, looking at her daughter, who looked shocked and angry, and then at Carol.

Carol opened her mouth, but Kelly leapt forward with a sound only an angry mother can make, tackling her to the ground. Carol screamed, and then Justin was rushing forward, but Eric cut him off with a punch to the jaw. John went for Gary again, Melissa jumped into the fray with a shout, going straight for Anne, and then the next thing Stiles knew it was chaos. The adults were all fighting, and their kids were yelling. Dani let Stiles go so she could argue with her siblings, and Stiles leaned against a wall, anxiety rising.

“Stop!” He yelled.

Obviously, no one listened. Malia came skidding into the room claws first, clearly thinking they were under attack again. The rest of the pack minus Derek and Scott came in on her heels. Even Peter and Chris Argent were there.

“What’s going on?” Lydia called over the fighting, hurrying over to Stiles.

“Apparently they’ve been lying to us for years, and Dad just found out,” Stiles responded.

“Jesus, about what?” Liam asked, staring at the chaos with wide eyes.

“Manipulating Bella and I until we believed that we had to let them abuse us for years,” Stiles answered distractedly, trying to figure out how to stop it before it escalated any more.

Growls erupted through his pack, and Stiles groaned. “No, please don’t, not you too! It’s fine, I’m fine, let it go!”

Why was nobody listening to him today? Stiles groaned as Lydia rushed into the fray without a second thought, slapping Sherry hard across the face. Chris followed suit, grabbing hold of Gary before he could hit John.

Malia, Liam, and Cora started forward too, and that caused that rubber band to twinge inside of Stiles. His family was horrible, but he didn’t want them to die. Stiles shoved himself off of the wall, planting his feet.

He shut his eyes and reached inside of himself, struggling to find the rubber band.

I don’t want anyone to get hurt, he thought. But please, make it stop. I just need them to get away from each other.

With that thought, he found the rubber band. He latched on and tugged it with his mind, and he felt the power come to life again. It wasn’t explosive, like it was last time, but he definitely felt it. He opened his eyes in time to see his relatives and his family thrown apart, a shimmering, translucent barrier between them.

It fell deadly silent, everyone turning to stare at Stiles.

“That’s enough,” he said firmly, swaying on his feet. He was breathing heavily and he could feel the sweat rolling down his back. Magic was hard. “If I take this down, will you talk like adults? Because as much as I hate you, I don’t want anyone dead.”

One by one, the adults nodded.

Stiles waited a few extra moments until he was sure no one would attack again, then he let the barrier drop. Stiles dropped with it, his back hitting the wall and sliding down until he was sitting on the floor.

“Thank you,” he muttered.

Melissa came over and checked him over as the others started talking again.

“How dare you,” John seethed. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

“It was Carol’s idea,” Gary blurted, like he wasn’t a fifty year old man.

Carol sniffed. “They were just such poorly behaved children. We needed a way to make sure they would listen.”

“And letting your children abuse them for fun? What was that?” Kelly cried.

“I could have you arrested for multiple counts of abuse and attempted murder,” John announced.

“Attempted murder?” Carol scoffed. “That’s a bit far, Johnny.”

“Don’t you Johnny me!” The sheriff snapped. “Your children held my son under water until he nearly drowned. They put olives in his food, which they knew he was allergic to- for the second time, may I add- and I have it on good authority that the triplets nearly suffocated Bella the other night. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, do you want me to continue?”

“Really, John. It’s not our fault that your children are so sensitive!”

Stiles watched his father turn that alarming shade of red again.

Before he could say anything, however, Dani spoke up.

“That’s enough, Mom.”

“Danielle!” Carol gasped. “Don’t speak to me in that tone!”

“I’ll speak to you however I damn well like!” Dani snapped. “You lied to us all for years, and while that doesn’t excuse our behavior towards Stiles and Bella, it makes you look pretty fucking bad.”

Carol opened and closed her mouth like a fish. “You don’t understand,” she said finally. “You have no clue what it’s like to be a mother.”

Dani went rigid. Stiles felt that rubber band coming back, but this time he pushed it down. He forced himself to stand, however, when Carol continued.

“Everything I’ve done I’ve done for you kids. That’s not something you’d know about, seeing as you don’t have any.”

Stiles started forward, and he vaguely registered Bella, Cora, and Connor doing the same. In his peripheral vision, he saw Aunt Kelly and his father step forward as well.

“Maybe you’ll understand when you have kids of your own, Danielle. Then again, you’ve never been the mother type. There are some things only a mother can understand. I’ve been the best mother I can for you, and- are you crying?”

Stiles reached Dani as she exploded.

“Bullshit!” She yelled, tears dripping down her face. She pointed a hand in her mother’s face. “Bull-fucking-shit! You haven’t been the best mother! You’ve never supported me!”

Connor put a hand on her shoulder, but she shook him off.

“Danielle-”

“No! You don’t get to say that, because you didn’t even notice that I was pregnant!”

It went dead silent. Stiles saw his aunt glance at Dani’s flat stomach, then back to her daughter’s face with a scoff.

“Well, it must be very early on, dear, you’re not even showing.” She gasped suddenly. “Is this the reason you’re getting married? He got you pregnant?”

Dani let loose a cry of rage and pain and frustration that Stiles hadn’t heard from anyone in a long time. It shook him to his core, and he could see the telltale twitches in Cora and Connor, hinting at how badly they wanted to claw at Carol.

“I’m not pregnant anymore!” She cried.

“You got an abortion?”

Connor actually growled then, and Carol took a step backwards.

Dani took a calming breath, but tears were still streaming down her face.

“No, Mom. I got pregnant two months after we were engaged. I saw you when I was four months in, and you told me I needed to lose weight if I wanted Connor to want to marry me.”

Carol frowned, clearly doing some mental math of months, but Dani plowed on.

“I thought, oh well, that’s just Mom. I figured I’d tell you eventually, and you’d be happy for us. But I didn’t get a chance to, because I was hit by a car when I was six months pregnant, and I lost the baby.”

She took a shuddering breath. “You didn’t even bother to ask why I’ve been so devastated. You said I was just being moody, they-” she pointed to her brothers. “Said I was just looking for attention. But I lost my baby girl, and no one cared!”

A heavy silence fell again. Carol stepped forward, but Connor and Cora snarled at her. Stiles automatically stepped in front of his cousin, and he felt Bella doing the same on the other side.

“You know what?” Dani corrected softly. “That’s not true. Connor was there for me every damn day. Cora stayed with us for two months, and Derek visited when he could. Uncle John and Aunt Kelly have been helping me through the depression I’ve had because of this.”

Stiles blinked. His dad knew? He shook himself after a beat. Not important.

“When I told Bella and Stiles, they cared. For God’s sake, even Peter asked me how I was doing, and I’ve never even met the man! All of them actually noticed that I’d been hurting, which is more than I can say about you. All of them, they’re the ones who care about me. And they’re the ones that I care about.”

Carol looked shell-shocked. “Are you really saying that these...these creatures mean more to you than your own family?”

Dani let out a snarl of her own. Granted, it was human, but it was still unnerving.

“These creatures-" she spit the word back at her mother, offense clear in her voice. “Are the nicest people I have ever met. This is my family. Connor and Stiles and Uncle John and Bella and Aunt Kelly and Cora and Derek, they’re my family. And you know what? I’m part of a pack! Back home in New York, Connor and I are part of a pack that have cared more about me than you ever have. They may be werewolves and such, but are the most human people I know. More human than you’ll ever be, you cold, selfish, unfeeling bitch. And until you can maybe understand how horribly, unbelievably awful you are, and by some God-given miracle find some way to repent, consider yourself uninvited to my wedding. All of you.”

She threw a glare around at her parents, siblings, and the other cousins before taking Stiles’ arm.

“Let’s get you back to your bed before you pass out.”

Stiles didn’t bother protesting because a) he was pretty drained and b) he knew that Dani needed to walk away. So he let her lead him back to his room with his pack, Bella, and Connor following close behind. He could hear the indignant protests starting up again from behind them, but they made it to his room without any further incident.

They proceeded to play cards and not talk about that shitshow for the next three hours, only stopping when Dani fell asleep, curled up into Connor’s side on one of the extra beds that had been brought in.

Chapter Text

It was noon the next day when Melissa pronounced Stiles okay enough to be in pain at home. She gave him a cane and made him promise to use it, and his first thought was how much shit his cousins would give him over it. Then he remembered that he didn’t have to put up with that anymore, and the cousins would be gone by the end of the day.

After Stiles and the rest had gone back to his room with Dani, the sheriff had really ripped his siblings a new one. They were to be out of the house by five o’clock today, and not to contact the Gilds or the Stilinskis unless they reached out first. They weren’t to talk to Stiles or Bella unless it was to apologize or if Stiles or Bella spoke to them. He didn’t make them go home alone, but only because Melissa insisted that it wouldn’t solve anything if they were too afraid to move- they were still flipping out over what had happened. According to Dani, they went home to start packing (and deep cleaning the house) an hour ago. Chris Argent had gone with them to...supervise.

Stiles somehow managed to convince his pack to go home and sleep for real, that he was going to be fine- Scott was extra clingy, because he felt so guilty that he had left before the whole confrontation yesterday. He finally agreed to go home if Stiles promised to call if he needed anything.

The house was eerily silent when Stiles and his father walked through the door. Kelly, Eric, and Bella were in the living room watching TV while Teddy colored on the floor and Taylor laid in his playpen. Stiles saw various relatives scurrying around the house without looking at him, packing up their stuff. An idea came to him as he watched Nate pale when he saw Connor.

“Dad,” he said.

Sheriff Stilinski immediately turned towards him.

“What? Are you okay?”

Stiles fought the urge to roll his eyes because he knew his dad was still worried.

“I’m fine. But I had an idea.”

Stiles quietly explained to his father and the Gilds.

“No,” the sheriff said almost as soon as Stiles was done talking. “Absolutely not. I don’t want you alone with them.”

“Dad, think about it. Have you ever known me to sit down and take something from someone when I didn’t think they were capable of cutting us off?”

John scowled, but he didn’t protest so Stiles continued.

“And I can totally take them now, even if I’m not entirely sure how. They’re scared of me, I think. But look, this is a kind of revenge for me, okay? Bella too, if she wants. It’s just one drive. I just want to drive the point home that they’re not welcome here. Please?”

Stiles’ father exchanged a Look with Eric and Kelly, silently debating. After a few moments, they each let out an identical sigh.

“Fine. But be home by two. You’re not supposed to be driving yet so be careful. And if they give you trouble I swear to god Stiles you’d better stand up for yourself.”

“Believe me,” Stiles ensured him. “I will.”


 

That’s how Stiles found himself behind the wheel of the large van the cousins had rented, his cousins sitting uneasily in the backseat. Stiles was pretty sure they thought that he was going to murder them.

It was kind of funny. Stiles wasn’t sadistic or anything, but this was almost fun for him- revenge for all those years they did everything to him.

Bella sat in the passenger seat with a small smile, clearly thinking along the same lines as him.

“Alright,” Stiles announced as they pulled out of the driveway. “It’s time for your real tour of Beacon Hills. Or, as it’s known in the supernatural world, the McCall territory. Some still call it the Hale territory, and really it’s a bit of both, even though Derek’s not an alpha anymore. Scotty understands, which is great. Derek’s actually his second now.”

