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If You’re Going Through Hell (Keep Going)

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“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings…” –Lao Tzu

 

“I didn’t want this to happen!” Stiles cried, his hands shakily clutching the handle of a bloodied katana.

 

“I don’t believe you!” Allison whimpered, the tip of the blade piercing her stomach. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she gripped the blade, trying to stop it. “Stop! Please stop!”

 

“But it wasn’t me! It was the Nogitsune!” Stiles protested, as he drove the blade deeper into her yielding body.

 

“Don’t lie,” the Nogitsune chastised, his breath hot against the back of Stiles’ neck. “You enjoyed the chaos we created together.”

 

Stiles twisted the blade, secretly reveling in the way her blood stained her pale skin red. She started choking, blood filling her mouth. Stiles ignored her garbled prayers as he watched the blood pour from her wound in heavy waves. He never imagined that so much blood could fit inside such a small body. It was…captivating.

 

“No! Stop filling my head!” Stiles sobbed, roughly yanking the blade out of Allison, who screamed in pain.

 

Blood sprayed from her wound showering him in the sticky mess. She dropped to the ground, pressing her hand over the wound as if she could stop it now. Stiles tilted his head watching her curiously, she was still fighting for survival. She held out a bloody hand to him begging for help.

 

“Stiles, please…” Allison pleaded, but Stiles shook his head, smirking. Her hand dropped in defeat, the life leaving her eyes gave him such a rush.

 

“No! I’m sorry!” Stiles shouted, awareness coming back to him far too late. Stiles was always too late for his friends. He was never enough. “I didn’t want this!”

 

Both Stiles and the Nogitsune knew that despite all his protests he was lying. Stiles loved the power the Nogitsune gave him. He wasn’t weak human Stiles that the pack only needed when they wanted research.

 

If they weren’t going to respect him, then they were going to fear him. Stiles would show them, he would show them all what he could do now, what he was capable of.

 

“It was all you Stiles,” the Nogitsune proudly taunted. “I chose you because I could see it in you. It was so deep and consuming…delicious.”

 

“No,” Stiles whispered, falling to his knees next to Allison’s corpse. Her eyes stared wide and accusing at him as her blood pooled around them. “Why me?”

 

“You had a darkness in you that called to me,” the Nogitsune taunted, his hand crawling into Stiles’ mess of hair. The Nogitsune gripped Stiles’ hair snapping his head back so Stiles was forced to look up at him. “You left the door open for me Stiles.”

 

Stiles opened his mouth to protest, but there was something caught in his throat. He rubbed his throat trying to dislodge the lump, but it only seemed to make it worse. Stiles tried to speak again, but when he opened his mouth a firefly fluttered out. Stiles’ eyes widened in horror when he recognized the dull roar of buzzing. Suddenly, dozens of fireflies burst from his mouth taking whatever light Stiles had inside with them.

 

“Chaos has come again,” Stiles promised as he rose to his feet. He tried to wipe the blood from his face, but only smeared it.

 

“Yes, it has,” the Nogitsune praised, his hand pressed against Stiles’ shoulder. “We’ll show them that they can never trust a fox.”

 

Stiles whirled around, katana raised to strike, and slashed the Nogitsune’s neck. The fox demon grabbed its throat, swaying on its feet unsteadily. It tried reaching out for Stiles, but Stiles moved out of the way chuckling darkly. The Nogitsune fell on all fours, clinging pathetically to life like Allison had tried.

 

“They’ll always trick you,” Stiles sneered, twirling the katana carelessly.

 

“I made you,” the Nogitsune wheezed, Stiles stopped when he heard that. Stiles angrily thrust the blade through the Nogitsune’s chest impaling it into the floor.

 

“And I don’t need you anymore,” Stiles hissed, his eyes flashing pure black.

 

Stiles woke up gasping for air, his hand immediately flying to his throat, but beside it being painfully sore, there wasn’t anything wrong with it.

 

Stiles fell back onto his sweaty pillow, rubbing his eyes to try and erase the nightmare from his memory. It was a desperate attempt, he knew that once the nightmare drifted from his thoughts it would just be back again when he fell asleep. It haunted most of his nights, sometimes the details changed, but the message was always the same. The Nogitsune was a product of Stiles just as much as it was of Noshiko, Kira’s mom.

 

Stiles groaned as he rose from his bed, making a mental note to wash his sheets again. He headed to the bathroom to prepare for school. Summer seemed to drag on, but it still wasn’t enough time. Stiles wasn’t ready to face the pack again, to face Scott again.

 

He drowned his worries in the shower, throwing his attention into washing the stench of sweat off him. Stiles might have scrubbed himself a bit too roughly, his skin turning red from the harsh treatment, but he never felt clean anymore. It was like he was still trying to wash the blood from his hands.

 

Stiles wrapped a towel around his waist, climbing out of the shower feeling a little bit better. He headed to the sink to brush his teeth, but something in his mirror caught his attention. Leaning in confused, Stiles tried to see through the condensation that had gathered. He wiped it clear, and nearly choked on the toothbrush in his mouth. His eyes were pure black. Stiles spit out the toothbrush, closing his eyes as he gripped the counter.

 

“What cannot long be hidden? The sun, the moon, the truth,” Stiles repeated under his breath to calm himself down.

 

When Stiles glanced back at the mirror, he sighed in relief. His reflection was normal again. He quickly turned away, rinsing out his mouth before fleeing to his bedroom. Stiles hated looking at himself these days, it reminded him too much of his time possessed.

 

No matter how much sleep Stiles got, the dark circles under his eyes refused to fade. Even after three months of the blazing summer sun, Stiles’ skin was pale without the slightest hint of a tan. He didn’t have chapped lips anymore, but no amount of water brought any color back to them.

 

The worst thing the Nogitsune left behind for Stiles was the “Lichtenberg figures” on his left shoulder blade. The scars reappeared once the Nogitsune was trapped, and they had spread down his back in twisted jagged designs. Stiles hated them, but he didn’t want them to fade away like the last time. He didn’t want to Nogitsune to slip inside his mind and possess him again.

 

“Stiles! You’re going to be late for your first day of school!” The Sheriff called up the stairs, pride slipping through his gruff morning voice.

 

“No I won’t!” Stiles denied, changing into some maroon pants and a black t-shirt. He slipped on a pair of old vans, nearly tripping over his backpack in the process.

 

“Stiles!” The Sheriff warned, even though Stiles was nowhere near being late.

 

“Coming!” Stiles shouted, scooping up his backpack before heading down the stairs.

 

The Sheriff was at the kitchen table with a steaming mug of coffee in front of him and newspaper in his hand. He was already dressed in his uniform so Stiles figured it was his dad who was going to be late if Stiles didn’t hurry. Stiles smiled warmly at the thought his dad wanted to see him off to school.

 

“Senior year,” the Sheriff celebrated, rising to his feet to pull his son into a tight hug. “Your mom would be so proud.”

 

“Thanks dad,” Stiles whispered, his chest constricting at the mention of his mom. Stiles couldn’t help but think that his mom wouldn’t be proud of him. Not after everything he had done. “You better get going or you’re going to be late.”

 

“Hey now,” the Sheriff murmured, pulling away with an amused grin. “I’m the Sheriff of this town, and if I want to say goodbye to my son before his first day, then I’m going to damn well do it.”

 

Stiles rolled his eyes unable to stop the laugh from bursting out. The Sheriff’s grin widened into a full blown smile at the sight. He had missed seeing his son look so happy and carefree. It had been a trying year for everyone, but Stiles still carried the weight of guilt on his shoulders. It broke the Sheriff’s heart to see his son look so tired and broken, and not be able to do anything about it.

 

“I’ll be fine Dad,” Stiles promised, his smile small but genuine. “I love you.”

 

The Sheriff pulled his son into another bone crushing hug. This time Stiles hugged him back, clinging to his dad like a life raft. The Stilinski men weren’t known for their touchy feely nature, rather letting their biting sarcasm and relentless protectiveness speak for them, but today was different. Today they both needed it.

 

“I love you too son,” the Sheriff whispered, before pulling away with glossy eyes. He nonchalantly wiped at them, feigning allergies even though they both knew that wasn’t true.

“Now get out of here before you’re late.”

 

“Yeah, yeah.” Stiles replied sarcastically, his smile growing just enough to give the Sheriff some peace about sending his son off to school.

 

The Sheriff didn’t want Stiles to go to school, but he couldn’t keep him locked in the house anymore. Stiles refused his dad’s numerous attempts at getting him to take a few more days off.

 

That kid was a stubborn one, even if Stiles wasn’t ready he would still go. He was just like his mother that way, never running from what needed to be done.

 

“Behave,” the Sheriff teased, making Stiles snort in response.

 

“Always!”

________________________________________________________________

 

“Aww, look at him in his uniform,” Peter pestered, his eyes lighting up like Christmas had arrived early.

 

“Shut up,” Derek snapped, fixing his belt holster around his waist.

 

“They couldn’t get you a bigger size?” Cora asked, barely containing her amusement.

 

“It is my size,” Derek objected, but his protests fell to deaf ears. As usual.

 

“Keep telling yourself that,” Peter goaded, making Derek scowl to himself.

 

“Why are you guys even here?” Derek grumbled, making them laugh at his petulant tone.

 

“We wanted to see Beacon Hills’ newest deputy,” Cora replied, her smile going soft and genuine.

 

“It’s definitely a nice change from his normal doom and gloom attire,” Peter allowed, but approval seeped into his offhand tone.

 

“I can’t believe that Stiles’ dad gave you the recommendation,” Cora thought out loud making Derek groan at Peter’s Cheshire smile.

 

“He wouldn’t have if he knew how Derek really thought about Stiles,” Peter alluded, completely ignoring Derek’s warning glare.

 

“Yeah, Stiles is a lot to take in,” Cora commented, rolling her eyes thinking about the hyperactive teen. “Annoying at times.”

 

“Yeah, annoying. That’s what I meant,” Peter mused.

 

“I’m leaving,” Derek declared, his face heating slightly. “Behave while I’m gone!”

 

“Whatever,” Cora sassed, grabbing her school bag.

 

“Of course nephew dear,” Peter replied, his attention turning back to the book he was currently reading.

 

Derek headed to the station, wondering not for the first time if it was smart to let Peter and Cora move in with him. Derek had sold the loft over the summer, and found an apartment in the center of town to stay in until the Hale house was rebuilt. Somewhere between moving in and decorating Peter and Cora decided that they would stay in town, or more specifically, with Derek. Derek, of course, didn’t mind. They had such little family left, and the apartment had more than enough space for all of them.

 

They each had their own bedroom, but shared a bathroom, which was impossible most of the time. The living room connected to the kitchen, but was separated by a bar counter. It was spacious and open, with light always streaming in from the balcony doors. Cora and Peter decorated the place—Derek wasn’t known for his skills in that department, the loft and train depot being the prime examples—in whites and reds with hints of blue and yellow. A bit too modern for Derek’s taste, but warm and inviting nonetheless.

 

Derek just hoped that Cora didn’t hassle anyone at school, and Peter didn’t decide to go into town to stir things up again. It was trying living with the family members that were probably the most like him, but Derek would rather have them with him, despite everything they had been through. Besides, having a stable home with family and friends around seemed to have grounded them a bit. It wasn’t like it was before the fire, but it was something new and real.

 

Derek pulled into the back parking lot of the police department, and parked in his designated spot in the corner. Derek didn’t want to admit he was nervous, no doubt Peter and Cora smelled it on him, but this was the first real job he had since New York. He climbed out of his car, took a deep steadying breath, and headed inside. He knew he shouldn’t be nervous because he flew through academy training, obviously, and it wasn’t like he didn’t know anyone there.

 

“Derek, just the deputy I wanted to see,” the Sheriff stated, the moment Derek stepped into the office.

 

“Sheriff,” Derek greeted, walking over to where the Sheriff was lingering. “I wanted to thank you again for the opportunity.”

 

“Well, you’re a good kid, and it would help everyone if we had you on the force,” the Sheriff replied, a proud smile crossing his face. “God help us when Stiles applies.”

 

“Stiles is thinking about joining?” Derek inquired, not really surprised considering Stiles had always been the brains of the pack.

 

“Well, he was,” the Sheriff mumbled, his good mood dimming. Derek could scent the sadness rolling off of him in thick heavy waves.

 

“How is he?” Derek gently pried, unsure if he was allowed to ask that after everything the pack had been through.

 

Derek naively thought that once the Nogitsune was taken care of then everything would go back to normal. Well, not normal, considering the damage the Nogitsune had done, but Derek never expected for the pack to fall apart like they did. Instead of holding on to who they still had, they had isolated themselves from each other. He hadn’t seen Stiles all summer, but he met with the pack as much as they would allow. They all were hurting, and rather than try to come together, they suffered in silence alone.

 

“It’s his first day of school,” the Sheriff said like it explained everything, maybe it did.

 

“Never short on courage,” Derek complimented sincerely, then glanced away feeling embarrassed. He pointedly ignored the Sheriff’s knowing look.

 

“Never short on stubbornness,” the Sheriff grumbled good heartedly, making Derek chuckle and nod in agreement. “How about I introduce you to your partner?”

 

“Sounds good Sir,” Derek answered, obediently following the Sheriff around a maze of desks and people.

 

“Sheriff,” Parrish greeted, rising from his seat.

 

“Parrish,” the Sheriff replied, nodding his head in acknowledgement. “This is your new partner Deputy Derek Hale, he’s new to the force, but whizzed through the academy with flying colors.”

 

Derek flushed at the praise, still not used to the positive attention he had been getting lately. Parrish smiled charmingly, holding out his hand to shake. Derek shook his hand, taking note of the firm grip. Derek and Parrish sized each other up, much to the Sheriff’s amusement, before nodding in approval as they released each other’s hand.

 

“Good to meet the famous Derek Hale,” Parrish commented, Derek winced but Parrish was quick to explain. “Next to Stiles and Scott, you’re all the Sheriff ever talks about.”

 

“Oh really?” Derek inquired, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips as the Sheriff faked a cough.

 

“Enough of that now,” the Sheriff jokingly ordered. “I should have known putting you two together was going to be trouble.”

 

“Sir, I can assure you I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Parrish responded, the epitome of innocence.

 

“I’m sure,” the Sheriff murmured dryly. “I’ll leave you to get more acquainted. Behave you two.”

 

“We will,” Parrish reassured the Sheriff, who shook his head and headed off to his office mumbling to himself. “Your desk is right across from mine,” Parrish said, turning to Derek and motioning to the empty desk next to him.

 

“Thanks,” Derek replied, glancing around the precinct feeling a bit overwhelmed.

 

“Hey,” Parrish whispered, drawing Derek’s attention back to him. “Relax, it’s your first day. You’ll get the hang of this in no time.”

 

“Yeah,” Derek mumbled, leaning against his desk. “I hope so.”

Chapter Text

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” –Deepak Chopra

 

Stiles opened his locker, relieved that it was finally time for lunch. Classes seemed to drag on since his teachers only handed out syllabi to go over. Stiles was ready to stab his eyes out by third period, but by some miracle he managed not to. Based on the syllabi so far none of his classes this year were too demanding, Stiles had all summer to get ahead of the curve.

 

Stiles knew that it would only make sense for the pack to be in some of his classes, but it still caught him completely off guard. Isaac and Kira were in his advanced history class, taught by Kira’s dad, and then he had advanced English with Lydia and Jackson, who was back from his London excursion. Stiles had math with Malia, who hated the subject with a passion, and Scott, who hated him with a passion. Stiles still had science and his elective after lunch, so he had no idea if he had those classes with any of them.

 

All things considering, Stiles thought it was going to be a lot worse. No one said anything to him, and basically ignored him until the bell rang. He wasn’t an idiot, Stiles knew that he could last only so long being outside the pack before snapping. Even as a child he always hated being disregarded, one of the reasons he acted out so much in school. The pack giving him the cold shoulder now didn’t bother him, but it was only a matter of time before he started to feel the sting of loneliness.

 

“Stiles!” Malia called, pushing her way through the mass of students between them, oblivious to the glares sent her way. Stiles watched her unable to stop the chuckle from slipping past his lips. Well, it was progress.

 

“Hey,” Stiles greeted, shoving his books into his already messy locker. “I see we’re still working on social norms.”

 

“Yeah, being human is hard,” Malia complained, rolling her eyes as she leaned against the locker next to his.

 

“I can imagine,” he retorted dryly. “Well, you’re much better now that you’re not punching people in the face.”

 

“That was one time,” Malia defended, her arms crossed stubbornly. It vaguely reminded Stiles of Derek, who could still use work on social norms.

 

“Yeah, well I deserved it,” Stiles mumbled, unable to forget his time spent at Eichen House.

 

“I’m glad you’re here,” Malia announced, pulling him away from his dark thoughts. “I need a tutor.”

 

“It’s only the first day of school,” Stiles replied, closing his locker. “What could you need tutoring in?”

 

“Everything,” Malia groaned, grabbing his hand to drag him to the outside courtyard. “My dad has been on my case ever since...” She trailed off, her grip tightening enough to catch his attention.

 

“Peter?” Stiles filled in, still unable to believe that Peter Hale was her biological father. “How’s that going?”

 

“He’s creepy,” Malia immediately answered, making Stiles laugh and nod in agreement. “But…he gets me.”

 

“I can see that,” Stiles reassured, sobering up at the anxiousness written on her face. “Peter might be…questionable at best, but he also knows what it’s like to be…feral.”

 

“Yeah,” Malia acknowledged, her body language relaxing. “Yeah, that’s exactly it. He doesn’t make me feel bad for not being in control all the time.”

 

“Hey,” Stiles said, stopping so he could face her. She looked at him confused, but waited for him to continue. “Between you and me, control’s overrated.”

 

“But Scott said—”

 

“In the beginning Scott didn’t have any control either,” Stiles stated, remembering Scott’s first full moon. What a disaster that was. “You’ll find the level of control right for you.”

 

“Thanks Stiles,” Malia murmured, leaning in to give him a quick chaste kiss.

 

Stiles blinked dumbly, letting her lead him the rest of the way. They made out in the Eichen House basement, which gave him the creeps now that he thought about it, but he wasn’t…well, interested in her like that. Over the summer Malia had become an invaluable friend when he didn’t have any. She was brash and frank most of the time, but she was also sincere and loyal. Stiles didn’t want to lose that.

 

“Malia,” Stiles said nervously, wondering how he could tell her without hurting her feelings.

 

“Don’t worry about it,” Malia answered, with a sharp smirk. “You’re cute and it was hot making out with you, but you’re a better friend than mate for me.”

 

“Oh, well…good,” Stiles stuttered out, for once at a loss for words. “Good talk.”

 

Malia laughed rolling her eyes, and gently pushed him down onto the grass. He scoffed at the manhandling, making a note to remind her of her strength. She collapsed next to him leaning against his side, but Stiles was used to her more primal behavior. She was always scenting him, and all up in his business. Not that he minded, Stiles was a very tactile person. Sure, it was strange at first, but now it was comforting.

 

“Derek missed you over the summer,” Malia mentioned offhandedly, like it wasn’t a bomb dropping on Stiles.

 

“Oh?” Stiles squeaked, making him blush a blotchy red in embarrassment. “Did he tell you that?”

 

“No,” Malia answered, unaware of Stiles’ heart dropping to his stomach. “Not out loud, it was more his body language. You know I’m better at reading that than under the lines.”

 

“In between the lines,” Stiles distractedly corrected, she huffed in frustration but nodded.

 

“What about you?” Malia inquired, as she dug into her book bag for her lunch.

 

“What about me?” Stiles asked, snapping back to reality. He had to stop getting lost in his head, especially when it came to Derek.

 

“Did you miss him?” Malia clarified, before tearing into her huge meat sandwich.

 

“Uh,” Stiles mumbled, unable to look away from her devouring the sandwich like she hadn’t eaten in days. “Yeah, I guess at times I missed his broody eyebrows.”

 

Malia nearly choked at that, but managed to swallow before keeling over. Stiles smiled watching her, in many ways she was so naïve and childlike. It was refreshing. Malia caught him staring, and held out her sandwich offering it to him. It only made Stiles’ fond smile grow wider.

 

“Nah, you go ahead,” Stiles politely declined. She smiled around her food, and continued eating, at a much slower pace he noticed.

 

Stiles looked around the courtyard, but immediately wished he hadn’t. Right across the yard the pack was lounging around the tables. None of them looked in his direction, but it would have been impossible for them not to notice him with their enhanced senses. Malia didn’t mention them, but then again, she wasn’t really friends with them. It was strange seeing them all together after so long, they looked like something was off about them, disconnected almost.

 

Jackson had his arm wrapped possessively around Lydia. He still looked like an asshole, in Stiles’ opinion, but seemed less high-strung now. Lydia, who was radiant as ever, pretended to listen to whatever he was talking about. It was clear to Stiles that her mind was somewhere else by the way she kept pursing her lips. Isaac was hanging out with…Cora. Stiles had no idea that she stayed in Beacon Hills. They weren’t talking or anything, but sat practically on top of each other. Stiles idly wondered what Derek thought about this new development. Kira sat across from Scott talking rapidly, about what Stiles had no idea, but she seemed excited. Scott had the same puppy dog eyes, even though they were sadder than before, and goofy smile, despite it being a bit forced. Somehow those subtle details made Scott look older than he really was. His entire posture was tense as if expecting some kind of attack. It was just like how Derek used to look back when the three of them first met.

 

Stiles sighed lying back onto the ground, enjoying the last few minutes of freedom before lunch was over. He closed his eyes, resting his hands behind his head. It was only a matter of time before one of them made the first move. The pack couldn’t be at odds with each other forever, until they confronted each other Stiles wasn’t going to let the wall between them bother him too much.

 

Stiles smiled to himself when he felt Malia curl up next to him. At least, he knew that he wouldn’t be alone while he waited for something to happen.

______________________________________________________________________

 

“You wanted to see me Sheriff?” Derek asked, knocking lightly on the Sheriff’s open office door.

 

“Yeah, go ahead and take a seat,” the Sheriff suggested, closing the files on his desk. “I wanted to see how your first day was going so far.”

 

“Good,” Derek answered, making the Sheriff give him a knowing look.

 

“The first day of anything is always the hardest,” the Sheriff promised, smiling at the way Derek’s shoulders seemed to loosen at the reassurance.

 

“Parrish has been really helpful,” Derek commented, the Sheriff nodded unsurprised.

 

“Yeah, one of the reasons why I put you with him,” the Sheriff replied, remembering Stiles’ endorsement of the two as partners. “It was actually Stiles who gave me the idea.”

 

“Stiles?” Derek asked confused, it figured Stiles would have something to do it.

 

“Yeah, said that your reputation might rub the other deputies the wrong way,” the Sheriff muttered, clearly unimpressed with the notion. “If anyone gives you shit, you tell me Derek.”

 

“Oh,” Derek mumbled, realizing that some of the deputies’ coldness to him was more than just hassling the new guy. “Okay.”

 

“Derek, I mean it. I don’t allow for personal feelings to get in the way of the job. Our motto is serve and protect, and we can’t do that if the deputies are acting like middle schoolers,” the Sheriff explained, his expression hard and serious.

 

“I understand,” Derek relented, it seemed to be enough for the Sheriff. “Was that all?”

 

“Yeah, that was it,” the Sheriff answered, focusing back on the files on his desk. “I believe you’re going to be a great deputy Derek, and I’m not the only one. Our pasts don’t dictate our futures. Remember that.”

 

“Yes Sir,” Derek replied, as he rose to his feet. He stopped at the door, and looked over his shoulder at the Sheriff with a grateful smile. “Thank you Sir.”

 

“Anytime kid,” the Sheriff responded, looking up at Derek with a fatherly smile. “Now get out of here before you waste your lunch hour. Don’t you dare even think about being late.”

 

“Understood,” Derek promised, his confidence in his new career path solidifying.

 

Derek decided to use his lunch break to check on the progress the construction workers were making on the Hale house. When he pulled into the clearing Derek was surprised to find Peter lounging by his new car.

 

In the beginning Peter and Cora wanted nothing to do with the reconstruction of the Hale house, but when they saw the plans Derek roughly sketched up, they were more inclined to be involved. Derek understood where they were coming from. He didn’t want the house to look exactly like before either, so he redesigned it with help from an architect in a city nearby.

 

“I didn’t expect to see you here,” Derek commented, as he walked over to where Peter was standing.

 

“Someone has to make sure they’re doing it right,” Peter retorted, his arms crossed and eyebrows furrowed. Derek bit back a smile at the snarky response.

 

“They know what they’re doing,” Derek reassured, watching the workers scurry around carrying tiles and floorboards inside.

 

The house wasn’t as big as the original Hale house, but it was two stories and had enough bedrooms to fit the pack without anyone having to room together. The house had two studies, one on each floor. There were three and half baths, not including the one in the master bedroom. It had an attic and a basement, both could be used as another bedroom if ever need, but would probably end up as a theatre or playroom for the pack. The living room was massive, and separated from the kitchen and dining area. There was still a wraparound porch on the first level, and a small balcony on the second floor. It was different from the original, but regardless one day it would be home.

 

“Talia would have loved it,” Peter murmured, his voice soft with uncharacteristic melancholy.

 

“Yeah?” Derek asked, a hopeful smile growing at the thought his mom would have approved.

 

“I mean, she would have designed it better, but she’d like it,” Peter replied, squaring his shoulders as he pushed away amazing but painful memories of his sister.

 

“I’m sure,” Derek chuckled, shaking his head at his uncle’s gruffness. Sometimes Derek forgot that not only did he lose his mom, but Peter lost his sister in the fire. The fire took both of their family away, not just Derek’s.

 

“I guess she would have been proud of you too,” Peter professed, his gaze locked on the house, but not really focused on it.

 

“I don’t know about that,” Derek mumbled, crossing his arms as he looked at the ground.

 

“Okay, so you might not have been alpha of the year,” Peter relented, surprising a laugh out of Derek.

 

“I don’t think you’d win that award either,” Derek retorted, his words severe but the amusement in his eyes softened the bite to them. Peter shook his head with a regretful sigh.

 

“Dark times,” Peter agreed, remorse tainting the air around him. “Regardless, Talia would be proud. You have definitely grown from a dysfunctional, extremely angry, creepy young adult, into a more functional, less angry, creepy young adult.”

 

“Thanks,” Derek muttered dryly, but Peter knew he meant it. They both did. “You’re still a child.”

 

“Thanks,” Peter snorted, a rare genuine smile making its way onto his face. It reminded Derek of when they were younger and best friends.

 

“I’m sorry!” Derek blurted out, taking them both by surprise.

 

“What did you do now?” Peter questioned, his smile disappearing once more behind a superior smirk.

 

“I shouldn’t have killed you,” Derek whispered, his voice shaking at the memory.

 

Sometimes Derek had nightmares about that night, even after all this time. When Derek ripped Peter’s throat out a part of Derek died with him. Derek sometimes could see it in Peter, when the sardonic man thought no one was looking, the shame and self-loathing brought on by guilt over what he had done. Peter would never be who he was before he killed Laura, before the fire, the same way Derek never would be the same either.

 

“We all do what we think we have to in order to survive,” Peter states, his face guarded. “But you’ll lose a piece of yourself when you make that choice.”

 

“Even when you think you’re right?” Derek questioned, unsure of how Peter would react Derek knew that killing Peter was the right thing to do, otherwise Peter would still be rampaging.

 

“Even then,” Peter confirms, understanding what Derek was really asking. “Maybe especially when you think you’re right.”

 

“She would have forgiven you,” Derek claimed, even though deep down Derek never thought he could. Laura had always been so much stronger and better than him.

 

“I know,” Peter mumbled weakly, his eyes closing as if pained at the mere thought. “That’s why I can’t.”

 

Chapter Text

“One day, you realize that there are some people you’ll never see again. At least, not in the same way.” –Lee Wai Lun

 

Stiles was surprised Morrell waited an entire week before calling him to her office. It was sweet she tried to give him a sense of normality before destroying it with supernatural politics. Morrell, while more open to give information than her brother, wasn’t nearly as patient as him. Stiles was getting tired of waiting anyways, and wanted to get back to his training.

 

Over the summer Morrell had mentored Stiles, teaching him how to control the magic buried deep inside him, his spark. She told him that there were all kinds of magic varying in type and power.

 

Most magic was manipulations of a supernatural force, like the magic were-creatures possessed was influenced by the moon and limited to their animal. Stiles’ magic, on the other hand, wasn’t a manipulation of magic but a creation of it. His magic was raw and pure, uncontrollable to anyone who didn’t possess the spark. Morrell explained to him that it was his spark that allowed him to hold off the Nogitsune for so long. Anyone else and it would have immediately overpowered them.

 

Stiles was sitting outside her office, waiting for her current appointment to let out. He looked over when the door opened, but froze when none other than Lydia strolled out. She stopped when she saw him, like a deer caught in headlights. They stared at each other, neither of them saying a word, until Morrell walked out. Lydia snapped out of it then, and briskly walked off without so much as a glance back.

 

Stiles thought it would hurt a lot more, watching her walk away from him, but right now he only felt relieved. He had no idea what he would have said to her, to any of them if they bumped into each other. Stiles was starting to think that he would never be ready to face them again. Even if, somehow he was, Stiles doubted they would ever forgive him, much less trust him after everything he had done. Stiles was afraid of what that meant for the pack.

 

“Genim, please come in,” Morrell requested, making Stiles groan pained at the sound of his real name.

 

“I told you to call me Stiles,” he whined, but rose to his feet to follow her inside her office.

 

“And I told you that names have power,” Morrell disciplined, motioning him to take a seat.

 

“Whatever you say…Marin,” Stiles sassed earning a disapproving look for his sarcasm, but her eyes shone with amusement. He took a seat smiling cheekily at her.

 

“Your break is over—”

 

“You call that a break?” Stiles complained, even though the week seemed to drag on without training to distract him.

 

“Would you like more time?” Morrell inquired with a knowing look.

 

“Nope, I’m good,” Stiles quickly answered, sitting up in his seat hoping to convey attentive enthusiasm.

 

“I thought as much,” Morrell mused, searching through her bookshelf. “This should help you with runes and wards, most of them are defensive.”

 

“Most of them?” Stiles probed, taking the leather bound book from her.

 

“Most,” Morrell repeated not expanding any further. Maybe she was a lot like Deaton after all.

 

“Is this the only reason you called me in?” Stiles asked, not believing that for a second. She frowned clasping her hands in front of her, her expression turning serious.

 

“You must tell the pack what you have been up to in their absence,” Morrell stated, switching from understanding counselor to vigorous mentor.

 

“I don’t know if you noticed, but we’re not exactly on the best of terms right now,” Stiles deflected, fingers drumming across the book anxiously.

 

“How do you expect to serve as their emissary when you haven’t spoken to them?” Morrell questioned, ignoring Stiles’ obvious discomfort.

 

“I don’t know,” Stiles mumbled, crossing his arms as he looked away.

 

“Genim,” Morrell prompted, drawing his attention back to her. “You have been training all summer for this, learning to control your spark. Deaton and I did not make you our apprentice for you to throw away your natural talent.”

 

“I know,” Stiles grumbled, feeling the warm pulsating spark inside his chest comfortingly. “I just don’t think they’ll want my help…”

 

“Because of the Nogitsune,” Morrell deduced, leaning back in her seat studying him. “We all have our demons, some more literal than others, but they do not define us.”

