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Part of the Pack

Chapter Text

“Dude.” Stiles smacks Scott’s shoulder. “That was Derek Hale.”

Scott’s blank look gives Stiles a chance to catch his breath. “You remember, right, he’s only like, a few years older than us.”

“Remember what?”

Good God, his best friend was useless. “His entire family burned to death in a fire.”

Scott didn’t react, just muttered something about needing to go to work. But Stiles couldn’t look away from the mess of leaves that Derek left behind.

He’d heard of the Hales, of the arson. His dad was the sheriff, of course he’d heard.

He just had never seen the man behind the name. He’d never seen the thick dark hair, the menacing eyes, the sharp jaw, sculpted torso, the long, muscled legs.

He’d never actually seen Derek Hale. Now that he had, Stiles didn’t think he’d ever misplace the image.

 

Sure, Stiles was glad to see that Scott was okay the next morning, was glad to hear that Derek- God, Derek Hale, how even- okay, focus. He was glad to hear that Derek had saved Scott from the hunters.

Even if he was still pissed at hell at the way Scott had turned on him in his room, had slammed him painfully against the wall and slashed his desk chair.

“I’ll help you through it,” he finds himself saying. “Even if I have to chain you up myself.”

 

He kind of regrets that promise when the next day finds him fighting Scott off in the locker room with a fire extinguisher. Stiles has only just started this new routine of fighting for his life against his best friend, and he’s already pretty tired of it.

“He said what?” He asks Scott later, after Scott’s come back from seeking out Derek Hale, and seriously, who in their right mind would go back to that creepy ass house in the woods? “What the hell does he mean, your ‘Little buddy Stiles?’” he repeats, offended.

“Could you focus, please? Derek is trying to convince me that if I play in Saturday’s game, I’ll die!”

“Okay, okay,” Stiles says. “We’ll think of something.” He doesn’t mention that the something he’s thinking of is Derek, and for reasons -reasons, Scott, reasons- he made Scott tell him exactly what Derek had been wearing during this confrontation, and thinking of Derek in those tight dark jeans made something funny happen inside Stiles’ own.

 

So, the thing they were thinking of was apparently Derek getting arrested, and while Stiles didn’t quite maybe think that one through, it gave him the chance to talk to Derek with a firm cage of metal between them.

“I’m not afraid of you,” Stiles says from the front of his dad’s cop car, his legs shaking where there’s no way Derek can see.

Derek glares.

“Okay,” Stiles swallows. “Maybe I am.” And maybe Derek can’t see, but he can probably hear the fabric of Stiles’ pants scraping rapidly against the passenger seat.

The stare Derek keeps fixed on him doesn’t answer any of his questions, and neither does the one Derek fires back at him. “Why are you so worried about me?”

Stiles licks his lips during Derek’s explanation of why he needs to keep Scott from shifting on the lacrosse field, at least he thinks that’s what Derek is lecturing him about but when Derek’s gaze slips down to Stiles’ mouth halfway through, he kind of loses focus.

 

“He’s mean,” Stiles informs the stray dog who follows him home. “He’s mean, and frowny, and his eyebrows are all –“ Stiles gestures wildly – “and he has a permanent scowl, and…look, there’s just a lot of brooding going on when Derek Hale is involved, okay? Stay away from him.” Scissors – Stiles figured the name suited the little black dog with white paws, because he’s so small he has to constantly run to keep up with Stiles’ spastic way of walking, so his little legs look like two pairs of scissors constantly opening and closing -  has become his closest friend, because Scott is always up Alison’s butt, and…

And wow. Stiles doesn’t really have any other friends.

“I mean, there’s Danny,” Stiles tells Scissors, going off on the who can I count as my friends tangent. “But he’s more of a teammate and IT resource than a legit friend. Jackson is an asshole, even though if he smiled more and actually tried being nice he would come across as decently attractive.” Stiles is already pondering which bowl he can use to give Scissors some water when they reach home, because it may be fall, with a nice chill in the air, but the little dude has followed him ever since he left Der- ever since he left the woods on his walk. “And you know I can’t call Lydia a friend. I’m still not sure she knows I exist.”

His dad doesn’t come home that night, leaves Stiles a text about some domestic dispute he needs to keep an eye on, so Stiles carefully wipes Scissors’ paws so no dirt tracks through the house, and then takes him up to his room.

“Looks like you’re bunking with me tonight, buddy.” Stiles says as he slips beneath his sheets. “Don’t hog the blankets.”

 

It turns out that the girl who was killed was Derek’s sister, and that Derek didn’t do it, ergo Derek was let go, which is probably how he was able to sneak into Stiles’ room in the dead of night.

“I told you not to let him play.”

Stiles rustles his legs beneath the covers, blinking awake. “Um. Hello? Why do you know where I live, and why are you in my room?” Scissors is up on all fours, staring Derek down, though he is surprisingly silent.

“He could have shifted in front of them,” Derek hisses. “That means they find out about him, and in turn find out about me.” He pauses. “What the hell is that?”

“It’s a washing machine, what the hell does it look like? It’s a puppy. And Scott pulled it back, Derek. Everything was fine.”

“What if it hadn’t been?” Derek frowns at Scissors, and Stiles frowns at Derek.

Derek continues his tirade. “You think your friend can pull it back whenever he wants? He’s only just turned. He’s practically a puppy.”

Stiles grins, because apparently he has a death wish. “So that would make you a-“

“Shut up.” Derek paces his room. “You got lucky tonight, do you get that? Scott got lucky. But he’s too young, and too new, to have any idea what he’s doing.”

“And you’re the one to teach him?”

“Yes!”

“You, a crazy stranger who just broke into a teenage boy’s room?”

Derek looks around, like he has no idea where he’d been standing the last few minutes.

“A teenage boy, who is the sheriff’s son’s, room, to be specific,” Stiles points out.

“His car isn’t here.”

“You are super creepy, did you know that?” Super sexy, but come on, also kind of creepy. Or at least severely lacking in boundaries and social skills. “Like maybe if you asked nicely-“

“I’m not asking anything,” Derek growls, and oh yes, it’s a growl, and Scissors backs into the vee of Stiles’ legs. “I’m telling you. You and Scott need to stop acting like you know everything, and start shutting up. And staying out of the way, so you can learn.”

“Learn what, that you’re the werewolf cap-i-tan, and the rest of us need to fall in line?”

Derek scowls at him, then looks down at where Scissors is cowering against Stiles’ right thigh. “At least he gets it,” Derek says, nodding to the puppy. As quick as he came, he’s gone.

“Traitor,” Stiles says, glaring at Scissors before pulling him close and falling back asleep.

Chapter Text

“Derek says he can help me.”

Stiles stops halfway to shoving a handful of French fries in his mouth. “Uh, and you believe him? Derek, right, Derek Hale?”

“Yes!” Scott looks around, frantically, like someone will overhear. “You know who I mean. He says he can help me control it.”

“How, by slicing your throat open? Oh, god, and then he’ll come after me next, because I’m guilty by association, and I’ve seen too much, right, like those poor suckers who see some mafia guy getting killed, so he’ll kill me too, and then-“

“Stiles!” Scott hisses. “What the hell are you talking about?”

Stiles looks at him, genuinely puzzled. “I don’t think I know anymore.”

“Look,” Scott says, in that endlessly patient tone he’s used on Stiles since they were in kindergarten. “I know you don’t like it but right now Derek is the only one who knows what I’m going through. He says he can help me and I think-“

“Maybe it’s the jacket.”

Scott blinks, in his adorably confused puppy kind of way. “What?” It reminds Stiles of the way Scissors had cocked his head at him this morning, trying to understand what Stiles meant by ‘I promise I’ll come back right after school.”

Stiles munches another French fry, lost in thought. “The jacket, you know, that Derek wears. Maybe he hides his werewolfy control underneath a layer of leather.”

“I might die, or kill someone, and you’re admiring Derek’s jacket?”

Stiles jerks back, affronted. “Who said admiring? I’m observing, you know, thinking out loud, maybe-“

Maybe thinking too hard about the way Derek’s black leather jacket matches his jet black hair, or molds so well to his broad shoulders, or how the cuffs fall slightly past his wrists, making his large hands seem even more menacing than they already are.

Scott nudges him. “Dude. Speaking of Derek.” His head snaps back from the window. “Did you call him?”