Stiles went on to explain werewolf hierarchy, letting himself ramble as they drive. He finally stopped on the very edge of town, and if you looked very closely at some of the trees, you could see some scratch marks on the bark. If you were a wolf, you’d be able to smell the property lines that had been implemented by the wolves.

“This is where our territory starts.”

Stiles started driving again, this time going slowly along the tree line. They passed the Nemeton, but Stiles didn’t point that one out. Too powerful for them.

“That,” he said, pointing out a house. “Is Malia’s house.”

Stiles saw Malia poke her head out the front door, waving with a predatory grin that may or may not have included fangs and electric blue eyes. Bella waved back, and Stiles honked, slowing down enough to stick his head out the window.

“Pack dinner at my house at five!” He called. Malia gave him a thumbs up, and he honked again before driving off.

“This is Liam’s house,” Stiles said a few minutes later. Liam, Theo, Mason, and Corey were all in the front yard, seemingly doing yard work. Stiles waved at them, calling out the open window- “Free food at my place at five!”

They waved back, Liam and Mason high-fiving.

And so it went, Stiles driving past his pack’s houses, inviting them over for a pack barbecue- really just shouting out the window at them- until they had driven around the entire territory. They passed Kira and Lydia on a jog, and Scott ran alongside the car for a little while without breaking a sweat, the asshole. But Stiles had to grin when he beta-shifted and scared the crap out of the cousins.

A little while later, Stiles parked the car behind Deaton’s clinic, turning to stare at his cousins.

“Listen close. This is my territory. Those people are my family. I don’t want to see any of you around here unless you are explicitly invited. It’s dangerous.”

“Because of other werewolves?” Sherry squeaked out.

Stiles grinned. “Oh, no. It’s dangerous because if you come back here and try to do anything to my father or myself again, I’ll let my pack deal with you. And if you come back here and try to mess with my pack, well, you’ll have to deal with me.”

He may not have been a wolf, but that didn’t mean he hadn’t picked up on any of their protective instincts.

Stiles reached inside of himself and pulled on that rubber band, just a little bit. The wind picked up outside and thunder rumbled in the distance, even though there wasn’t a cloud in sight.

His cousins paled, and Stiles let go of the power with a satisfied smile. Hey, a protective instinct wasn’t the only thing he had picked up from his pack- he knew how to intimidate people, and a lot of it was bluffing with a little bit of truth peppered in.

He clapped his hands together and started up the car. “Alright, now that that’s settled, let’s head back.”

His cousins were silent, so Stiles chatted with Bella.

“And then Scott fell out of the tree,” Stiles said with a laugh. “I wish I had a camera, it was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen because he landed on top of Derek, who-”

Stiles vaguely registered that they were passing the loft as he told his story, and suddenly he was slamming on the brakes, causing everyone in the car to yell in surprise. Stiles himself was surprised- he hadn’t really thought about what he was doing. A few people honked at him, but Stiles ignored them and quickly turned around, turning into the parking lot they had just passed.

“What the hell, Mitchy?” Nate asked.

It must’ve been automatic, because he made a noise in the back of his throat and shrank back when Stiles looked at him. Stiles just rolled his eyes, especially when Tyler hit Nate in the shoulder.

“Stay in the car,” he said instead of explaining.

Polly’s eyes went wide and fearful. “Is it…”

“No,” Stiles rolled his eyes again. “I need to talk to Derek.”

Stiles wasn’t sure what made him want to do this now, but he had been telling that story and picturing Derek’s indignant face when Scott had fallen on top of him, sprawled gracelessly on the grass, and he was suddenly hit by how much he missed Derek over the last few days. He had to make it right- he’d go in and apologize, whatever he had to do, and then hopefully they’d be okay.

“Are you really leaving us here?”

“Yes,” Stiles snapped, absently pocketing the keys. “Stay. I’ll be down in a little bit. Bella’s in charge.”

With that he shut the door and headed inside.

We’d better be okay after this, Stiles thought bitterly as looked longingly between the stairs and the broken elevator.

With a sigh, he started up the stairs. It took forever, longer than usual, because his side was screaming in protest and his breathing was still short even when he was sitting, so it took him an extra five minutes to reach the loft. He stood at the door for a moment, huffing and trying to catch his breath. He knew that Derek would have been able to hear him coming from a mile away (literally), especially with all the cursing he was doing. So there was a possibility that he wasn’t even home anymore.

Finally, Stiles regained enough of his breath to haul the door open, and relief flooded him as he saw Derek sitting on his couch, reading a book.

“Did I ever tell you that I fixed the elevator?” He asked calmly, not looking at Stiles.

Annoyance rapidly replaced the relief that Stiles felt.

“Does it look,” Stiles huffed, shifting his weight from his cane to lean against the doorway. “Like you told me about the elevator?”

Derek shrugged, still staring at his book.

“Where’s Peter?”

“Went home. Wherever that is. Not in Beacon Hills.”

“Did he sign the new agreement?”

Derek nodded, still not looking at him. “Has to let us know twenty-four hours before entering the territory.”

Stiles narrowed his eyes, and he noticed that Derek wasn’t actually reading. His hands were clutching the book so tightly that Stiles was half-worried that he might rip it. His eyes were staring blankly down at the pages, and Stiles could see the clench of his jaw.

“You’ve been avoiding me,” Stiles said finally.

“No I haven’t.”

“You have,” Stiles insisted. “And the only reason I’m hoping you’ll hear me out is because you’ve been able to hear me coming for at least ten minutes and you haven’t gone down the fire escape.”

Derek heaved a sigh, finally closing his book.

“Look, dude, I just want to know what I did.”

Stiles knew what he did, he just didn’t want to be the one to say it.

“I said I’m not avoiding you.”

Stiles took a few tentative steps into the loft, until he had hobbled down the steps by the door.

“And I called your bullshit. You’re avoiding me. Own up to that, and then tell me why. I swear I’ll be a big boy about it.”

Derek scowled, standing up. “If you knew I didn’t want to see you then why did you come here?”

And yeah, that one stung. “Because Scott told me you were sulking.”

“I’m not sulking,” Derek sulked.

“Come on, Sourwolf. Just tell me why you’re so pissed-” and wow, that sounded suspiciously close to begging- “so that I can apologize. I’m tired and my cousins still haven’t left and I just got out of the hospital and I’m hurting because I was shot and-”

“THAT’S WHY!” Derek erupted suddenly.

Stiles blinked, mouth still open to continue his rant.

“What?”

Derek finally looked at him- glared at him, actually, his eyes blazing with anger. He hadn’t looked at Stiles like that in years, and it was pretty off-putting.

No doubt about it, Derek was furious.

“I said that’s why I’m pissed at you.”

Stiles frowned. That didn’t make sense, that had nothing to do with the kiss- unless that’s not why Derek was upset. But still, he was mad at Stiles because…

“Let me get this straight. You’re mad at me because I got shot?”

Derek scowled. “Yes.”

“That makes, like, zero sense dude. It’s not like you’re the one who had a bullet lodged in you-”

EXACTLY!” Derek roared.

Stiles jumped, and he had to force himself not to back away.

“That bullet was meant for me, Stiles! You’re a human, you don’t heal!”

Stiles raised an eyebrow, gesturing to himself.

“You know what I mean,” Derek snapped. “I would have healed in minutes, but you decided to get in the way!”

“You wouldn’t have healed!”

“I’m a werewolf! You’ve seen me get shot before!”

“And last time you were shot with a wolfsbane bullet you almost made me cut off your arm!”

Derek stopped short, narrowing his eyes. “So what?”

Stiles groaned in frustration, running a hand through his hair. “It was a wolfsbane bullet, dumbass. You wouldn’t have survived a direct shot to the chest!”

“How could you have possibly known that?”

“Because they’re hunters, Derek. Disgraced hunters, but still hunters. They know all about werewolves, you really think they were just going to shoot with normal bullets?”

“I-”

Stiles huffed, waiting for Derek to get it. “Besides, humans heal better from wolfsbane bullets than werewolves do.”

“You idiot,” Derek snapped.

Stiles jumped again. He wasn’t expecting that. “Wh-”

“Don’t ever do that again.”

“What, save your life?”

“Not at the expense of your own.”

Stiles shook his head. “You don’t get a say in that.”

Derek actually growled. “I’m serious.”

“So am I. Derek, if your life is in danger and I can do something to stop that, you can bet your ass that I will.”

Derek growled again, curling his lip and running a hand through his hair. “Stiles, you don’t get it.”

“Then explain!”

Derek let out a frustrated breath. “You can’t do that again.”

“I’m not looking to get shot again anytime soon,” Stiles deadpans.

“You know what I mean! You can’t just sacrifice yourself for me! ” Derek shouted. “You can’t do that to me again!”

“I swear to god Derek, if you start going on about how you’re not worth that-”

“First of all, I’m not. But you just- you took a bullet meant for me, and then you trapped me where I could do nothing to help you. I had to watch you bleeding out on the floor and I couldn’t do anything! And then I saw you downstairs, and whatever the hell you did worked, and I thought we won. But then you collapsed, and I couldn’t do anything as you bled to death in my arms because of me.”

And oh, shit. Derek’s not angry with Stiles- okay, maybe he is, a little, but he’s mostly just blaming himself.

“Derek-”

“And all I could think was that we won, but we still lost because the hunters wanted to make me suffer, they wanted to make me watch as you die, and that’s what happened,” Derek finished, breathing hard.

“Derek,” Stiles said softly.

Derek didn’t look at him.

“Scott said you were the one who brought me back.”

“I don’t know how,” Derek mumbled.

“No. But you still did it. You saved me, Derek. And you need to stop blaming yourself when something goes wrong. That was my choice, and I’d do it again if it meant saving your life.”

Derek slumped, leaning against the arm of the couch. He mumbled something under his breath.

“What?”

“I said thank you,” Derek repeated, louder this time.

Stiles couldn’t help the relieved grin that spread across his face.

“You’re welcome. We’re good now?”

Derek nodded. “We’re good.”

Stiles let out a relieved breath. “You know, this was much easier than I thought it’d be. I’m glad I was wrong.”

Derek raised an eyebrow. “Wrong about what?”

Stiles shrugged, carefully focusing on reigning in his chemosignals. He didn’t want Derek to catch on to his embarrassment, among other things.

He shrugged. “Why you were mad at me.”

Derek frowned. “What did you think I was mad about?”

Stiles shrugged again. “Nothing important.”

Derek took a step forward. “I don’t need to hear your heartbeat to know you're lying, Stiles. And I thought we talked about repressing your chemosignals.”

Stiles sighed, reluctantly releasing his control. “Look, it’s really not a big deal.”

“Stiles,” Derek said deliberately, clearly sensing his embarrassment.

Stiles cracked. “Look, I just thought you were upset about when I kissed you the other day. Which is totally reasonable, if you were, I didn’t even ask, which is totally not cool. It’s not like I blamed you or anything when I thought it’s what you were mad about, I just wanted to apologize because I was pretty sure I’d ruined everything but I mean, I guess not? Unless you just forgot about it and I just reminded you, in which case I’m sorry.”

“Believe me, I did not forget about that,” Derek said, cutting off Stiles’ rambling. Something was off in his voice- it was low, almost the same tone Derek used when he said Stiles’ real name that night.

It sent a shiver down his spine which was annoying because this was not the time.

