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Lift me Higher, Let me Look at the Sun

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It’s not like he lied to his friends when the wolf was let out of the bag. If he lied, then Allison lied, and while Scott may get angry with him, he wouldn’t hold a grudge against Allison. He still tried to get back with her after she tried to kill the leather trio so the likelihood of Scott holding a grudge against Allison now? Because of some family history carefully omitted from the group supernatural history? Family history Allison didn’t even know about before Gerard steamrolled into town and started his hunter indoctrination?

Totally not a big deal.

--

“What do you mean you were raised to be a hunter?”

It was kind of a big deal.

--

But that was the whole point, living in Beacon Hills and not touring the country in the backseat of a classic vehicle, to not be part of the hunter lifestyle. Apparently separating yourself from what you were raised to be was going to take a bit more effort than he originally thought.

--

“You didn’t know what wolfsbane was when we found it surrounding Laura!” Scott accused, brow furrowed when he turned to Stiles. They had been at this for over an hour, with Scott pacing around the Stilinski family home, shouting random moments from the last three years where Stiles distinctly did not know the answer to their problems and they all suffered in the interim until solutions were found.

“I was taught to salt, burn, and shoot a shotgun, not identify every botanical species on the western seaboard.” Stiles barely met the intensity of Scott’s tone – he was tired, drained, and didn’t want to keep talking themselves in circles.

“Can you start from the beginning again?” Scott asked, finally sitting down next to Stiles with genuine concern. Hopefully, concern for their friendship, and not his future as a furry creature. To Stiles credit, he helped him stay alive more times than actively try to hurt him, so that had to count for something, right?

Right?

--

“I still can’t believe it has been almost four years since we’ve seen the kid,” Sam said, closing the door of the impala, throwing his duffel bag over his shoulder.

“I can’t believe he still hasn’t legally changed that name,” Dean muttered, opening up the door to the motel room, just on the outskirts of Beacon County.

“You sure you’re not mad he got a slice of the American apple-pie hometown experience?” Sam leveled his brother with a look – it wasn’t the first time Dean’s comments about the kid came with an edge of jealousy.

“Of course not, I’m sure we’d make a great commune with every Winchester ever born living a prairie life, home-schooling, only-worry-is-if-you-did-your-chores on some back roads of the Midwest.” Dean rolled his eyes, “And I’m glad he got to have some level normalcy that we didn’t get.”

“But—” Sam egged Dean on further.

“Do I wish you could’ve stayed in school and become that hot shot lawyer?” Dean pulled one of his shotguns out, opening it up as he sat at the small motel table, “Hell yeah, but we’re dealing with the cards we’ve been dealt and if one Winchester made it out, and also made it to Stanford, then that’s good enough for me.”

“Stilinski,” Sam corrected.

“Oh my god, Sam,” Dean rolled his eyes, “Stilinski, Winchester, whatever – does it even matter? The kid’s our cousin, his mom was dad’s sister, and as far as any demon or angel is concerned, that’s Winchester blood flowing in his veins.” Dean quickly closed the gun after his swift examination, the clicking sound punctuating his words.

Sam sighed, deciding not to push the topic further, reviewing the notes he wrote during the drive out west. “Dad ever mention the Argents to you when he talked about Aunt Claudia moving out here with John?”

“No, but he had some notes scrawled along the margin on his pages about werewolves,” Dean recalled before stopping short on his way to pulling out the old leatherbound journal, “You think Aunt Claud actually moved out to here to try to forget her husband and brother had the same first name?”

Sam pulled a disgusted face, “Oh c’mon, man! There’s a reason we never talk about this.”

“I’m just saying, Sammy, it’s pretty weird. I could never date a Samantha, I’d just be picturing your ugly mug anytime I tried to put the moves on,” Dean laughed louder when Sam’s disgust worsened.

--

“To Allison’s benefit, she probably didn’t actually remember me when they first moved into town.” Stiles reasoned, “My mom connected with her dad before the Hale fire, letting them know we were not looking for work, and when Gerard gave her the crash course in being a psycho he really crowned the Winchester achievements as some sort of aspiring model.”

“And you’re a Winchester,” Scott interrupted, confirming details as he listened again.

“By blood, yes,” Stiles reminded Scott, again, before continuing, “Apparently Gerard even had a slideshow to stick his point home, some Argent-Winchester hunt from way back, and there’s a great family photo of me, mom, my cousins next to Kate and Chris. Allison had no idea before she saw me sitting hanging off the edge of some log with a ball of fire at the end of a way-too-short stick.”

“You met Kate Argent?” Scott exclaimed, “Does Derek know? Did you know, like, who she was and stuff?”

“Of course not, Scott,” Stiles rolled his eyes, “I was barely ten, I thought I was out on a family camping trip in the woods and Dean and Kate were teaching me how to roast a damn marshmallow.”

“And the gun training didn’t alarm you?” Scott asked, unconvinced, remembering other details from Stiles’ earlier accounts.

“I know it sounds crazy but with dad always being in law enforcement, that was normal for us. Clean and load the gun, get some target practice, and then roast some marshmallows while sharing ghost stories over the fire.”

“And you’re telling me all those ghost stories were actually true.”

“Yes. Like I said Scott, I was trained and then we moved out west. I’ve only gone on a couple hunting trips during the summer after mom died, and never with anyone outside of the family.” Stiles replied. “I haven’t been on a hunt since before you turned anyway.”

“So it’s a sorry-for-not-telling-you-about-my-retirement secret and less of a I’m-going-to-kill-you-in-your-sleep secret?” Scott asked.

“If I say yes are you still gonna be my best friend?”

“Duh,” Scott drew Stiles into a tight hug, first catching hands in a quick grasp before pulling him closer, “Besides, who else will be my college roomie?”

“Isaac,” Stiles said in a deadpan, without missing a beat before laughing as they returned to a much more safe, much more common discussion, “like we already confirmed when you both signed the lease documents, you and Isaac. Just because your school is driving distance to Stanford doesn’t mean they do inter-University dorming.”

“Stupid if you ask me,” Scott huffed, sitting back down. He grabbed the TV remote from where it was left on the coffee table, “You up for a movie?”

“Hell yeah,” Stiles agreed, sitting next to Scott as they surfed the channels to see what action flick was on repeat this weekend.

--

“Your cousins are back in town,” The Sheriff looked at Stiles over his fork as they sat at the dining table, eating their dinner on one of the rare occasions they were both home. “Someone phoned in about a classic chevy speeding down the highway this afternoon.”

“I heard, Sam texted me,” Stiles nodded, grinning.

“Planning another summer road trip?” John raised an eyebrow, questioning Stiles.

“He didn’t mention it, said they had some business in the area.” Stiles’ brow furrowed as he thought about it. “But you know them, could get called away at any given moment for another case.”

“Are you going to tell them about the pack or let them find it on their own?”

Stiles played with the food on his plate, twirling his fork as he thought, “I don’t know. They think I’ve been in retirement since starting high school so I doubt they think I’m even aware of the current happenings.”

“You and I both know that retirement schpeel doesn’t mean squat among the Winchesters. You really think they’re going to believe you’ve been spending your summers studying without them around?”

“If that’s what they had to tell themselves to try and honor “mom’s wishes” then I’m not going to tell them anything less.” Stiles shrugged. It was true, after his mom passed and a couple summers spent driving across the greater Midwest, becoming closely familiar with stocking up on salt and holy water, suddenly his cousins didn’t want him coming out with them, telling him to focus on high school and study like his mom wanted. Be the first Winchester to go into retirement and stay in retirement.

They just didn’t anticipate how absolutely bored Stiles would be. Hence, sneaking out at night to go find a body, Scott getting bitten, and the rest of his high school experience. They definitely didn’t anticipate his retirement would set him off into the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

“What about Derek?” The Sheriff asked, “He know they’re coming through?”

“He mentioned that Chris told him another set of hunters were coming through town when the Hunter tree line update came through,” Stiles shrugged, “Didn’t seem too alarmed, but I don’t think Chris let on too much when he told him.”

“You have any idea where you’re going to end up when the inevitable shitstorm blows?”

“I was planning on waiting and let the universe handle it this time.” Stiles laughed, “Because that always works in our favor.”

--

“I’m just saying, you could’ve stayed on the line and asked Chris for some details.” Stiles rolled his eyes. He was at the not-so-recently-renovated-but-still-more-recent-than-the-fire Hale house, pacing in the living room opposite Derek. Outside of Scott and Allison, his extracurricular activities were still relatively hidden. It had been a day since the police station had gotten word about a classic car with a penchant for driving fast, and Sam and Dean hadn’t shown themselves yet. Stiles had tried reaching out to them a couple times, but it seemed they were taking care of business first before making time for a family visit.

Stiles was mostly mad they hadn’t asked him to help with whatever research they were doing – he was getting ready to start school soon, and even if they thought he had been out of practice, you don’t just lose the ability to search in the dark corners of the web and lore.

“They’ve barely been in town,” Derek responded, “They’re sticking to a motel on the edge of the county line. They could be out here for the troll problem on the other side of the bridge out in Mercer County.”

“You think they’re busy paying a Troll Toll? Seriously?” Stiles was between laughing at the absurdity and being mad that Derek wasn’t taking this more seriously. “You have no idea who these guys even are!”

“And you do?” Derek asked.

Stiles opened his mouth to retort when the chime of his phone rang through the air. He gave Derek a final glare before directing his attention to the call. “He-ey Sammy!” He turned away from Derek, hoping his change in nerves weren’t as readily obvious as he knew they could be.

“Hey kid!” Sam shouted down the line, “We’re wrapping up with the book work and wanted to see if you and Uncle John are free later to grab a bite and catch up. Dean wants to do some exploring first.”

“Yeah?” Stiles questioned, “Whereabouts you guys looking, anyway?”

 “I would tell you if I didn’t think you were going to find a way to come out and join us,” Sam laughed, “but we’re good for dinner? Want us to swing by the house or meet in town?”

“There’s a local diner, I’ll tell dad to meet us there after his shift.” Stiles took his phone away from his ear to look at the time, “In like, three hours. That work for you guys?”

“Perfect. We’ll see you guys soon,” Sam said his goodbyes, with Dean’s distance shout “Bye nerd!” through the line easily heard.

Stiles turned back to Derek after ending the call, answering his questioning gaze with a shrug of his shoulders, “My cousins are in town, haven’t seen them since high school started.”

Derek watched Stiles, waiting to see if his response led to any other changes. Stiles knew enough about were skills that he knew how sound and smells affected them, but Derek never let on just how strongly the changes in Stiles’ heartbeat, the increase in sweat when his nerves started to get the best of him, affected him. He figured out early on the more he tried to figure Stiles out, the more the kid pushed back. So he watched, and waited, tracking trends when the changes happened.

Unfortunately, this time around, there was no point of comparison. Derek thought Stiles’ family was just him and the Sheriff after no contact or mention of them in all the years they’ve known each other. Hearing that he had cousins was honestly surprising.

After the phone call, conversation about visiting hunters died off, and Stiles instead began rooting through the lined bookshelves in the living room. “I still think you should’ve sprung for that library extension.”

“And let you take over another room in this house?” Derek questioned, “No.”

“Turning the den into a research-slash-computer hub was necessary! The one desk in here is nowhere near enough room, and if you want me, Lydia and Danny getting work done, you know conceding one little room was worth it.” Stiles countered.

“Which is why I haven’t tried to change it back.” Derek rolled his eyes, walking around Stiles to the front porch, eyes staring past the tree line.

“And what am I going to find when I come home from Stanford, huh? An Ode to Stiles, The Best Supernatural Researcher™ plaque on the door with a yoga mat replacing the strategically mapped out computer set up?” Stiles followed Derek out onto the porch. One of the first areas renovated was the front porch, with comfortable chairs strewn about, the front door constantly left open for people to move between living spaces year-round thanks to the California sun.

“Pilates, Stiles. It’s a pilates mat.”

“Keep telling yourself that, dude.” Stiles rolled his eyes, looking out towards the gap in trees where Derek was turning his body to face. He stopped short, hands holding onto the raised railing bordering the porch. “Oh, wow,”

“Stiles?” Sam’s voice carried across the open yard from where he stood.

“Supernatural researcher?” Dean questioned, “I though you were in retirement.”

“Okay, we really need to find another word for this, I’m not some geriatric going to bingo every Tuesday, recounting his glory years to anyone who’ll listen.” Stiles huffed, looking from Derek to his cousins cautiously.

“Considering your glory years include burning your tongue on marshmallows and dropping salt down a flight of stairs, no wonder no one’s listening.” Dean chuckled. At the easy conversation, Dean and Sam stepped closure towards the front of the house. Derek, however, hadn’t moved a muscle, looking between Stiles and the two new men cautiously.

“Stiles?” He asked, voice close to growl, glare strengthening.

