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I'm not sure what it says about me that I'm currently comparing myself to a girl? It helps a bit that it's a hot girl, but yeah, still not optimal. But the whole "kidnapped, kidnapped and kidnapped again"-thing just seems to fit right now. The difference is that my dad might be the next best thing to Jack Bauer, but he's currently a wee bit busy looking for some killer he's never going to find. So I guess the next on the list to save me would be Scott, except Scott probably has absolutely no idea I'm missing, which just leaves Derek.

And that's another thing, how the hell did I even get into a situation where I'm depending on Derek Hale, of all people, to save my life? Okay, I know that one too. It's just another one of the things about the past 24 hours that I'm not all that proud off, because if I hadn't left Derek's bed, I wouldn't be here.

Okay, what the hell, here goes nothing. Events occur- well, not so much in real time.

*****************************************

One of the best things about Stiles' piece of shit jeep is that it's really good when they have to drive through the wet mud of the forest. It doesn't matter if it gets dirty or scratched and if they get stuck, which they do a lot, because the last three days of rain has made the already crummy tracks between the trees even lousier, he has a co-pilot with super strength that can wedge them free.

It's a stupid idea though, to drive all the way out here in the late afternoon on the coldest, foggiest day all week, just because it was the only day they could sneak Allison with them. And of course it had been Scott's idea. But Stiles has to admit that when it comes to training environment this is definitely Hard Mode.

"I'm really uncomfortable with this." Allison says, taking out her compound bow from the back of the jeep. "I really don't want to shoot you."

Scott looks at her with a blank expression that clearly states that he doesn't see the problem at all. "It adds realism!"

"Yeah." Allison agrees. "It also adds realism to all the nightmares I'll be having, after I shoot my own boyfriend!"

Scott walks up to her and gives her a kiss on the nose. "You're a great archer. You're the best one I know."

"I know." She says confused and Stiles has to smile a bit, because Allison is many things, but modest about her skills with a bow isn't one of them.

"So," Scott continues and takes off his jacket and puts it in the jeep. "If I'm going to be able to dodge the arrows of the second best archer I need you to help me get into shape."

"We already talked about this, Scott. My dad is not going to shoot you." Allison argues.

"No, of course not. Why would he shoot the guest of honor for all your cozy family dinners?" Stiles interjects and pulls the black sports bag out of the jeep.

"Seriously, can we please get past that?" Scott mutters, but at least he has the decency to look properly sorry, because Stiles almost drowned. And he had to spend more than two hours keeping Derek Hale above water! And Scott hung up on him! And did he mention that Derek Hale weights like a ton?

Once Stiles is satisfied that Scott knows they haven't gotten past it - in the slightest - he continues. "But you're not the only hunters out there, and as much as it pains me to say this, Scott is right. He needs to get into shape."

Allison looks as though she's about to argue, but the collective exasperated stare she receives from Scott and Stiles keeps her quiet.

"I'll check the traps and start the clock in twenty minutes." Stiles says and sets the alarm on his phone. "Just remember what I told you about going with your guts and you'll be fine. Don't worry about running into a trap. And don't think about how Allison's granddad would cut you in half if you get cough in a trap. Oh, and try to forget that it's your girlfriend who's shooting deadly arrows at you." He ends and pads Scott's shoulder in encouragement, ignoring the way Scott glares at him.

The traps they use for practice are still there, spread out in the terrain in a strategic chaos. Stiles moves two of them to keep it interesting and resets one of the tripwires that's been triggered by a fallen branch.

He's just about to go spread the rest of the scent track that Scott is supposed to follow when he sees the cut wire on one of the traps.

He picks it up and studies the marks around the end. The wire is metal, thick steel cables that Allison has taken from her dad's inventory and it's been cut like it was a string of wool. Judging by the gashes Stiles guesses it's been done with a set of claws.

It's not the first tracks of rogue werewolves they've come across while training out here. Stiles would love to believe it's the same one, but one werewolf would have to be very stupid to stay in this area and go into Stiles' traps repeatedly.

And sure, Stiles doesn't mind - if there absolutely has to be rogue werewolves in this area - that they're a little stupid, but it seems too much to ask for. Especially with the luck they've had lately.