“Why did you think it would have ruined everything?”

Stiles could feel his face burning. “I didn’t want you to think that I was forcing myself on you.”

Derek actually looked confused. “Stiles, I know you’d never do that. I trust you.”

Stiles shrugged, biting his lip. “Well, yeah, I know. But I just wanted you to know I didn’t do it because I wanted to.”

Derek raised an eyebrow. “Is this some weird way of you saying no homo?”

Stiles blinked. “Wha- no! Ugh, this isn’t going how I thought it would. Look,” and he could hear sirens going off in his head, screaming ABORT! ABORT! But he was already in a hole, may as well keep digging. “I know it’s obvious how I feel about you, and by now there’s no way you don’t know, so I just, ya know, wanted to make sure no wires were crossed.”

Stiles looked up at the ceiling. He couldn’t look at Derek, because now he’d done it, why couldn’t he learn to shut his goddamn mouth for once in his cursed life?

“How you...feel about me.” Derek’s voice was flat.

Stiles nodded, still looking at the ceiling.

“And...how do you feel about me?”

Geez, he didn’t think Derek was one to kick a guy while he was down.

“Come on, Derek. You know. Everyone knows.”

“Stiles,” Derek said.

Stiles shut his eyes. “Der, don’t make me say it.”

“Say what, Stiles. Please, just...tell me.”

There was something in Derek’s voice, something cautious, but still somehow vulnerable and raw, and it was enough to make Stiles look at him. He took a deep breath, steeling himself.

“I’m in love with you, Derek. I’m sorry. I have been for years, and I will be for a very long time, probably. I’m an all or nothing kind of guy. I get that you don’t feel the same, and that’s fine. I’m no stranger to unrequited love. I always fall for the unattainable. But I really am sorry. If you want me to go, I will. Obviously I don’t want anything from you, I just want you to be happy. So if that means me leaving, then I’ll go. When I kissed you, I did it to hide from the hunters, so I don’t want you to think that I did it just to do it, even though yeah, I wanna kiss you. But the problem is that I didn’t ask.”

Stiles wanted to ramble more, but Derek already looked like he had been punched in the gut, so he shut his mouth with a snap. Derek let out an honest-to-god growl and stalked forward with this determined look on his face, and Stiles simply spread his arms wide, accepting the fact that Derek Hale was about to murder him. He had resisted killing Stiles for years now, and hey, at least now he sort of deserved it anyway.

That’s why Stiles was so shocked when instead of claws ripping into him, two very human hands gently cradled his face.

The determined look on Derek’s face slipped into something much more vulnerable.

“Ask me now,” he whispered.

“Uh?” Stiles managed intelligently. Could you blame him? Derek’s face was inches from his own, and how the fuck did that happen?

“You can ask me now,” Derek murmured, making sure to meet Stiles' eyes, sweeping a thumb across his cheekbone.

And oh. Okay, this was happening. Stiles didn’t know how or why, but trust was a two-way street, so he swallowed around the lump in his throat, licked his lips, and hoarsely whispered,

“I...I would really like to kiss you now, if that’s okay?”

Stiles was almost offended at the huff of laughter that slipped from Derek’s mouth, but he could hear the fondness, the relief in it. Stiles knew his heart was pounding, and he was beyond aware that Derek could hear it too.

His heart nearly stopped, though, when Derek answered.

“Yes.”

Stiles slowly leaned in, watching Derek for any sort of negative reaction. Derek didn’t move away, didn’t protest, just dipped his head slightly and waited for Stiles.

Derek let out a groan the second Stiles brushed their lips together, sinking into it.

Stiles sighed, letting his eyes fall shut as he dropped his cane, bunching Derek’s shirt in his hands. He let Derek take over, deepening the kiss as he slid one hand into the small hair at the base of Stiles’ neck, and the other down around his waist, pulling them closer together.

It was so much better than the kiss at the mall, because it was real, and holy mother of god, he was kissing Derek Hale. For real this time. It was good. Better than good. Amazing. And made so much better by the fact that Derek was okay with it, if the noises he made were any indication.

Derek jerked back suddenly, startling Stiles into opening his eyes. He was breathing hard, eyes blown, and staring at Stiles like he was the best thing he’d ever seen. He didn’t let Stiles go, which was the only reason Stiles didn’t panic. He brought one hand back to cup Stiles face again, staring.

“I love you too,” he announced breathlessly. “I have, for so long, God, how could you not know?”

Stiles huffed indignantly, but he couldn’t hide his grin. “How was I supposed to know?”

“You’re my anchor,” Derek said, ticking it off on a finger. “I trust you more than anyone else. I didn’t kill your family for abusing you only because you asked me not to, even though every single one of my instincts were screaming at me to protect you. Half of the things I say to you are just me accidentally letting something slip.”

Stiles thought back to the other day, realizing that maybe he hadn’t misheard Derek when he said-

“You mean like when you told me marrying one of the triplets wasn’t how you’d prefer to marry into my family?”

Derek turned bright red, which okay, that was fucking adorable. Stiles loved it.

“I…” he sighed. “Yeah.”

Stiles grinned, because he was totally on board with the whole marriage thing. Well, in a few years at least.

Derek cleared his throat and continued. “My whole speech just now about me not being able to handle you getting shot. Hell, why do you think the Olsen Pack wanted you the most?”

Stiles blinked at him. “How did the Olsen pack know?”

“I’m not really that subtle. Word gets around.”

Stiles bit his lip against a laugh. He saw Derek’s eyes flick down to his mouth, watching the movement. He licked his lips, watching Derek’s eyes darken.

Holy shit. Stiles released Derek’s shirt, sliding a hand down his chest and around to his back. Derek shuddered, and Stiles grinned at him.

“Come on, big guy, how did you not notice? You’re the werewolf, you’re supposed to have all the super senses.”

“It’s not like we can smell love,” Derek grumbled, his ears turning red again.

Stiles seriously loved it. “That would have made this a lot easier, huh?”

Derek nodded. “I love you too,” he whispered again. “So you can get out of here with that unrequited and unattainable bullshit, okay?” He again started sweeping his thumb over Stiles’ cheek. “Because you are amazing, Stiles. Gorgeous, intelligent, and unbelievably caring- when you love, God, Stiles, you love with everything you have, whether it’s family love or romantic love, nothing can stop you. You protect your own with the fierceness of a wolf, and God help the poor soul who hurts someone you love.

Stiles could feel himself blushing at that point, but Derek wasn’t done.

“No one else has ever cared enough about me to ask before, but you did. And I hate the fact that you took a bullet for me, but I know I’d do the same for you so I can’t yell at you about it, and that pisses me off.”

Stiles huffed a laugh at that, and he saw Derek’s mouth quirk up into a grin.

“I’m going to piss you off a lot,” Stiles pointed out. “Because I’m an annoying shit who loves to get you riled up, because I am a firm believer that sometimes you need to be riled up in order to feel alive. And I just want you to be happy and comfortable and safe all the time because that’s what you deserve, Derek. And don’t think I didn’t hear what you said before. You are worth it, Derek. You’re worth everything to me. I love you so fucking much.”

Derek smiled, a soft smile that was Stiles’ new favorite look on him, but he didn’t say anything, instead leaning in and pressing his lips to Stiles’ again.

The first kiss had been gentle and sweet. This one was decidedly not. As soon as their mouths were together, Derek was licking into Stiles’ mouth. Stiles let out an involuntary moan, pressing himself as close to Derek as he could. Derek groaned, clutching at Stiles’ hip desperately, kissing him with bruising force. His stubble created a delicious friction against Stiles’ face, and Stiles knew he was going to have beard burn but he really couldn’t bring himself to care.

Stiles gave as good as he got, running his hands through Derek’s hair and over his back. He lost track of time, but eventually Derek gentled the kiss, gradually pulling away with one, two, three more slow drag of lips. He pressed his face into Stiles’ neck, pressing another kiss there, and Stiles shuddered. He could feel Derek’s lips moving as he spoke, which distracted him enough that it took him a moment to register what he was saying.

“What are they doing here?”

Stiles sighed, his body tensing even as he slumped.

“I told you to stay in the car,” he muttered without turning around.

“You left your phone behind,” Jane answered faintly. “Uncle John called.”

“He wants us home,” Bella added, sounding amused. “But we can see you’re busy. We would have left, except you took the keys with you.”

Stiles cleared his throat, and Derek pressed one last kiss to Stiles’ neck before he pulled away.

Stiles pulled the keys out of his pocket, looking between them, his cousins, and Derek. He was tempted to just toss Bella the keys and say see ya never to his relatives, to stay here with Derek and not leave for a long time.

Derek raised an eyebrow, a corner of his mouth ticking up like he knew exactly what Stiles was thinking. Stiles smiled at him, and he saw Derek’s ears turn pink, which okay, he was doing a lot of that today. Stiles wanted to see what else he could do to get Derek to blush even more, but instead he sighed and turned towards his relatives.

They were hovering in the doorway, looking like they were afraid that Derek was going to rip their throats out. Derek, however, was busy plastering himself to Stiles’ back and once again burying his nose in his neck. Stiles knew that it was a possessive gesture, that Derek was scent-marking him.

“I should go before he sends out a cavalry after these guys.”

“Let him,” Derek grumbled.

Stiles snorted. “I think the lawsuit’s enough.”

Derek stiffened. “Lawsuit?”

“Right, you missed the action while you were sulking.”

“I wasn’t sulking,” Derek insisted.

Stiles grinned. “You were. But so was I.”

Derek nodded, but Stiles could feel his frown against the back of his neck. He stepped away and turned Stiles towards him. “What action did I miss?”

“Don’t worry Sourwolf, you won’t be missing any action if I have anything to say about it.” Stiles winked at his boyfriend- his boyfriend- and smirked.

Derek groaned, shoving Stiles away with a hand in his face.

“Hey!” Stiles complained. “Don’t damage the merchandise.”

Derek rolled his eyes. “You’re infuriating.”

“You love me,” Stiles teased, but he couldn’t hide the note of awe in his voice.

“I do,” Derek mumbled fondly.

“Stiles, we’ve gotta go before your dad kills us,” Nate grumbled, successfully killing Stiles’ warm, fuzzy feeling. “We’re already late.”

Stiles sighed. “I’m going to send these guys off, but Dad’s having pack barbecue tonight. The Gilds are staying, and Dani and Connor. Come over at five.”

“Why does Dani get to stay?” Henry asked stupidly.

Stiles glared at him. “You really want me to tell Derek what you guys did? Because I promise, he won’t be happy.”

Derek growled low in his throat, glaring at Stiles’ cousins.

“What did they do?” He asked lowly.

“I’ll tell you after they leave, big guy,” Stiles said, patting Derek’s arm.

Derek let out another growl, but he followed it with a sigh. “Fine.”

Stiles smiled at him, but then he frowned down at his cane, which was still lying on the ground. He started to bend down to get it, but Derek was already picking it up and handing it to him.

“Thanks,” Stiles said, taking the handle.

Derek, however, didn’t let go of the other end, using it to pull Stiles in.

Stiles went with surprised laugh, but it turned into a gasp when Derek kissed him heatedly.

“Easy, Sourwolf, I’ll see you in a few hours,” he breathed when Derek let him go, even though it was clear that he was not protesting. Derek could clearly sense his...interest, if the smug look on his face was anything to go by. It dropped, however, when he looked at Stiles' family.