“Uh, yeah, Derek, meet my cousins. Sam and Dean Winchester.” Stiles winced, not wanting to see the reaction Derek would have once the truth of his family came out.

To Stiles’ benefit, he really should’ve realized if he was in retirement for five years, Derek might as well have been sequestered, with the time he and Laura spent outside of the supernatural prior to his forced return. So when Derek barely blinked an eye at the name drop, raising an eyebrow at the delayed moment of silence, Stiles laughed nervously. “You know, Winchester, long line of hunters, fought the forces of good and evil, heaven and hell, brought on and stopped the apocalypse, close friends with angels?”

“Long line of what?” Derek asked, turned back towards the men, eyes narrowing as his instincts screamed for him to prepare to fight.

“To be fair, we’ve probably killed just as many angels as we’ve befriended.” Dean admitted.

“Seriously, man? Is there nothing you won’t hunt?” Stiles questioned. He knew the Winchester name was known for sparing no one, shoot first ask questions later, but didn’t his cousins have morals?

“And these are your,” Derek paused, eyes fleeting to Stiles before quickly looking back to the strangers, “cousins.” His words were a statement, not a question.

“Yes, cousins, and my only surviving family outside of dad.” Stiles confirmed. “They come in peace.”

“Don’t go making promises you can’t keep, kid,” Dean interrupted, looking at Stiles and Derek. “You know what this thing is? And you didn’t say so earlier?”

“You didn’t tell us why you were coming to town,” Stiles countered, frowning. “Why should I out the local pack if I don’t have to?”

“Why is there even a local pack to begin with?” Dean frowned. “Have you forgotten everything we taught you?”

“I don’t know, Dean, probably for the same reasons my mom didn’t do a damn thing about it when we moved here.”

“Stiles has a point,” Sam interrupted before Dean could say more, “We should talk to Uncle John. You said it yourself, the news in this town is all over the place. No better person to talk to than the Sheriff to try to understand it. Especially if Aunt Claudia had a hand in it, too.”

“Great idea Sam!” Stiles stated, far more cheerily than the conversation called for. “How about this, you guys walk back to the car and meet me at my house. I’ll tell dad to pick up the food on his way home. We’ll move the dinner party indoors.”

“You don’t get to call the shots here, kid—” Dean was interrupted by a low rumble of a growl from Derek.

“But I do. This is private property. Get out or I will chase you out.” As Derek continued to stare down the two brothers, Sam began pulling on Dean’s shoulder to nudge him along.

“Sam, we can’t just leave Stiles out here with this mons—”

“You finish that sentence and I will shoot you, so help me, Dean,” Stiles moved far more quickly than Derek anticipated, not realizing Stiles had the ability to move swiftly when adrenaline was pumping – also, where the hell did he keep that gun? – staring his cousins down over the line of a pistol.

“C’mon, he’s okay, let’s go wait for him at the house,” Sam nudged his brother along, grip on his shoulder strengthening the longer Dean didn’t budge.

With an exasperated sigh, Dean finally started to walk away before Sam could begin dragging him, “Just remember who taught you how to shoot that damn thing!”

Stiles laughed, lowering the gun. There was a momentary pause as he and Derek watched the other’s walking through the tree lines. Once out of sight, Stiles took in a deep breath before chancing a glance at Derek.

Cousins? These are your cousins, Stiles?” Derek’s voice was a roar as he paced along the porch. “And since when are you carrying?”

“Technically, since I was 18 and got my open-carry permit, but,” Stiles shrugged, “trained since I was ten.”

“Oh my god,” Derek rubbed a hand across his face, “you really are a hunter.”

“Didn’t you hear, I’m supposed to be retired.”

“This is not a joke, Stiles,” Derek glowered, putting some space between him and Stiles as he moved towards the open door of the house. “Go home.”

“Derek, hey, let me—” Stiles didn’t get to finish that thought, Derek closing the door behind him, leaving Stiles out on the porch. “Seriously, man? I’m the same dude I was five minutes ago. Same guy who helped you get through every shit show that’s come through this town!”

Only silence answered Stiles’ exclamations. He knew this was a possibility. He knew, especially if Derek was surprised with the information, there was a chance he was going to shut him out. He just didn’t anticipate it to be an actual door shutting in his face to seal the deal.

“Fuck you man, I’ve saved your life more times than I’ve hunted, and that should count for something.” Stiles muttered quietly, mostly to himself but hoping Derek would still catch it as he begrudgingly walked towards his jeep.

Once inside, and far enough down the road that Derek wouldn’t be able to hear him even if he wanted to, Stiles called the Sheriff. “So, the wolf’s out of the bag.”

“You don’t think,” Stiles could hear the eyeroll from across the phone. “I just got off the phone with Sam, asking me to ignore any reports of erratic driving as they were heading our way. Could hear Dean in the background, too.”

“I know, and I had a plan, too. We were supposed to grab dinner after you got done and talk everything out. Not my fault their research led them to doing some precursory searching in the preserve.”

“I know kid.” John sighed, “And Derek? He make it out okay?”

“Not sure if I should start processing some retirement papers from the local wolf pack, but I’ll keep you posted.”

“With all these retirements, you should have enough pension to last us a long time.” John laughed, Stiles’ responding laughter ringing across the line. “We’ll figure it out. Now hang the damn phone up and I’ll meet you at home. I’m taking this paperwork home so I can head out early.”

“Don’t forget the food—”

“I know, and if Dean gets a cheeseburger and pie so do I, so don’t you say a word when you get home.”

“Fine.” Stiles rolled his eyes, “Get the curly fries and we’ll call it even.”

“Love you kid,” John called down the line, the sound of his keys clinking in the background, packing up as he spoke.

“Love you too,” Stiles sighed, tossing his phone down. Sometimes he wondered how his mom would have reacted to Scott being bitten and Stiles eventual joining of the local pack. But then he wonders if his dad’s lack of family history to the supernatural is what helped to remain an impartial middle ground through it all.

Claudia did leave the hunting behind, and knew the local pack. She would’ve handled telling his cousins, though, and probably with a lot more finesse than he just did.

Ugh.

--

“How the hell did you let this happen?” Dean questioned the Sheriff when he stepped into the home. Stiles made it back home before his dad, letting Sam and Dean into their home without comment. They waited in tense silence, with Dean pacing across the living and dining room while Sam took a seat on one of the couches. While Dean continued muttering to himself, Sam offered some of his notes to Stiles to look at. If the kid was good enough to be wanting a plaque in a werewolf’s home, then he clearly was worth an opinion on their current case.

“You want to try that again, Dean?” John dropped the bags of food on the dining room table, eyeing his nephew.

“Aunt Claudia didn’t want him being part of this life, so we respected that and stopped coming around. We talked about this! How is joining the local pack any better than hunting? You’re letting him run around with these monsters.” Dean glared, leaning over one of the dining room chairs.

“Dean, sit down and eat your burger. We are going to eat like a family that hasn’t seen each other in years and have the dinner we were supposed to. No supernatural talk until after.” The Sheriff looked towards Sam and Stiles, who had put down the folder of papers when Dean started. “Am I clear?”

“Fine.” Dean grumbled, sitting opposite his uncle, with Sam and Stiles also voicing their own affirmatives before joining at the table.

“Good.” John sat down, looking to Stiles on his right. “Now, how was your day Stiles?”

“Not bad,” Stiles grinned, “tried to reorganize the excuse of a library Derek has and convince him to order more books, but he wasn’t buying it.”

“I thought you said no supernatural talk?” Dean interrupted his cousin before Stiles could continue.

“Derek is one of my closest friends,” Stiles countered, “If there wasn’t an embargo on were talk, I would’ve told you guys instead about the training exercise I finally got Derek’s approval to do this morning, and how Scott came last in a highly competitive game of hide and seek.”

The Sheriff laughed, “Who came in first?”

“Erica.” Stiles grinned.

“Sam, help me out here,” Dean groaned.

Sam shrugged, “I’m just happy you got more friends than just Scott, Stiles. I’d ask you how he’s part of this pack business, too, but,” he glanced a look at the Sheriff before continuing, “we can save that for dessert.”

“Thank you, Sam,” The Sheriff agreed. “Got some fun calls in at the station today. Mystery men lurking in the shadows and whispering to themselves before driving off in a shiny chevy. Two men saying they were law enforcement and asking if we knew why they were in town before being seen getting into “some old timey classic car”. The old baker on Elm St called saying they were worried about some missing pie slices from their summer sidewalk sale.” He looked to Dean with a smirk, “You got any clue about those?”

“Not a damn one,” Dean shrugged, grinning as he continued to eat his food.

“Last time I saw you guys, you left pretty quickly after getting a call from another guy. What happened there?” Stiles asked.

“That was probably from Castiel,” Sam thought back on the last summer they had been in California. “Some weird things were happening with the Angels, losing grace and being locked out of Heaven. Cas needed help learning how to be human.”

“Where’s he now? You mentioned him sometimes,” Stiles looked towards Dean, “but I never got to meet him.”

“He pops in and out, makes it hard to keep tabs on him. If you pray to him he might show up, though.” Dean explained.

“Like, get out my rosary, go to the local church and kneel on a pew, pray to him?” Stiles questioned, imagining his cousins doing just that and holding back a laugh.

“Nah, nothing formal, just a quick, Hey Cas, praying to you to come help us out, come when you can,” Dean modeled, bringing his hands together, palms touching.

Son of a—” The Sheriff interrupted, looking towards the kitchen where a man stood. “Seriously, Dean? You had to act it out?”

“Hello, Dean,” Castiel spoke, looking at the family seated at the table. “What do you require help with?”

“Dude, that’s so cool!” Stiles grinned at the new person joining them, “What else can you do?”

Castiel’s eyes narrowed as he looked towards Stiles and then back to Sam and Dean. “I’m afraid I don’t see the emergency your called upon me for, Dean.”

“Sorry, Cas,” Dean shrugged, “was giving a demonstration. Want a burger?” He picked up the bag from the table and shook it with a grin.

“You know not to ask stupid questions, Dean.” Castiel sat between Dean and Stiles, taking the offered food.

“Dean! That was mine.” Stiles grumbled.

“You really want to deny an Angel of the Lord?” Dean grinned, teasing his younger cousin.

“No,” Stiles muttered, picking at his curly fries.

“Does this mean it’s okay to talk about the pack?” Sam looked towards his uncle.

“No use stopping it now. Glad we made it a grand total of five minutes.” The Sheriff rolled his eyes.

“You’re really telling me Aunt Claudia knew there was a pack of werewolves living here and still moved to town?” Dean questioned.

“Yes. She paid the Alpha a visit, explained who she was and what she was doing, and they met up periodically over the years.” The Sheriff explained. “And then when she passed, and the Hale pack was nearly extinct thanks to a psychotic hunter, there was no supernatural activity in town when you two started coming out and taking Stiles during the summer.”

“What do you mean, a psychotic hunter?” Sam asked, curious.

“Off the rails, completely batshit crazy, manipulative, predative, psychopath.” Stiles cut in. “Also known as Kate Argent.”

“Hey now,” Dean interrupted, “it’s been a long time but we’ve gone on plenty of hunts with the Argents, you and your mom included.”

“Funny how they all stopped after we moved to Beacon Hills,” Stiles commented. “I didn’t say all of the Argents are bad. Allison’s one of my closest friends and Chris has been more ally than foe this year. I’m glad Kate and Gerard are dead and rotting in hell.”

Dean frowned as Sam leaned forward, “You can’t really mean that, Stiles.” Sam chanced a glance at his brother. He knows what they were like when he was Stiles age, barely out of high school and getting ready for college while Dean continued traveling with their dad. He knows what they saw and how quickly they had to grow up at that time, but surely Stiles couldn’t be so disillusioned so easily.

“I really, really do, Sam.” Stiles folded his arms over his chest, leaning back in his chair, “I watched Gerard string my friends up and electrocute them until they passed out while he decided the pack’s resident human made for a great punching bag. You may have good memories with Kate, but if I ever find out you took a page out of her book and manipulated some teenager to fall in love with you only to trick them into helping you burn down their house with their entire family inside of it, you won’t have family outside of each other.”

Dean didn’t comment, instead looking towards the Sheriff, “All of this was going on, and you didn’t think a call to us would’ve helped?”

“Don’t make this about us, Dean.” Stiles added, “If being a hunter means being considered among those, I would choose the pack any day. We keep this town safe. We fight supernaturals and humans without preference. Something hurts an innocent, then we’re taking care of it.”

“Even if that means killing them?”

“Isn’t that the family business?” Stiles shrugged, grinning. “Saving people, hunting things. No one ever thought to define what things meant.”

“It was an understood rule.” Dean grumbled. Being over ten years older than Stiles, he had more good memories with the Argents than Stiles or his brother. He and Kate caught up on Hunts while Sam was in school, so even his brother doesn’t know the Argents as well as Dean did. He knew she had a passion for hunting and a pension for things going down in a fiery blaze, but he couldn’t see her manipulate a kid to get a job done.

