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And The Moon Shined A Little Brighter

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He honestly truly believes that he’s going to get away with it. That the pack will be fine, and no one will be that bothered, and that the universe will sort itself out once he’s gone. Once he’s dead.

Stiles has been dying for nearly a year when it comes to bite him in the ass. He’s kept it hidden, at first hoping no one would even smell it on him, but when Derek had looked at him a little odd at a pack movie night, and Peter had tried to get closer to him to smell him clearer, he knew he had to do something.

It started with a mild strain of wolfsbane, used for covering scents, a small amount in a vile hidden inside his pouch of mountain ash that he carried with him no matter where he went. Enough to mask his scent, but not enough that the wolves could detect it. Slowly he added more; eucalyptus oil that had been blessed on his wrists, baby’s breath flower buds crushed with salt and snake blood hidden in a pouch in his sock, a bees wing sealed in its hives honey, hidden under his watch band, and a ravens feather dipped in black lake water tied around his neck. All of which he’d been sourcing through different mages and witches he’d been in contact with throughout the years.

Its working, everything he introduced slowly enough that the wolves take it to be his natural scent.

He feels, well, terrible, and he’s estimated that he’s got nearly two weeks left, maybe, when Deaton calls the pack in for a meeting.

“What do you mean the forest is dying, we just had all that rain, and it’s the greenest its ever looked.” Scott said, staring at Deaton like he was insane, everyone nodding along except Stiles, who had a sinking feeling in his stomach.

“There are runes carved into certain trees in the forest at the edge of the territory, placed there long before any of us were born, carved when a very strong mage created the Nemeton. The runes have started rotting, like they’re diseased, and its spreading inwards, it’ll kill all the plants on Hale territory, quickly.” Deaton explained.

“Okay so we figure out what’s causing it, fix it, and set up some kind of town plant-a-tree day to fix the damage once it’s done.” Lydia said, looking more bored every second she was forced to stand within the vet’s office. Before Deaton could continue on, Peter interrupted.

Let me guess, it’ll kill all of us too.” Peter drawled, looking annoyed and more and more like he wished he’d stayed dead.

“I believe so. Every supernatural creature belonging to the Hale land, including those that aren’t currently here.” Deaton said, giving Derek a pointed look, despite him not being an alpha anymore

“I’ll call Cora, Isaac and Chris and get them to come back for a visit, Chris is human but he can help, Lydia, can you call Jackson and Ethan?” Derek asked, getting a nod from the red head.

“I actually already contacted all five of them, they get here tomorrow.” Deaton said, getting a confused glance from a few of the pack members that had been around the longest, it wasn’t like Deaton to be that helpful.

“I presume you have some idea of what’s happening?” Parrish asked Deaton, while checking his watch, himself and the Sheriff needing to get back to the station.

Everyone tensed when Deaton let out a rather resigned sigh, like he already knew they had no hope. Deaton having never previously given any indication to how he felt about their supernatural issues.

“There are creatures, supernatural creatures, referred to as spirits, and not the ghost kind. There are many types, and usually only a handful of each type exist, in some cases there are only one. They have extreme power over their element, so to speak. There are sun spirits, forest spirits, water spirits, healing spirits, language spirits and so on. They are all incredibly secretive about it, and often tell a single person of all their abilities, usually someone in the world of the supernatural, that is referred to as their confidant.”

No one noticed the Sheriff and Peter sharing a glance, all too busy staring at Deaton as he spoke.

“One of the rarest of these Spirits, is the moon spirit. They are considered the strongest out of all kinds, mainly due to their influence over the supernatural. They are also the best at concealing their abilities and there are usually only one or two alive at a time. I believe, that before the Hale fire, one was residing in Beacon Hills, though I have no clue who they were, nor who their confidant was. I lost any sense of them after the fire, however, I believed there was still some presence, as the forest remained, coated, so to speak, in the moons light. It’s been fading this past year, but I didn’t find it concerning until these last couple of days, its disintegrating now, quickly, leading me to believe that either the lasting effect of the spirit is fading, or there is still a moon spirit here, and there is something wrong with it, but I don’t know what, or how to help them, or how the hell to figure out who it is.”

Talk.” Derek said roughly, looking over at his uncle, everyone following his eyeline to notice the weird mixture of sadness and apprehension on the older wolf’s face.

“I knew who the moon spirit was, I was their confidant. And yes, they did die, and no, I will not tell you who it was, that bond is something I will never betray. I, once, had some suspicions about who the new spirit could be, who it was passed onto, because I believe there is one still living here, but that suspicion has been proven wrong again and again, so there is no point digging it up. I had noticed the forest dimming, but I was hoping it was just me getting old.” Peter admitted with a soft laugh.

“What do you mean dimming?” Scott asked, sounding every bit as confused as when he first got bit, Stiles had to refrain from rolling his eyes at how clueless their almighty alpha sounded.

“The moonlight has always been stronger here in Beacon Hills, that’s why first shifts are so difficult, even for born wolves, and why it’s harder to refrain from shifting at night. When you do shift at night, and it almost looks like daylight, it’s not heightened vision per say, it’s just seeing clearly in the moonlight. I didn’t realise just how strong it was here until I left, but I didn’t notice it was dimming, because I’ve been on street duty these past few weeks, so I haven’t shifted.” The annoyed tone didn’t go unnoticed, Derek referring to the rounds Scott was making the pack take to keep up security over the territory, but stupidly making Derek avoid the forest, and Peter for the most part too. Stiles theorised that Scott was trying to weaken the Hale connection to the land as much as possible, it presumably conflicting with his true alpha-ness.

It was the first time Stiles had really been bothered to be concerned that he was dying, he had no clue it would take everyone with him. He slowly flitted his eyes around, landing on his dad, then Ms McCall, and then Danny, the humans, the only ones in the room who would live.

“So, what do we do, what do we look for?” Danny asked, looking to Deaton.

“I could check for any weird symptoms or symptoms that haven’t responded to treatment for patients admitted in the last few weeks, if there is something wrong with them, they might have gone to the hospital.” Melissa said, looking to Deaton.

“There’s no need, an old contact of mine knows a forest spirit, an older gentleman who appeared to be familiar with Beacon Hills, he’ll be here tomorrow. I don’t know his name, and I doubt we will, again, they are secretive, but he’ll hopefully be able to help us, by either helping find the spirit or by helping purify the forest.” Deaton explained, and Stiles couldn’t help the wave of panic that washed over him.

Peter moved a little closer to him, bumping their shoulders in comfort before pulling away and giving him some more personal space, the wolves in the room presuming the panic came at the thought of being near another magic user after the shit show that was the witch they’d just finished dealing with, if only they knew.

“Do we need to be cautious of this guy?” Liam asked nervously, everyone remembering just how much the witch put him through.

“No, generally speaking, spirits are the kindest of all supernatural creatures.”

“Generally speaking?” Kira asked, as she leant against Scott. Stiles felt kinda bad for her, she clearly had no clue what kind of supernatural shit show she was moving into when she got to Beacon Hills, and she clearly wasn’t getting used to the constant fear and exhaustion yet.

“Moon spirits are the exception to that rule, one of the only things really known about them is that they tend to have, well, let’s say, an unpredictable moral compass.”

Stiles needed to warn his dad, he knew that much, he looked over to Scott, who was already absorbed in Kira’s presence, Kira who was still trying to focus on the meeting, before flitting over to his Dad, who was already giving him a knowing look and a nod.

“I think there may be, and it’s a big may, be a book on moon spirits in our family vault, if it is still there, it’ll be heavily disguised, if I can find it, I’ll bring it tomorrow.” Peter said, sliding his jacket back on, as the pack meeting came to a close.

“We’ll help you look.” Mason said, following Peter and Malia out the door, Liam and Hayden close behind.

“Lydia, are you able to drop Parrish at the station on your way to drop off Danny while I drop Stiles home?” The Sheriff asked, it not going unnoticed by Derek that Scott didn’t realise Stiles was no longer leaving with him.

“Course.” Lydia said, pulling out her keys and walking out the door with Parrish and Danny, Scott and Kira soon walking out after them, leaving are rather hurt Stiles and a rather pissed off Sheriff and Ms McCall. 

“Can I get a ride?” Brett asked Derek somewhat nervously, Stiles wishing, not for the first time, that Derek was still an Alpha that could help all of Scott’s nervous and untrained betas.

“Course you can.” Derek said, holding the door open for the young wolf as they left, catching Stiles’ eye and giving him and nod goodbye before the door shut.

“Alright, let’s get you home kid.” The Sheriff said, Melissa following the two out to her own car, parked next to the cruiser.

 

---

 

The radio was playing some soft rock, and Brett wondered if he and Derek actually shared the same taste in music or if Derek had put it on the try and calm his nerves. Belatedly wondering how Derek would even know his taste in music.

“I know that no one really tells you this, none of the betas I mean,” Brett started nervously, noticing Derek look over at him quickly to acknowledge that he was listening, “but, we all still feel a pull to you. Our wolf side, like you’re our alpha. Even though you aren’t, even though you’re not even an alpha at all anymore. But it’s still there, and I know you try and keep your distance so it doesn’t piss off Scott, but I also know you pick up on everything that’s bothering all of us, so don’t feel like you have to hold yourself back from helping. I mean, even Liam feels it, and Scott is through and through his alpha. I don’t expect you to go challenge Scott or anything but like, next time you want to clap one of us on the shoulder or cup our neck or something, just do it, we need it as much as you do.” Brett admitted.

“I was a terrible alpha; I don’t know why any of you would want that.” Derek said softly, and Brett hated how much Derek seemed to believe it.

“You’d be surprised the difference trying makes. And besides, from what I can tell, you are well aware when you make a mistake, or when you’re wrong, or if you don’t know something. A good pack acknowledges its weaknesses and works as a group to better them, and sometimes, some of those weaknesses are on the alpha, it would be weird if it wasn’t.” Brett said, hoping he got his point across.

“And you know, if you ever did go up against Scott, I know you don’t believe it, but we’d all side with you, including Stiles, god he’d side with you till his dying day.” Brett added on with a small smirk, neither wolf realising just how much weight those words carried.

Derek just nodded in acknowledgement, but his shoulders seemed less tense, and his frown not as bad, so Brett felt just that bit better. They stayed in silence right until Brett went to get out of the car.

“Brett,” Derek said, pausing, before clapping his hand onto Brett’s shoulder and squeezing firmly, letting his wolf strength leak into the grip, “thanks.”

Brett simply nodded and climbed out the car once Derek lifted his hand, the tension running out of his body from the simple gesture, the feeling of pack slightly intensified from the barest of scent markings. Brett waved as Derek drove away, and it wasn’t until he was unlocking his front door that he registered he’d never told Derek where he lived, a smile breaking out on his face at the thought.