It's already been twenty-five minutes, five minutes since Scott should have left the jeep. It usually takes Scott four minutes flat to find Stiles - if he can avoid the traps, which has really been his biggest problem so far. But it's the first time they've added deadly arrows to the mix and Stiles isn't surprised that the clock passes the seven minute mark without Scott turning up. Actually his biggest concern is that Scott forgot the time because he was too busy making out with Allison, which Stiles would totally understand and probably also support if he wasn't the third wheel all the time.

"Hi, Sweetie." The female voice takes him completely by surprise, mostly because he was expecting Scott to jump at him in his usual overly-dramatic way. And that might have been a contributing factor to Stiles less than graceful descent, but the main reason is that Stiles never was very good at spinning around really fast. It's like his feet just won't move fast enough and he loses balance and almost does a face-plant in the mud before his hands comes up to break the fall. The woman smiles at him with her perfect white teeth and crouches down in front of him. "What are you doing out here, pet?"

Stiles knows that she isn't necessarily dangerous just because she's a werewolf; he knows enough about them by now to accept that there's good and bad werewolves, just like there's good and bad humans. It's just that from his general experience most werewolves seems to have a tendency to be - well, dicks.

Stiles lack of answer doesn't seem to bother her. Instead she helps Stiles to his feet and brushes his clothes free from dry leaves in a way that leaves Stiles slightly hot and bothered. "Where's your pack?"

"My…Um," Stiles begins and swallows nervously, because he's not really used to being looked at like he's edible. "My pack?"

"Yes, honey. You have a very distinctive smell." She places a hand gently on Stiles' hip, letting it glide around his waist as she circles him. "Of werewolves."

"I'm... I'm not..." Stiles tries, but his brain isn't quite willing to supply the rest of the sentence.

"Oh, but I know that." She smiles. "But some werewolves like having pets, some even marry humans. It's not uncommon." As her hand reaches Stiles lower belly it dips even lower, making Stiles take an involuntary step back. "Not in the mood for games, pet? Well that's okay. I just need you to tell me where we can find the Alpha."

"We?" Stiles wonders out loud and yeah okay, drawing attention to someone's verbal slips is usually a really bad idea. Especially when said person have razor sharp fangs and claws.

The woman huffs out an amused breath, but suddenly she seems a lot less friendly. "Of course you had to be smart. Look, just take us to your Alpha, pet, before I decide that you're of no use to me."

"Kill me and he'll rip your throats out." Stiles counters, as his brain suddenly kicks back in and decides to make up for the temporary shutdown with severe verbal diarrhea.

"Somehow I think no." A male voice says in broken English and the shape of a man walks out of the fog. He might possible be even bigger then Boyd. "If they cared that much for you, I think, they would not let you alone out here."

Stiles tries backing up, hoping that he can somehow lure them into the trap, but at the same time he knows it's no use unless Scott is close by, because there's one trap and two of them. And where the hell is Scott anyway, how fucking long can it take to wolf his ass through a mile of forest? And Stiles manages to think all this between starting to move and falling on his back four seconds later because his legs give in.

And by the time the arrow hits the huge man in front of Stiles in the shoulder and Scott finally makes that dramatic entry, saying "What makes you think he's alone?" like the corniest action hero of all fucking time, Stiles might be shaking a bit more than he's willing to admit.

The stranger might be wounded, but he's still a regular tower compared to Scott. Luckily though, there's little loyalty between strays and the woman choose to cut and run, possibly motivated by the arrow that grazes her cheek and penetrates the pine tree behind her with all the power of a .50 caliber sniper bullet.

But the injured werewolf isn't backing down, not even when he's left alone. Instead he roars as he wolfs out mid jump, crashing against Scott with full werewolf-power. They roll on the ground, disentangle and jump into mirroring crouches. Stiles scrambles to his feet and Allison is there, gripping his arm and pulling him up and away.

"Get behind me." She orders and Stiles doesn't feel very manly, but he does as he's told and watches as Allison draws the string of the compound bow, waiting for her opening.

Scott is fast, but he's not untouchable and the stranger, who Stiles has decided to classify as the so far unknown species were-bear, manages to hit Scott with a clawed hand in the head, making Scott tumble to the ground and slam into a tree.

Allison's arrow lands deep in the man's thigh, making him sway and then fall to his knees on the soft soil of the forest bed.

For a short moment Stiles thinks that they've won, but then the giant roars and gets to his feet and all his attention is suddenly on them instead of Scott. Allison already has a new arrow ready, but she doesn't release. If Stiles didn't know her better he'd say she freezes in fear, but the truth is that Allison isn't a killer and instead of planting her arrow in the werewolf's forehead she throws herself to the side, taking Stiles with her in the fall, and the newly named were-bear tears past them like a stampeding bison bull.