 

“I can’t just forget what happened!” Stiles snapped, fisting his hands in frustration. His spark flaring dangerously along with his temper.

 

“No one is asking you to, but dwelling on what happened will not change it,” Morrell replied, undisturbed by the stench of ozone flooding her office. “I am telling you to leave it in the past where it belongs.”

 

“How?” Stiles whispered, placing his head in his hands exhausted. “How can I move on when I’m constantly reminded of what I’ve done? How can I protect the pack when I’m the dangerous one?”

 

“Why did the Nogitsune choose you Genim?” Morrell inquired, once again forcing Stiles to think about something he tried so hard to push away.

 

“I don’t know,” Stiles muttered, running a hand through his messy hair. “Because I was the easiest target, I guess?”

 

“Wrong,” Morrell retorted, making Stiles scowl at her easy dismissal. “Try again.”

 

“Because I was the most fucked up?” Stiles seethed, childishly hoping to get a rise out of her.

 

“Wrong,” Morrell repeated, unfazed by his temper tantrum.

 

“Then why? Tell me why it chose me, if you know everything!” Stiles shouted, his hands slamming on her desk angrily. A jagged crack tore through the cheap wood, a sure sign Stiles’ spark was controlling him instead of the other way around.

 

Stiles flinched back, and looked down ashamed of his violent outburst. Morrell had warned him in the beginning, that the spark was intimately intertwined with his emotions and thoughts. The spark’s power didn’t come from nature like the druids, or the moon like the wolves, but instead manifested inside of his very being. The power of belief was limitless with the right heart, mind, and soul.

 

“Who was the only person who had an invaluable relationship with each of the pack members? Who was the person no one in the pack would be able to bring themselves to kill?” Morrell questioned, as she gracefully stood up placing her hands on top of her broken desk.

 

“That could be said about any of them,” Stiles denied, leaning back in his seat avoiding her piercing gaze.

 

“No, it couldn’t,” she murmured, looking down at the crack Stiles made just by the sheer force of his emotions.

 

He was going to be unstoppable, if only he believed in himself as much as he believed in everyone else.

 

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

 

“Again,” Derek ordered, critically analyzing Scott and Isaac’s fighting style as the two sparred.

Scott was too cautious, Isaac had the opposite problem of being too reckless. Derek noted the way Scott would wince every time he lunged for Isaac, it was his tell when he fought against Isaac. Derek also noticed that Isaac would always hesitate before landing a blow, unconsciously softening the impact.

 

Derek knew that they had gotten extremely close after Derek kicked Isaac out when the alpha pack was in town, but they should know better than this by now. It wasn’t like they weren’t going to heal after the match was over, they weren’t going to kill each other. An enemy fighting against them wasn’t going to hold back, and the pack needed to know how to protect themselves.

 

“Enough,” Derek called, causing them both to drop to ground panting. Derek resisted the urge to roll his eyes at their joint dramatics. They were almost as bad as Stiles.

 

“Finally,” Scott whined, his chest heaving as he ran a hand through his sweat soaked hair.

 

“I thought that would never be over,” Isaac agreed, gasping for air like he was dying.

 

“Puppies, I’m surrounded by puppies,” Derek muttered to himself, pinching the bridge of his nose frustrated.

 

“Hey!” Scott protested, pushing himself up on his elbows. “We had lacrosse practice after school today.”

 

“Scott, I don’t believe I have to remind you that you’re a werewolf,” Derek emphasized, shaking his head in disbelief. “With werewolf stamina.”

 

“Knowing McCall, you probably do,” Jackson taunted, strolling over with Lydia in tow.

 

“Ugh, you guys are the worst! Stiles would have—” Scott abruptly stopped, his face shocked and open, as if had forgotten that Stiles wasn’t someone the pack talked about.

 

“He would have agreed with me,” Derek stated, refusing to avoid the subject just because the pack had misguided issues with Stiles.

 

“Whatever, what’s next?” Isaac asked, not bothering to hide his attempt at changing the subject.

 

Derek frowned and crossed his arms as he studied the teens mulling around drowning in awkward tension. Scott still looked confused and hurt, but stubbornly stared at the ground, his jaw tight. Isaac acted like he couldn’t care less, but was fisting his hands at his sides, as if trying to hold back his anger. Jackson’s features were schooled into a blank expression, too neutral for him not to have an opinion on the issue. By the way he kept glancing over to Scott and scowling, it was obvious that Jackson didn’t agree with Scott on this matter. Lydia, like Scott, was avoiding Derek’s gaze. She clutched her designer bag like it was her lifeline.

 

“Why isn’t Stiles here?” Derek questioned, but the other just kept quiet. “He should be here.”

 

“Why?” Isaac countered, his eyes flashing a bright gold. “Why should he be here?”

 

“Because he’s pack,” Derek answered, ignoring the disbelieving scoff he got in return. “He has always been there for each of you when you needed him.”

 

“Stiles isn’t here because he doesn’t want to be,” Scott gritted out, his voice low with warning.

 

“Bullshit,” Jackson retorted, taking everyone by surprise.

 

“What?” Scott asked in disbelief.

 

“You heard me McCall,” Jackson sneered, ignoring Lydia’s sharp glare. “Derek’s right, for once, Stiles should be here. He’s done more for the pack than any of us—”

 

“We risk our lives fighting whatever threat comes into town,” Isaac snapped, taking a few steps towards Jackson. “Some of us have died protecting this place!”

 

“I know that!” Jackson shouted, not backing down from the taller blonde. “That doesn’t mean that Stiles hasn’t helped you face whatever monster it was at the time.”

 

“Why are you even defending him?” Isaac snarled, Jackson deflated a little at that.

 

“Honestly? I thought I wouldn’t have to,” Jackson replied, his eyes turning to Scott who was standing there completely silent.

 

“I want to look at him and see Stiles, but I can’t,” Scott confessed, looking between the pack members helplessly. “I miss him, every day, but when I see him now…all I can picture is Allison dying in my arms.”

 

“That wasn’t Stiles’ fault,” Lydia surprisingly pointed out, her voice steady even as her eyes glistened.

 

“You don’t think I don’t know that?” Scott snapped, shaking his head as if trying to find the right words. “I know it wasn’t him, but…he’s not the same anymore.”

 

“Yeah, I’m sure none of us are the same after the shit we’ve been through,” Jackson retorted, successfully destroying the last of Scott’s patience.

 

“You weren’t there! You didn’t see him! He was…a monster,” Scott yelled, his voice breaking halfway through.

 

“He’s Stiles,” Derek interjected, shocked that out of all people, Scott was the one throwing Stiles to the wolves. “He was there for you when you turned and became an actual monster.”

 

“Stop!” Scott roared, his eyes flashing red causing the other werewolves to lower their heads and bare their neck at him. “I don’t want to hear about it anymore!”

 

“Looks like he wasn’t the only one who changed,” Derek gritted through his teeth, even as he bore his neck to his alpha.

 

“No, I’m sorry,” Scott apologized ashamed, his eyes returning to their normal deep brown. “I didn’t mean…I didn’t want…”

 

Fear radiated from Scott, as he looked around at the pack, horrified at what he had done. Before any of them could say anything Scott took off running into the woods. A deep howl tore through him as he ran away from his pack and responsibility.

 

Isaac moved to chase after him, but Derek grabbed his arm stopping him. Isaac growled at him, but Derek held firm refusing to let go. Isaac calmed a bit when he saw that Derek looked just as tempted to race after their wayward alpha.

 

“We need to go after him! Why aren’t we going?” Isaac demanded, ripping his arm out of Derek’s loosened grip.

 

“The only one who would be able to get through to him, is the only person Scott refuses to talk to,” Derek explained, expression severe.

 

“Then let’s get Stiles,” Isaac grumbled, not liking the idea of bringing Stiles into it.

 

“Stiles might be the only one who could get through McCall’s thick skull, but that doesn’t mean he’d be willing to,” Jackson countered, fed up with pack drama. He did not come back for this bullshit.

 

“It’s Stiles,” Lydia announced, catching the others’ attention. “He’d be willing to do anything for Scott.”

 

“We’re not asking Stiles to do anything,” Derek ordered, turning to walk back to his car.

 

“Why not?” Isaac asked, grabbing Derek’s arm to stop him from leaving. Derek shot him a warning glare, making Isaac begrudgingly let go.

 

“If Scott is suffering about what happened because of the Nogitsune, how do you think Stiles is feeling?” Derek answered, making the pack fall silent. “Leave him alone for now. They both need to do this on their own.”

 

“And if they never do?” Lydia questioned, not really believing that those two were going to get over their pride and stubbornness.

 

“Then they were never really as close as they claimed to be,” Derek answered simply.

 

“How could you say that after everything Stiles did?” Isaac snapped, eyes full of anger and disbelief.


“Because it wasn’t Stiles,” Derek murmured, picturing the broken boy who visited his dad at the station. “The sooner you guys figure that out, the better off the pack will be.”

Chapter Text

“Do not kid yourself, a conflict is never about the surface issue. It’s about ones unsaid, untreated, and unhealed wounds.” –Unknown

 

“Stilinski, you have got to be kidding me,” Coach bellowed, even though Stiles was literally standing three feet in front of him.

“You’ll still be my coach,” Stiles comforted, amused at Coach’s unwillingness to let Stiles drop lacrosse. “You’ll just be my track and field coach now.”

“The team won’t be the same without you,” Coach protested, making Stiles snort derisively.

“I warmed the bench, the team will be fine,” Stiles retorted, handing over his lacrosse equipment.

“Fine,” Coach grumbled, still disappointed one of his players were leaving. “How about if you don’t make the track team you come back to lacrosse?”

“Sure, I’ll make that deal,” Stiles agreed, shaking Coach’s hand.

Stiles wasn’t worried about losing the deal, he knew that he was going to make the team. All summer he had been running around town, and sometimes the woods, with Malia. She helped him find his form, and moderated his heart rate and breathing while they ran together. She really pushed him and whipped him into shape, real shape. It felt like hell in the beginning, but now running was second nature to Stiles. It was his way to lose himself when everything else got too overwhelming.

“Alright,” Coach said, briefly placing a hand on Stiles’ shoulder in support. “Now get out of here I have a practice to get to.”

Stiles hightailed it out of there, hoping that he could escape the locker room before the lacrosse players started to wander in. In his haste to leave he wasn’t really paying attention to where he was going, so he crashed right into the person he was trying to avoid the most.

“Scott,” Stiles whispered, eyes widening at seeing his former best friend standing there looking just as surprised.

“You’re quitting the lacrosse team?” Scott asked, obviously having eavesdropped on Stiles’ conversation with Coach.

“Yeah, wanted to take up track and field instead,” Stiles needlessly repeated, motioning over his shoulder nonchalantly.

“So you’re just going to leave?” Scott accused, his expression darkening, betrayed.

Stiles got the feeling that they were talking about something more than sports. It made him uncomfortable, he didn’t know what Scott wanted from him. Sure, Stiles didn’t go out of his way to meet with the pack over the summer, but none of them were busting down his door either. Stiles figured that they all needed time to mourn and figure out how to keep on living. Maybe they had given each other too much time. Now it was like they didn’t even know how to talk to each other anymore.

“I’ll still be here Scott,” Stiles explained beseechingly. “I’m always going to be here, even if I’m on another team.”

“No, it won’t be the same,” Scott stubbornly rejected, making Stiles shake his head exasperated.

“Maybe I don’t want it to be the same!” Stiles snapped, taking Scott by surprise. “Maybe I don’t want you and everyone to always risk yourselves protecting me! Maybe I want to be strong all on my own.”

“You are strong,” Scott protested weakly. Stiles didn’t have to be a werewolf to hear the lie in that statement.

“No, I wasn’t,” Stiles whispered, he remembered all the times he couldn’t do anything to help the pack. “But I am now, I can protect the pack.”

“You?” Scott questioned incredulously, an ugly sneer marring his normally soft features. “You’ve already done enough, don’t you think?”

“I knew it,” Stiles mumbled, feeling his world shatter at the accusation. “I knew you blamed me for Allison’s death.”

“The Nogitsune possessed you Stiles! It was your fault!” Scott shouted, his eyes flashing red in uncontrolled anger.

“You don’t think I know that?” Stiles yelled back, his fist clenching as he tried to control himself. “I remember watching it cause all that chaos! I felt so damn helpless, I couldn’t stop it!”

“She died in my arms,” Scott choked, his voice cracking brokenly. “I had to hear her heart stop.”

“Scott, I’m sorry—”

“No! You don’t get to say that to me!” Scott growled, shoving Stiles against the lockers, harshly gripping his shoulders. Stiles could feel the pinpricks of Scott’s claws digging into his shoulder.

Stiles stared at his former friend in something akin to astonishment and horror. Scott had never attacked him before, not when he was in his right mind. Stiles gently held Scott’s wrists, ready to drop the werewolf if Scott tried anything more. It was like staring into the face of a stranger. Stiles didn’t recognize the hatred in Scott’s puppy dog eyes, this wasn’t his best friend. All those emotions Scott refused to accept were consuming him, the same way they had consumed Stiles.

“What the hell McCall?” Jackson snapped, shoving Scott away looking shocked. Stiles hissed as Scott’s claws dragged across his skin. “What the fuck is going on here?”

“Looks to me like Stiles is causing trouble,” Isaac commented, strolling over to Scott who stared at his hands horrified. Stiles noticed that Scott’s hands were shaking.

“Really?” Jackson snorted, rolling his eyes in disbelief. “Looks to me like McCall has finally let his alpha status go to his head. He’s losing it, going feral.”

“It was just a misunderstanding,” Stiles interjected, not wanting the pack to start picking sides. Even though it was obvious they already had.

“Yeah, a misunderstanding,” Scott repeated, his voice wavering, unsure. “Stiles was just leaving.”

“What about practice?” Jackson questioned, turning his attention over to Stiles.

“Stiles quit the team,” Scott answered, crossing his arms to hide his shaky hands. “He’s trying out for track and field.”

Once again Stiles got the feeling they were talking about more than sports. Scott somehow managed to make it sound like Stiles was leaving the pack. Stiles being on the outside of the pack wasn’t his choice. It seemed like the Scott had made up his mind, and wasn’t going to be changing it any time soon. Stiles was cast out from the pack. He was an omega. It was over.

“Really?” Isaac asked, looking to Stiles for confirmation. “I always thought you’d make a better runner.”

Stiles gritted his teeth at the implication, even Jackson looked surprised at the turn of events. Stiles dug his nails into his palms, trying to regain the control he was rapidly losing. The pain from his shoulders and hands grounded him, he was able to control his spark.

If Scott didn’t want Stiles in his pack then fine, they were on their own. Stiles already blamed himself enough for what the Nogitsune had done in his body, he didn’t need the constant reminder from his closest friend. The absence of Allison was enough.

“Fuck you,” Stiles seethed, surprising the two werewolves who turned on him. “I didn’t murder Allison, I didn’t kill those deputies, or hurt all those people. I had no control of the Nogitsune. It wasn’t my fault because it wasn’t me. Scott, you were the one who kept reminding me of that.”

“I was wrong,” Scott replied severely. It felt like the last chance of fixing their friendship just died with his words. “You’re not pack.”

“You’re going to regret this,” Stiles mumbled, looking down so the werewolves couldn’t see the black seeping into his eyes. “I promise you that.”

______________________________________________________________________

“It’s only the first month, and you’re already in trouble,” Parrish teased, making Derek look up from his mountain of paperwork.

“What?” Derek asked, his voice hoarse from hours of disuse.

“The Sheriff wants to see you,” Parrish explained, nodding over the Sheriff’s office, which had its door closed. “Says it’s urgent.”

“Oh,” Derek mumbled, feeling irrationally nervous. “Okay.”

“Hey, I bet it’s nothing,” Parrish soothed, leaning against his own desk. He looked just as enthusiastic as Derek was at the prospect of going through paperwork.

“Alright, thanks,” Derek replied, giving his partner a wry smile.

Derek knocked on the Sheriff’s door, before he was beckoned inside. The moment Derek walked in he almost flinched at the smell, it reeked of sadness and desperation. Derek cautiously walked over to the Sheriff who was staring at his coffee, looking like he wished it was something stronger. It was going to be one of those conversations.

“Sheriff, you wanted to see me?” Derek inquired, unsure of what was wrong with him.

Everything around the office had settled down, and there wasn’t a new creature terrorizing Beacon Hills. It couldn’t be work related, so it had to be something personal, probably something to do with Stiles.

Derek had yet to see the hyperactive teen other than passing glances and lingering scents around the office. It was driving Derek to the verge of madness, but he didn’t want to push Stiles or the Sheriff and accidentally make things worse. Derek would be patient, something was bound to happen soon enough.

“Yeah, I have a favor to ask you,” the Sheriff sighed, rubbing his face with his hand exhausted. “It’s not work related, so don’t feel obligated to do it.”

“Stiles,” Derek gathered, which made the Sheriff’s face fall further. “Did something happen?”

“I think so,” the Sheriff answered, but didn’t sound too confident. “He won’t talk to me about it. After school Monday he came home in the worst mood I’ve seen him in…well, in long time. He shuts down every time I try to talk to him about it, so I decided to let him have his space. It’s only getting worse though, he barely eats or sleeps anymore. He acts like everything’s fine, but whatever it was, it’s eating away at him. It’s Saturday, and he still hasn’t said a word about whatever happened.”

“What do you want me to do?” Derek inquired, confused at why the Sheriff thought he could do anything about it. Most of the time it was Stiles who was getting Derek out of the moods he was prone to fall in.

“I think it’s a pack thing,” the Sheriff replied, making Derek wince apologetically. There hadn’t been much of a pack these days. “I think you’d be able to get him to open up a bit. I know he missed you over the summer, even though the boy’s too proud to admit it.”

Derek felt warmth spread through his chest at the thought of Stiles missing him. It was true that most of the time they were at each other’s throats, but Stiles proved himself over and over again that he was a force to be reckoned with. He saved Derek’s life plenty of times, and was an invaluable member of the pack. Which is why Derek couldn’t understand how Scott could claim that Stiles wasn’t pack anymore. It didn’t work that way, Stiles was pack through and through.

“I don’t know if I’m the best person to talk to him,” Derek admitted, not at all insulted by the way the Sheriff chuckled dryly in response.

“He respects you,” the Sheriff stated, surprising Derek. Stiles always acted like every choice Derek made was the wrong one. “Honestly, I wouldn’t have come to you first, but Derek…there’s no one else.”

Derek’s heart broke at the desperation radiating from the Sheriff. He had never seen the Sheriff look so lost before, not even when he didn’t know about the supernatural. Derek wasn’t upset that he wasn’t the first person considered, he wouldn’t ask him first either, but the Sheriff was right, he was the only really left. That broke Derek’s heart too.

“I don’t know if he’ll talk to me,” Derek warned, not wanting to get the Sheriff’s hopes up. “But I’ll try my best.”

“Thank you,” the Sheriff murmured, his voice soft and grateful.

“I haven’t seen him all summer,” Derek mentioned, still wondering if this was going to be a good idea.

“He hadn’t seen anyone over the summer. Well, besides Malia,” the Sheriff reassured Derek, but it didn’t exactly make Derek feel better that his cousin was the one Stiles decided to be around.

“Sir, if you don’t mind me asking, what exactly has Stiles been doing over the summer?” Derek asked, unable to keep his curiosity to himself any longer. If he was going to try and talk to Stiles, he at least had to have some idea of what the teen had been up to.

“He had been training under Morrell,” the Sheriff replied, which only brought more questions to mind.

“Training, for what?” Derek inquired, even more confused than before. What in the world could Stiles, of all people, be training for?

“To take over for Deaton as emissary,” the Sheriff answered, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“What?” Derek blurted, ignoring the unimpressed look the Sheriff gave him. “Stiles was training to be an emissary?”

“Yeah,” the Sheriff said slowly like he couldn’t understand what the big deal was. “Something about his spark giving him an advantage over other pack emissaries.”

“His spark?” Derek questioned dumbly, earning another look from the Sheriff. Skinny, defenseless Stiles possessed the spark, limitless power based on belief. Derek should have known.

“Scott, the pack, they don’t know,” Derek stated, his eyes widening at the implication.

“No, Stiles wanted to give them time and space…to mourn and cope,” the Sheriff mumbled, looking down at his coffee mug again.

“Allison would have hated to see the pack like this,” Derek murmured, recalling Allison’s dimpled smile. “She was strong and loyal to the very end, it was an honor having her in the pack.”

Derek knew that the Sheriff wouldn’t understand the significance of the phrase. Not many humans possessed the traits needed to survive in a wolf pack. The person, especially if they were human, needed to be strong, loyal, courageous, able to take charge, and follow orders, but most of all willing to kill and die for the pack, if need be. Allison was one of the few people, despite her lineage, who was more than just associated with the pack. She was pack.

“I don’t think you have to worry about Stiles,” Derek continued, even though the Sheriff didn’t look convinced.

“What makes you say that?” The Sheriff inquired, making pride swell in Derek’s chest.

“Stiles sanguinem luna, lupus corde,” Derek claimed, remembering the honor his mom once told him about.

“What does that mean?” The Sheriff asked, oblivious to the fact that Derek just gave his son the highest compliment a werewolf could give to a human.

“Stiles, has blood of the moon, and the heart of a wolf.”

Chapter Text

“You’re afraid to tell people how you feel because it will destroy them, so you bury it deep inside yourself where it destroys you.” –Unknown

 

Stiles didn’t want to talk to Derek. It wasn’t because Stiles didn’t know what to say, it was because he was afraid of what he could say. Derek wasn’t like the others, he never had been. Derek knew, like Jackson, what it felt like to be used and manipulated. Derek knew better than anyone, and that scared Stiles. Derek was probably the only one who would be able to talk some sense into him, after all Derek was the expert in self-loathing and guilt. If anyone could help him through it, it would be Derek.

 

The thing was, Scott had made it clear Stiles wasn’t pack, and the rest of the pack made it clear that they agreed with him. Stiles didn’t need them, an emissary without a pack was stronger than a pack without an emissary. Besides, even with a majority of the pack pretending he didn’t exist, Stiles wasn’t alone. He had Malia, Deaton, Morrell, and his dad on his side. Hell, even Jackson was treating him better than the others, and that was saying something considering their history together.

 

Stiles knew that he could have Derek on his side, but he couldn’t risk it. Derek was…something more to Stiles. It was a secret that not even Scott knew, it was something Stiles tried hard to keep to himself. In the beginning it was frustration and fascination, but over the years his feelings morphed and grew into something Stiles wasn’t ready to acknowledge. Derek was dangerous, but so was he, and together they’d be disastrous.

 

There had always been something about Derek that made Stiles’ blood boil and heart skyrocket simultaneously. Ironically, now Derek was probably the only one from the pack that Stiles knew how to talk to, and the only one Stiles was actually afraid to talk to. Stiles didn’t want to talk about their tragic backstories, or how after they had lost everything they finally found themselves. Stiles didn’t want forgiveness, not anymore. Now…now Stiles didn’t know what he wanted.

 

Which was why when Stiles walked out of the locker room, and saw Derek looming by the entrance, he nearly had a heart attack. Derek wasn’t dressed in an inappropriately tight deputy’s uniform, or that unreasonably distracting leather jacket, but instead of a simple pair of jeans and white V-neck. Even in normal clothes he looked sinful, which was so unfair in Stiles’ opinion.

 

 “What the hell are you doing here?” Stiles demanded, his breath caught pathetically in his throat at the sight of Derek.

 

 “I’m taking you to lunch,” Derek answered, like taking Stiles out for lunch was a normal occurrence.

 

Stiles almost believed that it was, but then he remembered that this was Derek Hale. The same Derek Hale that threatened to kill him only moments after saving his life. The same Derek Hale that the Nogitsune had nearly murdered, on more than one occasion. Stiles wasn’t stupid, Derek didn’t look at him with betrayal or mistrust like the others did, but Stiles couldn’t believe that after all this time Derek was here because he wanted to be.

 

“Why?” Stiles pried suspiciously, this had his dad written all over it. “You know what? I don’t care, I’m not going.”

 

“Yes, you are,” Derek retorted, following the stubborn teenager. “Your father—”

 

“I knew it,” Stiles muttered to himself, shaking his head frustrated. “Just go home dude, I don’t need you here to hold my hand. I’m not a child, not anymore. I know it’s going to be okay, one day, but that’s not today. Just…leave me alone.”

 

“You’ve never needed anyone as long as I’ve known you,” Derek replied, staring at Stiles in way that was too perceptive for Stiles’ liking.

 

“Then why are you here?” Stiles repeated, crossing his arms as he waited for a legitimate answer.

 

Derek hadn’t changed much over the summer. He still had the same untamed kaleidoscope eyes, and broad shoulders that fit perfectly with his aggressive body language. Even relaxed Derek looked like he wouldn’t hesitate in crushing anyone or anything that crossed him. Derek’s beard was trimmed neatly, but clearly Stiles’ dad lost the battle of getting Derek to become a clean cut deputy. Derek had always been, and always will be, a wolf in human skin.

 

“We’re going to lunch after your practice,” Derek repeated, sharp teeth glistening against the hot August sun.

 

“Or you’ll rip my throat out with your teeth, Sourwolf?” Stiles mocked, earning a low warning growl from Derek in response. Stiles refused to think about how much he had missed this…whatever, between them.

 

“No, I’ll just tell your father,” Derek threatened, making the smug smirk drop from Stiles’ face.

 

“Low blow,” Stiles hissed, glaring at Derek, who shrugged carelessly.

 

“Whatever gets you to go,” Derek responded easily. “We have a lot to talk about, since you haven’t spoken to me all summer.”

 

“Oh Derek, I didn’t realize you missed me so much,” Stiles snarked, earning a snort from the older werewolf.

 

“Only about as much as you missed me,” Derek retorted, oblivious to Stiles’ buried feelings. If only, Stiles thought idly to himself as they continued walking toward the track.

 

“Whatever, I’ll meet you at Ed’s Diner in town,” Stiles brushed off, but Derek didn’t believe him for a second.

 

“No, I think I’ll stick around,” Derek countered, smirking at the annoyance flittering across Stiles’ face.

 

“Creeper,” Stiles muttered, before rushing onto the field to warm up with his teammates.

 

Stiles adamantly tried to ignore Derek’s penetrating gaze locked on him, he was going to give Stiles a complex. No one, other than the team and Malia, had seen Stiles run. It wasn’t like Stiles was afraid he was suddenly going to suck, but that was the problem. The pack, including Derek, was used to seeing Stiles as an uncoordinated mess of limbs and sarcasm. That was before though, this was now, and now Stiles was…different. The person he could had always been if he had known what to do with himself, what he could do with himself.

 

After thoroughly stretching, not wanting to risk injury or unnecessary soreness, Stiles gracefully rose to his feet. Coach ordered them to line up for the warmup mile, which was Stiles’ favorite part of practice, other than getting to do hurdles. Stiles dropped into position, still ignoring the stares burning holes into him, and waited for the whistle.

 

Stiles closed his eyes, taking in slow steady breaths as everything else faded away. The sharp cry of the whistle shattered his thoughts, as his mind focused solely on the warm up. This was why Stiles gave up lacrosse, running did something that not even Adderall could truly do for him. It cleared his mind.

 

When he was running, Stiles didn’t worry about being an omega in a town that attracted the supernatural. He didn’t get upset about his dad meddling in his life, again. Stiles didn’t over think the offensive incantations Morrell gave him to practice. He didn’t even freak out about lunch with Derek, who had consumed one too many of his thoughts since their first meeting in the woods. Stiles was able to outrun all his problems, at least for a little while.

 

Stiles hardly noticed passing the other runners, one by one they fell behind. His pace, steady in the beginning, picked up slowly but surely. Soon enough he was pushing himself faster and harder, thriving on the burn of his lungs. Stiles knew his limits, intimately, and he wasn’t anywhere close to passing out or throwing up. Stiles didn’t train with Malia with the hope that he could win a race, but with the goal to outrun a werewolf.

 

Stiles slowed to a jog after he passed the finish line, starting on his cool down lap. Coach, even after a week with Stiles on the team, still could not believe the kid’s outstanding times. The other students on the team couldn’t beat him, much less come anywhere near Stiles’ record. It was a shame that the kid didn’t join the team sooner. Then again, Stiles had never really shown any potential before, not like this.

 

Stiles finally risked a glance at Derek, wondering what he would see on the grumpy werewolf’s face. Stiles nearly stumbled over his own feet when he saw Derek leaning against the railing, wearing a wide grin. He had not expected for Derek to look so impressed or proud, Stiles thought there would have been confusion or incredulity, maybe even suspicion. The easy acceptance did something to Stiles’ heart that made his face heat and breath quicken.

 

Oh yeah, Derek was a dangerous one.

 

________________________________________________________________

 

Derek was blown away, lost in the way Stiles moved with purpose and unyielding determination. It was like watching a live action chess match between Stiles and the rest of the team. Even while running Stiles was three moves ahead of everyone else, it seemed like he knew who was going to try and cut him off and who was going to go for the inside advantage. He outmaneuvered every person trying to cut him off, and seemed to have an unlimited amount of stamina, gaining speed even while everyone else was struggling for breath. They never stood a chance against him.

 

Stiles didn’t run like he was on the track team, he ran like he was in a wolf pack. There was something primal about Stiles’ running, it reminded Derek of late night runs with his family during the full moon. Derek was so focused on watching Stiles tip his water bottle over his head, drenching himself in water, his own mouth going dry at the image, that he didn’t notice the coach walk over to him.

 

“Hey, are you here for someone?” Coach questioned, looking Derek over suspiciously. “I don’t have to call the cops do I?”

 

“What?” No,” Derek quickly denied, embarrassment rushing to his face as he tore his eyes away from Stiles. “I’m waiting for Stiles.”

 

“You know that he’s the Sheriff’s son, right?” Coach warned, Derek nodded in acknowledgement not understanding what they had to do with anything. “The Sheriff’s underage son.”

 

“What? No,” Derek interjected, eyes widening in realization. “It’s not like that…I’m not…I don’t…”

 

“Do you have a problem with Stiles?” Coach interrogated, his voice hardening. “Stiles is a very nice young man.”

 

“I know,” Derek agreed, which only made Coach narrow his eyes in accusation. “I just…he’s…we’re not…”

 

“He works with my dad Coach,” Stiles announced, coming in for the save. “He’s here just to nag me about something, I’m sure.”

 

“Alright,” Coach grumbled, clearly unconvinced but not wanting to push it. “I’m going to be right over there. Right there.”

 

“Got it,” Stiles replied, an amused smirk taking up most of his face. “Imagine if he called the cops, and my dad showed up to arrest you. It would be just like old times.”

 

“That wouldn’t happen now,” Derek muttered, done with this conversation already. “And those times were more your fault than mine.”

 

“Yeah, but it was hilarious,” Stiles commented offhandedly. “Anyways, let’s get this over with.”

 

“Tell me how you really feel,” Derek retorted dryly, causing Stiles to stop in his tracks and look over at Derek surprised.

 

“Oh, you really did miss me over the summer,” Stiles realized, reminding Derek of just how perspective the teen was under all that sarcasm and flailing.

 

“Obviously,” Derek affirmed, knowing that lying would be useless at this point.