It takes Stiles a moment to answer because his jaw has dropped open, gaping at where Derek has suddenly appeared in the parking lot. He’s standing in front of his Camaro, hands in the pockets of the same jacket Stiles had been daydreaming -what, no, thinking- about moments before.

“He’s staring right at us,” Stiles murmurs, still looking out the cafeteria window. Derek’s glare is clear and visible even from a distance.

“Dead.” Scott slumps down into his seat. “We are so dead.”

 

Derek is still waiting for them three and a half hours later, and how a grown ass man looming around a high school parking lot doesn’t draw attention, Stiles will never know.

He tells Derek as much, and gets a fist around the scruff of his jacket for his trouble. “Ah, ah, ah, okay, Fido, watch the goods. Not all of us can heal in an instant.”

“Stay the hell away from us,” Derek growls.

“Excuse me? You are the one lying in wait like a predatory psycho, you’re the one who came through my window the other night, do you realize how Twilight stalker-ish that is, okay, you are the one who-“

“I’m the one keeping you safe, as long as you insist on being involved in our business.” Derek releases him on a shove, somehow landing them in front of Stiles’ Jeep.

“Involved in your…how the hell would I not be involved? You bit my best friend, for crap’s sake.”

“I didn’t,” Derek counters, looking like he should have thought better than to say so.

Stiles lets out a laugh of disbelief. “Then who did?” He really doesn’t have time for this. He needs to get back home to Scissors, make sure he did okay while Stiles was at school.

“Do you and Scott talk about anything important?”

“All Scott talks about these days is Allison.” Stiles is hit with an immediate wave of guilt, and why did he just say that to Derek Hale? It wasn’t like they were friends. He wasn’t someone for Stiles to talk to, to confide in.

“Just stay out of pack business, alright?” Derek pierces him with one last glare before sauntering off towards his car.

Stiles lifts his eyes from watching Derek’s ass when the werewolf throws over his shoulder, “Oh, and give that mutt some real food. Meat.”

Stiles blinks, taking a moment to re-focus. “Scissors!” He jumps into his Jeep, hauling ass towards home and the little stray dog waiting for him there.

 

Stiles learns three things over the next couple weeks.

One, Scissors does love meat, but his favorite food is fish. A bite of tuna from Stiles’ lunch, the leftover scraps of salmon from the healthy dinner he tried to cook his dad before he headed off to the station after dinner. Scissors liked steak, he liked chicken, but give the puppy some fish and he was your best friend.

The second thing he learned was that Derek had no compunction about coming through his window. They weren’t friends, Stiles told himself repeatedly, but somehow Derek finds a reason to enter his room three or four times a week. When he finds himself leaving it cracked, even through the chilly fall nights, he acknowledges, only to Scissors, that he may actually almost kind of like it.

And the third thing he learned…well, was that Derek must have been full of shit when he’d warned Stiles away that day after school.

Because even if Stiles wanted to, he couldn’t escape the big, growly jerk.

Which is why it’s his luck that one day right after school, Derek Hale collapses inches from the front of Stiles’ Jeep.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me,” Stiles mutters. “This guy is everywhere.”

By the time Scott shoves Derek into Stiles’ car, promising to catch up with them later, Stiles is good and pissed, and even though Derek is pretty well beat up and therefore weakened, still a good bit terrified, having him so close.

“Start the car,” Derek commands. “Or I’m gonna rip your throat out. With my teeth.”

Stiles blames his teenage hormones on the fact that it takes him a few seconds to put his Jeep back in gear, because he got sidetracked thinking of all the other things Derek could do to him with those teeth.

 

“He needs to bring me the bullet.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m gonna die without it.”

The words are so blunt, so final, that Stiles finds himself staring at Derek, and he’s afraid that it’s showing on his face how much he suddenly does not want that to happen.

And then Derek is stumbling, and Scott is texting that he needs more time, and Derek has stripped his shirt off and even though he’s literally dying in front of him Stiles can’t look away from Derek’s rippled abs and smooth skin that Stiles wants to sink his teeth into when they are no longer around the stench of rotting flesh.

Scott bursts in just as Stiles is about to close his eyes and blindly chop off another man’s arm, and if that isn’t the most fucked up situation he’s ever been in, he’ll eat his Jeep. He almost collapses with the weight of the breath he lets out, thankful that he didn’t have to be the one to marr even just one inch of Derek Hale’s perfect body.

Which he does, not one minute later, when he almost breaks his own knuckles by punching Derek in the face, the only thing he can think of to get the passed-out werewolf to come to.

Because he hated to admit it, but if Derek were to die, Stiles and Scott would lose only semblance of protection they had.

Also the thought of Derek dying left a funny empty feeling in Stiles’ chest that he really would rather not think about.

Plus, he’d really gotten used to sleeping with his window open.

 

“I could have killed you.”

Stiles groans, stretching his legs beneath the sheets and turning his head towards his bedroom window. “What?” He had just fallen asleep, dammit, after finally shoving away all thoughts of Derek’s agonizing screams from pushing a bullet into his own wound not three hours before. “What the hell are you doing here?” Stiles whines, and oh yes, it’s a whine, because did he mention he had just fallen asleep, and what the hell was Derek Hale doing in his bedroom again in the freaking middle of the night? Usually he comes an hour or so before midnight, and the fact that they even have a usual has Stiles throwing an arm over his face and groaning.

“I told you to cut off my arm. You didn’t. I could have died. And I was so angry about it, that I could have killed you.”

Stiles blinks, and sits up. “Wait, you’re angry because I didn’t cut off your arm?”

Derek scowls at him. Scissors yawns, then rolls over and tucks himself back against Stiles’ side, because he’s too used to Derek’s nighttime visits to really care much anymore. “I can’t believe you let him sleep with you.”

“Jealous?” Stiles asks, because he’s tired, and even on a good day he has no filter, and Derek had left the window all the way open behind him and it was growing really freaking cold in his room, and if Derek would just slide underneath the sheets then they could all be snuggly and warm and sleeping.

Stiles is too exhausted to even analyze that thought. “I heard it,” he says quietly, to fill the silence when Derek doesn’t respond to his quip.

“Heard what?” Derek’s reply was too quick to be anything but eager.

“Your…” Stiles had never said it out loud before, not as pertaining to Derek. “Your wolf. When you were healing yourself, when you were…” When you were writhing on the ground in pain, he internally finishes. “When you were trying to heal.”

Gun to his head, he never would have expected Derek’s reply. “Did you like it?”

Scissors snores, and Stiles blinks. “What?”

Derek, careful, graceful, werewolfy Derek, stumbles backwards towards the window. “Stay out of pack business,” he tries again, and they both let the empty words hang in the air. “And give that mutt some proper discipline.”

Before Stiles has a chance to ask Derek what the hell that means, he’s gone from the room, the lingering scent of leather and forest the only hint he’d even been there at all.

Chapter Text

Derek stands on the roof with Scott, forcing the kid to take in the scene before him. “See this?” he asks, his hand on the back of Scott’s neck. “The sirens, the cops, the questions.”

“Stiles,” Scott whispers. He’s looking the sheriff and Stiles, grisly looks on both their faces as they stand in the parking lot of the video store.

Derek can’t help but follow his gaze. Stiles, the same kid who snaps at him every time Derek enters his room, who turns that pretty, sassy mouth on him more often than he knows what’s good for him, looks sad and vulnerable. Derek knows Scott can feel his friend’s worry, his sadness, his fear.

Derek can feel it too, and he’s not sure which he hates more – being so attuned to how Stiles feels and smells…

…or caring about either one.

“I need your help with the alpha, Scott,” Derek says, the words coming out quick and harsh. “We are stronger together. I can’t do it alone. And if you don’t help me, we are going to have to watch things like this happen again, and again.”

Scott’s face is twisted, and he smells like fear. Good, Derek thinks.

Later, when he’s back home, Derek puts himself through a punishing workout, forcing his muscles to burn, tear, and reknit, pushing himself until his lungs feel as though they are bursting in chest. It keeps him grounded, keeps him from going where he has no right to be.

Focusing on the pain keeps him from going to check on Stiles.

 

“If I was talking to you, I’d say you’re an idiot for trusting him.” And Stiles doesn’t know what that says about him, because he somehow lets Derek keep sneaking into his bedroom.

“He keeps telling me we are stronger together,” Scott insists, whispering so they won’t get caught and sent to detention. “And he’s right, Stiles. I can feel it. I can feel how much stronger I am when I’m around him, and that means he’s got to be stronger when he’s around me.”