The stranger roars so loudly that Stiles almost misses the sound of the shot, already dampened by the thick mist. Not until the giant man falls to the ground, finally still, does he realize that a gun was fired.

Stiles gets to his feet, helping Allison up and turning to watch as Scott gets up, leaning against the trunk of the tree for support. Stiles isn't sure where the shot came from, not until a dark figure appears in the mist behind Scott.

Chris Argent walks right past Scott, kneeling down besides the dead werewolf and pulls Allison's arrows out of the body.

"If you're going to kill something, Allison, then kill it." Chris Argent says and looks at his daughter. "An injured animal is the most dangerous kind."

Allison doesn't respond. Instead she backs up until she's firmly planted between her father and Scott, a gesture that makes Chris Argent smile.

"I'm glad to see that strays can still get the upper hand in a fight, Scott." He just says as he walks up to Allison, putting an arm around her and twisting her around until they're both facing Scott.

"Why? Hoping to see me killed?" Scott growls. He's shifted back to normal, but there's still something feral about the way he holds himself.

Chris Argent's smile grows bigger. "Because it means you haven't joined Derek's pack yet. If you had you'd be stronger."

Scott tilts his head, accepting Chris Argent's words as honest. "I can't protect anyone like this though. I lost to an Omega."

"That wasn't an Omega. That was a roaming Beta. They're rare, but not unheard off. When werewolves can't find an Alpha to group up with, they sometimes make a pack without, just for the extra strength and security. The pack bond makes them stronger, but not as strong as they would be with an Alpha. But you don't need other werewolves to have a pack, Scott. Humans won't make you stronger, but they'll let you hold your position as protecting Beta. And Allison can protect herself," Chris says, squeezing Allison's shoulder. "And Stiles… Well maybe Stiles should stay home from now on when you go out to practice."

"But you don't mind if I train with Scott?" Allison asks wide-eyed, looking from her dad to Scott.

"I don't think those were the words I used." Chris points out, but he's not denying the permission either. "I'll take Allison home." He says with a firm hold around her shoulders and he leads her away, out into the mist.

It's not until Stiles moves to pick up the black sports bag that he realize he's hurt. There's a gash running the length of his thigh and blood running from a scratch right under his jaw, but it's a small price to pay all things considered.

The two of them are very quiet on the walk back to the jeep. Stiles is trying to force the whole incident out of his head, because that's a lot easier than having to come to terms with yet another near-death experience. But Scott keeps bringing Stiles back to it by asking if Stiles thinks this means he's allowed to talk to Allison in school as well.

All in all Stiles is pretty relieved when he drops Scott off at his house and drives off home.

On the way he's stupid enough to stop for gas. Stupid because he's already had far more action in one night than he really knows what to do with, but apparently Derek Fucking Hale didn't get that memo.

Stiles has hardly started filling on gas when his jeep is penned in by Derek's black Camaro and a black pick-up truck.

"Oh, come on! What now?" Stiles complains and he's not even trying to play nice, because he's already had to act polite against one unwanted werewolf tonight and really, a boy has his limits.

"Relax, Stiles." Derek says as he gets out of his car, but there's a dangerous smile on his face. "I have no reason to hurt you."

"Then why do I get the feeling that you're going to anyway?" Stiles counters easily, backing away as Derek walks closer.

Derek seems to get the message, because he stops walking, instead running a hand over the hood of Stiles' jeep. "If I hurt you I would be hunted down by the Sheriff and the Argents… And Scott."

Stiles huffs out a breathy laugh and licks his lips. "Except I wouldn't tell my dad or the Argents. This just leaves Scott, who would be running right into your arms."

"Open arms." Derek corrects, smiling.

"But that won't happen, especially not now." Stiles points out. "And you knew that already so that can't really have been your plan."

"I'm so transparent." Derek jokes and leans against the jeep. Stiles realizes that he has no chance of getting into his jeep now, no escape if Derek really does want to hurt him. In the pick-up truck behind them are the rest of Derek's pack; Erica and Boyd talking quietly inside the truck and Isaac standing on the cargo bed of the truck, stupid grin on his face.

"So why am I here?" Stiles asks, because they might as well get it over with.