 

“Oh, well I missed you too Sourwolf,” Stiles easily replied, his wide smirk falling into a sincere smile.

 

“Could have fooled me,” Derek groused, before he could stop himself. He looked at Stiles who was watching him, too intently for Derek’s comfort.

 

“I didn’t see anyone over the summer,” Stiles repeated what his father had said earlier. “I just couldn’t face everyone so soon after everything.”

 

“And now?” Derek pried, watching Stiles worry his bottom lip deep in thought.

 

“I have no idea,” Stiles confessed, his scent spiking with uncertainty. “It’s like too much time had passed, but at the same time it still feels too soon.”

 

“I’m sure you’ve heard this over and over, but…Stiles, it wasn’t your fault,” Derek explained, even though Stiles’ scent only thickened with despair.

 

“You don’t understand Derek—”

 

“I blame myself for my family’s massacre,” Derek interrupted, his fist clenching as he thought about the night he met Kate. “I basically gave Kate an open invitation to murder them.”

 

“You were a teenager who thought he was in love,” Stiles protested, even as Derek flinched pained. “Kate was the one who burned down the place, not you. One way or another Derek, your family was going to die.”

 

“How could you say that? How do you know?” Derek whispered, his voice soft and broken. It made Stiles want to take away all of Derek’s hurt, but Stiles couldn’t, he was still trying to cope with his own.

 

“Because she was a sociopath who was intent on killing them, nothing would have stopped her,” Stiles answers, his eyes growing glossy with unshed tears. “I know because I’ve been there before.”

 

“Stiles that was the Nogitsune!” Derek snapped, grabbing Stiles by his shoulders, resisting the urge to shake the obstinate teenager. “You can’t keep seeing you two as one of the same!”

 

“I remember everything that happened,” Stiles snapped right back, unafraid. He shoved Derek away, taking the werewolf by surprise at Stiles’ deceptive strength. “After Kate murdered your family you hated yourself, you blamed yourself, but it wasn’t your fault. Derek, I liked it, I enjoyed planning those deadly tricks. The Nogitsune got everything he needed from me, he might have been the one to carry it out, but I planned everything. It was me.”

 

“Stiles,” Derek whispered, shocked at what Stiles was saying. “Don’t…just don’t. I refuse to believe that you helped it, I know you were fighting it the entire time—”

 

“I let it in!” Stiles yelled, drawing unwanted attention. Derek took a step back, for the first time ever, truly afraid of Stiles. “I left the door open for it! That’s an open invitation, not what you did! Stop comparing your tragedy to mine! They’re not the same! We’re not the same!”

 

Stiles raced off towards his jeep, throwing himself inside when he was finally able to steady his hands enough to unlock the car. Derek helplessly watched him, unable to do anything but stare as the jeep tore out of the parking lot. Derek dumbly walked to his car, realizing that Stiles was suffering far more than anyone expected.

 

Derek shivered recalling the way Stiles’ eyes turned pitch black, the teenager was losing control. Then there were the scars scattered across Stiles’ left shoulder, rising to up to his neck looking like angry lightning bolts. They had almost shone when Stiles was yelling at Derek. Did they come from the spark or were they remnants of the Nogitsune? There were too many questions, and not enough answers.

 

The only thing that was clear was that Stiles needed his pack back, or Derek was afraid of what could happen to him. Stiles, being a spark, was pure untainted magic, and that magic could easily consume and destroy him, if it went uncontained. Stiles, without his pack, was losing control fast. It was only a matter of time.

 

Derek had already lost too many in his pack, he wasn’t going to lose Stiles too. He refused.

Chapter Text

“You can look at a scar and see hurt, or you can look at a scar and see healing.” –Sheri Reynolds

 

Stiles was hiding in the library during lunch, avoiding everyone he possibly could. He had been at it for a week, and been doing a fantastic job of becoming a recluse. His dad kept sending him worried looks, Malia bared her teeth at him whenever Stiles came up with another excuse on why he couldn’t hang out, but the pack was the worst of them. Instead of ignoring him like they had been doing for the first month of school, they had been watching him as if waiting for him to break down or freak out.

 

Derek hadn’t spoken to Stiles again, but not for a lack of trying. Stiles knew that he was being childish and stubborn by refusing to take Derek’s calls or reply to his texts. After confessing what he did there wasn’t anything left for Stiles to say. There was no way he could change the past, otherwise he would have, even if it cost him his life. Stiles could only deal with the present, but he couldn’t bring himself to face it. He was drowning in guilt and remorse, Stiles didn’t know if he would ever be able to forgive himself for what happened. He didn’t even know where to start.

 

“Is this where you’ve been hiding?” Jackson questioned, looking around the library as if it personally offended him.

 

“What are you doing here?” Stiles countered, leveling Jackson with a cautious look. “I didn’t know you could read.”

 

“Cute,” Jackson sneered, making Stiles smile cheekily. “Get up, we’re going to lunch.”

 

“Wow, you’re the second werewolf to demand my presence this week,” Stiles deflected, as he rose to his feet threateningly. “It didn’t work out so much for the last one.”

 

“Derek didn’t want to push you,” Jackson replied, pressing his hands on the table separating the two. “I don’t have that problem.” Jackson’s eyes flashed a bright crystal blue, reminding Stiles of his past.

 

“Why are you even talking to me Jackson? You’re the last person I expected to care,” Stiles grumbled, his shoulders slumping wearily.

 

“You’re falling apart, everyone’s falling apart,” Jackson stated, trying to come off annoyed. He failed miserably. “I think…I know what you’re going through. I get it—”

 

“No, you don’t,” Stiles immediately denied, but wished he didn’t say anything the way Jackson’s expression darkened.

 

“The Nogitsune controlled you, it made you do things you never would have done if you had a choice. The same thing happened to me. We were nothing but tools, and yet we’re the ones still here suffering the consequences,” Jackson murmured.

 

Stiles stared at Jackson dumbfounded. How could he forget? Stiles was there when everything went to hell, he was there when things somehow fell back into place. Stiles didn’t think about what Jackson had gone through when he realized everything he was forced to do. Jackson left for London so fast, no one really saw him before he took off. He must have felt so alone, guilty, confused, angry…everything Stiles was going through.

 

“Where are we eating?” Stiles mumbled, ignoring the arrogant smirk sliding back onto Jackson’s face.

 

“Somewhere that puts your greasy curly fries to shame,” Jackson taunted, making Stiles shake his head in disbelief.

 

“Lies and slander,” Stiles claimed, as he followed Jackson outside the library.

 

“Whatever you say,” Jackson replied, walking through the halls with confident ease that made Stiles somewhat jealous.

 

“How did you deal with it?” Stiles quietly asked, afraid that Jackson wouldn’t know what to tell him.

 

“One day at a time,” Jackson answered, his pace slowing as a thoughtful expression took over his previously cocky features. “I couldn’t even think about it without losing it completely. It ate away at me every day, and haunted me every night. Still does sometimes.”

 

“What changed?” Stiles inquired, not bothering to hide how desperate he felt. He just needed somewhere to start, Stiles didn’t want to feel like this anymore. He couldn’t handle it.

 

“I did, or well…my perspective on it did,” Jackson replied, glancing over at Stiles pointedly. “I might have been a monster, but I wasn’t a murderer. I would have never done any of those things unless someone had complete control over me. I spent every day blaming myself, but I was wrong. Blaming myself was like blaming the gun instead of the shooter.”

 

Stiles remained silent, but continued to follow Jackson to his obnoxious Porsche. He gave Stiles time to mull over what he said, but quickly broke the silence, warning Stiles not to mess up his interior. The threat brought a faint smile to Stiles because it was so much like Jackson before the Kanima fiasco. Jackson, despite being so different, was still the same in a lot of ways. Maybe that could be Stiles too, different but not completely.

 

“I don’t know how I could ever forgive myself,” Stiles confessed, feeling small and afraid. It was so strange talking to Jackson about his feelings. It made him feel vulnerable.

 

“Start by accepting that it wasn’t your fault. Derek told me what you said to him about Kate. Stiles, the Nogitsune would have possessed someone no matter what. Maybe it would have been better if it did, maybe it would have been worse. No one could know that, but you have to realize that being possessed doesn’t make you weak. Letting it consume you even after its defeat does. You can’t let it win,” Jackson stated, his grip on the steering wheel tightening.

 

“I’m trying,” Stiles mumbled.

 

“That’s your start,” Jackson replied, a small genuine smile forming in approval.

 

Stiles returned the smile, and when Jackson pulled into some pompous restaurant, Stiles was still smiling. He knew that this wasn’t going to make everything better, or even easier, but like Jackson said, it was the first step. Stiles needed to stop trying convincing the pack that they shouldn’t blame him, and work on forgiving himself instead. He couldn’t let the darkness left behind consume his spark, Stiles couldn’t keep letting the past taint the present. It wasn’t going to be easy, but now Stiles believed that maybe it wasn’t impossible either.

 

“Thank you Jackson,” Stiles said, feeling hopeful for the first time since climbing out of the ice bath that opened the door in his mind.

 

“We all have nightmares we’re trying to face,” Jackson retorted, drawing Stiles’ attention towards his stiff posture. “We can’t do it without the pack any more than they could do it without us.”

 

“Scott isn’t going to let me back in—”

 

“This is Beacon Hills Stiles,” Jackson interrupted, glancing over at Stiles with an indecipherable expression. “He might not have a choice.”

______________________________________________________________________________

 

“It’s weird,” Cora commented, gathering more paper plates and utensils. “But I like it.”

 

“Me too,” Derek agreed, happy that she stopped looking so hardened by everything. She was finally relaxing and letting herself be a teenager.

 

The Hale House was officially reconstructed, once again standing as a reminder that Beacon Hills was protected territory. Derek wanted to get everyone together for a pack barbecue, mainly in hopes that they’ll see this as a new beginning. Peter had complained that Derek was just like his mother that way, always trying to make sure the family got along. The fond smile on Peter’s face when he said it didn’t go unnoticed.

 

Derek carried two large ice chests full of soda and beer outside, briefly greeting everyone he passed. He set them next to the buffet table, which was covered with plates of different kinds of picnic food. It smelled delicious, so it was a miracle the were-puppies hadn’t devoured it all yet. They were probably waiting for Derek to get the grill going.

 

“The house is amazing,” Parrish complimented, strolling over to Derek with a wide smiled.

 

“Thanks,” Derek murmured, glancing at the new house unable to contain his own proud smile. “It was time.”

 

“Glad to hear it,” Parrish softly replied, wrapping an arm around Derek’s shoulders in a brotherly fashion. “Seems to have really brought everyone together.”

 

Derek nodded in agreement, looking around the yard at all his friends and family. Scott, Isaac, and Jackson were messing around playing lacrosse, a good distance from the gathering. That was all Derek needed, a broken window from a stray lacrosse ball. It made him smile though, it had been a long time since someone practiced for fun on these grounds.

 

Peter was talking with Malia, which always put the sassy werewolf in a good mood. Surprisingly, Peter was a really good father, unconventional, but very supportive and always there for her. Derek assumed it was because Peter had missed most of her life. Derek had an inkling that Peter felt guilty for not being there to teach her control, at least, not in time to stop her from murdering her mom and little sister.

 

Melissa and the Sheriff were talking at one of the tables, tactfully avoiding the topic of their sons. Both of them looks sad and exhausted, but tried to put up a good front. It was no question that the problems between their sons put a strain on their own relationship. Regardless, they seemed like they were enjoying themselves.

 

Lydia and Kira were lounging on bench near where the boys were messing around. They weren’t paying much attention to them, and instead seemed to in a deep conversation about something. Derek didn’t want to eavesdrop on them, but by the way they laughed and smiled it didn’t seem too serious.

 

Parrish squeezed his shoulder before heading off to talk with some of the deputies who showed up. Derek still wasn’t the most popular in the department, but a few of the guys had started warming up to him. Derek thought it had something to do with Parrish and the Sheriff, but he couldn’t be sure with those two.

 

It seemed like the only person who wasn’t there was Stiles, who Derek invited numerously in the past week. Even Deaton and Morrell had shown up to congratulate Derek on the new house and start. Derek tried to hide his disappointment, he knew that it was a long shot considering everything that happened between Stiles and the pack. Still, Derek wished that Stiles was at least here to see the new house. He would have been proud that Derek finally did what Stiles always pestered him to do.

 

Derek pushed away his thoughts of Stiles, and headed over to the grill to start on the meat. He stopped when he heard the familiar rumble of a jeep engine. Derek stared at the long driveway, waiting for the blue jeep to emerge from the trees. He knew that he wasn’t the only one waiting, all the other weres were watching the tree line too. Peter, Malia, and Jackson looked hopeful, but Scott and Isaac were tense and unsure.

 

Derek let out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding when the jeep finally came into view. It rumbled up the driveway, idly making Derek think that he should check out the engine. For all his genius and adaptability, Stiles was completely lost when it came to mechanics.

 

The Sheriff looked as surprised as the pack, but pride overwhelmed his features. It was obvious that he wasn’t expecting his son to show up any more than the others did. Malia lit up, a wide smile spreading across her face, making Peter smirk in response. Melissa glanced at Scott concerned, but she also looked happy to see Stiles driving up. Kira appeared anxious, but Lydia was carefully blank, both ignoring the boys wrestling over each other to get back to the barbecue. Only Morrell and Deaton looked unsurprised, sharing a knowing look with each other. Derek didn’t care about the others though, Stiles actually showed up despite everything.

 

Stiles climbed out of the jeep, running a nervous hand through his tousled hair. Slowly he turned, as if working up the courage, and faced everyone with a forced grin. Stiles strategically avoided eye contact with Scott, and strolled over to Derek, feigning casualness. Everyone’s attention was focused on him, but Stiles brushed off their stares, keeping his own eyes locked on Derek.

 

“Looks perfect Derek,” Stiles commented, before pulling Derek into a tight but brief side hug. Careful of the tray of meat Derek was carrying. “Wouldn’t miss this for anything.”

 

“Thank you,” Derek whispered, unsure of what he was really grateful for, the compliment of his home or Stiles being there for him.

 

“Of course,” Stiles responded, with that knowing smile of his. “I’ll let you get those on the grill. We’ll talk later.”

 

Derek watched Stiles head over to his dad, only pausing to greet Deaton and Morrell. They all whispered amongst themselves for a moment, before Stiles continued over to where his dad and Melissa were sitting. The Sheriff stood, wrapping a supportive arm around Stiles’ shoulder. He was forced to let go when Malia practically tackled Stiles into a hug. Derek smiled at the sight, unable to take his eyes off Stiles letting out a loud carefree laugh.

 

“Let me have those,” Peter ordered, dragging Derek’s attention away from Stiles. Peter was holding out his hands to take the tray.

 

“What? Why?” Derek questioned, even as he dutifully handed over the meat.

 

“Go talk to him, the others sure as hell won’t,” Peter growled the last part, unconcerned with the dark looks it earned him from Scott and Isaac.

 

Stiles had always been Peter’s favorite, even before Stiles took Malia under his wing. It probably had something to do with Stiles’ endless sarcasm and relentless courage, even in the face of death. Peter had numerously claimed that Stiles contained untapped potential, which was obvious now that Derek knew Stiles possessed a spark. Peter saw something in Stiles since the beginning, nearly turning him twice within the first year. Derek wondered what Stiles would be like a werewolf, sometimes he believed that Stiles was born to be one, but most of the time Stiles was perfect the way he was.

 

“Thanks,” Derek replied, offering his uncle a grateful smile.

 

Derek was about to head over to where he last saw Stiles lounging, but Stiles got to him before Derek could even move. It was strange seeing Stiles, not because his skin was paler, or because of the dark circles engraved under his eyes, but because now Stiles looked like a man. His broad shoulders dipped into slender hips, his forearms exploded into large masculine hands, his thighs and calves were firm from running. He was nothing short of gorgeous, but Derek shouldn’t be thinking that about his boss’ underage son. Oh god, he was going to end up in jail.

 

“Hey, can I talk to you inside?” Stiles requested, scratching anxiously at the lightning shaped scars on his neck.

 

“Yeah, of course,” Derek answered, flushing lightly at the obnoxious leer Peter sent him as they passed by. “Thanks again for coming.”

 

“I told you I wouldn’t miss it,” Stiles replied, brushing by Derek when the werewolf opened the sliding door. “I want to give you something.”

 

“You don’t have to Stiles,” Derek immediately denied, but Stiles waved it off smiling.

 

“I know, but I want to give you a house warming gift,” Stiles retorted, crossing his arms in that way Derek knew he wasn’t going to win.

 

“Fine, where is it?” Derek grumbled, making Stiles’ smile widen in victory.

 

“Can I see your basement?” Stiles asked, catching Derek by surprise.

 

Derek felt something twist in his gut, even though the basement was rebuilt Derek hated going into it. It reminded him too much of his family, of their last moments. Stiles must had seen Derek’s discomfort because his smile softened, and he reached out placing a reassuring hand on Derek’s arm. It was more comforting than Derek cared to think about, and it gave him the strength to lead Stiles down into the basement.

 

Stiles looked around the empty room, as he headed towards the center of the space. Derek refused to move from the stairs, but Stiles didn’t seem to mind. He spread out his arms, closing his eyes as he started whispering something under his breath. Derek didn’t understand whatever language Stiles was speaking, but Stiles didn’t stumble over the foreign dialect. Strange symbols started to form on the basement walls. They glowed brightly, each symbol varied in shape and color as they overlapped each other. It was beautiful, like nothing Derek had ever seen before.

 

As Stiles’ chanting came to an end the symbols solidified, leaving carved runes and wards behind. Stiles opened his eyes, solid black fading to a familiar whiskey brown. He fell to his hands and knees panting heavily. Derek quickly rushed to his side, placing a supportive hand on Stiles’ back. He tried to leach the pain from Stiles, wincing at the amount of pain Stiles was experiencing. Stiles leaned heavily against Derek, wiping tiredly at the sweat on his face. Derek looked at him upset, pulling the boy closer against his chest protectively.

 

“What the hell?” Derek demanded gruffly, trying to hide his fear behind anger, but Stiles chuckled weakly seeing right through him.

 

“I want to protect you…and the pack,” Stiles hurriedly added, making Derek’s frown twitch upward. “I never want you to feel unsafe in your own home again,” Stiles murmured hoarsely, closing his eyes exhausted.

 

“Stiles, what did you do?” Derek softly asked, staring at the lanky boy in his arms in awe.

 

“Derek, I vow no harm, natural or supernatural, will ever come to the Hale house again,” Stiles promised, unconsciously cuddling closer to Derek.

 

“Thank you,” Derek choked out through held back tears. He buried his face into Stiles’ sweaty hair hiding the few tears that fell. “Thank you.”

Chapter Text

“There is darkness and madness in each of us. We must do battle with our own demons.” –Sin

 

“Stiles, where the hell are you?” The Sheriff demanded, panic tainting the anger in his voice making it sound more desperate.

 

“I’m in my room,” Stiles answered, confused as to why his dad was freaking out so much.

 

“No, you’re not! I’m in your room right now,” the Sheriff stated, looking around his son’s trashed bedroom with a sinking feeling in his stomach.

 

“I don’t understand,” Stiles whispered as he clutched his throbbing head. “I’m in my room, I went to…sleep. I’m…I’m asleep.”

 

“Stiles!” The Sheriff shouted, trying to recapture his son’s attention. “You’re going to be okay. Just stay wherever you are. I’ll find you.”

 

“I can’t see anything,” Stiles whimpered, roughly rubbing his eyes in the hope that it’d clear his vision. “It’s too dark! Dad, I can’t see!”

 

“Son,” the Sheriff soothed, his heart breaking at hearing the sheer terror in his son’s voice. “I’m going to find you, I promise.”

 

Stiles screamed when the call died, he screamed until his voice was hoarse. He rocked back and forth, curling protectively into himself. He couldn’t see anything but foggy outlines of things surrounding him, nothing he could make out clearly. Stiles felt dead grass and leaves crunch beneath him, and it was obvious by the temperature and light that it had to be past midnight.

 

“It’s happening again,” Stiles murmured, anxiously scratching at the scars on his neck. “It’s not over, it’s not over…”

 

Stiles shivered when a harsh gust of icy wind slammed into him. He knew that it would only be a matter of time before hypothermia set in. Stiles shakily picked up his phone, and dialed a number he knew by heart. He found himself holding it up to his ear, but couldn’t remember why he called or even who he called. What was happening to him?

 

“Stiles?” Lydia answered, there was concern buried under the detachment.

 

“I miss you,” Stiles replied, his voice quivering slightly. “I know she was your best friend, but what about us? I thought we were friends too.”

 

“Stiles, I…we are,” Lydia whispered, tears stinging her eyes. She spent so many nights missing Allison, she didn’t even think about Stiles missing her.

 

“No, we’re not,” Stiles snapped, then winced trying to regain control over himself. Like a movie he could only sit back and watch idly. “If it was me instead of Allison, everyone would have forgiven her already. They wouldn’t have missed me.”

 

“That’s not true,” Lydia denied, fiercely wiping her eyes. “You know that’s not true.”

 

“It would have been better if it was me,” Stiles whimpered, clutching the phone closer to his ear. “Sometimes…I wish that it was me.”

 

“Stiles! Don’t you ever say that! Stop it!” Lydia cried, climbing out of bed to grab her keys. “I’m coming over right now.”

 

“Don’t,” Stiles protested, a dry cough tearing through him.

 

“Where are you?” Lydia asked, slipping on a warm jacket. “Is that wind in the background?”

 

“I can’t move,” Stiles panicked, his limbs feeling stiff and heavy. “I don’t know where I am. I was sleepwalking…I might still be asleep. I don’t know.”

 

“You’re awake right now,” Lydia insisted, racing down the stairs. “You’re talking to me Stiles, this is real.”

 

“Lydia, is this how you feel when you randomly end up somewhere? Are you always this scared?” Stiles softly questioned, as he tried and failed to sit back up.

 

“No, because I know you’d find me eventually. Just like how I’m going to help find you” Lydia promised, heading outside toward her car.

 

Stiles found himself hanging up even though he didn’t want to. He liked hearing Lydia’s soothing but analytical voice on the other end of the line. It was like he didn’t have any control over his body anymore. Almost like he was…still asleep. Was he still sleeping? Was this all a dream, a nightmare, he was having? Maybe none of it was real? But, what if it was real?

 

Stiles’ head was throbbing with all the unanswered questions. So caught up in the pain he almost missed himself dialing another familiar number. Who was it going to be this time?

 

“Stiles?” Scott answered, sounding far more concerned than Stiles was expecting. “Lydia just called me. She said that you think you’re sleepwalking—”

 

“I’m so sorry,” Stiles cried, the tears trailing down his cheeks freezing in the cold. “I didn’t want any of this! I didn’t want her to die! I tried so hard to stop it, but I was so tired Scott. I’m always so tired.”

 

“Stiles!” Scott shouted, trying to calm his best friend down. “Please, stop! I know! Okay? I know! I’m worried about you now!”

 

“I don’t deserve it,” Stiles stated, noticing that he had stopped shaking. “I think I’m dying Scott.”

 

“No, you’re not dying! I’m going to find you! The pack is going to find you!” Scott promised, his throat tightening as he pictured his best friend scared and alone.

 

“Tell Isaac that I’m sorry,” Stiles requested, his eyes drifting shut against his will. “Tell him I understand why he hates me.”

 

“I don’t hate you Stiles, now stop acting like this,” Isaac demanded, now that he was on speaker. “What do you see? Talk to me, we all know how much you love talking! Come on!”

 

“It’s just dark,” Stiles weakly answered, forcing his eyes to open a sliver. “I think…I see Allison.”

 

Once more the call was dropped, and Stiles didn’t think he had it in him to last much longer. He knew this was real, this wasn’t a dream. He really was dying this time. He could almost feel it, his body shutting down. Stiles wondered if Allison wasn’t afraid because she felt it too, if she knew it was over for her.

 

Stiles laid out on his back, staring up at the endless night sky. He placed his hands on his stomach, no longer able to feel the cold against him. He was way past that point already. Stiles remembered the last time this happened, the Nogitsune was toying with him then. Why was it happening now? Was it guilt? A shattered mind?

 

Stiles remembered falling asleep in his room, but then he woke up here, wherever that was. He couldn’t stop himself from walking outside, the same way he couldn’t stop himself from hanging up. It felt too much like it did when the Nogitsune controlled him. Maybe this was the better alternative, for everyone.

 

Stiles closed his eyes, feeling himself drift back to sleep.

______________________________________________________________________

 

When the pack followed Stiles’ scent, none of them were ready for what they found. Scott fell to his knees, and Lydia let out a mangled scream. Isaac clenched his fists, his nails digging harshly into his skin. Kira looked ready to be sick, and Jackson looked somewhere torn between angry and horrified. Malia whimpered, throwing herself into Peter’s arms. Peter and Cora kept their expressions locked down, but their eyes couldn’t hide the hurt they felt. Everyone reeked of guilt and desperation, flares of anger and misery tainting the night air.

 

Derek felt too many different emotions, they were all clawing at him as if trying to escape. There was only one way he knew how to let them go. He closed his eyes, lifted his face towards the half moon, and let out a long pained howl. His lone howl was joined by Scott and then Jackson, and soon enough everyone was crying out. Derek knew that this night would haunt each of them for the rest of their lives.

 

Stiles was sitting against Allison’s tombstone, frozen dew clinging to his skin and clothes. He gently rocked back and forth, clutching his head as he stared blankly at all of them. He was so pale, he almost looked like he didn’t have a drop of warm blood in his frail body. He looked like he had been bleeding before, there was a wound by his hairline and nail marks on his neck. He was mumbling something almost indecipherable under his breath, but to the were-creatures in the group it was loud and clear.

 

“It should have been me. I’m sorry. It should have been me.” Stiles repeated, his voice hoarse and cracking.

 

Derek immediately swooped in with Scott at his side, they knelt next to Stiles unsure what to do. Scott gingerly reached out, running his hand soothingly through Stiles’ damp hair. Stiles tensed as he stopped talking, but didn’t seem to register the familiar touch. Derek wrapped his hand behind Stiles’ neck, ignoring the blood caked scratches and started leaching the pain from Stiles. It was dull but consistent.

 

Lydia made her way over, Jackson cautiously trailing behind her. She kneeled in front of Stiles, but it was like he was staring right through her. Jackson knelt next to her, and before anyone could stop him, he lashed out and smacked Stiles. Lydia shouted while slapping his arm, and Scott growled flashing his eyes. Derek kept his focus on Stiles, who didn’t react to the hit at all.

 

“I called the Sheriff, he’s on the way with an ambulance,” Peter informed the group, his eyes locked on Stiles curiously.

 

“What’s wrong with him?” Kira tentatively asked, trying to look over the small shield of people surrounding Stiles.

 

“I don’t know,” Scott whispered, leaning his forehead against Stiles’ shoulder. “But he’s going to be okay.”

 

“Do you think it has something to do with the Nogitsune?” Lydia wondered, still trying to find any recognition in Stiles’ eyes.

 

“Whatever it is, Melissa or Deaton will know,” Derek answered, able to hear the sirens approaching.

 

“Is this my fault?” Scott whimpered, tears flooding his sad brown eyes.

 

“Yes!” Malia growled, lunging for him but Peter quickly held her back. “All Stiles wanted was to have his pack back, but you all turned away from him!”

 

“How were we supposed to know something like this would happen?” Isaac snapped, desperately motioning to Stiles.

 

“It doesn’t matter!” Lydia screeched guiltily, tears rolling down her cheeks. “We should have been there for him! He was hurting and we just ignored him!”

 

“They’re here,” Jackson needlessly announced, pulling his distraught girlfriend to her feet.

 

“Stiles!” The Sheriff yelled, but then stopped when he saw the awful state his son was in.

 

All the were-creatures flinched at the amount of guilt and pain that flooded from the Sheriff. Derek allowed Peter to pull him closer, Cora and Malia actually gripping each other’s hands in support. Lydia buried her face into Jackson’s chest, and he wrapped his arms around her protectively. Scott had an arm around Kira, but Kira was the one holding him up. The Sheriff pulled his son into arms, crying harder when Stiles remained completely unfazed.

 

“Sheriff, we got to get him to the hospital,” Deputy Parrish urged, his heart clenching for his boss and friends.

 

The Sheriff nodded, before gruffly wiping his eyes and pulling away. The paramedics quickly swooped him onto the gurney, and into the ambulance. The Sheriff looked around at all of them, but couldn’t bring himself to say anything. He offered them a small wave of thanks, but then headed back to his cruiser. They all watched him go, each terrified that if Stiles didn’t make it, then neither would the Sheriff.

 

“He’s going to Beacon Memorial,” Deputy Parrish announced, recapturing the pack’s attention. “I’m sure he wouldn’t mind good company.”

 

“We’ll be there,” Scott promised, as the others nodded in agreement.

 

“Good,” Deputy Parrish replied, briefly gripping Derek’s shoulder in support. “I’ll see you there.”

 

It wasn’t until the last of the emergency vehicles had left, that the pack turned to face Allison’s grave. It was black garnet with elegant white lettering, it was beautiful in the worst way. Underneath her name was the code she did her best to live by: We protect those who cannot protect themselves. Sometimes the pack forgot to include themselves in the people that needed protecting.

 

“Things have to change,” Derek declared, staring at the spot Stiles was just moments ago. “We can’t go on like this.”

 

“Whatever you had against Stiles needs to be resolved,” Jackson continued, still holding Lydia who couldn’t stop crying.

 

“I know,” Scott admitted, looking down at the tombstone exhausted. “It’s time to let the past go…it’ll kill us if we don’t.”

 

Everyone silently agreed, and made their way to their respective cars. Tonight the hospital was going to be crowded with Stiles’ closest friends and family, his pack. All of them begging and praying for him to make it through. Deaton was already heading over, and no doubt Morell wouldn’t be far behind. Melissa would be the nurse assigned to Stiles, and everything would work out. It had to.

 

Derek paused by his car, catching Peter and Cora’s attention. He looked down at his phone, confused, he didn’t recognize the number that had messaged him. Derek was going to ignore it, but then another message popped up. The words made made him freeze, and look up at his uncle and sister, distressed. He held up the phone to them, and Peter scowled while Cora growled at what the message said:

 

I hear the Hales are back in Beacon Hills, can’t wait to visit.

Chapter Text

“It’s important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be, by remaining what we are.” –Max DePree

 

It took three days for Stiles to wake up from whatever trance he was in, then another two days for him to be released from the hospital. None of the doctors had any idea what was wrong with him, they could only treat him for hypothermia. They kept him under observation, watching his vitals with careful eyes. It was a medical mystery because according to their readings, there shouldn’t have been anything wrong with him.

 

It was only when Morrell showed up on the second day, did the pack understand what happened to Stiles. She explained that because of his guilt and unstable spark, somehow Stiles subconsciously cast a spell on himself. His spark used his history of sleepwalking as a way to face the guilt Stiles had been trying to avoid. That was why he called Lydia and Scott, in order to say everything he had wanted to. Even though he was conscious, it was his subconscious controlling him. That was what made him believe that he was sleepwalking—in a way he was.

 

When Stiles woke up he was surrounded by the entire pack, all of them crammed into his small room. He groggily looked around, blinking confusedly at them before spiraling into a panic attack. From that point on Stiles was only allowed to have one visitor at a time. That only led to the pack snapping at each other over who would visit him. Malia and Jackson won most of the time, but it was Derek who’d sneak in after hours. The Sheriff wasn’t surprised.

