In retrospect it wasn't one of his best ideas Stiles thought as he looked down at Scott, his best friend, while stuck in a tree. At the time climbing trees seemed like the perfect thing for the boys to do. That day, while a bit chilly from the autumn winds, was sunny. Most of the time climbing and getting down weren't issues that the boys faced. Except this time when Stiles climbed just a little too high to be able to get down without assistance, assistance that probably wouldn't be coming for a while seeing as they went deep into the woods. It was something both their mothers told not to do, but come on, the forest was full of perfect climbing trees! Not climbing them would be a waste of the natural resources at their disposal.
So here they were, a couple of kids in the forest, one of whom was stuck in a tree while the other was working himself into a panic, and subsequently, an asthma attack.
"Stiles, what are we going to do?" asked Scott as he paced the bottom of the tree, as if to catch his friend in case he somehow fell. Which knowing Stiles like he did, wasn't an uncalled for fear.
"I don't know Scott! Maybe I can try jumping or something?" As he responded Stiles judged the distance to the ground. It didn't look like a very far fall. Definitely would live through it, but the chances of walking away completely unscathed wasn't likely.
"I don't think that's a very good…"
"Think fast Scotty!" Stiles shouted as he leapt from the tree, cutting off Scotts cautionary words. The landing wasn't ideal to say the least. When Stiles landed he slipped on a root that was hidden underneath the fallen leaves and he collided with an open armed Scott and they both went tumbling onto the forest floor in a mess on limbs.
"Ow" they said unanimously, pushing their bodies away from each other so they were at least sitting down.
As they both rose to their feet, Stiles felt a stab of pain flash from his ankle. He collapsed back onto the forest floor with a string of ow's making it evident to Scott that Stiles was not okay.
"What's up?" Scott asked hovering over Stiles, facing drawing into a concerned puppy dog expression.
Stiles lifted up the bottom of his jeans to take a look at the damage. He could see the swelling at bruising marking his pale skin in an all too familiar way. It was sprained, again, and his mom was going to kill him because he got in climbing a tree… again. "Scott, we have a bit of an issue."
"What do you mean an issue?"
Stiles let out a drawn out sigh, pulled down his pant leg and looked up at his clearly worried friend. "I may or may not have sprained my ankle."
Stiles could see the absolute panic flash across Scotts face. This situation was clearly too much for the eight year old to handle, but his loyalty was preventing him from leaving Stiles alone to find an adult who could handle it.
Before Scott got a chance to reply they heard a sharp crack on sticks coming from the top of incline not too far from where they sat and on it stood a teenage boy. From where Stiles sat he could see the boy perfectly as the afternoon sun bathed him in light. He was scrawny with lingering traces of baby fat clinging onto his face, giving him a softness that eased the sharp edge of adulthood. His skin held a warm olive tone that spoke of hours in the sun, his hair jet black and thick. His eyes though are what really captivated Stiles, they were a beautiful hazel that seemed friendly but closed off at the same time. Overall the boy was beautiful to Stiles, a word he only attributed to his mother and the amazing Lydia Martin, despite the frown marring his face or the leather jacket that seemed kind of cheesy to Stiles. Like he was trying and failing at being like Wolverine from the new X-Men movie that Stiles just saw a few months ago with his mom and Scott.
Stiles was ripped out of his musing when the boy spoke. "What are you two doing here; don't you know this is private property?"
That was a moment that Stiles Stalinski would forever remember as the day he met Derek Hale.
After they told him who they were and explained what was going on, Derek sighed, looking very put upon and wondering how he got himself into these kind of situations. With Scott's help they managed to shimmy Stiles onto Derek's back to take him to the Hale house where Derek's mother, Talia, could take over the situation. On the way there, Derek threatened to drop Stiles and leave him there five times if he didn't stop talking which prompted Stiles to talk even more. Scott followed behind diligently, weary of Derek, but insanely amused by his best friends antics.
When they finally arrived at the Hale house, Stiles went silent. Before him was a beautiful mansion. It was three stories and built using tan bricks. Combined with the dark colored roof and shutters with the white porch and window panes, it extruded a sense of comfort and family. The toys that littered the lawn reinforced that fact, making it look alive and lived in.
As they approached the house Talia Hale walked out as if sensing their approach. If Derek was beautiful, then Talia was gorgeous. Derek had obviously gotten his coloring and looks from his mother, but while Derek was still awkward in his youth, Talia was refined like a fine aged wine, as Mr. Dave from next door would always say about beautiful older women.
The laugh lines around her eyes showed as she smiled at them. "I asked you to go get Laura for dinner and you come back with strays again huh?" She was obliviously teasing if the slow creep of red on the back of Derek's neck was any hint. Stiles wondered how many times Derek brought home strays for it to become an inside joke. 'Probably a lot' Stiles decided as Derek explained what happened to his mother. She just shook her head with a fond smile and invited them in.