Derek shrugs and he manages to look very innocent. "Filling on gas, would be my guess."

"Then what…" Stiles tries again, but Derek cuts him off as he pushes off the jeep falling into that threatening military stance that he enjoys so much.

"Stiles, why are you so suspicious, hmm?" He asks and for a moment there's something else than sarcasm in his voice, something that's not anger or spite on his face. Stiles wants to answer that he thinks he has a pretty damn good reason to be suspicious by now, but Derek's tone makes him reconsider. "There's a Kanima running lose. Did you ever think that maybe we're here to keep you safe?"

Stiles decides that glaring is sufficient answer, and when he places the gas pump back in its holder, ends the purchase and gets into the jeep Derek smiles and gets into the Camaro, making room for Stiles to drive away.

Stiles would have been so very, very happy if that had been the end of that night.

He's bruised and injured and even though the wound on his leg has mostly stopped bleeding, he knows that it needs cleaning and bandages. He's been threatened and shoved around, had to deal with Derek's stupid face and really, right now Stiles just want to go to bed and get six hours of sleep before morning practice.

This just isn't Stiles' night.

When he pulls up in front of his house his dad still isn't home. That's the last thing Stiles registers before he's knocked out cold.

*************************

Derek is woken up the next day by Scott yelling his lungs out in the abandoned railway depot. Seriously? The kid is more than a bit over-dramatic. For a fragment of a second Derek thinks Stiles ran to Scott, telling him that Derek and his pack had bullied him, but he dismisses the thought because he knows Stiles is better than that.

"Derek! Derek, I know you're here."

Derek watches from the top of a train compartment as Scott walks around the depot. He though he had taught Scott better by now, taught him to use those senses of his. Really, if he would just shut his eyes and listen for the sound of Derek's heartbeat, find the scent of Derek somewhere between the rust and the mold that soaks the air, he wouldn't have to walk around yelling like a lost child.

In the end Derek takes pity on him and slips to the floor. "I don't go around yelling in your home, Scott."

Scott turns on the spot and it's not until Derek sees Scott's face up close that he realize that Scott might have a valid reason to be here.

"Where is he, Derek?" Scott demands.

And there's just something about the way Scott's holding himself and the look on his face that makes Derek straighten up to his full height. "What are you talking about?"

"Stiles. Where is he?"

Derek looks at Scott for a few seconds, trying to decipher the situation and the accusations. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Don't lie to me!" Scott roars, taking a step forward. Out of the corner of his eyes Derek can see the rest of his pack closing in, ready to jump in if needed. "Your scent is all over his car."

"Okay, back up." Derek says, and it's not just Scott he's talking to. The pack stops moving. "We didn't take Stiles, Scott." He continues and watches Scott's reaction. Luckily Scott knows when he's being lied to, and the teen deflates a bit, even if the worry and anger in his features doesn't go away. "When did he disappear?"

"I don't know." Scott says, shaking his head. "He didn't show up for practice this morning."

"And the sheriff didn't report him missing?"

"He thought Stiles was with me. He sometimes stays over after we've been out practicing." Scott explains. He's noticed the pack surrounding him now, but he's not reacting to their presence.

"Practicing?" Derek asks confused. But even before Scott answers he's already figured it out himself. Stiles had been injured; he was limping when Derek saw him at the gas station. He smelled of forest and that mixture of Scott and Allison, that's more of a combined smell than two different smells. And then there had also been the smell of...

"Yes, in the forest." Scott says, but Derek is already there.

"Did you run into any stray werewolves yesterday?" Derek asks, but he knows the answer. He's smelled them in the forest and sometimes in town too. Sometimes they travel in packs, sometimes they're alone, but they're all looking for Derek, for the Alpha.

The problem is that Derek doesn't want them. He grew up with his family as his pack and he's doing the best he can to make a new family now. That doesn't include feral strays, hardly more than animals themselves.

Scott nods and seems to understand what Derek's getting at. "Yes, two. One of them ran away and the other... The other one's dead."

"Well there you go. It's your fault then." Derek says, because Derek is all about tactics, all the time, and he's spotted a really good opportunity to bring Scott into his pack.

"My fault?" Scott roars back, stepping in close as his temper rises again. "They were looking for the Alpha! If anything they took him because of you!"

"No, they took him because of you, Scott." Derek growls back. "Because he stinks of you. Because you're stupid enough to bring him out into the forest right under their noses. If you can't protect your pack, don't blame me!"