 

Stiles was startled when the pack was there when he was getting released. He expected Malia and Jackson, even Derek if he wasn’t working, but Scott and the others were a surprise. Stiles almost had a heart attack when Scott pulled him into a shaky hug, with Isaac close behind waiting for his turn. Neither of them said anything, but Stiles had a feeling if they did they’d break into tears. He had never seen either of them look so remorseful and pained.

 

The tense moment was broken when Malia yanked him into her arms. He groaned softly, but wrapped his arms around her waist. She buried her face in the crook of his neck, hiding the tears forming in her eyes. Stiles gently rubbed her back, trying his best to soothe her. He looked at the others for help, but they looked like they were barely holding it together themselves.

 

“Guys…I’m okay,” Stiles reassured them, making Derek scowl and cross his arms.

 

“It’s been five days,” Derek snapped, only making the atmosphere darken further. “You have no idea what it was like finding you like that.”

 

Stiles winced, he had managed to convince Parrish to tell him what happened. No one else wanted to speak about it, and Morrell was more focused on getting his spark back under control. That entire night was a blur, Stiles couldn’t remember anything besides falling asleep in his room.

 

“I’m sorry—”

 

“No, I’m sorry Stiles,” Lydia interrupted, hesitantly walking over to him. “I’ve been horrible to you since Allison…I miss her so much, but I know it wasn’t your fault. I could have lost you that night too.”

 

Malia pulled away, offering him a supportive smile before heading over to where Derek was standing. Lydia was quick to take her place, looking up at Stiles with watery eyes. Stiles hadn’t seen her look so heartbroken since that night she screamed Allison’s name. He didn’t want to see that expression on her beautiful face, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away.

 

“I don’t hate you Lydia,” Stiles promised, making her eyes widen in surprise. “I hate the way you treated me, but I don’t blame you for it.”

 

The weres in the group would know that he was telling the truth. Stiles didn’t hate or blame her, if anything he almost was able to understand where she was coming from. He couldn’t even imagine what it would be like losing Scott, even now after everything they’d been through.

 

“I needed you to know that,” Lydia replied, her chin quivering as she tried her best not to break down again. “I know things won’t be like before, but maybe…I don’t know…”

 

“They could be better,” Stiles continued, offering her a small smile. “It won’t be easy, but when has anything in our lives been easy?”

 

“Thank you,” Lydia whispered, pulling him into a bone crushing hug.

 

“Of course,” Stiles murmured, some of the tension draining from his body. “Thank you.”

 

Lydia pulled away, absentmindedly wiping her eyes. She smiled the first genuine smile in a long time, it was heartwarming. Stiles knew that things weren’t going to magically be okay between them, but it was a start.

 

“This is all so warm and touching,” Peter drawled, causing the group to look over at him with differing levels of exasperation and annoyance.

 

“Peter,” Derek warned, knowing how important Lydia’s apology and forgiveness was to Stiles. “Don’t.”

 

“No, don’t get me wrong,” Peter defended, holding up his hands in placation. “I’m all for forgiving Stiles for something he had no control over in the first place—”

 

“Peter,” Derek groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose frustrated.

 

“And, of course, begging for his forgiveness,” Peter amended, like that helped his case at all. “But have we forgotten about our actual problem?”

 

“What problem?” Stiles questioned, looking between Peter and Derek and then finally Scott.

 

“After we found you, I got a text from a pack my family used to know,” Derek explained, shooting a glare at Peter for bringing it up so soon.

 

“And?” Stiles prompted, crossing his arms expectantly.

 

“They’re coming to Beacon Hills,” Derek replied, making the others shift uncomfortably.

 

“Why?” Stiles asked, still not understanding why the others were so on edge.

 

“They’re coming to see how strong the Hale pack is,” Peter answered, looking like he was ready to shoot himself with wolfsbane laced bullets.

 

“Shit,” Stiles muttered, anxiously scratching at the bandage on his neck. “What are the chances they’re just coming for a friendly visit?”

 

Based on the incredulous looks Stiles got for that question, they weren’t good.

____________________________________________________________________________

 

“Wow, these lessons would have been so helpful back when you were an alpha,” Stiles causally commented, causing Derek to glare at him instantly annoyed.

 

“You were an alpha before?” Malia inquired, turning to look at Derek surprised.

 

“Not a very good one,” Peter mused, making Derek focus his glare on his uncle.

 

“You’re one to talk,” Derek snapped, his teeth looking inhumanly sharp.

 

“Not even five minutes and we’re already fighting,” Jackson observed, looking completely unimpressed. “We’re dead.”

 

“We’re going to be fine,” Scott interjected, trying to calm everyone down. “We just need to figure this out.”

 

“Oh, we’re screwed,” Isaac whined, placing his hands over his face in defeat.

 

“Enough,” Lydia snapped, calling everyone to attention. “That’s more like it.”

 

“Derek, go ahead,” Stiles urged, feeling guilty that his little jab spiraled into something bigger than it was meant to.

 

“Alright,” Derek sighed, looking as if he would rather be anywhere else, doing anything else besides teaching pack dynamics to them. “A normal pack is run by an alpha pair—”

 

“Two alphas?” Stiles interrupted, making Derek growl warningly. “Never mind, please continue.”

 

“The pair consist of the alpha were and his or her mate,” Derek pointedly explained, looking at Stiles who smiled sheepishly.

 

“Like Talia and James,” Peter offered, causing Cora and Derek to simultaneously look down at the sound of their parents’ names. “Talia was the alpha, but her mate was James. They both led the pack, they balanced each other.”

 

“After the alpha pair are the betas,” Cora continued, not wanting to talk about her parents. “Even among them there’s a certain hierarchy based on power, seniority, and relationship to the alpha pair.”

 

“So Stiles would be the second?” Lydia suggested, making the two in question glance at each other hesitantly.

 

“No,” Derek answered, forcing the attention back to him. “Isaac would probably be Scott’s second—”

 

“Why?” Scott asked, tilting his head in confusion.

 

“Isaac would be your second because Stiles already has his place in the pack,” Derek replied, looking over at Stiles smirking.

 

“Emissary,” Stiles supplied, filling in the blank for the others. “Over the summer I’ve been training with Deaton and Morrell.”

 

“Our little Stiles possesses the spark,” Peter praised, only serving to further confuse the pack.

 

“It’s magic,” Stiles explained, shrugging his shoulders nonchalantly. “Turns out the power of belief is a lot stronger than most give it credit for.”

 

“When were you going to tell me?” Scott mumbled, looking like a wounded puppy.

 

“Um, after you stopped being such a dick,” Stiles retorted, crossing his arms defiantly. Scott winced, but didn’t snap back.

 

“I deserved that,” Scott relented, rubbing the back of his neck ashamed.

 

“And more,” Jackson piped in, grunting when Lydia elbowed him in the chest.

 

“Moving on,” Derek declared, wondering how they were ever going to get through this alive.

 

Individually the members of the pack members were strong and smart, but put them together and they were a mess. It was only a matter of time before the Mortise pack showed up, and the Hale pack had to be ready. Otherwise they could lose their territory, but that was the best case scenario. In the worst case scenario, the Mortise pack would slaughter them.

 

“The pack is more than a group of supernatural creatures, it’s more than a family even,” Cora picked up, looking at each of them seriously. “The pack relies on its members, but the members depend on the pack. A pack is one of the strongest forces in the supernatural world.”

 

“Which is why it’s so important that a pack works together in sync,” Derek said, bouncing off of what Cora was getting at.

 

“So how do we do that?” Lydia inquired, tactfully ignoring Peter snickering in the background.

 

“Spending time together, working through whatever issues you still have with one another,” Cora answered, shrugging helplessly.

 

“That’s it?” Isaac snorted, looking at the born werewolves in disbelief. “That’s your great advice?”

 

“It’s not my fault you guys are a mess,” Cora retorted, making Isaac bare his teeth, pissed.

 

“Don’t start,” Lydia warned, but went unheard by the hotheaded werewolf.

 

“Oh yeah? Where were you when everything was going down?” Isaac snapped, adding to the growing tension in the room.

 

“Back off,” Derek growled, taking a threatening step forward. “She had her own things to deal with back in Mexico.”

 

“What does it matter? You were gone too,” Isaac retorted, brushing off Scott’s hand on his shoulder. “In fact, it was only Scott and me there with Allison—”

 

“Kira was there too,” Scott cut in, making Kira smile weakly in response.

 

“Does it really matter who was there or who wasn’t?” Stiles questioned, running a hand through his hair. “What matters now is the pack coming to Beacon Hills, our territory. They won’t care how strong we are, they’ll focus on our weaknesses and pick at those until whatever strength we do have is gone.”

 

“Stiles is right,” Derek agreed, nodding in approval. “We need to stop jumping down each other’s throats all the time.”

 

“Whatever problem you have with me,” Stiles started, holding his hand up when Malia protested. “Or each other, needs to be worked out. We won’t be able to fight them off if we’re too busy killing each other. This is about more than what happened in the past, this is about the safety of Beacon Hills.”

 

The pack fell into a pensive silence, eyeing one another uneasily. No one wanted the Mortise pack to take over, but none of them knew how to make things work with one another. It had been so long since any of them had an honest and meaningful conversation with one another. Stiles and Derek were right though, per usual, they were looking at the big picture.

 

“What?” Stiles asked, feeling his cheeks heat up at the way Derek was staring at him.


“You’re going to be good at this,” Derek commented, a warm smile slowing forming on his face.

Chapter Text

“I know what it’s like to want to die. How it hurts to smile. How you try to fit in but you can’t. You hurt yourself on the outside to try to kill the thing on the inside.” –Girl Interrupted

 

A week later Stiles found himself eating lunch with the pack. It was strange eating at the table again, especially when the conversations were stilted. Stiles tried not to think about it too much, he knew that it wasn’t just him anymore. He noticed that there was a tension in the pack that had nothing to do with him. Stiles didn’t know where it stemmed from, and no one else was talking about it.

 

Stiles distracted himself with a popsicle he bought from one of the vending machines. Lydia was talking to Kira about prom coming up, talking about plans before and after the dance. Jackson was messing around on his phone, doing his best to ignore everyone around him. Scott and Isaac idly picked at their lunches, engaging in some silent communication with one another. Malia and Cora talked about Peter and Derek, wondering what the two were doing in preparation for the Mortise pack. It was a far cry from what the pack used to be like, but it gave Stiles hope that maybe they could get through this.

 

Stiles sighed, bored, but then perked up when he saw writing on the stem of his popsicle. He grinned hoping that the lame joke would break the awkward tension. Stiles quickly licked the bottom trying to get the rest of the words uncovered. The others glanced over, probably wondering what the hell he was doing this time. It was almost like old times that way.

 

“Hey guys,” Stiles announced, pulling their attention to him curiously. He cleared his throat, motioning to the popsicle in his hands. “When is a…” Stiles trailed off paling, his chest tightening as his heart started racing.

 

“Stiles,” Scott whispered concerned, having heard his best friend’s heart dangerously pick up.

 

“When is a door not a door?” Stiles finished, hysterically rising to his feet. The others jumped to their feet when he nearly brained himself, trying to get away from the table.

 

“What’s wrong?” Kira asked, looking at him wide eyed with panic. “What’s going on?”

 

“Stiles, you need to breathe,” Jackson warned, flinching at the smell of fear rolling off his begrudging friend.

 

Stiles frantically scraped away the rest of the popsicle, not caring that he was scaring his friends. The whole courtyard was looking at him by now, but the pack didn’t care about the wandering eyes. Stiles unsteadily raised the stick to his face, reading the words over and over.

 

“When it’s ajar,” Stiles whimpered, his hands shaking uncontrollably.

 

The stick fell from his hands, landing in a pool of melting ice cream. Stiles started counting his fingers, oblivious to everyone trying to get his attention. His breaths were coming out harsh and ragged, making him sway dizzily on his feet.

 

“Stiles!” Scott shouted, finally grabbing his best friend by the shoulders. “Look at me!”

 

Stiles continued counting his fingers for a moment, but then blinked and glanced at Scott terrified. He looked absolutely wrecked, but finally started to register his surroundings. Stiles wheezed, clutching his chest with sticky fingers. Scott got the silent message, nodding to the others who forcefully cleared the way for him.

 

“I’m calling his dad,” Lydia announced, cellphone already in hand.

 

“I’ll try and get a hold of Derek,” Cora seconded, quickly shooting her older brother a text message.

 

“S-Scott,” Stiles rasped, as Scott led him around the building and out of sight. “Am I dreaming?”

 

“No, you’re awake,” Scott promised, placing his hands on Stiles’ tear stained cheeks. “I swear you’re awake. You have to breathe.”

 

Stiles locked eyes on Scott, whose eyes were bleeding red. For some reason, it was comforting knowing that Stiles’ alpha was with him. Scott was a steady presence, everything else fading to the background. Stiles could hear his heart pounding in his ears, it was painful and distracting. This would never stop being the worst feeling in the world for him.

 

“The Sheriff is caught in a meeting with Agent McCall,” Lydia griped, pursing her lips together in frustration.

 

“Dammit,” Jackson cursed, clenching his fist angrily.

 

“Did you manage to get ahold of Derek?” Isaac questioned, glancing over at Cora who was looking down at her phone freaked. She had never seen Stiles like this before, it was horrible.

 

“He’s on the way,” Cora answered relieved, Derek would know what to do.

 

Stiles continued deeply breathing in and out, trying to get himself back under control. He was still shaking pretty badly, high off the fear and adrenaline. He absentmindedly counted his fingers, repeating when he finished. Stiles knew he wasn’t dreaming now, but it terrified him to see that stupid riddle again. It was like Nogitsune was still playing games with him.

 

“I hate this,” Stiles choked out, letting Scott pull him into a hard hug.

 

“I’m so sorry,” Scott whimpered, burying his face in Stiles’ neck. “It’s going to be okay, you’re going to be okay. I promise, things will get better, I’ll be better.”

 

Stiles listened to Scott whisper promises to him, eventually they all blurred together. It was soothing, it gave Stiles something to focus on other than his panic and breathing. Soon enough his harsh breaths stopped feeling like they were being yanked out of him. It left his throat hoarse, and eyes watery, but Stiles wasn’t sure if that had anything to do with the panic attack.

 

“Scott,” Derek’s voice rang through, strong with authority. “I got him now.”

 

“I’ll stop by…if that’s okay with you,” Scott quickly amended, pulling away to look at Stiles anxiously.

 

Stiles couldn’t find his voice, but nodded making Scott smile, relieved. Stiles knew that Scott was trying, it would take a lot for them to get back to where they were, but it was a start. Stiles wasn’t sure if he was ready to forgive Scott for turning his back on him when Stiles needed him the most, maybe someday.

 

Derek wrapped an arm around Stiles’ waist, supporting Stiles’ more uncoordinated steps. Derek’s hand on Stiles’ side felt like a brand, hot and heavy. It made a shiver run through Stiles, causing Derek’s grip to tighten. Stiles felt his face heat up, he mulishly looked down avoiding Derek’s piercing gaze.

 

“Thank you,” Stiles mumbled, embarrassed that he was thinking about Derek like he was when the werewolf was just trying to help him out.

 

“Anytime,” Derek easily replied, opening his car door for Stiles.

______________________________________________________________________

 

The drive to Derek’s house was silent, neither of them knowing what to say about what had happened. Stiles stared out the window, his forehead pressed against the cold glass. Derek didn’t want to push him by prying into what happened. Cora didn’t know what was going on, but something set Stiles off in a real bad way. She was really confused and scared, she hadn’t been around to see Stiles deteriorating before the pack’s eyes.

 

Derek pulled into his garage, glancing at Stiles uncertainly. Stiles was staring at his shaky hands, still avoiding Derek’s gaze. It wasn’t like him at all. Derek hesitantly reached over, covering Stiles’ hands with his own. Stiles tensed, clearly not having expected that.

 

Black veins formed on Derek’s hand, leeching up his forearm. Stiles’ eyebrows scrunched together, his lips pursing together in confusion. Derek gave Stiles’ hands a firm squeeze, even though he didn’t feel a thing coming from Stiles.

 

“I’m not in pain,” Stiles mumbled, finally glancing over at Derek bewildered.

 

“Yes,” Derek softly replied, before letting go of Stiles’ hands completely. Ignoring the way it left him bereft and longing. “You are.”

 

“Does it ever go away?” Stiles weakly asked, looking back down at his hands. They weren’t shaking anymore.

 

“No,” Derek answered honestly, it made Stiles close his eyes, frustrated. “But you learn to live with it, overcome it.”

 

“The stupid popsicle had a riddle on it,” Stiles bit out, his features hardening into a scowl. “It was a riddle the Nogitsune always asked me. I completely freaked out over nothing—”

 

“It might be nothing to someone else, but it’s living nightmare for you,” Derek cut in fiercely, dragging Stiles’ attention back to him. “I can’t even look at a bonfire without remembering that night. It’s nothing to others, but I hate them.”

 

“Derek,” Stiles whispered, knowing there was little comfort he could offer. “How can they still be winning after—“

 

“They’re not,” Derek snapped, turning back to face the steering wheel.

 

“You call this winning?” Stiles muttered, crossing his arms as he slumped in his seat.

 

“I call this surviving,” Derek retorted, sighing as he shook his head wearily.

 

“Don’t we deserve more?” Stiles asked, wiping the tears forming in his eyes. “Is it always going to be like this?”

 

“No, but until then we do what we can,” Derek replied, glancing at Stiles once more. “Come on, let’s get you inside.”

 

Derek showed Stiles’ his bedroom, still bare and impersonal. Derek could only imagine what Stiles would want to decorate it with, he pictured comic book posters and a police bulletin board. Something from the past and something that described Stiles now.

 

Stiles wasn’t much in the mood to talk anymore, Derek could understand that. He left Stiles to his room, taking a brief moment to watch Stiles look around. It was barely there, but Derek could smell the happiness and relief leaking from Stiles. Derek would never forget Stiles, never not consider him pack, not after everything they had been through together.

 

Derek was working on his Camaro in the garage, even though he drove the Range Rover now, the Camaro would always be his baby. It belonged to Laura, and Derek refused to give it up. Now he just tinkered with it, making sure that it was always ready to go, just in case.

 

A sharp chill ran down Derek’s spine when he heard an ear piercing scream. He sprinted into the house and the stairs, his heart attempting to beat right out of his chest. Stiles was screaming, Derek couldn’t hear anyone or anything else. It was just Stiles.

 

Derek barged into Stiles’ room, rapidly searching for a threat. The room was empty except for Stiles, who was thrashing around in his bed. Stiles continued crying out, tears streaming down his cheeks as he recklessly lashed out. He reeked of anxiety and fear, the same way he did the night on the hospital roof.

 

Derek dodged Stiles’ hand, leaning down to try and shake him awake. His efforts earned him a kick in the stomach he wasn’t expecting. It knocked the breath out of him, making Derek internally proud that Stiles was capable of such a feat in the first place. Derek pinned down Stiles’ arms, pulling the frightened teen into his lap.

 

“Stiles, wake up….Come on…Please, wake up…You’re safe, I’m here…please, for me…” Derek pleaded, holding Stiles closer even as the teen struck him again.

 

Slowly, Stiles returned to consciousness, his flailing dying down as realization washed over him. He collapsed in Derek’s arms, his back pressed tight against Derek’s chest. Derek’s grip loosened, but he didn’t let go of Stiles. Neither of them spoke, both listening to the other’s breathing.

 

“I had another one,” Stiles stated, sounding so disappointed in himself. “I used to wake up my dad all the time. I don’t think there was a night I could go without screaming myself awake.”

 

“I used to have nightmares,” Derek quietly confessed, causing Stiles to glance up at him with a knowing expression. “After the fire I would wake up screaming, sometimes I swore I could smell smoke. Laura was always there to help me through them.”

 

“Tell me about her,” Stiles gently requested, shifting so he was on his side cuddling to Derek. His head rested on Derek’s chest, the werewolf’s heartbeat was slow and steady. It was comforting.

 

“She was two years older than me,” Derek started, his voice hoarse and vulnerable. Stiles clutched Derek, wrapping an arm around his waist. “She was meant to be the next alpha, it gave her the idea that she was in charge of me. I don’t know how many times she got me in trouble.”

 

“Yeah?” Stiles mused, chuckling at the thought of someone bossing Derek around. “What else?”

 

“Even though she was bossy and bratty at times, she was always the first one to help me,” Derek fondly continued, his grip on Stiles’ tightening at the memory. “It didn’t matter what, why, or where…Laura always was there for me.”

 

“She sounds amazing,” Stiles whispered, looking up at Derek warmly. His eyes soft with compassionate understanding.

 

“She was,” Derek murmured, a small sad smile slipping onto his face. “She really was.”

Chapter Text

“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.” –Akshay Dubey

 

Scott and Stiles stared at each other, waiting for the other to say something. Stiles kept painfully still, trying not to fiddle with his blankets. He sure as hell wasn’t going to be the first one to speak. Scott continued watching him, his puppy dog eyes full of sadness and regret.

 

“What do you want?” Stiles cracked, causing Scott to wince at the bitterness laced in his tone.

 

“I wanted to make sure you were okay,” Scott replied, squaring his shoulders preparing for a fight.

 

Stiles missed the following day of school, he couldn’t face anyone so soon after his panic attack. His dad understood, and Derek had told him he could stay as long as he wanted to. Stiles threw himself into decorating the bedroom Derek gave him, it distracted him from thinking about everything else.

 

“What are you really doing here Scott?” Stiles asked, running a tired hand through his tousled hair.

 

“I’m sorry!” Scott blurted, making Stiles eyes widen in surprise. “I was the biggest asshole in the world, I shouldn’t have treated you like that. I blamed you for something you had no control over, you weren’t even there.”

 

“Scott—”

 

“She died in my arms,” Scott continued, bulldozing over Stiles’ attempt to stop him. “I held her long after her heart stopped beating. I tried so hard to save everyone, and I couldn’t save her Stiles. I blamed you for what happened because I couldn’t…”

 

“Scott,” Stiles whispered, his voice soft and soothing. “It wasn’t your fault any more than it was mine. She knew what she was getting herself into. I can’t imagine her wanting to go out any other way, she’d want to be next to her friends fighting for what’s right.”

 

“I know,” Scott whimpered, tears stinging his eyes as his shoulders started to shake. “I lashed out and ignored you, even when you weren’t the person I was pissed at. You’ve always been a much better friend than me Stiles.”

 

“I don’t know about that man,” Stiles retorted, reaching out to grab Scott’s shoulder supportively. “I’ve had my shitty moments too.”

 

“You’ve always had my back, no matter what we’ve gone through. I hate myself for turning on you like I did…” Scott trailed off, taking a deep steadying breath. “I know you’ll forgive me one day, that’s just the way you are, but I swear I’ll do everything I can to actually earn that forgiveness. I don’t care if it takes a month, a year, or the rest of our lives. I promise that I’ll try to be the friend you’ve always been to me.”

 

Stiles felt his throat tighten with overwhelming emotion, his eyes watering as well. Scott pulled him into a hard hug, wrapping his arms around Stiles like he planned to never let go. Stiles let out a shaky laugh, patting Scott’s back in silent acceptance.

 

They both knew that despite everything they were brothers and loved each other. That didn’t mean that Scott was forgiven, or things were going to go back to how they used to be. Stiles wasn’t even sure if he could ever fully forgive Scott, but he didn’t doubt that Scott would do everything he possibly could to try and earn back Stiles’ trust.

“Am I interrupting?” Isaac inquired, looking between the childhood friends cautiously.

 

“No, I was just leaving,” Scott answered, offering Stiles a small determined smile. “I meant what I said.”

 

“I know you did,” Stiles finally said, making Scott’s smile widen in relief. “I’ll see you later.”

 

“Okay,” Scott replied, slipping past Isaac after giving him a significant look.

 

“So what brings you here?” Stiles asked, crossing his arms as he studied Isaac’s uncomfortable expression.

 

“I don’t expect you’ll forgive me,” Isaac mused, glancing around the room trying to come off uninterested.

 

“Maybe,” Stiles murmured, wondering what Isaac was even doing here. “But that’s not why you’re here.”

 

“No, you’re right,” Isaac sighed, before sitting down on the edge of Stiles’ bed. “I wanted you to know why I was such a…”

 

“Asshole?” Stiles supplied, making Isaac roll his eyes but nod in agreement.

 

“I wasn’t with Allison as long as Scott had been, and our relationship was very different from the one they had,” Isaac needlessly explained, but Stiles stayed quiet letting him talk. “So it wasn’t about losing Allison, no matter how hard that was.”

 

“Then what was it?” Stiles questioned, leaning forward in his seat at the desk.

 

“I had already lost so many people Stiles,” Isaac mumbled, his voice vulnerable and exhausted. “I lost my brother, I lost Erica and then Boyd. I almost lost Scott when I started dating Allison, and then she…”

 

“I understand,” Stiles murmured, dropping his gaze to the floor as he thought about the past few months of everyone turning their back on him. “Not completely, of course. I don’t hate you, I don’t even blame you for how you acted. I couldn’t imagine it being Scott or…”

 

Stiles flushed thinking about Derek, it wasn’t the same thing. Allison had been with Scott and then Isaac, Derek and he never had a relationship. It would still hurt though, make him act like he never imagined he could.

 

“Yeah?” Isaac prompted, but Stiles shook his head trying to brush away his thoughts.

 

“Just because I understand in a way, that doesn’t mean I’m going to forgive you,” Stiles retorted, ignoring Isaac’s knowing gaze.

 

“Yeah, and I understand that,” Isaac replied, rising to his feet. “Like I said before, that wasn’t why I dropped by. Maybe one day, but I’m willing to wait. Maybe by then we’ll actually be friends.”

 

“Yeah, maybe,” Stiles doubted, but smiled at Isaac’s matching disbelief. “See you.”

 

“If you’re lucky,” Isaac taunted jokingly, strolling out of Stiles’ room without a backward glance.

 

Stiles always thought Isaac and he fought so much because they had the same sense of sarcastic cynicism. Neither of them trusted easily, and would rather hide behind sarcasm than express their real feelings. The biggest issue was that they both were Scott’s best friend now, it wasn’t just Stiles anymore. He wasn’t used to that.

 

Stiles turned back to his desk, thinking about his two visitors today. They gave him a lot to consider, not only for himself but for the future of the pack. They couldn’t stay angry with each other, they had to work things out instead of keeping quiet about their issues.

 

The Mortise pack was coming, and the Hale pack needed to stand together.

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

“You okay?” Derek asked, when Stiles came downstairs later that day.

 

“I’ve been better,” Stiles answered honestly, watching him chop vegetables for dinner. “But I’ve also been a lot worse.”

 

“Isaac and Scott were here,” Derek commented, able to smell their scents lingering behind.

 

“Yeah,” Stiles replied, nudging Derek to the side so he could take over. “Scott apologized for how he acted, and Isaac explained why he acted like that.”

 

“Sounds like them,” Derek grumbled, unimpressed with his two pack mates’ efforts.

 

“We’re all works in progress,” Stiles reminded, causing Derek to glance over with a small smile.

 

Stiles never ceased to amaze Derek, if it wasn’t his unbelievable loyalty it was his astounding intelligence. For all Stiles’ flailing and sarcasm, there was something about the teenager that latched onto Derek. It was probably why out of everyone Peter actually offered Stiles the bite, and Derek was always so mean to him. Peter saw potential, and Derek saw someone who could possibly get under his skin.

 

Despite the verbal, and at times physical, abuse, Stiles refused to abandon Derek. Most of the time he bitched about it, but it wasn’t personal no matter how it sounded. Stiles bitched about everything, he was a sarcastic little shit, but that was a part of his charm. At least, it was for Derek, who thrived on that sort of thing.

 

“What are you going to do about them now?” Derek inquired nonchalantly, he was dying to know, but didn’t want to push.

 

“Well, Scott is my alpha,” Stiles stated, the tension in his shoulders loosening slightly. “But he’s also my best friend.”

 

“So you forgive him?” Derek stated unsurprised, it wasn’t that he thought Scott deserved it—he didn’t. Stiles may have been many things, but he couldn’t hold a grudge, not against Scott, it wasn’t in him.

 

“No, but one day,” Stiles amended, pouring the vegetables in the slow-cooker.

 

“What about yourself?” Derek pried, feeling guilty when Stiles couldn’t hold back a flinch.

 

“Like I said...we’re all works in progress,” Stiles quietly answered, briefly closing his eyes to recollect himself.

 

“Yes, we are,” Derek murmured, thinking about his own road to forgiving himself. “What about Isaac?” Derek asked, wanting to change the subject.

 

“Isaac is an asshole, but one I can relate to,” Stiles replied, jumping at the chance to drop the previous topic.

 

“Unsurprising,” Derek teased, chuckling when Stiles elbowed him.

 

“Rude,” Stiles snapped, a wide grin sliding onto his face. “I’ll have you know, that I’m a saint.”

 

“In this town, it’s not hard to be,” Derek retorted, causing Stiles to snort rolling his eyes.

 

“Fair point,” Stiles conceded, sniffing impatiently at the stew Derek was making. “So…what’s this?”

 

“It’s just beef and vegetable stew,” Derek answered, his voice softer than he meant it to be. Stiles glanced over, obviously having heard the sadness tinged in his tone. “It was my mother’s recipe.”

 

“I’m sure it’s delicious,” Stiles complimented, he sounded genuine without coming off as placating. It was quite a feat for most people, but Stiles wasn’t most people.

 

“Thank you,” Derek replied politely, giving him a grateful smile. “She would have liked you.”

 

They both freeze, neither of them expecting Derek to say something like that. It was rare for Derek to talk about his family, even rarer for him to do it of his own accord. Derek stared at Stiles not knowing what to do, but Stiles was a pro at defusing awkward situations.

 

“I feel the same way about my mom and you,” Stiles offered, placing his hand on Derek’s bicep supportively. “I think out of everyone in the pack, you’d be her favorite.”

 

Derek’s eyes widen in surprise, he didn’t expect Stiles to be so open about his mom. Stiles was a lot like him, he rarely spoke about her unless he had to. He smiled warmly, touched that Stiles would share that information with him. It was hard for Derek to imagine being anyone’s favorite, even in his own family, but he appreciated it nonetheless.

 

Derek placed his hand over Stiles, squeezing gently in acknowledgment. Stiles knew that Derek wasn’t the best with expressing his feelings through words, he was more of an actions speak louder kind of guy. It was one of their biggest differences, but it made their…relationship, interesting for the most part. Sometimes it was a disaster full of miscommunication, but a lot of the time they smoothly balanced each other.

 

“I’m assuming you’re staying for dinner,” Derek drawled, forcing himself to let go of Stiles’ hand.

 

“Hell yeah,” Stiles scoffed, like there was no other option. “After I slaved away on this meal.”

 

“You chopped a few vegetables,” Derek reminded, rolling his eyes when Stiles batted away his words.

 

“Slaved,” Stiles repeated, that snarky smirk of his taking over his previously sweet expression.

 

“I changed my mind,” Derek announced, as Stiles leaned against one of the counters amused. “You can go home now.”

