“How did this happen?!” The Sheriff’s voice bellowed at the fae who had appeared in his kitchen with the news that something had happened to Stiles on his latest mission and he should come to the hospital.
The fae shrunk back in the face of John’s rage, but impressively stood their ground.
“He saved three witch children from enslavement. I know you’re afraid, but you should be there when he wakes up.”
“What about his mate?”
“We’re wrangling him as we speak. Please, Sheriff.”
John took a deep breath. Then another. Then he nodded. Stiles needed him calm. Stiles needed him.
He looked around at the half-finished party decorating that he’d started as per Jackson’s written directions and then put down the crepe paper. They’d have Stiles home within the week and then they could celebrate his son’s twentieth birthday properly. He scribbled down a quick note for the pack and then nodded at the fae,
The being took his arm, pulling him through space, transporting him with magic. It was an unsettling feeling to travel by magic, but John was getting better at it. They arrived suddenly at Beacon Hills Memorial as his fae guide left his side and John quickly followed his pack bond pointing him to his Alpha.
Derek was pacing, Lydia sitting near him as she tapped at her phone, obviously notifying the pack.
“Derek, any news?”
Derek stopped pacing to pull John into a hug, whispering “They said he’s going to be okay.”
John sagged against the alpha, letting Derek support him for a few moments before he straightened up.
“What happened?” John asked, less panicked than before.
“He went in to save some kids, with lowered reserves and a powerful witch slammed him into the ground.” A gruff sounding voice behind them grumbled as Graham Greene, The Prince of the California vampire collective, came into sight.
“He had a plan, I’ll give him that, but he knew that protecting the kids would divide his attention. I heard he’s going to be okay though?” He looked to Derek for confirmation and let out a sigh of relief when the Alpha nodded.
“Good, that’s good.” He sank down next to Lydia in a seat, none of them minding if he chose to wait with them.
“It was going to happen eventually,” he muttered, Derek and John looked at him in confusion, “Him getting hurt. You know he chose this with both eyes open. It is unusual for a recruit to not be hospitalized before now to be honest, even with failsafes in place.”
Derek growled at the vampire, who put up his hands in surrender.
“Just because he’s not hospitalized doesn’t mean he’s not hurt,” John told Graham tiredly, as he put out a hand to calm Derek, “Stiles hides injuries sometimes.”
“We know,” Graham told the Sheriff, “and we see to as many as possible, but what I’m getting at is that it’s unusual for a recruit to go through all of their training without a hospital visit.”
Derek’s eyes flashed red.
“What do you mean, all of his training?”
Graham’s eyes flicked to the Alpha, confusion glittering in them. “Shit.”
“Dammit, Stiles!” Derek had thought they were past this, past the secrets, and the fear, but his mate had lied to him. Well, not directly, but still.
“I didn’t notice,” murmured Lydia, shock and anger evident in her voice. Derek immediately reigned himself in check to go comfort her.
“Since he learned to astrally project during sleep he finished his classes with us in record time and I know he’s well on his way to completing his degree,” confided Graham, “I think he wanted to surprise you.”
Before the three pack members could respond to that statement the doctor, a recent supernatural-friendly addition go the hospital appeared, approaching Derek and spoke quietly, “Alpha Hale, we’d like to speak with you in private.”
“We’re his pack,” Lydia declared, standing up to face the doctor who nodded in understanding.
“In that case, one of the larger interview rooms might suit?”
Once they were settled in the private room the doctor began to speak, “Physically, Stiles has been healed, but his Spark needs time to recharge.”
“Why the cloak and dagger routine then?” Graham demanded, gesturing at the room.
The doctor shuffled some papers “Well, it seems that while physically Stiles will make a full recovery something damaged his memory. While he can still rattle off the agent code of ethics for the council or the three non-lethal uses of aconite he cannot seem to remember exactly why he knows this information or... or that he’s part of a werewolf pack.”
The silence in the room was stifling until Derek spoke, voice pained and rough “But my bond to him... it hasn’t changed.”
“We’ve been blocking extraneous magic. It has taken five casters working round the clock while we performed our tests to suppress any shifts. We’re not sure what will happen when we release him into your care.”
“How... how can we fix this?” Lydia’s voice was small.
“Time. Whatever the witch hit him with was not a spell of her own creation, but something older. We’ll work on antidote or counter-spell, but for now he needs to be somewhere safe and non-stressful.”
“How long?” queried Graham.
“A month, maybe two at most. He’s under sedation now but he is ready to be taken home” she put a card down in front of John who hadn’t spoken, “I’ll keep in touch.”
“Wait, do you know how much time he lost?” Graham asked her.
The doctor shook her head “All he said before we put him under was that he was sorry, sorry for ruining something. He also mentioned being blamed for something too; something you might blame him for, Sheriff?” It wasn’t a question she expected an answer to, so she left with a tight smile, but John didn’t notice.
He felt like a bucket of ice water had been tossed over his head. “John? John, what’s wrong?” Derek’s worried voice broke into John’s thoughts.