Stiles rapidly taps his pencil against his desk, pushing his tongue against his cheek, his leg bouncing beneath the desk.

Because he feels different when Derek is around, too.

 

“Oh, it was loud,” Stiles says proudly, recalling Scott’s epic howl to draw out the alpha. “And it was awesommmme!”

“Shut up.”

God, but Derek could break a guy’s mood. “Don’t be such a sourwolf!”

Derek pins him beneath that heart attack inducing stare, then Scott is asking about his boss, and suddenly Derek is being hauled off the ground, blood spilling from his lips as he looks at Stiles, eyes wide with shock and what Stiles thinks is a silent warning to get the hell away from whomever is doing this to him.

Stiles rolls over and tugs Scissors closer, burying his face in the soft fur at the back of his neck. He can’t sleep, not after the events from earlier, not after being trapped inside the school, being chased by the alpha, after the slice of fear that had cut through his insides at the thought of his dad coming to save them and then getting ripped apart…

Not after hearing that Scott, his best friend, is struggling not to kill him. That his very instincts are telling him to kill Stiles, kill their friends. To eliminate his old pack, so he can be part of a new one.

“You’re my pack, yeah?” he asks Scissors. It’s childish and pathetic, but the little ball of black and white fur is all Stiles has right now. “We’re a team. Look at how much we have survived.” Scissors puts a paw on Stiles shoulder and lets out a sigh.

“We’ve got this,” he tells the pup, even though they so totally don’t.

 

In the coming weeks, he and Scissors survive a lot of craptastic situations.

He takes Scott out in the woods to get hammered so he will forget about breaking up with Allison, even though it’s Stiles who gets drunk instead. And he really thinks there was a pair of strong arms sliding him between his sheets later that night, and a deep voice murmuring about a water bowl for Scissors, but when Stiles wakes up the next day he can’t remember enough to put the blurry images together into a coherent memory.

They survive chaining Scott up to the radiator for his first full moon, survive all the nasty things he says to Stiles that Stiles knows, he knows, okay, that it was just the full moon talking, but the jabs and nasty jibes have his eyes watering and his chest burning, because the words hurt, they hurt like a bitch, and it’s only the history of his friendship with Scott that gets him through the night.

They survive his dad finding out that Stiles has been harboring a four-legged friend in his room, and he seriously did not give his father enough credit, because if anyone knows what it feels like to be lonely, it’s his dad, and before he could let that thought sink into his heart his dad is grilling steaks and potatoes and gives Scissors an extra helping before shooing him upstairs with Stiles as he leaves on another night shift.

Stiles even survives driving like a maniac to the latest crime scene, and seeing a body -in a bag, for Chrissakes, a freakin’ body bag- in a shape that too closely resembles his dad’s, and when he hears his dad say his name, Stiles folds into his arms like a child, crying in relief that his dad is okay.

He doesn’t know that Derek is there, that he’s watching him, keeping an eye out, making sure that nothing else can cause Stiles any pain, at least for that night.

 

Stiles and Scissors survive a lot of things…but after harboring Derek in his room like the fugitive he is, after he knows Derek heard his heart skip when he slammed Stiles up against his bedroom door, after missing the one and only freaking lacrosse game in which he actually would have had a hope in playing…

Well. Stiles may have survived all these things, but he’s pissed and stressed and tired and horny and wants to be held so damn badly that he’s bursting with it.

 

Stiles makes angry fists in his bedsheets later that night when he hears his window open. “You have got to be kidding me,” he mutters. He sits up and casts the intruder an exasperated look. “You do know my dad is the sheriff, right? That you’d get taken in so fast for breaking and entering?” He is so not in the mood for Derek’s cryptic warnings and less-than-subtle threats.

“I didn’t break anything,” Derek responds.

“You didn’t…oh my god.” Stiles rubs both hands furiously over his head. He has the bed to himself, because Scissors has taken to sleeping with the sheriff on the rare nights that he is home, the little traitor. “What do you want? What could you possibly want after this complete fuck-mess of a night?”

Derek doesn’t say anything. He’s suddenly standing right next to Stiles, his shadow seeming even darker than normal in the moonlight as he hovers over the bed.

When he sits down on it, tentatively, like he’s not supposed to be there, which Stiles scoffs at because Derek doesn’t ever hesitate to do whatever he wants, he still doesn’t speak.

“Okay. You sit there and be a creeper if you want. I’m going to try to sleep. Not that I will, because I was almost attacked, by a freaking Alpha, if you’d forgotten, and that kind of terror sort of burns itself into one’s brain, so it’s probably going to take a lot of-“

“I’m sorry you missed your game.”

“-Adderall for me to focus tomorrow, and…wait, what?”

Derek is staring at the cuffs of his jacket. He looks up to the ceiling, as if Stiles is the one putting him out right now, then turns those dark eyes onto Stiles. “Your lacrosse game. I know it was important to you. I’m sorry you missed it.”

Stiles squints at him. “I think you actually mean that.”

Derek rolls his eyes, but seems to relax a little. “No, Stiles, I came up here to lie to you.”

“Look, it doesn’t matter, I would have sucked anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I would much rather have been on the field than trapped in a car, then a hospital, with you and some crazy Alpha, but-“ Stiles shuts up when Derek presses a finger to Stiles’ lips, probably to stave off the hyperventilating that he sensed seconds before Stiles started panicking, because remembering the way the Alpha surely wanted to kill him, well that was just a little too close to actually feeling like he was gonna die, and-

“Breathe,” Derek says, and it’s almost a whisper. Stiles does, all while looking into Derek’s eyes, his finger still pressed against Stiles’ mouth, and when he finally catches his breath, he briefly wonders what Derek tastes like.

“Thanks for, you know.” Stiles drops his gaze, because the way Derek is looking at him makes Stiles think all kinds of crazy, impossible things. “Saving me.”

Derek’s hands ball into fists again, and his eyes drop to Stiles’ mouth. “Stiles…”

Stiles sucks in a breath, and Derek might need to put his finger back, or something else, because he’s feeling dizzy again, but in a different way this time.

“I need to go,” Derek says abruptly, bolting towards the window.

“Go? Go where? It’s the middle of the night, what could you possibly have to do?”

“Get some sleep.” Then Derek was gone, shutting the window behind him like he hadn’t been there at all.

Stiles falls backwards in bed, his pillow fluffing up on either side of his head when he lands hard onto it. “Yeah,” he says to the empty room. “Not likely.”

 

He has Derek’s cell phone number. And Derek has his, which is why it makes total sense that they have the ability to text each other.

It’s just that they never have, so when Stiles’ phone buzzes when he’s out on a walk with Scissors, he doesn’t expect his screen to flash with Derek’s name.

Scott says your upset

“Who the hell sends a message like that?” Stiles asks Scissors. They come to the banks of a stream in the woods, one of Stiles’ favorite places to gather his thoughts on the rare chance that they corral themselves into some semblance of peace. “Also, he needs to work on his grammar.”

I’m fine, he texts back, because why the hell does Derek care anyway?

It had hurt like hell to hear his dad whisper, drunk on too much whiskey and too little sleep, how much he misses Stiles’ mom. It had hurt like hell for the pain of missing her himself to settle back into his chest, tightening his throat until it became hard to breathe, and he had to hold onto Scissors’ fur to keep from having a panic attack before he could help his dad upstairs.

You’re lying, the response read.

So what if he was?

Stiles sits down on the riverbank, letting Scissors romp through the piles of leaves gathered on the forest floor. It’s chilly, the wind cutting through his hoodie, but Stiles kind of likes it, likes the way the cold bites at his cheeks and clears his head.

Likes how it keeps him from losing what little control is holding him together.

I know what it’s like to lose family. You can talk about it, if you want.

Stiles stares at his phone, and okay, and is Derek drunk? Because he is so not a ‘let’s talk about our feelings’ kind of guy, and this is getting way too serious for Stiles’ tastes. He’s trying to get ahold of his feelings, not let them shatter him into a million pieces.

What, no late-night creep through my window session that you’ll pretend never happened? It’s daylight, you know. You might turn to stone if you keep being nice to me when the moon isn’t out, he replies, because he’s a sassy little shit and he’s in a crap mood.

He shoves his phone back into his pocket, expecting that his last text will be ignored for the childish response that it was, which is why he’s surprised when Derek texts back, Where are you?