“You hurt him again, I’ll rip your throats out. With my teeth.”

Stiles couldn’t help the snort of laughter that bubbled out of him at that. “God, Der. I told you, you need a new threat.”

Even though that one clearly did the trick.

Derek rolled his eyes, but he kissed Stiles one last time anyway. “Go. I’ll see you in a few hours.”

“Fine. Oh, by the way, we figured out that I’m a Spark. Okay love you bye!”

Stiles kissed Derek’s cheek and managed to dodge his grabbing hands, hightailing it out of there with a laugh and corralling his cousins into the fixed elevator thank you very much.

He saw Derek watching with fond exasperation as the doors shut.

“So,” Bella started.

“Nope,” Stiles said cheerily, tapping her foot with his cane. That finally brought his attention to his injury, which was barely a dull ache and- dammit, Derek had been taking his pain again, and he didn’t notice. Again.

“Thank you, Derek,” he breathed, looking up as the elevator reached the ground floor. “You are my favorite person and I love you, so thanks for taking my pain with your awesome werewolf mojo.”

“It’s not like he can hear you,” Polly muttered.

Stiles heard his phone get a text alert, and Bella handed it to him.

From: Derek Hale
You’re welcome. Love you too.

“Am I not also your favorite person?” Stiles asked, mocking offense as they got into the car.

From: Derek Hale
I thought that much was obvious.

“Well, I always thought Isaac was your favorite when he was around.”

From: Derek Hale
You know how Scott’s your brother and you don’t want to kiss him? That’s how I feel about Isaac.

Stiles grinned at that, then another text came through.

From: Derek Hale
I really don’t want to make out with Isaac, so no, you’re my favorite. You’ve been my favorite since I asked you to cut off my arm and you almost did.

Stiles snorted. “Our relationship is fucked up, Sourwolf.”

From: Derek Hale
Never said it wasn’t. Now go, the sooner you get home the sooner they’ll be gone and you can explain to me what I missed.

Stiles grinned and waved up towards the loft, where he was pretty sure Derek was watching from a window.

“See you in a bit, Sourwolf.”


 

As Stiles watched as the car disappeared into the distance about five minutes after they had gotten back, it was like the stress was physically being pulled from his body. His muscles loosened, his headache disappeared, and the rubber band that had slowly been making its return loosened enough for Stiles to shove it down.

“Longest week ever,” Stiles groaned, turning to the rest of his family.

Everyone murmured agreements as they wandered back into the house with a collective sigh of relief.

Stiles and John went into the backyard to start setting up for the barbecue, despite John’s insistence that Stiles should be resting.

“I’m assuming that the beard burn on your face is why you were late?” John said casually, starting the grill.

Stiles spluttered. “I-”

“Don’t even, it looks like you took sandpaper to your face.”

There was a split second where Stiles was torn between squawking in embarrassment and being
smug, but he chose neither.

“Yeah,” he said happily, smiling sincerely.

The sheriff turned and gave a small smile. “I’m happy for you, kid. Just know, if you hurt him, I’m going to have to ground you for the rest of your life.”

“Hey!” Stiles whined, but it was only on principle. He knew that his father had come to think of Derek as a third son (after Stiles and Scott), and he was glad that Derek had that after all this time. “Believe me,” he said in a much more serious tone. “I have no intention of messing this up.”

“Good,” the sheriff announced. “I don’t know if you’ll be able to find anyone else who’s willing to put up with you.

“Hey!”

The sheriff laughed, ruffling Stiles’ hair. They didn’t say anything else about it, instead getting the backyard ready.

Most of the pack got there at a quarter to five. Lydia, Malia, Kira, and Bella went off to gossip with Dani.

Theo, Liam, Mason, Corey, and Connor all started trying to steal food from the sheriff while he laughed and fended them off with the grill tongs.

Chris Argent and Melissa McCall were chatting with Aunt Kelly and Uncle Eric while Teddy ran around the yard chasing a butterfly.

Stiles was holding Taylor, and Scott sat with them off to the side as they watched their pack, their family.

“How’re you doing?” Scott asked.

“A lot better,” Stiles admitted. “Still hurting, obviously, but without them around I can breathe again.”

Scott nodded. “It’s not too late for me to slash their tires.”

Stiles rolled his eyes. “We’ve been over this, Scott, the lawsuit was enough.”

“I still can’t believe I missed that. I would’ve-”

“We’re all well aware of what you would’ve done, Scott,” Lydia announced, as the pack wandered over to sit around them.

Scott huffed in annoyance.

“When does everything start?” Kira asked.

Stiles shrugged. “Soon, probably.”

“You ready to tell me what they did?”

Stiles didn’t jump when he heard the deep voice. He didn’t. But once he was done not jumping out of his skin, he grinned and tilted his head back until it was resting on Derek’s stomach, looking up at the man behind him.

“About time you showed up, Sourwolf.”

“You told me five, I got here at five.” Derek rolled his eyes even as he brought a hand up to run through Stiles’ hair. “Now stop dodging.”

Stiles sighed, handing Taylor to Scott and standing up, because he knew that Derek was going to try and make a break for it.

“We found out that the whole money thing had been resolved a long time ago. They’ve been lying to Bella and I for years.”

A snarl ripped its way from Derek’s throat and his eyes lit up as fangs poked their way out of his mouth. Everyone was staring at him, but Stiles just rolled his eyes.

“Dad, your burgers are burning. Der, calm down.”

Derek curled his lips and bared his teeth at Stiles.

“They hurt you,” he snarled, starting for his car. “Made you feel bad about yourself. Not okay.”

“No, it’s not,” Stiles agreed, hurrying to plant himself in front of Derek. He put his hands on Derek’s chest when he glared at him.

Stiles could feel the growl rumbling through Derek’s body, so he lifted one hand and rested it on Derek’s face, forcing him to meet Stiles’ eyes.

“Der,” Stiles said softly. “I’m fine. We’re taking them to court, and we’re not going to see them for a very long time. They won’t be at Dani’s wedding, and I made sure that they knew they’re not welcome back here. Okay?”

Derek didn’t say anything, but his eyes returned to their usual not-a-real-color and his fangs went away. He huffed in annoyance.

“Fine,” he grumbled.

“Good,” Stiles chirped, releasing his boyfriend, instead grabbing him by the hand to pull him over to the pack.

“I haven’t forgotten about the other thing” Derek informed him as he allowed Stiles to push him down into a seat.

“Oh?” Stiles grinned, but Derek rolled his eyes and shoved him.

“Not that. About you being a Spark.”

“Oh, right. Yeah, I can do magic now.” Stiles waggled his fingers.

“I didn’t think Sparks were real,” Derek said.

“Dude. You are literally a werewolf.”

Derek shrugged. “How does it work?”

“Hell if I know. Deaton said something about my emotions. I made the wind blow before, and there may have been some thunder.”

“That was you?” Liam piped up.

“Does it look like it’s going to rain?”

The sky had absolutely no clouds in it.

Liam made a face at him, and Stiles made one right back.

“Good or bad emotions?” Derek prodded.

“Both? Dude, I don’t know. Deaton explained it, and you know how he is. The gist of it is if I’m super angry, or scared, or happy, I can do magic.”

“So if I were to…” Derek trailed off and leaned in but he stopped just shy of meeting Stiles’ mouth, looking at him for approval. Stiles nodded, because yeah, Derek could do that anytime, who cared that the whole pack was watching and they hadn’t technically told them yet.

Derek sealed their lips together, and it was chaste because yeah, the whole pack was watching, and there were children around, but it still made Stiles’ entire body heat up with warm and fuzzies, and then there was the slight tug of that rubber band but in a good way.

Malia let out a wolf whistle, startling them into separating, and then Derek started to chuckle.

“Stiles.”

Stiles blinked around, looking at the cliché tiki torches lining the yard, and at the citronella candles sitting on the tables, none of which had been lit before but were all now burning like they had been the whole time.

Stiles couldn’t help the unattractive snort that escaped him. “Oops.”

“You should learn to control that. I don’t want that happening every time I kiss you. Did I mention that I found all of my lights on when you left?”

Stiles shrugged, ducking his head to hide his grin. “Maybe you left them on.”

All of my lights, Stiles. In the entire building. The electricity is only set up for my loft and the elevator.”

Stiles bit his lip against another snort, failing to hold it in when Derek raised both of his eyebrows, clearly saying really? Except the whole effect was ruined when Stiles saw Derek’s lips twitching against a smile.

Stiles shoved his shoulder and Derek laughed, a smile lighting up his face. Stiles loved it.

“Sorry, are we gonna talk about any of that?” Scott demanded, looking between the two of them like a lost puppy.

“Come on, like you didn’t smell it on me as soon as you got here.”

“You always smell like Derek! And I thought you were just happy because you two were talking again, and your cousins were leaving! You finally kissed Derek and you didn’t tell me!”

“It’s been like two hours! It’s not like I was trying to hide it from you!”

Stiles could tell that Scott wasn’t really upset. In fact, his brother’s indignant look faded into a smirk.

“Say it.”

Stiles shook his head. “Nope.”

Say it.”

“No.”

“Stiles-”

“Scott-”

“Say it or I’ll say-”

“You wouldn’t.”

“I would.”

“Don’t you dare.”

“Then say it!”

“No!”

With that, Scott lunged at Stiles, knocking him to the ground. Stiles managed to get the upper hand for about three seconds before Scott had him pinned.

“No fair, you’re a werewolf!”

“You have magical powers!”

“I don’t know how to use them!”

“That’s not my fault!”

Stiles tried to roll Scott off of him again, but then he remembered two things. One, he had never been able to beat Scott when they wrestled even before he was a werewolf, and two, he had gotten shot the other day.

He remembered the second as the fleeting adrenaline rush wore off and pain stabbed through his side so fast it knocked the breath out of him.

“Ow,” he gasped.

Scott released him like he was on fire, jumping off of him with wide eyes.

“I’m so sorry! I wasn’t thinking, oh my god.”

“Me neither,” Stiles wheezed, sitting up.

Scott grabbed his arm and hauled him to his feet.

“Stop that,” Stiles said, batting away his best friend’s hand that was currently covered in black veins. “I’m fine, Scotty. No big deal. What, you’re not going to come to my aid, Sourwolf? My feelings are hurt.”

Derek rolled his eyes from where he was still sitting at the table, arms crossed.

“That was all on you, Stiles.”

Stiles mock-pouted, and Derek just scoffed and turned away. Stiles could tell from the way he ducked his head and rubbed a hand down his face, however, that he was hiding a smile.

“Say it,” Scott repeated, evidently over inadvertently hurting Stiles.

Stiles sighed and mumbled under his breath.

“What's that?” Scott asked, dramatically holding a hand up to his ear (that could totally hear what Stiles had said).

“I said you were right,” Stiles grumbled.

“Ha! I told you so!” Scott crowed.

“Hey! You said you wouldn’t say that if I said it!”

“I never agreed to that!” Scott gloated.

His gaze softened after a moment. “I’m really happy for you guys, you know.”

“Yeah, I know.” Stiles clapped Scott on the shoulder, but then he saw that look on his face. “Wait, Scott-”

“Derek, you’re my second, not to mention one of my best friends, but seeing as Stiles is my brother, I feel the need to remind you that he is my brother, so if you hurt him I am contractually obliged to kill you.”