“I think I know how much time he lost...” whispered the Sheriff, dropping his head into his hands, “The night, the night of Lydia’s party those were the first words he said to me when... when I found him.”
Derek’s body froze in a crouch in front of John’s chair, realizing what the man was saying. Two and a half years at least were possibly missing from Stiles’ mind. Everything they’d built was missing, including their courtship and their bonding. But his mate mark hadn’t even changed; it didn’t even hurt. Unconsciously, he reached up to touch it on his shoulder.
“It’s still there,” murmured Lydia, “because he loved you even then.” She blinked back uncharacteristic tears “He still loved and protected all of us, but he won’t know that we give a damn about him.” Her tears started to fall as the reality of the situation sunk in and Derek, acting on instinct, pulled her from her chair into a tight hug. John was next. Derek’s wolf was confused and whining, and all he could do was cling to his pack.
Scott and Boyd were the next two on the scene, both shocked at the news that Lydia related to them. Derek had gone back with the doctors to sign forms to take Stiles home, but none of them had seen him yet.
“Peter’s bringing the Jeep, and the rest of the pack is at home,” Boyd told John.
“Alright, take Lydia home. We’ll meet you there.”
Derek’s second nodded, and Lydia went quietly, Scott seemingly torn about going with them or waiting.
“You can stay Scott,” Derek told the beta, nodding as Boyd met his eyes and sent his Alpha a tight smile before he gently prodded Lydia onto the elevator.
“Peter can drive my car home, and the four of us can take Roscoe.”
“I’ll meet him in the garage,” Scott offered, and Derek thanked him, passing over his keys.
A few moments later Graham appeared wheeling an obviously sedated Stiles towards them in a wheelchair. “The chair’s just hospital policy,” he reassured them.
Derek knew the vampire’s logic was sound, but all he wanted was his mate in his arms, awake and happy.
“Let’s do this quickly,” John spoke firmly, noticing how tense Derek’s hands were at his sides. He knew that his desire to hug his son and reassure himself of Stiles’ continued existence was equal to that of his Alpha’s and it would be better to be home sooner rather than later.
They broke a few laws getting home, but none of John’s deputies would pull them over. Melissa met them at the front door of the Hale House “Boyd has the pack corralled in the cottage for the moment.”
Derek nodded, sweeping Stiles carefully into his arms as he entered the house, heading up the stairs, then he paused. Where should he put his mate? Everything in him wanted the man in their room, but if he didn’t remember...
“He needs to be near you, Derek, no matter what,” John murmured, placing a gentle hand on his Alpha’s shoulder, while his other hand swept some hair back from Stiles’ face.
Derek strode forward, opening the door to their room, and as if he was handling glass, slowly placed Stiles under the blankets. His mate continued to sleep.
John sent Melissa and Scott back to the cottage; Graham promised to explain things to the pack as best he could before heading out. Scott didn’t want to leave, but a few soft words from his mother finally convinced him it was for the best.
In the meantime, Derek pulled a comfortable armchair over to Stiles’ bedside, which the Sheriff quickly occupied. “You know they’re all going to be over here soon.”
“I know... I just... maybe we’re wrong about how much time, but if we aren’t it’ll be too much.” Derek replied as he curled up behind his mate, keeping him warm.
Both men were quiet for a moment, then Derek spoke again “If we aren’t wrong, John... we, I need to know what to expect.”
“He hasn’t told you?”
“Not all of you, you know what he’s like. I know the big things,” his hand rubbed automatically at the scars on Stiles’ shoulder left by John during a drunken argument when his son was young.
“I’ll tell you everything... whatever you want to know,” John told his Alpha tone sad, resigned, but firm.
“After all of it, he still loves you, John that matters too. None of us are blameless when it comes to him. You’re still my pack.”
John’s breathing hitched, tears collecting in his eyes. “Thank you, Derek.”
“I put him through an emotional rollercoaster, and yet he’s still here. I was an asshole when we met again for the first time,” Derek told John.
“You were grieving, son.”
“So were you. Incorrectly, mind you, but we aren’t those people anymore.”
John took his meaning to heart and then after a deep breath, he began to speak. “I came home from a shift and something made me check on him. I thank God everyday that I did. He was holding a picture frame and crying...”
The smells of grief and anger twisted through the air as John talked, but Derek listened with rapt attention. Stiles slept on, oblivious to everything going on around him.
It had been on hour before Stiles started to wake up, both his dad and Derek watching him although he didn’t know it.
Stiles was slow to wake, which was odd. He rarely slept through a night and even if he did he would snap to attention the moment his body started to wake up. But, he was comfortable, warm even. He was usually cold, always so cold, which was why he actually wore layers and his hoodie as often as possible.
The thing that made him panic was that he was being held. No one held Stiles. No one really even touched Stiles. Sure, sometimes Scott gave him a bro hug, or his dad pulled him away from something by the back of the neck but no one really touched him. If he was lucky and his dad wasn’t drinking, distracted, or angry he might get a hug and those, those filled his heart up for days. He clung to those moments because they made him feel cared about. Hell, he’d gone out for lacrosse with the idea that maybe, just maybe then he’d be able to satisfy his touch starvation with on the field brutality. Stupid. Stupid.