They were led into a huge kitchen where they found Derek's grandmother baking. You would think owning a bakery would make you sick of it, but Lillian Hale lived and breathed baking and did so with a passion that one could taste in her cookies and cakes.
Derek set Stiles on one of the kitchen chairs, and on his mothers orders, went to go get his aunt Sara and a first aid kit. Scott followed the example and took a seat next to Stiles, looking around the room with interest just like Stiles. "So boys, whose parents am I calling?" Talia asked as she walked over to the phone hanging by the patio door.
"My mom probably," Stiles said as he turned his attention back to Talia," both of our dads are at work, and Scott's mom is at work." Just before Talia had a chance to ask for the number Sara walked in with Derek who was carrying the first aid kit. She froze as soon as she caught sight of Stiles and Scott and sighed. "Oh! Hi Mrs. Thomson, fancy meeting you here!"
The put upon look must be genetic, Stiles thought, as Sara showed the exact same expression Derek had earlier. "What have you gotten yourself into this time boys?"
"You know them Sara?" asked Talia with an amused smile.
"Ya, I work with his mother," she pointed at Scott, "and he", finger now pointing at Stiles," comes in every other month with some kind of injury." She motions for Derek to follow her and goes straight to Stiles. "So where is it this time kid?", her eyes scanning for any visible injury.
"Just my ankle this time Mrs. T!" Stiles replied, lifting up his pant leg so Sara could inspect the damage.
Sara's fingers probed the injury, "Looks like a bad sprain. I'll wrap it and you'll have to keep off it for a few days, but there's no need for the hospital this time." As she turned to open the first aid kit, it looked like something occurred to her."By the way Talia, call the sheriff's department and ask for John, Stiles father, he'll probably either come himself or send Claudia his wife to come retrieve these two."
With that Talia and Sara got to work, leaving Derek to stand awkwardly holding the first aid kit and Stiles and Scott talking to Lillian about what she was baking; chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies, which they were promised to be going home with a few once they finished baking and cooling.
Something flashed in the corner of Stiles' eye, but when he turned his head to look at what it was, he saw nothing but a door way leading to what he assumed was the living room. He thought nothing of it, and turned back to Lillian's explanation of the perfect chocolate to peanut butter ratio. Then it happened again, this time Stiles caught site of a small foot sticking out from behind the doorway.
"Hey, who's there?" Stiles asked, and he could see the little foot quickly retreat. Slowly a girl emerged from the doorway. She looked to be around the same age as Stiles and Scott. Long light brown hair framed her face, which was still round and soft with youth, and light brown eyes full of suspicion and curiosity. Her skin was lighter then Derek and Talia's but still held a tan tone to it.
"Cora" she replied, her answer short and curt.
Talia, finished with her phone call, turned to the group of the kitchen and announced, "Stiles, your mother will be coming to get you and Scott. So while we wait does anyone want juice?"
"I'll have some apple juice if you have any Mrs. Hale." Stiles piped up, breaking eye contact with Cora.
"Me too please", came Scott's soft reply.
Talia smiled and turned to go grab cups, "Do you want some too Cora, Derek?"
"No thank you mama." The Hale siblings replied.
As Talia got the juice Sara finished treating the sprain, as she rose from where she was crouching by Stiles she gave him a pointed look and said, "Now as I said, stay off the sprain, otherwise you'll make it worse and will need to go to the hospital. Capiche?"
"You got it Mrs. T!" Stiles said as he turned to grab the juice Talia handed to him. She rolled her eyes and left the room grabbing the first aid kit from Derek, who then headed back outside to finally go get Laura, and passed Cora with a ruffle of her hair. As Cora batted her aunts hand away Stiles asked, "So why were you hiding?"
"You're both twitchy and smell weird."
"Coralline Hale, don't be rude" Lillian admonished as she put a sheet of cookies into the oven.
"But they do." Cora muttered under her breath, ducking her head down from being admonished.
Stiles, encouraged by her frank response retorted, "That's rich coming from the girl who was hiding around the door frame."
Cora smiled at the snarky response, and closed the space between her and the boys. They talked about comic book super heroes and who was better Marvel or D.C, and everything else in between. Even when Claudia came to pick the boys up, she and Talia ended up talking for a few hours before they noticed the time and Claudia stated that they probably should go. They left with the promise of the adults having coffee later, with Melissa included, and the kids trading comic books and reenacting their favorite scenes.
Years later the Stilinski's, McCall's, and Hale's would look back fondly on this day as the start of every happy memory, trying time, and magical moment.