 

---

 

“I was expecting you to be bitching about Scott the whole way home.” John said, looking over to Stiles every few minutes. Stiles knew he was being way too quiet, but he had no clue how to start the conversation. It wasn’t until the cruiser pulled into the driveway, and John looked over expectantly, waiting for him to get out of the car that he felt he could even open his mouth.

“If I’m right, and I think I am, I know who this forest spirit guy is, and I need to warn you about him, because for all that talk about spirits being nice or whatever, he is not going to like you or me at all.” Stiles explained, not daring to look at his dad.

“Okay, so who is he?”

“Do you remember, when I was a kid, and you went to that law enforcement conference in LA for a week?” Stiles asked.

Yeah.” His dad acknowledged slowly, clearly already not liking where this was going.

“Well, while you were gone, this guy came to visit mum, he was very surprised to find me there. Mum was so angry, I had never seen her that mad, and I never saw her that mad ever again, even as a little kid I thought she was going to kill him. I remember her telling me to go wait in my room, I could hear them yelling, but I couldn’t hear what about, he left and she came up and told me not to tell you about it, because it would only upset and worry you.” Stiles explained.

“Where have I heard that before?” John asked sarcastically, a small smile slipping onto Stiles’ face at the memory of telling his dad everything about the supernatural.

“Around a year or so later, she asked me if I remembered that man, and I said I did, she explained that he was a forest spirit, not that I really knew what it meant, not then anyways, but I trusted mum, always did. And then she told me the bit I didn’t like. She explained that the man, was my grandfather, her dad, and that he had come to ask her to move to whatever shitty town he was living in.” Stiles could practically feel the anger pouring off his dad at the point.

Stiles didn’t dare look over to his dad as he absorbed the information. The ragged loud breaths his dad took were clearly mean to be calming, but Stiles didn’t think they were really helping.

“You mean to tell me, that the man, who never once met me, didn’t come to our engagement, to our wedding, didn’t come when you were born, Jesus the man who didn’t come to Claudia’s funeral is going to fucking be here tomorrow?” He asked, the swear slipping out a true indicator for just how pissed off he was.

“I think so, I could be wrong, but you and I both know that usually, when it comes to supernatural shit, I’m not wrong very often.” Stiles said softly, leaning over to give his dad an awkward side hug before climbing out the car.

“I’ll see you in the morning, you and I can make a plan of attack over breakfast.” Stiles said, shooting a conniving smirk at his dad, who gave him an equally conniving expression back, and Stiles knew, that the pack was gonna learn that his sheer stubborn asshole behaviour was inherited from his dad, not his mum.

Stiles made his way up to the house, hearing his dad pull out of the driveway and turning back just in time to see the furious expression still on his dad’s face. At least he warned him, if only about one of the issues at hand.

Deciding to get the worst part of his day over with, he made his way up to his room to get ready to shower, knowing that removing everything he carried on him would let the hollow feeling sink back into his bones and he’d be struggling to breathe. Once he knew the coast was clear, and no werewolves were going to show up, he flipped the lock on his window, sealing the mountain ash barrier around his room, and made his way into the bathroom.  

He removed his watch first, the bee’s wing coming off with it, and he immediately felt twitchy, like he had an itch to scratch but he was too numb to feel it. Next, he took his pouch of mountain ash with the wolfsbane out his pocket, placing it on his sink. Suddenly the smell of decay coming off him was strong enough that even he could smell it. Next he took his socks off, placing the pouch with the crushed flower buds, salt, and now dried blood on the sink as well, his frail body breaking out in shivers at how cold he suddenly felt. Lastly was the feather, rather that untying it from the chain around his neck, he just took the necklace off, the pearlescent moon charm hanging from it taunting him.

His mother made him the charm, and gave it to him when he turned six, ‘to conceal your heart’ she’d told him. He didn’t know what she meant but he knew that he got a pretty necklace from his mum, so he didn’t care, he loved it. However, he’d been taking it off to sleep, and after a particularly bad nightmare where a monster in the woods killed Scott, ironic, he knows, he woke up to an eclipse… that he’d caused. His mother thankfully fixed it, but that was the night he learnt about himself, what he really was. A moon spirit, just like his mum.

His first rune appeared that night, glowing brilliantly on his arm, a beautiful luminescent blue. He knew it was the symbol for the eclipse, he didn’t know how, it was a bunch of confusing lines making up an image he’d never seen before, but he knew. And the charm, the charm hid everything. So, over the years, running with wolves and fighting the evilest mythical creatures that he wished didn’t exist, more and more runes appeared on his arms, and the stronger he got. But only stronger without the charm, something there was no way he was taking off in front of his pack. He’d rather be considered the fragile, useless human.

The second he took the feather and charm off, the hollow feeling took over his body, and he wondered if this is what the wolves felt like on an eclipse, when they could no longer feel their wolf side. At least they knew it was still there, Stiles had no clue if he had anything left, and considering how close he was to dying, and how he’d tried everything, he figured he didn’t. It felt like someone had pulled his heart out of his chest. Stiles would rather get shot.

He remembers the night he realised he didn’t have any spirit left in him. It was after the Nogitsune. He’d immediately blocked his powers the second he felt something else in his body, and thank god he had, because otherwise he’s sure all of the pack would be dead. But it turns out he’d blocked it a little too well. He wanted to do a cleanse, a small breathing exercise in the forest, letting the moonlight wash over him, as his powers flared and his runes glowed, cleansing his body from anything the Nogitsune left behind. But as he’d pulled the charm off from around his neck, nothing happened. No glowing, no calm, no nothing. All he’d felt was a hollow feeling in his chest and a rising panic.

Derek had found him, having a panic attack near the old Hale house, and that’s when Stiles knew it was really bad, because Derek couldn’t smell the magic on him, Stiles should have been powerful enough to force Derek to shift from just being near him, but he hadn’t. Derek had just helped him calm down, and driven him home, believed the random lie Stiles had fed him about making sure nothing bad was still left in him or whatever bullshit he’d said, he can’t really remember.

The eucalyptus oil washed off in the shower, and he could see his skin was becoming almost grey in colour, the searing hot water doing nothing to add the pink back into his skin. He showered as quickly as possible, drying himself as quickly as he could, placing the charm back around his neck, the feather making him feel infinitely better. Next he rubbed the oil onto his wrists, before putting his watch back on. He put his pyjamas on, grabbing them from where they sat neatly folded on top of his toilet, tucking his pouch of mountain ash into his pocket and slipping the pouch of flower buds into his fuzzy socks.

He could still feel it though, and he knew it was getting worse, his time was coming to an end. Quickly. His stomach rumbled, and he thought about how hungry he was, he felt like he could down an entire party size pizza in about three minutes, but he knew that wasn’t the case. His body was starting to reject food, and if he ate too much in one go, his stomach would cramp horrifically and it all just came up again. He made his way downstairs and pulled the lettuce out of the fridge, sitting himself down and munching on the leaves slowly. Rabbit food, that’s what it’d come down to. Maybe Stiles was kidding himself, maybe he didn’t even have two weeks, maybe it was more like one.

 

---

 

As much as he was excited to make a game plan of how to be an absolute asshole to his grandfather over breakfast, he wasn’t looking forward to trying to force food into his mouth and actually keep it down in front of his dad.

Thankfully, when he got downstairs it was to a note, not a breakfast.

 

     Had to do some paperwork, see you at lunch.

     Dad

 

He sat down at the dining table, debating if he should just eat some more lettuce, or try and eat some toast. The feeling of nausea that washes over him is enough to answer the question for him, but just as he’s about to get up to go to the fridge, he hears the front door opening. He knows it isn’t his dad, who is still be at work, and anyone else in the pack would have announced their presence.

He reaches into his pocket to grab his pouch of mountain ash, hoping whoever is breaking into his house is someone supernatural so he can actually defend himself, his bat is upstairs and useless to him in the kitchen. He has just enough time to realise that it could be his grandfather and he’d be screwed when the three intruders make themselves visible, smirks on their faces.

Fuck all of you.” Stiles says, pulling his hand out of his pocket just in time to get tackled into a hug by a laughing Jackson. Stiles hugged back just as hard, soaking up the touch that he’d been starved of for months. With Scott having no clue how important scenting was and actively not initiating it, all the betas became too scared to touch each other and scent mark, especially to touch Stiles.

Before Stiles could even register what was happening, he was being pulled into another equally as tight hug from Isaac, both of them burying their faces into each other’s necks. Stiles stomach lurched just a little when they pulled back to Isaac screwing his face up.

“You smell weird Stilinski.” Isaac, said, and it occurred to Stiles that it wasn’t just his grandfather that he needed to be worried about exposing the fact that he was dying. But the four wolves returning to Beacon Hills that would be able to tell the difference in his scent.

“Fuck off Lahey.” Was all Stiles acknowledged him with, pulling Ethan into a hug, before the three of them settled around the dining table, catching up on lost time. 

In the end they settled with Jackson and Ethan driving to the loft in Jacksons car, and Isaac going in the jeep with Stiles.

“You don’t smell as much like pack as I was expecting you to, like it’s still there but it smells like you haven’t seen anyone in person in days.” Isaac said, looking over to Stiles.

“Yeah, everyone is going to smell like that to you. Scott’s not really big on the whole physical contact thing, and so none of the betas think they should be doing it, or they don’t know, and everyone is slowly getting more and more restless.” Stiles explained.

So… Scott’s still a terrible alpha then?” Isaac tentatively asked, and Stiles breathed a sigh of relief at finally having someone he could talk about it with.

“Oh you have no idea, he hasn’t changed at all, and it’s like he forgets Peter and Derek and even Malia are all born wolves, and well, coyotes, and so when they suggest something based of their instincts, Scott just disagrees and goes with his own, even though he wouldn’t know a good idea if it hit him in the face.” Stiles said.

“Well I mean, that’s half of why Derek gave up on trying to scare you out of the supernatural world way back when, he realised you were the only one that Scott ever really listened too and that your ideas were actually good.” Isaac explained, and Stiles couldn’t help the little bit of happiness that he felt at knowing Derek thought he had good ideas. Distracted, he didn’t ask what the other half of why Derek kept him around was.

“Yeah even that’s not going great anymore. He’s got his head so far up Kira’s ass it isn’t even funny, it’s as bad as, as bad as he was with Allison,” Stiles stuttered, still struggling to talk about his lost friend, “at least Kira is invested in the pack and is always trying to help, but he’s kinda stopped listening to me too these days. Thankfully Kira agrees on me with most things, at first she would say she agreed with my plans and ideas and Scott would just straight up think it was her idea, she’d always look so guilty and upset when Scott just brushed me off for her, I started to text her ideas and plans for her to relay to Scott so neither of us had to deal with his selective hearing.” Stiles continued on.