Before Stiles could work himself into a panic attack again, Derek gently shook his mate’s shoulder and softly called his name. Stiles whipped around and away from him so fast Derek thought he’d get whiplash. Stiles seemed to take in that he wasn’t in his room and he scrubbed his hands over his face, talking again, seemingly trying to puzzle out what had happened, “Oh my god, I broke into Derek Hale’s house... wait, he doesn’t have a house.”
In any other situation Stiles’ reaction would have been hilarious, but it simply confirmed their suspicions.
“Dude, I’m so sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking, it must have been that punch at Lydia’s, I never meant to bother you,” then noticed his dad, shit he was in for it now, “Dad, I’m sorry you had to come deal with this and you were working late...”
Neither man wanted to deal with the onslaught of guilt Stiles was heaping upon himself, “Mica, I need you to breathe.” John pleaded with his son whose eyes went wide, definitely in shock. Then he seemed to shake himself, Derek having let him go when he woke up, not knowing what kind of reaction that would elicit from the man. Stiles took a few cursory breaths, his eyes flickering anxiously between Derek and his dad.
“I know, Stiles,” John interjected, “about werewolves, about everything.”
“What?” Stiles’ voice cracked on the word. Derek could feel the anger bubbling in his mate’s veins.
Stiles paused, trying to keep from wanting to yell at Derek for telling his dad, when a wave of relief that wasn’t his swept through him.
“Stiles?” Derek’s voice was calm, but Stiles knew he was nervous, he could feel it in his gut. What the hell?
“What did I do?”
“You can feel it, can’t you? Still?” Derek’s voice was strained, sad. Stiles didn’t want to be the cause of that tone ever.
“You were in an accident, Mica. You’ve lost some time.”
Stiles looked up at his dad, fear evident in his face. “It’s not like with mom, kiddo.”
Stiles bit his lip and shook his head. Did his dad just mention his mom unprompted? What the hell was going on? Why was his dad still here? Why wasn’t he at home? Why was Derek taking care of him?
“Okay... so we should leave, then. I’ve already kept you from work and Derek from whatever he does all day...”
“Mica, you’re not going anywhere. You live here, with the pack.”
Stiles’ eyes went wide.
“What?” Stiles laughed, his shoulders scrunching up, trying to cover up his anxiety. His dad didn’t want him at home anymore? Was it because he’d lied?
“Stiles,” Derek was right next to him, suddenly, “breathe. Your dad didn’t kick you out. You came to live with the pack when you turned eighteen. You’re turning twenty in a week.”
“I...” Stiles swallowed, unable to process Derek’s words, he jerked away from Derek and when his dad reached out to reassure him Stiles moved out of reach. Stiles finally moved off the bed, taking steps away from both of them, taking in their appearances.
They did look older, healthier too. His eyes swept the room he was in, several picture frames were face down (Melissa had flipped them over to allow him to ease into this situation) but he saw his books in the bookcase. His pillow was under his head, but this didn’t make any sense.
His hands came up to grip his hair, pulling, noticing offhandedly that his hair was longer. He needed to focus, this didn’t make sense. “This doesn’t make sense,” he muttered.
Derek was up and off the bed, instinctually going to gently separate Stiles’ hands from his hair. It was then that Stiles’ eyes landed on a curved bite on his wrist. “Oh...”
Derek watched Stiles notice his mating bite.
“Oh...” Stiles swallowed, voice tight, “I joined the pack?”
“You were always pack,” Derek told him, keeping himself from pushing his love into their bond. He just wanted his mate back.
“But I’m not...”
“You’re not a wolf, Mica.”
The word was spoken quietly.
“I’m your emissary?”
“Not just that,” John made his way over to them, “But that’s to talk about later.”
“Why what?” Derek asked, tilting his head at Stiles.
“You were my first choice.”
Stiles’ hands went back to his hair, something he hadn’t resorted to since a few epic panic attacks over the years. “This makes no sense... no sense. You can hardly tolerate me, why would you want me around the pack?”
“Mica...” John could see how hurt Derek was and tried to intervene, but Stiles turned to him.
“Why are you calling me that? Only she did. Whatever you want I’ll do, but I don’t need you manipulating me. Whatever creature you are, leave my dad the hell alone!” He felt something crackle on his skin and then he watched magic - it had to be magic - freeze both of them from coming closer.
Part of Stiles was shocked he’d stood up for himself like that, but seeing that he’d stunned both men, he decided to take the opportunity to leave, to get some space. Ignoring the calls of his father and Derek he took off down the hall, his body seemed to know where to go and suddenly, he was at a backdoor that opened onto the preserve. He took off into the trees; he needed to figure out what the hell was going on. He had to protect his dad and the pack. And Derek. He had to protect his Sourwolf, that was his job as emissary after all.