 

“Dude—”

 

“Don’t call me dude,” Derek grumbled, knowing that Stiles wasn’t going to listen anyways.

 

“I’m practically home already,” Stiles continued, ignoring Derek’s useless request.

 

Derek eyed Stiles, studying the way Stiles came off as confident and unconcerned, but Derek could see past Stiles’ front. Derek recognized the nervous vulnerability hidden in Stiles’ big bambi eyes. It was a look Derek hated seeing on the younger man, but one that often showed up at times when Stiles wasn’t hiding behind sarcasm.

 

“Yeah, you are,” Derek agreed, making Stiles’ eyes widen and cocky smirk drop. “After all, only guests get away with not having to do dishes.”

 

Stiles burst out laughing, throwing his head back while holding his side. Derek knew that it wasn’t that funny, but after everything that they had been through, they had to jump at lighthearted moments like this one. Derek grinned watching Stiles wipe tears from his eyes, they both were going to pretend that it was from laughing so hard. It was enough that they both knew that Stiles was pack, and officially had been accepted into Derek’s den.

 

Derek couldn’t imagine being in a pack without Stiles, it was strange trying to picture it. Stiles, somewhere along their insane way, had become vital to Derek. They shared many differences, but had commonalities that kept them from killing each other. Derek often wondered whether it was their differences or similarities that pulled them even closer together. Maybe it was just who they were.

 

After all, a werewolf couldn’t survive without its moon.

Chapter Text

“You can’t force chemistry to exist where it doesn’t in the same way you can’t deny it when it does.” –Unknown

 

Stiles laughed when the boys swooped in and picked up the girls, who screamed as they were carried towards the lake. Lydia was in Jackson’s arms, clinging to him even though she was yelling for him to put her down. Kira was tucked under Scott’s arm, giggling as Scott rushed into the water. Cora was trying to fight off Isaac, but was thrown over his shoulder in defeat.

 

“You think that’s funny?” Derek taunted, a predatory smile sliding onto his face.

 

“Oh no,” Stiles snapped, slowly backing up with his hands up defensively. “Don’t do it Derek.”

 

Stiles turned to run, but didn’t take three steps before Derek was on him. He yelped as Derek threw him over his shoulder, whining about his masculinity when the others stopped to watch the show. Stiles called out for help, but they just snickered at his feigned distress. Derek had a tight hold on him, ignoring the soft punches Stiles beat against his bare back.

 

“Come on Stiles!” Malia cheered, offering him no other help.

 

“It’s game over,” Jackson countered, smirking at Stiles’ poor attempt to glare at him.

 

“Nah, Stiles is pretty squirrely for a human,” Isaac jested, making the others immediately pipe in their agreement.

 

“Just you guys wait,” Stiles threatened, his wide grin ruining the seriousness of his warning.

 

Stiles shouted when Derek sent him flying, he hit the cold water thinking of revenge. When he broke the surface everyone was watching him with amused smiles, but there was a certain caution in their eyes. Stiles knew that they were probably worried about how he would take this little prank, but they didn’t need to be scared of his reaction.

 

Stiles held out his arm, focusing on the water around Derek. The current shifted, growing stronger even though Derek was only knee deep. It was one of the things Stiles had learned over the summer, the elements bent to his will without much effort. Before anyone could warn him, Derek was splashed by a gigantic unnatural wave. Everyone burst out laughing at the shock on Derek’s face, he was drenched from head to toe.

 

“Oh, it’s on,” Derek playfully growled, before diving into the water.

 

The pack messed around in the lake, the first time everyone seamlessly got along. The girls mainly floated around gossiping about nothing important, just enjoying the beautiful sunny day. The boys roughhoused splashing each other or trying to dunk one another. The weres raced each other, Jackson winning every time with Isaac coming in second. Together they played chicken with Cora on top of Isaac’s shoulders and Malia on top of Stiles’, Kira and Scott would play winner.

 

“Having fun?” Stiles asked Derek, falling down next to the older werewolf on the shore.

 

“Yeah, it’s been a long time,” Derek answered, watching Kira try to get the upper hand over his little sister.

 

“Since you’ve had fun?” Stiles questioned, glancing over at Derek with unconcealed disbelief.

 

“Since I’ve had a pack,” Derek murmured, a soft smile replacing his signature grumpy frown.

 

Stiles’ expression softened considerably, knowing that having the pack be at odds with each other didn’t only hurt him. Stiles casually bumped his shoulder against Derek’s, offering him a silent form of support. Derek’s smile widened as he looked over at Stiles, the sun making his eyes look like a kaleidoscope of greens and blues. It gave Stiles butterflies, causing his breath to catch and his heart to pick up.

 

Stiles flushed when Derek tilted his head slightly to the side, obviously having caught the uptick in his heartbeat. Stiles stared at the ground, childishly digging his toes in the sand as a distraction. He ignored Derek’s heavy gaze on him, too embarrassed to face Derek just yet. Things were finally coming together, and he didn’t want his stupid feelings to ruin it.

 

Stiles finally sneaked a glance at Derek, relieved to find that he was watching the pack splashing in the lake. Stiles silently watched Derek, noticing the darkening of his tan, and the crinkles at the corner of his eyes whenever Derek smiled. Stiles was happy that he got to see those crinkles a lot more now, that and his adorable bunny teeth. He was beautiful, everything about Derek. Not that Stiles would ever tell him that.

 

Stiles sighed heavily, glancing at his own pale, scrawny body in comparison. His wet tank clung to him uncomfortably, but Stiles refused to remove it. He couldn’t even take his shirt off without exposing everyone to the ugly scars spread across his back. Enough of his scars were showing already, he didn’t want to reveal any more. Even without the scars, Stiles wouldn’t have done it with all the muscled weres around. After everything Stiles had gained and learned, he was still just Stiles.

 

“Hey,” Derek gently prompted, causing Stiles to look up from his hands. “You’re getting sunburned.”

 

“Oh,” Stiles whined, scratching at the pink on his shoulders. “Yeah, I need to put on my more sunscreen.”

 

“Let me get your back,” Derek stated, making Stiles freeze anxiously.

 

“You don’t have to,” Stiles quickly denied, trying and failing to come off as casual.

 

“Stiles,” Derek murmured, holding out his hand for the sunscreen lotion.

 

Stiles internally grumbled, handing over the lotion knowing that arguing was futile. He tugged off the tank he was wearing, crossing his arms self-consciously. He barely looked at his back himself, he didn’t want the rest to have to see it. The others barely noticed what was happening on shore, too lost in the fun they were having in the lake. They finally had a day without worries, they rightfully deserved one after all the shit they constantly had to deal with.

 

Stiles waited for Derek to change his mind after seeing the scars, or even gingerly touch around them in reserved disgust. Instead, Derek started with his shoulders, massaging in the lotion thoroughly. Stiles closed his eyes, biting his lip holding back a moan. Derek’s hands were magic, that had to be it. Derek moved down his back, rubbing the tension out of Stiles’ muscles. He was putty under Derek’s touch.

 

Stiles hoped that Derek couldn’t smell the arousal wafting from him. That would be mortifying. Derek running over the scars without hesitation, making Stiles relax even more. Derek kneaded his lower back, forcing a low groan out of Stiles’. He took a shaky breath, half hard in his board shorts, but Derek continued lathering Stiles in sunscreen. It was almost too much, but then Derek broke the heightened silence.

 

“You never have to hide these from me,” Derek whispered, tracing one of the thicker scars, sending a jolt running through Stiles. “They show that you’re you, and there’s nothing I’d want more.”

 

“Derek,” Stiles whimpered, his throat tightening as he looked down trying to collect himself. “Thank you.”

 

___________________________________________________________________

 

“It’s going to be a long night,” the Sheriff commented, leaning against the back of his police cruiser. “But we’ll be ready for whatever happens.”

 

“We’ll have to be,” Stiles murmured, scratching at the scars on his neck distractedly.

 

Derek noticed that Stiles did that whenever he was nervous and trying to reassure himself. It would be endearing if Stiles didn’t flinch, ashamed, every time he caught himself doing it. Derek knew Stiles hated those scars, but Derek couldn’t help but feel jealous of them. Sometimes Derek wished that werewolves didn’t heal without scars, once the battle was over it looked as if nothing happened. He hated it.

 

“What’s the game plan for tonight?” Parrish inquired, looking towards Derek with an optimistic grin.

 

“The pack will run together,” Derek answered succinctly, making Stiles prompt him to expand. “My family used to run together during the night of the full moon. My mom said that it brought our wolves as close to the surface as they could be without going feral. The pack’s bond strengthens on nights like these, nights where we have to rely on each other.”

 

Derek still wasn’t sure this was the best idea, especially with the threat of the Mortise pack looming over the pack’s heads. Peter convinced him that this would be the best method to test their individual control and overall pack bond. It was risky, but Peter was ultimately right. Derek had to know how the pack would handle themselves when adrenaline was high and their inner animal was clawing to the surface.

 

“Well, your whole pack is here,” Parrish replied, glancing over at the others impatiently pacing around the clearing. “It’s going to be hell of a night.”

 

Derek nodded in silent agreement, his attention drifting over to the others. It would be the pack’s first run together, ever. Derek wasn’t sure what he was expecting, he didn’t know what they were expecting from the night. He could practically taste the tension in the air, none of the pack members wandering too close to another. It was literally painful to see Derek’s pack still tip toeing around each other, it felt wrong.

 

Scott kept his eyes locked on the forest, even as he idly listened to his mom’s concerned lecture. Isaac was leaning against Derek’s car, gaze surveying the group with detached interest. Peter was talking to Malia in hushed tones, trying to help her maintain control of her inner coyote. Jackson was with Lydia, neither of them speaking as they tightly held each other’s hand. Cora was talking to Kira, explaining what the night would be like if things go right. Deaton and Morrell were mulling around the forest border, occasionally shooting glances over to Stiles. Parrish and the Sheriff were once again going over their back up plan, making sure they had things under control if any of the were-creatures lost it.

 

“Relax,” Stiles soothed, placing a strong hand on Derek’s shoulder. “We have all our bases covered, Dad and Parrish have the department on call, just in case. Morrell, Deaton, and I warded the forest; no one is going to enter those woods without one of us knowing.”

 

“You’ll be running with us,” Derek stated, ignoring the way the Sheriff eyed him knowingly. He was getting real tired of getting those looks from everyone.

 

“Oh, um…yeah,” Stiles answered, obviously surprised by Derek’s insistence. “Yeah, I’ll run with you.”

 

“Good,” Derek murmured pleased, causing Stiles to look away with a deep flush.

 

Stiles offered a lazy wave before heading over to where Malia and Peter were standing. Stiles smiled, hugging Malia, and swatted Peter’s hand reaching to brush his hair. Derek smirked, rolling his eyes at his uncle’s antics. Stiles was resigned to being Peter’s favorite, now it was just a game between the two. Neither of them were really credulous of the other, but there was a mutual respect and alliance. It was more than Derek had expected of those two, neither of them ever having been very trustful of others in the first place.

 

“You know he’s the Sheriff’s underage son, right?” Parrish quietly teased, making Derek scowl and shoot him a glare.

 

“You know practically everyone can hear you, right?” Derek mocked, glancing around at the were-creature’s varying expressions.

 

“Oh,” Parrish hummed, chastised. “My bad.”

 

Derek rolled his eyes, shaking his head, amused, as he headed over towards the others. He waved at the pack members staying behind, silently promising to keep the others in line. The rest of the pack were already waiting by the trees, impatiently pawing at the ground in anticipation. Derek could relate, he had missed this feeling. By the looks on Peter and Cora’s face they had missed it too.

 

Derek nodded at Scott, offering him the go ahead. Scott nodded in response, his eyes turning red as he faced the forest. He tilted his head back, letting out a long howl. Derek closed his eyes, feeling the howl down to his bones. It was strong and powerful. Combined with the full moon, it was almost impossible not to shift in response. Derek felt his nails and teeth shifting, his eyes turning an icy blue. The others were shifted halfway as well, their control still impressively intact.

 

Derek howled, the others joining him soon after. Scott took off running, racing through the woods with the others at his heels. Derek felt his heart racing as primal adrenaline took over his senses. Oh how he missed this feeling of complete freedom. It had been too long, far too long.

 

Scott led the pack with Isaac close on his right, but Stiles was right on their left, his eyes watching the trail ahead. Peter and Cora were off to Scott’s left, but keeping at a respectable distance to the pack leader. Jackson and Malia were messing around with each other, playfully clawing at the other. Kira and Lydia were toward the back of the pack, keeping up an impressive pace for non-weres. Derek stayed towards the back as well, making sure the others didn’t stray too far from Scott.

 

Everyone looked at ease, moving together as one. It warmed Derek to see it, much less be a part of it. He weaved around trees, leaping over fallen logs and small streams. His lungs burned, ripping another howl from him. Scott glanced back with a wide grin, an unrestrained happiness Derek hadn’t seen in a long time. Scott tilted his head back, howling into the night. The pack joined him, even the humans, howling at the full moon.

 

Stiles dropped behind, slowing down to a brisk jog. Scott paused for a moment, looking over at him worried. Stiles waved him on smiling, Scott hesitated but nodded continuing the run. Isaac rushed past Stiles, dragging his hand across his shoulders. The rest of the pack followed after the two, making sure to scent mark Stiles before continuing. Derek was the only one who hung back with him.

 

“What’s wrong?” Derek questioned, knowing that the were-creatures were probably eavesdropping. If he could still hear them roughhousing, then they could easily hear them.

 

“Nothing,” Stiles pointlessly lied, causing Derek to give him a cross look. “Fine, I needed a minute.”

 

“Are you okay?” Derek asked, checking Stiles for any injury he might have gotten racing through the brush.

 

“Nah,” Stiles dismissed, waving Derek off unconcerned. “I don’t feel the pull to the moon, like you guys. Instead, it’s more…I feel a pull to you guys, all of you. It’s like a high, all your excitement and adrenaline. It was a little more overwhelming than I thought it’d be.”

 

“I had no idea,” Derek murmured, running a hand through his sweaty hair.

 

“Yeah, it’s a good thing,” Stiles promised, scenting the air around them with his excitement and joy. “We’re finally coming together. I’ve never felt anything like it before.”

 

Derek watched Stiles flail, waving his hands as he animatedly talked. Derek didn’t think he could ever get tired of watching Stiles, especially when he smelled like pack, happiness, and arousal. It was intoxicating. Derek’s eyes dilated, as he took a predatory step closer to the emissary.

 

Stiles’ breathing hitched, his eyes widening in surprise. Stiles took a shaky step back, stumbling as he bumped into the tree behind him. Derek knew this was wrong, he knew that he shouldn’t for so many reasons. Stiles was underage, he was the pack’s emissary, he was untouchable, but Derek couldn’t bring himself to care. Not with the full moon clouding his rationality.

 

Stiles’ scent sharpened as his arousal spiked, Derek smirked in response. Stiles’ whiskey colored eyes were locked on Derek’s beta blue ones, neither willing to look away. A small cheeky grin slipped onto Stiles’ face, it was an expression Derek was very familiar with. It was never a good sign.

 

Before Derek could do anything, Stiles slipped away. He raced through the trees, leaving Derek behind, surprised. Derek let out a howl, his primal instincts taking over. He rushed after his prey, his heart pounding as he locked onto Stiles’ scent. It was a game, one that Derek would eventually win.

 

It was only a few moments before Derek caught sight of Stiles, making the werewolf growl in victory. Stiles glanced over his shoulder, that cheeky smirk still plastered on his face. He dipped in and out of sight, but they both knew it was only a matter of time before he was caught. Derek was gaining on him, both of their laughter breaking through the natural sounds of the forest.

 

Derek jumped forward, tackling Stiles from behind. They both went down hard, but Derek maneuvered them so he’d take the brunt of the force. They both were breathing hard and fast, sweat clinging to their skin. Stiles’ cheeks were flushed red, trailing down past the collar of his shirt. Derek wanted to see just how far the blush went.

 

“Caught you,” Derek murmured, his hands tight on Stiles’ hips.

 

“Yes,” Stiles whispered, eyes dilated until there was only a small ring of amber brown left.

 

Derek dragged his tongue along Stiles’ neck, tasting salty sweat, but also the natural tang that was solely Stiles. He closed his eyes reveling in the sound of Stiles hitched gasp. Derek took a deep breath, breathing Stiles in. It was like a drug, Derek was addicted.

 

“Stiles,” Derek groaned, feeling the hardness pressed against his inner thigh.

 

“Do you know how long I’ve been waiting for this?” Stiles whined, grinding against Derek.

 

“Hopefully as long as I have,” Derek retorted, his hands trailing up Stiles’ sides, exploring the tense muscles.

 

Stiles shivered under Derek’s touch, clinging to the front of Derek’s damp shirt needily. Derek couldn’t take it anymore, he wrapped his hand behind Stiles’ neck. They looked into each other’s eyes, breathing into each other’s waiting mouths. There was still time to stop themselves, but neither of them wanted to.

 

“Derek,” Stiles gently pleaded, his heart rabbiting in his chest. “Kiss me.”

 

Derek closed the small gap between them, pressing their lips together. He let out a low moan, smothered by Stiles’ eager lips. Derek brought Stiles closer, clutching him as if he was afraid of Stiles taking off again. He didn’t have to worry, Stiles wasn’t going anywhere this time. His hands moving up to get tangled in Derek’s hair, doing his best to kiss the life out of Derek.

 

Stiles gasped when Derek pushed him onto his back, quickly climbing on top of the younger man. Derek’s tongue slipped into Stiles’ mouth, exploring every inch. Stiles moaned, arching under Derek’s skillful touch. They fought for dominance, neither of them ready or willing to give it up just yet.

 

Derek pulled away to breathe, hissing through his teeth when Stiles latched onto his neck. It sent another shot of primal arousal down to his cock, the wolf inside of him howling with want. Hot wet kisses trailed up Derek’s neck, every other kiss was a playful nip. It was maddening. Derek pulled away to look down at Stiles, he was beautiful. His pupils blown wide, his parted lips swollen and wet. Derek growled low in the back of his throat, before leaning down to capture Stiles’ mouth in another heated kiss.

 

There was no going back now.

Chapter Text

“If you invite one wolf, you invite the pack.” –Bulgarian proverb

 

It had been almost a week since the impromptu make out session in the forest. Neither of them had spoken about what happened that night, even though it was driving Stiles crazy. He didn’t know how Derek felt about the kiss, that wall Derek had before was back up. Stiles wanted to hate Derek, be pissed off and hurt, but he didn’t feel that way.

 

Stiles knew Derek well enough by now to know that it wasn’t him. Derek still felt guilt over what happened to his family, a part of him still clung to that anger and self-hatred. He didn’t believe he deserved to be happy or loved, Stiles understood where he was coming from. Stiles knew what that felt like, so he didn’t push. Derek knew how he felt, and knew that Stiles would be there when he was ready to talk.

 

“Are they coming or what?” Jackson huffed, causing everyone to look over at him unimpressed. “What? You’re all thinking it.”

 

It was true. The entire pack was a bundle of impatient nerves, waiting for the Mortise pack to arrive. Jackson was the only one tactless enough to complain out loud, it was either him or Malia, maybe Isaac. Damn, the pack was screwed. Even after becoming closer after the full moon run, the pack was still pretty volatile overall.

 

The only problem was that, they didn’t have any more time. The alpha of the Mortise pack, Julianna, had called Derek earlier that day. She claimed that they would be in by noon, and was thrilled to meet the new Hale pack she heard so much about. Apparently word had gotten around about the defeated kanima, then the hunters, then the alpha pack, then the darach, and finally the nogitsune. The pack from Beacon Hills had acquired quite the reputation in the past two years.

 

“They just broached the Beacon Hills barrier,” Stiles notified the pack, feeling the sharp twinge of his protection wards warning him.

 

“Be careful, stay quiet, and stand together,” Derek instructed, hoping that the pack would pull it together for the time being.

 

Stiles felt on edge, the entire pack was tense, as if waiting for a fight. Derek had said that the odds of there not being a fight were slim, but the Mortise pack wouldn’t start out with an attack. They were an old pack, they still followed archaic werewolf traditions.

 

They were led by Julianna Mortise, a strong but greedy born wolf. Her family consisted only of born werewolves, including her mate, Ryan Smith. All she said was that she was bringing her second, and a few of her betas. No names or helpful information. Stiles and Lydia couldn’t research much about them, only that they were a large and powerful pack based in central California.

 

Stiles’ attention shifted towards the forest border, he could sense them getting closer. They appeared moments later, one by one darting from the trees. Julianna was in the front, with two betas at each side, like guardsman. There was another person, trailing behind the pack, most likely their emissary. Six in total, all of them werewolves, besides the emissary who was a druid.

 

Julianna Mortise was fiercely beautiful, her golden skin complimented her deep blue eyes and wavy light brown hair. She was dressed simply, in a pair of jeans with a white camisole under a navy blazer. Even in casual clothing there was an uninhibited power about her, something silently threatening. It was clear that even though she didn’t look older than 30, she was well-seasoned in being an alpha.

 

“Hello,” Julianna greeted them pleasantly, a blinding smile gracing her model like features.

 

“Hello,” Scott welcomed, nodding in friendly acknowledgement. “It’s great to finally meet you. I hope you enjoy your visit here in Beacon Hills. I’m Scott McCall, the local alpha.”

 

If Julianna was surprised by the change in management, she didn’t show it. If anything, her smile grew wider, almost predatory. It didn’t sit right with Stiles, and none of the others seemed to like the looks of it either. Everyone waited with baited breath, waiting for her next move.

 

“Fantastic,” Julianna declared, seeming unconcerned about the growing tension. “If I had known, I would have spoken with you directly.”

 

“It’s no problem,” Scott assured her, motioning over to Derek who was standing with the other Hales. “Derek informed me of everything.”

 

“My, my…haven’t you all grown,” Julianna cooed, her gaze sweeping over them analytically. It was a miracle that Cora and Peter didn’t snarl at her indignantly. “It’s been a long time.”

 

“Yes, it has,” Derek replied, lowering his gaze enough to show respect but not submission. Something everyone had to have practiced until they got it perfect.

 

“Who do we have here?” Julianna curiously inquired, waving to the rest of the pack.

 

“This is my second, Isaac,” Scott introduced, causing Isaac to take a small step forward before also lowering his eyes.

 

Scott continued the introductions with practiced precision, making sure he didn’t linger on anyone longer than another. Everything was fine until Scott introduced Stiles, the Mortise’s pack emissary gasped softly, drawing everyone’s attention to her. Both packs fell rigid, neither sure why the emissary looked so pale.

 

“You didn’t say you had a spark with you,” the emissary announced, making everyone shift their focus to Stiles.

 

“What is a spark?” Julianna asked, studying Stiles with a confused frown. It was obvious she didn’t detect anything special about him, Stiles didn’t take her dismissive tone to heart.

 

“Pure magic,” the emissary answered, looking completely awed by being in the same presence as him. “Their magic is limited only to the power of their belief. It has been years since one ignited, they’re very rare.”

 

“Oh really?” Julianna purred, her interest in Stiles renewed and heightened. “How extraordinary, what else have you been hiding Derek?”

 

“We haven’t hidden anything from you Alpha Mortise,” Scott cut in, recapturing the control he had momentarily lost. “We have a banshee, kitsune, and were-coyote in the pack, along with a few humans.”

 

“Ooh, what a diverse group,” Julianna commented, eyeing each member as if she could single out the different ones. “I can’t wait to hear more about your pack and territory.”

 

“Then please join us for dinner,” Scott invited, his friendly smile back in place.

 

“We would like that very much,” Julianna agreed, nodding to the others in her pack. “When should we be expected?”

 

“Tonight at 6pm would be perfect,” Scott replied, holding his hand out to shake. This was the make it or break it moment.

 

“We’ll be there,” Julianna promised, shaking his hand with a confident smirk.

______________________________________________________________________

 

The pack helped make the meal, everyone playing their part. Lydia and Jackson had taken charge, ordering the rest of them around. Scott was on salad duty since he could burn water, and then Isaac was charged with making the mashed potatoes. Stiles and Derek awkwardly worked around each other, Stiles making the pasta as Derek made a heap of steaks. Kira and Malia worked on dessert, fudgy brownies with vanilla ice cream. Then Cora worked on steamed mixed vegetables as another side. Peter had just sat back and watched the pack, fondly amused.

 

The problem was that the dinner had barely started, and Derek already wanted to stab himself with the closest sharp utensil. The Mortise pack was respectful and friendly, but pushed certain boundaries. It was nothing extreme, it was backhanded compliments or invasions of privacy or space. Things that were irritating, but nothing to start a pack war over. Derek hoped that the others knew that any sign of violence would be taken as a challenge. He was sure that was why the Mortise pack was so passive aggressive, they wanted an excuse.

 

“Thank you for your hospitality,” Julianna greeted, waving her pack members over. “Let me introduce you to my family—you have been so kind and showed me yours.”

 

“We would love that,” Scott replied jovially, nodding in greeting to the foreign pack milling inside.

 

Derek had to grit his teeth, he didn’t like the threat being inside his home. He was only comforted by the knowledge that no one with ill intent would be allowed in, thanks to Stiles’ protection wards. Scott was handling everything much better than Derek, he was always so approachable and down to earth when it counted.

 

“This is Henry,” Julianna announced, placing her hand delicately on the young man at her right. “He’s my eldest son, and second in command.”

 

“Nice to meet you,” Henry stated, offering them a small smile.

 

“These are my nephews Jake and Kyle,” Julianna moved on, motioning to the twins just behind her. They offered identical smiles and lazy waves. “This lovely lady is Marti, my only daughter.”

 

“Thank you for having us,” Marti replied, her entire attention uncomfortably focused on Derek. “You have a lovely home.”

 

“Thank you,” Derek politely replied, ignoring Stiles’ burning gaze locked on him.

 

“And of course this is Kaitlyn, our pack’s emissary,” Julianna finished, causing the girl to step up on the alpha’s left.

 

“Pleasure,” Kaitlyn offered, eyeing Stiles with apparent fascination. It made Derek’s skin crawl watching her eye Stiles like an experiment.

 

“Great,” Scott commented, subtly glancing over at Derek for help. “Dinner is just about ready, please feel free to make yourself comfortable. We’ll serve it, of course.”

 

Derek left with Stiles, Malia, Cora, and Peter to grab the food while the others got everybody situated. Derek couldn’t risk talking to any of them, not with the Mortise pack in hearing range. Peter seemed to understand what Derek was trying to silently say, he ushered Malia and Cora out of the kitchen. Stiles arched his eyebrow at Derek, obviously not having missed the little disappearing act.

 

Derek opened his mouth, but he couldn’t find the words. He was never good with them, not even in high school when he was popular. They never came out like he wanted them to, they always sounded bad and made things worse. Derek couldn’t risk that, not now and not with Stiles. He closed his mouth, turning away annoyed at himself.

 

“Hey,” Stiles whispered, catching Derek by the arm.

 

Derek sighed turning back to Stiles, ready to face the indignant fury Stiles wore so well. Instead he was met with gentle understanding, it took Derek completely by surprise. He assumed Stiles would be angry at him for never talking about what happened on the night of the full moon, he didn’t expect this.

 

Stiles smiled softly, his amber eyes bright with warm exasperation. Before Derek could fumble his way through an apology or explanation, Stiles leaned in brushing his lips against Derek’s. It was a simple peck, but it held so much promise. Derek smiled widely, making Stiles’ smile widen in relief. Derek swooped in stealing one more kiss.

 

They delivered the rest of the food to the dining table, making sure to sit next to each other. It was strange seeing the table filled with strangers, even if the Hale pack still outnumbered them. Scott sat at the end of the table with Julianna sitting at the other end. The Mortise pack sat across from the Hale pack, it was almost like an old fashioned standoff.

 

“This looks absolutely delicious,” Julianna complimented, making Scott preen as if he cooked the whole thing. Derek had to hold back a snort at that.

 

“Thank you, we all helped pitch in,” Scott explained, making Julianna nod in evident approval. “Please, go ahead and dig in.”

 

The two packs waited until their alpha’s plate were filled, and then the members of the pack who had mates made a plate for their mate. Jackson made one for Lydia as Scott made one for Kira, Isaac and Cora made one for each other, and Derek blushed when Stiles offered him one. The others in their pack smirked or giggled at that, but didn’t seem too surprised by the change in the two’s relationship.

 

“Scott, how were you turned?” Henry questioned curiously, causing Scott to nearly choke on his pasta.

 

“My fault,” Peter piped in, looking way more amused than he should. “I went through a phase, and Scott here was bitten back when I was an alpha.”

 

“A phase?” Jake repeated, looking over at his twin in disbelief.

 

“Yes,” Scott reiterated pointedly, making the twins drop the subject out of respect. “After I was turned I had no idea what was going on. It was Stiles who figured it out and helped me through my first full moon.”

 

“Oh, how interesting,” Kaitlyn commented, turning her attention to Stiles. “How did you manage?”

 

“Um, mainly dumb luck,” Stiles answered honestly, causing her eyes to widen in horror. “It was a trial and error kind of thing, but I figured out the best way to help him transition.”

 

“Impressive,” Kaitlyn murmured, silently pondering his answer.

 

“If you don’t mind me asking,” Kyle started, giving his twin a sly smirk. “How did you get rid of the kanima? Did that really happen?”

 

Derek’s attention drifted over to Jackson, who looked ready to growl. Lydia placed a soothing hand on his leg, calming him down. That time wasn’t a good memory for either of them. Derek wanted to snap at the twins to shut up, and the rest of the pack looked like they wanted to do much more. It was okay to mess with their own, but they sure as hell weren’t going to let outsiders do it.

 

“I was bitten, but I turned into the kanima instead of a wolf,” Jackson slowly explained, trying not to grind his teeth together. “It was only when I figured my shi—my life out that I turned into a wolf.”

 

“How did you manage that?” Kaitlyn curiously asked, looking like a kid in a candy store. It was like she had never met other wolves before.

 

“I had help,” Jackson softly answered, smiling over at Lydia who beamed proudly in response.

 

“Yes you did,” Lydia sassily retorted, making Jackson roll his eyes as the others chuckled.

 

“How lovely,” Julianna complimented, glancing over at the other couples at the table. “I have never met a pack so intimately intertwined before.”

 

“Most of us go to school together,” Scott offered, speaking about the teens in the pack. “Others have met through family. My mother couldn’t be here tonight because of work.”

 

“Same with my father,” Stiles added, nodding over at Scott in support. “Peter we’re just stuck with.”

 

The Mortise pack froze unsure what to expect from the more volatile wolf, they had heard terrible rumors about the eldest Hale’s temper. Derek just rolled his eyes as Peter feigned hurt, holding a hand over his breaking heart. The others snickered and tsked at them, but it was amusing no matter how inappropriate they were acting.

 

“You wound me Stiles,” Peter lied, making Stiles smirk cheekily.

 

“You guys are a riot,” Marti giggled, making the tension melt from the Mortise pack. “Are they always like this?”

 

“Yeah, basically,” Isaac drawled, his lazy smirk giving away his amusement.

 

“What an interesting bunch,” Julianna admired, dragging the attention back to her. “I must confess, I’m curious about one rumor in particular.”

 

“Which one?” Scott questioned, feeling his stomach tighten anxiously.

 

“The one about the nogitsune,” Julianna continued, pointedly ignoring the way everyone tensed at her words. “I have never come across a fox demon before. However did you defeat it?”