What, can’t sniff me out, Sourwolf?

Which is how he finds himself captive beneath Derek’s glare ten minutes later.

 

“It’s creepy the way you just show up, you know that?” Stiles says when Derek appears next to him, more for something to say than for any real effect.

“You shouldn’t be out in the woods alone. Or have you forgotten about the alpha running around?”

Stiles throws another handful of leaves for Scissors to prance through. “I’m not alone.”

“Yes, Stiles, because that twenty-pound ball of fur is a real warrior.”

“Hey! Don’t bad mouth Scissors.”

Derek rolls his eyes, and gives a sharp whistle. Scissors immediately stops running through leaf piles and stands at attention, looking at Derek.

Stiles watches as Derek jerks his head, Scissors running to his feet and stopping just shy of Derek’s boots. Derek gives him a look and Scissors lies down, facing away from Stiles and awaiting Derek’s next instruction.

“Hey!” Stiles flails his arms outward. “What the hell? Stop hypnotizing my dog.”

“I’m not hypnotizing him. I’m training him. Which is something you should be doing.”

“Yeah, awesome. I’ll fit that in right next to school, lacrosse, and helping your sorry wolf asses. Oh, and sleep, which also doesn’t happen as much as it used to, partly from stress and partly because someone keeps sneaking into my room. And what the hell is up with that, anyway?”

“It’s not exactly sneaking if you keep leaving the window open for me.”

“Yeah, well, maybe having you check up on me and hearing you say you’re sorry I missed my lacrosse game helps remind me that you’re human somewhere in there.”

Leaves crunch right near Stiles’ ears, Derek’s boots crushing the dry ground just centimeters from where Stiles is sitting. He doesn’t look away from the stream trickling in front of him, too afraid of the murderous look he’s sure is on Derek’s face at his confession.

Stiles bites his lip, runs his tongue along his teeth to keep from talking anymore.

Derek crouches down next to him, close enough that Stiles can feel the heat emanating from him. “You need that, don’t you?” he murmurs, and Stiles finally turns his head. “You need to know that there is still something about us, about Scott– about me- that isn’t so far out of your realm of normal that it won’t make you lose your mind.”

Stiles swallows, but his mouth is too dry. “I-“

Derek’s eyes roam over his face. “But at the same time, you throw yourself headfirst into our world.” Two fingers reach out to grip his chin, force Stiles to look into Derek’s dark green eyes. “Why is that, Stiles?” His gaze drops to Stiles’ mouth. “Why can’t you stay away?”

Because my best friend is a werewolf. Because I care about Scott. Because I can’t lose him.

Because I can’t lose you.

“Why can’t you?” Stiles whispers.

He swears the corner of Derek’s mouth lifts, like he’s about to smile, but as soon as it comes it’s gone.

And after a moment, so is Derek.

Stiles stares after him, hand lifting absently when Scissors worms his way underneath it.

Long after Derek’s scent has faded, Stiles blinks and looks at the puppy working himself into Stiles’ lap, nudging Stiles’ cheek. “What the hell was that?”

Scissors just licks his face, and leads him home.

Chapter Text

“Tell me where to find Derek.” 

Breathe, Stiles commands himself. In through the nose, out through the mouth. “I don’t know that; how would I know that?”

He knows Peter can hear his heartbeat. The familiarity he and Derek had developed over the last couple weeks is making itself known through the fear pounding in his chest. Peter knows something is going on between him and Derek, and Stiles finds himself being held captive in some shady parking garage, Peter making him trace the phone, wanting Stiles to lead him to Derek…

“What happens when you find Derek?” Stiles mouth goes dry on the question, and it hits him like a bullet how much he’s come to depend on Derek, how much he counts on him always being there, and oh God did he remember to feed Scissors tonight, and what will his dad think if he doesn’t make it home, and is Derek okay, and fuck, Stiles can’t breathe, he can’t-

“Wolves are stronger in packs, Stiles. I’d be doing him a favor.”

Stiles curls his fingers into his palms so hard he draws blood, and then he hears howling, and the sound makes him want to cry in relief, because he knows it’s Scott and Derek signaling each other’s location.

He makes it out of Peter’s grasp, he refuses the bite, and in a few days (after Chris ‘crazy ass’ Argent traps him and Jackson, and after a whole host of things he’d rather not think about, like Derek becoming an Alpha- an Alpha, for shit’s sake – Derek saving him from Isaac, Derek… Derek…Derek…

Well. Stiles curls up in bed one lonely Friday night, Scissors tucked companionably by his side, and he thinks of Scott, and Lydia, and his dad, and Derek, and fuck if the dark, handsome werewolf’s piercing gaze and cocky voice – ‘how did you do that?’….’I’m the Alpha’…’- don’t lull him to sleep.

 

“Stiles.”

He’s floating, no, he’s flying, gliding through the air along the path of a strong river, and the wind carries him like the current carries the water, and he’s soaring, flying, floating-

Stiles!”

He jolts awake, arms flailing, hands smacking into a solid surface that turns out to be Derek Hale’s cheek.

It’s the ensuing growl that truly shakes him awake. “Oops.”

“Yeah, oops,” Derek grumbles. He’s sitting on the side of Stiles’ bed. It's been so long since Derek had visited Stiles in his room that Stiles doesn’t even question why he’s there.

He does, however, start grilling Scissors. “Really? I get kidnapped, he disappears for days, I feed you primo table scraps and all he does is whistle at you and order you around, and yet it’s his lap you deign worthy of snuggling in?”

Derek’s lip curls up, one hand curled into the fur of Scissors' neck, and Stiles almost loses his breath. If Derek looks that good when he’s only half-smiling, well. Stiles makes a vow right there and then to get him to smile as often as possible.

“…so I expect you to be there.”

Stiles blinks, having missed out on most of what Derek said. “Wait, what? What’s pack night? Can Scissors come?” He doesn’t even know what he’s inviting his dog along to, because look, it's not his fault that Derek’s expressive eyebrows and sculpted cheekbones and gorgeous lips are so damn distracting.

Derek waits him out. “You with me now?”

Stiles rips his gaze from Derek’s mouth. “Yes. With you. One hundred percent. Uh…” It dawns on him that he’s wearing only pajama bottoms, and his mouth is about as fresh as week old produce. “Just, give me a minute?”

He zips off to the bathroom to splash his face and brush his teeth.  When he comes back, Scissors is gone and Derek has moved to his desk, leaning against it with all the confidence of someone who blows through whatever problems come his way.

Stiles can hear the sounds floating up from downstairs of his dad feeding Scissors his breakfast, and it dawns on him the ginormous issue it would be for his dad to discover Derek Hale in his room, so he'd probably better pay attention and get moving. “So, uh…what’s pack night?”

 

It turns out pack night is a glorified way to say slumber party, and Stiles has no clue why Derek forced the invitation on him because he’s the only human here.

Oh wait. He sees Allison, so okay he’s the only other human here, but she and Scott are attached at the hip, not to mention various other places, so he’s not really all that surprised to see her.

“Uh,” Stiles says by way of greeting. Boyd, Erica, and Isaac are all looking at him as he walks into Derek’s loft wearing jeans and a plaid flannel shirt, because it’s chilly out, okay, and because he may or may not have a thing for one or both of the Winchesters-

“Good. You made it.” Derek sidles up to him, his strong arms full of drinks and snacks. Scissors sits at his feet immediately.

Stiles glares at him.

“Go take a spot.” Derek jerks his chiseled chin -okay, for fuck’s sake, Stiles, get it together- toward the direction of the four betas and one other human, who have all taken up various spaces amongst the fluffy pile of blankets and pillows and comforters.

“Oh, sweet.” Stiles exclaims, running and jumping onto the cushy spot next to Scott. “Hey, man.”

Scott smiles his floppy, puppy dog smile. “Hey.”

Derek saunters in, cool as you please, and grabs the remote from Isaac’s hand. He’s flipping through the menu onscreen when Stiles remembers why his hands are full.

“Here,” he says, thrusting the foil covered plate at Derek. “I made cookies.”

The room is silent, except for the telltale sounds of several werewolves tipping their noses in the air.

Derek does that half-raised corner of his mouth thing again, which is where Stiles is looking when Derek takes the plate and says, “Of course you did.”