“I don’t care what your history is with that family, Dean,” Stiles interrupted Dean’s thoughts. “I don’t even know why you’re here. You called and told Chris you were coming through town before you told us, and went to him for supernatural news instead of dad or me.”

“You saw the file,” Sam added, “we’re still trying to make heads out of the information we got so far.”

“And like you so rudely eavesdropped, I am an investigator extraordinaire and have been in the middle of every supernatural event in this town in the last four years. So, unless you’re going to try and take down my pack, I’m sure I could find time to help with whatever problem you’ve come here with.”

“This problem may be above even your pack,” Castiel commented. “Dean and Sam are here investigating an angelic situation.”

“Angelic? You mean, there’s an angel in Beacon Hills?” The Sheriff asked.

Angels.” Castiel corrected, “Now that I’m here.”

Dean rolled his eyes, “We’re still going over the history of this town, catching up and getting the lay of the land.”

“Which is why we were walking through the preserve. Lots of reports seem to lead back to those woods, even situations that are seemingly unrelated. We were hoping the coincidences would lend a hand with ours.” Sam added.

“I thought you said earlier the angels had fallen, turned human?” The Sheriff asked, looking at Castiel, the obvious question not said considering the man previously commented on as being human literally popped into their home. In his book, that was pretty obviously not human.

“We had. And then several of us regained our grace, returned home.” Castiel answered. “It seems one of my brothers has gone missing.”

“Again.” Dean muttered. “How do we know he’s not just taking a long vacation and pretending to be some other demigod?”

“Again,” Sam commented, smiling at the thought. “He’s kind of got a record for doing this.”

“He promised he would stay. That he would answer our prayers. He has not answered in quite some time.” Castiel’s brow was furrowed. “I know he has not been consistent in his efforts to help in the past, but in all of the eons that I have known him, when my brother makes a promise, he fulfills it.”

“Okay, all that aside, what makes you think he’s out here? Of all the places in the world?” John asked, looking between all three men.

“There have been some odd reports in the surrounding towns.” Sam got up from the table, retrieving his bag and a second folder. He handed the folder to his uncle, but Stiles reached over and grabbed it before either could stop him, thumbing between the pages.

“None here, though.” The Sheriff commented, “You should be investigating those towns then.”

“Think of a hurricane,” Castiel said, “the center of the storm is called the eye. The air is calm, rain has stopped, and there is no destruction in the eye of the storm.”

“And you think the eye of this angel’s hurricane of chaos is Beacon Hills?” John asked.

“Yes.” Dean answered.

“None of these reports are violent or harmful,” Stiles looked up from the papers. “I would’ve just blamed it on bored kids or an off-kilter neighbor doing some of this stuff. What makes you think an angel is wasting time doing stupid things like,” he looked down at once of the reports, “’Animals Turned Upside Down: Birds on Wires, Squirrels on Branches’, and,” he turned to another page, “’Shopping Carts only Rolling in Reverse’?”

“Let’s just say this guy has a particular signature and this kind of low-level stuff, all happening within close proximity to each other, over a short enough period of time, fits his profile.” Sam replied.

“So, what, you’re gonna find him and put him down like any good hunt?” Stiles asked.

No,” Castiel replied immediately, voice firm. “There will be no putting down of my brother.”

Dean sighed, “More than likely we’ll set up some angel traps, make some sigils, find him, figure out why he’s flown the cuckoo’s nest, and if we’re lucky he’ll ride off into the sunset with Castiel back to the big cloud in the sky.”

“And if you’re not lucky?” The Sheriff asked, “What could happen to this town?”

“Well,” Sam started, pausing to think. “That parts a little unclear. He’s an archangel and his powers know virtually no limit.”

“There’s archangels too?” Stiles asked.

“Of course,” Castiel replied, “are you not familiar with the words of my Father?”

“I mean, we’re not particularly religious,” Stiles shrugged. “Hard to believe in something greater when you’re busy fighting off evil every other week. Something so big and powerful out there, and we’re left to take care of it? Sounds fake to me.”

“See, he gets it,” Dean laughed.

“I remember, Dean,” Castiel looked from Stiles to Dean, “your faith was similar when I saved you.”

“Angelboy saved you, too, huh?” Stiles asked, eyebrows raised, taking a secondary look between the two in question.

“We’re not bringing that up,” Dean huffed, crumbling the food wrappers in his hands and shoving them into the bag on the table. He stood from the table abruptly, taking the wrappers and trash to throw out. For such a helpful chore, he looked everything but happy about it.

“If you’re here on angel business, then you shouldn’t have any issues with the resident pack then.” The Sheriff stated, changing the conversation, also standing up alongside Dean. He pulled two beers from the fridge, handing one to his nephew before rejoining the group at the table.

“So long as they don’t cause any trouble.” Dean muttered, leaning against the kitchen counter as he took a drink from the bottle in his hands.

“There won’t be any trouble so long as you angels don’t start anything.” Stiles huffed, looking towards Sam. “And if we’re in this eye of the storm or whatever, this dude’s brother shouldn’t have any reason to try to ruffle the fur on my friends anyway.”

“Agreed,” Sam replied, “unless the reason Gabriel chose this town was because of the werewolf protection. Or rather, distraction.”

“It would make for an easy enough cover,” Castiel surmised. “Individuals not aware of angels may find it easier to explain the problems on shapeshifters instead of a higher being.”

 “Oh great, another excuse to give us some bad PR and sent hellbent hunters on our tails.” Stiles voiced his annoyance. “So, what, I help you guys, make sure this angel doesn’t blame us for his, honestly, juvenile pranks. And if we don’t, we’re left wondering when the next set of hunters are going to blow through and try to blame us for some dumb pranks?”

“Sounds like the best option to me.” The Sheriff commented.

“And here I thought my last summer before college was going to be easy.” Stiles frowned. His phone buzzed in his pocket, catching his attention. Since ending the call with his dad on the way home, he hadn’t updated anyone in the pack about what was going on in his family. When he pulled his phone out, he saw a new thread of messages in the pack’s group chat.

Derek refused to be part of the group chat, removing himself every time Stiles added him back into it. Stiles had another group chat, with Danny and Lydia, that he named Researchers Assemble, but it was mostly filled with times of meet ups and links to onedrive folders with new digitalized resources for them to review. Stiles would send memes over periodically, or clips of dogs doing things that way too strongly resemble Scott or Derek. Danny and Lydia didn’t usually respond much, liking the messages, but Stiles did what he had to for Team Human.

Stiles had turned notifications off in the group chat, and saw Scott had sent him a separate text, which was what made his phone buzz in the first place. Stiles scrolled back in the group thread, seeing that Scott had fired off a message asking if anyone was around for a pack movie night at Derek’s, and then several responses agreeing from most of the wolves. Apparently, the group met up and, to avoid suspicion in front of Derek, Erica messaged in the group if anyone knew why Derek was “looking like an overripe lemon”. No one seemed to have a clue but agreed their alpha was acting weird.

Scott’s message was brief, thankfully: dude u ok

Stiles fired off a message quickly: family drama. derek found out before I could tell him oops

shit.

Stiles laughed – yep, pretty much, Scott. i kno

u coming over???

Stiles looked up at his cousins, his dad and Castiel: even if derek hadn’t booted me pretty sure cant leave right now.Division later?

hell yeah man

Scott added a peace sign emoji at the end of his text. In between his texts with Scott, Erica was firing off another one in the group chat, hey if we gotta deal where the hell is stiles

Apparently Jackson had already replied, prob passed out in a pool of his own spit

And because his best friend is clearly the best, Scott came to his defense, lay off man he has family in town he’ll be around tomorrow

Okay, he was the best, but maybe not the smartest, because Stiles wasn’t sure he’d be able to talk to Derek in enough time to make everything cool and copacetic again.

“Everything okay, Stiles?” The Sheriff asked. Stiles shoved his phone back into his pocket and shrugged.

“Pack movie night and apparently Derek’s being a dick.”

“You telling me all these werewolves are currently hanging out watching movies?” Dean questioned. “Not roaming the woods plotting whose heart to rip out and eat next?”

“Dude, gross!” Stiles glared at his cousin.

“Dean, they’re shapeshifters.” Castiel’s added, stating it like a fact; which, to him, it probably was, even if the others in the room were not as aware. “They don’t eat hearts. They share many similarities with the werewolves you have hunted, but they are wolf shapeshifters.”

“Um, try that again,” Stiles interrupted, “pretty sure I have several bestiaries that say otherwise.”

“Words are often lost in translation, Mieczyslaw.” Castiel responded easily, turning to look at Dean before continuing, “Make no mistake, the creatures you have faced in the past share no similarities with the individuals in your cousin’s pack.”

“How the hell does he know my name?” Stiles questioned, looking between his cousins. “I know you jackwads never even learned how to say it, so what the hell?”

“Stiles—” The Sheriff sighed, about to admonish his son.

“I’m an Angel of the Lord.” Castiel replied simply, as if the words were answer enough. Stiles started to realize this was a trend with the man.

Stiles pulled out his phone and saw Scott confirming he was leaving Derek’s and headed home. “And on that note, I am leaving, gonna go plot some things and shoot shit with Scott.”

“Stiles—”

“Shoot stuff, jeeze dad.”

“I though you said your pack wasn’t violent?” Dean questioned, eyes narrowing.

“Oh my god, you idiot, I’m going to go play some video games. You know, imaginary violence.” Stiles rolled his eyes before heading out of the room. “I’ll see you guys tomorrow. Try to leave your pack prejudices at the motel, next time.”

“I think we might’ve overreacted today, Dean,” Sam agreed.

“Overreact? We found out our cousin, who was supposed to be in retirement, has been buddy-buddy with the town werewolves—wolf shapeshifters, don’t give me that look, Cas—whatever you want to call it, he’s been helping monsters since we’ve been gone.”

“Listen here, Dean,” The Sheriff looking at his nephew, “While you are in this town, you do not shoot first and ask questions later. Especially if the reason you’re here has nothing to do with Stiles or his friends. I am Sheriff of this town and family or not, I will take you in if it means keeping those kids safe.”

“He’ll come around,” Sam came to his brother’s defense. At the sharp look Dean gave him, Sam looked at him with an even more-pointed look than before, “He will come around, for Stiles sake, and because we really need to focus on what Gabriel is trying to do.”

“Dean, we do not have time to waste fighting with such small shapeshifters. We must focus on the reason we came here.” Castiel added.

Dean sighed, “Fine, but I’m not going to be happy about it. One paw out of line and this deal is off.”

“I’m sure Stiles will expect the same from you.” The Sheriff added. “Now, next time you see your cousin, I’m sure you can take a couple minutes to be the loving family members he’s missed all these years, and talk to him about things other than the family business?” He leveled a look at both Sam and Dean. “He graduated second in his class and is starting at Stanford at the end of the summer. Would be nice for his family to show interest in that and not who’s howling in the backyard.”

For a moment, the frustration cleared off of Dean’s face and he sighed. “We are really proud of the kid, he’s gotta know that.”

“Have you actually told him?”

Sam and Dean both looked at each other before shaking their heads. Both of them remembered what it was like, especially Sam, graduating school, starting new and exciting things, and not having family to share the news with. When the priority was always what the next hunt was, and not if Sam had made the Dean’s List.

“Maybe we can find time to take a mini-trip over to the campus this summer, show him the spots I really liked.” Sam wondered aloud.

“I think he’d like that,” John grinned, nodding at his nephews.

--

After a good half hour of working their way through the game, talking to each other over their headsets, Stiles finally broke the unspoken-silence about the pack, “Was Derek really that pissed?”

“He looked like someone pissed in his cheerios and “accidentally” dyed his clothes pink.” Scott laughed, “But without the fun evidence to go with it.”

“You think he’ll cool off enough by tomorrow?”

“I dunno. He asked us to come back tomorrow for training, so maybe if he throws enough of us against the trees he’ll be good again.”

“I’ll drive over just to yell at his ass for endangering the wildlife again, he won’t have time to yell at me.” Stiles paused their conversation, attention focused on the game again, him and Scott shouting directions over each other as they continued.

“Your training today was pretty fun.”

“Right? Like the big physical things like being thrown into the woods are probably worth something, but honing in on those special wolf powers you guys got? Now that’s fun. And less painful.” Stiles paused. “My cousin’s friend said something weird today.”

“I thought you said the whole conversation was weird.” Scott muttered, firing off in the game, drowning out his response.

“Well, weirder.” Stiles paused, “He said you guys were wolf shapeshifters. Not werewolves.”

“Has he met the Argents? Or read a bestiary? Pretty sure I have the claws to prove it.”

“That’s what I said! Apparently, my cousins hunted werewolves before, and you guys are not like those guys at all.”

“Man I wish I could major in Supernatural Lore instead.” Scott wondered.

“Oh yeah, and your science requirement would be a bio lab where you dissect different mythical creatures. Because that’s not cruel and unusual.” Stiles replied, tone short.