“Oh my god,” Stiles muttered.

“That goes for you too, bro. You’re my brother, but Derek is my second and one of my best friends. If you hurt him, I am contractually obliged to killing you.”

“I have no intention of hurting Derek!” Stiles objected. “Jesus, two people in my own family already giving me the shovel talk, sheesh.”

But he couldn’t hide his grin. Scott ruffled his hair and they sat back down just as the sheriff declared the burgers ready. Stiles didn’t even bother to try competing with the horde of hungry supernaturals, so he hung back and nagged his father for all of the unhealthy food he had on his plate.

“I grabbed him a salad,” Derek informed him as he sat down, pushing a small plate of greens to the sheriff.

Stiles beamed even as the sheriff grumbled. “You're the best,” he told Derek seriously.

“I know,” Derek responded, sliding over a plate full of food for Stiles.

Stiles, if possible, beamed even more. He kissed Derek on the cheek before digging into his food.

“Calm down, son, it’s just a burger,” John laughed.

Stiles raised an eyebrow, and his father pointed at him. “You’re glowing again.”

Stiles looked down, and when he saw that he was, in fact, glowing, he jumped so badly that he toppled backwards off of the bench.

He laid there as pain throbbed through his body, listening to his family laugh at him. He managed a dry laugh through the pain, but he didn’t get up, instead closing his eyes as he waited to be able to move without seeing stars.

Gentle hands were at his shoulders, lightly running down his arms as they helped him up.

“You okay?”

Stiles let out a breath and leaned into Derek, not objecting to the pain-draining that was happening.

“I’m good. Thanks.”

“Stiles, have you taken your pain meds?” Melissa asked.

Stiles groaned. “That explains so much.”

Melissa rolled her eyes at him in exasperation. “If you’re going to insist on acting like you’re not hurting, at least take something to help.”

Stiles shrugged, letting Derek help him back onto the bench. He accepted the pill bottle his father handed him, swallowing a few down with his water.

“Sorry about that, I’m not used to seeing myself light up like a glow stick.”

“Neither am I,” Derek grumbled, and that’s when Stiles saw that the werewolf had ketchup all over his shirt, presumably from where he had missed his burger in his shock.

Stiles couldn’t help the laugh that burst out of him, nor the wheeze of pain that followed. “Stop, oh my god, that hurts.”

Derek rolled his eyes, and Stiles grinned.

“Sti, don’t freak out, but you’re doing it again,” Bella warned him.

Stiles didn’t even bother to look this time, tamping down on the rubber band even if he couldn’t feel it. When he checked, he was no longer glowing.

“This is so weird,” he muttered.

“Alright, Derek, you’re not allowed near Stiles until he figures out how to control himself,” Liam joked.

Before Stiles could even let out his indignant protest, Derek had an arm wrapped around his waist, sliding him across the small space between them and into his side.

“Too bad,” Derek murmured, pressing his face into Stiles’ neck to scent him.

Stiles felt Derek’s grin against his neck as their pack heckled them, catcalling and teasing, and Stiles was hit with a flying hamburger bun.

It was awesome.

Chapter Text


Stiles laughed as Teddy chased a fully-shifted Derek around the yard. Derek was barely trotting, going slow enough that Teddy was almost able to grab his tail before darting away.

At one point, Teddy reached forward to grab Derek, but he missed and fell flat on his face. It was clear that he was about to start bawling. Before anyone could even get up to get to him, however, Derek was there, nudging at Teddy with his nose. He had to bend his front legs, because even in his wolf form he was taller than the five-year-old. Teddy sat up with a sniffle, one hand on Derek’s wolfy head. Derek nudged him a little more, and Teddy grabbed on to his fur and stood back up.

Derek honest-to-god licked his face, and Teddy giggled. Derek poked his snout into Teddy’s stomach, and Teddy started laughing even harder. He squirmed away and squealed, running off. Derek gently chased after him, leaving no doubt that he was just playing. Stiles glanced at Eric and Kelly, and they didn’t look worried, smiling as they watched their son being chased by a werewolf. He just grinned and pulled his phone out to take pictures.

Teddy was full on belly-laughing at this point, and when he wobbled again, Derek caught him by shoving his head underneath the boy.

Teddy grabbed on to Derek’s fur again, and Stiles watched in disbelief as Derek squirmed his way around until Teddy was sitting on his back.

“Hold on tight, Ted!” Stiles called as Derek carefully started walking around the yard.

This had started just after they had all finished dinner. Teddy had shoved his way into Derek’s lap and demanded that he show him his “cool teeth.” It escalated from there, Teddy pulling on Derek’s wolf ears, then insisting that Derek turn into the “puppy.”

Derek had clearly obliged, and now Stiles was stuck trying not to laugh because laughing hurt, but his boyfriend was amazing, dammit.

“You’re doing it again,” Scott informed Stiles, nudging him with his knee.

Stiles looked down at himself, expecting to see that golden glow, but there was nothing.

“What?”

“Smiling like a lovestruck idiot.” Scott grinned as Stiles blushed.

“Shut up,” he muttered.

“I’m happy for you guys,” he said. “It’s about time.”

“Seriously,” Bella said. “I’d never even seen you guys together before this week, but from what I’ve heard, it’s been a long time coming. And especially after all of your phone calls, complaining about your crush.”

“Bella,” Stiles complained. “Shush.”

“It’s not like he doesn’t know,” Lydia pointed out. “Well, I’m assuming anyway, since neither of you told us exactly how it happened.”

“Besides, he did his fair share of pining too,” Dani announced.

Derek was suddenly there, Teddy having gone back to his parents. He let out a warning growl, which Stiles knew meant absolutely nothing.

“Oh, shut up,” Dani told him. “We had to put up with he’s amazing, and he’s so hot, and he’s perfect, and I wish I could make him happy every single time we heard from you!”

“Try living with that,” Cora said dryly. “Every day it was Stiles this and Stiles that and oh, Cora, did you hear about Stiles? Disgusting.”

Derek nipped at her hand, but she just scratched behind his ears with a fond smile.

“I have a lot of embarrassment to catch up on,” Connor declared. “Don’t forget about everything you’ve told Dani about me.”

If it were possible for a wolf to go pale, that’s what Derek would be doing. As it was, his eyes were wide and his mouth was hanging open. It was hilarious.

Stiles couldn’t hide his grin, but he regretted it when Lydia turned her sharp gaze on him.

“You really want to go there? Derek Hale is a specimen of man and he’s so smart and funny and he deserves only nice things. Should I continue?”

Stiles groaned. “How about we just acknowledge the fact that we both said embarrassing things about each other and agree to not talk about them?”

Derek chuffed and nodded, bumping his head against Stiles’ leg.

“How about we get you some clothes, Sourwolf, and then you can have opposable thumbs again?”

Derek bobbed his head, trotting off.

Stiles followed him to the Camaro, opening the trunk and digging out a plain white muscle shirt and a pair of jeans. For once, he allowed himself to ogle Derek when he changed back (from the waist up), blatantly staring at his toned torso. Derek smirked at him when Stiles met his eyes, and Stiles just cocked an eyebrow to ask what are you going to do about it?

Derek just snorted, pulling his shirt on.

“So,” Derek said, leaning against his car. “You think I deserve only nice things?”

“Hey,” Stiles complained. “We agreed not to talk about that.”

Derek just raised an eyebrow, fighting a grin.

Stiles sighed, shrugged. “Yeah. I told you that earlier. But hey, I’m a nice thing. You deserve me.”

Derek laughed at that, but it was fond and not mocking.

“You are a nice thing,” he admitted, still smiling.

“And you wish you could make me happy?” Stiles teased.

Derek shrugged noncommittally. “Of course.”

“You do. You make me so happy, Derek.”

Derek smiled again, and it was shy and sweet, and it did funny things to Stiles’ heart. He reached out, pulling on Stiles’ arm until Stiles was pressed up against him.

“You make me happy too,” he whispered.

Stiles beamed. “I love you.”

“I love you too. But I do have one question.”

“Yeah?”

“You think I’m a specimen of man?”

“Oh, fuck you,” Stiles said, shoving Derek away.

Derek didn’t go anywhere, seeing as he was pressed against his car and a werewolf.

“You think I’m amazing and hot?” He countered when Derek didn’t release him.

“Don’t forget perfect,” Derek reminded him before claiming his lips.

Stiles melted against Derek, wrapping his arms around the older man’s neck and kissing him back. Happiness welled in him as he lost himself in the kiss, spreading through his body like a warm tidal wave.

“Boys, we’re happy for you and all, but try not to make me arrest you for public indecency,” the sheriff called from the porch, sounding tired yet fond.

Stiles pulled away from Derek and pushed his face into the crook of his neck, laughing.

“And Derek, your headlights are on.”

“Stiles,” Derek sighed, but Stiles could hear the humor in his voice.

“I can’t help it!” Stiles defended. “Like I said you make me really happy.”

Derek groaned in the back of his throat, pulling Stiles back up to press another kiss to his lips before pulling away.

“Come on,” he said when Stiles protested. “I really don’t feel like getting arrested by your father. Again.”

Stiles laughed, and the car alarm went off.

Stiles!”


 

The pack didn’t leave until well after dark. They slowly drifted out one by one, Scott and Derek leaving last.

Stiles and his family gathered in the living room to watch a movie. It was awesome. Teddy and Taylor were asleep. The sheriff was sitting on the couch with Kelly and Eric, and Aunt Kelly had her head in Uncle Eric’s lap with her feet thrown across her brother’s legs, Dani and Connor were curled up on the loveseat, and Bella was on the floor with Stiles, mimicking her mother’s position by laying her feet on Stiles’ lap.

It was awesome. Stiles finally felt the last vestiges of stress leave him as he saw his family relaxing around the room. This is how the reunion should have been. The nine of them being a family, telling stories and poking fun at each other, but in a good way.

Stiles was being teased mercilessly about Derek, and he loved it.

He found out that Bella was crushing hard on a guy that she met at college orientation, and how had he not known that?

Aunt Kelly and Uncle Eric talked about Teddy starting kindergarten and Taylor’s sleep schedule.

The sheriff told them all about the newest recruits at the station, which ones he thought would last and which ones would be running for the hills after a few weeks.

Dani and Connor started talking about their wedding, how they were getting tired of waiting, and we’re hoping to have it within the next few months. They told them about their pack back in New York, how their alpha was expecting a baby.

It was happy and comfortable, and Stiles didn’t want it to end. It was well after midnight when Connor and Dani fell asleep in their chair, and it wasn’t until Connor shifted and subsequently dumped Dani onto the floor that everyone decided it was time for bed. Once they had finished laughing. Dani and Connor were staying the night, since there was a little more room now.

“Stiles,” the sheriff said, just as Stiles started up the stairs.

“Yeah?”

The sheriff looked reluctant, but he opened his mouth anyway. “When Derek gets here, please be quiet.”

Stiles felt himself blushing and he spluttered. “Dad! Derek’s not- he’s- we’re-”

The sheriff waved him off. “How does he take his coffee?”

Stiles raised an eyebrow- Derek had stayed the night before, albeit in different context. John knew how he took his coffee.

“Light, with lots of sugar. He’ll tell you one spoonful, but he really likes three.”

The sheriff nodded with a smile. “Night, son.”

And that’s when Stiles knew that this was his father’s way of voicing his approval.