They are halfway through watching 'Up' when Stiles reluctantly gets up from the softest blanket he’s ever felt. He snags a cookie and makes his way to the bathroom, and on the way back to the living room he ducks into the kitchen for a bottle of water.

“Second shelf, towards the back.”

Stiles is glad for the cool air at his front, because Derek’s voice curls around him from behind like a tangible heat. He grabs a bottle, chugging half of it before finding the nerve to turn around. “Uh…thanks.”

Derek reaches out, Stiles’ gaze following his every move. He cups Stiles’ cheek in his hand, thumb brushing across the corner of Stiles’ mouth.

When Derek’s thumb grazes Stiles’ bottom lip, he instinctively darts out his tongue, tracing the rough pad of Derek’s skin. A sinful taste bursts into his mouth, almost as delicious as the rumble of Derek’s voice when he says, “You had some chocolate…” Derek’s gaze drops to Stiles’ mouth, and he leans forward.

Stiles fists a hand in Derek's shirt, breath coming hard and fast. “Derek-“

Scissors runs into the kitchen, mouth open in a goofy smile, little legs stumbling comically across the hardwood floor as he settles with a crash between their feet.

Startled, Stiles drops the water bottle, creating a wet mess that Scissors promptly starts to lick up.

“Yo!” Isaac comes jogging into the kitchen. “We’re out of soda,” he whines to Derek. “Can you…oh.” He takes in the tension hovering in the air, and, at Derek’s glare, he backs away. “Sor…sorry.” He scampers out of the room, stumbling back onto the blankets in the loft.

Stiles rolls his eyes. “Derek. Be nice.” He bends over to scoop up Scissors, burying his face in his dog’s fur to hide the flaming of his cheeks.

Derek grabs another several cans of soda and shoulders past Stiles on his way back to the living room. “Dog treats are in the cabinet above the sink.”

Stiles blinks after him, and wonders how long it is until the next pack night.

Chapter Text

"They're gone." Derek's voice is quiet, far away. 

Stiles' mouth moves in several different formations, trying to figure out which words would be best. Boyd and Erica's abrupt departure had surprised them all. In the end, he goes with, "I know." 

When Derek looks up at him, his eyes deep and lost, Stiles catches his breath. This isn't right. Derek isn't supposed to look like this. He's supposed to grumble and growl and throw Stiles against any and all nearby walls.

He's not supposed to look like someone who just lost members of his family. His pack.

Again.

"Maybe they-"

"They didn't think I was a good enough Alpha."

Stiles isn't used to being rendered speechless like this. It's nowhere near his baseline, and since he's standing smack in the middle of Derek's loft, and Scissors is sitting pitifully at Derek's feet, there's nothing for him to fidget or play with.

He tries for a smile, and points at his dog. "He sure thinks you are."

Derek's face scrunches in confusion, before he looks down at Scissors. Stiles sees his fists open and close, the way he does when he's trying to talk himself out of a fight, and Stiles' lips roll inward. Maybe pointing out a helpless fluffball to an upset Alpha wasn't the best idea. 

He's just about to baseball slide across the floor to rescue Scissors from Derek's wolfy wrath when Derek beats him to it, bending over to scoop up Scissors in large but gentle hands. 

Stiles jaw drops when Derek buries his face in Scissor's belly, which the puppy had presented immediately upon being picked up. He hides his shock with a hand in front of his mouth, teeth working the skin around his thumbnail as he watches Derek freaking Hale cuddling a puppy one-tenth his size.

"Do you think I am?"

Stiles bites down harder, pretending he didn't hear the desperation in what is supposed to be a strong, gruff, voice, thank you very much Derek for really messing up his image of-

"Nevermind."

"Yes," Stiles blurts. "Okay, so maybe you can work on the whole nurturing piece of it, because you do a lot of yelling and slamming people, well, okay, mainly me, into nearby flat surfaces, but you..." He stops teething at his thumb and walks over to Derek, placing a hand on the Alpha's shoulder to guide him down to sitting on the bed in the corner. Stiles sits down next to him, reaching over to situate Scissors so that he's sprawled over both their laps. "You are a good Alpha. I mean, sheesh, Derek, you've got the attitude, and the command for respect, and the sexy leather jacket, and the glare-"

Dammit, Stiles thinks, no, do not curl your mouth up like that, that's not fair. "You think my jacket is sexy?"

"And the glare," Stiles continues, pointedly ignoring Derek's inquiry. "You just...I don't know. Wolf packs are like families, right? They look out for each other, protect each other."

"What the hell do you think all of their training is for? I'm trying to teach them to defend themselves!"

"Yeah," Stiles agrees, drawing out the word. "But families also care about each other." He looks down at his hands, one resting on his thigh and the other buried in Scissors' fur, so that he doesn't have to look at Derek when he asks, "Does your pack know you care?" He swallows, hard. "Do...do you care?"

Derek's hand brushes his along Scissors' furry side. "More than I should." The words come out smoky, husky, and Derek is off his bed and back on his feet before Stiles has a chance to process them. "Thanks for..." Derek clears his throat. "It's getting dark out. You should go."

Stiles blinks, then springs into motion. "Right. Got it. Brood sesh over." He hurries to the door, keeping his head slightly turned so Derek won't see the disappointment on his face. He lets out a quick whistle and calls for Scissors. "Come on, boy. Time to go. Time for dinner, yes it is!" 

He hears little paws trekking across the floor, but he turns when they abruptly stop. 

Scissors looks up at him, then back at Derek, then back at Stiles. He backtracks a bit, just enough to headbutt Derek's calf and lick his ankle. Then he trots back to Stiles, leading the way out of the loft and back home.

 

Derek rakes his teeth along Stiles’ neck and Stiles moans, relishing the feel of Derek’s tongue soothing the almost bite. He tips his neck back and Derek growls -his wolf, growls,- at the sign of submission.

Yes. Take me. I’m yours.

Derek pins Stiles’ wrists above his head, his hips thrusting forward, pinning Stiles against the wall and it’s too much, the friction, and Stiles wants more, he wants Derek, he wants…

“Come, Stiles. Come for me.”

Stiles does, shooting into his pants like the horny teenager he is, Derek’s voice and hips and mouth absolutely wrecking him. He knocks his head back against the wall with every wave of pleasure, knock, knock, kn-

“Shit!” Stiles’ eyes fly open and he launches himself off his bed. Someone is knocking on the door and Scissors is barking, alerting Stiles to their intruder.

He runs into the bathroom, dropping his pants and swiping a wet washcloth along his groin, tossing it into the tub and then rinsing his hands off beneath the faucet. “Just a second!” He stumbles into a fresh pair of boxers and jeans, checking his hands to make sure they're clean.

The knocking and barking persist until he flies down the stairs and yanks open the door, and really, as the son of a sheriff you’d think he’d at least check to see who it is first.

He’s not expecting Scott and Isaac to be standing on his porch, Isaac giving him a curious look while Scott stands there grinning like the lovable dumbass he is. “Yo,” Stiles says eloquently.

“Dude.” Scott crouches down to give Scissors an enthusiastic belly rub. “This little guy is seriously the cutest.”

With Scott at Scissors’ level, Stiles notices Derek hanging a few feet back on his porch. Derek’s gaze flicks up and down, his nostrils flaring, and Stiles has a sinking feeling he knows exactly what Derek is smelling.

Isaac looks between them, then thrusts his hands forward. “We brought pizza.”

Stiles’ stomach rumbles. “Brilliant. But I’m sorry, what is this?”

“Pack night,” Scott answers, scooping Scissors into his arms and barreling past Stiles into the house.

“Pack night,” Stiles repeats dumbly, and really, that’s becoming a habit. He looks at Derek. “Isn’t that usually your thing, host with the most?”

Derek shoulders his way inside, guiding Isaac in with a surprisingly gentle looking hand at the other teen’s back. “Tonight, it’s yours,” he says shortly.

Stiles lets the door swing shut behind them. “Right. Of course. I should have known. Right? Obviously.”

 

 

Two hours later, Stiles is in the kitchen when his dad comes in, pausing to look between the teenage slash man pile on his couch and his son standing at the sink.

“Stiles.”

“Hey, Dad!” Stiles dries his hands. “How was work?”

“Not nearly as exciting as what’s going on here.”

“Yo, hey Mr. Stilinski!”

“Scott,” his dad acknowledges, not looking away from Stiles. He raises his eyebrows.