“Hey! You’re the one who happily cut open the frogs last year, holding up their innards like a gold medal.” Scott countered.

“Well, yeah, but that was a frog.”

“Okay, and if werewolves and shapeshifters exist, why can’t there be a frog-equivalent in the supernatural world?”

 “Maybe you should major in Supernatural Lore.” Stiles grumbled, admitting defeat as another explosion in the game caught their attention. Their conversation quickly ended as they resumed focus on the mission at hand.

------------------------------------------------

 

“Hey-oo,” Stiles yelled out as he climbed out of the jeep, stepping onto the porch of Derek’s house.

When Derek didn’t come out to meet him, Stiles frowned. He knew Derek heard his car coming down the dirt road, heard him yell at the jeep when his door stuck as he opened it, when he kicked the tire and shoved his phone into his pocket. He knows Derek heard every step he took, walking onto the porch, even without the creaking floorboards punctuating his presence. Every other time before yesterday, Derek would be out on the porch waiting for him, no matter the time of day. Seriously – he knows what color toothbrush the man has, because he decided it was better to finish cleaning his molars from the front porch if it meant seeing Stiles pull up to the house.

“You can’t keep ignoring me!” Stiles shouted out. “I have the spare key to the house!” It was true. The door was always unlocked, thanks in part due to the pack members constantly coming and going, the front door being perpetually left open, and the relative peace of Beacon Hills over the last year. But there was one spare key made, and Stiles was the only one who possessed it. The day Derek gave it to him, his heart did an extra flip, his stomach felt like it dropped, and his head spun – the last time a key was used in their pack, it brought Jackson back to the good side. Keys meant something around here, damn it.

That was a year ago, and while Stiles was more often than not at the house alone with Derek, especially on nights when his dad was working the swing shift, nothing more romantic had transpired between them. Not that he was hoping it would’ve.

Nope.

Not at all.

Stiles sighed. Probably never, ever gonna happen at this point anyway, if Derek was going to let something like bloodline effect their stellar friendship. And Stiles meant that – after Scott, Derek was his best friend. Saving each other’s asses enough times probably helped get them there, but it worked for them.

“You know what? I don’t care!” Stiles pinched himself knowing Derek would hear the lie. “I left a ton of books here last night and they’re from my collection. I have a right to be here!” He continued yelling, hoping the noise was grating on Derek’s ears, pushing into the house and back into the living room where he and Derek’s conversation had ended yesterday. Even with the pack over last night, Derek had neatly piled Stile’s books into a pile on a shelf in the bookcase. Stiles grabbed his items, books jostling in his hold, and walking into the den. The den that he renovated – he’ll say it was with Lydia and Danny’s help, but he knows if either of them had initiated the idea it wouldn’t have happened – taking his claim to sit in the armchair Erica liked to call his thinking chair.

Screw her, it was comfortable, and she was just mad she couldn’t sit in it if he was there.

Sitting with a huff, Stiles reopened the last book he was reading, trying to pick up where he had left off. The books were supernatural in nature, but nothing as encyclopedic as the bestiary collection, and he wasn’t researching anything in particular. Over the last year of relative calm, Stiles spent more time building his personal collection of books, reading through them. His plan was to be familiar enough with them so if they did need them in the future, he’d already have an idea of which book to look through with a more critical eye.

After nearly an hour of sitting in silence, flipping the pages of his book angrily, clicking the pen Derek had tucked into the spiral edges of his notebook, Stiles huffed again. “Seriously man?” He shoved his book down onto the table in the den, walking through the home to hopefully stumble upon Derek. After walking back into the living room, he noticed a book out on the end table that he hadn’t noticed earlier. He picked up the small, well-used, novel, squinting at the title before flipping to the back. “Written by Carver Edlund? Who brought this over?”

“Erica and Isaac were reading it last night.” Derek’s voice startled Stiles from where it came from the top of the stairs. Considering he had been waiting for him to show his face, he was mad at how easily his presence still managed to startle him.

“Why? Looks like some trash fiction.” Stiles rolled his eyes.

“Apparently a lot of the pack are reading them. Lydia traded a book with Erica before they left.” Derek continued, having walked down the stairs and taken the book out of Stiles’ hands. “You read them?”

“Just heard of them on message boards when I’m doing deep web searches.” Stiles shrugged. “The fans are hellbent on saying they’re real though.”

Derek had paged through the book when Stiles spoke, appearing to be looking for a page or chapter to show Stiles. “See, I thought you knew them. Isaac started reading it when Jackson started in on them—”

“Dramatically?” Stiles laughed, picturing Isaac standing on the coffee table, swinging one of his scarves over his neck, before providing a dramatic reading of the text. He’d done it in the past with the grocery list to bug Boyd. Stiles was the least surprised when Isaac mentioned wanting to look into drama clubs at school when he and Scott start in the fall.

Derek narrowed his eyes, “Yes, Isaac started reading it dramatically when Jackson teased them.” He paused, eyes scanning the page he had found, “And you’ll never guess who the main characters are.”

Stiles looked down at the book, holding one end of it while Derek still held the other side open, scanning the page. He looked up at Derek, then back at the book, and then back at him. “You have got to be kidding me.”

“Apparently you’re famous.” Derek concluded, snapping the book shut and throwing it back onto the end table.

“I am not famous.” Stiles remarked, glaring at the book from where it sat, back cover standing on end from when it was stressed open.

“You said Winchester was a world renown hunting family.”

“Yes, for hunting. Not in some trash novel.”

“I dare you to call it trash in front of the pack.” Derek smirked.

“I will!” Stiles exclaimed, pulling his phone out. “After I get to the bottom of this.” Stiles walked back over to the book, took a photo of the cover and opened up his text thread with his cousins. He sent the photo was the caption: wtf guys????????????

It only took a short moment to pass before his cousin Sam was calling, “So, we should probably explain.”

“You think?” Stiles yelled, “Imagine, growing up, being told, Hey kid, I know it sounds weird, but other kids don’t know how to reload a shotgun in seconds, and you should only talk about the landmarks we saw this summer, my entire childhood, having this huge family history I had to protect, only to find out you’ve been making money on it?”

“To be fair we haven’t gotten a single cent from royalties.” Dean’s voice yelled across the line.

“That’s even worse! Can’t you sue the publisher?” Stiles argued. “Hey, if you actually got royalties, then maybe you wouldn’t have to do so much identity theft! Man, wasn’t that a fun summer? Learning how to commit identity theft!”

“Look, kid, it sounds crazy, but the guy who wrote those books? Prophet of the Lord.” Sam explained.

“Prophet of the—Sam, you sound like Castiel now.” Stiles rolled his eyes. “I mean, I figured if you guys got into published media, it’d make more sense to see you doing adult films, not best selling fiction.”

“Seriously, Stiles?” Dean called out across the line.

“Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it!”

“Doesn’t mean we would.” Sam added. “Stiles, we can talk more later, explain how this whole thing happened, but those books are no longer being written, we took care of that, and they’re not a direct translation of our lives. We went off script.”

“Just promise me there isn’t going to be a shapeshifter spin off.”

“We promise, no shapeshifter spin off.” Sam and Dean spoke in unison. Dean added on, “And if there is, we will take care of it.”

“Fine. Whatever.” Stiles grumbled, “Thanks, I guess? Talk to you guys later.”

He looked over at Derek, “I feel like I don’t even know what to tell you about my family now. If it’s all written into these books.”

“Didn’t your cousin say they aren’t entirely accurate?” Derek asked, acknowledging that the call might as well have been on speaker from how clearly he heard the conversation.

“But I haven’t read them, so I have no idea how far that goes.” Stiles sat down on the couch, with Derek walking over and sitting opposite him.

“Then fill me in.” Derek huffed.

“Oh, now you’re ready to listen?” Stiles’ eyes narrowed.

“I may know something about having to keep a family secret. Try me.”

Stiles pointedly did not mention his family’s entanglement with the Argents as in-depth as he had with Scott. He mentioned how his mom’s side of the family had a family business, but unlike the mom-and-pop stores in town, they traveled the country killing things. How his cousins were raised as soldiers in some unspoken war against the night. How his mom didn’t want him having the same life, instead choosing to be half-in on the family tradition, joining on summer camping trips. Stiles told Derek stories he heard of how his mom and Derek’s mom were friendly, both families living peacefully in Beacon Hills.

Stiles’ voice grew in volume and then drew to an almost whisper, words coming out quickly and then sometimes it felt like pulling teeth as he continued. He paused when he started talking about how, when his mom was dying in the hospital, she asked John to promise Stiles would continue to have a normal life. To avoid family camping trips without her there. John had never gotten the full welcome into the hunting lifestyle, knowing the risks, often working when Claudia and Stiles would leave and thus unable to ever really witness it firsthand.

Not knowing the depths of the reasons for his mom not wanting him to go away during the summer anymore, missing the only other family he had left, Stiles had begged his dad to let him travel with his cousins in the years following his mom’s passing. Dealing with his own grief, John had agreed, and Stiles received the training and hands-on practice his mom pointedly never wanted him to have. Just as high school was picking up, John and his cousins had a talk, and his cousins agreed leaving Stiles in Beacon Hills was for the best. But no one explained to Stiles why, and he was bored, and really, no one should’ve been surprised when he went into the woods that night with Scott.

“I mean, you know the rest from there. From all the training I had, I didn’t actually learn about you guys specifically, so I really was clueless those first few years.” Stiles shrugged. “Man, Gerard thought it was the most hilarious thing, you know, when he had me, Erica and Boyd. Laughing about how if only the rest of the hunting world could see it, an Argent over a Winchester. I never thought he had it in him, but, I guess those bruises proved otherwise.”

“So Argents know you’re a Winchester?” Derek questioned, noting that nowhere in Stiles’ story telling did the name come up before now.

“Kind of.” Stiles scratched the back of his head, “Allison might have found a camping trip photo from when I was like, ten years old. I learned how to roast marshmallows that year.”

“And the campground didn’t burn down?” Derek laughed.

“No, it didn’t, thank you very much.” Stiles huffed. “I met Kate that trip, though.” He looked away from Derek, not wanting to see his reaction. “I didn’t even realize I had met her until it was too late, though. And she clearly didn’t recognize who I was either. Dean and Sam had no idea about what she and Gerard did. Guess when your family turns psycho, that is carefully left out of the hunting quarterly newsletter.” Stiles looked up at the ceiling. “I was gone, with my cousins, we took a Spring Break trip one year, not wanting to wait until summer, when the fire happened. Mom never told me about your family or her friendship with your mom, I had no idea that the whole thing had to do with our world until later.”

“You think you could’ve done something,” Derek surmised.

“I mean, I was like, twelve, when it happened. I couldn’t tackle Dean to the ground during training, I doubt I could’ve done anything to Kate, but,” Stiles paused, “sometimes I wonder if my mom would’ve been able to stop her.”

Derek was quiet, looked down at his hands where they sat on top of his knees. He leaned forward before looking back up at Stiles. “I don’t blame you.” Before Stiles could interject, his eyebrows raising up in question, Derek continued. “For keeping it a secret, or what happened to the family. You spent enough time making me accept Kate would’ve found a way no matter what, so if it’s not my fault, then it’s not yours, and it’s definitely not your mothers.”

“Thank you,” Stiles smiled softly. “Are we okay?”

“Yes,” Derek nodded, “and now I know we can push you harder in training.” His grin turned wicked, a smirk appearing, “You have to show what you really can do.”

“Derek,” Stiles groaned, “did you miss the part of the story where my cousins stopped training me and I’m just the uncoordinated human researcher?”

“Didn’t look that way when you pulled a gun out yesterday.” Derek countered.

“Fine.” Stiles rolled his eyes. “I’m going to try and get Sam to teach me more barrier tricks while they’re here, besides salt and wolfsbane. They mentioned something about using holy water last night, and I definitely want to test that one out.”

“Holy water?” Derek questioned.

“Oh, yeah, apparently we have an archangel running around messing shit up.” Stiles spoke, laughing at the stunned expression Derek gave in return.

Angels?”

--

The pack started arriving shortly after Derek and Stiles talked. It shouldn’t have surprised Stiles – Scott had told him they were planning another training session, and even said as much when he was the first one to arrive – but he thought he had more time to figure out the next steps with the pack. Did he try to reveal his family secret in some showstopping event during training (Scott laughed at that idea, because, hello, uncoordinated). Did he just invite his cousins over and hold a Q&A with the Pack’s Book Club? Or was it better to wait it out, help his cousins with their angel problem, and clue the pack in if they were needed?

Turns out, as luck would have it, he ended up getting a blend of all three options.

While Scott joked today’s training may be more physical, Derek had set up targets in the woods before Stiles had arrived, wanting the pack to work on distance-offense. Sure, claws and fangs are great, but if you can take out a problem before having to get close and risk damage to your vital organs? That’s a skill worth having.