 

Derek grabbed Stiles’ hand under the table, squeezing it comfortingly. Stiles steeled himself, taking a deep breath. He kept his eyes focused on his plate, but he could feel the others’ eyes on him. They all knew that it was an off limits topic, unless he brought it up first.  

 

None of them wanted a repeat of what happened during lunch the other day. In fact, the pack was ready to rip her throat for even asking about it. Last year was hard on everyone, no one wanted to talk about it, much less to a stranger. It was too soon, still too fresh. It was one thing talking about it with pack, but another thing entirely to discuss it with outsiders.

 

“The nogitsune possessed one of us, but then we managed to trick it and then trap it,” Kira tentatively answered, glancing at the others concerned.

 

“Which one?” Jake asked, looking between the different pack members wide eyed.

 

“That’s none of your—”

 

“Me,” Stiles interrupted Malia, giving her a pointed look.

 

“What are you now?” Kyle sneered, ignoring the warning glare Henry shot him.

 

“Better,” Stiles answered honestly.

 

Chapter Text

“He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” –Emily Bronte

 

Stiles nibbled on the end of his straw distractedly, he didn’t know what he felt like eating. He had skipped lunch to help Scott study for their test in chemistry, so now he was starving. Derek had surprised him by asking if he wanted to get something to eat after school with him, Stiles was convinced that Malia told Derek that Stiles didn’t eat. It didn’t matter, Stiles thought it was sweet. Maybe it would actually give them time to talk about them, and whatever the hell they were.

 

They once again haven’t spoken about what had happened, both too caught up in the Mortise pack. They had only been in Beacon Hills for three days, but it felt like months. The Hale pack had to travel in pairs, just in case they were attacked, but the Mortise pack never left them alone. It was like they couldn’t go off on their own, they had to have someone from the Hale pack escorting them. It was driving Stiles insane.

 

“Would you stop that?” Derek grunted, glaring at him over the menu.

 

“Stop what?” Stiles questioned, pulling away from his drink confused.

 

“Sucking on your straw,” Derek snapped, his ears turning a bright red. “You have no idea what it looks like.”

 

“Oh?” Stiles teased, making Derek groan in disbelief. “What does it look like Derek?”

 

“You know damn well,” Derek grumbled, trying to hide his growing smile behind the menu. “You’re such a brat.”

 

“Who? Not me I assure you,” Stiles snickered, loving the way Derek was so relaxed with him right now. Everyone had been even more wound up since the Mortise pack arrived.

 

“Hi, what can I get you guys?” Carly, their waitress, asked with a friendly smile. “Or do you need more time?”

 

“I’ll have a double cheeseburger with curly fries, please and thank you.” Stiles requested, closing his menu, satisfied.

 

“I’ll have the club sandwich with the house salad, thank you.” Derek ordered, politely offering the waitress his menu.

 

“You are so ridiculous,” Stiles jokingly whined, causing Carly to giggle.

 

Derek glowered, Stiles chuckled, and Carly bounced off to put their order down. It was like everything was right in the world…for once. Stiles and Derek managed to get the afternoon off of Mortise pack sitting, the others were taking turns telling stories and showing off the limited sites. Poor suckers.

 

“What are you thinking about?” Derek asked, watching Stiles stare out the window absentmindedly.

 

“It’s my senior year,” Stiles murmured, his eyes drifting back over to Derek somberly. “I never thought I’d make it this far.”

 

“I’d never let anything happen to you Stiles,” Derek adamantly protested, his heart clenching painfully at the mere thought.

 

“I know,” Stiles reassured Derek, placing his hand comfortingly on Derek’s. “It’s just…we have a crazy and dangerous life, it’s no one’s fault, it’s just how it is. I would do anything to protect you…and the pack of course.”

 

“Has this been bothering you for a while?” Derek questioned, leaning in closer, concern taking over his grisly expression.

 

“Nah, sometimes I just think about it,” Stiles replied, squeezing Derek’s hand with promise. “Being here with you, with the pack, my dad…it just reminds me of Erica, Boyd, and…Allison.”

 

Stiles knew that it hurt Derek to talk about his deceased betas, but Stiles couldn’t keep it in anymore. Sometimes it wasn’t nightmares that kept him from going asleep at night, sometimes it was fear. He was terrified that he wouldn’t make it to graduation, that one day Lydia would scream his name. Stiles was stronger than he was before, but he wasn’t a trained hunter or vicious betas. He was just Stiles.

 

“Hey, listen to me,” Derek urged, bringing Stiles back to reality. “You’re incredibly intelligent, stupidly loyal, fiercely brave, and on top of everything you have unlimited magic. You’re going to be okay, and the pack’s going to be okay. We have you and you have us.”

 

“Derek,” Stiles whispered, blinking rapidly trying to get rid of the tears forming in them. “You always know what to say dude.”

 

“Don’t call me dude,” Derek muttered, making Stiles burst out laughing.

 

Derek watched Stiles laugh, it made him chuckle and feel warm all over. He had caused that, he had made Stiles feel better. Stiles’ laughter trailed off, but left behind a wide smile. Derek relaxed, happy that he had once again been able to help. Stiles leaned further across the table, until he was almost draped over it, and stole a passionate kiss.

 

“Thanks Derek,” Stiles murmured against Derek’s lips, before quickly pecking him once more.

 

Derek grinned stupidly as Stiles got resituated in his seat. Stiles licked his lips, able to taste the lemon in Derek’s water. He knew that it had to be hard to date a werewolf, Stiles had heard stories from Allison, then Kira, and of course Lydia. He was told about how protective and even territorial they could be, and how scent marking was an even bigger deal when you’re in a relationship with one. Jackson was big on Lydia’s wearing his jackets, and Scott turned into a maniac whenever he felt threatened. Stiles wasn’t stupid, he knew what he was getting himself into when it came to Derek. It just didn’t matter, all that primal stuff was worth it.

 

“Anytime—”

 

“So are we together?” Stiles blurted out, causing half the diner to glance over at them nosily.

 

“Smooth Stiles,” Derek hissed, his ears turning a deep shade of red again.

 

“Because I want you to know that I really do like you, but I’ve finally gotten to a point where I won’t just bend over backwards because you’re hot and amazing. You’re going to have to really work for it, if you want into these pants. I know we’ve kissed, and it was awesome and everything, but what do you want from me?” Stiles confessed in a single breath, making Derek’s eyes widen at the impromptu declaration of intent.

 

“Stiles,” Derek replied seriously, as he reached out to take Stiles’ hands in his own. “I don’t think I’ve met someone who considers curly fries their own food group, or someone who can talk for hours without losing momentum. You are the only person I know that really calls me out on my bullshit, and the only person who is willing to risk their life to cheer me up. Stiles, I haven’t met someone who was more perfect, to me, for me. When you ask what I want from you, the answer should be obvious.”

 

“What?” Stiles asked stunned, his throat dry and eyes wet.

 

“Everything,” Derek whispered, before leaning over the table to greedily capture Stiles’ lips.

______________________________________________________________________

 

Watching Stiles eat was like a lesson in ultimate control and restraint. Derek watched, dazed, as Stiles licked the grease from his fingers, oblivious to Derek’s growing hard on. It was the worst kind of torture, he couldn’t even steal another kiss. Carly had told them that it was hot, but that Ed’s Place was a family establishment so they had to keep the PDA minimal. Stiles flailed in embarrassment, nearly knocking over their food when she told them. Derek on the other hand, had to resist the urge to drag Stiles to his jeep so they could continue.

 

It was so frustrating, Derek had never been so…primal before. He knew that it was completely normal for a werewolf, healthy even, but it was still so foreign. Derek was still surprised that he was allowed to kiss Stiles, hold his hand, just be with him. He had spent so long yearning from afar, now that he actually had Stiles it was surreal. Stiles was finally his, and he was finally Stiles’. Everything was perfect.

 

“Derek are you even listening to me?” Stiles questioned, looking far too amused for his own good.

 

“Yeah,” Derek lied, but Stiles didn’t have to hear the bleep in his heartbeat to know that. “Okay, no I wasn’t.”

 

“Obviously,” Stiles snorted, before popping another curly fry into his mouth. “Then what were you thinking about?”

 

“Us,” Derek admitted, making Stiles grow more serious. “I just can’t believe we’re actually together. I don’t know how long I thought about us like this, but I never thought we’d ever get together.”

 

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” Stiles agreed, glancing away with a shy smile. “I didn’t think you’d be interested in me like that, I didn’t even know you swung both ways. I had inklings, but then always thought…well, even if you were bi I wouldn’t be your type.”

 

“I didn’t really broadcast my bisexuality, but it’s a small town and there hadn’t been many options,” Derek replied, running a hand through his hair flustered. “If Laura was still alive, she would have been teasing me nonstop about how I pined for you.”

 

“Are you serious?” Stiles blurted, causing Derek to groan when nosy gazes found their table once more.

 

“Yes, you lunatic,” Derek grumbled, failing at his attempt to hide his sullen pout. “When did you start liking me?”

 

“Oh, uh…” Stiles trailed off, his face heating in unconcealed embarrassment. “I guess maybe around…I don’t know…when you saved me from a crazy Peter.”

 

“That seems like forever ago now,” Derek murmured, leaning back in his seat surprised.

 

“Yeah, well…when did you realize you like me?” Stiles countered, not really expecting a sincere answer.

 

“When you held me up in the pool for two hours,” Derek confessed, looking down at his hands with a sad smile. “You didn’t have to, but you saved my life…again.”

 

“We’re idiots,” Stiles declared, shaking his head in disbelief.

 

“Yeah, I could see that,” the Sheriff agreed, walking over to their table with a knowing smirk.

 

Derek could feel the club sandwich he’d had earlier trying to make its way back up, Stiles looked ready to bolt any second. Neither of them had expected for the Sheriff to show up at the diner, it was one of the reasons why they chose it. Stiles had said that it was on the list of places his dad wasn’t allowed to go because of his health, now Derek felt like he was the one having a heart attack.

 

“Dad!” Stiles exclaimed, rising to his feet surprised. “What are you doing here?”

 

“I was passing by when I saw you two from the window,” the Sheriff explained, motioning Stiles to sit back down. “Hope you don’t mind if I join you boys.”

 

“No, we were just leaving,” Stiles said, even as he sat down next to Derek in defeat.

 

“Aww, well then indulge me with some time together,” the Sheriff dismissed, smiling as he waved the waitress over.

 

“I should probably—”

 

“Don’t you dare,” Stiles hissed, clutching Derek’s arm to stop him from leaving.

 

Derek contemplated breaking Stiles’ wrist so he could get away, but that probably wasn’t the best start to a relationship. He slumped back down in his seat, warily eyeing the gun strapped to the Sheriff’s belt. Derek wondered if the man had wolfsbane bullets loaded, just in case. Like just in case his son dated an older werewolf who he had arrested before. Oh god, Derek was going to die.

 

“Don’t look so solemn,” the Sheriff commented, doing nothing to help the mood. “I’m sure the Mortise pack will be in and out before we know it. God knows that we’ve dealt with worst before.”

 

Stiles and Derek both relaxed a bit at hearing the Sheriff’s comment. He thought that they were so panicked because of the intruding pack, of course he’d think that. It wasn’t like Derek had given him a reason to think he was involved with Stiles, even Stiles didn’t know Derek liked him. They were both in the clear.

 

“Yeah,” Derek grunted, making Stiles look over at him unimpressed. Derek internally winced as the Sheriff glanced up from his menu. “So far they’ve been nothing but friendly.”

 

“Ah, yes,” the Sheriff agreed with a slight nod. “Friendly is safe, anything…more would be dipping into dangerous territory.”

 

Derek tensed hearing that, he forced himself to remain calm. The Sheriff didn’t know, he couldn’t have known, Stiles and Derek literally just made things official. Their relationship didn’t even change that much, it was the same as before but with kissing.

 

“Yeah, we don’t think they’ll stay for long,” Stiles hesitantly added, looking between his dad and Derek unsure.

 

“Good, after all,” the Sheriff paused to look up at the two with a wicked grin. “I have wolfsbane bullets locked and loaded now. Stiles, you know how good of a shot I am.”

 

Derek resisted the urge to whimper, and tilt his head back in submission. Stiles’ hand fell onto Derek’s knee, forcing him to stay seated. It was a good thing he did that, otherwise Derek would have catapulted through the window and acquiesced to a life of living in the woods. Stiles cleared his throat, bringing Derek back from his desperate thoughts.

 

“Yeah, good thing,” Stiles piped up, his voice high and squeaky.

 

“I’m going to go pick up my food,” the Sheriff announced, slowing rising to his feet. “I ordered it to go, have to head back to the station soon.”

 

“Oh man, that sucks Dad,” Stiles responded, while Derek quickly nodded in agreement.

 

The Sheriff just huffed in amusement, before heading over to the counter. If Derek thought he was safe, he was obviously very wrong. The second the Sheriff had his back turned, Stiles punched Derek in the shoulder. It must have been laced with magic because it actually hurt.

 

“What?” Derek growled, rubbing his arm soothingly.

 

“You were totally going to abandon me,” Stiles accused, looking like he was debating whether punch him again or not.

 

“You heard him!” Derek snapped back, making Stiles roll his eyes in exasperation. “He wasn’t talking about the Mortise pack Stiles.”

 

“You’re afraid of my dad,” Stiles cooed, making a familiar flush rise to Derek’s face. “The big bad wolf is afraid of the local sheriff.”

 

“If I’m the big bad wolf, what does that make you?” Derek countered, a predatory smirk sliding onto his face.

 

“Underage,” the Sheriff answered, making Derek freeze.

 

“No, Dad we weren’t—”

 

“Congratulations boys,” the Sheriff interrupted, holding up a hand to silence their denials. “I only have one thing to say…”

 

“What is that Sir?” Derek nervously asked, not sure if he really wanted to know the answer.

 

 “It’s about damn time,” the Sheriff retorted, chuckling when the two looked at each other shocked.

Chapter Text

“You are my sun, my moon, and all of my stars.” –E. E. Cummings

 

“You don’t understand,” Stiles whined, ignoring the way the others laughed at him. “It was so mortifying! I thought I was going to have to flee the country!”

 

“It couldn’t have been that bad,” Kira soothed, offering him a sweet smile. “I mean, at least your dad didn’t invite Derek over for dinner without you knowing.”

 

“Hey, I had a really good time,” Scott piped in, wrapping his arm around Kira’s small waist. “Even when I nearly burned my tongue off on that one thing.”

 

“Yeah, your dad could have actually shot him,” Isaac adds, remembering when Chris had nearly killed him when he caught Isaac in Allison’s room.

 

“Or talk about prenups whenever given the chance,” Lydia snapped, sending Jackson an annoyed look.

 

“I told him to stop doing that,” Jackson retorted, subtly using his lacrosse gear as a shield. “Your mom still gives me dirty looks, no matter where I’m at. When she was our sub that one time, I thought I was going to get detention for asking to use the bathroom.”

 

“Wow,” Stiles stated, looking at his friends in a new light. “Our parents are insane.”

 

“Not literally,” Malia commented offhandedly, wrapping her arm around Stiles’ waist. “Well, unless you count my dad.”

 

Everyone stopped in the middle of the hallway, looking at each other surprised. It was only a second later when they all burst into fits of laughter. Jackson chuckling deeply as Lydia covered her mouth, trying to contain herself. Kira giggled as Scott buried his face in her hair. Isaac rolled his eyes chuckling as Cora snickered, shaking her head in disbelief. Stiles threw his head back laughing as Malia grinned, unsurprised that she once again made the pack laugh without meaning to.

 

“Okay, so maybe it wasn’t so bad then,” Stiles amended, looking at his friends, feeling better.

 

“Yeah, it was a long time coming anyways,” Lydia replied, once she finally regained her composure.

 

“What?” Stiles asked, glancing over at her confused. “I never told anyone about how I felt about Derek.”

 

“Stiles, it wasn’t a secret to any of us how you guys felt about each other,” Lydia answered, making the others nod in agreement.

 

“What? How?” Stiles flailed, narrowly avoiding Malia who swiftly ducked out of the way. “I tried so hard to be cool about it.”

 

“It doesn’t help that you reek of lust and need whenever you’re around him,” Isaac commented, making Scott whine, pained.

 

“It took me forever to realize what that scent was,” Scott confessed, as they continued on their way to the parking lot. “I almost died when I figured it out.”

 

“Invasion of privacy!” Stiles shrieked, a deep flush coloring his face red.

 

“If it makes you feel better, he always smelled like unresolved sexual tension and pining,” Core generously offered, making Malia scrunch her nose and nod.

 

“You guys are the literal worst,” Stiles claimed, covering his face with his hands, embarrassed.

 

“Awe, look who came,” Kira cooed, pointing at the familiar range rover sitting in the parking lot.

 

“I’m impressed,” Lydia hummed, crossing her arms in approval.

 

Stiles dropped his hands, wondering what they were all looking at. His jaw almost dropped when he saw Derek leaning against his car. Derek looked amazing in a tight purple Henley and black jeans with combat boots. Stiles glanced down at his flannel and khakis, internally groaning.

 

“Could he make it any more obvious?” Scott whined, placing a hand over his nose.

 

“Hey,” Stiles hissed, nudging the mortified alpha. “We just had this conversation.”

 

“He’s not talking about you,” Cora winced, glancing over at Derek, looking like she wished she wasn’t a werewolf at the moment.

 

“Oh,” Stiles murmured, feeling both proud and relieved. “Oh.”

 

“Articulate as ever Stilinski,” Jackson taunted, leading Lydia over to his flashy Porsche.

 

“Remember lunch is only an hour,” Scott reminded, taking Kira over to his motorbike.

 

“See you later,” Cora said, following Isaac and Malia over to her car.

 

Stiles smiled shyly as he headed over to where Derek was standing. He had never had a relationship before, other than with his right hand. Stiles was surrounded by relationships, all different kinds, but he wasn’t sure what it was actually like to be in one. It made him feel young and childish, especially next to Derek who was older and more experienced.

 

“Hey,” Stiles greeted, waving awkwardly.

 

“Hey,” Derek murmured, placing his hand on Stiles’ waist. “Want to grab something to eat?”

 

“Anything but Ed’s Place,” Stiles muttered, surprising a laugh out of Derek.

 

“Sounds good,” Derek replied, pulling Stiles closer.

 

Stiles felt his cheeks heat up again, even though he tried to smother the blush. He tentatively placed his hands on Derek’s shoulders, making the older man smile. Stiles tilted his chin up, subtly putting his neck on display. Derek hummed in approval, leaning down to bury his face in the crook of Stiles’ neck.

 

“How long have you been waiting?” Stiles softly asked, trying to ignore the chills running up and down his spine.

 

“Not long,” Derek answered, before pressing a gentle kiss on Stiles’ neck. “Long enough to know that the pack knows about us.”

 

“Oh god,” Stiles groaned, closing his eyes as Derek chuckled deeply. He could feel the vibrations rumbling from Derek’s firm chest.

 

“Let’s get out of here,” Derek suggested, pulling away once he was sure his scent was all over Stiles.

 

“Okay,” Stiles agreed, walking around to get into the passenger’s seat.

 

“How’s school so far?” Derek asked, once he was settled and on the road.

 

“It’s fine,” Stiles replied, shrugging his arms carelessly. “My schedule is still pretty full, but nothing too much to worry about. The others are thinking about setting up study sessions, since most of us have similar classes.”

 

“Sounds like a good idea,” Derek commended, turning onto the road leading to his house. “You know you guys can always use the house for whatever…besides parties.”

 

“I thought you were about to be cool right now,” Stiles teased, glancing over at Derek with feigned disappointment.

 

“Someone has to be responsible,” Derek countered, pulling into the driveway.

 

Stiles could sense that the house was empty, it made a thrill run through him. Derek glanced over at Stiles when he heard the younger man’s heartbeat skyrocket. Stiles licked his lips, noticing the way Derek’s eyes followed the slow movement. Stiles nervously unbuckled his seatbelt, before turning to look at Derek with steeled determination.

 

“What if I don’t want to be responsible?” Stiles whispered, glancing down at Derek’s lips pointedly.

______________________________________________________________________

 

“Derek,” Stiles gasped breathlessly, as Derek trailed heated kisses down Stiles’ neck.

 

Derek knew that Stiles was more inexperienced, he could smell his nervous desperation. It was a common teenager scent, but Derek couldn’t get enough of the taste and smell of Stiles. It was hard to describe, underneath everything, Stiles smelled tangy like citrus fruit. Combined with Derek’s scent, something more spicy and warm, it was absolutely perfect.

 

He had wanted to take things slow, Derek didn’t want to pressure Stiles in any way. However, earlier Stiles had made the first move, practically demanding Derek’s attention. It was one of the sexiest things Derek had seen, he was practically putty in the teen’s hands. Stiles had always been vocal and a bit bossy, that wasn’t any different when they made out. Derek was confident that Stiles would tell him what he liked, and definitely say what he didn’t.

 

Derek started sucking on Stiles’ revealed collarbone, as his hands trailed down Stiles’ lean body. He loved the way Stiles arched into his touch, needy with unashamed abandon. His hands landed on Stiles’ perfectly rounded backside, causing the young man to moan and thrust into Derek’s thigh. Both of them were hard, making aborted thrusts against each other.

 

Stiles’ hands never kept still, always roaming Derek’s body. One moment he had them in Derek’s hair, a fan of pulling when Derek was doing something very right. The next moment they would be exploring Derek’s muscles, clawing red lines across Derek’s back and arms. Stiles was a force to be reckoned with, an addiction Derek would never give up.

 

Once there was a deep hickey forming over Stiles’ collarbone, Derek kissed his way back up to Stiles’ already swollen lips. He licked his way into Stiles’ mouth, taking his time to reacquaint himself with every inch. Derek greedily swallowed Stiles’ moans, his hands gripping Stiles’ ass harder, pulling him closer.

 

Stiles grinded into Derek, causing Derek to pull away with a heated groan. Stiles continued grinding into Derek’s thigh, his movements deliberately slow. Derek looked down at Stiles lying under him, his eyes dark with lust and mouth wet from their needy kisses. Derek ran a hand through Stiles’ hair, causing the teen to close his eyes and lean into the touch affectionately. It made Derek smile and think about how lucky he was to have him.

 

“You’re perfect,” Derek murmured huskily, enjoying the way Stiles’ smelled like his.

 

“Derek, you’re—”

 

Stiles tensed, his once sweet scent souring with surprise and anxiety. Derek immediately pulled away, afraid that he had done something wrong. Stiles didn’t react, keeping perfectly still as he glanced around warily. Derek could practically hear the different thoughts racing through Stiles’ head.

 

“What’s wrong?” Derek questioned, concerned, bringing Stiles’ attention back to him.

 

“We’re not alone,” Stiles whispered, his voice tight with anger and fear. “Someone triggered the wards outside the house.”

 

They both jumped when the doorbell rang, shattering the moment they were having. Derek’s eyes bled blue as his teeth elongated, he couldn’t hear or smell the intruder. Whoever it was, they weren’t pack. Derek didn’t like getting dropped on like they did, it made him feel vulnerable. Stiles placed a hand on his chest, trying to calm him down.

 

“Hey, it’s Kaitlyn! I uh…heard you were home. I just wanted to see if you guys wanted to hang out. The rest of my pack is with yours right now,” Kaitlyn called through the door, sounding more awkward and unsure by the second.

 

“Damn,” Derek cursed, his teeth receding back to normal human ones.

 

“You’re telling me,” Stiles groaned, adjusting himself in his tight jeans.

 

“Come here,” Derek softly ordered, pulling Stiles into his lap.

 

“Derek,” Stiles laughed, as Derek nuzzled his neck playfully. “We have to get her, she can sense us in here.”

 

“Why couldn’t I hear her?” Derek questioned, sighing as Stiles stood up fixing himself.

 

“Probably a charm of some kind,” Stiles answered, leaning in to whisper in Derek’s ear. “I’ll counteract it with a stronger one.”

 

“Thank you,” Derek whispered, kissing Stiles’ cheek before getting up.

 

Stiles walked over to the front door, Derek begrudgingly following after him. Derek was still hard, and wanted nothing more than to get him and Stiles off. However, he wasn’t going to start a pack war over cockblocking. It was just another thing that they had to deal with until the Mortise pack left.

 

“Hey,” Kaitlyn greeted, the moment Derek opened the door for her. “How are you doing?”

 

“Good, thanks,” Stiles replied, offering her a strained smile. “What about you? Hope you’re enjoying Beacon Hills, it’s not much, but it’s home.”

 

“Yes, it’s quite lovely,” Kaitlyn agreed, nodding at Derek in acknowledgment. “The rest of the pack are fond of the woods you have here. I really like the atmosphere, there is a power here.”

 

“Hales have been on this land for years,” Derek stated, looking out at the vast of forest surrounding the house. “My ancestors helped build the town.”

 

“I didn’t know that,” Stiles replied, glancing at Derek with a touch of awe. “That’s amazing.”

 

“That’s really interesting,” Kaitlyn agreed, sitting down on the chair next to the couch. “Has all your family been dominantly werewolves?”

 

“Yes, most of my family either were born or took the bite later,” Derek answered tersely, making Stiles wanted to punch her in the face for asking.

 

“I’m sorry to hear about what happened,” Kaitlyn offered meaninglessly. “I can only imagine what it must be like, losing them like that.”

 

“I only hope you would never have to know what it actually feels like,” Derek muttered, taking comfort in Stiles’ shifting closer to him.

 

“I’m sorry,” Kaitlyn apologized, looking down at her hands, ashamed. “Sometimes my mouth gets away with me.”

 

“I know the feeling,” Stiles said, making Derek snort in response.

 

“I actually wanted to know more about you Stiles,” Kaitlyn requested, reaching out to place a hand on his knee. “From one emissary to another.”

 

“I don’t know—”

 

“I insist,” Kaitlyn maintained, her grip on Stiles’ knee tightening. “I believe we are going to be good friends Stiles.”

 

Derek didn’t like the sound of that at all.

 

Chapter Text

“Most species bare their teeth as a threat, a display of aggression, of leadership. It is a reminder that these clenched jaws can, and will open your yielding throat. I want you to think of this the next time I smile.” –b.p.

 

“You and Derek seem very close,” Kaitlyn commented, trying to hide her interest with nonchalance.

 

“I’m close with everyone in the pack,” Stiles corrected, pushing through the branches in his way.

 

“It’s amazing how close the pack is…after everything that happened,” Kaitlyn replied, stumbling over the rocky terrain.

 

“We’ve been through a lot together,” Stiles agreed, closing his eyes as the memories tore through him. “It hasn’t been easy on any of us, but we’re getting through it together.”

 

“That’s admirable,” Kaitlyn complimented, making Stiles bite back a sarcastic eye roll.

 

Admirable, there was nothing admirable about everything the pack had to do to survive. There was nothing admirable about a ragtag group of kids fighting to protect their home. Admirable, wasn’t the word anyone of the Hale pack would use to describe themselves or their actions.

 

“It’s necessary,” Stiles dismissed, failing to hide his bitterness on the topic.

 

They continued trudging through the forest in silence, Kaitlyn unsure if her questions were welcomed now that she had inadvertently ruined Stiles’ good mood. She meant no disrespect, but she could tell that pack history was a touchy subject, with him especially. Kaitlyn still couldn’t believe that for a pack so haunted by its past, they were still so strong and united.

 

“I noticed that you all consider yourselves a part of the Hale pack, but Scott is the alpha here. Why is that?” Kaitlyn asked, when the silence became too deafening.

 

“Scott didn’t want to dishonor the Hales, they were a strong presence in town, and everyone loved them. He believes that as long there is a Hale in Beacon Hills then this is Hale land,” Stiles answered, feeling a rush of fondness for his best friend. Scott and Derek had come a long way since that first day in the woods.

 

“Oh,” Kaitlyn murmured surprised, it was unorthodox to say the least. “It has nothing to do with the proud Hale name?”

 

“I’m sure that’s a part of it,” Stiles allowed, glancing at her out of the corner of his eye. “The Hale name held a lot of weight in the werewolf community, still does. There might only be three Hales in the pack right now, but I don’t doubt that one day there’ll be more.”

 

Stiles thought about the surviving Hales, all of them so alike and yet so different from one another. Peter was sarcastic and conniving, someone who didn’t trust easily and didn’t inspire trust either. However, he would die and kill for his remaining family, and was slowly warming up to his new pack. Cora was cold and distant, someone who had grown up far too fast. Yet, she stayed in Beacon Hills, choosing family over the pack she had lived with for years. Then there was Derek…

 

Derek was someone who blamed himself for the loss of his family, hated himself for being tricked and betrayed so often. He fought even when he knew he wouldn’t win, rather risk dying than watch one more pack member fall. Derek was strong, stronger than anyone else Stiles had ever known. He might have not been a fighter like Jackson or Isaac, or a scholar like Lydia or Stiles, but he had something that none of the others did.

 

Stiles was torn from his thoughts when Kaitlyn let out a soft gasp of awe. They had reached the nemeton, something she had insisted on seeing. Stiles didn’t think it was a good idea, but it wasn’t exactly a bad idea either. He just had to be careful on how he proceeded, not only around her, but around the nemeton itself.

 

In the center of the nemeton grew a small sampling, weak and withered, but growing. Stiles made sure that like the pack, the nemeton would have a fresh start. No blood sacrifices or offered souls, not as long as Stiles protected its magic. He could still feel the darkness in him, the one that beat like a second heart, from the sacrifice Scott, Allison, and he made long ago. In a way, that sacrifice connected Stiles straight to the nemeton. Like how the wolves were connected to their territory, the very land they guarded.

 

“I’ve heard so many rumors about its evil power,” Kaitlyn whispered, gingerly reaching out to touch it.

 

“Magic is magic, there is no evil or good about it,” Stiles stated, watching her nod absentmindedly. “Magic is balanced, one cannot blame magic for how it is manipulated.”

 

Kaitlyn flinched back when the force field around the small sampling shocked her. She looked over at Stiles wide eyed, surprised that he had not warned her. Stiles simply shrugged, motioning for her to look around.

 

Kaitlyn never felt so inexperienced in her craft as she did at that moment. All the trees surrounding them held protection and cleansing wards, carved into the trees like brands. The wards gaining even more power from nature, from the ley lines they rested on. If Stiles hadn’t point them out then she probably wouldn’t even have noticed them, she couldn’t even sense the magic pulsing from them.

 

“How?” Kaitlyn asked, turning back towards Stiles with renewed respect and wonder.

 

“The land has accepted me, has accepted the pack,” Stiles answered, kneeling down next to her, his face growing serious. “It won’t accept anyone else.”

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Kaitlyn denied, turning away from his knowing expression.

 

“I think you do,” Stiles murmured, gently taking her chin, forcing her to look at him. “And I’m warning you that it won’t happen.”

 

“My pack is bigger and older than yours,” Kaitlyn protested stubbornly, relying on her pack’s victorious history to deter him.

 

“You think because my pack invited yours as guests, that because we’re small and young, we’ll hesitate in a fight,” Stiles warned, eyes darkening until they were pitch black. “I can assure you, we won’t.”

 

“What are you?” Kaitlyn whimpered, trying to pull away from his abnormally strong grip.