"Right, so.” Stiles focuses on Scissors currently dancing around the sheriff’s feet. “So Isaac, uh, he had a really shitty practice,” – sorry, Stiles says silently, knowing the werewolf can hear every word- “so he came over, figuring, you know, us guys and some pizza and gaming could-“ Stiles twirls a finger in the air. “Whip his mood right around.”

“Uh huh.” His dad bends down to rub Scissors’ ears. “Okay.”

Stiles grins, letting out a sigh of relief. “Okay!”

“You want to tell me what Derek Hale is doing in my house?”

Stiles gulps. Sure, he thinks. See, apparently our little talk earlier actually sank in through his hard headed werewolf skull, so he’s trying to bond with his pack, which apparently includes me, and apparently having it here means their scents are getting all over our house, which will tell other wolves to Stay The Fuck Out, right, because we are protected by an Alpha and his pack, and that gets me hard enough to cut diamonds even though I’ve already jerked off to Derek twice today, and the best part is, it’s Sourwolf’s socially stunted way of showing that he cares, okay, and isn’t that just the sweetest damn thing you’ve ever heard? "Well, right now he's getting epically owned in Fortnite."

"Stiles."

"Yeah."

“Try again.”

“Right.” Stiles wrings his hands. “Right, so-“

“Hi, Sheriff?” Derek strides into the kitchen, right arm extended. “I appreciate you letting me be here. See, as you may remember, Isaac’s dad wasn’t exactly the best parental influence. I’ve got some extra space at my place, so I’ve been letting him stay with me.”

Stiles’ mouth drops open, and he’s almost offended when Derek ignores his pointed stare, instead keeping eye contact with his dad, and wasn’t that all kinds of messed up?

“Isaac is staying with you.”

“Yes, sir.”

“A minor, a teenager, is staying with you, a loner adult with an arrest record.”

“Well, an exonerated record,” Derek clarifies, and Stiles’ knees go weak when he flashes the sheriff a brilliant smile. “And Isaac actually just turned eighteen. So while he could technically go off on his own, it’s safer having someone watching over him, making sure he’s keeping his grades up and all that, wouldn’t you agree?”

His dad looks between him and Derek, then makes a noise Stiles is smart enough not to ask about. “I need a drink,” his dad says, grabbing a bottle and heading upstairs. “And everyone is out by midnight.”

“Yes, sir!” Stiles calls, unintentionally mimicking Derek’s earlier words.

Once his dad has disappeared, he grabs Derek’s oh so hard bicep. “What the hell was that?” he hisses.

“What?” Derek shrugs, shrugging him off in the process. “I didn’t lie.”

“You didn’t…no, you didn’t. It’s just…”

“What?” Derek asks again.

“You do realize you just acted like a normal human, right? Like-“ Like a human, trying to impress his boyfriend’s father.

“Like someone who doesn’t want to get kicked out?”

Stiles nods. “Yeah.” He squints. “Exactly like that.”

“Right.” His smug, sarcastic tone offends Stiles.

“Hey! You can’t-“

Derek lets out a short whistle and heads back to the couch, Scissors following obediently on his heels. He takes his place in the middle of the sofa, between Scott and Isaac, who are both still engrossed in the TV. Scissors jumps into his lap, and Derek twists his head around to face Stiles. He whistles again. “You coming?” His mouth curls upward.

Already did twice today, thanks. “Yeah,” Stiles mutters, shoving two cookies into his mouth. “I’m coming.”

Chapter Text

“Harris said unless I get my grade up, he’s gonna talk to Coach and make sure I can’t play!”

Stiles is only half-listening, which he kind of feels bad about, but Scott has been chattering on for the entire lunch period, and Stiles is really distracted okay, because it’s been two whole weeks since Derek’s shenanigans with his dad at their impromptu video game pack night, and he hasn’t heard from Sourwolf since.

Stiles thought they’d reached some tacit agreement, one where Derek lightened up on throwing Stiles against the nearest wall and Stiles stopped purposely antagonizing the broody werewolf at every turn.

Not that Stiles was one hundred percent opposed to being slammed up against flat surfaces by Derek, just that maybe when it happened Derek was a little less mad and a little more –

“Do you know what that would mean?” Scott cries.

Stiles doesn’t. Luckily, he’s saved from answering when Isaac saunters over to their table. “You haven’t been around,” he says to Stiles, tone accusing.

“Um,” Stiles starts. “I-“

Isaac’s nose is sniffing the air, and he glances down at the remains of Stiles’ lunch.

“I, uh. I already ate it,” Stiles says, by way of explanation, brows coming together in confusion.

“Oh,” Isaac says, and he looks disappointed.

“I could, um. Save some next time?” What was even happening?

“Allison!” Scott sees his girlfriend and promptly jumps to his feet, scurrying away from their table.

“Isaac?” Stiles tries. “Are you okay? Is Sourwolf starving you? Because I swear, I will-“

“No, no.” Isaac’s eyes land on his, and Stiles blinks, because he swears he sees kindness there, mixed with something else he can’t parcel out.

“Okay, then-“

“I was actually hoping you had more of those awesome cookies.”

A grin spreads across Stiles’ face. “Seriously?”

Issac smiles back and nods vigorously. “They were so good, dude. Bring them to next pack night?”

“Uh.” Stiles falters, because he doesn’t want to admit that he doesn’t know when that is. It hurts, the familiar twist in his stomach he’s felt these last two weeks from Derek’s radio silence. “I’ll do my best?”

“Great!” Isaac leaps up at the sound of the bell. “See you Friday, then.”

“Yeah!” Stiles calls out after him, wondering if Derek will murder him on sight for showing up, or if he will make his death slow and painful. “Friday.”

 

“So that’s the plan. Got it?”

Scissors cocks his head.

Stiles sighs. “I guess it was too much to hope that everything I said would translate.”

Scissors sits.

“You don’t have to look so damn cute during your defiance, you know,” Stiles scolds him. Really, what was so hard about go see Derek, find out what I did to piss him off so badly he doesn’t want to see or talk to me, and then report back.

Scissors trots over to him and sits at his feet.

“Trying to get into my good graces?” Stiles grumbles, but he sinks to the floor and cuddles Scissors close. “I don’t get it. Two weeks ago, he was here, calling me into the living room to sit by him like a – sorry, buddy- like a dog, and-“

And threading a tentative hand through Stiles’ hair when he sat on the floor by Derek’s feet, a tentative hand that had grown bolder, firmer, when Stiles had tipped his head back into the touch. He’d felt rather than heard Derek’s pleased growl when he’d curled an arm around Derek’s leg, weaving them together even more, reveling in the warmth and security their shared proximity had offered.

Derek had been the last to leave that night; only by a few seconds, but it was enough time for him to cup the side of Stiles’ face with one hand while his face had gone soft with some kind of something that made Stiles suck in his breath.

Then Isaac had called Derek’s name from the Camaro, and Derek had blinked and looked at where he was touching Stiles like he was just becoming aware of it, and the spell had been broken.

“And now, nothing.” Stiles finishes quietly. He rubs Scissors’ ears and glances at the phone. Two hours to go.

When eight o’clock rolls around, Stiles composes himself, then gets to his feet.

He grabs the plate he had prepared earlier, carefully setting it on his passenger seat before starting his Jeep.

If Derek wanted him gone, he could damn well say it to his face, and explain it to the whole damn pack while he was at it.

 

Granted, since Boyd and Erica bailed, the “whole damn” pack was fairly small. But still, Isaac, Scott, Allison, even Jackson and Lydia were piled around Derek’s living room when Stiles got there.

Their Alpha, however, was nowhere to be seen.

Stiles jumped so hard he almost dropped his plate of cookies when Derek emerged from the shadows by the front entryway.

“You shouldn’t be here,” Derek tells him, and it’s sad that it isn’t the first time he’s said something like that to Stiles.

Stiles tips his chin up. “Isaac invited me.”

A rumble emanates from Derek’s throat, and for a second Stiles almost feels bad about throwing the beta under the bus.

“Stiles!” Scott greets him with a goofy smile and a one-armed hug, either oblivious to or completely ignoring Derek’s scowl.

“You brought them!” Isaac’s face lights up as his nose catches the scent of sugar and chocolate.

“Just for you, buddy,” Stiles says, and it hits him square in the chest how much he would miss this – how much he’d miss his family- if Derek kicked him out of it.

The sudden loss of breath from the notion has him too distracted to fight off Derek’s hand, now tightly wrapped around Stiles’ forearm.