“What, is Allison going to teach us how to shoot a bow today?” Jackson questioned, eyeing Allison from where she stood with her weapon of choice.

“If you want to, yes,” Derek answered, “but there are multiple long-range weapons you may choose to explore. Bow and arrow is one of them. Guns are another. And we know some of you have an affinity for Molotov cocktails.” Lydia smirked at the reference. There was a reason she kept a mini chemistry set on hand at all times since they set Peter ablaze.

“Using weapons from long-range can be helpful to keep suspicions off of the pack, as anyone may try to use a gun. If your enemy is unconscious and had a weapon on hand, being able to pick it up and use it will also aid you in battle. Use today to hone your aim and find out which items you have a preference for, if you have any.” Derek continued. He reached a hand out to Allison, taking hold of the bow and arrow, and then lining up his aim at the target farthest away from where he stood. He didn’t hit a perfect bullseye, but his quiver hit close to the center. “Having heightened senses help, but it does not make you a perfect marksman.” He looked at Stiles and raised an eyebrow, hand out. Stiles huffed – Derek didn’t tell him about this plan, but understood his intention. He pulled the pistol out of his ankle holster without preamble. Derek took aim and fired, hitting the bullseye perfectly, but wincing considerably after the gunshot rang out. “I’m more consistent with guns, but the rebound to my senses makes me pause. You might not have the opportunity to stop and reorient in a fight.”

Derek turned and handed the gun back to Stiles. “Try things out. See what works. Allison, Stiles and I can help if anyone needs it.”

“Shouldn’t he be practicing too?” Boyd questioned, the other wolves showing their agreeance.

“Trained marksmen provide support, untrained practice.” Derek responded, leaving no room for further debate, “You may begin.”

“Dude, c’mon, let’s do the guns.” Scott grinned, pulling Stiles with him. Allison turned towards Lydia, who was already picked up one of the extra sets of equipment. Stiles wasn’t sure where Derek had acquired some of the weapons he had littered across the forest floor, but he had a feeling Allison had a helping hand in that. Before Stiles had let Derek start the training, he did take a glance and confirm none of the bullets were hunter bullets. Last thing they needed was Jackson and Isaac goofing off and accidentally poisoning one another.

They made it through high school. It would be too damn poetic to die now.

“You sure you want to try that one first?” Stiles eyed the shotgun Scott had picked up, the gun length nearly half of Scott’s height. “Recoil is a bitch.”

“Hell yeah, man.” Scott grinned, hoisting the weapon up to his shoulder. He squinted as he aimed the gun to the target directly in front of them. When he pulled the trigger, Scott fell backwards, the back of the gun hitting him in the eye. “Damn!”

Isaac and Jackson stopped their debate over which gun to use to laugh at the spectacle. Boyd sighed, picking up a bow and arrow and walking towards Allison before starting.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Stiles laughed, helping Scott up and taking the gun out of his hands. “You have to ground your feet first, be prepared for the impact before you fire.” Stiles held the gun up and shot off, barely taking a second to confirm his aim. His body rolled with the impact, showing no signs of flinching, and when the nearby pack members looked over, he had made a perfect shot.

“Hel-lo Batman,” Erica called from several targets away, whistling her praise.

Stiles rolled his eyes before looking back at Scott, “Want to try again or try something else?”

“Dude, let’s do it again.” Scott’s grin widened further, taking the shotgun back from his best friend before lining it back up. They didn’t reset their target until the magazine in the gun was spent, taking turns, with Stiles providing pointers as Scott continued. By the end, his knees were bending with the effort, eyes squinting as they reacted to the loud boom so close to his ears, but he was safe from falling on his ass or busting an eye like when he started.

“So you can shoot a shotgun,” Jackson rolled his eyes, “any farm boy can do that. Let’s see what you’ve really got.”

Stiles looked to Derek for confirmation, and when he gave a nod in response Stiles looked down at the available ammo. He wondered if part of this was born out of Derek’s own curiosity, if he would have ever asked Stiles to demonstrate the kind of training his cousins had given him. The targets weren’t too far away, for as much as this training was about using long-range weapons, any of the guns available would make their mark if the shooter was skilled enough. Stiles looked down at the Winchester rifle and smirked, picking up and feeling the weight of the weapon in his hands.

Jackson huffed a laugh, “Hey, Boyd, you want to bet $10 Stilinski won’t make a perfect shot on all ten targets?”

“No way, man,” Boyd laughed, “can’t make a bet if we’re both on the same side.”

“Hey!” Scott interrupted, “I bet both of you that he can.”

“I’m with Scott,” Allison smiled, winking at Stiles.

“C’mon guys,” Stiles whined, “are you serious right now?”

“Hell yeah, man,” Isaac grinned, adding his own money to the growing pile.

“I’m going to remain bipartisan.” Lydia grinned, “Someone needs to handle the pool.”

“You guys realize by the time you get your money figured ou, this could’ve been done already, right?” Stiles questioned.

“Because you’re going to fall on your ass and miss them all?” Jackson questioned, laughing.

Without another comment, Stiles lifted up the chosen rifle and after taking one calming breath, leveled the weapon with the various targets across the wooded area. He began firing off, moving the aim of the weapon without missing a beat, sliding the gun through the air with practiced ease, barely blinking between firings. After hitting the last target, he dropped to a kneel, pulling out the pistol from his ankle holster and turned around, firing behind a tree to the left of where everyone stood.

“I’d like my money now,” Scott’s voice was clearly smug, high-fiving Stiles and Allison.

“Who the hell are you and what happened to Stiles?” Erica asked in wonder.

“Sorry, no case of the body snatchers.” Stiles shrugged, “We’ve always been a claws first, guns last operation.”

“Yeah, because we thought you didn’t have game.” Isaac remarked.

“Nobody asked.” Stiles shrugged, putting the rifle back on the ground after securing the safety was back on. He walked past Derek and towards the area where he had shot his pistol.

“Can’t tell if you missed on purpose after that show, kid.” A man walked forward, holding up the edge of sleeve where a clear bullet hole was visible.

“And I can’t tell if you hid yourself from the pack on purpose or not.” Stiles looked at the man cautiously. Derek turned, eyes narrowing now that the man’s presence was no longer being masked. The other wolves dropped their weapons, preparing themselves for whatever call their alpha gave.

“Definitely on purpose,” The man continued grinning, pushing his hair behind his ear. “I heard you had a family reunion recently.”

“I have a feeling you’re about to have one too.” Stiles grinned in return, hoping the man before them was who his cousins were looking for. He whispered under his breath, “Hey, Castiel, praying to you because I’m pretty sure your brother is here and you guys never taught me the holy water trick yet and could really use some help before shit gets rough here.”

“Dude, are you praying?” Isaac looked at Stiles curiously, “Since when are you even religious?”

“Seriously, you thought this was the best time?” Jackson added in.

Before Stiles or Derek could respond, more men joined the group in barely a blink of an eye.

“C’mon Cas, we could’ve drove here.” Dean’s whining voice was heard throughout the clearing.

“Boys! It’s been way too long,” Gabriel’s sing song voice was heard clear across the field. “Unfortunately for you, I’m not really into this reunion special.” He winked and with a snap of his fingers, was gone just as quickly as he came.

“Anyone mind filling us in on what the actual hell just happened.” Isaac’s voice called out the question on most of the pack’s minds.

“That would be my brother,” Castiel spoke up, staring unblinkingly at the place where Gabriel had once stood.

“Well that was a great first impression. Barely said hello and I shot him.” Stiles sighed.

“Shot at him,” Sam remarked, grinning. “Glad to see your aim is still perfect.”

Dean appeared to buff up with pride, “And I’m the one who taught you.”

“Technically, my mom taught me.” Stiles correct. “You just honed the skill.”

Dean rolled his eyes, “I was there for your first kill, I’d like to be the one to take the credit, if you don’t mind, kid.”

“As great as that answer to Isaac was, who are these guys?” Boyd looked to Derek for direction.

Stiles turned around, sticking his hands in his pockets and leaning back on his heels, “Family reunion. For me and the guy over there,” he pulled out a hand to point with his thumb towards Castiel.

“And it seems Gabriel is making his reason for being here clear. Though I am still unsure as to what the meaning behind it all is.” Castiel mused aloud.

“A man stood in the tree line, undetected by the wolves, watching us train, and we are not running after him to demand answers,” Lydia turned towards Derek, “Is there something you know that we do not?”

“Not much more.” Derek looked to Stiles before turning towards his pack. “It seems Stiles’ cousins are friends with angels, and are in search of one who has gone rogue.”

“And the guy Stiles shot at, because he detected him before any of us did, is the one they’re looking for?” Erica added.

“You’re telling me this frumpy looking guy in a trench coat is an angel?” Jackson questioned, giving Castiel a pointed stare to emphasize his point.

Castiel turned to Jackson, eyebrows knitted in confusion, “I am unsure what my appearance has to do with my possession of grace.”

“He’s saying you don’t look like an angel,” Dean surmised for his him.

“Of course not, if I was to show my true form you would all be blinded.” Castiel turned back to Dean. “Was he telling a joke? Ha. Ha.”

“Stiles, next time your family comes around, just show us where the circus tent is being put so we can stay clear away.” Jackson eyed Castiel warily.

“Since when are angels even a thing?” Erica looked to Derek for confirmation.

“Since the beginning of time,” Castiel interjected again. “We created this world, we protected this world, and we will be here long when it is over.”

“Not if we have anything to say about it,” Dean grinned, hold up his hand to knock knuckles with Sam.

“You guys stop one apocalypse and suddenly that’s all you’re going to talk about?” Stiles stared at his cousins warily. “Do any of you guys know why Gabriel was watching us?”

“Unfortunately, no,” Castiel replied. “There have still been no strange changes in this area, with a new report coming in from the town two miles outside of Beacon Hills perimeter this morning. My brother has never shown an interest in shapeshifters before, preferring to play his games and be among other demigods.”

“Is there any chance he’s going to spell it out for us? Help a brother out and everything?” Stiles reasoned.

“When he gets bored, but there’s no telling how long that will take.” Sam replied. “In the meantime, we can get you all holy water and teach you some methods of containing him should he come find you again.”

“That’s the solution?” Lydia questioned, “Wait for him to show again and throw water?”

“Angels can be trapped within fiery circles of holy water,” Sam explained, “and it’ll be better if you’re all prepared with what to do if you’re surprised by him.”

“Why can’t we just claw his heart out?” Jackson huffed.

Dean looked to Stiles and made a move to start arguing before Stiles cut him off, “There will be no ripping out of hearts, because we have never ripped hearts out before, and we have never fought against an archangel before either. I would like to start school this fall with all of my body parts attached. I suggest you do the same.”

Dean frowned, but didn’t push the subject. “I already spoke with Chris this morning about assembling the materials we needed. I’ll let him know to get an ass-ton more.”

“Chris Argent?” Lydia asked, eyeing the group carefully. “If you’re already in communication with Allison’s father, and clearly are well versed in the supernatural happenings of this area, then that must mean you are business colleagues?” She phrased the words carefully as she spoke.

“And you’re the brains of this group, aren’t you?” Dean grinned.

“Hey!” Stiles interrupted, “Did you forget I was over here?”

Dean shrugged, “I call ‘em like I see ‘em kid.”

Sam continued from where his brother left off, turning towards Lydia, “You are correct, Dean and I are hunters.”

A low rumble of growls was heard throughout the group, with Stiles unsure which of his packmates were reacting to the news. As his eyes scanned the group, nearly everyone’s hackles were raised except for Scott and Derek at the news. Derek let out a low growl in response, eyes flashing red as he stared each of his betas down. “Allison comes from a family of hunters, and so does Stiles. We are working together.”

Stilinski?” Jackson shouted, standing up from he had been seated on the stairs in front of the house’s front porch.

“Since when?” Isaac called out.

Stiles felt several of his friends’ eyes on him, only imagining what they were thinking at the sudden news revelation. His worries were interrupted by Erica’s voice cutting across the field.

“Let me get this straight, you said your brother’s name is Dean, Stiles was praying to a dude named Castiel before he popped you all out here, and he just shot at an apparent archangel named Gabriel.” Her eyes narrowed as she assessed the group of newcomers, “What kind of Supernatural bullshit is this?”

Isaac and Lydia both looked up, eyes widening in similar realization.

Stiles decided then and now he was disbanding the Pack Book Club, if it was the last thing he did.

--

“Is no one going to ask me about being a hunter?” Stiles yelled out. Suddenly, nearly a dozen eyes turned to look at him at once, blinking silently. After another pause, conversations resumed as they were prior to Stiles’ interruption, with a couple eyerolls added in annoyance. Stiles huffed from his seat on a stool in the kitchen, looking through the open hallway to the living room where the majority of the pack was seated on the couches, surrounding his cousins from where they sat on the coffee table.