"He's your pack too!" Scott yells and Derek was not expecting that. For a second he wavers, but Scott isn't giving him a chance to catch his footing.

"You know he is Derek! You know you owe him this. At least"

"I don't own anyone anything." Derek snarls, face twitching into a feral snare.

"Yes, you do. He saved your life. He's saved your life so many frigging times!" Scott swallows and steps closer and suddenly the teen is all submissive and imploring. "I know you Derek. I know you can't just turn your back on him!"

And Derek hates it. He hates when Scott wins an argument, because Derek is smarter and he should win, but Scott knows just what buttons to push. The ones that triggers Derek's need to have a family, the ones that sets off his good side. And Derek has worked so hard to force that good side down, because it was his heart and his trust that cost him his family in the first place.

"Fine!" Derek breaths the word out like it's dull. "I'll go with you, but only because this is my territory and they're trespassing."

"Whatever you need to tell yourself." Scott throws back and for a moment Derek's eyes lock into Scott's, conveying all the "Don't even go there!" that Derek can muster.

"You three stay here!" Derek orders and breaks the stare to look around on his pack members in turn.

"But..." Erica starts, but Derek cuts her off.

"Stay!" He barks and there is no need for the Alpha roar, but he might have used a bit of it anyway, because he really doesn't want them to come. There's far too much on their plates as it is. "I want you all to practice dodging attacks. The Kanima is your main concern right now."

And even though he receives death glares from the three of them he knows they'll do as he says, because they understand the threat they're facing. Derek has made sure of that.

Derek regrets his decision not to bring the pack relatively fast. Their first run through of the town leaves them with nothing but day-old crossing trails of a surprising number of rogue werewolves and Derek can't help but think that if all these grouped together to catch Stiles and use him to bring out Derek, the two of them are severely outnumbered.

"If there are too many of them I'm not sure we can get him out." Derek points out as the two of them drives through town in Derek's Camaro. "Not unless they're willing to give him up freely."

"You don't think we can win a fight?" Scott asks, suddenly wide-eyed, as if he's just now realizing that having an Alpha on your side doesn't mean automatic victory.

"The Alpha title changes hands by killing, Scott. Which means an Alpha can be killed. You were there."

"Yes, but..."

"And you're stronger than the average Beta, yes, but you don't have Alpha strength. You can still be beaten by other Betas. Especially if there are more of them."

"But..." Scott tries again, but Derek doesn't need the teen's predictable interjections, so he just cuts him off again.

"And then there's the little twist where the two of us aren't in the same pack." He points out. "If it came to a fight we wouldn't trust each other. That's just the way things are. It can't be helped now."

Scott clenches his jaw and does his best to stare Derek down, because he clearly feels that Derek is back at the whole: "Join me and I will complete your training! With our combined strength we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy!"- strategy. And he'd be right, too. That is always Derek's agenda and for once he thinks he has a very good chance of getting his point through even Scott's thick head.

"I'm not going to join you. Especially not now." Scott says and sticks his head out the window to see if he can catch Stiles smell in the wind.

"And what is that supposed to mean?" Derek demands, because Scott is really making a point of being as hurtful about his rejections as he can.

"I mean not after you tried to kill Lydia. Not after your pack's become the town bullies." Scott points out. "Right now your pack is everything I want to protect this town from."

"But you can't protect it, can you? You can't even protect your own pack." Derek counters and pulls the car over as they reach the forest. "If you were with me you could keep them safe, you could keep Stiles safe. With all the werewolves coming here he's going to need you."

"Stiles has you to look after him too." Scott says quietly, and Derek realizes that they're not arguing anymore - They're negotiating.

Derek lets out a tired sigh. "I don't have the time to babysit a human teen, Scott. I have three werewolf teens, that's more than enough."

But Scott is good, he's annoyingly good and he reads Derek way better than he should, much better than Derek's own pack does.

"Look, say whatever you want." Scott says. "I know you care about him! You can't not care, not after all he's done for you."

Derek makes a point not to answer accusations like that, so instead he falls to all four and sets off into the forest and Scott follows reluctantly.

******************************

Stiles wakes up to find he's bleeding again, sticky blood caking to his pants and to the make-shift bandages the werewolves wrapped around his thigh last night.