“Ah, so that whole, ‘Kira had the great idea to do rounds every night to strengthen the territory and make it easier to notice threats’ thing was all…” Isaac started, looking over to Stiles.

“Yeah, all me.”

“Was it also your idea to have Derek out of the forest?” Isaac asked, and Stiles couldn’t help but be relieved to know that Isaac and Derek must still text.

“No, that was one of Scott’s genius ideas. It has its positives though; it’s made Derek start acting like an alpha. And a good one. He checks up on everyone, takes food to my dad and Parrish, and to Melissa, he keeps Lydia company on bad days, answers questions Danny or I have when filling in blanks spots in the bestiary, but also just like, knows if we’re feeling down, and what music we listen to and what movies are our favourite, you know.” Stiles said, pulling into the carpark at the loft, noticing that the only car that wasn’t parked there was Deaton’s.

Stiles and Isaac walked up the stairs, Jackson and Ethan trailing behind them, when I concerned Malia stopped them at the door.

“Your dad’s being weird.” She said to Stiles, looking somewhat uncomfortable.

“Weird how?” Stiles asked, but he already had an idea.

“He’s hugging everyone, and I mean everyone.” She said, and Stiles figured she’d been the victim of a surprise Stilinski attack.

Stiles just smirked and walked into the loft, and sure enough, there was his dad, an incredibly forced fake smile on his face, and he was pulling Scott into a bit too long firm hug. Scott either feeling too awkward or too guilty, hugged back just as hard, not realising what he was doing, and Stiles couldn’t help the grin that broke on his face.

His dad was making sure everyone’s scent was all up in his business, so that to an outsider, for instance, a forest spirit, he would smell like the most important member of the pack.

“Ah, boys, you’re all here!” He said, turning to where Stiles, Isaac, Jackson and Ethan were standing, Malia rushing off to stand near Kira, clearly not wanting to risk another hug.

“Hey dad.” Stiles said, walking into his father’s embrace, both of them stifling their laughs into each other’s shoulders. Stiles walked over to the kitchen watching as his dad pulled the three wolves into hilariously awkward hugs.

“Why is your dad scenting everyone?” Cora asked from behind him, sneaking her arms around his middle, and he turned to give her a proper hug.

“Who said he was scenting everyone?” Stiles said when they pulled apart, a smug look on his face. Cora seemed confused, but Peter, who was standing next to them, seemed to get the gist.

“Alright guys,” Scott interrupted, calling everyone closer to him where he was standing by the window, “Deaton sent me a message with what we should and shouldn’t do when he gets here so that we don’t risk offending him and that he helps us out. Firstly, don’t try and shake his hand or have any contact with him unless he initiates it himself, in which case do not refuse to shake his hand. If he asks for your name, tell him, it’s not like fae or anything where telling him your name is dangerous, he’ll just see it as rude. Don’t mention, in any capacity, or ask for, or about, his name. Spirits are incredibly secretive and private, and we are very fortunate to have his help, and if you begin to ask his name, he may feel we are trying to take advantage of his kindness. Try not to talk back to him in a way that could be taken as rude or offensive. Be aware that wolves are often not favoured by spirits, so he may be a little short with the wares. Deaton has no clue how he will react to a banshee, a were-coyote, a half wolf half kanima, a hellhound, a kitsune or the humans that associate with all the mentioned supernatural creatures in the McCall pack.” He explained, looking up pointedly at Stiles as he spoke on how to behave.

Stiles tried not to take offense that Scott already thought he was going to mess things up, even though he was fully planning on doing just that, and so was his dad, but it did hurt a little to know that Scott really thought of him as the problem. Which was also true, if he wasn’t dying the forest wouldn’t be either.

“They’re here.” Derek announced, staring at Scott who had been to engrossed in Kira’s presence to notice the energy of a druid and a forest spirit approaching the loft doors.

Stiles was annoyed at just how normal he looked. He was just an old man, less evil looking the Gerard, but somewhere in the same vain. Stiles couldn’t help but feel annoyed at the resemblance they shared and judging by Peter turning to look between himself and his grandfather, he clearly wasn’t the only one who noticed.

Scott was too busy staring at him to realise he wasn’t going to be the issue. His dad walked right up to him, and the lack of recognition on his grandfather’s face made Stiles anger fester even more. Before anyone could stop him, his dad was grabbing his grandfather’s hand and pulling him into a firm handshake, every person in the room freezing in a panic, minus Stiles.

“Sheriff Stilinski, pleasure to meet you.” John said, the venom in his tone clear. Stiles couldn’t help the satisfaction as his grandfather realised who he was in the presence of, an uncomfortable grimace on his face.

“Pleasure to meet you too.” He replied, awkwardly waiting for John to let go of his hand.

“This is my son.” His dad gestured to him, so Stiles walked up to stand just behind his dad.

“Well its lovely to meet you too.” He said extending his hand out to shake Stiles’, and Stiles hated how much his voice changed, clearly more concerned with Stiles than his dad. Stiles simply hummed in response and looked at the hand held out to him, not removing either of his from his pockets. In his peripherals, he could see Chris move to rub his temples, and Derek doing the same, everyone watching as the two Stilinski’s did every single thing they weren’t meant to do.

As his grandfather lowered his hand, he knew he was in trouble, because his eyes had travelled to Stiles’ neck, and as much as Stiles wishes it was in acknowledgement of the charm that hung there, Stiles knew it was for the feather. Confirmed when his grandfather’s gaze travelled to his wrist that had the eucalyptus oil on it, then to his pocket, where the vile of wolfsbane sat, down to his sock, where the crushed flower buds were, and up to his other wrist, where once again the was eucalyptus oil, but also the bee’s wing hidden under his watchband.

His grandfather knew he was hiding something. He just hoped he had no clue what.

“And what is your name?” He asked Stiles, and Stiles couldn’t help the wave of anger and pain that washed over him, he knew all the wolves must have smelt it, and his grandfather clearly picked up on it, his eyes wavering just a little, because in what fucking universe, does a grandfather not know his grandsons name.

Depends, you gonna tell us yours?” Stiles asks back, hearing someone behind him mutter out an ‘oh my god’, either Chris or Parrish, it was hard to tell.

You can call me Atlas.” His grandfather responds after a pause, the emphasis on the you clearly implying that only Stiles should be calling him that, but Stiles doesn’t plan on using it, and he can already tell his dad is planning on using it anyways.

“Well Atlas,” his father starts, “this is our packs alpha, Scott.”

Scott comes forward and between him and Deaton, they explain what’s been happening to the forest and why they think a moon spirit is involved. Stiles notices every time Atlas’ eyes flick over to him.

“We can’t thank you enough.” Scott mutters out in his annoying ‘desperate to please’ voice that Stiles had heard far too many times in his life. He was glad to catch Cora’s eyes as she rolled her eyes at Scott, at least he wasn’t the only one annoyed with the wolf.

“Well of course, I owed a friend a favour, but also, someone very dear to me once lived here.” Atlas replied.

Stiles couldn’t help the snort that escaped him, ‘dear to me’, yeah right.

“Is that funny to you?” Atlas asked him, and Stiles felt all the anger he’s ever felt towards the previously unknown man bubble up to the surface.

“Yeah its fucking hilarious.” Stiles replies. Kira gasps, Danny mutters out a ‘dude’, and Scott looks like he’s about to burst a blood vessel with how angry he is. Derek, surprisingly, looks more like he’s deeply concerned than angry, and Stiles supposes that’s fair, Derek knows he doesn’t just get this angry over nothing.

“I beg your pardon?” Atlas asks, and Stiles can tell what’s happening, he thinks Stiles isn’t going to rise to the occasion. If he acknowledges who Atlas is to him, the pack will start making assumptions about just what Stiles is, but Stiles doesn’t give a shit. He hates this man.

Mm, ’someone very dear to me’, yeah I call bullshit on that, that someone was your daughter, and clearly you didn’t care all that much about her, you never met her husband, didn’t come to their wedding, you didn’t come when your grandchild was born.” Stiles knew that most of the pack had probably already figured out who Atlas was, if they hadn’t, they were about to, “Jesus you didn’t even come to your own daughter’s funeral.”

Stiles didn’t realise how much he’d moved as he’d been talking, now standing behind the couch that held Isaac, Jackson and Lydia, Derek standing to his left and Liam to his right. He was surrounded by protection.

“Do not speak to me like that boy. Show your elders some respect.” Atlas said back to him, still a hint of gentleness in his voice, it made Stiles want to scream. He could see his dad getting ready to yell back, but he didn’t want to risk his dad getting hurt.

“How about you show me some respect huh? As far as I’m concerned, you’re just an asshole that decided you didn’t care about your family, so you’ll be getting no respect from me. You don’t even know my name.” Stiles replied back, practically yelling.

“I came here as a favour, to help this forest and all those who are supernatural from dying.” His grandfather replied, the gentleness gone from his voice and anger in his expression. “But of course, I’m not going to be much help, am I?” There was something in the tone of his voice that made Stiles uneasy.

“Were you ever planning on telling them?” Atlas asked him. Yeah, he was fucked.

Hm? When were you going to tell your little pack of wolves that you’re dying?”

You could hear a pin drop the room went so silent. Everyone turning to look at Stiles, expecting a witty comeback, calling Atlas ridiculous, something, but everything seemed to die on his tongue before he could even open his mouth.

“I could smell it the minute I walked in. Smart really, I presume you introduced it all slowly so that none of the wolves would notice the change in your scent.”

Stiles clenched his jaw when he saw Isaac quickly look to Jackson and then back at him, they’d noticed his scent change, of course they had, they just didn’t know what it meant. Stiles didn’t dare look in his dad’s direction.

“I’m presuming you started with the wolfsbane. Hidden in a little vile in your pouch of mountain ash, not noticeable to a wolf, but enough to block one’s scent.” His grandfather started and Stiles could see as all the wolves breathed in and suddenly realised exactly what they were smelling.

“Next, the eucalyptus oil, it’s been blessed if I’m not incorrect, I’m surprised you didn’t just go for oil blended with holy water, though I suppose in these regions its harder to find. Rubbed onto your wrists, more scent masking, but also brings a flush to the skin, makes you look less like you’re dying.” Stiles couldn’t look anywhere but his grandfather, not being able to handle the looks on anyone’s face.