“Night, Dad.”


 

Stiles had just gotten settled in bed when his window opened.

“You know, I should probably be more concerned about your habit of breaking into my room in the middle of the night.”

Stiles rolled over until he was facing his window, the light from the neighbor’s garage outlining Derek’s broad shoulders as he shrugged.

“How’d you know I was in bed anyway? Were you waiting outside?”

“Connor texted me,” Derek admitted.

Stiles smirked and pushed himself until he was sitting up.

“And? Are you here to ravish me?”

Even in the dark, Stiles could see Derek rolling his eyes.

“No.”

“Really? You sure? Because I definitely wouldn’t be opposed.”

“Stiles,” Derek growled, which only reinforced Stiles’ stance.

Stiles grinned, and Derek sighed and settled into Stiles’ desk chair.

“So if you’re not here to sex me up, whatcha doing?”

“Just wanted to see how you were holding up.”

Stiles smiled at him. “Pretty damn well. Why?”

Derek shrugged. “It’s been a crazy week, for one thing. You haven’t really talked about what happened with your cousins.”

Stiles made a noncommittal noise. “Not much to talk about. They’re horrible people, conned my family and I for years, and now we’re taking them to court. But I don’t really care because I had the best day today.”

“Oh really?” Derek smirked. He leaned forward, propping his elbows on his knees. “What happened?”

“Well, my relatives left, I spent the day with my real family, and I got a new boyfriend.”

“Really, a boyfriend?” Derek raised his eyebrows, he corner of his lip quirking up.

“Mmhm,” Stiles hummed. “See, it turns out that this guy I’m pretty far gone on loves me too. He’s gorgeous, all muscles and stubble, and he’s smart, and surprisingly sweet behind his scowly I'm-going-to-rip-your-throat-out-with-my-teeth mask.”

“Wow, sounds like you got pretty lucky,” Derek mused.

“I did,” Stiles agreed easily.

He saw Derek biting back a smile. “You hurting?”

“Little sore,” Stiles admitted, shifting slightly. He shot Derek a filthy grin. “I’d be better if I were making out with my boyfriend. Ya know, lying down. Naked.” He waggled his eyebrows.

Derek rolled his eyes. “I’m not having sex with you tonight.”

“Aw, come on,” Stiles wheedled. “I’ve waited for years to get your hands on me.”

“No, Stiles.”

Stiles stopped immediately. Derek said no, he could respect that.

“Okay. If you don’t want to then we don’t have to, I don’t mind-”

In a flash, Stiles was lying on the bed with his hands pinned over his head and Derek hovering over him. Somehow, Derek had done that without Stiles’ sore body screaming in protest.

“Holy God,” Stiles gasped, because Derek’s eyes were burning, and not in a wolfy way either. His arousal hit him like a truck, and based on the way that Derek’s nose twitched, he knew it.

“Trust me, Stiles,” Derek murmured, his voice low and gravelly in Stiles’ ear. “I want to. I’ve watched you wake up in my loft, with your hair looking like sex, I’ve let you sleep in my bed and when you left, all I could smell was you. I have waited for years to get my hands on you, to make you mine.”

“Fuck, Derek,” Stiles sighed. “M’already yours.”

Derek groaned, dropping his head down to kiss Stiles roughly. Stiles hummed appreciatively, trying to move his hands to touch Derek, but Derek held fast.

Suddenly, Derek pulled away with a gasp. “We can’t,” be panted.

“Why not?” Stiles asked breathlessly. “If it’s because there are people in the house-”

Derek shook his head. “No, just...I don’t want to hurt you.”

Stiles hummed a negative. “You won’t hurt me, I trust you.”

“Not what I mean. You were shot three days ago. And the things I want to do to you...let’s just say you need to be in full health.”

Stiles couldn’t help the whimper that left him at Derek’s words. He squirmed, somehow even more aroused, and the fact that Derek could definitely tell didn’t help. “Derek, Christ, please. We don’t have to do everything, just something.”

Derek shut his eyes, exhaling sharply.

“Stiles-”

Derek.”

“Stiles, when you’re completely healed, I swear to god I’m not letting you leave my bed for a week,” Derek growled. “But you’re hurt, and we shouldn’t.”

Stiles groaned, knowing that Derek’s resolve was crumbling. Maybe if he...

“Fine, I won’t push,” he sighed.

Derek pushed away slightly, looking at him skeptically. Stiles used the opportunity to pull his hands free and start smoothing them down his stomach.

“I mean, if you leave I’m going to jerk off, and it’s probably more strenuous if I do it myself, but it won’t be much different from every other time I touch myself, because I’ll still come thinking about you, groaning your name, imagining that it’s you touching me. So either way- mmph! Mmm….hmmm.”

Derek had smashed their lips together with a growl, licking into Stiles’ mouth possessively. He roughly grabbed Stiles’ wrists and again pinned them above his head with one hand.

“You manipulative bastard,” Derek breathed out, before dipping his head to suck at Stiles’ neck.

Stiles moaned and moved until he got one leg free, throwing it over Derek’s hips. Stiles threw his head back with a gasp when that brought their erections together, showing him exactly how much Derek wanted this.

“Jesus, Stiles,” Derek panted, grinding down.

“Ngh,” Stiles managed, pulling one hand from Derek’s grip to hold the back of Derek’s neck, pulling him down for more kissing.

“We- we should stop,” Derek murmured into his mouth, pushing their hips together again.

“I strongly d-disagree,” Stiles stuttered, breathing hard.

Derek seemed to accept it, seeing as he just moved his mouth down to nip at Stiles’ ear. He released Stiles’ other hand, and Stiles moved to tangle them both into Derek’s hair.

“This okay?” Stiles had the presence of mind to gasp- Derek had been saying no, after all.

“Definitely okay,” Derek answered, sucking at Stiles’ jaw.

Stiles knew he should be embarrassed at how close he was, even though they had only been at it for a few minutes, but he really couldn’t bring himself to care, especially when Derek gave a particularly dirty grind that had Stiles bucking his hips up in search of more friction.

“Fuck, Derek, ohmygod, do that again, fuck.”

“Stiles, you need to be quiet,” Derek warned, nosing at Stiles’ throat.

“Mmm,” Stiles moaned.

Derek scraped his teeth against Stiles’ throat and-

Fuck,” Stiles choked out, throwing his head back again and baring his throat to Derek.

Derek let out a low growl before burying his face in Stiles’ neck, biting down with blunt, human teeth. Stiles keened softly, squirming and rubbing himself against Derek.

“Stiles, the things I want to do to you,” Derek moaned. “God, you have no idea. Do you know how often I see you and have to leave the room because if I look at you too long I'll get a boner? Your hands, Stiles, and Christ, your mouth, you have no clue what you do to me.”

Derek,” Stiles moaned, “Derek, please,” and he thrust his hips up once, twice, three more times before he was coming in his pants like a teenager, his toes curling as he shook against Derek.

Derek swore, bending his head to rest against Stiles’.

“Fuck, Der,” Stiles panted. “I can’t wait until I’m all healed, I want to feel you inside me, I want you to fuck me so hard I won’t be able to walk straight, god, I love you, love you so much.”

Stiles,” Derek moaned. “Stop- ah- stop talking, you gotta- ha.”

“What, you don’t like it when I talk?” Stiles teased, extremely aware of the fact that Derek still hadn’t come, that he was holding himself back- he was hovering above Stiles, not moving.

“That’s not- fuck- if you keep talking, I’m gonna-”

Stiles quickly got the idea, and he moved his hands down to Derek’s lower back and pulled hard, causing Derek to rut down onto his thigh. He leaned his head up to nip at Derek’s ear and whispered, “come on, Sourwolf, I told you how much I want you, maybe next time I’ll suck you off, you said you like my mouth-”

Derek cut him off with a bruising kiss, his hips stuttering against Stiles’ thigh. He groaned, low and long, before rolling off and collapsing next to Stiles.

“Fuck,” he muttered.

Stiles laughed softly. “You good?”

“I should be asking you that,” Derek grumbled, turning his head and squinting at Stiles like he was too bright to see.

Stiles checked- he wasn’t even glowing.

“I’m fine, Der. More than fine, actually, and if that was that good, I can’t wait until-”

“Jesus, stop talking, just...stop talking for a minute.” Derek turned away from Stiles, shutting his eyes.

“Mmm, you like it when I talk.”

“Not when you’re trying to get me hard again about ten seconds after I came.”

Stiles snorted, kissing Derek’s shoulder.

“You have a dirty mouth,” Derek informed him.

“Apparently you do too. Besides, you love my dirty mouth.”

Derek groaned in exasperation, but Stiles could sense the fondness in it.

He thought of something, however, and quickly sobered. Derek, apparently sensing his mood change, turned to look at him again.

“Seriously, though, was that okay? ‘Cause I know I pushed, and you were saying no at first so I backed off, but then you said you wanted me, so-”

“Stiles,” Derek interrupted softly. He rolled so that he was on his side and cupped Stiles’ cheek with one hand. “That was beyond okay. If I hadn’t wanted it, I would’ve stopped it, I promise.”

Stiles let out a breath of relief, smiling at Derek.

“And…”

“And?”

Derek shrugged, biting his lip. “Thank you.”

“For?”

“Making sure. Like I said this afternoon, no one’s ever cared enough to...so, thank you.”

Stiles rolled until he was on top of Derek, propping his chin on Derek’s chest.

“I’ll always make sure, I promise. I’ll ask every time, because it’s important to you. It’s important to everyone, actually, I always ask no matter who I’m with, but I know that consent is a big deal.”

Derek tilted his head slightly, and Stiles took the invitation to kiss his boyfriend. Derek pulled back after a few beats, however, and turned bright red.

“Oh, fuck you,” he muttered, dropping his head back to the pillow.

Stiles frowned. “What the hell did I do?”

“No, not you,” Derek grumbled. “Connor.”

“Oh,” Stiles said, and then he realized that Connor was a werewolf who had amazing hearing. “Oh.”

“Shut up!” Derek insisted, shutting his eyes. A few beats, then- “Yeah, well, I’m scarred from every single time I’ve heard you with Dani. Consider this revenge. ...No- Connor, he’s an adultI’m an adult too! ...I haven’t been a teenager in eight years! ...I am twenty-six!”

Stiles was fighting laughter as he pressed his face into Derek’s shoulder. The conversation would have been amusing with both sides, but hearing Derek practically talk to himself while defending his life choices was downright hilarious.

“Connor. Connor! He is my boyfriend, we can do what we like- oh my god, shut up-”

Stiles felt warm and fuzzy when Derek called him his boyfriend, which was semi-ridiculous after everything else.

“Connor, I swear to god- bullshit, you never teased Laura this much! ...No, you threatened her boyfriends until she beat the shit out of you for doing that. ...No, I don’t want you to threaten Stiles! ...I want you to go to sleep and pretend this never happened!”

Derek huffed, throwing and arm over his eyes, his face still a vivid shade of red.

Stiles had an idea, then, and he shut his eyes, reaching inside and focusing on his...whatever emotion this was right now, there were too many to try and narrow it down- and then focused on the basement where Connor and Dani were sleeping.

Stiles wished he could hear what Derek heard, because Derek jumped and started shaking underneath him with an odd choking noise, and Stiles peeked one eye open to see him trying in vain to stifle his laughter.

“Was that you?” He whispered.