The werewolves keeping him tied up aren't a pack. They don't seem to know each other and hardly talk. The one exception, of cause, is the woman. The dark-haired she-wolf from the day before. Somehow Stiles wasn't surprised to find her face smiling down at him when he first woke up. She seems completely determined to get to Derek, no matter what it takes.

She's less of a bitch than Stiles had pegged her to be, though. She was the one to bandage his leg and she's the one who brings him water and a blanket. The other four that Stiles can see coming and going from the clearing seems to be in different stages of going completely feral.

Stiles guesses that's why they're keeping to the woods. It's not exactly optimal, to be hiding away in the forest, when the point of kidnapping Stiles seems to be to get an audience with Derek, but these feral strays wouldn't blend in very well in down town Beacon Hill.

The woman comes over and crouches down in front of Stiles, head tilted to the side as she watches him.

"Don't worry, pet." She says comforting. "A little charmer like you? I'm sure your pack will come looking for you soon. The Alphas who allows humans into their packs are often very protective of them. You see, humans keep us human. You can see what happens to us if we lose human contact for too long." She ends nodding over at the two most feral werewolves who are stretching out next to the fire like a couple of hunting dogs.

Stiles is about to answer when the woman stretches out of her crouch and spins around. The rest of the werewolves follow her lead and they group up between Stiles and whatever they're looking at. Stiles hopes it's Scott, maybe even Allison, just as long as they haven't involved Stiles dad. Oh god, Stiles' been gone all night. Have the Police been looking for him as well?

"Frena." Derek's deep voice says and Stiles has to admit he hadn't seen that coming. He tries to get to his feet, to edge his way around the stray werewolves to get a better look, but he falls in the soft soil as pain shoots through his leg.

"Derek?" The woman says, so she must be Frena. "Well, color me surprised. I though the smell was familiar. I didn't know you'd come home."

"I had reasons." Derek deflects and there's something dangerous in his voice. The strays back up and for a moment Stiles thinks it's because of Derek's voice, but then he realize that Derek is moving closer, circling to get a visual on Stiles. Stiles catch a glimpse of Scott standing next to Derek, and another thought hits Stiles, because what if Scott has joined Derek's pack now, just to save Stiles?

"I bet you did." Frena continues as if Derek's display of Alpha power hadn't just occurred. "Must have been very good reasons, too. Since you stayed in a town full of hunters."

"My pack is here." Derek says, voice just on the edge of a growl. His eyes are on Stiles, on the wound in Stiles leg, and Stiles realizes that Scott and Derek must be able to smell the blood. Maybe that's even how they found the camp.

"And what a gorgeous pack it is." Frena points out, looking at Scott. "Hi, we met yesterday."

"I remember." Scott growls. "I'm more interested in the part where you kidnapped my friend!"

"Your...? Oh, I assumed he belonged to the alpha." Frena says confused.

"Stiles doesn't belong to anyone..." Scott begins, but Derek cuts him off.

"He does. Stiles is under the protection of two Alphas. And you managed to piss us both off." And Derek's voice is full growl now. "Not really the best start for you."

"Oh, but this one isn't a true Alpha, I'd say." Frena says, looking at Scott with interest. "Not like you, Derek, look at you. But this is precious. Two different packs, right here under the nose of hunters. It's quite the town."

"It's our town. " Derek points out. "And you're not welcome."

And suddenly Frena is serious and her flirting smile disappears. "Look, I just came here to join the Alpha. I'm strong and smart and I haven't gone feral. If you like blending into a small town I'm an expert."

"Smart?" Derek growls. "You kidnapped a human from the Alpha's pack. And you, what? Though you'd be welcomed in with open arms?"

Frena doesn't answer, but she doesn't back down either. Stiles can see Scott leaving Derek's side, and then everything happens too fast for Stiles' human eyes to follow it all. Derek jumps, changing into Alpha wolf mid-air and Scott moves around the stray werewolves, sliding to Stiles side in the wet mud and helps him to his feet.

They turn to see Derek fighting the five werewolves, muzzle bloody already.

"Can't he just roar and make them back down?" Stiles asks wide-eyed.

"Not if they're not in his pack." Scott explains and half-drags Stiles away from the fight.

Stiles can feel the pull in Scott, the urge to jump in and help Derek, and Stiles wonders again if Scott has joined Derek's pack. Maybe he has without even noticing himself.

"Go ahead. He needs you." Stiles whispers, knowing that Scott will hear it fine. Just to prove he means it he pulls free of Scott's hold, leaning against a tree instead. "Go!"