“Then came the bee’s wing,” a gasp from Peter was enough to make everyone really panic, Stiles sometimes wished Peter don’t know as much about the supernatural, because Peter was easily going to figure out just how bad he really was getting. “It’s encased in honey, from its own hive, you’re quite smart, hiding it by sticking it to the inside of your watchband, pressed to your wrist to keep you looking healthy, and to mask the scent of the two stronger scent blockers. The pouch hidden inside your shoe is impressive, baby’s breath flower buds, crushed up with salt and the blood from a snake, a venomous one too if I’m not mistaken. And lastly the feather, from a raven, dipped in black lake water and tied to the chain that hangs around your neck. It must be getting pretty bad if you need that, because that doesn’t just mask your scent, it also stops you from feeling just how bad it really is.”

The silence was deafening. After what felt like hours, the silence broke.

“How long have you got left?” Hayden asked, voice shaky, letting Stiles know that even she cared, making him wonder just how far his reach was within the pack. Stiles answered the question still looking at his grandfather.

Give or take… bout a week.”

Everyone’s shocked gasps rattled Stiles to his core, all he’d wanted was to die peacefully without worrying the pack. Guess that went out the window. Even Atlas looked sad, although that just made Stiles pissed off again.

“How could you not tell us?” Scott’s betrayed voice echoed through the loft.

Very easily.” Stiles said, rather coldly.

“We’re your pack, we could have been helping all this time.” Scott’s angrily replied.

No, you couldn’t have. There is nothing that can help me, believe me, I’ve tried. There’s nothing you can do, or that he can do,” Stiles said, gesturing to Deaton, “or that he can do.” Stiles continued, gesturing to his grandfather.

“Nothing will help. I’m going to die whether I like it or not. And I’d kept it a secret to stop everyone from worrying because I know, there is no solution, nothing that can fix this, and I wasn’t about to watch you all go insane trying to find an answer. And before you suggest it like a fucking idiot, no, the bite won’t help, it’ll just kill me faster, and honestly, I’d rather die than having it anyways. And no, I didn’t know the forest was dying and I didn’t know that I was going to take all of you with me. At least now, dear old Atlas is here, and he is a forest spirit. So, while I’m heading six feet under, he can do his job and keep the forest, and all of you alive. End of conversation.”

No not end of conversation. What the actual fuck Stiles, if the bite can help you, you’re getting it.” Scott replied, and Stiles felt his heart warm just a little as he noticed the wolves around him get offended at such a suggestion.

“If I may butt in, there are many options to help you that I’m sure you haven’t tried.” His grandfather said, Stiles refraining from rolling his eyes, he knew exactly where this conversation was about to go.

“There’s a type of frog that-”

Tried it.” Stiles interrupted.

“Okay, well,” Atlas continued on, “in certain regions of South Africa, they grow-”

Tried it. All three.”

“There is a coven of witches in Northern Ire-”

Tried it. They told me I was a lost cause and wished for me to have a painless death.”

“Well… it’s a little gross, but it is said that if you drink the blood of a-”

“Didn’t work either. And yes, it was absolutely disgusting.”

“So maybe you need more extreme measures then. I’ve read before that if you can find the heart of-”

Tried it. Didn’t work. Was super depressing.”

“There is an incredibly rare strand of wolfsbane, it only grows in certain regions of Europe-”

Oh, does it now?” Stiles asked sarcastically.

“Yes, there is a procedure, you imbed it into-”

“Your wrist, yeah I know, I tried it, and it didn’t fucking work. And I got blood everywhere too.” Stiles explained angrily, lifting his sleeve to show the bumpy, slightly blue-ish scar on the inside of his wrist.

“Then desperate times call for desperate measures I suppose,” his grandfather said after a pause, clearly taken back at such powerful healing magic not working, “it is said that if you swim in a black-”

“Lake, without getting caught and drowned, any ailments, both human and supernatural will be cured. I did that, and it didn’t. work. So, I tried again, and I let them drown me, I let them drag me down to the mud at the bottom until my lungs filled with the murky water and it didn’t work, it didn’t work to the point that they hauled me to the surface, pulled the water from my lungs and let me go.”

Jesus kid.” Peter mumbled from where he stood near the kitchen.

“What’s a black lake?” Mason asked quietly from where he was leaning back against the window.

“It’s where sirens live, usually in groups of three, the lake water turns black from their kills, and it helps conceal them. I know there is one somewhere in the preserve, but I wouldn’t know how to go about finding it.” Peter explained softly.

“Peter we would know if there were sirens in Beacon Hills.” Scott said, looking at Peter like he was lying.

“Sirens only feed every fifty or so years, and they use heavy magic to conceal themselves in between, they don’t want to be found as much as we don’t want to stumble across them. It takes a lot of energy and effort to find them.” Deaton explained, and Stiles couldn’t help but feel a little smug at the embarrassed expression on Scott’s face. But then he just felt kind of sad, he was going to die annoyed and angry with his best friend.

“Surely there’s something you can do?” Lydia asked Atlas, and Stiles hated how upset she sounded, he looked away from her, which was an even bigger mistake, because now he was staring into the watery, sad eyes of Derek Hale.

Derek gave him a small, barely there nod, and Stiles knew that he understood why Stiles had been secretive, but it still sucked. For the first time a thought hit Stiles, he was going to die without ever telling Derek he loved him. Stiles had been telling himself for years that he’d tell Derek, after the next monster, if they survive through this life and death situation, once they’ve finished researching, but Stiles never has. Always making up excuses, trying to avoid the inevitable rejection.

Stiles supposes it’s better this way, at least there will be no way for Derek to twist his words in his mind to somehow blame himself for Stiles dying.

Stiles is too busy staring at a sad Derek to register his grandfathers’ words.

“How bad is it anyways?” He’s asking Stiles, and suddenly there is a hand on his bare wrist where he had lifted his sleeve up, and the pain that is usually masked by the feather is shooting through his body, a gasp forcing its way out of his mouth, the pain too blinding to even scream. His grandfather pulls away with an equally as painful gasp, and Stiles near collapses, slumping into Derek’s arms where he’d lunged forward to grab Stiles.

Derek thankfully leaches out the pain as the magic from the feather kicks back in, leaving Stiles breathing heavily, watching as his grandfather’s palm fades back to skin colour, where it had turned completely black where he touched Stiles.

What happened to you?” His grandfather asked him, sounding horrified. Stiles stood up straight, Derek leaving a comforting hand resting on his lower back.

“I got possessed. A Nogitsune.”

“A Nogitsune… how many did you lose?” His grandfather asked him, looking around at the pack, horror etched onto his face.

Two.” Stiles saw in his peripherals Chris and Ethan look down as a pain flashed over their faces.

“How on earth did you only lose two, that kind of power using what you have...?” His grandfather asked, confused.

“I felt it when it got in. There was just this weird feeling that something was wrong, wrong with me, so I blocked my powers, I’d read about it before, in the book hidden in the Hale vault, so I did it, I didn’t know it was irreversible. When we finally got it out of me, I went out into the forest, and there was nothing. I had nothing anymore. At first, I hoped it would come back on its own. And then I thought I’d have to do something the get it back, turns out I’d just completely gotten rid of, signed on the dotted line, no getting it back, no undoing it. I accepted it; it wasn’t like I was flaunting what I could do anyways. But then I started feeling real shitty. I knew that Derek smelt the sickness on me, and Peter, so I got the wolfsbane. But it kept getting worse. I knew the second that the wolfsbane wasn’t enough that I was dying. And I figured out pretty quickly that there was no solution.”

The room was pretty quiet after that, just the sounds of everyone breathing, Melissa rubbing her hand on Johns back, Parrish moving closer to Mason, Peter resting a calming hand on Cora’s shoulder, Jackson squeezing Isaac’s leg, grounding him amongst his thoughts, Lydia hiding her face against Jackson’s shoulder. Brett had his hand placed on Liam’s shoulder, and Danny and Ethan were leaning against each other, Malia pulled Hayden into a side hug, while placing her hand on Kira’s back. Deaton and Chris seemed to be having a silent conversation, but they were both shaking their heads, they didn’t know how to help either.

“There is one other thing,” Atlas said after a pause, “but I have absolutely no clue how to go about it.”

“What?” Parrish asked, crossing his arms, everyone’s interest peaking at the thought of there being something else.

Sprites.” Atlas answered matter-of-factly. Earning a chorus of ‘Jesus Christ’, ‘stupidest idea I’ve ever heard’ and ‘fucking pointless’ from Chris, Deaton and Peter.

“There is absolutely no evidence of sprites being real, they’re a fucking made up concept to keep wayward hunters distracted.” Stiles responded, annoyed and tired and ready for the conversation to be over.

“The myth of them had to come from somewhere.” Atlas argued.

Yeah, from scared spirits making them up to stay safe.” Chris interjected, and Stiles was glad to know he wasn’t the only one done with the conversation.

“Not necessarily, think about it, no spirits these days are ever in the same amount of distress as those throughout history, so sprites just wouldn’t have a proper reason to appear-”

“Oh, I’ve been in some pretty fucking distressing situations and I’ve had no help from little flying humanoid creatures.” Stiles interrupted his grandfather.

“Wait, hold up, someone wanna explain?” Cora asked.

“Basically there is this legend, or myth or whatever you wanna call it, that each spirit has corresponding sprites, basically little winged humanoid creatures like Stiles said, there is nothing about what they really look like, or how many there are, but they supposedly help out their spirit when their spirit is in danger. This was during a time when hunters burnt witches on stakes for fun, torturing supernatural creatures was a normal pastime for hunters and when it was commonplace to kill wares in full shifts to flaunt their pelt as a sign of strength as a hunter. So, if a spirit were found they’d be tortured for days on end in horrific ways, but then these ‘sprites’ would show up and save their spirits before they could get hurt. Though it’s never really been proven that they exist and were probably just made up to scare off hunters.” Chris explained.

“How do you know so much about them?” Deaton questioned.

“There’s this sort of family legend that my grandmother told me when I was younger, supposedly, way back in the day, a werewolf saved an Argent from being killed by these sprites, and after being shown kindness from the creatures they hunted as a sport, they felt the need to change their ways, and wrote the code.” Chris replied.

“Did you guys find that book?” Brett asked after everyone had gone quiet, looking at Liam, then Malia, Hayden and Mason, then over to Peter.

Yeah, but we haven’t had a read through it yet.” Peter said, gesturing to his bag that was on the kitchen counter.

“Maybe there’s something on sprites in it.” Brett added, looking to Peter, and then to Stiles who shrugged in response.

“I don’t see the point in looking into something that no one thinks is going to work when you could just have the bite. At least then you’d actually be pack.” Scott said, and those words, those words were like a knife through Stiles’ heart, all the different members from the pack gasping at such a suggestion.