Stiles nodded. “What did I do?”

“TV turned on to some action movie, full volume. Scared the shit out of he and Dani.”

Stiles laughed, then scrunched his eyebrows. “The TV down there is broken.”

Derek shrugged. “Not anymore.”

He tilted his head, apparently listening. “Connor called a truce,” he declared.

He wrapped his arms around Stiles’ waist and looked up at him with a genuine smile. Stiles grinned back, but he winced when he shifted.

Yeah, his pants were pretty gross. From the look on Derek’s face, his own weren’t too pleasant either.

“Wanna borrow something?” Stiles asked, and Derek nodded with a grimace.

Stiles started to get up, but he stopped because oh shit there’s the pain.

Derek gently moved Stiles off of him and onto the mattress.

“Told you so,” he muttered, standing up and heading over to Stiles’ dresser.

“Oh, shut up,” Stiles grumbled. “Was worth it anyway. Grab me three ibuprofen, would you?”

Derek just shook his head, heading back over and resting a hand on Stiles’ arm. Stiles sighed and practically melted into the mattress as the pain left his body, leeched away by his awesome werewolf boyfriend.

“Thanks,” he sighed.

Derek just rolled his eyes, helping Stiles up. They took turns sneaking into the bathroom to clean up and change, and then they settled back on Stiles’ bed.

“I should go,” Derek murmured, pressing a kiss to Stiles’ hair.

“Wanna cuddle,” Stiles shamelessly objected, nuzzling into Derek’s neck.

Derek chuckled, bringing his hands up to lightly rub Stiles’ back.

“Your dad’s gonna kill me.”

“Nah,” Stiles mumbled, exhaustion finally catching up with him. It was past two in the morning. “He loves you. ‘M pretty sure he expected this.”

“And why is that?”

“ ‘Cause he said to be quiet when you got here, and he wanted to know how you like your coffee in the morning. Which’s ridiculous, b’cause you’ve stayed the night before. Think he just wanted to let me know he was okay with it.”

Stiles was starting to slur as his eyes drifted shut. He vaguely registered Derek’s embarrassed groan, and then his pleased smile, but he did remember the kiss he pressed to Stiles’ head.

“G’night, Stiles.”

“Night, Der. Love you.”

“Love you too.”


 

Stiles and Derek wandered downstairs just ten in the morning, surprisingly well-rested.

There were two extra cups of coffee waiting on the table for them. Derek’s wars turned slightly pink, but Stiles just shrugged and thanked his dad.

“Sleep well?” Connor asked casually as they sat down at the table with the rest of Stiles’ family.

“You called a truce,” Derek reminded him.

“Yeah, because your boyfriend turned the TV on from two floors up!”

The sheriff frowned at that. “The TV down there is broken.”

“Not anymore,” Stiles, Connor, and Derek said in unison.

“Yeah, woke me up at two in the morning,” Dani complained. “It wasn’t even plugged in! And it turned on to some action action movie with the volume all the way up!”

Stiles snorted back a laugh, and Dani threw her napkin at him. “Jerk.”

“Hey, your fiancé started it. I just ended it.”

The sheriff stared at them, then shook his head. “I don’t want to know. Boys, eat up, and thank you for being quiet. Stiles, cover that up before you scar the kids.”

Stiles blushed when he remembered the large hickey on his neck. He slapped a hand over it and glared at Derek, who opened and closed his mouth helplessly.

“Sorry?” He offered.

“Stiles, what did you do to your neck?” Teddy asked with a curious frown.

Stiles watched Bella snort into her coffee, and he glared at her too.

“Just a bug bite, Ted.”

“Must’ve been a big bug,” Teddy observed.

“It was,” Stiles agreed.

Bella rolled her eyes and snagged Stiles’ arm, pulling him out of his chair. She brought him to the bathroom, where she took some of her concealer and covered up the mark. And all of the other marks.

“Thanks.”

“Anytime. Looks like you had a fun night.”

“Very fun.” Stiles grinned, knowing full well Derek could hear him.

“I’m glad you’re happy,” she told him seriously.

Stiles smiled at her. “Love you, Bels.”

“Love you too, Sti.”

They made their way back to the table, where Derek and Connor were bickering like brothers over who got to hold Taylor, Kelly and John were arguing over the syrup, and Eric and Dani were playing an intense game of tic tac toe on a napkin while Teddy serenely stuffed pancakes into his face.

Derek stopped arguing long enough to kiss Stiles when he sat back down, but he turned back to Connor almost immediately.

“You held him first yesterday!”

“Hang on, guys, I know how to solve this,” Stiles announced.

The two men turned to look at him curiously. Stiles grinned.

“I get to hold the baby.” He took Taylor out of his high chair and bounced him on his lap, blowing raspberries at him.

Connor and Derek objected, but their protests died down after a moment.

Once his father stopped arguing with Kelly, he slid Stiles’ pill bottle across the table. “Here you go.”

“Thanks, Dad,” Stiles said after he took his medicine.

“Stiles, I hope you know that this week has thoroughly scarred me,” Bella declared. Everyone looked at her and she rolled her eyes. “I found out that werewolves were real, we were all almost killed by a pack of werewolves and people with guns, I watched you get shot, and I just covered up your hickies. You’re my big cousin, I’m not supposed to know about your sex life!”

Stiles couldn’t help the laughter that burst out of him.

“Tell me about it,” Connor groaned. “Last night I heard things no man wants to hear about his little brother.”

He reached over and managed to get Derek in a headlock, giving him a noogie. Derek honest-to-god squawked.

Stiles gaped, the image of Derek Hale indignantly trying to get Connor to let go of him while having his hair ruffled now permanently imprinted in his mind. He thanked whatever deity that was out there that Dani had her phone out and was taking pictures.

“Connor! Get off!”

Derek finally managed to shove a laughing Connor away, his hair sticking up in all directions.

As Stiles laughed, he suddenly realized why Derek would always take those long trips to New York. Of course, once Stiles had found out that Derek knew Connor and Dani, he knew that he had been visiting them, but now it made even more sense.

Derek and Connor were brothers, the same way that Derek and Isaac were brothers, the same way that Stiles and Scott were brothers.

They had known each other since Derek was born, and now, after everything that happened, they were all that the other had left of their old life. And now they each had their families of their own, but they were still brothers.

Stiles realized that even though the week hadn’t gone as intended, it was a family reunion in all the ways that counted.

Looking around as he rocked the baby in his arms, Stiles had a half-formed thought that this was a sort-of pack of its own, his cousins and aunt and uncle and his dad and Derek, but then he thought that it wasn’t complete because the rest of the pack wasn’t here, and that’s when it really hit him. Pack was just another word for family.

“I can smell the smoke,” Derek said, breaking him out of his thoughts. “What are you thinking about?”

“Har har,” Stiles responded. Derek just quirked an eyebrow.

Stiles shrugged. “Whoever said that blood is thicker than water was the stupidest person alive.”

“Actually,” Uncle Eric said. “That phrase itself is stupid. It’s completely out of context. The whole saying goes the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb. In context, it means that blood shed in battle bonds soldiers more strongly than simple genetics.”

“So it actually fits perfectly into what you’re thinking,” Derek informed Stiles with a soft smile.

Stiles grinned and pecked him on the cheek, but he was swiftly distracted by his father plucking Taylor out of his arms.

He went to protest, but Derek curled an arm around his waist and moved his chair until they were pressed together from legs to shoulders, and Stiles relaxed into him with a sigh of contentment.

They put up with the good-natured teasing, and even more when the pack showed up, almost an hour after Stiles had expected them to.

Stiles happily watched on as the wolves wrestled on the floor and the humans and not-quite-humans-but-definitely-not-werewolves cheered them on.

The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb, indeed.

 

Chapter Text

The wedding was beautiful.

Aunt Kelly carried Taylor down the aisle, ‘helping’ the infant throw flower petals everywhere, and Teddy was the ring bearer. Derek stood at the front of the room, his eyes bright as he watched Stiles walk down the aisle.

Derek was Connor’s best man, and Bella was Dani’s maid of honor. Stiles was a groomsman, and he escorted Cora down the aisle as they took their places on either side of the altar.

 The Sheriff gave Dani away, and there wasn’t a dry eye when she and Connor exchanged their vows.

The celebration was in full swing, now, and Stiles was sitting at a table with Derek and the rest of their pack, talking and laughing.

“Where are they going on their honeymoon?” Kira asked curiously.

“Europe,” Stiles responded. “Starting in Venice, I think.”

“No, they’re going to Greece first, and ending in Venice,” Derek corrected.

“Oh, yeah.” Stiles grinned as he watched his father dance with Melissa, holding back a snort at he stepped on her feet. He nudged Scott, who did not hold back a snort when Melissa laughed, blushing. It was even funnier because they weren’t dancing together- it was a fast pop song and watching John try to impress Melissa was hilarious.

“How long until they-” Stiles started.

Scott smirked. “Another month, at least.”

“Leave them alone,” Derek chastised, but he was grinning.

Stiles thought back on the past six months as he watched everyone dance. Ever since the whole reunion debacle, he had felt like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders that he didn’t know he was carrying. Once he had healed, he spoke to the pack that lived near Bella and her family, and once he had been convinced they weren’t murderous, he had introduced them to the Gilds. It was a small pack, and Stiles liked them right off of the pack. The alpha of the pack, a kind, older woman, had a grandson Teddy’s age, and the two boys had become fast friends. It was also great for Stiles’ pack, as they now had new allies for when, God forbid, something like this happens again (and let’s be honest, this was Beacon Hills- something like this will happen again).

Actually, this was about a week after he had healed completely. That week had been spent in Derek’s bed. The werewolf had made good on his promise- the second Stiles was proclaimed all better by the doctor, Derek had taken Stiles to the loft and...well, you get the idea.

Anyway, Deaton had been also helping Stiles harness his spark, and Stiles thought he was learning pretty quickly. His control had improved greatly, though sometimes he still made things happen when he was extremely happy. Usually with Derek.

Speaking of Deaton, he had explained how Derek had kept Stiles alive after being shot that night. Sometimes- and it was very rare- a werewolf would develop a deep bond with another individual, linking them together in a way that normal couples didn’t have. Then again, it made sense. When had Derek and Stiles ever been normal?

( “So like...mates?” Stiles had asked. “Are mates a thing?”

“Mates are not a thing, Stiles,” Derek had replied immediately.

“But I think we kinda are though.”

Derek had looked to Deaton for help, exasperated, but Deaton had just shrugged with that cryptic smile of his. )

Anyway, that bond had allowed Derek to essentially share his life force with Stiles until they were able to save him for real. Stiles loved to tease Derek about being ‘mates,’ which annoyed Derek to no end because he was firm in his belief that they didn’t exist.

That didn’t stop him from asking Stiles to move in with him two months ago, nor did it stop Stiles from accepting. They were constantly teased by the pack, because they had been in the honeymoon phase for six months and it didn’t seem like it was going to end anytime soon.

So, long story short, Stiles was happy. He’d be happier if he was dancing, though. He loved dancing, and he was surprisingly okay at it. However, he hated dancing alone, which meant he wasn’t going out there until his friends did.

“Come on,” Derek said, long suffering, breaking Stiles out of his reverie.

Stiles raised an eyebrow in question. Derek rolled his eyes and held out a hand.

“You want to dance but you’re not going to unless someone goes with you. So come on.”