When he tried to sit on the coffee table, Lydia admonished him and lectured him about manners and the purpose of furniture and why couldn’t he just pull a chair in from the other room if he didn’t want to sit on the floor?

But Sam and Dean Winchester apparently get a free pass.

Surprisingly enough, Castiel was sitting on the stool next to Stiles in the kitchen. “You’re not into the fanclub?” Stiles asked.

“I don’t feel the same pride as Dean in having people fawn over me.” Castiel replied simply, watching the brothers from afar. “It appears Dean is okay being friendly with your wolf shapeshifters.”

“At least we can consider that a win.” Stiles spun around in the seat, his back to the living room so he could lean his head on his folded arms on the kitchen island.

“Can you tell me more about shapeshifters?” Derek asked, leaning against the counter opposite from where they sat at the island. “I am a born werewolf and hearing of anything different is…”

“Troubling you?” Castiel asked, nodding when Derek made sign of confirmation. “Sam may be able to procure more finite textual resources, but from the beginning, there have been creatures and humans on this planet. Just as cultures expanded and diversity flowed throughout humanity, animals and creatures evolved in similar ways. Some creatures are able to live lives similar to humanity, as you and your pack have done. Others, are much more twisted, dark, evolved in ways that have dared to beat the odds of Darwinism and continue centuries later. The heart-eating werewolves which Dean speaks of are among those.”

“Like dominant and recessive genes, in the way they are carried on,” Derek wonders aloud.

“Similarly, yes. Make no mistake, your genetic makeup holds no similarities with the werewolves of the night. You are made with the light of shapeshifters across time, your differences marked by the animals you emulate, but your biology remains closely aligned.” Castiel explained further.

“I thought religion didn’t believe in science,” Stiles groaned from where his head was still resting on his arms.

“There is meaning behind all of my Father’s creations, explanations for most wonders of the world. Of course science is real.” Castiel looked at Stiles curiously.

“You guys should make pamphlets or something to send out because that message has definitely been lost in translation.” Stiles lifted his head from his hands to look at Castiel.

“I will take that under advisement.”

“Thanks,” Stiles muttered, shaking his head. “To confirm, we have no idea why Gabriel is here. Best case, he’s just having some fun before having to go back to the great beyond and be a guy with responsibilities or whatever. Worst case, he’s planning something nefarious that involves using the pack as his personal play things.”

“You surmised both extremes of the situation quite well.” Castiel confirmed.

“And if he wants to act like we’re his pet something or other,” Derek frowned, “how do we stop that?”

“Your options are to trap him or to kill him, and I’m afraid the second one is not a viable option.”

“Because he’s your brother?”

“Because he is an Archangel and responsibilities are far greater than your existence. His tasks will extend far beyond your lifetime, and hundreds thereafter.” Castiel’s eyes arrowed as he tersely responded to Stiles.

It seemed the Q&A session in the living room was wrapping up – Stiles had meant it as a joke when he thought of it in the morning, he kept reminding himself – as Dean walked into the kitchen, standing near the wall behind Castiel.

“Hey, Cas, cool the fire,” Dean put a hand on Castiel’s shoulder, giving the man a comforting squeeze. “We’ll figure out what’s got Gabriel’s panties in a bunch and sort it out.”

“There may not be time for sorting things out, Dean,” Castiel turned to look at him, “He is a leader and without taking his rightful place, those who follow him may dissolve into further chaos.”

“I thought you said he’s got eons of time to get his shit done,” Stiles cut in, “Sounds like it’ll be okay if he takes a week to have his fun before returning home.”

Dean watched Castiel turn his attention back to Stiles and cut in before the angel could start again, “What Stiles mean is, let’s see what Gabriel’s next move is. Besides summoning him ourselves, we don’t have an immediate way to gain access to him.”

“There’s a way to summon him?” Derek asked.

“Yes, but if he is concealing himself as well as he has in the past, it may prove ineffective.” Castiel looked down, folding his hands on the benchtop.

“Which means it has just as much chance of being successful.” Derek looked at Stiles and then back to Dean. “How long until Argent has those supplies you needed?”

Dean grinned, “He’s driving them over soon.”

“Perfect.”

--

“I can’t believe Sam and Dean are your cousins,” Erica sighed, leaning back in her seat on the couch, her head falling to Boyd’s shoulder. Isaac sat on the other side of Boyd with a similar expression.

“I can’t believe they share a gene pool,” Isaac added with a laugh.

“Is it really that hard to believe?” Stiles had walked in from the kitchen, squeezing himself onto the couch between Allison and Scott after Lydia had left to show Sam their research and digitalized set up in the den. Jackson had followed, and Stiles wasn’t sure quite sure if it was out of jealousy or wonder at his cousin.

“I mean, no offense Stilinski, but I have no idea how you survived high school being surrounded by us wolves.” Isaac replied. “It actually makes sense knowing you have hunter blood in you.”

“And none of you are mad or scared that I kept this a secret? You don’t think I’m going to betray you all in the dead of night?”

“Are you?” Boyd asked, face deadpanned.

“No, of course not!” Stiles yelled out.

“Then we’re not worried.” Erica grinned, “Besides, we did that storyline with Allison two years ago. No use repeating plots.”

“You let my cousins do it,” Stiles grumbled, leaning back so his head rested against the couch, eyes glaring at the ceiling.

“They put a sexy spin on things when they do them again.” Erica’s grin turned sharper.

“Because dying half a dozen times is sexy,” Stiles grumbled.

“You’re my favorite Winchester,” Scott added, patting Stiles on the knee with a grin.

“Damn right I am.” Stiles added, leaning over to bump fists with his best friend.

“You can be my favorite Argent if I can be your favorite Winchester,” Stiles turned to look at Allison, fist raised towards her.

“Deal,” Allison smiled, bumping knuckles with him before laughing. “You were pretty badass out there today, too.”

“You’re right, I totally forgot about that show you put on because of all of the angels swooping in,” Isaac remembered. “Oh my god, you used the Winchester rifle. Could you be any more obvious?”

“None of you noticed, you were too busy counting your dollars!” Stiles shot back. He turned to Scott and Allison, “Do I get a cut of those earnings or what?”

“What,” Scott replied, face looking curiously confused before breaking into a grin and laughing harder than before.

“I hate you all.” Stiles groaned, pushing Scott away so he could lean more into Allison. “Except for you, hunter besties for life.”

--

“You found Gabriel,” The Sheriff’s voice was short, and Stiles could imagine the deadpanned expression probably on his face from over the phone.

“Gabriel found us. We met him.” Stiles corrected.

“Stiles shot him!” Scott yelled in the background. Stiles turned towards him and shushed him quickly.

“He found us, we met him, he disappeared again.” Stiles repeated. “We don’t know what game he’s trying to play at any more than we did yesterday.”

“And this is why a deputy called me after pulling Chris Argent over for speeding in a residential zone, asking for reassurance after literal buckets labeled holy water were found in his car?”

“That’s what’s taking him so long? Dad! He’s on his way to Derek’s. We’re teaching the pack how to trap angels.” Stiles explained.

“Salt not good enough for these guys?” The Sheriff grumbled.

“Only the best stuff apparently,” Stiles shrugged. “Please give him the worst speeding ticket possible, but let him take the water with him.”

“Hey!” Allison called from opposite Stiles, frowning.

“Don’t get me that look, Allison. I didn’t tell your dad to drive forty in a twenty-five.” Stiles rolled his eyes.

“I’ll call the deputy back over dispatch. Be careful, Stiles.”

“Always am, thanks dad!” Stiles called out before ending the call. Allison was still frowning at him when he looked towards her again. “C’mon Allison, at least he only had the holy water in the back and they didn’t open the trunk’s false bottom.”

Allison rolled her eyes, playfully shoving Stiles shoulder when she walked past him to rejoin Lydia in the other room.

Sam joined Stiles where he had taken a seat at the bottom of the stairs when his call had ended, watching his friends move between the kitchen and living room. Sam sat next to him, limbs sprawled out along the stairs. “How you holding up?”

“Technically, this is nothing, I mean, I once held Derek’s dead weight up in a swimming pool, treading water for hours because Jackson was trying to kill us. Have you seen that guy? Dead weight of all muscle.” Stiles recounted the tale. “Physically? I’m fine. But holy hell, how do you not lose your shit trying to process all of this mentally?”

“It happens enough times, it becomes your normal.” Sam shrugged his shoulders, frowning. “It makes sense why Aunt Claudia kept you guys out here. Didn’t let it become norm enough for you. Being tired is probably a good thing.”

“It doesn’t feel good,” Stiles grumbled, “we’ve barely done a thing about Gabriel but having all of these revelations in one weekend has me questioning how we survived the near-constant terror of high school.”

“Easy solution then,” Sam grinned, “when this is taken care of, you and me and Dean are going to take a drive down to Stanford. Dean’ll be our chauffeur, and I’ll show you around campus. It’s probably changed a lot in the last ten years, but I remember my favorite place to get muffins when I stayed at the library late.”

“Seriously, man?” Stiles turned to his cousin, his grin growing wider. “That would be awesome!” He looked down at his hands, “Summers have been fun with Scott and the pack and everyone, but I miss traveling the open road with you guys. Even if the hunts had to stop, I wish we could’ve kept on camping.”

Sam nodded, “We kind of see that now. You grew up a lot since we saw you last and we know how much that sucks, not having family to celebrate with. I’m glad you were here and didn’t get sucked into the actual apocalypse going on at the time, though. I won’t regret you missing that.”

“I can’t believe you guys have died and come back.” Stiles shook his head, “You should probably meet Derek’s uncle. He did that, too.”

“What?” Sam asked.

“Oh yeah, me and Lydia set him on fire, he died, used Lydia’s brain or something to come back, and has been a general weirdo since.” Stiles shrugged. “You want to explain your dying and reliving story?”

“Not really,” Sam sighed. “My advice? Don’t bring it up with Dean either. He made some deals he really shouldn’t have, and had to pay the price for it. People like Kate and Gerard probably deserve to be in Hell, and to get what’s coming for them, but Dean? No way.”

“Wait, wait, wait, Dean went to hell?” Stiles exclaimed, twisting from his seat on the staircase to check where his older cousin was.

“Like I said, don’t bring it up around him. He hasn’t told me everything, and it’s been years. Castiel literally pulled him out of there, and as weird as he can be, I owe that angel everything.” Sam explained with a shrug.

“No wonder those two are attached at the hip.” Stiles could see Castiel was no longer seated at the island, instead standing in the archway of the den’s entrance, standing close beside Dean who was leaning over and reading something Lydia had pulled out for them to see.

“What about you?” Sam asked, raising an eyebrow. “From what I’ve gathered, you’re the closest to Derek in the pack. Usually that’s the role of the pack’s second in command.”

“I mean, there’s been no official coronation,” Stiles laughed, “but I feel like that’d probably be Scott or Boyd or something. You know, since they’re also wolves.”

“Really?” Sam asked, “From what Lydia implied, half of this house wouldn’t be the way it is if you didn’t push Derek.”

“Exactly, see, pushed Derek, made him do dumb shit, sounds like a great second.” Stiles rolled his eyes.

“Or it sounds like you helped him create a den for the pack, emphasizing the needs of each member.” Sam smirked at the wide-eyed look Stiles gave him. “Just an observation.”

“You’ve been here for like, twenty-four hours and you’ve picked all of that up?” Stiles groaned, leaning back so his head rested on the step above them. “You said it seemed like the whole pack knew too?” Sam nodded. “Then why the hell hasn’t he?”

Sam grinned at his cousin’s dramatics. Hunter, wolf pack, or a human with a blind-eye to the supernatural, it really didn’t matter. Lovesick teenager dramatics affected everyone.

--

“Chris, thanks for helping us out,” Dean had met Chris Argent outside when he pulled up to the Hale house, pulling the buckets of holy water out. Chris shook his hand in greeting before turning to the trunk to pull out the empty, smaller containers they were planning on dividing the holy water into, ensuring everyone had some on hand no matter where they were.

“I would’ve said no problem,” Chris frowned, “but then I heard your cousin is the reason I have a ticket to take care of.”

“Hey! Don’t blame me for your speeding.” Stiles huffed, meeting Dean at the porch to pull some of the bins inside.

“I’m remembering this next time you lecture me about my driving.” Allison laughed from where she stood in the doorway to the home.

Chris said hello to Sam as he entered the Hale home, nodding at Derek in greeting. He looked between the hunters in the room before continuing. “From what I’ve been told, we’re doing quick lesson in angel lore, correct?”

“You got it.” Dean grinned, landing an open palm on the back of Chris’s shoulder in confirmation.

“It’s only as complicated as you guys make it out to be,” Sam added in. “We don’t know what Gabriel’s plan is, but in case any of you are caught alone or he makes a move, make sure you’re armed at all times.”

“And this water is better than our claws?” Isaac asked, holding a small vial in his hand, looking at the liquid sloshing in the container.