Stiles can tell Derek is about to rip Scott a new one, so is Peter, so is Jackson, so is Lydia, so is Kira, which is actually kinda nice. She almost looks as offended as Stiles feels. But then someone far more terrifying steps in.

Scott Michael McCall, I raised you to be a far better man then this. And a far better friend.” Scott was cowering under his mother’s gaze and tone, regret evident on his face, though he wouldn’t look at Stiles.

“I’m driving us home, and we are going to have a long chat you and I.” Melissa said, grabbing her keys and giving the sheriff a quick side hug as she spoke.

“I’ll take my bike-”

No, you will not, you are coming in the car with me and you can come back tomorrow to get it.” Melissa said, leaving no room for arguing, but of course, Scott still tried, alpha power going to his head thinking he was above his mother.

But Kira needs-”

“Kira can get a ride with any other pack member, I’m sure there’d even be a spot in the loft for her to crash if she needed it.”

Derek mumbled out a soft ‘of course’, not wanting to risk getting on Melissa McCall’s bad side. Stiles noticed how upset Kira looked, being turned into an excuse to her boyfriend’s mother.

Everyone watches Melissa leave, with Scott awkwardly trailing behind her, seemingly forgetting that Atlas was there and that he should probably at least say goodbye to him. Instead the pack watches their alpha leave without so much as a word goodbye.

Well, that was, something. Dr Deaton, are you free to stay and go over the book with me, perhaps we can find something a little more concrete?” Atlas said, walking over to where Peter stood in the kitchen, pulling a huge, old, leather bound book out of his bag.

There was a hand clasping down on his shoulder, and he turned to see his dad, unshed tears in his eyes. He was pulled into the tightest hug, and Stiles couldn’t help but shed a few tears into his dad shoulder, whimpering out an ‘I’m sorry’, though he knew it wasn’t enough. His dad simply squeezed him tighter, whispering out ‘it’s okay’ and ‘I understand’. It’s been a long time since Stiles has felt like such a terrible son.

“Let’s get you home kid.” His dad said, pulling back from the hug guiding Stiles to the door.

“Pack can drop round whenever.” His dad mutters out as they walk downstairs.

They go to climb into the cruiser, and Stiles see’s movement out the corner of his eye, Isaac, standing by the entrance to the building, a look of expectancy masking his sadness. Stiles throws him the keys to the jeep before climbing into the passenger seat.

The ride home was quiet, but not tense, and it occurred to Stiles that maybe he was just enjoying his time with his only son, before he couldn’t anymore.

“You are so much like your mother it scares me sometimes.” His dad says, briefly looking over to him before looking back to the road. Stiles can’t think of anything to say back, although, he doesn’t think he’s supposed to say anything anyways.

“She knew she was sick for two years before she told me. It was another six months until we told you.” His father admitted quietly, and he realised that this was not the first time someone had withheld their state of their health from him.

“And sure, I could be angry with you, I could be disappointed with you, god I could be a whole lot, but I’d rather just enjoy the time I’ve got left with you.” His dad continued on, and Stiles tried to ignore the break in his dad’s voice, though a few tears still ran down his cheeks.

So, they did something they hadn’t done in a long time.

They cooked.

Specifically, they cooked their favourite traditional dishes in the biggest quantities they could, knowing that there’d be a few werewolves coming for dinner.

Sure enough, as Stiles and his dad set out the largest amount of pierogi they’d ever made, what could only be describes a vat of Rosół, a massive platter piled high with cabbage rolls and an absolutely huge pot of lazanki, in walked Jackson, Ethan, Isaac, Lydia, Derek and Peter.

The conversation drifted over dinner from pack training, to security and pack safety, to college applications to pack nights. Everyone avoiding the elephant in the room, well, the elephant in the room but also the elephant out of the room. It seemed that there were two very clear rules; don’t talk about Stiles dying, and don’t talk about the absence of one Scott McCall.

Dinner is, surprisingly comfortable. Stiles supposes they’ve all been through enough together this is just another thing, though he knows they are all holding out hope for the stupid sprites to actually be real. Stiles is realistic, by the end of the week, he’ll be dead. But, if that means he gets to spend his last week eating his favourite food with his favourite people, and having the pack bonding he’s been craving for months on end, he’s kinda okay with that. Stiles only barely realises that Jackson, who had become the best at pulling pain in the pack, was pulling Stiles’ pain from where their forearms just touched, allowing him to actually eat a full meal for the first time in days.

Everyone leaves, and Stiles tries not to get too lost in the feeling of each pack member hugging him tight, but he does let himself hug his dad goodnight for a solid two minutes. And then once again, it’s time for the worst part of his day. Showering.

Stiles doesn’t bother flicking the latch on his window, just takes his pyjamas into his bathroom, and slowly goes through the motions.

Stiles wasn’t surprised when he came out the bathroom to two wolves in his bed.

Okay, you smelling weird is definitely better than you smelling like you.” Isaac admitted softly, but still with the edge of snark they always used with each other.

“Yeah, I know.” Stiles said, knowing they must have climbed through his window the second he closed his bathroom door.

He crawled in the space between the two of them, Jackson having already set up a movie on his laptop, placing it at the end of Stiles’ bed. If you had told Stiles a few years ago that he’d be sleeping happily squished between one Jackson Whittemore and one Isaac Lahey he’d call you fucking insane. But sure enough, he turned his head, all but nuzzling his face into Jackson’s chest as the movie started up.

Stiles has no clue what the time is when he wakes up, but the laptop is now sitting on his desk, and Jackson and Isaac are fast asleep. Or not.

I don’t want you to go.” Isaac admits in the smallest voice, one Stiles hasn’t heard since Boyd and Erica died.

Stiles rolled over, so that Isaac could press his face into his chest, as he had done with Jackson earlier in the night.

“Were you really planning on dying with pack members out of town? Out of the country?” Isaac mumbled into his chest.

“I thought I was gonna make it longer, thought I’d make it to Christmas when all of you were coming down to visit.” Stiles explained softly. “It just got a lot worse last week, started speeding up, and I was determined to not let anyone find out. I’d rather have an upset and sad pack missing me than a worried pack who blamed themselves for not being able to find an answer quick enough.” Stiles continued on.

“Well, your weird, rude grandfather is here so he’ll help.” Isaac said, Stiles snorting at the description, not having the heart to tell Isaac that there was nothing that would save him.

“Yeah, what the fuck kind of name is Atlas anyways?” Jackson grumbled, all three boys huffing out a tired laugh before going back to sleep.

 

---

 

The week continued on in a similar fashion, Stiles either at home or at the loft, surrounded by different members of the pack. And always his dad, who took a month’s long service leave, Parrish stepping in as acting sheriff.

Scott had tried apologising to him the next day, sneaking into his room after Jackson and Isaac had left after breakfast. Stiles had kicked him about before he could even finish saying the first four words of his apology.

“I’m sorry, but-” Scott had started.

“Scott, it the apology part of your apology is two words and is immediately followed by excuses, it’s not much of an apology.” Stiles had replied coldly, and Scott clearly got the message, an annoyed look on his face, before he turned and angrily climbed out the window he’d just come through.

Most mornings found Stiles, Jackson, Peter, Cora and Brett slumped over the kitchen counter, nursing coffee’s, none of them even close to morning people.

Deaton and his grandfather tried a whole bunch of things to summon the sprites, most involving runes, sometimes on the floor, sometimes on the book, sometimes on Stiles, and often with a little bit of his blood. It never worked, and though he never got his hopes up, everyone else did.

Stiles could see the disappointment every time it didn’t work, and he saw the desperation beginning to leak into the pack, the desperation he’d so desperately wanted to avoid.

In the end, it was a Thursday. For some of the pack, just a random Thursday, but not for some of the others. For some, it was the anniversary of the night Erica died. Stiles found he was often more effected by her anniversary, and Derek was more effected by the anniversary of Boyd’s death. It made sense, really. Stiles noticed Jackson, Isaac, Peter and Cora feeling a little off, Malia too if you looked hard enough, though she didn’t know why.

It was like phantom pack bonds, Isaac explained to him once. Like they could still feel Erica there, Boyd too, and they were all connected through Derek, who, although was no longer an alpha, or their alpha, they still had some kind of alpha pack bond with.

It was fitting really, going to see his Catwoman under a full moon.

The whole pack was at the loft, Deaton and Atlas included, everyone trying to spend as much time with Stiles as the week progressed. Stiles felt bad, they all thought he had a few more days, hell, so did he.

He was laying on the couch, head in Lydia’s lap, drifting in and out of sleep, exhaustion really starting to get to him. Kira was sitting on the floor at Lydia’s legs as Lydia braided her hair, and Stiles was struck of memory of he and Lydia in the exact same position a few years back, except it was Allison whose hair was getting braided.

Stiles smiled at the memory, and decided that Allison would have liked Kira, maybe she even did from where she was watching over them.

It just suddenly hit Stiles, the second the moon was high enough in the sky, Chris and Melissa getting ready to start cooking up dinner for everyone, when the overwhelming feeling came over him. He needed to get outside, to the Nemeton. And he knew, instantly, his time was up.

Ignoring the feeling for just a few minutes, no matter how horrific it made him feel, he sat up, and silently walked up to his dad, no one even batting an eye. That is till he pulled his dad into a bone crushing hug, desperate not to let go. One by one Stiles felt the eyes of the pack land on him.

After a minute or so, when the feeling was just too overwhelming, he pulled back from the hug. He felt numb, so numb that when he saw the tears in his dad’s eye’s he didn’t feel sad. There was a part of his brain screaming at him to cry with his father, but everything was just so numb.

He turned and started trudging to the door, trying to remember how to move his legs, practically relying on muscle memory to keep him standing.

Uh, where ya going bud?” Ethan asked him, everyone having presumed Stiles would prefer to be around the pack, in the loft. Which is true, it just appeared he didn’t have much say in regard to where he was going to die.

“For a walk.” Stiles slurred out, and he internally cringed, he sounded drunk, but his brain was still in tip top shape.

“Where too?” Derek asked, and if Stiles turned to look over, if he could turn to look over, he would have seen everyone pulling on their jackets and shoes, ready to follow him to wherever he went.

“To see Catwoman.” Stiles mumbled, finally getting a grip on the door and pulling it open.

Stiles was too busy stumbling out the door to hear the sad gasps from the people who knew who the nick name belonged to, but also gasps from people that watched as Lydia’s banshee powers took over, forcing her to stand and to follow Stiles out in a trance. Melissa wrapping a blanket around her as she walked.

They followed him as he trekked through the forest, somehow in his state still able to walk on his own without tripping over anything.

“Oh good, our favourite place.” Stiles vaguely heard Peter mumble, and he wishes he could snort a laugh, having had the exact same thought. But his face remained blank of any emotion, his whole body numb.