 

“I’m emissary to the Hale pack,” Stiles answered, baring his teeth as he smiled threateningly. “And I brought you out here to warn you, if you attack us...I’ll show you how far I’m willing to go for my pack.”

______________________________________________________________________

 

Derek never felt so content—no, happy. The pack was moving on, talking about previous issues, and embracing the idea that they had each other to rely on. They weren’t perfect, no pack was, but they were working on it. Derek had his rebuilt home, his family together, and now he had Stiles. Derek was happy.

 

Even with the impending threat of the Mortise pack looming over the pack’s head. Stiles had told everyone what Kaitlyn had let slip during their walk together in the forest. Derek didn’t for one second believe that Stiles didn’t have something to do with her loose lips. Especially after seeing the way she practically flinched when Stiles looked at her when they got back to the Hale house.

 

He tried to pry for more information about what exactly happened, but Stiles claimed that he didn’t want to talk about it. Derek begrudgingly dropped the subject, knowing that Stiles would only share if he wanted to. Derek, as annoying as it was, could respect that. He was the same way, and Stiles always did his best to not pry too deep too fast. Tonight Derek wouldn’t ask, tonight Derek would just enjoy a moment of peace.

 

He stared at the plethora of stars glittering around the waxing moon, breathing in the warm night air. Stiles lay beside him, looking happier and more relaxed than Derek had seen him look in a long time. He secretly hoped that he had something to do with that, but Derek knew he couldn’t take all the credit.

 

Derek could hear Stiles’ calm and steady heartbeat, it had a soothing effect on Derek. Stiles was curled into Derek’s side, his arm wrapped around Derek’s waist, and head resting on his chest. Stiles couldn’t hear Derek’s heartbeat supernaturally, so he liked lying on Derek whenever he had the chance. It always made both of them smile whenever their heartbeats synched.

 

“So…” Stiles murmured lazily, before pressing a quick kiss against Derek’s chest. “Do werewolves have a knot?”

 

Derek was startled out of his false sense of security, he should have known better. Stiles snickered seeing Derek blush bright red and sputter for an answer. Derek grumbled lying back down, pulling Stiles to his chest once more. Stiles nestled in easily, cuddling until he was almost on top of Derek.

 

“Only born wolves,” Derek answered, chuckling when Stiles shot up surprised.

 

“Are you serious?” Stiles questioned, looking down at Derek before his eyes trailed over to Derek’s crotch.

 

“Of course not,” Derek scoffed, making Stiles scowl and slap Derek’s shoulder. “Well, that I know of.”

 

“Dammit Derek,” Stiles whined, falling back into Derek’s arms. “When we have sex you better not just spring it on me.”

 

“I love the way you’re so romantic,” Derek said flatly, causing Stiles to nip playfully at his jaw. “Is there anything I should be worried about?”

 

“Are you implying that I should be worried?” Stiles inquired, glancing up at Derek’s carefully blank expression. “You’re the worst! I was just teasing, and now knots are a thing.”

 

“You’re deflecting,” Derek retorted, wondering if there really was something he had to watch out for.

 

“Well…I don’t…I’ve never,” Stiles fumbled, blushing as he looked down. “I haven’t done much so…I wouldn’t know.”

 

Derek felt unjustifiably relieved to hear that, it meant that he would be Stiles’ first. Derek knew he shouldn’t be preening at the primal thought, but he couldn’t help it. He had wanted Stiles for the longest time, in so many ways, for so many reasons. His first time had been Kate, every time after hadn’t meant anything. Stiles’ first time would be special, it would mean something more.

 

“Hey,” Derek whispered, gently hushing Stiles’ embarrassed ramblings. “It’s okay, I’m glad you told me. I’m not going to pressure you Stiles. When it happens I’ll guide you, I’ll make it so good for you. I promise.”

 

Stiles didn’t say anything, Derek was afraid that he had said the wrong thing. It wasn’t until Stiles threw himself at Derek, lips smashing together as their noses harshly banged into each other. Derek didn’t care, he cupped Stiles’ cheek, angling him so the kiss deepened. Stiles’ hands slipped under Derek’s Henley, wantonly tracing his abs.

 

Derek rolled them so Stiles was below him, pressed tight against Derek. The kiss was demanding and needy, neither of them wanting to break apart for anything. Stiles licked his way into Derek’s mouth, quickly exploring before Derek could steal back dominance. One of Derek’s hands got tangled in Stiles’ hair as the other cupped Stiles’ through his pants.

 

“Derek,” Stiles whined, his breaths coming out hard and ragged.

 

“I got you,” Derek murmured, his voice husky with lust.

 

Derek pulled Stiles’ hair, forcing Stiles’ head back to expose his throat. Derek growled causing a shiver to run through Stiles, his heart trying to outrace Derek’s. Stiles let out a high pitched whine, grinding against Derek’s hand impatiently. It made Derek smirk predatorily, his pushy little mate.

 

Derek rubbed Stiles through his pants, groaning at how hard Stiles was. He could feel how big Stiles was, longer than he was, but thinner. Derek wanted nothing more than to find out how he tasted, wanted Stiles to beg for it. Derek pressed his own arousal against Stiles’ thigh, humping his leg shamelessly.

 

Stiles let out a frantic warning that turned into a garbled moan, the front of his pants wet with come. The scent was sharp, flooding Derek’s senses. He bit into the crook of Stiles’ neck, causing the younger man to cry out as Derek milked his orgasm to its finish. Derek continued grinding into Stiles, his movements fast and increasingly sloppy.

 

“Come for me Derek,” Stiles whispered, languidly running a hand through Derek’s hair.

 

Derek let out a deep groan, closing his eyes as he came hard in his jeans. He fell next to Stiles, breathing in the scent of both of them. Stiles quickly curled back into Derek’s side, nuzzling him affectionately. Derek grinned listening to their racing hearts, it was amazing.

 

“What’s going on?” Derek questioned confused, when he saw the preserve look like it was lit up by actual falling stars.

 

“What? Oh…” Stiles mumbled, flushing when he realized what Derek was talking about. “Uh, sometimes…I kind of lose control of my powers.”

 

Derek tore his eyes away from the sparkling stars literally shooting around his backyard, and looked down at Stiles in awe. Stiles shyly smiled, shrugging like it wasn’t a big deal. Derek growled playfully, leaning down to whisper sweet nothings into his mate’s ear. Preening when Stiles whined and laughed, but never pulled away from the teasing.

Their pants were getting uncomfortably sticky, the come clinging to their briefs. The wind was picking up, and the forest was coming alive with its nightlife. They should had probably headed inside, but they continued holding each other under the constellations Stiles accidentally created. The magic stars dipping down low enough to almost touch, giving the couple a warm glow of supernatural light.

 

Yeah, Derek was happy.

 

Chapter Text

“It’s very sad to me that some people are so intent on leaving their mark on the world that they don’t care if that mark is a scar.”- John Green

 

In the few days that the Mortise pack had been in Beacon Hills, Stiles had most of them figured out. Not completely, but enough to know who and what to watch out for. Julianna spent most of her time with Scott, being a little too curious about his rise to becoming an alpha. The time she didn’t spend interrogating him, she used to catch up with the Hales. Something none of the Hales enjoyed in the least, they always looked weary after their discussions with her. She wasn’t threatening for the most part, but seemed to thrive on mind games. It was exhausting for everyone when she and Peter were in the same room for too long.

 

Marti also enjoyed playing games, but hers were centered around manipulation and toying with people’s insecurities. She was beautiful, from her long blonde hair and deep blue eyes to her golden tan and killer body. The worst thing about her though, was that she knew she was gorgeous, and used that power for evil. Marti constantly threw herself at Derek, who politely deflected and denied. It made Stiles want to rip his hair out in frustration, but he was a mature young adult, so he wasn’t going to claw her eyes out. When she wasn’t trying to seduce Derek, Marti was handing out backhanded compliments and subtle jabs to the girls in the pack. It was like she had made it her personal mission to give each of them a complex about something.

 

Before Stiles spoke with Kaitlyn, she had stuck to his side like glue. She wanted to know everything about him, and all the supernatural creatures he had come in contact with. Kaitlyn was curious about everything, and that often rubbed people the wrong way because she was so tactless. She didn’t have boundaries like normal people did, even Stiles was affronted by her lack of filter when it came to more sensitive topics. She asked Jackson about being a kanima, Malia about being a coyote for all those years, but it was when she asked Derek about the Hale fire that Stiles had stepped in. He couldn’t just let her go around bringing up the pack’s worst memories simply because she was curious.

 

Despite his polite and cordial demeanor, Henry made Stiles the most suspicious. Henry wasn’t like his pack members, he didn’t cause scenes like Marti or make waves like Kaitlyn. He was reserved and controlled, that made him dangerous in Stiles’ opinion. It was like he was watching everyone, studying everything the pack did or didn’t do. Henry was a ticking time bomb, each new snippet of information he learned brought him closer to exploding. Stiles didn’t know what Henry was waiting for, but whatever it was made Stiles on guard whenever he was around the beta.

 

Everyone made sense to Stiles, everyone except the twins. Julianna was exerting her dominance over everyone because she was an alpha, Marti was reverting to high school methods of supremacy, Kaitlyn was too inquisitive for her own good, and it was a waiting game for Henry. They each had their niche when it came to infiltrating the pack, but the twins didn’t seem to have any real motive for being such assholes. Jake and Kyle acted like being in Beacon Hills was a punishment, and took out their bitter rage on anyone in the same room as them. No one was safe from their barbed insults and too rough housing, they were out of control.

 

Stiles couldn’t understand why Julianna chose to bring them along for a supposedly peaceful visit. Maybe they were the means for the pack war, they could easily get under the skin of anyone they set their sights on. Then again, that might be too obvious. The twins might have been a simple distraction for the pack, with the real threat being someone else entirely. Either way, the twins were frustrating, vicious, and relentless in their efforts to make everyone hate them.

 

“I can’t imagine being adopted,” Kyle causally commented, causing Malia and Jackson to scowl.

 

“Must be so hard growing up knowing that your parents didn’t want you,” Jake agreed, smirking when Jackson growled at him threateningly.

 

“Their parents chose them,” Stiles interrupted before things could get bloody. “Yours are stuck with you.”

 

“Oh, emissary thinks he has jokes,” Kyle snapped, crossing his arms as he turned to Stiles. “At least I still have both of my parents.”

 

“You seriously think that’s going to get to me?” Stiles inquired unimpressed, even as he buried the pang of misery running through him.

 

“Leave him alone,” Malia snarled, blue eyes flashing dangerously.

 

“I would say control yourself, but obviously you can’t,” Jake retorted, flashing his gold eyes at her in response. “Otherwise maybe your eyes wouldn’t be wrong.”

 

“There’s nothing wrong with them,” Stiles defended, knowing that it was a sensitive subject for Malia and Jackson.

 

“I don’t know,” Kyle commented, picking up on the betas’ discomfort. “There’s so many blue eyes in your pack, it makes me wonder if any of them know what control means. Nothing more than a bunch of monstrous murderers.”

 

Stiles pulled a handful of mountain ash out of his jacket pocket. He focused on what he wanted it to do, and then threw it into the air. Before either of the twins could react, they were surrounded by a small circle of ash. Kyle growled at the barrier while Jake clawed at it uselessly. Stiles smirked in victory, they won’t be getting out of that anytime soon.

 

“Let us go!” Jake demanded, hissing when the barrier pushed back at him.

 

“I think you’ve forgotten,” Stiles stated, holding his hand out toward them. He focused on the mountain ash, connecting its magic with the magic running through his veins. He clenched his fist, causing the circle to grow smaller so the twins were forced closer together. “Your pack is our guest, but that doesn’t mean I won’t do anything in my power to protect my pack…no matter the threat.”

 

“You can’t do this to us!” Kyle snapped, glowering at Stiles resentfully.

 

“Talk to Kaitlyn,” Stiles retorted, shrugging his shoulders unconcerned. “You’ll be surprised by how much I can do.”

 

Stiles strolled off with Jackson and Malia following after him. They both were silent, impressed and touched by what he had done to defend them. Jackson knew that Stiles was going to get in trouble for leaving the twins behind, but he would have his friend’s back no matter what. Malia recognized that primal rage, but she wouldn’t let either of the twins ever hurt Stiles.

 

The trio continued walking into town, catching up with one another. Each of them trying to cling to the sense of normalcy before it all crashed down on them.

______________________________________________________________________

Everything was falling apart, but that was no revelation. It was Beacon Hills after all, something was always going wrong here. Derek was actually impressed that everyone managed to get along with the Mortise pack for as long as they did. None of them were particularly friendly, other than Scott and Kira who were pups compared to the pack they ran with. Therefore, Derek wasn’t surprised when Stiles confessed to what really happened to the twins earlier that day.

 

Derek figured that when Kaitlyn found them, she had convinced them not to go to their alpha about what Stiles did. She might had been nosy and intrusive, but she clearly recognized a threat when she saw one. Stiles might had bought the pack a little time, but there was no doubt that the Mortise pack would attack. They only had a few more days left before they were heading off, it set everyone on edge with impatient anticipation.

 

Scott told everyone to act normal, but ordered them to stick close to one another. He said that nothing had changed, that they would keep peace until the Mortise pack broke it. No one was a fan of that plan, but Stiles backed Scott up regardless of everyone’s protests. The emissary claimed that when the Mortise pack pushed too far, which they would, they wouldn’t be caught off guard. The pack begrudgingly agreed to be civil, but didn’t hide that they weren’t happy about it.

 

It was the reason why Derek found himself sitting with his uncle and sister wishing werewolves could get drunk. He had stupidly agreed to have a late dinner with Marti and Henry, but now he was regretting ever considering the offer. By the forced smile on Cora, and the way Peter eyed the steak knives wistfully, they wanted to be as far from the two wolves as he did. Derek just hoped that his relatives didn’t regress to their more feral and temperamental behavior. He didn’t have much hope.

 

“You have the most beautiful eyes,” Marti complimented, staring at Derek with a seductive smile.

 

“Thank you,” Derek politely murmured, ignoring Cora’s snort as he looked through the menu.

 

They all had decided to go to one of the fancier restaurants in town, another mistake. The Hales were used to barbecues with the pack, or take out dinners served during movie nights. Even Peter who was the snob in the pack, turned up his nose in distaste at the posh menu. Cora kept shifting in her seat, doing a poor job of hiding the fact that she’d rather be anywhere else.

 

“Of course,” Marti replied, placing her hand possessively on Derek’s forearm.

 

Derek tensed knowing what she was trying to do. Peter’s lip curled up in disgust as Cora glared at her hand furiously. Marti ignored their reactions to scent marking him, keeping her blue eyes locked on him. Derek gently pulled his arm away from her touch, resisting the urge to rub it away. He didn’t like the way she looked at him like he was a prize to be attained, it made his skin crawl.

 

“Have you ever considered leaving Beacon Hills?” Henry inquired, watching the pair carefully. “Maybe joining another pack?”

 

“No,” Derek immediately answered, tensing under the silent implication. “This is my home, and I’m happy where I am.”

 

“It must be awfully lonely at times,” Marti insisted, her voice sweeter than honey.

 

“No, I have my family, pack, and mate here,” Derek replied firmly, causing Marti to pull away as if burned.

 

“Oh, didn’t you hear?” Peter mocked, a vicious smirk taking over his bored features. “Derek has already claimed someone for himself.”

 

“Someone we like very much,” Cora added bitingly, a hint of a warning laced her tone.

 

“I was unaware,” Marti muttered, turning her attention back to the menu.

 

“I’m sure she’s very lucky,” Henry commented, trying to save the dinner.

 

“He is,” Peter snapped, daring him to say something about the correction.

 

“Even though I would say that I’m the lucky one,” Derek stated, a stupid smile tugging at the corner of his lips.

 

“Ugh, you’re such a sap,” Cora whined lightheartedly, even though she secretly thought they were perfect for each other.

 

“He?” Marti questioned, oblivious to Henry’s silent warning. “How do you expect to rebuild the Hale name with a man?”

 

“What did you just say?” Peter slowly asked, his voice eerily calm.

 

“Nothing,” Henry interjected before Marti could open her mouth to explain.

 

“I think we should probably call it a night,” Derek suggested, sighing as he put down his menu.

 

“That would probably be best,” Henry agreed, motioning for Marti to grab her coat.

 

Derek ran a hand through his hair as they walked out. That could have been much worst. He was still hungry, but his family was probably going to go their separate ways now. Peter would return home while Cora caught up with Isaac, they would be fine to eat on their own. Maybe Stiles could be convinced to make him something to eat, the Sheriff was working overnight this week. Yeah, that sounded like a good idea.

 

“I wonder if his mate takes it like a bitch,” Marti pondered disdainfully, causing everyone around her to freeze.

 

Derek caught Cora by her wrist, holding her back when she lashed out. Unfortunately that left Peter wide open to slam her against the alley wall, his hand tight around her neck. Henry growled going after him, but Derek let Cora go so he could grab the other beta. Henry fought him for a moment, but then Derek forced him to the ground with Cora’s help. The Hales were a volatile bunch, extremely protective of the emissary that had wormed his way into their lives.

 

“Let her go!” Henry ordered, as he struggled against the hands pinning him down.

 

“I will,” Peter responded, eyes glowing an icy blue as he glared at her. “I just need her to understand that no one will ever say that about someone in my pack. Especially someone mated to one of my own. You might have heard rumors about me, let me tell you something...” Peter leaned in to whisper darkly in her ear. “They’re all true.”

 

Peter released her, causing her to drop to the floor clutching her throat as she gasped for breath. Derek let go of Henry, who rushed to his distressed sister’s side. Peter brushed off his hands, strutting off with Cora following after him. Derek hung behind for a moment, looking at the pair of siblings clinging to one another.

 

“Family is extremely important,” Derek stated, causing them to look over at him apprehensively. “I’ve already lost most of my family…but I won’t lose anyone else. I think it’s time for you to go now. You wouldn’t want to overstay your welcome…trust me.”

 

Chapter Text

“I am a wolf: It is in my nature to be kind, gentle, and loving. But know this: When it comes to matters of protecting my friends, my family, and my heart. Do not trifle with me; for I’m also the most powerful and relentless creature you will ever know.” –Unknown

 

Stiles’ skin felt tight, like it was stretched too thin. It reminded him of the nogitsune, before he realized what was happening. Now he felt like that every time he was anticipating something dire, something life threatening. The Mortise pack was leaving tomorrow, but that still left today. Stiles knew that this was it, after everything the packs had done to each other there was no way that the Mortise pack would just leave.

 

He carefully watched the packs play a less than friendly game of lacrosse together. Pack against pack, it reminded Stiles of something that Peter said to him once. Lacrosse used to be a way for people to settle disputes, but Stiles didn’t think it would be therapeutic in this case. The packs looked like they were frothing at the mouth for an excuse to slam into each other.

 

Peter, Derek, and Julianna were watching the spectacle along with Melissa and the Sheriff. Jackson and Isaac were the most aggressive, but Malia and Kira were the fastest. Parrish and Malia were strong defenders with Lydia in goal. Stiles thought it would be best if he sat this game out. Marti and Henry were fast while the twins were brutal in their defense. Kaitlyn was surprisingly in goal, but she had the help of Scott who offered to help even things up. It was still a mess.

 

Julianna looked interested, chatting idly with Peter who only offered commentary when he was impressed with a play. He kept quiet most of the game. Melissa and the Sheriff were over by Stiles, wincing every time someone landed an extra hard hit on another. Melissa looked ready to call an ambulance each time, but the Sheriff wasn’t too concerned with the rough playing. For once he was just relieved that Stiles was on the sidelines.

 

Stiles could feel the energy thrumming through the air, high strung and dangerous. It made him watch the game closely, studying the other team for strengths and weaknesses. Ones that could potentially transfer over to their fighting style, it was like he was watching a chess match instead of a lacrosse game.

 

Kira zipped through the field, the ball nestled safely in her net. She swerved around Marti and Henry without much trouble, Jackson and Isaac helping to keep them off her. Kira was gaining speed, but then Jake came out of nowhere slamming into her. She fell to the ground hard, crying out as a sharp cracking sound tore through the playing field.

 

Stiles shot to his feet, racing over as Scott let out a furious roar. Derek and Peter held him back, not wanting him to get in the way of Stiles and Melissa. Kira lay on the ground, clutching her arms as silent tears trailed down her cheeks. She tried so hard not to cry, but Stiles could see bone sticking out of her arm. Melissa gingerly soothed Kira, prodding the injury dutifully. They both knew it was only a matter of time before the wound healed itself.

 

“Are you okay?” Scott softly asked, pulling her carefully into his arms.

 

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Kira gritted out, relaxing only when Scott started leaching pain from her.

 

“What the hell is your problem?” Malia snapped, roughly pushing Jake into his twin.

 

“Nothing!” Jake denied, snarling when Malia stepped up to him again. “I was just playing the game.”

 

“You didn’t have to wolf out on her,” Lydia retorted, furious that one of her friends were seriously hurt.

 

“Guys, I’m okay,” Kira protested weakly, not wanting her best friends to get into a fight over her.

 

“We don’t have to play anymore,” Henry suggested, but no one looked like they wanted to stop. Not when they wanted retribution. “You’re a player short—”

 

“I’ll play,” Stiles cut it, causing everyone to look over at him in disbelief.

 

“Stiles,” the Sheriff warned, even though he knew his son wouldn’t back down.

 

“I’ll be fine,” Stiles dismissed, picking up Kira’s fallen lacrosse stick. “I mean, if you guys are still game.”

 

“Oh, game on,” Isaac grinned, setting his sights on Jake smugly.

 

Derek carried Kira off to the sideline, taking Scott’s place in leeching her pain. He tried to use it as a way to distract himself from the game about to continue. The Sheriff wasn’t looking any better, pacing up and down the field like he wanted to call it off himself. Melissa placed a hand on his arm comfortingly, but her face was pinched with worry.

 

The game continued without much action, but then Stiles managed to steal the ball. He rushed to the other side of the field, using his track skills to bolt around players. Jake was running toward him, but Stiles saw Isaac coming up on the defender’s right. It was like watching the tackle in slow motion, Isaac full on rammed into Jake forcing him to the ground. Jake let out a grunt as another resounding snap echoed across the field.

 

Isaac smirked down on Jake who was gripping his leg in pain. His victory didn’t last long, Kyle jumped at him tackling Isaac to the ground, pinning him down as he growled at the beta. It was like a dam was broken because then everyone tried to get in on the fight. It was a mess of limbs and teeth, claws making an appearance as the weres tore through their equipment.

 

Julianna just watched, looking like this was exactly what she wanted as Scott tried to break up the fights. Stiles told Parrish to keep his dad and Melissa away while he dealt with this. Kaitlyn seemed to have the same idea, and reached into her pack to pull out a purple powder. Wolfsbane.

 

She blew it into Scott’s face, making the alpha hiss as the substance stung his eyes and mouth. Scott clawed at his throat, trying to make the burning stop. Jackson went to attack her, but Henry bashed into him. Jackson was knocked around as Henry threw unrestrained punches at him. Malia jumped onto Henry’s back, biting his shoulder and neck to get him to stop. Kaitlyn threw a dart at her, causing Malia to cry out as she fell to the ground whimpering.

 

“Enough!” Stiles shouted, raising his arms above his head warningly.

 

His cries went unheard, but he felt the earth’s power resonating through him. He closed his eyes focusing its borrowed power, feeling the nemeton’s magic bending to his will. Stiles took a deep breath, clearing his mind of everything but what he planned. He thought solely of the ones he was targeting, not wanting his magic to affect his own pack. Stiles opened his eyes when he found his center, when he had enough power to manipulate the sound around the pack.

 

Stiles slammed his hands together, causing an ear shattering sound wave to blow through the field. The Mortise pack fell to their knees, covering their bleeding ears as they screamed out. The others looked at them confused, not understanding what was hurting them. Stiles shakily lowered his arms, feeling exhaustion slam into him as the power of the nemeton seeped from him. The Sheriff was quickly by his side, helping Stiles stay upright.

 

Julianna rose to her feet, her eyes red as the blood leaked from her ears. She growled at Scott who crouched, preparing for a fight. Instead of attacking, Julianna leaned down helping Marti to her feet. The twins clung to each other, wincing at any little sound they heard. Kaitlyn wasn’t as affected as the werewolves, but she was shaking fearfully. She knew what Stiles had done, she kept close to Henry who looked worse for wear.

 

“You have sealed your fate young alpha,” Julianna threatened, glaring down at Scott hatefully.

______________________________________________________________________

Derek knew that Stiles was strong, but what he saw earlier was unbelievable. For him to be powerful enough to manipulate sound was both terrifying and incredible. Stiles had a connection to the earth, the elements, but to actively call on them was something else. Derek knew that Deaton and Morrell could only do so much, sticking mainly to runes and herbal magic.

 

With all that power came a price though, Stiles had nearly passed out after his attack. The Sheriff had dragged Stiles home, wanting him to rest for a while before going anywhere else. Derek completely understood, he had nearly felt his heart stop when he saw Stiles collapse, even if it was just from fatigue.

 

The Mortise pack took off to heal and prepare for battle, most of them unable to hear one another. Julianna and Kaitlyn were the only ones who weren’t temporarily deaf, but it was only a matter of time before the rest recuperated. The Hale pack had to be ready, a fight was inevitable at this point.

 

Derek was heading to Stiles’ house, hoping to convince him to stay with him until the battle was over. The rest of the pack had taken shelter there, using it as their headquarters for the time being. He was almost to the Sheriff’s house when he smelled someone from the Mortise pack nearby, and from the fear and desperation rolling off the enemy it had to be Kaitlyn. She had always been equally amazed and frightened of Stiles.

 

He ducked out of sight when he saw Kaitlyn talking to Stiles on the Sheriff’s porch. Derek knew Stiles could take care of himself, but every instinct he had demanded that he protect his mate. Instead, Derek closed his eyes, focusing on their conversation.

 

“Alpha Mortise says that she will forgive your pack if you go with her,” Kaitlyn stated, taking Derek by surprise.

 

“I won’t go with you,” Stiles rejected, making Derek let out a breath of relief.

 

Stiles’ loyalty was a double edge sword. On one hand it meant that he’d do anything to protect his friends, but sometimes it meant that he would neglect his own safety to do it. Kaitlyn was playing on that sense of loyalty, using it to manipulate Stiles into joining her pack.

 

“Then your pack will die,” Kaitlyn warned, causing Stiles to narrow his eyes at her.

 

“Don’t forget what I said about my pack,” Stiles reminded, stepping into her personal space threateningly. “Your pack has been doing everything they could to provoke a fight. You all wanted this to happen. You’re the ones who wanted blood.”

 

“Beacon Hills is valuable territory,” Kaitlyn replied, neither confirming nor denying his accusation. “We would make better use of it than your ragtag pack.”

 

“We’ve faced scarier things than your alpha,” Stiles dismissed, turning away from her.

 

Derek growled lowly when she reached out grabbing Stiles’ arm, stopping him from leaving. He almost revealed himself, but stopped when Stiles’ eyes darkened. Kaitlyn cried out, tearing her hand away from Stiles like she had been burned. Derek smirked, proud and impressed with his ballsy mate.

 

“An emissary’s job is to put the pack before themselves, protect their pack no matter what,” Kaitlyn explained, causing Stiles to pause in his tracks. “Do you really want to watch your pack die knowing that you could have prevented it?”

 

Stiles scowled looking away, the question hitting too close to home. Kaitlyn offered him a sympathetic frown before walking away. She climbed into her rental car, and zoomed off down the road leaving Stiles to his thoughts.

 

“Okay, you can come out now Derek,” Stiles whispered wearily, leaving the door open as he headed back inside.

 

Derek was too busy marching after him to be surprised that he had been caught eavesdropping. He recognized that look on Stiles, it was the same look he got whenever he was going to do something reckless. Derek wasn’t going to let him do anything stupid or self-sacrificing, not this time.

 

“You’re not going to take that ultimatum,” Derek snapped, before he could stop himself from ordering Stiles around.

 

He knew that Stiles didn’t like being told what to do, and that often left Stiles doing the exact opposite of what he was told in the first place. Derek took every ounce of control he possessed so he wouldn’t try to growl Stiles into submission. That wasn’t how he wanted their relationship to be, he liked that Stiles was so independent and mouthy. He wanted a mate, not a bitch.

 

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Stiles grumbled, heading into the kitchen to grab something to drink.

 

“I won’t let you go with them,” Derek said, watching Stiles drink straight from the carton.

 

“You’re not my alpha,” Stiles countered, slamming the milk carton back into the fridge.

 

“Scott won’t let you do it either,” Derek retorted, ignoring the scent of anger flooding the room. “No one in the pack will let you.”

 

“I don’t want to talk about this anymore!” Stiles shouted, eyes turning black as he whirled around to face Derek.

 

Derek fell silent under Stiles’ heated glare. Stiles sighed, running a hand through his hair exhausted. The smell of anger giving way to the stench of shame, making Derek walk over to Stiles concerned. He didn’t want to fight with Stiles, not after everything that happened today.

 

“I don’t want to lose you,” Derek murmured, pulling Stiles into his arms.

 

“I know,” Stiles whispered, burying his face into the crook of Derek’s neck. “I don’t want to lose you either…I don’t want to lose anyone.”

 

“We’ll figure it out,” Derek stated, resting his cheek against Stiles’ temple. “Together, as a pack.”

 

“Will you stay the night with me?” Stiles softly asked, wanting one more night together before they started talking strategy.

 

“Always,” Derek promised, rubbing Stiles’ back soothingly.

 

Stiles lead Derek to his bedroom, making sure to close the door behind them. They both watched each other slowly strip down to their boxers, too drained to do anything but appreciate the view. Stiles flopped onto his bed, feeling the events of the day take its toll on him. Derek slipped under the covers next to him, pulling the younger man to his chest. He loved the way Stiles fit perfectly against him, like they were made for each other.

 

“I’m tired,” Stiles whimpered, his voice cracking slightly. “I’m so tired.”

 

“Me too,” Derek whispered, his arms tightening around his hurting mate.

 

They were tired of fighting, tired of losing people close to them, tired of being angry and afraid all the time, but most of all they were tired of being so tired.

 

Chapter Text

“Happy endings were never handed out. You had to fight for them, earn them with bruised hearts and sacrifices.”-Kim Harrison

 

Stiles looked around the table at his friends, his pack. They all looked too young to be going to war again, it was too soon. They were barely coming together after the last one. He ran a hand through his hair, wishing not for the first time that they had a normal life. Stiles knew that wishful thinking was pointless at this point, he had woken up to a dead deer on his front porch with a spiral carved on it. The Mortise pack was coming, Julianna had given them her warning.

 

Now everyone was gathered at the Hale house, trying to come up with a plan of defense and attack. No one seemed to agree on which method would be more ideal, it was frustrating for everyone and getting them absolutely nowhere. Scott seemed to be at a loss, unable to rein in his upset pack. Everyone was yelling over each other trying to be heard, they kept rejecting each other’s plans in favor of their own. Stiles silently watched them all, carefully listening to every suggestion and dismissal.

 

“This is what we’re going to do,” Stiles finally announced, causing the others to fall silent at the authority resonating in his voice. It was the first time he had spoken since they had started talking over strategies. “My dad, Parrish, and Peter will be backup, coming only when howled for in emergencies. Jackson and Malia will take care of the twins while Derek handles Henry. Scott will face Julianna, Cora will deal with Marti, and then Kira and Isaac will help whoever needs it the most. I’ll make sure that Kaitlyn doesn’t interfere with the battle, and try to do my best to keep things in our favor.”