Derek drags him out of the house and onto the porch. The sharp chill cuts through Stiles, but Derek doesn’t seem to notice. “What the hell, Derek?”

Derek crosses his arms and raises his eyebrows.

“Oh, for.” Stiles lets out a humorless laugh. “Are you kidding me?”

“I told you, stay out of pack business.”

“Yeah,” Stiles says, “you did. Like a million months ago. Then you tracked me down in the woods and told me I could talk to you about my…about stuff. Then you told me I’d better be at your pack nights. And after that, you and your little wolves invaded my house, in front of my dad, and then you pulled some well-behaved-boyfriend shit to hold him off, and now it’s been weeks, and you haven’t even texted me, let alone come through my window or-“

“I’m not your boyfriend, Stiles.”

Stiles’ mouth moves up and down, but no sounds comes out. He squints at Derek, thinks he sees something missing, but he doesn’t know what.

In the end he just scoffs, his words coming out extra sharp to hide the hurt. “No, you’re not. I’d never date a jerk like you. I’d want someone who is capable of actual feelings.”

He’s proud of himself for making it to his Jeep and down the wooded drive before the first tears fall.

That night, Stiles locks his bedroom window.

 * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

“Don’t look at me like that,” Derek scolds the little dog sitting on the floorboards at his feet. “I have to, okay?”

Scissors huffs.

“You get your attitude from your dad,” Derek tells Scissors, dropping down from his pull-up bar to land palms to the floor so he can engage in his twelfth round of push-ups.

He’ll go until his shoulders burn, until he can’t see the hurt in Stiles’ eyes anymore.

Scissors bats his face with a paw.

Derek growls at the puppy, but Scissors’ little white leg continues to wave back and forth in his vision. Derek ignores him and continues to pump up and down, sweat dripping onto the floor as he grunts his way to fifty.

“Shouldn’t you be at home?” He grumbles, rolling onto his back, sucking in a breath when his set is complete.

Scissors chuffs again, sitting petulantly by his side.

If Derek didn’t know better, he’d say the pup was glaring at him.

He sighs, staring up at the ceiling. Lying prone on his back would be a lot more fun if he had someone here to be on top, someone with honey brown eyes and an adorable smile and energy to last for days. “He deserves someone better. Someone safer.”

Scissors whimpers, sinking down next to Derek with his head on his front paws.

Derek reaches over to rub his ears. “Don’t tell him I said that, okay?”

They lie in silence for a while, and Derek can smell a hint of Stiles on Scissors, and it hits his system so hard he finds himself reaching for his phone.

A crack in the woods outside has them both sitting up, ears perked at attention. Derek’s nostrils flare at a scent that doesn’t belong to anyone in his pack, or anyone he knows in town.

But he does know the scent of alpha werewolves when he smells it.

“Run,” he roars at Scissors. “Run!”

Derek is on his feet just as his door is kicked open. He snarls, crouched and ready for a fight.

“Well, well!” One of three alphas drawls, a twisted smile contorting his ugly face. “What do we have here then? Lone wolf?”

The alpha to his left snickers. “I thought those were just a rumor,” she says snidely. The way their eyes rove over him with a smug sort of comprehension tells Derek they know exactly who he is.

“The last Hale. Oh, this is lovely.” The third alpha, a tall, skinny man with a crooked nose, looks down at him. “When Tyvern told us he’d struck a deal with a neighboring Alpha, I never in a million years imagined he was talking about you.”

Derek growls and lunges. The skinny alpha and Ugly Face take him down, their moves practiced and coordinated.

“Tell us, Derek.” The female alpha twists a manicured hand into his hair and pulls, forcing his chin up to face them. “Where are the kids, then?”

 

The first time Scissors catches the hem of Stiles’ jeans in his teeth and tugs, Stiles shakes him off. “I can’t play right now, buddy. This paper ain’t gonna write itself.”

Scissors growls at him, and Stiles points an accusing finger in his direction. “Your Alpha’s bad attitude is rubbing off on you.”

The second time Scissors drags the fabric around Stiles’ ankle between his teeth, Stiles bends down and closes a hand around the puppy’s muzzle. “I said, knock it off! Go find one of the hundreds of toys Uncle Scotty has bought you.”

Scissors barks at him, quick short bursts of noise that Stiles is starting to feel bad about ignoring. He rubs a hand down his face. “Look, let me just get a page or two of this cranked out, and then we can play, okay?”

The third time Scissors tries to yank Stiles out of his chair, his jaw clamps around Stiles’ ankle; not hard enough to break the skin, but firm enough to get his attention. “Dude! What the hell! Stop hanging around Derek, his habits are seriously-“

Scissors barks and barks, jumping up and down at the mention of Derek’s name. Stiles squints, then shakes his head, because yeah, Scissors seems to understand more than most dogs, especially when he’s around Derek, but Stiles just chalks that up to wolfy vibes and canine instincts.

Scissors runs to Stiles’ bedroom door, then glances back at Stiles, panting and whimpering.

Stiles grabs his phone and follows him to the Jeep, because now he’s much too curious not to.

 

When he reaches Derek’s house, Scissors is scrambling to get out of the car. Stiles barely cuts the engine and opens his door and Scissors is vaulting across his lap, out of the Jeep, and darting inside.

The front door is busted, spears and shards of wood scattered about the first floor. “Derek?”

Scissors barks from a back corner, and Stiles covers his mouth when he finds them. The stench of blood is overpowering. “Oh, God, Derek. Are you…what happened? Who did this? Why aren’t you healing?” He drops to his knees beside Derek and roams his hands and eyes over Derek’s slashed, shredded torso, trying to take stock of all the damage.

“Stiles,” Derek grits out. “Get out of here.”

Stiles shakes his head and slides an arm behind Derek’s back. “No way. We have to get you to Deaton.”

“Alphas. They’re still out there, Stiles, get out of here!”

“I will,” Stiles says, grunting as he helps Derek to his feet. He has a feeling he now knows why Derek has been shutting him out these last few weeks. “With you, and to Deaton. Shut up and help me get you to the car. Where you are in for the yelling of your lifetime, you stupid, dense, self-sacrificing jerk.”

Derek looks even paler once he’s buckled into Stiles’ passenger seat.

“Just please, please stay awake for the whole thing, okay?” Stiles turns the ignition with shaky hands and hauls ass to Deaton’s.

 

“Woah,” Stiles says when Deaton helps him get Derek through a security-pad entry door to a back room he’s never seen before. There’s a hospital style bed, two fluffy pillows, and a steel cart stocked with first aid and triage supplies.

For humans.

They get Derek situated on the bed, sitting up so Deaton can remove what shreds are left of his shirt to get to all his wounds. “At the rate you kids have been coming in here,” Deaton says by way of explanation, “I figured adding an extra room that was a little less small-animal oriented wouldn’t hurt.”

“Hear that, Der? You’re getting put up in the luxury suite.”

Derek ignores him, and looks at Deaton. “I’m fine.”

“You most assuredly are not,” Deaton replies calmly, soaking a cotton pad with antiseptic. “But you will be. Will just take a little longer, since your injuries are from…how many alphas did you say?”

“Three,” Derek grunts. His gaze lights on Stiles. “I told you to get away from me.”

“And I told you, no, and that you don’t have to deal with this alone.”

“Look at what they did to me, Stiles! You think your fragile little human body would be able to survive this?”

“They wouldn’t have gotten away with it if you hadn’t shut everybody out to deal with this by yourself!”

“I’m not sorry for protecting my pack, Stiles.”

“No, but you will be if your lone wolf style of living gets you killed! Then who will take care of your pack, huh?”

“I’m not-“

“Enough,” Deaton cuts in. Derek hisses when he applies solution to a particularly nasty cut. “I suggest you save your strength for healing, not arguing, Derek. And Stiles, grab me that roll of gauze. The tape, too. It’s for Derek’s wounds but if you cannot stop arguing I will not hesitate to use it in a way that will shut you up, got it?”

Even Scissors, who had followed them in here and is parked beneath Derek’s boots where they hang off the bed, quiets his whimpering. The room is silent save for Derek’s heavy breathing as Stiles does as he asks, hovering close to Derek’s side as he watches the vet’s capable hands. “I thought…this stuff won’t work on him?” he asks quietly.

“Medicine or treatment won’t do much, no,” Deaton agrees as he wraps Derek’s chest. “But with wounds this deep, I can at least try to keep them from getting infected while Derek’s body works to heal itself.”