Just before the Nemeton he stopped, pulling the charm off from around his neck, and taking the feather off of it to hold onto, tossing the necklace to Peter, who he knew, surprisingly, he could trust with it. There was a sense of smugness that washed over Stiles at seeing his grandfather disappointed he hadn’t thrown it to him.

Hopefully, he’ll purify the forest.” Deaton said, and Stiles realised he sounded sad.

“What does that mean anyways?” Hayden asked, scared, holding hands with an equally as scared Liam.

“Those that have died, but haven’t moved on and aren’t resting, are said to ‘rot’ the land. Basically, purifying the land just means helping carry those who have died, to the afterlife. Stiles powers must have been holding all those who haven’t gone across at bay, as he lost his powers, the rotting begun.” Atlas explained.

Hm, perhaps he’ll drop dead.” Atlas tacked on, gesturing to Peter. And even Stiles had enough energy left in him to get pissed off, not that anyone could tell.

“Don’t get angry at me, you came back from the dead because your soul, and your wolf, hadn’t left the land, therefore there was something left to bring back, Stiles might see that as an issue when he purifies the land.” Atlas explained with a smug grin, and everyone realised the Atlas was maybe a little more of an asshole then they previously thought. Well, on top of him being a terrible grandfather.

Stiles crawled onto the Nemeton, rolling over to lie in the centre, staring up at the full moon that was nearly perfectly above him. He turned his head, and sure enough, his eyes landed on the sad expression of Derek Hale, who was staring right back.

“Hey Der’k?” Stiles slurred, losing his grip with reality.

“Yeah Stiles?” Derek asked softly, voice wavering.

“You’ve always been my alpha.”

Stiles didn’t know what drove him to say those words specifically, but the second he muttered them his eyes slipped shut, and the world fell away into darkness.

 

---

 

Somehow, the pack had ended up in a circle around Stiles, around the Nemeton. All at the edge of the clearing, where the tree’s stopped. Listening to the sound of his heart stopping as tears ran down their cheeks.

Lydia opened her mouth to scream, but the sound almost got stuck, and suddenly she was gasping for breath, sliding her back down the tree behind her to sit on the forest floor, her arms reaching out to the side to blindly grasp at the pack members who’d crouched down next to her, Malia on one side, Kira on the other.

“What the fuck is going on?” Lydia asked between gasping breaths, and Peter and Derek instantly took a step towards them where they were standing on the other side of the Nemeton, Kira and Malia clearly not strong enough to handle the pain from the bruising grip of a banshee.

However, the second Derek took a step, he collapsed to his knees, curling over, not in pain, but, something. Peter dropping down next to him, Cora rushing to his side as well.

“Derek, I know Stiles was your anchor, but you need to stay in control yeah.” Cora spoke softly, darting her eyes up to send the most murderous glare she could muster towards Scott, who had taken a step in Derek’s direction.

“Chris, you keep any tranqs on you?” Peter asked, frantically looking over to the Argent.

“Only a very, very mild one, it would only knock him out for a few minutes, tops.” Chris said, tentatively reaching for the gun strapped to his left leg.

“I’m not losing, it’s, I’m, I don’t, fuck.” Derek stuttered out between laboured breaths.

Cora was about to respond sarcastically, something along the lines of ‘yeah sure you seem in control that’s definitely why you have pointy ears right now’ when she felt a part of her snap in place.

And just like that, her pack bond to her pack out of Beacon Hills was gone, replaced with the one in it, her family.

“Derek, are you…?” She trailed off, her eyes shifting to a brilliant gold.

“What the fuck?” Peter mumbled out at the same time, his eyes shifting to a bright blue.

Cora looked up, and sure enough, Isaac, Jackson, Ethan, Parrish and Malia’s eyes were all glowing, and a glance was enough to feel the pack bond with Lydia and Danny as well.

Their pack.

Yeah? Well how long does the tranq last on an alpha?” Derek asked, turning his head to look at Chris, shifted and eyes a bright red, his claws digging into the ground to help centre himself to the land as the wave of power took over.

Uh, like thirty seconds.” Chris said with uncertainty, looking at Derek in a state of shock.

Derek easily shifted back, leaning back against a tree where he sat on the ground, tears starting to run as he stared at Stiles’ lifeless body, his last words echoing through his mind. He was gone. He’d lost Stiles. Stiles was right, of course he was, there was nothing anyone could have done. The wave of regret that rolls over Derek as he realises he’s never going to be able to tell Stiles that he loves him makes him want to throw up, and he’s grateful for Cora’s bruising grip keeping him somewhat sane.

“Please for the love of god tell me that’s a sprite and not some new monster we have to kill.” Mason said in panic, drawing everyone’s attention to Stiles’ body.

More specifically, the scared looking creature hiding at the base of the Nemeton by Stiles foot, somehow appearing out of nowhere.

It was small, about two feet tall, and its skin completely blue and almost glowing under the moonlight, it’s clear, dragonfly like wings tucked behinds its back, its small hands curled up in front of it. It had disproportionally large, completely black eyes, and a cute button nose, and Derek was struck with how much it reminded him of Stiles as it went to open its mouth but shut it again. It had little blue dots on its skin, like freckles, and had blue fabric wrapped around its waist.

Derek had to resist the urge to pet it.

“It’s waiting for your permission.” Atlas said softly, and at the sound of a voice, the sprite looked over to Atlas, squinting at the forest spirit accusingly. Derek decided he liked the little creature.

It looked back to Derek, and Derek simply nodded at it hoping it was enough. Sure enough, the sprite uncurled its hands that had been balled in fists, revealing its, well, claws. It didn’t have nails, its fingers just extended into very, very sharp points.

Ever so slowly, without taking its eyes off Derek, like it was waiting for Derek to attack it, it lifted its hand, gently piercing through Stiles’ jeans with its claw, until it hit skin. It was clear that the skin it touched had begun to glow, the faintest of blue light visible under Stiles’ jeans. Suddenly there were more, five including the first one, all climbing and flying over and around the Nemeton, lightly pricking Stiles’ skin, which would immediately glow after. It wasn’t until one touched Stiles’ neck that they could see where the glowing was coming from.

Stiles’ runes, glowing under the moonlight. Beautiful, intricate lines overlapping, wrapping around the side of his neck and disappearing into his hair line, lines weaving onto his ear. After a frantic minute of flying, four of them nervously stood on the Nemeton, staring at Stiles, while the first one, stood on Stiles’ chest, looking at Derek.

This time, rather than pricking Stiles with its claw, it laid its hand flat on his chest, and the glow that had begun to emanate from Stiles seemed come from his back as well, the light just visible where he lay. Suddenly all five flew to Derek, one perching on his shoulder, one in his lap, one ducking under his knee as he bent it, one standing on top of his bent knee, and the first one that appeared sitting on his other shoulder, hand gently gripping his hair.

They were scared, of what, Derek wasn’t sure. But it made his heart feel funny knowing that sprites that are… were, connected to Stiles trusted him like this.

Sudden movement caught his eye, and Derek looked up, to see a man kneeling at Stiles’ feet, hand placed on the Nemeton, no wait, a werewolf, he had claws. Derek had just enough time to start to panic when Ethan’s voice echoed through the quiet clearing.

Aiden?”

The wolf looked up, and sure enough, it was Aiden, who immediately shifted back.

Hey bro.” Aiden breathed out, looking around the clearing, eyes landing on Derek, who he gave a nod too, and Derek felt the pack bond snap in place, confirming that it was really him. Aiden stood up, walking around the Nemeton to bring his twin into a crushing hug, but as he passed Derek’s line of vision, another person appeared. This time, kneeling on the ground at Stiles’ head, hand once again placed on the Nemeton.

Oh my god.” Chris said, eyes going wide and jaw dropping, Derek, and most the pack, with a similar expression on their faces.

“Hey dad.” Allison replied with a smile, though she made no move to get up, staying kneeling at Stiles’ head. She looked over to Lydia, who was still struggling to breath but who had relented her grip on Malia and Kira, “you’re gonna have a killer headache.” Allison said to her, before looking over at Derek.

Derek felt the pack bond snap immediately, and Allison gave him a small, gentle smile, almost like she had felt it too, and then there was another pack bond gently fitting into place, and Derek ducked his eyes across to where Chris was standing in shock.

Her eyes trailed over to Peter, and Derek realised that he and Cora had moved away from him a little, presumably to give the sprites some space. Allison simply held out her hand expectantly, and after a couple of seconds of confusion, Peter reached into his pocket and took out Stiles’ necklace, throwing it into her hand.

The second she caught it, the sprite that was perched on his knee was flying over to her, landing on the dirt next to her and rubbing its face against her leg in a similar way to a cat.

“Hey little guy.” Allison mumbled out, holding out her finger for the little sprite to wrap its hand around and hold onto, the sprite letting out a noise somewhere between a gurgle and a purr.

In the blink of an eye, another person was kneeling at the Nemeton, this time with their back to Derek. Derek felt the pack bond snap in place before he could even register who it was.

Boyd?” Derek breathed out, the wolf in front of him turning where he was kneeling, grinning at Derek as he shifted back.

“Hey Derek.” Boyd said, eyeing the sprites surrounding him, giving him a nod, before standing and making his way over to Isaac, the boys hugging each other just as Ethan and Aiden had.

But if Boyd was back, then maybe…?

Just as Derek dare entertain the thought, he was looking into the familiar shifted eyes of a blonde wolf, the pack bond there as if it had never left.

Unlike the others, who had been kneeling on one knee with a hand placed on the Nemeton, she was sitting cross legged, both arms leaning on the Nemeton, a hand supporting her head, she looked incredibly bored. It was a rather comforting normality.

Hello oh almighty alpha.”

Reyes.” Derek replied, jokingly pretending to be annoyed with her, and Erica’s blinding smile was enough to stop the tears that were still streaming down his cheeks. Erica smiled just as genuinely at Allison, before standing up and bounding over to Cora, the girls bumping shoulders before Erica wrapped her arm around the slightly shorter wolfs shoulders, both girls grinning at Isaac and Boyd.

The first sprite that appeared, the one that had been on his shoulder, suddenly flew up, landing next to Stiles. First, it carefully pulled out the feather from where it had previously been gripped, now in Stiles’ limp palm. Next, the small pouch from Stiles’ shoe, placing it next to where it had put the feather down. It then moved onto taking Stiles’ watch off, taking the bee’s wing with it. It moved to Stiles pocket, but then made a noise that couldn’t only be described as an upset whine, before curling its hands against its chest and looking at Allison expectantly. Derek couldn’t help but think the sprites were the physical embodiment of anxiety with how the sweet little creatures behaved.