“Yes.” Castiel confirmed, voice firm. “It will contain him long enough for you to leave or contact us. It will protect you from any other tricks he may try to pull.”

“And after he’s caught, what are you going to do?” Lydia asked.

“I was wondering that too,” Stiles questioned, “You haven’t been all that clear on the next phase of the plan.”

“We still do not know what he is trying to accomplish with his games.” Sam sighed, “If he trying to use the pack to aid in some bizarre plan, we can use the holy water to create a barrier keeping you safe from him.”

“Like mountain ash?” Boyd asked.

“Yes, and no. You will be able to cross the holy water, but he would not be.” Sam explained.

“You said it had to be on fire, though.” Scott remembered, “Won’t that cause the whole forest to burn down?”

“You won’t be staying here if it comes to that,” Dean interjected, “Derek mentioned an old warehouse and if we need to have you guys there to keep Gabriel from getting to ya, and to keep the town safe from any thrown flames, it’s looking like the best option.”

“Why does it always come back to warehouses?” Stiles grumbled, frowning.

--

For as fast paced as the weekend had been for Stiles, with the emotional whiplash of his family secrets mixing with his pack secrets and suddenly being able to wake up in the morning and just be, he should’ve figured the next week would’ve been slow.

His cousins returned to their motel, the pack continued their summertime fun, with some working, visiting family, and preparing for the upcoming changes in the fall in between pack training sessions. News reports about weird things happening in nearby towns came out a couple times throughout the week, but nothing that wasn’t reversed on its own and nothing with lasting damage.

There had been one sighting of Gabriel, when Jackson and Isaac were sparing out in the preserve, and both idiots had fumbled for their vials of holy water that they completely missed the archangel laughing at them before walking away. Stiles understood his cousins’ frustrations with the guys, but he couldn’t blame them. Now that they all knew what the angel was capable of, thanks to some crash courses from Castiel and stories from Sam, they were definitely nervous about what was going to happen next.

The weekend was coming to an end, and the pack was sitting around the living room in Derek’s home for another movie night. Sam and Dean were also there, with Sam sitting in Stiles’ chair in the den, his computer set up with one of their external drives hooked up. Sam mentioned giving several of his digital resources to add to the pack’s library, and Stiles was more than happy to agree. Dean was going through the list of movies available on their streaming service, Castiel next to him on of the couches, holding the container of popcorn Dean had shoved into his hands when he demanded Jackson hand over the remote. Stiles grinned over at Derek from where he stood, watching the group from the kitchen, pushing Scott’s feet out of his lap to go join him.

“You ever think there’d be a day when you had just as many hunters as there were wolves at movie night?” Stiles grinned cheekily.

Derek glanced at Stiles, smirking, “Did you ever think you’d be standing here while we waited for an upcoming fight with angels?”

“I would like to think crazier things have happened, but I don’t actually think that’s true.” Stiles frowned, crossing his arms. “And I definitely don’t want to jinx the future.”

“I’m figuring it’s just a coincidence.” Derek mused, “We’ve held peaceful control over this area for over a year, and have made our presence as a stable pack known. We should see many years like this now. It’s how my family lived.”

“I guess,” Stiles looked back over at Derek. “You really aren’t nervous about what’s going to happen next?”

Derek frowned, eyebrows furrowed when he replied next, “Pack members constantly travelled, for work, for school, to create their own families, when my mother was the Alpha. None of you are required to stay on this land, or in this house, for the rest of your lives. You are free to come and go.”

“What if something bad happens?” Stiles questioned.

“Then I call you, we assemble the pack, and take care of it like we always do.” Derek grinned again, “Maybe send a prayer to an angel or two.”

“Can’t believe you’re still taking this so well.”

“I don’t think you’ve seen the part of the preserve I cleared when I went out for some isolated training last week,” Derek said with a short laugh, “I’ve figured out it’s better to roll with the punches than fight against it. Body heals better when you accept it and let it do its thing.”

“Derek Hale, don’t look now, but I think you’ve actually matured into a well-adjusted adult.” Stiles feigned surprise.

“Only took six years.” Derek huffed with another chuckle. He took a step into the room before looking back at Stiles, “You planning on standing there to watch the movie?”

Stiles rolled his eyes, pushing past Derek and taking a seat on the floor in front of the couch Scott, Allison and Isaac were also sitting at. Boyd looked ready to move to join Stiles when Derek came in, to give the Alpha a place on the couch, but Derek shook his head and comfortably settled down next to Stiles with a grin.

--

Stiles would like to point out that they made it halfway through the movie before shit hit the fan.

He would like to make that part very, very clear.

--

“I really thought he was gonna get the girl.”

Gabriel sat on the arm of the couch next to Castiel, grinning as he watched the pack’s reactions to his presence. He had a lollipop in his mouth that he sucked on loudly, punctuating the end of his sentence.

“Gabriel,” Castiel’s voice was low as he stared at his brother, remaining firmly seated as the rest of the pack members began moving in their seats, looking to Derek for direction.

Gabriel grinned down at his brother, winking at the pack before moving to pop back out. Castiel had reached out and taken a hold of his wrist before he had the chance to stop him, and in the seconds that it took for Gabriel to appear, the two angels were gone just as quickly.

“What, and I mean this as eloquently as possible, the actual fuck?” Stiles looked over at Dean from across the room. “Where did they go?”

Dean shook his head, “Won’t know until Cas calls and tells us where he’s at, or comes back on his own.”

“What are they doing?” Derek asked.

“Probably beating the shit out of each other.” Dean frowned.

“And there’s nothing we can do to help them?” Erica questioned.

Sam had walked back into the room sometime between the movie starting and Gabriel’s arrival – Stiles wasn’t paying too close attention before then – but looked thoughtful before speaking, “There’s something we could try to do. Especially if Cas has a hold on him.” He looked over at Dean, and when his brother grinned back they knew they were on the same page.

“Sorry to cut the movie night short, but we’re driving over to the warehouse. Anyone’s welcome to join us – can’t promise if they’re going to try and come back here, though.” Dean announced, standing up and walking towards the front door.

Without missing a beat, Stiles was up, too. He pulled Derek up next to him, moving to the front door. Stiles grabbed Derek’s keys off the hook on the wall, tossing them to Boyd, “Alpha’s coming with me, you guys figure out the rest of the carpool on your own.” With a grin, he was climbing into the jeep and turning the engine over quickly. As the roar of the impala’s engine rang out in the empty woods, Stiles shifted gears and followed his cousins onto the main road.

By the time Derek and Stiles joined them at the warehouse, Sam and Dean already had a ring of holy water out on the warehouse floor, additional sigils written on the wall and ceiling surrounding them. Sam hadn’t explained the meaning behind them too much to Stiles, emphasizing that the holy water trick should be good enough, but he was glad his cousins were pulling out all the stops. Stiles heard the sounds of their friends climbing out of their own cars minutes later.

Stiles held a hand up, cutting off the question he could tell Derek was seconds away from saying, listening as Dean said a quick prayer to Castiel. Looking away from Derek to the open warehouse, Stiles grinned when he saw the angel in question pop into the room, leaning over a bent knee as he looked up at Dean. “You took your time,” Castiel bit out, breathing heavier than usual.

“We’re here, aren’t we?” Dean rolled his eyes, staring at the center of the room. “He coming too?”

“He will be.” Castiel confirmed, standing up with a helping hand from Sam. In the time that they spent waiting, Stiles noticed Castiel appeared to have healed himself – which, okay, it seems like everyone but him had that ability which was just unfair – and was standing with firm intent next to Dean. Castiel reached into his sleeve and pulled out an amulet that Stiles couldn’t see much detail of from where he stood. “He will want this back.”

“Castiel, I’m impressed.” Gabriel tilted his head as he stared the other angel down.

“Don’t act so surprised.” Dean added as Sam flicked the lighter in his hand, tossing the flame to the circle of water, the light reflecting off the metals and pipes throughout the open warehouse.

“Really, Castiel,” Gabriel continued on, ignoring Dean’s remark, “these boys have finally taught you some new tricks. Pickpocketing? That’s so beneath you.”

“It worked.” Castiel countered. “Tell us, what are you doing?”

“Besides having some fun?” Gabriel grinned, looking over at Stiles, “You know how most people like to watch videos of kittens doing stupid things? I much prefer the antics of puppies.”

Stiles rolled his eyes, “Seriously? Is the universe really that boring?”

Castiel said no at the same time that Gabriel said yes.

“You are needed, brother.” Castiel continued, “You promised your return.”

“Can’t a guy have some fun before he starts his work?” Gabriel questioned.

“Not if that fun threatens humanity.” Dean remarked.

“Who was threatened? You guys?” Gabriel rolled his eyes at Dean and Sam before turning to face the pack, “I didn’t even touch these ones.”

“You were bringing attention to this town with your games.” Sam interrupted. “Your games make them a target, without any understanding as to why.”

“They figured it out, didn’t they?” Gabriel shrugged. “Even had a Winchester amongst them to do the legwork.”

“Your games are over.” Castiel repeated. “Return to your position, and I will return this.” He held up the amulet one final time before leaving, vanishing as quickly as he had appeared.

“That’s it?” Gabriel yelled out, “No big clash of the titans? War of the worlds?”

If Stiles wasn’t so annoyed at this guy for being just generally annoying, he would’ve laughed – the guy at least at comedic timing. Stiles turned towards Derek, “Well, that was anticlimactic. I’m going back to finish the movie.” He turned to look at his cousins, “Think Castiel will make it back in time?”

“Not if you don’t break this circle!” Gabriel yelled out, glaring as his presence was ignored.

“I think you’ll be fine waiting.” Sam smirked. “What did Cas take that was so important anyway?”

Gabriel rolled his eyes, “Nothing that concerns you bozos.”

“Must be from a girlfriend,” Stiles theorized, grinning at the sharp look Gabriel gave him in turn. “Ooh, did I get it right?”

“Gabriel, I expected more from you,” Dean shook his head. “Don’t get me wrong, glad we got this all wrapped up so neatly, but can’t say I’m not disappointed.”

“And he’s supposed to be an archangel?” Scott whispered into Allison’s ear; fortunately, most of everyone heard him and gave short laughs in response.

“C’mon, Derek,” Stiles pulled at Derek’s elbow, walking out the way they had come in. “We’ll see you guys soon?” He looked over at his cousins.

“You know it, kid.” Dean grinned.

Within minutes, the pack cleared out as easily as they had arrived. Sam and Dean remained in the warehouse, watching Gabriel as he stared them down.

“You guys didn’t want to play toy soldiers to my brothers, you understand this better than most.”

“And you told us to play our parts. Sounds a lot like the pot calling the kettle black.” Sam fired back.

“Don’t they give you PTO up there anyway? Do your work, get some play, keep the world spinning?” Dean reasoned.

“Not every angel gets to swoop in and out as freely as your boy Castiel can.” Gabriel remarked. “I was never meant to lead, do what Daddy says. Having fun, playing with his special toys? Now that’s where I want to be.”

“If you’re the one supposed to lead, can’t you rewrite the rules?” Sam asked. “Make other angels do the jobs you don’t want to?”

“Yeah, doesn’t sound too complicated from where we stand.” Dean agreed.

“Of course it sounds simple to you two.” Gabriel rolled his eyes. “You both drone on and on about being Team Free Will, but you’re so ready to catch me in a cage and throw me back. Where’s the love, boys?”

“If there’s a job to do, you do it.” Dean remarked. “I wonder how much longer Castiel’s going to stay up there waiting for you.”

“Wouldn’t want him to lose that amulet, accidentally drop it on his way to the next angel board meeting.” Sam wondered with his brother.

“Listen here, you dicks.” Gabriel frowned. “I’ll go, but don’t think I won’t be back, to see you or this new Winchester. Someone’s going to have to make sure your influence hasn’t rubbed off on such a cute pack of puppies.”

Sam rolled his eyes, looking to his brother before leaving the warehouse. “Bye Gabriel,” Dean called out over his shoulder, making his own leave. If he didn’t hear from Castiel by morning, he would give the guy a call.

--

“You know, the angels sounded more badass in the books.” Isaac complained, sitting back with the pack.

“Right? Where was the fighting? The drama? The sudden change in perspective that made us rethink everything we’d been believing for the last week?” Erica added.

“I’ve had scarier finals than that.” Scott grumbled.

“That’s because you were failing pre-calc,” Stiles retorted with a laugh.

“Can we please finish the movie?” Boyd groaned, pushing both Isaac and Erica from either side of him when their comparisons to the books got heated.

“I second that.” Jackson knocked fists with Boyd before reclaiming his seat from earlier.

Derek looked at Stiles in question, who shrugged, “I’m going to sit out here, wait for Sam and Dean.” Derek sat in a chair opposite Stiles, the angle letting him see through the open front door into where the pack were arguing over whose turn it was to make more popcorn, while still having full view of the road leading up to the house, and Stiles.