Stiles couldn’t help the smile that stretched across his face as he took Derek’s hand and stood.

“I love you,” he murmured.

The corner of Derek’s lip twitched upwards and he pressed a kiss to Stiles’ hand.

“That’s disgusting,” Scott declared.

“Absolutely nauseating,” Cora agreed.

“Get a room,” Lydia suggested, not even looking at them.

Stiles stuck his tongue out at them as Derek flipped them off, pulling him off to the dance floor.

They danced together for three songs (read: Stiles danced while Derek just sort of swayed around, watching Stiles fondly) before it transitioned into a slower tempo. Stiles rested his head on Derek’s shoulder, letting the older man lead.

“This is nice,” he murmured, looking around at the venue. It was beautiful. People were laughing and having a good time. Dani and Connor were dancing around, gazing into each other’s eyes.

Derek hummed an agreement, resting his head on Stiles’ as he slowly spun them around.

We should do this one day, Stiles thought.

“We should,” Derek murmured back.

Stiles tensed, but only slightly. “Did I say that out loud?”

“You did.”

“I’m sorry,” he whispered. Derek didn’t seem all that concerned about it, though. He hadn’t really reacted.

“Why are you sorry?” Derek rubbed a hand up and down Stiles’ back reassuringly.

Stiles shrugged, pulling his head back so that he could look at Derek while they danced. “I don’t know, it’s a little soon, maybe? Talking about marriage.”

Derek snorted softly. “First of all, Stiles, we’ve known each other for eight years. I’ve been in love with you for at least three of them. Besides, when have we ever done anything conventionally?”

Stiles tipped his head in acquiescence. “That’s true. We are mates, after all.”

Derek growled at him warningly, but when Stiles just laughed he rolled his eyes fondly.

“Mates are not a thing, no matter how many times you say they are.”

Stiles shrugged, smirking. “What’s second?”

“Didn’t you hear me?” Derek asked, smiling softly. “I agreed with you.”

Stiles bit his lip and looked down, smiling to himself.

“Did I just accidentally propose to you?”

“I think you did,” Derek informed him, sounding amused.

Stiles sighed, but he was still smiling. He hooked his chin back over Derek’s shoulder, and Derek pulled him impossibly closer to his solid chest, a warm hand at the small of Stiles’ back.

“I didn’t mean right away.”

“I know.” Derek rubbed his cheek against Stiles’.

“But I do want to.”

“Stiles,” Derek said, pulling away slightly again. His eyes were shining in amusement, but also love and happiness and Stiles wanted to make Derek look like that all the time. “I know,” he said. “I know, because I do too.”

Stiles beamed at him, leaning up just slightly to seal their lips together.

“Did you two losers just get engaged at my wedding?” Dani interrupted as she and Connor appeared next to them.

Stiles pulled away from Derek sheepishly. “Did we?”

Derek looked at him, considering. “I think it was more of an engaged-to-be-engaged type of thing. Don’t worry, we’re not stealing your thunder,” he said teasingly.

Dani rolled her eyes. “Damn. I had a bet going with Cora.”

Derek plopped his head down on Stiles’ shoulder for a moment. “Of course you did.”

“Congratulations, by the way,” Stiles said, running his fingers through Derek’s hair soothingly. Derek scowled and batted him away, trying to fix the perfectly gelled style that he had. Stiles smirked at him.

“Thank you,” Dani beamed at Connor. “Now, I’m stealing my cousin for a dance, then I’m coming for you, Hale.” She winked at Derek, who laughed.

He kissed Stiles once more before relinquishing him to Dani and heading over to the buffet with Connor.

“I’m happy for you,” Stiles told his cousin as he twirled her around.

“And I’m happy for you,” she responded.

They danced in comfortable silence for awhile, and as the song began to wind down, Dani looked Stiles in the eye. “Now, there’s something I want to tell you.”

She hesitated, and when Stiles raised an eyebrow, and she sighed. “You’ve been hanging out with Derek too much.”

Stiles laughed. “Well, he is my boyfriend. I live with the guy.”

She rolled her eyes out at him. “Alright, so, you’re one of the first to know. I told Uncle John and Aunt Kelly just a little bit ago, and Connor’s telling Derek now, I think. I’ll tell Bella next-”

Stiles spun Dani, interrupting her, and she laughed.

“Oh my god, let me get it out!”

“Then just say it already,” Stiles retorted.

Dani rolled her eyes, then grabbed one of Stiles’ hands from where it was around her waist and moved it to her stomach. Stiles frowned, confused, before it hit him and he stopped moving.

“Oh my god,” he gasped, eyes wide as he looked between his hand and Dani’s glowing face. “Oh my god! Really?”

“Really,” Dani beamed.

“How long?”

“About three months. The doctor said everything is looking fine. Really good, actually.”

“Oh my god, Dani, congratulations!”

Stiles lifted her off of the ground and spun her around, and she grabbed onto his shoulders, laughing. When they looked over at Derek and Connor, the two men were hugging each other tightly.

When Stiles looked back to Dani, her eyes were wet.

“Whoa, hey, what’s wrong?” Stiles asked anxiously.

She huffed a laugh as she wiped at a stray tear. “Nothing. Nothing at all. I’m just...this is exactly what I’ve always wanted. It’s perfect.”

Stiles smiled at his cousin, leaning in to kiss her cheek.

“You deserve it.”

Not long after, Dani broke off to find Bella and Stiles ended up being snatched up by Lydia for a dance. Soon, he had danced his way through Kira, Malia, Bella, Melissa, Cora, Aunt Kelly,
three women and two men from the New York pack, and Teddy, who stood on Stiles’ feet and giggled as Stiles stomped around.

He finally escaped the dance floor, his feet tired and achy, and made his way over to where Derek was standing in a far corner.

“You’re popular tonight,” Derek commented, looping his arms around Stiles’ waist.

Stiles grunted. “Obviously. I’m a catch.”

Derek rolled his eyes, but he was trying to be subtle about the way his hand was sneaking up to the back to Stiles’ neck to scent him. Stiles smirked at him, and Derek just raised an eyebrow, though the tips of his ears were pink.

“Aw, you jealous, big guy?”

Derek rolled his eyes again, but he tugged Stiles closer until they were pressed together, burying his face in the younger man’s neck.

Stiles let him do it, mostly because he knew Derek needed to, but also his stubble felt really good scratching along Stiles’ neck.

“You know you have nothing to worry about, Der. I think we established earlier that you’re it for me.”

Stiles felt Derek grin. “You’re acting like I couldn’t smell your jealousy when I was dancing with that girl from the New York pack.”

Stiles scowled. “She was handsy. You look too good in a tux, no one but me should be allowed to touch you when you look like this.”

“Like what?” Derek smirked against his neck.

“Like sex on legs. Seriously, it’s not fair, you should be illegal. I mean, at any given moment you’re gorgeous, but like this...I almost jumped you as soon as I saw you.”

“You did jump me,” Derek reminded him.

Stiles snorted, remembering how Derek had stepped out of the bedroom, asking for help with his bow tie, and instead Stiles had literally jumped him, wrapping his legs around Derek’s waist and smashing their mouths together.

It had taken them an extra half an hour to leave after that.

“In my defense, you were already hard.”

“Yeah, ‘cause I saw you in your tux.”

Stiles felt his cheeks burn. Even after six months he had trouble believing that he had the same effect on Derek. “Shut up.”

Stiles inhaled sharply as Derek nipped at his neck. “No. The things I want to do right now…”

“Derek, not fair,” Stiles protested as Derek bit him lightly again before soothing the sting with his tongue. “We’re- we’re at a wedding. We still have four hours before we can go home.”

Derek pulled back with a sigh. “Fine. You’re right.”

Stiles felt cold as Derek backed away, and he caught Derek’s hand. “Well, I mean, there are bathrooms here, right?”

Derek narrowed his eyes at Stiles, and a smirk came over his face. He leaned in close, biting at the shell of Stiles’ ear before lowering his voice and murmuring, “Mieczysław Stilinski, are you asking me to fuck you in a bathroom?”

Stiles couldn’t suppress the shudder that drew from him, and he pushed himself into Derek. “I was going to suggest mutual handjobs, but I like your idea better.”

Derek laughed, tilting his head and kissing Stiles thoroughly before taking his hand and pulling him in the directions of the bathrooms.

……

They got several knowing looks when they got back; a few disapproving from the older members of the reception that didn’t know them, exasperated from Stiles’ father, teasing from the pack, and Bella handed Dani twenty bucks. Connor gave Derek a noogie and teased him mercilessly all night. 

 


 

Six months later, at 8:07 PM on a warm spring evening, in a clearing in the preserve with trees decorated with strings of golden lights and the stars shining down, Derek got down on one knee and (officially) asked Stiles to marry him.

Stiles laughed breathlessly, because he was so happy and Derek looked so ridiculously nervous, like he thought that there was somehow a chance Stiles would say no.

“Yes,” he said “Of course I’ll marry you, you big idiot.”


 

They got married a year later, in the backyard of the newly rebuilt Hale house, surrounded by their friends and family.

As they danced together, Stiles watched his father dance with Melissa- the two were officially dating now- without stepping on her feet. Isaac, who had come all the way from Florida with Jackson and Ethan, was dancing with Malia, and Stiles gave that about a week before one of them (probably Malia) made a move. Obviously, Jackson and Ethan were dancing together, and Danny Mahelani was, apparently, happy for them. He was with his boyfriend of three years. Bella had brought her boyfriend, the guy she had met at her college orientation, who had turned out to be a human in the pack that Stiles had introduced them to.

Stiles looked over to the side, where three-year-old Taylor was cooing at Dani’s one-year-old daughter, Laura, who was giggling at him. Next to them sat seven-year-old Teddy, holding Scott and Kira’s two month old son Travis, while Scott hovered anxiously.

He hummed contentedly into Derek’s shoulder. We should do that someday, he thought.

“We should,” Derek agreed. He nosed into Stiles’ hairline. “And before you freak out, yes, you said that out loud, and yes, I agree with you. We should have kids.”

“Just not yet,” Stiles said.

“Definitely not. For now, I want you to myself.”

Derek spun Stiles around and Stiles laughed.

He would tell Derek tomorrow that Tyler had reached out to him with a tentative apology. He hadn’t forgiven him yet, any of them, but Tyler reached out to Dani a few months ago and now they met up for coffee every once and awhile, so he was thinking about it.

But for now, Stiles decided to enjoy dancing in his husband’s arms. As he looked around at the family that he chose, thinking about what the future would bring, how maybe adoption would be perfectly fitting for their life, he couldn’t help but think back to the saying he had embroidered and framed, hanging on a wall in the house.

Blood Is (Not) Thicker Than Water.

He had learned how to sew specifically to make it, and it was messy and the letters were uneven, and there were a few minuscule dots of red from where he had inevitably stuck himself with the needle, but he loved it anyway. Derek told him it sucked, but that he liked the idea and he always kissed Stiles when he said it so Stiles knew that he wasn’t being mean.

When Stiles had convinced his best friend to go looking for a body in the woods, he had never expected any of the insanity that had followed. There were times that he regretted it, like the days when the supernatural shit became too much to handle, or on the devastating anniversaries they celebrated. But now, as he danced with Derek- danced with his husband- and looked around at his found family, well.

He didn’t regret a thing.