Allison leant forward, pulling Stiles’ pouch of mountain ash out of his pocket, then opening it and pulling out the vile of wolfsbane, wiping the mountain ash off it before handing it to patiently waiting sprite, who added it to the pile with the feather, the watch and the pouch. It looked at Stiles wrists for a few seconds, before flying over to Derek and slowly holding its hand out.

Derek mirrored it, holding his hand up, palm facing the moon, and so quickly he didn’t register the pain until it was flying back to Stiles, the sprite used its claw to slice his palm open, covering its fingers in his blood. It healed, quickly, even faster than his normal injures, and Derek couldn’t be sure if it was because the full moon, his new alpha powers, or the sprite.

It once again stood on Stiles, this time on his stomach, and everyone watched in disgusted fascination as it rubbed Derek’s blood all over Stiles’ wrists.

Suddenly it was like he could breathe again, and all he could smell was Stiles. Actual Stiles, not magic and scent blockers. It really hit home how much he missed Stiles’ scent even when Stiles was around all the time. Derek prayed the sprites knew what they were doing, because Derek pretty quickly realised, he wasn’t going to be survive without breathing in the scent of electricity, cinnamon, lavender, the slight acidity of adderall and the overwhelming smell of pack that was Stiles.

Nothing happened though, there was no heartbeat, no movement and Derek could still feel the bond with Stiles beginning to fade, thankful for his betas, otherwise he’d have no control. The sprites seemed to be getting more scared and nervous, constantly flitting between looking at the moon, looking at Stiles, looking at Allison and looking over to Derek.

Allison was starting to look concerned, and Derek could feel the gradual fear begin to radiate off all his betas.

“Why isn’t it working.” Erica whispered, and the sprite flew back over to Derek, this time near face planting into his chest, curling up and hiding its face, Derek having to hold onto it, it was shaking, and Derek wondered if it was seeking apology from him, for not being able to bring Stiles back.

But of course, there was always Jackson.

STILINKSI!” Jackson yelled, making nearly everyone flinch… including Stiles. Who sat up with gasp, runes immediately fading to look like they had just been drawn on with a glow in the dark pen.

 

---

 

Stiles was confused, to say the least. He vaguely heard someone yell ‘Stilinski’ at him and had just enough time to panic about falling asleep in class again when he realised where he was. On the Nemeton. At night… Alive.

Hey Chris.” Stiles said, the man looking equally as surprised as him, staring in shock at Stiles.

Stiles.” Chris said back, curtly.

Dad.” Stiles said with a nod, as his vision moved slightly to the left.

Hey kid.” His dad replied, tears staining his cheeks.

And then Stiles heard a voice that simultaneously made his blood run cold, his stomach do flips, hope burst through his heart and tears prick his eyes.

“You’ve been busy Batman.”

Stiles turns his head so fast he nearly gets whiplash. But sure enough, she’s standing there, smirk on her face and tears in her eyes. And she isn’t just a ghost, not with the way her arm is casually draped over Cora. All Stiles can do is nod dumbly. Eyes filling with tears as he huffs out a breathy laugh, shaking his head while he grins at her.

I’d agree.” And that has him turning around so fast he’s pretty sure he scrapes a hole in his jeans. Because not only is there one miss Erica Reyes standing next to him, there’s fucking Allison Argent kneeling behind him. His eyes briefly dart around to check on the pack, and he does a double take at Aiden, and then another breathy laugh at Boyd. There all fucking there.

“Guess I have to forgive you for the whole stabbing me thing now huh?” Allison says, grin on her face. Stiles can feel everyone tense at her words, but he’s dramatically rolling his eyes at her.

“That was like, one time, suck it up princess.” He replies in a snarky voice. Allison’s grin is nearly blinding, and he’s sure his smile matches.

Asshole.” She mutters.

Bitch.” He whispers back.

And then he’s tackling her in a hug, which somehow results in them standing up, gripping onto each other for dear life as they laugh.

“Oh, by the way, you also made Derek an alpha.” Lydia said from somewhere to his right, Jackson and Malia helping her stand and draining her pain.

“I made Derek… wait what?” And then Stiles is turning to his left, and he’s starting to feel kind of dizzy from all the dramatic turning he’s doing. What he isn’t expecting to see is Derek, sitting on the ground, covered in… creatures. One look at the small, blue, winged creature curled up against Derek’s chest, that’s staring back at him with big round black eyes, tells him exactly what they are. They’re his sprites.

And seeing them curled up on Derek is kinda making his heart stutter.

Are they…?” Stiles asked, a little breathless, dropping to his knees, suddenly noticing the one hiding behind Allison’s leg. Stiles couldn’t help but let out a delighted laugh as it flew at him quickly, latching onto him, a tiny hug.

Oh my god you are the cutest things I have ever seen in my life.” Stiles said as the others slowly made their way over to him, Stiles heart bursting as the small one curled up against Derek’s chest seemed like it just wanted to stay with Derek. Stiles could relate.

Stiles was happy, and alive, and everyone else was happy, and safe. It was kind of a miracle. Of course, nothing good lasts long in Beacon Hills. Everyone too engrossed in the returned pack members, and Stiles, and the sprites, to notice the anger brewing.

“What have you done?”

Atlas’ cold voice echoed through the clearing, and when Stiles looked over to where he was standing, Deaton was backing away, so was his dad and Chris, who both had drawn their guns.

Atlas’ eyes had turned so dark they looked nearly black, the whites of his eyes completely gone, but if you looked hard enough you could see they were actually a dark green. He almost looked a little younger, like the power of the forest was somehow rejuvenating him. His runes were visible, some straight up on his face, dark green vines curling up his chin and onto his cheeks. It was quite strange sight to look at.

Stiles feels all his runes pulse with power, like they’re letting him know he’s good to go in a fight, because it seems an awful lot like his grandfather is challenging him.

“I purified the land. That was the whole point, right? Guess I just couldn’t let these guys go.” Stiles said, gesturing vaguely to the pack that was slowly moving to stand behind him. Except Derek, Derek moved to stand next to him.

“You are supposed to take them to the other side you idiot, you’ve unbalanced the land.” His grandfather replies, fury rolling off of him in waves.

“I tried asshole, I thought I did, I did with the rest of them, you don’t see Kate and Gerard Argent fucking walking around do you?” Stiles asked, beginning to get real angry.

“You mean to tell me that you had the chance to bring back Kate and Gerard Argent and you didn’t?” His grandfather responds.

“Why the ever-loving fuck would I bring them back?” Stiles asked, completely unaware of how bright his runes were beginning to glow.

“They were friends of mine.” Atlas replied.

Of course they fucking were.” Stiles heard Chris mutter from somewhere behind him.

“And uh, by the way, that was us,” Allison started explaining, “we figured we’d take a page out of Peter’s book.” She said, the smirk on her face matching the one on Peter’s.

Besides, the land is now perfectly balanced, I’ve spent years trying to achieve it, so trust me, I know.” Deaton explained.

Also, why the fuck would I bring back two horrific murders just because they’re your friends? News flash, I don’t like you, and I much preferred my life without you in it.” Stiles added on, felling a sprite climb up his back like a kitten, to perch on his shoulder, hissing at his grandfather with horrifyingly sharp teeth.

Hi grandfather, seemingly ignoring everyone’s comments continued on.

Fine, if I have to kill them myself, so be it.” Atlas said, and out of nowhere, leaves came flying out the forest from behind him, shooting towards the pack. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that they’d be sharp as hell.

The whole pack ducked down, hoping to avoid having leaf blades slice open their skin, but Stiles’ didn’t move, he simply sighed in annoyance as the leaves all came to halt, floating in mid-air, one of the runes on his arm feeling a little hot.

Wow, great, amazing, you clearly thought that one through.” Stiles said sarcastically, slow clapping a few times to get his point across. He could see the shock on his grandfather’s face, and he’s sure the pack were probably sporting similar looks. No one thought he was really going to be that strong.

How are you…?” His grandfather asked quietly, before a look of determination took over his expression, before he could do anything though, Stiles spoke again.

“Right, well, if it’s okay with all of you, I’m real sick of driving, and it’s been a while since she’s been behind the wheel, so if you don’t mind, I’m gonna let her steer for a while.” Stiles said, sounding smug, the sprites hovering around him, alternating between hissing like cats and snapping their jaws like sharks, all in all being surprisingly threatening for such small and cute creatures.

Her?” His grandfather questioned, and Stiles simply pointed up at the sky. He looked up, everyone around him following his movement, and the rush was something he hadn’t felt in a long time. Looking up at the full moon, she took over.

 

---

 

Stiles eyes began to glow a brilliant bright blue, his runes all over his body glowing, spots of light shining through the fabric, Derek noticed that all his freckles and moles were glowing too, almost like stars in the night sky. The sprites looked similar, their once completely black eyes now glowing as well, and their little freckles glowing too.

“You aren’t deserving of your powers.” Stiles said, though there was something distinctly not Stiles about his voice. All the leaves, that were still hovering just in front of the pack, went flying back towards Atlas, slicing his skin. He, unfortunately, healed as quickly as a wolf would.

“You don’t know anything child.” Atlas replied, and suddenly the whole forest was creaking and groaning, like it was forced to be doing something it didn’t want to do. He was turning the forest against them. Right as he went to attack though, Stiles snapped his fingers, and it was like the forest breathed a sigh of relief.

Atlas fell to the ground, a look of horror on his face, all his tattoos gone, and his eyes returned to normal. Just a normal old man. Derek could smell that his magic was completely gone.

“If you are off this territory by sunrise, your powers will return. Understood?” Stiles said, no room for discussion. Atlas shakily nodded, before pulling himself up using the tree, turning around and walking as quickly as he could back through the forest, and away from the pack.

Well that was, surprisingly easy.” Aiden said, Scott’s glare at the twins not going unnoticed, Derek’s hackles raising at another alpha looking at one of his betas with such a look.

“So what, we have two alphas now? That isn’t going to work.” Scott said, sounding like a bratty child, half the pack rolling their eyes, Scott’s betas included.

No, I suppose it isn’t.” Stiles replied, very much still under the influence of the moon. Derek tried to prepare himself for the feeling of losing everything he’d just gained, knowing the pack bonds would feel near non-existent under Scott’s rule.

Stiles was always surprising him though.

“And you haven’t been much of an alpha lately, have you? Scott McCall.” Stiles said, slowly turning to look at Scott, eyes still glowing brilliantly.

“I’m a true alpha.” Was all Scott bothered to reply with, his usual schtick.

“I’m well aware of what you are. I was the one who gave it to you. You were so deserving of it. Now? Now you most definitely are not.”