“Is this how it’s going to be?” Stiles asked. Derek raised an eyebrow in question, motioning for Stiles to elaborate. “You know, how your family’s pack was. How we’re going to be. All that stuff you said earlier. Some issues here and there, but no life-threatening disasters like when we first started.”

“You know tonight could’ve gone in a very different way,” Derek started, “but for the most part, yes. We have resources, alliances, other people we can call on to help and a reputation that allows us to be considered a peaceful territory.”

Stiles frowned, but nodded in response, staring out through the wooded fields.

“You miss it, don’t you?” Derek questioned, smirking.

“That’s weird, right? To miss being scared that any day we were going to die?”

“Adrenaline makes you want weird things.” Derek shrugged. “I didn’t think I’d be able to settle down again, thought I’d be running from hunters the rest of my life.”

“Nah, you’re usually the one chasing me.” Stiles grinned cheekily.

“Exactly.” Derek shrugged. “It’s not the life Laura and I saw us having, but it’s a lot like the life my parents built for us. I’m content.”

“Content, huh?” Stiles questioned. “You sound like you’re ready to retire and are reflecting on your entire life. I’m really not excited for my twenties if this is what it’s going to be like.”

Derek rolled his eyes, “Can’t a guy be happy? I have the pack, I have good friends.” Derek grinned, “And you’re not the only ones going back to school in the fall.”

“What? Our delinquent Alpha is actually going to make a better life for himself?” Stiles questioned, laughing as he faked surprise. “What are you doing?”

“Finishing the degree I started.” Derek shrugged.

“And what was that in?”

“History,” Derek started, “with an emphasis in medieval and mythical lore.”

“Oh my god,” Stiles yelled out, “don’t tell Scott that major actually exists.”

--

“See, this is why you weren’t allowed to be a fulltime hunter,” the Sheriff frowned as Stiles walked into their home early the next morning. Stiles had stayed outside with Derek until his cousins returned, rejoining the pack for the rest of their movie night. A second film was put on, and Stiles ended up dozing off with his head precariously sitting on Derek’s lap. He had woken to a text from Sam letting him know they were back at the motel for the night, having let themselves out after the majority of the teens started to fall asleep. He had another message from his dad stating that he figured he was spending the night with the pack, but damnit a message confirming wouldn’t have been too hard to send off every now and then.

“Sorry,” Stiles grinned, kicking off his shoes and making a cup of coffee from the pot his dad had started. “We caught the angel!”

“You did?” The Sheriff watched Stiles warily.

“It was super anticlimactic.” Stiles took a sip from his mug, sitting opposite his dad at their table. “Castiel lured him back out, Sam and Dean trapped him in a circle, Gabriel was whiny, and we kind of all just watched.”

“As boring as that must have been, I’ll gladly be the only one happy it was resolved so quickly, if I have to be.” John grinned. “Your mom was able to live in peace in this town for half your life, I like seeing it get back to that.”

“Derek pretty much said the same thing,” Stiles commented. “He was telling me how this was pretty typical for how things went when his mom was Alpha.”

“Just promise me you’re not going to turn into some daredevil, adrenaline junkie, chasing for thrilling adventures.” The Sheriff looked at Stiles carefully over the rim of his mug. “I know you, and I know you get bored. This is good, what you’ve done for this town.”

“I mean, yeah, but—”

“No buts.” John shook his head. “You can stress out about classes and finals and whether or not you have enough food swipes to get the extra coffee before class. Save the life and death dramatics for the books.”

“Don’t tell me—”

“Turns out Melissa’s also a fan.” John grinned, pulling a copy of a Supernatural novel out from his pocket, ignoring the longsuffering groan coming from Stiles. “They’re not half bad.”

--

Stiles was back in his chair in the den, scrolling through one of the files Sam had saved to their external hard drive. He had already spent the morning backing the files up across the handful of extra drives they kept stored, and putting a copy on each of the computers in the house, and on their onedrive, ensuring anyone in the pack could review the documents no matter where they were. Stiles had a second word document opened up, making note of items to cross reference and filling in details he was able to annotate independently. He leaned back, stretching so his back arched and cracking his knuckles before leaning back over the table he had pulled in front of the large chair.

“Your cousins are here,” Derek’s voice called out, filtering through the front door where he sat on the porch, carrying through the open living room.

“Seriously?” Stiles asked, pushing the table away to stand and join Derek on the porch. He was surprised when his cousins stayed in town another week, not that he was going to complain to them. Turns out Castiel’s return took more time than they had anticipated, but when they met up for dinner earlier in the week, Dean had assured Stiles and the Sheriff that everything was okay, Castiel was fine, and Gabriel was shirking his duties, but from his place in heaven, causing chaos only for the other angels and not humanity.

“Hey, kiddo,” Dean’s voice called out as they shut the doors on the car.

“Hey, you two ever heard of texting? Calling?” Stiles waved his phone in the air to emphasize his point.

“What, we interrupting something?” Dean frowned whereas Sam looked from Derek to Stiles questioningly.

“Dude, no, but I am sifting through like, a shitton of lore that you gave us, and how’d you even know I’d be here?”

“We called Uncle John.” Sam laughed at the look Stiles gave them in response.

Sam and Dean stepped onto the porch, sitting in chairs opposite of Derek, looking at Stiles as he sighed and took one of the final seats. He really, really, wanted to make a dent in the books before he went off to school.

“Looks like we’re going to be leaving town soon,” Dean started, watching Stiles carefully. “Been a couple odd reports south of here we want to go check out.”

“Surprisingly enough, they’re mostly coming from towns between San Francisco and San Jose.” Sam added.

Stiles looked between his cousins carefully, “That’s oddly specific.”

“Weird, right?” Sam shrugged, “Almost weirder to remember that Stanford is pretty much in between the two.”

“How’d you like to go on another trip with us, for old time’s sake?” Dean grinned, leaning forward in his seat so his elbows rested on his knees.

“We’ll spend a day or two in Palo Alto, show you around before you drive back down next month.” Sam added.

Stiles looked at Sam carefully before turning to Dean, “Only if I get to drive the impala at least once.”

Sam and Stiles’ laugh was loud, compared to the surrounding silence of the word, as Dean sputtered his own response, Derek watching the conversation with quiet amusement.

--

Turns out, Sam and Dean actually needed his help for this hunt. It ended up being less of a hunt, and more of a we-need-help-negotiating-a-pact between two neighboring shapeshifter communities. Considering he had only worked with his wolf pack, he was worried there were some more intricate boundaries he was bound to stumble over, but Castiel’s comments about shapeshifters having many things in common seemed to have been true, even beyond basic genetics. Pack hierarchy, for one, was pretty standard, with both the coyote and fox shapeshifters.

Considering Dean probably would have shot them all dead before actually getting to the bottom of their issues, Sam was glad they had spent so much time with Stiles, reacquainting themselves with their younger cousin. The kid clearly knew what he was doing, managing the different personalities from the neighboring packs, drafting a written agreement after spending hours talking the proposal out. Sam hoped Derek realized how lucky his pack was to have Stiles among them, watching him work.

When all was said and done, the entire ordeal took up five days, and they had only allotted ten for the trip. The first was spent driving, with Dean yelling at Stiles to slow the fuck down so help me Stiles I will send you home in a box, when Stiles tried to speed down the I-5. So Stiles merged into the right hand lane and drove slower than any other car out there, grinning when Dean got impossibly more mad, instead yelling at Stiles to put the petal to the goddamn metal this baby was meant to cruise.

They had the weekend to spend in Palo Alto before making their way back up North, which Dean had already claimed all driving privileges. Not that he said it, but Dean was curious about where Sam was going to take Stiles, which areas he was most excited to show their younger cousin. Neither of them liked to live with regrets, having accepted most of the hunting lifestyle, but Dean did wish Sam had gotten the attention Stiles was, when he first started in school.

Luckily for Sam, most of his old haunts were still around. With summer courses, most of the campus buildings were open, and Sam got to show Stiles his favorite corners in the library to study, where his favorite place to get coffee was, and ways to travel between buildings with the quickest routes. Dean groaned and asked if Sam knew where the slowest ones were, too, because not everyone wanted to be a suck up and show up to class ten minutes early. Stiles laughed, agreeing with Dean, asking Sam to show him both methods of getting around. Their trip to the campus took double the amount of time planned, and Stiles was thrilled.

They ended their second day in the area by grabbing dinner at a local fusion food spot. Sam grinned when he picked up the menu, “Their burritos are their secret weapon, but you’d never think that considering how eclectic the rest of their menu is.” He grinned at Stiles over the top of his menu. “They even used to have trivia nights on the weekend, me and Jess would get our friends to play with us and try and score the second-place prize.”

“Second place?” Dean asked, at the same time as Stiles asked, “Jess?”

“First place got a gift card, but second place would get some weird thrift item. One time they had a Richard Simmons VHS but we miscalculated our score and ended coming in first.” Sam frowned.

“Only you would be mad that you got the free money and not the cheap crap.” Dean rolled his eyes, smiling at his brother.

Sam turned to Stiles, rubbing the back of his neck with a sigh. “Jess was my girlfriend in college.”

“What happened?” Stiles asked, carefully looking between his cousins.

“Dad was missing, Dean was following up on his hunt, and, as they always do in the Winchester family, anyone close to us got hurt.” Sam looked down at his menu as he recounted the events of that year.

“Things are different now, though,” Stiles argued. “You guys saw it for yourself, my mom was able to build a life in the community, have friends, have a family. There can’t really be some Winchester curse out there.”

“Kid, maybe it’s those Stilinski genes, but for us, there’s been no other way.” Dean replied. “We make our family out of the people we meet in the life, but there’s no telling what the future holds for them or for us.”

“Seriously?” Stiles asked. When Sam and Dean didn’t say more, Stiles sighed, “That really sucks.”

“Cheers to that.” Dean held up his beer to clink with their water glasses.

“But you guys know, if you ever need—”

“Nope, you are going to school, you are getting this goddamn degree that you have worked hard to get, and you are not leaving this campus for any hunt or pack emergency.” Dean put his beer down with a firm hand, “Is that clear?”

Stiles rolled his eyes, “Technically, you can’t tell me what to do or how to help my pack, but I get it.” He twisted a discarded straw wrapped between his fingers. “I bet Derek would agree with you guys anyway.”

“We know, we already spoke to him.” Sam grinned, laughing at the look Stiles gave in response. “You’ve made it further than most. It may feel boring, but boring and alive is a hell of a lot better than pandemonium and dead.”

Their waiter walked over, refilling their water glasses before standing back with a grin, “Has anyone told you guys it’s trivia night?”

--

The rest of the trip went smoothly: bickering between the brothers, Stiles learning more about their family history now that the apparent embargo his mom had placed was lifted, and he was all too sad when it was time to check out of their motel and head north back to Beacon Hills.

“Just because you want me focused on school doesn’t mean you’re going to ignore more for another four years, right?” Stiles questioned from where he sat in the backseat. “You can still message me! Tell me about what cool new things you’re up to. If you update your research you know I will be very upset if you don’t send me the files, too, Sam.”

“Trust us, kid, if we’re not back within the year, your friends have already warned us they’re not afraid of fighting fire with fire.” Sam replied.

“What the hell does that mean?”

“Apparently Supernatural is a very popular series at the library, and Erica’s convinced they’d be able to get their own convention started if we aren’t too careful.” Dean laughed at the look Stiles gave them from the rearview mirror.

“I helped Isaac get that job at the library! And now they’re using it to brainwash the entire town? I blame you two, for the record.”

“Don’t blame us! Blame the damn prophet.” Dean grumbled.

“That will never stop being weird,” Stiles concluded, shoving his hands into the pocket of his hoodie.

“You’re telling us.”

--

It took less time to get home than it had to travel down, which Stiles is adamant is only because Dean had been directing him the entire way, which meant saying goodbye to Sam and Dean came all too quickly.

They had pulled out of the driveway at the Stiliniski house a couple hours ago when the Sheriff walked into Stiles’ room, knocking on the doorway before pushing the door open. “You boys have fun?”

“Yeah. It was cool, getting to do supernatural stuff, and learning more about the family and about mom, but not having to keep it all separate from my friends or regular stuff.” Stiles spun in his desk chair, kicking his heel against one of the wheels. “They said they’d be back again.”

“Did they?” John asked carefully.

“Yeah, even if it’s not on hunting business. And they already said they’re not going to bring me into any big bad situations when the semesters are happening.” Stiles looked up at his dad. “It’s just so weird.”

“Kid, I’ve been living this life since I met your mom twenty years ago. Can’t say it ever stops being weird.”

“That was not reassuring at all.” Stiles grumbled.

“I didn’t think it would be.” John stepped further into the room, sitting on the bed while Stiles continued to twist in his chair. “It’ll be different, and maybe scary in a way that’s actually new to you, but you’re going to do great things, Stiles.”

“Thanks, dad.”