Stiles keeps his eyes on Derek’s face as Deaton works. Derek’s eyes are screwed shut, and he’s breathing deeply through his nose, and Stiles figures it’s a combination of pain and the effort not to shift that’s keeping him to tightly wound.

Without thinking, he brushes a strand of Derek’s hair aside, fingers tracing a thin cut on Derek’s forehead that’s already close to healed. Stiles grabs one of the small cotton pads and dabs at it anyway, because it keeps him from backing up against the wall and going into full panic attack mode.

Derek’s eyes fly open at the gentle touch. “Thank you,” he says. It’s to Deaton, Stiles knows, but Derek’s eyes are fixed on his own.

Stiles rolls his lips inward, and he only nods, because when he thinks about how close Derek came to not being here to sit wounded in front of him, for once he can’t think of anything to say.

Chapter Text

“Scott’s on his way,” Stiles tells Derek a couple hours later. “And he’s called the others. They’ll go where you said.”

Derek nods. Deaton is unwrapping the dressings from earlier, and Stiles breathes a sigh of relief to see that all but the deepest of Derek’s cuts are starting to heal. He can see Derek vibrating with rage, not only towards the Alpha pack but because he isn’t out there, with his betas, helping to defeat them.

“Derek, I know you’re pissed, and ragey, and angry with yourself above anyone else.” Stiles re-wraps the deep gashes along Derek’s side, and one across his chest. Way too close to his – “But you can’t,” Stiles says, his voice breaking. “You can’t go and-“

“Help my pack? Be their Alpha? Stop hiding?”

“Get yourself killed!” Stiles cries. His voice drops to a whisper, because just saying those words cut his soul. “You can’t go out there and get yourself killed.”

Derek huffs out a laugh, and it scares Stiles because Derek never laughs. “What?” Stiles asks nervously, because he’s too curious not to.

“Lucky you, baby.” Derek’s tone is mocking, biting, and Stiles bites his lip because he refuses to let his hurt show. “You’ve got two little useless mutts now.”

Stiles swallows around the lump in his throat, and continues to wrap Derek’s bandages.

 

Later that night, both of their phones buzz. It’s Scott, letting them know that the Alphas have been taken care of. It’s reassuring, if a bit anti-climactic, and Stiles deflates with a sigh of relief.

Derek, however, is still strung tighter than one of Allison’s crossbows.

Stiles drives them home, to the rest of the pack.

Derek doesn’t say a word the entire time.

 

“Wow,” Jackson says when they walk in. He eyes Derek, sans shirt, his torso covered in bandages. “Never thought I’d see the day where I’m actually glad you didn’t get your jerk ass killed.”

Isaac runs to Derek and gives him a giant bear hug, careful of his wounds but needing to be close to his Alpha.

Stiles holds his breath, only letting it out when after a moment, Derek’s hand settles lightly against Isaac’s hair.

“Stiles texted us your plan,” Isaac says, post-hunt adrenaline coursing through him. His eyes dance excitedly. “It worked, Derek! It was awesome.”

Stiles can see the self-recrimination all over Derek's face. "An Alpha pack taken down, and I didn't even help." He jerks out of Isaac’s hold and walks to the side of the room, kicking open a rarely used cabinet. It’s the first time Stiles has ever seen him swig whiskey from the bottle.

He’s about to say so, when Jackson rolls his eyes…because even when he's trying to be nice, he's still kind of a douche. "Yeah, you did."

Derek lowers the bottle, and levels a glare at Jackson. "What are you talking about?"

Lydia looks at him. "You’re hurt because you were injured by an alpha. But you’re an alpha too, remember?"

"You did a number on them, Derek," Isaac says, looking at Derek with a bit of hero worship. "Even three to one, you caused some serious damage. They were weak enough that we could take them."

No one was more surprised than Stiles when Scott added grudgingly, "And we could take them because of the way you trained us."

Derek swallows his mouthful of liquor.

“Look at them, Der,” Stiles murmurs, because dammit, he needs Derek to see this. “They mean it.”

“You should have seen Isaac drop the sneak attack feint move you taught us,” Scott says, and Stiles shoots him a grateful look. “Bitch never saw it coming.”

“Congratulations,” Lydia says to Derek, still looking like a fairy tale princess even though Stiles knows, he knows she didn’t just sit on the sidelines. “Perhaps you’ll be as good a leader as me after all.”

Stiles could kiss her, for the way her words evict the vacant look of self-hate Derek’s been wearing for the last several hours. “Come on, Jackson,” she says. “Take me home.”

“I gotta roll too,” Scott says. “Allison left straight from the woods. She didn’t want her dad tracking what we were doing. I need to go check on her.” He nods to Isaac. “Come on, I’ll give you a ride.”

The silence after everyone leaves is too symbolic for Stiles’ tastes. He’s practically asleep on his feet, but he can’t make himself leave.

Can’t make himself leave Derek.

Can’t make himself leave Derek all alone, like every single other person in his life.

“There’s more than one way to lead, Alpha,” Stiles says. He ignores the tingle that shoots through him, ignores the fire in Derek’s eyes when his head snaps up at the title. He’ll revisit the feeling, oh, he can’t wait to revisit it, but for now, his Alpha needs him. “You don’t always have to be front and center to be effective.”

Derek puts down the bottle and slumps against the cabinets. “I should have been.” His voice is low, far away, but it’s devoid of the utter self-hate from earlier, so Stiles calls it a win.

"Maybe,” Stiles allows. He walks over to Derek, stopping just shy of bumping into him. “Maybe next time you ask for help earlier, and you will be.” His knees brush Derek’s, his hands itching to reach out and touch, hug, comfort.

Derek’s hands curl inwards, then slowly unfurl. “Stiles…”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.” Stiles sighs, and takes a step back. “’Go home, Stiles’.”

Derek shoots out an arm, yanking Stiles close. “Stay,” he breathes into his neck. Derek’s stubble tickles where it meets Stiles’ skin, and when it makes its way up his collarbone and Derek’s teeth sink into his neck, Stiles gasps and tilts his head back. “Stay.”

Stiles’ hands find Derek’s hips, and Derek’s legs fall open so Stiles can slot himself between them. His eyes flutter closed, Derek’s lips and tongue doing all sorts of things to his tingling, burning skin, and Stiles moans.

He stays.

 

One week later

“The Alpha pack has been dead for a while, Derek. I’m sure I can stay home alone for one night.” Stiles pulls back the covers on his bed. His dad is out of town, some inter-department team building retreat, and as soon as he heard Stiles would be alone, Derek inserted himself into his house like he belonged there.

Stiles kind of likes to think that he does.

Derek lowers Scissors to the floor, and Stiles bites back a smile and a crack about being a softie, because he’s trying to convince Derek that he’s man enough to stay alone overnight.

Not that he objects to Derek staying over, but still. It’s the principle of the thing.

“Okay,” Derek says, but he reaches back and pulls his shirt off over his head.

“’Okay’, as in let me just take my shirt off before I head home, ‘okay’’?”

“Okay as in just because you can do something doesn’t mean I have to let you.”

“To let me?” Stiles sputters. God, he loves when Derek goes all possessive controlling Alpha on him. Still, though. He has an image to protect. He gapes at Scissors. “Are you hearing this? Your Alpha is a caveman.”

“Your Alpha protects the ones he loves,” Derek growls, and Stiles’ knees go weak because goddammit, only Derek would spring something like the L word on him like that. “So shut up, and get in bed.”

A thrill goes through Stiles. He fights a grin, because you know, the principle. But his heart is beating a mile a minute, and he knows Derek can hear it. "Do I get a say in this, or -"

"Nope," Derek says, closing and locking the window behind him.

God, Stiles loves him. "Smooth talker."

Derek catches his eye, and they share a look, and Stiles knows he knows.

Derek fluffs a pillow. "And if you think that mutt is sleeping with us, think again."

"Oh, no sir, Wolfman,” Stiles pushes him onto the bed. “Scissors had a spot in this bed long before you did."

Derek yanks Stiles down to fall next to him. "Well, now he doesn't."

"He so does,” Stiles says against Derek’s lips.

"Stiles."

"Derek."

Hours later, sated and sleepy, they huddle beneath the blankets, Derek wrapped protectively around Stiles, both of them falling asleep with Scissors atop the comforter in between them.