“You can’t take it from me.” Scott replied, shifting and growling a little.

“I can and I will. And god, if this is how you react to the thought of no longer being an alpha, maybe I should take your wolf completely. You clearly have no respect for it.” Stiles replied.

Scott opened and closed his mouth a few times, clearly every comeback dying on his tongue.

Hm, you’ll take what you get.” Stiles said, snapping his fingers once again, Derek getting momentarily distracted, as a now back to adorable looking sprite flew up to him and once again sat on his shoulder. When he looked back over, Scott’s eyes were no longer red, but glowing a brilliant gold. He was a beta.

Actually, he was an omega, as were all his betas, none of them having pack bonds with alpha. A job for tomorrow, he thought.

Scott shifted back as Stiles slowly stopped glowing, his freckles and moles turning back to brown, his runes slowly fading until they were rich black lines inked on his skin, and his eyes returning to their honey brown, looking almost gold in the moonlight. Stiles looked around, looking somewhat out of it, nodding to himself when he saw the empty space where Atlas had been standing.

You good man?” Danny asked, but Stiles didn’t reply. His eyes simply rolled back into his skull as he promptly passed out, Derek lunging forward to catch him before his head smashed into the ground.

 

---

 

Stiles woke up incredibly disorientated, mouth feeling like it was full of cotton, staring at the afternoon sun as it softly floated through the window, taking him a solid minute to register that he gets morning sun through his window, so he clearly isn’t in his bed.

As he slowly comes to, he realises he’s in fact in Derek’s bed. Which should be far more alarming and far less comforting. He’s half convinced that he gave himself a concussion and that the whole night had been some kind of dream, but when he moves slightly, he feels something small on the bed. At first thought he thinks it’s a cat or something, but as he sits up he see the little sprite, splayed out flat on it’s back, wings seemingly gone, with little noises that could only be snores falling from its little open mouth.

He also has a minor heart attack because one miss Allison Argent is sitting cross legged on the end of the bed, fiddling with her crossbow, the one that had been giving her trouble way back before she died.  

“So not a dream then.” Stiles croaks out, throat a little raw from snoring all night.

Nope.” She replies with a smile, putting the crossbow down and crawling up to sit next to him, leaning back against the headboard.

“So the forest?” Stiles asked.

“All good, no more rotting sickness, and perfectly balanced, apparently the Nemeton is now an actual full-blown tree, I haven’t gone to look yet though.” She explained.

Atlas?”

“Got the hell outta dodge as quickly as his old legs could take him.” She continued on.

“Which means, Derek?” Stiles asked.

“Is now our almighty alpha. And he’s doing a really good job of it too.”

“Which means Scott...?” Stiles asked, trailing off awkwardly.

“Is now a beta. And all his betas bowed to Derek, so everyone is under his rule, so to speak.”

“How’s Scott taking it?”

“Surprisingly well, I think he actually likes it. Not having the responsibility anymore. He’s warmed up to Derek quite a bit, Scott still has a long way to go, with everyone, but he’s getting there. Derek basically took him out to the forest so Scott could take his anger out, I think he got about two punches in before he broke down.” Allison explained.

Hold up, it took a fucking day for Scott to warm up to Derek? I’ve been trying for literal years.” Stiles replied, kinda annoyed, waking the second sprite on the bed the he didn’t even see at first, which very tiredly crawled up the bed to lay face down, star-fished over his chest.

Allison’s face gave everything away.

“How long have I been out?”

“Tonight would have been the fourth night.” She said softly, both of them cooing at the sprite that was already back asleep.

“How the fuck did I not like, pee the bed?” Stiles asked.

Honestly no clue.” Allison replied, and that’s when Stiles noticed his arms, more specifically the black tattooed lines all over them.

Oh yeah, your runes totally turned into ink hey, and that was before I put the charm back on ya.” Allison said, gesturing to the necklace hanging around his neck. “Derek carried you up here, helped pull off your shoes, socks and flannel, and you’ve been asleep up here since. The sprites have only let Derek, your dad and I in the room, so full disclosure the wolves are getting angsty not being able to see and touch you.

“Where is everyone now?” Stiles asked, sitting up and gently placing the sprite down on the pillow next to him before stretching, his shoulders, neck and back popping and cracking like crazy.

“Derek made all the wolves go for a run, they were all getting kinda annoying. Your dad and Parrish are at work, they’ll be here in a couple of hours, same with my dad. Melissa finishes up in an hour though I’m pretty sure. Mason, Danny, Lydia and Kira, aka those who aren’t going to benefit from a run in the forest, are doing the rounds to everyone’s houses to get stuff for everyone to sleep over tonight, Deaton thought you’d be waking up sometime today so we figured we’d have one ridiculously huge sleep over. They’re getting like fifty pizzas on their way home. And I’ve been keeping watch over you, we’ve tried to have someone in with you at all times just in case. Figured I’d try and fix that stupid crossbow.” Allison explained.

“Did you fix it?”

No, stupid thing.” Allison muttered, kicking it with her foot that was hanging off the bed, Stiles snorting out a laugh in response.

“Oh, I also got the whole companion tattoo, so I guess we finally did something right.” Allison said, pulling up her sleeve to show a beautiful crescent moon on her wrist, made up a criss-crossed black lines, similar to what his runes look like.

Long story short, she’d accidently become his confidant way back when she and Scott were still dating. It was a whole lotta fuck ups on both their parts, but they became better friends because of it. The confidant tattoo, something that was supposed to appear on the confidants’ body after the bond was made, something Stiles was definitely going to have to interrogate Peter about, never showed. Until now.

“So, the sprites are still here?” Stiles asked, slowly crawling out of the bed, taking care not to stand on the three sleeping on the floor.

“Yeah, they just never left, no clue why. They’re super nocturnal, not that that’s surprising, and they only eat fruit. And yes, watching them eat is literally the cutest thing in the entire world. Anyways, I’m going to head downstairs and get some snacks and keep fiddling with the crossbow, Derek got some of your clothes and left them in the bathroom for you to shower and change into, he might even still be downstairs, I dunno if he went running with the puppies.” She said, holding her hand out for their secret handshake, before picking up the crossbow and walking to the door to head downstairs, avoiding stepping on the sleeping sprites.

Stiles wanted to do something before he got in the shower though.

He could feel it on his back. A new rune. He could always feel when a new one appeared, not that he could really explain the feeling. He just knew. One being on his back was strange though, they’d only ever appeared on his arms and legs, the only other out of place one being the beautiful mess of black lines that went up his neck and into his hair line, cupping around his ear, almost up on to his face.

Stiles pulls his shirt off as he walks up to the large mirror Derek has in his room, as he turns around though, all the breath leaves his lungs.

It’s not in the same spot, it’s over his left shoulder blade, almost like it’s over the back of his heart, but it’s just as big. It isn’t black either, so it also doesn’t match any of his other rune tattoos, which Stiles can say with confidence without looking, are either black or blue. No, it’s a deep red, the same colour as Derek’s alpha eyes.

It is though, a huge ass matching triskelion permanently on his body, and he has no clue how the fuck to tell Derek about it. Derek will probably hate him for it. He has no time to come up with ways of covering it, of lying, of doing anything though, when he looks up into the mirror and is staring into the reflection of Derek, who is frozen at the door.

Stiles had been too busy staring at the tattoo to hear or see Derek come upstairs and into his room. Stiles couldn’t move even if he wanted to, frozen in place, staring over his shoulder at Derek’s reflection. Derek walked up to him, not saying a word, until they were practically chest to chest, Derek staring at the triskelion on Stiles shoulder in the reflection of the mirror, and Stiles staring at Derek’s face in the reflection of the mirror.

Derek reached out to wrap his hand around Stiles’ left wrist, as if he was going to run his hand up Stiles’ arm to touch the tattoo, but he stopped himself the second he actually came into contact with Stiles’ skin.

Sorry,” Stiles mumbled out, “I don’t have any control over what shows up.”

Derek simply shook his head at Stiles’ words.

No, its… I,” Derek paused, clearly struggling with what he wanted to say, “I like it.”

Stiles couldn’t help but relax a little at the words, letting himself lean into Derek a little, his neck beginning to ache from where he was still looking over his shoulder, but he couldn’t look away even if he wanted to.

“You are never, ever, allowed to die on me again. Ever. Understood?” Derek said, his grip on his wrist tightening a little.

Stiles huffed a laugh and nodded. Stiles laugh clearly broke some of the tension, Derek’s hand sliding up his arm on its own free will it seemed, Derek’s hand splaying over the tattoo. And oh, oh fuck. Stiles couldn’t hold in the embarrassing moan that left his lips, his back arching a little, pressing his shoulder into Derek’s hand, but also, unfortunately, pressing his rapidly growing erection into Derek’s thigh.

Extremely embarrassed, and somewhat forgetting where he was, Stiles turned around to avoid having to look Derek in the eye, only resulting in his face being a few inches from Derek’s, their whole bodies pressed together, Stiles swaying a little in shock. Derek’s eyes bled into red, and Stiles thought it was because he was angry and tried to pull away. He had just enough time to register that he wasn’t the only one getting hard as he tried to wriggle away, before Derek was growling and hauling him in even closer, hand not once leaving his shoulder.

Derek I’m sor-”

Derek’s hand cupped his neck, right over his rune, and he closed the minuscule distance between them, pressing desperate, open mouthed and dirty kisses to Stiles lips. Stiles’ legs turned to jelly, and he had to wrap his arms around Derek’s neck to keep himself upright, slipping his hands into Derek’s hair and tugging, laughing into Derek’s mouth as he growled in response.

They slowed down a little, to something that could be considered more decent for a first kiss, that being said, Stiles couldn’t help but grind down onto Derek’s thigh as they did.

“Okay, point taken, no more dying.” Stiles said breathlessly, heart racing as Derek pressed his face into his neck, huffing a laugh.

“I still think you should build a pack house, especially now that the pack is like, fucking huge.” Stiles said, letting out a moan as Derek licked a long line up his neck, pressing a few more kisses to his lips.

“Peter’s already found an architect.” Derek mumbled against his lips, letting out something between a growl and a whine as Stiles stepped back, forcing Derek’s hand to drop from his shoulder.

“I really should shower, I’m sure I stink.” Stiles said, slowly walking backwards towards the bathroom, Derek not once looking away from him. Stiles couldn’t help himself, he let just the tiniest bit of his magic bleed out, making Derek’s eyes turn red and his fangs show just a little. Enough to bite hard, but not enough to get deep enough for a turning bite. If Derek’s expression was anything to go by, he knew exactly what Stiles was doing.

Stiles stopped just inside the bathroom, slowly reaching down to pop open the button on his jeans.

“Care to join me, alpha?”