 

“Does anyone have anything they want to add or change?” Scott asked, turning to look at the others with a small proud smile.

 

“I think it’s a solid plan,” Isaac approved, nodding his head as he thought it over.

 

The rest of the pack agreed with the plan of action, but Stiles could tell some of them were nervous about protecting Beacon Hills. None of them would be surprised if Julianna tried to distract them by causing a diversion in town. Stiles, fortunately, had a plan for that as well.

 

“Deaton and Morrell will be protecting the town,” Stiles added, idly scratching at the scars on his neck. “We keep the fighting to the forest no matter what.”

 

“I agree,” Scott piped in, looking at everyone grimly. “We don’t want anyone getting hurt because of this.”

 

“Do we fight to kill?” Malia asked, ignoring the tension that fell over the room. “Because I doubt they’ll show us any mercy.”

 

“We might be predators,” Scott replied, making Stiles worry his bottom lip anxiously. “But that doesn’t mean we have to be killers.”

 

“But they are,” Jackson countered, crossing his arms in an attempt to come off unafraid. “They’re not going to hesitate to kill us if they get the chance.”

 

“We’ve made it this far without killing anyone—”

 

“Not all of us have!” Jackson snapped, making Scott flinch back as if he had been physically struck.

 

“You don’t think I don’t know that!” Scott roared, causing the rest of the pack to explode into another argument.

 

Stiles found his hand being yanked by Derek, who stared at him with sad eyes. Stiles looked at Derek confused before catching sight of his hand, his nails were covered in blood. His eyes widened as he tentatively reached up to touch his neck, it was wet and warm with blood. He hadn’t even noticed that he was clawing himself, he was so anxious.

 

“Stop!” Stiles shouted, regathering the attention of the room. “Scott’s right, we’re not murderers. I rather die with the rest of my soul intact than taint it with blood I willingly spilt. We fight to incapacitate, not to kill.”

 

Stiles knew that a part of him was lying, he would kill in order to protect his pack. It would be a last resort though, one he hopefully didn’t have to take. He knew that some of the pack couldn’t bring themselves to do it, not unless they were pushed past their limits. On the other hand, certain members of the pack were like him, protecting their own was enough of an incentive. It was good that there were some like him and then some like Scott, it kept balance.

 

“We need to stop fighting,” Derek added, placing a supportive hand on Stiles’ shoulder. His thumb rubbed against the side of Stiles’ neck soothingly. “Tomorrow we’re going to face off against the real enemy here, and all we’ll have is each other. Remember that tonight.”

 

Stiles tilted his head to the side, pressing his cheek gratefully against Derek’s hand. He slightly relaxed when Derek started leaching the stinging pain from the scratches Stiles had made. The pack must have been able to scent the anxiety rolling off Stiles because they calmed themselves down enough to talk things out.

 

Strangely enough the only one who had remained uncharacteristically silent the entire night was Lydia. She almost looked like she was in another world completely the way she blankly stared off into space. Either she was lost in her thoughts, or she was listening for something no one else could hear. Stiles really hoped for the former.

 

“Lydia…” Stiles tried, hesitantly reaching out to gently touch her arm.

 

Her eyes locked onto him as she violently jerked away from his touch. Before he could ask her what was wrong, she had opened her mouth. Stiles felt his stomach drop when she let out an ear piercing scream that had the were-creatures covering their ears. Her warning came to a slow end, making everyone look at the two of them horrified.

 

“No,” Scott whimpered, shaking his head in denial.

 

“Maybe it’s for someone else,” Kira suggested, even though her tone was doubtful.

 

“She looked right at him,” Isaac muttered, looking like he wanted to throw up.

 

“Maybe she was just predicting danger,” Malia tried, grabbing Stiles’ hand hopefully.

 

“Banshees don’t predict danger,” Derek murmured, his voice soft and broken. “They predict death.”

______________________________________________________________________

“I’m going,” Stiles stated, crossing his arms prepared for the fight that was about to go down.

 

“No, you’re not,” Derek retorted, refusing to back down against that familiar defiant glare. Not this time.

 

“Someone has to take care of Kaitlyn,” Stiles pointed out, ignoring the way Derek’s eyes flashed an icy blue.

 

“Someone else will handle her then,” Derek growled, internally groaning when he recognized those red blotches covering Stiles’ face.

 

“I’m going to fight alongside my pack like everyone else!” Stiles snapped, slamming his hand against the table furiously.

 

He couldn’t believe that Derek was being so stubborn, he had to have known what this meant to Stiles. Derek couldn’t stop him from going any more than his own dad could, Stiles was going to be there when his pack went into battle.

 

“Guys, maybe you should calm down,” Scott suggested, wincing when dual glares were sent his way.

 

“What happened to not fighting?” Kira gently asked, trying to restore the peace between the two.

 

“Well, tell this brute that just because we’re together that doesn’t mean he’s the boss of me!” Stiles shouted, waving frantically in Derek’s direction.

 

“I don’t know if you remember, but Lydia’s warning should have been a clear enough sign,” Derek barked, making the others shiver at the anger laced in his tone.

 

“I was there, I know what it means!” Stiles bit back, his voice cracking slightly. “I know exactly what it means, but it doesn’t matter—”

 

“Doesn’t matter?” Derek murmured deathly calm, causing the other were-creatures to whimper.

 

“That’s not what I meant—”

 

“Then what the hell did you mean?” Derek yelled, slamming his hand on the table, causing it to crack down the middle. “You think your life doesn’t matter to the pack, to me?”

 

“No, I know it does, but your lives matter to me too!” Stiles defended, his voice high and squeaky with indignant rage. “How do you think I would feel if one of you got hurt or worse because I wasn’t there to do something?”

 

“How do you think I would feel if you were there, and I couldn’t protect you?” Derek countered, digging his claws into the palm of his hands.

 

“I don’t need protecting!” Stiles cried out, eyes turning into pools of inky black. “I’m not weak anymore!”

 

“You could be the strongest spark or alpha around, and I would still do everything to protect you!” Derek retorted, looking down as he tried to catch his breath. “You’re my mate Stiles, I’d die or kill to protect you…no matter how strong you are.”

 

Just like that all the fight was drained out of Stiles, leaving him feeling stupid and selfish. He could hear the others making themselves scarce, trying to give the two of them some sense of privacy. Stiles had been too busy thinking about himself and his need to be there with them, he hadn’t thought about how Derek might be taking it.

 

“I’m sorry,” Stiles whispered, pulling Derek into a tight hug. “I’m so sorry.”

 

“I can’t lose you too Stiles,” Derek whimpered, wrapping his arms around Stiles in a bone crushing hug.

 

“Derek, I have to be there,” Stiles tried to explain, pulling away so he could look into Derek’s knowing eyes. “I can’t just sit back and let you guys go fight. I’ve lost too many people already. I won’t lose you too because I wasn’t there to protect you.”

 

“I love you,” Derek softly replied, making Stiles’ breath hitch surprised.

 

“I love you too,” Stiles returned, smiling when Derek’s vulnerable expression morphed into the rare breathtaking smile of his.

 

Stiles leaned in, crashing their lips together in a desperate declaration of love. There was too much teeth, it was messy and uncoordinated, but Derek groaned falling into it. Stiles tilted his head slightly, cupping Derek’s grisly cheek to maneuver him properly. Just like that the kiss was even more perfect, their lips slotted seamlessly together.

 

Derek grabbed the back of Stiles’ thighs, hiking him up so he was carrying his mate. Stiles quickly wrapped his long legs around Derek’s waist, pressing their groins together agonizingly. Derek carried Stiles past the pack, and up the stairs to the master bedroom. Stiles had torn his lips away, only to latch onto the pulse point on Derek’s neck.

 

Stiles couldn’t get enough of Derek’s scent, even though he wasn’t a werewolf he still wanted to roll around in it. Derek smelled like the forest, sharp like pine needles but soothing like grass after a rain. It was so addicting. Stiles bit Derek’s neck, taking a long drag of his natural scent.

 

Derek somehow managed to get his door opened, before roughly kicking it closed. He wasted no time in dropping Stiles onto his large king sized bed, looking down at his mate heatedly. Stiles opened his legs wantonly, holding out his hand in a clear invitation. Stiles wanted this, no…he needed this.

 

Stiles moaned when Derek stripped out of his shirt, and then lost his pants among his abandoned socks and shoes. Stiles’ eyes trailed down Derek’s broad chest, down to his defined, until his eyes locked on Derek’s large cock. Hanging between his toned legs, already dripping precome from the tip. Stiles felt himself lick his lips unconsciously.

 

Derek followed that action before springing into motion. Stiles whined impatiently as he tried to tear off his own shirt. Derek was working on unbuckling his jeans when the older man paused. Stiles managed to get his shirt off with a minimal amount of embarrassment. He looked up at Derek confused at why he had stopped.

 

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Derek gently asked, nothing but compassion in his voice. “I’ll love you no matter what.”

 

“I want this Derek,” Stiles answered, knowing how important consent was to Derek after everything Kate had done. “I love you.”

 

Derek hid his smile in the side of Stiles’ thigh before continuing his efforts to get Stiles’ undressed. It was faster than what Stiles would have been able to manage had he done it by himself. There was an awkward moment where Stiles wanted to cover himself in embarrassment, but Derek wasn’t having any of that. He dipped down, worshiping every inch of Stiles’ lean body.

 

Derek pulled away, looking down at Stiles once more. Stiles’ pupils were blown wide and he had a dopey smile on his face. He was absolutely beautiful. Derek knew in that moment he would rather die himself than watch Stiles die.

 

As if sensing his darkening thoughts, Stiles sat up pressing his lips against Derek’s in a loving but chaste kiss. It was more than enough to bring Derek back to reality, he smiled softly before laying Stiles back down on the bed.

 

No matter what happened tomorrow, they would always have tonight.

 

Chapter Text

“This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.”- T.S. Eliot

 

Stiles looked around at the bloodied ground, his heart pounding heavily in his chest. He could hear the sound of flesh being torn, and the scent of blood tainted the cool night air. The fight had started faster than anyone had expected, leaving no time for second thoughts. The Mortise pack had attacked them while they were on their way to a clearing far from the city limits.

 

Everyone was still alive, but Stiles couldn’t imagine how with the way the fight had progressed. Stiles had given them enchanted charms to wear, offering them extra protection and endurance. It wasn’t much, but knowing they wore it made Stiles feel slightly better. He didn’t want to have to constantly be checking on them, not when Kaitlyn proved to be a stronger opponent than he had anticipated.

 

Stiles was leeching power from the forest, drawing on the ley lines for an extra boost. Borrowing power like he was left its own dangerous mark, black runes lined his arms as a permanent reminder. It showed that as much as the magic of the nemeton belonged to him, he was a servant of the nemeton.

 

That didn’t matter to Stiles, all that mattered was that he was able to protect his pack. The others were holding their own, taking a beating as much as they were giving one. From where he stood it looked like no one was gaining the upper hand over the other. That had to change, they couldn’t keep up this pace forever.

 

Stiles backhanded Kaitlyn, knocking her roughly to ground. He kicked away the knife she was reaching for, and slammed his foot against her face. The crunching sound it made was disgusting, but Stiles pushed past the nausea that was gnawing at him. Instead he pulled out his own small knife, and sliced up his palm to enforce the spell he was about to cast with his blood.

 

When the tip of the blade was stained a deep red Stiles started murmuring a curse under his breath. He raced over to where the main fight was taking place, trying not draw too much attention to himself. Stiles didn’t want to distract his pack, and he didn’t want any of others to stop him. It wasn’t that he had only one chance to do this, but he sure as hell didn’t want to have to try again.

 

Stiles slid to a stop when he found Julianna and Scott brawling, slashing each other in a fury of claws and teeth. Scott was strong and fast, but Julianna had more experience over him. She knew when to attack and when to back off, her movement fluid and strategic. Stiles knew that Scott was a strong fighter, but he wouldn’t be able to keep up with her once he started feeling fatigued.

 

In order for the curse to work Stiles simply had to get some of Julianna’s blood mixed with his. Once they were together then the spell would be cemented, and it might be enough to give his pack the upper hand. If Stiles did everything right then whatever injury her pack felt while fighting would be dealt to her as well. He was hoping that with a defeated alpha the rest of her pack would fall into place.

 

Stiles took a shaky breath, focusing the rest of his energy on manipulating the wind currents. He chucked the knife at her, watching it whiz through the air. Stiles threw his hands up, controlling the flow of the wind so the knife flew towards her no matter where she moved. The edges of his vision were fuzzy, growing black as he clung desperately to the little power he had left. There was only so much magic that he could channel through him before it became too much for him to handle.

 

The blade pierced her in the back of her left shoulder, harshly digging into her flesh. She let out a pained roar, clawing at it in attempts to get it out. It burned bright red, the spell taking hold of her. Her distraction was enough to have Scott slam her into the ground. He held her down as she screamed, thrashing around as the pain of her pack consumed her.

 

Her pack stopped fighting, noticing that their alpha was pinned. They rushed to her aid, howling at the waning moon with revenge on their minds and hatred in their hearts. The Hale pack raced after them, planning to put an end to this once and for all. Just before they could stop the Mortise pack, a series of answering howls were heard throughout the clearing.

 

Everyone had stopped, panting as they listened to the pounding of feet growing closer. Stiles realized in horror that his pack wasn’t the only one with reinforcements. He didn’t think that any of them were strong enough to face off against any more wolves. His pack thought the same thing, glancing at each other anxiously as they waited for the wolves to descend upon them.

 

Scott kept Julianna pinned down, refusing to let her up even though the Hale pack was outnumbered. Her breaths came out labored, but she clutched his wrists trying to make him let go. There were only four more wolves that had come to their aid, but four was far more than enough to deal with the exhausted and wounded Hale pack.

 

When he didn’t have a choice Scott backed away from Julianna, holding his hands up as he made his way over to where his pack stood. Henry helped his alpha to her feet, frowning at the bad shape she was left in. Stiles kept glancing around, wondering how they were going to make it out alive this time. He had already called for their reinforcements, but it would still take some time for them to get there. Even then, Stiles wasn’t sure that they would be able to hold up against four charged werewolves.

 

“Bring me the spark,” Julianna ordered, causing his pack to snarl and growl at the new wolf heading his way.

______________________________________________________________________

 

Derek’s felt like someone had ripped his heart out and showed it to him. He lashed out at the werewolf retrieving Stiles, but was forcefully shoved back. That didn’t stop him from trying again. After that attempt the Mortise pack grabbed them, keeping the rest of them down as Stiles was forced to his knees in front of Julianna.

 

Stiles defiantly looked up at her, gaze unwavering even as she studied him. She grabbed his chin roughly, causing him to hiss out in pain. Derek snarled, trying to break away from the two werewolves holding his back. Their claws dug into his shoulders, but Derek could barely feel it. He was too focused on trying to get to his mate.

 

“You are strong for someone so breakable,” Julianna mused, running a claw down the side of Stiles’ face. “Then again, it’s easy to be strong standing behind a pack of guard dogs.”

 

“You would know,” Stiles bit back, wrenching away from her touch.

 

Julianna was impressed with his spirit, it wasn’t easy to be brave after the battle was lost. However, she could not let his insolence go unpunished, especially in front of her pack. She brutally slapped him across the face, knocking him to his side. Henry picked him back up, forcing him to kneel before her once more. Blood dripped from his mouth in a steady stream, but even then he refused to let out a cry of pain.

 

She stared into his fiery amber eyes, wondering if his pack saw what she could. Underneath all that steely resolve and relentless loyalty, there was a darkness inside him. The power that resided inside him was hungry, desperate to be released. She doubted that even Stiles knew how strong he had to be in order to keep that power locked inside of him.

 

“You would make a great addition to my pack,” Julianna murmured, smirking when Stiles bared his blood covered teeth at her.

 

Scott growled, eyes flashing red as he struggled against the two werewolves clutching him. They pushed him to his stomach, digging their knees into his back. Stiles scowled watching helplessly, trying to break the hold Henry had on him. Each of them trying to fight their way over to the other.

 

Derek let out a snarl when he too was pushed to the ground, one of the twins pinning him down. Jackson and Malia were in similar positions, neither of them able to move much without risk of breaking their own back. Kira had her arms locked behind her, her sword pressed threateningly against her throat. Isaac was on his side, whimpering as his torn open stomach slowly healed.

 

“You’ll never be my alpha,” Stiles vowed, making Julianna smirk at the challenge.

 

“I’m sure you’ll change your mind once I start killing off your pack,” Julianna countered, nodding over at the werewolf holding Derek.

 

Derek gritted his teeth, grinding them together as the werewolf above him pulled back on his arms. Tears sprang to his eyes as he felt his left arm dislocate, he cried out when the right one followed suit. Stiles screamed angrily, eyes bleeding black as he focused on the werewolf hovering over his mate cockily.

 

The werewolf fell to his knees, clutching his face as he cried out in pain. Derek fell limply to his stomach, his breaths harsh as he healed. The other one next to him removed his hands, revealing black ooze leaking from his eyes, nose, and mouth. Stiles cruelly smirked when the were’s eyes rolled into the back of his head before he started convulsing.

 

“What are you doing to him?” Julianna screeched, grabbing Stiles by his neck. She felt like her insides were on fire, it didn’t make sense.

 

“Mountain ash in the blood,” Stiles gasped out, before spitting blood into her face. “Hurts like a bitch doesn’t it?”

 

“Stop it!” Julianna ordered, claws digging into the sensitive flesh of Stiles’ neck.

 

“Leave Beacon Hills,” Stiles countered, wincing as the claws pierced his skin, small beads of blood dripping down his neck.

 

Derek shakily rose to his hands and knees, his arms sore but workable. He panted heavily, his eyes locked on Stiles. Derek had to get to him before Julianna lost it, he had to save his mate. Derek pushed through the pain, forcing himself to rise to his feet. Julianna glanced over at him, eyes wandering over him and then the rest of the pack.

 

Stiles grabbed her wrists, scratching her wrists in an attempt to make her let go of him. Tears trailed down his face as it became harder to breathe. His mind started to fog over, almost like he was drowning in his own jumbled thoughts. Stiles’ hands dropped from her wrists uselessly, his vision fading in and out.

 

“You’re too dangerous alive,” Julianna realized, turning her petrified gaze back to Stiles. “Any last words spark?”

 

“It’s going…to be…okay,” Stiles gasped, his voice coming out as a hoarse whisper. “Keep…going.”

 

The rest of the pack was fighting to get to Julianna, nearly killing themselves to save Stiles. Derek raced towards her, eyes locked on the hand around Stiles’ throat. He had to get to him, there wasn’t any other acceptable option. Derek knocked Henry to the side, shoving his way past Marti. He was only a few feet away now, almost there.

 

Julianna’s red eyes met his blue ones, nearly knocking the breath out of him with the hatred and fear swimming in them. Stiles offered him a weak warm smile, mouthing “I love you” before his body fell limp. Derek heart shattered, breaking him apart from the inside out. Even with the sound of ripped flesh and furious growls filling the forest, Derek only heard Stiles’ faint heartbeat.

 

Julianna dragged her claws across Stiles’ vulnerable neck, viciously tearing his throat out. Derek dropped to his knees, sprayed with his mate’s blood. She smirked as she carelessly tossed Stiles’ dead body at Derek. He tried listening for a heartbeat, desperately trying to stop the bleeding. His other hand attempted to leech the pain, but there was nothing there. No heartbeat, no pain…nothing.

 

Derek tilted his head back, and let out a bone chilling howl that had everyone stopping in their tracks. It wasn’t a howl heard very often, but it was one each were-creature instinctively recognized. One that screamed with unbearable agony and grief. A howl that was ripped out of the darkest part of a werewolf, an animalistic cry of complete loss.

 

Derek continued to howl at the full moon as he clutched Stiles’ lifeless body to his chest.

 

Chapter Text

“If you’re going through hell keep going.” –Winston Churchill

 

It was murky, like being trapped underwater. Everything was blurry, there wasn’t anything but colored shapes without definition. Stiles couldn’t hear, every sound was muffled and distorted until it was unrecognizable. It felt like he was floating, his movements were languid and uncoordinated. He didn’t know what was happening to him, happening around him.

 

There was no sense of time, he didn’t know if it had been minutes, days, or even years since he woke up there. He felt like he was floating, drifting both in body and mind. Even though he was moving it was like he was frozen as if…he was dead. There was nothing around him, and somehow it didn’t matter. Stiles wasn’t happy, but he wasn’t sad either. He wasn’t anything.

 

“Stiles…”

 

He could hear someone’s voice cut through the fog, like a shot of electricity running through his veins. Something he could latch onto, something that felt solid. It was low and warm, soothing despite the undercurrent of panic laced in that single word. His name had never sounded so good before, almost musical.

 

“Please, wake up…for me…”

 

Stiles wanted to respond, show that he was listening to the soft voice. He wanted to say something, anything to make the sadness and hysteria go away, replacing it with happiness and love. Only, he couldn’t. He had no control over himself, his mouth simply refused to make a sound.

 

“You told me you loved me…you can’t leave me now…I don’t want to be alone again…”

 

If Stiles could cry he would, his heart shattering for the voice’s owner. He couldn’t see anything past the cloudy water, but he was starting to be able to feel something. Nothing solid, not completely, but there nonetheless. It was like long forgotten impressions being remembered after years of absence.

 

“Stiles, it’s time…you have to want to wake up…it’s all up to you now…”

 

Another voice echoed in Stiles’ ears, different from the first in every way possible. It was calm and collected with cool detachment, but familiar in a way that made Stiles comfortable. The new voice said Stiles had a choice, but a choice between what? He didn’t understand, it didn’t make sense.

 

“Son, I love you…I don’t want to say goodbye to you too…please, come home…”

 

Stiles recognized that voice too, it was strong with authority but softened by love and misery. Even so, it cleared a bit more of the fog away, his mind sharpening with new light. Images started flashing through his head like a motion picture, some he was in, others he was witnessing.

 

“I’m so sorry…I need you to come back to us…it won’t be the same…you’re pack Stiles…you always will be…”

 

Another voice tearing through the abyss Stiles was floating through. He was starting to be able to distinguish the different voices, this one had been Scott. His alpha, his best friend. Stiles wanted to see his friend smile, not sound like he was seconds away from crying. He was so tired of seeing his pack in pain, he was so tired of hurting himself. Stiles like the dull numbness this wasteland gave him, it freed him from everything. Maybe he could stay, maybe that was his choice.

 

“Stiles…please…”

 

Two broken words, that was all it took to convince Stiles that he could bear the pain for his family, his pack. He would live so they did not have to suffer another loss, they had all lost too many people for a lifetime. He refused to be another goodbye.

 

He jolted awake, a scream dying on his lips as he desperately gasped for breath. His eyes wide and alert, his attention zooming around the room trying to take everything in. Scott stood in the corner, Lydia’s face buried in his chest. His dad stood by Dr. Deaton, looking like he was about to have a heart attack any moment. Standing right by his side, clutching his hand like a lifeline, was Derek who looked furious through his tears.

 

“Hey Sourwolf,” Stiles croaked out weakly, before forcing a cheeky smile onto his face.

 

“I hate you,” Derek growled, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand. “I hate you so much right now.”

 

“Stiles!” Scott shouted, nearly knocking Lydia in his rush to get to his best friend. “I can’t believe it worked! I…”

 

Scott’s voice cracked, pain overwhelming the wave of relief that washed over him previously. He looked like a kicked puppy, his crooked chin trembling as his eyes fill with new tears. Without any warning Scott threw himself into Stiles’ lap, holding to his friend in an unbreakable grip. Silent sobs racked through his body, causing Stiles’ heart to clench.

 

“Hey buddy,” Stiles whispered, running his hands through Scott’s mess of hair. “I’m okay.”

 

“But you weren’t,” Lydia hissed, her green eyes alight with fury. “I screamed your name…I screamed and you still went! Do you have any idea how that made any of us feel? I’ve always predicted one death, and I…”

 

Just like Scott, her voice abandoned her too. Instead of throwing herself at him, however, she deliberately walked over, and rested her cheek against the top of his head. She was murmuring something under her breath, nothing flattering Stiles was sure. Her arms slipped around his shoulder, holding him tighter.

 

It felt like an eternity until they pulled away, slowly like they were afraid he was going to disappear if they did. He found himself not wanting them to let go, but more than anything he wanted to hug his dad. Everyone backed away, respectfully leaving a path for the Sheriff.

 

“Dad,” Stiles whimpered, holding his arms out for his father.

 

That was all it took, the Sheriff swooped Stiles into his shaky arms, crying and laughing hysterically. They clung to each other, Stiles buried his face in the crook of his father’s neck, desperately taking in the familiar scent of burned coffee and gunpowder. It was like a dam had broken, tears flooded Stiles’ eyes, running down his cheeks in heavy streams.

 

His watery brown eyes met a kaleidoscope of green and blue, making his breath hitch. Derek smiled softly, crossing his arms over his chest. Stiles smiled back, he was exhausted and was probably going to pass out soon, but that was okay. He was tired and his skin felt strange, but he was alive. He had made it back to them.

 

It was real. This wasn’t a dream. He was finally awake.

___________________________________________________________________________

 

“You’re an alpha again,” Stiles murmured slowly, almost like he was testing it out on his tongue. “You killed her.”

 

“Yes,” Derek answered succinctly, carefully watching Stiles’ reaction. “She murdered my mate, I couldn’t stop myself. No one could after seeing…”

 

Derek trailed off, looking away as Stiles idly rubbed his neck. Even though they had healed, thanks to his new strange werewolf magic, he could feel the thin scars lingering behind. One would assume they were extensions of the lightning scars he already had, only the pack knew the truth. Stiles’ throat had been ripped out, the alpha’s claws digging so deep it had turned him.

 

Only, not completely, his spark had somehow stopped the shift from taking hold. Stiles could flash his eyes, his teeth and nails grew dangerously, but that was the extent of his werewolf powers. No one knew how that could possibly happen, but Stiles felt it more than he understood it. Somewhere hidden under his blinding spark was a wolf, small and weak, but there all the same. It was completely foreign to Stiles, but in its own way comforting as well.

 

“Argent showed up with Parrish and my dad?” Stiles asked, wanting to know what happened after…

 

“Yeah, guns blazing per usual,” Derek muttered, rolling his eyes at the memory of Argent showing up with his prized dual handguns. “The alpha had been taken out, but everyone else survived. They ran out of town, vowing to never return, but we’ll see if they seek revenge.”

 

“Henry won’t let them,” Stiles commented, his gut feeling telling him that the eldest son would be a better alpha as a beta than his mother ever was.

 

The conversation came to a natural end, and for once Stiles didn’t feel like filling the silence with chatter. He closed his eyes, leaning his head against Derek’s shoulder with a small smile. They were in the forest, sitting against the nemeton. It still made Derek uncomfortable being there, after what happened with Paige, but it was less of a consuming guilt and more like a sad memory. He was willing to sit there if it made Stiles feel better, feel closer to his spark.

 

It had been a month since Stiles woke up on Deaton’s operating table, narrowly escaping death's grasp. He couldn’t think about it for too long without remembering what it felt like being trapped in that abyss. It freed him of pain and hurt, and everything he wanted to get rid of, but it also stopped him from feeling joy and love, and everything worth living for. Nothing had terrified him more than remembering that he almost chose numbness over his pack.

 

As if sensing his darkening thoughts, Derek leaned down and brushed his lips against Stiles’ temple. It was enough to bring Stiles back to the present. He offered Derek a grateful smile, and clumsily climbed into his mate’s lap. Derek watched amused, and slightly aroused, as Stiles straddled him. Derek could never get enough of Stiles’ long fingers, which were tangling themselves lazily in Derek’s hair.

 

“Show me,” Stiles softly requested, hoping that Derek wouldn’t turn away from him again.

 

With a put upon sigh Derek revealed his true eyes, no longer the icy blue they had been before the battle. Instead they were a deep crimson, showing off how deadly and fierce he was. Having taken down an alpha, marking him as the dominant predator. Derek hated them, but Stiles thought they were beautiful anyways.

 

“You’ll be better,” Stiles whispered, nuzzling his cheek affectionately against Derek’s grizzly one. “You know more now…you won’t be rushing to train anyone…you have your pack Derek.”

 

“Scott is the alpha,” Derek replied, placing his hands firmly on Stiles’ waist. “He deserves it more than I ever did.”

 

“Scott might be the true alpha,” Stiles agreed, before leaning in to whisper in Derek’s ear. “But you will always be my alpha.”

 

Derek growled, a low heady sound that went straight to Stiles’ groin. Taking full advantage of the moment, Derek wrapped a hand around the back of Stiles’ neck and dragged him into a passionate kiss. Stiles responded enthusiastically, nipping at Derek’s bottom lip playfully. They rocked against each other, losing themselves in each other for the time being.

 

Stiles’ tongue battled against Derek’s, putting up a good fight before submitting to Derek’s skillful prowess. He could feel his spark burning like a wildfire, acting up with the excitement and arousal coursing through Stiles. Derek loved the taste of lightning that rolled off Stiles in moments when Stiles was too far gone to control his magic. It was delicious and addicting, something Derek imagined he would never grow used to.

 

They broke away with heavy gasps, sucking in as much air as their deprived lungs could take. Stiles could feel his erection hard against Derek’s own impressive size. He couldn’t decide if he wanted to grind against Derek or take him into Stiles’ more than willing mouth. Derek sniffed the air, his eyes dilating at the heavy smell of arousal filling the nemeton’s clearing.

 

Stiles knew exactly when his eyes changed, it was like turning the light on after being the dark. It was a shock to the system, but then everything was clearer than before. Stiles immediately pulled away, closing his eyes as he turned his head. The spicy scent of desire souring until all Derek could smell was shame and regret.

 

“Stiles,” Derek murmured, gently forcing Stiles to face him. “Don’t hide from me.”

 

“My eyes,” Stiles muttered, feeling bitterly hypocritical. “They’re different.”

 

“Different, but still beautiful,” Derek promised, causing Stiles to slowly open his eyes.

 

“I love you,” Stiles said, his blue eyes meeting Derek’s red.

 

“I love you,” Derek replied, leaning down to kiss his mate.

 

“Ugh, they’re at it again!” Scott whined, breaking through the tree line with a huff.

 

“I told you they would be,” Kira countered, smiling apologetically at the exasperated pair. “I tried.”

 

“Come on already,” Malia urged, her stomach rumbling loudly for all to hear. “You’re already late for the pack barbecue.”

 

“It’s Stiles’ first full moon,” Isaac commented, crossing his arms with a wicked smirk. “I want to see how he holds up.”

 

“I’ll race you losers back,” Jackson quipped, before taking off with an unfair start.

 

“Hey!” The wolves cried out, chasing after the bratty beta. “You cheated Jackson, again!”

 

“Puppies,” Derek grumbled, gracefully rising to his feet. "I'm surrounded by puppies."

 

“At least they’re our puppies,” Stiles mused, making Derek’s unimpressed frown twitch into what could almost be considered a smile.

 

“Yeah,” Derek murmured, heading back to the Hale house with Stiles by his side.

 

Like it was always meant to be.