And there's a small smile on Scott's face when he changes and leaps in to help Derek.

Stiles watches the fight with open mouth and it's like a clash of titans. But the strays have made a mistake. Stiles had been right when he deduced that they weren't a pack. If they had accepted each other and bound themselves into their own pack, they would have been much stronger. As it is, it's just 5 rogue werewolves, fighting a full-wolf Alpha and a very strong Beta, and they are losing - fast. Scott and Derek aren't even fighting to kill, aiming instead for arms and legs, trying to injure bad enough that the strays will give up.

In the end Frena does what she apparently does best - tuck tail and run. She backs away with a hiss, looking from Scott to Derek and she's limping, but it doesn't seem to slow her down much as she turns and disappears. With Frena gone the feral werewolves submit, whimpering like actual injured dogs as Derek lets out a fierce Alpha roar of victory.

Stiles would be lying if he said he didn't find it very impressive, but luckily no one asks him.

It takes a while for Derek to cool down enough to change back to his normal self and even then he doesn't seem to care about the injured strays. Apparently neither does Scott, who limps over to Stiles, leaning back against the same tree, panting for air, but smiling.

"I've never felt this good about hurting anyone before." Scott admits, looking at Stiles out of the corner of his eyes.

"Do you think it's him?" Stiles asks, nodding towards Derek. "You think he's in your head?"

"I haven't said yes to him, Stiles." Scott sighs, bending down to examine the bite marks on his own leg.

"Are you sure?" Stiles asks, but Scott doesn't answer, just shakes his head.

"Derek." He calls instead, waving the Alpha over. "You need to help Stiles out of here; I'm not healing very well."

"Frena bit you. She's a Beta so her bites are more severe." Derek explains and grabs Stiles arm and moves it around his own shoulders so he's carrying Stiles weight. Stiles tries to fight it, but he doubts Derek even notices.

"Is my dad looking for me?"

"No, he thinks you spend the night at my house." Scott says and he's already looking better, the limp almost completely gone.

"What am I supposed to tell him? I can't go home like this." Stiles points out, and his legs choose that very moment to give in under him. Instead of helping him back on his feet, however, Derek just bends down and picks Stiles up in his arms, and what the hell, that's not okay. But for some reason Stiles doesn't complain, because at least Derek isn't carrying him under one arm, although Stiles secretly thinks Derek could with little effort.

"We need to take you to the hospital." Scott says, taking a closer look at Stiles soaked bandages.

"And say what?" Derek growls and stops walking, instead looking at Scott. "Look, Stiles can stay at the depot. At least he'll be safe."

"But..."

"But what, Scott? How exactly would you explain this to the Sheriff?"

Scott glares back, but doesn't give an answer. And to be honest Stiles doesn't have a better idea either.

It's another five minutes slow jog to Derek's car and Stiles can't help but think that Derek should have picked him up a long time ago, because they move so much faster than before.

Derek sets Stiles down next to the car, but doesn't let go before he's sure Stiles' legs can support him.

"I'm supposed to meet up with Allison." Scott says and checks his leg, but all the wounds have healed now. "I guess I can run there. Maybe I'll talk to her dad, see if there's something we can do to keep the strays away."

But still Scott makes no move to run off, and it takes Stiles a moment to realize that he doesn't want to leave Stiles alone with Derek. So maybe Scott isn't a part of Derek's pack yet. If he was he would trust Derek implicitly, Stiles is pretty sure that's how it works.

Derek's just a bit slower than Stiles, but he gets to the same conclusion eventually, sighing heavily.

"He'll be fine, Scott. He just needs a few hours of sleep." Derek says and he gets in the car and opens the passenger side door to let Stiles in.

Stiles is not afraid of Derek, he hasn't been for a long time. Because he's seen Derek more vulnerable than anyone else in their little entourage and Stiles knows that Derek is all bark and no bite.

"It's okay." He says and pads Scott's shoulder. "Say hi to Allison from me."

Scott nods and his eyes rests on Derek in the car for a moment longer before he takes off down the street, falling to all four as he picks up in speed.

"Are you sure it's okay?" Stiles asks and limps to the open door. "I'm going to bleed on your seats."

"Get in the car, Stiles." Derek sighs and looks up at Stiles. And Stiles does as he's told, slumping back against the car seat and drifting off as Derek starts the car and drives through town.